The engagement ceremony went well last Saturday, despite the chaos that happened that morning and my cousin who was supposed to be the photographer came half late. Hahah. The guy’s side came at around 1115 am and been greeted by my parents & sister outside of the house before coming in. I was still rushing to get my tudung la whatever together and trying to look poised and relaxed.

The wajib pose-Sarung cincin moment
Me trying to act cool on stage of the pelamin
I also had my sister to take the pictures, and she’s no photographer, so,  pardon the quality.

Kadafi's family, upon entering the house. Everyone looks so cheerful. hehe

Both of us kene ceramah with Hj Asmadi for more than 10 minutes LOL
Kadafi. I think he wanted to just wait outside while the discussion was going on but I'm not sure who asked him to come in. hahahaha!

My Abah gave a short speech welcoming Kadafi's rombongan 
They first discussed about the mas kahwin, hantaran (if any) and also the date of the wedding. They also discussed about the terms and agreements about the engagement and if, god forbid, the engagement is broken.  So, the wedding date is gonna be on 6.10.2018, inshaAllah. After that, it was time for the girl (me, ehem) to receive the ring as a symbol of agreement.

Kadafi's mum, putting the ring on me. I was so nervous if the ring wont fit cause I gained some weight. Hahah.

At this time, I couldn’t hold my laughter because my stupid tudung awning bumped into her hands. It was so embarrassing but, oh well, what can I do. I’m not used to having this tudung style over my head. hahahaha.

Taking photos together before going back

Dak Mo and I
After Kadafi's side has left, which was exactly 2 hours after 11am, I went straight to my room and thinking of changing my dress. The fabric can be quite uncomfortable to wear (because of the heat) when I’m sweating, so I know I needed to get out of the kurung. Plus, I hate the the hijab I was wearing because it makes my face looks like Olive Oyl. Mak said she didn’t know what to do with me. hahaha.

I felt really uneasy and embarrassed during the whole attention and the engagement thing so I wanted to run away to my friend’s house but Mak thought it was inappropriate eventho my Tok Mak thought otherwise. So, I locked myself up in my room while all the guests were still home and Mak looking for me. yeah, I know, so immature of me.

Baby Badak did a fantastic job for my engagement makeup
After that, I went out of my room to have some of the chocolates and I felt better. hahaha. All in all it was pretty nerve-wracking yet fun. I received a number of gifts especially from my Mak's friends such as chocolates (lotsa them), cakes, and sweet delicacies. Thank you so much for everyone who came, the delightful gifts and wishes.

You know what else is cool about the engagement? My best friend ruined my pelamin. LOL


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When Arnis wrote about #MalayEngagement

The Malays have a lot of traditions. And one of it being wedding traditions. They are so many traditions, events whatsoever. Part of wedding tradition is the engagement tradition. Unlike the kneel-on-one-knee proposal, the Malay engagement is very much different. There’s a ceremony.

Now, let me clarify that I am not a fan of traditions. I couldn’t care less about the traditions if its nothing related to the requirements of Islam. In Islam, when the guy or the woman agrees when asked to be married, then they’re engaged. So, there are actually people who get engaged without knowing. You can dig more about this yourself.

So, what happens in Malay engagement ceremony? From what I’ve been told, it sounds like a very awkward ceremony, pardon me. The guy’s family and relatives come to the girl’s house where they will have representatives to talk on behalf of each other’s family. This will usually be the uncle or a family friend/ dad’s friend. They are then set the date, the hantaran and mahar. Hantaran is the amount of money for the guy to give to the girl’s family to support the wedding and mahar is the amount of money for the future bride to keep. Mahar is a requirement in Islam, while hantaran is just a tradition. Hantaran is usually at least RM10,000 now. Back then, it used to be at least RM1000. Mahar is according to states and for Selangor, it’s RM 24 which is not a burden at all for most people. Anyway, them talking about the amount of money is already awkward enough.

Then, the girl. The girl will sit at a corner, or a center or in a room where she’ll have a nicely decorated mini dais to sit on, alone obviously. And awkward. I’m not sure what’s the purpose of this but I think it’s pretty much related to the hantaran (gifts) for the engagement. As if we can’t put the gifts on a table. Maybe they want to emphasize that the girl is actually receiving/accepting the gifts? I don’t know. I understand it’s somekind of appreciation for the girl, but let’s face it. It’s not the guy’s side who’s doing the mini dais thing. And if they really want to show that they appreciate the gifts, the girl’s side is already giving back an extra two gifts. and there’s food and warm welcoming. It’s not that I’m a cheapskate but isn’t that already loud and clear? While I perfectly understand the girl wanting to look pretty and all, I don’t understand the girl’s overdressing to an extend it looks like it’s for solemnization. I mean, she’s a future bride for god’s sake not a bride!

Now, I’m not sure if it’s the tradition to have the mini dais thing but according to my mum, no. It’s just a tradition CURRENTLY. More like a trend I’d say. It’s redundant in my opinion. That dais is a symbol of celebration. And personally, there is nothing to celebrate about engagement. Engagement is just a mutual agreement written or not and at the end of the day, the fiancé and fianceé are still non-mahrams. As if the girl’s so desperate that everyone got tooo happy someone would actually marry her. haha.

There are a few concerns about celebrating engagement quite too much.

First, the pressure. When things, let say, just doesn’t work out and there’s mutual agreement to break the engagement, the humiliation can be quite daunting. Family is one thing. Then there’re relatives. Friends. Non-stop. The questions could go on for half a year. It’s like salt in wound, man. haha.

Second, when couples are engaged, celebrated in such way it’s afraid that they will go overboard with the boundaries. “Oh, that’s alright, we’re engaged” so they said. But in truth, they are still non-mahrams and there are absolutely no reason for them to act like wedded couples. Kinda like subconscious psychology thing.

In conclusion, as I am not at all against the simple engagement tradition, I find ridiculous redundancy in big engagement ceremony. The amount of people invited. Canopies. The girl’s overdressing, but the guy comes in casual shirt, then the mini dais, sometimes there are also doorgifts. Flowers, flowers, flowers. I don’t know people, already looking like wedding to me. And another indisputable fact; it’s a burden to the girl’s side to prepare for the engagement.

Pardon me if I’m sounding skeptical or like a slightly nicer version of Micheal Kors criticizing bad runway show. Please know that these are all my personal opinions. Then again, who am I? I respect those who think otherwise, still.

But whatever it is, let’s hope for the best. I’m getting engaged soon (next 2 weeks OMG) and doing the preparations. I’m excited and nervous actually! Excited, well, of course I am. Nervous because this is becoming so real and I’m not sure how things are going to be.

p.s, this is the first article-like entry on my thoughts about something ever since I deleted my past entries. hah. Wow. I’m amazed with myself. harharhar.

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The generosity of creativity

I was in my car this morning driving to work. A mundane route that generally aggravates me; the traffic, the car fumes.. The reminder that we’re killing the planet – all very “positive” thoughts. I put on a podcast and immediately I was transported from my negative outlook into a sense of complete inspiration and wonder. I was listening to the story of a woman who inherited thousands of designer vintage dresses from her godmother. Each dress was given to her by someone, making them 3 dimensional. Literally being the embodiment of its owner when they wore the clothing. Whether it was during heart ache, love, loss or opportunity.

This got me thinking.. These dresses are works of art, styled individually by whoever chooses to wear them. Communicating something about the person. They are the story of the people who wore them. It got my mind imagining what they were like and who they were. Wondering all of these things made me feel so much better, I was filled with hope, possibility and inspiration. This was because my imagination took off, I was outside of my own head. Instead I was inquisitive and curious. And so it got me thinking… I realised that the act of this storyteller -sharing their words with me changed my day. It effected me deeply, it moved me. And so I realised what had just taken place was a generous act from the storyteller – and I was thankful.

Creativity is a generous act. It takes the appreciation of what’s around you, in the details and in having intense curiosity to create something new. You have to be in tune enough to question what’s around you. And these muscles of appreciation take generosity and love. To truely listen, to really look, to intensely appreciate. A sunset, an outfit, a shade of blue, a beautiful song, the emotion of a chord. To truly appreciate these things takes love, care, slowing down, really looking. And to take what you’ve collected, the details and inspirations all around you and create something from that is a beautiful act. To create a song out of someone’s story. To make an artwork to reflect a political opinion, to challenge what you see that is not right in the world. This is a generous act. An act of love. And it can change someone’s day, year or even life. So the challenge is for you today – step outside of your mundane and really look around, and maybe you’ll be able to use what you’ve gathered to share with someone else. Thanks for reading!

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Siem Reap, Cambodia #yesAgain

Siem Reap in Cambodia is not only the gateway to the world famous Angkor Wat temple. This city has a lot to offer, even though it is quite small. You can do heaps of activities, try out the best food you have probably ever eaten, visit small local markets and much, much more. Siem Reap in Cambodia will definitely be a place you gonna remember.

Posing in front of the majestic Angkor Wat

This is actually my second trip to Siem Reap. Siem Reap is nothing similar compared to Malaysia..but the city has its own uniqueness that makes me feel like revisiting it again and again. This city is very old but Cambodia is one of the poorest countries on earth (even though tourists been using USD in the country).

Siem Reap is a relatively small city in the northwest of the country. The province it belongs to is called Siem Reap as well. 30$ is the general income per person, which is a joke. The city has been built in the 17th century after the Khmer won a war against the Thai kingdom. Translated Siem Reap in Cambodia actually means “place from the defeat of the Siamese”.

The city has about 175.000 citizens and it lies next to biggest lake (Tonle Sap) of Southeast Asia, which is also one of the most fishful inland waters on the planet. Today Siem Reap in Cambodia is mainly used for tourism purposes. Back in the days farming and fishing have been the main income resources. Since the end of the 20th century the size of the city almost tripled, because of the tourism industry. Siem Reap in Cambodia now even has its own international airport and is the fastest growing city in the country besides Phnom Penh (capital).

Tuk Tuk ride in Siem Reap

Once you have arrived in Siem Reap in Cambodia, you easily get around with a bike or a Tuk Tuk. They don’t cost a lot of money. You can rent a bike or a scooter at every corner or at your accommodation. And Tuk Tuk’s can also be found every 5 meters. So, don’t worry about that.

Bayon temple. Was full of tourists

Weather conditions in Siem Reap in Cambodia are not any different to most other parts of Southeast Asia. It is quite warm all year long. Temperature sets between 20°C – 36°C. Wet season lasts from Mai to October. The rest is dry season. I recommend to visit during dry season. Otherwise you probably won’t have a good time.

Bayon temple

The food in Siem Reap in Cambodia is absolutely great. Of course, you get all types of food that you can get anywhere else in the world like Italian, Indian, French, etc. But you also obviously get typical Southeast Asian/ Cambodian food everywhere you go.

Siem Reap's very own Killing Field

We actually visited a Buddhist temple in Siem Reap
I stayed at Day Sunrise Boutique Hotel. The location was good (nearby, located behind the Art market) BUT the Tuk Tuk driver (free airport transfer) forgot to pick us up. The lady at the front counter was unfriendly. And at night, it was noisy (because of stray dogs). I wouldn't recommend anyone to stay at this hotel. Room was decent but not that great.

As said, Siem Reap in Cambodia is the gateway to Angkor Wat. The headline of this post says it all 😉 Angkor Wat/ Angkor City is one of the most famous temple areas in the world. It has been built about a thousand years ago. The whole areal is full of different temples, built by different kings of the Khmer empire. Each and everyone has a different meaning and they are all incredibly detailed.

Ta Phrom temple
Angkor Wat’s architectural condition is fascinating and the historical value is priceless. It is also a holy place for many Cambodian people. Lots of citizens come here to pray and show their affinity to Shiva. Definitely one of the most spectacular attractions I have seen on any of my travels so far!

Pub Street area

Siem Reap in Cambodia even has a small nightlife scene. At night the city becomes alive. You can go for a midnight shopping tour at the Night Market. All kind of stuff is waiting for you. It’s very vibrant and variable. Also check out Pub Street where you find a couple bars and clubs at nights. It’s good fun!

I enjoyed every moment when in Siem Reap in Cambodia and am looking forward to return back here next year.

Till then, xoxo.

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A long time ago, the city of Edinburgh was known as “Auld Reekie.” This was back in the days of peat fire smog, overpopulation, and a lack of modern plumbing. Add to this a stagnant Nor Loch (which was polluted with everything from waste to dead bodies), and you probably can figure out where the “Reekie” came from.

Thankfully, Edinburgh has come a long way since then.

It was on this very first trip that I totally fell in love with Edinburgh. The city is filled with history (both its Old and New towns are UNESCO World Heritage Sites), amazing architecture, plenty of Scottish culture, and not one but TWO castles!

If you've never been to “Auld Reekie” before, here are my suggestions for what to do in one day in the city. (And don't worry – they figured out those plumbing issues ages ago.)

Accommodation-wise, we stayed at Grassmarket area, located at the Old Town and it is extremely nearby to Edinburgh Castle. We booked our accommodation via AirBnB and the apartment was lovely.

 The first place that we went was Arthur’s Seat, a wilderness right in the heart of the city from where you can get panoramic views of Edinburgh’s stunning skyline and the Firth of Forth in the distance.

The second place that we went was Calton Hill. Edinburgh is surrounded by seven hills, so you don't need to go too far to find a great view out over the city. At the end of Princes Street is Calton Hill. This hilltop park is covered with monuments and statues, including the Greek-inspired National Monument and Dugald Stewart Monument.

The third pit stop was Edinburgh Castle. The Edinburgh Castle is an important landmark. Although it costs 17 GBP to enter, you can spend a good part of the day here, and it's worth it alone just to see the Crown Jewels exhibit. You can also get sweeping views of the city.

The last stop was Edinburgh's most famous attraction by far is The Royal Mile. Though “attraction” isn't really the right word, since the Royal Mile is so much more than just a singular thing to see.

Edin is definitely one of my favourite cities and I will be going back on the regular! Thanks for having me Edinburgh.

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