What happens when you put together
- a bunch of yoga freaks
- dress them in designer gowns
- make them wear RM36,000 to RM200,000 timepieces on their arms (and ankles)?
These pages of Malaysia TATLER December 2009, I’m afraid.
[ Photos are property of The Gardens Mall & TATLER Malaysia. Any reproduction of any kind (online, print, mention) must credit The Gardens & TATLER Malaysia ]
Dresses from M Women, watches from The Hour Glass (exclusively at The Gardens Mall)
Dresses by BCBG Max Azria, watches from Calibre (exclusively at The Gardens Mall)
LEFT – Dresses by Karl Ng (on Atilia) & Alvin Tay (on Ninie) , watches from The Hour Glass, RIGHT- Dress from Tang + Co, watches from Zurich Timepieces (exclusively at The Gardens Mall)
LEFT- Dresses from Guess by Marciano, watches from Zurich Timepieces, RIGHT – Dresses by Karen Millen, watches from Calibre (exclusively at The Gardens Mall)
Art direction by Joseph Teoh, make-up by Geraldine Wong, photography by Aaron Lee. All yoga personalities, arms, thighs and abs are from BE Yoga, Damansara Perdana.
Have a colourful, blessed and healthy New Year(s) ahead!
Earlier this June, I was invited to be a guest on Malaysia’s leading actor and comedian (I have to describe this since my website’ statistic shows that 30% of my readers are not from Malaysia) Afdlin Shauki‘s new talk show called EK ELEH to be aired on Astro’s new channel called Astro Warna. Astro Warna is one of the channels introduced in Astro’s new package called Astro Mustika and to be able to view these channels, one has to pay an additional RM12.95 on top of the normal subscription fee.
When I got the call, I was thrilled and over-the-top excited knowing that other guests every week have included a string of most familiar faces on Malaysia entertainment industry to name a few – Siti Nurhaliza, Mawi, Estranged, Nabil, YASMIN AHMAD, Atilia, Mila paired with selected personalities from interesting fields. I was paired with one of Malaysia’s beloved film director, Aziz M. Osman (from XX-Ray, Puteri Impian, Idola and Seri Dewi Malam success) during that particular episode of Ek Eleh.
As usual, every Friday night exactly at 10pm, I will switch the Astro channel to CH132 only to see Afdlin NOT in the attire I remember him wearing during that shoot in June (mind you – I have been subscribing and paying additional RM12.95 on top of my RM165.++ Astro bill monthly for the past five months just for a glimpse of myself in this show) UNTIL TONIGHT.
I started calling my mom, my baby sister and texting my close friends to tune in as I will finally be on tonight. I wanted them to see that I pretzeled Afdlin himself to a Parivarta Anjali Mudra (Inverted Prayer Position) on national TV!
To my utmost surprise and biggest horror, they replaced my (almost 20-minutes of full-on) interview with ‘the best footage’ out of all 26 episodes as this would be their last episode ever.
I can’t say I am not furious because I am.
They (Ek Eleh production team? ASTRO? Afdlin himself?) could have had the courtesy to AT LEAST call and inform me in advance and saved me the RM12.95 X 5 (months to strictly watching Ek Eleh hoping it was my episode aired every week) I have been paying plus the embarrassing Friday nights I did not go out just to not miss my (only?) TV appearance.
And to do this on the very last time it is aired?
I feel sorry FOR THEM for they feel the need to do this.
I feel sorry for all Malay media that still feel reluctant to feature me and help promote BE Yoga as to they thought yoga is banned in Malaysia.
I feel sorry for all of you that still think yoga is banned in Malaysia.
excerpt from The Star, 2 December 2008:
Sultan: Don’t harp on trivial issues
By WONG CHUN WAI
The Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, known as a person who speaks his mind, gives his views on several current issues – from the changing political scenario after March 8 to the recent fatwa on yoga.
ON YOGA AND FATWAS
Could Tuanku comment on the controversy surrounding the fatwa prohibiting Muslims from practising yoga?
State religious matters come under the jurisdiction of the Rulers. It is a state matter. In states with no Sultans, it is the King who decides. It is not the prerogative of the Mentri Besar or Chief Minister, let’s be clear.
In the case of a fatwa, there are many steps to be taken before it can be gazetted. The state Fatwa Council, chaired by the Datuk Mufti, has to deliberate on such matters. Anyone can make proposals but finally, it is the Ruler who has the final say.
Islam is a beautiful religion. It is a practical religion. It must be known for its values and compassion. It is not about punishments or banning this or that. This has unfortunately happened. Islam is not about force. Substance is more important, let’s not forget.
I noticed that in the case of the yoga issue, some people seemed eager to jump the gun by making announcements to show their authority when they have none. The result is confusion. Muslims and non-Muslims are confused.
An indepth and thorough study by the state Fatwa Council must be conducted before any decision is sent to me for approval.
Our beloved Sultan of Selangor who is the Ruler of Islam in Selangor and all other Sultans & Kings in all states in Malaysia DID NOT EVEN APPROVE of this ‘Yoga Ban’ fatwa – so who are you to assume otherwise?
Wake up, Malaysia (and Malaysian media)!
I have had enough of:
CUSTOMER A: Can I just sign-up for Pilates classes at BE Yoga?
ME: May I know why?”
CUSTOMER A: My husband does not allow me to join yoga classes.
ME: Have you or your husband been to a yoga class personally?
CUSTOMER A: Errr, no.
CUSTOMER B: Do you offer other classes like Belly Dance or Aerobics class?
ME: No, we don’t. We are a yoga centre.
CUSTOMER B: Oh, that’s too bad. My church does not encourage yoga as a workout. They say it is an evil movement.
Please put a stop to embarrassing ourselves, other Malaysian Malays, other Malaysian Muslims after that headlines of ‘MALAYSIA BANS EXERCISE FOR MUSLIMS’ on CNN, BBC and the world already!
Yoga is NOT a religion and if you really did follow the final ruling last year, you would acknowledge that yoga is NOT banned after all.
Peace, light and plenty of common sense.
I had an interesting long talk with a member of BE Yoga during a quiet class earlier this week. Her name is Sue Ng, her cheeks glow with pink happiness, her words are honest, her presence and speech are as eloquent as a beauty queen and we can’t stop chatting on our business similarities and hardships as she just opened her restaurant about the same time BE Yoga opened.
We were exchanging stories about yoga retreats in India from what I read in Eat, Love, Pray spiced with secondhand experience from my fellow yoga teachers and her firsthand experience of having been to India earlier this year following this ‘dream’ she had one night.
She was sharing her share of ‘wanting to change‘ and ‘seeing the light‘ upon being there, as I shared my fear of, ‘what happens IF I don’t want to drive a car, wear fancy adidas yogawear and get married anymore?‘ upon returning back from India if I can collect enough guts to actually go to India (Mysore hopefully) in the nearest future.
We had a good laugh yet painful reality check as we traded and agreed on this irony,
- Sue opened her restaurant and shortly after, developed gastric problem she never had before AND
- I, opened a yoga centre and immediately after, my stress level shot so high that my body (immune system) is attacking almost everything I eat!
Given a choice now, I will be happier to stick to simply teaching yoga as when money is involved, it gets ugly.
Having announced that though, I would NOT trade this experience of having sold my car to keep BE Yoga alive, having sacrificed my dignity and sanity to ensure my team loves and looks yoga, having met wonderful people and angels in human form as I crawl my way up and struggle for another breath when I’m on the brink of drowning – for anything else in the world and I am very excited to face what else is lined up for me, BRING IT ON!
This tunnel I am still driving through still seems endless and so far, I am not sure if I have enough fuel to reach its end but I am sure I will still have my spine and my breaths to keep me alive.
This bumpy road (and expensive highway tunnel) will definitely make me a stronger yogi, a more humble yoga teacher and a better person when I do see the light and rainbow (in form of WETHER investment returned, being a personal yoga instructor to British rockstars ;D, getting to volunteer at a remote orphanage as long as I could OR even settling down as a mother with two beautiful daughters, I don’t know and get ever so curious) at the end, I’m sure.
I breathe this wisdom by one of the greatest yoga teacher in this lifetime (I hope I will be lucky enough to meet), Guruji Iyengar – everytime I feel so drained, tired and low
“Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.”
and I move by the love and kindness around me anytime I feel I have nothing else to smile for.
Love, hope and optimism (for RM400,000 to fall from my sky this weekend).
I came across this very interesting article on The Star today that explains almost every reason I gave up meat and chicken a couple of years ago: health, ethical issues and environment beyond anything else.
Everytime I tried to share the benefits of giving up meat in my previous blog at The Yoga Instructor Diaries, my comment boxes got bombarded by shallow remarks of “Islam doesn’t ban eating meat, why are you making a big fuss out of it?”. For me, it’s as simple as ‘bad food’ like junk food and carbonated drinks; they are not Haram per se but I know it’s not good for me and by not consuming it, I know I will live longer and healthier – it is not rocket science and I live just fine so why not?
For those who still have no idea on the list of diseases meat contributes to human digestive system and how consuming meat shortens the lifespan of our tired mother Earth, read this.
By ALLAN KOAY
WHY is eating meat like driving a car? This may sound like the start of a joke, but it really isn’t. Consider this fact from the British Government’s Climate Change Programme 2006: If everyone in Britain were to abstain from meat one day a week over a year, this would save 13 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. The carbon savings would be greater than taking five million cars off the road.Malaysian Meatless Day campaign chairman Pishu Murli Hassaram: ‘A lot of people come up to me and say: I’m eating less meat now.’We’ve always known that eating meat has impacts on our health, but few of us know that the consequences extend to our environment as well. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, livestock farming contributes significantly to the major environmental problems we face today. Think about this: a European cow emitting a year’s worth of methane is comparable to a family-size car travelling 70,000km. Cow and pig waste worldwide weighs 5.5 billion tonnes annually. The gas from that and from the millions of tonnes of fertilisers used in the Amazon to grow animal feed, called nitrous oxide, is a greenhouse gas 295 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
All that, plus the fact that land is being deforested for livestock pasture, and you have more than enough reason to go vegetarian. But no, it doesn’t mean you should drop meat from your diet right away. The World Meatless Day campaign aims to get as many people as possible to go meatless for just one day, on Nov 25.
When the International Meatless/Animal Rights Day was started in 1986 by the Sadhu Vaswani Mission in Pune, India, it was borne more out of compassion for living beings and a view towards world peace than anything else. The social service organisation then chose Nov 25 because it was also Sadhu T.L. Vaswani’s birthday.
According to Malaysian Meatless Day campaign chairman Pishu Murli Hassaram, Sadhu Vaswani was a spiritual thinker, philosopher and educationist who also fought for animal rights and vegetarianism, so his devotees decided to celebrate his birthday by abstaining from meat.
As things progressed, they set up a new organisation called Stop All Killing which is the organisation driving the campaign now.
“Reverence for life is the first step towards world peace,” says Penang-based Pishu. “If you respect life, you create an environment where people respect all living things. When you respect all living things, you will have less wars and murders.”
Pishu stresses that the campaign is non-religious and is based more on ethical principles. It is aimed at creating awareness about the cruelties committed against animals, and creating a world of non-violence.
A vegetarian diet also has its bonuses; numerous studies have shown that vegetarians live healthier and longer, and have lower rates of cancer, heart diseases, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, kidney stones and gall stones. Some even argue that humans are not meat-eaters because of our physical features, such as our flat nails and the absence of incisors. Humans also have carbohydrate digestive enzymes in our saliva, which carnivores and omnivores don’t have. Also, our long intestines are designed for a high-fibre diet and ill-equipped for meat digestion.
“We have been conditioned to believe that we cannot survive without meat,” says Pishu. “Using environmental issues to ask people to eat more vegetables would be more effective. When you tell someone to cut down on meat for his health, he would discount it. It’s like how people will smoke even if you tell them it’s bad for them.”
Pishu observes that there is a growing understanding on how meat-eating contributes to pollution and environmental destruction. “There is a town in Belgium called Ghent that goes meatless every Thursday. The whole town takes part. There is a very strong movement now to start Meatless Monday (such a campaign was recently launched in Sao Paulo, Brazil). In Europe, the trend towards a vegetarian diet has increased tremendously.
“The main drivers were not the vegetarians,” says Pishu. “It was the non-vegetarians who wanted to have a change. Sometimes people don’t want to eat meat seven days a week. It’s a growing trend which we want not only the public to know about, but also the food industry.”
But today, in organic farming and biodynamics, there is a growing awareness not just of keeping our food free from chemicals, but also of viewing a farm as a complete living organism consisting of the land, plants and animals. Therefore, shouldn’t a vegetarian diet also mean a chemical-free production that does not damage the land?
“That’s the final destination but, for me, it is sufficient to get people on the road first,” says Pishu. “Once people are on it, that ideal will eventually happen.”
The Malaysian Meatless Day campaign started in 1996, with 800 pledges. Last year, it received 8,563 pledges. The most successful campaign to date is in Indonesia, with about 35,000 pledges.
In Penang, just like in previous years, there will be a charity carnival on the third Sunday in November as part of the promotion of Meatless Day. “Over the years, Meatless Day in the Penang region has become iconic,” said Pishu. “A lot of people come up to me and say, ‘I’m eating less meat now.’ The ethical part of going meatless is a very personal issue, but the environment problems are very important, and they have reached a very critical stage, such that we have to do more,” Pishu adds.
Although I personally don’t see how giving up meat just one day a year is going to be enough to help save the environment, but at least that ONE DAY WITHOUT will give you an idea of how you would still live without eating meat and how good you’d feel the day after.
DO YOU KNOW THAT?
- Because of its complexity, meat and its kind have to rot in our stomach first before they can be digested?
- Energy consumed for A PIECE of meat, lamb or pork to arrive to your plate is enough to light 100 watt lightbulb for three weeks?
- (from documentary film ‘Meat The Truth’) A kilogram of meat contributes 36.4 kilogram of CO2 and emission of CO2 from A COW for a year is equal to energy consumed to move your car for 70,000 km? Livestock farming generates more greenhouse gas emission worldwide than all cars, lorries, trains, boats and planes added together!
- If you don’t eat meat JUST FOR A SINGLE MEAL in a day, you save 7.6 times more and faster than your house’s energy consumption in one year?
Look at most yoga instructors, today’s biggest rockstars and Hollywood actors that are vegetarians: Chris Martin (Coldplay), Thom Yorke (Radiohead), Brandon Boyd (Incubus), Jack Johnson, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Avril Lavigne, Alanis Morissette, Christy Turlington, Pamela Anderson – they still look good if not better than most other celebrities without eating meat and their bodies are not graveyards for dead animals.
For more reasons and evidence,
- Famous Celebrity Vegetarians, Are You Next?
- Kentucky Fried Cruelty
- Vegetarians Have Better Sex
- Why Red Meat, Cow Milk and Low-Fiber Diet Are Bad For You
- Why You Should Turn Vegetarian (too)
- Would You Still Have The Heart To Eat Meat After Watching This? (sadly this clip has been removed due to evident violence towards animals)
Just imagine the whole process of bringing that piece of steak to your plate and tell me if you are still confident that no cruelty done whatsoever at all during the process.
Love and blessed lives to all living beings.
I don’t need long yet damaged hair to accentuate my femininity and I don’t see my body as a graveyard for dead animals nor dumpsite for empty calorie.
I am NOT the type of girl that asks this type of questions:
- Which dress do I look better in?
- Does my make-up look alright?
- Should I buy that pair of shoes or this one?
- Would a MINI or a 4-wheel-drive suit me best?
I know my taste, I understand my body type and I respect myself enough well to not let others decide on what looks and feels good for me.
So when I still do get “Why did you cut your hair? You look so much better with your hair long..” and “Why do you look so skinny now? You lost so much weight since I last saw you?”,
it offends me a lot as I will never be heard voicing out, “Why are you so negative? You always sound more so bitter everytime we meet. What unjustice has the world done to you that you only see ugliness and the worst in others?”
I have wasted too much time, money and energy in painstakingly blowdry, highlight, colour, relax, perm, be put toxic chemicals onto my innocent hair that I earn my right to choose to let it recuperate and heal for the next couple of years.
Hair spiked up for Tatler shoot
Big earrings always complement short hair
I have always weighed 42 kg and been a US size 0 and UK size 6 for the past 10 years and I know my body better than you do. I am simply happy that I am strong enough to lift up my own body weight (and others), I don’t depend on unhealthy substance to enjoy life and that my body is not built of dead animals.
Lifting up Azmi in BE Yoga‘s Partner Yoga class every Saturday 4pm
Standing on my elbows for our Partner Yoga performance for Breast Cancer Awareness Karma Yoga
I am more than happy with my short hair and I know I am healthy with 13% body fat percentage. If you are not (happy with my hair and my body fat count, I mean), kindly exhale them now or hold your destructive comments to yourself forever.
I’m surrounded by liars everywhere I turn
I’m surrounded by impostors everywhere I turn
I’m surrounded by identity crisis everywhere I turn
I’m the only one who’s noticed
I can’t be the only one who’s learned
I don’t want to be anything other than what I’ve been trying to be lately
All I have to do is think of me and have peace of mind
I’m tired of looking ’round rooms wonder what I gotta do
Or who I’m supposed to be
I don’t want to be anything other than me
~ GAVIN DE GRAW (I Don’t Wanna Be, 2004)
Love, productive Monday and sweet November ahead.
By Willy Wilson
At 27, yoga instructor Ninie Ahmad is all set to take over the world. Turning her love for yoga into a money-making business is what she aims for and she may well be on her way to achieve great success.
There is something almost otherworldly about Ninie’s BE Yoga Studio in Damansara Perdana. Part of it could be due to its stunning design, while the other could be because of its enigmatic owner.
The opening of BE Yoga, in May 2009 marked Ninie’s journey as a business woman. Together with her business partners and three yoga instructors, the petite lass established an exclusive yoga centre located at Metropolitan Square in Damansara Perdana, Petaling Jaya.
Ninie has an impressive track record – an 8-year teaching experience and a cult following that include who’s who from the corporate world to the entertainment industry. Her glowing reputation, along with her tastefully-designed yoga studio, spells success.
BE Yoga has a cohesive concept and is well-structured. It is a spacious 6,000 sq ft studio that occupies two shop lots on the ground floor of Metropolitan Square.
There is a reception counter, two large sitting areas, three big yoga studios, a mezzanine floor, two locker rooms and an office under the same roof. The space does not – by any means – feel cramped. In fact, the studio has an airy and inviting feel to it…plus, it’s also visually arresting.
“It could be because of the high ceiling concept,” Ninie says of her stunning yoga studio. The concept usually encourages peace of mind. It works well with relaxing hues, which is how things are at BE Yoga. Earth tone shades are used for the floor, walls and lightings making it easy for one to relax.
Added to this harmony of colours and design is the use of the five earth elements namely wood, fire, earth, metal and water.
“I wanted to have the five earth elements incorporated to the design because I believe the harmony of these elements help sustain and renew the energy of the people around them,” explains Ninie.
Each element is well represented: teak wood strips in the yoga studios represent wood, flame-like lightings symbolise fire, concrete flooring signifies earth, a sleek bronze interior embodies metal while a mini water feature with the iconic yin-yang symbol represent water.
The awe-inspiring modern interior gives a clean and minimalist feel. It is hardly ostentatious but you could easily find yourself drawn to its pristine serenity.
The Zen-like concept at BE Yoga beautifully marries the philosophy of yoga and design innovation.
Damansara Perdana: A prime location
Such tranquility and beauty come with a price. According to Ninie, the total cost for the renovation amounted to almost RM500,000. Apart from that, the monthly rental for such a prime location is equivalent to the cost of renting at least seven shop lots on the 10th floor of the same building.
View from the mezzanine floor (left), modern sofa on the first floor (mid-top),
rattan furniture from Barang Barang (mid-bottom), water feature and stairs (right)
But why would Ninie fork out so much money for the renovation and monthly rent?
“I would not have paid so much had I not believed it would be a worthwhile investment,” she says. Ninie maintains that what she offers at BE Yoga are not only yoga courses, but also a lifestyle service, especially for the yuppies who “are the ones with disposable income for lifestyle products and services.”
Ever the go-getter, Ninie is not one who does things without careful consideration. She’s done her homework and says that potential customers are typically young urban professionals who flock to the surrounding trendy neighbourhoods. Nope, she isn’t referring to Bangsar or Sri Hartamas.
“Thirty percent of my Facebook contacts, who fit my customer profile, live in Damansara Perdana,” she says. And what does that mean?
“Well Bangsar was the Beverly Hills of KL in the late 90s, as was Sri Hartamas in early 2000. But now it is Damansara Perdana that takes home the title.”
With the burgeoning responsibility of a yoga centre and million dollar investment, Ninie shows no signs of slowing down. She is already even planning for two new branches, one in Petronas Twin Towers and the other in Bangsar – to leverage on the professionals and old-moneyed market respectively. That’s not all. The industrious lady also wants own the BE Yoga shop lots. “I’m looking at buying the shop lots where BeYoga is now within the next two years.”
Great aspirations indeed.
( Source: Star Property )
Excerpt from SHAPE website.
Being the best that she can be
Petite Ninie Ahmad proves that size really doesn’t matter when you have the passion and belief to pursue your life’s calling.
For full interview, get your copy of Malaysia’s SHAPE November 2009 out in newsstands today.