My article on DNA is up!

DNACheck out my latest article – Investigating Our DNA.

It’s amazing to think how much of our destiny is already pre-programmed into our genome. Someone told me once that everyone was born a blank slate, with the potential to be imprinted by the environment alone. In reality, our unique genetic makeup influences us from the beginning, from the colour of our eyes right down to our inheritable diseases. With the advances in genotyping technology, there’s also so much we can learn about our genetic ancestry. Our past, present and future are clearly impacted by many unseen factors – one of them being our genetic code. This really flies in the face of the concept that we’re all in 100% control of our lives, because really, from the minute we’re born, we’re given a set of cards that are beyond our control.It’s a reminder for me to rely on Allah because He’ll look after me, and everyone around me.

Being a Muslim Single Mum

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Check out my latest Daily Life Article: Being a Muslim Single Mum

Here’s hoping that my article will shed light on the everyday battles faced by single mums in general, and Muslim single mums, in particular. One of my close friends is a long-time convert to Islam, and she finds it really puzzling when Muslim families skirt uncomfortably around the topic of divorce, even if that’s their reality. It’s only as awkward as people make it out to be. Accepting the reality of divorce doesn’t make people more prone to it. Rather, I think that acceptance generates compassion and understanding, which is never a bad thing.

Khadijah (may Allah be pleased with her), the wife of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him), was a single mum! My seerah (Prophetic biography) teacher in Jordan taught us that in pre-Islamic Arabia, single mums were desirable because everyone knew they were fertile. Now that’s an interesting twist on single mums….

On another note, it’s a crying shame that the government has made drastic cuts to the welfare payments for single parents – single mums are the ones left with raising the kids and juggling jobs with less money coming in to help them. Isn’t the Labour government meant to help the most vulnerable segments of society?

 

 

The 25 best stories for women this year – and mine’s included!

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I’m thrilled to share that Daily Life has included my first article on their list of 25 best stories for women this year!

Working as a freelance writer isn’t easy. Anyone who tells you it’s a piece of cake is either well into the trade, or trying to sell you something. Writing for Daily Life was one of the best writing decisions I’ve made, and I’m still figuring out the right kinds of article to pitch! I’d like to thank Sarah Oakes, the Daily Life editor, as well as Candice Chung for being so encouraging and for helping me shape my articles into what they are today.

Some stories, like Clem Ford’s opinion piece on Jill Meagher and victim blaming, became national talking points. Others, including Raidah Shah Idil’s essay on what it’s like to wear a hijab, stayed with us because of their frankness and steadfast bravery.

Perhaps most importantly, each of these fresh female voices reminds us of the joy of sharing good writing. They inspired, challenged, and artfully reflected on the female condition in a way that only women could.

And another one…

What it’s really like to wear a hijab , By Raidah Shah Idil 
“I wear a hijab so when I’m in the public eye, I am unmistakably Muslim. If you look at me, you’ll see that I’m Asian. If you talk to me, you’ll see how much I love fantasy novels.” Shah Idil reminds us that the rest of the world, there are layers to her you can’t immediately see.

Thank you, Daily Life team, for brightening up my day 🙂

 

Postnatal Depression Happens To Men Too

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I recently this article on Daily Life, My husband was diagnosed with postnatal depression. I was genuinely surprised, and then realised that this makes perfect sense. The entry of a newborn baby into the lives of couple changes everything. I used to think that only mothers could get overwhelmed from the demands of a newborn, but it only makes sense that a father could be too.

I did some research, and found an article titled Fathers at risk of postnatal depression. Here’s a quote from the article:

…postnatal depression hits fathers and mothers equally in the first 12 months of a newborn’s life.

Young fathers are particularly vulnerable, with those aged under 30 facing a 40 per cent increase in the risk of developing postnatal depression compared with fathers aged over 30.

Again, the emphasis on younger parents having it tough! Hm. Food for thought. I hope that with the passage of time, there’ll be more research and advertising campaigns which highlight that fathers can suffer from postnatal depression. Talking about mental health issues makes it much easier for people to get the support that they need from healthcare providers.

The world has come a long way when it comes to recognizing that mothers do suffer from postnatal depression. The Black Dog Institute describes that one in seven mothers will suffer from postnatal depression (PND). I hope that new fathers will get similar levels of support.

If you know a loved one – male or female – who fits this description, and if you’re in a position to offer genuine advice, please encourage them to seek help.

 

 

 

Eulogy for a library & Last of The Mohicans

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I loved this piece on Daily Life, by Alecia Simmonds: Eulogy for a library.

As much as I enjoy my Kindle and the ease of accessing all kinds of books, there will always be a place in my heart for the sacred silence of a library.

In my brief time at the University of Sydney, I also have fond memories of Fisher Library. I remember borrowing an ancient copy of The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper. It felt like I was touching a piece of history – the musty tome, the yellowed pages….that book took me back to 1757, to the wildnerness that was America. I discovered that it was a very different story to the movie adaptation, but no less powerful. My favourite parts had to do with descriptions of the Native Americans, the lush descriptions of the rugged terrain, and, of course, the doomed love story between Uncas and Cora Munroe – not Alice, as seen in the movie.

Spoilers ahead!

In the book, Cora Munroe is actually not the all-white American heroine seen in the movie. Her mother is African American, and she is described as the stronger of the two sisters, compared to her waif-like sister Alice. Uncas and her fall in love, but back then, interracial marriage was a complete no-no. The solution? Killing off Uncas and Cora, so they could be together in the afterlife!

I was really shocked to read that America only legalized interracial marriage in 1967! Prior to the Loving v. Virginia case, it was literally illegal to marry someone of a different race. This boggles my mind. I’m of mixed ancestry (Malay, Indian and Chinese), and my future children will be too.

When The World Ends, NY Times Fiction Piece

799138_battle_begins_iiThe New York Times ran a great fiction piece today: When The World Ends, by Elyse Pitok.

Elyse’s piece is short and powerful, much like a punch to the gut. It really makes you think – what would happen if we were at the end of the world? All these luxuries that we take for granted will vanish. We’ll all be stripped down to the basic act of survival. How will that change you?

She very cleverly juxtaposed the protagonist having Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) with, well, the world ending. That takes mastery. One of my favourite lines:

But you realize that there is so much healing to be done, and no more. Tomorrow you will still be skinny. The next day you will still be obsessive. The day after that you will still be compulsive. No amount of therapy or medicine or patience is going to change that, but somehow you will find a way to coexist with your neuroses.

Her piece reminds me of Cormack McCarthy’s The Road, a novel which disturbed me for weeks. At this point, I wouldn’t re-read it. I have no intention to watch the movie, either. But was it a good book? Yes, so good I think it might have given me nightmares. Apocalyptic fiction is not for the faint of heart. The scary thing is that at the rate humankind is burning up resources – how far away are we from the point of no return? It’s a harrowing thought.

As one of my teachers taught me – tread lightly upon the earth. It’s the only one we have.

My First Gamer Article, Front-Page Featured on Bitmob!

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Great news! I wrote my first gamer article on Bitmob, and it got featured on the front page!

I’m so thrilled! Thank you, Layton Shumway, for featuring my article 🙂 That gives me a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling that hey, I do belong somewhere in the gaming world. And, of course, it gives me a great incentive to keep gaming and writing about it lol. What XBox/Playstation/Wii games are you playing right now?