Category Archives: personal

Little big reminders

Time and time again, I am faced with evidence that I am surrounded by love, even in the darkest, saddest, most insecure moments.

Friends who have been there at a push of a phone call or text.

Friends who offer help without being asked.

Friends who got stuck in a horrendous traffic jam, braved through an hour of waiting for a cab or Uber ride to attend your event.

I am grateful and thankful for, after a horrible week:

  1. My best friends who were always encouraging, even though I know I was being so difficult.
  2. A great Kaamatan-Gawai party, a collaboration between The Borneo Blog and Pisco Bar, aided by Spirits of the Harvest.
  3. Meeting readers of The Borneo Blog at the Kaamatan-Gawai party.
  4. Amazing friends who sponsored welcome shots and door gifts (TAJON and Love,Lusie). They never hesitated when I asked.
  5. Amazing friends who came early to help and for support.
  6. Amazing friends who, despite excruciating traffic conditions, came to the party.
  7. Amazing friends who drank and danced the night away.
  8. A friend who insisted on sending me back home, so I didn’t have to Uber it alone from Changkat late at night.

Yes, all of these amazing people. You fill my heart with love, and remind me again and again, that my life is a little brighter because of you ❤

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Unsent #1

It was a slow

love

A yearning that grew

through the years

 

A slow falling

of emotions

An entanglement of

vines

of roots

of soft splittered

glass debris

washed up to the shore

and polished

to be as one

as the sea

 

It was the slow

and steady

breathing of the universe

 

It was the silence

and unexpected reunion

and falling,

all over again –

 

It was

you

and

me

in a

cliche

 

It was

you

and

me

fighting

making up

fighting

questioning

not sleeping

talking

holding hands

breathing

 

It was you

holding back

not trusting

it was me

doing the same

 

Rinse repeat

 

It was me

letting go

It was you agreeing

 

It was us

missing each other

 

It was me

and a current decision.

 

(e.j., 2014)

 

 

 

 

Breathe.

Blink. And blink again.

It’s already April; it scares me how time and pass by so quickly. There are so many things to do, but so little time. I’m married to my job; I say I don’t mind. Not for now anyway, when I have all this energy to burn.

Do you believe in signs? Like how the start of the year is an indication of how the rest of 2014 will pan out to be? I don’t want to, I really don’t. One tries to ignore the downsides, when there are positive moments to celebrate, but we can’t really ignore what has happened, can we?

Last month was heart-wrenching.

Again, it reminds me of mama’s passing. Again, I emailed mum about death. She’s always said I have to accept my sorrow. But honestly it’s easier to ignore it for now. Keep it locked and shelved somewhere at the back of my mind (heart), to avoid an avalanche of tears.

I’ve also decided that I need to re-work my priorities. The relationship with myself, and with other people. How I need to treat them, and who I need to let go.

Time is precious.

How do you do it?

This modern love? (Or, The Fear of Mistakes)

The popularity of lists on the Internet is quite apparent – every day there’ll be at least one Facebook share of articles from sites like Elite Daily or Thought Catalog that’ll go along the lines of … ’20 Things You Have To Do Before You’re 25′ or ’30 Things You Should Own When You’re 30′ or the worst/saddest one that people take more seriously… ’30 Signs You Should Marry Him’, ’30 Ways You Know He’s The One’, ’30 Traits Your Future Spouse Should Have’.

Since when do we need guidelines on who to fall in love with? Is there a perfect person running around out there who meets all these 20/30 points? Don’t imperfections and mistakes belong to the mystery that is life? Shouldn’t you already have your own criteria concerning the person you want to be with? And if you don’t…do you really want to adhere to a list or experience it on your own?

What has happened to love that we’re afraid of diving in unless it’s perfect? (or gets 20 ticks on that 20…. list)

Why are website-generated, non-personal lists popular anyway? Is it because we spend most of our time in front of computer screens (my work requires me to do so, for example, and I’m married to my job) that we lose out on living life that we’re supposed to experience?  Is it knowing that life is short and we’re so afraid of wasting time on mistakes that we need a checklist for every.single.thing from age achievements to love so we can refer to them to avoid failure and pain and heartbreak?

For me –

I know no one likes to go through sadness. The tears that come after a departure. Sleepless nights.

But eventually we’ll have to let go, and learn after each experience.

You should have your own list, a personal one, of how you want to live your life and love. You don’t need Elite Daily or Thought Catalog to tell you how your man should be. When to say yes or not to. Follow your heart. (and I know sometimes it just might be the hardest thing to do)

“Good relationships feel good, they feel right.” -Mrs Obama

SatC

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Note

I have no ambitions to be an activist of sorts.

I also don’t want to preach about religion or force anyone to take on a certain belief. I couldn’t care less what religious view you choose to follow. Religion (or non-religion) has always been a personal thing, in my opinion.

I merely write, to voice an opinion, to ask, to portray a sentiment.

I am still me. And like a lot of my friends (and some of us have chosen to come back here even after having the option to live in another country), we want a Malaysia that respects people of all races and religions. If certain institutions continue to spread fear and distrust among everyone, the future might look extremely bleak for this nation that we all (strangely) love.

Unexpected

Thank you for all of your comments and personal insights in the previous post.

I certainly don’t mind an exchange of opinions.

Life is a never-ending process of learning, and that includes learning about other cultures and religions.

I am thankful that the times of my childhood as a Sabahan, and growing up in Europe have instilled curiosity and tolerance.

We live, we learn.

Love is patient, love is kind

It’s 10pm, I just got back home, I haven’t had my dinner, and truth be told, I am so damn hungry I could eat an entire damn factory of dim sum. But here’s something that has been bothering me since before Christmas, and today, the most.

A few days ago, thanks to the power of the ‘share button’, we all got to know of a website that had a guideline for Muslims who want to celebrate festivals with non-Muslims. It caused a minimal wave of dissatisfaction (I think because most of us were too busy settling last-minute Xmas presents and dinner invitations), and a lot of disbelief on things that were publicized on said website, e.g. no Christmas trees, no dressing like a fat old man in a red suit, no saying Merry Christmas, etc. Then today, my Facebook timeline showed shares of KJ’s (you know, the Minister of Sports, a lot of people think he’s hot but I don’t think so) note in which he basically told of his childhood in a Catholic school in Japan that provided him with a great experience, and ended with saying how if your belief is strong, nothing/no one can make you lose your faith.

Now, on the surface his note meant well (I could bring up points to counter it, e.g. he should have written it in Bahasa Malaysia if he really practiced what he preached, because English-speaking, culturally-opened, urban Muslims and non-Muslims all know what it takes to live in a multi-religious society – it’s the non-English-speaking ones who need to broaden their mindsets*) – but what bothered me the most was going through the comments made by some Muslim Malaysians in said note which were frankly extremely shocking and maddening for me.

There are comments like:

(a reply to a comment in which a girl expressed her gratitude to a non-Muslim housemate who used to wake her up for subuh prayers): better introduce her about muslim.. hidup dan mati kerana Allah. Tugas didunia sebagai khalifah, jangan lupa. Wallahualam

( a reply to a comment in which someone said it’s weird that Muslims can’t wish or say Merry Christmas to non-Muslims):  mmg tak boleh wish..kalau ko wish maknanya ko setuju yang jesus tu anak tuhan n lahir pada 25 dicember..kalu nk wish gk ganti dengan happy holiday..

Why on earth need to translate the Bible? Use English lah! Malay Bible for whom? Target to murtad Muslim Malay right? Good KJ have strong faith, how about weaker faith?

And there are TONS of comments from religious bigots in KJ’s note.

It’s sickening and saddening to know that in a multi-racial and multi-religious country, some people still think they can condemn others freely, that they have the right to. Religion is between you and God, and no one else. It is about your heart, your actions, how you live your life on earth. It’s not about pointing fingers and bringing other people down, disrespecting other people, inciting hate and spreading fear and animosity among countrymen. What have you done to ensure a waiting list in heaven? Have you helped the needy, do you have compassion, have you tried to have a pure heart and kind intentions? Because judging by the comments, you have not.

You, and you alone are responsible for your life. You, and you alone have a relationship with your religion. You have no right to enforce your beliefs upon other people, acting as if you are God’s mouthpiece and Public Relations person, when you have done nothing to help those in need or who are underprivileged.

I have two very dear friends, Aida and Yaty, who are also my team members (we started off on a rough note but our history is a story itself for another day…). I have been asking Aida to don the hijab on me for ages, purely out of curiosity how she does her stylish and beautiful hijabs, and today I bugged her so much that she did it for me.

Me

This is a picture of me, styled by Aida.

This is not a proof that I’ve converted, or that I’m the next Felixia Yeap.

This is me, who was born in, and spent 13 years of my life in KK, Sabah, and embraced all religions and races. I can be dressed in this way or that, I can be in a temple or a church, I can be in a Malaysian kampung or a European city, I am still me and I still have my own personal beliefs.

It’s unbelievably gut-wrenching and heartbreaking to think that there are people in this country who act as if they were so religious, but in reality they’re being utterly selfish, intolerant and dangerous. These are the kind of people who should be charged for sedition, for ruining the peace among all. You know what’s peace about? It’s about acceptance and respect. It’s the people in East Malaysia who celebrate all festivities with each other, without judgements and restrictions. It’s people like Aida, Yaty and I, who have different beliefs on paper and who have different lifestyles but are still friends, and still grow together. Aida would now and then share what she’s read about Islam and Christianity, about the Holy Quran, and I’d try to answer whatever questions she has about Christian ways or traditions (although I’m not so well versed in that either). I drink, I party, I dress up in whatever I wanna wear, and Aida would be in her tudung – does that make us enemies? Does that mean we shouldn’t be friends?

If everything that is allegedly ‘not Muslim friendly’ is detrimental to Islam, does that mean Aida, Yaty and I shouldn’t be hanging out? That Malaysian Muslims shouldn’t be anywhere near non-Muslims? Why should external things be blamed if someone is unsure about his or her faith? Why is a fat man in a suit supposedly more dangerous than unwanted teenaged pregnancies, incest, rape, forced teenage marriages, low level of education, theft? Why can’t you let people of different races and religions be happy living in a respectful society?

We are all human beings in the end, and no matter what religion you practice, what’s on paper, whether or not you believe in heaven and hell – we only have one life. It is for us to grow, to be better, to gain wonderful and memorable experiences, to be stronger through ups and downs, to be kind and compassionate, and to try to be the best version we could be.

Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and every religion is beautiful. It is unfortunate that narrow-minded people ruin everything and make it ugly and hateful.

The three

Me, Aida, Yaty. Different-different but still the same. Same love, same friends.

*sigh. So a few people have shared this post around, and some weren’t satisfied that I wrote ‘It’s the non-English-speaking people who need to broaden their mindsets.’ This is an observation from the comments on KJ’s FB note that had made me write this post in the first place. I don’t feel like I want to dissect every single sentence I’ve written, after all this is not a thesis on social-cultural differences between urban and non-urban Malaysians. Generally, those who are not culturally opened, do not mix with other races, do not converse with ‘outsiders’, who do not speak or understand English that well, are the ones who are posting bigoted comments when it comes to topics of Muslim Malays and other non-Muslims. I am not looking down on non-urban dwellers – hell, I’m a kampung girl myself and spent half of my life with my grandparents in both Kinarut and Kuala Penyu, Sabah, and my grandparents mostly spoke Bahasa Malaysia and Kadazan/Dusun, although they understood English, too. But then again, Borneons (whether or not they are English-speaking), are widely accepting and tolerant when it comes to racial and religious matters.

If you want to be upset about that sentence and take it at face value instead of thinking about the bigger problem that’s facing and dividing our country – that is entirely up to you.

Fairytales & dreamers

She said:

“You’re the only one I know who really believes in true love. I hope for you that you’ll find your Prince Charming who’ll come and sweep you off your feet.”

2014 Wish #1

And may I always be curious, opened to adventures and diving in heart first in everything.

No matter how impossible it may seem.

Time waits for no man

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I bought four books over the weekend, and by pure coincidence two of them revolved around time. I had grabbed the Mitch Albom one because I enjoy reading his books and this is one that I don’t own yet. The hardback one was wrapped in plastic and the summary was in its inner sleeve – I took it being completely oblivious about the plot. I just have this affinity for contemporary East Asian fiction novels.

It’s also weird that time is something that I’ve thought about a lot, and have had feelings revolved around it lately.

Life, universe. It listens.