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 🙂

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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. 

this skin of mine

When talking about skincare, mine has always been very difficult to manage. I used to have lots of scars due to allergic reaction which I wasn’t aware of for 5 years because I thought it was pimple breakouts instead. I was also very cautious with the type of food and drinks I take. Everything has to be less/no sugar and I ration my chocolate/ice cream intakes because I was afraid that it would cause more breakouts. I’ve also tried a few skincare products, from Clean & Clear, Garnier, Laneige, Clinique, Innisfree and Dermatologica while I was growing up. My daily skincare regime is the usual 3 step process; cleanser, toner and then moisturizer. Once or twice a week I would alternate between oil control mask and pore minimizer mask. I only use scrub cleanser when necessary because it makes my skin feel a bit too raw after. My skin type is a combination of dry and oily along the T-zone so it gets extra oily on my nose and forehead during the day. I also have a typically fair complexion that is slightly on the pale side. Which also means, if I don’t get enough sleep it’ll make my skin looks terrible, like as if my skin is not healthy and the dark circles will be very obvious. My scars are usually visible and it takes a while before the marks start to go away. By the time old marks are almost gone, new ones come out which is annoying, really.

It was only recently that my skin got better, once I figured that it was allergic reaction so I took the allergic pills when it gets itchy. But this is also mainly due to my shift towards using natural ingredient for my skincare regime. I haven’t totally shift all my products to natural ingredients but I’m slowly learning to make an alternative home based products that can replace my current skincare products. So these are what I used so far and it really works. I had a hard time believing when I was younger but I can now say that it works really well for my skin. I’m still figuring out a suitable natural ingredient cleanser because I’m using a milk based chemical cleanser for now so I’m not quite sure what’s the substitute for that. As for facial scrub wash, I’m still using the coconut and sea salt scrub from LUSH which makes my skin feel fresh every time after I use it. But since there’s no LUSH here in Malaysia (not that I know of), I’m planning to use sea salt, coconut oil, a bit of flour and peppermint oil as my scrub. To make this work, a base oil is needed and I opted for coconut oil because it’s easy to get. You can also use grapeseed oil, olive oil and many other base oil. Then you mix it with other ingredients such as the sea salt which will give a slightly rough texture and the flour to make it feel like paste instead of oil and the peppermint oil is what makes your skin feels fresh. Peppermint oil is good not only for skin but also for your scalp as it stimulates your skin and therefore encouraging hair growth and gives a radiant complexion. I do use that for my hair mask which mainly is a mixture of coconut, lavender and peppermint oil. It helps strengthen the hair and make it healthier too! Going back to my skincare, I use rose oil mixed with egg whites as face mask which I apply every two to three days. This combination really helps with my scars and oily face issues. The rose oil is generally popular for scar treatment and it has anti-aging properties so it’s really helpful if your skin has scars or wrinkles. The egg whites helps minimize the pores. My grandma used to say using the egg whites will make your skin feels like eggshells after. So it helps in giving you a smooth and soft skin texture. As for my toner and moisturizer, I usually wash my face clean with water followed by putting a few small drops of rose oil before I sleep every night. I’ve been doing that for a month now and my scars are not as visible and as much as it used to be. I feel better using my make ups as well because I don’t feel uncomfortable with my make up on after a few hours but I generally use very light make up to let the skin breathe.

There are so many natural products you can make or buy for your wellness. I’m looking into trying honey, sugar and coffee grounds as my main ingredients next. I was told that teatree oil really helps with acne problems. Aloe vera too, which is why it’s a good idea to plant your own aloe vera plant! Cinnamon and rosemary oil have lots of benefits as well. In terms of purchasing the essential oils, it may seem costly for some because it’s 100% extract organic oil so it’s only fair that it’s slightly pricey. But you don’t consume it as much as your usual products. I normally use about one or two droplets of oil in every mixture I make and even then you can tell that it’s quite strong from the smell of the oil itself. I know lots of small home based business do sell essential oils and some even make their own skincare so saves you all the trouble of researching and mixing it yourself! I haven’t fully explored the brands that sell essential oils but I know Tanamera, a local brand do sell these oils. They’re popular because lots of spa use their products so they have a wide range of products that you can browse through. The pricing is also not that bad, I would say it’s average. I bought my peppermint oil from Tanamera and I think for 15ml bottle it was about RM35, not more than RM40. But I would say that the price depends on the type of oil you choose. Some are generally more expensive because the process to extract is probably longer or harder. I got my lavender oil from Young Living, a product my friend introduced to me. It’s an overseas brand, made in US but it has a branch in Singapore and Malaysia if I’m not mistaken and the price was about RM100 for the 15ml bottle. The rose geranium oil is from a brand called Soul Shine, I think it’s from Australia but I bought it at Mediplex SDMC, a hospital in Subang Jaya. For 50ml, I paid about RM70-80, can’t remember the exact price but it’s within that range. I also got the coconut oil from Mediplex which was just RM17 and it’s fully organic too.

Basically, I’m just sharing this information with you especially those who have sensitive skin or wear heavy make up on daily basis. It’s a good idea to use some natural ingredient to take care of your wellbeing instead of the chemical products because they might have side effects or it’s not always easy to find one that’s suitable with your skin. I know and I can tell that it does help with my skin, which is sensitive to a lot of things and now I can even wear make up without getting that uncomfortable feeling on my skin! You can definitely try out more ingredients, mixtures as there are so many out there. Essential oils can also be used when you’re sick, your body, hair and even for massage. I really love the smell of rose geranium oil so when I want to distress myself, I put a few drops of it in a bowl of water and let it continuously heat up using candle in my room. It gives a sweet scent and help ease your sleeping difficulties.

Happy trying and hope this helps ! 🙂

dear you, thank you

Yet another sappy post about life and updates.

It’s Sunday and while many exhale gladly that the weekend is here, I’m just thankful I got a few extra hours of sleep last night. My laptop was neglected for the past four days, settling on my table collecting dust and I’m falling behind with all the tv shows ( my source of stress reliever).

The past few days have been hectic, yes that goes without saying as it already have been that way since Eid Adha but even more than the usual hectic. After spending weeks at the hospital, it’s finally time to recuperate at home. Sounds amazing, isn’t it except it’s not really ‘time to go back, we’re done!’ kind of situation. Things are a lot tougher at home because you gotta be the nurse, manage the house and with all that going on, try to focus on your own survival too. Not to mention how difficult it is to be out but I’m not too fussy about seeing the outside world for now. Managing time was so crucial because every three hours, it’s time for feeding and this isn’t some kind of normal feeding but ones that involve tubes, syringes and measuring cylinder. It still makes me nervous, the whole feeding process. One mistake and that’s it we got to make our way to the hospital again. So I pretty much work my way round the three hour schedule which starts at six in the morning every day. Yes, no more sleeping in for the day because it’s the weekend. It’s not exactly helpful that we lost our maid, again so I’m taking over for now and cleaning this house ain’t easy. The more I think about what needs to be done, the more I find it impossible so I end up telling myself to take it one at a time.

Nobody in this house says it but we all know that we’re all just barely living here. My brother’s been going everywhere sorting things outside that needs to be sorted out for the house, comes back and help me with the dishes, rubbish and even the laundry. All that while making sure he completes his duties at work and catch up with his MBA studies. Mom, she’s tired that’s for sure but she’s bracing it through like the superwoman she is. And all this made me think about how unrealistic it is if I were to whine and complain about this exhaustion.

But then, I’m thankful. Thankful for the people who are constantly in my life making me feel that it’s not too bad. Thankful because despite all this tiredness, we still could make jokes and laugh over the silly mistakes. My family isn’t perfect, but it’s a family I truly needed. I wouldn’t pick another if I had a choice, because they’re the kind of family that fits perfectly with me, flaws and all. And the people I love, my friends, I’m just so grateful that they exist as my friends. Their existence itself can already make me smile, what more getting random texts from them about their daily lives or listening to their rants. It helps with trying to survive here and I’m so so thankful that they’re always around to entertain my ‘what are you doing today’ and ‘this meme is so funny’. A friend of mine asked me if I was okay, if I needed to talk about everything and all I could say is what’s there to talk about? Some things are beyond us and talking is unlikely going to solve the issue and it will do things to my emotions and it’s not like we can do anything if we put our minds together to it. I’d prefer talking about those in my prayers. But then I told my friend that talking about everything else mundane, about our daily lives, about that traffic jam or really just whatever you’re up to, that really helps. I don’t know if they know it but those kind of conversation keeps me going even when I’m tired. Those kind of conversation are silent shouts to say that ‘you matter and I want to share this with you’ and that’s how my friends, they’re doing nothing out of ordinary but actually doing something so important to me. And it’s comforting to know that you are loved, although it’s not exactly put down in words but it is there.

I think I don’t say it enough because I’m so bad at expressing my feelings in words but I’m so grateful for the times that friends really just text me saying random things, sending photos of what they’re up to regardless of the different time zone and all those text notifications late at night making me think there’s an emergency. It mattered to me. And that’s how I learn to be okay even when nothing is okay. It’s enough to know that despite there are sad things going on in life, there are good ones happening at the same time too.

Things are too much for me, but they are bearable thanks to the people I love dearly. Thanks to all those random strangers that made my day by posting ridiculous memes or incredible photos of the world or whatever it is that they do so awesomely. I guess that’s how we learn to smile, by seeing the happiness of others and letting it make you feel it again.

positive gestures

It’s been two months since I’m home for good and I realized that being away for three years taught me some things I never noticed before this. This isn’t a post about being overseas is better than Malaysia. I truly love home to be honest and I know it for sure that we can go further with some improvement on our social culture and values. We don’t have to live abroad to be in an ideal environment, we can always create one for our society and future children.

It can be an act that is as simple as holding the door for the next person to come in after you. I used to just push the door open and walk off without looking back. Little did I know that it’s considered impolite in some countries. So I learned to hold the door and look back to give a brief smile to the person behind me. Also, to make sure that the door doesn’t slam into the person’s face. I actually had that before, the door slamming at my face because the person just walked off. A simple gesture such as that could definitely prevent someone from injuries and it shows that we could be caring even to strangers. Such polite manners are golden.

My personal favorite gesture is how amazing the customer service is when I’m abroad. People give simple greetings and smile cheerfully before attending to your needs is something I really appreciated. It can definitely make you feel better about your day when you go inside a cafe for your morning coffee fix, greeted by a cheerful barista asking about your day or just commenting about the weather or even how you look! It probably make you feel like you should grab few muffins on your way out simply because you;re off to a happy start.

And the simplest thing of it all, discarding rubbish at the place they should be instead of littering. We take it for granted here in Malaysia by throwing rubbish everywhere or doing it in an unhygienic manner. I’ve seen people throwing plastic bags of rubbish with liquid dripping from the plastic all the way. It gives off unpleasant odor and not to mention attract all kinds of insects. I think cleanliness reflects a lot about your values. How you keep yourself and your surrounding clean is important. It’s so easy to throw your rubbish in a proper manner at a designated space provided for rubbish. It also helps the people in charge of collecting rubbish to do it efficiently and without any problems. I know for sure that I would hate collecting rubbish that’s poorly discarded, I feel it’s only right that other people don’t have to do what I disliked.

Then, there’s also the part where people take those who work in public services with respect and adoration. I personally love thanking the bus driver because I know that working as a bus driver with all the hectic schedule and crazy traffic during peak hours can be stressful. Showing your gratitude, telling them a simple thank you would make them feel better about their job. Sometimes, we tend to forget that people can get tired of doing their work repetitively, especially if you’re stuck sitting doing work on your desk for hours non-stop. Before raising your voice to complain and make a scene, consider yourself to be in their shoes. Yes, you may address the problem but that doesn’t give you the right to verbally abuse them. It’s crucial that we learn to address mistakes in a proper manner. Mistakes does not give us the right to disrespect people and this is what we Malaysians should practice more.

I love the working culture abroad, I’m not saying that for all workplace. I’m sure there are bad working culture abroad too but mine was simply lovely. Of course, the workload, the stress and problems are part of working life but what I enjoy is how I converse with my colleagues. We would talk about the current issues, the five cat my colleague takes care, the general election, the weather, exciting weekend trips, many interesting ongoing things about our lives and what I realize is the lack of gossip, be it about people we know our celebrities gossips. It gave me a new perspective about conversation, like there’s a broad range of topics we can talk about during small talks instead of discussing who’s cheating on who this week. People are polite and they respect your privacy as well as your time.

There’s more than just this but this are some of the examples I could think of. I’m sure there are many Malaysians practicing good social values and even do more than the basics. But it’s also sad to see how some people are still being verbally abused and spoken to with much disrespect. It’s distasteful to see how people would stare with no shame at something humiliating instead of lending a hand.

I honestly think giving out positive vibes is something we Malaysians take for granted. It’s so easy and if we could practice it more often, I’m quite sure that we’ll be able to agree on many things and bring the country forward and prosper in more than one way.

Remembering you.

I’ve been caught up with family matters for the past few months and I know the routine by heart already now. As I was doing my rounds to check everything is in order and the doors are locked, I walked pass by my parents  bedroom. With the room door slightly open, dark and empty the house suddenly felt so quiet. I feel so alone. Staring at this computer, I wanted to blog something here about what I feel but then it’s all messed up . I took some time to think of a suitable way to express my thoughts and realized that the best way is to remind myself of  the memories I share with my dad. I want to remember the memories, and all the feelings that came with it. I’ll visit every memory I have with him and walk through it one by one hoping that I’ll never lose it.

I don’t think I can recall the first few years of my life but I remembered the day I started kindergarten. As a child, it probably is frightening to be in a crowd of strangers. I guess despite the excitement, I was also afraid of being alone in a class surrounded by people I don’t know. I can’t remember how it happened but I knew my dad sent me to the class on my first day.  It was all good until he left. The moment I looked back and see that he is not outside of my classroom, I cried so bad all I wanted was to go home. The teachers had to call him back and when he came back, standing there it was all fine again. I felt safe. It went on for two weeks. I don’t remember exactly how many days but I knew he accompanied me every day and I would learn in class and look back every few minutes or so. Every time I looked back, he was there smiling and just standing there looking at what I was doing. Even when I think about it today, I can tell how I felt back then. I felt safe knowing that my dad was there looking after me and he’s just a few steps away.

Another time when I was in kindergarten as well, there was this concert and I had to dance chinese dance. I was dolled up in my cheongsam and red lipstick. Although I can’t remember the dance or who my partner was, I remembered looking at the audience finding my parents. The moment I saw them, standing by the door because there wasn’t any places left and it was so crowded but they were still there, I smiled happily. During the closing ceremony, we played Christina Aguilera’s song ‘I turn to you’ and it still got me all teary up til today because I remembered how they were being squeezed by other audience just to be there for my performance.

I remember the days when we would go to Lake Garden cycling and have picnics after. I was still using the tricycle and dad would be cycling by my side making sure that I don’t fall. Oh, there’s this one trip we went together which I think was one of the few outings I did only with my dad; a visit to the National Museum. I recalled seeing this huge crocodile and I asked my dad if it was real because it looked so real I thought the crocodile was alive! It was also the first time I learned about our culture and the ‘kampung’ life. I can’t recall any activities similar to this one, it’s probably the only museum I’ve ever visited with my dad. Dad was a strict person. He gets annoyed easily if things are not as how it expects it to be. The family would often argue because of the differences but he always wanted the best for us. I know he shows his love in ways that sometimes nobody understands. He gets protective to the point that it’s frustrating but only because he loves his children. We used to watch TV shows after dinner together and I often fall asleep halfway because I get sleepy so easily. Dad would usually carry me upstairs then and put me to sleep. Sometimes I was half awake but I let him carry and tuck me in anyway before dozing off.

Between all the memories, one thing I’ll always remember is how dad accompanied me to the sea every single time we visited the beach. I love the beach although I can’t swim. I like being in water and just watch the waves. I wasn’t afraid of drowning, probably because every time the tide pulled me, I would find my dad’s hands and hold onto them. Even when the tide pulled me and I lost my balance, dad’s hands would magically pull me back up. We had so much fun when we were younger, my siblings and I especially when we’re at the beach.

So much memories, so much feelings attached to it as well. There were also a lot of fights and tears. I was a difficult child. I wanted freedom, but my dad was always worried of my safety. He is so used of protecting his only daughter that even when I’m old, he would do his best to take care of me. He’s the one person that I could be in the same space and not talk for a long time but never gets awkward, just a comfortable sort of silence. I never really understood his way of loving but as I grow older, I learned to read between the lines or in his case, his attitude. He never knew how to raise a daughter so he kept me as sheltered as possible. He made sure that I had everything I needed, including discipline and manners. He tried his best to make sure that I don’t have to go any hardships while I was growing up . He made lots of mistakes as a father, but I know that being a father doesn’t come with a manual. He got me angry, sad, happy and all kinds of feelings before and despite not being a perfect father, he was the father I needed. He loved in his own ways and did his best to be part of the children’s lives.

I tweeted not long ago about how I felt hopeless and yet still very hopeful. I feel hopeless in a way that I cannot help him be better but I am hopeful, hopeful to God for him to be safe and return back to being healthy. I wish that my kids would one day have the chance to meet dad and have the privilege of being loved by him just as how he loves me. He taught me that as a child, we don’t choose our parents and we learn how to adapt to their ways. He also taught me that a father is also human who does mistakes and have flaws of their own. And for that, I would forgive him for his unintentional mistakes and love him always in my own way too.

the kind of love

Malaysia have been all kinds of excited for the past few weeks with daily SEA Games tournaments, royal wedding bells, the one sports where my Instagram feed was full of Brunei prince photos, loud cheer of our fellow citizens in stadiums, celebrating our 60th Independence Day, closing the vibrant excitement with public holidays and Eid Adha celebration. And yes, this week we won’t be having our usual Monday blues post because we declared a public holiday for the outstanding amount of gold medals we won from the SEA Games this year!

As for me, it’s not my usual quiet stay at home kind of Eid celebration this time because my aunties and uncles came for a visit. It’s always nice to have them around  but I rarely see them as they live in Singapore. They came down on Thursday with delicious home made food such as pulut kuning, sambal sotong, sambal goreng pengantin and a few other traditional dishes. We had a feast on eve of Eid with all these home made dishes combined with mom’s lovely cooking. But what really made me smile is how noisy the house was. There were laughter, voices chattering away and everyone just gather to catch up on each others’ lives. On Eid Adha, I brought my aunties to the mosque for Eid Adha prayers and I had tears while I was making my du’as because I couldn’t go to the mosque for Eid this year with mom and this was the next best feeling, to be there with people I cherish. These past four days was such a lovely time with my family, especially having my aunties to help in the kitchen, learning new recipes from them, listening to their random stories about everything and life advice on family and relationships. I’ve always loved a house that’s full of lives. Coming from a small family and us siblings went our own path while I was still young, I always find it lonely to be home and not able to do things I want to with my siblings because when I was just about to have enough guts to take the roller coasters, my siblings were already over that phase, making serious decisions that life demanded from them. So, times like this are ones I truly treasure and this visit made me reflect on a few things I’d like to share with you, not only about families but with relationships and friendships.

I know you want to be rational and wise, but trust me to a certain extent it is important to live your life with no regrets in relationships. When I sent them off today it really hit me that in a few years time, they might just leave one day and there won’t be anymore aunties visiting, bringing them shopping until I can barely walk. It also got me thinking about how my dad is unwell and nothing is clear with his condition. It only made me want to hold on to those who are dear to me more than ever now. Growing up, I used to argue for time with others. I would cry and get angry if they want me to spend time at home instead of going on a camping trip. I often keep my feelings to myself, but open up to the rest of the world because at one point I felt like family don’t understand me. But as time passed by, slowly time with family became so precious to me, especially since I left home for college and not seeing them on daily basis made me closer to them in a way. My family, we’re not used to expressing our love in words to each other. It’s also one of the reasons why I’m not really good at expressing my emotions in words but more in my actions. I’ve never really said the word I love you to them but we understood each other, in a way that only we can. We would hug briefly when one of us leaves and when we’re not caught up with work, we would just sit and talk about our thoughts or anything at all. The kind of love we share is the kind that is in our actions rather than words.  We may think that our family don’t love us enough, but the truth is it’s all in their actions. It’s how they wake up early in the morning everyday and prepare our breakfast. It’s love when they get worried about us, but they say it in ways that we might get annoyed or frustrated because we want to go out. Their love for us is in their prayers when they pray to Allah to bless and protect us even when they won’t be here to guide us anymore.

And as for relationships and friendships, treat them as sincerely as possible. Be brutally honest but in a nice way. Avoid useless arguments and fights on things that is not significant. If it’s harmful, let it go. We got to accept the fact that not everyone would love us the way we want them to and not everyone would even like us for who we are. It’s perfectly fine to have a small circle of friends, but what matters is how they make you feel. And yes, not all relationships find happy endings. But work on your relationships together anyway and try your hardest because you can’t just give up without trying. Believe in happy endings, they exist. Only it might not be a bed of roses but rather, an adventure.

I was told to find love that makes you feel loved through actions, not words or romantic gestures. Some love are not spoken loudly for the world to know, but only to be felt and understood by yourself. And that kind of love is enough, trust me. That kind of love and happiness will make you content with what little time you have in this world. I know now I don’t want to live tomorrow if I have to let go of something precious without even having the chance to love them.