I Surrender!

I am once again at this juncture in life.

In a short 2 months, I have come back to square one. My new job did not work out.

What I have not practiced religiously in terms of all the rituals in church during Lent, I lived it out spiritually in real life.

It was one of the most challenging Lent I have had in years.

I was frustrated. Frustrated mostly with myself for making the wrong decisions. I could have avoided all these predicaments and precious time wasted being unproductive for months. As my former colleague pointed out that it seemed to be the best option at that point in time, I can only concede and agree.

There is no time to look back in regret but instead I need to push myself moving forward in rebuilding my career.

And as Easter drew near, I felt especially hopeful attending the Good Friday and Easter masses.

The message in Fr. Simon’s homily gave me clarity – “Life is not about ME, I am about LIFE”. It is hard to love in this world without getting pushed back by skepticism. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know [that they were loved]”.

Thus, I have made the decision once again to choose life. All the money in the world cannot give me joy and happiness if purpose and passion is not present.

I figured that being paid well does not compensate for how disrespectful people treat me. The constant sense of insecurity and reminder of being dispensable cannot be justified by all the compensations promised.

I do not ask for much. I only asked to be allowed to work in an environment where those around me wants to play apart in ensuring my success and as do I for them. That is how a team suppose to be because my success contributes to the overall success of the team.

Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday interview with Elizabeth Lesser inspired me greatly.

We all do learn about ourselves constantly and during the interview, the famous quote by Hazrat Inayat Khan was mentioned. It made me realized that we are indeed uncovering the veils to reveal that original soul of ours.

Elizabeth’s definition of religion and spirituality was spot on – “Spirituality is the questions and Religion is the attempt to answer them”.

Like everyone else, I am searching for the “best fit” in life. But we’ll never know unless we try. Indeed, mistakes are the proof that we are all trying. It is not promised that everything will work out but if they don’t, I am sure there are valuable lessons in them.

Aren’t we all looking for a brighter tomorrow?

As the break of dawn brings new light, so does hope begins…

May you reign victorious just as Jesus reign victorious over death.

Blessed & Happy Easter!

Thought Process

Career change has proven to be quite stressful for me at the moment. I guess that is common when there are disruptions to the usual routines and flow in life.

I cannot say that I feel uncomfortable throughout my first week. I got a lot done as required by the checklist. I felt at ease and have no issues getting my way around. That is a plus.

In terms of interactions with those around me, I must say that I can do with ease.

The only issue I have is the overwhelming feeling caused by expectations from not only those around me but most importantly, from myself.

I realized that there is a fine line between pushing oneself forward or feeling sorry for leaving behind the comfort of knowing and familiarity.

It is very easy to fall into self pity and regret. That needs constant reminder the reasons for change in the first place.

I need to focus and constantly remind myself that I have the capability and where there are shortcomings, I will be able to learn. Else, I will not be given this opportunity in the first place. Only that time could be the challenge. Then again, all of us have the same number of hours a day.

I guess we tend to be harder on ourselves more than anything else.

I need to be this and that in the next 2 months. We can imagine the destination and want to skip the journey – that’s what instant gratification does to us.

The journey could be lonely and treacherous. Many have fallen to the enticement of shortcuts.

We often face life alone and sometimes with some help.

Afterall, it is Lent when we are a little more aware of our predicaments just so we can practice a little more self-denial.

Just A Break

Binary
Binary

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!

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?

Status

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.

Friends

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.

Just In Case

I am quite sure most people think about death. Not the suicidal kind but the what if I die prematurely kind. The following will be what I need my young daughters to know if death comes too early for me. I do not know if my family or friends know of the existence of this blog but I sure hope they will find it and pass it on to them when they need it most.

Dear B&B,

Please know that daddy had tried my best to be with you as long as I am able to. I wanted nothing else in this world other than being there with and for you throughout your life. I wanted to be there until you no longer want me to. I know all this is too sudden and unexpected. Because it caught you off guard and unprepared, the more I need you to read this very carefully and understand the best you can.

You Must Love Yourself First

None of this is your fault. It is no one’s fault. Do not take it too hard on yourself. Do not spend too much time overthinking and over analyzing the reason as to why this is happening. My time here on earth was up, that much I can tell you. The least I want you to do for me is to love yourself first. Not the selfish kind of love. I do not want you to hurt yourself or do things that will get you hurt. Protect yourself and all those you hold dear to your heart. Go travel and see the world. Learn something new everyday and invest in your own wellbeing.

You Must Start Fighting

I am not asking you to hurt someone else. What I mean is that you must start fighting for your own life. You must fight to be a better person. Fight for your dreams and do not quit fighting until you achieve your goals in life. Stand up for what is right. Keep doing well in your studies and career. You might not understand why now but you will thank me one day. Do not be afraid to work hard, your hard work will pay off.

Love Your Mom

Take good care of her for me. If she is lonely, make sure she finds a man who loves her and you unconditionally. If he is ever mean to any of you, make sure you whoop his ass real bad and get your mom out of the lousy relationship.

Find The Right Man

I hope that I have in some way planted the seed through example how an ideal man should be and one that you will hold as a standard when the special person come into your life. Make sure he treats you better than I did while I was with you.

I Love You More

Know that your love for me will never surpass the amount of love I have for you. Never. And because my love for you is infinite, I will still be loving you wherever my soul is right now. I am just watching silently.

Turn To God

You must always reach out to God. In despair, look for His counsel and in joy, praise Him. When all else fails, God triumphs!

Save For Rainy Days

As much as you enjoy life, make sure you set aside resources for difficult times. Like good times, bad times do not last forever but you need resources to pull you through.

Scatter My Ashes In The Sea

That way, as you immerse yourself in the beautiful ocean, know that I am with you.

Luv,

Dad Dad