…….The World Without Boundaries

Looking back at 2017

Written By: jipp - Dec• 31•17

Another year is coming in. And of course another is passing by. I’m not sure if 2017 was even an eventful year. I think it was quite slow compared to the previous years. I didn’t even do much traveling. Perhaps the only travel trip that is worth highlighting is my 2-week road trip all over New Zealand. New Zealand was great, but I was expecting more. The country is quite monotonous with the exception of the far South. It was beautiful – no doubt – but again I was expecting more. But of course the road trip was something that I had to do at least once in my life.

Then my solo trip to Chiang Mai. It was more like to tick something off my bucketlist. Again, I was expecting more from the Rose of the North. I was only there for 6 days but it felt too long. I decided that 3 days is enough for a place like Chiang Mai. I’ve been to Bangkok several times and still I couldn’t get enough of it and that was not quite the case when I was in Chiang Mai. It also made me realize that my bucketlist probably needs some revision.

Chiang Mai

Then I did something that I had long wanted to do – to conquer the highest mountain in Peninsular Malaysia. Mount Tahan really surprised me. It was tough but it really was worth it in the end. I had never been to a climb where I had to bring everything on my own – from tent to food stuff – everything. It really felt like such a fulfilling accomplishment. It felt like such a real mountaineering. And it felt so good to be standing at the highest peak of Semenanjung – the part of Malaysia that I had spent half of my life settling in.

Then my trip to Manila. It was my 3rd time to Manila but this time I landed at the capital city of the Philippines probably at the worse of time. I had to wander the streets of Manila in knee-deep water through incessant and howling rain. In my effort to avoid floods, I ended up walking in the dark streets and back alleys, across squatters and packed neighborhoods that I had never expected existed in what appeared to be a posh area in Manila. All the towering 5-star hotels are only a front facade that covers the reality of what lies behind.

The looming images of people drinking and smoking and chattering on the front verandas of their rickety houses while I was walking hurriedly past with my backpack in the rain are still vivid in my head. There were times when I felt like I had taken a wrong turn and was lost and I had to contemplate whether to turn back or keep going. What appeared to be quite a short distance from EDSA LRT Station, it took me 3 hours to reach my hotel in Guerrero Street. It really was quite an experience.

Perhaps my biggest accomplishment this year was the acquirement of a Master’s Degree – something that I had never thought of doing since I really thought I had had enough of studying when I did my Bachelor’s.  I’m not even sure how the idea came about and before I knew I found myself burying my face in countless journals, research papers, books, and whatnots.

Doing Master’s really involved a lot of thinking – and lots and lots and lots of writing. Thanks to all the blogging that I did over the years, I could finally put all the skills to a good use. I found writing was much easier than how it would have been if I did not blog at all. Then I think of all the driving that I had to do going back and forth between KL and JB. It really felt lonely at times, especially when I had to be on the road for 4-5 hours on my own. It really involved a lot of sacrifices, be it time, energy or even money.

When it was finally over, it felt like I had whole world all to myself. The relief and sense of accomplishment were massive. For me doing a Master’s is not really about the certificate itself, but more for the journey that I had to go through while acquiring it. It taught me to be patient (very very), meticulous (very very), pro-active, independent and perhaps a dozen more of other things. But above all it taught me to really really think and make full use of my brains. LOL.

I’m not really sure about what lies ahead for me in 2018 but somehow I can sense that it is going to be a very very interesting year. I have my fingers crossed to that.

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My Bully Story

Written By: jipp - Dec• 30•17

So bullying at school, or even at colleges and universities was one of the hottest topics this year. There were quiet a number of cases – students were tortured by their schoolmates, school kids got bullied and refused to go to school – some even involved deaths. There were cases when students committed suicide because they could no longer take it. Quite surprisingly most of their parents were not aware of the bullying until it was too late but I’m not gonna go any further on that. Not this time.

I might be one of the lucky ones who have never been quite bullied back in school. I did to certain extent get bullied but nothing serious. Bullied mentally perhaps – but never physically. I don’t remember any. Perhaps I was a tough kid, or I went to schools with well-behaved students which I don’t think was quite the case because I did hear about some other students getting bullied. Even when I went to one of the top boarding schools in the country bullying did happen. I was just lucky I never got targeted. May be because I happened to hang out with some of the tough kids at school so all the bullies couldn’t find their way near to me. Or perhaps I was one of the bullies.

Source: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-a-bully.htm


But I remember when I enrolled at a boarding school in Keningau (my hometown in Sabah) where most of the students came from the far corners of the surrounding districts. And I was placed in a dorm with 5 other kids and they were all younger than I was. So being quite the senior at least by age since we were all in the same batch of students who had occupied the newly-opened hostel before others, I took full advantage of it by asking them to do things for me.

I’d ask them to wash my clothes, go and buy things from the canteen which was located high on the hill, carry my books, just to name a few. These kids brought their innocence with them from their remote villages so they didn’t really know how to say no to somebody who was obviously bullying them. But there was one particular kid who didn’t seem quite happy with the way I imposed tasks on them. He was beginning to show protest, bit by bit, until one day when he could no longer take it.

He kinda burst it out in front of everybody, telling me that his father had a black magic that can anytime turn my life into a misery, and that this daddy of his also had 7 gurus that ranked high in the black magic world in Indonesia. The people of the district that he came from were quite famous for practicing black magic back then so I could quite digest what he was saying.


But when he said that his whole body could turn BLUE when he got angry (probably much angrier that he already was, perhaps there was some level of angriness that he needed to reach to turn him blue LOL!) and that I did not want him to turn blue or ‘you’ll be so sorry you’ve ever messed with me’ as he described it, that was when Incredible Hulk flashed on in my mind. I knew right then that he was bullshitting so I jumped off my bed and kicked him and I kicked him real hard.

I don’t exactly remember what happened next but I do remember that he did not turn blue LOL. It would be a couple of months before I decided that hostel was not really for me so I sent a letter of apology to the chief warden (he helped me in even though my house was quite close to the school) and returned to my heading-home-after-school routine.

Fast forward to my uni years when I landed in KK for a semester break with a friend of mine. His parents came to pick us up at the airport and they took us to a rather exclusive restaurant in town. We ordered quite a spread of food and looking at the prices on the menu, I knew they were going to cost us a bomb. So when it was time to leave and we asked for the bill, one of the waiters came up and told us that the bill had already been taken care of. So we all went “huh??” almost simultaneously.

The smiling waiter pointed in the direction of the kitchen and we all turned to look. A young guy in a white uniform with a high toque on his head waved at us from behind the kitchen bar counter.


I didn’t immediately recognize him but his wide smile looked like something that I had seen somewhere in the past. And sure enough, when I walked over to him, it was him – the guy that I bullied back at school, the one who claimed he could turn blue when he got angry. I gave him a firm handshake, and he returned it with an even much firmer one. Perhaps, he was trying to send me a message through that exaggerated handshake. Perhaps he was saying without saying that he could have done something with the food. LOL.

But judging from our little conversation that day, it was quite obvious that he had long moved on. We both had moved on. I mean, that’s how we deal with life right? We move on from the past. Heh.

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