Saturday, October 24, 2015

Blurbs That Open a New FB Tab

I feel like going into interviews in Malaysia, a Canadian degree is quite eye-catching because not a lot of people are sent there. Biomedical engineering although not as numerous, but thanks to UM, it is a pretty popular degree. I am glad, very, very glad McMaster tacked on Electrical to the Biomedical Engineering degree. It opens up a lot more options here to also apply for electrical engineering jobs, since jobs that are explicitly Biomedical Engineering is non-existent, or at least, reserved for people with postgraduate degrees. One thing I realized about engineering jobs is that it's quite diverse. You either go into a specialized position that works in one team and working directly with the technology or you're more of a bridge between different teams and take on a more leadership role because you'd already have technicians who take on the main role of implementing the technology. In the latter, it requires a big picture view as compared to the details, although knowing the technology is important, but this knowledge is also married to some economic knowledge in resource management and cost analysis to optimize output. So, I suppose, an engineer really isn't a one-trick blue collar pony that some people think they are, and it also means that the more important skills is really the communication and project management skills rather than the technical skills. Although in more specialized jobs, then the technical skills would take center stage because you're directly implementing the technology. If you're capable of juggling different types of subjects and projects in school, which is really how engineering degrees are structured, as compared to say, medicine, then, those skills pretty much help gear you for an engineering job, not so much the content of the course or the exams. Since you forget the content anyway, and when you get the job they will train you anyway. Now, does this open up the possibility if non-engineering degree holders could get an engineering job if they had the multifaceted skill set that is characteristic of the "big picture" engineering job? Well, generally, that doesn't happen because to some degree having a little bit of technical background is important. Technical subjects require a different mode of thinking as compared to the social sciences and even science. It is evident even in the language used in the research papers produced for engineering journals as compared to science or medicine journals. The focus is different and the details they emphasize, the way the data is interpreted (if any) is different. Some of these details are irrelevant to an engineer and if one is not trained technically, these details can be missed. Even in universities, engineers are allowed to take non-engineering complementary electives, but the converse is not true for non-engineering degree holders, at the most, they could get a computer science elective. So, yeah, after finishing 4 years of an engineering degree I realized I never really knew what engineers really were. It isn't just the hardhats and steel-toed boots, although some engineers do wear this getup.


Life gets harder as you grow older. Decisions aren't clear cut. There are repercussions for any which way you decide. You just choose to be sad or happy about it and try to count your blessings and try to live with either one of your decisions. I was scared of failing, but I was more scared if I succeeded. Sometimes when I went for interviews I just thought to myself, I'm going to try, but I hope my effort wasn't good enough and there's always someone out there way better than me, because I was scared of what happens after. I don't know how I'd deal with it. I'd be overwhelmed. I'd have to be committed to the new reality, whereas if I failed, I'd retain the status quo. Nothing gained, nothing changed. I could go on doing "what if" scenarios in my head without actually living it and face consequences. That was how, I thought, I could live multiple realities at once. Maybe that was why I kept sabotaging myself. When I finally let go, and just tell myself to fuck it all and just go into the interview as is. It's when I think I'm finally myself. and it's surprising how the interviews went so much better. I don't come out of it feeling like I messed up or regretted saying things. But it had to come anyway, when I will have to learn to come to grips with reality. That was the next step. Following my heart isn't my best suit. I was always a person who went with well-reasoned decisions because the risk was calculated. I don't exactly play it safe like most people, but at the same time, I am a person who would spend hours convincing myself that the best decisions are made based on facts and what I feel is secondary. I put those cold hard facts first and I'd sacrifice emotions. And I'd go with it and try to meld my feelings to fit the decision so that it wouldn't be a problem anymore. That's how I suppose I got through engineering. It may not be as esoteric as philosophy or literature, but it'll get me jobs, I'd learn different things, I'd learn to like it. It's funny that this time around my logic followed my heart instead of the facts that lay before me. They were really reasonable considerations but I cannot shake off the fact that I don't really want it. I do, for the prestige and convenience, but somehow I cannot argue in favor of it. It did not make sense. It did not appeal to my logic. I did not enjoy the exam-like prodding they do during the interviews. I did not enjoy the thought that it made me feel self-conscious about not learning anything substantial during my final year project. Well, it's just procedure to gauge my knowledge, but it made me realize I didn't enjoy it. I did not like the thought of being lost in the sea of other human cogs in a big machine. This other option felt like a clean slate. Either options I'd picked I'll always wonder if I could fall back on it in the future. That I could live both someday. Who knows, the future isn't written. I may or may not have the same chance again, because circumstances would be different based on things that are out of my control. well, consolation is, as I go along in life I'll remember this decision, maybe when I have made harder ones in the future, I can laugh this one off. it's an interesting dilemma not a lot of people have the privilege to mull over. I've always wanted a non-conventional career, well, this is the start of it. maybe it's time to embrace the unknown. I was always haunted with thoughts about anxieties of building a career. I need a good first job that will launch my next job and such. that's how I've always been in school or in undergrad. undergrad especially. I have to plan my schedule very well for me to do well. I will take this course because it's useful. Well, I have to stop thinking of that. not that it's not useful, I'd like to think of that as being strategic, but it makes me inflexible and anxious. maybe trying something different and unorthodox will help me deal with my anxiety. and force me to think of other ways to live my life instead of following what's expected of me when I play a certain role. I'm not going to live the perfect life. I want to live a fulfilling life. I took that leap of faith.last week I was so stressed. actually since last weekend. well, I've been stressed since forever, but last week was a stress unlike any other. I don't think either way I'll fully be satisfied. so it's kind of like Robert Frost's poem, The Road Not Taken. You convince yourself you'd taken the untrodden path but at the end of the day, it's about the same. It doesn't matter which one I took. I will end up being whoever I am to be. and then after countless hours drowning my sorrow playing games. I am okay.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Missing Canada

Gentle, lightly falling snow from pallid skies
Frozen lakes, lonely trees on an all too familiar trail
A photograph of beautiful transience
Warm chocolate streams and pillow-soft waffles
And banal conversations over coffee
Dying rays of light through the window pane 
As we watch the orange change to amber change to black
The quiet, understated things that touches hearts and memories cherish. I would like to call that love.
-12.13 am, Oct 2nd 2015, K.L.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Follow Up

I don't even know where to start. Which thread of thoughts do I want to pursue first. Well, it's more than two months after my homecoming. A lot has happened and several Facebook status updates has passed regarding my latest preoccupations, ranging from re-accustoming myself to local culture and geography to socio-political and religious commentary.

The first month was pretty much all the Ramadan and Raya festivities. I'd only started looking for jobs in August and it has continued to present. I've been so busy going in and out of interviews, applying here and there. I'd even put my otaku-no, anime-watching activities on hold. Currently, I'm only following the remnants of Ore Monogatari! and Shokugeki no Souma.

I'd really like to do a series of separate posts about the thoughts I was preoccupied with, but I don't know when is that going to happen, and I'm probably on the verge of starting a job anytime now. 

I've only been posting short "poems" lately because I haven't really been able to gather my thoughts into one cohesive blog post. I feel like I want to revisit my writing but at the same time I'm faced with hitting a wall that I need to overcome. 

We shall see how the next month will go.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Grown Up ?

I wrote this way back in May 2013, but I never published it. 

I should probably write this down before I forget.

This whole of second year has been a disconcerting, yet humbling experience for me. Forget school for a moment, but it goes a lot deeper than that. First year, I would say, I was pretty carefree of a lot of things. Too carefree in fact, that I lulled myself into a sense of security.

Come second year I realized, have I been sleeping all this while ? Why is it that I'd only started realizing things now, after a whole year have passed ?

And even after that, I realized that I thought I've seen it all, I could handle everything, but I was wrong. I had overestimated myself, and it made me realize there's more to being grown up than just paying bills, living alone without the hu-ha's that you usually have as teenagers.

Being grown up is also about respecting others. It's about being considerate and not taking advantage of other people's kindness. It's about showing gratitude for their kindness and not taking their kindness for granted thinking that they're just there to serve your whims. It's also about knowing your boundaries. Just because people are kind to you, doesn't mean they allow you to exploit  them. Even small gestures are considered courteous, and nobody will actually tell you to do those little things. They are actually expected from you as a form of courtesy. You are not to take things at face value, you kind of have to put thought into it to think about what's the right thing to do. I appreciate people being frank, but sometimes, it's just impossible to be straight out about everything because of this thing called "courtesy", and I guess that's just how the real world works. Nobody's going to tell you what to do. I didn't realize I was just so used to it. I even have in my brain "written" instructions about what to do for different situations, kind of procedural methods to ethics and etiquette to ensure that I am "well-behaved", but sometimes, the world doesn't work like that. Sometimes you feel that the things you do fall in line with what you think is right, but it may not be so with what the people around you feel is right. At all times, you kind of have to second guess yourself and not think to yourself that people are always tolerant to all your behaviors.

Being grown up is also about taking care of yourself, and I don't mean just hygienically or house-chore-wise, but it's also about money. I've mentioned it before in a previous post. I also realized that all this while I've been living off given money. I'm using, spending money, but up to this day I have not earned any money to call it my money in its entirety. I realized that it's time to start earning money, I can't get too used to having money being given to me all the time.

Being grown up is about being happy, without being too complacent. Being aware, but not anxious. Being able to take things into your own stride and keep your cool to make rational decisions. Being able to handle situations in a level-headed manner. Being grown up is about keeping your emotions in check, which is the hardest thing for me. Being grown up also means not being in denial of the situation and not mope about it, but try to work out the solutions without being influenced by emotions. I almost feel like being grown up means compartmentalizing your personal feelings and what needs to be done, or is appropriate to be done, separately.

Being grown up also means learning from your mistake and not actually do them again. When you make mistakes when you're young, people don't beat you down too much for it because you're inexperienced, and you may not know better, and you still have the chance to learn from it, but when you're much older, it is expected that you should know better because you're experienced, and I guess it is a little harder to learn from your mistakes because you're more set in your ways.

Somehow I feel that I thought I knew how to take care of myself, but apparently I was so naive in my judgment, I didn't realize there were a lot of things that I didn't think of thinking about. There is still so much that I have yet to know about the real world. Sometimes I feel like I'm still that high school kid who doesn't know better, and I realized I don't know how to be an adult, in facing the real world. I feel angry at myself sometimes for being inadequate, but at the same time I should do something about it. I can't let those ill feelings and self-pity consume me.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


aku pulang
merapatkan jarak fizikal
namun terbentuknya jurang baharu
di antara kita


like the floating particles
in the pouring sunlight
through dusty curtains
in a long-emptied room
but filled with an air
of loss
and lingering sense of regret
after your departure
-KL, 3.07 am, Aug 26, 2015