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 :)