Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Off with the old...

Bye 2008.


Was around town in Melbourne today where there was fireworks to send off the old year and usher in the new.

2008 was indeed a year filled with a little bit of everything. A good year. There were more happy days compared to melancholic moments. The only thing is that it was gone too fast. Wondered when I will get used to write 2009 instead of 2008.

Goodbye,student years, welcome working years.

Goodbye, Melbourne, welcome back, Malaysia.

Goodbye goodbye goodbye...

And a Happy New Year! 2009 here I come...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Blue Christmas

Christmas Eve in Melbourne. The sky is crystal blue.


There's an indoor Christmas tree;


and an outdoor one.


Reindeers and carol players dotted the streets.

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Also Santa and crazy tall cricketer.

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People are awaiting presents to be opened;


and also the arrival of Jesus Christ.


A Christmas Eve BBQ;


and Christmas Lights in Ivanhoe.


Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


The ceremony was getting boring. There she was, squirming uncomfortably in the stiff and stuffy gown, itching to just get the whole thing over and done with. All these make believe grandeur supposedly to crown off her four years of hard work!

Lai Shan contemplated her Uni life for a moment. No there’s nothing to shout about. Happy times, yes. Sad times, yes. But no intense life changing moment worth remembering. Uni was dull. And lonely.

Her mind shifted to the time she won the public speaking competition last year. It was a moment of joy and elation. All her friends came and mobbed her. But it was short lived. She caught sight of the boyfriend of the runner up hugging and wiping off tears from her face. Like being pricked by a pin, Lai Shan knew all these achievements are no substitute for a lonely heart. There’s no one for her to share her joy with, to chatter and gloat over the win again and again.

Likewise, when she lost the competition this year, there’s no one to comfort her, no one to cling to and she ended up crying into her pillow until it was all wet and soggy and her eyes all puffy and red.

Every time she saw a couple holding hands while walking towards the lecture hall, her heartache increase a single notch. Every time her friends managed to find someone to call their special half, she puts her best smile up and congratulate them. But deep down, emptiness added with a twinge of jealousy reigned. “When will be my time to be lucky?” She always wondered. The nights she spent in front of the full length mirror at her home staring back at the girl in front of her had been countless. . Not bad looking at all. The skin is smooth, the face flawless. Eyes big enough, nose straight. But still single.

What is wrong with me?” she wanted to scream and yell. She was socially competent, has lots of friends who seem to enjoy her company. She was bubbly and fun to be with. But there was no one inviting her to the prom night. No one sending her flowers on Valentine’s day. No one whom she can smile and say proudly to her friends “he’s my boy”.


Jayeire Lim. Every girl either envies or despises her. It seems that the whole male population of the school swarms around like she is the queen bee. It may be stretching the truth to the limit, but in the eyes of countless girls thirsting for attention, the above statement is very true.

Jayeire is the most popular in Uni by everyone’s perception. In lectures, there are always some boys sitting on both of her sides. In the canteen during lunch, ninety nine times out of a hundred she will be the only girl sitting in the whole table. In the library, she was always seen studying with boys. Or on the grass on the front lawn of the Uni. Or next to the basketball court. Well, anywhere.

She is by everyone standard, a pretty girl. She is accomplished too. Representing the Uni in various competitions and won a couple of them. Dux of the class, with results that never cease to amaze people. She oozes confidence when she sashayed her way to the lecture theatre, she exudes charm when she went on stage to promote the latest club activity. She is nice too. Friendly and humble, funny and helpful. Deep down in their heart, every girl admired and wants to be Jayeire Lim. And she is every boy's wet dream.

No one remembers the last time in Uni that Jayeire can’t be found without at least two guys by her side.


The usher summoned everyone to be ready to go on stage. Straightening her graduation gown, Lai Shan walked slowly to the side of the hall. One by one, she watched her peers went on stage to receive their scroll. At last it was her turn.

Bachelor of Engineering, First Class Honours – Lai Shan Jayeire Lim.” She went up the stage, and received the scroll with a bright smile, accompanied by the most thunderous applause of the night.

The boys witnessing it all have the same thought “Ah, I wish she was mine. If only she was not that perfect - then perhaps I will have a chance…”

Monday, December 22, 2008

Days we count before going home

Counting down the days before going home.15 days left. There's so much things to do until I don't know what to do - ended up doing nothing at all. There's just so many places to go and things to eat for one last time. Friends to meet. Things to pack. It's hard. Deciding what to throw away and what to keep. Everything seems to stir up some memories, be it bitter or sweet or in between.


Family was here for the past fortnight. Been a busy tour guide, dispensing all my Melbourne wisdom on them. Trying to share with them a piece of my experience. A snapshot of my world. A smorgasbord of food, places and people. Even the four seasons of Melbourne. Somehow Melbourne dispensed some winterish weather while they were here:


Cold and raining at Great Ocean Road;


Cloudy in Mornington; and


Sunny in Ballarat.

However quite happy that the animals treat us well this time round- there were an endless stream of penguins at the parade, a peacock showed us his proud feathers in Churchill Island and a Koala bear came down and greet us in the Koala Bear conservatory. Rare occurrences.

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Today had a long hard look at my cert, taking my sweet time savouring every letter, every colour, every corner. Four years of hard work painstakingly double boiled and distilled into just this piece of paper 38cm x 27cm big. Yeah I was dead serious when I said I did savour every single drop of it.


At last now I can add B.Pharm (Hons) at the end of my name. It will officially be Kho Boon Phiaw B.Pharm (Hons). Come to think of it, my degree title looks like my name. Got B and P. Maybe I was destined to do pharmacy all the time.

Had a look at all the other certs I acquired also. Guess I was a typical Asian, always striving for that piece of paper. Most probably they won't be of any use, but at least each of them have a story to tell and can trigger some nice memories. It's the journey that matters. 


Now, its time to tie up all the loose ends. And hopefully leave with no regrets.

Monday, December 15, 2008

An overnight occurrence

They suddenly sprouted around Melbourne like spring flowers brought about by the overnight December drizzle. The father with spectacles in the baggy sweater, the brother with the camera slung around the neck, the sister tagging along trying to hide the protruding rabbit teeth and the mum who is inevitably the shortest of the lot. Of course at the head of this little tour group is the flashy guy or girl, with hands pointing around like signposts on the street.

They swoop upon places with style over substance, eating in places such as one where Bill Clinton had his first bowl of pho even though the store two streets over serves pho with 30g more noodles and 10 extra slices of meat for the same price. They go to exquisite Greek and Italian restaurants, with menus so exotic that they sound like foreign language. Then smugly the head of the mini entourage will tell the rest what a Moussaka or Parmagiana is, bathing in the glory-ness of the resulting oohs and ahhs. Too bad it will be short lived as the father will inevitably denounce that it was too high cholesterol and the mum said it was too salty. Not to mention too expensive.

They also went to the shopping centres like Myers and David Jones and the myriad of Direct Factory Outlets, their mental calculators going overdrive as they compare the price of the Adidas shoes and Tommy Hilfinger shirt with the equivalent in their home countries. They brought chocolates, key chains, koala bear miniatures, ticking off relatives names off an imaginary list as they went on.  They walked, trammed and taxied, showing their faces in famous places and again, inevitably, got a piece of themselves captured in other people's photos and then unwittingly got cursed upon when the photos were developed. Ah, the photo would be perfect, if only those tiny ants weren't there!!

Then on a certain rainy day, you will see all these tiny sets of people congregate together, and wondered why they all looked familiar. Most certainly because they were there when you were  admiring rocks on Great Ocean Road or Penguins on Philip Island. And that day will be the day when they see their cash cow - the flashy tour leader they send over as a greenhorn calf three or four years ago - got the stamp of approval from some Australian University as "fit for the market". Smile of contentment will be on their face. Another success story to boast to their neighbours back home!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Lucky Guy 9

image Third year at Monash University Parkville. Refreshed from a two months holiday back home, I was eager to start the year off with a bang.

Uni started off with the busiest and scariest semester - a total of six subjects to be conquered. The sheer amount of lecture material was never seen before and was indeed a quantum leap from the honeymoon period which was the first two years. It was also the first time we had the so called most important subject, Clinical Pharmacy, which deals with diagnostic sign and symptoms, treatment selection and monitoring of various maladies. I like the subject a lot as I found it most interesting and relevant to the things I'm studying now.

Other subjects in the semester include Pharmacy Practice, Microbiology, Pharmaceutics, Pharmacology and Medicinal Chemistry. Definitely not a stroll in the park.

I was elected to the post of Treasurer in PISA that year, and was pleased to hear that STEPS were well received by the new International students, even though a few complained that it was way too wordy. Activities in PISA started off with a little bit of hiccup as our welcome dinner coincide with the students' English proficiency test. Nevertheless, I remembered that our nasi lemak and teh tarik was well received.

Throughout the first semester, we continued to have sporadic activities. Some activities received good response, whereas some have so little people attending that it had to be cancelled. Nevertheless, all activities taught me valuable lessons on what were the priorities and likings of students in general. I really felt that joining the club improved my applied psychology and marketing skills.

Being part of PISA was also a great way to make friends. I was more confident by that time and can initiate small conversation with people. This confidence was also built up via my role as a Student Ambassador and Global Friendship Series (GFS).

That semester I also applied for the role as Student Ambassador, which offers selected students leadership training in return for services promoting the Uni. It was the most prestigious role in Uni and the group interview was very scary. All the other students answered the open questions so well and so quickly and I have no chance to talk until the interviewer had to ask me a question directly. I have no idea how I got in the program as only 15 students throughout the whole campus were selected.

The first few events I joined in my capacity as a Student Ambassador was awkward and uncomfortable as I don't know anyone in the team. Luckily I found my footing sooner than I thought and became firm friends with most of the other people in the team. There were a lot of useful training sessions like leadership training, public speaking, emotional intelligence, cultural awareness which added value to my University experience. We also had the chance to meet prominent members of the profession and have them sharing experiences with us.

That year Uni also introduced Global Friendship Series, an initiative to integrate students from all different year levels and walks of life. I joined the first activity and was immediately hooked to the novel concept. When they asked for volunteers to run the activities I immediately sign up. I was the first official volunteer. Galahad and Kush signed up later and we were the trio of brothers who put our heart and soul into trying to make it the best program in the campus.

I don't know was I was thinking that year, but I also applied and got accepted to be a Disability Liaison Unit (DLU) notes-taker. My job is to help people with a disability take down lecture notes during their lectures. Luckily the job only start in the second semester or I would have some problem coping.

Despite my average score that semester was the lowest amongst my four years, I felt that the shift of focus to integrate more co-curricular activities into my life is the right one. It was one of the most enjoyable time in my Uni life.



It had been a hectic fortnight, starting with the 8 day trip to New Zealand, a day trip with Uni friends to Phillip Island and four days touring around Melbourne with my family. After a 10 hour sleep, at last I had time to sit down to reflect and write about the last important milestone of my university life - my graduation.

It had been raining the whole week in Melbourne, but luckily my graduation turned out sunny! It was gorgeous having blue sky and green grass as a graduation backdrop. Too bad the ceremony was held in the main campus, which is far away from Parkville.


Funny how the only physical end result of four years of hard work and toil was just a piece of paper that you can roll into a scroll and throw away somewhere on your desk.


And how the whole actual ceremony is just 1 hour long and the amount of time you spend on stage is a mere 10 seconds. It was hard condensing everything you had gone through in four years into such a limited amount of time.


I'm extremely thankful and grateful to my family and friends who made the long and arduous journey to Clayton for my graduation. It was touching having you all at my side taking photos and having this day frozen in time to be viewed and reviewed again in the future.


To all of you, I would like to say a very big thank you, Without the support and encouragement of all of you, I would not have this day in life. A big thank you to JPA too, who sponsored my whole education here.


And thanks for the presents and best wishes. Especially to my cousins who "shipped" all the goodies from Singapore.


I had acquired a few new pets in the process. I promised I will take good care of them. ^^


At last I'm ready to join the workforce and apply all I had learnt throughout my four years here to make the world a better place. Being in the health profession, I have hordes of ideas to empower people to take charge of their health and live a better life. Hopefully I have the opportunity to turn my vision into a reality.

I believed I had did everything I could in University and left with fond memories and no real regrets. It's time to close that chapter of my life and say Hi to a whole new world.


And true to the motto of Monash University - Ancora Imparo - I will strive on continuing my education in life. One can never stop learning.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

New Zealand













End of story.