Interests.

First thing comes to mind when I spell out that word is a question I asked myself – what am I addicted to ? I could say I was addicted to tv series; back then I could go hours from watching CSI (Las Vegas,Miami,NY you name it) to Criminal Minds, Bones and then there’s the Korean dramas (I have lots of favourites but I got addicted since I watched Boys Over Flower). But I kind of got over it once I entered university. I still watch tv series but it’s not like “I must watch or I die” kind of situation anymore – we all have that phase in life so don’t judge.  Since I was young, I pretty much hopped from one interest to another and yes I get bored quite fast if it’s not my thing. Some things I just do it halfway because I am not really patient to wait for the outcome, hence my terrible terrible skill in baking. I’ve tried baking more than 5 times and I usually manage to mess it up; flat cookies that looks like I’m making paper instead of cookies, burnt cupcakes, burnt cake pfft yes I think a bakery is a wiser option for me. I’m fairly okay with cooking, it’s something I learn so I don’t go crazy eating sandwiches every day ( not really a fan of sandwiches and lots of other food ) so no, cooking is not my interest but I am quite okay at it. I am not really into sports, I like working out to sweat off but that’s about it. So what exactly is my interest ?

I enjoy travelling, not because I get to see these famous places or I have a checklist I need to do before I die. I like being in a new place, to keep moving and seeing new things. I enjoy taking photos of almost everything because it reminds me so much of the places I’ve been – the culture, the environment and even the daily routines there. I tend to forget names and my brain works better by trying to picture a scene instead of remembering name of the road. So when I look back at my photos, it automatically reminds me of so many things. I could say that travelling and photography is something I enjoy doing, but it’s not exactly something I’m addicted to.

Then, here comes books. Yes, I love reading. Give me 6 books I could finish it before 2 weeks is up. I’ve been reading since I was a kid and every 2 weeks I’ll go borrow new books from the library. Nowadays Kindle app  makes it so much easier. I think reading has always been something that I do to pass time or when I’m just too stressed and need a time out from reality. The bigger the pressure, the more I read sometimes I read 2 books a day just to keep my mind off things. Hmm, reading is totally my addiction. But it’s more of a leisure addiction.

The interest that always comes back and keep me hooked is two things – sewing and money. Hah! Omg you must think I’m a gold digger right now. No, it’s not that kind of money addiction like I’m going to marry the guy with highest net wealth. I enjoy making money. I just realized I’ve been involved with raising money since young. I’ve participated in all those festivals during my school days – selling cookies, cupid messages and what not during Valentine’s Day, then there’s that Carnival day and a lot other festivals in schools. I honestly love doing it because that feeling when you create something or you sell something of your own and people love it, it’s just amazing. The older I get, the more I am involved in. Now it’s not just raising money during carnivals in schools but it’s raising fund for charity and for other good purposes which even makes me happier. It’s sort of like I found a purpose in something I really like to do and am even excited that I get to contribute somehow. Thinking about fundraising keeps my brain working , giving an adrenaline rush for me and despite getting tired at the end of the day I am always satisfied. I don’t really care if I’m not getting paid because it’s so much more satisfying than getting good grades (although I love getting good grades and not having to worry). Oh and another interest of mine, sewing ! Those who know me long enough would probably know how crazy am I about sewing. I even thought of opening a sewing cafe in the future! I’ve recently started learning how to make clothes and this coming summer will definitely learn more. I am an intermediate knitter and a beginner in crochet. God, I remember my experience learning how to knit. I spent about MYR 1,000 for everything which was ridiculous but I didn’t really regret it. I don’t really knit nowadays because well, Malaysia is technically not the best place to wear knits but I’m learning how to make crocheted bags now from Wool and The Gang. Go check them out they have the best patterns ! I used to take pillow orders – not just any pillows it’s felt craft pillow a customized kind although I stop doing it already because I went to the UK . You can have a look at my Instagram – Prettylittlehandmades. They were all hand sewn and cut by myself and my mom helped too when I was busy studying. I enjoyed my time doing each and every one of it, new designs,new challenges. Over the summer, I’ll probably get back to cross stitch besides learning how to make clothes. I already have all this crazy ideas to do with cross stitch. The disappointing part was that when I came to university, I really hoped they have needlework society or an extra curricular sort of thing here. I could appreciate the existence of sewing machine on campus but there was none. So in the end, I have to wait til summer to get back to my sewing.

And here comes another question – why all this long talk about interest ? Well, here’s the thing all these interest I have got me thinking about what I want to do in the future. I have this dream of opening a sewing cafe one day, yes mentioned it already but the dream grew into a bigger picture recently. It would be lovely to have a sewing cafe in an academy, a Pottery & Traditional Arts Academy where youth can learn and specialize into traditional arts like wooden carvings, the magic ways of tenun songket, bringing pottery into a global standard with our traditional designs, batik and fabric designs, the art of menyulam ( a kebaya with sulaman tangan is not cheap, not kidding) or even the making of wayang kulit. Why? Because all those fundraising experiences I had got me thinking how education in Malaysia has been so focused about Maths, Science and English and the fact that everyone has to be in the economy,politics or medical sector to have a good stable life that they forget that children today don’t even know the beauty of our tradition. And it’s even worst that our tradition is losing in the market when they are what we should treasure. The only thing I can anyam is ketupat when I should be able to anyam bakul and so much more. It’s impressive how people think there is no market for our culture when that is what makes our country unique and if we raise the standards, we could compete with the world. So there goes, a story about my interests and how it got me thinking about what I want to do with it in the future. Basically open a school and a sewing cafe where I can serve my students tea and cupcakes while I hear them about their artsy explorations.

 

Now I ask you – what is your interest and what do you plan to do with it ?

 

 

 

p/s : Here’s a peek of what I sew before. Oh and if you’re in the same university, the Batik tops were also sewn by me, which I am so happy people liked them although there are lots of improvement that can be done and I managed to complete only 6 tops before flying back to UK. Also the words you may not know , that is in Malay language you can google translate it if you want (fyi if you’re not a Malay speaker)

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Earth – our responsibility

It’s amazing how we are all uniting and celebrating Earth Day today ! Today we celebrate those who have been dedicating their time and energy working on how to make this planet greener and healthier. I truly respect people who’s constantly taking a step further to ensure that our earth is well taken care and you know it’s not an easy job to do so.

Let’s not forget that it’s not only today that we celebrate Earth Day, but it is every day and night regardless of where you are on this planet. Do the little things or the big things just so we know that there are people, Earth warriors still fighting for mother nature. There are many issues related to the environment and nature that needs your attention, some are alarming issues that we cannot ignore – climate change, wastage level, animal abuse, haze and so on. All you got to do is just type it up on google and you will find lots and lots of problems we are facing today. These problems can only be solved if you, together with other people unite and work as a team creating awareness to the world and make a difference. Today and every day it’s about the earth. And the earth is our home. We wouldn’t want to keep our house in a dusty, disgusting condition right ? So treat Earth right. Make every difference you can with the power you have in your hands.

Happy Earth Day ! 🌏

P/s : here are some photos of nature I took during my travels around the world 🙂

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Getting there, folks

Earlier today I had a learning development workshop on my frontrunner experience and what got me writing today is about our goals in life. Everyone wants something in this life – it can be as simple as getting good grades to having a stable income or a happily ever after relationship. Which is common really because it is normal for us to want the best for ourselves. What makes us all different is the journey we face to achieve those goals. Some of us have it easy, things just go well for them from the beginning and they hardly need to sweat to get what they want. Some of us work hard to be where they are today , but that does not mean that the previous category do not deserve what they have. But I would say that each and every one of us have a different story to share which is why we should never envy others for their success.

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Here’s a picture I got online from a website about the road to success. See, it’s not all smooth and straight forward. Sometimes, the road may be a bit unclear for you and you aren’t sure what to expect. This all comes back to the objective of your goals. When you hit a dead end or a hazy road, you must always ask yourself what is your objective. Why did you choose this road ? What you wish out of it ? And if you walk down a path for the sake of giving yourself a wider option, then ask yourself instead how can you make the most from that path or is it wise to change direction ? Very often we find ourselves in a disappointing position especially when it’s a difficult journey. You feel demotivated and helpless nothing seem to work out at the moment. I’ve had my share of disappointments too and mainly is because I feel I wasn’t good enough to meet my expectations. Lots of tears were involved, trust me. But what I learned today is that no experience is bad experience. All those disappointments, bumpy roads were in a way good experiences too but it’s up to you to see the positive side of it. As for me, I fail more times than I can ever count and that taught me about perseverance. I come out stronger mentally and am well prepared to face challenges I never thought I would encounter. The most important thing about your journey is that never compare your story with others. Everyone is different. You may take a longer time to reach where you want to be compared to others but that does not mean that you are lacking. Just because everyone is racing to reach the finish line that does not mean that by joining them you will have an advantage. Sometimes or maybe for most of the case it’s always better to find your pace and follow your own rhythm. Do not be pressured by the environment, which is difficult I know but you got to know what are your capabilities and your own strength. Also, it’s important that throughout your journey you are able to learn as it’s not about crossing the finishing line first but about what you gain from the journey. So if you’re finding it difficult or you feel that the climb is too much at the moment, take a deep breath and relax. Once you’re ready , challenge yourself again and by then I’m sure you’ll be determined enough you won’t have trouble climbing any walls or crossing any bridges. And one more thing I would like to add, never ever sell yourself short. Do not doubt yourself thinking that you cannot make it. We all have potentials, some realize early while some has yet to discover their potentials. What I do usually so I don’t forget all my little achievements; I review them and write what I got out of it so it’ll be a reminder that I have done this and this and I should be able to face the next challenge just fine like I did previously. So when you have the chance to do something new, something truly out of your comfort zone I say go grab that chance. Who knows what you could discover about yourself.

For the people out there who think that their life is full of negativity, snap out of it and be positive about your experiences. You may have gone through a terrible experience, but that does not mean it will be that way forever. One day, hopefully today you will overcome that hurdle and a clear, beautiful road awaits for you. You know something similar to how the rainbow comes after the rain , sort of. Our journey is full of good experiences , ones that will make you stronger and full of confident. And never forget to always look back to your objectives so you know where to start again when you hit a dead end.

Recycling – the effort

I watched an amazing recycling workshop video recently and I think it even went viral on Facebook. You can check it out yourself here if you don’t believe me. The video got me thinking what is it about recycling that is so difficult for us? Honestly, I too don’t find it easy and it’s always putting in that extra effort for me. Sometimes I don’t know if I’m throwing in the correct recycling bin or I should put it in the waste bin. Imagine teaching kids about recycling when you’re also struggling to figure out yourself.

What we often neglect is the purpose of recycling. It is as easy as pie to tell people we recycle paper to avoid cutting more trees , reduce wastage and all the facts. But the difference is that how it gives an impact to our lives. Would you take recycling lightly if by not doing so you will suffer a huge loss on income ? Obviously you’ll take it more seriously because it affects you directly right in your face. We hardly feel the difference because we don’t actually see the outcome of recycling and how it affects us directly. You can recycle tonnes of papers and that’s about it. You wouldn’t know what happens beyond that. It’s sort of like a responsibility but you’re doing it without knowing what will happen next. Like a robot who knows the facts but doesn’t feel how recycling changes the world.

This video shows us what recycling can do that would be ours. How we can invent and create through recycle items. Giving your children the opportunity to know what that recycle item can become will encourage them to recycle. Not only that, I think it is a form of education to enhance the creativity skills. In order for us to give an impactful reason for recycling is to actually get involved in the process itself. This is so we will be able to do it with a purpose, not follow blindly or do it when there is a campaign. Which again brings to my point that the video has some really good ideas we could adopt. Maybe we should start looking into our recycling campaign and revise the methods we use to tackle this problem.

Anyway, here’s some things you can do so you can help reduce wastage:

  • Finish your food . Not everyone gets to eat that much every day.
  • Bring your own containers when you take away food from restaurants.
  • Recycle your clothes – get creative and transform it into something else or you can always recycle to clothing shops (H&M and M&S accepts recycle clothes in exchange for vouchers)
  • Always bring a spare recycling bag ! (you never know when it comes handy)
  • Fold your paper into half when you write notes. That way you won’t waste the space
  • Try making your own paper and who knows you can make a new notebook out of it !

There are many other ways you can get creative about recycling. Just Google about it and you’re ready to go with a brand new project ! Teach your children about recycling and get creative about it instead of just telling them which recycle bin is for the plastic bottle.

Remember, it’s the purpose that matters.

Sustaining the world – start today

Many of you must have heard about the Global Sustainable Development Goals by now. It is basically a set of goals countries all over the world have adopted starting Sept 2015 to have a better tomorrow. International companies and various industries are slowly adapting and changing their work methods to comply with the 17 transformation goals. The aim is to achieve these 17 goals 15 years from now, hoping to have a sustainable and a well developed world. You can check out the list of goals here .

It is important for people to move towards a sustainable living & development considering how alarming the environment has changed through out these years. During my visit to Iceland, the locals informed us about the formation of glacier ice and how the melting process has speed up rapidly these past few years. Soon, there will be more empty lands and less glacier ice formation. And I can personally say that my home country is way warmer now than a few years back. Heat stroke isn’t really famous back then in my home country. It’s also true that up north the snow and ice melts faster nowadays compared to few years back . In fact, a research has been done about which natural disaster has the most impact on the world and its not surprising to know that flood has the highest percentage (source : world economic forum)

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These negative impact on the environment lead to a few transformation goals ( climate action, life above land and below water) we would like to achieve in the next 15 years.

Besides environment, the Sustainable Development Goals will also be focusing on education and literacy . Educated children is an assurance for a brighter future. Research has shown how education can change the cost of living based on past years data (source : world economic forum)

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If we continue providing access to education to all parts of the world, emphasizing the importance of learning, by 2030 we will have zero poverty and hunger, top qualitg education and an educated generation leading to a new developed era. As for now, not all countries have access to internet which is one of the most important tool for learning. Here’s a chart of internet usage in different countries (source: world economic forum)

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The internet serves many purpose and it contains many useful information for education and learning. Therefore, we should focus on building internet access to cover more areas and allow more people to use it for education reasons.

The 17 transformation goals are something organizations and individuals should be aware of and if neccessary, make changes so that we could achieve these goals soon. Failure to do so might cause deterioration to our nature , leading to more environmental and economic problems. Take a look at the Global risk report 2016 (source : world economic forum)

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You can google more about the sustainable development goals and spread the words about it so more people are aware of it ! Here are some of the things you can do yourself to help achieve these goals . Make sure you read the article as it is really interesting – learn what you can do from your couch ! Or your home . Get you family and friends involved and before you know it, it will spread to be the new trend .

Here’s to #globalgoals

not just a degree anymore.

Trust me when I say there’s going to be pressure once you start university. While school was all fun and happy, college and university is a whole new level of education. People expect you to know more and not just about the subjects but also about the world, the current issues and you’re supposed to even have a certain set of skills. I was more of a mischievous and easygoing kid back when I was in school – skipping class, exploring the neighbourhood and I like to walk around and sort of you know see the world. I had no worries at all except getting good grades which was bearable as long as I work hard. Little did I know that people especially teachers and lecturers had a certain expectation once I entered college. From high school to college to university, that’s quite a transition there. Many of my friends, I remembered them telling about their struggles in coping with the transition and of course I was struggling with everything too. We were so used to reading textbooks and reference books, complete probably 50 sets of exercise books and do tonnes of past exam papers that we forget it’s not going to be that way forever. In college (although the pressure is not too much), teachers would expect you to know more about current issues not just defining terms and concepts.They expect you to learn on your own and catch up with their classes – no more spoon feed, no more reciting answers from textbook . They wanted a better answer than just that. It’s more about just a grade but actually learning and applying the knowledge we gain. The first time I realised about how I lack so many skills was when I attended my scholarship interview. It was a group interview and I think I did pretty fine but I was aware about how other candidates were able to speak confidently about so many things that I didn’t even know. They were really good and I have to admit I was very intimidated. But even then , what made me fully realise about how important transferable skills are is when I’m attending university. Yes, yes you think that uni life is all party and fun , less study more fun fun fun but I think you’ll feel the pressure. Most students will be grabbing the first chance to do something great just so they can build their CV, add their knowledge and experience and shape themselves to have a better career prospect (but they party too when they have the time). No, good academics is not the only guarantee anymore that you will secure a job. The competition is huge because everyone wants to climb the ladder ASAP , live a good life and settle down early. Employers don’t just see your degree, they see what you’ve achieved so far in your extra curricular that probably could define you as a person. They want to see what’s different about you and in what way you can contribute or how you can contribute differently to the company. It’s pretty competitive and you need good grades and good transferable skills to back you up so you get the job. Here’s a chart I got from World Economic Forum about the skills every student need in the 21st century. I find it very useful as it’s sort of  a personal skill list for me so I would like to share it with you –

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It’s obvious that literacy and numeracy is at the top on the list. I would say that foundational literacies is what you get from your academic learning but the other 2 categories is definitely not something you learn from a book. Those transferable skills are something you learn throughout the years of experience and believe me when I say, the more you participate in the things around you the more you would gain. For example some people don’t see the need to join volunteering activities because you don’t get anything out of it, but technically you do get something out of it. Probably more than you ever realised. I used to be horrible in communication. I can’t even talk or engage in a professional conversation. I had a low self-esteem or thought that my thoughts were rubbish compared to what others are thinking but getting out there, speaking and actually try to engage with people gave me that confidence to communicate. It made me different. And I think that’s how we get out of our comfort zone. One of the things I did that was impactful for me was volunteering. I volunteer a lot. Not like you know volunteer in Africa or things like that but it’s all the same. I learn to connect with different people and actually forced myself to do small talks. I’ve also seen many of my friends who’ve been actively participating in something they love and I could see the difference in them, the skills they obtained and how they mature over the years. So for those of you who are stressing a lot about getting good grades and secluding yourself just so you have all the time in the world to finish reading the whole book collection in library, give it a break. It’s good that you like to learn but it’s good to go out sometimes , mingle or challenge yourself to do something different, to be out of your shell. It helps building the skills you will definitely find handy when you’re in the working life. I wouldn’t say it’s a competition but to me it’s about self- improvement. If you can go further, improve to be better and by doing that will increase the chances of you landing an amazing job along with first class degree , I say go for it.

On a side note, for all you people who love the environment and dislike how forest burning is allowed in Indonesia every year here’s a petition that you can sign so we can make a difference , give pressure to the companies involved and hope that something will be done so we can put an end to it. No more haze or drastic climate change. You’ll be surprised to see what companies are involved in this and how they’ve been ignorant over the years. Join over 200,000 people and sign the petition. You might think that it won’t make a difference, but every effort counts. It is what it takes to change.

T for tiger !

I am pretty sure most of you ( at least my friends and family ) knows that I am all about tiger conservation. It’s only recently that I started help raise awareness using my social media and this is also one of the reasons why I decided to create this blog so I can reach out to more people and hopefully continue update about the wildlife conservation that’s happening around the world.

Unlike Nepal, Malaysia is still struggling to provide a proper tiger sanctuary for the Malayan tigers. At the moment, we have about 250 – 300 tigers that we are aware of in Malaysia. I’ve always loved the cat family. They are fierce and strong but at the same time so graceful. What made me actively follow updates on tigers in Malaysia was due to several tragedy that happened recently in February. You can checkout the devastating article here . I took a step further now that I am capable of helping by doing a fundraiser under WWF Malaysia. Now, now don’t think just because you are 12 years old or younger you are not capable of making a change. Everyone can make a difference. There are many ways you can help and I believe for young kids out there, the best place to start is your school. Get everyone including your teachers to be involved. My advice is dream big, start early 🙂 Okay so back to the fundraiser. The fundraiser lasted for a month and my target was MYR500. While I was happy that I’ve exceeded my target within that one month, I believe we Malaysians can do better than that as individuals. Personally, I believe a certain amount should be given back to the society, especially mother nature since we utilize most of what they offer to us anyway.

Some of you must be thinking what good is the wildlife to the country ? We should focus more on our economy and inflation in Malaysia is so high people got other worries besides donating to the wildlife.

Yes, inflation can be a bit scary especially if you’re supporting a big family. But the good thing about contributing to tiger preservation and other wildlife is that, not only we teach our nation empathy and that there has to be a balance between the wellbeing of the environment and economy but also we create a huge range of job opportunities. Yes, more work for our citizens. So why not support such good cause ? The economy is not the only thing that can create job opportunities. Let’s say we increase the tiger population in Malaysia, don’t you think we will need more vet to take care of the growing population ? We will need more rangers and don’t forget that this job also allows more ‘orang asli’ who are comfortable living in the forest to enter the work field. Check out this article about how the translocated elephants are disturbing the ‘orang asli’ and what is the possible solution to this problem. It is possible that we can use their expertise and provide jobs for them at the same time. We will have job opportunities for researches and boost outdoor tourism as well. Many people love Malaysia and its tropical season. The beach, the sun, the forest and all that exotic adventure; people love it. All of this opportunities just for preserving our nature, I say why not ? And yes although it may take millions and a long time to achieve this, I believe that if all citizens of Malaysia care for wildlife preservation this is not something impossible. If you think donating MYR 5 has no effect, think again. If there are about 500,000 citizens donating the same amount, we would have a total of MYR 2,500,000 worth of donation. Imagine what we can achieve with that amount of money provided it is allocated efficiently. I think it’s all worth it and I hope this changes your perception towards donating for the wildlife too.

Our donation will be an investment to the country and it’s a long term investment that brings positive outcomes.

But I mostly do it because I am happy knowing that I try my best giving back to the society by helping those who needs help, especially the animals since we are responsible for them. I believe it’s sort of a therapy for me knowing that my actions will help others for a good cause. If you believe in preserving tigers and that we should take action in Malaysia so no more tigers are sacrificed due to accidents and poaching, sign this petition that was created by MYCat a while ago . Also , checkout this inspiring article by WWF UK about how they converted a person from being an animal poacher to a ranger !

If you wish to support tiger conservation in Malaysia , there are a few non-profit organizations but my personal favourite are these two :
WWF Malaysia
MyCat

You can also check out the latest article about a conference that is happening soon in the effort to double up the number of tigers. This is a good piece of article with tiger statistics in several countries.

There are many ways you can help; one of it is to be a volunteer or the easiest is donate. As for me, I do a monthly donation to WWF UK by adopting a tiger. I pay about £3 a month ( it’s not even a huge amount, trust me ) and the fund goes to the tigers in Chitwan National Park, Nepal. But if you want to be more specific and contribute to the wildlife in Malaysia you can also fundraise like what I did since I’m right now in the UK and volunteering option in Malaysia is not possible when I’m thousand miles away. Of course there are also similar adoption scheme under WWF Malaysia if you prefer to do monthly donation which is equally good. If you want to do a fundraising event, you can have a look at this web , it is a very popular fundraising web for individuals n charities . It takes literally 5 minutes to set up a profile and people don’t have to worry if the money goes to other people or the charity organisation because it goes straight to the charity’s fund. You don’t have to deal with any bank transactions, everything is pretty much taken care of. It’s secure n safe too. Definitely a good web to encourage more people to donate. There is also another type of fundraising where you set up a stall , sell things and donate the money to charity which is amazing too because you can reach out to more people and help create awareness at the same time.

Together, I believe we can make a difference in Malaysia for our wildlife. Here’s a photo that was posted during World Wildlife Day. This photo is so impactful for me and I hope it does for you too #saveourtiger

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