Wednesday, 29 June 2011

THE POWER OF ONE

Monday, 27 June 2011

OUR FRIENDS FROM THE STREET - Part 2 - A day in the life of a REACH OUT Volunteer !

I came back home with Pete at 4.15 am last Sunday morning from the REACH OUT homeless program. I thought I wanted to blog about my journey right away but my eyes shut off without me realizing it. What a long day (and night)

Only 6 of us tonight on the midnight run me, Pete my dear husband, Jeff, Amin and two students from England Harriet and Jenny (who came here for a visit for some student's program)There were lesser volunteers tonight. Fortunately, we were never short of volunteers, some nights we have as many as 60!

But I was fine with lesser people tonight. Remind me of the good old days when we just started. In the beginning we did the feeding only on Saturday late afternoon. One day me, Peter, Kuji and her husband Zakir decided to go out in the middle of the night to check out on our homeless friends and where they slept (sort of doing the recce on our next project). The first stop was Pudu Bus Station at 1 am. There we saw people lying on the benches. I looked around and my heart sank. The reality of it all. What I couldn't erase from my mind was an old Malay couple about 70 years old. The wife slept on his lap while he sat on the bench. He looked around presumably to guard his wife and what little they have. He caught my eyes and I
smiled. He nodded and I looked away and started to cry quietly and I imagined, what if they were my parents... all the four of us were speechless that night.

Zakir and Kuji went on to continue their street food program every Wednesday for their company's CSR Program and Peter and me together with the Reach Out Volunteers added on more days for our activities. As Allah planned it to be, we are his soldiers who execute his plan.

That was the history of our midnight run about 2 years ago , not many people knew about this story though. I am also permanently on midnight run on Friday or Saturday or both days . So for those volunteers who kept on asking "Hi! are you new? never seen you before? or "are you still active?"..well, I am on the midnight run shift aka the vampire shift and I have the privileged to do so as a married woman because my husband needs to supervise the midnight shift, he is also needed in the afternoon shift, and whatever functions we are required to do or attend for REACH OUT . So I need to be the one to balance everything, as we both have a full time businesses. Let me just keep my big involvement in a very low profile mode ok? In other words, you will not see me very often during daylight for REACH OUT job.

That night, I walked around to meet my 'clients' as Pete so fondly called them. Met one 'Abang' (brother) at Masjid India. He came forward to get his food pack and lingered a moment so I asked how he was and where he came from. He started to open up and told me he is from Kuala Lumpur itself. He has no job because he got sick very often. He has been living on the street for the past 21 years and his family shunned him because he is a HIV positive. His only wish is for his family to bury him should he die. He said he got the illness from the syringe he used during his younger days. The Abang is 51 years old. I let him rumbled. I also know that I am one of the very few people who let him. I gave him extra food pack later so he has some food to eat for the next few days (Although it is a rule to give a pack per person)

I do not feel I am a better person than he is instead it is my privilege to be reminded and to be thankful for what I have. I will be reminded when I start to want more. Bigger car, bigger this, bigger that. What is enough? Peter always commented on how the street people opened up to me easily but I love to do it. Putting a name to a face. Knowing they too have a story to tell.My job as a Numerologist Counselor helps to make it easier for me to interact with people.

Doing this together with my husband is another blessing. It may not look easy but to us, it is done without question because we both know Allah has make it easier for us and we are repaid is some other ways. Plus we got to go on a date every week on the street till wee hour in the morning (not everybody can say that) ! In my eyes, Peter my husband is a warrior and my hero! He treats a CEO of a company and a homeless with the same treatment and respect. At the end of the day, we are all the same in God's eyes ...

- REACH OUT volunteers having coffee before midnight run

- REACH OUT IN THE NEWS


- Our street uncle

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Hijab Tutorial (Such! ) - ANOTHER FAVOURITE FROM INDONESIA




Hijab Tutorial (Such! by Suci Utami)

Another favourite Hijab tutorial - how to wrap scarf in 2 ways ! - from Oman




Her name is Mayya and she is from Oman but I think she is going to move to Malaysia soon ...

THE ART OF BLOGGING - Is there?

I am a new blogger. I am an accidental blogger. I am a confused blogger. I am a slow blogger.

I am all of the above... But hey I am a blogger! Can you believe it?? I still couldn't believe it because I couldn't stay still for a long time and I hate computers, laptops, whatever ... they are troublesome, technical and I thought oh so difficult to learn! ( I am not ancient okay!so please do not assume! I am just a woman who occasionally enjoy being floozy as to get things done for me and the furthest I would go on technicality is to use my galvanic spa to keep me looking like a 28 years old for another 10 years!)

So how in the world did I start to blog?

My house was robbed in the beginning of May..and the thieves took away my small laptop among other things. 2 weeks prior to that, I did a whole load of backing up of my files onto that small laptop. Every memories that I kept there was gone with the laptop. Just like the wind. My files, my work, my presentations, my photos, everything was gone!! I was cool at first, answering questions from the police etc. Alhamdullillah my family was safe! Towards the end of the day, I started to cry.. I felt violated in my own house . (My husband Peter said I got the 'after effect syndrome' - he used to work as a Police Officer in Hong Kong so I supposed he knew better!).

I became a bit out of balanced after that incident and I got sick. (flu, sore throat, the works!) To make matters worst I lost my voice completely! Yup that's right, nothing came out from my throat not even oohh or ahh ... I was hoping God wont take it completely for some reasons or could it be he wanted me to know how a dumb person really feels without a voice so I would appreciate my voice better rather than wishing it sounded more like any kids from Glee ... I couldn't speak so I couldn't do anything, I took off from teaching yoga and all my other businesses. I couldn't answer the phone too. What could be worst?

That was how i ended up blogging! I observed the other bloggers, how some of them have so many followers, booming businesses, this and that. Hey maybe I could do that! So if I lost my voice I can do my business through blogging, perhaps?? So my first article came out but nobody followed me ...not good! Time to force my husband and my daughters to follow me so as not to look unpopular! Sent invitations to FB friends - only 10 followed! Okay, let's resend ...hmmm still nothing! Ok got the hint!!


Naomi and Innaz - my blog followers



Eventually, thanks to my other fellow bloggers from all over the world who have been following me and do not make me feel so lonely. (Thank you! thank you! thank you!) Some of the unexpected genuine encouragements from some new found friends on how much they enjoyed my blog. Few friends who took time to vote and drop a nice note or two and comments! It was so lovely, really!

On second thoughts, maybe I am 10 years too late to hype something new (Did I say 10 years? I mean 2 years! ) Looks like there will not be another Hana Tajima Simpson or another hijab shawl blogger which has a thousand buyers! Maybe I could treat this blog as a hobby and who knows one day I may create something. What I do know, I have managed to touch some souls! That should be good enough.

Well, Hijab n the city is a glimpse to my soul especially for those friends, who share the same birth year as me but whom I have not spoken or seen for a long time! Don't we all changed? Assumptions are not the truth. For those who think I was still a timid unpopular little girl in school and would not amount to anything. Well guess what? wrong again!! Wish we could know each other better but not!

Boarding school could screw up anybody's head, I guess! (Boy! am I getting into trouble for this?) But what I taught my young students and my daughters, being a bully, would scar you in later life... If you pride yourself as being beautiful and stubbed your thumb to others in school, remember that you may not be able to retain your looks too long... Straight A's do not mean you are the best! Different individual are not weird, they are just different.... That was me in school - different! Believe me, it is true! For my dear friends who stick with me through thick and thin ... I love you guys (even if you murder somebody, I will still love you and visit you in death row)

I got my voice back eventually and start work:( I realized too that as a human being, simple things like being able to see, touch, talk, walk, hear and taste are the greatest gifts and assets one could have! These have been given by Allah in his mercy for us all to use and to be the best we can be .

WELL I HAVE A BLOG NOW AND THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS !! YEAY!!


Peter (another blog follower) and me ...

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Meet Me By The River: From The Heart

Meet Me By The River: From The Heart: "Sometimes you just need three little letters to make a difference. Y.E.S. That's all. Just three letters. I finished the late run with R..."

Friday, 17 June 2011

Favourite outfit of the day - Shades of Salmon


THROW IN A FUNKY HIJAB AND YOU WILL LOOK LIKE A MILLION DOLLAR, BABY!

WHITE RIBBON MALAYSIA - White Ribbon is a campaign championed in Malaysia by Reach Out a local NGO, to involve men in tackling violence against women.

(AS POSTED IN WHITE RIBBON MALAYSIA'S PAGE)

It dawn upon me , the fact is , not many people who will stand for truth and justice and that knowledge saddens me. I hope it will not be their mothers, or daughters, or sisters, or themselves who will be abused one day. This society has always been about selfishness on how good they look outside, on how much money they have, the assets they owned, and these are the people who will decline to stand behind any principals at all for fear of losing what they have ... But living a lie and keeping up their pretenses are their own punishments. Justice is about pointing out what is not right. Abuse comes in many forms. Today I am sad, to acknowledge the fact that most will decline when you asked them to fight alongside you ...

Another excerpt from my friend Nicole Queen's page for the "Silence Hides Violence" campaign.



I Remember

I remember when yo u brutally hurt me,
I remember how you left me bruised and abused,
I remember how you made me cry floods of tears,
I remember how you cut my heart and let it bleed,
I remember how you neglected me and watched me weep,
I remember the anger and smirk on your face,
I remember your deathly looking eyes,
I remember how you were breaking my heart into pieces,
I remember how you attacked me with so much fury and aggression,
I remember how you violated me, thinking you were innocent and could get away with it,
I remember those fears taking over me,
I remember the sadness upon my face and within my heart,
I remember the ghastly nightmares you brought in my restless sleep,
I remember how you made me feel worthless and become a burden,
I remember how I constantly prayed to my Lord to save me from you,
I remember those frightening moments when you threw me across the dirty floor,
I remember how you thought you were so much better than me, just because you were a man,
I remember how you forgot to treat me like your queen,
I remember how you forgot to love me unconditionally,
I remember how your heart forgot to even remember me.

I remember…but do you remember?
Or have you forgotten how you damaged me,
Leaving me with scars and fearful memories.

Will you ever remember how you almost ruined me?
But I will always remember,
Only to make me stronger,
That’s why I remembered to set myself free.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

YOGA anyone?? Hellowww!!

Few years ago, I have written for two magazines. Both were on Yoga topics. I was excited in having my very own column so I wrote away... (If you are wondering , that my grammar is not an oxford university material, and how could she be a writer, that was because my articles were proof read before it was published! Now happy??).

Was excited for my columns because I imagined myself to be Sarah Jessica Parker aka Carrie in 'Sex and The City' (ring a bell?)so I wrote as to what I thought, witty and cool...
My excitement crushed because both of my columns which were supposed to be about YOGA should be a matter of facts and serious and must follow strictly on topic requirements by Editor! Owww that was the end of my excitement (Plus they didn't let me have a cool column name like 'Yoga and the city'? perhaps?), err by the way, aren't plenty of yoga books in Borders if people want to read facts?

But now ...I have my very own blog that I could name anything I want or write anything I feel.. why didn't I think of it earlier?? Well, some job commitments and managing my own company plus I hated computers before as I had to figure out new things which I hated and have no time for plus I had staff to do the computer things for me. Now I am a free lance Consultant who dictated my own time so, well it wasn't really that hard as I thought it would be ...

Something disturbed me today ...an old school mate, contacted me a few days back to join my private yoga class! (blessed her for her will to learn) I was a bit disappointed when her husband said it is haram to learn yoga! (Thanks to the media hyped of 'Yoga is haram' in Malaysia a few years ago and although it was declared permissible, damaged has been done unfortunately). But nevertheless, his opinion is respected because I blamed it on the media!

That get me into thinking or analyzing (again)of the many times people exercised haram things when they thought people are not looking?? Taking bribe and dismissed it as a 'gift'?
Married two women but could hardly afford them? Lusted after another woman while forcing wives to wear hijab? Have plenty but will not do zakat or sedekah? Left behind children because they could?? Shouted foul languages and beat the crap of a wife right after an Isya' prayer?? Are these people hiding behind a pillar so fake of a hypocrisy mask of a learned Muslim? Blamed on his daughter's extramarital affairs on her good friend who has no hijab on as bad influence! (because the said girl wore hijab)??
And how many good people then dare to stand the ground and say 'Hey this is wrong??'

Let me laugh again when they said yoga is 'haram' due to it's origin and the mantra that comes with it! Mantra is Sanskrit word that means 'zikir'... Are we Malaysian Muslim so weak as to get influenced that easily? Shouldn't we analyzed first and then judged and not the other way round? To me and many of my yoga students not forgetting my dear husband Peter, "Sisters in Islam' Malaysia kini, Aljazeera and my friends who have stood behind me in the year 2009 when they tried to ban yoga, I say, hallelujah!! we are practicing yoga because it is good for our MIND, BODY and SOUL!


Hey ! am I not in a Hijab now and not in some temples practising hinduism like they claimed to be?? TO BE OR NOT TO BE . IT IS UP TO ME (Thanks shakespear!)

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Our friends from the street ...

It is 2.48 am now Malaysian time..(when I wrote this but slept half way through)  I just got back from feeding the homeless on  the street of Kuala Lumpur under REACH OUT programme ...This is the norm for me and my husband to go out very close to midnight at least twice a week and come back at this time ...One thing for sure no clubbing for us anymore!  It was  our turn tonight to pick up some food from Petaling Jaya Hilton. The food  was a left over from their buffet spread . Mind you, the  food normally smell good! At least for our hungry friends, they have the opportunity to eat Hotel food !

Many people asked us why are we doing this? My answer would always be, because I can do it and I have extra and I am happy doing it. Some people will justify by saying that we are encouraging lazy people or drug
addicts. These are the people who are not only living life thinking they are better than others, but also too busy looking at other people  but themselves.

I do not care what people think!  To us who are  Reach Out Volunteers, we are doing this for various reasons, we want to help,  for some, to heal their souls, or just happy doing it. Whatever the reasons are, it is not for other people to justify.

Some people asked  if they are dangerous? hmm never thought it like that ...they are human like us too  but they were born on the other side of the coin,  when I gave them food, I can see that they searched my face if I would treat them differently but I smiled at them  instead. And they smiled back ... I have always been treated by them like a lady or a sister.  Respect is not given, it is earned.

I am not better because I am the one who is giving but instead I feel grateful for the opportunity to share...
The men with no home .....

We fed dogs too (during a flood in Kedah 2010)

In a moment's notice we are off to where we are needed (we have jobs and we do not do this full time!!)

Our colorful volunteers ...
And I know our kindness will be repaid forward...Let them believe that this world is not all filled with hatred or ego because when we die, we bring nothing and then I will be the same like my street friends ....

Hijab Tutorial #14 (Pashmina Wrap) - another of my favourite way of tying my hijab as created by Yaz the spaz

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Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Yoga: Behind the Fatwa - Part II - Yup ! Im the Yoga teacher in this video!

ALL IN LIGHT a tutorial - MY FAVOURITE HIJAB FASHIONISTA !

Modern Hijabi Style of the Day #3

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO WEAR HIJAB??

Many people asked why I decided to wear a hijab. My immediate instinct would be to answer "WHY NOT?"  Well I suppose I don't blame them for wanting to know .... It was barely two months since I made that decision,   so naturally, people who haven't  seen me with a hijab would be intrigued to ask the reasons behind it, I supposed.

I am known to be strong headed in anything I  want to do or achieve. I believe fiercely that in whatever  we decided to do it has to be done wholeheartedly and with a full understanding on why we do the things we do. Over the years I watched many people around me put the  hijab on their head because they are forced to do so and in their resentment judged others who don't !  There are also some who put hijab on and off again when some situations occurred.. There are also some extremists who emphasized on women to wear hijab but turned blind on men who neglected their wives and children when they marry another woman (or having affair, for that matter).

Quran has been interpreted as and how they liked by men! So much so , values have been lost along the way and it saddens  me to see and  witness.... So why so much confusion on hijab then?  To me and I am sure to many muslim women, it is more than a piece of cloth. It is a symbol of wisdom and understanding. It is an acceptance of who you are as a woman and by that knowledge and alongside it, kindness and compassion should be in sync.  This can be achieved even without wearing a hijab. I have seen how cruel some women can be in judging others and hide behind their hijabs for their wrongs! By the way, we have the rights to our own opinions so I do not expect any arguments on this! Not that I care anyway!

I loved my long brown flowy hair. No one has ever seen it out of place. I took pride in my appearance. I have been trained in a girls select finishing school. I have lived my life as an air stewardess with an international airline. I have been a fashion model (err.. not a supermodel at that because I am not that tall!). I have been a TV Host and have my own TV show in Yoga. I have seen beautiful things and places!  At the same time I have gone through the ups and downs in life. In and out of sadness and happiness.  Through all those there is  one consistent thing in my life which is God! Allah is what I perceived  to be despite what other people say! Allah who is forgiving and merciful. The two qualities which are so hard to find in men  (or women)!

I found Allah  quite sometime ago .  On  the day that I decided to wear hijab one night , I was washed with an emotion that I couldnt describe. Allah in his glory has whispered to me that I no longer have anything to prove and I have been respected by many as my own woman.  Even without the peace of cloth on my head!  I wear hijab purely for Allah and for all the gifts he has bestowed upon me. For Allah has given me a wonderful husband who has always fought for justice and will always be.  A man who will protect me and my children and keep me safe. Insyaallah, I will do my best to be the gift to mankind by making the world a better place to live.

So I sacrificed my long brown flowy hair finally!  I have always been a fashionista and will always be. God created all the beautiful things in the world and who have the right to say that beautiful things are evil like some idiotic campaigns! Sins are equaled between men and women.  An eye for an eye!

So ya! Those were my reasons for wearing hijab!  From a club in Acapulco to the Kaabah In Mecca, I have turned 360 degrees to do my sujud.
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