Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Happy 50th Birthday, Mad.

Dearest Mad,

You would have turned 50 today, Mad. You've returned home to our Creator 7 years ago and you still remain the best person I ever had as a friend. I still grieve for you and I don't think I will ever stop missing your and the friendship we had. You will remain my most trusted friend because you always had my back. You made our friendship the topmost priority in your life, over your own personal life. I never expected to ever have a friend who would be willing to do that. But that was exactly what you did. That was your way of showing loyalty to me. And that's why my trust in you is infinite and everlasting.

May Allah has placed your soul amongst the righteous. And I sincerely pray that you will ask for me when you're in heaven so I can have a chance to step foot in it too because God knows how much I've sinned. I pray for this just so I can get a chance to meet you again to thank you personally for all that you've done and been to me throughout our friendship.

Al Fatihah for Mohamad Abdul Rahman Zubaidi Al Hasawi.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Before Everything Goes Black

Of late, the enemies who are not mine have become more and more ruthless. Despite it all, I keep the smiles on my lips, do as much as I can to not be defeated. I strive to keep my life as normal as possible because the nights are dark and painful as hell. The sight in my right eye is going, the pains in my head that goes right down my spine are excruciating, and my speech is slowing down to silence. And my heart is suffering blows of painful punches. 

I tell myself "you're a warrior, woman!" And I keep getting up after each blow. Despite it all, as far as the world is concerned, I'm fine. 

But just in case things go downhill steeply after this, I'm gonna post photos of the proofs that I've fought this battle with courage and creativity. Below are are among the things I've made with wire. 

If my condition worsens, this may be the last entry on this blog. It may also mean I  won't be able to continue doing work, helping people, or sing, or teach, or bake or make jewelry anymore. I have faith Allah has His reasons to allow this upon me. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Full Circle

Student of Psychology Counseling in UKM in 2001. Lecturer for Masters in Counseling Psychology at HELP University in 2015. Whoa! If someone had told me, when I was in primary school, busy playing pranks on teachers and joking about with friends, that I would one day become a lecturer, I would have laughed my head off and tell them that's the biggest joke ever! And now, that's exactly what I am doing, albeit a part time lecturer. 

It's been a very trying and challenging months since I turned 50. I did resolve that the rest of my life would be the best of my life. I did not expect the highs to be so high and the lows to be so so low. But I refuse to write about the lows. There's no point in dwelling on something that's gone.

In the past, I have done human resource training programs for big corporations. I discovered that lecturing is not much different from that. Usually, before I embark on a new endeavor or doing something I've never done, I would try to find a role model of sort; someone whom I can emulate. I recall the way all the teachers I've had throughout primary and secondary schools, as well as lecturers in colleges and universities. One thing I realized is that the best educators are those who are passionate about teaching and also about the subject they are teaching. 

I was fortunate to have attended Dr Neimeyer's talk on Experiential Learning and he examplied every word he uttered. His talk was so engaging and interactive, bringing us to take a concrete fact and look at it in abstract ways. I learned a lot from Bob and I am grateful for his lessons. And now I get to apply it in my lectures.

After my first solo class (I share the same subject with another part-time lecturer), several of my students came up to me after class and shared their feelings about being my students. Their inputs were both encouraging and helpful. I thoroughly enjoyed lecturing and I hope there will be more opportunities for me to continue doing this.

Currently, I am writing my research proposal for my Ph.D.  I am thankful to all those who have gone out of their ways to assist me in obtaining the journals I need in order for me to complete this task and apply to a local university. 

I wish all my loved ones whom have passed away are able to see what I am doing with my life right now; especially Bapak Abu Hassan. He never stopped egging me on to go for greater heights. He saw my potential way before I saw it. He was very much like my late grandfather; having confidence in me before I learned to have it on my own.

What the past few months have taught me is that life can change in a split second. One moment you're feeling most happy and the next, it all dies in a pile of mangled metal. I can only do the best I can with what I have, with what I know, with people who appreciate having me in their lives. I have given my all and done my best to help as many people as I could. Also, now I understand how so many people complain about not having something when in actuality they did have it all along but they didn't appreciate it because it was not in the manner they expected it to be. So, they throw it away. 

In order to remain relevant in whatever field you're in, you need to be able to evolve and not be afraid of change. When I come to the end of my life, may my last effort be spent on making the world a better place and may my last breath be uttering the syahadah. Ameen.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I Want to be Ugly

Original source:  http://educateinspirechange.org/inspirational/everyone-warned-touch-guy/

Monday, April 6, 2015

For 5 year old Ana

Dear Little Ana,

I know more than anybody else what you went through. You felt frightened and guilty each time you heard your parents quarrel. You felt confused each time you were punished for something you didn't understand you did wrong. Your trust was violated. You suffered physical and emotional abuse. You didn't deserve to have all those things happen to you. There was nothing you could have done to make your home peaceful and safe. The empty house was not your fault. It was not your failure. You can let go of your guilt now. You are innocent and pure.

I want to rescue you from all that pain. I want to protect you from any further pain. I will protect you from hurtful and manipulative people. I will fight to keep you safe. I will defend you. You are such a sweet little girl. You are so cute! You are so so adorable. You are creative and talented. I love you just the way you are. Allah smiled upon you when you were born. You were designed for greatness. You are worthy of love. You are so loved by so many people.

I am here for you now. I will never leave you. I will always be your champion. You are so welcomed in my life. And I will love you no matter what. There is nothing you can do that can ever stop me from loving and caring for you. The way you are is okay with me. Just be yourself and be proud of who you are. You are not alone anymore. I will make sure of that. That's my promise to you and I will never break this promise to you. I carry you in my heart and you will remain close to me everywhere I go.

I love you eternally.

Adult Ana

Monday, March 9, 2015

After Eight Moist Chocolate Cupcakes. My Recipe for Moving On.

8th of March will always be a day to remember MH370. Among my many efforts to heal and move forward is by baking. I came across a simple moist chocolate cupcake recipe and decided to give it my own twist by inserting a thin sliver of chocolate mint thins in the middle of the cupcakes. The result was really yummy! So, here's the recipe for those who wanna try this:

After Eight Moist Chocolate Cupcakes
  • 1¾ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups fine brown sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1½ tsp baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk (or substitute by putting 1 tbsp white vinegar in a cup then filling the rest up with milk; let stand 5 minutes until thickened)
  • ½ cup vegetable oil 
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot coffee (or 2 tsp instant coffee in 1 cup boiling water)
  • 1 box of After Eight chocolate mint thins

To make cupcakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners; set aside.
  2. In the large bowl of a standing mixer, stir together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil and vanilla extract and beat until smooth (about 3 minutes). Remove bowl from mixer and stir in hot coffee with a rubber spatula. Batter will be very runny.
  3. Remove bowl from mixer, and use a tablespoon to pour batter into the prepared muffin cups. Pour in 2 tablespoons of batter into the muffin cups, lay 1 piece of After Eight chocolate thins onto the batter, and then cover with another tablespoon of batter. Do not fill the muffin cups more than two-thirds full (or else batter will rise over and make a big mess - not bigger cupcakes).Repeat the same for the rest of the muffin cups. Bake 20-24 minutes, or until cupcakes feel slightly springy when you gently press their centres. Transfer cupcakes to wire racks to cool completely.
Makes approximately 20 cupcakes.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Choosing to Love Myself

"The 1998 book, Choice Theory: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom, is the primary text for all that is taught by The William Glasser Institute. Choice theory states that:

  • all we do is behave,
  • that almost all behavior is chosen, and
  • that we are driven by our genes to satisfy five basic needs: survival, love and belonging, power, freedom and fun.

In practice, the most important need is love and belonging, as closeness and connectedness with the people we care about is a requisite for satisfying all of the needs."

Today, I've decided to focus on our need for love. We all need to love  and feel closely connected with those who are important to us and be loved by them in return. But lets ponder upon something: how many of us actually include ourselves as someone of equal importance in our own lives? How many of us include ourselves in our Quality Worlds? How many of us feel connected to our own inner selves?

The past few months have been emotionally challenging to me, to say the least. I found myself feeling unappreciated and invisible to those whom I considered worthy to exist in my Quality World. I felt disappointed when they didn't reciprocate the things I had gone out of my way to do in order for them feel happy and loved. And it was truly difficult for me to shift my perspective and look at what happened from other angles. I couldn't figure out why I kept allowing them to disappoint me when they have an excellent track record at letting me down repeatedly. I understand the concept that just because I have them in my Quality World, that does not guarantee that I will be in their's. If such is the case, I should be able to easily communicate my personal boundaries to them and tell them that what they were doing to me is not okay. I was able to do that with most of those in my Quality World. But why couldn't I do the same to the few that were hurting me and causing me a lot of emotional stress?

It was during my latest session with my therapist that I experienced a very powerful inner revelation: I loved those who were hurting me more than I love myself! Wow! That was a real huge wrecking ball to break my concrete hard mental blocks!

Think about it for a moment. Why don't we include ourselves in our own Quality Worlds? Why? Is it possible we suffer from self loathing? Is it possible that our inner bullies have judged us unworthy of being loved by others? When someone tells us they love us, how many of us battle the inner cynic that whispers "Yeah, sure!" It is easy for us to believe we are loved by our parents and siblings. But when it comes to others who are not related to us, we counter their expressions of love with disbelief. I seriously think this stems from lack of self love. And this is not healthy. At all. And lets take a look at the Seven Deadly Habits. How easy it is for us to criticize, blame, complain, nag, threaten, punish and bribe (often with junk food or impulsive spending) ourselves.

Imagine practicing the Seven Caring Habits onto ourselves for just a day. We can either choose to apply all Seven Caring Habits onto ourselves in a day (all 7 in 1 day, once a week), or choose one of the Seven Caring Habits onto ourselves for one whole week (1 Caring Habit a day, everyday, for 1 week). In fact, there's a variety of ways you can apply this idea onto yourself. The sky the limit as far as this is concerned!

Imagine how you would feel if you were to practice supporting your inner self all throughout a day; or even a week! Of course, you would still be getting support from people around you. But if you do not feel you are worthy of accepting any external support, no matter how supportive people are around you, you would still end up feeling alone and unsupported. The same goes with the rest of the caring habits such as encouraging, listening, accepting, trusting, respecting yourself and negotiating differences that exist between what lies within you and what you show the world.

Do you view yourself idealistically according to how you see yourself in your Quality World or are you able to accept yourself realistically as who you really are? Are you congruent with yourself? Does your inside match your outside? Are you able to be authentic and sincere with yourself? Chances are, if you feel exhausted and glad to be home within your comfort zone after a social outing because it does take a lot out of you to behave a certain way and suppress your true self, it is highly possible that you are afraid to be yourself. That is a sign of lack of self acceptance and lack of self worth.

What I am suggesting is that we practice the Seven Caring Habits onto ourselves FIRST before we even start doing the same onto others. A cliche quote comes to mind. "Charity begins at home." Here's mine: "If you don't love yourself, you don't know what love is."

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Aquarian Dragon Woman

I am the unquenchable fire,
The center of all energy, 
The stout heroic heart. 
I am the truth and the light, 
I hold power and glory in my sway. 
My presence 
Disperses dark clouds. 
I have been chosen 
To tame the Fates 

  • Chinese name for the Dragon: LOONG
  • Ranking order: Fifth
  • Hours ruled by the Dragon: 7am to 9am
  • Direction of its sign: East-Southeast
  • Season and principal month: Spring - April
  • Corresponds to the Western sign: Aries
  • Fixed element: Wood
  • Stem: Positive
The Dragon lady is the Grand Dame of the cycle. She will be a suffragette, a believer of equal rights for women. Double standards and discrimination will arouse her wildest passions. What a man can do, she can probably do better. Don't underestimate her. She is going to beat you at your own game--or die trying. She'll never stand idly by and accept her fate. She is the stuff empires are built on, the matriarch of old. Cross her and the sky will fall.

To tell the truth, the Dragon female is strictly a no-nonsense person. She will show this by the way she dresses. Practical and functional clothes appeal to her most. No frills, flimsy laces, buttons and bows, but a minimum of complications. Clothes that go on and off easily and provide her with maximum movement will be her top choice. She hates restrictions and limitations. Actually, she may even secretly perfer a uniform if she has military or institutional inclinations. This way, starched, crisp, and superbly efficient, she can pop off to work every day without the bother of having to decide what to wear.

The Dragon girl seldom, if ever, overdecorates herself. Her brilliance is in her mind and this will shine forth, without any trimmings. Self-esteem rates very high with all Dragons, so the Dragon female will be no exception. She doesn't expect to be treated like divinity though she does have her airs. She just wants your respect and she will do everything in her power to get it. 

The lady Dragon is totally emancipated, so strongarm tactics will get you nowhere. You might as well resign yourself--she will have the last word.


The catalytic effect of this combinations is a person with clarity of expression backed by an authoritativeness that is difficult to ignore or challenge. The Aquarian Dragon is forever changing and improving; an individualistic and constant expander of modes. Deceit is anathema to the shining Dragon, while the breezy Aquarian wins distinction for her ability to deal with people and tough situations. This person can be sudden and unorthodox, but never cruel or scheming. Both signs here can forgive and forget, although the Dragon is warlike when thwarted, whereas the Water Bearer is more broad-minded and brotherly.

Source: http://www.angelfire.com/falcon/staurina/dragon.html

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Letter for My Mother on My 50th Birthday

29th January 2015.

Dearest Mak,

As I recall, the last time I wrote a letter to you was just before I returned from Swansea, back in 1986. I can’t remember exactly what was written in that letter. However, I do remember why I wrote that letter to you. It was to explain to you how I felt towards you back then; that I feared you more than I loved you.

Almost three decades have passed since my last letter to you and I believe it is time for me to write another letter to you. And this time, my intention is different from the last. This time, I want you to know how I remember you as I grew up and eventually how I feel towards you now.

My earliest memory of being with you was when I couldn’t even speak yet. A thought crossed my mind as to what would happen to me if anything were to happen to you. Who would take care of me? That very thought was scary enough to make me cry. I remember you asking why I was crying. But I was too young and I had not learnt how to speak yet back then.

I do want to focus on my adult life with you. I have come to appreciate all the sacrifices you have made to bring up your children as a single mother. You have instilled in us your wisdom regarding choices we make and the consequences that come with those choices. You have instilled in us discipline and the importance of loyalty to family. You have instilled in us the integrity and self-respect with which we must carry with us always in maintaining the good name of our family’s reputation. You taught me how to learn from my mistakes and do it with grace and style.

Through my struggles fighting depression, I saw how much it pained you to witness the process of my recovery. I shared all of what I discussed with my therapist with you because it was important to me that you are able to see that I will turn out alright despite how badly I was suffering during that process. I wanted you to be comforted by the fact that you have brought me up to become a strong woman. You have shown me how an independent and resourceful woman looks like. I have learnt so much just by watching you do what you do. I am so proud to have you as my mother.

Today, I would like to thank you for giving birth to me. Today, as I turn half a century, I have come into my own person. I am all that I am because of you. Because of all the things you have done. Because some of the things you did not do. Because of all the good things you have said. Because of the times you followed your instincts and remained smiling silently. You have been such a huge influence in my life and sometimes it is hard to tell where you end and I begin. In the end, it does not matter. What matters most is that I am grateful for all the things I have learnt from you. I am grateful for all the support you have given me, solicited or otherwise. You will always remain the source of my moral compass. Thank you for loving me the way you do. I love you, Mak.

Your one and only daughter,