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I just find this quote simply beautiful

“Sometimes fate is like a small sandstorm that keeps changing directions. You change direction but the sandstorm chases you. You turn again, but the storm adjusts. Over and over you play this out, like some ominous dance with death just before dawn. Why? Because this storm isn’t something that blew in from far away, something that has nothing to do with you. This storm is you. Something inside of you. So all you can do is give in to it, step right inside the storm, closing your eyes and plugging up your ears so the sand doesn’t get in, and walk through it, step by step. There’s no sun there, no moon, no direction, no sense of time. Just fine white sand swirling up into the sky like pulverized bones. That’s the kind of sandstorm you need to imagine.

And you really will have to make it through that violent, metaphysical, symbolic storm. No matter how metaphysical or symbolic it might be, make no mistake about it: it will cut through flesh like a thousand razor blades. People will bleed there, and you will bleed too. Hot, red blood. You’ll catch that blood in your hands, your own blood and the blood of others.

And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

~Haruki Murakami, Kafka On The Shore

Apparently okay is a new flirting word.

Hello World!

2014.

I am still alive.

Wish me luck.

For this journey is gonna be a gruelling one.

Either I just come up with a 4-lined poem that sucks terribly or I just felt like writing those sentences in different lines. The latter perhaps.

Ohkay so I actually bought this book and I read it within 3 days and I was initially going to type out an excerpt from the book which I liked the most but in the midst of typing it out, it somehow got erased and I felt real irritated coz it’s 1.13am. So I might just leave out typing the excerpt to another blogpost, sometime later haha.

Well, ohkies the book is a bestseller. It’s blue, white and black. It’s about two sick people falling in love. The story is sad. Loads of people have read it (it seems like I’m one of the few individuals that’s left in the world who did not pick up the book), it’s gonna be made into a motion picture.

Yeah you’ve probably guessed it by now haha.

John-Green-The-Fault-In-Our-Stars

It’s truly an incredible read. Humour was interwoven with tragedy, so you’ll laugh amidst your tears. The characters were beautifully developed and they were so raw and human. I thought Augustus Waters was some perfect and sexy guy every girl dreamed of having, but nope he had his flaws. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll stay up late to finish this one, and when you finally turned over the last page, you’ll end up experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Just staring into space, wondering how a book can screw up your emotions so badly, wondering how you got so lucky, still trapped into the character’s lives. It’s gonna take me some time to move on from Hazel’s world and into the world I am in now aka reality.

Humorous and tragic, it talks about love, friendship and leaving a mark (no not a mark, a scar) not on the universe, but on those whom you loved 🙂

Pick it up if you haven’t guys. And if you did, YAY I AM FINALLY INTO THE-FAULT-IN-OUR-STARS FANDOM 😀

xoxo,
ShabiraBasheer 🙂

Goodbye 2013, go away 2014.

Goodbye 2013.

It’s 29th December 2013. In two days time, we’ll be ushering in the new year and hearing/reading lots of “HAPPY NEW YEAR” from virtually everywhere. Well, first off twitter’s gonna be spammed with countless Happy-New-Year’s tweets. Urgh. And Facebook. And the newspapers. And maybe even the tv news gonna be wishing its viewers happy new year as well. All these while I’ll be thinking “can you guys not….”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some self-obsessed pessimist here who sees the negative in everything. Well, ohkies maybe I turned just a tad that this year. No, but the real problem here is I dread 2014. Coz it’s the year I turn j2. And j2 means A Levels. And A Levels means the deepest levels of academic hell. I don’t need to be in depression to know that 2014’s gonna suck, horribly. I don’t need to be some pessimist to know that 2014’s gonna be the year where I’ll breakdown, maybe alot of times. 2014’s gonna be the year where I’ll probably have to study the hardest I’ve ever studied in my entire life. And it’s the year where I’ll feel this perpetual state of tiredness. That year’s gonna make or break me, my future. I’ll either do well in As and get into the dream university and the dream course I’ve always wanted to go since secondary school. Where my future’s gonna be brighter than my computer screen. Or, my future’s gonna be like this black-holed vacuum that’s endless and leading to nowhere. I refuse to think of the latter that much.

Yeah, so I understand the brevity of A Levels coz I’ve seen what it’s like to screw up your As. Your future is literally turned into some darkened street. All your dreams of becoming a doctor or a lawyer are going to be shattered, like broken glass. I’ve seen it, I’ve witnessed it, I’ve heard stories of it. I’ve heard people say how their j2 year was the worst year of their academic life. That they were not the same persons they were at the beginning of the year and at the end of the year.

But I do know this.

They survived through it. My sisters, they made it through. My cousins, they made it through. My seniors, they made it through.

So although some psyschological trauma may be inflicted (ohkay I sound as though I’m being reaped into the Hunger Games), they still made it through, pretty much in one-piece. So if they can do it, so can I.

You know how when you’re standing under the block when it’s raining so heavily, waiting for the rain to subside so you won’t atleast be so wet or fall sick or something like that? But you realize that you can’t just keep standing under that HDB block forever. Surely you would have to dash across the road and reach to the next shelter right? Do you then take tentative steps forward, afraid that as you dash across, a bolt of lightning will suddenly flash and it might strike you? Or do you prepare yourself, crack a few knuckles (ohkay I am exaggerating), flex your muscles and then just go. Just dash across while thinking “YOLO YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE”. Either way you are going to reach to the nearest shelter you can find, drenched I guess. But it’s not the destination that counts. It’s the attitude you adopted when you were preparing to dash across, without the umbrella. Do you dread and feel scared of the rain? Or do you face it squarely and bravely?

Ohkay that was kinda a bad analogy but the point I’m transmitting out is clear;

I do have a choice as to how I want to face the rain though. And I think I’ll pick the latter. I think I’ll face it bravely, and say “BRING IT ON”. I may not know this yet, but I think how your thinking’s gonna be will affect how you dash across that road and reach your end point. Because when you face it bravely, you’re not going to let the rain creep up on your mind, you’re not going to think that the rain’s gonna hurt you. Similarly, if I face A Levels bravely on its face, I won’t let the fear of screwing it up rule over me. Instead, I’ll only think of ways on how to own the papers and how to achieve my dreams. And I guess that’s the first step to ace-ing your As? I dunno haha.

I’ll have friends and my family to encourage me on, I’ll be the one to encourage my friends to go on, I’ll be the one who breaks down and needs some form of encouragement as well. But I guess I’ve gotta face it anyways. And I’ve got a choice on how I want to face it.

The Storyteller

My father trusted me with the details of his death. ‘Ania,’ he would say, ‘no whiskey at my funeral. I want the finest blackberry wine. I don’t want a summer funeral, Ania,’ he would say. ‘Make sure instead I die on a cool day, when there’s a nice breeze.’ I would pretend to take note of his requests. I didn’t mind the macabre conversation; my father was far too strong for me to believe any of these requests of his would ever come to pass. My father trusted me with the details of his death… but in the end, I was too late.

I just finished reading Jodi Picoult’s The Storyteller. All I can say is it’s been long, it’s been very long, since I’ve last read such a good book. You know how some books become your bestest friends when you’re reading them? Those books where you carry around with you everywhere you go, even if it’s just having a little dinner with your family outside, because you would want to read it whenever it’s possible. Those books where you can just slip into the character’s worlds so easily because you feel a connection to them? Those books where you just can’t stop reading?

And when you finally finish the book, it’s as if your bestest friend is gone. It’s as if a part of you has been torn apart, and there’s an empty hole in your heart. You would have to go by days before you pick up another book again, because you’re still trapped in the world of the previous story you’ve just read.

Yes, The Storyteller was like that for me.

It follows the story of Sage Singer, of Minka and of Josef Weber. Josef Weber has committed a murder, and he wishes to seek forgiveness for Sage. But, it’s not just any murder. It’s a murder that was apalling, that was horrible, that was condemned, that made you question if humanity still exists.

The World War 2 Jewish genocide.

Minka was a Jewish survivor and the story that Jodi Picoult weaved was just so realistic and horrible yet so amazing at the same time. It broke my heart to learn how the Jewish were really treated. Truth is, Jodi Picoult weaved Minka’s story based on experiences told by real Jewish survivors who got through the Holocaust. Therefore, technically, Minka’s story was not purely fictitious. It was real, it happened. And I was just speechless. I learnt so much from Minka’s experience. I was both amazed and horrified. Amazed because not all SS soldiers are heartless and cruel and inhumane. Amazed because despite the horrific treatments, the Jews helped one another. Horrified because I would not be able to understand how the victims survived, how the victims felt. They were stripped of their self-respect, of their dignity and of their reputation, reduced to animals and worthless creatures. Minka said that she has never tried to tell anybody about her story, nor write it out because sometimes, words are not enough to describe how you really feel. The words that portray your emotions would not bring justice to your feelings, because they are too overwhelming, because they are too powerful to be confined within alphabets. And I think that’s how it is for me too when I read about Minka’s experience. I don’t think I can ever describe how I felt when I was reading through Minka’s experiences. It’s that powerful.

The main psychological dilemma that was recurrent in the book was the belief that when you do something so horrible and repulsive for many times, you stop feeling, you stop thinking it’s bad. You make up an excuse for yourself to get through it. You do it so many times that you start to believe it’s actually ohkay to do it. You start to think it’s not wrong.

And Sage Singer, she’s a flawed character. Sometimes I detest how she feels so sorry for herself, that she thinks she doesn’t deserve love, actual love, because of her scar. How she pushes people away. How she wallows in self-pity makes me want to scream at her sometimes to just get up and start living life. To stop being so anti-social and for once, to be proud of herself for what and who she really is. Yes she has a scar, but think about what is there of her that’s left? And then she met Leo, and for once, she is able to see herself through the eyes of how her best friend and the people who love her see her. Most importantly, she is able to do what she feels is right for her.

This book is truly an incredible read and I enjoyed every single moment devouring its pages because it has taught me so much. It has taught me about hope, sorrow, love, loss, sacrifice, betrayal and most importantly, forgiveness.

Oh and I love the name Minka so much, that I might just name my future daughter that.

“You will ask me, after this, why I didn’t tell you this before. It is because I know how powerful a story can be. It can change the course of history. It can save a life. But it can also be a sinkhole, a quicksand in which you become struck, unable to write yourself free.
You would think bearing witness to something like this would make a difference, and yet this isn’t so. In the newspapers I have read about history repeating itself in Cambodia. Rwanda. Sudan.
Truth is so much harder than fiction. Some survivors want to speak only of what happened. They go to schools and museums and temples and give talks. It’s the way they can make sense of it, I suppose. I’ve heard them say they feel it is their responsibility, maybe even the reason they lived.
My husband – your grandfather – used to say, Minka, you were a writer. Imagine the story you could tell.
But it is exactly because I was a writer that I could never do it.
The weapons an author has at her disposal are flawed. There are words that feel shapeless and overused. Love, for example. I could write the word love a thousand times and it would mean a thousand different things to different readers.
What is the point of trying to put down on paper emotions that are too complex, too huge, too overwhelming to be confined by an alphabet?
Love isn’t the only word that fails.
Hate does, too.
War.
And hope. Oh yes, hope.
SO you see, this is why I never told my story.
If you lived through it, you already know there are no words that will ever come close to describing it.
And if you didn’t, you will never understand.”

In literature, I learnt a technique where authors sometimes use. It’s when the authors use the voice of their characters to directly communicate to us. The author is just merely using the character as an avenue, as an outlet, to speak to us, readers directly.

I liked to think that at this part, the part which is my favourite, Jodi Picoult is doing the same thing. She’s using Minka to say what she really feels.

Afterall, Minka and Jodi Picoult are the same afterall. They are both writers and dreamers.

The moment when I felt the luckiest girl in the world.

Felt the urge to blog about something but honestly I dunno what to blog about oh the paradox HAHA.

Well, over Two Door Cinema Club’s This Is The Life over in the background, quietly playing in my earpiece, providing me with serenity and tranquility on this random night, I finally got reminded of that one time I felt like I was the luckiest girl in the world.

Well, on Monday I had a PW meetup with my PW groupmembers and I had to go tampines regional library. Man the first time I’ve been there was such a truly unforgettable experience. On Monday, I went back there again and as I waited for my groupmembers to come, I went up to the fiction room and saw the book which I actually snatched and borrowed approximately 7 months ago. That book was Nora Roberts’s Happy Ever After. The wave of nostalgia was just surreal.

Omg seriously for a bookworm like me, that feeling when you managed to get hold of the book you so dearly want is just awesome. You feel as though you are the luckiest girl in the world, that all the stars are aligned just for you, that your fate and your destiny didn’t let you down for once. Seriously I’m not kidding, when I saw that last book that was available at tampines regional library 7 months ago, I literally snatched it. I literally felt as though all bad and depressed experiences I ever had were vanished forever, and truly that was one of the times where I felt really happy.

Of course, this feeling is accompanied by the fact that I missed the stop whilst traveling from marine parade’s library to tampines library and ended up traveling on the expressway and landing my butt on some desolated bus stop at pasir ris, without a sole recognition of the place. I swear it was so unfamiliar and I felt truly scared because it was going to be nighttime. Furthermore there was not a soul at the bus stop so you can imagine how thoughts of some rapist lurking around somewhere began to fill my panicked mind HAHA.

So if someone asks me how much I love reading books, this is one evidence that reveals how much I love those papers which tell a story.

The needles on the path to growth.

A lone soldier fighting a battle he didn’t ask for in the first place.

JC has the power to suck away optimism I thought I had so securely tight in my character, so securely fastened in my heart. I’m not kidding you, sometimes my self-esteem can just plunge me into a hole of despair that can seem so deep and so endless that I just can’t get out. But then, I remembered that I can not give JC that opportunity to change me into something I promised myself I will never let myself become. I cannot allow myself to succumb to such madness. The path to growth and the path to self-fulfillment is filled with many obstacles, many treacherous hardships that can tear you from limb to limb mercilessly. The path to growth is sometimes filled with those sharp needles and you gotta tread on them oh so carefully. Sometimes though, your feet accidentally touches the needle and all you feel is the hot searing pain, and nothing else.

That’s how I occasionally feel. But I also remember that you’ve always got a choice. You’ve got a choice to sit down and possibly get yourself hurt again, or you can start walking up again, and be more careful this time, because you’ve been hurt, and every time you’re hurt, you learn something about yourself, you learn something about life, and you’ll be smarter to avoid such mishaps again. You’ll be stronger. When that needle hurts your feet again, you won’t feel the same hot, stinging sensation that was so intolerable you once felt.

Along the way, you’ll be remembered of people who loved you dearly, who had faith in you that you could go on no matter what. Along the way you’ll meet new people who in time, you will soon realize that they also care as much as your old friends. And these people, these people will be the guidance and the strength you need to carry on.

So here’s to making a choice of never allowing myself to sit down on the path to growth, even if that sharp needle penetrated through my skin once.

A little wisdom keeps the negative thoughts at bay

pink clutch

Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. You don’t have to like it, it’s just easier if you do.”

~Byron Katie

Reverting back to my old style of having words of wisdom at the beginning of an entry. It’s such a great way to begin a post, no? Not only does it make the beginning of an entry interesting and captivating so as to attract readers to read, it also brings about a wave of wisdom to the reader itself. Well, for me, these small little lines full of deep and intense meaning brings such joy to my life, and it never fails to help me with whatever internal crisis I’m going through at the moment.

Havent been up to much lately during the June holidays. Yes I went out a few times and I also did homework. The thought of so many homework left unchecked and uncrossed is just overwhelming. It’s already mid-June and I can safely say I haven’t finished half of the homework teachers set us for. Now, I do not want this to be a complaint letter about the cracks of Singaporean education (but seriously, they have much debate over PSLE – of all national examinations – and none about how JC is stressing the lives out of 17 and 18 year olds. This frankly, pisses the hell out of me.)

Went out with my JC bijjes to catch “Now You See Me” on Thursday! 🙂 It was soo great to be able to meet up with them and catch a movie together. Now You See Me was just beyond incredible. The storyline was definitely interesting and captivating and the way the plot twists at the end was just jaw-dropping and eye-popping. HAHA. Maybe not eye-popping, but jaw-dropping omg. Not to mention, Dave Franco was unbelievably hot at the movie and me and my friends were literally spazzing, mind you, OUT LOUD, in the theatre itself, to which we got irritated sidelong glances HAHAHA. But whatever, in singapore there’s a major lack of hot guys so when you see one on the screens you’re bound to spazz. It’s just we, display it out, while some girls, they keep it to themselves HAHAHA.

On Saturday, met up with Rui Lin and Deanna to do some history together and omg it was sooooooooooo good to see them again after 5 months of not being in contact. Just seeing your secondary school friends brings about a wave of nostalgia that hits close to home and it’s just a surreal feeling haha. However, and I seriously do not know how I actually did this, I OVERSLEPT OHMYGLEE. I was supposed to meet them at 10am, but I WOKE UP at 10.12am instead omg fail shab is fail. HOWWW?? WHYYY??? WHENNN???? Seriously….

So we compared notes and apparently, Rui Lin and Deanna concluded TPJC’s history notes were the best HAHA OMG SERIOUSLY???!!! Mind you, Rui Lin’s now an NYJC-ian and Deanna’s a TJC-ian. Well, that brought a smile to my face because ultimately, no matter how much you say you hate your school, you can’t escape the fact you’re from there. And you gotta admit, you do light up whenever someone praises your school. And trust me, these praises do not come often, especially with a school like TPJC. The wave of complains, I can assure you, is bigger than the wave of praises. So yeahs, it is heartwarming to hear your fellow peers praise your school for something good, for once. HAHA.

Well, isn’t this just a mindless rattling off post or what? I miss these kind of posts. Indeed, I am growing as I entered into JC. And sometimes, I wish I didn’t have to grow at all.

xoxo,
ShabiraBasheer 🙂