09 November 2015

Parenting No-No

Anggun pointed to a framed picture on the wall and happily exclaimed, "No-nel!" (translation: McDonald's)

I looked the direction she was pointing in. And realized it was actually the Almighty's name, Allah.

On one hand, I am impressed by the cognitive skills she displayed, being able to recognize the curvy M shape, even when it is upside down. On the other hand, I feel like I might have failed as a Muslim parent. God forgive me.

06 November 2015

Boss, I Quit My Job!

So I have tendered my resignation. The 3-month probation period has started and a week in, it already feels like it's winding down a long, polarizing road.

One minute I'll be like so composed and sure of this decision, like I can see the light and the rainbow at the end of the tunnel, the elf with the pots of gold waving frantically at me, and the next I'll be like 'shit, what had I done?! Can I take back my letter, I want to plead insanity at the time I sent it in, pleaseeee let me retract it!'

And when employee submits in his resignation letter, my company seems to adopt this policy: This too shall pass. They will act like nothing happened! No acknowledgement e-mail, talk or letter until two weeks before the last day. So it feels like I am walking around with a giant pink elephant on ym back that everyone can see but just chooses to ignore. Awkward much.

When the HOD of another department asked me about this one day in the presence of everyone else, I was like "THANK GOD YOU ASKED!". There, there.

Scared as hell right now, but I know I need to do this. Maybe it's good to push myself out of the comfort zone, so that I will not be living in retention, so that I will hustle more. I pray to God that this will work out for the best - I am forever thankful though for a very supportive mother and husband. Ok I'm gonna go cry now.

16 October 2015

'Filthy' Rich

There's nothing wrong with aspiring to be rich. I always wonder why being rich was linguistically associated with the word 'filthy'. The majority of the society still associates the rich as crooks. The word 'capitalism' brings about many negative connotations with it; consumerism, greed, vanity, oppression, etc.

I am not ashamed to say that I want to be rich. I want to be so filthy rich that I can be financially free. So that I can live life on my own terms; I can choose to work on things or projects that excite me, I can choose the kind of people that I am inspired to work with and I can choose where and how I want to get things done. I do not want my life to be restricted by anything worldly; I do not want my zest for living to be watered down by the balance of my bank accounts, by the decision of a few people on whether to allow me to go on a 6-month vacation to a remote island somewhere just because they write me the paycheck every month.

Recently I came a cross statuses on Facebook of a friend of a friend of a friend (you know how Facebook works) who shared her view on the importance of shielding younger kids from the evil claws of materialism and consumerism. To a certain degree, I agree with her. Kids should be taught to become inventors instead of becoming the hollowed out souls, addicted to the latest gizmos and outwardly appearances, paid for by their parents. But ultimately, we cannot break away from the system put in place by capitalists. and they say, if we cannot beat the system, then work with the system.

Personally I feel that the evil in the world is not capitalism and consumerism, it's ignorance. We are not taught in our formal education on how to advance ourselves financially in the real world, our education system teaches us knowledge that for the most part will be disposable, ready to be retrieved at the tip of our finger via the internet. Our education system teaches us to be good employers; get good grades in order to find good jobs. And after that we make our decisions based on what is expected of us; stay in a the good job, work hard to get promoted to buy a bigger house and faster car, and then drive that car to work to pay the installment for the car. It's a rat race and once we realize it, we are in too deep.

If we are not taught to be wise with our money, and we do not take it upon ourselves to learn, is it anyone else's fault that we stay in a rut forever? Most of the people I know are not aware of the basic numbers in good financial management; the percentage of your monthly salary that should go into car loan repayment. Most new graduates spend more than 30% on their monthly car installment and think that it is ok.

Let me not preach as I am in no position to do so but this post, I hope will serve as a call to all of us including me, to take the initiative to enrich ourselves in financial knowledge. We owe it to ourselves. I think it should be made compulsory for kids to read books on financial management, so that whatever it is they aspire to be, whether a musician, a carpenter, a coder or a gardener, they will have the freedom to do so, not having to make the choice between pursuing their dreams or working for a paycheck.

On that note, I have resigned from my current company! Not to do my business full-time as it is in no shape to support the family financially yet, but to take on another job that inspire me. To be honest, I wouldn't have taken up this job had I not won the RM30k cash. It is a major leap and I don't know whether I will regret this decision or not; only one way to find out.

30 September 2015


And so I feel asleep during the prize giving ceremony. Yup.

23 September 2015

Just Some Snafu Along The Way

So here's what I posted on my Instagram last night:

You might have came up with THE ultimate plan that you know is going to work, but then life throws you a curveball and all your plans just went out of the window.
Received a not so great news this evening. I was supposed to be one of the four finalists in the running to win a huge amount of cash to pursue our dream job. This competition is ran by a renowned local bank. The finalist announcement was made 2 weeks ago and the prize giving ceremony is due this Friday.
But then I was informed today that there have been a bit of a mix up in the calculation of the scores so the finalists are not final. I might be one of the finalist or just a winner of the consolidation prize. They can't tell. I will only find out this Friday.
Naturally I am suuuuper upset since I've already been so psyhed over the news for the past 2 weeks and just 2 days before the ceremony they are telling there has been a mistake??? This can't be legal hahaha.
But after some time to let the news sink and after discussing it over with my bff a.k.a the husband (more like him trying to calm me down) I realize that ultimately, God has His plans.
Either we win or not, we're still going to push through with ArmCandy. That might mean we need to scrap the initial plan and make new plans but that's life. If you want to succeed you need to embrace what life offers you and adapt to the situation.
This might be the longest post I've ever written! But yeah, needed to get this out of my system before I can get some shut-eye. I hope you guys are pursuing your dreams too no matter how impossible it might seem now! We can do this💪💪💪 Good night!💕

And got some word of encouragement from a friend and another one from a stranger. That feels good. So yes, change of plan; I'm just gonna go on this Friday, rocking my executive boho outift, with head held high and all smiles, looking forward to getting to know everyone that I've known virtually, whatever the results are, I'm just gonna leave it up to God. This is something beyond my control apart from making doas.

Now it's an open game so I'm back to being happy and a wee bit hopeful :)

15 September 2015

The Next Phase of ArmCandy

I have decided to write again.

I've heard this coming from myself countless of times - felt the fire burning deep within my soul only to have it slowly die out... of laziness, of life getting in the way.

So what made me decide to write again? The prospect of winning RM50k.

Many moons ago, while I was swamped with deadlines at work, I ventured into the familiar haven of random clips and videos called Youtube (you should check it out sometimes), in hopes to find a cute animal video or the latest Ryan Gosling interview on Ellen to provide some respite from the work stress. You know that annoying ad that YouTube made you sit through before you can get to watch your intended clip of choice? Well, on that day, I watched the ad until the end without clicking 'Skip ad'.

It was a promotional ad by AmBank, featuring random people on the streets being questioned on what is their dream job and what is stopping them from living their true potential. You can already guess the answer to the latter question; it was a unanimous answer – money. Most of us fear that our dream job will not be able to sustain our survival financially.

So the ad went on, asking them, if they would live out their potential if they were given RM50,000 in cold, hard, cash. Interesting proposition. Interesting enough that made me click on the link provided in the clip. So the deal is simple – you have to put into writing what your dream job is, and subsequently what you will do with the money, to be in the running of actually winning the money. Really? That simple? I posted my entry on the day itself!

Apart from that, you need to have as many people like your post, so from that day on, I started to pester everyone I know to register on TRUE by Ambank platform and vote for my idea. It was enlightening to see which of my friends actually agreed to go through the trouble of registering an account to vote for me. These friends who think that my dream is worth 5 minutes of their life – I will remember them for life! Some of them I don’t even expect to actually vote - just thinking of these people makes me want to cry, seriously! I love you guys! *virtual hugs*

When the contest period ended, I checked TRUE website every day for an update on the winners. And then two months passed, still nothing. Three months turned into four months. I still checked the site occasionally but less obsessively for the winner updates and more for the informative posts and discussions being hosted on TRUE website. And then on the fifth month after the contest ended, I got an e-mail that made me bawled my eyes out crying. While driving. I had to pull over at the roadside to regain my composure. Drama much? Well, let me explain.

It has been an emotional day for me - I was at my part-time job at a tech start-up company, ensuring that the first campaign I organized for them was running smoothly when there was a bit of a setback that ruined an otherwise perfect but hectic day. I had been running around the whole day and at that time I was driving, sending the delivery package to a famous Instagrammer. The runner intended for the job bailed because the Instagrammer changed her address at the very last minute and traffic in the area at that time is known to be unforgiving.

The e-mail received at the end of that seemingly long day was from an Ambank representative, informing that I have been chosen as the final four for the contest, and asking whether that I will be able to attend the prize-giving ceremony. Ok...so Ambank is giving away at least RM10k to me, by hook or by crook, I will make myself available on that day! Just name the time and place!

So far, I do not know for sure who the other finalists are, but I have an inkling on who they might be, and I think each of them is deserving of the grand prize. I think one the finalist would be the girl who spends her free time teaching underprivileged kids for free! My selfish, capitalist aspiration, against that? You gotta be kidding me! ;p

The event is scheduled to take place in the next 10 days. The grand prize will be RM50k, followed by RM30k, RM20k and RM10k respectively – such amount that I can only dream of before this. I figure it will be good to start documenting my entrepreneurial journey from this moment on as it will be a crazy amazing ride. It has been amazing so far, through all the lessons learnt for the past year since I started to take my business seriously.

I know that with continuous hard work and persistence I will drive my brand ArmCandy to where I want it to be eventually – maybe in the next 6-7 years. But with the capital injection from the winning prize, the process can be tremendously speed up. I hope that rezeki is on my side in winning the grand prize, but the other amounts will be just as good if I spend it on the crucial things that will bring the most impact towards the brand.

The voices in my head are already screaming for me to go on a crazy shopping spree! But the entrepreneur in me, the prudent and boring side, will keep the other side in check, no worries. Ok la, maybe RM200 to shop, why not. Hehe.

In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, here's to the next phase of ArmCandy!

01 August 2015


The baby's fast asleep after only taking a one-hour nap during the day, so I really should make use of this free time I have on my hands but as always, procrastination kicks in. One click after another click through the evil links, pulling me down into the labyrinth of the world wide web...oh how I miss having all the time in the world to just indulge in this. 8 years ago, days were spent just getting lost in catching up on the latest viral news and internet memes. How time flies.

Hello long lost lover.

16 June 2015

Social Media Influencer

If you think that Instagram is only good for posting pictures of selfies/wefies and food, think again. The good majority of Instagram users use it to document what they see and where they go. If you are on Instagram, you are likely to find yourself scrolling through a newsfeed peppered with the obligatory selfies, wefies in a chic café with Instagram-worthy interior, photos of beaches or other exotic vacation destinations and cats. But to some users, Instagram is much more than a pictorial blog.
For an app that still has not figured out a way to be profitable after being bought by Facebook for USD1 billion back in 2012, Instagram is a gold mine for certain users. These Instagrammers, who have managed to crack the code on the treasure map, are making big bucks by just being on Instagram. Backed by a sizeable number of followers, these Instafamous (as they are sometimes referred to) have both budding start-ups and giant brands swarming to them like bees. They are showered with free gifts and on top of that, oftentimes paid to be seen in the ephemeral Instagram’s newsfeed with the latest product. This is product endorsement, refined to fit the Instagram age.
Understandably, many actors and singers offer product review services on their Instagram page, charging anywhere between RM300 and up to RM1,500 per Instagram post, depending on the number of followers under their command. The terms and conditions may vary from one celebrity to another – some celebrities do not even bother to come up with their own caption; they expect it to be provided by the people who contracted them and they shall just copy-and-paste it verbatim into their post.
You can expect to pay almost double the normal rate if you want them to take pictures with your products, instead of just posting a screenshot of your Instagram page in their Instagram feed. In certain cases, extra charge will also be imposed for posts during peak hours or weekends. And do not think that the post will exist through eternity once it is posted out – to de-clutter their Instagram feed, certain celebrities will delete your post within 24 hours. If you are lucky, you might get two to three days. And good luck with the A-listers – chances are, they already have a long queue of reviews pending – if you want to jump queue, you have to be willing to pay more.
Taking the rough average of RM500 charged per post, if the celebrity does a minimum of three reviews per day, in two days that’ll equal to a month’s worth salary for the majority of us! Malaysia’s sweetheart Nora Danish, who goes by the handle @noradanish, charges RM1,500 per review, justified by a strong backing of close to 2 million followers behind her.
Easy money, you say? Well yes, if you have a flair for taking visually pleasing photos in square format. Instagram does not discriminate – gone were the days when the 'celebrity' status is only limited to the elites of show business. In the Instagram age, anybody can be a celebrity in their own rights – it can be me and it can be you, if you are not one already! These special breed of Instafamous comes a wide range of background; some started out as bloggers, some are famous Youtubers, some are just famous because they maintain an interesting Instagram content.
One user, going by the handle @faizdickievp, is famous for his humorous Instagram posts, and now has more than 400k followers. At the time of writing, he charges RM200 per review, which he seamlessly weaves into his trademark comic antics.
Majority of the young Instafamous are students, with followers between 10k to up to 100k. These group normally accept free gifts and sometimes also impose charge of between RM20 to RM200 per Instagram post. That’s good extra pocket money as a student, considering that the only costs incurred are a smartphone and some spare time!
With the numbers of online shops mushrooming every day, these Instafamous have their post box flooded with free gifts, all waiting to be featured as part of the OOTD (OOTD = Outfit Of The Day; keep up, grandpa) post by these celebutantes. Consider that as killing two birds with one stone – cash in while feeding one's vanity.
There’s no denying how powerful the spell that social media has us under. It should come as no surprise that companies dedicated to managing these Social Media Influencers, as they are aptly called, start to emerge. Among the pioneers are ParanormalMY and Gushcloud. Lauded as the future of digital marketing, these companies help brands reach their target audience more effectively. In the age of smartphones, where brands are trying to ram their products down everyone’s throats at every chance and corner, an endorsement from a peer, effortlessly integrated into a nonchalant Instagram post, will more likely grab your attention.

At the end of the day, it is a win-win situation for all parties involved; the Instafamous are happy to get paid in cash and gifts, while the brands get to reach new set of potential customers at a minimal budget compared to other marketing channel. At the current rate, it doesn't look like the trend is slowing down anytime soon. The Instagram era shall continue to reign for now. Perhaps, there is still enough room for you and me to jump on the bandwagon and claim our share of the Instafamous perks. Time to brush up on some photo composition skill!

11 May 2015

Caffein-high Ranting

I can't write. I have been trying. But these practicalities around me has been pushing my being inwards until I am just a crumpled remains of what I once was, of what I aspire to be, but having missed the window of opportunities to shine, the idea of who I want to become has ceased to exist.

I have been waiting for a giant sign. To tell me that everything will be just okay in the end if I dive headfirst, but when I pressed on, nobody steps forward to guarantee that I won't smash my head on the rocks, cracking my skull open, that I won't drown, pulled into the abyss of unknown.

People talk and talk like they have lived a thousand years. It takes up all the energy stored up in every cell of my being to just smile and not scream profanities at these people. These people who have never left the comfort of their middle class life, who went to bed everyday with their partner that they have long fallen out of love with, whose sense of wonder has been stunted by the mediocrity of the life they have chosen.

I want to run away with the lover of my life, and our lovechild to someplace where only the three of us exists, where we can live wihtout the constraint of others' expectations of us. Where we can bathe in the warmth of the sun, with sand beneath our feet, and adventure spread before us.

I hate the tone that this piece of writing is going. It sounds too negative, no?

They say it's never too late to start over - I believe that. Do I?

I think I need to move forward faster, before the life, as others imagined and willed for us to live, engulfed us, like smoke, until we become programmed robots, dejected and settled, having forgotten the Utopian life that once seemed possible, like Winston and Julia in Orwell's 1984.

I want to be able to look into my daughter's eyes and tell her that she can be whatever she dreams of, with conviction.

26 July 2013

The Exit (raw first draft)

The man stares into the faraway place where the sky touches the Earth's surface, fixing his gaze on nothing in particular. There's something about staring at the red sky as day is about to turn into night that makes you see your entire life playing before your eyes. Beautiful, powerful moments that has taken his breath away, like the day he first set eyes on his new-born son, and those good old days when his wife used to look at him in a way that makes his feel invincible. She never looks at him like that anymore, he has not seen it for quite some time now. Come to think about it, on the rare occasions where direct conversation is necessary, she never looks at him in the eyes. He is glad though, for that. That way he can see her without having to actually face her, consume the sight of her lovely face, now older and though always wearing that weary expression, still pretty as ever to him. He is afraid that if their eyes met, all of the unspoken words that she kept gated inside, will rush out like an angry tsunami, and he doesn't think he would ever be prepared for that. He would just die.

Sometimes he wonders what constitutes as being alive. The ability to breathe? Is that it? He heaved a heavy sigh of relief, as if trying to will all of his worries away but it only served to remind him of the pain that he has been carrying in his chest; the sharp slash he felt just to the left of his abdomen. The part of the pain which is physical, he can endure. He knows that something is going really wrong inside his body, he doesn't need a doctor to tell him that. Despite relentless prodding by his wife and son, he just could not bring himself to get himself properly checked. Desperate that all of their pleading seem to fall on his deaf ears, they had accused him of being selfish, in hope that that will get him to see the doctor. Didn't work. 

But it hurt, their accusation of him being selfish. Selfish. He lets out a dry chuckle. If only they realise that the only reason of him not taking their advice is the opposite of being selfish. But they do not need to know that. It is enough that he knows that they do not actually mean what they said, it was just a desperate attempt to help him. He knows that. But it doesn't make it less hurtful.

Even if time is not in his favour, even if he cannot make right of all the wrongs that he had made in his life, it comforts him to know that he had once been truly happy. Not that he is not happy now, he thinks he is, he has his wife and son that he loves so much, that he would do anything for, but knowing that his wife is not happy, that he can not do anything to make her happy, makes him feel powerless. Hopeless. 

Funny how people keep saying that love conquers all when love is contingent upon other things. Many other things. Money, among others. 

The voice of the muezzin calling for Maghrib's prayer broke the dusk. And his reverie. 

Slowly he walked back into the house, getting ready for his prayer.


How did he end up here? In the hospital, with tubes inside his arm and machine hooked up to his body. One moment he was being his old defensive self, not wanting to go visit the doctor. But there was something in the way she looked at him just now that he had never seen before. She was afraid, as if she had seen a ghost. So he relented. He let her call the neighbour to take him to the hospital. And then everything happened so fast.

Lying on the bed, he saw the world in a different perspective. He saw his wife standing over him, crying, his son beside her void of any expression, people in white uniforms swooshing by, the white ceiling and walls which has been a witness to many ends. How sad and how beautiful, he thought. And then he notices that space is getting smaller and smaller, like the ceiling and the walls come closing on him, he is getting claustrophobic, he wants to get up but something seems to keep him rooted to the bed. Is this the effect of the medication they gave him? What is happening?

He can feel that his time is running up fast. He needs to talk to his wife. He needs to talk to her now. He opens his mouth but he could not make any tangible sentence. His wife who is witting on the chair beside his bed took his hand, her quiet cries begin to turn into uncontrollable sobs. He needs to tell her that he loves her, because there is not much time left, he is aware of that, that he is sorry that their life does not turn out the way they have imagined as young, smitten lovers, that he is sorry he could not make the business work as he had planned even though he has tried, God knows he has tried his very best, that he is sorry he took her from the other guy some 20 year ago, who might have been able to provide her a better life than what he had, that he is thankful for all the happy times they have shared together, though he wished he would have spent less time working back then and took her and their son more on holidays when his business was going great, when he had the means to do so but no, he kept on working, working harder everyday, being away from home, in hopes to provide them more, more than he ever had when he was younger; he is sorry that he has to leave them both now, but it is better that he goes like this than holds on while draining up their life savings on his medical bills, he does not want to be a burden to his family, he has failed them once, but not anymore, he hopes his life insurance and the house that and his car would be enough to help them through until they find their footing back, starting a new life without him, she should definitely find someone else who can take care of her and love her perhaps even more than he ever did, he is sorry and thankful for everything and that he loves them dearly, but why does the words are not coming out? Frustration takes over him and the guttural moans he makes turn into a howling cry, he pulls his wife's hands which are tightly clasped onto his right palm and a gnawed at it, hoping he can somehow communicate to her all the things, the final things that he wants to say..

And then he caught sight of his son who is inching closer to him..in an instant he was on top of him, hugging him, and he started to choke on his tears. He prays to his God that He will never abandon his son, praying that He will grant his precious son the best of what the world could offer. His son is the magic he helped bring into the world and that was enough, he felt a huge sense of relief, like his life is complete, that it is okay to finish now, that it is okay to let go…

He felt his bed was being pushed into a close door, a door which he knows he would never get out from again, his wife and son's faces are getting further and further, a sense of urgency in the people scuttling around him but he feels a strange sense of calmness..he makes a final prayer, hoping He would ease his exit...

…and perhaps he will be re-united again with his family on the other side and this words can be said between them. Until then, God bless them.