A Writer or a Quoter?

I was composing a blogpost when my husband came and sat beside me. I stopped typing and had a chit-chat with him.

Me: You remember yesterday we went to the kindy, the teacher reminded us to teach the kids at home?

Hubs: Yea..

Me: You heard she said about the reward in the hereafter and all.. That they want us to also gain rewards as well..

Hubs: Yea..

Me: It’s soo thoughtful, right? I gotta write it on my blog!

Hubs: *nodding cynically* Your blog is like a ‘copy-&-paste’ blog, right?

Me: What? No?

Hubs: Yea… You heard something, or you read something, you like it, then you post it on your blog. It is ‘copy & paste’.

Me: *jolted* Hey. No! I don’t copy-paste things. I write with my own words, I write from the heart, okay? If I read something or I heard something and I wanna put it on my blog, I would quote it. I’d put the name of the author or whoever said it or if I don’t know I’d still acknowledge it’s not from me. I won’t pretend that the bombastic words are mine? And sometimes I don’t even take things directly; I rephrase things but would still address the original ideas. It’s not copy-&-paste, hello?

Hubs: Oh, okay. So does that mean your blog is a ‘copy-&-paste-&-paste’ blog?

Whattt, again? Is that just how you rephrased your statement earlier?? With that, I went with “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” to the longest vocal cord in my throat!!!!

How dare he?? This guy really had no idea about this writing career! Come, onnnnn….!!

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But that short and sharp opinion left me thinking for a moment.

Maybe he’s right. Maybe what he said was true. Maybe yes. I read something, I hear something, I like it, and I park it here. Add my comment, publish. In short, it’s copy-&-paste-&-paste. In fact now now I’m copying and pasting what he said.’

Hahahhahahaha! Like seriously! Okayyy…. Now it’s digested.

So yes, really. Actually, when I was about to start blogging again, in my mind was all about the things that I read from my books that I wanna share with people. It’s a lot of new things that I get to know from reading but I didn’t have a medium to exude them. I don’t have a book club and I don’t prefer social media. So I thought blogging is the best idea for this and this has become my main purpose and I’m happy with that.

But this comment from Mr. Sarcastic makes me realize that whatever it is, it’s not original. Maybe, 50% of the content of this blog is all from others and I’m just the ‘presenter’. Out of nowhere, my ears were suddenly echoed of the advice from my English lecturer when I was in Uni. This is what she said when students loved to overuse quoting-technique in essays because obviously it’s easy. She said; “This is your essay. You sign off your name. If you’re quoting so many other sources then the essay won’t belong to you anymore. And this makes you not a “writer”, but a “quoter”.

God bless my teacher. After years of leaving school, her words are still relevant and beneficial much. Hence, a writer or a quoter? Wait, let’s now take a look from the eyes of a reader. Let me slot in a bit of a book-review, shall I?

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It’s a book by Robin Sharma titled ‘Who Will Cry When You Die?’ – A collection of thoughts on life lessons in helping people to live great lives. I loveee the book so much because it’s so meaningful, it’s packed of light advices yet very significant and deep.

Buttt….there’s one thing that’s kinda disturbing throughout my reading which is – QUOTES. There were like tooooo many quotes from so many people included in it. I noticed that and wondering why is this like a quote book?? Until I reached the part that he said in all his books, he loves to use quotations from the world great thinkers because a quote contains a wealth of wisdoms in a single line. Nahhh then only I got it – he likes quotes, so he quotes quotations in his books. Okay.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s good, it’s very much inspiring but as a reader, when I pick a book especially from a particular author, I’d expect to dig as much original thoughts from the writer him/herself, not others. Hence to me albeit how good the book is, that too many quotes scratched one star from the rating I could give. My two cents!

After alllll…… my point here is not to argue about whatever writing style one would wanna apply. I don’t mean quoting is not good it’s what I liked too and I do love quote books. What I come to think is, from the honest comment made by my husband, I now fathom out that to grow as a writer, through blogging or through any medium, the best is to try to produce as much thoughts that come from our own critical thinking. Make it the first of its kind other than just evolving from world existing ideas. You got me?

Hence again, a writer or a quoter? For now, just a casual blogger who will do whatever she likes. A mixture of both I guess, haha. Thank you Hubby for the constructive feedback on my dear blog though it’s quite cynical at first I hated you for 60 seconds! Along the way, it’s something that I’m taking note of for my own good in my current and future undertakings.

Till the next post,
SALZY

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I Want To Remind Myself

13th October 2017 marks 8 years anniversary of our love relationship. On the same day itself, my husband went for his company’s Annual Dinner event and brought home a lucky draw! Since when he became so lucky? Haha. It’s a Free Lunch Buffet Voucher for 2 pax @ Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside B’s Restaurant. Yeay… We consider this as our anniversary gift, then. Alhamdulillah.

pullman

Today we set to utilize the voucher. Didn’t wanna delay the pleasure and also to celebrate our son’s birthday which was two days ago. Actually, I’d been planning to organize a birthday party for him since early of this year. I’d been saving money, outlining the stuff and listing to-do’s for the event. It’s one of my important agendas for 2017 because we haven’t done any parties for him before. We did one for Dhany but none for Ayash. It’s not that it’s really a must for us do party for every birthday, but once in a while would be nice, right?

Alassss, my plan turned to no avail. Due to? Budget constraint. Haha. This year our financial goes on a roller coaster ride. I thought this is the year that we could save more for more big things upcoming. But it turns out to be just a funny thought. So many more unexpected things came rolling into our pockets and rolled out loaded. At this time, we’re just so broke! Huwarghhh…

And so I cancelled my plan to organize the birthday party for Errasy. We just couldn’t make it, baby. But with this free voucher that dropped from the sky just in time, we seized it for a little celebration with our little family.

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The cakes! Haha…call it a “DIY”. As long as there are candles on it, it is a birthday cake! What a cheapskate parents we are…haha. ‘Desperate time calls for desperate measures’ so mind us okay. Creative mom I am. Lol. Happy 3rd Birthday my baby Errasy! We loveeee you.

We spent two hours indulging the foods and later sightseeing around the hotel area and went home with happy tummies. Free meals are always extra delicious, right? Hehe. Thank you Allah for today and I’m taking some time now for a gratitude moment.

At this moment, I want to remind myself that even in time that we can call ‘hard times’ like this, we still have the opportunity to have fancy meals at a lavish place.

I want to remind myself that at the time we thought we couldn’t spare any money for self-reward like always, a lucky draw decided to reward us with something of our favourites (buffet dine).

I want to remind myself that my plan was unsuccessful but it’s replaced with something more meaningful.

I want to remind myself to be thankful with whatever I got and not whine over insufficiency.

I want to remind myself to be grateful and Allah will increase.

I want to remind myself that with every hardship comes ease.

I want to remind myself to not be hopeless because The help is near.

I want to remind myself that keeping faith in hard times is most rewarding.

I want to remind myself that despite all these we’re still blessed, we’re always blessed.

Things I’ve known so well but at this moment, I just want to remind myself.

Alhamdulillah ‘ala kulli hal.

family

Till the next post,
SALZY

Forgiving When Not Even Sorry

The past week was depressing to me. I was hurt, I was offended. Something happened that didn’t only make it a bad day but a bad week as a whole. I think I haven’t felt this kind of feelings for so long. Problems come and go but rarely it’s about something that makes me feel so offensive. This time, it was just frustrating enough.

I was so down, I tried to control myself and told myself to forget it and not to feel so bad for what’s happened but I just couldn’t keep it silent. I’ve learnt to let off things but this; I couldn’t just ignore the issue so I confronted the person. Sadly, badly, the person was not even sorry for what I felt and it’s just taking my anger to another level – depression!

For days I’d been agitated. Life has been a bit challenging lately but I maintained positivity with me but this thing was just making things worse. After a week or so whining in this gloomy feeling, I told myself to stop and deal with it. Deal with this feeling because dealing with human did not work. At least I tried.

In my quiet time, I self-talked to understand myself. I made it clear of what I was so sad about it and why. I knew the root cause that triggered my anger and I knew the solution was to confront and I was all ready to forgive but…………..the person was not even sorry! Just how could it be? That was actually the reason for my lengthy despair. Yes, a week spent in tears is long okay, I’ve been wasting time.

And so I told myself to forgive, forgive without an apology. Honestly I felt so hard to do that cause I was so hurt so again I made it clear for myself as to why do I have to forgive?

First, I wanna do this for Allah, Lillahi Taala. Taking the person aside, this thing was a test for me on how I would react to it and for it to be a test; of course it’s hard. Allah knows I feel tough about it so when I try to fight this feeling, He looks at my effort. May He have mercy on me and make it easy. Istighfar a lot!

Second, I wanna do this for myself. This pathetic state shouldn’t last for long. I have a lot of things to attend to and time is ticking. This year is reaching the end so let’s get busy as always! Not just by forgetting about it but forgiving it. Trying to forget the hurtful thing is a method of ignoring but no this is not my way. How can you tell yourself to just forget it when you’re not senile? I want to forgive this in a way that I acknowledged my feeling, I entertained it for a certain reasonable period and I expressed it out – through cries and through this; writing. Writing is my intangible medication and by writing about this, I got a clearer vision of my reasons to forgive and may this also serve as a reminder for me whenever I am recalled about this through evil’s whispers. Oh God, please keep it away from me.

Lastly down to karma. No, I don’t mean for karma to happen to the person who has hurt my heart but rather, it might be a karma that’s serving me back for what I’ve done. Maybe I did this to other people; the same exact thing or anything that played with someone’s feelings too. I must have, and I did not apologize. Always we heard when one was being mistreated or betrayed, he would say ‘oh wait for karma to pay you back!’, not realizing that what was happening might be the karma to him, actually. So yeah, this may be the reason why I don’t deserve an apology. I’m sorry…

Spreading these whole things cloudless, I see it’s very little to associate the person and the apology that I demanded as the matter-of-fact. Majorly, it’s about me! Our problems, our disappointments; more often than not they’re about us and how we deal with it. The people, the surroundings, the other little problems that we thought making things worse are all just the characters in this episode. And again it’s a test. We may say that “I forgive people every day, every night, I live with no grudge.” But when the real test strikes, you know it’s not that easy this time, not as always. Just remember, this is when our faith is going to be leveled up. Stay strong inside!

To know this, I then separate the offence from the person who’d hurt me so now, the person is standing free from the mistake. Things happened, it did what it did so now what’s left is just me to spell out my forgiveness.

And so I forgive this person, with all my heart.

i forgive you

 

End of my forgiving-without-an-apology process, you’re welcome =D.

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

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

Caesarean is a Gift

I feel called to write about this. Caesarean, a way to deliver a baby that’s usually a second option, the least preferred, the most avoided. Always, caesarean is perceived as an unlucky event for mothers not getting to birth the normal way. Always, we hear in our community, delivering normal is a rizq, a blessing for the mother so when another gives birth caesarean-ly, it’s really common for her to say or people say to her, “It’s okay, no rizq (chance) to give normal birth this time.” Or, we’re “thankful that it was all safe ‘even though’ it was through operation.” Always the case, right? I was also accustomed to that up to a point somehow I don’t feel right saying it that way.

Caesarean mothers, can we stop saying it that way anymore? Saying no rizq or even though… is like focusing on the things we don’t get and marking our labor journey as less fortunate than it should be. When actually, after being told that the operation was successful and our baby has been safely delivered, isn’t it a huge blessing from God? Of course. So when we’re feeling unsettled about not giving normal birth or they (the doctors) shouldn’t rush to decide to cut us open or they should’ve waited a bit longer so the baby might be out vaginally; isn’t it like we overlooked the actual rizq that God has given us which – the chance to go through caesarean process?

Yes, giving birth by caesarean is a rizq. It is a chance for us to experience being cut open to welcome our baby to the world. It is such a wonderful and miraculous process happening on our body while we’re lying safe and sound. In a matter of an hour, the world is shined with the arrival of our baby, our tummy is closed back and we’re forever marked with a golden scar of love. Of course after that we have to endure the post-op pain and restrictions but to me, either it’s SVD (Spontaneous Vaginal Delivery) or Caesarean, each has its own fair share of ease and pain. So when we’re chosen to undergo this process, this is our precious journey and we should be grateful that it happened the way it happened. And for that, rather than saying “It’s okay, no rizq for me to give normal birth”, I think we should be saying; “Thank God, this is a rizq for me to experience caesarean process. Allah has blessed me with the chance to give birth through caesarean. Caesarean is a gift.” Can feel the difference?

Am I trying to say that Caesarean birth is more special than another? No. SVD is definitely wonderful and miraculous. It’s a blessing, it’s a precious journey and it’s also a gift, absolutely. Know that I’m not differentiating these two. I’m differentiating the way we look at things. This is just my opinion and this is what I’ve been holding to myself since a while after the post c-sect of my first born. If you can see, the difference of saying “It’s okay” and “Thank God” is the reflection of acceptance and gratitude; redha and syukur. Acceptance is good, but gratitude is another level to please Allah The Almighty for what He has planned for us. Indeed that how our labor journey took place was all already in His plans, right? Doesn’t He know best?

When I chose to be grateful on top of accepting this, my mind was brought to recall more and more blessings related to the birth of my babies. First was the blessing of getting married, and then getting pregnant, having smooth pregnancies and finally, the arrival of the new bundles of joy that I got to see, kiss and hold. There certainly were ups and downs but still this entire journey is too beautiful to be scratched by the little frustration for having been operated. We mustn’t want to scratch our precious gift, right? And there, a little change in our utterance makes a whole lot of difference.

Till the next post,
SALZY

A Ride Full of Messages

grab

Since a year ago I guess I can say I am a regular customer of the increasingly popular public transport – GrabCar, or UBER sometimes. Not a routine but quite frequently I’d rather ‘grab’ than drive just because I’m lazy. Do you usually chat with the driver? I usually only take short trips around 10 to 15 minutes to arrive so normally it doesn’t really spare time to chat. Being in cars without having to concentrate on the road is the time we should steal to do our little things or just – scroll the phone, right? But today’s experience was completely different.

Today I took the longest trip in my record – a 50-minute ride involving highways so I had set to read a book all the way to kill the time. But then, after 10 minutes of muteness I felt really awkward because it was so quiet, the radio was low volume and the driver seemed bored. It’s still a long way to arrival so I thought let’s say a word just to break the silence if it’s cold, I can continue with my reading. Little did I know, from just a typical question “Hey do you do UBER as well or just totally Grab?” it turned into a conversation about life!

It went on and on to talking about doing it full or part-time, to his current other job, to his job prior to this, to why he’s doing this. This guy was really a talking personality he talked talked talked so openly. Haha. But of course because I also kept asking from one question to another just to relate anyway. He told about a major accident he involved years ago and that now he’s wearing an artificial backbone! It was so incredible that he broke his spine and not paralysed? MashaAllah.

After the accident, a series of drama happened in his life from having to quit from a governmental job, on how unfair the employer treated his situation, the tough recovery process, the devastation of not able to do his favourite thing before – cycling, he was an active cyclist by the way. After he somewhat recovered and found himself jobless, he went to Perth, Australia to find luck. With his brother and cousin, first they got cheated of 15 thousand dollars, which was another drama, but still managed to get there. The trials of getting a job there was another hardship so his brother and cousin couldn’t survive, because they have families, so they went home leaving him alone. It was really a rough journey he even told that sometimes he cried in shower. Erp, my God. An astonishment not because of the crying-in-shower thing but for telling a stranger so!

He managed to secure a job, and worked and lived a life for I’m not sure how long but earlier this year he returned to Malaysia to urgently settle his insurance case pertaining to the accident. It involved lawyers to fight for his rights but in the end, for what he’s gone through since then it only compensated an undeserved amount of money for him. How awful.

So there he was. Starting over in Malaysia with this GrabCar service almost full-time and also another job. With GrabCar was another challenge as well but I’d rather not continue here or it’s gonna be a novel, haha.

The ride was one of a kind. It left me reflective with a deep thought that how life can be so tragic for some people. Everyone in this world is tested, we all are. But for certain people we somehow would say they’re the chosen ones. Some tests happened once and they changed the person’s life completely after that. But some tests happened in a way to generate problems after problems like a never-ending story. Either way, that’s what life is! This life is a test for the believers and from time to time it will be difficult. And for as long as we live we in fact don’t know when actually the turning point of our life is. We could think we have been tested enough and that made us stronger but do we actually know Allah’s plans on us? Who might not know for one day people will look at us and say we’re ‘the chosen ones’? Honestly it’s scary to think of.

It was coincidence that we, husband and I, came across this ayah just two mornings ago so when I had this conversation in Grab, it instantly reminded me to what we just tadabbur. Allah mentioned in ayah 214 of Surah Al-Baqarah; “Or do ye think that ye shall enter Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They were afflicted with severe poverty and ailments and were so shaken that even the Messenger and those of faith who were with him cried: “When (will come) the help of Allah?” Yes! Verily, the Help of Allah is near!” – Telling us how difficult the trials of the believers (may Allah bless them) were for Allah to let them into paradise so what about us? Wanting such an easy life with a trial or two, getting over and expecting paradise? Shame now. We actually just forgot what we were here for.

2,214

To the driver, I may be just another passenger that came in and out of his car like the others. But to me, the ride was full of messages that still left me thinking about life.

Till the next post,
SALZY