Nurafiqah Yusof Author

Little Ms. Independent International Student

Written by Student Life

It’s pretty common for teens to wish they were on their own, living the independent life, with no parental units breathing down their necks. We’ve all been through that. I’ve always wanted to be independent — I’ve always dreamt of going to university, living on my own, setting my own curfew, exploring and absorbing culture through my pores. I just never thought that time would come so soon. I’d always prepared myself for the separation from my parents after I graduated. It was the norm. I’d come to terms that graduation marked the beginning of my adult life. But, alas, that is not always true.


It was the summer after my junior year. Australia wasn’t a curve ball my parents threw out of nowhere; it’s been in the works since the beginning of the school year. I was excited. And nervous. Really, really nervous. I was no stranger to uprooting to a strange land; I’ve had to move to Saudi Arabia at 9. Settling into Saudi Arabia, however, is far easier than Australia. You’d think, “Well, you’ve lived in a conservative society all your life, wouldn’t you want to be independent?” I did. But there was a catch.

I had to do it without my parents.dsc_0757

They flew Down Under with me, of course, but they were only around for 1 week. I was only 17. How was I supposed to survive three months and three weeks without my parents?! They don’t teach you this kind of stuff in school. But thankfully, my mamma didn’t raise no fool. I could take care of my basic necessities just fine – I knew how to wash my clothes, change my sheets, wash the dishes, clean my room, the simpler stuff. I just couldn’t handle finances well. But it wasn’t something I couldn’t learn.

“When I first moved to London, I felt very homesick and yearned after the countryside a lot. Because London’s hard. It’s a big place, and it’s lonely. It takes a while to get into it. But once I got into the flow of it and started to grow up, I realized that my home is wherever I am.”

– Toby Kebbell

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Because I am underage, I had to stay in a home-stay. Living in a home-stay helped ease the homesickness – my host will usually have guests and they would treat me, almost, like their own. It made me feel very welcomed, except when they would begin to speak to each other. That always throws me off course. I went from smiling, laughing and trying to make small talk to just staring at a point on the wall or just staring at the TV as they spoke in rapid-fire Greek. 0 – 100 real quick. But I got used to it.

It was a challenge for me to enjoy myself here. There was this one time that a friend of mine pointed out that I was very cheerful and I was “emoting”. It was very interesting of her to say that – I had always thought I was emoting. Unknowingly, I had this solemn, somber, indifferent look on my face if I wasn’t particularly into conversations; probably an RBF but sadder. I was immensely insecure about being miles and miles away from my comfort zones. It was my defense mechanism.

I didn’t want to be one of those small town people who forgot themselves once they moved to the big city, the big leagues. Focused on not losing myself and home, I refused to enjoy what Sydney had to offer. But that always resulted in my sitting in my room, taking long walks down memory lane and getting lost in a whirlwind of emotions. That’s not healthy.

nazihah5Coming back for my second semester here, I’ve resolved to enjoy myself. Sure, I’ve had to grow up and mature pretty quickly, and I’m still a bundle of nerves anxiety. But, I’ve begun to accept that I’m 17 and miles away from home. It can only be a good thing in the long run and it’s the start of something great. The weather will change but it doesn’t mean I can’t get the most out of it.

I’ve got a mission here and that’s to make my parents proud, to make myself proud, and to grow. Like waves in the stormy ocean, responsibility and life broke the shores of my consciousness and washed me awake. Trying to surf the waves when I’ve only been practicing for 3 days is deadly. I will fall and get hurt but I’d hurt myself even more if I didn’t try.

It wasn’t (and still isn’t) easy and I don’t expect it to be. I’ve always got support from my loving parents and my wonderful friends back home and here Down Under. To help myself enjoy myself Down Under, I chronicle my adventures on my blog here and through photos on my gallery.

How long was I going to live under my parents’ wings?

I’ve got my own. Let’s give them a test run.


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Fancy A Spot of Malaysian Tea?

Written by Health, News

The British were once a powerful imperialising nation. They colonized most of Asia, Australia, North America, and some parts of Africa. By colonizing these nations, they brought with them their ideas, culture, and traditions. They left traces of their culture, infusing it with those that they had colonized. Their influences are so large that many former colonies still follow traditional English culture – afternoon tea.

But of course, with a little twist. One of these colonized nations is Malaysia. Malaysia is home to 29.72 million (as of 2013) with 14 states. It doesn’t matter which part of the country you’re from, at around 3-5 PM, you’ll be hankering for something sweet to munch on before dinner.

In this article, you’ll be able to make your own typical Malaysian teatime classics at home! Presenting to you, jemput-jemput pisang and teh tarik, the epitome of classic Malaysian teatime delicacy. It is essentially mashed banana fritters and aerated milk tea, respectively.

Simple and quick to make, these classics are perfect after a long and tiring day. These soft banana fritters melt in your mouth as you wash it down with creamy, frothy tea. Hints of nutty, gritty coconut coupled with the sweetness of the banana just hits the right spot as wafts of milky tea float into your nostrils. The sweetness of the banana compliments the milky and slightly bitter taste of the tea, making it the perfect pair. What are you waiting for? Read on for the recipe!

Jemput-Jemput Pisang (Mashed banana fritters)

You will need:

  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 2 tablespoons sugar OR 1 tablespoon of sweet condensed milk
  • 4 – 6 tablespoons of flour
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of desiccated coconut OR instant oats
  • oil for frying

*This recipe makes roughly 15-25 pieces (depending on how much you spoon into the hot oil)

The end product!


  1. Mash the bananas then combine with sugar/condensed milk. Set aside.
  2. Mix flour and salt together. Combine the dry ingredients with the wet. Make sure the batter is lumpy but not too thick.
  3. Then slowly combine the desiccated coconut/oats into the batter, gently mixing. (The smell of banana and coconut/oats should be water your mouth right about now.)
  4. Heat the oil on medium (enough to deep fry). Take tablespoons of the batter and place them into the hot oil
  5. Place a sheet of tissue paper or paper towel to soak up the excess oil.
  6. Turn the fritters around and remove them from the oil onto the paper towel once they’re golden brown on all sides.

That’s half of the adventure done! Now onto the next:

Teh Tarik (Milk tea)

You will need:

  • 3 – 4 tablespoons loose leaf tea PR 3 tea bags (black tea preferably)
  • sugar
  • evaporated milk/sweet condensed milk

*This recipe makes 1 mug


  1. Boil 500 mL of water
  2. Add the loose leaf tea
  3. Let it come to a boil. Reduce the heat and let the mixture continue to boil for about 10 – 12 minutes until the colour turns very dark
  4. Take it off the heat.
    1. If using loose tea, put it through the strainer
    2. If using tea bags, let them sit for a few seconds before removing
  5. To sweeten:
    1. Combine 2 – 3 teaspoons of evaporated milk and 1 teaspoon of sugar (add more sugar to taste)
    2. Put in a teaspoon of sweet condensed milk into the tea, mix then taste. It is recommended to taste the tea each time a teaspoon of condensed milk is used as it is extremely sweet. Too much condensed milk and the tea will lose its flavour, too little and the tea will be too bitter.
  6. The colour of the tea should resemble golden mocha once it is mixed properly with a good amount of milk and/or sugar.


  • Traditionally, the teh tarik is “pulled” to produce amazing froth

    If you would like to get the authentic Malaysian taste of teh tarik, try “pulling” it by pouring the tea back and forth repeatedly between two mugs. This cools it and thoroughly mixes the tea with the milk. It also produces amazing bubbly froth 😉

  • You could also add spices like ginger and cardamom into the drink to give it an extra kick.
    • Slightly crack 1 – 2 cardamom pods and drop them into the tea pot after it slowly starts boiling with the tea leaves or tea bags. Cardamom can be quite overpowering so it really depends on your liking.

      Cardamom has anti-carcinogenic properties, good for cardiovascular health, helps control cholesterol, possesses anti-depressant properties, and can help control gastrointestinal disorders, such as acidity, flatulence, and stomach cramps.

    • You can grate half an inch of ginger into the boiling tea or you could cut thin slices. You could always add extra if you’re one for spices and heat! Ginger has a long been used to relieve digestive problems like nausea, muscle pain and soreness, and also chronic indigestion.

The dusky scent of afternoon tea wafts into your nostrils. Bite into a delicately crunchy fritter and let the sweetness of the banana along with the gritty texture of coconut flood your mouth. Wash it all down with the warm tea, feeling it loosen your tense body after an exhausting day. Enjoy these classics while chilling in front of the TV watching your favourite shows or journaling on the patio. Or just in silence because the food speaks for itself.

Leave a comment and tell us how your Malaysian teatime experience went!

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