Movie Review: ‘Lars and the Real Girl’ (and comparison with ‘Her’)

This won’t be a long review and neither would it be a spoiler for you. (That rhymes!) Just a quick mention of this movie since I watched it yesterday and absolutely LOVED it!

Synopsis of Lars and the Real Girl:

The film follows Lars (Gosling), a sweet yet quirky, socially inept young man, who develops a romantic relationship with an anatomically correctsex doll, a “RealDoll” named Bianca, and the story of how his older brother (Schneider), his brother’s wife (Mortimer), and the rest of the small town grow to accept and welcome Bianca into the community for Lars’s sake, not realizing that she would touch all of their lives in such a profound way. (Source)

If you’ve watched Her before, ‘Lars and the Real Girl’ has a similar theme.

With ‘Her’, I felt a deep connection. I suppose it’s because growing up and not be a social butterfly other than with my own school friends prompted me to depend on the Internet for friends. I have found many friends online, very close friends. We would talk for hours, days, months, years and even develop deep emotional feelings for one another. However, distance made things impossible to pretty much do everything, anything.


‘Her’ explains the frustration of this inability to do things, physically anyway, with those whom you have connected with so much. It explores how one would  eventually have no choice but to live with it – or attempt to.

‘Lars and the Real Girl’ however pose a different concept of looking deeply into mental illness and how one projects themselves onto an object – in this case, a sex doll – and injected life to this doll that is not only believable to him but those around him too. The doll is a mere extension of him; an escape, if you may.

What I absolutely love about ‘Lars and the Real Girl’ is the fact that the movie has done a great job in investing its time to really make viewers understand the relationship between Gosling’s character, the doll and loved ones around him. Different from ‘Her’, ‘Lars and the Real Girl’ did not touch on anything sexual despite the doll’s main role as a sex toy, but in fact, portrayed it as being part of the community. By doing this, viewers then indirectly get used to the doll’s existence and thus, accept her and Lars’ relationship as being well, normal.


The movie breaks the stereotype and taboo of those with ‘interesting’ and varied fetishes and interests. Instead of focusing on the community being all weirded out by Lars, the movie brings viewers into Lars’ live and see things through Lars’ eyes.

Movie rating: 5/5

(Highest rating because I love indie movies and Ryan Gosling’s performance is amazing!)


5 things to expect after leaving university

I left university June of this year. That was probably about 4 months ago, but who’s counting? Ever since leaving school, I have experienced a lot of things from school withdrawal syndrome to post-uni life crisis where I can’t really figure out what’s the next step.

So if you’ve just finished school or are finishing school, this post is for you (to sort of let you know that you are not alone!).

1. Realizing you’re still ‘on holiday’ while everyone’s back in school

Nearing the end of your final semester, you will feel excited for what’s next and happy that you will never look at another assignment or test paper ever again. When the new semester starts however and everyone starts posting pictures of them in school, complaining about assignments and exams and finally, posting pictures of their final days in school, you will start to feel completely left out.

You start to miss your time being in class; all the fun conversations and debates that you had, ahh those times. You try to engage in similar conversations that you had in your class with your parents and friends, but it’s not the same. You realize that everything will be the same in school even when you’re not around and that pretty much sucks.

2. Visiting school and feeling excited about meeting friends.

After weeks or months of not going to school, you finally decided to visit. You said hi to friends that you barely say hi to, only to have them look at you weird. Then you wonder to yourself, “Did they not know that I left school? Well, this is awkward.”

You go to the same place that you and your friends go to every lunch time only to find out that they moved to a new spot with new friends. Things feel weird, you feel weird.

Occasionally, you do bump into friends that you haven’t met for ages and who were once very close to you and always, their first question would be, “What are you doing here? Haven’t you graduated already?” To which you respond with a smile and some witty comeback.

3. The big old question of “What’s next?”

Many of us have figured out to do next in our lives. If you are one of those few people, good on you! To those who haven’t and are slowly panicking as the pressures of answering questions such as “Are you working now? Oh, why not?” slowly get to you, know that you’re not alone.

You’d imagine that you figure things out by now, and you haven’t yet. However, let’s be honest here. Deep down, you are waiting for your big break, we all are. You want to be careful with your job choice, you want your first major job after university to be THE job for you for the rest of your lives or perhaps, be the right job for you to land your next job.

However, slowly but surely, reality will start kicking in and you realize that you can’t sit around any more. You need to take charge or you’d be too comfortable not doing anything and the next thing you know, friends will look at you weird and you’d be depressed seeing your other friends scoring some big gigs and doing some massive things and here you are, waiting for that big break.

Half a year, one year or 10 years from now, you’d be looking back and thinking to yourself, if only I did that small internship gig at that place, at least that could help catapult me to my next job.

You need to start moving now, honey.

4. Being jealous of your friends

Friends who have pretty much figured everything or have pushed themselves out there are great inspiration to motivate you. But sometimes, not all of us are motivated enough to push ourselves or perhaps, there may be things holding us back to reaching our dreams.

As in the meantime, as they go about doing their adult jobs, you are stuck at home spending countless hours catching up with your favourite TV shows or scrolling through Facebook and Instagram. You get jealous looking at how successful your friends are and how they have figured things out for themselves. You are happy for them, but are jealous that they are bold enough to take control.

However, don’t let the successes of your friends depress you, be happy for them and let them be your inspiration. Sometimes things go to you at a slower pace and that’s okay. But for now, why not throw yourself out there more? Do something about it. Take control of your life and your successes.

5. Figuring out about who you are and what you want to achieve in life.

I think the most exciting yet scary part about leaving university is figuring out who you are and what you want to achieve in your life. We all want the best in our lives so choosing the right path is crucial as it would determine your future.

I guess the best thing to remember is that you are not alone in this and that many others before you had been through it. If you ever feel that you need a little guiding, then talk to friends, colleagues or family who have been through it before. Ask them for some advice and let that advice guide you.

Most importantly, know that things happen unexpectedly so even if you’ve created a path for yourself, know that you can alter that path. Shit happens, it always does. Don’t be afraid to take a different route if it’s a better route for you, you deserve the best :)

Good luck and congratulations!

You’re done! Let’s party!

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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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!

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.


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!


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.



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.



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.