Privileged, but . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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our eyes, do they really see?

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

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

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

It’s surprising isn’t it?

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

Then they do it and prove you wrong.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

give yourself a chance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nature calls.

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

Why is the tiger so quiet and lazy?

How do people feed them?

Aren’t tigers supposed to be running around?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

all the ‘what ifs’ & missed opportunities.

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

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

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

So I changed my intentions again about school.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 ! 🙂

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.