Giving It 100 for 2014

I used to have this thing about making no more than 10 resolutions for the new year. Of course, none of those resolutions ever made it to reality beyond thought and intention so I kind of stopped making them.

This past year, I thought that instead of making definite resolutions like “Go to gym”, “Lose weight”, or “Climb Mt Everest”, I would set just one thing that would become my guiding principle or theme for the year.

For 2013, my guiding principle was to “Be Fearless”. Not stupid, careless, reckless, or thoughtless. By telling myself to be fearless, I wanted me to keep trying new things without fear of embarrassment or failure. I wanted to do everything that I had ever wanted to do but held myself back from. I wanted to become better at things, but was too afraid to fail so I never started at all.

Did I succeed in being fearless? That’s a post for another day.

The new year will be upon us in a matter of hours, and I have given it some thought.

Someone I respect and hold in high regard said something at the beginning of this year that resonated with me. He said that everytime the new year comes around, people breathe a sigh of relief at having survived the last year, and look at the new year as a reward. What they don’t realise, he said, is that the new year is actually a gift. The new year is not a given or a trophy to be won or deserved; it is a gift. Now, what are you going to do with this gift?

A while back, I came across a video that had gone viral. A girl wanted to learn how to dance so she committed herself to practising for a 100 days, and recorded her progress. The results were amazing. She showed her journey from unsure mover to fierce dancer, and it was undeniably inspirational.

Everything I have learned or been told contained this one kernel of truth – if you want to be good in something, you must practise.

If you want to sing a song, you must practise it 300 times before you perform it in public – the first 100 times, you are just learning the song. The second 100 time, you are discovering the song. The third 100 time, you are making that song yours.

So, this is what 2014 is going to be for me. I am going to give it 100 for anything that I do this year. Whether it’s dancing, losing weight, writing, or cleaning my room, I am going to give it my 100% for 100 days.

So far, this is what I have for my 100:

  1. Meditation – 100 hours (1 hour a day *fingers crossed*)
  2. Dance
  3. Writing

Plus a few others that I am a bit too embarrassed to share here right now.

If I fail at any one of the above during the year, I am just going to re-start it, and, if I feel like it, I’ll  add a new one. My goal is to keep things going. And, a 100 days over one year sounds less stressful than “I will go to the gym three times a week”.

I have a goal tracking app on my smartphone to motivate me and keep me on track. It’s called Goal 100%. There are many others, of course, so find one that suits you.

If you’re interested in finding out more about Give It 100, and watching that video of that girl, check out her story and many others at their website.

Whatever you decide to do, let’s make 2014 a gift to be savoured, enjoyed, and loved to the fullest.


Love … Hindustani Style

Everything I know about love, I learned from Hindi movies. God help me …

Scenario 1: Class Clash

I’ll be a sweet yet feisty upper-class girl who just doesn’t fit in with the rest of her peers. He’ll be a middle-class Joe with an overwhelming drive to succeed despite the fact that he failed his PMR and can barely write his own name. With my double degree in French Literature and Eqyptian Pottery, I set up a shop in trendy Bangsar (or Sri Hartamas … although Mont’ Kiara is gaining quite the reputation as an artsy-fartsy hang-out) where I peddle my pseudo-philosophical writings etched on badly made coffee mugs with hieroglyphic detailings.

One day, while I sit at the cash register machine, playing with my Mont Blanc pen, and ruminating on the similarities between Buddhism and Aristotelian philosophy, Mr Hero Joe saunters in with an entourage of accountants, lawyers and secretaries (because he can’t write his own name, remember?).

He drops a big fat cheque on the cash register, and tells me that he wants to buy over my lot because he wants to open a huge 4-lot branch of his successful Uncle Raju’s Miracle Tandoori Chicken store chain and my shop is in the way. Sweetly, he suggests that I use the money to get a better designer for my (unknown to him) self-made ceramics, then he peers at me concernedly and sympathetically recommend a good dermatologist for my bad skin, and finally asks me where the toilet is.

In a fit of indignant rage, I hurl a hideously pricey candy bowl (the one with the stylized representations of Nefertiti on one side and Legolas on the other) at him. He blocks it with his arm and it cracks his authentic, not-the-Petaling-Street variety, Omega watch.

Although I apologise and tearfully promise to buy him TWO Omega watches, he calls me a graceless harpy with the fashion sense of a sedated cow and threatens to report me to the police. Petulantly, I dare him to do so because my daddy IS the Chief of Police. He stops for a moment, consults a dictionary, a thesaurus and three lawyers before calling me a spoiled brat and marching off in a huff. Hell hath no fury like a man scorned and at a loss for words, you see.

Later in the week, my gay best friend helps me to prepare for a high society gathering to take place that night while I vent to him about the Cro-Magnon delinquent who wants to destroy my shop. When I tell him Mr Hero Joe’s real name, he gasps and reveals that Mr Hero Joe is none other than a self-made millionaire who donates generously to charities, collects wine and plays Counter-Strike with his buddies at the cyber-cafe in Taman Desa. However, he is glad that I am not on good terms with Mr Hero Joe since he is also a playboy with a fear of marriage, commitment and the colour white.

That night, at the gathering, who should I meet but Mr Hero Joe himself? We are introduced properly to each other and proceed to exchange “polite” insults in front of my horrified parents and other onlookers. As I stomp off in anger in my red figure-hugging Prada sari, he calls out that what I need is a real man to keep me in line.

I stop, turn around seductively in slow motion so that my sari floats around me like a dream of clouds, and start a song about how real men wouldn’t need to keep real women like me in line because they wouldn’t be intimidated by us. And he responds with a song about how men and women are meant to fight because they are two sides of the same coin but only one side can lead.

Amazingly, not only will everyone at the gathering know the words to the songs, but they will also know the dance steps and wear colour-coordinated outfits. Later, at dinner, I laugh at him for using the wrong knife to butter his bread roll, and he “accidentally” chucks a piece of fish onto my lap. The night ends with me roaring off in my trendy black BMW 318i with him giving chase in his red Porsche 911.

After a lengthy courtship involving at least 5 more songs, numerous costume changes and 4 foreign location shots, we discover that his booty-call girlfriend is actually a spy for Papa Salman’s Masala Delicatessen chain of stores who is out to destroy his business. We get married, he trades in his Porsche for a more family-oriented Volvo, and I get an exclusive commission to provide dinner-ware to Uncle Raju’s Miracle Tandoori Chicken chain of stores. And we live, and fight, happily ever after.

Lesson Learned: Love knows no boundaries or class distinction. My soulmate and I will fight like cats and dogs, but at the end of the day, it’s just an extension of the passion we have for each other.

For Future Note: Couples in this situation should seriously consider getting life insurance for each other.

Coming Soon …

Scenario 2: Meeting of Two Souls
Lesson Learned: Yes, there IS a person out there designated just for you. And no matter what you do, you WILL end up together.
For Future Note: Always make sure you have a lot of tissues on you.

Scenario 3: The College Romance
Lesson Learned: True love is defined by how much you need and want each other, and by how far you are willing to go for the one you love.
For Future Note: Don’t wear a watch and don’t play in the rain too much. P.S. Get a monthly LRT pass – no wheels, no deals, babe.

Scenario 4: Love is Suffering
Lesson Learned: The discovery of how much you complement and supplement each other is second only to the revelation that you can’t live without the other person.
For Future Note: Cultivate a close friendship with a therapist. You’re going to need a lot of free sessions.

Copyright © Lady Lamp, 1998 – 2004

War at The Pacific


Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia, 1 March 2005 – War has broken out in the peaceful, and sometimes chaotic, land of Pacific Hotel. Witnesses have reported rampages of rage through the halls of Pacific Hotel led by one The Divine M – undisputed leader, beloved dictator and merciful tyrant of CommDept.

Sporting hot pants, a black tank top, a utility belt holding her beloved cell-phone and a long braid down her back, the witnesses are quoted as saying, “She look like Lala Cloft. Talk also like Lala Cloft one.”

Blindly loyal and dedicated foot soldiers of CommDept, trained by The Divine M’s second-in-command, the midget known as The Goddess Fluffy The Dingbat (Patron Goddess of Geeks, Freaks, and Nerds, and other Academically-Inclined yet Socially-Challenged, Sentient Carbon-Based Beings), have been described as awesome guerrilla soldiers of the first tier. Armed with water pistols, they have executed punitive expeditions with deadly precision. Their target – the Autonomous Province of FO.

Casualties of this senseless war have been mostly front-line workers of FO. Stunned and weeping with grief from the inhumanity of it all, they have been wandering the halls of Pacific Hotel in varying shades of blue – CommDept has armed their lethal water pistols with blue vegetable dye that does not wear off.

Rescue efforts by the International Red Cross have been hampered by Security’s unwillingness to open its borders and, thus, reveal the true extent of this horrific war.

HouseKeeping has taken the initiative to rescue these poor unfortunates, and have set up a refugee camp at the Staff Cafeteria, which has been officially designated as The Neutral Zone. The Goddess Fluffy The Dingbat has been seen infiltrating The Neutral Zone – ostensibly to procure contraband cans of Coca-Cola. Sources have stated that The Divine M’s second-in-command is seriously addicted to the heavily caffeinated drink, and suffer unsightly withdrawal symptoms.

Investigations into the cause of this war have resulted in a flurry of data that may or may not be information, and which sound more like a fairy-tale than fact.

******** The Fable *********

It is rumoured that, one day, Mix Boy, the Regent of FO, made an announcement to his people.

“Lo! But the Sacred Eye of the Pod is gone! Verily, it has been taken from its rightful place and is now gone from our sight!”

And there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth among the citizens of FO, for they knew that there would be overtime that day.

But, no matter how hard they searched, the Sacred Eye of the Pod was nowhere to be found.

And, then, there came a whispering that said that The Goddess Fluffy The Dingbat had cast an envious eye upon the Sacred Eye of the Pod. She coveted it for her own, and, by walking under the sight-line of the eyes of the citizens of FO, she tricked her way into FO and spirited away the Sacred Eye of the Pod.

Mix Boy accused The Goddess Fluffy The Dingbat, who vehemently denied responsibility. Sick with anger, she hopped from floor to chair to table, screeching, “Bring it on, Mix Boy! Bring it on!”

The Divine M was terrible in her anger. She spoke to Mix Boy.

“Forsooth! But did we not ascertain before that The Goddess Fluffy The Dingbat is a bigger Techie than you? Why would she take your Sacred Eye of the Pod when she has a 20-gig, mp3 player-slash-portable hard disk Archos that fits into the palm of her hand? And a 512MB USB drive combination mp3 player?”

To which, Mix Boy replied, “Cut the crap. I know she took it.”

******** The War Begins *********

Accusations and swear words in binary were exchanged back and forth, and Mont Blanc pens were worn to the nub with diplomatic missives. It has not yet been ascertained what exactly pushed the war from words to action. What is definite is that once CommDept decided to strike, it did so with forethought, strength and exquisite style.

Calls to the Administrative Capital of Pacific Hotel have been greeted by a beep, followed by the message, “We’re sorry, but the number that you have dialled is no longer in service. Please try again later.”

Occupancy rates at the Pacific Hotel are at 100%, and the Waiting List grows ever longer with each passing day. Excited guests of the Pacific Hotel have reportedly been camping out at specific locations – such as the Lobby Lounge and Staff Car Park – in order to watch the action. More guests throng the doors, hoping to catch a glimpse of The Divine M in action … and in her mini hot pants.

It is rumoured that the misunderstanding between CommDept and FO was deliberately exacerbated by Finance, who saw it as the perfect gambit to raise occupancy levels, and, thus, revenue intakes. Inquiries to the Silken Hegemony, the Empire that rules the Pacific Hotel, have been met with inscrutable silence.

FO is said to be guarding the Sacred Vinyls and Decks with fearsome zeal. To which, The Goddess Fluffy The Dingbat sniffed, “Dude. MP3s, man. MP3s. Get with it.”

The war shows no sign of abating, and witnesses report that The Divine M has been seen in outfits ranging from glamorous, to slinky, to sexy and haute couture. They can’t wait to see what she’ll be wearing next.

The Goddess Fluffy The Dingbat is rumoured to have set up cells of guerrilla fighters to infiltrate other provinces and territories within the Pacific Hotel. F&B and Banquet have responded to this threat by signing a Non-Aligned Treaty, promising to back each other up unless one of them turns out to be a pillow-biter, in which case all bets are off.

The war rages on at the Pacific Hotel, and other nations under the Silken Hegemony are stirring uneasily, worried that the war might come to their shores. The Republic of Greens and the Columbus Hotel have reportedly been in serious discussions with the upper echelons of the Silken Hegemony. They are worried about the repercussions that this war may have on their respective economies.

Specifically, they are worried that once the war ends, the spectators will leave and take with them the lucrative sales in food and beverage services, umbrellas and powerful binoculars.

The world is keeping a close eye on the war … and on what The Divine M will wear next.


Copyright © Lady Lamp, 1998 – 2005
“I knew Martin was a special man when my daughter brought him home the first time. I said to my wife, “Either this man has had serious brain surgery, or the new vacuum cleaner’s arrived.” – Rowan Atkinson, Live in Boston, 1990-something

A little background: I wrote this story while I was working at Sutera Harbour Resort. It was inspired by bits of conversations and comments made by a group of crazy people. Thank you, crazy Sutera people.

Guess where this is at ... or. maybe, what this is.
Guess where this is at … or. maybe, what this is.

Captured instances of the many speeds and directions of thought.

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