Friday, December 30, 2011

Be happy now

Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now.
Don't wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future.
Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it's at work or with your family.
Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.

- Earl Nightingale

ps. Thank you!


So it looks like I have to work today. I have to finish some work that I have started a few weeks ago. This work needs to be done today - at least my part is. So after writing this, I am going to do some spreadsheet work. It should not take long, hopefully - but if there are issues, then I am going to go nuts.

I don't have a problem with working during the holidays per se - I have a problem with people who bluntly ask me: why do you have to work. Obviously because there is work to do. Then they ask why can't you just wait until the holidays is over. Because I don't want to? Because I want to do it today? Because I want to finish this quickly?

It is incredibly annoying when someone tells me not to work. I guess it is fine when that person is paying me not to work. But chance is that that person is not paying me not to work and that person wants to hang out with me - which means I have to put in the time and money for that. I don't mind spending time and money with people I deem worthy, but chance is that if that person is telling me not to work, then that person is not worthy.

When I get pissed off, they try to lighten it up by saying they are joking - instead of apologising. Oh please. That is the worst insult in the planet ever. Own up to your mistakes. Don't tell me that I am the one who is uptight, when you are clearly the one who is disrespectful of my choices.

I am off to do some work now. Until then.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Money and me

Sometimes I think instead of doing a WIDT post, I should do a WITAT (What I Think About Today) post.

For a few days now, I have been thinking about how I spend my money. I told you guys previously that I spend it all. A couple of days ago I did some number crunching of my own financial position. I have a rough idea as to where it is now, and seeing the numbers on the screen means I either confirm my guesstimates or clarify my views on where I went wrong. I always have a rough idea as to where I stand from a financial view point. I guess this means I think about it often - and it is true, I do think about it often because I'd like to know that I am heading in the right direction.

My money allocation throughout the years change with my preferences. Travelling used to be a high priority on my list and I travelled like there was no tomorrow. At the time I thought if I were to die then, I would die happy because of the destinations that I have ticked off my list. I travelled a lot as a child - courtesy of my father, so most of the destinations have been ticked off that way. The ones that linger on my mind I visit again as an adult, and in some of those destinations, I travelled solo. It was one of the best things I have done and I would recommend that to anyone who is looking to gain new experience/skill.

These days, I don't travel as much - the travel bug has left me for a while now. My focus has been establishing myself professionally. My current job does not involve any travel at all. The upside of this job is that I learn to like this city. I learn to appreciate it and its quirks. I discover the things that I like to do here, and I intent to do them while I can. Right now, my travelling desires (whatever is left of it) is fed by reading the travel section of various newspapers/magazines. Sounds lame, I know, but it is what it is.

I think for someone my age, I am doing ok. I think I am still far from brilliant (I personally know some people who are doing way better than me right now). I manage my money fine. What I have a problem with is actually spending it on the things that I want - and when I say things, I mean physical things like clothes and the like. I have been decluttering on a regular basis and I am sick and tired of seeing things that I don't even like after a few months. So I promise myself that I am not spending my money on junk. This is actually good because I am more conscious on how I spend my money.

The downside is that sometimes I get bored of the things I do own - granted they are mostly classics, and I like variety. I browse fashion blogs and I think to myself, hey, that's a nice look, I'd like to get that jacket/shoes/bag. Of course most of the time I don't get those things - because if I have an item that I haven't worn in a few months, I much prefer to just let it go so that other people can use it and I have less clutter in my apartment.

So I used to spend any amount between $0-50 on these things that I end up donating. And as some of you have guessed it, I am sick and tired of wasting my money on temporary thrills, so I deliberately stop shopping. If in any given month I donate 20 items, then that is like any amount between $20-$1000 down the drain. Don't know about you, but I think that is a lot of money - money that I can spend doing something else, like eating (hehe).

Sometimes I get the itch to spend money. Most of the time, I feel somewhat guilty spending money if I know that I am not going to treasure whatever it is I am buying. I get that this whole thing is about balance, I just have not quite found where that point is for me.

Because I feel this way, I really feel out of touch with most people my age - because they prefer to just spend and think about the consequences later. I often hear things like, why would I want to wait and save for it, when I can have it right now and pay for it later. Yeah true. Who doesn't want instant gratification, right? Well, me! I don't want instant gratification. I prefer when there is some sort of pain involved in the beginning so that I can treasure what it is that I am working hard towards. I think hard work makes a lot of things in life more worthwhile - at the very minimal, it enhances its value.

I bet these sort of things are very funny to be coming out of the mouth of someone who grew up (and still lives) in abundance. I have thought about this long and hard, and if I have the option to have something that I want right now with minimal effort (like a gift), versus working hard for it one way or the other, then I think I prefer to have it the latter way. It is not that I don't appreciate gifts, I do (and I love them) - it is more that I prefer to work for it so that I know that I truly deserve it, I obtain it myself, and I gain immense satisfaction from it.

I guess what I am saying is this: I get satisfaction from the process, in addition to the end result. In fact, I think people should be encouraged to work hard for the things they have in their lives. If you want to look good, great body, great skin, then work hard for them. If you want a nice swanky place, then work hard for it. After all, nothing in this life comes free.

It is going to be interesting if one day I have children. I would provide them with the basic necessities, but I swear I would try my hardest not to spoil them. I have a nephew and his parents spoil him to bits. I would concentrate my efforts on instilling self-discipline on my children, because I personally benefit from self-discipline a lot. Yes, drive and motivation matter too, so I guess I would try to instil some of these in my children too - if I am blessed enough to have children one day.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

WIDT - Shopping at Birkinhead Point

I finally caved in to the post xmas sale and went shopping. I love getting good bargains. I just hate the crowd. I have done boxing day shopping a couple of times and I think that would be all that I would ever have in this life time. So coming in today, which is like a few days post boxing day, I fully expect the stores to be full of bargains with nothing in my size.

Which is totally what happened today. I came prepared with a mental list with the things that I am hunting:

1. a fedora - I have been wanting this for the longest time - since like 2009. That is like two YEARS ago. I have been looking for one that is not so boring. I want something that is black/white/gray-ish, but I can never take the plunge of getting a plain black or plain anything fedora. I saw a red one with pink flower a few weeks back that retailed for $30 before the sale. When I came back to the stores a couple of weeks since spotting it, they were all gone! Ok, so it was not a meant to be.

2. sexy lingerie - this item (or I should say, these items) are perpetually on my list. Because I have been losing weight or maybe my current lingerie is just disintegrating on me. Or both. Doesn't matter. Point is that I need lingerie that fits.

3. leather belt - I am somewhat obsessed with anything leather these days. Because I am sick and tired of pvc belts dying on me. I just did not realise that these things are so badly made. I am donating all of my pvc belts to charity.

4. leather bag - same story as the leather belts - see above. I don't mind the canvas bags, I suppose, because they are water proof. The downside with leather goods is that they are not water proof, and they are kind of high maintenance that way. Sydney weather has been unpredictably wet, so I am hesitant with using my leather bag.

5. leather shoes - same story as the leather items above. I prefer real leather shoes rather than faux leather. Because my feet are wide and most faux leather shoes just kill them. If I could, I would wear sport shoes everywhere. But I can't wear them to work, so I don't think I have much choice but to do leather shoes. I prefer rubber soles, but I realise this combination is difficult to come by. I have bought shoes from asos, and they are mostly misses (rather than hits). I prefer to buy shoes in a physical store because I need to try them on. So please, shoe stores out there - don't go totally online.

6. skinny jeans - I own one pair of skinny jeans. When I bought them they were tight but now they are sliding down. Thus I'd like a new pair that does not slide down, and it has to be in dark denim.

7. blazer - I have a specific style in mind that I am coveting right now. Can't describe it here, but once I find it, I will post a picture of some sort.

8. work clothes - these are investments for me, because I go to work and I need to find clothes that are professional looking and are comfortable and most importantly, stylish and reflects my personality. I love dressing up in the morning, applying make up and doing my hair. Yeah, shoot me - I am one of those annoying people who like going to work.

So what happened today?

Birkinhead Point does not disappoint, although I prefer driving there rather than catching public transport (snob alert). I make it a habit to eat lunch before shopping so that I can concentrate on what I want to buy rather than thinking about food. If you know me, my stomach usually takes precedent over anything else, including sleep.

What I bought: fedora, lingerie, leather belt. Fedora was from Mimco and it was not plain - it was in fact, chequered - a combo of black/grey with a white/blue leopard-ish collar. I just read that sentence again and the fedora sounded hideous. In all likelihood, it probably is, but I like it, so I bought it and I have every intention to wear it. One item off the list.

Lingerie was Elle McPherson. Some of her stuff are really really nice, and others really really bad. I tried on at least 10 things today and walked away with 1. I could have tried more, but I was giving up after the 10th item. The item stays on the list because I obviously need more than 1.

Leather belt was Marc. I used to love everything Marc - back in the days when they used to be so preppy. And then, Marc became boho, and recently it sort of returns to its preppy origins (thank god), just as I am losing interest in shopping (in general). Another item off the list.

Mimco has some of the most coveted leather bags that do not cost 4 digits. This is kind of important if like me, you don't earn that much money. I like this particular style from Mimco and nearly purchased it so many times. But lately, I am giving up on it. Because the people that I see with the bag are so daggy - the kind that walks around in sweat pants and ugg boots. The bag, in contrast, is sophisticated looking - and would make an awesome work attire investment. So whenever I think of this bag, I have this mental image of some daggy person carrying the bag. I refuse to be associated with that image, so I pass.

Another brand that I love is Allannah Hill. Granted given my body type I cannot wear 90% of her clothes, but I do love her coats. And her cardigans, skirts, tops and dresses. I like her accessories too. That is like everything in the store. Because I know that I cannot wear most of her designs (seriously, she designs for women with curves, the guitar/hour glass types, and meanwhile, I am like a cone), I just spent like a good 15 minutes in that store admiring the things that I knew I would never wear.

And that was when I noticed a group of extremely daggy people in the store - and then I walked out of the store. I get that most people were shopping, so they were dressing for comfort - heck, even I was dressing for comfort, and I am pretty sure I was more daggy than stylish. However, there is just something about seeing daggy people that completely turns me off a brand.

I am such a snob. There I said it.

It is really true that we should dress up - if only out of politeness.

"I don't understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little - if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that's the day she has a date with destiny. And it's best to be as pretty as possible for destiny." - Coco Chanel

Side note: I am trying to write more these days - and in the past, I schedule certain posts to come in at certain days to ensure that I am sticking to a schedule. With this blog, what I find is that I am writing more about my thoughts than what I did - which is understandable because I often spend my days working (I derive enjoyment that way) and I don't really want to write about working given that I have already spent most of day working, and I don't want to spend all of my waking hours doing and thinking about work. So in an attempt to enjoy life a bit more, I make a point to do things other than working, which I can then write about in the blog. WIDT stands for What I Did Today.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Part 1

I admit that every so now and then, I still think about you. I think about you usually because of something horrible that I suddenly remember. Like blogging for an instance - I used to blog because I wanted a relief from all the shit on my head. I am fine with writing, I enjoy it enough to be able to blog. But writing was not the primary reason for me to blog, just like you were never a reason for me to blog. My primary reason was that I needed an outlet to release all the shit on my head, and quite unfortunately, a major proportion of those shit was thoughts of you.

I admit that it was my fault. I did contribute to my miserable life. I stayed with you even when my instinct was to run in the other direction. I enjoyed your company while it lasted. There was some good moments. There was also some bad moments. When the proportion of those two things started tipping against me, that was when I knew that I had no choice but to leave.

For someone who made four times of what I made during those years, you were certainly very stingy. There, I said it out loud. I remember quite vividly the moment that you said you wanted me to pay for dinner because you had just gone over your finances and you did not like what you saw. I said, just send me the amount for half the bill and I would pay you. You said that would not be necessary, just pay for the next time we go out - which I did. To be quite honest, I don't see why I should foot all the bill when all I had was a beverage (mostly coffee). Moreover, most of the time, you were the one who wanted to go out, you picked the restaurant and you consumed most of what were ordered. Plus, you were a male. Shoot me from coming from a culture where males foot the bill.

In retrospect, I did not realise how much of a massive deal money was to you. I grew up in abundance thanks to my father's generosity. I always have more than enough. I enjoyed (and still enjoy) a good life whereby I can get everything I need (and to a certain extent, want). From your stories, you did not share the same upbringing. I remember you telling me a story about your mother going shopping and returning home with no toys and you got angry with her. You have always been smart - I give you that. I am pretty sure you must have been aware of your family circumstances. I don't quite know how to say this the right way (if there is ever one) - but I knew what it was like when we had very little money. Dad told us outright that we had to slim down our budgets. He was kind enough to still give me enough allowance. I saved every single penny so that I could afford to go to the prom with a new dress, shoes, etc - and paid for two tickets. I got a job on friday nights so that I could have extra money to go to the prom. I knew what it felt like. I occurred to me if that was going to be permanent, so I made an effort to save and to work more hours. I never took anything for granted.

I also grew up with a lot of friends who were males and automatically footed all the bills. There was never a fight for the bill because they said such thing embarrassed them. So I learnt to say thank you for their generosity. They regarded their gesture as a given because that was what males were supposed to do. We grew up this way. The way my brother put it - you girls don't eat much anyway, so it is natural for boys to pay.

I later learnt that you were seeing a lot of girls behind my back and you paid for your "dates" with them. So much about fidelity, so much about paying for girls. So much about wanting females to foot their share of the bill.

It is no secret that my friends did not (and still do not) understand why I was with you. They thought (and still think) that you were a gold digger - which I countered by saying that I did not have a lot of money, so that couldn't be true. I give kudos to my friends for being friends, despite not wanting to socialise with you, they still support me when I eventually break up with you.

The really good friends told me quite bluntly to leave you. They said that there was something that was weighing me down and they thought that thing was you. While I agreed, it took me a while to take action. Thankfully, they had enough patience in them to put up with my indecisiveness. They were wonderful and I was grateful.

Your friends, with whom I socialise with, were on your side when we broke up. Heck, they were even on your side even before we break up. I didn't blame them (and still don't). That was what friends were supposed to do. I would do the same thing for my friends in a heartbeat. What I would not do, is stroke their egos. I would sit down with them and reflect, if they want to, and we would acknowledge privately that there were a lot of things we could have done differently. I would not say that they did not do anything wrong, because they must have contributed to the problem even when they did not realise it. They would not like listening to that, but these things are necessary for personal growth. I have friends in my life with whom I can do this with, and I am grateful for them. I am grateful for those who really have my best interest at heart, and still stand by me even when I was angry with them because I do not like what they said. The latter makes a whole lot of difference because then I know who my friends are. I don't have that many friends these days, but the ones I call friends are certainly are my friends, in the true sense of the world. I guess I have lifted my standards on what friends are these days; I go for quality over quantity any day.

I realise that this definition is a bit too deep for most people's liking. I realise that it is too deep for your liking. I am not sure that I can spend the rest of my life with someone who cannot even respect that I have a different view when it comes to these sort of things in life.

You talked a lot. You always dominated conversations and you always wanted to be the centre of attention, even when other people listened to you out of politeness. Whenever I was with you, I learnt what not to do in a social setting. Because I often cringed when I listened to you. Sometimes being associated with you is like social suicide, it embarrassed me to no end. So I tried not to socialise with you in the same circle if I could help it. And I did so in professional settings where I had to do this thing called networking.

You told me that you felt left out so you tried to assert yourself into the circles that I introduced myself to. When I was invited to dinners, you wanted to be invited as well - and you said you would have gladly paid for yourself, and you accused me for not caring about you because as you said, "you knew I wanted these things too". Well, just to clarify again, being a guest, I was not sure that I was in a position to invite you along. In fact, I knew that I was not in a position to invite you along - that was the decision of the host, who were people that I met for the first time in my life at that point in time. And besides, it was for my professional development and we were on different fields. For once, it was nice to have people who were interested in me and with whom I could have discussed things with. For once, it was nice for me to just hold my own ground, and enjoy some sort of discussion about things that are directly relevant to my field that I would otherwise not have been aware of. For once, it was nice to just have those hours for me - and not share it with you. Until this day, you have never apologised for your behaviour - and I don't quite expect you too because you just felt so entitled to the opportunities that I had.

I cringe whenever I think about this one because in retrospect, I should have run as soon as this happened. For someone who was claiming to be my significant other, you sure were not supportive at all. You did not listen to me and you much prefer to listen to what other people said, and do what they thought you should do. When you did that, you got angry because I did not appreciate them. Why would I appreciate something that I had specifically asked you not to do? Your actions became a nuisance and you became a nuisance at the same time, especially when I had to deal with your feelings instead.

You were angry for the longest time because there were things I could not talk to you about. It was not I did not want to talk to you about it, it was more I was forbidden from talking to you about it by the court of law. I took these things seriously, so yeah, shoot me for being a law-abiding resident. You said some of the nastiest things that you've said during those times and I had to ignore you deliberately because of that. And then you wondered why I ignored you.

In retrospect, I should not have supported you at all - but there were bits in me that were still in favour of humanity, so I caved in. I can't quite say that I regretted taking this path because I will never know what I would feel if I had chosen the opposite path. But death in the family was (and forever will be) a major event in anyone's life, so I tried to be supportive. It backfired in the end. No regrets from me - it was just one of the possible consequences which eventuated to reality, and I just had to deal with it. Part of exercising humanity.

Ok, this topic is becoming emotionally very tiring so I am going to stop here. There might be a Part 2 if I think about this again.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Irrational fears

Most of the time, when I think about getting older, I get excited. I think life gets better as I get older, and this is from personal experience.

Then there are other times during which I feel irrationally scared. I think about how potentially complicated life can become and I am not so sure that I have the ability to handle all of that.

Two things that come to my mind - one is love and the other is money.

A trend that I have slowly noticed is this: dating becomes more difficult as you get older. A lot of people say that in your twenties, you get a lot of attention. In your thirties, you get less attention. Because most of the attention is focused on those who are in their twenties. Because they look more youthful. Because in your thirties, you start showing signs of aging. Your body starts deteriorating and showing signs of years of abuse that you've done to it - excessive alcohol assumption, excessive fried food consumption, lack of exercise etc etc etc.

Oh, this lack of attention thing, by the way, applies to women only. So a lot of people say, when you are in your twenties, take advantage of the attention. Pick your potential partner - the best from the pack - and then aggressively pursue him, love him and marry him, and hopefully live happily ever after.

Of course, when I think about this rationally, this is all a whole lot of bull shit. No one can decide when to fall in love and with whom to fall in love. Maybe you can sort of influence the latter, but the former is often totally unexpected. You can be as aggressive as you want to be in your twenties, but if Cupid still keeps his arrows to himself, then well, too bad. There is an element of serendipity in life that one just cannot quite control. Does that sound irrational to anyone? Maybe it is, but I am not sure there is another way of explaining it.

In any case, no matter what age you find love, be happy that love has found you. Because you are one of the lucky ones. Be happy with what you have, and enjoy love while it sticks around. Enjoy it for what it is today regardless of what sort of promises it brings tomorrow, or what you think will happen tomorrow.

Second thing is about money. I swear I don't think about money that often - well, not in this context anyway - but one thing that scares the shit out of me is bankruptcy. I don't know what one does to get into such a situation, but I sure know that I am going to do whatever it takes so that I am not in that position. I think this is because I have been reading personal finance blogs - for some reason, the ones that I come across are those individuals who have successfully paid their debts. I hardly ever see any blogs who advised people not to get into debt in the first place.

My relationship with money is simple - I earn it, I spend it. And I spend all of it. I spend most of it on myself (aka saving). Then I spend it on my lifestyle (living expenses - bills and the like). Then I spend it on the people I love. There goes all of my paycheck. I do think about it in terms of earning and spending, and not so much about earning, spending and saving. Because I think it is simpler to think about it in terms of earning and spending only. What you earn, you spend. What you don't earn, don't spend. This is why I prefer not to borrow money - because (1) I have not earned it, and therefore (2) I can't spend it without guilt. If you want to spend more, then earn more first. Ask me in 10 years time if this frame of thinking still works.

Maybe bankruptcy is not the only thing that scares me - it is more like not having enough money. I budget for almost every category imaginable (and the rest goes to "miscellaneous"), so I make sure that everything is accounted for. What I dislike is when other people spend my money on my behalf, without asking for my permission. I am talking about acquaintances who want to eat at a certain restaurant for their birthdays, and then invite everyone they know so that they can pay for their meals (to the tune of $100++). Call me cheap, but I only spend money like that on people I love most. Otherwise I will go broke, and I prefer spending that money on myself.

Money is quite a major thing in my family - especially since the divorce (my parents'). I got to see glimpses of the ugly fight and I vow to myself that I will do anything in my power so that that would not happen to me. So I guess there goes another aspect of the fear.

What I can't quite stand is people who are very stingy when it comes to their money, yet spend other people's money quite freely. You know, those are the ones who eat anything and everything they can when they know that someone else is footing the bill. Or the ones who eat the most when they know that everyone is going to split the bill - so they just have to order drinks, entrée and dessert, even when they are full. And then they don't tip. I pay for my share when it comes to gatherings like that, really, I don't eat that much and I prefer not to drink, especially in day light. I would love to hang out with you over coffee more than wine, over fried chicken rather than fancy brunch. If you are currently on holidays in Sydney, please entertain yourself or get a number of people to entertain you, because I much prefer to keep my finances and waistline intact, thank you very much. And vice versa when I am on holidays.

After writing all of the above, I really do feel much better about these things - read: I don't fear them as much. This is one of the reasons why I write, it is the best tension reliever ever. It gets things out of my system and allow me to sleep better.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

This Christmas

I thank God for the good people in my life - the people whom I love and who love me, the people whom I love to spend time with, whom I share my life with, who make me laugh, who share my deepest thoughts, my tears, and who bring sunshine into my life. The people who stand by me no matter what happens. The people who understand me, or who try really hard to understand me, and most importantly, accept me for who I am. They are indeed one of the few greatest blessings in my life. I cannot have come this far without their help.

I thank God for the things that I have and the things that I share. I thank God that I am no longer a shopping addict and I can divorce myself from the obsession of material things, although I am still a sucker for beautiful things. I thank God that I am happy with what I have. I thank God that while I have a desire to be better, I realise that it is not about material possession.

I thank God that I have the ability to manage my life well. I thank God that He gives me the strength to overcome the challenges and He blesses me with everything that I have been given today. I thank God that I work with good people and a good company. I thank God that I can do my job well. I thank God that I have roof over my head, that my home is tidy, my finances are in order, my clothes are stylish, I have enough shoes and handbags and everything else that a girl can ever want.

I thank God for the unexpected kindness I encounter in life, especially during the times that I need it most. I pray that I can be of assistance to those in need, especially when they need it most. I thank God for the people who stick around, who believe in me, especially during the times I doubt myself. I thank God that I can stand tall today and I pray that I can stand taller in the days and years to come.

I thank God that I have so much good memories and I can continue creating good memories.

I thank God that I am healthy and those I love are also healthy. I thank God that I am happy and those I love are also happy.

Merry Christmas to everyone who is reading this. God bless you!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Be loved

Be loved. Be known. Love people and know people.
Be so brave as to raise a hand for help when you need it.
Make friends and make sure they know they matter.
Be loyal to them and fight for them.
Remind them what’s true and invite them to do the same when you forget.
If you do some losing or you walk with someone else in their defeat, live with dignity and grace.
It is a middle finger to the darkness.”

- Jaimie Tworkowski To Write Love On Her Arms

ps. thank you!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


There is something attractive about pursuing your passion. I got home after a long day at work and was winding down to this blog, the blog that I find attractive because it is all about pursuing passions. I like my job right now and I think I do it well. I am passionate about most of it. There is something else that I'd like to pursue - and that is about living life passionately.

Is it just me or is it like me - whenever I hear the words "this is my passion", I always swallow really hard because if those words are not followed by action, then I am not quite too sure that those words are true. In fact, at times, I find it so cliche - maybe this is because I watch too much reality TV. I am not skeptical though, this is why I like reading blogs - because some blogs scream passion without using the word itself. There is hardly any other effective way of delivering a message.

One of the years that I had a lot of time to think about random things was the year 2008. One of the many things that I thought about was this question: what was it that I was passionate about. Because I suddenly had all this time that I didn't know what to do with. If I had a long steady boyfriend at the time, we would probably have gotten married. Quite thankfully I didn't, so I stayed unmarried. (It is way worse being married to the wrong person rather than waiting to be married to the right person.) Boredom is such a dangerous thing. It makes you do weird things.

But there was the one thing that I passed on - and thinking back, now I can't stop what life would've been like. How different life would have been. I do think about you every so now and then and I wonder what life would have been like for us. I still don't quite understand what was it that you saw in me, but I do treasure our little adventure while it lasted. Maybe in a different life I would have said yes.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Thought for the weekend (part deux)

This life is yours. Take the power to choose what you want to do and do it well.
Take the power to love what you want in life and love it honestly.
Take the power to walk in the forest and be a part of nature.
Take the power to control your own life. No one else can do it for you.
Take the power to make your life happy.

- Susan Polis

Friday, December 16, 2011

Thought for the weekend

Sometimes you need to step outside, get some air,
and remind yourself of who you are and where you want to be.

- Gossip Girl

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

An overwhelming sense of entitlement

Started the day with some lovely girls - I thought to myself that we are our own version of lipstick jungle. Well, sort of. We are not high powered yet, although it would be nice when one we make it. I miss talking to my girls because I can just feel like they understand me a lot. And they don't judge me. And most importantly, they are honest with me. I don't think I can ask for anything better in life.

After all, what is life when you can't share it with those you love. Our friends are the people we choose to love. Our family are the ones we often have to learn to love. In both, there are bonds, but these bonds are different. Family tends to take you for granted and vice versa. Friends you tend to appreciate more and vice versa. When one day we manage to treat our family like our friends, then maybe we can just love them instead of learning to love them.

As you can pick up, I am having issues with my family. To be fair, I have always had issues with my family. So I can understand those who have issues with their families - and I promise I won't judge. I can understand those who want to break free. I can understand those who feel restricted. I can understand those who just want to be themselves - and that is it.

At times, families do impose expectations on you - like you have be a certain way, you have to do certain things - particularly when it comes to helping them. Family expects you to help them, while friends ask nicely. I help people whenever I can, insofar as I can - and when they ask nicely. I don't help everybody, I judge whom I am going to help. This judgement is affected by how nicely they ask for the favour. When they ask nicely, when they don't come across as so entitled, then yes, I do help them. When I can sense an overwhelming sense of entitlement coming through, that is when I prefer not to help. No one in this planet is obliged to help you. Nobody has to help you. People choose to help you, they almost never have to do it.

There are some family members that I like more than others - what can I say, I am judgemental. I prefer not to go out of my way to help those I don't really like, just because I don't feel like it. These are the people whom I feel will not pull through in the moments that I need them most. These are the ones with an overwhelming sense of entitlement - who demands help, who always pose themselves as needing everything. Yes, I do work hard for all those digits in my bank account - and guess what? I am working hard for me and only me. I don't work hard for you and I certainly don't work hard for your children. They are your children, they are your responsibility. Nobody should take care of them but you. If you don't want to take care of them, then don't have any children. I know that I don't want to spend my time looking after children that is why I don't have them right now. If you don't want to spend your time looking after them, then don't have children. If you didn't expect it to be this way, then too bad, because you are stuck with them for life. Get over it and move on.

The extent to which they demand astounds me a lot. I have never come across human beings with no sense of guilt, or at least some form of uncomfortable feeling asking for something that other people have worked so hard for. How can one feel so entitled to something that they did not work for? How can one feel so entitled for other's time that they ask for favours without consideration of other people's time? They may not have children, but they still have a life. A life that does not centre around you. A life that they live in and they make plans and they have people to see and things to do.

I know that in the past, my family has not always pulled through. Does this disappoint me? I would be lying if I say it does not. Consequently, I consciously say no when those family members ask for my help. I admit that they are really good in telling their stories and in saying things to make me say yes, but I have learnt to be more cautious, especially when they are pulling favours.

I guess, I am just pissed off. When I am pissed off, I stay away. Heck, at times, even when I am not pissed off, I stay away. I can understand those who need space because heck, I need space. Right now, I am angry and I don't want to see my family. Actually, it is only one person that I don't want to see. But because I don't want to see this one person, I end up not wanting to see everyone else. Yeah, it is somewhat complicated. I can't just avoid one person, I end up avoiding the whole clan.

The remedy to this is actually rather simple - do the things that you want to do, and don't waste your time doing the things you don't want to do. And I am going to do exactly just that.

On being selfish

In the past few days, I have been thinking about selfishness.

I admit that I am selfish. I do think about myself all the time and I have a tendency to put myself first. If I want something, I ask for it. If I need something, I find ways to get it. I do things to keep myself happy most of the time. I don't really do things for other people - well, let's put it this way, I do spend time with my friends because it keeps me happy. The fact that it keeps them happy - well, that is a bonus.

I think most people in this planet are selfish - just because they don't admit it does not mean they are not. It is fine being selfish, just be honest about it. Don't pretend to be something you are not. We are all driven, to a certain extent, by this thing called reason. My reasons for living mostly center around myself - thus my selfishness.

This is also why I find it annoying when other people try to tell me how to live, how to spend my time or how to spend my money. Most of these things are disguised in this thing called advice, that they have good intentions, bla bla bla. An unsolicited advice is exactly that - unsolicited. It is my life and I choose to live it the way I want to. Is it that hard to understand?

I have decided a long time ago that I don't care as to how other people live their lives. I don't care how they spend their time or their money. And if they come around asking for help for things that they could have helped themselves to begin with, they get a no from me. Quite frankly, one needs to suffer the consequences from one's action. While I know that I should not be the one who teaches this lesson, I also know that I am too selfish to be inconvenient this way.

I am busy. I say this over and over again. This is not about enforcing the new status symbol (since when is busy a status symbol anyway?). This is about a statement of fact and at the same time, a statement of choice. I pack enough activities in my day because I want to spend my time this way. I don't want to reschedule them for reasons that I deem unimportant - and at times, these unimportant reasons include you.

Let's face it - there are not that many important people in my life. Last I count, there is only one, two, three. The rest, well, they are somewhat important, but not that important. By the way, the three people excludes myself. If they assert that they are important to me, then they are deluding themselves. If I say you are important to me, then that stands. If I don't say it, then it does not stand. I can make you feel that you are important to me at that point in time, and it does not mean that you are important to me all the time.

Why am I writing this? Because this is what it boils down to at the end of the day - I don't have time for everything and everybody. If the people that I spend time with cannot appreciate that I am spending time with them, then I prefer not to spend time with them. If they cannot appreciate that I am busy, that I am an individual with my own life, then they are more selfish than the average selfish person. If they guilt trip me into doing things for them (or if they guilt trip people I love into doing things for them) - then they are emotionally twisted themselves, and definitely rank higher than the rest in the selfishness scale.

I have always maintained that being selfish, to a certain extent, is necessary. It is definitely necessary to me. It keeps me happy. No one else keeps me happy on a regular basis in this life, so I have to take on that responsibility myself. I prefer not to attach my happiness on other people - that is a sure way of permanent disappointment and depression.

Expect a lot from yourself when it comes to your own life, your happiness, your success. Other people are in your life by choice, so never take them for granted. And be nice to them while you can - because you will never know when you are going to need them.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I woke up at 4.30am today. I could never go back to sleep once I am up, so I have learnt from past experience that I should just wake up and start the day. Waking up so early does have its advantages - there is time to chill, time for myself, and time to write.

One thing I have been thinking about lately can be summarised into one sentence: the more you get, the more you want. Take for example, clothes. The more clothes you have/get/own/shop for, the more you want to get more clothes. It is like a vicious cycle and the next thing you know you have this overflowing wardrobe/closet. I know because I used to fall into this category. Maybe I still do, but I know that I have stopped shopping for a while now. Not because I cease liking shopping, more because I don't have time to indulge in shopping. Or perhaps, it is better put as me being too lazy to browse the stores. The physical, real-life stores that is. I do browse a lot of online stores. And as some of you may know from online browsing, you have to scrutinise every little bit of detail. I said no to a lot of things more than I say yes. I have become a lot more pedantic when it comes to my clothes as I get older. The fit has to be perfect. I am obsessed with fit a lot more these days. I have no hesitation tossing/donating my clothes that do not fit perfectly.

I can just feel that I am going to make a trip down to the tailor so that he/she can perform alterations to my blazers. I think for the longest time I wear blazers that are too baggy around the torso. What can I say - I have wide shoulders. Yes I love them, and I also want to wear clothes that fit well, thank you very much. And yes, it is difficult to accommodate both the shoulders and the waist. Yes, I know that I can wear a belt, and not everything can be belted.

I have to be extremely ruthless when it comes to culling my wardrobe. In fact, I feel like doing it right now, if not for someone who is currently snoring in the bedroom. Come to think of it, the more I cull, the more I want to let go.

This is such a first world problem, isn't it. The problem of excess. Why is it so difficult to say no to things that only marginally add value to our lives? Why is it so difficult to say no to things that often end up draining value of our lives? The more clothes one has, the harder it is to dress in the morning - well, at least, this is what I found to be true. I can dress better when I have a more streamlined wardrobe with clothes that fit properly. I receive a lot of compliments wearing this dress - so why don't I wear it again since I know that I look good. Do people notice that I am wearing the same thing? Maybe. I hope they also notice that I look good. Tee hee.

I don't have any tips or whatever when it comes to doing this (having a streamlined wardrobe) - I am still largely struggling myself. The only 'rule' I go by is this: only wear the things you love. Life is too short for things that do not meet your standards. I am not a minimalist, I am waaayyy off from being a minimalist. I am not sure I want to become a minimalist either. I just think that is not what I want. Yes, I do love to travel the world, I am just not sure I want to do with with 10 pieces of clothing that can fit into a small bag pack.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Short skirts

No writing today. Just a link to a really good article I found the other day: here.

I LOVE wearing short skirts and short dresses, although I don't do that very often these days as I don't wear short skirts and short dresses to work (and I spend most of my time working). So I indulge in short skirts and short dresses whenever I can.

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

Friday, December 9, 2011


People who work hard themselves would have a clue as to how hard you work for your life. I find it annoying that I have to justify how I deserve my life. I find it heart-breaking when someone successful has to justify their success. We may not always see it, but those people work hard for their lives. They may give the impression that they don't work hard - they handle stress extremely well, they seem to be put together all the time - but those things are skills and they are hard work to project in real life.

I don't brag about how stressed I get in my day to day life. It is like - really? Seriously? I am stressed on a daily basis - this helps me to get through the day in a way that I like it. I am more organised, more switched on, more focused when I am stressed. At the end of the day, I can relax better because I feel like I have given it my best today, everyday. When I am not stressed, I feel like I am less efficient. All of these may sound weird, but I do like a bit of stress in my life, in small manageable doses. It helps me become a better person - or at least, I feel that way.

I hate telling people how busy I am. I am busy by default. At any given time, I have a job or two, or sometimes three or four. I have a family that I see at least once a week. I have friends that I want to see at least once a month. I need to recharge and I need to organise my life. I need to spend time to connect with families back home and I need to check in on families in other parts of the globe. I don't need to tell people I am busy. In fact, I hate being busy to a certain extent because I cannot have the time to see the people that I want to see (and this is annoying). I love the people in my life and they contribute to me being who I am. They help me to put things in perspective and they help me stay grounded.

I am someone who is kind of like an open book - and not everyone understands me because not everybody speaks my lingo. Yet those who do read me like a novel. Over the years, I realise that I am perhaps less blunt in my approach to living. However, one thing I find useful is to just ask for what you want - and those who love you would give it to you most of the time. The rest of the time, I get something better. Does this sound too good to be true? Then I guess I am a very lucky person.

I am very thankful for everything that I have in my life (mostly the love I share with various people) and for everything that I don't have in my life (life-threatening diseases for example). I am happy that I have this life and I am happy that I can work towards a better life. I am grateful that I have supportive people in my life. I have no problem walking away from those people who suck energy out of me. My time and capacity are limited and so I want to utilise them the best I can.

I am different. I have known this for the longest time. My friends know that I am different - they said that this is why they are attracted to be my friends in the first place. I am a nice person. I am smart, I am beautiful, I look into people's eyes when I am talking to them. I enjoy a deep personal connection with people I love. I take enough chances to grow in life. I get up reasonably quickly after I fall (yes, I do fall despite taking precautions not to fall). I make mistakes and I admit them and I learn from them. I share my life and my knowledge, I am generous with information.

I find life to be satisfying when I am consciously working hard for a better life. I learn to work with my own rhythm and I am marching to the sound of my own drums. I am dancing to the sound of my tunes and I would love to do it in daylight in addition to doing it in dim lights. I have my own standards and I live my life according to those.

In short, I am comfortable with my choices in life. I work bloody hard for this life. I see the good in people and I focus on those more than the bad. I treat my friends better than my non-friends and this is what friendship is all about. I am respectful to everyone, and I am extra nice to those I love. Does this mean I have double standards? Then so be it. I personally think I don't - then again, this is just what I am comfortable with. I know that I cannot be equally nice to everybody. I know that some people matter more than others.

So please, don't take it personally.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Currently obsessin' about: Dulce Candy

A few months ago, I noticed this girl. She has been blogging since forever. I am a bit annoyed that I did not discover her earlier, but now that I do, I find her to be such an inspiration.

First and foremost, she is 24, and she is a mother, and she looks so gorgeous! I did not look as gorgeous as she is when I was 24, and I was not even a mother (still am not, by the way). How does she do all of that - I don't know. And did I mention that she is in school (fashion college) and she used to be in the army? All of these by the age of 24 - those are some major achievements in life.

Second, she is not afraid to dress - I browsed through her older entries when she was pregnant, and she looked so stylish. She is definitely the most stylish mum I know. Ok, maybe I don't know a lot of mothers, yet she looks so put together all the time. I love how she does her hair - she seems to have this way of keeping all the baby hair off her face. Everything looks so proper. She admits that she is not that tall, yet she manages to wear everything she wants - fashion rules out the window! She is the living example that you can wear anything you want if you style it correctly.

Third, has anyone seen her closet? TOTAL LOVE. Another glimpse here. Her closet looks like a store and it does look like she is shopping there whenever she is getting ready. Some may say "is it really necessary" or "that's hoarding" or whatever - having a closet that size takes a lot of skills. How many of you can maintain a closet like that and still go shopping on a regular basis and post videos on youtube about what you buy? How many of you have the funds to do that?

Fourth - awesome make up skills! Yes, I know there are other make up gurus on youtube. Dulce's make up seems to compliment her outfit every single time. Plus it is not over the top - which is a skill in its own right. Her make up makes her skin glows and accentuates her features. Plus she has a gorgeous smile. That's the smile that you look at and you think that everything is going to be alright.

Next - she's got some killer heels! I have not found any girl who does not love shoes. Not to mention that her shoes collection is to die for. OMG.

I can go on forever listing all the things that I love about her. I am running short on time (unfortunately), so I am going abruptly end this post here. I find Dulce such an inspiration - she makes me not only want to dress better but also to live better. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I want to go shopping

Speaking about money, I found an unexpected, pleasant money in my bank account today. No, it is not a present from someone. It is more like a pay correction from a mistake that I did not even spot.

It is nice when things like this happen - because now, I have this 'extra' funds I can play around with. And as expected, I browsed through one shop (I usually find the cutest, unexpected things from this shop) and a few online shops. I have not found anything I love just yet - although lots of things I like.

As I get older, I find that I am more aware of the fashion-related choices that I make. I look back through my archives folder and I am mortified as to the kinds of things I used to wear. It really is true - we are always cringing when we look at the things that we used to wear.

I am hoping that in 10 years time, I can look at my photos and not cringe when I see myself. Not sure how realistic this is, but hey - one can always hope right.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Money is not funny

Money is such a sensitive subject.

I am fine with money - I can earn it, I can manage it, I can save it. And all of these, stop with myself. I am not quite too sure I can extend these lessons to others - especially those I love.

They have their own thoughts and priorities and bla bla bla, so really, I am sick and tired of being faced with excuses as to why they have not done this and why they have not done that. If it is not that important to them, then fine, so be it.

Subsequently, I hate discussing money with those people. I do love them and I'd like them to make financial leaps, yet I am not a financial advisor and I can't be fucked wasting time listening to their excuses. I'd love to solve their 'problems', and I don't think this is possible if they don't want to solve them.

As they say, you can't help those who don't want to help themselves.

I also abstain from lending money to those I love. Love and money are a bad mix. This is because of the different attitudes we all have with money. If I were to borrow someone's money, I feel really shitte and so I want to pay it back as soon as I can. Especially if that person is my family. Or my partner. Or my friends. I can never look at them as if they are my personal ATM.

But I realise that there are plenty of people who would never pay their loans unless you ask for it multiple times. So really, the best way is to just not lend them any money.

I guess I am embarrassed if I have to borrow money from others - especially if the loan is interest free. I would find ways so that I can delay the purchase or finance the purchase myself. I prefer not to be caught dead borrowing money from anyone ever. Maybe except for the mortgage.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A privileged life

In the past few days I have been waking up at odd hours - 4 in the morning or earlier. Past experience told me that I should just wake up and not try to get back to sleep and wake up a couple of hours later usually feeling absolutely shitty. So I woke up and did some cleaning. A few hours later, I left the house for work and other things and not return until about 12 hours later.

For some this sounds like a crazy life - for me, this is just normal. I agree that I can do with more sleep. I also think I can do with more shopping - but this is limited by the living space that I have currently. In line with family tradition, I am going to donate a big bag of clothes etc to charity for Christmas. I better do that this weekend so that the donation makes it in time for Christmas.

I grew up privileged. My parents provided me with everything I needed and put me through college. Somewhere along the line, they instilled the value of hard work, diligence and perseverance. I cannot think of better lessons to give to your children. I watched my dad working long hours on most days - typical Asian family sort of thing. We enjoyed a good share of family vacations and I got to travel since an early age. The upside is that I am so used to travelling. I got to see most of the things that I did not know I wanted to see. Travelling becomes a natural extension to living which I am excited about.

I live a privileged life. I have a job that pays a decent income, I can pay my taxes, I can afford good food, warm living space, nice clothes and I can treat my loved ones every now and then. I have good people whom I love and who love me. I am thankful with all of these plus so many other blessings in my life. All of these take hard work, and it is ok because I can work for these things and the rewards are sweeter than I imagined.

This is my definition of a good life - something to do, someone to love and something to look forward to. This is what others say too, so I don't score any points of originality here. Whilst I have been aware of this for a long time, I admit that as I get older, I realise its meaning more and more. I appreciate life lot more today than I did ten years ago - which is one of the perks of getting older.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

One life

Came across this blogger recently. I have a habit of reading blogs from beginning to end just to get a feel of where the blogger comes from. Most bloggers who write well must like writing - and some are writers. Like the kind with books that are sold on the shelves, both physical and virtual.

I like this entry of hers very much - so much so that I am going to copy and paste it in this space. It is nice to be reminded that our time is limited when we are so accustomed to taking time for granted.


If you are ever going to love me,
Love me now, while I can know
The sweet and tender feelings
Which from true affection flow.
Love me now
While I am living.
Do not wait until I am gone
And then have it chiseled in marble,
Sweet words on ice-cold stone.
If you have tender thoughts of me,
Please tell me now.
If you wait until I am sleeping,
Never to awaken,
There will be death between us
And I won’t hear you then.
So, if you love me, even a little bit,
Let me know it while I am living
So I can treasure it.

- Author Unknown

You only have one life. Don’t flinch from it. Don’t be afraid to live the life you want – need – can have. It’s not easy – nothing worthwhile is. The fight to get there will make the arrival that much more meaningful.

Thanks Jess! For more of Jessica Corra, click here.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I was reading this post on acceptance. A lot of things resonated with me.

"People typically know what they want. We come across indecisive because we can’t have what we want and the choices we can have we don’t like. (My definition of boredom.) This isn’t always true – often in major decisions we really have no idea because the scope is too large. We can’t project outcomes accurately and that inability makes it harder to choose."

I can be indecisive at times. Most of the time I am pretty decisive, and I like myself that way. There are little things that I can be decisive about, and there are bigger things that take a while to figure out. This is where research comes in. One of the good things about college is that it honed my research skills - pre-college, I used to dislike it, now I am comfortable with it and use it like it is meant to be used.

Remember how I mentioned that I was not going to write about history? Well, apparently my brain sorts of disagree because it keeps reminiscing about this particular point in time. And for the love of rum and raisin, I just have to write something so that I can not think about this any more.

Truth is this: I did not like myself when I was with you. I did not like the person that I have become. I was not happy. There were happy moments and I am thankful for that. Yet deep down, I was not happy. This was why I was shopping so much. To fill this empty void. This void is still present in my life today, but it is a lot smaller than what it used to be. Or maybe, I just notice it less. Either way, my life without you is so much better than my life with you. This is not a reflection of you, it is a reflection of me. I just don't like being with you because being with you brought the worst in me.

Where I went wrong, amongst many things, was that I stayed for far too long being indecisive. In retrospect, I can understand why so many of my friends asked me to make a decision - either to stay permanently or to go permanently. Temporarily was not an option. This was difficult to me because I saw a lot of things in life as temporary (still do, actually). I was not in a position to make a commitment of a permanent nature - so that left one course of action, which I took.

I do not wish to speculate about what other factors contributed to that decision - and I quite frankly do not care. I do not care whether it was your fault or whether it was my fault - in all likelihood, we both must have somehow contributed to the outcome, even when we did not feel so. I prefer to be an adult and be responsible for my actions, especially when it comes to things that are within my control - so these are the things that I focus on.

Starting over yet again was hard - it just gets harder each time. Even when you've done it before and you sort of know what is involved, it remains at least just as hard. This pain is real - and as with other real things in life, you can't escape it, no matter what it is you do. All you can do is manage it. There are things that you can do to alleviate it temporarily, but its presence is the real thing that you must deal with at the end of the day - right at that moment before you fall asleep. When you are able to survive the day and fall asleep with it, that is when you know that you are in the right path towards recovery.

Right now, I am in this path without you and I prefer to keep it this way. I do not wish to be friends with you, or to be acquaintances even. I do not wish to hear from you and I do not want to know how you are coping, or what is happening in your life, or anything else. I do not wish to discuss you with anyone else and I do not wish to tell anyone my opinions of you for I have seen things that they have not seen and probably would never see ever. I do not wish to talk about you either - although at some point I am bound to talk about you and what happened. I am done talking, for now.

From this experience - I have a scar. The wound healed and the scar took its place. All scars fade with time. While it is there, it serves as a reminder of the bad consequences of being indecisive.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Money Talks

Just so you know, I wanted to post this really nasty post that I drafted last night and then decided against it. I am done being negative. I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things and I have decided to be a lot more selective with the ones that I share. I am happy to share if I am asked. I just don't want to share if I don't think it is appropriate to share.

Is this a sign of growing up? I don't know. I know that I am judgemental and I judge a lot of things all day every day - but most of these things are private. There are some that I share with my closest friends. I don't see why I should share to everyone all the time. I mean, there are things that are appropriate to share and there are things that are not appropriate to share.

Now onto business.

Yesterday I met a financial planner. Yes, I know, I am financially literate, I understand all things financial - except for derivatives - but for some reason I feel absolutely inadequate when it comes to investing. I can manage my money - budgeting, mostly - but when it comes to investing, I am so clueless it is actually not funny. I lost a lot of money in the GFC - and it was a very expensive lesson. I lost a lot of money through mindless shopping and I am pretty sure it is a pretty expensive lesson too - I just never quite tally up all the numbers.

Back to the financial planner. These breed make so much money out of people - the figures that she quoted are no joke. And just like everything else that involves money going out of your pocket - it becomes serious. It is like a job - it involves money exchange, so it becomes serious. If money is out of the equation, I am pretty sure it is not going to be treated with the same degree of seriousness. Or at least, you would not make time for it as you would do had money exchange been involved.

I don't know how much research she has done about me, but let me say that she was impressive. She impressed me - and I am not easily impressed. I guess when you want to make that much money with people, you would have to be that impressive. Yes, she is passionate, I get that. I like that she is passionate. But what I would like to know is how good she is when it comes to meeting my financial objectives. And I think my issue is not so much about how much I have for investment - but rather how I am going to invest and how to maximise the returns with what I have right now. And this return is never guaranteed.

So essentially - what is it that am I paying for?

For that amount of money, I could go for a financial planning course and become a financial planner myself? I am not thinking of a change in career because quite frankly I don't want to start from the bottom yet again, and I prefer to advance in my current career rather than being over-qualified to do something else. In this case, I don't think I will be, but I can never predict market sentiment when it comes to these things.

More importantly - what do I stand to benefit from this spending? I don't mind paying for the advice insofar as it is a good advice. I don't mind paying for something that is going to generate me a lot more money. The only problem is this - it is a well documented phenomena that financial advisers do not always beat the market, only 3% of them do. The chance of the planner that I saw being this 3% - I am not too sure.

To what extent should I believe the academic literature that basically said that 97% of financial advisers are useless? I don't know. But the odds are against me in this case, so I am inclining towards believing it just to err on the safe side.

So all of these consideration, plus talking to a couple of people I trust, so far leads to a conclusion that is leaning more towards the negative rather than affirmative. It is a lot of money to produce a 60 pages or so documents that I may or may not even read in detail, and then the execution of the plans may not even yeild the highest rate of return, because this is not guaranteed. I am more than happy to share the return with you once it passes above a certain stage, taking into account my risk-free rate. Quite unfortunately, the arrangement does not work this way.

In an ideal world, the ROI would be guaranteed and the commission would be paid as a percentage once a certain threshold has been reached, and the principal would be protected. This world we are living in right now is not ideal so we are left with whatever it is we have right now. A certain someone thought of this investment strategy which she claimed would earn her lots of money and then asked me if I would like to put my money there. I said sure. And then she asked for commission straight away. Are you fucking kidding me? How about you perform first and then ask for your bloody commission.

The lesson from all of these - when it comes to your money, the only person you should trust is yourself. No one cares about your money the way you so. Sort of like no one cares about your life like you do.

Now off you go and have a better life.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Oh hi!

Hiiiiiiii.... yeah so it happens - three days of not writing. I wanted to write, trust me, so many things to write about, so many things I have been thinking about.


Work happens - and it is loaded with so many things to do. There are so many skills to polish at work. Things are always happening, evolving and we are keeping up, getting ahead and changing.

I think one of the most humbling things in this life is the realisation that we have so much to learn. I have so much to learn. I was fortunate enough to be one of the audience in the Alan Joyce Q and A last night and what a remarkable man he is. He truly is a leader and I am confident that he is able to lead Qantas to a higher glory after navigating this murky water. And one day I hope to be someone like that. It must be quite something for other people to look at you and believe that you, somehow, would be able to make things better. I look at my boss with the same sentiment. It is a good feeling. It helps make my job enjoyable. I guess I am driven by people.


Friends came and visit from the other side of the ocean. I forgot how much I missed her and I am happy at the chance of a more intimate dinner. I have a tendency to forget how much I miss my friends because I obviously don't spend enough time with them. The friends I caught up with last night were my uni-friends, we slaved back in uni back in the days. Now, one of them is pregnant, and I am so excited for her. And no, didn't think that she would be the first to be a parent, and I cannot think of a better person to lead the pack.

I forget how much my friends know me - and it is such a pleasant surprise that they still remember. It is really true that you can just be yourself and not worry about projecting a certain kind of image or pretending to be someone that you are not.


This morning I thought about happiness. In particular, I thought about how my concept of happiness has changed over the year. Seven years ago, I would never have thought that the life that I have today would constitute a happy life. I would never have considered my life right now is a happy life. I was searching for different things - different things that I thought would make me happy. I am pleasantly surprised that the things that I never thought would bring me happiness actually work together to bring me happiness.

I am thankful for what I have and what I can share in this life. I am thankful for the people who love me, of the people who stand by me - especially during the times that I do not deserve so, because that is the time that I need them most. I am thankful for the people who forgive me even before I ask. I am thankful for the people who openly criticise me and suggest ways of improvement for me. I am thankful for the people who challenge me and force me to think of other point of views - and in doing so, they help me maintain an open mind.

I read in the paper the other day that most people would choose a $90k boring job over an $80k interesting job - because most people are not trained to compare qualitative concepts. Comparing numbers are so easy because it is so clear cut. Yet the things that we cannot attach a dollar value to are often the ones that comprise the most vital input in the decision making process. We don't realise how important these things are because we cannot even begin to start comparing them.

My decisions are my decisions and at the end of the day, I am the one who has to live with them. I am the one who has to fall asleep with them and I am the one who would wake up with them the next morning. I know these - we all know these - yet why is it so difficult to make decisions that we are truly comfortable with instead of following some unwritten standard of what is acceptable. Acceptable to whom? If not to yourself.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Living your best life

I wanted to write about some history - and then I thought about what the point would be since it had all happened and now, there is nothing we can do about it. I can't exactly change that, so I stop myself from writing about it. The whole point of starting this blog is to have another story. As such, why dwell on the past? Let it go, and move on. Focus on the choices you are going to make today and tomorrow and the days after. If you make the best choices everyday, then somehow, everything would work out.

The thing about being younger is that I was a lot more eager to do things. These days I admit that I am more sceptical than I used to be. I don't trust the world as easily, I don't trust people as easily. I write in a different tone. I write on different topics. I have different thoughts. I converse about different topics. There are some people I love more and more everyday, and there are those I did not know I would love. It is so true that you really don't know where life would take you.

I think all of these is just a natural progression of experiencing life - your experiences do shape you into the person that you are today - being more cautious and more restrained are, for example, the end product of the impact of your experiences on you. These are fine, so long as they are positive. One of the hardest things is to spin the negatives into positives - like not remaining bitter by some shit that happens years ago, or maintaining an open mind even when you are more judgemental by the second. It is like being negative is easier - and being positive takes a lot of hard work. But life is hard work. Living your best life is a series of endless hard work. Nothing good in life comes easy. Be prepared to give this life more than your best shot.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I went shopping today. It was a successful expedition thanks to Supre. I have been shopping in that store since the year 1998 - more than a decade ago! I guess some parts of me just never grow up like that.

Supre today is a lot cheaper than Supre back then. Granted it was already one of the cheapest chain stores at that time and retains its reputation as one of the cheapest ones today. That said, if I were a teen today, I think my wardrobe would have been a lot bigger than my wardrobe then. My wardrobe was not that big - I had more than enough clothes to sustain me. I was into the sporty look more than the feminine look. Then something happened and I started becoming a lot more feminine. As I was on the larger side, I learnt that wearing fitted clothes made me look slimmer, so most of my clothes were fitted.

Today, I realise that I am slim enough to wear clothes that were cut loosely. So the last three tops that I bought were loose cuts. That sort of satisfied my yearnings for longer, looser tops. I bought 2 today - beige and fuschia, the other one I bought a couple of weeks ago on an impromptu trip with a girl friend after a super long day at work, and it was grey. If the fuschia were available in a different colour - like gray or white or black or nude, I think I would have gone for the neutral colours. But it seemed like it was the last one available and I like fuschia so I thought why not.

Now I am looking at my wardrobe and scratching my head as to which tops/clothes I am going to donate. I like everything in my wardrobe, I just don't wear them often enough. I used to wear them often, and then I start working and all and what I wear often these days are mostly work stuff (5 out of 7 days - that makes 72% or so); so it seems like a waste if they are sitting in my wardrobe mostly unused.

I think I am somewhat attached to my clothes - there are things in there that I keep because of their sentimental values. I know that this is totally irrational, but I guess, there will always be things that I prefer to keep even when I don't wear them often.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Unconventional career path

Been reading this.

It is good to know that I am not the only one with an unconventional career path. It certainly is different, especially if you hang out with those whose careers begin like this:

summer internship at a big-4 firm
graduate position at a big-4 firm
senior position at a big-4 firm
partnership at a big-4 firm (or something equivalent)

The past is not the best predictor of the future - we know that logically and instinctively. Yet we could not help but guesstimate what someone would be based on the things that they have done in the past:

their academic achievements (or lack thereof)
their work history/career history
how much moolah they have been making

At a recent conversation with my best friend, she talked about face reading. For those who don't know (like me), it is basically this theoretical stance on people's characteristics based on their facial features. For example, if the space between your eyebrows are wide, that means something. If your forehead is wide, it means something else. I told her that it is a dangerous thing to be aware of because it makes us judge others even more. She disagreed initially and eventually agreeing as I told her that as human beings, we are built to judge - it is always our natural reaction. It takes more effort not to judge rather than judge.

The same goes when anyone looks at my CV. I get judged on it. I get judged on the things that I do and on the things that I have not done. What CVs don't tell you is how much moolah was made during each of the jobs that you've had. Some of the jobs I have had, for example, I did because I needed money (and I made decent money out of them). Granted they do not last years, but they were nice while they lasted and more importantly, they saved my bank account (and my credit card).

I think people just forget that the reason that you work - or anyone for that matter - is to earn money. And as soon as they start realising that, the easier it would be for them to understand why you did certain jobs. Maybe I am just too liberal than the rest of the population, but I much prefer interviewing someone who has worked as a stripper to support herself through school rather than someone who claimed to work as an administrative officer but actually did nothing of the such (and was in fact stealing to support herself, for example). Lying and stealing are wrong - no matter whichever angle you use to view it.

The next time you get judged unfavourably based on your CV - remember this: you much rather not work with someone like that anyway. Do yourself a favour and walk away in the other director. Your time is limited and you much prefer to work with someone who can appreciate who you truly are and how far you've become.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Getting older

My birthday is coming up and like always, I wanted to celebrate it. I think it is time that I do (it has been YEARS since my last 'proper' celebration) and it would be nice to finally do something I have been talking about for the longest time. This morning I woke up and lost that desire to celebrate for no apparent reason. I am beginning to think that I am more excited about the idea of celebrating rather than the actual celebration itself.

I have no problem with birthdays and telling people my age if they ask. Getting older is something I am coming around to accepting slowly, and I hope that it is accompanied by my growth in maturity. In some areas, I am doing fine. In others, I know I am lacking and I am working my ass off to make sure that I improve in those. I hope I can overcome life's challenges and emerge as a winner in most situations and learn from all of those so that I can really be a better person.

There are bits I like about getting older - I feel better, I work better and my bank account is better. The bits that I don't really like - I am watching my wrinkles like a hawk. In fact, now I can understand how those skin care companies make money. And also hair care companies. It is like seriously - they project the image of perfection that is so enticing that it is hard to turn away from them. I can't even begin to count how much money I spent on hair care and skin care this year.

One thing that I am watching out for is the level of my material possession - I really do not want to be one of those people who hoard everything. In fact, I would like to downsize some more. I walked around the mall last night and instead of finding things I'd like to bring home, I was thinking of how good it would feel to donate some things for Christmas. I don't really need that much clothes, do I? Or that much bags and shoes?

What is important to me is that I am healthy, I am happy and I am comfortable. Oh, and that I look good. Looking good is a bigger challenge these days - because I do not want to shop as much as I used to. I used to look forward to every shopping trip and had lots of impromptu trips - but these are rare and more likely to unsuccessful, that is, coming home empty handed.

Is this a function of getting older, I don't know. Meanwhile, I am letting go of the idea of celebration because as much as I like being the centre of attention, I feel like I am already the centre of attention of my own life, and I really don't need to bother other people to make me feel better about myself. I know that my friends and family love me to bits and that feels so good there is no word that can properly describe that.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What do you do

This post is inspired by this post here.

This coming Friday, I will be meeting some friends from back in college days. I said friends, but we are mostly acquaintances. Friendly acquaintances. The fact that we were stuck in college together somehow bonds us for the many years to come. We are the typical high achieving individuals who are overly competitive about anything and everything, especially when it comes to our careers.

I am lucky that I have a lot of successful friends. I think our successes enforce each other's - in a way that we work harder in order to keep up with each other. We all work hard to get where we are now. We each have various different paths - and I hope we are all happy with our options.

I have said before that I am happy with mine. I must say that I don't really talk about this in real life because conversations around jobs are usually about whining about anything you are not happy with - so it is really difficult to gauge whether someone is happy with their jobs or not. Too many are settling - for the pay check mostly. I don't blame those people - we need money to live. Personal happiness and satisfaction can become of secondary importance when you need to feed hungry mouths.

It is easy to define who we are by what we spend most of our waking time doing. My office hour is approximately 8-9 hours (sometimes more) per day and I am okay with that. My friends work longer hours - and yes, we are one of those weird people who actually take pride in working longer hours. I was this way until I realise that my time is limited and I want to spend my time doing other things. My office hour is still long, but I am making time to do the things that I want to do - like blogging.

I can't really call myself a blogger - can I? Although my friends have no problem calling me that. They also call me a writer. I'd like to be called a photographer, an artist, an interior designer, an investor, a negotiator and a stylist - in due time. There are so many things I'd like to do, so little time.

Most importantly, I hope my family call me a good child and a good sister, my nephew calls me a good aunty and looks forward to spending time with me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Spending a lot of your time blogging

I was reading this and this.

The former I read on a regular basis - regular as in once a week, not everyday. The latter I read from time to time when it gets linked from the former mostly.

I don't spend a lot of time blogging. Not because I don't want to, but because I don't have the time. Quite literally. I work multiple jobs, long hours. My downtime is spent with friends and family. If I get a time for myself these days, I am usually exhausted. I blog when I have something to say, or something I want to remember without a camera.

Why I really blog

Put simply - to exercise writing. I really need to write more often and I really need to polish this style of communication.

I also need to develop picture-taking skills. The camera is lonely without much use, and it is nice to be creative once in a while.

My time is limited though - everyone's time is limited. If I want something badly enough, I have to insist on it. Like I insist on writing. And taking pictures - and editing them. Things that I enjoy doing and don't have the time to do.

Balanced life

Don't you just love it when they ask you this question during job interviews? I know that I have interviewed a few people and asked this question before. There is no right or wrong answer - because the concept of balance is different for different people - at least in my opinion.

I appreciate honest answers - others may appreciate a textbook answer. If you are the sort of person who like textbook answers, then you will be fine working for people who like textbook answers. I am not like that. I think that is pretentious and indecisive.

You either have a balanced life - or you don't. How do you know this? Here is the question - are you happy most of the time? If your answer is yes, then it is very likely that you have a balanced life, no matter what it is that you do. So be honest when you answer that question.

Blogging to make moolah

I maintain my position that it is possible. And just like any other avenues to make money - it is difficult and it takes a lot of effort. So if you want to blog to make money, be prepared to work your asses off.

Nothing in this life is easy. It is meant to be difficult. We are meant to stretch so that we become better persons - because we grow that way.

If you are not growing, or if you don't want to grow - then ask yourself why. If you are tired, take a rest, recharge and continue the journey. If you are not happy about something, change it. You don't have to know what you want all the time, but you do have to know it in the crucial moments.

And it is fine to take a rest and figure out your next move. Patience is a virtue.

This is going to abruptly end here because I have to run. Until then.

Monday, November 14, 2011

something to remember

I stayed until about 7pm at the office.

Truth be told, the disruptions in the form of crazy computer problems are largely the cause of it. It is doubly difficult when things do not happen smoothly. I keep thinking that nothing is perfect in this world, so I really should not stress with things like that. Things beyond my control.

I like my job. I don't love it, I like it enough to rock up to work happy. Working enables me to afford the lifestyle I currently have - including the size of my bank account. It enables me to buy good food and stylish clothing. Plus it gives me something to do so that I don't die of boredom.

I am happy I have this job.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Impulsive. Passionate. Irrational.

Lately I’ve been settling.

Buying things I like — but don’t love — because I need them to fill gaps in my wardrobe and I just can’t find something that I love to fill the gaps. How long can you wait for your true love to come along, before eventually you just have to fill that gap out of necessity?

Selena told me once that she sold almost all her shoes and literally only had three or four pairs of shoes left. What an incredible concept! To purge everything (I love a good purge) and then only replace what you’ve disposed of with things you truly love.

But thinking about it now, it sure has been a long time since I fell in love with something.

I fell in love with my Wang bag and just had to have it despite it’s extraordinary cost. I fell in love with my Rick Owens wedges years ago and when Selena found them for me at a price I could afford I bought them without a moment’s hesitation. The decision was so spontaneous it even shocked her.

But that’s love.

Impulsive, passionate, irrational love.

From here

Decluttering is a life long project

Have been reading this.

Feeling the urge to declutter.


Twisted as this may sound: for a while, I was preparing for a life I did not have, in an attempt to have the life that I thought I wanted. I think it is part of the quarter-life crisis. I thought I wanted a certain job, a certain kind of prestige, a certain kind of success. I tried to attain them. I was not successful. In an attempt to make me feel better, I purchased clothes and shoes to make me feel like I was living that life.

My wardrobe grew. Space became a luxury, yet somehow I managed to fit everything in. I declutter every so now and then, but the rate of the clothes coming in was faster than coming out.

I started decluttering back in 2009 when I was co-habitating to save on rent, bills, etc. I began scrutinising my style at around about the same time. The clothes I used to wear back in college are mostly donated. I must say, it feels so good. You have to experience it to believe how good it actually is. I feel good when my wardrobe is organised, and I look better because of that.

I used to wear a lot of colours - and I have a drawer full of tops as the remaining evidence of that era. I still love wearing colours, but for some reason, am drawn towards mostly neutrals - especially gray. I think it was Armani who said that his favourite colour for a man's suit is gray, because it is the colour of the stone, and symbolises strength and stability; I feel strong and stable wearing gray.

While I was busy decluttering, life goes on, and today, the life that I have takes me by surprise because I love it. This was not the life that I imagined then, and in ways that are difficult to comprehend, it is actually better than what I have ever dared to imagine.

My wardrobe today is the most streamlined it has ever been in years, and I am planning to get it even more streamlined in time for Christmas. I'd like to update my tops and my dresses - I am getting older afterall and I'd like to dress my age. [Did I just say that?] Online shopping has been a blessing with the variety and price, but it requires tremendous self-discipline to be a value-adding activity. And it starts with decluttering.