The Shape of Things to Come

Badge by Doobster @ Mindful Digressions

Badge by Doobster @ Mindful Digressions

Here I am today
In my own little pad
And computer
Typing away
Writing
Making my living doing what I love.

So this is my shape today
A shape full of hope
Of some dreams that have come to pass
So this is why I believe
To a good extent we can
See the shape of things to come
Envision, predict, foresee
Draw the blueprint
With the power of our dreams
And the hard work that follows the dreams
Egged on by the heart’s desires
The reasons to jump out of bed every morning
Knowing that every single day
The future is taking shape.

If the present is like clay
Take it, mould it, shape it well
Because every day
Every thing we do
Goes into the shape of things to come.

I want mine to be all pretty and lovely
Jewel encrusted, teeming with life and laughter
Solid like a century-old oak tree
Yet fluid like water
Full of freedom like leaves that dance all they like in the wind
And fall to the ground
Only when their service to nature
Is done.

This post is part of SoCS:
http://lindaghill.com/2014/10/17/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-october-1814/

The Three Writing Advice That I Will Never Forget

It is said that some people we meet through the course of our lives end up leaving marks that influence us and the things we do.

I am blessed to have been given these three pieces of advice–two from two English teachers, one from a senior journalist at a mainstream newspaper I was stringing with after my graduation.

1. Advice on widening my vocabulary and using words appropriately
This I learnt from the late Mr. Yeap, an elderly English language teacher I went to for extra tuition to prepare for my 1119 English examination while sitting for the Malaysian equivalent of the O Levels. Mr. Yeap taught his students to read newspaper and magazine articles, and while at it, to highlight words we did not understand. Then we were to look the the words up in the dictionary one by one. And instead of bookishly memorizing the meaning of the words, we were to write them on a piece of flash card each, and on the other side of the card, the sentences in which we originally found them. This way, referring to the context not only helped us to recall the meaning of the word, it also ensured we would use the word appropriately. To this day I remember learning the word ‘verve’, as in ‘She wears the shirt with verve.’

And my brother had a box full of those neatly written flash cards! Needless to say, he writes very well.

2. Show, not tell
This was an advice given by my English language and debate teacher in high school, also in the year I was preparing for the O Level equivalent examination. Mr. Calvin Leong was a young teacher in his twenties and was clearly not impressed with some bombastic words I had used in some of my essays–hence the advice to ‘show and not tell’ in my writing. I must agree that a piece of writing is more engaging when the writer uses common words to paint a clear picture for the reader’s imagination. For example, compare “He is incensed” with “He glares sharply at me while his chest seems to be rising and falling rapidly.”

And this leads to the third and last piece of advice I will always remember…

3. Write to express, not to impress
This I learnt from Fred, a senior journalist at the News Straits Times where I was stringing after my graduation. If I remember correctly, he told me that when I complained to him about how difficult it was to write a business piece after attending an event where some big shot economist from the World Bank was the key note speaker. I did submit my article in the end but I don’t remember it being published. Ouch. But at least the ordeal gained me a gem of an advice that I will remember forever!

I think Mr. Yeap especially would have been proud of the fact that I am still writing, even if it’s just on a blog to amuse myself 🙂

One-Liner Wednesday–Gem of a Quote from Someone at Work

Yesterday a colleague brought a huge moist chocolate cake he had baked to work and offered delicious slices to everyone in the department. In response to my compliment he said something which I thought would make a perfect one liner for today, especially coming from a guy in response to a girl who has yet to learn how to operate her oven:

“Baking is like breathing, to me.”

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s One-Liner Wednesday:
http://lindaghill.com/2014/10/15/one-liner-wednesday-amusing-nonsense/

Find Joy!

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Badge by Doobster @ Mindful Digressions

This rainy Saturday I find myself up and about, so I am writing this while having a coffee break at a McDonald’s outlet, which I find quite noisy unfortunately.

Since this week’s prompt has to do with ‘find’, and I find myself struggling to concentrate in a noisy fast food outlet right smack in the middle of a noisy mall with a chatty companion, I will make this a list post. So here goes, the list of ten things I find joy and satisfaction in doing:

1. Trying something new
This morning I went to a large stationery shop and bought a mini easel, A2-sized drawing block, water colors, and brushes–I can’t draw a stick figure to save my life but I am going to play with colours anyway, for fun! I also plan to use this to brainstorm for work-related projects. Never know what… Oops and I got interrupted by a phone call. Never know what light bulb moments may occur when we try new approaches to our work!

2. Having coffee, cakes, and a good conversation
3. Reading a good book
4. Cooking up a sumptuous breakfast
5. Going for a holiday, a well-deserved getaway
6. Beating deadlines
7. Discovering good bargains online
8. Welcoming the weekend knowing I have had a productive week
9. Decorating my apartment–colour coordination and all
10. And of course, blogging on WordPress.

Alright, time to go and unpack all those groceries and cook dinner!

This post is part of SoCS:
http://lindaghill.com/2014/10/03/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-october-414/

For the Love of Laughter

The ability to be funny and make others laugh is truly a gift. Laughter breaks the ice, and helps people to warm up to one another. It is even said to be the best medicine.

I love a good laugh anytime and sometimes fancy myself a funny person – as in I do make people laugh sometimes with some brilliant one liners or comments (do humour me a little). Sadly though I am not good at writing funny stories. Perhaps that depends on my mood too. I would love to be able to weave humour into my writings the way Sophie Kinsella does. I remember bursting out in laughter every so often when reading Confessions of a Shopaholic. The other two books I read that made me laugh a lot were Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential, and Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness.

I enjoy bantering with my co-workers too, and even teasing my parents for a laugh (with due respect, of course). Among the best stand-up comedians I’ve watched are Joe Wong (“I grew up in China. Who wouldn’t?”) and Russell Peters. When I was younger and still into the television I used to enjoy the sitcom Friends.

I find that jokes come to me spontaneously, and perhaps I would one day actually write something that can make people laugh. But for now I am contented being the consumer of other people’s humour, and not the creator of humour. Ha ha.

This post is part of SoCS:
http://lindaghill.wordpress.com/2014/09/12/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-september-1314/

20140913-211655.jpgThis badge is designed by Doobster @ Mindful Digressions

One-Liner Wednesday- Worth is Absolute, not Relative

This world focuses so much on superficial foundations of personal worth–looks, wealth (your ‘net worth’), intelligence, achievements, popularity–that most people feel worthy only when they measure up; but the truth is all of us ARE worthy just because there is only one of each and every one of us and that we can offer something to the world that no one else can!

This is part of LindaGHill’s One-Liner Wednesday: http://lindaghill.wordpress.com/2014/09/10/one-liner-wednesday-insignificant/

Rewind: A Birthday Post

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Having just got another year older (and hopefully wiser) it is a good time to rewind a little to the past and reflect (regret is futile!) on what I could have learnt and done better. Since I have spent the whole day relaxing I am kinda sleepy now… I will write yet another list post:

1. Do not let what others say get you down
Usually nasty things said are a reflection of the person who said them. If you find you are overly affected, bouncing it off a mental health professional (read: a shrink) may just help you drill down to the root cause of your vulnerability to another person’s opinion. It could be a subconscious, deep-seated insecurity that once dealt with, will set you free to soar to your highest potential.

2. Work hard
People generally espouse working smart, but when experience is lacking working hard could be the only way to discover how to work smart. So embrace hard work, inconvenience, and the occasional sacrifice. People don’t die from being diligent, only self-abuse.

3. Try new things often
Stepping out of our comfort zones may lead to enriching discoveries that may even change the course of our lives altogether. We are where we are today because of the choices we made in the past – almost nothing else. So be a little more adventurous — today.

4. Celebrate your accomplishments
I have beaten myself up more than enough. It’s time to acknowledge and embrace the good things I have done over the years. Don’t compare with others because we are all running different races, and before you are tempted to start berating yourself again, consider the fact that there may be people who are wishing they could do what you do, or be where you are.

So as celebrations continue into the coming week I will continue rewinding and reflecting… Because ‘the unexamined life is not worth living.’ – Socrates

This post is part of SoCS:
http://lindaghill.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-september-614/

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award!

Very Inspiring Blogger AwardMany many Fridays ago, poorly and sickly ol’ me got a nice little surprise when a fellow WordPress blogger from Poland, Magdalena of One Positive Blog told me she has nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award.

I’ve seen awards going around on WordPress blogosphere bestowed on bloggers by bloggers, so it was encouraging and exciting to finally receive one myself 🙂 As part of this award, as a nominee I need to:

  • Display the Very Inspiring Blogger Award logo on my blog, and link to the blog I got nominated from;
  • Nominate up to fifteen (15) bloggers I admire, by linking to their blogs and informing them about it; and
  • Write three things that inspire me
  • So here goes, the bloggers I admire:
    1. http://booksmusicandmovies.wordpress.com/
    2. http://lindaghill.wordpress.com/
    3. http://tonningsen.wordpress.com/
    4. http://fortyandfantastique.wordpress.com/
    5. http://summerstommy.com/
    6. http://diwatainlalaland.wordpress.com/
    7. http://johnwhowell.com/
    8. http://geraintisitt.wordpress.com/
    9. http://somekernelsoftruth.com/

    And the three things that inspire me are:
    1. Confident people who are comfortable in their own skin– they don’t shy away from embracing their shortcomings and maximizing their strengths. Acceptance brings so much freedom and it makes people beautiful — the non size O woman who wears whatever she wants; the non native English speaker who goes ahead and makes that board presentation anyway knowing that good content and clear delivery trump bombastic words and flawless grammar; people who start giving back to society way before they make their own fortunes; the list goes on.

    2. Songs with great melodies and profound lyrics–works of art not just mere pop culture. Some examples: Sarah McLachlan’s Ordinary Miracle; the theme song from Frozen, Let It Go, and Vanessa Williams’s Save the Best for Last.

    3. Efficient, high-performing societies that are basking in luxury and the best of everything just because they have planned well, worked smart and hard, defied odds, and earned everything they have. These are reminders for me to continually strive to better myself because there is no greater feeling that knowing I am doing justice to myself.

    So here goes, and thanks again Magdalena for this nomination!