I’ve been putting off the thought of writing this post for a while now because I was afraid that I would unexpectedly fail my last semester or not meet some graduation requirements (Which is extremely possible for me from my record of forgetting to SU my modules and causing me to NEED to get an almost CAP 5 this sem to up a class, missing deadlines for module preference exercises, not knowing when’s CORS, and not even knowing where to print or that I had to submit a hard copy of my thesis) and hence, not graduate, and then I have to churn an entirely different post. Yes, I’m a worrywart and a huge pessimist. Also, I dread writing this post because I know how nostalgia and emotions would overwhelm me throughout the post, and I HATE to be emotional, even though I am, 90% of the time.
I reckon it has to be time for this as the new year inches upon us.
2015 has been a hell of a year. Ironically, the constant theme of the major events I’ve experienced in this year is Change. They say change is the only constant in life – I concur. But the magnitude of Change and its consequences differ – it could creep upon you like how time does to all of us or it could come crushing down on you like strong waves and turn everything in your life upside down.
4.5 years. That’s how long it took me, including my stint at Pathlight. I’ve experienced so much through university life. It feels like just yesterday I’ve first set foot into NUS, feeling so lost in the crazily huge campus. Yet looking back, there’s just so, so, so many experiences I’ve been through, it definitely couldn’t have happened just yesterday. Haha.
Before I came into NUS, I envisioned myself as one who would be super into hall activities, and at the same time doing well in school (like CAP 5 every sem) and still be able to be a
damn good player in IVP. It’s incredible how wide the disparity was between my dreams and reality. To me, university life was a whole new ball game that I wasn’t accustomed to. I was so used to the high flying achievements in school, like doing well in major exams, being involved in everything from directing, acting and editing videos in almost every nonsensical event in class, to social work every weekend, and still being able to play good basketball and going for all sorts of competitions; I thought it would be just the same in university. After all, UNI ALSO SCHOOL WHAT.
In my first year, I remembered how my dad and I couldn’t find our way to KR the first time we went to NUS, and got scammed by a passer-by. Then I had my first and only night cycling experience in KR where we cycled through the F1 place, Orchard road and ECP, and it was fucking amazing. Hall was fun, I secretly wished I could be around more, to do more things, and really, join a lot of other stuff in hall. But with trainings ending at 10-ish in the past, I was only able to be back in hall at 11 and by the time I wash up and do laundry hor, where got time to play? Okay, probably wasn’t so mature then. I tried. Went for suppers, tried to finish up my assignments till 4am, go to school to sleep at 10am, oversleep for classes, and waste my day away in my room till it’s time to go for training. Everyday. First sem CAP: 3.9. Eh? Not bad lah, just cram everything 2 weeks before still get 3.9, and I got to major in psych earlier than a lot of my peers, ya ya papaya. I remembered checking for my results in the next semester at Blu Radisson in India, the fucking comfortable 5 star hotel after slogging it out at the orphanage for a week, my second sem CAP? 2.6. I laughed. By then I still thought at least I had 3.5, I could do honors and I’d be fine. That was just something that I said to myself to comfort my crushed soul. I wasn’t even enjoying basketball as well. Training sucked, the seniors sucked, the atmosphere was so tense in every single training, I dreaded it. The only thing that made me happy in the past 10 years of my life was the cause of my misery in year 1. Wow. Quarter life crisis much. It was also the first time I thought of quitting the team even though I had my playing time (ALOT in fact), which I used to think was the only thing that mattered, it wasn’t just enough to keep me there.
But I didn’t, after realizing that the team was left with a pretty pathetic number of people, and learning that if you want change, you don’t wait for things to just get better, you should be the cause for change. Year 2 saw me picking up the shit I left for myself in the previous year, and we also got into the basketball finals in IHG after that amazing win against EH.
Yes, I’ve been told that I’m damn KP.
Stepped out of my comfort zone and became the chairperson for YEP and saw myself going to India THRICE. I can’t believe I actually did that, going to India with just Gavin, and bearing the cold in the 8 hour bus ride after flying over. Experienced the biggest upset in my entire basketball career then during IVP, lost the game by a single point from a buzzer beating 3 pointer. What the actual fuck. I could still remember the whole scene so vividly. I want to murder someone.
This was the fateful game. Since lose already, must post a more handsome pic to boost my ego.
Nonetheless, I loved the team and was really glad that I didn’t leave. More basketball, more studies, loner in hall. Year 2 was bearable, hitting my 4-ish in both sems, and a hell lot of learning in life.
Year 3 was the year I first talked to this guy I’ve heard so much about. I remembered how we used to text till 4am in the morning, with me grinning from ear to ear and rolling in bed. I remembered how he dropped me his number after a really crappy ivp training, and a time-wasting handball training, I picked up my phone and saw the message as I walked out of the court and started leaping with joy inside. I still get that little bit of excitement when I see his name on my screen now (even when we quarrel and angst. Is it classical conditioning?). I also remember myself riding out at night after a game to Keppel Bay just cause I was so pissed at being in a team that always loses and never get things right. I also lost my semi finals to EH and hence, the shot at the finals. It was not a good year for basketball. It was also when I started to fall in love more deeply with the gym, learning how to squat and deadlift, and flex narcissistically.
Took a break in Y4S1 for the internship at Pathlight. The most tiring period of my entire life. Went to Taiwan for the most exciting competition in my career. Playing against the China teams were probably the highlight of the trip because it was really funny to feel so tiny on court. Despite being on internship, I was allowed to play in SUNIG, and I guess that shows how we can’t cheat life, since I was being robbed of my chance at SUNIG this semester.
2015 – Year 4
Everything leading to Year 4 suddenly seemed so precious. I remembered how I told myself to treasure the fatigue I felt from the all day training sessions in December, because it would be the last time I’d be feeling so physically fatigued and satisfied. My last year of IHG was incredibly memorable.
P.S. Not a picture from this year, I lazy find.
We had the 2 powerhouses EH and TH in our grouping for handball, each with their own IVP stars and we had none. We went into the competition thinking that we would be just a first round out team, but still tried to not get thrashed too badly. First match against the champs TH, and we FUCKING WON. To me, that was enough. 4 years straight of being thrashed and losing – the underdogs proved themselves. Finally. Sure, we were not the better team, we might be just the luckier team but luck doesn’t come to those who are not prepared. The semi finals against RH was also phenomenal even though we got thrashed because I’ve never had a more difficult game in the 4 seasons and that ended off the 4 trying years on a good note.
IHG Basketball was a breeze.
What used to be a challenge for us – EH, was surprisingly easy. Close fight but I knew we were going to win.
See can even kp people during the game.Also, what a pass. HAHAHA! Okay I stop.
The finals was also the nearest I’ve ever got to winning TH. We even led in the first quarter and scared the shit out of them. Then again, they are always scared of me, so lame, because I’ve never won a single IHG medal in my 4 years of playing in IHG. But I’ve always liked the thrill of being an underdog and giving the teams a run for their money. BUT FUCK, DON’T SCAREDY CAT LEH, but I still love you guys.
Look at how harmonious we were as opponents. HAHA! Okay they didn’t know I was there.
2 major losses concluded my last season of IHG, but I’d never have asked for a better ending. I’ll definitely miss the times I’m stuck in hall and feeling sore because of my refusal to go overseas, while nobody gave a shit and just enjoyed themselves. That’s just me. I’ll miss feeling so burnt from training outdoors and drained from 2-3 trainings in a day everyday, and cycling to get my favorite post-training salad. Great times, great times.
Was horrible. Lost a game we were leading in the last 4 minutes. My last shot at finally getting into the top 4 for IVP gone just like this. Still quite pissed when I think about it, and the fact that how I’ve given my soul into this team for the past 4.5 years and not even getting anything out of the “biggest” school competition for us. That’s probably the only thing I remember about IVP, so… Yeah.
I knew I had one last shot for NUS. Just one last season with them in August, and I swear I did everything I could and learned as much as I could. I remember how a friend once told me that to improve, I’ve to be like water and learn to be flexible and open enough to learn and fit into any circumstances and dynamics, just like how water takes the shape of any container. I’ve always laughed at him for that analogy since year 1, but it did help. A lot.
I posted this because.. WHY THE HECK IS MY HAND ON SHUHADAH’S KNEE?
I’ve honestly never been more excited playing overseas. I usually just dread it because of my sucky experiences from the youth team trips, and the feeling just stuck with me till then. I was surprised at how excited I was to be able to play against teams of standards beyond what the other teams in Singapore could offer. That was a first, because I always scaredy cat. The Hong Kong trip started off on a bad note because of the really bad organization from HKU and we ended up having food from 7-11 on our first night there in an international competition. TSK. I should probably write a post about that and bitch all about it. I was left really thrilled for our first game, and was even more excited when I thought about playing the Macau team the next day because I saw how aggressive they were. These positive emotions are definitely a first for me. But the Macau game never came for me. The rest of the story you guys would’ve read from my previous posts.
Change can come in many forms and magnitudes. While some creep upon you just like how time does to all of us, some comes crashing down on you like huge waves.
This injury was one of those waves. It was probably the most defining thing that has happened to me in my entire year, perhaps my university life. It sucked. I still do feel sore about the fact that it happened to me because I worked so hard to make sure that this doesn’t happen to me with all that leg work and keeping myself conditioned throughout the year. But things happen. You don’t choose what happens to you, but you can choose how you want to respond to your circumstances. The preparation and thoughts of my very last season with the team, and my pre-planned retirement from basketball was just gone with just a snap (literally and figuratively. Some times I think I very punny).
My first time in my university life without trainings and games every other day was weird. But that freed up so much time for me to deal with my thesis, and I guess that was much needed? Then again, I know I could’ve coped even with trainings and games. But to console myself, I tell myself I wouldn’t have if I had trainings.
I’ve learned and experienced so much from this injury. It’s really crazy, and I’m thankful how this only happened to me in my last semester and in Hong Kong, if it had to just happen to me. Why?
1. If it were to happen to me in any time of my university life, I would have missed 2 or EVEN 3 seasons, instead of just one, since IVP, IHG and SUNIG were so close to each other, and 1 year of recovery would have definitely robbed those away from me.
2. I’m glad it’s in Hong Kong because it’s not everyday you get to see and experience atas hospital overseas and be treated like royalty on the airplane. It was so weird for me to walk into the plane myself in my recent Japan trip okay? HAHA! Or ride the ambulance? I damn childish but it was cool?! And SCARY?!
FUN lah, in retrospect. But fucking painful. Fuck.
3. It gives me something to work towards to everyday. From walking, being able to bend my knee, cycling, to running and right now, to jump and be back on court, it taught me to celebrate every little achievement and learn to be genuinely happy with everything I have in the present.
4. Most importantly, it taught me to be okay with endings and changes. I was afraid of how I’d miss the game, how sad I’d be when my season comes to an end finally, and also how depressed I’d feel when I finally graduate. This incident taught me to be okay with major changes, and the premature ending showed me that life still goes on, and you will still have to deal with it no matter what. That explains why I’m not exactly sad when I graduated and I don’t have to deal with the last season depression because it ended way before in January.
5. Most, most, most importantly, it reminded me of how lucky I am to have my amazing parents with me, and be even more appreciative of them.
She’s damn annoying. But I really love her so much, I can’t even.
And here’s my parents and my maid cleaning up my hall room for me for the first time in 4 years because handicap benefits. HAHA!
6. ALSO, I’ve always forgotten to mention about this in my other posts, BUT wa being injected with morphine was probably the best feeling on earth. I can see why people get addicted because there was NO PAIN after being injected and I WAS SO HIGH, I saw myself floating with the stars and my world spinning and shaking. DAMN FUN.
Remember how I screwed up my first year in university? I managed my 4s in the rest of the semesters, but my carelessness and not SU-ing my mods caused me to meander along 2 classes. I knew how much difference it makes between a 2nd lower and 2nd upper, in terms of how long I was going to work before getting my masters. Yes no more first class honors hopes since year 1, I screwed up but I certainly didn’t regret everything I did. I had to get above 4.7 to up a class, and in psychology, this was near impossible.
I tried, but thesis was the bane of my existence as I struggled to chase deadlines after another, and it did not help when i had nothing written on the document 2 months before submission because I had no data. I had to run every single data collection on my own, 15 sessions of it, but I was glad to have great mentors to force me to write up parts of my thesis early and it became a lot easier towards the end.
My first assignment in sports psych saw me getting a 37/60 for a 30% essay, which I thought was splendidly written. Don’t say I haolian leh, but I know when I’ve written a good paper. My heart sank and it left me feeling pretty crappy about myself, until i realized that it was actually the prof who was ridiculous, as she graded every paper with the same rubrics despite everyone having different questions, and some of the requirements just didn’t apply to the question, i.e. MINE. Luckily for me, I’m a psych student and learn about attribution of blame and effort, I decided not to judge myself as useless with just one assignment. Worked my ass off on my birthday just for the 30% presentation the next day, nailed it. And studied my ass off for the 2 other finals after submitting my thesis.
After my first sleepless night before result day in university, it was my first time in 8 semesters I saw a string of As on the SMS alert at 7am on result day. Yes, I upped a class. I graduated. I fucking hope I get Dean’s list, just because of the extra $500.
That’s pretty much it for my 4.5 years in NUS. As you can see how everything just revolves around basketball and school in the next 3 years, and it paid off. I decided I’m not that much of an all-rounder, but that’s okay. I’ve took away so much more from my university education than I thought I would’ve, and I’m glad.
I’m sorry this post seems longer than I’ve expected it to be, but you don’t have to read it, because it’s really just for me. I’m SELFISH.
Explodingbelly. It seems like I’ve been doing this for a damn long while, but 2015 marks the very first year of the existence of this blog. It’s crazy to see how much this name has grown since the start of the year. Like I said, I’ve never expected this blog to become a hardcore food blog or becoming what they call a “social media influencer” on instagram when I first started @explodingbelly on Instagram and explodingbelly.com.
I remember how it all started off – some time in early January, I met up with a group of Instagrammers who dropped me a message that they wanted to meet me for lunch. I delayed the meeting since the last November till January because it was just WEIRD? HOW CAN ANYHOW MEET PEOPLE ONLINE? I did eventually, and to me, that was when Explodingbelly took off. These people are probably the only people I’ve spent more time with than any other group of friends this year. They’ve taught me so much about Instagram (must have skill one hor), I grew from just having 1k followers (ALREADY A FEAT to me) from the start of the year, to 7.9k in August and to 15k today. It’s crazy.
I also went for my very, very first tasting as a plus one this year – at Bakerzin.
I remembered wishing for more opportunities like this, and it soon became a reality. From 1 invitation per month, to more than a couple every week. I’m honestly not boasting (but if you think so then whatever lah, ya I haolian), I just find it so damn incredible and how blessed I am to have such opportunities endowed upon me. Meeting people from different walks of life, like writers of magazines I’ve never even heard before (HAHA), and attending events like the World Gourmet Summit and the Restaurant Week preview were the highlights of my blogging career. Being able to do something I love – writing and generating content, and yet, gaining all the experiences I could only dream of having just a year ago.
I also got my first DSLR this year after a rash decision from a meet up with those guys you’ve seen above at Oh My Bacon.
These people were more excited than I was, rushing me to Sim Lim to get my camera and helping to queue for my free gift and really helped me in taking better pictures over the span of one year.
I lugged this shit on a damn crowded bus. #dedication.
So I joined their gang of Nikon when I told them how lame DSLRs were just a week ago then.
I’m glad I met them, and I’m glad I got into this sphere because i’ve met SO many people and experienced much more I could’ve even imagined. I couldn’t be more thankful to everyone I’ve met, and everyone who kept faith in explodingbelly and her long-winded posts like this.
I’ve met new people and got to know more people on a deeper level that I couldn’t have been more thankful for. You guys know who you are. Thank you for impacting my life and my views on life in this year – just in time for me to grow up. To the Instagram friends that I’ve gained and lost, thank you for showing me how real this world is, and how extreme people can get when fame gets into their head. It teaches me to stay humble and grounded no matter what. I’m looking forward to greater things in 2016.
To Ben, we’ve had our fair share of arguments and disagreements. We broke up, we got back. We were immature in our own ways. We grew and we learned. It’s not as smooth sailing as it seems to many others and nothing ever worth it comes easy. I learned that while I’ve constantly been looking for the “perfect partner”, I’ve never tried being one myself. I just want to say thank you for teaching me to be independent during the time when we were apart, and I think we’ve both grown up a lot more after everything that has happened. Let’s move on to the next phase of our life in 2016 together, and I look forward to more fights and make ups. HAHA. I love you.
While 2015 is a year filled with massive changes with graduation, break ups and painful experiences, I’m glad they all happened. I’m glad I wrote this post too because it got me to look back on my experiences, which I’ve forgotten that they have happened just earlier this year.
I’ve no concrete new year resolutions in 2016 because I know a goal without a plan is deemed to fail. No point setting up myself for failure but here is what’s gonna happen:
1. I’ll get my first job. Where at I don’t know. But I’ll be heading off for my masters in 2 years’ time, so I’ve got loads of time to play and explore.
2. I’m working on something exciting right now and if it goes through, I might not need a job any more HAHA.
3. Go back on court in April, hopefully. And get them legs the same size and stronger. It’s been close to 6 months post-op now, but I still do not have any entirely pain-free days. This is going to be a long shot, but I’ll be as patient as I can ever be to be back stronger.
Okay, it has grown a little since. And I’m working really hard at it.
4. Continue generating content on this blog and instagram, and pray really hard that I won’t get fatter.
If you’ve made it all the way here, I want to say, Thank you for reading.
2015, has been an unforgettable year with more tears shed more than the others, and life defining lessons learnt. Thank you for being here with me, and on to the next phase of life in 2016.
Happy New Year, guys!