The month of April (till early May) has been a helluva hectic time for yours truly.
I have been swamped… right, left and centre. At the end of most days, I was left exhausted.
When my colleague Dr. T said that she needed me-time in one of our binge-whining session, I was quick to jump in and said the same. “Yeah, I need me-time, too.”
She looked at me incredulously, “Kau single, punya banyak me-time lepas habis kerja”
No one have any idea.
My idea of me-time is just me, on the bed… with a good book… for two straight days, at least. A really good book that left me staring at the wall, stunned… by the beauty of its words. By the crazy plot twist! By the dialogues!
When I am at home, I may be by myself… but not the whole of that alone hours are me-time.
Studying at home is NOT me-time…. that is studying time, all right? Going shopping for groceries or clothes or shoes is NOT me time… that is necessary shopping time (I don’t enjoy it much). Doing house chores at home is NOT me-time… that is a necessary household maintenance time! (I hate having to do it!) Hiking is NOT me-time… that is exercise time which is necessary for physical health and fitness (though I enjoy it, of course). Listening to political lectures or religious sermons through Facebook and Youtube is NOT me-time… that is increasing-general-knowledge time (though it does feed my need for intellectual stimulation and I like it too). Going out with friends to catch up and gossip is NOT me-time… that is socialising time (and it is done so that my friends won’t think I didn’t care about them or have forgotten them. Because I do remember them in my heart… of course.)
Seriously! I need a lot of alone time….to do all those things… and a portion of those times MUST be spent reading a good book in order for me to feel like I have enough me-time. In order to feel refreshed and rejuvenated!
Adulthood is killing me slowly (okay, I have to stop being a drama queen. Hahha. I like having my own money as an adult. LOL. But seriously, what the hell was I thinking when I used to want to grow up as fast as possible when I was a child?)
Whenever I feel extra tired, I would remind myself of what Imam Ahmad Hanbal had said to her son:
Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal when asked by his child: “My dear father, when is the time for us to rest?”
He replied: “When you take your first step into paradise”
So, yeah…. life is a never ending struggle. Don’t expect to rest here in this world. Just work hard.
That was what I told myself when I had to organise Autism Awareness Day on the 21st of April 2018. It took 2 months of careful planning, various meetings, numerous phone calls and a few unrestful nights to get it done but Alhamdulillah, after all the hard work, it was done and dusted.
It was very nice and sweet of my colleagues to say that “We should all go to Pulau Songsong to blow off the steam and relieve some stress.” As though they are planning this trip for the sole purpose of making me feel refreshed after the past hectic months.
The truth is – and I know it – they want to go to Pulau Songsong… because they WANT to go to Pulau Songsong. Whether or not it is specifically for my stress relief is neither here nor there. (Haha) The fact is, they need a driver to drive them there, anyway. And as I have always been the designated driver for the girls, of course they want me to come along. Hahah. Nice of them to pretend that it was all for my stress-relief, though! LOL.
But yeah, I am glad they pushed me into doing it. Just like in any social activities, I always enjoyed it more than I initially thought I would. And I need these type of friends to push me into it… otherwise I will be forever buried inside my house with fictions.
The truth is, I relieve stress by solving the cause of the stress. If it is exam that causing me stress, I deal with the exam and get it over with. If organising an event is the source of stress, then again my stress can only be gone once the event is done. And all I need afterwards to de-stress is just to be alone, to enjoy my solitude and dive into the fantastic world of my mystery and fantasy books. That’s all.
But I am glad for people around me who didn’t give up on me when I was quite hesitant to go. If they didn’t push, I wouldn’t go. But they did, and I ended up really enjoying myself.
That’s why an introvert person need an extrovert friend…. yin and yang and all that. The introvert is content with what she already has; already content with her own thoughts and the world inside her head. She didn’t think she needed more. She didn’t know that there are just as many fascinating things in the real world outside… until the people around her had pushed her to and she had no other choice but to realise that the outside world is just as great.So that next time, when they plan another trip, she will be much more willing to go because she remembers her positive experience from the previous outing. In fact, I really can’t wait for the next trip.
At Pulau Songsong, it ALMOST felt like we were in the cheaper and primitive version of the Maldives. To those who don’t know the history of this enchanting island, Pulau Songsong was previously used by the Royal Australian Force as a missile testing ground in the 50s. The island has been closed off to the public for many years until circa 2008. Until now, the island does not have much in terms of amenities. No chalets (so camping out is the only option), very primitive toilets and a very simple and small surau. No sellers to sell you any food or drinks. You must bring your own and in our case, we barbecued chickens that we had marinated from home and we also cooked fried rice at the beach. I believe we did all right cooking our food at the beach. And as we all know, any food eaten in a picnic always taste better than when they were consumed indoors, right?
I hope the state government would do something in terms of development for this island. It was said that this island has one of the best coral systems compared to the rest of the nearby islands in the area. So it would be a shame not to capitalize on this feature of the island.
Below are the beautiful pictures of Pulau Songsong for your delectable view! I highly recommend all of my readers to visit this island.
Another reason why my April month was so busy was because I had used up most of my free times to volunteer at Invoke for the recent election. And I was so happy and jubilant when Pakatan Harapan won stunningly against the oppressive Barisan coalition.
I have decided to write a specific post talking about my involvement with INVOKE (the brain child of PKR’s vice president Rafizi Ramli). Maybe in the next post.
But to cut the story short, I had volunteered at Invoke to be a PACA (polling agent and counting agent) for Pakatan Harapan around one month before the election. I had to attend a few courses and talks organised by INVOKE, Pakatan Harapan and by Pusat Operasi Dun Bukit Pinang. I learned how to ensure a fair election, how to detect any hanky panky during the voting process, how to fill up specific forms while being a polling/counting agent (Borang Bantahan, Borang 13, Borang 14. Borang 10/ Akuan Identity and many more forms) and I was also given the phone number of lawyers that can be contacted if the presiding officer (Ketua Tempat Mengundi) refused to sign Borang 14 (which contained the formal final result of the voting for each saluran). We also went through scenarios of what to do if certain circumstances arise (electricity/power blackout for example) and who we should contact to advise us on legal matters on the election day. Really, I learned so much about how the process of election is conducted. I would not change this experience for anything in the world.
Sometimes I was post-call, but I made myself attend the talks/ceramahs anyway at the pusat operasi. I believe that I am doing this for my beloved country and no sacrifice is big enough for the sake of future generation.
I was raised by my parents to be really patriotic. We were hard-care UMNO supporters once upon a time. My father encouraged me to volunteer to go to PKSN (Program Khidmat Sosial Negara) while awaiting for my SPM results. In fact, I used to like going to BTN (but mainly for the outdoor activities haha). I watched and enjoyed a lot of patriotic movies like Sarjan Hassan, Leftenan Adnan, Tanda Putera, and Ola Bola. My father would always say things like “Orang Melayu kena kerja kuat dan rajin, Tengok macam orang Cina! Kalau orang Melayu tak sedar, kita akan ketinggalan.” My father would feel so proud when my school marks were better than the Chinese in my school or if I was the top scorer for any particular subject, beating the Chinese students. In his mind, he was not being racist but he was being a Malay patriot.
Every general election is like a raya for our family. My maternal aunt’s house has been a bilik gerakan for BN since I was a child. It was still used as BN’s bilik gerakan for the recent GE14. But this time, WITHOUT the participation of my parents’ and myself. My aunt was so disappointed when my parents and all my siblings had, ehem, ‘defected to the other side’. Unlike the top UMNO members, my aunt was just an ordinary patriotic party member who thinks of UMNO as the Malay’s sole chance of surviving. In her mind, she was doing all these for her country too. She thinks she is supporting the same UMNO that she had been supporting since she herself was a small child. Nothing my parents said could ever shake her belief in UMNO.
My parents are now a proud member of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia. They have switched allegiance since Najib’s various scandals started to circulate in the media in the past 3 years but did not join any party yet at that point. They finally got out of UMNO and became PPBM’s members since Tun Mahathir created the party. Me? I am not sure if I will ever be able to overcome my hesitancy in joining ANY organization, unnecessarily. Organisation has rules. And with me, I tend to break any rule if I don’t agree with it. I don’t respect position, stupid rules or diplomacy or form without substance. I respect ideas, intelligence, fairness and justice. You can be my boss, but I can go against you if I think you are wrong. And because of this, I can never be a good member of any particular organization. And I never even want to. I love being free to form my own mind and if it happens to be against any organization, well, that is EXACTLY why I am not a member of any.
I prefer to volunteer the way I did with INVOKE. In my mind, I was not volunteering to be a PACA because I was a member of any of the component parties of Pakatan Harapan (because I wasn’t and I am still not. I probably won’t ever). I volunteered because I wanted to ensure a fair election that will bring Najib down! The destroyer of this country must be punished and justice must be served. I volunteered for my own personal principle even if it meant I had to sacrifice my study time or my reading time.
And when Pakatan Harapan Alhamdulillah won, I felt an immense joy that was bordering on euphoria. I felt glad for the opportunity to be directly involved in this historical election that had seen Najib and BN perished in the hands of ordinary citizens who love Malaysia. The parliamentary candidate I was assigned to be a PACA to (at Sek Men Hutan Kampung Saluran 2) was Dato’ Mahfuz Omar… and Alhamdulillah he won the parliamentary seat of Pokok Sena.
And what a beautiful moment it was when Tun Mahathir was finally declared our 7th Prime Minister.
Welcome back Tun Mahathir! And welcome Back Mukhriz! For now, I am your fan… but remember, if you betray the rakyat’s trust I will not hesitate to change my allegiance again.
And thanks Rafizi, for creating INVOKE as a platform for many patriotic Malaysians to volunteer and be part of this momentous occasion. The kleptocrats are down! Alhamdulillah! It’s time to rebuild the nation.
In the mean time, now that the election is over with a resounding glory, I can finally rest. May the rest of the month of May be a bit more pleasant and peaceful. I suspect that until the election fever is over (personally, it took me some weeks to get over my election fever; I always have the tendency to follow many political news for many months after the election day. And what I read and thus what I think, is what I tend to write), many of my future posts will be about this country or about politics in general. So, stay tuned.
I leave my dear readers with a reminder to “Work hard, play harder and contribute always”.
Until next time, insha Allah. 😉