Friday, January 19, 2007

Mom's 80th Birthday

My mother will celebrate her 80th birthday this Sunday, 21st January 2007.

Still radiantly healthy and full of spunk, this lady has been a huge role model for me. When I was a little girl, I used to follow her to her Red Crescent office (she was Secretary General).

I was there with her when the May 13th Emergency struck. I remember we had to spend the night there and then sneak home in an ambulance the next day. Mom didn't sleep for about a week during that time. She was busy running the ambulance and rescue operations.

There were reports flying in, about people being shot at, killed, massacred. People were stranded with no food or water. Mom heard that one of the volunteers had been shot at, and it was a narrow miss. That volunteer turned out to be my dad!

Mom stayed at the Red Crescent HQ for almost a week. When she finally came home, she found herself confronted with a sea of camping bodies - neighbours, relatives and friends who had come to take refuge in our home. So she had to organise our home as well. And she did it all with her usual calm and loving way - fussing over every little detail and painstakingly working out each system and process until it was smooth as clockwork.

I remember she would get phone calls in the middle of the night (I was the baby of the family, and only girl, so I used to sleep in Mom & Dad's bedroom) - and she would have to quickly pack a bag and fly by helicopter to wherever the flood or disaster was.

I remember when Highland Towers collapsed. She was directing operations on the scene of course. And even though she had friends inside the collapsed apartment block, she kept her head about her. She came home and told us how one friend came running up to her and said in tears, that his wife was still inside. It tore her heart, but there was nothing she could do. She had to be strong and steady and mastermind all the operations there.

Can you imagine the strength of this lady?

I wanted to have this all done up by Sunday - but was kept busy by mom. I'll progressively update this throughout the week. Meanwhile, her little birthday dinner on Saturday night was a simple and sweet affair. Looking forward to her 90th birthday now!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A new Ad Agency called RELIGION

I think this is a brilliant concept. Singaporean Creative Guru Francis Wee (who has won every gold award in the world!) has opened up his own agency and given it a controversial name. Controversial but with a great reason! Brilliant!

Read all about it in ADOI - click on the title.

I think this exactly where advertising is heading these days. Just limiting ideas to tv and print won't work anymore, and more and more people have caught on and changed their way of thinking. Advertising is evolving so fast, so exciting, almost wish I was still in agency. Almost ...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Men & Women

I once heard this saying "Men love with their eyes, women love with their ears". At first I thought it meant that men are attracted to the physical charms of a woman, while women fall for men who say beautiful words.

Later I realised that while this has some truth, there is a deeper meaning (at least from my POV) : men LOOK at the women they care for, searching for signs of approval, happiness, and well-being. Women LISTEN to the men they care about, seeking to understand them better.

When I come home after a long day, my husband will look deeply into my face and he gets all the info he needs in order to know if I've had a good day or lousy one. But I need to hear him speak about his day in order to know.

Both got good intentions, but sometimes, it can cause conflict. Women get accused of 'taking words and twisting them'. Maybe men are careless about their choice of words only because to them, words are not important. And women get so frustrated when the men they love won't talk about deep and meaningful stuff. Men cringe whenever a woman says "we need to talk". And they freak out when they see a woman cry.

Ironic isn't it - both also care, but the different methods can sometimes drive each other nuts.

I remember a short story written by Adrian Miller that was published in one of the Silverfish compilations. In his story, the man comes home and makes a shocking announcement to his wife, then gets extremely upset (to the point of breaking up) because she showed her upset - or rather, she tried to hide her shock by putting on a mask and making herself busy - but of course, the man can SEE right through it.

I've experienced this many times - bad enough I am expected to cope with bad news or harsh criticism (feedback is neutral, criticism is judgemental and vicious), I also have to put on a face that shows nothing but love and understanding. Gggrrr...

Am I an alien for thinking this? Anyone else have this kind of experience?

Friday, January 12, 2007

Our Largest Intake Graduates Tonight

17 participants will complete their 8-week training at 95% tonight. After all they have been through, it will be a pleasure and an honour to see them graduate. They have every reason to feel proud of their achievements and growth.

If you are reading this, and you'd like to come and share this celebration with us, please come. We'd love to have you. Just give Chris a call at 03-2287 7095.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

In bed with Wabi

For about a week after we put the new furniture in our bedroom, Wabi wouldn't come in. While I was happily enjoying the 'new furniture' smell, he was avoiding it.

Like many people, he doesn't like change.

Anyway, he eventually got used to it and started spending more and more time with me. My escape now is to hide in bed and blog or watch video (you MUST checkout Heroes! Very, very nail-bitingly good!) and of course Wabi joins me.

For a few nights in a row, I went to sleep early with Wabi. Then when Sonny came down, I'd wake up and we'd both laugh at how he's sleeping. Then we'd poke and pull the fella, twist him around, stretch him out, and throw the blanket over him. And he wouldn't move! He has a strange habit of sleeping anyway - belly up and twisted around. Or under pillows or the carpet. Strange fella.

Then we grabbed the camera and started taking photos. All the while, Sonny was shaking his head saying "No cat behaves like that. No cat will let you do this to cat..." (ok Shahnaz I know you call him a cow - but I think no cow would let us do that either)

Dear Wabi Sabi, sooooooo cute. As I write this, he's already snoozing, looking innocent and angelic with nose buried in between his paws, still right side up. For now ...

Sonny, where are the photos??? Email to me laa, I wanna put on ma blog!

Being on time

Just did the first day of a 2-day training for a group of Senior Management people (including GM, and CEO). It was a big group, about 13 - 14 pax in all, and I had not done a training for such a large group of Senior Mgmt before.

The first surprise was that at 9.00am (the time the training was meant to start), 10 pax were already in their seats. At 9.02, another two walked in and we started. Wow, they have certainly learnt something about honouring time keeping. Maybe that's why they climbed up to Senior Mgmt!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Passion to Write

If you love writing, check out this site Click on the title. Then come back here and tell me what you think. Thanks!

Monday, January 01, 2007

A good start to 2007

Yesterday was a really nice new year's eve. Sonny and I decided to re-decorate our bedroom, clearing out the old ancient furniture and making space for nice cupboards and bookcases (we are both bookworms).

So we went off to Ikea. We got there pretty early - just before 12 noon and it was already packed! Then we did the smart thing - we ate first hehehe. With a bellyful of FastaPasta, we were all charged up to shop.

Found nice stuff, at ok prices and then I ran off to get a trolley. Hmmm, there were no more. So I waited. And waited. And a queue started building up behind me. The place was packed with shoppers! I think it was at least 20 minutes before any trolleys came. While waiting, I started chatting with the man behind me and another old lady. Chatting about nothing really, but it made the waiting nicer, and it made me feel human.

Finally, I got a trolley and managed to manoeuvre it back to where Sonny was waiting. We loaded it up and started queuing to pay. Another long wait. Then we went to arrange for home delivery : our number was 200, and the number being served was 127. Ok, more waiting...

We decided to load the rest of our stuff in my little Kelisa first and then come back. After Sonny heroically used the weight-lifting skills he learnt way back in uni to load our new cupboards, we went back up the waiting area - and found that the number being served was 135.


Sonny went off to look for his current favourite book "The World Is Flat" while I settled down on the trolley. I curled up and just waited. Funny, I didn't feel impatient. I was at peace, happy to just watch people and be with my own thoughts. The time was 3pm. I was surprised that we had spent so much time there already. My plan was to get home as early as possible and start fixing the stuff up. It's not often I have the mood to clean up and I didn't want to waste it.

But somehow, I wasn't anxious or stressed. I was in a happy bubble. I would listen to the people around me and we'd just smile to each other. They all became familiar to me. Eventually, we waited til 4.20 before our number came up. By that time, I felt so familiar with everyone there already - like we have become one small community. Isn't it strange? I think human beings by nature are communal creatures. And it is possible to be so connected to a crowd of strangers, even without saying a word to anyone.

Then I got rewarded for my patience and peace : Ikea wanted to deliver our stuff that day itself. Whoohooo... we can get our room ready all at once now! Yay!

When I got home at about 5pm, I was thinking that it would be nice if life could be like that every day : I wake up committed to do the important things. Do it without getting upset at hiccups. And then receive an unexpected reward. How nice. Perfect!

Later that evening, we went out with Mom and Dad. Dad's freemason lodge was holding their annual Ladies' Night on New Year's Eve so it would be a double celebration.

The lodge is an amazing thing. It is for men only. They meet once a month and practise strange rituals and ceremonies that are shrouded in secrecy. No outsider knows what they do. Dad once said there are two topics which are not allowed under their roof : religion and politics. And there are two criteria for men who want to join : must believe that there is a Higher Power (even if they don't call him God) and must have a trade or craft. At one of their functions, I heard them say their objective is to make 'a good man better'. They call each other 'brethren'.

Well, from what I have seen over the years, the men are very much like brothers. There is some kind of commitment to look after each other's families. When mom was hospitalised after her stroke, they would come and visit. Mom and I don't even know some of them, but they would come and sit with us or pray with us. There have been hints and subtle signs of their unspoken bond to each other. I think it's a good thing.

Last night at their Ladies night, it felt like a huge family gathering. Very warm and full of laughter. Very nice.

We came home just before the countdown and watched MPPJ's firework display from our balcony. Mom, Dad, Sonny, our maid Robena, Wabi and me. Then we hugged and kissed each other and happily went to bed. Nice...

I wish you a Hppy New Year. May you always see the Blessings around you, feel the Love that surrounds you, and may you receive as generously as you give.