Sunday, January 17, 2010

BIG question about "Living Your Dream" - HOW?

I have dreams - big and small. I am still young so I can't be bragging about being very successful but I have one thing worth sharing - I am living my dreams. I have wanted to be recognised due to desire for self-expression (which I blogged about here) and I have achieved what I wanted and more.

Desiring for recognition? I have got the Selangor Youth Award at 26 by the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Great Woman of Our Time Award at 28 by the Malaysian Women Weekly (youngest recipient so far), Lions Club District 308-B1 Distinguished Service Award and due recognition for the good deeds I have done. And I was doing all these for ONE main objective at that time - to proof to my aunt that Chew family can also be successful.

I have done my works, reached my objective after 15 long years. That made me suddenly thought "So, what's next?" My journey of self-discovery last year revolved around understanding myself better and eventually I have wanted to become a successful emcee, speaker and trainer. I wrote about my emceeing dream here.

I have quit my job beginning of the year and currently doing really good and loving my daily life because of my desire for freedom and to do what I want. I am emceeing in many events now, the recent acknowledgment was by a master in Sun Tzu Art of War saying I am the "gold medal" emcee!

I list down just a few points to share on HOW to live your dreams.

Do Good
The FIRST thing you can do to yourself and others. Doing good, keeping no regrets and living every moment at least it will be the last. Of course, I have regrets here and there but in the last few years I have lived my life without too much regrets that I couldn't sleep at night. It is interesting to note that this phrase 'DO GOOD" itself is easier said than done however we can start small by saying thank you when someone hold the lifts' door for us, smile at a stranger or just help a person who has dropped something.

Keep expenses to the lowest, commitment lowest, have substantial savings, and if you decide to be in debt - make sure can cover it in short term, a maximum of 5 years. Bad debts, to be exact!

Having my financial controlled meaning I can quit my job anytime. I work in a company knowing I am not doing it solely for money but for passion, commitment, learning and having that strong sense of responsibility. I treat the company as mine and I work as if I am the boss so that whenever I make a decision, I will always put the company as top priority - never for self-interest. So when there are people asking me why things get done - this is the main reason! If you work for money, chances are your daily work will be moaning around not enough money, no pay raise, no bonus and therefore work efficiency reduces which in turn - no raise no bonus!

This does not mean I am conservative in spending, in fact I am in the "spender" group, I would say I am not the frugal type. Ask any of my friends, they say I spend like I have millions. I enjoy "luxury" enjoyments like savouring Chinese tea, good liquor and even cigar at times! I love my gold coins collection and of course now building my property collection.

I was introduced to finance only when first reading Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. I would say it took me more than 2 years to change my mindset about money - something set in the mind by parents and guardians since young - you just gotta change it and do it! Many people do not have that guts to even start, therefore I recommend starting somewhere and now is the best time! Go attend a course or two - if it is free course, attend as many as possible! Even if it says "free previews", go attend because you will learn something.

Be True to Self
I grew up as a popular person everywhere I go. In primary school - the naughtiest! In secondary school - the loudest! I was commander for foot drill, school is so small so it will be difficult to contain your voice in that small environment. With that popularity, it was difficult to be myself. I was wearing a "mask" out everyday trying to be someone. It all stopped when I finally suffocated myself and then I said, "Let me be myself". From the day I removed my "mask" I felt great, the whole burden was lifted from me and I just be myself. There is nothing more you can give to yourself when you are yourself.

I speak directly, very straightforward, no nonsense but I appreciate sense of humor, laugh loudly and heartily! I am the most direct and straightforward person, some may be offended but I care less to think about offending who because in the end, I am responsible for myself and my mouth.

Be Contented, but not Complacency
Be contented with what you have - that's the only thing we can do daily to have what we have! I am very satisfied with my life. I have (more than) enough to eat, 2 wardrobes of clothes which I try to wear till they all tear but they could last for years! I have a good home, eventhough is rented, I have calculated the finance to justify renting. The furnitures at home enough, I have a collection of tea which could last me for at least 40 years, a good few bottles of liquor and red wine, I love making my house everyday now!

However, do have achievable goals every year and slightly challenging ones so to make your daily lives an interesting one - something that makes you jump out of bed every morning! Do not be too contented till complacency takes over.

Is not difficult to list down at least 5 things you are grateful for at the end of the night. The food you eat, the air you breath, the people who have hurt you so you grow to be a better person, things that do not get along because it helps you patience, the every little things that you have - APPRECIATE it. Say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU everyday. In fact, about a quarter ago, I started typing THANK YOU only in capital letters, even in emails. Because it is a BIG THANK YOU!

This is the single attribute that makes me jump out of bed every morning. Appreciating that I am still breathing when I wake up.

Take Chances
Quitting my job is not easy. I had about RM14,000 debts when I made the decision, I have no plans yet at that time - all I knew is I want to emcee but no jobs yet. I also want to go around to speak on organ donation but all these are for free, I also would like to be a trainer which I am now pursuing the Napoleon Hill certified trainer course (new trainer, what do you expect?) I want to invest in property but I went for 7 auctions last year only got one property so the income is not enough. But I just needed to take the chance!

I think that my bold step and courage is right because I am free. I felt that I have a "too heavy" sense of responsibility. When I am working for others, I must get things done therefore I am burdening myself when things are not done especially when decisions lies in your bosses' hands - which sometimes decisions were never made - making me madder! This heavy sense of responsibility also proven when I took the current project with Money Compass making me feel stressful when my objectives are not reached. But all good - I learnt a lot of things.

Therefore, this year I would like to take out the things that burden me - ie my job and do what I do not feel burden on - my passion. Being an emcee, speaking and training!

Is OK to Work for Free
Yes it is. In fact, this "work for free" attitude is what built me to who I am today. ALL organizations that I have joined and served are all working for free. I remember starting working for free for many people, including being the ex-secretary to Dato' Sri Ong Tee Keat. This attitude has generated more "income" than ever - even if it is not in monetary terms. It built a stronger character, learnt much more, communications skills and knowing the inside out of things.

This principle of not working for money is in line with the "financial" pointer I have above.

Once in a while or shall I say, all the time - think of GIVING! It is not just giving money. You can give more efforts to your work by doing something extra or help a colleague finishes his or her tasks. You can give your time to the old and orphaned. You can volunteer to clean your house (as in giving your family something). You can offer to cook a meal - give!

In my case, I did a super bold step to give my liver! Looking back, I have not figured out why I did that in the first place.

Play a game or two
At times we just needed to relax. Play a game or two - sports or just computer games! I was a fan of Luna Online after seeing my 50-year old mother playing CQ Online. Hey, my mom playing online games! Now, I am a fan of Farmville on facebook. Interesting how the game comes with the concept of giving and paying it forward.

Hunger to Learn
I need to relook at this and return to the always hunger to learn. I must say I have this attitude with me since schooldays making me eager to learn in many ways even trying to learn as much as I can. Now, as I grow older, I must admit there is a little "ego" in me that made me slow down a bit. As I am writing this blog, I am renewing my energy and hunger to learn.

Appreciate laughters
I laugh loudly and heartily. Some people said it was because of my ear is not functional on the left therefore I speak louder and laugh louder. True to a sense but I just appreciate good laughters. I was very serious in school. To me, being a commander for foot drill in school does not help - everything was serious, you can't laugh when in line, we were basically not just drilled on foot but drilled like any military man - therefore the tough and often rough me!

I read a self improvement book at teen age which says humor is good. I was lousiest when it comes to humor. No one at home has said good jokes - everything was so serious, my aunt was a disciplinarian. At school in class, teachers are not good jokers. How the heck am I going to learn humor. You just gotta start and since you are starting somewhere, why not NOW!? So I started to learn a few jokes and slowly blend in every conversation. Lame jokes included at first but then it improves! Do not be afraid of copying others jokes - is just for laughs anyway and laughs we should - always!

I think if you ask my friends now, I should be the one who talks a lot and laugh a lot but more to it, making people laugh the most! Agree?

So, live your dreams - is easy - you just need the first step and the first step should be TODAY. Having the slightest intention to do it is already a good start.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

TODAY is Our FIRST Anniversary

14th January will always be a date to remember. It is now 7.08am as I typed this blog. It was a chilly morning a year before. I was alone in the hospital ward in Gleneagles Singapore, bathed and waiting for my family members to come accompany me to the operation theater (OT).

The hospital attendant came in first with a bed, intended for me to lie on it and then be pushed to the OT. I called my mommy who has arrived earlier yesterday from Ipoh, Malaysia and asked if she is coming. I felt so lonely then. The sky was still dark and the air-conditioning made this kialeng (afraid of cold) lady shiver a bit. The sight of the attendant with the bed was not welcomed as I have expected my family instead.

A year ago, I gave part of my liver away, 60% to be exact, to save a 13-year old girl. Her name was Lee An Qi (pronounce "Chi"). I was wanting to do something today. It was a day I wanted to celebrate the "victory" of conquering her illness which led to a liver transplant. It was a day that I gave new lease of life to someone. I even told her family that we are going to celebrate this day every single year, it will be our year of celebration and we should have dinner together.

Little did we know that she passed away only merely after 8 months of operation. It wasn't that my liver failed in her - it was due to lungs infections.

I wanted to celebrate this day with a launch of a mascot for organ donation. Apparently, it seems to be difficult to get to the Ministry of Health for such approval. Or shall I say I did not try hard enough though. I didn't want to mess with red tapes and protocol but just that it should be done in a correct way. However, seems like the people in the ministry did not buy in to the idea for now. So, I have decided not to launch it.

My objective was pretty simple, direct and some said, naive. I wanted to increase organ pledges in Malaysia, period. To cut the long story short, I will just do my work. Simple.

I find myself now more relaxed and taking my life easier, unlike last time I will fight my way through it to get things done. I told myself, since my intention is to get more organ pledges, I can slowly influence friends and family members to do it first. Eventually the news will spread and more and more people will pledge organs - and my objective reached. So, why mess with the ministry when I can do that myself? In the end, it will not worth my energy, time and effort so why not concentrate my full energy time and effort towards reaching my objective?

I appreciate friends who have helped me and a few even gave cash contributions which I should return soon. I will still maintain with its blog and website but will not make it a hoo-haa until the time is right. I want to thank Anas for giving his advice, attention, energy and even getting his PA to help in this launch which never did launched!

Dortie, a mascot for organ donation, which is acronym for Donate Organ Today, Inspire Everyone! It was supposed to be a mascot for me and a website to accompany the book I am writing about my journey but I thought to bring it to the national level. And the naive me forgot everything about the red tapes with governments.

Anyway, back to January 14th. My Dad asked yesterday if I was launching Dortie. I said nope and just kept quiet. He solemnly look at me in my eyes, sighed and said, "If only An Qi was still alive, we should have celebrated today." It was sad for me and my family. I am crying as I type this, it seems sad to me that An Qi passed on although I have always said that it is good for her. She has suffered bone cancer and then lungs infection, getting in and out the hospital for almost 2 years was stressful for her.

Did I regret or feel wasted? NO! In fact as a friend said, even giving life to another person for another minute will be very meaningful, what more she got 8 months.

But as much as I have saved her, she has given me much more! She has given back my life as I now stopped many organizations I joined and eventually focus on spreading organ donation awareness. I also gained my health back and time with family.

Our story has also inspired more people donating organs which saved even more lives. Our story will sooner or later inspire more people to pledge organs, more than what we think we could reach. Although not with us now, An Qi will surely be the person who has left a legend in helping promote organ donation awareness. And I will live with the mission to increase organ pledges so eventually our story helps save lives!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Setitik nila rosak susu sebelanga

I was not at all interested in writing anything in regards of the burning of churches last night because I felt that it is really an act of skxawng, nothing more than too-free-after-makan acts to burn some fiery feelings or maybe why not, burn some buildings? And also, is nothing related to Buddhists like me so, why write?

I didn't even want to put more energy into this issue as I always believe that where the energy goes - it expands. So why waste energy there, why focus on issues when we want to unite? I even posted on my facebook status "just saw Lifebuoy soap advertisement on TV - interviewed a Malay, Chinese and an Indian on the effectiveness of soaps. WOW! Even TV ad uses multi lingual, multi ethnic concept. That's how it should be! That's the way, I like it!"

However, Pah Nur's blog changed my mind. She asked all brothers and sisters irregardless of religion to stay united in this issue. A few friends asked of my opinion, then when I was at zubedy's office today, Anas asked 3 times "Are you writing on the burning of the church?" (tiga kali wooo...) so Ok la... tulis sikit la...

As Buddhists, we do not even fire back when someone destroy a Buddha's statue or a temple because we know that the teachings of Buddha lies in our hearts and we practise them in daily lives. A Buddha statue or a temple is a place of worship and an image to let us know who our teacher is. NOT acting in the name of revenge is WISDOM, the essence of Buddha's teachings. While we believe in "protecting" the Buddha, the Dhamma (Buddha's teachings) and the Sangha (monks and nuns), we also know that "Takkan agama Buddha lenyap di dunia" (as in Takkan Melayu lenyap di dunia, la!) so why so kan cheong? Somehow, I heard someone said that Buddha himself predicted that there will be no Buddhism in the future also, so why so kan cheong?

I believe the Christians are wise enough to be calm and stay loving to their "enemies" - essence of Christianity! How beautiful can religions be and how situations can really test our actions and real practise!

Well, this does not mean that I am blaming those who burnt the churches are not wise. In fact, whether is for good or for bad, wise or unwise, somehow it could be related to this incident that many did not turn up to protest after Friday's prayer today. Thanks to them who puts the fire, no?

I find it amusing that warnings after warnings were issued when there was sign of Hindraf demonstrating at the streets. But when people want to protest because of the "Allah" name, our Prime Minister Najib said he can't stop the protest.

Well, sebab setitik nila rosak susu sebelanga, sebab satu perkataan bakarlah beberapa gereja. It just show how unwise these people could react to one single word. I would say that the acts of just a tiny "drop" of people has made Islam, a beautiful religion of great Peace, a bad name, at least in Malaysia for now. We have also seen what the "drop" did during 911.

Wiser Malaysians can see that such an act is NOT the teachings of Islam, much far away from the practise of any religion. I don't think I will reproduce what other Muslim bloggers have on what the Quran says in this matter. There are many here:
Pah Nur's opinion
Anas' quoting the Quran
Art Harun's

And I always like Marina's la... She focuses on what is to be done NOW, not the pointing of fingers, brooding the past which can't be changed. Marina's suggestions... I like the suggestion on getting Muslims to clean the churches, cool idea!

A few of my friends really condemn Islam and accused the beautiful religion for the burning of churches. For these friends, I advise having more friends of different ethnics and religions so that you understand your friends better. Even better, understand their religions and culture.

Yesterday when Anas' presented a talk - he suggested non-Malays to read the Quran, buy a peribahasa book to read and... err.. aiyo need to "repair" my memory. All those I did but funny thing was... he said non-Chinese should read Tao Te Ching and... errr.. (repair memory)... which I never even touched that before!!! Am I the OCBC?

As my blog title suggests - it was only that "drop" of followers that spoil the name of Islam. And my sharing of other blogs here proved that there are so many Muslims actually condeming the act of burning the churches as well. Let us not be the skxawng to point fingers and simply conclude that Islam is *****...

May all be well and happy always!

skxawng - moron in Navi's language
kan cheong - nervous (in Cantonese)

Monday, January 4, 2010

The word "Allah"

I am intrigued by comments on the recent ruling by the High Court to allow the use of the word "Allah" by Herald. These are a few articles supporting it while there are some skxawng** mourning for the "loss".

Asri: "Manusia memang patut panggil Tuhan dengan panggilan Allah"

Allah, the Bible, Christians and Muslims by Anas Zubedy

By far, I like this blog the most:
Confident people do not get confused by Marina Mahathir

As some could have guessed, yes the appeal is coming, too. And let's continue seeing the drama.

Whatever it is, it does not matter for me as I am a Buddhist and we believe in the teachings of Buddha (not Buddha). If all of us could just FOLLOW the teachings of our own religions, could there be no arguments on God and the names to call God?

Ain't all religions teach us to be good? And how could "be good" - such a simple term to follow - could be so difficult to do? I once asked many many many questions about the "technicalities" in Buddhism - such as why there are monks who are not vegetarian, how do we justify karma when we can't see it, can anyone prove reincarnation, why this, why that... till a point that a monk finally advised me - Buddha taught us the noble truths, middle way and the basic 5 precepts. If any Buddhist can just follow these simple ways, he is a true Buddhist whether he knows the answers to those questions or not.

All religions teach us to be good. Are we all good yet?

**skxawng (to understand the Na'Vi language, click here - too obsessed watching Avatar!)