Not Just The Ordinary Beauty

By Kenny Thomas

The first and foremost reason I am keeping this blog is to keep my own writings. I put so much hope that miracle happens everyday so I can write about them and keep this blog going. And, I want to inspire you dear readers that there are good things happening in this world, hoping that it sparks that fire in you to do the same, and that’s second.

One very exciting moments working in a hospital specialised in women and children is that I get the chance to meet kind hearted visitors like Michelle; a kind, soft spoken, and beauty with heart lady.

It is pretty normal to have visitors to the hospital and visit the warded patients. Michelle and her parents did their second visit last Saturday after the first one they did on Easter, earlier this year.

What Michelle did by distributing face masks and crocheted beanies to the children warded in the Oncology Ward seems to be the simplest way to show kindness to others. When I started to ask myself, “what makes them wanted to do it”, I couldn’t help myself but putting out my so-called a-writer’s-desires-to-know-for-everything; by gathering all informations from the 10 minutes chat with Michelle and her mother, Florence; write about it and hoping what this daughter and mother did would inspire you to do the same.

Brought up by loving parents to the only child in the family, you can actually expect the hundred percents of everything would be given to the child. Love, attention and everything positive to it, is what nurtured Michelle to do good things in her life.

Michelle runs a beauty salon, and at the age of 28, that’s quite an achievement. Mr Wong, her father told me that she studied Software Engineering but I bet the influence from Florence, her mother made a shift to her career to become a beautician.

“I’ve met a lot of nurses and doctors coming to my salon and they tell me about their daily life in the hospital. That’s what made me to come and visit the hospital because I want to see it for myself,” Michelle said.

When asked about the difference between her first visit and the recent visit to the hospital, Michelle confessed that it was hard during the first one. “It was my first time seeing all the children like that. And how I see the parents accompanying the children and go through the pain with them is what had taught me about love,” she said.

Michelle wanted to find something to give back to the community. And for her, monetary donation is not her kind of way of doing charity. “Instead of giving money, food or cloth that don’t really needed by the people; I prefer to give something that has personal touch just like the beanies we distributed to the cancer patient children. I chose that way of helping which I can really see the benefits to the children and feel for myself,” she said. I agree with Michelle on this, and seeing the children smiling after receiving those small yet meaningful gifts from Michelle is what the world needs more from us. The world needs more people to care and love for others.

Besides running a beauty salon, Michelle also ventures into the soap making business which founded by Florence, her mother.

Beauty With Heart…(left) Michelle & Florence

3 years in soap making business has given Florence the chance to share and educate her customers the benefits of using all natural and organic products.

Florence started using cold processed soap which is different from the soaps sold in the retail stores. The soaps are made from vegetable oil namely olive oil and coconut oil. Adding in raw ingredients such as aloe vera creates more goodness and benefits when using Florence’s handmade soaps.

There are many reasons for the things that we do in life. And Florence started the soap making business because of the sensitive and dry skin she has especially on her hand and heel. “I bought handmade soap from a soap maker and I’ve found out that my skin has improvement after using it. Slowly from there, I started to learn to do it myself from online. It was fortunate that by learning it myself, I achieved a success learning,” Florence shared the story of how she had started the soap making business.

Florence and her family started using only the soap made by herself. And Michelle brought up the idea to sell the soap in their shop. Gradually and slowly the business is growing by introducing more items such as skincare, lip balm and other cosmetics. How they gained confidence and trust from customers is by using the product themselves first hand before introducing to others.

Florence during Jesselton Artisan Market

Small steps lead to bigger goals. At the age of 54, Florence is hoping to expand the business and getting approvals from relevant authority. Besides selling the handmade soap in the shop, she also offers soap making class. Florence and Michelle often having a booth during Jesselton Artisan Market, a curated showcase of Kota Kinabalu’s skilled artisan and their creations.┬áJust in case you missed the event, sopandco is on Instagram.

Michelle and Florence share the common values within them; kindness, love, persistent and believing in good things. I just love them both. At the end of the meeting, Florence told me that she always tells herself that if she has the chance, she wants to help other people more in her life. She proves herself that she is not just the ordinary soap maker in town or just the ordinary beauty like her daughter, Michelle. “When the business gets better, we want to contribute more to the people,”she said.

Heart of gold; Michelle and Florence rocked my Saturday by being the miracle I hope to happen everyday./END

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Instagram users share yoga stories

This writing was published on a local printed newspaper Borneo Post in 2014. And it was also the very first time I had my byline on a paper. I am putting it in this blog just to remind me that I can do good in writing and hoping to improve from time to time. I hope you all dear readers enjoy this piece.

By, Kenny Thomas

“Sharing my yoga progress and gets feedback from others who share my passion empowers me to learn and dig more,” says Instagram’s avid user, Caroline Charles who was first used to be so cynical about yoga.

Carol starts yoga with home-practice by learning via the internet in July 2013 after seeing it trending among blogger friends on Instagram.

Four months later, she decided to join a yoga class because of the urge to have a certified yoga instructor to guide her physically and expected to learn the techniques, alignments in a healthy way.

“This way, I can practice at home safely!” stressed Carol, an Unduk Ngadau winner for Keningau district level in 1997 and also a teacher at a primary school.

Little did everyone knows that it is a whole load of possibilities to get the daily mojo to boost your self confidence from whatever photos share on Instagram.

Instagram, according to the Wikipedia, is “an online mobile photo sharing, video sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, and share them on a variety of social networking platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr.”

Like Carol, she has been using Instagram with her handle @chegucarol before starting yoga and the amount of time she spends on Instagram is more than that she is on Facebook pr any other social platforms.

“I post more on Instagram. While the other way around, it’s also easier to find yoga inspiration and motivation from the photos shared by the people I followed. Likes on my photos? Who doesn’t fancy getting many thumbs up on the photos?” said Carol when commenting on why she hooked on to Instagram.

“I am proud to say that I have more good feedbacks than bad. That of course makes me happy. It’s like you have given something back in return.

“I know this because I see a lot of my friends who have inquired about yoga from me turned up in yoga class that I recommended. Or some who started by doing home-practice. All the same, I feel wonderful that I have played my part albeit a tiny one,” she added.

The same things happens to Sheen Apin, a homemaker of two who is a gym fitness junkie and also a yoga self-learnt practitioner.

Using her handle @avanus and her own hashtag #nunutyoga on Instagram, Sheena has been very active to share her yoga progress photos.

She gets so much satisfaction by sharing her yoga progress photos which allows her to get direct feedback from her followers on practicing techniques.

“I hope to inspire others with my passion,” she said and she did it.

“My followers on Instagram are motivated to start practising yoga and the connection via the mobile app helps to maintain the motivation to keep going,” she added.

Another yoga lover, Stella O Kunjan (@stellaclaire_r on Instagram) who just returned from the UK, shared her yoga-Instagram stories.

It all started in June 2013 when she had learned some yoga postures from her online friends on Instagram.

“I love to join the yoga daily challenge on Instagram hosted by yogis around the world.

“The yoga communities on Instagram are very supportive. It’s very exciting that I am meeting (virtually) yogis around the world through the social networking service,” said Stella, a former civil engineer who quit her job to be a superb mom to her son.

Why taking it to Instagram is very simple for Stella.

“It’s amazing to see my progress photos on Instagram. It makes me happy. So in that sense, happiness must be shared,” she added.

There are thousand of ways to inspire and be inspired.

For Carol, she still finds herself peeking at other people yoga photos and wonders if she can do as good as that person. Thus, learning to honour thy self is what matters the most.

“In life, it is not about us competing with others. You are your own competition,” Sheena said.