Dead Week is over

It has done its job, I’m dead. Please redirect all mail intended for me to 1740201, Underworld.


a rainy morning 

I cannot tell if college is supposed to be lonely and I just can’t deal with it, or if it isn’t supposed to be. I don’t know why it bothers me so much – I never used to need to be surrounded by people. I hate feeling invisible. I hate feeling so needy and whiny and bothering people who have their own lives. I hate the 16-hour time difference. I hate being confined to this space, literally and figuratively, though I know that confinement is partially of my own doing. I hate that I’m drowning academically and it’s too late to do anything about it and the next seven semesters are probably only going to get worse. The cold and rain and dark are depressing. And yes, I know, this is California and it’s worse everywhere else but I just want the sunshine and warmth and for it to be bright till 7pm. I want to be maybe a bit more stable and independent and disciplined and have a firmer grasp on school and life and less of a dependent deadweight that is a pointless burden. Thinking of the next three weeks scares me. Thinking of winter break also scares me. Thinking of consequences scares me.

papers, projects and being a functional human being 

those are all things I suck at. Big time. Why am I up at 5 am having stared at a screen and a bunch of books for the last 5 hours and still not have an argument the day before this is due

plus the 18401739302 other things due

and everything else i don’t have the energy to talk about now 

aHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I am going to suffocate

side note: wonder when i started using language that needs to be filtered (very heavily) in both speech and writing 

June 24, 2017

As per the title, this was written back in June. I don’t know why I never published it; probably just forgot.

~ It feels traitorous (not exactly the word I’m looking for, but I can’t find it) to say this, but I don’t feel excited at all. A part of me feels nervous, worried, anxious, annoyed, sad; the bigger part just feels empty. 

I’ve spent most of the last few days holed up in my room, scrolling through social media and just doing nothing. I feel guilty. It’s a strange sort of guilt, though. I used to feel guilty because I wasn’t studying, but now it’s because I should be spending these last few days with friends, not hiding alone pretending not to exist and binge-watching some stupid TV show. I mean, it might be alright if it wasn’t a stupid TV show, but this is just plain bad. 

I haven’t began packing up. Mostly because I’m lazy, but also because a sliver of me just doesn’t want to admit that I’m emptying this room for good. Once I pack up, it’s evidence. I’m no longer the occupant. I’m no longer going to come in here in the evenings and lie on my bed and laze; not going to go to Joanne’s room and chill; not going to Iris’ room to do maths or chem or physics; not going to have Tasha or Sarah over just talking about random things; not going to be woken up by Maryam saying ‘hey its already 7.40 don’t you have class?’; not going to do a lot of things again. Not going to see a lot of people ever again. 

Yesterday afternoon I went to Joanne’s with Mei Yen and we watched Enchanted together. Enchanted is still an amazing movie 10 years later; it’s enchanting. But some of the magic was lost by me being too nostalgic and not being present in the moment. And then in the evening I walked with Joanne, met Ze-Xin, bazaar closed, walked back

Talking in Joanne’s chalet 

Playing games 

Talking to Allyna: let’s not be small talk friends

Allyna’s very mature, I guess. I have a lot to learn. I know moving and changing is a part of life, but it’s hard to let go, to accept, to not be too sad, to not live in the past.

I’m sorry that this post was very negative, but I’m just sad at the moment, I guess. (well, not just at the moment, this has been going on for weeks) Not at all detached. I’m going to miss this. I’m going to miss my friends. I know we live in the 21st century, long-distance communication has never been easier, but it’s not the same as meeting in person, you know? What I’ve learned so far is that when it’s long distance you just lose touch with the lives of people you care about. You stop giving as much information to them about your life. There’s too much to explain, background information that they’re now not going to get because they’re elsewhere in a different environment (and maybe culture) entirely. It takes more time, more effort, more energy, that sometimes maybe you just don’t have. Maybe I’ve just been terrible at keeping in touch and when I try, I’ve never been successful at keeping it anything other than superficial. But this time I’m going to try as hard as I can because all these people are gems I don’t want to lose. ~

// I guess all I can say 5 months later is that, for the most part, I’ve been trying to keep in touch with some people. I’m not doing super well, but ya. Ok. Not everyone, but some. 

Berkeley: A Sneak Peek (not the story, no)

Today is September 30 – 46 days since I first got here. There’s so much to say and so little time to write, so I shall (temporarily) fall back into my old habit of writing about random* moments, and random things I want to say.

*remember my old definition of random? That applies here too.

1. A lot of what I remember from day 1 is being assaulted by the wind and shivering under three layers of tops. It was still SUMMER.

But then again, Oscar Wilde(?) said “the coldest winter I ever experienced was a San Francisco summer”

YA SF BAY AREA can you be just slightly less temperamental?! It’s not okay to burn and freeze my arms simultaneously just because they’re exposed to both the breeze and the sun

2. I have taken to writing dates in words because 6/10 confuses me – October 6 or June 10? When we first started lectures I wrote it the American way when I had to hand stuff in and the normal way (yes I am (now explicitly) insinuating the American way isn’t normal), but that quickly became a mess because I couldn’t remember which dates were written in which format.

3. It’s ZET not ZEE

4. I honestly don’t know how to feel when people express surprise at finding out I’m an international student. “Your English is so good!” “you’re not american?”

Do I feel better because I’m easily understood ie I adopted the “American” accent effectively enough, or do I feel terrible because I’m being fake and untrue in trying to “assimilate” and copy the accent?

Answer: mixture.

On the flip side, at the dining halls: “can I have (insert food) and (insert food) please?” “what?”

And “did you go to a party?” “did I go to a what?”

Like excuse me I’m not that hard to understand

5. My chemistry professor: when I first started teaching here I wore a bright Hawaiian shirt on the first day of lecture. My superior saw me and said “Ah, you’ve learned our ways very quickly! If you don’t have a bright mind, where a bright shirt!”

6. Voldemort went to Stanford.
Let’s ignore the fact that Voldemort is British and didn’t terrorize the US

7. I think I have more pictures of the sky than I do of anything/anyone else since I got here

(yes I realize this is a poor quality video, not a photo)

8. Dr Pepper tastes like cough syrup. Why do people even like this thing?
9. Three weeks into classes, we we had a formal lab report due and I was super confused and was going over it with a friend
Susan: how did your research contribute to our greater understanding of chemistry

Me: the latest understanding is: don’t drop a crucible filled with sample before measuring the mass. More importantly, don’t drop TWO crucibles

(yes. I did. Drop 2 crucibles out of 3 after heating the first for 1 hour and the second for 45 minutes, after a 4 hour procedure preparing those up to that point. So much for good data)

Also me: my ‘research’ found that you need to do research to contribute to greater understanding of chemistry

10. Susan: *spills orange coloured Thai milk tea on floor* oops

11. Jelli (I think): EECS people are so depressed they need a boba place within their building

12. Me at 2 am the night before a lab: how do you do this question in the pre-lab?

Media: of course I haven’t started

13. I don’t know what possessed me to pick a class about war, but the contents are kinda upsetting

I don’t want to watch grave of fireflies again ever

And/or read Borowski

14. So a few weeks ago Sachdave and I went for dinner at Crossroads and there were a few Chinese people sitting next to us speaking in Mandarin

He commented “macam kat msia je kan”

And then I started ranting about maths and how Hutchings tried to prove 0.0=0 and never did and isn’t 0.0=0 simply by definition a.0=0???!! No? Yes? I still don’t know, 2 days before midterm (PS I still don’t know, three days after the midterm)

And one of the Chinese guys overhears and starts talking to us bc “oMG ARE YOU IN HUTCHINGS 54 TOO?!”










We just used Malay as a code language in front of a SINGAPOREAN ded HAHAHAHAHAHHAHA

15. I underestimated the comfort of not being alert and on edge all the time when it comes to language. It’s so tiring to speak in English rather than Manglish

16. Ani: ummmm I didn’t like this character

Brian: *wonders how to insult in academic language*

Professor: yeah he’s an asshole

17. Two weeks after that crucible lab:

Me: this lab worries me

Susan: it’s pretty easy compared to the previous ones though what could go wrong


Ta-dah mixtures of solutions that weren’t knocked over!

18. Susan to me: we did it!!

*high five*

Ryan, lying on floor outside lab with his legs up 90 degrees to his body: did what

susan: the postlab and pre-lab

I’m positive that I take way longer than I should on these things

I don’t think they’re meant to take 10 hours

19. Also I think I might have found the Danica I need in maths: Nichole and Erin

Blank stares and giggles ftw

20. Erin: spends 2 hours making a carrot whistle, cracking it, pasting it with chewing gum and going around unit 1 showing it to people

And then narrates this whole thing to me the next day when I run into her at dinner

And then rants about maths

And then says oops maybe we shouldn’t rant here bc our GSI hangs around here sometimes

!!!!!!!! Never seen him there but!!!!!!

21. Cathy: my first friend in maths. I then discover she’s also in CBE.

then she drops both and her friend becomes my default neighbour in math

Side note: my latest CBE homework begins “a couple of chemical engineers had a baby named System” HAHAHAHAHA

22. There’s this one girl in chem who I sit next to often and who I see often in the academic center in the unit. I don’t remember her name and I don’t dare to ask anymore

23. THANK God for GSIs and teacher scholars and peer tutors I swear they’re much better at explaining stuff than professors (ok not ALWAYS but ya)

24. I wouldn’t know most of my GSIS are GSIs if they didn’t teach me; they look so young. They probably are really young. Maybe just 22 or 23, some of them.

25. Then there’s me. I feel so old. 20. Not that it matters. It’s just a thing.

26. The Indonesian society is called BISA (Berkeley Indonesian Students Association)

Their shirts say “kami BISA”

love the play on words

27. Equivalent to Kath/Erin/Nichole in math = Nicole in chem

Except she actually does the readings so she’s nowhere near as lost as I am

28. I think some part of me has always felt, rather arrogantly, that I’m pretty smart. Or at least good enough. That’s backfiring. Because I’m clearly not and I’ve picked a pretty hard major in a pretty hard school.

It would be nice to feel competent in at least something once in a while

But no, 14 years of formal musical training and I can barely sight-sing

I took pride in my ability to do that at some point

14 years of piano and I can’t play you a single piece of music that wasn’t written for 6 year old beginners

What was the point of all that time, energy, effort, money

But a part of me still stubbornly believes I’m not going to be one of those kids who does badly despite my not understanding what’s going on anywhere

29. I never really thought twice about admitting that I’m having a difficult time with something/ranting/asking for help, but 99% of people here are all like “oh yeah I’m doing great how about you?!” and “I love this and I’m going to this and I’m doing this today tomorrow this weekend next month” which is really intimidating because it makes me very seriously wonder if something is wrong with me

i. I cannot handle even half the stuff I should be able to on minimum school load

ii. Self pity

iii. I complain incessantly and far too intensely. (insert: my RA saw me last night with a textbook and I said I’m tired and she said she feels like every time she sees me I’m carrying a textbook and I’m tired)

I’m annoying.

30. Dr Went: I want you all to know that help is available if you ask for it

I don’t know. It’s pretty easy to feel like no one cares. It’s hard to ask for help when you don’t know what help you need.

All the same gotta love Dr Went for it she’s the only one who’s said that so far (well and her GSIs)

31. Wow @ my math GSI

At the same time the only thing stopping me from doing that is:

a. My parents don’t have a basement

b. I never lived in their basement

c. See a and b

Okay so a depressing tone is leaking into this post and I’m going to stop this and talk about it another time.

31. I came up with a less depressing thing to talk about

So this one time a fire alarm went off in my building

I did not know because I was taking a shower.

I showered through the alarm, evacuation, and return of people. My roommate got written up for skipping. I did not get caught. It was a very long shower. It’s much less funny written down hm

32. Did you know that it is possible to lose a huge bottle of detergent? Let me tell you, it is. How I misplaced it is a huge question.

33. Professor at 8 am class: passes around bowl of jellybeans

Professor: um maybe I should have picked something a little more nutritious

Brian: or a little more caffeinated

OK NOW I really hope that none of these people I’ve talked about stumble on this because I don’t know any of them nearly well enough to talk about them like I really know them

Wow this post has gotten far longer than I planned and I’ve stayed up much longer than I planned to. Sorry for rambles thanks for putting up with it

August 20, 2017

there is so much else to say, but overwhelmingly that for all the promises you made, you seem to remember none; try to keep none; fail at every one. 

for all the resolutions you made, you have an utter lack of resolve, a huge amount of self-pity, a reluctance to try at all. 

turn around


no one cares anyway. 
no one cares if you build a bubble. bubbles are invisible. 

a stab at haikus (with a faulty keris)



of the arguments that loom

makes me so weary


throwing knives, though blunt

a dangerous exercise

still maim, wound, hurt, slice


inspire annoyance

and they will drop the pretense

that they did like you


or, this misconstrued

‘pretense’ was an illusion

from paranoia


some things are borne of

questionable intentions

careful, examine




c. May 2017

Hi today is July 31. This is probably going to be a pretty short post because I’m just basically posting what I wrote a while back (a while = >2 months).

Ok, go:

(soz Ze-Xin I’m stealing your style because this probably won’t make sense by the time I publish it if I don’t)(also using Roman numerals seems kinda cool now lel)

3 something p.m., May 29 2017

I get annoyed when there are things in my peripheral vision

Like bottles on the table

Or tall food containers

I like to see the people I’m eating with.

And I like to see the world around me not my bottle

I never understood the long dining tables with one person on each end, a tall beautiful vase in the centre of the table. Decorative. Food arranged beautifully. (like in the movies)

But it’s annoying because of the vase.

It annoys me even when we’re eating at home and some of the dishes/bowls we’re serving food in are slightly too tall. I can’t. See. People. and don’t blame my height ok just don’t

I’m sitting in the lounge and the table is full and either my or zexin’s bottle keeps blocking my view

My view of what, you ask?

Good question.

But the view is much better without a barney-coloured cylindrical-ish object obscuring half of what I’d see without it there, you know

1:21 a.m., May 30 2017

i. that day Za came and sat with zexin and me at the next table in the rc. he said thank you

and that he was sorry we didn’t really get to know each other that well

i’m just. sad.

ii. the Saturday after the triple science students finished A2, I was supposed to have breakfast with Mei Yen before she went home.

surprise! we both overslept

she called me at 9+ and said its okay, we’ll meet up before we leave

and i just felt like

that’s so far away why u so like that


its not, though. that was two weeks ago and this week I’m finishing my papers then i’m coming back for less than a week. wow

[EDIT: wow its sort of weird to read ‘leave’ in the context of leaving KY rather than leaving Malaysia heh]

iii. I wonder why I was never friends with Leong before. He was always just one of those boys who sat at that table with the other Chinese people and who occasionally smiled and said hi in the corridors


meeting new people in the last few weeks of school

i only found out his name like

a week plus ago

iv. the last two weeks have been so much maths

just maths

yet i still haven’t gotten the hang of a lot of maths, especially mechanics

I’ve been going out to the RC or lounge every day (mostly the RC though) because I need to see other human beings or I’ll die of boredom.

I used to think I’d be fine being alone but turns out I really am not fine without company :’)

The first week when Ze-Xin wasn’t here I usually sat alone, or with Horng or MJ. Which is. Stressful. Because they’re both always so so focused. And Zong Hao is also usually close by. Wonder why it didn’t work as motivation instead of being stressful

v. When I get stuck at a question, my reflex is usually to look at my phone, which extends into a long break. Either that, or I look at the answer. Or text Iris 🙂 because her working always makes more sense than the mark scheme lolololol. That is, when I actually bother trying to understand instead of just glancing at it and saying o ok fine i’ll look at this later.

vi. Its nice to go for lunch in KY usually. Not because of the food. By the time lunch comes I’m usually pretty stressed out by how much maths I can’t do and have given up/am on the verge of giving up. But meeting people during lunch always makes me feel a lot better. (well, and dinner)(recently it’s been Siah, Ze-Xin (lol who would’ve guessed AHHAHHAHAHAHAH), Zong Hao, Danica, MJ, CJ(!!!! another person I have no idea how I didn’t really know before?), Eyan, Eunice and well other people that I haven’t mentioned)

vii. ze xin

I’m going to miss sitting with you every day

and walking back together at night

and ‘are you studying out today?’

‘yeah, are you?’


and uGH ALL THE VENDING MACHINES NOT WORKING (this wasn’t funny, ok. there are 4 vending machines in the acad block. zero were working the past three days)

buying random snacks



viii. the last 1.5 weeks have honestly been a blur. the passage of time is so difficult to keep track of when you’re doing the same thing every day, with only slight variations.

4:57 p.m., May 30 2017

i. I need people to keep me grounded when I lose track of things, to make me realize just how lucky I am, and to make me feel like I’m not alone in this.

It’s just slightly surprising who this came from today, because I don’t know him very well.

I don’t know him much, period. My conversations with him generally revolve around academics and hey just checking in.

Turns out we’re going to the same uni for the next four years.

ii. In the same conversation he told me that every time he thinks of Berkeley, he thinks of the scene in Varanam Aayiram and I was just like

Oh there’s such a thing? Never watched it

And he said

You’re not Indian enough

No kidding, yeah, but pls can people not say that pls

I know I’m a disgrace don’t need to rub it in my face please thank you

jkjk I’m not offended

iii. Lunch today was so much fun. I finished eating then I saw Vydhourie, Iris, Florence, Jing Si, Siah and Ze-Xin sitting together and I just joined them because I didn’t want to go back to the RC.

Conversations like these are the ones I’m going to miss – Harry Potter trivia,

(Vydhourie’s expression on finding out I’m a Hufflepuff was priceless)

[EDIT July 31: wait we talked about HP houses again last Tuesday and SHE WAS SURPRISED YET AGAIN!! HAAHAHAHAHAH]

talking (squealing) about random books, Big Bad Wolf, parents’ jobs, Siah standing on a chair, why on earth did you guys come back?!?!? (to Florence and Jing Si),


Agree with zexin. Florence has some pent up rage against you

She picked that one out of four

And did it continuously for almost half an hour

It seems like nothing, but it’s not. I love being here. I love this.