Me too

Two days ago I met a flasher.

Today, on my Instagram feed, I saw TIME magazine posting stories of women speaking out to sexual harassment and name them as Person of The Year.

Only then I asked myself: “Was I sexually harassed?”.  I even had to google ‘What is sexual harassment?’ to make sure.

I found a reputable source but I can’t find ‘flashing’ or ‘flasher’. So I googled more and found another article which confirms flashing as ‘exhibitionism’. Flashing is sexual harassment.

If wasn’t for this timely news , I wouldn’t have put two and two together. I would just brush off the episode as one of the things that happens to people. I would not recognise it as sexual harassment.

When I was asked “Are you traumatised?”. I just scoff it off and said, “I’m brave. It’s ok”. It wasn’t bothering me. I wasn’t scared, shocked, or angry. I think the fact that I am so cool disturbs me.

Then I wonder why. Perhaps because I have faced this all my life regularly: catcalls, strange men trying to come too close, people I don’t know asking for my number, acquaintances hinting they want to take me home, men at work using their position to convince me go out with them.

It started since I was 13. After so many years, I’m immune to these unwanted attention. Unless something is said or done explicitly  e.g groping/rape/’I want to have sex with you’, it’s just ‘one of those things’.

Which is rather sad now that I think of it. I started to wonder if all these affected me in any ways. I realise it may have.

Maybe I don’t wear that much revealing clothes, put on too much makeup or perfume (despite the fact that I do like dolling myself up) because experience tells me that it means a lot more unwanted attention than usual.

Maybe that’s why I don’t like clubbing. Or that I prefer to work on my own and have the opportunity to choose who I want to work with.

Maybe that’s why I’m insensitive to romantic hints or advances that are too subtle. Or that I have a thing for boys who have no interest in me/clueless about women.

Maybe that’s why my parents were so protective of me when I was growing up. Or good friends wouldn’t allow me to take the cab and insist on sending me home especially when it’s too late.

Maybe that’s why I took the opportunity to learn Judo and continue learning it until I got a blue belt despite the training being extremely tough.

Sexual harassment shouldn’t be ‘normal’

The problem is that I think may be embarrassed to speak about all these. I don’t. I have never, actually.

Not because I think nobody would believe me. But rather they think that I’m making a big deal out of something small. Or that they may mistakenly think that I enjoy the attention. Or that I believe that I’m so attractive that these things happens to me.

It shouldn’t be so. We are not suppose to be embarrassed to speak out to sexual harassment.

Another point is to  acknowledge and share that many women face sexual harassment constantly. It’s so common that sometimes we don’t even know we are harassed. And even if we do, we think it is normal.

My girlfriends had been groped, flashed, propositioned, etc. They think it’s normal. So when it happens to me, I think “Oh, it happens all the time!”

That need to change. It’s not suppose to be normal or expected. I am also writing this in the hope that good men would understand sometimes why we behave the way we do and perverts to know that this intimidation culture is not ok.

Tomorrow

Tomorrow I need to be back to the same place I was flashed.

It was in broad day light, on a quiet street that was supposed to be busy but wasn’t because it was too early. I was walking happily to the place I wanted to go.

A man with messy hair, soot on his face, dressed in oversized grey clothing, came a few feet infront of me and pulled down his pants.

Thankfully I knew what he wanted to do before he did it. So I just looked away and quicken my pace.

My day went on as usual.

I know things wouldn’t change overnight. But I’m glad we are moving towards a positive direction: being able to speak out, not feel embarrassed about it, and understand it’s not our fault. I like how Tarana Burke said

“These women are able not just to share their shame but to put the same where it belongs: on the perpetrator”

I hope tomorrow I  will be safe and I thank God that these harassments had not deterred me from going where I want to go.

The French Life In Kuala Lumpur

Been adopting the Parisian lifestyle back in Kuala Lumpur:

🔸Walk more e.g using public transport, walk in the park

🔸Dine slowly with family and friends

🔸Appreciate and use beautiful things

🔸Immerse in arts

🔸Embrace bed hair

🔸Wear perfume

🔸Enjoy a glass of wine occasionally

🔸Not take things too seriously

Most of us merely exist and burdened with never-ending chores. I don’t want that.

I want to (re)design my life. I want one that is simple yet meaningful.

So I been spending time with people I love being with, taking the stairs instead of the lift, watercolour painting, writing calligraphy, listening to good music, using my curler less, perfuming myself and my home…

I really do love how the French LIVE life: fully and without abandon ~

Why bother painting anymore?

Bosie: I really don’t know why people bother painting portraits anymore. You can get a much better likeness with a photograph..

Robbie: But a photograph is just one moment in time, one gesture, one turn of the head. 

.

Wilde: Yes, portraits are not likenesses Mr. Gray. Painters show the soul of the subject, the essence.

.

(Excerpt from Wilde the movie)

Dies Slowly

Lee Kuan Yew once said that poetry is a luxury that Singaporeans cannot afford. I never truly understood what he means until recently.

If left on my own devices, I would choose to read literature (dying to read Educating Rita, War & Peace and Animal Farm). Now that I’m an adult and there’s so many things to learn, I finally understand. There are opportunity costs to things and often times you have to give up something pleasurable to gain something more practical.

I was introduced to the first part of the poem when I refused to travel so that I could concentrate on work. Today, I found the other parts of it and love it enough to want to remember it. So here’s a record for me and entertainment for you:

“Die Slowly” by Pablo Neruda

He who does not travel,

who does not read,

who does not listen to music,

who does not find grace in himself, dies slowly.

 

He who slowly destroys his own self-esteem,

who does not allow himself to be helped,

who spends days on end complaining about his own bad luck,

about the rain that never stops, dies slowly.

 

He who becomes the slave of habit,

who follows the same routes every day,

who never changes pace,

who does not risk and change the colour of his clothes,

who does not speak and does not experience, dies slowly.

 

He or she who shuns passion,

who prefers black on white,

dotting ones rather than a bundle of emotions,

the kind that make your eyes glimmer,

that turn a yawn into a smile,

that make the heart pound in the face of mistakes and feelings, dies slowly.

 

He or she who does not turn things topsy-turvy,

who is unhappy at work,

who does not risk certainty for uncertainty,

to thus follow a dream,

those who do not forego sound advice at least once in their lives, die slowly.

 

He or she who abandon a project before starting it,

who fail to ask questions on subjects he doesn’t know,

he or she who don’t reply when they are asked something they do know, die slowly.

 

Let’s try and avoid death in small doses,

always reminding oneself that being alive requires an effort by far

greater than the simple fact of breathing.

Only a burning patience will lead to the attainment of a splendid happiness.

This movie snob recent favourite films

I don’t watch TV or go to the cinema much. I find it absolutely frustrating to spend a few hours of my precious time on substandard films I don’t enjoy or be addicted to Korean dramas (some can be mindlessly fun to watch).

So unless the film is vouched by people whose taste I trust – I wouldn’t risk my time sitting infront of the screen and leave the cinema feeling like I’ve wasted my time.

(Though recently I’ve relaxed my stand a little, and will go for any movie with family and friends I really like just for their company).

Looking back at all the times I say ‘no’ to going to the cinema and at my recent movie list, I finally realise that I’m a movie snob…

Here’s a list of some of my favourite films that I’ve watched in recent times:

  1. Educating Rita
  2. War & Peace (2016  TV Series and 1956 film)
  3. Perks Of Being A Wall Flower
  4. Lou Salome
  5. Her
  6. Gone With The Wind
  7. Godfather 1 & 2
  8. Rear Window
  9. Forrest Gump

Educating Rita made me laughed out loud so many times – I don’t remember many films that has that capability (Ok, Big Bang Theory too). Rita is so amusing. And I love how two people who are so different find joy and inspiration in each other. Thank God, unlike Hollywood films, they did not end up together. The best platonic friendship movie ever!

Educating Rita is probably the only comedy. All of them are rather sombre. They all moved me – some even to tears. I like the first two so much, I immediately download them into my Kindle only to find that time will not permit me to read the dictionary-size War & Peace. Sigh.

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If you’ve watched any of these films, and know of other films you think I may like, please let me know!