Thursday, September 28, 2006

Crowbar Shortlist

Congratulations, Wilson (with no surname!) on getting three, three!!! ads into the Crowbar shortlist. Glad you had the guts to enter, and hope you get something. The standards are high cos it's a regional award show, so even getting in is an achievement. Great job, and keep aiming higher and higher! The fairy is blessing you with lots of magic dust and rainbow wishes.
Come on, join in and wish Wilson lotsa succcess!

This is one of his shortlisted ideas :

This photo was taken at the Advertising Unplugged talk organised by How & Why and 4As last year. From left : Guru Besar Shahnaz, Yasmin Ahmad, Me, Wilson, Theng and Joescher. We're so relieved ... phew!... that 95% grads asked intelligent questions, and made an impression on Yasmin. As for Wilson... hahaha, better ask him what impression HE made!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Is this your little doggie?

I know it's a long shot. I'm worried about this little fella : a black puppy with red collar. He wandered into my garden a few weeks ago, after being chased by the neighbourhood rowdies. My Walter and Bandit are the only dogs in the area who will allow this puppy to share their home. Dear Bandit is even sharing his food.

I'm worried cos this puppy is wounded - he has a big bite on his neck, and he won't let us near him.

If you know anyone who's lost a black puppy, please let me know.

I feel so sad when I look into the puppy's eyes. He needs to be with his loved ones.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Our 6th Intake "The Funkers" graduated on June 30th (ya, I know I'm late with the photos).
A tight team of 8 talented youngsters who set the record for being the cleanest, greatest tidy-uppers in 95%. Miss you guys: Yenny, who's gone back to Medan. Chris, who's put on weight. Bisma, who's been our official 95% photographer. Kathie & Andrew, who have been doing some great work for Kancil Student Awards. Max, who's been smiling non-stop. Ummi who's apparently found love. Tuck and Rachel, who are as exuberant as ever! So glad that you guys came for the Cause To Champion presentation and made your pressence felt. And for Graduation too!

Our 7th Intake "The Other 5%" graduated just last week. Two fresh grads from LUCT, two copywriters and two designers : all incredibly hard working. Don't know how these guys managed to produce so much work in the time that they had. Amazing! Fly high, all of you!

Biggest Ever Training Overview

On Tuesday night, we had 47 LUCT students come over to find out about 95% Trainings, and the November Creatives In Progress. Their commitment was impressive - some arrived in Bangsar as early as two hours before time! Just to make sure they won't be late. Many had no idea where we were located but they came anyway and somehow found their way here.

It was great to see so many young and eager students who are still one or two years away from graduating, already taking steps to give themselves an edge. They are serious!

I was also very impressed by our graduates Sue, Joescher, Bisma, Johan and Mahadi who shared their experiences. You guys spoke like pros - no preparation also no sweat wan ah? coool...

A big THANK YOU to everyone, especially Guru Besar, who made it happen that night. And THANK YOU too to all those who have volunteered their time to ease our incredible workload these past two weeks - Bala, Kathie, Andrew, Norman, Bisma, Chris, Sue, Fadzly, Max and our two sexy male secretaries (you know who you are) ... Without you, I wouldn't be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Now I do see it, bright and clear ... YAY! Deep-deep thanks to all of you.

Looking forward to packed classes in November!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

United By A Common Goal

The Terry Fox Run was an amazing demonstration of how strangers who have a common goal are instantly united. As I was pushing Mom, we met an American pushing his mom - and we just started talking and sharing so easily, it was the natural thing to do. Everyone who was involved, from the San Francisco coffee staff who were trying to get me the right size of t-shirts, to the volunteers, to the photgraphers, and other 'runners' - was more than willing to be friendly and helpful each other along. It was only natural.

So if 9,000 strangers can be friendly and supportive to each other because of our common goal to raise funds for cancer research - imagine this... 6 billion people on this planet also have one common goal : to live in peace, love and joy.

I believe this deep desire is what every human being wants, no matter what race, religion or age. Maybe we sometimes forget, or get distracted, or get caught up in the struggle to just simply survive - the most basic need (maslow). If we can remind ourselves, if I can remind myself, that we all have this one common goal then hey, let's unite, reach out and be friends.

As our newly graduated Creatives In Progress once said "Let there be no strangers among us".

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Best Weekend Ever!

My warmest thanks to all of you who sent me birthday wishes : on this blog as well as via sms.
I had a really, really, reeeeally nice weekend.

I didn't go in to 95% at all (thank you guru besar, for checking on me!)
I ate lots - discovered that Fasta Pasta at Ikano serves fresh made pasta ... yum!
lazed in bed lots (with Wabi Sabi)
and made Mom laugh lots!
Perfect weekend.

Terry Fox run was great - very inspiring to see so many people participate. I heard somewhere that 3,000 people took part this year, compared to last year's 400 odd pax. If you want to read up about the event and see some really nice pixes, visit

A photographer Terrence Wong took some photos of us pushing Mom in her wheelchair - when he emails me, I'll put them up.
I actually have lots to share about the incredible event - but gotta go home for dinner now.
No matter how old I am, I still got to answer to my mommy.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Celebrate My Birthday With Me...

Hey, this old auntie will be turning 42 this weekend! Aaaargh ... yes, 42!

Actually, once upon a time, I thought I would be over the hill by the time I hit my 40's. You know, sitting in a rocking chair, knitting, with a cat on my lap ...

But the strange thing is, no matter how old (or young) I am, I think that 'now' is the prime of my life. When I was in my 20's, I thought that was my prime. Same with my 30's. And now, whoohoooo! I'm having more fun, feeling more alive than ever before.

Cool, huh?

Ok, for this year - I'd like to celebrate by gathering as many people as possible to join the Terry Fox run on Sunday 17th Sept. Proceeds go to cancer research. It is an incredible movement started by a young man who was diagnosed with bone cancer way back in 1977. He set up the run 'The Marathon of Hope' in 1980 - and started running even though his right leg was amputated and he was running on an artificial limb. He ran for 143 days until the cancer spread to his lungs. Today, more than twenty years after Terry's demise, his marathon is stil being run around the world!

Click on the title to visit the site.

If you would like to celebrate with me - pls post your confirmation here - and I'll see you at 8am at Lake Gardens this Sunday!

(Eh guru besar and rest of the 95% gang, no need to susah-susah buat surprise party k. Just get off your fat lazy ass and run with auntie (ok, you run, I walk hehehe))

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Is My Dream Really My Dream?

How do I know if the dream I am working towards is really THE dream of my life? When things are bright and smooth sailing, it's easy to take it for granted. But whenever it gets stormy ...

When things get rough, and everything seems impossible - That's when I ask myself the difficult questions. Questions like : Am I being committed to manifesting my vision, or just too plain stubborn and too stupid to wake up and come to my senses? Am I a fool to carry on, or a hero for not giving up?

Do I want it bad enough that I am willing to start over and rebuild, over and over, even if I have to go it alone?

Is this latest obstacle the hurdle that will break me?

How much more can I take?

I believe that these challenges will come and keep coming. If not, there wouldn't be any growth. I remember an old friend Mike Veerapen telling me a long time ago that it doesn't matter what I choose to do - as long as I go the distance with it. See it all the way through to the very end (whatever 'the end' is). It is only a vehicle for me to experience my ability to grow with it. He compared it to raising a child : the challenges of bringing up a baby, toddler, and teen are all very different. And it is the same with running a business.

I understand now what he means.

And I am grateful for all the various challenges that have come my way.

I am clearer about my dream now. I understand now, why I don't want to do trainings at home, under a tree (this suggestion has been hurled at me many times - why so stupid to maintain a large training centre?!).

My dream is to build a business on a foundation of my own values : Peace, Love, Joy, Honour and Integrity. I stand for the Spirituality in every being - I believe that people are good through and through - how do I know? Because we are all one.

I want to prove that it works! My way appears to be quite different from the norm - compared to the stereotypical boss, many of the things I do would appear too softy-soft and not money-minded enough. Will it bring in profits? I honestly don't know. I think so, and I want to do everything I can to find out.

THIS is what I am willing to commit myself to. And I'm going to keep on, no matter how difficult or lonely it feels. Maybe (hopefully) being stubborn is not such a bad thing after all.

Here are some quotes that give me strength.
Hope they inspire you too ...

Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

If you're going through hell, keep going.

The secret of success is constancy to purpose.

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.

Monday, September 04, 2006

My Idea Of A Perfect World

In this current intake of Creatives In Progress, we've been discussing the joys and wonders of people from different racial, religious and cultural backgrounds seeing similarities in each other - and becoming friends.

Incredible thing is, while we were in the midst of discussing this in class yesterday afternoon - at the same time, my husband was sharing an article which is the perfect demonstration of what we were tallking about. And he was sharing it with his American best friend. Another perfect demonstration!

I have pasted the article here as I think this is an amazing example of how we can experience and express love and universal oneness... It's a blog entry (posted by a Malay Muslim journalist - Azlan) that says something about multi-racial & multi-religious existance in Malaysia.

It was recently recorded in a Malaysian socio-political blog site about the passing away of the Chief Buddhist Monk of Malaysia, the Venerable Dr K. Sri Dhammananda Nayaka Maha Thera. He passed away on 31s August 2006, the day of the Malaysian Independance.

This article was also featured in New Straits Times yesterday.

Enjoy ...


AS a news reporter with The Malay Mail between 1994 and 2005, I met Rev. Dhammananda several times – usually during Wesak Day celebrations he led at the Buddhist Maha Vihara (temple) in Brickfields and a few other occasions.

Every time I bumped into him, I only asked a few questions just to get some quotes for my news report. Never did I have a proper conversation with him. I regret that now.

I'd like to share what to me was a very special experience during one of my meetings with him.

It was on Christmas Day in 1998 when my Assistant News Editor assigned me to cover a Christmas party for some 200 underprivileged children. It was quite a news-worthy item to cover as it was held at the vihara (Buddhist temple) in Brickfields, organised by a group of Christians, the Santa Claus was a Hindu and the contributor for all the balloons adorning the party area was a Muslim!

But what I will remember of that day forever was what the Reverend said and did.

You see, Dec '98 was also the month of Ramadhan, where (many) Muslims like me were fasting. By the time I arrived at the vihara, it was 6.30pm and many children were already playing around, taking photos with Santa and being entertained by a clown, among others.

At about 15 minutes before 7-something pm (buka puasa time), I was busy thinking of where to go for my dinner - either the nearby Kentucky Fried Chicken or a roadside teh tarik stall, both within walking distances from the vihara.

The Reverend, the vihara's religious advisor back then, must have been observing me. He walked up to me and, as if he had read my mind, calmly said: "Young man, don't think too much. You can buka puasa here. I will accompany you."

I agreed in a split second. He solved my problem!

"Please forgive us. We only have vegetarian dishes here," he humbly and smilingly added, while leading me to a dining table somewhere in the vihara's premises.

I was speechless. He brought me right down to earth with those few simple words. Even if there were only cookies served with lots of plain water at the vihara, I'll be happy enough.

So, there we were, sitting at the dining table, together with a few other priests in their saffron robes and a spread of vegetarian dishes was laid out in front of us.

As I was making sure my wristwatch was accurate, the Reverend took out a small pocket radio transistor from somewhere, turned it on and tuned in to a Bahasa Malaysia radio station.

As scheduled, the muezzin recited the call for the evening prayer through the little speaker, which also marked the moment to break fast.

"Go ahead, Azlan," he told me to start first. Only after I had my first gulp of water for the day, did he and the other priests start eating. I was honoured and humbled at the same time.

The fact that I didn't go to KFC or the the tarik stall wasn't because I didn't know how to turn down the Chief High Priest of Malaysian and Singaporean Theravada Buddhists' dinner invitation. It was buka puasa in a Buddhist temple for me, during a Christmas party! How cool was that, eh?

Seriously, the Reverend's humble gestures greatly raised my respect and admiration for him. During that brief encounter with him, my personal tolerance and understanding towards other people's faiths, beliefs and cultures was greatly altered, for the better.

In less than an hour of dining together, his simple acts of humility made me a better person, more open-minded and drastically changed, for the better, my ways of looking at the world I live in.

It was a small but very refreshing respite for this one tired reporter near the end of that very colourful and turbulent year – street 'Reformasi' protests, KL Commonwealth Games, the horrible smog and the Asian economic crisis, among many others.

To me, the Rev. Dhammananda was a great Buddhist and more importantly, a great human being.

Malaysia and its Buddhist community have lost a very special person.

With much sadness, I bid farewell to him.