June 13, 2012

University of Malaya

It’s just a typical Monday and I was finishing my reading on Fifty Shades of Grey, while waiting nonchalantly for lecturer to come in. She finally materialized after fifty-five minutes late with her expression unfathomable. She went to the microphone, apologizing for being late; that she was so busy with her unfinished stuff, that everything went cluttered, that she thought her class would be at 10, one hour later. For me, that was good and we didn’t care much that I heard some rascals behind me remarking “Do it more and that will be much better”. When she said that “I’m sorry, this is my fault, and I will redeem it back, this weekend you have a make-up class”, for me, that was funny that her apology caused a rendition of moans and groans to all students in the lecture class as the class will be postponed. That their dreams of hanging out in OneUtama are scattered, that plans of going home came to an end, that the weekend rest to be adjourned somehow. We have no choice but to acquiesce with her foible, even though for me that was pretty odd.

Today marks my third week in University of Malaya. All goes well, except that I don’t have best friends, I don’t have a roommate, too much time spent unplanned, lots of money went down the drain uncontrollably, and my sick addiction towards literary fiction and erotic romance starts to get worse. I was placed with an all-time friend as my roommate but fortunately, for both parties, that he went out for JPA offer. So I am alone and am free to turn music out loud, create mountains of unwashed outfits, fill the whole room with sticky notes of good words, sleep freely in either one of the beds, and do what everyone does when they are alone.

I was a five-year boarding school student, some of my friends here were also boarding school students that were too fed up with stupid seniors wanting desperate reverence they don’t deserve; foolish disciplinary ethics and attires, outings, and the sleep-at-10-wake-up-at-5 ritual which will last for only thirty days. People near my rooms are weird. There was one time; I had twenty minutes before class. That was absolutely fine to me, until I ran into a smartly-dressed dorky-looking guy, descending in an elevator with me. He went, “What class are you”, I replied “Hayat 1” and his face was beyond consternation. He was stunned and said “My, You. Are. LATE!”. I was surprised by his reaction more than the fact that I was late. So I asked him, “Your class?” and he said “Hayat 2” and smiled sheepishly. Holy hell, Hayat 2 started two hours after my class and he was already en-route. I’ve never met with this kind of creature. What cereals are you taking? – is the only thing I want to ask him.

Then, some people here, they never go anywhere without locking doors. Some even went to wash hands for less than ten seconds also do the same. What is wrong with them? I get it that maybe you have precious things like iPhone or your laptop in there, but for less than ten seconds, that is absurd for me.

I guess these are some reasons why I can scarcely make friends, now. I am used to having friends breaching the nonsensical college laws, staying up late watching American Pie, laughing half-dying in the canteen while the rest could not care less, making stupid sexual gestures and stuff. I could not still come to terms with these kinds of creatures in this university so far. But I’ve been here for less than three weeks, and will be placed into classes next week, so maybe people will see my true colors and will join into my circle.

That was why most of my time here was occupied with reading. For these three weeks, I finished four novels in a row and did not miss to catch up with free newspapers distributed daily. I even read the obituaries and the stock markets. You are alone, what else can you do?

For the learning part, it is good. Dissimilar to INTI where you have, like two classes per day, here we have continuous classes from eight to five. I cannot do things half-way like doing infinitesimal stuff that requires small effort. It’s like, I will do big things or I’ll do none. In INTI, I often felt lethargic, nauseated with not doing things as most times will pass on by me being on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and not to say Omegle. In University we waste no time, we have lots of books to refer and a plethora of exercises to finish for reinforcement. But one thing I am so disappointed here is the fact that we are spoon-fed. For me, Universities are the institutions where you do your own things; decide on what’s the best for you, think of your own prospects without being told what to do, and learn how to manage certain things. It is all otherwise here where everything is pretty much the same like your high-schools. Lecturers pause their lectures to wait for you to copy all the slides to your notes; lecturers print all the slides and give them to you, lecturers elucidate certain unnecessary words, occupy lots of minutes on unessential words-for-souls, and treat you like you never learnt English. I don’t like the fact that lecturers use Bahasa far more than English. We are 18 and we learnt English for almost 15 years, thus I think that lecturers should fully speak in English because certain things they taught cannot be conveyed precisely in Bahasa. The usage of Manglish, for me, is also unacceptable. I couldn’t care less with their grammatical errors and incorrect pronunciations; I’m just yearning for a better lecture environment as I was also, most of the times, scrutinized for just speaking English.

Sometimes, my mind cannot help but to recollect the past memories where my friends and I used to be free and boundless doing anything. True, memories are imperishable that they inevitably waft to your minds and play. Even those moments you think you’ll just forget and really silly times you’ll never find them funny, reunite as a masterpiece you wish you have time machines. I miss my class; I miss the people in there, I miss to see my friend beside me sleeping and waking up with his red eyes and saliva drooling, I miss my gang of friends chatting loquaciously about Girls Generation and their embarrassing moments, I miss to see one rascal in my class strolling unstoppably when teachers are not in class, I miss to hear the whole class yawning and to see everyone sleeping, I miss to get drenched in the lab when failing to keep good grades, I miss to hear silly jokes from teachers, I miss the old Indonesian music that desperate police staff nearby constantly turn out loud for aerobic, and the sweet fragrance and the cool breeze of my class.

Even till now, I try to fill my time doing what an eighteen year old is supposed to do, what a university student is supposed to act and behave. But I can never erase the past. When I recollect them, I can only laugh, smile and eventually, shed tears.