There's rosemary – that's for remembrance

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Working out life at work

Dear Reader,

Now, I know what you’re about to say: but Maxine, you don’t have anymore readers – the last time you updated was years ago (and also, you use too many pretentious punctuations)!

Well, I’m feeling fancy tonight and ergo I shall use punctuations to my heart’s content!

Point is, I’ve started working full-time in my hometown. I was a little apprehensive about this whole “moving-back-to-a-small-town” thing, but once I started work, I warmed up to the idea. Work has been good, my colleagues have been welcoming and I’m not overworked or worse, underworked. It’s going surprisingly swell that I’m afraid I might pull a classic socially awkward move and be sent packing. It’s something that has been pecking at the back of my mind each day, as I fumble over a question or miss out on a detail.

While I’m at it, here are some tips for appropriate behaviour at work:

– don’t panic whenever someone speaks to you in a language that you’re entirely not fluent at. Try your best to meet in the middle. Whenever this happens, I forget that I’ve graduated from a world-class university and transform into a blubbering mess of incoherence instead. 

– whenever someone calls, let  them say goodbye and hang up before you do. 

– you won’t always know the answers and of course, no one should expect you to. But always offer to assist instead of sounding like a broken record muttering “I don’t know”.

– TAKE YO TIME. You might be feeling like you’re not doing something quick enough, or that you’re spending too much time mulling over something, or being afraid that you’re just wasting the other person’s time. You are there for a reason – you’ve been invited to assist, so own your space and take ownership of that time. 

Each day, I reflect on all the things I could’ve done better and the things I shouldn’t have said or done. Is this how the rest of my life is going to be?


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I don’t a reason to return to my own blog, dammit.

That’s right. I’ve been gone for a while now, but who’s going to question me, huh?

Now that we’ve established that line of defensive badassery, let’s get to the reason why I’m back…

I went through my old blog earlier this evening, and I must admit, it’s all rather cringeworthy but mildly entertaining, to say the least. But that’s not the point — the point is, reading my old blog again came with a deluge of nostalgia and a reminded me of what I wanted to do in life, who I wanted to become… I didn’t get teary reading it or anything, but it was a rather fond experience.

So. I’m going to continue blogging about whatever that picks my fancy, no matter how mundane it may be for you to read, because I realise I’ve been over-thinking this blogging thing way too much. As women responding to condesending mansplaining would say: I’m doing this for me, not you.

Current status: having my head smacked over by my Civil Procedure books and Blackstones.

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“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, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”

Marianne Williamson

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The Prodigal Blogger

“Can I have a double cheeseburger, fries and an apology with that?”

That said, an apology is probably in order. It seems that whatever blog I manage would suffer from seemingly long spells of hiatus. I was up to the neck with exam preparations, indulged in my folly of a Eurotrip, set up my new flat, estivated in a research project and flown halfway across the world back home to start my office internship. Needless to say, I have been battered to the point that I may be disguised on a plate of fish and chips.

I am now sat in front of my ThinkPad, my vision swimming before me. My eyes have been trailing word after word all morning, and my new spectacles still require getting used to. Dark circles probably lurk beneath my eyes from the lack of everything a holiday should purposefully be.

I’ll think of something more significant to blog about soon.

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I Fear Oblivion.

“You say you’re not special because the world doesn’t know about you, but that’s an insult to me. I know about you. I just want to be enough for you, but I never can be. This can never be enough for you. But this is all you get. You get me, your family, and this world. This is your life.”

– Hazel Grace, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

You can imagine my delight in discovering the coincidence that is my post of the above quote, and then finding out that today’s Daily Post challenge is about ambitions. When will I be loved? What’s my claim to fame?

I first read TFIOS about a year ago. I blitzed through it in the midst of my weekly law reading list. I remember feeling torn between liking the book because of its wit and remaining unconvinced of Augustus Waters. Other than that, I didn’t really have much of an opinion about it. Recently, I had the opportunity to revisit the story, and something truly struck a chord with me.

“I fear oblivion,” said Augustus – which in my then opinion was such a pompous thing to proclaim. It now echoes with my sentiments.

I fear oblivion. I’ll unashamedly confess that. I’ll go as far to say that a lot of us do. Many of us worry that our investment of hard work and money into this emotional roller-coaster of hopes and dreams will only veer off into the void. We want to make a name of ourselves. We want to appear on Ellen and be interviewed. We want to be on Time magazine’s list of Most Influential People 2030. I personally want to be a lawyer by day and writer/singer/actor/superhero by night.

Ambition is a wonderful thing to have. Pursuing it is highly encouraged. Yet we must remember: we are already Someone in this world. A mother, son, friend, husband…loved.


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The Anatomy of a YA Male Love Interest

Warning: This post is laced with the cynicism of a 21 year old who has been consuming far too much of the Young Adult genre for her own good.

If, like me, you have been brought up with a good dosage of the Young Adult (YA) genre, then you would be familiar with the all too similar plot lines of YA fiction/movies. If, like me also, you have begun to notice the gaping crevice between the YA genre and reality, then you would probably recognise the all too cliched usage of: The Male Love Interest. So much so that fancasting results in the frequent usage of the very same actors… (think Alex Pettyfer, Chase Crawford)

Who is this not-so mysterious lover, you ask? Well, wonder no further, because I am about to unearth the portrayal of unrealistic expectations embodied by the YA genre.

To effectively utilise the plot device of The YA Male Love Interest, one must include several characteristics. Of utmost importance is:

1. Hair

“…the top of his forehead — partially obscured by the tangle of rain-darkened bronze hair…” – Bella Swan

It has got to be the messy, tousled variety. (Granted, I have just used a character from an unconvincing series, but the mane above proves my point.) You will need to have the desire to run your hand through his hair like a handful of shampoo on Severus Snape’s lovely locks. He will probably do the same (run his hand through his hair, I mean) several times throughout the story to illustrate this point. Capisce?

2. What’s cookin’, good lookin’?

With great hair, comes a great face and body. Adjectives used to describe your typical YA Male Love Interest should include (but not exhaustively): hot, sexy, beautiful, handsome. He’s tall, lean, has nice skin… You will not want to tear your gaze away from that chiseled frame and gleaming eyes. This will often ensue as soon as you first set eyes on him. Here, have some  photographic evidence!

“Look, let me just say it: He was hot.” – Hazel Grace

“a fair-haired angel from a Rembrandt painting” – Clary Fray

3. The Chaser

He will constantly woo you and make his presence known, but in no way at all will that be creepy or annoying. He may make seemingly obtuse remarks/demands, and they will just fly right over your head because there would be no other way of facilitating a  rendezvous for later. Has he invited you over to his house after meeting you for approximately just one hour? Or was the invitation of a life-risking but adrenaline-pumping sort? Whatever it is, you will have some qualms about his intentions for just about twenty seconds. Guilty characters include Finn from The Impossible Knife of Memory (LH Anderson) and Alex in Lauren Oliver’s Delirium. I know I should include some verbatim quotes here, but I do not have my book collection with me now, which is rather unfortunate.

4. dat personality tho’

Here, we have the crux of the YA Male Love Interest – the unblemished personality. He’s kind, chivalrous, funny, witty, intelligent, and everything else you have on your list rolled into one. Need a car ride or someone to save your life? Check. Enjoy having witty repartee with your significant other? Check. Need a self-esteem boost because you are convinced that you do not deserve him? Check check check. Now, I realise that I am being slightly (or very much) unfair here because if you are meant to fall in love with the guy, he has got to have a killer personality. Vice-versa works too. And the idiom “love is blind” probably rings true. Admittedly, YA men/guys/boys can be too cornily perfect, but how else do you create chemistry between the main character and her love interest if not so?

There are very few books that are able to pull off this whole love interest business, in my opinion. Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl is one of them. It is a difficult balance to strike when creating a character. The perspective of the main character will undoubtedly be loved up to create a sense of foreshadowing. Yet the trick is to ensure that this point of view does not turn overbearing and impose upon readers/viewers a mighty cheese-fest.