Category Archives: Friendship

Thrown together

Earlier this month, I was a dulang girl (bridesmaid) for an ex-colleague who got married. It was one of those small budget weddings where everything and everyone was kind of thrown together to make the day happen. Much like the relationship itself, the wedding seemed an almost happenstance affair, but doing it with friends did help to make it fun.

It was also the first akad nikah (solemnization ceremony) I had ever attended wearing a proper — or as close to one as I could get — hijab. The ceremony was held at a mosque in Shah Alam, so everyone had to swaddle their heads and hope for the best. It didn’t help at all that I’m generally a claustrophobic person, but swaddle I did and tried to make the best of a bad job.

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The equally happenstance evening reception was a bit of an eye-opener. Over the years, I’ve grown accustomed to attending wedding receptions in giant hotel ballrooms amidst ostentatious floral monstrosities, so it was a nice change to not have to be all trussed up in an evening gown or bejeweled baju kurung for the sake of photos. I was in one of the most comfortable wedding getups I’d worn in a long time, which was something I made sure of because I knew I would have to sing at some point during the reception.

With Yen Tyng's son, Seth, who will never know how much he helped with my stage fright

With Yen Tyng’s son, Seth, who will never know how much he helped with my stage fright

That’s right. I sang at Nat’s wedding. I, who have not performed in public in probably close to two years, had to get up there and gave Ruth Sahanaya a run for her money. It also made one of the biggest distinctions between a casual budget wedding and a formal reception: throughout the entire performance, the guests were walking all over the place in front of me, while their undisciplined children ran around my ankles. Nevertheless, it felt good to jumpstart the pipes, as I haven’t sung at a wedding in a while, and it’s always better to sing for a crowd of whom I only know about 3%.

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Congratulations, Natasya and Syahrizan! May the randomness of your relationship be the secret that everyone wants to learn.

And now I leave you with half of what was the only form of entertainment for the night:


Impressed by Impressed

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A couple of weeks ago I attended the official launch of Impressed, Zaida’s new business venture that capitalizes on the current craze going around: cold-pressed juices. Admittedly, it is a craze I subscribe to, mainly because I learned when I interviewed Zaida and her partner Amy for my column in The Star newspaper that a 350ml bottle of cold-pressed juice is the equivalent of 2kg of vegetables, so I figured that’s how I will justify my occasional fast food cravings.

With Malisa at Impressed's first day of business

With Malisa at Impressed’s first day of business

Impressed opened at the NU Sentral mall a month ago, and considering how new it is, it appears to be doing very well already. So it wasn’t entirely a shot-in-the-dark kind of event where nobody knew about the brand or what the product was.

One of the effects of being pathologically punctual is that you will at some point in your life be recruited by your friends to help out with their time-sensitive endeavors. Fortunately, the equally pathological Malisa was also recruited to help with the event setup, so we both got ourselves over to the mall at 9AM, which in hindsight probably worked better for me because I detest parking in malls at regular hours.

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Zaida and Amy

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I will not go into detail the process of setting up for the event or how the event itself went, but it’s safe to say that my years of working in the media and public relations fields have stood me in better stead for event planning than I thought. Either that, or my outfit for the day had me in sudden Stepford wife mode.

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With Malisa, Kaiyisah, Zaida, Kerina and Tasha

Holes in the blanket

24 going on 80

24 going on 80

One of my best and oldest friends turned 30 last week. Her birthday has always made me more aware of my own age, because it’s 31 days before mine, and this year was no different. But more than my own age (and mortality), her turning 30 made me acutely aware of one other thing: how much has changed since we were, say, 24.

When we were 24, I had just moved back to this country, angry, bitter and struggling to come to terms with how I had allowed my life to spiral so far out of control that I had to travel 9402 miles just to try and regain some of that control. She herself had been back a year and a half, and was angry, bitter and struggling to find contentment in a job she wasn’t particularly crazy about, and a relationship of sorts.

Now that she is and I am almost 30, I am angry, bitter and struggling to come to terms with how I have allowed my life to spiral so far out of control that I’m looking for a way out of it. She herself is much less angry, much less bitter, and — from what little I’ve seen and heard — finding some semblance of contentment in a new job and a platonic relationship with men.

So what exactly has changed? you ask. Only the single most glaring aspect of our life together: our friendship. Where once we were inseparable and confiding in each other about practically everything in our lives, now we barely see each other — even though there is less than a 100m distance between our houses — and barely tell each other anything. Where once we lived by a you-and-me-against-the-world creed and deemed everyone else too difficult to be friends with, now we have completely different circles and completely different interests beyond the mahjong table (and we don’t even have mahjong to hold us together anymore).

For someone who has spent most of her life with little more than mere acquaintances, I’ve sure had to learn a great deal about friendship over the past year.

Any onlooker would offer the simplest solution: talk to her about it, and be OK again. But having lost more than just one person’s friendship this year, and gained many more as well, I know that it’s not as simple as just talking it out. Because somewhere along the way, one of us wanted something different, and strayed off the path we had always seemed to walk together. One of us — probably me — did something differently which drove a wedge in between us, and that wedge is the unspoken truth that somehow, we have outgrown each other’s friendship.

I still call her my best friend and I still try and make time to catch up with her every few weeks. Whether it’s out of habit, denial or a vain attempt to keep things the way they always were (I suppose that can be called denial too), it’s just something that feels safe and comforting. Our friendship is like the security blanket I rubbed holes in and brought to the US (yes, and college) with me: it’s worn too thin and barely keeps my feet warm, but it reminds me of a time when I couldn’t be happy without it.

So as my own 30th birthday looms, I’ve become a lot more aware of what it takes to make, keep and lose friends. But what’s special about this particular one is that although I’ve never told her (but probably should, at least before I leave this country), she is one of the people I will always look out for and think about, if for no other reason than that she was the only person who would stand by me when even I couldn’t stand myself.

Happy birthday, Bec. I love you always.