Thursday, December 29, 2011

I was offered..... (And it takes courage)

I appreciate thus far to take bold courageous moves in my life. There were many times I couldn't believe I took the courage to do things I was offered.

In school, I was offered.... To be a prefect. I've NEVER thought I could assume a role which could be considered a leader in school. I was naughty, I punched my kindergarten teacher, slapped my primary school teacher and argued with my headmistress. No one would ever think I can lead but that's where my turning point was...

I was offered.... To assume roles in youth organisations and I did well. In fact I founded Pandan Jaya Neighbourhood Watch, numerous programs and recently the Voice of Women.

I was offered.... An opportunity to save a live, a stranger whom I didn't know. Now as I looked back, I really didn't know how I said yes but I'm glad I did. It was the best joy of giving I had in life.

I was offered.... An opportunity to publish my book. Anas helped me. And I'm so glad that the book had now inspired many and helped many people make decision to pledge their organs.

I was offered... To work with Dato Sri Ong Tee Keat. Learnt a lot to WALK THE TALK. I've been talking about organ donation for 16 years and it was time for me to DO IT and I did it while I'm alive.

I've learnt that it is less valuable to talk (or in this technology world, tweet/FB) but it is important to PARTICIPATE in the decision making process and make a difference. I learnt that those who only tweet/update FB but dare not, will not or better not participate to DO SOMETHING has no relevance.

Think! You only talk but dare not take up the challenge to work on things which could benefit people. At the very least, give suggestions to make things better - not just talk and condemn at all times. I've openly stated this opinion even in the mass media.

And then.... I was offered
To contest in the election. My first response to it - THREE BIG NO... No No No! It wasn't until long 'lectures' from friends and rethinking my earlier paragraph of this blog, thinking deeply I actually said no to THREE things.

I said No because I still enjoy people saying good things about me - who doesn't? I said NO because I don't think I want to work as hard as politicians who really served the people. And I said NO because I didn't want to associate with a party, a President or a coalition many people said was dirty, tainted and losing touch.

Yet the biggest NO was because I was just chickening out. I asked myself again and again, how long can I live in a wonderland? And as dirty a party is, why not I be in it to clean it? Why must I get into it and get dirty myself? As much as I've always been talking about how dirty politics is, what have I done to reverse it and what have I done to make a difference?

Given another chance I'll say Yes Yes Yes. It doesn't matter if people say I'm dirty, I'm losing grounds/sanity, accusing me of being a betrayer, accusing me of being in politics for self gains, accusing me of choosing the wrong party wrong President. I will say yes for THREE big reasons.

I want to serve ad that's what I've always been doing. I'd say yes again because I want people to know that talking is cheap, doing something takes courage. And I truly believe I can make a difference because I've done it.

I already realised even giving my liver invited negative responses, what more being in politics and especially with one with a President some people think is tainted? So be it, I know what I want and most importantly what I want to achieve. If you'd like to support me, please give me constant reminders NOT to be 'like them'. I think you guys understand what I mean.

I recall a ZEN comic.
Student: Teacher, you are so noble you should go to heaven
Teacher: I will go to hell
Student: Why so?
Teacher: It is so dirty in hell, if I don't go to hell, who will help them?
Student: Bow
Things just happen, the rest is up to ME to make it GREAT!

Hoong Ling

Sent from my BlackBerry® Smartphone

Friday, December 23, 2011

Tokleh tehe: In Malaysia you cannot even admit your mistakes openly

I have never said I am a total neutral. I am always a BN supporter but I also criticise BN if I think what they do is too much. Yet, there are times I also agree a lot with the PR for certain things done right. I am always a centrist leaning towards BN all these while if all you have not yet noticed.

Many close friends know well I am a BN fellow.

Therefore, while I attended many functions within DAP, PKR and the Selangor government, I was still a member of a party within BN coalition. I have friends from both coalition and during Tenang By-Election, I even attended both BN and PR camps!

Ask anyone, I have always invited both the coalition in things I do, particularly instrumental as the ONLY one who would interviewed YB Chang Lih Kang, YB Elizabeth Wong during the Youth Lab, listed among others Nurul Izzah and Nik Nazmi as politic youth icons in my reports.

Yet, when I invited Dato' Sri Dr Chua Soi Lek as a speaker in Kahwin4.0 Youth Forum, all sorts of comments come about. They forgot that their enemy could be Soi Lek himself, but they dragged me into it by calling me "losing political neutrality", "losing dignity". Kahwin4.0 is a youth forum and a forum initiated by myself. I think I hold the rights to invite any leaders I feel worth a discussion.

Funny thing was, these comments only come from people who have NOT attended the forum! They did not know WHAT Kahwin4.0 stands for, they did not know what Kahwin4.0 is all about and they did not know WHY Soi Lek was chosen. Yet, many assumed it was a marriage talk, accusing how Soi Lek could talk about marriage and all kinds of "women should not invite Soi Lek to any events"

And yet, DURING the forum, I was literally SHOCKED to see women walking passed our venue of event voluntarily wanting to listen to the very man people said was TAINTED. Another shocker came when a female would stood up and said "This is the first time I met you and I have all the respect for you for your dignity to take responsible for what you have done and resigned at that time." And after the event, I have this cool duckie said this:

Had fair share of accusements, finger pointing, names calling, tweet "siege" (????) and bombarded by many!

By organising this close door (close door some more!!) youth forum alone, even my friends could call me "losing political neutrality" just because of one event. Never finding out who wrote the website content - by taking a look at it, I was accused as too complimentary in the content towards the man we invited.

Now I understand that a friend could be otherwise just because you invite his opponent/enemy or someone he dislikes, to an event. Now where did common sense or friendship go?

I sometimes hated people but I have never lose respect by calling names or pass certain remarks despite how bad the person has been to me. I recall a person whom I can still may never be able to forgive but yet I still respect all his achievements and accomplishments. Even till now, when someone bad mouth about him, I will still say the good things he has done.

Just like my cute yellow duckie friend said... On a professional level we respect Soi Lek... but his personal life is not for us to judge. All of us made mistakes and have our own idiosyncrasies.

This man had the dignity to admit his mistake OPENLY, dealt with his family members and resigned. Who in Malaysia has done the same, please raise your hands and you could be someone I'd like to interview too. :)

Come constant accusing.... I will invite the man to more events! Thank you friends who gave me a good birthday lesson.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

How to vote during elections

I read Anas' blog with interest, not because he has my name in it but because it provoke thoughts and encourage people to think how to vote.

His blog post here

For me I'd vote for individuals who could do good for the country regardless of parties.

Some criteria I'm looking at are:

1. DO something
I'd look for past track records of a candidate and see if he or she has done a noble cause or at least a project to benefit the community. Doing a project does not mean just funding it or attending as a Guest of Honor. Personally manage a project from the beginning till it produces results and benefit the people. Because we have too many politicians who can talk and talk and talk but just CANNOT DO things. Therefore first thing first - someone who have done something. I don't care if the project failed as long as he has tried. If the project failed, better still! And he must learn from the mistakes.

2. Consistency in his beliefs
I always believe politicians who fight for a cause consistently is better than those who speak of an issue just to seek popularity. It is perfectly OK that he changes his stand upon learning some new facts or adapt his stand to current situations but he must fight it consistently.

3. Socially advocate, commercially sustainability
I'm a strong believer of social enterprise, social businesses and corporate for social good. I don't think any social organisation can survive at this situation without having sustainability factor. Thus, my candidate cannot keep fighting for social good but never think of commercial values or sustainability of it. I've seen so many politicians going against commercially viable companies or detest to businesses. To them businesses are for greedy corrupt people but to me, it sustain the economy, give jobs and if it is a social business it gives social impact.

4. Very universal and accepted by all races and communities
He or she must believe in the 1Malaysia spirit, Malaysian Malaysia or whatever you call it. Someone who the Malays feel comfortable with, the Chinese feel represented, the Indians feel secured with him.

5. Down to earth and truly approachable
During elections, we see candidates go house to house to campaign. Between elections, we don't see the representative visits our houses anymore. That again is not consistency. Worse still there are politicians who never ever show up or do anything after winning elections. I want a MP who is there when we have voice to bring to the Parliament and help make the constituency a better place. Even when not invited he'd say he'll support an event or program

6. NOT giving goodies as approach for charities etc
I saw so much money being spent during elections and people too take advantage of elections to make money. I strongly oppose to this culture. THINK - if politicians give money, where will the money come from? They will need to seek projects, dwell into corruptions just to please people with money. If you are happy with receiving money from your MP then don't talk about eradicating corruptions. If you talk about eradicating corruption, stop asking MPs for money which is out of their budget. If the candidate continue giving money to the public and out of his budget, I do not think he can stay uncorrupted, so I will not vote for him. He should provide innovative solutions for sustainability and not continuously funding his constituents.

This may be a simple criteria but I've also seen representatives of the rakyat who do not read to expand their knowledge.

Perhaps more people can come up with your own criteria list for a candidate or how to vote during election, will encourage more people to rationally choose a representative rather than voting emotionally.

I'd think people who fit my criteria perhaps are:
1. Marina Mahathir
2. Chandra Muzaffar
3. Anas Zubedy
4. Syed Akbar Ali
5. Zainah Anwar, Sisters in Islam

Ok lahhh I know you want young people
1. Lim Chee Wee, Bar Council
2. Edmund Bon, LoyarBurok
3. Syahredzan, MyConsti
4. Saifuddin Abdullah, Deputy Minister of Higher Education
5. Wee Ka Siong, Deputy Minister of Education

More women candidates preferably:
6. Nicole Wong, Beliawanis MCA
7. Kat Wong, INSAP Deputy Director
8. Fui K. Soong, CEO os CENSE
9. Ellynita Lamin, cancer survivor and social entrepreneur
10. Ng Yeen Seen, policy analyst

Prefer to have 'OKU' as well
11. Zhariff Afandi, social entrepreneur
12. Anthony Thanasayan, activist for the disabled and The Star columnist
13. Sia Siew Chin, Beautiful Gate

Things just happen, the rest is up to ME to make it GREAT!

Hoong Ling

Sent from my BlackBerry® Smartphone

Friday, December 2, 2011

Tokleh Tehe: Role of a Social Media Strategist

Is there even such a title? Social Media Strategist?
And perhaps expenses spent by Ministry of Tourism for social media has open the eyes of many Malaysians.
Yes, I believe a social media strategist should be paid and should be highly paid. I do not want to defend the ministry involved but if that much of money spent and effectiveness of the strategies evaluated, I think it should bring more wealth in tourism dollars to the country.
Enough said, this blogpost is on social media strategist. Many Malaysians limit their knowledge of social media to only Facebook and Twitter, yet there are hundreds of applications out there which are so called social media.
Just like branding is so important for a company (and no one would blame you for paying huge sum for branding because people know its importance), social media weighs heavier than brand alone.
A social media strategist or consultant will act as brand consultant, marketing communication, corporate communication, public management, sample management, even event manager at the same time.
He is responsible for generating content, updates and consistent engagement with his client's followers on social media. A minimum of three updates per day on Facebook, a whooping 20 tweets per day as a rough target.

He will create content, updates and statuses fun with hypermedia. And if you think is easy work, try think of 1000 new updates for a certain brand - that's enough to squeeze the juice out of your brains.
He also monitors comments, retweets, mentions and if there are complaints by followers at large. He will need to rectify errors, apologise on behalf, provide explanation - exactly what a corporate communication department should do.

More over, his tasks, just like a salesman, has number of followers to increase. He also guards the standardisation, language, professionalism and reflects the company as a whole.

He is also a marketing researcher, having the needs to understand geographical, demographic and interests of client's followers. He may also well be a programmer, to program landing pages, database collection and codes applications like games or contest pages to attract and engage with followers.

All in all, in Chinese we call them a One Leg Kick.

I can have my nephew sit in front of the laptop, make him admin for my Facebook Like page but God knows how many UNfollowers I will have in the next hour.

And to have the politicians criticise that the amount paid is too huge, it is an insult to a social media strategist whose works include all the above.

Things just happen, the rest is up to ME to make it GREAT!

Hoong Ling

Sent from my BlackBerry® Smartphone

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I'm shy

Many people see I have the confidence, can talk all way non-stop, engage crowds, joke and add laughters...

But in real fact, I'm shy. Yes, repeat 'I'm shy'. My old time friend will definitely strongly oppose to this. Well, last time I knew the Hoong Ling who would start a conversation out of thin air. A stranger with me in the same LRT will be friends and exchange numbers by the time we reach destination. Someone waiting for a bus at the bus stop can be instant friends and we can come out for a drink anytime.

Let me lay out...

I think it first started after my operation. I have time for myself, love myself even more and notice my own behaviour. I know I developed fear to large crowds since then because fear of people will bump to me and hurt my 14-inch scar which was still healing at that time. Today I am still healing after laser treatment to remove the scar last week.

Therefore yesterday, I did not go to the OctTwtFest October Tweet Fest which I really wanted to.

In a first meet, you will see I'm very quiet if the whole table has all new friends. Say, in a table of 10 if I only have 2-3 acquaintances, I'll be keeping quiet the whole meeting. Evident!

I was quiet the whole meeting during tweetup held by YB KhairyJ (I knew only 2 people there in a group of about 20), quiet during first lunch meet with a think tank team (I knew only 2 in a group of 10), quiet whole time for first days of Youth Lab (I knew no one there on the first day!).

Unless say, in a group of 10, I have 5 or more are friends already, I'd speak, joke, laugh and talk. When I'm asked to sit at a wedding table with all new people, I'd not speak a word the whole night too.

If a whole table of strangers, I won't even turn up!

Dual personalities you may say. For a radio deejay who can open conversations and ask all sort of questions on air, for a professional emcee who can emcee so well in front of huge audience of strangers and for an inspirational speaker who can speak to all unknown people internationally, who would imagine a shy one who will keep quiet at dinners?

Well when passion flows, everything seems to catch the flow pretty easily. I emcee since school days in 1993 and find I can make an event more meaningful, add values to a lively function and that has always been my goal every time I emcee.

I'm shy with the media, yes! I am shy with the media and also rejected many interviews until I was being reminded that each time I talk or being interviewed, I'm not talking on behalf of 'Hoong Ling'. I'm speaking on behalf of the social causes I champion. And the topic I speak, to many, carries inspiration and motivation. So there I went ahead, countering all the shyness, fears, phobia you call it, to spread awareness in organ donation, speak my heart on gender equality and braved my fears in meeting strangers.

Deejaying on DurianFM was a new experience and speaking to the mics only do not need much courage to kill fears and shyness. So far if you noticed, guests invited to my slot were all friends and I'd prefer whoever who wants to come on air to just tell me and I'd always welcome a partner in studio. If you were to ask me to invite a stranger, perhaps that will be new experience too.

But you were TV Presenter on Selamat Pagi Malaysia interviewing strangers all the time! Yes but in studio, we have 2 TV Presenters to one or two guests, balanced. And producers, cameramen are my friends too - covered!

But you are eloquent as panel speaker at talk shows. If the topic is passionate to my heart, I'd put the topic forefront and fears behind.

So some said I'm proud to meet up, some said I was arrogant not to call others to studio for interviews, some even accused I'm snobbish that I won't seek others' opinions other than my friends'.

Say all you want though, I'm only a Chew Hoong Ling, your greatest servant.

Things just happen, the rest is up to us to make it GREAT!

Hoong Ling

Sent from my BlackBerry® Smartphone

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My Dream Funeral

I've always think I've done almost anything I need to do and even at one point of time thought I can now go deep in the jungle and meditate, be a nun or something to spend the rest of time life.

Thus far I hope things I've done never offend people, do not create negativities and hopefully have inspired a person or two, perhaps touched some lives.

I always think 'What if I die the next moment?' Have I done all that I could to prepare for death?

I have no regrets, no grievances, just perhaps some words left unsaid (which sometimes better off this way), hmmmm all these made me dare to die - putting myself on the operation table to part with 60% of liver, facing death at Kayak for Humanity expedition.

But I want to tell people my dream funeral. When I die I can't tell people about this so I better blog this so you guys know what I want. Yesterday I had dinner with a group of fun, happy people and when I mentioned my dream funeral, everyone seems to echoed and suggested something which just click on my dream funeral! Happy people think alike!

1. First rule, NO tears allowed

2. Karaoke is a must and I want everyone to sing!

3. Bring on the mahjong tables

4. Play bingo games, card games, board games, Wii games, Playstation games all you want!

5. Only happy news allowed, no one can come and complain or utter any grievances.

6. CKGord suggested face painting for my face and grafitti of my casket. Please use orange as the theme, my favourite colour.

7. Attire: up to you, colour: preferably orange!

8. If I'm married and I die before my husband, my husband must already start looking for another partner for the rest of his life.

9. All useable organs and tissues must be donated.

If you do all these, I will live forever.

Things just happen, the rest is up to us to make it GREAT!

Hoong Ling

Sent from my BlackBerry® Smartphone

Friday, September 9, 2011

I am very rich and wealthy!

Again, I grew up to understand giving is always better than receiving, service above self and give first then take.

Yet, learning to receive to empower the givers the joy of giving, was what to me most difficult to learn.

Since young, when someone is good to me, I always have the feeling that someday I'll need to repay them to show gratitude. At one point of time, I received so much ang pau money during Chinese New Year, I vowed that I MUST be rich.

I told myself there are so many people I want to take care of. Sure enough my parents, my aunt and uncle who brought me up, my Ipoh aunt who never fail to take care of me and my many relatives who have been very kind to me. If I'm not rich how can I repay them, I thought.

My skin is sensitive. If I wear something fake like imitation gold necklace, steel ring or earrings, I'll have rashes and itching. Thus if I'm not rich, how can I buy authentic jewelries, I thought.

I have a taste for luxury. Of all nuts, I don't like peanuts but love macadamias, one of the higher end nuts in terms of price tag. I enjoy scallops and abalone best although there are still certain foods considered luxury barely could enter my mouth. Again, if I'm not rich how to savour all these delicacies?

Giving to charity is my passion. I just can't help working for free, doing things for free and volunteer for free. Even in business, as a professional emcee I still allocate 5% of all my income for charity. I always tell myself I MUST be rich enough to do all of my passion!

Although it doesn't show, I also love a Mercedes Benz. Despite satisfied with my good old Proton Iswara which serves me very well, I will also daydream of one day my dream come true to own a Mercedes. So how can I not be rich?

My Dad loves China, Mom loves Macau and Las Vegas so how not to be rich when I too dream of luxury holidays!

Therefore I must be rich and wealthy. But when all things start with the seeds of thoughts, I've already planted seeds of being rich in myself and guess who will be the next millionaire? Me, of course! :)
Things just happen, the rest is up to us to make it GREAT!

Hoong Ling

Sent from my BlackBerry® Smartphone

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The gift of hearing

I was born with left side hearing loss. At my time, no tests at birth to confirm if the hearing loss is by birth or due to other reasons.

Some of my friends recalled our primary school teacher who just like to slap us as punishment and asked if I was deafen by the slaps. I guess not.

Some asked, what's the difference between having both hearing and one side of hearing? I couldn't tell the difference! But later in school we learnt that both ears are to collect information and determine where sound comes from. True enough, if you call me from the left, I'd still look at the right side because that's the working ear and sound I heard only from the left. Funny people will always say 'here! Here!' to indicate their locations and I'd still look around on my right. Those who know about my problem will say, 'on left left! Look a bit more to the left' or 'behind you!'

At dinners, I'd only sit to a person's left side so I could hear him or her on my right ear. So on my left will be guests or new friends who do not know about my hearing loss. People tend to talk and I can't hear and some thought I'm arrogant for not replying. Or I may participate in the conversation but I'll need to turn so much to the left that my neck sores after a while. Good for neck exercise though!

When driving, a honk will make me turn around, look at mirrors to see if I'm the one being honked at.

It wasn't until more people whispering to me on the left that I finally gave up and seek need of a hearing aid. As a professional emcee, very often people run to me to whisper things to announce but they find themselves repeating again when I turn my good ear to them.

A hearing aid these days is not just an amplifier to amplify sounds. Hearing aids have digital noise reduction, multiple channels input, speech recognition, multiple channels selections, up to 20 channels output speaker, multi colours, multi function, multi program, even comes with music, linking to bluetooth devices, remote controls and many more different features.

Thus its price is also in the high range depending on the models. Staring at RM1,000 which normally only amplify sounds including background noise and will be difficult to listen to people talking, up to RM20,000 with bluetooth, remote control and all accessories.
Having know that, and knowing I need a good aid, I playfully posted on Twitter 'seriously need a hearing aid, who want to sponsor me?'. To my surprise, Tan Sri Kua Sian Kooi said he will. He also repeatedly asked for my name and account number.

We have not met and many of you know how difficult it was for me to receive things from others. Growing up with 'give first', 'giving is better than receiving', 'service before self', I find myself rather difficult in taking, which I knew I need to correct this. A friend said by taking when people give sincerely, I'm also giving, giving them the joy of giving I've always enjoyed.

I don't know someone by just @skkua as his twitter handle and profile says 'Kurnia Insurance founder and chairman'. When I asked and a friend said 'Tan Sri Kua?' Only did I know he is a Tan Sri. He said he's a close friend to Tan Sri Fong Chan Onn and in a few more days, Tan Sri Fong himself messaged me to say 'a friend want to give you hearing aid, can you accept?'

Cornered with guilt, hey when will you have two Tan Sris asking you to receive a sincere gift? We came out for lunch one day for a chat after I surveyed on a few models which may suit me. I proposed a mid range but Tan Sri wanted me to have a good one.

Now I'm walking tall as I can hear with both ears! Left ear, though is aided, but has more functions! Nothing beats natural hearing like my right ear but my hearing aid has got 5 channels to suit any environment, even comes with Zen music at a press of a button. It costs RM9,800 and I wouldn't have gotten my ear without Tan Sri Kua Sian Kooi.

Thank you and when I see Kurnia sign everywhere, I always point to the logo and tell people around me that my ear is sponsored by the boss of this company.

And he owns Kurnia, he kurniakan telinga to me. I gave a gift of life to someone, the gift of hearing to me almost equates that.

Things just happen, the rest is up to us to make it GREAT!

Hoong Ling

Sent from my BlackBerry® Smartphone

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Are you rich?

My friend asked me a question, 'Hoong Ling, are you rich?'
'Of course I am! I have a body of silver, a heart of gold, platinum plated and lined with titanium!'
Everyone burst out laughing at my response.
Today I saw a friend posting on her Facebook, 'If you ever want to know how rich you are, just count all the things you have that money can't buy'
I agree with that and I'd think that is true riches. Count not the money you have in the bank but the blessings you have that money really can't buy.
I recently just calculated my nett cash and found a meagre RM2606.39 as the number, of course struggling without a job for two years and my deep passion in social causes I'm currently working on. A 9-5 job will not allow me to 'work' on things I love to do most - social works. Therefore I chose to do my own works by offering professional emceeing. That's my only income for the moment and every month I'd take 3-4 jobs, enough to live a comfortable living.
Of course I still have 2 properties to collect rental, minus off all expenses, I have RM250 passive incomes!
However, I'm rich! Really rich! Every night before I sleep I count my blessings... I post my #gratitude on Facebook and Twitter at times and I truly feel blessed.
Money can't buy my breaths and the fact that I'm still breathing is a blessing. I risked my life on an operation theatre to save a stranger by giving 60% of my liver. I cheated death twice during Kayak For Humanity - once during training near the whirlpools and once facing 17ft waves.
Money can't buy or choose my parents and I have both very differing thoughts one. I lived with both thoughts and learnt to listen to both views and angle of views.
Money definitely can't buy my friends and I have a lottttttt of great companies around me! I have my friends since school days hanging out together even until now. I have 3 great mentors - all great guys - one memory expert, one deputy minister and one famous training and marketing expert. I have friends whom I everyday receive comments so I can improve. And I have a cool bunch of Twitter friends whom we have monthly bah kut teh in Klang, eat, drink, sing karaoke and political discussions...
Money cannot buy experience and I'm truly glad I have opportunities to walk a journey less or seldom traveled by others. My life is always full of challenges, or shall I say the paths I daringly take always give me experience I can't find elsewhere. Rather, the people I'm with also gave me much opportunities - although I'm always frank, direct, straightforward and sometimes considered rude, I have my ex-bosses who are all very educating and taught me lessons in life.
My first boss gave me an opportunity to be a supervisor after a month being a cashier and taught me that I must always consider the person giving me opportunities. I wanted to resign after a while, which could put him in very difficult position because he has fought for my promotion and salary. My last company put me in a position where I'm very much empowered to do a lot of things, further taught me to win a battle, not just a war. Other experiences include being a TV Presenter on Selamat Pagi Malaysia even when in college and I was without experience at all. Money definitely couldn't buy all these.
Money cannot buy sincere hearts who sincerely want to give me things I need or want. I've learned that giving is better than receiving and I always have the joy of giving and that joy kept me giving but to receive, I always feel a guilt and embarrassment in myself. Friends said I'm selfish but I didn't see how giving more than receiving can be selfish. He said if I refused to receive I'm deprive others the joy of giving. I learn to receive.
Recently a new friend Tan Sri Kua Sian Kooi has offered to buy me a hearing aid which I'll need on my left ear. A genuine heart to sincerely give me a gift of hearing. I hesitated at first, knowing a hearing aid can be very expensive, knowing Tan Sri Kua only as @skkua on Twitter, and somehow I was taught since young not to mingle with the rich or they will think you want something from them. But I've never met a more sincere heart than his. He is unlike some people who merely say or talk about helping others but expecting the person to go through tough process, I have met many. Instead Tan Sri Kua is the humblest rich man I've ever seen, most sincere by repeatedly asking me for my account number and even had a lunch session arranged.
I can't describe how excited I was when I went to two hearing aid shops to test my ears and find out the models which suit me. During lunch this week, I showed Tan Sri a few models but chose one that really suit my ear. There were bluetooth models, remote control, multi-channels, multi colours, even with programmable music. I will forgo the bluetooth and colours but will need a high number of channels, background noise reduction, feedbacks handling and the model I chose comes with music in the ears!
It is really not cheap though, bluetooth models can go up to a whooping RM15,000 and the model I chose ranges from RM5,000 (5 channels) to RM10,000 (15 channels). I thought to take a mid range of 10 channels which could cost RM7k-8k but Tan Sri really wants to give me a good one and I finally can't contain my excitement to get the 15 channels one.
I'm looking very much forward to hear with both ears again and I count these blessings everyday.
THANK YOU Tan Sri Kua! A gift of hearing is one best gift for me!

Things just happen, the rest is up to us to make it GREAT!

Hoong Ling

Sent from my BlackBerry® Smartphone

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Government must listen! PR BN listen up, please

We are in a new era of the world. Everyone grows up, learns something new and gains from experience and move on in life more maturedly.
Just like human, all industries go through a cycle of learning curve too. From fishing and farming for own family, to barter trade and then trading, human has grown more complicated. From agriculture to industry based country too and in future knowledge and the brains will rule the country.
Thus, all human should also grow up and learn. We have seen how hard labour does not bring much values anymore. Our great grandfathers depended on an era what called 'hard work' is now gone. As long as you worked hard, tanam your own sayur, you survived.
Then we see people who could trade the more wins. And from fishing for the family, the industry became huge with more sophisticated vessels and some people trying to get bigger cut by issueing permits or licences and introduced forms of taxes.
Thus, human see a need to pay the 'master' although they worked hard and survived. Yet, the complexity of human society evolved and therefore adaptation is important. Failing to adapt to change brings disaster.
From trading either products or services, we also see that the industry evolve. More and more people doing the same thing ie coffee shops booming like mushrooms, the business depends on good customer service as their asset. All staffs are trained to listen to customers' needs and forced to get feedbacks to improve. Gone are the days where sellers shout 'nak beli, beli! Taknak beli, sila blahh!'
Working in corporate shows no difference. Businesses now face staff turnover more times higher than a decade ago. Employees see no problem getting a job from another company if this current company does not listen to their employees.
Employers then start to build better relationships with co workers, offer gyms, yoga classes, variety-filled pantries, 5-day work, work from home, etc etc perks and benefits. More companies are going flat management system and every staff is a partner policy.
AirAsia listens to their employees. Even its boss, Tan Sri Tony Fernandez goes to the level of luggage handler to find out their needs and listen. Now everyone can fly, not just that everyone can reach their dreams working in AirAsia.
Even on micro level, a family too has changed. Gone are the times where the father holding a cane instilling fear will work. Parents now need to sit and talk to their children more often to understand them better and listen.

Coming back to our government. People see a need to voice out. As a professional speaker, a decade ago after a presentation, questions are minimal or none at all. Now people do not only ask questions but ask intelligent questions which need some thinking to answer. Some are wondering why all the while people say our education system does not encourage questioning yet people now start to voice out so much?
People start to 'show' their voice by raising up issues, hold intelligent debates, call in to radio stations to give comments, start Facebook groups and march in the streets for a certain cause.
Because people's voice are not taken into account for too long too many times. Too many times people say corruption is rampant, since Tun Dr Mahathir's time till now. Tun Abdullah Badawi promised change in battling the corrupt won him a historical landslide win. But he failed. Now Dato Sri Najib tried yet people see corruption as rampant as before. For too long too many times people's voice in this matter has not been heard, taken into real action or shown results.
Therefore the rakyat thinks the government is not listening. New media also allowed 'voicing out' - blogs, facebook, Twitter and other social media combined the voice of many and examples of other countries successfully change for the better have all in one way or another encourage proactive actions among the rakyat.
Human has a basic nature instinct. They help the less fortunate and speak for the underprivileged as a nature call. When someone is beaten or being bullied, will you help the bully or the one being bullied? Human instinct says help the one being bashed.
The PR is good in understanding these among the rakyat. They monopolized on these issues and promised change too. They also play the one being bullied, capitalized on Beng Hock issues, Bersih's voice being unheard and suppressed, and even some minor injuries may need a CT scan in the hospital. The voice is 'I'm being bullied, help!'
BN on the other hand still hold the 'I'm the boss mentality', 'dengar cakap bapa!' kind of ruling. Refusal to listen to certain demands also costs BN a whole lot, evident in a few rallies.
Human also has basic instinct for revenge. Although is easy to quote 'an eye for an eye the whole world will be blind' most people hold grudges and waiting to revenge. So your mainstream media whacked the opposition, the opposition says 'my media paper also whack the government.' The opposition has tried very hard to be heard, many would know that oppositions are the one 'being bullied' in this case therefore the support goes to opposition again. BN continued to suppressed by confiscating properties and assets of those seen to be pro opposition, evident in the Malaysiakini case.
Having cited a few examples, these 'I'm being bullied' situations are great issues played by the PR and of course their manifesto buku jingga will include freedom of media, eliminate corruption among others.
ISA was also seen as a BN tool to suppressed voice of people and again, who is being seen as being bullied? And of course it is again included in the buku jingga.
While people want to voice out and start helping the one being bullied, don't forget human is also an intelligent species. Some issues played too much in the same manner irked the public and backfired evident when Beng Hock issue being dragged to a by election.
In my opinion, both BN and PR always use issues and playing drama too often. I'm a little tired of it and feel there should be a need for long term consistent plans for our country in every issue.
For example, the recent Bersih was wanting fair and clean election. As mentioned in my previous blogposts, I support the cause but not a rally. I also said a rally today does not mean a fair and clean election tomorrow. Now I love the fact that now more people are aware of a need of a fair and clean election. But what's next? I feel there's a need to understand the roles of our election commission, more awareness on how other democratic countries are holding elections, perhaps a comparison or analysis of people's views from all walks of lives, more dialogues and eventually a true reform of a fair electoral system.
For me the word 'fair' itself is very subjective. Something fair to me may be seen as unfair to others and vice versa. I really hope both BN and PR can come out with fair and clean election, fair to both, not only fair to one side and most importantly fair to the rakyat.

Things just happen, the rest is up to us to make it GREAT!

Hoong Ling

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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Fair and Clean Election, yay!

Anyone has clear vision here by now? Or still wearing a Bersih specs and Patriot shades?
First thing first, I am always wanting a clean and fair election. Who with a right mind wouldn't? So if the objective is to have a clean and fair election let's examine what can be done.
Yes I too agree that our democracy system has its flaws but which democracy country does not? Ok that's not a good excuse though so I'm still FOR a clean and fair election.
I agree with Syed Akbar Ali in his blog here suggesting maximum term for PM, fixed election date, be open with all electoral expenses and cooling off/ campaign period. I guess there are suggestions like these that either party will feel is fair and another will feel is unfair.
PR may say BN had had Tun Dr Mahathir there for so long, why must you now limit PM tenure to only 2 terms? BN may say fixing election date is not favourable and should not be taken into consideration. I'm just imagining the response and reactions.
So Bersih wanted a fair and clean election. Is it really so or just using a general statement to trap us rakyat into the game?
I was at first very supportive of the movement and asked why was it deem illegal and no permit granted for a peaceful demonstration.
Frankly, the prolonged 'fight' among various parties showed many weaknesses of ALL parties.
1. If the objective of fair and clean election, why must be a rally? And it was very suspicious when the rally must be in KL town which was said to pass a memorandum to the Agung. Why a Shah Alam stadium was suggested and yet so adamant to have it in KL? Why meeting Agung finally, a rare opportunity, and yet never pass the memorandum? I then start to place my support a benefit of doubt and stood back at the center to see BOTH sides, or perhaps all sides to see the whole drama.
2. The police and federal government should have allowed a rally at the very beginning, I think. It was a noble cause and majority of the people will really march peacefully. Perhaps there were already hidden agendas but let the cat out from the bag by itself, no need for some reactions now deem unlawful, unfair and even violence to occur. It was because of the illegality and refused of a permit that rouse the anger, support and spirit of Bersih, indirectly making a supposedly peaceful assembly turned rally for an angered crowd. I also agree it can be likened to a marathon and the organisers have agreed on only a 2hr march.
3. Is it really exhaustive measure and a final action of rally was needed? All dialogues and discussions were already futile? In this aspect I felt that the organiser should have continued a few more rounds of discussions with relevant parties to achieve a fair and clean election. Bringing the issue to the streets will make things worse. Many peace-loving people now put all the blame on Bersih for the traffic jams, loss of incomes and making KL like a deadlock during a weekend. People like me would love a movie or coffee at peaceful places but do not mind a peaceful march but things got worse and I chose to stay home.
I'd think that a rally is the very last resort to make things work. Do you think the next election will be clean and fair now that a rally is already done? Rally today, clean and fair election tomorrow? Having a clean and fair election is a journey. A long journey and Malaysia, I too hope will embark on that journey. Some said a discussion was done with Election Commission and various parties but no one listens. Out in the NST, the EC chairman was awaiting another dialogue with Bersih and answered all demands by Bersih as well as more reforms than the 8 demands. Yet, no one also sees this?
To some extend, I do agree when people say a dialogue here and there is only a show to display that all efforts have been taken so a rally is a must. But yet, I support that there are efforts towards a clean and fair election and after a rally, I really hope that the Bersih group continue with their fight for a clean and fair election. I'm sure to support when everyone comes to their senses.
4. The events taken place do not only show weaknesses of both BN and PR but also revealed weaknesses in supporters of BOTH. Bersih supporters even resort to names calling - apparently those who were at the streets participated in the rally were fighters, those got caught were heroes! Those staying at home are named cowards and those who did not support a rally were said to have shallow thinking. Those who supported Patriot are called Pak Turut. I agree that Bersih has the right for a free assembly but do respect the rights of NOT having a rally, too. Earlier on, Datuk Ambiga was vilified and slandered with all words that could be used on her. I opposed to that, too. These names calling just show that we are all emotionally controlled and easily be carried away.
If our country continues to be emotionally carried away, the country could be easily manipulated by outside parties, the biggest threat to the nation.
5. These situations also benefited and brought disasters both to BN and PR.
- People who at first support PR tend to be on the fence now, fearing if PR takes over the country, Malaysia will not be peaceful anymore. Is sad that whenever a rally or some drastic demands happen, it is always PR who gets the name - for good or bad.
- People who supported BN again witnessed how (can I say 'stupid'?) the Home Minister and the police again suppressed what the people see as a peaceful noble cause. I guess many also switched sides.
- People now see clearly. Some said PR kept on putting news of how they were suppressed in order to get people sympathize them - sympathy votes in action! I think people now think more rationally and start to analyse too.
- Peace-loving people only want peace, survival and make money or the family peacefully and will condemn to both PR for holding a rally and BN for making such a big fuss in controlling one.
Yet, the PR kept harping that there were so much support, so many people turned up despite controlled situation and that people start to support them. BN too thought they have done all they could in the name of safety keeping for the rakyat and when in functions, kept saying people do not attend rally because they support BN.

I seldom end a blog without conclusion. I feel we should get back to our senses, be calm and analyse situations. But past is past, now let's move on. I always feel that the objectives are important and that's what move you on till you achieve them. Since the main objective of Bersih is for a clean and fair election, let's do whatever we can (opt out a rally, please) towards a nation with clean and fair election. I hope to participate in a way without a drop of blood to achieve this. Yes, Buddha has done it, Tunku Abdul Rahman did it and of course the Rakyat Malaysia can do it too.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bersih or not? And why?

The first time a rally was done, the government has to open their eyes and ears to see and listen to various quarters and appeals by the public. It was not done for a long time and the people feel that their voices were unheard. A lot of things were happening within the government where the rakyat felt a need to save the country. And therefore, a rally.

Though the intention was good and a lot of people felt that the government finally listens to some grouses, the rally brought huge damage to Kuala Lumpur town. Almost everywhere in Kuala Lumpur were jammed in traffic, roads were closed or blocked, people wasted much time in the car, and business owners losing money due to business coming to a standstill. Worse thing got worse, the poor who depend on daily wage got nothing and they were foreign workers or poor daily wage earner who depend on their daily piecemeal for living.

Impact done - people understood it, got the message but never expected such disturbance to the public. In a sense the public agree to the rally but when it comes to disturbing their lives as well as their money for living, then the people start to think otherwise. Yet, deep inside many people, they feel the need for the rally and it was done.

Now, Bersih is thinking of a second rally. This time for a fair and clean election. Negotiations done with the Election Commissions and not much were achieved accordingly. Therefore bringing it to the streets is the best, some think. I have met three groups of people.

First the goreng nasi group. This group comprises of those who worked for it, making the dishes and even goreng the nasi to get the outcomes. They want it their way and only their way is the only and only way to have a fair and clean election. When the head says we go to the streets, they will bring their nasi, their kuali and sudip to the streets. When the head says OK we now go to the stadium, they will follow. When someone oppose to the idea of having a rally, they see these people as opposition and should not talk to them. They will only do one thing - goreng nasi - do the rally at whatever cost or whenever called by the head. They think if they go down the streets, they are the fighter, the sacrificial lamb and they have did something in history for the country. The more Bersih badges they have, the more they shout about bersih and the more yellow they have, the better.

Second is the makan nasi group. Whatever it is just take it. Yeah fair and clean election is needed, but a rally will actually bring fair and clean election? Makan nasi je la... These people will be more practical in a sense. Some said that whether or not there is a rally, the election will still be unfair and politics is already dirty so why rally? Some also felt for the people who will lose their wages and therefore oppose to the rally. Some may be rational in their thinking to ask what are the steps towards a fair and clean election instead of a rally?

The third I call the tengok nasi group. People goreng nasi or makan nasi, they will only watch. They have no opinions of themselves. A rally is there - they watch, no rally - they watch too. Some are opinionated but never voice out their concerns. Deep inside they know they want a fair and clean election but deep down inside they do not want a rally which could make the country looks bad in the eyes of the world.

Sensible THINKing 
Listening to so many quarters, I finally asked a few questions but yet unanswered. I am neither for nor against Bersih. I am of course supportive of a fair and clean election (who wouldn't?) but not a rally at KL town. Perhaps some people could help me here.
1. First, does the government really do not have a fair and clean election? If the election is thus unfair, how can Kelantan fell into the hands of opposition for so long? If it is unfair, then at any point of time during election, no states could be placed at the hands of opposition parties.
2. Second, assuming the election is really unfair and dirty, do we need a rally and right in town to create an impact? Why not at the stadium? Or some suggested Putrajaya since CNN will do coverage and is good chance to show the beauty of Putrajaya.
3. Is Bersih itself really bersih and harbor no other thoughts or self benefits? If it is so bersih, and the objective is to create an awareness on a fair and clean election - why not do nationwide roadshows, get to know the rakyat and inspire them to voice up? Why MUST be a rally and MUST be at KL town?
4. Who funds Bersih? Self funded? Bersih t-shirts, plans, transportation, perhaps to ferry rally participants to KL town.
5. Is it really true that Bersih has ties with foreign countries which really want to see Malaysia fall in disgrace and stop direct investments to Malaysia? Why would someone who loves the country so much by asking for a fair and clean election be involved with foreign agencies to bring down the country?
6. What makes Datuk Ambiga so ambitious and adamant in organising such a big scale rally and specifically wanting it to be in KL town? I have respect for this woman but her adamant and to me irrational requests made me wonder why.
These are all questions unanswered in my mind and perhaps I am sometimes so "stupid" to understand issues like this. SO for now I am the makan nasi group. Have a good lunch.
Things just happen, the rest is up to us to make it GREAT!
Hoong Ling
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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Tokleh Tehe: Saya Memang Bangsa Malaysia, Anak Malaysia

What do you mean by Bangsa Malaysia, many asked me. I said it resonates in the heart, I'm a Malaysian, period.

What differentiate you and the others, I was asked. People will distinguish you as a Chinese, many said. Yes, I'm of the Hainanese clan of Chinese race but that doesn't make me any less Malaysian. Millions are questioning why government forms and many other forms still have the "race" or "ethnicity" field when they harp on 1Malaysia. Many wanted it to be removed. What's the use of having such statistics of knowing how many Malays, Chinese and Indians (and other ethnics too) when we are all Malaysians, many also argued!
However, my question is - what have you been DOING as a bangsa Malaysia? Yes we can argue, we can talk and raise issues about unity. Small matter like having a 'race' field in forms, many chanted racism, and some made it so political.

For over 5 years now, I have always filled in forms, check the Lain-Lain field and when asked to specify, I put 'Bangsa Malaysia'. I've always love unity and when someone speaks about the negatives of another race or religion, I walked away. Having heated arguments with my family members even my Dad, was a norm since there are always these general statements like 'Melayu malas' 'India tipu'. And I'll ask 'what about Cina?', has Cina been so good so perfect that all other races are bad?

To understand my Muslim brothers and sisters better, I also read the translation of Quran, understand the history of the religion, why certain issues are brought up and get to know each situation better. I also fast during Ramadhan 12 years ago (but stopped for some years in between due to discomfort in stomach). I celebrate Hari Raya like all others.

I've been to church weekly for six years during childhood time and learnt about my Christian brothers and sisters. Loving one another was the most important lesson I've learnt since young.
I hope to have friends who could teach me Hinduism too.

Learning languages is so easy in Malaysia. Everywhere around us are Malays, Chinese, Indians, Sabahans, Sarawakians. So I speak some Tamil, a word or two of Sabahan and bahasa Iban. I even used these as my signature opening when I emcee for any events.

I call all my brothers and sisters to forget about anti-this anti-that, argued about this and that. These issues are so mere small issues if we ourselves have unity at heart. No one can even move my heart, as long as I have unity at heart, I'm unraved by calls of pendatang, whether I'm Cina murtad, balik Tong San, the fight of who are the origins of Malaysia, whether or not this is a Muslim country... Etc. Etc...

I am renewing my Bangsa Malaysia spirit by pledging to tick Lain-Lain and specify: Bangsa Malaysia. And I love Malaysia, is in my heart.

I always love what my mentor Anas Zubedy said, 'everything is neutral' and Harv Eker said, 'nothing has meaning until you put a label to it'.

Saya Bangsa Malaysia!
Things just happen, the rest is up to us to make it GREAT!

Hoong Ling

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

One Million Youth Gathering

It was held for three days from 27th to 29th May 2011 at Putrajaya.
Himpunan Sejuta Belia has made some impact and a 180 degree change from the normal National Youth Day. Many years ago the normal celebration involves youths mainly from the National Youth Council, held in a big stadium to host about 20 to 30 thousand youths. I may be wrong but that's what I remember.
Last year the Minister of Youth and Sports, Dato' Sri Ahmad Shabery Cheek changed the concept. He was the first minister to forgo his speech slot during this important day. Speech from a minister during youth day? Let the youths celebrate without boring speeches, he thought.
Dato' Sri Shabery also changed the old style of giving goodies, transport and allowance to attract participants. Corporate sponsors were sought to prepare activities for youths instead. More money saved was used to attract more youths to the annual event.
As a result, last year 200 thousand youths swarmed Putrajaya with all sorts of activities there. The Prime Minister Dato' Sri Najib Razak threw a challenge to the ministry to gather 1 million youths this year.
Works started as early as end of last year to plan activities, programs and venue for a 3-day celebration to have a total of 1 million youths celebrate together.
This year during the 3 days, a million youths swarmed Putrajaya with more than 200 activities and events for all participants. I was very skeptical and doubt it will be a success. Towards the days approaching the dates of the gathering, not many people know about the celebration or any of its events.
I also doubted the event could bring impact to people and was very disappointed at the non structure organization of the event too. I am not comfortable to visit public areas with mass of people (due to pass 'phobia' after bumping into someone which caused severe pain on my liver surgery wound) so I have no plans to attend. However, I prayed it will be a success as I have also seen the efforts done for it.
I got a call on the first day of the celebration on Friday that I will be receiving an award from the Prime Minister on the second day during the launch of the gathering. I couldn't believe my ears but I went ahead, thanks to my friend Teck Hoe who volunteered to fetch me knowing I hate jams and will be difficult to reach the venue.
I went on Saturday. And when I reached Putrajaya, it was eye-opener.
I thought of the normal scene where you see all Malays (sorry to be a bit racist here, but please allow me to share)... I was wrong. Scores of Chinese youngsters mixed with many Malay girls pooled the front of the main stage. They were all awaiting Super Junior M!
I thought to see all the normal scenes of hari belia having only youths in organizations under the National Youth Council everywhere. I was wrong too, many young adults and students came from nowhere. They also thanked the ministry for preparing buses as transportation for them to come for the celebration where otherwise they can only watch the TV from home. I have met students all the way from Kluang and Kelantan.
I thought to see the normal scenes of all old youths. Malaysia defines youths as below 40 years old and most of these activists are over 30 years old. I was wrong... There were scores of youngsters perhaps below 20 years old around Putrajaya!
I thought to see only buses or buses more than anything else because those are the only transport to bring 'arranged youths' to reach the targeted number of youths. I was really wrong... Buses were only like perhaps less than 5% of the transport available. Many cars causing superific traffic jams!
I thought only those normal events like futsal or paintball around. I was proven wrong once again. Over 200 activities were arranged including sasuke (forgive my ignorance but this is the first time I heard of it), even the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Gan Ping Sieu tried the challenge. Various activities, multi racial and cross cultural.. Sports, extreme sports, competitions and mostly sponsored by corporates.
Also notable is the seating arrangement. No front two rows for VVIPs only... All ministers and deputy ministers sit among the participants. Even Deputy Minister Razali Ibrahim went cycling around Putrajaya to meet the youths! Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Dato' Sri Idris Jala also joined the band and jammed with the youths! Even our very own Prime Minister clad in MU jersey came to watch live football shows with thousands of youths.
This year youth day has definitely been very different from the previous years. Definitely has made much more impact than previously done and totally different from the rest.
Where in the world I can play paintball, see supercars, open my eyes to sasuke and various events all in one carnival? I think this event should be repeated.
Skeptics all round I feel should not always condemn if they have not visited the carnival. Seeing and believing and if I have not been to the celebration to receive my award, I'd still be in my skeptic mind and wrongful thoughts.
Looking forward for Youth Year 2012 and I wish all youths Selamat Hari Belia Negara.

Things just happen, the rest is up to us to make it GREAT!

Hoong Ling

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Kayak For Humanity

Sekelip mata sahaja, ekspedisi sudah sampai ke penghujungnya.
We are now all at Kuching safe. From my last blog at Kuala Matu, we went to Tanjung Manis, Kampung Semop, Kampung Serdeng, Belawai, Kampung Grigat, Kampung Teriso, Sebuyau, and finally reached Kuching safely.
We are very fortunate to have Tok Hamzah with us guiding us kayaking routes via rivers. While we planned for sea kayaking, the marine police has constantly warned us against kayaking at sea, the sea condition was not suitable for light craft. Tok Hamzah planned for river kayaking and headed our expedition throughout.
At Kampung Serdeng, we gave talks to children and at Belawai we cleaned the beach. We also donated fuel and helped clean Kampung Teriso as well as met folks at all villages we could reach.
At times the rivers in Sarawak were so difficult to paddle as the current was very strong. PLC 4 marine operations force catamaran, a larger boat that PSC 12, was sent to escort us starting 19th March.
Having the privilege of 2 boats, we sent all land support vehicles back. Thanks to UNIMAS, they have provided us 2 vans and 2 4WDs throughout till we have the boats.
PLC 4 was also our accommodation, we set tents on the deck to sleep at night but all got wet in the morning due to rain and morning mist.
At times when current was so strong and sea condition was not suitable for kayaks, PLC 4 was also our storage for the kayaks.
We also had water rationing as the catamaran could only carry a maximum of 2,000 litres of water, which was used up within hours by more than 30 people on board! No shower or bathing allowed and we use mostly river water for washing and cleaning ourselves.
Rivers in Sarawak are very wide. When kayaking we felt like we are at sea, only difference was that you see trees on the left, right and front of you.
We also experienced staying a night at the terminal where we slept wherever possible - the waiting area, praying room and on the floors. At times we felt like refugees from nowhere and I wondered if we get donations if we just spread a hat on the floor! Haha!
All well, we did what we aimed for. Five causes - environment, youth outreach, sports development, organ donation and unity - all achieved.
We have Malays, Chinese, Indians, Bajau, Melanau, Iban, and other ethnics in our team - doing things together in a harmony way. That proved that
Malaysians can always work in a united way.
For environment, we pick up thrash at many areas, did gotong royong with kampung folks and educated all participants on the importance of environment preservation.
We also gave talks on organ donation and I shared my experience giving part of my liver. We have about 20 people signing the pledge to donate organs after death.
The team also reached out to over 25,000 Sarawakians and about a thousand followers on Twitter and Facebook. We also successfully introduced sea kayaking and expedition experience to all participants - they particularly love kayaking with high waves and strong wind as compared to river and lake.
We are now at Bintawa marine base and will kayak to Kuching Waterfront and expected to reach waterfront at 5.30pm.
Today is also the 204th Police Day and we are very pleased and honoured that the marine police served as a GREAT partner for us. They did not only escorted us but they helped carried our kayaks, assist every paddlers, even did community service works with us. Most importantly they have saved our lives and always gave us precautions on safety.
For that we also gave honour to the Royal Malaysian Police force to have a representative on our expedition - L/Cpl Norazif Ab Rajak.
Happy Police Day!

things just happen, the rest is up to us to make it GREAT!

Hoong Ling

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Kayak for Humanity Day 3 at Kampung Kuala Matu

Today we kayaked from the jetty we stopped yesterday, back to the ferry jetty. Tok Hamzah was very concern with our safety and the unpredictable waves at the estuary.

From the ferry jetty we hired a lorry to carry all our kayaks. The UNIMAS bus and us travelled by ferry to the opposite side. When we were about to leave the jetty, 3 villagers came to send us off. Just one night of bonding the villagers were so close to us. I was particularly close to Kak Ramlah.

As the ferry left the jetty, the villagers waved us goodbye and I was in tears. I just can't do this, leaving people who have so warmly served and bonded with us.

We headed to chalet YB Datuk Abdul Wahab, the Member of Parliament for Igan. He hosted us at his chalets. However he wasn't at the chalet and Tuan Basmi represented him.

Many helped in the kitchen to prepare a feast. We then went to Kampung Bawang, Kuala Matu to Tuan Basmi's home for tea. As we walked almost 3km to his home, we also stopped door to door to greet the villagers.

After tea time, we saw a few children having line dance at the road side. A few paddlers joined in the fun and later a good song came and everyone had joget with the villagers, even Tuan Basmi and Tok Hamzah joined the fun.

We went back to chalet for some rest. And then were surprised by a dinner and karaoke get together. To our surprise Kampung Igan villagers came to join us sing along. They came by a van and when they left most of us cried. I also got a newfound godmother - Kak Ramlah.

At night, the UNIMAS students who joined us have to leave and another batch of 10 students and staffs came. UNIMAS provided 3 batches of students and staffs group, each group joining us for 5 days.

During the sharing session, almost all cried. We are already ONE family and for some it was difficult to accept separation. I stopped crying that night, perhaps dried my tank of tears or perhaps I need to learn to love but not 'fall in" love. But all well, I always cry anyway!

Moving on to Daro story for Day 4....

things just happen, the rest is up to us to make it GREAT!

Hoong Ling

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day 2 - Kampung Kuala Igan

The first day was dramatic where all capsized in 17 feet waves and 6 nautical miles wind.
There was also alert from the Marine Police preventing us from kayaking at sea. We had to make quick arrangements. The UNIMAS bus was supposed to leave us for expedition but had to follow us along.
We hired a lorry to carry all our 17 kayaks and our vehicles ferried us to a jetty near Kampung Kuala Igan. Tok Hamzah, 65, the village head joined us at the jetty to kayak with us! We were excited to have him lead the team.
Tok Hamzah, a strong and very fit man loved kayaking but has not been kayaking for the last 16 years. We kayaked to Kampung Igan with marine police boat escorting us. The water was still but strong wind blew us to the right as we paddled.
Along the river, on the right side there were many jetties and many people waited for us to kayak by. Young and old alike, sat at the jetties as we passed them. We were paddling slow and waved to them, from 2 to 50 people at every spot. They smiled and waved back at us. At one of the jetties, there were even about 100 villagers.
When reaching Kampung Igan, I was awed by the crowd at the jetty! Over 500 people welcomed us with kompang accompaniment. We had a short speech and did two highest salute to Tok Hamzah and the villagers each. Our highest salute was a salute and singing the national anthem. Tok Hamzah was seen in tears.
I was in tears too, touched by the warmth and hospitality of villagers there.
We then walked to the Lembaga Amanah Kebajikan Islam Igan (LAK II) building as our accommodation. It was opposite the mosque. Once we placed our luggages, we were all sent to Ms Maslinda's home - she is SPDP supreme council member. She was the lady who has helped us in and out in the Mukah district.
Our dinner menu includes ayam goreng, gulai umbut kelapa, daun sambung nyawa (ulam), ikan kering, daun ubi, dessert and my favourite raw fish dish - umai. This was the best meal I ever had in my life, spiced with the sincerity of villagers and their hospitality.
After dinner, the ladies went to Mak Su and Tok Hamzah's homes to bathe (we divide the girls into 2 groups). When we went back to LAK II the villagers were BBQ-ing chickens for us!
We chat with the villagers till midnight before we call it a day! Kampung Igan, a place to remember.

things just happen, the rest is up to us to make it GREAT!

Hoong Ling

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Kayak For Humanity - Day 1 (17 ft waves, 6 nautical mile wind)

We have the honor of the Honourable Dato' Sri Shabery Cheek, the Youth and Sports Minister flagged off our team today, in conjunction with the Karnival Mesra Belia 1 Sarawak.
When he first came to Mukah, his first concern was our safety and asked that our expedition director briefed him thoroughly on safety measures we are taking.
When he arrived at the Mukah Waterfront for the carnival launch, the first thing we spotted - he was wearing our Kayak For Humanity corporate shirt! We felt so proud that his first concern was for us and he came to greet all paddlers!
Looking at me, he was surprised I looked different from those days in the Youth Lab. My expedition director told him about my shaved hair and I removed my head gear for him to see my new hair cut. Excited and surprised, he took an opportunity for a photo moment with me.
He was very please with our preparation, the team and very worried about our safety. we planned to steal his precious time only for a short flag off by sounding the air horn but he wanted to follow us, observing us by boat!
All of us went on our kayaks, and the minister with score of reporters were on the marine police boat. Two marine enforcement agency boats escorted us, one each in front and at the back.
We thought the minister will only flag us off on land and we will happily kayak out the estuary. But he followed us almost half the way, closely observing us. I was thinking, 'he is one concern minister - if it is possible, he'd join our whole expedition'!
We kept paddling, and when we were out towards the sea, we felt the big waves. Right in front of my eyes, HUGE collection of water was rolling towards me. In the kayak, I felt like I rode up a mountain and downhill. We all went uphill, downhill. As long as we face the waves we are safe, we should not have side waves so we positioned ourselves to face waves.
Uphill, downhill. It was difficult to paddle but we were enjoying the waves. Then suddenly the marine enforcement boat in front turned back, and shouted 'patah balik!' (Turn back). In a kayak we can slowly manoeuvre back but the strong current, high waves and many paddlers prevented us a direct u-turn.
We heard from the back 'port side!!' And we all tried to paddle to the left. I saw on my right side, huge high waves with lots of white horse kept slapping in towards the shore. Huge waves still kept rolling and I was still going uphill downhill.
I couldn't see everybody as the waves blocked our sight. When I'm going uphill, my brothers and sisters in front were going downhill. All these happened in split seconds. Sometime the waves are like humps on the roads but definitely very much higher - some are big and a little flatter so we went up and downhill, some are sharper so we went up and straight away splashing down!
I was paddling hard to the left and kept wondering what will happen if I was slapped by the huge waves on the right.
I saw the marine police boat came on my left and then Ravi, my brother who was nearest to the boat capsized. I looked around and I was nearest to him. He is well built and have a size 3 times of me. I was thinking I must save him but his weight? 'He ain't heavy, he's my brother' I convinced myself. But I must be safe first before helping others so I made myself steady.
First big wave came uphill I went. But before I even managed to get 'downhill' another big wave slapped me from the top. The next thing I knew, I was in the water, without my left slipper.
I was in the water for long, holding tight to my paddle and I grabbed my right side slipper too. And then slowly I float on water thanks to our PFD. Looked around and saw my kayak was swept far away!
I looked at the back, a huge wave is coming towards me and I quickly turned in front and the waves splashed my head. It happened a few times and Kay, my brother nearest to me asked me to calm down and wait.
Suddenly the marine police boat came, threw a float and always the lucky devil, I was the first to be saved on the boat.
The marine police were swift in their action, searching and saving us one by one. When Ravi was up - the third person, I held to him and cried! He is the person I always argued with, had the most yelling towards each other but I still love him. Next was Rahiman and then Frankie, Harris and Chong. My tears just rolled freely to see each and every of my brother being brought up.
Lastly Kay was near the coast where the boat could not reach (too shallow). I thought the marine police left him and I cried. I did not know if everyone was safe and I kept crying until someone told me most of them reached the shore safely. Now that I write my experience again, my tears still flow.
We were carried back to the jetty where we started our journey. The marine police bought us water and asked that we stay there, calmed us down and went off for another round of search and rescue.
We waited very long! The land support team tried to call and communicate with the rest at sea. All were safe. My next concern - our kayaks and paddles. We have RM47,000 kayaks, RM10,000 kayaks and UNIMAS kayaks. Many were seen floating and drifted away.
After a while we saw our kayaks heading back to the jetty - 12 of them. It was almost night but we could recognise those are not our team of paddlers! To our surprise, those were villagers paddling our kayaks back to us.
After about half an hour, the marine boat came back with another 7 of our kayaks, marine enforcement boats also ferried a few paddlers back. I hugged Asraf and cried. I was so relieved all were safe!
We went back to hostel by bus, although felt like victims of tsunami, all were in high spirit - we learnt a lot from this experience. It was a GREAT day.
After dinner, everyone shared their experience. Those at sea went to search and rescue the kayaks, tied them all and sent back to the shore where villagers nearby already gathered the whole kampung to come help.
While the paddlers were assisting and collecting all kayaks, the villagers climbed coconut trees to plucked fresh coconuts to serve the team. Then the villagers asked permission to try the kayaks which Asraf, the expedition director obliged. Those were the 12 who paddled our kayaks all the way back to jetty.
At jetty, they gathered and all we could do was to serve them water. A few villagers when reaching the jetty shouted 'wah aku anak jati nelayan!' Some said 'aku pertama kali ni, nyaman!'

In excitement we took photos so a few villagers sat on the kayak and one kayak was dented! But all is well. All came back safely, all kayaks found, even all paddles were found.
Most surprisingly, someone held high a pair of pinkish red slippers and came to me, 'nah ur slippers!' Even my Crocs came back!
Everyone is now even better equipped with experience, knowledge and what to do if we face 17 feet high waves with 6 nautical miles strong wind. Yesterday was a GREAT day for all and everyone has their own stories to relate now.
Pray for our smooth journey daily while we, too pray for the tsunami and earthquake victims in Japan and areas of Philippines and Hawaii.

things just happen, the rest is up to us to make it GREAT!

Hoong Ling

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Kayak for Humanity Sarawak 2011

4.30 am and we are all at lobby awaiting transport to ferry us to KLIA.

Our flight sponsored by FireFly, we only paid for airport taxes and baggage.

All of us, 11 of us were in Diver City t-shirts. Diver City gave us t-shirts, waterproof bags and PDA cases.

Reached Kuching, a smooth flight and first destination was for breakfast. I had my first serving of midin, a fern-like vegetable which is compulsory to eat in Sarawak!

We were expecting our container to clear today but unexpectedly, we had to wait till the second day.

Forced to stay in a small room furnished with only 6 benches as our 'beds' and floor as our sleeping ground. 14 of us cramped that room with luggages and all our stuffs. No water that day so some of us slept in filthy condition. We had newspapers as pillow and towels as blankets. But all well, the room was cold, chilled by air-conds and we even have astro!

The next day we bathed, cleaned ourselves in a public wash room and then moved to the port to unload all our stuffs, kayaks, equipment and the many freebies for Sarawak folks! We travelled, leaving Kuching to head to Mukah and decided to stop at Sarikei.

We'll rest the night before continueing journey to Mukah tomorrow.

things just happen, the rest is up to us to make it GREAT!

Hoong Ling

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kayak for Humanity - training days 2

This is tough! At times I wonder why was I suffering here but I have a message to send.... Awareness on organ donation!
Kayak for Humanity combines passions - all our passions in one. It is a youth outreach expedition to promote sea kayaking sports, create awareness in organ donation, sending messages on environment and nature preservation, and most importantly our team contributes to unity.
I love the unity part of this noble Kayak for Humanity expedition. The paddlers are mostly from Peninsular Malaysia and will help encourage better relationship among peninsular and the Borneo island - Sabah and Sarawak. This year we specifically chosen Sarawak for its diversity in culture and nature. Our team consists of Malays, Chinese, Indians, a Sabahan and also Sarawakian. Our team bonding has been strengthen in these just 6 days of training alone. We are ONE family!
It is tough for me especially a someone with one lobe of liver, one kidney and only one functioning ear. My abdomen still bears a large Mercedes scar and still lack of strength as I did not stretch it much after 2 years operation.
First it was a capsize drill. With whole body in the waters and my kayak overturned, I relaxed myself, grasp as much air possible and tried to turn the kayak over. I tried 5 times and failed. My team mates had to come over and overturn the kayak for me. I then needed to help myself by pushing my body up to the kayak, which I took long enough time to do it. I was afraid to stretch the Mercedes abdomen so much. However, yesterday we did another round of drill. I got a lighter kayak, and turned it in one try. And slowly climbed up the kayak and roll over to my seat. I did it!
It is not an easy struggle. Kayaking - long distance sea kayaking to be exact is no easy feat. People asked us what humanity got to do with kayaking. And what humanity do we do? In fact, humanity could mean many things to many people. For us, our passions are considered humanity works - ain't environment, organ donation, sports, youth development, and unity, humanity?
And what has kayaking has to do with humanity? I'm truly inspired by this article - what has swimming gotta do with organ donation?
After struggling for 6 days, my skin colour is darker, I'm burnt, muscles all aching but it is my passion in organ donation that pushed me forward. Kayak for Humanity is organ donation and it is my passion. I want to proof that even a living donor could struggle and do long distance sea kayaking. I may be the last in the team most of the time but it is also unity among the team that pushed me forward!
I'm proud to be a part of this struggle and noble expedition and we will definitely make it! Please wish us well, pray for us and help us go through this expedition in Sarawak. I have also shaved my head as a pledge to the success of Kayak for Humanity! You can see my latest photos at
So far, we have financial assistance from GREAT People Sdn Bhd, accommodation and training place at Kolej Uniti, secretariat and accommodation by Ministry of Youth and Sports, a friend sponsoring RM500 and my Dad also RM500.
We need more support! We have applied for financial assistance from Ministry of Youth and Sports and hope to get the funds approval soon.
If you could help, please help sponsor me (yes, it is a personal request) cloud 9 (somehow this chocolate could give instant energy), Snickers chocolates, instant noodle, drinking water, ORS, sunblock, tights, muffler or face cover and the least I would expect is cash sponsorship.
Thank you in advanced! :)

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Kayak for Humanity - training days

Today is only day 2 of our training. This is an intensive training, whereby after the training our team will embark on an expedition in Sarawak - probably Miri or Bintulu to Kuching. The expedition could take 15 to 25 days depending on sea condition.

Yes, we are not kayaking in the river but I'm currently doing sea kayaking.

Yesterday's training was a little push for my stamina, and helped me fit physically. Almost our whole body was worked out. Today we did the same exercise and by evening, we were already commissioned our kayaks, and went on paddling in the sea.

Magnificent Mother Nature

One very magnificent view we saw was the Mother Nature. If you have seen any pictures with sea view (as if drawn from a fisherman's boat), with trees and greens, as well as small little homes and the bluish, orangie sky with a round moon... That's almost it. And it is Chap Goh Mei today so the moon is round and full!

Tiring but worth it

Having all muscles aching by now, even difficulty climbing stairs, walking like an elephant by now.... All is worth it and I truly believe that the expedition will surely be exciting and great!

Follow @kayak4humanity and @hoongling on Twitter for more information.

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Teh tarik berbuih RM1.30, mulut berbuih tak ternilai harganya

Sering kali kebelakangan ini, tetiba saya menjadi lebih terkenal dari dulu. Bukannya tidak pernah menikmati kehidupan 'glamour', maklumlah saya bekas pengacara televisyen untuk Selamat Pagi Malaysia.

Tetapi kali ini, 'glamour' itu tertumpu kepada bab pendermaan organ saya kepada seorang budak perempuan yang tidak saya kenali. Acapkali saya melihat orang terkejut, tergamam dan tercengang sebentar apabila diperkenalkan sebagai 'Hoong Ling yang pernah mendermakan hati kepada seseorang yang tidak dikenali'.

Pada mulanya memang rasa janggal apabila berdepan dengan reaksi begini tetapi lambat laun saya jadikan topik pengenalan itu sebagai kempen derma organ mini. Setiap kali diperkenalkan yang say telah menderma hati kepada orang lain, saya mulalah menjadi perisai peluru - bertalu-talu soalan ditujukan.

'Ha? Derma hati? Jadi takde hatilah sekarang!?' 'Wah penerima hati itu pasti orang yang kau sayang rapat kan?' 'Ye ke? Hati boleh diderma masa masih hidup?'

Teh tarik satu! Berbuih bukan teh tarik, berbuih mulut menceritakan pengalaman. Kalau berbuih teh tarik tu kena bayar RM1.30, yang berbuih mulut bercerita tu, bayarlah sikit. Tapi saya tidak pula meminta bayaran, malah saya memberi...... Satu borang derma organ setiap seorang.

Barulah nampak pelbagai reaksi lagi, banyaklah soalan yang bertalu-talu! Namun, jika salah seorang mengisi borang dan berjaya menjadi pengikrar menderma organ, saya sudah berjaya. Nilai itu bukan setakat RM1.30, tak terhingga nilai itu walaupun yang dikembalikan itu cuma sekeping borang derma organ yang telah diisi.

Sesi teh tarik saya kini banyak menjadi kempen mini pendermaan organ. Walaupun cara ini lambat tetapi lebih bermakna dan dapat memudahkan orang ramai mengisi dan mengembalikan borang ikrar derma organ demi menjadi seorang pengikrar.

Nak cuba membuihkan mulut saya, mudah je.... Teh tarik berbuih RM1.30 je.. :)

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Monday, January 24, 2011

Tenang By Election

It has been a long time since I last participated in any by election campaigns. I've experienced 4-5 by-elections and assisted in 3 general elections. By-elections are more fun than the general elections.

This time when there was a by election in Tenang - a small town in Labis, Johor, I felt a strong urge to provide assistance. Perhaps there's a feeling that I'm back! (Will explain later)

But this round will be even more interesting, since having a close Twitter friend @kwangchen who is a member of Angkatan Muda Keadilan, we will be joining campaigns for both BN and PR.

The journey
We started journey on Friday night - @jonathanfun, @eklern, @kwangchen and I (@hoongling). Reached Batu Pahat at midnight. When I thought we were going straight to the hotel to rest, our first destination was a karaoke for singing and drinking. A group of friends were already there including our friend, the MCA Gelang Patah division chairman, Jason Teoh.

At about 3.30am, after a good supper, we went to hotel for our sleep. We were told to gather at the hotel lobby by 6am to leave for Tenang. Less than 2 hours to sleep!

The by-election
I was awaken by 5.35am and prepared myself. By 6am I was done but calling those guys to no response, I knew they couldn't wake up. @alanwong8 who was also with Jason, called to say they were already on the way and asked that I rest and wait for those guys.

I slept and by 8.30am I saw tweets that showed they were awake. We had breakfast a headed to Tenang. Of course we missed the fun of nomination.

Went for lunch, saw a group of PKR youth members clad in orange. I thought BN was blue, PAS was green so I wore orange to be neutral. Little did I know it was the AMK's colour. Then to the PAS station, had rest and met some people.

The YB in MCA I texted and sent message to, did not reply me. In other words he ignored me. So, after some moving around and asking people, we found MCA Labis building. Went in to rest and bumped into YB Dato Wee Ka Siong and YB Chua Tee Yong.

We then started to follow YB Dato Wee to the row of shops next to the building. Door to door visit and we helped distribute flyers.

Then at 3.45pm we went back to the MCA hq to wait for YB Gan Ping Sieu's team for house to house visit. We did not know the entourage left without us. After waiting for half an hour, we gave up and went for KFC.

We saw Tian Chua and after food we wanted to join PKR for door to door visit when YB Gan finally replied. After some coordination we found the team and helped him in the walkabout.

Later we were supposed to attend and help in PR ceramah but couldn't find the locations. Gave up, we went to Kluang where Jonathan hosted us.

The night and the sharing
As YB Gan is also from Kluang, we had a drink with him till night. Jon asked a few questions and YB Gan gave us his views and insights of certain issues. Reflecting on his words, I personally think that our country needs more politicians like him who can give views with solid facts, referring to past history and understanding with empathy.

Hormati Suara Rakyat Selangor
After a night at Jon's house, we went back to KL headed straight to Petaling Jaya stadium for a rally organised by PR on returning the rights to Sultan.

Fell asleep at 10.30pm after tiring days in the car. I salute those YBs who always travel in the car, up and down the country for duties, attending functions after functions in a graveyard schedule.

May all our elected representatives have the strength and energy to work for the rakyat.

THANKS to Jason Teoh, MCA, PAS, PKR, Alvin Teoh, Jonathan and Eklern for the fun!

I'm back
My dream to be a politician began since school days but after some time I felt politics is not for me. By 17, I was already a social activist and leader in a few school organisations. I began helping in elections at that age by giving out flyers in the whole housing area and a Wanita PGRM division chairman asked me to join member and I did.

Then again in the next general election, I was going for walkabouts with the MP candidate. My candidate asked if I'm ok to follow him and risked being scolded, scorned off by the public at times and tiring myself under the sun for hours. I was alright.

Based in KL, I then chanced upon an opportunity to assist Dato Sri Ong Tee Keat in his constituency as his secretary. That was the time I realised politics is not for me. I focused on community service and helping people around the constituency.

Active in youth associations, I was also hand picked to be the Youth Ambassador on board the Southeast Asian Youth Program (SSEAYP). But 4 or 5 years ago I detached myself from all organisations especially those with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, politics killed my spirit.

Through these exposure, I then had opportunities to speak at forums and seminars, invited as panel speaker for Bicara Siswa twice and eventually a TV Presenter on Selamat Pagi Malaysia for two years.

All I wanted to do is to help communities and learn from people I meet, I lack the political will to fight for positions but yet I ended up having 12 positions, serving actively in 12 different organisations naturally. However, after my surgery donated liver, I needed rest so I relinquished posts in organisations requiring my active participation, time and signatories for cheques.

It was peace for 2 years - no persatuan, no kelab, no politics, no signing cheques (except one organisation), no activities, no hectic lifestyle, no graveyard schedule... I had heavenly sleep, enough rest, health got much better, even look younger (or at least stagnant - when I was 23, people said I looked 32, but as I now approach 31, people still say I look 32 too), had time for myself, understand myself even better... The list goes on. Most importantly I have time to share my experience and in that process encouraged more people to pledge their organs.

One major thing disrupted this. I was asked to join the Youth Development Transformation Lab - a 6-week full time lab to brainstorm for programs which could transform youths.

This could well be a full time job as I was also honored to be invited as member of the Implementation Committee. Luckily I still like my work as emcee, thus having much time for all these which are close to my heart - organ donation, youths.

From this point I felt that I'm back to the arena.. Though my first priority this year is to make my first million RM through green technologies, emceeing, speaking, training, and investments, I'll still spend time wherever possible for issues close to my heart.

Politics is still not my cup of tea...
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