Customs

Dear Malaysian Customs Department,

Please be made aware that all people entering Malaysia are lying to you on their customs forms. If they are human, especially if they are female, there is a 99.9% likelihood that they have experienced at least one of these symptoms, however mild, in the past 2 weeks.

Please act accordingly.

 

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Singapore

Do you know what really grinds my gears? People who stand right in front of the elevator or subway and don’t let you get off – It’s maddening! I also dislike it when people say places are boring, especially when they are not; or, when a city is described as a “concrete jungle” when even a simple Google map search proves the opposite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

BEHIND THE CURTAIN

A conversation sparked between a local Singaporean (who is originally from KL) and I on the train back to KL. She mentioned that living and working there is a slightly different story, particularly because competition in school and the work place creates a very stressful environment. When I mentioned that I read an article about Seoul having a high suicide rate because of similar factors, she was not surprised. In fact, she went further and mentioned that she believed the rate was rising in Singapore as well. So it was refreshing to hear her response to my question: “How do you cope with it?” – “I learned to say no.”

While this may appear to conflict with my ‘say yes’ approach, she is saying yes to herself. Hopefully others learn to do the same. Despite the sombre topic of conversation, it was actually quite the opposite. Our main discussion was based around what/how she teaches her primary class science lessons – they get to go to Cambodia.

So, Take Off to Singapore… just don’t tell me it’s boring.



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Laugh @ Yourself: Part II

Typically, I recommend learning from your mistakes – that’s the point of making them. However, sometimes positive thinking, guesstimation and luck work just as well. If you think I had arranged plans to return to KL after my first debacle, you have not been paying attention. Although I was aware that an overnight train to KL existed and that they probably left at night, I figured the rest could be figured out ad hoc.

After a whole day of touring Singapore, the last thing I wanted to do was worry about transportation home, so I went to a 7:30 movie – No Strings Attached – awesome flick. Apres le film, I found out what train station the inter-city trains left from, wandered around a bit, finally asked a taxi driver who drove me to it and with $40 left, I purchased my $48 ticket at 10:25 for the train leaving at 10:30.

 

WARNING: The following fromage may burn your eyes

I am a strong believer in positive thinking creating positive results. I guarantee that the things within your control will always work out with this mentality. And, do you know what I would have done if the train did not exist or had left already? There was an 11:30 plane I was excited to miss as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who doesn’t love subway cookies?

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Laugh @ Yourself

I’ll cut right to the punch line – I’m an idiot. On Friday morning, without consciously knowing it, I decided that my plane took off at 11:45 rather than its actual departure time of 10:45. So it was icing on the cake when I arrived at KLIA and discovered that I should be at LCCT instead. After having the taxi drive at a break neck speed to the correct terminal so that I could ‘make’ my plane, I couldn’t do anything but laugh at myself when the girl behind the AirAsia counter looked at me puzzled and said: “Sir, it is 11:00. You’re plane has already left.”

Unfortunately there is no way to say the following without sounding preachy or cliché, but it is relevant – you always have two choices. Yes I could have been stressed out or upset, but what would that have accomplished?

There are many reasons a situation can turn into a stressful one, but quite typically it manifests during the pursuit of perfection. Inevitably an obstacle will present itself which makes this pursuit a challenge. We can’t pretend that we ever have full control of our environment and we have to accept that as human beings we make mistakes. Nobody is perfect and quite often laughing at yourself is the best way to get over it.

So Take Off, make mistakes (not on purpose though!) and laugh about them after.

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Something Raw

First you plant the seeds…

FutureLab has fortunately pushed me in an interesting new direction. While saying “No” is always an option – I think Jim Carey adequately showed us that “Yes” is (almost) always the right answer.

http://www.facebook.com/URBNTV?sk=app_4949752878

 

What, are you too cool for mainstream?

Yes there are a lot of people doing it, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. If you have ever thought about creating some kind content, now is the time (video, music, blog, design, etc…). While it may seem wide-spread, it has yet to hit the breaking point; although it will soon. And when it does, the only ones left standing will be those who genuinely have something of value to share.

What does that mean?

Essentially, you still have a free rein to practise up before the big game; an opportunity to try something new; or, put a fresh spin on an old trick. And hey!  You could just be the next Justin Bieber, Keenan Cahill, or Mark Zuckerburg. In the end, it’s of no consequence to anyone but yourself – and you’ll probably learn a thing or two in the process.

So Take Off and create something RAW (if you already haven’t).

(Check out my “Like this” page for inspiration)

 

 

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Stand Still

Have you ever tried standing in one place, without moving, for over an hour?

First, your skin begs to be scratched and touched – it screams at you for just a little attention. After its cries go unnoticed, you begin to feel your blood slow. You can literally feel it reach every point in your body. The normal passages are abandoned; gravity becomes your bloods navigator. Then, your feet become numb. If you close your eyes, it is as if you are floating. In a way it’s very therapeutic – you begin to understand the propensity for meditation and the allure to those who try to master it.

However,

There is a reason meditating isn’t trendy – people have short attention spans and a low tolerance for…. I was going to use the word pain, but I think uncomfortable situations would be a more accurate description.

Being a model isn’t easy.

In this case, my situation was born from work. We did a photo shoot for a something-or-other now being somethinged for somebody. It was hot, sticky and at the end of the day there was no more self-discipline in the room than you’d find in a kindergarten class.

Try this at home.

In my opinion we should all make an effort to put ourselves in uncomfortable or even painful situations. Like training for a marathon, you need this experience to deal with opportunities that spring on you without notice. Yes, I said opportunities – Nothing easy in life is worth doing (or it’s already been done). So Take Off and do something uncomfortable.

 

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Vitamin Irony

Found in beans and red meat, iron is a crucial for cell growth and differentiation. Coincidentally, irony is good for that too. While Alanis Morissette may have written a catchier ballad of irony then the dose that follows; mine is at least actually ironic.

Cross roads. I hate when a path diverges into multiple paths. I want to see what’s on all of them!

The originally intended destination was “Monkey Beach,” but Javier and I figure we can go to the beach on the other side of the Park first and forge a path connecting the two after. So off we trek. At one point we passed a sign that said visitors to this area needed permission, so we knew we were on the right track.  After hiking for about an hour and a half in the jungle heat we finally reached our destination.

The water looked good enough to drink, but something seemed off. While it was a pretty quite beach, nobody was in the water. Puzzled, we watched a man stand up further down the beach and walk to the water’s edge. Like a cautious water buffalo, he came low to the ocean’s surface, dipped his hands in as the waves slowly rose on to the shore and rinsed his face. After which, he quietly escaped to his shady resting ground. Then I spotted it – jellyfish. Finding jelly fish in the ocean is like trying to the picture in one of those impossible 3D puzzles. But once you see it, the game is over. We noticed more washing up on shore like a jellyfish apocalypse. While incredibly awesome, they really do know how to ruin a perfectly swimmable stretch of beach. So, with no reason to stay, we figured it was time to find a beach we could cool off in.

Of course there was no short-cut to Monkey Beach – we needed to go all the way back to the start of the trails. This time however, there was no lolly-gagging; we bounded through the trails like Mowgli and Bagheera. Upon reaching the Park entrance, hot and tired were not our only our only adjectives; add to the list damn thirsty. Monkey Beach transformed into more than a holy grail, it was a holy grail that we hoped would be full of rejuvenating dihydrogen monoxide.

After multiple “this was a bad idea” comments and about an hour, Monkey Beach regretfully came into view. Imagine a perfect beach, and then make it ugly, touristy, dirty and loud – then call it Monkey Beach, except don’t imagine any monkeys… there, now you have it. Regardless, people were splashing in the water having a great time and I wanted to join them; so I did. But Javier was still a little wary of Jelly fish. So he asked:

“What does a jelly fish sting feel like?”

“It’s not that bad. The sting feels like a light burn that is more annoying than painful. It’s kind of like… awww shit!”

“What?”

“It feels like this!”

As I barreled out of the water, Javier close behind, we saw the culprit. The water here was so murky that you can’t really see them coming until it’s too late. It washed right up onto my neck, and I had no idea until it was too late. It’s the closest thing to a pearl necklace that I’ll ever get.

“Isn’t is ironic, don’t cha think?…”

I should also add that there was no drinkable water on the beach either. However, the Malaysian Citizen of the Week Award goes out to the guy who gave me a lime to quell the sting and donated a bottle of water to my dehydrated and shrivelled up stomach.

Taking Off will not always follow the intended design. In fact if it does, you probably did it wrong. But with a little bit of vitamin irony and a good sense of humour – it will always be a memorable experience.

So, Take Off to your local fun pharmacy and pick some up.


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