What I learned from simple movies…

I’ve been watching a lot of movies lately, some good, some not so good but all have something to learn.

Take for example:

Friends – What people will do for the people they love…

Sex In the City Movie -You never know where life is going to bring you. Power of Forgiveness.

The Incredible Hulk (which was a pointless movie, don’t watch it) – I don’t know what I learned from it.

The Missing – Don’t hurt Mother Nature, because it’s gonna bite back.

I have to admit, I enjoyed Sex in the City a lot. I don’t know if it’s the great fashion sense the women have, orĀ  the issues they face, or the emotional bond between the group of friends, and their lovers…it’s touching. What I’ll remember most is that ‘Life is unpredictable’ so stop planning it so much. In the past 2 years…that has been so true and will keep on being that way. Another thing I learned is that everything works out in the end…always.

Life is good. It always has been.

A new life…where to start?

It’s funny how when I plan for my career, it rarely turns out the way I plan it to.

Last we heard, I was still working.

That’s right – was.

I’m taking a short break from my day job to enjoy life more (which is rocking!) and take in the beauty it provides.

I just came back from Perhentian Island in Northern Malaysia (close by the Thai border) with some friends from back at home. It was breath-taking experience taking in the crystal clear waters, lush jungle forests, and the delightfully relaxing (and cooling) chalets.

My decision to go to Perhentian was last minute. I had no idea what I was going to do this week, but because I am not working, I’m open to anything, especially traveling. I kind of like the idea to just decide on the spot to go. Perhaps I’ve been so involved with activities like salsa, toastmasters, and of course training that I resisted traveling over long periods of time. My excuse – “I have commitments” I would tell my friends. I do! I am responsible for many things here in SG! I’m not like many of my expat friends who don’t get involved in the community at the level I am in. To most of them it’s all about partying, and traveling. Sacrifices need to be made. This is the life I chose.

I can’t help but wonder by not choosing to work (especially at something I can get pretty good at) am I running away from something? Perhaps running away from putting my precious time into a day job…for someone else’s benefit? The dreaded 9 to 6 day! Actually, yes I am running away from it. My tolerance for doing something for someone has become something easily irritable. Why quickly move on to something else? My reason is simple:

To be in my Element, and Be My Best.

I’m still searching for my element, that place where I belong, that place where I can shine, that place where I love. Just like the Magical Mr. Magorium (go look it up) and to quote the movie Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium “Life is an Occasion, Rise to it.”

How true. How true.

Looking forward to the next occasion.

And the favor continues! and continues!

Ever wake up, sleepily check your watch and say, “OH SHIT! I’m LATE!”

Well that was exactly what I said to myself this morning as I realized I had missed out on my alarm clock and had overslept TWO HOURS! I had to wake up early because I had to set up for a workshop and there were many people counting on me to set up. I was supposed to be arrive at the venue at 715am and be set up by 745am to receive participants by 8am.

I woke up (to my horror) at 815am!

I was surprised no one had called me to ask me where I was. So I scrambled out my door 5 minutes later, lugging behind me all my workshop equipment. Here’s the good part:

There was a cab waiting outside for me (I booked one 5 minutes earlier), I got to the venue in 10 minutes as it happens to be near my house, the room where the workshop was supposed to be held was locked and the organizers couldn’t open it up, so they were waiting for a key. It now is 830pm, the programme is supposed to start now. Another good news for me, the trainer was late because he was feeling ill and got out of bed slowly. Soon the door to the room was open. And I started setting up all my equipment for the workshop. I had enough time and help from the participants to get all the things set up in 20 minutes. The trainer still did not arrive yet. I got the participants to fill out some forms to keep them busy. Finally the trainer arrived 45 minutes after the programme was supposed to start. Yay, being late didn’t turn out to be a disaster after all. (for those reading this from my company…keep this to yourself, thanks!)

So the favor continues for another day!

I was also fortunate enough meet an old friend who’s now in the recruitment line and he shared with me some tips about my advancing in my career given my current ambitions. Did clear up some questions I had.

I also said good bye to my 2 house mates who are leaving for India and Indonesia. They have been great company and I will miss them.

I’m also grateful to be meeting people who I have so much in common, sharing similar childhood memories, and future ambitions. Cherishing friendships are so rewarding.

Thank God for another day of favor.

And the favour continues!

I happened to catch this guy’s concert in Singapore just a few hours ago…

It was an very enjoyable concert (photos coming soon)! Great music and the James was a great performer who interacted with the crowd (yay he knows we exist!). But what is more interesting is how I ended up at the concert.

I am extremely grateful for all the favourable things that’s happened recently. A month ago, I won a free photo shoot session from filling a survey a few weeks earlier. Here’s one of the pictures that came out of it.

It was a ‘fantasy’ photo shoot, so they put a costume on me and make up. Hehe it was so fun!

I’ve also be fortunate to be able to consult many of my close friends for advice in this time of self-searching. I’m very grateful for that. It’s becoming more clearer now.

My latest good fortune has been attending concert. How I got there is quite an interesting story. Yesterday I happen to be in the office after hours doing some work and chatting a colleague. Everyone had already left the office except my colleague, myself and other head of division. As he was going home he casually asked if anyone wanted James Blunt tickets? Without hesitation and without checking if I was free I stretch out my hand and accepted the tickets. And so I was handed the tickets.

Unfortunately I found out that I had a work meeting that was scheduled for the next day afternoon was pushed back to the evening, and clashed with the concert. Fortunately I was able to meet earlier for an earlier briefing.

To make a long story short, after much searching and asking, I finally found someone who wanted to go to the concert (and happened to be a big James Blunt fan at the same time) and it was the right choice.

At the concert, much to our delight, the seats were the 13th row from the stage…which were amazing seats! I heard these seats can fetch up $140+ per seat. We were close enough to see James’s face clearly (which is important you know) and were near the aisle so we could run up to the state (which we did during ‘You are Beautiful’)

To sum up: Simply Amazing!! I thoroughly enjoyed myself and enjoy the company. And all this couldn’t have happened if wasn’t blessed with such favour. Thanks God!

Life is confusing! but favorable

I guess I have be thankful that there are a lot of wonderful things going on in my life, some positive and some are just positive things in disguise.

I just want to say that I have been blessed with favour from people around me and circumstances in my life. I can say that I wouldn’t be in Singapore and in the line of work if it wasn’t for favor given to me. Even in recent challenges in my life, I have been granted favor in the eyes of those I least expected and of course from those closest to me. The result? More favorable options have been presented to me.

I’ll let that resonate out.

Big changes means a big update

I just came back from an amazing trip in China. The purpose of the trip was to meet all my friends again and just hang out with them. It wasn’t so much about sight seeing or shopping, but really it was about meeting old friends. We came from all over the world, Canada, Germany, Singapore, other parts of China, Japan for one simple thing: to attend my friend’s wedding in China. I’ve known this guy since 2004 (though i haven’t seen him for most of it) during university days. All the people that flew in to attend the wedding have known him during university. He always loved Chinese girls, he had yellow fever…so it was great news that he was getting married to a, well you guessed it, a Chinese girl from China.

The whole marriage experience I will never forget. The wedding took place in the semi-remote island of Pintan close by Taiwan which is where my friend’s wife is from. We chartered a bus from Fuzhou airport and took the ferry over to get to the island. Everything was taken care of by the bride’s parents: transport, food, accommodation, gifts..heh I think I saved a lot of money because of them. We were treated like VIP guests Pintan style. Pintan is a relatively small town, it’s not a village because it has lots of shops and clubs, but it used to be a fishing village. The wedding part consisted of some ritual at the bride’s house and a precession to the restaurant for the wedding ceremony, a big feast and speeches. My friend’s wedding vow was long because it had to be translated to Mandarin, but still it was touching even though my friends thought it was too long.

It’s weird seeing my friends getting married because I’m so used to seeing everyone being a student…and unwed. I guess i have to get used to people referring to their partners as ‘my wife’ or ‘my husband’. I guess it is a sign of changing times.

After Pintan a few of us went travelling to Fuzhou Guangzhou Shenzhen and then finally to HK. It was a great time to bond with old friend and to enjoy the natural marvels and man-made marvels of China. I particularly enjoyed traveling on the train between Shenzhen and Guangzhou because the train was new and it was very fast compared to what I’ve taken in the past.

Hong Kong was expensive as usual. The food and the accommodation was expensive but this was ok because for the last few days we had our accommodation paid for by other people. We went to the Big Buddha temple, kareoke and for lots of dim sum.

It all went by so fast, all this happened in 7 days. At the end of it, I was sad (though I didn’t show it) to leave my friends who I shared so many laughs with. I was sad to leave such an enjoyable vacation back to reality with it’s never ending challenges.

You can check out the photos of me in China on my Facebook account. Just look at the photo’s added by others and check out their album if you can.

Step by Step: Balanced and Unblanced

These last few days have been big learning experiences…or more bluntly said…has been quite a shaky balancing act

On Thursday my training didn’t go very well. I wasn’t in state, I wasn’t interested and probably wasn’t prepared enough. I definitely didn’t feel satisfied with my performance even though it was the 2nd time I did that type of workshop. So I got a lot of feedback from my colleagues and the client and eventually was taken out of the camp for fear my reputation would be damaged.

Initially when I heard that I was being taken out of the camp I felt dissapointed and worried. Disapointed because I let my team down and worried because I was afraid they would give up on me. I’ve never been taken out of a camp before and I have never gotten a complaint from the client. So now after 4 months I got one (which on the bright side is quite good actually). Maybe a word of comfort is that I know most of the trainers, even the best ones, have received complaints…and they are still here, fighting on to get better – and that’s what I must do…persevere.

Being taken out of the camp was painful yes, but it actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise. That weekend I would’ve been juggling coaching, which would be all day, a toastmasters contest where I would be MCing, and stay healthy at the same time. Not training this weekend has allowed me to focus on coaching and the toastmasters more…and allowed me to recover from the last training.

I still have this feeling of disappointment because I have done something that i know I shouldn’t: over commit. I said ‘Yes’ to coaching full-time knowing full well that it would eat up almost a week…and knowing I had training and toastmasters too. During coaching (which the camp is still going on) I must admit that i didn’t do all the activities at my best, I was secretly wanting to be somewhere else, or doing something more useful. I really don’t like the feeling of not ‘being’ at a place, focusing on what is going on at that present moment. My mind was wandering and worrying about what I should be doing. I even attended I ‘mandatory’ meeting but didn’t get anything out of it and ended up waiting 3 hours of my time. What a terrible feeling. It doesn’t look good on my part to be there half assed. And i know it’s a pattern in my life. I just want to do everything and then sacrificing the quality.

Simple is good. Focus is good.

I have taken myself out of the camp to recoperate and work on my traing next week which will require lots of preparation, and time.

So, I will plan more carefully and thoroughly and whatever i commit to doing, I will do it with the best I can.

One of my wise friends gave this interesting analogy of self improvement that kind of stuck with me: in order for us to move forward towards our goals, we must go through times of being unbalanced like when new things don’t work out and we’re out of our comfort zone making mistakes, then we become proficient, comfortable and balanced again. Then the cycle keeps on going: balanced, unbalanced, every time we step forward it isn’t always stable but at least we’re moving forward.

Yes, even being unbalanced, screwing up, making mistakes is moving forward and I feel that I have moved forward and gotten stronger because of it.