Sample IELTS Academic Essays - Writing Component

Sep 1, 2014 in , , 0 thoughts

Hey all. Here are two of my IELTS essays for the writing component of the academic version of the test, as promised. There is one sample for Part 1, and one for Part 2. They were graded 8.5 out of 9.0 by a person who doesn't give 9.0. No mistakes that are apparent.

Just sharing as some of my friends have been asking for samples, and I hope they help! You can download these essays as PDFs HERE (the preview below shows one of them).

For the writing component, just be straightforward, and remember the word count. Have good structure, and logical points. They don't have to be brilliant, but they must make sense. Proper grammar is a must, of course, and make sure you answer the question (not what you wish they had asked).

One More Month

Aug 28, 2014 in , , 0 thoughts

It's been three weeks since my last post, and one month before I fly off.

Yes, I met my offer - praise God. I'm pleased as a whole with my results - parts rather surprised me. Perhaps the story of how I checked my results will interest you more, however. It all started one sunny morning... Okay, scratch that. It was a sunny day, but that beginning is too cliche. Long story short, I freaked out at 9AM because I checked the paper with the password and link (or rather, a picture of it), and somehow came to the conclusion that results were already released. They were not.

At 1PM, I sat not so calmly at a lunch place with my parents and grandparents. We were told results were supposed to be out at 2PM, but I was told they may be out at 1PM. I decided not to check yet since we were having lunch. Then I decided to give it a shot at about 1:05PM. Guess what was already up? Yup, results. A friend of mine checked at 1:01PM though - how accurate. I remember not being able to check mine last year because "l" and "1" (one) looked too similar in the username... Oh dear. I don't think my grandparents knew how to react - it was a good thing there weren't too many people in the restaurant then.

My mom and I have been shopping since then (and before - oops). The other day, we bought a mini rice cooker! It's pink and it's adorable, hehe. The guy there thought they ran out of pink so I was going to wait, but he called a short while later to say he found one somewhere... Later found out that a friend of mine bought the exact same one, heh. Great minds think alike.

Early last week, I met some friends, including a senior who helped me get through A2 and very patiently helped me with various questions when I thought my brain would combust.

Last week, KDU also had the farewell party/award ceremony for my batch. It was nice seeing my coursemates and lecturers again. :)

Some of my friends <3

History class, missing two again. We're all starting uni these two months! 3 of us are doing Law.
I saw all of my lecturers except Mr Thiru because he wasn't there, haha. One of my lecturers told me to have fun. <3 Bumped into some of my juniors before the event, including someone who is taking my exact subject combination. All I can say is to do your best, pray hard, and enjoy your time in KDU. It's an interesting, lovely place to be. Also, I'll be posting some study help stuff, including sample IELTS essays these few weeks as I go through my hard drives as some of my friends and juniors have been asking for the material.

Since this will probably be my last post about KDU as my college, I wanted to say thank you to Mr Kow and the wonderful people in the maintenance department. They really helped with making the facilities accessible for me and future students who are wheelchair-users. I also loved the tables they made specially for me. :)

Now all that's left is to pick up my A-Level certificate, and that will be that.

It's hard to forget that I'll be leaving in a month, what with visa applications and daily emails with forms to fill. I feel happy that I do have a month though - a friend of mine flew off yesterday after deciding a week earlier to go; another only has two weeks left. With the time I have left, I've been squeezing my baby Hazel daily (I'm writing a Hazel Guide now... my lovely aunt will be taking her in), and took her for a walk this morning, though she will probably insist that she took me out for a walk. Then there are the friends to catch up with, and the food to eat...

There are lots of other exciting things too. I got involved in CollegeLAH before it launched, and it's a website for students by students on things like university and scholarship applications, which I wish had been around when I was going through the process. Well, that's why we're doing it now. Because of this, we went for an interview and after that, happily took pictures. Our moms complained we were weird. Ah well.

The second girl from the left is now my CUMaS sister, haha. Her name is Kai Song, and we've known each other for quite a while, so this will be fun. :) I was assigned to a family of engineers, hmm.

I've been looking at lists of societies, and have yet to find the Food Tasting Society, HMM. It was in the prospectus... Perhaps it's on a different part of the website. I found out that we're given pigeonholes, not letterboxes, and that we're given anti-virus for our computers.

UCAS has been sending me all sorts of oddities, including SIM cards. It's a normal thing, but can be rather bewildering trying to decide which mobile carrier to sign up for when you don't know what is what. I think I know which one I'm going to use though.

Sometime last week, I went to get a vaccination from our family doctor. Before that, however, I got a pretty pink balloon. My doctor laughed at my balloon and asked why I needed to bring it that day. Oh dear. There was nothing wrong with my balloon! I took it for Hazel (says the girl who happily twirled it around the whole afternoon in childish bliss). The only problem is that Hazel didn't like it... I think she was pleased when it popped. I, however, was not.

Well, that's it from me for now. I'll update again soon.

New Pretty Pictures

Aug 3, 2014 in , 0 thoughts

It's the weekend again! This week has just been relaxing with my family and my uncle and aunt, who are with us until next week. We've been doing lots of eating, of course. When we meet, we can't just sit around and talk. Eating is a must. This week, they also got me a new camera as a present from them, which makes me a very happy girl. I've been looking for one for quite a while, haha. We eventually settled on the Sony Alpha 5000, which suits our needs. It's easy to hold, which my mom likes (she's the chief photographer in the family), and the picture quality is good, which I like. It's really wonderful, and I've been having lots of fun figuring out how to take the best photos. So, thank you to my lovely aunt and uncle. :) They've been very supportive of me since I was little! They're absolutely awesome people.

My uncle helped me set it up. In our family, my uncle is the hardware guy, and I'm the software person. Don't we work well together? We were excited to play with it, then realized it had to be charged for 310 minutes first, HAHA. That was delayed until teatime then... Took lots of random shots (some of Hazel too, of course), and tweaked around with the settings, which was fun. We're going to have more fun taking pretty pictures, hehe.

We took it out for its first outing yesterday, which was the CUMaS outreach in Sunway University. I was a volunteer this year, which felt slightly odd and yet nice, since I was an audience member a year ago... Now I'm on the other side. While I was there, I met an old Niexter friend of mine, Kai Song, and a few of the other freshers. It was awesome getting to meet them!

From left to right: Andrew, Jia Min, Kenny, me, Kai Song, and Allysha, who is also doing law

I also saw Livia again! She's my senior who really helped me with my application. It was rather interesting, because that was the exact same place we met last year...

With Ms Chee, the awesome KDU A Level program leader. I just realized we were blue, which is KDU's color, HAHA. What nice coordination.

It was funny sometimes because there were lots of familiar faces, and the thing was that I've seen a lot of them around on facebook, but never actually met them! Most of them are my seniors, and I really hope I get to see more of them in the future.

Well, that's it from me for now. I shall update again soon.

Quick Post

Jul 30, 2014 in , 0 thoughts

My aunt and uncle are here from Bangkok, so we've been busy with them. They came over last Friday, and they're staying for a while, so we get to take them to all the yummy places around town (and outside). It's been fun so far! My uncle has a rather long list of food he misses... Which, very happily for me, coincides with the list of food I'm quite sure I will miss in a few months. I still remember the food I missed when I was in the U.S., hmm. I had a very sleepy food spree the moment I touched down back home. That will probably happen again in the not-too-distant future.

My grandparents also happened to be in town, so we met them too over the weekend, along with some other relatives. Both sides got along quite well!

On a related note, I also finally downloaded Viber (redownloaded, rather), and got my cousin in Australia to download it too, haha. I was her first call. :p We made a deal involving plane tickets, hoodies, and waffles.

Between spending time with my lovely family and reading (did I mention that the university sent me a rather long reading list during my exams a few months ago?), I've also been working on my shop. It isn't where I would like it to be yet, but I'm trying my best on it. If you would like to, you can visit it here. I made a new mega chevron paper pack today too! There are six different chevron patterns in four colors each, making for a total of 24 fun different designs! They're only $4 for the whole pack. :)

United States History Timeline

Jul 20, 2014 in , , , , , , 0 thoughts

At the end of last year (right after AS, hence the very long exam season), I took two SAT Subject Tests: U.S. History, and Literature. I chose Literature for obvious reasons, and U.S. History because I thought it would be interesting, and it was a subject I could study on my own. That particular adventure led to my expedition to Kinokuniya one early morning, and on another occasion, excited squeals when I saw the only copy of a SAT U.S. History book sitting there, waiting for me to bring it home to devour (no, not that violently - my books remained in good condition).

Anyway, I made some notes while studying, namely in the form of a timeline, and I wanted to share it with you. I didn't have much time to study, so I focused on being as concise as possible. Here's a preview of the first page:

That's the first page of my American history timeline out of eight. You may download it by clicking the above image, or by clicking here (it's a PDF file on Google Drive).

As you can see, I condensed some four hundred years of history into 8 pages, and it really helped me study. This timeline starts from 1400, and ends in 2008 with the election of Barack Obama. I didn't place too much focus on the pre-1700 exploration years because that would have made it rather long, and may have become confusing. Speaking objectively in terms of the SAT test itself, even though they may ask specific questions on exploration (such as which explorers came from which countries, etc), there won't be too many of such questions.

Since time was not on my side, what I did was follow a useful tip from one of the guidebooks, which is, in my own words, to study not so much the individual events (though I did memorize many of those, which are included here), but chunks of history. For example, I included the general eras, such as the years of the Abolitionist Movement, and it is quite easy, once one knows the characteristics of this period, to tell what events are likely to have happened during those years.

Since I'm posting the timeline, I should probably share a couple of tips on studying for the SAT U.S. History specifically at the same time. These are from various books and guides, along with some of my own. Here they are:

  • There's no need to memorize specific dates, as you probably won't be asked "on which date was the Battle of Bunker Hill fought?"; that being said, however, you may need to know the order of certain events, particularly battles. For example: Lexington and Concord --> Bunker Hill --> Saratoga --> Monmouth --> Charleston. They could just ask you to order three of them, or perhaps five, but they shouldn't ask when one occurred specifically (from my experience, anyway).
  • If you're short on study time, focus more on associations than specific facts. For example, if you know a certain president was very much concerned with social reforms or advocated a particular movement, you don't have to memorize his specific policies to remember them.
  • Use the weird, quirky things! There are some facts of U.S. history that I remember learning many years ago, simply because they were weird and interesting. The 1930s saw the Great Depression after the post-WWI boom, and it was during this time that people complained about Hoovervilles. What were they? Hoovervilles were shanty towns that were characteristic of this economic downturn - people called them that because they blamed then-President Herbert Hoover for their suffering. So, by remembering "Hoovervilles," you already know who was president when the Depression took place, and how the people felt about him, thus implying that he wasn't doing a very good job (in their opinion, anyway). This relates back to what I said about focusing on associations.
  • Again with the weird things. If you find something easy to remember, just keep it in your brain. One practice question I did asked who the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean was, and I happened to remember that, for some reason (answer: Amelia Earhart). College Board does tend to ask some seemingly random questions like that. That said, don't sweat the small stuff. Better to focus on what you can remember and is important than freak out over what you can't get into your head, and may not come out anyway.
  • Google "APUSH." Besides being easy to remember (ah-push... ay-push? hmm), it stands for AP (Advanced Placement) U.S. History. The AP is different from the SAT in terms of testing style, so don't bother with test-specific stuff, but you may be able to find useful history facts and flashcards.

Having said all that about test prep, I also have to mention that the subject itself is an interesting one, and well worth studying. It's easy to get stressed out when trying to remember every other relevant fact of an entire nation's history, but American history is actually exciting, if you can look past just the SAT scores. It was the American Revolution of the late 18th century that partially inspired the French Revolution of 1789, and it is things like the Monroe Doctrine of 1823 that shaped the American attitude towards other countries. I got rather excited when I got to write two lit essays this year that related to American history, and had very nerdy fun with it... heh.

So, if you are currently preparing for the SAT Subject Test: United States History, or if you just plain want to have a quick overview of American history, you can download my timeline here. I hope it helps! :)

A Relaxing Week

Jul 18, 2014 in , , 0 thoughts

Hello again. Last weekend was pretty fun - on Saturday, we had a yummy fish lunch with an old family friend, and my uncle and aunt dropped by for a little durian fest. Then on Saturday, my parents and I headed to Fraser's Hill! We'd be planning to go for quite a while, and finally managed to take a nice slow drive there, haha. We stopped by at a town on the way there for breakfast...

We arrived in Fraser's before noon, and since it was too early for lunch, we took some pictures...

The flowers are my favorite, haha. Spot the bees? My mom got the perfect shots!

This was my lunch. Supposed to be western, but it tasted more like curry to me... Still nice, even though it wasn't quite what I was expecting.

My dad took this one. I really like how the sunshine came through the leaves on top!

This last picture was taken after lunch, before we came back down the hill. It was a really nice drive up - the road was winding up the hill, and the weather was really nice and cool. :) A relaxing daytrip all around, haha.

Yesterday, a couple of my course mates and I decided to meet up for lunch, which was fun. We sat there and talked about random stuff for a few hours, including rice cookers and durian, hm. I headed to KDU after that to meet up with a lovely senior who shared her pearls of wisdom with me when I was still trying to find my way around the course. I hadn't seen her in quite a while, so it was awesome catching up, and it was nice talking to someone who got really excited about History too. We were nerdy and took pictures with our favorite books from the library. Years and months later, we can still pick them out, HAHA. Even though we were from different intakes and never had classes together, there are some memories we both share with that particular subject... While I was there, I bumped into people from this year's intake too, so in the end, I managed to meet four intakes of KDUians in one day!


Jul 9, 2014 in , , , , 0 thoughts

My cousins from Hong Kong, Nicole and Nicholas, came by last week for our annual sleepover. They stayed over for three days this time around, and we watched lots of movies, including How To Train Your Dragon 2 in the cinema! Nicole is entering high school once the summer ends, and Nicholas will turn 10 soon... and I'll hopefully be flying off too, so it was nice to see them again. We had fun, haha.

Nicholas also drew this for me, and I thought it was really sweet. :)

He drew Hazel too! Hehe. We had ribs for dinner one night, and it was yummy. I don't usually eat them, but my dad likes them, so we decided to try too. I was pleasantly surprised, haha. They were really soft and juicy.

On another note, I've been reading a lot, and working on my shop, Openquote Designs, too (I finally just ran its first ad campaign). I am currently on books #6 and #7. One of the books I read was actually a trilogy though, so perhaps that should be #9 and #10 instead. I'm quite happy with my progress so far, but I have a very tall stack to go through! It kind of reminds me of Alaska's life library... I don't need to finish all of them now, but I know I'll get to them eventually. There are some that I need to finish before the summer ends though. The next book I'm going to read just arrived in the KDU library, and I will very happily be the first person to read it!

An Amazing Series of Events

Jun 30, 2014 in , , , , , , , 0 thoughts

The last post I made was about three months ago in March, and I must say it feels a mixture of nice and strange to be back in this blogging space again. I've really missed my blog! A lot of things have happened this year, and it feels wonderful to finally have the time to jot them down here. I tried to update my journal, but somehow it feels different from my blog. This still feels very much like my online home, even though I've been using facebook more nowadays. I'm going to try to work roughly backwards in chronological order, but some jumping around might be required.

I finished my exams on June 11 with Literature In English, which happened to be the very last paper for this A-Level season. Nice, right? I declared my freedom, went home, then went to tiduuuur, as I had been planning for months.

Selfieeee! after my exams. One of my first selfies... hm.

The next day though, I was back in KDU again, bright and early in the morning! Did not have to pass by my exam room though, thankfully. This time was for a ceremony (and I got to go shopping after that)! So, no stress at all, unlike the previous day, which was nice. I had been told about two weeks before that I got two awards for AS (last year's exams): Top in Malaysia for History, and Top in Malaysia for Literature In English. Both are these are really blessings from God.

Hard work does pay off indeed, and God has awesome ways of making sure that happens. It may not happen the same way for everyone, but putting in a lot of effort is definitely rewarding.

When I think about both these subjects, they mean different things to me. Literature is the subject I truly love for A Levels, and it's the one that gets me all excited, from the time I started AS until now, after my whole course. Starting wasn't very easy - it was very gloomy, actually, since we started with Hardy (The Darkling Thrush is as spectre-gray as it sounds) while it was thundering outside - but I enjoyed every second of it. I cracked my head when my lecturer, Ms Hema, told me to think! think! and felt like combusting several times. But it was worth it when my essays finally started to get better; when I got the hang of it, and discovered that even though we initially thought that being so technical would kill our love for literature, it was because I now knew all this that I was able to appreciate what I was reading so much more. The first time I read through the texts, they were just texts. Some, especially A Streetcar Named Desire, blew me away and left me blinking at the wall when I finished it (Ms Hema laughed when I told her my reaction some months later...), but studying them (as scholars, she says) lent me a brand-new perspective that made me fall in love. Some texts were not exactly my favorite, but it was interesting studying them all the same. The same thing happened for A2. In all honesty, I found the texts a little dry when I first read them on my own. But when we started discussing them in class, I got more and more excited. We did Sense and Sensibility, along with As You Like It. There are a lot of interesting things to discuss in both, and along the way, I fell in love with a character or two. We also did Paper 7, in which we don't know the texts we are tested on. Quite interesting, because we were so used to knowing everything about the texts. It was also freeing, however, getting to explore what was given, and having the freedom to hypothesize and argue as I wished (*cough* as long as it was backed by the text). I read interesting bits of literature through this too, and got myself all excited while writing some essays (yes, I'm that nerdy - homework got me excited). After my last paper, my classmate and I went to see Ms Hema. She gave us books to make sure we didn't stop reading (dear Ms Hema: I finished the book two days later and I thoroughly enjoyed it - thank you!). She's really such a lovely lecturer, and I know I couldn't have done it without her. So, just over a year after my first class, I finished my A-Level study of a subject that excited me on all accounts. It is a subject that changed me as a person: for the foreseeable future, I will get excited about alliterations and anastrophes; metaphors and similes; epigrams and aphorisms (these two in particular caused me great grief). But it's also more than that, because through learning this subject, my way of thinking, and perhaps my style of writing have changed. Ms Hema warned at the start that we would see the world differently, and she was certainly right.

History, on the other hand, was a completely different monster altogether. I started it one term late, spent 3 hours sorting through my friend's notes that first afternoon (after driving rather far away to pick them up; on another note, my friend is awesome), one weekend reading an A2 section instead of AS (it seemed like a mistake a few days after, but I didn't regret it later on), and the rest of my waking hours catching up. But it was more than worth it, and I got out the same effort that I put in. I fell in love with the French Revolution, and let its ideals fill me while I studied it. I cracked my head (along with the internet) for the Industrial Revolution, and learned about the Agricultural Revolution too. I met a senior, Livia, at a CUMaS event, and was very excited to meet her because I was struggling so much at that point. She's really inspiring, and made me dare to believe that I could actually do well for that subject. It turns out that my struggle was just part of the journey. History wasn't fun, and it was hard, but it was so worthwhile. Even though Literature gets me excited, History is the subject that I have, well, a history with. To me, it wasn't just a subject, but an experience, and something I had to do. I may not remember the population numbers of Britain in 1801, 1851, and 1901, but I will never forget what the experience taught me, which was that to start at a disadvantage does not mean that you cannot do well. It means working harder, but it is still very much possible. This year, we studied the Cold War, which was very different from AS because it is a recent occurrence, mentioned jam donuts, and Missouri mule truck drivers. Even though I survived AS though, A2 History was still quite hard. But for all the struggles, we still got together during the last class, and had fun with our lecturer. Mr Thiru is over 70, but he is incredibly sharp, and he let me into his class from the start ("new student, there's no way you can't catch up!").

Last History class with the unforgettable Mr Thiru. Can you feel the classroom love? A few classmates are missing though.
The other subject I took was Economics. For this subject, I had an absolutely wonderful lecturer, Ms Elsie, who, even though she had a comparatively large class, still took the time to know all of her students. Because of her, I never had any doubts regarding the subject itself. Whilst History and Literature made me want to tear out my hair and question all I had learned at times, that never happened with Econs, and it's due largely to her teaching. She always had the right answers to our questions (and I don't mean just telling us that the answer to #18 is B), and also foresaw our questions (and a number we didn't think about...). She also let us into her home for Chinese New Year, and a nice number of us happily trooped in, haha. Apparently we were the first in a good number of years to take her up on her offer. We got to see her very large collection of teapots and magnets, hehe. One set of magnets were of various dim sum dishes... That was my favorite, heh. She has a beautiful heart, and a beautiful home too.

After our last Economics class, with the lovely Ms Elsie on the first from the right. These are some of the awesome people that helped me keep my sanity, and they're all wonderful people! :) I hope we meet again.

It's strange now to think that I probably won't have good reason to go into a KDU classroom again - not for classes, at least. I've made a lot of wonderful friends too (not just ones contrived by eighteenth century authors) who have helped me along the way, and taught me a lot of things (and took selfies with me). I made friends not just with my course mates, but seniors who gave me good advice, and my juniors as well. Our very last day of official classes saw us being very loud in the halls... I'm going to miss them too, and I really hope that our paths cross again one day.

Going back to the days before exams ended, however, they were hard. A2 has in general been harder than AS was, especially due to the very simple fact that we had so much less time. We were told that we have six months, but in reality, it added up to only about three, and with this limited time, we had a lot of ground to cover that was deeper than AS. Already having a foundation helped, but only to a certain extent. I thought I was quite literally going to lose my mind several times, and wasn't very mentally stable. But I survived, and I suppose that is what is important. The exams were tough, but some papers were okay. Now I have to wait for results. They will be released in mid-August, and now that I have done the practical work already, I have to pray very hard. I have to meet my offer, after all.

This leads me to another wonderful thing that happened this year: I got an offer to read Law from the University of Cambridge. This is the "absolutely miraculous news" I mentioned earlier this year. It still feels amazing, and I know that God is the only reason this happened. I worked hard and got a lot of help, of course, but it still wouldn't have been possible without Him. A year before I got my offer, I had already started my A-Level course, but definitely wouldn't have foreseen this. My choice of subjects, which turned out to be the ideal combination for Law, was not even my own, but God's planning and intervention. I didn't voluntarily choose History, and had I continued with my original plan, perhaps I wouldn't have come to this point. Then there was my application itself. The personal statement was what I considered the most important part, and I had a lot of help with it (you don't even want to know the number of drafts I went through with a sledgehammer). I still remember taking a day in the middle of trials to work on it. I stared at a blank page for the whole morning before my parents took me out to look at something other than a big white space. Eventually though, it turned out to be alright. The day I got my offer, I was actually feeling physically horrible. I had an 8AM class, and couldn't breathe properly. It was History, and I crashed my way out of the class during the middle of it. I went home to rest, and switched on my computer to do homework. Before that though, I checked my email, and there it was, the decision email. I stared at it, and called my mom. My finger hovered over the email - keep in mind that I was feeling horrible then - and finally, after months of wondering, I saw the decision. That moment was just plain exhilarating. I couldn't believe it at first, but no matter what device I used to read the email, it was the same. I still think it's a miracle that only God could have done.

This particular event also led to another miraculous occurrence. I was invited for a scholarship interview by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), and of course, went for it. We had lunch with some of the panel, following which the interview itself took place. Mine was a little long, and after that, I decided to just leave it to God. But of course, I couldn't let it go, and kept wondering and thinking and worrying if I could get it. Interestingly enough, however, I got the call the day after I finally let go. I remember that it was the day I got back two Literature essays with marks I was quite happy with (perfect marks). While waiting for my transport, I got the call. I screamed (after the call ended, not during) and rushed back upstairs to look for my Head of School, who, alas, had just gone out. A few minutes later, I got another call that made the news more exciting - it wasn't just the undergraduate scholarship I had hoped for, but the Kijang Emas scholarship. About a week later during a ceremony, our Governor, Tan Sri Zeti, officially awarded me with the scholarship.

Picture credit to Justin Lim, my fellow scholarship recipient

It was really inspiring and truly an honor to meet her. Throughout the ceremony, I kept thinking how amazing it was to be there. I had to give a speech on behalf of my fellow scholarship recipients, which was a good experience.

When I look back at the past one and a half years since I first started the A-Level course, it feels amazing to know that I have come this far. My parents have been supporting me since Day One, and my friends have been so awesome too. It has been wonderful getting to know them all, and my lecturers too, who went the extra step. KDU as a whole has been so supportive, and I would never pick a different college. When I started, KDU wasn't perfect and still isn't - what is important though, is that it is constantly trying to improve, and that it is filled with amazing people. My Head of School, Ms Sathya, is one in particular. She is an Iron Lady. She pushed me to do my best while supporting me, and she also championed a lot of facilities for me. I seriously love her for who she is. It's not just my own lecturers who helped me either, but so many others who did not teach me and even the staff, and I know one in particular who always prayed for me. They have my sincerest appreciation and love.

Above all though, God has been guiding me through it. I know that on my own, there is absolutely no way that I could have done it, and it's just amazing to look back and see how God has been in control all along the way. Things may not have made sense then, but they sure do in hindsight.

Now I have about three months before I'm supposed to start my course, and I'm just trying my best to make full use of my time. After my exams, I went to Penang to visit my grandparents and my cousins, which was nice. I did some shopping with my mom with grandma (at this point my mom questions: some?!?!). Got more clothes than I ever got at one go... Oops. Also ate a lot of durian, hehe. Took a detour over the weekend further north to visit old family friends. The result was more food and durian. Last week, the Bank had a pre-departure program, and it was fun getting to know the other scholars, who are all brilliant in their own right, as well as the returned scholars, who helped answer our "burning questions." As a whole, it was a good experience, and I feel very privileged to get to be a part of this now.

Well, that brings me to the end of a rather long post, if I do say so myself. It does not cover everything that has happened this year, because that would be quite impossible, but the main events are here, at least. I shall try my best to post more often about how I'm keeping myself occupied during these summer holidays. So far, it's been busy, busy, busy (diacope!) since the moment my exams finished, which is rather nice because it means I haven't gotten bored yet. I haven't been so busy, however, as to not have the time to read! I've read a few books so far, including a trilogy, and will probably finish Wuthering Heights tonight. I'm building up a nice stack of books that are to-be-read in my room, and I'm really excited to devour them one by one. How that will go, I will also try to let you know. Until my next post, then, and I hope that won't be too long from now!

World Poetry Day 2014

Mar 21, 2014 in 0 thoughts

Hello all, and Happy World Poetry Day! I'm sorry I haven't been updating my blog lately, but exams are approaching, and my files/folders have been growing taller and larger... I'll get back to frequent updates once exams are over!

Poetry is a really nice way to express oneself. Unlike prose, it's much shorter, meaning that one has to be very economical with words. Some poets still tend to write long pieces, but others opt to make their works shorter. Poetry is something I have loved for a while, and studying it for A Levels has made be love it even more. I wanted to share something I wrote for this day, but unfortunately didn't have time to finish it (though you can read a poem called I Lit A Fire In You that I wrote last year). In lieu of that, here's a rather interesting poem that made me rather excited because of its unique structure.

First Love: A Quiz
by A. E. Stallings

He came up to me:
a. in his souped-up Camaro
b. to talk to my skinny best friend
c. and bumped my glass of wine so I wore the
ferrous stain on my sleeve
d. from the ground, in a lead chariot drawn by
a team of stallions black as crude oil and
breathing sulfur: at his heart, he sported a
tiny golden arrow.

He offered me:
a. a ride
b. dinner and a movie, with a wink at the
c. an excuse not to go back alone to the
apartment with its sink of dirty knives
d. a narcissus with a hundred dazzling petals
that breathed a sweetness as cloying as

I went with him because:
a. even his friends told me to beware
b. I had nothing to lose except my virginity
c. he placed his hand in the small of my back
and I felt the tread of honeybees
d. he was my uncle, the one who lived in the
half-finished basement, and he took me by
the hair

The place he took me to:
a. was dark as my shut eyes
b. and where I ate biter seed and became ripe
c. and from which my mother would never take me
wholly back, though she wept and walked the
earth and made the bearded ears of barley
wither on their stalks and the blasted
flowers drop from their sepals
d. is called by some men hell and others love
e. all of the above

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Jan 31, 2014 in , , 0 thoughts

It is now officially the Year of the Horse! Wishing everyone a very joyful and prosperous year ahead, along with good health.

I've been spending the Chinese New Year with my parents, just having some much-need quiet time for just us (and Hazel, of course). It's quite nice. :)

This whole month has been pretty crazy... I got very sick the first week (an ER visit was involved), but now I'm completely fine, so I'm really thankful for that. Then, in the first week, I received some absolutely miraculous news... I'm not going to say what it is quite yet, but it's amazing, and let's just say that it took a while for it to sink in at first.

My AS results came out last week, and I'm quite happy about how it turned out, haha. It means I can move on to A2 without stressing out about AS anymore! My SAT Subject Tests also came out, finally, and I'm relatively pleased. The wait and the crazy studying was worth it. :)

January 2014 has been a good month as a whole, so here's to the rest of 2014!