A Weekend to Remember

As if having six children is not enough for me, last weekend, which was a long weekend, instead of enjoying my family, I "deserted" them and spent myself and my time at Church with over 25 young men and young women aged between 14-18 years.
The special annual event, Youth Conference, spanned 3 days and had taken the committee of approximately 10 people over 3 months to plan and prepare. Planning took time, patience and effort but carrying out the plan required determination, energy and stamina! I found myself busy with so many things during the conference that any extra effort to capture even one good picture was too strenuous. So if you're keen to look at some of those mediocre pictures, you're welcome to visit this new picture blog that I created for this purpose.
Some random things I learned:
* Girls with braces are camera shy.
* Birds of the same feathers flock together.
* You don't need great ideas to have fun, all you need is water.
* The place to pour iced water is inside your friend's shirt.
* The place to throw rubbish is anywhere but the rubbish bin.
* If G = Garbage, and f = food
Then G = 2f
(In simple English: Garbage produced is twice the amount of food served.)
* Cellphone should be banned throughout the next conference, if this wasn't the last one.
Some things that still worried me:
* I get sleepless nights before, during and AFTER the conference!!! Nuts!!
* I keep looking over my shoulder everywhere I go, just in case my prediction came true--someone is going to egg me or hit me with a water bottle!
In short, if I don't love God, then everything would seem a waste of time.
Fact is, I do love God. And it was worth it.

Connectivity of Animals and Man, the Body and the Mind

The animal kingdom and nature has always been fascinating to me and it continues to be so with our family. We are first exposed to animals through the domesticated ones like rabbits, cats or dogs. I often make the statement that 'I grew up with the dogs' as I was the youngest of a family of seven, with a large gap to my older brother and sisters. I, therefore, found the dogs I grew up with to be my playmates and confidants. Furthermore in the Chinese Zodiac made up of animals, I happened to be born in the year of the dog.

Man can relate to animals in a number of ways. They can be our pets, or workhorses to help us in our farms for work or for transportation. Some beliefs suggest that Man can become reincarnated to become animals in their next life. I like to relate to animals in the sense of our common instincts to survive and certain recognizable behaviors of Man that can been regarded as animalistic. Somehow we share common natural instincts when it comes to survival. The Circle of Life has physical laws governing a harsh environment in which our body systems are equipped to handle. There is an automatic system designed that is self-preservative and hence prolong life itself. Most times it is reactive in nature ie our body system is created to quickly react to perceived danger and triggers off immediate responses that can be called fight or flight responses.

The commonality of the two species begins to diverge when Man begins to use his thinking ability to make his behavior become more superior than that of animals. Instead of reacting to situations of danger or need for survival, Man has a superior mind to change the environment itself through his ingenuity of reorganizing elements in the environment to finally change the nature of the situation itself. The instinct to fight can become harnessed by a higher thought process that suggest peaceful cooperation is a better way of life. The instinct to fight is changed to become a decision of thought. Man therefore can choose to make the fight a sport for entertainment instead of a natural reaction to survive after he has conquered the environment with his superior mind.

So therein lies the connectivity of the body and the mind. We need to understand therefore that having a physical body gives us animal instincts that cause us to be reactive to situations. If we feel threatened we will fight or run but if we take time to THINK or use our mental capabilities, we could decide another alternative like negotiating a settlement. Thinking helps us to rationalize our FEARS and gravitate towards our VALUES

We're looking at animals with us in the wilderness

Do elephants swim?

Look who came to join us in the nite for our campfire?

Is the dog Man's best friend or part of his family?

Simba gets a little more car sick but gets to come along on some of our camping trips.

Grace loves exploring the country with us and is a great guard dog of our campsite in the night time.

Let's look at the Animals in our home!

Grace our German Shepherd who is guilty of killing squirrels, snakes, and cats in our yard including some of our rabbits!

Simba who guards the front door of the house.

The predator lizard in the rocks that go after our fish in the pond!

One of the birds that hatched in our indoor garden bush

The Tortoise in the lead followed closely by the Turtle!!!

From the classic Aesop fables, The Tortoise and the Hare!

The Turtle and the Hare???

My New Hamster

My new hamster, Snowball. (this is the best picture I've got of it) Posted by Hello

Pickaboo!!! Posted by Hello

A Mother's Day Message

You always find a way to help me out, to give and share,
You always find the time
to talk awhile, to just be there,
And though I may not always
find the words to show I care,
I hope, within your heart,
you'll always know.

Mother's Day

Whenever I feel inspiration is coming to me I will look up into the sky and this is what I saw on the evening of 20th April

Let's visit Times Square behind my office block and check out the newest bookstore there!

Checking out the 60,000 sq ft bookstore spread out on two floors at Times Square

Look what's found in the Borders Bookstore

Even dummies can become Mormons!

That strange week in April continued....

Today is a public holiday as Labor Day which is May 1st here fell on a Sunday yesterday. Great! We love long weekends as it's a chance to rest, catch up or do something different as a recreational activity.

Well it's already May so I must finish the account of that week which I have termed strange or different. Could I reflect back on the whole month of April and integrate all my thoughts in that month which could perhaps make some sense of whats been happening?

Last April 1st was when the inspiration began, to announce to the world that I was beginning my public speaking and coaching career. Never has the motivation been stronger than ever as in this period of time. But did everything start just on this April 1st? I searched back into my manual journals to the year 1983.My desire to be an independent professional had already started then.

Lo and behold, it was April 1st of 1983 that I handed my resignation letter to my boss of the Chartered Accounting firm I was employed with to become an associate to him instead and run my own independent consulting business. Joining me was Alvin Tan who was interested to start a computer business with me and that gave birth to ITC Group & Associates of management consultants and IT providers.ITC was an acronym my father had coined up who offered us a small part of his office to begin with. We thought it was appropriate as ITC could stand for so many things that had meaning to us. It could be an Initiative of Thong & Chong, the family name of my wife and I respectively or T could be for Alvin's surname of Tan though he came in without capital but was appropriated shares in the IT business. Information Technology of course was represented also in the acronym but what I liked best were the words Integrated Trans which began to represent more of my direction of Integrating disciplines with a Trans or across borders effect. C could also stand for Consulting or Corporation. We experienced the length and breadth of the IT and business world which gave me an education that has become invaluable today. Alvin later took his own path to work in Taiwan and several other countries as an IT engineer while I continued in the consulting business and raising our family. A highlight of my career was the experience to act for International companies expanding into Asia as their CEO here.

It is interesting to note now 22 years later the following continuation of occurences of that 'strange' week:

After the Toastmaster's Club meeting some of us went to a nearby cafe for fellowship especially with our American couple from Anaheim. I was particularly interested in the couple as they introduced themselves as Life Coaches . I have begun an interest in the field of Coaching, though it was Executive Coaching in the business world that I was focused on, and I was interested in learning more from this couple. How coincidental I thought it was that they chose our club to attend out of the 90 clubs found in the Klang valley where we are in. At the cafe, coincidentally Alvin Tan my former partner had joined us. He decided to join the club to improve his communication skills. As I was in a mid-week fast, I couldn't partake of any food and drink but the conversations among friends was refreshing enough for me. I felt inspired to call a Pastor friend who has been sharing his personal challenges with me to see if he would like to meet the coach and we fixed a time next morning to do so at my office. Alvin Tan followed me back to the office and we had a very interesting discussion of some common interest in the IT world. All this while he has been very keen to join up with me again with some software ideas and skills he had acquired but they were not in line with my vision. All of a sudden, in that casual conversation at my office, it was as if he had run into an idea that has been in my mind for a while. More about that when we launch it!

I continued to fast and meditate as more scriptures appeared to me and they are now recorded.

In the morning, I went to pick the Pastor friend and met up with coach Alan F. Rockefeller who spent time with us at my office where I learnt more of his story and coaching experience. I met up with Alan later who joined us in our Church KL branch pool side BBQ social where I also broke my fast. Before dropping the Pastor friend back, we went to check out the first and newest Border's Book store just across the back of my office in the Times Square Building. I bought 2 books from there and the interesting thing to note is that The Book of Mormon is now sold in the commercial store. So was Mormon Doctrine and Mormonism for Dummies!

I reflected back to my mission days in 1980-82 where I initiated a project to place the Book of Mormon at several major bookstores in the city with a self designed plastic holder entitled Ancient America Speaks. It carried pamphlets of Christ in America too! Through that project it attracted David Ching, a recent convert from New Zealand who didn't know the Church was in Malaysia and two new converts Felix Yong and Wong Yut Weng, who are stalwart members and leaders to this day.

On Friday of that week, I had a coaching session with my associate WK Leong of JMC Consulting and worked with him on a facilitation session on Time Management with ICI Paints. I was pleased to read the feedback survey from the participants who rated the entire session as good and relevant for them.

Oh yes, I mustn't forget about the part of buying a bike. During that week, I had the inspiration to get a bigger bike as I had always wanted to own one especially after touring Australia in my Honda 500-4 during my University days. Bigger bikes are not as popular in Malaysia and I had been using the smaller scooter as a handy commuter in town. A scrambler bike was acquired to explore trails in my free time when we were not taking our boat out to the wilderness. But a big bike was not in my thoughts until this week. I went to the bike shop in Ampang where I had bought most of my bikes and asked regarding a bigger road bike. He mentioned there was a nice Kawasaki Vulcan 500cc that a man was selling which was hardly used but it was in another place getting some work done. He said I could view it on Friday and when I went there, he said it was not back. On Saturday, I checked again and he said the shop owner who wanted to sell it took it for himself. Well in the following week I just passed by a shop near my office and noticed some big bikes by the road. Lo and Behold there was this 6 speed Kawasaki Vulcan waiting for me to ride on it and so I decided to acquire it and rode it home on the same day. The Singapore Girl got a ride to Genting Highlands in the night after putting the boys to sleep, a cool ride from the home up to the summit of the Casino Highland resort in just 45 minutes! We enjoyed the free hot chocholate drink in the casino and made our way home!

Pick your choice!

What do you think of this?