Outward Bound Camp Experience

This is a continuation from my last posting, “Loosening The Apron String”. It’s finally the 10th day since the last time we parted with our son at the Outward Bound Malaysia (OBM) campsite. It was a 10-day camp and worth every second of it. Well done, OBM!!!

On the 9th evening, we had BBQ Nite where parents/families were invited to great food (mushroom soup, BBQ chicken thigh with brown sauce, coleslaw, salad, mashed potatoes, fruits) and entertained by all the participants, as young as 10 year-old. You’d be amazed by their talents! I was, and on that special evening, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my son could rap so well! Yeah, one proud mom and dad here 😉

A huge contrast to the first day of registration. The once shy and timid Tweens and Teens had been replaced by confident and excited young ladies and lads! The hall was filled with joy, warm and strong fellowship. If you were there, you could feel the strong bond amongst them. They no longer hanging around their parents but preferring to be with their buddies instead. At the same time, I could feel a tinge of sadness in the room as they knew that they’re left with one more night together before they part in the morning with each return to their own homes and lives.

On the final day, the closing ceremony was carried out in an orderly manner. I must acknowledge that OBM carried out their activities with much care and professionally too. On this glorious morning, all parents were punctual for the closing ceremony. During such time, parents would take every opportunity to snap as many pictures of their children with their friends. Same here…

On our way home, I was most glad to hear from my son that he enjoyed himself so much that he wished to attend the YAC again next year. He didn’t mind the “inconvenience” which came with it as he loved all the outdoor activities such as kayaking, setting up his own tent, rock climbing, jungle tracking, cooking together, etc. He even missed his dorm already. Upon hearing that, my tween daughter also echoed her brother’s wish. Great, we shall do that again come 2012!

Deep down, I hope from now onwards, his experience will bring positive changes to his life, besides the wonderful memories from this 10-day camp. I also encourage him to keep in touch with all his new-found friends, via Facebook, emails or occasional meetings for chats and catching up.

All in all, I’m most glad that we made that decision to register him for the YAC at OBM. Thanks to our dearest friend/brother, DKA who initiated this idea. He attended this camp when he was younger and it changed him for the better, to who he is today. Do you know that OBM has been on our land for the last 57 years and still counting?!

Cheers to Gayong YAC28!

Alice N.


Preview on Feedage: my-trove-%E2%80%93-relationship-and-financial-matters-a-simple

Add to My Yahoo!

Add to Google!

Add to AOL!

Add to MSN

Subscribe in NewsGator Online

Add to Netvibes

Subscribe in Pakeflakes

Subscribe in Bloglines

Add to Alesti RSS Reader

Add to Feedage.com Groups

Add to Windows Live

iPing-it

Add to Feedage RSS Alerts

Add To Fwicki

Add to Spoken to You

Advertisements

Loosening The Apron String

Nope, it’s not about cooking today. I must admit that I’m not much of a cook or a baker, but if you want to swing by for a simple meal, I believe I can manage that, if you dare try…(LOL!)

Today, I want to talk about parents and their children. Usually parents, mostly moms, are painstakingly protective over their growing children. I can attest to that, as I was one before. You know, modern parents these days choose to have fewer children. All they have are one, two or three, especially city folks, with both parents working. They are able to shower their children with abundance of love and attention that they sometimes fear to let go.

When I was planning to send my dear son to the Outward Bound Camp (OBC), I did mention to a few friends about it. They wondered how I could let my son participate in such a camp, three and a half hours away from home, with total strangers and for a period of ten days?! Well, feelings wise, I’m no different from other moms. Just that, when the time comes, I know I have to let go, bit by bit for his own sake. I must allow him space to grow up to be an independent young adult. He can only do that when I’m not around to “mothering” him around. I know very well that I can’t keep him under my wings forever, as I won’t be around that long. Yes, I do worry about him being out there but I consoled myself that it’ll be fine and he’ll be enjoying himself with his newfound friends. At the end of it, he would have learnt some life skills which we could all be proud of. I had been to many such camps, from young to adult life, and I ended up better off each time. I know what it’s like. The same shall apply to him. Who knows, he might want to go again next year?!

All I could do before we parted was to re-assure him and advise him to listen attentively to his instructors. I had to put on a brave front and be cool about it. Because I know, if I display any sign of anxiety, he would feel it too. That would make him more nervous. That was what I witnessed on the registration day, the scene of over-protective parents asking endless questions and anxious children tailing behind their parents! Poor kids.

As our children grow up, we must not keep them under a golden shield. Otherwise, they will depend on their parents for literally everything about them – making life decisions, expect parents to act for them, not being pro-active (always waiting to be told before doing something), etc. Should we leave permanently one day, what is to become of these children! They would be like lost lambs or like a kite with broken string! Terrifying! Oh no, I’d rather teach them to fish than to fish for them.

Of course, when offering freedom, I wouldn’t give all out. It’ll have to be bit by bit, to gauge how much my child can handle. If it is too much to handle, I’d pull some back. If he can handle more, I’d allow more. When we love someone, we must accord him/her some freedom by simply letting go, by the inch or yard. It is totally up to you. Just like one wise friend once told me – in any relationships, holding on tightly will stop it from growing and eventually breaks it apart. As in fishing or flying a kite, sometimes you let go and sometimes you apply a bit of pressure to bring it closer, then you let loose again.

Coming back to the camp : I was told by many that after the OBC, I’d expect drastic changes to my son’s behaviour. He’d be “tougher”, more disciplined and confident. Sounds good, right? Sometimes when a mother hears all that in one shot, she would be having mixed feelings like, glad but terrified. Glad because her child has grown and able to take on more life challenges; terrified because she might not be prepared for it. That’s how I felt initially, after listening to many mothers talking. Fortunately, my brain took over and did some analytical thinking, weighing the pros and cons and finally, the brain won! Yeah, it should do more good for him than harm. It’s gonna be alright….

He is old enough to learn to rely on himself and to trust his own judgement. Assuring myself that I’ve made the right decision in convincing myself and my darling husband, to let our son attend such camp at this age. Yes, I have a good feel about it from the time I completed those application forms, took him for his medical examination and the days which followed after we parted at the camp site. We’ll be seeing him again real soon….can’t wait!!!

For those parents who are still wearing a tight apron around their waists and still “mothering” their teenagers, try to loosen it a bit to avoid suffocation. After a while, you’ll get used to it and be proud of your children’s achievements in life. Been there, done that and still going from phase to phase. I’ve survived thus far and so would you!

Cheers,
Alice N.


Preview on Feedage: my-trove-%E2%80%93-relationship-and-financial-matters-a-simple

Add to My Yahoo!

Add to Google!

Add to AOL!

Add to MSN

Subscribe in NewsGator Online

Add to Netvibes

Subscribe in Pakeflakes

Subscribe in Bloglines

Add to Alesti RSS Reader

Add to Feedage.com Groups

Add to Windows Live

iPing-it

Add to Feedage RSS Alerts

Add To Fwicki

Add to Spoken to You

Continuous Professional Education

Fulfilling the requirement of Continuous Professional Education (CPE) is one of the most important criteria in renewing a professional’s license with relevant Regulators.

Being a Licensed Independent Financial Planner, it is compulsory for me to clock in a certain number of hours before I can have my license renewed for the next couple of years. In my opinion, CPE is good that it provides relevant courses for practitioners to sharpen their knowledge and skills. In this world of ever-changing and rapid development, consultants must ensure that they stay current and relevant. By doing so, it enables them to provide accurate information and exercise current practice methodology when advising their clients.

As would other professionals, like medical specialists, solicitors, accountants, engineers, etc, they have to return to “classrooms” to learn the latest techniques, receive updates of information, changes in standard practice, amendments on any codes, and the like.

I have friends and clients wondering why I keep attending seminars and seeking further education. It’s like no end to it. It’s true that there is no end to learning process. I was once told by someone wise that, we are always on learning mode; The only time we stop learning is when we are dead. I do agree with that statement. When one refuses to learn anymore, the brain blocks off new information and everything else remains status quo. No further development of any kind…..what a pity.

In my course of work, providing strategies to client’s wealth protection and preservation takes a lot of brain exercise, not from me alone, but together with my regular team members too. There is no fixed templates for any one case. Each case is unique and demands customised treatment and application. Consultants are entrusted with the client’s most private information and expected to act in their best interest, in providing solutions to their concerns.

The continuous professional education program also provides a platform for industry practitioners to meet and exchange knowledge. Of course, we do not share information which are private and confidential. In such environment, there are no competitors but fellow colleagues. Financial Planning is a broad subject. It comprises of Risk Management, Tax Planning, Investment Planning, Retirement and Estate Planning. It can be done on modular, by section as mentioned before, or it can be comprehensive, all in one. It is further divided to Personal Wealth Planning and Corporate Wealth Strategies.

Being a professional is not an easy task. Besides meeting clients, attending to piles of analysis and reporting, one has to go back to “studying”, either for a day or two workshops (CPE) or pursuing further formal education, e.g. Degree, Masters or PhD. The additional knowledge will not be a waste, but would in fact, enhance the capability and competency of the person. I am a firm believer of continuous life long learning. Applied knowledge is always an invaluable asset to any individual. It lets us see things in different perspective, which others might not have thought of. It is certainly challenging to learn and master new skills. This is what make our lives interesting, isn’t it? Imagine life without sparks and issues to solve….boring, right?

For those of you who are employed, be a willing learner when employers send you for training or seminars. I know it is difficult but try to be grateful. I met many employees during seminars whereby majority of them complained about being sent there by their employers. They would always be surprised to know that I actually paid for the seminars, from my own pocket, which they get for free!

If you have just stopped learning, it is time for you to pick yourself up to start learning something new, and apply it to your old practice. You have to keep up or you’ll end being part of history, before the “expiry date”. Remember, the only thing which stays CONSTANT is CHANGE.

~ Alice N.


Preview on Feedage: my-trove-%E2%80%93-relationship-and-financial-matters-a-simple

Add to My Yahoo!

Add to Google!

Add to AOL!

Add to MSN

Subscribe in NewsGator Online

Add to Netvibes

Subscribe in Pakeflakes

Subscribe in Bloglines

Add to Alesti RSS Reader

Add to Feedage.com Groups

Add to Windows Live

iPing-it

Add to Feedage RSS Alerts

Add To Fwicki

Add to Spoken to You

Aces Matters?!

Today, Malaysian students who sat for the UPSR examination obtained their results. As usual, you can easily spot various expression, of joy, surprise, disappointment and sadness. Some returned to immediately share their joy or frustration in the Facebook. I feel for all of you..

Academically, we can’t deny that Aces still matter. A lot! School authorities use it to measure the overall performance of their students. Schools also see the results before admitting any new students into their compound. Grades matter, like it or not…..is it because this is the only method used, to measure the level of intelligence of a student?

I do recognise the limitation faced by schools in measuring a student’s actual capability. However, I am of the opinion that Aces does not directly measure a person’s level of intelligence. I’d like to believe that Aces indicate the depth of understanding of a student for the subjects concerned. I have met some students with Aces who could not communicate or express him/herself properly, but have straight A’s in their exams. I have also encountered some average students who speak better, active in extra-curricular and display their creative side.

If one does not score all the Aces, it does not mean that he/she is any less smarter. Please do not despair if you have not obtained full A’s. Look at your results again and do a post-mortem. Ask how you managed to get Aces for certain subjects and why it did not happen to the others? Was it because you have difficulty in understanding the subject? Do you need extra help? Discuss with your parents to plan ahead. What about your studying method? Think, if you were to apply the same method of studying, for subjects which you scored A’s to the non-A’s subject(s), do you think it would work out?

Do not for a minute think that you are a failure or you are less smarter than those who obtained straight A’s. How you judge yourself will mirror how you think others feel about you. If you think you are less intelligent, you would think that is how people judge you. So, why not try to change the scene to that of a positive one? Not only does it give you a boost in the confidence department, it would make people feel the confidence in you. You will then attract good energy to you. Try it and you’ll know what I mean 🙂

For those who had done well, Bravo! Hard work paid off. You have the right to your happiness. While you are celebrating, it would be nice to be mindful of your friends who did not do well and are feeling down. For those of you who acted in kind but received resentment instead, from your friends, give them space and time to recover from their disappointment. It’s not easy for them too.

Moving along now….you’ll be entering the teenage world soon. There’ll be more challenges ahead. Enjoy the long holiday and have as much fun as possible. Come new year, you’ll be very busy adjusting to the new environment and new emotions that come with it. Remember to continue communicating with your parents and other family members as you go through the emotional journey. As you make new friends, keep in touch with the old ones.

I shall leave you with my best wishes for your future undertakings. Remember, no matter how big or small an achievement is, it is still AN ACHIEVEMENT! Allow yourself to feel proud. After all, you have completed 6 years of formal foundation education! Aces matters but you matter most to your parents. Always remember that 🙂

~ Alice N.


Preview on Feedage: my-trove-%E2%80%93-relationship-and-financial-matters-a-simple

Add to My Yahoo!

Add to Google!

Add to AOL!

Add to MSN

Subscribe in NewsGator Online

Add to Netvibes

Subscribe in Pakeflakes

Subscribe in Bloglines

Add to Alesti RSS Reader

Add to Feedage.com Groups

Add to Windows Live

iPing-it

Add to Feedage RSS Alerts

Add To Fwicki

Add to Spoken to You

It’s The Time of The Year…

How time flies…feel like it’s only yesterday we went around the city, enjoying the sight of beautiful Christmas decor. That was almost a year ago! Today, I believe most malls must have put up their lovely decor. The accompanying picture was taken in Sunway Pyramid. Can’t wait to go to other malls to check them out!!!

Yes, I’m truly excited. Being surrounded by the magically transformed places, it is like being “Alice in Wonderland!” Well, sure makes me feel like one and never fail to bring out a wide smile to my face.

For our Christian friends celebrating Christmas, I’m sure you are starting early…putting up the Christmas tree, ornaments, lighting, etc. Soon, it would be shopping for gifts! Whatever it is, I think, moderation is a good idea. Most importantly, it’s the family gathering – togetherness, spreading love and good wishes, sharing with people in need…it’s a time for giving and sharing. Do I get it right? If not, beg your pardon, but this is how I feel about the season 🙂

On a slightly more serious note, if you please : Besides the festive season, year-end is fast approaching. For those of you who had religiously written down your 2011 resolution, how has it been so far? For those who aim to reach a certain goal, how near are you to achieving it? Or, you have already completed your goals…Bravo!

As for me, as far as I can remember, I had done what I set out for, except to postpone one to next year, my Master program. If successful, the new term will begin in February 2012. I have also added a few more items to the list of 2011 – two of them are learning Korean and Thai Languages. Trying to learn Korean through watching the dramas and from my iPad, together with my children. And, I bought a book with CD on learning Thai language during my recent trip to Bangkok. Hope it works! If that is not enough, I shall then seek out tutors or classes….

On the professional side, I had successfully completed advisory works on Business Succession Planning for some clients. 2011 started with some hitches but it managed to smoothen out towards second half. It was a challenging year with many changes being made along the way. Life is like that, isn’t it? So long we don’t give up halfway. If tired, give consent to ourselves for a short break to gather strength. Then, pull ourselves up again to move forward. Having a loving and supportive partner/friend/family member is very important too. When we feel down and weak, a strong helping hand or shoulder or even motivational words can do wonders! Sometimes, we just need a little nudge to move along. Ahhhhh….I’m satisfied thus far. I have strong faith that all hard work will come to fruition very, very soon!

What about you? Do you have an interesting year too? If you have been working hard and doing things right, but yet to see any results, hang in there as harvest season is near. If you have been fortunate to be blessed with good things, count your blessings and continue to do the right things….nothing is permanent in our lives. We have to keep working on our life purpose and objectives. The only thing being constant in life is CHANGE. We have to change with time to stay relevant. Let’s change for the better!

I shall leave you to your thoughts now. If you enjoy beautiful lighting and decor, get out and about to check out the Christmas mood around town. Let’s go….

~ Alice N.

A Little Prayer

I’m so blessed to have a string of friends continuously sending motivational and lovely inspirational messages to my mailbox. Below is one of them, which I’d like to share with you….

Prayer is not a “spare wheel” that you pull out when in trouble,
but it is a “steering wheel” that directs the right path throughout.

No matter how and when you pray, where you perform it, in whatever language, it is still a prayer. Words of gratitude, cries for salvation, plea for strength, guidance and wisdom, anything in your mind. It is a private conversation between you and the higher power – God, Devas, Universe, etc.

Many people pray whenever and wherever for whatever reasons; happy, sad, desperation, or merely seeking peace and calmness in their mind. Some only resort to prayer when they are deep in trouble. There’s no right or wrong timing or reasons. We must understand that it is indeed personal.

My personal experience, when I have private conversations with God, I know deep down, I’m not walking this emotional path alone. If it is physical, I know I’ll be able to summon the invisible strength to pull through when the time comes. When I have faith and walking tall with clear conscience, I know there is this power which will protect me from the worst. I would not be spared from any troubles or sufferings, but it will not be the worst. Let’s say I’ll come out of it with scratches and light wounds and most of all, lessons to be learnt.

Yes, I have prayers answered but I have some unanswered ones too, always leaving me wondering why. When that happens, unanswered prayers inevitably make me feeling helpless, disappointed or even angry, or all in! As would most people, I do question why and seek answers! When answers do not come to me, I’ve since learnt to let go. Consoling myself that there must be a reason behind this decision by the One Above. By letting go and stepping back, mostly, the actual situation will appear clearer after the “storm“. That made me understand the meaning of “Let Go and Let God“.

My prayers have always been an expression of gratitude with dashes of wishes and hopes. Pray for patience, strength, wisdom and protection. Well, it can be for anything and anybody, literally.

If you haven’t been praying and wish to try it, be my guest. Remember that it is a private conversation between you and the Almighty One or the Universe. There is no fixed script. Just talk to your heart’s content. You’ll sense a force being with you always…when you are up and when you are down. You’ll also come to realise that you are never alone, even when you feel that people around you are keeping their distance for whatever reasons. Remember to always be grateful for everything. The good for you to enjoy and the not so good, providing you the chance to learn from it which supposedly make you wiser.

With that, I leave you with a prayer of hope and warm wishes that you’ll find it in your heart to love, compromise, forgive and let go (of things you have no control over).

~ Alice N.