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h e y b a r a

Burning brightly.

8 May 2023

 It took me 21 years to truly realized how blessed I am.

Blessings come not just in the form of materials; money, and achievements. But it comes in all little things in an unexpected way. You just need to search for it. 

In the first semester, I worked very hard. It was a cold, isolating moment where I pushed myself to the edge. Feeling hopeless and questioning everything I've worked on until now. I fell into despair and was locked in a long tunnel with no way to reach the beams of light. 

But now, I started to see how my hard work is paid off. It just comes one by one, that it feels surreal how Allah is blessing me with all of this. It kinda feels like I am undeserving of all of this. That these are temporary and I can just fall back into that spiralling darkness again. 

Those are nonsense thoughts. A bit pessimistic.

I try to keep this momentum, to work even harder. Since Allah has blessed me with things I never expected before, and surrounded me with kind and beautiful souls, I couldn't retract and run away, or devour in the pleasure and strayed from my original purpose. The blessings are a means as a tool for me to use to lead my life better. To aid me in my plan towards realizing my purpose in life. A purpose that seems too overwhelming to bear, but I couldn't choose otherwise. 

This semester, I feel like maybe I kind of pushed myself a bit over the edge. I experimented with things, and see how far can I go. Playing on the boundaries of your comfort zone is never an easy job. But I know I needed these so I can develop myself. By stretching my 'training field' in this life, I can acquire much more. Though it was hard, I'm glad I did it. 

Some people might say I pushed myself too much, that I am too 'ambitious' for no reason, and that burnout-ness will soon crawl into me. They are not wrong though. But I am doing these knowing the consequences. I believe humans are made to not stay in the same place for so long. When you have your purposes, when the flame in your heart keeps blazing and burning the coal inside your body, it is hard to settle for less. As for myself, I know that I am not carrying only myself, but also the hopes and prayers of my parents and my loved ones, which are unconditional. I am not the only one sacrificing in this journey. My parents have worked so hard in their life to let me chase my dreams. How can I stay still and let their sacrifices be in vain? These thoughts make it hard for me to stay in my comfort bubble and only resort to easy and conventional paths like everyone else's. Though sometimes it is overwhelming to bear, my excitement and hopes for the future exceed it all. I know that for every step I make, I try to be mindful of everything. I am not doing this to live a 'hustling gen z' life, or as an 'overachiever who can't take a break'. I am doing this because I want it. Because I have my own purposes that I fight for. Surely, overwhelmedness and burnout are inevitable. But that's part of the process. Just like how a laptop can overheat in long use, we humans go through that too. So, it is important to acknowledge these signals, embrace them, and treat them as a part of the journey. Not as a hindrance that breaks your hope. 

Be mindful, be purposeful.

I am a sinner, and I have a lot of shortcomings. But I hope, the flame in myself won't fade. Until I go further, a bit more, a little bit more. If Allah wills, I will keep working and striving for more. Until I can proudly say I lived a meaningful life. If Allah is with me, there is nothing that can stop me.

I wish to burn brightly,

then wilt, like a flame 

애신, 미스터 션샤인

bucharest, 7:15 a.m

UNI Semester I - Thoughts & Reflection

6 Mar 2023


After 2.5 years of waiting, it is crazy to think how it's been years since I graduated high school. A lot of things happened in that period. After working through the foundation and learning the language, finally I am able to start learning the knowledge I've yearned to delve into. 

It was a moment of joy, and the moment that breaks me too.

Learning a language I have never even heard of in my entire life, I had (and is having) my fair share of difficulty. I spent 7 months of intensive language learning at ASE, but I still sucks haha. Learning a language is certainly not my forte, especially in the talking part. I tried to weave my way through it, but, it is a difficult thing to do. But despite that, I got to pass my language exam, and start my undergrad last fall. 

The first month, horrible.

Imagine going to a faculty, and learning in a foreign language that you only learnt in less than a year? A disaster.

It was a very bleak time for me, as I am unable to understand, nor communicate with people. Worst, in the class. As someone who is very enthusiastic of listening to lectures, not being able to understand a thing breaks me. How can I pass my exams and graduate safely at this point? I was very scared and anxious. 

Though thankfully my professors and friends are the kindest ever- that is a huge relief for me.

But still, the language barrier chained me. I feel like I am trapped in a glass wall, separated by the others. The outside world is muffled, and I felt silenced. 

I can't count how many heartbreaks I had during the entire semester. Barely living, I spent my whole time studying, to catch up with everything. I acknowledge that even though I am in a marathon, I am at a disadvantage as my legs are shackled by weights and burdens (a.k.a the language). I am tens and hundreds of steps behind others. So I need to put an extra effort. 

I studied day and night, during commuting in the metro, during lunch, during the weekend. OOfh it reminds me back to my SPM time, though this time, it is worse (:

But thankfully my professors are very kind and helpful, I tried to always ask them questions just to make sure (AT LEAST), I can understand 1 thing among all the things they taught in the class that day, though it is just a simple thing. I don't want to feel like a total idiot.

Though things seem to change for better as time goes, still, I felt like I am really slow. Things are just going downhill. I am swimming against the vast tide. I put much burden on myself. Until my parents remind me that I am just starting university. Yes, you've learnt the language for 7 months, but you just started the uni now. 


I felt like I didn't learn anything during the 7 months. I failed to realize that those 7 months, are just brief compared to university. The language level in university is (obviously) a much much higher level. I tend to count that I've learnt the language for xx times, but why am I still bad at it? I shifted my starting point to October, where I started my uni. And it makes me feel better, honestly. 

The exam period was dreadful. I feel stressed out knowing that even though I study hard to understand everything, I will still be unable to answer them if I do not know the language. Not to mention how daunting and overwhelming are the subjects I am taking, especially anatomy. YES, anatomy. Imagine learning anatomy in french (since ppl are more familiar with french, they are sister language w/ romanian). I thought I almost lost my mind learning it. Oh, I forgot to tell you that I had 13 papers for the final (all written test), yups, crazy.

So what did I do to overcome it? I studied like crazy. I woke up in the morning and studied till midnight every day. On average I studied 14 hours per day. Well, every student does the same thing. But it was a harsh time for me because of the pressure of the language. I kept thinking, why do I make this crazy decision to do my degree in another language? Why do I take such a harsher path when there was an easier option? Why, and why? It was the moment when studying with tears falling is a daily routine for me. At this point, I just want to pass my exams. I had a few subjects that the passing percentage is not even half of the batch. This freaks me out. Yup, biology is HARD. Forget the A, I am glad with any marks as long as I pass! Nu vreau restanță te rog :'

But even so, I am glad to have great company; my family and friend. They helped me to hold things together. Reassuring me that everything will be alright. That whatever I do, it is enough.

me studying anatomy in Romanian, a nightmare

Thankfully, I managed to finish the exams despite breaking down here and there. I am still alive. I survived. Not long after, I got the results of my exams, and they are really shocking. Alhamdulillah, I managed to score a lot higher than I expected (I told you at this point I only hope to pass the exams, to get at least 6.0 (the passing mark is 5.0)).

This is the moment I realised, hard work never betrays you. I am really really thankful for them; my parents, family, zu, and my past self who never gives up ((:

So this, is for everyone who believes in me (:

Things I learnt this semester:

- Hard work will never betray you

- Do your best, and Allah S.W.T will take care of the rest

- There is no limit in life, apart from yourself

- It is OKAY, to have ups and downs

- Gratitudeness, always.

And thus, I would like to end this entry with my favourite verse;

God does not force anyone to do beyond what is within his capacity. Everyone will get the reward he earns and will be responsible for the evil he does

- Al-Baqarah 2:286



5:30 a.m., Bucharest, Romania

Heart ripped open.

25 Feb 2023

 The first semester of my degree was the hardest for me to cope with. I doubt myself, (almost) blaming the young girl who was too eager to reach the star when she can't even see the sky clearly. An immense stab in the heart for whose dreams and expectations are to be shattered. 

Why, is it this way?

For the longest time, I have always been burned by such immense passion that keeps constricting my heart that I feel burst out, it has been filled with bright hopes that are too bright that they can blind one's eyes. The apparent marks that I can't just feign ignorance. I know that I will need to go through thorny roads to satiate my desire. I was willing to do so, or so I thought-

I felt helpless and in despair towards the middle of the first semester of my degree. After 2.5 years since high school, finally I get to take my first step, the very precious first step in realising and building my meaningful life. The life that the little girl has been dreaming of and working on for the longest time. I thought that after running and crawling my way to get till this point, I will finally reach the surface of the ocean, to freedom and lightness. But I was wrong. Although I can see the water getting clearer, and more rays of light penetrating my surrounding in the dark ocean, I kept being pushed down by the furious waves, being pulled down by the strong gravity that impede my way up. Suffocating my heart that has been longing for lightness. 

I am one step closer, but am chained. 

(page 1) 

Farewell, 2022

1 Jan 2023

 It is 8:37 pm here, in Bucharest.

31 december, the last day of the year 2022.

At lot has happened this year. Recapping this year, it feels like a long, yet short ride of unexpected, frizziness, blessings and tears.

I finished my romanian language preparatory year at ASE, then summer came, a short yet thrilling one, my very first summer here in. I feel like everything escalated very rapidly and swiftly that I lost the trail of the story of my year that I would like to write here.

But despite everything, I always find myself back to the last day of high school in Malaysia. It was 3 years ago, but it still feels like yesterday. I think that was the moment when my life started to find its way, forming turns and returns, being convoluted and twisted. My days are never a normal one after that day. 

Everything that happened in between that day, until today, was a hazy one. It feels like a dream, a long dream that got me wondering sometimes; how do I get here?

Others who saw my life through my social facade, would perceive me as a girl with such big enthusiasm and inspiration in life, well that's the persona I chose to wear to the world, but they wouldn't know how much I am coping and surviving day by day right now. From early on in my life, a little girl who has the biggest dream in her life, along the way of life, of growing up, has sacrifices a lot, to get where I am now. I know it's not going to be a smooth road, but I thought the road would at least be accompanied by light. Yes, the light is there, though it is a dimmed one, but I never expect it is going to be this dark. Just like what Ji-Ho said, it feels like you are walking in a dark tunnel, you can see there's the light at the end of the tunnel, but every step towards it feels heavy, and you are consumed by the loneliness.

“When I decided to follow my dream, I thought my life would be like walking through a dark tunnel. But I didn’t know it was going to be this dark. I didn’t know it was going to be this lonely.” 

- Ji Ho , BTIMFL episode 2 

Loneliness. It doesn't mean that I am in need of someone by my side, I always enjoy the serendipity of being on my own, the quietness, the calmness, and the tranquillity away from the headache of being in the middle of people's affairs. I love to be away from the hecticness of sensory reality. But what I mean here is the loneliness when I feel detached from my own self. From the blazing 'me' that is always flamed with passions and hopes in life, the reflective 'me' that is holding the melting candle of life very dear to her heart, the ardent 'me' that is always intense in emotions despite the bleak of life, with fervent desires to 'feel'.

That's what I mean.

It is the loneliness, that makes you feel empty.

That's the nightmare I am fearful of. The feeling of nothingness.

Life, is a constant pursuit of yourself. Some people do not even know themselves till the last breath of life, and some people let others to dictate their very life, on how to live, how to think, and how to treat themselves. 

Well actually, screw that.

I don't even know myself, what right do I have to assume other people's lives?

That's actually the problem. 

In the pursuit of finding the truth of ourselves, there are other people along the way. The variables, if you would called it. The existence of the 'variables' could affect your life in a good, or a bad light. Despite how pessimistic I sounded in the previous paragraphs, I would actually say that this is actually the answer, the variables. From meeting each individuals, you carry a piece of them by your heart, no matter how huge or minuscule it is, you're never the same person as before. 

"Having someone walk into your life is actually a very astonishing thing. That's because they bring their past, present and their future with them. That's because, someone's whole life comes along with him. The heart is fragile, therefore, it might have been broken. That heart is coming too."

Each soul, each encounter, is like flipping pages of a never-ending book, with each pages telling different tales. You never know what'll happen in the next page. Some pages could be fast-paced and makes your heart thump, and some could be slow-paced, keeps you pondering and wondering about the meaning. Some will give you frown on the forehead and frustrations, while some will make you unknowingly smile weakly and feel the familiar warmth around your heart.

How beautiful it is? 

As you try to find the answer for yourself, you also discover bits and bits of yourself from each random encounter. It isn't supposed to only apply to human, but also towards the inanimates; the natures, the musics, the sky, the weather, the crisp wind brushing your cheek coldly in early winter. It is all there.

The answer, that we've been looking for, it is all there. It is everywhere.

It's just sometimes we are too blind to see them.

Happy new year (:

samobor, summer 2022

11:59 p.m., bucharest

Little Forest (2018) Movie Review + Thoughts

20 Sept 2022

I stumbled upon a post on instagram about this movie, and spontaneously asked my best friend to watch it with me online despite living at the opposite side of the world.

In fact, I’ve been eyeing and putting my nose in this movie for the longest time, because I am an admirer of Kim Tae-Ri, her choices of the project are always remarkable, not in the sense of those resulting in blockbuster-kind of success, but there is always this profound, bittersweet trails of the projects she has chosen.

My thoughts:

Hye-Won is a burnt-out college graduate, who stumbled past her dream of becoming a teacher. Eventually, she came back to her quaint little town that she’s been sickly wanting to escape in the past. Through her point of view, we get to experience her dwelling from initially wanting to just stay downtown for a few days, which stretched until the change of seasons and ultimately spending a whole year there.

I think all of us could relate to her at some point. Especially if we are living far away from home, in the vibrant and hectic busy life in the city, to pursue our studies, dreams and works. It took a lot of effort and sacrifices to finally fly out from the cozy nestle, brushing against the cold and harsh wind to get where we are now. But sometimes, there are times we got weary from trying to survive all the time, to be on the fly-and-fight mode each day, that the thought of ‘maybe it would be better if we’re at home now’ would come across.

Though Hye-Won left everything behind and came back to ‘square-one’, her story afterwards doesn’t dance in a sombre tone, but also not in a hopeful manner like other mainstream stories that turn it into superficial-forced feelings, but rather, it is the feeling of comfort that is found back when she revisited her root. That’s what I appreciate a lot from the movie. Oftentimes, in this cliche-coming-home trope, the protagonist would encounter a series of existential storms delving into episodes of disappointments and regrets. However, her story did not take us down that road, but rather let us float along the natural flow without having the need to slide through the bumpy emotional wave crashes foremostly. 

I guess this raw, real, unsuperficial sentiment struck deep inside my heart. Because it felt too real. I think that is the beauty of this movie, how it can make you resonate deeply, but not in an ‘artificial’ way that makes such extreme tugs in your inside, but rather, it is just as if a random stranger unexpectedly handing you a cup of hot tea on a cold snowy day. It is not something huge or extravagant, but that simple act of kindness just warms your heart and leaves a smile on your face.

 I think that’s what this movie is like for me.

Food and Souls

We perceive food as an essential (which is ofc the truth), but also a sort of enjoyment. However, for homemade cook, it’s profoundly connecting us emotionally to the warmth and love, whether it is the homemade food made by our mother, grandmother, or even ourselves. Knowing that the meal is made intentionally for our own appetite, not someone else's, there’s so much sincerity in it. 

Hae-Won told her best friend she came back to the town because she’s hungry.

“Instant food didn’t fill me up. I meant it when I said I came back because I’m hungry.”

When you live in a big city away from your loved ones and have the need to cater to your own self, you eventually realise the privilege of having food made by your loved ones. When you are struggling to make the ends meet, eating a nice simple meal is a huge privilege. Living in a huge city, it’s easy to get dragged by the hustling, fast-paced culture of modern society. To put it in an uglier sense, it feels like you’re living as a rat. It took so much energy and time to care for making your own meal as it feels like you’ll be losing the time to run to catch something else. Hence, it is the truth when Hae-Won said she’s coming back because of hunger. The hunger for warmth, nutritious, intentionally-made food and the satisfaction from slowing down and made time to care for your body and soul.  

A significant portrayal made in the movie is the stark differences between her life in Seoul and in her hometown. In Seoul, the scenes are pictured in a dim, darker and still mode. Whilst in her hometown, we can feel the bursts of sunshine, cosiness, and amiability radiating from the nature. This signifies how tough life is in the city, and it keeps draining her more and more.

“In nature, there is no hurry, everything happens at its own pace.”

Japonoshophy (Review of Little Forest movie - Japanosophy)

What Lee Jae-Ha Said

“Keeping yourself busy like that won’t solve your problems.”

I felt this to the core. I would say keeping myself busy is my best coping mechanism after indulging in heart-rending reading and show-watching. However, life is life. You can’t shut your eyes and pretend them as imperceptible. Howbeit, I wouldn’t say confronting every single problem is a wise choice either. There are distinguishments between difficulties, troubles, problems, crises and concerns. There are degrees of urgency and worthiness in facing it. But from this quote, it’s evident that some things are just inevitable. They shouldn’t be kept away for so long, as the untreated wound will be pungent and become uglier if left for so long. A problem could trigger others to arise, which will eventually bite us back wholly in the end. 

Face your fear and the reality, even if it seems daunting- a note to myself. 

I didn’t think much when watching the movie, it just gives me momentary peace of mind amidst the havoc of my life now. However, by writing this, more thoughts and reflections come streaming, wandering in my mind as if a person just turn on the faucet and left it unattended. I guess I like this movie much more now than before. 

So, if you are someone who feels a bit dreaded of this life, give it a shot, it might land in your heart.

*all gifs are credited to various tumblr accounts!

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