One-Liner Wednesday–Which Nobel Prize Winner Said This?

“Usually when my head touches the pillow, I fall asleep within seconds, but that night I lay in bed ashamed that I was part of a society which could not provide $27 to forty two able-bodied, hardworking, skilled persons to make a living for themselves.”

Can anyone guess who said this one liner?

This is part of LindaGHill’s One-Liner Wednesday:
http://lindaghill.com/2014/10/08/one-liner-wednesday-dangerous-driving/

Up Close and Uncommon: Engineer Turned Origami Florist Unfolds His Journey

Thanks to Jerry and his origami florist start up, roses are now forever.

I’ve always wanted to write about the inspiring people I am blessed to have in my life — specifically the ones who defy the ordinariness of being human to chase after dreams that make life extraordinary. So when my friend Jerry gave me one of his origami roses as a birthday present recently, the idea of featuring his experience starting his own origami florist, Epicure Online, on my blog dawned on me. I am especially amazed that Jerry is now even using his origami skills to teach Math to some autistic children. Talk about making money and making a difference with our hobbies!

Me: So, tell us how it happened, this shift from semiconductor engineering at one of the world’s largest companies, to paper art start up.

J: When I first left  engineering I wasn’t planning to start a paper art start up. It was more like I was tired and felt that I was going through the mundane. I felt that there had to be more to life than going through the typical routine. So I decided I wasn’t getting any younger and decide to take a plunge and try something on my own.

How did I start an origami florist? Well that was by chance. I was always a fan of origami. Always loved folding. It’s something I believe everyone can do. It’s an art that is systematical. If I follow the crease lines correctly I will get the desired pattern. The hard part is to decipher the crease lines.

So one Christmas I decided to give a loved one something special. A handmade bouquet of 24 roses. She was quite impressed with it and that started the whole idea of an origami florist. We believe that there would be many people out there that would like to have something special and personal to make important occasions more memorable.

One of Epicure Online's latest bouquet designs.

One of Epicure Online’s latest bouquet designs.

Me: What’s the best thing about leaving your steady job for something as different and uncertain as origami?

 J: I gradually develop a sense of tolerance for uncertainty. To a certain extent I am a control freak. I don’t really handle unforeseen circumstances well. Coming out on my own in more ways than one has humbled me to accept my limitations. I learned that while disappointments are part of life, you can not let that be the defining moment of your life. I learned to redefine my core believes and strengthen my faith. For me that is the most important learning so far.

Origami roses with inscriptions for special occasions.

Origami roses with inscriptions for special occasions.

Me: What’s the worst, or most difficult thing?

J: Ironically the hardest thing for me right now to deal with is also the uncertainty. While it gives me a new perspective in life. There is always the lingering question of “What if ?”.Peer pressure compounds this effect. While I understand that I am taking a minor step back to launch myself further it’s always test of will when people close to you ask if you are sane. That’s where your belief system comes in.

Me: What drives you to do what you do?

J: Time really goes by quickly if we don’t number our days. When I look at it there is only a limited time frame in life where we get to do the things we want in life. I believe there is a season for everything. For example, for me to take the risk to come out on my own to pursue  my passion would not have been possible if I was younger as personally I would have not been confident enough, and if I was older I might not be able to tolerate the risk.  Knowing that there is a season for everything I remind myself that this season too will pass and I must make the most out of it. Muhammad Ali said it best: “Don’t count your days, make your days count.”

 

The 24-rose bouquet that started it all.

The 24-rose bouquet that started it all.

Me: If you could pick one, which piece of origami are you the proudest of? Why?

J: Easy – the first rose bouquet I made. It started all of this!

Me: Describe your journey in three words.
J: Unbelievable, Spiritual, and Exciting.

This interview is conducted as part of the Daily Post’s weekly writing challenge:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_writing_challenge/interview/
and also because of my interest in delving into the thoughts of inspiring people who are living and chasing their dreams.

My Little Sis and I

My sister is ten years younger than me. And I do not know what’s with the family and community that apple-to-apple comparison seems to be the automatic response the moment they are faced with sisters. Especially in my case where our age gap is so big.

It’s silly and destructive. We may have been borne of the same parents, but we are unique individuals in our own right.

Being the eldest, it is quite natural for me to have some active pursuits growing up — and poor little sis sometimes found herself having the same expectations placed on her. (Not by our parents, thankfully, they know better than that). But by nosy people around us, people who shoot off comments from their mouths the way old dogs suffering from incontinence fart ever so freely.

Little sis has been growing up and I am proud of her and see completely no reason for her to be like me.

We look different. I inherit strong features from dad’s side of family who have some Thai heritage. She inherits mom’s delicate features and resembles my brother more. At brother’s wedding, my sister was mistaken for the bride’s sister! Apparently little sis’s fair skin and sweet features make her look more Korean than Malaysian. (Our sister in law is Korean).

We both enjoy writing but my sister’s style is completely different from mine. I will never be able to emulate her catchy titles that use contrasting words so cleverly, not to mention her refreshingly candid voice. Even our cooking styles are different. When little sis began experimenting at the stove I was amazed how she made fried vegetables look almost like a complete meal with gravy from the juices and generous chunks of deftly cut carrots, pumpkin, capsicums and what have you.

And while I get lost easily, she has a superb sense of direction.

So there, the contrast that is us–the reason why no two sisters (or any two individuals, for that matter) should be compared. If anything, the ten-year gap simply means I serve as an example for her — good practices to emulate and mistakes to avoid.

While, of course, growing and spreading her own wings, making a difference in ways that only she could.

True Leadership: Where Common Goals Triumph Over the Ego

At the company’s management forum today, one of the topics discussed was crucial conversations, during which the emphasis was on the importance of putting emotions and the ego aside to resolve conflicts.

Our Managing Director demonstrated exemplary leadership when during his wrap up speech, he openly commended a manager for disagreeing with him during an important project meeting, although some of her colleagues told her to just drop the matter because “he is the MD so what he says is always right!”. But she stood by her opinion and gave him her differing perspective on the project, an openness and honesty which he clearly appreciated.

Real leaders know that it is their job to drive common goals, instead of being driven by their egos.

When Mom and Dad Weren’t Around

20140810-212411.jpgToday I went over to my parents’ place to collect some things. They happened to be out so the house was empty.

Empty–and yet so full of their presence, and all the things that were ‘them’. The sound of the running water from the pond, which my dad enthusiastically maintains, with the fishes swimming inside that all of us enjoy just watching.

Dad’s golf set, often carelessly left leaning against the shoe cupboard. Mom’s books on the coffee table in the living area. Framed family photographs–including the one of mom’s Masters’ graduation. Both their laptops, always on the dining table! Vintage items like a radio and charcoal iron that Dad insists are highly prized collectibles, his various golf trophies and the framed Hole-in-One cert from that many many years ago. And newspapers strewn all over.

I took in all that and got a little sentimental. Especially when I opened the fridge and saw the remnants of the herbal concoction from last night — made for me by mom to remedy my persistent cough. And when I saw the stylish reversible sling bag that dad gave me.

This was home–and in the quiet it suddenly felt full of love. They were all over the place–signs of how much they love me, my brother, and my sister.

And I realized one day this house would be permanently empty when the day comes that they are no longer around for good, when the cycle of life runs its course as it will for all of us.

I resolved to be more appreciative, less difficult. I felt sorry for all the times I complained about what they did which I did not agree with. Even on things about my upbringing.

Well mom and dad, I am sorry, especially mom. For all the things I said you did wrong, there were far more that you have done right. And most importantly, those things were your very best.

Happy Birthday in advance and I love you both!