When Fate Intervened…

This is a story of how two people met.
And sorry. It’s not a love story.
It’s about being friends but it’s also about turning friendship into something more.
It was such a surprise to have her write about our little relationship. We’ve often joked that people would hardly believe how we met and that my aunt actually met her before I did.
And like all Penang folks, we begin with food and we end with food. We always have food in some form or another.
OK, enough tantalizing. It’s such a warm, fuzzy read because she’s an excellent writer, the sort I’d want if only she weren’t bonded to that oil and gas company.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to Wei Vern and how we go a funny, little way back.

June is for Me, Me & Me

I have been strangely missing from this blog yeah?
It’s odd sometimes. As a writer, I write for everyone and everyone in my lingo means paying clients as part of the whole website design package. After all, that’s what I’m good at.
But it does not mean that I’m not tired sometimes.
And when I get tired, my poor blog gets neglected.
Oh and besides writing of course, there’s a bunch of stuff. Like my recent jaunts to KL for seminars. It seems May was the month for self development.
I met Robin Sharma and thought, what good luck! I was like some nervous school girl. Some might say that what Robin teaches is already available out there.
I think we all miss the point.
The point is, he’s a reminder. He reminds us to be leaders. He reminds us what we need to do. Some teachers don’t need to teach us new tricks – they remind us of what we know but have not truly practised.
Then a good friend rings up the week after I get home and asks if I am keen on listening to Robert Kiyosaki and his team of advisors in a 3-day special in KL.
How could I say no when the deal was so good?
So you see, no wonder I’m bloody missing.
But I am feeling pretty good about myself these days, perhaps in a way attributed to the seminars. One cannot help but be buoyed by good vibes when you’re learning with eager, supportive friends.
No, actually I am feeling good because this is June and we’ve decided to dedicate the whole of this month to ourselves. We’re not taking any new clients this month (we’re overloaded as it is), we’re trying to finish up whatever we need to do as we want to really focus on US.
US as in the company, our vision for the future, the clients we want, the clients we don’t want (yes, there are people we’d rather cull from our list of clients), what we do and what we are not doing. Also the kind of people we want to partner with.
You see, lots of people come to us wanting to JV with us.
Some have really good ideas while others are just plain awful. In the past, we’ve entertained them all.
Because we are so damn kind.
Yes, kindness is not always beneficial especially when it eats up my time. And I keep saying, time is the most precious asset for me. I’d rather Skype than meet people who do nothing but waste my time. Sorry but as I grow older I know I cannot please everyone so I might as well please me.
Coming back to the partners, yes, everyone wants to partner. But not everyone can be a good partner.
A good partner is one who comes with excellent if not super excellent qualities. It has to be a fair exchange of skills and experience, not one partner leeching off another. Robert Kiyosaki stressed this factor as one of the 3 important factors of running a successful business. Many people just want a free ride and free lunch if you let them!
When I went for the Robert Kiyosaki seminar, I also observed that there are 2 types of people – the absolute cynics and the absolute fans. One type was skeptical of everything and resented the speakers’ viewpoints and always had a “I know that” retort ready.
The fan type was always cheering and pumped up as if they were on steroids or on a perpetual sugar high.
I’m new to this seminar stuff so I was keeping my mind open and listening not only to the content but also how the content was delivered.
I saw some very good sales techniques used by the speakers which resulted in a woman bugging me to sign up for a seminar (yes, cross-selling and up-selling seminars after a presentation or talk was considered normal) because if 2 people signed up, there was a rebate of RM100.
If she signed up on her own, she’d miss that discount. I refuse to be bugged. I wasn’t even sure I’d be free on that particular date in July and I wasn’t going to hang about KL all the time! Damn. And I didn’t even know her! But I did know that she was like a buzzing bee, never letting me go. In the end, I walked away and she gaped like a goldfish!
I don’t mind the selling techniques employed – it’s just the way some presenters did it that made it me feel rather cornered. Robert did it in a classy way. No hard selling. He was the savvy educator, driving home the fact that we all need to learn to be financially savvy. He did talk about his books and his Cashflow board game but that was it. No 10-minute countdown nor frenzied buying. (You must check out his new book/site called Conspiracy of the Rich.)
Robert and his team spoke for the first 2 days and left after that. The final day (the 3rd day) was pure and direct hard sell. I didn’t mind Gregory Secker, the guy who came on to talk about forex trading. He was candid.
But what bugged me was this Internet marketer (whom I shall not name at all) who taught 7,000 seminar attendees how to copy and paste from Ebay into a blog. Apparently, he’s had tea with the Queen of England, he knows Paula Abdul and he’s rich beyond his dreams. Does that change the fact that he showed us all how to cheat, live online?
Some people might not be offended by the live ‘cheating’ demo but I was! While making money was the topic of the day, there are legal and ethical means of doing it. Why would anyone stoop so low to copy stuff from eBay or Amazon and paste them into a blog?
If making money was so important, I could name a few other easier options in life – sell pirated dvds, open a brothel, do drugs then. Whatever. After all, it seems like the end justifies the means.
That truly spoiled the event which I had enjoyed 2 days before when the Rich Dad team came to speak. There’s classy selling and then there’s this.
So yeah, I still get mad when I think of the live demo. But meeting Robert Kiyosaki made the trip and seminar great. The rest of the speakers on the last day were not bad at all except that one speaker who irked me.
I even enjoyed Ewen Chia’s presentation which was honest and direct in his own way, though drawn out it was. I was getting tired and grouchy as his was the last presentation of the 3rd day and it was getting late (we ended up getting out at past 9pm!).
T. Harv Eker will be speaking at the same venue, Mines International Exhibition Convention Centre (MIECC) Seri Kembangan this 12 to 14 June. He’s another dynamo on stage. I loved his book, Secrets of the Millionaire Mind. He completely changes the way you view money and re-wires your money DNA. Go get his book if you can’t attend the seminar. Worth every ringgit!
Oh ya, Selamat Hari Gawai! Marrying a Sarawakian Chinese means I get to know what’s happening over in the Land of the Hornbills. This whole week will be a major holiday in Sarawak as almost everyone shuts down their business to celebrate the harvest festival merrily with lots of potent home-brewed moonshine called tuak.

Gayu guru gerai nyamai everyone!

Are You A Gila Treasure Hunter? This Is For You!

I almost forgot to blog about this. Tsk tsk.
Yeah, I know.
I’ve been back at work since Friday but you know this thing about emails and work plus we were apartment-hunting (well actually we have been looking at apartments to buy on this side of Penang island for the longest time) and such, so I almost forgot to tell you this. (My apartment-hunting adventure merits its own post!)
Especially if you are a bad, mad treasure hunting fan.
I thought I was until I met more mad people whose lifeblood is about joining treasure hunts.
Anyway, I shall stop being a tease and direct you to The Webmazers, a cool new initiative (hmm, if I may masuk bakul and angkat sendiri lah) by ta-daaaa, us at Redbox Studio and The Roadrunners, the maestros of setting treasure hunting clues or ‘tulips’ as they’re called.
I’ve blogged about it on the other blog (and to date, I’ve seen that more blogs in the blogosphere have picked up on this too) so go read.
Anticipation and excitement is building up (particularly among the treasure hunt kaki’s online) because if I know Jayaram correctly, his cryptic puzzles and tulips are damn damn hard. Gives your brain cells a thorough workout too.
And once you get hooked on this, man, there is no turning back. You’re going to want to solve more cryptic puzzles.
Did I also mention it’s FREE to join? No fees involved unlike your offline motoring treasure hunt.
(As part of the organising team, I won’t be able to join so I encourage you to haul up your friends, chee mui, colleagues, father, mother, siblings, godparents etc to enter this online treasure hunt.)
Yes, it’s starting on 10 February which is like what….6 days from today.
The prizes? How does a romantic sunset cruise in Langkawi sound to you? 3 main prizes are up for grabs with some shopping vouchers for those scoring above 50% of the marks.
Go and sign up before you completely miss out on this inaugural online hunt!

5 Things I Learned This Year

I got the idea for this post when I read this GigaOM blog when I was surfing the Net recently.
Although it doesn’t necessarily need a heart attack to get me thinking, I know that by counting backwards (and looking at the good and the bad which have happened this year) I am in a better shape to move forward in 2009.
1. I am in much better shape now than I was in 2007.
Which is strange but true. I have always been doing yoga since 2001 but in 2007, when we finally moved office, I decided we needed to whip our staff into shape. She’d been gangly and thin and methinks a bit unhealthy so we made it a point to go collectively go for a Friday evening walk, encircling the lake near the Harapan students’ hostel in USM.
In the end, I benefited because I became such a walking freak that I’d go three times a week. My goal was to keep in shape, lose the flab and get into my old clothes. Initially I couldn’t even do full sit ups and ab crunches. Now I can do them all with ease, 3 sets of 10 ab crunches in less than 10 minutes. Man, am I proud of myself. (Why 3 sets? Workout enthusiasts will encourage workouts in sets as this is more effective than a single set. I suppose it gets the muscles stronger with repetition). And I got myself a hula hoop so I could do some hula hooping when I was watching TV.
All this because I am vain but also because I love myself and I didn’t want to look like a tired 30-something and look old before my time.
I was going to be fit and healthy.
And to make it sweeter, I joined the 10km StarWalk on a whim and completed it under 2 hours.
Next year, I am planning to join the Competition category for StarWalk. A friend has been asking me if I wanted to go climb Gunung Kinabalu. We shall see.
2. Certain friends have expiry dates.
I realized that people whom I called best friends or great friends weren’t so fantastic after all. I’ve always felt that good friends will come through for you no matter what. I guess I am the only one with this idea.
I became quite disillusioned with three friends, especially after one of them admitted that her husband and daughter came first and no friends came close to that.
Boy was I pissed.
I mean, do you say that to your good friends? That hurt and hurt deep. Or how about friends who promised you they’ll be there but never turned up? No sorry, no nothing.
That’s why I am going to focus on friends who appreciate and value my friendship. Not friends who take me for granted.
3. I can live without checking my email.
I used to spend weekends and public holidays checking email and getting sucked into work all over again. I used to get antsy if I were not near a PC and couldn’t do work. I felt a bit disoriented if I didn’t log on to check my Gmail every now and then.
But this year, I found that I could live without checking my email.
The problem with email is that it destroys productivity especially if you keep checking it all the time.
Now I set some ground rules for myself. I will only check email 3x a day so I can focus on completing tasks and real work.
I will not check email on weekends or public holidays. So friends and clients, do bear with me if I don’t reply you on weekends. It’s nothing personal, it’s just me and my principle.
I will not run to the nearest PC on rest days because I can do a host of non-IT stuff which helps me re-balance my life (such as reading all the books I bought this year, beading, crocheting, writing, learning, cooking, exercising, spending time brushing Margaret, lunching with family and friends, phoning family and friends for chats, going for walks, being silent).
I love my business and my clients but I know that if I am healthy and balanced, I am in a better shape to run my business.
4. I am worth it.
I often used to feel guilty if I did something for myself. I used to think that I should be doing things, pleasing others and getting them happy. I always treated myself like some second-rate citizen, refusing to give in to little pleasures which made me happy.
I think I grew up thinking that being a martyr was my lifelong work.
I felt guilty if I wasn’t an A-student, I felt guilty if I wasn’t using up every bit of time to do ‘productive’ work, I felt guilty saying yes to myself (like buying something expensive or eating something frivolous).
But this year, I have stopped these feelings of guilt.
I know I’m not the only one…it’s the same with most women – my sister buys the best for her children yet scrimps on herself.
We can splurge on expensive gifts for our friends and families but we would never (or at least if it’s only me), I would never be able to justify why I needed that thing.
But no more. I tell myself that if I don’t take care of myself, don’t reward myself for the good I do, don’t appreciate myself, then no one can either. Because I work hard for my money, I deserve to splurge now and then. I’m worth it and so are you.
We have one life to live so make this extra special. (But moderation people. I’m not responsible if you max out your credit cards in one go.)
5. Love and thanks compound well
The act of saying grateful thanks for every day well-lived is something I acquired this year.
I have conscious moments when I give grateful thanks – before I have my meals (something precious which I learnt from my Christian friends), when I start the day after my morning Buddhist prayers, and at night, when I write down 5 things I am grateful for.
I also make it a habit to read my affirmations (printed and tacked to my wardrobe door) each morning.
I have had wonderful and amazing experiences this year and I know you probably think me silly, but I attribute the good to my ‘messages’ of love and thanks.
More and more being positive is not some temporary madness but a good way to live life and in the process, touch others.
But I think it’s also in my genes – this upbeat, can-do attitude. Many people scoff at The Secret and its teaching of the law of attraction. Whatever. If it helps and does not harm me or others, I shall try it. And if you still aren’t convinced, discover Dr Masaru Emoto and his thoughts on water, vibration and thoughts.
So there, 5 things I learnt this year. I hope you will look back on your past year and tell me what you learnt. There’s much good to be had from sharing life lessons! After all we are all beings on this journey together. So let’s learn together yeah?
I won’t be partying tonight – it will be a quiet evening at home. I somehow need time to recharge and get ready for 2009.
If I have not thanked you yet, I am thanking YOU now for coming back again and again to read the mad ramblings of a 30-something woman who still feels like she’s only 21. I thank you for leaving comments. I thank you for being a friend.
Above all else, I thank YOU for sharing your life with me. Mayakirana treasures every comment, every gesture of friendship and every time you log on to visit this blog.
Muchos gracias people!

Enter the Big Mac Contender

You know the recent McDonalds’ Big Mac Chant? The one where you get a free Big Mac when you successfully do the Big Mac Chant under 4 seconds?
Well, Jian Ming‘s currently our intern at Redbox Studio and she loves a good challenge and she wants to marry both her video skills and her super fast chanting (this gal can chant better than anyone I know).
It was something that came up suddenly and we thought, hey why not support this creative gal and help her film the video at our Sungai Dua McDonalds around dinner time last night. We did this for a laugh and a chuckle last night (ya, nothing gets the ideas and adrenaline going like a looming deadline… like today’s the deadline for the video submission) and we hope she really wins the judges’ hearts and win the biggie, RM10K offered for the best video.
Of course, voting is needed so if you could, pretty please go and vote for her video. Of course, you need to register first when you get to the Nuffnang website.
I’m probably partial but I think her video has to be one of the funniest, best edited ones ever.
Way to go, Jian Ming!
Oh, must add a huge disclaimer – she really isn’t that ‘lan si’ in real life (she’s acting in the video my friends). Yes, I can vouch that she’s utterly sweet and self-effacing.
The theme song is specially dedicated to Derek, my BBC friend. And Kenny Sia, if you’re pinged with this, jangan marah ye! After all, Nic’s 100 per cent Sarawakian… agi idup agi ngelaban. 😉
Yup, the things we do in the office! But what’s life if it’s not lived fun and fabulously right?
What do you all think of the video? Can win RM10K or not?

Errr…What's That Again?

I was planning to write about this superlicious book that I’m reading right now until I read IttyBiz’s home business post.
I just got to know of IttyBiz but already I like what I read. And most times, her posts make me think. Now I can tell you that I rarely blog surf and those blogs that I surf are either people whom I know well or people I love checking up on. I love stumbling upon gems of blogs but the key thing, I much prefer to receive email updates when they post something new on their blog. I think that’s what everyone much prefers, right? To get the post right in their in-box each morning.
Anyway, her post got me thinking IF people/friends who read this blog know what I do for a living (besides blogging!). Sometimes people read about what I do but most people forget anyway, what with the 1001 things we do each day. And if they forget, as IttyBiz says, it’s really NOT their fault. It’s mine. I forget to remind or tell you what I do.

Read moreErrr…What's That Again?