Tag Archives: Truth

The Art of (Not) Giving Up.

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My six-year scholarship bond with my company ended 11 days ago, on 31st March 2017. I looked back at the past six years with fond memories: of new found friendships, of self-discoveries, and of surprising achievements. There were several painful experiences, of course, but as with all wisdom of hindsight, I am now able to focus on the benefits of those unpleasant moments. I finally understand how it truly feels to run a marathon and see through it from start till the finishing line.

Now that it is over, I can finally admit how I almost surrendered, several times in fact, and was determined to break the bond. You will find the following account of my biggest meltdown, rather amusing, but I assure you that at those moments in time, it felt like the end of the world. And there was no way out, but to give up.

Breakdown #1/100:

2013, with slightly more than three years to the end of the bond. I drove to work in tears. I arrived, carried my two heavy bags, and instead of walking towards my office, I marched (tears streaming down my face) in the direction of our legal office. I knocked on the glass door of the Head of Legal, and sobbingly I said, ” I want to break my bond. Please calculate the penalty I need to pay please”.

Frankly if I were her I would have burst out laughing at this pitiful sight of an adult woman clutching on to her two seemingly overweight bags filled with documents, files, rubbish and a laptop, mascara streaks down her morning puffy face. I would have sent this baby to a doctor.

But she did not. She replied calmly, in a neutral tone, careful not to show too much concern, that she would check on the terms and conditions of my bond agreement and would get back to me within the day.

I thanked her, with the tiny bit of dignity left, and walked back towards my office, feeling even more wretched. I was really disappointed in myself for surrendering the white flag at the half-way mark. But I could no longer lie to myself that I was happy in a corporate environment. I am a free spirit, I should fly. Well, at least that was what I strongly believed in then.

Later in the day, I was told of the amount I was liable for breaking the bond. It was slightly around $600K. I immediately embarked on a quest to raise this sum. I was going to:

  1. Sell my studio apartment.
  2. Sell my car.
  3. Empty my savings.
  4. Take up a loan.

I would be left with nothing, only debts. But at least I would be free. Freedom is priceless.

It was a good plan.

It was a terrible plan.

What do you think? What would you do?

Well, you know what I did.

I walked shamefully into the legal office a second time, all my shreds of pride down the drain, and I apologized to the same Head of Legal for creating a scene that morning, and for wasting her time. “I don’t have the money to pay the bond. So sorry. I will continue to work till the bond ends”, I said, looking even more pathetic than ever.

I gave up twice in a day. First time, on my job. Second time on my gungho declaration to break free.

Epic failure, one would say.

Fast forward to current status. Bond is over. And I did not leave my company. I actually do enjoy chasing targets, building a team, having something to wake up for. I am proud that I have a job that gives me satisfaction in all its victories and defeats. Work is still (very) tough, but I am grateful for the many character-building opportunities I have been given. And all this, is priceless too.

It is ok to give up, you know? We are too hard on ourselves. A wise man told me that the usual “I must prove myself” pressure should no longer be that urgent at my age of 42. Moral of the story, things do get exponentially better. Allow yourself to be surprised. And once you’ve scaled a mountain, no one can take that away from you.

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Martini Monday

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Today is #SpeakMyMind Day. Tired of being meek and quiet Asian woman. Today I shall be brave enough to say what’s on my mind.

Cathartic just writing it. In a way, the women tale of woe is rather similar to anyone of you who have ever felt this level of exasperation working in a society with double standards. A woman cannot be unattractive, or old, or too smart (for her own good). How many times have you been advised to “play dumb”? When you are angry it must be that time of the month hence you are cranky. If you unfortunately hold some power, you are likely to have slept with someone or killed someone to get there “corporate bitch”. You will be interviewed for your work, but the headlines will most probably read “She Has Broken Up With Boyfriend” “She Is Still #Single” “She Is Single Hence A #Lesbian“. This is amusing until it is not. Ok it is still #funny. I am still grateful I was born female.

But don’t you mess with mama. I am running a business not running for Top 10 Most Popular Award.

Don’t be mad, be prepared.

 

 

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40 Is The New Black.

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I am turning 40 in about 7 weeks I am feeling fabulous.

It seems to me, life has only just begun. It is so exciting (and hectic) that I often find myself too nervous to eat. But I am constantly reminded, that I have to nourish myself with food,honey and water, or else I would not have the energy and stamina to keep up with the pace. So I entice myself with comfort food, such as my Nespresso Roma and Nutella in the morning, (yes I eat Nutella with a spoon sans bread), boiled carrots and broccoli for lunch, and a glass of my favourite red for dinner. As you can see, I prefer to always stay some what hungry. It keeps me yearning. And yearning gives me something to look forward to.

Honoured to be on the cover of Elle Singapore this month. It has been 11 years since I last graced Elle’s cover and I must admit, I do age quite well. More importantly, I have never been more comfortable with being me, flaws and all.

As I sit outside on my balcony, typing away, listening to the crashing of the waves, distant flickering lights of the ships beckon to me, my silent companions.

How lovely life can be.

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