Archive for September, 2009

kpinkThis year, Eid celebrations fall in the month of September. Eid, or Hari Raya Aidilfitri as it is known in the Malay language, is the festival that celebrates the end of the month of Ramadan.

Ramadan is the holy month in Islam where believers fast from dawn to sunset, and also abstain from negative thoughts and behavior, with the goal of strengthening one’s faith and character.

Hari Raya celebrates the victory of fulfilling the month of fasting, and it is also a time of renewal: both spiritual renewal and the renewal of ties among family, friends and the community.

The word renewalis a beautiful word. It connotes the linkage between a foundation that is already there and a rejuvenation, often with something new or improved. Embedded in the word is also the essence of hope, a quality that we all need through good and tough times.

Hari Raya celebrations organized by the Malaysian Islamic Foundation of North America (MIFNA), a voluntary, non-profit organization which strives to create a sense of community in California.

Hari Raya celebrations organized by the Malaysian Islamic Foundation of North America (MIFNA), a voluntary, non-profit organization which strives to create a sense of community in California.

The ketupat or rice dumpling is a much loved Hari Raya food. Young palm leaves are weaved (as shown above) into pouches, filled with rice, then boiled in a big pot.(Photo from The Star)

The ketupat,or rice dumplings in pouches made from palm leaf, is a much loved Hari Raya food. In our family, we gathered the night before to weave the pouches (shown above), fill them with rice, and boil them in a huge pot. (Photo from The Star)

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Whitney's comeback album.

Whitney's comeback album.

Whitney Houston is about to jumpstart her career, after a long absence from the music scene.

Whitney has a superb voice, and her songs have remained perennial favorites with me, and with millions of other fans.

At the height of her success, she seemed to have it all. Extraordinary talent, looks, hit after hit, and a supportive musical family with mother, Cissy Houston, a gospel and soul singer and her cousin, the famous Dionne Warwick.

Then when she got married, to Bobby Brown, her fans were puzzled and upset by her choice. Frankly, they felt that she made the wrong choice.

In her interview with Oprah on September 14, Whitney said that she was attracted to Bobby because “he allowed me to be me. He was fun. Passionate. Loving.”

In the reality TV show “Being Bobby Brown” which showed what went on in the couple’s lives, one could see that Bobby can be very charming and entertaining. I suppose, like many women, Whitney wanted a man who could make her laugh. Or perhaps, like some women, she was drawn to bad boys.

People blamed her marriage for the downward spiral from a classy young woman to one who lived a hard, fast and almost destructive life.

Whitney and Bobby...in happier times.

Whitney and Bobby... in happier times.

Ideally, a person brings his or her true character to a marriage, and retains personal responsibility to himself, while at the same time cultivating the relationship as a couple. But I have seen quite a few relationships where the marriage caused a huge negative impact on one of the spouses’ personal development. Such is the power and mystery of marriage, and Whitney’s marriage seems to be a good example of this.

Whitney told Oprah that she took her marriage vow very seriously and stayed with Bobby to make it work. I thought it was very wise of her to acknowledge to Oprah that it was difficult for Bobby to be in her shadow, and that contributed to problems in the marriage.

The drug abuse, lack of communication, pain and unhappiness became unbearable, and their divorce was finalized on April 24, 2007.

Now Whitney is at a new juncture of her life, determined to leave all that behind. Her new single I Look to You sounds great. Making a comeback is never easy, and it takes courage. Welcome back, Miss Houston.

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draw templateThere is a saying: “Laugh, and the world laughs with you”. Now, there might be a new saying:
laugh and your heart will thank you for it.

A study by cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore suggests that laughter, along with an active sense of humor, may help protect you against a heart attack.

The study compared the humor responses of 300 people. Half of the participants had cardiac problems, and the other half did not. Michael Miller, M.D., director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University  states that: ‘the most significant study finding was that “people with heart disease responded less humorously to everyday life situations.” They generally laughed less, even in positive situations, and they displayed more anger and hostility.’

He adds that perhaps we should add regular laughter to the list of things we do to keep healthy such as exercising and watching our fat intake.

There are many ways to find humor – funny movies, jokes , looking at the antics of animals and children.

I particularly like print cartoons. I appreciate not only the drawing skills, but also the special skill that goes towards creating humor in one succinct frame. I clip them and save them for a continuous supply of smiles and laughs.


Basic CMYK


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