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Little Things 247 : I'm Tired of the Negativity

I got vaccinated last Friday.


I hope I have given my mind a tiny bit of hush. That this will slowly but gradually be better. That this rising Covid cases will soon decline. 


https://unsplash.com/@lmtrochezz


I do not have the habit of pointing fingers to the whole institute of our government to blame. 


I read that some people claim that the ones that do not think/feel about the government's incompetency are among the 'privilege'. Honestly, I've been surviving since the pandemic, I can't do classes, I can't do events, my sales at the physical stores are plummeting and I am jobless since January. I now have anxiety, due to the stress but I am managing it. But not once, did I blame the government or others for all of my misfortunes. 


I feel like this is just another repetition, not once did Malaysian feel proud about its prime minister and the government. Do you remember all our former prime ministers during our teenage-adult life and the drama behind them? We keep on pushing and pushing, we told ourselves that none of these people are competent enough, we mocked them, we punished them, we forced them to resign, and we didn't even respect them. We forgot that these are human that can't really run from imperfection. That these are human just like us.


We are in a crisis, the pandemic is something totally foreign to all of us, no one is winning. We are all scared, we are all surviving, and yes, dying as well. But have a little faith, instead of mocking, fighting, blaming others, pointing fingers, let's just help one another. One step at the time. 


We are in a dire need of love and understanding. Focus on helping each other, focus on compassion. Always focus on the positive energies.


"That is why, with compassion, understanding is possible. When you look at aggressive people, you see that they suffer. They have violence in them, they have anger in them. They don't have much joy and compassion; that is why they suffer." - Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Let's stretch a bit more, let's hope the vaccination program goes well and everyone is protected soon. Let's remember that this as a test for us, in reminding us about what's important in life. I wish people will notice that we can't fight hate with hate. What you project to people, is who you truly are inside, so remember every time you mock, disrespect, or hate people, all those come from you.


Note : Yesterday it marked the highest Covid19 cases yet (+11k) and at the same time, we reached the second highest daily vaccination rate in the world, over 300,000 jabs administered daily. If you noticed, no one is looking at the positive side, everyone is only focusing on the negative part of the story. 


I just wish people can see both sides, I wish people can see that the government is also trying so hard and I can feel the exasperation when everything trending is all about the negative story. I don't agree with everything that is happening right now, but I try not to focus on poisoning my mind with the negativity during time like this. 


Despite all this, I just wish people can see the light at the end of the dark tunnel.

I wish you well, take care. 

Books : About My Choice of Consumption and the Current Crisis


Before this, I love reading non-fiction books on heavy issues that talk about moral and ethics, sometimes books from thriller or even horror as well. Books that make us question our choice if we are in that situation, or books that make me jumpy or scared.


But lately, I can't even read the simple ones. I keep on reading positive-motivational light reading, and it is an interesting change. When I read or listen to certain triggering topics, my heart would feel heavier, I will feel a bit stressed out, jittery, and anxious. 


It is likely that this is due to the pandemic, the stress and anxiety that I've been accumulating since early 2020. We are in such a unique situation where we are living in a crisis for a healthy life, for a financial stability, for our own sanity, and those things make me so sensitive towards 'any' triggers. So even reading fiction can now trigger my thoughts. 


So I had to 'pick' my choice of books.


Before this, I was living in a bubble of comfort. I'm a very sensitive person and my safest way to live a different life is by reading books. I'm always interested to 'know' on the surface level, about how other people are living their hard lives. By far, I've been avoiding hard topics that can trigger my emotions  due to my incompetency to manage it. I'm always curious about how to manage these whirlpool of emotions without having it affect my life.  


How to learn about the genocide, the war, the children/women trafficking, the global-warming, the effect of our unhealthy consumption, the diseases, the cruelty, the unfairness, etc without having to be sucked in the black hole ?  Without having to fall into endless anxiety and depression ? How do we feel the empathy towards the world without spiralling ? 

I don't understand how people can do that.


For me, it's either 'you feel' or 'you close your eyes'. I don't have the solution to feel about a topic and not be wholly affected by it. I do feel too much at times and it gives be anxiety and because we are at this moment in a crisis, my mind wouldn't tolerate any triggers at all without crumbling to pieces. 


For the past year, I've been reading a lot of books on anxiety and coping with over-thinking. It all mentioned about being mindful, meditation, and deep breathing. Yes, all these are very helpful during hard times, but no one is telling me how to manage these emotions when I 'choose' to feel. Yes, I feel too much but I don't want to close my eyes to the world forever. 


I have this quotation in my journal, that reminds me :

146. How can there be laughter, how can there be pleasure, when the whole world is burning ? When you are in deep darkness, will you not ask for a lamp? - The Dhammapada

Since then, this has always been a reminder for me that the darkness is here in this world, but we can't give up on hope. I think it's okay to find solace in positive messages and reminders for now, at least until the pandemic ended and I can find calmness in my mind back again. 


Note : Today is the day I'm taking my first dose of vaccine and I've been having these thoughts at 5 am when I woke up, so I decided to type this down. I hope for the best, and please wish me well ♥ 

Books : About Books I Read in the First Half of 2021 & Existential Crisis

@elifrancis


Lately I've been reading a lot of books that is in the same group. In more than 25 books that I've read in the past 6 months, here are the collected books according to their category :


Soul searching / Journal / Self-reflection :

  • The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho - I still don't quite like his style of writing in this book. This book is supposedly a book about his pilgrimage, but I just feel like it is a bit staged. If it is a self-discovery journal, I think he is supposed to write like writing a journal, but when we wrote it like he was telling a story, it is just feel like it is a bit exaggerated and fake because normal life is not like this. He wrote it like how people want to read a good story and I just feel like he should have just write a "fiction based on his pilgrimage journey", instead of 'his recollection of his journey".
  • Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton - This is a solitude journal that I've enjoyed while I was cooking (I took several days to finish listening to the audio book). This is a good journal about self-discovery, the messiness of how our mind works, the life of an introvert. I can connect with her thoughts and writings, because I'm like her most of the time. 
  • Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh - It is simple book, a practice into mindfulness. I listen to him when I feel jittery. 
  • The Dhammapada - This is a collection of the saying of Buddha in short verse form. 
  • The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran - I've read this 2-3 times, and still, I'm lost. Ha ha ha. 
  • You, A Bike & A Road by Eleanor Davis - It's a novel graphic based on Eleanor's biking journey. I've reread it several times, and I still enjoy reading her journey. She showed her vulnerability, it makes her journey more relatable. 
  • The Book of Manuals by Paulo Coelho - Another book that I've reread, but still can't quite like. I don't know, I just maybe don't like him as a person and I can't get over that judgement after reading his biography several years back. 
  • The Art of Living by Thich Nhat Hanh - Same as his other book, I listen to him when I feel jittery. 
Self-help / Motivational / About Life / Parenting :

  • Achtung Baby by Sara Zaske
  • How to be Fine by Jolenta Greenberg
  • The Rural Diaries by Hilarie Burton Morgan
  • How to be Happy by Eleanor Davis
  • Everything is Fucked - A Book About Hope by Mark Mason
  • The Upside of Being Down by Jen Gotch
  • Hoe to Stay Sane by Phililla Perry
  • Ikigai by Marie Xue
  • Your Sacred Self by Wayne W Dyer
  • How to be The Parent You Always Wanted to Be by Adele Faber
  • Heart Talk by Cleo Wade
  • It's Okay to Laugh by McInerny Purmot

Fictional:

  • Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami
  • Two Stories by Sally Rooney
  • Normal People by Sally Rooney
I've always love to listen to self-help/motivational books. A lot of people feel like these books are a bit preachy. But for me, I've always needed the reminder especially since I've become more anxious about everything. Listening to their soothing reminders help me a lot on daily basis. You can try listening to Thich Nhat Hanh while you are jittery and you'll know what I mean. 

These books are more direct in telling us something, you don't really have to use your imagination. It's like being in a conversation with someone that cares or try to care. You can either listen and accept or just reject them, it is as simple as that. 

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When I'm feeling okay, I prefer fictional stories with deeper messages about life in general. Finding books in this category is a bit hard. I haven't found good books in this category yet this year. Example of books :
  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
  • The Little Prince by Antoine Exupery
Honestly I think I'm having an existential crisis. I'm questioning everything in my life, the meaning of it all, whether all of these are just a futile effort for us to be the best version of ourselves, whether I'm having enough time, whether I'll be lost forever. That's why I started having anxiety. I know I've been 'searching' for almost all my adult life, but the difference between then and now is, I have such an abundance of time to focus on this crisis because now I'm not working and I'm only focusing on taking care of Sofi, so I don't really have other distraction. 

In managing my anxiety and the 'searching' process, these are the things that help me :
  • You can try to listen to Russell Brand's youtube channel to watch his interviews with great people that talk about this. Not all of his content is 'good' because he talks about so many issues, but you can choose to be open-minded and pick yourselves the topics that you are interested in just to hear other people's thought on it. 
  • I try to meditate at least 10 minutes after my prayer, deep breathing and calm my thoughts down.
  • I listen to soothing reminders for example from Thich Nhat Hanh (from Scribd) or Therapy in a Nutshell  (on Youtube)
  • I don't take caffeine anymore, limit my sugar intake and anything that will upset my stomach (like dairy foods because I'm lactose intolerance)
  • I try to walk at least 20 minutes per day / I do yoga stretches for 30 minutes / or HIIT training for 15 mins
  • I try to sleep in by 11 pm, I don't do all-nighter. My anxiety gets really bad if I sleep poorly.
  • I read before sleep and I put on my oil diffuser with chamomile and lavender, to wind down. I turn off my phone's wifi at night as well. 
  • I read a lot nowadays. 
Reading gives me a sense of purpose. I can't wait for libraries to open and I want to borrow a lot of classics because these books usually offers the best philosophical fictions, plus, I don't want to collect books anymore. Except for books that I'm going to reread. 


I hope you've been reading too. 

Review : TheBookDepository to Malaysia *Updated 2021*


Hey guys,
I think I need to update this post, it's been 8 years since I wrote this original post about The Book Depository review and people keep coming to this particular post when they are having problems with TBD or thinking about buying books there + worried about the shipping all the way to Malaysia. 
  • I first started to buy books from TBD in 2011
  • I ordered 21 books from them - 13 orders
  • In which, 1 parcel was missing and I got a full refund (in 2011)
  • Other books arrived safe and sound
  • I also ordered a book during Covid19 pandemic in Sept 2020 and got the book a month later in Oct 2020
  • I ordered again during the pandemic on the 23rd April 2021, I received the books on 25th May 2021. This time the postman left it right in front on my apartment door (anyone can actually take it - but thankfully another postman was sending other parcel and we noticed the parcel). I ordered 3 books by Beatrice Blue from the same publisher, they were bigger than A4 size but quite thin, so they were packed together in 1 parcel :


These are some of the books that I bought from TBD from in 2 different orders :



So let me update this posts : 
  • Shipping : Yes, they are still sending books without any shipping fees. From what I can see, whenever I bought 3 books, 3 different individual parcels will arrive, they were never packed into one parcel. I think that's how they manage to send parcels for free (I'm assuming). So don't worry about the postman can't send your parcel safely when you are not at home. As long as you have a 'locked mailbox', those parcels will be safe. Pos Malaysia will deliver it to your home.
  • Is is safe to send it to your uni/office ? : Reminder, anyone can take your parcels. No one will have to sign anything, so if you trust your co-workers or peoples from your mailing centre, please do so. But you can't blame anyone when it goes missing. 
  • Book quality : They are all new books, I don't think they are selling second-hand books. 
  • Tax : No tax fees. You just have to pay for the book.
  • How long it will take? : I once received a book 2 weeks after I bought it, and I once received a book 2 months after I bought it. So it depends on the shipping situation I guess.  
  • How to pay for the books : Credit/debit card + Paypal (You can change to Paypal payment after you set the currency setting to USD$ )
  • Lost/missing parcels : Please write to their support centre after 2 months of the order. I'm not sure how they deal with this problem nowadays. In the older day (several years ago), I once lost one order and I asked the support centre. They gave me a full refund. I did double checked my address and my mailbox was locked, so I genuinely didn't receive any parcels. No lost parcels afterwards.

For me, TBD is still the best place to buy books online.
They are way cheaper (with sales), and free shipping. Cheaper than books sold in book stores in Malaysia. Plus, you can find books that are not sold here / hard to find locally (especially the graphic novels and visual books). I don't mind waiting longer ❤

*

Old post written on the 23rd March 2012 :


Yeay! 2 weeks ago I ordered this book from depositorybooks and it arrived last weekend from the UK.

With :
1. Free shipping
2. Fast delivery
3. Discount

*

This is my second attempt with depositorybooks. I've been searching for online websites that sell books and offers free shipping, and depositorybooks caught my eyes. Several months ago, I ordered 2 discounted graphic books from depositorybooks but it never arrived. After 2 months of waiting, I reported to them about my books and got full refund in a week. Pretty neat. No fuss.

Email I received :
Dear Azreen,
I am very sorry to hear that your order has not yet arrived; As this is clearly overdue we are happy to offer you a refund or a replacement whichever you prefer? 
Kind Regards,
Customer Advisor

*

2 weeks ago, I decided to try it again. I was not convinced that their management is bad, because I've read several good reviews about this website *and they offer free shipping! Who would refused to that? So I ordered again anyway.  I was willing to give a second chance to answer my curiosity! :E

Payment made via Paypal and credited to maybank2u, which was super easy. Postage fees = free. Ordered, confirmed and waited. It arrived home after 2 weeks. Satisfied :)

*

Anyhow, I did read some bad comments on depositorybooks. So, it depends on your luck! Just be patience, they offer full refund, you won't lose anything and you'll gain experience. Try to take from the good side of everything :)

Little Things 246 - One of the Chapter in my Life

@linalitvina

I know I hardly write anything since I had Sofi because I couldn't find the time or the silence to write. Writing is a privilege, to write something, I will need to listen to my thoughts, I will need a total silence, I will need an empty room. 

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I am a sensitive person. I can feel other people's energy or aura or whatever you want to call it. It's not that I can 'listen' to other people's thoughts, it's usually just a bunch of noises like the static in the old tv after 12 am. Those noises make me hard to focus on the thought process before I write. I know it seems like a bunch of excuses to not write, but I just can't seem to find the time to focus anymore.


Having Sofi brought so much tumult and energy of a toddler in our lives. Her needs of attention, her burst of tantrums, her cheeky dances, her playtime, everything revolves around her. Having her grow up in a 1,200 sq ft apartment wall during a pandemic while we are both trying to make a living, is a very challenging quest. Not impossible, but just as challenging as running an ultra-marathon because we don't know when the pandemic will end, it might take longer than we expected and we are all burned out. We haven't been out much since I had Sofi, that means it's almost 2 years for now.

-


So writing has always been my way of processing my thoughts all throughout my life. It's my solace, it's my therapy. If there is one thing that I can leave in the internet void for eternity, it would probably be this blog. I left so much emotions here. 


If this is a chapter in a book, I would want to mention these things as a summary :

  • The pandemic has started around 15 months back in Malaysia. But we are just starting the vaccination process last month, Af has registered for Astra-zeneca slot next week and I will try to find a slot after his vaccination.
  • We are in the midst of protesting about the Palestinian occupation by the government in Israel. The people all around the world is educating themselves about the issue and we are trying to push for a change. It is not a new news, but for the first time we can see the whole world is pushing it together, and there might be hope. 
  • Sofi is turning 2 in 2 months. She still hasn't call me or Af yet, hardly any words to communicate with us. But I noticed that she has started to mimic animal noises (like "sss" for snake, and also animal sounds for elephant or horses) and whispered some words (like "kaa" for car, "baa" for sheep, "baa" for ball and bye, "buh" for blue). I try not to worry so much about this even though I am.
  • I haven't been working since March due to my second anxiety episode. Since then, I've been taking care of Sofi, been to therapy once, and currently working to process my thoughts in a healthier way. It's getting tough in May because the Covid cases are rising up to 6,500+ cases daily and in any day now the government should call out for full-PKP.
  • I've been slowly creating a capsule wardrobe but due to the pandemic, I still haven't been able to try it out in public yet. I'm in my mid-30s now, I think it is time to feel comfortable in my own skin.
  • I finally finished reading Killing Commendatore - it was a really slow read (just like IQ84, I took more than 6 months!) I've finished 14 books to count, and currently reading 3-4 books at the same time depending on my mood. 

 @thetonik_co

Stay safe, avoid passing negative energies to others,
read a lot and try to stay calm.