Quoting Martin Luther King Jr., ​“We are made by history”;​ so it’s important that we touch base with the history of women’s rights in Malaysia for a firmer grasp on how we want to shape our future.

Ever since Malaysia gained Independence in 1957, girls and women in Malaysia have always had open access to education. However, it came with more constrictions and cultural rules, as compared to their male counterparts. Hence why women aimed for simpler positions such as clerks, typists, and teachers. Only in the 1970s did we start seeing girls courageously crossing the barrier, persevering, and proving the earlier stigmas wrong – that women were not suitable for “manlier” jobs involving technical education, engineering, or even court duty.

Regardless of women progressing in education, as well as the country developing more and more everyday, and in spite of the policies set by the government to support women’s entry and retention at the workforce, barriers such as lack of mentoring, stereotyping, and being excluded from networks still exists.

People across the world have many misperceptions about equality: we underestimate women’s experience of sexual harassment, and are overly optimistic about when economic and pay equality will be achieved. In reality, women in the Malaysian workforce still face unjust challenges every single day.

A ​survey done by Women’s Aid Organisation shows that up to 21% of women have encountered a form of sexual harassment, but many are still misinformed on what entails as sexual harassment in the workplace. Many still think that behaviours that their colleagues do, such as unwelcomed touching or grabbing, stalking or repeatedly making advances after being rejected, as “unprofessional behaviour”. Education on women’s safety and rights need to be boosted to ensure that women know that they are being treated respectably and just.

In June 2016, women accounted for only 15.2% of director positions in the top 100 listed companies on Bursa Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange). According to ​this study by the Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, 75% agree that the stereotypes about women’s abilities and roles still exist in the industry and 51.9% receive less mentoring than men in this industry. The ‘glass ceiling’, which still exists in most organisations, acts as the biggest barrier in women advancing in their careers.

The ‘glass ceiling’ refers to the invisible barriers that prevents qualified women from reaching their full potential within their company. Women are inclined to be over-represented in the junior level, but under-represented at the senior level in a company. It has resulted in a disadvantageous effect on the economy and morale of any organisation.

Unfortunately, there are many who still perceive women as weak, unable to carry out certain roles, or that women are only to play the “caring” roles in organizations. This phenomenon is also known as ​“Stereotype Confirmation Bias​”, and it happens when leaders confirm their stereotypes while filtering out all other examples. This adds on to the factor of discrimination.

According to a ​survey done by Women’s Aid Organisation, 56% of working women have experienced one or more types of gender discrimination at the workplace, including being asked personal questions regarding their marital or family status, being tasked to perform jobs that are not asked of men in the same position, receiving questions or comments about their ability to perform certain tasks, and being omitted from promotions even though their qualifications surpass the other candidates.

What To Do If You Encounter Discrimination?

If you feel that you are being discriminated against, there are many organisations that you may reach out to seek help. You can consider getting in touch with:

  • The Human Resource Department (who deals with internal grievances)
  • The Malaysian Labour Office
  • Your Trade Unions

The first thing to do would be to contact the Human Resource Department to find out about your company’s grievance processes. If the situation cannot be resolved internally, you may escalate it further to the labour office.

Although there has been significant progress in the representation of women in the workplace, women are still far from being seen as an equal. Katherine Davis, the former Managing Director of IPSOS in Malaysia said, “Where women are fully represented, societies are more peaceful and stable. Standing up for women’s rights and development is standing up for the global good”. We need to keep spreading awareness on this issue and keep talking about it in our conversations in order for real change to take place!

I wish I woke up to the sound of birds chirping and a warm embrace from the sun’s morning rays, but instead I get greeted by anxiety – the complete opposite of that fairytale feeling. Even before seeing my schedule, I already feel overwhelmed by the day ahead, and it makes me want to hit the snooze button for the next few hours (or days). Do you wake up with a head full of racing thoughts too?

Morning anxiety is a common occurrence, even for those who don’t have an anxiety disorder. It refers to the anticipatory anxiety that occurs at the beginning of the day. Stress and worry about work, and other pressures such as socialising, start flooding in and you may even sleep in to avoid the day’s responsibilities as much as you can. If you were already anxious the night before, cortisol (the stress hormone) is usually at its highest in the first hour of waking up – which is why you feel even more stressed than you previously were.

Try minimising your morning anxiety with these self-care methods:

  1. Breathe – Practice deep breathing exercises to alleviate your anxiety. Inhale and exhale slowly while keeping your shoulders and jaw relaxed.
  2. Journal – Identify your feelings by writing them down, and then address these anxious thoughts. Create a positive mantra to help counter these negative statements.
  3. Move! – Exercise reduces your stress hormone levels, and since cortisol is as at its highest upon waking up, moving your body within the first hour of the day can provide stress relief.
  4. Avoid caffeine – Caffeine can make your anxiety worse, but if you just can’t give up your morning cup of coffee, reduce your intake, especially when you’re not feeling well.
  5. Plan out your day – If you’re anxious because of an overly demanding schedule, planning out your day can help you start on a productive note. Seeing and organising your tasks on paper can also make it feel less overwhelming.

Please consult a mental health professional if your morning anxiety gets worse and starts affecting your daily life. Don’t be afraid to – they will be able to treat your anxiety disorder and help you feel better.

As the month of love comes to an end, we wanted to remind you that showing yourself some love will always be necessary. You can gift yourself a little self-love every night with a calming cup of tea, relaxing aromatherapy oil, or even a soothing scented candle – anything that will help you press pause and indulge in some quality me-time.

We also wanted to share our self-care must-haves with you! Treat yourself to a well-deserved break with these small gifts from some of our favourite local brands:

 

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A soothing blend, this herbal tea promotes relaxation, helps reduce stress and anxiety, and improves sleep.

 

 

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Lavender, Clary Sage, Peppermint – this is the perfect combination for deep relaxation, as well as the relief of headaches.

 

 

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This night serum will have you waking up with glowing skin thanks to its exfoliating AHA and collagen-boosting Vitamin C ingredients.

 

 

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A post shared by Borneo Candle Studio (@borneocandlestudio)

A refreshing blend of eucalyptus, mint and lavender, lighting this candle will help put your mind at ease after a long, stressful day.

 

 

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This heart-shaped rose quartz gua sha stone evokes the spirit of self-love – use it give yourself a relaxing facial massage with your go-to oils.

When you’re depressed, you feel depleted – you don’t have the energy or motivation to do anything, let alone clean up your room. Along with this, another sign of depression is the inability to focus, which makes it hard for you to keep up with your day-to-day chores. When cleaning becomes less of a priority, a mess begins to accumulate, and the bigger it gets, the more stress and negative emotions it brings with it.

If you’ve been feeling down, here are six things you can try to start cleaning up again:

  1. Start with 5 minutes
    Find an area to focus on and set a timer – this could be a pile of clothes on the floor, a cluttered coffee table or a kitchen counter than needs a good scrub. Do as much as you can, and once the five minutes is up, take a break. You can do this again in a few minutes, hours or even the next day.
  2. Clean everyday
    You don’t have to clean the entire house or even a whole room – just do a little bit of cleaning everyday to get into the habit and avoid messes from building up. If you need some motivation, create a checklist, which will also help you stay organised. Slowly work your way through it during the week.
  3. Do the small things first
    It’s normal to procrastinate when you have a big, daunting task to do, such as cleaning an entire room or house. Instead, break these tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks – for example, changing your bed sheets and organising your desk as a start to cleaning your room.
  4. Colour code it
    If you don’t know where to start, a fun way can be to pick a colour and look for things in that colour that need to be put away, thrown away or cleaned. Take a break between each colour.
  5. Clean as you go
    Even when you’re not feeling down, this takes discipline, but it is self-care! It protects your future self from having to struggle with cleaning an even bigger mess. Get into the habit of putting away, throwing away and washing things after using them.
  6. Ask for help
    Don’t be afraid to ask your family members, roommates or partners for help when it comes to housework. Do let them know why you’re struggling with it. If you’re able to, hire someone to help clean up or talk to a therapist about your problems with staying on task.

The hardest part is starting, so be proud of yourself for doing as much as you can – even if it may seem small at first. Try your best to get things in order because when you’re depressed, a messy home can cause further stress and anxiety. Don’t forget to cut yourself some slack in the process!

When I think of self-care, I think of a garden that’s under my care. In my mind, it has the potential to become this magical place, but it’s not always rainbows or butterflies to begin with. To grow a lush green garden, we must be willing to get our hands dirty and put in the work. Planting seeds and pulling out weeds won’t be pretty, but real self-care involves paying attention to what’s stunting your growth and developing healthier habits.

There’ll be a lot of blood, sweat and tears when it comes to self-discipline, painful healing and behaviour correcting. But your garden requires regular maintenance and constant growth in order to thrive. If you neglect it, or forget about it for too long, it will wither. Start with these 5 steps to grow real self-care:

  1. Plant your purpose
    We all have our own reasons for wanting to practice self-care. Imagine the best version of yourself and write down what you need to do to become that.
  2. Prioritise your mental health and happiness
    These should be the pride and joy of your garden. Set healthy boundaries to protect your emotional space when it comes to work and personal relationships.
  3. Focus on growth
    Give yourself permission to grow. Commit to practicing real self-care on the daily, and make a conscious effort to maintain your mental health and happiness.
  4. Address root issues
    Dig deep into the root of your problems. When we ignore our issues, we allow ourselves to get stuck in bad habits and negative thought patterns instead of finding a solution.
  5. Go at your own pace
    Don’t compare your progress to anyone else’s. Give yourself all the time and patience needed to grow and blossom.

In order to flourish, you must nurture and support yourself. Start small, take responsibility and reflect honestly. You’ve got this!

Your self-care routine may currently look like curling up on the couch, after a long day of work, with a soothing scented candle on the side, a hearty cup of tea in one hand and a hilarious self-help book in the other. It could also involve a checklist of good habits you’re trying to incorporate into your daily routine, like not checking your phone right after you wake up or focusing on the rich flavours of the food you’re eating. What we tend to overlook when it comes to wellness is financial self-care – although we are well-aware of the stress and anxiety that stems from our finances.

Wellness focuses on our overall health and wellbeing, and that definitely includes our financial health. Having a financial self-care routine will not only benefit our finances, but it will also contribute to our happiness and overall wellbeing. After all, real self-care helps us reframe the situations we’re in to get to the root of our problems. It goes beyond feeling comfortable and digs deeper into healing in order to feel better afterwards.

It can be intimidating, and even embarrassing to confront our own finances, but by adding these good money habits to your self-care routines and checklists, you’ll be able to develop a better understanding of your finances and a healthier money mindset:

 

Write down the first few things that come to mind when you think about your finances. Ask yourself why you feel the way you do – it could come from a childhood experience, having student loan debt or recently seeing others lose their jobs. These fears can prevent us from taking control of our finances, so once you’re able to understand your limiting beliefs – you’ll know how to move forward and start organizing your finances.

 

Make it a habit to check your bank accounts often. Not being aware of where your money goes can cause a lot of frustration. By physically seeing your bank balance, and keeping track of your transactions, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions when it comes to spending. This habit will also allow you to catch any unusual transactions or unauthorized purchases before it’s too late. 

 

We all have financial goals. What do you aim to do with your money? You could want to repair one of your devices, pay off credit card debt, or save for a car. Note down these goals and break them into smaller steps that can be achieved daily or weekly – i.e. saving RM50 a week for 6 months. By constantly reviewing your progress, you’ll be able to ensure that you’re on the right track and be aware of any obstacles that could set you back.

 

Set boundaries when it comes to your money. With shopping being just an app away, it’s become much easier to spend money – ‘retail therapy’ now consists of browsing when we’re sad or happy. Either delete the apps or add the items to your wishlist (instead of your cart) and sleep on it. As with any impulse, see if you still want it badly the next day or in the following days.

 

We’re not saying you shouldn’t spend any money at all, you should always treat yourself – responsibly that is. Reward yourself for reaching your financial goals, but make sure you’ve made space in your budget for treats. This can motivate you to save more. Remember, wellness is all about balance – don’t feel bad about tending to your differing needs.

 

Unfortunately, since we didn’t learn financial literacy in school, it is our responsibility to educate ourselves. Most of us are actually clueless about money, not even receiving honest advice from our parents because it is a taboo topic. Make the effort to read, join free courses, and listen to podcasts – no, not to ‘get rich’, but to get a better understanding of how to manage your finances.

The longer we ignore our limiting money mindset and beliefs, the harder it’ll be for us to become financially stable, secure or free. You can avoid further stress and anxiety by finally stepping up and taking control of your finances.

 

As I sat down to write this article, I already made my first mistake – I had my phone in plain sight. Instead of diving right into work, it was like a reflex to reach for my phone and get sucked into social media. I began mindlessly scrolling through Twitter and Instagram, TikTok for good measure, and the latest digital distraction – Clubhouse. It was only after getting a glimpse of the time (which we don’t seem to see even though it doesn’t leave our screens), and realising that I was officially off-schedule, when I quickly ran to my room and put away my phone. Now here I am writing with no digital distractions.

Like many other Malaysians, having to spend most of my time at home has made me more dependent on my phone. It did not come as a surprise to me that compared to other South East Asian countries, Malaysia had the highest upsurge in Internet usage due to our strict social distancing measures. Our phones placed the entertainment and connections that were separated from us, right at our finger tips. It doesn’t help that some of us have had to work unsupervised from home – turning off auto-relax mode was already hard to begin with.

Here are 6 tips that have helped me tune into what I’m doing without any digital distractions:

  1. Put your phone away!

No, not next to you with the screen faced down (unless you’re that disciplined then #goals), but in another room. Hopefully when it’s out of your sight, the urge to check it will leave your mind too. If your excuse is, “What if I get an important message?” – use a desktop version of the messenger-app, but keep it running in the background.

2. Schedule time to use your devices

It’s time to take back control and let your devices know when they can have your attention. Start with short, frequent breaks, like 5 to 10 minutes after every hour, and work your way up from there. You’ll soon be able to break the habit.

3. Replace your screen time with other tasks

Before reaching for your devices, ask yourself, “Why?”. It could be to do research, reply a message, or simply just take a break. But if you want to use it just for the sake of using it, ask yourself, “What else can I do during this time?”. Turn to your to-do list – you’ll find that you actually do have the time to wash the dishes, fold your laundry, workout and read.

4. Turn off notifications

If it’s something you don’t need to know right now (like who liked your picture), you don’t need to see it right now. We’re constantly distracted by pings and pop-ups, but most of these are unimportant information and interactions.

5. Delete apps you don’t use

Sometimes, when we’re bored, or basically just looking for a distraction, we start opening apps that we don’t use (there’s no need to check in on Snapchat, that ghost is doing fine). Delete, declutter, go Marie Kondo and let go of all the apps that no longer spark joy.

6. Journal when you wake up

Here’s a bonus tip that’ll help with your mental health too! When you wake up, grab your journal instead of your phone. Start scribbling down the first things that come to mind, or if you need prompts – “How do you feel about today?”, “Set an intention for the day”, “What are you grateful for?”. This sets us up for a more positive and productive day rather than losing ourselves, and a lot of time, scrolling through our devices in bed.

Digital distractions will never go away (they may even get worse), but by following these tips – we hope you’ll feel less overwhelmed and more focused on important and meaningful tasks!

Growing up, most of us were taught to work hard and respect others. ‘Tiger’ parenting and ‘kiasu’ culture pushed some of us into the direction of high-ranking universities and reputable companies, with no regard for our mental health. As millennials, the relentless pressure to succeed continued in adulthood with the rise of hustle culture on social media (being busy is now considered ‘glamorous’).

We’ve spent almost our entire lives listening to others, and comparing ourselves to others, when we should actually be prioritising ourselves. Boundaries can help us do this – they protect our health and wellbeing, and provide us with a sense of self. It’s not going to be easy, and you will feel guilty at first, but here’s why we must allocate time and space for ourselves: 

What are boundaries?

Boundaries are the rules we create to protect our needs. They can be applied within our relationships, career, and even online to communicate our limits and ensure our safety.

Why do we need boundaries?

How can we set boundaries?

  1. Identify your limits

What makes you feel uncomfortable? Check in with your body as well – what makes you tense up?

  1. Be assertive

When it comes to communicating your limits, be direct, but avoid being aggressive. Use ‘I’ statements, such as, “I feel overwhelmed when the house is a mess because I already spend so much time cleaning it. What I need is help to keep it clean”. This allows you to express your feelings without blaming anyone.

  1. Give yourself permission to say no

It can be hard to say “no”, especially in Malaysia where there is a face-saving culture. Let go of the fear of looking selfish or coming off as rude – you don’t owe anyone an explanation.

  1. Develop a support system

Boundaries take determination. If you’re having a hard time with them, turn to your family and friends for support – you can practice asserting boundaries together and hold each other accountable.

When we’re able to define our boundaries, we’re able to have more respect for ourselves. Boundaries can protect us from physical and emotional intrusion, and empower us to make healthy choices and take responsibility for ourselves. Setting boundaries is a process, but don’t let fear and guilt prevent you from taking care of yourself!

With love comes hate, even on Valentine’s Day. You’re either all for the love-fest, celebrating it with your special someone, or against it – rolling your eyes at every heart-shaped reminder. Despite what many people believe, you don’t have to be in a romantic relationship to embrace a day dedicated to love. Celebrate your friends, your family, and even yourself! After all, the most important relationship you’ll ever have is the one with yourself.

We tend to shy away from self-love because we’re afraid of coming off as vain, but as self-care becomes normalised (finally!), self-love is becoming the new #relationshipgoals. Shower yourself with the same love you give others! Make it rain because love isn’t just for those with someone to love. Even if you are in a relationship, loving yourself can help you be a better partner and set healthy boundaries.

Kickstart your self-love journey this Valentine’s Day with stories from these inspiring individuals!

 

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“Self-love is so important because you can’t pour from an empty cup. I believe to truly be able to love and care for others, we have to first love and care for ourselves. I think self-love is also important so that we don’t seek validation and affirmation from external sources. You are complete on your own, and truly loving yourself eliminates a lot of the unnecessary expectations we tend to put onto our romantic partners.”

Bay Doucet is Instagram’s ‘Self-Care Sweetheart’! Her calming, aesthetic, fun-filled feed showcases the graphic designer genuinely expressing herself, and documenting her life as a content creator, model and writer as well. What we love about Bay is that she always keeps it real, especially on her Instagram Stories where she shares her honest feelings and the truth about self-care.

What are 5 things you love about yourself?

When did you start you self-love journey?

How do you practice self-love?

Connect with Bay on Instagram where she shares her favourite local brands, cat-mom life and other daily musings!

 

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“Self-love is important because to be the best, in anything, we have to love ourselves first. Other people can’t always help us when we’re in difficult situations – sometimes in life we will only have ourselves.”

We were first captivated by Hikmah Razlan when she was featured as one of the beauties in BeauTyra’s campaign. The model turned content creator uses her social media feed for good – inspiring confidence and compassion in others with her bright smile and positive attitude. What we love about Hikmah is the heartfelt letters she writes to herself in her captions, proving that when you’re your biggest fan, no one can bring you down!

What are 5 things you love about yourself?

When did you start you self-love journey?

How do you practice self-love?

Follow Himkah on Instagram for product reviews and all-round good vibes!

 

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“When you love yourself, you start wanting better for yourself, and you make better choices for yourself. You advocate for your needs and boundaries, which empowers you as an individual to not only show up for yourself, but for others too.”

You’ve probably come across one of Catherhea Teoh‘s powerful portraits on social media. The photographer and activist is known for capturing the beauty of diversity and directing the spotlight on underrepresented communities in Malaysia (she even won an MTV EMA award for this!). What we love about Catherhea is her dedication to growth – she actively shares what she’s learning, unlearning and relearning on her Instagram Stories.

What are 5 things you love about yourself?

When did you start you self-love journey?

How do you practice self-love?

If you’re looking for a photographer or content creator, check out Catherhea’s ‘MCO’ promotion here – it’s specially designed for small business owners!

 

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“In a society where everyone wants you to be someone you are not, cultivating self-love gives you the courage to be authentically and unapologetically you.”

Jeslinda Paul is on a mission to bring awareness towards the disabled in Malaysia by sharing her recovery and self-love journey! The model and Persons With Disabilities advocate is not afraid to be herself on social media, reminding everyone how special they are through her Instagram posts. What we love about Jeslinda is how empowering her feed is to help others feel just as strong and confident as she does.

What are 5 things you love about yourself?

When did you start you self-love journey?

How do you practice self-love?

For more content on self-love, mindfulness and gratitude, follow Jeslinda on Instagram!

 

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“Self-love gives me courage and confidence. It is also an act of self-respect, appreciation and acceptance. When I truly love myself, I no longer care about what others talk about me or how they see me. I’m the only one that matters. It makes me happier and healthier.”

Von Chong‘s been taking TikTok by storm with her fashion-forward looks! The content creator shares her confidence, advice, and daily adventures on social media to empower others and herself. What we love about Von is how welcoming she is, making her the ultimate TikTok bestie and go-to for Instagram fashion inspo!

What are 5 things you love about yourself?

When did you start you self-love journey?

How do you practice self-love?

Follow Von on Instagram and TikTok for style advice and fashion inspiration!

Don’t worry, a healthy relationship with food isn’t another diet. It’s actually going against diet culture by developing a positive attitude towards eating. As Malaysians, how can we not love food? We have a variety of mouth-watering cuisines to indulge in, but does it still count as enjoyment if we feel bad afterwards?

Unfortunately, we all have beaten ourselves up for eating in a way that society says is ‘too much’ or unhealthy. As drool-worthy as our dishes may be, most of us look at our food with fear (even when we’re snapping a pic of it). It’s this fear of judgement, and the guilt that follows after, that’s unhealthy. 

A healthy relationship with food allows you to listen to your own feelings, cravings and needs, instead of external (and totally unfair) ‘rules’. Developing this relationship does take conscious effort. We’ve asked Nutrivin, a platform run by soon-to-be dietitian, Jane Chong, for some advice on how to feel at peace with food:

 

What does it mean to have a healthy relationship with food?

“It’s not about the types of food you eat or the quality of your diet, but rather why you choose the foods you eat. Besides getting nourishment from food, you’re also connecting to different cultures and people, exploring new food and finding joy in them.”

 

Why is it important?

“It’s so common for us to comment on the food we or others eat, that it’s considered ‘normal’ or socially acceptable. This is actually a vicious cycle that can be damaging to a person’s physical and mental wellbeing. When we have a healthy relationship with food, it relieves this stress and anxiety around eating.”

 

What is considered a bad relationship with food?

“Not giving yourself permission to eat. For example, you follow strict diets or feel the need to ‘make up’ for eating unhealthy food. When you restrict yourself from eating, you end up ignoring your body’s hunger cues. You may do this because you’re afraid of being judged.”

 

How can we improve our eating habits?

“By improving your eating experience. Find out what would satisfy your body and mind. Practice mindful eating to truly enjoy your food – you can do this by engaging all your senses and eating without any distractions. This will help you appreciate food better and develop a more positive attitude towards eating.”

 

Please do not blame yourself for your eating behaviors – diet culture has dictated how we should eat for far too long. Start by being kinder to yourself and paying attention to your body’s wants and needs. You’ll soon begin to feel what it really means to enjoy food and eating!

Follow Nutrivin on Instagram for more advice on nutrition, health, body image and wellbeing.

Did you know that in Malaysia:

These are the dire consequences of undetailed sexual health education. 

In a society such as ours, sexual health isn’t counted as physical health – it’s a subject that’s actually avoided. Youths are taught the very bare necessities, leaving too much room for misinformation. This has caused many to make harmful decisions, including baby dumping, having teenage pregnancies, and spreading sexually-transmitted infections.

It has become crucial for us to openly start acknowledging sexual health in order to protect our physical and emotional wellbeing, as well as others’. But how do we turn this taboo topic, which continuously sparks criticism, into a positive dialogue? 

We asked Jasmine King (a sex positive advocate, speaker and sexual health educator), for her advice on breaking the stigma and normalising conversations around sex. She currently does this on her Instagram page, Jas Explains, where she promotes sexual empowerment by creating educational content, sparking important conversations and sharing sex positive resources.

What exactly is sexual health?

According to WHO, sexual health is the “positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence”. In ensuring everyone receives adequate sexual health, it is important for us to have:

Simply put, sexual health encompasses everything that is connected to our sexual wellbeing, whether it be reproduction, relationships, laws and reforms, or diseases and dysfunctions.

 

What are the common misconceptions Malaysians have about sexual health?

A common one would probably be that sexual health is only about sex and the health of our reproductive organs, but it spans beyond that. It’s about health and rights, as well as the social aspect of sex. This encompasses our reproductive health and rights, sexual relationships, knowledge and education, diseases and dysfunctions, sexual violence like harassment or abuse, and harmful practices like female genital mutilation.

 

Why is it so important?

It’s important because sexual health is an aspect of our health, and despite the taboo and stigma that’s attached to it, it’s still very much important for us to educate ourselves on it – despite being married or not, young or old. Usually sexual health is only prioritized when couples want to start a family or when something traumatic happens like abuse/harassment.

 

How can we overcome sexual shame as a society?

A first big step to overcoming sexual shame is to first of all educate ourselves. We need to unlearn years of education and beliefs, which are masked by layers of taboo, stigma and shame, and relearn everything again from the start. By relearning and normalizing the conversation, we are then able to provide a safe space to educate others and receive without judgement.

 

As individuals, what are the benefits of overcoming sexual shame?

It releases us from some of the shame, judgement and fear that we carry. Sex and our bodies are a normal and healthy part of our lives and should be treated with respect, instead of disgust and shame. By allowing ourselves to overcome shame, we would be able to fully embrace our sexual and sensual side instead of fearing them.

 

What does it mean to be sex positive?

Someone who is sex positive values consent, communication, education that allows people to make informed choices about their bodies, and pleasure. They respect and do not judge those who consensually practise diverse sexuality and gender expressions.

 

As sex is a religious stigma here, how can we promote a more sex positive culture?

We can do this by not focusing so much on the term ‘sex’ and changing the language to make it more accessible and neutral for everyone. Hence why, sex education is also known as ‘comprehensive sexuality education (CSE)’ and sex positivity is also referred to as ‘positive sexuality’. Changing the language as well as acknowledging that it’s more than just about sex can promote a more sex positive culture. CSE covers an array of topics which includes:

Etc.

For more information on sexual health, tune into Jasmine’s podcast, I Wish Someone Told Me, to hear stories by Asians, or those living in Asia, on gender, sexuality, dating, intimacy and sexual empowerment. You can also follow @iwishthepod and @jasexplains on Instagram for more sex positive content and resources!

Whenever we introduce ourselves as a wellness website, we’re thought to cover yoga and meditation and positivity, but that’s not wellness – it’s a very narrow area, which has been so commercialized that it distracts from the true definition of wellness: “the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort”. Not toxic positivity or veganism only, but a realistic balance of activities that satisfy both our minds and bodies.

Mental wellness has us paying attention to our needs and feelings, and physical wellness has us eating intuitively and exercising regularly, but what about sexual wellness? After all, it does involve both our emotional and physical wellbeing. JamuGlo, a herbal beverage brand founded by Atika Suhaimi and her husband, Mohamed, aims to shift the taboo surrounding this dimension of wellness. 

What is sexual wellness?

“Sex is not just intercourse to begin with – it is related to our overall inner health. It’s the relationship we have with ourselves, how comfortable we are in our own skin, and a direct measurement of how connected we are to our partners.”

Atika has been an avid jamu-drinker her entire life and wanted to share the benefits she’s experienced from the traditional healing aid, but with a modern twist. The 100% organic, gluten-free juices boost sexual health and highlight the brand’s belief that intimacy starts from within.

“Prioritizing our sexual wellness does not mean you have to talk about sex, immediately have sex, or even be sexually active – asexuals aren’t easily driven by sexual desires. It’s all about accepting yourself, and understanding your own sexual wellbeing.”

How can we break the stigma surrounding sexual wellness?

“In Malaysia, the challenge we have been facing is to educate and create awareness regarding sexual wellness, as well as change the way people see it other than the way sex has been portrayed in the media or pornography.”

Our society fears that sex education will encourage sex, but in reality, the lack of sex education has caused a dangerously innacurate and unhealthy understanding of sex and sexuality. This barrier of shame and embarrassment that exists around sexual wellness has harmed relationships, the overall wellbeing of individuals, and their general quality of life. It prevents people from making informed choices for safe and fulfilling sexual experiences and relationships.

“We are on a mission to push and elevate women’s lifestyles by truly educating and empowering them to embrace their own sexual wellness. This gives them the chance to be enlightened, and hopefully connect better with their loved ones, and even with themselves. We’re doing this by bringing back the traditional superfoods of our ancestors, but for the modern woman – we’ve made it lighter and more drinkable!”

What is jamu?

“Jamu is a traditional medicine from Indonesia for overall health. It is predominantly a herbal drink made from natural materials, like roots, herbs, flowers, seeds.”

What are the benefits of your drinks?

Kencur Juice

De-tox

When should it be consumed?

“We highly recommend consuming our juices on a daily basis, with De-tox consumed in the morning before or after breakfast (after breakfast if you suffer from gastric), and the Kencur Juice consumed in the evening.

We must stress that it is important to be consistent in your journey with us. Compared to modern medicine, the effects may take a bit longer to show, but their benefits remain substantially longer in your system.”

Who should avoid consuming it?

“Those who are menstruating, pregnant, or hold current medical conditions or illnesses. If you are on any medication, please consult your doctor before consuming our juices as the chemicals may not mix well with natural herbs.”

How should it be stored?

“As all our juices are naturally made, carefully pasteurised, and contain no artificial preservatives, we highly recommend keeping them chilled. They may be kept under normal fridge temperatures for up to 2 weeks (14 days), or stored frozen in your freezer for a period of 3 months (90 days).

A typical jamugloer would purchase between four to eight bottles at a time, leaving their first 2 bottles of Kencur juice and De-tox in the fridge, and the remainder in the freezer.”

Learn more about Jamuglo and join them on their mission to shift the taboo surrounding intimacy by following them on Instagram!

If you’re interested in purchasing their juices, check out their Valentine’s Day promo below: 

Buy 4 or more bottles, between the 2nd and 9th of February, to get a free bouquet of flowers! Your package will be delivered on Valentine’s Day itself for the perfect dose of self-love and an opportunity to reconnect with your loved ones. Order now.