Welcome 2018

Hello 2018 and this is my first post of the year! Happy New Year, everyoneee… How has it been? Thank God for the opportunity to still live until this year, breathing new!

I’m always excited about New Year. The 1st of Januaries are always special to me. It’s the time of the year that I feel so renewed, so fresh. Do you feel the same too? Well some might not and think that it’s just another day that makes another year and it happens every year, so what’s the big deal? Yeah, everyone can have his or her own take about New Year and any other days of the year too. That what makes us all different and there’s really no issue about that.

As for myself, a New Year is like a big gift to me. Well of course every day is a gift too but a New Year is a little bit more special as it changes our age. Though my birthday is in April, I already regard myself as 32 as soon as the last number of the date changed from ’17 to ’18. I am 32 already! Unofficially, but Alhamdulillah. Hehe.

I also regard myself as a very date-oriented person. I remember things by date, or at least by month of the year of occurrences – not everything, but most significant things. If I don’t remember a certain thing; that means it’s something I don’t care about. Hehe, I’m kidding. That’s because I’m also just a forgetful human. So again, a New Year means a new series of happenings to be recorded in my newly installed memory box renamed as “2018’s”.

How did you spend your New Year day? Me, I had a simple day with family and friends and we talked about our New Year resolutions. When talked about mine, I told them that I think I don’t have any goals for this year. But actually no, I do have goals for this year, how can I not? Haha. It’s just that it’s not clearly put yet. I can’t have things in mind but not written down, it’s indefinite to me. Hence, this whole first week is about me squeezing time thinking about my 2018 and writing things down clearly. It’s a busy week at work and my kids were also starting school; suddenly the first weekend is here. Time really is running, 2018 is gonna end very fast just like other years.

May this year be another amazing year for you and for me. Let’s do something, make a difference. Don’t just exist, live. Take care and Happy New Year 2018!

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As ever,
SALZY

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11 Years Blogging Anniversary

Happy Blogging Anniversary to meeeeeeeeeee….!!! This date, 11 years ago was the day where it all began. I can’t believe it’s more than a decade since, wow! And this is my very first post that I published in my blog.

1st blog post1.JPG

Hahaha… So funny okay! With the funky spellings and all… My God.

I started blogging in 2006 with my old blog; My Kunang-Kunang. Kunang-kunang means the yellow bugs – a kind of fireflies (I guess?) or insects that flash at nights in yellow. Why, is just because I loveeee yellow so much it’s my all-time and forever favourite color so I tagged it as the symbol of my space. I like yellow because it’s bright and royale. I always prefer something bright, lively and colorful. My next favourite color is brown, because brown and yellow make a complementary combination!

Back to My Kunang-kunang, the tagline was “It’s Just All About Me”. Haha. I was in University when I felt my life was so fun and interesting and I had a lot to talk about. I got crazy bunch of friends, I started driving, I learnt new things, I met new people and not to forget; I studied hard too (err, are you sure, self? hahaha). That’s when I thought of blogging. The writing wasn’t consistent but continued for a few good years.

However, it was not a solid 11 years. I once stopped blogging at all for quite long. Family was expanding, errands were multiplying, I couldn’t make time and plus, an inner conflict that stopped me from exposing personal stories or thoughts for whatever paranoid reasons. Nevertheless, I never stopped thinking to write and write again. There were actually a few times I attempted to re-blog but I just didn’t get the momentum to get in gear. So again and again I wrote a few lines and left it unfinished. And this is what I just found in a folder in my laptop :

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Haha….My ‘attempts’ to come back – once in 2013, and once in 2015. And believe me I have a lot more handwritten drafts in my note books I’d been wanting to type and publish, to type and publish, but it just didn’t happen. It’s such a struggle that I believed there are people out there who understand this in one way or another, maybe not in blogging but in anything else. Or maybe it’s just about time?

Because finally, finally… After four confusing years, it all ended. I found my reasons, I eliminated my excuses and above all, I got my true inspiration. Now here I am, celebrating my 11 years anniversary as a blogger! It’s almost a year since I came back, I write constantly, I find solace and peace in what I do and I hope you too in any, anything that you endeavour. And at any milestones, on any remarkable dates; don’t forget to celebrate because memorably, that’s where it all started for a journey worth taking.

Till the next post,
SALZY

Errasy’s Birth Story

Earlier this year, I went through some tough times raising my 2 year-old toddler who was in the terrible twos phase. It was a real struggle to face his tantrums almost every single day and night when anything I did couldn’t settle his cry. Once he got disappointed just for a tiny thing, his tantrums would last up to more than an hour with non-stop crying and screaming. Can you imagine?

I was so stressed and felt like giving up. One night I isolated myself away and decided to blog about him and his current temperament so I poured all my unhappy feelings in a note book for me to type later. Today is his birthday. I flipped the notes that I wrote months ago and somehow, it curved a smile on my face. The tough motherhood phase has passed; my baby is now a happy boy! At least most of the time, not like before Alhamdulillah. So I cancelled my intention to write all the things in my notes because today is his 3rd birthday, I wanna reminisce the sweet memories of me giving birth to him.

Errasy was born through a planned C-section. I was all awake during the operation waiting for my baby to be pulled out from my tummy. It was a different experience, scary because when I delivered my first born, I was unconscious. This time, I savoured every moment in the operation theatre (OT) in my nervousness.

The atmosphere in the OT was quite relaxed even though everyone was moving around, here and there. I think I heard music being played if I was not mistaken but that was not my focus. During the operation, these people were having conversations with each other like there’s nothing going on in the room when actually, they were cutting my tummy layer by layer okay. In my mind thinking, maybe this c-sect operation is just like cutting onions to them especially for non-emergency case like this. Haha, my God! What a creepy thinking while on the surgery table.

Now comes the most thrilling part to me. When the ‘cutting’ process was completed, they informed me that in a little while they will pull my baby out. My heart was pounding fast, excited and nervous at the same time. When they took a peek at the baby who was still positioned in my tummy, the doctor’s assistant instantly said to me – “Emmm…..the baby is just like you.” She said it in a very casual way making me feel so curious. What did she mean? What did the ‘like-you’ like? I wanted to ask but I felt so weird to be talking when I knew my tummy was wide open and bloody so I kept it to myself, wondering in silence.

In less than a minute, Errasy was safely born and immediately shown to me. Such a beautiful moment and again the assistant said to me – “See…he is so fair! Justttt like you!” Awww….. Was that what she meant earlier? I was soooo over the moon the second I heard that. Having to see my baby fresh from the oven was already wonderful, the remark from her beautifies the moment even more I was so speechless!

Errasy was then taken by the nurses and the operation continued but I couldn’t stop smiling in bliss. It was one beautiful moment throughout the delivery process that will forever stay in my memory. The words “the baby is just like you, he is so fair just like you” stuck in my mind repeatedly whenever I throwback my second maternity journey and even every time when I look at my baby who now has turned 3 years old, today.

errasy newborn

Excuse this vain mommy people! Haha… the same comment if uttered at any other time wouldn’t make me feel flattered like this. It’s just because it happened at that very time, it created an unforgettable mommy-moment to me and I gotta record it in words, mind me. Hehe.. And I believe every mother also has her own exclusive cloud nine moment when giving birth to each child, right! *Care to explain. Ahaks*

My second baby, my second pregnancy. His coming was a surprise, I didn’t expect that I’d get pregnant again when my first born was only 10 months old. Such an unexpected gift, enlivens our lives with his funny characters I called him an entertainer in this family.

ayadean

Dear Errasy Eddean,

Happy 3rd Birthday my baby! May you grow healthy, wealthy, wise and lucky. Be a good boy now and rise as a good man in the future. Thank you for bringing so much happiness to us, we’re so blessed to have you as that cutie little brother. Stay close and clingy to Mom as you always do, I may seem annoyed with your childishness but please know that, deep inside my heart I’m loving every bit of it!

Mom loves you so much, Ayash Ayadean.. Always, and forever. Happy Birthday. 

Till the next post,
SALZY

Teach Your Kids at Home

Yesterday, we attended a pre-school’s briefing for parents who planned to enroll their children next year. They organized the briefing to explain about their programmes, syllabus, learning techniques and so forth. Our kids are going to kindergarten in less than 3 months! I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed this whole year and now, at this very moment, this feeling bounced triple. It’s the decision making time. Too many things to be taken into account and everything is crucial. But I’m not gonna talk about that because we’re almost there. A bit more things to be finalized and there you go kids. Hopefully it’s the right decision.

During the briefing, when the principal talked about children’s outcome from the learning, she advised parents to be involved with teaching at home; not just depend on the teachers in school. Well, it’s common, right? In today’s world; everything is on the fast lane. Primary schools’ exam questions are not like our time before they’re much advanced. And so to catch up with this, parents must also teach their kids at home, revise what they’ve learnt during the day and keep track of their development. For a fact, it’s our responsibility anyway. Oh my. Did you just load bricks on my shoulders?

Heavy, and hefty. That’s definitely the feeling every time I think of this particular responsibility. But yesterday, the way the teacher put it in her words when reminding us to do teach our kids at home was so uplifting. She didn’t simply say; “Parents, you must must must teach your kids too. You can’t expect only teachers to do our part and expect your kids to excel.” Typical reminders we heard yet so weakening. She had this message in her speech but this is how she worded it;

“Parents, do teach your kids at home too. Why? Because we want you to also gain the shares in the hereafter, not just us. For every word and every letter in the Quran your kids will read all their lives, there will be rewards to the ones who taught them since they started to know Alif, Ba, Ta. Also A, B, C. Should all the rewards go only to the teachers in school? We want you to gain your shares too. Teach your kids at home, okay?”

Such a beautiful perspective. Focusing on the benefits rather than warning the cause of failures when this is only a beginning. Reminding us on the essence of teaching reward on top of sending-to-school reward and paying-the-fee reward. Telling us the true purpose which is not merely to grow clever kids but to gain as much rewards for the hereafter which is also correcting our intention towards Lillahi Ta’ala. Hinting us that this heavy responsibility is one that we won’t want to cease.

The words lighten my shoulders that were dropped just now. This is my new journey as a parent and this graceful encouragement is one that I will keep close to my mind in holding this responsibility. All the best to me and all parents out there. Let’s do our part!

Till the next post,
SALZY

Forever My Girl Crush

In life of an every girl, there must be a moment she’s struck by a feeling of Girl Crush! A feeling of liking another girl. Either she’s an outstanding senior in school, a popular young singer, an acquaintance or can even be, the girl-next-desk? It’s clearly non-sexual, a positive jealousy I might say or more likely, an intense feeling of admiration just because she’s awesome!

I had a girl crush too. That happened when I was only in standard 5 and she was……the magnificent, the one and only….. ERRA FAZIRA!!! A popular actress, singer and also the Malaysian Miss World 1992. Well that’s enough to tell that she’s so beautiful that’s why I liked her!

erra estee lauder

Source : The Star

It started out when I was watching her film titled “Gemilang” in 1997. From there I became her fanatic fan until today and I just realized that it has been a remarkable span of 20 damn years! For 20 years I’ve been sticking to her, following her journey, her ups and downs in life especially in her marriages and with those, all I can say is she has made and is still making a noteworthy biography I adore so much. She’s not just beautiful. She’s a devoted daughter, an independent lady and a very mature person – these three main qualities that attracted me so much into admiring her.

Well, I may be not the kind of fans who’d run to her concerts or events just for the purpose to greet and have a picture with her. I’m not accustomed to that. My old-school mom disregarded this entertainment obsession so I had no access to go see artists. But, every time she’s out on the screen, I’d be on the front line watching without blinking and my mom would be shaking her head. She’s so gorgeous!

I still remember when I was in school, there was a campaign to encourage students to make it a habit to read newspapers daily. So everyday every classroom was supplied with a set of newspapers and that was the time Erra got married to Yusry KRU. For days the media was flooded with her wedding pictures and for that every single day too, I’d be the first one to grab the papers before anyone else. I’d quickly flip the entertainment section and keep the pages away. Hahaha! I didn’t want it to crumple they’re for my collections, “don’t touch”. The cynical boys in class were teasing me they said; I gotta pay for the class’ papers fees. Haha, hello! It’s freee.

After she married Yusry – the famous, the richest boy band in Malaysia – she still worked hard for her career. She got the choice to take-it-easy and rely everything on Yusry but no, she continued working and she said; this is herself, she was born to be independent and that she has her mom she’s taking care of, so she would hold the responsibility on her own. With that, my 18-year-old self was so impressed. I was about to live a semi-freedom life, from there I knew that being a woman, we have to be independent. In certain things in life, we really have to be assured of ourselves and know why we do what we gotta do. My Erra taught me this. Hiks.

Most people who’re close enough to me knew about my thing towards Erra. When she and Yusry got divorced, the news was out on TV and I was alone at home. I was shocked and so devastated but at the same time, my phone was beeping with so many incoming messages from my friends updating and asking me about the divorce! ‘What?’ ‘Why?’ ‘Are you OK?’ ‘Any comment?’ Hahaha… That was so funny.

Oh ya, for your info, we have one similarity. And that is….we’re both MOM! Haha.. Yes, yes… I copied her, exactly! When she had Aleesya and I knew that she was called by Mom, I was again fascinated. She’s so unique okay. So when I got preggy I decided for that too, hehe. It’s uncommon in Malay community and sounds weird when I first announced it to people that my kids will be calling me Mom but later, it’s just natural. I didn’t tell people that I chose it because of Erra but knowing me well, my friends finally found it out! Haha. Whatever, this one thing, we matched!

Everyone’s life is not perfect, and so her. She was engaged once, broke up. Married twice, divorced both. Netizens have all the unproven reasons to criticize her status but she kept it cool. She responded things in a mature way and moved on life. And just recently, her second ex-husband Engku Emran remarried and she uploaded a picture of her with Aleesya and Laudya Cynthia Bella, and posted a very pleasing wish for the couple that touched many hearts including mine, of course. She’s just lovely in her own way, how can I not love her? And the way Emran treated her as the mother of Aleesya after the divorce somehow tells how respectful she is in the eyes of someone who had lived a significant life with her.

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Source : Pepatung

Being a girl who crazed over celebrities’ stories on the magazines was typically non-sense. But after 20 years of time travelling looking up to somebody, this has created one of the colors of my life. It’s not just a plain obsession; I knew I’ve learnt a thing or two. From someone who was scarred by life’s tribulations, the scars made her nothing but only more beautiful and till now she’s standing even stronger in a graceful way. Erra Fazira, you’re one of a kind!! I love you and may Allah bless you always. I’ve never met her, but she’s close to my heart.

These are pieces of stories about my Girl Crush that I grew up with ever since I was 11 years old. Nana Nerra, did you have a Girl Crush?

Till the next post,
SALZY

Toastmasters : Ice Breaker Speech

This is a continuation post from the previous one. Feel free to read it first – Finding the Old Me

1st speech1

First and foremost, let me make an important disclaimer here. In the speech Finding the Old Me, I actually added a spoon of seasonings to enhance the flavor finely. Haha! Actually, the part that I said I spoke in front of many people – no, I did not speak in front of many people back then. The part that I loved to volunteer in class – no, I never volunteered in class. Hahaha…I exaggerated! Yes I was active with clubs and societies but I was just a regular committee and I just led small teams once or twice. And yes I enjoyed class presentations and yes my work life was right as described. My point was actually to distinguish these two positions so I exaggerated the U part a bit. Just a bit, mind me! Haha okay done with my confessions. Let’s move on to a more constructive discussion.

SPEECH WRITING

Ice Breaker speech is very basic. It’s talking about yourself so in terms of the contents, you don’t have to climb the Google mountain. The difference is how it’s being delivered. Through my observation in the meetings :

  • They talk about their lives based on chronology –  from the time they’re born to the present, highlighting significant facts along the way.
  • They pick only two or three things about them and they elaborate further.
  • They tell a story about an incident or an experience they went through and what they learned that made them who they are today.

I was interested with the second one and I also wanted to tell a story. And so that’s how it turned out.

PREPARATION & PRACTICE

I practiced a lot! Within two weeks prior to that, I acted in front of the mirror every single day. At first, I wrote my text and memorized it line by line but I found it so hard to flow. I sought advice from my hubby and a friend who are very associated with this speaking thingy and they told me not to memorize everything but just remember the points and structure and keep on practicing. I did just that! Thank guys.

TIPS & IDEAS

Okay these are random tips and ideas I scooped out from here and there that might be useful for you :

  1. Volunteer to speak during Table Topic sessions prior to the day as a practice to overcome your stage fright.
  2. Have a mutual interaction. Throw a question and self-answer. That would spare a pause for you to hold a moment.
  3. You may want to use the projector. Display interesting pictures of yourself and share the story behind them (e.g : pictures of you travelling to other countries)
  4. Describe yourself based on astrology, chinese zodiac or favourite colors.
  5. Tell the meaning of your name and elaborate the elements that make you you.
  6. Begin or end your speech with a quote.
  7. Conclude yourself in 3 words.
  8. Don’t forget to relate your stories with the audience. Offer something for them to take home.

EVALUATION

I was evaluated by the Mr. President himself. One good point I want to remember is that he said I began my speech with a big smile. Some people forgot to smile when in nervous state. So yes, smile! And these are some rooms of improvement for me to note :

  1. “Too much hand gestures.”
    This is the most obvious. That’s my habit anyway but during the speech, I even overdid it. Gotta watch these hands next time. The evaluator said, every gesture should be purposeful.
  2. “Too static.”
    I did not move.  I purposely did not move. When practicing, I tried to casually move a step or two but the risk is that I would get distracted and go blank at all. No way! So I glued my feet on the ground. Will practice on this later.
  3. “Less pauses.”
    Those who knew me in-person surely know that I naturally speak like a train. So this is what happened live. Actually I controlled this in my practice. I timed myself and every time it was all reaching 6 minutes. But on real play, my time recorded was only 5 minutes 17 seconds. I was speeding obviously. He reminded us to use the power of pauses for the audience to absorb what we say. Okay!

EXPERIENCE & FEELINGS

All in all, well done, self! I’m so glad I did it anyways. For once I broke through my fear, my self-doubt and timidity with this challenge and what I can say is, knowing my level and competency, I’m pretty satisfied with my first performance. Thank God, Allah eased my say. I’d less fumbles and most importantly I didn’t forget my script because I didn’t bring any notes with me. Because this is the first one, this is the best so far. Hahaha. Now, I’m on to the next. Bring it on!!

Till the next post,
SALZY

Toastmasters : Finding the Old Me

Hello everyone. On 29th of August 2017, I’ve done my first Project Speech at the Toastmasters. Here I’m presenting the text of my speech for anyone’s reference on Ice-Breaker topic and also for my own keepsake. After reading this, you’re welcome to continue reading my next post as I talked about my experience, tips learnt and some ideas for Toastmasters newbies to kick-off your shot. Click here.

Thank you Toastmasters of the Day and Good Afternoon everyone.
My Name is Saleha, and this is my first speech. It’s on ice-breaker, so I’m gonna tell you a little bit about myself.

First, let’s have a flashback to a time when I was in university, 10 years ago.
When I was a student, I was a really active student. I joined clubs and societies, I involved in events and programmes.
And these activities required me to speak in front of many people, give speeches and lead a team.

In class, whenever the lecturer said; “Anyone wants to volunteer?”
I would go… “Me!” I loved to volunteer in class!

And I loved doing presentations! You know in every subject we have assignments and we have to present our assignments? That was the time I looked forward to in every semester!
Well, not saying that I was so goood. But it’s just something that I enjoyed doing.

So… that’s a little bit about myself when I was in U. But that’s an old story. 10 years ago.

Later, after I graduated, I worked. I worked in a position that was….not presentation-oriented.
I didn’t have to speak in front of many people, I didn’t even involve in open communication.
Most of the time, I worked with the computer. And it was really busy it was all about work, work, work.
I didn’t have time to really join events or be a committee in programmes or be active.

So you can see the difference about myself and my life – when I was studying and working.
And I can say that, in about 8 years of my working life, I never really did a proper presentation.

Except one day. That was… in BP already. There was a group of Graduate Trainees, you know..some of you are GTs here.
So this group of GTs, they made rounds from department to department and they were coming to my department.
So my boss asked me to prepare a presentation for them regarding our job scope.
Just to give them a little exposure about our roles, what we do for the company and all.

So I was like… “Okay, no problem, I can do this.”

Buttt….on the day when I was about to present… I tell you, I was so nervous! So scared I was shaking so bad!
It was only 5 minutes simple presentation but my voice was like cracking all the way I couldn’t speak properly!
I tell you… It was a really, really baddd presentation!

So after the meeting I was like… what happened to me?? Why did I present like that?
I was thinking…these people are GTs. They’re juniors. I am senior. And I was just talking about my daily job so what’s the big deal??
It’s something that I know of, of course I’m good at it so why was I so nervous?? What’s so scary about that??

I felt so embarrassed with myself. I felt so embarrased with my own self!
Because, that was the time I realized that I have change… a lot…
From someone who was confident, well-verse. Now I become very timid and… not convincing at all.

So I thought…. I gotta do something! I gotta change myself I can’t stay this way. I wanna improve myself. I wanna find my old self!

But I was thinking… What do I do? What do I do to improve myself?

And suddenly one day, I met Alex (the TM President) at the Career Fair event that day and he explained to me about Toastmasters.
He explained to me on how it works and what it’s all about.
And I was like… oh, this is good. This is what I was searching for! This is the place I can improve my skills. This is the place… I can find the old me! Right….

So… this is why I’m here today. Speaking, in front of you, for the first time.
Taking the challenge, and making a pledge that I will improve myself.

This is my new beginning. Do you think I can do thisss? *Smile wait for the “YES” =D*

A little bit before I end my speech.

In life, always we hear people say that we have to move forward, move forward, never look back.
But to me, at some points of time, we really do have to take a break, pause for a moment.
Look back, and reassess ourselves. And see, how much different have we been?

Better? Or worse?
If better then good.
If there’s any quality in ourselves that we cherished, that is good… Keep it. Never lose it.

But happened to be, because time passed by and life changed from one phase to another. And we also changed.
We’ve become a different person. Someone we’re not proud of. Not like before.

So what do we do?
We do something, to gain ourselves back!

That’s all for today. Thank you very much everyone. Back to you Toastmasters of the Day.

Till the next post,
SALZY