Monday, March 31, 2008

Dreams Do Come True

It's been bloody good.

I was just wasting time a little while ago, reminscing on the year so far and the new experiences I've encountered in the last three months. It's amazing how many things have happened, and I'm feeling very grateful to higher beings for my good fortune as of late. Perhaps it's my jet-lagged state that's made me philosophical, but what the hey... I might as well pen down my blessings while I'm still aware enough to appreciate them.

In the last three months:
  • I have been selected to represent my company and country at an international contest.

  • I have enjoyed an all-expense paid 7 day trip in Thailand. It was wonderful.

  • I will be touring my dream destination (Egypt) in a few days' time. I can die happy.

  • I have suddenly made 26 new friends from all corners of Asia and we are surprising closer that I am to my own sibling. That is both wierd and thrilling at the same time.

  • I have been interviewed thrice by the media. Goodness knows why, but it's definitely a buzz to be deemed worthy of interviews.

  • My relationship has strengthened by the day. I love him and that makes me smile.

  • My depression of three months ago has lifted. I hope it stays that way. Crossed fingers.

  • I have received approvals and gratitude from clients who hated my guts just last year. If you met these people you'd know why it's a cause to sing.

  • I have my dream vehicle! As of this morning, I drive a blue Cami who is shiny and perfect. Her name is Camilla Parker. How corny but apt.

I know there is impermanency in all this, and I may very well soon be banging my head once more into walls and whining on the agonies of life. But for the time-being, I'm doing good.

It's been a bloody good year so far.

Art, Food and Whores

Yoohoo... I'm baaaack.

Just returned from one week of madness and mayhem in Pattaya, Thailand, to where I was shipped off with a teammate for the 'Young Lotus' Competition at Adfest 2008.

We didn't win. Cue collective 'aww'.

But that's not to say we didn't have a rollicking time either - some of us more than others. After 7 days of all things Pattaya, I am a changed woman. I now have a new respect for the Thai people... I've heard of tolerance being taught in the Buddhist doctrines, but those Thais take the cake when it comes to accepting all mannerisms of life, including the very un-buddhist sex industry that's booming like an overpopulated beehive. More to cum on THAT subject...

But lets begin at the beginning, and instead of boring you with the long-haul version, here's my trip-list:

  • I learnt Thai. I can just about manage to say 'hello', 'please', 'my name is...', 'thank you' and 'how much?' in the language, without having to entertain an audience of Thai folk rolling on the floor holding their bellies in a state of mirth.

  • I learnt that my name should never be mentioned in Thailand, due it also being (very ironically) the Thai word for 'sexual fun'. I now know that the looks of curious amusement I got were attributable to me introducing myself with "Hello I am sexual fun". In PATTAYA, out of all goddamn places.

  • I ate too much. The food is too good. 'Nuff said.

  • There is an art to bargaining with anyone who provides an product or service in Thailand. I have now perfected that art, and managed to amaze even the Thais themselves with my powers of persuasion.

  • Thai massages are not for the weak of heart. Be warned. They will make you fall asleep with some superb tenchniques before making your spinal cord go to hell and back. There will be at least an hour following this massage where you will feel like the proverbial rubber band. I learned that my body can move in directions I never thought possible.

  • Walking Street in Pattaya is so openly taboo that your mind numbs to it's sleaziness within five minutes of being there. I saw hookers of all shapes and sizes dry-humping the european geriatrics who unashamedly bought their services for the night. My favourite was the withered old man who tried to playfully bite his purchase on her arm, only to leave his dentures hanging out. It was by far the most sickening and yet most hilarious thing I have ever witnessed.

  • It is not possible to be thrifty in Bangkok. Ever.

  • I made tons and tons of new friends from all over the world at Adfest, and these relationships I will cherish for life.

I will post up some pics soon. Until then....

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


I am in a panic.

(And yet, I have the time and frame of mind to blog. Ah, the ironies of life...)

Too fast. It's all happening too fast. I always thought the phrase 'so much to do, so little time' was applicable only to those corny badges we used to pin on our schoolbags in an unsuccessful attempt at coolness. But by golly, I am so empathizing with the schmuck who first thought up the line.

I leave the island with my office colleague in two days, to participate in the Young Lotus competition in Thailand. For the last month my team member and I were promised numerous hours of industry training and grilling in order that we'd be duly prepared to take on the rest of Asia, but up to date not a single thing has happened. Nothing. Nada. We don't even know how to use the damn softwares on our laptops.

Sue me, but I'm a nervous wreck right now. I like being prepared... or at least feeling prepared. The most preparation I've got so far is the underwear I'm packing into my suitcase (you never know when you might meet with a horrible accident on the streets of Pattaya. It's only polite to let the paramedics see some decent undies on you).

They say 18 teams from around Asia will be competing. That's 34 other participants who will know what they're doing, while the two of us blink rapidly and wonder how to switch our machines on. Every time I cried to my boss this past week about how under-prepared and technically ignorant we are, he chuckled and told me to 'chill'. Chill? CHILL? I'll chill when I'm not representing myself, my agency and my country in an international contest. Then I'll chill. But for now, I think I'll take it seriously, thank you very much. I can't help but wonder why any sane employer wouldn't share in my anxiety. Chilling won't help me figure out Final Cut Pro on my macbook. Chilling won't flood my head with award-winning creative ideas. The only thing chilling will do is avoid a heart attack on my behalf, which, by the looks of it, is also an experience not far off.

Life has been a hectic mess for a month now. I haven't had barely enough time to breathe, let alone figure this competition out. Work has been a mad chaos, and I've been multi-tasking at a rate. I am writing scripts and shooting commercials in my dreams now. Have been rushing maniacally between meetings with the boyfriend, clients, banks, travel agents, production houses, home, office and the petrol stations that are benefiting hugely from it all. Everything needs to be done NOW NOW NOW. Add to that the looming competition that I should rightfully be confident about and fully geared for....

Shit. Two days more. SHIT.

Maybe I should chill.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Motherhood is a Business

For the last thre weeks, I've been playing mummy to my mummy - she having gone through surgery and all.

Let me just start by saying I have realized without a doubt that I am the last person to ever be a caregiver, and I mean EVER. Three weeks of it and I have come to the conclusion that being a housewife and mother is by far THE hardest job in the world and sadly, it took a full-on live experience to make me accept that wholeheartedly.

I don't know how all the mothers of the world do it. Honestly. My hat goes off to every single one of them, for I have been truly humbled by the mammoth task they undertake so willingly. I never really got what the big fuss about being a housewife was until I actually had to poke myself into the role for a few days.

If you're scoffing, shut up now.... because you're probably a poor sod like I was who can't see beyond the jungle that is your office and social life, and one who assumes that a woman who brings up a family has it easy in life. There isn't a businessman or woman in this entire universe who can compete with the energy and lifelong effort of a mother and housewife. You have just one designation. She has every designation.

First, she is a manager, because the entire household's machination comes under her purview. She must do all she can to keep the operation running smoothly and on schedule.

Then she is the Director, passing judgement and making hard decisions on the lives of her home team. If she doesn't do her job right, she will lose her family and the respect of an entire society.

She becomes a trainer and a motivator for her children, and spends each waking day thinking of new ways in which to help them grow as individuals, pushing them to reach their fullest potential. Their losses are her loss, and their victories are a testament of her hard work and support.

Simultaneously, she is also a trainee, because each day of her Directorship is new to her, and every minute is a learning experience. She learns as she goes along and many a mistake is bound to be made and rubbed into her by the external auditors that are society and relatives.

She takes on the role of PR and marketing whenever anyone questions her methods of raising her family and keeping her home. Her PR skills need to work wonders to soothe an angry husband or pacify a sulking child. If she doesn't market herself well and continuously, she may lose the interest of said husband, who is her biggest client. Sadly, it is the way of this chauvinistic world that she is expected to identify his needs and satisfy them before competition steps in.

As the family accountant she will keep tabs on the household expenses, and has little time to think of her own. Personal shopping with petty cash becomes a luxury, because she needs to save for her children whilst providing for them sufficently at the same time. The books can never be in the red - retrenching and resigning are two options she never had.

She becomes the janitor whenever the bathrooms and clothes need cleaning, the butler & chef when meal service is required, the maid every time he leaves his clothes on the floor and the seamstress when term-end concerts come along. Interior decorator, handywoman and carpenter are dual extensions to those existing positions.

To think... she does this every single day of her life from the time she says 'I do' to her contract. No leave granted and no benefits. And sometimes, all this is performed alongside an 'official' career too.

And what is her remuneration for all this? A birthday wish? A mother's day card?

I have never appreciated my mother as much as I do now. Last night I wrote her a letter, thanking her for opening my eyes to the sacrifices she has made and the limiltless love she has put into her multi-tasking role. I will never be able to do even one twentieth of the job by the looks of it... just three weeks of juggling career and home has brought me to a state of exhaustion.

I applaud her. I applaud all the women like her.

Tomorrow, I will wish them all a happy International Women's Day.

(N.B - to all who expressed concern, mum is doing very well now. She is recovering slowly, but surely, and her cancer was removed along with her ovaries. She needs only minimal follow-up treatment and plenty of rest. Thank you for your prayers which worked.)