Prosaic soliloquies performed by a quixotic person

Single and Unmarried—Oh, the Horror!

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Being one of those who still tick the ‘Single’ box instead the ‘Married’ box has its ups and downs, of course. One of the pros: Unattached, ergo free from inevitable relationship-related headaches. One of the cons: Getting pitying looks from the married ones when it’s mentioned that I’m still flying solo, ergo I’m the most pitiful loser in the universe by society’s standards.

Unfortunately, that particular con has now outweighed all the pros combined. It hasn’t been like that before. So, what gives?

Yesterday is what gives.

I was in the kitchen yesterday, happily baking away delightful baked goods when suddenly the older brother strode into the kitchen and showed me an invitation card sent by our neighbour to a modest thanksgiving feast at their home to celebrate their son’s recent nuptials. Instantly, a mental picture popped up: I saw my vulnerable self in the neighbour’s sitting room, being attacked by a horde of older married females, incessantly bombarding me with the ever-dreadful one-million-dollar question: ‘When will you get married?’ I violently shuddered at the image.

You see, I’m an introvert by nature and a wallflower by choice. As such, my room is my selected comfort zone. Being out of comfort zone is not ideal for introverts and wallflowers alike. Gatherings of any sort is way out of our comfort zones, and therefore any social settings are known as ‘danger zones’. The gathering that my family and I are invited to is the worst kind of all, because it’s too far from my comfort zone, yet too near that escaping from it is highly impossible lest I hurt my neighbour’s feelings for not coming and they live across the street from us.

O the hardship one hast to endure!

But I digress.

And the worst part of this whole thanksgiving feast is the scrutinization and interrogations I’ll surely get about my marital status by the married lot, which is never a welcome attention I wish upon myself.

Come to think of it, it’s strange, really. They ask you if you’ve found a prospective husband, and if you negate, they’d either take pity on you and give you half-baked advice about relationship, or they’d get all pseudo-surprised and mutter unintelligibly about hoping you catch a husband soon. On both accounts, the questions would just make you both feel so uncomfortable because they’d probably feel painfully embarrassed for you, and you’d probably struggle to maintain your smile and have to pretend that you’re fine with the personal invasion. Sometimes, it feels as though they socially thrive on masochism- and schadenfreude-based conversations. Strange.

Unoriginal, too, because they do this all the time: When will you find yourself a boyfriend? When will you get hitched? When will you have a baby? How about another one? A few more? When will you have a grandchild?

Very original, indeed.

OK, so maybe the apparent solution to this whole situation is to find a husband and get married stat. Unfortunately, the reality isn’t as simple as Hollywood rom-coms. Do I ever want to settle down, get married and have kids? Yes, I do want to get married, have my own family, and the whole nine yards. But does being in a matrimonial bond figure high on my list of priorities? Yes and no. Yes because I don’t want to get married when I’m so long in the tooth that I’d have my first kid when I hit seventy--I’d probably asphyxiate myself when I do the hee-hee-hoo-hoo breathing during labour at that age. And no because I do enjoy being single and want to savour each moment of singleness before I finally find my soulmate. Finding the right person for you is a long process and is never easy for some, including me.

That’s why, the only relationship I welcome and reckon as easy to have at this point of time is with two amazing men to grace the earth: Ben and Jerry. Alas, they are too expensive in this part of country where I live. RM47 per pint (US$12 or thereabouts). Really? REALLY?

On a serious note though, I don’t get it when some folks are so quick to pass judgement on the unwed folks. I’ve met some married ones who think that ‘single’ and ‘unmarried’ as two dirty words. To be one of either is a disgrace, and to be both is a double whammy. Capital crime at its worst, if you will. But…why? I don’t get it.

Le sigh.

Welp. I’ll see how it goes this afternoon. Maybe I’ll go, maybe I won’t. It’ll depend on how solid an excuse I can come up with later. Alternatively, perhaps I should rack my brain and come up with snappy comebacks for the nosy lot to shut them up and keep them away from me. After all, they like being tortured, don’t they?

Written by SZA

29 August 2015 at 10:13 AM

No, I’m Not a Blogger

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When someone asks me about my blog, this is how the convo usually goes:

Everyman: Do you have a blog?

Me: Yes, I do.

Everyman: Ah, you’re a blogger. Nice.

Me: No, I’m not a blogger.

Everyman: But…you do own a blog and write stuff in it, don’t ya?

Me: Yes, I do.

Everyman: So, that makes you a blogger.

Me: No, I’m not a blogger.

Everyman: But you write in your blog. Naturally and inevitably, *that* makes you a blogger.

Me: No, I’m not a blogger.

Everyman: Yes, you *are* a blogger.

Me: No, I’m *not* a blogger.


Me: …

Everyman: Y’know what, you’re right. You’re not a blogger--

Me: No, I’m not a blogger.

Everyman: --you’re a broken record.

Please let me make clear of something before you get all indignant by my hipster-esque too-cool-to-call-myself-a-blogger stance. I’m well aware that I’m supposed to call myself a ‘blogger’. Heck, I used to refer myself as one back in the day when I was a fledgling blog owner. But now, I never really refer to myself as one because the said term, in one way or another, doesn’t do it for me. I mean, imagine saying the word: Blogger. Blog-ger. Bllloooggerrr. Blech. Yuck. When I try saying that I’m a blogger it makes me feel like I am human blob who rolls about in an ungainly manner in the mud. A blobby blogger. That, however illogical it may sound, is reason enough for me not to call myself a *shudders* blogger. I hope that sheds light on the matter.

P.S. And as much as I really want to, I’m not calling myself a writer, too. Saying that is well akin to calling oneself a doctor after administering a basic first aid to minor injury.

P.P.S. No, I’m not a hipster, either. Just so you know.

Written by SZA

12 January 2015 at 9:42 PM

Posted in Blog, Whatevs

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This and That #2

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  1. Vass happenin’? It’s been a long time, folks. Skipped 2014, and here I am in 2015.
  2. Last December marked my last year of being an English teacher. I have a mixed feelings about this--sad (’cause I’m not teaching and I enjoyed teaching) and happy (’cause I now have my weekends back! Oh, happiness!). I’ll definitely miss talking with the kids. Not the bratty ones, though--they can get back on San Vicente. Take it to the 10, switch over to 405 North and let it dump them onto Mulholland, where they belong. Yes, I’m referencing ‘The Californians’.)
  3. This is the year when I’m hitting another decade of my life. I hope no one will wish me happy birthday this time. It sounds almost morbid, I know, but I don’t think much about birthdays--they’re just another day to me. They don’t symbolize anything but an excuse for Hallmark to sell cards and for folks to throw parties and buy/get presents.
  4. Once or twice, I’ve mentioned about writing a book/screenplay, but the page is blank, still. Once or twice, I’ve mentioned about learning to play the ukulele, but the instrument is now collecting dust in my bedroom corner. A lot of times, I’ve mentioned about a lot of things, but still… Well, that’s me.
  5. Cried for a week when my cat, Biboi, went missing last year. I miss him terribly.
  6. Kinda got a kinda new kinda job with a kinda fancy-schmancy title.

Written by SZA

9 January 2015 at 9:28 PM

Posted in Happening

This and That #1

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  1. So yesterday I read the poetry that I’ve written, and realized that they seem to be full of anguish. Wow, that’s new. I mean, I’m actually fairly normal on the happy scale (except on Mondays). So, to realize that there’s a dark side of me that I didn’t know about seems to be pretty disturbing. Or maybe, my poetic juices flow easily when I’m feeling a little dark blue. I don’t know. Whatever works for my poetic ego, I suppose.
  2. I like things to be perfect, but not so much that I’d consider myself as a perfectionist. When it comes to language though, I’m very anal retentive. Very much so that I scare myself. I ain’t no mere Grammar Nazi, people. I’m the mother of all Grammar Nazis…I am a Grammar Hitler. Every punctuation, letter, word, syntax, diacritic is taken into account when I write a single sentence. Maybe it’s due to the fact that I teach English, I don’t know. But then again, I’m like that with all other languages. It’s really driving me up the wall whenever I second-guess every text I write, and because of that, I can be really hard on myself if I commit a grammatical error, however minute it is. And that’s why there’s a truckload of my blog posts being set to drafts; those drafts are now in a long queue waiting to be edited, checked, scanned, reviewed, approved, and published. Really, I’d make persnickety Niles Crane look like a slob. And that’s an honest truth, folks.
  3. Typically, those who are in the same demographic group of unmarried 25- to 35-year-olds are often bombarded with the dreaded when-will-you-get-married question by the nosey folks. Such not-so-subtle inquiry is most often asked during family gatherings--be it at funerals, weddings, or family luncheons. So of course during this year’s Eid, I was expecting my family and friends (even strangers) to ask me the big Q. But surprisingly, no one asked (well, save from that first cousin once removed whom I only see once every two millennia). Strangely, I was feeling a tad disappointed, you know. I mean, I sort of anticipated the big question but none came forth. Yes, there are times when it can be a mite awkward and uncomfortable when the question’s directed at me,  but I’m one who doesn’t mind when it happens. It’s not a big deal. If folks ask when/if there will be a wedding, just smile and say, ‘God willing.’ A short, simple finish. It ain’t no biggie.
  4. Not so recently, I’ve developed a fascination for everything Korean. Not an obsession, but an interest (a little disclaimer here). I wish I could say the fascination wasn’t stemmed from the whole hallyu-wave thing so it’d make me sound cultured and sophisticated, but alas, it was the pop culture that got me interested. Blame it on the first K-pop song I listened to, Mr. Simple. But now, my fascination for Korea has taken a divergence--it’s not so much for the pop culture now, it’s more for the country as a whole. But I really still don’t get their emphasis on physical appearance. Mono-lidded eyes are pretty! Round, moon face is adorable! Dark skin is beautiful! Having some meat on your bones isn’t a big deal! This whole beauty obsession is one of the few things I don’t get about the country. Otherwise, 한국을 사랑해요.
  5. On a side note, what’s up with the lyrics of Mr. Simple? ‘Because I naughty, naughty’--what does that even mean? The song should be re-titled Mr. Grammatically-Simple-in-the-Head. Seriously. Couldn’t SM afford to hire a good English writer/translator when they had the song written?

Written by SZA

13 August 2013 at 3:00 PM

Quote #2: Procrastination

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You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood. What mood is that? Last-minute panic.

Bill Watterson

Written by SZA

29 March 2013 at 9:05 AM

Posted in Oy Vey, Quotes

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A Learning Teacher

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‘And class, that what is of the meaning phrasal verbs is…of…um…means.’

Never cease to amaze me how naturally eloquent I can be at times. Simply amazing.

My first gig as a tutor started last year, and truthfully, I was terrible. Initially, I’d reservations about teaching kids; be it primary- or secondary-schoolers. And simply because, teaching means talking to kids, and I’d never been good with them. Like, really bad. Not Michael Jackson bad, but the other kind. Any sort of communication with the much-younger MTV generation made me feel nervous and very awkward. So naturally, questions that the masses might think silly but I deemed of the utmost importance, kept lingering in my mind: Should I address myself as Ms. Sharifah, or simply Cikgu? How should I react if they get unruly--tell them off (but that’d make me unpopular in class), or act cool and go along with them (this is so middle-aged-men-who-are-fifty-going-on-twenty-one)? How can I make the subject interesting, and would playing hangman or charades be a good idea?

I remember my very first class, and it was English for the upper-secondary level. I was feeling pretty pumped up and nervy at the same time, and this proved to be a bad emotional combo, because what I did and how I portrayed myself in the class was an epic fail. The kids were perplexed by my overly-upbeat persona (imagine: doped-up Bozo the Clown) that they kept glancing nervously at each other probably thinking, ‘Is she for real?’



But oddly enough, they seemed content having me as a tutor and didn’t request for change of class. And there was quite a number of new students enrolled for my classes even. So I supposed I was pretty alright…or perhaps the new kids were just plain intrigued by word-of-mouth anecdotes about a teacher-turned-circus-clown. Personally, I’d like to think the former.

I’m not sure how good a teacher I am now, but it seems the students like me enough. As much as I want to be well-liked and respected by them, I’ve now come to realize that popularity should be treated as a minor variable in the equation. And it’s not about trying  to be ‘one of them’, it’s just about being myself. As banal as it sounds, there’s undeniably some truth to it. The road to engaging with and inspiring students to rise to their full potential can take many twists and turns in a lifetime. Teaching can still be awkward and challenging for me sometimes, even after a year of teaching students. Even though I’ve come a long way since I started teaching, I still have a long way to go. Yes, I’ve got the hang of things now, alḥamdulillāh, but I’m still a work-in-progress. And I don’t mind being a WIP…after all, aren’t we all?

Written by SZA

19 March 2013 at 11:01 PM

Posted in Work

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Rās as-Sanah al-Hijriyah

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Today marks the first day of month Muḥarram of year 1434 H, the start of a new Islamic calendar year.

Hiǧrah (also transliterated as Hijrah), in general, means migration. Historically, in Islam, the said word holds a high importance in Islamic religious dates as it was the day when Nabī Muḥammad SAW migrated from Makkah (Mecca) to Madīnah (Medina). Still, its significance shouldn’t be restricted to the historical point-of-view, as hiǧrah is more than just a geographical transition. In essence, it signifies a quest for a setting more beneficial to constructive and continuous endeavour, and a progression of moving to that environment.

With the battle scars I’ve acquired along the way, my transition hasn’t always been easy, thus far. And owing to that, there were times when it was easy to overlook how great, meaningful and gratifying the journey has been, also the small accomplishments that I’ve achieved along the way. But ultimately, I hope that I’ll persevere and make myself a better person through it, for I know, my personal hiǧrah can be the most powerful single learning experience of my life…inšāʾAllāh.

Written by SZA

15 November 2012 at 8:09 AM

Posted in Blog, Islam

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