English: There, here and over there. Basically, in a sense, to mean restless. A collection of thoughts, musings and ramblings...

Monday, February 27, 2012

The four-letter word that is L.O.V.E. #LoyarBerkasih

This was written for my debut on LoyarBuruk during #LoyarBerkasih week in conjunction with Valentine's day week :-)

Sabrina Aripen makes her LoyarBurok debut, examining on how if we want to be loved, we should learn how to love first.

Read: The four-letter word that is L.O.V.E. #LoyarBerkasih


Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Taboo 'S' Word

'Sabrina... pulang nanti, suruh mama kamu beli kain buat baju kurung banyak-banyak', he stared at me top to bottom, disgust evident on his face.

The classroom went quiet, as all the kids whipped their heads around to stare at me. I felt like sinking into the floor.

That day, I just forgot to wear a baju kurung and wore my knee-length blue pinafore to school. I often make it a point to remember to wear the baju kurung only on days with religious studies, to avoid the often sarcastic and biting remarks of the Ustaz. Now, years later, I remember those days and I think that he must be a sick old man. Because everything he sees, is related to sex.

Is there really anything wrong with the blue pinafore? As far as I can see, it is a very modest piece of clothing. Only the most sex-minded person would see wrong in the most innocent garb. The way he said those words, the way I was being perceived, I felt like I was already branded as dirty.

Secondary school held some of the most confusing times of my life. Suddenly, we, especially girls, are made to be painfully aware of our bodies and what we choose to wear. For a girl who is terribly shy, school was something to be dreaded.

'Don't put your badge there, people will have an excuse to stare at your breasts'

And of course the 'good' baju kurung wasn't free of it's evils either. The white fabric was easy to see through.

When I was very much younger, believe it or not, I wanted to be a religious teacher. Such was my respect and love for my Ustazah back then, I wanted to be just like her. Certain things that she taught me in my young age, I remember until today. Like, about how Allah made us of all different races and skin colours so that we could learn from each other.

That day in the classroom changed many things for me. The most important one, I started hating religious studies. Forget that I scored highly in the subject for SPM. I just didn't see it the same way anymore.

Second, I became aware of the racist issues that were propagated by none other but some of the teachers themselves. They worry that I spend too much with non-Malay (by that, they meant non-Muslim) friends. I felt like an outsider. The dirty among the 'clean' and 'holy'.

But the reason I am writing this blogpost is about the taboo word which is 'Sex'. I find it laughable that we are supposedly shielding our children from such a 'sinful' subject, when sin is everywhere. Even in schools. 

Such is the unspeakableness of this word, that when I had my first boyfriend, my mum could only say, "I hope you won't do anything 'silly'". I feel annoyed until today. Thanks a LOT, mum! I did not know what 'silly' meant, well too late now!

Apparently keeping mum about sex does not help. Just take a look at the statistics for teen pregnancies and baby-dumping in Malaysia.

I believe that kids are smarter than we realise, and sometimes we need to give them more credit in doing what is right. Talk to them about sex, no sense beating around the bush about it. Most likely they'll go 'EWWWW!' and run off to hide, anyway. Tell them where babies come from. It actually does not sound interesting or exciting when you put it down in scientific ways.

And banning a book that could 'damage our morals'? Tell the sick men with their twisted mindsets to take a hike.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

One step closer to financial freedom!

Mail arrived today. As usual, the mail is mostly made up of envelopes with clear windows on the. Very important stuff. I once read somewhere about how you should always open such envelopes. Bad things happen when you refuse. Only because the debt collector will come after you, you get issued with a summons, or worse, have your  worldly possessions taken away.

I open an envelope. dreading yet another large sum of money to pay.... but on the statement it is printed just one word on each line.


Amount owing - NIL. Or zero. Zilch.Such a wonderful sight to see, a load off the shoulders.

Not to say I am completely debt-free, but one is better than none. It took me 2 years to clear off this credit card bill through monthly installments. Feeling empowered to see my debt reducing by the month, I voluntarily surrendered another of my credit cards through the same process by contacting the bank and asking them to put me on a flexi-repayment scheme. I just decided that I want to live debt-free life within the next 5 years or so. Because I am imagining what will happen if I continue down the debt-ridden road? I might never be able to get out of it.

Credit cards are great. They pay for stuff when you don't have cash. And sometimes it is really convenient, especially if you are purchasing online. But at the end of the day, you still need to pay for it. Plus interest.

I hope to keep continuing my debt reduction tactics, until I finally am free! But first, I need to call up the bank and tell them that I am cancelling my card, since all debts have been paid. Then my credit report would look tons better too! 

Once debts are paid off, I can concentrate on accumulating my funds. Maybe start a business! A clear report will also make it easier to apply for business loans.

I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel ;-)


Thursday, February 9, 2012

My Journey Into Feminism

I love books. I collect them, dreaming of one day having my own personal library. From my first Little House on the Prairie collections, down to my more serious choices of today e.g. Introduction to Islam and books on management and leadership, I enjoy the smell and touch of each book.

One of my prized collections was my Harry Potter collection. I still remember being put on the waiting list for the next release, at the bookshop around the corner from where I worked at my first job on Gaya Street. Everytime I got my book, I could sit for hours and devour every word within one day. Once I finished I would reread and reread again. It was a way for me to immerse into a completely different world. Of fantasy, wonder and magic.

My prized collection of Harry Potter books are gone. Destroyed in one night by my ex after a heated argument. Just more waste to add on to the heap of my personal stuff he destroyed - my beautiful fish tank, my copy of Van Gogh's Cafe Terrace at Night, my mobile phone, my dignity and pride, my feeling of peace and security at home. I deserved that, he said, because I was disobedient. Just like I deserved to be screamed at in public that I was a slut, to be kicked off the bed, to be forced to do things that I did not feel comfortable doing. To have my wings clipped so that I would not soar so high in my many pursuits, including my education and career.

 Because what is a woman, if not to sit at home and do housework, even if she did have one of the best scores in the whole class? I am just a girl, a woman. And one that is worthless because she's a slut that got pregnant out of wedlock.


Those words incite so much rage in my heart to this day, as he used religion to threaten me into submission. I was so young, naive and scared then. Now I look back with an angry heart. Obedient? But why should I be obedient?? Why should I be submissive to a man who didn't even pay a single sen for my 'Mas Kahwin', did not work to support my life, did not even truly care for his child. Is that fair? Why should he have the best of me, when I get nothing in return? What right did he have to make me feel worthless? Being married does not mean a licence to abuse.

And why did people turn away from me? Instead of offering help, they kept silent. Which was as bad as partaking in the abuse themselves.

I was brought up where my father was the sole breadwinner of the family. From the beginning of my life, I perceived the man of the house as the person to look up to. To rely on. And that home is the safest place in the world.

My world has changed. And I changed to adapt to the changing world. I became a feminist. NO to obedience. NO to submission. I AM worth more than you will ever know. And more women should know this.

As I free myself from the chains that bound me, and started soaring again, I realised with wonder 'I CAN do this!' And every day I am free, my self-esteem grows.

As I said countless of times, I asked God why. But I could never blame my religion over what has happened. Because I believe in the truth, and this is what it says on the rights of the wife in Islam:-

The wife has financial rights over her husband, which are the mahr (dowry), spending and accommodation.

And she has non-financial rights, such as being treated in a decent and reasonable manner, and not being treated in a harmful way by her husband.

Kind treatment.
The husband must have a good attitude towards his wife and be kind to her, and offer her everything that may soften her heart towards him, because Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“and live with them honourably” [al-Nisaa’ 4:19]

“And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect) to what is reasonable” [al-Baqarah 2:228]

Not harming one’s wife.
This is one of the basic principles of Islam. Because harming others is haraam in the case of strangers, it is even more so in the case of harming one’s wife.

It was narrated from ‘Ubaadah ibn al-Saamit that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) ruled, “There should be no harming nor reciprocating harm.” (Narrated by Ibn Maajah,, 2340)

My heart is at peace now.

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