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Posts from the Thoughts Category

imageDo you see it in a new light?

In response to Refraction, a weekly photo challenge found here.

 

Shutterbug Sheela

presite-castWe know now, of course, that it’s Amanda Valentine filling up that mysterious spot!!

Throughout its history, I’ve not once blogged about Project Runway. Not because I don’t adore the show, I’ve watched each episode of every season religiously for the past 12 years (wow, it’s been that long). I simply feel there are already so many bloggers covering the show (and doing it brilliantly, might I add) that I don’t fancy being a teeny, nondescript drop in the ocean. However, the recent fiasco surrounding Korina Emmerich’s departure from Season 13 has kicked the rock under which I’d been happily living and prompted me into hitching a ride on the bandwagon.

Losing graciously.

Does the spirit of sportsmanship truly exist? Or is it simply an act put on for show by those who fail to win the coveted top prize? Saying the right words, outwardly demonstrating politically correct expressions while boiling on the inside? Throwing tantrums and mentally yelling, “It’s not fair! It’s not fair! IT’S NOT FAIR!!”

 

{  Win With Class, Lose With Dignity  }

 

Let’s talk a little about sportsmanship. What it entails. Theoretically, it is the demonstration of fairness, self-control, courage and persistence. Treating others with respect and professional courtesy. A good winner does not gloat; a sporting loser concedes defeat graciously. Conversely, a bad winner openly rubs his victory in his opponent’s face whereas a sore loser does not take defeat with class, and (generally) acts out in some fashion to express disappointment.

Was it fair to crucify Korina for expressing what most of us would more than likely feel and think were we in the same boat? Was it truly because of what she said or simply because (‘fess up) Korina has made it a little difficult for us to like her? Let’s face it, she’s bitchy and has been trash talking the other contestants from day one, but that’s hardly virgin territory for the reality show, now well into its 13th instalment. And while we’re being honest, I do feel that Mean-a Nina Garcia had it in for Korina from the very beginning because she wasn’t afraid to defend her designs, to speak her mind.

Given the premise upon which the competition was taped – minimal sleep, maximum stress, living and working arrangements that weren’t conducive – given all that, I feel certain even Mother Teresa would’ve turned into quite the shrew.

From a purely creative standpoint, I concur that Ms Glover is nowhere near Korina’s calibre although she was decidedly nicer which made it all that much easier for most of us to be in Camp Char. That said, being Miss Congeniality should have nothing to do with one’s longevity in a competition like Project Runway wherein talent (supposedly) rules. And while I adore Tim Gunn and live for the day when he becomes my Fairy Godmother, I’m shocked to see the level of preferential treatment extended towards Char – not only did he use the coveted Tim Gunn Save on her (a total waste, it should’ve gone to Emily Payne), he saved her again when it came to the Find Your Street Muse Challenge. Do the words, “Let’s give Char ten extra minutes” ring any bells? That would make us seethe too if we were in a competition with her.

korina(L to R – Char, Korina) Placed side by side, it’s clear who the more talented of the two is.

At this point, I feel compelled to put something on record about designers who are bestowed the Tim Gunn Save. Remember Justin LeBlanc of the Foaming Vagina Dress fame?

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Justin and his losing look

Does anyone else detect a pattern here? That the producers wished to avoid, at all costs, eliminating and sending home a designer who’d been given the Tim Gunn Save? That they would do whatever was necessary to help the designer make it to Fashion Week? The very same thing happened with Justin LeBlanc. When it came to Korina, post show editing ensured that we, the viewers, weren’t privy to everything that was said (I’m confident there were some words exchanged, or implied, to the effect of openly questioning the judges’ integrity). That left us with footage showcasing Korina in the harshest light possible, verbally assaulting Char, and being an all around bitch. In reality, she was struggling to come to terms with the fact that Project Runway wasn’t really all about talent. And that must have been a very bitter pill to swallow.

As it is for me, an aficionado, who used to believe in the integrity of the show and its judging process.

I’d love to know your thoughts on the entire debacle.

 

Love, Sheela

It’s October and so much of the year has already gone by. Too many wasted moments. Too many dashes out of the door. Too many hugs not given. Too many words left unspoken. And far too many special moments that should have been savoured, I’ve let slip by.

So here’s what I’m doing right here, right now.

I’m setting aside time to be thankful.

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I am thankful for still having a head of hair. After over two years of fighting elevated IGEs of close to 5,200 wherein Prednisone was my only friend, I’ve lost almost half of my hair. And what’s left is incredibly weak. But I am thankful. *

I am thankful to live in a country wherein the freedom to be Catholic exists. Not all of us are as blessed. Being from a Muslim country, I have sadly borne witness to this on a personal level, numerous times.

I am thankful for the kisses my daughter gives me each morning before she heads off to boot camp aka high school. I dread the day when university beckons, and I am no longer able to reach out, hug her, tell her I love her. Be physically there for her.

I am thankful to have been nurtured in an environment wherein hugs and physical demonstrations of love were always encouraged.

In turn, I am able to pass that on to my family.

I am thankful for my first job abroad. Alone for the very time in my life, with very little money, there were days when dinner was a slice of  bread and nothing more. That time changed me. It made me street smart. It made strong.

I am thankful for being afraid every now and again. Fear forces me to look within myself. To understand what’s going on. Why I acted the way I did. And come out of it, aware. Without fear, I would never venture beyond self-imposed boundaries.

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I am thankful for all the horrid and not so nice people whom I have met. Because of the way you talk, act, and think, I know exactly what sort of person I do not ever want to be.

I am thankful for each and every single dysfunctional relationship in my past. Without experiencing them then, I would never have learned to recognise the glint of real gold today. I would still be placing superficiality and material things on a pedestal.

I am so thankful for my husband.

He is the crunch to my bacon.

He is the sweet to my Milo.

He is my everything.

I am thankful for today.

I am thankful for being alive.

I am thankful for being me.

 

What are you thankful for?

Love, Sheela

* In August 2012, I was diagnosed with a condition wherein my body believes it’s under siege all the time and retaliates by over-producing histamine. That, in turn, leads to rash all over my body, including my face. Many nights I sleep with ice packs. In addition to chronic oral medication, I’m also currently undergoing Xolair injections fortnightly to try and temper the situation. For a while, the therapy worked but lately, it appears to have lost efficacy, so I’m investigating further options. Wish me luck :)

I’ve been living under a rock, apparently, because last I heard of the matter, Paris Hilton was (the only one) splurging on her pet pooches. 300sq feet of space modeled after her own pad. Double story. Chandelier. $325,000. Small change for the crazy heiress.paris_1_352629k

It was a big rock.

A quick rummage through the web pulled choices running the gamut from The Colonial ($6,100 and fully equipped with climate control facilities, no less) to The Hacienda ($30,000 featuring running water, lights and air-conditioning). And we’re only talking about houses. Let’s take a quick look around at some of the most ridiculously exorbitant (and useless) things available for pets. Read on and join me in jaw-gaping disbelief.

Makers of the $725 Mink Fur Dog Coat, Harman and Rose drew more than just a few eyebrows when they launched the splurge item last year. Perhaps now they’ve come to realise that dogs do come with fur because I was no longer able to locate the Mink version on their website but instead found this much more practical option on offer.

And then there’s the Versace Barocco Pet Bowl. $754. Emm, I doubt any starved pet, pampered or street-smart, would give a hoot. More malarky here.

On the other end of the pet spectrum, lovers of felines and feline fashion are more than likely waiting with bated breath for Choupette, the Karl Lagerfeld line of wearables inspired by his own wee fluffball. main.original2

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But, you know, Meow Meow Land would be incomplete without rouge. Mais oui. Or paupières. Or crème for a satiny smooth paw finish. In comes La maison de Shupette from Shu Uemura (with packaging featuring Lagerfeld’s drawings of his cat), scheduled to debut in 10 days and counting.

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It does appear that societal obsession with pets and pampering them (beyond rational thought) is no fleeting trend.  I admit; I’m flabbergasted. When did we go from caring for the old and needy and young to this?

When did the day arrive when caring for the old, the homeless, the needy, the dying children, the ones in soup kitchens become overshadowed by stupid, extravagant purchases for PETS? That makes no sense whatsoever. And it leaves me feeling disturbed, it does.

What are your thoughts on this madness?

 

Love, Sheela

shutterstock_184732583Nine years ago, I received news that my Dad had suffered a cardiac arrest and needed a bypass. Or was it a stem implant. I don’t know. The details are fuzzy. My hands were shaking and I was at a complete loss. To fully appreciate the situation, you have to understand that this information was relayed via text and I was living in another country. I was also in a media van, chaperoning a client to the local telly station for an early morning business talkshow interview. Icing on the cake? The text ended with these words, “Just letting you know, don’t worry.”

It was 6.35 in the morning.

In retrospect, I now see that my mum was attempting to downplay the situation so I wouldn’t freak out but the way she broke the news to me? I went into hyperventilate mode instantly. I almost had a heart attack then and there. Pun fully intended. That night, we took the evening flight back home to see my Dad. After thoroughly smothering him with hugs and love, I realised the man was a cardiovascular catastrophe just waiting to happen. He ate unhealthily. He no longer worked out. He’d become so terribly sedentary, it was shameful (I love you, Dad). I mean, this was a man who trained in Silat (Malay Martial Arts) and emulated Bruce Lee right down to, yes, Jeet Kun Do. This was the man who would weigh his meals (typically raw eggs with tuna flakes) and who used to do countless chin-ups just for the fun of it.

Thus began the mission to saving Mr Goh.

I have to give props to my Mum here. She did everything in her capacity to nurse him back to health. From cooking healthy meals and shushing him whenever he protested that they tasted bland to, as the weeks passed, dragging him out of bed in the morning for what would become their daily routine of park walk/jog sessions followed by a nice, light breakfast.

Almost a decade later, my Dad is healthy and happy. He no longer evokes palpitations of fear in me :) he’s come a long way and that’s pretty cool.

So, Dad, have a heart and keep taking care of your heart so we can have you around for as long as possible to love you? So you can witness how your only grandchild is growing into a strong, confident, beautiful person. So you can continue to be there for your son and your daughter who have never ever stopped respecting your thoughts and your opinions. So you can continue to say, “Night, Ling” to your wife every single night, as you have been doing for the past 44 years.

Because, you know, we kinda love you.

 

Love, your princess

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{ illustration courtesy of Matt Golding }

Alright, the opinions you are about to read are mine and mine alone. You might resonate with some, you might not at all. I really don’t care but I care more about writing how I feel. If nothing else, what Emma Watson said at the recent UN Launch of HeForShe has taught me to speak out and aloud. To voice my thoughts.

Earlier this week, the world went gaga over Emma’s speech on gender equality. This came in the wake of her appointment as the UN Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women. Her impassioned words called for men to openly and actively champion the equal rights cause, and help in advocating women’s rights. I came away with a newly-attained awareness of how men too are suffering from gender inequality. Her precise words were, “We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are, and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence.”

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“I’ve seen men fragile and insecure by what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality, either. We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are.”

Fact is, I’ve never quite thought of it that way.

It is somewhat sombre to note that even as women fight obstacles in their way to achieving what would typically be qualified (by society, no less) as being a man’s thing, by the same token, there are equally as many stereotypes when it comes to what men can say or do or choose as careers. This_is_so_true. And quite likely due to the fact that, for the most part, history records gender movements as being initiated and swayed towards the female of the species. Think the Industrial Revolution and the championing of equal wages for women in the workforce. Think Mrs Banks and her pro-suffrage protest song. A second wave of feminism arose in the 1960s, with an emphasis on unity and sisterhood; seminal figures included Betty Friedan and Germaine Greer. And there’s National Women’s Equality Day which has been celebrated on 26th August since 1971.

Masculinism (usually uncountable, plural masculinisms)

  1. An ideology of masculinity; especially, an ideology opposed to, or opposed by, feminism.

And despite all that has been achieved to date, why has the spotlight shone significantly lesser on the other spectrum of gender inequality? For the men? The men’s liberation movement developed in the early 1970s among heterosexual, middle-class men in Britain and North America as a response to the cultural changes of the 1960s and 1970s. Jack Sawyer published an article titled “On Male Liberation” in Liberation journal in autumn of 1970, in which he discussed the negative effects of stereotypes of male sex roles. 1971 saw the birth of men’s discussion groups across the United States, as well as the formation by Warren Farrell (recognised as one of the most important figures in the modern men’s movement) of the National Task Force on the Masculine Mystique within the National Organization for Women.

There’s International Men’s Day on 19th November, an occasion inaugurated a scant 15 years ago in 1999. There’s Glenn Sacks, an American men’s and fathers’ issues columnist and media spokesperson. And there’s Robert Bly, activist and leader of the mythopoetic men’s movement. I reiterate the fact that despite all that appears to have been accomplished, masculinism does not appear to have neither garnered as much media/communal support nor progress.

That said, to propose that the breaking down of barriers holding men captive within societal prisons will naturally lead to change for women as a downstream consequence is, well, idealist?

I leave you with this quote which, to me, sums it up picture perfectly.

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Please, share your thoughts with me.

 

Love, Sheela

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Let’s start the weekend off with this brilliant piece of advice from Mary Oliver, shall we?

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Do you ever feel intimidated to write something based on a theme?  That despite not feeling the topic, you’re supposed to create something because the empire of bloggers has decreed it as the IT subject of the moment?

Truth be told, I have a new found respect for consistent bloggers and the art of blog continuity. By that I do not mean those of us with entourages and support teams. I mean those of us who are, simultaneously, blogger, photographer, developer, promoter extraordinare, full-time employee, parent, you know who you are. How many times have we sat with our hands poised over the keyboard, running thoughts through our minds and just as the words begin to flow, something happens. Distractions. Duties. Demands. So yes if you’ve been blogging on a regular basis, I am in awe.

It’s not easy.

Take this post for instance. It’s taken me 3 months to finish. You read right, three months, to complete it into the piece you’re now reading. As I type that, there’s this huge goofy grin plastered all over my face. Goofy peppered with more than just a hint of embarrassment :) it is what it is.  Taking the time to think and then verbalise those thoughts into words is_so_hard. Especially when your only free moments happen in between running the dishwasher and taking laundry out of the dryer.

But but but I’ve decided to pen it here because if it’s out there for the world to see, I have to make good on my word, yes?

So here it is – from hereon, I baptise Tuesdays as Truth Tuesdays. The day when I can talk about anything I want, from the heart, full tilt truth. I commit commit COMMIT to, if nothing else, blogging once a week, every Tuesday like clockwork.

What about you?  Are there any blog post promises you’ve made but have yet to keep?

Tell the truth now.

 

xo Sheela xo

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“I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner…I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.”

Midweek dose of sage.

I can finally lay claim to having my Botox Cherry popped and quite recently too. No, not for the reason very likely flashing across your brain just about now :)

When I was 19, my then boyfriend and I were involved in a serious accident.  We were on his Scrambler bike turning right when a car rammed into us.  I literally flew about 20 feet and landed with my head hitting the curb.  To this day, I’m thankful for what seemed to be a splurge prior to the accident ~ $500 crash helmets.  That saved my life.  I suffered a broken wrist, a chunk of flesh scraped off my right shin (gross, I know) and a dent on the back of my skull.  It’s the latter which proved to be the catalyst for my Chronic Migraine.  Although, at the time, I simply chalked it down to really bad headaches.  Afterall, it was 1992 in Sarawak and medical facilities were, let’s say, wanting.

A month ago, my Ophthalmologist (bless you, Dr Pham) referred me to a Neurologist because uniformed prints were starting to hurt me.  As in physically hurt my eyes to the point of kickstarting a migraine.  I was seeing halos around just about everything.  And then there were those Migraine Storms, horrid bouts of pain which attacked at ferocious speed, leaving me (temporarily) blind in one eye.

I’d tried just about every medication under the sun. Read popping as many as 20 Ibuprofens at a time, to no avail.  So when my Neurologist, Dr Woon, told me that I qualified for Botox as Migraine Therapy, I was eager to try it, raring to go.  I mean, I’ve reached the stage wherein it isn’t so much as whether I have a migraine today as it is when was the last time I didn’t have a migraine.  Also, a girlfriend in Dallas had been on Botox treatments for close to a year now and the frequency of her migraine attacks had dropped drastically from twice a week to once every month, less at times.

Botox Migraine Therapy

It’s been just shy of a week since my virgin round of injections and from what Dr Woon’s told me, it’s way too soon to tell.  That it takes at least a full week for the Botox to kick in.  I can’t wait.  It’s been so long since I’ve had a migraine free day that I can’t even remember how it feels to not have my head pound anymore :) I’ll keep you posted.

 

Love, SG

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