Thursday, September 27, 2018

Dealing with a Serial Liar

Very recently I had the opportunity to file a tribunal claim against a company in Kuching. I am not going to go into the details of the case, but instead I would like to highlight a particular experience, which is dealing with a serial liar.

So after being lied to for the umpteenth time, we (both me and hubs) have come to the conclusion that this person is trying very, very hard to create an illusion that he has the right not to repay our money. Obviously there is no intention nor effort at all on his part to refund our money. We came to realise this two days ago when this person tried to fake a bank transaction with the intention to trick us into thinking that he has transferred to us money from his bank account.

We had requested for the company to fabricate a grill similar to this design. Inspiration photo taken from Bob Mubarak's instagram.

An image given to us via WhatsApp saying that the grill we ordered is almost complete. This image was only sent to us after we had requested for a refund. Not only the design is wrong, the material and colour is also very, very different. Until today there is no delivery for the item that we requested.

As a person who tries to learn and take heed from life's experiences, I told myself that I should at least benefit from this situation by taking heed. So this is what I learnt.

First, you will feel mad.

I think in our case, we were initially frustrated when we realised that we would not be getting the grill on time, which also meant that we had to delay buying household items and are unable to move into our new home. Then we got angry because without fail he would say that he would refund our money that very week and then make the same promise the following week. I have realised now (after 5 months of repeating the same promises) that this particular individual loves the attention that he is getting and maybe he feels important that his words/ promises are taken seriously by others.

Secondly, you might feel like taking action i.e. you should do something about this situation that you are in.

This I totally agree. After all, you would be disappointed in yourself if you do nothing. Therefore we decided to think of our options.

Option 1 - File a claim at the tribunal. Which we did. The first hearing was on the 25th of September. Unfortunately the person did not come to the hearing. He told us that he was in Kota Kinabalu for a training with Honda. I don't know how true this statement is because I later found out that he is working with Perodua. Regardless, inshaa Allah the next hearing is set for next month.

Option 2 - File a police report. Which we also did. We decided to file a police report against him in relation to his fake bank transaction. The police report can be used to request for his bank statement as proof that he did not make any funds transfer to me. The report will also be used as part of the evidence for our second tribunal court hearing.

Option 3 - Write a review on google about the company. Most companies are searchable and listed on google map. You see, before we employed the services of this company, as my usual practice, I would check on google to see if there were any bad reviews on the company. I found not a single information on the company other than it's address and location. No good or bad review. So today I made a review. For future customers, if they were to google this company, at the very least, my review would be there to inform them of my experience and they could make an informed buying decision.

Option 4 - Have faith and put your trust in Allah. I believe that our rizq has been determined by Allah and if these funds are meant to come back to me, it will. If not, then it will not. I am not any poorer if this person adamantly refuse to refund my money nor is he any richer by holding on to it with dear life.

What have I benefitted from this experience?

I found that I am able to manage my emotions and allow myself to think rationally on what to do and what not to do. Admittedly at times, I do feel huge waves of anger coming over me and trying to take over my emotions. Ever since Tuesday, this person has been calling me (which I did not pick up), dishing out the same empty promises and even saying that I am lying and creating stories/ fitnah over him on this matter. Being angry means that this person is able to exert their influence over your emotions, so I told myself, I could choose to be angry on the matter or I could choose not to be affected emotionally. Obviously, I chose the later. Whenever I felt a wave of anger coming in (obviously this happens after receiving this person's messages over WhatsApp), I decided to do zikr and ask Allah to forgive me instead. Might as well cool my emotions and gain reward from Allah at the same time.

I have also discovered that both me and hubs regard finding peace in our hearts to be of greater importance. I have since blocked this person's number - empty words and promises are not worth our time. We have followed the legal channels so let the future take its course in this manner.

A hadith referenced in the book Al Adab al Mufrad states that, 'Abdullah reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "You must be truthful. Truthfulness leads to dutifulness and dutifulness leads to the Garden. A man continues to tell the truth until he is written as a siddiq with Allah. Beware of lying. Lying leads to deviance and deviance leads to the Fire. A man continues to lie until he is written as a liar with Allah."

At the end of the day, I have also discovered what a cursed habit lying is and what an unfortunate life a liar has. A habit and a life which I do not want. May Allah protect us from the desire to lie and keep our hearts on the straight path. Ameen.

Updated: The individual has refunded our money on the same day that this blogpost is published. We have dropped our claim against him under the tribunal court as this matter is now considered as settled. 

xoxo Mrs Fashionista

Monday, June 4, 2018

Petroleum Nasional Berhad (Petronas) vs the Government of Sarawak

Earlier today, Petronas announced that they have filed an application with the Federal Court seeking to declare that Petronas is the exclusive owner of petroleum resources throughout Malaysia (click here for the media statement from Petronas) based on an Act called the Petroleum Development Act 1974 (click here for a copy of the Act).

In response to the announcement, the Sarawak state government have announced that they are willing to go to court to defend their rights to petroleum resources that are found within the jurisdiction of the state (click here for the response by the Sarawak state).

In the PDA 1974, it is mentioned under Section 2 (1) that "... the exclusive rights, powers, liberties and privileges of exploring, exploiting, winning and obtaining petroleum whether onshore or offshore of Malaysia shall be vested in a Corporation to be incorporated under the Companies Act 1965...".

Based on the Act under Section 3(1), the company is Petroleum Nasional Berhad or Petronas.

Also in the same Act under Section 3(2), "The Corporation shall be subject to the control and direction of the Prime Minister who may from time to time issue such direction as he may deem fit."

Under Section 3(3), the direction issued by the Prime Minister is binding on Petronas.

However, I am not a legal expert so I will not go into legal technicalities in this post.

I have no doubt that the current state government under Barisan Nasional will fight for the right of Sarawak over petroleum resources found within the state's jurisdiction.

However, that is not enough.

The people of Sarawak also have to push their representatives under Pakatan Harapan to also fight for their rights. Under Pakatan Harapan's manifesto (click here for a copy of the manifesto), Promise 41 (page 91) states that "The 1974 Petroleum Development Act will be scrutinised to review Petronas's monopoly on national gas and oil products, especially from Sabah and Sarawak. This is to enable Sabah and Sarawak to set up their own oil and gas companies, and not limiting their role as a contractor to Petronas only."

Based on the recent election results, there are 12  parliament seats (10 from Pakatan + 2 independent who later joined Pakatan) in Sarawak held by Pakatan Harapan representatives (click here for the election results). Therefore, the people of Sarawak should demand Pakatan representatives to fulfil the manifesto as mentioned under Promise 41 which is to ensure the prosperity of the people of Sabah and Sarawak by enhancing the states' economic growth.

The campaign and election period is over.

For Sarawak to be able to protect their rights over petroleum resources found within the state, all leaders (from whichever party they may be) should work towards defending the state's rights.

And because the current Malaysian government is held by Pakatan Harapan, now is the time for the 'wakil rakyat' or representative from Pakatan Harapan to work and uphold the promise made in Pakatan's manifesto.

To the state government held by Barisan Nasional, hire the best legal team to fight for the rights of the state and do not let your people down.

To the people of Sarawak, this is not the time for you to be a spectator (or keyboard warrior). Demand proof that your representative is working in the best interest of the state and their people. And to those with legal expertise, you can also contribute your knowledge and experience by assisting those who are directly involved in the case.

This is Malaysia Baru.

But... Is it really?

Let's prove it really is Malaysia Baru by being informed, well-read and intelligent citizens - proactive Malaysians.

xoxo Fareiny

Ps: Some have mentioned that the Malaysian Agreement 1963 may be relevant to this case. I have not read the agreement (as I said, I am not a legal expert) but you can read the agreement if you like (click here for a copy of MA63).

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother's Day!

When I think of Mother's Day, I am always reminded by this quote by Abraham Lincoln:

"All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother." 

Me and my mum in Yogyakarta. She came to accompany me for an academic conference because hubs wasn't able to join me.

As a mother myself, I am always reminded of all the joy and love I feel for my daughters. The hopes and dreams that I have for them, the prayers that I make so that they are not only be successful in this worldly life, but also be good and pious Muslims, and attain success in the afterlife as well. Which is why I was affected by a post on social media which I read a few days ago from a daughter who is obviously unhappy with the relationship that she has with her mother.

As Muslims, we learn that we should always strive to maintain a good relationship with our parents (especially to our mothers). This is apparent in a number of hadith by the Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h.:

A man came to the Prophet and said, ‘O Messenger of God! Who among the people is the most worthy of my good companionship? The Prophet (PBUH) said: Your mother. The man said, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man further asked, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your mother. The man asked again, ‘Then who?’ The Prophet said: Then your father. (Bukhari, Muslim)
A man once consulted the Prophet Muhammad about taking part in a military campaign. The Prophet asked the man if his mother was still living. When told that she was alive, the Prophet said: “(Then) stay with her, for Paradise is at her feet.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
On another occasion, the Prophet said: “God has forbidden for you to be undutiful to your mothers.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
However, not everyone are blessed with a good relationship with their mothers or even with their parents.  There may be times where we may not be at the best of relationships with our mother (or both our parents). For some of you, like the post on social media that I read, may be estranged or in a difficult relationship with your mother (or both parents or other family members).

Do you know that our Prophets also have been tested with strained family relationships? Here are some examples:

Prophet Adam a.s. had a son who killed the other.

Prophet Nuh a.s. who even as his son was in the water did not accept his call to Islam. His son later drowned.

Prophet Nuh and Lut whose wives are non-believers.

Prophet Ibrahim a.s. whose father threw him in the fire.

Prophet Yaacob a.s. whose sons had a hatred so deep against their own brother i.e. Prophet Yusuf that they would lie to their own father so that they could kill Prophet Yusuf.

Prophet Yusuf a.s. whose brothers conspired to kill him and threw him in a well with the hopes that he would die.

Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. whose uncles (Abu Lahab and Abu Jahl) constantly mocked him and also conspired to kill him.

The thing that I've learnt from our Prophets is that, they have never wished bad things for their family members whom they are estranged from. Prophet Ibrahim a.s. tirelessly prayed for his father to accept Islam (Surah Maryam, verses 41 - 48) while Prophet Yusuf a.s. forgave his brothers and invited them to stay with him in Egypt (Surah Yusuf, verse 99).

We are not perfect and nor are we prophets. But we do strive to follow from the best example and the best example that we have is our Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h.

Let us take heed from this hadith by the Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h.:

"The best of you is the best to his family and I am the best amongst you to my family."

May Allah protect our Mothers (and our Fathers too) and make them among the people of Jannah. May Allah protect our relationship with our family and forgive us all for our wrongdoings and keep us on the straight path. Ameen.

Alexa's handwritten Mother's Day card which she gave to me yesterday. Thank you to E'en and Eqa for helping her with the card =).

Happy Mother's Day everyone!

xoxo Fareiny

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

What would it take for you to renounce your religion?

This post is inspired by the apostasy cases which were heard in the Federal Court today. If you'd like to read about the case, you can read about it [here] and [here].

For some reason, the cases made me wonder: what would it take for us to renounce our religion?

I am somehow reminded by the story of Salman the Persian, a companion of the Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. He was born and raised as a Zoroastrian who then converted to Christianity (after meeting a Nestorian Christian group) and afterwards converted to Islam after meeting the Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h.

Three different religions in one lifetime.

For Salman, the decision to renounce the religion of his family, Zoroastrian, was of his own making. And it was the same when he decided to again renounce Christianity.

Can we influence someone to convert to another religion?

A number of examples have shown that we cannot. Point in case: Abu Talib, the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. died without embracing Islam despite being a strong supporter of the Prophet and even though the Prophet asked him to pronounce the shahadah on his deathbed, he did not do so.

Even in the case of Salman the Persian, he was imprisoned by his family (which he escaped from later) after he converted to Christianity.

Why? Matters regarding faith rests in the heart of man, for we cannot lie to ourselves and bow down (prostrate) to what we do not believe in. We have been given free will, hence we have the freedom to choose and decide in which faith do we want to profess to.

"... And know that Allah intervenes between a man and his heart and that to Him you will be gathered." (Surah Al Anfal 8: 24)

In a hadith the Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. mentions, "Verily, the hearts of all the sons of Adam are between the two fingers out of the fingers of the Compassionate Lord as one heart. He turns that to any (direction) He likes." Then the Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h. said: "O' Allah, the Turner of the hearts, turn our hearts to Thine obedience."

Thus we could say that matters of the faith is a reflection of the heart of man. If your heart turns to another faith, perhaps then, that is what it takes for you to renounce your religion to another.

I pray that we all be guided and may our hearts be kept steadfast on the straight path. Ameen.

xoxo Fareiny

Defining Me

What kind of person would you say you are?

A few days ago I saw a post on my Facebook timeline. It was a video of a socialite, showcasing her collection of designer handbags, shoes and clothes.

Seeing the video, I felt a huge sigh of relief... Because material things such as handbags, shoes and clothes does not define who I am. Perhaps it may have when I was younger (or I perceive it to be a definitive part of me then), but it certainly does not define who I am, now.

Who I was, but no longer am. Alhamdulillah.

So let's revisit my first statement: How do you define the person that you are?

I am going to be turning 40 in a few years and one of the things that I am grateful for is the ability to be comfortable (very comfortable, really) in my own skin, accepting me for who I really am (flaws and all) and not really bothering about what people say/ think/ talk of me. It does not bother me if people do not like me, because really, there's no pleasing everybody and no matter what happens, I will be the same person unless and until I decide to change. Besides, what people say/ think/ talk is actually a reflection of the person that they are so it is always best to let them be.

Back to the question of defining oneself.

Some people define themselves by the career that they have, the kids that Allah has bestowed upon them, the friends that they have around them or even the amount of wealth that they have amassed. I have discovered that as much as I love my career, my family, my friends and money (or the amount of comfort that money brings), I do not want to be defined by those things, for indeed they are fleeting.

Allah give what He wills and Allah can take back what He wills.

So, let's do a stock check, and find out:

(1) How do you feel about yourself?
(2) Are you happy with the person that you are/ becoming?
(3) If yes, Alhamdulillah.
(4) If no, then why aren't you happy with yourself?
(5) Is there anything that you wish to change about yourself?

Social media is a huge influencer in our lives. The purpose of this blogpost (and the main reason why I've decided to reactivate my blog) is simply because of how much social media has taken over our lives and how some people (especially the younger generation) are influenced by the amount of 'likes' and 'comments' that they have on their social media accounts.

One of the defining moments of my life, reaching the top of Mulu Pinnacles. The climb up and down Mulu Pinnacles took me 13 hours (a friend of mine completed the whole climb in about 9 hours). 

You are defined by the things that you do, and what you commit your mind to.

What people think of you and your posts should not be a benchmark of who you are. And besides, life is never about having a '5 seconds of fame' moment or being viral on the internet. It is so much more than that. It's about making a mark on this world and leaving a footprint of who we are - for which we will be judged upon by Allah in the hereafter.

So, define yourself carefully. You are unique. And don't let who you are be defined by someone other than you.

Love and positivity, always.

xoxo Fareiny

Monday, February 26, 2018

New year, new blog and a not-so-new, me!


Hello there! 

It's been a year and here I am dusting the cobwebs on my blog, trying to figure out whether I should continue blogging or just continue leaving it as it is and pursue my other non-interests such as wiping snot off Alexa's nose or changing Isabel's diapers now that she's pooped for the third time in the same day (kidding!).

It's challenging being a working mom. Though in good times and bad times, Allah's plans are the best of plans, Alhamdulillah.  May Allah protect them from all that is evil and make them strong like Khadijah a.s. (the wife of our Prophet Muhammad p.b.u.h.). Ameen!

Anyway, since I've been away from the blogging space, my thoughts on I should be writing this and that, unfortunately, refuse to leave me, for I do love writing. So here we are, back here, with me thinking of the things that I should write more of and trying to fit blogging into my already packed schedule. 

Ah well, I've made up my mind and hopefully you'll see more of me (my writing at least), in this space. 

Until then, love and positivity always!

xoxo Fareiny

Friday, February 10, 2017

Introducing Raden Isabel Asiya

So I've been busy lately. I haven't been able to update my blog due to me having shifted my priorities and making my PhD my number one priority these days. Any other events, have to take a backseat, unless of course, it involves birth and labor, which, like it or not, have to be the number one priority when the time comes.

Us in Sri Lanka, June 2016.

Anyway, we (me and hubs, obviously) discovered that I was pregnant after we came home from our trip to Sri Lanka in June. Alhamdulillah we've always wanted another child and we are extremely grateful to be granted another opportunity. Fast forward months later, just like my pregnancy with Alexa, the baby is 40 weeks overdue and there is a high chance of me undergoing a caesarian as not only the baby is overdue, but I also have gestational diabetes, which poses a risk to the baby.

Since I was overdue, and although the baby was already engaged, my cervix wasn't dilated as yet. My doctor suggested that I go for a balloon catheter induction which is available at the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) which would give me a chance to proceed with normal delivery. Otherwise, the alternative would be a caesarian delivery.

Because we were rooting for a normal delivery, we decided to try the balloon induction and my ob-gyn proceeded with a referral letter for SGH. On Thursday, 28th January I packed my stuff and then proceeded to SGH for the induction, and prayed for a normal delivery. Registered at the labor ward (Level 4) at 9 pm and my condition was examined by a doctor a few minutes later. She reported the results of her examination to a senior doctor about an hour later. The senior doctor conducted a vaginal examination and declared that my cervix was 3 cm dilated and that I did not need an induction. She even declared that I would deliver the following morning. Little did I know that she was right in her prediction.

The tiny person who's hijacked my sleep (for now).

At 12 midnight, I was wheeled to Level 5, given a bed and a change of clothes and was informed that if I felt any contraction or feel that I am nearing labor, I could request for a vaginal examination. If (based on the examination) my cervix was dilated to 4 cm, I would be brought to the delivery room at Level 4. By 2 am I was ready for bed; I had performed my prayers and there were some Braxton Hicks, but nothing to be alarmed about. By 4 am, the pain started to get more intense, so I asked the nurse for a vaginal exam. The nurse said that I had already dilated to 5 cm and would be wheeled to the delivery room once they had an available bed. 20 minutes later, I was in the delivery room, strapped with to a fetal monitor and by that time, the contractions were quite intense that I actually had asked the doctor for epidural.

The nurses proceeded to fill in some forms, asked me a couple of questions which (in my dazed state) some I was able to answer while the rest, I mumbled incoherent words. With almost zero sleep, an empty stomach and parched throat, I wasn't exactly on cloud nine. At 6.30 am, the anaesthetist came and proceeded to warn me the risks of an epidural. I insisted that I wanted an epidural. She then told me to sit up (I was lying down all this while), to which I tried to do with much difficulty. I then told her that I can't sit up properly because I felt a strong urge to poop. She told me to lie down and then informed another doctor to perform a vaginal exam to check if my cervix was fully dilated. Surprise, surprise, it was fully dilated to 10 cm and I (apparently) was in labor. Obviously, I did not get the epidural (much to the relief of the anaesthetist).

All of a sudden the delivery room was filled with nurses and they proceeded to cheer me to push when I feel a contraction coming. As a newbie (my first born was delivered via c-section), I wasn't able to push well, and the lack of sleep and lack of food obviously did not help my condition. The baby came out after three or four pushes later at 7.16 am, weighing 3.47 kg. Alhamdulillah, I only suffered a second degree tear and did not require any episiotomy. But I do need some stitches.

Raden Isabel Asiya, three hours after birth. Hubs liked the name Bella so we decided on Isabel which means devoted to God and Asiya is the wife of the Pharaoh and one of those who is promised Jannah (refer to the Quran, 66:11) or you can also read a Facebook post about her (click here).

Hubs came in to the delivery room a few minutes later. He wasn't allowed to come in during the delivery because at 7 am, nurses and doctors would change shifts and while they hand over their tasks to the incoming medical team, no visitors are allowed until the new shift has settled in. Post birth, the nurses proceeded with allowing me to breastfeed Isabel right after the stitches were done.

Our first selfie, Day 1 of Raden Isabel Asiya.

So all praise be to Allah for granting me the VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarian) which I so desperately wanted, granting my wish of a vaginal delivery without episiotomy (which I kept praying for as well) and allowing me to breastfeed Isabel after birth as well.

And for those who are preparing for birth, here are some of the things that I did to prepare myself for birth:

1. Exercise - Towards the 9th month, I'd walk a couple of kilometres (almost) every day to ensure that my body is in optimum condition. Exercising not only helps during birth (we need our muscles to push), but also helps us to recover faster. Other than walking, in the final month, I did squats 100 times a day and also kegel exercises to ensure that my pelvic muscles are strong.

2. Educate myself - I have attended a hypnobirthing class before with Sister Nadine Ghows, and proceeded with a short refresher with Cikgu Chris in December. This really helped me to practice deep breathing (during the initial Braxton Hicks and in between contractions). The visualisation technique from the class also helped and without it, I do think I would be in a different state during birth.

3. Make dua'a - I made a LOT of dua'as during my pregnancy and even the night before delivery. I am a firm believer that Allah will grant you what you ask for (unless it is not the best for you, of course) and Alhamdulillah, I got what I asked for and more.

4. Perineal Massage - Unfortunately I did not do this enough. I only managed to attempt a perineal massage a couple of times before delivery. I personally think that if done consistently, you could avoid (or minimise) the tear in your perineum during delivery.

5. Aromatherapy oils - I am extremely grateful to Cikgu Chris for providing me with aromatherapy oils a couple of weeks before the delivery. I used them everyday and I do think they helped to quicken the labor as well as help me to be in a calmer state of mind during delivery.

6. Proper diet - I read somewhere that pregnant women who eat (at least six) dates everyday have shorter labor than those who didn't. So I included dates in my daily breakfast and although I am not sure how short is a short labour, mine was a little over 3 hours so to me I suppose the dates did help.

And that is my birth story with Raden Isabel Asiya. Those who would like to know more about hypnobirthing, you can check out Nadine's class at Gentle Beginnings (click here) or Cikgu Chris's class at Borneo Bellies, Birth and Babies (click here). Inshaa Allah once I have the time, I'll update my review on giving birth at SGH soon (I hope).

xoxo Mrs Fashionista