[Prose-ACK!] WIN FREE BOOKS And Support #MYWriters!

#MYWriters Book Session at Supermart Pop, Publika

Psst! Prose-ACK will be at the Supermart Pop in Publika offering autographed copies of Chap Fan for sale. Depending on space allocations, we may also offer on-the-spot commissions, done on a typewriter! Come one, come all, this 3rd October!

This is part of the month-long #MYWriters Festival. Check out the details below:

Looking for new things to read? Grab some new books and meet the authors behind them this entire October! The #MYWriters Group will be organising a month-long Meet-The-Authors Festival happening in various places around KL and Penang. If you attend at least 3 of our events, you might even get to take home an entirely new shelf of books (shelf not provided)!

Simply pick up a bookmark at our events, and bring it along for a “check-in” stamp at subsequent locations when you attend. To be eligible, you will need at least 3 stamps AND attend the Finale at Dataran KL Underground.

Visit the MYWriters site for more information and locations.

See you there!

Small Blessings

Recently one of my friends asked me how I stayed motivated, beyond the usual drive of routine and necessity (aka I need cash to survive).

Before that, I had another friend asked me how I stayed kind.

I remember babbling on, but I think what helps is being grateful.

I take comfort from small blessings, from the little things that happened throughout the day. I am also learning to let go of “what other people might think about me feeling this way” which is far harder than it sounds.

I make it a point to say “Thank you” to almost everyone I meet (the habit of saying “I’m sorry” when something bad happens is the opposite and is something I’m trying to break).

Shugo the White Seal with a pair of sunglasses on his face
Seeking joy in the little things, like Shugo on top of my head

I find joy in smiling every day. Wearing a mask because of my allergies makes this even easier, because no one can see you smile like a crazy person when the appropriate thought flashes by,

These are all surface habits though. Small things. But they help me make sense of the day, of the moment, of the pain.

Once I became aware and grateful for the little things, it became a habit. And habits are second nature; you will usually find yourself doing things over and over again by routine or by trigger. And they build on each other.

I found an unexpected benefit in this habit. It made me reexamine my own behaviour, my own biases and friendships. The latter is especially important, as I have a tendency to defend my friends blindly.

I am a hoarder. This translates to both physical possessions and intangible ties. There’s a good chance that unless I need to use/contact often, I will forget some things exist. But I’m trying.

Trying to keep alive the friendships that mean a lot to me. To pull away from the things and people that drain me. To find time for myself and genuinely reflect.

Having someone who plays the devil’s advocate and makes me feel uncomfortable in terms of my thinking is an unexpected blessing.

I’m learning, slowly but surely, to let go. To be in this reality and this moment. And the practicalities associated with it.

Like buying a house. Moving out of my comfort zone. Pushing my words out to be published. Making earning money a priority and not think about it as a dirty thing.

I’m still trying.

[NaoReviews] Made in Malaysia


Title: Made in Malaysia: Stories of Hometown Heroes and Hidden Gems
Author: Alexandra Wong
Price: Generally around RM32.90
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
TL;DR: Take a moment to breathe and smile.

Disclaimer: I know the author personally but she did not ask me to write this review.

The thing about picking up non-fiction Malaysian books is that I often have very little faith in their content. I am also uncomfortable with the vast majority of them, if only because they seem to be mainly feel good or deliberately inflammatory.

So I was a little jaded, perhaps, when Made in Malaysia reached my hands. And as it turned out, this was what I needed.

From tales of getting lost and finding friendly faces, to talks with a train driver to a magical Sarawak visit, Alex imbues her stories with curiosity and wonder. You’ll probably find yourself giggling and laughing as you read them.

What really struck me though, was the quiet dignity and respect she treats her interviewees with.

There’s Lipu, the Lady of the Longhouse who inspires. There’s impromptu interviews with bus ticket collectors and taxi drivers, who exhibit their own quiet pride in their occupation. Then there’s the one about the railway driver, Azmi who gives her one of the best pieces of advice to have in life.

And there’s the one called “She’s all heart.”

This is the story that touched me the most. That still moves me to tears even after all this while.

It is, in my opinion, the most important story in the book.

Not just because I believe in organ donation.

Not just because I think Dr Lela’s story should be told.

But because the way Alex tells Dr Lela’s story pays tribute to the grieving families who choose to donate their loved ones’ body so someone else could live. They are not nameless corpses who may have passed on in accidents, but human beings who were loved, adored, and cared while they were alive.

And thanks to their donations, other families can continue to enjoy the same.

You could, I suppose, read most of her stories online (a large majority of the stories in this book WAS taken from her Navel Gazer column).

I think though, that it would be better to buy the book. As a reminder of what being a human and perhaps secondarily, a Malaysian, is all about.

Who knows? You might discover your own Hometown Hero.

Quick #TILs

Have a longer blog post idea but that one requires more writing and thinking than the brainpower I have right now. Suffice to say it’s about celebrating the small victories and joys in life. Which leads me to yesterday’s TILs:

  • When you learn that Cold Storage in KLCC opens at 9am AND they sell your favourite coffee at RM2 (instead of having to depend on MyNew’s inflated prices)
  • And that Cold Storage has decent food at Obamanotbad.jpg prices
  • Helping a dear friend feel better and help herself
  • Broken reasoning encourages faux anger in me. I just like feeling outraged, which is a sign that I need to find another outlet for my frustrations
  • Apparently, CIMB might reject a housing loan request if the property has a Master Title after 10 years
  • They also want really updated accounts and salary slips
  • Public Bank on the other hand, made me sign a consent form for them to investigate me

There was quite a lot of adulting done. Which means it is appropriate to end this post with this:

Image of bunny snoozing. Caption reads: I do not want to adult today. I don't even want to human today. Today, I want to bunny. From RabbitRescue.Ca
Image from Rabbit Rescue Incorporated

[NaoReviewing] buddhify2

buddhify2 logo
buddhify2 logo

Platform: Android/iOS
Price: Android $2.99/ iOS $4.99
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Who should use it: Meditation beginners and those who need a quick break between things

buddhify2 which is the app we’re talking about today, is actually the sequel to buddhify classic. Both have the same goal; bringing mindfulness to people in an easy way.

What I love about Buddhify is that it makes meditation easy. With buddhify 2, you can choose a meditation track to suit your current situation, rather than applying the same technique and time limit to every circumstance.

buddhify's situational meditations
buddhify’s situational meditations

Having a hard time at work? Open the “Feeling Stressed” and choose a meditation. Walking in the City? Choose from six options to fit your mood. Having pain or illness? They also have meditations to help work you through it.

The first time I used the “Going to Sleep > Cradle” mix, I ended up falling sleep in a matter of seconds. I woke up, feeling unusually refreshed and awake.

Buddhify also has a system in place that recognises time; switching the app open before midnight highlighted the “Going to Sleep” category, while the “Can’t Sleep” category is activated after that. When I was writing this entry at 4pm on Sunday, then I got Travelling. Opening this 2pm on a weekday highlighted the Being Online category.

buddhify's solo section, for those who can meditate on their own
buddhify’s solo section, for those who can meditate on their own

The voices used in Buddhify is a mix of male and female. Both are soothing and calming, though some speak a little too fast for me. The tracks are paced well too; they have just the right amount of silence and voice that you won’t be worried the app has crashed or the phone’s gone silent (which has happened with other meditation apps).

Buddhify, as I mentioned earlier, is especially useful for those dipping their feet into meditation and mindfulness. If you’ve been practicing regularly though, you may find the voices a little distracting and/or annoying, but they’re great for carving out pockets of sanity in an insane day.

This is one of those paid apps that I absolutely adore. I cannot recommend it enough. And really, is RM10.48 (by Google Play’s current exchange rates) really so high a price to pay for sanity pockets? ;)