With education and entrepreneurship at the core of everything I do, this blog serves to provide you with information from my perspective, based on my knowledge, skills and experience on various issues close to my heart namely, general education, peacebuilding, public speaking, civil society and theatre/ drama.
Try new things in life and there’s a first for everything.
That’s the kind of person I am and when I got the call from Fresver Beauty for a complimentary ‘Classic Facial with Shoulder Massage with no obligations’, I decided “WHY NOT?”
I texted them back and confirmed a date for an appointment 2 days after my 34th Birthday at the Hougang Interchange outlet.
I was told to come 15 minutes earlier to do a skin analysis and 5 minutes before I arrived I was thinking about how horrible it was going to be if they messed up with my skin and I ended up looking worst. But as with all adventures, there was always going to be a risk, I took this visit to the beauty salon as one of my very own expeditions too.
I came in right on 1215hrs, 15 minutes before the appointed time and was asked for my NRIC. The lady over the counter then went, “I’m not sure how to pronounce your name”. And I was thinking, ‘I’m not sure how hard it can be considering you’re holding on to my NRIC’ and so I decided, “Just call me Up” and even after simplifying it, I didn’t get a response. So, I guess, even calling out ‘UP’ was just as tough as calling out Abdillah.
I was then brought into a small room where I was asked to fill in a survey and an indemnity form to absolve them from any responsibility should anything happen to me. I hesitated to sign until a different lady stepped in and asked that I sign before she proceeded to conduct my skin analysis after conducting a short interview.
During the skin analysis, I finally got the opportunity to be put under the powerful microscope and was shown on the 21 inch screen how my skin looked like. I had chosen not to wash or cleanse my face for 2 days so that I could get the most out of this experience and true enough, I was shown my blackheads and whiteheads, and I was also informed that I had sensitive skin.
I never knew.
The lady was also trying to sell me to use this other machine which cost $59 (UP $150) to soften my skin further before the extraction. Of course, I refused. I wasn’t going to pay anything. It’s my birthday!
From there, I was asked to keep my bag in their locker. My bag struggled to squeeze in there. For those of you who’ve seen my bag, you know it’s huge. It carries a 17 inch laptop, a folder and some other essentials to save the day for work and in case of emergency.
But it did get squeezed in and I was ushered into a room where I was shown the bed. The therapist closed the door and left me there. I wasn’t sure what to do. I mean normally when I go for a massage, I know I have to strip down to my underwear but I wasn’t sure if I should do the same for a facial and so, I opted to keep my clothes on and to cover myself with the ‘blanket’.
The therapist started with cleansing my face and then proceeded on to do a facial scrub and had a few other things going which I couldn’t hear clearly because she was mumbling to herself. But the next big thing I knew and heard was “EXTRACTION”. This happened right after she put some steam which was supposed to be for my entire face but ended up only on my forehead. The whole purpose of the steam was to open up the pores to make it easier to extract the blackheads.
The extraction was painful. It brought back memories of how my mother used to do extraction of my face because I used to have such horrible skin. I had acne all over and breakouts and my mother was eager to clean my face up and did her own extractions at home, with pleasure. I, on the other hand, didn’t enjoy it because I would rather just let my hormones do its job. Besides, I didn’t have a problem with having an acne breakout on my face.
So, the therapist pinched my face and used some device which I couldn’t see because my eyes were covered to extract. I’m guessing it’s some tweezers. Once that’s done, she dusted my face off with something and proceeded to clean it once again before she said, “HYDRATING GEL”.
She put some of that stuff on my face, propped the table at an angle and gave me a 30 sec shoulder massage before she disappeared for about what felt like 20 minutes before returning to clean it off my face, cleansing it again and ending it off with a light tap all over my cheeks and “Ginger tea”?
I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I wasn’t sure if what I just went through is normal for a facial and if my face would survive what it went through.The moment I stepped out of the room, the lady who initially interviewed me was ready to receive me and once again, questioned me on the size and contents of my bag before ushering me back into the same room to complete another questionnaire – this time on their service.
A few minutes later, she came in and started her sales pitch to get me to sign up for the second visit by offering me $59 for the second visit for what she described as usual price as $300, and letting me use the machine that I denied paying for earlier.
I politely declined and she gave me a sad thank you.
All said and done, I’m glad I had this experience all thanks to Try and Review for this opportunity!
Will I go for another facial?
I might consider it if I don’t have to pay anything for it! But I do have a question for those who go for facials:
ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO FEEL SLEEPY AFTER THE FACIAL??? CAUSE MY EYES FELT LIKE THEY NEEDED TO SLEEP AFTER THE FACIAL!!
The recent passing of Mohamad Fadli Mohd Salleh as a result of consuming tainted food catered by Spize River Valley outlet is not one to be taken lightly and one that is pretty close to home.
The deceased is a relative of my wife’s grandaunt.
My wife’s grandaunt was feeding my baby when she got the call about his passing, I was seated right next to her.
This post is not about who he is. I’ve never met him before but this post is about the possibility that such an incident could have been prevented.
About a week or so before the unfortunate incident on Nov 6 where 81 people had become ill having consumed food catered by Spize, my wife had ordered food to her office.
She too fell ill having consumed food ordered from there and the victim could have been her.
A report was lodged on NEA’s online platform and an officer subsequently called my wife back later to inform that they had conducted checks and informed that everything was in good order. No lapses were discovered.
But I have my doubts now that I’ve read the news report from TNP. It was reported by TNP, ‘Several hygiene lapses were found, including leaving food uncovered in a chiller, not providing soap for hand-washing and slotting knives in the gaps of food preparation tables.’
Now, these lapses are operational lapses.
Lapses that were committed as a result of habit by the staff, and failed to be enforced by the management on duty at the outlet. A team of individuals who have utter disregard for cleanliness and safety in preparing food to be served to paying customers.
I don’t want to cast doubt on the ability of the NEA officer who went down to check after our complaint or to cast doubt on the ability of NEA as an organisation but to have a major incident occur within a short span of our complaint for a similar case is too close of a coincidence.
Questions continue to linger in my head because I honestly believe that such an incident could have been prevented.
Learning from the 2009 incident that occurred to Geylang’s rojak stall, word on the ground from that incident that because the shops are so closely placed to each other, one man’s lapse could have affected the other. In that case, it was widely speculated that the cause of death was rat’s fecal matter (pee). The rat, wasn’t from that shop, but had traveled from another’s.
I’m of the opinion that in this particular case, beyond just Spize, NEA should, whenever a food poisoning case is reported, to also check on neighbouring food outlets to ensure the entire vicinity of food outlets is clean and safe from such lapses.
It will no doubt cause inconvenience but in such a case where life and death is at stake, and with such a precedence from 2 cases, I believe it’s high time that more stringent action is taken.
Have you watched Channel News Asia’s latest ‘Regardless of Class’?
The show attempts to discuss social class differences and how Singaporeans classify one another with the end product being – class is a huge divide between society. This, on top of Language, Race and Religion.
Watching the show, I was able to connect at a very personal with pretty much, almost everyone on the show; from the LOW SOCIAL CLASS to the HIGH SOCIAL CLASS. But before you begin to draw conclusions on me, I’d like to point you towards why I feel family upbringing is important to address this socio-economic class issue.
- Based on the interview conducted with young children in the documentary, it is parents who paint the world for the child. Therefore, what parents say and how parents choose to react/respond/act to what happens around them will affect their child’s perception.
And this is beyond just classification of individuals into socio-economic status, but more importantly in how the child chooses to interact with someone of a different language, race and/or religion.
That’s probably like a huge DUH, but more often than not, parents are the ones to be blamed for how children grow up to be.
Malays have a saying, “Melentur buluh dari rebungnya” in its’ literal translation means ‘To curve a bamboo, start from its shoot’. It’s meaning – the shaping of an adult begins from the time when he/she is still a child.
Now, back to the documentary.
Having had the opportunity to hang around high social class individuals whenever I attend events, one of the things I tend to notice when I engage in a conversation with them is the flow of questions follows as such:
– “What do you do for a living?”
– “What did you study in school?”
– “Which university did you study at?”
– “Which JC did you study at?”
– “Which secondary school did you study at?”
– “Do you drive?”
These questions seem to be the norm of conversation and I don’t blame them because as humans, we naturally want to form a connection with another person and so, we try to find commonalities with each other.
And it’s not just in Singapore that I’ve encountered such a line of questioning, even overseas when I’m visiting my parents or on holiday visiting friends.
So here’s the thing, social class is not a determinant of how a person is like, as a person. Social class is, for me, simply about how God dealt our cards in life.
So, how can we eradicate or minimize the gap between the classes?
I can only think of – SHARED EXPERIENCES and ATTITUDE.
What do I mean?
When I watched the documentary and it talked about cleaners and security guards. I could immediately connect with both occupations having worked as a cleaner when I was younger and being somewhat chatty, I tend to enjoy having chats with the first person whom I would usually come across whenever I have to enter a building.
That’s right, the SECURITY GUARD!
And yes, not all security guards were once security guards.
I’ve spoken to quite a number and they all have reasons for why they chose to be security guard. I’ve met one security guard who chose to be a security guard because it was 5 minutes away from home which saves him transportation cost and he used to be a flight steward for 25 years.
And what about cleaners?
My next door neighbour was an estate cleaner (before Town Councils began hiring foreigners en masse). I grew up in his house, playing with his grandson and I often saw how hard he had to work being an old man. But he enjoyed his job and always had a smile on his face.
That experience taught me not to litter on the ground because someone’s family member was doing the cleaning. So, I learnt how to care for the environment through that experience.
And what about my own experience as a cleaner?
Well, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I took time to talk to people I met to learn about their job while I was doing mine. For me, it was a lot about understanding what I had to do for them to make sure their job could be done easier.
I still enjoy talking to cleaners.
It could be as simple as just asking whether or not they’ve had their meals or what time they knock off from work. These things make their day. It makes them feel human.
The show also interviewed students from different streams and how it was challenging to interact with one another.
This was an issue on the show that I found it hard to understand because when I was a student, regardless of our streams, we were all hanging out almost always together. Exp, NA or NT, we were all playing soccer together and committing mischief together. And to a lot of peoples’ surprise, the express students in my school were almost as naughty or even naughtier than the NA or NT students!
The popular students in my sec sch were the gang members and since my exp classmates were gang members, they were popular for that. Not for how smart they were, but simply because they were ‘cooler’ as a gang member. These days, it seems that having branded good is a pre-requisite for being ‘cool’ rather than the personality and vibe that a person has.
Nonetheless, I never saw the divide growing up.
Up till today, I don’t feel the divide in class. Maybe because my friends who are more well to do than I am tend to share what they have in excess to ensure we can all enjoy the experience together.
But surely, it is just me. It was how I was raised and how I chose to live my life and live my experiences. And maybe, that’s why I often get mistaken to be a graduate or someone who is rich (money) but I’m neither, I’m just a guy who’s happily living life to the fullest within my means.
And no, I don’t come from a rich family either.
Born in a rental flat, grew up in a 3-room flat.
One thing I do agree about the show, luck COULD BE a determinant and that’s a HUGE COULD BE. Being connected to the right people is just as important too, this I would agree. Hence, networking opportunities are important. Even if you consider yourself to be from the low social class, there would be networking opportunities available.
As simple as participating in events in the community or attending courses or joining a group for a health activity.
So for me, the roadmap towards social mobility from LOW SOCIAL CLASS to HIGH SOCIAL CLASS is a stroke of luck, ample networking opportunities and of course, having good health. When you don’t have to spend on staying healthy, you can focus on working hard consistently without falling ill, saving up, spending within your means and wait for the right opportunity or luck to come knocking your way to send you up the ladder towards a different social class.
A change of health condition and luck could similarly send someone from a high social class down to low social class.
But what’s most important above it all, a positive attitude and a good outlook on and in life and having good manners. Having those things is true high social class and if you don’t have it, chances are, you’ll pass it down to your kids and no matter how wealthy you are, you’re just not classy.
Noah is turning 3 months in 2 days time and what an experience it has been. In the last posts, I shared about how to manage supporting your wife through her pregnancy and through her labour. In this post, I’ll talk about how to support your wife and how to support yourself in the area of expressing milk.
When I first bought my wife her breast pump, my female cousins and my sister (my support system), were surprised as they told me that usually in purchasing such items, the lady herself would want to check it out herself as she would be using the item and not me.
So, I was a bit worried about the purchase I made but too late for that.
The first breast pump I got for my wife was a Tommee Tippee single breast pump. I bought it because it was the only brand I knew considering my sister was using this brand of bottle for my niece and I was there through my niece early years.
Did she like it?
She loved it. Well, why wouldn’t she right?
Her first breast pump, could be battery operated, could be hooked up to a power supply and it was looking quite portable too! It was looking pretty good UNTIL THE TUBING BROKE. The tubing didn’t even last her first pump. It kept disintegrating for short of a better word and that was frustrating. Turns out, plenty of people had the same problem with the tubing!
So, I did some research and came across a brand that a friend had recommended when I bumped into him and his wife at the baby fair, SPECTRA. He was careful to mention that this was quite pricey, but it was silent and his wife loved it.
With a little bit of research on the internet and I discovered that SPECTRA was a hospital grade breast pump. So, that was really good to know. If I was going to get another one, might as well get one that would blow my wife’s mind away (ok, lying here. Blow my mind more like it!)
And so, we welcomed Spectra 1 into our lives. It was silent, had a night light, was a double breast pump and most definitely was a powerful pump that expressed milk really well!
But we had one glitch with the pump, it hung on us for one night!
It hung like how your mobile phone would hang and allow you to use it.
So, lo and behold, thankfully, my sister had given us her own set of breast pumps – LANSINOH Affinity Double Breast Pump!
This was an old model pump from several years ago but it did not disappoint! It worked, but it took longer than the Spectra 1. Nonetheless, it was still silent and expressed a good amount as well!
We are still using the Spectra 1 primarily, supported by Lansinoh (always great to have a back up!)
But we have reached our latest level of expressing journey – preparing for going back to work.
The criteria was simple. The pump had to be small and during the expression, it had to be concealable so as not to be a distraction to others at work.
We did our research and came across a handsfree breast pump – FREEMIE LIBERTY.
It did look like it would provide freedom for her, but it didn’t look like it would provide freedom for my wallet. The cost was a turn off and so we went back to our friendly Google who provided us with the next best option.
This wasn’t available in stores but it was available online, sold by a few private sellers and the best part is, it is much more affordable.
And that resolves our first issue – the discretion from the expression at work but we still had another concern. It is not possible to lug around the Spectra S1 to and fro as it was bulky, and thank god, Spectra also had a smaller more portable pump, Spectra S9.
Today, my wife and I celebrate her incoming journey back to work having successfully tested the Spectra S9 together with the handsfree.
So, for all the fathers-to-be out there, if you are planning to get a breast pump.
Don’t waste your time or your money, get a Spectra 9 with the handsfree pump kit. It provides mobility for your wife so she won’t be stuck in the room holding to the bottle or even if she was wearing the handsfree bra, she doesn’t have to be uncomfortable about moving around the house looking like Madonna in her cone tits.
My life hacks for you?
Get the Spectra S1, Spectra 9 and the handsfree if you’re looking for a breast pump that will provide comfort for your wife, and don’t bother getting a brand new set.
If you’re wondering why I didn’t get the Medela? Well, not everything they have is a closed system. So, that’s why.
PS: This isn’t a sponsored post
In my last post, I shared about how to manage pregnancy for fathers-to-be. This post is going to be about how fathers-to-be can assist with the labour itself.
Before I begin to share about what men can do about the labour, you can read about my wife’s post on labour here first.
Read it? I hope you did.
And here’s what men should be prepared for:
- LOOONG WAIT.
We were told that first borns are always a looong wait and so it was. Therefore, in anticipation of the looong wait, I’d say you try to nap at the hospital when you can, whenever you can.
I was catching my snooze in the delivery suite after my wife got induced.
- FREEZING COLD
Being in an air-conditioned room is good, but not when you’re in there for a looong period of time. Eventually, no matter how hairy or thick your skin is, you’re gonna start to shiver and wish you brought a jacket. And pack 2 – for him and for her.
- QUICK BITES
While waiting is no picnic in the park, your wife gets served food by the hospital the moment she is admitted as a patient. She’ll get her lunch, dinner and snacks served on a platter. So, you my friend, better have some food packed, prepared and ready to be eaten. Otherwise, pray hard that they have vending machines selling food on your floor.
Thank GOD it was Ramadan. So, fasting helps.
As your wife goes through her transition in labour from early to active labour, you’ll start to feel helpless looking at how you can’t do anything about her ever so frequent and painful contractions. So, since you’re pretty much helpless, be with her as much as you can, breathe with her, count with her and hold her (or you can let her hold you).
She’s in pain and she may need some decisions. Whatever you’ve planned for and discussed on, well, be prepared to cave in on that cause when you look at your wife’s face, you’re going to give in to her needs because YOU LOVE HER.
And especially for Muslim men out there, you know how we believe that heaven is underneath our mothers feet and how should a mother die in childbirth, she goes to heaven?
When you are there with her throughout her entire labour, you’ll start to see how close she could possibly be to death, and death for me at that moment, sat on a very thin line between being a emotional beauty and an emotional heartbreak.
So guys, show some love to all women out there.
Be kind, be nice, be respectful because she is either our mother, sister, daughter or lover.
“MY WIFE IS PREGNANT!”
That was how I felt when my wife informed me that she was pregnant. I also felt extremely happy to know that my man-device was fully functional.
But that was the initial phase.
What followed next was months of hard work, patience, prayers and lots of assurances that everything was going to turn out fine.
The first trimester was as how most people had mentioned – CHALLENGING.
My wife was constantly having ‘night sickness’ – feeling ill and puking when she got home from work. The only thing I knew how to help, was the one thing that always helped me when I felt pukish or whenever I puked.
RUB HER BACK
ENCOURAGE HER TO PUKE (she’ll refuse but hey, you always feel better after you puke)
LET HER PAY FOR MEALS (if she wants to, so if she pukes, she won’t feel that bad cause it was her money. heh)
But all said and done, the first trimester is one that requires the husband to provide plenty of motivation and support to ensure your wife pukes when she needs to, is given a massage when required and a tissue plus a drink of water to clear her throat for her to be comfortable enough to rest.
My brother-in-law and sister chipped in to help as well by giving us books on being prepared for pregnancy.
So, with that as my guide, off I went.
Also known as the best trimester and INDEED it was!
With the first hurdle over, this second trimester is a time to enjoy between both husband and wife *hint hint* Hehehe
It is also a good time for husband to begin working out together with your wife.
I was planning my training schedule around my wife with simple static exercises.
SQUATS (if she can’t do regular squats, do wide squats!)
And most of the weighted exercises were done, seated on the swiss ball (yoga ball).
We also signed up for a class together to learn more about the labour and breastfeeding process!
THE MOST ANXIOUS PERIOD for the both of you.
The baby is going to pop out. When is it going to pop out? How will the baby look like? Is the baby healthy? Are you growing well? Is your wife eating well? Is her mood in check?
ALL THESE AND MORE!
It’s a time where there’s plenty of questions to ask and plenty of answers that can be given but what I found most easy for my wife and me is that she was disciplined on her food intake, drinking well and ensuring the food she eats is healthy (you can read more on what she did on her blog, click here!)
My job as a husband, was clearly define in my opinion.
CONTINUE TO GIVE SUPPORT
And so, I tried to be as supportive and as understanding as possible.
She may be uncomfortable to take long walks by now, so rather than ask her to take long walks in the park which could be such a bore, I would ask her to go to the mall to enjoy a drink or to get groceries (kill two birds with one stone!).
Whenever my wife felt unsure about what she was doing, I gave her assurance of what she was doing and how much she has progressed. (It’s easy for your wife to criticize herself because she can’t see progress or is unaware of the progress she’s making. So, it’s your job to let her know that what she’s doing is helping in the process.)
Malays have a saying, “Sikit sikit, lama lama jadi bukit” (small things will always add up)
So, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, TRUST THE PROCESS!
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Milestones Brought my wife for a surprise 1yr anniversary dinner at @badoquecafe. It's a few more weeks before our little bundle of joy pops out into our lives. Praying that we can raise our child in the best way possible and hope that you will pray for us, with us. May our child be a khalifah of Islam, soleh/soleha (dunno what gender yet) and be an active-positive contributor to Islam, our family, our country and community. Ameen Ya Rabb #abdillahzamzuri #family #Islam
And remember, to enjoy it. So, plan for a date together!
If you noticed, this whole post about being a husband to a pregnant wife, if summarized, is simply about being there for your wife.
Give her the support she needs. Offer her the assurance she needs. Be creative about how you want to support her.
And last but not least, as a Muslim, I try to remind myself and my wife as much as possible about prophetic stories or quotes from the Quran and of course, to zikr as much as possible because as a Muslim, prayers is our weapon isn’t it? (I do believe that even if you’re not a Muslim, you should still pray!)
Oh, I also downloaded BabyCenter app which turned out to be a lifesaver as it provided us with lots of articles for us to keep track of progress for both baby and mother.
Have you seen this movie yet?
If you haven’t then you probably should.
I don’t review movies much but since I’m writing one of this, you really have to catch it for so many reasons of which I have consolidated it down to five.
- It made me cry/tear several times throughout the entire movie. The opening scene broke me down almost immediately.
- The movie speaks to everyone. Everyone who feels they are different and have no place in society.
- The movie is a wonderful teaching tool for parents and teachers to teach your young ones on values of Hard Work, Loyalty, Friendship and Love.
- The soundtrack in the entire movie is OH-SOME! I couldn’t stop tapping my hands.
- It’s one of the best musical theatre-film performances I’ve watched in a long time!
It’s one of the few movies that I’d watch over and over and over and over again.
This movie makes me miss performing on stage – be it dancing or acting. Not quite much of a singer but I’m quite sure I can break into a few tunes.
Enjoy the soundtrack to it here