STORY GALLERY

The Best of You has always been a movement that encourages all forms of sharing. Stories serve as a great medium to show appreciation for the people and experiences that have shaped one’s life. They are also an authentic form of expression that gives us an opportunity to learn more about each other’s perspective on and hopes for the world we share. Through these stories, we hope you will be inspired to venture on our own journey of appreciation.

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1
Singapore
Community
English
I first got into drugs because of my ex-husband from my first marriage. He did not work and constantly asked for cash to feed his drug habits. One day, I asked him, “You keep asking me money to buy this, what’s so good about it?” He replied, “If you never try, you won’t know”. Stupidly, I took 3 puffs. I didn’t really feel anything at first. But soon after, I felt it – that feeling of being in the air. But I didn’t realise that I would get hooked so easily, just like that. After some time, my husband and I got a divorce. At that point, I was still on drugs and my life was in haywire. I did not know where to go and had no one to talk to. Later on, I finally got caught for using drugs and had to serve 6 months in prison. After I was released, my ex-husband found me and continued giving me drugs. I got caught again for consuming and trafficking drug. This time I was given 6-year-long term. But I still did not change my ways. After I was released in 2000, I met my current husband, who is also an ex-offender, and eventually got married. Unfortunately, not long after, we started using drugs and ended up back in prison again. When I went to prison this time, I had 2 children. By 2010, both my husband and I got arrested once more. This time we left 4 children behind, with the youngest being only 14 months old. However, this time I felt different. It felt like a very bad lesson that I was going through. It made me really stop to think, “where did I go wrong? Why did I continue this for so many times?” I realised that if I did not want to change, I would not be able to change. This spurred me to truly think deeper about where I had gone wrong. When I was in prison, I had to face the consequences. I begged to see my children but was told that I had to get back up on my two feet before I can do so. That’s when an organisation actually stepped in and selected me for a programme that helps inmates strengthen their bond with their family. Once, the programme even required me to read stories to my children via video recording. This made me feel so close to my children despite being physically apart. Another program with the Salvation Army also allowed me to have open visits with my family on Mother’s Day and Children’s day. During the visits, I only saw my 2 of my children, who told me that my youngest daughter had actually asked “Where’s mama, where’s mama?” I broke down. When my husband was released first, we had a tele-visit and I told him, “Please, I beg you, please look after the children.” While I was at the release cell, I started to focus on the things that I can do moving forward. I worked with my counsellor to figure out how to face the world after my release. It wasn’t easy for me when I first got out. I had to go through a lot of hardships, financial difficulties and I had difficulties with walking. I had to tell myself to be strong as it was very easy to just fall back as there were triggers everywhere. But my children, especially my son, pushed me and gave me encouraging words whenever I was down. I knew that society still holds some social stigmas regarding ex-offenders, but my son would tell me, “I know you have changed, you are positive now. Everybody makes mistakes.” Anytime I had doubts, my son would always reassure me by saying, “Don’t bother about what others say. It’s your reform, your promise.” I passed on this encouragement to others too. I started to advise my friends too and tried to guide them to think of their children and to acknowledge their own weaknesses. Even now, I still have a lot of hurdles to get through. I am still recovering; it’s not easy and I am still struggling. I also still face a lot of stigma and am unfit for work at the moment due to the compressed nerves at my back that require a major operation to fix. But no matter how difficult, I must try. I know going back to my old ways will just make me more miserable. What’s going to happen to my children if I do not keep trying? I am very grateful for the help I receive from organisations and want to give back. I try help the old folks living around me who are alone and will accompany them if they need to go anywhere. For me, when I see them smile, I feel happy and better. I realise that helping others succeed gives me satisfaction. I’ve also recently taken a Leadership Management course to upgrade and occupy myself. At the end of the day, seeing my children finding success in life and hopefully having a long enough life to see them get married one day brings out the best in me while driving me to be a better mother too. I could not have come this far without them believing in me. The same goes for my counsellors and my social worker at THK – they have all truly helped me when I was down. But at the same time, nothing can be done if you don’t want to work hard at it. I can never be where I am now, if I did not put in the effort. We are not alone. All it matters is if you try.
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Singapore
Community
English
My name is Mdm Jenap, I work as Head of Quality Control and am a Yellow Ribbon Project Volunteer Leader. I started doing volunteer work in 2004 when my neighbor’s husband was in custody. She eventually approached me and shared about the issues that she was facing, which led me to stay in close touch with her and to bring her to the Family Service Centre to seek help. I also brought her to see a MP for financial aid as she had resigned from her job due to her not be able to cope. In 2009, I took part in the Yellow Ribbon Run and immediately felt an affinity to the cause. I thought that since I had already always been helping people, I felt that it would be good for me to join and give back to the society through YRP. I think it was also my natural curiosity to learn everything that goes behind the scene that pulled me in to join YRP. Since then, I have continued to volunteer with YRP all these years, where I can help others and also build relationships and familiarity with the staff. My role also allows me to come into contact with many prisoners who have just been released. They often mistake me as someone from the prisons too. Most times, I will try to help them out if they do not have a job and step in as an adviser. I will assist in calling the Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises (SCORE), Employment Assistance Unit to aid in their job search wherever I can. In 2012, i approached YRP to fund raise for the ex-offenders. Through the Yellow Ribbon Prison Run, i raised more than $120,000 towards the YRF STAR Bursary Programme. My daughter and my friends supported me in fund raising by putting up updates on social media. I try my best to always stay involved in the roadshows too. During roadshow, i will always try to get members of the public to support the Yellow Ribbon Project by purchasing merchandises made by the inmates or ex-offenders. Sometimes it’s not easy to raise funds because many people like to try out the samples but not buy them. I have come across many people who have misconception about ex-offenders too and are disinclined to give them a second chance. It upsets me when I hear mean comments from people like, “I don’t want to buy. They will never change. Why do I need to help them?” When this happens, I will try to help them to understand the situation of these ex-offenders and how they can help them better their future. After all, everybody makes mistakes. It’s hard for ex-offenders to change if nobody wants to accept them. But I am thankful to see more people willing to accept ex-offenders nowadays, and I hope the ex-offenders can learn to appreciate them too. I often have to tell people that ex-offenders don’t just sit around waiting for release. They also have work to do. I want to show the public that they are actually very creative people who have just happened to have gone in the wrong direction – and need us to give them a chance and point them in the right direction. It is especially sad for some inmates who do not even want to be released as they do not have any friends or things to look forward to on the outside at all. That’s why we need to show them support and play our part in helping them integrate back into society. I am very satisfied to be able to contribute my time and talents to help ex-offenders in whatever way I can. It is rewarding to volunteer and work with organisations that give back to the society. I hope to one day see a society where most members of the public are willing to give the ex-offender community a helping hand, as well as accept them and be kind to them. This community of people needs a second chance and guidance because everyone makes mistakes, and nobody is perfect.
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Singapore
Community
English
For over 20 years of my life, I was in-and-out of prison for all sorts of vices. I committed a lot of crime like fighting, using drugs, gambling and even human trafficking. Each time I got released, I always wanted to make things right. However, I was not able to do so as the urges to go back to my old ways would come almost immediately. Growing up, I was a rebellious and stubborn. I started smoking when I was Primary 6. My studies were also very poor. I don’t know even how but I managed to make it to Secondary school, but that’s when I started to take drugs. I played truant and was never in class due to my frequent trips to Malaysia. I was also always getting into fights and even joined a gang in Secondary 2. When I was 18 and in NS, I was heavily on drugs and also started to rebel even more. I had beaten up officers and was sent to detention for assault and drugs offences. After which, the army discharged me. From then on, I got worse and worse, and started to take all sorts of drugs. When I was in prison, I met a friend who told me there wasn’t any point in taking drugs to earn money. That’s when I stopped doing drugs, took alcohol and started the human trafficking business for sex workers. I eventually got caught for that too. When my father passed away, I went back to doing drugs. But this time, I was taking more potent drugs as my old group of friends had come to attend the wake. This resulted in my intestines bursting. Eventually I hit my lowest point in 1999. I had taken Ice and it made me hallucinate. I felt like I was hopeless, nobody trusted me, and I could not trust anybody. I felt like a failure and tried to end my life. If my mom did not come over to my place to look for me, I would have died on that very day. It was at this point that I had met a friend who told me to go IMH or a halfway house to seek help. I did and also told myself that I would give myself another chance. That’s where I got introduced to HighPoint, which provided me a 1-year program to get better. Over at HighPoint Halfway House, I met a lot of ex-drug users and saw how their lives had changed, especially the director-in-charge, and they quickly became my role models. Back then, I asked God, “give me a year to change”. I really made the effort to change myself in that year. I even went to help out in Turkey when there was a big earthquake in 1999. I stayed there for 6 months and got involved in community work. This made me realize that I actually like to do community work. After coming back, I decided to do community work back at the halfway house. I was working with elderly, doing home visits and teaching children. Slowly I rose up to become a staff and became a leader over there. I started to get involved with the schools and gave advice to children to stay away from drugs. I told them that the choices they make are very important, because every choice has its consequences. I’m very thankful for my mother’s and family ‘s support. I feel that it is very important to have support. Otherwise, you will feel like nobody’s behind you and can easily fall back into your old lifestyle. I’m very blessed as I also met my wife in the process in 2010. My wife works in Touch Community and we both have the same passion to serve people. She knows all about my past yet still accepts and supports me. My church work has also helped me to work on myself. Since 2000, the community church has been supporting me and my passions in community work. My family, mother, wife and all the church staff have really helped me and mentor me. This is why I feel that support is very important. My family accepted me back into their lives after they saw how much I changed and slowly invited me back into their homes. They gave me the key to freedom. And that is what Yellow Ribbon is all about too – second chances. Nowadays people still shy away and close the door when it comes to employing ex-offenders. People should not do that. It’s important to give them second chances. Today, I have a lot of happy moments. I am 61 years old and currently a Coordinator for Community Services at Community of Praise Baptist Church. I oversee 4 Outreach Ministries and conduct Praise Dance exercises for the public at 3 locations – Yew Tee Hard Court, Chua Chu Kang Park and Yew Mei Green Condo. I also run a Reading Club, in partnership with Shine Children and Youth Services, teaching English to Primary school students with volunteers from NUS High School and NUS, as well as a Hobby Club for 70 elderly with about 25 volunteers helping out – both at Clementi CC under People’s Association Interest Group. Additionally, I am also involved in Friends Club, taking care of 50 adopted families in the rental flats at Clementi Ave 2. My dream is to eventually open a centre that can fully engage the elderly, children and family, and the youths-at-risk. I feel that it’s very important to reach out to the youths-at-risk as they don’t often have a place to go. I also hope to see a society that will give a helping hand to those who are down – including the lonely and ex-prisoners. If everyone can just play their small part, we will be giving them something to look forward to in their lives. I am still on the road to recovery. Every day is a challenge. I won’t say that I am successful now, but I am thankful that I am where I am, and I still have a long way to go.
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Malaysia
Community
English
Before the birth of 1Malaysia, before I knew what ‘multicultural harmony’ was, I was already playing my afternoons away in the drain with cousins and neighborhood friends from different ethnicities. Coming from a mixed heritage myself, my extended family included members from all the major ethnicities of Malaysia — Malay, Indian, Chinese and various Dayak tribes — with recent additions from the Dusun and Siamese communities. Come Hari Gawai and Christmas, one could easily hear at least five languages being spoken amidst the festive hustle and bustle as we all congregated in the kampung. It is a scene that is not unique to my family; many a fellow Sarawakian — and Malaysians — can attest the same in various degrees. Multiculturalism is not a new concept here — it is a concept we live in, a concept we were born into, a concept we intimately understand. Of course, it is not always smooth-sailing; different cultural and religious backgrounds will always bring with it a journey in learning to understand each other despite our differences. The key is to allow each other to learn and to continue fostering opportunities for a greater state of togetherness: friendships — and even more effectively, marriages — across ethnic lines will promote multicultural harmony much better than any fancy government slogan. Because no matter how different the shades of our traditional costumes, we all bleed the same red blood. In the words of the comedian Russell Peters, in three hundred years everyone is gonna be beige anyway.
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Singapore
Community
English
My journey began at the school of “Hard Knocks” as a tattoo artist. My interest developed further as I was exposed to the different artforms, from sculpting to batik painting to the possibilities afforded by canvas. My art celebrates the journey of change and transformation, from the days when the tool of choice was a syringe to the present-day paintbrush. Since discovering this outlet of expression through art, life has been far removed from the times of struggling with self and substance abuse. Today, I am living my dream as a full-time artist at 5seventeen Studio Gallery and have had my works displayed not only in Singapore, but in various places overseas as well. My inspiration stems from the story of “The Boy and The Starfish”, which shares a central with my mission in life. It reveals the heart of a boy who makes a difference to each stranded starfish that he rescues at low tide. This reflects my conviction in seeing the value in myself and others, and in not giving up no matter how unfavourable the odds. Through my art, I hope to spur others to pay it forward – to reach out, lend a hand, rekindle passions and live this life to its fullest.
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Malaysia
Community
Chinese
身为马来西亚人民,我们都在这个文化大熔炉中长大。我们当中有许多人不止会说一种语言或方言,虽然我们常常忽略这些语言或方言。实际上,大多数的马来西亚人民都希望你能够根据不同的情况,而使用不同的语言进行交谈。 我本身在槟城长大,我们周围的人会说福建话,像我妈妈的福建话就说得非常流利。至于我的福建话则是从朋友那里学习的,以作为我与他们之间更有效的沟通方式。时至今日,我发现福建话无论在我的社交生活和工作上,都带来了极大的帮助。 身为一名印度籍穆斯林,我出门时都会戴着头巾。由于我的外表,人们总认为我是马来人,当我用马来语或英语与他们交谈时,他们并不会感到意外。 但当我开始说泰米尔语时,事情就开始变得有趣。你会看到人们脸上浮现出惊讶的表情。然后,当他们听到我讲印地语时(我从电影里学习到的),人们经常会感到惊讶。当我开始用福建话交谈时,他们的下巴就会掉下来。 我觉得这种颠覆人们预期的表现非常有趣。 当我在印度求学的时候,我和同伴们在很多时候都会说马来语,因为非马来西亚人听不懂我们在说什么。我们在语言上的独特优势,让马来西亚学生深感自豪,并有助于我们更加团结。 我的语言能力,已经证明能让我在工作中占有很大的优势。我能够更容易地与不同种族的病患沟通。当年长的病患听到我会说他们的语言时,他们会变得更加放松,也更加舒适。 这里我想到一个有趣的经验。几年前,当我在双溪大年(Sungai Petani)的苏丹阿都哈林医院(Sultan Abdul Halim Hospital)工作时,发生了一件特别有趣的事。我在男病房值班巡视时,碰巧在相连的4张病床躺着一名印度人、一名尼泊尔人、一名华人和一名马来人。 当我开始以泰米尔语与印度病患交谈,隔壁床的老伯(Pakcik)感到震惊。我向他解释说,泰米尔语是我的母语。 当我用印地语和尼泊尔病患交谈时,那位老伯(Pakcik)兴奋地说:“你也能说沙鲁克·汗语(Bahasa Shah Rukh Khan)”。当我开始用福建交谈跟华人叔叔交谈时,老伯(Pakcik)脸上露出的不可思议表情可想而知。 我发现,当人们意识到友族朋友可以说用他们的语言时,他们往往会变得更加友好,这确实有助于彼此的沟通和相互理解,并达到和谐共处。 当然,马来西亚有很多我喜欢的节日。我和其他穆斯林兄弟姐妹一样庆祝开斋节,但也享受着与我印度朋友们聚在一起欢喜地庆祝屠妖节。华人农历新年期间的槟城,总是伴随着漂亮装饰和舞狮表演。说着同样的语言,可以让我更好地沉浸在庆祝活动中。 我认为马来西亚人民真正很幸运。我们拥有如此丰富的文化等待着我们去一一发现。事实上,一整年下来,我们有这么多的节庆,为我们的生活增添了无数的乐趣。 我的兴趣是学习更多的语言,因为这将让我打开更多体验马来西亚多元文化色彩的大门。这可以说,是最好的我。 我对学习语言的兴趣为我打开了许多大门,让我能够在丰富多彩的马来西亚体验不同的生活方式。从很多方面来说,这是对我最好的。 Zawaniah
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Malaysia
Community
English
What can I say about Malaysia? This should have been an easy question to answer as I have talked a lot about the city and my experience here many times with my family during my three years here. I have also thought about it and observed it a lot, at least during the first few months of working here because my family back home had so many questions for me. But it is surprisingly difficult to say now when I am asked to put it down in writing. I think that there is so much to say about this country although I have not seen much of it outside of my hostel and work. The city, with its tall buildings and modern transportation is obviously different from what we have back in Nepal. It is amazing. I knew what to expect because I had seen pictures of Kuala Lumpur before coming here, but nothing really prepares you for the amazing sights, sound and smell of the place. Then there is the heat that comes down without mercy, but I really like the fact that there are trees everywhere which makes the daily walk to work a lot more bearable. I really enjoy how green Kuala Lumpur is. The work is hard we eventually got used to it. Missing my family was never easy, but I too got used to it. As humans, we get used to many things. The city moves forward at its own pace and we all get down to its rhythm. The food is very good too and the variety is amazing. It is very easy to get food that we are familiar with back home and plenty of other food that I have not seen. We usually cook to save some money, but there is a weekly pasar malam on the way to the work place and that is where we splurge a little on delicious food. It is always a highlight for the week. The best of it all, the people. People we meet here are very friendly and treat us with respect. I think we are very lucky to be posted to this work place. Residents also frequently buy food for us and it is nice to know that we are not just faceless guards who people ignore. The yearly haze has been quite a problem for us considering how much time we spend working outdoors. The thick burning smell hanging in the air can be intolerable, but some residents bought us face mask to wear for our protection. This is something they did not have to do but I am glad that they did. I know there are fellow countrymen who have been less lucky and had to deal with unfriendly people. I have heard that people living in big cities are always rushing about and the city tends to swallow up its inhabitants, but this was not what I experienced. Kuala Lumpur is a city with its heart in the right place. Seeing the different races living and working together is amazing. It is not something we see a lot back in Nepal and I find it interesting how people who are so different can come together in this city. I am not saying that there is perfect harmony, far from it. There are still different strata within the society and some level of discrimination, but I think it is very well controlled when compared to other places I have heard and seen. To be honest, I don’t know what is the best of me, but I know that this is the city and its people that I have come to love. If there is one thing that I will take home with me during my time here in Malaysia, it must be all the interaction I had with everyone I have met during my time here. It is the place that I called home for three years and I will miss her greatly when I go home to my family. I hope to return here again in the future, this time with my family so that they can get to see this place. Although deep down, I know that I will probably never see this city again once I return home. Perhaps they can know this city through me as it has become a part of me. Kuala Lumpur, the city that rubs off on you in more ways than one. Ram
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Malaysia
Relationship
English
Living in multicultural Malaysia, we are used to seeing people of different races and culture living close to each other. Interracial marriage is so common that most of us know somebody who is in an interracial relationship or born of one. This is partly why I am quite surprised by the fact that many of my friends and colleagues are often surprised when they hear about my family history. But from what they’ve told me, my family is better mixed than what most people would encounter. You see, my father is a Malaysian Chinese while my mother has peranakan roots and we are basically a Chinese family living in a Malay fishing village in Pontian, Johor. My father’s side of the family is relatively small during those times as he has only three siblings. On the other hand, my maternal grandmother had twelve children and almost half of them were married to Malays and have converted to Islam. In my immediate family, two of my sister-in-laws are Malays and my brothers have also converted to Islam. As the different family members converted to Islam over the years, it has been very interesting to see how my extended family has evolved over time. Each year we become further from the Chinese culture and closer to the Malay culture. When my mother was still alive, she kept the Chinese New Year spirit alive with decorations and festive goodies. After she passed away and my eldest sister-in-law started managing the household, and understandably, more emphasis is placed on Hari Raya and before I knew it, I actually look forward to Hari Raya much more than CNY as most of my family now celebrates Hari Raya. In fact I make it a point to book my bus balikkampung for Hari Raya way in advance to make sure I can get a ride; something that I no longer do for CNY and I would not mind skipping CNY if I could not make it back. We still put up decorations and cookies for CNY, but the scale is nothing compared to what we do for Hari Raya. Some of my friends have asked me whether it is difficult adapting to the changes. To be honest, I don’t remember it being difficult at all. All it takes is a little more respect and awareness for the differences in culture, and most of the changes boils down to getting used to the choice we have to make. But to be honest, it is more difficult to find non-Halal food in Malaysia and there is really not that much sacrifices to be made. On the other hand, what I have gained from my evolved family is so much more. It is only when you live with those with different cultural backgrounds that you truly start to learn about each other. I’ve learned the minute differences between true Malay cooking and Chinese cooking from watching my sister-in-law perform her culinary magic in the kitchen. I’ve learned also that the Chinese post-natal confinement is so different from what the Malays do. I’ve observed the minute differences between how the children are brought up in the different cultures. But most importantly, I also saw how my sisters-in-law love my brothers wholeheartedly and am delighted in their happiness. Both my sisters-in-law also learned to speak Mandarin and we communicate with each other at home in a rojak of Hokkien, Bahasa and Mandarin. They’ve also learned to make rice dumpling with chicken and mutton instead of pork and we get to eat a variety of food that we traditionally do not get. Such is the enrichment to our lives that my father will even visit different children to get a taste of different food. Following my brothers’ conversion, my father also removed the ancestor altar to respect my brothers’ religion and our house is now decorated only with Islamic verses. The house may look different but the family is still the same, and this is the most important point I hope to share; the bonds of the family go beyond any race and religion. I love my family regardless of their beliefs or the culture they practice. I am proud of our collective heritage and would not wish for anything different. As Malaysians, we are more alike that we are different and we all call this country our home. At the end of the day, we are family. Irene Goh
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Malaysia
Community
English
Like many others who are from middleclass families in Malaysia, I was enrolled into a private international school for my secondary education in hopes of opening up more doors for me in the future. However, bullying is a common problem around the world and affects all level of society. It doesn’t matter whether you are rich or poor, the dark clouds of bullying are always looming just over the horizon. My family was not wealthy enough for people to get jealous of nor had I any outstanding academic results to boast. I was really just your average everyday girl; skinny, short and constantly fighting witha pimple outbreak. Perhaps the issue of a teenager having pimples wasn’t really such a big deal, but I remember that the bullying started with people calling me “pimple face”; first behind my back and soon in front of my face. Words have power and constant insults hurt. That being said, uncomfortable as the words were, I could choose to ignore them and get on with my life. However, such things rarely remain verbal. One day, a guy decided to be difficult to me out of the blue. Perhaps he woke up on the wrong side of his bed. Regardless, I found nasty words written in liquid-paper all over my desk in class. Not only that, my entire school bag and books went missing. I sought the help of the class prefect but to no avail.This was my first taste of how verbal bullying can turn physical quickly. If there was one thing that I did excel in, it was sports. I enjoyed pushing my physical abilities to the limit and felt empowered in bettering myself each time. As you already guessed, the bullies struck again. I remember a particular incident amongst many others where someone secretly pulled my name out from one of my favourite sport and entered it into another game that I was not particularly fond of. Perhaps they thought that my sporting ability was easily transferable across different sports and wanted me on their team to help them win. We lost, and as expected, all the blame was put on me. I remember this particular incident most clearly because it seems that it did not matter to the bullies even when none of the events leading up to the bullying was my causing. Soon the popular girls started picking on me and that is when things went from once-in-a-blue-moon to a continuous barrage. I can be walking by myself one moment and have a hand shoving me from behind the next. And guys will start sprouting horrendous swear words for no particular reasons other than to get into the good books of the popular girls. I was actually quite lucky that the degree of bullying I was subjected to was not extremely bad like those we have seen in so many videos. I shudder to think how I would cope with if things turned violent like they had in those videos. I am not sharing my story for some major revelation or closure, but to highlight the fact that bullying comes in all shape and sizes. I did not reach for any assistance because I feared that others would just say that I was overreacting and I believe that I was not the only one who felt that way when things were happening. Who is to know whether the bullying would escalate further if we had not graduated and moved on? What I hope now is for more people to take notice that bullying often starts with relatively harmless things such as name-calling that most would view as a non-issue but can quickly escalate into small acts of violence, that can then very quickly grow out of hand. In a way, bullying is like a drug that gets one hooked or the devil that demands a bigger sacrifice each time. So do take a moment to observe happenings around us. If we can, speak up to protect others. Personally, I am not glad for the experience, but proud of the lessons I took away from it. I am now charting my path in the world of modelling where the environment is truly cutthroat and the past experiences have served me well. Becoming a model was actually to prove to myself that I can make it no matter the consequences or the barrier that was put on me. Who cares if I am considered too short for the industry, I will write my story myself from now on. Nicole Lau
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Others
Relationship
English
Cycle of nature My favorite time is deep, dead of night When all around is fast a-sleep In the darkness of I find myself in the dark I am an actor the in bright daylight The lonely atmosphere of this night I find my life All of these affectionate period of fascination As long as I find only me in front of your eyes. Thought we’ve to forget All of the norms of nature When it is evitable to get tortured Then let the end starts again. Although the burden of sufferings become lighter. Life does not stop As the time goes on. Everything will continue To be in cycle of nature. প্রকৃতির নিয়ম আমার প্রিয় সময় গভীর রাত যখন চারিপাশ নিদ্রায় আচ্ছন্ন অন্ধকারে নিজেকে অন্বেষণ করি দিনের আলোয় আমি এক অভিনেতা রাতের অন্ধকারে খুজে পাই স্বকীয়তা আমার নিজস্বতার বেচে থাকার জন্য এই রাতের নির্জন পরিবেশ প্রয়োজন এসব মায়া মমতা স্নেহ ভালোবাসা সব মোহ যতক্ষণ চোখের সামনে শুধু ততক্ষন মনে থাকে। তারপর প্রকৃতির অমোঘ নিয়মে সব ভুলে গিয়ে আবার নতুন ভাবে বাঁচার লড়াই। যদিও ভুলে যেতেই হয় তবে এখনি শ্রেষ্ঠ সময় কষ্ট পাওয়া যখন অনিবার্য তবে শুরুতেই শেষ হোক অন্তত কষ্টের বোঝা কিছুটা হলেও হালকা হবে। সময় যেমন থেমে থাকে না জীবনও থেমে থাকবে না। সবকিছুই চলমান থাকবে প্রকৃতির নিয়মাসুরে। ABOUT : Ripon Chowdhury. His place of birth is the beautiful Chittagong. He grew up in Chittagong city. He has been working in Singapore since 2010 at Shipyard as QC . He is an online activist and blogger. Loves to write and that is why he writes more about contemporary, social, political and religious mischief. During his stay in Bangladesh, he used to write short stories, rhymes, poems. Many of these were published in Little Magazine, various Newspapers. He was short listed 2017 and winner of 2nd prize 2018 on migrant worker poetry competition Singapore. He writes mainly for conscience. There are some small hobbies, Reading books is one of them! And he also like to chit-chat with friends. He believes that one day this world will be for human.
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Singapore
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English
I am a 44 year old ex-offender, ex-drug addict and ex-headman for a secret society. I have been in and out of prison several times. The last sentence I served was 6 years long and have spent a total of about 9 years behind bars. I have since been drug and crime-free for nearly 5 years. Upon my last release, I organised my own support group called RSG (Reforming Support Group), which consists of ex-offenders from different backgrounds, with the intention and objective of assisting other ex-offenders in turning their life around. Established in 2014, Reforming Support Group or RSG was founded by myself and started off as a singled-person volunteer management and outreach group. RSG’s mission is to do public outreach so as to educate the general public and create awareness on drugs prevention, vices and gang-related activities, and to eradicate public stigma towards ex-offenders; as well as to assist ex-offenders throughout their recovery journey by providing emotional, social and psychological aftercare support. Currently, I work as an Operations Officer at a rehabilitation centre. As an ex-offender and ex-resident of a halfway house, I have gone through ups and downs throughout my rehabilitation and recovery journey myself. Hence, I know first-hand of the challenges faced by inmates during their in-care rehabilitation programme in halfway house settings as well as after their discharge from the programme or after they have successfully served their sentences. During my off days, I engage in various community works and activities too. I realised the benefits of adopting active and positive lifestyles and have seen the fruits of my personal efforts to improve my life and refurbish my personal character through training and making contributions to the community. Thus, I would like to share those positive experiences and benefits with other fellow ex-offenders like myself. I actively engage in public speaking and education as well – getting support from volunteers consisting of the ex-offenders and staff from various organisations who support my cause. I tapped onto these people with the purpose of encouraging the ex-offenders to partake in active and positive lifestyles doing various community services, while also roping in skilled volunteers to support and share their expertise in helping these ex-offenders at the same time. RSG will continue its efforts to do more forms of public outreach in order to educate and share more about ex-offenders and their recovery journey with the public. Some of the other activities and roles I am currently involved in include being a Preventive Drugs Educator at Central Narcotic Bureau, a SPS Prison Befriender, a Red Cross Medical Aid, an NEA Litter Free Ambassador, as well as a member of SPF’s Citizens-On-Patrol. Moving ahead, our group intends to get itself registered as a legit entity in near future so that it can do more to help its beneficiaries. Ramli Abdullah
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Others
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Malay
Aq ibu dadi 3 orang putra.d tahun 2008 aq memutuskan mengadu nasib ke negri tetangga.dan aq memilih Singapura. Tampa pengalaman n pendidikan yg minin aq nekat mendaftarkan diri d sebuah PJTKI di sepiring yg merupakan kantor cabang dr PJTKI d surabaya.selama -+ 3 minggu ikut pelatihan d PJTKI aq confirm fpt majikan.tanpa tahu apa job n brpa gaji yg akan aq dapat aq terbang ke singapura dr Juanda airport.aq senang sekaligus kawatir karena hrus jauh dr keluarga buat kurun waktu yg ckp lm. Sesampainya d changi airport aq d jemput sama agency d sini.d sinilah semua penderitaan bermula. Tinggal d penampungan itu tak seberapa menderita d bandingkan dgn d agency n rmh mjkn yg bagaikan neraka. Aq dapat majikan china local.ada 3 member dalam keluarga.madam ,sir n 1 anak laki" n +1 anjing. Masih jelas dlm ingatan bahan takutnya aq waktu itu.rmah banglo besar 3 lantai dgn halamannya yg luas.aq datang kerja d situ BB aq 55 kg. Kerja d situ baru beberapa bln BB aq turis drastis. Tiap hr kan marah ada saja yg salah d nya mjkn.hari"q berurai airmata. Aq cb bertahan tp aq tak bisa tahan .d blan yg ke20 aq minta pulang. Tp apa yg mereka jawab....Aq harus ganti uang asuransi yg mereka bayarkan ke agen.karena kebodohan aq iyskan apa yg mereka minta. Dan d pagi itu aq bangun seperti biasa.menyiapkan sarapan buat anak n bkin jus buat mereka.tiba" madam bilang aq hrus ikut Sir ke gudang barang yg agak jauh dr rumah.(bisnis mereka jual beli brang" antik)dgn masih pke bju kerja(kaos sm celana pendek )Aq pergi dgn Sir. Sesampainya d sana aq bersih" tp tba " blom selesai kerjaan aq (kira" 30 mnit)Sir panggil aq pulang. Tp apa yg terjadi ??? Ternyata aq sm sir jumpa madam d tengah perjalanan yg sdah siap dgan tas n airticket buat aq.serasa mau menjerit sekencang"nya....melihat perlakuan mereka yg membuang bagaikan sampah d tengah jalan. Dgn berlinang air mata aq pergi ke airport d antar Sir sm Koko(anak laki"nya) dengan masih pake kaos n celana pendek jga sandal jepit tanpa mandi. Ternyata itu cm taktik madam buat mengusir dr rumahnya.semasa aq pergi dgn Sir dia pek barang aq.. Itulah pengalaman pahit d singapura. Tp alkhamdulillah berkat doa seorang ibu(yg ini telah tiada)Aq bsa bertahan n menuai hasilnya. Karena aq sekarang mendapatkan bos seperti apa yg aq harapkan. Tak terasa aq sudah 10 thn mengadu nasib d singapura. Dengan mimpi dan harapan agar lebih baik d masa depan.dan kini alkhamdulillah.....Aq bekerja dgn EXPAT family yg bsa menghargai aq sebagai layaknya manusia yg tak pernah memandang rendah aq yg hanya seorang pembantu.dgan support mereka aq mencoba bangkit menata hidup dan masa depan keluarga. Keluargaq satu" penyemangat dlm hidupq yg membuat mampu bertahan sampai hari ini. In shaa allah dgan ijin TUHAN aq akan wujudkan semua impianq yg tertunda. Bagi teman" hanya satu kata buat kalian. Jangan pernah putus asa karena satu pintu tertutup pintu lainnya terbuka. Harapan itu selalu ada tergantung qt mau berjuang dgn harapan or menyerah tanpa tujuan.
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Malaysia
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English
I am a quarter Iban from my maternal grandmother and three quarter Chinese. Growing up, the Iban side of my family tree never registered high on my consciousness. It was just something that was in my blood but I never really gave it much thought partly because I wasn’t really close to my grandmother. People I meet sometimes ask about my ancestry due to my look as a friendly gesture and lucky for me the conversation seldom goes further than that. If it did, I would probably have been very lost considering how little I knew of my heritage. Most people I meet do not seem overly interested in my ancestry and I see that as a heartwarming sign that as Malaysians, we see each other beyond the colours of our skin. I took up photography as a hobby about two years ago and met Alex during a workshop. We hit it off pretty well and soon started seeing each other. I was genuinely surprised when I discovered that he too was a quarter Iban! What a small world. Unlike me, Alex was much more in tune with his roots and I started to learn about our shared heritage from him. It was fascinating learning about my roots from him and it felt refreshing to connect with this unknown part of me. That being said, I recall a book by Amy Tan in which she wrote about how the American protagonist underwent a spiritual journey after rediscovering her Chinese root. I had no such epiphany. Perhaps it was because I have been living in Malaysia all my life and the cultural shock was just not there. Or maybe it is simply the fact that writers tend to go towards hyperbole. As I continue to discover my roots, I started to give more thoughts about what makes us Malaysians. What is the link that binds us and the history that unite us? I remember two specific incidents that I should share here. I meet plenty of tourists in my work and I recall this particular white American gentleman a couple of years ago who mentioned that he sees plenty of segregation in Malaysia during his time here. The comment came as such a shock to me and I remember that I did not know how to reply. Incidentally, just a week later, I hosted an African American gentleman and he remarked on how amazing to see people of different races living in harmony. Make what you will of the two incidents. I know that it is not enough to draw a conclusion on how the world view us and there is probably no further meanings to be drawn other than the opinion of two people looking at a scene and arriving at different conclusions. This revelation is very interesting as looking at the world through the camera lens, I begin to pay more attention to what I see in front of me. I am by no means any good at taking pictures and would love to have more time to explore the art. However, the few times I had the chance to walk around in Kuala Lumpur, I saw many scenes of people from all walks of life rubbing shoulders with each other. People of all races dined at the same stalls, bargained from the same vendor and walked along the same paths. Everyone just going about life in the best way they know. As Malaysians, we talk a lot about our multiracial society and our unity. Once a while we read about stories of racial tension, and there are times where we also read about stories that highlight our racial harmony. But at the end of the day, do people really think that much about their race as they go about their daily lives? Maybe I am the odd ball here who is never particularly interested in exploring my roots. Not that I see it as inconsequential, but I value the experience I lived and am living with those around me. My friends and I from school laughed about the same jokes and funny things that happened in our lives. My colleagues and I work towards our collective vision for our work. And my fellow Malaysians and I strive for a better tomorrow for all of us. After all, we are a relatively young nation and the future will be built upon our shared experience going forward. Lastly, I like to share with you a picture I took on one of my walk around in KL city. I don’t know if the picture is any good from an artistic point of view, but it is one in which I really like. Flora Tan
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Malaysia
Relationship
English
Falling in love.Getting married. Starting and raising a family. Millions of couples enter and exit the different stages every year and I believe that a majority of them find happiness along the way. There are definitely difficulties and challenges on any such journey, be it differences in point of view or financial issues, but people eventually find their ways to rise above the issues. We met when I was in my early 20s working in a different city. It wasclose to love at first sight, but N had this roguish charm about him. In retrospect, I should have been more wary of the “bad boy” vibe I was getting from him. We became a couple after only a few weeks and things were actually pretty good during the first couple of months. N was pretty romantic and would sing me songs while strumming the guitar and we spent long hours just being in each other’s company. He was prone to tantrum episodes once a while but I attributed that to his work as a mechanic in a shipyard. It was a rough working environment and he had to work the graveyard shift one week each month and I told myself that the stress of working was getting to him. I was naïve and tried finding excuses for his behavior. We got married a year later and I was soon pregnant with our first child, a daughter. Things were actually pretty good during the entire pregnancy and N was quite mellow throughout, caring even. When she was born, N was delighted and things continued to be great for the first couple of months, although he did lose his temper a couple of times after his night shift complaining that he could not get enough sleep. We were living in a two bedroom apartment at that time and started sleeping in different rooms; a sleeping arrangement that we would maintain throughout our marriage. Even after we were intimate, I had to return to the room I shared with my young daughter after that. We begin to grow distant and his temper got worst. There were plenty of arguments but I was mostly at the receiving end of the abuse. We had our son 4 years later but things did not improve. N continued to grow ever more distant and we rarely talked outside of what is needed to keep the family running. Most “communication” involved him shouting at me about one thing or another. Throughout our time together, there were a couple of times where N got violent but had never physically struck me before. However there were plenty of rough treatment such as jerking my arms hard and pushing me around. Although I never any serious injuries, just bruises from his rough handling, the shouting and verbal abuses never stopped. He would also smash things around the house.A couple of times he even took knives and threatened to chop up my family. There was even one time he swung the cleaver onto the armrest of the living room sofa and hacked part of it off. N would be mellow for a couple of weeks after such major incidents but the all too familiar shouting eventually returned. It is painfully clear in hindsight how this relationship was toxic and I should have done more to protect myself. It did not help that we were living far from my hometown and there was nowhere I could go. I hung on for the sake of my children who were still young and continued to hang on for decades. Or so I thought. I was just too weak to do anything about it and I have failed my children in their formative years. My son grew up with a very bad temper like his father and would often show his tantrum even to me. I guess it was not that surprising since it was what he saw while growing up. Salvation came after my daughter started working and insisted that my son and I move in with her to her new place. It was a very small apartment but I was experiencing freedom the first time in decades. My son has mellowed down tremendously and has found his own calling as a teacher. I am glad both my children turned out well despite my inability to protect and guide them. There are and always will be the best I have in life. Sharon
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Malaysia
Relationship
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We often hear others referring to their spouses as their best friends and having been married for 15 years, I can tell without hesitation that she is indeed my best friend. Not only that, she is my best work partner and we have been through thick and thin for a good part of our lives. My wife and I were introduced by friends and hit it off right away as we shared many common interests and view of the world. There is a perception that interracial relationships are harder to manage due to cultural differences but I have experienced none of that. In fact, both of our parents were very open minded and did not have any issues with our love. The only thing my mother insisted was that we must follow only one religion and my wife converted to Catholicism. There were some adjustments on her part in the new religion but nothing truly major. Truth be told, growing up as Malaysians in the same city, we actually shared many similar cultural values which werenot that different in how we handled things in our daily lives. We watched the same shows, ate the same food and believed in the same dreams. Furthermore, living in this cultural melting pot, we had a chance to experience the colors of the different cultures. Prior to meeting my wife, I have had many experiences with the celebrations as it was almost impossible to ignore the celebratory mood across town. Being married adds a whole different layer of nuance and meanings to the celebration beyond the good food and decorated street, I got to know the festivities behind the scene and that has definitely broadened my understanding of the richness of the Chinese culture. I dare say that I am quite the veteran of Chinese New Year now. To have everyone under one roof at the same time is not easy in the fast pace environment of today and the festivities provided the perfect backdrop. My relationship with my in-laws is cordial and Chinese New Year is the perfect time to catch up with the family. In many ways, I am truly a blessed man. Our three children are from my wife’s previous marriage and they love me as their own father. I might be of a different color from my wife and our children, but nothing will get in the way of us being family. As we edge closer to the next phase of our lives, I am ever grateful to have my wife with me every step of the way. I look forward to having her as my retirement partner and we plan to explore life after that together. At the end of the day, isn’t that what love is about? Love binds us all and makes everything possible. It knows no color or creed and transcends whatever differences we think we might have to make us whole. My family is the best of me and I would not wish for anything different in life. Lastly, August and September are the months we celebrate being Malaysians and with Merdeka day just over I am penning my thoughts and I can’t help but think of what we have achieved as a nation and as people. We might have different skin colors, speak different dialects, celebrate different festivals, and hold different faith.But we are all together in this as a family and I hope for peace and prosperity for every Malaysian. Oliver
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Malaysia
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My journey as an artist has allowed me to interact with people from all walks of life. I’ve met successful people who started from nothing, single mothers who struggle to raise their children, communities who face issues that have yet to be solved, students who silently crave to pursue their passion but are pressured to continue their studies of their family’s choice, victims of abuse, travelling artists who stop by and tell me stories of their journeys and so on. There was one common element I realised from stories that are compiled, inequality. As a young girl, I was taught to respect people no matter who they are. But here I was, listening to stories how people were discriminated because of their differences. Just because they did not conform to the general norm of society, they are shunned, talked down on. Basically, they were regarded as outcasts. We call ourselves Malaysians, who pride ourselves of having various cultures and beliefs, this was suppose to open up our minds and be acceptable of others. But even to this day, racism, discrimination, and bullying are seen in our own society. I still have hope for our nation where one day people with body modifications are fully accepted into society without being judged, foreign workers and people who work in the lower class of society are given the respect they deserve, women be revered with esteem, the voices of communities do not fall on deaf ears. Everyone is equal; we all bleed the same colour.
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Malaysia
Passion
English
The spotlight envelops me and masks the faces of the audience. The cold metal strings juxtaposed against the heat beating down on me. I let rip a riff and allowed myself to be transported away by the music. Such is the freedom. Music has long been my solace. It calms me as I lose myself into every beat and rhythm. It takes the anger within me and turns it into a voice that I share with whomever is willing to listen. It is truly the best of me. However it wasn’t always like this. I used to be picked on by my classmates during my primary school studies as I did not interact well with others. More accurately, I wasn’t that fond of interacting with people. As far as I can tell, I was bullied solely for being introverted. I remember times when my classmates would pelt me with paper bullets. Scatter the content of my pencil cases to the ground. Hide my books. Destroy my homework. Just generally being a huge nuisance really. Perhaps my general lack of reaction spurred them on. It was always the gang of five who initiated their “pranks” and it fascinated me that they seem to do it even though it appeared as if they were angry at being angry with me. Anyway, it is pointless to try to dissect the actions of bratty ten-year olds. What the bullying did make me into was someone full of angst. Things were much better when I went onto my secondary school studies as most of the gang of five were scattered. Two of them went to the same school as me but were placed in different classes and while I sometimes see them in school, I was generally spared from the troubles. The peace ran out in Form 4 when I found myself in the same class as my two tormentors from the past. We did not interact much in class and generally stayed out of each other’s way. The truce was broken shortly after I got close to my classmate Janet. It is almost cliché to say this, but one of the boys was interested in Janet and took poorly to our blossoming relationship. Soon came the taunting, the shoulder jabs, throwing of my stationary. Put it in another way - really childish things. I snapped after two weeks. Maybe it was the residual anger from my primary school bullying. But I suspect it has to do with putting my foot down in front of Janet. I flung a chair to signal the start of the brawl and went in fists blazing. What followed were bloody noses and a lengthy detention for all three of us. It was during detention that I got to know Mr. Chew, the teacher in charge of us for the detention. For a teacher in charge of detention, he was not as stern as I thought and took his time to talk to us. Mr. Chew was also an avid musician and always told us this: “an instrument might be spoiled by a child, but a child who plays music will never be spoilt”. Looking back at it now, the saying is logically fallacious but it did get me to try my hands on playing on an old acoustic guitar which I borrowed from my uncle. To be honest, it was love at first strum. The guitar was surprisingly easy to pick up, at least the basics chords that allowed me to play pop songs. I was soon playing songs for Janet (yes. I did get the girl). I was able to let the music carry my thoughts and I found singing my mind much easier than speaking. I am by no means an accomplished guitarist but I do like to play the occasional gig at friends’ party, something that seems to conflict with my introverted nature. For anyone with that anger pent up within, pick up something that you can devote yourself to. It does not necessarily have to be music and you can even speak through football if you so wish. The important thing is to put your effort in a pursuit and you will one day uncover the best of you. Bernard Tan
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Chinese
在居住这里附近,有不少打扫的员工都是外劳,有时会买一些水或水果,看到他们都会交到他们手上,请他们,毕竟他们在这里薪金不会很高
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Others
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An Expatriate Father When a child asks his father, “Dad, why did you go abroad? When are you coming back?” Every father feels torments inside hearing that. They have no answer to give. I do feel the same when my child asks me that. That day, I was silent for some moment. The words flew in my head and bumped around the walls of my head, but I could not gather myself. After taking a pause, I said, “I will bring many kinds of toys, bicycle and dolls for you. To buy all of these, I came abroad. When I finished buying all of these, I will come home my dear. Then you and I will play along with all the toys. So much fun we will have! “ “I don’t want anything Dad.” He said in a weeping-like tone. “Our neighbour Bindu’s father bought her many toys, even Rimon’s father gave him a bicycle. Rimon never lets me touch it.” My eyes were full of tears but they didn’t fall. I gathered myself. “It’s ok. Do not despair. I will come home soon. I will bring you to the village fair and we will eat Chatpati (চটপটি) together.” My boy said, “The fair has ended. You won’t see it when you arrive here. You know, dad? Mom bought me a pistol gun. The fair has many toys like this. But mom does not buy me things. Mom said, ‘If your Dad gives money, I will buy it’.” “Okay, my dear. I will take you to the zoo, and I will buy you all the toys.” “Nah. I don’t want to go. If you come quickly, I will go out with you. Dad, tell me when you will come back. “ Droplets of tears form on my eyes. I told my son with a heavy heart, “I will come as soon as you are in Class Two.” He said, “I am already in Class Two Dad. When are you coming?” I could not continue the argument with my son. “Just after two days.” I said. “Mom, Dad is coming after two days. Wow! What a merry!” I could not no longer hold back my tears. I hung up the phone. Every expatriate father consoles his child with false promises, and goes to bed. But they can’t sleep. He consumes the night with anxiety and stress. Let all the expatriate fathers be happy. Let their children be safe and sound.
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Others
Passion
English
I always admire my mum’s priceless skill which is sewing. This skill is passed on through the generations, however, during my generation, I’m kind of despise it and never wanted to learn from my mum as I think it is useless for me to have this sewing skill. If I want a cloth, then I will pay money to buy. This is what I think but I’m sure my thinking is definitely wrong. During her teenager times, my mum forced to drop out the school and learn some skills to survive. Learning from my grandmother is not enough to open a small sewing business, so she found some tailor and let him to teach her on how to sew and slowly gain the skill. By that time, she was 16 years old. When she was 22 years old, she met my dad and they married at her ages of 25. By that time, she successfully opened a small sewing business at their new home. Her job scope can go for normal kindergarten uniform until nurse uniform, all tailored by her. She even developed some priceless skill by herself which is trimmed the pearls and sequins on the cheong sam. My mum used to make a lot of frocks for me and my sisters. I wore homemade dresses right until I was in Standard Six. Her business became better and she even open a fashion clothes shop just to sell her handmade clothes. However, due to her health problem, she decided to take a hiatus and rest for a while. Sometimes, she still makes clothes for us. I proudly say that all my presentation uniform start from shirt to dress is tailored by my mum, and you can never buy the same quality and style from other places. Nowadays, she starts to make some children’s clothes for her granddaughter as children ‘clothes are getting pricier these days, she adds. “But the real reason why I make clothes for baby Eleanor (my niece) is because it’s fun, and not to save cost.” For my mum, she spends her whole life on sewing clothes. I once asked her, do you regret to drop out from school? She smiled and told me: Never. A thousand things can be brought to my life just by stitching two pieces of fabric together. Watching their smiles, satisfied with the product and I’m really appreciate that I chose this career. Indeed. She is really the best mum in the world.
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Singapore
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Poovanes known as Pooneh(CAT IN TAMIL) was a pampered, bubbly and playful girl in the family. Taken care and brought up by my dad and grandparents. In 2003 October 3, life took a toll on me after my grandfather passed on. I wasn’t sure of my career path. A kind soul named Mr. Vinesh gave me a letter to attend an interview at ITE Bishan for Nitec in Nursing course, saying given to my character, I will be suitable to be a nurse. I got in the course but struggled to complete the course due to my personal problems. At my late teens, I just wanted to complete the course and just cleared all my modules. I didn’t know how nursing career progression was neither what life would be after school. I was given the wrong impression that the diploma in nursing can be done in private as a part-time. Once I entered the working world as an Enrolled Nurse, at a point of time I wanted to progress in my career. That was when I realized that the Diploma has no part-time. I told myself not to give up on myself and kept trying, My dad, good friends(Eswaran, Mr&Mrs Deen, Mr&Mrs Ganesh, Priya, Umax2,Sathya,Mr&Mrs Siva, Mr Balaji,, Fatimah, Geethan,Yogaraj, Maran, Mdm Theepa, Mdm Maryln Mdm Bhuvan and their family members), Rekha, my aunt Rajesh, Mr & Mrs Sundrum, Ms Devi amma kept encouraging me to keep trying. Still was not given a chance to upgrade. In 10 years of my nursing career as an Enrolled Nurse, I have worked in Adult & Paediatrics surgical ward, Operating Theater and in the Emergency Department. I started contributing to child needs & welfare through MSF. Halfway through my career, I asked if I can volunteer to be a humanitarian for the poor and needy, I got brushed off by a senior that only Registered nurse is accepted, though she knew my working experiences. I was upset but I still continue to master my skills and learn from my colleagues. In 2014 September life took a toll on me again. That very year taught me a painful lesson in my life. It was my 29th birthday that I saw my dad tore to me, worrying about my life & career progression. I told him about the overseas Nursing Diploma with a degree course, after considering he finally agreed to send me away to study. A few days later I had a call that my dad almost fainted. I rushed him to the hospital only to find out that he was critically ill. He was diagnosed with an abnormal lump in the pancreas. To add on, he had a weak health, diabetes and imbalance electrolytes. Surgeons said there were too many risks to this surgery, I might end up losing my dad. But having a lump in the pancreas can be equally dangerous. During the heart-wrenching moments, I had to deal with my own setbacks. I had to pull myself together and took the strongest decision alone to send my dad for the high-risk emergency surgery. During then I had a wake-up call and realized how hard my dad has worked for us day and night providing a luxurious lifestyle. He has played duo roles of dad & mum in my life. He reads my heart through my eyes. He was a good example and role model of a good parent. Being the sole breadwinner of the family, he gave all he could in return for nothing but the best. He never pressured me for perfect grades instead want me to do & try my best. He supported me when everyone discriminated me. During that period blessings came in after. First, I came to know that Enrolled Nurse with working experience can join CBSEN- Certificate of bridging studies for enrolled nurses. I applied and got accepted. Secondly, I met a DR KJ, who gets involved with relief camps. With the fear of rejection on my mind, I still went forward to ask him if an EN with experience could join relief camps. He smiled as long you have the heart and passion to serve though, in need, you can join. Your experience is there. He welcomed me with a warm heart to join Crisis Relief Singapore. I participated in Gensan Children camp and Nepal earthquake in 2015 April to May. I was blessed to help numerous less privileged, needy and injured ones. I survived the Nepal earthquake and got back to school. After which I continued to complete CBSEN course and entered Ngee Ann Polytechnic for Diploma in health sciences. In these 3 years was another struggle. It was a full-time study. I faced so many challenges to complete my diploma. I almost got debarred, almost failed, low liquidity, I had to write in for fundings, help came in from everywhere before I got an offer from Sengkang General Hospital and I still confidently tell myself, calm down you can do this. I always pray. I met a couple of good lecturers who guided me well in this 3 years (Dr Abi, Dr Dave, Dr Anu, Dr Alpana,Mdm Liu, Mdm Song, Mr Rashid,Mr Naseer, Mr OH, Mdm Suzana,Mdm Lee,Mdm Jophia, Mdm Shanti, Mdm Lynette, Mdm menya, Ms celest,Mdm Clarissa, Mdm Tan Cheng har), CI Burton). They encouraged me and inspired me to grow in my career. The taught me resilience. There were so many days i have broken down but I still move forward and do what is supposed to be done. I have spent so many late nights at macdonlds to revise. I ignored my health until I ended up in surgery. i sacrificed my social outings, a luxurious lifestyle to complete these studies. Thankfully I had understanding friends. Those who didn't, I didn't bother to explain. Because those who understand your absence, struggles will understand your situation too. Today 7th May 2019 I graduated from Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Diploma in Health Science(nursing). Now after so many years of struggles I am a Registered Nurse. Dad always says- In life there are ups and downs, not always we can be rich and doesn’t give us rights to look down on a poor person. Give and do things wholeheartedly and god will bless you with what you need. He planted good fundamental values in me. Taught me dharma, dhanam, justice, equality, integrity, respect, compassion, courage, perseverance and most importantly to follow my heart with freedom. Which helped me to pull through my struggles. Dad, I just want you to know that your upbringing didn’t go wrong. And my late grandfathers have also brought me up well. I am thankful & grateful for all those people I mentioned above. Thank you for holding my hands through the worse moments of my life. I pray to god that I must have more blessed moments with you.
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Singapore
Relationship
English
My ex boss, my friend, my sister and my mentor - Ms Yvonne Kao She has build up her company - Wise Unicorn for past 35 years. Her success lies on her determination and confidence. She manages a large team of people, leads panel discussions on gender and diversity, presents to executives and peers alike, and always stands behind the work she puts in. She is not afraid to speak up in a boardroom, or have a one-on-one discussion with a co-worker. She is so much more than a “boss”—she is a true leader. On top of that she is a single parent to her daughter. Though she seems to be working around the clock, you can never see her break a sweat. She manages two full time jobs with style and grace—a feat is nothing other short of miraculous. Watching her juggling between home and work, in general has undoubtedly shaped up her idea of womanhood, professionalism, leadership, and confidence. She dressed up professionally in the office. She speaks eloquently and writes professionally. She commands a room with presence simply cannot be denied. She is not cocky—she is smart, knowledgeable, prepared, and determined. She serves simultaneously as my friend and my mentor, my best friend and my strongest motivation. She is like a modern-day Superwoman, she can do both—the roles are mutually exclusive. I wish her all the BEST! I admired her FIGHTING spirit
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Others
Passion
Malay
Walaupun sibuk dengan tugasan harian sebagai seorang penjawat awan di salah sebuah IPTA dan dalam masa yang sama menjadi seorang ibu, namun ianya tidak mematahkan semangat menghalang minat saya untuk terlibat secara aktif sebagai penceramah, motivator dan fasilitator untuk projek yang melibatkan komuniti di peringkat mahasiswa IPTA dan sekolah- sekolah di sekitar bandar Kuching, Sarawak dan juga Samarahan berkaitan dengan Teknologi Maklumat dan Komunikasi (ICT), modul Asas kepimpinan, pengucapan awam dan skop projek memperkasakan wanita. Dengan terlibat secara aktif dengan beberapa persatuan Wanita NGO yang terdapat di bumi kenyalang ini telah memberikan banyak pengalaman dan membuka mata saya untuk lebih mendampingi mereka yang memberi inspirasi dan tidak lupa juga mereka yang memerlukan bantuan seperti kanak- kanak yang tercicir dalam pelajaran, anak yatim, ibu tunggal, OKU dan sebagainya. Pelbagai aktiviti menarik yang turut disertai dan dianjurkan bukan hanya dalam pendidikan dan latihan malah program larian untuk mengumpul dana bagi menampung program – program bercorak kebajikan. Tahun 2015 sehingga 2017 telah memberikan banyak kenangan dan menyaksikan kehidupan dalam pelbagai dimensi, bekerja dan dalam masa yang sama menyambung pelajaran secara separuh masa amat menguji ketahanan fizikal dan emosi namun Alhamdullilah semuanya telah berlalu dengan pelbagai liku - liku cabaran yang telah dilalui dengan berbekalkan doa daripada kedua ibubapa, suami dan keluarga. Diakui, bukan mudah untuk kaum wanita yang bertindak selaku isteri, ibu dan wanita bekerjaya untuk mendepani arus perdana pembangunan globalisasi yang penuh dengan liku-liku cabaran. Berpegang pada kata- kata ini - Tidak kira sejauh mana kejayaan anda berbanding orang lain, kita mesti sentiasa mempunyai rasa kesyukuran dan merendah diri, siapapun anda jadilah sumber inspirasi kepada wanita lain agar mereka juga berjaya seperti anda. ~Allah is the best of planners~When it rains look for rainbows, when its dark look for stars~.
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Passion
English
Journey to become the better life Always ask to myself "what i want for life" and " This is enough for me". To be better person for future it's not easy. My journey start for bottom and to get what i want and It's push me a lot. I have big dream and to become a teacher and writer. But it's not enough for me if i not push my self to be a better and better. My journey start like " It's nothing for my life if i continue this journey." I feel nothing, not happy and like " what my life like this,". It's happen for my life. In 2015, I continue my journey after i finish my study in Certificate Information Communication Technology and my journey become worst after i continue my study in Certificate in Early Childhood Education and Diploma Early Childhood Education. This is my passion since i'm child and but the journey it's not what i'am thinking. Start my first semester it's like new journey. It's good start but not really good because start my second semester my life like "Most bad dream ever in my life." My life start trouble with same problem. My course with other course it's totally different because my course it's most trouble and most make people trouble because the attitude. Day by day i realize i need to work hard and never give up. I finish my Certificate at 2017 and after that, i take a break most three months before i continue my diploma with same college in same years. Same thing happen again and this like most hard thing happen in my life. I most struggle to adapt this situation because during my Certificate totally different and you must adapt with diploma student. The lesson it's most hard and really make me not find my true self. I decided to stop my study suddenly because i cannot be like this anymore. But my parents and my sister found this news and them advice to me please think again. But after i think carefully and i decide to continue my study because i really passion and also my dream. During my last semester before i go to internship. Worst thing happen again and it's be life trouble and trouble. I need work into group and for my course we have a lot assessment to do in group and i still remember one subject we need to do drama but it's not really working. I realize i need work really hard to this journey. I need to survive and patient. I survive until finish everything. I did and we must think what we want for life and to catch my dream it's not easy but be passion and keep learning. Nothing easy to get what you want but be passionation. Syafiqah Halim
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Others
Relationship
Chinese
我是一名乳腺癌第四期的患者,今年53岁,我觉得在我的人生中最好的自己是~每天充满正能量,生活不好过,但必须积极努力的生活着,虽然我从2016年至今2019,我已数不清多少次的化疗,每一次的不舒服和副作用,我都忍着没吭一声,为的就是不想让这事影响到别人的生活和压力,尤其是家人,我亲爱的女儿,如果她知道我不适,她的心情就会变的不好,原因是女儿太爱我这个妈妈了,我每天都在跟时间赛跑,过一天是一天,不知道什么时候说不在了就不在,可是~管他呢!活在当下最幸福,我每天开开心心过日子,身旁的人都感觉不到我是重病患者,我还在上班呢!我期待着明年看着女儿结婚,这是多么美好开心的事。 所以我说呢!在我人生中最好的自己是~我充满正能量和身旁亲人加上我最重要的好朋友们的支持和鼓励,永远乐观积极直到离开的那一天!
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Malaysia
Community
English
When my husband and I moved into our first home, we were among the first few units in the newly developed condominium, and barely knew anyone. Hence, we started a closed Facebook community group to get to know our neighbors. Note: It's a closed group for residents only, no outsiders are permitted in the group. I'd like to stress that this is important, so that the group will be very personal, without unnecessary disturbance from advertisers, property agents and so forth. The group started from a handful to now having over 300 members. We frequently share our views on how to improve the community space (eg, feedback on condominium facilities), exchange information to help each other out (eg, car lights left switched on in parking lot), recommendations for daily services (eg, cleaners and handyman contacts), etc. Though we may not know each other on a personal level, there is a great sense of community in our premise which makes me feel proud of myself starting the group. I'd definitely recommend initiating a new Community Forum/Social Group for your neighborhood (if there isn't one) or join one.
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Singapore
Relationship
English
I am pretty fine here When their faces come before my eyes, my hardship knows no bounds, My eyes could not hold the salty rivers. This tearful eyes are kept hidden by many tactics,With many agonies. I don’t want anyone to be sad after looking at my eyes with tears. That is what I say when someone calls from home. “I am pretty fine here” My mother admits the bounties of the world God gave us. All with a prayer. My father smiles a smile of joy and goes to work. And my sweetheart goes to bed with a full happy four-square meal. Nobody never wanted to discover or search- how much affliction I have in here. Here in my heart. I never let me get to know my grief and pangs. Every breath of my heart is an exhale unheard! Thereupon no sleep in my eyes. The torments of the expatriates like me are manifold. It is about not taking care of the parents, Not having the love of beloved, Not to hold very dear the child that had born, Not to hang out with the friends, And have a cup of tea with them, Not to look after the relatives back home. Never have I ever wanted to tell anyone,About my woe. This expatriate life is the reason – Of all my tribulation and anguish. This life itself is a boon. It is a jinx. “I am pretty fine here” – if this sentence makes them happy, let it be. Let it flow the fountain of happiness. Why torching the happiness of others! Expatriate’s life is full of agony. Let this agony be with us. Let it be private. Just let it rest with us. (Omar Faruque Shipon working Shipyard as safety coordinator since 2010.. His favaurite hobby is reading and writing.. He is one of the winners in the inaugural migrant worker story telling competition last may 27th,2018. Some of his article and short stories are published in Bangladeshi leading newspapers and online news portals most of article about migrant worker issues..)
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