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Grief

Grief is…

Grief is something quiet.

Something as silent as death who had robbed me of a friend, and thousands before.

People tend to think grief is something loud.
Probably, like sobbing, crying or even screaming, demanding answers as to why their loved ones had to go. Mourning for the rest of their lives for the dearly departed.

But the truth is, grief takes you by surprise. You’ll never see it coming, even when you know that particular special someone could potentially die within hours, minutes, or maybe even seconds. We  always forget that we will die too. It seems like an alien, morbid concept, but death is fundamentally what keeps us going on. It keeps us striving for life. Whether that is good or bad is up to you.

Grief is tiring.

It is like something you know that won’t last, and yet you are not ready to let go. In fact, you probably won’t be ready to ever let go. It wears your soul away as time keeps moving on, like a rock being eroded by the sea.

I feel as though I’ve been hit.
By a depressing inspirational rock.

This grief comes and goes like a freight train, fast, headstrong, and painful. It leaves you empty, as if you have been hollowed out.

We have always defined grief as the fine line between denial and acceptance. It is that cold yet burning feeling of sadness, when you realize it’s all over but you don’t want to let go.

It’s okay to feel grief, it is a human emotion. Even elephants and dolphins feel grief, even they mourn for their loved ones. Despite this, we should not let grief eat ourselves for the rest of our lives. We should let grief come and go; like the freight train that it is. But that empty hole in our heart can’t be left hollow. We must move on, fill it up with something new. Acceptance and learning from past mistakes.

True, we shouldn’t forget those departed loved ones that shaped the person we are but we shouldn’t let their absence drive us down. Instead, grief reminds us that our time is limited. The bleak reality is that we all will, one day, die. Everyone will vanish, dissappear back to the Earth that we were born on. Nobody really knows when exactly their time will be up, so make good of life while you can. Personally, I’m not really afraid of death; the main fear is that I won’t be able to live long enough to make a difference. So do good while you still can, and learn from the mistakes of others before you. “We all suffer but we recover just to discover life where we all are.”

Grief might feel as if it his holding us down, but it’s what drives us on.


This post is based on a thing written by a friend [https://artisticallyfluent.wordpress.com], regarding our classmate and dear friend who passed away recently. I pray that he is in peace, and in a better place.

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Mountains

From the city, you could see the swathes of mountains and hills rising above the horizon. Driving on the roads towards them, they would appear to grow in size as you approached them.

After a while, the crammed highways would give way to narrow roads that climbed steeper and steeper. Once at the base of the highlands, the roads would begin to spiral around the hills and dip between the valleys. The air would begin to cool as you gained altitude.

The low, uniform landscape transforms into high peaks and rolling hills of plants, painting the backdrop a lively green. The smooth roads dissappear and are replaced by bumpy pathways with potholes and puddles. The lush evergreens that grew in the lowland forests below are not as common up here, and they are taken over by the mosses, ferns, and conifers which were suited to the cold. Your ears might pop as the pressure decreases and the air thins.

The cloud forests were filled with towering ferns and conifers which themselves were covered in moss and lichens, absorbing the moist atmosphere like a giant sponge, and pumping out precious oxygen in the process. The air is cool, humid and thin. Once in a while a cumulus cloud would descend onto the highlands, blanketing them in thick fog and causing the temperature to drop rapidly.

If you would continue ascending, the sound of crickets and birdsong would fill the breezy air. If you listened closely, you might hear the sound of the trees, grass, and rivers, as well as the occasional panther, which all blend into the ambient music of nature itself.

Suddenly, the forest would end in an abrupt line. A few metres away, the plantations of tea and strawberries begin, growing on for acres of hills and fields. From the top, it would look like a vivid green chequered quilt that stretched on from horizon to horizon.

Climbing to the highest peak, you’d find an observation tower. If you were to climb up its rusty railings to the top, you would behold a sight so pure. A majestic view dotted by forests, rivers, cities and roads. You could look all the way towards the horizon and pick out the sailboats and liners upon the sea; the fine line where the green and mahogany plant life meets the azure ocean and atmosphere. The chilling breeze sweeps across your face, frosting up whatever there is to freeze.

Here you’d feel as if you were on top of the world.

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Those Moments..

Those moments when you feel alone, but happy to be alone with your thoughts. When there are people all around, while you are just there in the background, pondering.

Those moments when you think about life, the Universe and everything. When you wish you could see it all, but you are bounded. When you realise you are nothing but a speck on a small rock floating through the endless void. When you briefly understand what life is about, but the thought is blown away like a leaf in the autumn breeze.

Those moments when you are remembering your childhood, when you had no worries. The times when you were content with what you had, giggling your worries away. The years gone by that still live on in photographs—windows to the past and the person you once were.

Those moments when you don’t know where you are going, or where life is taking you. Whenever you feel alone, on the outside. You feel cold, dark and deep. You need a hand to pull you out of the depths.

Sometimes, we all have these moments.

But, of course, the colours change. The hand you oh-so-needed comes along, a warm heart thaws you out, or a smile brightens your day. Then, you realise that there ARE people out there who care for you.

There are those moments when you see a clear path ahead, and brave yourself to take it. When you are confident that, although you are still only in the shallows, you can make it across the oceans.

Those moments when you are—truly—happy.

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Thoughts on the Sea

scenery penang

We humans have always been mesmerised by the sea. Of course, I’m no exception. Every time I visit the beach or the coast, I can’t help but take as many pictures of the view as I can. I can’t help but stare in wonder as the Sun sets below the shimmering waves. Just the thought of setting sail on the morning tide makes me feel dreamy.

By our nature, we were made for land. Our bodies are just so slow and cumbersome in the water compared to, say, a graceful dolphin. The way the water just curves above their smooth skin and how their fins cuts through the water is simply beautiful. They were made for the sea. But us, we are forced to stay in the shallows, gazing out to the open water, wondering what that other realm looked like. Many tales were told of sea monsters and mermaids and sailors who sailed too far & simply fell of the edge of the Earth.

Still, this didn’t stop our curiosity. We built rafts, then boats and ships, to set sail and explore the uncharted waters of the world. This led to what some people call the golden age of exploration, spanning the 17 to the 1900’s. The age of colonisation. Conquerors and explorers ruled the waters those days. Just compare a map of the Earth from the 1700’s to a map from today; you’ll see how far we’ve come in just 300 years.

Sails were soon replaced by propellers, and ships grew bigger and bigger. Luxury ocean liners are still used today. Of course, none of the modern ones would have the grandeur of the Titanic. With a gymnasium, theater and countless lounges, the ‘unsinkable’ ship weighed more than a hotel, yet was buoyant enough to float on the water. Alas, it was lost due to an iceberg.

Of course, following ships were submersibles, allowing us to traverse the great depths of the ocean. Yet we have only explored less than 5% of the sea. Who knows what lives out there in the remaining 95%. Perhaps all those stories of mermaids and sea monsters are more than just a myth. The fact that we know more about our solar system than we know about our own oceans right here on Earth always fascinates me. This just shows how limited our understanding of the world around us is, and yet we still have this wonderful thirst for knowledge.

We’ve since mastered the oceans. But there still is much more to discover. And still I long to set sail from Port Blue on Marlin Isle to the open sea, and disappear beneath the waves.

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Happy New Year!

The clocks struck 12, the fireworks illuminated the midnight sky and the earth completed its orbit around the sun once more. It’s the first day of 2015. For some of us, 2014 may have just been another year in our lives, for others it was an important and turbulent one. Indeed, a lot of things happened in the past year. The World Cup, Winter Olympics, politicians rose and fell as economies changed. 2014 was also a big year for movies, books, music and media.

And then we come to the more.. negative stuff.

Wars were fought; many people died in the Middle East, violence became an issue, terrorist attacks; extremists and militants mostly (I’ll talk about these in another post later), shootings and crimes increased…. And the tragedies, my god, the tragedies. An Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, intense floods right here in Malaysia, the sinking of a ferry carrying hundreds of high school students and an alarmingly high number of aircraft accidents. Seriously, MH370, MH17, AH5017, QZ8501 etc. (I don’t want to jump to conclusions; I bet you there are hundreds of conspiracy theorists smashing their keyboards on internet forums about the many aircraft incidents).

But let’s not focus on just the bad things. Sure, 2014 may have been horrible for many (and frankly, 2015 may not be any better; this year just began and already 36 people have been killed in a New Year’s party in Shanghai) but let’s try to make 2015 a memorable year. Not for tragedies and wars, but achievements and peace. 2014 should be a lesson for all of us; as they say, learn from our mistakes. Let’s strive for a better world.

Happy new year, everybody.

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Astronaut

Here’s an english version of my previous post because I didn’t feel very satisfied about it. Writing in Bahasa Melayu feels awkward and clunky for me…


I stared out the window. Darkness. Silence. Emptiness. Nothing but the stars to light up the backdrop of the void. All my crew-mates were busy doing experiments or research, it was my free time. I sighed while thinking about how lucky I was to be able to experience life above the sky. Countless generations have always looked up to the stars with wonder, dreaming of what it is like to be there. Well, I’m living that dream.

I looked down at the planet below. It was completely dark, save for a few bright light from large cities that dotted the Eurasian continent. Not long now, the Sun would rise above the Mediterranean. Ah, the day-night cycle, a regular mundane phenomenon for us all but for me, it is the most beautiful thing on the planet. The sun rays that illuminate the valleys and hills, the sky that changes from black to yellow and blue, the light that gives warmth to the chilling landscape, the clouds that cast shadows across the backdrop as they dance along the sky.

I thought for a moment about all the people living down there. Every individual scuttling around their tiny homes that look like toys from this height. Tiny. Everything, it seemed to me, didn’t matter. Every war, fight, love, happiness; it all doesn’t matter. We don’t leave any mark to the universe. That’s what we are, tiny. From my cramped module, I saw no mark. No wars, no violence, no hatred. Just silence. Silence stretching for miles and miles across this living planet. If you think about it, we are unbelievably insignificant to the universe. Each lifetime lasting only a blink in the cosmic eye of the 13 billion year-old universe. We. Make. No. Difference.

And yet we are special. Our home is the only known planet to harbour life (as far as we know at least). We are living, thinking, intelligent lifeforms. We have the chance; the potential to change the world around us because every man, woman and child here has something ingrained into our feeble minds. A natural desire to explore, learn, venture, teach, create, help, discover. We can at least try to leave a beautiful stain on this tiny, pale blue dot.

The space station continued its orbit around Earth. The dazzling Sun that I just saw rise above the Mediterranean began to complete its perpetual journey from east to west as it sank behind the opposite face of the planet.

Silence.