Saturday, June 30, 2012

Grandma's 8th Anniversary

Today is the 8th anniversary of my paternal grandmother's passing. As with family tradition, we gathered at the family home to have a meal to celebrate her life. A pot-luck dinner we had. Happy conversations we shared, even to the extent of reminiscing about the weddings of my mum and an aunt. Much laughter was had at the expense of the latter, who seemingly could not remember where her wedding banquet was held. Was it 'Pi Yow Tin' or 'Sek Yuen'? Apparently both were household names at the time. Another aunt thinks it's the former, my mum the latter. No one else could offer a tie-breaker. So, I told my aunt to go look up her photos and bring a copy to an already planned lunch at 'Sek Yuen' later in the week. Since the restaurant hasn't changed much in decades, the photo would bring about a resolution to this little riddle. That was how the evening went. Enjoyable times over food, regaling each other with amusing conversation, maintaining and nurturing family ties, a legacy that has been passed down the generations in my family, well at least to those of us in my time who hold dear to this practice.

My cousin Lynette sums it up well in her Facebook posting - 'Today is the 8th anniversary of my grandma's home going. As is customary in our family, we gathered for dinner and chitchat. Lots of lovely memories shared. So glad she left a legacy of the importance of family togetherness.' My sister, Suk Harn had this to say - 'Today is ma-ma's memorial. Makes me think of the times we spent making curry puff together.' To which my cousin Moses responded - 'I wasn't much help in the making...but was very involved in the eating!' Another thought from Suk Harn went like this - 'And also how she used to make us drink lime eno every weekend. Such fond memories.' That's a funny one. Even funnier was Lynette's comment - 'Eno was a cure all.' Classic! Haha!

We all remember Mama in our own special way. She was a big part of our lives, particularly for those of us who were under her care when we were toddlers. A lesson to be learnt ... to value those who are with us in the present and create memories that can be cherished in the future.

Photo of Mama in her baju kebaya.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Big Group

Going on a holiday with the extended family can both be an enthu-siastic as well as a stressful expe-rience. Last year, almost twenty of us 'balik kampung' to China to visit some of our relations at the family village. In a few months' time, about fifteen of us will be heading to Danang and Hoi An, in this year's edition of the extended family holiday.

I was initially undecided about whether to go this time round. But after some cajoling from my cousins plus a bit of tacit pressure from my Mum, I signed up. In fact, everyone else had already booked their flights much earlier. You could say 'better late than never' as I was the last one to confirm my participation.

Now that I have made up my mind to join the group, I am looking forward to the trip. I get along with those who are to be my travel companions for the six days, so it will be an enjoyable experience. Sure, there will be some stressful moments, something that is inevitable when traveling in a big group. But the positive experiences will more than outweigh the little hiccups.

My Malaysian cousins and I with our Chinese cousins in Nam Tong, China, last year.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Dragon Boat Festival

My extended family makes it a point to gather for a meal during Chinese festivals. Any reason for a 'makan' so we say. But really, it is all about celebrating family ties.

So gathered we did at the family home and ate we did, to celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival yesterday. Three supersized 'bak chang' dumplings, 'nasi kunyit, chicken curry, stir-friend mixed vegetables, 'ham choy tau foo' soup plus 'tau foo fah', 'ciku' and 'nangka' for dessert.

My late grandparents and my late father would have been proud that we are carrying on the tradition of getting together for such celebrations. For my immediate family, we mark such occasions down in our diary at the onset of every year, ensuring our presence at these culinary feasts. Here's to the next one ... soon!

Some bought, some home cooked.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What Life Has In Store

I wasn't in the best of moods a couple of months ago and when I had dinner with my friends Leticia and Tjun Hong to gripe, the latter gave me a piece of advice which I did not really take to heart at the time. Tjun Hong told me to let my hair down, dispense with whatever agenda I had, and just to go out, embrace what life had in store for me, and to have fun.

Stubborn as I am, I didn't take his advice and still went about with my agenda. Now I know better. After another misstep, I am finally letting go of the confines that I put myself in and taking things in stride, enjoying whatever comes my way so to speak.

It is liberating in a sense. Not having an aspiration that needs to be attained. Instead, I am adopting a laissez-faire attitude. Que sera, sera.

Photo shot right smack in the middle of winter in Seoul, Korea in February earlier this year.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Congrats Integricity!

It's always wonderful when associates you work with are recognised for their talent, ideas and work ethic. When this happens, they feel a sense of achievement, a fitting reward for all the hard work put in. There is a sense of pride in being able to go toe-to-toe with their competitors, in an industry that is both challenging and constantly evolving. The earned respect also acts as a catalyst, a motivating factor for even better work to come. Yes, we are happy for them. More importantly though, all these positive vibes also rub off on us as we too get inspired. We want to do better as well, think more creatively, enjoy our work even more. We too aspire to work better as a team, enhance camaraderie and nurture a sense of belonging. We too become more purposeful in believing that we can hold our own in the competitive environment of the wedding industry. And we aim to do this with the input of our associates at Integricity, winner of the Local Hero Award and Silver Award for Digital Agency Of The Year at Advertising + Marketing's annual Agency Of The Year Awards 2012.

I have for many years relied on the team from Integricity when it comes to all things digital, in relation to the businesses that we run. From weddingsmalaysia to That Special Occasion and many others in between, they have been our counsel. Suffice to say, I am extremely happy that they won. I remember vividly the first time Alex Lam came a calling years ago, and it has been a pleasure working with the team at Integricity ever since. We are not a big account, yet we get the attention and prompt assistance.

So here's a little message from my team and I ... 'Very well deserved! Now even more people know what we as clients already knew. Much congratulations to everyone at Integricity. Thanks to all, past and present, who have and continue to work on all of our accounts, from the slightly busier ones to the least active ones. We look forward to greater collaborations in future. Well done again!'

A little congratulatory gift we sent over, photo courtesy of Warren Tan.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Alison & Steven

I meet so many couples in my line of work. Most remain as clients and at most acquaintances. Only a select few become friends. There are many variables that determine if we were to form a friendship. Chemistry, some common interests, effort and whether we 'click'. Fate plays a part too I believe. I haven't for the longest time attended any of my clients' weddings. I don't get invited all the time and even if I did, there needs to be some kind of affinity to make attending the wedding meaningful, worthwhile and enjoyable. Enjoyed myself I did last Saturday. When Alison and Steven first broached the idea of inviting me to their wedding, I did not commit, mainly due to two reasons. It was on my Mum's birthday and I didn't really know them that well at the time. I am still getting to know them, but as we spent more time together during fittings, I felt more comfortable RSVP-ing 'yes' when the official invite finally came. I would say it is a budding friendship. So as friends, newfound or otherwise would do, I made arrangements to have my Mum's birthday dinner a day earlier so that I could attend the wedding banquet, and blocked off all appointment slots at That Special Occasion for that Saturday morning so that I could be at the wedding ceremony.

I would say that Alison and Steven are one of the most loving couples I have met. A meaningful ceremony it was indeed. An apt celebration the banquet was as well. A wedding such as this reaffirms my passion for the industry that I work in. It is a shot in the arm that one needs when one gets slightly jaded, doing wedding related work day in day out. It motivates me. It acts as a catalyst. It inspires me to do better work. It makes one believe in fate and the promise it holds.

So here's to the both of you again Alison and Steven. May you both experience every happiness. Thanks for inviting me to be part of your wedding planning journey and here's to friendship too.

Photo by DeMomentz, courtesy of Alison and Steven.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Crazy Idea

I casually suggested a crazy idea to a good friend and the response was a good humoured turn down. Yes, sometimes funny, almost surreal ideas come to mind. I usually just chuckle and let them be. This time I acted on it. What the heck I thought. It's my new attitude. Crazy can be good sometimes.

So, who cares is one new mantra of mine. A friend recently made a statement that at this stage of his life, he couldn't care less what other people thought of his actions. I took note. Life is short. So just live as I deem fit. This reminded me too of what my late father once told me. I took note again.

I have always loved taking a leap of faith. Just that I have been perhaps playing it a bit safe for some time. Thinking too much. Always rationalising. Being insecure. It's time to revel in the uncertainties that leaps of faith bring forth. I'd call that living on the edge. Something that I'm going to be doing. Not try, but do.

Super delicious sandwich at Jones The Grocer in Singapore.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Positive Energy

A friend posted this on Facebook recently - 'Miracles start to happen when you give as much energy to your dreams as you do to your fears'. Like most, I have my fears, my insecurities. They sometimes affect my frame of mind, cause me to be slightly dejected and melancholic. I accept it as part and parcel of life.

The good thing is that I bounce back from any setback or moodiness pretty quickly. I will myself to think positive, to visualise the happy outcomes that I so look forward to attaining. I would be the first to admit that this takes effort but I realise that one can only truly move forward by doing so. Dwelling too much on the past is not something that I do. And whilst I recognise my fears and insecurities, I generally do not let them overwhelm me. Instead, I work continuously to overcome them. To maintain a positive outlook as much as I can.

So I tell myself that tomorrow is a new day. With better experiences to encounter. With happier moments to experience. Each day brings with it new hope. That I do believe, no matter how jaded I may feel from time to time.

Wishing trees at Seoul Tower in Korea.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Nothing Good Comes Easy

Sometimes we encounter perplexing situations which seem difficult to comprehend. A friend recently posted on her Facebook profile 'Why ah? I wonder what happened?' and we ended up commenting on how difficult it can be to understand a sudden change of events that we didn't see coming. Human nature will have us try to rationalise the situation but sometimes it is best to just let it go and move on.

I was also having a conversation with an uncle of mine, well an uncle by rank, but more of a contemporary in age, a while ago. Our chat led to a discussion on how we ought to look for a silver lining in every lousy circumstance that we find ourselves in. 'Everything happens for a reason', he said, 'we just need to find the reason'. What I took away from this conversation is that we must keep the faith, no matter how jaded we may be.

Whenever I myself am in a state of confusion, my friends will always tell me to forget about it, move on. Better things are to come. But I am stubborn. I always want to get to the root of the problem, the ripple that led to my being dumbfounded. I also don't give up easily. I am often of the belief that bad situations can be remedied if we try hard enough, and that nothing good comes easy. Only after doing my best but to no avail will I concede defeat. And when I find myself resigning to the fact that even my best was not enough, only then will I entertain the idea of throwing in the towel. And then my uncle's words will ring true, everything happens for a reason, and a silver lining I shall look out for in time to come.

Beautiful setting at Evason Hua Hin in Thailand.