Several years ago I was invited by a friend of my sister’s (Hello Alison!) to speak at the British School of Manila for the graduation ceremony of a cohort of students that had been through a difficult time in the school’s community with reference also to the difficult time that had been suffered by the victims of Typhoon Yolanda because the school had been active in the relief, recovery and rebuilding in Leyte and Samar. I spoke about the odd sense of belonging and yet not belonging: like many of the students I was born in the Philippines and raised by Philippine parents, also like many of them I grew up and was educated in a different country or culture than the one in which I was born or in which my parents were born. I chose to talk about being part of a community: of what brings us together because, whatever challenges, small and big, life throws up, it is the idea of togetherness as humans that is one of the most important lessons that I think we can learn, both in … [Read more...] about How to belong
I chose to look the other way
My business has been operating for many years. But like other entrepreneurs, I still experience difficulties in running the company. However, it is never an option for me to give up. That is precisely how I motivate my fellow entrepreneurs. Because simply giving up after one hard blow is ignoring everything, including your dream. I dreamt about success. But God has made me realize that success was not always based on the amount of money that one will earn after many years of hard work. Success is feeling satisfied with what you do because you know that you have become an instrument for the success of others. I am a business mentor/motivational guru and my main job is the help people reach their highest potential in building a successful business. It may seem easy to others because all they see is you saying positive things, words of encouragement to make someone push himself hard. However, I believe that if your heart is not in the job that you do and you focus only on the … [Read more...] about Business Mentor: Surviving the odds, grateful for life
After crying myself to sleep the first few nights, I soon learned to revel in my new persona — that of a superhero on a mission to eradicate shoplifters. Hockey player Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.” The fact that he was from Canada is incidental and had no bearing on the unbelievable decision I made when I moved there two years ago. I felt life was, indeed, a sport, and so, armed with Mr. Gretzky’s wisdom, I took a deep breath and went for the shot. Not many people would, at midlife, uproot themselves from an already comfortable environment, not to mention a highly successful career and reasonable standing in Manila society, and attempt to create a new life from scratch. Never mind that the target destination was a First World country. The operative word here is “midlife” — when ways are set, habits formed and learning new tricks is a painful process. I was working for the biggest lifestyle … [Read more...] about From glam fashion maven to… OMG, a brave new life
His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej had a long and happy relationship with Kui Buri district in Prachuab Khiri Khan province and today his new agricultural theory on land and water management is being applied here for the first time. The water management system is called khok nong na – khok meaning a moulded mound, nong a catchment, and na a field. Here, when it rains, the water runs down from the Tenasserim hills into the first catchment. When that catchment overflows, the water goes to the second catchment and runs through a khlong sai kai (spiral filling canal) towards the third catchment and the loom khanom khrok (a small catchment dug along the canal) before ending in the field. Along this canal line, the flow is continuously decelerated by a fai or weir. Crops are planted in terraced fields between those catchments to ensure irrigation. Kui Buri has developed its own khok nong na and it’s known as the Kui Buri Model. The … [Read more...] about The water of life
My daughter, a first-year National University of Singapore (NUS) student, once told me a joke: What do NUS and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) students have in common? Answer: They all applied to NUS. I think she read it in NUSWhispers. After last week, there is another answer: They may be secretly filmed showering on campus. Singapore Management University doesn't look so bad now. Last week, besides Avengers: Endgame spoilers, all anyone could talk about was NUS student Monica Baey. She posted an Instagram Story about catching another student filming her in the shower, which resulted in Facebook posts by two ministers and a disappointing NUS town hall meeting on Thursday. We also learnt that 26 cases of sexual offence had been brought before the NUS disciplinary board over the past three years. That works out to be approximatelyone sexual offence every six weeks. NTU: "Hold my beer." Also last week, two cases of an NTU student being filmed in the shower were reported within … [Read more...] about S M Ong: My daughter is in NUS, should I be worried?