Wordless Monday

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Selamat Hari Merdeka, Malaysia!

 

Animated-Flag-Malaysia

I remember when I was small, my Abah took me for a drive one day. It was longer than usual as by the time we got back home, it was already dark. My mom asked where did we go and I answered her that we just went to Raub town. (Raub, as I have blogged before is a small town, like Peyton Place). I told her how we saw the elephants, tigers, deers and we even had burgers for dinner.

My mom looked at me in a weird way. Raubians had certainly find eating burger a luxury. So certainly the trip wasnt just to Raub town…we actually went to Kuala Lumpur instead!

The road we took was long, winding and rough. The bends were rather nasty especially when you travel between Raub to Bentong. There was hardly any rest stops for my dad to fill in petrol for the car or buy some refreshments if we got tired. Street lights were scarce as well. The car had no airconditioning and it can get really stuffy inside.

TV channels if I could recall clearly was rather limited to TV1 and TV2. In black and white. The broadcasting would start at 6.00 pm daily and ends at 12.00 midnight. My mom would iron my blouses using a heavy cast bronze iron filled with burning coals. A bowl of starch sat next to her. The house was illuminated using a few strategically placed hurricane lamps that I helped my dad to pump before Maghrib time. Sometimes we use candles too.

I would help my mom with her cooking in the kitchen. We used this kerosene two-burner stove that I found troublesome and tricky. I hated the kerosene smell too. Cooking was slow and we had to plan carefully if we want to eat early.

All these were way back in the 1970’s when life was certainly different back then.

My daughter finds all these stories amusing. She now travels to her college by taxi that she calls using her mobile phone. We have a 42″ flat screen tv that runs channels 24/7. In full colour. Food is no issue. In KL, all you need to do is to think what you want to eat and you can almost get in here. Almost 24/7 too especially when there are so many eateries in the hotels that dot Klang Valley serving every imaginable dish you want. All you need is money.

Travelling is so comfortable now that all major highways that connect every major cities and towns in the peninsular are well connected via 4 lanes highways. R&R’s are built along these highways with complete one-stop services that you would never feel lonely even when driving at night.

Every imaginable businesses sprouted to tap into the ever growing and demanding need of an expanding nation. You will see every imaginable nationalities in the business districts of the major cities. Cars of various makers, big and small. Mom and pop shops growing along with global MNC’s.

Yes, Malaysia may be now a modern country with all the modern structures and platforms but have we really move forward with the times? Have we changed our mindset and prepare ourselves for these changes?

We are still bickering about what details go into our Mykad. There are still people who live below the poverty line, children who have never seen the gates of schools, teenagers who thinks that “lepaking” is a great way to spend your free time.

There are those who could recite all the lyrics of famous bands but yet cant even remember the basic “rukun negara” (the National principals) and how many stripes are there on Malaysia’s flag. Do they even know that the flag has a name?

So, the question is – tomorrow our nation will celebrate her 52nd independance day but are we truly independant?

Selamat Hari Merdeka, my Malaysia!

Reflection On A Thursday Morning

I have just completed my sahur of smoked salmon and biscuits washed down with coffee. Had an orange too for the added vitamin C. The tv channel is on TV3. Then I heard her. She was reciting the surah Al Fatihah in the most beautiful, lyrical way, almost singing, in my opinion. And, have you ever seen a beautiful Ustazah before? Well, this lady certainly has it.

Her name is Ustazah Asni Abdul Mansor. She runs a weekly on-air Islamic program and has her students reciting all the various Quran verses in perfect Iqrak and, beautiful.

Her website states that she is the Deputy Managing Director of an Al Quran Training Centre, a freelance Motivator and married with 4 children. What a mama!

With an Ustazah like this, I am sure it would be a GREAT motivator to learn the Quran.

I Share The Same League As Oprah Winfrey

I have always been fascinated by people’s various characters, nuances, behaviours and have harnessed an uncanny ability over time to read a person. They may not be right all the time, but over the years, the “message” has been refined. I find that George’s uncanny resemblance in this skill interesting from the moment I knew him. He calls his skills as “Spidey’s sense”.

According to a profiler I took recently, I have been identified as ENFJ, meaning that I am:

  • moderately expressed extravert
  • moderately expressed intuitive personality
  • distinctively expressed feeling personality
  • moderately expressed judging personality

As an ENFJ, I am called an Idealist. The core competencies as an Idealist are:

  • Idealists are enthusiastic, they trust their intuition, yearn for romance, seek their true self, prize meaningful relationships, and dream of attaining wisdom.
  • Idealists pride themselves on being loving, kindhearted, and authentic.
  • Idealists tend to be giving, trusting, spiritual, and they are focused on personal journeys and human potentials.
  • Idealists make intense mates, nurturing parents, and inspirational leaders.

There are four types of Idealists: Champion, Counselor, Healer, Teacher. I belong to the last type – Teacher. *(see link)

Teachers have a natural talent for leading students or trainees toward learning, or as Idealists like to think of it, they are capable of calling forth each learner’s potentials. Teachers (around two percent of the population) are able – effortlessly, it seems, and almost endlessly-to dream up fascinating learning activities for their students to engage in. In some Teachers, this ability to fire the imagination can amount to a kind of genius which other types find hard to emulate. But perhaps their greatest strength lies in their belief in their students. Teachers look for the best in their students, and communicate clearly that each one has untold potential, and this confidence can inspire their students to grow and develop more than they ever thought possible.

In whatever field they choose, Teachers consider people their highest priority, and they instinctively communicate personal concern and a willingness to become involved. Warmly outgoing, and perhaps the most expressive of all the types, Teachers are remarkably good with language, especially when communicating in speech, face to face. And they do not hesitate to speak out and let their feelings be known. Bubbling with enthusiasm, Teachers will voice their passions with dramatic flourish, and can, with practice, become charismatic public speakers. This verbal ability gives Teachers a good deal of influence in groups, and they are often asked to take a leadership role.

Teachers like things settled and organized, and will schedule their work hours and social engagements well ahead of time-and they are absolutely trustworthy in honoring these commitments. Valuing as they do interpersonal cooperation and harmonious relations, Teachers are extraordinarily tolerant of others, are easy to get along with, and are usually popular wherever they are.

Teachers are highly sensitive to others, which is to say their intuition tends to be well developed. Certainly their insight into themselves and others is unparalleled. Without a doubt, they know what is going on inside themselves, and they can read other people with uncanny accuracy. Teachers also identify with others quite easily, and will actually find themselves picking up the characteristics, emotions, and beliefs of those around them. Because they slip almost unconsciously into other people’s skin in this way, Teachers feel closely connected with those around them, and thus show a sincere interest in the joys and problems of their employees, colleagues, students, clients, and loved ones.

Mikhail Gorbachev, Oprah Winfrey, Pope John Paul II, Ralph Nader, John Wooden, and Margaret Mead are examples of Teacher Idealists.

So there. Me in this league of these great names including Oprah Winfrey! Who says being unique isnt good?

Home

 

“Home, is where you feel safe”.

~ Melisande, Azincourt by Bernard Cornwell

Violence Against Women

My friend, M posted up a link to Afghan’s new law that allows husbands to starve their wives should they dont get their fix of sex within 4 days in a week.

I keep on wondering why does the laws like these in Muslim countries always revolve around how men’s inabilities to control their dicks in their pants?

Violence against women is about power and control.

According to Women’s Aid Organization, there are various forms of abuse:

  • Psychological and emotional abuse
  • Social abuse
  • Financial abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Physical abuse

I have blogged a few pieces on true stories of abused women within my circle of friends and it still leave me in awe how these women still accept this form of treatment as “normal”. I just discovered recently how an auntie of mine was slapped by her husband when she came back a bit late from a dinner with her friends.  She was late by 15 minutes. There are mobile phones they can use to check on the wife. Still…

How could they allow their self esteemed be repressed? Dont the women have rights too in the household? The children would surely witness these treatments and most would be traumatized. They will grow up with certain stigmas and perceptions.

These husbands expect the wives to be a sex-kitten in bed at a press of a button. And all these after a full day of being the ultimate teacher to the children, bear him children (boys are the preferred gender to carry on their names), world class chef, a driver, a nurse, a counsellor, a clerk, a banker and working 8 hours a day in the office.

Some husbands dont even know where their wives’ buttons are after being married for donkey years. How pathetic that can be?

Surely this picture doesnt seem right and just?

Welcoming The Ramadhan Al Mubarak

 

ramadhan

This year’s Ramadhan started off with a sahur together with The Teenager who thoughtfully brought home “kampung fried rice” when she came back from her outings.

This year’s Ramadhan is different too as we will fast as a new family albeit the distance that we have at the moment.

Just like any other year, the Muslim community in Malaysia welcomes the Ramadhan Al Mubarak in a big bang sort of way. A number of my relatives and friends actually took leave on Friday to prepare for its arrival by preparing local delicacies. In the evening, the menfolks would go to the mosque to perform the special Terawih prayers.

And the festive mood is in the air.

The Ramadhan bazaars would be the focus point for each and every year. I know George would love this. Certain areas of the city is designated for stall owners to sell varieties of food ranging from normal every day “lauk” to certain delicacies that you can only get during Ramadhan month. Most Ramadhan bazaars would start around 4.00 pm and end just right after the breaking fast which is about 7.30pm.

Many years back when I was still living in Kuantan, Pahang, I took the opportunity to open up a “lauk” stall in the Ramadhan bazaar in the town area. This was the time when life was a bit tough and I was doing everything that I could to supplement the family’s income. Every day at about 4.00 am I would be in the wet market picking up the freshest vegetables and meat, and by 6.00 am I would be busy back in the kitchen preparing for the morning’s cooking activities.

Mind you, I was alone, preparing at least about 15 to 20 variety of dishes ranging from curry to “gulai” to fried stuff and to cap off all these, a range of kuih-muih as dessert. Condiments had to be prepared ahead of time such as grinding the dried chillies or peeling the onions and garlic so that time is not wasted.

By 3.00 pm, a van would come and pick me up together with the rest of the dishes which by now have been packed into multiple big containers. Sometimes while waiting for the van, I would doze off for a few minutes trying to catch up on my sleep.

Income was very good. Everything was on cash basis. I lost weight so much that I had to buy belt to tighten up my jeans. Would I want to do it all over again? Maybe, if done a bit differently – with assistants, proper vehicle to transport the food out and a complete kitchen. But then again, I said, just maybe…

Cooking for the new family during this Ramadhan is one of my ultimate wishes this year but unfortunately things are not meant to be just as yet. God willing next year would be a different scenario all together.

My husband called to wish me the Ramadhan Al Mubarak and I wished him the same. He is thoughtful as always. I have started my fast when he called. He will perform his fast the next day as he is still on his Friday at where he is at the moment.

Core Competencies To Survive The 21st Century Relationships

In the olden days, Mr Oook The Husband would go out spend his days hunting for siber tigers in the jungle and Mrs Oook The Wife would be busy cleaning up the fishes caught from the nearby stream that runs near the dwellings. The story went that a few years back when Mr Oook saw the then Miss Oook (then with a different name, nee something else I am sure) looking so pretty while she sat next to the fire that she started off by herself using the newly found technic of rubbing two fire-stones together, he just sashayed over, clubbed her head till she kneeled over, carried her off on his shoulder and declared her, his.

I do believe that some of the core competencies useful to have during this uh, time would include resourcefulness, agility and ability to gauge how much of force to use when either knocking down the woman that you want or killing that ferocious looking Bambiraptor whats-his-name (I challenge you to google that one up! It did exist!!) that has fangs that dragged down to scratch the earth, scaly body and long talons. Although on a hind sight, the last competencies would also demonstrate his skills harnessed from all the years surviving among a group of people who has their names started off from either Oook also, or Aaak, Uhhh or something similar. And everyone had a club to knock out someone’s head.

Comparatively I guess it’s like having a mobile – mine is Nokia and yours is Motorola but the use is the same – to communicate.

“Have a club will travel” could be the motto during this time too.

Lesson here is this:  if you like someone, you club her head. If you dont like someone,you hit harder.

Fast forward to the current living. Ever wonder what kind of competencies required to survive the love  relationships 21st century style? It has evolve so much that there are, it seems.

I guess agility would still be a good competency to have, even in modern times. I mean, imagine if you cant be flexible on what is available for lunch during your short lunch break, right? Or trying to decide which route to take so that you will reach that meeting at a client’s office that took you 6 months back to set up? Or, worse still, trying to work with a colleague who has communication etiquette as close as a “mapiau” seller?

That can be considered as relationship, right? Not that I am suggesting you start an office romance, but you get my drift.

Global awareness? How about this one? Interestingly enough, I find this applies to the survival of a relationship in the 21st century. Imagine having your Babette who lives 10,000 miles away with 14 hours time difference.

First and foremost, only mad people do this. Mad people tend to do things the unconventional way, but then I digress.

To possess a “global awareness” competencies is, I think, a pre requisite when you have a distant relationships. The reason being is that, you need to be ab.so.lutely creative enough to minimize the effect of either the time difference, communication skills, language barrier, cultural, religious and ethnic issues. I can continue on and on!

See what I mean about only mad people do this? As it is, I have a hard time dealing with the Malaysians. So, people, global awareness is a must-have to survive in this century!

Some of my friends say that it is very important to have integrity thrown into the equation. I agree too. At least to me, when a guy says he’s picking me up for a movie, a dinner AND will send me home afterwards without asking for additional incentives for all his troubles, he better keep his words.

But then, guess I wont have any issues in this department anymore as I am married to my Wonderful Guy. But, just saying, you know?

What else can we thrown in here? I guess way too many.

Life is complicated as it is and the need to be resilient to all of these things that happen around you is very important to keep your sanity in place.

Of course, when the equation is also included in you having to deal with crappy exes and all that would take a different skill set.

Young? Or Old?

I cannot help but to think that some of the actors look better looking more mature now than when they first started off their career a decade ago.

When I was 15, I had a teenage crush on Richard Gere. I even had his poster next to my bed. I remember in that poster he was wearing an unbuttoned blue denim shirt, tucked into his blue jeans and always smiling at me.

But seriously, look at these pictures…

 

 (SC)Leonardo_DiCaprio_Photo

or

leonardo-di-caprio-225x300

 

grease

or

john_travolta

Hmmm….