10 Advice We Wish We Told Our Younger Self

21 April 2021

I'm currently in my mid twenty's, living what's supposed to be the best point of my life, that is, without the global pandemic glaring in the background. I definitely did not anticipate that in 2020 and the series of events that followed.

When I was much younger, I used to think that by the time I hit my twenty's, I would have most things in life figured out. Spoiler alert, I still don't. But having said that, I do acknowledge that I've grown up a lot over the years thanks to the many hit and miss things that I learned along the way.

Still, if there was a way that I could have some things turned out differently in the past and present, I would. It might not change myself or what is to happen entirely, but I could at least be more prepared.


Here is a string of advice from myself and friends we wished our younger selves had years ago.

This post isn't entirely about past regrets nor is it supposed to be. We've grown past those moments and moving on. 

I've told this to a good friend, these advice isn't for us really but to those who find themselves in our shoes like where we used to be but didn't have someone to chip in advice they didn't know they needed.

I hope you like today's post. I'd like to thank all the contributors of this post for sharing your precious advice. I learned so much while curating this post. I hope I can do similar post projects like this soon!

What about you? What advice you wish you had or would like to let someone else know?

5 Games that Coloured My Childhood

25 March 2021

Taking a nostalgic walk down memory lane

Ever since I can remember, there wasn't a day that passed by that I wasn't elbow-deep in a game I played from the day before or I had spontaneously made up at that moment. TV was a great source for fun too but cartoon showtime was limited and so like it or not, I'm sure many of us kids back then had to take the matter into our own hands on what to do with ourselves. 

A very large chunk of my childhood was mostly in the UK although I can still recall the many other games I had while I was living in the quiet neighbourhood of Gombak, Selangor. I list down some of the games that had a big impression on me till today and ones that I vividly remember myself playing for hours with my siblings, friends and next door neighbours' kids.

1. Time Travelling Balcony

When we used to live in our cosy apartment, we had a balcony that was linked to our main living room area and separated by a glass sliding door. When my parents were busy working, we'd play that we were zapping through time in our time-travelling machine in the balcony. Each time the door slide shut, we'd pick a time in the past to travel to. Once we stepped outside again, the living room would became a mad bustling Egyptian market, a swamp with camouflaging blood-hungry dinosaurs or even a present day country.

2. Carboot Sale

On Saturdays and some Sundays where we lived in the UK, there would be "carboot sales" where regular people would gather in a large empty field to set up booths or just open up their car bonnets to sell off items they don't need from home anymore. I don't think we missed those special days to buy things that were mostly still very brand new and at a good bargain. We used to buy tons of books for just 10-20p each, they were so cheap! There were toys, kids clothes, furniture, etc.

As kids, we had a carboot sale game at home too! "Selling" our unwanted stuff between us siblings was fun. We mostly resorted to bartering or swapping our things instead of using our weekly pocket money. That's a very important currency to buy what we wanted on the actual carboot sale day. We still played this game years later after we returned to Malaysia although now that we're adults, we just swap our stuff and that's fine with us.

3. "Driving" in Our Backyard

Our little house in the UK had a tiny backyard. My sisters and I would take out our secondhand tricycles and bikes, books, toys and even sometimes set up our house tent when we were in the mood to play for hours outside. My favourite game was to pretend our bikes and tricycles were real cars and the uneven concrete ground was the road for us to "drive" on. One of us would be chosen to be the highway patrol police and take care of the traffic that went on in our backyard.

Couldn't find a photo of us chilling around. So here's something else!
We'd set up a small school in one corner of our backyard, a shop in another whilst a slightly bigger chunk of space near the red brick walls was our makeshift house.

4. Hand Puppet Shows and Singing Concerts

My parents, especially my mum take a special pride in our puppet shows and mini performance concerts at home. The latter was actually an activity our school did at least twice or thrice a year, and it only makes sense that we made it into a game at home too. 

My mum videotaped our shows with our old camcorder (this was way before smartphones existed and Nokia phones were kings), especially when we had friends staying for sleepovers. We would start off with singing performances by everyone; individual, duets or even a group of us, and then we'd transition to puppet shows with our puppets and soft toys that each had a name we fondly gave them. 

I can't remember where we keep those videos but I'll share some pics that we do have!

5. Outdoor House

In the summer and early autumn, our parents would help bring out our folded playhouse from the store and we'd set it up in our backyard. Usually, we would be outside in the sun all day until we were called inside for lunch and dinner. 

It takes a lot of commitment and imagination to keep the mood to play going, and it's no surprise that sometimes one of us would accidentally dose of inside the playhouse among the cushions and soft toys inside (it was crucial to make the house as homey and real as possible). For snacks, we'd have homemade ice lollies and cheese sticks, or whatever we had from the kitchen.

Now that you've read my childhood games, tell me all about yours! I would love to read about them in the comment section! 

What Happened to Our Hobbies?

11 March 2021

Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay 
Yes, what has happened to my hobbies in the past few years? It’s something I question myself a lot now that I’m living in what it seems to be, a major year for having to be indoors almost 24/7 and making miracles out of my work and online classes from the four walls of my room.

When I think of hobbies, I’d imagine my childhood when I felt like I had all the time in the world after school hours or the holidays, and the weekends. I would think of my 10-year old self sneaking to the living room to catch up on cartoons at 6AM on Saturdays, then getting breakfast and reading books all day. If my siblings were up for it, we’d play imaginary games where we travelled through time and pretended we were sellers and “bartering” our possessions with each other (our pocket money was too precious to actually be used for transaction). 

As I grew a little older, reading, sketching random people’s portraits and the occasional blogging gradually became my go-to pastime. It could last for hours or maybe just a couple of minutes in a day. But whatever they really were for me, I always felt recharged and fulfilled afterwards. That was my safe space to be my complete self.

Feeling Guilty About Dropping Old Hobbies

Image by Juraj Varga from Pixabay 
To be honest, who doesn’t miss the hobbies we enjoyed back then? I do. I still feel the occasional guilt of not pursuing them further. Perhaps, my amateur sketches could have been harnessed to another level or I could have considered another area in arts instead. However, there was a time and place for them and I’ve now grown out of most of them (save for reading). 

In replacement to the ones I left behind as fond memories, I’ve discovered new ones to do in my spare time. 

💻 Playing Online Games

I rediscovered my interest in gaming now that I have a decent laptop to play on, which also lets me meet new friends. I’m currently playing Black Desert Online (BDO) almost exclusively although I may branch out to other games some time soon. I’ve tried Genshin Impact on my phone and I’m really looking forward to getting back into the game this weekend! I found out that I’m not a fan of horror games although I still have a blast watching streamers or my friends play.

💄Testing Makeup Looks

When it comes to something related directly to myself, I really love trying out new makeup looks. I’m a hardcore fan of eyeshadows in particular because different eye looks can change your entire appearance or even better, bring out the best of your face. My current challenge is to find looks that go with spectacles simply because I wear one all the time. I focus on eye looks because the rims of the glasses sometimes hide “the art” beneath and not me (nor anybody else) can appreciate it.  

✍️Writing Story Prompts and Poetry

I used to write many stories and even the occasional comics rather obsessively when I was a kid. It was about creating my own world with characters I like and don’t like, and writing out how their beginnings and endings were to be. I left that little hobby for many years until I wrote two novels of my own at 15 or 16 and I’m slowly testing the waters at writing contemporary fiction. I’m not a great writer but it’s a personal project I love to do and share with others. Who knows, I might share some of my writings here too!

And poetry? Frankly speaking, I used to not like it. I didn’t have the faintest idea how people can relate to poetry and speak poetry because it has so many underlying connotations you would have to intellectually unearth. However, when I grew older and my love for reading developed with me, I realised if my spoken words can’t articulate how I feel about the things going around me, then poetry could do just that. Poetry is beautiful.

🧕 Blogging

I’ve been blogging since 2013 or perhaps even earlier than that starting with Myspace and then Blogger when the hype for this platform was over the roof. I remember that I used to blog about my visits to the dentist and getting my braces fixed, how my school week went, my pets (9 fish in an aquarium, 2 betta fish in individuals bowls, 2 birds, 2 hamsters), some peek of my sketches and paintings, vacations trips, my experience being sick in the middle of a school week (could hog the sofa and watch TV all day despite feeling drowsy from the meds), and so much more. 

The only difference about this hobby from back then and now is that I include better informational content when I can and I can take on product reviews. Honestly, the 15-year old me would have never imagined a small hobby like this could be so versatile.

And what about you? What are your thoughts on your hobbies?

If you like, you can visit and read this brief article When Did We Lose Interest In Hobbies if you've had thoughts about if our hobbies should generate us income or source of livelihood (when you don't want them to).

Thank you so much for reading! I look forward to reading your thoughts!

5 Things You Need To Know This Week #2

17 February 2021

Get the know-how on the 5 latest issues about language and communication from Malaysia and around the globe in this week's edition! I'll be curating five share-worthy materials that piqued my interest and sharing my thoughts about them.

Happy reading!

1. Saving Kristang from the threat of extinction - FMT

Men in traditional Portuguese dance costumes, particularly waistcoats and Sombreros, whereas women in puffy long skirts called Saia (Wikipedia pic)
From a linguistic lens, I sometimes forget just how colourful Malaysia really is. Today alone, we have 136 languages being spoken in this country.

Yet, it's saddening to see that many of our minority languages today, including Kristang are at the brink of extinction. Creole (mix of languages) Kristang is a unique language in Malaysia, comprising of words from Malay, Dutch, English and Hokkien words, and has been spoken by a small ethnic group of mixed Portuguese and Malaccan descent for the past 500 years.

Dominant languages such as English and Malay are quickly replacing the language spoken by the Kristang community. Robust efforts are underway to preserve the creole Kristang.

What are the consequence of losing a language to the community?
  • The loss of cultural identity, tradition and customs
  • Knowledge loss of the language's influence in our history
  • We can't find specific unique traits of languages like Kristang in another language, or it is very hard to "give the same meaning" as it found in the original language

2. How the emoji could help democratise online science dialogue - The Conversation

Image by Markus Winkler from Pixabay 
Fun fact: We have a whooping 3,521 emojis existing and in use today. And still growing.

As adorable and convenient as they may be for our daily texting purposes, emojis are playing an even bigger role during the Covid pandemic.

Conveying scientific and often heavily technical information about the virus to the public is not an easy task. With emojis, public healthcare communicators can transform complex messages to one that is more reader/layman friendly, and carries some level of emotional tone that adds more meaning to the texts. 

Take the "Stay at Home" emoji launched by Twitter last year. It was activated exclusively on the social media platform to help encourage people globally affected by Covid to stay at home. If you remember, our Malaysian version was #DudukRumah as well as other related hashtags #KitaJagaKita.

3. Malaysians bid ntv7 farewell with nostalgic tributes as ‘the feel good channel’ ceases transmission - Malay Mail

Image by Wikipedia

Way back before we had Astro installed at home, my family relied on the normal free TV channels that were on transmission at the time. 

The "Feel Good" ntv7 channel in particular had a special spot in my heart, mostly because they had aired good English movies and this was also where I was introduced to my first anime shows. On 16th February 2021, the channel showed its final transmission before shutting down.

4. Year of the Ox: the role of the Chinese zodiac symbol in language - South China Morning Post

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Since this is the year of the ox, here's an interesting article about the role of the ox in different languages. From Old English, Semitic abjads (Arabic, Hebrew, Phoenician, etc.), Ancient Greek, to the languages in the Australasia region. 

5. Can language slow down time? - BBC Culture

Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay
The idea that language can affect how we think and how we see the world is a bit of a speculation for many linguists. The possibility (or lack thereof) is there although much research is still needed. However, it IS true that different languages understand and conceptualise time differently. 
Taking examples from Boroditsky in another article, English speakers dominantly use "horizontal spatial metaphors" to talk about time. 
  • The best is ahead of us 
  • The worst is behind us
However, languages such as Mandarin mostly have a vertical outlook when it comes to representing time. For example:
  • The next month is "down month"
  • The last month is "up month"
The idea of languages understanding time differently prompted a recent economics research that found languages which distinctively mark the future such as (English, French, etc.) care less with regard to the future, specifically in climate change and saving up than languages with "weak future-time reference" such as Mandarin, Finnish and German.

In English, we mark our language with future-tense markings like "I will go to bed earlier tonight" or "I will have a meeting this later this afternoon". However, in Mandarin, most speakers use present-tense forms to speak about the future, for example, "I go to bed earlier tonight" and "I have a meeting this afternoon." According to the study, languages that mark the future affect the speakers' decision-making preferences with time, specifically lowering their interests to address future environmental issues.

💬Thank you for reading this week's updates! Contact me if you'd like to share topics for my next post!

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14 February 2021

5 Things You Need To Know This Week #1

9 February 2021