To the North of Borneo Island lies South China Sea, to the south lies the country with biggest muslim population in the world; slightly to the Eastern horizon along the virtually sraight coastline of Borneo Island, approximately 115 degrees east from zero degree Greenwich Meridian, resides an olden Kingdom in the South Asian history that once went by the name Pu-ni in the 6th century AD. Through great warriors and kings now unknown to many present-day descendants of the once flourished golden Majapahit Empire during the 15th to 16th century, the present day Brunei has diminished but not vanished, into a mere 5765 square kilometres of land with a population approximately 400 000. It was in this unlikely spot of the world, on one sunny afternoon in 1984, 12:44 pm to be exact, I came to this world unknowingly helpless of my own existence and that all the chaotic noises coming out of my newly-functional trachea and pair of lungs were turning the ward into some kind of a bliss.This is the place, the day I was born and the best day in my life of which I had no memory.
Back then, life was much much easier to get along with. If I were to put some of the major events that happened in my life during my teens, it would be like reading a horrible account of reckless, endless family matters and troubles with uncertain motivations or intentions. There would be no looking forward in such account and meaning would be lost and unjustified at all costs and in all times. What`s more intriguing, there would be full of human instinctive traits as if from a tamed acting circus animal to some fully unattached, unleashed tempers of wild beast beyond imaginations. For all those endless quarrels and family dramas, it is better to put them aside and had always been readily left untouched by my growing young mind. As if set apart from all the human cataclysms by some angels, I would carry on my optimistic pre-occupations and would defy every obstruction and impossibility I ever thought of or encountered. Above all the blisses and catastrophic mishaps in my family through my early years, I tell myself that I`ll take the blisses and would move on with my life no matter what.
That would be making a long story very short and nothing more to add to it. As I`d prefer to put it this way, that every little thing was indeed the cause of misunderstanding and too much emotional with risky influences. Never in the least of my fair judgement which I`m capable of would I see myself in a disadvantaged stage. Let the bygones be bygones and everything just got lifted off and out of my cranial head, no intentions of ever hitting that same part of my life again. This has to be the closing chapter of my early life, as I told myself. And so I went on to pursue wherever my dream was taking me. Started taking pre-university programme in a quite well-known college in Sarawak Malaysia– PRIME college. Ended up with distinctive credits and my landing on medicine. However ridiculous it sounds to me now, because of lack of economical support from my family and myself, that dream was abandoned soon enough after I got the letter of offer from the prestigious university in Tasmania, Australia. Later that, almost without a second thought of ever going through the disappointment that one should feel as if once hopeful dream was shuttered overnight, I carried on without pain or anger inside me. I was eager to look forward with every passion and every hope I had and that hope still beats with the rhythms of my heart, stronger and stronger.
That was basically my memory of the best days of my early life. In less than 6 months, my world was changed or rather, was changed by myself with the help of my nightly prayers. The previously abandoned pursuit had led me to consider another destination whose education is quite cheaper than any western or western culture-influenced countries such as Australia, UK, USA, Singapore, and so on. Instead, without any further thoughts, I thought to myself that this would be it. This would be the place where I`ll lay down all my hopes and dreams. It is not far from my hometown, facing the south would you see the same South China Sea as if from the front window of my home back on the Borneo Island. To the north of it would you be able to tell this is a country with a very different political issue from Brunei. Because it faces the mainland China as well as the Chinese army of liberation is facing towards it under a universal code of military order. This, is Taiwan, country of the Taiwanese people, descendants of the great mythical dragon from heaven and also the aborigines living here since the beginning of time.
To this day, I can still recall the first year I got here by myself. The world as I imagined lied in front of my eyes, unfocused, yet seemingly having a sense of properly ordered force driving itself. The first things which caught my attention were the streets and the people walking in the streets. At night, the street lights offered my eyes a lot of the things that were unseen at broad daylight. As I would put it in my own account: traffics, 100 times that in Brunei downtown; pedestrians, 50 times; blinking neon lights and road signs, 1000 times; 20 floors and above high-rise buildings with elevators, 1000 times; alcoholic drinks and smokes, 10 000 times effective; number of dreams, to be determined. To me, at a young age of 19, everything was easily accepted and hearkened into my thoughts. I started my study in a school that teaches everything in Chinese language, it is basically a school for foreigners without much or none Chinese language proficiency. My first 2 years at the institution in Taipei were basically a great mental torture for me. Since I had literally no considerable fundamental knowledge of the Chinese language, my academic transcripts turned out to be quite horrible and haunting to myself up to this day. I tried really hard but still, I failed to even comprehend half of the texts which were in Chinese characters, left alone reciting or writing them down during the exams. Those 2 years, however, laid foundation for my speech in mandarin as well as recognizing the Chinese characters. Though mandarin is my mother tongue, but it has never really been part of my early life. I was educated and brought up in an environment that is heavily western orientated and in fact, my most proficient language is English, not mandarin. In this way, I came across many unexpected events, new experiences in my life. Again, I have to say that of all the terrible realistic confrontations and extraordinary language shock which found me, I was not at all daunted in spirits. I was very glad that I chose this path. I was grateful for those who taught me with love and compassion, their impact on me is by far the most throughout my years of education. And I was and have always been very grateful to my family, especially my elder sister who`s been very supportive of me. 2 years later, in summer of 2005, my first graduation was held in a hall at National University Preparatory programmes or NUPs in the hillside of LinKou, Taipei. All my friends were there to celebrate with me that day which commemorated my day of liberation for my soul from some sort of a confinement. Sad as it was to be confined to my lack of understanding of the language itself, at the same time, I was happy to move on with my life at once after my graduation. And these were the best days of my recent life.
The 2-year aftermath, the then much recent life at university was not much to recall at all at the moment. Perhaps still vivid and fresh in my mind, or it was basically just another 4 years of striving and endless obstructions that I encountered have made me perfectly adjusted to constant challenge, without which I would find myself in a state of subtle inertness. Multi-tasks, handling several part-time jobs in a single time, exhausted yet was very grateful inside me, this is the best I could recall of the 4 years at Chang Jung Christian University, Tainan.
As time goes on, memories do not seem to deteriorate with it, but tend to bring in more focus into perspective of my life. I wouldn`t consider things that are worst the worst to happen to me, instead, I reflect upon them as the best moments in my life. This is how the world revolves, most people live in darkness and frights but others have to compensate for these. Our society would lose sense of balance without social enactment of both happiness and sadness. One overtakes the other as soon as it is gone. But I suppose that I could reach the highest point of happiness in my life if I keep myself on that same old track. Right now, I`m not compelling enough to write about my own story, I hope I could gather more wisdom in the coming years. So that when I look in restrospect in my elderly days, I would have a more meaningful memoir or account of my life as well as the people whom I know.
Best days in my life….. ends here at the moment.