English: There, here and over there. Basically, in a sense, to mean restless. A collection of thoughts, musings and ramblings...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

What I would love to do for a recycling project

I usually reserve Saturday mornings for McDonald's breakfasts with my daughter Ashley. Most of the time we would use the drive-thru for our orders (it is just about 5-10 minutes drive from the house), even though I would very much prefer to eat in so that I don't have all the packaging waste to throw away.

I have always sort of felt guilty about the amount of packaging food comes in, and how much we throw away without recycling. There is a lot of waste, if you think about it

For example, today I bought a breakfast set of hotcakes and one breakfast set of sausage mcmuffin. How much packaging was provided to us?

- A big brown bag to put everything in
- A medium sized brown bag to put in hash browns
- 2 hash brown wrappings
- 2 paper cups
- 2 plastic covers
- 2 straws
- burger wrapping paper
- hotcakes packaging (at least they have changed to paper from styrofoam plates in the past)
- plastic fork and knife
- a few sauce packets which I don't often use but keep in a large container at home

These are the packaging for only 2 people. Imagine if 100 customers came to McDonald's this morning, how much waste is created this morning. Today? In a week? In a month? In a year???

While McDonald's have been somewhat environmentally conscious in assuring customers that some of their packaging is made of biodegradeble products, how much time is actually required before these breakdown? Lets not just talk about McDonalds, how about KFC, Pizza Hut and in fact all food services?

Lets not also forget whenever we tapau lunch from the aunty selling nasi campur down the road, we usually give in to bringing food back in the given styrofoam packs, with a plastic spoon and a plastic bag, for convenience sake.

Recycling issues have been around for at least 15-17 years ago, the difference is, back then it wasn't "cool" or "hip". I remember in my teenage years that I used to feel so happy whenever we visited Australia and NZ and they would usually provide biodegradeable paper bags, and not plastic bags.

Only in the past 2 years have KK finally gotten on the NO PLASTIC bandwagon, by not providing plastic bags on Mondays (and now for the whole weekend until Monday), but I don't think that the effort has been enough. Consumers have been whiny about the lack of plastic bags because they just couldn't be bothered (which is just typical of the 'don't care' attitude). And I have also noticed one disturbing thing - how many recycle bins have you spotted in and around KK??

Just the sight of plastic and other types of waste littering our beautiful landscape makes me wonder, what is wrong with our people?? I join Project AWARE dives, I go for clean-ups, but what is the point if some proportion of our citizens think it is just ok to open their car windows and throw their rubbish out on the road and streets? (don't even get me started on the coughing and hacking and spitting....). People just dump their recycleable drink cans and plastic bottles into dustbins because THERE ARE NO RECYCLING BINS! At least not in places convenient for people. Is there even a recycling centre in KK??

If you have ever travelled out of the country to developed countries you would realise how far behind we are in environmental consiousness. In Australia, every house has it's own bin for recyclable items. Here we just have smelly bins with everything in it. I shudder to think about the amount of rubbish and waste generated and left lying around during large-scale events.

While there are other issues such as wasting our precious resources like water & electricity, I think this one is a very pressing issue that needs to be taken into consideration.

If this goes on, this is how our country is going to end up:-

So anyway, these are my ideas for a recycling campaign:-

1. Fundraise for more recycle bins to be located in locations around KK and in the housing areas
2. Get food vendors to agree to reduce their food prices by RM0.20 - RM0.50 if consumers come to tapau bringing their own containers.
3. Handkerchiefs should get back into fashion ;-) seriously. Your grandma was probably more environmentally consious that you are because they didn't have disposable paper tissues / towels and paper handkerchiefs. They use and reuse.
4. Reuse washing water to water the plants instead of just going down the drain.
5. Encourage the use of compost heaps for food waste. Helps your garden too!
6. Buy products with less packaging by buying in bulk. For food, you can store in containers and canisters when you buy in bulk.
7. Organise a Waste-Free picnic. To educate people first hand that it is possible to not use paper / plastic plates & cups, and it is actually more classy and elegant too! ;-)
8. Demo on how to set aside recycleable products and what to do with them?

These are just a few things I have seriously thought about. There may be loads more, and I am open to new ideas :-) I am looking forward to seeing people committed to take action on these issues too!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My life as a young mother

The year before

Once upon a time, there was a young lady of just 18. A high flyer. Someone with great hopes and dreams. Her greatest ambition was to one day embark on a career which involves tackling many of the environmental issues faced by man and creation of a sustainable environment to be enjoyed by future generations to come. Pretty, smart, ambitious, funny..... seems like a great future is written ahead for her.

Going to college was something that she had planned for even from the age of 13. At 17, armed with her zest for life, she left home to embark on an adventure to the unknown.

She loved her new independent life at college. Pretty, popular - she was THE girl to be.

And then..... life took a different turn....
At 18 going on 19, she fell in love with a boy and got pregnant with the first boyfriend she ever had. Her life came crashing down just in over a year after enrolling into a college. What went wrong? At 19 going on 20, she already had a baby in her arms.

Only a week old here. I am wearing my Footprints editorial team t-shirt

Hardly sounds like the biography of a successful person.

Well, that girl was me. Thinking retrospectively, I often wondered what went wrong. I think the main issue for me was lack of confidence. (Even when I was the pretty and popular college girl. All through high school, I never had a boyfriend, never even had the guts to talk properly to one.)

Plus, I have to blame the lack of proper sex education. Sex is something not discussed at all. Until that age, I didn't know what happened in the movies where the guy and girl kiss in bed and the scene fades to black. What happens after??? Having a mother who says 'I hope you are not going to do anything silly...' instead of talking properly about what EXACTLY is 'silly', didn't help as well.

I am not going to lie. I loved motherhood. I often had nightmares about being infertile and never having a baby, so when I got pregnant it was sort of a relief. I looked forward to having the baby. I was excited about the things my baby was learning and going to experience. I felt the pride in dressing her up. Before she was born, I made my own handmade stuffed toys. And when she was born, I quilted a blanket just for her.

Proud of my baby-sized Bonnet Sue quilt

But ... in my heart I was still just 20. Still yet to discover the world and to find my place in life. And there were a great number of times where I would just wish to be like every other girl my age. Carefree. Nothing to worry about but to look pretty, have an education, find a boyfriend, go to parties, etc etc.... The possibilities just seem so endless.

At 20 I was already:-

- no longer a 'Miss'
- sporting stretchmarks under my belly and on my breasts from the pregnancy
- a MUM (just to emphasize again) when everyone else is still enjoying their young lives

At 20, I already felt ...... OLD! Unpretty, unattractive, unworthy to be loved and  a myriad of other things. I was kind of embarassed to meet friends at school and they find me toting a toddler on my hips.

Your priorities change as well. Once I was approached by a talent scout to attend an audition for a Dove commercial. I turned them down, because on that same day I was flying home to see my baby. Yeah, any other girl would have jumped at the chance, but I just couldn't. I dream of living my life abroad for many years. But again, I can't, because I am now a mum who has to think of what is best for the child.

Ashley's first plane trip. Going to JB

When you are found pregnant at such a young age, people can be so cruel. And usually it is the mothers of other girls who take me as an example of who NOT to be. They say all kinds of nasty things, that you are a slut, not that innocent after all.... I mean, only bad girls get into trouble, right? And I must be a bad bad bad girl, camouflaged under that innocent, good girl look.

So, I didn't bother sharing with people about my life. It took me a very very long time to be comfortable enough to admit that I am a mother to a little girl. Even now, I don't divulge such information freely unless I feel that I am 'safe'. The reason that I don't feel safe is that people make assumptions. The first assumption was the above - that I was a slut that slept around. The second assumption is that I have a child, so I must be happily married. And they have the expectation that I am somehow bursting with enthusiasm to tell them how gloriously beautiful my love life is, and how my prince charming makes me breakfast in bed...

Nope. I don't live in fairytale land.

As like everyone else, I long to be loved. To have that life that I had always wanted. At 20 I was living life ahead from everyone else. And now in my thirties, I feel left behind as everyone else seems to be getting married, having babies, living a great new life.

Since it was unlikely Prince Charming was coming to save me, I saved myself instead.

I concentrated on my studies. Yes, I may be a utter failure if I wanted to become a beauty queen, but that doesn't mean people can put me down. I am a smart cookie! I am destined for better things in life. Just because I made one mistake in life (which turns out to be for the better), does not mean I am a loser.

So I now stand before you, proud. I survived! With a masters degree to boot. It has not been easy, I have missed a great number of years having to leave Ashley behind with my parents while I went away in the pursuit of education.

My life has been one great big challenge. Aside from being a young mum, I have also experienced what no other woman should ever experience - domestic abuse. For a long time, while in my twenties, I felt that God has forsaken me. I asked myself WHY? all the time. Then the answer came to me last year.

Because if I didn't experience what I did, I would not be empowered to do what I do or did now. Help others. Run the White Ribbon Campaign. Be in the constant search for better welfare for women. Being where I have been, I understand the pain that others feel. If my life had been perfect and easy, I would not bother about others, because I wouldn't have a reason to. God must have a had a bigger plan for me.

I remember someone once told me, the 20-year old mum, one day when I was wearing shorts to the mall - 'You can't be sexy anymore because you now are a mother'

You must be kidding. Life doesn't have to stop just because you gave birth. Neither do you have to stop being beautiful. And learning. And experiencing.

Life only gets better..... because now you have a better reason for living!


Monday, July 25, 2011

When peace is shattered...

Just barely 6 months ago that I first stepped on the soil of Norway, far away from home. My earlier blogpost on travelling to Norway, I had described my wonderful visit there. Beautiful, peaceful and serene, it would never have crossed my mind that anything as brutal as the mass killings that happened last Friday would have happened there of all places. See Norway tragedy

But still, in spite of the tragedy, I wouldn't think twice of returning again one day....


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Help me win a brand new Acer Iconia Tab A500!

This is my submission..... what do you think?

Please please please vote for me :-))))

Much love <3


Monday, July 11, 2011

Starstruck! Being a movie extra for a day!

My look for the shooting - just the same outfit I had on for the casting call
 I just happened to browse the Sabahan Bloggers Facebook page when I saw a post on a casting call for extras for a German tele-movie. A casting call?? That almost never happens here in KK :-D (at least, not that I know of)

The casting call was happening on Sunday and Monday.. by the time I read the info it was already late Tuesday afternoon. Dang! So I wrote on the event page 'Ohhhh.... too late!! :-(((

But the great thing was... I wasn't too late :-D I got a response later on that casting was still on and I could come over to the Gaya Centre Hotel. I still wasn't sure I could make it so I sent a message to the person in charge who told me he would be around until 7pm. Yes!!!

However, those of you who know me would probably know that I have somewhat of a cynical disposition. I was asking myself 'Is this for real? What if this is some wierd money-making scheme??' And so on and so on.... I have never been to a casting call, so I don't know what to expect. But regardless, I told myself, 'so what if it is fake? I am not letting this opportunity go!' So I went there after work. (and after some research online which told me that all a casting call for extras will only require us to have photos taken of ourselves, it is not the same as an audition where speaking is required. Good enough for me!)

When I arrived, there were already a few people there. I dragged Anna with me to the casting call, since we were going to the gym together afterwards, and somehow I had developed butterflies in my stomach. Some people there had taken the effort to dress up very well, there were some kids with their moms, some tall skinny girls with thick make-up (obviously model and actress wannabes), and here I was, in my workwear (which btw, wasn't bad and quite trendy as I have on a flowery skirt and lots of accessories). I had earlier pondered on whether to even bother making an effort, and then reasoned that because this was after all a casting call for EXTRAs, which means that:-

1. you will be in the background
2. being just a filler in the background does not particularly require you to be stunning, and
3. that you should look as normal as possible.

Anyway, what happened was that we had to fill in a form with our details - name, phone number, age, height, weight, availability and hand it over to the person taking photos. He later on wrote our names and age on a large piece of white paper which we had to hold up for the first head shot. Then another head shot without the paper, shots of our profiles from each side and finally a full body shot. And that was it! That was the whole casting call experience.

Over a week passed by since that casting call, and they had already started shooting (as I remember from the dates on the form), so I thought that most likely I was not picked for anything. And besides, I was having a really really busy time with organising an event, that it was probably for the best I wasn't being called. Especially not on Saturday.

And then on Saturday evening came a call from an unrecognised number. Hmm... who is this? It was a call from the guy in charge of casting calls :-D

And just like that, I have been called to come in as an extra for a scene on Sunday afternoon in front of Milimewa Supermarket at Gaya Street!! Wheee!!

Actually, I am not a person who is easily excited, so there was none of the screams of YAHOOO and dancing in the room... just 'oh, ok! I will be there. See you' and hung up the phone. Haha! All I know is that I better get ready early the next day, make sure I have enough rest and blah blah...

While waiting for the film crew to arrive to the location. We were asked to wait at Milimewa Supermarket

For the scene, I was told to wear the same clothes I wore to the casting call (I heard from others that they were asked to wear specific clothing) and to bring two extra types of pants and two extra tops, but no stripes. I wasn't sure what that was about, so I just left them in the car.

I arrived 15 minutes early, just to be informed that the crew was still on their 3rd location and would take some time before they arrived, so I just went to the nearby Rainforest Cafe to have something to eat. It was about 1 whole hour before they finally arrived. But I didn't mind, guess it was all the excitement ;-)

Film crew ready just across the road
 I was introduced to the rest of the extras and a lady who seemed to be in charge of wardrobe. One of the guys was wearing a shirt with Quicksilver all over it, and was told to change immediately as it is not allowed to display any form of branding in the movie.

The actress came over in a van not long after in white pants and sleeveless top, looking all ready for a night out, and it occured to me how perfectly coiffed her hair was and how her make-up was flawless for someone running around the jungles of Borneo. And the outfit I wouldn't consider bringing with me on my travels around the world either ;-) but this is tele-movie, so I guess everything is overly dramatised. From where she was standing, she looked more like a high-fashion model posing for the front page of Vogue.

I am guessing that is the director coaching the actress on what to do
 My job was simple. I was just going to be a passer-by, along with 5 others during the scene. A guy and myself will be walking towards the traffic light, while another couple will be walking towards us, and another two ladies will be crossing the street. All while the actress is having a break-down in this scene.

We just stood there, waiting for the director to say that well known word in the acting world - "Action!" and we started walking. Unfortunately, the further we went, the harder it was to hear the word "Cut!" especially in a noisy area such as the main road. Already there was a huge crowd forming to watch what was happening.

In 3-4 takes (and repetitiously moving to and from the same spot), it was a wrap. And THAT sums up my experience as an extra for a movie.

Some action at the scene
Only after that I discovered that the name of the movie is Sleepless In The Jungle... or something like that I guess, and could be that the title will be translated to German later on ;-) The people who arranged the casting calls and for the extra are from Biscuit Films. I guess they are only in charge of shots that are done in Malaysia on behalf of the German film crew. Looking at their website, they seem to have helped out with quite a number of international films. For more on Biscuit Films, click on the link below:-

All that was left for me at the end of the day was to sign the release form and collect my RM100. Easy money which I am really really glad for! :-D But I think the most valuable was the whole experience I got from this. I was really glad that they chose to have me on at least 1 scene. In the end, it all chalks up to another learning experience for me!



My Love Yourself slideshow video

Very proud of my creation. I did it just in time for the Be A Belle workshop on 9th July. Was not planning on showing it then, but since it was nice and could substitute well for a long drawn-out speech, so why not?
I especially love the song. I would have loved to sing it and play the guitar myself for this video clip, but alas... I couldn't. Facebook and Youtube gave me a hard time to upload this video too! due to copyright issues. But it is not as if I am using the song to sell something and use the proceeds on myself, but rather a spreading of a good message....


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Soon to be...... 32!

It is only a little more than a month to go before my 32nd birthday, and somehow I am thinking a lot about my wishlist. I have like tons and tons of things that I want, and I have put it all down at ListIdeas.com. Of course, I am not expecting anyone to give me stuff that I want on the list, but it is good to put down exactly what it is that you want (and really need). For example, wants and needs are very much similar when it comes to things like undergarments, shoes, clothes.... (you are welcome take a peek at my closet and find out how true this is!)

This will be another birthday that falls right smack in the middle of Ramadhan, but I guess having a small party with close friends are still possible. I definitely want a party :-) Why am I excited? No idea.

I guess when you put things down in a wishlist the more likely you will do things in your power in order for your wishes to materialise. Maybe not today, not even in a year's time... but it will soon come. And I look forward to it :)

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