Saturday, October 25, 2014

A piece of cloth on my head: My Hijab Journey 4

What was the trigger that made me finally decide to wear the hijab?

I’ll cut to the chase:

That one fateful day I was being the rebellious girl that I was. Club hopping, dancing like crazy. You know, just having a “good time”. Even though I was leaning towards religion then, but I still went back to my old ways once in a while, especially when I was stressed out, angry or frustrated about something. My parents tried to call me to come back home that night, but I did not. They were worried about me. My father always sets a time for me to come back home but I was really stubborn and did not follow the curfew that he set. I went from one club to another. It was a crazy night. I can’t remember what I was so stressed about that made me feel like I needed to release all my stress in that way. Looking back, whatever it was, it wasn’t worth it.

Anyway, I came back probably about 6 o’clock in the morning and my parents were up waiting for me all night.

They did not say anything, but I saw the TV that was on behind them. It was showing a horrible catastrophe that had just happened in Acheh. So there I was, in my clubbing clothes, a halterneck (covered with a cardigan just to save myself from scolding by my mother) and witnessing a disaster through the breaking news. Acheh is really not too far away from here. All those people dying, the utter destruction, the humanitarian crisis. The helplessness everyone felt knowing there was nothing that anyone could have done to stop it. It was an act of God which man was powerless to prevent.

It then hit me. While other people were dying in other parts of the world, I was out partying? What if it happened here? Would I want to die in that state? How could I be so selfish? How could I not think about other bigger problems in the world than mine, at that time?

So many people died without even a warning? Was I going to get my warning before I die? Was I ready to face God?

What was I running away from and why did I have to find escapisms.

I went up to my room. I cried and I cried and I cried… I couldn’t stop crying at that time. I felt guilty of what I did. I felt that God was showing me a sign. That I should change and open up my eyes to become a better person.

It was on 26th December 2004.

That was when it hit me. Though not physically, the Acheh tsunami hit my heart. It moved me.

It was then that I decided to stop going out to parties. I knew I had so many flaws to fix on the inside, but it was no longer an excuse not to wear the hijab for me. Few months after that, in 2005, I decided to wear the hijab full time and then work on my inner flaws. I prayed that God would be pleased with my decision and help me through this difficult time.

I did not tell anyone initially. I just wore it. Some thought that I was just lazy to take it off from university but I let them be. When more people kept asking why I was still wearing the hijab when I hung out with them outside of campus, it took me a while before I had the courage to answer “yes, I’ve decided to wear it permanently”.

However, at that time I received more of a negative feedback rather than positive. I guess people found it really hard to believe that I was wearing it permanently.

Some said I was being extreme. Some said it was just too drastic of a decision. There was a comment from someone saying that “knowing me”, I was just going to turn the head-scarf into a handkerchief tube top (which was a trend at that time). Some scoffed and thought I wouldn’t last 3 weeks wearing it, and that I’ll be back in clubs in no time.

I received quite a few sarcastic and hurtful comments. Although it is kind of funny when I think about it now, but at that time, it was quite hard to receive those kind of comments, even if it was just a joke or people weren’t intentionally trying to hurt me.

But I was persistent. When people asked me why I wanted to wear it permanently, it was hard for me to explain. It was just something I felt I had to do at that time because when I wear it, it automatically reminds me of my identity as a Muslim and I should be more cautious of my character. It acts as a reminder for me. I felt I had to wear it to save me from external pressure and also internally. I just chose to have faith and believe that it was good for me, and slowly, it was.

Now, when I look back, I am actually so very lucky to have parents who still stood by me after all the rebellious acts that I did. They were really patient with me and just love me unconditionally. I really gave them a hard time when I was younger. I was a really bad daughter at that time I must say. I hope that they will forgive me for all my sins I committed towards them in the past.

I am really blessed to have my parents who accept me for the person that I am through all my changes and who loves me unconditionally. I know I can never repay them for all that they have done for me.

I know some people might trivialize the issue. But believe me, I know how huge a step it is in a woman’s life, the day she decides to wear a tudung (the hijab). It was my personal decision and no one pushed me to do it.

Alhamdulillah, you read about so many people who have chosen to wear the hijab, some who have amazing and inspirational stories. Is it easier for women to don the hijab nowadays? Please share with me your stories too.

Or are you still thinking about taking that step but still hesitant for some reason? Do let me know too.

In the next chapter, I hope to share about the struggles wearing the hijab through the years and the long period of adjustment that I have had to face.

This post is a continuation of:

A piece of cloth on my head: My Hijab Journey 1 where I shared about my mischievous past;

how going to university helped to start my change in A piece of cloth on my head: My Hijab Journey 2; and

A piece of cloth on my head: My Hijab Journey 3, where I wrote how God placed so many inspirational people who helped nudge me towards taking the huge leap of wearing the hijab.

Here are some photos of me when I just started wearing the hijab years ago :) 


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Moving Into A Smart Future

Good morning readers,

I know I haven’t made such a big deal out of it but I think I have mentioned before that I have recently just moved to a new place (A Fresh New Start). It’s been a slow and steady progress. We have been adding furniture slowly, bit by bit, to make this place as comfortable as possible and call it as our home.

However, I must be really honest and say that home appliances weren’t the first thing on the radar. What was the first thing we absolutely had to get? Yep, it was the internet connection. Haha. We also had the basic furnitures like the bed, sofa and dining table which we bought for the house two years ago.

Slowly, we then began to use some of the wedding gifts we received 4 years ago, including an electric kettle, sandwich maker, coffee maker and all the plates, pots and pans, the cutleries and kitchenwares. We then gradually bought an iron, and then a vacuum cleaner. Recently, we reached a milestone when we just bought ourselves a fridge, after living for the past two months without one. (Now I know how it’s like to live without a fridge). It is only when you have lived without something that you truly begin to appreciate more of that thing when you have it.

Having a fridge kind of excited me because it means that I can now cook, and that is something I’m looking forward to doing. I’ve blogged about my love hate relationship with cooking in (Cooking 1 : Ayam Masak Sambal Tumis).

It’s also sort of a weird coincidence that at a time when I’ve just begun to appreciate home appliances, I was invited to attend a convention held by Toshiba at the Genting International Convention Centre last week.

Since it was held at Genting Highlands, a few bloggers and I were required to gather at 8.00 a.m. sharp. We took a bus which was provided, and I sat next to and made friends with Melissa. We clicked instantly. The bus ride was fun because we chatted all the way up!

When we arrived, I was a little surprised because it was a huge event. I didn’t know what to expect as this was my first time attending a convention of this nature. The theme was “Smart Technology, Smart Future”, and we were blown away by all the latest technology on display at the convention. There was a press conference by Mr Hitoshi Katayama, the managing director of Toshiba, who explained that Toshiba is expanding its market in the home appliances segment.

Toshiba then launched their new L9450 Ultra HD 4K LED TV with Android, which I must say, blew everyone away. It was state of the art and pushing the boundaries of today’s technology! The screen was incredible and huge too. It comes in 84”, 65” and 50” inches and the quality of the screen is consistently crisp and doesn’t pixelate at all. It’s also an Android TV, meaning that you can download the latest android apps and play them on TV.

This TV can also support more than 28 video formats via USB and convert the quality of the picture to Ultra HD. After the launch of the TV, I think it took another 10 minutes before we managed to pick up our jaws from the ground. It was spectacular. And I immediately wanted one!!! My dream TV!

Everyone was then given a walkie talkie after which they separated us into small groups  and took us on tour.

We were shown Toshiba’s brand new refrigerator, their awesome new washing machine (with the mind blowing magic drum technology), their latest kitchen appliances, including their microwave oven and a cutting edge rice cooker (yes, rice cooker) which we were told could be used to bake cakes too. Yes, cakes. Oh, I also almost forgot to mention about their cool vacuum cleaner, which had the capability to detect dust termites. All of their appliances had sleek designs and I instantly had to have them all. Hehe.

Their Inverter Multi Door Refrigerator is really cool. It is my dream fridge now if ever I want to update from my current one. It has 6 doors for different items and it also has touch screen!!! It was kind of funny when Mel commented “Wow, can’t believe we’re excited over a fridge. It must be the age!” and I couldn’t do anything except smile and nod in agreement. I don’t really care what people say but that fridge was really awesome!

Light refreshments were served near the cooking appliances section, and since we were hungry, I guess we stopped by at the section a little too long, until we were “encouraged” to leave there as we kept on taking all the finger foods they were preparing. The duck was awesome! Hehe.

After the product tour, we were served a generous spread of buffet lunch. I was quite surprised that even Mr. Hitoshi was so humble, he patiently queued for the food together with us as well.

Thanks Tian Chad for this picture of our group!

Toshiba then held a lucky draw contest– and gave away 3 of their latest cutting edge technology TV. I was really hoping I would win the TV because I really wanted it. I know my husband would love it too. Our house is still TV-less. Hehehe. Another blogger won the TV, though. And I’m sure she was the happiest lady in the room too. The other two winners were from the press.

To console the rest of us who didn’t manage to win the TV, Toshiba surprised us again by giving us a “door gift” just before we were about to leave. What is this door gift? Check it out below:

This was the rice cooker I was talking about. Is this cool or what? Now I can bake rice and cakes in it. Maybe even rice cakes? Haha. It even says you can make sushi in it. Sushi. Yes! I love sushi!. I’m so excited and I can’t wait to use it. It’s a savvy kitchen helper, for home makers and also ladies on the go, like me. Thanks Toshiba! I’m also definitely going to fill up my new place with the latest Toshiba products. Slowly, of course. I’m not sure how much the L9450 HD 4K TV costs, but that is now my official dream TV, when I finally get round to buying one.

In the meantime, enjoy some pictures of the event.

Photo by Tian Chad

Photo by Tian Chad


Unzipping the Surprise : aere

Hello and salam dear readers,

Most of you might probably have known that I have been working hard on coming up with my new label, new baby, aere. :) I am just too excited to contain my excitement any longer. I will share with you on how I came up with idea of aere and my inspirations behind it here in my blog pretty soon. 

In the meantime, here's a sort of 'teaser' of me wearing two of aere's items: a zipper metal plated jacket over a multi function jumpsuit. I wore this to an event in Genting I went recently. Going to blog about the event right after this post too!

Anyways, since we are just starting up, I have decided to put aere's items online first. Can you guess where I'll be putting it in this early stages???

Yes, I will be putting it on Fashion Valet.

I am going to release the first batch of Collection 1 pretty soon. (Hint : Sometime end of this month). So, do not forget to follow @aere's instagram for updates! The items are really limited in the number of pieces so you wouldn't want to miss any updates :) 

By the way, Fashion Valet is running a contest in collaboration with FPX. Two winners will be chosen at random every week just by paying via FPX and hash tagging #FVpayviaFPX and you might win free merchandise worth up to RM800. 

The merchandise will be personally selected by FV's stylist based on what you bought, meaning that if you buy a long skirt, they might compliment it by giving you a stylish top to wear with your skirt. There will be a total of 16 winners.

I think the campaign has already started and some lucky peeps have already won. It's totally not too late to join because the worth of the merchandise to be won started from RM 100 and is increasing every week until RM 800! 

That's really cool, right? So if you haven't been using the hash tag you better start now.