3 TIMES A WEEK

I am fat. Save your wheedling. I don’t sugarcoat shit. I am aware that I am fat. In fact, I am borderline obese.

I also go to gymnasium. I try to do that 3 times a week. I don’t lose weight because I eat like a racing horse.

.
.
.

Why I hit the gym?

1. Focus. I go to there mostly alone. I don’t make small talk. I go in, change, exercise and go out. Usually takes around one hour.

2. Freedom. I go to a gym with a floor dedicated only for ladies. So I can be freeeeeeee.

3. Weights. I usually train with weights, cardio (treadmill or bike) and then back to weights. I like the equipments.

I feel that the money I spent for every entry is worth all those. I don’t pay for membership, because I usually go in the morning, which is happy hour. Beats membership cost.

.
.
.

The question I usually get is “How much weight have you lost?” I don’t lose. Told you I eat like there’s no tomorrow. But I gain these significant benefits, instead.

1. Clothes fit better. Even though you don’t lose weights, you can feel your muscles grow firmer and your body more toned. Clothes are good measure.

2. Better blood sugar control. Exercise regulates insulin better. Less craving for sugary food. So I eat better too. My mood also stabilizes.

3. Better sleep. As someone who have this difficulty, exercise helps alot. I also wake up early and more refreshed on nights when sleep is scarce.

These gains are far better than losing weight. BUT, I don’t condone my eating habits. Yesterday in Toastmasters, someone spoke about eating healthy. I am aware I have to improve on this area.

.
.
.

I am just saddened every time I hear ladies say things like “I want to be thin so I look prettier” or when taking pictures, “Make me look thinner, please.”

Ladies, you are fat and beautiful and fabulous. No but! Let’s lose weight for health. Cause we are beautiful just the way we are.

.
.
.

Hit the gym. Eat right. Be proud of habits and disciplines.

Ajan,
A lot to improve.

Advertisements

I am fat. Save your wheedling. I don’t sugarcoat shit. I am aware that I am fat. In fact, I am borderline obese.

I also go to gymnasium. I try to do that 3 times a week. I don’t lose weight because I eat like a racing horse.

.
.
.

Why I hit the gym?

1. Focus. I go to there mostly alone. I don’t make small talk. I go in, change, exercise and go out. Usually takes around one hour.

2. Freedom. I go to a gym with a floor dedicated only for ladies. So I can be freeeeeeee. You also look less weird singing Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant on a treadmill than in a recreational park.

3. Weights. I usually train with weights, cardio (treadmill or bike) and then back to weights. I like the equipments. There are mirrors for me to check my form, as well.

I feel that the money I spent for every entry is worth all those. I don’t pay for membership, because I usually go in the morning, which is happy hour. Beats membership cost.

.
.
.

The question I usually get is “How much weight have you lost?” I don’t lose. Told you I eat like there’s no tomorrow. But I gain these significant benefits, instead.

1. Clothes fit better. Even though you don’t lose weights, you can feel your muscles grow firmer and your body more toned. Clothes are good measure.

2. Better blood sugar control. Exercise regulates insulin better. Less craving for sugary food. So I eat better too. My mood also stabilizes.

3. Better sleep. As someone who have this difficulty, exercise helps alot. I also wake up early and more refreshed on nights when sleep is scarce.

These gains are far better than losing weight. BUT, I don’t condone my eating habits. Yesterday in Toastmasters, someone spoke about eating healthy. I am aware I have to improve on this area.

.
.
.

I am just saddened every time I hear ladies say things like “I want to be thin so I look prettier” or when taking pictures, “Make me look thinner, please.”

Ladies, you are fat and beautiful and fabulous. No but! Let’s lose weight for health. Cause we are beautiful just the way we are.

.
.
.

Hit the gym. Eat right. Be proud of habits and disciplines.

Ajan,
A lot to improve.

A (Literal) Photo Shop

The Fujifilm sign outside appeared brand new. But the shop exterior looked old. Not bleak or dreary, but outdated with a homey feeling to it. The kind of shop that the moment you enter, you are greeted by old couples whom you immediately know have been making a living from the very same shop for a long time. So is this one.

I wore red. I felt beautiful. And when the uncle smiled at me, I felt ravishing. The kind of smile that attracted you, not in a flirty way, but charming and full of warmth.

I got my photos taken. It was time for a new one. I have gotten chubby. But more importantly, for some indefinite reasons, I want one of me in red.

When I paid at the counter, I noticed a graduation photo of a young lady with the couple.

“Uncle, is that you?” I asked.
“Yes.”

“Is that your daughter?”
He nodded. Aunty smiled from behind the counter while counting my balance.

“I was handsome. Now, I am old.” He smiled wider.
I smiled back, took my balance from aunty and nodded to them before leaving.

I wanted to tell him “You are old. And still handsome. You have the most charming smile.” I wanted the aunty to acknowledge that when I ask, “Right, aunty?” and proceeded to tell them how beautiful their daughter is and that they must be very proud of her.

But like all short encounters, those words are left unsaid. Those beautiful words resounded in my head, tingling in my ears with a tinge of regret. I hope my smile left a patch of warmth on their hearts, in place of those words that are lost in translation when my mind works slower than my mouth.

Deaths in The Family

How do you face the death of someone you care? I don’t mean after. I mean the before and during. I have seen people taking care of sick people. I have seen people cried when someone dies. I have seen calm people in the same situation, and I wonder, “Are they like me?” I wanted to ask them, “Have you known it before also?” but never did.

Because talking about death is a taboo. Planning for death in details is seen as pathetic. I don’t assume this. I have been scolded. I have witnessed people shushing the speaker also.

I rarely cry when there is death in my family. To most people, death is a beginning of a sad episode of losing someone they love. To me, death is a closure of a numbing episode of overwhelming torture. I hope it wasn’t what the dying people feel. I always pray for that, every single time.

It usually began with a dream. More like a nightmare actually. They don’t stop haunting me after I wake up. And then there is pain that I can’t explain. there is overwhelming sadness that comes out of nowhere. The more I care about that person, the more intense and vivid these feelings.

Sometimes I felt guilty feeling relieved after the death, as if I was selfish. I was supposed to be sad after the lost, I thought. But as I am writing this, I realized it is something beyond my control. It doesn’t have to be said out loud to those losing their loved ones. I can write. I can tell one or two people. To lessen the heavy grip on my shoulder for a bit.

I like to think of it as a  gift I have yet understand. Sometimes when it gets too overwhelming, I will pray for the impossible, “Allah, please don’t let someone die”. I know it will still happen, but I have let it out to someone who loved me most, Allah. He willed this to me, He knows what I should do with this. So my regular prayer has always been and still is

“O Allah, teach me the way out. Show me the silver lining. Keep my faith strong. Aamiin.”

Thank You versus Sorry

Sorry I am late.

versus

Thank you for waiting patiently.

Which one sounds better to you?

Receiving sorry makes the listener feels like owing forgiveness to the speaker. The listener is put in place where he is expected to give something. Sorry also signifies guilt in the speaker. The speaker puts himself in need of forgiveness.

Thank you signifies gratitude. The speaker shows gratitude to the listener. The listener feels appreciated. He feels complimented for what he has given to the speaker who made the mistake, which the listener can’t take back and can’t undo.

The listener don’t have to weigh whether he needs to say

I forgive you

but instead, say

Thank you

for the gratitude and compliment he just received.

Let’s practice saying

Thank you for lending me your ears.

Thank you for giving me your time.

Thank you for supporting me despite our arguments.

Thank you for standing up for me against the bullies.

Thank you for being my friend.

Thank you for letting me be in your life.

May our lives be positive and beautiful.

Closure

What is it about human hearts that makes us so weak yet so strong?

Recover.

Human hearts can never recover from pain. It just grows stronger and more resilient. No one recovers from broken hearts. No one gets over a lost person. No one stops feeling sad. The heart just molds into something more beautiful and more firm, like root penetrating soil to form gripping foundation for the growing tree.

Thus never make the mistake of telling someone that they will get over it or time will heal. Instead, congratulate for holding on, hold their hands as their heart transforms and pray for the invincible person they will become.

Sensitive.

Often I hear the label ‘sensitive’ given to a person like it is the worst weakness a human can have. Is being sensitive worse than putting down people? Is being sensitive worse than being disrespectful? Is being sensitive worse than lying? Absolutely not.

179792d9733310416a11b42c3d545ff6

It takes a sensitive woman to make a good mother. It takes a sensitive person to be a good leader who cares about his followers. It takes a sensitive countryman to make a good soldier. It takes a sensitive Prophet to last a teaching till the end of humankind.

A sensitive person just needs the skills to go with their strong emotions. To feel negative emotions without acting on it. To feel people’s hardship and compose a plan to help them. To notice the slightest changes to act on a different course of plan immediately with a strong mind.

Hence, never tell a sensitive person to stop feeling or contain their emotion. Teach them the skills to pour that overwhelming energy into positive actions. Help them regain their senses when they are losing their head to their hearts.

Closure.

This is something hard, for me. Something I have yet figured out. How do you move on from a certain feeling? Forgiving without receiving any apology. Loving someone new without the certainty of letting go of a person. How do you create a closure?

Even though the forgiveness is said out loud and the love is made known, there is something unsettling deep in heart. Maybe my heart hasn’t reach it’s full transformation yet. Maybe it is not something that needs solving, but like riddles, enjoyed in amusement of anticipating the answer.

THE CHOICE IS OURS TO MAKE…

whether to build people’s strengths or keep correcting their mistakes, to be in awe of their beauty of imperfections or making them follow the mainstreams, to listen to their awkward side or to highlight those sides they are not proud of.

I finally understood when Ella’s mother told her to “Have courage. Be kind.”

3 Simple Ways To Maintain Tidy Environment

Keeping clean and organized is not that hard. You just have to have the right philosophies. No real back-bending works, just discipline. The real challenge is in making this discipline a habit once you get the philosophies.

1. Everything has a home

Even things as small as paperclips and hair pins. Design a home for every single thing you own. Or at least set an area to put them. For example, to organize a kitchen, set some rules: paper cups in the cabinet, forks and spoons in the drawers, left-over food in the lard not left on dining table.

After designing the rule and experimenting with the effectiveness, stick to it. Change only when you want to improvise, not simply because you’re too lazy to move things.

Source: Lux and Lace

2. 30-Second Rule

Anything that can be done in 30 seconds, do it now. I call this the effective procrastination. Every time I’m deciding whether to do something now or later, I estimate the time taken to do it. Most of the time, we tend to over-estimate the clearing job. Delaying 30 seconds to clear a space is worth your energy. Because when you come back to that space after that, seeing it clean will give a sense of being in control and calmness, especially at home where we’re suppose to feel at home.

Examples of 30-second errands that are always procrastinated include washing a set of dish for one person, making space on computer table before leaving it, folding three pieces of clothes instead of dumping them on the bed, putting some books back at their shelf instead of leaving them on the coffee table.

3. Guests-Friendly environment

Set in mind that your house is guests-friendly. Keep it as if you’re about to receive guests anytime. You yourself will feel welcomed in your own house. Clear the hallway so guests enter with ease and good first impression. Organize the kitchen so tea can be prepared swiftly for guests. Keep coffee table clean so guests can be comfortably seated in the main area. These places can be your Zen places in the house, too.

Source: Klik Rumah Anda dot com

These are simple ways I keep my place tidy. It’s not much, but it is the simplest thing that is always overlooked. To me, a tidy home signifies a healthy mind.

Something To Be Grateful About

As she sits in the driver seat after stopping the car at the roadside, she grabs her phone and text them via their Whatsapp group. While waiting for reply, she lamented about what happened last night.

The night was pitch dark. Though it was not new moon or anywhere near that, the night was probably cloudy because it rained for a few hours after noon. The hole was quite big and the bump was hard. She was a bit dizzy when she stepped lightly on the brake pad as she steered the car out of the road, after feeling the steering give away to the front left tire failure. The oil palm plantation, though familiar, was so gloomy and silent as always. The only noise came from the irregular traffic.

Nobody would stop their vehicle at that place. Not even her, if she were them. She was too scared to go out of the car to stop anyone, anyway. Theoretically, she knows how to change tire. But it was too dark and she didn’t have torchlight with her. And she was too weary after a-day at work to even think of the possibility of doing that on her own. So she waited for their reply.

The reply came. She knew they were too far to come. But there was a suggestion to call insurance assistance. Good idea. So she did. It was helpful. The insurance helper at the other end of the line was caring and warm. But the panel mechanic needs a long time to reach there because it was out of town. So she waited.

She cried. Not because she was scared. She had face scarier situations. She cried because she felt pathetic. She was on the way to a part-time job, where she can earn money on the spot. Now, she lost the chance. Seeing the almost empty car fuel tank was not helping to calm her down. And this situation has went on for weeks. She started hating the decision. Why did she even bother to use this road despite her mother’s warning? What was she thinking when she thought she can save on petrol by risking this?

She was so thirsty but she couldn’t drink because she needed a bathroom so badly. She drank, anyway. But she choked. The water spilled. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she threw up on her lap. She grabbed the nearest towel in the car clumsily, only to realize later that the towel was dirty. Instead of cleaning, she smeared dirt on her cloth.

She broke down again, praying hard that something good is going to come. She needed something good so badly.

Her friends offered to come when they were finished with their business. She was too exhausted to think of an answer when asked whether she needed them. She couldn’t decide whether she should say no cause it was very far from them or she should just be selfish and say yes. But the mechanic arrived when she hesitated, so she said ‘It’s ok now’. This was more than an hour after that.

She startles when the phone rings. They are coming this time. Without asking whether they are needed anymore. How could the same thing happens twice in no more than half a day? This time she needs a tow truck. The spare tire was a goner. Luckily, the insurance also covers that. When they arrive, she can’t say a thing. She is overwhelmed with sadness and self-pity and touched at the same time.

She feels a pang of guilt when she finds in between the words of Allah:

89-16

She recalls how happy she was to be home last night. Even the warmth and the purr of her cats felt and sounded different, more calming. She is grateful for her exceptionally noble, caring and selfless friends. She is safe. The car is good. The damage is covered by insurance. She is calm now. How could she not be grateful? There are so many things to be grateful about in her life right now. How could she ever forget those things in the face of difficulties?

She remembers her friend mentioned:

“Say you face the worst day of your life, when you get home that night, what will you be thankful for? Think hard of the list and never forget.”

God promised in Quran at 2:155,

2.155And she finally finds peace and prays that something significantly good will come out of this. Amiin.

Rambles

I miss my blog so much that I’m now writing without plans, which is so not me. Every post is always carefully planned and mind-mapped, like a school kid writing for his examination essay.

As I’m writing, I muse, “What happened in life that I strayed away from writing?” Oh now I realize! I’ve become so active in Toastmasters that I speak a lot. Thus speaking has become a new way of silencing my buzzing mind, instead of writing them all down in here.

Or is it because I’ve become too comfortable with my life lately that I find no joy in writing anymore? The word comfortable made me uncomfortable. Unlike lazy, where the doer realized his deliberate inaction or procrastination, comfortable is another form of lazy where the doer is unaware. If I’m actually comfortable, I should be unaware, thus I’m scared of this person that I’ve become.

I realized lately that I’m not amused with books as much as I used to be. I used to be able to read my favorite books all night long. Nowadays, I fell asleep after only a few pages. I even tried changing genre of book I’m reading to no avail. In fact, not many things excite me the way I used to be. Is this a part of growing up? Or growing old, as a matter of fact? Because now, I don’t like it at all.

But there’s one thing I can do. I can enumerate the many, many happy things that happened in life lately. Jamie gave birth to three beautiful kittens in February. I won a bicycle in a lucky draw in April. I participated in One Day One Juzuk (an online community where you finish a juzuk of al-Quran per day among 30 groups of people who motivate each other and achieve khatam everyday) since February and I’ve never seen Allah’s word more beautiful than now. And now is the month of Ramadhan – the most beautiful month in Hijri calendar and I’m living through the first 6 days of it.

SubhanALLAH. Life is so beautiful it voids all our complaints and whines. We just have to pause and look closer at all of those beautiful things around us.

30-Second Rule

There are a lot of 30-second Rule but the one that I’m referring to was introduced to me by Tikki Kustenmacher in ‘How To Simplify Your Life’.

It says that :
When something takes no more than 30 seconds to be completed, do it now.

This may seem simple. In fact, the contents of the book are simple. But that’s the trick of our whole life – simple is the best solution. People just confuse simple with simplistic.

This 30-second Rule, simple as it is, is how I taught myself to stop procrastinating and keeping my place organized and tidy.

Here are examples of household chores that require less than 30 seconds to finish, yet often procrastinated:
1. Wash cup after drinking (rather than collecting a few cups afterwards).
2. Wash pot right after cooking (rather than soaking and telling ourselves it’ll clean easier later).
3. Do dishes of one person after meal (rather than waiting until later, giving chance for ants to dine in).
4. Cleaning a spot in bathroom while taking shower (rather than cleaning vigorously once every few weeks).
5. Emptying dish rack before cooking (the later dishes will be dried faster this way because they’re not accumulated).
6. Empty the trash bin (so much better now than until it overflows later).
7. Organize a few fresh laundry straight from air dry (rather than waiting till they become a bucketful).
8. Clear weeds from potted plants as we water them.
9. Clear the car interior as we run the engine before going out in the morning.

These are some simple things that have kept my spaces organized and clutter-free. The 30-second Rule has made me see my everyday life in different perspective.

Every time I look at simple job that needs to be done, I ask myself:
Does this take more than 30 seconds?
Most of the time, the answer is “No” and, again, I keep my place clutter-free.

image

Roy

Today, I met a guy named Roy. He is a salesman. I heard his voice saying, “Hello. Hello!” in front of my neighbors’ houses. One house to another, he went. I was home alone at that time.

Finally, he reached in front of my house. I took a peek from a slight gap in between the window curtains in the room where I was sitting and saw his face. He said hello a few times. I didn’t answer straight away on purpose – to observe him a little longer.

He wore a blue uniform with a pair of black pants. There was a sling back on his right shoulder, the color of mossy green. His hair was neatly combed, parted to the right. He wore white and black shoes, the kind that school kids wear. I didn’t see him wearing watch, maybe he kept track of time using his phone. He has this kind of smiling face which is hard to not like – boyish and friendly.

It was half an hour after noon. The weather was hot. It feels like the Sun is peeling my skin when I was outside. And this guy was standing there under the scorching Sun, saying hello to don’t-know-how-many houses he had been to.

I finally opened the front sliding door and answer him from behind the metal grills. I was alone, so I reminded myself to be careful. But actually I don’t have to because until the end, that guy was standing outside of the gate the whole time.

In other words, he laid out his sales lines from outside the opened gates, under the sauna-like weather, approximately 10 feet from me who was standing behind closed grills. Reminded me so much about the dilemma between sales efficiency and respecting privacy.

He needed my cooking gas pipe serial number so I went in to get it and wrote it down on a piece of paper. Even when I tried to hand the paper our to him, he stayed outside and asked politely for me to read it out for him.

He continued with his sales line which, honestly, I don’t even remember. The only information that I remember are he’s from a company called UJS, the company office is in town and his name.

All the while he was giving his presentation, I wasn’t listening, because I was too busy observing him. And I was thinking of offering him something to drink but since he didn’t even want to step inside the gate, I let it pass.

The final question he asked, in his thick Sabahan accent, was, “Kakak ada ‘ati mau cuba?” which means, “Would you like to try this product?”, referring to the gas line he was selling. I said, “No.” He said thank you.

And as he was about to leave, I asked him his name. He said, “Roy” and proceeded showing me his name tag and mentioned his company name again, maybe thinking that I was suspecting him as fraud. And I asked whether he is from Borneo and he confirmed. That was how I know his name.

The reason I asked for his name is only one.

I want to remember that one day, when I was alone at home, feeling down and hopeless, a guy named Roy came and it hits me how ungrateful I have been and there are more unfortunate people around me who are working so hard to get to where I am now.

I know they will succeed. I know Roy will succeed. I will, too.

Hat’s off and thank you to Roy!

3 Incidents That Made Me Smile Today

I bought Domino’s Pizza for lunch. While waiting in the queue, a mid-Eastern guy came to the counter and mumbled something to the cashier. The cashier’s brows crinkled. They guy kept repeating the same words and the cashier girl even turned behind for her friend’s help. Her friend was standing near the kitchen door.

I tried to listen to their conversation and I finally sneaked in, “You mean post office?” The guy nodded. I showed him the way which was just a few shop lots away. The guy thanked me. After he left, the cashier and I smiled at each other and I said, “It’s the accent, huh?” I guess a few years with multinational classmates turned out to be useful these days.

domino

I rode back to my hometown afterwards. On my way, there was a construction site. They put on signboards to warn road users which is very good. The only funny thing was it is spelled wrongly. If you know Malay language, it is supposed to be HADAPAN. The sign reads ‘Warning, constructions in front’.

I purposely turned back and stopped to take this picture. And to not let other road users thought that I’m in trouble and needed help, I pretended I was looking for something that fell down and then acted like I’m answering call and texting.

Not long after this sign, I stumbled upon a guy riding with his dog in front. It made me laughed out loud. Partly because I never succeeded doing that with any of my cat. Another part because the dog’s face radiates pure happiness and joy, like it is his best treat from his master. They look something like the picture below.

152143358_eee6f88e3b

I read from somewhere I couldn’t remember:

“If you can find humor in almost every situation in your life, that’s pure happiness.”

Smile in every situation.

 

100th Post

This is not my 100th post.

It is the previous post.

And I only realized that after I hit the Publish button.

You published your 100th post.

“Writing is a struggle against silence.” – Carlos Fuentes

Earlier today, Cristian Mihai posted on Facebook,

“The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.” – Neil Gaiman

Somehow, arriving at this benchmark makes me relates these two.

The coward in me is still not confident about her English, let alone publishing something. But the confident me is sure about continuing this journey.

Good luck, me!

How Queer Love Is

I found out that to hurt someone we love is so easy. We don’t have to hurt them with words. We don’t have to hurt them by rejecting them. We just have to self-destruct.

I found out that when someone I love self-destruct, it is much more painful and unbearable than when that person hurt me directly with words. Because when someone self-destruct, they usually don’t realize. Logically, people don’t self-destruct. Only unreasonable people self-destruct – when clouded by overwhelming emotions.

How queer love makes human react. When we get hurt by someone we love, we can bear it. When someone we love hurts him/herself, we find it unbearable.

Broken-Heart-Backgrounds-Wallpaper

A Missing Piece of Heart

I try to not have expectations for my friends. I believe in unconditional love – giving without asking back. But when you love someone, it is hard to not have expectations towards them. It’s a nature in humans, nature of heart.

Wives expect care from their husbands. Husbands expect respect from their wives. Friends expect time spent together from friends. Parents expect success from their children. Sometimes, it is amazing how far one can go to meet their loved one’s expectations.

There are times that I feel that a piece of my heart is missing, like a loved one being pulled away from me. I assume it’s because of unmet expectation. But the more important thing is when I feel so, I quickly evaluate myself – how is my relationship with HIM lately?

The reason is I believe that when one is pulled away from someone, their minds and hearts are not vibrating in the same frequency. In other words, when I feel ‘close’ to Allah and the other person is also the same, our minds are vibrating in the same frequency and thus, being pulled together. Attracted to each other.

I asked questions.

“Ya Allah, is it me or is it the other person ‘facing away’ from You?”
“Ya Allah, what have I done wrong that I feel uneasy?”
“Ya Allah, how do I shake this feelings away?”

It feels like my heart is missing a piece. It is different than friends going away because of marriage or moving to new town. That kind of feeling is like having an empty slot in my heart but it feels right. Having an empty slot cause it is time feels okay. That naturally happens in life – people move on, make new commitments and get on with life. They don’t leave, they just went further. Meeting occasionally, texts once in a while, irregular phone calls and few Facebook chats once in three months will mend the empty slots in the end. They are empty, but they are not void.

But the missing-a-piece-of-my-heart kind of feeling makes me uneasy. Like, sometimes, we are just a stone’s throw away from each other, yet the distance feels like hundreds of kilometers. It is getting harder to spend time with each other – from outing to outing feels like forever. And when you hang out, it feels dissatisfying and devoid of happy feelings – it’s mechanical, like putting a schedule in my phone calendar and completing it as a task.

“A friend is a like a mirror to oneself.”

These uneasiness deep in my heart – it could be He calling me back to Him, it might be Him helping me choose my ways around friends, or it could also turn out to be just feelings that are passing by. I am yet to know. I just keep to my believe – never abandon a friend. Never say “No” to friendship. I just have to have the correct attitude with different kinds of friends.

Every time the same feelings tickle my heart, I pray He reminds me of Du’a Rabitah and helps me see the right way:

doa rabitah hqdefault

Small Acts of Kindness

kindness

There’s something exceptional about random, small act of kindness by strangers that makes our day. I usually don’t even know who they are but they leave impressions on me for years to come. They make me smile alone when seeing random people on the streets when remembered. They inspired me to do the same for others – the most important fact.

Once, I was parking my motorcycle in front of Seven Eleven. The roadside was a bit slanted and because I am a little bit short for the bike, it slid and I almost fell. The same instance, I felt someone pushing the bike from behind, holding it till I got down. He said, “You should park a little behind because of the uneven surface.” I thanked him. He worked at the Seven Eleven. I don’t even remember his face, let alone know his name, but I remembered his hands are marked by scars and visible veins.

One time, I walked out of a musolla. A lady suddenly stopped me, took my hand, dragged me aside and whispered, “Sister, you are wearing your head scarf inside out.” I was embarrassed but I thanked her very much before I went back and changed.

Yesterday, I was sitting at a bus stop, waiting for my friend to pick me up. An Indian woman walked out of a bus. I gave a her a smile as our eyes met. She surprised me by proceeding towards me, holding out her hands and greeted “Selamat Hari Raya” as we shook hands.

These are small things. But these are the things that set aside one’s character with another. The qualities we seek in friends. The kind of people we want to be family with. It makes us want to better our life. Reach out positively and positive people will be attracted to you.

“Shall we make a rule of life from tonight, always be a little kinder than necessary.”
-James M. Barrie

My Mistake

I had made a mistake when I posted 30-Day Challenge into this blog a few weeks ago. I announced a commitment that I wasn’t confident to keep. As life got into me and time crunched my time-management skills, I lost the energy and gave up on keeping the commitment.

As I was blaming myself for the mistake, I stumbled into this one great video by Derek Sivers on TED Talks:

The basic idea seemed simple, yet it is a common mistake many people make. And Derek Sivers has put his extensive research into an instant applicable resolution anyone can make – stop telling people our goals. As simple as that.

This used to be my way of doing when I was still in school. I was born into a culture where telling what you have yet done is either seen as boasting or all-talks. You only announced something when it’s confirmed. But as I grow up and entered university, I had unlearned this way and was taught about self confidence. Self confidence is undeniably good, except for the fact that announcing goals is considered one best ways to portray self confidence. In this instance, as explained in the video, it is not necessarily that way.

My views would never be the same, because I had managed to live with both ways. The best thing about this is I gained both perspectives. Thus, I can distinguish circumstances that requires any of the two ways. For instance, shared goal is announced to motivate people in our group. As a President of a club, one needs to communicate his/her personal goal for the club to motivate others in the club.

The mistake that I’ve made can’t be undone. And since I never delete any post in this blog (so far) this mistake will be recorded forever here. But the beauty about being human is our ability to forget. Even though this post will be forever recorded, I will learn to forget the uncomfortable feelings of admitting a mistake. And the best thing about this is, humans learn best from mistakes. It drives our growth.

I’ll just start over.

Where I Come From

Some of the rules or culture from where I come from do not apply in where I live now. I come from a rural area, a village in the middle of Johor. Even after almost ten years living in the city of JB, I am occasionally shocked by some mindsets of city people.

Maybe I’m being skeptical. Maybe these people was not actually brought up in this city. Maybe it’s not about where one comes from, but it’s my generation. Or, maybe I’m just being more observant as I get older. I don’t know for sure. I’m writing, anyway.

Where I come from, we always smile when meeting people we know in town, especially our neighbors. Where I live now, there are numerous awkward moments when I try to smile at my neighbor but the person avoids eye contact.

Where I come from, when we have guests in the house, we give them the best food we have in the house and we attend them, even though the guests are actually friends we meet regularly. Where I live now, my friends feel weird when I serve them drinks and food when they come by just for some gossips. “It’s not like I am a special guest,” they’d say.

Where I come from, we always listen to people older than us, even when we do not agree with what they’re saying. It is a gesture of respect. We make conversation with the elders when we meet. Where I live now, even the elders felt strange when I try to start conversation.

I’m writing this because I heard a story from a friend who cried when she brought her parents to her house, here in the city, and her housemates ignored them, just doing their thing. She cried because her mother said, “I feel like I’m disturbing your housemates when I’m here”, not sure how to defend her housemates.

Where I come from, all those things mentioned above are common sense. Because we are brought up with those values – respect, care, sensitive. Even now that I do not live under one roof with my parents, I can sometimes still feel their eyes glaring from behind my back when guests are around in the house, reminding me about manners.

The challenge now is in the bringing up of the next generation – instilling these important values in them. This is not simply about manners. This is about loving, caring and being sensitive – some moral tools important in being human.

Image
Caring is an act of love