say no to bullying.

Malaysia mourns once again as another child lost his life due to bullying and abuse. Nhaveen, an 18 year old student from Penang had serious injuries including burns on his back and there were signs that a blunt object was shoved into his anus. His friend who was with Nhaveen at that moment, went through a surgery as he fractured his bone beneath the eye. According to the news, this was done by five youths who were also their ex-schoolmates. Not long ago, Malaysians were shocked to discover news about the death of a university student due to abuse as well. The student who was a naval cadet in National Defense University of Malaysia tragically lost his life due to torturing by his colleagues. He suffered severe injuries including second and third degree burns on 80% of his body. No excuse is acceptable for both incident which is now classified as murder and under investigation so justice can take place.

These incidents are a wake up call for Malaysians that there is a rise in bullying and abuse and we cannot deny this fact any longer especially when lives are lost in such brutal and inhumane manner. We have to start asking ourselves the big question here; why and what should you do ? Our kids are exposed to violence at such early age and are raised in an environment where bullying is normal. This is wrong. As parents, teachers and even as one of the youth it is our duty to educate ourselves and the people around us especially those who are younger that respect for others is important and there is no such thing as allowed bullying. Schools must┬áchange the famous traditional ways of ‘ragging’ where it involves violence and abuse these days. The initial reasoning for ragging was to discipline but often the authority given is abused and used with personal agenda without any guidelines which should not be the case. Punishments are not meant to take away lives or injure a person. I personally do not believe in educating through physical punishments but I respect that not everyone share the same view as I do. Even if a person were to choose physical punishments, there has to be boundaries of what they are allowed to do and not do. Those two boys who got killed due to bullying were not just students. They were someone’s child, a brother to their siblings and they were kids with dreams. As a human, who are we to take that away from others? It is important to educate the young that we should not act carelessly as lives cannot be revived. We are not allowed to harm others like as if they are dolls. Teach our children not to react to situation with abusive manner but to go around it with logical sense and rationality. Do not expose them to violence at a young age, making them think violence is fun and exciting. Instead, guide them about how to manage difficult situations when they are in schools or away from us. We have to teach our kids moral values and proper manners and home is the best place to start. A child is born to this world with a blank canvas. The family, the surroundings shape them to be who they are today. In a way, we are all responsible to create a safe environment for our kids as well as for all of us. Educate our kids about the kind of bullying that happens in this world and the measures they can take if they are bullied. Inform them about what to do in any case that a bullying occur and who they can go to. But most importantly, always be there for your kids. Create a safe space for them so they can speak freely to you with any problems they face, no matter how minor it is. You don’t necessarily have to be a parent to do this, you could be a sibling, a teacher, a friend, a school bus driver or even anyone. This is a shared duty we all carry to provide a safe nation for all. Reach out to as many people as we can and if you are unsure how you can help, direct them to those who knows how to.

Here are some questions for you. Have you ever been bullied ? How do you manage it ? Did you go to someone and talk about it or were you afraid to tell anyone ?

Click the link below for more information about the questions I mentioned:

shareyourstory

the hospital and I

Cancer ; a word that carries heavy meaning to it and also a word I’m so familiar with. I’m deviating from my usual environmental post to talk about my experience related to cancer. It started when I was twelve, right after mum decided to stop work and be a full time housewife. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t me who was diagnosed with cancer but my grandfather. He was the first that I know of to be diagnosed with cancer and it was colon cancer. The treatment came soon after he was being diagnosed. I was already a regular visitor of SJMC (a hospital) since I was young, again not because I was sick but I was often given the duty to accompany others for their medical checkups.

With my grandfather’s treatment, I visited the hospital more and more, sometimes on a daily basis. I remembered how my weekdays schedule were; Mondays and Thursdays I have tuition for two hours after school and at night I would drop by the hospital if grandfather was admitted. On days that he goes for treatment, mum would pick me up and we go straight to the hospital to wait for him until he finished his chemotherapy treatment. Grandfather was in stage 3 at that time, so he went for chemotherapy. I would spend hours sitting, talking to my mum or read a book while waiting for him. I often have my lunch in the hospital cafeteria too and I personally prefer the cafeteria in the old wing. The cancer department was in the new wing so I’d usually cross a bridge to the old wing for my lunch. They usually sell cakes and corn in cup too which was my favorite purchase before we leave for the day. Once grandfather is done with his treatment we would send him back for the day. On days that he was admitted to the hospital, I usually visit him in the afternoon and another time at night. It was more or less an on and off routine until I was fifteen. During those years, I cared for my grandmother too which I still do but she doesn’t visit the hospital as often now.

From those years of visiting the hospital, I learnt how to maneuver a wheelchair (which isn’t easy actually), how to help shift a person from the car to the wheelchair and spent hours waiting in the hospital looking at other patients while my own visits the doctor. I learnt how to care for a person who is bedridden and that when everything else fails to taste nice, cold jelly is your answer to get them to eat. I learnt how to read the charts and pick up doctors’ phrases because at that age understanding scientific words wasn’t really easy. But above everything, I learnt that caring for a sick person requires tolerance and patience. I used to be scared and so emotional seeing people get sick, worried that they will leave me one day. But I came to realize that a patient battling their own fight needed emotional support more than myself who is healthy. So I taught myself to be strong for them. And that every laughter meant so much to them because it makes a patient forget temporarily the suffering they have to go through. A sick person can be very difficult at times, most of the time you can’t really explain or understand why they act in a certain manner but know that it’s probably because they are struggling with their own battles too. And cancer was one tough battle. I remembered how my grandfather’s eyes would twinkle when I listen to his stories about his past or that I told him something about my day. He automatically smiles when I arrived at the hospital and always talks about his grandchildren to the doctors, even the nurses sometimes.

After grandfather passed away, I had few other family members that were diagnosed with cancer. My other grandfather, my relatives and now my dad. And every single time, it breaks my heart to know that this disease doesn’t have a cure yet. And every year, I would always somehow end up visiting SJMC, if not because of cancer it would be because of other sickness. It felt normal going to the hospital, like I’m going to a shopping mall. But getting news when someone is sick, especially the people I love always gets to me no matter how much I’ve dealt with. I got the news when I was in the UK, during Spring term. I was studying with my friend at our usual spot and I had a feeling to call my mum. When she told me the news, I tried so hard not to cry because I wanted to be strong for them. But I ended up crying without caring that there were people around me. But I’m better prepared now. Because I’ve learnt to understand their feelings before putting mine, I try to fulfill their demands as it would make them happy and put them at ease. I never had a youthful childhood where I get to go out when I like, spend hours with friends, go camping and hike up a mountain to watch the sunrise. Instead I mostly stayed at home and was taught (although I was reluctant) how to handle household chores. Not surprisingly, every time when there’s something big like when someone is sick or I’m having a major exams that’s the time when we would not have a maid too. So I had to learn how to clean the house, do the dishes, wash the clothes etc etc. Since I’m the only girl in the family, my mum always told me that if anything I had to takeover managing the family so I was practically drilled since young. I used to get so sad and rebellious about the fact that other friends could happily go camping and do things while I had to stay home and learn all these things.

Even until today, I don’t go out as and when I like. I usually plan a week ahead my outing schedule so that it doesn’t clash with anyone and that someone would be at home to handle things if I’m out. But now that I’m older, I could not complain. In fact, I felt bad for all the time that I was away while they’re struggling fighting their battles here. It’s the reason why I’m home now instead of enjoying my last few months of degree in the UK. With mum breaking her ankle and dad going through treatment, I cannot let them do everything themselves anymore. And even then, they were sorry that I had to come back although clearly I didn’t mind one bit. Balancing my own life while managing the house isn’t easy to be honest. I had to make sacrifices and because I’m needed at home most of the time, that means less time to catch up with friends or go for outing.

But at this age, I realized that some people are worth sacrificing for. I also realized that it won’t always be the same. I can’t be fifteen all the time and my family are not getting younger by the day. I wanted to share this because I know sometimes families can be difficult. We don’t always understand the people we love but that doesn’t mean that we should neglect them when it gets tough. Sometimes also we are not allowed certain things although we see no fault in it, but give them the benefit of the doubt and try taking their advice into consideration before you make a decision. The people who love you and care for you, love them back even when there are days they are harsh to you. They don’t always mean it. Sometimes, they have a lot on their mind too. Forgiveness is something you have to learn to give as much as you can so that you don’t end up bitter and full of hatred. And patience is something you must try to give because the people who love you, they were patient when you threw tantrums, when you were sobbing and going through your own pain. Most importantly, don’t ever take things for granted. Your priorities, make sure they’re worth it. You can’t buy time with a person. You also can’t solve everything. Which is why, even when you give your best, don’t forget to leave the rest that is beyond your control to The Almighty. He knows how to heal and only He can make miracles. Pray for your loved ones, pray that they are protected and always cared for and if it’s time that they leave, pray that they leave in peace and that they’ll be in a better place. Cherish your moments and treasure them because you never know when it will be taken away from you.

Morning from Budapest

Woke up today feeling at ease especially in a room filled with warm colors. The sunlight peaking through the curtains make it even more calming. It’s my third day in Budapest and I absolutely love this place, although I might say the same thing for every place I visit. But it is indeed beautiful. Budapest city is made up of two sides with Danube River in between. Not only it has 2 sides of history and culture to offer but it’s also different at night. Everything is relatively near and its interesting what you can discover when you’re out on a stroll around the city.

Since exams are over, I’ve been doing a bit of catching up with the current environmental issues especially here in Budapest. It fascinates and disappoints me at the same time to see what’s been going on around the world with regards to the environment. So here’s a bit of the information I got while I was leisurely enjoying the sun (or more like the bed) in Budapest.

On the 5th of June we human beings celebrated World Environment’s Day. I’m sure nobody missed this because it was trending everywhere on social media and there were news coverages about it too. I also read that US big players such as Google and Apple are joining forces to work towards their commitment in the Climate Change agreement. While Trump wanted out, it’s comforting to know that many US citizens are fighting his decisions and willing to come together for the purpose of making a better environment. But it saddens me to see that even environmental issues are highly influenced by politics when it is definitely every person’s responsibility to preserve and keep the environment in a healthy state. With so many challenges to protect our environment, the World Environment’s Day was indeed needed to bring people together and to instil awareness on the importance of keeping mother nature alive. People all over the world joined in celebrating the richness of earth by exploring nature and participating in environmental activities. Many organizations celebrated by holding conferences, events, competitions and setting trends on social media. It was really good to see everyone spirited about the environment and we must keep the momentum going. We can’t just celebrate for a day and expect the environment to heal on its own.

I also had a read on the passing of our Sumatran rhino in Malaysia. It is such a devastating news and with Puntung gone, Malaysia is left with only 2 Sumatran rhinos which is so close to extinction in Malaysia. Even in Indonesia, there are less than 100 Sumatran rhinos left. While Puntung’s death was to resolve it from going through suffering of chemotherapy and other pain, it is not doubt that the low number of Sumatran rhino population remains as a major concern for environmental workers in Malaysia. Protecting endangered species have always been a challenge in Malaysia especially when we are home to a diverse range of wildlife. Early last year, the news exploded when we lost more than 3 tigers within a month due to animal traps, accidents and poaching. That did not include other events, particularly animal trafficking and poaching that is constantly occuring not only in Malaysia but within the Southeast Asia region. While we don’t see the importance of protecting the wildlife, it is our duty to keep the balance in place. The wildlife is a source of contentment and happiness. It is in this world for reasons we might never know. But like every other creature on this planet, it is not our place to wipe them out so we can take over. They exist just like why the sky and sun exist. It is part of nature. The wildlife teaches us compassion and empathy on how to coexist in peace.

Apart from wildlife issues which are a constant worry, I’ve also been searching for ideas on how we can recycle things and remake them to be useful! While browsing through, I found a video about the typical paper cups we use to have hot drinks which are labeled as recyclable but often they are not recycled because of the high cost to remove a layer of wax from the cups. How surprising isn’t it ?! Of course when I get home I’ll be doing more research on that to fully understand the issue. I also found a few ideas that transforms plastic and old clothes to yarns so that it can be reused for weaving and knitting purposes. Since I love doing artsy stuff I had so much fun discovering all these ideas. I even made a few to-do list once I’m back at home. While this might not be contributing much to the amount of waste we humans generate every second, I really do hope that bit by bit we can instil awareness especially in Malaysia about the effects of wastage and how it pollutes our land, water, soil, air and many more. A polluted environment is definitely worrisome as it affects our health in general.

Also, I think this was old news as I read it a few months ago but there was a argument about the ban of plastic bags in Selangor, a state in Malaysia. While the ban of plastic bags was a common practice in other developed countries, not everyone took it well in Malaysia. The reaction towards this ban was also quite different. People were more willing to pay extra 20 cents to have the plastic bag for convenience. Since the ban was in place, the consumption of plastic bags for rubbish bins increased as well. The reason behind this was because many people used to recycle the plastic bags as waste bags but now they need to purchase as they can’t recycle the plastic bags anymore. While implementing ban for plastic bag had a good objective behind it, I think we should have also offered suggestions for solutions to the possible problems that comes with it. It is also important to educate why the ban of plastic bag is needed and how people can change their lifestyle to adapt to this new regulation. Alternative materials should be ready to act as substitute to plastic bags and we have to make it accessible for people to obtain them. Perhaps a short and long term campaign should have taken place so that it creates a sense of responsibility and encouragement for people to adhere to the new change in regulation. The objective of the ban is definitely a good effort but we could definitely improve more of creating awareness and getting more people to willingly pledge to the ban rather than enforce it to them.

With all the readings I did while in Budapest, it occured to me tht although we do have people fighting for the environment in Malaysia, it is not enough. It is not only protecting wildlife but also in our daily lifestyle. Although it is not easy, we could try to slowly change by constantly educating ourselves. Businesses and large organizations play an important role in shaping the lifestyle of our community too. It is so important to create awareness where possible and to learn about sustainability whenever we can.