Independent August.

Color my heart, like the graffito on the wall.

Color my heart, like the graffito on the wall.

It has been 56 years. We’re still struggling with unity and patriotism, thanks to the leaders who keep coming up with new political gimmicks of petty racial issues. We’re still combating our inner demons of quota system and corruption. We still have miles to go before we could walk down the streets feeling unthreatened. Nevertheless, this is my motherland. She may have flaws, she may have been tarnished by the leaders, but I love her. There’s no other land, where I could feel totally myself. There’s no other people, whom I could say my own. May we flourish more and more, and protect ourselves from colonizers; be it external or internal. 

Independent. I love the way it rolls on the tongue, with the explosive P and stressed T. I love the confidence it gives when you say it. In fact I remember training myself saying it before the mirror, some many years ago. My parents gave me freedom of speech, since I was young thus I rarely stop talking. Thank you. They taught me to take care of myself, since I don’t have siblings to fall back onto. They left me at home alone and went to work, teaching me not to unlock the front door at any circumstance. They never hired a maid, though I have a working mother. They kept giving me knowledge on surviving this life, no matter how small it may be. Best of all, they allow me to think freely and accept my rationale. At the age of 24, after all my rebellious teen years, here I am being proud and appreciative of my parents’ ways of upbringing. 

By the end of this month, my blood circulation has been detoxified from Jaya Catering and its particles. Thank god for that. I had been well fed, not to be reminded by the weighing scale. I am driving my parents around, feeling all adult suddenly. I have started cooking and that deserves a mega patting on my shoulders. I had a week trip to Singapore and spent quality time with my soulmate. I visited the Universal Studios and loved it to bits, minus the crowd and waiting time. I have pierced my nose and currently can’t wait for it to heal completely. I have registered with the Malaysian Dental Council as an officer. I had a brief meeting with my classmates of 5 years, feeling a little sad. I am blessed with great friends, who keep reminding me that I should miss them for not being in AIMST right now. You know you didn’t waste away 6 years in a place because there are people who wanted to call you for dinner, out of reflex though you’re not there anymore. You know you’re missed when you get texts saying they feel awkward without having you burst into their room with weird funny shit. If there are some things I cherish in life, those are the hard goodbyes. 

There's nothing as fulfilling as baggages of memories, clung to your heart.

There’s nothing as fulfilling as baggages of memories, clung to your heart.

 

Moving On.

Three weeks into my holidays. Home is treating me the best way it could. I spent the first week being overwhelmed with fast internet, absolute control over the idiot box and home food. The following week was spent parading around Singapore with my bestie, like we own the freaking island. Now well into the third week, I am getting restless of being idle for too long. Everyone is starting school again next week, I almost feel like going back to wearing the scrubs. But I’m gonna chill and wear the pants as my pjs instead. I don’t miss AIMST even a bit, till now. Looks like although I had too much memories of the Muggle Hogwarts, I’m all charged to enter a new world of my own.

Singapore. I enjoyed it much better than my previous trip, which was disastrous to another extend. This time, there wasn’t any glitch with directions nor Ez-Link cards. A holiday much needed with plenty of pictures and extra good company. We took turns to dress each other up, apply blushes and hair extensions, match shoes to our dresses, walk up and down the MRT stations and give way to old people in the buses, gossip about LVs and Guess purses and cook dinners. Girls being girls.

One doesn’t appreciate the importance of a non-threatened safe environment until they step into the land of Merlion. You could cross the streets like you own the zebra crossing. You could show some skin without getting stares down your cleavage. All in all, humans behave like humans with enough humanity. Of course not my favourite land for a holiday nor settling down, but I had a good time there. Once you’re there and cross the causeway customs, Malaysia welcomes you with multiple stares from your own brothers and sisters. That’s how ‘hospitable’ we are, to our own people. Sigh.

If there is one thing I learned about myself from this trip, it must be the traveller genes in me. I love travelling in local public transports, find my way in the midst of a crowd, sleep on the benches waiting for the sun to rise and make friends with new people, on the the go. I learned to save my battery, importance of mini naps, relevance of carrying toothbrush in my handbag and being intuitive.

You never know when some revelations emerge in your life. Out of nowhere, super randomly. Like all the while you have been blaming yourself for some events that unfolded in your life. You’ve been character assassinating yourself, thanks to some noble people who sent you hate mails. You can’t help but agreeing to them, because you thought they’re better than you in some way. They have higher morals than you do and they live based on principles when you’re completely not bothered. They are more cautious, hardly take much risks when your life is solely based on recklessness. Then one day, one random moment, you get the pang of realization. You were not that bad at all. At least you’re not guilty of falling in love or choosing to do what you did. At the very most, you are aware of your flaws and accepted them as part of who you are. And finally I got to know some friends can backstab, the same friend can violate your trust and sabotage you at the expense of getting a man of her choice.

Life goes on. I’m perfectly happy and relieved. Thank you, Lord and nature.

The Great Escape

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This is the first time I made a draft before writing a review. It better work well with any kind of writer block, though calling myself a writer is a little far-fetched. In Malaysia, we get everything except for books, on time for reasonable price. I’ve been searching all over for The Great Escape, ever since it was announced. However, I only managed to get hold of it now, after a year of being published. I had huge expectation for this one. Only because I loved Call Me Irresistible too much. Were my expectations met? Well, we’ll have to come back to that later.

Before I go any further, this post has SPOILER ALERTS all over. I haven’t master the mysterious skills yet. Or if I ever will. So if you don’t want to be influenced by my views before reading it for yourself, don’t cancel the window as yet. Feel free to roam around in my blog, reading other posts.

If you have read CMI , you would have known TGE is Lucy Jorik’s story. Lucy, the ex-president’s daughter who cancelled off her wedding with Ted Beaudine, right before walking down the aisle and took the run of her life. She was picked up by dangerous looking biker, Panda who she gets to know of his bad table manners and rudeness later on. She paid him to allow her to tag along his voyage and to discover the real Lucy Jorik. When finally got dropped off at the Memphis Airport with a lingering, deep departing kiss from Panda, she realized she was lied upon by her parents and Panda himself. Feeling utterly cheated and completely uninterested to get back to the mess she left behind, she left in search of Panda in Great Lakes Island. What unfolds on the island and the evolution of their relationship form the rest of the story.

First of all, I didn’t like the choice of name of Panda for a man. I can’t take him seriously. I can’t visualize his hotness. Or maybe his earlier pretense of male chauvinism and extremely disgusting table manners just put me off too much and I never moved on from there. I hated the cheap dodgy motels, his unwashed ragged jeans and stomach-scratching burping-out-loud habits. The only thing I found fine were the rude bumper stickers, but that’s the badass side of me talking. His real name revealed to be Patrick Shade, which is definitely better than Panda. His past sounded believable, though he seemed confused all the time. I couldn’t find the consistency in his characterization like in Kevin’s, Heath’s nor Ted’s. If that’s what was intended by Susan, she succeeded then.

Lucy Jorik. A woman with wasted potential. She has a strong personality, high perseverance, sensitive towards her surroundings, smart and responsible. For such a woman, turning her life into a mess should have had a better reason than to be a badass alone. I was expecting all along for a strong reason of her running out on Ted. I was expecting something like his love didn’t fulfil her soul or she isn’t able of loving him completely or he did turn her off in some unexplainable ways. But all she did was putting herself down and worship him on the pedestal. She kept saying Ted was perfect, but not once she thought perfect is not what she seeks. In fact she doesn’t know what she seeks. Her intimacy with Panda stayed till bedroom. There wasn’t much connection between them. Or nothing like Meg and Ted’s.

I can’t help but keep comparing these two stories together, because they do happen simultaneously and we already know how things unfolded in Wynette. The whole town was unfair to Meg, even Ted until a large point of time. Not even once they thought Lucy ran off because of her own fault. They kept blaming it on Meg and she took it all with head held high. Why such bias? Is it because Meg is loud, outspoken, straightforward, bold and lives life according to her own formula? So, if one decided to stand out from the rest, she is entitled to be judged unscrupulously? The world can’t entertain that an always righteous Lucy is not completely free from committing mistakes. And what appalled me further is the fact that Lucy didn’t do anything to change it for Meg. She left her messy life for Meg to handle without even returning to make things right. Meg was a great friend to Lucy, but did she return the favour? In fact there wasn’t any closure to what she did to Ted either. Or it was done ‘off-screen’. I wanted to listen to her explanations to Ted so badly. The whys. And I thought after Meg’s intervention in Ted’s life, he would be a little more vocal about his disappointments. That would have been interesting to know.

Of course the main reason I didn’t like TGE is because I didn’t feel connected to Lucy. I didn’t lose my biological parents when I was 14, I didn’t have a baby sister to protect, I wasn’t adopted, I didn’t have a president for a mother, I didn’t have Secret Service at my disposal and I never lived in another skin. Nor I’m as righteous as she was. This reason alone could have made me feel detached from the whole story. Not to mention the font. Too small that I needed to squint my eyes and look for magnifying glass.

That said, now to what I liked and loved about it. I loved the cover. Pink flowers with a bride in white turning her back to her wedding. Artistic and self-explanatory. As far as I could remember, this is the only book of Susan’s that has an apt cover, corresponding to the story. I loved the island. Fresh and raw. The whole summer time recollections of the Remingtons, Star and Mike’s are so nostalgic that they made me smile. Made me wish to know more of them, instead of indulging in Lucy’s daily routines of doing nothing but complaining about her life. Toby was another darling and the evolution of his relationship with Bree felt much more believable than Panda falling for Lucy, or vice versa. Bree had half of the qualities Meg had. This is what Susan’s women are made of. Thus Lucy stands out weak amongst them. I was waiting eagerly for the two telephone conversations between Meg and Lucy. One, right before Lucy sleeps with Panda and another, before Meg hooks up with Ted. They felt so tender and real, like how two best friends would be to each other. To convince one another to do the thing that pleases us despite it being politically wrong. I just wished Lucy and Meg consulted each other a little more before making their major decisions in life. Like Meg running out of Ted once he said he can’t love her yet, or Lucy before putting up the huge act to draw Panda’s attention again. I mean you’re best friends with each other. You can’t just turn for sexual advices and leave out life changing events. As usual I loved how Susan promotes family support to be the backbone of every individual. The epilogue felt too good to be true. But it gave me the similar feeling 19yearslater Harry Potter epilogue gave me. All was well.

In acknowledgement, Susan mentioned that we, readers are pushy lot. She’s right in the sentiments. If she intended to give Lucy a story right when she’s writing Meg, she would have thought of the knots to tie. Or at least she would have taken her own time, when it’s right for Lucy to have a story. It isn’t the right time for Lucy to come out of her shell. I felt like eating a half-cooked lasagna for dinner after being all so excited since breakfast. And I’m craving to reread Call Me Irresistible and have it prolonged without an end.