Give it some room

Heart, cover your tracks
The blood that you spill will wash what you lack
Soul, sew up your wounds
Test out your engine. Give it some room

Mind, pick up your pace
Capture the thoughts you always chase
Soul, open your wings
Lift this cage higher than any dream

Cover your tracks
Sew up your wounds
Pick up your pace
Open your wings

Heart, flesh out your webs
The past that was tangled will unwrap & shed
Soul, sing out your songs
Clear out your throat. Belt it out strong

Cover your tracks
Sew up your wounds
Pick up your pace
Open your wings

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How long have I been gone?

A really long time.

It’s almost 1AM. ‘To Build a Home’ by The Cinematic Orchestra is playing in the background, and I really felt like writing here again.
I should really make this blog a habit or something,
because I think this is the only way to tell my friends back home how life here in London is.
(instead of you guys thinking I’ve forgotten you/thinking that I turned into an angmoh now)

I think it’s also largely because I’m growing more homesick as the days pass, and it kinda ..really sucks.

First of all, after checking the calendar, I realised I’ve been here for almost 4 months.
It certainly felt like less. It feels like only yesterday I bid a few of my friends and family farewell in the airport, as I cried my way into the departure gates.

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If you ask me what I miss the most about Singapore, it’s probably the people I left behind. (A close contender is the food and my cat, lol.)

HOW CHEESY.

In general, I really just love the UK. (Or atleast the places I’ve been to so far.)
Very different from the concrete jungle that is Singapore.

I first saw the suburb-y area of Farnborough, Hampshire.
My family friends stay here.

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I always get reminded of music videos where people drive down the suburb roads.
Probably sounds odd to non-Singaporeans, because we don’t really have areas like these at all. Lol.

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Hey guys, get pounded for a pound here. *wink*
This is just like Daiso back home!
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British fish and chips own any one that’s made in other countries, sorry.
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Would like to mention that the burgers here are significantly bigger than Singapore’s.

Then went to university, which is in Uxbridge (in the outermost part of London, but still ‘London’).
Which became my happy home-away-from-home. :)
But I’ll get to that on another post.

Visited Brighton as part of an International Student thing, for free.
It’s at the south coast of the UK, and it’s simply really pretty.

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So that’s basically it, in general.

And I do love my course, and my course mates. I have the most awesome lecturers.
Other than that..
I had lots of new experiences (obviously).
I grew up, having to do almost everything myself here.
I learnt lessons the hard way.
I made great friends that I’m very glad to have.
I’ve gone through many rough times but I became stronger afterwards.

Being here also makes me grateful for the people I love back home, and realise how much they mean to me or how much I mean to them.

So thank you to the Singapore friends that still make time for me even when I’m all the way here,
even the simplest short-lived messages to the long winding WhatsApp conversations, or even a random SnapChat; they mean a lot. :D

xx

It’s been 3 months! Did I finally get a ‘life’?

Nope.

However, there are many things that happened which would be a waste not to blog about.
After all the main reason why I had this blog in the first place was to.. well.. blog.

1. I graduated!

Well, almost. I finally finished school around May,
so all I’m doing now is wasting my life away waiting for my Graduation Show and Graduation Ceremony for that ‘official’ status and to collect my diploma!

2. FYP went well!

Better than expected actually! Thankful to have my Jellynub as my FYP partner. Thank you! :3

3. I got tickets to The XX. (before it was sold out!)

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I view this as an achievement because it sold out really quickly, hehe. They’re also one of my favorite bands, and I just HAD to catch them live.
I’m going alone, however. But it’s okay. I’LL MAKE FRIENDS THERE!

4. I completed a few great noteworthy games:

Far Cry 3 Blood Dragon, Bioshock Infinite, Metro Last Light.
I will be doing an extremely delayed post on Bioshock Infinite soon. (Haha, this might mean a wait of another 3 months.)
I intended for a Metro Last Light post, but due to my wonky copy of the game *ahem*, my screenshots were of a messed up resolution. SAD.

I really enjoyed Metro though. I dare say I might have found it more immersive than Bioshock, since Metro makes you actually FEEL more.
In fact, I had to pause a few times in the game cause I was too creeped out. Maybe it’s cause I’m too much of a wuss. Heh.
It’s less linear than Bioshock too.
But then again both games has it’s pros and cons.

To summarize it really quickly:
Blood Dragon was the most entertaining, Infinite was really beautiful & had an amazing ending, Metro was a memorable & decision-driven game that deserves more attention.

5. I’m moving to London in September.

Because…

6. I got into a university! 

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Honestly I thought I would not be able to get in,
due to my lack of good works in my portfolio and my crappy GPA (before I found out my final CGPA).
But I was successful!

I think my interview helped A LOT too, because I got along really well with the interviewer. Even making him laugh out loud often in an awkward quiet office room.
(There were other nervous applicants with other university representatives in the same room.)
So guys, if you’re reading this chunk of text; an interview is the best way to present yourself as an individual and prove yourself if you lack in the portfolio department.
Try your best to not be nervous, and be comfortable. I was nervous too, but I guess the ice broke down really quick. (It was luck that I had a friendly interviewer too.)

So, yeah. I’ll be moving to London in September to start my degree studies on Game Design in Brunel University.
Really excited because I love the department’s affiliations with various game companies and that their faculty is experienced.

I’ll be staying by myself in a university dorm for 3 years and most likely getting a part time job to help ease the financial burden from my parents.
After that, if money and UK Visa issues permit, continue education/land a job!
IT’S TIME FOR LITTLE YASMIN TO GROW UP.
I’ll be separated from my furry little monster cat Naomi too. No more warm cuddles in the night!

A little scared, yes. But excited and anxious, definitely yes too.
12 hours away from Singapore, new country, new environment, new weather, new people, and most of all; new opportunities.

Extremely thankful that my parents are supporting my education costs, because after all, I do not come from a wealthy background.
So it’s a big move I’m making, along with the financial risks, and I am more than determined to make them very proud!
Thank you Mom and Dad. :) So very blessed.

So there you have it.
3 months in 5 general points! I am aware I lead a rather boring life, but hey; it may change in September. Heh.

Tomb Raider 2013, first impressions and such

After my school’s Stage 2 assessment, I felt like I deserved to enjoy myself after some grueling  weeks.
Just for a little while.

So I got my hands on Tomb Raider 2013.
I’m playing Sims 3 University too, so I haven’t gone far in TR yet.

To be honest, I was not expecting much from Tomb Raider 2013.
The last time I played Tomb Raider games was when I was a kid and had a PS1 that came with a bunch of Tomb Raider games.

tombcapaTomb Raider II [U] [SLUS-00437]

I barely played through it because I remember being quite bored with the game play, and sometimes a little scared.
But hey, I was like 7~9 years old, so I was a horrid judge in game quality.
I do know it’s a great series, but I just wasn’t into it back then.

But seeing that the whole look was revamped and looked stunning from the trailers, I gave TR2013 a chance.

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And I do not regret it. I was definitely not let down.
The game is just really visually beautiful.
(I’m playing on Ultimate graphics setting, so I’m probably seeing the best the game has to offer.)

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From the gorgeous makeover of Lara Croft herself, to the details and clarity of her clothes and blood textures.
The hair was rendered really well onto Lara. Though the hair has it’s silly moments (I’ll get to it later),
it still looked great on her and really helped make the character feel more alive.
However, I’m sure you’ll notice how the hair is kind of ‘repelling’ away from the body in the above screenshot.

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I won’t start spoiling the story, but there will be some scenes of video footage from the video camera that show some insight into the relationships of the characters.
I think it’s a nice touch, but it’s amusing when you remember the video camera survived Lara’s adventures like swimming in the water or falling down from great heights,
yet it still plays fine.

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As Lara learns to adapt to the harsh conditions of the island, it acts as a tutorial to understand the basic controls too.
You’ll be introduced to a bow and arrow when you have to find food. This will be your first weapon! And it still remains my favorite even later in the game.

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Though the game auto-saves frequently, meaning you have infinite lives, you can auto save at a Base Camp too.
In the base camp, you can add skill points into different categories of skills in Survivor(salvaging/climbing etc)/Hunter(bows & guns)/Brawler(melee).
You can also upgrade your weapons by using your Salvage parts to add modifications. You are able to upgrade your weapon model too, by finding more weapon parts.
For example, from finding more rifle parts in the game, you can automatically upgrade the WW2 rifle you found into an assault rifle.
Sometimes Lara will voice her journal entry as well, making you understand how she feels about the situation.

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You’ll also come across relics that you get to look closely at and find any sort of clues on it.
I like this feature because I get to REALLY look at the relic I just found. Rather than a ‘Hey! You just got this! -puts in inventory and it shows a still image-‘

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You can choose from a small set of outfits for Lara to wear! (I have the DLC so I had the Aviatrix skin on Lara in the screenshot)
There’s the Aviatrix, Guerilla and Hunter skin. You can watch a video with the outfits here.
I still preferred the original skin so I stuck to that.

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Tomb Raider wouldn’t be called Tomb Raider without being able to raiding tombs!
You’ll encounter ‘optional tombs’ along your journey that you can complete to get a nice amount of EXP and some items.
They’re much smaller than the older games and you actually have to find them. The main story won’t bring you into all of them.

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There are many moments in the game that will make you feel like stopping to enjoy the view.
(Despite Lara’s difficult position. Imagine her waiting for you to make her move, at such high heights.)

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Ah, the hair issue. There are some times when Lara’s hair just go really wonky, and she ends up bald/has a really tight hair-bun for awhile.
I understand that technology isn’t so perfect yet, but it provides some laughs during the course of game play.
Other than the bald moments, Lara’s hair seems to be always ‘slippery’ from her body. The hair dynamics are really amusing, but still really good considering it’s played on current gen consoles.

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Conclusion:
Overall, it’s a great game. To me, it has the right amount of exploring and combat. Very fun.
To have the tombs optional and rather small though, may not please some older fans I think. But this makes the game more ‘open’ to new fans.
There are some disturbing/violent death scenes, but being a gore lover, I do admit to intentionally dying again to re-watch the death. :D
The pacing is really good as well, and many times you’ll feel just like Lara; excited, scared, relieved, and various other emotions she’ll go through in the journey.
I think this is helped by the great voice acting for every character too.
I loved the thrill of running out of a falling village! However, there are some times when QTE moments kind of annoy me. Perhaps it’s just because I have slow reactions.
There is great character development for Lara, who learns to fend for herself and survive in such a dangerous environment. You can see and feel what she felt, when she had no choice but to kill for the first time.
The game did justice for the series and Lara Croft herself and I have greatly enjoyed myself so far.

Future woes

With graduation drawing near and my parents working hard to save up for their only child’s university fees that will come soon,
there’s this extra pressure of pursuing a job or career path that will churn out a good amount of money so I can support both my parents and obviously myself.
I’m sure (or I think) many people around my age are feeling this.

This is a burden that I think only-childs feel more than those who have siblings. For obvious reasons.
Even worse when coming from either a low or middle income background.
As much as I know that those with rich parents probably have these problems as well, I honestly feel they already have a headstart.
(eg. being able to send you overseas to study easily/large savings already in the bank to fall back on if in trouble/etc.)

“Oh, you’ll be able to buy this house nexttime la. Sure can.”
“You have to work hard to earn a lot so can support both of us.”
“I read that your kind of course getting quite sought after in the industry ah.”
I hear this so often from my parents.

What if I’m not able to? What if I can only get a job which barely pays the rent? What if I can’t get a job at all?
How am I suppose to repay everything and support my parents? How am I even going to support myself?

Perhaps this is ‘thinking too far’ or ‘too negatively’.
But let’s face it, turning 21 this year means the time for frolicking around in a meadow of blissful youth is going to end soon.
This is Singapore too, with the ever increasing living expenditure.
And this is also why I do not intend on staying here longer. (But then again, it is happening everywhere.)
I want to broaden my horizons and not wake up to feel like a worker bee living in a country full of hives.

I love being positive, and hearing things like ‘live your life to the fullest’, and stuff.
I definitely support this.

But in a world where material things like money get you by more than anything else,
it’s hard to not to worry. A lot.

Or maybe it’s because I don’t ‘YOLO’ enough.

I’m doing the very best I can. I’m pursuing what I love, even when there’s slight uncertainty lingering.
I hope this desire leads me to places.

As much as these thoughts haunt my mind more than anything else in my life currently,
I need this fear and passion to keep on going.

 

If all hope is lost one day, being a tai-tai would be a sad option.
Unfortunately, I am not tai-tai material too. OH WELL.