I have this super urghhhh feeling right now. When I am feeling down, I reach out to Allah. I am pmsing big time and I have my period. I'm so frustrated with the world. And the worst part? I can't pray.
I need to connect with Allah. I need to do my ablutions (washing up), dorn my white muslim prayer clothes, face the Kaabah in the holy city of Mecca from my room and pray to Allah. I need to read my Yasin prayer book every evening after my Maghrib prayers at 7.10pm which also happens to be the first prayer of the day. You see for Muslims, our day begins at dusk ( makes sense?). I need to pray to Allah to keep my family safe, to bless my husband with a good job soon, to bless my daughters with a good life, to bless my siblings, their families, my parents, to bless me with a peace of mind. To bless my charity initiative HEN with directions, people and funding.. I pour my heart out to Allah every evening. I can't share my deepest feelings with anyone else. Only Allah.
So, I can't pray for all that for a week. I can pray in my mind but it is simply not the same. The feeling of absolute oneness with Allah when I pray every evening, that feeling of closeness I get. I miss it. Sometimes I feel I see Him in my room. So, now you know how that feels? To not be able to pray ...Urghhhh...I just want to sleep and wake up a week later when my period is over.
Why the need for this post? Because I noticed so many of us settle. We don't fight back because of so many reasons...why bother? I don't want to make it a big issue. People will think I'm over reacting etc...
I beg to differ. Why not? Why shouldn't we make it a big issue? Why shouldn't we over react, when we need to? Otherwise, how will people know that it is an issue ? That something that may be ok for you may not be ok for others. If we all keep quiet and do nothing, a change will not take place.
I will narrate incidents that happened in my daughter's school that spurred me on to write this post...
To be continued ....
I’m back.. I couldn’t leave something hanging for long... anyway. My older daughter Ranya is 16 years old this year. She is studying in a local Singapore school that is particularly focused on the academics. I encouraged her to attend that school because of a few reasons - proximity to home, history of academic excellence, my alma mater. But it didn’t suit her. She was a circle trying to fit into a square hole. Last year was particularly bad as she had so many subjects with very high standards and she couldn’t clear so many of them even with extra lessons from private tutors. Students who can’t clear the exams are given a second chance to catch up during the last 2 weeks of Nov. We weren’t aware so we were joyfully enjoying our London and Paris holiday. When we returned, we had a rude shock awaiting us. The dean informed us that our Daughter either leaves the school or gets retained for that year. I was appalled. I was shocked. I went home devastated. I started blaming myself. How could I have I hv let this happen? But it slowly dawned on me. It’s not my fault. I’m not the one to blame. So, I didn’t keep quiet. I fought back and I made some noise.
Firstly, we were not aware that there was such thing as a 2 week review period for weak students. Secondly, without giving her a chance, how could the school ask my girl to repeat that year or leave the school?? I had a few meetings... I had to put my foot down. I wrote to the principal and even cced the email to Education Ministry in SG, MOE. That got the school’s attention. They realised they had not been fair to my daughter, gave her a 2 week review period and eventually let her progress on to the next year. They didn’t want us to blow this issue out of proportion. After all it’s the school’s reputation that is at stake. They had to give in. My daughter was very grateful to me. She said any other parent in that school would not have fought for their child’s justice. Even my husband noted that it’s my email that got the school’s attention. I replied I’m not any other parent.
Another incident coming up...ok I’m back again. Sorry guys.. a lot of things are on my plate right now. My charity organisation, my dual roles in the training team, housework etc...
The second incident happened just last week. Again it’s about my older girl. She is very weak in Chemistry. All kids her age from different schools seem to be weak in Chem. My girl got a new teacher this year Ms P who also happened to be a close friend of my sister. She is a strict teacher and expects her students to excel. She won’t think twice about kicking kids out of class for not being able to answer her questions. Everyone in her class is not fond of Ms P.
Let me come to the matter. My girl Ranya wasn’t doing well in her Chem tests. And her close friend D didn’t pass the recent test either. Ms P then asks D ‘ What happened? You were doing so well at the beginning of the year? Now what happened? Are you having problems at home? Or is it because you are sitting next to Ranya?’
D narrated the whole conversation to Ranya and Ranya showed it to me. I ask of you ... as a parent, what would have been your reaction? Shock? Insulted? Offended? So I was. All that... shocked. Insulted and Offended. How in the world would my daughter affect another classmate’s marks? But It’s a tricky situation. The teacher was a friend of my sis. So I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt. I didn’t want to bring the matter to the higher authorities yet. So, I made a quiet noise. I sent Ms P an email and gave her a chance to explain herself. My husband and I are meeting her next week.
Ranya asked ‘Aren’t you blowing this small matter out of proportion? Probably she could hv been kidding?’ I asked ‘Is this a joking matter? And if we don’t ask her to clarify herself, won’t this matter repeat itself again in the future?’ Another Ranya will be targeted ? Just because she is weak in that subject, does not give the teacher any right to make fun of her and insult her in front of her friends. It’s damn right offensive. All these incidents leaves us as parents of children in that school with a very bad taste in our mouth. It clearly shows how the school treats it’s weak students.
Another incident where a Deputy Dean took photos of my younger daughter because she was wearing a slightly bigger stud earrings. I wrote to the principal directly. How can a teacher take photos of a student without asking for her permission? It’s a question of privacy. And why are these Teachers micro managing them and treating them like little kids. They are teenagers, for goodness sake. Treat them as young adults. Let them make their own choices. Advise them and be their Friend.
I don’t want to elaborate but the principal told me that the matter has been dealt with and the deputy dean was advised.
So do you see why we have to make noise when we have to? These incidents somehow sheds light on my personality. On who I am. Why I get affected when people are rude to me. When people ignore me.
When a close friend left me suddenly without an explanation, I now understand why it affected me to the core. It wasn’t right.
Make your own noise, people. The world needs to hear you.
Remember I posted a video some time back of my older daughter Ranya when she sang in front of her school Temasek Junior College (TJC) ? I was so proud of my sunshine Ranya who has been singing since she was 9 and has her most exciting moments only when she is on stage. Ranya loves performing. Nothing like it, she says.
Yesterday, my younger daughter Riya (featured above) did us proud too. Riya means singer in I don't know what language (maybe Hindi?) but Riya excels in playing drums. I believe she can sing as well but her first love is drums. I remember taking her to her first drum lesson in the Academy of Rock in Siglap when she was just 9. She didn't like the instructor. So we didn't pursue after that trial lesson.
While in America, she joined the Guitar Centre in Bluebell, Pennsylvania to learn drumming and she got a good instructor Dave who taught her well. Her interest deepened and we got for her a drum pad, a mobile pad like a big plate that she can practise her beats on. That bored her soon enough. Then, as a gift for her 10th birthday and under her persistance, she got the full accoustic drum set worth U$500. It is a beautiful black drum set. It is still in her room right next to her bed. Riya is truly gifted in her drumming. She is only 13 but she picks up beats so fast. Her idol is Josh Dun of Twenty One Pilots.
Yesterday, she awed everyone in TJC during the annual Guitar Concert. She was asked to be part of the rock band of the Guitar Club called Morphine (I know right!) because a few people already knew her about her drumming. She was absolutely amazing, if I can declare as a proud mom. I kind of teared during her performance and halfway I started wondering what on earth are my two musically talented girls doing in academically oriented SG? Time to move again...
Strangers came up to her to compliment her on her awesome performance. One parent went 'You must be so proud of Riya' Of course, I am VERY proud of both my girls. Another parent went ' Both your girls are so talented - one is an amazing singer and another such a good drummer.' I was beaming with pride the whole evening. I wonder where they both got these amazing musical genes in them? I used to sing when I was a teenager but I mostly believe its their musician father who must have passed them on to them.
Congrats my honeybun, Riya. I'm so proud of you. You have always been different since you were 2 years old. You will refuse to pose for photos. You will throw tantrums when you didn't get your way. You cut your hair short when all your girl friends dared not. You love skateboards, BMX biking and of course your beloved drums. You make up for the son I couldn't have :)) You played to a crowd of 400 yesterday. Can't wait to see you and Akka Ranya perform in front of thr whole of Singapore! xx
Watch her video at my FB page
National Museum of Singapore (NMS) is hosting a monologue called 'And suddenly I disappear' between 25th to 27th May. It is the first ever multi-lingual intercultural joint disability-led theatre project between Singapore and UK. Promises to be an eye-opening experience. Click on the link above to find out more.
World Premiere is on the 25th May 8pm at NMS Gallery Theatre. The executive director of the True Colours concert and also an acquaintance, A, has made plans to go on the same day too. Get your tickets early before they get sold out!
25th May got sold out before I could get the tickets. Let me try 26th. No guarantee though.
Will I see you all there? You don’t hv to join the museum as a trainee docent but you can still come to learn more about what we do. Hope to see you all. 10am—12noon.
I'm proud of my achievement. I'm now a qualified NMS Docent. I still remember Sep 14th 2017, the first day of training. I was so new to museums. I had no idea what was in store and I didn't know anyone. As training progressed, I started wondering what I got myself into! The weekly memorising and presentation was not easy. But I loved the researching and all the reading I had to do. After the training got over officially on 27th March 2018, we had to prepare for our very first guiding in front of actual visitors to the museum. Its called Mentor Tour. I was so freaked out for the last 1.5 months getting ready for this tour. My only worry was how would i remember a 1 hr presentation? My mentor a lovely British lady Anne Wightman made it really doable. And I did my first guiding yesterday 7th May 2018 at 2pm. I prayed for a small group of just around 10 visitors and that I will not forget my lines.
I got 7 visitors and no I didn't forget any of my lines. Yay me! Am so proud of myself. All these weeks of memorising and practising in the museum day after day so much so that the people in the museum started greeting me because I was such a familiar face! Now I know many of their names as well. From 4pm, I was hoarded with so many congratulatory messages from current trainees and from qualified docents etc.. I was on WhatsApp the whole evening. It was euphoric.
The picture below shows my very first audience. 4 Singaporeans and 3 French ladies.
My amazing mentor, Anne Wightman (below pic) who is also the spouse of the British High Commissioner. She is such a warm loving person.
Christine Zeng, a Singaporean (pic below) a fellow docent trainee.. A vegan because she can't stand the idea of animals dying to satiate her taste buds. Even her make up is cruelty free! She came especially to the museum to support me after my tour. She is 11 years younger than me, but we do get along quite well. She is the one who introduced me to the yummy vegetarian brown rice soup noodles at the Vietnamese restaurant Nam Nam at Plaza Singapura. Thats my fav hangout nowadays sometimes alone if not with Christine.
So, now that I'm a qualified docent, please do note that I'm always free to do a private tour for all you friends out there. Or even for your guests who come from overseas. It will be my pleasure sharing my Singapore story with all of you and your friends.
Now its our turn to train the new batch of trainees for the next 2018/2019 intake. After I finished training the new batch, I might start training to become a guide in another museum. I seem to have been bitten by the museum guiding bug!! Perhaps at the Peranakan Museum for the 2019/2020 intake? Let's see where the museum bug takes me.
My home is
usually in a mess and has dust settled on almost everything. But I believe laughter and love will win the day. In 20 years, my girls won't remember how messy the house was but will remember the time we spent together and the love they felt...