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 ♥

Saturday, September 14, 2013

#SSNC ~ Debora Teo Linang

I was browsing through the net one day looking up at some art works for inspiration when I stumbled upon her blog at :- From that day onwards, I have dreamt of her, painting for me someday. I love her work. Given a choice, I will never be able to choose which I like best. The first few paintings that stole my heart however, was the Kebaya & Rose series. Absolutely beautiful!

                                     Debora with one of her pieces meant for exhibition

My mom loves her paintings too!

I met up with her for the first time yesterday. I wanted to get to know the artist behind the paintings. Her creations moves me. I can't explain the feeling. It's like as if she's telling a story. Her life story. Her surroundings. The people she meets. The stuff that happens in everyday life. It could be me that she's painting about. It could be my life. It could be my story. We might have been strangers before, but her paintings had reached me, called out to me and connected, deep within my soul. There's a story waiting to be told behind each painting, it's like her very own personal diary and I for one, would love to get to know her better.  

                                                             Borneo Bulletin 

Lo and behold, guess what I found out? She is an ex Malaysia Airlines stewardess. It's a small world indeed :) She joined MH in 1991 and left a year or so later. No wonder I have never met her. As much as she had loved flying, she was homesick most of the time. She met her husband that year as well and so, she left and became a full time housewife. They have 2 beautiful children together. Both in their teens right now. A girl and a boy. The boy has somehow inherited her talent. Her daughter's pretty upset about that though. She sometimes asks her mom, whether she, is her biological child or not. Cute and funny. They are both overseas at the moment.

Debora's from Miri, Sarawak. She only started painting seriously when she got bored after having to move to Bintulu and didn't know anyone over there. A self taught artist. She creates from within. Life is her teacher. Her emotions transforms empty canvases into an array of beautiful colours that speaks volume and it was what helped her heal after her battle with breast cancer.

                                                           Cancer Survivor

It happened when she was 32. By then, she was already a mother of two. It obviously took a toll on her. Caught by surprise but not wanting to give up, she fought a brave fight. Her children were her pillars of strength. Her family and friends were the branches from the tree of life, that she reached out for and was given support. They were the roots that kept her grounded and the force behind her not wanting to give up. Her surgeon, Dr Mark Jeevan, was Godsend. He provided her and the family with all the right information and care needed. He introduced her to the right people and she got a chance to share her hopes and fears with other cancer survivors on a 1 to 1 basis, and that was what helped her to be in the right frame of mind. All in all, she went through a total of 8 cycles of chemo for a duration of 6 months. It wasn't pleasant to say the least, but she was determined to pull through. Overcome it she did and from then onwards, she hasn't looked back.

Painting became her full time passion. She is also actively involved in many cancer awareness programs, providing support and auctioning her paintings for their charity gala dinners. She has helped to set up a breast cancer awareness support group in Miri and also organize events for them. Her surgeon has now become a good friend and he is always, one of the first to be there for her. To express her gratitude, she presented him with THE TREE OF HOPE 11.

Labor of love. Presented to Dr Mark Jeevan as a symbol of gratitude ♥

Here's another version of it. If you look closer, you can see 5 important words written in between the branches & leaves :)

A poem for the tree of hope chosen by Debora :-

"Remember when you heard the words - and your mind went blank - you were in another world

God heals

Remember in your darkest hours - when all that surrounds you is pain and sorrow

God heals

Remember friends' prayers - your family's encouragement - glimmers of hope from everyday angels

God heals can hear Him now - always there - yet never this close

God heals

It's just another day - yet everything has changed -and you hear yourself say

God heals

Birds are singing - the sky is a beautiful blue - flowers are blooming...

God heals

Truths that you knew as a child - awakened again with new understanding

God heals

Remember when others can't - that life is a gift - each day to treasure

God has healed

Yesterday is but a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision, but today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope."


Here's a piece of hers under the Ballerina Series for Pink Ribbon - reach 2 recovery charity gala auction this September :)

        " The Show is over ". It depicts beauty & grace. Renewal, strength and perseverance...

Like I said, I couldn't for the life of me choose which painting of hers to share with all of you. I think, this snapshot below, will be one of the best way to showcase what Debora has to offer :)

                                                 Painting her dreams in colors :)

The pictures below were displayed in an Art Gallery once and the painting on the right which depicts Eve of Eden was the first one sold on opening day ~

                                    Swirls, circles and trees were once her inspiration :)

This is an oil painting of hers which she had stopped half way through 2 years ago and when her mood came back, she finished it in 15 minutes :)

      Hmm..what shall I paint today? Fyi ~ She had to google herself out of a creative block once :)

She spends most of her time getting inspired, with cups and cups of coffee to keep her awake ( she has absentmindedly dipped her brushes into many coffee cups since, hehe ) and music to keep her company. She currently enjoys listening to Birdy. For commissioned pieces, it can take up to a week to complete for she tries her best to express what her clients want, but if it is her own idea, it can be created within 14 hours. Once started, she can get lost in her world of colors for hours and hours only to come out once it's ready. Currently, she's working on the Metamorphose Series. The price of her paintings normally ranges from RM 500 - 3.5K

                                           Metamorphose 11 ~ Reserved 2013

                                 This was created by her during the crisis that hit Japan

                                                    The Punk cat series :)

Her sister's family

As light as feather, with each brush stroke, her emotions are transferred into something that pleases the eye and transformed into little blows of kisses that touches your heart and hugs your soul. 

                                                  Zetsubo ~ Private collection

* A little something that I have penned down especially for you Debora, after our meet, inspired by the painting above :-

As the furious wind punched her red cheeks and the cold white snow blinds her sight, freezes the tip of her nose till the end of her toes, she continues on. She reminds herself that shivering is good. It means that she is alive. Nothing can be worse than what she has gone through..Her body might ache but her will is as strong as ever..with that in mind, her heart stays warm :)

                                        Two of her paintings from the Geisha Series

                                        A Commissioned art work titled ~ FAMILY

The youngest out of 4 siblings, she's been painting professionally for the last 3 years now. Each step she takes, gets her closer to the unknown...

          This one reminds me of my blog titled Girlfriends are angels sent down from above :)

                                                                Buddha Series

                                                          White Dove Series

By the way, I asked Debora if there was anyone who loves her paintings to have a collection of them and she mentioned a good friend by the name of Serena Liew. A Sabahan legal practitioner who has bought more than enough to start a mini gallery of her own. A friend had introduced them years ago and she had since been a fan of Debora's work!

                                                 This was for Valentine's Day 

I like this one too. It reminds me of the times I used to cycle to school and the beautiful scenery that I saw along the way :)

                                                                Indu Ngajat

She'll be setting up a mini studio by year end. Currently she works from home and arranges for appointments to see her art pieces.

                     Debora with one of her Mother & child series inspired by Gustav Klimt

I enjoyed my little chat with Debora. We connected right from the start. It's good to find out that she is as beautiful inside and out as her paintings portrays. It was like meeting an old friend, totally unpretentious and full of understanding. I even had a chance to learn something new when I followed her to get her stock from the art & crafts shop at the Gardens :)

                          Her detailed artwork on the Kebaya pieces are absolutely stunning!

                                  The Red Satin inspired by a book she was reading :)
Commissioned work titled WATER

Oh yes! I'd love to continue dreaming of a happily ever after, loyal dog by your side gazing up at the moon thingy, holding hands scene with a loving someone by my side someday. Amen to that and thanks to Debora, I shall keep on believing while she continues painting :)

Please don't go away yet...Here are a few more links for you to get in touch with Debora if you'd like to own a piece of her * Art from the heart 

 Hola! That's us saying goodbye for now and I am glad that you've enjoyed every minute of it :)

Friday, September 13, 2013

#SSNC ~ Me & My Punjabi Friend ( Ajit Pall Singh Sidhu )

The hardest person to get hold of. He asked me whether I'd be okay with a press kit and I'm like, SAY WHAT? He's either out of the country flying, Dj-ing, recording or performing. I assumed that he'd be happy that I was planning to write about him, instead he got all shy and freaked out. I found it funny. I have known Ajit for a few years now. The first time we flew together, it was a Kota Baru night stop and he was the one who freaked me out! Super direct, he asked me for my number straight away. I didn't know how to handle that. I was flattered but I wasn't used to such an approach especially from someone younger. I told him that I'll only give it to him if we ever get to fly together again..He agreed and said, " Well at least I tried. The shy ones will never get anywhere. " I had to admire his confidence. True enough, we did fly together again ~ A year later. Since I'm a woman of my word, I gave him my number and from then on, we have kept in touch over the years and I have watched him grow from a distance. He has a *reputation* to keep, haha especially among the I shall not divulge much on what a sweetheart he truly is ;) I promised that I'll keep it short and not too sweet!

First one up. Ajit & his niece. Btw, did you know that he spends quite an amount of quality time tutoring the little and not so little ones? :)

Tell us a little bit about yourself Ajit

Well, my name is Ajit Pall Singh Sidhu. Born in Kuala Lumpur on the 1st of Dec 1986 to Punjabi parents. My initial life was spent around Selangor, growing up in Taman Tun, Kelana Jaya, Pj, Selayang and then finally I shifted to Ipoh. My initial schooling was in Sri Inai Pj till I finished standard 5. After which I left to Ipoh and had to re-sit std 5 as I was under age to sit for UPSR. ( transferred from a Private school to a government school ). In Ipoh I grew up with my grandparents (paternal side). She took care of my food and welfare. My education was handled by my dad's sister. My parents divorced at that time and we siblings decided to stay with my grandma (known as dadi in punjabi). I studied at Cator Avenue Primary School and then Anderson Ipoh during my secondary years. I was a reasonably naughty child during my youth yet still loved by my teachers. ( I think so.. haha)... Played cricket for my school, Perak state U-15, U-18, U-21, Sukma and Open Category. I was eventually put under the listing to undergo selection for the Malaysian U-15 team but due to studies I didn't join. After finishing my secondary school, I came back to KL and did my A-Levels at Sunway College. Upon completing my A-Levels, I applied to join Malaysia Airlines and under the scholarship programme I got selected and was sent to Bankstown, Sydney to complete my PPL (Private Pilots License) and then finished my CPL( Commercial Pilots License) and ATPL (Airline Transport Pilot License) in Kota Bharu, Kelantan. After which, I joined MAS in May 2007 and till now I have been a part of the airline. Spending 3.5 years on the B737-400 and now presently just over a year on the A330-300 series.

When you think about your hometown, what's the first thing that comes to mind?

When I think about Ipoh, the first thing that comes to mind is the food. I mean who doesn't think about food when its IPOH!! haha. The variety of dishes that is available and the taste is beyond comparison. I definitely recommend the 'Ngah Choi Kai', (my all time favourite). Besides that, childhood memories are and will always be there. Good times.

Being quite the lover boy that most thinks he is, I had to ask him this question ~ Who's the greatest woman in your life?

Ajit & his grandma's eldest sister. His Dadi is camera shy :)

The greatest woman in my life... Hmmm I would not restrict it to one but 2 people. That would be my grandma (Dadi) and my aunt (Phua) from my dad's side. The way they guided me through my childhood in terms of health, education I couldn't ask for more. My grandma literally had to go through a second parenthood of getting up early at 5am to get me ready for school, iron my clothes, wash em, cook for me, feed me (yes she *fed me* till I was form 3, I was a fussy eater back then). I was considered my aunt's son as she never had a child and she used to cart me around for school, tuition, sit with me and teach me and made sure I was studying. Till today, since I'm staying alone, my grandma will cook and keep the dishes in the freezer so I can heat my meals when I feel like having em. and my aunt together with the maid will clean up my house. (They travel from Ipoh to KL together and they are 80 and 60 plus respectively) :))

                                    Ajit welcoming his brother in law into the family

Whom do you most look up to, Ajit?

Hmmm.... there are many people that can come to mind, but the person I really look up to is my dad. I know normally most people would say like 'Aahh thats the standard answer' but in my case yeah it is, my dad. Now why do I say so, well first off during my childhood days I used to remember my dad coming back from work (he too is a Pilot) and even though he is tired he would never hesitate to play sports with me and my sisters, take us for walks in the jungle etc.  Even my best childhood memory till today was the both of us playing Super Mario on my Nintendo. Haha. Besides that, he sacrificed his family and social life in Malaysia and everything else to educate me and my sisters when the 1996 share market bubble, burst. He lost a lot of money and had to leave Malaysia Airlines and Malaysia as he had been offered the Vice President post in Jet Airways which offered him a really good pay. With that sacrifice he left the country for over 17 years and would come down like once in 6 months. So it was hard for him and us as he could not spend that much time with us anymore. Without my dad doing that, my sisters and I wouldn't have had a proper education, be where and what we are today nor have a reasonable life of luxury, which till today I can never be thankful enough for it. He is a very hardworking man, (something which I haven't really inherited YET), always working and thinking of various business ideas. He is very classy, intelligent, stylish and looked upon by many. Last but not least, why I really look up to my dad is because he came from a poor family in Buntong, Ipoh. He worked and studied hard earning himself scholarships in school all the way till he got the job as a pilot and with his pilot's salary he brought his family out of poverty. My grandma will always tell me stories about my dad's childhood. I try to be half the man that he was and is but still find it difficult. Even though today we have slight differences over small things but I still enjoy my occasional dinner and drink sessions with my dad. :)

                                                              Father & Son :)

* By the way, I think Ajit's doing quite well following in his father's footsteps. Their dreams might be different but their goals are the same. I remember what a good son he is..his off days were spent helping his dad out at their office quite often too. I don't think many is aware of that.

                                He plays football with his team whenever he has the time

Was flying something you have always wanted to do?

Yes flying has always been my main ambition. Every time I used to go to the airport to receive my dad, and see his lifestyle I knew flying was the one thing I wanted to do. Especially when I once flew on his flight to USA when I was 6 years old on the B747-400. Oh that was the moment I knew what I wanted to become. Surprisingly my dad and family was not really supportive about it. My family and teachers encouraged me to do medicine, my dad wanted me to enter the world of finance, so I had my dad's brother send in my application quietly. Haha, dad wasn't too happy initially when he found out I got selected. Lol.

What is he up to nowadays? Well, besides flying, he Dj's, performs on stage as part of a duo, under the name of ME & MY PUNJABI FRIEND as well as owns a DJ academy called Premier DJ Academy :)

                                          He's the director of Prodigy Lab

His latest baby

                                                        Music runs through his veins

                                                       They call him Jiggyjit

                                                      PESSA was their first :)

                                                                  Here it is :)

Here are some of the rest :)

A world of difference, from a Pilot to a Hip Hop Star :)

               What a small world. This is where he met Uncle Vem! Jom Botak campaign :)

His latest performance ~ NAAM MALAYSIA released on the 30th of August by Prodigy Lab & DopeBoyzMusic! It's a wonderful unity song. Very Malaysian. You can check it out on youtube :)