Soul searching in Bali

Nope. This is not a travelogue blogpost.

I went to Bali during my housemanship with 2 other lady friends. I can’t remember when exactly but I was going through a rough patch in my life at the time. I knew this because I had my beautiful long hair cut short like a pixie and had it dyed to an auburn colour. It had to do with a boy and a failed relationship and I guess Bali was an escapade that I needed.

My trip to Bali had no pictures. Perhaps my friends have them but it is not something I’d like to keep for myself or post on Facebook as my trip there wasn’t really Syariah-compliant. I still abide to my prayers and my halal meals but I was not proud of how I chose to dress. I had thought Allah would have mercy on me during my darkest moments. It’s like one of those things I know is wrong but I still want to do it anyway. Sedangkan kalau Allah nak, He can just take my life there and then, kan? I did feel bad about my skin & hair exposure after the trip and reminded myself not to do it again. Thankfully, my friends were not that reckless and wild. We still have our sane thinking hat on. If not, I might end up in bed with a stranger the next morning. Sore.

Despite no photos, I am still able to remember the trip vividly. Our stay in our bedroom of 3, the late night swims in the hotel pool, relaxing massage at the spa, the trip to the mountains and other tourist-y area, buying art pieces from the local artiste and who could forget, the Italian dinner at Bella Italia. I think we got tired of Indonesian cuisine by the last day. But that last night in Bali was awesome and I felt so rested and happy. Bali has a joyful yet spiritual aura to it. Kinda difficult to explain why.

I think that is the joy of going abroad for a holiday/ soul searching. Other people don’t know who you are (unless you’re cha cha maembong) and everyone is there to just relax and have fun.

My sister is planning a trip to Bali next year with her husband and kids for an anniversary trip. She is asking me for an itinerary that I can’t really produce for Bali to me happened aeons ago. What I did tell her is that it is a really nice, serene place and you’d come back to Malaysia only to wish that you could return there soon.

Overnight stay at Swiss Inn, Johor Bahru

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I captured my recent trip to JB in the vlog above. Check out my other videos on Youtube.

I was in JB a few weekends back to visit my alma mater with the Back To School (BTS) committee. I was just recently absorbed into the team to lead mini projects as they run out of hands to help out. InsyaAllah I will be handling the batch Tshirt and the ‘launch ceremony’. I am happy with my current role. Honestly, I did not expect to contribute this far. I will let you know later.

I travelled to JB alone by bus. I downloaded an app called Redbus and booked my tickets there. Nowadays, bus services are like airlines. You get a boarding pass at the station and everything is so organized now. My journey was a 3 hour ride and I arrived at JB just before 8pm. I was contemplating to have dinner first before I go to the hotel but it’s a bit dark to wander alone in a foreign state.

my Redbus code : rednyyu9

So I hailed a taxi and charged without meter, a whooping RM15. Plus an additional RM2 for parking ticket fee since the cab was parked in the stations parking place. I felt so ripped off.

Thankfully, the reception at Swiss Inn JB was so warm and friendly that I soon forget about being tired and hungry. Check in was quick. They did not require any deposit.

I booked a Cozy Single Room which has Free Wifi and breakfast for two. Other commendable facilities include Free Shuttle Service, a parking space and yezza affordable room service. It was RM140.34 including tax and service fee. As usual, I booked my room through Agoda.com. There are other room options for family and individual travelers alike. One being a Tatami room where 6 people could stay together in a room with matresses laid on the floor – very Japanese like and cosy too.

My room has the basic complimentary beverages set and towels. Separate toilet and hot shower. A bath gel and shampoo with a small bar of soap. A mini hairdryer too. You need to bring your own toothbrush and toothpaste though.

I ordered room service and started unpacking my backpack. For dinner, I had a Deluxe burger. It came in an economic plastic packaging instead of a plate. Lol. That was new. I remembered ordering room service in Kuching’s Telang Usan, they still serve meals in proper plates. Ha ha. But it’s ok. Maybe it was easier to clean up and more hygienic? *thumbs up* After my meal, I freshened up and tucked myself in early.

I was already up at 530am the next day. Sunday is a working day in JB. I went down to the 1st floor for breakfast at the restaurant. The atmosphere was cute but I did not manage to snap a lot of pictures. The options were adequate and fulfilling for a 3 star hotel. It’s not a wonder that this hotel is the accommodation of choice for small group travellers. That morning we had guests from Indonesia staying there which was refreshing. Previously I’ve only managed to see groups from China during breakfast. The ibu-ibu looks so cute and fashionable with their colourful tudung.

After a brief visit to the loo, I checked out of Swiss Inn. I wished I could stay longer. The hotel is so pretty. I could have at least explored the gym.

This time I took a Grab Car to my alma mater situated near to the bus station the night before. The fare was only RM10.

My alma mater, Sekolah Tun Fatimah is an all girls boarding school. As someone who came from a non-priviledged background, it was a life changing moment for me. It was a great opportunity for me to receive structured education in a school said to be for the creme of the creme. On top of formal learning, I also had a taste of interacting with fellow students of different social hierarchy. I was middle class. So I get to mingle or observe those girls who were from upper and of lower class than mine. It was a mind opening and humbling experience.

Despite depending fully on meals at the dining hall, my parents still give me a bit of pocket money – enough to call home on the weekend with a phone card and the occasional splurge of air kotak rumah at the co-op. There were times of course I did not have enough money to buy an RM50 jersey shirt ( I was a player in the softball team) so I quit the team quoting ridiculous reasons like ‘mak suruh belajar’ . The seniors were a disappointed but they accepted my reasons. Since then, I didn’t take up sport because to me sports required money we did not have. So I just laid low and studied. I made a few friends. I don’t recall having any personal enemies. I think. ha ha. Even the teachers have a tough time trying to remember who is this Minci. HA ha ha ha.

Which is why when last year they announced to do this BTS programme, a collaboration activity with the school counsellors – I wasn’t exceptionally thrilled. I had no one in particular that I was excited to see because the ones I love, I am already seeing them or sending parcel kasih sayang from time to time. Notably, Kakjet and my Mimie. I appreciate my teachers and is forever grateful for their kind words and teaching but there is no outstanding personal moments to reminisce on, unlike my super achieving friends or the rebellious ones. I was one of those people who was not interested to join. At all.

until one day

I just felt like contributing. Part of it was driven by my personal agenda to meet Birsilah Bakar and force her to scribble an autograph in my copies of her book. hihi. And part of it is just wanting to exist as a Srikandi without feeling inferior by it. Often I had to conceal the fact that I’m a Srikandi because people expect big things from you – I’m just not keen to be likewise. It’s a personality thing. I am an introvert. Socializing or shining drains too much of my energy. lOl.

Anyway, what started as a volunteer in a mini group to sweat the little stuff led to me being upgraded as a team leader. It’s huge and gonna be one of the big things I’m organizing. So, BTS 2020 – here we go.

September life wisdoms

September has been painful so far and I am consoling myself by watching a similarly agonizing KDrama on the web. I didn’t feel like going for the opposite effect. I choose to inflict emotional pain onto myself at my own will. I want this to be my low moment, so I could lay down low, be invisible and later rise up from the ashes for a hopefully better start.

I learnt a few lessons on life such as;

PRIORITY– to realize that you as a person and whatever you represent is not a priority just sucks. Despite the many excuses people give to smooth the edges, I personally feel that even if say there is a party happening 4 states away, if it is of value to you – you would by hook or by crook make it there. Of course, decision making in real life is not that easy. For instance, I feel that my family is always my priority but if they have sports day on say, an audit day at work – I’d still have to sacrifice my family in favour for work. It is a cruel world.

A TEAM CAN ONLY BE AS STRONG AS ITS WEAKEST MEMBER – and it can be a pain when you have more than one weak link. While I try to empower my group members for a certain project and remain optimistic, the burden is heavy to carry after a while. Group work cannot be successful if everybody is not willing to pull their own weight. I cannot be the only one brainstorming, putting it on powerpoint and then expecting me to present the whole thing just because it was my idea!

OLD HABITS DIE HARD – a recent close relative family affair came to light a few days ago. I was intrigued to hear that despite someone being in their 60s, they can still exhibit negative traits of their younger selves after all these years. An elderly person is just a person who has live longer. Their experience, wisdom etc may not be as parallel though.

YOU ARE AT A PLACE WHERE ALLAH WANTS YOU TO BE RIGHT NOW – always sangka baik towards Allah. While I was bummed about a few things, in retrospective I feel that some things are meant to happen for a bigger purpose. We may not be able to solve the puzzle now but the pieces are finding a way to put themselves together so you can see the intended, completed picture.

Event cancellation – my response

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I had an event which was supposed to happen on the 14th of September 2019. It is organized by my school batch alumni (Batch 2000).  Unfortunately, it had to be cancelled which was something I did not expect. I thought the worst that could happen was for people not to show up after they register. A late start mayeb. Or that I would mess up with the event/booth booking or something. Perhaps I was too naive to think that,

aktiviti persatuan.. takkanlah boleh cancel…’

‘surely by hook or by crook, the event will still have to be up and running’

It took a while to kickstart the planning for the project.

Hence, I took the onus of searching for an event space outside Melaka because most of my batch mates live near the area of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. As someone who is not well versed to the area in these states, most of my research is thus online. But since no one wanted to do it, I thought I’d volunteer even though it was a bit difficult on my part when it comes to scouting the area and such.

I was then on a series of communication frenzy on whatsapp and email with many different people outside of the medical field. I was learning many new things – procedures, figures of speech and interesting terms related to these events. It’s a mix of party, soul searching and networking. I was on an adrenaline high and super excited to make things work despite minimal evident support from most fellow members of the group. I confided in myself saying that “.. they are busy, they will make their contribution later”

In less than a week, I managed to secure an event space and a prominent speaker. An instafamous speaker who does Quran tagging and such. Everything was presented to the Top Committee and since no negative feedback was received, I thought everything was going very well and wanted to give an extra token of friendship for my friends who will be attending the event. I hunted for items suitable as door gifts with a reasonable price tag. I feel it would serve as a good form of sedekah as well.

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I also decided to go a bit extra in terms of decorating the place and setting the mood hence bought miscellaneous decor items and fragrance sachets from Kaison. I was that excited.

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The time finally came to start promoting the event. We were not pulling the crowd that we hoped for and everyone was worried. Perhaps it was the long holidays but it was already the final weekend of the consecutive 3. Surely, you would want to just stay in KL, right?

But we were wrong and suddenly all the previously dormant members of the group woke up and begin asking questions and making changes to the plan. Suddenly everyone has a suggestion and a quotation of some sort. Was I frustated? DEFINITELY. Bitter? Unfortunately, like any other human being, I was. In fact, on the verge of being pissed off for not recognizing the warning signs of this possibility to occur. Some of these red flags include;

  • less than 50% of support within the same cluster of people. If you have 10 people in the group and only 3 people are committed and on board, you might want to reconsider your project. It will be a waste of time.
  • the top committee are not checking with you from time to time regarding the project. This of course can be a two prong interpretation of such action. It’s either they have full trust in you and your team or simply not paying attention
  • members of the top committee not planning to attend the event or substitute with someone of the same management hierarchy. For instance, if the president cannot attend – the vice president should fill in the shoes. If not, the secretary. What should not happen is the head of a biro who leads the programme and also fills in the shoes as the VIP. That my friends, is a syok sendiri programme.
  • More than 2 person in the group starts assuming multiple roles in the programme. For instance, a runner is also the MC, the usher and manning the registration.

The above is of course just my mere observation. So once the event got cancelled, I had two options on how to respond;

  1. Remain bitter and just refuse to participate in any form of fundraising activities until the big reunion is over.
  2. Conduct a self postmortem, reflect on the situation and learn from it. Hopefully not repeating the mistakes in the future.

I chose the latter choice but it undeniably took me quite a while to work out my emotions. I felt betrayed. Angry. However since I have a lot of responsibilities and projects to shoulder in September, I must move on so that I could concentrate on those tasks.

MY COPING STRATEGIES

  • I distanced myself from social media for a while – just so I won’t vent on bitch mode. Now that I’m calmer, I could blog about it in a hopefully more sensible mode. Did you guys think I manage the wrath well or I can do better? ha ha
  • Writing in my HoboMinci feels good and that was exactly what I did 20190817_204343-017306390315441347442.jpeg
  • I utilized my doterra oils by diffusing calming blends and apply it topically. 20190617_220207-015448911350119519874.jpeg
  • I also bluntly expressed my frustration to those who were concerned, just so they know I have feelings and hopefully would not take my (future) efforts for granted.
  • I made dua to Allah that He would protect me from ill feelings and thoughts. I feel religion in a way helps me to nurture Sabar and accept Qada’ and Qadar. I like to believe that whatever He decides to take away, He will replace with something better and whatever that is happening now is the best for me. InsyaAllah.. 

As for the gifts I intended to give my friends, I will keep hold of them. I am sure Allah has plans for them. Perhaps to give to those more deserving. I don’t know. InsyaAllah.