We often feel disconcerted, even fear when we come into a new environment. While discomfort and nerves are common, the adaptation period is different to each of us. However, it all depends on your attitude when faced with the situation.
The positive thinker

            The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”

For Dina Zaman, having to frequently move into new places around the world has made her life rich and colourful. Yet after all these years, Dina would still feel nervous when it comes to new environments.
On the evening of 6th of June, we were honoured to invite Dina, the author of the bestseller “I am Muslim” to be our ‘guest chatter’ for the Peace Chat held in May.


Peace Chatter, Dina Zaman (right) and moderator, Archana (left) during Peace Chat

How would you feel if you had to move into a new place every three months? Some might crave this kind of life for the chance to travel around the world – yet to Dina it also meant that getting proper friends became a big challenge. For many of us, we experienced growing up with our school friends or the kids from the neighborhood; we went to the park, laugh and face difficulties together, but for Dina, her best friend was herself.

“I used to cry too, when finally I have a best friend then I have to leave again.”

It was hard for Dina but she mentioned how attitude could determine the outcome of the situation. Positive thinking is key and she adds, “If you don’t help yourself, nobody is going to help you.” She suggested to the young audience to bare in mind how there’s always two-sides of a coin to everything and to look even for the smallest amount of positive energy in every situation.

She never stayed in one place for more than four months due to her father’s work, moving from place to place in countries like Japan and Russia. New places also means saying goodbye to old places and the people you were familiar with. Until today, it’s not easy for Dina to adapt but she has come to embrace it with open-eyes, grabbing the chance to learn from others and things have always turned out smoothly.

18513797669_6d6a7b1e17_cThe audience attentive to Dina’s sharing


The ‘Heart’ to make a change

With over 20 years experience working in the media as as an editor at Malaysikini.com and The Malaysian Insider, Dina has published countless articles – fiction, non-fiction and poetry. When asked how she started writing, Dina said,“… my friends used to ask for my help with writing their love letters”.

We have to believe in ourselves,“It is not about whether you could change your life, is it just whether if you want to change it to or not.” Being confused is normal in life, even for Dina, sharing how she sometimes doubts herself. At times we are unsure if we are making the right decision or doing things in the right way.

Nothing can be absolutely certain but she adds, “We need to have the ‘heart’ to get things done, and your heart would tell you if you are in the right place.” Make the decision and follow your heart to finish it – difficulties are inevitable but it should not stop you from getting where you need to be. In Dina’s words, “Just keep going but if things doesn’t work out, tell yourself that’s okay too. At least I tried and never gave up for the sake of giving up”.

Dina recently started up IMAN, a think thank focusing on society, religion and perception.

18702594751_0cf0823d81_cGPF International Officer, James (right) presenting the Peace Hero certificate to Dina

18695203692_f599efde63_cGroup picture after the Peace Chat session