Into the Future

The most widely accepted wisdom is the one that espouses living in the now, appreciating our present. I subscribe to that passionately and even as I write this I am aware of the gentle sound of the fan spinning over my head, water running from the tap, and pungent wafts of durian in the air. The moment to moment bliss.

And yet living in the present does not mean careless abandonment, or a ‘que, sera sera’ attitude. Being fully present in the moment, to me, also means that I cherish the present so much, I honor this gift by making choices that I would, say in a year’s time, look back and be glad about.

I embrace the present, knowing that it is powerful because what I do in it determines what I would be and have in the future.

I will make the right choices now because one day I will look back and be glad that I did. I will…

1. Exercise and take care of my health
2. Choose my words
3. Spend and invest my money wisely
4. Reach out and invest in people that matter
5. Run after my dreams with abandonment and ask for the right things from the right people

I don’t see how I can one day look back and not be glad that I did all this 😊

Freedom

Sitting here
Facing my fear
I think I hear
My freedom calling.

Birds in the sky
Oh how they fly
Though hunters
Somewhere neigh
May point to the sky
Shoot them till they die.

‘I am meant to fly!
Give the skies a try
Though I may die
At least the cage
I have defied.’

Sitting here
Doing my dream
I know my journey
Will not be all smooth sailing
Cultures, vultures
Oh pressure!
Expectations, competition
What criticism!
Limitations facing possibilities
A tiny bird
In the vast open sky
What do I do?

Sitting here
Perched on my Rock
I still my mind
And hear the Voice:
“Take the leap and
Spread your wings!”
So off I go
Into the vast unknown
Limitations, possibilities and all
Fear, excitement and hope.

Higher and higher I soar
Headlong
Into those vast unknowns
Only to find
That up close
They are not
Even half the horizon!

Sitting here
Facing those fears
I now know the answer
When again I hear
My freedom calling.

‘Meant to fly
Though I may die
At least the cage
I have defied.’

Six Inspiring Things I Heard This Week

From the keynote speech delivered by Malaysian TV personality, entrepreneur and social activist, Ngai Yuen Low, at the Northern Region Women’s Leadership Summit 2014:

1. On fulfilling one’s potential
“Hell is when you meet the person you could have been.”

2. On chasing after our dreams
“Don’t think too much. Just dive in and the rest will take care of itself.”

3. On dealing with criticisms
“Don’t bother with what others say, as long as you know where you are heading. You must see ten years ahead, not ten weeks ahead!”

4. On being a good parent
“When I am happy with myself, I can be a good mommy.”

From the emcee and other panel speakers at the same event:

5. On productivity
“Done is better than perfect.” – quoted by Tian Pow Pun, event emcee

6. On how some people seem to have things work in their favour all the time
“Luck is the byproduct of design.” – guest panelist, Boonsiri Somchit-Ong

Never Wait for Perfect Conditions – The Poem

Do you really
Have to do all the dishes
Before showering
Your children with kisses?

Do you really
Have to zap all that flab
And let the sun, sea and beach wait
As they call out to you
For a time so fab?

Do you really
Have to wait till you’re ‘rich’
In order to see
The world
So within reach?

Do you really
Have to silence the Critic
Appease the Pessimist
Pacify the Fearful
Before you do
The thing
Your heart says to do?

Ducks in a row?
No, they swim
Waddle all over
All bases covered?
No, pray, who can tell
When the winds of change
Decide to blow?

Do you really
Believe that come
That One Day
You will be ready?

To tell the world what you need
And have it bowing at your feet?
(I think it will laugh, before anything!)
To lay a claim on your dreams
And have it as easy as cream?
(What’s the taste of discouragement – bitter or sour?)
To step out of the boat
And know you will float?
(Better to find out, how to swim!)

No ducks
Will stay in a row
No bases
Will be shrouded
Ever in safety

Perfect conditions
Exist, I suspect
Only in Heaven
So I’d better
Not wait for that ‘moment’
Better to live
In ‘the’ moment
For everything else
There is Providence.

The Faces of Perseverance

1. The model who goes for casting after casting, gets rejection after rejection, until a break comes when an ad director says ‘You have the kind of looks we want!’ and she gets to start making her mark.

2. The aspiring author who works on his or her manuscript, often late into the night because of their day job, and knock on publisher after publisher’s door until they find one who believes in their work.

3. The budding entrepreneur who makes cold calls, writes and distributes promotional material, tweaks his website and business model, networks, promotes, and continuously improves and refines what he has to offer until he breaks even and sees the tip of the profit iceberg.

4. The piano teacher who patiently gives his best to the one student he has, until his pool slowly grows.

5. The novice blogger who consistently writes and improves her blog posts until views and feedback grow from trickles to a steady stream.

6. The overweight health enthusiast who consistently eats and exercises right until the inches drop off.

7. The parent who never stops loving a wayward child.

The Things Dreams Are Made Of: Ferringhi Coffee Garden and the Road Leading to It

On the way to Batu Ferringhi from Georgetown city, one drives past some nice neighbourhoods nestled among hills and greeneries

On the way to Batu Ferringhi from Georgetown city, one drives past some nice neighbourhoods nestled among hills and greeneries

I always enjoy my leisurely drives to Batu Ferringhi, the seaside town that is Penang’s popular holiday spot. Going up the winding road, I pass by many things which to me are things that dreams are made of.

On the right, trees with thick green leaves sway in the wind, against the blue backdrop of the sea and the sky. Different shades of blue are decorated by white fluffy clouds, sometimes it’s an empty blue sky over a glistening sea. Occasionally, especially on weekends, you see colourful moving dots when para gliders have the time of their lives, or rapid trails of foam on the water made by jet skis.

And then, of course, there are the waterfront bungalows and condominiums that line the road that leads to Batu Ferringhi, and assuming that the people living in these swanky properties are also happy with their lives, themselves, and what they do – these too, are things that dreams are made of, in my books.

Love the thick, crunchy toast!Big breakfast in a garden cafe - enough said.

Love the thick, crunchy toast!

So two weekends ago, I made yet another leisurely drive up to this place, this time with the intention of having a quiet breakfast by myself at the Ferringhi Coffee Garden while catching up with some work. I wanted a huge, heartily rich and sinful breakfast in a calm setting that will get my ideas flowing so this had to be one of the best places in Penang that fit my purpose.

In Batu Feringghi, heaven can be found by the roadside.

In Batu Feringghi, heaven can be found by the roadside.


I found the restaurant right by the main road in the town, albeit cleverly hidden and ensconced in flowers and trees – yes, it is literally a garden. I disregarded nagging thoughts of insects falling onto my plate (or worse, head) and chose the table at the outdoor corner that was placed right before some tall leafy plants that hovered closely over my head. I ordered my coffee and their biggest breakfast, and turned on my laptop and started taking in the scenery before my eyes – I couldn’t ask for a better place to have breakfast. The food was good, and I ate while enjoying the beautiful garden, and taking peeks at the electronic screen in front of me – the nitty gritty of my dreams that non-dreamers call ‘work’. Occasionally I put down my fork and knife to type down the inspiration that struck, while my mouth remained busy chewing and eating. Sometimes the jazz music they played was so good, I hummed along.

I ended up sitting there for at least 3 hours, leaving only when the sky looked like it was about to rain. On my way out I realized the owners had cleverly tiled the path that led to the restaurant.

The thoughtfully tiled path leading to and from Ferringhi Coffee Garden

The thoughtfully tiled path leading to and from Ferringhi Coffee Garden

I got into my car and started my journey out of Batu Feringghi, once again passing by the things that dreams (or at least my dreams) are made of – the calmness of a blue sea, the optimism of a blue sky on a sunny day, the freedom of birds in the air, the courage and uninhibitedness of a daredevil jet skier, the life and vitality of robust leafy trees, the luxury of some of the world’s best hotels, where people who know they are worth it indulge themselves, and the dream homes lining the path, tangible fruits of an honest life’s work and seeds sown wisely. And of course, the beauty of a garden restaurant like Ferringhi Coffee Garden, and the passion with which the food was made, served and eaten.

I will be back again, anytime my dreams need refueling.