Positive Jar – Week 2 of 2020

Three days late to write a note of what was good in week two of the new year…

The first best news was our new paper titled “To Ban or Not to Ban? Reviewing an Ongoing Dilemma on Sea Turtle Egg Trade in Terengganu, Malaysia” has been published the Frontiers in Marine Science!! Three years plus of persistent writing finally paid off!

The second best moment was meeting Aqilah, my degree course mate, who is also a lecturer at UMT. She is one of the very few who understand the PhD journey. It is always motivating and assuring to share my ups and downs with her. When I think I am doomed, she gives me advises that not all is doomed. We rarely meet but every time we meet up, it has been a good conversation. And we understand that cats that live with us are families, not just animals. Thanks for your kind words and support.

Thesis Writing Progress – Sea Turtle Egg Sale

Recently I realised that if I force myself to write, eventually there will be something on the draft. Sometimes I could not figure out what to write or how to go about it and it is easier to take a break and not think about it. However, if I keep thinking about it, I will eventually figure it out.

Yesterday, I started the section titled “Sea Turtle Egg Collectors, Sellers and Middlemen”. Then I got stuck. Surprisingly, I managed to put words down eventually and rearrange the structure. I had breaks in between to visit Fifi’s grave and go for Zumba. Usually I like to wind down the day with something more relaxing and does not require any critical thinking – watching movies or reading a book. But yesterday I decided to continue writing until I feel tired. At one point, my brain felt saturated so I stopped. I tried to sleep but it was past 4am and I was still awake. I thought I would start the next day late but Farah called and that woke me up. Today I continued writing on the section I had started yesterday. Ta da, it was done by 3.40pm. This means I had finished writing one of the interactions titled “Sea Turtle Eggs as a Traded Commodity”.

The next interaction listed on my draft is “Sea Turtles in Conservation”. As usual, I already feel that it is daunting as I don’t know where to begin. Writing is hard because I am sure this will not be the final version. There will be more corrections, rewriting and restructuring. I wish I know of a better way to write faster. My aim is to finish the results chapter before Chinese New Year.

Highlights of 2018

2018 had gone by, just like that. It is sometimes scary how fast time flies by. My life has turned into a routine since I started studying. What I do every day is very predictable. Being sucked into the PhD life feels like a piece of clothing being tossed in a dryer (with no end to it). No matter how it spins, I am still in the dryer, just keep spinning. Therefore, anything that is non-PhD related excites me. Because it is like as if somebody stopped the dryer, took me out of it to do something else, before I had to go back into the dryer and spin. Not the most appropriate metaphor, but it does feel like that. Nonetheless, 2018 had been an eventful year!!


Attending the International Sea Turtle Symposium (ISTS) @ Kobe, Japan


Travelling with Family @ Japan


Organising a Sea Turtle Photo-ID Workshop @ Tioman Island


Participating in the Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) Presentation @ UMT


Attending the International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC5) @ Kuching


Falling in Love


Volunteering with SEATRU at the Sea Turtle Hatchling Release Program @ Laguna Redang Resort


Work & Leisure @ Perhentian Islands


Travelling with Bestie @ Phu Quoc, Vietnam


Gathering / Visiting @ KL & Ipoh


Counting Down to New Year with Besties @ KL

So bye bye 2018! Looking forward to what lies ahead in 2019!

2014 – A New Start


Every time when the year is coming to an end, I can’t help but think back from the beginning until the end of the year to see what I have lived through. For many, 1st January is a day where a new year begins. For me, it is just like every other day, a new day to begin. As Hal Borland quoted “Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us”.

I didn’t make a review of year 2013 because what I did was almost the same in 2012. I spent most of my time working and living on an island so in some way my life in year 2012 and 2013 were similar. However, the difference is I learned to be better from the lessons in 2012.

Just as Buddha said “do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment”. I am a person who lives each day as it goes. It comes naturally to set new year resolutions but I don’t see a point of doing so just because it is a new year. I think it is more importantly to set goals anytime when it is needed and put effort to achieve them.

2014 feels different for me because it is also the year where I start to live in my thirties. I have never planned for years ahead. There might be things I want to achieve but I can’t put them down in words. There are always ups and downs but all I want is just to live a decent life to the fullest. I simply hope 2014 will continue to be either as good as before or even better!

1st of January had passed but the birthday was celebrated earlier. Mum, wish you Happy Birthday and may this year be another amazing year for you!


Early 30th Birthday Celebration

Well, this year I would turn 30 on my birthday. In fact, I wish time doesn’t pass by so fast. 30 used to feel so far away but now…I am going to be 30 in a few days time. If I happened to be at home during my birthday, my family would celebrate with me. However, this year, we celebrated earlier as my Mum is leaving for Tibet tomorrow and I’m going back to Perhentian for work. I really appreciate the cake that my Mum made. I remember since I was young, Mum always baked birthday cakes for us. Although it is a simple celebration but it means a lot to me because of my family! No matter how old I am, I am still always a child to my parents! Thank you for everything!


Happy 2013

The end of 2012! It was an awesome year and it definitely wouldn’t have been the same without YOU!

Wherever you are, wish you a very Happy New Year and have a blast welcoming 2013!

Dance as though no one is watching,
love as though you have never been hurt before,
sing as though no one can hear you,
live as though heaven is on earth!

Time really flies but you are the pilot so live life to the fullest with no regrets! Make every day count in 2013!


Happy 55th Independence Day!

If it wasn’t for the school, I would had forgotten about our National Day. Being on an island, nobody talked much about it. No radio, no tv, just crappy internet. The school celebrated Merdeka Day in conjunction with Raya on Thursday and we were invited to be part of it. While preparing for Ecoteer Club in the morning, we took turn to go to the school to join in the celebration. The children were colouring the national flag and this year marks the 55th year of independence in Malaysia. It was lovely to see everyone in their Raya traditional clothes. I couldn’t resist the temptation to take more photos. The kids offered lots of Raya cookies, yum yum! We even had Nasi Minyak for lunch.

School kids in their baju Raya!

After lunch, Cam, Rejini and I went up the garden. We cleared the pathway to the garden. It was a hot day but the ocean looked like a paradise. We swept the dried leaves, watered the plants and Cam even sprayed some homemade chili-ginger solution which smelled like the chili sauce for chicken rice, on the plants to keep the grasshoppers at bay. Before we left, I took a lot of photos, trying out different settings and realised that by using the underwater setting, the photos turned up really good! On the way down, I came across a construction worker and chat a while. The new apartments for the locals will be ready in 8 months time. If only I were a local from this village. The apartments would have a fantastic sea view! In the meantime, Jason, Shanice and Chiara were scraping the wall using electric grinders. We left first and had some drinks while walking back. I think I probably got tanner but undeniably, I enjoyed the work!

The view on the way to the community garden

It was Chiara’s last night so we decided to go to Long Beach. I usually go there on Saturday’s night as Sunday is a day off but there are always exceptions. It started to rain when we were having dinner. However, the water supply went off and the gals had to shower by the well.

A fish was caught in the bucket when I tried to show the gals how to fetch water!

The rain stopped so we took a boat there at about 10pm. It was a good night. As usual, the beach became alive after 12am. It wasn’t until I saw the fireworks that I remembered it was already 31st of August – our National Day! Monkey juice, shisha, good company and lotsa dancing, midnight swim in the ocean under a full moon…life is indeed good!

Chilling at Long Beach

Midnight dip in the ocean and the water was warmer than the air!

Although work is overwhelming at times, I am grateful to be working here! Life has its ups and downs but in some way the ocean has its way to sooth my soul. I wish I can always live by the beach and be near the ocean!

2012 University of Exeter winter graduation

It was good to have almost 10 days off after being at Perhentian since February. My last night at home, while going through my room, I found a plastic bag with my graduation pictures inside. It was mailed to my house but I wasn’t at home. 6 months had passed since my graduation ceremony. Looking at the photos, I realised how much weight I have lost. I miss my friends…good times! It was nice to have my parents around. Christie, Debi and J, thanks for coming, it meant a lot to me. Time really flies, it seemed like quite some time ago when I was studying in England. Not sure when I will have the chance to go back but I would love to go back again and hopefully in summer, not winter.

New Year Eve 2011

Rheinfall is a natural attraction that the locals will recommend for a visit if one visits Zurich. It is also the largest waterfall in Europe. I have been there many times. It has never changed but the water level differed. Gabi suggested to bring my parents there for a visit. The weather was quite cold that day and it was also very cloudy, therefore the photos did not turn up nice.

We also visited Munot, a circular 16th century fortification south of the Swiss city of Schaffhausen. It is surrounded by vineyards and serves as the city’s symbol. Today, it is a tourist attraction and hosts various events. Instead of climbing up, Gabi drove us there. I have been there a few times with Alissa and it is a place to have a bird eye’s view of the city.

It is very common to visit Stein am Rhein if you are in Schaffhausen. It is a city famous for its very unique architecture. It was a public holiday and Gabi was afraid that it would be very crowded, therefore we went somewhere else instead. It is a very small town and not very interesting. There was a very old bridge across the Rhein river. We only made a short walk around the town and headed back home.

It was 31st of December 2011. Hence, we had a dinner together, my favourite meal! In the meantime, we watched TV while waiting for the countdown. When the clock struck 12am, we had a toast and watched fireworks around Rumlang.

Christmas 2011

After staying about 10 days in Falmouth, caught up with a few friends and packed all my stuff, I went to London to meet up my parents, who arrived on Christmas day. It was not a very good option as all the public transportation were closed so in the end I hired a cab to pick them up from the airport.

I spent Christmas Eve with Jie, Darren, Jenni, Christie, Cynthia, Evgeny, Wei Cheang and Tina. It was really good to see all of them again. We met up at Chinatown and had dinner together. I was so happy to have chicken rice but without the chili sauce, it felt like something was mising. After that we went over to River Thane and walked around. We passed by London Eye and Tower Bridge. We wanted to visit a Christmas market but it was already closed and we could not find a place to drink. Almost everything was closed. We ended up buying alcohol and countdown at Darren’s old apartment. It was past 3am when Darren and I left but we all had a good time.

Christmas day was relaxing. I woke up shortly past 11am. We had breakfast and played Monopoly. It used to be my favourite game when I was younger. Thanks to Kelly’s Mum, we had Christmas cookies!!! My parents arrived after 5pm. I was happy to see them after so long. We had dinner together. Later at night, Darren and I went over to Christie and the rest and stayed there until about 2am. A few of them were already drunk when we got there. It was not a crazy celebration for me but it was nice hanging out with my friends!