Just A Break


I couldn’t recover from the chain of events that happened between October and mid of November. I tried to pull myself out from the gutted feeling but I seemed to have lost all passion and motivation at work. I was just going through the routine and trying to somehow rekindle with my sense of purpose.

But it truly is apparent that there is a season and time for everything. I realized that at every phase of my life, there is a mission and purpose to be fulfilled. Sometimes it can be difficult for me to recognize that time has arrived for me to move on. There were many “signs” prompting and telling me that my mission is accomplished. And with a leap of faith, I took up the new opportunity and embraced the change. And I must also mention that it was quite poetic to leave the job on my birthday.

It is only human that we are afraid of change and staying safe seemed to be the best thing to do. Between then and now, I have learned quite a few things about human behavior when it comes to change.

I was just doing my rounds in the office to say goodbye to the people I have known throughout the years. Some were happy and envious of my new opportunity while others seemed to be taking it a little too negative for my liking. One in particular stood out among the rest. Having had worked in the company for a very long time, she bid me goodbye and at the same time sarcastically told me to “come back”. She is indirectly hoping for my failure at my new job. For her, my failing would be an affirmation of her assumptions and that it will further prove that she is right for staying comfortably where she is.

The thing is, we will never ever know unless we try. At least I have the courage to give things a try because nothing is for certain in life.

Another thing that I find it hard to understand is the negative light surrounding resignation from a job. Generally, people tend to think that leaving is a bad thing when moving forward is actually a good thing.

With the 7 year old job behind me, I am now taking a short break just to re-calibrate, retreat, and reflect on life. A couple of months back, I read an article about taking mini retirements and thought it was a good idea to take a short break before running hard for the next phase of my career.

While reflecting on what I should do during this transition period, I thought about the number of times I wrote about the benefit of having a domesticated animal as pet during my younger days. I was probably 7 or 8 years old when I convinced myself that money is better spent on buying a life. No guessing where all my pocket monies went – into getting myself new pets and pet food. In fact, I do not remember if there were parts of my life that I did not have a pet especially during times when I was between jobs, having a pet seemed to be the theme.

Animals have a therapeutic way of bring calm and order in my life. They have brought fulfillment and consolation to me in both good and bad times. Besides from the various pets raised throughout my life, I remember clearly how I once raised two “colored” chicks to a point of training them to fly unto my hand on command.

And just before I left my former company, I brought home a baby cockatiel and named “him” Binary. And the story goes…

It is quite interesting how this fascination with parrots started for me this time around. My family and I were having dinner at the mall somewhere middle of January. After dinner, we saw a couple of security guards looking at the top of the restaurant entrance. To our surprise, a blue budgerigar/parakeet was sitting on the ledge. I tried catching it but it flew away as soon as I got closer. We carried on with our evening and paid no mind to it until I saw it sitting on the hand railing. I ended up catching it successfully and brought it home. We later named her Lost and bought a companion for her called Found. I was able to gain their trust and they soon learned how to sit on my fingers while I gave them their favorite treat of millet spray. Long story short, Lost & Found is now living happily in an aviary.

Lost & Found in their new aviary
Lost & Found in their new aviary

I became intrigued by how trainable these little birds are and started researching on cockatiels. I have a friend who used to breed them and I thought it would be great to have some guidance from her as well. After discovering a cockatiel breeder through an online classified ad, I made an appointment for viewing what she had available. I found out that getting a young single bird helps a lot with bonding. I had mixed feelings at first but I did spend a huge amount of time chatting with the breeder. She had a hard time telling me their genders and I was torn between the two baby cockatiels she had available as I wanted to at least have a good chance of getting a male bird. After a while, her husband returned home and as soon as he walked into the house, I realized he was wearing a t-shirt with my future company’s logo on it – talking about a sign! I knew there and then that I will be bringing home a grey pearl baby cockatiel.

Baby Binary
The moment I picked baby Binary

After only 12 days hand-feeding and spending time with Binary, he has grown into a beautiful little cockatiel.

Handsome Binary
Handsome Binary

And just today, Binary learned how to fly unto my hand on command!

I know how extremely random this post is but that’s just me and I cannot help it!


Workplace Spirituality

It has been a while since I last posted. A lot has happened and saying that I was overwhelmed is an understatement. I believe work is always a huge part of our lives and when things change in our workplace, it affects us substantially.

But there is a part in life that not many people understand especially when it is spiritual in nature. It is hard to explain and justify to others when your action is based on beliefs.

Life at work has been comfortable I must say until of course some unfortunate events started to happen and threw everything out of balance. It got to a point where the soul felt uneasy. Certain things challenged the belief system and startled it to the core.

And then the passion slowly drained and ceased to exist.

But it takes some shock to the system for us to wake up and start moving again. Just like a smaller plant dies to pave way to a larger tree, a disruption will almost certainly bring about a change.

In our fears of change, we usually feel stressed out and when doubts creep in, there tend to be a certain level of chaos and disquiet.

This round of change in my life made me realize the level of my faith.

I must mention that God had control throughout and He has prepared everything right in front of me. He made it clear to me that a change is imminent as well as I need to claim what is rightfully mine when the opportunity arised. Some of us have problem recognizing the opportunities only to regret not being bold enough to take the leap of faith when it is too late.

And next comes the people around you. Some will encourage while others will discourage you for many unknown reasons.

People will share with you their pessimistic views based on the little that they actually know. There are also some who will put things in the most politically correct way whether beneficial or otherwise.

For the insecure, they will attempt to be manipulative just so that you will act in accordance to their expectations and in favor of their gain and advantage.

A dear priest once said to me, “we are all half angel and half devil”

And how true that is!

Jesus even put Peter in his place by saying, “Get behind me Satan!”

So it is for us in the corporate world as well that we need to put the devil aside and focus on where the angels are pointing us to.

“Everywhere is the same, no point changing”

No, it will never be the same. That is just an excuse we like to tell ourselves in submission and acceptance to our current predicaments and lack of choices in life.

Besides, people are usually afraid to see you in a better place than they are.

Who are they to tell you where you should be when you are the one given the opportunity?

When God acts, there is no way to stop Him.

How Instant Gratification Murdered Humanity

Ever wonder what instant gratification has done to us?

Having had “survived” three CEOs and four Sales Leaders, I cannot help but recognize a vicious cycle. An infinite loop back to square one and only a long serving employee will have the “pleasure” to witness, unfortunately.

I often wondered what happened to loyalty like those back in the days when employees boast of careers that last for a lifetime in a particular company – from the first day to retirement. Those days are definitely gone and not necessarily the fault of the employees nor employers.

It is this culture called instant gratification.

Not too long ago, companies have the luxury of time to train someone into their role. Sadly, the pace of the world today is calling all of us to discard, replace, and get something new at the first detection of weakness or defect. We are always looking for a quick fix and we no longer have the patience to repair anything.

Like a light bulb that is purposefully manufactured with a lifespan in order to create opportunity for repeat sales, the corporate world no longer have the patience to wait for new ideas coming to fruition. Employees are expected to hit the ground running the first day they report for work. Results must be instantaneous or else, heads will roll as they like to say.

In such a brutal environment, humans are treated no different than clothes and electronic gadgets – we are always replacing the older versions with the new. By the rate that we are going, it will not be a surprise that we will soon be drown in landfills of not only materials but corpses as well.

The funny thing is, each so called leader is seen to come into the organization with fresh and bright ideas. Due to the constant change in the lineup of the management and unbeknown to them, their ideas has already been tried and tested by their predecessors. It is either these ideas failed or the past management in their impatience, shelved the ideas just before they materialized. If one takes a step back and give it some thought, it is foolish!

In my opinion, we all ought to recognize the fact that we are all experiencing many events and occurrences in life for the very first time. We need to give ourselves ample of time to make mistake, learn, and do better. Discarding and changing all the time does not in anyway benefit everyone involved. In the corporate world, employees have commitments and mouths to feed. Changes will have an impact that ripples and affect all those around them.

We no longer have the perseverance, persistence, and endurance.

In the past, success was build upon a good foundation. Improvement was the buzzword. We keep on improving as we build towards success. We failed and we got back up stronger until success was attained.

Today, we want them new and we want them fast!

Can we all calm the f*** down and be a little more generous with our time?

Perhaps by doing so, we can add a day more to our lives?


I looked around me during the church service last weekend and realize nothing that we put on ourselves matter. In the old days, we were told to put on our Sunday best but to me, our best or anyone else’ best is as good or as bad as our judgment.

We live in a world that is quick to judge based on appearance and it is hard to put in practice the saying “do not judge the book by its cover”. We live in a world today that is always seeking to impress and to be impressed. In short, it is easier to fool somebody while wearing an expensive timepiece and making it seen by our audience.

That evening in church, I felt that all the riches and statuses did not matter in God’s eyes – He accepts us as we are. In fact, He created us all equals and knows us well. What matters most is us coming to be in His presence and be at peace.

Today, I sat and chatted with a couple of co-workers. We spoke about branded apparels. Having had an “overloaded” shopping experience three weeks prior, the topic irked me but nonetheless I was interested to know the mandatory reason why branded and expensive apparels are important for certain people.

There is an insurance agency office where we work and as we were having our conversation, a few insurance agents walked past. They were quick to point out that three of the agents had a huge “H” on their belt buckles. Definitely a brand I wasn’t even interested in let alone know its worth or value. I should know it is a prestigious and premium brand moving forward.

“They need to carry themselves well in order to impress their prospect” was the only explanation.

I further questioned the practicality in an attempt to make sense of it all. I have seen these agents in their “lavishness” behaved in a manner least reflecting their perceived self worth. In other words, how they behaved was the total opposite of what they try to portray through their outfits.

Seeing the vast difference between the two scenarios stir up some sort of dilemma within me. It really is difficult to go against the tide of the world that is materialistic. One that sizes you up at first sight. And by complying and subscribing to such culture only serves to propagate it further.

Perhaps I am not in the position to live a lavish lifestyle and I might think differently when I find myself in that position.

But then, I am pretty sure my soul would still be unsettled on the grounds of principles.


There is beauty in this

The past week has been very eventful – much needed to be done and has been accomplished. There were news about a couple of deaths as well and when they are all in the mix, I felt really overwhelmed. Somehow my mind keeps thinking about people that I know and what I will write for their eulogies. My mind shortlisted and concluded that principles and values will be the basis of these eulogies.

“Get behind me Satan!”

Today’s sermon by Fr. Paul was quiet interesting and reminded me of a series of events that has taken place in my life that I can relate. He shared the story of Aesop Fable’s The Bear and The Two Travelers emphasizing how we can all be influenced by a friend who may not have the best of our interest in mind.

The gospel reading today urged us to take up our crosses and take ownership and responsibility of all the struggles and hardships in our lives.

To me personally, it was a lot to do with the values and principles of life. I can totally relate in the interactions I had with two people – one not too recent and the other was quite recently.

28th May 2014

It was a serene and quiet evening by the seaside promenade of Pattaya, Thailand that I asked Francola a very difficult question over dinner. I asked him why he was still struggling to climb the ranks in the corporate world when many people his age are already up there where they belong and no offense, he rightly belongs up there too with all these “successful” people. The question was difficult because I didn’t want to sound like I was belittling or mean he was inferior compared to his peers but he was sharp enough to understand what I meant. You see, at almost 60, Francola is still working like the rest of us and do not get me wrong as he has gone through his fair share of challenges throughout his career rising through the ranks from the bottom. Started off as an operator in a factory, through to holding a CEO position at a startup, he is still going through the grind like every other employee.

His answer was simple and yet profound. He said, “because I wanted to do what is right by everyone”.

That is Francola for you. He never cut corners nor take short cuts to achieve what needs to be accomplished. He made the wisest of decisions and did the right things. He always ensured that his subordinates take up the challenges by first giving them the confidence that they are capable of the tasks as well as emphasizing the lessons that could be learned.

It is no wonder that Francola went on to design and build his own energy efficient house that is not only capable of powering itself through solar but uses less energy because of the direction in which the house is built. It is also capable of saving up enough rain water to used during the dry seasons.

The quote above was one of the many that he shared with us over dinner that evening emphasizing why it is important that we should take ownership and responsibility of all the challenges in our live.

Just like Jesus knowing the fate that is awaiting Him did not take the easy way out, we should also strive to embrace the difficulties and know that there will be joy after the sorrow.

On the other hand, the world has seen the lavish lifestyles of the rich and famous. We have also seen con artists exploiting the system to work in their favor and in turn, made them wealthy. The family chat group was abuzz this evening with conversation around the book written about the biggest heist the world has seen in the 21st century. It reminded me of the values the world tries to impress upon us – the materialism and all the temptations that comes with it.

21 April 2018

After dinner, we adjourned to one of the many sky bars in Jakarta, Indonesia with one of our corporate leaders for a couple of drinks. While we chatted, he showed off pictures of his son and himself having a great time seated in the grand stand at every F1 race he attended. Boasted about how much he spent on the go-cart he bought for his son who loves to drive and race. Referred to the waitress as a “bitch” each time he needed her to fix the wi-fi connection on his phone. Made it clear to us how he hates a certain nationality and told us what he thought of our boss – a good for nothing low life farmer. We were all threatened that night to not mention anything about the conversations or else, we will be punched.

This guy did not impress me one bit and is the epitome of a person so influenced by the greed of the world. I do not think success was measured by his standards.

To conclude, while the world sells us a different kind of dream, there are also those that promotes what is right and just. There is a constant struggle between the good and bad – within us and around us.

If we need to choose a friend, like the lesson from The Bear and The Two Travelers, we really should choose the right friend to be with. One that will strengthen our values and principles as a person. One who will not ask us to take short cuts but rather journey with us through our difficulties.

Though I  do not wish to but should the need arise one day to write an eulogy for my dear boss Francola, this will be it because the world needs more people like him.


“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name” ~ Philippians 2:9

The name written in the bible is not James, John, Francis, William, Arthur, or Theodore but it is Jesus.

We are faced with a broken church – an institution made up of imperfect humans. Imperfection is not even a worthy justification for all the pain it has caused to the many victims.

Does it affect me?

Of course it does and at so many levels. I do not want to have anything to do with it was what first came to mind. I do not want to participate in an institution that has condone such heinous crime by doing nothing about it.

Any religious establishment regardless that failed to bring about betterment in the spiritual lives of its practitioners can be deemed to have lost its most fundamental purpose of existence.

On a personal level, it really isn’t about the person or the institution. Our focus should be in the divine. These persons and institutions are only in existence to assist us in making the divine a little more tangible, relatable, and comprehensible.

We can leave and abandon the false prophets but should not lose sight the divine – God.

As a believer, I have had my own special experiences in the spiritual realm. One that cannot be defined, articulated, or explained easily.

In God I found a sense of peace and goodness that allowed me to be grounded and centered. Knowing that there is a God gives me hope when all is lost.

When the human fails, we must be quick to discern and separate what is human and divine.

In order to render justice to the victims, all perpetrators must be brought to face the music for their actions eventhough forgiveness is the core of what the church preaches.

I pray that Jesus, the prince of peace will always be there to comfort all those affected by this avalanche of despicable and appalling crimes within a once trusted institution.

Some are saying “Do Not Leave Jesus Because Of Judas” but to that, I’d say “Leave The Jesus Imposter Who Acts Like Judas”.

We have a choice to choose which human we place our trust in but there is only one God we believe in!


Go Where The Heart Is

My godmother used to tell me, “if it of God, it will grow” in many of the life lessons she taught me.

Yes, I have been struggling in my faith lately but many incidences (which are not coincidences) have somehow pulled me back to church. It must have been the prayers of those around me.

“Do you also want to leave?”

Today’s gospel reading and the priest’s sermon was spot on. Do we place our trust in imperfect humans or in God and Jesus?

With all the scandals being exposed in the US, it is easy to have our faith shaken but we must not loose our focus and place our trust in God.

It is trying times but it was not God’s fault. It is clearly a human mistake and we must pray for healing of those affected by the heinous crimes.