Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ya, ya, ok, so my products are not good?

I went to a reflexology center a few days ago, thinking that I could have a nice, relaxing foot massage while waiting for the kids to finish school. I've never been to that place before so I thought I'd be left in peace. How wrong I was. The moment the 'sifu' started my massage, the lady cashier started promoting 'her products', supposedly 'the best' in the market, based on years of research in a developed country.

The lady asked me what shampoo I used, to which I answered 'rejoice', and as expected, received the disapproving 'not good'. She went on to promote the products and her multi-level-marketing business. Hmm...I've experienced many MLM businesses before, blame it on my youth and ... the desire to always have the best. Now I can only conclude that yes, maybe the products- toiletries, supplements etc are good, but they are also really expensive.

I've quit buying those expensive products. Thank god I finally realized that life has to be lived realistically. Within one's means. If all the products in the supermarket are really that bad, then perhaps 3/4 of the world population or more would all be affected. Come to think of it, those are the products my parents used on me since I was born anyway, and touch wood, there haven't been any serious health problems in the family. Those products couldn't be that unsafe then. Well, I've got to live within my means anyway...

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Durian! Durian!

Never been much fan of durians...all because my first memory of eating durian was that it gave me a chest pain (reflux?). That, and also throughout the years I've grown to dislike the smell. It's just too strong it could give me a headache sometimes. But yesterday was an exception. My family had a gathering with our friends that we haven't met for months. C and C have a fruit orchard so they brought durians and mangosteens for us. Instead of running away from the durians this time, I sat with them, too engrossed in the talking, and later admiring the way they all seem to enjoy the durian session. It gets more interesting when they talked about the different type of durians- the bitter durians, the honey durians, the 'teka' (or whatever it is :-)). Curiousity took over. I was tempted to taste a bit of the flesh of different colours, and waited for the chest pain to come. It didn't :-) Meaning I had taken just nice, not too much of durians this time. I am still not very comfortable with the smell...but around good friends, I am willing to bear it!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Aren't we all both good and bad?

I heard the term 'muhasibbah diri' (self reflection) on the radio some time ago. Being me, I often listen to the Muslim's Friday sermon on the radio as attentively as I listen to the priest's homily at church on Sundays because I know I always learn something from them. The imam said that we have to examine ourselves before saying bad things about others, as sometimes the bad things we say reflect our own weaknesses.

How true indeed. It is often easy to look at someone's negative traits especially when that someone is not very popular among the community members, or the colleagues. And as opposed to that, one tends to view a popular person always positively when in actual fact, that person may commit some crimes once in a while.
It reminds me of something I read somewhere, that "most people are neither all good or all bad. Rather, most of us are in the middle of the two". I quite agree with that statement. In fact, I am extending it a bit more to say all of us are both good and bad. Of course, I have no backup in saying this. It's just a feeling. With this self-reflection, I hope I can remind myself all the time to look for people's positive traits even when I do not like them, or when they are not treating me right.

Well, I'll start with the grandmother next door, who scolded me yesterday for parking outside her gate :-) She lives alone, and after talking to her a few times, (mostly listening to her whine about how bad her relatives are), I made the wrong move of assuming that she didn't have any relatives with cars visiting her. Hence the occasional parking outside of her place. But ouch, I have taken things for granted a bit too much. Just as I flashed her a big smile when I stopped my car yesterday, she marched towards me and without a preamble, gave me a long lecture about not being such a nuisance by parking outside of other people's place. Because I parked there, her son had to park far away when visiting her a few days ago. Well I have only myself to blame this time. Even though she didn't give me a chance to apologise properly, at least by giving me that long lecture, she had been really honest. So one point for honesty for the grandmother. She might be grumpy, but she is such a good gardener. So two points for the grandmother...well well...one point for me for admitting my inconsiderate mistake...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Weirdest Assignment

My line of work is considered unexciting, if not boring sometimes. Well not many would think teaching, researching, occasional editing and translating exciting anyway. But last week I learned that it could be.

On Thursday somebody requested me to anchor a pair of Dusun herbalists in Ranau for a filming, apparently funded by some organisation affiliated with the National Geographic. When I asked what does an anchor do, the person said, simply assisting them in the filming, mostly translating what they say into English. It sounded interesting, especially that it would give me more exposure on over a hundred types of herbs. So I agreed.

On Saturday, hubby, kids and I drove off from KK to Ranau at 5am, something I had never done before, to join the filming crew at 7am. Still a bit drowsy from lack of sleep, I met the crew members and happily let them know I was ready to do the translation, only to be told that I was supposed to host the film. I was taken aback, but because I had come all the way from KK for that assignment, decided to give it a try anyway. After all, the producer told me if I wasn't good enough, he'd not go on with me.

He scrutinized me critically, decided that I needed to wear an overall to create a 'jungle girl' look, checked that I had the right hat on, and got me started. It wasn't easy at all. Having had no preparation, I met the herbalists, had a warm-up session of obtaining as many facts about them and their farms, and tried to memorize all the herbs they told me about. After about an hour, when the herbalists and I started to warm up to each other, the producer announced that it was time to get to work. They put a little speaker on me, and set up the camera. The producer briefed me on what he wanted done, and the herbalists and I started our acts while the kids had fun in the river on the herbal farm. I am most impressed with the herbalists; even though they are elderly, they acted naturally without any script for guidance. Taking cue from them, I found that words came easily to me, and being in front of the camera became exciting. One by one, the facts that they told me earlier came out, interwoven with our impromptu dialogues in Dusun. Giving a commentary on each selected herb on the farm became easy, instead of stressful as I thought it would be.

A few 'cuts' in the beginning of the filming gradually subsided. Halfway through, the producer offered me to host a few more of the series he was working on, which I unfortunately had to refuse because of my tight schedule. Apparently he found me easy to work with, which I was happy to know. And it was also fun to know that I wasn't camera-shy- at least I can do some other things apart from teaching. We completed the filming in about 6 hours (and it was going to be aired for a half hour slot only); dealing with 20 herbs and enjoying some break sessions. In those 6 hours I got to know and like the herbalists and the filming crew. I learned that chemistry is indeed crucial when working in a team. When everybody likes one another, the task becomes light and fun, and easy to complete. That was indeed a weird assignment. I still wonder how did I land on that...

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