Monthly Archives: April 2013

Bye Bye, PHD Shanghai.

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How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.
– Winnie the Pooh

It is never easy on the last day of work – especially when for once in a long long time, you’re able to say, “Wow. My life is really good right now”, only for you to realise it’s time to take up another career challenge that’d require you to uproot and do something completely different. In my case, I’m leaving Shanghai after 6 years to return to London.

I am terrible with goodbyes in general. And it’s the reason why I have decided against a huge piss-up leaving do in favour for lunches and dinners with different work colleagues over the last 2 weeks. I feel I’m too old for getting drunk and pally with people I hardly ever say 5 words to (a month) and are only really at my party to make me look like I’m popular and/or for a free drink that the bosses will end up paying. Sod that.

Yesterday was my final day at PHD Shanghai. Or rather, last working day in China. Ever ever. I’ve been good and done the whole eating thing (the Chinese LOVE their food) with various colleagues and now it’s D-Day and all I want to do is to spend the entire day with my team. You know, with the people that actually helped made my career the way it is today. The people who would pull out all stops to ensure the work is done to a high standard. The people who are fiercely loyal to me even though sometimes, I do make mistakes and am not the most likeable person at work. The people who stuck around with me the last 3 years without ever considering leaving for greener pastures. The people who taught me how to be a better leader, a more compassionate person. The people whom I can never ever thank enough.

And as I now refocus my efforts in the next 3 weeks to packing and sorting out my move to London, I will look back with a lot of fondness and gratitude for all the people I’ve worked with in the past 6 years in Shanghai. From the ones who stood by me, to the ones who believed in me, to the one or two who almost caused me to lose my job and my dignity by defaming me in public, to the ones who might seem to play a small role (like the office cleaners, security guards) but have taught me humility and the appreciation that everyone has a role to play in this big ecosystem of Life. I want to thank each and everyone of you and I hope to take this “new me” and make something for myself in London. And when I do, please remember you’ve been a part of my success and will always be.

Today, give thanks to the people who have helped you along the way. Not just the ones who picked you up, but the also the ones who put you down – because without polarities, we would just be living in a world devoid of appreciation and gratitude.

Thank you, PHD Shanghai. You’ve been truly awesome. Thank you.

Kickstarting Someone’s Dream

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A proud backer of Jack Cheng’s “These Days”

Back in 2012, I backed US$35 on kickstarter.com with the intention to help make an aspiring US writer’s publishing dream come true. It was probably one of the top things I did in that year that makes me smile each time I think about it.

Titled “These Days”, Jack Cheng leads us into a world of startups and an examination of the human side of technology, of both the makers and the end users, who are often one and the same. It’s about finding happiness and fulfilment in the digital age; a meditation on time, memory and things gained and lost in an accelerating world.

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I love it when someone sends me a handwritten note.

And as if that wasn’t enough reason to back Jack (which it is, by the way), my name would also appear as one of the 961 Kickstarters backers – printed under the “Credits” section. Amazing.

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My name! Look! Yay!

Apart from the material gratification, it makes me happy to be a part of someone’s dream – in which a small contribution on my part helped turned that into a reality.

Lately, I have also been thinking a lot about a wonderful quote from Paulo Coelho, “When you want something, all the Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” Like many of kickstarter.com’s thousands, Jack had a dream. And because it was aligned with his vibration and life’s passion, he projected this dream right out to the far ends of the Universe and in turn, the Universe responded and gave him exactly what his heart asked for.

So when was the last time your heart felt a conviction so strong, so powerful, that you knew this would be the one thing that your soul yearns for? Perhaps it is time to dust off the layers of fatigue, past hurts and let go of the “you do not deserve this” limiting belief. If there is one thing you could do today, let it be about reinstating your personal power to become the beautiful person you were always meant to be but have forgotten. Let’s do this.

11 Simple Things We Forget to be Grateful For

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“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” Eckhart Tolle

 

1. That your body, mind and soul aren’t perfect, but it’s because of this that you’re able to grow and have a journey filled with learning and experiencing miracles beyond your imagination.

2. That you have been able to attend school. Without having done so, you wouldn’t even be reading this right now. How often do we forget where we acquired the skills that allow us to live our everyday lives?

3. For any genuine friends or family you have, whether it is one person or twenty, because even just finding one person to love, or who loves you, is a miracle in and of itself.

4. If you don’t have to worry where your next meal is coming from. Congratulations, you’re among the most privileged people in the world.

5. That you can access clean water. Because, again, millions of people can’t.

6. And the Internet. You literally have a database of most (if not all) of the world’s knowledge right at your fingertips. There’s virtually nothing you can’t learn, research or find

7. That you’ve known suffering and loss, because…….

8. You have learnt (or will learn) great things from experiencing hardship. Ask anyone who has been to the depths and back, and….

9. If you’ve experienced heartbreak, rejection, loss or pain, it’s because you had something that meant something to you. What’s that saying? That the opposite of love is indifference. if you have the capability to be upset about something or someone, it means that at one point, you had things and people in your life that mattered (and probably still do).

10. If you’ve never had to know the realities of living in a war zone, slavery, or anything else that so many of our brothers and sisters have to face everyday.

11. And finally, that you have the ability to be grateful for all of these things. Because having a mind and heart that wants to recognise what there is to be grateful for in life is half the battle, so be grateful that you can consider yourself halfway there.

Now go have an uber awesome day x

My Karmic Relationship with Books

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I am very bad at getting rid of books. And this has been put to the ultimate test in my current need to excavate, dispose/keep and pack 6 years of my life in Shanghai into boxes for shipment to London.

 

A sentimental fool, I attach memories to my books and am probably the only person on this earth who has not succumbed to the convenience and ease of e-books and the Kindle. An ardent lover of the smell of paper, lugging a 1,440 pages paperback version of “War and Peace” in handbag makes me happy and inavertently attracts “Why would you ever do that?” reactions from people.

 

But moving day, alas, draws on apace, as doth the evil hour when I will have to take the shears to my sprawling collection in earnest. I suppose I could save the Penguin Classics by the simple expedient of shoving them into the shipment boxes. However, multiple copies with different cover designs and celebrity autobiographies I’ll admit, with a sigh of shamed relief, that I am never going to get round to reading (again) – charity shop it goes, my chicks.

 

The prospect of purging talismanic texts, though – books I’m unlikely ever to open again, but which I superstitiously believe exhale helpful knowledge or distilled memory – is harder. These finger-prickling, magical objects include the entire Paolo Coelho and George R.R. Martin collection, half a series of Robert Jordan’s (RIP) “Wheel of Time”, ancient stock bought secondhand or absent-mindedly liberated from school bookcases. There are also the treasured signed copies from authors, writers, poets, screenwriters (most notably Matt Groening) that bear an invisible warning of “OUT OF BOUNDS” to all unworthy hands. Plus a few study-guides to Photojournalism, Social Psychology and Creative Writing that I know I am never going to sit down and study them again, unless I slip through a timewarp and get the Pro Plus palpitations retaking my finals. But I might, in some unspecific emergency, still need them. And I love them, even unopened. I remember that some have careful, bowdlerising glosses, fitting rude and sparkling verse for the innocent eye of youth – some even resorting to asterisks in particularly racy sections. They are old, crumbly and useless, their dye comes off on your fingers, and they’re leaving my collection over my dead body.

Other books I could never consign to the recycling include half a dozen scribbled and maltreated Crystals guide books, bent backwards, frantically doodled and defaced into illegibility; entirely useless for reading, but transporting me instantly to my obsession of crystal healing and Feng Shui with one glimpse of their covers. Like the Creative Writing books, they are no longer texts so much as tiny time machines – handling them zips me back with a jolt to obsessions over fending off psychic attacks and bad luck. (it’s important to note that whilst crystals have special powers, daily clearing of one’s auric and etheric fields is important too. Me? Whacky? NEVER.)

 

So as I begin packing up my books – rather, sit cross-legged and read between guilty, frenetic bursts of packing – I know another pile of talismanic volumes will appear at my elbow. Which are your talismanic books, never opened now but never to be disposed of? And what do they represent?