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Name: Jayne Lee Mei Ying
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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.