Waiting for My Bright Orange Mazda

When I was in primary school, my mom drove a bright orange Mazda hatchback. Everyday, after school had ended, my brother and I would hang around in the canteen waiting for her to come and take us home.

My brother, with his uniform shirt untucked and maybe one shoelace undone, would be up and about playing with friends or just doing, exploring something. Me, the more introverted one, would tend to sit on one of the long wooden benches, facing the school’s main gate so that I could take note of every car that came through. And because my mom was a high school teacher, we often ended up being the only ones left waiting in the canteen, because her school ended later than ours.

I remember sighing, even if only on the inside, when yet another car had come into the school compound but it was still not the one I had been waiting for: mom’s bright orange Mazda. But of course, she always turned up, without fail. Or on some other days, it would be dad who would be taking us home, depending on their work schedules.

I sure did a lot of waiting as a child – waiting for my parents to fetch me home from music lessons (dad was usually late!), tuition classes, the library, school activities. Waiting for meals to be ready. Waiting for grandpa and grandma to arrive.

But little did it cross my mind that time, that even as I grew up, waiting was one thing that I would not be exempt from.

 I still wait for many things and many dreams now. In many instances, I even make conscious decisions to wait. 

It is not always fun to wait – but at least I have learnt to be like my smart little brother in his messy uniform – and take waiting seasons as opportunities to explore, have fun and do nice things that do not require waiting.

Till my bright orange Mazda arrives.




Badge by Doobster @ Mindful Digressions

Badge by Doobster @ Mindful Digressions

I am so late for this week’s SoCS, but since it’s the last weekend of 2014, I decided it’s better to be late than to miss it. After all, SoCS is one of the best discoveries I made this year.

Sadly, though, my thoughts and emotions are now consumed with sadness because I logged into WordPress and read on my Reader that another airplane has gone missing…or more specifically, another Malaysian airplane has gone missing… this time it’s the AirAsia jet bound for Singapore from Indonesia. My heart goes out to the loved ones of all onboard. Co-incidentally, my mom was also scheduled to fly to Singapore from Kuala Lumpur this morning, also on AirAsia, so I was naturally anxious to find out if she had arrived safely. I called my brother and thankfully managed to confirm that.

Tragedies like these are grim reminders that bad fortune can happen to just anyone. What if it was the flight from KL to Singapore that had suffered that ill fate? And just two days ago, 26th of December 2014, we were remembering the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami that took so many lives 10 years ago–another tragedy close to home, because it also hit Batu Feringghi and Tanjung Bunga, the popular tourist area in Penang where I bought my first property. I remember my ex boss, who stayed (and still does) in the area telling us how she could, from her high-rise balcony, see bodies floating near the beaches.

Such sad news to end 2014 with, and I had planned to review the year and set my goals for 2015 after finishing this post. I guess I will proceed with my plan, albeit in a somber mood. I also can’t help but wonder if it was mere co-incidence that my country’s airlines are so ill-fated in 2014. I have so many trips lined up for next year, and suddenly I found myself feeling somewhat relieved that I would mostly be flying foreign airlines…like Dragonair to Hong Kong and Thai Airways to Japan and Europe. But thinking this way does not take away the sadness I feel over the latest missing airplane. Life has to go on, though, and I resolve to make the best of what I have, especially appreciating my loved ones, so that if I were to perish in such an unexpected manner, I would at least know I have no (or minimal) regrets.

This post is part of SoCS:

Ooh La La

So if I am given unlimited¬†funds to plan one day of luxuries, what would I do? Without question, the first thing I would do is to book first class return air tickets for my trip to New York in November next year for the New York City Marathon (if it is possible to book air tickets so much in advance). Since I am going to travel half the world to have a lazy, relaxing holiday…not! I can’t imagine flying economy, arriving in a state of jet lag, and then run a crowded full marathon in the cold just two days later. A flight in the first class cabin would be a dream come true. And next, since hotel rooms are so expensive in the peak tourism season, I would also use the funds to book 14 nights in a luxury hotel in New York City so that I have ample time for sightseeing after the marathon is over.

I would also make some investments — maybe get a property that would hopefully be a diligent cash cow for me in the long term. And then buy¬†a nice little island that I can maybe someday retire to, and get a nifty hybrid car that would save fuel and be kinder to the environment in the long run.

So my first purchases are made with the long-term future in mind. Now that I have taken care of the practical things, I can move on to splurge on whatever I fancy. I would buy gifts for my friends and loved ones, get some Louis Vuitton, Prada, Celine, Birkin and Chanel bags for myself, lots of chocolates, clothes, running gear, winter clothing, and ah maybe some insurance policies for my loved ones (there goes the practical side again), and some blue chip stocks.

Looks like my long-term thinking does come into play quite a lot. This is an interesting prompt that gets me thinking about money–and it’s good to remember that money can be a friend or foe depending on how we manage it. Mindless splurging might just lead to slavery to materialism and temporary satisfaction. On the other hand, money can be the key to lifelong freedom if invested wisely.


God Is In Control

I doubt many of us will be stranded on an island like Robinson Crusoe, at least literally. Figuratively, however, I am sure most of us have felt stranded at one point or another in our lives.

Isolated, lost, alone, with no one to call for help, or so it seemed. Worried, anxious, not knowing what to do, wondering how long our supply will last–be it finances or the emotional strength to tide us over. It might have even felt like there’s no way out — on an island and there’s no passing ship or plane or copter to bring us back to shore.

I do not have much to offer a friend or relative who is stranded, save for moral and emotional support, and these four words: God is in control.


Ingredients for Blogging Consistency

While I can’t say I have had any periods during which I posted daily on my blog, I have done so consistently since I began this blog in May. As someone whose attention span can be rather short and who can get curious and interested in so many ventures at one time, I am quite pleased that I have successfully kept up the consistency of my posts.

And here’s the list of factors I think helped me achieve that:

1. The absence of the need to be ‘perfect’
So no more over analyzing and worrying about grammar and if what I write may sound silly. If there’s an idea and it somewhat makes sense, I write and click Publish. “Done is better than perfect.”

2. A sense of accountability
This is what makes WordPress wonderful– its community. When your blog following grows and you have people interacting with you don’t you feel motivated to keep the virtual ink flowing? The interaction somehow makes me feel accountable, in a good way.

3. Tangible, timely results– thanks to WordPress statistics
This is why coaches and experts advise setting milestones and celebrating each one on the long road to the big end goal. This is also why at competitions scores are published during the contest and not just at the end. And this is something WordPress got down pat! Letting me see the number of views I am getting each day actually gives me the satisfaction because it is a result of my effort that I can see. For many of us bloggers, our end goal may be to publish a book eventually. But along the way, tangible milestones–views, comments, likes — I believe, are like cheerleaders and reminders that keep us going.

What about you? What are the things that you think motivate you to keep posting?


Senses Alert: Life Lived to the Full

Badge by Doobster @ Mindful Digressions

Badge by Doobster @ Mindful Digressions

Are you hearing the unsaid
Are you seeing the flower by the sidewalk
Does the smell of coffee still brighten your day
Or has it become as unnoticed
As the old sofa in that corner?

Do you take time to chew
And savour the juices oozing in your mouth
Or have you been eating
Merely to survive?

Do you take time to hug
Give pats on the back
Feel the softness of velvet
Or be grateful for the carpet
And heat on cold winter nights?

Perky senses could lead to a life well lived!

This post is part of SoCS:

Guilt, What Guilt?

Money, you earn
Calories, you burn
Pleasures, you dig
Yet of them you are no addict
Perfection, you ditch
You don’t always have to ‘get it’
Fries over broccoli
Britney Spears over Vivaldi
Late night burger in front of the tele
Won’t turn your world upside down
As long as your feet
Are still on the ground.


Das Ist Interessant!

Interessant– this is German for interesting.

It’s amazing how time flies and looking back at the year that is 2014, one of the new things I have embarked on is to learn two foreign languages: Thai and German. Thai, because I have some Thai heritage biologically, and German, because I work quite a lot with German bosses and colleagues, it makes sense to start learning this language. And also, the very first classical piano piece I learnt was written by a German composer, Minuet in G by Mozart. I remember being told that he wrote that at the age of five. A genius, indeed.

So, ich lerne gerne Deutsch. I enjoy learning German. But this is one tricky language to master, with so many grammatical rules, different types of sentences, the intricate spelling, the nuances. Phew! And I had the audacity to slot in a few German sentences (ok, I think three to be exact) when hosting the technical forum at my company.

Ich bin Alexis. (I am Alexis.)
Guten Tag (Good day)
Wilkommen im Penang (Welcome to Penang.)
Das ist sehr gut! (This is very good!)
Einen schonen Tag noch! (Have a nice day!)
Aber man gewohnt sich daran.. (But you get used to it…)

Looks like my repertoire begs to be improved. Learning German at my own pace using Babbel has been fun and quite effective in helping me to get some basics, but I think it’s time to up the ante…get some grammar books maybe since it’s the structure I struggle a lot with.

This post is part of SoCS: