Are We Glorifying Self-Partnership

I came across the post on #18shadesofblack today on Sumitra Selvaraj’s @sareesandstories page on Instagram today. It is a campaign initiated by @sharmila006 , a Social Entrepreneur and a Fashion Artist to address as well as talk about restrictions being imposed on women, specifically in response to the social uproar when the Supreme Court of India lifted the ban on women of menstruating age from entering the Sabarimala temple.

Enabling women to live life their own way is perhaps the greatest restriction of all time.

A couple of days ago, I came across the term “self-partnering”, which is now trending after Emma Watson glorified her singlehood by coining the term “self-partnership” to her current relationship status. I’m not sure if the women’s liberation movement and feminism in general have been focusing on solving the root causes behind the need to have such movements in the first place.

Take the scenario of working women today, who fight for equal pay, longer maternity leaves and flexi work hours. All these demands go back to their ultimate concern: childcare. During the old days, the men used to be the breadwinners and the women played the role of homemakers. Then, as the living standard increased, women were expected to help share the financial load and this became a necessity for some women who were both victims of domestic violence and financially oppression.

We saw women joining the workforce to address the issues they were facing. Of all these “solutions”, we hardly see where and how men are involved as a part of the solution. We only see women largely adjusting their lifestyles to meet the demands of their family. And today, we paint a picture that relationships are fragile, not worthy, and that men are not dependable. Women are glorifying the status of being single because it is liberating, and it depicts how strong women can be.

If only women are allowed to just be who they are, all these unnecessary restrains wouldn’t have surfaced. If we stopped measuring the worth of women from their skin colour or how well they cook, we could have slowed down the aggravation behind radical feminism. And today, we are subconsciously nurturing financially independent “strong” women because that is the next yardstick that would measure the worth of women. This also indirectly tells that men are not to be dependent on, and if women shed tears or are weak, they are losing the game.

It is so sad to see that we are undervaluing relationships, portraying the wrong image of human and family values to the generations to come. If only we teach men how to rectify issues coming from them and if only women are not restricted and judged for who they are, cared and loved for by men, the second wave feminism and the power struggle in modern relationships could be a lot easier to handle with.

Being Self-Partnered: Are We Glorifying Being Single?

Emma Watson on being #self-partnered
The truth is, everyone on this planet earth needs love and human connection to live a fulfilling life, and that is inclusive of romantic relationships and marriages. I am not saying that everyone SHOULD choose to get married. If you were to look ten to twenty years down the road, those who stayed single were largely those who had issues finding the right person and not because they planned on being single from day one. However, things are pretty much the opposite today. 
A couple of days ago, I came across the term “self-partnering”, which is now trending after Emma Watson glorified her singlehood by coining the term “self-partnership” to her current relationship status. I’m not sure if the women’s liberation movement and feminism in general have been focusing on solving the root causes behind the need to have such movements in the first place.
.
Take the scenario of working women today, who fight for equal pay, longer maternity leaves and flexi work hours. All these demands go back to their ultimate concern: childcare. During the old days, the men used to be the breadwinners and the women played the role of homemakers. Then, as the living standard increased, women were expected to help share the financial load and this became a necessity for some women who were both victims of domestic violence and financially oppression.
.
We saw women joining the workforce to address the issues they were facing. Of all these “solutions”, we hardly see where and how men are involved as a part of the solution. We only see women largely adjusting their lifestyles to meet the demands of their family. And today, we paint a picture that relationships are fragile, not worthy, and that men are not dependable. Women are glorifying the status of being single because it is liberating, and it depicts how strong women can be.
.
If only women are allowed to just be who they are, all these unnecessary restrains wouldn’t have surfaced. If we stopped measuring the worth of women from their skin colour or how well they cook, we could have slowed down the aggravation behind radical feminism. And today, we are subconsciously nurturing financially independent “strong” women because that is the next yardstick that would measure the worth of women. This also indirectly tells that men are not to be dependent on, and if women shed tears or are weak, they are losing the game.
.

It is so sad to see that we are undervaluing relationships, portraying the wrong image of human and family values to the generations to come. If only we teach men how to rectify issues coming from them and if only women are not restricted and judged for who they are, cared and loved for by men, the second wave feminism and the power struggle in modern relationships could be a lot easier to handle with.

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Can Your Son Fix the Leaking Pipe?

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Can Your son Fix the Leaking Pipe? 
Are We Ignoring Our Teenage Sons?

As the doors screeched open, the sunlight creeped through the dark hall where we were lying down on the floor; eyes glued to the television that was screening our favourite movie, “Child’s Play”. A lady in her sixties walked staggeringly into our living room and landed her generously large backside on the sofa, intruding our privacy just like the way the light made its way into our space. From the ray of light, I saw tiny dust particles from the sofa gushing through the air, and before the dust settles, she quickly broke the silence in house. “Is she your eldest daughter? She has grown up so fast. Does she help with you with cooking and cleaning?” she inquired authoritatively to my mother. It is funny how she was not bothered to question if my two older brothers could fix the lights, unclog the kitchen sink or do the simple plumbing job just like the way my father does!

We all know a lady or in our neighbourhood or family, similar to the intruder. Fearing the judgement of the society, mothers in the previous generations raised their daughters to be obedient women. In no time, we realized that women became the victim of domestic violence and a range of other discrimination as men took the “obedient” women to their advantage. We later started to preach about feminism, how girls should be educated and taught them to be strong and independent. We even try to infuse the idea that women do not necessarily need men to complete their lives.

But time after time, we tend to fix the issues plaguing our society by trying to “fix” girls and women whether or not the root cause of the problem lies in them. Are we ignoring our teenage sons? Is it time to focus on how to raise our boys to grow up to become wonderful fathers and husbands? Too many women are now trying to be their own hero as we are forced to believe that men are not capable of being worthy human beings. However, deep down in our hearts, we all know that this is not true. Therefore, let’s pay attention on how we raise our sons just as much as we focus on raising strong and loving girls.

I welcome your thoughts and views ! 😀 Thank you for your feedback

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Are We Raising Feminists The Right Way?

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Princess Jasmine from Aladdin, who went with Aladdin to see the whole world!
How wrong can that be?

We are living in an era where we focus on individualism, and we advocate for feminism now more than the past. But, in the process of trying to form strong individuals in the society, are we forgetting that we are all human beings and that it is our nature to live harmoniously with the society by helping people around us and loving them for who they are?

Feminists often fight for women and men to be treated equally and in the process of raising a feminist society, women are often told to do eveything a man can do so that they would not need to depend on men to get things done. The entire feminism movement stems from the century-long oppression that women faced, which made women in this era to step up and fend for themselves.

It\’s not true that our mothers are better wives than us, they are just better in concealing pains and traumas than us.

However, as we are trying to raise a feminist society, are we actually solving the root cause of the issue or creating an issue that we need to address down the road? Are we raising men the right way, and are mothers teaching boys to be more compassionate, loving and respectful towards women?

So, I recently came across an Instagram video post by an #instagramkid star, Madison Jade, whose video went viral as she said Princess Jasmine doesn\’t need Aladdin to go see the whole world. The video fetched a lot of positive comments from the audience.

However, we all know that Princess Jasmine wanted to ascend the throne of Agrabah. Disney has definitely improved the character of the female lead quite a lot as compared to the original version, thanks to the feminism movement! Princess Jasmine wanting to see the whole world and Aladdin bringing her on the magic carpet is not a sign of the princess being weak, but rather an act of accepting the affection from Aladdin, who loves her.

Are we being overtly defensive?

Are we being a little too hard up and refuse to feel vulnerable? Or we afraid that men, even twenty years from now, would not treat women right that we need to raise or girls to be their own hero, and rescue themselves? Are we insinuating the fact that \”men are men\” and that men will not change?

While it is definitely important to have a high self-esteem and to be able to stand on our own feet, I think we should not deny the fact that, at the end of the day, women need men, and vice versa, to love a fulfilling life. After all, we are all just walking each other home. Can\’t we let our guards down and be more loving and compassionate towards each other?

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How The Universe Kicked My Butt

A picture from my solo trip
A picture from my solo trip
How the universe kicked my butt
My lecturer called me one fine day, saying that he is seeing many fresh graduates posting on LinkedIn about their difficulties in finding jobs and how some companies are bias when selecting candidates and even when they are all qualified, they have to wait for jobs and for that one chance to break through a career. 
He called me and said the posts on LinkedIn inspired him to come up with ideas to write a book for fresh graduates entitled The Sin of A Fresh Graduate. 
He said he knows my passion for books and writing and thus wants me to write two chapters for the book. 
I\’m already into the book and publishing industry but I never wrote a book before this although I have a plan to write one. It\’s my dream to have my existing book business go big.
Little did I know that this is how the universe conspires to kick my butt and get me doing what I wanted to do.
I wrote the two chapters, and the gist of the chapters is basically encouraging graduates to think out of the box and explore all possibilities including entrepreneurship.
Now, writing the chapters has forced me to walk the talk. It has encouraged me to dive into entrepreneurship again now that I\’m free from depression, and I have to make sure that the book is going to be a best seller because I\’m in the industry already and I need to be successful to run a successful business.
It\’s just amazing how the universe conspires to force you and kick you in the butt to make sure you become what you preach.

Confessions of an Independent Woman

A great read

SoulSpeak with Sonam

~”Being a woman has never been easy, nor tougher than now” – Me~

“This is not a feminist rant that demands unreasonable equality, nor a condemnation of men. It is merely a reflection of  what it feels like to be a woman in today’s India.”

We belong to a remarkable generation – one where definitions are changing, stereotypes being broken, glass ceilings shattering, new gender roles emerging, and gender equality is finally being accepted – it’s a transitional time for women empowerment, but being a woman has never been tougher. And here’s why.

Times are a-changing

In the 1900s, women had a predefined role in society – they were expected to be homemakers, and providing food and comfort to their families were their primary goals in life. To be a good daughter, wife, and mother was what made them happy. In a twisted way, our mothers had it easier than us…

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Juggling Depression and Presence of Mind

Are you busy or productive?
Are you busy or productive?

What did you do today? Will they bring you closer to where you want to be tomorrow? #reflection

We all change, grow and evolve every single day. I made my mind that in 2019, I want to make some important life-changing decisions. However, until one month ago, I was unsure if I have all it takes to plunge into the uncertainties I would have to face as consequences to my decisions.

As time passes, and as I took time off for myself during my birthday trip, I learned to listen to myself, my instinct and my soul. What seemed to be blurry had begun to clear up.

I\’ve gained the ability to train my mind to align with the soul and body. There are lesser depressed moments; as I was affected by depression not so long ago. I have reduced the times I need people\’s opinions or advices as I have started to use my instincts as the compass.

I\’ve learned to chart my goals and visions; and relate them to the work I do everyday to actualise them.

What are your goals for 2019? Where are you now in attaining them?

My goals are financially freedom and happiness.

***

I welcome your thoughts and views ! 😀 Thank you for your feedback

30th Birthday Reflective Post

After checking into my room
After checking into my room
At Tanjung Aru to watch the sunset
At Tanjung Aru to watch the sunset

Blogging has always been the most effective way to convey my thoughts and views on things that matter to me in life. I started blogging in 2013, when I was in my final semester of university, and that is nearly six years ago.

The first few years had been very exciting moments of my blogging life where I connected with many, many fabulous authors, writer and bloggers across the world. I was also actively writing on Glipho (which is now discontinued), and discovering new friends online. After some time, I went out of the radar for a couple of years as I embark on my job.

Sunset at Tanjung Aru
Sunset at Tanjung Aru

At Pekan Nabalu, on the way to Kundasang

I turned 30 on the 10th of January this year. I planned for a solo trip as I have always wanted to go on a trip all by myself at least once. Somewhere in August 2018, while my brother, my sister-in-law and I were having Briyani for lunch after the settlement of the downpayment for their new home, I browsed through the AirAsia website for a return ticket to Kota Kinabalu (KK), Sabah and booked it without having a second thought. As much as I love my family, I came to terms with the fact that I need to buckle down and be prepared for the transition of staying on my own after having them both moved to their own new house. I wanted to embrace the challenge of travelling to a place that is totally foreign to me and having to enjoy my own company, as I thought it would help widen my perspective on life.

That\’s my silhouette
Overseeing Mount Kinabalu
The Mount Kinabalu from Desa Dairy Farm

Kundasang is a beautiful place located nearly two and a half hours away from Kota Kinabalu, the capital of the state of Sabah. Some of the girls from my university debate alumni team made a plan to visit Kundasang after our trip to Cambodia. However, the plan remains a plan to date. This triggered me to make my own plan for my upcoming birthday.

At the Kipungit waterfall
My tour guide cum driver, Airul
At Desa Dairy Farm

Interestingly, I stumbled upon a post wrote on post on three things to achieve by 30 six years ago. Looking back, I am surprised to learn that I have achieved most of the aims I had back then by the time I am 30. I had completely forgotten that having this post written somewhere in the 2013. Nevertheless, I think these aims were ingrained in my subconcious mind that I am able to achieve most of them without needing to be reminded by a post or a diary.

I wanted to do something else than engineering if I were to further my education, and I completed my MBA at the age of 28. I cleared off my education loan on the very last week of December 2018 since the previous ruling government offered a 20% discount from the total loan for every student who pays off the education loan in a single payment. I also paid off my car loan by the end of 2015 and in the first half of 2016, I secured a bank loan for the house I am living in now. I have created two small businesses (www.internationalbookpromotion.com and www.ibpeditingservices.com), which are based online, and I am looking at ways to bring them both to the next levels at the moment, while actively searching for ways to make passive income. I\’m not there yet, but I will be there, surely! I have not decided where I want to live as of now but that probably is not an issue, at the moment.

Now, having returned from my birthday solo trip, I wanted to write a reflective post on visit. 

1. Trust no one but trust everyone
The scariest thing for any solo traveller is to trust strangers they meet along their journey. When you need to ask for directions, when you\’re not comfortable with the hotel room you are staying, or when you need a lift from a passerby after your car broke down; you need to trust a stranger to an extend to get your journey going. I learned that I should be open to trusting people to an extend but always be wary of who they are and how they behave. I also learned to listen to my gut feelings about someone I meet. Energy doesn\’t lie. If you don\’t feel good about something, do not proceed further with the activity or intention.

2. The universe opens ways for every decision you take
When I was about to book my holiday tickets, I had no idea how I would be spending three days at KK. I only thought of heading to Kundasang. I didn\’t know exactly how and when I\’d be doing it but all I knew was the fact that I\’d come up with a plan that would help me to realize my birthday trip. I think, the decision I made to purchase the ticket made the difference. The holiday destination had been finalized and the rest of it followed through.

I was indeed very meticulous when drafting out my plans as I was very conscious about the teeny-weeny decisions I make pertaining to the holiday due to the fact that I would be travelling alone. My initial plan was to travel using a car rented from Kota Kinabalu and head towards Kundasang. I booked a car (without pre-payment) about two months before my trip. As I Googled, I learned that there are quite a number of places to visit, both at Kundasang and KK. With the limited time available, I was concurrently trying to draft an itinerary to fit in as many worthy places as possible. I also booked a few hotel rooms (without pre-payment) via booking.com at KK and Kundasang so that I could pick the best one based on my finalized itinerary later and cancel the rest.

I read blog posts from other travellers on noteworthy tips while visiting KK and Kundasang. My mind was pretty much occupied on how the trip should go like and as a result, I got a little restless. Not only that, I couldn\’t really decide and stick to anything as I was very concerned on getting all the plans laid out right.

However, towards the end of the year, I stumbled upon a Facebook post about a friend having visited Kundasang and I dropped her a message right away. She shared her tour guide\’s number and little did I know that getting in touch with him would be changing my plans altogether, but for good. I ended up having a tour guide cum driver for the first two days of my trip and having him driving me to places made the trip safe as some roads were a little challenging for new drivers, especially during rainy days since Kundasang is a mountainous town about 1,900 meters above the sea level.

A few weeks before my trip, I got to know that my friend is posted at KK for a couple of months for a project. I stayed with her the last two days and it was a pleasure meeting her after three years.

I was amazed at how everything fell into its place and although my trip swayed from its original plan, I still had an incredible trip and I loved every bit of it.

The Kipungit waterfall
The sunset of 10th Jan















3. Steer clear from noises when you need to gain clarity on life
There were quite a few people who were worried about me travelling alone for my birthday trip like my mom, dad and some close friends. I think despite having my travel insurance booked and assuring them that I\’ve made sufficient research on the trip, they were still worried. Although their fear is totally understandable, at the end of the day, I think I learned to make that leap of faith.

I wanted this trip very badly, not just as a birthday treat, but also as a chance for soul-searching. The need to just stay away from eveything for a bit was so mind-boggling that I had to disguise it as a holiday, and I was sure people around me didn\’t notice the actual intention, which is much deeper than just a vacation. Your soul knows what you need the best; not the people around you.

Sometimes, when you are at the verge of not being able to explain yourself, the best thing you can do is to steer clear from noises as peace would help you to make better decisions. I am glad I took time to do this as I was able to gain clarity on a few things that I was contemplating. In simplicity, you gain clarity. For all you know, the takeaway lesson from journeys like this would help you stay true to your goals in life in the long run.

4. You\’re in control; and one step away from a different life
The ultimate reason why we are often encouraged to stretch out of the comfort zone during the lowest point of our lives is to provide an opportunity for us to learn that we are always in control of our lives and that we are always one step away from a life we want. The scariest and out-of-the-comfort-zone thing to do is the most liberating of all.

Me at the Manukan Islands
During the sunset of 10th Jan

Right from the beginning, I knew that I am one click away from booking a ticket and making my plans happen. But, I had so many what ifs and buts that were already marring my vision and as I gave these thoughts more power, they dominated my courage and the plan remained a plan because I was so focused on how to make it happen rather than just deciding that the plan will be achieved. It is the lack of the envisioning power that deters the entire dreams of our lives.

5. Learn how to enjoy your own company
On the third day of my trip, I had nobody to accompany the day-trip. All I did was to simply get a Grab driver to send me to the places I wanted to visit. I learned to enjoy my own company and the company of people I meet along the way. I thought this was one of the most treasurable moments of the trip as I discovered my abilities to blend with people although being an introvert. I fell in love with solitude, and I knew I would be able to continue enjoying the \’me time\’ upon my return from the trip.

6. Sometimes, failing to plan can lead to beautiful pathways
Despite the fact that I was meticulously planning for a perfect trip, towards the end of the year, I decided to with the flow and stopped bothering much about the places I would cover. I literally had no place on mind for the third day. Island hopping was an activity that crossed my mind but I was tired on the second day. I took all the time I needed to take a shower that morning and went to the lobby to ask for my breakfast. As I was having breakfast, I contemplated on the idea of going for island hopping as I was told that the tide is high. However, it was a bright sunny day and after checking out several things with the receptionist, I booked a Grab ride to the jetty and in no time, I bought my tickets to the Manukan and Sapi Islands. Later, I felt so glad for having visited the islands as the views were breathtaking. At times, letting things go loose could lead to a beautiful journey.

The breathtaking Sapi Islands
The corals at Sapi Islands













8. Learn to trust your decisions when nobody does, and be accountable for them
Most often than not, opinions are just meant to be taken with a grain of salt. There might be a solid reason behind every decision of yours and people around you may have not realized the the depth of thoughts. Do what needs to be done and take accountability for your decision. Even if your plan fails, at least you know why you wanted it in the first place.

10. Take chances
If you\’re young and healthy, now is the time for you to actualize your dreams more than any other time of your life ever. You can surely attain your wishes much later in your life, but the price you need to pay would be greater. The effort you need to take when you are sick, occupied with a busy career or a family life would be more challenging than the times in life when you have lower commitment level. I learned that taking chances in life is so important as it would make you feel satisfied with the achievements you trade.

The view at Sapi Islands
Sapi Islands, near KK
















11. Learn how to take calculated risks
I reckoned that there are risks with everything we do in life and a solo trip is also a risky one, especially if you do not plan things ahead wisely. The planning here refers to your safety precautions and travel tips that you should be aware of before travelling. When you have decided to travel alone, you would be fully accountable of your safety and unknowingly, you\’d read more about what should and should not be done wherever you are travelling to.

I think any trip made alone would teach us the ability to take calculated risks in life and this skill would eventually help us take the leap of faith in making changes in our lives for a better living.

12. Celebrate life
This trip undeniably taught me how to celebrate life! I did that by welcoming my 30th birthday with a friend who called me to wish me happiness. We cracked jokes and ended up laughing hard for an hour. It was truly a trip to remember and I would carry these takeaway messages whenever life pulls me down.  
***
I welcome your thoughts and views ! 😀 Thank you for your feedback

Back to Blogging

Hello readers,

I just realized that I\’ve not been blogging for a little over two years now! I\’ve missed expressing my thoughts on issues that matter, especially when I come across mind-boggling news. If there is one thing that has not changed over these couple of years, it has to be how rapes are still rampant to date!

My businesses, job and personal life have taken a vast majority of my time that I hardly could find neither the energy not the time to blog. There was also times I struggled with anxiety and depression.

I\’m glad to announce that I\’ve regained composure and very much looking forward to blogging soon.

I\’ve missed interacting with many of you from the Support a Writer group!

Hope to hear from you soon!

Love,
Jas