Do you only have yourself?

I had this thought when I came home from work today – do you have just ONE person whom you can really, truly, fully fall back to?

Or, do you only have yourself?

Honestly, I am not sure if I have one person whom I can fully rely on, whom I can really entrust my life to, whom I know is able to support me if I fall down so low. But I don’t know if that’s because I “really” don’t have such a person in my life OR if it’s just my nature that have high benchmarks to meet (read: it’s just me).

And what got me thinking is really when I come across people who can feel truly comfortable to say “luckily I have my parents to fall back to”… or “luckily I have my husband to fall back to”… or “luckily I have my siblings to fall back to” because I never quite felt that way. They’re amazing people in my life but I never felt like I can be okay to try out something totally new with vague successful outcomes or feel like it’s okay to fail in something because I have this or that person to support me.

So the big question is: is that a sad thing? Is that a sad life to have? Or a depressing sort of thinking?

Should we be able to depend on another being?

I left the Blue Bank


I haven’t written in ages, and it’s taken me over a year to write that I’ve since left the Blue Bank. Honestly it wasn’t a particularly difficult decision despite not having any push factor to move. Back in the Blue Bank, I had an amazing team and although I’ve gone through different departments and bosses, I’ve never really had a bad team nor a terrible boss. It was a chill working environment despite having our checklists like mountains around us.

Looking back, after I graduated with my Master’s Degree, I actually did NOT really know what I wanted to do so whenever I talk to interns nowadays who seem so firm and confident on what they’ll do post graduation, I actually look up to them! And because I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, I let the wind take me. I applied everywhere across different industries BUT within 5km radius of my house because the commute outside of KL CBD area would have tortured me so much. Perhaps much more than the job itself!

I joined RHB as a Management Trainee and at that point, the programme was under the purview of the Chief Strategy Officer – who has also left the bank and went on to become a CEO of a bank in Myanmar – and they only took 5 people on board with me being the only girl. I remember the crazy rounds of interviews… they were so taxing that I almost did not go to the 4th interview but I’m glad I did.

I started off joining the Investor Relations department where I managed to work closely on a day-to-day basis with the Group CFO who was also my official mentor (every MA used to get their own C-suite mentor) throughout my tenure with RHB. But 2 months into my job, RHB announced the potential merger with CIMB and all IR activities were halted.

Then came the exciting part – I was flown to our Bangkok’s office with 24-hour notice and it was a great roller-coaster journey since then with me serving the Bangkok’s office for the next 8 months. I made so many great Thai friends whom I’ll keep to my dying day and although it was a demanding tenure in that office, I cried so much when it ended.

I was then asked to return to KL office for 2 months and I continued to serve the Group Financial Reporting team where I played a part in coming up with the accounts of the entire bank. As we had to do accounts closing, we even got our own rooms to sleep in office – crazy what mid 20s allowed anyone to do even with 3 hours of sleep everyday!! I wish I can turn back time and appreciate my youth more.

In March 2018, I was then flown to our Singapore office and I finally started doing the other side of IR that I had wanted to do – as a sell-side research analyst. I served at the RHB Research Institute Singapore where I covered real estate and consumer stocks listed on the Singapore Exchange working alongside super great colleagues and reputable economists. It may look like a bubble, but I had renewed optimism on Singaporeans (lol) and working with them wasn’t as bad as people tend to generalise them to be!

My mum passed away in October 2018 and I returned to KL since then to be with family and joined the Asset Management office in KL to be a buy-side analyst and remained there until I left the bank. RHBAM was a family. Industry players even labelled us as the “Disneyland” seeing the way we worked.

It was all my luck and privilege.

Your son is not perfect.

Granted, you could argue that I’m not a mother and I may fail to share the same sentiment. And you may be right; maybe one day I will become that type of mother (whom I think is delusional, may I add) but I do want to caveat that deep inside, I don’t think I’ll be genuine about that feeling because it’s illogical.

This post came after numerous incidents whereby people I know (including family members) have had/have beef with their mothers-in-law and they all typically narrow down to two simple reasons: (1) their MILs think their sons are oh-so-perfect; and (2) that the sons deserve much better.

My initial reaction is this: why did you even marry off your son(s) in the first place with the wrong mindset that these guys are perfect? It may be bitter to swallow but your sons are never perfect, similar with the way your daughters are not.

In modern days, wives now have to work too and it’s more common to have a dual-income households than the other way around. Bottomline isn’t about the wives really wanting a career, but most of the times, the income from the husband alone isn’t sufficient to support the family. So if your son isn’t even capable to bring enough money to the table, why do you think he’s perfect? He’s failed Requirement #1.

To an extent, I do believe religion is an important aspect in a marriage. So much so that I think it’s vital to marry someone who shares the same values as you – not necessarily same religion/beliefs – but they have to at least uphold the same values which you deem important. In Islam however, we see a lot of Muslim men who pick-and-choose in practicing the religion to the point that they’d pick a hadis to say hey, nafkah is just to provide you with 2 pieces of new clothings every year (lol) and then tell you that you’d have to contribute to pay the house’s bills because he’s in the red every month. Baffles me! So mothers, aren’t your sons pathetic to live off their wives’ money while riding on the religion card? Now your sons have failed Requirement #2 – the religion test.

As a mother, if you expect your daughter-in-law to clean the house, cook for your son, service him with sex every alternate days, greet you good morning and good night daily, does his laundry complete with folding and ironing and oh my god, this list goes on… please just pay RM18,000 to your nearest maid agency and get your son a Philippines maid. Or Indonesian. Whichever floats your boat, really.

As a fellow woman, it’s utterly disgraceful and embarrassing that these old mothers were once young girls like us. Sometimes I do want to give them the benefit of the doubt – maybe they were hurt along the way, maybe they’re sick in the head – I don’t know?? But your life compass has malfunctioned, aunties. Please get a new one.

Your son is not perfect.

Say thank you that someone actually CHOSE to give up their Single status on an official paper to start a new chapter with your son.

KTAs from the pandemic

It is out of this world, and in fact, it still feels surreal that we’re living through a pandemic called Covid-19, and we’ve done so for the past (almost) two years at the point of writing. We’ve all probably read about a few pandemics that happened in history – the Black Death, the Great Plague of London and the American Polio Epidemic – but the fact that we’re living through the worst pandemic in modern world is crazy.

But some KTAs!

#1 – As humans, we’re quick to adapt to changes IF we want to.

Can you guys imagine a life full of roadblocks with curfews and total travel limitations? We can do it if we want. We all stayed at home and spend the most time with our families or alone (if you’re unfortunate) in our lives ever. We all stopped going to offices and work from home – for ONCE and for REAL. About April 2020, the whole world was facing shortage of YOGA MATS because people were so bored that they succumbed to exercising voluntarily. TikTok had its overnight fame and people were raving about DALGONA.

Point: We can change and do anything so quickly if we want to.

#2 – In the interest of the ‘E’ in ESG, we reduced global carbon footprint just by working from home

Especially in Asia, WFH seemed farfetched even in February 2020, but everything flipped within a month. In the past almost two years, WFH has worked and people haven’t just worked MORE, but most have worked more efficiently. We didn’t need to drive out to face 2 hours of traffic back and forth every weekday and that 2 hours were optimised better be it on work or on our own well-being.

But will employers continue this adoption or will they care more about making sense of their office space rents that they’re enforcing employees to return to office?

Government has a say – if they want to step in.

#3 – Many marriages didn’t survive the pandemic

And that is sad. When couples say their vows, they always say they’d live together, forever, in sickness and in health. But truth is, many couldn’t survive being (stuck) at home 24/7 with their spouses to the point that they filed for divorce.

I enjoyed all the time I had spent with Ashraf at home, but I don’t think he enjoyed it as much as I did. Ha ha ha. But thankfully, we had a house big enough for each of us to have our own space to work from – which I admit, isn’t something many of us have so that must have helped a lot.

#4 – This Red Book meant nothing

Malaysian passport - Wikipedia

In fact, many lodged police reports to say they’ve misplaced their passports or just totally forgot where they put it! Almost no one had the liberty to fly around the world. Even if you had all the money in the world, or all the access to private transports, most places/countries wouldn’t happily accept just anybody unless truly necessary. Heck, the Australian government closed their borders to THEIR OWN PEOPLE so many Australians were just stuck overseas for months.

#5 – We live in such a globalised and borderless world, that other country’s problems tend to become ours too.

In late 2019, I remember booking our winter trip to Seoul and there were talks on this new virus in China. Honestly no one really cared mainly because we thought (1) it was just China’s problem; and (2) how bad can it be? But this virus has been shiz contagious and has taken millions of lives, not to mention having destroyed the livelihoods of billions others. In fact, when I was in Bangkok in January 2020, it was still “China’s problem”, though, there were worries that Thailand had already recorded 15 cases. In today’s statistics, if a country records just 15 new daily cases, Covid-19 is as good as dead in that country!

Are we still stuck?

I’m dead sure that all of us have felt ‘stuck’ at some point in our lives. At least, I know the people who potentially landed themselves on this post would be “adult enough” to have felt that at least a few times. You could feel stuck in a relationship, or in a job, in a situation, at a place… anything, really.

And it could well be the worst feeling because feeling stuck means there are very little actions that you can do that would help you move… that would give you a breather.

Imagine feeling stuck in a marriage. This person was someone you married to, and unlike dating, it’s not that easy to leave a marriage and even worse (or not, however you’d like to translate it), if you’ve children together.

Or being stuck on a job that you hate just because it pays you good money and you simply need it.

Or being trapped in between your two parents.

I don’t know the point that I’m trying to make here. But perhaps, it’s because I know each of us has felt stuck before and we thought there’s no way out because we refuse to make that difficult decision and acknowledge the elephant in the room. And to this point, we have a lot to learn from children despite the lack of maturity. Their decision-making process is fairly straight-forward: it’s always to attain happiness.

And I hate this life.

Are tangible things important to you, too?

I’ve been losing my mind in the past two days trying to find a single photo. It was a photo that Ashraf and I took together when we visited the London National History Museum on 27 March 2013. I could find other photos but just not the particular photo that both of us took together. It honestly has been bugging my mind till 1am – that was only because Ashraf forced me to let go, sleep and just continue to find it the next day.

I’ve searched through my Gmail, my Yahoomail but failed to find anything on my older Ymail because Yahoo apparently wipes out your mailbox if you don’t log in within a year. Do you guys know that? My old iPhone is dead and I’ve no idea why photos on my iCloud only go back to 2016. My blog… well… we know the story.

I love taking photos and videos. I tend to want to have tangible memories to hold on to and just can’t seem to relate with people who believe all it matters is the fact that one remembers the memories in their hearts and minds.

And this is why penning down my thoughts and uploading photos are important to me. Sure I still remember the photo, but will I still in 30 years’ time? 😭

You never really know your partner, until you marry him/her

How many times have we heard the above all our lives? In fact, I’ve heard it in all sorts of varying versions! But the underlying message remains:

“People change”

I dated for 7 years before I got married to my husband; and in that period of time, we had broken up more than the number of fingers and toes we have put together. Now that I think back, I wonder where both of us got the energy from because having been married for almost 2 years now, I just roll my eyes and walk to the kitchen whenever I get annoyed unless it’s a really big argument. Otherwise, I console myself with food or just watch K-dramas. I have insufficient level of energy to stand up and argue all night long the way the feisty me did in my teens.

Hence, true as the elders say. People change, and you never really know your partner until you marry him. Speaking from my infancy course of marriage, my husband changed after marrying me, and he has been the more patient one – and I will reiterate this; patience is *almost* everything in sustaining a marriage. He apologises first most of the times, cooks for me, helps out with chores when he comes back from work and most importantly, he feeds me. Ha ha ha.

I honestly thank my lucky stars every day, even in my heart. And from this point onwards, I hope my husband would only change for the better, and we are thankful everyday for having granted a rather peaceful relationship only filled with silly arguments like him mocking me on how unbelievably absurd my knowledge on animals is and how bad he is at Maths. And thankfulness is a key value, because only when you are thankful… you will be rewarded with more.

I love you.

Start again

How sad is it to find out that your entire 11 years of blog posts were wiped out?
I loved writing, despite losing my mojo every now and then… I always turn back to writing. I think I was particularly sad about losing my posts because I had written all about the transition of my life from Form 5… to leaving for London for college, through changing my undergraduate degree from Pharmacy to doing Finance and then wrapping my 7-year life in London with my Political Economy master’s degree… to working… to being engaged… to getting married. More importantly, all of my travel posts over the years.

And so here we go.

I’m starting again.