Saturday, 18 November 2017

bisik pada langit

i decided to watch bisik pada langit at 2am in the morning, without any prior idea about how the storyline would be. 15 minutes into the movie, my cheeks were wet with tears flowing like river. everything felt so real, so vivid. i couldn't take it.

it reminded me of november 4, 2016; of arwah taufiq. 

taufiq passed away so suddenly that none of us in purdue was ready for it. he was such a bright soul. our hearts broke, and we mourned. i remember myself crying whenever i went for the tahlil sessions they did. everyone came for you, taufiq. religion did not matter. everyone was there, mourning for you. we lost a diamond in our community.

but the night i remember the most was that night that your mother and sister arrived from malaysia, to bring your body back home. i felt so scared sitting in the surau, to face your family. i couldn't keep a strong face. when your mother came to me i saw she tried to smile in her tears, thanking us for being there. i could feel my chest tightened, i wanted to tell her what a kind soul you were. i couldn't. i was scared if i opened my mouth i would burst out crying. i hugged your mom. i hugged your sister. but i still couldn't imagine how much pain they were feeling.

that night, i saw the van that brought your body back to purdue. people said it's the last time we could ever see you. i didn't go still, i was too scared. the last memory of you that i had was when we were preparing for malaysian night. do you remember? i was the nosy videographer, recording everyone's moves. i played around with you a bit when we were arranging tables, and on that morning when you were playing guli with the americans.

when i had to begin editing the behind the scene video, little did i know that i would stumble upon my recordings of you again. the sadness came into me like strong waves. how do i edit the videos with you in it, when in the real world, you're no longer with us. i was heartbroken. i was so fond of you. you were just 20 years old. but i had to accept that god loves you more.

taufiq, i miss you. i hope your family is doing well. know that everyone still misses you. you are forever in our hearts. it's been more than a year now. somehow i could still imagine you in purdue, still completing your degree, goofing around with the others. but i know you are in a better place now.

fly high, my dear friend. al fatihah.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

it’s not love

i thought about what love is, and i don’t know the answer. sure, i’ve had a fair share of experiences, some good some bad, but i still don’t know what love is. i could say, love is kind. it is. but there are also days when love is rage and fire, and swear words become so comfortingly dear. it feeds the rage, it satisfies the ego. a deadly combination to feed the soul.

i think i’ve also once thought that love is selfless. how naive i was. it’s not true. at least not for me anymore. i can pretend to be selfless, but i am a selfish being. it gets tiring, when one’s needs are prioritised more than my own. i can still try to be selfless for sure, but once i start thinking about how i do not want to do it, it’s not sincere anymore. that’s not selfless, no?

people say love is when you always think about the person, when you care, when you protect, when you support, when you empower, when you comfort, when you laugh, when you cry, heck — i could freaking list all the verbs smh. i’m tired.

to be continued—

Friday, 10 November 2017

am i a failure?

life is indeed beautiful, but it isn't always easy. the way i portray my life on my social media may be all rainbows with occurrences of depressing posts sometimes. however, i rarely mentioned about any of my failures. thus, i often get cute, innocent messages from people, often the beautiful girls still in high school who kept asking me for tips on how to be successful. i gave whatever tips i could think of, hoping any of them would be of use.

nonetheless, i do want to note that i am not as successful as people might think. i've been reflecting a lot the past few days, as in gossiping with friends about my history, and it just reminded me of the things i have gone through to get here. it's not all rainbows, sadly.

i remember applying to get into sekolah aliran agama after UPSR examination only to be rejected by it. i wasn't aware of the existence of MRSM at that time, so when I saw a few of my classmates in the government school left for MRSM, i felt so left out. like hello, i got good grades too? i deserved to be in a good school as well. what a self-entitled human being. but hey, there's no harm in trying right? 

so i cycled to the post office and mailed a handwritten appeal letter (as in surat karangan rasmi hahaha) to MARA asking them to accept me to get into MRSM. life went on months after that when i suddenly got the letter saying i was accepted for fourth intake at MRSM Kubang Pasu. i was so happy. 

fast forward a few years later, i applied for the top 4 MRSM in malaysia after PMR examination with high hope that i would get in because i was a top student in my batch. i was on my way back to kedah after attending my grandma's funeral in johor when i got a call from my friend saying that the results were out and i wasn't accepted to any of the top 4 MRSM. 

i kept laughing and scolding them thinking it was a joke. it wasn't. i cried my heart out from taiping to kedah when i realized that i really wasn't accepted. my dreams shattered, my heart broken. but life goes on. i stayed at my old mrsm and was given so much opportunities that i probably wouldn't have gotten if i left. either way, i learned to make do with what i have and be grateful.

when i was in INTI doing my american degree foundation program, i really wanted to go to boston university to do my degree there. it was my number one choice amongst a list of five universities that i was applying to. i got accepted to all of them, except boston university; the one i had set my heart for. it costed me bucket of tears again. i was heartbroken. but i went ahead to purdue still and had an experience of a lifetime. i am still forever thankful.

after purdue, i went back home for good in january and wanted to work for a bit to fill up my free time. at that moment, i didn't know anyone else who did psychology and had graduated. thus i had no one to refer to. i wasn't sure where i can work/intern with a degree in psychology. i didn't have any connection. i was clueless. but i told myself again that there is no harm in trying to apply for everything. so i spent days emailing more than 40 people/companies asking about internship opportunities for psychology graduates. only a few people replied me back with rejection news, a very small number invited me for an interview, and the rest of them left my email unanswered. there were too many rejections. i felt unneeded. but thankfully, tfm needed me. 

some of the emails i sent to people...

then, i got accepted to do my masters in ucl. at that time, i was worried about finding a scholarship to study there, but i tried to be positive. i applied for maxis scholarship and worked hard to make the video thingy they asked applicants to do, and diyana even helped me with editing the video. however, i was rejected right away. my heart broke. 

i persevered and told myself that i would try for biasiswa yang dipertuan agong. i cried during completing the application form because there was so much i had to do within a short period of time. crossed my fingers that i would at least get invited for an interview with them because i've put so much effort in my application. but sadly that one evening when i was in kobe, i found out that i was rejected, again. [read more about it here]

i couldn't stop my tears from falling when i called my mom to tell her i failed. i was so disappointed with myself at that time because i felt like i've let people around me down. i was crying for days. there were moments when i was just doing my work and i'd suddenly burst out crying. i was just too sad. at that time, it was my only hope to go to ucl. my future seemed so blurry. but yayasan khazanah suddenly came to the picture and became my savior.

see? i have a lot of failures. i am just like everyone of you. i make mistakes, i fail, i get rejected. but i want us to remember that to keep going in this life, we have to be resilient. it's okay to break down and cry and eat tubs of ice cream if it will help us feel a lil better, but pick up ourselves again and continue the fight. 

i've learned that not trying gives me hurt and regret more than being rejected. do not be afraid to try and do not be afraid of failure. it will lead you to something else. 

spm kids, hang in there and i wish you all the best.


Monday, 23 October 2017

an overnight trip to lake district


i was in class when i got a text from sarah, asking if i want to go to edinburgh with her this weekend. i read that text many times, trying to weigh out options when another text came in from her, saying that it's her last weekend in the UK. that's when it hit me; i don't have any option. i HAVE to go with sarah. it's her farewell trip :(


i was home the whole day, trying to finish up as much work as i can before leaving for the trip that night. i also had a sudden visit from sheera, bringing her delicious banoffee pie for me because she made extra. i ended up introducing her to my friend, nad, who's on facetime when she came, and then we ended up talking about kpop while i was packing up stuff for the trip. nad was surprisingly chatty too, she usually takes time to warm up to new faces. oh well, girls, it's so easy to bond over kpop. lol

sarah and mimi picked me up and we went to azam & qaisy's house because they cooked dinner. when we arrived, we all sat in qaisy's room where buttered rice and grilled chicken were served on the table. not to forget, the precious keropok lekor from malaysia that qaisy fried for us. oh lord, it was heavenly! we all ate dinner and talked until everyone was so full, except me, i was already full before getting there.

so while they ate, me being me, i *analyzed* his room, well it was my first time being in an architecture's student room. so i guess i got really intrigued haha. his walls are covered with framed drawings, with his signature. qaisy jaslenda. they are mesmerizing, i couldn't stop staring. a nice melody of calm, peaceful songs was blasting through his speakers, so i wonder if architecture students have their own specific playlist they need to listen to while they sketch. i haven't asked them yet. did i not mention yet that they're all architecture students? azam, qaisy, sarah, and mimi. i was the odd one there haha.

when 'keroncong' by jamilah abu bakar started playing, qaisy began telling us about a fond memory he had with his late father.

"my house was at the top of the hill, facing the direction of where the sun sets. i remember my father playing this song for us in evenings, while the sun was setting down with its yellowish, orange beams glaring through the earth's surface, reflecting to my house which would light up in orange colors, it's beautiful. then my father would make us dance foolishly to this song, in the orange lights, while the sun sets on the horizon"

i listened quietly as he was telling us that, getting emotional. i tried to remember if i had any fond memory with my own father, but all i could recall was a memory of me being mischievous which made my father mad. it was the only time i ever saw my father cried. i was supposed to wait for my father to pick me up at school that day when i decided i wanted to walk around with my friends in the rain. i got home a few hours later with my family being worried, and my father was so mad at me that he hit me with his tie. it didn't hurt at all, but i cried. my father never hit me once, but that was the only time. he ended up crying, hugging me, saying he's sorry, he was mad because he's scared i was kidnapped. every time i thought my father doesn't love me, it always brought me back to that memory. he does.

getting back to the original story, we packed up and got ready to leave. dropped mimi at her house before the four of us drove to lake district, 5 hours drive from london. we all didn't sleep throughout the journey, because the one who falls asleep would need to sing a solo karaoke song... no one dared to sleep haha. but by the time we arrived at lake district, our throats hurt from singing too much. we don't have no one else to blame when our choices of songs are all the high notes songs. from adele's to christina aguilera's to whitney houston's, i was basically just screaming the whole time, instead of singing.

lake district was raining heavily when we arrived. it was cold, gloomy, foggy, but somehow we could feel it was amazingly beautiful regardless. nothing beats nature. i suddenly felt that sense of happiness flowing inside me. rain. something that always lights me up, comforting me. we freshen up at a nearby hotel where we parked before going to get breakfast, hoping the rain would stop by then. we got ourselves shots of espresso and ate our food before walking down to the lake. it was so beautiful. we could see the forest at the other side of the lake, covered in fog. mystical. i was enthralled.

we drove around again to the next town, and that's we found the beautiful forest-ish spots by the lake. we illegally parked nearby and walked to the forest. it was a nice walk by the lake, and we found a tiny bridge to help us cross over the stream, where a small cottage covered in greens lies by the lake. it's like in the movies. we ran on the green grass, hiked up to the top of the hill to find a nice bench overlooking the edge of the lake on the other side. a ferry passed by and we were jumping around waving our hands hoping they'd see us. we took a lot of pictures. we had a good time.

on our way back to the car, qaisy walked far to the front while i walked with sarah and azam. i had a feeling i would slip, and i did!!! i fell on the ground and had my right leg covered in mud. i laughed over it and got sarah and azam helped me to get up. we went to the stream by the tiny bridge and worked hard to clean the mud, trying to make my black jeans look black again haha. when we were done, we walked to the car where qaisy was waiting for us.

we drove to the nearest town, had our lunch there, and were on the road again for our next stop. we stopped at this beautiful waterfall by the road, with numerous sheep walking on the greens covering the hill. it's so breathtaking. we hiked up and took more pictures, including a group picture of us four after tirelessly trying to set up the self-timer and ran up hectically to our spots. we got the picture, thankfully. i enjoyed walking here with the sheep, it felt like i was part of the nature. the sun came out from the clouds at one point, glaring its heat on us though we were still freezing. but my heart was warm and fuzzy.

we then drove to blackpool, on our way back to london. it's a city by the beach, like brighton. we spent a short time there walking at the pier, and got excited when we saw a halal sausage shop but apparently they turned out to be vegan sausages. never trust the 'halal' sign blindly again :') i liked my time here because it was interesting seeing these architecture students comment about the city; the buildings, the industry, etc. i have never done that before when i travel. so i told myself next time i travel, i need to pay more attention to these things. after that, we went back to the car as it's time to go back.

azam's the first one to drive and we let qaisy and sarah slept. i accompanied azam driving because i know we're all tired for staying up the whole night before, due to the karaoke session... we talked a lot about our backgrounds and families. that was actually only the second time i met azam and qaisy, so i guess we have lots to get to know about other than our names and what we are studying. the traffic was quite slow, maybe everyone was going back to london to start school/work again. qaisy was snoring, sarah was silently sleeping at the back, and azam was getting tired. so we stopped and switched. i drove for a while after that before sarah took over and got us back in london.

we ate dinner at sarah's house, which is lovely. another architechture student, and she also had her drawings hanging on the wall. they look beautiful. we played a game called "who am i?" i think, and i ended up winning. beginner's luck, they said. how dare haha. i guessed right because i thought sarah is the kind of girl who would like mulan's character, and they all blamed me saying it's because i'm studying psychology. lol

we then went home, and azam gave me one of his pillows yay! he has too many apparently (7 of them), but well, who could say no to nice comfy pillows right. last night i ended up sleeping for 12 hours, i put the blame on that extra pillow on bed. hehe

in the end, i am glad to have gone with sarah for this trip. i don't know when else i would have the time to spend with her. my heart hurts thinking that she's leaving this weekend. i have only known her for a month, but fate is separating us already. she's a big sister to me that i would always cherish. and i'm always thankful for her for making my first month in london much better. sending her my wishes and prayers for her next chapter of life, commencing soon.

and that's how the overnight trip to lake district went. <3

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

mental health topic in malaysia, is it a taboo?

did you know that mental illness is expected to be the second biggest health problem affecting malaysians by 2020? 

some of you who followed me on instagram would probably notice that i posted a picture of my university id card about a week ago. it's nothing special, just me freaking out to start school. however, that picture has gotten more than 7k likes, which is totally bizarre. i have no idea why so many people liked that picture. was it because of ucl? was it because it says that i'm in the division of psychiatry? i think it's the latter. so today, i feel obligated to do this post. 

in conjunction with the world mental health day 2017, which is on october 10, i feel obligated to write about the topic of mental health so i could raise awareness about it, at the very least. so that people would understand, mental health is a part of our overall health. we cannot turn a blind eye to it. there are more reasons why i want to write this post today, which one would be that i realized people i know/care about are suffering from these issues, albeit some silently. 

so, is mental health a taboo topic in malaysia? definitely yes, though i'm seeing people talk about it more often now on social media which is a good thing. this is despite the fact that 29.2% of malaysian adults are suffering from mental health issues as shown in the national health and morbidity survey 2015. it's sad. i don't want to compare malaysia with united kingdom/america, because we are all different in terms of culture, beliefs, etc. but i know that the low income communities in malaysia especially still have a long way to go in an effort to be educated about mental health issues; how to acknowledge it, accept it, and manage it. 

mental health issues are more than just being 'depressed'. it's the people who would starve for days because they are so scared to gain weight even though their bmi says they are underweight. it's the people who binge-eat like crazy and then forcefully vomit everything out because "i'm unattractive, i don't want to put on weight". it's the people who seriously will not go out from their house because they freak out thinking they would die. it's the people who hear voices saying there are people who would kill them. it's the people who on one day have so much energy they will not even sleep, but have the coming days feeling so low and depressed before they kill themselves. it's the people who see many different versions of themselves. it's so much more...

as individuals, if you notice anything about yourself that is affecting your daily functioning, whether mentally, emotionally, or physically, don't be afraid to reach out. talk about it with someone you trust. get professional help if you have the opportunity to. there is nothing to be ashamed about. 

moreover, as a member of the community, we should acknowledge that the stigma surrounding mental health issues is stopping people from progressing to get help. therefore, we need to do our part in breaking the stigma. if we notice someone struggling, we can at least ask how they are doing. we can listen to them, we can empathize with them too. whenever we hear about people who have physical illnesses like cancer or heart problems, we often sympathize with them. but why is it when we hear people suffering from mental health issues, it's shame or disgust that we usually feel? mental illnesses can take people's lives too. i wish people do not easily dismiss that. let's all do our part in making sure that people get the help they need, before it's too late.

last year i convinced a friend to go see a therapist. he had things bothering his mind and i told him maybe it will help if he just talk about it with a therapist. he was scared, doubtful at first, but he decided to go still. not long after he told me how helpful the sessions are, even though i'm thousands of miles away from him, i could hear him smiling when he said that during our call. i was happy for him too.

you don't need a severe reason to see a therapist. most times, it will be nice to have someone to talk to who will not judge us, regardless what our issues are. so do reach out to these people listed below if you are struggling, having a hard time, or if you just want someone to talk to.

BefriendersKL : +603-79568145 /
Life Line Association Malaysia :
Malaysian Mental Health Association :
SOLS Help :
MENTARI Malaysia :

i hope you remember that you are no less than your wounds or scars. 
i hope you remember that you are bigger than your mental health issues.
i hope you remember that healing takes time, but you will get better. 

from matt haig's reasons to stay alive

let's all be kind to each other 

Friday, 6 October 2017

beautiful people, beautiful problems

all snuggled up on her bed in her white, dreamy duvet that looks more like bubbles of white cloud--her body is warming up comfortably in this 10 celcius weather. in her heart, it just felt right to let the words out on this late friday night. before she started letting her fingers dance along with the thoughts coming out like a stream of river, she opened her spotify playlist and put beautiful people beautiful problems by lana del ray on repeat. everything felt like they are in the right place. she's ready.

i'd like to write about yesterday. it was thursday, and i decided to go to a TEDxUCLWomen Launch Event because the theme was discussing mental health through spoken poetry and hip hop, and i bet you all know already how much i am into mental health. but mental health through spoken poetry, it's definitely something i couldn't say no to. i got there quite early so i made myself coffee and took a nice seat in the middle of the crowd. i wanted to be close enough to the speakers, but not too close where i would feel exposed. 

thankfully, when the emcee announced that we were starting with the first speaker, they turned off all the lights in the room. all that's left were the fairy lights scattered around floor, and the red fairy lights they put around the speaker's neck when it's their turn to speak. gosh, it was pure beauty, to be perfectly honest. everyone seemed very well ready to engross themselves in the poems read aloud by the speakers. it was a beautiful kind of silence, surrounded by darkness. it made me feel safe. it made everyone feel it's okay to let their guards down and to be vulnerable. it was a safe space. 

my favorite speaker from that night, sanaah, started off with her first poem, "my father's accent". she didn't give a lot of her introduction because she said we would understand her background through the poem, and sure we did, in such an emotional way. sanaah's voice was small and soft and it sounded like the voice of a mother reading a bedtime story aloud to her children. it was such a comforting voice full with emotions, it made me tear up and i tried hard not to keep my tears falling, and that's when i heard the girl behind me sobbing. 

when her poems talked broadly under the themes of identity and home, i couldn't help but got drowned in my emotions. what does home mean to me? for a person like me who's left pieces of myself in every country i go, which one do i call home? for a person like me who's left pieces of my heart in the people i've met along the way, how do i decide which one is my home? and the fact that i just moved to london for less than a month, her poems revoked a plethora of sadness inside me. but to be honest, i felt relieved. i found out i wasn't alone. 

it was such an inspiring night for me as it was the first spoken poetry event i've been to. the words were fresh and raw, their voices so soft and passionate they made my soul shivered, in the darkness. when they read their poems out loud, their words and thoughts became alive. it was real. everyone felt it. i felt it. by the end of it, my heart was full and heavy. 

i loved the fact that it reminded me of the event i went to in malaysia before. it was not spoken poetry, rather the speakers there read out their short stories to us instead of poems. i deeply loved that one too, especially for the fact that aan mansyur was there to read his stories. and boy, it's like hearing rangga's words from ada apa dengan cinta. aan does have his way with words, they equate to love. besides aan, there were budi citawan and ashikin, both ladies whom i truly admire the courage and audacity of their work. there is so much inspiration around ourselves, if we let our guards down and admit there is so much we could learn from other people. i am humbled. 

even writing this, my heart is full. i love words and i love people who are not afraid to convey their emotions into words. godspeed. 

Sunday, 24 September 2017

how i spent 3 days in nice, france

spent 3 days in nice, france with short day trips to cannes and monte carlo. it was lovely :)

as the second most visited city in france, nice was busy and packed with people, but not annoyingly. i felt calmed and paced walking around the city at my own pace, doing my own thing. nice is busy in a way that i feel like everyone who goes there really just wanna chill, enjoy the sun and the magnificent view. it's beautiful.

i loved the city, as if being the first european city i ever visited is not enough a reason. i was nervous about starting school and adapting to this new life in london, but going to nice kind of diminished all those emotions away while i was there. it calmed me down. as if when i looked at the ocean, the birds flying, the horizon that looks like it goes on forever, the calm but unstoppable waves, i think they washed away my fears. it was soothing to my soul.