Saturday, January 3, 2015

Daphne Episode 6 Traffic : Do Highways increase or decrease traffic?

After speaking to the concessionaire of the Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (KIDEX) as well as their detractors, I was even more intrigued with this whole project.

From two ends of the spectrum, I had to find out from the man on the street, what they thought of the KIDEX project.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Allah knows best

I wasn't sure,
But I knew you were there,
I wasn't sure,
How he would would react to my share.

The wobbly nights,
Don't know why they call it the morning blues,
The rocky nights,
It wasn't me, it was you.

The days passed on,
I saw the lines,
Mixed emotions swirled on,
It was time.

I could love another,
There was never a doubt,
Cause' I'm a two-time mother,
I could continue that route.

Ecstatic I was,
But Allah knows best,
The red drops flooded fast,
And my fears weren't attest.

Allah knows best,
It is time to heal,
Allah knows best,
It's painful, but it is sealed.

Allah knows best.
Allah knows best.
Allah knows best.

All boxed up on Boxing Day

Different Spin 26th December 2014 article submission. Unedited version. Published yesterday, The Star.

Today marks Boxing Day, a holiday in certain parts of the world and a celebration for most. For those uninitiated, Boxing Day is celebrated the day after Christmas Day, when servants and tradespeople would receive gifts, known as a “Christmas box”, from their bosses or employers. Nowadays, Boxing Day is a bank holiday (for some countries) that generally takes place on the 26 December, and in some places, it is a day of super mad sales.

Today, I feel it is a true boxing day for me, not for the reasons above, but because I am feeling “boxed up”.

The kids and I unwrapped some gifts we received from the numerous Christmas gatherings we’ve attended a few days leading up to Christmas. The hosts of these parties have encouraged guests to bring a small, inexpensive gift each, for the exchange of gifts session or the “secret santa” game. We participate as it is fun and it is an excellent ice-breaker at parties when not everyone knows each other.

My children were naturally ecstatic to have presents to open, and I posted the pictures of them and their gifts on my social media. We don’t have a Christmas tree, but my 7 year-old daughter made decorations and postcards that were inspired by the Season of Greetings.

Suffice to say, this holiday brought a nice, warm fuzzy feeling amongst my family members. Most of my family, who are back home in Sabah went for the evening mass and we exchanged our Christmas wishes via Facetime and SMSes. Christmas holidays has been good so far.

But back to feeling boxed up to the brim with a swirl of emotions.

You see, I am in a mixed-marriage. My parents and siblings are Catholic, but I am Muslim. I also have in-laws and relatives who are Hindus and Buddhists. Being part of a multi-racial family is nothing new here and is something that is becoming quite a norm in Malaysia. So why the swirl of emotions?

Mainly because I was taken aback at one or two unsavoury comments on my instagram post that captions me wishing my family and friends a “Merry Christmas”.

Naturally I was upset.

I unloaded my frustrations to close friends on a group chat and it was then that I found out about an ongoing ‘debate’ that has sparked annoyance if not fury to some. There has been a call of from a certain group in Malaysia saying it is inappropriate for Muslims to wish “Merry Christmas” Apparently, Christmas trees are deemed a secret means of the Christians ‘covert conversion plan’ and poor Santa (yes, the man in a red suit) is getting the boot too.

My first thoughts were, “are you kidding me?”

They were not.

It brought me back to a time early this year, where my husband was photographed wearing a sword pendant. He was lambasted on social media for wearing a cross. Even after explaining what it was, the comments came flooding in. It was nice that most of the comments came to his defence, but the one or two that were really nasty, left a bitter taste.

Fast-forward a few weeks later, we celebrated our anniversary in my hometown in Keningau, Sabah. My husband, children and I came clad in my kadazandusun traditional attire, and we took a picture at my kampung house. This time around, a real cross was seen hanging on the wall of my Christian family house. Again, the horrible comments attacked me and the family and suggested that now that I'm Muslim, I should wear a baju kurung.

I can understand them getting cross at a cross, but by me embracing Islam, does not change my ethnicity!

This time, instead of explaining, I ignored and blocked unnecessary comments.

I am tired of explaining my actions and why I do what I do, to complete strangers, so I don’t.

In a previous article, I wrote about how your intentions or ‘niat’ is the foundation of all actions in Islam. So I shall stand by this principal whenever a societal debate takes place.

Hence, when I wish my family and friends a  “Merry Christmas”, it is to forge goodwill - nothing more, nothing less. I encourage my daughter from creating handmade decorations inspired by the Season of Giving because it’s allowing her to embrace and respect a tradition of another family member of hers, and she is honing her creativity skills in arts & crafts. My daughter decorates the house during Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Thaipusam, Harvest Festival and Chinese New Year too. So why exclude Christmas? And if the exchanging of gifts makes everyone feel happy and fosters silaturrahim, why not right?

I don’t recall my Muslim relatives facing these constrictions growing up. My Muslim cousins, who live next door to my staunch Catholic grandmother (Odu)’s house would help with the tree decorations and making of the tapai during the days leading up to the annual family Christmas gathering; and likewise, during Raya, my Odu  would be there, sarung and all, in the making of ketupat and rendang, while smoking her sigup or chewing on her sirih. She’ll also make sure the dogs and her piglets were confined. Gifts and hampers were always the highlight of the evening for us kids. And for the longest time, I continued to leave milk and cookies for the man in the red suit (even after I found out Santa was daddy), as it was still a thrill to get a note from “him”.

Respect, tolerance, love, faith and understanding. That’s what we need more of right now.

I am going to unbox these swirl of emotions now and pray for the above for not just Malaysians, but for our brothers and sisters around the world. May we be kinder and more compassionate in all that we say, think and do. God-willing.

Merry Christmas and Happy holidays folks! I shall see you next year!

This is a personal opinion of the writer. Her gift to herself this year is producing her own online show called DAPHNE, something that she has always dreamed of doing. Watch her recent  episodes on youtube/user/daphneiking

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Polaroid Eyewear Review

It's been awhile since I've done a product review; for starters, I've been pretty busy with emcee jobs and my own online show DAPHNE [I made that (brave) move to not renew my Bella show contract mid this year. (I was supposed to blog about that too, but I reckon I should vlog that instead)!]

Anyway, I wanted to do this particular review because when I shared some pictures about the sunnies I've gotten for the kids and I a few weeks ago on my social media, a lot asked me either over SMS or email about my honest opinion about the Polaroids. So here you go, a blogpost review as promised!

A bit of background:

I have always been particular about my sunnies cause I've noticed my eyes are more sensitive now after my LASIK surgery last year. [Read about my LASIK experience HERE].

So for starters, I want to make sure my sunglasses give me the best coverage against the sun without blocking entirely the light (I really don't know how to explain this in words, but my husband Azmi understands ... basically, I want the sun glare blocked out, but not the brightness of my surroundings). Hubs read about Polaroid eyewear and suggested them to me to see if I would be keen. Initially I thought he was talking about the Polaroid camera (those in my era will remember this MTV below) :

"shake it like a polaroid camera....shake it shake it..."

Well, he wasn't.

He was actually talking about these cool babies

I was surprised to know they've been around for more than 75 years already and that they are (as their name suggests)  the inventors of the polarized lens!

What is Polarized Lens?

Daylight travels in waves in all directions. When it strikes a surface such as water, it mostly moves in two dimensions:

Vertical light brings useful information to the human eye, enabling us to see colours and contrasts.

Horizontal light simply creates optical noise or glare.

So... Polarizing filter blocks this distracting glare and polarizing lenses selectively filter out the horizontal light, thus eliminating glare.

Most high quality polarized sunglasses lenses offer UV protection. However, it is wrong to assume that just because a lens is polarized, that it will also protect against UV radiation from the sun. You should verify by the label or the seller of the product that the lenses protect against UV sun rays. 

Naturally, I checked and the Original Polaroid Sunglasses does offer 100% UV protection.

When are they NOT suitable to be worn?

According to Erinn Morgan's article, there will be instances where polarized sunnies might not be too suitable.

"Though polarized sunglasses improve comfort and visibility, you will encounter some instances when these lenses may not be advisable. One example is downhill skiing, where you don't want to block light reflecting off icy patches because this alerts skiers to hazards they are approaching.
In addition, polarized lenses may reduce the visibility of images produced by liquid crystal displays (LCDs) or light-emitting diode displays (LEDs) found on the dashboards of some cars or in other places such as the digital screens on automatic teller machines and self-service gas pumps.With polarized lenses, you also may be unable to see your cell phone or GPS device."

Well, I've used my sunglasses for outdoors and running at the park (no skiing yet!) and it's been okay so far. I've also tried them on while reading my SMSes over my blackberry and iPhone. It does have this almost rainbow-like sheen, but still readable.

So unlike traditional sunnies, polarized sunnies (like Polaroid) selectively block out glare instead of dimming the entire field of vision (and that's what I meant about I want the glare out, but not the light?).

So you see how my husband is not using Polaroid sunnies and the glare of looking at the bird on a clear, bright sunny day hurts his eyes? Unlike our two girls who are donning the cutest Polaroid eyewear (they have them for children as young as 1 years old!)

I love Iman's choice of sunnies. She reminds me of Cyclops in X-Men.


Polaroid Eyewear is available in Malaysia at Safilo stores. From chic to contemporary, sports and youth for both women and men, as well as catering for our young ones!



Or perhaps sporty?

This is the one I selected. Slight purple hue and the  subtle (harimau) details on my frames. "Safe" choice of colour with a contemporary twist. Perfect for every occasion since I travel a lot and don't want to lug too many different shades with me.

Let's talk about the kiddies collection

Polaroid has apparently always paid great attention to kids, making constant efforts to meet their specific needs in terms of eye protection and safety. Childrens' eyes are more sensitive to UV rays than that of an adult, because they are clearer and more delicate.

For it's KIDS collection, they use UltraSight polarized lenses which block all UVA, UVB and UVC rays (100% UV400 protection). The new sunnies for 2015 ensures a better fit, combining functionality and safety with a trendy playful look.

Comel tak?

The new Polaroid sunglasses are tinged with a "kaleidoscopic array of colors". The soft-to-the-touch rubber finish provides maximum comfort and a lightweight feel (which is important for me as I hate that dent on the bridge of your nose mark after using sunnies!)

The hingeless design and the absence of metal elements ensure safety in any situation.

Most importantly ... PRICING?

It's fairly more reasonable than it's competitors out there. 

RM130 - RM140 (Kids collection)
RM200 - RM 570 (Adults)

Again, PLEASE ensure that if you do wish to choose a polarized eyewear that may not be from Polaroid, make sure it is also safe for UV rays. Polaroid Eyewear guarantees this. And with some many designs to choose from, for everyone in the family, I think you might just be hooked!

Hope this helps?

Where can we purchase them in Klang Valley Malaysia?


Friday, December 5, 2014

Daphne Show Episode 5 - Kidex strikes back

After hearing the grouses from the "Say No to Dash" and "Say No to Kidex" folks ... I get in touch with both highway concessionaires to hear their side of the story.

Dash was reluctant ...but Kidex was more than happy to oblige to my request, sending not just one , not two ... but three reps to explain why Kidex needs to be built and that it's not just a "money building model".

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Daphne Show Episode 4 : Do we need ANOTHER Highway in Klang Valley?

There is strong objection from some very, angry PJ residents, towards two proposed highways; the Damansara Shah Alam Highway (DASH) and the Kinrara-Damansara Expressway (KIDEX).

From our discussions with them, I could see there was a deeper frustration to it all.

Find out more on this episode.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Daphne - Episode 3 - Are we a nation obsessed with our cars?

Episode 3 continues with me speaking to the folks from PEMANDU (sorry if there's that humming sound behind.... the cleaners decide to clean the floors outside with their water vacuum)

In this episode, Mohamad Azharuddin from PEMANDU, acknowledges the weakness in our Urban Public Transport and shares with me briefly, the GTP plans on moving forward. 

Women activist, Ivy Josiah tells us why her patience is running thin while Queen of Traffic, Producer and radio announcer, Priscilla Patrick explains how highways have helped ease traffic.

We also get insights from the Public Transportation User Asso. rep, Ajit Johl.

Parents should encourage children to be what they want to be

Different Spin 31st October 2014 - unedited version

I watch my daughters play “doctor and nurse” while their bapak pretends to be their ‘patient’.

“See, if you drill it often enough, you plant seeds into their head that eventually manifests into reality,” says my husband proudly.

He has been telling our daughters that they can be “whatever they want”, provided they obtain a degree in medicine first. I stop myself from rolling my eyes at his statement and raise an eyebrow instead.

“Geez, you really are starting to sound like your father in-law!”

I remember those days when you had to fill out your ambition in the ‘cita-cita’ column and were only were given three choices.

“Daphne, are you sure you want to be just this when you complete your studies?”

I used to get so annoyed when my teacher questioned my preferences.

“What is wrong with wanting to be a librarian, a race driver and an embalmer? I love books, I love speed and the dead fascinate me!” I tell her as politely as I could.

She suggests I be more like my peers.

Yup! Doctor. Engineer. Lawyer
(How many of you guessed these three correct?)


I was reading a statement by the Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister, Datuk Masidi Manjun recently. He said that Sabahan youths are at risks of becoming slaves to migrants in their own land if there is a continual dependency on foreign labor.

According to the report, there are about 400,000 foreign workers in the state, mainly from Indonesia and the Philippines, but at the same time, there are many local youths who are jobless.

He adds that in the old days, the Dusuns used to take pride in toiling their land, but nowadays, almost all are being toiled by the Timorese and cites the vegetable farms in Kundasang, as an example.

“Our country is an inviting destination for foreign workforce because of the opportunities left vacant by our own people who tend to be very choosy when it comes to seeking jobs.

We cannot blame the foreign workers who will become more financially capable through their diligence and one day manages to open their own businesses. Don’t be surprised if one day, we become kuli  in our land,” he said.

I agree with him.

Our Malaysian service industry seems to be flooded by non-Malaysians.

I’ve not had my mee mamak fried by a fellow Indian Muslim chap in a long while. The waiters, my dry-cleaners and the friendly cashier who tends to my groceries each week, are all foreign workers.
My husband got annoyed once, by the security guard who gave confusing directions to the autopay machine;

Aiyo … don’t they speak proper English or Bahasa Malaysia?”

“I think he’s from Nepal love,” I explain kindly.

A new trend is emerging.

Step aside Indonesian and Pilipino recruits… Hello newbies!

There seems to be more Nepalese, Cambodians and Laotians coming into our country looking for odd job work - from rubbish collection and farming, to cleaning services and construction work. There seems to be a huge demand for these jobs, and I can understand completely.

Malaysians don’t want to do what they do simply because it is a job. Not a career.

You don’t have many parents encouraging their children to be refuse collectors or someone who lays bricks for a living.

You can OWN the business but you won’t be doing the actual labor.

In fact, most parents (and some educators out there) deem these jobs as menial and quite often with a negative tone to it.

“You better study hard, or you will end up as rubbish collector!”


I will be honest. Being a parent who works extremely hard to make sure her children receives the best education one can afford, naturally, I too would hope for them to choose a profession that would offer them a good remuneration package.

Unlike my husband, I truly would be happy for any vocation my child chooses in the future. But being a mother, I know that laborers work long, hard hours for a small wage. My maternal, protective instinct is just concerned.

But perhaps I shouldn’t be too worried about their career path?

Apparently Generation Y is like Generation X on steroids.

My sister who works in the Human Resource department of a bank finds it tough to find suitable candidates when hiring. Graduates who express interest in banking tend to zoom in to only the widely publicized roles in investment and corporate banking and are less open to other parts of banking.
Gen Y-ers are surrounded by more choices and therefore don’t tend to stay in one job for very long. 

They have a “what’s in it for me” attitude and focus more on entitlements, rewards, promotions and development.

Which brings me back to Datuk Masidi’s concerns on the plight of our jobless local youths. There is not one definite answer to solving this problem el pronto, but I think we can start by changing our perception and mindset towards the jobs that really need more locals getting interested in. When we stop thinking these jobs are ‘low class’ , the remuneration and respect, gains. If the Mat Sallehs in places like Denmark and Sweden can get it right, I see no reasons why we can’t.

Change must start from home.

If your child wants to be something else other than the ‘norm’, let him or her be.

Daphne’s daughters Isobel and Iman would like to be a fashion designer and aerobic instructor respectively. Her husband is okay with this, provided they have a medical degree specializing in gynaecology and pediatrics. Daphne finds it hard to teach an old dog new tricks, so she encourages her girls to just follow their dreams.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Blessed Deepavali

This morning, I felt a bit sad and admittedly annoyed because I felt I had no more freedom to do the things I love -- simple things like yoga, my NGO work and meeting up with friends because he says "I just prefer you to be at home".

Before I allowed myself to get more angry and more sad, I held my tongue and kept calm. And obeyed.

Why did I do this?

Because I didn't want to rock the boat nor make him angry.

That's what you do when you want to make things work.

I said a little prayer and read an article that made me see things from a different perspective. I may not wholeheartedly believe in it, but it did make me calmer and kinder. It's all about healing and why the person is the way he or she is due to what may or may have not happened to them in the past.

I cannot speak about his background nor upbringing, because I've only chanced the in-laws once in my life. But I can speak about my own experience.... and it was not easy living with a very stern father who didn't give me permission to do a lot of things I wanted to do back then. From singing to hanging out with my friends after school.

"Your studies are more important".

I am grateful for the restrictions for I would not be where I am today. But I admit. My father and I didn't see eye-to-eye for a very long time. And I vowed when I earned my own keep, that I would do the things I felt I should do so that I would be happy.

And I did do all that.

Years passed by and this horse was a happy horse. And then she met a bull and they became friends.

When I am asked to do what I am told, without a reason that is logical to my head, I naturally get agitated and flighty.

It used to kill me inside and made me so unhappy. But I had to make a decision and because I have committed myself to this for as long as God grants it ... I have to find ways to make it work. And softer for my head and heart to comprehend.

I guess I need healing the fear and anger is felt again when I am stopped from doing things that make me smile. It brings me back to those days that I was so hateful and vengeful to my own my father.

I will just have to focus on whatever good is left and be grateful for that. My work. My children. My family. And a very loving husband.

May the light of goodness and kindness be shared upon us all.

Saw this Petronas ad and it made me reflect on the past, but to live what is today.

Happy Deepavali friends and family celebrating.