Category: Life

Breathing space & flowers

I woke up breathing deeper and easier on the first day of my holiday.😊

It is a welcome relief from always being poised behind the starting block ready to take off at dawn and sprinting till dusk.

The restful state I am in when I am free of demands always seems to be more conducive to new ideas, creativity, thoughtfulness … and I start to think, doesn’t the world just need more of that?

More reflection, more courage, more goodness; less harriedness, less greed, fewer dead souls…but alas it is not always that way. Well, one can dream.

I told my stepson I could visit his school today, and he broke into tears saying he shouldn’t need to go to school if I didn’t need to work. 😂 We shared a giant apple and when we got to school I was quizzed on my identity by his curious little friends (which happens every time I turn up). Kids are very cute and innocent and it is exciting to see the richness of activity that goes on in a classroom. It is also amazing to follow their progress. They keep learning and growing by leaps and bounds!

I am sitting in a hot bath now listening to beautiful music. It is nice to have breathing space – and to remember the things you want to do, not just those you need to (even though they are not mutually exclusive).

It is nice to have space to be intentional and thoughtful – it is hard to feel that way in the corporate world with all its demands! 😀

Or perhaps, living intentionally simply requires clarity of mind and courage in this life — corporate world or not.

I smile at the beautiful flowers around the house – some I bought, and some a gift from work. Flowers always remind me that there is beauty in the world amidst drudgery, injustice and heartbreak.

They remind me to bloom and inspire me to give the best I can for all to enjoy.


My 2016

IMG_6566.JPGI had a quiet day off today. I did some painting, happy that I’ve made progress with my strokes. My husband told me he’d ordered a Christmas present for me. What a nice surprise. It’s so nice to be loved.

If this time last year I’d been asked to paint a picture of what my 2016 would look like, I couldn’t have painted my life today.

In some ways, that’s how bizarre this past year has been.

After spending most of 2015 trying to manoeuvre a career change, it’s hard to describe the mental contrast between that, and having a role in a thriving real estate company this year.

So much of the past 5 years has been disruption after disruption that it’s hard to look back & draw from any fond traditions or memories. I stopped celebrating my birthday years ago, and all Chinese New Years and Christmases since then have been a blur.

For a long time, so much within myself was consumed with an awareness of problems. I was so geared towards survival, that it was hard to resonate with much else except helping others in worse situations. I was a nervous wreck within me, yet my experiences shaped me with a deep self-defence instinct to steel myself against any weakness within in order to carry on.

Being with Chris this year has slowly helped me let my guard down, helped me welcome happy things back into my life: good food, music, art…

On that note, a year ago, I couldn’t have seen that I would be married, & definitely not that I’d have a five year old stepson!

Suffice to say it’s been a huge, challenging transition, but also strange, even, to discover & rediscover the good things in life I’ve forgotten one can have in a family!

My life is richer for the journey of learning to trust & share & grow, of overcoming challenges together, learning to love & be loved…

…and the unexpected joys & surprises, like having a clumsily wrapped present under the tree from my stepson that I can’t wait to tear open on Christmas Day.

Post-exam updates

The last couple of months have been a lot of hard work!

As I look back, I am grateful for how things have come together — to the various individuals who have provided opportunities and worked with me, and to friends who have been kind and supportive.

After I returned to Malaysia last year, I felt that serving my nation was something deeply precious and meaningful to me, and it’s something I want to dedicate a portion of my life to. I initially planned to go home to teach at the end of 2015, but as I looked at career paths, finances and the lack of support, I did not see how it could happen. Sadly it looks like I have to postpone that commitment by a number of years. đŸ˜„

After becoming accredited as a NAATI Chinese-English translator in July, I completed a Cert IV in Small Business Management via the NEIS program.

I have also been actively attending events in the Australia-China space and meeting Australian companies who need assistance in engaging with the Chinese market. Here’s an article I wrote for The Lead on the first Greater China Future Leaders Dialogue in SA. I also had the pleasure of interviewing Andrew Holmes at The Hahndorf Inn where he shared his top tips on creating successful Chinese tourism ventures.

As luck would have it, I bumped into Patrick Baker of Baker Marketing Services at an Chinese e-commerce seminar, right after I had done some work for an agriculture company at an exhibition that morning, engaging with a Shandong procurement delegation.

“Hey, you’re the ones who are hiring!” I said to Patrick, remembering the ad I saw in a freelance group on Facebook. I grabbed him and quickly told him how I could complement his current service offerings with my Chinese language skills and WeChat know-how.

Three meetings later, I am pleased to now be a part of the Baker Marketing team. I am currently there three days a week, which leaves me time to work on other projects and service other editing and translation clients.

Have you considered how your business can engage the Chinese community in Adelaide, Australia or in China? 

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need help!

It’s funny when I think about it: it has become difficult for me to write any sort of “happy life” kind of post without also weaving in the BUTs. Perhaps this is my personal reaction to the stream of (what I feel is) superficial empty optimism bombarding me every day. Eg: I recently saw on instagram: throw kindness around like confetti. I thought, Confetti?! 

But birthdays are a good time to express celebration, the things I appreciate about life…

The cheeky sass of kids, their unique personalities. The problem-solving genius of the engineers I’ve been working for. Actually this is one of the things I greatly enjoy: admiring different persons with different talents, gifts and skills. I enjoy the synergy, I enjoy the clashes. It’s been fun catching up with old classmates and friends and observing how they’ve developed in their lives. Identifying with their hopes and dreams and worries, from our shared upbringing. Many other things I enjoy: kind words, people who care, a bit (hmm…maybe a lot) of controversy…:D

But I am a more sorrowful person now. I haven’t been able to become untouched after becoming aware of the awful, the distressing, the worrying. Some of these realities traumatised me at first contact.

However, I have found a greater capacity to carry and process these things as I have found a surer ground and foundation of truth and hope.

Some years ago, I went through a period of intense questioning: what use is Christianity? Why is it so divisive? Why be a Christian?

I wrote to someone in late 2011:

The more I learn and experience in this world – meeting diverse people with very postmodern viewpoints where religion has no place, the more ill-equipped I find myself to handle all that. I almost find God has no relevance in the operation of society here. How do I develop a relevance of God in my work/life? How did you?

There is a lot of uncertainty that I am feeling – the Christian faith takes on so many different expressions – which one is the best? How am I going to live that out in my life? Christianity sometimes causes so much dissent and argument in modern societies such as Australia – almost losing it’s relevance. I don’t know if you can see that all these questions I have almost lead me to wrestle with my faith sometimes.

I was very much in turmoil then.

I won’t continue the story here, but answering those questions was so pivotal for me. While I have seriously tried to follow God for most of my life, this time, my search led me to something I could rest in spiritually and intellectually. It equipped me with a view of life beyond my struggles.

Something I read in Parker Palmer’s book The Promise of Paradox recently made me grin. He wrote about discarding a lot of his younger spirituality, and going to great pains to avoid Christian language. He wrote about the marketing problem it created for him, and that was funny too. But I grinned because as much as I have tried to express things in non-religious ways, I have always always come back to it.

It is what I have found compelling beyond everything else: Christ. That’s irreplaceable. The person of Jesus Christ: how could you say it differently?

Everyone I love, I have longed for them to know. Sometimes I’ve never told them, because it would’ve been too intrusive. Sometimes I hadn’t known how. Sometimes, just awkward. And sometimes, I have thought, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life.

p/s: To everyone who has been a source of support, comfort, joy, laughter, wisdom…thank you so much. To those who showed patience and grace and went the extra mile…you made a difference in my life. To those who set examples for me to follow…you will continue to make a difference for years to come.

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