I am going to leave Dhaka to study in the UK in a few minutes. I would like to say thank you to @kamal.fit (Mostofa Kamal Salim)for being very kind, patient, friendly and helpful in introducing Bangladesh to me. Have I not met you or got to know you, I would not enjoy my stay in Bangladesh as much as I have been in these last few months. Thank you for taking me around the town, introducing me to the local delicacies, hospitalities and show me how most people live in BD. It added colour to my stay
I vividly remember when one Bangladeshi lady said to me “Fani… if you want to know Bangladesh. Try to go out of the expat bubble (Gulshan, Banani, Baridhara).” So I asked him to show me around and he agreed. We did that while we did a long distance road running or photography hunting.
Sadly, some people said that I should not hang out with him because we are not at the same level. I just laughed and asked “What is the god damn fvcking level? No matter how much money you make/have, you take the knife and cut yourself, your blood is still the same with the rest, RED. And when you die, you all turn to be dust.”
I am glad that I ignored what they said and followed my value ~Respect and value people not based on their money but their character~. As a result, my BD life is more colourful. Once again, thank you. Take care of yourself and see you soon.
Photo by @scholastikasastranegara.
Ps: let nobody undervalue you, stay humble and be kind even to those who have done wrong to you. #loveislove #bangladesh #herstory #dhaka
Carrying baby inside your belly can be uneasy sometimes. Therefore, it is very important for me to find comfort on what I am wearing. And here I was exploring Singapore at my ninth month of pregnancy, I was rocking olive tank top and cotton pants combined with skull thong sandal and intrecciato small shoulder leather bag. The thing is a nice handbag can always be a cherry on the top of my matcha green tea cremé #frappuccino .
Have a good day!
It was all started in 2009 when a doctor told me that I would only have another 10 years to live if my liver problem was being treated. He did not give me any choice because he saw me as a poor student and the treatment was expensive. I was only 21 years old university student back then. So he only gave me some dodgy vitamin. I was afraid & terrified.
“What would I have achieved by the age of 31 y.o? Would I be a successful woman?” I was terrified. I was in a relationship that time, I told him & gave choices either to stay or to leave. He stood by me, so he said. He did, he still is. He then found one of best doctor in Southeast Asia.
We met her in SG. After test & consultation, she told me that everything would be okay as long as it is treated properly. I was not really convinced but we went ahead with the treatment. It was a strong drug. After 2 years, it showed a significant improvement and the doctor stopped the treatment. I was very happy. I thought the first doctor was full of b.s.
Yet, I was still afraid that I might die at the age of 31. So I worked so hard to achieve everything that I wanted in life. “I only had 10 years, got no time to waste.” That’s what I said to myself. Jakarta’s life was not that easy & it made life circumstances harder. This led me into #depressionand #anxiety.
I must say that time I often felt that I was worthless, no point of living this life and I always kept distance from anyone. I became an unpleasant person to be around with and I built Great Wall from my friends and family. I would not talk to anyone unless I wanted to. It came to the point where I tried to kill myself and landed in hospital several times. Pills, knife and car accident. I was out of my head. And yet, I was still alive.
Nobody told me that I needed a help but I thought that I needed professional help. So I looked around and found one. Unfortunately, some physicists that I saw were being judgmental. It didn’t work. Yet, they prescribed me with anti-depression. I become dependent. From 0.125 mg to 2.5 mg. Higher & higher. The 2.5mg didn’t work anymore.
Out of the unknown, these anti depressant pills were bad for my liver. My problem returned & worse. It got me more depressed. I then started believing what the first doctor said that I am indeed going to die by the age of 31 y.o I was lost & didn’t know what to do. And one day, a friend took me to #running track to cope with my depression for the very first time & it was hard
Running has always been my thing and I have always been into outdoor running. Unfortunately, since I moved to Bangladesh in early 2016, outdoor running did not seem to be visible. It is because I cannot wear my ‘normal’ running gear -sport bra and short- as it is culturally inappropriate. As a foreigner, I just have to respect the local culture. Additionally, the 2016 terrorist attack which occurred in July 2016, has also limited our movement. Therefore, I decided to give up my hobby partly and started doing indoor running at the gym.
I must say indoor running is quiet boring because all I had to do was just staring on the screen all the time which then led me to think ‘When am I going to complete this run?‘. I did not enjoy it all. Yet, what to do? I had no choice. I had to force myself to fall in love with it. After months of training, I become used to it and I did not mind one way or another as long as I run.
For me, running has always been an important activity to me because it provides me a good dose of endorphin which puts me on a good mood. Additionally, it also helps me to cope with my anxiety and depression problem. Hence, there is just no way for me to skip one run unless I am on the plane or being hospitalized.
Anyhow, three weeks ago, I started to do an outdoor running again, here in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Of course, I still cannot wear my normal running gear but what to do? At the end, I have to compromise and that is okay. I must say that despite the fact it was extremely hot having myself covered with long sleeve shirt and long pants, it was not bad at all actually. As I run around the park, crossed the street and went inside small alleys, I discovered so many things including the road, the beauty of local attire and the contrast of people’s lifestyle which I would never see if I only run in the gym. And I must say that since I arrived in Dhaka, other than the birth of my son, I have never been happier because I was able to run outside.
Outdoor running means a lot to me. It gives me the sense that I am a free social being and I am not trapped. I can see what kind of place and society I am living in. I wish this place doesn’t have security problem so I can explore the city by running every morning without any worry.
Sometimes I wonder, where are the good people going? Sometimes, I feel that there are not many good genuinely kind people around. If some are being too kind, I often think that there must be motivation behind that. Or if some are being too friendly, sometimes I think that they would just blast me in the back. But then, I guess I am wrong. I guess I am too blind to see the fact that actually there are so many genuinely good people around me.
So today, I went to Coldstone, an ice cream shop in Gulshan 1. I went there, not to have ice cream but to have a cup of cappuccino and a piece of brownie. I love their coffee and I love their brownies because it’s not too sweet and very moist. It’s just finger-licking good and it seems that I am addicted to it. “Oh nooo…..! Is it gonna be another coffee cake disaster again?”
Anyway, as am in love with their brownies, I somehow become their regular customer for coffee and brownies, not their ice cream. Even one of the waiters started noticing me and always remembering my order. I vividly remember when I ordered coffee and brownies without ice cream for the very first time, he raised his eyes brows and asked “Only brownies?” and I said “Yes, only brownie!”
It came across to me that somehow he found it strange because many of them came to Coldstone to have ice cream but I only ordered coffee. So he tried to assure himself that what he heard was correct and asked me similar question every time I went there. “Ma’am, you don’t want ice cream?” and I answered “No. I just want coffee and brownies please. I love your brownies because it’s not so sweet and very moist,”
As I finished having my coffee, I asked for bill and this waiters somehow surprised me by giving me four pieces of free brownies. “Ma’am, this is for you, from me.” He said politely with friendly sweet smile. I was somehow moved by his act of kindness.
I must say that this is not the first that I encountered with this kind of circumstance. Yesterday for instance, my personal trainer gave me a big surprise, one unit of bicycle. I know some people might find it strange but it doesn’t matter to me. Or last year for instance, my nanny gave me a set of clothes for baby A when he was born. It was a set of nice clothes. Or, the day when my driver brought me green coconut or fruit or vegetable from his villages. Or, my Indonesian friends who invited me to have some homemade mouthwatering Indonesian food in the last minute. Or, the day, one of wise Indonesian lady dropped me a package of vegetable.
These occasions got me thinking and reflecting that some of these people are just ordinary people. Some of these people might not earn a fortune. Yet, they always try to give the best to their boss or friends by spending large amount of money to give the best present to their boss as a form of gratitude or the best gift to their friends as an act of kindness.
Although I must say that some of us sometimes might think “Oh, they want more money that’s why they give us this kind of gift,” or “Oh, it’s just a way for them to show their gratitude for giving them job and treating them well as they know that some of their peers are not as lucky as they are. So they are just genuinely being kind,” or they are just simple people with good heart, expect nothing in return. Right?
Meanwhile, we, the upper middle class or the educated people, often time count how much money we want to spend on gift to a family or friend, which is also not bad as we must always be aware with our cash flow. Or, some even have to brag how much money they have spent on a gift to their friend and complained how cheap and worthless gift they got as a return simply because they wanna show how generous they are while the rest are just plain old cheap people. “Ooo boy”
As a conclusion, the occasion taught and showed me that many ordinary people tend to have genuine heart than the upper middle class people who tend to be busy counting every penny that they have and/or or being suspicious or being to calculative in their move. Of course, we cannot generalize them all. Yet, I believe that being kind is so easy and it is free of charge. Yet, sometimes I wonder why aren’t we doing that more often?! I asked myself and I don’t know the exact answer. I guess we are too critical or too suspicious or too calculative in our move. Hence we often have trust issue with people around us.
Pada suatu kesempatan, seorang kawan laki-laki dari Bangladesh mengatakan pada saya bahwa banyak perempuan Bangladesh tidak menggunakan dupata (scarf) untuk menutupi payudara mereka. Apalagi tak sedikit dari mereka memiliki payudara yang besar. Dia menganggap bahwa hal ini sangat tidak baik karena banyak laki-laki yang akan melihat payudara yang perempuan tersebut dan menimbulkan niat jahat termasuk pelecehan seksual maupun pemerkosaan. Mendengarkan pernyataan tersebut, saya pun mengernyitkan kening.
“Kenapa perempuan yang salah?” tanya saya.
“Karena mereka tidak menutupi payudara mereka,” katanya.
“Lho mereka sudah menggunakan kameez, berlengan panjang dan gombrong pula.” kata saya.
“Ya tetap kurang!” katanya kekeuh.
“Kalau laki-laki yang menjadi bernapsu, kenapa perempuan yang repot? Bukankah kalian harus mengontrol napsu kalian?” kata saya mempertanyakan pendapatnya. Kawan saya pun terdiam.
“Nah, saya selalu datang ke gym ini menggunakan sport bra atau tank top dan celana pendek. Kalau ada yang melecehkan saya, apakah kamu akan bilang itu salah saya?”
Dia kembali diam. Mungkin mengiyakan pendapat saya.
“Dulu saya pernah dijambret. Seorang ibu mengatakan itu salah saya karena saya pakai kutang. Aneh kan? Wong penjambret mau emas kok baju saya yang disalahkan? Lagipula kamu punya dua anak perempuan, suatu saat mereka akan memilih jalan mereka masing-masing. Apakah dengan memberikan baju yang tertutup berarti melindungi mereka dari pelecehan seksual? Tentu tidak! Berapa banyak yang diperkosa karena menggunakan hijab atau burqa?” kawan sayapun tetap diam.
Diam entah karena tidak setuju atau diam karena tidak bisa mengekspresikan pendapatnya dalam bahasa Inggris.
Bagi saya, laki-laki yang tidak bisa mengontrol nafsu mereka tetapi kenapa perempuan yang harus repot. Melihat tetek sedikit ngeceng, ngelihat kaki ngeceng, melihat lengan ngeceng. Hadeeeeh! Percuma beragama tapi berkelakuan seperti binatang. Ya toh? Tentu hal ini tidak hanya terjadi di Bangladesh saja tetapi di tengah masyarakat tradisional mana saja.