Two Cents on Maryam Lee

On my Facebook I said I wasn’t going to give any Islamic liberal/feminism thingy any attention. I’m not smart, and as long as I try to be “smart” I will always try to argue between who’s right from wrong, what’s correct and inaccurate,…when all I am is nothing. I really am trying to spread more love than hate.

Being only human, tho, of course there’s something that ticks me about the hijab society.

On the internet it’s ‘hot’ news right now where girl called Maryam Lee decided to remove her hijab and used one ulama’s view on hijab as her reason. Her name sounds familiar

Dealing with Depression

I woke up thinking how much of a nobody I am. I have nothing to my name at all, and I stared at my reflection blinking, wondering if I’m going to change that at all. What do I want in this world? What do I want to do? Even at 24 with a book out, I still am clueless. Am I depressed? I don’t think so. It’s just that sometimes we have moments where we feel down, sometimes we feel up. I’m not a plateau. I am a vibrant, rhythamic wave of life (I hope). It’s okay.

The other day I randomly bought carpets to prepare for Ramadhan (terawih etc must be comfortable, you know), as our carpets have worn out, and then I went on restaurant hopping, pizza-delivery every other day, and even decided to just sit through a movie on my own (I don’t really watch movies). I think doing these made me wonder if there’s anything more I want to do with my life, I mean, apart from writing and writing. Do I want to ….settle?

Maybe it’s also because for the past few days I keep hearing about people about my age’s death. Oh well.

Here’s a random story:

I have a friend who’s divorced with a child. He’s been single for…four or five years? Maybe? I have no idea. His friend, who is much older, asked him how did he cope with divorce. He said he understood what his friend was feeling. That it really is a lonely process, where you come home, all those years expecting to find a wife in there, but you look around and find nobody. That was the side I’d never seen of him.

“Is it like the death of someone?” I asked.

Miss Fifi in Jakarta

Taking a break from my random experimental writing in Malay (because seriously, kepala sakit) and I came across some pictures of me in Jakarta.

I don’t like to sugarcoat things because people seem to think that travel = fun = happiness, but to me it’s travel = work = tired. That’s why I rarely share about where I am; don’t want people to misunderstand anything. I also get messages telling me “You travel so much!” and “You probably spent thousands a year on plane tickets.” and I shake my head.

Let’s clear the misunderstandings, shall we?

1) I only go to Indonesia “a lot” but then again it’s never for a holiday. I long to wake up to an ocean view and room service a masseuse and bathe in flower water too. Also I’ve yet to discover Europe but I think the place I’d like to visit is Jordan.

2) No, my boss paid for my flight.

So, why do I go to Jakarta fairly often?

It’s because I lead a semi-secret life called the

A Writer’s Journey – A Coincidental Meeting

Days before I went to the book festival, I decided to visit the local library at UTC Johor. I had admin work to do there and just decided to check out the library scene here. Back in Singapore I loved the library and would go literally every evening just to look at the books. If I knew I didn’t have time to read them I would still at least just want to look at the books. Or sit in between them. Some kind of a disease I have or something I’m not sure. Now with no libraries nearby me, I just go to bookstores to just look at books. When I think I can buy them, I’ll buy them. Otherwise just looking at books sends me some sort of a blissful feeling. There are books on my computer table. There are books on my side table. Books on my dressing table. Books in my bag. I used to have books in my toilet too. I just prefer my company to be books.

The library at UTC didn’t give me a sense of awe libraries in Singapore did. But comparing them would be comparing two separate governments. I guess the Malaysian government thought less of libraries than Singapore did, but oh well! I let my fingers run through the spine of the rarely-opened books, as if telling them, “Hey, mommy’s here,”. The books there were not bad, but I didn’t know where to start. The sailing of my fingers through the bookshelves stopped when I saw the name “MATLUTFI” on the cover. I opened it, read a couple of pages, and put it back. Nah, not for me. I can’t relate to these types of chatterings.

However, the book nearby Matlutfi’s caught my eye. Her name was Gina Yap Lai Yoong.

My Advice To Young People

Ha, ha ha, ha, ha, at the title.

I don’t believe in giving advice. I believe in anecdotes, though, to tell you a story about what happened to me when I was in a similar situation. Some might link that to advice, but to me I’m just sharing a story. It’s up to you how you want to take it.

But if there’s any “advice” I would give to “young” people, I do have one. It’s more of an encouragement than it is an advice, actually. And I shall begin with a story.

When I was 17, done with my secondary school, completely on my own, I was sent to a hill in California to learn about spirituality. I do know that I come from a line of mystics and spiritual people, but you know these kinds of things aren’t inherited by blood. Spiritual conscience is something you have to wake yourself up to do. I can’t rely on my dead ancestors to help me.

Please Breathe

This post was originally from my Facebook post, written on the bus on the way back home from Kuala Lumpur. I was there for my first Pesta Buku Antarabangsa (International Book Festival) as a writer with my own book. I haven’t written about that experience, maybe I should for documentation, but here’s a bit of it:

The second person in my life to get my book was a guy I had a teeny bit of crush on. I fall in love with everybody I meet, so it’s no big deal. I’m writing this because I wrote about the first and the third, and I guess seconds deserve a write-up about too. The first person had browsed my book and the third person came for me, but this second person had a face I couldn’t read when we saw each other’s face in the sea of strangers. I immediately guessed he had his guard up 100%, perhaps afraid of something I might do or say. I know a couple of guys who act this way around me, actually. I try to return their coolness with my own reservations, but try as I may I am me with anyone. I can’t act cool because I just am not cool.

So I felt bad when the book he wanted was out of stock and what he got instead was my book.