“After -Rain Skies: A Million Stars”

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It is with great joy and gratitude that we have finally unveiled the gallery of stars for the “One Million Stars to End Violence” advocacy of Perak Women for Women’s Society. At the same time, it was the formal book launching of my book “After Rain Skies: A Million Stars”.

 

 

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 I am sharing with you all the short talk I gave during the event.

 

It was a random trip to Ipoh that started this incredible journey. I was taking a stroll down Old Town Ipoh, along Concubine Lane, when a small shop with stars hanging all over caught my eyes.

 

It was the Perak Women for Women Society’s shop. They were advertising their latest advocacy of “One Million Stars to End Violence,” to support women and survivors of domestic violence, and I was so inspired by it that I wrote a series of poems and reflections about it on my blog to encourage my followers and fellow bloggers to join me in helping the foundation hit their one-millionth star.

The response was overwhelming. I received comments and emails from survivors of domestic violence from all over the world, sharing their stories, expressing their support, and just reaching out to be one with this beautiful advocacy. Some people knew someone close to them that had survived domestic violence and wanted to help in any way they could to end the culture of cruelty and suffering.

I realized that with our words, our voice, our passion, it is possible to rally a community into taking notice, and then defending, helping, and understanding to a certain extent our sisters, our daughters and sons, our friends who do not know how to defend themselves, who do not know who to trust, whose voices are being silenced by fear and hurt and hopelessness.

So I got in touch with Ms. Yip, to tell her about the people who had been moved by the PWW’s advocacy and efforts. And we decided we could do more. We decided we should do more. Thus came about this book.

Let me read to you the following story/excerpt:

“Erin was a vibrant, happy, and joyful woman. To her many boyfriends, all of whom mistreated her verbally and physically, she was patient. To Sufi, she was a great human being and an even better friend.

To herself, Erin was unfair.

She grew up believing she only deserved the kind of love that did nothing but hurt her. And Sufi watched her pick partner after partner that mentally burned her out and repeatedly destroyed her heart.

Still, Erin’s aspirations, inspiration, imagination, wonder, dreams, pursuits, creative brilliance, her magic, remained bright as stars on a cloudless evening, always.

Until they didn’t.

Abuse is not at all clear cut. But Sufi remembered with perfect clarity when her best friend lost the sparkle in her eyes.

First, the silence. Even though marrying the love of your life should be a nervous, excited, rambunctious affair.

Then, the realization of her colleagues that Erin was living with a man who was comfortable with sending his wife to work with bruises and a black eye.

And the dark understanding of the weight of Erin having a son, and nowhere to go that felt safe enough to risk her husband following them and breaking them worse than he would if they stayed put.

Sufi suffered watching her, but all everyone that genuinely loved Erin could do was love her until she began loving herself enough to see that she too was deserving of better treatment.

It took years, and all their support, and the kind of bravery you only learn while trying to fight through a thunderstorm, but Erin gained the self-respect she needed to leave the one that was drowning her light.

Coming home should be the safest thing we ever do in this life. Where we lay our heads at night should be where monsters will not reach us. And yet, so many find themselves making homes with monsters instead.”

Erin is just one of the women whose stories you can find in this book: After-Rain Skies: A Million Stars. This is a compilation of inspiring true stories of domestic abuse survivors, their struggles to break free from the cycle of abuse, and the courage it takes to build a new life for themselves after finally getting out.

These stories were shared by the survivors themselves, others by their loved ones, in the hope that their testimonies could give the kind of help, and hope that they had needed during their time of need, to anyone who might be going through what they went through.
These stories were shared by survivors who wanted to make people pay attention to the members of their society that need assistance and protection most of all.

It is also a compilation of poetry that I’ve written based on those survivors’ experiences. As a woman, as a mother, as a fellow human being, it is with great pride and honor that I present this book to you all with the hope that it will help create awareness on abuse and violence so these evils will be stopped.

Abuse and violence of any form are unacceptable and should not be tolerated.

The works of PWWS has inspired me so much that I was compelled to take part by lending a voice to those unable to speak up for themselves.

This book, my actions, is just one hopeful light in our dark world of today. I hope it sparks a change in you and all those who read it. Let’s end abuse and violence together.

 

My Saga Continuous Part 4 (The Little Prince and Old Town Ipoh)

“You can only see clearly through your heart”
– Fox, The Little Prince-

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My third daughter, Allana gave me an illustrated version, hardbound copy of the book ” THE LITTLE PRINCE”.

It was so sweet of her to do that.

The Little Prince taught us that life is only worth living when it is lived for others, not for oneself and that it is important to look beneath the surface to find the real truth and meaning of a thing. It is the fox who teaches the Prince to see with one’s heart instead of just with one’s eyes.

Apart from that, “The Little Prince” taught me three valuable lessons in life.

1. SELF – DISCIPLINE

‘“It’s a just a question of self-discipline,” the little prince explained later. “First thing in the morning you look after yourself, you brush your teeth and wash your face, don’t you? Well, the second thing you must do is to look after the planet.”’

The Little Prince lives on his asteroid in peace, taking care of his volcanoes and watching his sunsets.

Do we get annoyed over the little and repetitive things that we are bound to do regularly?

How do we take care of the things that we have and the people around us?

Reading and writing require a lot of self-discipline. Over the years I learned that in reading you appreciate the value of “waiting” that eventually taught me to be more disciplined. When reading, I do not open the last page and sneak on the ending unless I read through all the pages. I wait patiently until the last page.  I also learned that reading will help us practice daily habits of discipline. Like for example, I do not jump on the next book unless I am done with the current book I read. Even though I must admit that certain books may not really be interesting at first, and you just want to simply drop it. But, no, don’t – every book no matter what it is bound to teach us a lesson or two.

Writing on the other hand taught me to value, appreciate, and take care of the things and the people around me. As I write carefully, I am as well very careful about how I treat people around especially my loved ones. I do not speak ill easily from them. My father used to tell me “if you have nothing good to say, just keep quiet”.

My children and I share the same passion and love for reading and writing. That may be the reason they have stayed grounded and disciplined despite all the challenges every single youth faces.

It would be really wise to teach our kids to love reading and be passionate about it.

We discovered an amazing bookstore last Sunday as we took another round of stroll in Old Town Ipoh.

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Its “heaven on earth”  for book lovers like us. It used to be a bank back in the ’80s, and the shop has retained its original structure and even utilized the vaults as bookshelves.

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And to my surprise, they are cheaper than most bookstores around, (mostly by 50%, I wonder why). I can stay there all day long and I wouldn’t mind.

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They also house an amazing collection of specialized artworks, which is very interesting and pleasing to all lovers of art.

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2. DON’T BE QUICK TO JUDGE OTHERS

‘“[My rose] filled me with her fragrance, she had brought joy to my life. I should never leave her. I should have recognized what a sensitive sweet soul there was under all her rather silly games.’”

Do we judge others based on what they say rather than what they do?
We are quick to judge people based on their appearance. But as I fell in love with Old Town Ipoh on my second visit, I realized that the popular saying “the first impression is lasting” may not always be true. It is therefore imperative that we take a second look at people before we create an impression about them on our minds. The Little Prince, was very quick to judge the Rose, but it was only when he left his planet that he realized how precious the Rose is for him;  and that no matter how many roses there would be in other planets, his Rose would only be the one made for him.

Do we need to wait until we lost the ones we love before we realize how much they mean to us and how much we need them in our lives?

Or are we so quick in judging others that we lose the chance of meeting and being with wonderful people who may help us get through life?

I had the chance to finally meet one of the founders of PERAK WOMEN FOR WOMEN SOCIETY over the weekend.
We discussed my upcoming project ( which I will announce here very soon) with them and in support of the foundation.
She is a very nice and amiable woman who’s heart is in for helping victims of violence and somehow ending it.

We live in a fast-paced world that helping others may be the least of our concern now, but Ms. Yip, is probably an exception, as she devotes most of her time running the foundation. This warms my heart. We still have people around who genuinely believe in giving and sharing, and that there is hope for humanity.

Living in a foreign country may be deemed to be very difficult at first.  We have to adjust to the culture and its people. And I just thought if I judge people so quickly here I would have probably missed one of the best opportunities I would have in my life: share my gift of words to those who truly need it.

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The PWWS shop has been transformed into an amazing and colorful shop as they are soon to touch down on the ONE MILLION STAR.

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It feels so good knowing in my heart that I am part of greater advocacy and endeavor.

A Sunday walk in Old Town Ipoh for the second time around has made me appreciate the place even more and witness its hidden beauty and treasure.

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My meeting  (details of the meeting will be posted soon) with Ms. Yip ended on a very beautiful note as I took another stroll along Old Town Ipoh.

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I discovered special gems like this local artist who creates beautiful tiny miniature houses.

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There is also a “MINIATURE WONDERS ART GALLERY” which houses handmade three – dimensional miniature artworks depicting the OLD CHINA. It has “Terracotta Warriors and Horses”, “Tang Dynasty Royal Banquet”, “Along the River During the Qingming Festival”, and a lot more.

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“Tang Dynasty Royal Banquet”

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There is also a fancy tattoo shop in the corner.

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3. RELATIONSHIPS MATTER (In fact it makes life worth living)

‘“What exactly does ‘tamed’ mean?”

“Well, it’s something too often forgotten,” said the fox. “I suppose it means: to make some kind of relationship.”

“Relationship?”

“Yes,” said the fox. “I’ll explain. To me, you are just a little boy like any other, like a hundred thousand other little boys. I have no need of you and you have no need of me. To you, I am a fox-like any other, like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, you and I, we will have created a relationship, and so we will need one another. You will be unique in the world for me… If you were to tame me, my whole life would be so much more fun. I would come to know the sound of your footstep, and it would be different from all the others. At the sound of any other footstep, I would be down in my hole in the earth as quick as you like. But your footstep would be like music to my ears, and I would come running up out of my hole, quick as you like.”

What kind of relationships do we have? How are we as a partner? Wife? Husband? Son? Daughter? (etc)

Relationships really do matter. It’s vital and important as we live our lives. And it is with this thought that I continue to support PWWS’s project “ONE MILLION STARS TO END VIOLENCE”. The deadline for the stars would be on October 31, 2019.

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Concubine Lane-Ipoh

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Splendid, beautiful and warm
That’s what you are, full of charm

But history was unkind
To the truth, some were blind

Your story was interestingly told
By many as they stroll, young and old

Telltales has it, you were gifted
By a wealthy man indeed

Some whispered you were the haven
Of love untold and forbidden

You’re a silent witness
Of the truth there is that says

“I am but a memory
Of glorious past of history”.

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Inspired by my recent visit to The Concubine Lane, in Old Town Ipoh, Perak.

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The Concubine Lane has a history that goes all the way back to 1892 when parts of Old Town Ipoh were rebuilt after a fire. The Concubine Lanes were part of the rebuilt which was owned by a mining tycoon who has said to give these lanes to his three wives. Thus the locals call it, the wife’s lane, concubine lane, and the second concubine lane. Another version of the story is said to be that these are the lanes to which the rich men hid their second wives.

Regardless of the validity of the story, the Concubine Lane is a beautiful reminder that no matter what happens, we continue to persevere and live the life we love. We will be UPROOTED sometimes, we will be CHALLENGED, and we will be BROKEN; know that these are nothing but part of a greater plan, for us to become the better if not the best version of ourselves.

After the fire that hit the Old Town Ipoh in 1892, its people have been resilient and dedicated in their pursuit of bringing back the glory that the place used to have.

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Today, Old Town Ipoh stands majestically as one of the places to visit in Ipoh. The crumbled walls and broken architecture are reminders of its past: the once broken, the once burned down, the once forgotten has risen again.

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The Concubine Lane is one of the distinct and remarkable areas in Old Town Ipoh, which at the same has a story many will not be happy about. Having said that, Concubine Lane has inspired people to learn to understand the diverse culture of Malaysia through its vibrant colors, its cafes, its novelty shops, and its walls. Most importantly it teaches us a very important lesson in life; a lesson that says,  no matter what people think or say about you, you stand by your beliefs, your values, and your idealism. You rise up above criticisms and continue to inspire others to be good. Every wall and every corner of Concubine Lane is a manifestation that one can learn to better themselves amidst all the crises and tribulations.

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Concubine Lane is a testament of love. And as we walk along with its corners, know that it will be a silent witness to a lover’s sweet whispers, a child’s biggest dream, a mother’s plea, a husband’s triumph and of dreams do come true.

Posted for calmkate’s Friday-fun- Uprooted https://aroused.blog/2019/07/06/friday-fun-uprooted/