in between everything.

Have you ever had this moment where you stare into space, lost in your thoughts wondering what would it be if life could stop briefly ?

I wish it could on some days.

Life has been a series of mini panic attacks and tears in between of all the good things and while I appreciate every moment I laughed and felt happy, sometimes I can’t help thinking how my heart gets heavier by the day. It made me realize how precious it is to surround myself with people who could take away this heaviness just by being who they are.

I am thankful that I’ve met people who made me laugh, who kept me in the present with them through their jokes and stories.

I learned how soothing it is to listen and listen to others’ stories and how it made me calm, temporarily as it is. It helped me breathe easier and on some days when I decide to talk, I would be glad that there are ears willing to listen to my stories.

This heart feels heavy, it’s heavy for so many reasons I wish I could let go, but that’s never going to happen and I guess that’s the reality of life.

 

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Privileged, but . . .

I came across a video today about the obvious truth about people and privileges and it got me thinking about a few things. First was on how interesting life is, that every single minute, even the uneventful minutes, once it has passed there’s no rewinding it back. It’s sort of like writing a book but without an eraser. Then, it got me thinking how blessed my life is and all the privileges that I was born with yet probably took it for granted too many times.

Looking back, I feel that everything has been arranged so beautifully that every life is a masterpiece of its own. But then, similar to the creation of a forest it’s beautiful not because the forest have not been through any rough days, rather its the opposite. We only say it’s beautiful because it has unfold its stories, faced through storms and grew back from the start, the flowers bloomed and fell and bloomed again until it grows to become a huge land of trees and nature from just being a single tree. I guess life in a way works that way too. If we focus on one event, we only see the negative or demotivating side of it. But when you see it from a different viewpoint, a much bigger one you’ll learn to understand that life has been arranged in such a way that you learn and continuously experience something that is needed for your growth. It’s not always sunny days because even the rainy days are sort of a blessing in disguise; something you don’t want but it’s probably something you need. Life is such a beautiful creation because its a combination of your efforts and the universe.

I don’t know, maybe I’m seeing this in such a positive manner because I’ve never went through the different troubles in life. I’m not sure if my thoughts would be like this if I was born in an unstable country, growing up facing gunfires and bombs instead of being in school. I probably won’t be as positive, or maybe I would realize it even earlier. That is why, when we listen to others talk about their problems, no matter how trifle it may be to you, please don’t judge their problems. It’s fair for you to give opinions and listen but to belittle others problems, I think that’s not something we are entitled to do because what each of us face in life is different and making comparisons would be unfair to all.

The thought about life also made me think about privileges. I always hear people saying things like this person was born rich, obviously they have better chance at surviving this world. Indeed, it is true. I cannot even try to disagree with this statement because if you have the means and can afford the world, then you will be given the world. Thats literally how the world works. And it’s not anyone’s fault that some people are privileged. But do we just not do anything about it ? I thought real hard about how lucky I am to be blessed with such supporting family. I was given additional support in education when I felt like the school syllabus wasn’t enough for my understanding. It’s probably why I am able to score good grades in school. I didn’t have to worry about working part time to support myself while studying. Everything I needed, my parents did their best to provide it for me. So do I feel proud when success is what I got in return? Those who don’t have the same privileges might question your success or wouldn’t take it as serious. And I understand fully why they would feel that way, it isn’t a fair opportunity for everyone.

But while agreeing to this, I must say that it’s not right when you say there’s nothing you can do about it. You can, to be honest. Make good use of your privileges and with those privileges, create opportunities for those who are not as privileged. Some people work for the money, some desperately work because they need the money. While you’re happily enjoying the big monthly salary, maybe some are struggling to meet ends. So with that power you have, you help them. Its fine to help in monetary form but we are not santa claus. Instead, help them grow so they can reach out to more opportunities. Help them grow in ways that you are able to help. Don’t make them feel dependent but assist them so they can stand on their own with the privileges you’ve obtained thanks to life’s doing. You were born with privileges, they are yours but that doesn’t mean they are only meant for you. Its there so you could help those who needs it. When we’ve got more than what we need in life, giving back is only natural. Because who else would right ? What we thought is ours by right, is probably true but it comes with a bigger purpose than just for us. So use that as a tool to make changes, to help and to grow.

a continuous chain.

Today was one of those hectic days with so many people to catch up with and running errands in between everything. I drove to a few places today and as usual, traffic’s always bad especially now the weather has gone gloomy most afternoons. So while I was carefully driving the car, making sure I don’t accidentally ‘make’ an accident, my mind was wandering about my favorite topic ; sustainable living and it sort of started with me being thirsty in the car but I forgot to bring my water bottle today. I made a mental note to always bring a bottle with me wherever I go. This is so that I can avoid purchasing plastic bottles repeatedly. But then, because I’ll be away from home for the next 3 weeks, staying in a dormitory of sorts I started thinking how is it that bringing one bottle of water is enough? I probably or most likely will need to purchase plastic bottles and even stock them up (what a nightmare!). It’s different when I am at home, I can boil the water and refill the bottle as much as I want.

But what if I’m at a place that doesn’t have such electrical facilities? The tap water in Malaysia is clean, but is it safe for consumption?

I am not entirely sure about that but even if it claims to be, I prefer to be on the safe side and boil the water first usually. This means that even if I want to reduce plastic bottles consumption, I may not be able to do so under certain circumstances. It’s similar like how we preach about reducing the usage of air condition, but you know very well that most of the offices and buildings are air conditioned the whole day, some even until at night which is definitely more than the daily air condition usage in an average household. Also, at the same time we can’t tell those buildings to turn off the air condition because how will they circulate air in the buildings?

You can’t have your employees in suits and blazers in an enclosed office with no air condition. Its not easy, especially if the buildings are huge. So, in cases like this they have no choice but to use airconds.

Then, what? Do we tell ourselves its okay because we can’t help it?

At the same time preaching to others about reducing the usage of air condition? It is difficult and I do agree pushing forward the concept of sustainable living is not easy and some might even say its impossible because of situations like this. It’s good that we spread words about reduce usage so we contribute less to environmental problems but a bigger solution is needed in the long run and it has to be feasible.

A main concern on the long run innovation is change. Some might be afraid of change, or its probably not a good investment for them in terms of monetary point of view. For example, if you want a to drive a green car, you need to change your existing car with a new one and that’s not something everyone can afford to do. Lets say a household has 3 cars and these are bought within a time span of 10 years. For them to change their existing cars to green ones will require them another 10 years or more since its new technology, therefore more expensive. That itself is a big question mark of when will we fully shift towards a greener lifestyle. But then, what happens with the old cars? Do they send it to the junkyard for scrap metals? Some of the components of the cars will go to waste landfill.

If every household does the same thing, evolving to a green environment may cause the landfill to be overcrowded, pushing the need to create more landfills for waste. By then, we need to be ready by creating an efficient waste management efforts if we don’t want to lose more lands to fill it with just toxic waste. It is indeed a major concern especially when it comes to properties and development. There has to be a balance of reusing the existing technologies with the new green technologies. While it is great to encourage reduction of consumption that contributes to pollution, we also need to come up with solutions for the longer run.

Coming back to my earlier remark about water bottle, we could look into supplying clean and hygienic water so that even tap water is okay for us to drink. It may have started in Malaysia, but there are many factors that needs to be taken into account when you talk about clean and hygienic water. Its not just about the filtration but the condition of the pipeline, the condition of the water when it comes out from our taps at home. I’m sure Malaysia is progressing towards that, though this is still a main factor as to why people consume plastic bottles daily. So it’s not just about reducing plastic bottle consumption by bringing our own bottles but also finding ways for us to have access to water without the need to purchase it off the shelves. We also need to think about the shift to using our own bottles, what happens then to the plastic bottles that have been produced? Do we just discard them and if that is the case then how do we intend to do it without further harming the environment? Do we put it to good use for other things or reproduce it to create something else?

There are so many factors that need to be taken into account when we touch the subject on sustainable living and development. I’ve only used plastic bottles as an example here but what about plastic toys, how do we allow usage of air condition without polluting the environment? I doubt companies would want to put in fans in their sky high buildings, especially those where the workplace requires them to wear suits daily. What about the components we use to build houses? Houses today are not made of wood which is easily reused and recycled, so then there’s a question about how do we minimize waste in that perspective. Even fashion is a contribution towards environmental pollution which I did a specific post on how it affects the environment. We can’t replace everything to achieve sustainability because then we’ll have new problems on where to dump all this waste now.

The subject is so vast that every day you learn something new and every day you realize that the more you focus on it, the more you can tell how the issues are all linked together and therefore, the problem solving needs to be done by looking at the whole chain, moving together towards a bigger solution simultaneously rather than focusing on just one part of the big issue. I do applaud Malaysia’s initiative on the 2018 budget to set aside fund for research in sustainable development and their participation with other countries in tackling climate change and other environmental problems. I do hope that in tackling environmental problems, our creation not only leads to replacement of something better but also finding a conducive way to shift our existing products to a greener technology without having to replace it all together and of course reducing and reusing what we have which is one way that is commonly practiced by individuals so we can help lessen the problems on environment we deal daily.  The shift between creation, innovation and reduction needs to move together in order for us to make an actual impact in making sustainable living something more than just an ideal concept.

And on a side note, don’t ever think that as an individual you cannot bring about an impact. You can by utilizing the different platforms available and it’s not impossible. What truly matters is you taking the first step to educate yourselves about your surrounding, opening your eyes to the problems that are right in front of your eyes and actually doing something about it. Ignorance is always easier but we can’t just ignore the bad things that happens in our own home.

our eyes, do they really see?

A brief summary of how I started my day today – woke up, made breakfast, helped dad take care of his pets then went to try out body massage at this shop run by the Malaysian Association for the Blind.

It was, I would say a pretty ordinary day except it wasn’t. Instead, it’s an eye-opening experience for me with a mixture of realization and self-reflection later on.

I went in the shop, was greeted by a man and nothing was out of ordinary until the person who was in charge of massaging me came in. I automatically knew she was blind because her eyes was not focusing on me but she was so friendly, greeted me with a smile and even made small talks. It’s all normal until she started massaging and what hit me first was, wow this is actually really good. She put in just the right amount of pressure during the massage and gave extra attention to areas where the body is tense. Not once she made me feel uncomfortable and touched me inappropriately, in fact I feel that she knew what exactly she was doing which totally amazed me. So while I was really feeling relaxed I was also thinking how amazing it is that another human being who doesn’t have all five senses unlike us, can still move and do things perfectly. I’ve been to a few massage spa throughout my life and I started this since young so I’ve experienced quite a few different kinds of massage and spa treatments. I’ve had only one that I was really satisfied with so far and now that I’ve discovered this place, it became my new favorite.

It’s surprising isn’t it?

You come in with a skeptical mind, thinking how are they even going to massage you if they have no sight? What if they touched wrongly or pressed too hard? All kinds of imagination comes to mind mainly caused by fear about their imperfection.

Then they do it and prove you wrong.

I started becoming curious about them, their lifestyle and how they cope with everything. After I was done, I went to the counter to pay and I saw the person who massaged me was sitting in front of the cashier and smiling at me. She told me the price and while I was taking out the money, I kept on thinking how do I pay her? Do I tell her which note is which or what? Afraid that they don’t know how to determine what notes I was giving, I took out the exact amount and paid her while repeating the amount to her just to reconfirm. I saw her fingers feeling the notes slightly for a while and then she nodded saying her thanks. I walked out of the shop, feeling dazzled. How on earth did she know if that was the right amount? What if someone gave more or less? I told this to my mum and she said that our notes have patterns on it so disabled people can determine the amount of the notes.

That bit of information smacked right at my face and I felt ashamed instantly. How is it that in my whole life, from the moment I learned how to count to the day when I first held my first pocket money in the form of notes up til now which would sum up quite a few years of using and having my own money, did I not know this fact?

Was I really that ignorant and clueless? Ashamed was one word to put it.

But also realization about my limited interaction with disabled people which would have caused me to be ignorant of things like this. Not once did I ask myself how are the disabled people adapting to the environment. It made me see the importance of educating ourselves beyond what we learn academically in school. I also realized how important is it to understand what it actually means to live in a community.

As part of the community, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves about the people we live together and that includes a wide range of spectrum such as the disabled, gifted, elderly, children, youth and even adults. And this sort of education should be in our school syllabus because where and when else should we start if not at school. It makes our children understand better the people they live with and starting early means that our children will grow up to be more aware of the needs of the people, not just the majority. The lady who massaged me told that she took a Grab instead of the train to work and I was so impressed how these people are adapting so well despite the challenges they have to face.

It was my first real-life experience talking to someone without sight and listening to her stories was so humbling for me. I’m used to seeing disabled people by the streets in the city, as they beg for some extra coins we have in our pockets and it was something I see often it just made me feel indifferent about the whole situation. But this, seeing and talking to her was definitely an eye-opening humbling experience. It got me realizing that we should learn about them, about the difficulties they have to face and how we can ease their challenges and include their needs when one day, we become leaders and we are the one providing services to the community.

I feel that disabled people should be given a chance at jobs just like any of us. They should be given the opportunity to enter schools like other children, not opting for a special school and separate them from the rest because reality is, these people will be entering the outside world when they’re older and we should not be ignorant about it. It is not in our place to limit their potential but it’s our duty to help them nourish their potentials just like how we nurture and polish our youth.

As leaders, if we are to provide for the community it also means providing for everyone.

That means giving access to facilities that are user-friendly. We can’t have bus stops by the roadside of a highway because would that really be safe and accessible for everyone? The bus stops in towns should all have at least some shade and seats and a clear walkway so even people with wheelchairs are able to go to the bus stops. We can’t just give excuses like ‘there’s taxi, it’s better if they use a taxi’ because when providing the facilities, the choice isn’t ours to make who we want to provide it to. And these are just some of the concerns about the welfare of our community that we don’t see and emphasize enough.

Which is why I feel it’s so important to educate ourselves on these issues. That way, we’ll be more aware of our surrounding and understand why certain things are the way it is. So, yes it’s time to be more community-oriented and be more educated about the community we live in.

 

p/s: The structure of my content in this post may not be organized I’m not sure if you even understand what is it I’m rambling about but the urge to type this down was so strong I just poured everything out straight from my thoughts so they are, I must admit a bit messy but I hope you do get my point. 

give yourself a chance.

I think for the past year or so, I’ve been consistently asked about how I cope with life. The people around me were wondering how did I pull myself together and be fine after all that’s happened. But being asked about relationship advice is one I truly have difficulties answering. They saw how well I was focusing on myself, how happy I am and they want to know how is that even possible because we all somehow know the feeling of having to let go is not one that’s easy to deal with.

Truth is, what they see is only half the truth about what I was going through. Which is why when I’m being asked about how I deal with all this, I am lost for words. I still do work on it from time to time.

But I always remind myself, what I went through was not something unbearable. To compare it to something bigger like losing a family member or being taken away from the one thing you treasure most makes me feel the burden I carry is probably just a pinch to some people. Because at the end of the day, although it hurt me in the past I have to say that I’m thankful it wasn’t any worse. And to be honest, that is probably how I deal with that one feeling we thought is so unbearable after losing in a relationship. I focus on the things I have, for instance the fact that today I woke up, still breathing and in good health is a blessing I am so thankful for. I am still able to see the sun rises, hear the blissful sound of the morning as the world wakes up, enjoy my breakfast and this means that another day is given to me to change and be a better version of myself. It’s not easy to see such blessings when you’re hurting, that I know. Why so? Because you focus on your pain more and you become blind to all the good things. It’s like dark clouds above you, hiding the sun from brightening your life. I could relate and I do understand. But, don’t drown.

If there’s anything I could tell, it is this. Don’t do that to yourself and drown further. Accept the fact that you are hurting. But, don’t be bitter. Don’t blame others although they might deserve the blame because you’ve got to remember, you’re on your own now. Nobody is going to pick you up while you’re down there throwing tantrums and crying over how unfair you were treated. It’s tough, but that’s the part where self-love and self-respect comes in. Instead, tell yourself every day about the few things you love in life, like having all your family members at home or simply you’re given a chance to have your bestfriend to yourself for another day. Be happy with the little things you have like your health, your body and even your feelings. Not all are privileged to feel the kind of emotions that you feel. If it’s sadness that you feel, be thankful for it. Remember what sadness feels like then replace it with gratitude so you can see life in a positive manner.

It was difficult for me at one point. I remembered just crying telling my friends, how do I do this thing called life now that I’m alone. I could not remember what life was like before him. So I was afraid with every little thing that I had to do alone. But it was a refreshing concept; doing things on your own.

Slowly, I became comfortable facing this world on my own. I surround myself with people I love and appreciate all the little gestures. I felt content instead of lonely having a space that I could call as my personal space; no trace of another human’s memories whatsoever in it. I enjoyed this thing I discovered as ‘me time’ which was so precious during my uni days. I loved the weekends when I can just sleep in, watch all my shows in bed, disconnect myself from the world and not having to worry about how another person is spending his day. Doing things alone at first was nerve wrecking, that is true. I find myself worrying about my safety when I travel alone or the fact that I’m hopeless when it comes to navigating but it allowed me to learn and make so much memories that belong only to me.

It made me see the world from a different angle, away from my comfort zone which is with no doubt, amazing. I have time to focus on myself, to work on my flaws and carry my duties properly without having to worry if my partner can accept it or not. And now that I’ve tasted what it’s like to be on my own, the idea of being with someone makes me cautious. I wouldn’t want to go back to the days where I have to justify the reason why I do something the way I do it or doing something I don’t like just to please another person. I wouldn’t want to change myself for another and being accepted by someone is so much more important than falling in love now.

What I mean about being accepted here is not just about my personality, it’s also about my future goals, my responsibilities and so on. I used to believe that in any relationship, we can make it work so long that we both compromise. Yes, that is absolutely true but I failed to realize that it only works if as partners we can first respect each other. We’ve got to know how much we are willing to go for each other before committing. Be on the same page. That way, your partner wouldn’t ask something that is beyond you and you wouldn’t too. That is what we would say a rather realistic view of relationship because 10 years down the road, with kids and a handful of arguments, you can’t just rely on that one thing called love. Even your faith fluctuates, it is only natural that love do too.

I was once in a relationship which I dedicated myself to and I also went through a phase in life where I had no choice but to be on my own. Now I can tell that relationship is no small matter. I wouldn’t commit myself to another based on just feelings thinking that everything else will work as long as I put love into the equation. It’s more than feelings now. You’ve got to take into account compatibility, the connection, the reality of both you and not just when you’re pretty and all polished and the level of commitment. It’s much more than just ‘ I love you’ but the weight of that declaration is what matters.

And gosh, yes being alone makes you feel lonely at times but you’re not having a partner so they could fill your boredom. It’s better to wait for that missing piece of puzzle rather than forcing one that doesn’t fit.

It’s difficult, always easier said than done. I know that but give yourself the chance to discover what is it like to be you. Find out the things that make you happy, pick up a new hobby, workout if that makes you feel better or spend more time doing things you haven’t gotten the time to do. Focus on being a better you, focus on the relationships you have;with God, family, friends, your pets and even the society. Give yourself that chance to live life the fullest, not holding on to a bitter past that won’t do any good for your future but will only pull you down further. Be a person that you can depend on so that one day, you can trust yourself to allow others rely on you.

Remember, don’t wait for somebody to shower you with rainbows in your life. You can be the rainbow, the sun, the moon to your own life. I may not know much about coping with devastating feelings but this is what I can tell; it’s your life, you decide what you want to do with it.

Nature calls.

My first trip to something as close as calling it a zoo visit was the Sunway Lagoon animal park back in high school. I remembered going to the park in Sentosa Island when it first opened but did not recall much about it except the pink dolphin show. It was the ‘not so’ huge cage belonged to two tigers that got me hooked as I passed by to enter Sunway Lagoon theme park. It was my first life experience being close to a wild animal, fascinating yet wrong in so many ways. The tigers are beautiful creatures, I figured what was shown on TV were indeed true and more I was a mix of excitement and awe to see something real and right in front of my eyes. But, a part of me was curious about the whole picture.

Why is the tiger so quiet and lazy?

How do people feed them?

Aren’t tigers supposed to be running around?

Growing up in the city, I don’t have the luxury of seeing animals as often as I liked and because my hometown is also a city, I don’t have that countryside home to go back to during the holidays. What I knew was limited to the information I obtain from books and what I see on TV. So, it was a bit odd to see two passive tigers in Sunway Lagoon right in the middle of an urban place. So many questions popped in my mind and I was telling myself over and over again this is not how it is based on the TV shows I watched before this.

It was since then I started having interest in animal protection, specifically tigers. I loved them when I was young, I love them still but now that I’m older I learned there’s so much more about them, especially the importance of protecting instead of using them as a profit-making tool. Because tigers were the animal that first got me into thinking about animal protection, it’s only natural that they hold a special place in my heart. I wouldn’t call myself an environmentalist or an eco warrior, but I do believe in the cause and all the efforts to protect nature. I didn’t start acting on it though until only recently. In fact, it was back in college when I visited Malaysia’s National Zoo for the first time in my life and while I left feeling dazed about seeing them in such close proximity, the feeling that it’s all wrong became stronger.

Even then, I wasn’t too sure what I could even do.

I know I couldn’t go out there and be a volunteer to protect them or physically participate in movements as I was restricted by many rules at home. I read and keep on reading and on days where the news reported animal abuse or yet another death caused by humans I can’t help feeling disturbed and helpless. The urge to help was boiling but I didn’t know what to do, where to start, who to talk to or how do I even help.

I believe that many of us would feel the same way, especially when we weren’t exposed to animal protection awareness campaigns , organizations or education about it.

It was when I studied in the UK that I saw ways I could help and contribute within my capabilities. I started reaching out through fundraising activities, hoping that with the little amount that I collect, I would create a ripple effect in instilling awareness among my friends and family. Raising money was a way I could help and it’s something I enjoy doing too so I focused on that, putting whatever experience I had to good use and hoped that it would have eased the struggles of volunteers in the front line who actually go out of their way to protect the nature.

Along the fundraising journey, I also realized many other things about the effort to protect and conserve our environment. I think it’s easier to give up than fight for the cause because often, you meet a dead end or you hardly see any actual impact. There are so many barriers it almost feels like it’s impossible.

You’re not only going against people who sees the environment as a mean to make profit but also tradition and culture.

For example, when I visited Phuket I was so difficult to convince my family not to go to the elephant show because their argument was that it’s part of the culture and so many other people go as well. There’s also the other side of the argument that elephants and the people there have a long history of relationship. The Thai people worships elephants and take good care of them according to the history and bond they have between them for centuries. But there are also cases where the animals are abused while in training. I would say that it is probably a similar case to how our farmers use buffalo to plough their plantation field. Back in those days elephants too were used as a mode of transportation in Thailand.

The concern here is that today, some people are abusive towards their animals and we don’t have to use wild animals such as elephants or tigers, it can even be our pets.

So, yes despite only exploring a small part of this fight, I find myself giving up many times, defeated in arguments and it was almost useless when majority’s voice was not on my side.

But this also made me realize that the cause of this issue is mostly due to lack of awareness. Education in this area is not enough, it’s probably out there but it’s not reaching to everyone in the community. We read an article today about an animal being abused or a forest burned down due to the impossible hot weather in some area but it stops there for us. We would be sorry, feel sad about what happen, wished things didn’t turn out that way, we got angry and frustrated, grumbled to our friends about what we read in the article but we weren’t taught on what we can do to stop it from happening again. We don’t see ourselves being involved more than just reading it and that, I believe is where education comes in. When we educate ourselves about our surroundings, about our rights, our law and country we also learn how we, as part of a bigger society could act on situations like this. We may not realize that we were being ignorant which is why education and awareness in this area is very much needed to be emphasized and instilled.

Which is why, despite seeing more dead ends than impacts I still want to fight with those who believe in this cause. Because I feel that it’s a responsibility we carry as part of the society. Creating an environment that is livable, isn’t that something that involves us the primary users of Earth? How we manage it reflects our ability to remain in existence and I think that duty lies in everyone. I know I can’t do much, but I also know that continuously changing, educating and improving our lifestyle will eventually lead to bigger impact.

I started from the most famous organization that’s available in almost every country which is WWF. But there are also many non-profit environmental organizations that we could refer to. Some do research work, some focus on certain areas such as government policies and many other specifications. Here are some websites I usually check to get updates on environmental issues and learn more about the nature in my country.

Sometimes, we are aware of all the environmental issues happening around us. Social media and the news update us regularly. But it is taking that next step is what’s important here. Most of the time, we don’t know what we can do. Believe me, we can do so much more if we take one step further. You can change what you are angry about. Work within your capabilities. Just because you can’t go down to the field or be at the front line to protect nature, that doesn’t mean you are not capable of contributing to the cause.

We can’t all be farmers or fishermen. Some need to be seller, some as buyers and many more. Only then the economy will be moving forward. This concept applies to this cause as well. You could be working in terms of changing policies, becoming an eco ranger, promotes recycling, a trendsetter for green lifestyle and many more other options. You just need to act on it. It may be late as we have so much to work on, but it’s never too late and you’ll never know what you can achieve unless you try.

So try, and bring positive changes. You can play a role in this too.

 

p/s: I’m already all pumped up about crowdfunding for my tigers. Hopefully I will have the time as I wish to make it an annual affair rather than just a one time thing. Hope this write up will make you explore on how you can personally contribute to this cause too 🙂

all the ‘what ifs’ & missed opportunities.

A chat with my dear friend the other day on ‘what ifs’ and missed opportunities made me realize how much these words actually affect us on daily basis and our decisions in life and I feel it’s just so important for us to know and understand certain things why sometimes it’s the way they are regardless of the amount of effort you put into it.

When I was in high school, I used to skipped classes but with no bad intentions whatsoever. I did my homework, submit them on time but I’ll usually be absent during classes. I thought attending school was for me to learn. So that’s what I did. I learned, I knew what was going to be taught by the teacher and I see no point sitting in class when I already know what was being taught. I left class so I could explore things that were not taught in classes, like actually seeing the world. I was more of an adventurer or more specifically a wanderer. I loved walking through the streets, going from one housing area to another, stopping by to grab some food as I pass by a random McDonalds I find along the way and I could do that for hours. As a child, I was curious. Curious with what the outside world looks like, no filters or restrictions by my guardians. So I figured it was okay to skipped school, because I was told to go to school to learn and I didn’t neglect my duties, I just had a mind of my own.

Of course my teachers did not agree to this modified view of mine and reported my absence to my parents and although they were furious (more like worried that I was turning into a problematic child), they understood where I was coming from. I remembered them telling me that the school has a system for a reason and you can’t just change it however you like because you were bored. Not being bored and staying in school is discipline itself, mum used to say to me.

So I changed my intentions again about school.

I went to school to learn, only that I didn’t have to wait for the teacher to teach for me to learn. I spent all my boring hours in classes learning myself, completing revision books like it’s my daily homework, stay at the library and read as many books as I could and take walks in between classes. I was still a curious kid, but I learned not to break rules just for that. I still believe that what my behavior about school at first wasn’t exactly wrong, but mum always reminded me of the ‘what if’ factors which was mostly worries on my safety and well-being.

And in a way, I was thankful now that it happened the way it should be and I wasn’t harmed or damaged in any way because of my youthful curiosity and careless actions.

If you ask me how I felt during that time, I was frustrated and angry mostly because life was restricted for me and I just don’t understand why it had to be that way.

I didn’t understand, which is always the cases for all of us isn’t it?

We don’t always understand why things don’t go the way we want it, even though we planned it with good intentions or worked really hard for it. Sometimes our goals backfire and we go back to square one, leaving us demotivated and super super disappointed with ourselves, the world and we blame everyone and everything for this mishap. My initial career aspiration was to be a doctor and I loved tending to sick people, going to the hospital but I graduated with a degree in Accounting and Finance, something far from the medical field.

I had doubts, regrets initially but I did try my best, surveyed all the potential medical schools and I didn’t give up till it was time to accept the scholarship offer. Later on, I realized my own qualities and capabilities would not have made me a good doctor, or even a good medical student for that matter. Things didn’t unfold the minute I made my decision, but it was more of a slow, gradual realization about my own capabilities, strength and flaws. I let go of the opportunity to study in the medical field not only because the scholarship was what I wanted, but the circumstances I was in, my result, the potential in the path the scholarship offered and most importantly my own capabilities. At that time, I wasn’t sure if I made the right decision, but the minute I accepted that I was going down that path I focused only on that, putting behind all the ‘what ifs’ and the opportunities I let go.

I studied hard for my A-Levels, put in all the extra efforts and my intentions were clear; get good results and go to a good university to get my degree. So when the results were out, I was once again beyond disappointed and I couldn’t even explain why things were so bad when I did nothing but study. I had to go through clearing, letting go of all the conditional offers from good universities and start all over again. I was sad to let go of those offers but I would have been even more devastated if I couldn’t go there to further my studies.

But now when I look back, I have no regrets or any disappointment about how things went the way they did.

The university I went offered so much for my personal growth, made me feel like I was in a community where I belonged and I’ve learned so much from all the opportunities that came my way. Some people would have looked down on me when they see the university I attended wasn’t a fancy with big reputation university but it wouldn’t have affected me because my intention to go to university is to learn, and I did learn so much.

All these personal hardships taught me that sometimes, what you think is the best for you might not be the case. People always say that missed opportunities only mean that there are better ones waiting for you. In a way, that is true. But I also believe those opportunities that you miss may not even be suitable for you, or you’re not ready for it yet. If you don’t work hard for your goal, then I guess that’s also a reminder for you that you need to buckle up if you want to grab those chances. But if you did work hard and still had to choose something you didn’t initially choose, there’s got to be a reason somewhere for it to happen that way. And no matter what your choice had to be, always remember your intentions. If you didn’t have a choice to choose, as long as the path given was one that is in line with your initial intention, I see no reason why you should be disappointed.

What you make out of that choice is the one that determines how much you’ll get out of that process.

So, my point here is don’t be too quick to punish yourself if things don’t turn out the way you want it to be. I know it’s difficult sometimes and it’s always easier said than done, but believe me I do know how it feels to give your best and yet things turn out to be a huge disappointment to you. I’ve gone through enough of that, I thought things wouldn’t get worst but it did, but also here I am today still surviving. So it can’t really be all that bad you know. It messes with your mind, makes you think over and over again what is it that went wrong or was it that you were so unworthy that it was taken away from you.

But trust me now it doesn’t have to be that way.

Take it as a lesson, a self-reflection would suffice and then just continue be the best version of yourself, allow yourself to make mistakes along the journey and learn, learn about the journey itself and learn about yourself. Though I must say that not all ‘what ifs’ are bad, some makes you think in a positive manner and that’s good but if it’s detrimental to yourself, why put yourself in a situation like that. Save yourself all the misery and think of it from a positive perspective instead. It’s all a learning process, a journey to discover our potentials, capabilities and our personal development.

There will always be some ups and downs in life and some things are beyond our control which is why we have to believe in ourselves and believe in the path that has been laid out for us and most importantly is to make the best out of it so that in the future, be it good or bad news at least you’ll be able to accept it knowing that you did your best, you gave your all and there’s nothing to regret but to see it as a motivation to do better and be better in the future.