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Who can say ‘No’ to this?

There is something so addictive about chocolate. There’s this constant, overwhelming urge or need for the next piece, the next bite, the next time. And the feeling only gets worse every time you succumb to this addiction – always even more powerful, often leaving you powerless.

It’s like you have a self-control of a two year old at best.

Is it the same with cigarettes, drugs and alcohol?

Or worse than Facebook, iThings and social media?

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Little Souls

I’m not a morning person at all (Is anyone?) but I decided to steer away from my habitual sleep-ins for a great cause. My friend’s mum runs Little Souls, a not-for-profit early intervention and childcare centre for kids with autism aged two to six. Admittedly, I had no idea what it would be like to observe ABA therapists in action but having an insatiable curiosity for new experiences, the only way to silence the inquisitive mind is to dive into the unknown.

“She used to chew the mouse,” said Maria, an energetic ABA therapist.

I watched closely as Maddie clicked away and stared at the screen with much anticipation, each puzzle piece emerging to reveal an animal. This is a task designed to develop fine motor skills, something a typically developing children would learn by themselves. Just because it’s not cancer or leukemia doesn’t mean it’s any less detrimental to the young person and even more so to their families.

When we were heading out to the corridor, I listened as she tried her best to say “Open”. Suddenly, she reminded me of Maggie, a gorgeous little girl whom I met at the centre two years ago. Maggie had difficulty in speaking but she repeated every word her therapist said with so much enthusiasm that I was left in awe. Beware; her chubby cheeks and adorable curls might fool you into thinking that she is as delicate and soft as a feather… but she possesses the kind of fighting spirit and determination that is rare for one so young.

You can imagine my surprise, well you can’t imagine the look on my face, when I was told that Maggie could now speak and understand three languages at 6 years old.

Maggie’s story is truly inspiring and eye opening and it also offers hope to kids like Maddie. The amount of progress in two years is simply astonishing.

Being there, seeing and hearing everything first-hand is at once incredibly humbling and compelling. The awe-inspiring kids and staff bursting with energy and warmth define a fun, positive learning environment. I can’t help but ask myself: What are you afraid of? If Maggie can overcome such hurdles at a very young age and people tirelessly working together actually make a difference in their lives, why can’t you do the same? Why can’t we do the same?

For all we know, Maggie could be the next best simultaneous interpreter at the UN. The sky is the limit for our little souls!

“What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”

Moments

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Do you remember the last time you said “I love you, Mom/Mama/Mommy”? The recent bombings in Boston and Iraq has reminded me of an often disregarded fact.

Anything can happen. To you, to me, to everybody.

Don’t wait ’til it’s too late.

People-watching really pays off. Sometimes it’s good to stop and forget whatever it is that’s happening in your life. When you open your eyes a little wider and listen more carefully, maybe you can realise that there are signs everywhere. The answers are there, just waiting to be uncovered.

Bollywood

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There was a guy bad-mouthing and disturbing passengers waiting for the train. He finally hopped on the train and left us in peace.

“It was an interesting episode though, right?”

“Ah well, you know it’s like Bollywood, really. All genres rolled into one, every night.”

I laughed with this security officer. He’s firm but kind and very apologetic about the whole incident.

“Don’t worry, there’s cameras around 24/7, even hidden ones. So even if you think no one is watching, now you know there’s eyes everywhere.”

“Oh that’s very reassuring. Thank you. I was really scared. Can’t you call the cops?”

“I was just waiting and waiting, there’s other people watching so I’m not the only one making the call.”

“Ah right.”

“You don’t worry about people who talk, worry about those who don’t say a thing. You never know what they’re thinking or what they’re gonna do next.”

“Oh thanks for that, I’ll definitely keep that in mind.”

Modern Women are Super

Revenge, Scandal, Suits, Grey’s Anatomy and Ugly Betty – love them or hate them, they all have something in common.

Female characters in these TV shows embody different nuances of a modern woman and that’s a good great thing.

If someone steals the one person you love, Emily Thorne a.k.a. Amanda Clarke shows that if justice isn’t served, you can serve it yourself with a nice little cherry on top – revenge. This feisty young woman enacts intricate plans but revenge at its finest  is best served with torture, some blood and lots of cold bodies.  After all, every woman should have at least an ounce of deviousness running through her blood!

Caught in a scandal? Got a problem no one can solve? Except of course, Olivia Pope. Fear not, Liv’s army of gladiators will come to the rescue and show up at your doorstep or rather, sneak in through the backdoor at the wee-hours of the night just to make sure you’re taken care of. Whether it be a murder, an ex-husband, a dark past or a murderer ex-husband with a dark past, or if you want to be the leader of a great (crumbling) nation, then infamous fixer Olivia Pope will rise above the challenge and turn everything to her client’s advantage. Her ingenious tactics will amaze you without a doubt.

Jessica Pearson: the name and face of a top-tier law firm in New York, the managing partner. Despite his arrogance, Harvey is on Jessica’s leash and she doesn’t have to do anything dramatic to keep him there. Men in suits are next to nothing because a couple of wise words does the trick and Jessica reminds us that you don’t always need to get your hands dirty to get what you want. A firm voice and effortless charm can take over the world because victory is sweeter when you jump past a couple of hurdles.

Despite of daddy issues, mummy issues and all sorts of other issues, Meredith Grey remains adamant in her belief that nothing is black or white, even if her gorgeous McDreamy husband thinks so. She counts on her intuition over logic and most of the time, to do the right thing is to ignore what you think is right. Besides, if we always do what we’re supposed to do and what society deems right, are we ever going to be happy?

No one can be more focused and driven than Grey’s Anatomy‘s Christina Yang. This super workaholic, no babies type of woman realises that there is no need for marriage, you should simply follow your instincts and do what feels right – even if it means divorcing your husband and being his girlfriend again. To some people, marriage sounds like a happily ever-after storybook but for some, it’s more toxic and exhausting than having a successful career and twelve kids running around the house.

Betty Suarez, oh where do we start? The poncho on her first day, the endless public humiliation and oh, the bushy eyebrows… I can go on and on but those things do not say a thing about the character and integrity of Daniel Meade’s lovely editorial assistant. If anything, it only makes you wonder why the fashion world is so messed up. Betty’s strength, resilience and compassion make her stand out from a sea of skin and bone creatures with judging eyes, those obsessed in all that is physical and suffice to say, trivial. “If you truly want it, it’s worth fighting for.” Isn’t that enough to prove how inspiring this woman is… and that she is anything but Ugly Betty?

Did I mention each character also has a great sense of humour and their witty remarks are more effective than any other sword or weapon?

Who’s your favourite modern woman in television?

Published on http://socialjournalism.com.au/tvs-modern-women-are-super/

The Perks of Being 18 (That’s a lie)

I think I’m having an early-life crisis. Okay, maybe it’s just one of the countless teenage crises that I’ll have to experience. I thought it would be nice to turn 18 and legally drink (lots) but no. Not at all. Before you stop reading, consider the possibility that this article may bring back memories of your childhood or teenage years – the formative years. The triumphs (very few) and struggles (way too many to mention) of an adult-in training.

Becoming an adult (in training) has only made me more confused, angry and desperate for some kind of direction. Just tell me what to do and I’ll do it! Oh my manners – please? Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way. The only method is trial and error and that’s pathetic but true. I’m actually getting old. In two years, I’ll be 20. I would have lived two decades. How crazy is that? If you’re a much older person than I am, I bet you’re going to say something like: Well, how about me? How do you think I feel about myself?

To be honest, my mind is so consumed by doubts and worries that I am just stuck being indecisive. When do I ask for work experience? I’m in my first semester of my first year, is this too early or maybe my initiative and enthusiasm might actually result into something good? Do I tutor kids so I could get some money? But maybe I’ll be a terrible tutor and I won’t make a difference, perhaps make them worse than what they already are. Do I apply for hospitality jobs? I am too clumsy and such a slow-poke. Do I apply for retail jobs? They look for experience. God damn it, I just want to write and maybe proofread. I write decent pieces but I can’t even write a great cover letter that will actually get me an interview. Or maybe I’m just not trying hard enough. Maybe all this indecision should be decisions made, goals pursued and action taken.

I have my own news story, media conference story and group assessment throughout the remaining time for this semester. My three essays are due in one day – the last week of the semester. How will I ever get things done? I’m only doing three subjects and currently unemployed and I’m here writing in a blog that nobody reads. Now, that’s something isn’t? I’m crazy. I’m a lost soul and I know it. In saying that though, I’m not here to get some pity or expecting someone to hold my hand and tell me everything is going to be okay.

I write to express myself. It’s cathartic. I feel in control. I feel like I have some sort of a powerful weapon that nobody can take away from me. It’s not elastic or made of metal or a wand or a web. It’s an idea, a thought, an incredible sensation that I can only feel when I’m here – writing.

Alive. That’s how it makes me feel. And somehow quite vulnerable and invincible. Now those two words don’t go together. But in choosing and replacing words, writing and re-writing words… it almost seem like an infinite puzzle. There’s the rush of emotions and adrenaline running through your blood, forcing you to somehow make a decision. And when you’ve finally given up in the idea of ever finding the right word, there’s the light bulb moment or Oprah’s “Aha Moment”. There’s a moment of clarity. Everything makes sense. No one can see it coming together or expects the image to emerge like the way it did. Nobody thinks it makes sense but for you – the writer, it does.

When your fingers touch the paper and see a bunch of letters that make sense to you, you feel like you won something. World Championships. You beat Usain Bolt. Or Lance Armstrong (without taking drugs).

And you can take a deep breath, ready for the paparazzi and interviewers. Plus, it keeps you sane. Writing does.

What are you passionate about? What makes you not want to be indecisive?

Published on http://socialjournalism.com.au/the-perks-of-being-18-thats-a-lie/