Different Spin 23rd Jan 2015
The first month of the new year always takes me down memory lane as I start comparing notes on how I pictured my life to be like when I was still a child, to what it really is today.
Never in my 6 year-old mind, would I have thought I'd be writing a column, while waiting for elephants to stroll less than 50 meters away from the "Glamp" (Glam Camp) that I am staying at on Kruger Park, South Africa. Nor did I marry my high school crush whom I swore to "love for eternity" when my parents forbade us from seeing each other for fear of affecting our studies. I've always pictured myself married to my first boyfriend and we'd grow old together with 6 children looking after us. I've since, parted ways with him, dated a few guys, married one of them, got divorce and remarried my business parter. Between the both of us, we have 4 kids together. "His, Mine, Ours".
Instead of working at the local hospital back home, I am out producing TV shows. I've embraced Islam but I still hum to hymns when attending weddings, christenings and religious celebrations of friends and family. I am also lucky to experience Deepavali now that my sister has married into a wonderful Indian family. Her life was not how she pictured it to be either, and I think this falls true for most people?
I celebrated a friends' birthday last weekend. We reminisced her bash last year, where she was getting panicky because her life plan 'was not complete'. She had an amazing job, but she did not have a boyfriend and was approaching her 40s, so she was worried she would not be able to bear children and was considering on freezing her eggs - "just in case". However, God granted her her birthday wish this year. Not only is she happily married now, but a baby is on the way to complete her dream of being a wife and mother; all in the span of less than a year!
She said if someone told her then, that she would be married to a 'mat salleh' from South Africa after courting each other for less than 4 months and having a thriving career in the entertainment scene instead of practicing law, she would not have believed it.
I also met this jovial character of a man, who has been in the retail industry for many years. This year, the grandfather of one, decides to quit his high paying corporate job to become a chef. For the first 6 months, he worked behind the scenes in a restaurant as a pot washer and learnt the ropes, all this without pay. Last Monday, he started his 2 years studies in the culinary world and he speaks about it with so much passion and excitement; something that most of his closest friends have not seen in him for a very long time. Sadly, his wife does not share his enthusiasm for a change in vocation and they have parted ways.
My mother always tells me, "never say never". We have a local saying for this: " Jaga-jaga, nanti mulut masin" which literally means "becareful, you might have a salty mouth" - so what you say, will come true. Whether you wish for, or not. Don't say it. Try not to even think of it.
Unless you want it to become true.
My Malay friends tell me this is because every word uttered is like a doa or a prayer. Those superstitious go the extra mile and try to eliminate even the thought completely.
In retrospect, I reflect back on what I've said in the past. When I watched the marriage of someone very close to me crumble as a young girl, I swore my husband was never,ever going to leave me for another woman and my marriage was going to be perfect. Karma decided otherwise.
I had written post-it reminders on my study table to motivate me to "study hard Dr. Daphne" and I made a pact to my grandfather that I would look after his dogs and "one day I will visit Africa to see the animals in the safari". Everything but the doctor part came true, so what gives?
"Did you secretly wish to be something else Daph," asks my friend whom I confided to upon this discovery?
And it dawned on me. I did think being a radio announcer was cool after listening to Patrick Teoh and Yasmin Yusuff on Radio 4, and I would pretend that my study cubicle was also my DJ console. All this while looking at the "study hard Dr Daphne" post it notes.
I understand now why there are so many taboos as to what we can see or what we are encouraged to see, when we are pregnant. A pregnant girlfriend was so upset when she was showed pictures of deformed babies (the person who showed her those gruesome photos, did not know she was carrying a child) and I understand her annoyance. Being pregnant, you have to be super careful with what you say, for fear it will affect the child and pregnancy. As much as some might think it is hogwash, I'd rather be safe than sorry.
In conclusion, in all that we say and do, we should always try and think good thoughts, have noble intentions and say only good and positive things. Kind words, kind thoughts. This is my new mantra that I will reinforce strongly in my life and household. InshaAllah, things will be better. Because it can be.
Daphne hopes for more documentary and emcee opportunities, so she can travel more with her family exploring the world. Follow her on twitter @daphCLPT.