Festival of Flowers


‘Snap Dragons’. I love it! A mystical, otherworldly name for a vibrantly coloured, unusually shaped flower. Just one species of many on display at this year’s highly popular Toowomba Flower Festival (Queensland, Australia)
Hundreds flock to the ‘Garden City’ to witness the blooming of tiny bulbs that were planted a few months ago, signalling that spring has truly begun!

My dear friend Shara and I followed the crowd, driving 2.5 hours from the Gold Coast to Toowomba on an impromptu trip. It was the first time I heard someone whom just got their red Ps last week say they were so sick of driving!

We met up with Shara’s aunt and uncle  to watch the annual parade. To be honest, I wasn’t ‘wowed’ by the floats this year but some get A for effort. There were a few famous Australians going by in expesive looking cars including two Olympians. Other than that, some local organisations (e.g. RSPCA  Shine Lawyers, dance schools) put in their floats to let people know they are around. Great promotional opportunity for sure as a lot of people came and stayed throughout the procession. I liked the floats that had live bands on them and the ones with horses as big as buses!

It was a wonderful trip all around! I hope you are enjoying the unfiltered pictures! Everything is true blue vibrant colour with no enhancements whatsoever:)
Would definitely go again if given the chance! Must remember to bring a book and blanket next time I’m heading over there.

Signing off,

Ally

A Voice in Imagery

The above photograph has a funny history. Having just received a brand new iPad 3 in my second year of uni, I was very eager to test it’s ‘HD camera functions’ with the ‘retina screen display’. My housemate and sister were in the middle of decorating our new home, a rental property just a few blocks away from where our classes would eventually start up again. It was my housie’s first home away from family.

After unwrapping the box and plastics, we took out these beautiful lanterns from Typo and hung them up above the kitchen sink. Hilarity ensued as the lights came on and we all cheered and applauded, as joyful as when Thomas Edison first invented the light bulb. Of course, the phones came out (or in my case, iPad 3) and we stood there for at least 20 minutes (!) taking multiple photos until we got what we thought was the perfect shot:)

4 years later, I still have my perfect shot hanging around in my photo gallery. The lights don’t work anymore and we moved out of that house the next year, but this photo remains, a permanent marker stain on the canvass of human memory.

I applaud you. Inventers and innovaters. Whom gave us the amazing gift of cameras attached to portable technology. Whether it be food, fashion, family or festivals, you have brought much joy to people whom can capture memories with a silent click of single virtual button.

 

Crows: Birds or People?

Animal Mind: Episode 2 – BBC Two

Crows. Mysterious, yet ever present in every city in the world.

My dad posted this video on the family Whatsapp group with the tagline ‘Most Intelligent Bird Ever!’. Needless to say, I investigated…and then proceeded to watch an entire hour documentary on National Geography on the life of crows.

I’m astounded by the remarkable intelligence these birds exhibit. Also, a little creeped out that crows’ eyes do follow you as you walk by and it is not just my imagination.

In the documentary, I learned that crows have to learn a variety of ways to get food in order to survive with humans. Did you know that to open a tree nut, the crow weighs the food in its beak, flies to a certain height and drops it on the tarmac of the road, so that it cracks the husk without damaging the nut inside? They fly down and land beside it so that no other crows snatches their food! Even more amazing, is that they time it during a red light so no cars can drive by and crush them or their nut.

Just for laughs, here’s a video of a crow trying to outsmart a guy out of his precious shiny frying pan. What a crow wants with a frying pan I will never know, but it’s a pretty entertaining watch:)

Clever Crow Tries to Trick Man Out of Frying Pan

Philatelic Passions – Issue #1

p-ramlee-artist-supreme-stamp-4-s-mnh-stampjoys-1306-16-Stampjoys@20

The Giant That Was: The Life and Times of P.Ramlee

To be honest, I didn’t know much about P.Ramlee until I decided to find out why I have stamps of him in my stamp album. From what I heard and read, P. Ramlee was a majorly talented filmmaker, actor, musician, singer, screen writer, and song composer, topped off with a great love for Malay culture and the local art scene.

P. Ramlee was born in 1929, in Penang, Malaysia. He was described as a mischievous youngster by his close friends, studying in different primary and secondary schools, and even attending a Japanese Naval Academy during the Japanese Occupation. His introduction to show business began with a simple talent competition, which he won with a self-composed song called ‘Azizah’. A man of influence happened to be there and immediately connected the unsuspecting boy with his contacts at the famous Shaw Brothers Studio in Singapore. Of course, things had to start from somewhere, and P. Ramlee began his career as a ‘clapper boy’ / stage hand before he was chosen by a director to star in a side role as the movie villain. Typical rags to riches story. People loved him as soon as he was onscreen and he began starring in more and more roles, many of them leads/ love interests. He eventually moved to directing movies and also singing in them, composing many hits that would be on the charts for years.

“[P. Ramlee] acted 66 films, directed 35 wrote 33 of them as well as composing 350 songs in his lifetime” ~from a documentary that aired in October 2010 on the History Channel

His multi-talented self garnered international attention, from the Singaporeans, Malaysians, Indonesians and the Japanese (he picked up the language whilst studying at the academy). Furthermore, he was a visionary, who wanted to promote and grow the local art industry by incorporating Malay culture into many of his films. Many films were shot in local kampungs, or villages, with actors dressed in traditional Malay garb and local instruments used for the music scores. He dreamt of eventually making colored films, a concept that was ahead of his time. If he had succeeded, the rich and vibrant Malay culture could have been known all over the world!

But as life would have it, it was never meant to be. Shaw Brothers Studios had to change their staffing policies because of constant clashes with the Trade Unions. This restricted Ramlee’s freedom when it came to directing movies and made it difficult to reach the standard he previously achieved. Disillusioned, P. Ramlee decided to move back to Malaysia to look for work and joined a company called ‘Merdeka Studios’.

It seemed that this was mistake as Merdeka Studios, when compared with the Shaw Brothers Studios, had outdated equipment and inexperienced staff. Many of Ramlee’s movies after his return to Malaysia flopped and soon the past magic at the box office was forgotten. Over the course of his career, P. Ramlee had made a lot of jealous rivals and it was at this time when they pounced. Journalists, newspapers and the media began to post negative articles about him. They labelled him as a ‘has been’ and that he was just trying to earn back his wealth and influence.

The pressure affected Mr P. pretty badly and eventually he died from a heart attack at age 50, leaving behind his wife, Saloma (another famous singer), and six children (1 biological, 5 adopted). Legend has it that just before he passed, he gave the last of his money to a visitor that came to his house, whom he thought needed it more than he did…

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…It just seems too sudden an end…. Like a full stop in the middle of a sentence. So much potential and talent, surely the story doesn’t end like this! There is this one part that I don’t get…when he died, thousands showed up for his funeral. His movies and songs grew more in demand. Streets in Malaysia were named after him. A musuem was set up in his old home. He was given the title of ‘Tan Sri’ after his death (something akin to knighthood, to denote that he was recognised by the sultans)

Where was all of this when he was living that life of tragedy? Where he needed the public’s support to survive?

Yes, yes, I know…you’ve heard it all before. But it constantly amazes me how we can slander or gossip about celebrities so shamelessly when we don’t even know them personally, simply assuming that everything we read in the tabloids is true. With every gossip tidbit, we could potentially be ruining these people’s careers. It’s hard when you have to rely on something as fickle as public opinion, when the tide could change at just a turn of a printed page. Yeah, okay, sometimes they deserve it, but it sucks when you want to change and your past keeps coming back to haunt you…I guess when the media wave picks a direction, it just keeps on rolling and ain’t nothing you can do about it… Yeah, just feel that we should keep in mind that our celebrities are only human who make mistakes, rather than trying to consistently judge them for their decisions…. and this concludes the logical argument behind the statement ‘I don’t ever want to be famous’ <rant over>

Let’s spend some time in awe at the talent that was P. Ramlee! There are many great resources on YouTube, but this is one of my favorite songs by him…

By the way, the female singer’s name is Saloma and she would eventually become his wife in real life:) cute!

References: Useful Links:-

P. Ramlee Documentary on the History Channel – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJXFZlb0ZSU

Wikipedia: P. Ramlee – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P._Ramlee

MalaysiaKini: Article on P. Ramlee – http://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/147582

When the Dragon ate the Moon

My Dad once told me the legend of when a dragon made out of clouds would appear during Chinese New Year and slowly devour the full moon. There is no need to despair however, because the moon would always be triumphant. It would always defeat the dragon and reappear in the sky, brighter than before.

In the old days, when clouds were about to eclipse the moon, children would grab pots, pans, anything they could make noise with and bang or hit to their heart’s content. This was to scare the dragon so that it would release the moon and fly away back to its lair.

So…I was reminded of this story when I was scanning the sky one night and noticed this interesting sight..

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There was one sequence where the moon was actually covered by a cloud Dragon, but before I could panic, it did reappear again 😉 no worries.

Gong Xi Fa Cai to all the WordPress readers out there!

Ally

Lessons on Life… and Driving

Blue_(driving_in_Toronto)

To say I was simply jubilant when I passed my driving test, would be a bit inaccurate. I was more dazed, stumped, some part of me wanting to laugh, but also to play it cool as I listened to the driving examiner talk about how I could improve and what to be aware of on the road.

As I walked to the test center to get my new license, I was smiling from ear to ear. I scanned the center for my Dad, who was my coach and friend, so that we could celebrate with cake and coffee.

My next thought was to text my driving instructor, who had played a tremendous part of my growth. Here was a man who has been in the business for so many years that he could tell when I’m having an off day just from the feel of my driving. “You don’t seem very confident in your driving today” or “Hmmm…you seem to think about the past a lot. That mistake you just did, shouldn’t affect your driving now. Forget it, brush it off. Focus on the present” or “You control the car! The car doesn’t control you!”

Somehow, all of this struck me as good advice I would get from a visit to the counsellor or a psychologist. It surprised me, but I found this to be true: driving is actually a reflection of your personality.

A few things that I learnt about myself that would make good content for a book on life:

1) Don’t focus on the past or worry about the future. Focus on the here and now, on what you can actually do something about
2) Be the driver of your life! Take charge! You shouldn’t let others rob you of your vision and direction.
3) Be humble enough to acknowledge your mistakes, but don’t carry it around with you.

Ally:)

 

Getting the Hat: The Aftermath

The mortarboard flew into the air and danced across the clouds, before falling back to earth in a slow, graceful arc and landing with a gentle bounce. Between posing for the camera and positioning my hands to catch it, my outstretched fingers had narrowly missed the black felt. Bending down quickly, I picked it up and straightened to look at the people around me, dear friends who were cheering, fist bumping, back slapping, bicep flexing, hugging (or suffocating) each other and being all round joyful. As a grin spread across my face, I caught my sister’s eye who signalled with her DSLR to get ready for another shot. Standing in a row beside my peers, getting ready to throw our hats again, I felt like a million bucks. My face felt tight at the cheeks from smiling for hours… and why wouldn’t it be? Never has a day been waited for longer than this one…

Hello! To be honest, I started writing a few blog posts for this site, editing them and making them presentable.. but this is the first one that I’m truly happy with! (Hope you like it) I will post the others when my perfectionism has been satisfied.

As for the topic of this post, (in case you didn’t get it from the title and the little literary excerpt) my friends and I have just completed our Bachelor Degrees!

After 4 long years, we are now graduands of UQ’s Bachelor of Occupational Therapy! (Finally) and as it comes to a close, so ends a chapter in the ‘Book of Memories’, an entity that is unique to every individual and carries the precious moments of our lives.
(End Shakespeare mode)

If you asked me what my course was like, I would say it felt like a blur, a rushed blur of papers, ‘Swotvac’ exam week snacks, late night chats in the library, and before we knew it, time was already up and we were in hats, gowns, and weird black, white scarfs that couldn’t be worn without help. My family literally had two rounds of photo taking, one on the actual day and one the next day, whilst wondering the beautiful corridors of UQ and posing with the red blossom trees that dotted the vast grounds. UQ is better known for the red blossoms’ cousin, the purple jacarandas, but my personal favourite is the former for its rich scarlet colour that is reminiscent of the colour of sunsets.

Now, 30 days exactly after the last photograph was taken, I’m living in what they call that ‘grey period after graduation where no one knows what to do with themselves’.

To be honest, right now, I feel like I’m on the edge of a cliff. A very tall, very windy cliff top with sharp rocks at the bottom and a wooden sign planted in the ground that reads ‘Working Adulthood’ in big bold letters. Though overused, this metaphor explains what I’m feeling pretty well; a bit of uncertainty, little bit of vertigo and yet immense excitement at being so close to the edge.

Unlike some, I have been blessed with a… flying car of sorts. Through a good friend of mine, I managed to land a job working at this private company as an Occupational Therapist and now have until February to sort out the odd bits and ends e.g. Getting insurance cover, registering with the national professional board, finally getting that driving licence. Honestly, feels like I’ve run headlong into a brick wall labelled “Real World here”

As exhilarated as I am to start work and CHANGE THE WORLD, this is going to be the first job I’ve ever had😄 So, there are lots of things to figure out like… How do you talk to your boss? I want to be friendly, but not unprofessional; serious, but not without a sense of humour. And being organized, holy crap! I drew up so many plans and schedules in university that I literally have a folder full of them, number followed: 1%

“The worse thing that you could do in your 20s is think that you should have life altogether”

True that, Mr. Whoever-wrote-this. Not many people, think about life after graduation until it’s ‘after graduation’ (me being a prime example), but when the real world hits you and you feel like you are floundering in deep water, I take comfort in the fact that I’m not supposed to know everything. That there is help in the form of wiser, more experienced people, personalised Yodas if you will. Mine would be my parents, my working friends, the colleague that introduced me to this job and my boss who will hopefully like my ‘stunning’ personality 🙂

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Random question for you, dear reader. Do you remember what it was like to graduate from university/ high school? I would like to read about it in the comment section below😁

See you all later😄
Signing off,
Ally

Welcome, Readers!

Dear Reader,

Welcome to my new blog page! I really appreciate you taking the time to visit my little corner of the cyber universe! I picked the title ‘The Little Writer’ because I have always wanted to become a writer ever since I was a kid, when I picked up my first hardcover Enid Blyton book or dove into the marvelous worlds of Hogwarts, Wonderland and Narnia. So this blog is to encourage me to practice my creative writing skills and hopefully become good enough (not to mention rich enough) to publish some good works and leave my mark on the literary cosmos 🙂

Some of the posts here will be part literary genius (hopefully) and part ‘slice of life’ stories, because what can be more intriguing than life itself, am I right?

So sit back, relax, grab a cup of coffee (or chai latte, if you hate caffeine) and let me take you on a ‘journey’ (dramatic pause)… cough…

Will see you again, dear reader.

Ally