I’d been a tangle of nerves and adrenaline since I accepted the invitation to attend the Kijang Academy since I was shortlisted for the Bank Negara Kijang Scholarship programme. It was happening so quickly: at 6pm I received the call, 20 minutes later (after dealing with the logistics) I confirmed, then within the next hour I had my certificates photostated, passport-sized photo taken and hair cut (because bleached tips are not cool in this context) while my adrenal glands were having an explosive all-out party.
The next morning I raced to school, got my certificates certified, came back home just in time to go to the airport and flew to KL. In a few hours I was already comfortably checked in, and was sitting down to a buffet dinner at the dining hall where small talk commenced. Our first assessment was to write an essay in the multipurpose hall which was made easy by the the sleepy highness I get when my biological clock is ticking late. Being tired it was a lot easier to not be too self-critical which led to a sleepy-high essay scribbled quickly across a page and a half.
At the end of the 30-minute essay assessment I went to sleep straightaway (after watching some TV) until 7am the next morning when we were transported by bus to a modern glass-dominated building called Sasana Kijang for the start of our team assessments. I was in Group 10 which was manned by 8 other pretty cool people. We had our ice-breaking session then tea break then roleplaying serious admin roles then lunch break then tea break again (I’m not even sure anymore) then a tower-building session which was the the most fun of them all because we built an admittedly crude tower consisting of newspaper and polystyrene cups but we all had pretty sweet mouths and active imaginations so we managed to sell off our tower for four times the market price.
During one of the tea breaks I was standing blankly alone and one of the panels approached me and asked for my course of choice to which I replied Economics of course, because I love observing people and analyzing their choices. He thought I was more suited for Psychology if that was my view on Economics, but I defended my point adding,”Without empathy”. After that encounter I realize our paths crossed a few more times, but those few times were substantial enough for me to tell him about my pessimism on even getting through this preliminary round to the interview and personal assessments.
After the team assessments were over we were given the opportunity to visit the little Bank Negara museum which was installed within the very same building. During this mini excursion I met this six-foot guy who reminded me very much of my own friend Abbiraame. We got along well and made plans to reward each other if we ever get through to the interview round.
When we got back to the hotel we had a two hour break. A wiser Bellyn would have chosen to use this time to carry out the much-needed research on Bank Negara and her course of choice, or even get that much-needed sleep, but unfortunately I was so pessimistic on my chances of getting through to the interview round that I see no point in carrying out unnecessary research or sleeping. Instead I met a parkour girl at the floor lobby and she was just sitting down in her running shoes so we went exploring the Lanai Kijang hotel looking for the fitness centre and along the way also found the cheap cafe for collared customers and a cliff to look out to.
After dinner we went to the multipurpose hall and waited for our names to be called or not called for elimination. At this point I was at a dilemma: I wanted not to be called but I am not ready to face the interview if I was not called, so I kind of wanted to be called but I still didn’t want to be called to maintain self-esteem. Eventually I was not called so hurrah! I made it through! I wasn’t relieved or anything but instead panicked and was internally abusing my adrenal glands because of the “now what do I do now what do I do” situation. I was supposed to jump into the swimming pool because my pessimism agreed to do stupid dares. A few guys wanted to go swimming in celebration so I thought I might do it then but in the end it was cancelled because of the rain and I am glad to have at least relieved myself from that stupid dare.
I called Janice, and after walking 10 rounds around the corridors of my room floor talking on the phone, I brought my laptop to the lobby to do research. So naturally nothing goes according to the plan. Mark (six-foot guy) came down to give me my reward and hung around the lobby, then Chok who was also supposed to be doing his research came to join our talk and surprise surprise, we talked until it was past midnight and watched this amazingly disturbing Youtube video and cried about our lost childhood (not really, I exaggerate) and at some point anal thoughts came into the picture when Mark refused to share his room with this guy he suspected would rape him. Past midnight we decided we were hungry and walked to the cheap cafe for collared customers even though we were in pajama pants and wearing high tops or slippers and it was most definitely closed. Having no food to sustain the night we parted ways and went to bed.
NEXT MORNING I WAS FROZEN WITH FEAR AND DROWSINESS. I SLEPT MUCH TOO LATE AND DIDN’T DO PROPER RESEARCH. I question my prioritizing skills. We were transported again to Sasana Kijang and prepared our individual presentations on pieces of mahjong paper. I was so nervous and I was the fifth person so it’s definitely not good to have your anxiety sustained for such a long period of time. I also realized with humour that my interviewer will be the panel member whom I’ve talked to too much and too honestly. He even remarked after my admittance of pessimism that I better not have him interview me today (if I make it through). I mentally went through all the conversations we had together and hoped none of it will be worked against me. Eventually it would have gone OK if not for the betrayal of my physical body which got too thirsty too quickly and required three major stops to drink water. Other than that I think it went all right and I hope I will not mentally abuse myself for years to come for what I could or shouldn’t have done during the interview although my bus ride back to Penang hints differently as the only thing that dominated my mind was the interview session, replayed over and over and over again.
UPDATE: I wasn’t good enough.