Category: Through my eyes

Am I Enough.

1-isiwubmiw-kimon-maritz

i.

The night before 2017
I sat with myself
As I
always have,
and I listened to the whispers of the world.

‘You are tall’ said the sky.
‘And you are strong’ said the Earth.

I nodded;
As I stood in Eiffel’s shadow,
my legs shivering in the cold.

‘You are significant’ said the mountains.
‘You are embraced’ said the seas.

I nodded;
As water slips through my cupped hands,
my lungs on fire.

‘I am enough’ I said

But I am not.
I am not.


ii.

There is nothing to see
There is nothing to fight
But it is there


iii.

It comes in gasps
Quick.
Sharp.
Like you’re
drowning-
on land.

It comes as thunder
In your chest
Telling you to
Run
Run
but where
how-
do I run from death?

It comes invisible
Invincible.

How do I fight an enemy I do not know?


iv.

They say sleep is a form of death
A sweet, short version
of what we must all
someday
face

I know what you are

fiend

You are-
Insecurity. Fear. Longing. Envy.
Sadness. Pain. Contempt.
Anger. Confusion.

You are-

Loneliness.
Disguised as a thousand shades of emotions.

The calls that never come
The hollow cheerfulness
The absence that is not felt
That one small person in the vastness of a sleepless city

I know what you are

So I’ll keep you in a box.

Shh
Be quiet

I am tired of screaming without words
my demons
are beyond comprehension
anyway.

Of Creating and Creation

Photo Challenge – Of Creating and Creation – Relax

 

 

Making crafts has always been my hobby. I’ve made all sorts of stuff ever since I was small, from crude cat-shaped piggybanks to hand-bound notebooks. I can’t pinpoint it exactly but perhaps it’s the satisfaction that I enjoy. How seemingly meaningless everyday items laying around can be given new purpose and a new form. Perhaps it’s also the way it lets me use my fingers: to twist, to pinch, to pull. When I’m creating something, the rest of the world fades away, even the music I was listening to, and all that’s left is an artist and her imagination. A reprieve from a noisy mind.

Two years ago, at the end of a 5-year struggle to finish high school, I found myself with a lot of time and inspiration. The Japanese culture has always intrigued me- its subtleties and folklore and the way they live. I was especially enamoured with their kimono, and soon my attention turned to Geisha and Maiko and the pretty flower ornaments they wear in their hair, called kanzashi.

kanzashi-february
Source: japanpowered.com

 

I got my hands on some beautiful Japanese fabric and that’s when the magic started. For weeks on end, I sat at the living room table, piecing together small fabric petals and bending wire to my will. When one method failed me, I tried another. Different fabrics. Different glue. Different colours. All while staying true to the end result that I had pictured in my mind.

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Crafting is still a source of pleasure for me, a relaxing activity that allows me to escape my noisy mind. Although now, I’ve grown and my crafts have too. Now, instead of keeping them to myself, I make them with the purpose of helping others. For the first time ever, I’m joining a charity effort organised by The Kalsom Movement called Talent For Charity !

I’ve thought this over many times- reasoning with myself that the stuff I make are pretty amazing no matter what anyone says, telling myself to get over the fear of putting myself out there again. Stepping to the front lets the whole world see you, makes you feel vulnerable to the scrutiny and opinions of other people. It’s scary, but it’s also high time I start learning that I’ve got to start if I want to get anywhere. And it doesn’t matter where my starting point is: small or big, what matters is how I persevere on.

So if you’re in London tomorrow (3rd December 2016), please do drop by the Malaysian Hall at Queensborough Terrace (Queensway or Bayswater station) and support us! I’ll be there with other volunteers with stalls and workshops that showcase our talents, all to help tackle education inequality in Malaysia! See you there~

A full list of items on sale could be found here ! 🙂

All of them are always available, and I also ship overseas (shipping charges apply)

ONLINE SHOPLittleMissMewMew

charity-sale-and-business-card

 

 

Holding hands and mean old ladies

Daily Prompt: Flames

A funny little thing happened to me yesterday.

I was out with a friend on a Friday night. It’s slowly becoming a thing that we always do once the weekend starts: find a place to go to enjoy the sights of this enormous city that is London. The view is drastically different than what we see during the day.

At night, the lights turn on and as we stood on the viewing balcony at Tate Modern, the vastness of this city hits us. Was Kuala Lumpur ever like this? Here, there were lights as far as I could see, and above us the sky looked like time stood still at a never-ending dusk. I remembered thinking to myself- “How pretty.”

Every person crossing the Millennium Bridge in the distance, has their own troubles and joys. Each monument, like St. Paul’s Cathedral across the river, has its own tale to tell. I wondered how different this city would have looked like a hundred years ago, a thousand years ago. Were the worries of the people of those times different, or the same? Wouldn’t a mother still worry for the safety of her child, a beggar still worry about tomorrow, a merchant still count their riches, regardless of which age they were born in?

That train of thought was quickly discarded in favour of amusing my friend as we looked at the galleries within Tate Modern’s halls. We were two girls looking for a night thrill. For some time, we pretended to be art critics, discussing the emotions that each painting brought out in us, awed at the more interactive exhibits and laughed when the figures truly didn’t make sense to us. A more artistic soul would probably appreciate Tate Modern’s art, perhaps. I wished I did. But maybe art ages like fine wine, too. And that’s why people flock to see the paintings that held little value to me.

We continued our trip across the Thames.

It was cold, and we held hands. My fingers intertwined with hers.

“Pink Panther!” a woman called out.

I looked back, but didn’t stop walking. True, I was wearing a bright pink fluffy hat/scarf/hand warmers that I had picked up a few years ago from Disney SEA and thought it would be a great idea to wear it that night. The woman was old, bent, and she seemed to have trouble walking but that was none of my business.

As cold as it sounds, I have learned not to be too sympathetic to random strangers in London. It has only ever brought me trouble.

We turned away and continued our walk.

“Or are you a gay panther?” she continued, followed by a mean cackle.

Her words baffled me. I blinked at my friend and she blinked back. How in the world did this woman come to that conclusion? We were two Malaysian girls, simply holding hands as we walked across the street. Hardly anything could be assumed from that besides that we are obviously friends.

Except that we were in London.

The thought had slipped my mind. That affection, in the western world, is quickly assumed to be of the romantic sort. Something done by a couple. And oftentimes, not welcome when it is done by two people of the same gender. It made me ponder on how starved for affection their youth must be, if every touch is frowned upon, every hug is assumed to have a hidden meaning. It puzzles me further, because as far as I am aware, western culture also involves men and women kissing goodbye. If a kiss can be seen as platonic, then why not holding hands?

I’ve been to many countries and it seems like I bump into mean, old ladies everywhere. Russia, Japan, Malaysia, you name it.

Middle aged people with a skewed view of the world.

How funny it is, that it is the youth who are more tolerant and more accepting of different cultures and different perspectives. But the people who raised them have such small hearts, and fan the flames of hate.

When our milkshakes and chicken wings arrived at our table in a cozy restaurant called Tinseltown, I had put the baffling event firmly behind me. So what if I meet a mean lady or two, I’ve given up holding a grudge against people I can’t change and things that can’t be moved. The Earth will keep moving, and the Sun will rise, the day will pass and one day, she will, too. And then, that’s one less hateful person in the world.

 

 

Eid al-Fitr! 

Celebrating Eid in our Subang Jaya home this year

 

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri!
Or Eid Mubarak, whichever you prefer, as we celebrate victory over out nafs (self and inner worldly desires) after a whole month of fasting in the holy month of Ramadhan. (Okay so Eid was actually on Wednesday hahah but better late than never!)

 

Malaysians usually just call Eid as Hari Raya (lit. Great Day). We’d cook up a feast with lemang and rendang being the main dishes and visit relatives and friends throughout the month. This is the time when you’ll be seeing a lot of open houses and lots and lots of Malaysian traditional food and kuih.

 

From left: Mom’s Chicken Rendang, Rendang Tok, Peanut Sauce
From left: Modern Ketupat, Lemang

 

 

I’ll tell you upfront that one of my all time favourite food is lemang and it’s a rarity on other days of the year so it’s a double treat for me, especially. Last year, my family celebrated Hari Raya in Penang so the meal and setting was grander but really, it’s the people whom you spend the day with that counts, right?

 

 

I didn’t get to take pictures because everyone was so busy but the first day of Eid usually goes like this for my family:

Quick breakfast of lemang and rendang

Eid congregational prayers at the Mosque

More breakfast with more food and kuih

Family session where pictures are taken and everyone apologises to each other for past transgressions and hurt feelings. Also, the duit raya session where kids get money from elders in a small packet.

Relatives start arriving / Visit the houses of relatives and friends

I went to at least five different houses on the first day alone and ate so much, I think I need to work out the extra calories soon. But it’s good. To be able to reconnect with my cousins and update each other with what’s happening in our lives-it’s not everyday we get to do that.

 

The next few days were spent travelling to my father’s hometown (Batu Pahat, Johor) and visiting his uncles and aunts and before today, I never really realised of how much knowledge and history they have known and lived through. It’s amazing.

 

The traffic on the highway was terrible, so dad decided to take a detour through some villages. To be honest, I have never actually cared about kampungs but the scene as we drove through the place was new to me. (I grew up in the city and then, in a modern town) I noticed that sometimes there’ll be a shallow moat or trench around the houses. In Johor, that’s how people used to mark the perimeter of their lands. It’s called parit in Malay. A lot of the villages have the word parit attached to them, like Parit Sulong for example. The road was narrow so dad couldn’t drive very fast and we got to see how a Malay kampung house looks like nowadays. I posted the video on my tumblr page so just click on the link below if you want to see it.

Watch the view from my window

 

I have a lot of pictures but I’ll need to sort through them first before I can begin posting. And I’ll also be writing another short story about my experiences from this year’s celebration~ For the meantime, Selamat Hari Raya!!

This year’s theme is purple songket kebaya!

 


Glossary:

Kuih – Malay sweet cakes and cookies, very yummy!

Duit Raya – Similar to Ang Pao given by the Chinese. However, duit raya is more thought of as a charity given to children now. Some earlier practices were to give money based on successful completed fasts carried out by the children as a way to encourage them to fast.

Kampung – Malay village/hometown

Parit – shallow trench/waterway

Just a comma

  
I’ve walked down this path a thousand times these past two years.

Today was my last one.

And as I did, I thought it was funny how life starts to hand you things once you stop looking for them. Like that important item you misplaced a month ago and you now find under your pillow after all this time. Like- friends.

I admit, I was perfectly happy living in my corner of the forest. It was small, yes, but it was safe. After years of anguish and strained friendships, one would feel that friends are not necessity. That it’s hard trying to fit in- to always want to please people, to always need to pretend to be someone you’re not. It would be understandable if one stopped trying. I did, when I started college.

Maybe it was luck. Maybe God felt I had suffered enough. But that small path led someone into my small corner, and straight into my heart. 

I’ve put up walls, I swear I did. But they might as well have been made of paper because really, when I saw her at my doorstep one night, along with two other people I barely knew and let them in, hah they marched right into my chalet and my heart, and made a home out of nothing.

It was disarming.

It was confusing.

But it wasn’t invasive. Because I let them in.

I let them in and they stayed. 

They sat with me for a long time, in my corner of the world. They didn’t rush me, didn’t tell me to hurry up and be brave. Just sat with me, enjoying meaningless conversations and evening tea. They waited, and then when I trusted them enough, they pulled me out into a bigger world.

I barely knew them. They barely knew me. And yet, they wanted to explore a new world together.

I never knew a world could be so bright, so colourful, so full of joy and happiness that it’s bursting at its seams.

I never stopped being grateful.

Now, at the end of the path. I think.. I think God wanted me to learn the way they loved-wholly, selflessly, sincerely with no regrets. To show me how endless is our capacity for love, if only we knew how to do it right. I was at the receiving end so that I could learn how to give. 

Today, I’ve completed my pre-university studies. Today, I took my last walk down that path. When at the beginning, I had walked alone; now my hands are full. With laughter and joy and unrestrained happiness. My hands are full because now I have friends holding them as tightly as I hold theirs.

Thank you for the light you’ve all brought into my life. I’ve laughed more in the past two years than I have for the five years before that.

I cherish all of you. With all my heart.

Domestic 

I don’t see myself as a domestic person. Sure, I’ll do my own laundry, I’ll make my own food if I have to. But sharing living space with other people takes a lot out of me. As much as I enjoy being around people, I still find comfort in retreating to a space that’s wholly for me at the end of the day. 

And yet, here I am.

The evening sun in my face, air conditioner on full blast, sandwiched between two other bodies with our legs entangled and heads together. Everyone’s doing their own thing (sleeping, reading, watching a show), silently, enjoying the last moments of each other’s company. It feels so surreal. How I am so at ease with these people, how they make me feel like I can do anything- and I’d do anything for them, too.

I spent the night at their apartment. Two nights. We pulled two mattresses off the beds and arranged them in the common room. And while once I might have balked over sharing sleeping space with someone else, I found a new comfort in it now. It feels good to have a heavy arm slung around your waist, to be pulled close, to hear sleepy chuckles when you try to wake them up. All of this. It’s new to me.

I have never thought I’d be able to have something like this in my life. And now that I’ve tasted what it’s like, I’m grateful. These people, they make me a better person. Less angry. More filled with love and joy.  And I cherish them with all my heart and soul.