Sunday, December 29, 2013

Salvation Army Xmas Run 2013 ~ Kuching :)

Back in November, three Sarawakian best friends, Fiona A Keith, Fiona Edward and Tracy Beatrice, invited friends over their FB to bring some Christmas cheer for the Salvation Army kids in Kuching, Sarawak. A few mutual friends and I decided to join in the fun. We managed to get some of our family members involved in the planning too. Tracy's mom baked the cake and we got hold of plenty of pre loved stuff including books to be shared. As there were about 39 boys aged 8-18 and 54 girls from infant till 18 years old, we were pretty excited as well as daunted by the task at hand.

After brainstorming for quite a bit, finding out what these kids need or want most ( toiletries, eg: shavers and shaving creams were the biggest wish on the boys side and hairbands on the girls side ) and getting the logistics sorted out, we had to as we are all based in KL, we quietly went our separate ways and started to slowly get the gifts ready and transported to Kuching in time for Xmas. When either one of us were to get a Kuching nightstop, we would drop the items by the concierge and a girlfriend from there will then come over and pick it up from the hotel.

I remember how ridiculous I looked being the only one, lugging my huge check in bag all over the airport ( more than 30 kg full of goodies ) on a domestic sector, question marks written all over my colleagues faces, especially since I wasn't interested in explaining anything, wondering whether I have gone bonkers. It is after all a few days trip around Malaysia and Kuching was only going to be the last night stop before I head home. At one stage, I had to leave my bag at the Lost & Found Department until it was time for me to come and pick it up.

Where there is a will, there is definitely a way. My girlfriends and I have proven that. It was indeed a huge relief when we got to deliver the goodies on time..waiting to be received by its new owners. Unfortunately, not all of us could be there to celebrate the occasion with the children neither did we get to see who received what. The important thing is, they got what they needed. It is the least we could do and being able to be a part of this, was good enough reward for me :)

Even though she was busy organizing her own engagement party to a dashing Malay chap named Azrool, one of my favorite guys to fly with by the way, Tracy aka Tracy Beatrice Aisyah now, still had time to think of the unfortunate. All the best to the both of you and may you continue giving the gift of love, regardless of race or religion..

Here is Fiona A Keith with one of the cheeky orphan boys. She is no longer with MH. She runs an online business for now among other things. You can check it out on

                       Fiona A Keith with Major Selvi, the lady in charge of the girls home

                     Tracy and Fiona with Major Mary Ng, the person in charge of the boy's home.

The lovely couple ~ Michelle Vanessa Lee & Zac Zakir. While the wife sponsored toiletries for the boys, Zac the pilot, chipped in by providing sanitary pads for the girls. Awesome twosome! They had not forgotten my son this Xmas either. They took the time to drop by and pass their gift to Ryan personally a few days before Christmas.You can check her instagram @Vanezzaleecollections. Loads of gorgeous stuff for sale :)

               Nancy G from Hongkong with Love ~ One of our lovely flying Santarinas :)

Not forgetting the other Fiona aka Miss Fiona Edward and future Mrs..Ahem! Ahem!....All the best Fie! God Bless :)

** By the way, there is another Santarina that I have yet to mention. Her name is Seema. Michelle shared the idea with her and she was more than happy to be in the game. Unfortunately, I do not have her picture and neither of them knew that I was going to blog about this earlier :)

Happy New Year Everyone! I had a wonderful Christmas. I hope you did too ...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Hot, cold... and Aquarian :)

What is it like to be me at this stage? Just exactly as you are, right at this moment..Sitting ducks waiting for the next hit. Our circumstances might be different but we live in the same box we call the Universe and the bullets are certainly coming from all directions! Unfortunately, no duck is immune to it.

Chance favors the prepared mind, thus for the wise ones, they now have their vests on, ready to battle and will accept nothing less than triumph. Meanwhile across the lake, another group of ducks have already decided to gather all the white cloths they can get their hands on, utilize their God given skills and walla.. turns it all into white flags to wave it around, in a sign of solidarity and defeat.

The only common thing between these two groups is that, not one duck really knows what's coming or from which direction. So how does one survive such an attack? What does one group knows that the other doesn't seem to understand? After all the crap that I have been put through up till now, I believe it has always been in the HOW, WHAT and WHY shit happens. 

HOW one duck perceives and accepts challenges as it comes, WHAT revelation the outcome brings, leads us to an understanding of WHY a certain duck behaves the way it does. You follow? Well, to put it into simpler terms, some ducks go to bed every night praying for a Problem Free world, while the rest of us wakes up, looking forward to a Solution Rich life.

With me, it is in the WHY that you will come to understand the HOW and once you have gotten the answer, will you then find out the WHAT. Confused? Let me explain.

WHY do still I love what I do? Plenty of reasons I can think of, some of which are these ~ My work brings me to places that keeps me on my toes, requires me to meet new faces each day that connects me physically to the world at large, heightens my senses and ultimately triggers my growth. Everyday is a new learning experience, every person I meet stimulates my interests, teaches me a lesson and every setback life throws at me is an opportunity for me to be better than I was the day before. Times are bad but I learn to find the good in it. The more I scrutinize, the less I see the ugly.. What comes forth is ultimately ~ ONENESS, be it strengths or weaknesses. How amazing is that? To be able to realize this, you will have to however not want to be right and instead choose to listen to the truth no matter whose mouth it comes out from.

Same goes with writing. I enjoy doing it. It is my way of being vulnerable and true to myself. Cathartic is the word that comes to mind. When I can't travel, I let my fingers do the walking and I retreat into the comfort of my mind, a place that welcomes me, accepts me, teaches me, loves me and forgives me unconditionally.

HOW do I do that without making others sick and tired of me? Well, I am still a little girl that appreciates a smack or two to the head once in a while to wake me up. My heart might be a little fragile and my ego's way up where it shouldn't be, but Thank God my head is still able to think logically and that helps a great deal for me to accept that the world does not revolve around me.

I relate well with others and they with me. Well, I hope and think so anyway. Having said that, I do acknowledge the fact that I wasn't put on this Earth solely to be liked or accepted by everyone. I am here to discover the best of me and that is my goal and mission in life. I learned how mean people can be at a very young age. Maybe that is why I love animals so much. Their quiet and loving presence brings a sense of calm to one's inner turmoil. I grew up an outcast. It only made me want to belong more and thus my love for Peace and Unity.

I am like a vessel that brings forth love and passion to those who are open to what I have to offer. The only rule I enjoy following is the one that helps me to think outside the box, even if the freedom only comes from living in my head. Some might perceive me as insensitive or indifferent. It is more out of innocence. What people don't understand is that I can feel very deeply and sometimes the only way to avoid pain is to disengage from emotions. Perhaps it is also because I love humanity too much and it is people that I can't stand. I work well in a group, it is the one to one - heart to heart moments that I fear. A definite conundrum. As silly as that may sound, it is indeed a paradox..and something that I am working at to fix :)

By reflecting on my life, sharing my thoughts and experiences good or bad through my words and deeds, I try to live a life full of purpose. Perhaps I am here as a living example of how not to live your life. Whatever it is, if you enjoy reading what I write and think that it makes sense, I am happy for you.

So, WHAT am I really getting at? Trying to heal your soul and mine, one story at a time..

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Awareness, Engagement and Wisdom...

While I was trekking in Nepal I met many interesting souls. Some prefer to remain lost and anonymous to the outside world. They shunned technology, prefers to work on themselves instead of trying to save the population and find living in the real world much more productive and mindful than being in the virtual one. I couldn't help but admire them. They made technology their slave, never the master.

How many of us can say that about ourselves? Unfortunately, most of us are slaves to it. We rush to answer a call when it rings and we blame everyone else except ourselves for the little mishaps that might occur because of it. We anticipate a call even when there is none coming. We bring the phone with us everywhere we go, even to the loo! Come to think of it, most of us seems to spend more time connecting to our PDA than our spouses. There were moments, when I was more connected to a friend via the phone than a family member who's sitting right across of me on the dinner table. How rude and at the same time inconsiderate and ridiculous is that? A mobile media is far more important than what truth lies in front of us and for a long time, I was blinded by it.

The constant need to feel connected via technology is really ironic for when we do that, we are inadvertently disconnecting from what really matters, ourselves and the world around us. We disengage from the people who truly loves us and from the ones that craves our attention. Instead, we reach out and immerse ourselves behind a virtual screen trying to fulfill a gap or a hole that we feel needs to be filled. Does it ever get filled? THAT is the question. Or most importantly, WHAT matters to you? For me, I started noticing an unhealthy pattern and when I couldn't ignore it anymore, I had to do something about it.

From a young age, I was exposed to machines and technology. My uncle is a tech guy and we grew up having computers all over the house, long before people knew how or what to do with it. My brother shared his passion and both can discuss for hours till the wee hours of the morning on creating this software or fixing that hardware. I on the other hand, showed no interest whatsoever. I preferred knitting and so the story goes....

I owned my first mobile phone at the age of 23. A gift from my husband to be. Before that, I kept in touch with my family and friends via land lines. I remember bringing plenty of coins around in case there is a need for me to call home from overseas. I used to brave the cold and the snow just so that I could hear a familiar voice from a deserted phone booth. It was all worth it, for it kept my heart warm.

Technology does have its advantages. Now I get to see their faces, hear their voices in the comfort of my bedroom and plenty more. So much so, that I don't have to go out and about to get connected anymore. Instead of mingling with my friends during a night stop, getting to know someone new or exploring some place fun, everything I want or need, I have been made aware, that I can get it from my WIFI. Being a social hermit has never been this good. I hide when I feel like it, or reach out when I want to, all from behind a white piece of screen.

I was eating, breathing and living, eternally wired and constantly connected to the virtual world. Before I can chew and digest the first information that I have received, I was craving for the next. Nothing is ever enough. Not only did I lose sleep, added unwarranted stress, over promised, under delivered, but along the way, I felt far worse, for my internal world was falling apart while my external world was flourishing. Fake was never my middle name and because of that, I had to disengage.

Without realizing it, I started missing the bigger picture. By always being on the go, trying to be in the know about everything and having the weight of the world on me, my energy, the place where my power source flows from, was beginning to deplete. I've been logged on for far too long without having the common sense of getting myself charged back to life! I lost precious time with the ones that truly loves me. I also missed the sounds and sights along my journey, always wanting to share everything, busy snapping pictures, thinking about what to write before an adventure's even over. I knew it was unhealthy but I wasn't ready to stop. You'll know when enough is enough. When the time came, I did.

I have been told, that when you want to get somewhere quickly, learn to stop. The more you rush, the more you are made to wait. I might be slow to reply calls or check my emails nowadays...but I notice things better now. Earlier, when I was having dinner, instead of just shoving food into my mouth whilst reading a book, I sat quietly concentrating on each morsel of food that entered my mouth and it made me love my mom more, for thanks to her my hunger is fed. Imagine how much love she'd put into preparing these meals for me. I was also grateful that I am still able to provide my family with the basics..and food being one of them. How lovely is that? Alhamdulillah :)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Time to say goodbye to Facebook :)

I am done with Facebook. Why? Coz I have lost myself. I find it easier telling the world what I am doing, where I am going, who I am with or what I am thinking than living in the here and now, next to people who really matter. At first, I found it convenient. By blasting it online, I didn't have to speak or explain one to one. I am able to reach the masses and help them, so to speak. I felt the love and adoration. I fed on it. It inspired me to continue giving and baring my soul..

There was a time when I was mugged and I posted the news as well as the pictures online. The only person I wanted to hear from was also the only one who didn't bother to call me immediately after, or ask how I am doing once I got back home. Why? Thanks to all the updates I posted and replies to the comments by family and friends, everyone knew that I wasn't going to die tomorrow. Neither does anyone have to come all the way to visit me either, to see how badly my knees looked like, for the pictures were there at their convenience. That is how weird Facebook can affect my chances at being in meaningful relationships. Do you understand what I mean now?

Life before FB was different. Growing up, I had long meaningful chats with my family instead of them reading my updates. I didn't have to share pictures of my adventures alone online, as the ones I love were there to experience it with me. When I needed help, I go straight to the source and I got it. Friends meet, come and see me face to face to find out how I am doing. They sacrificed their time and money to be with me. When I wanted love, I gave my all to one and he ended up making me his wife.

As shallow as it may sound, I started FB as a silent cry for help. I was lonely and I wanted love from anyone and everyone. There were plenty of desirable men out there but not many available ones. So I made Facebook my bestfriend and my lover. I bared my rawness and vulnerabilities to him and in return, he shared the wonders of the universe with me. It became an addiction. A dangerous one. I am a fierce, passionate lover and it was detrimental to my well being for I am naive and I trust easily, therefore I love to share the truth. We were however not alone. The whole world was watching us, judging us and it stopped being genuine anymore. People started using each other online. What's in it for me? was the motto of the day. It became a chore to bare one's thoughts. I became sensitive when someone were to unfriend me without knowing the reason behind it and I felt bad having to unfriend some, whom I knew were stalking me or were of a different wavelength. I started struggling with my conscience. I wanted my privacy back. That made me think.

I used to enjoy birthdays especially celebrating it for others. I am one of those who will always remember your birth dates and how special you are. FB made it impersonal. Convenient yes but meaningful, no. Everyday I'll get a reminder on my is so and so's birthday. It's time to wish them. You do it and that's it. Social responsibility done! and to the ones who receives it...Oooh..How wonderful! I am blessed. I had more than a 1000 wishes today. I am doing ok then. I am they think. You think? Maybe that is why, I have never bothered to publish my birthdate for all to see neither am I one that wishes people online for the sake of wishing.

How many of you now, that have good friends who are like family, who would go all the way out to throw you a surprise birthday party or holiday? Not the types where they party on the expense of your money, but the ones who'd spend theirs instead, to show you how much you really mean to them? I have and these are far and few in between. Friends that I have met long before I started FB and the same ones who are not even bothered to be connected through such social sites. Unfortunately, since then, I have lost a number of these good friends in the pursuit of technology.

At first, I was worried about leaving it all behind. What will happen to all my hard work? The bonds that I have created, the reputation that I have made, the information shared that will be lost to me forever? Really? Who am I trying to kid? I am still where I was 3 years ago when I first started Facebook. Alone and empty. It was all an illusion and it is about time I wake up :)


Monday, November 4, 2013

Namaste :)

Hola! I am back. I had an amazing experience in Nepal recently. Best place to rewire my brains, rejuvenate my heart and tune up my muscles. 2 whole weeks spent over there trekking the Annapurna Base Camp route with a couple of friends. The fourth member of the group unfortunately couldn't make it at the very last minute.

Plenty of photographs to share, too many stories to mention and some are meant to be forever private. What happens in Nepal, stays in Nepal! Besides, it will be better for you to come over here and experience it for yourselves. No regrets whatsoever! I'll definitely want to come back and trek some other routes if I do get a chance. Not only did I love the food ( ate non stop ) and lifestyle ( haven't felt so relax in a very long time ), I gain plenty of new found friends and insights that will forever enrich my soul. Oh by the way, the live band at Club Amsterdam in Pokhara was super duper awesome!

Time stood still while I was in the land of the Sherpas and Gurkhas. This is also the land where Siddharta Ghautama was born. The view along the way was mesmerizing. I huffed and puffed and yet everytime I reach a pit stop for the night I felt like as if I can go on forever. I did not want to miss a thing. Too many things to see, too little time to cover it all. Not only are the Nepalese wonderful hosts ( I had a wonderful guide named Deep and his two nephews, Kebin and Amar as our porters ) but even the tourists are just as nice.

Everyone is in such a relaxed and happy mood that it makes me feel so welcome and wanting to be just as friendly as well. Where else in the world can you see people from all walks of life, whatever your nationality, greeting each other throughout the trek with a single common word ~ NAMASTE. Hearing that when my energy's depleting and when it is accompanied by a smile on their face, puts a spring into my step and gets my feet moving. It is like a little cheer that boosts you forward.

Not a single worry to cloud my mind. Other than hoping to avoid AMS ( altitude mountain sickness ) and the fact that I missed my baby, I went fully prepared, mentally and physically to embrace the experience ahead with a childlike wonderment and enthusiasm that only a silly girl like me is capable of. My fellow trekkers Ravi & Mark were awesome companions. I came home fulfilled, recharged and ready to rumble!

Here are some of the pictures that I took along the way. It was an adventure of a lifetime and I am glad that I got to enjoy every moment of it to the max. Needless to say, we made it to base camp safely and back :)

                                             A butterfly I met along the journey

                                                  You see a horse. I see a unicorn

                  I made sure I asked this fellow permission before I used its master's toilet

They won't stop for you. Get out of the way or you'll get hit. FYI ~ Mark calls me a plodder after these animals, for the way I trek. He means it in the sweetest way of course..

                                                 Wild flowers to keep me going

                        I love dogs. I have dozens of photos of them throughout my trek

                  Ahh! Don't forget to stop and smell the roses. I did and will always do

                   The first morning that I woke up on my trek, I was greeted by this scene.

I was so excited when I saw my first puppy. It was the one and only along the trek.

Plenty of waterfalls to keep me invigorated

The colour purple. Reminds me of my Barney bolster that my son had promise to take care of, on my behalf. He sleeps with it whenever I am away.

Plenty of bunga tahi ayam ( bunga pagar ) to keep me wondering why can't they give it a better name..Marigold sounds much classier

                                      The chicken and cocks are all so huge over here

Bumped into these mountain goats when I was on my way down to soak in the hot springs at Jhinu. I grabbed a cute little kid and gave it a kiss! Who cares, we were both just as smelly..

A helicopter rescue during the day at Deurali. That same night, I heard my neighbour vomiting. It was scary. Plenty of rescues going on from that point onwards.

                              My alone time.. Hot Chocolate to welcome me to base camp, yeay!

                                             Jasmin was here..Hell yeah! I did it :)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Once married, twice shy..

You think you are in love with me? Do you even know what I am like? Have you spoken to my ex? There was a reason he left. Perhaps, you should find out why. Let me make it easy for you. I shall try and pretend that I am now my ex, telling you what it is like, for him to have had to spend more than a decade with me.

I met her when she was nearly 19. Fresh from school, innocent and yet headstrong. I liked her from the start. Heads turn when she walks into a room. Always the life of the party. She made everyone feel comfortable around her, everyone but me. I could never stand being in the same room with her. I get tongue tied, act all stupid and before I can make a fool of myself further, I'll always be the first to leave the room. It always leaves her confused and I'll end up being the laughing stock among our friends.

It went on like that for months. She had so many admirers. I watched her from a distance. She never knew how much I'd wish that she'd smile at me or glance my way. Each day, I got more and more frustrated. The more I tried telling her how I feel, the more the words get gobbled up before it can even reach my lips. I became an expert at mumbling.

She loved my cooking. That was good. It became my way of reaching out to her. Everyday, I'd look forward to prepare a portion of my specialty and present it to her in the hope of winning her affection and each day, she will share those dishes with our friends. It was hopeless. They obviously made use of her to get their way, for they know that the only way for me to say yes to anything, was if she was the one to ask for it.

I loved her from the first day I saw her. She was everything I wanted and more. Unfortunately, she didn't even know that I exist. I had to try harder. I don't know how but I am never going to take no for answer. Each day, I got closer and closer. I became friends with her friends. I got to know the things that she liked and became her number one supporter. When a guy that she was close to moved away, I was her shoulder to cry on. I loved her and yet I knew, she'd never be mine. I couldn't even muster the courage to tell her how I feel even after finding out that she was leaving the company soon. I was such a coward.

One day, during lunch break, she bought a hand lotion as a going away present and gave it to me. My hands had hurt previously from all the abuse it got from being in the kitchen and handling food for far too long. That was the turning point for me. The push I needed. I knew she cared. Little did I know, that it was just a friendly gesture and nothing more. I was too blinded by my love to see straight. The fact that she's a Muslim and that I am a Buddhist did not even matter at that moment in time. All I knew is, I wanted her to be mine.

So I sent her a bouquet of flowers and a teddy bear anonymously the next day, not knowing that it was April Fool's Day. What a joke. As surprised and delighted as she was with the gift, since she didn't know whom it was from and thinking that she had been a victim of a practical joke, my gift had become meaningless to her. By then, I had no choice but to own up and tell her the next day, that I love her. 3 words ~ I LOVE YOU, said over lunch that changed both our lives forever. She had tendered her resignation that day.

She was leaving for better pastures. It was a difficult decision for her. Can she still leave and be true to me or should she stay, be with me and forget about her dreams? Should she accept my love? Will it work out for the both of us? She had plenty of questions that I had no answers to, so I gave her time to decide.

She finally said yes! Introduced me to her family and slowly but surely, I won their hearts. Life was a dream back then. We were two young adults with very big plans. A month later she left. I missed her much. Half way through her training, I started having doubts about her loyalty towards me. I felt insecure knowing that she is going to go places and I am still stuck here in a rut.

I broke up with her on her graduation day. I didn't know why I had chosen that day to do so, but it couldn't wait. She was brave. she cried her heart out and yet, she smiled on stage. I wasn't there to witness the happy occasion that day but I have seen the pictures. A month later, I too left the old job and moved on to a better place. We were further apart but I couldn't get her off my mind. I was miserable without her, so I went back for her. Willingly, she accepted me again into her life. 

I fell deeper in love. She would take the bus for 6 hours or so to come and spend a day or two on her off days with me. I didn't know how tough it was for her or what jet lag meant until I followed her on my first flight to Vancouver years later. Sometimes, we'll meet up either at her parent's home or mine. After a while, I left to work overseas. It only lasted a few months. I started missing her again, so I came home. One day, I asked for her hand in marriage. She cried like somebody had died. I was devastated. I knew that she was barely 20 but I was ready to take her as my wife. Apparently, she wasn't. From that day onwards, I never did ask her for her hand in marriage. ( When the time came, we just got hitched )

We continued our relationship for years. She was very loyal. I had my slip ups. We broke up again 6 years later when I told her that I was interested in someone else. There were times when I felt that this relationship was going no where. Why should I have to give up my identity and my beliefs just to marry her? It was ridiculous. As I grew older, I realized that I couldn't afford to sacrifice that much but how can I get out of it? She is a good girl from a good family. It had gone too far. I can't turn back now. What would people say? What would my own family say? By then, we were sharing a home together, so when I told her my fears, she accepted and moved out. Again, I broke her heart and took away her dreams. I loved her still but I was getting frustrated over the religion issue. There seems to be no way around it. It is better this way. The third party was just a distraction. It didn't even last.

A few months later, I went crawling back. This time I knew that I'd do anything for her. It took us a while to gain back the amount of trust lost but forgave me, she did. We moved on. I converted and we got married. We were both not perfect but we perfected each other. She taught me how to have fun and I kept her grounded. Life seemed to be fine on the surface but my conscience kept nagging at me. When we lost our first baby, I lost my faith in the relationship as well. Perhaps this wasn't meant to be. Was this God's way of punishing us? Honestly, if I were to tell you half of what was going through my mind back then, I wouldn't be surprise to know that you'd hate me too. She sensed it even when I had not said a word.

She changed. Well, I think she did. She was no longer the bubbly girl that I used to know. There was sadness inside of her. It consumed her, it suffocated me. I couldn't see the love in her eyes for me anymore. There was anger, there was blame, there was disappointment but no..there wasn't any love. I did that to her. I knew it, but I was too busy finding an excuse to not understand where she was coming from. Since I loved her still, I wasn't going to give up on the marriage. I continued doing what I thought would make her happy and little by little, she opened up so we built our way back into each other's hearts again.

A couple of years later, when our son was born, I felt the pressure to provide him with all the best things in life. Things that I never did get a chance to have, like a proper education and so forth. The only way I knew how was to bury myself further into work. I started juggling 3 jobs to ensure that we became financially secured. I am good at what I do and I believe in success through hard work. But it wasn't enough. The money was coming in but I was still empty inside. The harder I work, the unhappier she became. I couldn't understand why that was so. She kept everything inside and I kept driving myself mad with work. It came to a stage when the only quality time we had, was when either one of us were to give each other a peck on the cheeks before I was going off to sleep or she, before leaving for flight in the wee hours of the morning. We get updates of each other's day either through text messages or phone calls. Whenever she is at home, her time was meant for the baby. I tried my best to be a good father. I am sure she knew that.

Without realizing it, I fell out love. When or how, I don't know. It could have been a long time ago or only at the end of it. Perhaps it was the way she had looked at me then. It was different somehow. I sensed that I am no longer someone she looked up to. She loved me, there was no doubt about that but something's missing. We never did talk about it. I am not even sure if she was aware of it. We were busy living our lives separately and making the best out of what life had to offer. 

The day I fell in love again, I knew I had to get out and get out fast. It is either now or never. Having Ryan was bittersweet. He was our love child. His birth brought a whole lot of joy into my life and yet having to leave him behind when I left his mother brought me so much pain. It was a difficult choice I had to make and one that I will have to live with forever. Happiness was knocking at my door. I couldn't ignore it anymore. So I said my goodbyes and lived my life. Was it worth loving her all those years? I don't think so, I had given up so much but then again, she taught me a valuable lesson like no other..

That's all the imagination that I could muster for today. Writing about the past and trying to understand what went wrong can be quite draining. It's my weird way of calling it therapy. We'll never really know what went through his mind or why he did what he had to do. All I can say is, I did marry my best friend, I did take him for granted sometimes but I did love him so and that I am sorry, very sorry indeed for the failure of our marriage. What I miss most about being in a relationship? Having someone to hold my hands. I do hope that he is truly happy now :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Power of a Dream :)

"  You'll never have to control your bladder, coz I got pee bags for you..You'll never be in the darkness, coz I got this lamp for you..and most importantly of all you will never go cold coz I got all these body/ hand/ toe warmers for you..Live my dream for me Jas.."  

I read somewhere, that if you can achieve your dreams by yourself, through your own efforts and within your own means, then your dreams are not big enough. If it doesn't even scare you, forget about it. Why is that so? Have you ever wondered?

I have experienced enough and seen enough to understand that " No man is an island. " How sad it is to not be able to lean on someone when you are in need, to not be able to learn from others, when there is a wealth of knowledge waiting to be passed on and to not be able to share, the joy of all the wisdom that you have acquired over the years. You understand better once you are able to explain things to another in your own way. After all, I for one, believe that the meaning of life is to find your gift and the purpose of life, is to give it away.

To achieve your dreams, first you got to start somewhere. Don't just talk about it, do it. In any way you can. When you do good and dream big, amazing things will happen. You'll get help from all sides. You will be surprised to find out that there are others, just like you. Some, who are better. People who were in your shoes once and are now no longer dreaming it but truly living their dreams.

It is this type of people that you should seek to emulate. Open up. Share your dreams. Ask for directions. Have pride in whatever you do. Prove that you are worthy of their effort and time. Don't give up. If they like you enough, they'll stop and listen. They'll guide you on the right path. You do not even have to beg or sell your soul. The right ones will lift you up, be there for you all the way and are the first to cheer you on when you have reached your goals. It could be your own family members, your friends or even strangers who will reach out and nudge you along. Take their hands and move forward. Start today, start somewhere.

There will also be some, who will try and change your mind. These people stopped dreaming years ago and eventually stopped living. They are the walking dead. Too proud, too selfish and too smart for their own good. Stay away from those. Don't be like them. They are empty. You'll end up old before your time, bitter and wasted. You wouldn't want that.

I'll be off to Annapurna Base Camp in a couple of weeks. It is one of my dreams that I did not expect to achieve this year. Financially, I am not ready to indulge. That has proven to not be a hindrance apparently. Much to my surprise and delight, a husband & wife team plus a stranger, have all come together to make this dream of mine come true. I am so grateful to have really wonderful people in my life. Thanks to them, everything has been covered, right up to the tiny details. Even my company has been of much help. I got my long leave approved and one of the best perks of being an airline crew is that, I will be able to utilize my free tickets, to get me there and back again.

You know what's the best part? I am one person who will only ask you for money if it's for a donation to a good cause. I would have died of embarrassment if I were to ask someone to sponsor me to have fun or live my dreams. I have never even asked my husband for anything when I was married to him. I can't even remember ever asking my parents for what I want. Mummy used to say, that it was easy having me out shopping with her. I would just follow quietly. No demands, no tantrums. Life is indeed like a box of chocolates, you'll never know what you'll find in there. This is definitely one of the most interesting!

Looking forward to my climb. A story of goodwill that I will definitely share throughout my lifetime :)

Special package above & below, prepared by my girlfriend Casey Ngo for my trip. Everything that I will need that I don't have yet, is there and I didn't even have to ask for it either :) 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Day of Compassion Assignment.....

I have a story to share. I signed up for a free online course last July. I wanted to see how I'd fare. One of my dreams that has yet to come true is to further my studies. University days are foreign to me. It is something that I have secretly wished to have experienced. All that I know, I learnt from life and yet, when I started this particular course, I found out that there is a name or a special term for everything and anything. It is interesting, for I can now relate theory to practice. It helped to increase my understanding and I started scoring full marks for each assignment.

Unfortunately, I wasn't prepared for technology and a whole lot of other stuff. I also didn't know the know how. I became overwhelmed. I choked! My first obstacle was having to own a credit card, as one of the assignments required that I register on a particular network. Since I don't use one, I felt it ridiculous to go and apply for a credit card now. Having to borrow someone else's, to register, felt weird as well as it is a yearly subscription.

Apparently, I wasn't the only one with this problem. Other students had the same issue. So, the committee provided an alternative. You can now do it through Pay Pal. I was half way climbing Mount Kinabalu for a charity event at that time, so I missed the dateline for payment. It wasn't much. Only RM 60 per year. I could have afforded that and I am sure being in that network would have provided me with plenty of resources. My first assignment that went down the drain, was to join that network as well as to create a CV for submission. It doesn't have to be your own but it must be an original. I am sure you must think it " Kacang Putih " but for me it was the scariest thing ever! I freaked out. I didn't know who to turn to. I was lost and not only that, I had a writer's block. I couldn't even use mine as I have never needed to have one. Besides, what is there to write on my CV? I have been with the same company for 17 years. It would have been just a sentence :)

From then on, I became disheartened. I read, I followed the lectures online, whenever and wherever I have the time or the internet connection. Would you believe me if I am to say that I did it mostly from my mobile phone? That is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I was not only a mother at home but also busy flying on most days and at the same time cracking my head for my blogs during that particular period so much so, that I was losing sleep and one day, when I was at home, listening to the lectures on my PC, thanks to my uncle's broadband, my son came up to me and said this, " Mummy, lets play. " and I replied, " Sorry baby. Later okay. I need to submit my assignment by today. Tomorrow I am flying off again. This is important. " To which he replied " Mummy..I am IMPORTANT. Your work is not! " How sad and so true. His pleas stabbed me straight across the heart. I have said no too many times. I am afraid that someday when I am old and lonely, when I need some company, those exact words will come back to haunt me, so..that's how I missed my second assignment. I now know that I suck at this time management..BIG TIME. I also know that if one day, when I do accomplish and complete this dream of mine, that the success will be so much sweeter than honey. I wanted to do everything and at the end of the day I failed. I am good at being the Jack of all traits, master of none.

Sylvia Plath said it best :-

"I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and everyone of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet." ~ The Bell Jar 

Then, came the Day Of Compassion Assignment. This was the last and the one that I am most excited about. The winner and his or her family will be flown across the world to a prestigious University to meet, upclose and personal with the Dalai Lama. At first I was so hopeful ( There is plenty to write about, I thought )..and then felt discouraged, I told my family a few days later.." Like as if they would pick ME out of a hundred thousand online students." " Why not? " My uncle asked me. I merely shrugged my shoulders. I never did submit that assignment. It was so ironic. The dateline was the night that I was walking the streets feeding the homeless for the Serve Something Nice Campaign. I felt crushed. There goes another one of my dreams. " The Dalai Lama will have to wait. I am needed somewhere else at the moment. " I jokingly told my mom.

Today, while I am here in Istanbul, even though I have skipped a few assignments, I am still eligible to vote for the winner that will be able to meet him. It is bittersweet. As I read the top 5 student's work, deep down I know that I could have nailed this. Perhaps it is not my time yet. My family and I have been living compassionately for as long and as far as I can remember. My friends and the people I mix and interact with, all this while, have also been doing so. If strangers can show compassion towards each other on a daily basis, of course it is possible to do the same act of kindness towards our loved ones. The world will definitely be a better place to live in. Getting the chance to study free online is an act of compassion. For someone who is thirsty for knowledge but does not have the means or the time to indulge, THIS is Godsend. Even animals can teach us a thing or two on compassion. It has been an exciting 8 weeks of lectures and readings for me. They would never have seen some of my work or be able to evaluate it now, but it doesn't matter anymore. I am fully aware of my shortcomings and will rectify the necessary.

Being compassionate doesn't require you to have money or much anything else. It doesn't even have to be a grand gesture. Sometimes, it is the little things in life that means the most to us. A little bit of love goes a long way. You might never get anything in return, ever..but that is not the point. Start now. Start soon. Lead the path. Someday, somehow, your shoes will be filled by others. Dead or alive, you shall not be alone anymore for in each and everyone of them, you shall continue living.

Whatever that I have given out freely, has returned to me tenfold in one way or another. This is the greatness of Compassion. Don't just observe it for a day or an assignment. Practice it, your whole life through. By doing, you will automatically enrich not only your life but of others, who will engage and learn from you.You will also be able to contribute positively towards the lives of the people who will be receiving your priceless gift. An act of compassion is free and the good deed can never be measured and is beyond comparison. The reward is a lifetime of love, trust and fulfillment :)

" The whole idea of compassion
is based on a keen awareness
of the interdependence of all these living beings,
which are all part of one another,
and all involved in one another. "
– Thomas Merton

In compassion lies true strength. The blooming of an individual might be seen or heard by others but not always, unless and until you are there to share it with them. However, it can be short lived. Take heart, for all good deeds can never be erased. It lives through others. It flows through you. People might forget who did what and for whom, but their lives would have been changed for the better because of you. Unknowingly to them and unbeknownst to you, a mere second, a full 24 hours or a lifetime could have been affected by your random act of compassion. Therefore, to appreciate it to the fullest, one has to feel and experience it for themselves, from within. The rest, we shall leave it to the universe to do what it does best. Have a heart. Be loving. Evolve. You are capable of so much more :)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Love ~ It is a flower and you are its only seed :)

The truth will set you free..It may hurt but ironically, it is also the best way to heal. My girlfriend sent me a note once years ago, encouraging me to move on by comparing me to a caterpillar that had to die, for it to be able to transform into a beautiful butterfly. She obviously did not include the average life span of a butterfly but that is alright, for it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all and just like a moth to a flame, a memorable spring was everything a beautiful, tiny, fragile and pure butterfly needs. I loved that ideology so much so, that now, I try to live by it.  

Many, take trips to "Abilene" to only end up making cowards of themselves. To understand further what the Abilene Paradox is, why not try and google it up for once. I assure you that you'll be enlightened. Life is weird. People are mad. That is the truth and no amount of sugar coating will ever make it sweeter. Sometimes, it is the bitter pill that you will have to swallow to recover.

Some people bring the worst out in you, others bring the best. I have always been inspired in different ways, by the ones that loved me most :)

People do different things for different reasons. You say one thing, you mean another. I heard you the first time but obviously I wasn't listening. Love is indeed beautiful. A heart without it is like a garden with no sunshine. Even if summer's coming to an end, there are always fruits, ripe for the picking, during lovely autumn days...

Friday, September 20, 2013

Let's begin by letting go.....

I was doing a workout earlier in the gym this morning..happily listening to some songs when all of a sudden Mariah came along, singing this wondrously gloomy song :-

I can't live, if living is without you
I can't live, I can't give any more
I can't live, if living is without you
I can't give, I can't give anymore ~ 

I had to really disconnect from my feelings and start analyzing those words instead. Every sentence got me questioning the absurdity behind it. Luckily the song is quite slow and long. It gave me more time to think up of reasons in my life to genuinely prove it wrong. No wonder people go into depression and commit suicide lah!

To tell you the truth, I wouldn't be who I am today had life not dealt me the cards I did not wish to have. Played along I did. Risked and lost everything more than once in fact. I became so good at losing and bouncing back that it doesn't bother me much now. I have come to understand the rules of the game. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. What matters, is that I am still playing.

So what happens when things don't go my way? I get my act together, pick up my pieces, accept my failures, leave my ego behind and move along. My mess becomes my message and I turn my pain into an inspiration. Just like you, I have been out of love so many times that I have lost count but what helps was that no matter what happens, I have always loved ME. My favourite childhood fairy tale has always been The Little Mermaid..Not the Walt Disney Happily Ever After version but the Hans Christian Anderson's version, where she ends up giving up her life by joining the sisters of the air to ensure that she'll always be there in spirit for the ones she loves. I am doomed right from the start. I didn't think much of it back then but now I can see a pattern. From a very young age, I already knew that you cannot force someone to love you but that does not mean that you should stop loving them. Loving them I did. Seeing them happy makes me believe in love more. Weird but true :)

I guess Fairy Tales were not really Fairy Tales. It must have happened in real life for one to have had an idea to pen it down in the first place. It would not have been written had it not been experienced first hand by the writers themselves huh! God knows how many times I have fallen in and out of love. Frustrated much, you think? Not really..I am happy for each one of them. I believe they did not intentionally choose to hurt me. It just wasn't meant to be.Were they ever in love with me? I felt so, therefore I know they did. Even if they weren't, I know I was and that is all that matters. Does having to marry me proves it? WeIl, how many of us really do experience our happily ever afters, you think? It was always good while it lasted. I had beautiful memories with each. Wonderful men they are. Maybe that's why, I can't be bitter. They taught me how to be sweeter. With each encounter, I am reminded of the abundance of what life has in store for me. With each goodbye, a hello follows. Every time I looked back at my setbacks, I can't help but smile and remember, that for each one of them, God gave me a major come back :)

I have learnt to chase dreams not people. The moment you feel like you have to prove your worth to someone, is the moment to absolutely and utterly walk away. There will always be someone better than you. They might be prettier, richer or smarter, perhaps a combination of all, but there is no need to feel bad or be jealous for what is stopping you from chasing your own dreams? Everyone is a work in progress and as long as you live, continue being better. I can't be prettier than I already feel, I can't be smarter unless I study more or have the right exposure but I can always be kind and that is free and easy to do. What is most important is for me to never sell myself short. So be happy and be in love with who you are. You have only one life. Celebrate it. Make the best of it! I try to..

Thank God, when I was at my lowest, I went back to basics. No radio, no tv, no technology. Books, books and plenty of books to enrich my understanding. Family and friends to keep me company. Exercise to release my tension and nature to show me my worth. I love music. I got sufficient doses of it from night outs with good friends or attending musicals, concerts and events that have plenty of rhythm in it. I can dance for hours on the dance floor. I don't even need to have a dancing partner or to be intoxicated to get lost in the moment. I now believe that the company you keep is as important as the songs you listen to. Lyrics can be detrimental to one's health if you are easily influenced by what it says. It doesn't help at all to wake you up or give you hope. It is better to know when one should dream or when one should face reality. I think Cher's version is so much better to listen to during times like these..Don't you?

Oh, as long as I know how to love 
I know I'll stay alive, I've got all 
my life to live, I've got all my 
love to give 
I'll survive, I will survive 
I will survive!!!

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Where do I start? At the very beginning I guess. There's plenty I should be grateful for. The fact that I was conceived by a Chinese woman and sired by an Indian man is one of them. Growing up as a Muslim child is another. People then assume that I am Malay by virtue of my name. Being Malaysian's awesome! I am so ROJAK to the extent that I cannot take sides! My looks or the way I dress sometimes, can even make me pass off as a refugee or foreign worker. Haha! As proud as I am to be Malaysian, there are times, when it's fun to be thought otherwise. It has come to a stage where taking sides is no longer "cool". When I was about 4, I had to make the toughest decision no 4 year old child should make. Best part is, I did it without even blinking an eye. What made a 4 year old child know the difference between whom to choose? That was easy. I knew who loved me more. Simply put, I felt safe in my mother's embrace compared to my father's touch. Did I choose based on religion, race, gender or looks? NO. At 4 years old, that was not important at all. Totally irrelevant. I chose to trust my heart and used my brains instead. Survival instincts at its best, guiding me through life.

Growing up was a different story. That is when I was introduced to segregation, racism, favoritism and privileges. I was always in between. Either feeling good when I benefited or feeling bad even when I did. That is because, along the way, I also met many beautiful and wonderful people that made me feel welcomed wherever I go and showed me kindness and what true love is. How could I ever take sides? How could I ever claim that I am more this or less that.. I feel for each one of you when you are hurt and my heart leaps with joy each time your heart soars! I have always felt that I am a part of you. The good thing is I couldn't see the difference. Maybe what I'm trying to say sounds alien to you. Let me explain further..I love that we look different, we think different and we behave different. That's what makes it interesting for me but I also know that deep down, I am not alone. My hopes, my fears, my dreams are the same as yours and because of that, I celebrate our differences and I appreciate our similarities! I couldn't have experienced all this in abundance had I not been born and raised here :)

I have decided to include some of my ex colleagues who are now based overseas to Say Something Nice today. They too would like to wish Malaysia a Happy Birthday :)

Shereen Shukri ~ Calgary, Canada

    Mother's Day charity walk in Calgary - Team name, Jalur Gemilang

                                                                   Recent raya photo in Calgary

Name something about Malaysians that you admire the most Shereen?

" Living overseas has changed my perspective towards Malaysians. I really admire the 'unity' and 'bond' among us here despite any race. Whether we are Malay, Chinese or Indian, we view ourselves as only Malaysians. We do have gatherings for our usual festivities for example, 'Hari Raya Aidilfitri' and many more. I realised that we could definitely click with fellow Malaysians even though we just met them for the very first time. The favourite topic would be the things we missed about Malaysia, especially FOOD! No matter where we are, we will never forget our beloved country. The 'One Malaysia' spirit is so strong even when we are far away from our country and I am glad that it is embedded in us. "

Wan Chin ~ White Rock, British Columbia

Wan Chin's daughter & friends
" Hi, Jasmin, thank you for still remembering an old friend living abroad. Time really flies, been here for 5 years, miss Malaysia a lot, my family, my friends, my ex-colleagues, yummy nasi lemak, Assam laksa, satay, roti canai, hainanese chicken rice, candol,ABC, rojak and many many more! Wishing Malaysia a Happy Birthday & A Happy Merdeka day to all Malaysians. "

Satya Sunalini Tharmalingam ~ Brazil

WoW! So different from Ipoh and yet...Do you miss Ipoh, Suna?

"When I think of my hometown, the first thing that strikes my mind would be my mum, my home, my friends and of course Ipoh food. This little city of charm and grace has given me some bitter memories but lots of cheerful, happy and memorable thoughts. East or west Ipoh is still the best. "

Lee Zin Yen ~ Doha

                                                     Home is where the heart is 

Hi Jas! It's good to hear from you. My favourite national costume is the Baju Kebaya coz it looks simple,sexy and elegant :)

Zaharah Ngah ~ Japan

Dina Jasmine & mummy :)

"I am always craving for Malaysian food that I hardly can get / make especially when I'm in Japan. My favourite will be durian, all assorted Malay kuih, traditional malay gulai tempoyak, gulai lemak, rendang lemang and Laksa to name a few. Malaysia is indeed a food Heaven!

Soo Bee Yeoh ~ Dubai UAE " From the bottom of my heart, I am proud to be known as Malaysian. I am proud to tell everyone that I am from Malaysia,. When I go for my briefing before each and every flight, that is how I introduce myself. A word to describe Malaysia to me, would be---> Beautiful "

Jaz Ferhan ~ All over

" Favourite hangout place? Easy! Mine would be One Utama I guess... coz whenever I go there ,with family or/and friends , we go there to watch movies, makan, hang out and to lepak at the bars or restaurants... check out girls... It's where I spend most of my teenage years and when I started work. One Utama had so many other stuff around it like Ikano and The Curve and what not-- so that"s the reason... TTDI is also close :) "
Miami Beach

Motoko Moriguchi ~ Taiwan

Chinese New Year celebration

" It was my dream to become a cabin crew. I met my Malaysian husband - Charles, when I was studying in Melbourne, Australia. He told me a lot about Malaysia. I found it to be a very nice and friendly country. It also gave me a chance to experience a country that has multicultural food, people and history. I married my husband 13 years ago. I felt that if I married with him, I would be able to have great life with him.. that which is correct. "

Gopal Raja ~ Melbourne, Australia

" I am proud being a Malaysian because I learnt tolerance in a multi- cultural setting like Malaysia. Having the ability to speak in various languages is also an asset. Great food from the various cultural kitchens of the Malaysian melting pot and last but not least, the compassionate smile that we Malaysians are naturally born with.

Ng Lay Koon ~ UK

" Hi Jasmin,this is my favourite childhood game - Rubber band rope :)

Jauh di mata, dekat di hati......Malaysia, tanah tempat tumpahnya darah ku..

*Last but not least ~ A picture of ONE of my favourite person ever, whom I have had the opportunity to meet through an FB group :-
Salbiah Haron ~ Ballet teacher
Merdeka Day Parade 2013
"Goose bumps! They put their lives on the line for US!!!! I am sooo proud to be a Malaysian!!!!"

Haha! Thanks Salbiah..I am proud to be Malaysian too :)

Thank you everyone. May you have a wonderful and meaningful Hari Malaysia wherever you are! With lots of love, from me to you ♥