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Former makeup enthusiast and bookworm. Currently adopting a minimalist lifestyle. Contact me at phylliciarobert@gmail.com for inquiries.
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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Phy The Rebel/Risk Taker/Could-Have-Been-Stunt-Woman..

Hi there..
When we were kids my parents were really protective of us. There were not a lot of things that we were allowed to do. There was always an excuse behind every 'No'. For cycling it was "You might fall". For swimming it was "You might drown", etc. You get the picture. So I can't swim to save my life. Or ride a bicycle. Darn.

I have hence grown up to become very touchy AND unpredictable about trying something new. I would either not want to do it for fear of everything that could go wrong/that I'd look foolish or I would just wing it and jump right in with no thought of the danger or risk out of rebellion.

I might cringe at playing any sports because I don't want to risk injury and I don't want to look awkward and clueless. On the other hand I have climbed Mount Kinabalu, gone snorkeling despite not knowing how to swim, rode crazy rides even when I am petrified of heights and other crazy things at a drop of a hat. I can honestly say that while I did all that because I really wanted to, I must admit and maybe there is a hint of rebellion behind it.

Sometimes I wonder if my life would be different if my parents had not been over-protective of me and my siblings. Perhaps I would even be a female stunt-driver by now. Or a professional diver. Hehehe.. I know, I know. My parents did it out of love. Can't really blame them too much now can I?  :)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Phy the Pre-School Teacher (Well, Not Anymore)

Hi there,
During my time here in KL I had no idea how long I was going to stay so I decided to fill my free time with working as a pre-kindy which is only a lift ride away from my sister's apartment. It was kind of like a suicidal project because I never, and I mean NEVER had any experience in taking care of children. I am the youngest in my family and never took care of my younger cousins or anything like that.

During my 2 week stint I learned how to change a diaper, bring kids to the toilet (and clean them) when they want to 'shishi', coax kids into eating their veges and eating in the proper manner, bathe them (which believe me, is kind of  like bathing a pet cat or dog. Meaning you end up bathing too... With your clothes on). I got to know the kids, their temperament and how to handle them as individuals. I also teach them, fill their time with activities, etc.

Sounds easy right? Wrong!

I can handle the first portion of the job. It's only a matter of practice after all. Teaching them and maintaining their interest while trying to sync with their individual personalities was a total FAIL for me. Some were very attentive and interested to learn, others were easily (read: understatement) distracted. Of course there were those who wouldn't listen and becomes a bad influence to others. Oh, did I mention that I had to keep my eye on a 1 year old baby at the same time too?

Communicating was also a problem because my kids were international. I had Koreans, Indonesians, Malays, Chinese kids in my class. Most of them don't understand the English language, let alone Malay.

 Trying to get the pirate-ish kids to participate..

Believe me, reading to pre-kindy kids is never this serene.

 Them being spoiled little rich kids didn't help either. It's hard to teach them something that their parents don't instill in them in the 1st place. Some of the parents or family members would also do the 'security rounds' as I personally call them. I'd see them peeking through our windows, looking to see if we were doing our job well and up to their expectation. Which means we have to be super careful when we scold the children which we can never avoid.

Eventually I let go of the job. Some people might call me flighty, or even a quitter. After all, I did resigned from two different jobs in the span of 6 weeks. I don't see it that way at all. Before I resigned I did all that I could to see if there was any way, any way at all that it could work out for me. When I didn't see any way that could happen, I decided to not waste my time. After all, life is short and it would be a shame not to use it to do something more productive.

So that's what happened and how my teaching career came to a halt. I was glad that I did it because now I wouldn't be like a deer caught in the headlights in the event that I would have to bathe, feed or change a toddler's diaper. I am also able to rule out pre-kindy teacher from my list of potential careers.

So this is all for now. Cheers and wassalam.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Let's Be Honest: Raining Gold And Stones.. The Story Of A Repentant Sabahan

Hello there,
I remember when I was just turning 8 years old my eldest sister was offered a scholarship to study in one of the oldest universities in the country which was over the seas in West Malaysia. Towards the end of her study years she started to work part time and every time she came back she  would bring presents that seemed too fantastic for words. Things that wasn't available in Sabah at that time. Since then, I was obsessed about going to Kuala Lumpur (KL).

The Dream City

I managed to go vacationing in KL a few times throughout the years. However it was only when I was offered a job in the Government after completing my uni years that I finally was able to actually work (and obviously, live) in/near KL, not just visit it. Oh, I was dazzled at first. My dream was finally coming true for the first time after all.

Although it wasn't my first time going to KL, I marveled at the tall buildings (new ones keep popping up), the high end shopping malls, the crazy roads that seemed to be one on top of the other, etc. The excitement of it all stayed with me for months and I never gave any thought to my homeland.

Then a funny thing happened. After a while I began to feel numb to the tall buildings, the 'multi-layered' roads, the shopping complexes and the glitz. I began to miss my home state. I miss the beaches, the greenery, the food and the word 'Bah' being said properly. The majestic buildings in Putrajaya felt 2D to me, as if I was living in a gigantic postcard. It had no dept at all.

My beloved Land Below The Wind

I started to listen to Kadazan songs with Clarice John Matha's 'Adaa' and 'Rumandawi' being the song of choice, even learning them by heart. I would be able to distinguish a Sabahan from miles away (okay, that's being too dramatic but I really could distinguish a Sabahan face in a crowd) and would shamelessly strike up a conversation with them just to be able to 'speak Sabahan'. Basically, I was homesick.

My loyal companion during bouts of homesickness

Nine months later I managed to get transferred back to Sabah in a district that was relatively close to Kota Kinabalu (KK). Yup, after achieving my 'lifelong' dream to live in KL I decided to come home. When I landed at KKIA T2, I felt like going on all fours and kissing the ground. From then on I never had even the remotest feeling of longing to live in KL again.

The motive of me telling this long-winded story? It's to say that I really believe in the Malay saying 'Hujan emas di negeri orang, hujan batu di negeri sendiri. Lebih baik negeri sendiri' which loosely means 'no matter how much better other places (tidak kira lah kampung kah, negeri kah ataupun negara) seem to be, and no matter how unattractive our own place (ditto) might be, our own place is still the best one to live in'.

I am a Sabahan and I am PROUD to be a Sabahan. For me, KL is a nice and exciting place to visit but definitely not a place to stay. I'm content with Sabah and I accept it with warts and all including the crappy public transportation system that decades of Independence seem unable to fix. Ahem.

This is all for now peeps. Cheers and wassalam.

P/S: Don't ask me where all this patriotism came from. Haha..

P/P/S: All pictures from Google Search.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Things That I Never Knew Before: Birthing Options.

Hi there,

2 days ago I watched a documentary on Youtube entitled The Business Of Being Born. It is a discussion about hospital births vs home births (with a midwife) and it really struck a chord in me because I learned about things that I never knew before and it really opened my eyes about the act of giving birth and all that comes with it.

Before this I thought (and I'm sure most of you though this too) that giving birth in a hospital, whether Government or private, is the only way to go. If I was asked if I wanted to give birth at home with a midwife as apposed to having a baby at the hospital I would have said,"No" because somehow it conjures an image in my head of an old lady using outdated methods on me.

The documentary is based on what is happening in the USA so I can't really say too much if it reflects fully on the birthing 'situation' in hospital here in Malaysia. However, based on some of the stories that I've heard from friends over the years about their birthing experience in hospitals, it is almost always a horror story anyway.

Now let me give a list on why (based on the documentary) hospital births are not favorable to women:

Too much intervention
Women who are admitted into the hospital for more than a few hours would be induced with Pitocin. Contractions from inducement hurt way worse than naturally occurring ones so Epidural is given to numb the pain. After that, another shot of Pitocin is given. Inducement can cause death in babies.

Doctors get knife happy
Doctors sometimes suggest C-section just to speed things along and not always out of necessity. C-section is a major surgery and carries high  risk. Mothers sometimes die on the operating bed or from bacterial infection of the wound after the surgery. Again, this is a USA based documentary.

Wrong position
A woman lying down on her back with legs raised in stirrups is not the best position for birth as it makes the pelvis 'smaller' thus making it harder for baby to come out. In turn this hurts the mother more.

Impersonal attention
Most women said that the doctors are not with them most of the time because they have to attend to other patients too. A close friend of mine told me that during her experience, the baby's head had already come out before she was rushed into delivery and a doctor showed up and attended to her.

Now lets go on to the reasons why home births with midwives are favorable to women:

Personalized attention
When an expecting mother experiences contractions, the midwife would come to the patient's house even if it's in the middle of the night and she will stay as long as needed to see if it's a false alarm or the real deal. The midwife is also with the patient 100% along the way, guiding put never forceful.

No drugs
This might seem like a disadvantage but drugs actually hamper the birthing experience. When a woman gives birth, especially a natural vaginal birth, a cocktail of 'love hormones' are released in her body and makes the mother feel very, very protective and loving towards her baby.

Now it doesn't mean that those who were induced or had epidural in the hospital don't love their baby. It's just that drugs can dull the mother's senses for a bit and she may not be able to experience the full extend of the 'love hormones'.

Optimum position
Midwives favor a squatting position as it makes the pelvis wider and easier for the baby to come out. Water births are also an option that a midwife can provide for her patient.

Comfort zone
Obviously with home births you will be giving birth in your home in an environment that you are familiar with, more privacy and you can actually created the environment that you want. For example you can put on soothing music, control your lighting (some women prefer to have a dimmer atmosphere in the room they choose to give birth as it feels soothing for them). As for the mess, don't worry, the midwives would do the clean up after the birthing is over.

It's cheaper
In the USA hospitals charge up to USD12,000 per birth and for the birth alone. Mid wives only charge USD4,000-USD5,000 for everything including postnatal care. In Malaysia too, I'm sure a midwife would charge less than what it would cost if  one were to go to a private hospital or medical center.

Note: Not to be prejudiced but Government hospitals do seem like the House of Horrors based on the stories of my friend who gave birth there. Most said that they would rather save up and go to private hospitals than go through the experience at a Government hospital again. So, jangan marah ha doctors and nurses.

Educated and Experienced
Contrary to popular beliefs, including mine, midwives are not just old ladies who are going to use medieval, barbaric methods on you. Far from it, they are actually educated with modern medicine and one has to be experienced before being able to be a certified midwife. So if complications do arise, they would have the knowledge to know if you need to be sent to the nearest hospital, etc.

Obviously there are pros to giving birth in a hospital such as having advanced medical equipment and doctors to attend to any medical complications. There are also  downsides to doing home births. However, do keep in mind that when a certified midwife meets you for the first time, she would first do an assessment of your medical history and the condition of your pregnancy to determine if you are a good candidate for home birthing. Obviously if you are a high risk patient, the midwife would recommend you to give birth in a hospital.

In Malaysia I am not sure if there are still any midwives (also known as Bidan in Malay) out there let alone certified ones. If you are a considering a home birth, try referring to your elders in case they know someone who still practices midwifery. Also, silly as it might seem, try referring to Family Planning clinics if they know any midwives. I personally think it's worth a shot.

To watch the documentary, click here.

Yes, a very out of the ordinary topic for me but when I watched this documentary I just felt so much more empowered and I want to share it with other women out there.

This is all for now. Cheers and wassalam..

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Bane Of Having A Female Boss...

Hi there
I've worked under a female boss trice now in my lifetime. Even though I am a woman myself, I have to say that I prefer to have a man as my boss. An alpha male that is. And no, it's not because I can use my feminine wiles on him. Honestly, as far as experience goes men are more straight forward.

They say what they mean and mean what they say. Women on the other hand have a common affliction which is saying one thing but wanting the other yet expecting people to fulfill what they want instead of what they said by reading their mind.

You know, the 'No it's okay' when what we actually mean is 'Are you demented? Of course it's not okay!!!!'. Ladies, admit it. We do it all the time. I would be the first to admit that I do it too. But when a lady boss does it, it is the biggest pain in the ar*e.

Another thing about female bosses is that they always ASSUME. If an employee comes in a dour mood, it's because she/he is not happy working where she/he is and not because they had a family problem. If the employee comes in late or leaves early it's because she/he is lazy or undisciplined and never because their child is sick/their car broke down/they are using unreliable public transport.

Woe betide you if you have ever dare to disagree with her. She-bosses never, ever brush disagreements aside. They seem to have it saved up in their mental hard drive where they can retrieve, replay and keep again to keep the feelings of hurt and anger alive. The worst part is? They take revenge. Disagree with her? No leave approval and give you hell for taking emergency leave.

I am sure a lot of you have experienced this. In fact, I am experiencing it now. Not fun. Not fun at all. Oh well. Will be flipping the papers for a new job. Hehe...

This is all for now dear readers. Cheers!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

3rd International Artistic & Rythmic Gymnastics Friendship Competition.

I went to have lunch at Sunway Giza with my elder sisters yesterday and we were pleasantly surprised when we found out that an International Artistic & Rythmic Gymnastics Friendship Competition was being held there at that time. Hungry as we were, we decided to stop for a while to watch. Here are some photos:

Team New Zealand warming up. How I wish that I could do a split like that..

Such flexibility....

 From New Zealand doing  her ball routine..

 Spinning while holding this position is no small feat..

 New Zealand doing her ribbon routine..

Trying to catch the ribbon while looking graceful. Not always a success..

 Representing Hong Kong...

Lithe, petite and graceful...

My favorite participant, and not only because she represents Malaysia. 

 Malaysia with her ribbon routine. Although she did better with her ball routine (only one minor boo boo)
she almost never lost her smile even when she dropped her ribbon...

..or when she had to release a knot from her ribbon. She really was one of the best on the floor.

This is an amateur competition so of course there were a lot of apparatus dropping and hoops missing the mark. It was still enjoyable to watch as long as you don't expect a perfect performance like those in the Olympics. I still admire the courage, flexibility and strength that these girls displayed. Some of them were really quite good.

A common sight.. Opps! Hihi...

Makes me think about those who compete in the Olympics. I could only imagine the blood sweat and tears that went into their quest for the perfect performance. Phew!

When I have a child one day I would want my child to participate in gymnastics, InsyaAllah. Not to necessarily be a national champion but just to learn about balance, strength, teamwork, and sportsmanship. However, if he or she has the ability to go beyond and compete in a higher level (the Olympics perhaps? Hehe..), why not right?

This is all for now. Cheers! Wassalam...

Friday, September 02, 2011

Disappearing Act..

Hi y'all..

It has been such a long time since I had updated my blog and there are a lot of reasons behind it. During the past 2 weeks me and my sisters have been going out shopping and sightseeing all day and returning home at 10.30pm EVERY NIGHT (I kid you not) with only (read: barely) enough energy to bathe and prepare for bed (wash ze face, brush ze teeth, etc). So I'm sure you can understand when I say that I have had no time or energy to do any updates.

I have been wanting to do a haul post on my other blog which is phoebe-loves-makeup.blogspot.com showing all the things that I got but again, I had no time. Sorry peeps.

However, I'm sure you have noticed that my lack of post had started from early August 2011. There are reasons for that too. I have had to make really hard decisions this month. I have never felt more pressured and helpless in my life. I had to make a decision about my career, I had to make a decision about my relationship and above all something happened in my personal life that just threw me out of balance.

In fact it is so HUGE that I would actually call it a crisis. Not just an argument-with-a-close-friend type of crisis either. Ah dear readers, I wish that I could tell you but I can't at the moment. Not until the people that matters the most know. Shopping and sightseeing as I may have been doing, I couldn't escape the thoughts that have made me unable to sleep at night. They run like a 1000m/h in my head (or so it seems).  

In time I will tell you. Or maybe I might not announce it officially but will refer to it in passing. All I can say for now is that there is a lot riding on this and a lot of decision to be made within it. On top of it all whatever decision that I make will have an impact on the people around me. Sigh!

I'm off to have dinner with my sisters and we are going for Japanese food this time. Yay! The past few days have been noodles, pizzas and pastas all the way up to a point that I had to put my foot down and demanded for Japanese food (Yeah, the choice for tonight's type of food is my doing. Hehe...). Sepa tahan oh tiap2 hari makan Western. As much as I love cheese, I have found myself to gag at the sight of it as of now. Cheese overdose. Huhu...

Okay, so this is all for now peeps. More updates soon, InsyaAllah. Have a great weekend. Cheers!