Aida Zabidi
Thank you to the amazing team behind the opening ceremony of the para-SEA Games. 

Thank you for celebrating them with dignity and sensitivity, with pomp similar to the SEA Games opening ceremony.

Thank you for giving a face to disabilities, for humanizing them to a community that is not always exposed. Today I saw a significant number of youth especially, in wheelchairs, a few with crutches and obvious muscle weakness. I saw them come in the arena with excitement and for awhile, I couldn’t imagine how they saw these athletes and imagine themselves in their places instead. I saw them leave talking about the ceremony, taking photos in their wheelchairs, like any other young person. 

Having pride in our differently abled sportsmen and women gives a face, a role model to others out there with the same challenges; it gives them hope. I couldn’t help being touched as the Paralympic athletes came into the stadium, some with a hemiplegic gait, some in their wheelchairs - all with the pride of representing their respective nations on their faces.

I was told that the celebrations this year were on a different level for the para-games, which were previously treated as the SEA Games poor sibling. This year was a whole different story. It was a statement, more than anything that said that these Paralympic athletes deserved just as much as their able bodied counterparts, and should be celebrated as such.

We are a society that is only as good as we treat the differently abled, the poor and more unfortunate members of our society. Although we have a long way to go, every little bit of effort counts.

Tonight was amazing - I'm so glad I got tickets (thanks team neuro)! Good luck to our Paralympic athletes, you're all already winners!
Aida Zabidi
I’ve recently come back from my travels and it’s been amazing.

I’ve decided to start a new blog chronicling my travel adventures, just so I can document the places I’ve been to. It’ll be a work in progress, especially since I haven’t been particularly disciplined about blogging here either - but the fact that I can still blog and keep this going for so many years is something I count as a personal victory of sorts.

Watch this space!
Aida Zabidi
The moon is almost full tonight. The whole road is bathed in light; so calm, a stark contrast from the busy goings of the day.

I could sit here and watch the moon for awhile, feeling the wind on my face as I listen to the sounds of the night. There’s still crickets in the middle of KL, in that patch of grass right up the road. I spot the same family of foxes - a mama fox and three babies taking a night walk across the walls of the neighbour’s house. 

It’s so quiet tonight, barely any noise except for the occasional car driving by, or the soft hum of a nearby generator. I feel my thoughts forming, and I let them go, just keeping my head empty from thought and enjoying the silence. From a busy day at work, with the constant noise surrounding me, to the conversations of people and the cries of children, it’s easy to be accustomed to noise - and I didn’t realize how much noise I was accustomed to until I sat in silence.

There’s something calming about just sitting like this, still in my work clothes right outside the house, watching the moon, and listening to the night. It helps reconnect my thoughts, helps me centre myself again.

Sometimes we all need a bit of silence.
Aida Zabidi
I found this on Tumblr here and had to share because it’s so beautiful, just one of those things that you can read as a reminder anytime you need reassurance.

“Look at your wrist, see the bluish veins? The blood flowing through them contains a hemoglobin, a protein that has four iron atoms incorporated into its structure. Iron is only naturally produced in one place, it can only be forged in the core of dying stars. 

Everytime you look at your veins, remember that you are built from, and kept alive by, pieces of stardust.” -Vethox
Aida Zabidi
I used to be very bad tempered. Kaki gaduh. 

Every once in awhile this flares up, the familiar wrath, and the knee jerk reaction to return anger with even more anger. 

The thing is, anger takes you nowhere. 

Somewhere along the line I learnt that it wasn't worth it, that some things can never be taken back in those heated moments. Bridges can burn, relationships can break over words carelessly thrown out in a fit of fury, and once broken, can never be the same again. 

You will never know if things can be mended. I'm not saying it's easy. Sometimes it's easier to give in to the urge to punch someone than to actually mediate. Sometimes it feels like it might be more satisfying to slam someone's head against the wall then putting in the time to deescalate. 

It takes a lot of self control to reign anger in, especially when you're no longer thinking straight. 

Your reaction to your anger is a reflection of yourself, of who you are. 

And some things can never be taken back.
Aida Zabidi
When you're a legit doctor and have been in service for over five years but your family members still insist on bringing your grandmother to a specialist to adjust her blood pressure medications.
Aida Zabidi
It's been so long since I've been sick that I've forgotten how it feels like to not feel like 100% of yourself. The feeling of weakness to the point that you struggle to get out of bed, or the chest tightness, or the muscle pains. 

It reminds me of my patients, with their strokes and injuries, and their multiple problems and morbidities. With their spastic muscles and their struggle to undergo their daily activities, and the need to put in extra effort and energy just to overcome the weaknesses of their bodies, day in, day out. 

There is value in illness. 

It reminds me to be grateful to be blessed with health, for my usual endless energy. As a doctor, it is a reminder to empathize with my patients, in a situation where it's too easy for a possibility to become detached from the job. It's a stark reminder to take care of my health, for it is something that could easily be taken anytime.
Aida Zabidi
Linkin Park's music was such a significant part of my growing up years, and expressed so much emotion that I could not as a teenager. 

Reading about Chester's death left me shocked, but it is also a reminder how how common it is to have mental illness, and how much mental illness doesn't discriminate. It affects people across all spectrums; from young to old, across all economic states, from so many different backgrounds. 

Help is available, so don't hesitate to reach out. 

Don't isolate yourself, and find the ones in your life who will be there for you at your lowest points. 

We are all part of a community, and the first step to help is the awareness that mental illness is more common than you think, and don't be afraid to reach out to someone. 

"If you’re reading this, it means you’re still here. If you’re breathing, the air in your lungs declares that you’re alive. We can’t know how long we have here, but it seems we have today.

Please know you’re not the only one who hurts. You’re not the only one with questions and sadness and pain. If life feels nearly impossible, please know you’re not alone. Please know that it’s okay to be honest. You don’t have to fake it. You don’t have to play it cool. If you need help, please know you’re worth whatever help you need. If you need to talk to a counselor, if you need to call or text a hotline, if you need to step into treatment, it’s perfectly okay. You deserve whatever help you need.

Please stay alive, for every future joy. For the next album you’re going to love, for the best concert you haven’t been to yet, for your wedding or your husband or your wife, for the kids you have or dream of having. Please stay alive to be surprised, by love and hope and help.

If someone you care about is struggling, please reach out. Please break the silence. Please cross the distance. Remind them they are loved. Remind them they deserve better. Encourage them to get help." - Written by Jamie Tworkowksi for Chester Bennington, original article here.
Aida Zabidi
Halfway through Syawal, and I'm reminded of the first day of Eid where my sister called us from Kelantan - absolutely homesick for the raya atmosphere of Muar and our family. It was the first time in 27 years that she hadn't been with the family in Muar.

Our family has always been close-knit; out of my mother's six siblings - almost all the siblings spend the first day of Eid in Muar, Johor; in that traditional kampung house which somehow managed to house the thirty of us - the place we have always associated with laughter and family, and as all of us twenty odd cousins grew up, these moments became more precious.

We cousins spend the day before Eid re-learning how to weave ketupat (only to probably forget how to do it the year after); help out our parents with the Eid preparation. There's the 20kg curry chicken in the massive pot outside meant for the first day and the sambal sotong that Maksuaina now makes from home and brings back to Muar. There's the family prayers that night as Uncle Yut gives his yearly tazkirah on the night before Eid.

The first year I was in Australia for Eid, I was so horribly homesick that I refused to go out and celebrate; it wasn't the same feeling without the family. In my six years there, I eventually adjusted - but I can relate to how my sister feels this year being away from everyone.

As my grandmother gets older, and we among our cousins marry, things will change. We will have shared responsibilities to our spouses, and perhaps it will no longer be as easy for all of us to experience that carefree nostalgia with the family, and I think we're acutely aware of the impending change.

For what it's worth, I'm thankful for those moments spent. They're beautiful, and I have so much appreciation for my family and the extended family.

As things change, I can only hope that we manage to capture the same spirit of family, the same way my parents and my aunts and uncles tried so hard to make sure we really felt the spirit of Eid - the bonds between family and loved ones.