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On going against the tide and doing the opposite

April 30, 2016

Have you ever been out on the beach amongst crashing waves? You stand there and watch the approaching wave arrive like a herd of sea lions. You feel your heart beating faster… and faster…

“Now!” you hear an echo nearby and you duck, diving into the belly of the wave. It is the most amazing feeling ever. To have escaped the tidal wave from hitting your body like a ton of bricks.

But we often forget that we have to go far enough from the shore – where we feel the most comfortable, before we are able to go deep enough to dive.

You cannot dive into a wave if you aren’t brave enough to leave the shore, your safety net.

We have to go far enough from our comfort zone before we can even take the plunge.

Just keep walking, one foot in front of the other, one step at a time. Even if the water is rising up to your ankles, then your calves, your knee.

Because soon enough, the next big wave will come, and you will have the opportunity to jump right in, both feet lifted.

And when you survive the wave, when you emerge from the waters refreshed, triumphant, and free, it will be worth all the while.

So keep going. Don’t look back.

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An unconventional letter on gender and race inequality

April 9, 2016

Dear <insert gender> <insert race> reader,

You are smart. You are capable. You are probably just as good as your colleagues, or even better. Back yourself. Have confidence.

Trust me, you may get passed over for a promotion once, or even twice, but if you keep putting in the effort, keep earning the trust of your bosses and managers, keep doing what is right and produce outstanding results; the promotion that belongs to you, it will happen one day.

You may be misunderstood more often, or have to work harder to push past gender and race stereotypes, but when people finally see you for the real you, the one that adds a lot of value, it will be worth all the while.

So don’t give up just yet, don’t get tired of working late to make what is required happen. Be strong and encouraged. Know that when you help others succeed you are also helping yourself succeed. Know that when you help others advance you are also helping yourself advance. That’s the best way to ensure success. Not by pushing your way in, or by sheer willpower or even luck. You earn favour when you help others achieve what they have set out to achieve. Trust me, they will remember you and help you succeed in the future also.

So if you are young and ambitious, but feel that you are being passed over because of your race or gender, just keep going, forget what happened and find out what it takes to succeed. It may require a change in your mindset, or a change in your attire (because who knows how you look plays a huge part in how others perceive you), or a change in attitude or professionalism.

You can do it. Let’s do it together.

Lots of love from your fellow asian sister,

Kwan-Ann

 

 

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What is your theme song for 2016?

January 4, 2016

“Welcome to New York!” belts Taylor. Behind her in a massive cascade of moving film is the Brooklyn Bridge with the Manhattan Skyline as its backdrop, filled with bursts of sunset orange.

That’s Taylor Swift’s 1989 world tour theme song.

A theme song is played in the intro of movies to signify the beginning. It often sets the mood for a show; a romantic comedy has upbeat, happy chirpy beats and an action movie has sounds that make your heart beat faster. (Think the Mission Impossible theme song) A theme song is also the signature song associated with a performer, movie or program.

Looking back: What was your theme song for 2015?

Adventure.

2015 for me was an adventurous one. We started the year on the plane, arriving in Japan, jumped straight onto a Bullet train that took us from Tokyo to Kyoto where fresh snow was falling. It was a breathtaking sight.

Subsequently that year we moved in with our family to save money for further travel, hustled to save then in April headed off to San Francisco, New York, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Hong Kong for our much anticipated round the world trip.

Arriving back in New Zealand we had two weeks to pack up and on 1 May 2015, we moved to Melbourne permanently.

Life since then has been a series of little unexpected adventures, where we met friends who became family to us and secured employment that takes me on different trajectories every week.

Going forward: What is your theme song for 2016?

Rooted.

Do everything in moderation. Balance, that’s the secret. Moderate extremism.

The problem with adventures are that when you are flitting from one thing to another, it is hard to be rooted in one place and to invest into the same relationships. Relationships, employment, dreams – all these things are plants that need to be nourished daily for growth and success.

When going through constant change of pace, the mind and body is working hard to keep up with the change, leaving no space for creative work or growth time.

This year I have decided that my theme song is to stay rooted, disciplining myself into establishing good routines and invest in relationships, while maintaining my sense of adventure.

Theme songs can really help set the pace and drumbeat of your year. What will your theme song this year be?