19th Anniversary

We have come this far, almost 2 decades! Imagine how one feels sharing his/her life with another for that long and years to come.

From mere two people, expanding the family with the addition of little members, building a home to house all and facing daily challenges to keep everyone together.

What I learnt from all these years of being married….

1. We must have common goal(s) and family values;

2. Respect each other and each other’s space;

3. Speak up or write when something goes wrong in the relationship/marriage. It is not OK to feel lousy alone. Share it so the other would know how it is affecting you.

4. Don’t expect the other person to be like us. (Think / Do / Feel). Such expectations kills a marriage with slow death.

5. Avoid confrontation. Speak when cooled down. Silent when feeling heated up, or walk away for a breather. Emotion is more stable when calmed. More can be achieved then.

6. A line must be drawn on what are not to be tolerated. It goes for both parties.

7. Perform your duties as a husband /wife, not just economically but social well-being too. Be the strength of support to your partner.

8. Selective hearing/feeling/action….compromise whenever you can.

9. No place for ego. Fight for the marriage (All win), not personal victory (All lose).

10. Be Grateful to each other. Count your blessings.

11. Not everyone says “Sorry”. Look with your heart and eyes….it could be “sorry” being displayed by action. Receive it as good.

12. Have separate bank accounts, assets, credit cards, hobbies/interests, friends, etc. besides common ones.

13. You have chosen your partner. Stay loyal / faithful to the chosen one. If you have to “move on” under any circumstances, have a clean and fair break with the one who first built this family with you.

14. Things change, people change. Do not remain static at one level, or you’ll be left behind. Don’t be complacent. Upgrade yourself, learn a new skill, language, grooming, go for further education. Take good care of yourself too.

15. Love yourself and learn to be happy for yourself. It is alright. It is not being selfish if you share such love and happiness with your loved ones.

16. Be the companion whom your spouse feels proud and comfortable to be around with.

17. Treat your spouse as how you would treat your good friends.

18. Keep the communication line open. This will avoid unnecessary misunderstanding. People get upset or angry mainly because of misunderstanding.

19. Watch your words. Open the mouth only to speak good words. If you have nothing good to say to the next person, just keep the mouth shut. Cruel words uttered can never be erased from the mind….nothing will be the same ever again.

Life still goes on. Our lives keep changing. I know I have much more to go through, to learn and to live the life that I’m blessed with. Nothing is perfect. Neither am I.

Happy 19th Anniversary, Darling! It is the 19th, not 20th (LOL!). It is just a number, isn’t it?….Love you anyway.

~ Alice N.

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WOMEN AND FINANCE

This is all about women. WOMEN……for men reading this, you love them and sometimes hate them, don’t you? For women reading this, sit up and pay attention. This is important and I want to stress on it again this new year, 2014!

Simply put, it’s about women and money. True, money isn’t everything, but mind you, everything is money. Ask anyone on the street! You can’t literally move to do things without involving money. Time is money – the opportunity cost. I posted before about Financial Planning for Women. In it, I mentioned that most women would at one point in time, be single (again). It could be by choice (stay single, unmarried), divorced or being a widow. The stats recorded that women tend to live longer (than their husbands).

Having said that, wouldn’t women need money to be self-sufficient to last them their lifetime? Married women need to plan as if they are single. Don’t take it for granted that your husband is your retirement plan. He is NOT! If he is, that would be a bonus. Congrats! For now, take it as “NOT”, so plan ahead, solo.

Women, most often than not, would be sandwiched between young, growing family and ageing parents. Taking care of parents’ needs do not only involve time, but money too. Medical expenses, special diet, holiday, etc. Understanding women, they would rather use their own funds to pay for all these, instead of asking from their spouse. Parents are our own responsibility. Of course, no smart women would refuse the generosity of a spouse, to display respect and love for their in-laws.

Then, comes the issue of children’s higher education, the college and/or university fees. Parents always want the best for their children, including or especially education. In most families, our gift as parents to our beloved children would be the “golden key” to achieving financial freedom, and that “golden key” is none other than “Education”. We believe in not serving fish for the kids to eat but to provide them with basic tools to fish for themselves. We firmly believe that education opens doors to better and more secured future. It creates more options for one to choose. Therefore, most parents would strive to save as much for their children’s education. Funding them for as long as they are still studying.

However, if the choice is between children’s education and your retirement, woman, brace yourself and choose your retirement. Why? If you do not have sufficient fund for his/her education, there are other sources. There are study loans available, scholarships, or perhaps, he/she could work part-time. However, if you decide to save for children’s education and left with insufficient fund for own retirement, may I ask, where would be the source of funding for you? Live on charity? Now, do you see my point?

Women are known to take better care of people around them than themselves, especially their loved ones. Where the loved ones are concerned, there is always a bit more energy left, a bit more money spared, there is always time (just take away the me-time, tea time, short rest, even sleep)….the list goes on. It is amazing where they get all the energy from! They work so hard and still able to smile. Please don’t hate them but cherish them.

Men, now this is your part. Encourage your wife, daughter, sister, friends to plan for themselves, for a better tomorrow. If not, YOU better plan well for them. Which, I don’t think you would do or do so well. So, encourage them to seek knowledge or professional advice in financial planning. It is never too early nor too late to plan. Just do it now.

I hope to see more women be financial savvy this new year. Read and understand personal FINANCE. Know what you want and plan to achieve that goal. Dare to dream. You deserve to enjoy life after contributing so much during the earlier years. After planning, act upon it. It is alright to start slow or baby steps as long as you get started. As time goes, as you get more and more familiar with it, you’ll pick up pace and be more daring. Finance may be boring or even scary for some. Face it and you’ll soon realize that there isn’t anything to be afraid of, other than an insecure future, an empty nest for your golden years without planning.

~ Alice N.


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2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,400 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 40 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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My Journey of Continuous Education – Sem 5

One and a half year has passed and I had just completed my 5th semester – all my 10 core and elective courses done. Wondering if it is age factor or what, that I find it getting tougher. This semester seems to be the toughest of them all. I thought, as I go from sem to sem, it should get lighter and easier!

5th sem was the most demanding of all whereby we were required to do mini theses. Meaning, theses that are shrunk into 10-20 pages. Lit reviews, field interviews for research studies, etc. When a thesis is long, we usually face the challenge of getting sufficient content. Conversely, when a thesis is supposed to be short, the great challenge is to “downsize” it by at least 10 times its usual size but, with all important contents remain. No more group projects this semester. One had to do it from A to Z!

Despite the frequent complaints from the heart and tired mind, I found this semester to be most fruitful. Never had I push myself so hard before. Working, playing the role of a mother to my teenager and tweenager, attending social functions and overseas delegations with dear hubby and burning midnight oils to complete my assignments/project papers. Sleeping at 2am+ was a norm, right till the end of the semester, the final exams. Stressed and drained. Amazing where all those energy came from every morning when I woke up…!

What was most fulfilling was that I learnt a lot from the lecturers. They demand for higher standard of works and that pushed us to meet that requirements. My heartfelt thanks to Dr Rizal and Dr Saiful. I told my children, one of the contributing factors of my “survival” was “when the goings get tough, I get tougher”. Also, I kept telling myself that survival and completion of each semester are not options. Just as passing the exams is not an option.

You can’t imagine how many times I read companies’ annual reports, which I had not done before. I did not need to because in the course of my work, someone else would do the reading and analyzing and then compile the reports neatly for my usage. This time around, I had to be on my hands and knees doing the works, reading, understanding and analysing the companies under study. It is a whole load of works but when I finally print and bind the project papers, my heart swell with pride having in my hands, the fruit of my hard labour. I know that I had given my very best to every piece of my work because I spent many nights and small hours going over and over again to perfect them to my satisfaction for the final prints.

During these last two courses, I am most grateful to my ever-loving and supportive husband, children, parents, my wonderful colleagues and Facebook Friends! Not to forget my wonderful classmates too! They were on the sidelines cheering me on, especially when I was at the edge of giving up. Thank you and love you all.

My last challenge is the following two semesters, the last. This one is the finale…..my dissertation. I have to think of a topic to write about, something related to corporate finance, come up with research proposal and then submit to my potential supervisor. Once he or she agrees to take me under the wings, then shall I apply to the Uni before I could start the ball rolling. That’s when the clock start ticking again. Now, thinking of a topic itself is a heavy task. Inspiration….where are thee…

Merger and Acquisition? Corporate Governance? Fellow Uni-mates have been most helpful, sharing ideas with me. Can’t thank you all enough… Liew, Radzi, Fariza. Finally, thanks to my favourite cousin, Ken Teh and his charming wife, for the invaluable advice shared over lunch.

Now, I have to do my part and do it well. Choosing the right topic is of utmost importance, just as important as a singing talent selecting her songs to perform. The choice could either break you or build you. This shall be the last lap to finish line. I envision myself to be one of the participants in the 2014 UUM Convocation. With blessings from so many supportive people around me and God willing, I shall achieve it.

This is it….results should be out by the first week of January 2014. Fingers crossed. Meanwhile, I am going to pamper myself and my family for a while.

~ AliceN.


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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MY SON <3

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Sixteen years ago, you greeted the world with eagerness….you responded to your daddy voice as if you had been hearing it for the longest time. You opened your eyes shortly after to get a glimpse of the new world, your world! You are special to us. Makes me feel that It was only yesterday you were born into this world and into our family. Anyway, Happy Sweet Sixteen!!!

You know, son? You got everyone busy at your arrival. Our colleagues were so eager to visit immediately after your birth. Bless them. However, in less than 24 hours, you were down with high fever. Everyone had to pay much attention to this VIP Baby, so said the nurses at that time – “The One and Only VIP baby”. Your pediatrician, bless him, dutifully got the nurses to provide 4-hourly progress report to us and Dr Deng himself would visit us every evening to let us know your condition. All in all, I guess, with all the love and attention, you responded well by giving it a good fight and got well. What great relief it was for all of us. It was great joy to bring you home finally! We knew then, you are a fighter or rather, a survivor, dear son.

You always have a special place in everyone’s heart. Everyone who comes in contact with you. With your easy smile, laughter and kindness. You have a good heart, son. I’m not saying all these just because I am your mom, but there are collection of compliments I received from the receivers of your charm. I hope that all these qualities shall remain in you always as you grow up and face the whole wide world. Let not the hard world change you into a cold stranger. Instead, let the experience mould you into someone who can make differences, positive changes for yourself and the world around you.

Growing up, I saw a great young man slowly taking shape. I am so proud of you, son. My wish is that you’ll always be who you really are and be proud of it; no matter how big you become, or how successful you are, always have your two feet planted firmly on the ground. Remember the values we impart to you – that shall be your guiding light always.

My dearest son, Happy Birthday and I love you, sweetheart.

Love always,
Mommy

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My Journey of Continuous Education – Sem 3 & 4

Time just breezed through in front of my eyes. Can hardly feel it, from one month to another. Little did I realise it, we have reached the third quarter of the year!

Though it was a struggle trying to do so many things in a day from time to time, I had successfully complete each stage of my courses. With frequent flying for duties and a couple of holidays, I’m glad that I managed to complete each semester.

There were times when I questioned myself, time when I blamed myself for being too confident in accepting so many tasks st a time. I feel burnt out I think. That is why I feel sleepy and tired most of the times when I am not too busy. However, when I am busy, my body and mind stay energetic throughout.

I guess I am not the only one facing this issue. There must be others sharing the same predicament with me or worse than me. All I can say is once a commitment is made, it is our duty to see it through. No quitting halfway when faced with constraints. If we persist, things would turn out alright after all. Of course, the basic requirement is hard work.

If you are already thinking that life is short, you’ll know that time is much shorter. The life lane is significantly an express lane….everything just zoomed us by. I started my Masters last May. It was not a smooth journey nor was it a walk in the park. I’ve been torn in all directions. Juggling this and that, at the same time must ensure that all balls stay afloat.

Yes, I’m stressed out and I am drained. But, with little regrets….I’m human after all and feel more so when I’m lazy, desperately in need of a break. I consoled myself that after all these works and frustrations, I know that at the end of next year, I would achieve another milestone. Better than sitting back, being idle and letting the precious time passes me by. Everything around us is constantly moving, and I believe that I should be moving too and the direction is front and ahead.

For those who share my way of life, it is indeed good to know that we are not alone. Life is always a struggle. It is also filled with sufferings because of our endless needs and wants. The more you need or want, there more you have to endure. That is the law of nature and that is life.

Cheers to life! Cheers to us!

~Alice N.

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What is Success in ONE WORD?

Just a few days back, a close friend posed a question to a group of us girlfriends and it went like this : “Describe what SUCCESS means to you in one word”. It seemed that was the same question her husband asked their teenage and tween sons. One described it as “Happiness” and the other as “Pain”. Hmmm……quite an answer coming from each of them, don’t you think?

Why “Happiness”? Because one feels happy when successfully achieved something. Why “Pain” is because, one has to go through so much pain to finally achieve success. The former focused on the end result, sweet success whilst the latter thought of the long uphill journey and experience to achieving success. There is no right or wrong answers here.

Success is very subjective. It is up to a person to define it. It greatly depends on one’s expectation in life. Success can be a simple task to some, whilst it can be a mega size task to others….depending on what you really want out of your life.

Then, it was our turn to answer…and it came out like this; commitment, sacrifice, happiness. We had great laughs talking about it and trying to stress our points. When we got back home, we asked our children the same question, wondering what would their thoughts be. Answers received were, attitude, expensive….Finally, another good friend summarised the whole thing by saying that, in the eyes of most children, Success has got to do with the journey to a desired
destination whilst to most adults it is the final result, what we want to achieve and feel at the end.

I thought of it as an end result….Happiness. To me, it is not easy to achieve pure joy and whole hearted happiness. It is not impossible. People may have all the wealth in this world yet still feeling unhappy or even lonely; people who think they are happy but deep down they know that they are not and still searching for that mysterious something. Having insatiable needs lead one to unhappiness. Feeling unfulfilled makes one keep chasing after the ideal happiness in an ideal environment.

I have needs and wants just like you. I usually know when I can let go and when I have to persist to work towards achieving what I need or want. If I don’t, one way or another, my husband or children would “remind” me, through words or mere subtle action. I feel contented even though sometimes I didn’t get what I wanted or the way I wanted it. This contentment comes about when I focused on the journey I had experienced. It may be a slight disappointment but I felt that I had achieved another milestone through undertaking the task. It’s the invaluable experience that made the difference.

Success does not apply to material wealth alone. It can be referring to good health, can be who you are when you are with your loved ones and others around you. How you treat yourself, your loved ones, the society and other living beings. A new friend, a young guy, from Singapore said, Success means “Family” to him. Family? He further explained that it means togetherness, family love and harmony. Growing up, he didn’t get the luxury of feeling that way and hope that he could achieve them in adult life.

Other friends chipped in….Success means Joy, Opportunity, Lifestyle, Freedom, Dream, being able to help other succeed. Imagine just one simple word could bring so many meanings to many people.

What does Success mean to you? Have you already achieve it and living in it? If have succeeded, what are you going to do next? I observed that even though one has achieved the first success, he/she would launch towards another milestone or target, if you like. Successful people will not stop at one success episode. They will keep going forward and most if not all, someway, would touch others’ lives whom they come into contact with along the way.

As one mentioned to me, Success is the ability to do what one likes or enjoy, and to help others succeed. These are people whom I highly respect for they are neither selfish nor arrogant but find joy in seeing others join the Success Club. They willingly become mentors to those who are focused on what they want in life but still struggling to climb the uphill of success. They would show the way and guide accordingly. They would share their mistakes, discoveries and experience so that the road to success for the following persons would become shorter and slightly easier.

To all successful people in their own right, Kudos to you! Spread your wings and fly high. While at that, remember to bring your loved ones with you. They have gone through the long journey with you, not totally bed of roses, and remain as loyal companions. Spread your love around. Share your experience with others, be a mentor. Bring new meanings into people’s lives. Success is sweeter and more meaningful when it is shared.

Cheers to you!

~ Alice N.

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