Archive for the ‘Thesis Woes’ Category

Prized possession

May 28, 2010

Guess what I picked up earlier this week???


My thesis is finally binded after one year of submitting it to the university. It cost me a hefty RM80 per copy and I had to do six copies because FOUR were for the university (I initially thought 3) and I had to bear all the cost!


When I got there, the staff told me “Oh what a coincidence. They just arrived YESTERDAY.”

Of which I was very sceptical but that’s beside the point.


My point is this;

She handed me a copy to look at and left for a couple minutes. As I held and laid my eyes on it for the very first time, I said “wow” outloud.

Wow not because I think I’m so great but wow because of how similar it looked like to a book.

Wow because I felt it was worth the money I spent.  *chuckle*

Look, it has my name on the side too!

Wow because exactly one year ago I was told that I might not make it to graduation in time.

Wow because exactly two years ago I cried tears of disappointment for not being able to graduate.


Wow because this thesis is the epitome of my blood, sweat and tears. Blood from papercuts, sweat from lugging all those books to and from the libray and tears from…well I already explained that many times in this blog.


Wow because I can finally close this chapter of my life.

About me page etc.

August 25, 2009

I finally updated my “About Me” page. It’s nothing spectacular nor significant but I finally added more content to it compared to the previous 3 liner. I will probably change it from time to time depending on the mood I’m in but for now it’s good enough for me.

Currently I am totally loving the song “She is love” by Parachute.

I’m also reading a book called “Wild Swans” by Jung Chang. Technically I’m supposed to be done reading it by now as it was one of the books my supervisor requested I read before writing my thesis. Eager to learn, I went out and bought the book for about RM40! Unfortunately, I just never finished it.

Frankly I’m surprised I didn’t finish the book because it is really interesting. I suppose the part that discouraged me from reading it in the first place was the fact that it’s about 700 pages long and 2 inches thick. At the time, reading wasn’t my most favourite thing to do. Wild Swans is basically a memoir about three generations of women in China during the 20th century. Upon finishing the first two chapters, I realised why I was asked to read this book in the first place. I wished I had read it. I guess it’s never too late.

Speaking of the thesis, I have to print 6 copies of the abso-f*cking-lutely final copy to give to the university so that they can bound it in hard cover. It’s going to cost me Rm48 per copy and I’m doing 6. Of the six, four are required by the university (pftttt!) and the remaining 2 are for my personal use. One for my own safe-keeping and another as a gift to Rob. Initially I wanted to give a copy to the supervisor but I learned the other day that one of the 4 copies required is actually for the supervisor.

My laser printer is almost out of ink so I need to get a new cartridge. I’m quite impressed how long the first cartridge lasted me, considering I bought it back in 2006/2007 I think. Definitely got my money’s worth. A new cartridge is going to cost over RM200 and add the RM288 (RM48 x 6) for binding. I see my moolah (a total of RM488) flying off into oblivion. ~le sigh~

I  am hoping to get everything done by Friday and hopefully get one or two of my friends to help me lugged all 6 copies to the university. Any takers? I’ll buy lunch even! I already have a couple names in mind so if I call you, please feel exceptionally special ok? 😀

Sometime last week I watched P.S. I love you and it is a TEAR JERKER! I cried so many times. The last time I cried that many times watching a movie was A Walk to Remember. I have to say it is one of the best movies I have ever watched. Now I really wanna get the book! I hope the book is better than the movie. Yes, I know the movie is from a book but funny enough I always like to watch the movie first THEN read the book. A Walk to Remember was a good movie and the book was great, even though they changed the storyline a bit in the movie. Unfortunately someone borrowed that book and never returned it and I don’t remember who it was. 🙁

I think I have rambled enough for the day. I shall go continue reading Wild Swans.

Au revoir~


August 11, 2009

*Long post. Took a couple days to write. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.*

Alas, I will be graduating on Saturday…

I found out last week and when I saw the email with the subject of “Konvokesyen 2009” my heart stopped for a few seconds and then it started to beat faster and faster as I read through the contents of the email. I couldn’t believe it. In fact, I still sit here and wonder if this is all a dream and that at any given time I will wake up and it would have all been my mind playing tricks on me.

This is a short version of my experience…

In December 2005, I signed up for a Masters Degree while Rob was here visiting. After he left, it took me quite a while to get off my ass and started my research. It was supposed to be a 2 year ordeal program and I was scheduled to graduate by 2008. In the span of a couple years, I have re-written and edited draft after draft of my six-chapter thesis.

The process goes like this. I finish a chapter, email it to my supervisor. He then takes about a month or sometimes up to 3 months to read and then email me his feedback on what edits/corrections to be made while I worked on the subsequent chapter. Initially it was a challenge I enjoyed. I secretly enjoyed the fact that I was acquiring all this knowledge about my area of study even though sometimes it didn’t fit in my thesis.

I learned about things from Marxism to Chinese history, from theories of dialectic materialism to revisionism, read texts written from the 18th and 19th century and many more. All this would not have been possible had I not taken up this Masters Degree.

In 2008, I was denied graduation  because the process was lengthy and required more time. I now assume that my supervisor thought I wasn’t ready to bring my thesis to a panel that would accept it and let me graduate. I was devastated. Nonetheless, 2008 turned into a good year when I was able to spend 5 and a half weeks with Rob.

He knew I was sad about not graduating and so he suggested I go over for summer during July-August. I knew that he wanted to get me away from being at home around graduation time (which is always in August). For that, I am thankful. The entire time I was there with him, I didn’t think much about graduation. I wholeheartedly had one of the best 5 and a half weeks of my life there.

I came back home with renewed determination, hope and faith. I was refreshed and I knew I was going to finish what I started. I worked hard because I was determined to graduate in August 2009.

Fast forward to the last couple months…

Even though I had personal issues to deal with, I still managed to keep myself focused. I was in constant contact with my thesis supervisor and he assured me over and over again that I would make it to graduation this year. I, on the other hand, was sceptical at first but after so much assurance from him, I was sure I was going to graduate this year. I would cordially say I am graduating this year when family and/or friends enquire about my studies.

Anyway, after 4 drafts on each chapter later, I submitted my final draft for evaluation in early June as instructed by my supervisor. In fact, my supervisor mentioned that he was going to push the university to publish my thesis as a book.

My jaw dropped when he brought this up to me. ME? An author of a book? Crazy, isn’t it? I was ecstatic(!) yet somehow didn’t think to announce it to the world because I’ve begun my journey down cynicism and wondered if it would ever happen. Nonetheless, Rob and I had fun with the whole author thing as he commented that if the book sold great (not that it would) I would be his sugarmama. =))

Meanwhile, because of bureaucracy and incompetence, my thesis was not read by any of the examiners until a week later. My supervisor literally had to jump in and personally forwarded my thesis to both internal and external examiners for evaluation.

Two weeks later, I gotten my evaluation. Both passed me BUT the external examiner me requested that I added parts here and there to make the thesis more comprehensive. The internal examiner was more critical on my referencing style and requested that I cite my sources more frequently. I understand that to a certain extent. What pissed me off was that after every paragraph he drew a line and wrote “Source?” on it. Now my gripe was (and still is), “Does he expect a source after EVERY sentence?” You know what, I don’t think I should get into that now. It would make this an even longer post.

Once again, I met up with my supervisor and showed him the evaluation I got from the examiners. He then proceeded to tell me that since there was THAT much to clean up and edit, I should consider the fact that I won’t make it to graduation this year. Apparently he didn’t expect this magnitude of a feedback. I then asked “If I get this done in a week, what are the odds of graduating?” He answered “I can’t promise anything. You can try but I can’t promise anything. Don’t kill yourself over it. Just take your time and do what you need to.”  To which I just said “I don’t care if I don’t graduate anymore. I want to get this done and over with. I want to get on with my life.”

At that point I was so angry and I channelled it into more determination. I wanted to finish the damn thesis within a week, submit it for final evaluation and get it out of my life once and for all. For a week I slept an average of 4-5 hours every night and worked really hard on it. To my amazement I really did finish all the necessary edits in 6 days. I submitted what I hoped would be my FINAL copy and waited.

I had no expectations. During the 6 days I worked on it, I pretty much had the thought of not graduating implanted in my head. I dealt with it, albeit not so well, but I did. I braved myself to face the many people who had expected me to graduate this year and started hinting the news of not graduating.

To my surprise I will be graduating this coming Saturday as I mentioned earlier.  The first person I told was Rob and later that day I told my parents.  Aside from them, I didn’t tell anyone about it until a few days later. I was scared that someone was going to call me up and said it was all a mistake on their part, that the email was not intended for me. That goes to show just how much of an impact the journey of writing this thesis had on me.

I don’t know if I can blame entirely the university for this but it really has not been the experience I hoped it to be. From denying my right to JUST apply for a scholarship to rude staff, from incompetence and lack of research material, I pretty much backhanded the university when I did a survey conducted by the Ministry of Higher Education.

This has been a long journey, with much blood, sweat and tears. Mostly a lot of tears, to be completely honest.

I am relieved that I will be graduating but I am indifferent about it. I don’t really feel like celebrating, mainly because I am still in fear, fearing that it will all come crashing down again. It feels like a defeated victory. Mostly I am just glad for the people who are happy for me because they deserve it.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is true but how does one define “stronger” in this sense? Am I stronger now? Yes, to a certain extent. I am stronger in the sense that I am more cynical.  That is the strength that I have acquired from taking on this degree. Even though I am looking at the graduation gown hanging on my door, I am still questioning whether this is really happening? I still have my doubts and I am questioning my faith in some things.

Perhaps ten years from now I will look back and smile and think about what a great challenge this was and how it affected my life.

For now, I am done with school. I want to get on with my life.

Thesis woes Part 3

December 2, 2008

Need to vent out some frustrations. If I start blabbering nonsense, my defense is the “drugs” I’m on.

I received an email from my supervisor about my conclusion chapter, which he deemed “need lots more work on”. He further said;

“Don’t be too discouraged by my comments. Look on the bright side. You are getting there… :))”

The thing is, as vain as this may sound, I was (keyword:WAS) quite happy with my conclusion chapter. I even had an original diagram that I came up with that explained the whole thesis itself. I thought it was pretty good. I was proud of it. I was proud that I could come up with something like that.

Not anymore…

Discouraged is a total understatement. Lack of confidence is also another understatement.

I’m not mad at my supervisor though. He has been nice and even emailed me several journal articles. I suppose I’m mad at myself for not doing better. I know I’m being very hard on myself but it’s not like I can blame anybody else for this bump. This thesis has been many parts of sweat and tears for me in the past 3 years. I wish to get it over and done with as soon as possible. I wish to have one very good night’s sleep. I haven’t had one since returning from my trip. I miss Rob.

The meds are making me feel like crap. BLEH

Signing out now.

Thesis woes Part 2

November 12, 2008

I have been making some progress with editing and adding to the thesis. I must say I am rather impressed but at the same time I’m still weary about my performance. I just try to keep pushing myself.

Today, GASP OMG VOLUNTARILY I went to the library and spent almost 3 hours there. Yes, 3 FREAKING HOURS. Initially the plan was to go to the library to return some books and borrow a couple that I had already looked up the night before. But in the end I came home with 6 books.

WTH….I think I am turning into a geek. Oh Gaaaaaaawd.

Anyway, at the moment I’m TRYING to read a section of a book and after reading it just about 4-5 times I still get this look on my face.

It’s mostly economic mumbo jumbo that I totally forgot about. I took an International Economics class during my Bachelor years but seriously, it’s been 4 years since that fateful semester. I don’t expect myself to remember that crap!

Allow me to give you an example:

Factor shares in output refer to the portions of the total output that are received, as compensation, by input factors…output elasticity is a technical term, measuring the percentage increase (or decrease) in output as a result of 1% increase (or decrease) in an input factor.


So as I sit here with this expression on my face , I am at a lost when it comes to these economic jargons. Anybody out there who’s an economics theory whizz of sorts willing to help out a clueless, confused, innocent *COUGH* soul?

Thesis woes

October 17, 2008

Taking a mini break from blogging about my trip, mainly because I’m just too lazy to resize and upload pictures.

I have just printed my chapters which I gotten back from the supervisor. I have never met anyone quite like him before when it comes to writing a thesis but I suppose that just means he has very high standards. He picks on ALMOST everything I write. I’m trying to regard his criticisms as constructive criticisms but sometimes it’s only so much than your ego can take right?

Anyway I just went through them and somehow found some humour in his comments and criticisms. One of the things he keeps reiterating is the way I write and I quote:




Let me give you an example of why he says my writing style is very newspaper-ish. I wrote this in a chapter about foreign-direct investment (FDI) in China and what are the factors drawing FDI into the republic:

These highways are brightly lit and offer quite a view at night. In the words of Fishman (2000 p. 119), the highways “turns the Shanghai night into one of the long-exposure shots of urban nightscapes that makes every city featured in the National Geographic seem to move at warp speed.

Now, my defence. Writing Reading a thesis can be boring for anyone. I figured including this little would spruce things up for the him since the supervisor has said my thesis is dull at one point. So how now brown cow? Letak salah, tak letak pun salah jugak. ADUHAI. [It’s “wrong” to put it in, it’s also “wrong” to not put it in. Le sigh]

Yes, a long time ago one of the things I wanted to do “when I grow up” was be a journalist of some sort. Apparently that didn’t happen and I am now channeling my “inner journalist” on my thesis. And I thought blogging was a form of therapy for me. Hah! Subconsciously I may be using my thesis as a therapy tool too. Oh I sound oh-so-psychologist now (which was also one of the things I wanted to be “when I grew up”).

Then there are his criticisms on my vocabulary skills:




It’s not that my computer is set to American English. It’s the fact that my brain works and thinks with American english. I hardly watch Brit-ish shows. I speak to Rob everyday with my version of English which is, according to many, very Americanized. It’s not like I go out of my way to speak with an American accent. It just happens. It’s just the way my English has always been like.

Ok from now on I will try to speak like a stuck-up Brit.

I saaaaaay, would you like a cup-pa tea with those crrrumpets?


I’ve gottttt tttto go wwwatchhh a bloodie footttie matcchhh this afty and freeze my bollocks off!


Oi, you lit-el tart. Go and fetch me mobile!”

or (This one is really good. I found it from a website)

Look at that bloke! He’s got a face like a bulldog licking piss off a nettle! (Don’t exactly know what that means but it sounds “bloody nasty”!)

Oklah, enough fooling around. 😛

A new door

May 10, 2008

I’m getting a new door put in as I am typing this. The carpenter is just ripping the old door out and hammering the hinges and my ears are suffering for it. NOTHING comes easy I suppose.

I know it’s like totally trivial and uneventful getting a new door installed in my room, but somehow it symbolizes something. A new door, opening to new opportunities and possibilities. Yes, corny I know but literally speaking, it does makes sense.

Rob and I have been planning on my next trip over and we decided late July until late August if there is a seat available for me during the dates we picked. We have started planning on what to do during my visit, where to go and what to see. It’s more than two months away but we are really excited. We haven’t seen each other for over a year. To be precise it’s been 1.5 years.

Money as always is an issue when travelling in general. With the exchange rate (even though it has come down since I last visited) certain things will be expensive, especially accomodation. Domestic flights are also increasing in price. Last month it was sitting below US$260 and yesterday it cost over US$350. That’s almost an increase of US$100 in less than a month. We keep checking daily in hopes of finding a good deal. I really do hope it will come down when it’s time to purchase the tickets.

How I wish money wasn’t an issue. Then I could stay longer. With all that has happened in this past few months I am ready for a break away from all of it. A month to unwind, a month to relax, a month to have tons of fun, a month to love each other more, a month to live life together, a month of pure bliss…

It’s two months away and I can’t wait.


April 20, 2008

It’s been over a week since I found out that I will not be graduating this year.

I have been moping around, at times feeling sorry for myself and at the same time, doing some soul searching on what I want to do with my life. I have concluded that the one thing I love doing is writing. (Ironic considering I don’t love writing the thesis per se) I want to keep writing. I wanna write about love, relationships, friendships and just life in general. It enriches my soul and satisfies my hunger for creativity, no matter how terrible my writing can be sometimes. The Shin Yi inside of me yearns to be a writer but I know my writing isn’t good enough to sustain a life of my own.

With that said, starting next week I will get up off my lazy-moping-feeling-sorry-for-myself-ass and do what needs to be done. I fell, bruised my ego and pride, and now I am getting up on my two feet. I shall not depend on what the world or anyone will offer me nor will I expect anyone to give me my future on a serving platter. Instead I will make my future…my life the way I always dreamt it would be; being happy and complete.

It still saddens me that I won’t graduate this year but it is not the end of the world. Fine, I don’t get to graduate this year but I sure as hell will finish the thesis this year. To be completely honest, I cannot see myself quiting even though I have thought about it many many this in this past week. I even have an email written for my supervisor drafted but I didn’t click the “send” button after reading through it many times. You know how when you’re driving on the road and someone cuts you off or whatever and you just SO badly want to run them over with your car but you don’t? I suppose that’s how it is with me and the thesis. I wanna quit so badly for it has caused grief in me but I just don’t.

It may not the best thesis on earth but it will be mine. My words, my thoughts, my work. I will strive as much as I can. I will work as hard as I can and willing to because I know me. Procrastination will always prevail. I know, sad isn’t it? Heh

Wish me luck and keep me in your prayers? 🙂

Drama drama drama

April 15, 2008

*Thank you to those who left your words on encouragement. I appreciate it*

I know I was probably overly dramatic in the last post, it’s not like somebody died or anything like that. I shouldn’t be too hard on myself? Yeah, I know. But I am human. I cannot help what I feel/felt. It’s hard to control emotions, especially those of sadness, anger and frustration.

Like I said, my way of escape is through writing. I do not expect any responses. I do not expect any solutions. I just wanna express myself, in my own way, in my own space. But I am thankful for the responses I got, don’t get me wrong. My absence from online chatting simply means I need time for myself. It is extremely hard to mend matters of the heart.

I don’t really know what I wanna do regarding the thesis. I spent the weekend by myself and the only time I am not alone is during dinner with the parents. I pretend nothing is bothering me. I talk like usual (at least I think so), laugh at some corny things like usual. But deep down inside there is sorrow, there is sadness. When I am alone in my room, my mind goes in circles. Different personalities in my mind argues with one another.

The quiter in me thinks of quiting this torture. The stubborness/ determination in me wants to keep going. The cynic in me wonders if I will ever finish. The dreamer in me thinks of writing a kick-ass thesis. The realist in me knows it won’t ever be kick-ass-perfect if I decide to finish it. So many me-s inside of me. I wonder which will prevail…

I will decide soon enough. In the mean time, please bear with my somber, melancholic mood.

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April 12, 2008

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