Friday, December 28, 2007

Old Year To New Year: Resolutions

It's only a few more blinks before 2008 ushers. And that means 2007 is about to come to an end.

As much anticipation to the new year, I am currently enjoying the last few days of 2007. Of course it helps with the Christmas season and festive mood - parties & dinners with friends & relatives... and even the shopping discounts, where the malls give some of the best bargains of the year. The post Christmas, pre - New Year sales are really good with huge discounts.

But more so, this is a time to reflect our journey for the year - the ups and the downs. It is also the time to sort things out before we start planning for the next year. This is a good time to do so, where the mood is calm & less hectic, giving time to lots of time think, reflect, and strategise.

And doing so is important as then it creates a space that is clear and 'empty' for the past is then set aside (with good points noted). And now, this space is ready to be filled up with new ideas & new things, basically for our resolutions & goals for the new year. It's just like 'having thrown the old paper, and now having a clean white sheet to start upon'.

Some may set new directions, while others set new higher targets. This then gives a feeling of excitement & to an extend, butterflies in the stomach. Whatever it is, this gives a good feeling of joy, happiness & a sense of power (of being able to achieve).

This mood transition from calmness to excitement sets the right pace to then usher the coming year with a bang! :)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

School Of Hard Knocks

Im just taking an English phrase describing a conversation with a friend recently.

Friend: "People like challenge."
Me: "People actually like success."
Friend: "Through challenge, people succeed."... How true indeed.

I doubt people actually like challenge, but more so the sweetness of success. But like my friend mentioned, success normally comes well after lots of challenges.

And for people to taste success, some have to endure the hard knocks, to which some refer like banging against the wall a couple of times before finding the right path.

We may need to endure the knocks. Just an example, the works I'm doing (mainly The Malaysia Page & Malaysia Book) still has me reeling from the lil 'bruises' from the so called knocks. Many works & ideas have been bounced, tried & tested - of which many have been turned down or didn't have that spark bright enough. However, there seems to be a lil more light, with a new set of ideas & direction, and though this changes the initial idea quite a fair bit, but it most likely will see it through.

Although challenging, I take heart at real life lessons. For example, looking at Colonel Sanders who started his first restaurant business next to the gas station with 1 table and 6 chairs. His first knocks came by his many different jobs which just didn't seem right - from railroad fireman, insurance, lawyer, secretary, etc before he decided to have his hands on the restaurant business. And even while he had his restaurant which he started at age 40, he kept perfecting the recipe for years. The hardest knocks came by when he was securing franchises - going from restaurants to restaurants. And after lots of perseverance from the knocks, he had more than 600 franchised outlets and to which he finally sold his company to a group of investors.

So, a question posed - "Is school of hard knocks well worth it?"... Well, the answer, yes, as we should finally taste success.

*Info on Sanders found on various sources online.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Good Year End

This 2 weeks we have 4 prominent festivities - starting with Hari Raya Haji, Tang Yuan (Dong Zhi), Christmas & the New Year. All these bringing ties closer and giving thanks to what we have... awaiting for the new year to usher.

It is heart warming to be able to celebrate these occasions with family members & friends, sharing the moments together. The muslims get-together for the sacrifice; the Chinese celebrates & eat the glutinous rice balls... christians have turkeys & other goodies.

This is the season to also forgive, forget the past and to have an open heart. It may sound cliche, but if we just be open and let our heart heal the scars, and let it be filled with joy and warmth, we can experience a nice beautiful magic. One that fills it up with love & thankfulness, and the confidence to move forward. For once the heart is healed, our hearts are light and without worries, and then we can fully embrace the present & future. Some call that the magic of Christmas! :)

I would like to wish everyone a good year end. Do enjoy your parties, dinners and get-togethers... and the many special moments with your families & friends.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Chicken And Egg

I've noticed that this saying 'Which came first - the chicken or the egg?' is rather apparent in the business world, or in fact in our everyday lives too.

One example in business is that without any experience/ previous projects (or credits), this may limit the potential for future businesses or sales. This is one of the barriers of entry for new companies, and is one of the most challenging one.

Another example is when business associates take a wait & see approach, basically waiting for other associates to do the same. And this 'chicken & egg' process is repeated, which may cause lots of delayed time.

In our daily lives, one of the most apparent place where the 'chicken & egg' scenario may appear is during job applications, where past experiences are good for the resume. The 'chicken & egg' here would be, without securing a decent/ good job, how is the applicant to prove himself & get the experiences he/ she needs?

Well, here is a 'one catch all' solution for situations like these. The idea is to continue doing what we do best, and slowly, but surely move forward. This may require us to take longer routes, or more difficult & challenging paths. But the idea is to continue moving forward and improving ourselves, even though our march forward could sometimes just be an inch. And though it may take time to build up the reputation & credentials, but it will be well worth it.

I've realised this by reading the biographies of successful businessmen or even star personalities. We may think that the huge MNCs are built overnight, but in fact, the people behind them have had hard times prior, especially in selling their ideas. Just read the success stories of Bill Gates, Google, and the rest, and you will see how perseverance & continuous building of good works/ products see them through.

In the entertainment world, some singers have entered numerous singing competitions while they were young kids, and are spotted only later when they are teenagers or some even in their 20s. And now, they are huge big global stars. Take a look at Hollywood - the stars have mainly dabbled in TV kids programs before being signed as recording artistes later on. And though many no longer become hosts, but their singing career has taken off.

So, when faced with such scenario, let's not care which comes first, but to continue striving, and success will come eventually :)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Inspiring Destination: Lombok, Indonesia

Lombok isn't a destination most people would be aware of. Like many beach lovers of South East Asia, I am more aware of the other islands like Bali, Langkawi, Phuket and the many other beaches in Thailand & Malaysia.

It was a suggestion from a family member about the island, and I thought, why not give it a try. Afterall, it is the sister island to Bali, and in fact, has been recently promoted together with Bali as tourist destination.

The first impression about Lombok is that it is less crowded as compared to Bali. This in a way affects the tourism industry, with some resorts not doing too well.

However, don't let those turn you off, as at the flip of the coin, is an island that is less crowded compared to the other beach islands, and this can best be felt when you drive along the roads, where you will encounter more locals than tourists. At some point, you can be the only tourist on the road!

One of the many beauty of Lombok is its resorts at very affordable rates, which mainly are located at the beach tourist strip of Sengigi. These boutique resorts have the sea as its view for picturesque sunsets and strong breeze. For the price, they are a good bargain.

For those into sea sports like snorkeling & diving, the Gili islands are recommended. And for those who are a lil more laidback like myself, I head to the black sandy beaches (yes the sand is uniquely black) for a good evening swim.

A drive along the island took me to beautiful views from the cliffs, and witnessing local lifestyle of farmers & fishermen. I got a chance to witness the fishermen as they pulled up the shore. This was a rare sight, with family members all waiting anxiously to see the catch. There were some happy faces, while others were rather glum, depending on their catch which then affects their living for the day. These fishes are then brought to the market for sale.

The people, who are mainly Sasaks are rather friendly, and exudes the Balinese warmth. Of course it helps with a lil Bahasa Indonesia, although many of the service staffs being able to speak English, as some come from Bali.

The town of Mataram, which is similar to the other small Indonesian towns is very busy & crowded, and may not appeal to those seeking to relax. This was however still a nice experience of seeing the colours of the town.

Ikat & Songket are hand woven works that are popular here. These works which may take up to 1 full month to complete are mainly used as cloths for decorations or sarungs. Apparently, the motifs have a meaning and are used for different occassions. Some are from the weaver's dreams. The ikats & songkets are more popular than batik here, though there is a number of workshops of the latter too. These painting are mainly on the lifestyle of the farmers with nature as backgrounds.

For holidaymakers who like a good budget holiday of staying at good resorts with friendly staffs... and who don't mind a different beach (black sand), then Lombok will be the place to head to.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Season's Greetings

Time really flew by... and now, we are already in the month of December!

What I particularly like about this month is that it's the Christmas season, which is celebrated nearly everywhere worldwide... and even here in the tropics!

Though there's no snow, but the mood here is high. It's that time of the year that people seem a lil more relax inwards - after all its already the year end, and its time to take some time to rest or relax.

Minus the snow, but we have rain here, which gives that chill cool effect, and that only makes the warmth with family and friends better.

The mood is usually very high, and the shopping centres play a big role. In Singapore, the famous shopping stretch of Orchard road is decorated, adding to the atmosphere. Apparently, this year, Malaysia is also having a competition for the 'best dressed' shopping centre! The music backgrounds of Christmas carols, the Santa's hats people wear, the chocolates & presents all gives this season a big celebrations feel!

So, it is time for the parties to roll, the non-stop dinners, shopping, and simply enjoying the company of our loved ones.

Here's to a great season :)

(Just see how the tropics here celebrate Christmas. Pic 3 shows shops afters shops selling Christmas goodies - from trees to decorations & ornaments & even Christmas CDs... What a lovely sight! :) )