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An Imagined Reality – #7 Tears, The Proof

To see one’s tears flowing freely is often an indication of seeing one being overwhelmed by blanketing sorrow and rolling sadness, a moment very much in the present yet sourced from either the fears of the past or the terrors of tomorrow. In the rare exception of seeing tears on the notions of glee and happiness, the qualities of a tear remain no different from that which stems from being sad. Rather, tears are most definitely assumed to be because of an episode of great sadness that manifests itself on the scratches of one’s reality. How wrong the perception of tears can be in our eyes. How superficial of us to assume and underestimate the value of tears.

While the pursuit of happiness is by no means wrong, it should not be the utmost priority to chase after. Often do I see smiles, laughter, giggles and grins that amount to nothing more than a brilliant thespian putting up a magnificent facade to fool themselves and the rest of the scenery that they are happy. The mark of a great liar is one who can lie to himself. And to myself, hypocrisy at its best. But I do not wish to be fooled. I seek not the enticement of artificiality. I seek only the wonders of an emotion rooted in sincerity, an emotion worth trusting. With that, I find myself relying on the honesty of tears.

You see comedies churned out onto screens at an industrial rate. Gags and jokes replicated, often ignoring the peripheries of originality. You hear laughter thrown about carelessly, without an extra thought or reason to do so. I find myself wondering of these bouts of happiness occurring at such random yet regular moments of a day, how many of them are true? It is far too easy to turn up a frown. An ease that I have little faith in. It is not that I do not wish to be happy. I simply find doubt as to what I am truly happy about. The integrity of a smile is often compromised by a void of intentions to be happy for. Instead, I admire the sincerity of tears now that are difficult to replicate or sustain.

As great as it is to laugh and be merry, to cry and shed tears is a mark that you have yet to desensitize yourself into needing to manufacture happiness in your everyday, to blindly pursue that brief grain of joy at the expense of what may really be important to one’s existence. Tears are simply a proof that you are indeed still human who lives with purpose. For only with purpose would there be hopes to pine for and expectations to grasp.  All part of a being that is complex on so many levels yet simple in its entirety. The genuineness of tears remain an aspect of human emotion that I find impossible to replicate yet it takes only the slightest of triggers to invoke streams from the depths of one’s emotions. Memories of yesterday coupled with the struggles of today and the doubts of tomorrow are excellent brewers of tears. Yet, these are the very essence of a person’s soul. With no hardship to bear, there would be no relief to savour, no joy to behold. Tears are simply evidence of the human in our struggles, an illustration of disappointment of reality. An honest interpretation of our thoughts to ourselves.

And from it all, I find solace and sanctuary in knowing that beneath the layers of one’s persona, such a pure form of emotion still resides and emerges from time to time for the viewing of the public. It reassures me that I have yet to sell the honesty of my emotions for the pursuit of what is not necessarily real. Perhaps the next time I shed tears, I will remember to appreciate them in a different light. Not only to be reminded of how human it is to experience sadness but to be reassured that I can still be honest to myself through genuine emotions.


Precise yet unpredictable. Confident yet insecure. Self-doubting yet self-assured. Dickson lives in a constant paradox, finding both comfort and torment within his thoughts. 

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LetGo

Letting go issues.

I have a hard time of letting go strangers, especially strangers that I find extremely interesting and those that I click well with. I never know whether it’s a good or bad thing really, to ask for their contact details as we say our goodbyes. Who knows, we might end up being the best of friends?

I often question myself, “Would it be weird if I asked for their Facebook profiles? I barely know them, would they want me in their friend list? Would I want them in mine?”

When we do add each other on Facebook, nothing happens. An occasional hello is customary for the first few weeks or months, but that’s about it. One, two years down, we would have become strangers. It would be a lot harder now to rekindle our friendship then. In fact, a simple out of the blue hello is mistaken for a deed in need.

Because of this (and as bitter as this sounds), I choose to not take things ever so personally. Everyone I meet, though however brief but rich our experience was with each other, I make it a point to not pursue a potential friendship. “It’s not important,” I thought to myself. “You may think it’s important now, but it’s not in the future,” And that is, unfortunately, often true. Unless of course you know that that person would elevate your career somehow, then by all means…

(Side note: Isn’t it sad that a potential friendship is measured by who we add on our social media sites? Facebook do not and must not dictate the status of our friendship based on if that person is in our friend list or not, but unfortunately, they sort of kind of do. Ok well, not really but we can be very desperate and petty. “PLEASE ADD ME, I WANT TO BE YOUR FRIEND!” – desperate much?)

It’s the same with friends whom I think I would be upset to lose but I won’t, eventually. The unfortunate thing is of course, knowing that friends come and go and they often do. The beauty behind it however that as old friends go, new friends enter. There were so many times where I became terrified of the thought of a close friend leaving me physically and emotionally, perhaps they go back to their countries and I will be forever without them, but eventually things became easier to cope.

“At least there’s Facebook to keep in touch with,” I’d tell myself.

So things aren’t as scary as they used be any more, I guess. I let go easily now and I also don’t force people to ‘be with me’ if they don’t want to.

I meet people, I greet them and I walk away. Sometimes if I’m lucky, I meet someone that I really click with and we exchange contacts and end up meeting each other a few times, sincerely enjoying each other’s company.

Now, that’s a good and healthy stranger-friendship!

Long house in Sarawak Cultural Village

Traveling while broke: A guide to surviving and saving up for your travels

I am not an avid traveler, but I do travel. In fact, I make it a point to travel to somewhere near once a year, or more if my bank account allows me to. But for now, once a year is good.

2013 marked the beginning of my ‘once a year’ travel promise that I made to myself. I started at Laos with a budget of RM600 for my whole 5 days, 4 nights trip. Then in 2014, it was Manila, Philippines with a budget of RM300 (just because I callously did not bank out money for my trip and it just so happens that ALL the ATMs in the airport was down prior to my flight :/) for 4 days, 3 nights.

So, how did I manage to travel (and survive) on such tight budget?

1. Be realistic

Choose countries that you know you can afford. As much as we would like to travel to another continent all together, sometimes, our monthly income or savings do not permit us to do so, especially if you have plans to travel within the year. If you don’t mind being patient and save up for a few years in order for you to travel, then that’s awesome! But if you are someone like me who is impatiently and always ready for an adventure wherever that adventure maybe but know very well that you can’t afford some of the countries you had in mind, don’t let that put you down. Choose another country that is very much affordable for you and make a point to visit them.

I use to think that countries in South East Asia are the same as that of Malaysia. We are neighbours after all, what difference would it make anyway? But boy, was I wrong! My first trip to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam made all the difference!

A typical street in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Exploring Vang Vieng, Laos.

Admiring this beautiful mural in Bonifacio Global City located in Manila, Philippines.

Admiring this beautiful mural in Bonifacio Global City located in Manila, Philippines.

Sometimes, visiting a country in your own continent is not that bad at all! You learn a lot and get to experience a lot too! My friend Alvin and his sister, Audrey, spent three weeks backpacking in Indochina and they had great fun! I would love to do that too one of these days! Fingers cross!

Why not go a step further and travel in your own country! Go do normal touristy things or go for an international festival that is hosted in your own country! That’s always fun!

Christ Church, Melaka

Christ Church, Melaka

Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) in Kuching, Sarawak

Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) in Kuching, Sarawak

Long house in Sarawak Cultural Village

Long house in Sarawak Cultural Village

Going crazy during RWMF 2012!

Going crazy during RWMF 2012!

Visiting Ipoh, Perak for the first time!

Visiting Ipoh, Perak for the first time!

2. Change your lifestyle

Want to save money for your travels but don’t know how? Easy, change your lifestyle. I heard a friend said once and this is me putting what she said in my own words,

“People who travel a lot aren’t well off, they just have different priorities. While you spend on things like clothes and fancy eats, they save up for their next trip.”

I think this is pretty self explanatory.

3. Backpack!

Backpacking is definitely the way to travel, especially if you’re still young and capable to do just that! I have saved a TON of money by backpacking; staying in dorms or cheap (but safe) hotels with shared bathroom and toilets. I don’t need the luxury when I travel, what I need is the experience of the travel!

Dorm room in a B&B in Kuching, Sarawak which cost about RM20 per night!

My dorm room in an all-female dormitory mended by a Russian family located in Piccadilly Circus, London.

Best part about backpacking is that you get to meet new lifelong friends who you can share travel stories and experiences with! I made so much friends from backpacking, it’s insane! We still keep in touch via Facebook!

Friends from Argentina that we met on our way to Vang Vieng!

Friends from Argentina that we met on our way to Vang Vieng!

I met Cassie together with her mom and brother while having breakfast in my dorm in Kuching.

I met Cassie together with her mom and brother while having breakfast in my dorm in Kuching.

New German friends I made during RWMF who happens to be traveling around before starting school again.

New German friends I made during RWMF who happens to be traveling around before starting school again.

Swedish singer-songwriter who was a few beds away from my in my London dorm.

Swedish singer-songwriter who was a few beds away from my in my London dorm.

Keyword here ladies and gentlemen, BACKPACK!

4. Be one of the locals!

Another way to enjoy your travel is by learning more about the place that you are traveling in. This does not only include going to the museums but also actually be one of the locals by indulging in as much culture as you can while saving some money doing just that!

Food is definitely the best way to get to know a country. Opt for street food instead of your normal fast food joint. Come on, you can get McDonalds back home, why travel all the way to a new country and try out the same thing?

Street foods are not only cheap, but very yummy too! If you have a sensitive tummy, then come prepared. Have your medication with you at all time and most importantly, choose clean eateries to eat in. Be careful on where and what type of food you consume, you don’t want to spend the rest of your trip being sick! In saying this however, street foods are a definite must in any country you visit!

Manila street food is a definite must try! SUPER YUMMY!

Manila street food is a definite must try! SUPER YUMMY!

More street foods near a playground overlooking the Mekong River @ Vientienne, Laos.

More street foods near a playground overlooking the Mekong River @ Vientienne, Laos.

Rachel with her dish (basically vegetable with rice) from one of the many local street restaurants that we visited while in Vientienne, Laos.

Rachel with her dish (basically vegetable with rice) from one of the many local street restaurants that we visited while in Vientienne.

While walking around Vientienne (Laos), we spotted this little restaurant where factory workers go for lunch. They serve really yummy noodle soup there and super cheap too!

While walking around Vientienne, we spotted this little restaurant where factory workers go for lunch. They serve really yummy noodle soup there and super cheap too!

Banana pancake topped with chocolate? Yes please! We had this in Vang Vieng and it was delicious! It cost less than $1!

Banana pancake topped with chocolate? Yes please! We had this in Vang Vieng and it was delicious! It cost less than $1!

Beer Lao anyone? I had this while enjoying the sunset over the Mekong River!

Beer Lao anyone? I had this while enjoying the sunset over the Mekong River!

Then there’s the public transport. When we were in Manila, we took the jeepney everywhere we go. It was our number one go-to travel ride as taxi were expensive. Plus, we did a whole lot of walking while we’re there so comfy shoes is a number one priority while traveling!

Jeepney is common in Manila. I love how they collect the fare. You basically just pass the fare from one person to another until it reaches that driver, it's fantastic!

Jeepney is common in Manila. I love how they collect the fare. You basically just pass the fare from one person to another until it reaches that driver, it’s fantastic!

Our time in Manila was mainly of us walking about from one point to another. We walked a lot, A LOT. Here we are walking about in the old city of Intramuros in Manila, Philippines.

Our time in Manila was mainly of us walking about from one point to another. We walked a lot, A LOT. Here we are walking about in the old city of Intramuros in Manila, Philippines.

Another example of a jeepney (thought they don't call it that) that we took in Laos. Most of the time, we depended on tuk tuk to travel about, except for this one which looked like another version of the Philippines' jeepney.

Another example of a jeepney (thought they don’t call it that) that we took in Laos. Most of the time, we depended on tuk tuk to travel about, except for this one which looked like another version of the Philippines’ jeepney.

Bonus tip: Travel for free! (Well, kinda!)

In 2010, I got a chance of a lifetime to travel to England to attend the Young Women World Forum under the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). Not only was I given the chance to meet inspiring young women my own age from various parts of the world, but I also got to travel to England, which was pretty darn awesome!

As much as I had the doors opened for me, I knew I had to have a little push to get the funds in. I had to work extra hard to earn the trust and respect of people who eventually was kind enough to donate and sponsor for my trip. If you want kind help, you need to work for it! I was super glad I was able to go in the end and represented Malaysia (and Sabah!) internationally!

With participants from Korea, Singapore and Malta during the Young Women World Conference in Oxfordshire, England.

With participants from Korea, Singapore and Malta during the Young Women World Conference in Oxfordshire, England.

With participants from the Philippines, exploring London.

With participants from the Philippines, exploring London.

There are many similar programs, forums or conferences that you can join that enables you to travel to different parts of the world for free or at a minimal cost. I know a friend spent her whole secondary school and university by attending different forums and conferences to not only travel, but also filling up her resume with all these wonderful and rich experiences.

Example of programs include the Mosaic International Leadership Programme (which unfortunately just ended), 2015 Community Solutions Program under the US Embassy (closing date for application is 27th Oct), AFS Program, YES Program (for 15 – 18 year olds) and many more!

Many of these programs are either fully or partially paid for one way or another. Please check each individual programs for full details. There are many other programs that are similar to these too, Google them!

Best yet, why not travel with your school? I know that many colleges and universities offer cultural exchange-type trips for students. In fact, I will be going to Makassar and Toraja this November for a study trip under my university!

Monash University Malaysia students who went for the 'In Search of Iloilo City' trip last year. (Picture courtesy of their blog; In Search of Iloilo City)

Monash University Malaysia students who went for the ‘In Search of Iloilo City’ trip last year. (Picture courtesy of their blog; In Search of Iloilo City)

So the quote, “Where there is a will, there is a way” may just ring true for many of us.

Good luck and happy traveling!

Review: Cabrine Solibun Art

Three months ago, Cabrine Solibun Art (Instagram: @misscabrine) celebrated their 1st year anniversary and as a treat to their legion of fans (over 5k of them to be exact!), they organized an Instagram-wide competition.

I’ve been a great fan of theirs ever since they started and have been following closely (though quietly) at their progress as one of Kota Kinabalu’s up and coming make-up artist to watch out for. What started with just Cabrine alone, slowly expanded to a team of three with Claire and Jacinta coming on board.

Not wanting to miss this wonderful opportunity to score some free and exclusive ‘me time’, I decided to give the competition a try.

Caption, wishes and slogan-type competitions are a bit tricky as you never knew what the organizers are looking for, so you got to think outside of the box. I figured, I should take a different spin to my ‘wish’. Perhaps, I should write a poem! Rhyming is fun and I’m good at that, I thought. Also, instead of only praising the team and giving them well wishes, why not I talk about their services and what they have achieved in the past year, it is after all, their one year anniversary and their achievements should definitely be highlighted and celebrated!

So, of I go. I sat in the dining table with my trusty pen and paper and rhymed. Finally, I got it.

The content of the poem was not hard to cough out because as an avid fan, I naturally know what their services are. What was hard was rhyming it and of course, the dreaded wait for the reveal of the winner.

A month later, it was time for the big reveal and to be honest, I was excited! I knew I had it in the bag. It’s a poem! It’s something different, even if I didn’t win, I should at least get a mention! Funny thing was that when the day finally came, I completely forgot about it! It wasn’t until a friend tagged me and wrote, “Congratulations Jasmine!” that I knew what she meant! I was in the car when I saw that comment and quickly checked Instagram and there it was, a video by them revealing the winner and my face was plastered all over it! I squealed in excitement and proceeded to replay the 15-second video over and over again. I couldn’t believe my eyes!

I texted Cabrine Solibun Art and informed them of my existence (and excitement). A date was set.

30th September 2014, 11am. 

And so I waited. Patiently.

The excitement built up tremendously, especially on the night before the appointment. I couldn’t contain myself and told my mom about it. To my dismay, 30th September was not a Monday (as I thought my appointment was on a Monday), it’s actually a Tuesday. I got so excited that I got my dates mixed up! Annoyed, I had to contain my excitement for yet another day.

FINALLY, TUESDAY! The real appointment date.

I reached the studio (it was a home-based studio which was a blessing as parking was a breeze!) 10 minutes earlier. I texted them to say I just reached and they replied back inviting me in. The moment I reached the door, it opened up and there was Claire. She invited me in and I saw Cabrine and Jacinta behind the counter. “Ahh these faces! I see them all the time on Instagram! They are Instagram celebrities!” I thought to myself.

They had me settled in and offered me tea as I sit on a plush red cushioned sofa decorated with various patterned cushions. They introduced themselves and congratulated me on winning. I felt awkward at first, being surrounded by strangers whom I had stalked on Instagram and here they are in person, and here I am, in their much raved-about studio! It was weird but very exciting! But as the tea sinked in, I finally got to relax a bit. I think that’s why spas and massage parlours offer you tea – to relax you. Well, that helped heaps!

Claire walked me through what we are going to do that afternoon. 5-hours of pampering was no joke, it’s tough work! The pampering session included spa, massage, facial and kudou (‘eyebrow’ in Kadazan) makeover; I can never get tired of these! I was told to take off all my accessories; my gold earrings, watch, jade bracelet and nose stud. The nose stud was the hardest to take out as it was a screwed-in type of stud and it has been there since the day I put it in – about 3 years ago! Cabrine explained to me that they will be using a high frequency machine during facial later on which negatively reacts to metal.

Firstly, SPA.

I shall give you a minute to soak in this picture and the fact that I had this all to myself for a good 20 minutes AFTER a great body scrub to exfoliate the dead skin cells on my body.

The body whole body exfoliate was done by my junior from primary school (PRIMARY SCHOOL, can you imagine!), Jacinta, who shared the same namesake as my sister. She has grown up to be such a lovely and beautiful young lady and I’m glad to meet her again after all these years. We never really talked when we were in school (I don’t think any of us were capable to have a decent conversation on life at just 12) but knew of each other’s existence, so it was so weird to have met again and now she’s touching my body. It’s like, “Hi, how are you! Oh okay, you will see me half naked, cool. Haha!

The body scrub was lovely! I enjoyed it and she did such a good job making my skin baby smooth again!

The dimly-lit spa room is filled with soft relaxing music and decorated with huge mirrors and flickering candles to provide its clients with a sense of luxury and relaxation. The beauty consultants make it a point to be silent as they massage their clients so that they can relax, but would not hesitate to talk to them if clients were to engage in a conversation, which was what I did.

I decided to break the silence by chatting with Cinta. She was extremely friendly and fun to talk to, which relaxed me a whole lot (as I am not really used to massages and spas and would naturally get awkward with people touching me).

After the whole body exfoliate, the massage bed was lifted up, exposing a bathtub right underneath it! I got excited when I saw rose petals in the water and they were beautiful! I carefully went into the bathtub and was pleased that the water temperature was perfect; not too cold or warm. They then left me alone for a good 20-minutes so that I could relax.

Note to curvy girls: Be prepared to have a back up plan the moment you get in to the bathtub as ‘islands’ start to form; a.k.a. boobs and belly (neither of which will be covered). So what do you do to cover them? In my case, I got creative with the flower petals and concealed some parts of my body just in case they would come in and check on me. Hehehehe.

Close enough.

Sure enough, Claire went in a few minutes later. Instead of coming in to check on me, she poured milk on me! Claire! What, why?!

I was not as calm as this lady, all I had in my mind was, “OMG! All that milk going to waste!”

However, don’t let her milk pouring moment confuse you, this is purely for beauty purposes and so in the name of beauty, I shall willingly sacrifice. Hehehehe. Milk spa, I was told, nourishes the skin making it smooth and glowy. I ain’t complaining!

After being left for a few minutes again (20 minutes in total in the bathtub), Claire and Cabrine came into the room and adviced me to take a shower. I excitedly told them that I got creative with my petals and put it to full use. Giggles ensued.

After a quick shower, I was presented with warm water. Paranoid of them waiting for me, I quickly gulped the water. “Palan-palan bah. No rush.” One of them said and I did. Noob mistake, I thought on my end. Pfft.

Next, MASSAGE.

Cabrine brought me to the massage space just outside the spa. I was told to lie on my chest whilest putting my head in the hole on the bed. “Ahhh… This looks familiar,” I told myself; an avid massage goer.  They covered me with comfy thick blankets which made me feel right at home. After some boob positioning and readjustments, a must so that I don’t squash myself to death, the massage began.

The massage was foreign to me. After being so used to oil-based massages, this dry and pressing-type massage was completely new! I learned later that the massage was a combination of Swedish massage (head to toe, full body relaxing massage) and pressure point massage where different pressure points on the body are pressed. The whole idea behind the massage is to basically to release stress and relax the body.

The massage was my favourite one of all because I was feeling really relaxed and rejuvenated, I loved it! During the massaging session, I got to know that it was Cabrine who massaged me; the lady who started it all!

Being a huge fan of Cabrine Solibun Art and someone who is often inspired by young female entrepreneurs, I thought that it was be wonderful to have a chat with her; asking her about how it all started as she massages me. Haha!

It was during secondary school that Cabrine’s talent for make-up was noticed as she was constantly called to put make-up for the choir and drama team of her school. It wasn’t until finishing school that she decided to take up Beauty Therapy in the prestigious Australian College of Beauty Therapy.

She said that although many would associate her as a make-up artist, make-up was only a unit she studied in college and that it is beauty therapy that became her main course. However, one cannot deny however that her talents in make-up is just as amazing!

After graduating from college, she came back to Sabah to set up her own make-up artist business where she goes house to house, or events to events or have her customers come to her own house. Her mom then suggested to convert the lower part of their house as Cabrine’s very own home studio. After practically building and renovating her studio by herself with the help of her supportive friends, Cabrine Solibun Art was finally born as of July 2013!

You should have seen this place in the beginning, it was empty! I bought everything one by one,” She says proudly.

After a fun chat with her, it was on to the next session, FACIAL.

The facial was also definitely one of my favourite too and it is part of the Pamper Me Facial package. It was Claire who did my facial and I have to be honest, I tend to get all panicked whenever people get so close to my face. However, I was a little bit more calm and relaxed in Claire’s hands – Claire, I was told, had more than 10 years of experience in the industry! I like that their facial was not just about putting different types of products on your face – good products too, mind you! – but they also massage your face. Just like my body, the face massage was also an ode to pressure points and relaxation and boy, was that squeeze and tap good!

At one point of the massage, my throat started acting out and I had to cough. I told Claire that and she quickly rubbed the gel off my face and offered me a cup of warm water which helped a lot! I was pleased and touched that she was concerned with my discomfort and was willing to stop half way to accommodate to me. That’s a 5 star service right there!

The facial was followed by extraction of white heads, black heads and oil seeds before heading for the high frequency service which basically uses a machine to sooth skin after the extraction and helps to heal pimples faster. After a quick but lovely neck massage, I was given the eye paraffin wax treatment which helps to increase blood circulation around the eyes and reduce eye puffiness. As they left me alone for a good few minutes to let the wax to sink in, I dozed off.

I was gently awaken by Claire as she wipes off the wax and mask off my skin and Cabrine as she massages the body butter onto my body as a finishing touch to the massage. The body butter is used to hydrate and nourish the skin.

Next, Kudou makeover!

The Kudou makeover table with hot wax in that metal thingy majig!

‘Kudou’ means brows in Kadazan language and Cabrine Solibun Art’s Kudou makeover is definitely a much raved-about service!

Visit their Facebook or Instagram (@misscabrine) for more pictures!

Visit their Facebook or Instagram (@misscabrine) for more pictures! (p.s.: This is not me, it’s just an example of one of their many fantastic job!)

Cabrine personally believe that thick brows are the way to go nowadays. “It (thick eyebrows) makes you look and feel younger than the thin ones. Over plucking of brows is a major no-no,” Cabrine adviced.

I had the brow wax service. It was my first time to have a wax (of any kind) before and I didn’t know what to expect. Cabrine told me it feels like a cellophane tape being ripped off of your skin and it did feel like that, to be honest! The pain is extremely bearable, though you could potentially be shocked for the first few times. If you have experienced tweezing or better yet, threading, then waxing would be nothing in comparison.

She then taught me how to fill in my brows which I thought was extremely helpful as I suck at drawing my brows. And then, it was done!!

Kudou makeover pain scale: 0.5 over 5! (the pain was barely there!)

Finally, FREEBIES!

The ending of my Kudou makeover marks the end of my 5-hour spa, massage, facial and brow treatment. And just when I thought I was told to go about my merry way, I was presented with a big red bag of goodies!

*SQUEELS!*

In it were some of the most raved about products on their site; the Kudou potion and Cabrine’s new business venture, I Heart Makeup’s famous Red Cherry fake lashes. I was overjoyed! I have always seen these being promoted on their Instagram and Facebook pages, but I didn’t know they would actually give me one!

Needless to say, I was a very VERY happy girl.


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OVERALL EXPERIENCE

Home-based services whether spas, massages, wedding houses etc have a bad reputation of being unprofessional and ‘normal’ – that there is nothing special about it. Unfortunately in Sabah, this form of service are very new and thus, are often questioned by many clients of their level of quality and professionalism.

I was however, beyond pleased with the services, quality, level of professionalism and attention that the ladies of Cabrine Solibun Art have given to me during my session with them. They were very quick to reply to all of my Whatsapp messages (seeing that they have over 5k likes on Instagram, I’d imagine that they’d be busy!) and was always available to answer all of my questions that I throw at them, even the silly ones. (Sorry, ladies!)

They go all out to ensure that I have the best experience with them, in terms of comfort and quality. The one thing that I noticed and appreciate very much was the level of noise in the studio to which they keep at the most minimal as possible by talking softly to each other as to not disrupt my relaxing session. Mind you, I was not a paying customer and that my session was a gift, but still, my every comfort and well-being was well taken cared off by these wonderful ladies. In fact, they even SHUT DOWN their whole studio for the entire time I was there so that I would not get interrupted during my session! If that’s not flattering, I don’t know what is!

Cabrine Solibun Art definitely exceeded my expectation. It is one thing to create an image for yourself online (on Facebook and Instagram for example) as a young, fresh and fun team that provides amazing services to your customers but it’s another to really upheld and practice what you preach!

Me with the ladies of Cabrine Solibun Art; Claire, Jacinta and Cabrine!

Overall, YES, I really enjoyed my session with them. YES, I would come back again especially for the Kudou makeover, I love that one! And a big fat YES, YOU SHOULD COME AND VISIT THEM TOO!

Location: Easy to find with map provided (though being familiar with the area helps a lot too) /ample parking spaces / a distance away from KK but very near to Donggongon.

Studio: Small yet homey / not as intimidating as many other professional spas or studios out there.

Beauty consultants: Friendly, kind, patient, mindful and sincere / ensure clients are comfortable and relaxed at all times / always willing to answer and inquiries that clients have/ not intimidating

Suggested services to try out: Kudou makeover and Pamper Me Facial (unfortunately, the Swedish massage is only available for their bridal spa package and not for individuals). Also, try out their make-up services for your events!

Overall rating: 10/10 (This rating is only for spa, massage, facial and kudou makeover)

The ladies of Cabrine Solibun Art; Claire, Cabrine and Jacinta.

THANK YOU LADIES FOR THE WONDERFUL EXPERIENCE AND CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR 1ST ANNIVERSARY AND MANY MORE TO COME!!

XOXO

A rare movie review: ‘The Giver’

Metacritic gave it a score of 47% while Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 33%.

I however… Well, let’s just say I was left there in the theatre, stunned, unable to move, my thumb and index finger touching my pursed lips. I was in awe at just what I watched.

Those scores were a sham, I thought to myself. SHAM! However, I told myself, “To each is their own”. I for one, LOVED IT.

When the credits were rolling, I was still digesting what I just watched. It was hard to digest a movie like this. It wasn’t a blockbuster movie; there were no explosions nor sex, no sexy or hot actors and actresses, rather, it was a movie that requires you to open your mind up and think; to step back for awhile and re-look at the world around you and the society you are a part of.

The Wikipedia page of ‘The Giver’ stated that the movie is a “social science fiction” and social science fiction, Wikipedia stated (though kids, do not quote Wikipedia in your essays, blogs are still okay):

Social Science fiction is a subgenre of science fiction, usually soft science fiction, concerned less with technology and space opera and more with speculation about human society. In other words, it “absorbs and discusses anthropology”, and speculates about human behavior and interactions.

There, ‘anthropology’. There!

And suddenly, it all makes sense. Anthropology, the study of societies, of people. That was what I learned in university and have been ever so passionate about. No wonder I feel strongly about the movie; from the beginning until the end. My passion for learning about people and societies left a big mark on me during the movie and more so now.

I love how they incorporate real (and staged) videos of societies. I love that. The emotions that they talked about, the HUMAN emotions. Those, those I like. I especially like the part where he ‘saw’ strength, prior to continuing his journey to Elsewhere. That was my favourite. I guess these videos of societies and emotions made The Giver different from other dystopian teen movies.

Many of the critics say that the plot for The Giver is just like any other dystopian teen movies such as The Hunger Games, Divergent and Ender’s Game and I have to say, I do agree with that. Even so, I feel that movie genre such as these are fairly new and I can say that I am not sick of it just yet. Anything that is different from movies which only talks of beefed up hot guys saving (and shagging) overtly sexy girl in a very sexualized and masculine movie is obviously way interesting to me.

But like I said, to each is their own!

I am waiting or another Yasmin Ahmad-type movie to come out from Malaysia and fortunately, they are booming(!) – thank you indie filmmakers! I think it’s about time we step away from funny horror movies, stories about rempits, the ‘glamorous’ lives of polygamous marriages, and about kampung women who need men to ‘straighten’ them out because they do not know any better.

Travel Photos: Dedication to my role as a Big Blog Exchange contestant!

YOU CAN STILL VOTE FOR ME WHILE THERE IS TIME AS CLOSING DATE FOR VOTING IS TODAY!

VOTE FOR ME HERE! 

As you may or may not know, I am joining a wonderful, once in a lifetime competition called the ‘Big Blog Exchange‘ where 16 bloggers from all around the world get to swap places with each other for 10 days, all paid for!

I have even written a post about my reasons to why I want to be a part of this competition which you can read HERE.

This post however will be a compilation of photos that I have taken during my travels which I wish to share it with all of you :) Hope you’ll enjoy it!

One thing I like about backpacking and staying in hostels is that I get to meet lifelong friends along the way! Rachel and I met Gime and Tamara from Argentina when we were visiting Vang Vieng and clicked instantly! – Vang Vieng, Laos (2013)

Admiring our shadows as we walked and posed on a suspension bridge. That’s me on the right, holding my hand out. – Penampang, Sabah (Malaysian Borneo)

The crowning of the new 2007 Unduk Ngadau winner, Jo-Anna Henley Rampas. Unduk Ngadau pageants feature young ladies from the various districts in Sabah, Malaysia. This pageant is to celebrate the beauty of the ladies from the 30 or so indigenous tribes in Sabah and it is a yearly event which falls during the Harvest Festival (Kaamatan Festival) on 30th and 31st August.

My collection of postcards which I have collected over the years. To date, I have about 300 or so postcards from various parts of the world; either bought by me during my travels or given by friends and family who traveled overseas.

Zen-ing out in Hyde Park back in 2009. I was fortunate enough to attend an international conference in Oxfordshire and decided to visit London while I’m at it. – London, United Kingdom (2010)

Enjoying the sunset by the Mekong River after an evening of enjoying street foods and exploring historical Vientiane! – Vientiane, Laos (2013)

Goofing around in Kellie’s Castle! – Perak (2012)

A regular view from a coffee shop in Ipoh, Perak. This is an old coffee shop, we were told. Probably since the 60’s! (Though, please correct me if I’m wrong!) – Ipoh, Perak (2012)

Locals are definitely the best tour guides to have! This is my classmate Wei Chien and her dad who were incredibly hospitable during my friend, Jayson and my stay in Ipoh. Both father and daughter were born and raised in Ipoh all their lives. Here they are saying goodbye to us as we board our train back to KL. – Ipoh, Perak (2012)

A monk seen on the streets of Vientiane waiting to for the light to change so that he can cross the road. – Vientiane, Laos (2013)

Me posing in front of one of the cool traditional houses (which also happens to be the place where I stayed for 2 nights!) in the Sarawak Cultural Village during the 2012 Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) in Sarawak! I had such a fun time when I was there and I even blogged about it! Read about my post here! – Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo (2012)

My guide during my travels in Laos. It was such a helpful book and one that practically every tourists have on their hands as they visit Laos! LOL! Here I am posing while waiting for my food to arrive! – Vientiane, Laos (2013)

When in Penang, hunt for Ernest Zacharevic’s famous street arts; this being the most iconic of them all – Penang, Malaysia (2013)

The best way to get to know a city is through their street food! – Manila, Philippines (2014)

A monkey who only came to me when I gave it food. Cheeky! – A’famosa Resort, Melaka (2014)

Beautiful view of the sea from a family-owned chalet in Kinarut, Sabah called ‘Seaside Travelers Inn’ – Kinarut, Sabah (Malaysian Borneo)

A clear image of the suspension bridge (picture in Image 2) with the village in the background – Penampang, Sabah (Malaysian Borneo)

A perfectly captured image of the sunset slowly setting down in between the Petronas Twin Towers. In this picture alone, you can also see another iconic tower; the KL Tower. – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (2014)

Don’t forget to VOTE FOR ME HERE! I’m counting on you to help me represent Malaysia!!

This is not your ordinary make-up post.

I love Make Up. Not because it makes me feel like a million bucks (or ringgit, if you’re into specifics) but mostly, it empowers me to seize my day.

Carpe Diem. Seize the day.

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All of us have different views on make-up. Some may say it’s necessary to look presentable, nice and approachable, less tired perhaps. Others may say that it ‘takes away’ the natural beauty of a person, making them dependent on make-up which will destroy every bit of their confidence without it.

No matter what your view is, it is hard to ignore the fact that make-up empowers its users, making them more confident of themselves than ever before, which for me is a positive thing.

I for one opt for a more natural make-up look as my day-to-day look – days when I have to meet people, not for a quick run to the kedai runcit. I’d put on minimal eyeshadows (natural tones or a faint black), just a tiny winged liner, mascara, eyebrows on and some colours on the lips.

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Make-up is meant to enhance your features, not hide it.

Sometimes, I’d go wild and put on a bright-coloured lipstick when I feel least excited about my day because I know that it’s not how I feel about myself that changes my mood, but how others feel of me upon seeing me. Somehow or rather, putting on a bright-coloured lipstick on myself changes the mood that I surround myself in. I get positive vibes from people, which in turn, made me feel positive too. It’s like one of those colour therapy thing, I think.

Granted, not many women feel the need to wear make-up all the time seeing that they could use their precious time to do other more useful things. Fair enough. Count me in. I’m not crazy about make-up, but I do love me some make-up to play with!

Plus, it saves me a WHOLE LOT OF MONEY when it comes to events.

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My make up during the masquerade ball back in college: I did this myself and saved RM50! (Bonus: That mask is only RM5.00 from Daiso!)

Did my own make-up for the character that I was playing during a musical that I performed in. I played the evil yet sexy Ursula.

Did my own make-up for the character that I was playing during my university-produced musical that I performed in. I played the evil yet sexy Ursula.

Halloween 2011.

Halloween 2011: I was a geisha with a sugar skull head. Confused much?

I read in an article once about this lady who worked from home and still put on make-up and nice clothes. It makes her feel presentable and ready to start the day, even if it was only at home. I find it extremely interesting when she said that her whole reason why she made herself look presentable is not meant for others to see, because there was nobody to ‘see’ her at home, but it is for her to feel more alive and ready for her to start her day, even if it means being at home while she’s at it.

I liked that idea a lot, however odd it may sound.

Make-up is a personal bond between you and it. It allows you to feel however you want to feel during the times you wish to feel however you would like to feel. (tongue twister much? Lol!)

I think it’s kind of like writing or blogging in general. Your need to have comments or likes should never outweigh your passion for writing, although however nice it is to have that bit of feedback.

You don’t have to have crazy skills to put make-up on yourself. Basics, is what I always tell myself. Know the basics. More importantly, actually owning some make-up would be a good start too! ;)