Aya Hachem🌹

Let’s begin this post with a positive thought for Aya Hachem, please recite a Surah Fatiha if you can.IMG_1789

[Tw: Death, shooting.] A short summary: Aya Hachem was a 19 yr old female Lebanese Muslim who was recently shot in Blackburn, UK (17th May 2020). She was on her way to Lidl (a chain supermarket) to buy groceries for her family when someone drove by and shot her. Following her death, and in the spirit of the holy month of Ramadhan in which zakat (charity) is encouraged, Muslims online launched fundraisers to build Mosques and wells in Aya’s name. A few days later it was made public that Aya was a Shia Muslim which caused a large number of Sunni Muslims online to denounce and retract the fundraisers for Aya due to her being Shia.

I intend to write this post to inform you of the news concerning the death of Aya Hachem and hopefully not stretch too far beyond that. The details have been confusing to follow and so I hope to share all the relevant details for you on one page. The incidents that have transpired over the past few days have deeply upset me. It took me two days to try and write this because I found it so sad, particularly as a Shia Muslim. There is one point however that I’d like to begin with. Aya died at what Muslim’s would believe is one the holiest times of the year, Ramadhan. Not to mention it was two days after the death anniversary of Imam Ali (a.s) and around the date of Laylat al-Qadr. I want to try my best to preserve the sanctity of her death, given the religious significance of its timing. One day I shall try to share more about my personal reflections on the treatment of Shias; however for now I urge that we stick to the facts and the story when speaking of Aya, and out of respect try not to use her death as a point of political discussion.


The story:

Aya was a second year student at the University of Salford, and Vice-president of its law society. Her dream was to work in international law and she was also a young trustee for the Children’s Society. She and her family came to Britain approx 10 years ago to flee from conflict in Lebanon. As mentioned above, she was shot whilst on her way to the supermarket. The BBC has reported that ‘eight people have been arrested on suspicion of murder while a further three suspects have been held on suspicion of assisting an offender. The suspects, who are aged 19 to 39, remain in police custody.’

The story has been lacking in mainstream media coverage, but as news had passed around (through social media channels at least), some people started fundraisers in Aya’s name for various charitable causes, such as building mosques, and wells. A few days later when it was revealed and spread that Aya was a Shia Muslim, many Sunni donors sought to withdraw their donations and remove their fundraisers. One social media account on Twitter (who I will avoid referring to directly as I do not plan to give them free advertisement) openly declared that they would be taking down a fundraiser they had started as they “did not know she was Shia”, and would offer refunds to the donors. This account seems to be what caused the issue to become part of wider public knowledge as it sparked outrage and debate from mostly Shia online users. I’ll note that at present with the story getting more recognition online, there are of course a number of Sunni Muslims who are condemning the acts of the other groups.

It was only when I saw a Shia friend of mine share a screenshot of this person’s initial Tweets (in which they said they would be taking down the fundraiser due to finding out Aya was Shia) onto her Instagram story that I found out Aya was Shia. Did it matter that Aya was Shia? No. A person was shot, that’s really all that matters. Before then sharing it onto my own story, I did some research and found the Twitter account of the person in question. I observed that they were under a lot of pressure and vented that “Shias and feminists” were coming for them and sharing screenshots of their Tweets “for clout“. It appeared that within a matter of hours they had put the fundraiser back up and also deleted their first Tweets. The following day I read an article in which an apology by this person was shared. If you want to read it for yourself, click here. I will refrain on commenting on the apology as I think it’s between Allah, the person and Aya’s family.


Other thoughts:

I can say with some certainty that if you don’t have at least one Shia person in your social circle, you probably wouldn’t have heard about Aya’s fundraisers being taken down when it had occurred two days ago. With each passing day I have become more patient and less anxious about this story. As I observe how things have been spreading on social media, it was only today that I saw several non-Shia Muslims whom I follow online share details of this case. I found it somewhat annoying in the past when people would express their anger for the lack of solidarity for a certain cause/people, as other issues pertaining to ‘more privileged’ groups received far greater support only a short while prior. It was annoying because of all the noise, yet valid and true. Even though I have supported and related to a lot of the causes I thought about when writing the last two lines, I now have truly felt what it means to experience that lack of solidarity. It really shouldn’t be so easy to think of examples of recent atrocities, but lets just think about Arbery, or even Sudan. Where did all the noise go since then? What happened to the solidarity?

There is no evidence to suggest that the shooting was a racially motivated attack, (indeed the detectives working on the case are also of this thinking) and I doubt the killer(s) knew Aya was Shia. That is not what this post is implying at all. It is the case however that once her Shia background was revealed after her death, people took to online platforms to attack her and other Shias, and those who defend Shias.

One online user had this to say in response to the person receiving backlashing for retracting their fundraiser: “Hey bro you have nothing to worry about. If she was a Shi’a, she deserves to het shot. Shi’a are not Muslim, they are enemies of Islam…”. This sentiment was not limited to this user but was in fact shared by many others who chose to publicly raise their disturbing views. Is it not ISIS mentality? The majority of ISIS victims are Shia Muslims by the way. This story is highlighting the very unfortunate state we are in. It’s so unfair that Shia people receive these levels of hate, but for the sake of this post I can’t say more than that.

What really perplexes me is that its Ramadhan. By now I’m sure you know what it is or understand its significance for Muslims. For the Muslim readers especially, I’m sure you’ve heard all the mighty talk of the tenets of a pious person whilst growing up. So of all the times of the year, why would those people choose now as the time to expose their hatred for Shia’s in this way. Where did the sunnah go? What happened to akhlaq? Yesterday I even saw someone share that violent and aggressive anti-Ahmediyya (another Muslim sect) hashtags have been trending on Twitter all the while it has been Ramdhan. I can’t speak further on this as it’s not something that I have researched myself as I do not wish to see those violent threads, but having supremacy over other sects surely is not in line with the teachings of the Prophet.

Only a week ago, a maternity ward in Afghanistan was under attack and amongst the deaths and casualties, babies that had only been alive for a few hours were killed. Again, people found out that the victims were Shia (they were targeted in a Shia district) a few days after the initial news had spread. To my knowledge this did not cause hate, but it felt like some people had lost interest in the story once this fact was revealed. Moreover few people chose to highlight that the victims were Shia once it was revealed. In this case as well, it’s not important that the victims were Shia. They were innocent people that were brutally killed. However in adding on the fact that they were Shia, we are able to highlight the injustices that Shia minorities do face. On a lighter note, since that attack many mothers have been offering to breastfeed and adopt the babies who were made motherless.


*A message from Aya’s father, Ismail Hachem:

Al Fatiha. “Indeed we belong to God, and unto God is our ultimate return. With great sorrow and heavy hearts, we present our lamentations to the Master of Our Time, Imam Mahdi (atfs), and to the Prophet of Islam, the Prophet of Mercy and Peace, Mohammed (pbuh) and His Progeny. My precious and compassionate daughter is sacrificed in your way. She is the martyr of science and knowledge, and being estranged from home. She is the martyr of hope, dreams, and the struggle for success. She is the martyr of fasting the Holy Month of Ramadhan, and yet she died oppressed and wronged. Killed by a hail of bullets fired from the gun of betrayal, exiting with wounds of frustration that bleed from our hearts. My strong daughter. A lawyer in the making. Aya. Ismail. Hachem. May God’s Mercy enshroud your pure soul. Oh you who broke your fathers back with your untimely departure, you were my every dream, the embodiment of love for knowledge and the pursuit of highest of morals and etiquette. You leave behind a mother who carried and delivered you into this world, patient despite all the difficulties of child birth. A mother so pure, always in the state of remembering The Almighty, always patient in times of difficulty, eternally placing her trust in whatever The Lord writes for us of trials and tribulations in this life. You left behind your elder brother Ibraheem whom you’ve always known to be righteous unto his parents, always compassionate towards his siblings. Your younger sister Aseel misses you dearly, the bright and promising one who followed in your footsteps. And you left behind an infant brother, Amir. Amir whom you showered with your love, compassion and warmth. Oh Allah, give us patience in this difficult time, and give my daughter a place in the companionship of the Righteous ones in the company of Mohammed (pbuh) and His Family. Amen.”

(*Apologies, I found this in an article online but have lost the original link for crediting)


I wanted to explain the difference between Sunnis and Shias and explore the conversation of, “We’re all Muslim, I wish there were no sects and we could just get along”, but I want to stick to my commencing intention of straying from ‘politics’ etc. If you would like me to discuss these things another time then let me know. In short though, [some] people have and will always antagonise that which they do not understand or find different to themselves. Rather than going about things in this way (i.e. regarding sectarian divide), I hope more people can show that it is possible to peacefully coexist despite having differences.

If you would like to donate to a fundraiser to build a school in the name of Aya Hachem, please follow this link.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I would like to end by sharing a nasheed I used to listen to as a child as I think it’s very relevant to this discussion. Click here to listen to “My Ummah” by Sami Yusuf.

Eid Mubarak in advance and good luck 世界。

此致敬礼 – From Nabeela.

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Comparing Quran Translations

Salam~ Peace be onto you.

I just posted a photo a lengthy-ish caption to go alongside it onto my Instagram page so I decided to share it on here too. I need to then quickly have a shower and get ready to break my fast!

I will share the text from the post below and link the original post at the end of this blogpost:

The other night I was comparing four different English translations of the Quran. I noticed that even within the first few sentences alone, each translation had a minor variation. One prioritised an anglicised flow (I.e all words were English with no Arabic terms in italics, and instead of a line by line translation, it was written in short paragraphs). Another offered further elucidation for specific Arabic terms in brackets etc. 

For example, in the four books, the translation of ‘Al Muttaqun’ at the start of Surah Baqarah (Chapter of the Cow) had varied from: ‘Pious believers/Those who are mindful of God/Those who guard against evil/Pious’. 

A lot of the variation will reflect the preferences and style choices on the part of the translator. In some cases it just comes down to synonyms. E.g. the word ‘punishment’ versus ‘chastisement’. In other cases I noticed that certain translations are longer as they fill in the gap of expected knowledge. For instance in one book the line “…spend out of what We have provided for them” is followed by a short explanation of Zakat (charity) as the that is what the verse is inferring to. 

Overall with the four English translations of the Qurans that I compared, I would generalise my observations into two categories. Two of the books focused directly on the translation alone (either line by line or in paragraphs), whilst the other two offered the same form of translations but with an additional explanation. The explanations were either in the form of footnotes, or a small translation of specific terms immediately after the line, and then a further explanation following the end of the passage. This was really reminding me of a linguistics essay I did on Korean literature :)) -only I’m more engaged now.

If you look into the difference in translation (for any piece of text really) you can choose what to read based on what you’re needs are. This exercise reminded me that some translations are simple and concise, whereas some are more story like, and others informative and educational. 

I was speaking to my mum about the politics a of translation a little while ago which was also really interesting, but I’ll leave for another time. If there was a takeaway point however I guess it would be that we should still be mindful of what we read. I.e the words of the Quran cannot be altered but the choice is words and elucidation can benefit certain purposes a writer may have. This again applies to any text.

If you try to summarise your findings of comparing English translations of the Quran, good luck 世界。

此致敬礼,欣妍 – From Nabeela.

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📷: my mum. Fajr sunrise at the shrine of Masuma Qum (sa), sister of Imam Ridha (as). The other night I was comparing four different English translations of the Quran. I noticed that even within the first few sentences alone, each translation had a minor variation. One prioritised an anglicised flow (I.e all words were English with no Arabic terms in italics, and instead of a line by line translation, it was written in short paragraphs). Another offered further elucidation for specific Arabic terms in brackets etc. For example, in the four books, the translation of ‘Al Muttaqun’ at the start of Surah Baqarah (Chapter of the Cow) had varied from: ‘Pious believers/Those who are mindful of God/Those who guard against evil/Pious’. A lot of the variation will reflect the preferences and style choices on the part of the translator. In some cases it just comes down to synonyms. E.g. the word ‘punishment’ versus ‘chastisement’. In other cases I noticed that certain translations are longer as they fill in the gap of expected knowledge. For instance in one book the line “…spend out of what We have provided for them” is followed by a short explanation of Zakat (charity) as the that is what the verse is inferring to. • • Overall with the four English translations of the Qurans that I compared, I would generalise my observations into two categories. Two of the books focused directly on the translation alone (either line by line or in paragraphs), whilst the other two offered the same form of translations but with an additional explanation. The explanations were either in the form of footnotes, or a small translation of specific terms immediately after the line, and then a further explanation following the end of the passage. This was really reminding me of a linguistics essay I did on Korean literature :)) -only I’m more engaged now. If you look into the difference in translation (for any piece of text really) you can choose what to read based on what you’re needs are. This exercise reminded me that some translations are simple and concise, whereas some are more story like, and others informative and educational. I was speaking to my mum about the politics a of trans

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Corona on your mind?

Tw: Corona virus, self-isolation. This is a UK and London focused post.

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The evening view from my bedroom window. https://www.instagram.com/nabblo/

[There will be a handful of links embedded in this post. Click the words in blue font to follow the links if you want to]

Before we begin, fear not. This post is not intended for scare mongering. I’ve been seeing lists of ‘things you can do during quarantine/self-isolation’ as a means of getting through the weird Corona Virus times we’re infected by. From the few lists I took a look at, a lot of the advice is the same. I think this shows that the advice is worth listening to, and so I’ll repeat a few of those, but I also wanted to offer some more tangible(?) things! If you want a chill (fitting) song to listen to as you read, take a listen to Homebody by PH1. 

^TLDR: I’ve been seeing lists of how to manage self isolation due to the virus, and whilst they are super helpful, they’re also quite repetitive and abstract so I wanted to add on some tangible things to the mix!⚡️


Let’s begin with a basic overview of how you might want to be spending time! Following the general advice I’m about to share, I will also list some more helpful resources below. Hopefully altogether you will have something quite comprehensive to follow and help you get through isolation time.

Please practice social distancing!🙏 Listen to the advice of your government. Limit to your social media usage especially if you think it is harmful to mental Health. Try and do some exercise indoors. Take this as an opportunity to deep clean your house or to just de-clutter your space. Be mindful of your news intake and cautious of the validity of sources. Spend time focusing on yourself and understanding what your hobbies are. If you are religious, then this is a good time to pray and connect to your spiritual side. Be kind to yourself and patient to those around you and to the situation.

When the isolation period started, I saw a lot going around the Internet where people were urging others to use this time for productivity. Saying this could be the time that ‘you finally complete orders tasks that you’d been meaning to tend to’, etc. I agree that it would be worthwhile to use this time to be productive; however, I think we’ve been given such a great opportunity to recharge that we don’t need to be productive, all the time at least. So yes, my advice includes doing things that are practical and productive, however I’m also including self-care tips under productivity because I think its necessary. I think our focus shouldn’t always be fixated on trying to get things done as it harbours an unhealthy mindset that everything we do needs to have a specific outcome and amazing result. Sometimes we can just exist. Do things for the sake of it. Chill out, you know?~ So please consider all of the below a giant heap of some of the different forms of productivity🙏


Self Care:

  1. Try to stick to a routine, i.e. sleeping and waking up at a set time and not sleeping in.
  2. If you find it helpful, get out of your sleepwear and get dressed to spend your day at home/online meetings and classes.
  3. Reflect on how your year has been going so far and if there have been any changes in your personal growth since last year. Assess how your New Year’s resolution has been going if you made one and don’t be harsh on yourself if you’re still working towards it.
  4. Allow yourself to feel anxious if that’s how you feel about the situation.
  5. Cassey Ho wrote a short post on her blog about ‘How to Glow Up During Self Isolation’, basically a self care post.
  6. I know I’ve mentioned Rituals before in a less positive light, but they have a calming section of their website you might enjoy browsing!
  7. If you are working from home/attending classes, try to arrange a calming workspace for yourself.
  8. Set yourself a daily goal.
  9. Meditate.
  10. Talk to someone and reach out for help if the situation is having an adverse effect on your mental health. 

 

Fitness:

  1. I’ve been exercising a lot lately and I came across a YouTube channel the other day that posts short exercise routines to popular songs. 
  2. Chris Hemsworth has released a free 6-week trial for his online fitness programme.
  3. Blogilates (a brand by aforementioned Cassey Ho) is a great website and YouTube channelthat offers fun workout routines for a range of fitness levels. There are also free workout calendars and other fitness related thingson the website.

 

Finance:

  1. Advice from HSBC bank 
  2. Advice from Monzo bank 
  3. Money Advice Service
  4. Theres a Coronavirus Small Business Helpline, but the line seems to always be busy. Try your luck if you wish at: 0300 456 3565. 
  5. You can claim a refund on your TFL (Transport for London) season tickets! I’ve gone and found the link for you, just check if it applies to the ticket you hold.

 

Helping the Community:

  1. If you wants to volunteer in some capacity to aid the NHS at the moment, you can register with Goodsam. All you’ll need is an in date DBS certificate
  2. This isn’t necessarily for the community, but I found a great site where you can bulk order fruit (which you could choose to distribute afterwards) from restertaunts that are unable to use them. 
  3. The ‘Nextdoor’ website/APP that allows you to connect with your (mostly immediate) community. i.e. By writing posts to share information with people in your neighbourhood.
  4. Look out for your neighbours. If there are elderly folk in your neighbourhood, try to reach out and offer your assistance (whilst maintaining a physical distance).
  5. Donate to local food banks if you are able to. 
  6. Researchers are trying to better understand the virus and you can help them if you wish to by providing daily health updates on this app.
  7. My borough is recruiting volunteers to transport food and talk to lonely people who are isolating over the phone, you can find out if your area is running a similar initiative.

 

Some ways to pass time:

  1. Try out some of thefree online classes offered by Harvard University.
  2. If the first point wasn’t enough, here’s 450 Ivy League courses you can take online for free.
  3. Watch YouTube videos! It’s free (like 90% of it) and there’s a so many genres of videos. Here’s a video I posted recently 👀 你订阅了么?
  4. Read a book! 
  5. An online page called the Corona Culture Festival 2020 has created a Google Doc has collated a collaborative list of things to do/read/watch etc
  6. Of course you need to be especially smart with your food resources at the moment, but if you can then consider trying out some new recipes. It’s been really satisfying to see some people post step by step cooking photos on their Instagram stories (…and then never actually following them😅🤷‍♀️). I’m thinking of baking a cake for my birthday next week!🎂🥳
  7. Learn a new skill, or practice an old one. There’s a ton of resources out there on the Internet! You could try learning sign language for example.
  8. I’ve been enjoying the Tonight Show Home Edition videos from time to time. They’re kind of endearing and I love for the dad jokes lol.
  9. Organise your wardrobe/phone gallery/internet tabs/laptop desktop/email inbox etc.
  10. Open your window!~
  11. Bond with your family (if you’re isolating with them or through phone calls).
  12. Go through the videos/posts you ‘saved for later’ (e.g. on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook).

 

Memes/Photos:

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My latest YouTube video is a vlog as I go on a short trip to the Pharmacy to pick up my mum’s medication.I did this to be part of digital history👀🥳Take a look if you want to pass more time or if you want to see how things are in the UK right now!~

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Have you ever wondered what a random person in the world may be doing? Have you ever stopped to think that someone out there is going about their day at the same time as you but neither of you have a clue of each others existence? As I typed that out it seemed like some old philosopher probably did think about it and wrote about it in a book somewhere, but I have thought about these things before. I just think its so cool that so much of the world is basically doing the same thing right now, even if it isn’t under the best circumstances. Even though everyone’s doing different things, a lot of us are connected right now, so many people in the world are literally stuck at home at the same time as you and me!! Separately we are still united in our isolation. Isn’t it crazy.

The chances are that if you’re reading this you’re in the privilege position of having at least the basic amenities of 21st-century life. You can quite literally kick your feet up and relax. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you do think there is something wrong with that, well it’s not completely your fault. We are the product of a capitalist society of which the metric system is based almost entirely on our outward utility. Our worth is calculated by our productivity. For our whole lives we have been told to produce, to work, to exert our energies into building and maintaining the market. It has not been ingrained in our nature to rest. So now that we have this opportunity, of course some more privileged than others, I hope you’ll take some time to rest. Another word for this of course is self-care. Self-care may be a keyword you’ve seen spring around the Internet a lot these days, but what does that actually entail? You probably figured it out through the list I wrote above, but in short, it involves you looking after your mental and physical well-being in whatever shape or form that may be productive to you. For example, for some self-care may be having a bath, reading a book, singing, meditating, playing a game you’ve been waiting to play. It can look like many things, so I hope you take this precious opportunity to explore it.

I didnt want this to be a downer of a post but I am thinking of those who are anxious over this situation. Students are facing all kinds of uncertainties and many people are facing intricate problems. Reach out to people lend a hand where you can. Try to spare a thought for those who may be suffering without help because of this situation. Homeless people, those with low incomes, people with small businesses, freelancers, victims of abuse, young parents, people who are lonely. There are places that you can donate money and food to those who may benefit, research what’s available in your area. There are also Facebook/WhatsApp support groups whereby you can plan to help people in your local neighbourhood. Search for ‘Covid-19 Mutual Support Group’ on Facebook and join a group based on your location. 

Btw the title was inspired by an old song I like, you can listen to it here 👀 Also it looks like my birthday will also be during isolation (1st April). I didn’t have much in mind for celebrating this year but I can’t say I’m pleased by this turn of events. I’m now thinking of filming a new birthday themed cooking video instead, so subscribe to my YouTube channel if you want to see that mess when it comes out😂 I did capture cute moments from my birthday last year if you want to see that~

All in all I’d like to say that I believe this uneasy moment we’re going through will pass. People are finding this difficult for different reasons; some of us may have compromised immune systems or worry for loved ones who are suffering from the virus, others may be feeling anxious by the news or are finding that this situation is triggering their mental health issues. In this moment (similar to what I said earlier about the fact that so much of the world is isolating at the same time) I’m not too anxious over the current situation, I’d say its actually been improving my mental health slightly but I won’t go into the reasoning. I recognise that I’m in a privileged position to be able to say that I’m doing somewhat okay, but I hope you’ll be okay too. This will be over soon and I look forward to seeing you on the other side~ 💜

If you try to share tips to help ease self-isolation, good luck 世界。

此致敬礼,欣妍 – From Nabeela. ❤ 

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The end of an era, a decade

🎉Happy new year everyone~

Since last year, I began to kind of hate New Years. ‘Why?’ I hear you ask, well…I’m just not that positive about them. I have said in a lot of my posts that the glass is half full, -it still is. But, I wasn’t filled with brimming optimism at the end of 2018, nor am I now as the roaring 2020s is about to commence. And guess what, that’s okay. 

So blah blah blah, we just ended a decade [insert photo of me 10yrs ago versus now]. Well, post your photos if you want, they can be fun/good source of self-reflection/I’m sure some of us want to see the glow ups. Where was I actually going with this?😂 The sound of fireworks is distracting me

*I took a long break to watch fireworks outside my window (this was the most I’ve seen actually), and message my cousin about how to send Imessages😂, and watch the song I wait for every year😌😂 I keep getting distracting by things so I guess I need to wrap this up quickly.

A friend of mine posted online and asked people to share what they learned from the past year. I thought for a long time and couldn’t come up with anything as uplifting as the responses she was sharing. There were, of course, many great moments of 2019, after all its a whole 365 days so there’s bound to be. I graduated which is pretty cool, amongst other things. I made some videos that were quite impactful (in fact I got a long message from someone who watched my video on discrimination asking for advice regarding her Masters application as she fears she may be discriminated against). I don’t want to list my achievements for the past year. My point is that I recognise I had them, but what actually stands out to me is some of the people who made my year special, most of them would know who they are 💜

As we draw to the end of this post, here’s my final video of 2019:

In other news, I have been regularly updating my Music Playlist, take a look if you need some new music to start your year; Nabblo Music Playlist Link. I also have some new posts lined up that need writing, I swear we’ll get there🙏

Congrats on surviving last year, here’s to another🔥💜

If you try to write a blogpost whilst get distracted by a million stupid things, good luck 世界。

此致敬礼,欣妍。- From Nabeela.

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Bonus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ofqOcVPwnM

Nabblo’s Music Playlist 💜

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I’ve been thinking about this for a while and I’m finally starting a music playlist😂🎉

Every now and then I do share songs on my public Facebook page that have meaningful or interesting narratives etc, but I also want to share music that is on my current playlist!

The reasons are two-fold… Firstly, I want to share different music with you. Secondly, I want to create a ‘sound diary’. I think memories can be trapped, or ‘saved’ within our senses. For me ‘smell’ and ‘sound’ are the most potent for triggering memories. My theory is that if I have a playlist of songs to look back on, I can remember certain memories from the periods of time I was listening to them in. Let’s trial this till the new year👀

I’m thinking this will be a weekly thing, unless I’m stuck listening to more or less the same songs, in which case it will be less frequent. I’ll aim for about 5 songs in each regular upload, and who knows, some songs that didn’t make it in one week will more than likely roll over to the next. Due to the 5 song limit I’ll be going for the songs I’ve been listening to the most, rather than the ones I just think are unique (I can share those separately, and actually I have a few lined up). Also, I will try to limit explicit language with the songs that make it to the playlist (not just in terms of swear words lol), or opt for ‘clean’ versions if I think you really gotta hear it. Lastly, in the probable case that I really am stuck on the same songs, I’ll probably add in a few that are ‘throwbacks’ to me because I rinsed them during a different period of the year, but will basically be new to the playlist✌️

The first upload will be a longer one to keep us going. I’m going to share some of the songs I’ve been listening to over the past few weeks, and in less chronological order then I’d usually hope for. Let’s see if I can make this a regular Sunday thing so you get time to possibly add some to your weekly playlist!

Follow this link for the first playlist!: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZYMy5nLvH9YCD_GWtcbZahBf2GW7nKRG

Also I’m debating whether I should simply add the songs to the playlist and share it to Facebook, or do the upload and separately give some points introducing the songs in a blogpost, like I have done in this post. I think due to tiredness I will probably do the former on a regular basis, and occasionally add a blog post for ‘stand out’ choices. What are your thoughts? 🤔

I just realised the title makes it seem like I’m finally debuting as an artist😝 AND I just reached 700 subscribers on YouTube😂🎉-a humble feat we can celebrate through music. I’d love to keep you all involved in this playlist process, so please feel free to send me songs you think I may like and maybe they’ll make it to the playlist one day~ 😉

I think my music variety may surprise you hehe. If you make a public playlist, good luck 世界!

此致敬礼,欣妍– From Nabeela.

Guess what, I kind of already know what will be in next week’s playlist lol

 

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/GoodLuckNabs1

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/nabblo/

INS📷: https://www.instagram.com/nabblo/

Halloween 2019 look

This is a quick look I did the other day with the excuse of Halloween. I wrote a mini Halloween (鬼节) post years ago, you can read it here. The rest of this post is just more photos. I posted different photos to each of my social media sites (Instagram, Facebook, WordPress), so take a browse if you’re a real one👀

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https://www.instagram.com/nabblo/ 

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If you try a makeup look, good luck 世界. Stay safe xx

此致敬礼,欣妍 – From Nabeela.

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/GoodLuckNabs1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nabblo/

INS📷: https://www.instagram.com/nabblo/ 

Rituals Holi Collection

 

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Photos I shared to Facebook from the Rituals Holi collection

Hi, so I’m stress writing rn, just wanted to tell you. I just submitted an edited piece for an exciting South Asian project. I just realised, that kind of ties into the theme of this post, but we’ll get back to that in a second. I have two pending blog posts that I need to write soon, something I need to write for an OUISOC advice series, a video that needs to be edited and uploaded for Sunday (I’ve been doing weekly uploads on Oxford Subject advice videos), job applications and things in that genre that need tending to – and here I am…writing a new post that wasn’t even on the list! I think I can ease the burden a bit by posting this, so here we go~

I’m currently in the city of Birmingham visiting family. Yesterday we went into town, visited the Bullring, Grand Central, (two high street shopping areas) and I forced my cousins to take me to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. When we were in the Grand Central, my cousin wanted to visit Rituals, a luxury body product store.

Whilst my cousin was roped into signing up to the rewards scheme (which I too later gave into) I went around the shop smelling the different perfumes and hand creams they had on offer. At the back of the shop I noticed a colouful display for the new ‘Holi Collection’. Here’s a slideshow of three of the products I photographed:

 

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Holi is the Hindu ‘festival of colour’ which celebrates the triumph of good over evil. You can read more about its origins here. I’ve taken part in Holi celebrations twice whilst at uni, and I know it has become typical for universities across the UK to host open Holi celebrations. What I saw then was a fun event that brought people of different cultures together (and please tell me if you disagree), but what I saw yesterday in Rituals was a cheesy attempt to commercialise a minority culture. I’m weary of the term ‘cultural appropriation’ because I prefer to emphasise cultural appreciation, however it did seem like the collection was walking on thin ice. I mean, take inspiration from and share different cultures, but at least ease up on the cringey puns in your marketing.

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Instagram: @nabblo

Since I’m not Hindu I wasn’t sure if it was right for me to find discomfort in the marketing of this collection. Actually, let me rephrase that. I wasn’t sure if I was being too sensitive in thinking the collection was insensitive. I’m personally not a fan of the overhyped social justice warriors of our age, but I think it’s sad that the general perception we have of them has meant that we now invalidate our own thoughts, and constantly question if our emotional response to things are ‘too sensitive’. I think we should share discomfort and empathise in issues faced by cultures dissimilar to our own. The threat of not doing so is that we will all share an insular view of the world and only hold concern for issues that directly affect us. So with regards to this Holi collection, I wanted to know if any Hindu people found the marketing to be insensitive.

I shared the above photos onto a Facebook group for South Asian girls (‘Subtle Curry Girl Traits’) to learn people’s thoughts. At present there are eleven comments. They all express disappointment in the collection, besides one user who expressed that people should “stop venting and ranting and go make your own products”.

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Source: arre.co.in

I’d say the majority ruling from this small respondent pool is that the line is quite insensitive.

I didn’t want to get into this too deeply because I’m stressed and have other things to get back to now, but I want to know what your thoughts are. Let me know what you think of Rituals’ Holi collection, or perhaps their other collections too. For example, the ‘Happy Budha’ range that I’ll let you explore in your own time.

While we’re here, feel free to follow my Facebook page~ Although the above post was from my personal account, I share a lot of content onto this page that you may be interested in. https://www.facebook.com/nabblo/

Also: YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/GoodLuckNabs1

INS📷: https://www.instagram.com/nabblo/ 

Why are we still selling the ‘Golliwog’?

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It’s 2019 and yet people in Britain can still quite easily get their hands on racist toys.

A few days ago I went on a trip to the quaint market town of Stratford Upon Avon. Famed for being the birth-place of Shakespeare, there’s a lot of picturesque places to see. One thing I came across was the cute looking traditional toy shop, pictured below. If you know me, you’d know I love toys and thus I was quite looking forward to seeing what was inside. So when I had some free time, I took to explore the shop and its neighbours.

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I wasn’t particularly blown away by what I came across during my browsing but I was quite impressed by the craftsmanship of traditional English teddy bears (for the most part they’re more stiff than they are cuddly). This all changed when I took a look at the toys by the counter and came across a small Golliwog. I was completely taken aback and did not expect to see it. Heck, I never thought I’d ever see one in person, and was quite comforted by that. In my surprise, I told the shop worker and his potential colleague/friend that “I didn’t know people still sold these”. Their faces transformed into eerily friendly grins and a simple “Yes, they do” escaped from the worker’s lips.

I asked the man “Don’t these come from questionable origins?”. They smiled and the man responded; “Well it depends on whether you still regard them as a racial stereotype, or just an innocent toy”. I told him that I did regard them as the former and then succumbed into the awkwardness of their stifled smiles. I wanted to discuss it further and bounce around thoughts, or simply walk out like a boss; but alas I took my cue and walked to the other side of the suffocatingly small shop.

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hi, thats me

I took the photo above as I turned from the corner of the till to look around the remaining section of the small shop. Eventually, I saw even more Golliwog toys and photographed them too. These are what you see at the start of the post.

So now here’s some overdue historical context. A ‘Golliwog’ (aka: Golly, gollywogg) is the toy you see at the start. [Btw I took a few days off from writing this as I was commemorating Ashura but I was still as annoyed by reading into the topic as was when I first started thinking about writing this. For this reason, I shall give you a summary of key points and articles you can for further elucidation.]

An aspiring artist ‘Florence Kate Upton’ from New York drew illustrations for childrens books as a means of raising funds for her tuition fees. Her book ‘The Adventures of Two Dutch Dolls’ (1895) was written by her mother Bertha and illustrated by herself. The main characters were two Dutch dolls, Peg and Sarah Jane, and the Golliwogg. The Golliwogg was a caricature, described in the story as “a horrid sight, the blackest gnome.” It had red trousers, a red bowtie, a white shirt and blue jacket. In essence it was a caricature of an American caricature, the American black faced minstrels. Upton used to play with a minstrel doll when she was young. Interestingly and unsurprisingly, Upton’s family did not favour the “negro minstrel doll”. For instance when they played with it in the garden they would use the rag-doll to knock over items as they all thought it was ugly. Fast forward a bit and the Golliwogg became a popular character across England and Europe. Upton did not copyright the character and so it featured widely in storybooks and other merchandises. In England it was commonly found on the side of jam jars and many parents made the doll for their children. For some time in the 1960s there was a ban on Golliwoggs due to an increase in racial tension in Britain. Now the character is seen by many as a symbol of nostalgia. I find this very strange.

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American black faced minstrel

I felt kinda sick inside after seeing those toys. I know, sounds dramatic but it’s not a feeling you can control. Even browsing past the photo in my phone gallery feels weird, and so I had to delay writing this for a day. If you want to read more about the history of the Golliwogg for yourself then you can click here.  I’m not sure what it is specifially that makes me so uncomfortable. I’m not black (if you didn’t already know), but I don’t think that matters. Part of me sees this toy as a symbol of power, or the lack thereof. The ability that a mere ‘artist’ has to turn a beautiful and complex people into a tacky object of ridicule, an insignificant plaything; it does astound me. I think we forget the power that people and images, or so called ‘art’ can wield. Today this is translated into more modernised mediums…

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Yes, this is real

I’m getting off topic now but I’m sure I’ve talked about something along these lines before.

What do you think about the Golliwog? Are they a symbol of racism or is it just an innocent toy? Have you heard of them before or ever seen them in person? I’d love to know. To my disappointment, the majority of the British public do not regard the character as a racist toy. You can read more about that here. 

I thought I should add the toy shop and stall that I did actually enjoy perusing…

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Creepy old dolls I found in the market. https://www.instagram.com/nabblo/

If you come across a toy that makes you feel uncomfortable, good luck 世界。

此致敬礼,欣妍 – From Nabeela.

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/GoodLuckNabs1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nabblo/

INS📷: https://www.instagram.com/nabblo/ 

P.s. I just iht my 5 year blogging anniversary!🎉Thanks for reading💜

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Time flies, but look its been 5 years! Thank you if you’ve been around for a while and welcome if you’re new💜

 

 

 

I finished my Oxford degree🎉

I sat my last Oxford Finals exam 2 weeks ago and officially ended my degree🎉 Above is the video I edited to show you my trashing. Trashing is an Oxford tradition whereby a person’s friends throw things at them after they’ve finished their last exam. It’s oddly liberating. Usually, the items they throw consists of confetti, shaving foam and coloured powder. However I saw a video of someone I know being taped to a tree stump whilst their friends threw eggs at him…they’re not all like that though. After being covered in all that stuff, the people who have been trashed tend to jump into the River Cherwell to wash off a bit. So if you want to see me go through all of the above then press the video link above.

After finishing Finals I got busy again quite fast😂I organised timings to film with various students for a new video project I’m starting. I won’t say too much yet but it’s pretty much an independent access initiative that I aim to launch in August or September. So stay tuned! At the same time I was meeting friends too which was sweet, and attended Balliol college ball!~

I returned home (London) a few days ago! My brain is slowly becoming less…frazzled. I spent the day sorting out my wardrobe and unpacking properly. I can’t think properly when my rooms messy and I think I needed to declutter to help me relax, lol. It’s quite satisfying sorting things out. I actually kinda like cleaning😂 And one of the things I was most looking forward to for the past 4 years of this degree was doing the final packing up!😂 I knew I could finally donate some of my last items for good. I tend to donate things at the end of each term, but this time I could get rid of things I definitely wouldn’t need again because I wouldn’t be moving back into to student accommodation, you know? The last person I spoke to before I left Oxford was a lady I interviewed for my documentary on homelessness ‘Pray it Doesn’t Rain’. It was quite meaningful to see her again and I ended up giving her my bedding and some other items💜

Anyhow that’s it from me for now. I should be graduating soon so maybe I’ll touch base again then. Take care x

If you get trashed, good luck 世界。

此致敬礼,欣妍 – From Nabeela.

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/GoodLuckNabs1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nabblo/

INS📷: https://www.instagram.com/nabblo/ 

Ghosting

Late night story rambling. I wrote this in Chinese and then read it out in English lol.

喂~

你最近还好吗?好久没有看到你。好像碰到过一次但没有真心地看。

你最近怎么过你的日子呀?没有我在你身边应该很奇怪吧。

我还好,都习惯了。你在那边怎样?你羡慕我吗?

我这边的事都办好了。快要见到你。你会等我吗?

不瞒你说,有的时候是我羡慕你。真的。

你那边看起来很安静。我忘了那个气氛。

算了吧。我只是很想念以前的我们。

我们俩的缘分还不错呢。我可不可以用缘分这个词来表达我们的关系?

不知道。算了。我想不起来。

你知道吗,有时我说不出来你的名字。我一听就不认识。

我看镜子的时候会看到你但我知道你不在。

这样正常吗?那里安全吗?

我觉得我们俩挺像配~我很兴奋又跟你见面。

同时我还不敢又跟你见到你。

Good luck world.

 

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/GoodLuckNabs1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nabblo/

INS📷: https://www.instagram.com/nabblo/