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Name: Jayne Lee Mei Ying
Age: 16 years old
Date of Birth: June 29th 1992
Location: Malaysia

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Saturday, August 30, 2008
Seasons In The Sun
10:37 PM

Goodbye to you, my trusted friend.
We've known each other since we were nine or ten,
Together we climbed hills or trees,
Learned of love and ABC's,
skinned our hearts and skinned our knees.

The first time I listened to this song was when I, myself, was nine or ten. My Primary 3 English teacher - Mdm. Tan - had this funny idea that singing English songs, every Tuesday of the week, in morning assembly, would help improve everyone's English (especially since my primary school was predominantly Malay/Indonesian).

I thought it was a boring song, at first - the lyrics made absolutely no sense to my nine-year old child brain - and I only memorized the lyrics because we sang it over and over again that year, and I like singing. But I was more interested in singing Uptown Girl, actually.

Shows how under-exposed I was to music as a kid. And that I had an early taste for boy-band pop. Anyway, I used to think this song was corny, like To Sir With Love (another song we had to sing... which my mother did not approve of at all), and for the past 7 years, the thought of it never once crossed my mind again.

Until now.

Goodbye my friend, it's hard to die,
when all the birds are singing in the sky,
Now that the spring is in the air,
Pretty girls are everywhere,
When you see them I'll be there.

I'm not sure when, but, last week or so, I was standing in the shower, thinking about what I should blog about next, and suddenly, I remembered this song for absolutely no reason. But then I realized... it completely fits.

Everything that's going on in my life, right now, it's all associated to change, to moving on, to leaving behind the past and seeking the future. That's a bit cliche, but it's true. Soon, I'll be so far away from everything I've ever known, from the country I grew up in, from all of my friends (I'm going to miss you guys, so much!), from the life I have here.

But that's not a bad thing, not at all. If there's anything I've learned, while growing up, it's that things change. People change. Circumstances change. Situations change. Nobody's ever been able to invent a perpetual-motion machine, because it's impossible. Nothing's meant to stay the same way forever.

It has to change, whether we like it or not.

We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun.
But the hills that we climbed,
were just seasons out of time.

When I think back over all the stuff that's shaped me over the years, into who I am now, I realize how I could never have imagined myself turning out this way. If someone had told me, at age six, when I'd been so full of so many dreams, so many desires, that I'd develop obsessive-compulsive disorder at age 11, and not know it, or that I'd suddenly get an outbreak of acne that I thought would go away by itself, and never did... I would have been scared out of my wits.

But there's a reason nobody told me. It's not that nobody could have expected any of that to happen (which is true, but beside the point I'm trying to make), but because, if I'd known that would have happened eventually, I'd have tried to stop it, prevent it, keep it from happening, of, course, and then my life would have turned out picture-perfect, maybe, the way I'd imagined it to be, as a naive child.

Still, all of it happened for a reason. It taught me to be more understanding of others, to learn how to empathize, to realize that I can never have a perfect life, to accept that I have to love myself for who I am. I used to hate myself, so much. I'd call myself every possible insult available, just because I was frustrated with how I couldn't be perfect, no matter how much I tried.

I've learned that flaws count for so much more than perfection ever will.

Goodbye, Papa, please pray for me,
I was the black sheep of the family.
You tried to teach me right from wrong.
Too much wine and too much song,
wonder how I get along.

What does all of that have to do with change? Quite a lot. When my life was crappy and I was miserable, I thought it would never end. I'd long for the past, wish I could still be six years old - I even prayed for God to turn back time for me, once. But, then the bad times... they started to fade slowly.

It wasn't an instantaneous change. First, it was just small things, but then, the big things followed too, and one day, I woke up and found out that I had nothing to be sad about anymore. The good times, the happy ones... they've finally started. And I'm not going to let them go again, not as easily as before.

Once you've weathered the storm, you find out that, no matter how brutal it may have been... you wouldn't trade it for something less harsh, or less hard. Why? Because it's your storm. Those experiences, good or bad, are what made you, into you. Despite how much you may wish you were someone else, how much you may try to be that other person, being yourself is always easier; it's what's best - for you and for everyone else.

Nobody else can be you. You can't be anybody else. Your experiences are unique to you, and you only; your thoughts are yours only. You might think you're boring, or less interesting than that other person out there, who's supposedly better than you, but you're not. Your stories, no matter how simple or insignificant they might seem to you, could be the most mind-blowing things to somebody else.

But, this is so far off-topic, yet again, so let's get back on track, okay?

Goodbye, Papa, it's hard to die,
when all the birds are singing in the sky,
Now that the spring is in the air.
Little children everywhere.
When you see them I'll be there.

For me, I define the seasons in my life, based on the details of what was going on in my life, then. Say, I was obsessed with watching MTV every afternoon, earlier this year, before I took my O Levels, but then, once I was done with my exams, the urge to watch MTV faded, and I found it to be the bland channel it always was, once again. However, I'll forever remember that phase of my life, where I watched MTV in the afternoons, while doing laundry, as the phase when I was nervous, scared - afraid I wouldn't do well in my exams - and procrastinated studying, all the time.

See, small things like that change, just as the big things do, and in a way, it makes parts of life easier to remember, and differentiate from each other. The kind of music you listened to one year, would be different the next year, as you discovered more bands and more songs. So, when you listen to certain songs, you could suddenly be brought back to a time in your life when things were different from the way they are now.

Which is a good way of reminding you to treasure whatever you have now... because you won't always have it, and once it's gone, you can't get it back.

We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun.
But the wine and the song,
like the seasons, all have gone.

I used to always look forward to the future, but too much so, that I would forget about living in the present. I'd always think, "One day, I'll have a better life than the one I have now." But by doing that, I robbed myself of being happy with what I had then. I didn't know how much I'd miss secondary school - as much as I hated it - until I'd left. I wouldn't want to go back, but I still miss the familiar routine of waking up, sleepy and upset in the mornings, and having to do homework every day.

That's why, I'm not going to waste my days anymore. No more thinking of trying to achieve the perfect, unattainable future. It'll come when it comes, and I'll take it as it does. But for now, I'll just be happy that I'm healthy, that I get to laugh over little things, that I have a bed to sleep in, that I have the coolest friends ever, and that I've got so many reasons to smile.

Goodbye, Michelle, my little one.
You gave me love and helped me find the sun.
And every time that I was down,
you would always come around,
and get my feet back on the ground.

This season in my life, it's coming to an end soon. One more month, and I'll watch a new season unfold before me. I don't know what's in store, but I can hope and pray, it'll be a season as wonderful as this one is. However it turns out, I'll embrace it with open arms.

I can already feel the change happening. I've been hanging out on DeviantArt so regularly, now, that I've become really inspired to do art, and write. This sort of inspiration... I've never gotten it before. And it's the best feeling ever. I never want it to leave. I feel like I can do anything, and it's amazing to have so many ideas inside your head, all at the same time.

Oh, and I've also kind-of got myself hooked on watching VLogging videos on YouTube. There's a whole community of them, and I never knew there was such a thing as VLogging. Well, consciously, I didn't. Subconsciously, I think I did. I don't think I'd want to actually start VLogging (I actually pronounce that as "vee-logging", not "vlogging", eventhough I'm trying to get myself to stop), but I'm practicing some songs on the piano, so maybe I might post videos of myself playing the piano instead.

Funnily enough, I even have a subscriber, already. How'd that happen? (Rhetorical question. I know how it happened.)

Goodbye, Michelle, it's hard to die
when all the birds are singing in the sky,
Now that the spring is in the air,
With the flowers everywhere,
I wish that we could both be there.

Seasons In The Sun. I never understood the song's true meaning until now. I thought the idea of dying was cruel, and that the song was sad and served to make people unhappy. Now, I see that it was exactly what it was : a song about the seasons in life. About how happy some seasons were, how many seasons have passed, how you wish some didn't have to end, and how, after all of them have gone, the dreams you thought were so high up and hard to reach, you've already found, so long ago.

We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun.
But the stars we could reach,
were just starfish on the beach.

Friday, August 15, 2008
The Olympic Dream
8:40 PM

I was thinking for a long, long time about what I should write for my next post here, and it's been really long since I last posted, hasn't it? Well, everyone knows what happened just a day after I posted - Lizzie passed away. I wrote a dedication post for her on my LJ, because I'd just updated here, then.

I didn't go to the MTV Asia Awards or to Panic At The Disco's concert, so I was pretty much just caught up with browsing art on DeviantArt, for the past two weeks. I'm not the kind to blog just because. If I have something to say, I'll say it, but otherwise, there's no point babbling about something you know isn't worth the read for someone else.

Anyhow, just one week ago, the Beijing 2008 Olympic games started. And I was thrilled. Ecstatic, even. When I was 8, my parents let me have my first taste of the Olympics, when I watched the gymnastics events on television. Needless to say, I loved every moment of it. In fact, I wished it was me doing all those fancy leaps and cartwheels. I still do.

When I was 12, I wanted to watch the games so badly. I knew the only way I could catch them properly was if my dad subscribed to the special Astro channels. I asked him, but he was wishy-washy about it, unfortunately. Come to think of it, that was the year when my parents unsubscribed to Astro, for awhile, so yeah. It was some sort of experiment-cum-punishment to see if we could live without cable TV. We could. Well, at least I could. I watched over-the-top Mandarin dramas every night at 8. T'was my life, then.

Let's move on.

So, when this year's Olympics rolled around, I was adamant, determined, desperate not to miss them, this time. I pestered my dad way more than I had when I was 12, and he followed through. I had to watch the opening ceremony on TV1, though (with two boring Malay commentators). But, on Sunday, I was glued to the front of the television, watching archery and fencing.

And so far, I've watched mostly the fencing events (because that's usually what's on at night). Which brings me to the part of this post, where I unveil my new celebrity crush:

Benjamin Kleibrink.

Yes, I know what you're thinking. "Not another German!" But, yes, it is another German, indeed. I didn't plan it, and I'm not biased, as in, I didn't just start liking him because he's German. He's a foil fencer, and that picture up there, was taken just after he won the gold medal in Men's Foil Fencing, two days ago.

Let's just say it was a love at first sight thing, if you please. I'd switched the TV on, checked the channels and flipped to fencing. The semi-finals were just about to start, and the four fencers were lining up on the piste to be announced. I saw him, and just kind of got a flutter in my stomach at how cute he was.

Then, when the semi-finals started, I automatically began rooting for him to win against China's Zhu Jun, and he did. It was a bit adorable, how he'd get so excited every time he scored - fencers (well, the ones I've seen, which would be quite a lot of them) scream every time they score, just so you know. They do the air-pumping fists and everything.

When the semi-finals ended, I tried to stick it out, and watch the whole four hours of the broadcast, so I could watch the finals too, but I'd unfortunately, ate too much yogurt in the earlier hours, so I had a bad stomachache by 11pm. There were still another 2-3 separate bouts to go, before I could watch the final, so I gave up and went upstairs to shower instead.

When I finished, I went online, just after the finals had ended, and checked if he'd won, and yeah, he had. Turns out he jumped on top of his coach right after he scored the winning hit, and there was a picture of it, and well, it was like watching a little kid, actually. It made me smile. And I was also very upset that I'd decided not to stick it out and watch the final match.

Luckily, the next day - yesterday - I found a replay of the broadcast, and did get to watch the final match (whilst I stirred my gingerbread dough mix - a very risky feat). I didn't even care that we had people coming to see the house (potential tenants for when we move to New Zealand), and I looked a tad bit weird, sitting down in the living room, eyes trained on the TV screen, but also stirring flour into gingerbread mix in a bowl too small to fit it all.

Can I admit that I now have a not-so-secret ambition of going to the 2012 Olympics in London, just so I can, possibly, watch him fence live? If he's still competing, of course. Oh, and you know me, I'd probably try to get his autograph too. Or a picture. Either one. Or both works too. Gosh, I'm insane.

Oh, and something else happened today, actually. I went outside to check the laundry and the mailbox, and I found a letter, which I thought was meant for my dad or my older brother... until I actually looked at the addressee name and was stunned when I saw mine. I was practically saying out loud, "Huh? I don't get mail, what the hell?"

Yeah, and then I saw the British Council logo printed on to the letter, and had a massive heart attack. I prayed a really anxious and pleading prayer before I opened it, and, not daring to peek even, looked at my O Level results. First thought: "I didn't fail anything, YES!"

Here are my final exam results, including the other two subjects I took in November last year:

English - A
Art - B
Geography - A
Mathematics (Syllabus D) - B
Human & Social Biology - B
History: World Affairs (1917-1981) - C

I'm actually really surprised out of my socks (not that I wear any) that I got an A in my Geography, and not in my Maths or Biology. I didn't expect an A in Geography, well, not exactly, because I'd had trouble finishing the papers on time, and it seemed to be a never-ending fight with the questions during the exam.

Not to mention, I was freaking out after the last paper, just because I didn't answer one one-mark question and finish writing one last sentence in one of my long paragraph answers. Lee Yee can attest to this. I was SMS-ing her about it, right after the exam. I'm perfection-obsessed, yeah.

My Maths and Biology papers had been much easier. But I guess I must've just got some equations and facts wrong, thus the B-grades. The C in History is absolutely no surprise for me. I hadn't been well-prepared for the paper whatsoever, especially since I just couldn't force myself to read the thick, small-print RM70 book on 20th Century history that my dad had specially-ordered for me from Kinokuniya. My eyes would literally glaze over and my mind would wander, so it was pretty pointless for me to try.

I did study for History using a normal textbook, but the questions asked in the exam, veered several thousand miles off from the material I'd covered, so I was kind of screwed, no matter what I did. Thank God, I didn't fail it, and that's a cause for celebration, no?

It'd be the absolute worst if I failed. Because failed subjects don't count as credits. And if they don't count, it means my dad wasted the money he'd used to pay for me to take the exam, in the first place. Okay. I'm sounding way too serious, now.

I was scared to tell my dad about my results, though. It's kind of humiliating to not get grades as stellar as your older brother's, especially when you beat that certain older brother in terms of PMR results. I was also afraid he'd lecture me on my C instead, since it's common knowledge I left all my studying to be done last minute. Basically, I mean, right now, I'm on great terms with my parents, and I don't want that to get butchered again.

Thank God, again, my dad wasn't mad or angry or disappointed or upset or anything at all. In fact, he was smiling when I told him, and even when I mentioned the C, he was still saying, "Very good, very good." He didn't make a fuss or a big deal out of it, even! You know what, for the first time in forever, I saw my dad genuinely being proud of me. And great, now I have tears in my eyes.

I always felt kind of second-place next to my elder brother, even when I surpassed him in school results. When I got 5As in my UPSR, my dad hadn't been proud then, not really. He just said that every kid gets 5As nowadays, so it wasn't a big deal. It kind of got better when I got 7As last year in my PMR. I mean, we went out for dinner in Nando's to celebrate, and stuff.

But this evening, after I told my dad my results, I eavesdropped on what he and my mom were talking about in his office downstairs, and I heard him tell her how good my results were for self-study, and I just felt like the happiest girl alive. Truly.

All my life, I've always wanted my parents to be proud of me. When neither my mom nor my dad came to see me accept an award at school, when I was 10 (you know, those awards they give to kids who do the best in certain subjects), I cried into my mom's lap later, when she came to pick me up, because I'd wanted her to be there. I'd wanted my dad to be there. I'd wanted them to see me, and be proud.

Maybe this is why I love watching the Olympics so much. When you see an athlete rejoice and celebrate after winning the gold medal, how happy and overjoyed they are to have achieved something so great, to have done their country proud, you just get a warm feeling inside of you. You had the opportunity to share their triumph - just by watching and supporting them.

For me, I may not be an Olympic athlete, nor will I ever wear a gold medal around my neck as my country's national anthem is played to the billions of people in the world watching, but I've tasted the Olympic dream. I know what it means to have done well, and have somebody be truly proud of me.