The Most Special Gifts UM Members Have Received

Text:Cravina Chong, Trainee UM Reporter Elbereth Zheng  │ Photo:Fernando Wong, Manuel Reis, with some provided by the interviewees  │ Issue 75 January 2018 MyUM



Have you received any special gifts for the new year? Or have you received any special gift in the past that you cherish to this day? In this issue, some UM students share their stories about the most special gifts they have received. Check it out.

The DIY lyrics book accompanying the DIY CD Cloris received


For Cloris, a postgraduate from the Department of Government and Public Administration, the most special gift she has received is a DIY CD made by her good friend for her 17th birthday. ‘It was an amazing surprise for me and I was wild with joy when I received it,’ says Cloris. ‘She burned the CD, made a pretty illustrated lyrics book, and wrapped the gift all by herself.’ The cover of the CD read, ‘The Little Album for Cloris Chen’, and the lyrics book was beautifully designed. Whenever she listens to the CD, Cloris feels enveloped in a wave of warmth. All the songs in the CD are their favorite songs, and remind her of the time she spent with her friend. ‘Giving gifts is a ceremonial event,’ she says. ‘A thoughtful gift touches a tender part of our heart, makes us feel warm and cared about, and tells us that we matter. I think that’s what gift-giving is really about.’

Cloris Chen

A fan of football matches, Cloris hopes to receive a ticket for the World Cup in Russia as a gift for the year 2018. Now in her second year of postgraduate study, she also hopes to successfully complete her PhD thesis, saying that would be her best gift to herself.

A Thoughtful Gift Bag

Jacqueline, a fourth-year student from the Department of Communication, received a most special gift bag from her best friend of ten years before she left for the Netherlands on an exchange programme during her sophomore year. The bag contained all kinds of practical items, such as pens, eye masks, and medicines for chronic stomach disorder and sore throat. ‘She knew that I have chronic stomach disorder, and she also worried that I might not be able to get the kind of pen I always used. Everything in the bag told me how

much she cared about me,’says Jacqueline. Jacqueline was particularly touched by a bracelet in the bag, which was inscribed with the words,‘True friendship is a journey without end’. The friend bought one bracelet for Jacqueline and one for herself.‘My friend is a bit goofy, and that was the first time I had received such thoughtful gifts from her, and I was very happy and surprised,’she says.

The thoughtful gift bag Jacqueline received before going to the Netherlands on an exchange programme

Due to graduate this year, Jacqueline hopes to travel around Taiwan before leaving the campus, as a graduation gift to herself. But she says it’s more important to find a good job.‘If I can find a job I really enjoy, that would be the best gift for the year 2018,’she says.

Feeling Happy from Making Friends Happy

Ivy, a postgraduate from the Faculty of Education, tells us the most special gift she has received is a DIY Christmas card from a good friend, whom she has known for a long time but seldom talks to. ‘He wrote some words of encouragement on the card, and I felt very touched because it came at a time when I was at a crossroads, not knowing where to go or what to do with my life,’ she says. ‘The message on the card made me realise that something I did in the past had some positive effect on the sender , and that somehow boosted my confidence when I needed to make important decisions later on in my life. Now I still look at the card from time to time, and I feel blessed to have such a pure friendship, which I think is very hard to come by in this world.’

A DIY Christmas card Ivy received from a good friend

Ivy loves swimming and has the nickname of ‘The Frog Queen of Macao’. One Christmas, she gave out gifts to her friends from the swimming team, each gift wrapped with transparent floral paper, containing different kinds of chocolates and a hand-written greeting card. ‘I enjoy giving gifts, it makes me happy to see my friends happy,’ she says.

Ivy’s biggest wish for the year 2018 is to learn to be more relaxed when stressed. ‘As the Cantonese saying goes, Stay calm and you will have money left,’ she says with a smile.

Gifts Add Joy to Life

Amber, a second-year student from the Department of Chinese Language and Literature, still cherishes a card sticker she received in her final year of high school, which was made from a group photo of Amber and her roommates. The final year of her high school life was stressful and hectic, but the close friendship between the roommates nurtured and sustained her through the difficult period. When Amber first came to UM, far away from her old friends and family, she would take out her purse and look at the familiar smiling faces on the card sticker, which would always fill her with strength.

A card sticker Amber received from her good friends, which she keeps to this day.

Amber has not just been at the receiving end of gifting. She has also given a thoughtful gift to a friend who loved Michael Jackson. She found the image of one of Jackson’ s most representative CD covers on the internet, drew a copy of it, and wrote some words of best wishes next to the drawing. ‘A gift doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s the thought that counts,’ she says. ‘Sometimes, the thought is more precious than the gift, because it makes the recipient feel cared about and adds joy to the person’s life.’

Giving gifts is a way to express love, whether the recipient is a family member, a lover, a friend, a colleague, or a mere stranger. What gifts are you planning to give to those who love you and those you love in the year 2018? Feel free to steal ideas from the stories above. But whatever you give, remember, it’s the thought that counts.