MYOB (Mind Your Own Business)…

Yes, you read it right. People and esp. You, the one who is reading this. You need to learn how to mind your own business. Someone’s personal life is what it’s meant to be – That individual’s personal life. It has nothing to do with you or anyone else. Everyone deserves to keep their private/personal lives to themselves. You need to stop being nosy. You don’t see me prying into your personal life or your life for that matter. It’s because I don’t give a rat’s ass about it. There’s much more important things in life to think about and worry about. You’re just a relative, an acquaintance, friend or worse just a stranger that’s passing through life like everyone else.

And yes, I am not afraid to speak my mind and be my true authentic self. I eat people like you up and defecate you out like today’s breakfast. You don’t have my respect as respect if earned and you clearly have not earned any from me from talking behind my back. That makes me care less about you. Correction, I never even cared about your opinion or thoughts about me from the start. I’m not like you, a people’s pleaser that crave for attention and approval from others. I live my life the way I want to and desire. I won’t let society o social norms dictate my life as my life is my life. I’m not a public forum for people to voice out things.

The fact that you went behind my back and said that I’m suicidal baffles me. Because that’s just ridiculous to me. I’ve been through my life with it’s ups and downs just like anyone else’s and I still feel La Bella Vita… Life is freaking beautiful and since we’re only given one chance unless you’re a Buddhist you’ll believe in reincarnation, I plan to enjoy what’s given to me. In fact every inch of it. I will live my life to the fullest doing what I enjoy and do best.

So, nice try. I don’t care what you or you think about me. *points fingers at you reading this. If I did, I wouldn’t have the inks that I have just because society will stereotype me as a “bad person” or Yakuza because of my choices.

So, my point is – Just because your life isn’t as interesting as mine. Why is that? Well, it’s your own doing for living a dull life that my life caught your interest and you got obsessed. I feel sorry for you that you hide behind other’s people life who’s out there living their dreams and doing things in their life. Mind Your Own Business. Buzz off!! STOP being such a prude and rude…

XoXo, VA

Tribute Ink…

Most of you may know that I was very close to my Mom. We used to chat and talk to each other on a daily basis. We had disagreements of course but, we still love each other nevertheless. That’s what unconditional love truly is. One will learn to know the meaning of unconditional love when you have children. That being said when she left us on the 18th of December 2020, she took a huge part of me with her. I know that she hated it when I got inked but, I decided to get a tribute piece for her because I wanted to always have a piece of her with me and also as most of us know, getting an inked esp. a huge piece can be painful. The pain of getting a tattoo done to me has some form of therapeutic “treatment” to it. It still can’t compare to the pain of losing someone you love so dear for sure.

The session with Apoh, my tattoo artist was 3hrs this round and she will complete it by filling in the colours on my Mom’s birthday this year. This is the first piece ever that I needed 2 sessions to complete but, the diamond part of the piece is definitely intricate and it took alot of focus and time. She even took about an hour plus just to redraw things to make it right before she made the stencil for it.

Was it painful? Yes, it was but pain in a good way though. I know that not many people enjoy pain but, for me sometimes, feeling pain is a good thing because it reminds you that it’s real and that you’re still breathing. Btw, I love that Apoh was patient enough to make the piece awesome and that she leap out of her comfort zone to make something so beautiful. You can check her work out at: http://www.instagram.com/apohapoh

XoXo, VA

This is My Mom’s Journey and Battle w/ the Big C…

The year was 2015, and I had just started a new job with a huge International Recruitment Firm which I was happy and proud of. I felt that my career was on an upward trajectory. Finally a career that my parents esp. my Mom would be proud of. My Mom had been coughing on and off for about a month and I told her to see a doctor to get checked. Btw, my Mom hates seeing doctors as she always felt, some good rest, plenty of water would make everything better. It’s a typical Chinese thing.

Company’s CNY Lunch w/ the KL Team…

She finally gave in and we went to our family clinic which was just 3kms away from home. The doctor then suggested that she take a blood test as she hasn’t done one in awhile at that point. She even suggested paying slightly more to get a Cancer Marker (CEA) Test done on top of the normal blood test. So we waited a few days and the blood test results came back, my parents collected it when I was at work. They didn’t share the results with me and they left for Ipoh. My parents travel around quite abit for Dad’s work as a Technical Director and he runs his own company.

My Mom texts me on a daily basis esp. when I am home alone in KL to make sure that I was okay and we’d get into a phone call at least once every 2-3 days to keep each other updated. But, this time it was different, she hardly texted me. She was very quiet. I was at work and I felt something wasn’t right, so I rang her up. When I asked, “Is everything alright?…” Her response was, “We’ll talk when I get back to KL next week…” At that moment, I told her, “No, you have to tell me what’s going on? If you don’t, I won’t be able to focus on work and my mind will go wild…” She then answered my this while her voice changed as she started crying, “I have cancer…” When I heard those word, It broke my heart and I said this to her, “Mee, it’s going to be okay. Dad and I, we love you and you’re not alone. We will fight this battle together…” So, she was diagnosed with 3rd Stage Lungs Cancer in November 2015. It’s been exactly 5 years now. I got a Cancer Ribbon inked right next to my Hope tattoo in my left inner wrist as I needed to believe that there is hope more than ever. I had to be strong for my Mom. I continued to push through with work to keep my mind off Mom’s cancer and also I wanted to show her that I was moving forward with life for her.

Cancer Ribbon Ink done by Kevin Mitchel…

My Mom is a strong person. Why do I call her strong? She’s very stubborn as a person. I blame it on being born in the year of the Ox of the Chinese Zodiac Calendar. Btw, I’m also an Ox. But, she’s not strong because she’s super stubborn but, it’s because she’s been through alot not only these past few years but, also she didn’t have an easy childhood. Her family was doing alright until her father passed away when she was only 12 yrs old. She was the youngest child out of 5 children that consisted of 1 elder sister and 3 older brothers. When that happened, the family lost the canteen that they ran at the army camp and my grandmother had to work odd jobs to make ends meet and my Mom grew up surviving on a loaf of bread each day. She would then tutor to earn some money and later on she worked as a seamstress too after school hours. She would travel around by bicycle.

Mom while waiting to see the Oncologist in Hospital Fatimah…

She got treated in Hospital Fatimah in Ipoh the first 4yrs + under the Oncologist there. A month after we found out that she had cancer, she was to go back to see the Oncologist, while I was in KL. They didn’t tell me which Oncologist they were seeing but had informed me that the appointment was at 9.30am. I did some research by myself and I made the decision to drive 2.5hrs up to Ipoh to surprise her at the hospital. She cried when she looked up and saw me in the clinic. I know that it meant alot that I made that trip to see her there and spend some time in my Mom’s Hometown for the weekend.

She had to be on Oral Chemo and also they had to make an incision from her back to her lungs to drain out the fluids that had started to build up. This was her very first hospital stay. In the middle of 2016, she had her first round of Radiotherapy done to the back of her neck area as the cancer had spread upwards from her lungs. She then proceeded with chemo treatments which caused her to sometimes lose her balance especially after doing the 2nd or third round of chemo. She then started losing and dropping hair from the chemo treatment. As long as I knew my Mom, she was always very particular about her hair. I know that broke her heart and the decision to shave her head was one of the very first of many decisions that she had to make in 2017. Honestly, I wanted to shave my head too. I wanted to show her that she had my dad’s support and also mine and that it was only hair. I didn’t though but we ended up buying her a wig that looked like her original hair. Warm stream of tears are running down my cheeks as I’m writing this blog.

A few months later, in February 2018, I decided to chop my hair short and I donated my hair to Locks of Hope. A charity organization that made and donated wigs to cancer patients. I remember that my Mom wasn’t too happy about the chop back then as she said I looked so tomboyish. I even drove all the way to Kajang to drop off my hair there personally.

There were times when my Mom felt really sick and she had to be rushed to the hospital. Seeing her lying in the hospital bed will never get easier because it always made Dad and I feel so helpless as we couldn’t do anything to make her feel better. I know this feeling resonates with many out there who have witnessed a loved one battle with cancer. It hurts so much but imagine what the person with cancer is feeling and dealing with on a daily basis? At this point, in 2018 she had undergone many rounds of Radiotherapy and also Chemo. On top of the countless monthly CEA blood test. Her results goes up and down every few months. The highest that it was, was around 800++ That worried us so much as there were times when it was only like 60+.

To be honest, if we didn’t tell anyone of her cancer, no one would be able to tell that she was battling it. She was still walking, eating, cracking jokes every now and then. She still did some house chores when it permitted but she had to depend on my dad alot when she started to have blisters on her fingers and it hurt her alot when she was washing or cutting ingredients to cook.

When the cancer spread to her brain in 2018, she had to be put in steroid to control the swelling. She went for more Radiotherapy and Chemo as well that year. Her hair that has grown back started to fall out again but, this round she decided to wear a scarf and not shave her hair. Her vision has deteriorated as well from the treatments.

Taken on 2nd July 2019 during my ROM.

2020 arrived and this has to be the most difficult year out of the past 4 years, in March she suddenly would stare into space and she was speechless and lost and she counted on Dad and I to complete her sentences more than ever now. This was the effect that the tumor in her brain had on her. Mid of June, her Oncologist have her Immunology Treatment and just within 3 days later, she couldn’t stand or walk and she had pain in her head and back too. She then went back to see him and was admitted for a few days. A week later, she went back to see him for a follow up and he then told her that he doesn’t want to treat her anymore. We were shocked with his words. We feel that he’s being very unreasonable and that it’s very irresponsible of him after being her doctor for the past 4+ years.

A few weeks later after many calls from me and convincing my parents to get a second opinion, they finally listened and they made their way back to KL and we started to see a new Oncologist here. So far, they’ve been happy and also my Mom’s CEA readings have improved as well. It’s now in the 200++ range compared to when she just started her new Vaccine Treatment, it was 800**.

Mom has been doing more frequent PET CT Scan and also MRI and X-rays and last month, she had to be admitted into the hospital for 4 nights as her stomach was backed up with waste and she had a very bad Urinary Track Infection that Tablet Antibiotics wasn’t doing anything. They had to put her on strong dose of Antibiotic through IV. She hates staying in the hospital and she would cry and scream that they had to sedate her. It definitely was another pain thing to watch. Her scans showed that the tumor in her brain had shrunk in size but the swelling was still there and this cause her to hallucinate from time to time and also talk nonsense. It also showed that the cancer has spread to her lower abdomen and back bone and legs.

11th of November 2020, she had to be admitted into the hospital yet again as she was in pain and she’s been having diarrhea for 3 weeks plus now. It was the after effect of the Chemo that she had on the 14th of October to control the cancer. This round, she stayed for a week and finally got discharged from the hospital on the 18th of November 2020. She’s definitely happy to be home.

All this while, we’re praying hard while she continues with the treatments she needs. Her doctor have said that she will never be cancer free but they’re trying to keep it under control and to make her feel as comfortable as possible. I think everyone in the world is still having hope that a cancer cure will be available someday soon.

To those who are battling cancer or have lost loved ones to the battle. You are not alone. It is tough as hell, it’s painful to watch a loved one go through it but, we were never promised an easy life. This is part of life and life goes on. We must continue to fight until the very end. Spending as much time as possible with our loved ones especially when they need our strength to keep on pushing forward through this difficult recovery journey. They know that we get exhausted too but, they are all they have and we have to support each other through this. *BIG Hugs and give yourself a pat on the back for staying strong, the best that you can.

XoXo, VAS

Thinking of Getting An Ink? Read This First…

If you’re reading this, this can only mean that you’re either thinking of getting a tattoo or looking for some ink ideas to add to your current collection. For the Ink Virgins, getting a tattoo is like tying the knot (getting married) or getting a pet. It’s a lifetime commitment that you need to be sure of. Of course these days, you can get laser removal if you regret your decision but it’s going to hurt way more than getting the ink done and it’s also going to cost way more and many sessions to get it all off.

Also, after deciding on what design to get, you need to make sure you do proper research about the meaning, the background and also if you’re getting it done in a foreign language, make sure it means what you think it does. Many people make the mistake of getting kanji (Japanese characters) thinking it’s supposed to say a certain something but it end up saying something else. You wouldn’t want your tattoo to say Fat Pig when you wanted it to say Courage right? LOL.

So, you’ve found a design you really like and you’re ready to commit to it. You need to do your research next on the tattoo artist that you’d like to visit to help you bring your vision of the piece to live on your skin. Take note that an experienced, talented tattoo artist will not come cheap. Afterall, they are putting art on your skin that will last a lifetime. To be very honest, when I was in College, I had limited budget and I made some bad choices when it came to my inks. Don’t get me wrong, I never got a tattoo drunk or put an ex’s name on me. My regret was I had cheap tattoos done that didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to look on my skin and because of that, when I finally was earning better money and got to know more tattoo artists, I got coverups. Therefore, save up for the tattoo you want. 😀

What’s a coverup? Well, it’s when a tattoo artist covers your current tattoo with a whole new piece of art. A good tattoo artist will be able to completely cover the old tattoo to a point that you can’t make out what was previously there. So, that’s the second option besides getting laser tattoo removal.

  1. What should you do before going in for your tattoo appointment? Make sure you shower. Afterall, if your tattoo piece is a huge one, you might be seated there for hours with your tattoo artist. Who wants to be seated next to someone smelly right? A happy tattoo artist will be able to give you the best tattoo. Happy Tattoo Artist = Nice Tattoo = Happy Client. 😀
  2. Second thing to do is, make sure you eat something before your appointment. I’ve heard of people fainting from getting a tattoo.
  3. Don’t drink alcohol the night before or just right before getting a tattoo. You need to sit still during the whole process. It thins your blood and will make you bleed alot.
  4. No sun tanning as well. A sun burned skin is not going to be fun to be tattooed and the artist might reject tattooing you.
  5. No drugs. You shouldn’t be taking any meds or drugs before a tattoo appointment. I’ve heard horror stories from a tattoo artist about how he/she had to ink an intoxicated person.

How Does Getting A Tattoo Feel

For me it feels like you’re being scratch with a needle. I have pretty high pain tolerance so it might feel different for you. Plus, the thinner the skin is and is close to bone and nerves, it’ll hurt more compared to in spots where there isn’t much nerves. Btw, more needles, more pain. Ouch!! There’s more needles for bigger pieces and colouring in areas. For me, it was more painful when I got my wrist tattoo compared to getting my back tattoo for instance.

Turbine + Wild Lily on my wrist. I got this done in 2015.

Tattoo Steps and What To Expect

  1. The area will be shaved and sanitized to prep the area where the tattoo will go.
  2. The design of the tattoo will be stenciled onto the spot where the tattoo will be. At this stage, if you’re not happy with the placement, the tattoo artist will clean it and re-place the stencil until you and the artist is happy.
  3. You will then either sit down or lie down in a position where it should be comfortable for you and the tattoo artist to work on you.
  4. This is the best part, the fun part when the needle touches the skin.
  5. The tattoo artist will wipe off excess ink or blood as she/he inks you.
  6. When the tattoo is completed, the tattoo piece will be wrapped up to prevent it from getting infected. You should remove the wrap after an hour or so and wash your new ink gently with cool clean water.
ApohApoh working on my back piece.
My complete back piece

If you’re interested in getting a unique and cool piece done by Apoh, you can check her work out at: http://www.instagram.com/apohapoh and she can be contacted at heyapoh@gmail.com 🙂

Your tattoo will take about 4 weeks to 6 weeks to heal completely. During the first 1-2 weeks, it will start to scab and peel and it’s going to be super itchy when it’s healing. Do not pull or scratch it at any cost. You should also avoid wearing tight clothing during the healing period. No swimming or sun tanning as well. This will cause the tattoo to get infected or fade in colour as well. You should also avoid very hot showers the first week atleast. Dab dry your tattoo with a clean paper towel after each shower and apply the aftercare cream that your tattoo artist recommends.

Also, another thing to note, tattoo is very addictive. That explains why I have so many pieces. I also have a half sleeve. 😛 I feel tattoo is way to express your individuality. Btw, all my ink have special meanings to me.

XoXo, VAS