Saturday, January 28, 2012

Work or play??

Recently got to know about The Zhariff Initiative through Ellyne (whom also runs an awesome & amazing business herself ^.^). I guess in the last couple of years or so, I started to realize that life or your career need not be desk-bound from 9 - 5 in order to survive in this world. Businesses have evolved into something much much more meaningful than just profits and losses. It is amazing how people are creative enough to marry practicality and their passion rather than trying to juggle both at the expense of rest like what I had been doing.

What this company does, is a dream for lil' miss schizophrenia here... a cocktail of the arts, business & making a meaningful impact in society. What more can I ask for?? One of their uber cool project is this, RockCorps... will let the video speak for itself:

Is it cool or what?? There's more cool stuff up their sleeves. The founder himself, Zhariff Afandi is a walking talking inspiration with endless energy.

I'd really really like to give this a try but the timing is just not right. I still want 1 year sabbatical; to try anything & everything I've ever wanted, to cross off some of my silly wishlist like busk in NYC wt my ukulele, write a musical or just get a lead role in a musical...etc. This is more of a permanent position, & I doubt this opportunity will still be here waiting for me 1 year down the road. Or could this work end up feeling like play?? Or be the beginning of a new passion? Anyway, they're probably still interviewing heaps more people. Let's see where destiny leads me.... ^_^

Sisterly Reminiscence: Part 2

I don't usually do sequel posts but my last post really unleashed so many old memories that were weird but truly truly awesome beyond words. I just realize how wild our imagination was as kids. I don't have as good a memory as my sister so she remembered all this crazy stuff I imagined up!

1. After watching an episode of Bionic Woman about female robots called Fembots replacing humans, I imagined up our own Fembot lab where we too kidnap people & replace them with Fembots. We could monitor what the Fembots were doing through the monitors. So, detailed, siap dengan mini fire extinguisher in d lab. kakakaka

2. Another imaginary place I dreamt up. We were witches living in a scary castle surrounded by a bloody moat. It even rained blood! Indoors & outdoors also I drew!!

3. This is a drawing of our home's living room. Even the cushion cover patterns are exactly like this. The 2 heads sticking out from the couch are my sis & me. Sis said that I wrote a whole essay for this photo but I can't remember what I wrote.

4. This is one of the many "Be Bo Ba Bo" pages in my book. I invented that term for free-scribbles pages. Hahahah

5. And kiddy essays I wrote, the Malay one is about a Magic Coffin that can bring dead things back to life. (I think I must have been very fascinated with all things sci-fi, fantasy and the paranormal since little). The English one was about a boy my mom used to babysit whom I really hated. hahahah.

One conclusion is, I was one crazily imaginative child!!! But that was what made our childhood so interesting. We didn't have the luxury of travelling, having computers or other canggih stuff and had never even flown on a plane. How else can we have our adventures but in our minds?? In the end, I think our adventures were way more interesting, wouldn't you say??

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sisterly Reminiscence

Just had dinner at parent's place again tonight. And we kinda brought up this old memory of me & sis cycling to the nearby kedai runcit to get my mom some onions when I was 12. We got chased by a couple of dogs (actually I remember they were only few months old puppies heheh) and I cycled soooo fast with my sis behind me that I lost control and cycled into a tree. Of course all the onions terpelanting all over the grass & the bicycle front wheel was bent. It was one of those old-school bicycles with a basket in front. How cool was that?

In this day & age, children no longer have the entire neighbourhood as their playground. Most are confined to their homes with their Macbooks, Ipads and Wii. Parents too, welcome this confinement due to rising crimes of kidnapping or human trafficking. They too have the opportunity to travel the world and see what other parts of the world is like.

Although we had never had a computer or traveled anywhere as children, I am so thankful for my awesome childhood... because entertainment & adventure was not provided to us, we used our imagination to dream up these sources of entertainment & adventure. I could never have had such an awesome one had I not have a little sister to share it with. It wouldn't be at all fun to do any of these things alone. Some things we did:

1. Before we slept, we'd have our imaginary adventures we called "kongabout". We'd set the premise of the adventure, then go along the adventure together through a conversation + narrative. Sometimes it is a different premise every night but at times it is a continuation of the story the day before. We'd continue until 1 of us gets too sleepy to talk or fall asleep.

2. We'd record ourselves singing, in harmony... sometimes to the piano, sometimes a-capella.

3. We even recorded ourselves acting in short stories where the characters in the story are ourselves & our cousins. (I know its weird but I'd give the world to find those cassettes again)

4. We'd go back to Penang during the year end school holidays. Occasionally we would also buy cute animal shaped Eden cakes and lepak at Youth Park or at the Botanical Gardens where we get to see the monkeys.

5. We'd go to our uncle's bungalow where we could swim, and can play hide & seek for hours coz the house was so huge, you can hardly find anyone. We'd even climb up his tall fences to go curi-curi play with his neighbour's fluffy white dog.

6. We'd make glutinous rice balls together with mom during Winter Solstice & see who can make the tiniest balls.

7. I remembered we even built "tents" with our blankets in our bedroom to have our pretend camp-out sessions.

8. We played batu seremban & getah at school, we were both excellent at it!!

9. We'd play with stray kittens together and get scolded for dirtying our hands with their germs.

10. Even as we got older, we performed in the school choir together. We were in the same schools in both primary & secondary school.

11. We have a singing group together called Karla Ryka, then changed to Dejavu, then changed to Citadel. The 2 of us and our friend Kim. We'd walk to school on Saturday mornings while we sing in harmony the whole half-hour walk there. We performed in our school's talentshow, other school's talentshows & even got through 1st round of Asia Bagus.

12. We'd stay back after school together just to lepak with friends, & even played in the mud in our school field.

Good times... Awesome kan? =)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Blood is thicker than water

During this festivity where reunions are customary in this part of the universe, all the generations gather together and this is where this inter-generational conflict is most prominent. Your family; you love them... but you don't necessary like them all the time. They have their own ideals in life; financially, culturally and everything else. And the worst part is, the "I have eaten more salt than you've eaten rice" line. I am sure that they have good intentions behind all those expectations... but what is ideal for them may not be ideal for me. I have never neglected my daughterly duties to them, be it excelling through my studies, financial support, regular visits, running small errands eg. computer related stuff, or even bring them to the hospital if they do not feel well. I live 25 mins away, and am there for them. My sister even more so, as she lives with them. She even spares the time to go on vacations with them. But none of that is ever enough for them & they will not hesitate to voice their dissatisfactions. I really do not understand.

We still love them though... not just because the Bible tells us to but honestly, we still do. In my sister's words, "I just syiok sendiri treat them nice coz they don't seem to think that is nice anyway." and "You just angry sendiri coz mom bukan main proud lagi that she told you off about some CNY customs.". I guess we'll each continue to syiok sendiri then. Do things that we think, other'd appreciate. Whether they do or not... doesn't matter coz everyone has their own good intentions behind it.

Putting myself in their shoes, I am sure as a parent I too, would have expectations for my kids. No human is capable of real unconditional love, only God is capable of that. Would I behave like them if my kids don't meet my expectations?? Well, I guess I will never know... Because I have long decided not to have kids. I do not think I can handle more than 1 inter-generational conflict. I have come to accept the reality that parents and kids grow up in very different times and will always have different mindsets no matter what.

In this festive season, let us learn to accept each other's differences and come to the Reunion Table with sincere happiness that will manifest itself in smiles. After all, blood is thicker than water. =)

Gong Xi Fa Chai!! Happy Reunion!!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Of Sabbaticals

Why don't most companies in Asia offer sabbatical leaves? I know of many European companies who practice this. I guess quality of life or work-life balance is more valued in that region & we have not quite caught up with them in that area. We all know the wonderful benefits of a sabbatical for the employee

There are many benefits to the company as well. Let me point out a few:
1. It is an un-paid vacation anyway & incurs minimal cost to the company. This benefit will position the company as a champion of work-life balance... this will attract young talents. Whether they take it or not, it is there as a option.
2. It trains employees to work in teams, share their knowledge & expertise, rotate their roles with their peers so that in case 1 of them applies for a sabbatical, the entire team can still function effectively although slightly stretched without one of their team-mate. It reduces parasitic dependence on 1 person. 
3. Benefit #2 extends to a situation when there is a resignation in the team. Recruitment process can take anything from 3 months to a year depending on what is the position to be filled and what profile of recruit you are looking for. With team-mates that can easily swap roles and do each other's work or share out the additional work; you have the luxury of time to look for the best fitted candidate or the luxury of changing the job function to fit a candidate you like.
4. The same also applies should the company want to send a high performing employee for a year-long overseas assignment/attachment.
5. It allow recuperation time for employees to recharge by doing what they love, be it just spending time with their children, learn up dancing or write a book. This recuperation time will prevent professional burnout and improve attrition rates especially for the middle to top management levels; which are most expensive to lose, recruit & train.
6. It allows the employee to develop themselves at their own cost in other areas outside their main job function that they most interested in eg; take up psychology or counseling diplomas which may help them do a better job as a manager or coach upon returning to their job. 
7. It trains their employees to be financially savvy and disciplined because it take a high level of both in order to have the financial resources to be able to afford a year-long sabbatical. 

Since I am working in this part of the world, I have no choice but to resign in order to take a sabbatical... at my own risk of unemployment 1 year down the road. But I am ready to take that risk. The benefits far outweighs the risk.

In a couple of months time... I will be on MY sabbatical. I can't wait!!! =)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Malaysian Girls Penang Tour

Today is the beginning of a new era, the end of the Malaysian Girls pageant. :( Our beautiful journey of friendship, learning, creating something beautiful together has come to an end. We hope our audiences have enjoyed it as much as we have. So sad... I have never met a big team like this before; no drama, divas, bitching, back-stabbing or bad-mouthing. This kind of camaraderie is usually only achieved in smaller teams. So, "How ugly can it get?" Not ugly at all.... AT ALL. How rare is that?? This team is truly a gem... never will I forget this beautiful journey that I have walked with the Malaysian Girls. ♥ ♥ ♥

Our final run was in none other than my birthplace, Penang. And boy, was it a wonderful run! The 1 week of run in Penang, we had full-houses almost every night. And the audience really had no inhibition, they laughed and cried and gave us their all... and as all live performers, we feed on their responses. So, we too gave them one helluva show! We love the Penang peeps... so sincere, so appreciative. We all wanna do more shows in Penang now!! ;)

Girls Backstage

Our friends frm PCC there to support us!! Yeayy!

Will miss Pooja heaps... the sweetest person I know, so thoughtful & sincere


Our wonderful musical director & his awesome team of musicians

The man who made it all possible, Joe, our director

"Seksi bukan seksa ya girls!!" Cikgu Lex, our choreographer

Packing up after a big glam show like this is no small job... 

Kee How from Penangpac
More penangpac peeps, the "V" guy did a fantabulous job selling our program books & CDs, & even sang Sydney Belle's Aria during the intermission!!! :) We didn't get that kind of promotion in KL :p

Glorious Penang food for the Cast Parteh

Yummy in my tummy
We also took a morning out to go for a nice Heritage Walk, courtesy of my hubs... proudly showing off his hometown. We started at the Esplanade area... food first, then Fort Cornwallis.

The myth is that the Sri Rambai Cannon can improve a woman's fertility if she hands a flower around it. You know who will definitely NOT be hanging any flowers there! ;-)

England dia banyak powderful... the bungalow is around the fort???? 

like this??? =.="
We then went to the state museum, which was surprisingly... well  maintained & curated.

An old gerabak of the train up to Penang Hill / Bukit Bendera

Hubs telling people about his hometown, dengan bangganya!

Banana leaf rice!!!

Peeps with a full tummy of banana leaf rice are happy peeps!!

So happy to be sharing this journey with him, our first production together was so wonderful... we hope for more to come in the future!!! :) :)

Mervyn sorting out they payment... too much? too little?

This is what the Penangites call "kelena seow"
I will most certainly have terrible post-production withdrawal symptoms for Malaysian Girls... I will miss everyone dearly!! Sobs sobs :( :(

Friday, January 06, 2012

Learning the Ukulele

I've always ALWAYS wanted to busk in NYC. Being a pianist, erm... nak angkut piano or keyboard to NYC tu... erm, not exactly practical coz unfortunately, teleportation devices have not been successfully invented yet. My only option is just sing a-capella busking solo, erm... not exactly ideal either. My guitar skills?? Tak lah terra, guitars are big & heavy too. Carry it on a 24hr-long flight with transits in between?? No way.

So, I have decided to learn up a much more practical street busking instrument to accompany my singing... light, portable & needs no electricity source... the Ukulele!!!

The minute I decided to learn the Ukulele, I immediately bought one to get started on learning it. As luck would have it, it came in pink Hawaiian-ish floral design!! Can you imaging my joy????

I figured if Google could teach me how to make a yummy Chikuteh, Google can also teach me the Ukulele. And don't ever forget the power of Youtube!!

Tuning the Ukulele: erm, this guys's notes are kinda out. I had to use my keyboard as reference instead.

Learning how to play the basic chords

Now if you'll excuse me, I have some tuning to do... and a lot of practicing to do. La la laaaaaa ;-)

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Leap of faith

I finally did it!!! I finally took the leap!!

It is indeed damn scary to step out into the unknown. My parents are not supportive. My friends are happy but worried for me that they've helped open up so many possible paths for me. I get more confused every day as more & more opportunities unfold... am I blessed or what???? Thank you Ellyne, Chris, Chloe, Natasha, Xendra, ... I love you alls!!! :) Hhhmm... but, which opportunity should I focus on?? I doubt I can do all otherwise I may end up busier than being in employment which defeats the purpose of my resignation. I want to do more performance arts, learn to cook, do volunteer work, do more of God's work...etc. I will need time to do ALL of those. Hhmmm... hhhmm. Think Karynn, THINK! Which path will be best to fit your plan??? @.@

My husband?? Still the bestest human being on earth who supports my every pursuit and dream!! Who has total confidence in me to make it in whatever I want to do!! Muaks!! I love you!!!

My God?? Lagi supportive!! I love You Lord!!!!!
“Then Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?’” (Luke 12:22-26, NIV).

Here. I. Go... BOING!!!!