One Helluva Year


The year is almost over in a few days. Time has passed so quickly I never realized another year will say goodbye again and a fresh year will start. I had my share of ups and downs in the Year 2010.

I had a good percentage of travel this year. I went to Singapore in January, Chiang Mai and Kanchanaburi in February, Saraburi and Pattaya in April, went back home in May, Phuket in November and again Philippines in December.

I love to travel which fortunately my job require me to do so once in every few months. I am looking forward to more trips (Holiday is preferred of course!) next year. Every time I travel, I learn new things, see interesting places, do exciting activities and more. I only hate waiting in the airports, train or bus stations.

This year has been very challenging in terms of work due to slow down in business across Thailand due to the political unrest in April-May. We have to exhaust all our creative thinking and continue to motivate the team to overcome the difficulties. It is not with sheer luck that we are able to conquer the obstacles but it is because of excellent team work, dedication and passion that put us intact and that despite the gloomy business climate, we are still able to put a good smile in everyone’s faces.

I’ve been overseas for almost 3 years now and I can say I am already used to living far away home. However, this year our family went into a very difficult situation that also tested our faith as well as our relationship with each member of the family. As earlier posted in my blog, my Dad was diagnosed with Bladder Cancer and he has undergone 2 operations this year including the total removal of his bladder. It was a very tough and stressful situation. The family is challenged physically and financially. Physically as each one (except me of course) has to have a fair share of contribution of their time (in between work, family of their own and other activities) in helping my Dad when he was confined at the hospital and up to now that he is still recuperating (He is not 100% recovered yet). My contribution is more on moral (encouraging everyone especially my Mom and Dad) that we could pass this test, spiritual (through daily prayers and prayer for a special favor, etc.) and financial.

When I went back beginning of this month, my Dad I can say is on the way to complete recovery. I really encourage my parents to fix their passport and other documents this time so they can have a holiday here in BKK next year as a treat.

As far as my love life is concerned, a year after a long term and serious relationship ended I can’t say everything is the way I wanted it to be though I am still hoping next year would be brighter on this aspect of my life. I am keeping my fingers crossed btw.

I met new and good friends this year and also catch up with long time friends through Facebook, Blogsphere and Chat. When I went back home this December, I was able to meet my College friends and the sort of reunion is definitely one of the best events I had in year 2010.

They say it is better to give than to receive. I observed this principle more this year than in the past. And true enough, there is such an unexplained joy helping those in need or just sharing your blessings to family, loved ones, colleagues and friends. Definitely double, triple or hundred fold blessings just flow easily.

As early as now, I am certain God has better plans for me in Year 2011. I will gladly accept the blessings and prepare myself for the challenges ahead for surely God is using me as His instrument to become a channel of blessing to others so I will try my best next year and more years to come so when I look back, the passing year brings Heavenly feeling to me.

Have a Blessed, Healthy and Bountiful New Year to all!

P.S. Just to make it clear, the Santa in the picture above is not me.

: )

Life is like a hot chicken soup

Ideas really come unexpectedly. I was thinking for sometime now what topic I must write in my next blog post. I have not written for quite sometime and I want my post to be good. Anyway, no pressure so I just let it be..

For dinner tonight, I cooked “Tinolang Manok”, a tasty chicken soup with green papaya and chilli leaves (unfortunately despite chilli being a staple ingredient of Thai cookery, I cannot find any chilli leaves being sold in the market). I served dinner for myself around 8pm.

I have not eaten Tinola for quite sometime now so I was actually craving for it that’s why I decided to cook it. I was so hungry and the soup is still very hot as I just removed it from fire. First few bites, I tried using spoon and fork to eat.

However, being a Filipino wherein when at home the best way to eat your favorite dish is to use your bare hands I tried hard to eat the food in my plate at all cost.  The more I tried to grab a piece of chicken or papaya the more I feel a somewhat burning sensation.

Then I realized, life is like eating the hot Tinola Soup. The chicken parts or papaya are like us humans. It is put on fire to cook. We are also put into fire (problems or adversities) so we can be better individuals. Soup are seasoned to suit the diner’s taste buds. The cook keeps on adding fish sauce, water or other seasoning to make it perfect.  In life, we also experienced something that makes it more memorable- from being in love, to being promoted at work, winning the lottery or just finding the right pair of shoes that’s on sale.

Once the soup is cooked, we remove it from the fire and serve it on the table. I compare it as our preparation for building our own lives such as studying hard, molding our character through our family, friends and loved ones. Once we are ready to face the world, we take the leap of life and let others know what we are made of.

If we sip the soup while it is hot, our tongue will be scalded. Same thing for life, if we are not yet ready, many will seize the opportunity to pull us down or bring us close to danger or worse become the instrument for our failure.

But if we wait a bit and make the soup’s temperature just perfect, we can enjoy a good meal. As for life, if we wait for the right opportunity, then we reap the rewards of life.

I really hope life is as easy as preparing Tinola and eating it to our heart’s content. As they say, well…that’s life.

Help needed!

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These past few months, I had the chance privilege to listen to some problems of my friends. This chance privilege is important for me because not only are these people my friends but the fact that they entrusted me a piece of their story is a great pride so to speak.

The problems I had been listening too are mostly relationship problems..problem with marriage, bf or gf, ex(es), parents or even close friends. I’ve seen some of them cried their hearts out…some desperately need some bashing and a frank opinion so they can gain realization while some just need some ears to listen to them.

Truly, it’s a difficult task to be a listener because at certain point you are stressed yourself and tends to become shock absorber of their emotions. What’s harder is that after listening, they need a sensible advice.  Well to begin with, I cannot say I have smooth relationship. It’s even double hard for me because how can they expect me to give a sound advice about marital problems if I myself has not been into that situation before since I am single and never been married.

What about those who have problems with their parents or siblings? I have very loving and wonderful parents that I find it difficult at times to be in my friend’s shoes.

Well sadly, there are also some who judged my capacity (or worth) as a friend. They’ve known me not too long and not too well anyway so it’s hardly my cause of concern.

To sum it up, I guess the key to giving out good advice is not mainly because of the “been there, done that” situation but also because if you generally have a good life, you can share your happiness and satisfaction to a friend in need so they can have the positive outlook in life as well. Moreover, if you have an open mind and sensitive to the feelings of others plus still know the boundary of what’s good and what’s not, then being a counsellor is not a bad idea at all!

What’s more satisfying is that after very long discussions and your friend had come to a realization, then you achieved your goal and you will be greatly appreciated.

As for me, I really have few close friends whom I can trust and can say they are real friends and are willing to help me whenever I need it. I am not in a rush to add as much names into that list and I know I don’t need to call an emergency number cos I can count on them.

What should you do if the responsibility is BIGGER than you?

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As a young child, I was given some more responsibility by my parents than some of my siblings even if I am a middle child.  Maybe because they think I am more matured in thinking for my age or maybe it is because I am dependable (or so I thought?) LOL.

When I studied, I cannot consider myself as an intelligent student. Just an average person though there are times I got some best in this subject or best in that subject..well maybe the most award that I get as a child in school which actually illicit laughter amongst my siblings is my being a consistent “MOST BEHAVED” student. They always teased me that maybe I am so silent that even when my teachers would call me to participate in class, I just keep my mouth shut and just wait until the school bell rang..so I can head back home.

During my College days, that was the only time I became a little bit more active in school activities. I had my share of leading a group in a class or even being a Chairman of a Committee for a project or activity organized by my class or Department.  I was even a part of a group that represented my University in the Chefs on Parade, an annual competition for Hotel and Restaurant professionals or students which we won a Bronze medal in the Inventive Buffet Table Setting category among almost 20 schools competing.  A good enough feat for us…

I guess my most cherised moment as a leader in school is when I headed my group in our Thesis about the importance of having Multi-cultural Awareness in the Hotel Industry for 3 selected hotels which we painstakingly researched and interviewed staff and handed out questoionnaires. Come the Defense, we have successfully presented our Thesis well and I even got a flat 1.0 grade in my Research class.

As I started my professional career, I never dreamt to have a big responsibility. Back then, I am ok with a routine job which after hitting the bundy clock, I don’t have to worry about problems or stresses at work. Then, I had my second job. I was hired as a Marketing Coordinator then. First week of work, I find my job too boring already and lack challenge. I was thinking then if I made a right decision to accept that job offer since I also have some applications to consider then. My boss noticed my persistence and gave me some additional responsibilities. Soon, I found myself getting involved in some special projects and finally I was promoted to Marketing Manager at the age of 23. I never realized I have such big responsibility at that young age. Well, maybe for some people, they even have GM or CEO or CFO post almost right after graduation. That is an exceptional case. Maybe, either they are too brilliant or their family owns the company.  But for an average person like me, being a head of an important department at 23 is an accomplishment but a daunting task as well. Everyday, there are so many challenges, so many problems to solve, so many thinking and analyzing which oftentimes, gives me no time for personal stuff. But personally, I find all these challenges very satisyfing if I get to solve them successfully and the outcome is what I want it to be.

Then I had another job as an Operations Manager but is equivalent to a Business Unit Head. This job is really very challenging since I had to do all the ground works. My boss which is the VP and CEO gave me the vision and framework of the Business and I had to do all details of the job including setting up standards, supplier relations, business development and all. On top of that, I was also selected to be part of the company’s in-house academy for the “chosen few” to attend a rigorous 2 year course about Management and Personal Development.

Unfortunately, I had to quit this job and the schooling for another bigger responsibility which is my current job. Offhand, I am helping to manage around 40 staff. My boss and I have gone a long way as far as improving the standards of our operations as well as business development and we will not stop there..of course we have to sensitive with the market trends and our competitors as well. At times, I find it difficult to manage an organization this size especially if some of the staff are more senior (in terms of age and maybe have more professional experience than me) but there lies the challenge.  Moreover, I cannot avoid thinking that at my age why do I have to pressure myself with a big responsibility which at times I think is even bigger than me? Why not just opt to put up my own noodle shop or coffee kiosk so the pressure is not bigger or even choose to be just an ordinary worker.

However, I feel that is not my destiny. I believe God gave me the wisdom to walk on this path cos HE knows I can handle even bigger responsibilities in life.  When I say responsibilities, it doesn’t mean only professional responsibilities but also being responsible to my family, my loved ones and all aspects of the society. If we feel the responsibility is bigger than us, just look up then we will realize we have an even Bigger God.