Monday, November 9, 2009

A Year On

It has been a year since I last posted anything. For some people, a year went by in a flash with it being pretty much the same like previous years (well basically same plot but maybe different actors/actresses).

I actually envy those guys/gals.

I remember reading the opening line in Sydney Sheldon's Doomsday Conspiracy ages ago and goes something like this :

"May you live in interesting times" Ancient Chinese Curse (which has been quoted also by Bobby Kennedy, Magnum P.I and Star Trek)

2009 was that for me : interesting times.

The year began tumultuously with the deepening of the financial crisis and the merger with the MalignantLynch. The office was a stressful place to be filled with rumours of uncertainty and the whispers of "cost optimization" a.k.a chop chop derby. Slowly people around you literally disappeared. The popular "1 hour's notice" made it reaping rounds and heads -some unfamiliar and some were dear dear friends- began to roll. I get stomach cramps everytime I see the HR personnel, hoping it was not was very very intense.

Anyway, by some miracle of fate (and also my dear ex-boss' last act of kindness-he was one of my dearest friend who got the axe), instead of being in the chop chop derby, I was actually promoted! Bizarre as it was, I was thankful. Within a week of that, we (the missus and I) received the happy news that we've been waiting for all these years : we are expecting!

Months passed and life turned out brighter. Not only I was assured of my position at work in the post-merger organisation , the ultrasound confirmed our wish that it will be a girl and we'd have a pair of a 7 year old boy and a girl.

In between we took some time off for some fantastic quality time in Bangkok and Beijing as well.

Then out of the blue, I received a call from a CEO of a middle eastern bank based in Singapore. He heard that I might be open to a career change (honestly, I have no idea from where) and that they are setting up shop in Singapore and would like me to be on board. It's a regional head post (a step up from my then position), based in Singapore (closer to home, religious classes for my Son, easier to eat and pretty much the same like KL-only more organised I think) and of course it brings in more dosh :)

It was a no brainer though I must admit that in a weird peculiar way, I will miss Hong Kong-especially the wonderful people I've known throughout the years

Then it was the whirlwind move : I had about 3.5 weeks to sort out EVERYTHING. The admin nightmare of leaving the country : notices to school, utilities and CLEAR TAXES etc and the hosts of farewell lunches/dinners/even breakfasts (though I must say, this made me really sad-leaving some of the most amazing people I've ever met)

Crazy crazy months it was : May, June & July. Adjusting to a new job, a new country. everything must be set up again (another admin nightmare!), new house, new car (i absolutely love this one though, the dream car is finally mine!..hehehe)

Once the dust had settled, I pretty much had everything going my way. On top of the world and thinking nothing can go wrong.

How wrong I was. As it turns out, God had something else in store and its not glittering fate.

October brought tragedy and sadness. Our little daughter finally arrived but was promptly taken away after 2 days and 10 hours. Nur Sara Aleesya was born with Trisomy 18- a rare genetic affliction that resulted to her being born with a whole host of organ deformities : heart, lungs, esophagus, brain..We were told that usually, patients with Edwards Syndrome/Trisomy 18 would not even survive to term. In a way, we were blessed, that we had the opportunity to meet our little Sara.

For the best account of these challenging times, I would recommend wifey's beautiful writing at

So here I am now. Picking up the pieces of a shattered dream and a much affected and changed life. I know we will recover in time and this is a record of this journey and I do hope I can write more and not take a hiatus anymore.....

Wish me luck...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Farewell My Friend- A tribute to Zarizi Affendi Abdul Karim

Those who know me would know that being religiously devout is not one of my strong points. But today, I am making an exception to start this entry with reciting the phrase one utters when receiving news of calamity, specifically, when receiving the news that someone has passed away. It reads Innalillah Wa Inna 'Ilaihi Raji'un (We belong to God and we shall return to Him)..those were the very words I said when I found out one of my schoolmates, Muhammad Zarizi Affendi Abdul Karim has passed away at 11.15 pm, November 17 2008 at 32 years of age.
MZAAK (the acronym of his long name) as he was fondly known was a buddy of mine from boarding school. We were in the same house (back then, we were grouped in houses- basically you stay with your housemate, you play sports as a team with them, you do your laundry with them other words, during the 5 years there, your housebuddies are literally the guys you grew up with) and for a few years, we were also in the same room.
MZAAK was a very reserved character. He was only animated and excited when he talks about World War II. He was obsessed with anything related to Nazi Germany. He can, with ease, tell you the name of each German High Command members and the outcome of each major battles along with the details. MZAAK used to talk about the SS as if he was actually one of the Totenkopfs. I remember listening (and being fascinated) with all the WWII facts that he had in that songkok clad head of his (MZAAK constantly wore the Malay headgear from the moment I first saw him as a 13 year old until the last time I saw him a few years back).
Despite his fascination with such morbid subject, MZAAK was deeply patriotic. He was the first one who told us political virgins (we were 13 years old then, none of us understood what politics is all about except him) that Malaysia should be a republic built on ideals of meritocracy and religious tolerance. I remember him telling me one day that the political system of the nation is inherently flawed and it will not be viable in the long run- how true his predictions were.He always avoided being in any pictures (as a result, we had very of them) as he jokingly (or maybe he was serious) told us that he will be the first President of Republic of Malaysia, therefore he would not want all these scandalous pictures to surface (....for the same reason why I cant be in politics!..too many compromising pictures!)
MZAAK was also deeply religious in spite of his political views and fascination with Hitler. He would read obscure unabridged versions of religious texts and would make notes in his little notebook. As I said I was not that religious so I can't remember much of this side of his except that he was relatively more religious that most of us were.
Above all, I remember MZAAK as a good friend who was always there for me. He was there when I was beaten to pulp by my seniors and took me back to my room. He was there to hide me under his bed when I was chased by Wardens. He was there when my buddies turned on me because they thought I ratted them out. He was there when I needed a study companion. He was there during my wedding....and now he is not there anymore.
I pray that God will place his soul among those that He favoured as MZAAK deserves. Farewell my friend.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Beginning of Life

After years of rummaging through the wonderful world of blogspehere and in the process experienced a kaleidoscope of feelings from being awestruck to dumbstruck and at times touched or repelled with what was written, I, a self styled blog-squatter (Definition: a person who leaves tonnes of comments behind but never brave enough to start his/her own blog) will attempt to have my own blog.

I have no doubt that most of it would be mindless ramblings about mundane stuff that even bore me to death. Sometimes it would be so emotionally disturbing that the BAU would in no time come up with a Unsub profile with it. Hopefully (though I cant really foresee how my life's story would) what I write can be touching and actually make a difference in someone's life...or not!

So, who am I? I'm a thirty something banker with what is currently one of the largest banks in the world BUT I am not exactly jumping with joy being in this industry during these "unprecedented" (this description has been tossed around that to some extent it has lost some of its intended scare effect) times. Originally from Malaysia (yes...the Truly Asia nation) , we (my little family that is my lovely wife, an irreplaceable 6 year old boy and yours truly) have been the residents of Hong Kong SAR (special administrative region that is) for the past one year.

My passions in life are my family and photography (along with Manchester United, mountain bikes and watches). Therefore I anticipate (at this point in time of course) that those will be the underlying themes for most of the things I write.

So, let the experiment begins....