Notes: Recovery

www.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

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Notes: The Wanderer

www.catatanfani.comRunning 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.

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Notes: Good People, Good Heart

www.catatanfani.comSometimes 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.

Ride the bus

 

Notes: Losing Your Body? Nah!

www.catatanfani.com (1)Many people say that once a woman becomes a mother, she will lose her body, become fat and have jiggly yet flabby body especially those who has baby delivered through c-section including me. Don’t even dream to get your body back, so they say. But here I am, I prove them wrong. You can still have a well-shape body even you have many children be it through normal delivery and/or c-section.

I started getting back to my training regime at seventh weeks postpartum. I must say that I didn’t find it easy. Sometimes I got frustrated because I didn’t seem to lose any baby fat after working out for one month. Sometimes I got frustrated or even depressed because l only run at the slow pace. Sometimes I even gave up, just sat down, did no exercises for hours and just played with my phone because I felt that I did not make any progress. 

But one day, I said to myself “Don’t be too hard on yourself. Just started again,” so I started to take it easy that time. I just forgot about the aesthetics result and just focused on the form of my exercise as well as my diet.

At the end, aesthetic result is not my main exercise’s goal but sanity is. As a result, I got my body back faster than I expected as you can see on the picture above. 

Ps: no whey protein is being used. It’s all natural diet.

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Notes: My Clothes, Your Clothes

Are you wearing fast fashion products either it is from Zara, Pull & Bear, H&M, Bershka and any other? How often do you buy a new outfit? And….have you ever wondered who makes your clothes, under what condition, how do they make it or where do they make it? Well, let me tell you a story.

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Yesterday, my friends and I went to an interesting yet eye-opening trip. We visited one  ready made garment factories in Bangladesh. This trip gave us the opportunity to see how our clothes are manufactured from the scratch. Located 35 kilometer from Dhaka, the factory is owned and run by Beximco Group, a Bangladeshi multinational company. The company manufactures products for a wide range of clients ranging from Zara, Pull&Bear, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger to DKNY. According to its official website, currently the company’s Textile & Apparel Division employs more than 5,150 people.

Bangladesh is known as the second largest ready made garment producer after China. The industry has become one of the largest export earning contribution to the country. According to Dhaka based newspaper The Daily Star, the industry has generated export earning up to USD 28.67 billion as of December 2016. The industry hopes to increase to USD 50 billion by 2021.

SONY DSCThe Bangladesh textile and garment industry employs approximately 4 million people. Most of the workers are women. Every month, they earn approximately 7,000 to 10,000 BDT, this figure is actually slightly higher than its minimum wage which is at 5,300 BDT. According to various local media report, the worker union is demanding that the minimum wage should be increased to 16,000 BDT.

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Some of you might remember the 2013 Rana Plaza incident which caused more than 1,100 killed and 2,500 injured; this incident is known as the deadliest industrial disaster ever. Since the incident, the Bangladesh’s textile and apparel industry claims that they have been making effort to improve the factory condition that meet the safety standard. Yet, as we walked around the factory and learnt about its production process, I noticed that many textile and apparel workers are exposed to high level of noise from the machines as well as chemical hazards without any protection which you can see from my pictures. This condition is feared to have a significant impact to the worker’s health. Not forget to mention that many of them spend hours to standing or sitting while doing their work. This made me wonder how much the 2013 Rana Plaza incident has really brought changes to the textile and garment’s industry in Bangladesh.

I must say that this trip has reflected upon me that despite the fact that Bangladesh has become a centre of ready-made garment manufacturing for many global fashion brands, the country is still severely underdeveloped. Additionally, workers tend to have terrible conditions while others get massive profits. Yet, without this sector millions would be unemployed.

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Notes: A Conscious Consumer 

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Those make me horny! [2013: Oktofani]

I don’t know exactly how many clothes I have been purchasing in these last ten years. It must be hundreds or could have been thousands. And where are those clothes now? Most of them have been donated, given out or thrown away. Why? Those were either already washed out, destroyed or simply out of trend. Well you know…I was one of those consumers who “see now, buys now” but I have been trying to change to be a conscious consumer in the past few years now. Why? Here is my story
Back in 2011, I had an interesting conversation with the domestic assistant who worked in my apartment in Jakarta. She told me that she used to work in a garment factory. She also mentioned about her workload, about her salary as well as a heartbreaking incident story where she was pregnant but unfortunately she had a miscarriage when she worked over-time in the factory. She lost her baby. I am not sure whether it was work-related or not. Since then, she decided to leave her job in the garment factory and worked as a domestic assistant in South Jakarta.

A few months later, I went to Canada for Christmas. I went for Christmas shopping in several shops including GAP, Zara and Timberland. As I was checking on the price tag, I found out that those products are made in Indonesia and the price was high. I must say that I was slightly shocked. Why? It was because I remembered my conversation with the domestic assistant of mine. “Wow! This is crazy! Why would I purchase this while the labour is not getting paid fairly,” So I walked away and entered other shops? Again, I found many apparels is made in Indonesia. I then decided to look on the Internet.

As I looked on the internet, apparently many garment and footwear products which are distributed and sold in North America are made in Indonesia or China. Although it got me proud to see those products are made in Indonesia, it somehow got me upset because many labours who made these products only earning peanuts. I understand that other costs are also added but still, it got me sad. I decided to not purchase any that time.

Those events actually change the way I consume garment products.
Do I stop buying clothes? Not yet!
So how? I start to buy less and less.
Why? It is because I don’t need it. If I feel that I want or need new clothes, I tend to have it made. At least, I know who makes my clothes and pay accordingly. Alternatively, I will get clothes from local designers who are transparent about its supply chain. Or sometimes, I purchase pre-loved collection which is still pristine. Otherwise, I only purchase new clothes in a couple of occasion in one year. Not just that, I am also pretty picky about the brand. I tend to look for information regarding how ethical the company is. Although I must admit that we cannot really trust those report 100%. Most importantly, I refuse to pay at full price. Why? If a brand can sell their products with 70% discount, it means that a brand still makes a profit from that price and I don’t want to get ripped off 🙂. Hence, it is very important for me to keep myself fit so I don’t have to purchase new clothes simply because it does not fit me any longer.

Other than that, these days, if I go out purchasing clothes, it must be for my seven months old baby boy. Yet, I don’t purchase it simply because it looks cute so I want to buy many but simply as we need it. For me, this is my way to train myself to be a conscious customer. It is not only good for the environment but also for my saving. As you can imagine, how much money I have been spending on clothes which are eventually not being worn and forgotten or thrown away.

In the end, I believe that the way the consumers consume garment products can eventually force the company to be more ethical in producing their products where it should be good for the society as well as the environment.

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