Youth, Youth, Youth

So, I’m a youth leader in my local church. If you’ve been following this blog for a while and wonder how, what, why I ended up being one, we can delve into that detail later. Anyhow, one of my girls that I lead sent me a picture of a snapchat group conversation involving boys from our youth group.

Pretty nasty profanities if you ask me. My girl was mad furious, being almost a generation away from her, it took me a while to decipher 16 year old language. But the gist of it wasn’t cool, the conversation was mean, the profanities were nothing near to endearment usage. I could understand why she was hurt, after my silly as self finally deciphered the message an hour later, with the help of my guy friends that I shared the message to on a group chat I have with them.

Part of me felt silly for sharing to my guy friends, one of them also a youth leader, the others were ex-leaders (now retired due to that growing age gap). Like I just told my girl to keep it down low and here I am asking a bunch of guys my age on how to decipher 16 year old boy locker room chat.

Turns out I got the context of the chat all wrong, I had already responded to my girl in ways I shouldn’t have. Holy crap, and now she ain’t replying me. Like silly me right, if only there was a manual, for these little things, on how to deal with 16-18 year olds in current Snapchat social media culture or requiring instant replies and crap, WELP. Turns out the rude boy in the chat is the kid belonging to one of my friends, now HE has a headache too, none of us knows how to deal with it. It’s wrong, Trump like rude behaviour, but how do we go about the whole problem without SNITCHING THE SNITCH.

I would be the last person to defend ‘locker-room’ talk/language. Things like trying to ‘fuck a girl’s ass up’ like seriously, stop. I personally, with my very Asian side still fresh from all the Chinese New Year festivities, would give this child a good-ass whooping. A boy, no matter how furious he is, should not, CANNOT speak down to a girl like that. My girl is probably crying right now, she isn’t responding to my messages but do I be that overbearing youth leader who calls her up? Like what do I do?

You see, I never went to youth group growing up, here I am being one. Everything is new, it’s gonna be my third year and as my girls grow and face this big bad world, getting attacked by these mean-as guys, I feel attacked too. Doesn’t help when the guys you asked for  help in deciphering locker room boy talk, can’t decipher it properly, seems like defending the boys themselves.

First question my friend asked: “How did this get out?” like? Okay? So it’s normal? Do I accept this fact and move on? That boys are vulgar? Tell my girl to suck it up and do the same? While I feel attacked, she’s having it worse as it’s directly related to her.

Another culturally Asian upbringing is to reduce the amount of drama you can as you live this life, it’s okay to suck it up and let it go, move on. We don’t fight it, we shouldn’t (because we are the minority), doesn’t help the fact that we are females, us in the big bad world, while much progress has been made, much hasn’t changed. When we feel attacked, we stay quiet due to unspoken fears of jeopardy and social suicide, that’s what I do and I hate the fact that I just asked my girl to do that. I hate it so much. Why did I?

It sucks being a Youth Leader, there I’ve said. If you can tell, I have a lot of personally problems to fight with and deal, being a mentor/leader, you are voluntarily taking on 16 year old problems, crap you might not even had experienced due to your wholesome-lack-of-internet lifestyle in the past, how do you mentor kids crap you haven’t dealt with?

Every year is a new year, new year new problems. Like honest to God I don’t know how this works. My ear infection is throbbing, this issue makes my face and head throb 10x more. God sincerely help. I’ve snitched the snitches and told the Youth Pastor. Yay me, the snitching youth leader who snitches on snitchs.

It’s a big bad world out there, while a lot of us have been told to stand up for ourselves, a huge part of the job is teaching men. Mothers play such a huge role in this, you have no idea, I see how my mother reprimands my brother and as he grows up and finds his strength, she cowers. My father on the other hand, is dealing with a long distance relationship with Mum and can’t do shit. It sucks. I honestly pray to God to have a daughter in the future but if I have a son, I won’t take a single bitch-talk from him. What’s on my list you say? A man who is going to be an ever-present father, I won’t take shit if he dares to leave me for a long-distance job when our kids hit puberty.

Okay tangent. But in all seriousness, no one, should be the receiving end of insults. Be kind to one another, please children please. God help us all.

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Miss Toes

2008

“Miss Toh… hahaha more like Miss TOES”

I was making a lame joke in the changing room with my friends after an intense ballet training session leading up to our inter-foundation exam on a Friday night. Tensions were high, Miss Toh, our teacher at the time played favourites and if you’re in her bad list, Friday nights are your worst nightmare straight out of a scene from Mean Girls.

I was in her bad books. I was the girl who wouldn’t take shit seriously and laughed at everything, but the sight of Miss Toh would suck the light out of me and I could zap an intense laugh to seriousness in a second. Until today, I still use that technique, I’m 24 and it’s 10 years later.

Mid joke, Miss Toh walks right through the change room alleys to the toilets, she shoots me a bitch face and I knew then and there, I was fkd. Since that day, she puts me in the front of the class and made my ballet training days a living nightmare till the day I switched studios for training.

Malaysian/Asian training in dance was nightmarish, but looking through documentaries of the training that professional dancers go through, the difference was close to nothing. Carb eating was a crime, I remember one of my closest friends already cutting carbs at 13, a straight line was expected between the ribs to the pelvis and a slight rise of a muffin top was frowned upon. Heck, thinking through it, no wonder I love carbs so much now, its a carb catch up in time.

5th December 2018:

As I walked through the local library, a dance magazine caught my eye, it wasn’t your ordinary dance magazine, it was Ballet specific and listed professional training areas to up skill your dance career. This was a serious consideration at 16. I remember mapping out a life plan as I was migrating to Melbourne alone, to finish school, do the degree in dentistry, tell Mum I hate it and go into dance. I swear to God it was a solid plan, it worked well in my 16 year old head.

My 24 year old self flipped through the pages of the magazine as I had a mental flashback of all my memories of my 16 year old self, the dance memories I had as a child, the performances we did in the theatre and the last dance performance I did with my dance school, the night before I flew to Melbourne for my new life. The final words of my ballet principal of 13 years, Ms Gan, that night:

“Keep dancing, don’t get fat in Australia.”

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I’m sitting down here, 10 kilos heavier, with a complicated right ACL that occasionally still screws up. If anything, I was the opposite of the advice.

Miss Toh and I are friends on Facebook, I bet she secretly stalks me and I do the same to her. She has a family now and leads my old ballet school, my old ballet class mate teaches there part time.

I met up with my oldest childhood ballet friend on my recent trip back to Malaysia, she had just completed the entire syllabus of the ISTD Ballet curriculum, at 24, teaching ballet part time on the weekends while doing her serious day job. She’s now onto learning Latin and plans to complete the syllabus as well.

Her reality was a dream of mine, to be a dentist with flexi hours while teaching dance.

“Juanlin, you still can you know, it’s not too late.”
“I don’t know what you mean Sophie, I’ve torn my ACL”
Sophie shakes her head, “You can, you just didn’t try. Try Latin.”
I kinda to choreos now”
It’s different”

It’s a lie if my heart didn’t hurt through that conversation. I tell her I keep dance alive through choreography for others, but it’s truly different.

Really the little girl in me just wishes an empty stage and theatre to dance her heart out, let the knees hurt, let the dance flow, let the toes hurt. Maybe that will reconnect me back to the one true gift that was ripped from me at 17.

The lies people tell, the love not deserved

I can’t wait for Saturday, we’re gonna get sooo fucked. Just 2 parties oh fk i can’t wait”

My heart dropped. I knew what that meant. I loved Mika, she was an absolute gem and pep-talk go to during my clerkship crisis and tax assignment crisis. She knew all the right words to say to get my head back into the game, through the ways of the world, like Troy Bolton did.

I met her in London, along with my other law school friends whom I’m close with prior to LSE. But things got real in London when I realised that things were going out of hand, in terms of partying, drinking and all that jazz. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good party, a good drink, but I have always, ALWAYS, had been responsible. In fact, London was the first time I went out with non-asians and yes it was eye-opening, real eye-opening, things I watched in the movies came out in real-life. I thought I was wild when I was 21 but I guess not. I’m a good girl. really.

Through all the chaos, on our trip back from Paris, Ness* and I made up. We promised we’ll still be friends and despite our differences, I truly forgave her for what she did to me and the stuff I had to be put through. We are still friends, along with the other girls I met in London. I thought that through all the flaking and early departures from the clubs when we were in London, they’d get the drift I wasn’t that type of girl.

Mika and I never interacted as much in London besides the time we got real drunk on the boat. Fast-forward back to the normal uni semester when we crossed paths again, I knew Ness and the rest still hung-out with her because she was the wildest of the bunch with all the goods *drugs* for your innocence. She had that incredible energy, duracell bunny kind and it was hard to hate her. She was an epic tax genius so teaming up with her for the assignment was no brainer.

Everyone was getting clerkship offers, everyone had connections. EVERYONE. As much as their lifestyle was quite out of my zone, deep in my heart I knew I didn’t need it, I wanted to be their friends so bad, for the sake of being connected in the law world. They had the connections I needed.

So when Mika invited me to *drinks*, I agreed. Ness and all were coming along too and we were good friends. It was the weekend I was meant to go on a Women’s retreat with my church and after paying for a full-stay, I re-organized a “half-trip” because i needed to “celebrate something with my law friends”.

Are you that close to them though? Was the question then kinda hit me when one of my church friends questioned my decision. Yeah, I responded. Epic lie 1.

I need to go back early for the girls dance practice. Epic lie 2.

Then comes Tuesday before the weekend. Mika tells me the full plans. Plans to get rekt, we were NOT going to *just drinks at the bar* as presumed. I silently cussed from within my soul. Why am I so dumb.

On Wednesday on my trip to Bendigo, well away from Melbourne with a bus of strangers, 6am in the morning, my hands reached my phone as I typed into the newly made Messenger group that was excited for the weekend for “lets-get-fkd plans”, 

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Epic lie 3

I needed to save my ass.

I wasn’t getting fkd. It was 3 days after my cousin’s death anniversary for an overdose. 2 nights before I was shedding tears when I remembered his last words to me was:

Don’t give up Juanlin

It was in the context of my Science degree at the time, but his words have never been more real. oh God I am crying now. But I have been through the shitstorms through all these rejections from all the applications I have been doing despite all the hardwork I thought I invested in.

My late cousin wanted to see me graduate bad. He didn’t live to see the day, I switched degrees instead against what he said. My second degree is ending and my employability is well… quite fluffy and blur at this rate.

I went for the full retreat. Despite being physically tired, I feel spiritually refreshed.
Will probs do another post for this

I made such epic lies in the span of 2 weeks. I do not deserve the love God showered me with on the weekend but He still did. I have never done a public testimony or public presentation to Vic State Council in my life, in a span of a week, I did 2 public speaking events (Bendigo and Retreat). I might’ve made a joke out of myself, people were laughing, I don’t know if at me or what I said. But God, I feel like I’ve grown.

It’s been a journey, especially since London. I prayed for God to give me resilience at the start of the year, He’s been providing me nothing short of situations to help me develop that. Funny how He works things out.

I’m still friends with those girls. I hardly make enemies just because we have different values. However if they still want to be my friends, that’s another story.

p/s: My once anonymity in tweeting and blogging has slowly started to surface. I’ve been tweeting and blogging since I was 15. Mostly to an audience I don’t really know. My language on these platforms are slightly less filtered -because less judgement, I didn’t realise the amount of real life people I interact with actually read into my stuff. I’ve been doing this for so long, it’s nothing new. I’m glad y’all reading, I thank y’all for the attention (and none). I’m just getting used to speaking about what I write online, in real life. I guess because most people who knows my platforms and know me IRL don’t dare to even discuss these things with me in real life, I tend to forget that they even follow. you lurkers.  If you know me in real life, I guess you see my 2 sides now, hope you still love me as who I am. I’m alright if you approach me in real life about these things too, I guess 9 years helped me grow more skin. Tq fam.

*Names changed for privacy purposes.

Puffy Eyes

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“My face is so puffy it seriously hurts to cry”

I found myself saying that to my friends while clutching my cheeks and jawline to compress the puffiness that was developed from my multiple cry sessions over the weekend.

I don’t how to feel about that. Crying. I mean if you know me, you’ve seen me cry before… from laughing. It’s no secret that I’m that infamous laugh-cry emoji in my friendship groups, sometimes I feel like it’s my only God-given talent in the past 23 years.

But the crying I’m talking about is the sincere fat tears secreted by the tear-ducts from the induced heavy emotions from I-don’t-know-where (and you will tell me – It’s God).  I cry all the time. But let me tell you this, I hate seeing people cry (though it’s changed over the past few years). I don’t know how to react to an emotional person, despite being emotional myself. I don’t know how to comfort them… do I hug you? Do you want me to hug you? What if you don’t want me here? Should I disappear? As a youth leader now, I have essentially improved in this area, or else I will be sincerely fired over being the least empathetic leader ever.

To prevent the same emotions and feelings back to me, I made a point to myself to never public cry, ever. My closest and dearest friends, those I’ve lived with in boarding school, despite wailing myself to sleep some nights, have never seen me cry. Yet I cried like the biggest whack over the weekend at my Young Adults (1830) Camp. Gosh… the amount of times I had to run to the bathroom and people questioning my bladder issues. I mean I do pee a lot, but my visits were abnormally frequent… if you get my drift.

Is it the Internship
Is it God
Is it life
What is it
Do you need to talk

Do I?

Can I honestly tell you… I don’t know why I cried. I’m as confused as ever. Yes, I left a Christian Camp with less clarity and more confusion, how scandalously unholy.

I think half my crying was crying that I can’t stop myself from crying in public and it’s annoying to cry that it made me cry even more because I’m crying.

Yea I may have left camp confused. But I’m not confused with God. No, not ever. I think I left the camp with more curiosity, of what God has in store for me. I mean, yes I’m confused, but tell me and give me a millennial who isn’t confused with their life. They may have it all together but are you seriously that planned out… seriously.

It’s been a couple of days since camp. I’ve received “are you ok?” texts from multiple people who knew of my crying. Here it goes, I’m okay guys. I am. I’m not gonna be the suicidal 19-year-old again. God has sacrificed a life of a family member to teach me the value of life, so no. I will not die. I love life, as challenging and confusing it may be. But that’s the whole excitement of the journey, isn’t it?

I’m 23 now. It really hit me only a few days back despite 19 days into my new age. I’m not young, but I’m not old. I’m not all put together, but I’m strong enough to pick myself up if need be. I’m growing, I have Jesus. I am on the right track. Emotions are part of life, I have to deal with it, regardless how much I hate crying emotionally. It happens.

Cheers to my new age, more infrequent blogging and rants of my life. The blessings, the downfalls, the anger, the love and most of all… the endurance that comes out from the hecticness of it all.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us

Hebrews 12:1

p/s: If you’re an Athiest and wondering why an idiot like me would still believe in God despite the awful emotions and puffiness I have to endure and making my face 10x uglier than it already is… read this.

Rabbit Milk

Does this have rabbit??”

It probably didn’t mean ‘rabbit’ but from my minimal Chinese vocab, I assumed it was rabbit because it sounded like ‘rabbit’, but given the context… it probably wasn’t it.

I was in the supermarket looking at teabags when an old Chinese lady and her husband came up to me holding a bag of Devondale Full Cream milk powder, I was the only Asian in the aisle at the time.

Do you speak Chinese?” – in Mandarin
“a bit”
“can you help us read this?”
“yeah sure…”
“Does this have 兔子?” (tu zi aka rabbit)

Huh?

In Mandarin, the same sounding words can mean a million other things due to the vast number of chinese characters… tu zi could mean anything, but to me I only knew rabbit.

Clearly Devondale Milk isn’t from rabbits so I told her no… She thanked me profusely and walked away with her husband, insisting she was right the first time. My heart sank…

  • I did not know what on earth she was on about
  • I answered her
  • She was happy with my answer
  • I messed up so much but I didn’t know how to say that in Mandarin

I’m of Chinese descent. Born in Melbourne raised in Malaysia and speaking only English at home. My parents don’t know Mandarin themselves. I went to a Chinese school in Malaysia as my parents didn’t want me to repeat their mistakes of not knowing Mandarin, but ever since moving back to Melbourne… the need for me conversing in Mandarin has reduced and eventually I’ve lost it altogether.

It hit me with a realization walking back from the supermarket

Seeking advice from people who seemingly look like they know it… isn’t right. Representation isn’t everything.

She came to me because of my looks. I’m Asian. I’m meant to know and understand what she is on about. I even thought I did. I clearly did not.

It made me realize that in real life, when I’m seeking people for answers in terms of my spriritual walk or just life in general, they can perceive to know it all, did all the right things… but do they know it. Is it even right.

The importance of picking the right mentor is so important. We could end up in very different paths with the choices we make, either we ended up feeling inspired or driven, or completely confused and down the hill from where we started.

 

Just making my rabbit milk experience applicable to real life. It just made me realize how much I need to pray and seek God during this process of finding a mentor in my life. I do need one and I want one. As much as seeking God for advice is nice, my peers advising me on things that I find it relatable, it would be nice if someone older than me who has that actual wisdom I can learn from is present. Someone other than my parent, someone I know that she/he will be right and be on my side. My peers are lovely and I love them to bits, but as much as our experiences are relatable and we can share it with each other, we are of the same generation and we can only know so much.

Praying I won’t get Rabbit Milk.

Of course I won’t… I have Jesus.

 

Lone Pancake Adventures

My Contract law exam is tomorrow, last night… in the midst of panicking and onset exam anxiety (that I still sometimes suffer after years of exams), I procrastinated (like a true student) and discovered that Pancake Parlour’s postcode deal has finally reached me.

It’s a deal where if you live in a particular post code area, you get free food. Free Food. Well just a short stack.

Thing though, there was a catch. It’s from 11pm-6am only. Clearly, when everyone is asleep so chances of wasting precious flour on freebie suckers (like me) is slimmer.

Can I just say, this isn’t my first time freebie hunting/sucking from Pancake Parlour, it’s like the only/closest thing we get to an American 24hr diner besides our drive-through Maccas (McDonalds) and the only place generous enough to accomodate people like me. Currently it’s summer here down under and during the days it hits 30 degrees, you’re entitled freebies before 11.59pm of the day. Days like these, the freebie suckers will be unleashed from within the community and you’ll see PP flocked and flooded with them that you have to queue for seats, because it’s the only time they really get business (or not). I was (obviously) present for most of these freebie deals, along with almost 7-8 of my other friends, who would hog a 10 seat table at the place till midnight, eating/drinking our freebies and leave paying 0 dollars like a true freebie sucker. Shameless.

However, these friends don’t live in my postal code area and the deal hours are so awkward. None of my friends are morning people either and everyone has day jobs so staying late wasn’t an option.

I made a decision to freebie suck alone.

At 5am, my alarm rang. My reflex action was the usual fling-phone-across-the-bed but then…running on 5 hours of sleep… I realized, it’s freebie sucking morning.

After 15 minutes worth of snooze and contemplation, I decided to proceed with my absurd decision and changed my clothes. I had mentioned this to my mum earlier before I slept but it was such an absurd idea she didn’t even bother responding. To wake her and wait for her, the deal would end, so I grabbed my keys, wallet and Contract Law book and left.

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This was the time I arrived. 0 cars in the parking lot. The only inhabitants in the building was 1 chef and a 15 year old looking waitress. This is a stark contrast to all the freebie nights I’ve been at this place.

The waitress asked me if I’d like to start with a coffee. I went straight to the short stack order because there’s 28 minutes left to my deal and I wasn’t going to pay 16 bucks for pancake at 6am in the morning.

But then she returned later after putting in my order and asks, “Are you sure you don’t want me to get you anything to drink?”

Usually I would say no. I’m stingy that way and 7/11 $1 coffees are the way to go for me. But this was the first time I was freebie sucking alone and for some reason, walking out paying absolute zero without my friends was just..baad. So I ordered a latte. I broke my freebie sucking streak coz I felt bad for the waitress working a nightshift and serving a freebie sucking 22 year old.

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The girl made some pretty good coffee. I guess I gave her something to do. Then came the world’s longest 2 minutes of my life.

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It is bigger than you think. On a regular basis, I would share this (I’m a small eater). But clearly I have no one to share with and to leave my plate half finished is a let down to the freebie sucking community, I mean have the decency to finish what you’ve been blessed with.

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I didn’t let down. This is the fastest I’ve finished such a plate, or meal even. I’m like always the last to finish. Then again, I had no one to distract but just me, myself and I.

Tradies were trickling into the place by 5.45am and I was no longer alone. I had 10 minutes left before my deal ends so I decided to go to the counter and pay/redeem my offers.

Guess what, I couldn’t find the offer because Facebook decided to fail on me when I needed it at the counter when it was fine just 10 minutes earlier while I was browsing it on my table.

Waitress asked me for $16. Shucks, 16 bucks for flour and eggs is like food pooped out of royal hens.

Thank God for grace, I told her about the deal and you know what… she actually gave the pancakes free for me. She didn’t even look at my ID to check my postcode. OMG. To be honest, she didn’t even know which postcode had the deal was on. I swear I could’ve been any other lying freebie scum (but I’m not). So I paid $4 for the coffee. It was good coffee but honestly the price was just so hiked I would’ve never ordered it any other day.

The road was still clear like as though my grandfather owned it. I even slowed down to take a shot.

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This is so illegal on so many levels so kids don’t do this when you start driving. Though I must say I’ve done a complete stop in the middle of the road once last year while Pokemon Hunting (the levels of insanity right there), not just any road but Doncaster freakin Road (same road as above), that was at like 12am though. Also, a clear road with nobody. Joyrides.

I officially ended my lone pancake adventures the exact time the deal ended.

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It made me now question if I’m really a morning or a night person. I mean really now…

If anyone were to ask me what is the craziest thing you ever did?

Freebie sucking at Pancake Parlour at 5.30am. Alone.

I need a boyfriend who is willing to do absurd crap like this with me because we’ll either not get along or it’d be absolute fun ahaha..

PSA announcement to all fellow freebie suckers to follow Pancake Parlour’s Facebook page for more free deals. Thank me. you snooze you lose.

God Bless you ❤