Agony Aunt Agatha #11

The school is full of toxic people and there are people who pretends to like you but behind your back they talk about you. How do we deal with such situations? If we are already very tolerant but yet the others still cross the line. Please help thank you!

There’s no doubt that there will definitely be such people in every school and you just have to find ways to deal with these individuals.

Firstly, it may just be the nature of that person to be two-faced and what you should do is distance yourself from her. You should still maintain a convenient and civil relationship as acquaintances but try not to get too close or personal and put yourself at vulnerability. Stick to the simple small talk on a daily basis but do not delve deeper.

Secondly, you cannot stop things from being said about you, but you can definitely change the way you view such things being said. You can think of the situation as

hey, maybe they’re bored and need some drama in their lives to be part of

or

Maybe they feel jealous of you and perhaps want to spread rumours to make your life seem less impressive

Either or, being spoken about behind your back isn’t exactly the sweetest thing in the world.However, we tend to be so caught up in our shallow pool of image that we fail to recognise that what really matters is how you react to the circumstances and if you choose to let it affect you. If you know that what was being said about you is not true, you can hold your head high and let the haters know that you are more than a silly rumour that they believe. Just stay calm, denounce what isn’t true, and if you can, laugh it off. Don’t feed the trolls.

Anyway, that being said, you can always approach the person and confront her/him about what was being said, especially if they cross the line. Do not feel afraid to stand up to them, do not let them hide behind that cowardly mask.

Good Luck!

 

I know a girl in class likes me, what should I do to make it less awkward?

Most importantly, first consider what you would like out of this. Would you like her to get the hint to please back off a little and not get her hopes up? Do you want her to know you might like her too?

Just be your normal self, don’t change just because of someone liking you. She likes you for you, so do not be too bothered about it.

However, if you do not like her and do not want this to develop anywhere, one good thing to do is just be remain ‘oblivious’. JC is a short 2 years whereby the overwhelming stress of homework and tests is going engulf you. With that being said, just ignore the situation and this crush will probably fade away. Friendzoning is cruel, but sometimes necessary to help the both of you get on with your lives.

On the other hand, if she knows that you know that she likes you…

Good luck my friend.

She’ll probably be waiting for a response. You should either make it clear that you are not interested in a relationship at this point but offer to remain good friends as you value your friendship a lot. (and also to prevent your relationship from getting awkward) Confront her on it if necessary, or try to get her friends to hint at it to her for you. If you’re not comfortable confronting her directly, just try to remain good friends with her and be careful NOT to give out any mixed signals to prevent her from getting confused or encouraged.

All the best.

Agony Aunt Agatha #10

Is there any way we can join ej.origin? Joining the school newspaper has always been something that i wanted to do but when we were choosing CCAs, ej.origin wasn’t created yet, is there any way we can join ej.origin?

We are heartened to see that you are interested in joining The Origin* in creating an impact in school life and bridging the gap between the teachers and the student population.

 

The student body is always welcome to share and contribute their ideas, skills, and experiences with us. While we are unable to accept any official members from the current cohorts, if there are interested parties, we are open to hosting monthly meetings for the discussion of monthly affairs for those who would like to be permanent guest writers at The Origin*.

 

In addition, we do also always welcome student submissions. You may submit any of your personal works (such as short stories – so keep your eye out for such invitations in your email from Ej Origin), your opinions on current affair issues, or even your views on what project The Origin* should take part in next. We value the student voice and to make sure you get heard, do send in your submissions to our email or through the google forms!

 

Hi I think I’m attracted to a girl but I’m not sure why I can’t just be normal around her which sometimes results in me appearing unfriendly. Any tips pls 😦

First of all, don’t worry! It is perfectly normal to be feeling nervous which results in you acting strangely around her due to being overly self-conscious, and it is honestly a lot better than being that boy in the playground that pulls the hair of the girl he likes. Some ways that you can try to counter this is, for one, when around her just try to imagine that she is someone else, or that you are someone else. You can also try keeping your distance (but be subtle about it!) and wait till the infatuation passes over. Thirdly, you can also try to, in reverse, spend even more time with her so that you can get comfortable with her. Because you may tend to seem unfriendly to her, be a bit more explicit in complimenting her and actually letting her know that you enjoy her company, and if you sense you make her uncomfortable with your ‘unfriendliness’ just try to apologize and laugh it off, make a joke out of being tongue-tied around her. Laughing things off usually helps people get away with most things. In general, just try not to be so self-conscious around her. Stay calm, be confident, and try to be normal or treat her like any other person. I know it is much easier said than done, but with practice, you’ll get there!

 

Does Aunt Agatha have any advice for people who procrastinate a lot (like way too much)?

Sell your phone

No, I’m kidding.

But on a more serious note, exercising self-discipline is the most important thing. Know that there is a time for work and play. Easier said than done, though! To effectively tackle this problem on a more concrete basis, first figure out what it is you do to procrastinate. What distracts you? What gives you the chance to do something other than study?

For example, if you find you are constantly picking up your phone, when you are studying, you should keep your phone far away from you so that you will not get distracted by the incessant buzzing and flashing notifications you get from your phone. You can even lock it up in a box or give it to your mother for safekeeping if you feel that is what it takes to keep your hands off it. If necessary, have a routine such that you are able to study for an hour or so without checking your phone and have a 5 minute break where you are allowed to use your phone. Reward yourself this way, since it also works as incentive. Here is a cute app that can help you stay off your phone! https://www.forestapp.cc/en/ On the other hand, if for example your way of procrastinating is walking around the house, just lock yourself in your room.

Another way to ensure you complete your work on a day by day basis is to plan what you need to do every day. Get a box and put that work in there, and remind yourself that you can only relax or go to sleep once that box is empty. This will also help you keep from forgetting what work you have and having to stay up late doing it the night before it’s due, which is really unhealthy. These are just a couple of many ways you can keep yourself on track with your workload, though. If you find you simply do not have the self-control to not only establish but keep up these preventive method, do not hesitate to ask your friends or family to help to reinforce them! You’ll be glad you did in the end.

If possible, you should also look for a concrete and strong motivation to study instead of simply working for the sake of working. A motivation is the best way to peak your interest towards a certain subject or topic and it spurs you to want to know more about it and your ignite your passion to want to understand more about it. Be clear of your goals, convince yourself that you want it and you are willing to work for it, and you’ll be set. You will find that you have absolutely no problems and you can say goodbye to your worst enemy – procrastination.

 

 

Agony Aunt Agatha #9

Have no fear, Aunt Ag-
Angst Andii is here

I have an EC on a J2 but we are in different CCAs and I think it’s so hard to get an opportunity to talk to him.

Maybe there is a reason. You know. Fate and all.

You are still in the same school, you will still have opportunities to bump into him! Try to take note of common breaks or times and places you may be able to see him, or mutual friends or connections you may have.

Know his timetable or get a friend or senior to subtly introduce you.

Do refrain from being stalkerish, though, and respect his space, as well as the fact that he is probably now absorbed in preparation for his A-levels. Try to just be familiar first, before you progress into friends or attempt for more!  In the meantime, get comfortable with the friendly waves and occasional “hi”s you get. You should be patient and take it one step at a time. Do not rush it.

Rush it, you need some closure in your life. Just approach him and confess!

Things may get very awkward very fast if you throw yourself at him or give too-obvious hints. More advice on how to handle similar situations can be found in past AAA posts. Good luck!

 

If change is the only thing that stays constant, is constant the only thing that changes?  

Do you change your clothes after PE? Yes? Then no.

This is an argumentative fallacy. There is no logical reason why change being the only constant should lead to the conclusion that constant is the only thing that changes. For the question ‘Is constant the only thing that changes’, however, firstly, constant is a descriptor of something that is unchanging; once changed, it is no longer described as a constant. If it changes, it is not a constant.

A rate constant changes as well, according to many factors.

Secondly, rest assured that other things that are not constant change too, such as the weather. That is why they are not called constant. For a better answer, do consult your GP tutor on this question!

 

I feel quite overwhelmed all the time in school from results, studying and general responsibilities. I know I shouldn’t, since I have all the support surrounding me, but sometimes all this help feels foreign since I’ve never really needed this help before that it feels stressful just wanting to ask for help because I don’t want to dump my load on someone else who is probably as equally stressed. I’ve tried de-stressing in many ways but none of them seem to work. Do you have any other tips to maybe lessen the stress?

Haha welcome to JC.

JC is overwhelming, that’s no surprise; and everyone only has that same 24 hours a day to handle it all. Don’t worry if you’re feeling a little out of your depth. In the end, the only thing that matters is how you handle it, and how you make use those 24 hours to manage the mountain of tasks ahead of you.

Of course, your Plan A should be to be able to manage your time, work, and responsibilities by yourself. But you are only human. Circumstances change, and sometimes we need a little external support to help us through. It may feel strange, but once you get used to working with the resources around you – including your friends and tutors – asking for help will begin to get easier. You need to push past the unfamiliarity to get what you need.

Make yourself comfortable, Aunt Agony isn’t nearly done.

Furthermore, company is a good way of helping you keep track of yourself and your pace; and often, when you ask your friends for help, you are also actually helping them keep track of their themselves as well as reinforcing their familiarity with their work. Do not feel stressed or guilty for asking for help. This is what friends are for, and no man is an island. If you’re worried that your friends may not always have the time to help you at the moment and you don’t want to stress them out with extra work helping you, you can always consult your tutors as well, or other tutors in the department; rest assured all of them will be more than happy to offer you guidance. Whoever you do end up consulting, though, always be sure to show your appreciation! Once you’ve established the support and communication system you’re comfortable with, your stress should automatically lighten with the assurance that you may not have it all handled now, but you’re well on your way there with the help you need instead of suppressing yourself.

Be Shameless. Live by this quote and you’ll live like Andii.

As for other forms of stress relief, don’t give up on looking for ways! Different stress reliefs work for different people in different situations. Listening to music is always one good way; another small useful tip is to apply pressure to the area between your second and third knuckle to create instantaneous calm. It activates a nerve that loosens the area around your heart which allows any nervousness to disappear, which works for some people.

It doesn’t work for me.

I have no fear.

Hopefully it can give you some temporary relief – but for something more consistent, do consider what’s been brought up above!

 

 

Agony Aunt Agatha #8

How do I stop eyeing boys or girls and start focusing on my studies and academics? All my eye candies break my heart one way or another, intentionally or unintentionally and I want it to stop!

Recently, I have come to the realisation that the relationships I had with some of my friends, whom I stuck to secondary school, are not worth keeping. Reasons being, our friendship was always shallow, mainly because we were part of a larger friend group, and I feel extremely used, in the sense that they only came to me when they needed something, but never really bothers to be there for me during my lows, which I have been going through a lot since coming to EJ. Should I put in effort to save the friendship? I do not think it is worth it but I am afraid I may regret my decision.

Times like this can be really hard but I am glad to hear you are doing your best to stay strong and take action on your circumstance. I do believe, however, that now is the time to really evaluate the worth of your friendships, to decide for yourself if they are detrimental enough to scrap or if you are just frustrated with what you see in the heat of the moment. Oftentimes, we may be blinded by emotions in the moment and forget what a person really is to us or what they have done for us.

That said, consider the situation. Being part of a large group often means that you cannot be as close to every person as you might like, but that doesn’t mean you can lump them all together as shallow relationships either. It can be difficult to differentiate who is true to you and who is just there, because you are in the same ‘group’. Being in the same group sometimes does not actually automatically make you ‘friends’, and does not automatically entitle you to ‘friendship privileges’. You cannot really expect things that are not obligated to you; much less, you cannot expect people to extend to you something you may not have openly expressed interest in or actively worked to deserve. Consider if you have ever reached out to them for help when you needed it; consider if you have returned them the same warmth of friendship you are expecting in return. Sometimes, though, frustrations like these can be built on misunderstanding, and before any rash decisions are made, it might be best to try to talk it out with said persons to clear things up, just in case. Either way, nobody is perfect – we can all be self-absorbed when stressed, and sometimes everyone needs a small reminder to break out of that bubble.

In the end, I think the ultimatum is considering the overall effect of that friendship. Your mental health and wellbeing always comes first, so if the relationship is in any way detrimental to you, then I advise you to try to cut it off, but in a civil and clean way. However, if it is merely shallow, maybe this is a time to try to work on building that friendship properly and getting to actually genuinely know that person. But, even if you are not keen to get close to them, acquaintances are always good to have – people you can be friendly with, build up your network with, even if you may not always be close to them, and even if you want to keep a comfortable distance nonetheless. If you are afraid you will regret the decision to cut them off completely, it is always safe to maintain friendly terms but at the same time that safe distance. Either way, take care to look after yourself first and foremost, and in whatever you chose, try to avoid being stepped all over, but also try to avoid making enemies.

Do remember to give yourself time to cool down first before making any decisions! Friendships are precious and you should always try your best before deciding to give up! All the best, and I hope you find closure in your predicament.

 

There’s this girl in my class who is really annoying and she’s always butting into conversations. I have the strongest urge to tell her off but I also don’t want to be rude. She’s overly-polite in front of teachers and we all know it but no one is saying anything so should I?  

I understand that you may be feeling frustrated and annoyed with the way she acts, but do try to understand her intentions here. Chances are, she is not trying to annoy you on purpose, or may not even realize what she is doing is upsetting you; she may just be a little insensitive in trying to do what she thinks is good.

Try talking to her in private. Pull her aside and explain that while you are appreciative of her efforts to be friendly, you don’t like your conversations to be interrupted as it makes you lose your train of thought, disrupts a private moment you were having with your friend, et. cetera, and it makes you a little upset sometimes as you feel she is not respecting your space. Of course, as a classmate you should be trying to include her, but it is understandable that sometimes you are just having a conversation that is meant only between you and your partner, and you need to make that clear to her. The most important thing, however, is to remain civil and objective. She is a person just like you, and there is no need to upset her beyond clearly and politely reminding her of the boundaries you wish to instate. Making her believe she’s made an enemy of you would only make things worse. Talk to her kindly about it; make an effort to try to find an actual solution too instead of just telling her to stop, such as by asking why she tends to interrupt conversations. Maybe even work out a system with her where you can give her a small cue in real life situations, such as a tap on the wrist, so she has a better idea of where stepping into a conversation is appropriate at the time or not.

There is a chance that even then she may not fully understand you and continue the way she is, but the fact is, this might really just be her personality. The way she interacts with her teachers is also not something that should really be concerning you – better polite than rude! – but if you believe it is detrimental in any way, perhaps also lightly or ‘playfully’ remind her that there’s no need to be so polite with teachers and it is alright to speak to them a little more casually to help build up a more conducive learning environment. Either way, hopefully understanding why she is acting the way she is will help you resolve this issue better. Maybe she just wants the attention she doesn’t know how else to get, or wants to show off her intellect. Showing some empathy and comprehending the situation from the other party’s perspective will definitely help, and maybe you will be able to work out a solution with her in the end. Whatever it is, being rude or ‘calling her out’ to humiliate her or simply to vent your frustrations is not the way to go at all, and could certainly make things worse. Reason and kindness is always the way to go. All the best!

 

How do I stop eyeing boys or girls and start focusing on my studies and academics? All my eye candies break my heart one way or another, intentionally or unintentionally and I want it to stop!

Have some self control. Have some discipline! Understand that now may not be your time to be looking out for guys or girls. Focus on your current work and put in your best effort to do it right. Love life will wait, but your academy won’t! A levels is a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you should never regret. Mindset is the most important thing.

Easier said than done, though! While no one can stop you from having eye candies, and you can’t stop your feelings either, perhaps the best way to do so is simply avoid looking, physically. The more distance you put between your crushes and yourself, the more you detach yourself from it, chances are, eventually your fondness will fade. Furthermore, if someone tries to point out your eye candy or gossip about them, have the self-control to tell them to stop – or even employ your friends to help you avoid them or talk or thought of them. Minimizing interaction will certainly help, and every time you find yourself getting distracted, give yourself a little reality check. Which one is going to get you to university – that cute guy/girl, or the homework practice you’re doing? That’s right. Your homework. Good luck!

 

 

Agony Aunt Agatha #7

Do you know what to do when your friend dates a suspicious guy? Or when you do not know for sure whether someone likes you? Find out our opinions on what you should do here!

Hello Aunt Agatha, I am writing in to consult you on a difficult situation. One of my friends has recently enrolled herself in a difficult subject combination. Unfortunately, she is not aware that she does not have the attitude or aptitude to do well in it. To add fuel to the fire, she is also dating a guy who has dubious intentions. I am very worried that this will impact her already poor grades. I fear that she is on the verge or retaining now. Should I do anything to help her? What can I do?

It is really heartwarming to see you going the extra mile in trying to help your friend, but before you do anything give the whole situation some thought. There must be some reason she made this choice, and some reason why she was also allowed to enrol into such a subject combination as approved by the school. Consider that you might not have the best gauge of her actual attitude or aptitude – different people have different methods of carrying themselves and you can’t always assume to understand a person and their entire life and choices in entirety.

That in mind, also remember that there is a chance that even if you do try to help her, she might not take well to it. Nobody likes to be doubted or told they are doing something wrong, so remember to approach the situation gently and carefully, or you could easily make things worse by adding tension to your friendship, making her more adamant to stick to what she’s doing, or cause her to be more walled up against the idea of help if it just feels like criticism. Ask her about her choices and help her work through her thought processes in that decision to help her review why she made this choice and if it’s what she really wants, if it’s what will really work out for her, and if you can, advise her to consult a teacher about it. In the end, at the same time respect the choices she makes for herself, and if you can simply help her in any way you can, such as by engaging her in study groups with you and helping her adopt a better, more positive learning attitude.

Next, about the dubious boyfriend. Why is she still dating him? Is she even aware of the suspicious intentions he might have? Don’t be a constant nagger or it may put her on edge, but gently sit her down and try to discuss the situation with her. Remember, and remind her, that it is her life and her choices, but ensure that she keeps in mind what she has at risk. Even if she chooses to continue the relationship, remind her to always be on her guard and remember what is most important to her. Try not to bring in external interference though, as this ‘meddlesome behaviour’ breeds hatred, distrust, and can make her even more determined to continue with what she wants to do even if it is not the wisest – but worse comes to worst, you can always discuss this with a trusted mutual or adult, such as a teacher. You can also try speaking to her boyfriend, or her boyfriend’s friends, to gauge the situation.

In the end, remember that while she is your friend and it is in your right to care for her, she is her own person. She will make her own choices, reap all of their consequences, and learn from them. You do not have any responsibilities over her. Try to keep your role as a reminder, a supporter, someone to help her keep things in perspective and be there when she needs help, and remind her that you’re there for her – but don’t be an ‘interferer’. That said, best of luck to you and your friend!

 

Hypothetically speaking, if i like a guy that im close to and he show signs of liking me back, should i confess? I’m afraid that this will ruin our friendship. Should I wait for him to confess? Should i confess? I stay up nearly every night thinking about him. My feelings fluctuate and sometimes they overwhelm me. I don’t know what to do. But we do both give each other mixed signals…

First thing’s first, be sure of what you want. Do you really want a relationship out of this? Would it be better than the friendship you have now? Can you afford to have a relationship at this time? I know it may sound critical, but you show signs of strong infatuation, and while it may feel like a good idea to get carried away, try to step back and give yourself a little time to cool down so you can think more clearly about what you might be jumping into. Because it always feels like a good idea in the moment, but sometimes, in retrospect, it might not have been. Infatuation often also makes us see things that might not really be there. Either way, it’s easy to get carried away by feelings, so don’t feel bad about that – the important thing is remembering and respecting yourself in the long run.

In the end, however, the choice is always yours. If you do want what that could offer, if you are willing to take the risk, and accept any consequence it may have, by all means confess.

An easier way to do it, however, would be to avoid confessing explicitly, but rather instead of mixed signals make the conscious effort to let him know you like him. That way he will not be pressured to give an immediate explicit response, but can in his own way show if he reciprocates or not, or may even prompt him to actually confess as well if he feels confident about it.

Besides, when all else fails, this is what we have friends for – employ a mutual or subtly probe around to try to figure out from a third party if there is any truth in the signals you’re getting from him. At the same time, though, do remember that just because both parties are interested and committed in a relationship, there is no guarantee it will succeed. Everything, including the friendship, just like in any other way this could happen, is still at risk. But in the end as always the choice is yours, whether or not you’re ready to take those chances for what you want.

Lastly, remember that there is no need to put a label to the kind of relationship you have with someone. Whatever it is, is. Embrace it.

 

How does one effectively memorise huge chunks of work (for eg. bio)?

First things first, you should always understand your work, that way memorising may be done more efficiently and effectively. For example, blatantly trying to memorise how DNA replication works and trying to force all the enzyme names into your brain is not a good idea. Making use of word mnemonics, such as Helen Saw Two Dogs Practicing Dog Language, may stand for Helicase, Single strand binding protein, Topoisomerase, DNA polymerase, Primase, DNA polymerase, Ligase. Such a method may be deemed useful for memorising long chains of information or sub-headings (factors affecting Demand and Supply for example). As recommended by a senior,  you can look up this app called “Anki” which is a flashcard app that is a Spaced Repetition Software (SRS).

In addition, the environment at which you are memorizing is important. The amount of content that your brain retains depends on the amount of disruption and distractions in your surroundings. Avoid studying in crowded and noisy places, and do not multitask. When it comes to memorizing information, it is best to focus on that one thing.

Making summaries and mindmaps are also a good way to allow your brain to easily summarise and retain information from your last study session. You should relook and refresh your memory according to the Spaced Repetition chart by studying the mindmaps.

Lastly, ask yourself what kind of a learner are you, are you more of a kinesthetic, auditory or visual learner? Different learners have different ways of memorising information. For example, visual learners may colour code their notes or mindmaps by associating the colours with the words, while auditory learners may look for more musical ways to memorise their work. Good Luck!

Agony Aunt Agatha #6

Sometimes I need to give a speech in front of the school, but i’m really not good at public speaking. I freak out whenever it comes to speaking in front of a group of people. How do I overcome this?

There are hundreds of different claimed solutions out there to help with the fear of public speaking, but let’s start with the basics: building confidence. Most of it is in the mentality: convincing yourself that you can do it, and reminding yourself that, truthfully, realistically, it’s not the end of the world even if something somehow does go wrong. Try to reason why it is you are afraid. Confront that fear and remind yourself that, while it is unlikely to happen, even if it does, so long as you are able to go on with what you are saying, so long as you are ready to laugh at yourself if necessary and move on, nothing can stand in your way. You did your best. Taking steady deep breaths for a minute or so beforehand or giving yourself encouraging pep talks or mantras to repeat to yourself can also help you to calm down and lower your adrenaline levels. Also, it really helps to be prepared. Be sure to also practice well beforehand so that you can be more sure of yourself; it will not only help you deliver your speech smoothly, but will help to build confidence. Practice in front of your family or friends beforehand if necessary. Sometimes, apathy is another way to help you too! That is to say, you try to make yourself psychologically trivialise whatever speech you’re going to make and tell yourself that realistically, this speech isn’t gonna change anything and it’s just a drop in the ocean of life. Lastly, remember that the audience is there to listen to you! Embrace it. We’re not telling you to picture everybody naked, but remember that everyone out there is your friend. They want to hear you. Besides these, there are many more tips you can find out from your teachers (especially PW teachers) and the Internet, including small physical exercises or psychological tricks to help you, so be sure to look around if you can! All the best, I believe in you!

 

I’m socially awkward and don’t know where to start when I’m in a group of people. How do I start interacting with them?

Start getting comfortable with small talk. It’s usually a good way to break the ice, and hopefully get things growing from there. Don’t let any negative thoughts pop into your head when you are interacting them. (Such as “Am i saying the right thing? Should I start to talk now?) It is always a mental battle before you open your mouth and your first words pop out (which may not be the smartest of things). So push all of such thoughts to the back of your head and follow your instincts. Perhaps starting with simple common topics such as playing the same mobile game or sharing the same favourite food may potentially be a conversation starter. There are hundreds of conversation starter suggestions you can find on the Internet at your disposal to browse. Try to imagine someone asking you the same question, and think of how easily you might respond. You can always try directing a question from a broad topic at one person, on the opposite side of the circle, that will hopefully strike up the interest of others and have more people join in!

 

If it is a group of people that you have never met before, an easy conversation starter is always to inquire about the basic information, such as name, school, family etc. Something relevant to what is going on at the current time. It always gets easier when you find a common ground and build on that. Don’t let the conversation stop there, though. Always have a comment, remark, question, or pleasant opinion to share afterwards to keep the conversation going, such as, ‘Oh, I’ve heard your school is really good at sports!’ or ‘You have a really interesting name, what does it mean?’ At the same time, make sure to keep it casual and easy, and to read well into others’ responses to see if they like where the conversation is going. Try to keep the talking 50-50, and invite others to keep the conversation going! Give prompts where necessary, and be encouraging and friendly.

 

However, it is important to get a good group of friends that you can easily mix around with and are comfortable with. If you do feel socially awkward with the group, it may be a sign that you cannot easily relate to their chosen topic of conversation or connect to them, and you should probably find other groups that share the same tastes. Don’t worry, there will always be people out there who you will be able to bond well with! Just don’t be afraid to look for them, and you will find them.

 

I really like this person but I genuinely don’t think I stand a chance. He’s so good at everything and I heard that he might like someone else. What should I do?

First and foremost, remind yourself that just because you like someone, it does not entitle you to a similar interest on their part. It is not expected that someone will like you back, just because you like them. At the same time, don’t demean or belittle yourself. You have your own strengths and talents, and you deserve someone that readily recognizes that about you and appreciates you just the way you are. Don’t count yourself out just because you think he might be ‘out of your league’.

 

You can’t stop yourself from liking someone, but you also can’t stop someone from liking someone else. You also should not be expecting anything unrealistic, nor should you disregard the commitments and risks you should know by now that comes with having a relationship at this age. However, at the same time, there is nothing stopping you from trying. There is nothing stopping you from trying to get closer to him, and to at least for now, build up your rapport as friends. Get to know him a little better, establish yourself in his life, and see where your chances really lie and if this is what you really want. Don’t be discouraged simply because he may like someone else (unless he is already in a relationship with them; don’t be a homewrecker!) and don’t put him on a pedestal just because you admire his talents. He’s human, just like you, and probably, he’d like to get to know you too so long as you bring out the best in yourself and try to be his friend! Don’t expect too much, but don’t be afraid to give yourself a chance. Always keep your priorities in mind. I wish you the best of luck.

The Dim Sum Hunt

The Dim Sum Hunt

by Shania Sukamto

 

点心 (dim sum), a small intricate delicacy in a humble bamboo basket that will “点” (touch) your “心” (heart). Dim sum has always been a kind of comfort food for many, myself included. The wide variety of bite-sized delicacies draws many to the restaurant doors in the afternoon, eager to enjoy some delectable dim sum with tea.

 

For me, eating together is quite the family affair, especially when it comes to Dim Sum. There’s something about the cacophony of loud chattering and the audacious clattering of cutlery that entices me. Besides the food, it’s also about the tradition of going to “yum cha” (drink tea and socialize) with friends & family in a garishly ornate banquet hall. Most of us today are guilty of rushing through meals, preferring to eat from a takeaway box instead of taking the time to dine out with our loved ones. Yet through stacks of sweet and savory, Dim Sum promotes communal feasting. It proves that we still can appreciate each other’s company and it instills a sense of tradition through generations.

 

This weekend I tried the Dim Sum at Swatow Seafood for the first time, famous for its traditional Teochew cuisine.

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Instead of an order sheet, Swatow sticks to traditional pushcarts. As soon as we sat down, an array of dim sum was presented to us. The staff members were incredibly friendly and attentive.

To start off, we ordered 糯米饭 savory sticky rice. They did not stinge on the dried shrimp and chinese sausage that gave the rice it’s enticing fragrance.

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Next we had the 豆腐卷 tofu skin roll which was honestly quite disappointing. It was rather dry on the inside and too densely packed with meat, lacking the texture I expected.

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Siew mai was mediocre, slightly mushy even.

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I was most impressed with a hybrid between the shanghainese 豆沙锅饼 red bean pancake and a goreng pisang. The smooth red bean paste was complemented by swirls of banana and together they were encased in a crispy crepe. This spin on the traditional Dim Sum was a highlight.

 

Another dish I thoroughly enjoyed was the 纸包鸡 chicken wrapped in paper and fried all together. The wings & drumlets were incredibly tender and marinated evenly. (Picture not available as was ferociously devoured)
Moving on to deserts, the 蛋挞 egg tarts are definitely something you must order! I appreciate the structural integrity of the buttery shell instead of the flaky starchy type of some egg tarts. It instantaneously melts in your mouth and it’s egg pudding is to. die. for. This is exactly like the ones at Tim Ho Wan but at a bargain!

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All in all, Swatow was satisfying and I’ll name it as an affordable Dim Sum restaurant but not my go-to. While it was a pity that they did not nail the fundamentals, I would recommend coming here for the Old School vibes and the highlighted dishes.

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