Saturday, October 21, 2006

10 Crimes of Work Fashion

By Laura Morsch, writer

Fair or not, appearance matters in the workplace. Just ask Desiree Goodwin. The Harvard assistant librarian sued the university in 2005, claiming she was rejected for jobs or passed over for promotions 16 times because her supervisors viewed her as just as "pretty girl" who "wore sexy outfits," according to media reports.

When it comes to professional perception, clothes make a difference. According to a survey by Office Team, an administrative staffing firm, 80 percent of workers say a person's work wardrobe affects his or her professional image.

This means that dressing appropriately is a must if you want to be taken seriously at work. But knowing what's acceptable attire isn't easy in today's workplace. Business-casual dress codes vary widely between companies, and even between departments. The following items, however, are almost never acceptable to wear to work:

1. The Crime: Poor-fitting clothing.
Too-tight clothing is never flattering and usually too revealing, but too-baggy clothes make you look sloppy and unprofessional. Pant length also matters -- if you're showing too much sock or leg, expect to be teased all day about an upcoming flood.

Redemption: Find a good tailor. It's a rare person who actually looks good in clothes directly off the rack. Buy an item to fit the fullest parts of your body, and the tailor can nip in the rest.

2. The Crime: Too much perfume or cologne.
You never want your co-workers or clients to smell you before they see you, and a colleague could be severely allergic to your favorite scent.

Redemption: Apply perfume or cologne with an extremely light hand. If you spritz too much, put some rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball and dab off the excess.

3. The Crime: Shorts or too-short skirts.
Showing too much leg is never a good professional move -- for women or men. Revealing a little leg makes men appear overly casual or sloppy, and makes women look more sexy than serious.

Redemption: Men should stick with long pants, and women should wear shorts or skirts that hit within an inch-and-a-half of the knee.

4. The Crime: Out-of-control hair.
Whether it's frizzy coifs or bushy beards, wild hair just doesn't look professional.

Redemption: Women should invest in a good haircut and some styling products that can reduce poufiness and make hair easier to manage. Men should keep their facial hair well-trimmed, or better yet, go clean-shaven.

5. The Crime: Dirty, ripped or torn jeans.
Even on casual Fridays, ripped jeans look too dirty and messy for the workplace.

Redemption: When you do choose to wear jeans to work, make sure they are well-fitting and in extremely good condition.

6. The Crime: Cleavage.
There are very few legitimate jobs where showing off your chest is a good career move.

Redemption: Cover up. Whenever possible, avoid wearing anything low-cut to the office. If you can't part with your V-neck shirts, simply buy a few camisole shirts to wear underneath them.

7. The Crime: Tank tops.
Showing too much skin in the office is never a good idea in the office, and tank tops are especially inappropriate for men.

Redemption: If it's hot outside and you're going out with friends after work, simply keep a cardigan at your desk to cover up. That way, you'll stay comfortable in frigid air conditioning and look professional when your boss stops by.

8. The Crime: Noisy jewelry.
An armload of bangles or long, dangling earrings are perfect choices for a bar, but downright distracting in the office.

Redemption: Keep your office jewelry simple. A small pendant, stud earrings and a delicate bracelet look much more professional than trendy pieces. Save your flashier jewelry for happy hour.

9. The Crime: Gym attire.
Even in the most casual workplaces, yoga pants, shorts, T-shirts and running shoes make you look sloppy and apathetic.

Redemption: At the very least, wear nice jeans and professional-looking shoes. If you're going to the gym or catching a flight after work, change into your comfortable clothes in the bathroom on the way out.

10. The Crime: Extremely high heels.
Extremely high heels are too sexy for the workplace -- not to mention impractical. Few things would be more embarrassing than wobbling or tripping over your extreme footwear in front of the boss.

Redemption: The highest heels you should wear to the office are 2 to 3 inches. That way, you'll actually be able to walk in them, and they'll be comfortable enough to wear all day. You might feel shorter, but you'll no longer fear grates or sidewalk cracks.

Laura Morsch is a writer for She researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Be friend to the earth!

This is an example of what you can have if you be friend with the earth.... these banana (picture taken 12SEP06) are the first version of my little "fruit orchard" at my backyard... Not a very big area, just 5'x15'... but I do have:
1. Banana trees
2. Chili plants
3. Pineapple plants
4. "Kencur" - a family of ginger
5. Pandan leaves
6. Serai (lemon grass)
7. Limau purut plant
8. Curry leaves

We also have manggoes, yet to ripe, in two big pots right in front of our house. Yummm... can't wait for this one! we had the first harvest sometimes early this year!

How can we ladies benefit from this? There's so many reasons why you should do this even how small your place is...... these are some reasons that I could think of:
1. you can to do some exercise - have to maintain it, or else can turn to be a "forrest"
2. you can enjoy the harvest together as a family... can even give some to your neighbours and friends.
3. Save cost - where possible, we should cut the household expenses - eg: you can bake fish wrapped in banana trees leaves!
4. when you love earth, earth will love you!

Can you help to add on to the "reason to start my own garden"? You can? Great... drop your ideas in the comments.

Lo lets go green everyone.... start digging or start potting!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Is It That Easy To Say "It's Over"?

This is the full article written by Zainah Anwar of NST, on Friday, 6th October 2006.
I'm sharing this article because I think it is a good eye opener for married Malay couples. Sometimes, though the truth hurts, it will at least snap us out of our hipocracies and thrown into what is real.

As much as we hope more Malay marriages would last based on the values that we were brought up in, and the religion that we stand by on, the truth is, many misinterpret what is wrong to their advantage and interpret the right to their own detriment.

Maybe Malay wives, who tend to be more conservative and sikap "tak mahu melawan suami sebab dosa" attitude, and Malay men who grow horns the moment they become husbands, make it more difficult for any Malay couples to withstand the waves of marriage.

I am not saying that Malay wives must "melawan" when there's a miscommunication, but Malay wives must learn to nip it in the butt and put her stance across (from the start). Then, again, this is just my views and sometimes, what I feel and believe in may not make sense to you.

Let's take a moment and read the article written by Zainah Anwar, and maybe, just maybe, you would understand where I'm coming from. And see the importance of learning to relearn, so that marriages can withstand the test of time; because marriages like organisations, are built to last.

"HE wished her ‘Happy Birthday’, then he pronounced ‘I divorce you’! Can you imagine such cruelty, such heartlessness," said a friend whose 34-year-old daughter was unilaterally divorced last month by her husband of eight years.

She called me after reading the New Straits Times story (Sept 30) that revealed the disproportionately high divorce rate among Muslims (15,000) compared with Chinese and Indians (3,000).

A Muslim man’s unilateral right to divorce his wife at will is one of the causes of the higher rate of divorce among Muslims. The ease and impunity with which men pronounce divorce led the religious authorities to put a stop to this practice in the 1984 model Islamic Family Law adopted by the states in Malaysia.
Malaysia was then one of the first Muslim countries to provide for divorce to take place only in court. This was in accordance with the Quranic teachings urging husbands and wives "to live together on equitable terms or to separate in kindness".

But in 1994, because of objections from certain quarters, the law was amended to allow the registration of divorces outside the courts, thus defeating the original intent and spirit of the 1984 law reform.
Now, one only has to pay a minimal fine for breaking the law by pronouncing talaq (repudiation) without the court’s permission, and the divorce will be validated. Thus, this loophole in the law has led once again to the proliferation of such divorces. So, the stories of irresponsible men pronouncing divorce at will and in all manner abound again.

Many years ago, a friend’s husband wished her "Happy New Year" as the clock struck 12 and pronounced "I divorce you" in the next breath.
Another friend did not even know she was divorced until she received her divorce certificate in the mail from the Syariah Court.

Then, there is the recent phenomenon of SMS divorce which the courts, in all their wisdom, have recognised as a valid pronouncement of divorce.
At the Sisters in Islam legal clinic, we get emails and letters from perplexed women over the issue of ta’liq sepah, where their husbands pronounce conditional divorce for whatever reason they fancy.

These unregulated conditions include: The wife stepping out of the house, going to work, going on a business trip, picking up the phone when it rings, visiting friends or parents, speaking to a cousin he so dislikes, voting for an infidel political party, and so on.
The women felt that these conditions were unfair and untenable, so they picked up the phone when it rang, spoke to whoever they wanted, visited friends and parents, and in one case, the husband drove her to work even though he said jatuh talaq if she went to work that day.

"What is my status, now? Am I divorced or not? But he is still having sex with me! Am I still his wife?"
Women’s groups have long raised the multitudes of problems and the devastating emotional pain a woman goes through when her marriage is terminated without her being consulted or given any power or opportunity to prevent it or negotiate the terms. The calls for reform have included a return to the 1984 provision of divorce only in courts to increasing the fine and prison sentence as a deterrent against irresponsible husbands.

While some countries have made divorce more difficult in order to arrest rising divorce rates, others have put resources into marital research and education to deal with domestic instability and unhappiness before the marriage deteriorates or even before it starts. This is one area that the Malaysian government should seriously look into.

In the United States, government-funded research over 30 years has enabled experts to predict with almost 90 per cent accuracy which couples would end up in divorce.
The use of video cameras to record every facial expression, gesture and change of tone has enabled John Gottman, regarded as the guru in the field, to identify four key behavioural traits that are the strongest divorce predictors — contempt (indicated by eye-rolling when the other partner is speaking), criticism, defensiveness and stonewalling. From this research, he came out with seven top suggestions to keep a marriage strong.

The most striking I felt was his demand that we set high standards in a marriage. The most successful couples, he says, are those who, even as newlyweds, refuse to accept hurtful behaviour from one another. The lower the level of tolerance for bad behaviour in the beginning of a relationship, the happier the couple is down the road.
Another important tip Gottman gave is the ability to accept influence. A marriage succeeds to the extent that the husband can accept influence from his wife. This, he says, is crucial because research shows women are already well-practised at accepting influence from men, and a true partnership only occurs when a husband can do so as well.

And yet in a kursus perkahwinan (the pre-marital course made mandatory for all Muslim couples) I went through, one of the listed characteristics of a good husband, who is the leader of the household, is a man who does not listen to his wife!

While Gottman’s model focuses on behaviour, other researchers developed written surveys on couples’ attitudes, backgrounds and behaviour styles.
One popular questionnaire taken by millions is called PREPARE which asks couples before they get married to answer 165 statements on a scale of one to five on a range of issues, including handling money, family roles, raising children, work and leisure, spiritual and religious beliefs, sex and affection, communication, conflict resolution, assertiveness and self-confidence. Developed by social scientist David Olsen and his team at the University of Minnesota, this survey also claims 80-85 per cent accuracy on who would be happily married and who would divorce within three years.

Olsen said he found couples who stayed happily married scored higher in such categories as realistic expectations, communication, conflict resolution and compatibility. The most common incompatibilities are communication, conflict resolution and money.
Thousands of churches and synagogues in the US and even county governments now adopt PREPARE or similar pre-marital inventory tests and post-counselling sessions before performing a marriage ceremony.

For over 10 years, the Islamic religious authorities here have introduced the mandatory kursus perkahwinan and churches too have introduced pre-marital counselling sessions. The objective is well meaning as the emotional, health, social and economic costs of marital conflict and divorce to families and the state is destructive.
This should give good reason for the government to seriously evaluate the effectiveness of these courses and invest in research-based marriage education.

In a kursus perkahwinan attended by my niece, not one, not two, but three ustaz within a span of eight hours told the young would-be grooms how they could break the law and take a second wife by crossing the border into Thailand.
One even passed his handphone number should the men need his help. Two male friends attended courses recently where the ustazah taught them how to beat their wives the Islamic way. Take a towel, tie a knot at one end and beat her all over, except her face. If she is pregnant, you can beat her anywhere but her stomach! Now, such advice cannot be the skills one should learn in a pre-marital course if the intent is to assist young couples in developing friendship, partnership and constructive conflict resolution skills in an intimate relationship where conflict is inevitable.


today is the worst hazy ever in this year. I think more than 220API. Wear a protecting mask and do not go outside. Please consider getting an air purifier for you and family, esp those with LUNGS and those who has asthma.... If you need more infor pls PM or email me