How Political Correctness Ruins Hollywood

by Nursyamimie Sofi

There has been a declining viewership of western films in recent years as majority of American film fanatics and international viewers have turned to alternative entertainment programmes that are not from Hollywood (Fu, 2013). The rise of the Asian film industry, such as K-drama or Hallyu, has driven Western viewers to move away from Hollywood films. Film genres have remained stagnant (Neale, 2005). But Hollywood today is reinstating its dominance in the world by trying to promote a genre that highlights the Western lifestyle and maybe slowly injecting its social living standards in non-Western countries. This is shown on both traditional and new streaming platforms, such as television or at the cinema, as well as Netflix, Hulu etc.

What is political correctness? Roberts (1997) described it as language, policies or measures that are intended to avoid offense or disadvantage to members of particular groups in society. The term refers to avoiding language or behaviour that can be seen as excluding, marginalising, or insulting groups of people considered disadvantaged or discriminated against, especially groups defined by sex or race. In public discourse and the media, it is generally used as a pejorative, implying that these policies are excessive or unwarranted. In laymen’s term, it is an act deemed by liberals in America as a righteous virtue in upholding the minority race and sexual preference (Spencer, 1994).

To understand the current political correctness of today, one must look back at the origin of the movement. The term was first coined in the late 19th and 20th century under the leadership of Vladimir Lenin in Soviet Russia. Its function was to implement a condition of a socially contrast way of thought in the nation in the form of being socially and theoretically correct to give little room to any opposition opinion with the rulers. The indoctrination is heavily injected into factors that weigh heavily in a society, such as culture, social norms and race.

By late 1980s, most Western media and reporters criticised the term as a “usage that was deemed by the left to place censorship in the language being used in the news”. They argue its existence and usage is to “protect” ethnic minority culture and sexual preference.  This has led to the undermining of its credibility and reliability as it intends to appease the left wing of politics in the US and European countries. Certain phrases or words are deemed “racist” or “intolerant” to minorities and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) group (Raehn, 1997).

Hollywood is the latest to adopt the virtues of political correctness to appeal to the younger liberal masses. By the end of the millennium, Hollywood and entertainment industries in America face rigid competition from other entertainment businesses in producing music or films that cater to a wider audience outside America. Unlike the 1970s and1980s when Hollywood thrived globally, the viewers today are tuning less to Western production and are giving their support to local industries. Given also the fact that quarter of the US population is ethnically non-European ancestry, this demographic has demanded more representation of their own kind to be portrayed in TV shows and films.

As the US tries to uphold its “righteous” values and force them other nations, this too has been considered as another factor why the US entertainment industry is losing its fans.  Viewers outside the US cannot comply to or accept the virtues displayed by Hollywood. Recent Hollywood films even displayed distorted historical facts.  In late 2018, English director Christopher Nolan released his historical World War II film Dunkirk. The film was about the Britain army stranded at the shores of Dunkirk in France. They were trying to flee to England from the German army. Keep in mind this is a World War II film based on a true story. The distorted historical figures in the movie were the Britain army being portrayed. A few of the army men were actors of the African-American race. However, during the war, the Britain army did not consist of non-European ethnic fighting at the front line in Europe. This bad portrayal falsified history and gave a false view of the event to generations who watch the movie.

Another form of political correctness culture in the media is the diversity image Hollywood is trying to uphold in presenting a more diverse cast in today’s shows, compared with 20 years ago when most of the cast were Caucasian actors and actresses. The diversity that is being shown in TV shows and films from Hollywood often depicts an interracial cast instead of a cast that is fully non-whites or blacks. It is apparent that diversity reflected in Hollywood today only highlights multiracial cast when the make-up of the world population consists of different races with its own unique cultures, traditions, ways of living and behaviours.

But what has taken Hollywood by storm is a movement that is tied closely to politics in the US. The recent Oscars was one of the platforms used for such a political movement. One of the prominent women figures, Oprah Winfrey, used her airtime to preach women empowerment to the masses as opposed to receiving the award. What’s intriguing in this isn’t just how politics suddenly and explosively intersected with an awards-season release, it’s how the studio failed to punch back. Universal execs could have argued that the film is a celebration of an American hero; they could even offer to screen the movie at the White House. They did neither, partly because filmmakers refused to compromise their principles, and partly because they knew that placating conservatives would backfire at the Oscars.

What is obvious from the observation of political correctness is that Hollywood has a lot to study on the matter before adopting it senselessly onto its production and causing an uproar among the majority of audiences that can’t relate to the virtues of political correctness. Also, the adaptation should be freed of any political agenda to gain favours in the political American spectrum.

References


FAIRCLOUGH, N. (2003). `Political Correctness’: the Politics of Culture and Language.

Discourse & Society, 14(1), 17–28.doi:10.1177/0957926503014001927 

Fu, W. W. (2013). National audience tastes in Hollywood film genres: Cultural distance and

linguistic affinity. Communication Research40(6), 789-817.

Neale, S. (2005). Genre and hollywood. Routledge.

Raehn, R. V. (1997, June). The Historical Roots of Political Correctness’. In Free Congress

Foundation (Vol. 44).

Roberts, P. (1997). Paulo Freire and political correctness. Educational Philosophy and

Theory29(2), 83-101.

Spencer, M. E. (1994Spencer, M. E. (1994, December). Multiculturalism,“political correctness,” and

the politics of identity. In Sociological Forum(Vol. 9, No. 4, pp. 547-567). Kluwer Academic

Publishers-Plenum Publishers.

THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HALAL

by Nur Atikah binti Meor Rosli

Mass media is a medium or platform to reach large number of audiences. It can be divided into two categories namely electronic media which involves film, television, radio as well as recorded music, and print media which involves newspapers, books, pamphlets and comics. With the advancement of technology, media can be categorized as digital media that involves internet and mobile mass communication which provide services of mass media, i.e. emails, websites, blogs, and internet-based radio and television. There are several functions of media – it helps us interpret the past and encourages us to change what is necessary rather than stick to the status quo. We can learn technology by adopting new information from different sources of media as it has the ability to explain things that human beings are not able to which includes Halal certification towards basic needs of human being.

Halal certification in Malaysia is issued by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia and Islamic religious council of each state. Competent authority is the best tool in determining a product is genuine. Moreover, Malaysia has received several awards as the implication of Halal certification on food products. Although some suppliers do not provide the logo but most of the products are certified by JAKIM. The food products with Halal logo is produced to meet the Halal dietary requirements, standards, procedures and guidelines to be followed. This is also supported by (Sheikh Abdul Aziz, 2015) stated that, in order to ensure the halalness of each product, it is important to educate the industries on the concept of the “halalan thoyyiban” aspects which are related to the safety, nutritional content and aesthetic appeal of halal products. As Muslim, consumers need to seek for a product that is produce in compliance to Syariah which is based on the Quran and Sunnah as well as the Malaysian law.

Although, there are platforms with the information of Halal certification given but people are still confuse and questioning the importance of Halal. The major reasons that people should know about the Halal certification is that the cleanliness and purity of the process to produce the products and the existence of the logo is not just for Muslim but it is applicable for everyone because we need to consume product that is wholesome and healthy as well as free cruelty to animals and no harm to the environment. Previously, there were few cases involve with exploiting the Halal logo which form a huge confusion among Malaysians. One of the issue is that, both Vivian – Lee May Ling, 29 and Alvin – Tan Jye Yee, 30 have been arrested and fined due to the ‘Bak Kut Teh” posting on Facebook – July 3, 2013. They were charged with posting religiously insensitive pictures, inciteful content and pornographic pictures. The photo shows them eating ‘Bak Kut Teh’, a non-halal delicacy, with the greeting “Selamat Berbuka Puasa” and a halal logo. The picture went viral and sparked anger among Malaysians especially the Muslim society as they realized that ‘Bak Kut Teh’ is forbidden in Islam. Thus, they were charged under Section 4(1)(c) of the Sedition Act 1948, fined RM5,000.00 or imprisonment up to 3 years or both. The confusion will not be developed if the knowledge of Halal being implemented by human. This is because the Halal certification provide countless benefits and it is guarantee that the products are safe and clean for consumers.

Nevertheless, people today are aware with the usage of Halal logo and they have strong demand on the products because they claimed that the product with the certification is much more healthier and safer compare to product without the Halal certification. It is also supported by (R, M., Nasir & Chiew, 2010)where they stated that, Non-Muslim Russians made purchases from Muslim stores because they believe the products are fresh, safe and infection- free, and had confidence that Muslims would adhere. It is also supported by (Othman, Shaarani & Bahron, 2017) that. the emphasis on quality as well as hygiene and food safety is not necessarily something that really halal. Although the products are certified with Halal logo but it does not ensure that the product is safe to be consumed. Based on Surah Al-Baqarah in verse 168: O mankind, eat from whatever is on earth [that is] lawful and good and do not follow the footsteps of Satan. Indeed, he is to you a clear enemy. The statement above is supported by (Abd Rahim, Mohd Mansor, Yakob, & Ismail, September 2018) mentioned that, it is clear that places great emphasis on Allah SWT viewed about the cleanliness in everything including the quality of handling food from raw material until it is ready to be consumed. 

Halal logo can be associated with hygiene and food safety and it is clear that “Bak Kut Teh” is not suitable and forbidden for Muslims because of the procedure of slaughtering the animal which does not follow the Quran and Sunnah. The statement above is supported by (Ahadith, n.d.) from chapter 5, Surah Al-Mai’idah (The Table Spread with Food) mentioned in verse 3. Forbidden to you(for food) are: Al-Maytatah(the dead animals-cattle-beast not slaughtered), the blood, the flesh of swine and the meat of that which has been slaughtered as sacrifice for others than Allah, or has been slaughtered for idols, etc., or on which Allah Name has not been mentioned while slaughtering and that which has been killed by strangling, or by a violent blow, or by a headlong fall, or by the goring of horns – and that which has been (partly) eaten by a wild animal – unless you are able to slaughter it(before its death) – and that which is sacrificied (slaughtered) on An-Nusub(stone altars).

Source: Sample of Halal Verified Engine by Department of Islamic Development Malaysia Retrieved from https://www.halalverified.com/Halnet/Details/1
Source: Halal Logo by Halal Malaysia Official Portal. Retrieved from http://www.halal.gov.my/v4/index.php?data=bW9kdWxlcy9uZXdzOzs7Ow==&utama=panduan&ids=gp1

Moreover, according to  (Amran, 2018), JAKIM has identified and recognized Halal bodies worldwide – namely Austria, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia, Brunei, Kanada, Chile, Egypt, Perancis, Jerman, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Maldives, Maghribi, Poland, Singapura, Korea Selatan, Sepanyol, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Arab Emiriah Bersatu (UAE) and Vietnam. Based on the above locations, it can be explained that Halal food or products have significant impact on Halal food entrepreneur and contributes to the country’s economy. This shows that people are more interested to purchase products with Halal recognition. According to Ustaz Amin from Masjid Tunku Mizan, UiTM Shah Alam, Malaysia based on his islamic perspective – Respecting each other is an advised attitude in Islam. Each and every Muslim in the world who have faith towards Allah SWT should have respect to Muslims and non-Muslims as well. The differences between cultures becomes a challenge but it has its own silver lining. We should take the benefit from the differences that we have to become more mature. The statement above was taken from Surah Al-Hujurat verse 13 which states, “O mankind! We have indeed created you from male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that you may know one another. The noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Allah is Knower, Aware.”

Source: Halal Certification Procedures. Retrieved from http://www.halalanquality.com/index.php/halal/halal-certification-procedures

The power of media is that people are able to provide and influence others with fake information through advertisement, pictures and messages. Nowadays, the content can be associated with implicit elements which does not affect the audience’s perception and behaviour immediately but if the medium is being used to encourage and provide genuine information especially towards Halal certification, people would be able to live a healthy life style without feeling doubtful. The government agency also plays an important role to ensure the product is verified so that we can educate and produce more Halal products worldwide.

References

Abd Rahim, S. A., Mohd Mansor, S. K., Yakob, M. A., & Ismail, N. (2018). FOOD SAFETY, SANITATION AND PERSONAL HYGIENE IN FOOD HANDLING: AN OVERVIEW FROM ISLAMIC PERSPECTIVE. International Journal of Civil Engineering and Technology (IJCIET), Volume 9, Issue 9, pp. 1524–1530.
Retrieved from http://www.iaeme.com/MasterAdmin/UploadFolder/IJCIET_09_09_148/IJCIET_09_09_148.pdf

Ahadith, Q. &. (n.d.). AYATS RELATED TO HALAL FOODS FROM QURAN E KAREEM. Halal Guider.
Retrieved from http://www.halalguider.com/page.php?sluge=QuranAhadith%20about%20Food

Amran, S. N. (2018). JAKIM IKTIRAF 66 BADAN PENSIJILAN HALAL LUAR NEGARA. Kuala Lumpur: Berita Harian Online.
Retrieved from https://www.bharian.com.my/berita/nasional/2018/02/388093/jakim-iktiraf-66-badan-pensijilan-halal-luar-negara

Othman, B., Shaarani, S. M., & Bahron, A. (2017). The influnce of knowledge, attitude abd sensitivity to government policies in halal certification process on organizational performance. Journal of Islamic Marketing.
Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/304280352_THE_EFFECT_OF_HALAL_REQUIREMENT_PRACTICES_ON_ORGANIZATION_PERFORMANCE_AMONG_FOOD_MANUFACTURES_IN_MALAYSIA

R, F. G., M., Z., Nasir, M., & Chiew, E. (2010). Non-Muslim perception awarness of halal principle and related food products in Malaysia. International Food Reserach Journal 7 .
Retrieved from http://psasir.upm.edu.my/id/eprint/11717/1/NonMuslims_awareness_of_Halal_principles.pdf

Sheikh Abdul Aziz, D. W. (2015). MANUAL PROCEDURE FOR MALAYSIA HALAL CERTIFICATION (THIRD REVISION)2014. Putrajaya: Department of Islamic Development Malaysia.
Retrieved from http://www.halal.gov.my/v4/images/pdf/protocol%20halal%20meat%20poultry.pdf

Over & Over Again: A Radio Tale

by Nur Azureen binti Effendi

Advances in technology have given the youth more ways in access an increasing amount of information. Local and international news can be read in the newspaper, listened to on radio, watched on television and found on smartphones or online. For those with access to these options, a wealth of information and entertainment is always readily available. In areas where access to technology is expensive, radio continues to play an important role in information sharing.

Radio broadcasts can provide information and entertainment broadcasted 24 hours a day to provide the most recent updates about news or something entertainment related to listeners. Essentially, radio is virtually everywhere at any time of the day. It is very handy, easily accessible, cheap and it is a perfect portable information that is accessible at home, in the office or in the car. 

However, there are loads of grumble regarding radio station in Malaysia such as “why radio stations keep playing the same song over and over again?”, “why does most radio stations have a morning show?”, “why radio stations need a feedback from caller about the topic?” (Khasim, 2019). Those questions have answered by one of the former radio announcer named Nadia Nazir at her Twitter account.

Radio stations in Malaysia have pattern program which means radio station contain morning show, afternoon show, evening show and night show. This program is using music with a wide audience appeal and with an emphasis on the presentation of the announcers (Francois, Douglas , & Guillaume , 2009). Besides that, Astro radio introduced format radio into stations. The idea of having format radio is to cater the age of groups. Mature content and 90’s music with entertaining announcers, listeners would tune to Sinar and Mix. On the other hand, radio station such as Era, Hitz and FlyFM are suitable for younger generation.

Since people are enjoying with familiarity, this is the reason why radio format was introduced. It is easier for radio listeners to choose as all radio stations fall under different categories.   All radio stations have their own ways of targeting to private niche populations with niche content. Radio format refers to the overall content of a radio station and therefore it will prevent confused or mixed with programming. For instance, while a radio which plays fresh popular music for teens another which on air more news and talk content. The format gives an identity to the radio station and it is use as a marketing tool for the radio company through its audience and advertising market.

However, people may see complain on social media about the high repetition of songs, announcers keep on talking for minutes and they stated tuning to other radio. The truth is, every radio station has their own formula and already have their own target audience. Whenever you feel uncomfortable, do not like the music, do not like the repetition, that means you are tuning to wrong radio. The slogan “customer is always right” can apply to the radio as well because listener is king to your own ear. Whichever your choice is, you may tune to other radio station to suit your feeling. Radio stations do not just put anything on air because they feel like it. They do it because people want it.

The repetition of songs may give you feel bored, then again, this group of people are niche. The format of radio stations has large listenership as the formula works. In Malaysia, there were radio stations that play indie songs or random songs nevertheless, those radio stations did not last very long. It shows that some people may like indie and random genre, but the mass do not enjoy it. Malaysia is a small country as well as the entertainment industry itself, having 100000 listeners on radio will not bring in the advertisers which is the main way radio generates revenue.

Moreover, the most complain radio stations get from social media user is about announcers’ ramble to talk for two to three minutes. According to (Setiowati, 2018), the announcers play an important role as to reached wide listeners and to ensure content of the program present fresh ideas and not predictable. In fact, the announcers able in creating a consistent style which means they regulates the tone of the program by his/her individual approach to the listener.

Radio is a medium to reaching the public and it is immediate reaction. It is the modern equivalent to the village story-teller. Through words, sounds and human voice, radio talks to the listeners directly. Although it sounds like easy to reach the audience, need to have skills and strategies to make sure listeners not tuning to other station. One of the ways practiced by the radio stations to give freshness and newness to listeners and keep them tuned into their stations by hiring famous celebrities to handle the program. For example, Era.je hiring Johan, Sinar radio hiring Jep Sepahtu, Hot FM hiring Shuib Sepahtu and all of them are famous comedian in Malaysia. The question here, whether radio stations use celebrities for morning shows to ensure listeners become loyal to the radio station.

From the research held by (Setiowati, 2018), it is proved that the use of famous celebrities as radio announcer able to reach listeners. The celebrities have their own fans and followers thus, the listeners tune to the radio station is because of they want to listen and support their favourite celebrity. Other than that, radio listening habits of most people are when they leave or return to work or other activities. They used to listen to the radio in the car as of traffic density that makes them need more time in vehicle. Morning drive or morning show usually provide some chats and jokes to cheer up their listeners that is still sleepy while they have to go to their schools, campuses, or works. Theoretically, whether a station using celebrities to host the morning show, they must plan a consistent content of the program. A consistency in programming will form a positioning about the station in the minds of listeners.

References

Francois, M., Douglas , E., & Guillaume , D. (2009). Streerable Playlist Generation By Learning Song Similarity From Radio Station Playlist. 10th International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference.

Khasim, R. (2019, March). Radio Market Structure and Music Diversity. (N. A. Effendi, Interviewer)

Setiowati, E. (2018). The Pattern Program of The Morning Radio Sequence: Study of Four Major Stations in Jakarta. KnE Social Sciences.

BEATING THE HEAT

by Nur Amira Baharuddin

Ah, it’s hot outside! This could be the hottest day of the heat wave, so how do you keep yourself cool? Grumbling about the climate appears to be common nowadays. However, in areas where the mercury’s taking off, these are not mere complaints. Most parts of Malaysia have been experiencing exceptionally hot weather for the past few weeks. High temperatures have been recorded in some areas, while others recorded only moderate readings. So, in the event that you truly can’t stand the heat, consider to play it safe and think of your safety! Higher temperatures can affect our bodily system and mental capacity – and our pockets due to electric bills surges (Merill, 2019). Avoid being exposed to the hot spells.

For some people, hot nights are far more terrible than hot days. Lack of rest and fatigue can influence our adaptability to the warm climate, therefore, precaution measures should be taken seriously (Williams, 2010). Keep your shades and windows shut throughout the day until about 6 pm to reduce the impact of the sun on the air indoors. At night, open every window so you that may get a draft which can help cool the air once more. By doing so, you can reduce the heat, and obviously you don’t want your home to get excessively hot in the daytime, right?

Hydration is also important. Drink up and make bottle of water as your closest companion. Drink lots of water anytime and anywhere you can. If you sweat more than you usually do, it may be due to the climate change, make sure you drink a lot of water to stay hydrated (Gunnars, 2018; Iftikhar, 2018). A test to ensure he or she is well-hydrated is by checking the color of the person’s urine. When you are well-hydrated, the color of your urine should be between clear and light yellow. If it is the other way around, you know what to do, right? Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate by drinking more water.

Even though it is hot outside, it does not mean that you need to quit working out. You can become accustomed to exercising in the hot weather by taking these steps – opt for water sports instead, include short breaks in your exercise routines and keep away from the sun whenever you can. Precooling strategies can keep you from overheating when you workout in the sweltering climate (Vorvick, 2018). Be careful. Heat-related illnesses, including heat weariness, heat cramps or even worse, heat stroke, can always attack you, so beware!

You must also protect your skin. To do so, always remember to stay under the shade or apply sunscreen on your skin. Most people do not apply enough sunscreen to protect their skin. Always remember to “generous” when applying sunscreen as you surely don’t have the intention to be hospitalized for heat-induced skin problems, right? Be smart. Spending too much time under the sun too can increase the risk of you getting a heat stroke or sunburn (Mead, 2008). When you get sunburnt, it can cause severe pain and extreme discomfort. Limit your time outdoors, especially during the pinnacle hours of the hot days and make it a point to use sunscreen as well.

Indeed, even young and fit individuals can be affected by the sweltering climate. You need to ensure that you are well-hydrated. You must also avoid doing too many activities outdoors so that you can prevent from putting yourself in danger. If you don’t do this, you might suffer from heat exhaustion. When this occurs, you will start to feel dizzy. You could also suffer from heat stroke, which is a condition caused by your body overheating, usually as a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures (Stoppler, 2018). When you get heat stroke, it is like as if the proteins in your body are being “cooked”, causing serious harm to your body. When you’ve cooked an egg, you can’t uncooked it. Haha!

Apart from that, another way to beat the heat is by wearing loose garments and spending your daily activities in the shade. If you ever feel that you are suffering from symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, you must immediately take necessary steps to address the problem. Heat-related illnesses can be avoided as long as you take precaution during this hot and dry spell (Felson, 2017). Remember to avoid heavy work or activities, especially during the hottest hours of the day. If you need to mow the lawn or attend to your garden, for example, do it when it is not so hot outside. Always look out for cool spots to carry out your activities. Avoiding the heat can have great benefits not just to your body, but also your emotional and mental wellbeing.  

The hot weather may be little by little upsetting, especially in a country like Malaysia. People need to take precaution to beat the heat. Heat and humidity can affect us in many ways so don’t take them for granted and always remember to play it safe. May every one of you remain cool, safe and have a decent day!

REFERENCES

Felson, S. (2017, July 20). Understanding Heat-Related Illness — the Basics. Retrieved from WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/first-aid/understanding-heat-related-illness-basics

Gunnars, K. (2018, June 20). How Much Water Should You Drink Per Day? Retrieved from Healthline Media: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-much-water-should-you-drink-per-day

Iftikhar, N. (2018, September 28). Healthline Media. Retrieved from How Can You Tell If You’re Dehydrated?: https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-tell-if-youre-dehydrated

Mead, M. N. (2008). Benefits of Sunlight: A Bright Spot for Human Health. Environmental Health Perspectives, 116(4), A160-A167.

Merrill, C. (2019, July 14). Summer Heat Can Take Its Toll. Retrieved from WeatherBug: https://www.weatherbug.com/news/Summer-Heat-Can-Take-Its-Toll

Stoppler, M. C. (2018, May 23). Heat Stroke Symptoms, Signs, First Aid, and Recovery. Retrieved from MedicineNet: https://www.medicinenet.com/heat_stroke/article.htm#heat_stroke_definition_and_facts

Vorvick, L. J. (2018, March 8). How to avoid overheating during exercise. Retrieved from MedlinePlus: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000865.htm

Williams, C. (2010). The Effects of Heat Acclimation Followed by Sleep Deprivation on Perceived Exertion, Thirst, and Thermal Sensations in Exercising Males. Honors Scholar Theses, 145.

Going Off the Grid in Malaysia

by Idham Firdaus Alias

According to www.urbandictionary.com; “Off the Grid” is an adj. unrecorded, untraceable through normal means (Jesus, 2004). This means that one does not want to be found via phone, email, social media etc. and basically just turn off our mobile phones. But is it even possible these days now that everyone has a mobile phone and everyone has at least one social media account? Having them is a necessity by today’s standards. Probably one of the negative effects that we will experience after deactivating all our social media accounts is that we could be forgotten. To some people, if you don’t have Facebook or Twitter, you don’t exist. Maybe we will end up not talking to a lot of people simply because we no longer have WhatsApp on our phones.

Maybe going totally of the grid forever is kind of extreme. Let’s take a few steps back. What we should do is go off the grid for a few days. Luckily Malaysia has a combination of rainforests, biodiversity and a more rural way of life within our reach from the big cities. Let’s forget about our phones and emails for a moment. Here are some tips to get off the grid in Malaysia.

Heading deep into the best of Malaysia’s national parks

Mulu Marriott Resort and Spa, It sits next to the Gunung Mulu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sarawak Borneo. It’s the only five-star luxury resort in the Mulu region. Picture by Mulu Marriott Resort and Spa (Marriot Hotel, 2019)

The easiest way to get off the grid in Malaysia involves taking a trip into the rainforest. Phone signals, Wi-Fi connections and social media updates are virtually non-existent when you’re surrounded by the dense jungle. Due to its significant topographic variations, Malaysia’s rainforests are also diverse in nature, including lowland and highland rainforests, peat swamp forests and mangrove forests amongst others. Don’t expect a phone signal when you’re this far from civilisation. Experiences range from jungle treks and canopy walks to heading deep underground through limestone passageways.

We’re not suggesting wandering out into the dense foliage alone in the hope of escaping the modern world. Instead, book a night or two at Malaysia’s Taman Negara or National Park and be enthralled by the stunning range of biodiversity thriving there. And you don’t have to rough it either. The on-site accommodation ranges from camping facilities and hostel beds to more luxurious eco-lodges.

Banjaran Titiwangsa or the Main Range, runs along the backbone of Peninsular Malaysia and stretches 500km southwards from the Thai border. It plays a vital role in serving as water catchment areas to supply fresh water for almost 90% of the Peninsula’s water needs. Over in East Malaysia, the famed GunungMulu National Park in Sarawak and Kinabalu National Park in Sabah have been declared as UNESCO World Heritage Sites (David, 2018).

Have your own desert island experience

You can the beach all to yourself! Picture by Lukas Uher (ShutterStock.com, 2019)

Funny, most Malaysian learned about Pulau Tiga Island in a foreign TV game show called “Survivor” in year 2000. In this reality game series produced by CBS network, 16 Americans were competing with one another on Pulau Tiga and the sole survivor took home $1 million. The Survivor TV series was so famous that it gave Pulau Tiga a new nickname “Survivor Island“ (My Sabah, 2012).

Pulau Tiga means “Island of Three” in Malay language. In 1978, Pulau Tiga is gazetted as a Marine Park, which covers an area of 158 square KM (96% is sea rich with coral reefs). The Park consists of 3 islands, namely, Pulau Tiga (Survivor Island) being the main island, Pulau Kalampunian Besar (Sands Spit Island) and Pulau Kalampunian Damit (Snake Island). Of the 3 islands, only Pulau Tiga Island has accommodation, the other two islands are uninhabited To visit Pulau Tiga, just drive 2.5 hours, about 114 KM from Kota Kinabalu city to Kuala Penyu town, then take a 20-minute boat ride to reach the island 15 KM away.

The game is long over, hosting the first season of the popular TV series, the island has since transformed into a major tourist attraction. Most visitors spend the day and return to Kota Kinabalu in the evening. Others prefer to stay the night at the island’s mini-resort. Nothing beats standing on an empty beach watching the boat sail away towards the horizon. Don’t expect a phone signal when you’re this far from civilisation. Instead, grasp the chance to get off the grid and leave the modern world behind for a few hours or maybe for a few days.

Spend the Night in a Kampong

Walking through the rice paddy fields was a great way to unwind Picture by adventureswithfamily (Rosie, 2016)

A Malaysian Homestay in a traditional village, called ‘Kampong’, is the best way to get to know the real Malaysia. Kampung Sungai Haji Dorani, in Sungai Besar, Selangor is one of the several villages that has been selected by the Ministry of Tourism to provide a Malaysian homestay experience. ‘Kampong’ stay is very popular amongst visitors from Singapore, Europe and Japan.

The idyllic image of Kampung Sungai Haji Dorani surrounded by rice fields and palm trees features on souvenirs and paintings in the touristy areas. As part of the homestay, the host can arrange for several activities for guests. This includes kite flying and fishing by the river. Walking through the rice paddy fields and the surrounding kampong area is a great way to unwind and enjoy the peaceful and quiet rural area. But experiencing this setting for yourself combines a picturesque retreat with an opportunity to get off the grid in Malaysia. Kampongs, or villages, fill the countryside in West Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo. Some villagers rent their space as guesthouses or an Airbnb.

Embrace the rural lifestyle, hospitality and lack of connectivity. There are many more villages that offer a Malaysian homestay, and each one is different.  Some villages have rice paddy fields, while others have durian and other fruit orchards. Some focus on traditional crafts like basket weaving or kite-making.  Activities available at each homestay are also different.

References

David, H. J. (2018, May). 10 magical Malaysian rainforest retreats. Retrieved from CNN: https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/malaysia-rainforest-resorts/index.html

Jesus, K.-f. (2004, May). off the grid. Retrieved from UrbanDictionary.com: https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=off+the+grid

Marriot Hotel. (2019, May). Main Page. Retrieved from Mulu Marriot Resort and Spa: https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/myymu-mulu-marriott-resort-and-spa/

My Sabah. (2012, Aug). Pulau Tiga, the Survivor Island of Borneo. Retrieved from My Sabah: http://www.mysabah.com/wordpress/pulau-tiga-the-survivor-island/

Rosie. (2016, Apr). Kampung Dorani Malaysian Homestay. Retrieved from Adventures With Family: https://www.adventureswithfamily.com/kampung-dorani-malaysian-homestay/

ShutterStock.com. (2019, May). Borneo. Retrieved from ShutterStock.com: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/borneo-573586030

2019 Women’s March: The endless fight for women’s rights

by Puteri Sarah Hanim Mohamad Shaiful

If your Instagram, Twitter or Facebook feed was a constant stream of images and video from the recent 2019 Women’s March, you were not alone. Social movements reflect dissatisfaction with socio-political environments and are a platform for communicating dissent. In other words, by mobilising large numbers of people, collective action can be taken to address discontent. Social media pages and online platforms allow us to connect and communicate with the world. We can share what is going on within the global community and take part in emerging conversations. Women have constantly been undermined in the eyes of our society, causing them to have to fight for the equality they know they deserve. This fight is known as the feminist movement and has been in the works for centuries. Although women have gained a lot since the start of the feminist movement, the fight for equality is still nowhere near over –from fighting for the right to vote years ago to the over pricing of feminine products now. 

Photo taken from the Malay Mail on 09 March 2019
by Ida Nadirah Ibrahim “In Women’s Day march, hundreds gather to demand end to patriarchy”

Thousands march for women’s rights, gender equality in KL  by Yimie Yong by The Star Online mentioned that, More than 100 women gathered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to take part in the #WomensMarchMy on March 9.  The event aimed to call for greater women’s rights. This is usually an open platform for women to put forth what they are fighting for. Several groups, including Women’s Aid Organisation, Sisters in Islam, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender activists, joined the rally. The near 1km walk spread over from Sogo Shopping Mall. During the walk, social activists and individuals of various foundations conveyed notices, banners, and standards. Nonetheless, it is dismal to realize that the open did not so much handle the targets of the walk as the general population were for the most part centered around the LGBT people group who joined the occasion. The gathering, as a feature of its #PelangiCampaign, accepted the open door to advocate for LGBT equivalent rights for all LGBT individuals during the walk.

Pic taken from @KuasaSiswa (Fahmi Reza) https://twitter.com/kuasasiswa/status/1105367379800813568?s=20

It must be noted that issues that are important to one group may not affect another or may not even be important to observers outside the sphere of concern in the Women’s March, yet it does not take away the fact that these are the issues that have to be tackled.

According to Arveent Kathirtchelcan in MalaysiaKini Understanding the Women’s March article, Many felt that specific requests in the Women’s March were unpalatable. One such picture from the occasion that has since turned into a web sensation demonstrates a lady conveying a notice expressing ‘Let My Nips Be Free’ close by an illustration of naked bosoms. The objection was centered around pictures, for example, these, censuring women’s activists for not discussing appropriate issues during the walk

Photo taken from Blogspot http://khairulryezal.blogspot.com/2019/03/malaysia-baru-lgbt-berleluasa.html

If you’re one of those who ask, “what else do women want?”, bear in mind that a number of issues were raised during the march. Here’s a list of things that women are — the elimination of gender discrimination, an end to violence against women, the strengthening of women’s rights, and a push for equal opportunities and wages.

The policing of women’s bodies, from what they wear to whether or not they wish to have a child, is up for discussion and everyone seems to have an opinion about these matters. The narrative that women should wear certain clothes and act in ways that’ll keep men from sexually harassing or raping them is problematic in so many ways.
Not only does it put the responsibility and blame on women, but is also an insult to men who are perfectly capable of respecting women. The issue of child marriages is not new in Malaysia. Every time a story of a much older man marrying a child is covered in the news, outraged comments and calls for the ban of child marriages can be heard only for the noise to gradually disappear after a while. Not this time. Advocates for the ban of child marriages are taking it to streets to call for the ban, without exceptions.

It’s a new year: a chance to move beyond the mistakes of the past and build a new beginning.  Women’s rights include rights that establish the same social, economic, and political status for women as for men. Women’s rights ensure that ladies won’t stand up to isolation dependent on their sex. Women’s rights is thought little of these days, yet when one looks at the clash of women, it goes out to that there is far to go to achieve real equalization. It wasn’t until the twentieth century that laws constrained by the organization regarding ladies rights made indisputably the most basic obstructions checking Women’s rights. Since most women missed the mark on the informational and fiscal resources that would enable them to challenge the social requests, women, all around, have recognized their inferior status as their singular decision. Women drove various administrative undertakings to ensure their throwing a poll, work and conceptive rights.

Women have had numerous incredible achievements with their challenge, yet many still choose to disregard the way that there is sexual separation. Men are still more regarded than Women. In addition to the fact that they receive more significant salary, however the items that are advertised towards them are less expensive than those showcased for women. In any case, new ages are overwhelming the development with even guys supporting women in their battle. The issue of women rights close by isn’t leaving at any point in the near future, however its developing fame offers would like to each one of those battling for correspondence.

REFERENCES

A.T.M Shahjahan, K.Chisty. (2014). “Social Media research and its effect on our society” . International journal of Information 7 communication Engineering , 2014.

Clark, Eric. . (2012). “Social Media & Social Movements: A qualitative study of Occupy Wall Street.”.

Yong, Y. (9 March, 2019). Thousands march for women’s rights, gender equality in KL. Retrieved from The Star Online : https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/03/09/thousands-march-for-womens-rights-gender-equality-in-kl/

Kathirtchelvan, A. (11 March, 2019). Understanding the Women’s March . Retrieved from MalaysiaKini : https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/467450

Not Enough Money to Travel to Istanbul? Putrajaya Also Have Hot Air Balloons

by Sakinah Binti Abdullah

The moment you imagine Istanbul, one thing that will cross your mind would be hot air balloons. A hot air balloon is a lighter than aircraft. It consists of a bag which contains heated air. Suspended beneath is a gondola or wicker basket, which carries passengers. Its source of heat helps float it above the blue sky that reveals myriad hues of scenic landscapes. Undoubtedly, it’s a bucket list activity for tourists in Turkey.

Don’t worry! If you don’t have enough money to travel to Istanbul, you can still experience a hot air balloon ride in Putrajaya with the International Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. The #MyBalloonFiesta is a homegrown festival initiated by AKA Balloon Sdn Bhd and supported by Putrajaya Corporation. The 10th Putrajaya Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2019 took place in Presint 2. The four-day event on March 28. The best part is the event entry is free of charge for everyone. The uniqueness of the fiesta attracted both Malaysians visitors from over 70 countries (MyBalloonFiesta, 2019).

Photo by #MyBaloonFiesta (MyBalloonFiesta, 2019)

The event hosted various hot air balloonists from across the world. The free event previewed a collection of more than 20 hot air balloons of various designs and colors from different international participants of the world, such as Thailand, Japan, Brazil, Belgium, Spain, and United Kingdom. Hot air balloons in shapes of Robot Woozi, Pink Gnome, Bruno the Clown, Pink Elephant, Tako the Octopus, Happy Chan and Black Bear were showcased during the event (Nair, 2019). Plus, the attraction made available at the fiesta was an igloo-shaped balloon which formed by using recyclable material such as used hot air balloon (Sulaiman, 2019)

Photo by #MyBalloonFiesta (MyBalloonFiesta, 2019)

Even though the event was open to public, people could still opt for a more intimate experience with balloons. As for the hot air balloon activities, visitors got to enjoy different packages and experiences, such as riding in a hot air balloon and getting up close and personal with the balloons and pilots. If you registered with My Balloon Club by Gamuda Land members, you will get an exclusive membership where visitors get special privileges to enjoy a gourmet breakfast buffet spread in a Tropical-themed Glamping Tent. While enjoying a live jazz performance and other picnic activities and an exclusive tethered balloon ride, some could even enjoy you a free night glow access ticket. It’s limited to 100 members per day only and some were even entitled to #myballoonfiesta official merchandise! It’s in the Blue Zone, which was where all the balloons took off and Pink Zone where the picnic area was. In order to register, adults had to pay RM300 each while children above 4 were charged RM250 each (MyBalloonFiesta, 2019).

Photo by #MyBalloonFiesta (MyBalloonFiesta, 2019)

The 10th Putrajaya Hot Air Balloon Fiesta 2019 is one of the main iconic events listed in Putrajaya Corporation calendar of events. This fiesta can encourage family togetherness, couples and friends by having fun with a variety of activities for all ages. Held during school holidays, it is the perfect time for a quick family getaway. If you couldn’t make it this year, don’t missed out the exciting Hot Air Balloon Fiesta for the next year!

REFERENCES

MyBalloonFiesta. (2019). Retrieved on 12th April 2019 from https://www.myballoonfiesta.com/

Nair, V. (2019, March 29). Hot air balloon fiesta takes off in Putrajaya. Retrieved on 12th April 2019 from The Star Online: https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2019/03/29/hot-air-balloon-fiesta-takes-off-in-putrajaya/.

Sulaiman, N. A. (2019, February 25). Hot air balloon fiesta returns to Putrajaya [NSTTV]. Retrieved on 12th April 2019 from New Straits Times: https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2019/02/463530/hot-air-balloon-fiesta-returns-putrajaya-nsttv

Why is Feminism popular? Look at the way we treat our women

by Muhammad Naim Muhamad Ali

As of 2013, the world population is estimated to be around 7, 162, 119. 434 people, with 49.5 percent of the population are women (United Nations Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2019). According to the statistics provided, Malaysia accounted 31.97 million as of 2017, with 48.60 percent is female, yet their every action is still scrutinized, which in turn influences their being and livelihood (Masika & Joekes, 1996). Women, regardless of age, face society’s discrimination when doing the same things that men got away with. Women today are working together to fight for equal treatment, rights, and privileges enjoyed by their male counterparts. However, such efforts showed slow progress due to some factors.

Women generally have fewer rights and opportunities than men (Peace Corps, 2017). The report by Peace Corps highlighted that women have fewer opportunities for economic participation than men, following less access to basic and higher education, health, and safety risks and political representation. Women often assumed the role of wifehood and motherhood which were regarded as women’s most noble – if not only, professions in the early centuries. In the 20th century, for the first time in history, women in most nations, the United Kingdom for instance, finally won the right to vote, as well as to get an education and better job opportunities (Lethbridge, 2018). Perhaps most importantly, what they have fought for accomplished a reevaluation of traditional views of their roles in society

Source: Financial Times

Men are generally perceived as the head of the family. As such, a man is seen as his family’s breadwinner, while his wife will be staying at home to raise their children and take care of the household. In the past, this was considered as a norm for women – to be housewives — but as time goes by, living expenses hiked due to changes in developments and policies. To cushion the rising cost of living, women then started to look for ways to contribute to their families. To do this, they started working — it doesn’t matter how much they were getting paid as long as they could help their husbands.

A year or so ago, I found an article published in The Star newspaper titled “Gender-wage bias still raging”. The article focused on the wage gap in Malaysia. In 2015, women generally earned 8.4 percent less than men. Data retrieved from the National Statistics Department’s Salaries and Wages Survey Report 2013 showed that men typically earn RM2,260 a month, while women earn RM2, 071 for doing the same job. Issues concerning the wage gap between men and women gave rise to the question: why do governments have such biased policies when it comes to salaries for men and women? Don’t women deserve to be paid as much as men? The wage gap is real, as shown in studies done throughout the years. The article too highlighted that despite being skilled, women are paid less than their male colleagues, who are paid 39.7 percent more than them (around RM588).

I recalled watching a movie based on a true event, Made in Dagenham, which dabbled about semi-skilled Ford women machinist who went on strike due to denied pay raise by the management. It may seem a cliché to some people, but this is the reality. Women hardly get pay raise because most of the time they are deemed less capable and productive than men in their work performance due to their childrearing and other related women-related roles (Masika & Joekes, 1996).

Another issue concerning women that should be addressed is, “Are women being taxed for being women?” Yes! The New York Times (2018) highlighted that women are not aware that they are paying more for certain products and services. This is due to the Pink Tax which is additional charges for certain items targeted at women. A lot of research on the pink tax found that women have been paying more than 42 percent than men, on average $1,351 a year of extra costs (Elliot, 2019). Tampons are considered a luxury and not a necessity in many countries. In the United States, some states abide by the tampon tax. The razor is, however, zero-rated in tax because it is used by men who believe that their need to be cleanly shaven is a human right. As such, it is interesting to note that whatever that is used and considered a necessity by men (in order to maintain their hygiene health) is usually zero-rated, unlike items that are needed by women for the same purpose. Is the use of tampons, not a human right? Women must pay at least US$7 for tampons for at least 40 years of their lives and as such, it is now considered a luxury that can’t even be afforded by those from poor countries.

Women did not demand to be treated like men. They demand to be treated equally – because the idea is both genders are equal, but not identical. There are things women are not supposed to do unless in circumstances that they could not afford to avoid. Society, especially men, must end the stigma and discriminations towards women because the world has evolved, and this is no longer a man’s world. Women are not second-class citizens. They do not deserve to be treated with discrimination and prejudice. Not all women are damsels in distress.

Feminism is not a dangerous word as some men would think (some might think that women are going for global domination). It is also not a dangerous movement. It only means the advocacy of women’s rights based on the equality of the sexes (Offen, 1988). People – especially men – need to understand the concept of advocating for women’s rights. They may not have to support the cause, but showing respect to it, is more than enough because how would we feel if we are treated unfairly on a daily basis? This topic might seem petty compared with racial inequality faced by some races for many years. But, in any culture and race, there are men and women who live together and each one of them should embrace and celebrate diversity and differences with respect and harmony.

References

Elliot, C. (2019). The Pink Tax- The Cost of Being a Female Consumer. Retrieved July 22, 2019, from Listen: Money Matters: https://www.listenmoneymatters.com/the-pink-tax/

Lethbridge, L. (2018, February 2). The women’s march: how the Suffragettes changed Britain. Retrieved July 22, 2019, from Financial Times: https://www.ft.com/content/22776930-05f6-11e8-9e12-af73e8db3c71

Masika, R., & Joekes, S. (1996). Employment and sustainable livelihoods: A gender perspectives. Institute of Development Studies, Gender Office of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), Brighton. Retrieved July 22, 2019

Offen, K. (1988). Defining Feminism: A Comparative Historical Approach (Vol. 14). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Retrieved July 22, 2019, from https://www.jstor.org/stable/3174664

Peace Corps. (2017). Global Issues: Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment. Retrieved July 22, 2019, from Peace Corps – Educator Resources: https://www.peacecorps.gov/educators/resources/global-issues-gender-equality-and-womens-empowerment/

Salt, K. (2018, March 2). The Hidden Taxes on Women. Retrieved July 22, 2019, from The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/02/business/women-hidden-taxes.html

United Nations Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs. (2019). World Population Prospects 2019. Retrieved July 22, 2019, from United Nations Population Division: https://population.un.org/wpp/DataQuery/

Is person living with OCD dangerous?

by Noor Farihah binti Rozali

Have you ever seen people wash their hand roughly and keep repeating the same thing all over again? Or take a long shower due to fear of germs and contamination? Do you have friends who constantly check all doors to make sure they are locked or who check their items for many times to ensure that everything is put in the correct order according to their size and colour? If yes, you don’t have to feel worried because they are not dangerous, and they can be treated.

All situations mentioned above are symptoms associated with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or in short, we can call it OCD. OCD is an anxiety and mental health disorder caused by an imbalance in neurotransmitters that can cause extra discomfort to those who experience it. OCD is a common, chronic (long-lasting) disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviours (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over in response to the obsession (NIMH, 2016).

Those who live with OCD can be categorised as  washers (they are afraid of contamination so they tend to wash things over and over again), checkers (as they repeatedly check things to make sure all are locked, off and so on because they are afraid of danger), doubters (having doubt if everything is not perfect or done just right, something terrible will happen, sinners (think that they will be punished if they did something wrong, counters (they may have delusions about certain numbers, colours or arrangements) and arrangers (obsessed with order and symmetry) (Pietrabissa, et al., 2015).

Back then, when I was a journalist, I did a special news report about OCD and interviewed one patient with a very bad OCD to the extent that she had to seek treatment from  Kuala Lumpur Hospital. She told me that she first experienced OCD-related symptoms when she was 13, but she never knew that she had it back then. Her family members started to sense something was wrong with her when she started spending almost five hours a day just to shower. Can you imagine how hard is that situation? Her OCD got worse when she entered college because whenever she went for her classes, she would go back to her hostel just to make sure that she had all her doors locked. This then caused her depression. She said no one wanted to be her friend as her OCD was disturbing. Then her parents took her out from college for a while to give her special treatment and now she is getting better.

Sometimes, we may think that situation is somewhat normal, but OCD patients really need help and treatment. We may think that it is good to have OCD because our house will remain clean, tidy and everything will be in order, but it is not easy to live with those who have OCD. Can you imagine if you are married to someone with OCD? You would have to face his or her frustration and anger each time you make a mess? You might even have to wait for hours just for your partner to get ready whenever you want to go out. This could affect your relationship. Yes, I am married to an OCD person and I know how it feels.

The most important thing is that we need to support those with OCD and help them. In my situation, for example, I always remind my partner not to take his shower for too long or not to wash his hand roughly as they are already clean. We need to distract them from doing something repeatedly. But if things are getting worse, we need to take them to get special treatment like cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) or medication.

OCD can affect both adults and children. However, there is nothing to be worried about as OCD can be treated even it takes time. In general, CBT teaches OCD patients with different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to the obsessions and compulsions (NIMH, 2016). Exposure and Response Prevention (EX/RP) is a specific form of CBT which has been shown to help many patients recover from OCD. EX/RP involves gradually exposing OCD patients to their fears or obsessions and teaching them healthy ways to deal with the anxiety they cause (Rajashekharaiah & Verma, 2016). Other therapies, such as habit reversal training, can also help to overcome this compulsion.

Besides that, doctors may prescribe different types of medications to help treat OCD patients, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and a type of serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI) called clomipramine (Stein, 2013). SSRIs and SRIs are commonly used to treat depression, but they are also helpful for the symptoms of OCD. SSRIs and SRIs may take 10–12 weeks to start working, longer than required for the treatment of depression. But one needs to remember that these medications may cause side effects, such as headaches, nausea, or difficulty sleeping. People taking clomipramine, which is in a different class of medication from the SSRIs, sometimes may experience dry mouth, constipation, rapid heartbeat and dizziness. These side effects are usually not severe for most people and improve as treatment continues, especially if the dose starts off low and is increased slowly over time.

In addition, another thing that OCD patients can do to overcome their conditions are first, learn triggers that worsen the symptoms to come out with effective coping strategies. Secondly, get enough sleep as it is good to have relaxing time and resting mind. Thirdly, one must consume nutritious food to have a good physical health. Fourthly, break big problems down into small chunks to get everything in a good order and ensure that things are manageable. Next, deal with issues immediately and keep calm. Lastly, address the emotion where OCD patients can find a trusted and comfortable person to share their feelings with. Talk to a friend if one is feeling sad, depressed, or angry about. Invite friends to go somewhere or do something to remove self from the situation.

In a nutshell, those with OCD are not dangerous, but they need to get help and treatment for them to have a better life. We must try to help them, support them, understand their situation and encourage them to get better. For those who are living with OCD, no need to worry because they will get better soon if support is given to them. It just takes time and do not give up.

References

NIMH. (2016). OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE DISORDER: When Unwanted Thoughts or Irresistible Actions Take Over. National Institute of Mental Health.

Pietrabissa, G., Manzoni, G. M., Gibson, P., Boardman, D., Gori, A., & Castelnuovo, G. (16 Deecember, 2015). Brief strategic therapy for obsessive–compulsive disorder: a clinical and research protocol of a one-group observational study. BMJ Open.

Rajashekharaiah, M., & Verma, P. (2016). Phenomenology of Obsessions and Compulsions in Indian Patients. International Journal of Contemporary Medical Research.

Stein, D. J. (2013). Obsessive compulsive disorder. South African Journal of Psychiatry .

HOW IT FEELS LIKE TO BE THE THIRD GENERATION WORKING AT NST

by Noor Amirah Asraf

I was recently asked about what it feels like to be the third generation member from my family working at the New Straits Times (NST). I have never really thought about this before. Why? Maybe… I needed a job and had seen an NST ad for sub-editors, I applied, went for the interview and got the job.

But this question made me recall the times when my father, Asraf Dahari, who was an NST photographer for 15 years, used to tell us, his children, about the joy he had working here. For as long as I can remember, my father has always described the years he spent at NST as the best time of his life. Even to this day, whenever we talk about NST or when people ask him about his experience working here, he would have nothing but good things to say.

When I told him that I wanted to apply to be a sub-editor at NST, he immediately supported my decision. He even went the extra mile in making sure that I prepared all the documents needed to apply for the position.

When I told him that I got the job that I wanted, he was overjoyed. He kept telling me how he was happy that his daughter chose to continue the family tradition of working here. He was beaming with pride when he sent me off on my first day of work. He told me how he wished my late grandfather, or Tok Ayah, was around to see his granddaughter serve the same English daily they once worked for.

My Tok Ayah, Dahari Ali, first joined NST as a reporter before he was appointed as chief reporter. The last post he held before he retired in 1982 was assistant group editor. My dad idolised his father. I remember well how he used to tell me great stories about Tok Ayah.

Tok Ayah was one of the very few people who supported my father’s decision to become a photographer instead of the engineer that his family wanted him to be. It was him who inspired my father to take pride in what he did for a living. It was him who taught my father to appreciate the hard work put in publishing newspapers — from writing, finding pictures that fit the stories to editing — Tok Ayah taught him not to take even the smallest details for granted. It was Tok Ayah who taught my father that working for a newspaper is a job that comes with great responsibilities –we are responsible for informing people about the things that are happening around us. 

Amid mounting excitement to embark on a new adventure in my first real, serious job, I suddenly felt like I had a huge burden to bear.

My father’s and Tok Ayah’s stories that I’ve kept close to my heart all these years, somehow, made me doubt myself when I first started working here.

On my first day of work, I couldn’t help but feel scared. Truth be told, as I was nervously walking to my desk for the first time, I could feel a tight knot forming in the pit of my stomach. I had so many thoughts running through my head. I remember asking myself whether I made the right decision to work here. What if I’m not good enough? What if I can’t live up to my Tok Ayah’s or my father’s good name and reputation? What if people expect me to be as good or even better than them?

As I did not know much about the roles of a sub-editor (except for the basic information about the job that I found on the Internet), I spent the first few weeks trying to adapt and learn as much as I could. I would get anxious whenever some of my father’s colleagues and senior employees who once worked with my Tok Ayah came up to me and greeted me (all thanks to my father who excitedly told his friends on Facebook about his daughter joining NST).

The fact that some people knew my father and Tok Ayah made me feel like I had to prove that I deserve to be here because of my skills, and not because I was someone’s daughter or granddaughter.

The first few months were tough. The nature of my work, which requires me to stay cool, calm and collected, however, left me little time for self-doubt.

My colleagues, too, have been helpful in guiding me as I learn the fundamentals of my job. I slowly learnt to stop comparing myself with my father and Tok Ayah, but instead, make them as my inspiration to keep on improving myself as a sub-editor. I’ve learnt to find joy in completing my tasks the way my father always did when he was working here and emulate my Tok Ayah’s passion and dedication to his job. I’ve discovered that by doing so, I no longer feel the need to prove myself to anyone. The only thing that I should be doing is to have faith in myself and trust my capabilities.

Working here for the past three and a half years has taught me a lot about life and myself. I’ve learnt to appreciate the beauty of language, get out of my comfort zone and be more open to learning new things, and along the way, I’ve not only made new friends but also found a new family.  Working here means I get to learn new things every day.  Being the third generation working here has only given me the privilege to know why this place holds a special place in my father’s heart.  And for that, I will forever feel grateful and lucky to be part of the big NST family.