I’m in New York

February 11, 2016 § 7 Comments

6 months ago
I quit my job at Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai and moved, along with my husband and two cats, across the world to New York.

I’ve never really used the word ‘quit’ in my life, maybe I’ve ‘stopped’ doing yoga, or ‘stopped’ reading a book, but ‘quit’ just wasn’t a vocabulary in my dictionary. So when I said goodbye to the 7 wonderful years at W+K, it was a very hard goodbye because it meant that I’ve introduced ‘quit’ into my life for the very first time.

Since I was young, I’ve always been quite certain of what I wanted, and I’ll work very hard to make it happen. When I was in Fudan University, I knew I wanted to do advertising. When I got a taste of advertising, I knew I wanted to do strategy. When I got the chance to do strategy, I knew it had to be Wieden+Kennedy.

And I got what I wanted.

But over time I got comfortable. I got complacent. I got, perhaps, a little arrogant.

And then…life happened.

Dom mentioned New York. And that’s when I got really, really scared.

For the first time, I didn’t know what I wanted. I didn’t know whether I really wanted to move to New York (even if it was a very exciting idea). And though I was certain I’d continue to do advertising, I didn’t know if anyone wanted to hire me. I just wasn’t sure where to start…I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to pursue W+K New York.

I got frustrated, sad, upset, and at one point resented Dom for introducing a bizarre idea into a life that I was already very happy with.

Although we had almost 10 months to put our life together for the move, things went by so quickly that next thing I know, we’re in New York. Within two weeks, Dom started working. While life went on smoothly for Dom, I was left to figure mine out.

Days went by where I would wake up late and fight with myself whether I should head out and explore the city, or stay in with the comfort of my cats and the internet. Of course, the adventurous part of me won. And when people went out of their way to connect me to their friends and ex-colleagues, I’d fight with myself whether I should put myself out there or just not bother. Of course, the social part of me also won.

Over time I got sick of myself constantly having internal fights and I said to myself “Fuck it, stop being a sad whiny loser.”

So I set out and explored every street,  corner, and neighborhood in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

I made the effort to meet people, stayed in touch with them, bought them drinks in exchange for advice.

Soon enough, I found myself making coffee wwhile serving people delicious homemade Greek yogurt. I learned about operations, floor service, and the F&B industry itself. I even learned how to make latte art.

I serendipitously landed a freelance gig at one of my favorite agencies of all time (besides Wieden ofcourse) for a global pitch that we eventually won. Yes, damn right. First pitch win in NYC.

And then, after a million failed job interviews, I finally got a job offer.

I was at Shake Shack when the offer came through, waiting in line for my delicious SmokeShack Burger. After finishing up my burger, I walked towards a staircase that led me to what would be the most magnificent train terminal in the world – Grand Central – and that’s when I realize: I’m in New York.

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The importance of being emotional

March 17, 2015 § 3 Comments

It’s been a very long while since I wrote a blog, I almost forgot I had a blog.

So when I decided to login to see whether it still exists, I find I have more than 800 followers…wow! but then maybe more than 90% is spam. Anyway…

Today I want to talk about what it means to be emotional. We, women, get laughed at or patronized very so often for being our emotional self, and I’m not happy about that. (See what just happened?) There is absolutely nothing wrong with being emotional, whether at work, at home, with friends, or with family. In fact, it’s a powerful thing to be in-tune with your emotions, because it helps you express yourself, it helps you communicate better, especially right now with everything so “digital”.

I’m not saying we should put our emotions on our sleeves, or act emotionally for selfish reasons. I’m talking about understanding how you feel and use your feelings to its fullest potential – using it to guide your instinct, to judge a person or a situation, using it to determine your reaction.

Rob Campbell, my boss, tells me I’m emotional. I didn’t quite understand it at first, I thought he meant I was being a girl. But overtime, I see myself use my emotions to guide me through work, I depend a lot on how I feel and I use it to judge ideas on the table. I can feel it in my stomach when it isn’t right, and I can also feel it in my stomach when it is – because I get goosebumps and I get excited, I feel like…a kid being given ice cream. As a strategist, it’s important to be logical, rational almost. But even then, I’ve always felt something is missing and I can’t seem to function properly if I don’t tap into my emotions.

Growing up in an Asian family, expressing oneself isn’t ‘common’. I always thought that it’s normal to show my best side regardless of how I feel – so I can avoid conflicts, misunderstandings or confrontations. I wasn’t in denial, I just thought that people didn’t need to see my emotions to know me. But I was wrong. I closed some people off, I closed part of me off. With feelings trapped inside, no one can hear me, not even myself.

My blog is called Think. Feel. Sense. and while some laughed at how cheesy it sounded, I think it captures me just the way I am. Through being emotional, I’ve learned to trust myself more, and I’ve learned to judge situations better. And I hope this doesn’t apply to just women, even if we are naturally more emotional, perhaps more intuitive, it can with men too. At the end of the day, a grown man with a perfect dose of emotion, can go a long way.

Separately I read this article about being emotionally intelligent, which sums up my post in a nice way. The writer gave 10 tips to enhancing your emotional intelligence and I think they’re the best tips out there, if you have time, please have a read!

Fate: Believe it or not?

April 10, 2013 § 4 Comments

Last week, I was introduced to a friend of my dad who has been working at Thai Airways for the past 30 years. The same evening, my dad’s friend decided to share with us a story that basically got me writing this post.

15 years ago, just before he was bound for Korea, his wife (air stewardess also at Thai Airways) said to him “When you’re back, I have something to tell you.” For whatever reason, my dad’s friend decided that he should wait, and so, off he went.

A week later, when he arrived, he found that his wife had passed away. She died in a plane crash.

In all of Thailand’s aviation history, there was ever only one plane crash and that was the one she died in. She was supposed to be at home on holiday that day, but she decided she should make the effort to fly to another local city to run some personal errands. The flight was actually full at first, but somehow someone gave up their ticket and gave it to her. The ticket was meant to seat her in the front row, but she decided that she wanted to sit in the back row. And sadly, the only ones that survived from the plane crash were the ones sat in the front row. No matter how many obstacles put in front of her to actually save her, she still went down the path that was meant for her.

This is probably one of the saddest stories I’ve ever heard, it was almost like a movie, but the point of the story is that, first of all, you never know what will happen and second, whatever that is going to happen, will happen and there is nothing you can do about it. This is called fate, and it’s something I believe whole-heartedly.

Even though I’m a strong believer in fate, that doesn’t mean I’m c’est la vie about life. In fact, believing in fate helps me look at life, things and situations in a more constructive and positive way. It helps me understand that, frustration is in fact a positive process in helping you improve, helping you change for the better, that you’re meant to go through this in order to grow. It helps me, in retrospect, understand why and how things happened the way it did rather than keeping me stuck in just wondering why why why. Most importantly, it helps me stay focused on the now, rather than worry about the what might be.

So, back to the point of the story. When you don’t know what will happen, the only thing you can do is to just keep trying to do your best, and to be your best, and that whatever will happen, means you just have to do your best and be at peace within the given situation.

A lot of this is influenced by my belief in Buddhism, but religion aside, I believe that it’s the basic mentality what sets those who succeed apart from those who don’t – whether in their family life, love life, or work life.

Speaking of love life, I also believe that fate has has helped me find my true love, and I think it is safe to say that I am officially affianced to him :)

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Beautiful

November 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

My god brother, Tim Dejsiriudom’s poetry:

MY GOLDEN BIRD

Sing me a song, my golden bird
A song about us with pleasant words
A lullaby at night you sing to me
Your smile in the morning the first thing I see

Take me in your arms and let’s fly away
To a far, far away land just for one day
Where once upon a time was a lonely me
And a happily ever after together we’ll be

Your golden feathers so soft and fair
Your eyes like the ocean so light and rare
Your heart is pure, what can I say
To me you’re perfect in every way

But today my golden bird won’t sing
Wishing to keep you from spreading your wings
I let you fly far, far away from me
Your change of heart left me in misery

Why won’t you sing for me today, my love?
Could it be me that you are tired of?
Or have I treated you unkindly and lost all your trust?
Our love and friendship now all burned into dust

Stay for a minute with me in my room
Arriving too late and leaving too soon
Are you really busy with no time to spare
A little time with me showing you care?

Feeling neglected, all alone I felt
Wishing I can make your cold heart melt
But then I realize something just in time
All along you’ve been hurting this heart of mine

Your feelings for me, you’re afraid to show
For I am your darkest secret nobody knows
Golden bird, I’m tired of being kept away in your nest
Away from your friends who know you best

My little golden bird, you are so little
Your heart and wings are so weak and brittle
Take some time to learn and grow
This is why I’m letting you go

So little bird, I bid goodbye to you
Goodbye to everything that we’ve been through
Think of me sometime every now and then
For we know it will never be the same again

Maybe someday you do fly back to me
Then I’ll know that we were meant to be
But right now let’s just go on our separate ways
Let’s leave behind those good old days

I wish you the best wherever you fly to
A room in my heart I’ll always leave for you
But for now I’ll carry on and try to be strong
And find another bird who can sing your song

Much like breaking up

September 5, 2012 § 2 Comments

This is my first time to experience bidding farewell to one of the projects that I have worked on for the past 2 years.

When I first heard of the news, I wasn’t quite sure what to feel. I was in a state of belief and disbelief. I believed it because I knew it was bound to happen, but I didn’t believe it was actually happening!

The past 2 years on this project have been a mixture of good and bad experiences. I have been extremely happy, excited, and proud but I have also been extremely upset, angry, and disappointed. It was such a drain but it was also very rewarding. The project put me through a whirlwind of mixed emotional, mental and physical state.

This pretty much is a love and hate relationship, a pretty unstable one I must say.

It took me a week to really react to all of this, and my reaction was sadness, instead of relief. I’m actually finding it quite difficult to let go. Letting go of something you’ve invested so much in just isn’t easy, even if you know it is good for you.

And this process feels all too familiar. For a while I didn’t know what it was, then suddenly, I realize, it basically feels just like breaking up for the first time with a boyfriend whom you have had so much troubles with but know that you’d be so much better off without. It’s funny how one work situation can be so similar to one personal situation.

I am currently tasked to wrap up all the old work we have done on this project for handover. Having to go through this gave me a chance to re-examine how I truly feel about this project, much like having to re-examine all that you have gone through with your boyfriend. And today, it is clear to me that saying goodbye to this is definitely the right thing to do.

I am no longer sorry or sad, in fact, that process brought back old feelings that weren’t all too pleasant, making it even more clear that this is the best way forward, in the short and in the long term.

2 years of hard work has made me who I am today, it will always be a part of me. I will look back with pride, and look forward with hope.

My heart aches…

August 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

…because it can feel.

It feels sadness, happiness, disappointment, excitement, hate, love, indifference, sympathy, jealousy, contentment, fear, confidence, insecurity, safe, envy, admiration, loneliness, alive, confusion, certainty. It feels wrong, and it feels right.

At the end of the day, the heart feels, for a good reason.

Because when it feels, it empathizes. It’s how we begin asking ourselves why, and then asking ourselves, why not. It’s how we become honest with ourselves, so that we are not distracted by excuses. It’s how we begin searching for answers, and then discovering them along the way.

Every problems and solutions should start with a feeling, no matter what it is, and should end with a feeling, that feels right.

Romance in Carousels

November 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

There is something quite romantic about carousels that I can’t seem to explain.

Usually, carousels remind people of their childhood, or rather, bring out their inner-child, but what it brings out of me is this emotional state of romantic happiness.

This happiness comes from indulging in the sense of joyfulness and carefreeness when watching the carousel spin as well as when riding on one. In that moment, you experience the thrill of excitement but you feel calm, you experience speed but you feel secured. Your indulgence comes with a juxtaposed state of emotions.

Perhaps it’s the beautiful bright lights, or the colorful decorative elements, or maybe the romantic scenes with carousels depicted in films that make up this idea of romance I have in my head, but it isn’t really about love.

It’s about being in love – being in love with life.

I’m going to leave you with pictures I found taken during Louis Vuitton’s Spring/Summer 2012 fashion show by The Sartorialist that brought carousels and of course fashion shows to a whole new level – where romance meets sophistication.

Images taken from The Sartorialist