Monday, July 22, 2013

My Ramadan story

The holy month of Ramadan has come to greet us all again.

It has been two weeks since I started fasting. So far, so good, thank god. I don't feel too grumpy as I don't feel too tired, hungry or thirsty. Another half a month to go..

Anyway, I think the energy I have has got to be because of the dates I have been eating during Suhoor. I wasn't really a fan of dates (I didn't like the taste and texture) but after reading about all of its benefits, I decided to give it a try.

I started with nibbling a small date. Bit by bit, the taste started to grow in me. The sweet taste and chewy texture were not that bad after all. Everyday, during Suhoor I will make a point to eat at least three dates - enough to keep me energized throughout the day! In fact, that day, I was able to finish up two articles in one day. Given the fact that I did not eat or drink the whole day, I still managed to finish up my work fast. Wehoo.

You know why? It's because of the dates! So don't forget to have a date during Suhoor, okay? *geddit? geddit?* Horrible pun, I know.

Anyway, I always believe that it's mind over matter when it comes to fasting. Sure, food is important during Suhoor (Heavy meal is importante to keep you energized!) but really, it's the mind. When your mind is strong, you can do whatever you want. Heck, some don't even wake up for Suhoor and they can still fast the whole day! I've never tried that before though..

Which reminds me of the time when my Chief Editor and I went to an assignment during last year's Ramadan. After we were done with the spa session (I had to write a review on the spa and was treated to a one hour of self pampering session), we were brought to this room to have lunch. Since I was fasting, my Chief Editor, who was a non Muslim, ordered Fish and Chips. I think she didn't feel comfortable eating in front of a fasting person so she asked me to join her. I politely declined (repeated declined more like it!) her offer even though the smell of that Fish and Chips was like heaven to my nose. Not only that, she was drinking a cup of cold orange juice. By that time, my throat was salivating for some sweet liquid goodness. I think at one point I even starred at the orange juice with my mouth slightly opened. Haha. Huh.. what a test! Temptations, temptations but I held my ground and said NO! :D

Plus, I really believe you have to start young to fast. When I say start young, I don't mean by forcing them kids but start slow, let them get the fasting vibe. For me, I started fasting when I was 5. I didn't fast the whole day though (that was impossible!) at that time but I started with half a day. I remember as a little girl, waking up for Suhoor was an exciting time - parents woke us up, food on the dining table, the clanking of plates and glasses, the morning cold air.. Plus, it was even exciting to see my sister and brothers' sleepy faces eating during Suhoor. All of them had grouchy faces and my brother, who was still a teenager even fell asleep when he was eating. Haha.

And me, being the small little girl observed them with my very inquisitive eyes. Eventhough I was sleepy, I woke up (when I can) to eat on the dining table, with my family and fasted during the day. Well, I fasted up until noon but still, I tried!  As I get older, my body started to get stronger and slowly, one month passed easily. And, not to forget, the rewards of fasting! For a little girl, rewards for fasting has got to be the ringgit earned. RM 1 = one full day of fasting. So if fasted for 5 days, I earned RM5!

Ohh the joys of being a little girl..

Well, anyway, it's already 3.21pm. 4 hours plus to go! I wonder what's for iftar? *grumbling tummy*

Bye-bye and have a blessed Ramadan, everybody!

Love,
AleO.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Asian wonders.

So I spent my weekend in Sarawak to attend the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) and something really interesting happened to me on the way to Sarawak Cultural Village (where the festival was held).

To get to the festival, we had to take the shuttle bus from the hotel and since most of the seats were occupied, I found one next to a Caucasian man. We started chatting and I got to know that he was from Alaska. So every time this American man started talking, I noticed something really interesting. He was making sign languages to some of the words (Ya know, the sign language you do when you think people don't understand what you're saying?). Mind you, I was speaking English to him from the beginning.

To be honest, I was puzzled. What made this man think that I needed sign language? And to make it funnier, he was making those sign languages at the simplest of words like "eat", "go", "fisherman", "house arrest" - well, he told me he went to Myanmar and we got to talk about Aung San Suu Kyi who was on house arrest for many years. Oh talking about Myanmar, he asked me, "you know Myanmar? The country?".

Yes, yes I do know what Myanmar is. It's also known as Burma, by the way.

He even asked me if I know what BBC is. *Insert facepalm here*

Even when I told him that I am working as a journalist, he kept on with the sign language. I don't know whether to feel offended or not but I felt like saying to him, "Seriously? You think we live on trees or what? (Even if we did live on trees, we would still know how to speak Engrish - *the "R" is intended btw* and know a lot of stuffs too!)" So we went on talking and then, he asked me again, "Did you study in a university?" Well, apparently mentioning to him that I am a journalist did not work. And yes, I, like millions of other Malaysians are university graduates.

I feel like laughing whenever I think about the conversation I had with that man. But he was a nice person to talk with though, that I cannot deny. And we talked about a lot of things - I told him that here, in Malaysia, we are exposed to a lot of different cultures like the American culture, British culture, other Asian cultures, etc. And fyi, we are exposed to a lot of Hollywood movies too ya know. And songs. Not only do we listen to American songs, we listen/watch to a whole lot of other songs/movies too - Malay, Chinese, Indian, Korean, Hindustan, Spanish, French, Japanese, well you get the idea. I know, we're awesome. I even had the chance to teach him the Malay language pronunciation. Haa.

I have to admit, that was one of the most interesting bus rides I have ever had.

The little Asian young woman had fun talking to the tall Western man.

Haih mat salleh ni. Sabar je la.

Love *insert sign language here*,
AleO.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Of Rainforest World Music Festival.

Rainforest World Music Festival sign in front of the Sarawak Cultural Village

7 hands. Can you spot mine? :p

Have you heard about the Rainforest World Music Festival held in Sarawak every year?

Well, if you haven't, it's a 3 day music festival held in Sarawak Cultural Village. I have been wanting to go to this festival since forever but I haven't got around to go until my colleague mentioned it last year. So we quickly booked our tickets and flew to Sarawak on Thursday last week. This year the festival was held from the 28th June - 30th June.  

My colleague invited her friends so there were 7 of us. At first, I had reservations on traveling with people I don't know - I usually travel with my family or friends and since my colleague invited her friends, and I was the only one who didn't know any of them (well, except my colleague), I felt a bit... nervous. I don't consider myself a shy person per se but I do feel a little uncomfortable and nervous around people I am not accustomed to. I know, I know this should not even be an issue since I am a grown woman *ehem* and a journalist but ya know, feelings and insecurities started creeping in. I mean, what if the colleague ignores me? Or what if they don't like me? *gasp*

But thank heavens, everything went great. The colleague's friends were a fun bunch. I didn't feel left out or weird or even nervous. I guess my insecurities got a hold of me. :p

So the festival started in the morning - there were workshops and other activities during the day and the concert started at night. The music played in the concert consists of world music (ethnic music I suppose) from different parts of the world - South Africa, Ukraine, Ireland, Indonesia, Iran, Turkey, etc. So you can imagine the colourful music I was feasted with that three days! Definitely a worthy experience. Oh don't worry about food cause they had plenty of them - burgers, kebabs, rice..

I never thought I would appreciate these types of traditional music, to be honest because I usually listen to mainstream music but RWMF totally changed my perception. So many different cultures in one place, on one stage (well there were two stages - to avoid delay I suppose since they have to set up the instruments beforehand). Makes you realize that there are so many beautiful things to see and explore. Ahh the wonders of seeing different cultures...

Definitely a festival worth going again.

See you in a couple of years (or maybe next year?), Rainforest World Music Festival!

Here's a snippet of some of the performers. Enjoy!



Love,
AleO.