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Who are you fighting for?

If you had one year to live
How would you proceed?
Would you list all the things
That you never had the time to do

Would you sail through the world
See the sky and moon and mountains
Visit all the seven wonders
Swim in the deep blue ocean

If you had one month to live
How would you proceed?
Would you gather all your friends
And spend all your time with them

Would you sit thru all the parties
Listen to all their stories
Remember all the laughter you shared
And all the tears you once shed

If you had one day to live
How would you proceed?
Would you seek out your family
And hug them for one last time

Would you laugh with your nephews
Have a grand dinner with your parents
Wrestle with your siblings
And kiss your lover on his lips

If you had just today to live
How would you proceed?

I was suddenly inspired to write this. I've become quite aware of my friends' struggles in life - and mine. We fight everyday. With our dreams, aspiration and goals, sometimes we forget what we are fighting for. What are we fighting for? And who are we fighting for?

You. And me. I fight for you and me.


My parents came from Ipoh, Perak. I can't say that my parents were born in that quaint little village in that charming little town. Back in its heyday, Ipoh was almost like an industrial town - famous exports of tin and peanuts ensured a large swarm of immigrants from China kept it going. My maternal grandfather came from Fuzhou (I think). When the British still ruled, Ipoh was the second administrative town after Kuala Lumpur. It is the capital of the State of Perak. But yes, as I am sure in almost any Asian town in those days, my parents grew up climbing trees, eating shaved ice balls and catching all sorts of insects and fish for rearing and fighting. My mother grew up tapping rubber trees after ending her education in Primary 2 - the fact that she now speaks broken English to my Indonesian sister in law is an amazing feat. My father was luckier, having attended one of the better schools in town, which my paternal grandfather slogged as a carpenter to put him and his multiple brothers through.

They sought independence, as much as it was required of them in those days, and left their village - the biggest village in Ipoh at that time with more than ten thousand residents - to be with my father's eldest brother in Singapore. My dad took up a job in an electronics factory and my mother did sewing in a textile / clothing factory. They had a son first, and my brother was born (with much difficulty, as my mother often likes to remind us) in Ipoh, with him holding the record for the heaviest baby for a long time. My sister followed in Singapore, and then me. We grew up with the cane in my father's hand, who strongly believed that without education, we were destined for a life of poverty. I remember assessment books, a lot of it, and according to my siblings, I had it the easiest because my dad mellowed then. Being the youngest (and incredibly cute - I KNOW RIGHT?!) helped.

But I realise that my dad taught us more than that. Perhaps it was by example because I don't remember my parents spending a lot of time with us, but I remember he thought us respect, hard work, persistence, and yes, how to suck thumb. And I think it was because that they had to fend for themselves, and they taught us the need to fend for ourselves. 

I think I might have been different if my parents never left. I could be a happy barefoot (never did it because my dad says I will cut myself and die), tree climbing (never did it because my dad says I will fall and die), shaved ice ball eating (never did it because my dad says it's not clean and have food poisoning and die), river swimming (never did it because my dad says OH MY GOD ARE YOU NUTS YOU WILL DROWN BUT BEFORE THAT YOU WILL FREEZE and die), kampung (never lived in one because well, HDB was efficient) girl (my dad told someone that he was hoping for a boy. Who says that? In front of their own spawn?!). And I can be a happy barefoot, tree climbing, shaved ice ball eating, river swimming kampung girl because my dad is the same guy that told me stories of his barefoot, tree climbing, shaved ice ball eating, river swimming days. He is that same guy that likes expensive watches (we have lost him shopping before, finding his face plastered to the glass display outside a watch shop) but gets ridiculously content with tasty neighbourhood bakery bread. He is that same guy that taught us to be ambitious but content, that found it amusing that I called him in Hong Kong (his first overseas trip with my mum without us ever) when I failed Mathematics in Sec 3 and feared a lashing but did not hesitate to actually lash me when I did not pay attention or try my best. My parents tried their best to prepare us for the future in the way they thought the best, always putting us ahead. 

And I believe this is the reason I work as hard as I can. I am not self-made. No one is. My parents have never reminded me of their sacrifice (besides my mum often reminding my brother of the pain of her labour), and they have always, in fact, asked me to cut myself some slack. But knowing that they have given everything so that I can have anything I wanted as long as I worked hard at it... means I should, because I now have the opportunity to. Do I regret certain choices they made, and then some that I made? Yes, but I've also learnt that life is a series of Sliding Doors - and the life not lived is sometimes the perfect one because who imagines difficulties? - and you make your own choices and live with them.

And you know what? While I often lament that I would love the chance to relive certain portions of my life (I would love a time machine), I thank God for what I have today. And I thank you.


I've been aching to write.

It's been happening for a while now. While I sulk at my talented friends for having an outlet to play, write and perform, I struggle to finish my own masterpiece, knowing that it is a long drawn and lonely process. But blogging, I can. (Ok, it matters to me whether anyone reads this, but at least I'm not just talking to myself in my head.)

I wonder how some writers get their inspiration. I believe that practice matters - the more you write, the better you are. This would explain how (I think) I was a much better writer at age 15 than 30. I am incredibly talented and witty... in my head. I make myself smile when I am walking home from the bus stop, usually when my iPod runs out of music. But the truth is that I swing from verbal diarrhoea (I had trouble spelling that word) to writer's block. My best moments are unplanned and hence undocumented. This works for me sometimes - you got to take my word for it!

And I'm done writing about the grandeurs of life, deep meaningful passages of crap where #idon'tgiveafuck plays a huge part in the reader's mind. No, I'm done. You're stuck reading the inane and insane trash that will come out of my chaotic brain, words sometimes so forced that you could tell I'm trying to piece a sentence together. This usually happens when I am trying to write.

But this is not one of those days.

It is interesting though. You can tell one's style, but I'm too lazy to go into detail, and again, you have to take my word for how brilliant and witty and awesome that probably forever unwritten passage got to be. If this piece is on kickstarter, man, I will be rich on good thoughts alone. But the real world is a little different, and you are not psychic. I'm still lazy though.

How does one write? I mean, how do writers, columnists, lyricists, musicians et al spew word after word, sentence after sentence? Each verse meaningful (at least got some sort of meaning la) or deep interpretation of life? I am curious, and I struggle. I find writing short stories much easier - my unfinished after 1 whole year and more novella the best example - and yet I can still run out of juice. There's always some excuse we can find, isn't it? I'm not emo enough, I'm too emo, I don't have the equipment, I can't work on company's laptop, my tablet/netbook is too uncomfortable (never mind I bought it just for writing), I'm not inspired enough, I don't have the right feel, this story sucks... But as I said before, writing needs to be practised. It is a mental muscle we must flex, and of course when the stars align, like today, writing gets a tad less crappy.

Creation is indeed a wondrous thing. My friends create tune after tune, verse after verse. It is amazing that they can create something out of nothing. I like to write alternative lyrics or parody lyrics, but it's a lot easier because you have a base to work off from. Not so much tunes, even lyrics is easier to get the starting inspiration. You broke my heart, you bastard. I shall write the emo lyrics of "You broke my heart, you bastard." But how does one spin a tune from this? Take inspiration from where? I know you can, but how? Some scientist once evaluated the success of Adele's songs - Minor chords, crushing crescendos and single vocals with no music in one 4 minute song can make your heart soar and fall with it. (Google it, you lazy bastard.) But how does it work? You broke my heart, you bastard. I shall write a tune with Em and Am chords. Tak match leh...

So while I sit there gawking at the awesomeness of some musicians, mostly local, many now friends, I jealously dissect their approach. Who what where when how? But I know that while I enviously admire their ability to create and have an outlet for their passion, a lot of hard work - and you can hear it, and I respect that a shitload - is always put in. I always hear them say "this is the 4th million draft of the song, it didn't quite work out the first 3,999,999 times" but I am still amazed at their very first, apparently shitty draft. Well, some we don't have to mention. Those with talent oozing out of their ears - those are just inhuman. God is not fair - I take that back, they probably suffered for it like Vincent Van Gogh. Kinda sorta, without the ear cutting part - and there are still some musicians (I use this medium as an example because I've been lazily listening to music more than reading) that, with every performance, I want to kiss their feet more. Some that are so awesome, it takes more than one listening to unfold their awesomeness. Others because they keep getting awesomer. Some are like those skinny chicks who want their boobs concave into their body to hit the perfect figure - always aiming to better themselves, knowing that perfection is never attainable but always a good aim to try to reach. I have no respect for lazy musicians who waste their talent and opportunity to stand on that stage, not with other more deserving talents waiting.

It is the same for writing. You know, like the movie Inception? Where every time you watch it you figure out something new? It's similar to how I feel with some writing: stories, tunes, lyrics, novels, commentaries, columns etc etc. There are some songs that I find new meanings and realise for the first time what it means after hearing it for the 3384th time. There are some books that I will want to read, again and again (though I don't read enough, apart from work emails, RFPs and twitter). I haven't read enough classics, and there you have these increasingly inconsiderate artists and writers who keep releasing new work, much faster than I can finish the ones on hand. Assholes. Tsk. I'm still ploughing through The Beatles! Come on!

Apparently today's mode is Verbal Diarrhoea.

So in any case, I've been aching to write. I could write more, I feel like just stupidly typing on and on and on (kinda doing that now), but I know that too much of a good thing *cough* isn't good for us. So well, no.

Let's see how long this "streak" lasts. If it's anything like my current track record, you might see the next post in 6 months. Let's hope not!
See ya soon :)

4am revelations

I woke up at 4am on Monday morning.

I slept the whole weekend away, and still I did not feel rested. On Monday morning, I realised why.

I woke up at 4am on Monday morning.

Now, you must understand this. I've always been someone who is very passionate about my work and my job. I have always been in high stress jobs, always took on more than my fair share, but that was how I learnt and grew. Working 24/7, as much as I physically could, was never an issue for me.

Until recently.

My stint at the Gourmet Catering firm was physically tiring. I lived in fear of my phone ringing and inane questions and unreasonable requests filing through. I never knew how to handle them - I never had to, before this. In the past, work was work. Soon it was filtering into my life, uninvited for once.

Then I landed the job in this firm, a dream job, a fantastic opportunity by all counts. I love the job, I am grateful for the chance given. For 7 months, I was on contract, rushing deadlines and pulling my hair out to fulfill my KPIs. However, I was on a project basis - there was no emotional involvement per se, there was no need to worry about this and that apart from that one project. I lived from report to report, meeting to meeting, finishing one presentation after that.

Then I was invited to join the firm full time. Their words of flattery and apparent trust bought me over, it was a great firm that I would have given my 2 left feet to join anyway. The sheer amount of competence in this firm overwhelmed me - I was peeing in my pants everyday with the worry of looking stupid in front of all these brilliant people. I took on the job and soon the obstacles hit me very fast. Soon I was working an equivalent of 16 hours a day, occasionally working overnight. I took it as paying my dues, earning my stripes, but soon I saw load upon unrelentless and unforgiving load on me. I learnt quickly, but stubbornly refused to give in and reject work. I had a lot of judgement on how my predecessor worked - I still do - but I also always knew that it was partly due to circumstance. He was a good man, and a hardworking one. But he also once warned me to keep my head down because the ones who try to change things, even for the better, never end up well here.

Among all these I noticed something weird. I became very reluctant to work on weekends, often procrastinating or never switching my laptop on. Even on weekdays, if I could stay in the office to finish my work instead of bringing it back, I would. I did not want to bring work back into my personal life. Oh, I liked to talk shop. But that was that - talking. Not actual work. To maintain this, I stretched my weeknights longer - often working through the night. It was not common for me to work through my meals and survive on coffee and cigarettes - something that I was used to doing.

I don't think I have changed. Rather, I think I have moved to a stage in my life where I want to still get a career but not at the expense of myself. I want to still enjoy my work, to feel the passion burning in me, and not well, gastric burning in me. Which comes back to Monday morning, and the whole grandfather story on this.

I woke up at 4am on Monday morning.

I woke up thinking about work. It has happened before - during times of conflict and high stress periods, like submissions. But it has never happened during a "normal" period. I have realised that I am always stressed anyway and this is not good for work. I make bad decisions, snap at people, am highly unproductive when I am stressed. "Chill Out" is not an option when you are in my situation - you know those cartoons where the walls are coming in and water starts flooding the room? I am in this situation. Try telling them to "chill out". No, maintaining your sanity in these situations require a tactic to manage the work and people around you, people who think that they can do a better job, people who look at you in scorn and push work to you, people who sometimes outright sabotage you, of all things. And escape is not an option to me, I want to stay here, I want to grow here. So I learn to manage.

This is where I should be tagging some HBR articles. But this blog is not a "work blog" in that sense. The 4am wake up was, well... a wake up call.

I left work at 6.30pm last night. I went home, I had dinner with my family. We bought a new lightbulb. I went home and showered and slept before 11pm. I woke up today at 5.55am, totally recharged. I went to work, hate slowly filling my head with angry thoughts of inequality and injustice at work. I recognise the pattern - so I manage. Or, I aim to manage. I take point by point and decide on how to deal with it. Whether or not I deal with it that particular way is irrelevant to this process - the whole idea is to prevent the hate from festering.

You have seen some of our friends like this. So busy at work, no time to eat, no time to sleep, everything is not as important as their work. You understand their point, and "work never ends" is never quite as impactful because sometimes work does not wait. The good thing about work is that it never fails you. Your input will not be reduced - if you put in 60%, nothing can change the fact that you've put in 60%, whether or not others recognise it. You know you've put in 60%. So there are good things about work in that sense. It is fulfilling, it brings passion, it engages your mind. But the most important thing is that... if you go down this way, you will fail your work. And you will fail you.

I don't want to fail me. Do you?

Everything changed. Nothing changed.

It's coming to the end of the year. Every year, as I grow older (yea, duh, genius), time seems to pass by faster and faster.

This is the year of remarkable change for me.

Much has happened in 2012. I've made new friends, I've lost old ones. I've rediscovered some old passions and discovered new ones. I've lost focus on what was important, and I've realised what was important. I made full use of my time, I've learnt to not do everything at once (even for leisure) and burnt out.

It's 2.38am. I am aware that my writing is crappy right now and that I might actually really kick myself when I read this post in the future. But, well.

Physically, I've grown younger. Really, I am serious. For some reason, my body has decided to grant me the miraculous gift of "youth marks", also known as acne. It started out as a huge one, then it invited its friends and squatted on my face. Then it got better for a while, but recently, it's come out in full force.

I've made really good friends, new ones, people that I hope will be friends for life. I've grown closer to old friends, people that I need to continue staying in touch with. I've lost some friends, people whom I dearly miss but have decided that I am not worth their time nor friendship.

I found a really good job. It also turned out really crappy, but I enjoy the actual job which is satisfying. But the crappiness is quickly overtaking the happiness, so I might exit this position, depending on the situation.

And there were changes in the family. But I won't dwell on that.

So yes, I am aware of the irony. After a whole year, where almost everything changed, nothing has changed.

I can say, however, with great certainty, that I would have changed the way I did some things. But there is no time machine or Ctrl-Z in life, and everything has already happened. I am now richer from it, and one takes the bad with the good right?

So no, I will not stop loving and living to avoid pain. Because, then, you would not have loved or lived at all.

Have a great 2013, people. I love you.

There is comfort in the kitchen

There is some comfort in the kitchen.

The kitchen is where I celebrate my happiness, wallow in self-pity, forget my sadness and work out my anger. It has been neglected, over-used, too dirty and too clean. It contains ingredients that make beef stew, cookies, abalone porridge and instant noodles. In all, the kitchen is where I can go for anything.

On a whim I decided to bake today. I am fearful of baking - there are too many variances. What the hell is "softened butter"? (Ok, I am resisting the urge to say something totally potty here, but you can think it) And what the heck is packed brown sugar? Do I put it in a carton box and get DHL to pick it up?

But I kid.

I've always identified more with cooking. To me it's easier - the facets of it is comforting and sometimes almost mindless. Chop the vegetables. Too large? Ok, cook it longer until it's soft (This is bad, resist the urge to say something naughty!). Too small (ahem), it's ok, it's how it tastes. (I see where this is going...) You can brown the damn meat then put it in the oven, or you can leave it on the cheapass grill pan for 10 minutes (a la Westin). You can even put it in the oven for a long time with a very low temperature and then leave it on the cheapass grill pan for 10 minutes. The taste may differ greatly but it would be edible.

I once made the mistake of using melted butter instead of softened butter for my cookies. Let's just say I think I figured out how Famous Amos came up with the idea of cookie cakes. Or how I am convinced that the Gods of Baking have randomly decided how shortbreads will never be successful at my house.

But I digress. As usual. You know, a friend of mine always says that I never finish what I start out to do so...


There is some comfort in the kitchen.

I particularly like 2 extremes. I love cooking alone, making freezer meals and just non-stop mechanical actions (cough cough). I also love cooking for my friends, 3 of us crammed in my tiny kitchen with not enough space for us to chop, saute, roast and bake. We plan our recipes according to resources: I can only use 2 large pans at one time, and if I am grilling then only 1 but I can still leave something simmering on the stove; if you want to roast some chicken, then perhaps I should use the slow cooker for beef stew; yours take longer to cook so you start first since the damned counter space is enough for only one.

Cooking with friends is awesome. I don't agree with Westin and Edmund a lot on cooking, we do have our arguments. But we have learnt to ask and not question, take a step back and then understand their point of view when we finally taste the end product. I still believe in a certain amount of control - something Edmund and I will never agree upon. I think sometimes things cannot be so... artistic. But experimentation is encouraged.

So I'm now sitting here working on my powerpoint slides and anxiously waiting for the Guinness Nutella Brownies to finish baking, if it ever does complete. My oven is tiny, and all recipes call for a sheet that is twice its length so I had to tweak a lot of the recipe. My mixer's faulty, and the attempt to use my handheld whisk attachment from the handheld immersion blender resulted in my kitchen floor being coated with brown sugar. I am now tempted to purchase a decent mixer. But as usual, it will languish in the corner for a while, even months before I may use it so I decide that I am more fond of using that dough to sign up for something useful... say Muay Thai class.

I just checked on the brownies... and I think it should be done quite soon! And I've been a good girl, I am documenting the process so I know where it works and where it fails and hence how to tweak it.

Let's hope... nomnomnom!


I am easily distracted.

I think that is an understatement seeing how I'm actually seriously busy at work nowadays and still find the time to blog (ironically restart to blog), facebook and have a offline social life. But with all these comes great distractions - some important and welcome (like my family's whatsapp group - full of updates of my little nephews which are extremely important to me), and some not so.

So I find myself greatly inspired by a friend, Mr Middle (Tiong!) and trying to refocus my life. I've started with the numerous cards in my wallet. Friends who, well, don't call me friends anymore as well. I have rediscovered the beauty of peace on the bus, and will probably stop bringing my iPad out. I've changed back to the crappy Nokia phone with its excellent battery life and will bring my earphones out. My headphones will stay in the smoking room for my reading sessions.

I will continue to go out and connect with my friends. That is important to me. Discovering and rediscovering bands have been a nice unintended surprise this year, and I won't stop. In fact I intend to go baybeats this year and rock out for 3 awesome days. I also have a list of things I want to do, and well, I don't see the point of sharing it, but I have been slowly checking them off. I've picked up salsa, and won't stop despite my instructor's bruised feet; I'm going to rent a trombone and have contacted some community bands to see if I can participate; I'm also starting to write again - you can see that (or at least, I try.)

2012 has been a year of disappointments and pleasant surprises. I've lost friends and gained new ones. I've settled into a somewhat acceptable but awkward plateau in life, and it's up to me to decide if I roll off it or climb onto the next. I hope this refocus works. While I've discarded many things this year - from clothes that don't fit to broken shoes, I've also picked up new fitting clothes and we all know my penchant for black heels. I want to do that for life as well.

I found a job I really like with a salary that isn't too bad in a company that is excellent. I remember my low periods of struggle, whether in the consultancy firm or in the catering company, and I know I am really happy here. I will need to work really hard to keep this, seeing how it is only a contract job, but this is one chance I need to grab. I'm readjusting relationships with my friends and family, having faith that my really good friends are there for me. As thick-skinned as it sounds, no, I don't really need to find new friends. If that chemistry happens, good for us. But I'm quite happy with my current set of friends. They are here for me regardless of what I do, where I am, and how I've skinned someone alive how I've dug myself into ruts. They love me for me. And you can't beat that.

Sometimes when life gives you lemons, I say, make vodka lemonade! And at least I know in life... sometimes trying is good enough. And I'm trying. I really am.

Everyone can go and fuck themselves!

This is on my repeat playlist. Because, friends, here's to us. Because if they give you hell, they can go and fuck themselves.

So chest up, people! There will always be days that get you down. But friends are always here, and everyone can go and fuck themselves!

We could just go home right now
Or maybe we could stick around
For just one more drink / Oh yeah

Get another bottle out
Let's shoot the shit, sit back down
For just one more drink / Oh yeah

Here's to us / Here's to love
All the times that we've fucked up
Here's to you / Fill the glass
Cuz the last few days have kicked my ass
Oh Let's give 'em hell / Wish everybody well
Here's to us / Here's to us

We stuck it out this far together
Put our dreams through the shredder
Let's toast, cuz things got better

And everything could change like that
And all these years go by so fast, but
Nothing lasts, forever

Here's to us / Here's to love
All the times that we've messed up
Here's to you / Fill the glass
Cuz the last few nights have kicked my ass
If they give you hell / Tell them Go fuck themselves
Here's to us / Here's to us

Here's to all that we kissed
And to all that we missed
To the biggest mistakes that we just just wouldn't trade

To us breakin' up
Without us breakin down
To whatever's comin' our way

Here's to us / Here's to love
All the times that we've fucked up
Here's to you / Fill the glass
Cuz the last few days have kicked my ass
Oh Let's give 'em hell / Wish everybody well

Here's to us / Here's to love
All the times that we messed up
Here's to you / Fill the glass
Cuz the last few nights have kicked my ass
If they give you hell, tell them go fuck themselves.
Here's to us / Here's to us

Here's to us / Here's to love
Here's to us / Wish everybody well
Here's to us / Here's to love
Here's to us

Here's to us

The damned weather

It is way too fucking hot today. It is as if someone up there was going through menopause and suddenly felt really cold, and then switched the damn temperature up, like way up. I was looking forward to eating at the cafeteria, you know, in a nice air-conditioned environment, probably the special on Wednesday, Poached Salmon. I would have with me a glass of ice cold water and my usual fruit box, and go for a smoke in the shade, enjoying the breeze. But alas it was not meant to be, I only reached the cafeteria at 1.15pm and there was scarcely any food left.

This made me pissed. And you don’t like me when I’m pissed. I’m pissed because I had to go to the food court (not air-conditioned) next door, and brilliantly decided to eat Mee Hoon Kuay, forgetting my immobilized 3rd and 4th fingers on my right hand.

I had Mee Hoon Kuay. With a Spoon. In the heat.

I’m pissed, and someone must suffer. Being Singaporean, I must complain. Someone must, pardon the pun, take the heat (ironically I did) for this! And I decided that the weather is to blame for it today.

How hot is it today? Let me count the ways.

It is so hot today that the grapes in my fruit boxes are now raisins.
It is so hot today that I actually lost weight having lunch.
It is so hot today that my ankle are sweating.
It is so hot today that if I was someone actually sexy (hot) like, I don’t know, Liv Tyler, I might have just spontaneously combusted into flames.
It is so hot today that the cook was frying eggs without a fire, standing in the middle of the carpark.
It is so hot today that any jewelry on a person would leave a burn mark.
It is so hot today that I am now tanned, and I sat in the damn shade.
It is so hot today that Eskimos are wearing singlets and shorts.
It is so hot today that my Oolong Tea boiled in its can.
It is so hot today that I could have showered with the amount of perspiration on me.
It is so hot today that the guys in the carwash had issues lathering up because the water kept evaporating.
It is so hot today that my rubber shoes had no soles by the time I reached the office.
It is so hot today that I can’t shake my fist at the weather because of the salt crystals on my armpits (figure this one out yourself).

Damn you, weather!

Suck Thumb

I was very naughty while growing up (still am now), and when you grow up with a couple of siblings that are literally geniuses (no, seriously. I am not exaggerating), it kind of eats at you. I think I am somewhat intelligent, but I will never be as bright as my brother or my sister. I used to joke (although I do mean it) that my parents only planned to have 2 children, and I was somewhat of an accident (as my dad loves to remind me), that my parents had already split the intelligence for the next generation 50% to my brother and 50% to my sister. I had whatever little that was leftover.

But I think my family has taught me well. My father, while spoiling as much as he possibly can, was also quite the disciplinarian. But if you think I had it bad (I got kicked out of the house for not paying attention while he was teaching me, mathematics I believe), I can definitely assure you that the stories I’ve heard of my older siblings are definitely real. The good thing about my dad, as strict as he was (and still is sometimes), was that he was a firm believer of “suck thumb”.

I used to get into fights in school, and if I ever came home because I was bullied (I was a very big crybaby), he always said that I must have provoked it. As an adult I heard it a lot more often. Life gets you down? You’re being picked on in school? You got passed over for a promotion? Boyfriend left you (ok, first he will curse and swear and promise you he will hunt him down and break his legs…)? No food at home and you’re hungry? Got stuck at the train station with no bus or cab in a downpour (Seriously, my sister managed to get him to pick her up when there WERE cabs and buses and it wasn’t raining)? TOO BAD. THEN HOW? SUCK THUMB LOR.

But it is because of this philosophy which he actually lives by, and that we witnessed while growing up, that my family is not a group of complainers. We raise issues up, we seek solutions, and we never ever sit and complain and wait for something to fall out of the sky. (Although, yes we do dabble in the lottery a bit). I think that all 3 kids had inherited my father’s work ethics of working really hard for something we really want. And none of us had the good life in our careers – we’ve all been discriminated against, passed over for promotions, taken on tasks that no one really wants. In a nutshell, we’ve all been dealt the short end of the stick before.

There’s this one thing about us. I believe in our own industries and our careers, we are problem solvers because of this. We see issues that everyone sweeps under the rug or assumes that nothing can change. If it CAN be changed, we will push for it, whether or not it is a direct task for us. Of course, as age goes by (although I think this is something they learnt a long time ago, for me just recently so), one must choose your battles. But we seek solutions. “Cannot be done” was never an acceptable answer to us – in work or in life.

We are not rebellious, in fact, I think we follow the system so well that I think we seek to ensure it works better by pushing out the kinks. There is no such thing as “I don’t know” and “I’m not sure”. We are resourceful because of that – we can never accept that this, whatever it is, is just that. There MUST be a better solution. There MUST be a better way to do things that can improve everyone’s lives.

I know that this irritates my friends a little. Why can I never, NEVER. Just. Let. Sleeping. Dogs. Lie. Why, Lee, Why? (Yes, this is the exact way an ex-colleague told me). Because. Because if we always have let sleeping dogs lie, we wouldn’t have inventions. Nor republics. Yes, everything that you love and use and see is the consequence of someone saying… “Why must it be like this? It can always be better.”

It can ALWAYS be better. If not, what can you do? Suck thumb ah…

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