Let us go over to the other side

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“Jie, Jie, let us go to the other side.” Chris said to Jie-jie, Rachel

I know of a senior manager who is a “feng-shui” man. Every tie he wears, every meeting date he charts for presentation, every major moves he makes … he consults “feng-shui” master.

Every tie he wears means the colour of the tie he wears to meet different clients. He tells me sometimes he has to wear yellow, other time green and another time blue. It all depends who he is meeting and what day is the meeting.

He is also particular of which position should he be seated when meeting the CEO! According to him, if he is making a proposal for CEO’s approval, he must let CEO sit in a position which is most unfavourable to the CEO. Then, his proposal will be easily approved.

I read this interesting sidebar story today –

CEO Understood Authority

Sam Bronfman, the late CEO of the Seagram Company, entered a crowded conference room and, anxious to get on with the meeting, plopped into the nearest chair. One of his young assistants immediately said, “No, Mr. Bronfman, you’re supposed to sit at the head of the table.”

“Young man,” replied Mr. Bronfman, “wherever I sit is the head of the table.”

—Leadership journal (5-7-96) p. 12

That reminds me of a recent meeting that I attended. The conference table is a long table. There were seven other members. I was caught in an unexpected traffic jam on a Saturday afternoon. Thus though on time, I was the last one to arrive. When I walked in the conference room, the other seven members had occupied one side of the table, while with the Chairman sitting alone at the opposite side. That left me with no choice but to sit side by side with the Chairman. With two at one side, and seven others at the other side, though it was not a “hot seat”, it made me quite “uneasy”.

Thinking back, the “hot seat” was like when we encountered storms and cried out for Christ’s assistance.

Christ says, “Let us go over to the other side” (Mark 4:35). He does not say, “Let go to the middle of the lake to be drowned.”

So, why don’t face the storm victoriously? Why do we not keep cool on the “hot seat”? Why do we have so little faith?

The next time when you are placed on a hot seat, remember this –

With Christ in the conference room (my vessel)
I smile at the storm.
Because Christ is on board. (on the board, He is the CEO)

Which seat do you take in a meeting room?

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The Wet Market

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I stay with my in-laws. Now, it’s with my mother-in-law. My father-in-law went to the Lord in 2004.

When dad in law was around, he enjoyed the trips to wet market. Despite being a very busy businessman, he did this task diligently and faithfully. Even when he had to go on business trips, he would ensure that those at home would have enough food to last till he came back.

So, for 18 years, I did not have the chance to go to the wet market.

When dad in law passed on, the task of buying vegetable falls on me. Yes, I have been doing so for the past two years plus. I also do it diligently and faithfully. If I need to travel, I also ensure that the loved ones at home have enough food to last till I come back. The only difference, I don’t enjoy the trip. I don’t stop and smell the roses. I don’t stop at each stall to say Hello. I rush through.

This morning I made a trip to the wet market. I timed the time I used to do this task. 15 minutes only! From home to market, brought vegetables including chicken and fish, back home. All in 15 minutes! And the supply is going to last me for one week.

How could I do that?

I go to one vegetable stall – get all my vegetables there.
I go to one stall – get my “ta-fu”, noodles
I go to one fish stall – get my fish
I go to one chicken stall – get my chicken

I remember my dad in law used to tell us to buy a small portion of vegetables, fish and chicken from each stall. In this way, he said, we were ensuring that all the stalls have business.

How do you market at the wet market? My Way or My Dad-in-law’s Way?

Who’s Packing Your Parachute?

In my devotion this morning, I read a little story told by Former Florida Senator John Grant. In this article, titled “Who Packs Your Parachute and Who’s Do You Pack?” the former Florida Senator told of the story of a jet fighter pilot in Vietnam, Charles Plumb.

Charles Plumb graduated from United States Naval Academy. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. He ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He spent the next six years in a Communist prison where he underwent humiliation, brutality and torture.

Plumb was later repatriated to the United States. He then began a series of talk and appeared in TV and shows. One day, Plumb was dining in a restaurant with his wife. A man came to him and identified him as Plumb who flew jet fighters in Vietnam and were shot down. Plumb asked how did he know.

The man replied, “I packed your parachute. I guess it worked!”

Plumb said, “It sure did. If your parachute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Back home, Plumb couldn’t sleep that night. He kept thinking how many times he might have seen this man and not even said Good Morning, How are you or anything because he was a jet fighter pilot while he was just a sailor.

Plumb asked his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute?” He went on to say that we needed many kinds of parachutes – physical parachute, mental parachute, emotional parachute, spiritual parachute.

Now, who’s packing your parachute in the daily challenges that life gives us?

Lighting Up Your Path

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We launched Hari Gawai Road Safety Campaign as our community project last Friday. Car and motorcycle stickers and free newspapers were distributed to motorists at one of the busy traffic junction.

With the slogan –

Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre
You Can Make A difference

We go to the basics of road safety. And road users are reminded.

With the traffic police personnel directing the busy traffic to the path where my invited guests distributed stickers and newspapers, an inexplicable clarity was given to this truth –

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” (Ps 119:105)

God guides us through the difficulties of daily living.

Just let Him.

Can peacock lay egg?

Can peacock lay egg?

Can you confidently answer this question?

Yesterday in Sarawak State Assembly, the Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan was asked this question by MP Wong Ho Leng of the opposition DAP.

Dr Chan (he is a medical doctor), either due to ignorance or fear of being tricked, did not answer to the question. Instead he asked the rationale of asking that question and whether it was related to politics.

Even when Wong Ho Leng stressed it was just a simple question, Dr Chan refused to answer. Later Wong Ho Leng said Dr Chan being also Minister of modernization of agriculture should know whether a peacock lays egg!

I posed the same question to my 11-year-old son, Chris, while driving him to school this morning.

Without hesitation, Chris answered, “Yes, peacocks lay eggs. But if you want to be specific, peacock does not lay egg because it’s male. Peahen does the job.”

That’s a simple question, isn’t it not? But from the newspaper report, I read that the two MPs spent quite a while arguing whether the question should be answered. What a waste of our taxpayer money.

A child is completely trusting, guileless, without arrogance and without all the detestable traits and hangups that we adults possess.  A simple question whether “peacocks lay egg” seems complicated in our adults’ world. Today, I am reminded how “blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matt 5:8)

And remember this profound truth? Jesus says, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3).

Working Three Shifts

Author/researcher Michele Bolton says,

“Women work three shifts. They work one shift at their workplace, a second shift at home taking care of their families, and a third shift in their minds, conducting a continuous inner dialogue of second-guessing whatever actions and decisions have filled their days…Women are expected to fulfill significant responsibilities and leadership roles at work – prove themselves – and also retain a nurturing, other-oriented role in the family and broader community.”

Do you work three shifts?

You’re an Original

Many years ago, I bought a book titled “You’re born an original, don’t die a copy”. It was authored by John. L. Mason.

I love the nuggets in this little book. Nuggets such as –

Leave everyone a little better than you found them
The door of opportunity are marked “Push”
The person with imagination is never alone and never finished
and many others…

And there is even alphabets for originality!
A for Attitude, B for Believer, C for character, D for decisive, E for effort, F for fearless, G for gratitude, H for honesty, I for ideas, J for joy, K for kind-hearted, L Leadership, M for merciful, N for nonconformity, O for objective, P for pray, Q for quiet-time, R for responsibility, S for sensitivity, T for tenacity, U for unhesitating, V for vigilant, W for wholehearted, X for e(x)ceptional, Y for yielded and Z for zealous!

The author ended with “A Final Word” –

Be the original person God intended you to be.
Don’t settle for anything less.
Don’t look back.
Look forward and decide today to take steps towards His plan for your life.
And remember 1 Thess 5:24 that says,
“Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.”

Talking of original, I met one very “original” woman on board MH638 on Mothers’ Day from Changi Airport to Kuching International Airport. She has a couple of alphabets for originality.

The woman was seated one row in front of me. She has a classy look, probably in her late 40s/early 50s. She was in a T-shirt and a jeans – yet, she just looked very classy and professional. She started reading the moment she settled in her seat.

When the air-stewardess collected the tray after lunch, this classy woman opened the overhead compartment above her seat. Just as I thought, with my height, I could lend her a helping hand, she had already climbed on the seat and stood on the seat and began her searching for her bag!

She is indeed very original! I would never dare to do that in a plane!

I tried to be original too. I took a close watch of her for my own interest. I wanted to make sure that I have enough time to avoid falling objects on me! Clearly annoyed by my look, she stared back at me.

Indeed, very original!

Finally, she was done with her business. She sat down and began her reading.

“Ouch….” that was my original scream of pain. Also, very original, with no pretense. It was such pain on my injured knee.

The woman pushed the back of her seat so hard and so abruptly and so originally that it hit my knee. I am tall, my knees touch the back seat. A sudden and fast push hit hard on my knees.

She looked back – no expression, no apologies, and she was fast enough to continue her reading leaving me with the pain to manage.

Very, very original woman, indeed! I wonder whether she was reading “Don’t die a copy!”