Monday, May 24, 2010

Fashion Good Cop, Fashion Bad Cop

My girlfriend once said to me that I almost never wear a shirt-and-jeans combo. And that was the first time I noticed that yeah, she’s right! I don’t know if I’m fashion forward or backward, but I’ve long realised that being a Muslim girl who wears a hijab I have always had issues when it comes to fashion-
1. Vogue is not entirely reliable. I mean, if the season’s ‘in’ item is a pair of hotpants, that’s not exactly helpful is it?
2. All those beautiful Zara miniskirts and Prada dresses are look-but-don’t-touch items
3. People have fashion muses- Katy Perry, Nicole Kidman, Gwen Stefani etc. How about fashion icons who wear headscarves? None.
But then when I was raised as a child my mother has always reminded me that I should never limit my fashion access just because I am the Muslim girl with certain limitations in terms of dressing codes. Work with what you’ve got. It’s like how Eva Longoria would have to work with her short height, or how Jennifer Lopez would have to work with her extra curves. It’s really just the same concept.
And when you think about it, it’s so much better to not have a fashion muse! It means you don’t need to live up to any expectations. You are now the trendsetter. I have always loved clothes. I would eat friggin instant noodles for weeks if it means getting a dress I like. And why shouldn’t I buy a dress? Improvise. If you get a nice dress alter it shorter so you could wear it with opaque tights or dark skinny jeans. If it’s sleeveless find a cute bolero or a shorter jacket that fits really nicely on you and you’re good to go. The shoes will ALWAYS make the look. Great top, good pants, ugly shoes? Ugh. And the headscarves. As a Muslim woman you wear the hijab just as much you wear your tops so the rule of thumb is YOU MUST HAVE AS MUCH SCARVES AS YOU HAVE CLOTHES. I now own no less than 20 scarves. And no matter what people say you must try to never wear black or white hijabs (unless of course it perfectly matches the top). Those colours read ‘I can not be bothered’. If you don’t care about yourself, why should everyone else care about you?
The most important thing to remember is whether you are a Muslim girl wearing hijabs or a Vegas table dancer, the basic rules of fashion is the same. Here I’m listing down the basic rules and how it applies to scarf-wearing women-
1. When wearing baju kurung, your underwear and bra MUST completely support everything. Bra lines that show on your chest when wearing thin/fine-fabric baju kurung is just downright tacky (and it shows you’re trying to slut it up with the national dress. Have some respect!). And the baju kurung should always cut nicely at your knees or slightly above it, and the armpits should be close to your own armpit measurements, otherwise no one will know where your ass/waist/boobs are and people will think you steal other people’s clothes that are not your size.
2. G-strings are out the window. Wear seamless or boxers instead. Sitting on the floor with your head covered but you butt crack showing and your thong riding up your jeans? Not classy.
3. Nothing good can come, and I repeat nothing, can come from looking like a walking eggplant. That means to say if you’re wearing strong colours like purple, yellow and orange, do not opt to wear them too matchy-matchy (say, yellow pants, yellow top, yellow scarf). Add another splash of colour, like maybe a clashing-coloured handbag or scarves with different-coloured pattern.
4. If you go tight up, go big down. Tight down, go big up. For example flowy capri pants with a nice shirt that fits. Or a hobo flowery blouse with slim fit jeans. It keeps modesty intact, while style is balanced.
5. If wanting to wear a dress, remember that when wearing pants with dresses, the dress must always cut above the knee. Or else it will look like the dress doesn’t belong there.
6. When faced with the sudden sadness that you can never wear that glittery disco sleeveless top, remember that actually, really, there is nothing that you cannot wear. Find a good leather jacket or fitted jacket/bolero, some super high heels and you look better than Ke$ha already, honey.
7. Yes. It is a fact that being a Muslim girl with a love for fashion will always cost more $$$. You will always need to invest on pieces. You can’t just throw on a dress and shake your hair. It will always have to be a combination of dresses, overcoat/jackets, good pants that really fit your body, gorgeous expensive scarves and nice shoes. Face it. Swallow it. Embrace it.
8. When you look at a piece of clothing, don’t think “Ah, I can’t wear that”. Instead think “Okay, how can I wear this to fit MY needs?” Like knee high boots. You can never wear them with mini skirts like Kate Moss, but you can certainly wear them over skinny jeans like Gisele Bundchen.
9. Makeup, makeup, makeup. Solves almost everything.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Paris Je T'aime!

It's 5.43 pm on Saturday. My housemates aren't around, and next door I could hear the construction people working. I've always had this bad fantasy about people breaking in while I'm at home alone, and then I would proceed to hide under the bed and call 911 while whispering 'Somebody's in my house!'. And the cops would take way too long to get here, and I would proceed to have to comfront the bad guy and stab him with my sharp hair pin, and the story goes on and on...

Anyway. So I opened the balcony glass doors wide open, and I placed my cell phone near me so I could reach them. It's raining outside (gosh I love rainy Saturdays!) and the curtains are blowing everywhere. In case somebody breaks in I have decided to knock him out with this laptop. Oh look at that amazing view! This apartment is totally worth spending my paycheck over!

Two days ago a collegue told me she was resigning from work to do her pHD in the UK. The minute she told me about it I felt kind of sad. In December 2009 I dropped out from my Masters Degree. If I had carried on doing it, I would be in Paris by September in its college, studying. PARIS. I mean, people go there for a vacation, but no - I was going to live there for two years!

Decisions in our lives are made out of three things - fear, people around us and the sense of security. Some days I feel sorry I passed on the chance to go live in Paris, my one big fantasy since my childhood. Some days I feel like I did the right thing - I am financially stable, could afford pretty much any handbag I want, and met friends and a boy at work whom, if nothing at all, completely changed the way I look at the world. I wouldn't have gotten all these if I hadn't turned down the Paris offer. Although one could not stop but wonder, what if?

I had once heard a religious saying that it is a sin to regret. I suppose there is a definite logic behind it. When you have regrets you dwell in the past, the things that you should and shouldn't have done, the mistakes etc. The most important thing is who you want to become, not who you were. Everybody screws up in the past, in different ways and in different levels. You're smart if you learn from your own mistakes and try to be better. You're a genius, however, if you learn from other people's mistakes too.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Bachelorette is Nothing Without Her Pad (Bachelorette’s Pad, that is. Not the other Pad)

View from my bedroom window.

It is my first week in my new apartment. My room is empty except for a 700-ringgit mattress (instant noodles for the rest of the month, hello) and piles of boxes of my stuff against the wall. But I LOVE IT. My window has the most spectacular view of the city. It overlooks a large lake, and behind the lake stands the Twin Towers and the rest of the city lights. Late at night when you make yourself a cup of coffee, sit down on the floor and look out the window (my window is large and almost to the floor) with your bedroom lights turned off the view is magnificent. Then you enjoy the lights reflected on the surface of the lake and the tall city towers and you think, ‘It can’t get any better than this!’

My balcony overlooks the large infinity pool and in the morning one could do yoga bathed in morning sunlight while enjoying the pool serenity (Okay, okay fine. And maybe check out those guys swimming around down there).

A few days ago the genius me bought a closet at Carrefour (“oh of course I can put them up myself! It looks really easy!”) And then the three of us, my two housemates and I, spent about an hour putting the closet together. And needless to say I was the most un-useful one, having the role as ‘The Girl Who Held the Nails in The Plastic Bag and Passed Them Around When Needed’.

I finally have my VERY OWN HOME!! I’m so proud. Haha! Okay time to raid the fridge and see what can be eaten without cooking.

Monday, March 15, 2010

SuperNanny Can Kick SuperMan’s Ass On Any Given Day

On Saturday 13th March I undertook Mission Probably Impossible; nanny duty. My Ummi (Mom) had some errands to run and I had to babysit my baby brother and my boy cousin for the day. Solution = Bring them somewhere they could scream, run around and destroy things and it will still be legal. Hence PETROSCIENCE! (note: nothing pumps a kid’s adrenaline like complicated colorful scientific objects in an exhibition. And the singing Dinosaur robot just blows their minds!).

Ask anyone I know and they would say that although God gave me many gifts, babysitting ain’t one of them (To prove this, last month at a street show I accidentally stepped on someone’s child). I woke up early and chose a good outfit – something that hopefully screams sophisticated mature responsible woman on the prowl with well-behaved kids. Not slutty Miss High Heels who looks like a child kidnapper. (another note: wear WEDGES while on nanny duty. They allow you to run around after children while still looking good and under control)

It was fairly easy, though. Pile a lot of sugar in them (waffles, ice cream, candy etc), let them run around in Petronscience, introduce them to your guy friend who looks too cool for school (it’s amazing how young boys always seem to admire the abang (older brothers)) and bring them to Toys’r’us twice on the same day. And for God’s sake buy them some Transformers/Ultraman Taro on the way home.

While I was watching them I realized that children – like me once upon a really long time ago – live the simplest life possible. They’re always so blissfully happy. As innocent as a white cloth. Will never lie to you. See the world as black or white, wrong or right. No drama. The simplest things make them smile. Ignorant of all the bad things the world has to offer. I can’t quite remember the last time I had lived in that phase. It must’ve been good though.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lessons To Be Learned From Movies

House of Wax – If you get to a wax museum where there are no other tourists, promotion pamphlets and a website, run. Also, if you’re that girl from the group with the trashy lingerie running around in the jungle, chances are you probably won’t survive.

Definitely, Maybe – Sometimes what you’re looking for is right in front of you. And keep in mind that it takes some people a few bad relationships, a divorce and a kid to figure that out. So be warned.

Forest Gump – Stay away from that dude who owns the shrimp restaurant. Or you’ll never hear the end of it.

Star Wars – Queen Amidala is how Lady Gaga got the idea to become a freak show. And it is NOT possible to walk around in space without an oxygen tank.

My Best Friend’s Wedding – Shit happens.

Jennifer’s Body – Megan Fox is undeniably steaming hot. If she competes with you for your boyfriend, give up already.

(500) Days of Summer – It is not possible to be wise and in love at the same time.

Lord of the Rings – They lied. An elf is not supposed to look that cute (picture Orlando Bloom here). In fact, an elf is usually really tiny with hideous ears and a scrunched up face, much like a premature baby.

Ocean’s 11, 12, 13 – Again, they lied. Criminals never look this good. If you don’t believe me look at all those mug shots.

Legally Blonde – However lovable the character may be, in real life it is seriously annoying to see a girl in a pink suit tottering around with a Chihuahua.

Pirates of the Caribbean – Don’t be the silly girl who fell in love with a pirate. They’re usually drunk half the time.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall – For goodness sake, Hawaii is the last place to mend a broken heart. Go to Mekah.

Wanted – Oh, who knows what the lesson is about. Let’s face it, we watched it because Angelina Jolie was in it.

He’s Just Not That Into You – If a guy doesn’t give a shit, it’s because he really, really doesn’t give a shit. Love cures commitment phobia.

Talentime – Malaysian movies are awesome sometimes.

Monday, February 22, 2010

All the Boys, I Mean Men, In My Life

In every story a man will ever tell you, there will always, always, always be a girl, if not many. Spiderman’s was Mary Jane Watson. Anakin Skywalker’s was Queen Amidala. Even friggin’ Mickey Mouse had Minnie Mouse. The same goes for girls. As much as I had vowed to never ever speak about men in this blog, it is, however, inevitable. After all, much of the important chapters of my life had a male character revolved around it, whether it is with or without my conscience.

On the day I hopped on the train on a five-hour ride to my hometown, it was 6.30 p.m. and the sun was just setting. From my window I could see the sun setting behind the series of mountains of Titiwangsa, and the rays of orange sunlight against the green carpet of tropic jungle was absolutely stunning. I sat cross legged covered in a flannel blanket (travelling tip: flannel blankets equal ten times the comfort!) and on the other side of the aisle a cute guy was sitting there smiling at me. Now I don’t mean to brag but any 22 year-old gal worth her salt knows ‘the smile’. You know, that smile a guy gives you when he’s interested in making conversation but is way too shy. It’s incredibly flattering, and believe me, on any given day I would probably respond with the ‘Try harder stupid!’ smile signal, but on this day not so much.

Instead I kept thinking back about all those boys/guys. All those boys/guys that ever existed in my life. Ones I dated, ones I almost dated, ones I dated and then proceeded to have relationships with, ones who broke my heart, ones whose hearts I broke. What does it mean? Why did I meet all these men? I am a huge believer that everyone we met in this world, we meet for a reason. Therefore I can never say that I regret meeting any of them, because surely it was all part of the 'bigger plan'. Yes, even that guy who liked me but throughout the relationship I was 50% sure that he was gay.

Sometimes I think I’ve seen it all (but I haven't, I know, I know). The guy who was so clingy I felt like babysitting a five year old. The guy who liked me too much it was like dating a stalker. The guy who couldn’t stop talking about how hot he thinks his ass is. The guy with the lowest self esteem he almost passed out when we had a fight. The guy who was so drunk I had to stand five feet away to avoid the terrible alcohol smell. In the midst of me meeting them, and learning so much from these characters, I also learned that as much as it is wrong for you to think that marriage will fix everything and becomes the only key to happiness, it is also wrong to think that the guy who is perfection would make a good relationship with you. Imperfection is the new perfection, or so I heard Kate Moss said.

There isn’t a single guy that I have met that I wished I didn’t. As screwed up as that relationship may have been, they really helped me grow up. That’s why I hate it when I read self help books/articles that refer to men as these unrecognizable creatures whom you have to proceed with caution, which you have to treat as if they are programmed robots (although they do make some casing point, you men do revolve most of your thoughts around one thing only, and we all know what that one thing is LOL). Most of the men I met have (thank God!) brains. And most of you are smart, funny, awesome people to have fun with. But I stress the word most. Remember that guy who was so drunk to even put two words together? Yawwwwnnn.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Soundtrack of My Life

Trouble (Coldplay) – Beautiful, Cold/Freezing, Quiet mornings in Perth
Coast to Coast (Westlife) – Mom and Dad in the car when I was younger. They were huge fans of Westlife
Zikir Zaman (Ramli Sarip) – Dad in his patriotic mood
Better man (Robbie Williams) – Dad melayan jiwang, preferably in the car
Stop Right Now (Spice Girls) – Childhood in UK. Obsession with the Spice Girls to the extent of sticker and bubble-gum collection.
Strawberry Swing (Coldplay) – A really good night in the city. Good weather, good friends, the river reflecting the entire city lights. With coffee in one hand.
Dua Tiga Kuching Berlari (Lullaby) – Opah putting babies to sleep (myself included)
Because You Love Me (Celine Dion) – Mom cooking in the kitchen, while wishing she could watch TV instead.
River Flows in You (Piano by Yiruma) – Don’t feel down about all the bad dates you have. Some people have seriously tragic love stories.
Ordinary Day (Vanessa Carlton) – I wish I could play the piano. Oh wait maybe I should learn how to do that…
Down (Jay Sean) – Table dancing at the ladies’ night
Why can’t I (Liz Phair) – Teenage years obsessing over my first boyfriend
Steer (Missy Higgins) – I want to climb mountains, discover cities, eat pasta in small Italian villages and see the rest of the world!
Only Hope (Mandy Moore) – Raudhatul Akmal. One particular rainy afternoon in boarding school, she and I were lying down on the cold cement floor of the dormitory listening to my dodgy walkman to this very song. Ever since then every time I hear it I kept thinking of that exact moment.
Who Let the Dogs Out? (Baha Men) – That slut needs some serious bitch-slapping
God is The Light (Yusuf Islam) – One of those rare moments when I’m contempt with just being myself and wanting to become a better person.
Single Ladies (Beyonce) – Who needs men?
Hey Jude (The Beatles) – Sigh. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a date right now.
The Blower’s Daughter (Damien Rice) – Cloudy sunsets at the beach
Tell Me Baby (Red Hot Chili Peppers) – Seriously kick-ass concerts, loud crowds and lots of sweat
Just Around the Riverbend (Pocahontas, Disney) – Is-this-all-there-is-to-my-life mood
Somewhere Only We Know (Keane) – Rainy misty mornings in London
Yellow (Coldplay) – Love and all the crazy things we do for it
Scandalous (Mis-Teeq) – Victoria’s Secret models
Radio (Ne-yo) – Road Trip to Bintulu, 2006. No radio coverage, just one CD. And this same song kept playing over and over again.
May It Be (Anya) – Sitting on top of a green hill on a nice day and sketching the view.
Happy (Leona Lewis) – A guy I know.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The City

Times Square New York. Definitely a must-see place before you die.

The city means different things to different people. For some it’s a place where they grew up, and they knew of no other place than the tall buildings and the shopping malls. For some it’s a place where they chase dreams (this may be divided into two, ambitions or rich men in good suits). For some it’s just a holiday destination. For the rest of us, well, we’re not really sure what we’re doing here just yet.

There are two sides of the city. One that I like and one that I totally despise. The part that I like is that at night the lights are gorgeous and it always seems alive. You get up, dress up and show up. I love the fact that you’ll always have an excuse to dress up and look nice. You meet friends and good people, and eat good food and have a good laugh and a good time. And you meet all these people – some you like, some you really, really like, some you don’t, but at the end of the day you feel like your life has witnesses. Like if you were gone tomorrow these people would say, ‘hey, I knew that girl.’ You become a part of this incredible chain of humans and you feel like you’re living the high life of a twenty-two year old. The right way any other twenty-two year old should be living.

Then there’s the harsh side of it. You wake up, go to work, go back home, and before you know it your day is over. You get stuck in a public transport for hours where a certain tall guy would stand over you and dude, please get a deodorant stick or something! All those time, working and travelling, that’s the time in your life you will never, ever get back. And then you get this feeling like you’re only a part of a herd – like a herd of sheep, almost. There is a routine. You won’t often find days where you wake up and you know something exciting or different is going to happen. You all do the same things, but you’ll never speak or know things about each other. In a city, you know you are never alone, but you’ll always feel alone.

Nevertheless I do miss it a lot. I think it has something to do with the fact that when I go back home from work, I’ll walk out of the office in Twin Towers and I see tourists taking pictures of it. And then I think to myself, ‘Better yet, I am actually working here!’ and then I go out for drinks with friends and have a good time, and when I go back I’ll sit next to the guy who just came back from construction work, and it makes me feel grateful because some people have it worse than I do. And then right before I go to sleep, that small space of moment, I feel totally alone and it’s quiet and dark and this really is, believe it or not, one of the things I look forward to the whole day.

Friday, January 8, 2010

All Aboard! 2010 is Here!

I'm beginning to question the true magical powers of a coconut drink. They're known to be very healing, and I would know this because last year my cat got sick so we fed it some coconut drink and wa-la! He got all better (that, or he's just sick of same ol' plain water and cat cookies). So you would think that on New Year's weekend, I had a weekend holiday by the Prt Dickson Beach and had no less (I swear this is true) than 6 coconut drinks I would be at the prime of my health. But nooo. Come Monday I had a fever, flu, cough and a sore throat.

Sickness aside. After I got back from this TOTALLY FANTASTIC New Year getaway with my four best girlfriends (Paris Hilton can say whatever the hell she wants, but you girls are the best BFFs ever!), I realised that sometimes things just couldn't happen in a better timing. This year I'll be starting off as an official working gal, just graduated, new office, new boss, high heels everyday all day (all hail the guy who created high heels. He deserves a Nobel Prize), new friends, new love interest. So celebrating New Year by getting away with your oldest friends who always knew you best is the perfect beginning to 2010. Keeps my feet on the ground and my priorities in check. Highlights on the weekend trip:
- The MASSAGE. I wanted to ask the masseuse to please adopt me.
- Charades, in which Zaza demonstrated the movie 'Species' with acts that would make her Mom hit her with a broomstick.
- Odah's ability to not like karaoke, banana boat, and guitar-jamming but managed to have loads of fun anyway.
- My near-concussion incident in which I hit my head against Zaza's ass. I know you had bruises, honey, but I can't even remember my Grampa's name no more.
- DJ's answer to everything = whatever/I'm totally fine with it/boleh aje
- Hana wearing a kaftan on the way back from PD to home (honestly, you can't get much more 'aunty' that that. Lol!)

Now I know this is already a week old, but what is the New Year without new resolutions?
1. I will discover at least one new city/country.
2. I will watch something, live (concert, local band gigs, football game, anything!)
3. I will not revolve my life around boys, and instead revolve boys around MY life (not that I've ever slammed the breaks of my life around a guy, but in this new working environment, a girl's gotta remind herself not to do that, over and over again)
4. Learn to cook something new (yes, I know the whole lemon roasted chicken incident went off into flames. So maybe try something simpler and more achievable?)
5. Learn a new skill (have not yet decided between sewing, playing a musical instrument or learning French)
6. Join a charity (and not just give money. More like actually lending physical energy into it)
7. Get at least one 'tick' in the To-Do List of My Life.

Happy New Year! Have a great one!