Archive for the 'Thoughts' Category


The Passing of a Leader

It is with great sadness to learn that Singapore’s first prime minister, Mr Lee Kuan Yew passed away peacefully this morning at 3.18am. Though I come across many world leaders and famous people who have died from the late Princess Diana to Nelson Mandela to Malcolm Fraser, reading about their great work and good deeds, none has come closer to my life that Mr Lee. Having lived in Singapore under his prime ministership, the people in Singapore have witnessed the change in a little red dot to a prosperous nation it is today.

Leaders have their strengths and weaknesses and in many cases it is through their strengths that things happen. Mr Lee was no exception. He was a leader with foresight and with his vision for transformation, the blueprints were made real. Even at that time, some ideas looked far fetch and radical, yet it was for the better. Great leaders show compassion and relate to the people; Mr Lee interacted with the commoners, led with his head and heart.

Mr Lee was a leader of leaders. He had a team of old guards who together worked to discuss, debate and sought to bring a better life than poverty to the people. Their problem solving skills were put to the test and with courage and perseverance, got day-to-day issues sorted out and moved from firefighting mode to one of innovation.

Taking a leaf out of history, reflecting on leadership, what have you learnt from Mr Lee? What kind of leader are you today? What kind of leader will you be tomorrow? Are you courageous enough to take the risks and stand out to be counted? Will you take the bold step from your comfort zone and lead the pack? Do you realise your dreams with actions? What difference will you make? What legacy are you leaving?

Thank you, Mr Lee for what you have done in nation building. As the people on the little red dot grieve, we bid farewell to a world class leader. Good-bye Mr Lee and may you rest in peace.


Option: Trick or Treat?

Option: Trick or Treat?

Option: Changes?

Change. What does it mean? According to the dictionary, it says, “to transform, to convert”. The dictionary continues with its verb form, changing to mean “to become different or to be altered or modified.” How do you see change?

Change can be a scary word to some. It brings on the unknown and at times fear sets in for the unexpected, the inability to control the situation. Some find it unsettling and even put a negative connotation to it.

Change can also be welcomed. A move in position, a substitute for something, a change of scene, a break from the norm. A whole new dimension or a shift in gear.

Change – so what meaning does it hold for you? Do you embrace or flee from it? What changes have taken place in your life? Are you in the same old regime day in and out? Are you doing the same job as you did for years? Is your fashion style or even hair style/make-up the same as it was in the last 2-3 years? Are you only hanging out with the same circle of people? Have you tried a different route to work/school/home …? Are you reading books of the same category or author?

Change can open doors. Though it has its risks, it is also a new beginning, a movement from one plane to another, a breath of fresh air. It need not be big, it can be small. Some people are willing to make changes in one area but not another. For instance they take a different vacation each year but fall into the same routine daily, living the same way as they did for years. Some changes have have a profound effect that transforms a person or situation. Are you willing to take the chance to try something different? Do you allow yourself to be flexible and open to changes? If moving on/forward/side way means a better you, a better tomorrow, will you take that first step? Think of what the future looks or feels like with change, even if it is subtle. What opportunities await you?

Change can be accidental or planned. Which is yours? Are you your greatest change agent?

So ask yourself today: Are you up to the same old tricks or would you like a new treat? What changes do you want in your life? The options are yours: trick or treat?


Do Something for the First Time

Today while I was looking at pins on Pinterest, I came across an interesting quote, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?” When we get bogged down with the humdrum of daily living, doing the same old, same old, and it becomes a predictable routine. Where does that lead us to?

For the past several weeks, I have been inundated with new projects. On the surface, they looked easy. But having gone through the initial steps, I realised there was more than meets the eye. There were areas I needed to update and in other areas to learn new stuff.

I set upon looking out for relevant courses to attend since I am back in Melbourne where creativity is embraced. The classes fitted my schedule and there, off I went. One weekend was spent on an “Introduction to Drawing” class, something I have always wanted to do. At the start of the class, I was kind of anxious; my mind was filled with uncertainty. I did not know what to expect. I have never been properly taught how to draw and now is the time to pick that up. The art teacher was amazing and very encouraging, make learning a breeze. Using new media and playing with materials was liberating. By the end of the class, the progress made within that few hours was obvious … well, it was bad to start with in the first place! Both the teacher and I were pleased with the results and I walked out on cloud 9.

The second class was an evening workshop on bridal floristry. This was more like an update session for me. Filled with anticipation, I entered the class to be greeted by the owner of the shop. Her creativity was apparent in the way her shop was presented. We wasted no time getting started with warm up activities and then moved on to the more serious stuff. The techniques picked up in getting the floral arrangement together were great and before we knew it, by the end of the session, we had beautifully arranged a bridal bouquet, corsage and boutonniere. Everyone was in high spirits, having achieved the skills to make such pretty things. We were unabashed raving at our own creations.

As I reflected upon the past weeks, I was glad I went for the classes pushed on by necessity for the projects I was engaged to do as a consultant. It was time I did new things that broke the routine. It added value to me both professionally and personally. Two items to tick off my bucket list. For the next six months, I shall be looking at things to do for the first time, something new. It is a path untrodden and may bring uncertainties but well worth exploring. It means stepping out of my comfort zone.The experience releases a newness within and looking at things with fresh eyes. 

So when was the last time you did something for the first time?  Are you willing to get out of your comfort zone? Will you taking for first step to doing that soon?



When we meet friends whom we have not seen for a long time, we often ask, “How are you?” with a concern on their well being. The most frequent answer heard, “I have been busy.” Everyone seems busy … all the time. I hardly get to meet someone who is relatively free. People are occupied all the time, almost like 24/7 and if you are out free, you stand out and people wonder what have you wasted your time on!

How do we make time? Can time be made? Are we ahead or behind it? We often run out of it. We lose it. Yet we are given 24hours each, rich or poor,  it is the same dose every day. What you make out of it is really up to you. How you want to stretch it depends on your creativity. It can go to waste, too.

What meaning do you attach to time? Is time of value to you? To the businessman, time is money. To an Olympic runner, a mere few seconds make a great difference to the gold medal. To a child, getting to the destination seems like hours. To the cancer patient, every day is a miracle. Time is precious. The clock ticks on where time and tide waits for no man. True.

As the world spins, time slips out as in an hourglass. Are you time tight? How do you manage your time? Or does it manage you? Look around you. Do you see pockets of time you could use? The waiting time, the lull periods, the in-betweens? What do you do?

Clever usage of time needs to be planned. Having designated blocks of time to get things done is one way. Focusing on priorities and giving it the important time slots mean we get key things out of the way. That includes things we dread to do.

To get some extra time, I started off today by waking up an hour earlier. There was much I could do and I did. Things that were put on the back burner came out first and completed in a shorter time frame than I expected. I was elated. I did things faster than I usually do and the change in schedule made the difference because the routine was re-routed and I did things on a fresh footing. That helped.

When we do things we love, we get immersed and time cease to exist. It flies through the window. We are in the time zone. The danger comes when we do not know when to stop as the enjoyment gets exhilarating. That accounts for us being late, delayed work in other aspects, missed deadlines and pushing things back. We need to take a step back to re-focus.

Having a planner to craft out the time zones for work and play makes a lot of sense and yet most people do not do it. Use a planner to see where your time went to and how you can make the most of it. Look at it and ask: Are there things you could cut down? Are there things you could increase? Are there things you can do away or delegate?

It takes effort to make changes and save time when you can. Do you want to do it? What do you see as the end result of having it done? Does it motivate you sufficiently to have the change? It all comes back to the meaning you attach to time. If it is important enough to you, the change will be made. Be time wise.



Lots of us are guilty as procrastinators one time or other. What has been gnawing at you and that you have put off for some time ? And really, you know the consequences when you hold back too long.

Just recently, I had to visit the dental clinic. Admittedly, it is not one of my favourite places. I dread going to the dentist. It is nothing personal about the dentist, in fact my old, regular dentist has retired recently and I was thinking of switching to another one. 

At the back of my mind, I knew the visit had been long overdue. When the cavity started to trouble me, it seemed like I have no choice. If only it was that easy to take a panadol to rid it, unfortunately the tooth ache required special attention. It has hit a raw nerve, so to speak, costing me sleepless nights. Thus an appointment had to be made real soon. Sigh.

What has held me back from going for my regular checks and the much needed scaling? Thinking back it must have been the experience in my early years when I had my dental treatment at a dental hut of my primary school.  I saw the hauling up from class to this little consultation room as a dreaded time that sent shivers down my spine. The mere a sound of the drilling machine would set me running a mile away. I have associated the dental treatment with fear, an anxiety attack.

Going through the dental treatment was not as bad as I thought though it was certainly not a trip to Disneyland. I survived. The new dental clinic I visited had state of the art dental equipment and a TV screen to entertain me, calmed my already frayed nerves. The dentist and his assistant were very professional and reassuring.

What are the cavities in your life that need fixing? Is there anything that you feel you ought to do but have yet to get started? What is holding you back? What do you associate the experience with? What are you moving away from? Take a little time to uncover the answers to these questions and then ask yourself what benefits you when the experience is over?

For me, I have decided to add more value to my set of teeth that will see me through to the rest of my life and it had better start now. The next time you see me, I shall flash you a  smile and with a sparkle in my tooth, you’ll know that I had that gold filling done! : )



This week, an old friend just connected with me via my recent eNewsletter. I was very elated. It had been such a long time since we last kept in touch. More than 2 years? How did I let that slip? It’s funny, how we take a long shot at the word Friends. We all have friends, many, in fact. But real friends?

Real friends are people we feel comfortable with. It never fails to amaze me how we can pick up from where we left off, be it weeks, months, years. The connection is real, never fake. They rise above common pleasantries and air kisses. These friends take you as you are and hear you out, even if you sound like a broken recorder. You can say whatever you want and are not judged. They know your strengths and weaknesses and let you be you. They also know when to knock sense into you and let you stay grounded.

As we grow older, making friends takes time and effort. Little children make friends easily. Being adults we are more cautious when linking up with people. Pressed for time, we do not even let the friendships grow, much less nurture new ones. Three years ago, I decided I would like to make new friends and get to know more people. In the midst, make some really good friends out of them. Some of them, at least. And I did. I made time to meet up and chat and be there for them. It isn’t how many friends I have made, but the real friends I have encountered and let the friendship grow. I do think of them often and wonder how they are.

So here’s to all my real friends out there. I just want to say: Thank you for understanding. Thank you for all the support. Thank you for all the laughter. Thank you for being there. Most of all, thank you for being you. : )

P/S – Will be in touch. Soon. I promise.


Containing ourselves

There was a piece of news in the papers that drew my attention after my business partner mentioned it. There was an incident where a young man died due to a gang setting on him. What a tragedy! What sparked off was a staring incident and something so minor as that has set off the chase and fight as reported in the newspapers.

My heart goes out to his parents. For nineteen years they bring him up and he was smart enough to qualify into  tertiary education only to meet his death in the such a senseless manner. What were they (the assailants) thinking of? Could they not channel their energies into something more constructive? The dynamics of the team was so strong to go bash up someone for trivial matters? Egos at stake when there is not enough ego-strength to contain them?

When we reflect back, there may also be moments where we demonstrate our anger in less constructive and supportive ways. It could be a harsh word, a sarcastic remark, an insult, a mean look, or worse screaming and yelling, cutting people down to size. In physical forms we witness road rage, slammed doors, stomping, destructive behaviour … Mmmmm.

In the age where we want instant results, instant gratification, when thing start to slow down and not go at our pace, we feel frustrated. Patience is really a virtue today. If we could exercise a bit of that and control our anger, take hold our temper and see things in perspective, we contribute to a better world.

For now, I think of the boy who died in such horrendous circumstances and advocate we do away with violence, especially when young minds get imprints from the violence they see on TV shows/movies, the internet or worse partake in violent video games with sadistic outcomes. These scenes play on in young minds and what do they grow up to be? If we could curb these, we do them a favour. What a waste to a young life lost forever!