Saturday, September 29, 2007

Graduation Conclude: Looking to the Sky

Side Note: This is my LAST graduation mini-series, I promise. And this is the 17th consecutive entry I have made WITHOUT any traces of food. Now who was it again who said this is a food blog? Who said I only blog about food? Who, who???


The graduation night itself seemed to be rather short, it is true that time passes by very quickly when you are having a good time. Not having enough of the "good feeling", I decided to extend my regalia and hood rental all the way through the weekend. I explained my reasons and surprise, surprise, they allowed me to do so without extra charge!! This is definitely something that wont happen in Malaysia, unless you have some "connections" there and here to override the normal flow of working procedures.


Why do I need to have the regalia and hood over the weekend you ask? Well, knowing me so well guys, is it not blardy obvious already??


Yes, to CAMWHORE with it, until I was satisfied. It is something very important to me, and camwhoring for only one night was obviously not enough for me.


THOSE THAT HAVE BEEN THERE FOR ME

JAK YEW AND SHIRLEY

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar




KHEE HWA - NIBBLING PIZZA

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



This is Khee hwa, a dear friend of mine who has been there to photograph me for the entire night during my graduation, using his Canon s5.


JAK YEW - ALSO NIBBLING PIZZA

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



THE THREE OF THEM

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar




Also, there were some great friends who could not make it there for the graduation night, but they made it up to me by joining me in my camwhoring session, and we all have our beautiful faces frozen in the frame of pictures.


So now, you guys know "what" I was going to do, with my graduation gown. The question next, is gonna be "where".


In my mind, I have decided on three separate places to have my pictures taken with me in the graduation robe, but unfortunately due to time constraint and some unforeseen circumstances, we could only made it to the first two.


The first destination: ARALUEN BOTANICAL GARDEN

SERENE SCENES

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us



Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar





We have been planning to go to this botanical garden since the beginning of spring (late August) but never quite made it there since we were all busy people with too many things happening in our lives. The garden is famous for their tulips and wildflower display, a perfect outdoor spot for family outings or big groups in general. Unfortunately, much to our disappointment, we have come to this place a little too late, and due to the harsh weather plus enormous amount of rain over the past few weeks, almost ALL the flowers were DEAD !!


WHATS LEFT OF DYING FLOWERS

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar


Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar


Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar




Nevertheless, we still made the best of what was at hand, and the whole place itself was very appealing, especially for any sort of photography. There was a couple who had their marriage photography arranged on that particular day too, so yeah, Araluen with or without the flowers is still an awesome spot to camwhore. And so the camwhoring activities began.



The park itself is considered to be a hilly walk, having the need to step up and down the stairs everywhere. It began as a cloudy day, and partly sunny, and later it turned into very harsh sunny day. When I see great backdrop, I would camwhore and camwhore. Camwhore to the content of my haert.

ON THE WAY UP

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



THE THREE OF US

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



PRESENTING THE GRADUAND: ROBIN WONG

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



THIS IS ME

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar




It was really awkward walking around in such an alien place with my regalia, not to mention under the broad daylight. Everyone would have turned their heads at least twice, some more pleasant people even smiled and extended their warm congratulations, although we were complete strangers to them. Some striked up conversations, and asked where I have studied, and when I have graduated. People here are really warm, and more open hearted, which I have known over the years but still find it rather hard to believe and understand. It was truly something different, and doing all the crazy stuff we did with me camwhoring all around the park, knowing that people find interests in knowing, makes the whole trip even more worthwhile and less embarassing.

JUNGLE TRAIL

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



THE HILL AT MY BACK

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



KHEE HWA JOINED IN

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



BEHIND THE FLOWERS WE STOOD

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



I LIKE THIS PICTURE

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



SHIRLEY, JAK YEW and ME

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar




Before we left the place, we sat down at the amphi-theatre area to watch the live performance of two local singers doing duets on well-known numbers, mostly on romantic songs. The guy singer spotted me in my costume, and smiled at me directly. On that instant I knew something was wrong already. Few minutes later, the singer walked all the way up to where I stood, and extended his hands to congratulate me.... and asked me... "Is this your wedding day?"


I swear I almost fainted. My friends around me too.



The second destination: Kings Park


This is such a near place to where I live, and yet it combines 3 very prominent element that I want in my pictures: The City Scene, The Water, and most importantly, the Sky. It was getting sunny and hot in the later afternoon, and the sunlight was a touch too harsh for good photos. I was so high in camwhoring spirit that it did not matter, I just needed to snap as many photos as I possibly could.

PERTH AT MY BACK

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



STANDING STILL FOR A MOMENT

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



SHIRLEY, ME and THE CITY

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar





Kings Park has always been a special place to me, there were times things just seem so terribly wrong, that I just wanted to get as far away from my room as possible, so I took a walk up the hill to the peak, where the memorial park is at, which would easily take one hour of normal paced walk, plus cutting through the bushes and greens which kind of portrays the feeling of nature along the walk. Getting uphill makes you tire quicker, hence giving the feeling of travelling much further than ordinary walks. Once I was at the top, I would sit down on the green pastures, and looking deep into the picturesque landscape, and looking deep into the sky, in whichever state it would be in. Its funny how the sky can reflect the kind of mood you are in, and mirrors what you are feeling at that moment. My mind would wander off a while, and everything would seem ok even just for that short momemt. That was my way of escaping my problems temporarily.


KHEE HWA AND ME

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



JAK YEW AND ME

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



MANY HANDS HAVE WE

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



Therefore, looking back during those university years, and how many times I have made it to the Kings Park War Memorial, I do feel that this is a significant place, that I have always been there when it matters most. Hence, I MUST camwhore here for my graduation.

After Kings Park, everything about my graduation has come to an end. I have wanted to go on and have more pictures taken at Matilda Bay, another significant spot of my life in Perth, but I believe everyone has been extremely exhausted, and it would only be selfishly inconsiderate to pester and drag everyone there, though I koew they would do so for me. To me, I have had enough, and I felt satisfied after a looooong day of travelling and camwhoring. It was all worth it, and I was happy.

When I arrived in Perth the first time, I was deeply fascinated and astounded by the superbly clear and cloudless sky. Therefore I looked into the sky.

I was an ordinary boy back then, living ordinary lives, in this land of the Aussies.

But I looked to the sky.

And three years after that, after everything that has happened, after my university life has ended...

I STILL LOOK TO THE SKY...

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



So guys, please tell me, do you guys see what I see when I look into the sky?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Post Graduation: After-Party and Friends

I believe everyone have had enough of the unintentional moody and emotional tone in the previous entry, during the Graduation Ceremony. Nevertheless, I did want to capture what I truly felt during that moment, and I want it to freeze so I will be able to reflect back and feel it again in the future. It may not be something significant for many of you, but to me, this special occasion holds a special meaning, and I really want to remember it.

OUTSIDE THE GRADUATION HALL

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



Lets move on to something lighter, and more inspiring. Right after the graduation ceremony, the Graduands assembled at the front lawn, outside the graduation hall for an After-Party celebration, more like a casual gathering with family and friends over light refreshment. The refreshment included free flow of red wine, juice, and really tempting finger food. Unfortunately, I was so occupied that I did not even have time to stop by the refreshment tables for some nibbles.

Little did I expect people would actually turn up for my graduation. I know some friends would come, and some I have invited personally, but since this graduation was held on a much inconvenient Thursday night, with most people I know who are still studying in uni were pretty much submerged with floods of assignment and mid sem papers, I did not think that any would care to be there with me. I was wrong. More people came than I have anticipated, and half of them I would have thought gone missing.

Here comes the massive load of pictures.

CHARMAINE

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar




LOCKLAND

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar





SARAH


Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar





ZHONG YU

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar





FARHAN

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar






It is moments like this that I could feel life is not so cruel after all, and not all good in the world is lost. There are still some good people, and people who do care about others, and willing to sacrifice their time and energy just to be there for you, and be happy for you. This is the moment that I can reflect back onto and remind myself that I am truly blessed with friends, and never take them for granted. I have always thought that most of the people I know from uni were gone, since I was supposed to graduate one year ago, and part of me was afraid that I could end up alone. Thank goodness that did not happen, and it turned out to be one of the best nights of my life.


JOSHUA FONG

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar




UNIVERSITY FRIENDS

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



Kwan Chi, Ivy, Kang Wei, and Jacq.


JON

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



JASON

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar




EDMEN AND JAE ANN

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar




RACHEL AND JASON

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar





ESTER

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar




Since I have so many photos taken that night, not only with my camera, but with another good-friend's camera as well, (we are talking hundreds here) I could not possibly upload everything up on this single entry. I could actually, and there is a high chance I could grab myself a unique position in the Guiness World of records for having the most massive sized pictures in one single blog entry. Gosh, that would be so wrong would it not? But on another thought in contradiction, it would be cool too.


RAYMOND AKA LEMON

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar




JOY

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



JOSEPHINE

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar




THE DOTA KAKI

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



Char, Shawn, Bao Jun


OCF-ers

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



Lemon, Jason, and Will


RUTHIE

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



MING SEE AND RUTHIE

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



SMALL GROUP PIC

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



Raymond, Josh, Jason, Khee Hwa, Ruthie, Glenna, Joy

So guys, if you do not appear on this blog, it does not mean I do not love you, or loving you any less than others. It is probably either the pictures turned out blurry, or badly lit, or simply because I never wanted to take pics with you at the first place or badly composed. I seriously appreciate the presence of everyone there that night, and with this opportunity, I stretch my sincere gratitude for you beautiful people.

No, unfortunately the graduation series have not ended yet. Is anyone tired of my graduation entries already? There have been three entries and .... still counting.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

During Graduation: The Ceremony

After much unwillingly hectic rushing from place to place for the entire afternoon, getting the regalia (graduation gown/robe) and camwhoring everywhere around the university ground, I managed to sneak back to the house and take a quick shower and fix-up before the main ceremony that took place at 630pm, on the very same evening. I got back at roughly 530pm, leaving me only less than an hour to prepare, plus getting myself there at the graduation hall. Thank goodness I need not apply any make-up, or fancy hair-do, else things would have turned out messier than it would have been.

GRADUATION @ UWA

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



Surprisingly, I managed to drag my huge heavy ass out of the house, and arrived at the destination much earlier than planned which was around 620pm, when the door to the hall itself was not even opened. Nevertheless, quite a number of other graduands have arrived before me, and scattered all around the front lawn with their family members and friends. I was alone that time, so I decided to make use of my camera, my sole companion until we were called to get into the hall seatings.

SUNDOWN @ UWA

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar


Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar




Walking around and taking pictures did not take much of the thoughts and strings of sentiments that clouded my mind that evening before graduation. Seeing everyone else having someone, especially family members with them was truly something more difficult that I thought I could bear. I have anticipated the crushing feeling inside since I have known my parents could not make it for some inevitable circumstances, but little did I prepare for such a heavy onflow of emotions. Since I was practically alone at that particular moment, I was nearing tears, but I fought as hard as I could, since I knew it was supposed to be a day of joy, and I deserve to be happy for this one specific moment in my life. This will happen only once, and I would do what I could to make sure it turned out to be a happy one. At least I tried, and I could only do so much as trying.

REFLECTIONS @ GRADUATION

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar


Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar




Looking at the clear waters of the duck pond right in front of the Winthrop Hall, where the graduation was at, I could not help it but become deeply submerged into series of reflective thoughts. In just a matter of minutes, I could see virtually my entire life of university passing by me, as fast as the few minutes seem to be, but I felt the slow motion effect surrounding me with each memory that flashed by. Memories of friends whom I was supposed to graduate with one freaking year ago, but I could not make it due to some unforeseen consequences of my own deliberate actions. Memories of bitterness that I have gone through that evidently scarred me for the rest of my life. Memories of exams, assignments and endless work in uni life. Memories of endless sleepless nights in preparation for finals. Memories of everyone I have crossed paths with. Memories of inhumane monsters I have battled over the years, some I wish I would have killed them in any possible manners. Memories of lost friendships, and new found love which never quite bloomed. Those, were the memories that I do treasure, and they all built up to this one moment in my life: The Graduation Day.


It was not so much of the excitement now, not so much of suspense and sense of thrill. But rather, the feeling of accomplishment, the kind of emotion that you obtain when you have completed a set of 10000 pieces of jigsaw puzzle over a long period of time, but of course, multiply that with 100000 for an equivalent value of the fore-mentioned weightage of emotion. I have achieved something now. It may not seem like something extra-ordinary, or something that stood out from the rest. It may not seem like anything special. But now to me, it has a very personal meaning. I see now the graduation as something truly important. It was mine, I have had it in my hands, and I wanted it to happen.

INSIDE WINTHROP HALL

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar


Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar




With so much thoughts going on my mind, it all came to an abrupt ending when the bell was resounded throughout the whole lawn, signalling everyone to march their way into their allocated seats. Clearing my mind of the unwanted stains of unnecessary emotions, I found my way inside the hall, and took my designated position.

When I first saw the hall, I was marvelled by its beauty. There was just something in the overall interior design that captured my breath, and one of the major element was none other than the Organ Pipes, sitting over-hanging the top front of the hall space. I do strongly think that those organ pipes demonstrated much of the prestige and unique accent to the atmosphere inside the hall. It symbolizes tradition and standards that this University has boldly cling to. Here is a picture I have taken last year, during the UWA Expo/Open day.

THE ORGAN PIPES

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



Unfortunately, when I first looked to the front on the evening of my own graduation, I felt something terribly wrong. Nothing was the same, nothing seemed the same. I could not believe my own eyes.

Because the Organ Pipes was not there !! The gigantic structure/piece of instrument somehow dissappeared from the comfortable seat, and it just felt like a huge piece of the graduation hall went missing. There was this emptiness that could not be replaced by anything else, and the significant symbolism was taken off. I have heard that the organ piples were removed for some repair and restoration work, but seriously WTF !!! Why on my graduation??

What was worse... To replace those majestic organ pipes, the University decided to place BUTT UGLY looking speakers on the overhanging seats instead.

UGLY SPEAKERS

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar


Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



Seriously again, WTF !!! It was just very... WRONG.

Never mind about the horrijible looking series of speakers, lets move on to something more joyful. I was delghted to find out that there were still a few people that I recognize from the university, and they were there that night of the graduation alongside with me. I have always feared that I would attend this convocation alone, since I was supposed to graduate one year (2 semesters ago) which simply means that almost everyone I knew from my semester in School of Civil Engineering has already left and not to be found anywhere ever again. It was comforting just a little bit, to have a few people sitting with me whom I do actualy know.

WHAT WAS LEFT OF US

ABRAHAM, ROBIN, BEN & RUTHIE

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar




BEN & RUTHIE

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar




CHRIS (E&E Engineering)

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar




The entire ceremony itsef was pretty much the standard that you could have identified from any graduation cemremonies anywhere else on the globe. First, the academic procession, then some boring address from some high-position members in the universities. After the superbly torturing speeches which no ordinary student would pay any attention to, the conferral of degrees commenced, with the graduands lining up obediently and walking up to the stage, shook hands with the chancelor, and fulfilling the centuries old ritual of concluding the long years of uni life. This is the official manner of graduation, and every single person had that glimpse of recognition, equally spreaded out to hundreds of other graduands present for that particular graduation session. One girl almost stumbled, and it would have been hillarious if the whole atmosphere was not so tensed up.

THE PUBLIC TORTURE....

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



It was my turn, I walked up the steps, walked to the center of stage, smiled, shook hands with the-important-person, and walked down the center steps, going back to my orginal seat. Simple procedure like this, carried powerful meaning with it, and consequently marked my ending of University life, and it was just like closing the book, slamming it shut with a loud "slap" sound.

So it was done, and I have fully, and wholy, graduated.

Something inside me felt warm. Something inside me felt, satisfied. Something in me told me that, I was glad. It was indeed beautiful.

Now what happened after my turn? Of course, we all had to sit down patiently, waiting for hundreds more graduands to go up the stage and have their turn, and it was getting very, very dreadful. I am sounding very selfish now, but hey, I can guarantee you that I was not the only one feeling that way.

The last person to receive the award was the prize winner for having composed the best thesis for a postgraduate research. Allow me to share with you what the topic of the thesis was, and somehow, I thought it must have been something truly interesting, and out of the ordinary to win such a high-regarded recognition.

Indeed, it was out of the ordinary, no doubt....

HYPOBETALIPOPROTEINYOUSUCKBIGTIME

Image Uploaded by ImageShack Toolbar



The end of the ceremony was somehow taking a rather unpredictabe twist, at least for me. Imagine I was so overflowed with joy for finally getting on hold of the long desperately awaited degree, but somehow, something happened that drstically turned the table around. The graduands were to leave the hall first, our seats being placed to the front of the hall, and the guests at the back, while the exit was at the rear, we were all instructed to walk pass the guests to the exit. Walking towards the exit involuntarily made me realise, the immense number of parents, and families/relatives who were there for their respective graduands. Looking into their faces, I could see the presence of so much happiness. Sense of being proud of their sons/daughters achievement.

My heart sank to the floor, and my legs just felt frozen. I felt my shadows pulling me down.

How I wish my mum and dad were there to witness the whole thing. How i wish, I could have shared this moment of happiness with them. Even for just a while, it would have been alright.

I prayed so hard for a way to have them here. I just hoped they could see me. Now. I guess some things are just too much to ask for. Some things are not meant to happen. And maybe I was just being plainly selfish.

Somehow, it was just scorchingly saddening and before I consciously knew it, I was clumsily wiping off my cheek with the back of my palm and locking away the tormenting thought of loneliness. I tried, and it half-worked. I dried my eyes, but the haunting feeling stayed with me as I walked through the exit.

As I moved out of the graduation hall, another session of the night took place, which I shall blog in the coming entry: After Graduation: After-Party and Friends

And so it was done. It was put to an end. My university life has now, truly, ceremonially terminated. It is time, to move on.