English: There, here and over there. Basically, in a sense, to mean restless. A collection of thoughts, musings and ramblings...

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Singledom Appreciation Day a.k.a. V-day

Another year, another Valentine's Day come & gone... 

I haven't had the best experiences of Valentine's Day, except for a few funny incidents and sweet memories in the past. For me, it has always been about innocent crushes - wanting to let your hidden feelings known, rather than full-blown love.... much like school-girl romances. So I did not quite understand the modern-day interpretations of it which extends to people who are already far gone in the game of love, or even to family members (mum, dad and the family dog) and such.

After all, if you are already in love, or have family members you actually do appreciate....why do you need this ONE day to show your appreciation? 

In my opinion, Valentine's Day has been overly commercialised, so materialistic, that it ceases to exist in its original form - Romance.

I seriously do not fancy that Valentine's has become more about expensive dinners and gifts, rather than quality time and mutual experiences. I'm not being cheap, but I think it is far more romantic if the day was approached in a more personal manner - a home-cooked meal, a self-packed picnic that caters to your date's liking maybe?

But what do I know? I approach every Valentine's Day knowing fully well that it will always be nothing but a girlish fantasy of mine, but in reality the day passes by just like any other day with nothing extraordinary to note.

Still, the hopeless romantic in me secretly hopes that I could be sweetly surprised, year after year without fail. 

This year, I decided to spend the day in joy - by appreciating the person I am, and giving myself a self-esteem boost. I wore my prettiest new dress, got all dolled up, and strolled out with my head held high.

I can tell you, it feels so good! That I feel beautiful myself, without the need for anyone to tell me that I am. Because, while we all need romance once in a while in our lives, we need to remember that no one can love ourselves, as much as we do, unconditionally.

I spent the rest of the day feeling uplifted, and when evening came... that was the best part. The exhilirating #1billionrising dance organised by SAWO which saw us packing the yoga studio. The emotional experience as I watched skits that explored local women's issues. Watching a stellar performance of the Vagina Monologues which had me laughing, cringing and also at the verge of crying at some points. And then followed by a great discussion and hangout session thereafter. 

It wasn't a conventional Valentine's Day at all, but I must say I couldn't have asked for a better day. I smiled, almost giddy with happiness, as I got ready for bed that night.

And oh, I did make a little contribution in honour of 'school-girl type' crushes and romance for V-day this year, with no hopes or agenda and just because I really really wanted to. (Though I did it about 4 days in advance because I didn't want to be 'typical'). It took some guts.

And you know what? I might be a fool, but I'm really really glad I did it ;-) 

True happiness is about doing what you really want to do and not having regrets about it.


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Monday, February 11, 2013

No Free Lunch


 "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch" (a popular saying)

 ~ meaning: That things which appear to be free are always paid for in some way.

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Siti*, a recent business graduate, was excited when she finally received a call from a company telling her that her job interview was successful. However, 2 weeks into her job, when her manager called her into his office to discuss her work performance. She started feeling uncomfortable when her manager suddenly placed a hand on her knee and suggested a meeting outside of work, saying how much job security she would enjoy if they started getting on “friendlier” terms with each other.
She refused, and since then she found that she was treated unfairly at work – being overlooked for promotions even though she was one of the hardest working employee. She also found accidentally that rumors have been circulating around the office that she is a slut.
Unable to take the pressure, she resigns from her job with immediate effect.

Sandra* was looking forward to a date with a hot guy that she met during a party. They had agreed to meet up at an expensive restaurant for dinner, and proceeded afterwards for a drink. During the drinking session, he started making suggestive comments, and implied that she owed him sex because he bought dinner.
She refuses, but as she was leaving, he suddenly grabs her from behind and starts fondling her. Luckily a stranger noticed her distress and pulled the guy away from her. She then manages to escape, but have since then been disturbed regularly by text messages of unwanted sexual nature by the same man.

*The characters are based on fiction and a compilation of various similar stories.

The above stories are just examples of sexual harassment that may happen to any woman.

Therefore, what is the definition of sexual harassment? Basically it is unwanted sexual advances that may include:-
  • Direct or indirect threats or bribes for sexual activity 
  • Sexual innuendos and comments 
  • Intrusive sexually explicit questions 
  • Sexually suggestive sounds or gestures such as sucking noises, winks, or pelvic thrusts 
  • Repeatedly asking a person out for dates, or to have sex 
  • Touching, patting, punching, stroking, squeezing, tickling, or brushing against a person 
  • A neck/shoulder massage 
  • Rating a person's sexuality 
  • Ogling or leering, staring at a woman's breast or a man's derriere 
  • Spreading rumors about a person's sexuality 
  • Name-calling, such as bitch, whore, or slut 
  • Sexual Ridicule 
  • Frequent jokes about sex or males/females 
  • Letters, notes, telephone calls, or material of a sexual nature 
  • Pervasive displays of pictures, calendars, cartoons, or other materials with sexually explicit or graphic content 
  • Stalking a person 
  • Attempted or actual sexual assault
(http://burro.astr.cwru.edu/women/harassment/examples.html)

Sexual harassment, however, is NOT
  • Flirting, attraction, sexual interaction or friendship that is invited, consensual and reciprocated and conducted in private in a way that would not cause offence to others.

How safe are we from sexual harassment in Malaysia?

Here is only one law in existence that comes close to dealing with the issue of sexual harassment in Malaysia – the Penal Code, section 509, which carries a penalty of 5 years, with or without fine.  This law, however, deals more with physical aspects and does not cover mental and emotional aspects. The only other place you will find whatever little protection women have in this area is in the Employment (Amendment) Act 2012 that came into force on 1 April 2012. But this provision in the Act is really only tackling sexual harassment within the employer-employee relationship. What if you are sexually harassed out of the workplace? What protection do you have?
There is also no immunity from an unfair dismissal claim by the wrongdoer, where he or she can be terminated from employment under this clause; something that gives very little protection to the employer who is helping the victim.

At Sabah Women’s Action Resources Group (SAWO), we hope to raise awareness on this issue to the public, as it is a topic that is not discussed very much. We are looking for suggestions on empowering both women and men about their rights on Sexual Harassment and putting pressure on the government to enact better policies that are conducive to healthy relationships. We are therefore calling for a discussion on this issue as follows:-

Date: 16th February 2013 (Saturday)
Time: 2.00pm – 4.30pm
Venue: SAWO Centre, Damai Point

(Don't worry ;-) While the title says "No Free Lunch", light refreshments will be provided!)

Hope to see you there, and we look forward to a fruitful meeting!

*Feel free to share!

Sabrina Melisa Aripen
For the SAWO Advocacy Group
Mobile: 016-8287675


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Friday, February 8, 2013

Self reflection - Looking within myself

1. First things first. I am an introvert.

Really, I am. I am an introvert, but I love social settings. I get a real kick out of attending events and parties, and meeting people. Doesn't seem to make sense, but maybe it's because I genuinely like listening to people, and getting to know them. I'm not comfortable to having them listening to me, me, me.

Generally, I only open up to people I feel really comfortable with. When I find that person, he / she becomes my best friend ;) If I really really like you, I'd spend an inordinate amount of time connecting / communicating with you.

2. I think my greatest talent is in conveying thoughts through writing. Verbally, I suck. I just can't get the right words out.

In writing, it is a different matter entirely. Words just flow from my fingertips. (or so it would seem)

Once I get into a right frame of mind for writing something I feel strongly about, I won't stop until I've finished venting it all out. Once I'm in a train of thoughts, f I interrupt my writing to do other stuff, I'd feel very unsatisfied and 'unfinished'.

Being a person who prefers everything in writing, I really prefer emails and texts because I find I can respond better.

3. Google is my best friend.

Because I've always loved doing research, analysis and writing conclusions. I think the reason I passed with flying colours for my undergraduate degree was because of this particular characteristic. Not that I can or love to do monotonous accounting work. It's all about the theory that had me hooked.

4. If I haven't already implied it in (2).... to be honest, I hate phone calls.

Yes, I've hated phones from as long as I've remembered in my teenage years. I love my Galaxy Note 2 because it allows me to chat online on the go, read the emails and whatsapp messages, and check my FB updates promptly. But no no no, calls. I need to know in advance what you are calling me for. I hate bothering people as much as I hate being bothered.

I hate phone calls unless it is someone I'm wanting to hear from. Like, for example, a cute guy.

Maybe it is because I hate my personal schedule being interrupted. Or the fact that I cannot foresee what / why the person is calling me about in first place. A face-to-face meeting is different, you can see the person as they are coming towards you, if it is going to be a happy conversation or not.

5. I've only just begun to embrace my curls.

Growing up, it was all about sleek straight hair in fashion. And I just didn't know how to deal with my frizzy hair!

Thank goodness I've seen the light.... and love the sexiness of it ;-)

6. I hate having bosses. It may have to do with the "I'm paying you so I'm above you" sort of attitude. Several months of listening to a screaming GM kind of makes you realise that. I also feel like my creativity is kind of crippled in a normal office environment.

So, I always end up writing on little pieces of paper plans that I have, or things I could do to make my day better to keep awake. Not productive at all.

7. And of course, I've discovered myself as a pretty strong feminist ;-)






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