Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Migrating to a new blog

New year, new grown up blog?

The thought urge to create a new blog has been on my mind for quite some time now. I feel like I need a blog that describes me as I am now, not 17 year old Vijeya. I did unclutter and delete some posts of this blog a couple of years back, but somehow, it's not quite what I need it to be.

So after spending too much filtering through posts, and playing around with themes and layouts, my grown up blog is now up at

Of course there were some posts I had to take along, because some things (and times in my life) I need to be reminded of. The rest? I still have them all downloaded and saved, so I can import them if I feel the need. That's so me isn't it? Holding on and letting go.

My life right now is so different from when I started this blog. In the past year, I have been an interviewer (the tables have turned!), Secretariat for two international conferences, MC for a seminar on transforming the public service, and so many more things I would have never dreamt of doing. Hopefully, I can slowly build an online presence that matches that. Yup, Instagram and Facebook are going to need some spring cleaning too. Boy, this is a lot of work...

Will I delete this blog? I am an emotional bag of fluff, so I don't know yet. That's how I work, holding on and letting go. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

ICT Appeal for KL Krashpad

I’m not quite sure what got into us the day we decided we were going to buy 6 desktops for KL Krashpad.  But I am glad all my colleagues believed in the idea. Although we were all aware of how ambitious it was, although we were still entertaining the idea of a backup project at the back of our heads, we still went with it. We sat down and talked about all the things that would go wrong, and we tried to cover all bases.

Yesterday, our amazing custodians at Razak School of Government donated not 6, but 7 desktops to KL Krashpad, complemented with the following items:

·         1 used printer
·         1 Mini projector
·         Paper and ink cartridges for said printer
·         2 foldable tables & 4 chairs

4 of the desktops are now set up in the common area for the teenagers to use, and we have dubbed it the ‘ICT Corner’. I did have some concerns as to how well it would be used. But after meeting the wonderful children at KL Krashpad, I am convinced that even if they used it solely for entertainment, it would still yield only positive consequences.  

Seeing as we were there to handover desktops, the teenagers put up a presentation on ‘Technology in Education’. They talked us through the evolution of education, beginning with cave drawings right up to smart phones in the classrooms. They then presented mini skits of various situations surrounding the use of technology, both positive and negative.

Amazing, precious children. These were smart, mature teenagers with happy dispositions. I could pick them all up and pinch their cheeks. Really, I have no recollection of being so mature and talented at any point in time, let alone my teenage years.

Looking forward to see more of these kids in CSR Project #2. I’m certain we’ll think of something crazier.

“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones that do.”

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Beautiful words

Jisko hai kho jaana, woh milta hi kyun hai
Dil ko hai murjhana, toh khilta hi kyun hai.
Those who are to be lost, why do we meet?
The heart which is to wilt, why does it blossom?

பிரிவென்றால் உறவு உண்டு அதனாலே வாட்டம் இல்லை
Estrangement validates that we once shared a relationship, thus I feel no sorrow. 

Why my playlist so emo T_T 
Also, my english translations make me cringe. No where near the original awesomeness. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

3 questions

Had the opportunity to be the MC for a conference/ workshop entitled Reinventing Public Services yesterday. The participants were essentially  big guns from various ministries.

The first speaker had the participants think about the following:

Why I do my job

For me the first one was easy peasy; considering I've only just entered the civil service and this is something I've personally given a lot of thought to anyways. But I should note that this was a really really hard thing for senior government officials to do. Sure, they could answer why they joined the government all those years ago. But why do they do their job NOW?

But if things turn out the way I want them to, wouldn't I be a senior government official one day? Would I then be struggling to find an answer?

At what point am I most reminded of the reason above

Oh boy, was this a hard one. I can rattle a list of frustrating things that happen day in day out that discourage me, but what REMINDS me of why I'm here? For now, the only thing I can think of is the TAPS programme and RSOG. What happens when I lose this amazing support system of people who keep telling me I'm amazing?

What would happen if I did my job outstandingly this year

I was super surprised by this one. The answer is "I have no clue". 

I'm thinking I should really make this an annual exercise. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Men and feminism

I read this today: I’m Suspicious of Male “Feminists” — And You Should Be Too

And then read this: Not All Men? Well, actually…

Favourite quotes (ie. words that blew my mind)

"When presenting our feminist views to men, we waste so, much, time,desperately seeking their approval and validation. So much time doing everything we can to dissociate from the “man-hating” stereotype. (I say “we” because I’m guilty of it too.)"

"They do this shit, or they passively watch other men do this shit, and then they have the nerve to get offended when women are suspicious of them."

Monday, November 23, 2015


When people keep telling you that you are amazing, I guess at some point you'd have to believe it.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Feminism 101 - TAPS Presentation

Lesson 1: Feminists come in all personalities.
A few decades ago, feminists were fighting for rights to an education, rights to work, rights to vote. The world has been conditioned to see feminism as a movement that demands more power for the women. And yes, that is what feminism is, but we do not want power over men. We want power over ourselves.

Today, the word feminism brings to mind strong women. CEOs. Ministers. Working women who demand equal roles and equal pay. There’s even a saying that goes "A truly equal world is where half the nations are ruled by women."

The western media on the other hand portrays feminists, or rather feminazis, as women who oppose femininity all together.

Amidst these 2 extremes, is me.  My ultimate goal in life looks a bit more like this. And I am a feminist.

"Erm, that doesn't look very feminist at all, Vijeya. That looks like the exact opposite!"
Well, not all confident, competent women want to be CEOs. Some want to be housewives.

Lesson 2: Feminists are not against men.
Feminism is often misconstrued because of its name. Being a feminist is being against patriarchy, not against men. But why feminist? Why not gender activist? Being a woman is not easy. I'm sure being a man is not easy as well, but I am a woman.  And all I know and truly care about is how hard it is to be a woman. I feel strongly about such issues and I relate to the label feminist.

Being a feminist doesn’t mean that I'm against every other cause in the world. I am also a gender equality activist. All feminists are, although some feminazis are not. If someone claims to be a feminist but doesn’t support gender equality, then that person is not exactly a feminist but someone who supports women’s causes.

Lesson 3: The right NOT to be.
Feminism is respecting people for the individuals that they are. It doesn’t mean that all women need to be working and earning on par with men. It means all the women who want to work and earn, should be able to. And all the women who want to be Indian housewives, should be able to.
People feel feminism is irrelevant in Malaysia because women can vote, drive, work, own property, etc etc. In my opinion, gone are the days when feminism meant fighting for rights, rights and more rights. Today, feminism means having those rights, but also having the choice not to exercise them.  

I have all those privileges women fought for years back. But people laugh at me when I share with them that my biggest ambition in life is the exact opposite of a highly driven career-woman. Another example, perhaps closer to home. 
Feminism has been about wearing more unconservative clothes for so many years, that today we need to fight for our rights to wear conservative clothes.

Lesson 4: The patriarchy is very deeply ingrained in our minds.
Modern men and women always say that our society no longer discriminates women, we’re no longer patriarchal. But…

What is your honest opinion of men like this? Would you encourage this behavior in your son?
Where did we get the concept of what a boy should sound like, walk like, dress like? Who are we to decide that this is natural and this is unnatural? Who cares if it is a phase, or biological, or due to influence? Why is it not socially acceptable? Boys are expected to dress and act like boys, because whatever society deems feminine is unacceptable on boys.  I can wear a pant suit to work, but a man will not wear a dress even to the pasar malam. 

Let’s think about the reverse: What do we think of girls who are tomboyish? Are they on the same level as men who wear dresses? The patriarchy lives in our heads.  If you call a boy a girl it is an insult. Why is it an insult to be a girl? Why do men and women need to fit into a mould that is socially constructed? The argument also extends to transvestites, cross dressers, homosexuals, etc etc. I am not saying all men should embrace femininity. It's just that sometimes we need to remember that our perspectives of gender and sexuality are socially constructed.

Lesson 5: Women want to be treated like women, not men.  

This is a so called smart reply to feminism. A lot of arguments against feminism online take this form. If you want equality, take it! They say. Feminism and gender equality does not mean men and women are treated exactly the same.  We are not the same. We are different biologically and otherwise. Feminism is about respecting those differences. Gender equality does not mean being a jerk. This brings us to our next lesson:

Lesson 6: Sometimes, women have it worse than men. Way worse.  
Be wary of comparing woman’s problems to men problems. Not all of them are comparable. This particular example is just nonsense, but it has been circulating on Facebook a lot, with many of my male friends agreeing with it. We are more than happy that you didn’t sexually harass us, we’re not going to complain that you didn’t hold open the door. Another example, recently men have been claiming to be victimized by feminist. They say that women demand that society do not stereotype them, but we stereotype all men as monsters. However:

All women structure their lives around not getting raped, not getting assaulted. We walk in pairs. We hold our car keys as weapons when we’re alone in the car park at night. We text our friends when we get home. We text the taxi number plate to friends/family. We’re scared all day every day.

Lesson 7:  The ‘Nice Guy’ is not nice, and the ‘Friendzone’ does not exist.

Another internet phenomenon. The term Friendzone is used when a girl labels a very sweet, ‘Nice Guy’ who treats her right just as a friend, and nothing more. Why is a girl obligated to be in a relationship with a guy just because he’s nice to her? And why is he disappointed that she isn’t attracted to him romantically? If you can’t be nice to a girl without expecting something in return, then you are not Nice. And girls are allowed to have platonic friends. Who she falls in love with is her business. Guys who complain about being in the ‘Friendzone’ are not ‘Nice Guys’.

Lesson 8: Feminism is relevant

Even today, even in Malaysia. Here’s a look at the population gender split. 

And here’s a look at women representation in top positions. 

And here’s women representation in the cabinet.

Why does this happen? Because we raise girls differently. We instill in them that the household is their responsibility, that teaching and nursing are more appropriate careers. It is not ladylike to be loud, it is not safe to be too outgoing. We make jokes that women are too emotional to be leaders. 
Random fact: PMS makes a woman’s estrogen levels drop, making her less of a woman and more like a man emotionally. If women are not fit to lead due to fluctuating moods, men are not fit to lead anytime of the year.

Look in your homes, in your friend’s circle. Society has different expectations on men and women. Society needs to change.

Lesson 9: But remember, our society, is you.