3 Steps To Colouring Your World

So I’ve recently taken up colouring, to my children’s excitement, because now Mummy will sit down and colour longer with them!

It started out with trying free printed Mandalas downloaded from the Internet, to just this week in Melbourne, buying a colouring book for myself.

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There are a lot of articles online detailing the benefits of colouring (Check out CNN and Huffington Post just to name a few), like how it might be like meditation and how it reduces anxiety and stress. After trying it out for a while, I couldn’t agree more.

But the thing is, to me, to gain the kind of inner calm, focus and uplift, it is important to consider these 3 factors before colouring your way around.

  1. Like What You Are Colouring

My sister gave me one colouring book before, but it had all these numbers in it, presumably as a guide on what to colour first or something like that. And if you’re like me, more a student of chaos than anything else and so not a numbers person, this type of colouring book would be more maddening than anything else.

The same goes for Mandala prints too. I mean, if the print doesn’t make sense to you, or it’s too intricate a design that it irritates you instead of calms you, then please, by all means choose something else. This is supposed to make you happy!

Personally, I’ve chosen International Street Artist, Kelsey Montague’s What Lifts You colouring book. I love the designs in the book and how it is filled with themes that resonate with me.

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2. There Are No “Shoulds”

When you do get down to colouring, there’s a freedom in remembering there are no “shoulds”. The grass should be green. The sky should be blue. The flowers should not be black. The butterfly should not be striped. That seahorse should not have hearts on it.

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Nice, no? My scannable seahorse at Melbourne’s SEA Life Aquarium.

None of that applies.

This is something you want to express yourself freely and thoroughly with. This is about what you want to create that is uniquely you.

3. Enjoy The Ride

I wasn’t sure about what to expect when I started colouring. Other than trying to stay within the lines and making sure my work was aesthetically pleasing, there wasn’t much else I was focused on.

Then when I got used to the idea of colouring and actually doing it, I found that I could make clearer sense about the thoughts that came and went throughout the session.

What surprised me most though, was that by simply colouring, I could focus deeply on what I wanted and needed and what I could do to get there. I suppose this is called connecting with your true self or inner self, if you believe in that sort of thing.

But I prefer to call it “finding my centre”. Who knows what you might find?

 

Just Mama & Bubba: Kaius

The Great, Enormous Melbourne Mash Up

I think I’ll make it tradition for each kid to travel with me and or the husband alone before going to primary 1. This time it’s me and Kaius, and our Great, Enormous, Melbourne Mash Up. 


(The kids have a book called “The Great, Enormous Hamburger”. And so now everything is “Great” and “Enormous”. Gotta love a kid’s perspective!)

2017

The Year of Change

 

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Being an entrepreneur is not just about what a person does for a living. It is a mindset and a way of thinking – an approach to life.

And sometimes, while you’re figuring things out, you have to make certain changes to fulfil existing responsibilities because life doesn’t stop.

So this year, I’ve decided to close the door on the health supplement and skin care business that I’ve been in for the past 6 years because a change is long overdue.

I’m getting a job while my entrepreneurial activities take a back seat – for now. The thing about being an entrepreneur is this: your mind never really switches off from it. There are always enterprising ideas and questions you ask yourself when you look at different businesses, like “Is this shop really making money selling just this? I wonder what their margins are? This bubble tea thing is not going away!”

I feel like the past 6 years of my life have been a kind of baptism in business by fire. As a lawyer, your knowledge about business is limited, even if you are a corporate lawyer. Your job is to protect your client’s interests, and to document, document and document.

As a business person, your job is profitability. It doesn’t look like a big word, but in many businesses, it can be illusive, even with huge revenues. You can come up with the most creative ideas, but if your numbers still say you’re in the red after your best perceived marketing efforts, then you have failed.

And yes, it can be extremely brutal.

But this is how you become resilient. And this resilience in business, somehow is transferrable to other areas of life.

While I am focusing on getting a job, I’m still doing the things I like to do like spending time with my family, my new Treaterrific! lifestyle hobby business, contributing to women’s empowerment and volunteering where I can (because everyone needs hobbies!).

I’m keeping my inner circle tight and kicking out the trash.

2017 for me, is about change.

Because how we change is how we succeed.

 

Mr. Lim Siong Guan, Former Group President of Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC)

Interview with an Industry Rockstar

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If you have ever Mr. Lim Siong Guan, you’d be staggered by his *amazing* CV. Click here for his wikipedia page. I got to interview this figurative giant of a man during one of our Intelligent Millionaire Network meetings and I have to say he didn’t disappoint.

It was great to hear insights from someone who used to work closely with the late Mr. Lee Kuan Yew and to see the world from his perspective, given his vast experience as the top man in verybigcorporations.

Here are 3 videos, enjoy!

Video 1: How To Manage Energy & Overcoming Biggest Challenges

 

Video 2: Quick Tips on How to 1) Establish Rapport with People 2) Quickly Gain Insights on Where an Organisation is and 3) Implement Changes

 

Video 3: Keys to Success for Business and Personal Development

My Allegra.*

Of all my children, Allegra is the most spunky. 

She walks with a spring in her step. She sings, dances, skips and hops all at once. 

When she smiles (and it is usually a cheeky smile), her big round eyes light up with eager anticipation. 

Even though she is confident and extroverted, don’t mistake this for an impenetrable shield. Her heart is fragile even though it loves those she deems worthy, fiercely and completely. 

This daughter of mine has such a creative personality – case in point these photos – she’s the girl who will choose to wear her cousin’s Adidas running shoes with her frilly girly socks, jewellery and party outfit. That’s how she rocks her outfits.
I love my children all the same. But she reminds me most of, well, me. 

I hope I live my life in a way that will be a great example for her to follow – as a girl, as a woman, and if she wants, as a wife and mother. 

Most of all I hope I show her that she doesn’t have to be anyone else but her most authentic and amazing self. 

Kids: Kaius & McDonald’s 

Me: OK kids, nap time! Go lie down and I’ll go get my book. 

Kaius: You mean your McDonald’s book? 

Me: (amused) How did you know it’s a McDonald’s book? 

Kaius: Because I saw the McDonald’s sign and I was reading it just now. 

Wow. My son is a lot more observant than I give him credit for and he’s growing up fast. 

How can I not fight to be a good example for him? 

Kaius with Grinding It Out. The Making of McDonald’s by American businessman Ray Kroc. He was responsible for making McDonald’s into the world’s most iconic fast-food brand. 

I Scored 207 for PSLE; I Still Became a Lawyer.

You decide your future.

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I’ll never forget the day I went to collect my PSLE* results.

I walked up to my form teacher nervously. She looked at me with disappointment, shook her head and said,”You could have done so much better.”

Those words burned into my head.

(This is the same teacher who did nothing but tell my whole class that we girls were “so complacent and so conceited” throughout the year. Maybe we were, maybe we weren’t, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the right way to motivate a bunch of 12 year old girls. But I digress…)

Of course, there was the mass comparisons of PSLE results happening around the school hall, but not on a scale as large as now, what with the availability of social media.

I remembered feeling upset, thinking I was stupid.

And I felt worth less.

I carried these feelings with me for a long time. Always an invisible barrier to the success that I wanted.

Ok, let me first take responsibility for my results first. Did I study hard? No, I’ll be the first to admit. But I was busy enjoying my childhood. I was busy playing, learning, asking questions and laughing.

I had a happy childhood.

But my point is – it didn’t matter that I was doing so well in other areas. I was netball captain. I was a school prefect. I did all sorts of creative stuff like putting up the P6 concert and participating in our 150th anniversary concert.

All it came down to was 3 numbers at the end of my primary school endeavours.

I was placed in Express stream in St. Margaret’s Secondary School. Went to Nanyang Polytechnic to get my business diploma. Went to Curtin University and obtained my business degree with distinction. Then completed my education with a law degree from NUS. And finally, got called to the Singapore Bar.

I managed to achieve my dream of becoming a lawyer with sheer determination and my family’s support.

I am married to a wonderful man, and we have 3 beautiful children.

Standing where I am now, I really feel for the kids who are considered “low PSLE scorers” and labeled as such. I feel their own disappointment at their results, and even worse, their parents’ disappointment at their results.

As a kid, the worst thing to me was to disappoint my parents. (I actually don’t remember my parents saying anything, they probably felt sad with me. But I remember my grandmother’s disappointment.)

 

Why do we need to place kids in boxes and categorise them as “high achievers” and “low achievers” at such a young age?

Isn’t it more important to ignite curiosity in a child and to let him/her discover who they are and what they are good at? Isn’t it more important to equip children with the right tools to survive and thrive, which includes a strong sense of self-worth and self-confidence? Isn’t it more important to let the child know that he/she is loved completely whether they do well or badly in school?

Instead of crushing their confidence and dreams so early on and allowing them to think they are not as smart or as good as someone who did better than them when that is complete and utter bullshit.

My children are all under 5 years old at the moment. And I am dreading putting them through the local primary school system because it might not develop all my children to their fullest potentials. They are all different. Some might thrive under this system, some might not.

Don’t get me wrong, as a type A personality, I am all for the spirit of competition and doing well and I encourage it.

But not at the expense of my kid’s self belief in his/her own abilities because I have learnt without self-belief and confidence, there is nothing.

*For my non-Singaporean friends, PSLE stands for “Primary School Leaving Examination”. It’s a huge exam which streams kids into different categories for Secondary School/High School at 12 years old. And their academic talents are nurtured accordingly from then on.

GIRL TALK: Penny Low, Founder, Social Innovation Park

Why CSR and Social Innovation is Everyone’s Business

So in September, I attended the CSR and the Social Innovators Forum.

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I had no idea what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised when I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Penny Low, founder of Social Innovation Park, an impartial, not-for-profit organisation based in Singapore that incubates social entrepreneurs worldwide to bring positive innovations to lives and societies.

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Excerpt taken from Social Innovation Park’s book Top 50 Social Innovations Changing Our World.

Of course, the presence of Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies, Mr. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, lent some star power mega star power to the event.

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I had never thought about Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Innovation prior to this, despite being in business for the past 5 years. Mainly because I had always had the impression of it being something that only applied to large corporates because of the extent of their influence.

But, at this forum, I learnt quite the opposite. CSR and Social Innovation is everyone’s responsibility. And to make any significant kind of change, efforts have to be made from the “ground up”. This means the responsibility is yours and mine.

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CSR and Social Innovation can be as simple as participating in Food Bank initiatives.
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Like this Food Bank Project X-pired –  Converting Food into Fashion!
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Me and Penny

Find out more about the inspiration behind Social Innovation Park and what entrepreneurs can do to contribute to this cause, watch my interview with Penny here:

MentorMission – EVENT INVITE: Jamiyah’s 24th Exemplary Mother Award

Honouring Extraordinary Mothers with Awards, High Tea & Fashion.

As you might know, I have the privilege of being mentored by Claire Chiang, Senior Vice President and Co-Founder of Banyan Tree Holdings. A mentoring lunch turned into a mentoring afternoon because she brought us (me and another mentee, Amu) to a press conference at Jamiyah Singapore after lunch.

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From Left to Right: Amutha Saravanan COO of the Da Vinci Group, Our mentor and original Supermamapreneur, Claire Chiang, and me at Jamiyah Singapore.

This is where I learned about the Exemplary Mother Award (“EMA”) and the Award ceremony that will be held on 22 October 2016. This year’s award presentation ceremony and high tea also comes with a Charity Fashion Show.

Every year, the EMA Committee receives different inspiring stories from mothers of all walks of life, races and religions and who have contributed to the community. Claire was one of the judges. These mothers have been extraordinary in being a role model for their children, by nurturing them with strong moral values, persevere for a better life and education for their children. Their exemplary attitudes continue by going the extra mile to contribute their time and energy through involvement in career and community services, without compromising their parental roles at home.

Thus, this meaningful event promotes inter-faith and multi-racial bonding and enhancing reverence for mothers in general. It also places paramount importance on filial piety.

This year, there will also be a very special fashion show by 3 local designers, Adlina Anis, Kavita Thulasidas and Sylvia Lim, who will all use batik prints by Batik Master, Sarkasi Said, in their designs.

On a personal note, when I asked Claire how and why she is involved in so many community projects, she told me that she learned the need for support when she was very young.  She grew up on Race Course Road with the Malay and Indian community and her mother would often get her to bring food to their neighbours. And when her mother had a stroke when Claire was 17, her neighbours helped them out by buying food, for example.

This gotong-royong* concept of mutual help and reciprocity and the Kampong** spirit was how she grew up. I don’t think I’ve ever thought as much about the community around me until now.

Event Details: 

Date: 22 October 2016, Saturday

Time: 2.30pm to 5pm

Venue: Mandarin Orchard Hotel, Singapore

Ticket price: $100

Guest of Honour: President of Singapore, His Excellency Dr. Tony Tan Keng Yam

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If you’re interested in giving back to the community and supporting this meaningful event or even if you’d just like to make a donation, please contact Nora at nora_r@jamiyah.org.sg or call 6743 1211.

*gotong-royong is a conception of sociality familiar to large parts of Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia. The phrase has been translated into English in many ways, most of which harken to the conception of reciprocity or mutual aid.

*Kampong means village in Bahasa Melayu.