A Letter To The Sixteen Year Old Me

Dear 16 Year Old Me,

just thought you might like to know what has happened for you for the next eight years of your life.

You don’t have to cry after the modern maths trial paper thinking that if modern maths was shit, add maths would just  bury you alive. You don’t have to walk around school a week or two before SPM saying in a soft voice to friends that you probably won’t make it to college with your shit trial results. College did seem like an impossible goal then, clouded by the piles of books you had to devour for SPM. Thankfully the greater portion of Malaysian SPM candidates are not super smart like the kids from 5 Gamma or have the means to go for tuition to be spoonfed – hence the 8A’s you managed to get for SPM.

Bubbles and Shih Ling would finally consummate their relationship on the morning of your Biology paper (the irony!) and would pop out five puppies, 2 of which would be stillborn and the remaining puppies are named Oreo, Chazzy and Angel. Angel would grow up to be a half dog half human kind of family mutant. The entire family would love her so much and she remains as the longest surviving dog in the Lai household. Still very much loved because of her evergreen puppy like features despite being at the grand old age of 7 years old!

Don’t you worry about Mervyn, who shook his head at your super thick biology textbook. For his own biology paper three years later, he would only start studying 2 hours before his SPM paper, going on to score a miraculous D. He would find his true calling in law and would excel so much in it that everyone in the family are so thankful that maturity has caught up with him and that he is, in fact, a brilliant student. He just didn’t like science.

I don’t have to ask you to spend more time with Mama, Yeah yeah and Yee Ma because you already do as it is. Mama and Yeah Yeah would die within a week of each other in 2005, Yeah yeah finally succumbing to his COPD and Mama would suffer a stroke two days after Yeah Yeah’s death because she went without her diabetic medication for a couple of days. Yee Ma’s death would come as the most shocking of all. She would fall from a ladder while attempting to clean out some bird nests from her window. It’s been three years now and the pain is less now but you would still remember her and pine for those Malacca visits. Popo would come to live with you, mum, dad and mervyn..and it is a blessing in disguise because you thought you would never be able to feel super close to Popo, the grandma you only visit a few times a year. But for the three years that Popo has been living with you, you’d be able to ask her so much questions about her past and learn so much about her and feel a stronger and better bond with her.

You wondered if you would be able to finally go through with just that ONE ambition. Enough of wanting to be an astronaut, an entertainment lawyer, a veterinarian…you thought about becoming an orthodontist. You didn’t know the road to becoming an orthodontist would be filled with so many obstacles. Time, finance, opportunities. You didn’t realize that you would first need to be a dentist (which is a super long journey as well) and work for a few years before finally having the time, money and opportunity to be able to further your studies. But you would learn to feel tired at the thought of orthodontics in university. You would start work in a daze not knowing whether to remain as a general dentist or to further your studies. But after six months of working, I can tell you that your strength is in dealing with children. You love children and you have a way in persuading them to do things they really don’t want to do. Maybe you can consider becoming a pediatric dentist. Yes, there is such a profession, you just didn’t know at that time.

You know Chee Kiang? Yeah, I know, he is always topping you in class but don’t be bitchy to him because he is just so much smarter and you can’t change that! Stop being bitter! He would later on tell you that he felt very upset at the way you treated him during the whole of Form 5 and wish that you guys were the way you were back in form 4 when you were almost together but not quite. You would stop dangling the proverbial carrot sometime during your A-levels and his A-levels (though he would do his in Singapore, and you in your backyard, Taylor’s College) and finally get together at the end of 2004. Don’t freak out…. but things get very serious.

This is how serious it would become. You would share an apartment together. 😐 So stop being mean to him okay? He might have enough ammo against you and refuse to wash the dishes after dinner.

There would come a time in your life when you would start penning your thoughts in an online journal that the world wide web would refer to as a blog. But your thoughts would not be mere thoughts of how your day went but it would be filled with photos of things you have done and things you want to show the world! Blogging would play a big big part of your life from college right up to the first few years of university. You would even say things like, “But blogging is my life!!” when daddy would call you up to tell you off for revealing too much of yourself online. You would feel so upset and feel uneasy if you don’t share every single thing that has happened to you.

You would get involved with a community of like minded people who penned their thoughts online and be so caught up in it. Fortunately, your effort would pay off and there are people who would love to read your blog because you would be shameless and be extremely generous with self depreciating humour. Almost all your friends would read your blog and everyone would remember you as a blogger. Sometimes, people in your past who never quite cared to be your friend, would become chummy just because you had a blog that was read by quite a large number of people. I know it sounds conceited, but it’s true. In a way you don’t have to try so hard to make friends because during this period of time, most of your friends’ friends would have read your blog at least once and know know you ‘quite well’ already, even though you have never met that person before. Aside from superficial friendships made and rekindled, it also opened the doors to many opportunities for you. You would be acquainted with people you probably wouldn’t have had the chance to meet and later on, blogging would mean the opportunity to endorse a few products and you get to keep them for free!

You would go on to be grateful for having had this opportunity, this experience, but blogging would become an activity that is few and far in between towards tbe end of your uni life. It wouldn’t matter as much anymore. The phase would pass just as quickly as it came. You would only write when you want to…or worse, remember to. 😐

Sometime in the middle of university, you would find a hobby that would eventually take over blogging. You know how much you love stickers right? Right, you would actually turn it into a business. While it is not going to get listed anytime soon, it has grown in the past three years and some months, the profits are even enough to pay all your bills for you!

Back then, you would be so crazy about the latest Acer laptops that was promoted in the brochures that came with the newspaper. What was most important to you back then was to have a laptop that had wifi and a cd burner. Daddy bought you an Acer laptop just a couple of days before your Chemistry SPM paper and you would be so amazed at the ability to go online anywhere in your house. But what if I told you that you would have the internet in your hands ANYWHERE in Malaysia? A PDA like phone called smartphones would emerge and it would change how Malaysians go online. You’ve probably already started playing Friendster but now, 8 years later, social network has taken the world by storm and changed the way we communicate. Everyone, including Angel, would be on Facebook. Imagine that! I know you just got streamyx installed, but would you believe it if I told you that there is wireless internet provided by telco companies, providing you with an internet connection anytime, anywhere? There would also be a piece of technology called the iPad. It’s just a flat screen, a really really flat screen, even thinner than mummy’s chopping board and you can go online with it? Just by tapping on the screen! Can you believe it??

You would get your driving license next year but you’d  always get lost when venturing to a new territory. A technology called GPS would be able to bring you to your destination with precise directions and instructions. You thought your Nokia 3310 was awesome, the best thing ever. But wait till you get your hands on a GPS.

I know you think you’re going to miss all your friends and you’re clamoring to take as many photos as you can with all of them. But those that you want to see again, you will always see them. Probably the only friends you see in Subang for all the years after high school. The girls are now scattered all over the place, most of them would go on to work in the finance sector. In fact, Mel would be the first to get married and as I type this, she is on a flight to Melbourne to get married to an awesome guy named Tim. You and a few of the girls would go down for their wedding later in the year! As for the guys in your year, you would still see them a lot too. If they are not in finance, they are in engineering. It’s awesome that you will still get to see them and to be able to share so many years of friendship with this big bunch of people that you know so well.

You would meet a girl called Lie Yuen in college next year. She might seem quiet… but do take notice of her because she would go on to become your closest friend for the next five years of your life in university. You would share a house with her and she would be the one who knows you so well, even things mum and dad don’t know about you. It’s not easy to meet such a friend who would listen to all your life stories, tell you all her life stories, predict you so well, share so many inside jokes with…basically she would be your rock in your time of need at uni. We would become the extra daughter to each of our families. Popo even gave her japanese roses to plant in our pathetic garden.

You know the whole thing that you do with guys bums, slapping them and grabbing them whenever and wherever to the cheers and shrieks of laughter from your friends? You would actually grimace at it later on in life. What were you trying to prove? You thought it was a way to show these boys (and some girls) that you’re a cheeky girl who have no qualms about being appropriate. You thought it would make people warm up to you because you’re not one of those ‘quiet types’. Well, glad you’ve had your fun. But thank god you would stop doing that in college. You would still give the occasional butt whack to some familiar faces around college but other than that, it has stopped. Fortunately. A lot of people, including Chee Kiang, would tell you that you have become more serious over the years. You would not be quite sure what to make of that. But then again, almost everyone has changed since they started work. It’s true. Just you wait and see.

I hope you like hearing about how your late teens and early twenties have come and gone. Will tell you more when I hit 35.