Friday, 24 February 2012

Old T-shirt and Rollers : my perfect working attires

The current high cost of living makes a lot of families need to have dual income to support their school-going children. More women go to universities, graduate and join the workforce to fulfill their needs to be independent and to ease the financial burdens of their families. A lot of women participate in developing this country by becoming ministers.

However, a lot of these women have to put their careers on hold once they give births. These highly qualified women with degrees have to switch jobs from accountants, engineers, or bankers to be ONLY housewives. While I know a lot of women go back to work after having kids, I also know how dead tired they are.

It's easy to say that these women can balance their family lives with works. Having experienced being a working mother myself, I wonder how to balance those two lives together... Mine just didn't balance out. One thing has to be sacrificed. Should I continue working, I would have to sacrifice my time with my kids. I would spend 9 hours (sometimes more) at work and only 1 hour with the kids everyday. Is it balance?

Some people think that I shouldn't spend too much time with my children but I seriously think 1 hour a day with my children is not enough. That's why I stopped working full time. Few of my friends now think that I am wasting my Master degree by working part time. But I really do enjoy my life now, doing things I really love and learning things I didn't have time to learn, like learning to play piano. That's the reason why I finished my Master degree in the first place : To be able to afford a life that I can trully enjoy. Isn't it the main purpose most people work? To have enough money so they can enjoy their lives?

Malaysian government is encouraging corporations to allow mothers work part time. I think employers should really consider this option. Based on my current experience doing part time accounting work, it's really a win-win situation for both my employer and me. Why?

Benefits for the employers:

1. No need to have big office space because the part timers can work from home. Since they work from home, no need to buy office chairs, computers, desks, stationeries and pantry items (coffee, snacks, etc.)
2. Smaller office space also means less rental and electricity bills.
3. No need to deal with sick leaves, emergency leaves and annual leaves.
4. Employers really pay based on performance of the part timers. They don't need to pay the employees who use company's time and computers playing farmville on Facebook.
5. Employers don't need to pay health insurance for the part timers.
6. Save money on labour costs but still get the same performance.

Benefits for the society:
  1.  Since the part timers work from home, driving to work is minimized, thus less traffic jam and CO2 emision.
  2. Less office buildings means less trees cut for urban development.
  3. No wasted talents. The knowledge and experiences of these women can still be utilized.
Benefits for the part timers:
  1. Flexible time, allowing them to send and pick up the kids from school or tuition centers.
  2. Being able shop at the popular malls during weekdays, saving them from insanity of having to find parking spots in malls during weekends.
  3. Really balance their work and family lives.
  4. Their knowledge is not wasted.
  5. Save time because they can go straight to work without taking shower, putting on make ups, and finding matching outfits.
  6. Save money from transportations, parkings, and buying work clothes.
  7. Have healthier and more fulfilling lives because they will have time to go to gym, cook nutricious food yet still have extra money to go for lunches with girlfriends.
  8. Don't need to feel guilty for having to take an emergency leave to go back home because the maid accidently being locked out from the house and you have to rescue her by opening the door.
But of course, not all job positions can be filled by part-timers but I think it's something a company should think about.  I know my ex-neighbours who worked for IBM did most of their works at home and went to office about once a week.  Apparently IBM is one of the smarter companies to allow full-time but flexible working hours.  As long as the employees get the jobs done, they don;t care where they do the jobs, in office or at the comfort of their homes.

As for me, I am just happy crunching numbers on my laptop while texting my stock broker over a cup of coffee in a short and old worn-off T-shirt with hair full of rollers.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Greasy lips on Valentine's Day

This morning I read an article about Valentine's day written by a hunk columnist.  He is a Malaysian celebrity, with a very handsome face, a "six-packs" ab and bright dazzling smile.  I learned from him that Valentine is one of the most stressful annual events for men, even from a hunk like him...

I never thought that Valentine is stressful for anyone... But of course, being a girl, now a woman, I had always been on the "receiving side".

According to him, Valentine is stressful because guys always have to find "the right" things to amuse their girlfriends on Valentine's day.  Wrong choice of amusements will cause in long wet crying moments labelling them as jerks.  And we all know, some girls/women are hard to please.... For some, heart-shaped chocolates and flowers are boring, opting more for some bling blings.  For guys, going to a bling bling shop is totally nerve-wrecking because they will have to do a lot of spontaneous mathematical calculations in their brains, risking their credit card limits for the next six months.

And of course, they can't give the gifts while eating roti canai at the mamak shops.  They need to give the gifts in some fancy restaurants which charge exorbitant prices for some "valentine-themed" meals carrying funny names on the menus.  To make it worse, the girlfriends would just "touch" the meals, sending more than half of their plates back to kitchens for afraid being labelled "not-feminine" if they eat the whole things on the plates.

For macho guys, finding something romantic but not cheesy is really a challenge.  There is just a thin line separating romantic and cheesy. Having candle-lit diner with Whitney Houston"s I Will Always Love You is probably romantic but singing that song off-tuned to your girlfriend is totally cheesy, if not disgusting.

So ladies... why don't we give our guys some peaceful, easy and pleasant Valentine's Day instead?

Smile and accept any gifts we receive with a twinkle in our eyes, (act pleasantly surprise if you can....) eat all the chocolates we get and empty all the painstakingly-prepared-valentine-themed-dish on the plates we are served...

As for me, I would just be contented with hugs and kisses from my love ones.  No chocolate or fancy diners can compete with my daughters' hand-made Valentine's cards plus the hugs and kisses we give to each other for the whole day.  My husband, the non-believer of Valentine's Day, will probably be the happiest man on earth.  Free from the stressful moments... No need to think about flowers, chocolates, fancy diners or bling blings. The only thing he needs to be concerned about is my lipstick marks and my daughters's greasy lips on his face.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone.....

In the end, the Love You Take is equal to the Love You Make - by Paul McCartney

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

End of holiday season...

As I am writing this, I have tons of unfinished work waiting for me.  But instead of grabbing my invoices, numeric keypad and cheque book, I darted to this page.  My mind just couldn't start.  The black coffee I had this morning didn't give me the desired effect. The short yoga I did also didn't energize me at all.  I guess my whole body and mind are just not ready to accept the fact that today is really the end the holiday season in Malaysia.

Living in Malaysia means enjoying more holidays than any other countries.  Our multi-cultural society celebrates religious holidays for Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Buddhists.  We also celebrate Chinese New Year, International New Year, and Islamic New Year in addition to Independence Day, Malaysia Day, Federal Territory Day, Labor Day and King's Birthday.  All in all we have about 17 days of public holidays in a year.  Average annual leaves for employees is 14 days/year.  Maternity days had been increased from 30 to 60 days.

So if I were a pregnant woman delivering my baby this year, I would get 102 off-days on weekends, plus 17 days of public holidays, 60 days of maternity leaves and 14 days annual leaves = 193 off days per year. A normal person would get about 133 days of holidays a year.

While lot of business owners complain that we have way too many public holidays thus reducing productivity of the country, I am not complaining at all. 

I totally believe in having a balance life of work and leisure.  Life is too short to be spent on work and work and work. The 133 days of holidays means 1/3 of our life was spent on leisure while 2/3 or our life was for working.  I guess it's a fair deal.

Few years ago my uncle introduced me to his clients, two Korean guys, one in his late fifties and the other one was in his early thirties. Being a nice person, my uncle "entertained" his guests by taking them for a lavish Chinese dinner.  We went to my favorite seafood restaurant that had live crustaceans, lobsters, fish, clams and varieties of prawns in their aquariums. Being generous, my uncle and auntie ordered 8 dishes for the 6 of us.  While we were eating, I noticed his Korean guests looked restless, looking at their watches a few times.  I asked them if they had more plans after the dinner.  They said no. 

With those many dishes plus difficult-to-eat Chilli Crab, we spent a little bit more than one hour in that restaurant before we paid our bills and sent our guests to their hotels.  While my uncle's intention was to entertain his clients, it seemed like his clients were not entertained at all.... They were a bit agitated and quiet.  So my uncle asked them if everything was fine, if they liked the food and if there were other things they would like to have.  They said the food was very delicious and everything was fine.

When we got into the car, the older guy asked us if we always had our meals like that.  We said no because if we ate like that too often we would end up popping cholesterol reducing pills everyday.  He said, he didn't mean the dishes. What he meant was... we ate for 1 hour and 20 minutes.  He actually timed our dinner..!

He told us that we had been wasting our time by eating too long.  He said that if we had our meals more than 15 minutes per meal, we would easily waste 2 hours a day. Multiply that with one year, we wasted our productive time by 730 hours which was equal to 30 days per year, all for the sake of eating...!!

I was shocked...!  I never thought that eating is a waste of time.  It's a way to enjoy life.

I got so irritated that I couldn't help myself from asking him if he had been enjoying life at all.  He said it's not the time for him to enjoy life.  He would enjoy his life after he retired.  I asked him when would he retire.  He said when his son took over the business, he would retire and enjoy his life.  As of now, he should not enjoy his life.  I further asked him what would happen if he got sick when he retired and couldn't enjoy all the money he had. I felt bad but I really had to ask him this question : "Do you believe that all of us can die anytime?"  "What happens if you die before your retirement?"  "Then you won't have the chance to enjoy your life at all."

The guy looked at me as if I was a crazy stupid woman.  He said it's so strange that I could think like that.  If everyone thought like me, nothing would move and this world would be a very non-productive place.  My uncle was so embarrassed and changed the topic of the conversation...

Well... if only I told him how many public holidays a pregnant Malaysian woman had in a year, I guess he would not want to talk to any of us anymore and my uncle would lose his clients.

So now, after wasting my time hitting the keyboard ranting about the end of holiday season, I believe I should start working...

But first, let me check my calendar for the next public holiday.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Cry Me A River...

Long long time ago..... after FAILING in love for so many times, I did a lot of silly and stupid things. I was so eager to know who my future husband was, how he would look like and when I would get married.  So, one of the silly things I did was visiting fortune tellers, believing that they had the solutions to my single life.  At that time I was a Christian and as a Christian, I was forbidden to seek any help or information from "the other world".  But again, I was a rebellious kid so I didn't really care about it.  I was curious and thought that God wouldn't be mad at an honest, nice but curious kid.  It's not that I worshipped something else, I was just having some fun...

I visited gypsy fortune tellers in US and some Chinese fortune tellers in Bandung.  Coincidently there are 3 fortune tellers who told me the exact same things.  Maybe they went to the same sifu or read the same books but all said that I would have 2 mothers, I would marry someone from far away place, I would have a sharp object cut my body, and I would have to remove the mole near my eye.  When I asked them why I had to remove the mole, all of them said that if I didn't remove the mole, I would shed a lot of tears.  My friend freaked out when the fortune tellers said that some sharp objects would cut my body.  She tought of the worst.... that I would be murderred or slashed by robbers or had freaky accidents.  She asked me to go to dermatologist to remove the mole.  As for me, I just laughed it out.

Well, since it was just for fun, I didn't really take it seriously and totally forgotten about it until last year when I met the same old friend who went to the same fortune teller with me in US.  She told me how silly we were last time, going to every fortune teller we could find just to find out about our soulmates.  We then talked about the time we spent together and how blessed we were to still be friends even after 20 over years.

After she left, I thought about what the fortune tellers told me... and funnily, all they said had come true.. I do have 2 mothers now, one is my biological mother and the other one is my mother-in-law.  I married someone who lived thousands of miles away from my hometown.  I had few cuts in my body from caesarean and laparoscopy surgeries.

When I was watching American Idol 11 today, I was reminded again by the last thing those fortune tellers told me : I would be shedding a lot of tears. I really have been shedding a lot of tears...!!!

I have been watching too many movies with teary moments... The older I get, the more sensitive my feeling has become.  I cry in almost every movie and every Oprah moment I watch.  My husband always teases me when I cry during movies (he once brought a thick towel for me to dry my tears).  He couldn't believe that I cried watching Lion King. I even cried watching X-Men. Today I cried when I heard an American Idol contestant sang.  I forget what his name is but his voice really touched my heart.  He sang beautifully with all his heart... I just couldn't control my tears...

Well, now I learn that shedding tears is not that bad at all... It doesn't mean unhappiness.  In my case,  my shedding tears had saved me money from buying contact lens lubricant... The down side is, I think my eyebags are getting bigger, big enough to store all the tears I would shed. 

Hmmm.... now I am contemplating of removing my eye bags... Who knows after my eyebags removed, I could watch korean dramas without finishing the whole tissue box?