We are young! er… Old! :.

•October 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

The knees haven’t been faring so well lately. If that’s a sign of old age, I’m doomed. lol. Or it’s probably just my body telling me to slow down and rest a bit.

I’ve been going non-stop like an energizer bunny. If it’s not work, it’s my part time business, or if not, the tattered remains of my social life. I’m constantly just getting in and out of my car, heading out to different places. I feel terrible for the earth because I think I filled up my gas tank about three times these two weeks alone. Not good, not economical either. *sigh* What to do, until we get awesome public transport in Brunei, I’m stuck with burning the fossil fuels.

I’ve just been transferred to A&P in the newspaper.. which is Advertising and Promotions. Yippee. It’s not bad, but it’s not great either. Most of the time I’m attending these client events and covering them, schmoozing and the like. It’s nice because I’ve get freebies and I’ve been to some fun events. But it’s bad  because I don’t have time to write long features like I used to, which makes me feel like I’m doing something worthwhile. I feel like I’ve sold out a little. But, what can I do? Apparently I was transferred there because some previous advertisers that I did some articles for were really happy with my work, and the head of A&P passed on the message to the higher ups. Fortunately, A&P is still under the Features desk, so there isn’t much change in the change of command, but the running around does get me tired.

On Thursday, I finally met up with my (ex) best friend. We haven’t seen each other since that fateful November. Just a few phone calls here and there, just to touch base. I admit to holding a grudge, and may have no completely forgiven her for what she did. But nevertheless, I thought it would be good to let bygones be bygones, even if I haven’t completely let go of them.

Though the lunch itself was good, and it did feel a little like old times, I couldn’t help but feel the major distance between us. It wasn’t the crack in our friendship, but rather the changes that we had gone through, or rather the lack of change in her department. Since we parted, I started working, built a side business from the ground up, and my social circles have grown, and I feel very much a different person than I was before, changed for the better. However, when I was sitting there across the table, listening to her justifications for taking a “gap year” from her last semester at university, and starting a job as a teaching assistant, I felt disappointed and slightly angry. I couldn’t help but to simmer beneath the surface, but putting up a mask of lies and saying “good for you” when in reality I wanted to start screaming at her about how stupid she was being. When we fought last year, the only thing I wanted from her was to graduate from university, and now, it seems like I won’t see that happen. And I was listening how she was using the success that I had made for my life to justify the decisions she was making, when I knew they were just moot points. She wasn’t hungry for life the way I had been when I was working for my mother. I never knew her to want anything so badly that she loved it, breathed it.. dreamed of it. She was still the same person.. coasting, not wanting… waiting for answers to come that weren’t coming.I believe to succeed in life, you need to want it so badly, you’d sacrifice for it. The girl has not known sacrifice. She doesn’t know what real scorching pain is. She doesn’t know didly squat.

I may sound pretty judgemental, but I know her. I know her like she knows me. Even having been apart for a while, I still know the real her. She hadn’t changed nor grown. It’s something that’s hard for me to accept. I work with these dynamic and intelligent people who want more from life. They are revolutionaries and game changers. Working at a newspaper is not glamourous and sometimes as a reporter I get looked down upon and yelled at, or bullied by the big people from management.But essentially I believe in what I do, and so do the people I work with. Not a day goes by where I don’t admire the work ethic or dedication of my colleagues. Working with them gives me the strength and determination to do what I do, and to do it well.

I may have done her a disservice in not telling her the truth, but I was saving my breath. Knowing her as well as I do, means that I know that whatever I say would fall on deaf ears. We are essentially different people. I need to go my way, and she needs to go hers. Though it saddens me to watch her walk away from completing her degree, I have to trust that she has to make her own decisions and live her own life. I guess in a way, the crack in our friendship has probably served me well. I hope that it does her some good too. Whatever happens to her next, that’s her destiny, not mine, just as much as she has no say in determining what I do.

Right.. this post has gone a little too long and deep for my liking. I’m up early again tomorrow, running around, writing, and then going home and resting my head, as the cycle goes. Let’s make it through another day, please, knees!





Don’t know what to say :.

•September 25, 2010 • 2 Comments

Right now, I’m distant from happy. I’m tired. I need a break.

I think it’s mainly because I’m burned out, and management are coming down on me like a ton of bricks. I hate them, I’m in a constant battle of artistic integrity and bureaucratic protocol. Don’t even ask me what it means, I think I’m just mildly delirious from several layers of exhaustion from the constant worrying of doing well at my job.

I’m happy that September is around, meaning that the TV line-up is back. I’ll be downloading all my favourite shows like Big Bang Theory, Sanctuary, Stargate Universe *SUPER HIGH PITCHED SQUEE* Supernatural.. and new favourites Hellcats (cheerleading teen drama is my guilty pleasure!) and Nikita.. One of these days, I will actually try to make a proper blog post about my bold choices of TV.. eventually.. hopefully before all these shows go on summer hiatus again. Lol.

Stress has me breaking out like a hormonal teenager who went on a chocolate binge. I’m so seriously spotty, I look like I have the pox. Yuck.

My back looks worse though. It’s a horrible mess of round circles and angry wide scratches from the cupping treatment that I received last night. I don’t mean to sound masochistic, but the cupping helps me cope with the stress. Not to belittle people who cut themselves, but this is something similar to that, except I don’t make cuts, nor bleed from the therapy. I admit, the therapy has some levels of pain to it, but at the end of the day, there are some medical benefits. If the person who does the cupping could see my face while she’s doing it, she’d probably think twice about continuing. I make some horrible, horrible faces while I’m lying facedown on the therapy table, but I imagine my stress as toxic black sludge seeping through the pores in the areas being cupped. At the end, I feel sore, but better somewhat. Wearing my pain on the outside makes it better than having it fester on the inside.

Anyway, I’ll be back. I got an early call for work tomorrow. Cheers.

Public/Private :.

•August 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I really cherish my privacy and low profile. In a country like Brunei, that is so tiny that the person I interviewed today knew my grandfather and both parents.. :S Everyone seems to know my parents, and it’s no wonder, as they were very important people at the peak of their careers. I’ve always hidden behind them, and enjoyed my youthful indiscretions in their shadow. Popularity was never my thing, as what came with it was a lot of false friends and names that really never mattered much to me. I still really cherish my time in the London Soho scene when I was just myself, and not anyone’s daughter. 🙂

But in my job as a journalist, I’m slowly realising that the luxury of being anonymous and hiding behind a multitude of names is being eroded away. With my name appearing in the paper almost every day, and as I continue to build contacts and network, not to mention that my face is regularly appearing on a social blogger’s site, I’m becoming more and more of a public figure. This really cannot be helped, and I guess I cannot nurture that need to be a nobody anymore. One of my colleagues at the paper said that we are the next generation of leaders anyway, and my job is a form of public service, bringing awareness to causes and issues that need to be heard.

As if the growing list of contacts in my iPhone wasn’t enough of a wake-up call and realisation that I’m becoming someone. In many ways, it’s refreshing. Being under my mom’s constant shadow for 3 years while I “worked” for her, I was withering away. My confidence was fading and I was losing sense of who I was. Only a few entries ago, did I say that I was finding myself again.. and perhaps, it comes hand in hand with what I do. This job/vocation is not just something I love, but it’s helping me grow into who I’m supposed to be. There’s no doubt that I am still in the developing stages of my adult life but at least I can say I am starting to embrace it as a responsible thinking adult now, not as the petulant lost semi-adolescent I was about 8 months ago.

I admit to still carrying on irresponsibly in some aspects of my life. But perhaps I just need to slowly grow out of it.Emphasis on the word slowly.

Meanwhile, my parents have to realise that the  daughter that they’ve been fostering under their “armpit” (Literal Translation of a Bruneian Malay phrase here!) has grown up to be independent and wants to make her own decisions, and is capable of doing so, thank you very much. I can see their point of view though. With both of them recently retired and now reduced to a life of domesticity, they’re feeling premature “empty nest syndrome.” Either that or “VIP comedown syndrome”, having been relevant and important for a large part of their lives, suddenly retiring must have been a shock to their systems.

As for the empty nest, well, they really shouldn’t feel it, considering that all three of their children are still living with them. Don’t misunderstand, in Brunei, it’s really common for children to still live with their parents even after they are married and have young children. The values of the ‘Kampung’ or ‘village’ are still deeply ingrained in us, even in the current modern society, and families are very close. Even if a child moves out, it’s highly likely that their house might be just down the road or even next door to their childhood home. Also, the convenience of having willing babysitters for grandchildren nearby is a bonus.

The other thing is, that even in modern times, it’s still frowned upon for an unmarried young lady to live on her own, lest her reputation be destroyed by rumours, hearsay and gossip. To be honest, I am still reluctant to move out on my own, as I’d miss my sister and my nephew terribly. With my working hours and social life keeping me out of the house til the wee hours, I rarely do see and get to spend time with them. Living in the same house, at least if I see my nephew for a few minutes a day, at least that family feeling is still there. What can I say, us Bruneians, we really love them apron strings. 😛 I just wish my parents would grow up and realise that I don’t really want to leave them, but they’re suffocating the life that I’ve been building out of me.

Anyway, today I went to a food-tasting/Iftar dinner with some really prominent social figures in Brunei. I do know most of them through their public/online profiles, but in terms of personal relationships, I am actually familiar with just a few from the group. Imagine my surprise when all of them seemed to know my name, occupation and my secret baking side job! Yikes, it’s really obvious I need to embrace this public “Alexis Band” and make her part of my everyday persona. Not only do I have to dress right, I probably need to look after myself and lose a few pounds. The last thing I expected in my job was to be in front of the “paparazzi cameras”, when I’m supposed to be behind them. Looks like I need to build up that damn wardrobe and start dressing to kill. Amongst other things.

But you know, to be grouped with these people is not so bad. They are high profile social and community figures that do many good things, and to be able to be part of the group that can create social change is something for the better in my life.

Maybe this is who I am really supposed to be. What do you think?

Time to move on?

•August 14, 2010 • 1 Comment

At times, like tonight, I come home feeling good and accomplished about myself, then my mother comes down and bombs me, ruining my high and happiness. It’s times like this I feel like I should move out and have my own way.

But then, my heart tells me, don’t. It tells me I need to stay where I am, because THEY need me. THEY need to feel needed. So I stay. And suffer, in the process.

I hate how I feel conflicted. I hate how I feel the desperate need to please them, even if I’ve done so all these years.

But, While they’re still around, let’s not regret. As time will catch up with all of us, eventually. And regrets will come despite our best intentions, I’ll do my best to carry on and do what I can. Despite it all, I love them, and they are my family, so I’ll just do as they wish for now.

Regrets may come later. But let’s keep the score low when they do come around. Regrets linger. And torture. I’d rather live with the small pains now, rather than live with the large pains I will never be able to heal.

But in the meanwhile, God save us all.

Crazy/delusional :.

•August 9, 2010 • 1 Comment

8.31 am. Been awake 28 hours. Wrote 3000 word article through the night. Tired, sick and still gotta go to work. Hate work today. Don’t tell the boss.

Hate Vs Islam :.

•August 9, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I don’t usually like to weigh in on any heavy political topics on this blog. It’s just a personal preference, but I do enjoy lengthy, healthy debates with my friends, as it does keep the wheels of the mind greased and it’s a mental check so I don’t turn too drastically “numb” or dumb.

However, the protesting and the hatred that has been going around towards Muslims and Islam has been building with the proposed ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ and the Muslim Family day at a 6 Flags amusement park in the U.S that is supposed to take place on September 12 has really struck a chord with me. Many similar stories have become the fodder of celebrity and political bloggers, activists and media outlets, and more of these keep coming out of the woodwork.

I think I should say now for the record, I am a Muslim. I was born one, I will die as one.

For those of you who have followed me for a while (and I can only think of the one) and/or are new to These Honest Lies, I hope that this fact does not put you off.In fact, I hope that it opens your eyes that there are muslims who live their lives normally and peacefully, side by side with people of other races, religions, faiths and beliefs.

I am not a good muslim, this I will admit. I have vices which go against my religion, I don’t pray 5 times a day as I should, and I certainly don’t wear a hijab everyday or am I forced to. I live in a country where Islam is the widely practiced and is official religion of the country, yet we live alongside other faiths in a happy congruence. Culturally, the Muslims and the other faiths live happily with and respect each other.  During the muslim festival of Eid, it’s not unusual to see people of other races and religions happily visiting their Muslim neighbours and relatives and celebrating alongside with them. This happens during Christmas and Chinese New Year too, where the Muslims will visit their Christian or Chinese neighbours to send them good wishes.

Anyway, the reason why I have suddenly decided to touch on the topic is because I do have a personal interest in it. Recently, Gray Eyes and I permanently ended our on and off emotionally turbulent relationship as we were at a stalemate with each other. We still have strong feelings for each other, but somehow, neither one of us was willing to budge from the comfort zone we were in.

Last week, after a very unhappy incident which I’d rather not discuss openly, which left me in pieces and angry at Gray Eyes, he finally explained why he had made such a hasty decision and a drastic move. He is unwilling to convert, and one of his reasons for doing so is the current heated environment in the U.S towards muslims. As a muslim woman, I can only marry a muslim man, this is something I have accepted and am not willing to compromise on. Though we have touched on the subject of his conversion a few times, I never openly stated he had to convert, and neither did he openly state that he was going to. I figured that we would jump that hurdle if it came to it, and unfortunately, it never came to pass.

Though I am saddened by the fact that this was a reason, I cannot help but understand this. Muslims in the U.S face an uphill battle everyday, whether it is judgement on young girls who wear the hijab, or trying to find a place to create a mosque to nurture the community of already established muslims. I think there is a story in the news almost everyday about the persecution that American Muslims face, and hundreds if not thousands more, that go unpublished.

As what they call a “moderate muslim”, I cannot help but feel for all my brothers and sisters who live in such an uncertain world, where they are persecuted for their beliefs. I know that for every story published about Islamic hate, there is one that celebrates all religions and spiritual unity, but those remain largely ignored. Is ignorance a large factor in this? Have people become so blinded by hate that they fail to see the logic of tainting thousands of the moderate with the red brush of the few that are extremist?

Gray Eyes’ fear is understandable. In fact, I am grateful he was honest with me (but somewhat peeved that he chose to keep this fact to himself while allowing me to pursue a relationship which he knew was never going anywhere). Were the situation reversed, I think I’d probably feel the same way. But it pains me that its because of this religious hatred and hostility towards muslim Americans that has put fear into his heart.

I suppose it’s too idealist to think that the world was going to be okay after 9/11( 11/09). I know America is still reeling and healing after a tragic blow, but people have to understand that Muslims also died in the plane crashes, and Muslims joined in the fight in Afghanistan, and Muslims are now fighting to defend their rights, just as other faiths before them.Where in the American constitution does it state, “It’s okay for Muslims to live here, as long as we don’t know about it.”

Hey, hating people in America, listen up. Guess what, you’re not the only freaking country on the planet okay? You share the world with the rest of us, and if you start nitpicking on the Muslims, well guess what, y’all ain’t exactly innocent. Think descendants of thieving, disease mongering, genocidal, immigrants much? I wonder what the Native Americans would have to say. Or the Japanese victims of Hiroshima, or the thousands of families displaced by war in Afghanistan?

I think the world has bigger problems to think about right now. Like the freaking Great Pacific Gyre, which is basically a giant floating plastic garbage dump in the middle of the ocean that’s twice the size of Texas. Or global warming. Or obesity. Or the fact that we’re overfishing our oceans and screwing up our food supplies. Or the oil spill in the Mexican Gulf.  There are so many things that we can focus our energy on besides religious hate.

As for me and Gray Eyes, we’ve accepted our differences, and I will be as happy for him as he is for me.. (lies!) I will constantly miss him in my life. He was (and perhaps always will be) a chapter that I can say truly made me happy in times of darkness. I loved how his quietness and gentleness contrasted with my wildness and anger. His love was never the kind that sought to tame me, but was the kind that would rather find the blessings in the wildness. In those hopeless places where I retreated to, he always found me and nurtured me back, and at times, when I was at my wickedest towards him, he was at his sweetest and most understanding, which is why I will never forget him.

Love is sometimes not about holding on so tightly and never letting go, it is about understanding when you do have to, you do it from the honesty of your heart and knowing that it is what is best for both.

I shall only take what is mine, and I hope that if we meet again, in circumstances where religion is not an issue, that we can be together.

If you made it this far, congratulations. I hope that I will meet you here again soon. To those of you who choose to leave this behind, thanks for reading and I wish you well. Peace be with each and every one of you, always, whether it be spiritual or that on earth.

Not so secretly scandalous :.

•August 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Sometimes I like to revisit my youth with some visual indiscretions…

It’s nice to not act your age sometimes. 🙂