10 jobs I’ve had in 10 years

When I was in primary school, I grew up wanting to be a Teacher. Probably because that was one of the only jobs I was exposed to at a young age. When I was in secondary school, some classmates said I looked most like a reporter (perhaps I looked a little reporter-ish with my roundish-square glasses but definitely not anything like Rita Skeeter) but I never thought of becoming one until I did an internship at the local newspaper. When I was in polytechnic, I thought of taking my ACCA (an accounting professional certification) after my accounting diploma and then become a full-fledged accountant. But a 1-year stint in the accounts department made me realize I was not up for that occupation. So here is a list of jobs I’ve had since I first entered the working world at 16, right after my GCE ‘O’ Levels while waiting for entry to tertiary institution.

1. Factory worker

(Temporary) This was my very first job, after I finished my GCE ‘O’ Levels. I joined a factory producing spare parts along with three other friends. The sweetest thing was buying my first mobile phone with my first hard-earned pay.

2. Tutor

(Part-time) The closest to being a teacher. During my polytechnic days, I tutored a primary 4 kid on 3 subjects – English, Maths and Science. It was a rewarding job but can be stressful knowing that the student’s improvement lies in your hands. Her family was very hospitable which made me feel welcomed every time I tutored at their house.

3. Telemarketer

(Temporary) Yeah I was one of those pesky telemarketers from an insurance company. But I wasn’t selling insurance, instead my job was to recruit people to join a team of advisors.

4. Purchasing assistant

(Internship) Assigned to a company producing CDs and electronics for my school internship. The company had originally asked for an accounting assistant from my school but filled up the position with a full-time employee by the time I joined. So I was attached to the purchasing department instead. Perks of the job included getting free CDs of movies before they were up for distribution.

5. Money desk journalist

(Internship) Joined the local paper for an internship shortly after I graduated from polytechnic. I joined the money desk department as I felt it was relevant to what I was learning in poly and keen to learn more about business reporting. This was my first foray into the world of journalism and I truly enjoyed the experience.

6. Accounting executive

(Full-time) Joined a media company finance department. Wanted to make use of my accounting diploma and put into practice what I learned. However I eventually discovered that accounting was not to be my career path.

7. Retail Shop Assistant

(Temporary) The same media company had a subsidiary company with a retail shop selling media-related items and they needed an urgent replacement for one day. I was involved with cashiering duties, assisting with walk-in customers’ enquiries and taking care of the shop for just that one day.

8. Editor

(Contract) In-charge of editing the content for a Ramadan website in SG as part of a yearly Islamic fasting month of Ramadan campaign. Liaising with freelance writers and working with a small team who were as passionate on making the site a beneficial platform for the community. This was one of the best jobs I’ve had. Best moment was interviewing Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, a Muslim astronaut from Malaysia who spent a few days of Ramadan in outer space.

9. Assistant production editor

(Full-time) Managed the production of scientific journals in a publishing house research arm. Contrary to the job title, my job scope did not involve any editing to the content of the publication but processes on making the final article suitable for print and online publication.

10. Writer

(Freelance) After my internship with the local paper ended, I continued to write with the paper on a freelance basis up till today. One of the memorable assignments was an overseas one, covering a group of student’s village homestay experience in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia. I also write freelance for some online platforms in SG.

* * *

This week I chose point #5 from Anna Fonte for the Weekly Writing Challenge: List Lesson. I didn’t realize it’s been 10 years since I first entered the working world! I didn’t even plan the title this way but I only realized it after listing and writing them down – and it actually fit perfectly to be “10” (jobs) on “10” (years). Anna was right, this list ended up to something more.

“But certainly, editing is what pushes the list over the line into literature. You tricked yourself into thinking you were making a list but SURPRISE! You’ll see you made something much more.” 

It’s been an interesting journey with many life lessons and experiences Alhamdulillah. I shall pat myself on the back for being brave enough to go through these working experiences, regardless of my failures, successes and mistakes. MaashaAllah. I’m still finding my cup of tea, but let me consider that with a cup of tea in hand…

Spiderweb Swing (Weekly Photo Challenge: Work of Art)

spiderweb swing

Yesterday my husband and me went to Bedok Reservoir Park for an evening run. It’s my husband’s second time running at this park, but for me I have been coming here since my childhood. There is also a playground for children at the park, but the playground constantly changes through the years. I discovered yesterday that a new swing has been added to the playground family. What I love about it was the spiderweb-like pattern chains making up the seat of the swing. I have never seen this kind of swing before, and I thought it was a lovely work of art on its own.

(Also, I could not help but played on the swing for a while before starting our run! :P)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Work of Art

Playing in the rain (Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring)

Playing in the rain (Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring)

In Singapore 1st May is celebrated as Labour Day and it is a public holiday. No Spring here either so here’s what I was up doing last Thursday. Attending a Sisterly Fitness Camp which started on Wednesday evening and ended with a 4.4km briskwalk from Masjid Al-Khair to Choa Chu Kang Park the following day. It rained halfway, but it didn’t stop us from the walk. We just took out our ponchos and marched on in the rain.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Spring

Confessions of a shortie and why I hated netball

So here’s the thing. I’m five foot tall and I have been petite all my life. In other words, I’m short and small-sized – “fun sized” as I like to call it.

My mum and dad are of similar height with each other – medium Asian height, if there’s a term for this – although my dad’s side of the family leans on the shorter side while my mother’s side consists of taller counterparts. No prizes for guessing whose genes I followed. Luckily for me, this has never been an issue in my family. I grew up a happy childhood filled with happy memories children are supposed to have. In primary school, from primary 1 all the way to primary 6, I was always the shortest in my class (I should get an award for this). My 8 – year old self never had any problems with this though, primary school me was always a happy cute bunny where ever I go.

It was only in primary 6, when I was 11 years old that I started to understand the reality of being short and fun-sized. We had an inter-class tournament and my teacher would ask for volunteers to form a netball team among the girls. The best team for every class competes with the other teams. Now the good thing about being small is being lightweight thus possessing the ability to be more agile than others. Which made me generally like physical ed. classes and all sorts of sports as I can run and get away from people pretty fast. So happy cute bunny me put my name in without thinking twice (possibly forgetting the very simple fact that netball players require a certain height to qualify).

And apparently, I was told to be “too short for netball”.

Ouch.

I did the most logically emotional thing every 11-year old does after being told she was too short for netball (okay, maybe just me). Proceed to the nearest washroom and cry my eyes off. And of course, striked off netball from my list of favourite sports. I remember comparing myself to other classmates and wishing to be taller and then asking God to please add some tall genes to my petite being when I grow up. I remember that incident as my first memory of being “rejected” and the first time I expected myself to fit into the “normal-sized people” quorum.

Fast forward to now – some things don’t change. I’m still as cute as a bunny (please don’t puke yet, lol) staying petite as an adult. As a self-proclaimed shortie, there are some things I encounter. Shopping – long skirts and pants always require some altering. You’re always mistaken as a student if you dress casually and have no make-up on. People always call you “cute” which sometimes can be pretty annoying. Sometimes you want to wear black formal looking flats when you have an important work event to attend but you can’t because other people are always towering over you.

But what’s changed is that I don’t expect to fit in into any “normal-sized people” sizes anymore (what’s that anyway?). When I think of that memory, I feel a little silly and now I can laugh at my petite self in all good manners. Obviously netball is not the only sport in town but to my primary school self, it was one of the few sports I knew.

In polytechnic, I discovered my agility to serve me well in another sport which I have come to love – rock climbing. There are some moments in your life where you just know when something is for you. The first time I climbed a rock wall, I knew. That I was meant to be a rock climber. Okay okay dramatic aha-moment announcement aside, here’s why I love climbing rock walls. Because I was lightweight, I was able to carry myself up along the wall easily. Because of my agility, I was able to manoeuver the wall tiles from the bottom to the top with ease. Sure, if you’re a tall rock climber you may reach certain tiles easily when you’re on the wall, but I could always compensate that by being flexible enough to step up a couple of tiles without much difficulty. Rock climbing allowed me to see and use my strengths to my advantage, as well as trained my mind and body to work around my weaknesses.

The point of this story is that I eventually worked around my weaknesses and focused on my strengths. I learned how to sew, so I can alter clothes easily. I learned to dress up well, so I can look more presentable. I learned to accept myself and my flaws – and found myself easily accepting of other people along the way. I learned to love myself and be grateful for all my blessings. Most importantly, I learned that it’s okay to have expectations on something or someone or yourself for that matter but there’s something that goes hand in hand with your expectations –  when an expectation doesn’t meet your standard, expect yourself to let it go.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Great Expectations

Because the Night Has a Magic Peace

Ahh the golden question of all time. Early bird or Night owl?

As much as I would love and have tried to be an early bird, I would like to admit that I am more productive at night.

Because the night has a certain kind of magical peace that I love. This magical peace enables me to endeavour my magical pieces with a clearer piece of mind.

Unless I have an urgent task to complete, usually after my dawn prayers I am always stoning out in the morning. A cuppa smoothie, coffee or green tea to accompany me wake up my sleepy eyes and mind.

Ironically, I become an early bird when I am overseas. My body clock suddenly changes and I wake up at dawn never to go back to sleep again. Suddenly, everything appears more beautiful, more exciting, more spectacular when I am not in my hometown. This always happens every time, even if I have been to the place more than once.

Such is the irony of life. But what is life without irony? 🙂

Inspired by Daily Prompt: Because the Night

Oh The Mathematics of Learning…

Inspired by Daily Prompt: Land of Confusion

That would be Maths.

Maths, oh the mathematics of it all.

I remember a time when I was in secondary 1 and we were being taught about equations. I was so confused but was too afraid to my teacher, Mdm Esther Lim, to repeat the lesson. This teacher was also known to be abit kooky. So when she asked if everyone understood, I nodded my head with the rest of the class.

Until she asked me to come up to the board and solve a problem sum.

I looked at the problem sum and tried my very best to solve it with what she had just taught the class.

She had also asked another student to solve another problem so there were two of us in front of the board. Unfortunately for me, that classmate was a tad smarter than me. I could only look at her cleverness in dismay.

Not being able to do any solving, I finally gave up, hung my head low and said, “I’m sorry Mdm Lim, but I don’t understand the lesson.”

I can’t remember what she said after that, but I remember usually obtaining some fails and borderlining pass for my Maths tests and exams. I excel in languages subjects (Malay and English Language) and also Art subjects, and land in the middle of the road for Science and Principles of Accounts. However, Maths was my weakest subjects throughout.

Until secondary 3 where I had a wonderful Maths teacher, Mr. Desmond Lim who was truly the best teacher ever. Everytime I felt afraid to ask him to repeat, he would say, “Don’t be afraid to ask me, I will repeat again and again until you understand it okay?” It was so comforting to hear that because I wasn’t the only weakling in class and hearing that made us weaklings feel more motivated to do better in Maths. So it went on for two years, in secondary 3 and 4 where he never got tired of explaining to us the concepts behind the problem sums and how to solve them.

As a result, from failing to bordeline passes, I obtained a B4 for Maths in my GCE O’ Lévels. (A B4 is the middle of the road, a low B – but still a B! An A would have been over the top to be honest, so I was more than elated to at least get a B for Maths, which was one of the compulsory subjects you needed to pass and get a good grade on to be able to move up to a tertiary institution).

And that is the story of Maths and I. I first hated it, and now while I don’t hate it, I just borderline like it.

The Happy Wanderer goes to New Zealand!

Inspired by Daily Prompt: The Happy Wanderer

Salam and Hello all, I’m back! 🙂

(Did anyone miss me? Haha…)

Let’s see what’s happened during these past couple of months?

Firstly, I got married Alhamdulillah. 🙂

bus stop
Yup, that’s my dashingly smart-looking husband in a formal suit during our outdoor photoshoot. 😀

And then flew to Queenstown, New Zealand for my honeymoon.

20140226_090003_mard
Super LOVE the breathtaking sceneries in Queenstown, New Zealand. I would love to go there again!

My husband and me went on a self-drive trip for our honeymoon (kiwimoon, which I will refer to) so when I saw this daily prompt, it got me inspired to write. It’s such an amazing feeling when inspiration strikes!

What’s your travel style? Are you itinerary and schedule driven, needing to have every step mapped out in advance or are you content to arrive without a plan and let happenstance be your guide?

I would say that my travel style is a mixture of both itinerary driven as well as being flexible enough to adapt to changes in travel plans.

As it was our first time traveling together, we spent a lot of time planning and researching for the trip. Our travel plans included an itinerary since we would be moving from one place to another (around Queenstown, Tekapo and Wanaka), so we needed to follow a schedule as we would be checking in and out of hotels etc.

However when we were in the towns itself, we let ourselves wander happily and didn’t stick to specific timings or needing to follow every step. We had some places in mind that we wanted to go, so we just went with the flow. Like, on our second day in Queenstown we decided to go up on the Skyline Gondola, explored Queenstown central and then decided on a whim to go on a hike up on Queenstown Hill.

Reading bloggers’ travel posts on NZ really helped me a lot for the planning of the trip, so InsyaAllah, I will blog more about our kiwimoon soon. 🙂

Trolley + Art (Weekly Photo Challenge: Juxtaposition)

Trolley + Art (Weekly Photo Challenge: Juxtaposition)

I was walking along Arab St the other day and I saw this piece of art along the walls of one of the shop houses.

Two kids had been painted on the wall and then two trolleys had been attached to the wall such that it is positioned to show the two kids having fun in their respective trolleys. I can so imagine this scene in a supermarket! Why, I might even have been one of them when I was a kid in a supermarket with my parents, once upon a time. What a creative way to infuse art into the everyday!

Honestly I’ve walked past this before, thought it was “hmm, interesting,” and moved on. I’ve never really noticed and observed the juxtaposition of it all until this week’s photo challenge. The combination of the metal trolleys, the cement wall and the paintings made the contrasting effect into a really fun work of art.

Loved this week’s challenge as it made me notice contrasting things I would have usually just walked past.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Juxtaposition

Hang in there, kiddo.

Dear 16 -year old self,

Currently, it’s been slightly more than ten years since you’ve turned 16.

So I figured I’ll let you in on some little secrets of what’s to come… 😉

And maybe advice you a little on things. Coz this version of you is wiser and has done a bit of growing up…

You’ve always been a late bloomer compared to your friends, and you’re kind of awkward in your teenage years, but that’s okay.

At the stage where most of your friends started having boyfriends, you wonder if you’re going to ever have one. Don’t worry too much about it. In a few years, he will come looking for you. And soon, you’re going to get married to him. God reserved him for you all this while. So chill…

You have a group of friends from secondary school that you treasure a lot, and I’m sorry to tell you that you’re going to be separated from them because you went to a different tertiary institution from them. But that’s okay.

You soon made more friends in polytechnic and found close friends you now treasure. And the old friends from secondary school? You’re still close with them, so don’t worry about losing them.

So you found out that you were the only one out of your close friends, who went to a different polytechnic. Don’t be too upset kid. Coz hey, that’s where you met him; at a band competition nevertheless. He’s kinda shy, and he’s very passionate about music. You don’t have similar interests, but you’ll work it out.

And while you hated being in Red Cross in secondary school, because it wasn’t your first choice CCA and you joined because of your friend, you became very active in polytechnic. You joined the Malay Cultural Group and even took part in a play as part of their Hari Raya Performance. Way to go! You also joined the Adventure & Rock Climbing Club and even went up your first mountain! You climbed Mount Ophir (or Gunung Ledang in Malay) in Malaysia with them. Way to go! See? You’re cool like that. 😀

Along the way, you found a special group of friends who were striving to become better Muslims when you joined Nanyang Polytechnic Muslim Students Network. Through that, you met some of the most inspiring people and you joined Saff-Perdaus, where you developed yourself as a facilitator for youth camps. You loved making a difference in their lives, just as they did for yours.

You’re not supposed to know this yet, but in a couple of years you’re going to lose someone very very dear in your life. If I could tell you one advice now, it would be to spend as much time with ayah, your daddy-o. Coz you’re going to miss him too much when he’s gone. But you’re a tough cookie and you can handle this. Hang in there, kiddo. Always remember that Allah will always be with you.

For now, enjoy your single hood. Travel. Get involved in awesome projects. Love your parents and treat them kindly. Create something. Start a revolution. Just be yourself, because it would be such a waste to be someone else. 🙂

Inspired by Daily Prompt: Sweet Sixteen