Monday, December 31, 2012

Looking Back At 2012

As we celebrate the last few days of 2012, and prepare to welcome 2013, most of us would be looking back and have a thousand and one things in our heads. Some of us would start to prepare new year resolutions, while others would be reflecting back on the past year and mulling over what has occurred. And like so many others out there, I too would be reflecting on the past year, and making plans for the new year.

The year 2012 has been one roller coaster ride for me. Never have I learnt so much about myself in all other years combined. The first half of the year especially, had marked something new for me as I was given the chance to embark on more responsibilities when it came to my work, which I enjoyed and learnt from a lot. The company I was employed in (ex-company now) was expanding, and we were making a mark in the industry by winning a couple of awards this year too, something which has been beyond our reach for some time, but now possible.

The second half the year brought upon me some very painful life lessons, one which I can never erase, but have come to accept that this is just part of life as we know it. My stress and anxiety levels were on the high, and there were days I had experience panic and anxiety attacks. I was very sad, angry, and depressed. I sunk into the blame game, and was blaming myself for what had occurred, which resulted in me not being able to see myself in better light. As a result, I isolated myself from those around me. I went through the stages of anger, denial, depression and acceptance, all within a few months.

My mental and emotional well being was truly tested at that time, and never had I felt so helpless and vulnerable. I felt lost, dejected, rejected, and simply felt not good enough. I had a huge cloud of doubt over my head everyday, doubting my actions, my decisions, even my existence. It reached a point I simply needed some time off, and decided that it was for the best.

Taking the month of December off, was truly a blessing in disguise for me. I managed to spend some good quality family time with my sister in Sabah, spend some time with my parents, and some much needed quality time for myself. I caught up on my reading, something which I had stopped for a long time, and have vowed to read more often (including genres like Fifty Shades, don't judge me). I spent some quiet time at home catching up on my TV series as well, and simply enjoying the simple things in life, which can put a smile to my face every day :)

I felt re-energized like never before. My mind has more clarity now, and I am able to really let things go, and not feel like I am letting a part of myself wilt away by letting go. Probably the crucial point was when I started to pick myself up, and I reached out to get help. I had reached out to a very very close girl friend of mine, seeking help, and she extended her loving and caring arms to me. She rescheduled her meetings, dropped whatever she was doing, just to spend a couple of hours to talk to me. And for that, I am truly grateful for her immense love for me. Thank you Eleen Wong, for being such a wonderful friend and big sister to me. Our friendship is truly a blessing God has given me, and I will treasure it always.

I have realized that I have been in some form of depression (not clinical depression) for a few years, I just didn't realize it until now . I must have made my hubby so worried as well, for he must have felt so helpless to see me like this. Thank you my love, for being my pillar of strength and support all the years. For without you, I would probably be a lost puppy that I was before I met you.

Today, I am able to stand tall, and say to myself, that I am worth all that is good in this world. Even though we may not always get what we want, what we have is more important that what we want, and for that we should always be grateful, for we are blessed with abundance already.

Here's to welcoming 2013, and looking forward to starting the new year afresh. God bless everyone :)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Serai @ Paradigm Mall

This is Serai's branch here at Paradigm Mall. I've heard some good reviews about this restaurant, and decided to give it a go. Located at the boulevard area, just above Fa Ying (the modern Thai restaurant), Serai might be easy to miss if it weren't for the signages they had put up to guide patrons to the restaurant.

Serai napkin.
Once inside, I was greeted and shown to my seat next to the glass-to-ceiling windows. I had a good view of the people walking about downstairs, gives me a chance to watch the world go by. A quick scan at the menu, and I discovered that the prices at Serai was a wee bit on the high side for local cuisines i.e RM 16++ for their Nasi Lemak.

The Serai Platter - RM 25++
I decided to try their Serai Platter, which was served with white fragrant rice, ayam goreng berempah (deep fried spiced chicken), oxtail assam pedas, deep friend honey squid and some acar. I actually enjoy this dish a lot, the rice was fragrant, and I absolutely love the squid with its tangy honey. The chicken was a tad dry, and the oxtail was a little too sweet for my liking. Forgive me, but my taste buds for oxtail assam pedas has been spoilt by Hyatt Kota Kinabalu, which I still think serves the most awesome oxtail assam pedas (my opinion anyway).

While eating, I couldn't help but overhear the table next to me and their dispute. One of the patrons had discovered a strand of hair in her bowl and quickly informed the waiter/waitress about it. Seems there were some hesitance at first, and the patron and family members were not pleased with how the service crew handled their complaint. Some of the more senior patrons kept complaining and comparing service, saying something along the line of "good service means you give me a discount immediately and don't question."

I was told the pavlova is good too, but I was too stuffed to try their desserts. Perhaps another time...

Miraku Japanese Restaurant @ Paradigm Mall

On Christmas Day, I made plans with my mum ad brought her to the neighbourhood mall for some mother-daughter time :) Since she likes Japanese food and doesn't get the chance to have them much (because my dad is not a fan of Japanese food at all, he thinks it's stupid food), I treated her to a nice lunch at Miraku Japanese Restaurant.


Miraku is located on the boulevard area of Paradigm Mall. If you know where Starbucks is in Paradigm Mall, just walk out to the boulevard area where the office blocks are. Miraku is located next to Chilli's, and opposite Seoul Garden.

Miraku lunch menu.
The setting of the restaurant was simple and cosy, quite typical use of birch wood all over the place. Here we have their lunch menu, which consist of the bento sets for customers to choose from. They also have their Special Menu and Grand Menu, with a variety of options available. Their pricing is competitive to places like Rakuzen and Hanazen. My mum and I decided to share their Miraku Bento set, a Spider Roll (soft shell crab roll), and a serving of Hotate Mayo (grilled scallops with Japanese mayonnaise).

Some appetizers to start.

Spider Roll - RM 23
Here's the Spider Roll. The portions were quite generous, and because of the width, it was kinda hard to pick them up using the chopsticks without the rice slowly breaking apart. Or my chopsticks holding skills is just bad la. Love the crunchy sweetness of the crabs.

Hotate Mayo (grilled scallops in Japanese mayonnaise) - RM 24
The scallops were nice and juice, 3 on each side of the shell. A little salty base because of the mayonnaise, something my mum felt was a bit overpowering.

The Miraku bento set - RM 36
The Miraku set looks so lovely and complete. It comes with sashimi, a grilled mackerel, an assortment of tempura, and the usual combination of rice, chawan mushi, miso soup and fruits. We ate and talked and had a fun girl day out, just mother and daughter :)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Watercress Soup

We have a slow cooker at home, and it's under used really. So having taken the month off to chillax on my own, I decided to utilize the slow cooker and make some soup. Watercress soup is one of the easiet to make, and the simplicity in the flavour makes it one of my favourite soup.

Hot soup for the soul.
Ingredients:
About 700 grams of watercress (for 2 pax).
Some pork bones (get those with some flesh to chew on, in Cantonese it's called "bou tong guat"). Or you could opt for an old chicken.
10 red dates
1 to 2 pcs chicken or duck gizzard (optional)
Water
Salt to taste

First, blanch the watercress in hot water for a couple of minutes. Blanching it would remove the bitterness, if you skip this step, your soup is going to have a bitter taste, and you don't want that. Next, blanch the pork bones to get rid of the musky smell.

Because I'm using a slow cooker, it is wise to pour in boiling water into the pot, instead of room temperature water. Otherwise, the slow cooker is going to take forever to boil. Fill the slow cooker pot with water until it reaches half, then add all the other ingredients inside the pot. Switch to high for at least 20-30 minutes, this is part of the soup making process to ensure all the flavours come out. After that, you can switch the setting to Auto, and let the slow cooker run its course. You will have a lovely soup by evening, good for those who are working during the day and looking forward to have a nice warm soup in the evening. In my case, I left the slow cooker on Auto for about 4 hours, switched it off (took the pork out), and switched it back on High later in the evening when we wanted to drink the soup (adding salt to taste, and adding the pork back in). I didn't want the pork to constantly be boiling, it would make the meat tough.

We're also considering getting a Smart Cooker from Buffalo. The upside of this product is, you can set the timer to boil the soup, and after it's done, it will keep the soup warm. Unlike the slow cooker which is constantly boiling (even at Auto, the temperature is on high and low), and if you accidentally left the switch on High, you risk the soup evaporating and the slow cooker boiling on empty, which can be a hazard. The Smart Cooker stops boiling and keeps the soup warm, so you don't have to worry about your soup evaporating or safety hazards. At almost RM 900, it's pretty pricey, hmmm~

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Snippets of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

Hubby and I took off on a one week holiday to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. We crashed at at my sister and hubby's house in town, spending quality family time, stuffing our faces with awesome seafood and local flavours, and just chillaxing... I'll let the pictures tell their story :)

Taken from Shangri-la Rasa Ria resort lobby. I fell in love immediately.

This is the life...!

Sun set at 5.45pm.

Huge oysters! Chose to steam cos if eaten raw, very jelak due to the sheer size.

Spot the Orang Utan. Taken at Nature Reserve, Shangri-la Rara Ria Resort.

Postcard view.

Kozan Teppanyaki at Shangri-la Rara Ria Resort.

This is my current wallpaper on the iPad.

Noodles tossed in pork lard. Damn yums!

Crabs!

This is one unique fish, the Mamu fish, Super smooth flesh!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Ja-neh

December 6th, marked my last day at one of Malaysia's boutique digital agency - Integricity. I clocked out for the last time at around 1pm, a decision I made after much consideration. It wasn't an easy decision, in fact, it was probably one of the hardest things to do. But it was something that had to be done, at least for this moment.

The second half of 2012 has proved to be my most mentally and emotional challenging period. The result was a very emotional and mentally spent girl, whose mind and emotions were put to a test yet again. And this time, she needed a lot longer to recover. And as a result, had to push away certain things in order to find some clarity within herself.

Too many emotions running high, too many things have occurred, I had no clarity, no clear path to see. I became so disturb, on the verge of a mental breakdown. Any further, I would be spiraling into deep depression, and the darkness would consume me whole. I became a reclusive, choosing to stay away from everyone and everything. I didn't know what else to do...

My heart went out to my hubby, who was probably at a lost of how to help me. I was probably drifting away as he kept a close eye on me, and probably at one point, he felt helpless. It became clear to me that I had to do something, I had to get help, before things got irreversible.

Help came in the most unusual of form. It was actually words from another person who was not from this country, who actually helped me see the light at the end of the tunnel. He didn't know me, but I knew who he was, and I borrowed his strength, his words, to lift myself up. Very slowly, I started to pick myself up. The pain was still unbearable, but somehow, I had started to accept.

Anger, denial, depression, and finally, acceptance. Going through the first three was the most painful, as it brought out the worst in me. I hated myself, I wanted to blame someone, so I blamed myself. But after seeking help, talking to the right people, listening to the right things, I began to take the first step, to forgive myself, and others. I began to realize, that we may not be able to choose our consequences, but we can choose how we respond to them. Bad things happen, it's how we deal with it that matters more.

My head was in a constant spin and blur capacity. Most of the time I would lose focus for many hours. I needed time, I needed the space. I needed clarity. My action, or rather, inaction... Had caused some folks to be very very worried of my well being. And so, I decided, to make my exit, and take the rest of the month of, to recuperate my thoughts.

My bosses and colleagues were in shocked, and probably helpless to see an employee and friend, in this state of mind. I probably made them feel very disappointed and sad, to watch me like this, but I forbid them to be on this journey with me. This is my battle, something I have to go through on my own.

I'm sorry if I'm coming across as selfish, for at this very critical time, the company is going through a corporate rebranding exercise, and the commitment from everyone at this point was truly vital. But I couldn't commit, not right now, not when my mind is at a state of constant interference.

Thank you for the seven years of memories. Thank you for being my friends, and for allowing me to be your friend. No matter what name change you guys go through, Integricity will always have a place in my heart. This is not goodbye, it is just ja-neh, for our paths will cross again in the near future. I am truly sorry for not being able to be on this journey with you guys right now, I really need to do this right now.

Ja-neh: Japanese for see you later

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Shirasu

Peekaboo!

Image from msy1515's Instagram

Monday, December 3, 2012

Musang King


The epitome of desserts. Nothing beats the aroma, the texture, the taste. The Golden Fruit to rule them all!!! :D You ain't a full Malaysian until you have ingested one of these babies.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Aupres Malaysia

AUPRES from Japan - Click here to go to their Facebook page.
Came across ths promotional roadshow truck for this new brand of facial products recently, and got myself a sample pack at RM 15, which consist of a cleanser, lotion (toner), and moisturizer. The AUPRES lady also gave me a free sample bottle of their sleeping mask.

AUPRES is French for "next to you, close to you". Did some Googling and discovered that this product has been in the China market for a while already, and is quite a hit with the women there. Malaysia is the second country to bring in the brand, which is under Shiseido.
Created exclusively by ASIANS for Asians, AURPES provides all Asian women the prestige option at an affordable price. Using some of the best Japanese skincare technology, the brand consists of skincare ranges to target women with specific skincare needs and a makeup line for enhancing women's natural beauty.
I've recently started using the sample pack, so it's too early to really comment on it. What I like about the sleeping mask is the light jasmine fragrance and the light emulsion as you apply it on your skin. It's gel-like texture is light weight, and it has soft tiny royal jelly bits in it, which melts as you apply it on your skin. Best thing is, I can put it on after I clean my face in the evening, just a thin layer will do. Leave it on the night with no sticky feeling, and just wash it off the next day. It's said to replenish and help the skin absorb more moisture, keeping the skin looking supple and youthful longer. Hey, if you're a woman, you will know what I'm talking about (nod your head if you're a woman).

I inquired about the price for the large bottle of sleeping mask, and the AUPRES lady said it's RM 95 for the  80g bottle, quite reasonable if you compare it to its parent brand Shiseido. AUPRES counters can be found at Pavilion, KLCC and MidValley KL at the moment.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

2013 Turtle Calendar by Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia (TCS) - Part 2

If you recall my previous blog about the 2013 calendars from the Turtle Conservation Society, I finally collected my order over the weekend. And boy are the calendars cute! If you're interested to get the calendars for yourself, head to their Facebook page for more details!

Turtle calendars.
Read about my previous blog here: http://oliviasy.blogspot.com/2012/11/2013-turtle-calendar-by-turtle.html

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Liars

Wise words from Ellen DeGeneres :P

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Fresh 'n' Lock

Made an aunty-like purchase recently... An alternative to cling wraps! Every household is bound to have a long box of cling wrap in their cupboard. We use it to wrap our bowls, our leftover dishes etc. In most cases, we can only use the cling wrap once, because it gets dirty and contaminated, and you really don't want to reuse it again, for fear of food contamination. Not only that, if you're using the cling wrap to cover liquid, say, a bowl of soup, you gotta be careful not to slush the soup around, cos the cling wrap will just leak.

Fresh 'n' Lock.
So there we were, doing our grocery shopping one weekend, and we came across this booth selling this amazing product. Yes I used the word "amazing" because seriously, it's amazing. This product from Fresh 'n' Lock, is basically a soft plastic, which when compressed, becomes air-tight, keeping your items sealed and fresh for a longer period. Not only is it air tight, it can even hold your bowl of leftover soup upside down?

SAY WHAT?!
What's in the box? 
No kidding, it's an air tight solution, an alternative to using cling wrap. Comes in four sizes too, how useful.

Look ma, no spills!
And just to prove how air tight this product is, I did this in the kitchen. Did it over the sink first actually, just in case...

After one week in the fridge, with Fresh 'n' Lock plastic air tight cover.
Conducted a little experiment as well. I covered a small bowl of leftover greens, and kept it in the fridge for one full week. To our surprise, it's still green!

Ta-da! Still fresh and crunch ^.^
Not a bad purchase after all. I was so convinced, I bought 2 more boxes as gifts to my parents and sister, hah! Yes, a very aunty purchase, as long as it works! Plus it's a good alternative to the plastic cling wraps, which means better for the environment, kan? As I bought it from their roadshow booth, it was sold at a promotional price of RM 35/box. Think the sales guy mentioned that the usual price is RM 50/box. Watch their introductory video below for a better understanding of their product.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Fat Cat


Picture says a thousand words :P

Saturday, November 17, 2012

My Birthday Wish

Dear God,

This year, I want to thank you :)
  • For blessing me with a good life. 
  • For giving me functional body.
  • For giving me good sight (so I have to wear contact lenses, but that's OK).
  • For giving me a set of working limbs, complete with fingers and toes.
  • For blessing me with parents who care about me, even though they sometimes don't really know the words nor actions to use to show that they care (I'm not complaining OK, please don't take things the wrong way).
  • For giving my parents a very good and honest doctor who looks after them very well.
  • For blessing me with my grandparents, though they are no longer around, I remember their faces very clearly in my head.
  • For blessing my with 2 sisters, although sometimes we don't get along, we're bonded by blood and we really do care for each other, no matter the distance.
  • For blessing me with good health. I may have fallen quite sickly sometimes, but nothing too serious which requires major surgical procedures or treatments like dialysis and chemotherapy.
  • For blessing me with some really good friends, friends whom I know will always be there for me, to listen to my woes, my rants, my silly stories, and share the laughter.
  • For teaching me some very important life lessons, even though some of them have been really painful, mentally and emotionally. Had I not gone through those life lessons or circumstances, I may not have learnt nor realized that I am indeed very blessed with many lovely things in life. If you were to ask me if I wanted to go through the same life lessons again, I can honestly tell you no. But then again if it wasn't those life lessons, I may not be who I am today.
  • For giving me the opportunity to hear Reon Schutte speak, for his words have been very empowering, and is acting as my guide now.
  • For blessing me with the best husband a woman could ask for. He has been patient, loving, caring, understanding, and very supportive of me. He has been my rock during my most turbulent times in life. He has been my guide, my counselor, my best friend. He has taught me some important lessons in life as well, and I'm very very grateful and truly blessed to have met such a man. I'm humbled actually, that such a man have decided to spend the rest of his life with someone like me. Our love is built not just on our feelings towards each other, it is also built on trust, honour, dedication, give-and-take, patience, and of course, love for each other.
If you ask me what my birthday wish is for this year, I only have one simple wish. I wish for all the people that are closest to my heart, to be blessed with good health, good wealth, to always be strong and have the courage when faced with difficult situation, and to always be happy :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Why

Why not?



Shell-Ferrari Promotion 2012

*Disclaimer: I'm by no means promoting or advertising Shell, nor working for them or their advertising agencies.

Pumped petrol over the weekend, and got the Ferrari 150° Italia for RM 12.90 (if you pump Shell V-Power, you only need to fork out RM 10.90). For more info about this promotion, click here.

When hubby was a kid, he said he and his siblings never had the chance to play with LEGO. So That night, I told him he should build his first LEGO :) He had fun building it, making vrooming sound effect along the way hehe!

The Ferrari 150° Italia.

Hubby building the collectible and having fun vrooming.

Ta-daa! It's mini Alonso!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Nick Vujicic [VIDEO]




If a man without arms and legs can dream big, why not everyone else? - Nick Vujicic

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

2013 Turtle Calendar by Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia (TCS)

Excerpt from the blog post
Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia (TCS) is producing a 2013 Turtle Calendar that features the beautiful turtle mosaics mounted on the walls and floor in Turtle Alley, Chinatown, Kuala Terengganu. The calendar is expected to be ready before the end of November. 
The small desktop calendar measures 12.5cm x 10.5cm and has a few notepad pages. It is priced at RM 10 each (USD 4 if you're outside of Malaysia), and 100% of the proceeds from the sales of the calendars will be used to support turtle conservation projects carried out by TCS.
If your order is more than 5 pcs, TCS will cover the courier charges, and if you are based in Penang, KL, PJ or KT, let TCS know and they will arrange for you to pick them up and payment can be made on the spot. Payment and order can be made following the details below:

Email: contactus@turtleconservationsociety.org.my
Acc. Name: Turtle Conservation Society of Malaysia
Bank: Maybank Berhad
Acc. No.: 5630 6412 4656

I've placed an order for 10 pcs of calendars, am going to give them away as gifts :) Let's support the conservation efforts to safe our turtles!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Steamed Garoupa in Soy Sauce Part 2

My sis gave us another garoupa a few months back, and we decided it's high time we cook that bugger. This time I had tweaked the recipe a little and the result was a sweeter tasting soy sauce. Here's the link to the original recipe: http://oliviasy.blogspot.com/2012/01/steamed-garoupa-in-soy-sauce.html

Instead of grinding the rock sugar into powder, I smashed it into smaller pieces and just let them melt in the soy sauce as it was heating up. This time around, the sauce was sweet and savoury. Hubby thought it was a little too sweet, so the next time I make this dish, I'm going to reduce the rock sugar amount a bit (instead of 2 tbps, I'm going to reduce to 1.5 tbps). I was quite happy with the result this time around, the sauce turned out to be quite nice, albeit a little sweet ^.^

Yummy yummy ^.^

Monday, November 5, 2012

Braised Pork Belly in Sweet Sauce Part 2

UPDATED: 12th November 2012
Made this dish for the third time, this time taking my mum's advice to slow braise for one hour, shut the flames and let the dish cool for one hour, and slow braise again for another hour. This time, the meat was far more tender ^.^ Success!
---------


My second attempt to make this dish. This time, I made a few tweaks... Read about my first attempt here :D

1) During the blanching process, I added one tablespoon of rice vinegar. My mum said that by adding vinegar to the hot water, it will help to remove the musky meat smell, as well as make the skin softer.

2) For the slow braising process, this time I made sure there's enough water to submerge the meat.

3) During the slow braising process, I tilted the pork so that the skin was facing down, in hopes of making the skin softer (think melt-in-your-mouth).

Melt in your mouth pork belly skin~ *drools*
This time, I slowly braised the dish for about 2 hours (due to the water content). The end product was almost perfect. Skin was ooh-so-soft-melts-in-your-mouth. However, I still think the meat can be more tender, so I asked my mum again. She told me, the next time I braise the meat, braise it for one hour, then shut the flames for about an hour, and let the dish cool. After that, slow braise it again for another hour. She could't really explain why (because I think she doesn't even know why it works the way it works), just to add that somewhere along the process of slow braising (without the flames), the meat will cook and tenderize on its own. Going to give this method a short the next time I make this dish :D

Friday, November 2, 2012

Baked Lemon Butter Prawns

I got this recipe from Pinterest, and would like to share it here in my blog. It's such a simple and awesome recipe, and cleaning up is easy! I had a pack of tiger prawns which my sis had given me during her last back here in KL, and this recipe was perfect to give it a go with the frozen fresh prawns.
Lemon butter prawns in all its glory.
Ingredients:
Medium size tiger prawns (or any variety)
2 tbps butter
Slices of lemon
1 tbps mixed herbs (or Italian herbs)

Clean the prawns, pat them dry, and remove the head and sharp end at the tail. Set aside. Preheat the over to 200°C. Melt the butter on a hot skillet using low heat. arrange the lemon slices on an oven proof dish, and lay the prawns on top of the lemon. Pour the melted butter on top and sprinkle the herbs on top. Bake prawns for 15 mins and you're done!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

How Will You Measure Your Life?

I've been following the Harvard Business Review website for some months now, and back in May I stumbled across this page, and it is one of the most compelling article I've read till date, an excerpt from Prof. Clayton M. Christensen's book "How Will You Measure Your Life".

Something about what he wrote resonated inside of me, something which I can relate to all too well. I bookmarked that page, and went back to reading it from time to time. I'm going to brutally honest with you here, I don't usually read all these stuff. Most of the time, I will brush such articles and books off, thinking these were merely written by high flying folks with fancy Degrees and Masters and PhD's, who think they have all the knowledge in the world to tell you how sucky your life is, and how you should be doing this or that in the first place, to achieve happiness and fulfillment.

I have seen inspirational videos from some motivational speakers, screaming at the top of their lungs, telling the audience just how bad their lives were doing what they were doing, and that they should instead be taking their expert advice to get to where they want. And if you do what he/she tells you to do, you will then achieve what you have set out to achieve... or something along those lines.

"Do you want to make more money???"
"Do you want to lead a happy and fulfilling life???"
"Why are you still stuck there??? Why are you not doing this or that???"

*screams and points to the ceiling/sky*


Fuck this shit. If yelling is your strategy to make me more empowered, then you can keep your shrieks to another audience, cos this chick ain't buying it. I don't need a high strung speaker to constantly shout in my ears and telling me what I should do. If I needed a motivational speaker, I would prefer the speaker guide me to think, not tell me what I should think.

And then, one fine day, I came across the Prof. Clayton's article in the HBR website. And so I took a few minutes to read it. After I finished reading the excerpt, I went back to page 1, and read it again. And then I bookmarked it. And then I started taking some notes down. I shared the link with a close girl friend of mine, who then read it, and bookmarked it, and tells me she wants to share this with her team members.

Image taken from www.measureyourlife.com

From time to time, I would open up the article and read it. One day, I decided to buy the book to read more on what Prof. Clayton had to say. I wanted to see if his principles will bring me some sort of guidance to what and how I should think. I would bring the book with me to the work place, and during lunch hours I will have lunch alone to read the book, and jot down notes. I will read it at home, line by line, slowly digesting the Professor's words and sentences. Sometimes, I would re-read the pages I've just read.

I started asking myself questions the Professor had brought up. It didn't help that at this point of my life, I'm having doubts with a lot of things around me. So my struggle to find the answers was a steeper curve than some, to me at least. And somehow, I felt calmer when reading the book. As if his words were telling me... It's alright, we all go through rough times now and then. Life is such. We just need to understand what truly matters to us.

The book was teaching me how to think, to answer the questions I have. The doubts I'm having, is the result of  not just what had occurred to me, but had also revealed something else along the way. Something which has been festering in the background, but which I had buried and was having hope. I had lacked the clarity to see things in the bigger perspective.

Here are some of the lines from the book, which I have jotted down in my little note book (something I can bring along with me wherever I go, and remind myself of those words). Some are from Prof. Clayton himself, while others are from people who he had quoted from.

"Even with good intentions and deep love, we can fundamentally misunderstand each other."

"Exercise selective neglect. You need to first accept that by trying to achieve everything, you end up achieving nothing."

"The price of doing something wrong "just this once" usually appears alluringly low. It sucks you in, and you don't see where that path is ultimately headed or the full cost that the choice entails."

"It is easier to hold on to your principles 100% of the time that it is to hold to them 98% of the time. The boundary - your personal moral line - is powerful, because you don't cross it; if you have justified doing it once, there's nothing to stop you doing it again."

"While many of us might default to measuring our lives by summary statistics, such as number of people presided over, number of awards, or dollars accumulated in a bank, and so on, the only metrics that will truly matter in my life are the individuals whom I have been able to help, one by one, to become better people."

Monday, October 29, 2012

Power of Choice, Power of Change - 24 October 2012

Reon Schutte and Billy Kueek
“We may not be able to choose our circumstances, but we can always choose how we respond,” - Reon Schutte.

I attended a talk at SDCC recently, featuring Reon Schutte and NLP Master Trainer Dr. Billy Kueek. Reon who, you asked? Reon Schutte is a former South African POW, and cancer survivor, and he was in the country to share his compelling story about his incarceration in the notorious Chikurubi Prison in Zimbabwe, as well as his fight with prostate cancer during imprisonment.

Let me be very honest with you here. I have never attended any talk, of any speaker, in my whole life. In fact, I have never once, attended any self help/personal development seminar nor workshop in my life. The NLP Associate Training workshop which I signed up for in July 2012, was my first ever personal development workshop, and was on my own account.

So why did I choose to listen to Reon? Well, to start, over the last few months (second half of the year to be exact), I've been going through a rocky patch in my life. A lot of things have occurred, and the timing of things hasn't been all that great. I've been feeling very sad, depressed, angry, disappointed, bitter at myself. I've actually lost track of my own desires, and have been very very doubtful with all my decisions and actions.

I've fallen down pretty hard, and I didn't know how to get back up. I had no one to talk to (aside from my hubby), simply because no one would be able to comprehend the situations I was going through. I kept things to myself, also because I chose to keep things to myself. It was something for me to overcome, my own struggle with myself. My close girl friend was in the loop of things, and has suggested that maybe I should attend this Reon Schutte talk, but I brushed it off at first, as I needed some alone time to myself for a while.

I felt so broken, so crushed by the weight of things, I have been in tears several times in the night. My hubby was my strongest supporter, always there to calm me down and to bring me back to my senses when I drifted away (sometimes too realistic to the point I feel worse). It came to a point I thought I needed to seek out a therapist, to help me cope with my emotions. And so I emailed my close girl friend for some contacts, and along the trails of emails, she brought the question up about going with her to the Reon Schutte talk again. And this time I gave it some thoughts.

I figured, I could listen to someone who was stronger than me, who had lived through excruciating pain and suffering, and was now travelling around the world sharing his story in the hopes of inspiring others to be stronger. I figured, I needed that sort of external strength, to give me the strength that I'm seeking at this point in my life. Then perhaps, I can figure out my own life, what I want from it, and how I want to measure my life.

Reon Schutte speaking at SDCC.
To summarize things, Reon Schutte is a former POW, and was sentenced to Chikurubi Prison in Zimbabwe for 26 years. He described the cell as horrifying, cramming 50 men in a cell made for 11. Four walls, no windows, and a hole for a toilet. His only possessions at the time of imprisonment, were a pair of shorts, a shirt, and blankets infested with lice.

During his incarceration, he and his cell mates had to endure daily beatings, stale rotten food, diseases and unhygienic conditions. Mortality rate at that time was 10%. Imagine living in a cell 24/7, with no contact to the outside world. To add to the life of a prisoner, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. A support group had formed in South Africa, lobbying for his release year after year, and under tremendous pressure, he was given medical attention. However, due to the terrible living conditions in the prison, infections occurred and he had to endure several more surgeries.

I can't possibly comprehend his emotions, and yet Reon wasn't bitter about his horrible experience. In fact, I think he came across as peaceful, he had found peace within himself. And it's something I'm looking for inside myself... Peace within myself. Some of the words from Reon resonated inside me, and I'm beginning to digest them, so that I can then figure out for myself, what I want to do, what my choices are, and how I am going to respond.

Image taken from Reonschutte.com
When he was thrown into prison, South Africa had no internet, no mobile phones, no DVDs or CDs, none of the technology which we have today. So when it came to the Q&A part, I asked Reon how is he readjusting to society and everything around him. He reply was that, even though he is now back into society, he is not from it. He is still readjusting, even after 8 years of release.

I also bought Reon's book, to read a little more about this life, and to see what I can gain from his principles.

There's a short video on his website, taken two days after his release. Click here to view it, to get a better picture of Reon's story.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Of Purpose and Measurements

This morning was tough on me. And as much as I enjoy talking and sharing with you, the realistic and pragmatic words from you somehow only made me feel even more sorry for myself. I know you're trying to help me realign my life, and hoping that you can help me find my purpose. it's just that the words and the way you presented them to me, somehow isn't resonating well. I admire your traits of being factual, it's just not bringing me much value at the moment.

I know what the facts are. I know realistically what would entail. I don't really need another person to remind me what is fact and what is real. I just needed someone who would let me rant it all out, and offer me a kind shoulder to lean on for a while, without offering to judge my words and actions. You telling me what I already know, somehow only made me feel more sorry for myself. And I'm trying very hard not to let that affect me, to take charge of my life.

It wasn't fair to me when you say I still cannot accept what had happened. That is not true, that much I can tell you. I have already come to accept the loss. I have already come to accept that my initial purpose died that day in September. I just need time to emotionally heal, is that too much to ask? I can't switch things off the way you do, you are wired differently from me. I am not blaming anyone nor myself anymore. For you to say that I haven't accepted the loss, those words were not fair to me. I didn't deserve those words, not one bit. Please don't say those words to me again, you have hurt my feelings.

My struggle now is not about accepting the loss, I have already accepted it and I am already pass that. My struggle now is finding a purpose. Finding who I want to become. What is my intent? What is my likeness, my commitment, my metrics? How do I want to measure myself? How do I want to measure my life?

Over the last few weeks, I have come to also realize, that I have made a mark in some people's lives, something which I didn't come to notice at first, because I didn't think much of it. Then I started thinking back, on the feedback which I had received from some good friends, and from you.

I have learnt that I am everything to you. I have learnt that I have given you everything. I also learnt that I have been the inspiration to a small group of people in my life, directly or indirectly. Just the other day, a friend who had completed her first 10K run,  tweeted to me that it was because of me, she was inspired to run her first 10K. I didn't realize how, but her words lifted my spirits and put a smile to my face. And I thank you for saying those kinds words to me Sofia (I have yet to complete my first 10K run though, a nonstop run, had to stop training due to knee & internal/emotional injury). My close girl friend confides in me and relies on me to keep her grounded about the important things in life. My sister who lives in a different state relies on my support, mentally and emotionally. I have to start seeing that I am a good person, and have in one way or another, inspired the people around me to be a better person, no matter how small my contribution may be. I have to start being kinder to myself, to acknowledge that I too am capable of making a difference, however small.

"While many of us might default to measuring our lives by summary statistics, such as number of people presided over, number of awards, or dollars accumulated in a bank, and so on, the only metrics that will truly matter in my life are the individuals whom I have been able to help, one by one, to become better people." - Prof. Clayton M. Christensen, Harvard Business School

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cat

I peed on my owner! Was too scared to leave the house!

The vet sez I is gained 500 grams. W00t!

Need I say more? :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

BSN Putrajaya Night Run 2012

BSN Putrajaya Night Marathon 2012. Are you ready people?? from hooHA asia on Vimeo.

Was with hubby and his colleagues at Putrajaya, to support them (as well as be their bag keeper, harhar!). Good thing the weather held up well, no rain, some light breeze with low humidity. I was quite surprised to discover that this event was so huge... 10,000 runners!

The event flagged off at 8pm, for the 42KM category first. Followed by the 21KM, 10KM and 5KM fun run. Well done everyone!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Guide To Life (in 10 steps)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Go...


Kick start. Yes.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Doubts


Doubts. Have been having them for the past several weeks. Have spoken to two very close people in my life, and ironically, they both came to a conclusion of an action plan I should consider. I'm toying with the idea as we speak.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Nostalgic Klang Noodles

When my grandfather (on my dad's side) was still alive, my dad would bring us down to Klang to visit him. My grandfather was from China, and he made his living selling herbal tea (leong char). I remember when we were young, my dad would take us to this old food court somewhere in Klang town, where the herbal stall was located. Next to the herbal stall, was this stall selling noodles with minced pork.

There was something about this minced pork noodles which made it different from all pork noodles. The flavour especially, was very special. The last time I had this dish, was before my grandfather passed away. After that, the family didn't make trips down to Klang anymore, and I didn't get to eat this dish for over a decade. The old food court has also undergone some transformation, and I think the stall has also moved to some place else.

Then, just last week, my mum called hubby and I for dinner, and also because she wanted to check out the Setia Citymall (H&M, to be specific). We hopped into my dad's 4WD and he drove to Meru, Klang for dinner. Something about noodles, which I didn't give much thought about. As we sat down in the kopitiam, my dad and hubby went to place orders, while I chat with my mum. I asked her what was so special about this place and its noodles, that my dad would make a trip here.

"Do you remember when you were young, when your grandfather was alive, we would have this noodles and drink leong char after that?"

"Yea, what about the noodle stall? Its been years since I lasted tasted it."

"Well, this is the same stall, with the same noodles *smile*"

No way, I thought. Could this actually be the same noodle stall from when I was a kid? My dad reiterated that it is the same stall, only this time it's run by one of the offspring of the founder. Not only that, they now have three stalls in Klang town itself. The kopitiam we were at, was Restoran Pin Chou, off Jalan Meru.

It's something you can't find in Petaling Jaya.
My first bite, brought back a lot of childhood memories. The taste was very very familiar, reminiscence of my younger days sitting on a stool in the old food court with dim lights, slurping the noodles delicately with my chopsticks. This was a taste I had not had in over a decade, and yet my mind is able to recapture the past moments, something which had been long buried in the back of my head, almost forgotten.

Nostalgic noodles, I just had them :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

I Died A Little That Day

Image taken from Inmagine.com
The picture was fuzzy.
And yet very clear.
One big mass of nothingness.
A sense of void and emptiness.
Like an empty vessel sailing through the tides.
A heavy weight on my shoulders.
The feeling was all too familiar..
Things have come to an end.
I leave with a heavy heart.
Lying down on the bed.
And the last thing I saw was the ceiling.
I died a little that day.