Be Mobile. Be Very Mobile.

If there’s one thing I learned from being a dormer in a Malaysian university, it’s this: It pays to be mobile. Be very mobile.

I can not recall how many rooms I had moved into during my two years as a masters student. Wait, maybe I can. I must have trailed through six different rooms or so. Yes, six rooms in two years.

Twice I had to move after happily settling in because of some dorm mix ups. Twice more I had to move because, in my university, students who chose to stay during the summer break had to be displaced and kept inside a single block. And then I of course had to change rooms because each academic school year called for a new one. I only had to study for two years, so there you go. You can do the math.

Having had to move around that much, I needed to make sure i could pack up and relocate at a moment’s notice.

It was hard to be mobile, though. I came to Malaysia with only fifteen-plus kilograms worth of luggage. However, I seemed to have accumulated plenty more stuff with the passing of each additional semester. I hoarded books, papers, readings, clothes, kitchen utensils, toiletries, and cleaning materials. A lot of them were necessities. But the rest were by products of me being a pack rat.

Imagine what it was like to lug those things around three times every year.


My most memorable move was, of course, the first. In less than a month — or was it a week? — of occupancy, I woke up to the sound of someone knocking on my door. The person was gone by the time that I got around to opening it, but there was a note left lying at the floor:

“Please come to the office immediately.”

I thought I was in some sort of trouble. Did I break any dormitory rules I didn’t know about? However, when I got to the office, they simply informed me that the management was planning to use my block for transients. “You have to transfer to another one,” they told me.

“When?” I asked.

“By this afternoon,” was their reply.

Thankfully, I only had minimal belongings at the time. But I did own a thick, wooden study table. A friend had passed it to me with every good intention in mind. Well, it took a LOT of effort lugging that THING all the way from Block F to the third floor of Block D. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I had someone to help me. But since I didn’t have any friends at the dormitory yet, I had to transport everything including that desk by myself.

It took me several trips to get my things to and from Block F and D. By the end of the move, I felt like I had done more than a day’s worth of exercise already.

Looking back, I realized I should have brought a trolley. Especially if I had know that it wouldn’t be my last time to do that relocating thing. But then again I didn’t expect to have moved around so much. So I never got around to buying one.

Right now, it’s time for me to do some moving again. Not to another block in the dorm, though. I had long graduated from that part of my life already. I’m moving to a new apartment, and gosh, my belongings seemed to have multiplied by a thousand and one times this time.

Thankfully, I now have some friends to help me out, unlike before. One of them has a trolley too.

I still wish I had taken my dormitory lesson to heart though. I wish I had managed to keep myself mobile. But oh well. After this move, I’ll make sure that I do.

Well, my belongings have now increased exponentially after five years.