Pearls: Best Friend Forever!!

This week, for pearls, we touched on relationship management and its derivatives: family, friend and boy-girl relationships. We shared our experiences, philosophy and values system on the above issues and other topics like bouncing back from crisis and NLP memory techniques to bounce back from crisis.

Before I elaborate my definition of friendship, I would like to highlight that there are in fact very diverse opinions of friends. That alone sparked a huge debate of across the table despite the small turn up. I realized despite the differences in opinions, there are a couple areas of contention, namely: what makes one consider another a friend, whether there should be expectation (and if so, to what degree of expectation) and what would be an appropriate response to a betrayal.

Firstly, I do not use the term “friend” lightly and therefore I will admit that throughout my whole life, I have only less than 10 true friends. Friends, according to my first belief, are individuals who have similar core values and to a smaller extent, interests. As a result, we can enjoy doing similar activities together without making each other guilty and at the same time maintain & build our relationship. Therefore, despite different personality traits and opinions, I will enjoy and feel productive spending time with my friend with similar interests like discussing about current affairs.

This stems from my second belief that relationship must be maintain or they will simply deteriorate, however there are certain thresholds generated by common experiences in which will prevent relationships from deteriorating beyond a certain level. Therefore, sharing the same 4 men bunks in the SAF or being together in a project group will bring the individuals relationship to a level whereby, it will not deteriorate too much despite a lack of contact.

Cultural values will affect a society’s different kinds of value range from ideological, moral, social and aesthetics and generating unique personal values. My third belief is that individual when bought together will need similar values or conflict will arise. Therefore, individuals like friends who maintain a close relationship needs to have similar values to prevent daily friction and grievances which will eventually destroy the relationship. My core values are credibility & accountability, individuality & independence, ambitiousness & improvement, equality & integrity and wisdom & knowledge.

My fourth belief about friendship is that my friends’ character will rub off my character subconsciously when I interact with them. Therefore, I am picky to a fault to the friends I plan to develop a relationship with as don’t want to waste both parties’ precious time on relationships that is difficult to maintain or doomed to fail. Therefore, I might appear to people who don’t know me as insincere or even snobbish but I am generally friendly to intermediate group of people who approach me or know me due to similar activities on a daily basis. However, I am very willing to open myself up first if I manage to find potential friends as I understand gems like them are rare and might not be there if the opportunity is lost.

One of my friends then quipped that one important requisite is that friends must help one another which I instantly disagreed. I think friends are not obligated to help each other first and even in the case of a good friend, each gesture by the renderer should be unconditional. However, friends just happen to help each other due to the nature of the close relationship, if the obligation exists, that is definitely not friendship.

Refer to this entry if you feel distracted during Sem5

My 4th semester is finally is finally over, in fact, it has been 2 weeks since it concluded. This semester is characterized by lots of juggling between my real estate commitments, group projects and examinations.

My real estate commitments are the in-house real estate degree. This in-house real estate degree focuses on establishing a sound system for your real estate career by providing the

1) rationale for various processes,

2) motivational through the point scoring system and

3) discipline by making weekly presentations compulsory.

The lessons were fairly good, more structure to it   and very fruitful due to the compulsory weekly homework. My accomplishments during the course were limited as I had been fully stretched in school & *ahem* Fallout 3. But I have made a lot of headway during the holidays, creating form to extract important data, folders to classify them according to the nature of their activity and reinvested my income to build more leverage into my prospecting system. I now have more time for my activities and is making more headway because of my planning, prospecting, buying and selling systems.

As I had mentioned in my blog earlier, the group project period were indeed ghoulish. I had spent large amount of time to them and ended up neglecting my daily examination revision. Upon reanalyzing, I realized that there was

1) little efficiency due to lack of an official leader who is supposed to exact discipline & define tasks,

2) inability to manage our task easily due to the concurrent tests and

3) differences between working methods between strong personalities.

I think these problems will be solved if an official leader was present, tasks will be

1) clearly defined to prevent confusion or differing expectations,

2) deadlines will be better adhered to due to better idea of the tasks & scheduling and

3) better allocation of tasks will prevent intersection of duties and allowance to iron out differences.    

My examination this semester is mainly bad time management as I had underestimated this semester as it is chock full of time consuming group projects this was exacerbated by extensive time committed to my real estate commitments, group projects and yes, Fallout 3. I fared pretty badly this semester and got credits instead of distinctions for the common tests. The main reasons for this was the lack of past year papers which had always been an essential component of my revision, question spotting which didn’t go according to plan and screwing up of my WIL1 project. Things I can learn from this semester would be to do early revision of my course which will give me a better grasp of the subjects, allowing me to spread my risks (although I still prefer my past year papers and I suspect I will still succumb to question spotting as I am used to this sort of risk taking)

Next semester, I am confident that I can better manage my real estate due to a better management system implemented, no more Fallout 3 distraction, better group project management and early revision for my exams. Therefore, due to the nature a tougher 5th semester, next semester would be as tough or if not more tough. This entry helped me to clear my thoughts and I will refer back to it many times during the next semester if I got lost somehow.

My “Por Por”

Thanks for the care & concern you have showered upon me over the last 22 odd years in my life. I know you have taken care of me in the earlier days of my life back in your old home of blk 407. However, the defining years whereby there was significant progress in our relationship were probably during my junior college, national service & university years. The only catalyst I can think that set off this process was probably the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I begun to spend more time at your place, the memories of new year visits & weekly visits were much more clearer.

 

I shared many fond memories with you but they can be grouped under the frequent & usual conversations I had with you, the memories of your expression of love to me and the progression of your cancer. I clearly remember the usual advices you had dispensed to me:

• when I gave money to you “don’t give me money now, save them and study hard, then you can afford to give me more money when you got a high paying job”

• when you wanted me to work hard for my studies “ don’t look for a girlfriend so soon, study hard get a good job and then look for a girlfriend”. I remember a particular incident whereby I actually replied I had a girlfriend, you look shocked but had a good laugh when I said her name was “Ang Ai Thiam”

• I remember you often told me not to get mad & learn to endure my dad’s antics whenever I complained because “he was my father after all, he worked very hard to support our family and send me through university, and something not all fathers will do”. You can also empathize with my feelings.

• And the funny stories you shared with us regarding the unhygienic hospice or it colorful inhabitants and the times you got into incidents, be it in your younger or senior days.

 

I remembered the promises I made to you. To bring you to church, to give you a good life and to bring you overseas to enjoy once I made my big bucks. I am so sorry that I could not fulfill it, this is something I deeply regretted & I will not make this mistake with my mother, no matter how she may treat me. I also feel so appreciated & affirmed that you enjoyed my company & I mattered so much to you. This was evident when you praised me in front of your friends and relatives. Perhaps it is true that life is meaningless if you do not have someone who you matter to.

 

Your unconditional love was expressed to me in the form of the delicious food you had prepared for me, your concern about my physical & financial well-being and how you put my needs above yours. I have very fond memories of the dishes you prepared, at times, especially for me.

 

Now with the benefit of hindsight, I can better appreciate your effort when your dropped by my place: the bus trip, lugging of groceries and ascending the stairs to my place. There were couple of times whereby I saw you panting, and I actually thought it was the weather…. To think I even told you once that exercising is good for your health when this was such an arduous task for you. Even so, there were many times when I could not be around when you enquire about me or when I prefer to keep myself occupied with the computer; I had let my addiction get the better of me.

 

I also remember how readily you would cook my favourite dishes: the muay chai, bah ku teh, hebi hiam and the papayas or water melon. You had shown yourself to be such a caring mother, that is so unique and irreplaceable in my heart. I also remember you reprimanding my mother for going shopping always, forgetting about the kids meals. That is my definition of a mother & my needs.

 

I can also remember the time when you struck 4D and treated me to delicacies, you were so adorable & the experiences were priceless when you told me to keep it a secret that you had treated me after striking 4D. there was café cartel, KFC, you treat me to the pork ribs & zinger meal (hanbaobao). You don’t work, you income is limited, but still… This was something so firmly etched in my mind & the feelings are so strong! I was devastated and could not reconcile the fact when I knew that you were gone forever. But I am glad you are in good hands. As I am.

 

The period you were ill and had to spend time in the hospital was one of the most eventful period in my life when I got to understand my family members and you better. There was a swift degeneration of your health, how you became bed-ridden and robbed of your freedom to perform your daily activities like walking, cleaning yourself, marketing, doing the housework and cooking. Reflecting on the events that had happen, you must have been so brave as it must have been such an isolating period of your life. Leaving your home of 6 years, leaving your close ones, sleeping at an alien place filled with people diagnosed with terminal conditions, losing the freedom of doing your daily activities, taking the medical cocktail and all those painful medical procedures which deprived you of a decent meal. Even then, you also put our needs above your’s by telling me to go for classes instead of visiting you, and chasing us off early so as to allow us to have a good rest. I do not know whether you truly meant it, but deep in my heart I believe I already have the answer: that you will prefer people who are dear to you to support you if possible.

 

I remember the fear & shock in my heart when I saw you delirious after taking the medication…I was utterly devastated scared that I might lose this mother I have known and looked up to. Fortunately you recovered and the steroids managed to induce your appetite. I remembered the prawn noodles, baked potatoes & croissants which you so eagerly relished. I was so happy I could do something substantial for you, to feed you & provide emotional support in return in your time of need.

 

Soon, you were back at home and the threat of impending death didn’t seem too real after all; though you lost your curly hair and your body substantially weakened, you were with us. As much as I regretted reducing the frequency of my visits due to my other commitments in your last days, I am really glad I got to spend quality time with you, comfort & understand you before you slipped into a degenerated state. As the steroids were reduced, you lost your appetite, recovered strength and the headaches returned, very soon you couldn’t speak coherently, lost your basic bodily function and could only look listlessly at the ceiling. I felt so hopeless as I realized your condition will only deteriorate. The inevitable has finally arrived and I saw your lifeless body on the bed, it struck me so vividly that I took a while to digest the picture. It was only when aunty cat told me to say some last words to you when I realized how much I loved you! I cried.

Everything went by so smoothly and the next moment you were embalmed before me. The only thing that left I could possibly do to help you would be to take care of the visitors and keep a lookout for your wake during the night.

 

You will remain deep in my heart because you had changed me. You could not write and teach but you had showed me through your life the meaning of unconditional love. I can see you in myself and I promise to make my life a tribute to you.

Distraction

A lesson I had learnt from my real estate degree course:

If focusing on your goals gives you the power to fulfill your greatest dreams, distraction is probably the most destructive force on earth that keeps you from doing. It is distraction that prevented so many young adults from fulfilling their potential, caused so many adults to lose their jobs, caused so many parents to lose their family and prevented so many individuals from living a meaningful life. No wonder the idle mind is the devil’s workshop.

Personally, I have been struggling to juggle my real estate career with my group projects in school. It had been a ghoulish month whereby up to eight hours daily could be spent on the projects alone. I had also been hooked to a new RPG Fallout 3 which took 3-4 hours daily and that leaves me with little time for real estate. I got distracted.

Fortunately, I managed to survive the tortuous process and learnt my lesson by starting the project earlier and choosing the correct members so as to be able to aid in early completion of the group project. My exams will be coming up at the end of this month and these lessons will certainly prove useful to my revision process. Real estate wise, I am back in action!

Habit II

 
 

 

Ok, so the book I had been reading lately is the 7 habits of highly effective people. It was long overdue and I had to read it as it was “the book” in self management; I am currently at early chapter 3- around 44% and had just completed a chapter 2 exercise known as “identifying your roles and goals”. 

 

The aim of visualising and writing your goal helps to clarify your thoughts, breaking them into more easily achievable parts. This concept that everybody have different and multiple roles to play was not foreign to me (It also applies to your personality; as such, many mes actually exists in the mind of different people. I came across this concept in an anime called Neon Genesis Evangelion and it delves into the realm of psychoanalysis and philosophy.).

 

However, the amazing thing about doing this task, beyond letting me discover a little more about my underlying values, was that it totally utilised everything I had learn about self actualization in the past few years and crystallises it into an extremely clear picture! This therapeutical and insightful process shows me how inadequate I current am compared to my desired future self. But the point was give me this rude shock and to recognise this reality so that I can start making conscious decisions decision to mould myself.

 

The realisation struck me pretty hard as I had thought the desire to develop myself to the best of mycapabilities was the apex; thanks to Maslow hierarchy of needs. Rather, it is very important to be realistic and create a goal of who you want to be in future. That being said, I created a saint in a couple of hours of introspection and that is someone I really look forward to becoming.

 

Identifying roles and goals (with the left brain)

 

Roles

 

Catholic:

·          Be a role model by living a life of integrity, discipline, grace & truth adhering to God’s desire.

·          Read and learn more about God.

·          Evangelize the Good News to people.

·          Serve & play a part in building the Church.

 

Son/Brother:

·          Be a role model to provide positive influence.

·          Assist in the development of Christian values in my siblings.

·          Provide love & support when required.

 

Neighbor:

·          Help my friends when they genuinely need it.

·          Being present to provide moral & emotional support when needed.

 

Property agent:

·          Commitment to upgrading my skills & knowledge by updating myself with the current government policies & researching on the local & global property industry.

·          Serving my clients with integrity by providing objective and accurate information with the best of my knowledge so that they can make their decisions.

·          Uncompromising personalized service.

·          Never, ever attempt to earn more by doing anything unethical against my clients, firm, colleagues and competitors.

·          Commitment to developing the ability of my associates to the fullest.

 

Student:

·          Attending lectures, courses and activity to maximize my learning experience & capabilities.

·          Revise religiously so as to score well for my assignments & exams.

·          Commitment to sustainable and lifelong learning.

 

Human being:

·          Make efficient and effective use of my time

·          Commitment to lifelong learning to maximize my intellectual capabilities by being humble, reading widely and maintaining awareness to different perspectives.

·          Travel & read widely & actively so as to bridge different cultural perspective, preventing conflicts and promoting peace in the world.

·          Actively choose to lead a healthy, socially and environmental friendly lifestyle.

·          Using all my abilities to contribute to the betterment of mankind through promoting of education, Christian values and doing charity for the economically & physically handicapped.  

 

Husband:

·          Love and serve my wife with all my heart.

·          Provide emotional, financial and moral support for my wife when required.

·          Commitment to learning to understanding my wife so as to be a good husband.

 

Father:

·          Inculcating Christian and character ethics for my children.

·          Provide my children with education and proactively sharing my knowledge & experiences with them.

·          Help my children to fulfill their potential in their respective fields and interests.

·          Take part in every stage of my children’s growth & prioritize my time to my family over my work unconditionally.

·          Provide emotional, financial and moral support for my family when required.

 

 

 

 

 

Little girl with butterfly wings

 

 

 

Guilty as charged!

I am guilty of not making an effort to post on my blog these days but you can be sure that it directly correlates to the eventful or constructive things that had occurred in this period of my life.

 

For the past two months, my daily routine was reading the papers and self help books, surfing the net to keep myself updated in the current affairs, working as a real estate agent but mainly trying to develop a system to keep my activities constant in anticipation of the hectic semester ahead and lastly; indulging myself by playing some not-too-addictive games.

 

Then again, the objective of this blog is not to blog for the sake of blogging but rather to note memorable events for myself and some of my not-that-personal thoughts. That being said, I believe I owe this blog a couple of entries, namely: 1)my visit to AFA’08, 2)some of my attempts to inject scientific management into my foray into real estate, 3)my rants about my inaccurate-then-delayed exam results, 4)my second post-ord ippt and 5)reflections on some books I had read.

 

 

Pretty much i had been doing during the holidays

Pretty much i had been doing during the holidays

All that glitters might be gold

Sometime back on the 4th October, I went to a seminar conducted by POEMS on ETFs and gold. Back then, it was chaos in the financial markets. Lehman Brothers just filed for bankruptcy protection, Merrill Lynch jus sold herself to BOA for 50billion, AIG managed to stay afloat with a 85billion dollars lifeline from the Feds and there was trouble trying to pass the 700billion bailout plan.

 

During the seminar, there were doubts about the 700billion bailout plan.

Will it be too late?

How will the 700billion dollars of taxpayers’ money be used?

Will it be sufficient to even buy up the toxic debts from the banks’ balance sheet?

Even so, what will be the consequences of the 700billion dollars on the world’s biggest economy?

Further inflation?

 

Given all these uncertainty and volatility in the financial markets, equities were not as attractive as before. That brought us to the topic of the seminar, the investment case for gold as a financial asset. The speaker for the seminar was Albert Cheng from World Gold Council, his explanation on gold was succinct and informative, and I learnt more about gold than I ever did for the last 22 years of my life.

 

Basically, gold can be used as insurance in your portfolio due to its minimal correlation will the volatility in the financial markets and inflationary pressures. The next function of gold is liquid asset in your portfolio, when times are bad and equities have taken a beating, gold would probably increase in value and can be liquidated for cash when you are hard-pressed for cash.

 

As gold price is also affected by the underlying supply and demand, the rising of the emerging economies and the significance of gold in their culture will invariably increase the world’s demand of gold. At this point, Albert flashed a few slides which showed the breakdown of gold supply and demand; a striking point to note was that a huge percentage of gold supply came from new gold which is decreasing. The reason being high exploration and production costs and that even capital exploitation will take 6-7 years. Albert went on to explain the technicalities and difficulties of the process.

 

 Lastly, Alfred explained how gold was available for investment via ETF in the secondary market, whereby 10 shares of gold EFT approximately 80USD will get you an equivalent of 1 ounce of allocated gold stored in London. That will save you the hassle as compared to buying jewelries which command the craftsman premium and GST, or buying the physical bar from bank which will incur delivery charges and GST.

 

On the whole, it is was a very informative seminar whereby we not only get to listen with the speakers but also interact with them; not to mention the scrumptious refreshment they provide. If POEM is going to conduct such interesting seminars during the subsequent Saturdays, I do not mind making this a permanent activity for my Saturdays.