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
Relationship
English
My interest in animals was nurtured while growing up in my grandmother’s kampung in 1980’s Singapore—a very different time and place from today’s concrete jungle. As my boyhood ended, I left that life behind, but rediscovered my passion for animals when I worked on The Fish Book. Photographing fish was a real eye-opener. I found each of them to be different, and not just in terms of shape, size and species. My encounter with each was different, and I came to know them as individuals. Some were livelier than others, some were more camera-shy, but all had facial expressions of some form–elated, grumpy, excited or confused. From behind the camera, they seemed to be showing a gamut of emotions. Since the publication of The Fish Book, I’ve photographed orang-utans in the forests of Sumatra and come face-to-face with snakes in under tunnels. The experience made me realise how our perception of animals could be changed simply by getting to know them as individuals. Pet owners tend to anthropomorphise their pets and even treat them as members of the family. This is true of many cat and dog owners. In fact, this experience of closeness is prevalent across all human-animal relationships, whether the animals are domesticated or not. British broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough once said: “People are not going to care about animal conservation unless they think that animals are worthwhile.” I have met farmers who name and pat their pigs, and conservationists who hug and talk to their research subjects. They form long-term relationships with the animals that see both human and animal benefit from an exchange of affection. Perhaps to the human, these benefits are emotional, academic or economic. Whatever the reason, they all think their animals are worthy of care and protection and that they are not just merely animals or in my case, not just a fish or a fowl. Our relationship with the natural world is now more intertwined than ever before. I believe if we get our relationship with animals and the natural enviroment right, our human-to-human interactions will benefit tremendously. Animals are able to bring out the compassion and empathy in us, especially in children. That is why I choose to work with animals. Visitors to my art show tell me I bring out the best in animals in my photography but the truth is that it is the animal that brings out the best in all of us as human beings. Being in the presence of majestic mammals such as an orang utan or an elephant humbles our sense of strength and power while holding a delicate butterfly or a bright-eyed kitten in our hands gives us a feeling of wonder and awe that this planet possesses.
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Malaysia
Community
English
I am a Sarawakian. I grew up in an environment which is rich in different cultures. I have Malay, Iban, Bidayuh, Dusun, Kadazan, Penan and of cause Chinese friends. I made friends with them since primary school where some of their parents sent them to Chinese school. At school, they learned and speak in Mandarin, where I also got to learn some of their languages and cultures. We celebrated Hari Raya Aidilfiltri, Hari Gawai (Iban's Harvest Festival) and also Chinese New Year together, welcomed them to our house and their house. Among my schoolmates, most of them were from impoverished life, where their families work on the agricultural field to earn a living. On the contrary, looking at my own life, even though I am not from a wealthy family, but I learn to appreciate what I had and be proud of it.I had two Iban, a Malay and a Chinese best friends from primary school until secondary school. Four of us spent most of our time together doing homework, discussions, celebrate birthdays and outings. We do not feel embarrassed to be friends with each other. In fact, I feel thankful to them, culturing me to be more open-minded and accept different cultures easily. We care about each other regardless of our different cultures and races. I appreciated them for giving me such a wonderful and colourful moments. I think that a person's growing environment mold your personality. That's what I become who I am now.Thank you Julie's The Best of You to give such an opportunity for me to ponder what actually made me the best of me.
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Malaysia
Relationship
Malay
“The Best Of You” pada diri saya ialah keluarga, keluarga merupakan satu pertalian yang amat penting dalam sesuatu kehidupan didunia ini, keluargalah yang memberi semangat dan memberi dorongan yang kuat kepada diri saya untuk mencapai sesuatu yang saya inginkan, sejak kecil keluargalah yang banyak mengajar saya erti kehidupan dan memberi saya pendidikan dari saya lahir hinggalah saya berjaya ketahap ini, tanpa keluarga mungkin saya tidak akan berjaya sampai ketahap ini,saya amat bersyukur kerana saya memiliki keluarga yang memahami minat dan kerjaya saya dalam bidang seni ini, walaupun pada mulanya keluaraga saya tidak berapa mempercaya minat dan kerjaya saya ini kerana kerja ini dianggap tiada masa depan dan susah untuk mencapai kejayaan, tetapi dengan semangat yang ada pada diri sendiri dan sokongan dari kawan-kawan, akhirnya keluarga saya turut memberi sokongan pada diri saya untuk terus berada dalam bidang seni ini, saya amat berterima kasih kepada keluarga yang banyak memberi sokongan pada saya, jadi kita haruslah menghargai keluarga kita, tanpa mereka siapalah kita di dunia ini.
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Malaysia
Community
Malay
Tanpa disedari diriku telah meningkat dewasa,dari zaman bersekolah hinggalah ke alam pekerjaan. tidak diduga saya telah berkecimpung di dalam bidang yang tidak dijangka yang mana telah berkhidmat untuk membantu golongan yang sangat memerlukan khasnya di usia yang awal perkembangan mereka, “kanak-kanak AUTISME”. Sekiranya dilihat, kanak-kanka ini sangatlah istimewa daripada kanak-kanak normal yang lain, khasnya dari segi tingkah laku, kemahiran sosial, dan komunikasi mereka. mungkin ianya juga dipandang pelik orang masyarakat yang masih belum mengenal apa itu AUTISME. Tetapi, jika diselami dan dihayati, mereka juga mampu menjalankan kehidupan seperti kanak-kanak normal lain. Mereka juga diberikan ruang dan kesempatan untuk bermain dan bersuka ria dengan masyarakat sekeliling. Justeru, mereka juga memiliki keistimewaan dan kebolehan tersendiri yang mana kadang kala ibu bapa sendiri juga tidak sedar akan kemampuan yang dimiliki oleh mereka. Jadi, selagi kita mampu menghulurkan bantuan kepada mereka, maka hulurkan lah tidak kira dari apa jua bentuk sama ada kewangan, ilmu, kemahiran dan juga perkongsian, khasnya bagi ibu bapa yang masih sangat-sangat kurang pengetahuan dan pengalaman dalam menempuhi kehidupan ini. Semoga mereka juga mampu menjalani kehidupan normal seperti mana kanak-kanak dan dewasa yang lain. Dino Liew
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Malaysia
Others
Malay
Salam 1 Malaysia, Saya Nabilah Jailani merupakan rakyat Malaysia. Seorang usahawan dalam bidang kewangan. Saya ingin memberikan inspirasi kepada komuniti di luar sana agar menjadi usahawan yang sentiasa berfikiran positif, berdaya saing dan berfikir di luar kotak supaya kita semua dapat membantu mengukuhkan ekonomi Negara kita Malaysia tercinta di mata Dunia. Selain itu, saya ingin memberi nasihat kepada nitizen yang mengunakan platform Media Social agar memberhentikan cyber bullying kepada orang lain. Ingatlah kita haruslah mengamalkan sikap positif dan membantu orang lain dan mengunankan kenyataan yang positif agar orang diluar sana mampu memberi lebih banyak idea dan mengamalkan hidup yang lebih harmoni. Ingat stop cyber bullying dan lebihkan positiviti. From love, Nabilah Jailani.
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Malaysia
Passion
Chinese
你好,我是叶子男。大家都怎麽叫我!我来自Terengganu的一个小镇叫Jerteh。哪裡没有很棒的教育设备,所以中学毕业后大家都纷纷到KL来读书,我也不例外。从小就很喜欢画画,常常喜欢在家裡做做美劳,所以在中学毕业前我就打算就读于设计有关科系。后来我就读Malaysian Institute of Art (MIA),Industrial Design (IND) Diploma。我们都必须在两年半裡完成学业,之后就是普遍的到社会去工作。可是在我Semester 5 Internship的时候,我突然间发现我就快结束我2年半的大学生涯。此时我有种不知所措,觉得读了那麽长的时间,也学了很多东西,可是我真的要像大家一样就这样出社会打工赚钱吗?我是设计师,我要有设计师的冒险精神,勇于尝试新事物。所以在我当实习生的3个月裡,因为没有课业的只有工作的情况下我决定要干一件我以前没有做过的事。一开始每天上班都是步行去到公司的,在途中我常常观察周围的环境,探索新事物。所以呢我每天都有注意到地方的落叶,于是不知道哪裡来的点子,当下决定要做叶子凋刻。决定用叶子来凋刻的原因是因为我本身是一名设计师,而且我偏爱带有环保意识的设计(ECO Design / Green Design)。所以我就跟从我最初的心,选者了叶子,同时呢我想要用我自己的方法把环保的理念传达给我身边的人,或曾经看过我作品的人。 于是当天下班后急急忙忙的回家开始一系列的research功课,发现其实国外也有叶子凋刻师。看见国外的大师级作品,我更加的确定我要认真拿起凋刻刀,凋下属于我的一片天。之后呢我买了一把凋刻刀,下班后会把叶子带回家,每晚埋头苦干的开始我的凋刻之路!。在短短的3个月裡我发现我的凋刻突飞勐进,也开始得到朋友的关注。 从一开始没有任何参考,或示范的情况下凋刻到自己研究凋刻技巧,到每晚彷彿自己陷入泥沼一样的无法自拔的凋刻很长的时间,终于的我的身体亮起了红灯。之前因为嵴椎骨有受过伤,加上每晚长时间的不正确的坐姿和凋刻姿势导致嵴椎骨和颈部骨头恶化。结果主动的到了医院报到,医生一直嘱咐我要停止/减少凋刻时间,但我就是没把医生的话听进心裡,还是一如往常的埋头苦干的凋刻。还记得最严重的一次是我连站都站不直,而且感觉双腿疼痛,麻痺。那时候我才发现大事不妙,再一次向医生求救,而医生大胆的给我推测说大概是压倒双腿的神经线了。我顿时晴天霹雳,后来我慢慢调试自己凋刻时间,尽量不要过度使用身体给我的极限。这样我才慢慢的有好转。其实在那个过程,我自己现在回想,觉得自己很勇敢。我为了什麽如此坚持。我不想就这样轻易放弃,我希望将来我可以有怎麽一段故事可以跟大家分享,也不想因为这样而少了跟大家分享我环保理念的管道。 我同时也想鼓励众多的新一代设计师或艺术家,尤其马来西亚,勇于尝试,勇于跌到,勇于改变。Do What You LOVE, LOVE What You Do。你好我是叶子凋刻师,叶子男!
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Malaysia
Passion
Chinese
每当我捡到每一样东西的时候,我不会随意地将它扔进垃圾桶里,而是会仔细地研究它的制造意涵和价值。这是因为每一件东西在制造的过程中都需经由很多繁琐的步骤,并且经过反复检测后才能完成该物品。 正因如此,如果我们常随意地将物品扔进垃圾桶里,这不就很可惜吗?其实如果我们愿意动脑筋并亲自动手便能够做出自己的作品,这样做不但环保更能给予每件物品第二次“生命”,何乐而不为呢? 就如我所展示的壁挂架,所使用的材料也是废弃的木条及木板。透过这样的废物利用不但能支持环保,更能节省制作成本。我希望能有更多的人响应此类手作活动,你的作品不但有机会成为商品,同时你也可以藉此陶冶心情及增强自信心。 感谢我的家人一路以来给予我的支持及鼓励,尤其是我的太太更毫不吝啬地给予我最多的鼓励及掌声,谢谢并且心怀感恩! Alex Wong
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Malaysia
Community
Chinese
我的公寓停车场有一个专门为住户洗车的外籍工人。他以个人身份提供服务,每个月向需要此服务的住户收取几十块钱的费用。他总是在夜里工作,那是公寓住户停车场车子返家的时分。 我常在深夜回家的时候,看到他。他总推着一个载有大水桶的推车,水桶裡的水总是满满的。推车上放了各种洗车液,及一个小矮凳。因为他个头不高,遇上车身较高的车辆,就必须站在矮凳上才能完成车顶的清理工作。 有一段日子,我也委托他为我洗车。每个月付费的时候,我常因为身上没有零钱,必须以大钞付费让他找钱。每一次在找钱给我之前,他都会不断的道歉。因为,他工作的时候身上都湿透,连带在身上的纸钞都是湿冷的。我总说无所谓,也从来不放在心上。 有一晚,回到家看到他,钱包里刚好有零钱,掏出钱要付他洗车费。一阵风吹来,他还来不及接过,鈔票就散落在地上。我很自然的赶紧弯下腰,紧追着还在地面上随风翻滚的纸钞。同一时间,我听见他边连声说“对不起”,边与我一起追逐那快飘走的纸钞;他像是一个做错事情惊慌失措的孩子,不停道歉。 我捡起纸钞再交到他手中,他弯着九十度的腰,又再向我道歉。我终于忍不住,问他为何要道歉?也许是语言障碍,他一时之间也说不清楚。我对他说:“你不需要道歉。这纸钞是被风吹落地上的。” 我说完,他的眼眶竟然湿了。他握着我的手,说了谢谢。然后说:“你是我在马来西亚遇到最好的人。” 我很震惊。我没有对他特别好。我只是像对平常人一样的对待他。我突然明白他为何总在道歉。他为湿纸钞道歉、他为被风吹落地上的钞票道歉。因为他在我们的国家,没有得到他作为一个人的基本尊重。一定有人曾经拒绝他身上的湿冷纸钞,一定有人曾经将他控制范围外的状况怪罪在他身上,那是因为一个语言不通、无依无靠的外籍劳工是如此容易被欺负。他一定因为自己的身份,尝尽了大马人的冷眼与无情。而我仅仅是为了那么一件小事说无所谓,就成为了他在马来西亚遇上的最好的人。 他的卑微,仿佛是一面镜子,映出了我们这个社会对外籍工人的态度。
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Malaysia
Community
Chinese
那时候的我还没有随身携带雨伞的习惯。每当大雨袭来,我都只能在躲雨的地方等到雨停为止。 有一天我等了超过半个小时,雨还是没有要停的意思。看着路上行色匆匆的路人,我百无聊赖地开始猜想着他们的人生。想着想着一股孤独感突然满上心头,因为刚来到这座城市,我一个朋友都没有。等待不单单消耗耐心,还带来了孤独。看着一个个撑伞离开的路人,让我有了想问问他们能不能带我一段路的冲动。这时候,有一位阿姨问我是不是要到马路对面,她表示可以送我过去。在送我过去的过程中,她一直紧紧地握着我的手腕。冰凉的雨水时不时溅到脚上,但这位陌生人的手心传来的温暖让我不再感觉无助。 从此以后,我都会带一把雨伞在身边。谢谢你,这位友善的陌生人,我会把你传来的温暖继续传下去。
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Malaysia
Community
Malay
Setelah lapan bulan aku melabuhkan tirai pekerjaanku, terasa ingin pula sambung kembali bekerja. Berkat bulan Ramadhan yang mulia dan doa abah dan keluarga ku. Aku terima satu Whatsapp berkenaan kerja kosong di sebuah syarikat. Aku pun membelek Whatsapp tersebut – dari siapakah penghantarnya? Oh! Aku kenal pengirimnya tetapi bisa kah aku melamar balik pekerjaan yang ada kesesuaiannya dengan pengalamanku. Rezeki Allah swt amat luas. Aku yakin jika kita berusaha insyaallah rezeki Allah akan datang. Aku cuba hubungi rakan lama ku. Beliau sangat memahamiku.Walaupun usia aku lebih sedikit darinya, rakan aku ini masih hormatkan aku. Dari tingkah lakunya yang aku kenal, rakan aku ini adalah seorang yang baik budi pekertinya. Bukan sehari aku mengenalinya, malah lebih 20 tahun. Jangka masa satu persahabatan inilah yang menyebabkan aku sering berWhatsapp cara yang baik. Kadang – kadang kita tidak dapat mengagak adakah rakan kita itu sibuk. Santai dan bertungkus lumus untuk menyiapkan tugasan masing – masing. Masa cepat berlalu aku cuba berinteraksi dengan rakanku ini namanya Tuan Hj Akmal. Title Haji diperolehi semasa berkhidmat di Jeddah pada tahun 90-an. Bukan terasa masa tu cepat berlalu tetapi berkat hidup yang direstui emak dan abah itulah yang menyebabkan hati ini berkata selagi masih ada nafas selagi itulah Allah berikan kita peluang untuk membuat kebaikan. Kebaikan yang bukan dipandang pada wang ringgit tetapi pada semua makhluk Allah swt. Tidak kira warna kulit,bangsa apa,miskin atau kaya. Itu tidak menjadi hal. Dalam pikiran saya kasih sayang timbul dari hati yang ikhlas tanpa perlu di minta balas. Sebab itulah bila berkawan perkara utama yang dititik beratkan adalah keikhlasan dan kejujuran. Dua perkara utama yang menjadi prioriti dalam pedoman hidup yang singkat ini. Sebab itu bila saya tidak bekerja agak jangka masa yang panjang. Kehilangan rakan- rakan bukanlah pokok utama untuk kita bersedih. Saya yakin proses yang telah berlaku ke atas diri ini banyak mengajar saya apa itu erti sebuah kehidupan. Kita tidak perlu risau atau takut jika kehilangan kawan. Tetapi hukum kifarah jugalah tetap berlaku. Setiap yang molek kita lakukan pada sesiapa sahaja insyaallah Allah swt pasti membalasNya. Hidup ini perlu diteruskan. Anak – anak perlu dibekalkan dengan ilmu pelajaran agar suatu hari nanti menjadi insan yang berguna. Untuk agama,bangsa & negara. Semangat sedemikian memang saya terapkan agar mereka tidak lupa. Kenapa Allah swt jadikan kita sebagai khalifah di dunia ini. Tidak lain adalah dipertanggungjawabkan akan amanah yang dipikul. Sekiranya amanah dapat dilaksanakan insyaallah kita telah lulus sebagai khalifah di muka bumi. Andainya pula amanah disalahgunakan. Balasan yang setimpal akan diterima. Seperti azab yang Allah swt turunkan kepada umat -umat yang engkar lagi menzalimi diri sebagai khalifah di bumi ini. Memang sedih dan takut kiranya kita abaikan tanggung jawab kita.Sebagai ketua keluarga,sebagai pemimpin yang diamanahkan. Jadi di sudut hati ini saya banyak kali memperingatkan diri ini agar hidup di dunia biar berjasa dan selalu pikirkan bagaimana untuk membuat seseorang itu merasakan hidup mereka indah, bahagia dengan pelbagai warna dan corak yang menarik untuk dirasai. Nikmat hidup yang sebentar sahaja Allah swt berikan kepada kita. Apataknya selepas seorang demi seorang rakan saya pergi menghadap Illahi. Selepas saya ketahui rakan baik saya Abdul Wahid pergi setelah 2 tahun lalu tanpa ketahui berita pemergian beliau. Setelah di beritahu melalui rakan FB. Kesimpulannya kita haruslah berbuat baik dengan semua insan didunia ini.
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Malaysia
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English
I appreciate the environment very much. My wish is to see our future generation enjoy the earth with sustainable clean air and water. To inspire others to do the same, I have researched and changed my life.I farm my own fishes and vegetables organically. I use the water from my fish pond to water and fertilise the vegetables. I have installed solar panel to harness the solar energy to power all my electrical equipment and I harvest the rain for the water usage. The wasted heat energy from my air-conditioner is diverted to heat water for bathing and kitchen usage, excess heat energy is used to heat the pools. I generate Ozone gas from air and used UV light to disinfect the water in the swimming pool instead of using chemical chlorine.I try my best to reuse energy, reduce my carbon footprint and recycle both energy and water usage. I want to show people that all these are possible. This is the best of me and what I can offer to my children and future generation.Lau Eng Tin
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Malaysia
Community
English
She said “Out of the hundreds of kids I’ve given my talks to, taught them about recycling, brought them out on nature excursions to show them the beauty of Mother Nature and stress the importance and need to preserve her, only one kid heeded my call. That kid was you.” Her name was Aunty Carrol, and aunty Carrol she would always be known to me. I have followed her since I could trek up steep mountain slopes with my parents to plant trees with the environmental organization, Regional Environmental Awareness Cameron Highlands (REACH). And for that I’d first have to thank my parents for the unconditional love and support they have given me over the years to pursue my passion of being an environmentalist capable of bringing change to the current system where not many people actually care about environmental issues. I have listened attentively as aunty Carrol talked about the importance of recycling, and today, it is I who am giving the talks to the schoolchildren, I who try to stress the importance of preserving the environment, I who realize that it is a thankless, hard, and most of the time, fruitless path because seriously, how many people actually give a damn about the environment? I grew up. Aunty Carrol left. And another mentor took me under her wing. Today I can fly a drone over our reforestation site to monitor it, thanks to Dr Cheam. I can sit and dictate terms and conditions with governmental departments on more effective ways and methods to preserve important water catchment areas. I can conduct various environmental activities for schools, organizations and even multi-national companies. I can bring them to trek up to our beautiful Bio-D Centre atop Mt. Brinchang and show them the connectivity of the circle of life where the moss growing on the trees around us absorbs so much moisture that they trickle down and make up the rivers which give life to the rest of Cameron Highlands. Under the guidance of yet another role model in my life, Dr Liau, I can conduct a simple biological, chemical and physical assessment of the rivers in Cameron Highlands to show people the hidden wonders of the macroscopic world in our streams and rivers, under our very noses all the time, and we, never knowing, taking our rivers for granted and them like a sewage system. I would not be here today without the guidance of these important people in my life, and for that, I am eternally grateful. #thebestofyou brought out the best in me and today I am a law graduate with every intention of realizing my dreams of being an advocate of environmental rights in Malaysia. I will end with an excerpt from my favorite poem by our National Laureate A Samad Said: I want clean air for my grandchildren I want the damn fools to leave the forest alone I want the trees to grow the rivers run free and the earth covered with grass Let the politicians plan how we may live with dignity Now and always Melody Woon
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Singapore
Passion
English
When I felt true love for the first time in my life. That true love did not come from family. It came from a stranger who changed everything when I was about to give up on life. He made me live again and didn’t give up on me and made me a better person till today. He’s now my husband. But it takes a lot. I went through a lot when I was young. To summarise, I tried to be the best for my mum as her child to impress her. I have given my life when she arranged my marriage when I was 17. My ex-husband was 35 at that time but it didn’t work at all. I thought that I was doing it all for the sake of my mum, to make her happy. The marriage didn’t last. But I have a son. I tried to do right but I needed support. You know, when you love a person, all you want to do is impress that person. It can never be enough. And then in the end, you forgot to love yourself. And when you forget to love yourself… Where is that true love? True love is supposed to be two-way and genuine. I realised that as a mother, she has a reason for that because she has to share her love with three children. Then I was blessed to be a mum and I raised my son all by myself and struggled in life. My mum then told me that she probably chose the wrong one for me and arranged me another marriage. I wasn’t sincere for that. I asked her what made her think that I have to find a husband then my life will be better. But my mum said to do it for my son. So now the reason was different, it was to do it for my son. First it was for my mum. So I did. There wasn’t any love when I got married. The feeling was worse than the first even though he was so nice. There wasn’t anything wrong with him, he gave more than he was supposed to as a husband. But I can’t fall in love, I can’t find that genuinity, I can’t be a better person. I can’t perform and be a better mum. What was the best of me then? Even when I try to be the best wife for my husband, I can’t be the best. Because it doesn’t come from my heart, there’s no sincerity. I work so much, I still can’t be happy. I tried to find my freedom, do things I like. But every story has a reason. There’s a reason for every person who comes into your life. There are so many things that I went through. I finally asked for my freedom and I got it. I told him that there was nothing wrong with him and that he was a better husband than my ex but I felt that I can’t be a better person. I don’t know why I keep doing things for people, why do I keep wanting to impress the people who I love. But it doesn’t come from my heart and I don’t know why I can’t find my happiness. Finally I found someone, after all I went through, who was the opposite of me, living so far from me. He lives in Kashmir, North India. We became friends through a friend, through the internet. Then we got together. He inspired me so much. My first husband was 14 years older than me, my second husband was 7 years older and my first love, my current husband - the person whom I love and who changed me, is 7 years younger than me. When we met, there was never an intention to get married again because I went through two and it’s embarrassing to keep going through this. But we were friends and I was in my worst state. I was very fat. I was 30kg more than what I weigh now. And when we met… he was the opposite of me. He has everything in his life, he’s living his fullest and I was living like nothing. When he saw me, he asked me why do I not love myself. And I asked him what he meant. And he told me to look at myself. Look at how I am and how I was before. It’s like I purposely put on weight because I was hating myself and it’s like I just gave up in life because I’ve never been happy and I never found the right love. My mum just married me off, made it an easy way out and never asked what made me happy. He told me that if I want to find love, I have to start loving myself. Loving myself not in the way by being arrogant but in a way by being sincere. He changed me a lot and was my inspiration. I would never imagine where I am today if it’s not for his support. I lost 25kg in 3 months. I worked a lot and took care of my diet and everything. It’s all about understanding and being sincere in life, in everything you do. If I became the best of me, it’s because I found the right husband. And I married the one that I truly love, it was my choice. Although we’re far apart, since I have to stay committed to my work in Singapore, we have to sacrifice. We have a dream that we’re building together and it’s a matter of time, Insyallah, that we’ll be living together. The point is if I became the best of me, it’s because I found what’s best in me, found someone that could see that. You need a mirror to recognise that and I found the right mirror that guided me through. You need that strength in life and I found my soul mate after so much hurdles and finally found someone that light up your life and make you who you are. And I started to do things that I never though I would. I challenged myself more. Imagine with my age, and I love someone/having someone who’s 7 years younger than me. His spirit, his strength of his spirit had influenced me. I lost my teenage life. At 17, I was married and at 21 I became a mother, so there wasn’t a time in my life where I was free or given the freedom or the time to love myself or to ask myself what I want in life. I was never given that chance. But when I found a husband that supported me through this life, shower me with the right love, I have nothing to complain anymore in my life. You’ll go through a lot and then you’ll understand why it failed the first time and why it failed the second time. As a Muslim, all these are tests and you learn from your mistakes and don’t repeat it again. And you deserve what you deserve. And when I look back to what I’ve been through, and where I am today, I feel it’s worth it. For what You (God) reward me today, I can go through anything. Because I got the right support, and it made me a better person. Be true to yourself, you don’t need an audience. As a person, we keep trying to impress but that’s not who we are. As a human, we can never be satisfied in life, we always want more. But if you’re true to yourself, no matter which part you are in the world, around you, people will accept you truly. There’s nothing you’re faking or hiding. It can be painful but it’s the truth. But you will stay happy. Once you’re happy on the inside, you’re happy on the outside. Don’t be afraid of what is in your heart. Love yourself and be truthful to whoever that is around you. Don’t impress. Live truthfully. If you’re hurt, say it out that it hurts you. If it makes you happy, appreciate and say that it makes you happy. It’s all back to your inner soul. What’s best of you have been hidden inside of you. It hasn’t been portrayed because you’re being caged. You can never be the best of you if you cage yourself and you’re trying to be someone who impresses others. That’s not who you are, how can that last? Best of you comes from you, not from what others see you as. And what you are, be truthful to yourself and know what you can do best and portray that. And if it inspires others, it’s because it comes from your heart and it goes through another person’s heart. Sincerity in life and to never be afraid. You don’t need any target audience and just be yourself.
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Singapore
Relationship
English
Thank you for being my family. For cheering me up when I was down. For giving me so much advice when I didn’t know what to do. For always believing in me, even though I have failed. Thank you for bearing with all the noises and crying I did when you were trying to study for your exams during poly. The times you brought me out to your company’s family day to have fun with your friends and for their housewarming party. Once I sat beside you during a bumper car session and I didn’t even make any noise, your friends all said that I was very ‘cool’. Thank you for giving me those fond memories even though it was so troublesome for you. Thank you for buying me my first storybook and reading me bedtime stories at night. For sitting down with me and patiently teaching me ‘han yu pin ying’. For teaching me how to tie my shoelace and for bringing me out every weekend, buying me food and so much stuff I wanted. Thank you for bringing me to the doctors and cooking porridge for me when I was sick. Thank you for all the wonderful birthday gifts and sponsorships for overseas trips. Sorry that you have to put up with my sometimes rude and mindless words. Being kind or patient is certainly not my best trait. Thank you. For taking care of me all these years like a parent. Thank you for your constructive advice and encouragement to be a better person. I am glad to have you as my gugu forever. :)” “Thank you for being my family. For cheering me up when I was down. For giving me so much advice when I didn’t know what to do. For always believing in me, even though I have failed. Thank you for bearing with all the noises and crying I did when you were trying to study for your exams during poly. The times you brought me out to your company’s family day to have fun with your friends and for their housewarming party. Once I sat beside you during a bumper car session and I didn’t even make any noise, your friends all said that I was very ‘cool’. Thank you for giving me those fond memories even though it was so troublesome for you. Thank you for buying me my first storybook and reading me bedtime stories at night. For sitting down with me and patiently teaching me ‘han yu pin ying’. For teaching me how to tie my shoelace and for bringing me out every weekend, buying me food and so much stuff I wanted. Thank you for bringing me to the doctors and cooking porridge for me when I was sick. Thank you for all the wonderful birthday gifts and sponsorships for overseas trips. Sorry that you have to put up with my sometimes rude and mindless words. Being kind or patient is certainly not my best trait. Thank you. For taking care of me all these years like a parent. Thank you for your constructive advice and encouragement to be a better person. I am glad to have you as my gugu forever. :)
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Others
Relationship
English
"I have a friend, named Lim Su Ting, who discovered she had contracted stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma 2 years ago in 2014, at a tender age of 22 years old. She has a son, who was only 1 year old at that point of time and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes just a few months prior to her cancer diagnosis. She had to endure physical and mental tortures, through many sessions of chemotherapies, surgeries, stem cell transplant procedures, as well as countless periods filled with fear, tears and pain. Even when she barely hanged on, she had to constantly worry about the well-being of her son and take care of him at the expense of her own health. However, she managed to survive this horrendous predicament and emerged victorious against the battle with cancer. Her son also adapted to the lifestyle and diet changes exceptionally well after his diagnosis. When life seemed too tough, she braved through all hardships with grace, courage and positivity. She had taught me that perseverance is the way of life, and nothing is impossible if we set our minds on achieving our goals. She serves as a living example that we should always embrace setbacks and utilize experiences in life to be stronger than ever and to fuel our lifelong journey. She lives the best out of her life, and inspired many people around to be the best version of themselves every single day."
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Singapore
Passion
English
A few years ago, I held a research coordinator job and found myself feeling unsatisfied with my work and myself. As a Psychology graduate, I’ve always had the passion to make a meaningful difference in people’s lives. Unfortunately, my job did not provide such opportunities and my passion was left unfulfilled. This led me to begin crafting jewellery as a hobby and a personal form of therapy during this time. To me, jewellery crafting and design is a similar process to playing with Lego, something I have been fond of since I was a child. The process of combining different materials to create something new with functional and aesthetic value was simple yet empowering. I enjoy being completely engaged in the endless ways different bits can fit together and temporarily stepping away from the noisy world. Many of my jewellery pieces involve natural raw semi-precious stones with various healing properties. The designs also reflect an inspiration from nature and various cultures. As my passion grew, I decided to dedicate my time fully on jewellery and founded my online store, Secret Clovers. Having always seen myself as a scientifically-inclined academic, no one was more surprised than I am by my new creative venture. Through participating in street markets around Singapore, I’ve had the opportunity to meet people who share similar appreciation of handcrafts and natural stones. Jewellery crafting continues to be a heartfelt process in which I can channel my passion and energy, but has also evolved to be one of my most serious endeavours. It has motivated me to step out of my comfort zone and to create my dream job. I believe that each of us has multiple passions and that there are more than one way to explore them. I am thankful for being able to fulfil one of mine and hope to always have faith that everything will work out. The present jewellery collection is named Phereneki which stands for ‘Bringer of Victory’ in Greek. In this series, materials of earthy and dull metallic hues were used as the common theme, namely unpolished metal-coated quartz crystals and raw brass chain.
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Singapore
Community
English
Many youths with special needs aged out of Special Schools at 18 with limited opportunities and training. They are less adaptive to open employment due to their varying degree of sensory and behavioral challenges. Societal understandings of how they are differently able also limit the available avenues for them. Stretched resources in terms of time, money and family support added to the odds against this group of individuals. As a result, most are left at home or enrolled in Day Activity Centers. If not purposefully engaged, these individuals will regress and lose skills acquired over the last 10 years of training in school. Furthermore, they will become our societal problem 20 – 30 years later when their caregivers are no longer around. At Mustard Tree, we aim to engage these individuals who have fallen below society’s radar, train them in skills of industry standards so that they are better placed to be gainfully employed or be stay at home entrepreneurs, with support from their families. We believe in creating an environment whereby their abilities, no matter how small, are celebrated. Their sensory and behavioral challenges are embraced as these are what make them uniquely different from you and I. Each of our apprentice is exposed to a variety of craft training like sewing, jewelry making, card making, decoupage, etc. We will identify their individual gifting, upon which we will help them to build up their skills. Our experience as parents to an Autistic child also inspired and motivated us to be active advocates and champions for differently able persons. Our retail store goes beyond a brick and mortar outlet. It is a venue which showcases the talents of apprentices. It gives authenticity to each of the product you see, as it is made and produced right before you. The shop draws together a community of support for our cause, and gives us the opportunity to share with others the challenges faced by this group of differently able individuals. Many people have stepped forward to offer their skills, time and resources to us. Our corporate video is one such project. It is sponsored by The Fat Farmers – helm by renowned photographer Bob Lee. We also have 2 weekly workshops where volunteer help to train a group of youths in craft skills. Yet there are others who frequently stop by to give our team members encouraging words and prayers. We are truly blessed in mind, body and soul! In addition, we are constantly on a lookout for opportunities to connect individuals who want to play a bigger part in this community. Recently, an Austrian Children’s book author collaborated with one of our clients and published 5 books – all illustrated by the artist. More projects will be in the pipeline. At Mustard Tree, we aim to engage, empower and enable differently able individuals to lead a purposeful and dignified life – to be the best that they can be.
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Singapore
Passion
English
I am a professional ballet dancer. I started ballet when I was 2 years old and I never stopped since then. It started out as a hobby until I became more serious. After that, I went to a vocational school in the UK, and now I’m back in Singapore joining the Singapore Dance Theater as a professional dancer. Being a dancer has allowed me to challenge what normal people can’t do. For example in ‘Nutcracker’, being the role of Clara allows me to explore the different places and adventures that she goes through. Also, the role requires me to know different type of dances such as Chinese dance, Spanish dance etc. As dancers, ballerinas, we are always very technical. We try to improve ourselves everyday by working on having the perfect technique. People always say that practice makes perfect. But no one is perfect. So it’s a very tough profession. You always try to keep yourself in shape. You have to know what your body can do, know all its limits and know how much you can push yourself. But you can’t push yourself too hard because you can get injured. Because I have very flexible ankles, it’s very easy to sprain them. I’ve sprained both my ankles before. The most important thing is the rehabilitation sessions. You must know how to work yourself back. You need to know how much you have lost, and use your own perseverance, determination, and desperation to bring yourself back to dance. When I stopped dancing, I realized how much I really enjoy it. Eventually I managed to get back stronger by doing more strengthening exercises and going to physiotherapy. Every time after I finish a very good performance, I would feel quite accomplished and satisfied. It’s the experience of performing on stage, when people enjoy your craft and artistry. But at the same time, I think the most important thing is the process of learning, especially the rehearsals, because that’s where you learn the most. After all, when you’re on stage, the audience only watches you for that short 1 to 3 minutes. But it’s the process of the rehearsals that is the most important. You have to rehearse and perfect each movement and choreography. Sometimes when the choreographer comes in, you work with them, explore and discover what you didn’t know you could actually do. That’s the fun part.
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Singapore
Passion
English
When I was a child, I’ve never had an interest in Barbie or Lego, so my parents gave me a few miniatures to play with, and that fuelled my interest in collecting miniatures. Over the years, my collection increased as I grew up and earned my own money to buy more. I’ve also always had a keen interest in art and craft.It was three years ago. Upon realising that it was difficult to find tiny replicas of local food that were realistic, I tried to make my own miniature local food by hand using polymer clay and posted my works on social media. When my posts gained interest, I started a small business called Miniature Asian Chef to sell some of these creations to miniature collectors.As the business gained awareness, some customers suggested that I make my creations into more practical items such as accessories. I converted some of the tiny food into accessories, and now I have a wide range of local food themed jewellery and accessories which appeals to different customers.I find crafting very therapeutic, and it also gives me great joy to create something with my hands.Miniature Asian Chef is also my small attempt at preserving and promoting Singapore’s national food heritage and culture. I hope that my handmade products would be able to preserve memories of the good old days and provide an insight to my future kids that these are what we grew up with. And most importantly, we must never forget our roots.Fortunately for me, my parents have always believed in me. Especially my Papa.He has always been the strongest anchor in my life, and we share the same stubborn and “cannot say die” character.I’ll always remember what he said to me during one of our conversations.“No one owes you a living.”It was such a simple statement, but so true. Whenever I stumble, I will remember this statement and gather the courage and strength to overcome the obstacle.As I devote more time to Miniature Asian Chef and my married life now, I have lesser opportunities to have long conversations with Papa. I cherish whatever time I have with him now, as he grows older every year.To my Papa and Mummy, I take pride in knowing that you’re proud of me. And thank you for your unwavering love and support.‍
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Singapore
Passion
English
Growing up as a seamstress’s daughter, I have always enjoyed sewing. I spent many hours designing and sewing clothes for my dolls. This passion for sewing was momentarily shelved when I began my quest to study as an architect and afterwards practicing in the architecture profession for many years. Creative work has always challenged me and solving problems by design excites me and connects me with people. When I took a break from my professional practice, I was motivated by an innate calling to volunteer at a special needs school. The first idea that came to my mind was how to use design to create dignified work for these special needs youth. When I finally set up Personalised Love, a social enterprise that trains and employs special needs youths in leather crafting, my lifelong dream has been fulfilled. I was able to combine my love for crafts with design thinking skills acquired in architecture to better the lives of the special needs craftsmen we train. By the grace of God, instead of becoming an architect who designs building and township; HE realigns my desire to build and also to connect. I have now the opportunity and joy to become a steward to each of this special need child. I now have the chance to work along side each of them to mentor them, to grow their confidence by embracing their abilities , to empower them, and to celebrate their potential, each child at a time.
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Singapore
Passion
English
Growing up in a family of avid home bakers means every festive season was especially a joyous one because that’s when our extended family found time to gather in the kitchen to bake and enjoy the handmade treats and build fond memories together. Butter Studio was started on this favorite memory of family activity and is dedicated to honoring the traditional craft of home baking but also what this act inspires – the bringing of people together. We want to be a place where people reconnect over good food, with the community and each other. This has always been our inspiration and sense of purpose. We regularly host events at our bakery cafe and involve ourselves in community projects to give back in ways that we can. Being involved with community projects and bringing joy and smiles to the less fortunate with our baked goods gives extra meaning to what we do. Family has been a central support system in my journey when starting Butter Studio. Through the ups and downs, my family, husband and best friends have always been there for me. When my father suffered a massive heart attack last year, it was one of my most difficult time but as a family we were each other’s pillar of strength and are thankful that my father has been such a fighter and is currently on the road to recovery. We now make time to get together as a family as much as we can and try to make all the little moments count because life itself is always worth celebrating. I think this quote is especially heartfelt and embodies what family means to me:“Families are the compasses that guide us. They are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter.” – Brad Henry‍
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Malaysia
Passion
Chinese
梦想不必伟大,但是必须炙热!在这个就像是个巨大机器的社会里,每个人都扮演着大大小小的齿轮,有自己的位置与功用,缺一不可。我们都是这个社会中不可或缺的小小齿轮。我是一个生活在这个庞大社会的小小人物,一个渺小但对生活充满热情的人。我喜欢在生活中到处拍摄,将事物保留其最珍贵的瞬间。拍摄这张照片时,我十分地感慨。因为从这张照片中,我们可以很明确的看到民间的传统技艺已经逐渐没落。随着现代社会的迅速发展,许多传统技艺已经式微,也正因为工业科技的发展,现在已经很少人去正视且注重传统技艺。我为此觉得很难过,因为所有的传统技艺都是一个民族数千年来的文化积累,是一个民族文明与文化的象征,是一个民族最具竞争力和凝聚力的文化。我觉得现代人除了应该继续发展新科技,同时也得保留传统的技艺与文化。我们可以在生活中推崇一些不同的师承制度,以师傅在实际操作上传授技艺给徒弟的同时,还可以亲自带领徒弟实际执行该技艺。就让我们一起为保留社会文化而努力吧!================================================================================图说:随着社会的迅速发展,许多民间的传统技艺已逐渐没落。也正因为工业科技的发展,现在已经非常少人去正视且注重传统技艺,预示这些流传数千年的传统手工艺便面临着失传的窘境。无可否认的,现代化的工业发展为人类文明及社会带来了很多的益处,但传统技艺的魅力也是无可取代的。在此向所有坚持延续传统技艺的老前辈们,致上最高的敬意!Sim Lim Peng
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Singapore
Community
English
Growing up, I was thrown into a fascinating world of travel and fabrics. My mum was a huge fan of fabrics and its processes and she brought me along her journeys. I remembered watching workers hand-painting batik, dyeing cloths, mixing colors. It was amazing. Im very certain those experiences made me who I am today, a fashion designer who is obsessed with fabrics and prints. After a almost 2 years of hiatus and recollecting myself, I realized that my purpose has been right in front of me when I look into the mirror, for the last 29 years. Being a plus size woman my entire life, I realized that ive always had issues with clothes and how horribly they fit. I absolutely love dressing up and looking fierce but locally there isn’t anyone who has given me and my other curvy ladies outlets to express our inner queen. There are some fast fashion brands that I could squeeze my 38 inch waist into but id just end up looking like the dumpling that you left out too long, moist and not very delectable. So ive decided to rebrand my already existing fashion label to a plus size label. Ive always been an advocate when it comes to body positive movements. Ive used real women in my shows and campaigns and even though KAE HANA wasn’t known as a plus size label, the sizes were bigger than most. I feel that this is the most organic evolution for my label. I want to first and foremost educate my consumers that being plus size doesn’t mean you’d have to hide your body behind layers and multiple shades of black. Then, id like women to know that they are absolutely amazing no matter their size. They could be a size 0 or a size 28 and still be absolutely stunning. Im not here to save the world, the women I know, can single handedly save the world and still be home to cook dinner. Im here to give them something kick-ass to wear, whilst they are out saving the world. Women, in all shapes and form inspire me everyday, like most creatives, i have a drawer of all the things i’ve seen stored safely in my head and i revisit it from to time to time. In my ‘drawer’ the people ive spoken to, the places that ive seen, the foods that ive tasted, the people ive laughed with, the people I get into trouble with, the women whom ive held hands with, the LGBTQ community, the boss ass women, my mum and late grandmother, who ran the entire household with an iron fist, my best friends, who grew up to be the best women I know, the women in my family who against adversity, they not only strive, they prosper. Basically, if ive ever shaken your hands or given you a hug, you’re in that ‘drawer’. I am a culmination of everyone I’ve ever came across, I am a smorgasbord of stories, I am you, as you are me and that, brings out the best of me.
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Malaysia
Passion
Chinese
古老的傳統藝術得以發揚傳承,光芒永續,全靠老藝人的一份堅持和熱情,將數十年的功夫精神,投注在舞台綻放異彩。這是我非常熱愛拍攝傳統藝術及表演的原因,除了欣賞璀璨的藝術色彩,也佩服老藝人的專注與付出,希望自己的照片,能為推動及保留傳統出一份力,同時發掘自己內心那份對工作堅持的力量!#thebestofyou #work‍
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Malaysia
Community
English
"I developed the passion for photography since 2014. I started taking pictures as a hobby. Photographs gave me the ability to capture and freeze those precious and meaningful moments in life. Those fleeting memories that happen only once in a lifetime can be documented and preserved with great joy for recollection. They add to the meaning of one's life in action but each shot frozen in time. Like other great inventions, photography enjoys advancement in technology being exceptionally fast in the 20th and 21st century. Photography with technological advancements has benefitted mankind in keeping the core value of tradition and yet with good images that we can always enjoy. In fact, digital technology has a double impact on the cultural identity of the young generation. It has blended a modern art form with traditions and cultures. The youth of today in taking up photography is the future artists of tomorrow supporting cultural pillars of our nation. They are the new generation open minded to accept new knowledge and new thinking, yet not forgetting the core value of traditions that build up civilisation. It is with indisputable fact that our photographic society will contribute a soul of core values of art enjoyment in the community. ================================================================================================== Picture Captions: Last Man Standing - The Last Wooden Barrel Crafter For hundreds of years, barrels have been used for shipping and storage of many essential commodities. With the advent of modern technology, usage of wooden barrels as a form of storage has gradually faded from the public eye. Yet there is one such man who persists in his art, continuing his barrel-making despite tough times. As the last and only wooden barrel crafter in Melaka, he has been tirelessly making wooden barrels by hand throughout his lifetime. This intangible cultural heritage in Melaka can’t simply be replaced. It is time to save our vanishing heritage before they are gone forever."
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Malaysia
Relationship
Malay
Saya Taufiq. Nama pena saya Tulangkata. Saya berumur 22 tahun. Hidupku cantik tapi segalanya mula berubah ketika aku 16 tahun, aku dibuang sekolah. Ketika 17 tahun pula, saya telah merosakkan rekod sebuah sekolah kluster dengan keputusan SPM yang begitu teruk. Setahun berikutnya, saya ditangkap polis atas beberapa faktor tak jelas pula. Ketika itu, pertama kali melihat air mata ibu jatuh & bikin saya depresi. Ketika saya 20 tahun pula, ekonomi keluarga saya jatuh pada tahun yang sama saya disyaki menghidap penyakit mental. Saya jadi benci diri sendiri. Bipolar. Saya salahkan tuhan. Saya derhaka & sering bikin masalah. Saya tak punya semangat sehingga pada satu hari ibu menepuk bahuku dan berkata “Maafkan ibu. Ibu sudah buat yang terbaik untuk besarkan kamu, Taufiq. Mungkin dah tiba masa kamu pilih jalan kamu. Dengan seni, kamu punya jalan keluar dari sesuatu. Kreativiti penting dalam proses menerima takdir tuhan terhadap kita”Syukur. Sekarang saya seorang penulis. Saya juga mahir menulis lagu. Buku pertama telah terbit ketika saya berumur 19 tahun & buku kedua setahun berikutnya menjadikan saya antara penulis puisi termuda di Malaysia saat itu. Karya tulisan sebagai refleksi hidup, cara saya meraikan ketentuan tuhan. Ah, kalaulah saya marah terus pada tuhan dan tidak mahu menerima takdir-takdir berat dalam hidup saya, mungkin sekarang saya tak mampu menjadi sejarah seperti hari ini.“There is no right or wrong, life is only a song” kata ibu sambil melipat baju.Aku diajar tahu diri, percaya diri, selalu memperbaiki hubungan dengan tuhan & punya keinginan berjuang, inilah yang diajar ibu kepada jiwa saya.Ibu, terima kasih.Yes, we always have the chance to comeback.Abang sayang ibu.
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Malaysia
Relationship
Chinese
一向不喜欢念书的我,在完成中学就踏出社会工作,觉得自己的学历已经可以足够应付职场的需要。但往往就是把事情想得太简单。 一路跌跌撞撞的走到人生的三十五,事业日见艰辛。。就因为自己念的书不够,不能保持市场竞争力而不能在往前进步。也因如此开始发现入不敷出,家庭与生活的开销却不断地往上升。 在无计可施的情况下,我第一次向父母认错,承认自己悔不当初听他们的话把该念的书念完。我向父母表达了想继续念书的意愿,他们的反映就是用很惊讶的眼神看着我,曾经让家人操碎了心的孩子,尽然主动要求去念书?!过后他们跟我说了一句话:家里不用你担心, 放心的把书念完吧。 三十五岁的我,开始了半工半读的学业,再度拿起尘封已久的课本,早上工作晚上念书倍觉吃力。从初级文凭(DIPLOMA)开始到完成学位(DEGREE)共用了四年。在完成学业参加毕业典礼的那天,父母高兴的留下眼泪。。。 我真心感谢父母太太及孩子们给我的支持与鼓励,让我能顺利地完成我的学业。在我心中永远的感激他们。。。 人的一生中,家人才是最大的财富。。。 这是最好的我,谁是最好的你? #thebestofyou #home
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Singapore
Community
English
My name is Mohamed Azhar. I am going to be 46 years old this year and am married with one child. I was brought up in a bad environment. The area that I used to stay in was sometimes called “Chicago Town” because of all the gang activities and drugs. We were all brought up in this kind of environment. It was not just me. My father and late uncle were also drug addicts because of the exposure. Growing up, I was not so close with my dad as he was constantly in and out of prison. I mixed with bad company and started smoking at the age of 11 years old. The addiction wasn’t enough for me, so I eventually got hooked on more potent drugs and got involved in secret societies and gang in my teenage years. I was eventually caught in the year of 1997. I still remember the date – it was 27 September. That was the first time I knew how it feels to be like an addict without the drug. It was really hell. Following my release, I went back in again as a second timer within 28 days. Relapse was fast as I was mixing with the wrong friends and took drugs again. I had to spend a total of four Hari Raya occasions inside prison during both my admissions, and wasn’t able to celebrate them with my loved ones. But I think the saddest part was that I truly broke my mom’s heart. My mom never missed any chance to visit me even though I went in twice. Seeing my mom suffer like that was the turning point for me. I did not want to waste her time, to have her constantly come and visit me in prison. When I got caught, I wasted my peak years. I wanted to catch up with people who matter and settle down in a good environment. I also wanted to get married and have my own family. After my last release, finding employment was a big challenge. As once you have a record, it will have to be declared on many job application forms. The second challenge I had was learning how to stay away from the bad company, and learning how to react the right one when I see them. When I came out, my old friends were actually waiting for me. They came even though my parents were there to fetch me. I actually told my mom to let me settle with them first, and I will return home after settling them. I assured my mom and told her that I will be safe. I told my old friends that I wanted to be out of the system. That I did not want to do this anymore. I told them it was up to them if they want to accept. But for me, enough was enough. Even though I said all that, I knew it was easy for me to fall again. I told myself that I wanted to give myself a chance to do something good instead. Today, I am a soccer coach and a sports trainer. For many ex-offenders like me, we are ready to re-enter the community – but is the community ready for us? Are they ready for people like us? Even if we have changed, will their mindset and perception towards us change too? It needs to be a 2-way channel for common understanding. Our feelings can be easily hurt too. I hope the community will try to understand and look at us through a different perspective, and not just see us as ex-addicts or ex-offenders. Even though it has been 19 years 2 months, every day is still part of a recovery journey for me. Immediate family support is very important. In 2017, I got an Outstanding Achievement award during the Yellow Ribbon Celebrating Second Chances Award Ceremony. When they asked me to give my thoughts, I told them that the award wasn’t for me. It’s for the family members who visited me – they are the heroes. My daughter is also a big part of what keeps me going today. I want to cultivate a healthy lifestyle in her and make sure she walks on the right pathway. I’ve told many people that I want to be the stopper for all the negative. If I am the person who needs to change the family culture, I will do it – even if it takes my life. Hence, I will start with my own family first and to tell my daughter all about the good and the bad. Moving forward, I would like to explore opportunities overseas or stay here and set up my own company in the sports industry to help other ex-offenders. Why not use my own experiences to help others? I feel that it would be a win-win situation if we can build a good society out of the experiences we have. I also hope to see a more peaceful, more understanding culture in the world. There needs to be understanding from people to live together as a community. At the end of the day, I just want to play my part and help the people around me to change and be happy too.
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Singapore
Community
English
As a social worker in THK Family Service Centre, my role covers three main areas: casework and counselling, group-work, and community-work. My current focus is on youth-work, in which I mentor youths in various school that requires remedial and developmental support. My prior experience working with the ex-offenders community was during my time spent at an institution working with young offenders, providing them with support and counselling to help them reintegrate back to the community. While working in THK Family Service Centre, I started working more with the adult community and families of the ex-offenders. I have since encountered many situations in which ex-offenders would come to us in search of support and hopes of reintegrating back into the community. However, many of them find it difficult due to the stigma and lack of proper support. My motivation for working with them has always been to see ex-offenders reunite with their family, as well as helping them to contribute back to the community and to help reduce the stigma attached to them. In Mdm Salimah’s case, I actually met her when she was just released from prison. THK Family Service Centre had already been supporting the children in school. Ever since Mdm Salimah was discharged from the DRC, the counselling and support started. When we first met, Mdm Salimah started to open up after finding out I have had experience working with other offenders and am able to provide the necessary support for her. During the initial phase, I would meet up with her 1 to 2 times a month to follow up with her and find out about how she was coping and if she was facing any challenges. I also provided counselling support to Mdm Salimah when she felt down or discouraged. THK Family Service Centre also provided support to the family to ensure all family members were settling well during the transition. Home visits were made to show support to the family members and create awareness among the family members on the resources available in case they require additional support The journey with Mdm Salimah through her recovery was really pleasant one as she was very forthcoming. She was and still is determined to change for her family members. Amidst exploring the ways to cope with her triggers and stressors in life, I could sense Mdm Salimah’s determination and strength. Hence, I tapped on her strengths which, in turn, allowed her to learn to be independent as we progressed. Mdm Salimah has been a very strong and positive person throughout the 2 years that I have worked with her. Mdm Salimah herself went through many challenges. However, Mdm Salimah’s determination for her family is admirable. This helped her to stay focus in her rehabilitation. Today, Mdm Salimah is doing well and she is coping better. She stays focused and alert about her triggers and the temptations around her. She has also gone for courses to upgrade herself! She is determined to be a role model and good example to her children. I have also seen her lending support to her friends and the community, and even encouraging other ex-offenders to stay clean. For many ex-offenders, it is actually very important for them to have the support and guidance needed to reintegrate back into society. For Mdm Salimah, she used her volunteering opportunities as a channel to keep herself on track. This made her feel useful and accepted by the society. Because of this, she is less afraid of the stigmas. In all, Mdm Salimah is definitely a good testimony. Her story shows us all that despite how hard the challenges along the journey can be, it can be done with the right determination and support. And this is exactly what brings out the best in me too – my passion to see the changes, joy and happiness when others experience a new lease of life. If I could reimagine the world that we live in, it would be a place where people live in consideration for one another. I believe that being considerate towards one another promotes harmony and peace, so that we all can live happily together. THK Family Service Centre is part of the family-focused arm of Thye Hua Kwan Moral Charities (THKMC), which provides multiple social and welfare services to the various groups in our community through more than 60 programmes and services for the elderly and the sick, families, persons with disabilities, and children.
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Singapore
Community
English
I grew up in a single-parent family after my parents divorced when I was 3 years old. I was brought up by my mother, grandmother and sister. My childhood was a difficult time for me as my mother was always busy working while my grandmother took care of us. I grew up very bitter and angry. I first ended up in prison at the age of 17. I didn’t do well in my O Level examinations and had gone to my dad and asked him if he could sponsor another year of school to retake the examinations. My dad turned me down and I got really angry. In my anger and spite, I ended up mixing with bad company and got into drugs. I went to jail for 3 months. I was caught again shortly after my first release. This time, I was sentenced for 15 months. After the second release, I stayed out of prison for about 5 years before ending up in there once more for the third time – sentenced to 24 months in jail. Each time I was in jail, the inmates would always go for religious counselling. I attended the chapel services and bible study sessions led by volunteers and eventually learnt about the bible and God But after I was released the third time, I realised that the longer I was in prison, the more difficult it was for me to adapt outside. Back in those days, ex-offenders did not have many support programmes to turn to like today. When I was released, I ended up feeling very lost. While my mom and sister were always there to support me emotionally, I had difficulties in finding a job as there were no employment support services for ex-offenders back then which led to my financial difficulties. And after 2 years of struggling, I was back in prison for the fourth time. This time, I told myself that I really had to do something about my life. The change really started when I totally surrendered to God, in whatever changes I was willing to make. I even started to study for my O Level examinations again during my time in prison. Before my release, my husband actually asked for my hand in marriage. It was the first time in the prisons that they had to approve a request for an offender to get married while still serving their sentence. The matron actually asked me, “Are you sure you really want to get married when you are still serving your sentence?” I had only served 8 months of my sentence with 20 months to go before release, but we went ahead and got married. After I was released from my last incarceration, we moved into our new flat, and shortly after I was pregnant. Financially, it was very difficult. During those days we didn’t have things like Social Service Offices where we could get support. My husband had to work really hard to support the family. With the arrival of my oldest son, it was even tougher for him as he had to work harder while I took on the role as a full-time housewife. Another big challenge was that both of us were ex-addicts. Because of the people we mixed with, it was always easy to quickly relapse. That’s why we had to cut ties with many old friends whom we have known for many years and start all over again – start life anew. There’s where the support of our loved ones really helped to keep us stable. People like my sister and mother supported me where they could – both financially and emotionally in that sense. My family became my reminder that I was no longer alone, and that I must persevere. God has also helped me through during those difficult years. I’m a Christian and having faith helped me in my recovery. It has actually changed the way I think and the way I want to live. Having positive friends from church have also helped me find the support I need. As of today, I’ve been working in The Turning Point for 6 years. My role is to aid the women with finding employment and using my past experience to encourage them. I also do follow-ups after they leave the program and meet up with them to see how they are coping. My work keeps me going. Working here is a miracle, because this is something I wanted to do for many years. My family is doing very well now too. Now my older son is 28, while my younger one is 26. My older son has completed University and is working and the other one is pursuing his studies overseas. I think my proudest moment so far has been seeing my children growing up. I am also very thankful for my husband, who has been a very strong support to me. We used to take drugs together. But now, we have a healthy family of our own together, all glory to God for his grace and mercy upon my life. At the end of the day, I just feel that there’s hope for us – even with backgrounds like ours. I always tell the girls I work with that there’s always hope and not to see themselves as hopeless or useless. If you are sincere in wanting to work on your recovery, there’s still hope no matter how old you are. No matter what kind of environment you grew up in or where you are at this point, there’s always hope.
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Singapore
Community
English
I am Muhammad Daniaal and I am Mdm Salimah’s son. Growing up, it was quite hard for me and my siblings because we were still in primary school when my parents went to prison. In fact, two of my younger sisters had not even started schooling yet. During those few years while my parents were in prison, I didn’t feel like talking to people. I also didn’t feel like meeting new people outside. And when I wanted to go out and have fun, I did not have enough money. I didn’t dare to ask my guardian for money either. So, I worked part-time as a service crew while I was still in school. At first it was tough, but slowly, I became more independent as I had to be responsible for my siblings too. I would try my best to always buy them crackers and fruits for them to eat. It was very tough for me to manage my studies as well. I was very much alone. Even when I collected my PSLE results, I went alone. I did not have anyone to go with me or congratulate me. Because I did not dare to socialise or to tell anyone that my mom and dad were in prison. I struggled to really understand why my mom and dad were not around. It was hard for me to accept that I did not have them with me – hence, I just wanted to be alone. I ate alone, sat in class alone, and even celebrated my birthdays alone too. But when I was in Primary 5 and 6, my form teacher started to talk to me. She had asked where my parents were as I kept failing my mother tongue. From then, she tried to guide me to accept my situation and to improve on myself. She didn’t pressurise me and even gave me extra lessons. Slowly, I got better at my studies and made it to Secondary School. She was the most caring teacher I’ve met and is still my role model till today. Another teacher that played a big part in shaping my character was the teacher-in-charge of the concert band in my Secondary school. When I first joined the concert band, it was quite difficult for me and I felt like giving up. But my teacher said to me, “If you give up, you are a coward.” It pushed me to give it a deeper thought and to try harder. Although it was tough, I eventually managed to get a better role as a section leader when I moved on to ITE and joined the concert band there. The role gave me the responsibility to teach others like how I was taught before. For me, this built my character. Now, I’m not one who gives up easily. After my parents came out of prison, I felt that there was some awkwardness. I didn’t talk to my parents for a while. I kept my distance. It was also tough to get each other’s trust back. But when I started talking to my mom about the past and my siblings, we started to get along better and go out to eat dinner together. At first it was quite hard, but now I feel grateful that my mom and dad have been by my side ever since. After everything eventually settled down, I spoke to my mom and dad seriously. I said, “We are getting older. If you go into prison again, what are we going to do? I don’t want my siblings to suffer anymore.” I knew it would definitely be heartbreaking if my siblings have to go through this again. Till now, whenever my mom has a hard time with my younger sisters, I will usually be the “discipline master”. Especially if my dad is not around, I would usually chide my sisters and tell them that they need to focus on their studies. They also tend to quarrel with my mom, but I always remind them that despite all that has happened, we should be grateful and not speak to our parents disrespectfully. Right now, I’m currently 19 years old and waiting for National Service (NS) enlistment. I’m quite excited for NS because many of my friends have been through it already. Currently I am also under a BCA scholarship, which has helped me a lot. I’ve been given some options to join various company with good prospects too. That would really help me to take up the leadership role in my family after I am done with NS. I want to let my father retire as he is going to be 66 years old soon, so that I am ready to be the sole breadwinner for the family. After my NS, I would also like to find a house that is bigger for my younger siblings to stay in, with rooms for them to stay on their own. So, I plan to work full-time as an engineer or technician. I also recently told my mom and dad that I plan to get married at 25 or 26 years old as I’ve met and been with someone for 4 years now. I’m very happy with my mom and dad’s progression so far, and very thankful that they are by my side. I can see how my parents have changed so vastly and tried to improve their character to make the family more united. For those who are going through what I’ve been through, I want to let you know that you are not alone in this situation. Try to be outspoken and try to be stronger. You will find the support you need and may even become the support your loved ones need too.
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Singapore
Others
English
From my 60 years of experience, I learnt that there are always 2 sides to a coin. It is which side we chose to look at that is the most important. I used to work in a stock firm and was an easily agitated person. Whenever I was in a bad mood, no one would dare to talk to me for the whole day. Colleagues who submit their reports or wish to discuss matters with me would be unfairly criticised and subjected to my rage. After some time, I realised that most of the time, it is another person over the line, or a matter not involving anyone in the office that got me mad. It was not right of me to scold others like this and I had to learn to control my emotions. So even though it took me a long time, I was able to slowly control my anger and not lose control of my emotions and pour it onto others. I learnt to see things as a coin, and by choosing to see the truth over my own unhappiness, it helped me to manage my spirit and my interactions with others better.
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Singapore
Community
English
Lots of florists start with happy occasions like simple bouquets for first dates or weddings, but I was thrown into a deep end of dressing a wake in a private residence within a month of starting my florist business. It seemed daunting that this client trusted me to make this wake a pleasant place to commemorate his late mother. I had to do fabric drapes, garland style arrangements, large arrangements, all on the spot, under the eyes of the grieving, and overlooking the deceased. At that point in time, I wasn't sure if this is what I signed up for. All I wanted to do was work with flowers, but now I had to front the business talking to clients and I never know projects like that would come my way. Rejecting the client wasn't an option to me, so I took up the job, despite the possibility of revealing my inexperience in front of all these people, fumbling on the ladder, not being about to complete the work in such a short time frame etc. I called up an acquaintance who was also a florist - she was very kind to come to my assistance at such short notice, and also teach me so many things I never knew I needed to know. I find myself asking if I would so readily help others in the same way she helped me, because after all we could be considered competitors. 16 years on, I've cut my teeth making flowers for occasions spanning cradle to grave, all of which would not be happen without reaching out for help, relying on the generosity and goodwill of others, accepting challenges, work that I may not personally like, and taking criticism. All these things not only boost my confidence in my work, but it helped me to not be afraid of keeping my mind open to new work, new people and new relationships. The latter two give me many reasons to be thankful.
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Malaysia
Community
English
I've always believed in living my life to the fullest, whether it being having fun and making memories or standing up for something I believe in. My journey has been long and harsh despite only being 18 years old but I make it my daily mission to seize the day with no regrets and to help at least one person everyday. I've been bullied,beaten, depressed, partially disabled and even suicidal. Throughout primary school I was bullied for being fat and shy which i know now that most kids go through this and end up bullying someone else but I decided to help anyone being bullied and stand up for the underdogs. In secondary school, I went to one of the cruellest schools our country has to offer and I was beaten and broken consistently and mercilessly. With that, I learnt how to fight back and so I did but I ensured that I never sought violence as well as never ran from it. I felt the burdens of the whole world on my shoulders and it ate me from the inside which was destructive to my mental health which ultimately leads to me suffering from depression. Though I couldn't bring myself out of that deep dark pit of despair, I smiled to everyone, did what needed to be done and helped anyone I could along the way. As if life couldn't get any worse, I had injured my back severely that doctors told me that I may not be able to walk again, I kept my hopes high and prayers in my heart and by the grace of god, I'm walking perfectly fine today. Lastly, I had reached a point where life had beaten me down too many times and too relentlessly that i gave up. I gave up on hope, I gave up on faith, I gave up optimism but most importantly, I gave up on life. In In May 2016 I attempted to take my own life. Amazingly, I survived because people found me and brought me to the hospital in the nick of time. Now the reason why I'm sharing all this is that I want anyone out there who feels this way that there is hope. That life gets better. That there is someone out there who knows exactly how you feel. I did and I still do. I care and we all should. Please have hope, please stay strong and please stay you. With much love, Hafiz
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Malaysia
Others
Malay
Salam semua.Saya Badron dan manusia biasa yang mempunyai cerita yang saya rasa boleh memberi inspirasi kepada orang lain.Jangan jadikan kegagalan lalu menguasai diri dan pemikiran anda untuk mengecapi kejayaan.Dulunya saya tidak menghargai setiap masa yang dikurniakan kepada saya sehingga saya sering gagal dalam setiap apa bidang yang saya ceburi.Saya tidak berjaya menamatkan pelajaran saya dan betapa kecewanya kedua ibu bapa saya.Satu hari saya berfikir adakah ini yang saya mahu dalam hidup?Ramai yang mengeluarkan kekecewaan mereka kerana saya bertindak sedemikian.Satu hari ayah dan mak saya hanya memberi saya kata kata semangat dan salah satunya adalah PELUANG KEDUA.We always have second chance in life.Appreciate it while its still there for you.Sekarang saya sudah memiliki perniagaan sediri dan bakal melebarkan perniagaan saya di sekitar Kuala Lumpur.Appreciate every person and every minutes of life,once you lose it,there's no turning back.Doakan saya BERJAYA.
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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
Relationship
English
Hi my name is Sashikumar and I have clinical depression. To cut my long story short of how I became clinically depressed. I grew up with an alcoholic father who tend to be abusive when he drinks. I was also sexually abused as a child, leaving out the gory details. Having made my declaration my story is not one of despair or hopelessness. Let me share with you my journey as a normal person living with depression. I was diagnose 10 years ago with this disorder and when I was told that there is not cure or even worst society was going to look at me like I am some kind of nut, I was devastated and I did not know what to do. When I was diagnose I was in my prime age trying to make a living for myself. The doctors could not get the doses right and I was struggling to keep a focus mind at work or life. It did look hopeless at that time, because I was told that if I did not take the same doses I was not going to get better. I was also hospitalized for monitoring in a mental hospital during the peak of my depression. It was clear to me at that time it was a fight to live a normal life. I could not take criticism well, as that made my symptoms worst. Thus making me shy away from people and some family members who were critical of me. I became an anti-social person who could not face people because I was completely embarrassed of what I have become. I tried to take my life a couple of time. But what it really was is me crying out for help as I did not know what to do. When I reached out I was fortunate to have support from close family members and close friends who did not see me as a nut but a person who is struggling with a real mental issue. Every time I fall I had a friend, family or sometimes even strangers giving moral support to pick me up. Most of them at the beginning did not know or understand what I was going through. But when they saw that I was not pretending and my struggle was real they decided to help me fight my depression. I just had to stay alive and face my life with all that fear and anxiety hanging over me. With this support system I had, I went on to complete my degree and some other professional certification and go on to complete difficult tasks in my job and somehow live a normal functional life with some defects here and there. I am not saying I am a success story that everyone should follow. Life maybe be different for everyone facing depression or knowing someone who is facing depression. What I am saying is that depression is not the end of the road and life does not need
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Malaysia
Community
Malay
Salam 1 Malaysia, Saya Nabilah Jailani merupakan rakyat Malaysia. Seorang usahawan dalam bidang kewangan. Saya ingin memberikan inspirasi kepada komuniti di luar sana agar menjadi usahawan yang sentiasa berfikiran positif, berdaya saing dan berfikir di luar kotak supaya kita semua dapat membantu mengukuhkan ekonomi Negara kita Malaysia tercinta di mata Dunia. Selain itu, saya ingin memberi nasihat kepada nitizen yang mengunakan platform Media Social agar memberhentikan cyber bullying kepada orang lain. Ingatlah kita haruslah mengamalkan sikap positif dan membantu orang lain dan mengunankan kenyataan yang positif agar orang diluar sana mampu memberi lebih banyak idea dan mengamalkan hidup yang lebih harmoni. Ingat stop cyber bullying dan lebihkan positiviti. From love, Nabilah Jailani.
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Others
Passion
English
What brings out the best of me? Children. I went to university to study Secondary teaching. I wanted to teach Art to teenagers, exploring their angst and opinions. I began traveling and found myself teaching small children, from 2-11 years old. This experience gave me more insight about the creative process of making art. Children have no fear of the blank canvas. They create works that make sense to them. They can tell you a story about a scribble of lines that I could have never thought of! Children explore their imagination with no pressure on themselves to find a solution. They work across different mediums and pieces of paper with a energy I admire so much. Not only do children inspire me artistically, but also emotionally. They make friends so easily, with this content ment that they are loved and awesome. Their understanding of the world is so innocent and happy, I wish I could tap into that joy more often. I enjoy teaching young children because you can easily see their learning. I think as adults we hide our mistakes and the fact we don't have all the answers. If I was dancing and singing in the shopping centre, it would make me crazy! Yet, when I see a kid in their own happy moment I long for that joy again.
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Singapore
Relationship
English
Sometimes in the middle of my work, I would pause and observe the things around me. My office which faces the sea, the staff pass, my lunchbox. And I asked myself "How did I arrive to this?". I am blessed with a job I love, became independent enough to feed myself, able to work well even under pressure. It was'nt always that easy. I had abusive childhood and it was just a miracle that I came out of it because I had never imagine surviving through it. Along the journey towards recovery, I had met people people who came in my life and went. Some made me grow into a better person while others saw the situation and took advantage of it or hurled insults and labels on me. But among these people who came and went, I met Vi. She made me realise that saying "always here for you" is not just a phrase you say to make someone feel better for that brief moment. It is a commitment to journey through the ups and down with the person even though they make mustakes or don't see eye to eye with you. There is so much I discovered about life with Vi and I stopped asking why this or that had to happen to me .Despite the uneventful years in my life,it led me to meeting a selfless friend with a big heart caring for the fatherless and others in distress. It took me many years to get back on my feet,build myself up and be the resilient women that I am today. I feel that our journey is a testimony of how something beautiful can come out from a painful situation. One step at a time,Vi continues to inspire others with the notion that "Every child is one caring adult away from a success story".
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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
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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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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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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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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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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.
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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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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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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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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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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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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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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
Relationship
English
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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