Thursday, January 31, 2008


John has left for Bali this afternoon for a conference courtesy of Times magazine. He'll be staying in Hyatt Bali for 5 days while I will have a few days at home all by myself, to contemplate.

John called just now. He just checked in at 11.15pm. Apparently, he headed straight to Dinner as soon as he touched Denpasar ground. Hyatt Bali is in Sanur (east), I forgot to ask him the dinner venue. Anyway, it's not important.

I told him the good news that Himalaya gave me a bonus after all. Just like me, he was surprise but happy. Knowing how stingy my ex-boss Marcel is, I don't expect to get a single cent out of him at all. Looks like I don't know him well enough?

Talking about abundance...
A bat came to our kitchen few days ago and stuck itself near the window pane for 2 days. No matter how I disturbed him, it just refused to leave. Later, I learned that bats are symbols of abundant wealth (not so sure tho').
But the Chinese believe that bats nest only in auspicious places - they have highly developed sensory parts that are able to "smell" out places with auspicious chi (yeah, gimme a five!). Shouldn't chase them away but instead rejoice because their coming heralds good fortune. I am not that superstitious, but do I consider the bonus I received a good fortune? The answer is Yes. And I am absolutely thankful.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Received an invitation from Marcel, my ex-boss from Himalaya to the company's Annual Dinner at KLGCC tonight. Sounds good but as I'm still feeling under the weather, I won't attend.
Of late, I've been having sinus. Wake up every morning and sneeze like nobody's business. Fortunately, it cleared after a morning jog. Yet, the problem remain nose is still blocked! Sigh!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

My big mouth and sensitive body

Stephanie Thong treated me lunch at Country Farm Organics at 1U yesterday. We just needed to chat and catch up but I made a mistake. And today, I guess I have to pay for the price!
I bragged to her about being 'migraine-free' for more than a month, my blood pressure and my menstrual cycle getting normal...etc.etc. Me and my big mouth - guess what? Migraine attack me this very morning followed by period, which is 2 weeks early! They said good things come in pairs but this is no good. My hormones messing up again and my body is just so sensitive - can receive no praise !
I'll just be good and stay at home today.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Great Eastern 30km Run

Today is race day : 30km for me. Haven't been running or training this long for sometime and didn't even know why I registered for 30km, so please don't ask.
John is smarter, he chose to do 20km. Whatever it is - the choice is ours. We made our own decision to run the distance we want, so we just got to do it and be accountable on the outcome, like it or not or don't race at all.
I decided to take it, when I spotted Raja Sofia running passed me at a fast pace, I'd wanted to signal to her that her pace was too fast. But I held my peace. Raja Sofia is not a novice, she is seasoned enough to strategize her own race - I might insult her by advising her to slow down. Not long after that, I sighted her crawling up the Double Hill and knew she was tired. Slowly but surely, I overtook her and ran my own race at a reasonable pace until I met Ironmen Lee Woon Khau and Azwar before crossing to Hartamas.
These 2 guys had been trainning very hard - what happened? Anything can happen during race day and more so, if it's long distance. It is so important to stay focus, mentally and physically.
At the Petronas water station, I caught up with Khoo Yi Kiat, Vincent Tiong, Kenny Tan and many others. They said, "struggling lah!" But Khoo speed up and disappeared soon after that. I must say it was Dr. Raymond Hee who was running very steadily this race...staying some 70 metres ahead of me all the time. He is also preparing for the Langkawi Ironman next month. I'm sure he is so happy with his performance today after losing to me during Adidas King Of The Road last year.
I thought I will have to take 3hrs to finish this 30km but was pleased with my feat, after learning that I did it in 2hrs 52mins. Without much long distance training this season, what more can I ask for?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

A day spent with doctors

The whole week was rather busy - clearing junks, cleaning leftover paint stains and such.
I met my mom and June at the Chinese Maternity clinic for her appointment with Prof. Chin at 8am. When I arrive there, I thought I was early as it was only 7.30am and guess what? When I stepped in, I was surprised to see a clinic full of people and all seats were taken up. When I registered mom, I was told that there were about 9 patients ahead of her. Instead of waiting, I took my mom and June to Imbi for breakfast. After all, I need to get some stuffs from the market. I made a wise move cos' when we came back to the clinic, we still had to wait for another 3 patients!
Consultation with Prof. Chin went well. My mom seemed to like him but her condition has deteriorated. Medication is just to prevent it from getting worse and medication is very expensive in her case.
My next appointment with EYS physician Dr. Loh was at 11.30am, so the timing was just nice. His acupuncture seems to be working for me (I hope). My blood pressure is now normal and under control and I have not had a migraine for more than a month now. The improvement could also be due to me being jobless now (ha! ha!). My switch of diet to semi organic and vegetables intake may have helped. I have abstained from meat and rice to reduce my high body temperature and I see it working.
Dave introduced another therapy for me to try out. I'll do it after Chinese New Year and if it works, I'll share.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Have you ever had a teacher like this?

With the movie Tuesdays with Morrie still fresh in my mind, I'm inspired to share the teacher in my own life with others.
With Ms. Moey in mind, my thoughts are transported back to those precious school days, a time so distant in my life and yet so poignantly meaningful. It was as if I went to school because of her. She mentored me through my toughest times in school and as a teenager. She cared and comforted my family when my dad was so ill and passed away. I was the eldest in the family but I was young and lost, so I looked up to her as an older sister. She brought out the best of me and taught me principles of bear the yoke in youth with steadfastness and careful take delight in simple grow and take my place as loyal woman in our race.
I wasn't her best student yet she made me feel significant. Occasionally, she would send me home from school or otherwise, I had to walk all the way from Bukit Bintang to Pudu with my bagful of books. At times, I got invited to stay with her and ate with her family. I was flabbergasted!
While most students feared their teachers which they often did, I looked up to Ms. Moey as my mentor, role model and guardian even after my school days. She would rejoice with me each time I made progress in my career or did well in a project. We became friends and now, she's also a dear friend of John. Even now, we get invited to her house for lunch or dinner every Christmas or New Year.
The saying, "They may forget what you said, but they will not forget how you made them feel." is so true. I will not forget an incident when I overworked myself and was taken so ill. Ms Moey drove me home, packed my clothes and took me to her home to stay. The next morning, she took me to the doctor before rushing off to school. At the clinic, I learned a lesson from her too. She asked many questions and the name of every drug/medicine that were prescribed to me. As this was something new to me that time, I learned to do the same each time I visit the doctor now. I rested at Ms Moey's house for a few days and promised myself that I will never forget this episode in my life.
Ms. Moey has indeed touched my life in so many ways. From her, I learnt all about love, kindness, integrity, compassion, modesty, to serve and not to be served irregardless of rank and title.
Ms. Moey, I always count my blessings in meeting you. May the kindness that you shower on me return to you a hundred fold!! The word "Thank you" seem so inadequate. I could only think of repaying you by planting a bit of your seeds of kindness wherever I go, for indeed you have created that infinite influence in just one lifetime.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Tuedays with Morrie the movie

No practise run for me this Sunday.
ACIM started early with the movie Tuesdays with Morrie. I read the book 2 years ago and recommend it to anyone who's longing to learn the meaning of life. The author Mitch Albom is one of my favourites.
Tuesdays with Morrie is true story about Mitch Albom (the author himself) who lost track of his mentor (Professor Morrie). He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man's life. Knowing he was dying, Morrie invited Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final "class" lessons in how to live. The movie briefly shows us a chronicle of their time together, through which Mitch shares Morrie's lasting gift with the world. The book will take you through the details.

"Have you ever had a teacher like this? One who saw you as a raw but precious thing, a jewel that, with wisdom, could be polished to a proud shine? If you are lucky enough to find your way to such teachers, you will always find your way back. The last class took place once a week, in his home, by the window in his study.The class met on Tuesdays. No books were required. The subject was the meaning of life. It was taught from experience. The teaching goes on." - excerpt from the book Tuedays with Morrie.

This reminds me of my own mentor, teacher, guardian, role model and now, my friend Ms. Moey. I will share her with you another day.

Today's lesson is all about love, energy and reflection. Then someone shared with us his experience at the recent Silent Retreat which I found very interesting and decided to sign up for it.

At home, John showed me his swollen arm. He got stung by a bee yesterday while practising his cycling at Gunung Sepat. We thought he was okay because it looked okay yesterday - slight redness but no swelling. Now it looks bad. Fortunately he has no fever, so I applied Propolis serum on the wound and see what happens tomorrow.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Creating space

Yeah, finally...after 8 years, our humble abode was given a fresh coat of paint and new lightings. With Steve's help, the job has been completed in 3 days. It's definitely looks brighter and more spacious after we removed some furniture out especially the huge dinning table which my mom bought cos' she thinks it's value for money. Old people are like that.
Anyway, we just got it transfered to my Ah Nay's (nanny) place and they are all happy to receive it. The family is big and that's also the place where John and I would feast most especially duriing festive seasons eg. Chinese New Year. They should have it cos they need it more than us. We will get a smaller table later.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

No rest for the wicked

An ex-colleague heard about my "freedom" and won't let me rest. She wanted me to meet her boss who happened to be here from Switzerland. So, she has arranged an impromptu meeting for us at Westin. Honestly, I wasn't prepared and didn't know what to expect. She said just tea and chat only since I'm free! Well, I'm open to options.
The meeting turned out well. Without producing any resume whatsoever, he'd wanted me in for Retail Development (very similar to what I was doing in Himalaya). As I wasn't ready to start working yet, I told him to give me sometime until end of this month. I need time to think before making a decision and to be fair, he would continue to search for any candidate suitable for the post.
The saying "No rest for the wicked" sounds so right for me!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Gathering and Giving

Monday morning saw me running some errands and doing some banking thingy for my current boss, John Tan. Otherwise, I won't get my salary this month!
I've promised my Himalaya girls that I'll buy them lunch today. Since Mdm Thong is a vegetarian and I am a semi vegetarian, everyone agreed to eat at Nanking Court which is in PJ. The food was good and it was so good to see everyone again. It is good to be treated as a friend and be able to sit down for a meal together although I am no longer their manager. It pays to humble ourselves and I keep reminding myself that.
This afternoon, I became their channel to let out their frustrations and as their mentor, I advised them to be patient. We should approach the new year with a positive attitude...too much complaints will create negative chi. The same reason why I chose 31st Dec 2007 to be my last day at Himalaya (giving up my bonus..sob!sob!). I wanted to start anew and I think I did the right thing. But my girls must wait.
My feelings today is very fulfilling. I was glad I've prepared a gift and a card for each and everyone of them, without knowing and expecting to receive anything from them. Guess what? They gave me a crystal bracelet, a little crystal angel and another decorative item in form of dolphin. They meant well. In fact, they have no reason to pamper me anymore (they know I'm not for it) but they assured me that it's totally for remembrance sake. They'd wanted me to have something so that I will remember them. The same reason why I gave them gifts and card. The girls don't earn very much and kind and simple gesture like this touch my heart. How can I not remember them?
Sometime ago, John mentioned he never understands why I keep receiving gifts. I told him I don't know either...maybe it's because I am nice to people, that's all. Or I always thought I was just fortunate. I recalled especially when I first shifted to my other apartment 10 years ago, I did not have to buy much. My colleagues and friends provided me almost everything from the TV, video, fridge to rice-cooker and a hi-fi set! Unbelievable but true. There are still with me in this condo. and of course I still can remember these friends. But I just didn't know why...
Today I understand and even so, after attending ACIM. Dr. Aaron is right when he taught, "Love attracts love. Love will always know where love is. Nature will always give you back what you gave out. What you give, you will receive. Receiving is the same as giving. The more you give (without expectation) the more you receive." When I realized this happening to me, I am thoroughly convinced and I will continue to give and to share...
When I read President Bill Clinton's book GIVING and this month's issue of FORTUNE magazine on The $100 Billion Woman about Melinda Gates, I am so inspired. It talks about Melinda Gates going public about living with Bill Gates, working with another billionaire Warren Buffett and giving away their billions. It also shows where The Gates money goes. Get a copy soon (I'm privileged to get mine early from John),read and be inspired. Give!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Sunday run and such

Ran Hartamas with my buddies Gary, Wah Chai and many others. Guess like us, they were all preparing for the Great Eastern 30km this 20th Jan. On the way back, I left Gary and Wah Chai and caught up with young Ooi, Tang and gang. I followed John's advise and decided to take the Double Hill route which is slightly longer back to Bukit Aman. Overall, it was a good practise run. Breakfast as usual at Tong Shin with fellow runners.
The Sunday afternoon was occupied by a 3hr session of acupuncture by Dr. Loh at Eu Yan Sang. Normally, I skipped lunch and by 3pm or so, my stomach started grumbling. It so happened this time, Dr Loh was about to poke the needle on my stomach. How embarassing! Anyway, both of us tried to hide my embarassment by laughing it loud!!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Anna Quindlen's speech

So here's what I wanted to tell you today :

"Get a life. A real life. Not a manic pursuit of the next promotion, bigger paycheck, the larger house. Do you think you'd care so much about those things if you blew an aneuryam one afternoon, or found a lump in your breast? Get a life in which you notice the smell of the salt water pushing itself on a breeze over Seaside Heights, a life in which you stop and watch how a red tailed hawk circle over the water or the way a baby scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a Cheerio with her tumb and first finger. Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you love, and who love you. And remember that love is not leisure, it is work.

Pick up the phone. Send an e-mail. Write a letter. Get a life in which you are generous. And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted. Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around. Take the money that you would spent on beers and give it to charity. Work in a soup kitchen. Be a big brother or sister. All of you want to do well. But if you do not do good, then doing well will never be enough. It is so easy to waste our lives, our days, our hours, our minutes. It is so easy to take for granted the color of our kid's eyes, the way the melody in a symphony rises and falls and disappears and rises again. It is so easy to exist instead of to live.

I learned to live many years ago. I learned to love the journey, not the destination. I learned that it is not a dress rehearsal, and that today is the only guarantee you get. I learned to look at all the good in the world and try to give some of it back because I believed in it, completely and utterly. And I tried to do that, in part, by telling others what I had learned. By telling them this :
Consider the lilies of the field. Read in the backyard with the sun on your face. Learn to be happy. And think of life as a terminal illness, because if you do, you will live it with joy and passion, as it ought to be lived."

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Freedom : Live Free, Run Free

Today is my first day of achieving freedom. I don't need to wake up...rushing to run at Permaisuri, rushing to come home to shower, rush for breakfast and rush to work.
Yet, work or no work, I still can't break from the routine of getting up as early as 5am. Perhaps from a very young age, I had been trained to rise before the sun shine. It's a good exercise provided one is not too tired.
Anyway, I dream more than I sleep! This morning, I had the luxury of taking my own sweet time to jog leisurely and after that, drove home slowly, had breakfast with John before he goes to work. Then I shower, do the laundry and stuff. What's the rush?
I have no proper itinerary today except to clear some old junks from my cupboard, from June's cupboard, from my mom's cupboard and lastly, John's magazines. Now there's really no reason for me to rush and finish everything in a day like I used to. Therefore, I would like to share a very meaningful commencement speech made by novelist, columnist and non-fiction author Anna Quindlen. She has inspired me to think deep enough and later helped me made my decision to quit my job. Listen carefully...

"It's a great honour for me to be third member to my family to receive an honorary doctorate from this great university (at Villanova). I have no specialized field of interest or expertise, which puts me at a disadvantage talking to you today. I'm a novelist. My work is human nature. Real life is all I know. Don't confuse the two - your life and your work. The second is only part of the first.

Don't forget what a friend once wrote when the Senator Paul Tsongas decided not to run for reelection because he had been diagnosed with cancer:"No man ever said on his deathbed I wish I had spent more time at the office."

Don't forget the words of my father sent to me on a postcard :"If you win the rat race, you're still a rat."

John Lennon wrote before he was gunned down in the driveway of Dakota:"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans."

You will walk out here this afternoon with only one thing that no one else has. There will be hundreds of people out there with your same degree; there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you will be the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or in a car, or at a computer. Not just the life of your mind, but life of your heart. Not just your bank account but your soul.

People don't talk about the soul very much anymore. It's so much easier to write a resume than to craft a spirit. But a resume is a cold comfort on a winter night, or when you're sad, or broke, or lonely, or when you've gotten back the test results and they're not so good.

Here is my resume:
I am a good mother to three children. I have never tried to let my profession stand in the way of being a good parent. I no longer consider myself the centre of the universe. I show up. I listen. I try to laugh.

I am a good friend to my husband. I have tried to make marriage vows mean what they say. I am a good friend to my fiends, and they to me. Without them, there would be nothing to say to you today, because I would be a cardboard cutout. But I call them on the phone, and I meet them for lunch.

I would be rotten, or at best mediore at my job, if those other things were not true. You can't be really first rate at your work if your work is all you are.

to be continued...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Reflections and Evaluation

As usual, John and I ushered the new year with an early morning run together with the rest of the Pacestters. We covered the Double Hills (11km) while I added another 4km to Carcosa.
As I reflect...apart from some minor setbacks, I concluded that 2007 to be a kind and fruitful year for me. I had been to a few exciting places, done a few memorable things, met some interesting people, ran a few good races and achieved a few personal best records. I had learned much...I can't ask for more.
Yes, I've learnt valuable lessons from :
- Workshops that I've attended esp. ACIM (although I've only attended 2 sessions)
- Inspirational books which I've read : Secrets, For One More Day, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, Who will cry when you die?, Only Love Is Real, Many Lives, Many name a few. They had moved me and somewhat changed the way I look at life.
- Movies eg. What the bleep do we know?, Secrets, The Peaceful Warrior, Inspired by Lance.
- My 3 months of TCM treatment with John Lew was somewhat accidental but eventually became an eye-opener for me. It leads me to explore more deeply into other alternatives and lessons.
- Evaluation from my staff was significant as I'd never realized how much I was appreciated. It just feels so good to know that my efforts to motivate and bond with them had bear fruits. Yes, I did not labour in vain!
Therefore, it pays to be modest. It is important to create that special bonding with people we work with whether they work under us or rank above us. Remember - Life is a circle.
No resolutions for the year for the journey continues and I'm still seeking. There's certainly much to learn...

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Old must die for new to live in.

Today is the last day of 2007, also my last day with Himalaya.
I recalled the day I tendered my resignation - I shocked the world (including my husband)! News broke and flew all calls kept coming in, eager to know but 'kehpo' is more likely. Most of friends rejoiced and congratulated me for making such a brave move. Brave or not, I'm not sure but I am sure I needed a break and a well-deserved rest.
As I reflect, the herbal healthcare industry was never a subject in my itinerary although I'd always wanted to attempt doing something close to nature. Of course, the first thing that attracted me was the tagline RESEARCHING NATURE, ENRICHING LIFE. How appropriate...Yes, that's for me! And I had never regretted my decision to join the Company. I was glad to be given the opportunity to learn and excel in a field that was completely foreign to me at that time. Now after 3 years or so, I had learn to put my trust and faith in the products. The R & D of Himalaya in India is very strong, and even if some of the products didn't work out for me - it has worked for millions of customers out there. I know because I heard their testimonies.
Being in the healthcare industry has also helped me become more conscious of my own health. I was open and ready to learn new things. I took the initiative to read and explore....from ayurveda to TCM or natural therapy and the like. It was good learning - I discovered that what work well with some may not work for others as our bodies function differently, and especially mine!
Right from day one - I was so sure that I belong to the retail industry. I love the rat-race, the keeps evolving. At least it has kept me in the loop and on my toes.
Then why quit? It is not on impulse as some thought. Perhaps my priorities today are different than 10 years ago. It is not just about setting goals, achieving targets and earning great bucks anymore (although money still matters). It is about serving with good intent. It is what makes me go home; someimes exhausted, sometimes elated, most times stressed but everyday, I know I can't go wrong in my principles, and every night, I know I can do better the next day. If there's a blockage somewhere that prevent me from performing or go on further - I'll move.
From my observation, the younger generation today are certainly more ambitious, bold and focus. Yet very few serve with good intent from the heart, not many serve with intent to help others. Maybe they just don't know how to. Everyone is for himself / herself.
If there's one thing my parents did right was that they had chosen the right school for me and my sisters. For it was in BBGS that I was taught the 'principles of life' by Ms. Moey and Ms. Cooke. We were all taught to live by the motto NISI DOMINUS FRUSTRA meaning "Without God (love), all is in vain". I guess as a child, it is so important to believe that there's Someone somewhere on higher ground to guide us and lead us to the right path.
Later, I counted myself to be extremely fortunate to have chosen the right company where I made a career - a good career out of it. I had never regretted working my butts off. I had never regretted making sacrifices. Everyday was a challenge and I enjoyed it, for I discovered that it was after every challenge that I came up stronger. I experienced incredible growth and made tremendous progress. I had little time to rest. Soon, I learnt that with the stress and pressure came the rewards. Isn't this normal? Life is no windfall - we need to work at it. For me, I had to work doubly hard as I have no papers to back me up! (Glad I don't need them now). A company with the vision BRINGING THE BEST TO EVERYONE WE TOUCH, my late managing director had shown me what it meant to serve with good intent of the heart - to be compassionate. And although I learned very slowly then - I haven't forgotten and made it part of me now.
Now, as I'm coming to the end and final chapter with Himalaya, I know I still have much to improve and learn but I can claim to go on each day with good intent, be it at home or elsewhere.