The accumulated stresses marching towards me in USM KK are Anatomy and Physiology Continual Assessment 2, Health Informatics Project, pack and leave for CF Family Camp, Fitness and Health assignment, Larian 2.4 km, Health Informatics Practical assessment, Hari Terbuka Desa, PSK exco akademik work, BM forum, Kok test, Convex Jamuan work, committee tshirt, secretarial work, protocol work, Mooncake Festival celebration prepartaion.
My mind starts to escape from reality and wanders off to the attractions in Penang. The comfort of my own home, my great mom, Penang SDA English church (big and conducted in English!), managing Sri Pinang Care group, involving in Adventist Youth, the youth!, teaching in Pearl Pathfinders, singing in choir, Penang food adventure, Gurney Plaza, Queensbay Mall, Sims3, my scent, my collection of sentimental objects, almost 20 years’ worth of memories, and practically my whole soul is in Penang.
One question struck me. That I had to check back my records. Why did I come to Kelantan in the first place? Ow yea because that is where USM Dietetics is unfortunately located. But wait. Why did I pursue this? Because..I got the offer. Public Uni is cheap. Diet is food related. Just go and try out first, if dont like then escape to Nottingham.
But I forgot some important facts!!! Got offered a place does not equal to God’s Will. Because I have got other offers as well. And I do not see myself becoming Helen Chin going around the ward showing a bowl to tell patients how much they should eat. Most importantly, I overlooked the fact that I DO NOT HAVE TO become a dietitian to be able to cook and eat!! None of my career aptitude test results mention anything about dietetics/nutrition.
It is all business, finance, law, real estate, hotel, tourism, restaurant, public relations, politician, teaching etc.
Talk about USM KK campus. Off course in the beginning its surely difficult to adjust, but even though the first week was hell, I have never thought of turning back. In fact, July and August until mid September I totally enjoyed the campus life. Probably because reality did not hit me hard enough yet, that I have to dwell here for 4 freaking years.
Then there was the Raya holidays that I went home, and realised that, one week in Penang is much much much much much happier than the sum of good things happened within 3 months in Kelantan. And when I am back, my mom is so happy, and when Im leaving again, we were both so very sad. It pains me to imagine that my mom have to live all alone for four years. I imagine myself in her shoes, I certainly do not want my only daughter to leave me, letting me live alone for years.
Kelantan. Definitely does not broaden my horizons. If you want to upgrade yourself, it makes more sense if you are moving to a more advanced and sophisticated piece of land, instead of downgrading from city to the ulu ulu. Im not entirely homesick, because I know that if I leave home for KL, I will be happier than now. I am truly impressed with students from KL who does not complain about Kelantan, but i doubt if there is any.
In USM Kelantan, you join all the activities, fight for posts, snatch merit marks, to prevent yourself getting kicked out of the lousy hostel. It sounds rather dumb, considering the fact that I already have a master bed, aircon, heater, diamond water, and closet triple the size at home. And now I am here, fighting for single bed, small closet, a table, and being forcefully placed in a room sharing with initial strangers, share toilet which has cockroaches and dustbins overflowing with other people’s used sanitary pads, and the yellowish water which makes no difference whether you wash your face or not.
Why the rat race for discomfort, when I have already owned comfort? The same amount of work done here for merit marks and hostel, I could have converted it for youth ministry efforts or even earn some money through part-time job in Penang.
Next issue, spiritual life. Main church with so many activities is just walking distance from home. Cant believe I took 7-8 hour bus, then half an hour drive to attend the small inactive church filled with old people, no bible study in english. Along with it, I also lose Care group, the entire AY, choir, Pathfinder.
Being in Penang can definitely sustain my spiritual life better. There are just so many fun spiritual activities, solid spiritual food, laughter and LOVE going around adventist youth that I feel so miserable missing-in-action whenever I see Iise’s photos uploaded jam up the highlights of my facebook account. I still want to be part of that social and emotional support group! It is sheer joy to cook for CG, think AY programs, plan socials, teach Pathfinders, sing in choir, go hiking together, have camps and many more! It gives me love joy and peace, and makes me feel that I am at the feet of Jesus, I want that!
Next issue, I can accomplish more things in Penang. In USM Kelantan, study to get Bachelors, join campus activities, 2 things to accomplish, that’s all. Much time is wasted in walking to lectures, queuing up in the crowded photocopy shop, walking long distance to find Chinese food, washing and hanging clothes. In Penang on the other hand, I can also get a Bachelors degree similarly, but furthermore I can even do a part-time law degree from UK, interior design short courses, cooking and baking classes, can even work part-time to earn and learn, can even attend Prudential training to become an insurance agent, music lessons, CG, AY, PF, choir, Leo Club, foreign language courses, swimming, continue my driving lessons, maybe start the Adventist Young Adults ministry..anything! everything! I already know where to get my resources! Total freedom to achieve full potential!
So USM KK’s Pusat Bahasa offers Japanese and Arab language courses, 2 only. But in Penang, you can learn Japanese from Penang Japanese Language Society, French from Alliance Francaise, German from Malaysian German Society, English from British Council, Korean, Thai, Spanish, Russian and whatever from various places.
USM KK has a jogging track. But if Im in Penang, I can go to Westlands, Botanical Gardens, Youth Park, or even join one of the many gyms.
I still have not seen a piano in USM KK, no sign of musical instruments besides keyboard and guitar in CF. Penang in contrast, offers lessons for vocals, piano, violin, viola, cello, saxophone, flute, clarinet, guitar, electric guitar, gu zheng, er hu, pi pa, di zi etc. Can get all these quite near my home.
One important issue, FOOD!!! Off course I dislike the malay food in the kafe, food with flies in the health campus, walking so far to find Chinese food, and I am already sick of Murni Veg stall. Where else Penang, is no doubt food heaven, regardless of hawker or restaurants, simply much better T.T
Kelantan, KB mall, tesco, no cinemas, no karaoke. Penang, Gurney Plaza, Queensbay Mall, GSC, Red Box.
Besides, it is confirmed that there are no Chinese SDA guys in Kelantan, so I am just wasting my time here aiming to be a housewife.
You get the picture already?! from all the comparisons above? Every single thing is much much much better in Penang! and I have all the more reasons, every cell and fiber within me is raging to go back to Penang! Life is short you know. If in Penang, I am happier, feel closer to God, can accomplish more things, I should straightaway pack my luggage right?
But whats holding me back? I am afraid that I will regret my decision in the future, it is not easy to enter here, people will surely say that I have missed a good chance to get USM Bachelor of Health Science (Hons) at the price of less than RM10k, and besides that I got JPA scholarship here, and if I go back, I dont know what shall I study, and it definitely requires more finance.
What is God’s will?
Will his will make me unhappy?
Yes yes some of you may say that suffering in Kelantan is good for developing perseverance, grow independent. But then again, life is so short, I know that there is nothing better for men than to do good and be happy in the few days of live God has given him under the sun, do not postpone happiness, follow your heart, whether you turn to the left or to the right, you will here a voice behind you saying, “This is the way, walk in it”
To me, studying in Kelantan is just like Martha busy with housework, being in Penang is just like Mary listening at the feet of Jesus. Studying in Kelantan is just like the prodigal son going to wildlife and then suffer, being in Penang is just like the elder son who were always with the Father.
Whatever it is, finish my first semester first. I cant possibly stop halfway, to go back and sit at home, as there are no intakes yet. Meanwhile, I shall keep praying for God to show me His will. During the 5 weeks holidays after first sem, I shall go home and explore the study options available in Penang. If I find a way that makes me have peace in my heart, I will take it, leave Kelantan, dwell in Penang.