REPLY 1988’s Youth


ah the feels




It’s raining right now. It’s the rainy season in Penang. Days become cold and gloomy. The sky a constant grey. This brings back my memory from when I was 9.

It was a rainy evening. My little sister who was 8 and I had school till late evening. I remember feeling so worried in class. When it rains, how could my sister and I walk to our school bus later? It was a heavy one, and we would be soaked. The bell rang, it was time to go home. My class was on the third floor and my sister on the second’s. I waited for her at the staircase and we went down together with hundreds of our peers. I was still worried.

And then I saw her, amongst the crowd of committed parents waiting for their kids with umbrella right in front of the staircase at the ground level, stood my beautiful, amazing mother. I was so relieved.

My mom, did not want us to get wet, carried us one by one in her arms. The rain was so heavy, it was ankle deep for her. Her shoes and clothes were soaked, but it didn’t matter, as long as we stay dry. I remember feeling so happy. My mom, carried me and put me down at the canteen. All three of us then walked to the other side, and if I’m not mistaken, she brought us one by one under her umbrella to our car, where my dad was waiting.

It was very rare, to have our abah pick us up from school. Abah was always busy, working his bones off to feed our big family. But that evening, both my parents were there.

This is one of the many fond memories I have growing up. I didn’t want to relive my childhood, it wasn’t amazing at all. But some fragments involving my parents, I keep very close to my heart.

I finished watching Reply 1988; a series with family, friendship, love and life values all together instilled in its 20 long episodes. I can’t help but cry so much today, feeling a very close connection to the story. And I can’t help but to cry for my parents.

Parents.. the moment their first child is born; their energy, their money, their time, their sacrifices–all devoted to their kids. They become selfless. They want us to be happy and healthy and if they could, they would trade places each time the kid gets sick. Parents are our ultimate blessings in this life. Their wrinkles tell stories of their hard work. Their deep, swollen eyes tell memories on their struggles. Their children’s well-beings become their priorities. They forget about their dreams as long as their children can live well. They might not have much but they wouldn’t hesitate a bit to give whatever they have. It must have been very painful, but for a parent, for the sake of their child, they can even move mountains.

My heart breaks a million pieces thinking about this. Oh how I miss my parents right now. How I miss my late abah. I tell my parents all the time I love them, I desperately hope they feel it in their hearts.. that they’re truly loved by me, and they are such rare gems, and there’s nothing more that I want in this life than for my parents, wherever they might be at this very moment, to be happy. 

I regret growing up with so much hatred inside me. I regret growing up talking back. I regret those times I wasted being an ungrateful child. I regret the moments I hurt my parents with my words and actions. I regret them all.

But I don’t want to live like that anymore. My goals for 2018 are to work hard, pay my loans and spoil my parents. I would like to keep it as that, and I would try my best to reach them all, InsyaAllah.

One rainy evening seventeen years ago, I realised there was nothing that could beat our parents’ unconditional love for us. It was a very simple thing, but for a 9 year old me, that was truly wonderful. My parents picked me up from school. My mom carried me  and my sister with our heavy school bag. My mom was (and still is) amazing.

Signing off, on a rainy evening seventeen years later, a lonely soul missing my parents, with swollen eyes from crying too much. Boh, I hope you’re doing great over there. Someday we will meet again. Ma, you are, and always will be, the one I love and want to cherish forever. You are so, so strong Mama. I couldn’t even be 10% of what you are. Thank you, I love you and I’m sorry.

‘When are you going back to school, Kiah?’ my dad asked.

School? I’m in a university now, Boh. Not in school anymore.’

‘Oh yes. I forget. You have grown up now, Kiah. How time flies. I always feel like you are still a little kid.‘ He said with a smile on his face, but a sad tone in his voice.

And before I even finished my master, he passed away. Someday, Boh. Someday we will all meet again, in a better place InsyaAllah.


You were such a tough, horrid year. You weren’t very kind right from the very beginning. Let’s recap a bit. I started 2017 with an infection which was extremely terrible. My morale was so down. I was also freaking out for thesis submission. I didn’t have enough money and I kept burdening my parents and Oniechan. My dad was in the hospital for heart issues. Life wasn’t exactly bad but it wasn’t fine either.

I submitted my thesis in april knowing viva would suck because no last minute, rushed work can fully survive on such a grand scale. In May, I went to shell’s fuel launch held in a prestigious hotel which I don’t think I would ever step in and I was so happy. Also in may, I lost my darling aboh. He collapsed right infront of me–before I could even say ‘I’m here, boh’. It was the most surreal thing, witnessing the passing of your beloved; the darkest day. It wasn’t so painful the night it happened, but right after you were buried boh, I’ve lost count on the nights (and afternoons) I cry myself to sleep (still do).

In june, we celebrated our first raya without you. It was simpler fasting this year because you were the fussy one, but it wasn’t nice boh. House was crowded but my heart was empty. In july I had my viva. It was horrid and I didn’t want to talk about it anymore. Nothing significant happens since. Life was monotonous. (Except for the reunion I had with my best friends, that felt amazing too. And oh, the epic field trip. It was legit fun as well.)

Before this, I experience occasional sadness. A feeling rarely visiting because in general, I’m an okay person. I don’t always feel extremely happy nor sad, I was normal. But these days.. these days I laugh louder than usual when I get the chance. I talk more when I feel like it. I eat plenty when the appetite is there. Because now, these are the rares. Happiness becomes occasional. Gloomy weather makes me gloomier. Even when the skies are clear and blue, I can be sad. Even when I’m in a crowd, actively participating, my thoughts go out to the days when I still had my father.

I do not know when this phase will pass. Hopefully soon. But for as long as it’s here, I will learn to live with the scar. I don’t know how to mend myself, and I don’t think anyone can mend me either. I shuh people away for forcing. Time heals I’m sure, but times needs time, and I’ll be okay.

Only a parent knows how it feels like to bring a child into this world. Only a mother can fully understand the birth pain. But even then, our pain is specific. The depth varies.  And only those who have lost their loved ones know how it feels. It’s like a dream, one you wish to get out from. One you thought to yourself would be over once you open your eyes.

But it didn’t happen that way, it won’t.

I know it too well that life is temporary and it is only this meaningful because it has an end, and everyone will eventually leave one day. I know that no matter how much we love something or someone, nothing stays forever. One day, I will go too. But sadly, despite knowing and reading the Quran on how dunya is only like a blink of an eye, and how the hereafter is where we’re all heading to, I would also like to say that it would still be painful. Even our beloved Prophet SAW was in despair on the passing of his beloved Khadija r.a. It is indeed okay to feel sad, and insyaAllah, with prayers and hope, the rain will feel like the rain you missed, not something that makes you gloomy.

Ya Rabb, showers upon my father your blessings, forgiveness, rahmah and protections. Increase his rank, ya Rabb. Place him amongst those You love. Showers upon my mother the same too. And with your guidance ya Rabb, with your mercy, I pray I will be reunited with my parents (and moksu, too!) in a better place someday. Protect my loved ones, protect me. Ameen.

ps: And boh, your son in law graduated his Phd!


Anddd suddenly, there’s no Oct part 2 bahahaha. I’m home. And home, you’re too busy doing you’re not sure what and don’t have time for blogging. I actually love blogging the most compared to other social media platforms because there’s no word limits and I can write whatever I want. And here, you have to know my link. You’re not like have to  see/read my updates, unlike FB or IG. Of course you can choose to hide/unfollow/block whatever, but maksud I, kalau you nak baca baru you buka. So if you’re annoyed with what you read, you can’t blame me hahaha.

Anyway, people’s been wondering why I haven’t finished with my thesis corrections yet. It’s been months since viva, and I’ve only started with repeating some of my lab work late august. Let me list it here so that you (and probably me too) know why it’s not as easy as you (or I too) thought and why it took so long. Of course some of them was my own fault, but that happened two years ago. I only learn of the effect(s) now hahaha padan muka. Here goes;

  1. I passed on a scale of 3. Major corrections with a given 9 month to submit my final hard-bound, 50k worth of thesis. Or maybe 60. Why?
  2. I started with six isolates, and went to clone Isolate B1 for the first two years of my master and failed. It wasn’t successful, and it consumed so much of my time and money and energy and moral.
  3. The thing is, you can’t simply just change your sample or re-start with something new. You have to prove that it wasn’t working and to do that; I did every-single-thing I could.
  4. So eventually B1 didn’t happen. I finally got the green light to proceed with B10.
  5. B10 was alright. Took another three semesters to clone, express and purify. Also wrote my thesis and submitted the ten copies at the very last minute. I didn’t want to proceed, but my sv was afraid I won’t have much data to put. Might jeopardise the whole thing so I kept doing more work. Did my assay a week before I submitted my draft.
  6. I ended up putting results for both B1 and B10. Also included all six which I began with. And all unsuccessfulness for B1 was there as well. I didn’t want to walk in and got ‘you don’t have enough data’ as to why I put results for both.
  7. Viva was horrid.
  8. I was asked to pick one.
  9. Or retain both but add more supporting references.
  10. Which is not available because cloning apparently is super easy to many and no one reported on failures before.
  11. So I chose to stick with B10 since it was successful.
  12. But I didn’t manage to purify B10 because the proteins got washed out in the columns and didn’t bind to the resin. And I was already into my eight semester I don’t have time/money/energy to continue. I’ve reached the maximum candidature limit.
  13. So my ultimate objective was not achieved.
  14. And my whole project will be deemed as a failure. (The examiner actually wrote this you know)
  15. So I have to change my title.
  16. And my objectives. And discussions. And conclusion.
  17. And must include all sorts of photos.
  18. I’ve picked only the best to put in my thesis.
  19. But some were unnecessary -_____-‘ because they’re a negative.
  20. And the ones I have to put, I no longer have.
  21. During my 3rd sem, I lost all my data due to some silly incident/accident.
  22. Haven’t had the time to repeat.
  23. Must repeat now.
  24. Already repeated and spent one and a half month doing that.
  25. Because psychrophilic/psychrotolerant bacteria from Arctic took a veryyy long time to grow.
  26. Weeks.
  27. And now I’m looking into adding moreeee discussions since I chose to stick with B10.
  28. I have to add and remove a lot. A lot.
  29. I have to make amendments cover to cover, literally.
  30. My references suck big time.
  31. Already settled that.
  32. Now to adding more supporting statements and formatting.
  33. And basically dying a little inside.
  34. The end is so near but also very far.

I guess that’s enough. The summary of my journey. I know no one can help me with this, but your prayers. Your prayers will, InsyaAllah.

Till then, ask me again in December okay? Late December. Thank you.

Eyhh, other people one and a half year already graduated. You so long?! 

ps: And if you were to ask me ‘should I pursue, Kiah?’, my honest answer is ‘Sure. Kalau you kaya. Atau pandai gila dapat biasiswa.’ Jawapan positif sikit ‘Of course caaann, if that’s what you really want.’

My friends and I, those who have made it or those who don’t, share one struggle in common. Money. In the end, we’re all rushing and feeling down because our financial was critical and fees must be paid, rents, bills, food. We have loans circling our waist, and stomach, and head, let’s just say we’re a walking mummia of loans hahaha. But all in all, we… survived. Thank you, everyone.



October was a tad mad. I was supposed to leave Penang and went home by end of Sept, because I don’t think my mom is happy with her account balance now hahaha but I was offered an opportunity to join Bioblitz at Penang Hill, basically an international program on Forest Conservation and Canopy Science, organised by The Habitat Foundation in conjunction with so many other contributors including Penang Hill Corp.

I am a molecular person. My master was in Molecular Biology + Biotech + a lil bit Microbiology. I don’t go out. Lab was my life. Lab was my wall. Lab was my roof. Lab basically shared 1st home title with my actual home. I’ve been to a field trip once last year for 2 days 1 night, it was nice. I became like a little kid, exploring.

So naturally I would say yes to my SV’s offer. But this time, it lasted for ten days. I got super tired end of each day, but super happy also. We got to meet with variety of people from USA, Australia, The UK, Hong Kong, and of course, our local researchers as well. It got to me when they call us scientist, cause I am pretty sure I am not near that title at all hahahaha.

Eh suddenly got werk to do later I’ll update October part 2.


I haven’t gotten over my father’s death.

I haven’t watched P. Ramlee’s movies because they remind me of abah. I can’t watch Kungfu Panda because then I would remember how much he loved this one too. I can’t look at things he used to love when he was here without breaking a little first, and a lot at night.

I don’t know when, or will I ever,

but I do hope there will come a day when at the memory of my abah, I would have stopped hurting so much.

The blue sky was so beautiful today, boh. And I pray, wherever you are now, you are in a greater place. 



August 2014

So I showed Siang Yu my old photos. And he was in complete shock. Like genuine, unpretentious shock, which made me feel even worse honestly haha.

When was this photo taken?’

You look more lively back then.’

Now you are darker. And your face look dull.’


I just told him when I started my master everything just went downhill. I met a senior when I was putting Siang Yu’s culture in the incubator shaker.

You look pale.’

Your lips especially look pale.’

You look sick.’


Phew. Take a deep breath, take a deep breath. Pale doesn’t necessarily mean bad, it could mean my tone has brightened up a bit. WHO.AM.I.KIDDING.


I wasn’t very fair back then, then here means 3 years ago, see attached pic for reference bahaha. But my skin was at least better. It was even. Now I am so dark, and suddenly my long gone white spots made their comeback. I always knew they never really went away. They just stayed dormant until I am exposed to the sun again or when I wasn’t feeling well, then they’d pop!

Eyh, what happened to your face? Whoaaa! Your white spots are so significant!’


I even have pimples now! T.T And they freaking formed scars that took forever to fade! And my blackheads have hit a new milestone. They are all so,so rude for popping on my nose, cheeks, forehead and chin. Not to forget the small, little pop-ups of extra meat. Completely no idea what they’re called, but people always say it’s because my cholesterol is high. Never really check. Good idea to go soon. My lips are darker now as well T.T They look as dark as my skin T___________T

Your eyes are always like that.’

Always like this? It’s always puffy?’

‘Yes. They are always like that.’ Make a circle under his eyes to point out how huge my dark circles and puffiness are. This Siang Yu is so honest I almost regretted showing him my old photos.


I lost 1000g wow that sounds a lot in gram bahaha. 1 kg. That’s all I’ve lost so far. Just sixteen more to go hahaha *nervous laugh*. I STILL HAVE SIXTEEN KGs TO GO TO REACH MY IDEAL WEIGHT OMG OMG OMG.

I agree. All of Siang Yu’s point–I agree. My skin is bad today. And it’s so sensitive! I have very prominent white spots that turn red when I walk under the sun. I would look so dark and oily and with red-white spots some more… I don’t look very nice hahaha. The itchiness on my hands got very bad sometimes, I unconsciously scratch them until they sting. I don’t know how or why but there are times when my hands will get a sudden itchiness and you can see dots on them.

Sigh again.

I do believe that everything that your skin projected has a lot to do with what you put inside your body, less likely what you apply on them–for me it is. I don’t really use products with strong chemicals. I don’t wear make ups. Okay. My make ups equal putting on the sunscreen and compact powder.[I think I got the wrong In2it shade for my compact because I look grey now -__-] And NYX lip cream matte because they’re so niceee. I’ve suffered irritations before and it is freaking not funny. I told you guysss, all the bad reactions I have now only start to appear when my weight started to increase exponentially over the years.

As soon as I land a job, I would sign up for membership at a local gym.

Bonne nuit!

And no, I am not being ungrateful. I have working legs, arms, eyes etc and I am grateful for them because a working body is a blessing. But I do believe that taking care of your body and realising the changes/damages you have done is one of the ways to be grateful too. In Islam, our body is an amanah, a trust. To look after one self is compulsory. I am writing this because I know my body, and I remember how it used to work. Realisation is the first step to making change. And I would love to change for the better, not just in spiritual change but in terms of health and look too.

Let’s live healthily for a loooong time InsyaAllah.