Monday, September 30, 2019

"๋‚ด์ด๋ฆ„์€๋นจ๊ฐ•๋จธ๋ฆฌ์•ค" ์ „์‹œํšŒ Anne of Green Gables Art Exhibition Seoul, South Korea


This exhibition opens from June 28th to October 31st
Visiting hours: 10 a.m to 7 p.m (closed every Monday) 
Place: Seoul Forest Galeria Foret (๊ฐค๋Ÿฌ๋ฆฌ์•„ํฌ๋ ˆ) B1 floor
Ticket price: Adult : 15,000 won / Student : 12,000 won / Infant : 10,000 won

Yesterday on Sunday, 29th September 2019, I went to an art exhibition called "๋‚ด์ด๋ฆ„์€๋นจ๊ฐ•๋จธ๋ฆฌ์•ค" or "Red-haired Anne" in Galleria Foret, Seoul, South Korea. It wasn't just an exhibition because it took the story of Anne by L.M Montgomery. If you're familiar with Anne of Avonlea or Anne of Green Gables, you might love it! 

I went there after winning free tickets worth 30,000 won from Syrup Membership for 100 people (I was the only foreigner! ahaha) alhamdulillah. The artworks and exhibition overall were sooo beautiful and touching as the journey brought back my childhood memories. I took a video while I was there you can check it in the youtube video above. 

If you don't know, L.M Montgomery is one of my favorite classic authors since I was 12. I have always loved reading her works and immersed in classic stories while I was young. I once wrote about my attraction towards classic stories including her works here...


Going to this exhibition feels like living my childhood dream. Somehow I can relate to how Anne perceives the world around her and observes pretty little things that are unseen to the eyes. When I was a kid, I have always wondered about bizarre things and wrote poems upon it. Life is not perfect anyways but we can always find something to be grateful for. And what I like the most about classic novels is that it could capture the beauty of nature and fall in love with your own soul. I always love the "depth" and maybe that's the reason why...

“It was November--the month of crimson sunsets, parting birds, deep, sad hymns of the sea, passionate wind-songs in the pines. Anne roamed through the pineland alleys in the park and, as she said, let that great sweeping wind blow the fogs out of her soul.”
― L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Bewitched

"But most of the times we forgot about the little things that actually mattered, 

we forgot the insignificant yet important things in our life."


Image result for autumn book tumblr

October 1932.

The wind blew gently in the month of October. It hasn't been raining for a week and the leaves have dried, leaving the road untouched in a pile of red. The falling leaves made a rustling sound as she walked through the pavements carrying around a bag of groceries. It has been more than 3 weeks since she went out like this, let herself enjoying the breathtaking scenery around her because usually when she goes out she will go back as soon as she gets what she wanted.

"I always have a thing for autumn, you know?" she said.

"I thought you love winter? Because you finally have an excuse for not going outside, refusing to meet people," the guy exclaimed in, tucking his scarf inside his coat. 

Autumn is the season where she doesn't have to worry about the weather because whether it rains or not, both are still as lovely for her. Actually, she wouldn't mind walking in the rain without the umbrella and let the rain dripped down her shirt. But people will call her insane and she prefers no attention.

"Well, I do.", she smiled sheepishly, "But seeing how the color changes every year from green to red got me thinking about the things that I used to overlook. Change is beautiful, pain is beautiful. Besides, wouldn't it be a perfect time to read a book in the park?"

"You and your fairytales," she and her fairytales, "eventually you will end up with flu for exposing yourself too much from the dust. Like me,"

She glared, turning her head towards a person who just pointing out the truth in front of her. "You be jealous 'cuz I can enjoy valuable things more than you do." 

"At least I don't need a particular reason or moment to be happy," 

"you do," the girl chuckled to herself as she walked past him, leaving the snotty guy behind trying to come up with another thought to reply. "Every emotion needs a reason. You know the hormones and all, they need a signal from the nervous system to work and, um, it does need a cause for it transmits something through your brain."

"Were you a biology teacher in your previous life?" he said jokingly.

"I don't believe in any form of reincarnation," she wondered if he actually listening.

"So we die once."

"Yeah, eventually. Anyway, don't try to change the subject."

"What do you want me to say"

"Anything. Anything that provokes my mind. Or something that you think I'd argue about," 

"You always do." He's always been intelligent and practical in his thinking, sometimes too bizarre and abstract for her understanding. His peers are mostly stupid as it wasn't quite a norm for a young boy like him to have such prominent ideas ahead of his times. 

"Okay, having said that even if you claim that you don't have any reason everything that doesn't make you feel the opposite—angry, sad, upset—is enough reason."

"Well, in fact, humans are complicated beings where we can't really measure every single thing, hence we waste a lot of time thinking about the unnecessary."

"Yes, we do. But most of the time we forgot about the little things that actually mattered, we forgot the insignificant yet important things in our life. We forgot that the things that you called 'no reason' actually exist because even the smallest thing as not having a reason itself is a reason."

"But what if I told you that happiness is a state of mind? Like, it is a natural state of our being and having it blocked by negative emotions such as fears and anxiety will finally give you a reason to be sad or anything negative. By that means, you can have a reason to be sad but not the other way around."

She paused for seconds. "If by a reason means that we should achieve, accomplish, or experience something then I would disagree with you. But if what you mean by reason is anything as small as your thoughts about yourself, you appreciating your existence in life, then yes."

"You know what, certain issues do not have a fixed answer. Sometimes all we need to do is to just appreciate and enjoy the moments while we are still present."

"Then I do agree with you."

She knew he always knows how to make a perceptive remark with an incredible judgment in a way that is almost impossible for her to deny. But this time, he let her win the argument.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

"What is your favorite music?"

My fall semester started today, yeah on Tuesday, because I don't have any classes on Monday. I did it on purpose hehe, so I have free days from Saturday to Monday!! yay, also Friday classes finished in the morning so it's way better. Alhamdulillah. I had four classes today and one of them is Intermediate Korean Writing which I decided to take because I have to take another TOPIK (Test of Proficiency in Korean) next year and it has been a long time since I wrote proper academic Korean essays. Since it's the first day, the professor only asked us to fill out some survey forms and level check. It was easy and nice until I stumbled upon one question.

"What is your favorite music?"

It's very easy for some people, they couldn't even pick one as they have so many on the list. That question, is even harder for me to answer than the short essay question which was "What is the most important thing in this world?", I got the answer within a few seconds although the content development takes more time. It took me 2 minutes...3 minutes...5 minutes...to just think of one single title. One line. And it doesn't even have to be a Korean song, like, I can actually write western songs there. But, I just, can't think of any (in the end I just wrote "against the current" without any title hahahahhaha)

Well, don't get me wrong. I still go to ๋…ธ๋ž˜๋ฐฉnoraebang/karaoke with my friends if they insisted and I will still sing one or two old songs that I knew years (and I still remember) before I semi-stopped listening to music. I can't say that I fully stopped listening to music because sometimes I am just exposed to it everywhere in the cafe, roads, whatever. Sometimes I am still listening to piano instrumentals like Chopins, Tsaichovzky, Liszt, Mozart, Baroque, etc (yeah cuz I love period dramas!!) or lo-fi as a background. Yeah, I love lo-fi. However, I just don't listen to music regularly like I used to anymore. 

I used to be a Taylor Swift #1 fan that although I don't listen to it anymore I still remember the lyrics, I knew BTS and has been following them for a year before I came to Korea (now I know nothing about them except that they're more globalized now), I knew some Korean ballad songs since I used to watch a lot of K-dramas prior my arrival in Korea. Note! Yes, I did watch k-dramas and listen to k-pop only before I came here, yeah tbh cuz it was fun and it helps me to learn Korean better. I even listened to Japanese rock bands like SPYAIR. I used to love love love rock bands like Paramore, Against the Current, Imagine Dragons, etc that I was bought a guitar and dedicated myself in it. But I stopped. I stopped ever since I discovered how beautiful Qur'an recitation is.
“And when they hear what has been revealed to the Messenger, you see their eyes overflowing with tears because of what they have recognized of the truth. They say” Or lord we have believed so register us among the witnesses.’
It brings me peace. Always. Even there are certain times that I actually tried to listen to music when I am bored lol. Like I just opened some old music that I liked, trying to get some nostalgic feelings), but... I just can't stand it. It will go for a minute and my heart starts feeling uneasy. My ears just don't like it. They refused it. The lyrics don't feel that deep and appealing anymore. It's not comforting anymore. I don't feel comfortable listening to music anymore. Like, well, yeah... it's a good piece of art, I appreciate that. But I just don't get the peace and unexplainable feeling that I got whenever I listen to Qur'an. Then I would be thinking, "um, ok, the music is good, lyrics are ok and I can relate at some point. Cool. But, what's the point of listening to this anyway," and switched to Qur'an recitations and be like, "yeah this is it, this is what wanted.". My soul loves it.

Probably some of you have already heard about the hadith regarding music in Islam. When I first heard about that hadith, I still love music and I really was in denial cuz like, "um? I didn't feel any harm. It's good. Why is it so bad? Why?????", I didn't even try to stop because I knew that some scholars have different opinions about that too. However, everything changed since I listened to Mishary Rashid Alafasy for the first time. My heart stopped. I lost in my own thoughts thinking, "how did I spend years not listening to this..." I wished I found it sooner. But probably the story would have been different and not that interesting anymore. Had I not experience, I wouldn't know the difference...the hollow gap that I felt while listening to music compared to the Qur'an.

I came from knowing western bands and singers (yeah I still know some of them until now because they appeared in my Instagram feeds or just anywhere) to Qur'an qari/reciters. 

My favorite qaris so far: 
  1. Mishary Rashid Alafasy (his voice is very calming and I listen to him most of the time), 
  2. Abdul Rahman Al Sudais (his Qira'at style can make us burst in tears, it reminds me of Ramadan nights standing in Taraweeh prayer),
  3. Taha Al Junayd (I first listened to his recitation when he was still very young and when he is older too.)
  4. Saad Al Ghamidi (medium pace, quite fast I can say but also very calming), 
  5. Muzammil Hasballah (my favorite from Indonesia, I met him once in Yogyakarta), 
  6. Mouadh Ayachi (I like it that he likes to emphasize in some important lines or words), 
  7. Muhammad Siddiq al-Minshawi (he's slow but very careful with his tajweed, my hifdh teacher recommended him to me) 
  8. Abdul Basit Abdul Samad (I just discovered him recently, very...very...beautiful)
It is true that their voices are very...very beautiful, even with a different style of Qira'at. However, I should not forget that it's not only their voices or style, but I should ponder and understand the meaning behind it. Because in the end, it is not their voice but the Qur'an. Allah has bestowed upon us the most beautiful blessing in this world. And let not our hearts deviate from our true intentions.

Allah says in the Quran:
"And when the Qur’an is recited, give ear to it and pay heed, that you may obtain mercy. [7:204]"
Ibn Taymiyah said: “By means of this listening, Allah guides His slaves and sets straight their affairs in this world and the Hereafter.”

Last, try it!:)



Saturday, August 31, 2019

i fall for souls


"I fall for raw conversation, 
those in which I know the person is not playing, 
not pretending to be someone they aren't. 
I fall for carefree, inadvertent smiles, 
those which aren't intended to impress another.
I fall for what is real.
I fall for souls, not the skin carrying it."

-The Minds Journal

Friday, August 23, 2019

2018 Memories in Busan, Everland, Gwangalli Fireworks Festival with GKS18 Silla University

This video was created to keep some of my old memories with my GKS 2018 family at Silla University (Korean Language Institute) while I was living in Busan, South Korea. Now that we have finished our language course for a year, we are separated and went to different cities to continue our education. I moved to Seoul to pursue my undergraduate study with some of my friends, meanwhile, some others went to Daegu, Daejeon, Incheon, Ansan, etc. 

It's my first attempt on editing video so constructing critics and suggestions are most welcome!! I had a really good time editing it as I recalled my old memories back in mind (well, only the good ones hahaha). I hope this short video could remind you of the small blessings and memories that we had that time. Thanks for watching this video! :)


Love, 
Aurora

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Book recommendations #1: List of Books that Changed my Life and Perspectives

Today I will be answering one of the most asked questions in my email, blog, and Instagram. If you're one of the followers in my Instagram, you must have seen that I post about books quite often in my stories and feeds. I am not going to write a full review of the content, just my impressions and how I came across those books (you can always go to Goodreads and find the best reviews there hahaha).  

Disclaimer: most of the books that I recommend here are the non-fiction genres that I like such as self-improvement, financial literacy, and philosophy which mostly revolve around "how to improve yourself" inside and outside by building your personality, character, and values. I also have some Islamic, fictions, history, politics, and other genres book recommendations on my list but I think I will post it next time in separate posts, InshaAllah. (Also because tbh I have forgotten some amazing books that I have read before ehe.)

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1. Tony Robbins - Awaken the Giant Within
“Any time you sincerely want to make a change, the first thing you must do is to raise your standards.” 
Image result for tony robbins awaken the giant within
This book is very thick and boring at first, I am very honest to y'all, but it's really worth it once you get his point. Lol. I have to warn you. It's almost 600 pages, full of story, exercises, questions, reflections, etc. But when I finished the book, the first thing that comes into my mind was, "I will surely read this book again in the future.".  It's really worth the read. This book is just what you need if you are looking for self-improvement books. He covers almost everything in this book: from mastering your emotions, your body, your relationships, your finances, and your life. I still look up to Tony Robbins up until now and attending his live events (I wish I can go to his seminars and workshops someday, it's so expensive! lol). I read this book as soon as I finished the book I mentioned in number #3. Worth to read if you want some change in your life.
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2. Stephen Covey - 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
"To change ourselves effectively, we first had to change our perceptions."
Image result for 7 habits of highly effective people
I read this book after Tony Robbins' Awaken the Giant Within, this book is much simpler and direct than Tony Robbins. It is not too long, only 381 pages. It is very helpful to narrow my focus as it emphasizes more that "if you want to change your life, you have to start it from yourself.". Everyone, even your closest family, will always have something to say about you, you will never control what is on the outside, but you can control "how" you perceive the negative outputs into something positive. This book is a must-read if you need a guide on how to improve yourself.
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3. Merry Riana - Million Dollar Dream (Eng version by Alberthiene Indah)
"It’s a book about surviving the hard life you face and believing that hard-work never fails you." - Goodreads
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I don't really read Indonesian authors but Merry Riana, she probably is the first Indonesian author that I acknowledged for its work. The writing style is not that amazing, though, but the story inside is good enough to give me goosebumps. I read the English version of this book (the Indonesian version is pretty awkward and I didn't get the feeling) during a flight on my way to Padang, Sumatera Barat for attending a competition with my two close friends. This book is very inspiring and great if you have a big dream but you're afraid to reach it because it's too "big" and you think you're not "good enough". Well, at least that's what I felt when I read this book. This is the book that brought me to Tony Robbins. I thank her so much for introducing Tony Robbins to me indirectly through this book.

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4. Outliers, The Story of Success - Malcolm Gladwell
“It is those who are successful, in other words, who are most likely to be given the kinds of special opportunities that lead to further success. It’s the rich who get the biggest tax breaks. It’s the best students who get the best teaching and most attention. And it’s the biggest nine- and ten-year-olds who get the most coaching and practice. Success is the result of what sociologists like to call “accumulative advantage.”
Image result for outliers book malcolm gladwell  
I just read this book recently during my 2019 Summer Vacation in Indonesia, I picked this book up randomly at Gramedia and found this quite enlightening. This book changed my perspective on how I see successful people and how they get into their current positions: geography, time, family background, cultures. Success is not always merely about talents and money but there are also other factors that connect the dots behind it. Very interesting.

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5. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Image result for the alchemist
This book is one of my favorite fictions I have ever read in my life. I am so philosophically intrigued and hooked even by the very first chapter. I re-read this book in my first semester at university after talking about it with my Academic English professor, he gave me a list of acumens in this book and it made me realize more sentences that I didn't really pay attention before (you can see the picture in my Instagram). I could say that this book is not too hard to understand for a philosophical discourse it provided. It's pretty light and fun, yet gives you new motivations and perspectives about life. I just love everything inside this book. Beautiful piece of writing.

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6. Rich Dad Poor Dad - Robert T. Kiyosaki
“In school we learn that mistakes are bad, and we are punished for making them. Yet, if you look at the way humans are designed to learn, we learn by making mistakes. We learn to walk by falling down. If we never fell down, we would never walk.”
Image result for rich dad poor dad
I read this book when I was in junior high school, probably around 14 years old. I could say that this is the first financial literacy book that I read unintentionally after searching through mum's bookshelf because I ran out of books to read. I didn't know that this book was such a huge hit at that time but the lessons, insights, and perspectives that Mr. Kiyosaki provided still lingers in my fourteen-year-old mind. I just found out recently that this book was actually recommended by many mentors and teachers. Glad that I did! I will definitely re-read this book again. (I am planning to read the Cashflow Quadrant as well soon.)
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7. The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint Exupery
"On ne voit bien qu’avec le coeur, l’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux ... It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."  
Growing up, we often forget little things that make us "human". I came to know this book in my French class in High School, no, I don't speak French. But I am planning to learn it again in the future. The entire book is just beautiful. I can relate to the main character so much, perhaps because I am just weird and hold different values with society. This book also comes in a movie version as well, but it's not as detailed and beautiful as explained in the book. This book is pure beauty that will bring you nostalgic to those good old days in childhood. You really need to read this book at least once in your life.



That's all for today, I will come up with another book recommendations and reviews in the future.
Just drop me an email or dm, InshaAllah I will fulfill the request!


Love,
Aurora

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Hello, again?


Hi, everyone? 

I just came back to Korea last week on August 6th, 2019 after my one month and ten days summer vacation in Indonesia for the very first time after 1,5 years!!! My second semester will start in September for the Fall program, and yeah I came back earlier because I am not confident enough doing my course registration (a.k.a KRS or ์ˆ˜๊ฐ•์‹ ์ฒญ) in Indonesia. Well, probably will try it next time. I still have 3,5 years more here under KGSP (Korean Government Scholarship Program), well, just pray for me that I will succeed and maintain my "good" GPA. I don't know what will happen in the next 3 years in Korea though, but so far it has been quite an adventurous journey and I really enjoyed it. Alhamdulillah.

It feels weird to come back after a few years abroad, neither Indonesia or Korea feels like home (...er?) but of course, I am feeling much more...accepted? Because that's where I was born and basically people just look like me (I mean, wearing hijab and all.) and it was really good to taste the original Indonesian foods with a very cheap price!! Not to mention that I can eat mORE variety of foods and meats because the majority of it is halal certified already so I don't really need to worry so much. It feels so good that I can meet my parents, brothers, cousins, uncles, aunts, and friends after a while. It's like I am recharging myself before I get back into the Korean society (well, I am never in it though kkkk). Also, finally, my family has two cats now (one is Persian and the other is mixed I guess) hahaha. 

Well but, I don't know. It feels weird. It just feels weird somehow. During my short vacation, I kinda like... missing Korea? I mean not the people. Well, my friends, I miss them though. Or probably... not really? Perhaps I was just missing the subway transportation and living my days according to what I want to do, whenever I want to, like... the freedom I usually have? I don't know, I am not really sure about it and I don't really want to think about it either. But the thing is, I am really grateful for the opportunities that I've been blessed with to experience the two worlds during my early 20s.

So many things going on in my life that I can't really tell everyone in this blog, Instagram post, my family, or my friends even... there are stories that I kept only between myself and Allah. And I am content enough that Allah knows what I've been through. Ok, hold on, nothing very serious here but you know, it's a public secret that each one of us must have been through ups and downs life where sometimes you feel so energetic and motivated to do everything that you want to do and sometimes you have days where you feel like you don't even know what are you doing right now in this world. But that's just what life is.

We only have 4 months left before 2020...and I'll also be 21 years old soon. Wow. Can't believe it, I am currently in the quarter of my life (if I have enough time in this world~!), but anyway, I don't really have any purpose when I decided to write this post. It was just supposed to be a...quick news? I guess? But you can feel the vibe here. Right? See, see how much I asked myself in this post. I am not even sure why. Uhm? Well, I have some topics on my mind right now for my upcoming articles, but, just not now. I also have some plans and projects in the future, just, pray for me and my well-being, uh-huh?

Well, yeah ok.

Bye?

Sunday, June 23, 2019

List of Prayer Rooms in Seoul, South Korea!

This post will be updated every time I get new information!! :) If you find any mistakes or have some recommendations, feel free to leave a comment! Also, if you have visited one of those places and have suggestions, feel free to comment and tell us your experience ^^

1. Seoul Central Mosque, Itaewon (Exit 4)
Image result for seoul central mosque
The Seoul Central Mosque was established to be a place to worship for Muslims in Korea as well as to educate the larger public about Islam and Islamic cultures. The first floor of the mosque houses the Korea Muslim Federation office and a meeting room. On the second floor is the men’s musalla (prayer hall), and on the third floor is the women’s musalla (prayer hall). The mosque is open to worshippers and visitors.
Address: 
04405 39 Usadan-ro 10-gil, Yongsan-gu, Seoul 
How to get there?
Take a subway to Itaewon station (subway line 6, the brown line), go to Exit 3, go straight until you reach an intersection and kebab and Turkish ice cream shop, turn right and keep walking until you see Foreign Food Mart, keep walking until you see another intersection, then turn left and walk across the street... keep walking until you see Makan Halal Restaurant or a Turkish bakery store. You'll see the mosque sign or kindly ask people around you.


Saturday, June 22, 2019

First Semester Finished!

Image result for korea university
Yeaaaah so I just finished my first semester at Korea University a few days ago. I went through all of this wow, I went through finals, I still have another 6 or 7 semesters here Insha'Allah, I know it's still a long way to go. Soo many things that happened, some miracles and blessings that I wished to share always but I just can't because so and so forth. I still don't know my grades yet, but I hope I'll pass everything. The thing is I am very grateful for everything that happened and just did for over the past few months! Alhamdulillah. Also, I will go back to Indonesia for a vacation in a few days (woohooo) after one and a half year in Korea. I don't know it feels weird, I don't know. I don't know if I am ready to tell stories and answer questions because there are too many things that I didn't post, upload or tell just because... there's just so many I don't know where to start and if I do I might miss other stories and people will misunderstand because they don't get the full stories wow.

Anyway, I don't know if I miss my hometown but yeah I kinda, I mean I don't love it here in Korea either but I don't hate it too. It's just ok for me both in Indonesia and Korea. And I am so anxious to meet people, I mean yeah people are amazing but meeting everyone, a lot of people, for weeks is just I don't know if my introvert self can handle this but ugh ok just pray for me. The number of social interactions that I will have soon... I wish I can just spend the days with my family (new) cats and eat my favorite foods. From the way I write this post you can tell that I am pretty anxious and idkkkkkdi can you feel it yes you can right ugh. How to answer people's questions... how should I tell those embarrassing secret stories I have kept only with my best friend. LOL. How do I tell about those people to my family and friends kkkk I am not ready but I am so ready for food tour!!! This post is useless but whatever, bye!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Can money buy us happiness?

"Money is a powerful tool; think of it as a catalyst which is able to help you execute your goals and reach more people, help others achieve their dreams and make this world a better place. Imagine if you can build a system that helps contribute in the society, build schools and educate people so that they can achieve what you have achieved."

Recently, I did a small survey on Instagram asking people, "Do you think money can buy you happiness?" out of nowhere because I was just playing around, hehe. But then I was surprised by the number of responses I got from my friends and Instagram followers. The result was 27% of them agreed and 73% of them disagreed that money can buy happiness; that also indicated that 3 out of 4 people think that money can't buy us happiness. I was intrigued and decided to write a longer post here because I, myself, have been thinking about it quite a lot these days. I was reflecting on the idea of happiness and how do people actually define the word happiness. I am not going to be philosophical here but, what really is happiness? And why the majority of people think that money can't buy us happiness? Also, what does it have to do with the money? Why some people think money is important and some others think that it is not?

To be honest, I used to think that money will NEVER be able to buy us happiness. Yeah, I gave you one clue there, I used to. I really have no desire over money that even if I had a lot of money or destined to be born in a very wealthy family, I will still choose to give some part of it to other people after I have fulfilled my basic needs. I don't need that much anyway, I just buy what I need and if it's enough then it's enough. I don't need hundreds of designer bags or tons of brand new cosmetics or skincare, I would feel content with one or two that I will really use and last me for a long time. Well, I don’t mind having tons of skincare though. Also, I want a private jet, hehe. And chocolates. And a lot of books. And a mansion on a private island. Astaghfirullah HAHAH. Anyway! All I wanted to do in life is to share, serve, and help others through charity or education. I have never fancied money that I would sacrifice or dedicate my whole life to pursue material things. 

"Did you realise that there lies happiness after buying a pair of shoes for the homeless? There lies happiness of being able to provide food for the poor. There lies happiness when you can make an orphan smiles by fulfilling their tangible needs."

However, I changed my whole perspective about money after reading more books, educating myself about financial literacy, cashflow and listening to my mentors. Now, I believe that money CAN buy us happiness, although it's not always the case and the centre of the universe. The truth is... there lies happiness after buying a pair of shoes for the homeless. There lies happiness of being able to provide food for the poor. There lies happiness when you can make an orphan smiles by fulfilling their tangible needs. I was wrong thinking that being rich always associated with greed and evil. Money can "buy" us happiness and a sense of security if we spend it on the right thing or the right people. Money is good if you are a man of value, a man of purpose, money makes you a better human if you have an amazing personality that could help other people.

Or even if you don't really have a big sense of sharing or charity, money still allows you to afford plane tickets for travelling in which you can learn more about other cultures, understanding other people or just enjoying the beauty of nature. You can achieve financial security to fulfil your basic needs of foods and roofs because before helping other people we have to make sure that we help ourselves.  Also, we can buy more chocolates, hehe. What I am trying to say is that it's not always about making the most money or compete with one another, it is more about giving deeper value in the utilisation of money, be it to spend it on something that makes you a better human or invest it in something that you like. Because money comes when we have value. Some self-made millionaires out there, who wasn't born into a billionaire family, are usually the people of value who successfully created a system or product that help a lot of human.
"The most beautiful thing in life is not wealth, rather it is the tranquillity of the soul, the contentment of the heart and happiness that comes from within." @roseofgolds
Money can buy you happiness, but it can't buy you contentment. You can be the wealthiest person in this world and still not be content, or you can have as little as $1 a day but you can still be the happiest person in this world. The key is to be grateful; gratitude is a simple act that requires you nothing but it does have a big effect in your life, it will give you peace, calmness, and contentment. "And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, 'If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favour]." (surah Ibrahim 14:7) The goal is not to make the money controls you, the goal is to control the money for bigger purposes and good causes. Money is a powerful tool; think of it as a catalyst which is able to help you execute your goals and reach more people, help others achieve their dreams and make this world a better place. Imagine if you can build a system that helps contribute in the society, builds schools and educates people so that they can achieve what you have achieved. Life is too short to hold grudges and enmity, why don't we cooperate and help each other? Greed. Yea,h I just answered my own question.
"Wealth is the slave of a wise man. A master of a fool." -Seneca
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MISCONCEPTION WITHIN THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY
There are widely spread mentality and misconception within the Muslim community, that when you're in deen and practising Islam you shouldn't have desire over money as it's all about material things and worldly lives. In Islam, we have the concept of zuhud, it means having no love for the material world as it might make us forget about our sole purpose and the purification of the soul. The problem is that all of us have to live in this material world and benefit from it. When we are hungry we need food. When we are thirsty we need water. We need a roof over our heads. We need to earn money for our daily expenses.  But does it really mean that we shouldn't pursue material things at all? Does Islam really encourage us to not be wealthy and just focus on the hereafter/akhira? 

No, the fact is there is nothing wrong with pursuing money or material things. Even the Prophet's companions were among the super-rich but it doesn't mean they love material things or get crazy over money. Just look at Uthman ibn Affan r.a, Abdurrahman ibn Awf, both of them are millionaires in their time and the way they spend money for good cause and charity is still an ongoing ajr until now. Generosity, service, and love. Then, how is it possible then that while we benefit so much from this material world and need it all the time, we do not fall in love with it?
"Aim to live in this world without allowing the world to live inside you, because when a boat sits on water it sails perfectly, but when water enters inside the boat, it sinks. " Imam Ali (AS)
This is one of my favourite quote; you are allowed to have money in your hand, you're just not allowed to have it in your heart. It is to be said that we shouldn't get so busy with money that we neglect more important things like family, health, friends, and purposes. Indeed, Allah has given us a chance to live in this dunya so that we can seek with it the hereafter, next life, afterlife, akhirah, whatever you name it. And we as a Muslim (well if you are a non-Muslim reading this right now, it's up to you to take it or not) believe that we are not meant to be attached in this dunya/world.



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SO, WHAT SHOULD WE DO?


1. Understand the cause-effect relationship
It is good and encouraged to donate and make a lot of charity for those who need, but we shouldn't forget to deal with the cause of the issue or the root of the problems. Talha Azam said, "suppose there is a sister on the verge of becoming homeless; you want to help her with donations, good. That's dealing with the effect of her becoming homeless. The cause is she doesn't know how to generate money. The cause is illiteracy and lack of knowledge. In other words, prioritise creating systems of financial literacy to tackle homelessness instead of the consistency giving charity alone."
"Wealth is a catalyst–it makes you much more of who you already are in your intentions, plans, and character. Use wealth for supporting your goals, humility and generosity, and not for arrogance, corruption, and evil."
-Talha Azam
2. Educate ourselves with financial literacy and how the system works
The lesson is, we should not only focus on fixing the problem but also understanding why certain issues happened in the first place through knowledge and education. It is important to understand the world issues and current affairs facing the society, we have to build more awareness that the whole nation is suffering because we are not doing our part to help the ecosystem. Lack of understanding in knowledge is dangerous as it might lead us to hypocrisy and ignorance. We should educate ourselves about how to think, how to invest, how the system works, cash flow, how to learn, how to manage money, basically teach yourself about everything that your school or university never teach you. Even if you have graduated or you have reached the age above 40, do. not. stop. learning. Learning is essential, be conscious of the pursuit of knowledge. Seek knowledge but keep humble!

3. Plan, reflect, think, write it down
Reflect on your goals and purposes, think about how you define money and happiness.
What do you think about money? How do you feel about money? What you should really do with the money? What can you do for yourself, family, or other people? Think about your life in a long-term, imagine and plan it out. Just think and write it on a piece of paper. Paper and pen.

4. Manage your money and spend it for a good cause
You don't have to be an entrepreneur or millionaires, there is nothing wrong with pursuing a job that you love or work hard for your passion. Everyone has a different story and don't let others define yourself or let you down. Start planning your money, financial planning and management are very important no matter what your goal and purpose are. It might be annoying and uncomfortable if you're not used to tracking your daily expenses, but it will be helpful for your future. If you are a Muslim, don't forget to spare 2,5% of your money for zakat/charity to help the poor. Help everyone, it doesn't have to be a Muslim to spread goodness in humanity.

5. Be grateful
I don't have a lot to say about this one, you know what you should do :)

Abu Huraira (Radhi-Allahu ‘anhu) reported: Allah’s Messenger (salAllahu alayhi wa sallam) as saying: "Charity does not in any way decrease the wealth and the servant who forgives, Allah adds to his respect; and the one who shows humility, Allah elevates him in the estimation (of the people)."[Sahih Muslim – Book 032: Hadith 6264]

So, what do you think about money?