Thursday, August 21, 2014

VLOG: MERDEKA, MERDEKA, MERDEKA!




31st August is coming up soon. Yup, the day Malaysia (or Malaya, as it was known then) achieved independence from the colonists.

Everyone in Malaysia knows our late Sudirman who was a much cherished singer. My new colleague loves to play his songs nearing to Raya. I haven’t heard his songs for a while but when she played it I recognized straight away the voice of the late Sudirman. Just like any other Malaysians would.

I recently found out about Celcom’s ESCAPE Shots Merdeka Video Contest, and Narmi’s tribute to the late Sudirman with his own version of ‘Warisan’. The inspiration came from the song’s first line “Di Sini Lahirnya Sebuah Cinta”. I think the contest is a great way of expressing your love to the country you were born in (well, I was actually born in London, which I regard as my kampong, but I still regard Malaysia as my home).

I wanted to participate but I did not really know how to do a video on this. This is my first time. However, instead of doing my own vlog, I decided to video those closest to me.


I thought it would be more interesting to find out other people’s perspective on Merdeka. This was pretty impromptu and I took less than 2 minutes of their time recording them and they answered right away without having a script with them and having a lot of time to think. Some of the answers are funny but to me it’s clear that every one of us are proud and love our country in their own funny (and weird) way.

And yes, that voice at the end was me singing the Warisan song.

Credits to my colleagues and my siblings for participating! You guys are awesome for being such as sport!

The video I did was really an impromptu interview of my colleagues and siblings about what they love most about our country, Malaysia and what Merdeka means to them in conjunction with our upcoming Independence Day celebration :)

Thank you so much to the interviewees who participated so willingly. Thank you Veen Dee, Atika Tik, Sasha Yusof, Marissa Zamani, Azrina, Raja Khairul Anwar and Raja Ahmad Hariz.

So come and express your love for our beloved Malaysia through this contest! I’m sure anyone can be much much more creative than me.

Log on to celcomESCAPE.com to view those who have already participated (and have made really cool videos. These guys are really talented!!) and to know more about the contest.

Oh, I forgot to mention and you may just win prizes worth RM157,000!

Yes. That would be a quiteee happy merdeka to me.

So here’s how to participate:


Step 1
Make your own short video on your version of Merdeka! Shoot a video of up to 3 minutes in length with any device.  

Shoot a video that captures your love for Malaysia by featuring any person, any cause, any belief or anything that celebrates and promotes the legacy of Malaysia. Be patriotic and creative!

Step 2
Base your video on the theme “Di Sini Lahirnya Sebuah Cinta”, the first line of Sudirman’s “Warisan”. What does that line mean to you?  Oh yeah, any part(s) of the song must be included in your video.

Step 3
Submit your video through a YouTube link or DVD by 16th September 2014.

For full contest details, log on to celcomESCAPE.com.

Now that you’ve seen my video, show me yours too. If you’ve uploaded it on youtube, share the link with me in the comments section. I would love to watch them.




I leave you all with this video from Narmi singing his version of Warisan.

Happy Merdeka Malaysians. 



PEACE & LOVE!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Visiting My Daughter : Expect the Unexpected XVI


Some see it as a blessing, some see it as a problem, some see it as a gift.

Today, I will be blogging about my gift.

My extremely precious gift.

As I said in my previous post A Fresh New Start, I haven’t been pouring my heart out in the blog this past few months because of a few incidents that happened to me. That is why I’ve only been blogging about only my looks etc. I couldn’t express what I have been feeling. Everything was just on the surface.

I promised in my post Stellar Kandi that I am going to blog about my raya diaries. It was easy to share happy pictures on Instagram, but it took quite a while for me to share about my feelings on Raya on my own blog.

I was very hesitant. Because sharing my raya would mean sharing about her. My baby. I love sharing about my daughter. I love to share about people dear to me or anything that I love. But I know that there are people who do not like it when I share about my late daughter based on some of the hurtful comments that I received from followers on IG or in the blog. 

But you know what? I feel that if other parents can share whatever they like about their children, well, I can too.

I miss using my blog to express myself and and my feelings about her. It feels nice to get to talk about her. Other than praying and talking to the Creator about my feelings, or talking to my family about how I feel, I find writing (or blogging) very therapeutic.

So, today I decided to start sharing about my raya story. Here at a cafe near my apartment because I need to use their wifi. The husband has just left to go to his office about almost two hours ago to prepare for a hearing that he has to handle tomorrow morning. So, it's just me, my laptop, soya cincau and pau kaya with me now.

Anyways...

It started the night before the last day of fasting. I broke fast and did the tarawikh prayers with my in-laws and slept at their place. Had a lovely sahur with them.

And then, that morning straight from my in-laws house my husband and I went to visit my daughter’s grave. My in-laws visited her the day before. 

This is our second Raya as parents to Jibrael. Last year (see Black Eid) me, my husband and the whole family went to visit her grave on the morning of raya. But this year my husband and I decided to go a day before raya.

It was difficult and I am not going to lie and say that it was easy. It is always difficult evertyime I go to her grave. Because I never expected in my entire life that I would ever have to visit my child’s grave. I always thought that it should be the other way around.

But, I am blessed because through this pain and sacrifice, I am blessed with a child in heaven. Heaven... The place we can all only pray and try our best to be worthy to go to. All praises to the Creator for this gift. However painful, however bittersweet. He always has a better plan for us than we can imagine. I am truly blessed.

I remember the difficult conversation I had with the person who was in charge to do up Jibrael’s tombstone earlier this year.

Me: Saya nak buat kubur...

Her: Kubur siapa ya?

Me: Kubur ... anak saya...

Her: Berapa tahun dia meninggal?

Me: Tak sampai sehari dia hidup... dia hidup 12 jam lepas tu dia meninggal.

Her: Okay sebab nak anggar luas or panjang kubur tu. Nak kubur yang macam mana tu?

Me: Saya nak yang ada kayu kat tepi lepas tu ada batu nisan yang warna putih macam marble tu.

Her: Oh, nak tulis apa ya?

Me: … (blank.) … Nama... Boleh tak kalau saya sms apa yang saya nak tulis? Saya nak bincang dengan suami saya dulu.

Her: Bila dia meninggal?

Me: 14 Januari 2013.

Her: Nak dekat setahun dah……

And then it hit me.

… It took me quite a while to recover from that ‘simple’ less than 5 minutes conversation. It was something I have never ever imagine I would have to go through in my life... ever.

Expect the unexpected...

When she asked me all these unexpected questions: what sort of grave I wanted, how big, what I wanted to write on the tombstone and most importantly, when she made me realize that it was almost a year since she passed away and I haven’t even done her grave, it hit me hard. Really really hard. I didn’t know what to expect when I called her up, but each question felt like a knife stab, re-opening all the wounds I tried to cover up. The pain I’ve tried my best to mask to the whole world.

I would never imagine that I have to go through thinking of what to write on my child’s batu nisan (tombstone). Even that was very difficult. Different people grieve differently. I know at Jibrael’s grave, I saw a lot of people do up their child’s grave as soon as possible but for me it took a really long while. It is just too difficult for both me and my husband. To say the least.

But you know what, we are going to take it one step at a time.

We can’t always distract ourselves and at some point in time we must face what we need to do. It gets more painful the longer we avoid it. It hurts more when we try to suppress the pain. Like a physical wound if you keep it unattended, it will get worse in time.

But its also important to face them one step at a time. Realising what we need to do is the first step in this situation. And sometimes, the first step is the hardest.

On another note, when we were at her grave and reciting prayers for her I could not stop thinking about how happy and how beautiful it must be there up in heaven where she resides. She does not have to suffer, or feel pain, or live in a world where we will worry that she will be harmed. For all her struggles and pain in this world, God has chosen to reward her immediately. What better reward can there be other than be promised heaven by the One who created everything that exists? None.

I am so proud of her. My blessed and strong beautiful angel, Putri Jibrael Zumirrah. I am truly blessed to receive her as my first daughter, a beautiful gift from the Creator. My inspiration to become a better human being. Just as she has been a gift to me, she has inspired me to become a gift to others too. I know I am nowhere near her.  I am weak, but she is so strong. I haven’t contributed much to my loved ones, but she has contributed everything that she has to us her loved ones. Her existence in this world when she was in me and when she was in this world for that precious 12 hours has taught me so much about life. She fought to breathe. She fought to live. She fought to meet her parents with all her might.

Do we try hard enough to live and be the best we can be to the people around us? Especially the ones who love us the most?

Compared to her, I feel that I haven’t contributed anything to the ones around me.

She has opened up my eyes. She has made me realize a lot of things which I did not realize I was doing wrong. I feel that slowly Jibrael has turned me into a better individual than the person I was before. I am trying my best to strive and become a better individual to everyone around me.

All praises to God for the best gift I could ever receive. My first daughter, who now resides in heaven. The one who turned me into a mother.

Alhamdulillah.

May God guide me and the rest of my family to meet her again. It is something I pray for every day, and it will be the most beautiful meeting ever.

Mama can’t wait to see you again, Jibrael. One sweet day.



The above is a picture of the cover of a checklist notebook that my dear sister Hasanah Hilmi did for me and my husband. She did this when I was pregnant with Jibrael and she gave it to me during my confinement period. It is one of the sweetest things I have ever received from a friend.



A continuation of Her Due Date : 13.4.14 : Expect the Unexpected XV


PEACE & LOVE!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Fresh New Start


Hello everyone. I know I have been absent from the blogosphere for a while. My last post was 10 days ago. So here I am. I miss this.

But, as much as I haven’t been blogging this past 10 days, I have been thinking about my blog almost all the time.

Part of the reason why I haven’t blogged was because I can only find time to blog during weekends or at night after I am done with work. Also because of several new changes in my life very recently.

But I guess I also really needed some space and time to take a step back and think about my blog.

I am pretty sure that my readers can see from my blog posts that recently I have only been sharing my looks and fashion posts but I haven’t been posting about personal stuffs. At most, I shared about my travels.

I realize that. And it was intentional.

For those who have followed my blog for some time you would have realized that I normally share a lot of what I experience as well as what I feel. But then I stopped.

I made the decision to stop sharing just about 4 months ago. Something happened which hit me really bad. At that time, I honestly felt like quitting Instagram and quitting writing on my blog altogether. Or at least take it offline.

Certain comments on the blog or IG especially about my personal life has left me quite hurt. Comments that were really hurtful.

I really don’t mind if people criticize me on my style or fashion sense or work because that can be improved. But when people comment about things that you can’t change especially personal things it just really hurts. Of course when it happens to others, I will say just try your best to ignore it. But when it happened to me, I now know that it is easier said than done.

I know I am not alone facing this and it’s probably not as much as other people have to face. When I look at all the shameful and thoughtless comments people leave on the IG of those that I know: Fasha, Nora, Lisa, Yuna etc. it just makes me wonder what kind of society we live in now when people feel so bold to attack other people without a second thought. Things they wouldn’t say to your face but effortlessly write just because they are hiding behind the keyboard or smartphone. But it still hurts. We are all human.

Because of all this and more, I decided to stop posting about my personal life. Here on the blog. I stopped sharing what I feel for quite awhile, just leaving vague hints of what has been happening in my life right now.

However, because of that, my blog feels somewhat empty. Because there are a lot of things that I have not been able to express. And this emptiness is caused by my own limitations. I have set that limit to not share or express my feelings here in my own blog. Just because of what certain things had made me feel. I feel that I cannot release what it is in my mind and my heart just because of what has happened before. But there’s a trade off. When you share, you open yourself up and become vulnerable to these attacks. And they hurt. Trust me, they do.

The closest to me saw how it affected me and they supported my decision when I said I am no longer going to write about my feelings but am just going to only talk about personal stuffs and feelings to those closest to me. However, I find that I’m not able to express myself through talking all the time. And not everyone has the time to listen. Everyone is going through their own challenges in different ways. Maybe different types of problems but everyone is going through something.

My blog has been a therapeutic space for me to jot down my feelings and express myself and share the things around me. But when I set that limit it doesn’t really do that to me anymore but only acts as a distraction to mask what I actually feel.

I feel that something is wrong somewhere. I did not feel the satisfaction that I used to feel every time I clicked the “publish” button to upload a blog post.

So I did a little soul and self (blog) searching. I read back on my posts and whether it’s still worth it to continue with this or just pack up my bags. I was just curious on what I felt when I first started up this blog and I went to my first post on this blog in April 2009 (wow, 5 years ago). And it was there I found the answers to why I started this blog of mine.


When we start something, we always have a reason for it. We have a goal. But then sometimes we lose track a bit. I guess it’s normal. Even in life. That’s why we always need reminders. From all angles.

I love writing. I love blogging. But I realize that I need to keep falling back in love with it all over again sometimes.

Since I have realized the above, today, I have decided. Not to hold back anymore. I am going to share what I feel and what I think, with the hopes that other than benefitting myself it will benefit at least seven other persons out there.  If it can benefit 7 people out there, it will be enough to make me happy. J That’s my goal. If I can’t change the world, I’ll at least change myself and change the world of 7 people around me.

Today I am opening a new chapter in my blog. Don’t get me wrong. The travel posts and the fashion look posts are fun, and I enjoy doing it. And they are not going away. But that’s not all I am about. That’s not who I am entirely. I am much more than that. And I will open up and share once again here.

It just feels right again. Coincidentally, in the month of Syawal. A month for new beginnings.

Phew, feels good to let that off my chest.

Okay…. Now that’s out of the way…

So …what has been happening  in my life the past 10 days?

Well, there’s another reason why I have not had a lot of time to blog.  I have just moved into a new place with the husband! Exciting times!

I’ll share more soon and I need a lot of tips.




PEACE & LOVE!