Thursday, November 29, 2012

How to Eat A Whole Cow

How now brown cow?

How do you eat a whole cow?? You cut it into parts of digestible size, and eat it part by part of course. You can have rendang beef today, BBQ beef ribs tomorrow, and steak the next day. Before you know it, you will be down to Oxtail soup and you're done!

It is the same thing with when you are given any big task. You break it down into smaller parts and take it one part at a time.

We usually get overwhelmed by the size of the cow task. Then wallow in self-pity or complain over how unreasonable it is to eat a cow do the task. By the time we finish lamenting, we could have used it to finish up 2 pieces of steak parts of the task. Just calmly break it down, count our resources (BBQ sauce? Curry spices? ;)) and take it one part at a time. In fact, when it is in small parts, we will actually enjoy it.

Task 1: You need to finish your MBA dissertation. 26,000 words plus loads of surveys and analysis prior to the 26,000 words. Same thing, Breathe in, breathe out. Break it down. Just do it one part at a time. Before you know it, done!! Graduation time! Wheeeee!

Task 2: You are asked to prepare analyze a gazillion files of numbers & numbers & numbers, prepare 50 worksheets and 100 slides, x 2 slide-decks!! Aaarrggghh! Die, die, no?? No. Just look through all the resources you have... how much time? Anyone else around who can be of help? Break it down to smaller, more digestible parts, do it one part at a time. Before you know it, eh?? Done. Huh? That was it?? Easy peasy.

Task 2: You need to do from scratch; a murder investigation story plot, come up with real clues, misleading clues, background stories, characters, possible audience reaction and interaction scenarios, write the script, plan the timeline, conduction auditions, find a bunch of talented actors willing to work for free, direct, rehearsals, stage the whole thing & raise funds for a good cause....Aaaaargggghhh... I am but a mere actress, never have I ever done this before in my life!! Right, right??? Let's see, I already had rendang beef, and the sirloin steak. I think I shall have some BBQ beef ribs today. No sign of Oxtail soup yet, but I am sure I'll get there if I don't stop at BBQ beef ribs. ^_^

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Affordability to be Poor

A month ago I started a temporary job at StART. It's a project bound job rather than a time bound one, I only had to come into the office 2hr a day, 2days a week. And I had only committed until the end of December, for a start. The deal is, if I find the "proper" job of my dreams by January, I will continue this fundraising project after-working hours. If I don't find it, I will continue full-time doing this project until March.

The office is a small little room with 2 work-desks, shared by 5 of us. In the compound, is a colourful van named Maggie, a non-working pool - we cannot afford to maintain it :( , a pond and the occasional friendly neighbourhood biawak. I just get paid a small salary... with no employee benefits, allowances or fat bonuses. Freelancer ma.

Hardly the money, the perks or the luxurious private office I get in the corporate world kan?

StART's debut at Urbanscapes
Yet, how has it been so far? Not only have I been hanging out in the office every freaking weekday, and even some of the weekend events because the people are awesome. I am actually looking forward to work days. I finish my work ahead of time most of the time because my inspiration keeps pouring in... overflowing even!! I am so excited to have them read my stories, my scripts and to add their little own witty bits in it.

StART family!! Boss behind d camera :p
I love spending the time with the team, they feel like family. Everyone is so wonderful and caring and super passionate about their work. The positive energy is totally contagious! Everybody has the same purpose that drives them to work, to see these kids' talents flourish. My boss is not just "tolerating" my commitment to performance arts, he is playing the lead role in the very same production and his commitment to rehearsals are even higher than me!!

Dammit! Why can't giant corporate organizations be so bloody awesome? Passionate people, common purpose, selflessness, understanding team-mates, super high trust & honesty...etc etc :( :( :( If ever I becomes like a GM or something, I shall instill this kind of culture. :)

Dammit! First Musical Theatre, now Writing for an ngo. I just love falling for jobs that don't pay don't I?? Well, I survived on a small salary before 10 years ago, why can't I 10 years later? Let's see:
1. 10 years ago, I did not have my own house to pay for. Now, I share this expense with hubby.
2. 10 years ago, I did not have so many stupid insurances to pay for. Now, I am covered for a gazillion different things.
3. 10 years ago, I was driving a cute little Kancil. Now, I am driving a Mazda 3 - Sport.
4. 10 years ago, my lifestyle was a lot simpler. Now, I have gym memberships, facials-packages, travelling plans, etc etc every year.
5. 10 years ago, my parents were still working. Now, they are my dependents.
6. Inflation!!!

I suppose epf can take care of #1, I can get rid of #2 and #3. And due to my sabbatical, I have already gotten rid of #4. And #6 is something totally out of my control and inevitable, ggahh!

But #5, a responsibility for another human being is something that I will never have the heart to be irresponsible with. I know they will freak out if I even downgrade my car to a Kancil... "losing face" is something dead serious for them. So, because of my daughterly irresponsibility, I cannot afford to be poor.

So, this is precisely the reason why I do not want kids... not before, not now, not ever! If I have motherly responsibilities on top of daughterly responsibilities, I cannot afford to be poor. I myself, is more than willing to sacrifice things that money can buy, for my love of things that money cannot buy. But I cannot force the people I am responsible for, to sacrifice the same thing. I may not be able to choose not to be a daughter, but I have the choice, not to be a mother.

So, if anyone asks me why I don't want children... this is my answer... I want to have The Affordability to be Poor. Do you have The Affordibility to be Poor??

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Feed or starve, the choice is yours

Plutchik-Wheel of emotions
- A strong feeling deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others. (Oxford Dictionary)
- The affective aspect of consciousness / a state of feeling / a conscious mental reaction (as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
- A discrete and consistent responses to internal or external events which have a particular significance for the organism. (Wikipedia)
- A natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others. (Google Dictionary)

Can we control them? Some people think we actors have on-off switches to turn on whatever emotions we want. It's not really that simple. Lots of preparation goes before we can achieve those emotions on stage.

I don't think that I can control my emotions. However, I've realized a neat little trick. An emotion is very much like a living thing. It can grow bigger and stronger or it can get weaker and even die. So, just like a living thing, you can either feed it and make it grow or starve it and let it die. We can definitely control our actions of feeding or starving it.

Eg. I have a crush on a colleague. Butterflies in stomach, hearts-a-fluttering crush. Then I feed the crush... stalk his Facebook page (this part is fictitious... we didn't have Facebook yet at that time, otherwise I would've FB-stalked him :P). It grows. 
Feed it some more... we go on a date. It grows even more.
He proposes. It grows even bigger. 
We do up our house together. Growing, growing...
We plan the wedding together. Big big growth.
We discover a new passion together. Perform in theatre together. It grows even bigger. and bigger and bigger and bigger. We write a musical together...and we keep feeding and it keeps growing and growing and growing. Wheeeeee!!! But in this case, it is 2 people feeding it.
Eg. I have a crush on a colleague. Butterflies in stomach, hearts-a-fluttering crush. Then I feed the crush... stalk his Facebook page. It grows. I go back to life as normal. I rationalize since he was in Penang, I was in KL... it's geographically impractical right? Starved it. It weakens. Stop contacting him, only see him infrequently during meetings. Starve it. It weakens even more. I resigned from the organization and no longer see him even infrequently. It dies off. Habis cerita. Choose this option if your colleague is unavailable of course. hehehe. 

You can also feed a negative emotion and make yourself totally unhappy or starve it and snap out of it in due time. 
Eg. I am annoyed with my boss because he was rude due to a bad day. I feed it and complain to my colleague about him. It grows. Another colleague gossips about him about his work ethics, I add to her gossip by telling her about him being rude. More feeding. It grows. I feel to lazy to go to work and press snooze on my alarm 10x causing me to be late to work. I curse the traffic jam. Feeding, growing . I could not finish my work because I was late and had to stayback late and cancel my drinking night out with the girls. I curse the workload. Feeding, growing. In my bad mood, I was rude to a customer. The customer throws tantrum at me. It grows. I post a frustrated FB status and 100 friends "Like" it. It grew soooo big that I so hate this job, I shall resign ASAP!! Even my friends agree, right?? 
Do I end up happy even after many others justified my annoyance?? And yet, I've been guilty of feeding negative emotions before, many times.
I am annoyed with my boss because he was rude due to a bad day. I starve it and just do what he asked and quickly email to him so that he won't bother me. It weakens. Another colleague gossips about him and his work ethics, I just avoid her and go for lunch with other colleagues. It weakens more. The next day, ask boss out for lunch, chit-chat and found out his maid ran away yesterday and stole his family's stuff. Oh, no wonder bad mood. It dies off. No longer annoyed at boss or at job. Ta-da!

So, I promise myself if I have positive emotions... I shall consciously feed it, regularly. Just like feeding my cats, twice a day. heheh. And if I have negative emotions, I shall consciously remind myself to starve it, starve it till it dies. For me, I have a tendency to feed ALL emotions good or bad. @.@

So, I do have an on-off switch after all... no wonder I'm an actress. ;) ;)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A beachy break

Sawadeekah Phuket!
Hubby and I have just returned from a nice break in Phuket. It's been from one hectic production to the next. First Empress Wu: The Musical, then straight into EverWorld: The Musical. We've been looking forward to some "OFF" time together. Off from productions, off from work, and off from data roaming hehehe.

Our abode... cosy

swim swim swim!! 

Other than the heavenly Thai massages, everything else in Patong is horribly expensive. Food, shopping, transportation, excursions, etc etc. A regular meal at a kopitiam-ish place costs us about RM60!! Initially I thought I'm on sabbatical and is extra broke at this time, everything feels relatively more expensive... but even McDonald's costs about RM18-20 per medium combo meal. Bleh.

We had a wonderful time anyway, we both love Thai food... to da max!! And we both love massages. For RM25, you can get yourself an hour's worth of a full body Thai massage! Nice!!! Can get massages to our hearts' content! :) :) :)

We obviously ate to our hearts stomach's content!! We did minimal shopping only... it's not as satisfying or as good a bargain as shopping in Bangkok. 
mango sticky rice!

on the bus to Phuket Town
We took the long route to the airport via the public bus... other than costing us less than a taxi, it is always enchanting to take long routes because of what you see along the way; community of kampungs along the way, independent children taking the bus home on their own about 20km from their school, small vendors along the rural roads... just people living their simple lives reminding me how brattily spoilt I can be in the comfort of our blessed nation. Yup, we should always be thankful.

Thai food galore!! Hubs sure loves his tomyum & green curry!

all kinds of everything!!! YUM!
Time away from everyone and everything is always nice... and hubs brought his Dale shirt, the cute shirt he wore years ago at one fateful sales meeting in Lumut... when I first had a mini-crush on him. hehehe. Look what that crush has grown into!! ♥ ♥ ♥ 

see the resemblance??

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Long live creativity!

"Picasso once said that all children are born artists. The trick is to remain an artist as we grow up. I believe this passionately: We don't grow into creativity; we grow out of it." ~ Sir Ken Robinson ~

Love the story about Gillian Lynne. Do watch the whole video... he makes so much sense. If you're more of a reader, go here to read the entire transcript.

I don't ever ever ever want to grow out of creativity.... EVER!!! ;-)

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Almost famous?? ^_^

As I bask in the remaining few months of my life as a full-time arts practitioner... I too, shall bask and soak in whatever spotlight that I had managed to shamelessly grab for myself this year. It's been so much fun that time really flew... light-speed!!

Timeout Penang - Aug 2012

**For the link to the original article, click here

Female magazine - Nov 2012

**note: correction on this article, I am 34 & it was a year ago that I made the decision that drove my parents bonkers. hehehe. ;)