Remembering Mon Amie, Ami Schaheera

Sunday, March 30, 2014

"It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that, according to this new data, flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean."

"Ami's gone."

Two separate events. Two pieces of devastating news. It has been a tough week. As the saying goes, "When it rains it pours." 

As a country, we are mourning. As a friend of Ami Schaheera, the cancer fighting fashion blogger with a beautiful soul, I am saddened by her recent passing. I didn't have a good feeling when her husband informed us that Ami had trouble breathing and sleeping due to a lung infection a week ago. I knew Ami had been in and out the hospital ever since she found out that she had leukemia three years ago. A month after her wedding, in fact. But this time, I really didn't have a good feeling about it.

The Travelling Moroccan Parisienne

Friday, March 21, 2014

One of the things I am most grateful for is the fact that God has sent people from all walks of life to be my friends and acquaintances. The lovely young woman standing next to me in the picture above is on a fascinating journey. I first met Jihane in Dunedin when she was an exchange student from Paris. She had long curly locks and walked around campus with an air of confidence and independence.

I don't recall how we met but it must've been through some mutual Arab friends. Jihane is Moroccan but she has lived in Paris for many years. I'll always remember that she taught me the one-word Moroccan saying, "B'saha". It's kind of like "Salut". You can say it to others before they eat or drink but she once said it to me after I went shopping. I guess it's sort of like "Congratulations or best wishes" or the Islamic expression "MashaAllah".

Oh yes, I mentioned that Jihane is on a fascinating journey. Let me tell you why. In France, after five years of working (I'm not sure if this is exclusive to her company or field), one is allowed to ask for a 9 month no-pay leave. She was lucky. She was granted the leave after four years and decided to go on a travelling journey. She began in South America where she didn't fancy the food but the people were very friendly. She loved Brazil and had a taste of poverty in Bolivia. Then she went to North America for a few weeks and attended the Burning Man Festival. Her exact words were, "It was crazy. Crazy."

Why Is Everyone So Angry At Abu Eesa Niamatullah?

Friday, March 14, 2014

As I was typing this blog post as part of my commentary on the #FireAbuEesa issue, my friend Ameera Begum posted the above message. For the record, I didn't jump into conclusions.  I did check if he said it as a joke and yes, it was recorded by students of the University of Nottingham (Malaysian campus). Please read Ameera's Facebook post if you want to know more about what happened.

This is exactly why people like Ameera and I reacted badly towards Shaykh Abu Eesa's recent statements on his social media accounts. While the likes of Abu Eesa would find these sort of comments funny, there are actual Muslim preachers out there who are indoctrinating the minds of Muslims with false teachings under the guise of Islam.

And there is nothing funny about that.

Pray for MH370

Sunday, March 09, 2014

I am sure you have heard the shocking and devastating news about the Malaysian Airlines plane MH370 which was scheduled to arrive Beijing at 6.30 am on 8th March 2013 after departing from Kuala Lumpur International Airport on the same day. The local news networks and television channels have been providing regular updates and we are all kept on our toes. Unfortunately, various speculations and rumours have been spreading like wildfire via social media. Sadly, this incident has revealed the mental maturity or lack thereof of these irresponsible social media users. If you have made a mistake, let's move on and learn from it. 

I would just like to remind everyone to be careful about the information they share. Authorities and search and rescue teams from Malaysia and other countries like Thailand, China and Vietnam are doing their best to locate MH370. They are doing their jobs and we should do ours too, which is to continue praying for the passengers and cabin crew and not incite hatred or blame towards the pilot, Captain Zaharie Shah, Malaysian Airlines or the government because no one knows what truly happened at this stage. While we sit here in the comfort of our homes, the very same individuals and organisations you criticise are doing the best they can to save lives. Please don't become a victim of group think or group mentality -- think for yourself.

source: The Element by Sir Ken Robinson

Lupita Nyong'o on Beauty and Self-Compassion

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

"You can't eat beauty. You can't rely on how you look to sustain you. What actually sustains us... what is fundamentally beautiful is compassion - for yourself and for those around you. — Lupita Nyong'o"

I'm really happy for Lupita Nyong'o. Not only for being an Oscar winner, but for her courage and determination to pursue her passion and to possess something I feel is extremely vital as a woman -- self-compassion.