Friday, June 23, 2006

Why Change Is Good

Sometimes we love change and sometimes we hate it. Regardless, it always takes a little bit of courage to leave something familiar and try something new. Why is change difficult for most of us? Because change necessitates that we move out of our comfort zones.
Since our protective mind's job is survival, it will always prefer safety and security over the untested and unproven. It likes to keep things the same. It has us believe "the devil I know is better than the devil I don't know." In other words, "if I stay with what I know and what is familiar, I won't get hurt." This belief system is simply not true and goes directly against the laws of nature.
Most people are not totally happy and successful, yet they continue to do the same things over and over hoping someday things will be different. Realize if what you've been looking for was where you've been looking, chances are you'd have already found it! Doing more of the same thing even harder and longer is not usually the answer. Being willing to change will usually create better results.
Since your inner-world creates your outer-world, one of the first steps in change is changing your thoughts. By examining the way you talk to yourself and your beliefs around success, money and prosperity, you are in a position to consciously change any thoughts that are based on lack, fear and/or limitation. Because what you focus on expands, by intentionally thinking of prosperity, abundance and success you will attract those very things.
Change is natural. The universe is in constant motion from the changing of the seasons to the way plants, trees and flowers grow; from the rushing of the rivers to the wind that blows. Life is always moving, always changing. In fact, the only constant in the world, the only thing you can absolutely count on is change itself.
Therefore, utilize every change as a gift. Whenever change occurs, ask yourself "how can I use this change to my benefit?"
If you lose your job, know that a new and better opportunity awaits you. If you lose a relationship, know that a new and better relationship awaits you.
The happiest and most successful people all share a critical characteristic--the trait of adaptability. This means they have the ability to quickly adapt to new situations and circumstances. The idea then is to go with the flow and not only accept change, but embrace it as an opportunity to expand yourself and your life.
EXERCISE:Today, make a list of all the areas in your life where changes need to take place. Make sure your list not only covers the situations in your life, but also your environment and how you personally need to change. Start implementing those changes now!
Declaration: "I am adaptable. I accept change easily and use it to my advantage."
For your freedom,
T. Harv Eker

Simple Things in Life

I Resign!
I am hereby officially tendering my resignation as an adult. I have decided I would like to accept the responsibilities of an 8 year-old again. I want to go to McDonald's and think that it's a four star restaurant. I want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make a sidewalk with rocks.I want to think M&Ms are better than money because you can eat them. I want to lie under a big oak tree and run a lemonade stand with my friends on a hot summer's day. I want to return to a time when life was simple; when all you knew were colors, multiplication tables, and nursery rhymes, but that didn't bother you, because you didn't know what you didn't know and you didn't care. All you knew was to be happy because you were blissfully unaware of all the things that should make you worried or upset. I want to think the world is fair. That everyone is honest and good. I want to believe that anything is possible. I want to be oblivious to the complexities of life and be overly excited by the little things again. I want to live simple again. I don't want my day to consist of computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, how to survive more days in the month than there is money in the bank, doctor bills, gossip, illness, and loss of loved ones. I want to believe in the power of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, dreams, the imagination, mankind, and making angels in the snow.
So . . . here's my checkbook and my car-keys, my credit card bills and my 401K statements. I am officially resigning from adulthood. And if you want to discuss this further, you'll have to catch me first, cause........ ....."Tag! You're it."

What You Give Is What You Get

Forwarded Message> From: taaherah> Date: 21-Jun-2006 17:10:24 ZE8>
One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry. He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door. Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk. He drank it so slowly, and then asked, How much do I owe you?" " You don't owe me anything," she replied. "Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness." He said ... "Then I thank you from my heart." As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit. Many year's later that same young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease. Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes. Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room. Dressed in his doctor's gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to her case. After a long struggle, the battle was won. Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge and the bill was sent to her room. She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill. She read these words ... "Paid in full with one glass of milk" (Signed) Dr. Howard Kelly. Tears of joy flooded her eyes as her happy heart prayed: "Thank You, God, that Your love has spread broad through human hearts and hands." There's a saying which goes something like this: Bread cast on the waters comes back to you. The good deed you do today may benefit you or someone you love at the least expected time. If you never see the deed again at least you will have made the world a better place - And, after all, isn't that what life is all about?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Ties Not Bound Can Be Volatile Too

Should a woman forgive a stalker? Should she be compensated for "damages" for mental, physical and emotional distress? Or is the perpetrator the victim? Should she then counsel him like Susan Sarandon did in Dead Man Walking?
(From wikipaedia: Dead Man Walking is a work of non-fiction by Sister Helen Prejean, a Roman Catholic nun and one of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Medaille. She has become a leading American advocate for the abolition of the death penalty. Her crusade began in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1981, through a correspondence she maintained with a convicted murderer, Patrick Sonnier, who was sentenced to death by electrocution. She visited Sonnier in prison and agreed to be his spiritual adviser in the months leading up to his death. The experience gave Prejean greater insight into the process involved in executions and she began speaking out against capital punishment. At the same time, she also founded Survive, an organization devoted to providing counselling to the families of victims of violence.)
The issue of meanness and insecurity, controlling personalities, and wedding jitters were dissected in Oprah recently. And this morning's MHI "Wanita lebih banyak bercakap daripada lelaki" (Senyum Kambing, Utusan Malaysia, trans. "Why women are more articulate than men") underscores the importance of dialogue, instead of violence/aggression/war, to resolve differences or conflicts, just as Mel Gibson revealed that what women want is "somewhere between conversation and chocolates". Not to escape, 'act out' or deny; to quote Sharon Stone: "Women may fake orgasm, but men can fake whole relationships".
Here's another interesting piece from
Talk Is Action Panic Buttons – Culture and Crisis in Malaysia and the Region: Analysing the conditions within which we are forced to endure
by Benjamin McKay
There will be some among you who believe that talking about problems, about crises and about rights is a passive act. All talk, no action. I disagree with those sentiments. Talk, conversation, dialogue, argument and general discourse ARE actions. Identifying problems and the responses to those problems are important diagnostic activities too. A surgeon does not cut you open without knowing what it is they are looking for. Likewise artists and activists need to theoretically and critically analyse the conditions within which they are forced to endure. It can also be a cathartic experience as anyone would have ascertained had they heard the ‘public’ responses to these issues at the public forum called Panic Buttons – Culture and Crisis in Malaysia and the Region at The Actors Studio Bangsar last Sunday (11 June 2006). It ended a preceding two-day Roundtable Forum on “Crisis, Performance, Rights” at Valentine Willie Fine Art.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Kitsch Galore

Just returned from GH - the 'affordable' holiday destination, the 'no-theme' theme park that showcases mass culture at its gaudiest and most garish. Where else can u get to see stone mermaids and sea horses in a 'romantic love' canal with mechanical gondolas while kids scream from the roller coaster rides above? Statues of Oscar and Liberty flanking a stage for a Chuck E. Cheese band? Or a 'pontianak harum sm" (spirit) guarding a big tree with a man on an electric chair inside? The effect is simply bizarre and overwhelming.
The Olive restaurant seems to be the only oasis or island of serenity and sophistication in a sea of catatonic sounds and sights.
Step outside, and you'll be bombarded with the most 'loud' and 'chinky' hotel facades in the whole wide world, I believe. I wonder if the resort designers ever heard of the word concept or branding in achieving that unique 'look and feel'? Give me CH or FH for a quiet get-away any time!
Being away and distancing myself from 'unresolved' issues had been good in terms of putting events of the last three years in proper perspective and understanding complex behavior, i.e. the discrepancy between public persona and the private self. Why waste all that precious energy, time and money in manipulating people to go to you when all it takes is to just ask. Like ur PS said: "Life is short, you should learn to enjoy", so isn't it high time we enjoy some quality time together?
I really don't wish for anyone to indulge in self-destructive behavior like Kurt Cobain in "Heavier than Heaven" which caused so much pain to family and friends.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Of Tangled Web And Ripple Effects

I didn't understand when JKS used to write that "the decisions were made elsewhere". But now I think it's immature, manipulative and passive-aggressive to lay the blame on someone else for the decisions you made. As Canfield preached: "You're 100% responsible for your actions". And if my actions, or non-actions, have unintended consequences, that's beyond my control, especially if the observer's surveillance is flawed, or if my circumstances and responsibilities were not conducive to privacy and intimacy then.
Yet I do not want to dwell on the past - it's simply too painful, though there were moments that I treasure and precious lessons that I learnt - I believe that hope springs eternal and the best is still waiting to happen. I want to, and I can, improve my main weakness - people's skills or social intelligence - be alert and sensitive, calm my fears about inadequacy, propriety, intimacy and commitment, be focused and decisive, and make myself clear.
At the end of the day, everyone is responsible for his/her own happiness. If I had unintentionally caused heartache to others, I seek forgiveness for my indecisiveness and indiscretions. I will certainly be more circumspect in my speech and act from here on.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Code Schmode, Burnt Stubborn, Culture Schmulture

Maybe I've not been taking my EXCEL pack, or going to the gym, or it could be just a phase, or my time is almost up, but I'm really weary these last few months.
So, I'm 'feverishly' noting my understanding of events and others and making myself understood.
Dumb, Dumber, Dumbest
If the whole world is speaking in codes except me, does it make me dumb or stubborn?
And if I'm dumb, since I expect others to be straight forward like me, then who's dumber, and dumbest? Someone who focus on what he don't want and reward crude materialism? Or someone who'd rather cut his nose to spite his face and be miserable rather than be upfront?
U could have stayed and adjusted to life with me , knowing my responsibilities, but u chose to swipe ur plastic and bust ur savings, while waiting for me to be 'creative' and make a 'request'.
And u could have thrown that shroud of mystery knowing that I'm blur, but had to resort to second guessing, getting even, and staging a protracted 'show-but-no-tell' tableau, which drove me round the bend and to 'desperation' trying to unravel the 'mystery'.
Now that the tears have subsided, I'm not sure whether to feel sorry for myself or all of us - for the wasted years and chances, the miss(ed)-communication, the meanness, and the loneliness. However, the solitude had been good for my soul - to pray to Allah, to care for my mother, to be always there for ISA and NIA, and to gain knowledge about myself, humanity and the universe. And as my mursyid had advised me - don't complain, that it's temporary, just accept it as a test, and consider myself lucky that Allah wants me to have an easy life. Yes, there is poetic justice, sacrifices will be rewarded - not on credit, but cash basis, and not just monetarily, but spiritually as well. So I will bear no grudges, no bitterness, no hard feelings, just grateful for all the revelations that unfolded before me; just be alert, sensitive, practice self-confidence and consistency.
Past Imperfect, Present Tense
All the 'brouhaha' over Lady Heather Mills' colorful past just proves that women are women's worst enemies. With former 'madam' and 'fellow' call-girls lining up to 'tell-all' about her 'activities' as a young and impressionable woman, while not censuring the wealthy Arab patrons and clients in the so-called 'scandal', once again underscored the double standards in male-female power dynamics. And, Sir Paul, I thought 'All You Need Is Love' or 'Can't Buy Me Love'?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Soup for the Chicken's Soul

Jack Canfield of the Chicken Soup fame is in town. He's a living example of an ordinary person - a teacher turned best-selling author and motivator - who achieved extraordinary success by believing that any obstacle, no matter how daunting, can be overcome by persistence, patience and faith in God and oneself. Glad that I finally got to hear and speak to him in person.
While the series have its share of followers and critics, the "publishing phenomenon" (Newsweek) about stories of ordinary people who had done extraordinary feats has been read by nearly 70 million readers from all levels of society. And I have read and reread the series for hope, inspiration and upliftment when life seems pretty bleak, or simply bland. What the series taught me, and I've yet to learn, is the power of affirmations and visualizations to make all my dreams come true - to rid the mind of negative thoughts, to be decisive, and to ACT at the most appropriate moment.
All that hesitation, that procrastination, that self-flagellation, that stubborn will to be right all the time are what stand between where I am and where I want to be, or who I want and deserve to be with. All that fear, doubt, anger, sadness, and tears are just excuses for not taking ACTION.
Cliched as it may sound, "If it's meant to be, it's up to me". I am 100% RESPONSIBLE for my own actions or non-actions - no one else, not my father, not my mother, not my siblings, etc. It feels really good to say that outloud, since I am now free to let go, move on and embrace life.
Maybe u want to move in tandem with me, honey. Thank you, Jack, for asking me to "trust in myself". "Ask and you will get" is another axiom that I will practice everyday from now on.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Of Men, Marriage and the Malay Press

If the Media is indeed the extension of Men, as McLuhan claimed in the heady sixties, then the argument follows that the Malay media is indeed the extension of Malay men. What has been "the issue" in the Malay press lately?
Syor benarkan lelaki mengamalkan perkahwinan misyar
KUALA LUMPUR 24 Mei - Seorang pensyarah universiti hari ini mencadangkan supaya kaum lelaki dibenarkan mengamalkan perkahwinan misyar bagi mengatasi masalah ramai wanita tidak berkahwin.
Malah menurut Pensyarah Akademi Pengajian Islam Universiti Malaya, Prof. Datuk Dr. Mahmud Zuhdi Abdul Majid, perkahwinan tersebut juga mampu mengurangkan perlakuan maksiat di dalam masyarakat.
Perkahwinan misyar bermaksud, suami tidak perlu memikul tanggungjawab memberi nafkah zahir seperti wang ringgit dan pakaian, tetapi cukup hanya dengan memenuhi nafkah batin terhadap isteri.
Perkahwinan seumpama ini banyak berlaku di kalangan wanita yang berkedudukan tinggi dan berpendapatan lumayan di negara-negara Arab.
Beberapa ulama termasuk Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi dalam Fatwa Muasaraahnya berpendapat nikah misyar adalah sah.
Mereka membenarkan amalan tersebut berdasarkan situasi mashalahat berlakunya ramai janda dan gadis yang tidak berkahwin.
Perkahwinan misyar difatwakan harus oleh beberapa ulama negara Arab dan telah pun diamalkan di Arab Saudi serta beberapa buah negara Teluk.
Perbezaan antara perkahwinan misyar dengan mutaah ialah mutaah mempunyai tarikh atau tempoh tertentu bagi sesebuah perkahwinan manakala misyar tiada tempoh ditetapkan.
Isu nikah misyar mula menjadi tumpuan apabila beberapa pihak menggesa supaya Majlis Fatwa mengeluarkan fatwa sama ada ia boleh dilaksanakan di negara ini atau tidak.
Ini kerana ada umat Islam di Malaysia yang berpendapat bahawa pernikahan tersebut merupakan salah satu cara bagi mengatasi masalah ramai wanita yang belum berkahwin.
Mahmud Zuhdi berkata, amalan perkahwinan misyar boleh dilaksanakan jika mendapat persetujuan daripada kedua-dua belah pihak.
``Jika pihak isteri bersetuju bahawa lelaki tidak perlu memberi nafkah zahir seperti menyediakan rumah, pakaian dan sebagainya, tetapi hanya bertanggungjawab terhadap nafkah batin saja, maka ia tidak menjadi masalah,'' tegasnya.
Apa yang menjadi masalah kata beliau, apabila timbul pertikaian berhubung siapa yang bertanggungjawab memberi nafkah dalam rumahtangga.
``Sekiranya tidak timbul soal siapa yang patut memberi nafkah atau siapa yang patut menanggung siapa, maka perkahwinan seperti itu tidak ada masalah untuk diamalkan.
``Apatah lagi dalam keadaan hari ini, wujudnya masalah ramai janda dan gadis yang tidak berkahwin,'' jelas beliau.
Bagaimanapun, katanya perkahwinan ini harus dilakukan secara jujur dan tidak disalahgunakan bagi menganiaya kaum wanita.
Another supposedly light banter on the reason why contemporary women are reluctant to tie the knot: "Lelaki tak berkualiti atau wanita bermasalah?"
I resisted broaching this issue when a friend and former colleague suggested that I write about it some weekends ago. To me, like living arrangements and other issues, financial management in a relationship or marriage is a personal issue that should be negotiated between two consenting adults or respective partners, according to their comfort levels. But to impose a ruling as the 'solution' to the 'women problem' just made me gasp for (fresh) air.
For someone who prides herself as an uncompromising feminist (and feminists are not supposed to have a sense of humour, by the way, only 'dumb blondes and docile types' have that privilege) who likes to see herself as an equal partner (maybe that's the reason why I'm more often than not without a partner), reading the Malay papers just make my blood boil. First, it's always the woman's problem if she's not married; secondly, she should be grateful if there's a man who is generous enough to provide 'nafkah batin' (soul sustenance, if that's the apt equivalent); and thirdly, the 'solution' to the problem is so simplistic that it makes marriage counselors redundant.
Although the statistics show that the ratio number of males for every 100 females (Department of Statistics, 2000 survey, NST, 12/02/06, F4) for Never-Married Population Age 15 and Above always exceed the latter, it is conveniently ignored by the mainstream Malay press. And it's always "masalah ramai janda dan gadis yang tidak berkahwin" (the problem of many unmarried girls and divorcees), not "masalah ramai duda dan teruna yang juga tidak berkahwin" (the problem of also unwed men). The point is - the blame is squarely placed on the women if she's not married, if she walked out of her marriage, or if her husband left her - never, ever the man's fault because a woman should know how to catch and keep her man or, like a precious commodity, he will be stolen right under your very nose! Once again, conveniently, the man is not the strong and wise head of the family, or pillar of society, but a weak and helpless creature that needs guidance and care.
As NIA said to me this morning as I drove her to JW for her trip to CH: "Don't whine, just hold your tongue, and grit your teeth, if you choose to be with a man", or you could focus on a well-paying and fulfilling career and settle for disposable DIY tools for company! Which, I suspect, what many "janda dan gadis" are investing their time and money on that caused this "problem" in the first place!
On a lighter note, watched Poseiden at MV TGV last nite; not as moving as Titanic due to emphasis on action rather than story, but worth watching if just for Josh Lucas (and Emmy Rossum for guys) as eye candy! A sight for sore eyes indeed after turning off the waterworks just before the show - why, oh, why do we waste 10 yrs of our lives just over style and approach? Why is it so hard for me to walk over and for him to speak to me?