We Are Not Born Equal

All humans are not born equal. It is not quite possible to be treated equally. How does one measure equality? Using quantitative or qualitative methods? In the eyes of law, we are supposed to be treated equally, for whatever offence or crime we committed. When we utter the word “fairness”, what does that mean? Equality is different from Fairness.

Take for example, I have RM10 to be given to 4 children of different ages. To be equal, I should give each RM2.50. However, to be fair, I should not distribute the money in equal share, instead I shall provide according to their needs. I would be fair when I give to the eldest more as compared to the youngest because the elder needs to spend more on food than the younger ones. Now, do you know where I’m coming from?

By not being born equal, differences make us special. If all are born equal in this world, we will not be special anymore. We become so common. Take the difference in gender; Men and women’s brains work differently. The way they think differs and therefore they behave differently. Each has abilities in which they excel over the other gender. Physically, men tend to be stronger, but women tend to be more supple.

When differences are present around us, do not be surprised to find misunderstanding, different points of view, a child’s ability to solve a “tough” adult issue, different levels of treatment, etc. As mentioned earlier, no one was born to be equal, so we shouldn’t expect everything to be presented to us in equal manner. We can’t even give away equally! How we treat a certain situation is totally dependent on the level of our understanding of that issue. No one can judge very well on something so subjective. Different people have different perceptions.

We shall be able to come to terms with this inequality when we fully understand our differences and respect what makes us so special from the other. Your weakness may be my strength, vice versa. That doesn’t call for direct stiff competition between us, for no one will win at the end. Can we instead, see it as a good formula for a partnership? Why don’t we take advantage of both our strengths to bring us to greater heights? Take for example, in a school environment; if my weakness is English but my strength is Math, whilst yours is the opposite, we can both form a study group to learn from each other. In a working environment; if I’m good at finance and you are good at marketing, we can complement each other to bring better end results to our company’s bottom line. You know, “Opposite Attracts”.

Life as you know it, is more complicated with all these differences. You may choose to take it negatively and keep complaining to anyone who cares to listen, or look for opportunities in them and seize whatever that comes along. It’ll be great if you could give equally and fairly….if not, don’t beat yourself up because of it. I have not seen anyone ever able to give or treat people equally. Fairly, yup. Equally, nope.

~ Alice N.

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No Time!

We always complain about the 24 hours we have in a day, are not sufficient for us to complete our tasks. After deducting sleeping, travelling and working hours, we are then left with approximately 3 hours for dinner and personal time, towards the end of the day. With that, some put in extra hours to continue working, could be paperwork from the office or housework! It’s a wonder how we can squeeze in some more.

I always had more time on my hands, when I was single. Do you think, back then, time moved at a slower pace? I spent my time working hard, playing hard and slept for the longest time! Till today, I still believe that life is short. Therefore, I live a day at a time. Each day is greeted with gratitude that I’m still able to enjoy another day on this earth, to do my part in contributing to the society, including my family, of course. Life is how you see it, with your eyes and mind. So, for you bachelors and bachelorettes out there, make full use of your time and enjoy every second of it cuz, it is yours and only yours to use or waste. Choose wisely, for the time past will be lost forever.

When I entered motherhood, time somehow had shrunk! Not only that, the hands of the clock seemed to move faster than ever! Despite the rush, we human beings are flexible lot. We would usually find ways and means to adjust when changes take place. We become jugglers too, juggling a career, studies, being a spouse, being a parent, being a child to our parents, running a business, etc. Always striving to give our best to people around us. It’s not a bad thing, mind you. We grow from working hard, to working smart.

Life is like a rat race. We are always striving to get out of the mass to live our dreams. For some, it just takes a few years but for the rest, it may take many years more. Regardless, if we possess the right mindset and action with persistence, we would surely realise our dreams too. Whilst busy chasing for that goal, we must take a breather once in a while to recharge. We need to touch base with ourselves, family and the nature. Whether it is mere minutes or hours, it counts. You’ll feel great to discover that you are loved and thought of all the time. It makes a huge difference to your effort when you know you have this bunch of supportive big and small people walking along the path with you. That also reminds you that you are not alone. That, my friend, is a super energy booster, especially when you are exhausted or at the edge of giving up.

Another important thing to remember is, choose what you spend your time on. Is it productive or it’s a total waste of time? We don’t have the luxury of unlimited time. Therefore, let’s not worry about things that are beyond our control : like the weather, your final results of an exam, whether tomorrow will be a better day, our health till old age, if your children will bond with you well, etc. When we worry about something which is beyond our control, we are wasting precious time and produce more stress to our mind and body. Asking you and I to not worry at all is like asking us to walk on air. Instead, what we can do is to only worry about things which we have control over. Like the weather, spare an umbrella if you think it’s going to rain; pay attention in class and study well to prepare yourself for the exam; have good habits, eat healthily and exercise correctly, to keep your mind and body in tip top condition; spend some time with the family and give chance for you and children to communicate and understand one another. In short, do the right thing right and the results will come to you. If the result is not as expected, conduct a post-mortem to learn how you can do it better in the next round. Mistakes make us wiser when it is learnt.

If you have too much on your hands, prioritise and learn to delegate to others. Personally attend to what is important and productive. Not all urgent matters are important, so select wisely. If you are not sure, discuss your To Do List with someone who can give you the clarity to make the selection easier. Whatever you decide to do, when you are given a tough cookie to chew, how do you stomach it? By simply taking smaller bites, take time to chew so that you don’t accidentally bite your inner cheek or tongue. Not all things are to be taken in big bites. Life is a destination, rich with experiences and lots to discover along the path.

Finally, review your priorities and your current position. If you need to do some balancing and adjustments to spending your time efficiently, by all means, go ahead and do it. You’ll feel tonnes lighter and happier. No one wishes to carry such huge and heavy baggage on his/her shoulders for this long journey. It slows us down and breaks our backs. By the time we reach our destination, we’re beat. I’m sure many of us would prefer to enjoy our wealth with loved ones, to using that hard-earned wealth to pay for repairing that “broken” body.

So, do yourself a big favour. Start now by treating yourself as well as you would treat a great friend. You deserve to love yourself and some TLCs (tender loving care). When you are happy and optimistic, you can handle almost everything effortlessly. Remember, time waits for no man.

Make time to have a great weekend, the way you want it to be!

~ Alice N.</p

Dealing With Some Life Issues…

Past week, the sweet harmony of our family was challenged again. I was at my wits’ end having to deal with IT once again. It is most tiring for both my husband and I. We are just a simple family who always welcome friends, including children’s friends, to our humble home. We treat everyone the same, with concern, kindness and sincerity.

Family harmony is extremely important. I trust that all parents think alike; values that we parents want to instill in our children is to avoid harming others, physically and emotionally, and to help them as much as we possibly can, so that we can all live harmoniously with others.

That brings me to a sensitive subject, which I promised myself, two things I would not write about, Politics and Religion. But, the latter is inevitable because some insensitive people have invaded my peaceful fort again! Yup, this is not the first time. As parents, we will always protect/defend our children when they are threatened, in any ways. As a result of that “invasion”, my poor child became confused, critical and lose interest in his studies! If you were in my shoes, you would be on hyper-protective mode too.

Religion should not be forced on anyone. Today, when we sent our children to school, they are not only faced with challenges from peers, academic achievement, growing pains, they are also bombarded on daily basis with kind invitations from classmates, to their places of worship with them! Since when schools became recruitment ground for religions? Pardon my choice of words but it does look like MLM (nothing against MLM) recruitment! Seems to me that these students are more concerned to achieve “brownie points” on religious issue than learning the right thing in school. Please don’t be amazed when I tell you that these students are as young as seven years old!

As we live in multiple-cultural and multiple-religious society, it is inevitable to have such encounters. When I asked my students in my Sunday class about it, 90% of them told me that they have such experience all the time in school! So, we are not alone…but WHY? I thought we go to school to gain knowledge not to do God’s work to try to convince our friends to convert to our faith! YIKES! Where and what has gone so wrong in today’s world? Is it the world or it’s just us? (sigh)

What do we do if our children are the “victims”? I think, we should prepare them by discussing the fact that people have different beliefs and thus mutual respect and tolerance, for one another, are important. Do not let religion separate what could have been a great friendship. If you find that your child is being enticed or pressured to convert to his/her friend’s faith, you should intervene early on. Describe ways in which your beliefs and values can help your children dealing with daily life issues. We have to teach them how to answer to their friend’s questions about their own faith and how to think for themselves when faced with such challenges.

If you are the one encouraging your children to influence their friends to embrace your faith, please stop this minute for everyone’s sake! You have to set your priorities right when you send your children to school. How would it make you feel if the table is turned. Instead of you trying to convert others, it’s now your children’s friends trying to entice your precious children to join their faiths. How would you react to that? I sincerely hope that your answer will make you more sensitive towards others. Please set the record straight for your family, especially the young ones, before your children take the blame for lack of guidance from you. Always do to others what you want others to do to you. We are all human beings, with very little difference, actually. We should respect one another’s religion and culture. We must be the role model to our children so that they can live and respect people’s differences. Tell our children that every religion is good and is to be respected. Do not try to tarnish something so pure and holy with your lack of understanding. Get to know our own faith well and adopt the right practice.

If you feel that my choice of words are inappropriate, I shall not apologize for them. These are words from my heart, as a mother who will do the right thing to protect her youngs. If you could witness how my child had changed, I think you would encourage me to say more and use stronger vocabs. Like I said, we are just a simple family who knows very well who we are and we don’t have to shout to be heard. So long we do what is right in our lives, I strongly believe God will pave our paths with firm, level surface to walk on. We respect people and their differences. We can accept people around us to grow freely and make their own choices, and in return, we don’t expect any lesser from others.

Remember, don’t let differences separate us all. When we learn to respect and tolerate all these differences, we can live harmoniously with one another and be best of pals too. It’s exactly like back in time, some three decades ago! Everyone lived in peace and harmony, respecting one another’s differences. Share that sweet moments with your children and make them understand; it happened before (living harmoniously) and it can still be so today if we do what we did back then.

I hope I make sense after all….

~ Alice N.

Are You Working IN/ON Your Business?

In our afternoon session today, we touched on Business Succession Planning for Business Owners. Most of us spend majority of our waking hours, for years (almost lifetime), busy accumulating our wealth by running our businesses profitably, on full steam. We put in so much time, effort and attention into the money-making machine. Have you ever thought of what will happen to your wealth when you are no longer around one day?

If you don’t have any retirement and exit strategies, you are still working IN your business. What do I mean by that! When you are away from your office, there is no way you can leave your communication line off. There is also no way for you to be away from your business for weeks or even months, I assume. That, is what being IN the business means.

On the other hand, if you have your strategies in place during your lifetime and after, you will be able let the business run, by professionals hand-picked by you, while you’re away on long vacation or enjoying your retirement. When you are no longer around, you know with certainty that your wishes are being carried out accordingly. This indicates that you are being ON the business.

Of those two, where are you now and where would you choose to be? IN or ON the business? If you are already ON the business, I must applaud you for having the foresight to act proactively in preserving your assets. However, if you are still IN the business, you are not alone. It is not too late for you to plan your strategies before you lose control of it. Decide to switch your position from Accumulation to that of Preservation as soon as you can.

At our firm, we have successfully designed blue prints for our high net worth and/or high complex clients. What’s high net worth and high complex individual? You know, those who run successful family businesses, siblings-owned companies, those who have proxies and nominees in other companies, Muslim and Non-Muslim partners; you know, those with more than one families, squandering heirs, offshore assets, messy wealth, unable to identify business successor, not sure if your will/shareholders agreements/M&A can preserve your wealth. Won’t you want to know your rights and how you can preserve your interests? After taking years to build your wealth, won’t you want to know for certain, that your wealth can be passed on beyond the 3rd generation? When you are no longer around, would you want to see family feuds and disharmony in the family? I trust that Preventive action is preferable to Corrective action. You can prevent unwanted events with prior proper planning.

If this strikes you and makes you aware of similar or other matters of complexities that create anxiety or concerns in your life, it’s time we have a private chat over a hot cup of coffee or tea at my office. Let us know how we can help you achieve your wishes.

~ Alice N.

Mastering The Financial Planning Profession

Mornings during the weekend has always been beautiful and serene. No traffic jams, no rush hour, don’t you just wish that everyday is as cool as this?

This beautiful Saturday, I’m so blessed to share it with my friends and associates. We are now at a seminar hosted by my firm, on how one can master the financial planning profession, the right way. We’re glad to present opportunities to aspiring financial planners, our one-stop financial solutions platform for them. I always believe that choosing the right partner and being in the right practice is important to any consultant in the long haul.

Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) industry is still at its infancy stage in our country as well as other Asian countries, like Hong Kong and Singapore, to name a couple. I embrace that because it is a sunrise industry! IFA started in the United Kingdom (UK) since February 2001, till today, you can no longer find any tied agents in the country anymore. Agents have since become professional and independent. Other countries like the USA, Australia, Canada, just to name a few, followed suit. In these countries, people rely so much on their Financial Planners, as compared to other professionals, because the Planners can provide a more wholesome service to them financially. Insurance agents, mutual fund consultants, estate planners, some accountants/bankers, etc have moved on to become IFA to provide better service and solutions to their valued clients.

As for me, I had been a tied agent for 10 years for insurance and mutual fund services. I knew very well the limitations of being tied to certain principals. I wanted very badly to do more for my clients and to be more professional. Having that in mind, I did my research and instantly registered for classes to acquire the necessary certification to practice as an independent financial planner.

When I obtained my certification, I went around searching for the right IFA firm and I found one which I am attached to till today. This has been my 3rd year being an IFA professional and I have never looked back. I’m so glad that I am able to put what I learnt into practice. All my clients knew I had been studying all these years and still do, to further improve my knowledge and skills to serve them better. They are happy and so am I.

By being an IFA, it also gives me more time to spend with my clients. We do lunches and have our coffee/tea time. These are the times when I catch up with them, get to know their latest development, sharing my knowledge and casual chats. Being an IFA is my passion and I LOVE doing what I do now!

Our firm is 9 years old this year. We specialise in Independent Conventional and Islamic Financial Planning Advisory Services. We hold licenses on FA, CMSL (FP) and CUTA. We are a team of young and dynamic consultants with strong back-end support, full range of products and multiple platforms, enabling us to provide solutions to our clients’ financial concerns.

If, after reading this, you feel inspired and wish to be part of our team, you know how to get in touch with me. You are most welcome to be part of us to develop this industry we are passionate about.

~ AliceN.

Happy Father’s Day <3

Happy Father's Day!

This weekend is Father’s Day weekend. Many children will be planning something for their daddies! Wives will also be busy planning for their husbands, to show appreciation to their partners for being such great daddies to the children. We had simple Father’s Day celebrations with my Father and Father-in-law in advance. So, this weekend will be for my children’s daddy….

Fathers do have great influence to their children. While Mothers usually influence children on the soft skills (EQ) i.e. the cluster of personality traits, social graces, communication, language, personal habits, friendliness, and optimism that characterise relationships with other people, Fathers would complement with hard skills (IQ), which are the occupational requirements of a job and many other activities, inclusive but not limited to decision making and problem solving skills.

Who I am today has got a lot to do with my father’s influence as I grow up. Since young, I followed Father when he made his rounds around the plantation, either in mid mornings or evenings after office hours. When people waved (hello) to him, he would always respond with a wave, a nod and a smile. That’s Father’s signature greeting, till today. Some afternoons, I would tag along with him when he inspected the factory and then to his office. I watched how Father carried out his responsibilities as an Estate Manager. He interacted well with his staff, of all levels. He even played games with them after working hours and his concern for the well-being of his staff was highly admired. Father welcomed those single ones to our home for hot home-cooked meals everyday. He invited Pakcik’s family to watch TV with us, and our fave movie of all time then was P.Ramlee’s movies! There were occasions when the guys would happily fill up our living room during any live telecasts of boxing or badminton matches! It was like a huge happy family, not just us but with others, no race or religion could separate us, with Father as the head of family.

Yes, Father was my hero and will always be. He taught me lots since I was as young as six year old! He was my Life Coach, with whom I learnt to be one myself, to my children today. He is a man who gives his all to his family, then, now and forever. He may not have huge assets to give away to his children, but he had already given us what we truly need to survive in this world – his values, his beliefs, his “code of ethics”. He is always quick to respond to any distress call, his answer has always been “OK, no problem”. He will never ever want to be a bother to anyone, that is how independent he is. I think, in his eyes, I’m still his little girl.

He has been taking care of us all his life, without thinking much for himself. That’s my dad. I hope he’ll allow us to take care of him too, one way or another. It’s time for us to serve him and let him relax, to enjoy life….if he were to read this, he’s going to insist that “He is enjoying his life!”. I believe he is. He still wakes up as early as 5.30am to exercise. He’ll enjoy breakfast and tea with Mom and their group of friends after his morning walk and/or hike. Father is a loyal friend and husband. Till today, he still goes to the market with Mom, for the last 48 years! That’s my beloved father ❤

To all Fathers, Daddies, Ayah, Abah, Papa, Appa,"Lou tau", "Lau pa", any way you are addressed, HAPPY FATHER'S DAY TO YOU! YOU ARE TRULY AWESOME!

~ AliceN.

The Grass Is Always Greener On The Other Side.

It is hard to be satisfied with whatever you already possess now. The more you achieved, the more you want some more. Human beings have insatiable needs. When we earn a salary, we want more because we need more to finance our increasing “wants”. When we have a house, we want a bigger one; the same goes to the car(s), etc.

For those in employment, they always wish to be a boss. Whereby, they can have total freedom! They can call the shots and have the last say. That’s super cool, isn’t it? The grass sure looks greener on the other side. However, before you get carried away, ask any enterpreneur and he/she can tell you that being your own boss, you must be ready to give up annual leave, medical leave, lunch hour, bonuses, increment and salary is secondary to your staff’s. After work, you can’t just switch off and expect someone else to think for your business. Your brain still works overtime on cash-flow, new products and services, recruitment, staff affairs and a long list of uncertainties that come as a package for being your own boss.

On this side of the fence, being an employee, the minute you clock out from the office, work issues will be the last thing on your mind. You are free to go for happy hour to release the day’s stress. You know very well that, at the end of the month, your salary, by default, will automatically appear in your bank account, you enjoy employee benefits, you don’t have to worry about bottom line unless you have a sales quota, you can switch your mind off when you are on vacation, when you are not feeling well, you can call in sick, etc. If you don’t like your employer, you can always move on to greener pasture.

You see, people will constantly wish for what they don’t have yet. It’s always so much more attractive looking through the glass, than being in it. But, when you are in it, who knows, you might just want out. When we see people who have already “landed” (successful) today, we only see the beautiful picture, where they are enjoying the fruit of their hard labour. We can only imagine life turbulence experienced by them for years, more downs than ups actually. Some even went rock bottom i.e. became a bankrupt, before they could finally spread their wings to soar. For them, there’s no turning back! Failure is never an option for any business person, especially when you have both legs in. Either you choose to swim to the shore or give up and drown. Having that in mind, at each fall, they picked themselves up, learnt from it and move forward till they finally see their sweat, blood and tears bear fruits. It’s certainly a high price to pay for success. I must say, it also takes a lot of guts. This we must learn from them.

You can still hear people around you saying “wish I could have that…”, regardless of age. Whether it is merely love and attention from a family member, money, status, material things, recognition, popularity, you name it. Everyone wants to have a piece of it, the greener pasture, I mean. Like wise people always remind us : “Be careful of what you wish for”! The higher the risk, the higher the return; the higher you climb, the harder the fall;

For those who wish to explore that Big Dreams, do your homework first. And no, you don’t need to know everything to start doing something. But, you need to know something before you start. Ask people who are already at the top of your dream, make them your “mentor”, learn from their mistakes, find out what they do differently that gives them their success, learn as much as you can about what you are getting into and most of all, you need at least a very supportive and patient partner. If the hat fits, take the chance. You won’t know if you don’t take chances in life!

~ Alice N.

Do We Give Up So Easily?

Do we thrown in the towel too soon that after we have cooled down, we regret that move? On anything….life, a job, marriage or relationship, a business deal, an investment, learning a new skill, studying our least favourite subject, keeping to the course we signed up for, etc.

Life is filled with ups and downs. When we are up, we feel like we own the world, almost at the snap of our fingers, isn’t it? To maintain being up, it takes a whole load of hard work, as much work, if not more, as when we’re working our ways up. If you let go of the effort, all that you have achieved would gradually slide through our fingers. Life is like the music box. If we keep winding, we get to listen to the lovely music continuously. Once we stop, the music stops as well.

When you are the best in whatever that you do, you have set the Mark higher for yourself to maintain. That shows you have more potential than you realized! Two thoughts would take place in your mind. The idea of moving ahead, to the next level, tires your mind out; or it gives you a challenge to push yourself a little further to discover your full potential! There’s always two sides to a coin. So is life. Either you choose to look at the brighter side or the gloomier side. The choice is yours.

That, was about being at the top. What about the journey to the top or you are about to start from the foothill? For a relationship, a career, business venture or an investment journey? Patience is not our strongest point. For anything to grow well, it needs time. We need time to grow, learn how to read and write, and we know very well that time and experience make us smarter and closer to achieving our goals. How come we don’t give time for things around us time to grow as well?

Life is full of uncertainties. Uncertainties come with risks. Everything we do has risks. For the course you sign up, what certainty it gives you that you are going to pass and get a high paying job after that? No one can guarantee that, unless you have direct influence to it. Same goes to an investment, it doesn’t take Warren Buffet to make his billions overnight or even in a month or year. Donald Trump made it and fell from it but made it back, over years too.

In the business world, what I learn from people who made it, they told me that it takes one at least 10 years to make it BIG. We talk about decent and legal business set up, with no “big cables” to support, of course. Once you are at the peak, to remain there, you have to be innovative to keep up with the changing trends. Now I understand why the rich tycoons still have to work so hard till the wee hours when they have got “everything” already! The higher one climbs, the higher price one has to pay. Everything comes with sacrifices, or opportunity costs. When we are halfway through, or maybe at the last hurdle to the finishing line, do we give up because our legs want to, or we pull all our strength together from every part of our body to take us through to finish the race?

Patience is a state of mind. If we can rationalise our action, our mind will allow more time. Coming to this kind of decision takes some analysis and conviction. If you once believe in whatever you started, keep believing in it, for it to bear fruits. As I mentioned before, everything takes time. So, don’t give up so easily.

Each time we give up on our dream, it puts us at the starting line again. It’s starting all over again and again. Some of you might say “cut losses” – agreed, IF given due consideration and provided fair and sufficient time already. We can learn from the waves. Before the big wave starts, it has to pull the water back first, right? See, we can learn a lot from the nature!

So, before we give up on a pursuit, evaluate carefully before you pull the plug. If you don’t, you might miss the chance to success. Success in everything you do.

All the best to you!

~ AliceN.

A Happy Husband

  • A Happy Hubby!

Before the weekend starts, I want to write about The Man! I believe every man wishes to be a happily married man and make his beloved wife happy. This is what I learnt from “The Secrets of Happily Married Men” – Dr Scott Haltzman. Haltzman writes about eight simple ways which men can adopt, to make them happy husbands. And before we go any further, No, I’m not about to set up a “Happy Husbands Club“!

I believe many people, men and women alike, would agree that there is a huge difference between the “chase” or courting time, and married period. Like, Before vs After. Every man and woman continuously, openly or secretly, yearn for the “once upon a time when you were…“.

I agree with Haltzman when he said that, “during courtship, men are inclined to be romantic, thoughtful and considerate; they enjoy the challenge of pleasing their partner. That proves to their partners that men have these feelings and can do these things“! That’s why most women want their marriage to remain that way, like “those” days! Read along if you want to find out how, by doing that, could make you a happier husband.

1. Make Your Marriage Your Job – the concepts and theory of business skills are directly applicable to your marriage, but, with a little adjustment to the vocabulary, of course. Focus on the benefits of marriage, not on the day-to-day frustrations. Put your skills (discipline, reliability, devotion, loyalty, stability, intelligence, flexibility, commitment) to good use in this marriage. Learn from mistakes. Be determined to get better and better in your job as a husband.

2. Know Your Wife – Yup, get to know who she is and what does she want? Take a closer look at her being a mother, her relation to her own parents and your parents, how she wants to raise her children, her career, her attitude towards material things and her notion of important ideas. How are you going to do that?! Simply by dropping all past assumptions about her and look at her as if you’ve just met her and try to discover who she really is. When you can’t understand her point of view, seek further clarification. Love your wife for who she is – not who you think she should be. That’s why you fell in love with her in the first place, isn’t it?

3. Be Home Now – Simply be there, in person. Include your wife in your non-working life pursuits. Don’t foster close friendships away from home that exclude her, particularly if they are with other women. It is good for you both to have some quality time-out from your pals, sports channel, computer/blackberry/iPhone/iPad, etc. And, for the wives, when dearest hubby tries to be with the family or you more, don’t start arguing about anything. No man would like to walk through the front door of his home and felt like walking onto land mines! Men could try to understand that, being at home, for the wives, can be very stressful. Their job of parenting and maintaining a home, is time-consuming, strenuous and demanding. Worse, if they work as well.

4. Expect Conflict and Deal with It – “I’m Right, You’re Wrong!”, sounds familiar? We have to accept that conflict is a natural part of marriage. Men and Women are different. We act, speak and think differently. Conflict is not necessarily bad; your wife may need it as a way to clear the air. Ever experience that after a conflict, you both end up being closer and more caring than before, towards each other? While conflict is good, we must hold back hurtful and hateful comments. Don’t ever get physical either. When temper flares, take time to let things cool down. Don’t disappear, walk away or switch on the TV; stay open to communication. Assume the best motives, take her words at face value and move on. Fight (verbally, of course) if you must but after you make up, put the fight behind you and move on towards your goal of having a happy marriage.

5. Learn to Listen – your wife ever said this to you : “You Never Listen!”? You need skills for this but right practice makes perfect. Listen not only to her words but for the meaning behind those words. Which refers to her verbal and most importantly non-verbal speech like tone, gestures, feelings. By listening to her, you’re telling her that you give her your undivided attention. Certainly not, “listening” to her while reading the papers or watching the TV. She knows. Listen to Understand, not to win her over to your point of view.

6. Aim to Please – “If Mama’s not happy about how her home life is working out, there is very little chance that you are living a happy marriage”. Although many responsibilities fall to her, it is your responsibility to find ways to make her life easier. Use the people-pleasing skills you possess at work to make your wife feel special. Give her positive feedback each day and soon you’ll notice a more optimistic, confident and supportive wife you have. Surprise her with spontaneous dates! Pay attention to things that please her, you know better.

7. Understand the Truth About SexDon’t stop being romantic as she needs to know that you love her from deep within yourself. Pitch in to help around the house – that will help her clean out her emotional closet and make more room for you. Try to understand what sex means to her. Be patient as rewards won’t come all at once. Remember, women don’t want a quick fix. When she says that you are not romantic enough, don’t expect rewards, right after giving her a lovely gift or take her to a candle-lit dinner. Romantic to her is in general, treat her special not just once but every day. How? Just the way you did when you were courting her. Small kind gestures, touch base by calling her during lunch hour (small talk about her), tell her you miss her when you are away on a trip, etc. Get the idea?

8. Introduce Yourself – Huh?! Take a good look at the physical you. Are you proud of yourself, is she proud of you? If not, start yourself on an exercise and diet routine to get back into shape. Take great care of your health – schedule a checkup with your doctor to keep yourself healthy. These show that you care for her;  you want to be healthy, to share the rest of your life with her; to be the pillar of strength for her, amongst other things. Be faithful. Any form of infidelity undermines a strong marriage. Evaluate your core values so that you have a better idea of what’s important to you and involve your wife to help you attain that values. Give your wife what she needs first, before asking for what you need. Respect and love her deeply and honestly.

Now, go celebrate your love. If you find the tips valuable and would like to know in greater details, go get the book. No, I don’t earn anything from this. I read it and feel that every man should have a copy for reference. You know, we forget easily and over time we would start to take each other for granted again. Then, it’s time to bring it out again to refresh our memory. When I found a great read, I always like to share with my friends.

A toast to all men, to love and happy husbands…don’t be afraid to start all over again after each conflict. It breathes fresh air into your marriage, for good. Remember, stop trying to meet impossible expectations. Compromise will be good enough. You’d be better able to be true to yourself and still be good husbands.

~ AliceN.

Children are from Heaven

Precious baby

Precious baby

This morning, as I flipped through the newspaper, The Star dated 7th June, I came upon pieces of news about an eight year old girl being raped by a naked man in the toilet, six-year-old girl being molested behind her mother’s back at a public place, teenage girl molested by friend’s father….These news aren’t new actually. We read about news like these so often nowadays, including child abuse. What has this world become? May I say it in one word i.e. SICK?

I still remember when I was very young, we could run all over the place without fear. Neighbours were always so kind and watchful over one another’s children. When we went to school by bus, we had peace of mind that we’d reach our destination safely. My parents didn’t need to worry about us being harmed by fellow human beings! Today is a different story altogether. I wonder what causes this change, where people live in fear?

People often tell us to let go…to give our children some freedom or space to grow. It is alright to let them roam so long they know how to get back. Let them be independent, learn to cope on their own, the washroom is just so near – they can go on their own, etc. When we ignored friend’s well-meaning advice, they said we are being over-protective. To me, I’d rather be safe than sorry and I’m sure most parents are too. I still prefer to be watchful from a safe distance.

Bad people who harm children, don’t come as strangers anymore. They come in many forms these days – family members, friends, known persons. Children are usually so trusting but how do we tell them not simply to trust anyone, including those known to them? How do we answer their string of “Whys”? By doing this, are we over-reacting?

A friend said to me this morning that the world is coming to an end. I guess….I have no idea about the future but what I do believe is living right in the present. I’d like to believe that if we do no harm to others, have clear conscience in everything that we do and say, the universe will be kinder to us. People call it “karma” isn’t it. Making our sufferings to be less painful, perhaps.

God blessed us with children, entrusted us to care and nurture them to be good, mature individuals. Shower them with love, guide them towards the right path as they grow up. What values we share with them will be the ones they teach to their children. It’s like a circle, isn’t it?

Children, it is true that parents can be a pain on the sides. Saying “NO” to almost everything, especially to requests for more freedom. This is especially relevant to teenagers. My belief is that parents can’t give away total freedom because you may not be ready to handle it. Let’s try step by step. You are going to live under your parents’ roof for the next few years only. Then, you’ll be away from home to continue with your higher education. That’s where you exercise your freedom. I’d like to think that, by then, you’ll be more mature to handle it well.

For now, it’s good if you’ll heed your parents’ advice. Seek understanding. That would set as a strong foundation for you when you leave home one day. For the majority and loving parents, they will give their lives away to protect their young ones. No way would they want their children to be harmed in any ways. If they have magic wands, they would fully utilise it to provide their children 24/7 protective shield, at a wave of the wand! We know we can’t have that so we offer our prayers to you. May you be fully aware of your surroundings and know how to act to keep you safe always.

Take care.

~ AliceN.