28 March 2007

Why Women Cry...

A little boy asked his mother, "Why are you crying?"
"Because I'm a woman," she told him.
"I dont understand," he said.
His mom just hugged him and said,
"And you never will."

Later the little boy asked his father, "Why does mother seem to cry for no reason?"
"All women cry for no reason," was all his father could say.

The little boy grew up and became a man, still wondering why women cry.
Finally he prayed to God who would surely know the answer.

When God responded he asked, "God, why do women cry so easily?"
God said:

"When i made the woman she has to be made special.

I made her shoulders strong enough to carry the weight of the world, yet gentle enough to give comfort.

I gave her inner strength to endure childbirth and the rejection that many times comes from her children (and her husband).

I gave her a hardness that allows her to keep going when everyone else gives up, and take care of her family through sickness and fatigue without complaining.

I gave her sensitivity to love her children under any and all circumstances, even when her child has hurt her badly.

I gave her wisdom to know that a good husband never hurts his wife, but sometimes test her strengths and her resolve to stand beside him unfalteringly.

And lastly, I gave her a tear to shed. This is hers and only hers exclusively to use whenever she needs it. She needs no reason, no explanation, it's hers."

"You see my son," said God, "the beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart - the place where love resides."

This chain letter was dedicated by Puan Apsah to all the women who attended BAG Networks' International Women's Day last Saturday.

*(text) added by Puan Apsah.

The highlight of the event was the speech given by Datuk Dr Jemilah from Mercy Malaysia. She is one kind of a character, very 'blunt' person as she puts it herself. She bluntly told us that she can come up with a disaster plan for Kampong Ayer after a half day visit; the 1st issue being 'how many of the women and children of Kampong Ayer know how to swim?'. She challenged the women of Brunei to step out of their comfort zones, to reach out to the community and offer assistance wherever required. She talked about the great imbalance between human suffering and those offering help, advocating humanitarian aid in any form; whether through financial contributions, volunteering help, spreading the word, non-material donations, etc.

Her cause was strongly supported by a video of Mercy Malaysia's mission across countries striken by war and natural disasters. Any woman cannot help but feel a tug at her heart strings when watching images of babies and toddlers starve to death, falling victims to wars they know nothing of, people losing their family and a place where they are supposed to feel safe; a place they call home.

Some of us may feel very disturbed and traumatised when watching these images and choose to look away, shut our ears and not speak of it hoping it will not scar the beautiful world that we live in. But really, which is the real world?

Alot of questions were thrown at Dr Jemilah on the hurdles along her way, the compromise of her family life, and the work she has done.

One lady in the audience asked how did she get her husband's approval. She smiled and said proudly, "By marrying the right man". Someone once asked her husband,
"Why do you let your wife do all that?" (go on missions for months, travelling on behalf of UN, etc)
His response was, "Because i cant do what she does. Can you do what she does? If you can, please do it so she can stay home."

At the end of the day, the thoughts of making a difference lingered in most of us. Women are compassionate and soft like that. One of my friends who also attended the event, asked if i would like to contribute to their Angels Net. and without hesitation i said Yes. They basically identify families that are in need and aid them on an ongoing basis, and that's what's important.. the commitment to help long term. We often question ourselves, what can i do? i want to help but where do i start? There are many public and non-govt organisations in brunei with similar programmes. It's all about taking that first giant step.

.with Dr Jem (2nd from left).

"The greatest use of our life is to use it on something that will outlast it."

21 March 2007

Half of the world's sky is held up by women

How many of us actually celebrates International Women's Day? I didnt know about this day until i joined my company 4 years ago. It is the day when people around the world celebrate women's achievements, equality, emancipation, and inspire and empower future generation of women to make meaningful changes. To some, it is also a day where men honor their wives, mothers, girlfriends, daughters, colleagues.

I've never really given much thought to the evolution of women's struggle for equality in the workplace or their role in society. However, if you compare Brunei's women workforce some 10 years ago and recent years, you will find great advancement of women in both the government and private sectors. The country is (finally) acknowledging women's talent, commitment and their ability to lead. Or shall we say, Brunei women are taking charge of their destiny now, bolder and filled with confidence and support, they set out to achieve what they are capable of doing.

An IT company and Brunei Times recently handpicked a few of the many successful women in Brunei to be featured in BT's Life section. Amongst them, the 1st to be interviewed is Puan Apsah, the Deputy Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Education. Caryn was there during the interview and Puan Apsah's story: Sincere Apsah paves the way sent tears rolling down her eyes. (Anyways, she's very emo, cries over happy endings and touching stories, hehehe) Having met Puan Apsah at last year's IWD event, i saw and respect her as a woman who must have performed well to get where she is today, i did not see beyond the fact that there are many other factors behind the scene. Her commitment to continuing education, her dedication to the future leaders of Brunei, her struggles at home and her dreams to build a school. I'm sure she's a role model to many of her students, colleagues and women out there.

Her quotes:

"I don't think women has to choose between a career and family. We can have the best of both worlds. Yes it is hard but if you make your priorities right."
"Being contented with what you have is very important."
"Live a legacy. Have an impact on people's lives." wink

And can a woman succeed when thrown into a room filled with Y-chromosomes? Suriyah Umar, Acting Deputy Accountant General at the Ministry of Finance is proof of that. Her story: Succeeding in a men's world is both humourous and inspiring. Before being transferred to MOF, she was working in the Civilian Finance Dept in Ministry of Defence where she made her "biggest achievement of changing the male perception of what a woman could achieve." Another noteworthy point is she did not let being a single woman deter her from having a family. She is the first person i know to have adopted a daughter to raise on her own. Kudos to Dyg Suriyah.

Her quotes:

"Having a family does not hinder them (friends and colleagues) from performing their jobs. A woman with a family is not a problem."
"You must not think that just because you are a woman, you are not able to do a man's job."
"If it is your passion, you should work for it and not let being a woman stop you."
"You are an individual. Hold yourself in the highest regard."

Keep an eye out for more interviews in BT's Life section.

As part of Accenture's observance of IWD, they recently published a research report titled Expectations and Achievement: Empowering Women from Within. It's based on an online survey and interviews conducted with 2,246 male and female executives in 13 countries to examine how the personal expectations of both men and women have influenced their achievement. The study also reveals how expectations about career advancement; progression and fulfillment change over time and what causes these changes; how both men and women define leadership; and the factors they believe have had the greatest impact on their personal success. It's definitely a good read.

Some quotes from the top female leaders in Accenture:

Words of wisdom:
"People might not remember what you say, but they will remember how you made them feel."
The most valuable thing you can give someone is your time."
Never lose sight of your dreams and remember to have fun along the way."

Top secrets to success:
"Recognize that your success is totally dependent on the success of those around you. Always share the credit. Never share the blame."
"Have some creative tension in your organization—it can drive good decision-making. A senior executive does not always have the answers at the end of the day."
"A willingness to explore and take risks"

Ways to balance life and work:
"Choose someone to share your life with who not only accepts what you do, but also loves you for doing it."
"Take control of your life. It’s part of being successful."
"Schedule exercise—whatever it takes to do that—in the middle of the day, early in the morning or late in the evening."
"Have a good support network and infrastructure. I make sure that when I'm home I really have time to spend with my children."
.ahhh this is certainly empowering.

17 March 2007

My Kookie Side

Marul: I tagged you for the quiz, answer ahhhhhhhh
Me: i hate quizzesssssss! Grrrrrrr
Marul: Hahaha, must do!

I dont really have a choice. So "Those who get tagged must post 6 weird things about themselves in their blog and state the rules clearly. At the end of the post, you must choose 6 other people to tag".

1. I dont eat steak, but i eat beef thinly sliced.
2. I only drink H2O if it's chilled.
3. I will drive all the way home to wash my hair if i find it a tad bit oily in the midst of work.
4. I have a strange tendency to anagram signs or shop names that catches my attention everytime i drive. I blame NBT's treasure hunt.
5. Before i sleep, i HAVE TO read a book or do a crossword puzzle.
6. Thought i was really weird until i read Bev's No.1. Toilet sheets for me has to be torn from the bottom! It's a battle for me everytime i'm at a friend's and have to physically restrain myself from turning it around. Though there are times when i grin to know someone likes their sheets roll the way i do. ;)

I must not tag anyone.
so i went down to the canteen hoping to get an egg sandwich only to find it closed! Daym. So BH suggested we go over to the payment unit 'cos they sell more variety of food there. So imagine this, 2 kooks walking into the payment unit in MOF, passed their counters into the back office, approached a lady who's diligently typing away at her computer who then looked up at us, and

Me peeping over her cubicle: "Dimana jual makanan?" shyly.
Lady: "Oh sebelah tu.."
Me: "Arah pensions unit ka?"
Lady: "Ya"

Head over to pensions unit. Look around, turn left and a-hah! a notice on the pantry that reads stg like "Jual makanan, blabla, 7.45am...", enter to find rows of fried food stacked on top of each other; curry puff, spring rolls, nasi lemak, mee goreng, kway teow, burgers, kuih-muih, peanuts, anything and everything but egg sandwich! I was gonna settle for mini burgers then i saw an egg sandwich lol the one and only left, grabbed it and now who do i pay? So happened someone walked past and i waved the sandwich at her and shrugged. She yelled out 'liaaaaaaa....' then a head popped up over a cubicle, the officer-cum-retailer came over, put my purchase in a plastic bag, took my money and "terima kasih".

How difficult was that? I got myself an egg sandwich.

For fellow Pisceans

15 March 2007

I'm back

Things has slowed down a fair bit after all the clicky clackers of Chinese New Year.. down comes the red lanterns, the lion heads stacked back to their dusty shelf, emptied angpows, and back to slogging days. With workload piling up by the day, i've almost forgotten how it feels to be busy, the days of 6 msn windows, surfing and reading blogs are near gone.. Sobs.

Here are some snippets from CNY.
.The rummy fanatics.
.Feeling nostalgic.Cheongsam Night.
.'Yu Sang' (CNY salad) with the sweetest divers.
For some reason, during CNY this year, i actually miss CNY. Everytime i light up a sparkler, i get overwhelmed with emotions, emotions from those days... I miss being a kid, miss the excitement of choosing lanterns, miss sitting behind my mum for hours watching her play mahjong, miss playing cards till sunrise with my brother and cousin, those were the days.

Another wonderful moment for me this year is my birthday. If it was left to me, it would have been a quiet day, but i had an amazing week. Much love to you, my friends.

Scrapaholics, each talented in their own way.

L-R: My favourite colour from Jess, and digital scrap from Tina. Notice in all photos i was fiddling with my camera. Yes, i love my camera.

Besides being busy at work, i've also been "working out" Hehehe. My evenings are spent playing a minimum of 5-10 rounds of bowling.. on the Wii. I swear, my butt cheeks ached for a few days, my arms and shoulder blades are so friggin' sore it's not funny. After a game of boxing, i plopped back on the couch catching my breath like i had just hiked up a hill and sweating a up a storm. It's just madness. So for those of you lazy buggers that cant leave the comfort of your own home, maybe the Wii can trim some love-handle off. And someone is INSANE enough to prove it.

If i could draw up my thoughts right now, this is exactly what i'm dreaming of .

07 March 2007

Hello there, stranger

.A baby's smile can melt your heart.

05 March 2007

1st dive for 2007 - Blue Water Wreck

Day: Friday, 2 March 2007 - Day Dive
Crew: Myself, Caryn, Elvin, Sebastian, Boon Hui, Anny, Tat, Lily, Uwais, Cik Azli (Instructor) and Hj Kula (Boatman)
Dive Site: Blue Water Wreck@Mabini Padre and Cement Wreck@MV Tung Hwang
Viz: Good ~ 10m
Max Depth: ~25-28m
Dive Time: 30m

I was soo disciplined the night before you wouldnt believe it. I said "no, thank you" to wine, got home at 10pm, cleaned and waxed my camera's housing, listen to my panicking dad;
Dad: "Are u crazy? Why are you diving at this hour????? Who's so crazy to dive now? ladida.."
Me: "No dad, i'm just packing for tomorrow"
Dad: "Oh.. =_=!",
packed my gears, put them right beside my door, stood grinning at them for a few seconds then snuck under the duvet for a good night sleep but instead i layed there wide awake, i was staring point blank at the ceiling. GAWD! It was a shuffle of reading a book, doing crosswords, and lying still in bed. Lets just say eventually i fell asleep and most of the SLEEP i got was dreams of deep sea diving. Right..

We reached Muara Port at 7.45am on the dot, scuffled around unloading and loading tanks, gearing up, and watched the "ta-tou-sia" (literally big prawn head for clumsy oaf@boon hui) slipped and yelped. He got himself a cut on the chin and elbow and we're not even in the water yet! eek

The ride to blue water wreck was really long. It was long enough for the feelings of vulnerability in the open sea to cave in. I didnt talk much during the ride.. something was amissed, i forgot to take sea-sick pills eek i tried so hard to hold my breakfast in. When we finally anchored above blue water wreck, i breathed a sigh of relief, YES, i'm here! for the very first time..
At 25'c, the water was coooooooold, we had to swim towards the bouy and follow the anchor line down. By the time i reached the bouy, i was seriously out of breath. It was only 10 metres away from the boat, i then realised i've lost my stamina, i need to start exercising.

As we descend to roughly 10m, the dark silhoutte of the wreck emerges into sight. This wreck is huge, and at most time is swarmed with schools of barracudas and tunas. Back in 1981 she sank lying on her port side, which is now festooned in soft corals. You name it, she has it. I was hovering around the starboard side at 24m while my adventurous buddy, Sebastian ventured lower to the stern.
Fidgeting with my camera, i wasnt sure what to look out for, i didnt want to take any pictures of batfish, groupers, wrasses or angelfish.. until Tat pointed out something to me. A gorgeous nudi. Different family to the usual chromodoris or pustulosa, this nudi has oral tentacles and ceratas (those elongated projections). Usually quite a rare gem to spot, it's everywhere in this wreck. According to Caryn, it seems like their mating season.

.really rare to see 3 together.

20 minutes passed before i started feeling nauseous again. This is bad. So i shifted my focus to smaller objects. On closer inspection, i caught sight of a pair of shy gobies, two porcupine puffer fish..they have this glassy lifeless pair of eyes, armies of hinge-beak shrimps that peeked out of portholes, seemingly as curious about me as i am of them, hundreds of glassfish and cardinalfish darting by oblivious to my presence. I was beginning to feel at home.
Then dive computers started beeping, Caryn's shaker clinking, she signalled for us to ascend, bottom time is never enough for wreck dives, we slowly ascended to 5m for our safety stop. This is the time when i truly satiate the freedom of weightlessness and the serenity of the sea. Then suddenly this AMBOK pops into sight! Hahahaha, there's never a dull moment with Sebastian around.
When we surfaced, the rest were discussing whether to continue our 2nd dive here or to move on to Cement Wreck whilst i was leaning over the boat puking my guts out.
cry So did Sebastian and Lily. I had a massive headache and decided against a 2nd dive. Me??? Succumbing to sea-sickness, unbelievable. What a way to start the 1st dive of the year.

It was then decided Cement Wreck would be the next site, and by the time we reached, i was draped under my towel fast asleep. All i recalled was BSAC divers shouting out "Viz at the bottom is shitty, around 1m, it's much better at the stern", then woken up by a rocking boat and found myself alone. Great.. I thought i felt much better so i had some cheezels. Bad decision. More food for the fish i suppose. :P

When the rest ended their 2nd dive, we headed to Kuraman Island.. had some food, barbequed the huge tuna fish that Lily bought from a fisherman, some took a nap, some took a stroll down the sandy beach...

I finally got home at 7pm, absolutely worn out, cleaned up and endured another 10 hours of open house before i finally collapsed in bed at 5am the next morning.

Yes, i might be insane.

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