Terima Kasih 2018


Alhamdulillah for an amazing year. First and foremost I would like to thank God for the life He has written for me. The next couple of posts will be all the memories and special moments from 2018, making it my #terimakasih2018 (thank you) series.

La Vie En Lavande. I looked at life through different lens this year. Admittedly the past two years beforehand (2016 & 2017) were the most horrible years of my life. But sitting amongst and smelling the lavenders, I felt so content and optimistic.

This year all I wanted was to be genuinely happy. And to be happy I knew that I had to change my perception of things. It’s not about what had happened, it’s about how you respond to things.

Back to when this picture was taken, I didn’t know what to expect but I had a lot of hope. I believed that good things will come. And good things did come true.


“People either love me or hate me or they really don’t care.” -Banksy. When I posted this picture and quote up it couldn’t of been more true for this year. When I think of Banksy, I think about freedom. And when people look at art, there are different interpretations- only the artist truly knows the story or meaning behind a painting.

I didn’t know it at the time but going to this art exhibition gave me insight to what was to come. When all of a sudden you become ‘famous’ people talk. And they talk. Criticism. Praise. Advice. And everything in between. I’m now more cautious to the people that I talk to and I’m grateful that I have a better intuition on who is being genuine. But it’s interesting to learn about what people think of you.

Again, like what I have always said, what people think of you is a reflection of themselves. It has nothing to do with you. Even if you have good intentions, you mind your own business and you’re too busy focusing on yourself than others, people still have nothing better to do.

Nonetheless, this year, I really wanted to be authentic with myself. I didn’t want to make decisions or do things to please other people. Rather, in the pursuit of happiness, I gave my energy to people who makes me want to be a better human and I did things that I’ve always wanted to do. And looking at art by Banksy was one of them.

In the end, people are free to think what they want to think but it’s your own intentions that should matter the most to you.


2018 was a year of dreams coming true. Alhamdulillah. And seeing a panda in real life was one of them. I think that day I must have spent an hour just watching the panda. I felt like a child and I felt so much joy. When you grow older you worry more, you have to make big decisions and you stress more. And at the time I didn’t have to worry or make decisions or be stressed out. They all just disappeared.

Sometimes I would wish that I was still a child. But in a way I still am. I do act childish sometimes. I giggle and smile a lot. I’m very oblivious and carefree (in a sense that I don’t really care as much to what other people think). But watching the panda it made me realise that happiness should be simple. It shouldn’t have to be complicated and it’s so much easier to achieve than what we think. For me, happiness begins from the little things in life.


A the start of this year I went on a ‘solo’ trip to South East Asia. Alhamdulillah it was so much better than planned. As you can see, we had the whole Island to ourselves at one point. It was such a once in a lifetime experience- considering how busy Hong Island can get. The day was absolutely perfect, we cruised to the beautiful island, went swimming, kayaking and snorkelling.

I remember feeling so grateful as I thought that that day would be the best day ever but I had thought wrong. You see when you are grateful, God gives you more.


My solo trip was a test for myself. To see if I really can be independent physically and financially. I also needed to do it. I bought tickets on a whim because I wanted space from everything and everyone and I just really wanted to be alone.

I wanted to do all of things that I’ve always wanted to do. I wanted to explore. I wanted to seek beauty and wisdom. I learnt so much of myself and I learnt that life really is what you make of it. Most importantly, I learnt that no matter what happens, everything will be okay. Alhamdulillah.


This year was a year full of different journeys. I guess enlightenment was one of them. This year I felt so much more whole. So much more content. And oh so much more happier. Alhamdulillah. Someone once told me that sometimes we forget to look up. So this year I tried to do it more often. And what a difference if has made to my life. When I look up it makes me be more in the present moment. It lifts my mood and energy and I’m always in awe to see the trees, birds, clouds, stars or even skyscrapers.

This year I have realised that we are so glued looking down on our phones that we sometimes forget the beauty or even the people we love that surrounds us. Somebody else once told me that we are connected more than ever before with technology. But what I said was that even if we are more connected than ever, there is still a disconnect with genuine real life (physical) interaction. This year I tried to go on my phone less with social media detoxes and I would not use my phone when I am with someone, eating or during a really cool experience. My journey to enlightenment had led me to a more present, wholesome and grateful life and I can’t wait to continue and to see where it takes me.


It was during Ramadan and I remember the exact moment I went viral. I was shaking. I literally had to go outside to breathe. It was the most scariest moment of my life. Because I knew that from that moment on my life would never be the same.

Trending on Twitter twice, going viral and being the number one topic on several media outlets was not something that I had ever imagined. I don’t really like being in the centre of attention as I’m more reserved and private. I never asked for ‘fame’, I honestly just want to live an authentic and abundant life.

I want to help people feel good about themselves and realise their own potential. So I hope that whatever happens in the future, I continue what I love doing and that I am always real with whatever I say and do. InsyaAllah.


To be honest, I must have cried everyday during the Grand Final week. I was torn between having everything over and done with and for it to never end. It had been an emotional journey with many ups and downs. So many things had gone wrong but then everything turned out to be okay in the end. In fact even better alhamdulillah.

The day of the Grand Finals I had opened up a random page of the Quran and everything I have prayed for, God has answered. SubanAllah. Everything you have ever asked aloud or in your heart, God is always listening and you will always get what you asked for or even better, insyaAllah. And when I was on that stage I didn’t feel nervous or anxious, I was actually super excited and happy.

Nonetheless, I hope that when women see me they were able to relate and feel beautiful even if they look different. I hope to continue to help young girls and women as Miss Universe was definitely only the beginning. There is so much more to look forward to and I can’t wait to see what God has planned for me. InsyaAllah.


What does it mean to love yourself? This year was a test to see if I truly did. I went on a solo trip so that I can be comfortable with solitude as well as learning how to be dependent on myself rather than on other people.

I used to chase validation, compare myself constantly and I used to think that I wasn’t good enough for anything. But for the last half a year of 2017 and the beginning of 2018 I manifested in a way that I built my own resilience and self worth. So while I was in Miss Universe New Zealand I didn’t have to struggle with what I used to do. In fact I embraced everything that I was and I was confident with everything that I was doing.

By loving myself I made better decisions as I know what I deserve. And although I still have my bad days I trust that whatever happens, I will be okay because I have myself and most importantly, I know that I can always ask God for guidance.

Nurul Shamsul