Saturday, 30 January 2016

Emma's Birthday Dinner



Emma is back!! In other words, KHouse is now complete. Yayayayayyy!

The day after her arrival, we decided to dine out to celebrate Emma's birthday, although the celebratory dinner was 10 days late from her actual birthday hahah. We went to Stax Diner at Kingly Court, ordered a burger for each of us. 

Post-dinner, we took the fun to Oxford Street. I can't recall the last time I was at Oxford Street, feels like millenniums ago to be honest! It was busy, as per usual, but we had fun standing on the divider pavement & striking poses for the camera, making complete fools of ourselves basically hahaha. But we were in a sea of tourists, and we looked like tourists anyway given our lack of height and blue eyes and sharp nose hewhew, so people walked and drove past our antics without batting an eye. 

We headed home afterwards because Emma was still under the jetlag spell - she slept throughout our tube journey haha - and I was feeling unwell. I had this massive headache that literally extended all the way down my spine, and I think my tonsils were inflamed, and I was losing my voice. Ulfah told me to recite the 19th verse of Surah Al-Waqiah (56th surah in the Quran), as it specifically speaks about headache. Amazing!!


















All photos courtesy of Ulfah.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Kakak Sheera Who?

The other weekend my family & most of my relatives went back to our kampung because there was a kenduri, so naturally photos of them having a good time without me flooded our whatsapp group & also on Instagram. There was this one photo that my little sister uploaded, it was of her holding a little baby girl during the kenduri.

My finger stopped scrolling and I could almost hear the sound of my heart breaking into pieces.

Okay over gila but

I COULDN'T RECOGNISE THE BABY.

WHO'S THAT BABY?!

That baby must be one of my little cousins??? Or one of my cousins' children??? I DON'T KNOW! I commented on my sister's photo with lots of crying emojis, deeply disheartened by the fact that I didn't know who the baby is.

One of my fears about studying half the globe away from my family is the probable question "Siapa tu?" posed by the little ones in the family when they see me, and vice versa. I can't decide which is the greater agony - not being recognised by them or not recognising them. I mean, missing out on their growing up is already so hard for me, having this whole lack of recognition on top of that would be equivalent to sprinkling salt on an open wound. Just last year's summer break, I welcomed 2 newborns in the family tree. I last saw them when they're tiny little peachicks who spent their days sleeping and defecating and crying. When I return to Malaysia comes summer this year, they'd probably look different, they'd probably be running around singing the ABC song, having no recollection whatsoever about this Kakak Sheera who once held them in her arms & carried them on her back. But yang tu okay lagi at least they lahir when I was around, what about those yang lahir when I wasn't around?! A scenario that is always conjured in my head would be the kids not wanting to salam me at our usual huge family gatherings, and they'd shoot me a hostile look while hiding behind their parents (or my other cousins that they see frequently therefore aren't scared of) instead of running into my embrace because I've been absent for the most part of their childhood due to this thing called university :( Haih.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? Right?

But out of sight, out of mind??

(menangis 7 lautan)

I hope they never forget about their Kakak Sheera.



Tuesday, 26 January 2016

KDrama Review : Reply 1988

I'm going to refer to the girl doing peace sign as the heroine.
The boys, from left to right : A, B, Taek, and C. Because I have trouble remembering the names in korean dramas, except Taek because his name is easy. 


I'm just going to jump straight into what I think about the heroine & Taek's relationship.

Their relationship was one of a quiet nature. Serene. A relationship they had exclusively to themselves, and never for the public's eye. A relationship with no exact juncture that either of them can pinpoint to as the Start, but had somehow always been there. Their onscreen moments were always brief, and consisted of small, subtle gestures. No grandeur of proposals, no elaborate speech of confessions, no huge sacrifices, no lavish dates, but every little moment they had made my heart flutter. A relationship of waiting by the phone late at night and falling asleep while waiting, only to wake up immediately when it finally rang, of piggyback rides, of protecting the other person from an oncoming ball, of walks around the neighbourhood at ungodly hours, of sheer happiness upon seeing the other person's face, of looking for the other person in a room of people, of making sure the other person eats well, of saying 'I love you' at the oddest of times. If you've read my post here, you'd know how much I love small moments like these. I fell for Taek right from the first time his face made an appearance in the drama, something about his eyes and his smile and the peculiar ways through which he navigated his day to day life. And my feelings for him were affirmed when he said he had no particular reason to like the heroine. "I just like her," he said. Haih, I'm in love with Taek's character.







But my heart broke for A. He really did love the heroine, I have no qualms about that. It's a shame that he was victimised by his own hesitation & lack of guts. The amount of things he'd done for her, and the extra miles he went just for the sake of her, but love is not about keeping score of who's done more for who. The spark is either there, or it isn't. I would have been hurt, but in peace, if he had confessed to the heroine & got rejected. But to have his sincere confession turned into a joke was soooo mean, I cried so much during that scene. He deserved to at least have his feelings acknowledged as real, not a mere laughing stock. Even if A did not get his happy ending with the heroine, the writers shouldn't have just neglected him in the final episode. He was barely there in the last episode!! The writers did great injustice to his character, would it have killed the writers to have at least a farewell scene revolving around A?! Show me if he found another person to love, show me if he couldn't move on from the heroine, show me if he moved to another part of the country for a higher position of his job, show me anythingggg, but don't abandon his character altogether. If I were in Team A, I would have been so awfully betrayed.

This is why I don't like love triangles, ugh.

I like Taek. I don't hate A, I just don't think he's the one for me. But that's the thing, this drama wasn't about me. It was about the heroine, or at least, it was supposed to be. This is why this drama frustrates me; I didn't get enough insight of the heroine's character. Her feelings were a great mystery that I couldn't tell who she actually loves. Forget about who loves her, who does she love?! I was so, so disappointed because I was made to understand her conflict of being a middle child, of not quite excelling academically, of being kind and considerate to others, of not knowing what to be in future at the age of 18, but I wasn't made privy of her inner thoughts as a girl/woman. I would have respected her decision regardless if it's A or Taek, but I need to know her deepest thoughts to justify her choice. When she began to try to latch herself onto A after her friends told her that they think A likes her, I felt like that was just a teenager's giddy excitement from finding out that someone likes him/her. But I didn't know for sure what the heroine felt!! I was dying to know what exactly she felt about Taek before Taek made a move to her. Or maybe her feelings were there and I just needed to read between the lines and I'm bad at reading between the lines?? Oh well.

This drama centres around the ideas of family, neighbours, friendship, loyalty, togetherness, with a little space allocated for love (of the heroine). I'm actually a sucker for those themes. I mean, the drama started off really well, with everyone in the neighbourhood sending their dinners to each other's houses when an easier, more time efficient option would be to have a large dinner together at one common place hahaha. I loved it so much!! You know what the Chinese say, "good neighbours are better than distant relatives". Taek's relationship with his father reverberated in me the most, especially in the episode where his father had to do the interview but he couldn't answer most of the questions, he felt like a failure as a dad. Also when the heroine's dad asked her to forgive him because that's his first time being a dad. Those two parts made me realise that even parents have their own shortcomings, and just because they're parents it doesn't mean they've figured everything out in life. Another one of my favourites is the episode where A's mum went away for two days, and came back to find the household unaffected by her absence, as though she was not needed to keep things in order, so she was saddened by this. When A realised this, he turned things upside down so that his mother could come to rescue. Such a sweeeet episode!! Oh and another favourite would be the episode where the children tried, in their own ways, to make menopause slightly more bearable for their mothers. From manicure, to birthday party turned into a wedding, my heart just melted to see how they didn't turn the other cheek to one of the biggest issues for ageing women. Haih. Oh and don't forget the part where B said to Taek "Seriously your personality is perfect and you perfectly.... Suck at chopsticks," when Taek, the Baduk prodigy, was fumbling with his chopsticks hahaha. This drama brought back the nostalgia of the past seamlessly, from multiplying your name with your crush's name to calculate the percentage of love (we all did this before) (don't lie, tipu dosa), to the folklore of shoving a garlic up your anus as a remedy for haemorrhoids, to putting a cassette in the freezer to make it work well again, everything was so well done. I've watched Reply 1997 and couldn't help myself from comparing the two, I honestly think Reply 1988 surpassed Reply 1997 by miles, for the first half. But by episode 12 onwards, I was overdose on the family, neighbours & friendship aspects already and I was deprived of the love part. I was pissed off because, even with 1 hour 40 minutes running time of each episode, the progress of the heroine's love story was very slow, all the way through Episode 17. And there were scarce glimpses of the 2015 Heroine, that I actually forgot that the entire drama was a mission to guess who her husband was. The stories of other people completely overshadowed the heroine's love story. And then Episode 18 onwards tetiba banyak pulak muka si Taek ni (not that I'm complaining, what a sight to behold), and sikit je muka A keluar. It's inconsistent. The 2015 Taek in the early part of the drama was also inconsistent with 1988 Taek. Fine, people might change, time does that to people, but I couldn't see the logical transition between 1988 Taek and 2015 Taek.

Would I recommend this drama to another person? Yes, if the fact that each episode lasts 1 hour & 40 minutes does not hinder that person's steadfast commitment for a korean drama. The pace is a bit too slow for me, but maybe not for you because, you know, to each his own. You have to watch it to find out yourself. This is such a beautiful, intricately woven drama that I guarantee will make you wish you live in the era and in the neighbourhood area itself. Every line was so thoughtfully written and perfectly delivered by every character. Overall, I'd give this drama 8.5/10.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Pray For Mama

From the bottom of my heart, I ask for a small favour from all of you who are reading this, to make doa for my mum






because she's been talking about Dilwale every time we Facetime for the past 4 days. I tried to divert our conversation to something else but she kept gravitating back towards Dilwale. Mama's gone to the cinema twice in that period of time to watch the movie, and, yep you probably guessed it, she's planning to go for the third time. Hahahha. Hindustan films can do no wrong with my mum. 

18th January 2016
Mama : Kakak kena tengok cerita ni. Best sangat!!
Me : Akak dah minta tolong Ulfah cari dkt internet dah Ma, tapi tak jumpa yg ada subtitle. Kalau ada pun, subtitle dia lari.
Mama : Takpe takpe Mama boleh translatekan, Mama dah hafal dah.

#DemamDilwale #PrayForMama #JeSuisMama #IStandWithMama #JusticeForMama

If any of you know where I can watch Dilwale in HD with in sync English subtitles, please let me know!! So that I can watch it once & for all, and then analyse it with Mama afterwards hahah.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Reminisce/Procrastinate

I should be studying, but here I am looking at old photos and reminiscing the good times I had with Zorro, shared with my friends procrastinating. I've had every intention to be productive today but the cold weather renders my motor & cognitive faculties borderline obsolete, so I've been reduced to being a sloth under the duvet most of the time lately. It's 3°C. How does anyone get anything done at this temperature?!

Throwback to when London was pleasantly warm, and Zorro was alive.













Sometimes I put the 'sheera photography' watermark on my photos, sometimes I forgot to put it. But I like having my watermark on my photos, makes me feel like a professional even though I am, sadly, a far cry from that hahaha.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Paranoia

When I first heard about the second year syndrome I scoffed and brushed it off as something that will never happen to someone like me. But as with many other things in my life, that was a terrible gaffe. Life has proven me wrong yet again. Second year syndrome is real, guys. And it's happening to me!!

Try as I might, I just

can't.

Stop.

DIAGNOSING MYSELF.

On Monday I diagnosed myself with Parkinson's Disease because one of the signs is micrographia, and suddenly a tide of flashbacks hit the shore of my mind of the number of instances that people have pointed out how TINY my handwriting is.



Also the number of shaky selfies I took because my trembling hand gave way, could that have been resting tremor??? Have I had Parkinson's Disease all this while??

Couple of days back I was going through lecture slides about Multiple Sclerosis, in which there would be significant reduction in information processing speed 6 years after diagnosis. Whoa hang on there. I mean, I haven't been able to absorb knowledge like a sponge as of late, is that a coincidence?? I think not?!

That's not all! Up until this very moment I probably have made like 18 diagnoses of myself, which leaves me with the prediction of, umm, around 6 days to live?

Brb writing my wasiat now hahaha okay gurau.

But the sheer terror that accompanies each revelationary diagnosis.... *shudders*

Okay obviously this is just my irrational fear getting the better of me. Hewhew.

On an unrelated note, did you know that men's clothes have buttons on the right side and women's on the left? Well now you do.

Atuk

It's Atuk's birthday today!!!! :) Don't ask me about his age because in all honesty, I don't know. Neither does he, hahaha. His IC is a complete deceit so that doesn't clarify anything, but it doesn't matter if he's 27 or 72 or 63 or 94, I love my old man all the same. I rummaged through the ancient posts in my old blogs (and cringed at ALL my grammatical errors and teenage angst and "Ugh tak siap homework tuition lagi" posts hahaha) to find some anecdotes of Atuk that I managed to write before. Needless to say I shed a tear or two (or one gallon, you'll never know).

------------------------------------------------------

14/12/2011 - 1853 - in the car otw to somewhere
Atuk : Eh apa tu? Kebakaran ke? (panic)
Sheera : Eh tak lah atuk, tu fogging je.
Atuk : Oh nak bomb aedes ye?



2013
Dr Shaiful : Pakcik, gula pakcik tinggi ni. Kencing manis dah naik ni. Pakcik banyak makan manis ye?
Nenek : (menyampuk) Betul tu, dia ni mana boleh minum air masak, air kosong. Asyik minum air manis aje.
Atuk : Saya hanya minum air yang isteri saya buatkan, doktor.


July 2013



October 2014

Atuk finally got a new phone! One with better camera resolution because nowadays everytime something interesting happens, all my aunts and uncles and cousins take out their phones and snapped photos, so I guess Atuk felt a bit left out.

Technological pressure 1 - 0 Atuk, hehe.

He asked my assistance in typing out the phone numbers of the important people of his life - in other words, his main homies (insert some hip hop gestures here) (no? Okay, sorry! Haha) - and saving them into his contacts. He read out the digits from his scribbles in a little pocket notebook which he seems to carry wherever life brings him to, and I typed on the phone.

After the last name, Atuk said, "Okay dah, itu saja. Terima kasih, cu."

"Nama kita takde pun Atuk? Atuk taknak nombor telefon kita ke?" (How dare he, not including me in his main homies? Siapa yang selalu teman Atuk ngeteh kat mamak? Siapa yang bawak Atuk cari butang baju melayu? Bukan nak kata apa la Atuk, but #justsaying) (Gurau, gurau :) )

"Ha bolehlah, save nombor engkau dalam telefon Atuk."

"Okay" and off I went, happily keying in my number. "Okay dah Atuk, kita save nama kita Shahirah Cucu Terbaik."

I felt his hands patting my shoulder and saw his lips cracked into a wide smile.

-------------------------------------------------------------


Some photos from eid over the years :





Atuk was about to give duit raya to me but little miss cheeky Nuha came out of nowhere & snatched it away! Hahaha. Cunning.


This is one of my favourite photos of all time!!! That's Aqil (my favourite boy, who deserves a post to himself but maybe one fine day) playing with Atuk's serban when he's supposed to salam & say sorry.



Happiest of birthdays to my old man! I wish for him to always be under His protection, to never run out of wisdom to impart in me, to never stop smiling.

I pray no one ever tells him that WWE isn't real because that will just crush his lifelong admiration for the 'sport' hahah. Today, I may not be in presence for Atuk, but in heart, always. Promise once I'm back on Malaysian soil I'll let you watch WWE all day everyday if that's what you want, and if Nenek nags about wanting to watch her Indonesian sinetron then we'll rendezvous to the nearest mamak and watch it there, okay Atuk? Love you Atuk.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Ulfah Is Back!


Make way everyone, Ulfah coming through! That's right, she's backkkkk :)

I've been living alone for the past, what, 2 weeks? 3 weeks? But those weeks felt like a stretch of forever; humdrum and dull. Everything I did carried a sense of perfunctoriness in it. So depressing to makan alone, masak alone, mandi alone. Eh mandi memang alone kan.

While my housemates were back in Malaysia doing all sorts of Malaysian things with Malaysian people in Malaysian's heat, I carried on with my life here in London like a poor sod doing tedious London things. During those weeks of being alone, I had minimal human interaction. Other than my PBL groupmates in uni and the cashiers at Iceland & that kedai where I regularly buy veges from (is there such a thing as a membership for both Iceland and that kedai sayur?? Because no question I'd definitely be eligible to earn a gold star member title, given the frequency of my trips to those two places), I did not have any real conversation with anyone else.

Of course, talking to myself doesn't count.

But boy am I glad now that Ulfah is back!!! I was so excited to welcome her back today that I was already standing upfront at the arrival hall when her aeroplane just landed, she wasn't even out of the plane yet. Haha. I even held up a banner for her.

She gets annoyed whenever I do anything remotely Korean, all the more reason to write in Hangul for her banner haha

But I provided translation at the back. What a considerate, thoughtful soul I am hewhew

"I'm so not ready to embrace winter,"



We talked a lot on our way back home that it actually tired me out. I was reminded again how taxing human interaction can be. Upon reaching KHouse, I told Ulfah "Weh the amount yg I cakap dgn you tadi tu lagi banyak drpd amount I cakap seminggu lepas", that was not even an embellishment.

As much as I enjoy solitude, I honestly don't see myself living alone in the future. It just puts me at ease knowing that there's someone else occupying the same sphere as me, even if we're merely existing in our rooms minding our own business :) So yeah, there's that, thought I'd just share that KHouse is now 2/3 complete! Can't wait for Emma to be back so Ulfah & I can tease her to no end hahaha.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

!!!


My previous blog was a clutter. So I decided to delete it, and made a new one, preserving the blog title and the published posts. However the URL for this new blog is slightly different. It's complicated to explain the reason underpinning this whole delete-blog-make-new-blog thing, but I ask of you to find the kindest consideration in yourself (if you used to follow my previous blog) to please stop following my previous blog. I mean properly stop following, as in remove it from your Reading List & stop subscribing to it. Please? And follow this one, instead. Thank you!! :)

And say hello to me, please? I just want to know who bears with my writings, haha.

Saturday, 9 January 2016

On Receiving Compliments

I used to be very bad at receiving compliments.

It's probably down to the fact that they come by me so sporadically that in the rare occasion that I do receive one, I find myself struggling to find the proper way to respond so I, umm, reject/deflect the compliment. I thought it was a humble & polite thing to do, in my foolhardy attempt to avoid appearing ujub, riak, or even takbur.

Little did I know how hurtful it can be to deny a compliment until I experienced it firsthand, when I'm the one extending the compliment and it gets rejected.

Hurts. So. Much.



To reject a compliment is to insult the compliment giver. When I tell you "Is that a new haircut I see? It's gorgeous!! Pixie cut looks really good on you!", and in response you say "Ugh what do you mean?? It's ugly, I regret cutting my hair in this style. Can't wait for my hair to grow back,", you're effectively saying that I have poor judgment & taste in the hair department. You're also simply dismissing the time I spent observing a quality in you & admiring your hair. And you're likely to speculate that I'm insincere.

Or when I see a really good photo of a building & compliment the photographer, the photographer goes all "This?? This is nothing, many people have taken even better photos of this building.". Even if he/she means well, that comeback is translated to me as "You obviously have very little knowledge in photography and don't know any good photographers. Pfshh.".

Or "You have really big round eyes!! So pretty!" and you say "No lah. I look like a damn owl. Wish I have smaller eyes.". Not only does that insult me (because in this scenario I would think you're just saying you want smaller eyes because I have sepet eyes.... Aip), that is also subtly disapproving the union of your parents DNA to make you, you. And when you really think about it, you sound like an ungrateful human being who spares no thought about the intricate processes that God work on to bring you into life. Oh no you di'int.

It's easy to fall into the self-deprecating trap, especially when we associate receiving compliments with being self absorbed or bragging. But it's even easier to just take a compliment the way it is with a Thank You and move along. It doesn't hurt to acknowledge your own flairs k. Don't downplay your own achievements. I think when I learn to receive compliments, I feel appreciated. It boosts my self esteem, and duh I sure as hell feel happy about it what's so wrong about that? I see compliments as doses of motivation, the extra push, that motivate me towards betterment. It's a healthy process so why aren't we allowing it for ourselves? Sometimes a little compliment turns my rough day around, without the compliment giver even knowing it.

So how about saying "You really think so? Thank you!!" to that haircut comment, and "Ahh that's really nice of you, thanks. But I think I still have a lot more to improve on." if you're the photographer, and "Weh thanks doh." to the eyes remark because there's nothing else you can do about your eyes. Haha. It's not rocket science, guys!! Say thanks, smile, end of story. If you're scared of going into hellfire for letting the compliment consume you, return it to Him by saying Alhamdulillah, for He is the one to bless you with those qualities & me with that sense of judgment.

It isn't easy peasy lemon squeezy even for me, but one way to acquaint myself with the art of receiving compliments, is to give compliments to other people. Try it. You'll never know when your little gesture might be the highlight of someone's day (or week) :)


Saturday, 2 January 2016

New Year

Happy new year, everyone!! :)

You wouldn't believe how my first view of 2016 looked like :







gelap gelita. That's because I was very much deep in slumber the moment the clock struck 12 and the last digit of the year changed hehe.

There isn't much for me to say about 2015, it was as good & as bad to me as any other year. I think the stark highlight of my 2015 was the 3 months of summer break that I spent at home. IT WAS INCREDIBLE! Before my summer break ensued, I mentally enumerated the things that I wanted to do and the food that I wanted to eat but as soon as I touched down in Malaysia, the freedom that I was looking forward to seemed rather illusory. The first 5 days I fell victim to jet lag and I lost my bearings somehow and I tried very hard to reestablish my competence of being behind the wheel, but even Amie pointed out that I've lost my touch with driving (exact words were "Come on Sheera, 100 je kau bawak? Mana Sheera yang dulu, ni bukan Sheera yang aku kenal." hahaha kuang asam). It was made worse by my sense of direction (or rather, lack thereof), so I ended up being driven around by other people for 80% of my summer break haha. Anyway I had a lovely time just being in the familiarity and warmth of my favourite people ; my parents, my siblings, my relatives, my best friends. I treasured every bit of my summer break ; from waking up early to go to the pasar, sending my little sister to school, taking my Atuk out to buy a new songkok for eid, playing badminton with my good friends and laughing over teh o ais & roti canai afterwards as per usual, movie dates with my little cousins, catching up with people whom I've missed so very much while I was halfway across the globe, getting quizzed about Malaysian geography by my friends because they know how much I suck at it (Dungun dekat Terengganu, not Perak. Now I know), weekends filled with open houses and kuih raya (cornflake madu!!). Aaaaah so many things it's impossible to write about them all here.

But the most major, life changing, mind blowing event of my life that took place during my summer break was


I took the plunge face first into KPop/KDrama/KVariety Show/KEverything, the whole enchilada lah to put it simply. But fret not, for I have





Crazy how I used to kutuk people who're into kpop and now I'm one of them hahaha.

What (or rather, who) led to my foray in this blackhole of Korean venture is none other than Amie, who made me watch (and lose all my cool if I even had any in the first place, because I actually cried tujuh lautan and had to pause several times just to clear the congestion that is the phlegm in my nose) Always and A Moment To Remember. And then there's Tiera who never seemed to stop retweeting stuff about Exo and one day I accidentally ter-click one of the links and my jaw dropped and that's how I fell in love with Sehun, it was definitely love at first sight. And of course, Healer. Do I need to say more about how much I love Healer?? Bong Sook-ah ~

There was no turning back from there.

One thing led to another, and then somehow I was brought to this song by Baekhyun. Safe to say that I've been singing this song every. Single. Day. Without fail. This song is the OST of my life! Baekhyun's voice... *swoons* Also, Baekhyun himself... *swoons*




Now that 2015 has taken its final bow, I bid adieu to the tumultuous year of joy & sorrow. Alhamdulillah for everything. 2016, I welcome you with open arms! I don't really have any new year resolutions because I fear of falling short of my own expectations. I pretty much make my own resolutions as I go along with the year, sometimes at whim, like how I started eating vege.


**Update 3rd January 20156 : Started watching Reply 1997 yesterday and now I'm done with it, while my mud-coated shoes from hiking in Brecon Beacons are still... Mud-coated. Hashtag messed up priorities. My new year resolution would be to practise self control refrain self from finishing a kdrama in 2 days >:(

How about you, how did your 2015 fare & any new year resolutions? :)