because love sucks.life's the pits.it is so wonderful that i couldn't ask for more than this.

47. Run Ina Run #shaperun2017

Posted in A Series of Misfortunate Events by justlikeasugar on August 13, 2017

When you only managed to squeeze in 2km-route training prior to a 10km run… balance 8km is survival, Dok.

The aftermath of aching joints and hips that feel like they will come out of their joint sockets feels all too familiar.

But then it is something I will do it all over again in a heartbeat.

One down.

One more to go before I hang up the running shoes for year 2017.

46. Google Doodle 11th of Aug

Posted in A Series of Misfortunate Events by justlikeasugar on August 11, 2017

Pic Credit: Google

Simply because this is too pretty to be sitting around, staring at me across my work desktop.

#googledoodle #howhiphopstarted #onthisdate

44. Festivities

Posted in A Series of Misfortunate Events by justlikeasugar on July 5, 2017

Maal Hijrah

Birthdays.

Anniversaries.

Eid Mubarak.

With the exception of Ramadhan; everything felt dull and lifeless after the passing of Mama.

With her passing; if feels like she does not only rip my heart, she also left a huge irreplaceable void.

I was not lying when I had told Encik that I wanted to die. While I had never experienced heartbreak over failed relationships; I could safely vouch no heartbreak could ever win the loss of your parents’.

Parents.

It is funny how they raise us to surpass in every aspect of theirs but they did not raise us to live without them when the Time comes.

I thought I could not move forward and this was it.

Or so it felt.

While the void remains irreplaceable; bit by bit, I pick up myself up and inch forward whenever self-realisation comes to me after fulfilling fardhu prayers.

It teaches me that wounds; even if it takes time to heal, eventually will recover. In time to come; one will barely notice the scar that remains after the wound is completely healed.

Piece by piece; remedy comes in different forms of love as they heal the soul:

It comes in the form of the Encik.

Of the Gublets.

Of my lovely girlfriends and the usual suspects.

Importantly; of the form of my family both biological and extended alike.

Verily; if you have Allah swt in your heart, how can you ever be lonely?

Masha’Allah

Even after all this time,

the Sun never says to the Earth,
‘You owe me.’

Look what happens with a love like that.
It lights the whole sky.

– Hafiz 
(Persian Poet)

43. Selvaganesh

Posted in A Series of Misfortunate Events by justlikeasugar on June 28, 2017

It was a rainy day and the public toilet was crowded.

It was my first run in since I left school and the Physical Education (PE) curriculum. I was forced to join the run; simply to get it over and done with.

That race always held a special meaning for me because it not only bring HS into my life; it also introduced you to my life.

Sadly; the promise to meet for a catch up session or running together for a marathon never come to fruition after we both left ST.

It was after HS’s text did I found out about your passing via Facebook.

Today; the marathon world lost one of its best runners it ever had.

Rest in peace, friend.

42. Sustenance

Posted in A Series of Misfortunate Events by justlikeasugar on June 27, 2017

===========================================================

From: The Recruiter
To: Mycallalillies
Date: Jun 27, 2017, 9:44 AM

Subject: Updates: Interview Feedback

Hello Mycallalillies,

Good day to you.

I am regret to inform you that the position has been closed. Thank you for your interest and time working with us on this search.

I would like to share the feedback from the hiring manager. It is very difficult for them to make decision. They have interview 3 person, including you.

Among this 3; 1 has been rejected and left you and the other candidate.

Overall; hiring manager has positive thoughts about you, mentioned you are humble and friendly. You are perfectly fit for this role.

Nothing negative comments about you. However, due to your 2 months’ notice period, they have chosen another candidate who can join them earlier.

At this moment, they will keep your profile as record, and should any suitable role arise in near future, they will like to touch base with you.

Thank you and I wish you success in your endeavours.

Let’s be in touch!

Best Regards,

The Recruiter

===========================================================

To be fair; prior to the interview, I immediately wrote off this job opportunity as another dud to kill any hopes of securing it.

I was still reeling from another rejection from previous callback and seeing my Jobstreet job applications’ status were almost immediately updated as “Not Suitable”. It had made me questioned my credibility as a company’s asset whenever that happened. From those self-doubts; two questions never fail to haunt me:  Am I past my peak? Am I fated to “die” in this company?

As days passed before the actual day; that tiny glimmer of hope sparked into a small flame before combusting into a full wildfire.

In spite of reaching uncharacteristically punctual for the interview; the moment I stepped into the office, I did not realise how badly I wanted to work there.

Sadly; just like the other two callbacks for this year, I was passed for the job opportunity all because I have to serve two months’ notice.

It does not matter if one have the work experiences and qualifications; it is all about the early bird catches the worm. Literally, of course. Because if it is all about really getting worms in real life, I will just give it a pass. Maybe, it is really just about being at the right time and at the right place ie Luck.

But at times like these; I just can’t believe my luck.

As Mimi-chan says; nothing like a death grip on an employee when she has to serve more than  a month’s resignation notice.

Why don’t you give one month’s notice?

For obvious reasons.

Don’t get it?

It is ok.

When you are already married with kids and bills to pay, please get back to me if you can afford to work for a company for a month’s worth for free in order to forfeit the balance second month.

Trust Abah; though, to put things into perspective when I was confiding to him about my disappointment:

Rizqi; if it is meant to be yours, it will still be yours regardless of how long it takes.
You should have faith in Allah swt for verily (ed: yes, he actually quote the word “verily”) He is the best Planner and only He knows what’s best for you.
So, Kak, do not worry so much. Importantly; do not chase after rizqi because it might not be meant for you after all.
Let rizqi comes to you at the right time and at the right place.

Mashaa’Allah.

A timely reminder and I calmed myself down after that.

Well, I was not proud of myself either.

I guess I have to wait until end of year before deciding what is my next course of action.

(Unless Mr Backpack gets prick of conscience and decide to recommend me to his company. Ha!)

‘Til then; I am keeping faith that when one door of opportunity closes, another door of better opportunity beckons waiting to be opened.

In shaa Allah.

images.png

 

 

-Surah Al-Ankabut, Verse 62

Comments Off on 42. Sustenance

41. Miss Kitty Skechers

Posted in A Series of Misfortunate Events by justlikeasugar on June 17, 2017

​Kitty Skechers: Salam gerls

I nak cakap but jgn shock ok

between us

KotakPermataHati: Yes?

Ada apa KS?

Mycallalillies: Yes dear..

Everything ok?

KS: I dun noe who to share onli u gerls doctor

KPH: Apa doa KS

KS: Doctor diagnose growth ony kidney cancer 90%

I don want my family know da banyak the go tru

Especially Princess having PSLE.

Just like that.

That feeling where it is like  you are being lifted 200-storey high building by a lifting crane sans safety gear and without any warning; the crane grab just release you to plunge to your end.

The bad part?

This is the second news about a loved’s one whose condition taking a turn for the worse. First was knowing Abah’s latest medical condition post-emergency surgery. And now; this.

The worst part?

It is not even middle part of the year, yet.

Ya Allah ya Rabb, please fulfill my wish of making through this year with my loved ones.

😦

40. The Name(sake) Game

Posted in A Series of Misfortunate Events by justlikeasugar on May 26, 2017

While I always love self-appointing myself as Mrs Takuya Kimura/Julian Farhat/Ville Vallo (Disclaimer: Well, it is the truth… except they don’t know it… yet) – purely to annoy the hell out of everyone; what remains one of my treasured possessions is my own name.

Ironically; I grew up feeling the opposite.

I was not sure how the dislike came about.

Maybe finding out my name does not mean anything in Islamic context upset me a great deal then.

KotakPermataHati: But my name does not have any meaning too.

Nyah, you have a cool short name; which means a gemstone. To a shallow ten-year old self of me; when you have a name that does not carry good nor bad meaning, it counts for something.

It does not help being surrounded by friends and relatives who have either a) one-word names with good meaning or b) two-word names with even better meaning.

When I was in Primary 6; most of my classmates have names with that begins with a “Nur” light or a “Siti” lady.

Most of my cousins’ names begin with a “Nur”, even TJ. Hell; even the meaning behind TJ’s name (Light of My Eye) kicks way better ass than mine. 

It made me wondered if there was a particular fad about naming your daughter a “Nur” or a “Siti” going on in the 80s’ and my parents might have missed the memo.

Or maybe because my name is subsceptible to name-calling. Most common one was buah kana. Worst one was a particular word that rhyme with a certain Hokkien expletive; thanks but no thanks but to short-tongued friends by no coincidence, all belongs to the majority race.

Countless of times; Mama would recount to me of the origin of my name. That it is a modified name from the combination of Abah’s name and Mama’s pet name.

Can you imagine if my name is Satina.

I can’t either.

Hence; the slight tweak though in all honesty; even Mama thought the alphabet h was a waste of space.

Serena, is mostly how they pronounce my name anyways.

However; another belying story behind my name is that the name was supposed to be something else.

My Obe proposed Nuraini surprise surprise while Mama was particularly keen on Nur Ashikin.

These two names were immediately canned by Abah. He stressed that a good name must be given; contradicting himself later when he gave TJ her name. The real reason he never concede to Mama’s request was because… Nur Ashikin was the name of his ex.

Oh… Macam gitu kah?..

Possibly; it is due to the fact I was always reminded that I frequently fell sick due to my name. The Muslim community believes in giving good affable names to your newborns for obvious reasons; the Malay community believes that sometimes a name is “heavy” for that baby to carry; hence they will give other names to counteract the effect.

While I am called Ina by everyone, I am known as Ani to my paternal side.

Both names reek old school too.

How do I counteract the situation?

By asking and when I say “asking”, I meant forcing friends to address me as Siti Musliha when I was a tween. Or Waqin, where I was a teen.

Friends; they actually concede to my request. Good, well-intentioned friends entertained me to such extent before they bakul me.

SH: Siti Musliha? I think your name suits you better.

This comes from someone whose name starts with Siti.

QB: Honestly; I prefer Ina to Waqin. Anytime of the day.

HS: Your name suits your strong personality.

The last one is, of course, one of the many gems from the sister itself:

TJ: Seriously, Kak. I can’t imagine if your name is not Sarinah. Other name does not suits you.

(Then came the punchline which double served as a TKO)

Bitchy name for a bitchy sister.

Haramjad sungguh.

By saying that not only did she reinforced the love-hate sisterhold we shared back then; she also reinforced one of the bad habits from our paternal gene of which when one family member was down, you showed love by kicking that person harder to the pedestal until that person realise there was no way that person go lower except to climb back up.

I did not know whether I should accept it as an insult. Or a compliment. But the silent grudge I held against my parents for giving that name continued until I came across an article when I was twenty-one years old.

By then; I already knew what my name meant in other languages. I reconciled with the fact that my name is their first and one of the best presents my parents gave and I should wear it proudly like a medal.

Before Encik; I had plans of adopting a child since I was nineteen as I did not see marriage on the cards due to then-career aspirations.

If it is a baby boy, I will name him Luqman (Wise), calling him Loki for short. If it is a girl; the name of my favourite grandmother, Habiba (Beloved) was a shoo-in; calling her Bib for short.

You know what they say about how things will never work out in one’s favour.

:/

When Encik happened; we came to a compromise when it came to naming the kids: he call the dibs on the name if it is a baby boy, and I, if it is a baby girl. It was an uneasy compromise on my part because if I gave birth to all sons, I would be biting my fingers in frustration. If I gave birth to all daughters, I would still bite my fingers in frustration because of the unreasonable guilt that Encik did not have a say in naming his kids.

At least if there is the other thing we agreed on is that we are both equally lazy enough to give only one-word names to the kids.

I was not even half into my first pregnancy that I realised this naming issue would be hard.

It is not only one of the parents’ prime responsibilities to their newborn child, it is something that is not to be treated with triviality.

The Holy Prophet has said:

“It is the responsibility of every father to choose a good name for his child.”1

“The children have three rights over their fathers. The first is that they are given good names. Secondly, they are provided good education; and lastly, they help them to select good spouses.”2

Encik is too well aware that I was only six months into my pregnancy that we finally gave a name to the Pahdawan.

Before; I had suggested Matin, Luqman, I remembered pushing for Syed. Just as quickly as Abah had canned the name Nur Ashikin; Encik had done the same, stating the names did not seem to gel.

On the other hand the name of a person has a lot of social significance too. It is his name, which gets recognition to a person that he belongs to a respectable family. If the parents have high regard for a well-known poet, they may name their child after him. If the parents are fond of high learning they may select the name of a reputed scholar.

The highly religious parents name their children after the prophets, the Imams and other religious personalities. If the parents desire their children to struggle in the cause of the faith, they name them after Muhammad, ‘Ali, Hasan, Husayn, Abul Fadhl, Abbas, Hamza, Jaffar, Abu Dharr, Ammar, Saeed etc.

The name came after the realisation that Pahdawan would stop kicking in my stomach whenever we switched on to listen to our favourite Qari’s recital. Of course; it is also done with the hopes of emulating the Qari’s good attributes and also; the other meanings of the name as well.

I thought Encik was being too fickle-minded for taking too long. It was not until I found out I was carrying a girl during my second pregnancy that I realised… It is that hard.

Initially; I wanted to stick to the name Habiba and be done with all the hassle.

However; as the pregnancy progresses, I seemed to detach farther from the name as various choices of names started shoving themselves in my face.

If the parents are enamored of any sport they like to name their children after renowned players of that sport. Similarly if the parents appreciate the art of any musician, they may prefer to name their child after that person.

It’s like chilli crab, medium-rare Angus steak, lamb chops, assam pedas sting-ray, spring chicken, Charcos ribs and your other favourite foods all spread out on the table but you have to choose one.

Humaira. Aaisya. Ayse. Inaya. Shereen.

I don’t really think much about flowers in general.

While I taken a shine to daisies or sunflowers (someone in Facebook pointed out those flowers are commonly used as wreaths in funerals), I never thought much about orchids either.

While they require little care and can grow anywhere; but caring for them is leceh, worse than when you are caring for other flowers. Plus the orchid is an unforgiving fragrant-less flower.

Surprisingly; the only time I took fancy to them and paid serious attention was when I was carrying Srikandi in my stomach.

The flowers seemed to be everywhere and in abundance, shoving their existence  to my face everywhere.

As wallpapers with variety of colours on few engineers’ desktops when I passed by their department.

When I passed by neighbourhood.

Or reading some magazines.

When I was watching Sepet re-runs. Or how the late Orkid Abdullah’s Penawar Rindu seemed to air more frequently of late.

Another name came to mind too when the name of the person whose smooth rendition of the Asmaul Husna always air on the mornings of FM 94.2 Warna radio station.

Ilma Plojovic.

Ilma vs Orked.

Knowledge vs Resilient Flower.

It was a tough fight but looking at the status quo; it was not easy coming to a decision.

Ilma was my initial choice.

Which parent does not want the best for their kids?

I want my kids to be smart; be it streets or books. I want my kids to grow up achieving their aspirations; both duniawi and ikhrawi. Parents spend their time – in my case; I spent the first three months eliminating many names and then next seven months tryin to decide I or O – poring over the names to give to their kids in the hopes of their kids emulating the virtues and goodness deriving from the names.

Realistically; growing up with my given name when my paternal family called me other name also made me realised I could not be ambitious either.

Ilma Abdul Malik.

It was unique as I had hoped for and a simple four-letter word name.

The knowledge of the servant of the King.

The meaning is great too.

But knowledge is a heavy word and I am very scared just like it happen with me; history will repeat itself.

When I decided to go with the other name; I chose it with the hope just as Srikandi emulating the resilience of the flower and the virtues of the Orkeds – fact & fiction (randomly… HIGHLIGHT’s title album) I have known.

All in all; from both kids, though at times, there are many “thunders and storms”, I get good temperament so far.

Eh… Only one word ah?

Yes.

One word names as we; the parents of the kids and not, promised.

No Muhammad?

Nope.

No Siti.

Nope.

Why Orked? Should be Anggerik.

You’d be surprised at some things people said, as though they are the ones who gave birth to your kids.

But I let it slide.

Names are the least concern to me by now. Responsibility as a parent does not stop after you give them their names. The next (and definitely the hardest one) is raising them up to be responsible, good individuals.

In shaa Allah.

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39. Dumb(…Not!) Ways To Die

Posted in A Series of Misfortunate Events by justlikeasugar on May 19, 2017

Just like any other public uproar; Singapore is slowly quietening herself down as normalcy resumes.

That is until the next furore is triggered.

Never had a Presidential dismissal for clemency petition spark so much controversy and bring about split opinions.

Or churn out obvious conspiracy theories.

Muhammad Ridzuan Md Ali – a drug trafficker – was executed by hanging at 5am this morning.

Full story here.

To me; witnessing people’s reactions evoke two strong emotions in me: disappointment and resolve.

Disappointed that some of my friends can be so judgemental.

He know it is an offence, but he choose to do it… It is his own undoing.

If he succeed in bringing in the stuffs; he is causing more addicts to breed.

The last one does not make sense to me.

Taking for example; JJ (no, not Joned Jellyfish) who is doing time in DRC; will be released but via tagging. He had written us a letter; explaining why he did it.

It was never for fun.

Recalling excerpts from Mr Russell Brand’s moving tribute to the late Amy Winehouse;

The priority of any addict is to anaesthetise the pain of living to ease the passage of the day with some purchased relief.

Having said that; I am also sure if given the chance no one wants to be a trafficker. 

We are what we are by circumstances and not by choices.

Like me being stuck in a Sales line. Then again; this is not about me.

It amuse me how forgetful some people that they have kids of their own to be condemning the late Mr Ridzuan’s parents for not taking Mr Ridzuan in hand until it is too late.

Ladies and gentlemen; he was twenty five when he was caught.

Twenty-five.

He is not five years old.

Or sixteen.

Or twenty-one; but twenty-five.

According to Islamic law; he is four years way past his parents’ obligations. He had the ability to think and differentiate the rights from the wrongs.

Two wrongs do not make a right.

Again; we do not do the actual story except what the social media dictates. Hell. We did not even hear his side of story.

So, who are we to condemn his parents?

It made me resolve to form a closer bond with the people around me; especially with my family of four and specially with the kids.

It never occurred to me that the gravest danger—to him and, as it turned out, to so many others—might come from within.
(Susan Klebold)

We want the best for our kids; so much so we grit our teeth to protect them from the world.

Often; we forget they need protecting from themselves the most.

I can only pray fervently that though things might get difficult but at least my kids trust me enough to approach me with the problems they are facing in future.

So no; I do not get the condemning part.

Hate the sin, not the sinner…

… Although; it is a different story if the sin is adultery.

(WHY DO I FEEL LIKE I AM PUTTING MY FOOT IN MY MOUTH BY SAYING THAT? HA!)

I was affected in a way I could never imagined; the late Ridzuan might have been someone I have worked with in my teens.

His face upon further scrutiny was faintly familiar. Lately, I found myself wondering what happened to my former LJS colleagues

I found myself praying hard that my Ridzuan and the late Ridzuan were not the same person. I am fervently praying that my Ridzuan has successfully become a skateboarder; just like he aspired to.

Back to the late Ridzuan; asides from the possibility I might be affliated to him in the past, I could not help feeling envy at his demise.

We all know nothing is constant except Death, and Death, itself, is a certainty.

We just do not know when Death beckons when our time is up. It is something which I find myself questioning.

Do not get me wrong.

I am not afraid of Death.

To quote Dumbledore;

“After all, to the well organized mind, death is but the next great adventure.”

But if I want to go for my next great adventure; I have to make sure I am spiritually ready for it.

I worry if I am performing my prayers properly and if so; are my prayers being accepted by Allah swt.

I worry if I am able to repent in time and seek forgiveness from everyone.

I worry if I have taught my kids enough and leaving independent and wise intellects; both spiritually and mentally.

From hearsay; the late Ridzuan spent six years repenting spiritually, even managing to perform solat Taubat Nasuha  in his last few hours.

Masha’Allah.

How many of us are actually given the luxury to know when we will go? And to be given time to be mentally and spiritually prepared in the face of Death.

Not many, I would say.

Both my maternal grandmother and Mama got their wish of not wanting to burden their loved ones’ during their last breath.

If I have to go; I want to choose easiest way where I don’t cause inconvenience to my loved ones.

At their passings; both did not have to undergo post-mortem.

I want to die doing the things I love.

For some friends; they prefer to die in their sleep.

A handful; on the road since they are hardcore riders.

Some do not have a preference; with one only saying as long as she has the time to recant the syahadah.

For me; if given a choice, I will want to take a leaf out of the late Qari Sheikh Ja’far Abdulrahman’s book, and go while reading the Quran, not neccessarily in front of many people though.

In my opinion; nothing is beautiful than being send of while your whole being is immersed with the words of Al-Quran.

In shaa Allah.

For we only plan; and He decides.

38. Booster

Posted in A Series of Misfortunate Events by justlikeasugar on May 10, 2017

For those times where I felt like dropping everything, packed my bags and buy one-way non-return ticket;

For those times where I wish I have a remote control where I can mute or pause or fast-forward their tantrums;

For those times where I found myself questioning if I am really cut out for parenthood;

Or that I should be given the responsibility to care for two kids.

For those times I found myself asking if I am doing the right thing as a mother.

As one of my heroes say:

… they (the children) not liking you is not terminal. It’s not going to last forever.

– Kristina Kuzmic

A little pat on my back and wishing myself a Happy Mothers’ Day and subtle flip to my hair to rediscovering me after the past critical four years.

37. A Chance

Posted in A Series of Misfortunate Events by justlikeasugar on May 1, 2017

A non-existent but wise man once said this:

Make your passion your profession, and work will become a game.

It is about making a living out of your passion; so that work becomes a game that excites and motivates you instead of turning into a routine that wears you down.

No other sister in this world is happier than me or TJ when Gendut finally secure a proper job. While this means TJ can now relax and have the luxury of entertaining the option of storming off from her workplace in fits of anger since there is another source of contribution to the household (does not involve mine of course); it is a bittersweet reflection on my part.

Gendut – in my opinion –  has always been an introvert; the quieter one among my siblings. In spite so; he is able to hold a conversation with any stranger; albeit if being approached. 

I could never forget the day I found him staring hard at a piece of paper. I swore if he stared any harder; the paper would have burst into flames. Turned out he was practising all the possible convos that might occur with the KFC operator when he wanted to order. (Ie. He lost to scissors-paper-stone and was made to do the ordering the first time).

That is how a unique character of my second sibling aka the third child of our family is.

While I am happy that he found a job where he can utilise his knowledge and his degree, I am not surprised that he chose to study and major in a line that involves minimal human interaction ie electrical engineering.

I’d be lying if I didn’t feel jealous that he found a job that suits his passion. How many people I knew had turned their passion into work?

Encik.

Gendut.

One or two cousins. Or friends. Or even acquaintances.

While I get what Mr Rancho is trying to putacross; in reality,  most people – including yours truly have difficulty pursuing our respective trade of interests.

Just to name one or two examples:

  • TJ – A Diploma holder in Biochemical Engineering and major in Material Engineering during her NUS stint. Of course; she had intended to pursue what she had learnt.

However; the past few jobs she held specialises more to childcare and special needs childcare.

  • Me; how does someone who holds an Manufacturing Engineering ITC certificate ends up doing Sales; even in the interim of a Diploma in Logistics Management.

To my credit, it is not as if I have not tried applying for another position before; all callbacks lead back to the same line; regardless of industry: Sales.

In the end; it all boils down to two words: a chance.

If Burger Pimp had not taken a blind leap of faith by hiring me, I wonder if I continue flitting from one place to another; all within the F&B industry.

The answer will be an astounding yes and I will have hated office jobs basing on my shipyard work experience alone.

At the oddest times of the days; I wondered how my life would have turned out if:

  • I passed and got selected as Combat Engineer in the SAF or
  • I defy Mama to pursue engineering with SIA.
  • Even better; I scored enough credits for my ‘O’s to study Hotel Management (initial dream was to work at Abah’s alma mater; Hilton Hotel)
  • Or write and publish short stories as a ghost writer

Turning 35 years old in few months’ time; I guess I will never know.

Life is too short for regrets too.

However; I will not say I am at a sad place either.

When one door closes, another one opens.

For those times when things did not work in my favour; an alternate choice led me to a different path where it made me realise that the road less taken was well worth it too.

You know; all those movies or dramas about how the main protagonist fall from grace only to rise to glory and soar high?

What these screens did not highlight is Luck. Preferably; with heaps of blinding leap of faith.

Still; what reel and real life have in common boils down to these two words: a chance.