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Rambles' Ramblings

Ramblings, a salve for any hurts

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A Random Drawing

image

Was feeling bored and wanted to do something with my hands. Been sewing purses for the last couple weeks for my sis’ stall at a cosplay convention so was already tired of sewing (I still have my graduation dress to sew!).

So I took out my sketch book and thought, hey, why don’t you try eyes? Eventhough you have never really drawn humans before? And somehow I thought it a good idea and hence the result above.

Of course it is not my talent that results in the passable eye above, but the many drawing tutorials aimed towards eyes. Thank you to those selfless teachers who teaches without asking for anything in return

Goodnight everyone, I am getting ready for bed.

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Sometimes……

Sometimes, I just want to sit quietly alone. Not in my room; it is cramped and small. Instead I went out alone.

A meal alone, a movie alone; time to settle down alone. A fast-paced internship left me exhausted; the new attachment have me having to socialize again. I need some alone time urgently.

People like to go out with friends, so do I. But today, it is for me. Quietness to think and let the experiences over the past few months settle slowly. Quietness to think about the uncertain future.

My room is no good place to think; too cramped, too familiar, too enclosed with memories. Leaving it behind I can suddenly breathe easier.

Not that I don’t love my home and my family; I do. But sometimes I just need to get away, away from expectations, from decisions, from everything.

I am tired, and this is what I need to recharge.

Motherhood and Marriage

“I want children but no husband.” I said that to my peers, a group of interns during lunch one day. 3 boys and 3 girls, including me. They stared. It is something shocking to them. We have been taught that children are responsibility and we should enjoy our life with our other half before getting bogged down by child-rearing

To tell you the truth, the idea of having SEX is scary to me; the idea of having a penis penetrating my vagina, of someone knowing the inner part of my body better than me is frankly speaking, an unthinkable horror. So even if I am to have children, very unlikely will they be born from my womb. The route I am looking at is adoption.

Heard of that before? Adoption? A process where you take a child that has been abandoned by his/her family and make yourself his/her family? Yes? Then tell me why, as an unmarried woman am I not allowed to adopt.

I have been told that the adoption of success rate for unmarried women and men are very very low. Why? Apparently we cannot give the children a ‘complete’ family life, whatever the heck means. I mean, I have a so-called ‘complete’ family. My mother would not divorce my father when my sister and I were younger because she wants us to have a ‘complete’ family.

But seriously and truthfully? I don’t respect my father as my father, I am not close to him; he has never taken up any of the responsibilities of a parent. When I was having an important exam, he came in drunk and step on my calf at 2 am. Is this the ‘complete’ family life they are talking about?

My mother scraped and scrimped to afford to buy a house (we rented a house for 17 years previously) while he spent all his pay with his friends and went to comfort his (female) colleague because she has depression. My mother had depression when I was eleven and she dealt with it herself because my father didn’t think of it as anything.

If we dispel the myth that only married couples can give a good life to children (personally I think we, that is my sister and I, would be happier if my mother had divorced my father), then why unmarried people are unsuitable to adopt children? Because we have to work? What about couples that both work? Why wouldn’t the arrangement that works for them work for us? Because the children would not have a ‘mother figure’/’father figure’? What father figure I have? A man who is irresponsible towards his family and his money, who has nothing left when he is forced to retire because of a stroke brought upon himself by living unhealthily? That father figure? Really?

I do not want a husband. I have an inherent mistrust of men in my life. I am not a misandrist. I do like guys and actually have a lot of guy friends. I trust them, but not in my life. I do not want to carry a burden called marriage. I do not want to concede to their power, their names. I do not want my children to take their name; I want to take my mother’s name but it is JUST NOT DONE. I want to be a single mother who adopts; I am afraid of the pain of labour. I want to have children who are not mine genetically; I do not mind. But I am not allowed the chance.

Back to the interns. This brings me to the second point that I want to make today: the idea that humans are only complete with a partner. The interns were incredulous NOT because I want children, but because I want children without a man in my life. Most of my friends gave me the same reaction when I told them I want children but no husband. The equation we have been taught seems to go like this:

Married = Children

Unmarried = No Children

But what happen is you are unmarried but you want children? One of my friends suggested an unprotected one night stand. May be a good idea if I am not afraid of the idea of sex. But since I am, well, it seems society has not yet thought of that.

Perhaps one day soon society will realized that people who remains unmarried has the right to family life and the right to adopt children as long as they care for the children. Perhaps by the time I am 35 I can adopt a child. Perhaps…..

Feminism (Part 2) – victim blaming

I am not sure how much I will write on this issue; I only know that I am pretty passionate about it. Am I bossy? Yes. I was told I was an ‘alpha female’. Does this make me a bitch? Perhaps, perhaps not. As Bette Davis said, ‘when a man gives his opinion, he’s a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she’s a bitch.‘ So if I gave outspoken opinions on things, am I a bitch or am I just a woman?

As mentioned in my earlier post on Feminism, female bosses are often perceived as ‘witch’ and ‘bitch’. Fair? I don’t think so. You do not automatically think that way of your male boss, so why think that way of your female boss, especially if she isn’t married? Newsflash: women are NOT born to get married and have babies. Neither is she there to fulfill your sexual desires.

If someone is raped, it is never her/his fault; it is the rapist who deserves all the contempt and hatred society can pour onto him. Yet what we often observes is victim-blaming: ‘It is her fault to wear skirts that short”; “She shouldn’t have wear clothes that are so provocative”. Or worst of all, “she’s asking for it.” Does a victim of an assault ‘ask for it’? Does a victim of a road accident ‘ask for it’? Does the victim of a murder ‘ask for it’? If not, then why in the whole wide world would you suggest that a woman is ‘asking for it’?

As to those who would point their ugly fingers at women who wear short and tight clothes, what is your problem? If a man wearing tank top and shorts are raped, would you say it is because of his clothes that he brought this upon himself? If you say that the woman is raped because she dress provocatively, then surely the man is also raped because of the same reason! If you disagree that the man is raped because of the way he is dressed, then no way can you agree a woman should be blamed for being raped just because she dresses as she wants, dresses as a woman who is proud of her body.

I will leave you with a quote from Iggy Pop: “I am not ashamed to ‘dress like a woman’ because I don’t think it is shameful to be a woman.” Think about this the next time you decide to blame the victim for the rapist’s vile acts.

 

Feminism – Unneccessary?

One of my modules this year is Jurisprudence and one of its topics is Feminism. As a woman myself, this topic of course attracted my attention. It is not too long ago in history that women have little to no rights compared to men. We have come a long way since the days where all women are seen as property or a subset of men.

Although ‘equality’ in its current form does not reach everyone in the world (for example the Middle East), a large part of the world has, at least on the surface, bowed to social pressure and given ‘equal’ rights to women.

Until now, there are many who says that feminism is no longer necessary – women’s rights are already as strong as, if not stronger than, men’s rights. These people sees feminism as bringing a danger of causing inequality to swing the other way, being unequal to men for once. Among the examples they brought forth to prove this point is that during divorce, it is the general rule that the wife will receive alimony and maintenance for the children while the husband gets nothing even if he takes care of the children after the divorce.

They feel this is unfair to men and there are now groups that is fighting for men’s rights. It is the view of these people that feminism has done its job and it is time for it to leave the world’s stage. Any further requests by feminists is unfair to men and will drive inequality between sexes wider – adversely for men.

Yet is this true? What are the aims of feminism? Are they merely to get rights for women? It is my opinion that getting rights, formal rights, are not the only aims of feminism. As Bell Hooks said, “Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation and oppression.” Has these aims been reached? Arguably not. Not yet anyways.

Any student of feminism will tell you that yes, the early history of feminism is occupied with getting formal rights for women. This is because the fastest way to change society’s attitude and morality is through the enactment of legislation. The proof can be seen through the effects on society after UK and US enacted anti racial discrimination laws and decriminalization of homosexuality.

Although the enactment of laws can never change the minds of diehard extremists, it can help to sway those who are neutral or not overly invested. It also extends formal protection to those who are oppressed before the enactment of those laws. As such, before even thinking of changing society’s attitude, feminists have to get formal equality. It is a form of state protection and approval, which is a great help when trying to get further concessions from society itself.

But clearly equality between sexes cannot only rely on state’s legislation. While state interference is a good thing at the beginning, if a misogynist wins in the election (a current risk in the US), then there is a very real potential risk of him overturning or at the very least refusing further protection given to women. Therefore, it is important that feminists use the edge given to them by the legislation to further educate and influence society. Only when society itself accepts that equality is a good thing will women’s rights be safe from state interference.

The Suffragists asked for the right to vote and was called peevish. The Editorial of the Academy in the June of 1908 implied that the Suffragists’ discontent with society lies in their small prospects of marriage and that an unmarried woman’s life in incomplete and ‘pitiful’. It states that ‘politics, like prize-fighting, is a man’s job’. This, of course, sounds ridiculous in the modern era: Margaret Thatcher, Angela Merkel, Hilary Clinton, Sonia Gandhi to name a few. Yet that is the attitude of society towards women at that point of time – women are only supposed to stay at home and take care of the children.

It is only during the first world war that women, specifically white women, for the first time, turned out to work in masses. It is at this point when the inequality reared its ugly head and blatantly charged into public viewpoint. Lower wages, loss of promotion, limitations of jobs, insecurity of jobs. All these becomes the reason that women are forced to fight for their rights more. While voting rights are something abstract and something that most women may not care about, no one wants to work the same amount as another and yet receive lesser pay. No one wants to be ignored when promotions came. Yet those are what happened to working women when they started working in the early 1900s.

While these have been largely resolved in this current era, gender equality is still something that is far from being achieved. Society’s impression of women is too deeply embedded into our subconscious and the existence of the ‘glass ceiling’ in the workplace is the best proof of this.

While formal equality is by now a fact, society’s impression of women being the weaker sex is still prevalent. For example, when people speak of a boy or man being ‘girly’, it is often with contempt. When a woman becomes the boss or a superior, she is often said to be a witch, more so if she is unmarried. Of course, this is not only by the men, but also by quite a number of women. But why? People admires successful people, but successful men are not asked whether they have ignored their family. They are also not presumed to be difficult to please. They are considered to be complete. Why is it that society continues to question the completeness of a woman while celebrating her success in the workplace?

From this it can be seen that for feminism to completely eradicate sexism is a very difficult task. Not only do feminists have to fight against prejudices against themselves (eg. ‘Feminazis’) but also have to fight against those they are fighting for.

Attitude of a society does not only comes from men, but also women. As long as society see feminine characteristics as shameful or something undesirable, women will continue to receive unequal treatment. We have been trying to reach the standards of men for so long that we have forgotten to ask: why not standards of women? Is there something shameful about being feminine? The answer is NO. Yet society continues to avoid feminine characteristics as being a desirable part of humanity.

I myself had been guilty of the same misconception. When I was younger I used to dislike wearing skirts because it is, here’s the word, girly. I am a girl and I have this thought. How then can we expect men to respect feminine characteristics when we ourselves dislike them?

In the modern era, formal equality is almost complete. Changing social attitude towards women and feminine characteristics are more important than ever. Gender equality will only become a reality when people are able to give equal respect and concern for both sexes. This, in my opinion, includes the characteristics of both sexes.

 

 “Feminist: the person who believes in the social, political and economic equality of sexes. -Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 

 

Crowd Funding to Oxford

Ok, after months and months of not writing anything, the first thing I am writing is a rant which will probably catch quite a bit of flak. See, I saw a Facebook post earlier this evening where a student is asking for funding as she has been accepted to Oxford.

First of all, I must clarify am not against education in any way. If you get into Oxford and you can afford it, good for you. Go for it all the way and Malaysia will be proud of it. If you can’t afford it, then too bad, especially if you had not secured a scholarship prior to applying at a university you knew full well you won’t be able to afford it.

With the exchange rate as bad as it is right now, to send you to Oxford for your degree is probably going to cost several hundred thousands of ringgit. For me, it would be a choice between sending one person to Oxford so that she gets the bragging rights or, using the same amount of money, sends a few more poor students to school. Do you know, in University Malaya it only costs RM20 000 for a law degree? Assuming that you need one hundred thousand Ringgit for your degree in Oxford, we could have sponsored five students in place of you in UM.

Even in a private college, a law degree costs nearly RM46000 or less if you have good results. An additional student could have benefited from the money used to send you to Oxford.

It is not the universities fault for sending you offer letters when you couldn’t afford to go. I could probably have applied to overseas universities and gotten accepted to at least one, Since I knew I couldn’t afford it, I did not apply. If they send you offer letters anyway, it is your choice to accept and your responsibility to find funding, NOT begging from the public as though we should all bow down in front of your intellectual prowess.

Since you could have gotten tertiary education even in Malaysia (although not as prestigious as Oxford), I find the way you ask for funding really really cheap. As the Malay proverb says, ‘bagi betis mahu paha’.

Think of all those who couldn’t even afford tertiary education in Malaysia before you start asking for the public to fund you to a univeristy that is as expensive as it is prestigious.

If I have such money as to be able to fund a total stranger to study in Oxford, I would have sponsored 5 more in his/her place to study in Malaysia, be it state universities or private college.

It is not the universities fault for sending you offer letters when you couldn’t afford to go. I could probably have applied to overseas universities and gotten accepted to at least one, Since I knew I couldn’t afford it, I did not apply. If they send you offer letters anyway, it is your choice to accept and therefore your responsibility to find the funding, not begging from the public.

Today

Today I met up with a friend I haven’t talk to in some time. I am quite glad to know that she has found God. Although I am not, and probably will not be, a Christian, it is always true that religious faith makes you a better person (aside from fanatics and deviants). Her problems are not something I can hope to understand, so different our experiences are. I do not think that empty platitudes and false understanding will help. I can only offer her support while she works through her troubles, neither experienced enough nor wise enough to intervene though I would dearly like to do so to save her the heartache.

Enough with my friend whose troubles are not mine to tell.

I am, however, rather disappointed with today’s fashion. A quick search on Pinterest yields thousands of clothing. Unfortunately, the majority of these tops, shorts, skirts, dresses etc are quite tight and expose quite a bit more than I am willing to expose. As one of my lecturers would say, most of these pieces leave nothing to the imagination. Nothing.

One might say that I am rather prudish in wanting to covering up skin. I call that decency. I have never seen the need to expose skin that should not be exposed, but to each their own. It is the fact that the fashion world seems not to cater to people with a more … modest … sense of fashion that irritates and annoys me. Even the supposedly ‘modest’ maxi dresses and skirts commonly have low necklines, spahetti straps, open backs, and even thigh-high slits.

I supposed some part of this stems from the fact that I am pudgy in areas that every fashionista would tell you you must be thin and slim. It does not, however, changes the fact that almost all of the clothing that are ‘fashion-approved’ are clothing that will look hideous on me and the average female. It will highlight every roll of fat, every imperfection on the skin while leaving us open to leers from the creepier people around.

It makes me feel objectified, like I should somehow have a model’s measurement or else I will not be attractive and desirable. I know I have brains, but it still rankles to feel unattractive and undesirable. A chunky girl should never be forced into clothes that makes her look ugly, but what alternatives are out there when most clothes from the famous brands are ridiculously small and tight showing off ever curve and angle? It seems that the fashion world has forgotten that while there are indeed girls with the perfect body out there, there are also girls that don’t have the perfect body.

Take one of my friend, CPE, for example. She is quite a bit taller than me, around 170cm, but is not willowy at all. She is quite stocky and that has made finding feminine clothing and shoes for her very difficult. She had had to resort to men’s shirts because women’s shirts will not fit. Nor could the shoes: she typically wore men size 7.  Perhaps if the fashion world had looked into creating clothing for stockier girls, she wouldn’t be forced into the situation where she has to shop in the men’s department and put up with teases of being fat although she is all muscles and no fat.

I’m Back (After 3 months)

It has been a long time since I last post anything here, partly because of my class schedule, mostly because of a sudden apathy to writing anything at all.

Anyway, I have not been idle for the past few months. Aside from my studies for the upcoming exams (which I have been willfully neglecting), I had decorated my first cake ever, made my first puff pastry and acquired a new hobby: sewing.

I know, I know. Baking already takes up quite a lot of time (and money!) I can ill-afford to spend and sewing is yet another expenditure and cost. But then, what interests you interests you. I have long learned not to fight against those impulses: it only makes me want to do it even more. So I have sewn a few skirts and a dress and is now looking at even more patterns. Bad news is fabric is quite expensive over here is M’sia and there aren’t too many pretty patterns around. I found one store that have pretty fabrics, but they are crazy expensive, costing upwards of RM20 per metre. Hence, I have gotten to refashioning clothes. For example: denim fabric costs around RM25-30 per metre (needing about 2 metres to make a short skirt). What I did was to get a pair of inexpensive jeans (RM10 during sale), cut and refashioned into a nice skirt.

Health-wise, I am trying to slim down (NOT lose weigh – muscles actually weighs more) via running and certain exercises targeting the abs area. On the first Sunday of March, I joined my first ever run for 5 km and is now looking  for a longer run in October. Hopefully, the runs will help me slim down and take care of the pesky period cramps.

Gotta run; there are notes to be taken before the next revision class. Till next time 🙂

Bullying – Understanding a Killer

Bullying – Understanding a Killer.

If we think about it as a whole, society itself is a bully. Ask about why the bullies bully, the most probable answer is because ‘he/she is not normal/same as us’. The ‘normal’ is just what the society expects as a whole. Just as society expects men to have muscles and good, active careers, so do society expects women to be curvy, gentle and loving. Whenever someone went out of society expectations, society retaliate in a bully-like fashion. Example: men who are flabby and non-career oriented will be good-for-nothings that rely on their wives; women that are career-oriented is a ‘cold bitch’ with no capacity for love.

There are many other examples, one of the most common being body shapes. I myself is slightly overweight but have been asked to cut down weigh, called fat and basically shamed by a lot of people including my own family for having fat on my bones. Again, this is society exerting its expectations on individuals through societal pressure which in turn acts in a bully-like fashion where individuals are made to question their values and self-worth while self-esteem took a huge hit.

I realize this long comment has very little to do with the original post form Opinionated Man, but it is that post that got me thinking. Besides, it is a very good insight into the bullied’s thinking. Good post, OM

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