Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Another character building episode...

Yahoo! I've finished my exams and my last lab report (and probably did a crappy job of it), so now I only have one more semester to freedom from Monash! Yay! I actually am looking forward to start working, even though everyone tells me it's more stressful and a dog-eat-dog environment....not looking forward to that, but more to the ability to earn my own moolah and be a bit more self-dependant....and also because I've spent the last 16 years of my life doing nothing but learning and studying, and I just need a change of environment. My main problem though, is deciding what exactly to work in....but that's a dilemma for another blog post. Today I have other matters pressing on my mind that I feel like blabbering about.
Been going through yet another one of those character building episodes of my life. Except this one is a much longer one than my "You pretty, I pretty" scary experience. It's been nothing but tough taking over one of my instructor's taekwondo classes since the beginning of this year. He's has more than a decade of experience teaching, and he teaches good. Whereas, for me even though I'd been assisting my instructor for years, I've only just begun to learn how to teach and lead an ENTIRE class. It's been tough coz' before this, I was familiar mostly only with the white belt taekwondo syllabus (I always got stuck with the whities coz' few other black belts have the patience to teach them. :P). Now I have to know the syllabus for ALL the belts inside out, which includes ten different belt levels, in order for me to teach it to the kids. And I have to think of creative and fun exercises for the kids. And I have to separate them according to their abilities and teach them different things or else the younger kids won't be able to catch up if I teach too advanced stuff, while the seniors will be bored if I teach the simple stuff. And I have to do all the administrative stuff. And I have to deal with the student's parents, most of whom are nice and reasonable, while others are just a big headache with their complaining. It's tough.
I know my instructor picked me to take over one of his classes coz' I've shown myself to be very capable as his assistant. I know I am responsible, willing to follow instructions,
and I taught the students really well as his assistant....which is not to boast, but I know that's how it is. But since I took over the class, parents have been doing a quite a bit of complaining about me to my instructor. In a way, their complaints are justified coz' when it comes to teaching an entire class of students of varying belt levels, I don't teach as well as my instructor and I know I've made a heap of mistakes, teaching things that were not appropriate for their abilities, not teaching them the whole syllabus in time for the grading test, sometimes even forgetting the syllabus. Before this, I could rely on my instructor to ask questions if I needed help. Now I have to rely solely on myself, and I've been making so many mistakes. It's been demoralizing, knowing I haven't been doing a very good job so far in running this class, and the parents complain a lot. Many times I've been tempted to just throw my hands up and tell my instructor I don't think I'm the best one to take over his class. But I've continued to stick to it and try not to be discouraged, coz' when I thought about it, I realised that leaders will always be criticised, and people tend to like to complain. And if I really want to learn to be a good leader, not just in taekwondo but in anything else in my life, I can't allow the criticism to bring me down so much that I just give up trying. I don't want to be a giver upper. I want to be someone who is able to take criticism, learn from it, but not be demoralized by it. I mean, if over more time, I still don't see my teaching improving much, then I'll know I'm really not the best for the job and I'll give it up. But now, I know my mistakes have been mostly due to lack of experience in leading a whole class on my own...and I need to give myself a chance to get more experience so I can be as good as my instructor one day. Fortunately, my instructor supports me all the way, and he always tells the complaining parents to give me a chance, or else no one will ever be able to take over from him in the coming years.
As if those problems weren't enough, another problem has cropped up recently that has been bugging me quite a bit. I had a misunderstanding with one of my assistants, who says in class sometimes I scold her or the other assistants, or refuse to take their suggestions in class even though what I do in class isn't very good. Her problem with me started two classes ago, when I had to be at the junior class late to do something, so I told her and another assistant to start the class first. When I got there, 20 minutes late, I found a bunch of students just milling around and couldn't find my assistants until a student showed me where they were.... sitting down somewhere and eating. Of course, I went up to them, asked them what the heck was going on and why they didn't start the class. And then I told them to come quick to get the class started. Obviously, I would've sounded annoyed, but to my assistant, it sounded like I was scolding the two of them, and it pissed her off. So she told me off after the class, saying that she didn't start the class coz' there were too few students and she told them to join the later class instead, so I should have asked her why earlier on. And then she went on to say I was scolding her and it was not the first time I had done that, before walking away in a huff. I wanted to talk to her about it, but I decided to leave it at that and hope she would cool down so later on, so I could talk to her. One week later, at the class, when I tried to talk to her, she just walked away when I call her and refused to talk to me. Fine. After the class, I emailed her and explained why I reacted the way I did, and she told me that for her it was unforgivable to scold her like that, and that I had done it before to the assistants. Sometimes they would try to help me by giving suggestions on what to teach, but I would say no and continue what I was doing even though it wasn't appropriate. To her, it seemed like I was disrespecting the assistants. To add to that, she implied that I had lost her as a friend because of it, and I was losing my other taekwondo friends as well.
Obviously it was quite unsettling to hear these things, but after really thinking about it, I do think that I did do things wrong when it came to teaching, but not when it came to how I treated the assistants. Pertaining to the incident that really pissed her off in the first place, if she had called me to let me know she had told the students to go to the later class, or at least informed me as soon as I had arrived at the school, I would've said ok. But she did neither, and when I arrived, I was wondering what was going on and my first reaction was to get the class going coz' I saw students milling around doing nothing. I am the instructor of that school, and it should be my call to make the decision to cancel the class or not. Not only did she not ask me before she made that decision, she couldn't be bothered to let me know as soon as I arrived....and was more concerned with eating a snack instead.
Second of all, I don't know what her definition of scolding is, but far as I can remember, I have never yelled at the assistants, or insulted them, or told them they were doing something wrong. I agree that sometimes they have suggested that I do different exercises and I told them no, probably in an annoyed manner which would've sounded disrespectful to them. But my reason for doing so is that if I'm in the middle of doing something with the kids and then my assistants suggest I do something else, I can't just say "Oh, ok, let's do it!" and drop whatever I'm doing right then and there. If I do, it would seem like I don't know what I'm doing and I do what the assistants say instead of the other way round. What kind of instructor would that make me? It would undermine my authority to the kids, and I can't allow that to happen. If they had taken me aside, away from the kids, and then made those suggestions, or talked to me after class, I would've gladly accepted their advice. But I cannot stand the assistants to be questioning my ability, no matter how justified, in front of the students, or else they will start questioning me too. I don't mean to say that I know everything... I've definitely done a lot of things wrong in my class. But I need my kids to think I am capable, or else I will just lose control of the class. And to me, refusing an assistant's suggestion is not scolding them. Sometimes I may sound not-so-nice when I tell them to do something...but to me that's not scolding either, coz' instructing my assistants is what I'm supposed to be doing too. I dunno, I guess a lot of times, I've sounded annoyed with my assistants, which made them think I was being rude to them. But to me, my first priority in the class is to teach the class and not to be buddy-buddy with the assistants. Outside of class, I joke with them and chat with them like friends, but in class, I'm the instructor and it's my job to tell them what to do. And I suppose my biggest mistake was not explaining my behaviour to my assistants and they take my behaviour to mean I'm disrespecting them.
In my email, I explained exactly the same thing to my assistant, hoping that she would understand. I even apologized for sounding rude or mad at her. I explained that I didn't even realise that I sounded rude to her and the others. To me, my mind is always so busy trying to think of how to run the class, that I probably never realised I wasn't talking so nice to the assistants. But even with my explanation, she still does not want to forgive me, and added that nice line about how I'd lost her as a friend, and some of the others. Of course it kinda stings to hear something like that, coz' obviously I would not like to lose my friends. But I thought about that too and realised, hey, if they all don't want to consider me a friend anymore, that's not my fault. I already apologized and explained myself to that one assistant of mine, and later on I will apologize to the others as well. If they refuse to accept my explanation and my apology like she did, then I'm not gonna mop about it. I've made my mistakes, and I can't turn back the clock and change everything I did. If I'm big enough to say sorry, but they're not big enough to accept it, then I'll know who my real friends are lah. To me, real friends would talk to me if they had a problem with me, instead of talking about me behind my back, coming to their own conclusions about what I do and then dropping me as a friend. I know sometimes I say stuff that hurts other people but I don't realise it. I did it before to my good buddy, Mei Ling, and she talked to me about it, I said I'm sorry and now we're still good buddies. And that's the way mature people ought to be behave.... not dwell continuously on how much they've been hurt and refuse to accept a heartfelt apology. But even if she continues to give me the cold shoulder, I'll still consider her, and the others, my friends. My instructor always tells us that our taekwondo gane should be like a family, and I agree. If anyone is going to divide the group, I don't want it to be me. I don't want to go around talking crap about other taekwondo people who bug me, and try to get people on my side. Even if that girl tells everyone else all sorts of bad crap about me, and I know she has, I'm not going to do the same thing to her. If they don't want to be my friend anymore, that's their choice. If they don't have the maturity to see me for who I am, I don't need those kind of people as friends. But I will still try my best to treat them as friends no matter what.
Haha, all my Christian friends who read this, I don't really need to tell you that I hope you'll pray for these issues right? :P Especially pray that I'll become a much better teacher and not make the same mistakes with my assistants. Thanks for reading all the way to the end too. Hehe!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Redang photos!!!

Yay! The pictures came out ok on my last post. Not all is lost! I've figured out that the reason why my blog looks funy on my computer isn't coz' of my blog, but coz' of my computer. Now I need to figure out how to fix my computer so it doesn't happen anymore. Doggonit. Anyway, since I'm in the picture posting mood, here's ze Redang Island pics I promised to post like a millennia ago. :)

Just an introduction to the weird and wonderful folks who mosied along on this field trip to Redang. All my fellas classmates, of course, with the exception of the old guy in the green cap, who's my lecturer's hubby (whose name I fergot). Clockwise from ze right is Wan Feng, Kim Tim, Jay, Kian Yong, some hot chick, Pratiwi, Aileen and Wei Wan. And the two girls stuck at the back are Dareen (left) and Malini. My lecturer, Dr. Cathy, is the lady at the top right corner looking at the camera but not technically part of the pic. And the one taking this photo, so can't be seen in it, is the lovely Miss Flora Chan, whom can be seen in the following pic in the pink sarong.

All us ladies hanging out at the beach.

And the guys (yes, only three of them) checking out the sights.

And just to prove that we actually were at Redang and not PD (though u could probably tell, from the lack of polluted water...)

A little island off the big island. The waters there are a nice place for snorkelling coz' there're lots of corals and fishes and even baby sharks around. Too bad so many people go there everyday, all the corals are pretty smashed up. So sad... :(

Help, I'm stuck to the tree!

Nope, that's not me, but Dareen at the door of our little chalet. There's a story to how we got this chalet....See, when we first came, four of us girls, including me, were put into a room with only three beds, while the three guys were put into THIS chalet which had two large beds that could fit four people. So we had to NICELY ask them to vacate the premises so there would be enough space for us. Which the guys didn't really wanna do, since they were enjoying the room so much...

As you can see, the chalet was nice for practising their modelling. So we ladies had to use a little grrl power and kick them out of the room. And of course, a little celebration was in order.

Serves them right for messing with da girls! :P

After that exciting episode, I just had to take a break...

And check out the view....

Ok, ok, a little something nicer to look at...

Lotsa boats ahoy


Meeting the local fauna, including the friendly neighbourhood squirrel...

A hermit crab....

And remnants of its relatives!

Oh, and let's not forget the sleepy cat at the mamak where we ate dinner one night. :P

Always wanted to have my own Hollywood star!

And finally, the best pics are right here, taken in the wee hours of the morning when me and some friends dragged ourselves out of bed to watch the sunrise. I shall shut up for the moment so thou shall savour the view...

And to top it all off, our yummy BBQ dinner on the last night of our stay there! Bon appetit! Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Wedding pics!!! (no, not my wedding....)

Aaaaarrgghh!!! I just found out that my image host site is going to start charging users a fee! Which means I have to pay to keep using it!!! And if I don't all the pics I uploaded there will be gone!!! Aaaarrgghhh!!! Oh well, I guess they'll just have to be gone then. Which means all the pics in my previous posts will be gone. :'-( Such a spaz. Anyway, I've pretty much had it with image hosting sites. They're such a hassle posting pics to my blog, so I got Hello Bloggerbot instead, which I can used to post pics directly from my computer to my blog. No need to waste time uploading to an image host site. But I dunno how good it is, coz' I've done a few test runs on my blog and the pics don't seem to come out. Don't know if it's just my own computer acting up or a problem with the program or whatever. But anyway, I'll just post a few pics here and see how it goes. One of my church buddies, William, invited me and some other friend to his big bro's wedding last Saturday at the Weston hotel in KL. Considering it's quite rare for me to dress up girly girly at all, and of course to see all my other friends similarly dressed to kill, I decided to take along my camera to capture this momentous occasion...and these are the results. :P Enjoy!

Big group pic of the whole church gang

Me and my complementary rose for passing off as a hot chick. :D

Me with the Phua family (with Uncle Phua at the top right, but not technically part of the pic. Whoops!)

Joel Phua wanted to try out to be the flower 'girl' (or boy, in this case). Too bad the wedding's already over

Us ladies looking lovely as always (haha, 'perasan'!)

An almost candid shot, in which everyone saw my camera on time to smile. Oh well, I tried

Me and Brenda a.k.a. Brandy a.k.a. the girl who's not even in secondary school and she's almost as tall as me! Aaaaah!

The next lovely couple of CBC, Wahome and Kelly!

Kelvin closes off the night with his striking Tuxedo Mask (of Sailormoon fame) impression. All he's missing is the top hat and white gloves.... Kekekeke... Posted by Hello

Saturday, June 18, 2005


I don't know what the heck is wrong with my blog, but everytime I open it on my computer, my background and pictures are gone and I get a grey background instead. But on every other computer I use, it comes out looking fine. Does anyone notice anything weird with my blog? Sigh.... I hate it when computer thingies do things to me that I don't know how to fix. >:
Anyway, I got to have a chat with the friend of mine who dragged me to that home party (which isn't a party. Yeah, I know it's getting lame...) and explained to her why I was so miffed with her dragging me to that thing without telling me beforehand what it was all about, and especially getting me to meet with her on the pretense of just to catch up. As it turns out, the other people trying to sell those products had told her to do exactly that... not mention anything about 'direct selling' or 'buying' when asking people to the home party (which isn't a....well, you know. :P). And considering she was new to the whole direct selling business, she just went along with what they said. Unfortunately for my poor friend, I was her first 'victim', and I wasn't too shy to let her know what I thought about it. So now I don't think she'll be up to those tricks again... but I really don't blame her anymore, coz' I know she wouldn't be the type to realise what those people taught her to do was wrong. So now I blame the company... those corny-handshake loving vultures. Ugh. Well, I don't really feel like dwelling on that episode anymore. Anyway, I found out this week that I lost slightly over two kg, and I've been doing quite a bit of weight lifting and sit ups, so the blubber on my arms and legs is gradually morphing into muscle and my tummy is back to its good old, almost flat self. Yee hah! All without the help of some silly lingerie that inhibits my breathing or reducing my level of food intake..... just good old exercise. I think this officially gives me the right to say "Nyah nyah nyah nyah nyeeeeh!" to the corny-handshake loving vultures. Hehehehe!
I've been feeling very crappy about a gazillion and one things this week too. Not the 'I'm-so-depressed-I-wanna-die' kind of crappy, but more like the 'I-got-so-many-things-weighing-down-on-my-mind-I-wish-a-big-hole-would-open-up-and-swallow-me-now' kinda crappy. Which might not be all that different. I've just been thinking and having to deal with a lot of things lately. Can't possibly go into the details of all of them now... coz' I know once I start I won't stop rambling and I'm too pooped right now to bother. But to make it super brief, the stuff troubling me includes issues pertaining to my taekwondo class, my future career, my parents, my relationships, my spiritual life, and my character...just to name a few. And to explain all that in a few sentences: I'm a sucky taekwondo teacher and I need to quit....I don't know what the heck kind of work I should get that I would enjoy yet significantly helps pay the bills...... my mum gets hyper sensitive about what we kids say to her while my dad gets on my case by saying or implying I'm responsible for things that go wrong even though I'm not.... I keep thinking about and missing a guy I can't possibly be with.... I've been neglecting my Bible and my praying, which is probably 90% of the reason why I feel so crappy.... and I'm a pushover who spouts insensitive and stupid remarks without realising it before it's too late. And I can't figure out what the heck is wrong with my blog template. Yaaaargh!!!!
Heeeehh...maybe later on I'll get round to blogging more about the crappy topics at hand, but right now I just wanna not think about stuff and get some work and studying done.

Friday, June 10, 2005

The aftermath of the "You pretty, I pretty" incident. Brrrr...!

It's been almost a week since my harrowing "You pretty, I pretty, we all pretty" experience, and I thought I would've gotten past it by now, but I've been thinking a lot about the events of that day and the couple of days after, when my friend's cousin (who also help host the supposed 'home party' which wasn't a party) passed me the free stuff I got for signing up as a member. For one thing, I was kind of peeved with myself for succumbing to the pressure of being around those girls bugging me to buy...even though Rm75 for the membership (plus the free stuff which was worth around 75 bucks too) is nothing compared to the insane Rm2700+ that the lingerie set cost (and thank God I DIDN'T sign up to buy), I still wish I hadn't been dumb enough to let them take even that 75 bucks. One of times when I wish I was as stubborn as my mum, coz' I know she would've turned them down even if they bugged her all day to buy. In fact, the next day (which was a Sunday) I wanted a refund on my Rm30 deposit, but found out that they had already sent in my form to the company in the morning to be processed. And once it's in, there's no refund....or so they say. For me, it's just more proof on how money hungry those vultures are. What kind of crazy company works on Sunday? And why did they send in my form when I hadn't fully paid up the whole membership fee? I asked them that, and they said they did it coz' they trusted me to pay up the remaining RM45. After all, the company is based on trust between the company and its customers...yadda yadda yadda bla bla bla. Right. For all I know they hadn't sent the form in at all, and they were just making up crap to get me to pay up the rest. I even thought of calling up one of my cousins, who's a lawyer and asking him if there's any chance I could get my deposit back since I had not received any products at the time. According to him, all direct selling companies should have a ten-day cooling off period when I can get refunds on any products I buy, after which there are no refunds. If that's true, I could've called up the company and threatened to sue their butts unless they give me a refund. But I decided that I didn't wanna be a bitch about it. So I just gave the money and hope I learned to be more thick-headed about these things next time someone tries to get me to buy stuff I don't want.
But I'm not only annoyed with myself, but annoyed with those girls, and annoyed mostly with my friend. I'm annoyed at how they were so willing to behave so fake and friendly to get me to buy their products. I'm annoyed at how they work on women with low self-esteem to get them to buy super expensive lingerie that probably doesn't work. I'm especially annoyed that they lied to me about one of the free stuff that I was going to get when I joined. They told me that when I signed up I would get some coffee that supposedly helps people lose weight, and what I got was coffee with extracts of ginseng and ginkgo biloba, but says NOTHING about helping people lose weight. Gosh, those vultures would really says anything to get people to sign up and buy. Not that I was really expecting the coffee to work such wonders anyway. Even if it did say it could help drinkers lose weight, I'd still be skeptical as hell. But it's just the principle of the really urks me to know people who will say or do anything to fool people so they can get what they want. I can imagine them all hanging around after the 'home party' (which isn't a party) after me and their other poor victims have left, cackling and laughing over the few more people they've managed to con. Or maybe bragging non-stop about how much weight they've lost and how they so wanna join the next beauty contest. Or maybe dancing around and worshiping an altar made of super-expensive lingerie and Dr.Diet drinks, paying homage to the god of beauty. Haha, ok ok, that's Carol's annoyance talking nonsense. But you know, those girls were so unrealistically enthusiastic about those products, I tell you, it really almost seemed like a cult. Irk.
Of course, the most annoying thing of all is the fact that my friend so willingly duped me into going out with her to 'catch up' and then dragged me this thing that I told her repeatedly that didn't want to go for. Not only did she abuse my trust in her as a friend, she did not respect my wish to not go, and she didn't bother to explain to me what was it was all about. Now I've been trying pretty hard to get myself past that and just forgive and forget. But I've never been really good with the whole forgiveness thing, especially when it comes to family and friends...the people whom I'm supposed to be able to trust. It doesn't help that I found out she was trying to rope in a few of our other friends by posting a bulletin on one of those friends network website. In read her bulletin, and it invited all the girls to come for a home party (which is NOT a party!) hosted by her and her cousin, but did not mention a peep about what the home party was all about. After that, I couldn't tahan. I wrote her a nice long message to taruh her kau kau for what she did to me, and what she was trying to do to our other girl friends. I said I was going to call up every single mutual girl friend we had and tell them exactly what the home party was about and if they still wanted to go, it was up to them. But they have the RIGHT to know what it's all about, and if she's not responsible enough to tell them first instead of just ambushing them with sales talk, then I will do the job for her. I also gave her some friendly advice on what her 'friends' at the home party were all about, and advised her that she shouldn't believe what those girls says about girls having to look physically good to be beautiful.
So far, she hasn't gotten back to me on that message, so I don't know if she hasn't read it, or she has read it and is digesting the contents. I don't know how she's going to take to it, but I don't think it'll be good. I sense that she's the type with low self-esteem and trying hard to fit in with people (which would've made her all the more susceptible to the whole "I pretty, you pretty, we all pretty" crap, since it would've helped her feel so good about herself). And knowing that she's probably that kind of person puts me in a bit of a conflict. On one hand, I don't want to have anything more to do with her because of what she did (I wrote in my message to her that I was not writing it in anger, so she wouldn't feel so bad....but now that I think about it, who am I trying to kid? I'm pissed as hell). On the other hand, if I do that, she'd end up feeling horrible for making me mad at her and thinking she's done something wrong. Which would make her have an even lower self-esteem. *sigh* It's so annoying when the people you don't want to have anything to do with are the people who need a real friend the most. Especially being a Christian, when they teach us about forgiveness and turning the other cheek and all. GrrRRrrRrrrrrr, wish God could've told us to do things that are more humanly possible....but then again, if the Bible didn't tell us to behave so differently from how we normally would, it probably wouldn't be from some divine source. Double ggRRrrRRrrrr....

Monday, June 06, 2005

Naeem's definition of beauty. :-)

The past couple of days, I had one of those character-building experiences where I was really thinking what I stood for and who I am. Sorta like an episode of a corny teenage tv series or something (can't think of an example, coz' I don't watch corny teenage tv series, except for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But since Buffy's a monster butt-kicking super heroine, it doesn't really apply to my life. :P).
Ok, the deal is that on Saturday, one of my girl friends called me up and asked me if we could meet up on the pretense of just wanting to catch up with me. I thought it was a bit unusual, coz' I wasn't never particularly close to her. But since my whole family was going out that night and I didn't really wanna eat by myself, I said ok. Later on, she mentioned taking me to a 'home party' after dinner and meeting some of her friends. I was wondering what the heck a home party was, and what it was for, and why on earth she was inviting me along when I didn't know any of her friends. But she just kept saying "Wait lah...It'll be good. It'll be fun." I even told her that I didn't want to go for it coz' I had to do my work and study for my exams, but she kept insisting I just go for a while. Later on, over dinner, she then told me it was a 'party' (without any food, by the way. Which to me, is not considered a party!) to promote some beauty products. As that point, I REALLY didn't want to go, and told her my grandma was home alone and I wanted to go home to take care of her (which was true)...yet she still insisted I went. And since she was the one who gave me the ride out, I didn't have much of a choice but to entertain her, so I very grudgingly went along.
She took me to this house at USJ9, where a bunch of girls were already there. The women who greeted me were all super friendly and after the usual introductions, said that the meeting was only for "leng lui's" (pretty girls). And some of them, when I shook hand with them, started doing some funny handshake with me, which I later found out was the handshake for members of this club of "leng lui's". Needless to say, at the time, I had no idea what the heck they were trying to do to my hand. Anyway, before the meeting got underway, some of the girls were showing us a whole photo album of 'before and after' pictures, of women who used to be 'fat' and then slimmed down. One of the girls there was gushing about how much weight she had lost, and that last time she was sooooo fat. When I saw her 'before' photo, I was like "What the heck???? That's supposed to be FAT???" coz' she looked even thinner than I am now!! I didn't even want to look at those ridiculous photos, but my supposed friend who dragged me there kept nudging me to look. At one point while we were chatting and joking and I was trying hard to be nice (just so not to be rude) my friend , who likes to hold my hand, which already makes me uncomfortable, suddenly gave me a slap on the butt, which made me REALLY uncomfortable. I wasn't so much embarassed, coz' I don't get embarassed so easily....but it's just something I think is very inappropriate. Hello? Guys slapping girls on the butt is disgusting. But GIRLS slapping girls on their butts...well...I don't even know what words can be used to describe it. Fortunately she didn't do it again, or else I would've given her a nice kick on her butt. But anyway, that's a sideline from the more annoying matter at hand.
Soon the 'meeting' began, and for the next hour or so, I had to sit through listening to a couple of the girls promoting this set of lingerie which supposedly shapes your body to the oh-so desirable female figure. They talked about how as we get older, everything on our bodies start to sag, and how typical lingerie doesn't support us so well, and how our fats can bulge out everywhere if we wear lingerie that's too tight...yadda yadda yadda bla bla bla. Then they talked about the miracle solution available though this amazing set of lingerie that shapes the female body so that fats go to the 'right' places, like the butt, instead of the hips, and the breasts instead of the arms. And if we used the lingerie together with a diet drink called Dr. Diet (along with a heap of dunno what other products), we'd really lose weight. If the door of the house was unlocked, I swear I would've bolted out the house as fast as I could. It felt like my brain cells were deteriorating at a rate faster than when I was watching Monty Python! I mean, there was this picture in the promotional book for the lingerie that showed a before and after photo of how a woman's waist became sooo slim after wearing the lingerie. The picture was soooo obviously fake, coz' it was the same picture modified to make the waist look slimmer!
Some things the girls said made me raise an eyebrow too. "Using this lingerie will raise your self-esteem when you get a better body!". "After you become slimmer using the lingerie and Dr. Diet, your personality will really shine!". Excuse me? Whoever said all people who are overweight have low self-esteem and have no personality? I probably have more self-esteem and personality than all you lame-O corny-handshake-loving geeks. It didn't help that everytime they talked about someone's success story and how much weight they lost, practically everyone in the room went "Whoaaaaa!!!!", like they just saw someone walking on water or something.
After they were done talking, and I was still wishing I'd rather be home studying, they plonked a set of lingerie on me and told me to try it. And to be polite again, I obliged (although I did quite a bit of quiet griping in the bathroom where I changed). After I had changed, one of the girls showed me how to put the lingerie on 'properly'. And to my surprise, when it was done, it actually did look really good. And it was at this point when Carol's brain stopped functioning properly, and I was actually thinking that it would be nice to have it for myself. Later on, I found out that, even when on discount, the price of the whole lingerie set with the Dr. Diet and a heap of other nonsense products was a jaw-dropping Rm2700 or so. I definitely would not have considered buying it if they had not then told me that if I introduce six other friends to the product and they buy it as well, the company will pay me back enough to pay for the whole set. Which means I would kind of get it for free! That further intrigued me. Then the lady who was explaining it to me didn't even bother to ask me if I wanted to buy. She just went straight into filling in the membership form form and writing out a receipt, so all I had to do was sign. And I was almost going to, until thankfully some of my brain cells started working again and I said I didn't want to commit to the whole set yet coz' I wanted to ask my parents first. That quite noticably put off the lady, who bug me a few more times to just buy it. But I was adamant that I had no right to sign it when first of all, I'm not working, and secondly, I have no credit card to pay off that money. So she was like ok, then, just sign up for the membership to the company. It costs Rm75 'only' and I get a years subcription to their magazine, plus a couple of their products for free. And once I'm a member, if I introduce people to the products, I can start earning money first and then decide later if I want to use it to buy the set. Which sounded like a better option to me, so I did sign for that. And since I didn't have enough money on me to pay the Rm75, I only paid Rm30 as a deposit first.
When we were done, one other lady there said "Welcome to the beauty club! You know, it's our responsibility to take care of our bodies, coz' no one else is going to to do it for us?". I just laughed. And when I was about to leave, the same lady who got me to sign up for membership taught me the meaning of their handshake. Each part of the handshake had a meaning, which I can't really remember, but it went something like "You're pretty, I'm pretty, We're all pretty girls!". Luckily my brain cells hadn't deteriorated enough to wish I had a puke bucket somewhere around me at that point.
When I got home, and talked to my mum about it, she helped me get my head back into gear by saying her friend who bought the same lingerie told her it didn't work at all. And when I thought about it, I figured, I'm still young and nothing on me is going to start sagging anytime soon. The lingerie only lasts two years, after which I'd have to get a new set. Why would I need something like that now? And with that Dr. Diet stuff, I had to replace proper meals with a drink of that everyday for a few weeks or so, eating only one real meal a day. Even that one meal has to be less than a certain amount of calories. Knowing myself, coz' I love food so much, I wouldn't be able to stand depriving myself of good food. And if I was going to deprive myself of food in the first place, why bother taking that drink, when I can replace real food with something else like fruits instead? When I was younger, I went on a diet where I replaced my dinner with fruits, and I lost weight pretty well from that. Why bother with this Dr. Diet, which costs SO much more?
And even if I still decided I wanted the set, to get it for 'free' I'd have to introduce some friends to it and convince them to buy. Not only is it troublesome and takes times, it's not ethical to me coz' I don't even know whether or not the stuff really works....if my friends buy it and it doesn't work for them, I'd lose their trust! I might even resort to sneak tactics like my 'friend' did...asking me out, pretending that I just wanna catch up with my friends and then ambush them with all this mind-numbing sales talk. No way man, I don't wanna end up duping my friends like that just so I can get what I want. And I certainly didn't want to associate myself with a bunch of people who say corny things like "Welcome to the beauty club!", or "This meeting is only for 'leng lui's!", or "You pretty, I pretty, We all be pretty together! Weeee!!!". Not only would I become anorexic from all the puking I'd be doing, but I'd be going around pretending to be friendly to people I barely know, when I know it's not sincere and I have ulterior motives behind my 'friendship'. Those girls said to me that being happy and less stressed help makes us beautiful...which is certainly true. But they also said if I come to more of their 'fun' meetings and make more friends, I'd be happier, less stressed, and hence, more beautiful. Haha, sorry ladies, but I'm plenty happy now with the friends I have who actually like me for who I am, and not because I can help them earn more points to buy more beauty products.
And another thing is that I know if I start with this, it's never gonna stop. They're gonna keep on asking me to go to their stupid meetings (with their stupid corny handshakes. ACK!!!) and buy more of their stupid products so make myself look more beaauuuutiful. Sooner or later, I'm gonna become obsessed with how good I look and just want to be thinner and prettier...and instead of building up my self-esteem, it would erode my self-esteem even more. I'd be constantly wondering, 'Am I think enough?', " Do I look good enough?", and if I don't look as good as I think I should, I'd end up feeling crappy about myself. Why would I wanna go through that when I'm perfectly happy with who I am now? Sure, I have a few extra kilos that I would like to shed, but my weight or my looks is not the centre of my world now, and I don't want to become obsessed with either. The Bible says do not have any other gods but worship only the Lord, your God. I do not want my physical appearance to become my obsession, or a 'god' to distract me from my one true God. Besides, I could put the money I'd use to buy those products into much better use, like tithes for the church or helping other people or something. Anyway, to me, the way a woman carries herself is way more important than her looks. If a girl has the perfect figure and looks, but constantly thinks she needs to look better and has low self-esteem, what's the blady point? I carry myself, and my few extra kilos, with confidence and joy, and that's MY beauty. And anyone who isn't gonna like me coz' of my weight simply isn't worth my time anyway. You can go around trying to please people by looking good, but I tell you what, I could look like a pimply whale and my God would still love me even if no one else does. And that's all that matters. Cheers. :)

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Doggies and Muslims really don't mix?

This is one of those posts where I sit here not quite sure of what I wanna blog about, but just wanna write something just so my blog doesn't feel neglected. My exams start next week, with my first TWO papers on the same day on Thursday. Plus I have a lab report due on Monday. Fortunately, I'm almost done with my lab report, my first two papers are my 'easy' subjects' and I have no taekwondo classes this weekend coz' of our wonderful agong's birthday. So I've been happily procrastinating on the net, just doing nothing. So lemme think about what interesting topic I have to talk about.
Well, I went for lunch with a couple of my uni buddies today, and over lunch we were talking about a bunch of stuff, including the fashion disasters created by some fellow coursemates (actually, it was more like they were talking about it and i was listening, coz' I wasn't too observant on how my coursemates dress. Plus, I realise they were kinda gossiping, and I didn't particularly want to add to it). We also somehow got round to talking about dogs, and how we were all fortunate enough to live in generally non-Muslim areas so nobody complained about our dogs. But in some places, like in Shah Alam, which is highly populated with Muslims, apparently you would need your neighbours' permission before you can keep a dog. And in other areas, your dog could be taken away from you if the neighbours complained about it. I know this happens, but I don't know to what extent it actually does. Anyhow, this kind of rule pretty much pisses me off, coz' even if a dog hasn't done so much a bark a peep, it can still be taken away if the neighbours decide to be bitchy. And I've heard of so many stories of neighbours being bitchy, and even resorting to throwing things at people's dogs. I've really got nothing against the Muslim people (well, maybe something against the teaching of the Muslims, but not the people), but the bunch who do these sort of things deserve a kick in the @ss. Sure, you wanna believe you can't touch dogs because they're filthy animals or something like that, go ahead (though I can bet that my dog is just about as clean as most people, if not more). But gosh, some Muslims behave like if they're anywhere near a dog, they're gonna get contaminated and die or something. And even if they don't want to be near dogs, does that give them any right to throw things at other people's dogs? I even read in the papers of one case where some officials forcefully entered a family's home, dragged the dog out and killed it right before the family's eyes. For goodness sake, that family could've been treating that dog like part of the family and loved it to bits, and those sickos go and do something like that without the family even being given notice? If they had done that to my dog, I'd sue every last one of those sickos for every cent in their bank account AND try to get them sent to jail. And that would be the least of what I'd wanna do to them.
The best part is that I've checked it out on the net, and apparently it doesn't mention ANYWHERE in the Quran that dogs are dirty or should be avoided like the plague. In fact, some passages of the Quran even mention that dogs can be kept as companions! Only the hadith mentions that the prophet Muhammad ordered the killing of dogs, and that they could not be kept except for hunting and guarding cattle. But it is generally accepted now that many stories in the hadith were fabricated, and especially since these teachings about dogs contradict what the Quran says, it seems likely that these teachings were fabricated too. Plus, the hadith even seems to contradict itself, coz while some verses say Muslims should not enter a house where there are dogs and dogs should be killed, one verse says that a prostitute was forgiven because she helped give water to a dying dog. Doesn't really make sense that a person's sins can be forgiven by showing mercy to an animal you're supposed to be killing in the first place. Hello? The hadith was also written like two centuries after Prophet Muhammad died, and was supposedly a record of all the miracles he performed. Interesting, considering the Quran does not mention any miracles performed by the prophet, and even records that he himself said he can't do miracles! Which really casts doubt on the trustworthiness of the hadith, especially since two hundred years after the prophet's death, who would've still been alive to have witnessed those supposed miracles???
Again, I'm not trying to incite any negative feelings against the Muslim people and I hope I have not offended any Muslims who read this.... but the sad fact is that so many Muslims just blindly accept what the Hadith says without really thinking about it's relevancy, or comparing it's teachings to the Quran, which was written by Muhammad himself and therefore should be more 'reliable'. Even the Bible mentions in the Old Testament that several animals are considered unclean and should not be eaten, including pigs. But then in the New Testament, Jesus changes this by saying nothing that goes into the body makes a person unclean, it's what comes out (of the mouth). If Christians were to just blindly follow what the OT said about not eating some animals, we wouldn't be able to enjoy such wonderful meats like pork (NooooooooOOooooo!!!!!!). But thanks to Jesus' work on the cross, we know that we are no longer bound by the ritualistic and ridiculous laws of the OT times, and we are free to eat whatever we want. Woo hoo, pork!
Fortunately, some Muslims DO realise the errancy of these teachings and keep dogs as pets. But unfortunately, they're ostracised by most other Muslims. I know there're plenty of Muslims out there with intelligence... if you do actually take time out to mull over your holy books and still come to the conclusion that what the Hadith teaches about dogs is all accurate, then fine. But please don't throw your grey matter out the window and just blindly believe what other Muslims teach you. And whatever conclusion you come to, be a bit considerate and leave our doggies alone!
Ok, that wasn't so much of a random post.