Sunday, 3 February 2019

Juggling Depression and Presence of Mind

Are you busy or productive?

What did you do today? Will they bring you closer to where you want to be tomorrow? #reflection

We all change, grow and evolve every single day. I made my mind that in 2019, I want to make some important life-changing decisions. However, until one month ago, I was unsure if I have all it takes to plunge into the uncertainties I would have to face as consequences to my decisions.

As time passes, and as I took time off for myself during my birthday trip, I learned to listen to myself, my instinct and my soul. What seemed to be blurry had begun to clear up.

I've gained the ability to train my mind to align with the soul and body. There are lesser depressed moments; as I was affected by depression not so long ago. I have reduced the times I need people's opinions or advices as I have started to use my instincts as the compass.

I've learned to chart my goals and visions; and relate them to the work I do everyday to actualise them.

What are your goals for 2019? Where are you now in attaining them?

My goals are financially freedom and happiness.

***

I welcome your thoughts and views ! :D Thank you for your feedback

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

30th Birthday Reflective Post

After checking into my room
After checking into my room
At Tanjung Aru to watch the sunset
At Tanjung Aru to watch the sunset














Blogging has always been the most effective way to convey my thoughts and views on things that matter to me in life. I started blogging in 2013, when I was in my final semester of university, and that is nearly six years ago.

The first few years had been very exciting moments of my blogging life where I connected with many, many fabulous authors, writer and bloggers across the world. I was also actively writing on Glipho (which is now discontinued), and discovering new friends online. After some time, I went out of the radar for a couple of years as I embark on my job.

Sunset at Tanjung Aru
Sunset at Tanjung Aru

At Pekan Nabalu, on the way to Kundasang













I turned 30 on the 10th of January this year. I planned for a solo trip as I have always wanted to go on a trip all by myself at least once. Somewhere in August 2018, while my brother, my sister-in-law and I were having Briyani for lunch after the settlement of the downpayment for their new home, I browsed through the AirAsia website for a return ticket to Kota Kinabalu (KK), Sabah and booked it without having a second thought. As much as I love my family, I came to terms with the fact that I need to buckle down and be prepared for the transition of staying on my own after having them both moved to their own new house. I wanted to embrace the challenge of travelling to a place that is totally foreign to me and having to enjoy my own company, as I thought it would help widen my perspective on life.


That's my silhouette
Overseeing Mount Kinabalu
The Mount Kinabalu from Desa Dairy Farm

Kundasang is a beautiful place located nearly two and a half hours away from Kota Kinabalu, the capital of the state of Sabah. Some of the girls from my university debate alumni team made a plan to visit Kundasang after our trip to Cambodia. However, the plan remains a plan to date. This triggered me to make my own plan for my upcoming birthday.


At the Kipungit waterfall
My tour guide cum driver, Airul
At Desa Dairy Farm

Interestingly, I stumbled upon a post wrote on post on three things to achieve by 30 six years ago. Looking back, I am surprised to learn that I have achieved most of the aims I had back then by the time I am 30. I had completely forgotten that having this post written somewhere in the 2013. Nevertheless, I think these aims were ingrained in my subconcious mind that I am able to achieve most of them without needing to be reminded by a post or a diary.

I wanted to do something else than engineering if I were to further my education, and I completed my MBA at the age of 28. I cleared off my education loan on the very last week of December 2018 since the previous ruling government offered a 20% discount from the total loan for every student who pays off the education loan in a single payment. I also paid off my car loan by the end of 2015 and in the first half of 2016, I secured a bank loan for the house I am living in now. I have created two small businesses (www.internationalbookpromotion.com and www.ibpeditingservices.com), which are based online, and I am looking at ways to bring them both to the next levels at the moment, while actively searching for ways to make passive income. I'm not there yet, but I will be there, surely! I have not decided where I want to live as of now but that probably is not an issue, at the moment.

Now, having returned from my birthday solo trip, I wanted to write a reflective post on visit. 

1. Trust no one but trust everyone
The scariest thing for any solo traveller is to trust strangers they meet along their journey. When you need to ask for directions, when you're not comfortable with the hotel room you are staying, or when you need a lift from a passerby after your car broke down; you need to trust a stranger to an extend to get your journey going. I learned that I should be open to trusting people to an extend but always be wary of who they are and how they behave. I also learned to listen to my gut feelings about someone I meet. Energy doesn't lie. If you don't feel good about something, do not proceed further with the activity or intention.

2. The universe opens ways for every decision you take
When I was about to book my holiday tickets, I had no idea how I would be spending three days at KK. I only thought of heading to Kundasang. I didn't know exactly how and when I'd be doing it but all I knew was the fact that I'd come up with a plan that would help me to realize my birthday trip. I think, the decision I made to purchase the ticket made the difference. The holiday destination had been finalized and the rest of it followed through.

I was indeed very meticulous when drafting out my plans as I was very conscious about the teeny-weeny decisions I make pertaining to the holiday due to the fact that I would be travelling alone. My initial plan was to travel using a car rented from Kota Kinabalu and head towards Kundasang. I booked a car (without pre-payment) about two months before my trip. As I Googled, I learned that there are quite a number of places to visit, both at Kundasang and KK. With the limited time available, I was concurrently trying to draft an itinerary to fit in as many worthy places as possible. I also booked a few hotel rooms (without pre-payment) via booking.com at KK and Kundasang so that I could pick the best one based on my finalized itinerary later and cancel the rest.

I read blog posts from other travellers on noteworthy tips while visiting KK and Kundasang. My mind was pretty much occupied on how the trip should go like and as a result, I got a little restless. Not only that, I couldn't really decide and stick to anything as I was very concerned on getting all the plans laid out right.

However, towards the end of the year, I stumbled upon a Facebook post about a friend having visited Kundasang and I dropped her a message right away. She shared her tour guide's number and little did I know that getting in touch with him would be changing my plans altogether, but for good. I ended up having a tour guide cum driver for the first two days of my trip and having him driving me to places made the trip safe as some roads were a little challenging for new drivers, especially during rainy days since Kundasang is a mountainous town about 1,900 meters above the sea level.

A few weeks before my trip, I got to know that my friend is posted at KK for a couple of months for a project. I stayed with her the last two days and it was a pleasure meeting her after three years.

I was amazed at how everything fell into its place and although my trip swayed from its original plan, I still had an incredible trip and I loved every bit of it.

The Kipungit waterfall
The sunset of 10th Jan














3. Steer clear from noises when you need to gain clarity on life
There were quite a few people who were worried about me travelling alone for my birthday trip like my mom, dad and some close friends. I think despite having my travel insurance booked and assuring them that I've made sufficient research on the trip, they were still worried. Although their fear is totally understandable, at the end of the day, I think I learned to make that leap of faith.

I wanted this trip very badly, not just as a birthday treat, but also as a chance for soul-searching. The need to just stay away from eveything for a bit was so mind-boggling that I had to disguise it as a holiday, and I was sure people around me didn't notice the actual intention, which is much deeper than just a vacation. Your soul knows what you need the best; not the people around you.

Sometimes, when you are at the verge of not being able to explain yourself, the best thing you can do is to steer clear from noises as peace would help you to make better decisions. I am glad I took time to do this as I was able to gain clarity on a few things that I was contemplating. In simplicity, you gain clarity. For all you know, the takeaway lesson from journeys like this would help you stay true to your goals in life in the long run.

4. You're in control; and one step away from a different life
The ultimate reason why we are often encouraged to stretch out of the comfort zone during the lowest point of our lives is to provide an opportunity for us to learn that we are always in control of our lives and that we are always one step away from a life we want. The scariest and out-of-the-comfort-zone thing to do is the most liberating of all.

Me at the Manukan Islands
During the sunset of 10th Jan












Right from the beginning, I knew that I am one click away from booking a ticket and making my plans happen. But, I had so many what ifs and buts that were already marring my vision and as I gave these thoughts more power, they dominated my courage and the plan remained a plan because I was so focused on how to make it happen rather than just deciding that the plan will be achieved. It is the lack of the envisioning power that deters the entire dreams of our lives.

5. Learn how to enjoy your own company
On the third day of my trip, I had nobody to accompany the day-trip. All I did was to simply get a Grab driver to send me to the places I wanted to visit. I learned to enjoy my own company and the company of people I meet along the way. I thought this was one of the most treasurable moments of the trip as I discovered my abilities to blend with people although being an introvert. I fell in love with solitude, and I knew I would be able to continue enjoying the 'me time' upon my return from the trip.

6. Sometimes, failing to plan can lead to beautiful pathways
Despite the fact that I was meticulously planning for a perfect trip, towards the end of the year, I decided to with the flow and stopped bothering much about the places I would cover. I literally had no place on mind for the third day. Island hopping was an activity that crossed my mind but I was tired on the second day. I took all the time I needed to take a shower that morning and went to the lobby to ask for my breakfast. As I was having breakfast, I contemplated on the idea of going for island hopping as I was told that the tide is high. However, it was a bright sunny day and after checking out several things with the receptionist, I booked a Grab ride to the jetty and in no time, I bought my tickets to the Manukan and Sapi Islands. Later, I felt so glad for having visited the islands as the views were breathtaking. At times, letting things go loose could lead to a beautiful journey.
The breathtaking Sapi Islands
The corals at Sapi Islands













8. Learn to trust your decisions when nobody does, and be accountable for them
Most often than not, opinions are just meant to be taken with a grain of salt. There might be a solid reason behind every decision of yours and people around you may have not realized the the depth of thoughts. Do what needs to be done and take accountability for your decision. Even if your plan fails, at least you know why you wanted it in the first place.

10. Take chances
If you're young and healthy, now is the time for you to actualize your dreams more than any other time of your life ever. You can surely attain your wishes much later in your life, but the price you need to pay would be greater. The effort you need to take when you are sick, occupied with a busy career or a family life would be more challenging than the times in life when you have lower commitment level. I learned that taking chances in life is so important as it would make you feel satisfied with the achievements you trade.

The view at Sapi Islands
Sapi Islands, near KK















11. Learn how to take calculated risks
I reckoned that there are risks with everything we do in life and a solo trip is also a risky one, especially if you do not plan things ahead wisely. The planning here refers to your safety precautions and travel tips that you should be aware of before travelling. When you have decided to travel alone, you would be fully accountable of your safety and unknowingly, you'd read more about what should and should not be done wherever you are travelling to.

I think any trip made alone would teach us the ability to take calculated risks in life and this skill would eventually help us take the leap of faith in making changes in our lives for a better living.

12. Celebrate life
This trip undeniably taught me how to celebrate life! I did that by welcoming my 30th birthday with a friend who called me to wish me happiness. We cracked jokes and ended up laughing hard for an hour. It was truly a trip to remember and I would carry these takeaway messages whenever life pulls me down.  


***
I welcome your thoughts and views ! :D Thank you for your feedback

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Back to Blogging

Hello readers,

I just realized that I've not been blogging for a little over two years now! I've missed expressing my thoughts on issues that matter, especially when I come across mind-boggling news. If there is one thing that has not changed over these couple of years, it has to be how rapes are still rampant to date!

My businesses, job and personal life have taken a vast majority of my time that I hardly could find neither the energy not the time to blog. There was also times I struggled with anxiety and depression.

I'm glad to announce that I've regained composure and very much looking forward to blogging soon.

I've missed interacting with many of you from the Support a Writer group!

Hope to hear from you soon!

Love,
Jas

Monday, 11 July 2016

Book Review: Sex and Power by Rita Banerji

https://sexandpower.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/sex-and-power-click-to-look-inside.jpg?w=545
Sex and Power by Rita Banerji
I would like to thank Author Kelli Sue Landon for helping me to get this book from Amazon. Find Kelli on one of these social media sites if you are a fan of murder mystery and thriller books. 

WordPress: https://kellisuelandon.wordpress.com/ Twitter: @kellisuelandon Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Kelli-Sue-Landon-Author-128375177223550/
Her book review site: https://kellisbookreviews.wordpress.com/

I'm glad I read this book. So glad I did. I got to know about Rita Banerji sometime ago and wanted to grab a copy of her book through Amazon, which I couldn't, as the title was and I believe still is not available where I live. Kelli helped me to get the book via Kindle and gifted it to me. It had been on my Kindle device for about a year, if I'm not wrong. I don't read books on Kindle to be honest but finally decided to read it as I know it is worth getting a glimpse of the thoughts of Rita Banerji, an activist whose work largely revolves around women's rights in India. I like how she does extensive research to reveal cultural myths and the way religions both glorified and condoned human beings' sexuality. 

Rita's book will definitely shed some light on issues we thought were taboo. I particularly like how women were so much sexually empowered through religions. The Golden Era saw men and women emphasising 'romance' and 'love-making' where they respected each other. Rita also wrote very distinctly on the influence of religions and how 'sex and power' were viewed and handled differently according to their respective religious view point. 

Towards the end, I'm able to learn on how the present-day India is still struggling in promoting equality and how leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, whose preaching and practice on sexual stance had great disparities their own sexual. 

I would rate this book 10/10 and give it ten stars on Amazon, if I could. 

Check it out on https://www.amazon.com/Sex-Power-Defining-History-Societies/dp/0143064711

WordPress: sexandpower.wordpress.com

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Friday, 15 April 2016

Denying Your Past Is Denying Your Dignity

http://cis-india.org/news/indiatimes-sonal-bhadoria-nov-21-2012-indias-shame-world-reacts-to-fb-post-arrest/image
Shame prevents us from revealing our past
Image courtesy: http://cis-india.org/news/indiatimes-sonal-bhadoria-nov-21-2012-indias-shame-world-reacts-to-fb-post-arrest/image
I was reading about Laxmi; the acid attack fighter, her husband; Alok Dixit, and their love story a couple of days ago. I personally feel that Wikipedia should refer her as acid attack survivor rather than calling her a victim. I cannot stop admiring this girl for her courage and the couple whose true love amazes me. It makes me realize that time decides who you meet in life and character decides who leaves and stays. 

You can check out my previous post about her here.

Above all, what I can learn from Laxmi's story is to be true to oneself and stop being bothered about what people who think about being transparent. As an acid attack victim turned fighter, Laxmi's life was destroyed by a man twice her age when she was just 15 years old. Never would she have imagined that turning his love proposals down could invite an ugly consequences. She was thrown acid on her face and body following the rejection, suffered severe burn on various parts of her body and went through surgeries to repair the damages. 

India is a country known for its multi-ethnicity. However, there is something common among all ethnics and that is the way women are treated in the society. When a woman is mistreated or sexually harassed by men, it is because she asked for it. It is because she lured their attention by intentionally misbehaving or seducing men simply by being a woman. Laxmi was not the only to be blamed for what had happened to her. Many other acid attack and sexually-harassed victims do not get a chance for their voices to be heard. They shy away from the society that cripples and labels them with various ugly names. 

Imagine if Laxmi had succumbed to the restrictions that the Indian society had imposed upon women, she wouldn't have been recognised internationally as an advocate for acid attack victims. She chose to embrace past gracefully and fight against such cruelty despite not getting full support from people around her. Imagine if she decided to stay within her comfort zone, Laxmi wouldn't have met Alok. He wouldn't have fallen in love with Laxmi's courageous nature. Imagine if she too, like anyone else, believed that all men are not to be trusted as treat women badly, she wouldn't have spotted the kind-hearted man in Alok. 

Laxmi's story is just another example to prove that humanity is within reach and can be experienced if we allow to see goodness in every situation. Staying true to ourselves will only help us gravitate closer towards people who could resonate with our very own thoughts and beliefs. Unfortunately, far too many women and men choose to deny their past and called it the 'dark secret' just because they have gone through something that the society would not approve of. 

Let's just face the fact. How many of us are actually comfortable talking about sexual education, sexual orientation or sexual preferences to children? Do we go ahead and tell people that sexual workers deserve equal rights as other employees? 

Do we actually speak our mind and tell people not to judge us based on our story? 

We don't. Period. 

We never really raise our boys to respect women. We do not make them do the house chores. We still think that a woman's place is at the kitchen. We do not practice what we preach. 

Let's all start living life truthfully. Lend your opinions and feelings a voice and let that voice be yours. Speak up for what you believe in and never hide your story which is ultimately, your life! 

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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Not Your Mom, Not Your Milk!

Hello again!

http://www.whitelies.org.uk/sites/default/files/milkmyths/sites/default/files/The%20Herd%20poster.jpg
The Herd

I'm writing a post here after nearly 9 months and I must say that work, part-time studies and business have been keeping waaaaayy too busy. Oh, I forgot to mention that in the middle of all these, we've a new house purchase agreement that is going on. 2015 had been a crazy but very successful and rewarding year. I hope all of you had a great year and all the best for year 2016.

I saw this post on Facebook yesterday and I can't stop thinking about it! Initially, I thought this short video is based on a real incident that's happening to women but I just learned that it is based on the reality of all farmed animals and dairy cows being exploited everyday in farms across the world for us to enjoy a glass of milk.

Now, I'm not sure if I should feel glad that's it not happening to women or feel bad for the way we treat cows.

I didn't manage to watch this video past 7 minutes. 

Viewer discretion: For mature audiences only.


Does this ever ring a bell to you that we have been very selective in our battles that we no longer care about things that do not affect us any more?

The Herd replaces female cows with female humans, and by doing so hopes to promote a greater understanding of the suffering inflicted upon cows in the dairy industry. It is known as the first feminist vegan horror film.

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Sunday, 24 May 2015

Charlie Hebdo: Yay or Nay?

http://www.bbc.com/news/live/world-europe-30710777
As it happened: Charlie Hebdo attack
In January 2015, a group of Islamists went on a killing spree on the streets of Paris following the cartoon publication by Charlie Hebdo demonstrating caricatures of Prophet Muhammad. Charlie Hebdo, a weekly satirical magazine that largely criticizes many aspects of human life had angered the Muslims and provoked the extremists to hurt the editors and staffs of Charlie Hebdo. Seventeen people were killed in that incident including twelve staffs from the office of Charlie Hebdo in Paris. 

#JeSuisCharlieHebdo had been the hashtag of the month when the incident sparked a wide debate all over the world with politicians, law makers and the public pouring out comments in favour and against Charlie Hebdo. A large part of the public showing support to Charlie Hebdo and the right to express opinions were merely joining in the uproar without understanding the fundamental arguments that are underlying this issue in general. 

Earlier this month, Charlie Hebdo magazine was awarded the controversial freedom of expression award by the American PEN and Thoret, Charlie Hebdo's flim critic who received the award did not seem to be happy when people say they are Charlie Hebdo. 

“When you say: ‘Everybody is Charlie,’” Thoret said, referring to the “Je Suis Charlie” slogan that consumed social media and became a subject of some debate among those who found its style uncomfortable, “We have two waves of reactions.” At first, he says, of course he agrees. But then, he added, he realises that the slogan itself “doesn’t mean anything”.
It will take months, Thoret said. “We’ll see the way the debate [over freedom of expression] is going” then, he said. It would be horrible, he said, to find himself surrounded by people who all agree with each other. It would remind him, he said, as a film critic, of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers. They were happy for the support but, he added: “We are not naive.”
We all know that the magazine is satirical and when we say satirical, it appears offensive and unpleasant for many. Charlie Hebdo is claimed to be a part of the solutions by promoting equality, liberty and fraternity and the magazine is generally for the French audience. The satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo was the conscious heir to a French intellectual tradition with a long history: radical anticlericalism. 

With these facts on mind, will a satirical magazine succeed in bringing about positive impacts on society and is it okay to expect people to accept what it publishes with an open mind? 

The reaction from Charlie Hebdo following the brutal attack in January 2015.
Charlie Hebdo hurts people. That is a fact we all can't deny. It may have won the award earlier this month but will it be a champion in educating the public on worldly issues and the way we live our lives? As we know, anything good, when is expressed in ways that could hurt others would not be wholly accepted. What more when it involves sensitive issues of religions and cultures? 

There will be a reaction to any action enforced by people and the reaction is often projected with the same spirit and emotions. So, can we really blame the Islamists for reacting in such manner when what happened had provoked hatred in the Muslim society? Although it would have been wiser for them to ignore what had offended them, it is not rational to expect people to react the same way as the others. The attack should have been something that the editors must have expected to happen even before they publish the caricature. 

So, Charlie Hebdo: Yay or Nay? Yay if the magazine is ready to face the consequences of its actions and the non-constructive criticism. 


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