T R A V E L L U S - F R E Q U E N T U S

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9:31 AM - Monday, January 16, 2012

"Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Eleanor Roosevelt

I'm thoroughly amazed by the mentality of some women...ok, most women actually, about the way they validate their attractiveness through the lens of other people. Don't get me wrong, I am sometimes mighty insecure about the way I look, which is why I got blepharoplasty in the first place. However, I feel that the motivation behind why you should change yourself is because how you perceive yourself matter more than other's opinions of you. In simpler terms: You should only do things to please yourself first, & not to please someone else.

Yesterday, I received a text from a friend whose friend was getting married soon, & wanted to look prettier for her wedding through blepharoplasty. As I was someone who had undergone the akin & emerged alive (ok...I'm exaggerating the dangers of such a minor procedure...), my friend thought that she could hook me up with her friend so that she need not be a middleman (that was after her friend asked for my clinic, the amount I paid and the downtime which in essence, was all she needed to know). Thus her friend dropped me 3 consective texts which goes like this:

Text 1: Introduction (not spelt out so as names remain confidential)

Text 2: Can I ask a favor from you to take a close-up pic of your eyes? Also, what are the considerations and research you made that led you to doing it? (Grammatical errors corrected)

Text 3: Some of my friends did it & it looked gross (wokay...so I now have to entertain your "interview" & prove to you that my eyes are not gross?! [sic!])

Lest to say, her requests garnered NO REPLY.

I am usually open & friendly with questions pertaining to my experiences, god forbid, I'm no mean bitch. However, I'm irritated with people who:

1) want to attempt something so bad at the back of their minds & yet lack the guts (or are lazy to do research by themselves), so they comfort themselves by saying that they saw others who suffered undesirable effects doing the same

2) want to undergo surgery or lose weight only before a wedding

3) want to look good for others (well for women especially, for their partners).

To me, Point 1 highlights someone who is weak-minded. If you are determined to do something, you will do your own research (because you are your best assurance), make an informed decision, stop dragging your feet and do it. Yes, you need time to consider, but the time frame you take should not be aeonsssss. For me, I considered blepharoplasty after a few years of unsuccessfully using enancer tapes, but it only took me 2 weeks of research and less than 1 month in total (inclusive of research) to get my procedure down pat. Besides, if you were to be responsible for your own actions, there will not be fingers pointed when things go wrong.

Point 2 indicates to me that this person only values herself as much as one major event. Does it mean that you pursue beauty and fitness only to nab an objective then subsequently let yourself go? The pursuit of fitness and self-maintenance MUST be an ongoing process. It is something you continue working on and not something you used to work for. Speaking of which, I've a friend whom I knew for 8 years who joined the same gym as me and I've only seen her working out months before her wedding. Weeks after her wedding, she had miraculously disappeared from the regular spin class we used to go to - true story. What the hell is wrong with these women?

Point 3 is actually pretty similar to 2. Wanting to look good should always stem largely from a place within yourself. Yes, I agree that to a certain extent, it is hard for other's opinion NOT to matter. However, you should always ask yourself "are you doing it at least 75% for yourself?". Trust me, I am not the most secure person in the world & everyone battles with self-esteem and insecurity. But, more than anything I've realised that living on the constant need for approval from others is a very tiring process, and you can never feel complete even if you are the most flawless person that ever graced the face of this Earth. The saddest thing for many is that they are not even conscious of this fact, & much worse, they thrive on the approval of others.

All in all, the conclusion of this story is that no one is perfect & everyone wants to look and feel the best...but... ALWAYS let your inner voice have more impact than others. It is only by constantly reminding yourself of that, that you can be the Captain of your own ship and navigate it through any storm.

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Poetic License
8:37 PM - Friday, January 13, 2012

"A poet's autobiography is his poetry. Anything else is just a footnote" - Yevgeny Yevtushenko

After a particularly enjoyable & memorable week, it is time to reorganize and focus again. This morning was a little bit of a mess; with me being a scatterbrain again, leaving my work laptop at home when I've already placed it beside my work-bag on the way out. However, I'm glad all was resolved (thanks to a particularly patient taxi-driver).

Anyway, fast-forward to 2 hours later (which is now): I've completed Part I of a difficult report due end of this month and then received a call from my chairman informing that my 2 other colleagues and I would be complained about by a member of public for our apparent "rude" customer service. Which leads me to wonder "how does working for community events include sweeping up the loose leaves outside your corridor?!". In my earlier conversation with this "gentle"man, I've related to him firmly that we had contacted the relevant Environmental Agency to look into the matter and he needs to be patient with their answer. My assertive tone was deliberately misinterpreted by the raving lunatic as unacceptable. Well, my answer to that: Suit yourself Mister, complain your bald head off, I won't let 1 bugger get me down :)

Then again, feeling the stress from my report deadline, I started on a mandarin orange (though I still have a little sore throat & cough) and surfing a little bit online. Don't know what inspired me to have this urge to look for my old profile on a poetry website called darkpoetry.com (Had and "emo" phrase in my life circa 2004-05 and started writing some dark poems, using it as an outlet to vent my angst). It wasn't an uphill task to look for my personal page...& lest to say, some of my old poems tickled me a fair bit (was I that angsty or did I have too much free time on my hands?!).
Thought it would be interesting to post the link anyway: http://www.darkpoetry.com/node/user/5672

Kinda refreshing to read some of my old works, and though they are not light-hearted reading at all, it made me reminisce on the old me and puts a smile on my face.

I am indeed glad that the me now has evolved into someone that is not emo or angsty: I'mma loving myself more and more! ...Thank God! :p (Phew!)

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Hope Floats
11:58 AM - Saturday, December 24, 2011

"Learn from Yesterday, Live for Today, Hope for Tomorrow" - Albert Einstein

It's funny how at this time of the year, people start dreaming about how to better their lives next year. Parties and celebrations are held, shelfing diet plans to the next whilst drawing up a chart of new New Year resolutions (which for most people, include having a healthier diet...). This year end, I reminded myself to play it cool & not to draw up my own chart (since I never commit myself to more than half of them anyway). Yet I still feel tempted, even more so after being inspired by my new book "Psychology of Success" which I just started reading a week ago.

However, instead of resolutions, I've decided to adopt the book's "25-goal challenge" which instructed the reader to list down 25 things they would like to achieve in 5 minutes. Perhaps by having it documented in "writing", I might finally be stirred into action (Also, there's no time frame in achieving them so I'm less pressured compared to resolutions, which have to be renewed annually...). So holding my breath, here goes...:

1) Lose 10kg
2) Get a motorbike license / learn to play the guitar
3) Save money to study an MBA before 2014
4) Start writing the business plan for my cafe dream
5) Travel the United States
6) Bring my mum to a fully paid-for overseas holiday
7) Volunteer in an animal facility
8) Exercise at least 6 hours a week
9) Bungee jump down the Verzasca Dam in Ticino, Switzerland
10) Go running more often
11) Pay off my study loan 2 years earlier than stipulated
12) Read more quality books
13) Stop being a slave to technology (tied to clause 12, I've been playing too much with my Iphone when I should be reading during my free time instead)
14) Be less of a sloth
15) Pack my cupboard at least once a month
16) Find someone special to care for
17) Be more generous and giving
18) Be less impatient
19) Curse less often
20) Be less of a spendthrift
21) Master the lotus pose in Yoga
22) Tidy up my CV (to an even more professional outlook)
23) Give granny a monthly allowance
24) Buy an oven and start baking
25) Gain a higher level of confidence

Opps, I took more than 5 minutes! But it's refreshing how once I got it down in writing, it seems to shout at me to stop existing & start living! With my Switz trip nearing, it seems clause 9 is about to come to fruitation. =)

I would also like to count my blessings as this year comes to a close. 2011 is not without it's fair share of heartache and personal failures, but I'm glad to have gained a few knocks on my experience board. In a survey I took a few days ago, I find myself not knowing the answer to this question "If you have a week to be anyone, who would you want to be most?". Picking my own brain for at least 15 minutes, I still could not think of anyone else I want to be...except being myself. 2011 was tough, no doubt, but I managed to meet really good people, travel at least thrice & who could beat that: doing a cartwheel at the 12 apostles (minus the fact that I've fallen clumsily onto the bed of sand...Unglam!!!). & Yes, I still believe in striving to better myself, but no, I don't desire to be in anybody else's shoes anymore. Perhaps at this stage of my life, I have finally made peace with being just the good old MeL.

Finally, with a positive note, I end this year with hopes & aspirations for 2012. After all, in a world full of possibilities, who knows which turn I take will lead me to an even greater adventure?!

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Back from hiatus, again!
5:38 PM - Monday, November 28, 2011

"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body."
- Elizabeth Stone

365 days. This is how long I have not logged in to write. Perhaps corporate life had sucked my enthusiasm dry, perhaps I have just morphed into an abhorrent sloth, whatever that is.

Anyhow, have been wanting to muse about mistakes and regrets for the longest time but never really gotten around to it. However, it seems that today is not THE day. I had a different epiphany whlist reading my daily online news, thus I guess I'm better off exerting my penmanship on this topic.

The subject of parenting had always struck a raw nerve as I grew up never really knowing my dad. Research shows that the earliest human memories date back to 4 years of age, and anything prior would not be stored in your memory bank (like how was your 1st cry or when you took your 1st steps). Perhaps the last time my dad ever held me was 3 years of age. After that, life is just a myriad of bluriness living as nomads at my grandparents' place with sparse visits from my dad. Funnily though, I always felt that mum was adequate & realised now that I am indeed blessed. It may not be a perfect childhood but I'm more fortunate than many. Besides, 1 should always count their blessings, everyday waking up breathing means a new day to bring forth changes & collect fresh experiences. An awe-inspiring thought eh?

So, what are the elements of good parenting and does parenting styles have cross-culture variations? Today morning, I read a news on how a 33 year old French father threw his 3 year old son naked into a washing machine and turned it on to "punish" him for misbehaving in school. The mum was at home but made no attempt to stop her husband from disciplining their child. Verdict: Son dies from a huge blow to his head when it knocked against the spinning machine. By the time the mother carried her cold, naked child to her neighbour's for aid, her son had already stopped breathing. What's even more atrocious was that the father had the audacity to insist that his son fell from the stairs. What's the world coming to??!! A 3 year old helpless boy & a 33 year old full-grown adult, well, did the father really need to do that? The boy isn't even given a chance to grow and maximise his full potential! There's still a whole beautiful life ahead of him, playing sports; going through the awkward stage of puberty; dating girls; earning his own keep; marrying and some day being a father himself! A young life robbed by an impulsive, cruel act committed by Daddy Dearest. Words can barely describe the amount of sadness & anger I felt! :(

A nagging memory also brought me back last year, where I had this parenting discussion with my Caucasian friend. She had deemed Asian parenting styles as warpped and teetering to violent. Asians adopt the "spare the rod, spoil the child" mentality when it comes to raising kids. My mum used to whack me with a cane whenever I did something wrong so whenever I'm tempted to commit mischief, I will associate pain with the repercussion of misconduct and promptly stop in my tracks. My friend found it really appalling that a child should be brought up being whipped albeit when the occassion calls for it. She mentioned that if she ever saw me beating my kid next time, she would report me to the authorities. Strange considering she saw how perfectly healthy and well-structured I am despite being a child subjected to Asian parenting. I then asked her how should one raise their kid under such a situation of mischief. She told me "You must always rationalise with your child, explain that his/her actions are wrong , no matter how old the child is". I was like "eh, what if your child was below 5 when the brain had not synapsed enough for them to understand the ways of the world in a comprehensive sense?" (I'm being very neurobiology here, pardon the Biology student). She told me it does not matter and it is more important to explain and calm a child down and that the Asians got it very wrong. I very nearly scoffed. Do they all think Asians are cane-wielding freaks? I do appreciate what she defines as the Caucasian parenting style of never raising your hand on your child, but how does one rationalise with a 3 year old? Yes, I think an ideal solution will be to calmly talk things out with your child, but before their formative years are up, there's is no possible way their impressionable minds can process verbal reason. It is only through physical association will they learn. By this I don't mean one can go trigger-happy when a child does something wrong, but rather, a small spank on the hand to teach them not to steal or bully a fellow nursery mate can do the job. I have once seen a mum "rationalising" with her toddler on how she will not be buying him a toy and all he did was to refuse to move, sit on the floor and started brawling loudly. A similar scenario happened with a mum who gave a small spank to her child's butt and a stern warning, and within seconds, the kid stopped his nonsense.

I don't mean to compare what is good or bad about cross-culture parenting styles...but I think if both styles can be adopted and fused to an improved version, what's so bad? Besides, from the incident of the French father, I don't think there is really Caucasian or Asian paretning styles, it really boils down to individual styles. It is better to consistently keep tempers or angers in check and deal with them occassionally than bottle it all up and release it one violent impulse. They don't call it irreversible damage for nothing.

With this, I urge all parents to appreciate the fate and destiny they share with their kids. No kids wish to be born, their parents always choose to have them. Since you hold the choice, why not choose or nurture a lovely being into someone who will one day raise another lovely being? Don't let a moment's impulse ruin what can be good, and don't ever think you have the parenting thing down-pat, cos as Frank Pittman said
"...The end product of child raising is not the child but the parent."
ults have more to learn from their children than the vice verse.

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Afflict affliction
8:13 PM - Sunday, November 28, 2010

"Pain and death are part of life. To reject them is to reject life itself." - Havelock Ellis

Pain and fear have always been secondary to me; whether if it's physically, mentally or emotionally administered. Not that I claim to be a trooper in this "brave" new world nor am I contesting the notion that I'm a toughie built to take any shit thrown my way. But that's just the way I grew up to be.

In my youth, I loved thrill rides and carnivals. My eldest sister, Mitchell, & I were the daredevils who enthusiastically undertook any form of thrill ride, be it the multi-storey demon drops, the vikings, the triple-looped roller coaster or the bumper cars...both of us were always the first to volunteer and queue relentlessly for our turns, no matter how many people were in front of us. When I was 7, Mitchell drove me in the bumper car & halfway through, the ride went horribly wrong & I went home crying, forehead bleeding coupled with a black & blue eye. That didn't deter me. In 2003, Mitch& I stood in the queue in Korea's biggest themepark at freezing cold temperatures (in our ill-prepared thin jackets cos we weren't experienced in packing for cold temperatures then) just to have a turn on their scariest ride...refusing to give up though we were due back into our tour bus in 15 mins. In 2000, Mavis & I were atop of an 18-storey demon drop in sydney; her eyes squeezed shut & nails dug deeply into my arm (holding on for her dear life), while my eyes were wide opened staring at the countdown screen that goes 5...4...3...2...1, all the while anticipating the plunge to down below. I would recall that later on, Mavis went off green-faced to a corner while I queued a 2nd time (...was not as fun this time around). Since then, I have been charting the dates where I will experience bungee-jumping (but my prof told of his slipped disc story that kinda deterred me) & sky-diving.

Emotionally at a young age, I was taught to cope with pain and fear in a unique manner. I wasn't detached (like my mum). But I have learned that when my emotions took a turn for the worst, I would just have to move on after a period of spacing out. My tears flowed lesser as I carried heavier experience baggages, reminding myself after each time that every occurence is a lesson and one should not allow themselves to dwell. Sure, there are times where I lose track of my emotions and got melodramatic, however, my coping mechanism always bounces back pretty well...thus in no point of my youth do I face issues such as the need to self-mutilate, take up smoking/glue sniffing, or engage in gang-related activities or fights (however due to narrow-mindedness of Asians, I tend to be categorised as being having a "past" due to my interest & ownership of tattoos...I no more feel indignant & have accepted it as part of my culture's stereotyping). If you can't fight it, live with it...besides, I have proved myself in other ways such as my academics and my innate ability to engage people in conversations (with more than passable grammer & vocab).

Lest to say, physical pain wasn't much of a concern of mine. My somewhat selectively traditional mum hates it that I started having multiple piercings since 13, which channelled to tattoos. As of now, I have retired all my piercings but my tattoos irritate her to no end. So much so that when I lost my toenail in a freak accident 2 weeks back, she got into sarcasm mode whenever I whimpered & whined about the pain (" I thought your skin is very thick? Since you can tattoo yourself what's losing a toenail?). I also hated visits to the doctor; not because I fear pain or injections...but rather, I hated the feeling of waiting such a long time to see the doctor, who will proceed in less than 10mins to complete his prognosis. I always prefer to self-medicate because I hated waiting alone. I could count with the fingers on one hand, the number of times I was accompanied by someone vaguely resembling an adult, to the clinic when I was a child, no matter how sick I was. It was usually me alone, so, I rather skip the boredom of long lonely queues and self-serve.

Today, I suffered a bout of severe gastric, which was rather alarming cos I seldom experience stomach-related pains. Needless to say, I refused to travel to the clinic after several visits to the loo & my boss's persuasion. Why am I still able to type this? It's lunch-time & I have just self-medicated with the aid of my colleague's miracle stomach-flu pills :D

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Specially for your lil' precious & you(of cos!!!)
5:21 PM - Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hello Judyyyy, Hello Maxyyyy. Hope you guys like Stewyyyy. Sorry I'm such a bullyyyy.
Happy Thanksgiving =D

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10:32 AM - Tuesday, October 19, 2010

"It takes a long time to grow young" - Pablo Picasso

Such a nice number.

A fresh career & finally made to feel that I'm now fully grown up. I have God to thank for.

Happy Birthday to me.

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