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Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
Thursday, October 7, 2010

I really didn’t want to have to do this so soon but here it is. I’m here to announce the end of http://technicoloresque.blogspot.com. But no, this is not the end of me blogging. Far from it. Yes, I am one of those joining in mass exodus to tumblr.

I think every serious blogger will, at some point in their blogging career, want to move to greener pastures. I’m giving up on blogger not because I think it sucks, or it lags, or because of the photo limit or whatever technicalities people usually cite. It’s difficult to leave because I’ve only ever used blogger. And technically, I’ve used the same blog since I started blogging; only the URL has changed since 2007. It’s just that it’s becoming harder and harder to dredge up the inspiration to write long posts. I think the steadily decreasing length of the posts and the sudden influx of tweets can testify to that. I want a blogging platform that allows me to blog as and how I want to, no matter how short the post. I’ve known for a really long time now that I would be leaving blogger behind. I stayed on for ridiculous reasons. Firstly, that I really like this current skin. Secondly, because I like using Windows Live Writer! And thirdly, because the old blog had 278 posts and I am currently 10 posts away from beating that record. This is just the OCD side of me coming out. Somehow having fewer posts in Nov 2008 – Oct 2010 than Jan 2007 – Oct 2008 annoys me. But the gap has become just that much harder to close and I realized it’s not worth bothering anymore.

I think the main reason I can’t blog on http://technicoloresque.blogspot.com anymore, though, is because it represents the high school me. And that’s not someone I can relate to, nor someone I want to remember. If you click on the earlier posts from 2009, you’ll find that the whole feel is too different – a lot more cheerful and upbeat, but it also feels a lot more naive. I’ve become a lot more pessimistic and cynical this year. I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad change. Maybe that’s why I really don’t want to be associated with the high school me anymore. Calling it running away if you like. I call it moving on.

I’m leaving this blog open for anyone who’d like to come and view it – if anyone still does. But from now on I’ll be blogging at http://technicoloresque.tumblr.com. Remember to re-link :)

Perfidy.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

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The last one strikes me in particular. Right now I heartily wish I had entered college in the July intake like I’d always planned to all along instead of rushing into the January intake. Now a couple of bad decisions have lead to my not being apply to Oxbridge, and a whole pile of other things on my plate – SATs, US apps, UK apps, WHO, A-Levels Production, SASA and the piano advanced cert exam in addition to studies.

And yet I have met the most wonderful friends ever in the Jan intake. It is difficult to imagine life being just as enjoyable without having met them, but I wonder if it is as fair a tradeoff for what I’m going through right now.

The news is that I am sick – in both sense of the word – and tired. Very tired. The lack of sleep has finally gotten to me. Today was a really, really bad day.

Exonerated.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010

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We should all be aiming for awesomeness.

Evil Eye.
Monday, September 27, 2010

It is 2.30am and I am up finishing the second draft of my English Lit coursework. This is only the second – there will be two more due before November 15, when the final draft must be handed in. But I think that after tonight, things will go just a little easier.

My tweets are so long and my blog posts are so short.

I SHOULD JUST GET A TUMBLR!

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Oracle.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Three months ago I said that the following 6 months would be the toughest of my life yet. I was right, but I don’t think I had any idea how right I was. Nor would knowing it have made me any more prepared for this.

But today’s a lot better than the previous two days. I’m starting to think I might be able to fight my way out of this (self-induced) mess triumphant after all.

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Featherweight.
Saturday, September 18, 2010

At times I simply fail to understand how my body works.

I am five foot two, and for as long as I have been this height (which, ashamedly, since Form 2) I have weighed less than 45 kilograms, usually hovering around 43.5-44.5kg. I always put this down to the fact that I don’t eat much and I am a runner. I ran a lot of long-distance events back in high school. Somehow I’ve always finished 7th –.- but that’s another story.

I’ve also secretly harboured this desire to one day donate blood and therefore do the nation a service and maybe one day save someone’s life. I am also an organ donor. Yes saya rakyat Malaysia yang bersedia berkhidmat kepada negara. But in order to accomplish this I have to qualify lah obviously. Now that I’ve hit the legal age, the only thing that stands in my way is the issue of weight.

I’m heading the club in charge of holding the blood donation drive for HELP College, which will take place on October 13 this year. And I thought that okay if not now then when?

I thought that with the lack of exercise (I haven’t gone jogging since Jog For Hope ended) and all that Turkish delight, baklava and fudge from Istanbul/London and regular midnight snacks back home, I would have gone up in weight over the last two months.

Well GUESS WHAT.

I just stepped on the scales.

They now read 42.5kg.

WHATTHEFREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK

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I haven’t weighed this little since I was in Form 1. This is beyond upsetting! *flings out one dramatic arm* Will I never be able to donate blood in my lifetime! But even worse than that is the fact that Trishna keeps saying she’s going to balloon out and head the world’s first women’s sumo wrestling team when she hits forty because her metabolism will slow down then.

It looks like she’ll have to reserve a spot for me on the team (i.i)

PS: In hindsight it was never such a good idea to donate blood during my own donation drive since, presumably, I’ll have to help run the event and I can’t do that if I’m lying down fainting from lack of blood. But I’m beginning to suspect that future prospects for my dreams of blood donation aren’t so rosy anyhow. VAAAAAA T.T

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Run And Run,
Thursday, September 16, 2010

In my opinion, the feeling that I have been productive and acted with discipline is one of the best feelings in the world, but it is one that eludes me. I am nearing that point where I never reach the feeling of productivity; think of it as a graph of 1/x (somebody please remind me what the name of this graph is!) – it never really reaches the axis, it never really reaches zero – it only draws parallel. Likewise productivity is always just a little out of reach, because no matter how much I do, there is always more. After I finish the proposals for the A-Levels Production, there is piano to practice. And after that is done, I have to look up the pieces I’m practicing so I can start on my program booklet for the Performance Cert exam in December. I’ve got a SASA Group 3 meeting tomorrow to finalize details on the bazaar, and I’m sure I’m in trouble because Captain Chew’s been handling most of it on her own; and I’m praying that the WHO members do their bit for the blood donation drive in October. I have to study because my Chemistry and Maths are in disaster zones, as is Literature coursework, and I haven’t even mentioned university applications yet! And of course there is a little bit of personal drama to spice things up a little.

A bit on university applications – I’m applying to the UK for law, and I’m applying to the US as well. I’m sitting for my SATs in October and Subject Tests in November. I still have to squeeze in time for the IELTS and LNAT.

The pile of work is never-ending. Trying to finish it is a Sisyphean task. It is exhausting, physically and mentally. A little more worryingly, these are feelings that I have become accustomed to as of this year.

Today, however, has been so productive that I’m suspicious – I’ve searched up and practiced my piano pieces, I’ve finished my proposals for the production, and I’ve finished my Chemistry and Maths revision. I did one practice SAT test last weekend and got a very very satisfying score of 2090, and I’m hoping that it’s not a one-off. Basically there’s nothing that’s urgently due, AND it’s only 4pm on a good day-off. Almost too good to be true.

Do you see what’s wrong with me? Everything is fine, but I keep feeling so apprehensive and suspicious. Where’s the tension and the panic that I’ve become so used to? Last night I tried to read For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway (which I last attempted in January) and it’s lovely, but I couldn’t absorb it. My thoughts are along the lines of come on, hit me already: what is it that I haven’t done? I’ve turned into a lifeless workaholic.

It scares me that I’m making the same kind of complaints that working adults do and I technically haven’t even finished high school!! This could be a preview of what the rest of my life is going to be like – stuck in a boring office, carrying out tasks that seem to have no purpose, an in-tray that people keep topping up as they walk past, and an out-tray that never empties. Me, looking harassed and stressed out (much the way I do now), struggling to keep up with the workload and the rat race; and then there’s me, single at fifty, telling my nieces and nephews that my life has been following the same emotional routine since I was eighteen.

I THINK I JUST NEED BETTER TIME MANAGEMENT LOR.

And I need to get out of the house!!

 

Edit: Just realized what it is I’ve forgotten to do – my personal statement draft #2 wtf.

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At Long Last – Istanbul! (Part 2)
Sunday, September 12, 2010

After we got back from Cankiri, there were only three or four more days left at the Congress. I subsequently dragged my friend Nhi around all the tourist hotspots. And yes, there were two people named Nhi from Vietnam whom I hung around. The other delegates would go, “Oh the Vietnamese have two Nhis!” And they’d retort, “Well of COURSE we have two knees!”

LOL.

Okay so one Nhi is from my Aile; This is a picture of the other Nhi, which I helped to take with her iPhone. The photos in these posts which are hers are tagged Dinh, which is her surname.

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This Nhi is sixteen years old and is Vietnamese born and bred, but studies in the US. She is the epitome of cuteness and sweetness – she is just incapable of being angry and upset. She completely understood my inclination to start singing Sound of Music songs out loud on the street. She was my best buddy at the Congress and even now after the Congress I can’t look at any pink clothing without thinking about her. Hi Nhi, you are missed very much. :)

Nhi was also a fantastic travel buddy. She had great photo ideas, and under her pressure I took more than I would normally have as we went around Miniaturk, Blue Mosque, Aya Sofya and Topkapi Palace. I lost them all (sigh) but luckily Caroline went to most of these places too.

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Inside the tomb of Sultan Ahmet.

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Outside the Blue Mosque.

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The Blue Mosque in all its splendour.

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Inside the Blue Mosque.

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Another unglam picture of me inside the Aya Sofya passage that leads to the upper floor.

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This is what you get inside the Aya Sofya: on the ceiling, huge round black plaques with Jawi inscriptions on them…

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…And next to those, carvings of Christian archangels.

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You can read on the Aya Sofya’s eventful history here.

Oh and I forgot to mention this. None of us had to pay anything for entry into the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace or Aya Sofya. We didn’t have to pay for our transportation either. All we had to do was flash our delegate tags and we’d be waved through the barriers like VIPs. As a result, during my first 10 days in Turkey (before I went on this sightseeing tour), I only spent 25 lira. :D

 

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The skewed kebab that Turkey is so famous for. It makes you feel bad for vegetarians, doesn’t it. :)

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The Grand Bazaar, where Nhi and I got to practice bargaining. The traders liked to yell as we walked past, “Aaah, Konnichiwa! Anyong haseyo! Ni hao!

We actually got pretty annoyed by this. The result was that when one lokum trader added one extra exclamation of “Apa khabar!!” to his string of multilingual greetings, I immediately stopped, started chatting with him and ended up buying 28 liras worth of candy from him. Looking back, that wasn’t such a smart reaction :P but what to do, that was one resourceful tradesman.

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Haih I am starting to really feel sorry for myself again, looking at Caroline’s pictures. T.T

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The last day of the Congress was, expectedly, emotional. Everyone was saying fond farewells and taking pictures of everyone and everything. I confess to taking a few pictures of my sleeping roomates before leaving for Sabiha Gokcen :P not that they’ll ever know now!

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This is Kristjan (Estonia), at 30, one of the oldest people at the WYC (most were aged 20+). For a philosophy teacher, he talks a lot of crap – literally. He sounded a little like an OMGFacts tweet producer, coming out with all things excrement-related; most of them are too disgusting to mention here. The big issue with this was that he particularly enjoyed doing this while we were eating. –.-

Kristjan was also the one who started the “In my country…” joke. Whenever he wanted to complain about something, he’d start off his sentence with “In my country,”. Some of the things he said were absolutely fantastical – it makes me want to go to Estonia just to find out if everything he said about it was true. Like the fact that everyone in Estonia is six foot tall!

 

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This is Bunyamin, the leader of Findik Aile, whom I got seriously pissed off with because he took five minutes to string together a simple sentence in English. Admittedly this was not very fair of me; he may not have asked to be Aile leader, and he did carry out his duties (in a haphazard sort of way). In the end anyway I outgrew that childish temper tantrum and got along with him fine. But I have yet to forgive him for making fun of my non-existent volleyball skills.

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Caroline with Azer from Azerbaijan! This guy is the coolest. In addition to Azerbaijani he speaks fluent English and Turk. And he’s in university learning to be a translator… In Spanish. If any of you thought Malaysians were awesome for knowing how to speak three languages, meet Azer.

 

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Adham from Egypt and Einstein Albertas from Lithuania. Bunyamin nicknamed Albertas that for his name and his wild hair, so like that of the famous scientist. I got so used to this that when I tried to tag him in a facebook picture, I typed in “Einstein” and was utterly bewildered when no search results came up. –.-

 

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And this is Sarthak from India who gets a special mention because he posted up this horrible picture of me and made a lot of Chinese jokes while I was there. (This is not fair! The only Indian joke I ever made was asking where Prashanth disappeared to when the lights went out! Karma has no sense of discrimination I tell you.)

But all in the spirit of debate, in which each point must be rebutted by the opposition. Even in humour rounds.

Meet Sarthak, my bus buddy to and from Cankiri, who almost completely fits the stereotype of Indian men: he loves free things, smells of curry, likes to drink, is ridiculously smart, wants to study Engineering and is heading for an Ivy League university. In fact if I’m not mistaken, he is already there at Princeton, beginning his freshman year there.

(Yeah I know. Princeton. Don’t mess!!)

Sarthak was an amusing bus buddy. He decided that it would be a good idea to play with the chocolate hazelnut cream they provided us with for breakfast. He was absolutely convinced that he had managed to turn it into a work of art; but in reality it looked something like THIS:

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Boys are so easily amused.

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Finally we have Vehbi from Turkey, Nhi Dinh’s other best friend. She took to calling him Zombie after a while. He was one of the best Turkish volunteers next to Irem because he could speak fluent English. He was so helpful – without his directions Nhi and I would have gotten lost while touring Istanbul. One of the girls pinching Zombie here is Nhi, I don’t know who the other is. But I just had to include this picture of him lah :D

The World Youth Congress culminated on 12th August with the launching of International Youth Day. The next Youth Congress would be held in Brazil. To celebrate this, a Youth March took place in Taksim Square that evening after the closing ceremony.

I had signed up too learn the dance parts days ago, but I had missed the workshop. So on the day itself, I wasn’t too sure if I wanted to take part in the march.

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This is Rob with me and Nhi, Nhi’s Aile leader. I made the mistake of mispronouncing my own name while I was introducing myself to him and he laughed at me for it ever afterwards.

Originally Nhi (Dinh) and I just planned to go and ogle the costumed revellers as the prepared. But when we saw what they were wearing, we decided that we simply HAD to try them on.

Most of the pictures of me and Nhi here are credited to Anna Welsapar of Sweden, a fellow Young Journalist.

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You can tell we were THRILLED!

 

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The drummers, who set the pace for the Youth March.

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This is me and the other Nhi with Chung (on the left). I have to apologize – I haven’t named the Nhis properly at all!

This is also the first night in my lfie that I made it to the next morning without falling asleep or sick at all. Don’t laugh! At camps I usually start sneezing by 4am, or I fall asleep. I credit this achievement to the friends and the elma chay of which I consumed so much. I did, however, also end up with this huge horrible swelling all over my face that only faded away during the second day of my stay in London. Boo for low sleepless tolerance.

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This was taken around 6am on 13th August. See how alert I look despite having stayed up all night! I remember Zombie and I had been explaining the concept of Ramadan and Lent to Nhi. See, back to the topic of religion again.

Many other delegates like Justin stayed back after the Congress to tour Istanbul or other parts of Turkey. I hear that our delegate tags were eligible for use on the Metro till August 15th. But shortly after the picture above was taken, I had to leave for Sabiha Gokcen airport for my flight to London. So for me, the 5th World Youth Congress ended there.

I am nearing the end of the photos and of this post. But I have left out so many – I don’t have pictures of Irareque (Mozambique) who swears he’s going to come and visit me in Malaysia, Ursa (Slovenia) and Goran (Macedonia) who were never there, Sena (Turkey) my AWESOME POSSUM roommate who was so excited to find out that I knew Jia Jun, Michelle Pham (Canada) who makes the most awesome nurse for sick people, Berta (Turkey) who took me to the doctor and made people go hunting all over Istanbul for bananas when I had food poisoning, Anshul (India), Yusuf (India), Bin (Vietnam) and so so so many others! However this post is disproportionately long as it already is, and it’s already very compressed. I don’t think I’ve managed to convey even an iota of what the Congress was really like.

So what did the World Youth Congress leave me with? Just exactly what did I do there?

I realized that human beings are so different, yet so similar. I survived living in a country so different from my own for two weeks. I spent time with people who are extremely intelligent and high-powered, and it gives me hope that the human race won’t annihilate itself after all. I experienced solidarity: for just a short while, the entire globe was conveniently stuffed into one place for me to explore. I made myself a home away from home, with all those people. And now, I am one step closer to saying that I have a home in every country on the planet.

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The WYC has made me want to emulate the people I met. It left me with the basic knowledge required to put the Green 5 project (which has been at the back of my head since Form 4) into action – and more importantly, it left me with the motivation to do so too. It also made me excited to see what kind of changes we can bring when our time comes to rule the world!

The Congress also left me with a love of travelling that is probably going to last me a whole lifetime. Already my list is 16 states long.

Weirdly enough, the Congress has also made me incredibly patriotic, from having to explain over and over again what and where Malaysia was. For all the ridiculous antics our politicians get up to, it’s actually a pretty good place to live.

 

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This was how one ticket to Istanbul took me around the world – and beyond.

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At Long Last – Istanbul! (Part 1)
Saturday, September 11, 2010

The month of August was a particularly eventful one for me. I flew three flights, withdrew from the Oxbridge race and nearly got shot at – but that’s another story for me and Ian to tell. (; What this post is going to be about is the 5th World Youth Congress that took part in Istanbul, at which I was a delegate.

The concept of the congress was to bring a lot of young people together to share ideas in their areas of their greatest concern and/or expertise. To get this going, there were a lot of workshops, debates, round tables and other activities that enabled us to sit down and talk – whether it was to share problems or to help come up with solutions to those. This isn’t nearly as boring as it sounds – it is actually incredibly fascinating (and to some extent comforting) to find out that there are people on the other side of the world who share the same stories, viewpoints and problems as you do.

There were also action projects for each of the 20-member families, called Ailes. My Aile, named Findik, had their action project in the sleepy town of Cankiri. It’s actually written çankırı, and pronounced Chan-kuh-ruh. (Rhymes with Ankara) But for the sake of making my life easier, I will stick to writing it as Cankiri!

Okay it is at this point that I pathetically confess that the ultimate travel horror happened to me. No I didn’t lose my passport – worse.

I accidentally deleted all my pictures of Istanbul/London during the 4th day of my trip to London.

I was UPSET. I’m not the kind of person who has a camera that is an extension of her eyes and hands; many times I have gone out for an event and returned with the camera still in my bag, never having left it in the first place. I knew that Istanbul/London was too exciting, colourful and vibrant to miss, and was therefore making an extra effort to take as many pictures as I could during the trip. You see, I am such a writing junkie that even before I left, I was already forming this blog post in my head. I wanted to be able to tell the story perfectly. I made sure that I took pictures of everything I wanted to mention and share.

And in the space of 1.5 seconds all 1500+ photos were gone, thanks to a slip of a thumb.

When it happened, I sat down on the corner of the street outside Westminster Abbey and cried! FC was wonderful, he helped me re-take nearly every single shot of London that was deleted. We had to go to most places twice to get the pictures again. So I didn’t really lose the shots of London, which will be up on Facebook when I can next manage it. I only lost the pictures I took at Cambridge University. The pictures of Istanbul/Cankiri, however, were gone for good and could not be replaced.

This is where the 1400 delegates I met at the congress came in. Irem joked, “GOOD! You can come back here and take some more!” which made me laugh and cheered me up no end. But seriously – I needed photos. There was NO WAY I could let this go by without blogging about it. So I sent email messages to the three people I knew would not only have good photos, but would also have photos of me; I asked them for permission to let me use their wonderful photos. Their replies were fantastically prompt and wonderfully relieving.

 

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So I went around saving the pictures I needed. I have tried to credit each photographer to their respective pictures, though I might have mixed up a few. There are a few more pictures from other delegate's cameras that I saved because I was tagged in them. I was able to concoct a blog post after all! Dear readers, if you enjoy the following post, it is entirely due to the fact that there are people like Nhi (Vietnam), Yen Nhi (Vietnam) and Caroline (Hawaii) out there in the world. Also thanks to them, even before this post has begun, you have already experienced a bit of what made the WYC such a memorable event for me and everyone else who was there.

WYC @ Istanbul, 31st July – 13th August 2010

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Before I start, here I must credit Mark Chan, the guy who introduced me to the congress and encouraged me to apply for it at the end of 2009. I wrote the required essays, attached proof of my involvement in Youth Projects (I talked about the BRATs) and sent them in. In March, shortly after returning from MDO, I received notification that I’d been one of those accepted, and so had he. We booked our flight to Istanbul and flew there together – it is probably thanks to Mark that I didn’t get lost in KLIA even before the plane to Istanbul left. That would have been a failure beyond epic-ness.

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The Cafeteria Block at Yildiz Technological University. For most of us, this was how we were greeted to life at the Congress: with long, tedious queues. It was a foreshadowing of what was about to come in the next 14 days.

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This is Irem from Turkey, and me looking incredibly unglam. She was the first Turkish friend I made there. She helped me through a scary experience: on the first day I was allocated a dorm off-campus. Nobody else in that dorm spoke English, not even the security guards. This is scarier than it sounds – for the first time in my life, I was less literate than everyone else around me. To form a simple sentence took precious minutes, and often I was not given the answers to what I had asked for. The people meant well, but I was utterly and hopelessly lost, and getting more and more frustrated. Once I’d made friends with Irem (who was one of the volunteers), she saw to it that any complaints I had were forwarded to the right people. :)

Eventually we were all moved back to the main campus dorms. One funny thing is that I didn’t see my new room mates at all. They were Turkish, and would go out and enjoy themselves in Taksim, often not returning till 2am each night. The jet-lagged me would crash by 9pm. I’d rise by 7.30am for daily Aile meetings, but they would typically skip the meetings and sleep till 10am. –.-

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This is me, presenting on Malaysia during the South-East Asian regional meeting. Next to me is Justin, another dude from Malaysia, who has yet to respond to my Facebook wall message, so I have no idea if he came back from his mad 4-day journey around Turkey post-Congress. :S

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Spot the pseudo-Vietnamese. (;

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Jia Jun, another fellow Malaysia delegate whom I got to know at the Congress.

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This is me and Adrian from Romania, on the Bosphorus boat trip. I was sitting alone because I was feeling seriously unwell, but Adrian plonked himself next to me and started a long and deadly serious conversation about politics, governments, and religion that completely took my mind off my upset stomach.

That didn’t stop the food poisoning from happening anyway, and that confined me to my room for the next day or so. I missed a couple of workshops and a concert, but it was good because I finally met my room mates!!!

After I was well enough, Mark and his friends Jill (Vietnam), Jia Jun, Ricardo (Portugal) and Michelle Pham (Canada) were horrified to discover that I hadn’t been out of the campus on my own and took me out that night to the marketplace near the university. They made me try dondurma, which is Turkish ice-cream that has a chewing gum-like consistency, and is therefore open to lots of tricks. The dondurma sellers will serve it to you on a stick, then take it away and leave you holding just a cone. They will twirl your ice cream around, smush it into your face and pretend to drop it before they finally give it to you. They are extremely entertaining (if slightly repetitive) and embody perfectly what the rest of the Turkish people are like: friendly, fun-loving and hilarious.

This is a picture of us with the dondurma men.

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Soon after this picture was taken, I was dragged along to a rooftop cafe for a shisha session, during which we engaged in a(nother) very heated discussion about views on politics and religion. It seemed that all the delegates were the kind of people who frequently engage in these kind of debates.

Action Projects @ Cankiri

The Lonely Planet’s guide to Turkey had ZERO information about Cankiri. It was on the map, but that was about it. When I tried googling Cankiri, all the pages emerged in Turkish. I was feeling more than a little apprehensive about going to a place so far away, about which I knew so little.

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After an eventful 8-hour bus ride that began at 6am in the morning, this is me sitting in the Cankiri statehouse meeting room. The seat I’m sitting in is traditionally where a queen might sit, and I am wearing a traditional Turkish Royal Hat.

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And this is the Aile outside what is purported to be the world’s first mental hospital, which is now a mosque. O.O

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This pictures of me was taken by one of the kids, whom Caroline gave her camera to play with. And before you ask, yes, we did actually do something! We painted a school.

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I am such a shameless poser.

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Turkish children are more photo-friendly than I am. :)

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An introduction to Turkish dancing, which can be very tiring but very fun because of the way everyone dances together.

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And this is Vu from Vietnam, whom they took to calling Vuvuzela!

Other random pictures from our time at Cankiri:

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A football match at the Youth Centre where they actually slaughtered a sheep for the match. O.O

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Zahra from the United Kingdom, who speaks with the cutest British accent ever and has an equally cute laugh.

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And this is Nhi, the awesome photographer who contributed so many pictures. :)

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A chess match between India and Canada.

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Another Aile member, Eleonora; I particularly like this picture of her.

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Ebru, the Turkish art of marbling.

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When I tell Malaysians back home about what Turkish people were like, the first description that comes to mind is party people. I tell them that it’s impossible to busk on the streets because if you play well, everyone will start dancing around you! Turkish people love to party, and they like to do it to Turkish music – both modern and traditional. In Cankiri, the youth made us dance EVERY NIGHT. Here is a picture of Thomas (Quebec) making up his own moves on the last night in Cankiri while Jeeban (Nepal) looks on and laughs.

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MY FACE JUST LOOKS WRONG.

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The next few pictures chronicle the last day in Cankiri, during which we were taken to the salt caves. We were at 150m below sea level, and temperatures were at 16 degrees Celsius. You could actually lick the walls of the cave!

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We drove up to the Mountains of Ilgaz, and halfway up through we stopped the van to take pictures of the scenery. They blasted music from the stereo and we started dancing on the mountain! I told you the Turkish people were party people. They are wonderfully random spontaneous.

It was also at this point that I lost my spectacles, the second worst thing I lost after the pictures.

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Playgrounds don’t seem to have age barriers in any part of the world. :)

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Nhi sent me up there and wouldn’t let me down. –.-

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Finally, a picture of Caroline, the generous soul who contributed the majority of the pictures to this post. Thank you!!! :D

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And this is Eray, the Turkish boy who folded the tissue rose for me that I am holding up there. Unfortunately when I put it down and went to the bathroom, the waiter took it for a piece of used tissue paper and threw it away (!!!!).

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Check out the scenery!

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This is Ntendeni (South Africa) and Thomas (Quebec). Ntendeni was loud and simply lovable. Anyone could hear her coming from a mile off!

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Arina from Ukraine, who was posing like a model, and who reminded me of Trishna because she used to go bug-eyed when she was astonished or trying to look stern.

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Just before we left for Istanbul after four long days in Cankiri.

I never really liked splitting my posts in two, but I don’t think I have a choice here – I saved close to 100 pictures. Cankiri took up so much because I really really enjoyed my time there! It’s hard to believe that I had been so worried about coming here in the first place.

Next post – Touring Istanbul and the Youth March!