Sunday, December 8, 2013

A pregger's wishlists....nappy bag.

I've always wanted to have an Allerhand nappy bag eversince my first pregnancy...but back then the thought of forking out at least RM450 for a medium/decent size nappy bag sounds a bit too much for me (it still does anyway).

This time around, Allerhand still makes it in my "nappy bag wishlists" and so I've started my search for a bargain when I entered my 6 months' mark. Let me attest to you folks, at least here in the Klang Valley, there isn't any shops (as in malls) or even online shops (that has a physical shops too not those FB resellers alike...) who sells Allerhand bags at less than RM400 (for the normal retail of RM449).

At malls such as Parkson, Tangs or Isetan...would normally cut the price 10% during their sales time but still they don't carry much designs/options...

And so, I thought of purchasing (making a maiden purchase at that...) of my Allerhand via a FB reseller called 'Baby Clig'. Got this name as she is the only reseller that I often come across to when browsing for Allerhand bargains. 

Unfortunately, while most of her stuffs are indeed relatively cheap than normal market price, but they're cheap because most of them are pre-loved items. 

I have a thing with pre-loved items. I mean, unless it's a house or a car...am quite open to the idea of having them as mine after someone else's have used it, however normal day products like clothing/bags/accessories...things that are prone to wear&tear, I am a bit skeptical that the conditions can be as good as they normally would claim it to be.

Thus, that's the only reason that kept myself from making a purchase at the said reseller (she's a good, nice person i reckon by the way based on my chitchatting when enquiring her products).

Other than Allerhand, I got my eyes fixed to another similarly close designer-compartmentalized nappy bags, the Storksak. But, this brand that hailed from UK is slightly more expensive than the German made competitor- Allerhand. A decent/medium size (non-leather) Storksak will set you back at RM500-RM600. Not that much different than Allerhand's. The plus size on Storksak though is it's sleek, stylish, not-your-average-type-looking-nappy bag. 

Honestly, all Storksak looks like a chic handbags albeit the secrets lie within - compartmentalized, detachable insulated bottle bag & changing mat. 

Another thing is based on my little research, I haven't seen any of Storksak bags at any department stores that i frequent to. Even online shops, suffice to say there's only two reseller that carry these branded nappy bags; 1) Bebe Totz,  2) Ergohand / Persatuan Mama Papa (FB). 

My other options would be JJ Coles (but this brand also aren't mainstream yet and so it is quite difficult to find them in stores), and the rest (of nappy bags that sells over RM200) are okiedog and another brand (Forgot, but you can normally see them at Anakku or baby shops).

Anyway, just as I about to give in to online temptations and succumb to purchasing a Storksak that would cost me RM500++ (or also salivating on a leather type that costs RM800++)...I come across a shop that sells Allerhand at 40%-50%!!!

I was surprised and happy too. so the first time (and since I was going back home) I only managed to surveyed briefly the items on sales and there were alot to choose from. Naturally as someone who has been salivating on these bags, that night, I couldn't sleep the way I usually do. Mind kept thinking on whether I should or should not buy that Allerhand. 

The following day, I woke up feeling ...yes, I need to make that purchase as I have been surveying the past 3 months and even since last 4 years...never have I seen them on sales for 40%-50%!

Went back to the store, as early as I could (10am) and took the liberty to pick and choose and try out every single one of the designs that caught my eyes...naturally, if you're familiar with Allerhand, most of the designs common here are the stripey ones in orange/yellow, brown/pink, or brown/blue. Rarely have I seen in stores Allerhand in solid colors. 

And so since am expecting another baby girl, I thought of choosing something in pink. And the store has solid pink on sales. 

However, I really couldn't decide whether to get a stripey brown/pink Allerhand Trendy Shoulder Nappy Bag

Or this ...Allerhand Trendy Tote Large 

Or...this one Allerhand Carry-on Pure 

.....see? Sure mommies out there can relate to my little dilemma here. I mean all of these 3 bags that I have my eyes on are nice and pinky. However, a lil rundown on its features/differences (according to picture).

1) The straps aren't adjustable enough to make it a sling bag, but it is quite roomy in the middle compartment.

2) like a tote bag, not as much compartment with only one big zip and smaller zips on the sides (with small space to place small items). Straps adjustable but can't make it into a sling bag.

3) there's a small strap in the middle thus it's called carry-on (like a briefcase) with the middle part lined with a hard material (meaning the size can't extend that much once you place your stuffs in it), straps are adjustable and padded. But my only fret because of the hard-briefcase like material, space can't be compromised and it feels a bit heavier than the other two. however, because of this design, it looks much sturdier and could pass on like a handbag/non-conventional nappy bag. 

Alas, which you think I took home? 
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Tadaaa....option number 3. 

But now being me, the ever indecisive ...am having second thoughts. This one does look nice but the space is what I fret. And as always, when asked my hubs, he answered "oklah tu" (typical him haha).

But yes, the price is pure bargain! Got this for only RM220! (Normal price RM450) + extra free gift mini Allerhand Sweet Pink Umbrella worth RM69. Now, this is why I am still an online shopping virgin.... ;) nothing can beat the feelings prior selecting a product, the touch&feel...plus, most online shops can potentially be dubious sellers. Who knows. 

Am still deciding whether or not to have this bag changed to the other two options mentioned. By the way, the other colors of the same trendy bags are selling at lesser price, and the common messenger bag type are even cheaper. A real bargain. Go to one utama pj for this sales! 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Kullun Nafsin Za Ikatul Maut

Kullun Nafsin Za Ikatul Maut... Innalillahi wa inna ilaihi rajiun...may his soul rest in peace. AlFatihah and condolences to the family of Datuk Bukhari Che Muda, the CEO of AlHijrah TV and was also the ex-COO of TV9. He suffered brain tumour/cancer and was reportedly ill/ condition worsen since the past 4-6 months. 


I am just a figment of his past. 


During my short stint as TV9 journo, I had the honor of knowing him, as that Big Boss. And, he was quite close with all his staffs (TV9 wasn't as big and for the news department, we were very new thus he was on close monitor on our progresses).


I remember he was a soft spoken man, who talks little and smiles a lot. And if he's angry, his face will turn red (as he has a very fair skin).


And of course, my most memorable time was during that "black episode" of my life. I and another soul went in to see him and...well, the rest I couldn't say was the fondest memories or experiences I've had with him. BUT, he did in the end "granted" my renewal. 


As numero uno at that time and who has my fate in his hands, he did graciously "save" me. And for that, I must thanked him. 


When he resigned as the COO, he got to be the CEO of another tv station and must say, many...many TV9's staffs follow suit. Berhijrah as the say. Aptly so in a TV station called "AlHijrah". And right about 2 years in operation, he was bestowed the honorary title of 'Datuk'. 


Guess that's about what I know of him.


And, if it's not due to my hub working in the media realm, I wouldn't know about his deterioarating health due to cancer. 


And, in the final moments, my ex-Editor in Chief were the one who keep me updated with his condition.


Alas, this one man is gone. A man who has touched life of many. As the head of 2 TV stations. It was reported he died at 6.08 this morning, and when I received the news, was up for Subuh prayer, and noticed the weather was somber, rainy and cold. As if in mourning of his passing.


AlFatihah to Datuk Bukhari and my heartfelt condolences to grieving family. In Shaa Allah, his soul is placed in the everlasting jannah. Amin. 

And The Baby Shopping/ Prepping Frenzy (Or Trepidation)…Begins.


Disclaimer: This entry contains nonchalant, emotional…pure ramblings on everything pregnancy and baby related issues. Readers’ discretion advised (especially those who finds pregnancy/ baby related issues as “icky”)

Salaams.

As been noted on previous entry, I am now pregnant with my second child. At the moment, I am just days before entering the final trimester; 7 months or approximately 28 weeks. Alhamdulillah…

Apart from the fact I got a slight morning (or rather all-day) sickness (read: nausea, lack of appetite, extreme fatigue…but thank god no vomiting) since the start of this pregnancy, this time around I am face with a GDM condition. That’s Gestational Diabetes Mellitus for those who aren’t aware of the abbreviation. Layman translation: no tasty, awesome, glucose inducing food for me. As a chocolate enthusiast and a foodie for anything yummy, having a GDM is a big blow for me. Addendum, from the onset, I couldn’t eat one of my all time favourite food – SUSHI. For some weird reasons, my little womb occupant finds the taste not to his/her liking. Which is a double blow for me as anyone who knows me will agree that I am a SUSHI FREAK. Sushi totemo daisuki! But as far as consuming sushi is concern, I finally got to eat (with modest amount akin to a novice of sushi that is) just when I got to around 22 weeks. So that is a relief ( as I thought my “desire” for sushi is slashed and I become mundane just like most people when face with raw fish’s fillet).

Anyway, foods aside (I can go on for paragraphs…), one thing I learnt about this pregnancy to try to “improve” on whatever lacking I’ve had with the first one – in terms of prepping for baby stuffs, birth plans etc. BUT mostly, about prepping. As been casually mentioned before, this time around we have to start from scratch on baby items as most of Raihanna’s stuffs are either given away to my niece or returned to my second older sister, OR ruined/incomplete or simply just MIA. And, taking the cue from my past experiences, I thought this time around I should start the prep a little bit early and minimize my “craze” for any baby sales/expos etc.

When I was expecting my first born, I went cuckoo every month until the very end, always on the constant look out for any baby sales especially any J-card member sales (as Jusco was just next to my then office, and the fact it gives vouchers on J-card member sales, I would spend/visit for this monthly sales and go just about any Jusco in Klang Valley for that purpose…to the extent I “finally” tripped on a split-level pavement at IOI Mall Puchong while heading, yes, to Jusco sales…was wearing my 3 inch platform shoes and was 8 months pregnant. Luckily, I fell on my side (and not face forward/ belly forward). While my feet got instantly swollen and could barely walk right after, my baby then was safe. This horrendous experience literally have its effects on me, as that swollen feet wasn’t taken care of well enough (for one reason, no thanks to being denied my medical rest from the office the day after despite the doctor granted me 3 days of MC with full rest). From then on, I couldn’t wear any heels shoes and resorted to flat, most of the times – slipper. Yes, even wore slipper to office back then! I am a crippled mommy. LOL.

So with that in mind, I got to woo hub ever since knowing that I got pregnant that he has to start providing for the baby prep soon. Thus, when I entered 6 months, I started my baby quest for everything baby. Of course, the difference this time around is that hub is the only one who has to pay for…everything. So that in a way proves to be a little bit of a headache for him. Sorry hub. BUT I TOLD YOU SO, got me bloated this time you got to “pay” the price as I am currently just a pauper grad student. LOL.

Naturally, I have my own wish lists. Things that I didn’t buy or couldn’t buy when I had Raihanna, I thought of having them now for this baby. And, am sure just like with most parents, one of the baby must-haves that they thought of the soonest is, STROLLER. Now, when I had Raihanna, that was the first thing that I bought. BUT being me, with a tiny paycheck as journalist back then, looking for a bargain is a must. Think economical. Strict budget. I didn’t go for foreign brand, bought a very comfy yet bulky Anakku stroller that has all the features I wanted – padded, fully recline like a pram, reversible handle, large canopy, large basket, sturdy four wheels. ONLY fret, it is BULKY. I wasn’t brand freaks back then (still not today). With the stroller, I bought an Anakku infant car seat. The total back then (in 2008) was only around RM700. Back then, this bulky stroller filled my whole little compact car’s boot. BUT, I didn’t care much. I was happy with it. As I think my Raihanna was very comfortable in it. HOWEVER, just when Raihanna turns 1 year older, this bulky stroller seems to be a fuss to carry around with us. In fact, it was so big to be fitted in my little Savvy, one of its tyre got dented due to rigorous pushing when closing the boot. As with the infant car seat, Raihanna outgrew them just when she reached 1 year old. Thus, I bought another stroller (umbrella fold) – wanted to buy Maclaren but it was a bit pricey, and almost settled for a Silvercross model, BUT being non-brand conscious and so-called bargain hunter-value for money-type of a person, I ended up with a local copycat baby brand– Sweet Cherry.  It was not that I didn’t have extra bucks for something better (as a matter of fact I did have extra bucks, thanks to the oversea trip I had then, hence wanting to replace Raihanna’s stroller). With this, I also bought from the same brand, a convertible car seat – total costs (in 2010) was around RM800. So, that was RM1500 spent in 1 year for 2 strollers and 2 car seats. BUT, this umbrella Maclaren’s copy cat version was dented (the canopy) even after 2 days of purchase and I got it replaced but only to an even worse condition of canopy, LOL. Talk about Malaysian brand huh. Nevertheless, Raihanna strolled in them for the next 1 ½ years of her life (right about to she’s 3 years old) and soon even though she’d still wants to sit in the stroller, I couldn’t strapped her in properly as the harness isn’t adjustable and not long enough for a toddler.

ANYWAY, that was Raihanna’s stroller stories. Learning from that “awful” experience, I kept pestering hub that we need to get a better quality stroller this time. Money should not be main concern, but quality. Luckily, hub is on the same page on this. Thus, we “vow” not to have a copy cat Sweet Cherry products anymore no matter how seemingly sturdy or stylish it looks (but in all honesty, all of its “stylish” designs now are copied from Quinny, Maclaren or Preg Perego). BUT of course, for those who kept drooling on Quinny but couldn’t fork out money for that luxury, can always resort to Sweet Cherry’s version of “quinny”. BUT not for me. NOT being pompous or anything, as mentioned, I’ve got bitter experience with SC. LOL.  Thus, the search for the new stroller begins. At first I was quite concern with hub’s budget, didn’t dare to ask him though, but when we started to shop around, he seemed OK on a travel system by Chicco (Italy made but not as expensive as Preg Perego) which costs around RM1300. I was like, “yey cool. Perhaps hub IS willing to splurge a little”. Thus keeping that in mind, I put on my wish lists.

Of course I hope for a travel system, but most travel system comes with the infant car seat mounted over the stroller – thus it looks bulkier and heavier. And as someone who is skeptical with online shopping, I start my quest only at malls. Of course the ones nearby my “play area” – namely Jusco, Parkson, Isetan, Mothercare and few others. From the little recce, I fancy, of course Quinny, Maclaren, Preg Perego, and Combi. But there are few features that I needed to checked on before deciding the purchase.

This time around the stroller, if preferable, comes with travel system, isn’t bulky when folded, sturdy, and suitable from birth.

Of course I had my eyes fixed on Quinny. BUT most definitely, Quinny Moodd out of my reach, too expensive for a stroller and yet very bulky. The choices for Quinny down to two; Zapp Extra or Buzz. Of course, Buzz more expensive than Zapp’s but the seat’s look more comfy. So, as someone who’s been dreaming to own a Quinny, I kept checking out the stroller whenever I had the chance – and I must say, Buzz is BULKY and HEAVY. And with that same price, I could get a Preg Perego Pliko which happens to be on my second wish list. BUT, Preg Perego still when folded is quite bulky and brings back memories of Raihanna’s Anakku stroller. Of course the quality is way better. BUT still bulkier and pricey. Which brings to my third wish list – a Maclaren. Read many good reviews on Maclaren and it is highly maneuverable, lightweight and stylish too. BUT the only “travel system” it has still a mounted over type and for that I think I’d better chose a Chicco liteway plus which costs less. And finally, on the bottom of my wish lists are either Chicco or Combi. The thing with Combi, it is quite pricey for a Japanese made stroller (read: Asian) BUT of course you’re paying for the technology and with Combi you can’t beat its one-hand folded system and lightweight. And my last resort, would be either Graco or Hauck (Germany made).

Anyhow, found a few bargains on stroller:-
1)   Combi Urban Walker – retail price RM1299. BUT found the cheapest for RM858. The fret: it feels so shaky, too lightweight, and too low. However, good storage, sturdier because it has 4 wheels. And the colors available/combo – not so nice. The pros: lightweight, easy folding, reversible handle.
2)   Graco Ultima Travel System – retail price Rm1399. BUT found the cheapest for as low as RM660. The fret: super bulky when infant car seat attached. The pros: Super value for money, looks super sturdy, reversible handle and very cushiony, well padded and easy folding.
3)   Chicco Liteway Plus Travel System – retail price RM1599. Found the cheapest for RM1199. The fret: car seat attached on the stroller making it bulky and only available in red. Pros: car seat well padded, stroller quite padded and 180 degrees recline.
4)   Maclaren Techno XT 2013 – retail price RM1299. Found the cheapest for RM900. Fret: claims to be suitable from birth, BUT doesn’t look like its fully 180 degree recline, tiny basket, no reversible handle, not really padded, not compatible with travel system, no bumper bar. Pros: umbrella folding, sturdy, high maneuverability, large canopy, stylish and very popular brand.

ANYWAY, guess which I bought on impulse? LOL! Yes, number 4. A Maclaren. Wasn’t that super bargain? I’ve never seen it on sales as cheap as RM900! Only thing was when I saw the sales, went in the shop and asked for 3 times! for what available colors they have as I wanted it in Black… the salesperson assured me (3 different people) that they have in Black. Then when the card swiped, turns outs they did not have black!!! And only two colors left (and two strollers left). One in red with silver frame and another champagne with bronze/champagne frame. I chose Champagne (this color I rarely sees people have it, mostly in silver or black).

Anyhow, being the indecisive me as always, as soon as I got home I got a little panicky with this purchase. Simply because of all of concerns stated before as the “frets” with this stroller. I then begin to “research” on the net about this stroller being used from infant – but only found 1 review and she’s a happy customer (with an older version of Techno XT). And so between worrying about this purchase and looking for either infant car seat or convertible seat, I suddenly found another bargain!

>>>>>>>>>the new Quinny Zapp Xtra3 (with foldable seat) selling at only RM1109! With another 10% discount if I am a member (which I am). So that means it will costs only RM998.10. Now, this is the latest Quinny which not many stores are selling and even if they are mostly online shops – with the lowest I found selling at RM1799! (that’s online price, but being me a skeptic in online I’d ruled that out). So the lowest price I found in stores is RM1899! And suddenly I found this latest bargain at less than RM1000! Don’t I went crazzzzzzzzzzzy. Now day dreaming about this on whether should I buy this dream Quinny. Since this store is on sales, even the Maxi Cosi carbio is on sales to RM630! The cheapest I found is RM699! So IF am buying this travel system it will costs me RM1670, just slightly more than what hub initially wanted to purchase with Chicco! Am getting excited.

I started my calculations. Thing is, we still need to buy a car seat if we decide to hold on with that champagne Maclaren. Now, with decent convertible car seat the cheapest I found is either Recaro Sparco at RM630 or Ferrari Cosmo RM528. BUT these both at an online shop (but they do have a showroom). Now based on survey am not keen on a Recaro as it is bulkier than Ferrari’s. So my pick would be Ferrari Cosmo which would bring my total costs to around RM1430. BUT here’s another fret about these convertible car seats: while they do claim it is suitable from birth, it is still lacking the comfort for an infant/newborn as it doesn’t fully recline. And here’s where am fretting and cracking my head to make a decision. Should go for an infant car seat (like I did with Raihanna) or go on with a convertible car seat? Thing with car seats, they aren’t cheap too. Good, decent ones (read: not local brand) are all above RM400 and less than RM700. Which would means the same total costs for me, in the end.

NOW getting back on the fancy Quinny, for another RM200 I could get my dream brand. Thing is I MUST let go my new, pristine, unused, still in a box Maclaren Techno XT 2013. On one hand I do love this Maclaren though have not used it because it is such a bargain I don’t think it easily come by. BUT on another hand, it lacks the things I wanted – compatibility with car seat, reversible handles. BUT both (quinny zapp) and Maclaren have dismal basket storage and lightweight with possible tip off when you put diaper bags at the handles (or so I read, am not sure).

With all things of dreams, IF I buy this Zapp it will make my “dreams of baby items” this time around complete. Alhamdulillah. As I got my “dream” breastpump – Medela Swing with Medela bag and cooler bag, my “dream” sterilizer and bottles (Avent),  my “dream” solid wood baby cot…(so far those are the things we’ve purchased) and In Shaa Allah will give birth at “paid rate” hospital aka private (though not as “dreamy” as Prince Court Hospital LOL)….thing is Alhamdulilah for all the things we have, not that I push hub for all these things, I just “dream” and “hope” but it seems hub give in (this time around very unlike when we had Raihanna lol) so thank you to hub. Anyway, will contemplate further on this Quinny. And the purchase will only be possible IF I SELL that Maclaren. But if not, fat chance. Nevertheless, Alhamdulillah for this new stroller, I didn’t even put it in my baby budget/lists to hub but hub wanted to buy a stroller and we found a bargain.

Till then… my next quest: baby clothing (but not that excited as much as I don’t know my baby gender for certain L), and yes another drooling “dream” – baby diaper bags either Storksak or some really cool desings of Allerhand (not like the stripey ones we see often at Parkson)…oh yes, that would mean around RM500-RM700…but aren’t Storksak just “dreammmmmmmmmmmmy”, Angelina Jolie wears them too!

Now, time to zzz and dreammmm J


Thursday, November 7, 2013

When The Wait Is Over...Almost.

Salaam.

It has been awhile since me last update. This blog has been collecting cobwebs (virtual that is) ever since...and from the last entry until today, there has been many happenings, good and bad...but mostly average good, even when it is bad, I'd still count me blessings, Alhamdulillah.

Some of you folks blog for audience, traffics, attention, money, fame etc. Be as it may, I blog for myself. I do realise that I don't have any (or lack of) audience, traffics etc. but that isn't the reason for me ramblings here on the websphere. I blog,  admittedly, for my own records. For myself, reminiscing me past happenings, and future aspirations. Just for me. WHILE there could be times, I get rare visitor(s) commenting about a certain post, that doesn't change the perspectives of my reason getting into blogging.

Anyhow, that's aside. This entry is going to be quite a lengthy one.

Since July 2010, my obsession/focus has been on graduating, preferably on time. Of course that didn't happen, unfortunately (or fortunately, only Allah knows best). Then, from around end of 2011, I have been obsessing and stressing out on finishing the dreadful thesis. Was lucky to get an extension (full paid) however, as fate has it for me...that also didn't work out to my advantage. And from then on (July 20120, it was painful journey ALL ALONG, without the cushiony monthly stipends, stressing out about replacing SV, stressing out about writing, stressing out about everything. LIFE was HARD for me. Only Allah knows. Often times I break in tears, giving up hopes (and I did give up). Emotionless, sedentary just dazed out. And for the past 7-10 months, was crazy. Everything it seems, happened around the same time to me. Everything big. Alas, I finally get my VIVA done end of May, and passed with excellent comments from all three examiners. That was pure relief. BUT feels surreal about it all. The thesis STILL got 10% work before printing (UM way of submission - student has to present twice; proposal & defense, after which, if pass, got to print and submit within 3 months for checks with soft bound copy, wait for another 1-2 months for final verdicts and PRINT hard bound copy before the senate grants you a pass).

My family was rejoicing the fact that I passed my VIVA. BUT I, deep inside knew, the end wasn't as easy. As such, I wasn't that happy. And just between VIVA and more stressing out mode, I found out.....I am PREGNANT! I wasn't thrilled at all. I always had a family plan, at least mentally. From the first birth, I knew I wanted to wait for another tot. Reason: juggling work as student, mommy wasn't easy, as this blog has it...let alone, another edition to the family...will make it worse for me. Then came 2013, my first child is already four years old, my older sister has another baby after 7 years...and suddenly the sight of a newborn excites my hubby and me (though I am still adamant about my little family planning and made this known to my hub). He was supportive of my plan yet he is also contemplating about adding another child.

His reasons: our first born is old enough and in need of a sibling ie. she's lonely, need a friend, kept talking to herself etc.

My reasons: Can't have another baby at the moment. Am not ready, am not financially independent, student life still a mess. Thesis unsettled. BUT mostly, AM not working (this is my biggest concern).

Of course hub says, I can't state money as reason for denying the chance to have another baby. He even said that is against the principle of beliefs in line with Islam that with every child, there will be blessings / prosperity that comes along with it. Prosperity or rezeki as Malay refers it. One just have to belief in that. Of course being the liberal me, I debated him. Not to be a disbeliever, but am being realistic...money IS important in bringing another life onto this world. IT IS COSTLY to have kid these days. Added to that, all my first born's baby items has been given to my niece and some (the bulky and important ones) have been returned to my older sister since she's having that new baby again....I argued to hub that we will need to start from scratch. It is all over again. AND that will costs us, rather costs him. Since he is the only breadwinner now. BUT hub, being the every optimistic, strong believer, only says "Insya-ALLAH (god willing), all will be ease for us, you have to believe dear".

Wow. what a digression. More on baby stories next. So, the thesis....amid my "unprepared-shocked-pregnancy" news, thesis was halted even further just after the rejoicing news of VIVA. BECAUSE, with this pregnancy, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetic mellitus (GDM), a diabetic condition common among pregnant women, at least. For more on GDM I was diagnosed as early as 9 weeks! That was just before Ramadhan, and you could imagine my horror and sadness. I was never diabetic although diabetes runs in my family (from my Dad's side). I guess, it is just a matter of time before it happened to me. BUT I was still devastated. My first thought, am going to be on insulin (god forbids) and that scares the shit out of me. I can't bare the thoughts of self-injecting myself with a syringe of insulin, everyday. Furthermore, with GDM means I have to be on a strict diet control; no sugar, less carb = NO tasty food. AND mind you it was almost ramadhan....a month where food is abundance, good food!

To derail my focus from thesis further, with GDM means I had to meet the antenatal visits twice a week, at two different clinics. One in the regular government family clinic PKD KJ, another in government hospital Sg Buloh. Twice a week of visits means fingers poking more for blood, urinating in cups and just the long wait for a brief, most of the time disappointing consultation session with NURSE.

My stress level was crazy. I was down low. Because of GDM, I lost my weight and has not gained any ever since (at 9 weeks).

Because of GDM, I couldn't fast. I missed the whole ramadhan. To me, lost of energy, and couldn't cope because of the strict diet and there's the morning sickness and all.

THESE reasons ultimately make me lose faith on thesis and I just want to slump in my chair all day long despite knowing well I need to make it to print.

And Syawal came. Before long, it was Eid-Fitr. Month of rejoice. For me, I wasn't that happy. As if things were not bad enough, just 2 days before Eid, I got a devastating call from my scholarship sponsor. So devastating it made me feel that ending my life would be the best choice. Yes, I was that depressed by the call. Thus, Eid was nothing, no joy, nothing to be happy about, for the foolish me. I sink further into the abyss of sadness and self-pity. So much so, I even refused to grant my hub his wish to visit his hometown i.e.. mom, family for Eid, as usual practice has it. I just did not want to go anywhere except be within the comfort of my own family, my mom, my dad, my family. Others, for me, can go to he**.

I got no courage to finish the final 10% of thesis. I gave up.

Until...I had my first baby full ultrasound. I see it, fully formed. Though couldn't make out the gender as yet as the baby always in an upside down position, and kicking ever so actively. Despite GDM, the baby is looking good. Fetal growth - normal. I sighed a deep relief of Alhamdulillah. In all my misery, I heard the baby's heart beating for the first time, and I feel like crying. Here I was fretting, stressing out even to a point of blaming this baby for all the mishaps that's happening in my life and failed to see the miracle behind Allah's creation. THIS baby, MY BABY is a gift from Allah. In time of my misery, in time of all things hopeless, Allah give me another life.

That jolts me back to reality. I quickly picked up the pieces, I summoned the courage to finish the unfinished, and finally did it just within a week. Submitted to my dear mr. supervisor who has been wondering of my MIA when I am supposed to end with pride, he checked my work and promised to get back in 3 weeks time. This was right after Eid, somewhere around end of August/ early September. I made a visit to my sponsor, met the person in-charge, showed my reason and pleaded for some leverage...and the rest I just leave it Allah. In my hearts, if this is meant to be, it will be. Kun fa ya kun. If Allah says, be it, it will be. From this point onwards, I got nothing else to do but wait and pray hard.

AND, finally, in mid October...my SV got back to me and give a thumbs up for the thesis for printing. My reaction was, relief, yet I am worried if he was being too lenient to me. BUT he reiterated that the work is commendable, my hard work showed, and he was pleased with it. Alhamdulillah. I drove home, with tears in my eyes, envisioning the end of my journey, my graduation in October 2014, Insya-ALLAH.

BUT as I am about to submit, found out that I need to forked out RM1100 for semester's fees (again?) and RM1000 submission fees. My heart just broke. With a burnt pocket, even my "savings" in my piggy wouldn't suffice by half. I was in dilemma in between asking for help from my siblings or my parents (all of them I knew well will be hard to ask favours from, except mom but mom....I just couldn't ask from...as she isn't working). the other alternative, even thought of selling my beloved Macbook Pro to make ends meet. Or my jewelry. Pawn it all, I figured. That ought to be enough. OF course hub was against all this. Thus, hub, feeling obligated as the other half of my life, gave me that extra RM needed for my school fees, something of which I feel awful of. I mean, on top of me not working for the past 3 years, he has taken over all my monthly bills, giving me extra "pocket allowance" and every whims and needs I had..and now that we're expecting another baby, I feel bad that he'll need to cover the whole expense. As such, "asking" from him for "my mistake", "my additional need" that is not his, I feel wrong. TO HUB, thank you sayang. I promised, I will make it up to you, Insya-ALLAH.



The end (almost, this is a soft-bound copy version) of my thesis. The "fruit" of 2 years of waiting.


However, as luck would have it, I found out that I needn't pay that extra RM1000 for submission fees as it was covered in my scholarship. Alhamdulillah. And in the heat of the day at UM, walking to and fro from one building to another, from one floor to another (no elevators), with my bloated self, I was thirsty as hell when I stumbled upon a vending machine with only sugary drinks available, I thought "Oh no!" but I was thirsty, really thirsty, I could die (ok exaggeration, but I was all tired). Chose iced-tea, and drank half of it before I felt dizzy with the sugar (for someone who hasn't been drinking full sugary drinks, after a while your body tend not to recognise large amount of sugar intake...thus when you do consume sugar, you got "Sugar-rush"). The iced-tea made me feel even weaker and sick. And while huffing and puffing, one kind soul at the HQ faculty, gave me a bottle of mineral water (after I related to her my quest for a mineral water or any non-sugary drink). I felt like crying, again. Alhamdulillah. To that kind soul, may Allah bless you. 

All in all, I finally submitted the thesis last 29 OCT. and according to my SV and if luck is on my side, the marking will only take a month. BUT if not, it will take latest 3 months (god forbids). either way, I truly hope for a pass (in UM only pass with minor or major corrections or fail). And that will take me into my last leg of pregnancy months. Somewhere in December (hope hope hope) or January. If January, I will be a busy bee then, preparing for birth, possibly already at my mom's place. So any "minor corrections" will be difficult to achieved with a baby on its way out. O Allah, make it easy for me...Allahumma yassir wala tu assir. 

In sum, I got nothing much to fret about this journey. It hasn't been smooth as others would have it. Mine is stumbling block of one after another. What I do fret is just that whatever I have sent in, the work was already 60% done even way back in June 2011. Unfortunately, as fate would have it, I didn't have a "smooth" ride with my previous SV as she was sick, intermittently on leave until she took unpaid leave in the end, right about August 2012. Thus, this 60% was just sitting idly for one whole year....until around October 2012 when I got a new SV. and from Oct 2012 to May 2013, that was when it showed progress. IF ONLY my SV wasn't sick, probably I got a better push at my work, better supervision, better input thus would not have dragged this long. 

BUT even then, I can't blame the SV only. I know, I have myself to blame. Truth is, my fault is that I wasn't STRONG ENOUGH TO BE SELFISH ENOUGH. From the get-go, July 2010, everything started to rumble a bit. Dad got cancer, then the devastating news about the state of my mom's house, then two of my maids run off, my daughter keeps falling sick intermittently pushing me to not send her to any nanny or nursery. My life as a student was focus by NOT STUDYING instead on the need of my DAUGHTER, MY PARENTS and my household. I PUT MY STUDY ON HOLD. I thought I was a superwoman, I thought I could juggle it all. BUT ALAS, I couldn't. Almost falter even. 

I started my student life as a young first time mother to a very young child. My Raihanna was barely 1 year when I started out. I remember getting this scholarship, attending the interview when I was heavily 8 months pregnant. And now, I am about to end it with another child. Being heavily pregnant again. The works of Allah indeed has its own mystery. And it will be unfolding soon. To the end of a new beginning, Insya-ALLAH I can only hope. HOPE, HOPE, HOPE. 

Along this journey, I have "lost" a few friends, one friend in particular I actually have lost, as she passed due to cancer, others "lost" as in failing to "recognise" me anymore. Some, looked at me differently, with their judging eyes that I took so long to finish. Only a few good ones stand to be the encouraging, motivating, understanding souls. To these few good ones, I vow to always have you folks in my hearts, and will always be your friends, returning the gestures the favours when in need. Doesn't matter, if I lose some few friends, most importantly I didn't lose the important ones in my life - MY FAMILY. 

To dear hub, I've had my doubts about you regarding this whole episode of my student life, there had been a few "turbulences" especially the early years, but it turns out, you came to your senses and showed your support when I needed most. When I was at my most vulnerable state. Sayang Mohd Redzuan Abdul Manap , thank you for everything and forgive me for all the bad things I did and say to you. May we live years of blissful wedded life, you being the Imam of our prayers and the responsible father to our children. Amin Ya Rabb.  (Disclaimer: I don't think my hub ever reads my blog, or if he's even aware of its existence...nevertheless, it is here, hub, in case I am gone one day, my words "engraved" to the cyber world, in bits and bytes for all to see and for posterity). 








Wednesday, August 21, 2013

And we're off to never-never land....

I am in no way would claim myself as a heavy metal fan, not even metal. BUT I appreciate any rock n roll songs. and any songs for that matter.

Nor would I consider myself as a Metallica die-hard fans.

BUT I am a fan. I do know more than just 'Enter Sandman' song and I can name all the members of the band. I know one of the them died in a bus crash and that James' alcoholic problem almost brought down the band somewhere in the late 80s.

Though I don't have all of their albums in my collection, I've had bought a few..the first album of theirs that I bought with my own pocket-money (savings from my school pocket money) was 'LOAD'. I remember I bought that album (a cassette) with its "fire-flame" cover, and 'Ain't My Bitch' the first track. I was at my tender years of innocent 11 years old then!!  I played 'Load' constantly, back-to-back with my (elder sister's) Sony walkman and thought "this is some awesome album"...

AND most interesting thing I remember about 'LOAD' was that I introduced the album (and band) to a friend, who was a daughter to an 'ustaz' (a religious Islamic teacher to a priest for a Christian). Of course, this is METALLICA album we're talking, and she being a daughter to a religious man and was herself (and I think still is) very religious and pious...would never have bought the album. YET I introduced the album to her (of course can't be naming her) and even loaned her the cassette for her enjoyment.

THE BEST THING, after a week...upon returning the cassette, SHE IS A "CONVERT" ...a convert to Metallica at least, not only she enjoyed it she asked me to get her one too (and would pay later). Read: I can be a bad influence too. :D

ANYWAY, I never bought her the cassette. BUT I did buy more Metallica album after that - 'RELOAD', 'ST. ANGER', and 'S&M' (well the symphony Metallica concert, not really an album).

OF COURSE my interest over Metallica don't come by myself nor did any of peer-pressure thing (was in an all-girls high school and boy band was the most hip thing!). BUT it all came from my two elder brothers...growing up, I would sneak into their bedroom, and go over their stuffs! And yes, cassettes too. I listened to bunch of what would be considered now "legendary" - the likes of Jamal or Search, Wings  (my favourites too) and even Black Sabbath, Led Zappelin. INCLUDING Metallica. They had the 'Black' album - the best album ever. AND I was hooked on the 'Unforgiven' and 'Enter Sandman'. My exposure to Metallica was as early as 7 years old!

I remember my brothers had this one VHS tape on their concert - 'LIVE SHIT: BINGE AND PURGE' and that was the first time I "saw" them perform. Yes, am a rock chick at heart. Of course my favourite was Kirk Hammett. Not only he was awesome guitarist he is also the cutest (in my opinion). haha. I am always fond of the Latin-look more than straight up Caucasian with blue eyes and blonde hair. THOUGH James' voice is the reason I am hooked to their songs.

THEN somewhere between 10 years old and hitting puberty...along came hip-hop/boy band/pop culture. KRU was one (locally), NKOTB was the other (internationally) and BSB too. My choices of music, widens from then on...

ANYWAY, like any fans, when Metallica announced they would have a concert here, I was excited too. BUT was well aware that I could never go. Simply because there's no way I could ask my hubby to fork out hundreds (at least 400 for a decent seating) for the tix. I did ask him anyway, told him that he brought me to concerts before, and now am craving to catch Metallica live! He dismissed that immediately saying it would be better to splurge those cash on a new stroller for our new baby (insyaAllah).

HOWEVER the table's turned. who knew there would be a contest that would give away free tickets to Metallica concert, not in KL but in SINGAPORE and all expenses paid! I grab the chance, entered like a mad woman, cracked my head to write different, catchy slogan with each entry and....I WON! well technically my husband won as I entered his name as oppose to mine. BUT I DID all the greasy work. and so when we won, he had no way of saying no to me. He just had to allow me to go and accompany me as well (of course).



We'll be staying in a four stars Hotel Royal@Queens. And this would be my first ever Metallica concert, first concert in a foreign land and first visit to Singapore, land of Lee Kuan Yew. LOLS!


BUT am still concern as am 16 weeks pregnant, hopefully the journey won't tire me that much.
There is hope. This shall be forever "memory remains". Yey yey yey!

Ps: at this time and hour, am still contemplating whether to proceed with the adventure....it's gonna be far, it's gonna be packed at Changi (bigger than Merdeka Stadium overseeing the sea)...and i presume the crowds are gonna be wilder!!!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Road to reconciliation...is it?

RECONCILIATION.

Remember that word. Understand its meaning. For it is the catchphrase of postGE13. I don't want to say much, but would like to insert some pages of the "13th May - Tragedy Offical Report" by National Operations Council published on 9th October 1969. Click here to download (I've highlighted essential points, read especially from chapter 8 onwards).

After more than 50 years, this nation has never been so divided. 

Digressing a bit: prior to 2010 - I was apolitical. Yes, as written in this blog, I admitted that I fancied the politics, I am keeping tabs with the latest development. In 1998, I was one of 2-3 (the minority am sure) of 15 or so members of my class in high school that did not sympathise with Anwar Ibrahim's sacking. I was still very sure Dr. M did what he thought was best. Of course my minority views was looked down by my friends. I remember vividly, some of my friends were gathering in one corner of our class - talking about the political situations then - mostly demonising Dr. M. 

I remember saying to them lot that I don't believe Dr. M was a bad person yet am not saying Anwar was bad either. I said, this is politics. You can never trust the players. However, I do remember that grandfatherly image of Dr. M walking by himself, alone, on the pavement just outside of One Utama shopping complex and I walked across him. I was starstruck to see him there, and he just smiled at me and continued walking. This was before the sacking. 

Secondary mates from Form Four - friends until today: Fellow SMPSA 

I also remember well back then, my class teacher, reminded us to study hard and work hard for our future for our future (Malaysia) she reckons will be like Singapore. Sooner or later this precious land of the Malays will no longer be in our hands. She reminded us those privileges enshrined in the Constitution can be taken away in due time with concerted efforts from those who wished to do so. This was right after the sacking. 

Of course being just 16 years of age, I don't quite follow all these talks about Malay nationalism or patriotism. I was not the ultra Malays (those who supported Anwar was thought of being the 'ultra' Malays). I do remember some good non-Malay friends I used to have, my table mates in SRKKT - clara loh, or Fiona leong, or Elsie Ooi (and still keep the lovely sunflowers crafted from paper she gave me till this day), or how bad ass Nicholas Soo was those times yet I still like talking with him, or even one guy who was sitting in front of me, Chong Chee Jen (and boy how I used to have crush over him...he's that nerdy, smarty pants Chinese boy). I remember I and bunch of SRKKT mates walked to a crematorium in PJ close to the school to pay the last respect for our dear friend, Nicky Woo Liu Jin. I remember I cried seeing his blued-puffed up face (he died pneumonia believing to suffered that from the active swimming he done, he was the school swimmer). I remember how I used to be good friends with them that they taught me some Chinese and how I would love to watch chinese drama on tv (you know the evening shows every weekdays after school). 

Primary school mates : 3 Melati at SRKKT 

BUT that was all in primary school. High school came. Went to the very famous now, clustered girl school - SMP Sri Aman. Somehow I don't quite recall having Chinese friends that I was close with. Of course there were nonMalays but never got to mingled with them much, except some few faces. Then, in Form 3 - I got in one of the four 'A' class - where most of the school brainy bunch were. BUT my table mates was Azah Najwa before she left for Germany. The one sitting in front was brainy Jasmina Mokthar. Of course one of my classmate in Form 3 now the famous Selangor strategist - Tricia Yeoh. Then I remember the very nice girl, Chiu Chin.

Secondary school mates : 3 Cekap SMP Sri Aman
Soon after SPM, came adulthood. I went to UIA. although not race centric, but it's Muslim centric. There are a few international students, but majority are still Malays/Muslims. I took Bachelor of English (Minor Humanities). Was still apolitical and oblivious of my surroundings. At this point of my life,was 'fighting with self - I learnt to wear the hijab as requirements of the University. I remember I was rebellious. First time had to stay in campus, I would always defy that and come crawling back home even if I had to pay fines. Circa 2000 in UIA, my good mates was Lyza Razak, Nordiana Azlinda and some other Bachelor of Arab Studies mates. I was having "enlightenment" conflicts - on one hand, want to resist all this "islamization" on me - the wearing of hijabs, learning Arabic and being that "hip" English student. but on the other hand, I find studying in UIA made my parents proud. Hence, was struggling to be a modern Muslimah yet very "international" by the virtue of being "proficient in English" and a product of an international uni. Of course, my days at UIA did not last. I chose UiTM. 

Diploma mates: Mass Comm UiTM
Now, end of circa 2000, I began my journey in UiTM. I took on mass communications studies. Again, so-called "hip" course. BUT I was still oblivious with my surroundings and apolitical. To me, being in UiTM was that "liberation" I seek - no more conforming to be pious and be in the dorm early every Thursday night to recite Surah Al-Mulk. No need to endure the prejudices of some "Muslim extremists" in UIA that "hunt" girls who do not appear to be "islamic" enough ie. not covering enough etc. It also means that I am studying a course that is close to my heart - as my dad was a RTM veteran, growing up always following him to his   lecture session/outstation work, so I know pretty much what I was getting myself into (read: broadcasting realm). And partly of course because I was coaxed by then the boyfriend. Some of my bestest mates were: Hanis Harun, Fidzah Safri, Idir Nahwari, Fiqrie Dahlan, Haza Hamdan, Rais Ramzidi, Lizawati Yaakob, Ija Azahari (just to name a few).

bachelor degree group mates (prior Japan): broadcasting, UiTM
Then, came 2003. I broke off with that schmuck. Obviously entangled with drowsy, manipulating, monkey love - I did not study hard enough. BUT, I did not do so bad either. So like everyone else who studied diploma course in UiTM, one is expected to further to a bachelor degree. Was torn in between choosing Journalism or Broacasting and finally I chose the latter. Was still apolitical but was gradually maturing. I know then life has more to offer (lesson learnt after the split with that schmuck).I put myself together, I tried studying (although first sem was still hard, still bearing the "scars" and trying to move on). Second semester came, I had my first break - was selected to go to Japan. At this point of life, I already befriending a new guy (now hubby). Of course never did like him much because he was not that perfect, ideal guy I envisioned but he was a friend to me. He helped with (financially) my dreams of Japan and was very supportive too. And I was off to Tokyo on 31 August 2004. My best mates during bachelor was Haza Hamdan, Albar, Safuan, Hani. of course still retain close friendships with friends during dip years - Hanis and Fidza.


international mates: BGU Tokyo
Japan, was the best times of my life. First time away from family, friends. First time away from homeland. First time living as 'foreigner'. This time, was still apolitical but I was very much patriotic. And I wear Malaysia proudly on my sleeves. I make friends, I exchange my Malay cultures - I taught my new both Minnesotians, Japanese and Indonesian friends Malay words and folks songs. I remember in one of my "elective" course - Japanese politics/ International Politics - I went to see my sensei - Okamoto Ito (phD) and he related to me that he admires Malaysia's leader - Dr. M. (at this time, the PM was PakLah). I asked him "what about my recent PM?" My sensei face went clueless. "Ah, gomen nasai." (that means I am sorry in Japanese). I was proud that he speaks highly of Dr. M. I remember during both Eid, I went to the Malaysian Embassy - excitement was in the air, food was abundance - of course mostly malay/muslim students were there, but there were others too. I remember there were no Malays/Chinese/Indian - all was Malaysian and talks in BM and Japanese (not English). The fact is everyone was carrying that Malaysian spirit high if not missing home as much. Of course, essentially I make some good malay/Malaysian friends there: namely Paklan (zulhairi), Erin Adnan, Janna, Sofea. And we would hang out together/ shop together. There were also some Indonesian friends (one of which was a brainy phD student of engineering in Tokyo Uni) - who turned out to be my "consistent" Halal chicken supplier.Then, there was the "fling fling" I had with oh so kacak dan gantang (tak boleh tulis english kut kut dia baca mana tau, nanti dia perasan haha) kawan mat salleh Muslim dari negara Uncle Sam yang rapat dengan saya (sampai balik sini dia pernah "visit" saya dua kali dan ajak kahwin..ha ha http://nurulaishahabraman.blogspot.com/2011/03/one-that-gotscrewed-at.html).Point being: while in Japan, I found the patriotism in me - I had mini Jalur Gemilang on my table (given by my mates when they send me off at the airport as it was the eve of Merdeka), and I come to appreciates Malay food/ my hometown Kelana Jaya or maybe i was just homesick. Either way, I was simply known as "Mareshia-jin" (malaysian in Japanese) yet I was a 'gaijin' (an alien). 


Bachelor degree mates (second batch, after returning from Japan)


Came back in March 2005 but to bad news and challenges at UiTM. Much to my dismayed I had to repeat a semester. prior to Tokyo, was assured that I did not have to (because of the "transition" of studies I can "transfer credits"). BUT that wasn't the case when I got back home. Devastated I was in the dark. The thoughts of going through a whole semester again akin to being "demoted" and joining my "juniors" whom I knew none - was scary. Also there was that part where my transportation to class was being compromised. Prior to Japan, I had the privilege to car-pool with my classmates either Safuan or Fariza (an ancient friend from primary & secondary days). Then suddenly I find myself struggling to go to class. Dad could not send me as he had to go back to work (after retiring) due to unforeseen circumstances. And so, that old 'boifen tinggal' I - now husband, came to the rescue. Always there, loyal for me, waiting. He did the most sweetest and surprising thing for me. He gave up his only car for my convenience and bought himself a scooter instead. 

Of course fresh from Tokyo with a prospect of a mat salleh wooing me instead of Kulim born guy, I was not convince to take up his gestures. Ha ha. mak ngada2 lah sapa taknak mat salleh kan. BUT at the same time I have no options. So I just took his offer knowing well that he wanted more - wants to get serious with me. It was not until an incident happened and largely persuasion from my sisters that kept pestering me to get serious with him because of his sincerity - I remember Along said "Dik, mana ada lelaki sanggup susah-payah gitu, dia berhujan berpanas pergi kerja untuk kasik kau pakai kereta" and I remember I would retaliate "but dia tak hensem aar...dia tak kelakar...dia tak itu ini etc." Soon I gave in to the idea, and give this guy a chance. Cut long story short, at end of 2005 with the blessings and excitement of my family pushing my now husband to make the move - we got engaged. Ha ha. I remember my 2nd sister - Kak Teh was super excited. She woke me up on the day I had my final exams to tell me that she have thought of the color theme - purple! I remember I did not do much, everything was done by my sis and mom. And I went to choose my ring. The ring was really nice though and quite expensive.


work mates: TV9 news
Then after degree, I got to work with TV9. My first serious job. I was lucky though that I secured that job even before I finish my final exams! I started work right after my final paper was over. Did not have any rest. 1 December 2006 - 30 June 2010. The best times too in my life. Many things happen no doubt. Many challenges. On a personal level, my engagement then was "rocky" soon after I started work. Ha ha. BUT after 3 years, I finally tied the knot on 7 March 2008. Yeap, just one day before polling day. This time, with maturity, and experiences working as journo - the exposure one gets to current issues - I found my nationalism and patriotism increased. BUT I wasn't such Ultra Malay or UMNO die hard fans. In fact I remember debating with my boss back then on the first political assignment I did - the Ijok by-election 2010 whereby TS Khalid Ibrahim (PKR) vs K. Parthiban (MIC), I had to do a stand-upper. I remember vividly with my yellowy t-shirt I said my lines something along the following:

"Thus it is up to the voters here at Ijok to choose their future - either BN or PKR, the choice is yours of whom you should vote to bring development and deliver their promises and choose wisely"

Although this clip was not live, but my boss did not actually see the videos (although I wrote in the script thus they should have known and opposed when they could), it went on-air. And I remember my bosses then were slapping their foreheads and my deputy in chief (then) came to have a talk with me. I stood on my convictions that I did not say anything bad. I debated that what I said was "neutral" and "fair" the way a journalist should be (or shouldn't they?). Anyway, my boss then talked about the concept of media ownership etc. and asked me to not repeat such lines again. 

Anyway, wow what a digression from the first paragraph. Point being? Point am trying to convey is this: look at the pattern of my life. from primary, was so integrated with other races that I did not think of others of being "other races" you know. to me they were all my friends and I liked them all. Then came high school, my integration with the "others" slightly decreases - even more so throughout 2 final years of my high school life - in Form 4 & 5 - only one nonMalay in my class - Kiranjit. There rest were Malays. My integration decreases further yet I still did not think of "others" being "others". 

Then came UiTM. dip years was monkey years basically. No "others" of others - just me and boifee that time. yes in dreamy land. So dip years does not count. 

Then deg years - revelations. maturity. a bit...starting to feel the "Malayness". BUT still apolitcal.

Then Tokyo times - feeling international, finding patriotism. Starting to appreciate Malaysia. 

Then working life in a Malay newsroom. 100% malay. with 100% supporting govt. beginning to not be apolitical BUT am still not understanding the need to "support" Malay.

Then...oh boy then came postgrad studies. In all honesty, I find my "malay" revelations during these past 3 years of MA studies. I had to do a lot of malaysian political readings and Malaysian historical backgrounds. I learn about the constitution, i read about 13 May - from all angles possibly mind you. And I become nationalistic! My revelations shaped my political opinions - the historical readings of pre-merdeka and early merdeka shaped my opinions and not current blogs/ online media. If anything the blogs and online media today just helps to reaffirms the fact that what written and predicted in the books - of Malay losing the political power one day. I am not saying that all chinese are bad, again as written before and would reiterate again - only the DAP is bad and will always be. And those Chinese who voted for DAP without being a formal member of the party - are not at faults in entirety. They voted what they believed in and they voted DAP because of the blatant lies DAP has been spewing, indoctrinating them all these years about the other parties, especially the ruling coalition - that Malays are bad, UMNO is shit. I agree that GE13 was a Chinese Tsunami but I also subscribed to the idea that it was equally an urban Tsunami. and this is what I fret about - the "urban" class - the ones exposed to "truths", online media - voted for DAP be it Malays or naturally Chinese.  "truths" these days are only "perceptions" made easily available to many disseminated by reckless, irresponsible hate-mongers online.

And why do Malays would want to vote DAP? and this is what making my heart sinks. Even my brother is accepting DAP - accepting the lies that Kit Siang is the good guy and Dr. M the evil one. As I said before, if Malays want to vote PAS it's fine but to vote PAS because of advancing ISLAMIC values within the PR coalition? like seriously?  refer to last post I don't know. However, I do know that while UMNO is not perfect, UMNO is the choice for now - simply because the alternatives are not convincing enough. And UMNO should, MUST reform. but then again, seeing the new cabinet line-up, there isn't much excitement there to begin with. Same ol faces are there, some credible (KJ although i don't think he should be the Youth Minister), but many are rather a disappointment. that hindraf leader for example. and why no Wanita UMNO representation in the cabinet?? come on lah PM, the women are the backbone of UMNO, look who's fighting your battle during campaign trails? it's not PEMUDA, it's the Wanita. the kaum Ibu2. tackle the women, tackle them wisely. It's time to give back for all those long years of loyalty. 

Am not too sure about the reconciliation though. Too much animosity. And don't arrest Anwar although he very much wants that attention. don't give him that, let him rant, let him scream. sooner or later he'll tire out just as the crowd of most rational PR supporters in general are beginning to feel and he knows this. that's why he's instigating to anwarinas for a possible arrest. Anwar, you only lived once of that powerful support in 1998. it ain't gonna happen again, and the thing of asking the US to come intervene? That wasn't slick dude. that wasn't sexy. that was a big whoop.

Alas, I don't know. PostGE13 is more confusing than before. Thought making a decision of whom to vote is hard, but this...continuing to live while the politicians remain adamant in their bickering, playing my words against yours game...I don't know. It's tiring. perhaps it is time to let article 153 go? perhaps it is time to let UMNO/MCA/MIC open to all races? perhaps it is time to really take that 1 malaysia slogan to the heart? Perhaps it is time to have that 10% nonMalay in UiTM? (although there are nonMalays (Sabah & Sarawakians particularly so I dont see the fuss). Let's all wait and see. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Your past never defines your future, so they say

Salam.

Thinks after almost over two weeks now, it's time to move on with our lives and push aside all things politics, at least for now. Shelves it up, till about year 2017-2018...we can recollect the memories of the GE13.

Yesterday (Thursday 16 May) was Teacher's Day. Of course after high school, I've never "celebrate" the day, never wish any teachers, never give away gifts. The last time I remember doing those things was in Form 4 - of course in school, I think Teacher's Day are "enforce" to us - mandatory celebrations. Like the teachers have to actually remind the pupils that there is a DAY for them to be appreciated, to give presents, souvenirs - evidence for all their handwork in educating us. Like anything "enforce" without real understanding as to why we are supposed to do a particular thing, in this context, the celebrations of Teacher's Day - the conduct of celebrating was nothing more than that - celebration. It was an "off-day" at school, with lotsa activities. It is always a fun day.

In today's world, with the connectivity at your fingertips - everyone is showing appreciation for their teachers for the world to see on Facebook or Twitter, just to name a few. Declaring self for your circle of friends to see, how sensitive and grateful you are to your teachers. Some I see posting the names of their teachers - if there's anything, I am amazed they can still remember their names. BUT I personally think, all these 'bearing your soul' on the net, tagging names of those people you rarely 'chat with' or even funnier, tagging names of those people that does not even have any social media account - all too 'glossy' and fabricated for me. BUT then again, each to its own. Perhaps, there are people who is really sincere about the feelings and just expressive.

I - of course am grateful to my teachers too. till date, there are few, significant faces and names of my teachers/lect that can conjure up the feelings of gratefulness and happiness of being in school/uni. BUT I was never a teacher's pet, lecturer's pet etc. And don't think I was ever popular at school/ uni. And I have never kept a personal relationship with my teachers - never the kind that would knock on the teacher's door after class/ lectures, never really stopped and chatted with them outside of campus - if I ever bumped into them, it would only be that awkward silence or just a simple, out of respect smile and a slight nod of acknowledgement. That was it. Not too sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing.

Now in grad studies - with thesis supervision, I am still keeping that distance, though I know I  shouldn't have. I don't know how to 'appear' enthusiastic about studies by showing up often on their doors, or 'spamming' their emails with 'burning' questions sans 'real' substance except that - but I applaud those who do. I know some of my friends keep that style of relationship with their teachers/lect and inevitably able to keep good grades, partly because of that. After all, teachers/lect are only humans. Sometimes we need to coax them a lil bit, show some appreciation that they're superior and the master of know-it-all. That they are in charge.

Anyway, point am getting into is this. After almost 3 years (yes that is long), insyaAllah am submitting my final work. As expected, with the recently concluded GE13, I still have to amend some parts of the work - by adding the aftermath scenario of GE13 into the work. I knew that. I knew that was coming and expected of me. BUT what is a bit nerve-wrecking, quite a few lect I know of at my fac when I bumped into them are excited about my work - as they all think it's very 'in-trend' now and 'hotly debated'. Which sums the whole point of that nervousness - high expectation during my candidature defense I reckon. Seriously, I am worried of yet becoming a disappointment, again - not to everyone else but to me.

I honestly don't know what will become of my fate after submission. If I ever get there as planned, I will be forever thankful. Not because where it ends, but the fact it ends. Sure I want and hope the end is the sweetest ends. But at this juncture, I no longer put up high hopes. Just letting it be. With all said and done, if there's anything I can put my blame on is me - I am my own destruction, my sin for this delay is the fact I was not being selfish enough. NOT BRAVE enough to be SELFISH enough. Since year one of my studies, when every hiccups encountered, I gave in. I gave in to my surroundings, to my life, to people matters most around me. I never thought of myself. I only thought of pleasing others, of being there for them because all those year I was working as a journo, I never did enough.

Then 2nd year came - more hiccups and tribulations. I was without my domestic help. Mostly worried about the care of my only 1 1/2 year child. It was devastating. Then more waves of trouble.  The child was unwell. Amidst all this, there was that sad and wrenching predicament of my parents - with Dad diagnosed with cancer, and that issue with the No.29. *sigh* My 2nd layer of support system - the parents - was also fighting to 'stay afloat' with themselves. I couldn't possibly trouble them more with my problems. Thus, I had to 'fight' alone while at the same time appear strong for the parents and assisting them with anything I could. And I did. I put my 'burden' on the backbench and carried theirs. Although I could never lifted all of them, I did my small part as that of a child. At this point, trouble for me - escalates. Academia was halted. With my then, SV who was unwell and took that as my own reason to 'escape' from reality and play that 'obedient' and 'supportive' child to my parents.

Finally, 3rd year knocks on me - more suffocating than ever. Third year, in terms of that comfortable monthly stipends, was gone. I was suicidal. I am so ready to give it all up and move on. Hence, I again find a sort of "escapism" from reality. I went to work. Working at that NGO was one of the mistakes I did. It was akin to adding salt to my already infected, squirming with worms wound. I begin to lose my grip.

Alas, this is MAY 2013. It's my MAYday. I should be finding that exit doors and distress button. Honestly, I picked up my pieces starting last February. After that horrendous episodes with that NGO - I only managed to bring myself together in Feb. Then came March. Little child was sick again. Had to take 'one month off' - I wanted so bad to be selfish at this point. BUT how could I? Then came April. Parliament was dissolved. Knew my time is up. Knew all that efforts are in jeopardy. Knew I got to have more amendments to that already dreary work. And now is MAYday.

Candidature defense on 14 June.
Submission, around end June / mid July.
Results? August. and so my time bomb will finally explode then, along with me most possibly. Nonetheless, am keeping my faith. Leaving it all up to Allah. Hopefully, all those time I was not being selfish and doing good deeds to others - will be paid. Just this once.

Jul 2010 -Jul 2011
Jul 2011 - Jul 2012
Jul 2012 - Jul 2013

The bloody July. Never had liked July anyways. LOL.

PS: despite everything, I am thankful for my SV. the first and the current, especially. The first for 'choosing' me amongst others and decided to "ditched" me when I needed SV most, and without the courtesy of informing. The current, for 'choosing' me when no one did, when I sat depressed on a chair in that small fac's office with eyes red, crying; my current SV chose to cared, chose to asked about my predicament then, chose to listened to this sordid student whom he never taught in class, and subsequently chose to replaced that void the last SV did to me..all that  out of love for teaching I guess. And because of that, after almost 14 years leaving high school, after 14 years not recording any appreciation to any teachers, I wished this SV yesterday a Happy Teacher's Day. And gave him a box of cupcakes, with flavours I loved most. That's just my little token of appreciation for you sir. Hope you enjoyed them (I know you would never read this blog anyway, but just in case you did you know now).


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Beribu ribu tahniah

OK. I admit, I never knew about this song that went viral including several versions of parodies prior to GE13. Lyrics very...simple. 

"Beribu-ribu tahniah...beribu-ribu tahniah...beribu-ribu tahniah...MIC/ Barisan Nasional berjaya....(repeat umpteenth times)" 

lagu ini ditujukan buat semua politician yang menang ye. LOL!


Viewers discretion advised

PS: escapism mode, again. yeap.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Racism


A repost from Raja Petra's Blog.
The word ‘racism’ is currently being very freely used to describe what happened last Sunday. DAP accuses Umno of being racist while Umno accuses DAP of the same thing. The problem is some of these people do not understand what the word ‘racism’ means.
In fact, many Chinese readers have accused me of being a racist mainly because they do not understand what the word means. Maybe this is because there is no equivalent word in Chinese -- as there is none in Bahasa Malaysia as well. What is the Bahasa Malaysia word for racist anyway (other than ‘rasis’)?
(Utusan Malaysia, 12 May 2013) -- UMNO bukan parti rasis – PM: Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak menegaskan, UMNO bukan parti rasis kerana ia sentiasa memberi keadilan kepada rakyat tanpa mengira kaum di negara ini.
Many people are confused about the meaning of racism (the belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others -- or discrimination/prejudice based on race), parochialism (narrowly restricted in scope or outlook such as provincial) and nationalism (devotion to the interests or culture of one's nation).
For example, during World War II, the Americans thought that Japanese pilots would never be able to beat American pilots because of the way the Japanese are ‘built’. Due to their short body and slit eyes, they make poor pilots. Or so the Americans thought until the Japanese whacked them good and proper.
This would be racism. The Americans considered the Japanese inferior to the ‘whites’ because the Japanese were not built like the ‘whites’.
For a long time, the European Christians (plus the Vatican) considered the natives of the Americas, in particular those of Latin America, as not human -- a sort of animal on two legs that could talk. Hence it was not wrong to kill the Native Americans (or what they used to call the American Indians) because these people, just like animals, do not have a soul.
You only need to look into the eyes of the American Indian to know that they do not have a soul, said the Pope in Rome. And this, too, was why it was considered okay to capture and sell the black Africans as slaves and kill them like pigs if they resisted or tried to escape. It is because they are not white so that would mean they are not really human beings.
Now, what happens if Kelantanese want a ‘local’ political party to rule their state (such as PAS, as opposed to Umno, which is a ‘Kuala Lumpur’ party)? This would not be called racism. That is parochialism. It is not that the PAS candidate is Malay while the Umno candidate is Chinese. Both are Malay. But one Malay is from a ‘Kelantan’ political party while the other Malay is from an ‘outsider’ political party.
In Terengganu, if a person from Besut contests in, say, Kemaman, this Besut candidate would most likely lose. The voters may be Umno members but if the Umno candidate is from Besut while the PAS candidate is a local Kemaman chap, then there is a strong possibility that the Kemaman voters will vote PAS rather than Umno even if these voters are Umno members. Hence it is not party loyalty but the spirit of daerah (district/province) that prevails. ‘Anak Kemaman’ (a child of Kemaman) is more important to the Kemaman voters than keahlian Umno(Umno membership).
A Chinese born in Melaka can contest in Penang or a Chinese born in Penang can contest in Johor and would most likely win because the Chinese support the party. This may not work on the Malay voters. Only in rare cases can a Malay candidate cross state boundaries (or even district boundaries) and still win. The Malay candidate who crosses boundaries must be an extremely ‘strong’ personality to win in another kawasan (area). 
But don’t think that the Chinese are not sometimes parochial as well. I have known DAP to get a ‘headache’ because the Hakka voters insisted that the DAP candidate must be Hakka. If not then they will vote MCA (who fielded a Hakka candidate) instead of DAP. Is this racism? How can it be racism when both candidates are Chinese? The only thing is he or she must be Hakka Chinese and not a non-Hakka Chinese.
As I said, there are ‘exceptions to the rule’, even amongst the more parochial Malays. For example, Onn Jaafar from Johor won in Kuala Terengganu and Mat Sabu from Penang won in Kelantan. Then we have Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, the PKR Sec-Gen, who was born in Singapore and yet won in both Kedah and Kelantan on a PKR and not PAS ticket (but lost this time around in Kedah against a ‘local boy’).
Finally, there is nationalism. Japanese will only buy Japanese products even when they travel to Singapore or Kuala Lumpur to shop. The Japanese are not racist for buying Japanese products. They are nationalistic in wanting to support Japanese industries. Some Malaysians only fly MAS even if they have to pay more or buy fuel from Petronas even if they have to drive farther to find a Petronas petrol station for the same reason.
I whack the Chinese. And for that I am being called a racist. But do I think that the Chinese are not ‘real’ citizens of Malaysia and therefore do not deserve equal treatment or I think that the Chinese are inferior people? Far from it! In fact, I think the opposite.
But I also whack the Malays (and have been doing so for a long time). So does that make me a racist when I am also Malay? A racist is supposed to be someone who discriminates or looks down on another race. You may argue that for the last two years I have not been whacking the Malays much whereas for the 20 years before that I was whacking the Malays kau-kau.
Well, what more can I say about the Malays that I have not already said? I have already repeated so many times the same criticism and anything more I can say about the Malays will just be more of the same thing, which I have already said hundreds of times (yes, hundreds of times at hundreds of articles a year over the last almost twenty years since 1994).
For 20 years I was never called a racist for whacking the Malays. In fact, I was called a ‘towering Malay’. Only when I started whacking the Chinese am I suddenly a racist.
The bottom line is you can whack your own race as much as you want, and the more the better, but you must never ‘touch’ the other race. In that case, should we criticise the Arab extremists for killing innocent Jewish schoolchildren when we are not Arab? Should Australians criticise the Umno Malays for what the ‘whites’ view as fraudulent general elections in Malaysia?
You can only whack someone of your own race but not someone from another race even if there is cruelty and injustice involved. So that would mean non-Malays or foreigners should not criticise Umno or the Arabs unless you are Malay or Arab. Is that how it works? And if you do not follow this ‘rule’ does that make you a racist?
Okay, let us now talk about the so-called Chinese Tsunami last Sunday, 5th May 2013. Never mind whether it was or was not a Chinese Tsunami. Umno says it was. DAP says it was not. However, even if it was a Chinese Tsunami, what is wrong with that? Is that racism? That is called parochialism. So you voted for your community. So what? That does not make you a racist.
Let’s go to another example. Would a Chinese win if he/she contested in, say, Besut? Let’s say a PAS Chinese candidate born in Bagan, Penang, contested in Besut against an Umno Malay candidate born in Jertih, Terengganu. Would the PAS members in Besut vote for PAS or for Umno?
Hence both PAS and Umno would not only field Malay candidates in Besut but the Malay must also be local born. Even Anwar Ibrahim may lose against a local boy like, say, Idris Jusoh. So this is not about race. This is about ‘good politics’. And it is not race that decides but parochialism. And that is the same reason why Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail will never win a seat in Singapore even though she was born in Singapore and even if Singapore laws allow her to contest. She is not Singaporean. Period.
Racism is foul. Parochialism is normal. Nationalism is commendable. Just don’t confuse one with the other. And do not label everything as racism. If not then the ‘Malay’ government of Malaysia will have no business to protest if one day the US attacks China. Umno is neither Chinese nor ‘white’.
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Racism is usually defined as views, practices and actions reflecting the belief that humanity is divided into distinct biological groups called races and that members of a certain race share certain attributes which make that group as a whole less desirable, more desirable, inferior or superior.
The exact definition of racism is controversial both because there is little scholarly agreement about the meaning of the concept "race", and because there is also little agreement about what does and doesn't constitute discrimination. Critics argue that the term is applied differentially, with a focus on such prejudices by whites, and defining mere observations of racial differences as racism. Some definitions would have it that any assumption that a person's behaviour would be influenced by their racial categorization is racist, regardless of whether the action is intentionally harmful or pejorative. Other definitions only include consciously malignant forms of discrimination. 
Among the questions about how to define racism are the question of whether to include forms of discrimination that are unintentional, such as making assumptions about preferences or abilities of others based on racial stereotypes, whether to include symbolic or institutionalized forms of discrimination such as the circulation of ethnic stereotypes through the media, and whether to include the socio-political dynamics of social stratification that sometimes have a racial component. Some definitions of racism also include discriminatory behaviours and beliefs based on cultural, national, ethnic, caste, or religious stereotypes.
Racism and racial discrimination are often used to describe discrimination on an ethnic or cultural basis, independent of whether these differences are described as racial. According to the United Nations convention, there is no distinction between the terms racial discrimination and ethnic discrimination, and superiority based on racial differentiation is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous, and that there is no justification for racial discrimination, in theory or in practice, anywhere.
In history, racism has been a major part of the political and ideological under-pinning of genocides such as The Holocaust, but also in colonial contexts such as the rubber booms in South America and the Congo, and in the European conquest of the Americas and colonization of Africa, Asia and Australia. It was also a driving force behind the transatlantic slave trade, and behind states based on racial segregation such as the USA in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and South Africa under apartheid. Practices and ideologies of racism are universally condemned by the United Nations in the Declaration of Human Rights.
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NAAR: I share every bit of this article strongly. can't stresses more. and I've posted about this several times too.
Chinese will NEVER admit that they are the racist lot, and will always keep on blaming the Malays (in this country at least). BUT honestly Chinese people, list your everyday 'racist' thing about the Malays other than the UMNO is Malays only, other than NEP policies (which does not exist anymore but they keep on yapping about it)....other than, government institution mostly Malays dominated (and mind you why is that? of course YOU never want to admit that it is YOU people who does not want to enter govt. institutions because that would be 'too Malay'. the same way you lot whining about the lack of your ethnic in the police and army...but hey, YOU lot does not like the idea to start from scratch if it's in the police force - YOU want inspector post and not low key ones, YOU want to be taiko straight away. and the army less chinese? who's fault is that? the same principle applies...if possible YOU want to be the general and not some Malay, but YOU dont want to do the dirty jobs....with all that strikes out, there nothing much isn't it? 
Now I list about the YOU people.
-chinese most of the times speak their mother tongue at the present of other ethnicity. 
-jobstreet ads Chinese dominated - with clear signs of "mandarin preferred", "mandarin is an advantage" the same way you take a stroll down Sunway pyramid and see most stores would put up ads "Chinese female preferred", "Chinese female only", "Mandarin speaking only" for a low key position such as sales person. BUTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT you lot are not racist still.
-admit the fact that YOU lot practice different 'price' for your services to other than Chinese. YOU lot will always mark-up the price e.g: go to any car services private own ones not like fancy shamancy Aeons ones, YOU will put higher price to the Malays. other scenario: calling a plumber to fix a pipe : Malay plumber would cost half than the Chinese plumber. 
-admit that YOU lot practice "chinese first, everything other than that, last" in almost everything you do. 
-simple scenario (and encountered many times): in a parking lot, everyone madly looking for a spot, then comes a Chinese couple and you slowed your car to ask them if they're leaving the place, most of the times they'll reply you coldly with a "no" or even just a simple shrug. yet you follow them still or stand by and looking from a distance, then suddenly they moved out their space to give way to their 'kind' who just came by and did what you did (asking etc) and they got the spot. 
-another ugly scenario: in McD subang jaya (a very Chinese dominated hang out place), I let my Malay kid played at the playground. there were 2 chinese kids playing. suddenly, the older chinese girl stopped my daughter everytime she wanted to slide down the slides, everytime. and then she would look angrily at her. after a few attempts naturally my daughter be spooked off. I, was standing by and watching everything assured my daughter that it's ok and had to naturally intervened by standing close to her at the slides, all the time speaking in english so that the other 2 kids could hear that it is ok, let's play together. they are friends. then suddenly, the big gal took off and came back with her mom. the mom initially said " what wrong?" then saw me there, and right away changed to mandarin. after dont know what she says with her kids, she took off with them both. leaving hastily as if we were infected with some contagiously ill disease. 
--------------- of course NOT all are like these people that I've encountered with. BUT MOST are like that. now leave you with the following and think whether it's racist.