Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Nuggets of life at this juncture...

Random collection of things that I've learnt at this juncture of my life.... (especially after being exposed to the "real world" post Uni days)... :) Serves as a reminder to myself.
  • Manage upwards, besides managing downwards. It makes a lot of difference who you work with. You can't change your boss, neither do most bosses bother to accommodate to your work style - in order to survive, you'd need to manage to suit his/her style. It will make both parties happier. However, you shouldn't need to compromise your own work style, strike a balance. My happiest times are when my bosses' values & principles are similar to mine & they believe and trust me and allowed me to work independently. I absolutely detest micro-management (even ants don't need to be told what to do every second and controlled - might as well hire a robot!)
  • Learn to accept people as they are - we spend far too much time being frustrated by someone else's behaviour. It helps to sometimes laugh it off every now and then. If everyone was created like you, the world will be a boring place.
  • Love your job, but don't get 'emotionally involved' with the company. It is afterall an entity - it will and can survive without you. It cannot love you back.
  • You know who your true friends are, when you leave.
  • Work towards your own life's goals, not for the sake of seeking people's approval. You'd end up being a slave to work.
  • Stand up for what you believe is right - even though it may make you the minority. Have guts!
  • People matter! As I have read, people do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. Take care of your people, just as you take care of the servers and PCs - people are assets too! (Some people fail to realize that)
  • There is sometimes a bigger risk, in not taking a risk.
  • Short term pain for long term gain...
  • Keep yourself happy - it's a choice we make everyday!
  • Every now & then, stop and think where you are heading.
  • Courage is being afraid, but going ahead with it anyway.
  • Everything in life is a choice. No one forces you, but it is the invisible force created by yourself about what the world tells you, that you need to do.
  • Always do a great job!
  • Always make time for the things that are important to you.
  • Prayer works! A friend of mine wrote "It is not hard to see God's hand in your life" - I am truly blessed! Some say that I'm 'lucky', but the truth is - all glory is to God who answers my prayers.
  • The more you give, the more you receive. I don't know why, but it seems to work that way. I am continuously touched by how much more I have received from giving.
  • There is no greater discovery than true love.
  • Eventually, the truth will be uncovered - you can only get so far with bullshit. The stench will speak for itself. People do get away with it, but at the cost of being associated with the smell.
  • Many proud, arrogant people are actually broken inside.
  • Those who boast and speak most about their successes to others, are in fact the most insecure.
  • No one has ever succeeded in accomplishing great things, without passion & determination.

It's amazing how much I have learnt at this juncture of my life, and I'm really thankful for the nuggets of wisdom imparted by my many mentors! I would be grateful if I only had one mentor, but I have had the privilege of many, many mentors... including my siblings, church leaders, ex-bosses, ex-tutor. Thank you!!

Saturday, April 26, 2008


It has been ages since I have blogged, but it seems timely to put in a thought or two while I’m at crossroads. I was reading through my old blogs, and it really brought back memories of how I felt at a certain time, which is priceless.

This year has been a whirlwind for me. It started with a massive world travel, something that I’ve always wanted to try. I just love to travel, a very expensive hobby, unfortunately. But there is just so much to see, so much to experience and taste how a different culture is like. I suppose you could say that I tie it very closely to my escapism thoughts (running away from reality for a bit). Anyhow, I’ve kinda tasted for a short stint what it’s like to travel for work. Not half as glamorous as it may sound, but I can say at least I have tried. You just know that you have traveled too much when….

- You spend more time in airports than in your own room
- You have more than 1 frequent flyer card
- You don’t mind spending money on travel related items (especially trolley bags and more trolley bags!)
- You carry so many different currencies in your wallet, you get confused
- You can memorize airport procedures
- You can memorize all the announcements …”An aerotrain is arriving…”
- You take more than an hour to do your expenses claims for the month

I’m sure many people who have traveled for work excessively would testify to that. :) Ironically, I am glad to be home! I suppose too much of something, makes you sick (e.g. taking more than 20 flights in 2 months).

Why do people always ask, “What do you want to do in life?” . I find that a very tough question to answer. Apparently most people still don’t know what they want to do in their fourties. I’m in my twenties and I am supposed to know what I am supposed to do? Anyway, it is a very confusing time – “finding your place in the world”, “wanting to make a difference or an impact”… etc. I’m an idealist. I dream and think a lot, could I be a full time dreamer? The problem with idealists is that they do not take much action and refuse to face reality (or it’d take a lot longer to hit the ground). Well, I would say that I’m still making my descent.

Steve Jobs said that the dots will all connect somehow. I truly believe in that. Everything happens for a reason, it all leads to finding out your real purpose. Even though in each situation, you may ask “Why am I in this situation? Why did I get myself into this”? If I hadn’t tasted the short stint travel for work, I may still think that it is something that will be fulfilling for me. Now I realize that it comes with a lot of costs. If I hadn’t had bad experience in relationships, I wouldn’t have been able to make wiser decisions and appreciative of my current relationship & what is truly important. If I haven’t gone through bad management, I wouldn’t learn what good management and leadership is. I do hope to remind myself to be more optimistic and worry less, to live in the present and not float too long in the ‘future’ that I have imagined (with many complex scenarios and what-ifs).

It is often the fear that we have instilled upon ourselves that is the real obstacle. The fear of others’ perception, of our Asian society that puts a lot of emphasis on ‘money, prestige and position’ - what’s up with people boasting all the time about how “well” they are doing? I utterly cannot stand that. I believe that if you are good at what you do, you don’t need to announce to the world, people will know. And there are too many people in our twenties (myself included), living beyond our means. We live the life that we were brought up in because our parents have made many sacrifices and effort to get to that stage (like working hard for over 20 years) – and yet, we have just started off our careers and living as though we are earning as much as them. It’d definitely be an interesting study of our generation and what this path leads us to? Many of us do not understand the true value of earning a living, there is no thought about long-term sustainability, in short, refusing to grow up. Well some are lucky to have a fortune that can last through their lifetime, but for the others, it’s definitely time to wake up.

I hope I’d be hitting the ground soon… (but then again, what’s life without big dreams? *wink*)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Being there...

Most people ask what the most important thing in a relationship with your loved ones is. I discovered my answer yesterday, which is simply being there. You may not know what to do or what to say, with the uncertainties and anxieties looming, but simply being there may be all. Relatives that you can count upon, to turn up at your door when problems arise, your partner that will be there for you no matter what, and family who will be there to support and pray together.

Suddenly, everything else seem meaningless – status, power, work, titles, worries. The things that we do to chase all that, the worries that clog our minds are the very things that cause the problems. What is really important? Where does our time go to? Do we really know what it means to be there for each other? A kind word spoken, a loving action, a simple prayer…

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:7

Have you ever experienced God’s perfect peace? The calm amidst the storm, the strength amidst the tribulations and comfort amidst the uncertainties… and He shows Himself so real ever once again. And these words from the song ‘Made me glad’ discover its new meaning in me:

I will bless the Lord forever
I will trust Him at all times
He has delivered me from all fear
He has set my feet upon a rock
I will not be moved
And I'll say of the Lord
You are my shield, my strength
My portion, deliverer
My shelter, strong tower
My very present help in time of need

Yes, my very present help in time of need. Who else can I turn to for comfort & for perfect peace? He is in control of everything.

Please do stop and think – am I so caught up in chasing the wind that I do not have time to be there for others?

Time is a commodity that you have free access over, and the power is in your hands in how you would share it.

Sunday, April 08, 2007


True love is about acceptance - accepting the other person’s weaknesses, bad habits, attitude & character. There’s nothing more that people long for than acceptance. Being in a new work environment, going to an unfamiliar country, starting a new school – the first thing we all fear, is not being accepted.

I've learnt more about acceptance in the past weeks than I’ve ever had. Last week, I went on a road trip for the usual ‘Ceng Beng’ festival with my parents. My parents truly teach me the meaning of acceptance. They have been together since high school and my mum always jokes that she can read my dad so well that before he does or says anything, she already knows what he’s up to. It’s amazing how they are so different and yet share a very loving relationship – both aware of each other’s differences and annoying habits, but like my mum would say “Everyone’s different”. My dad is ever so patient with my mum and always supports & accepts her as she is.

Another example that I’ve seen time and again is to do with rebellious children. Why are they rebellious? It’s because of the lack of acceptance from their parents. Being the typical Asian parents, it is not unfamiliar to hear things like “Why can’t you be more like your brother/sister/cousin?”. In many cases, when the child realizes that he/she can never meet up to that ‘expectation’ set by his/her parents, he/she becomes rebellious. It truly just takes a simple step – to accept the child and realize the uniqueness of each individual. Because of this comparison, most parents are blinded by their own children’s natural talents, just cause they are too busy comparing with someone else’s sons or daughters. And how many doctors, lawyers and accountants do we need anyway?

I’ve also just returned from visiting my church’s drop-in center where druggies and homeless people are welcomed to drop in for free food, medical check-ups etc. We went around the streets to distribute food to them & it was indeed an eye-opening experience – we don’t have to go to other 3rd world countries to experience this, when it is actually just a 20 minutes drive away – there are tons of people in need of help and basic necessities! Again, just accepting them as they are, and not discriminating means a lot to them. After all, God created us all equal – it’s just the circumstances that differ and not everyone is so fortunate, which doesn’t give us the right to discriminate.

Being accepted allows the other person to freely be themselves without being judged. It is difficult to do, simply because we are not perfect. Our first instinct is to judge, to criticize & to sound. The perfect example is God’s love, no matter how unworthy we are, how much sin we’ve committed, how evil we are, whether we live in the streets, we are the outcast of society or we are from a broken home, it does not matter. He loves us just the same. That’s why Easter means so much to me, because it reminds me of the power of His resurrection, of the hope that He brings to the world, by sacrificing His life.

“Greater love has no one than this, that He lay down His life for His friends” John 15:13

Happy Easter!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Eternal Sunshine of a (de)Maximized Mind

In about 3 hours, I would land in the familiar place that I call home. The past 14 days were spent in pure bliss, in a demaximized way.

"Maximizer" is a term my 'mentor' used to describe the kind of person that I am - needing to make sure that I make the most of every second and minute, fearing that I may have lost out if I made the wrong decisions.

Taking things slow, in a purely new yet familiar environment, I realize that life is indeed a journey. We can only plan, but God directs our paths and as long as I'm in the center of His will, I feel secure. Everything is under His control - what a relief to get this macro picture.

It was indeed a fantastic demaximizing trip - taking time to talk, really talk and catch up with my old friends and cousin. How I treasure each and every one of them from my friendships formed during my Uni days. I love how we can always pick up from where we left off with the same amount of depth and intensity. It is good to learn that despite the miles, distance and lifestyle, but if we are true to ourselves, we all face the same issues at the core of it all. Being in the mid-20s, we are just so focused on 'ourselves', on making it there, showing a facade, but life is to be lived, and does not stop once we hit the big 30. We need to slow down and smell the roses, and enjoy them for their colour and all the beauty that they are. Life is never fair but we can choose our reactions to these circumstances. Our reactions are always within our control.

Some highlights of my trip include sitting on the grass along the river bank, overlooking the massive city across the river, as though they were completely different worlds. I love to be on the other side, for once. I sat on the bench and watched the contrast between the old and the new. I walked along the streets with clean air and clear blue skies and observed the strangers that pass me by and wonder what's on their minds. I sipped coffee, and enjoyed the soft tint of sunshine upon my face reminding me of the brighter side of life, despite all that it is.

It was not about how much I managed to squeeze into my tight schedule or the places I needed to go. Distance taught me how important some people are to me, and how no matter how much I love a place, it is always the people that drew me to it. If not for the people, a place is merely made up of concrete buildings painted upon green grass and blue skies with plastic figurines. I am longing to be home - to be where my heart is. To be with the person who truly loves me for who I am. And in all these, I thank God for all the greatness and blessings He has poured upon me, for who can ever, ever be more blessed?

- Signing off,
A (de)maximized emery

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Why I believe in God...

He changed my life,
He gave me a reason & purpose to live,
He loves me so much, more than I can ever fathom,
He has never left me nor forsaken me despite all the wrongs that I've done & despite walking away from Him,
He really takes care of me & looking back, everything whether good or bad were also part of His plan..
He changed me in ways that I could never imagine... from a shy, quiet person with low self-esteem to a more confident, outspoken person today,
He takes care of every intricate detail of my life,
He never short changes me when I trust Him but offers me only the best,
He helps me in my darkest hours when I have no one else to turn to - He is there,

How can I not believe there is a God?
He is so real, so real to me,
There is nothing more that I could ask for than knowing the Almighty God.

This Christmas, there is no greater gift that I want for my family and friends, than hoping that they too will discover the love of God... and have the life changing experience that I have ... Blessed Christmas!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Of pea pods...

Here is a story on pea pods. Why pea pods? Coz it sounds cute & may not have any significance whatsoever, I just like the word. ;)

The first pea pod was kind and loyal, always taking care of the other pods and genuinely care for their wellbeing and thus, disliked its trust being breached. The second pea pod was more selfish as it put its own survival as first priority though it still thought of the other pods whenever it had the time to. The third pea pod cared only of its wellbeing and went to the other pods for help only when its wellbeing was not being met but refused to help the other pods when they are in distress. The fourth pea pod is genuinely kind at heart but has many other pods to attend to and thus, have to subdivide its time between the pods, sometimes missing out on the important issues at hand.

I guess the moral of the story is that not all pea pods are created equal.

"Let us not be weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season, if we don't give up." Galatians 6:9