Children & Gender Roles (Nature vs Nurture)

Do kids know that they should behave a certain manner according to their gender? Is it a natural instinct for them to act like a “girl” or a “boy”? Or are they mostly conditioned by their parents and society to be restricted by what a female or male should and should not do? This is a question of nature vs nurture.

The reason why I’m compelled to write about this topic is because it just struck my mind as I reminisced my childhood days – how I behaved from then till now. I realized one thing; I wasn’t a very feminine girl when I was a kid. Truth be told, I was actually tomboyish and I had no idea that it was considered “wrong.”

Probably wrong in society’s eyes, wrong in my parents’ eyes, and perhaps just wrong to grow up not knowing the boundaries of a how a girl should behave. But of course, I didn’t knew then. All I knew was that I was being myself totally and I had no qualms about it.

I grew up with three younger brothers – all of whom I was given the responsibility to take care of at a very young age (I reckon I was 10 years old back then when I was introduced to “babysitting.”) My parents were busy working so they “transferred” their roles to me. I didn’t find much difficulty in performing my duty as the eldest child. In fact, I learnt a lot of things during the process.

Growing up and being fully involved with three boys shaped my character and behavior differently than my other female friends my age. I still remember how they would correct my unsightly sitting position (imagine legs wide apart – or the “crotch display.”) Quite unsightly, I know. Even my dressing was nothing short of a boy’s. T-shirt & jeans. Always. No dresses or skirts, no frills or ribbons, no cute prints whatsoever. I dressed like how my brothers would – and I thought I looked cool.

I only started changing to be more feminine when my best friend and mum both advised me to be more “girlish.” Especially my mum; I believed she was getting worried that I’m hitting 12 and still not being a girl.

Thinking back, I enjoyed my childhood thoroughly. I enjoyed being who I was – tomboyish, bold, wild, carefree. I guess that’s what being totally free to be myself felt like. I wasn’t hiding any part of me that others would otherwise thought to be “unacceptable.” I had my freedom to grow up naturally like that and I’m glad that was me. Really, no regrets.

Now that I’ve changed dramatically in terms of how I behave in public, I kind of lost that sense of true identity… I don’t know if there are others out there who are going through/have went through this process, but I find myself struggling to be myself around others now, sadly. Even at 21 years of age, I’m honestly still in the midst of finding my true self/identity. Going back and forth of “how should I behave around people/friends?” “should I behave like how I do at home – loud and carefree – or should I behave appropriately?” My current behavior that I show to people right now is the latter.

As a matter of fact, my characteristics when I was a kid were not completely lost. I still am not so feminine, still bold, and still sometimes rough in my movements/actions. The only difference is that I have developed/adopted a more feminine side over the years because of what society tells me to do and because I think it is supposedly how I should behave — which is rightfully according to my gender.

Thinking further into the future, if I were ever to have my own kid(s), how should I let them grow? Should there be a balance of “behaving according to their gender” and “being themselves”? All I know is – I want them to discover their true identities and not be afraid or be in a dilemma of how to act in front of others.



What is your take/experience on this topic? Let me and others know in the comments section. I’d love to be exposed to your perspective 🙂

Thanks for reading! Till my next post –


Nadira Shirlonna

Perth Immersion Trip (210316-250316)


Take me back to Perth, please… I miss it terribly.

Not just the beautiful and breathtaking sceneries, but also the weather, the memories and especially the people. There in the photo above is me; enjoying the breeze on the rock near Fremantle Beach. The serenity — how I miss it.

I know there are definitely others out there who were probably not blessed to have an enjoyable vacation/trip to Perth; I don’t want to lay this post out as a “one size fits all” kind of experience. For those whom did not really have a pleasant time in Perth, I hope you find that lost satisfaction in your next visit(s). As for me, I’m grateful that I had a tremendously beautiful experience there and I wish to document it here as well as share it with others 🙂

This immersion trip was organized by none other than my school (Nanyang Polytechnic) with the support of two awesome teachers (Mr. Eugene & Mr. Jay.) It was during the week of 21 March 2016 to 25 March 2016. I reckoned there were 30 students that went altogether – a mixture from different classes so it was fun to be able to mingle around.

I had a few of my classmates that went & I’m honestly so glad we went. We instantly assigned who our sleeping partners would be during our stay at Perth’s travel lodge.
(Okay, sleeping partners sounds wrong HAHA but you get the idea.)


(I’m on the left of the pic) This is my beautiful partner, Zoeline, whom I spent most of the time with there. Yup, my “sleeping partner” hahaha! (Please pardon the mischievous little zit on my forehead.) I’m glad to be able to get to know her more through this trip. It was a breeze being with her – we got along well. Overall, I enjoyed her company 🙂

My clique in Perth took several group photos together, below is just one of them. (I’m on the far left in blue, in case you’re wondering.)


The whole squad of us (33/33: 30 students + 2 teachers + 1 tour guide Mr. Kelly) assembled first at Singapore Changi Airport at 5am-ish. I’m not gonna go into the full details here, but just the key moments haha. Here’s our group photo!


#NYPSBMrepresent #PerthSquad #Ayyy

Once we arrived in Perth, that’s it. The Nadira in me just went wild. Forget wide-eyed, I was humongous-eyed lmao. I took in everything – the fresh air, the sight, pictures, people, EVERYTHING. I was like a little kid but I maintained my image by not jumping around haha.

The places we visited throughout the trip consisted of universities, companies, shopping malls, eating places, a beach, and sort of like a flea market for tourists. On my own, I sneakily went to my uncle’s house and Hillary’s Boat Harbour with his family. Whoop whoop for my “bravery” because that was honestly one of the best decisions I’ve made there. I enjoyed myself thoroughly even for a brief period with my relatives. You can say I maximized my Perth trip by being a sneaky lil mouse haha. NO RAGRETS.

Aunt and Uncle

Me with my aunt, uncle, and their daughter (my cousin). Such lovely people. I have to admit, I loved their hospitality and characters, they really reminded me of my own family! The other people who were not inside these pics made my trip a lot better, too. From my friendly cousins to her adorable children. Also the gifts they gave me – thankful for them. I wanna make sure that one day my whole family is able to visit them in Perth. In Shaa Allah.

As I mentioned earlier, the places that we visited were (not in order):

  • Curtin University
  • University of Western Australia
  • Fremantle Beach
  • King’s Park
  • Bankwest company
  • Optus company and outlet
  • Garden City Shopping Mall
  • Caversham Wildlife Park
  • Other places that I can’t really recall the names

Just to give credits, one of the people that were involved very briefly but did an amazing job was Nick (Nicholas Tan), who works at Curtin (if I got that info right). He was helpful in providing info about Curtin University, and tagged along during our shopping hops with our teachers. He’s just a very nice and genuine person. Kudos to your hospitality, Nick! 🙂  (He’s in black and he can’t really be seen in the pic below, but meh)


Overall, I’d rate my Perth trip experience 8.5/10. Too high for a first time visit? Would be higher if the visit was longer… *wink* I’d probably rate it higher if I went with my own family or friends.

I won’t wanna make this post too long, so I’d bring it to an end here. It’ll be super lengthy if I were to go on any further. The full album of the other pictures are in my Facebook, anyway. Let the details rest in my memories and of those who were with me. Once in a while I’ll find myself having a shut eye and just reminiscing my wonderful time in Perth.


To many more beautiful, memorable and meaningful overseas trips/visits in the future 🙂

Nadira Shirlonna


Get it? ConGRADulations is simply congratulations + graduation combined! Haha

Alright so this will be an extremely delayed post about my graduation ceremony. The actual date of the ceremony was….. 09 May 2016. (Oops!)  It’s been more than a month. How time flies.

To think that 3 years would not come so soon, I was proven wrong. Dead wrong. More so when my biological clock is ticking even quicker now, this graduation has served as a huge slap on my face. I really should have appreciated the time and be fully involved in those moments, but instead I dreaded school everyday and did not really find much enjoyment/happiness there. Despite that, I don’t think I’d wanna rewind the time to start my school life all over again, I’m already super contented at where I’m at now 🙂

Okay so a little background: I graduated from Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore – School of Business Management (SBM) in which I was enrolled in a dual-specialization course: Entrepreneurship & Human Resources Management. I have to admit though, I enjoy those two courses and their concepts. I myself aspire to be an entrepreneur one day. Being in the HR sector probably won’t be that bad, too, considering the fact that I have not much qualms when it comes to interacting with new people.

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(#classof2016) x (Thanks for the memories)

Above is a slideshow of my classmates, friends and myself during the graduation ceremony. There are more pics tho, but I only handpicked the collaged ones where they encompass most of the necessary people that were present on that day.

Now, more than a month later, I’m sitting at home with a Diploma certificate. I remember vividly about the period where I was in a huge dilemma about wanting to choose between pursuing a degree or to work first. The thing that was stopping me so much was my age. I kept comparing the two options and imagining myself at a certain calculated age doing either one of the two things.

I found myself pondering over questions repeatedly. My mind was in a frenzy. “Will I be too old for this?” “4 years is a longggg time. I’ll be 26 by then omg” “If I study first, I wouldn’t have any money in my bank account by the time I graduate” “Should I just wait until a prince come along and make a marriage proposal to me?”

Okay the last one was a joke haha. But I came to terms with the unnecessary fear of my age. I mean, I’m going to age anyway no matter what I do. I then decided to let go of that fear. After asking around for opinions and advises, I finally came to a conclusion which I won’t regret. That decision is to make money first for a period of 4 years, and afterwards pursue my degree(s) & whatnot. I made that sound decision with a lot of confidence as it is tied very closely with my beliefs, my self education and my vision/goals that I have for myself.

So now as I’m typing this, my soul is at peace and without a speck of worry thinking about the possible “losses” I could have made by choosing this path. Every decision is a new beginning anyway, and I am terribly eager to start/continue with whatever I’m doing right now and in the near future. I know my friends have made their own decisions too, and their path differs from mine, but I have convinced myself that as long as a person puts in effort, belief and a passionate investment in the path they are in, then success will surely follow.

With this, I end my post by wishing my friends & readers the best in what they (choose to) do in their lives, to always stay focused & motivated, as well as not forgetting to put happiness and love first. I will conclude a few quotes in hopes that they may be inspiring to the ones reading this. 🙂

Slowly, but surely“or “Slow progress is better than no progress
What will you die for, if not for something you love?”
There are endless possibilities for the eager & willing
If you do not like what you do, or feel stuck in a job you hate, the way out is always on the other side of fear
The door to opportunities is always open, it is up to you to recognize and walk through it
Help is everywhere. If you need help, ask… but ask intelligently

Post Scriptum: Your feedback on this post and my other posts are always welcomed.
Thanks for reading!

Nadira Shirlonna

HSI – Highly Sensitive Individual

HSI – Highly Sensitive Individual

This category of individuals does exist around us — and I am one of those who admittedly belong to this breed. For instance, while many of us seem to be able to withstand emotional pressure fittingly, others may not be truly tolerant against it. And this high degree of sensitivity is not limited to just emotional pressure. Several other contributing factors do make up a HSI. Nevertheless, it is quite unfortunate that this very group of people are often misunderstood and their behaviors or reactions are often overlooked and dismissed as simply a negative trait.

In order to learn about this elevated sensitiveness, I will list down some of the more prominent characteristics and habits of a HSI:

  • Easily overwhelmed by things or situations that are too intense, complex, chaotic or novel for a lengthened period of time.
  • Tend to be more observant than others and more aware of subtleties.  This is mainly because the brain processes information and reflects on it more deeply.
  • Enjoy delicate things, like fine scents, works of art, the feel of fabric/skin, tastes, sounds.
  • Is heavily connected to their feelings and emotions and almost always reacts according to their emotions.
  • Needs to withdraw and be alone after a long day/period of interaction with others.
  • Adequate in sensing emotions in another person.

So is high sensitivity a bad thing? Well, not necessarily.


Everyone is made different. And although individuals may share similar traits, characteristics, personalities, behaviors, it is extremely important to be able to do these three things:

  1. Understand
  2. Accept
  3. Adjust/Adapt

Understanding one another goes without saying – it applies to everything in every situation. Ignorance is never a virtue. If a person you just met is entirely different from you, it is best to take the time to learn about him/her. Be it culture, religion, personality, mind, goal(s)/vision(s), it always helps to clear any speculations or misguided thoughts you could have about them. It is the same vice versa – I’m sure you would want others to understand you before actually judging you right away.

HSIs tend to be hurt much easier and faster than others. This is normal. There is absolutely nothing abnormal or weird about a person who is poles apart from you. This just means that they need a different approach & treatment towards, in terms of verbal(words) and non-verbal(actions). You just have to be more sensitive and careful in your words while still being able to make your point across. Find that balance between sensitivity and impact. While this may not come naturally to some, it is a skill that can be mastered with practice. Truthfully, there are chances that you might bump into a HSI in school, at work, etc. So instead of avoiding HSIs completely, why not give this skill a try? It will only serve as a win-win situation for both parties involved. Neat, huh?

As for my own personal character, I do get hurt now and then, especially by those who may be unaware of how to act/behave towards HSIs. Of course, I do not hold grudges to every single person that hurt me; that would be irrational haha. For my own part, I will let out my feeling of sadness/anger in isolation; cry it out, and then return to my normal state. One fact about me is that I cry very easily.  I’m a super emotional person but I have learnt to fully accept that about myself. I used to hate that part of me when I was younger; always deemed myself as awfully weak and helpless. But I soon realized that I am just very in touch with my emotions and it is not a bad thing. Over the years I have learned how to detach myself from my emotions and forgive easily. (oh, I might write about that in another post, hopefully!)

My only wish is that more people would be aware of HSIs and understand us as well as accept us for who we are as part of an unexceptional society. Same goes for all other categories of misunderstood groups of individuals out there. There are so many of these groups. To easily name a few – the blacks, the Muslims, and others.

With this brief post, I have touched on one part of my trait – high sensitivity – and hope that the bits and pieces of information had come off as a sensible and noteworthy enlightenment.

To find out if you are a HSI or not, you may take this Highly Sensitive Person Test!

For the readers out there, your feedback is always welcomed. Thanks for reading! 🙂


Nadira Shirlonna

Birth of Shirlonna 2.0

*Cue drumroll, a “ba-dum-tss”, champagne bottle pop, and any dramatic opening*

H-E-L-L-O! Now wasn’t that an exaggeratedly warm welcome by yours truly? Hahaha.
Anyway, today (14th June 2016) marks the birth of Shirlonna 2.0 — which is my personal blog, as well as the birth of my best friend, Mutiarah. Except she was born in a different year, of course. I’m sheepishly grinning as I’m typing this. What a lovely coincidence of a date; my blog’s future anniversaries and my bestie’s bornday. Wooo~

Tho truth be told I’ve been meaning to start a personal blog since ages ago. What’s more with it becoming an increasing trend at that time – quite a handful of my friends had one.
I love writing; I dig the idea of being able to express my thoughts, life experiences, opinions and the likes of it and on a platform where it is easily accessible to me & to others. Sounds beautiful, a blog. (Okay it seems like I’m starting to get a little poetic-romantic about this haha)

Post Scriptum: A brief account of what my blog may/is going to consist of:

  • Expression of thoughts (either of my own or of others’), opinions, life experiences, quotes, stories/excerpts, articles, ideas, rants.
  • Images, videos
  • Occasional promotion of my commercial sites/works. Do support & spread the love!
  • Songs (favorites/reviews/suggestions)
  • Okay basically anything, really. I don’t have a particular genre of inclination – rather, my posts will be about anything that my mind can spew. Heehee.

On top of that, you may want to put on your seat belts (well not literally lel) & expect some form of vulgar content, abbreviated words (eg. tho, wot, m8, etc), Non-English words (hopefully I’ll remember to add a translation after each word) and topics that maaayyy or may not be in favor of a society’s norm. (Sounds kinda controversial, eh?)

Last but not least, let’s take blog posts as a perceptive insight into a person’s mind, soul and probably heart. We all love being acknowledged, given attention to, complimented, and even accepted by others. With that in mind, be less judgmental and be more kind to others. Aaand that’s all, folks!

Adios. Till my next post, Nadira Shirlonna