PP : Pursuit Penang

Guess what? At the very same moment as now, the time I write this post, two weeks ago, I was laying on a hammock at Batu Ferringhi, Penang, Malaysia. Simply enjoy a breeze of fresh air from the fan, while listening to my Cousin A talks with an Italian guy, and two other Koreans.

I was on vacation!


But! before I told you about my first day in Malaysia, let’s start from the day before.

I was at my aunt’s, trying as hard as I could to finish half of project report for a competition, so I could send it to my friend to finish the other half.  Then after that try to sleep as comfy as I could, since I’m about to embark a very special journey.

The next day, April 16th 2013, was the start of my first adventure in 2013. It’s my first time stepping my foot in neighbor country, Malaysia. Plus, It’s also my first trip with my Cousin A alone. No parents, no aunts, no friends, no tour guide, no tour participants, just the two of us; backpacking.

But at that night, I was really immersed on the report so I can’t really prepare the trip as I planned.  While I normally check everything once again at the night before. This time I can’t. Same thing happen with my Cousin A; trying to finish her work before this 1-week vacation.

Good news is we already booked flights months before and hostels weeks before. The essentials are secured, but other than that, we’re open to any possibilities. So here we are, two young ladies, embark a journey with countless uncertainty.


DAY 1 -  from Surabaya to Penang

Well, our flight to KL was at 2 pm, so we decided that going to the airport at 11am would be just right, since it takes about 35 to 45 minutes to reach the airport from our aunt’s home.

All my bags are packed and secured, camera charged and wrapped inside the camera bag, my ducil doll is wrapped inside a ziploc and vacuumed. Basically my preparation are finished, all I need to do is cutting some stickers which is I’m thinking of bringing to Malaysia and probably give away to some people I met on the way, or simply stick it somewhere, just to left some proof of existence.

*left : ducil inside a ziploc + vacuum. right : sticker design*

Taxi called and came at 11, we were leaving to the airport. Everything went quite smooth, except at the middle of the highway my Cousin A suddenly said, “ I think I left our Malaysian Ringgit at my other backpack at home! ”  D*MN, we’re doomed! How could we survive a week in Malaysia without any money in hand? Sing or dance on the road to earn money? Or put ourselves inside a cartoon box ? hungry Good news is that we still have enough time to go back home. So, to secure our flight, we decided to split up, I will do the check-in for both of us, and Cousin A, will ride the taxi back home and then bring back the money + pommelo + breads.
Our flight to KL went fast and smooth. The sky was really blue and the cloud was misty (?). The cloud looks like a cotton candy that left outside for a long-long time; it’s not fluffy at all.

*view from the sky. left : land from above. right : clouds… somehow looks like snow isn’t it?*

Stepping foot on KL for the first, I was following my Cousin A from behind. Until suddenly “Snap!”, my Cousin A said her sandals was broken, and that’s because I’m step on it, which is until this day, I can’t understand how and when I step on her sandals because I don’t feel like stepping on anything other than the ground itself. But let’s just believe her story for now.

*the ‘sandal dendeng kiri’ is officially dead (dendeng: beef jerky, kiri: left, so sandal dendeng kiri means : left beef jerky sandals)*


Hungry and exhausted after unexpected event before and after the flight. My Cousin A is longing for Indian food. So, she ordered some food and lassi for us to share.

*Yaaay! My first Indian food ever. Mango lassi was nice, masala lassi was terrible for me, luckily the food is also nice. It’s only that the portion is a little bit to big for me (smaller portion please (><”)!).*

Few hours after that, we’re off to Penang. But, just before boarding to the plane, the stewardess actually stopped me and said, “Do you have another ticket?”. And I said , “What? This is the ticket and it has my name on it. What do you mean by another ticket?”. It turns out that the ticket that I give to the previous officer, and eventually got ripped off was the ticket for my return trip.
Disaster ! It was a mistake, but it turns out not really fatal, since I’m actually have the ticket and, I have another copies of the return ticket, which is I eventually didn’t fly back from Penang to KL using plane but we will use bus from Cameron highland.

Long short story, our peculiar day is not end yet. Arrived at Penang, we planned to take the bus to Batu Ferringhi. However the bus takes 2 hours from airport to our lodge. So, if we take the bus,  by the time we arrived at the lodge it was probably midnight already. In the end we decided to take some private taxi, which cost us 10 times more expensive.

On the way to our hostel, we have some small talks with the driver. It turns out that he actually used to work in Korea for few years. He said the pay was good, he actually wants to stay there longer but his wife asked him to come back.  He actually reminds me a bit about my Korean days. I wasn’t there for work but I have a lot of friend who actually works there, so I know how good the pay is, especially when the currency was high.  Fuuuh~ He remind me how I miss korea, and all the people who blabbering in Korean to me.

Forty five minutes later, we arrived safely at our first lodge which is ‘Lazyboys Guest House‘.

* top left : mural on the side of hostel. top right : me and ducil on the hammock. bottom from left to right: alley, our room, lobby, our bathroom inside our room *

It was a cozy hostel near Batu Ferringhi night market. We stayed at a room with double bed and bathroom inside. The price was very reasonable and we liked it. It’s only that we don’t get any breakfast and there’s no sink inside the bathroom so we have to use the shower for rinsing the mouth and toothbrush after brushing teeth (it turns out that the sink is actually outside, not really far from our room).

So we don’t do much of adventure that night. We only walked around the night market; grab some quick snack and then talks with others at the hostels.

Well actually my Cousin A is the one who talks with them, especially because they talks about American/ European stuff which I don’t really understand. Even though two of them is actually Korean guys, but they were educated in America.

So that day, I became a quiet listener. Until I feel sleepy enough, and decided to go to bed.

To be continued on day 2… Stay tune!

FF : Facing Fears

Few months ago, my little cousin uploads a picture of Disney Princess to our family’s Blackberry Messengers Group (BBM group). She ask us about which Disney Princesses we like. No one answers her, mostly because the members of the BBM group were mostly aunts and uncles, so probably no one actually knows nor interested on Disney Princesses. So somehow we all completely forget about it.

Until just recently, I was wandering around Cameron Highlands, Malaysia. Adoring beautiful sceneries while sometimes contemplating about my life, my past and my fears. Then suddenly I felt a ‘click!’ on my mind. I suddenly remember about Mulan the 8th Disney Princess.

Fa Mulan / Hua Mulan  is an ancient China legendary figure who was described in a Chinese poem “the Ballad of Mulan”.  Her story was adapted into a Disney animation movie on 1998 and 2004.

Then, what’s the connection between Mulan, and me facing my fears?

Even Mulan was registered as one of the Disney Princess. She was actually not a princess herself, nor married to any kind of prince, in both original poem and Disney adaptation. In fact, she came from a regular family, with no noble status nor wealthy background. I felt a strong similarity between her and me.

In the Disney version, Mulan was the only daughter; she’s so carefree, witty, blunt when speaks her mind, in short, act really differently from what the society expect from a typical Chinese girl her age. She then rejected by the matchmaker, labeled as an ultimate disgrace to the family.  But her fate changed when she take most courageous decision ever. She takes his elderly father place in battlefield.

While she was a big loser at first, with the help of her witty, creative and unpredictable companion, ‘Mushu the mini dragon’ and ‘Cricket’, plus enormous amount of hard work, she became the best among her comrades.

I kinda think my condition is modern day Mulan, although my parents was not that old and there’s no way they matchmake me with anyone. I do have to come to the “battlefield” which in my case was less dangerous because its simply a decent job. And even if my families never really force me to do that I do feel the urge to assume the responsibility just as Mulan did.

The reason is simple, first, I’m the only child in my Family (my big bro deceased before I was born) so if I somehow turn to be a failure I have no other sibling as a spare.  Second, because I was the only child most people thought I was spoiled, which is true at some extent, BUT! Do you ever think that as the only child I have to be more independent than others with siblings? I have to learn more about dealing with friends, how to maintain a good relationship, etc.

I actually grown up to be someone which is in some people opinion was stone-headed, because I have to be firm on my principles but at the same time really flexible as my friend know that if they need sudden help, they could always ask me to help. I turn up to be weird, to be unique, which is a fact that I constantly trying to accept.

So when I do speaks about my fears, it was not fear about some sillies animal (rats lizard, cockroach) that normal girl afraid of nor it was fear toward scary-and-kinda-very-demanding-workaholic-future-boss.

But my fear is about what if I never go the chance to proof myself? What if I give up easily instead of working hard and succeeded later on? What if I never use my potential fully? What if my older self, blaming my younger self for not trying hard enough? And at the end of the day God will asks me “Winnie, why are you didn’t use the time I give you wisely?”

And also, there’s a quote that describe one of my fear.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?

You are a child of God.

Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.

There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

– Marriane Williamson


(if you wish to read the comic version click this link, really cool comics by Gavin Aung Than, one of my favorite comic artist)


Anyway, back to Mulan story, if my live was a Mulan story, In which part of Mulan story is my current condition is? I personally thought it was any point after the reflection songs. (see below or click link, I don’t own the video, ilustration purposes only)

And before the “make a man out of you” song. (see below or click link, I don’t own the video, ilustration purposes only)

See? But anyhow finding Mulan as my role model was actually one of my liberation point. I don’t think my fear really clouded my view as it was before. Finally I started to find my own self again. This girl who wish to see light in every darkness.

Just like Mulan did, I do prayed, not to my ancestor, but to The Mighty God, to help me fight for my life, and I do feel that God sent me guardian angels too. My witty and unpredictable Cousin A, could be my “Mushu”, and my ducil the little sheep doll, although its not a real living thing like ‘Cricket’, has already inspire me to stay feeling lucky.

Life feels beter, since I try to see light in every darkness, the world doesn’t change much, but my views did, and that changes my world. Suppress and rationalize my fears, deal with it, befriended it. Now back on track. Trying to gets up once again.

(illustration by Alex Noriega, check his site for more, borrowed for illustration purposes only)

I’m currently applying for some jobs, some are through my acquaintances. Really hope that my luck is really coming back this time.  Really hope I got accepted somehow. But also prepared for any answer, rejection or acceptance, I wish that God keep me strong, let me accept it gracefully.

As there’s light in every darkness. There’s a hope in every bad news isn’t it? Do you agree with me?