25 November 2007


From:that frolicsome kid
To:Whom this may concern
Date:25 November 2007, 11:07
Subject: What are my talents?  

I'm a curiosity at my new school. People have been coming up to me and asking personal questions about me. Who am I? What do I do?

Unfortunately, I have so much difficulty answering their questions. I habour many secrets, most of them which can ruin my life and make me look like a freak. Ever since coming to school, I am a mystery. Who is this strange new guy? What does he do? Why did he opt for the IB program?

However, one particular question has particularly struck me.

What are your hobbies? What are you good at? What do you always do when you get home?



I wish I could run away from those questions. I can't. Never in my life do so many people ask the same questions at the same time. My eyes flicked from one person to another. I portrayed a fearful image. I was hit by a sudden realisation that I don't know what my hobbies really are.

In my Friendster profile and essays, I mentioned that my hobbies are reading and surfing the Internet. However, I know very well those are not exactly true. Internet is more of an addiction than a hobby. Honestly, you don't want to know the sites I visit. Heck, I don't even remember what I surf everyday, besides Hotmail, Gmail, Friendster, Facebook and a few blogs. =( Reading is, at best, done in one stretch followed by a long hiatus from reading. It depends on my mood.

I sound like a hardcore nerd telling people I love reading. The inner me kicked my shins for telling a lie. It isn't a lie, but it isn't completely true either. It depends on the books I read. And I have a funny flaw. I don't remember what I read after a week, unless the book was really good. I don't normally re-read books either. So naturally, I can't go far telling people about a book other than "It's really good, you should read it.". I hope that by doing literature in English and Malay in IB, these will change.

So what else do I do?

Music
Sports
Language
Miscellaneous activities


A. Music

I can't tell them because I'm not proud of the other things I do in life. To put it simply, I suck at them. A persistent activity I kept mentioning in this blog is my musical skills. I wish I could say I was okay at it, but I know that it's far from okay. It's terrible! I'm not musically-inclined either. I don't really listen to music (although nowadays, I'm listening to a few favourite songs), nor talk about music. My life appears to be musically-void. I feel extremely embarrassed to "confess" that I play the piano. In the first few days, I kept my musical "abilities" a secret from peers and teachers.

I fear that I have to perform publicly, especially since I am now a "Grade 8" pianist. Just last lesson, I had wanted to ask my piano teacher, "Honestly, teacher. Am I bad at piano? Because face it, we both know I play terribly. What can I do? I don't think I can do this anymore" I'm not too sure how well I play "well-practiced" pieces. Throughout my entire piano career, all I can remember is my struggles in reading music sheets. My sight-reading skills are as bad as a Grade 3 musician. I can never read notes above ledger lines without counting up or down from a familiar note. I cannot read chords at all without wasting 10 seconds of my life. =S It's ironic that I'm doing Grade 8 musical theory.

My poor sight-reading skills are a big hindrance to my musical abilities. I cannot fully exploit pieces because of my illiteracy. And worse, I'm staying away from new music pieces tailored for Grade 8 students. I think I'm playing Grade 3 pieces at the moment. I don't know. I feel so ashamed of it. I have been learning the piano for a decade and look where I am standing. Still struggling to keep my skills in par with Grade 8 standard. Look at my friends. Just a few years of piano playing, and look where they are! They are performing confidently in public, and they are so happy that they can churn a well-played music in a short span of time.

I lack the dedication to music. Everytime before my piano lessons, I dread of playing my stagnant music and I always am so discouraged to play music. What I hear every time is my music stuttering. It's stupid, I tell you! =( I don't know what to do... I was told to play a variety of music to improve my sight-reading skills, but I kept holding back. I am afraid to make mistakes. I am afraid to hear of my atrocious playing. I am afraid to reading the daunting chords stacked up one upon another. I am afraid of SATB.

I had wanted to give up piano. Because I'm not progressing. I have hit the wall and I can't progress further. And I want to run away from these embarrassment, so that I no longer have to tell people "I play the piano, and I'm in Grade 8" and having to play a poorly-executed song, embarrassing not only them, but myself. And my piano teacher...

In my friend's Friendster profile, another friend was praising her musical abilities. She enjoyed performing for them. And this friend, who no longer goes piano classes, can still play the piano like a professional. And he's a beginner! I admit, I am jealous. Very jealous. And I'm upset. Very upset. Because I don't understand what went wrong with my musical journey.

I'm a disappointment in music. =( I think I'm no longer qualified to play in music.

And I have a crazy dream. Recently, I have been dreaming of playing the violin (or viola). I love the expressive tone of violin, so rich and so melodic. And it's portable too, so that you can hide it in the cupboard. I dream of being a violinist (or violist) in an orchestra, playing the entire The Four Season by Antonio Vivaldi. I dream of getting engrossed in those musical works and hearing the thunderous applauses after the end of this magnum opus.

I have been thinking of picking up the violin, so that I can resurrect the dead musical me, benefiting my piano as well. I know those are just wishful thinking because how can I be dedicated to such an instrument, let alone the piano? I don't want to invest more money into this instrument and not getting anywhere as well. *sigh*

There goes one creative activity for CAS. I doubt music will be a big contributor to my creative hours.


B. Sports

I don't do much sports. As you know, I do swim. Swimming is another activity which I do not mind declaring to people, but is one which I am quite embarrassed about. After taking unnecessary breaks from swimming lessons, I found out that I can longer swim 50 m properly. My front crawl is especially bad. My swimming posture invites plenty of water resistance and hindering my streamlining. So I always return feeling lethargic and wanting to sleep my day away. Swimming lessons are a big energy-drainer. I just don't understand how my strokes are all wrong. Sure, the basic strokes are correct, and I'm getting somewhere, but the physics is wrong. My Taekwondo instructor always told us that by doing sports with the proper and correct technique, one can never get fatigued because those techniques are benefiting our bodies the right way. So something is wrong. I suspected my strength is the limiting factor here.

For a guy, I'm muscleless and puny. I can never lift heavy objects because my biceps and triceps are under-developed. And then, there's those other muscles and all. I just need to work on my strength if I want to be serious about sports. The problem is, I don't know how. =( It's a hindrance to my swimming. Whenever I push the water, I have to expend so much energy until I don't even bother trying to push the water away and propel myself forward. In the end, I'm just executing the stroke for the sake of executing the stroke, not to swim forward faster and more efficiently.

The question of the day is do I do any sports? I was asked that frequently, and my answer is I swim. And that's it. I don't do much sports besides swimming. Basketball is definitely out of the question. Ugly events developed my hatred towards basketball. Never, ever again. And I feel so sad because I only swim, and I sound like a dork saying that I don't do much sports.

I have crazy dreams. I dream of being a professional long-distance runner. I can imagine the announcer enthusiastically saying, "Look at that kid! I have never seen a runner who can maintain his pace and stamina. And look, he's nearing the finishing line and yes, ladies and gentlemen, we have our champion here!" Applauses echo throughout the stadium, and I imagine myself standing at the finishing line staring at disbelief while thinking I did it, I did it! =) On the other hand, I dream of being a marathoner too, running the entire 42 km at a consistent pace together with others who dream to finish the marathon as I do...

But I know those are just wishful thinking because I don't run at all. Not everyday. When I ran the 1.5 km race the other day, I was kind of upset I didn't get the first place. Then again, it's no surprise as I don't even undergo running sessions everyday! I'm really proud of the fact that I still managed to beat many people and the fact that I didn't drop up halfway in the race, like many did. =)

I dream of running like the wind. To run so gracefully and so fluid that it doesn't look like running, but more like a form of beauty. To transform a sport into a form of art. People will stare at me because they are intrigued by the beauty of my run.

I'm crazy for having such extraordinary thoughts which will never happen! Hahaha! =D


C. Language

I take German lessons, as you know. I haven't been going to classes since August because I didn't really have the time to go through my German notes and review for it. Again, this is another proof of lack of dedication. However, interest is still sustained until today. I plan to spend my December holidays catching up on some German as well. In my new school, there is a German in my Maths class. A few days ago, he was reciting to his friends numbers in German.

"Eins, zwei, drei, fier, fuenf..."

I was so tempted to continue it. "Sechs, sieben, acht, neun, zehn, elf, zwoelf, dreizehn, fierzehn, fuenfzehn, sechzehn, siebzehn, achtzehn, neunzehn, zwanzig..." And then telling everyone I am doing German ab initio in my spare time, and communicating with this German dude purely in German. It will be cool to have a "secret language"!

I cannot do that. People will expect me to read German and speak German fluently. I know I'm not expected to do that, but knowing how people will react to language learners, they'll probably ask me anyway. I have to apologize with embarrassment and remind them I am still a learner.

I do some creative writing too. Hahaha, like in English classes?! And the NaNoWriMo I did last year (which has yet to be completed). And this blog too. I can't exactly tell people about this blog and thus, I can't announce that I'm a blogger. I have not blogged in my other site for many months already anyway!


D. Miscellaneous activities

Yes, I watch some television too. Mostly cartoons and some comedy. It's such a childish pastime, but well, I tend to avoid watching drama series. Past experience told me that I'm easily addicted to shows like that! =O

Nowadays, I am still familiarising myself with my new Ubuntu operating system. For one thing, I noticed my Windows XP is lagging really bad ever since installing Ubuntu. I can't think of the reasons behind it, other than Windows XP hating dual-booting with other operating systems. *shrugs*

People, I'm not a nerd. The definition of nerd does not define me. (Okay, after reading that, I think I'm a nerd! O.O) I'm not into the sciences (except Biology but I don't do extra reading during my spare time). But the information I did not disclose gave them such an impression.

I was skeptical about my brother's experience with culture clash in my new school. You know, after transferring to there myself, I am beginning to think he was serious. The people here are so different. More gregarious, more outgoing, more open and more accepting... It's not that it's not good; on the contrary! It is just that after stepping out of a majority-Asian school into a mini-America school, I noticed a stark contrast between these two worlds, and I feel so different. Honestly, I am integrating pretty well into my new school, but I feel that when they begin to approach me and ask me questions about myself, I falter. I suddenly couldn't understand myself. No, not the secrets I blogged here. But more like my very first layer. My basic personality. I feel so lost. I started questioning myself and trying to find my footing.

Never in my life have I felt so lost. When I first came in my former school, people don't ask those questions. They just got to know me gradually, I guess.

I'm so confused. And I'm so bothered by those basic questions which almost everyone can answer them without hesitation.

Who am I? Why do I care so much about what people think of me?

Help... =(

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