Sponsor A Child

Friday, April 30, 2010

A Pot of Gold at the Rainbow's End

This morning while driving to work, I saw a rainbow. It was beautiful and it lifted my spirits. Work demands had made me stay back late these days - there is always much to do.
But seeing the rainbow, I was immediately teleported back to the days when I was young - days of storybooks and a cartoon character named "Punky Brewster" which had a nice catchy theme song that went: "I ran to the end of the rainbow's eye, there wasn't any pot of gold..."

Ahh, the days of innocence. I called my hubby who was still at home and asked him to come out to the balcony to view the rainbows. I had a feeling that today would be a good day, and it was.

These are the pictures that J took to show our kids who were in school.

A Blessing in Disguise

In my post entitled A case of Pride and Prejudice I talked about the interviews that I was conducting to hire a manager. Well, unfortunately the chap that I picked decided not to join us after signing the letter of acceptance for 2 weeks. Because he took so long to make a decision like this, I also lost my 2nd choice, who accepted another job after being declined by us. And I also lost a lot of time because in the time that the chosen chap "accepted" the job, I wasn't interviewing to look for other candidates. I was disappointed, to say the least.
I was not going to blog about this since my principle is to blog only about the happy things. But yesterday something happened that turned this into a fortunate event. With a heavy heart, I started the 2nd round of interviews; and was pleasantly surprised by the quality I saw in this batch of candidates. I already liked one of them very much, and in my judgment I think she is better than the first chap I picked.
Now I know that everything happens for a reason. I may have to wait longer and do more in order to bridge over this difficult period without my "right arm" but at least this new arm is strong and passionate and has a good attitude. So the first person's refusal is really a blessing in disguise.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Sydney business trip

Last week I was on a business trip to Sydney. The trip was short - only 4 days, but it was very intense, from business meetings to training to dinners. I hardly saw daylight there.

However, here are some photos that I took. The night shot is of Darling Harbour, the day shot is the Botanical Gardens taken from my room window. It is a beautiful and safe city, easy to walk around in the autumn weather. I am thankful the trip went well, and even more thankful to be home after that, safe and sound with my babies in my arms.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Packaging vs. Substance

Years ago when I was a junior marketing executive, my country manager (CM) asked me to make a presentation to her big boss, the VP of Asia Pacific, who was visiting our country. At that time I was tied up with a lot of work. To create an additional presentation on powerpoint would take up a lot of time, mainly because I was not very good with powerpoints, and also to tell my story I needed to literally draw out the focus map.
Well, I decided not to draw on powerpoint in order to save time. When the VP came, I told him the story of our business armed with my words, and a pencil and paper. I started drawing the various components of business at the table when I was presenting to him. My CM nearly fell off her chair! Luckily the presentation went well. When I retell this story nowadays, we always have a good laugh about how I was a rash and brave executive to use this kind of shortcuts in front of the big boss. I guess that I stayed true to myself- if I can get the message across, why waste time with the packaging when I really have the substance?
Nowadays, unfortunately, I can't use the paper and pencil anymore. This is to avoid the perception of non-preparedness, sloppiness and lackadaisical attitude. But luckily I am much better with powerpoints already ;-)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Yuan's Artwork on Paint

As the kids grow older, letting them have some computer time is inevitable. Kids learn so much from the interactive educational games. And mine in particular, love playing chess and also making paintwork using the simple Paint program. Yuan likes nothing more than creating artwork on Paint. We can't help but think that she has to have so much patience and dexterity in making these creations. These pieces have their own title: Fish World, My mother and I, Yuan loves Mother.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A favour from a friend

My colleague went to the USA last week for a week-long meeting. Being women, when the USA is being mentioned, Coach handbags and accessories come to mind. She said when she had a chance, she was going to grab a few bags for herself. I then asked her if she mind getting me one, and this is what she came home with.
According to her, the one that I requested was 6 months outdated, and this is one of the latest designs in the USA.
I am so touched as she said she spent a lot of time before finally choosing this bag for me. It is a luxury item as I am one who does not believe in spending a fortune for accessories. But this bag lifts my spirits - one of the good things in life, through a huge favour from a friend.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Staying Positive

Anyone reading my blog would think that I have a pleasant life and that nothing seems to trouble me. Either that, or I see the world through rose-tinted glasses. Being only human, that is far from the truth. When I started this blog I wanted it to be a diary recording the events of my life, especially revolving around my children. I have a fear that time passes me by too quickly while I am slogging at work, and everything will go unremembered and unnoticed.
Last week, I encountered some unhappiness in my job, and really wanted to blog about it. But then I chose not to. I decided to focus on the positives and giving thanks for my blessings, instead of harping on the unfortunate events. My big boss used to say: "What you focus on grows, so focus only on the things that you want a lot of." Sometimes it is hard to remind myself about that, but I try. I have my share of pressures and frustrations, at work and in family life. But at the end of the day, I don't want to remember these. I only want to read and reread all my happy memories.
"Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without." - The Buddha.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Key to happiness

This morning, I wanted to get a good start to the day by getting to work on time. I got everything ready for work and left early. Well, nearly everything. On the way to work I turned on my mobile phone, and had 8 missed calls from J. When I returned his call, he said that I've forgotten my....laptop! Of all things. I was quite far from home already, and had to go through the traffic jam to turn back.
I was quite angry with myself - this had ruined my plans to get in early. How could I be so forgetful?
However, I remembered a story, known as the 10/90 principle popularized by bestselling author Stephen Covey. 10% of life are the events that happen to you. The rest of the 90% is how you react to them. Since I was already going to be late, I chose to keep my calm, sit back and enjoy the music. I had so much to be thankful for, including my company which practices flexi time instead of penalising me if I am late; and I'm in a car with aircond and a radio instead of being a "sardine" in a bus ;-) Focusing on the positives made me calmer and happier.
I finally got into office at 10am, and the day progressed happily despite the bad start.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

3-month Vaccination

Thank goodness for innovation. Now, a 6-in-1 vaccine is available which spares babies the agony of multiple injections, and parents the little heartache they get each time the little one has to be poked. Diphteria, pertussis, tetanus (DPT), hemophilus influenza B (HiB), polio and hepatitis B all in one. Just one jab and Baby Xin cries for 10 seconds, and then slips back into her morning nap, just as the pediatrician finished putting a little round plaster on her little hip. There's one little catch, though. There are 3 courses of this vaccination, 1 per month. Till next month.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Baby Xin is growing

It always amazes me how babies grow so quickly and yet you don't notice it at all. In the first weeks, Baby Xin was so small she couldn't fit into the newborn clothes and the diapers in the smallest size. I remember the small skinny legs, the diapers that were oversized and the trouser leggings that were much too long. And Baby Xin was wrinkled, and when she cried she sounded like a kitten.
Now, she has outgrown the S size diapers. The trouser leggings fit perfectly. And the little shirts are getting a tad too small and too short. I remember putting away the 3-to-6-months clothes away because she couldn't fit in them and these were cluttering the wardrobe. Now I take out one of those pajamas and it fit her perfectly too.
Baby Xin, somehow, I don't see you growing, I only see the clothes shrinking.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Back to Yoga

I stopped my yoga classes after my 8th month of pregnancy, when I was too heavy and unable to do many of the moves comfortably. After having Baby Xin, there were 2 months of maternity leave and I wanted to recuperate. Finally today, I went back to yoga (Baby Xin is barely 3 months old).
It has been tough to make time to go. For one, my work commitment took up too much time since I went back. Many late nights, and by the time I get home, hardly enough time to say goodnight to the children. Thank goodness for hubby and my dear MIL.
Today I signed up for the 4-times per month session. I used to be able to go 8 times a month, but now I tell myself to not be so ambitious. It's a start and better than nothing. 1 solid hour of sweat and strength building and regaining lost elasticity, once a week. But for now, I feel like my leg muscles don't belong to me...

Monday, April 5, 2010

A case of pride and prejudice

My colleague introduced a friend whom he said would like to apply for a post that we have in my company. I was quite excited since the candidate was highly recommended, so I asked for the CV to be sent in quickly. Our HR department can then arrange for an interview asap.
After some initial technical or technological hiccup, the CV was received today. That was already a delay of almost 5 days including the weekend. As we have reviewed most of our candidates and I was only waiting for this one, I asked for the interview to be arranged tomorrow or Wednesday. So my HR executive called the candidate, only to be told that he was busy and would not be able to make it for both days. Then my HR said, "In that case, I will ask the hiring manager if we are able to arrange a later date for interview. Otherwise, we might not be able to wait and would not be able to see you." At that, the candidate replied, "Well, it's ok, then."
Huh? Obviously this person is not that interested in the job after all. When I related this incident to my hubby J, he asked if the candidate was a Chinese from Chinese primary school. I said yes. Then he explained that job-seekers with a Chinese education background tend to be modest and do not want to trouble other people, and that I should give the candidate a chance. I disagreed. I felt that if he was "hungry" enough for the job, he would have answered: "I'm so sorry but I'm really tied up with work responsibilities at the moment. Please ask the hiring manager if she could wait for me till Friday, I would really appreciate an interview opportunity." If he had said that I would easily wait for him, and probably have a good impression that he really wants to do a good job at his work.
If he is really the modest and considerate person as my hubby says, then it is such a shame. Because of the lack of a "go-getter" attitude, many of the Chinese-educated job-seekers do not show the aggressiveness or initiative at interviews, and miss their chance at the best jobs available. That is my opinion. A person should know when to be aggressive, and when to display the traditional Asian value of being modest. As parents, we will have the challenging task to instill this EQ awareness in our children. And that is a delicate balancing act.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Wei and his Chess

Wei is a chess enthusiast. It all started during our visit to Bangkok in 2008 where Wei was asked to play chess for the very first time by Max, the son of our friends there. Wei lost terribly as he really didn't know how to play.
In January 2009, his school offered chess class as part of Saturday activities and Wei asked if he could join. The teacher was very dedicated. Even as other Saturday activities were cancelled or postponed due to holidays, the chess class continued. At first Wei was very concerned with winning. Whatever he did, he wanted to win. If he lost he would cry. But the chess teacher said that if anyone cried after losing, then he or she could not continue to be in his class anymore. So Wei learnt to control his emotions a little bit better. But he still doesn't like losing.
Just this past week, he represented his school to an inter-school chess competition. He won some games and lost some games, but he told us that he is ranked #7 for the boys under 10 category and was selected to play in the second round.
Now, as I am typing, Wei sits quietly on the floor, playing chess with himself. "Yuan, look at this. Checkmate," he tells his sister who is busy playing with modelling clay. They can't play chess together yet. Yuan has not learnt the game, and she doesn't like losing either. So if they play together it will always end up in a fight - the casualties are the knights, rooks, bishops and kings - all strewn on the floor.