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Saturday, May 12, 2012

As The Spirit Holds Back (Part 3): Terminal Three (April 2008 - September 2008)

Terminal Tiga was the novel that I learned and studied in Form Four. It tells the story of a guy who is pursuing his studies in Akademi Seni Kebangsaan (ASK) and his journey from Sabah. The title of the novel was given in parallel with the main character's story about his hardships in his hometown and Kota Kinabalu. He then went back to continue his studies in KL. 

The final days in Labuan ended with great celebrations among the Chinese students there. Those pictures, some of them were in Friendster, sadly. They were all gone into non-existence as the site now becomes a gaming site. That night, we chilled out with ourselves next to the beach, while enjoying the best seafood, before we returned just to find out that the dorm became synonymous with an abandoned building with many junks, books and papers around.

This is one of the last photos I'd taken with the people I know there via my Sony Ericsson W700i. Gosh, I wanted Kah Jing and Jee Tah to be inside the photo but too bad they were elsewhere. I got to know them through studies and games alike. And finally, I left the campus and Labuan, once and for all. Never again will I study a Science Stream course.

Returning to Sabah

The moment I returned back to Tawau was an unfortunate one. It was as if Tawau didn't like my homecoming as its electric supply ran off that night after touchdown. And it wasn't enough, to add more pain, I was suffering from diarrhea, thanks to a tonic drink I had before that.

The three months in Tawau was dull and calm. There was nothing much during these periods, hence, no stress but idleness. Everyone else was studying elsewhere, while I was at home awaiting for results. Sometimes when I was online, I seek friends to accompany my days and nights with.

I rejoined my church's English Youth ministry once again, just to realize that the Youth fellowships I used to attend every Fridays were no longer having the same atmosphere as before, as new faces appeared. I am a visitor once again, as I entered Jonathan Lo's group of 2008. During the 2005 split, Jonathan and Jacqueline were named as interns (members who are bounded to be cell leaders). After that, they are already leaders of their own group - one leading the Sabah Chinese A Level students, while the other leading the Form 6s. That was where I began knowing people like Renee Gan and Ross.

Kuala Lumpur Decision

The results are finally out, and I expected myself not doing well in that Pre-U course.

The only thing I could think of as a second path is English. When I was in Labuan, I remembered finding an English-related course, and Taylor's College responded with a Communication course. Besides of them, UCSI also gave me a brochure for an English degree course. INTI too have an English for International Business course as well. 

The decisions were difficult to be made. I was reminded that I must take an industry-related course in order to secure a job. Therefore, courses like psychology and history should be dropped off my list. Then, HELP Institute's Foundation in Arts came into my list of considerations, but too bad I dislike accounts.

At the same time, I also had another friend who too decided to come to KL for his studies in KDU. We almost traveled there within the same time. We even went to the youth fellowship together as we felt the need of finding the old friends.

And based on all the considerations, after a few weeks of thinking, I went on for the Foundation in Communication course in Taylor's College. However, I did not think further on which industry I should take. I wasn't quite sure what communication is all about, that's why.

July 2008: First Glance

Now, I will be telling you about my fresh self during my first steps on the Peninsular. As a lad from a smaller town, I wouldn't be surprised to find myself in a larger city, as I'd been to places like Kota Kinabalu before.

One of the most worrying thoughts was usually, "How are the people in West Malaysia?" My experiences with some West Malaysian lads during the National Service days weren't a nice one. As what sociologists said, "territorial discrimination" exists around us. Certain local friends who had stepped foot in KL, as well as some elderly individuals did told me to be wary of them, for they are ruder and less-mannered. And this East Malaysian perception of certain "Malayan" people who still assume that we still live on tress also did bother me a lot.

Don't let the above paragraph provoke you, folks, that was me during Day 1 in KL. I am already thinking differently about the people here today. The people here are suffering under a more stressful and materialistic environment, where everyone is participating in a rat race with quicker pace. Massive traffic jams occur every morning as everybody rushes to work, while people with jobs from various corporations and big shot players are pressured to run in their hamster wheels day by day. It is therefore common to listen to foul language, vehicle honks, and conflicts around a larger city. That is what made them who they are in the eyes of the East Malaysians, who are from smaller but more peaceful cities.

At the end, they, too are humans, just like us.

I remembered my group of relatives I met in Australia in 2010, where the East Malaysians' side (us) tend to talk about people and relatives, while the West Malaysians' side enjoy talking about business and politics. Not sure if that really reflects a lot about the two demographics.

In fact, I will be sharing to you on who my first friends were during the Foundation days. Those perceptions no longer matter to me anymore, to a certain extent.

July 25, 2008: FICM 

I actually arrived a week earlier from the orientation in campus which was located in Leisure Commercial Square (LCS). Back then, in case I was late for an 8 o' clock class, I could just spend around 10 minutes to walk to my classroom and listen to the lecture. Today, it's all by bus.

I stayed in the house of one of my relatives here in Shah Alam. It was located in Kota Kemuning, and for the first time, I am seeing a huge, huge taman, where people could easily go sesat if they don't know the place. I had the first taste of KL's shopping malls by visiting the Subang Parade, KLCC, IKEA/ Ikano Power, The Curve, One Utama and Sunway Pyramid. I even remembered how my mum and I got stuck in Pyramid and KLCC.

And by the weekend, I began moving into my new hostel room. It was located in Ridzuan Condominium. The house was huge but messy, and I was living with 3 other students, 2 of them were from the South Australian Matriculation programme. My first roommate in KL was from Sarawak. However, like the way he treated the other two housemates, he was a cold and unfriendly one. Just imagine if you felt that you are being hated by someone else even without you doing something wrong. And there was even once he blamed me for not locking the front door though he was the last person who entered the house. Fortunately, he moved out in September that year for his internship.

Somehow, based on his telephone conversations I'd eavesdropped, his life was a painful one. I almost got pulled into his conflict with his cousin, who was much more friendlier than the roommate himself.

Back to the first days, ever since I moved into that unit, my second chance in college life has just begun.

Orientations and A New Start: 

July 28, 2008, Monday, Orientation Day One. 

I took my first bus to the LCS campus with my one-month-elder-than-me cousin who was studying in the School of Hospitality and Tourism. She's the only one that guided me around during the first days. Before that, in terms of church service arrangements, Victor Lee assisted me in transport, while Juin Ru, my high school senior greeted me during my first Sunday service in Faith Christian Centre.

The 10 minutes ride ended as I reached the LCS campus. I followed the directions to the courtyard, and towards the multi-purpose hall (MPH), all alone. A soldier on my own, I walked towards my future. As I arrived in the MPH, I saw hundreds of strangers, sitting together on the seats there. Some had already began making friends, some were quiet waiting what would happen next. As for me, I took a seat on the side, looking forward for the beginning event.

As the first event began, I then realized that these students around me were not just Communication students, there were also students from Designing and Architecture and Computing.

The first classmate I identified was Aaron Tan, short guy, nice person. Then I slowly got to know people like Jazreen and Shirley, a girl from the School of Architecture and Design. Besides, I knew people like Ishmael, Cecilia, Roey (from China), Gracy, Aznur and Julian from the Diploma in Communication class. And my first seniors were Zhao Wern and Joanne Lie, who would be my teammates in my PR2 assignment 3 years later.

The first lesson of my Foundation class was Introduction To Mass Communication, taught by Mr. Benjamin Loh. After that class, Aaron and I began knowing Serene, Amirul Fikri, Izzuddin, Jian Quin and Cheryl. After our first English class with Ms. Catherine Lee who still teaches me this semester again, we began knowing more classmates like Michelle Lau, Isabelle, and Syazwan.

I still remembered the first outing together. Oh yeah, I also did remembered knowing people like Kai Chin, Jun Qi and the other Cheryl (from KK) at the beginning too.

Story continues @ Part 4

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