Valentine’s Day Confessions

I don’t remember the first time I liked a boy, but I remember the first time a boy liked me.

He was my classmate in my last year of primary school. Everyone knew but me. I was the only one left clueless, and when I found out, revolted.

When asked why, from friends, he said it was because I was “smart and pretty.”

Thanks to him, my self-confidence actually heightened. I entered secondary school where another guy from another class liked me. It was a fun texting-only puppy love friendship where we talked about songs and life, and I was mad at him for skipping assembly and he told me it was cute. I asked him why he liked me. “Your smile,” he said. “Not my eyes?” I asked. “Yes your eyes, but your smile lights up the room.”


Hung out with someone I might be doing business with. Last year we were in a regional group discussion to empower our youths and had a good first session. I was the only token Malay girl, three Malay guys and one Indian guy. The other 7 were Chinese. The leader was a Chinese guy, the co-leader a Malay.

I grew up in Singapore, and in school I was the only Malay girl in class too. Nothing new. When I was in America my roommates were Mexican and the other a white-married-Iranian lady. So what is race? Nothing! To me, at least.

When I learnt about racial segregation my head thinks “Old people and their old ways. Us young, global-minded people will change that.” I’m so optimistic about that. We’ve travelled the world! One colour is not better than the other! Right?

Until I’m not included in the follow-up of this regional, youth empowering group, I asked why. I know I gave good input, because the Indian guy exclaimed “Here we are looking for answers when you know about them!” and another Chinese participant approached me and said “I want to invite you to our event. I WILL call you.”

The co-leader explained that it’s actually a race thing, why I was left out. That the leader was only interested in building ‘his race’. Even the token Malay guys were left out even though we were supposed to be a team.

“Your mind is different, it’s great, but some people can’t take it,” said the co-leader, who invited me to join the discussion in the first place because he knew I could offer something else.

I see. Oh well, I told myself. I don’t know the full truth anyway. It’s all right.


I really do not know anything about my race’s culture because I really do not think it’s something I care about. I was at Old Town White Coffee and the server gave me chopsticks to eat my noodles with. I then realised that while I knew how to use these, do they know how to use hands to eat? I know how to use a fork and a spoon too. Do YOU KNOW HOW TO USE YOUR HANDS TO EAT?

I finally see what people are fighting for. Race superiority. Undying. Continuous living. Culture. Forever.

But it makes no sense. It really is not something I can digest. It’s not like a blade cuts different skin colour differently.

Am I supposed to wait for my children’s generation to see people realise that no race is better than the other? My child is a Persian yet he befriends the kucing kampungs no problem. Oh come on, I thought y’all have degrees and Master’s Degrees and some going to PhD and becoming doctors, wanderlust, travellers, influencers, you guys are better than this!

Oh well.

I did not go to Manila to watch a concert

It must’ve been a surprise for people who just knew me recently that I would fly across the South China Sea to watch a concert. Especially when I’m now ‘known’ as somebody who wrote about Sufism in her book. Those who had known me for a while might be surprised too, thinking “she’s not over him.”

I’ve also read about people judging Muslimahs in hijab acting non-Islamically at concerts, so I had that as a priority. I was an obvious Muslimah who was wearing her religion on her head, in a country where a province was just liberated from terrorists the day I arrived. That was first in my mind, that I acted according to my beliefs.

It wasn’t difficult. I just had to be me. Who I am is in line with my beliefs, and David Archuleta plays a big part in that. He’s not Muslim, yet he radiates light. He’s not Muslim, yet in his speech and mannerisms, he’s more Muslim than the Muslim boys I’ve met. That’s when I realised that it’s not your religion, or how much you know about your religion that makes you a good person. It’s when you know who you are, that whatever you do, the rocky boat shakes you, you come back to who you are. I supported him for that, and I still do.

By the way, Sufism is the mystical, spiritual part of Islam. Sufis are not concerned with the outer aspects of the religion, but on the relationship with The Source. They work on the inside-out.

No longer do I have huge pictures of him on my wall, neither do I know about all of his new songs. I was obsessed as a teenager, but I find it impossible to be crazy for him now I’ve earned a real, deep, respect for who he is as a person. I still have a crush on him, but who wouldn’t? He’s such a wholesome, great guy.

If I had gone to Manila to watch a concert, I would have bought front row. I know you know I know I can. In fact, a TV producer told me “I would’ve given you front row concert tickets if I knew you were up there all alone!” How the heck did I know a TV producer in a foreign country, whereas in my own country I don’t follow anything on TV? I have no idea. Just going with the flow.

I did not go to Manila to watch a concert. I went to experience this light everybody has, but keeps it hidden in their own shadows. David’s light has dimmed and shined over the years I saw him, but this time he was illuminating.

Open your windows, let the air in, and you will shine as well.

“If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?” – Rumi

When Fifi Said Yes

Fifi walked down the stretch of benches which felt like a mile long. She’s in Indonesia, not really sure how long a mile was but it felt forever. Her hands she held out to greet the “seniors”, some of which greeted her with a warm welcome, most lukewarm, and there were a couple who shook her hand with obvious dismay in their eyes.

She didn’t want to think about it. Before she got there she heard many tales about vicious seniors spitting venom to cripple you but let you live enough to tell the tale. It was Scouts Day – everyone dressed in brown and she made it a point to dress in white. Why would she want to dress like everyone else? Fifi scanned the row of males to look for any comforting familiar faces. Males were always nicer to her than females were, and she had become acquainted with four of them months before her arrival.

A seated tall, smart-looking stranger caught her eye as hers caught his. He gave her a broad pleasant smile and she sat at the only empty seat in front of him. She heard him nudge the man next to her and then she knew, he was under this witch’s spell.

Washing My Toilet

I was invited to go to Indonesia for a month. At first I was hesitant, despite it being an all-expenses paid trip. I didn’t really want to be apart from my new bed and I didn’t want to be away from my cats!

“What does it take for you to come here? The principal requested you to come.”

Now, this is going to sound like I’m a super spoilt person, but….maybe I am.

“Pillows. Comfort,” I replied.

What About Other People

In a discussion with a client, I felt the atmosphere change. She wanted our prices down while that was the best price we could give. I was the one sourcing information and costs, therefore I know that the price they wanted to pay was not necessarily the price of what they want to get.

I wasn’t stressed or anything, just a bit irked. Can’t she see that she was being unreasonable? I wanted to even tell her that she should try to go to other places to see if she could get the same price. Of course I didn’t, but I wanted to. I just kept shaking my head, a “No”, and she kept on trying and trying to get me to agree with her price (30% off my already slashed prices).

Then her boss came into the meeting and she brought it up to the boss. I shook my head again at the boss. He agreed with me that my price was already okay and the lady did not bring up the matter of lowering costs again. All done. I knew I didn’t need to worry about prices anymore.

What happened next was when I met a colleague, I started to rant about this lady. I told her about how people are just being unreasonable blah blah blah. That colleague told me “This is why I don’t want to work with them.” And I sighed and agreed, as if the situation wasn’t favourable to me at all.

Back at home I started feel terrible about myself. Did I need to rant about that lady? You see, in the end, because I was “right”, “justice” had “prevailed” because the boss agreed with me. Which means I really didn’t have any more problems. But WHY was I still carrying the thought about our little subtle argument all the way to my friend? Now, this wouldn’t be about that lady anymore. It is about me.

What I should have done was instead to focus on a solution. In my situation, there was none because things already went “my way”. So, why the need to still talk about the initial problem?

I think what happened was I just needed to feed my ego that wants to be acknowledged to be right. I wanted to feel that that woman was wrong and I was right so I needed validation to tell everyone about that. Which is not at all necessary.

And today it’s two weeks since I wrote the words above. I don’t remember anything anymore. I forgot to post it actually. We’re doing okay. Thanks for asking. (Published: 2 Sept 2017. Written: 18 Aug 2017)


What Better Story Than Love Story

Recently I posted on Facebook about some guy I met in KL. It has a sarcastic humour in it and I’m not sure who “got” it, but for sure I don’t post things that are meant to be romantic. Anyway since I am not popular in the first place, I only got about 45 likes which is nine times more than my average. That’s cool, it means that all these while my posts have access to these people in the first place (I unfollow people whose posts I don’t care about).

Then when I started posting my ideas/sharing my ideas, my posts go back to less than five likes. Now, I’m not posting for the likes. I am simply trying to monitor what kind of content people are interested in, what appeals to people.

So I concluded that: people like to read stories about other people, so I need to find a way to link my ideas to real life occurrences.

And what better story than my ‘love’ story? People are always interested in romance, especially about other people. I think I’m going to update my Facebook status about that guy and watch the responses. I’m going to end it.

Common People

A new grocery store is opening in my neighbourhood and from the looks of it, I know I’m going to love it. Its exterior is like a western organic store and I think I’m looking forward to less driving to Tesco for fish and AEON for chicken. And I hope they keep up with their appearances, no flies et cetera.

I hadn’t been writing anything at all these days. One project I’ve abandoned because I just don’t feel like writing it anymore. I don’t see enough message in it, or my message (in me) through that story is not strong enough, …and I had forgotten what the story was about anyway. Ah, now I remember. It was about revenge, but never mind.

So I thought to myself: maybe I should get a job at that grocery store! Many years ago I wanted to try to be a public cleaner but that didn’t work out, maybe this would be great! I thought of me going for a job interview, being one with no paper qualification, but play a girl who speaks no English and has never gone anywhere but here. I would be occasionally mopping the floors and weighing taugeh and if they trust me maybe I’ll be a cashier.

Yes! I was excited over this thought and I wanted to make it happen. I contacted the HQ of the grocery store and asked whom I should contact for job openings. They responded with a number. BRACE YO’SELF FOR A KAMPUNG GIRL EXPERIENCE, FIFI!

Telling The Truth

In my book A Nobody’s Observations I wrote about how Telling The Truth can set me free. So for a while, I’ve been trying to be as truthful as possible. I believe that truth can be delivered with compassion no matter how painful it seems.

But what happens when I’m not being told the truth? When someone was not being honest to me?

I understand that everybody has their own version of the truth, but to take the truth and to sugarcoat it, then dip it in honey, wrap it in shiny paper and wear it on your sleeves feels not quite right. Being only human, I felt betrayed because the person felt I was unworthy of the truth, and that his level of respect for me was close to nothing in the first place. When you respect someone, you strive to be as honest as you can. When you don’t respect, you try to find ways to make yourself look good, or you don’t want me to feel bad, when it would have been more compassionate to just tell me the truth.

So I took these feelings

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