Friday, May 22, 2009

Ice Breaker - Me Myself & I

Chee Wee is a very common name. Few years back, when I was purchasing an electrical item at SenHeng Electrical, the sales consultant did a search and voila, there were 5 Tan Chee Wee in the database! You can also call me Sumana. That’s my Buddhist name.

Should I tell you more on Buddhism? Of course not. My madam mentor cajoled me to talk about myself – nothing else otherwise the ice will not be broken!

Anyway we should not split hair over religion matter. Instead we should adopt the common values, the universal values instead of fighting over the various differences.

This attitude makes me proud to be a Malaysian. I identify myself as having the Malaysian features and can speak fluent Bahasa Malaysia. ‘Tak Percaya?’ Don’t you believe?

Let me relate this incident, in the 80s when I was a teenager, I traveled to school by public bus. One evening, while waiting for the bus at LA, that’s Leboh Ampang, not Los Angeles, a thug approached me. He cajoled me to part with my money! I was this tall & thinner than today – that’s make me an easy prey. I was scared. Damn scared! Well, but not to the extent of wetting my pants, though! Out of the blues, somehow I uttered ‘Apa kau nak’. What do you want? That thug was taken aback! Lu bukan Cina ka? You are not Chinese? Sorry ha! He walked away. Whoosh what a relief! I have many more funny and embarrassing encounters. Embarrassment not to me but to the other parties.

I joined Toastmasters Club in 2007. I remember taking part in Table Topics twice and then went missing in action for 2 years. Yeah that is also the age of my son, Jo Ven! Raising a baby was no easy task. I have to live up to my billing as the doting father! Not a missing father! So I have to sacrifice some of my activities and unfortunately rendezvous with Toastmasters was one of the victims.

I also have an eight years old daughter, Li Ven. There she is – bringing her along as a visual aid. Seeing is believing!

I am a local lad, born and bred in Kuala Lumpur. I spent 7 growing pain but character building years in Victoria Institution, recently proclaimed a heritage school. I was taught to be an all rounder, to excel in all fields. I was actively involved in scouting movement and sports. Among the highlights were leading an expedition to scale the highest peak in West Malaysia i.e. Mount Tahan in 1989 and representing KL Under 23 and Under 20 Cricket team in national age-group tournaments in 1988 to 1990.

From boy to man in the 4 great years spent in Kedah, 1991 to 1995. Initially I was not too happy to leave KL as I have everything in KL. It turned out to be blessing in disguise as the bright lights big city lifestyle was abandoned in favour of the slowdown culture. Came back to KL armed with an Accounting degree in 1995 to start another phase of my life.

As the feet were starting to get wet in the corporate world, Bang! Disaster struck! Asian currency crisis unfolded before our eyes. It was hard time. I got a pay cut. However I survived as I was not exposed to bank loans.

Fast forward to present day. Bang! Global financial crisis. Mother of all crisis. Greater than great depression. No pay cut but with more mouths to feed, I need no cajolement to be prudent in spending. Cash is king – so they said and I need no cajolement in being friendly to this king.

I work in a local IT firm, based in PJ. Accountant by training, Jack of all trades by choice!

However all work and no play make Jack a dull boy. At this stage of life, I do want a work life balance. Every Thursday, I will be in the badminton court, trying to be the next Lee Chong Wei. Every Sunday, I will volunteer my services, trying to be role model to a bunch of 7-8 years old kids in Sunday School. I do maintain a healthy lifestyle and always make sure I am mentally and physically fit at all times.

I end this talk with this motto – Do Good, Avoid Evil, Purify the Mind!

* my maiden speech presented on Saturday 16 May 09 at MIM Toastmasters Club!

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