The Woman Behind My Success

My mother turned 48 on 14th October. This post isn’t about her birthday though. It’s about her.

It is often said that behind every successful man is a woman. I would consider myself to have achieved substantial success by now, because just not too many years ago and long before that, I only dreamed of it.

And it seemed very impossible at that time.

Many guys my age would think it’s macho to say that their girlfriend or a hot chick is behind their success. But I am not ashamed to say that the woman I owe my success to is none other than my very own mother. It would have been ungrateful of me if I didn’t acknowledge her on my blog at all, so here it is.

Mom came from a very poor family and is the 2nd eldest among 4 of her siblings. Life was simpler back then and she had the blessings of many relatives. Life was hard though; her father was a taxi driver and her mom was a dutiful housewife, like most women at that time.

My grandfather died in a car accident when Mom was in her early 20s, and later my grandmother would succumb to diabetes along with other harsh illness in the hospital ward. That being said, I never had the chance to see my grandparents alive.

Since my mother is an introvert by nature, she hardly associated with other relatives as she grew up. As a result, for many years I believed that my family was very small indeed. I knew of only 2 family of relatives and a single Uncle. It was only last month that I learned, to my surprise, that I actually have more relatives and cousins than I even imagined. I am happy to say that they are doing incredibly well with their freight forwarding business in Klang. It’s a pity that I will probably find it hard to communicate with them – apparently my family is the only “banana” whereas my relatives speak Hokkien and Mandarin, and are Chinese educated at large.

But I’ll save that ‘interesting encounter’ for some other time. 🙂

Anyways, life for my mother had been a fierce struggle right from the start. The poverty in her family was just but a small beginning. Eventually, she got to know my father and they got married even though my father had been notoriously know for having a bad temper. Later Mom and my uncles would go on to discover that my father is also a compulsive liar and committed polygamy.

My mother’s marriage with my father had endured a long history of verbal and social abuse until my father finally ‘let go of the chains’ in 2003. In spite of learning that my father had a secret affair with 2 other different women (and moving on with the 4th later), my mother still chose to forgive him. And it didn’t take her much effort to do that, to my surprise.

Everyone who knew of my father’s gross actions, myself included, were already flared with anger. But Mom still chose to forgive. In 1996, she accepted Christianity as her faith and the 3 of us – my mom, sister and I – were baptized in a Catholic Church.

Though Mom gave him many chances to change, my father became more bold. He would go home with wearing another woman’s engagement ring in one of his fingers, and still took advantage of my mother’s kindness. Because my father was running an above well-to-do business at that time, and shoddy I must add, my father would use my mother to create fog screen and lies for him when people and clients would call our house. She couldn’t help but comply because ultimately, we all depended on him for money and Ashley and I were still schooling toddlers.

It seemed like the whole world came crashing down on us when my father finally declared a divorce on my mother after a night of quarrel, but little did we all know that it was the start of a journey to better life. But it wasn’t without its own perils.

My mother’s meager academic qualification and age made it very difficult for her to get another job. I was only 16 going 17 at that time, and Ashley is 2 years my junior. We already lost one family member right from the very beginning so the challenge was to hold everyone together, or there wouldn’t be what’s left of us if we didn’t survive the ordeal.

Admittedly, Mom had made some not-so-bright decisions even though she had good intentions for her children. I had been rebellious, needless to say, and sometimes we stood on opposite ends in our discussions that could affect the family’s future.

But casting those differences we had aside, I still acknowledge that my mother single-handedly pulled us all together. Her abundance of patience is still beyond me even to this day. I hope I will find out one day. It’s not easy confessing this: I have a short temper like my father, too. And when things go wrong or not as planned, man, I could really speak colorful words. 😉 Only my mother had the magic touch to calm me down.

Now that I am reviewing it all… it’s really amazing. My mother didn’t have the benefit of going to college let alone university. Even I think she’s not that academically brilliant. She doesn’t read Self Improvement books. Yet she is still one of the wisest people alive that I know. “Faith in God,” she says.

I remember eating at the various dining tables, accompanied by family of my friends. It was always interesting to observe my friends’ parents and I couldn’t help but make comparisons as a million thoughts would fleet in my mind. I won’t deny that I used to be jealous of friends who had both parents when I was in school. Though little did I know myself, I am actually blessed and lucky after all – right from the start.

Most mothers today are joining the trend of going out to work like their male counterparts. So most parents outsource their parenting duty to babysitters, caretakers, tuition teachers, etc. you name it. Subsequently, many children today grow up without developing a closer bond with their parents.

That is why I am thankful that my mother never gave up her responsibility to teach me and my younger sister to anyone else. The most capable hands already belong to her. And in the face of adversity, she never once thought of giving us up. I know of single parents who resort to taking shortcuts like consuming drugs, giving away their child and even committing suicide.

Her unshakable faith in God is another wonder to me. While I have my own opinions on God and religion, which differs from that of my mother’s, her strong faith has earned my highest respect. She never once doubted God when life was in the pits, or when everything came crumbling down on us like a house of cards.

When we had little money and were poor, my mother would cook porridge for dinner. I know many kids would say that their mom’s cooking is the best, and I share the same opinion of my mom’s cooking.

Although porridge is actually a poor man’s food.

While we could afford to buy better food today, my mom’s porridge remains my no. 1 favorite at heart. And she can now add more ingredients to spice up her porridge! 🙂

As I am writing this, my mother and sister are about to leave for an 8-day holiday trip to Beijing, China which begins tomorrow morning. One of my uncles will be joining them, too.

Mom had always told me of her dream that she wanted to see the world. And she had been telling me that for as long as I could remember. This is also one of the many reasons that motivated me to work hard and become successful. What my father failed in his duty as a provider to the family, I would fill in.

Not counting Singapore and her brief journey to London, she has yet to see the rest of the world. I’ve been to a few different countries this year alone and Ashley has seen Japan the year before. Now I want to give Mom the same privilege to experience different cultures. I honestly think she deserves more than that after enduring more than 40 years of suffering and trial by fire. But this is a good start and I know there will be more good things for her in life to come.

There will be. 🙂

Mom at the RAF Museum

Mom at the Royal Air Force Museum, London

Secrets of Millionaire Students Now Available in Singapore Bookstores

The book Secrets of Millionaire Students is now available in major book stores throughout Singapore. If you are in Singapore, you can now get your copy. I will let you know when the book is going to be available here in Malaysia too.

Official Website:
http://www.secretsofmillionairestudents.com/

If you are on FaceBook, come join our group Millionaire Students:

http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=-3&id=595250598#/group.php?gid=18898478333

Book Launch Postponed

The book launch for Secrets of Millionaire Students at AKLTG Singapore, which is supposed to be held today, will be postponed until further notice, though it will still be within this month.

Due to changes in plans, now the book launch will be carried out in different book shop locations. Further updates on time and location will be given so just check back this site often.

Soon, the website URL to Secrets of Millionaire Students blog will be officially announced (it’s already around, but we need to fix up some technical glitches at the moment).

Sorry for last minute update!

UPDATE 11th October 2008

Chris Shia, our book editor, had just made an announcement on the release of the book into the stores.

Secrets of Millionaire Students - Release

In short…

– The Secrets of Millionaire Students will be in major bookstores throughout Singapore starting 17th October 2008.

– I am still liasing with Stuart and Dylan on scheduling the book talk.

– Release in Malaysian book stores will be announced later.

– If you are on FaceBook, keep tabs on the latest development on Secrets of Millionaire Students by joining the group “Millionaire Students” here. If you’re an active school-goer who already knows very well that the world of jobs is not what it’s painted to be, and you’re convinced that entrepreneurship is the way to go, hop in! 🙂

Other Related Posts:
Secrets of Millionaire Students: Book Launch on 8th October 2008
I am Releasing a New Book

Doom 3 & Resurrection of Evil Reviewed

All hard work would have been boring without playing just as hard. I am glad I bought a new desktop computer and since money was no longer an issue, I invested in a good PC that could let me play even up-to-date games. 🙂

(for the past many years, I had been using faulty computers and didn’t have the money to buy a new one. Friends often joked that I was always ‘one Pentium behind times’.)

And speaking of behind times, I finally got around playing Doom 3, albeit 4 years late. The game is a reboot of the original and critically acclaimed Doom – retelling everything from the start, now with more advanced graphics and latest game engine, id Tech 4.

I also played and finished Resurrection of Evil, the Expansion Pack and sequel to Doom 3. Even though the game had been long out, I’ll still chalk my review here.

Doom 3

Doom 3

Story Line: 9/10
With almost identical graphics quality and gameplay – and the fact that it’s from the same originator, ID Software, I cannot help but compare it to Quake 4 on a few levels though Quake 4 was released near the end of 2007.

And to begin with, I find Doom 3’s storyline and setting more preferable. Games like Half-Life and Resident Evil deal with experiments going wrong and therefore ugly abominations start roaming about. Even the Doom film story revolves to something of that nature. Being different yet staying true to the original Doom style, the player deals face-to-face with the forces of Evil. I’ve watched the Doom movie first last year before I played this game, and I learned that the film is actually a radical departure from the game (as always).

As the silent Marine (who never speaks a word throughout the game), you are not dealing with a virus outbreak or aliens from another planet, but rather demons from Hell. Throughout the game, you will be picking up PDAs and speaking to a few survivors to get a better understanding on the situation, which makes the game all the more interesting and in-depth.

Set in Year 2145 on Mars, you take control of a nameless Marine (you can put your name on him though, and it appears on your Personal Data in your PDA) as you enter Union Aerospace Corporation (UAC) research facility. Humans have been on Mars for quite some time and they have developed a myriad of technology, teleportation, and genetic experiments with absolutely no regards to conscience or ethnics.

Seems like a normal day on Day One as a Marine guard, but slowly you’ll notice that people around you are somewhat paranoid or scared out of their wits. Talk to the people around you while you can because very soon into the game, you will have very few to talk to. Long story short, hell will break loose after something goes awfully wrong – the result of experimenting too much and getting too curious, I guess.

I won’t spoil the rest of the plot here but the game is pretty much about surviving against the odds when demons now start warping into the facility. People you once know are now mindless zombies. Your direct commanding officer is now possessed. You meet creatures from the Hell dimension. And the few survivors you run into, they usually don’t live long. Is there really no one else alive?

Graphics: 7/10
Definitely raised the bar when Doom 3 was released. I’ve been exposed to games with more convincing graphics by now though. There was a chill factor when I first encountered the creatures of Hell like the Imp and later the Revenant and of course, the much talked about Hell Knight.

And since the settings in Doom 3 is dark and eerie that one has to rely on the use of Flashlight very often, the terror was convincing… initially. I got over it a few stages later because the creatures grew predictable I rarely jumped out of my seat.

Face-to-Face with the Imp Die You Imp! Master Sergeant Kelly - AFTER Friendly Fire - not that it matters now since we’re all gonna die

Sound: 6.5/10
The arsenal of weapons available to the player is awesome but the sound effects leave much to be desired. If I were still into modding a bit, I would definitely have the sound effects for the weapons replaced with something that would spice things up.

Game Play: 8/10
First Person Shooter. Like Quake 4, there’s no need to have a USE key since the setting is in a modern facility powered by touch screen computers and monitors, moving the mouse cursor can allow interaction and get things accomplished in overcoming barriers throughout the missions. And boy, I like FPS!

Re-playability: 5/10
After completing all of the missions, I wasn’t into playing the whole thing again as the fun was already less than half. The enemies in the game grew predictable. The chill wore off a couple of missions later. There was no significant secret or incentives to aim for throughout the game. So I put down that the re-playability value is low, unless I engage in Multi-player.

Living torso Marine entering a portal Looking for survivors on surveillance

Overall: 7/10
Still lived up to expectation nonetheless. I had been dying to play this game from the time I first heard of it. At that time, my old computer wasn’t up to handling advanced games and it was the same year I was working full-time and studying on weekends, playing games was at the bottom of my mind.

Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil

Resurrection of Evil

Released in October 2005 as a sequel to Doom 3, players now experience the first person view of yet another silent protagonist, a lone Marine who initially went down a ruin site on Mars and possess the Hellstone.

My review scores remain as the one I did for Doom 3 since it’s a continued storyline from Doom 3, especially from where the Marine in the first game left off. Resurrection of Evil now deals with Malcolm Betruger, the antagonist from the first game. He is still alive and at large in this Expansion Pack, though if you finish all of the missions you will finally see and end to him.

Got time for some arcade? Eat my boom stick! The Maledict

Betruger had been possessed (or rather embraced the power of Evil) and has now become the Maledict, a large winged creature with a horned skull as the head.

The missions are shorted in this Expansion Pack. However you will meet new enemies like Vulgar and the 3 Hell Hunters that have their own strengths: the ability to slow time, berzerk and invulnerability.

The player isn’t going to get the short end of the stick though: you will get your hands on new weapons like the Hellstone (which the player will begin with), the double barreled shotgun and the object-grabber (I think that’s what it’s called).

Dr. McNeil - finally a real woman in all-men …… The Silent Marine II

So there you have it! Again, I know I’m late and chances are many computer game addicts have already played the game as soon as it was out. I hope this is a reminder that ID Software continues to throw out good games for more than a decade!

P.S. There’s one thing I still don’t get it though: why are some of the enemies equipped with technology like rockets and part machinery? Don’t think someone fixed those stuff on them!