Tuesday, 23 June 2015

When you inspire, magic happens

I wasn't born to lead.. I wasn't born to motivate.. In fact, I was timid and would always take a back seat when calls for volunteers to be a leader of something or some group.. I didn't (and still don't) like the limelight much..

Yet, times and again, it was entrusted onto me to be someone exemplary..


Starting from Standard Three, for every year through primary school and secondary school - I was a school prefect.. For 9 years every school day I have to wear the prefects tie.. But I took it all with pride *chuckle* and did my duties diligently well.. 

In Form 1 and Form 2, I was made the head prefect for the afternoon school session during the first week of school in a new school that was just opened.. I guessed words and recommendations must have flowed with me from my primary school to secondary school..  

For every year they nominated me was for every year I declined but my rejection was never taken seriously.. I have forgotten what was it like to be a "normal" student, to play truant, to misbehave, to rebel, to be a little sloppy in my dressing.. Nevertheless, I carried out my duties remarkably well and it was well noted in the testimonials.. Something which proved really valuable.. 

My rejection was only accepted when I was in Form Six as my reason to the school was that enough was enough and I wanted to be a "normal" student again.. That was the first time I didn't have to wear a prefect tie.. Damned I should've used that excuse back then!

I owed my upbringing to of course my parents but being a prefect all through my school years meant I had to be an example to others - to lead and to be a model student.. 

Sure - we all have that common hatred for prefects, I know.. but I was fine, I didn't yell, I didn't shout and I wasn't mocked.. I only advised and let them go.. When it came to doing spotchecks, I opted to be the good guy most of the time, stood watch or recoding the confiscated items.. Rarely was I the one doing the ransacking.. The most I had to endure was flat bicycle tyres, others had it worst.. 

I knew I wasn't hated that much LOL.. I must have gotten myself in the good books of the naughty boys and girls.. 


You see -- I didn't even finish my university, but for the last 15 years, I have endured long working hours, some years in Singapore in harsh front-line retail - worked 7 days a week 12-15 hours a day for a few months just to save SGD4K to go to school, been subject of ridicule (by female bosses) and (nationality) discrimination.. I stood firm and persevered.. Some people saw me as tough, some saw me as stubborn, but I knew what I was doing..

And along the way, people somehow looked up to me as someone who didn't give up.. 

Hey I turned out fine.. 


People inspired me to work hard for myself.. Four years ago, I pooled some money together and started Rainbow Designs.. I pulled two jobs - a full time day job and after dinner and gym, it was down to working on projects.. I had to meet clients in the evenings, buying them drinks, burning midnight and weekend oil.. Over the years, I let pass many of the projects after the contract with Hong Leong Bank ended, I didn't pursue on renewing the contract with them, because I felt it wasn't worth my time and money to work like dog and paid peanuts.. I was on the losing hand of not being able to negotiate the terms, I signed because I needed them, but proving that the business can still survive without them, I walked away from the five-digit contract.. I told myself I can never get that kind of money with others but it's okay, I didn't have to slave.. 

At least I know how hard money is earned.. 


21 years ago, when I wanted to learn swimming, my parents sent me to the best coaches.. the Perak state coaches.. Perak used to produce some of the Olympians swimmers, I had a brief mentoring by one of the Olympians.. He, his younger sister and I are still in contact and we've remained friends over these years.. 

I went to swim, to dive on the springboard and platform, took life-saving, CPR and then learnt how to teach and coach others.. I was barely 12 years old then.. But I was given a small group to lead and helped kept an eye on.. That showed that while I wasn't the favourite boy in the team, my coaches believed in me and inspired me to take lead.. 

I didn't opt for competitive swimming because I was mature and old enough to decide that I didn't want to take something I came to love into something I have to fight to survive.. Things would be very different for me had I taken up competitive swimming.. Don't get me wrong, I am still very inspired by the swimmers of today who went all out and win medals for their country despite all odds..

In secondary school, being a new school as it was, I founded the swimming club and was automatically made the club president by default.. It wasn't something I chose to be, but because I fought to establish the club and going through all the paperwork and insurance coverage with the school teachers who agreed to be the club advisors taught me many things.. 

I wanted to be someone others can emulate and be an example, I started coaching.. Some didn't make it through, some did eventually go on to swim on their own and surpassed even myself.. I have taught in pools of all shapes and sizes and water conditions, under the sun and under the moon.. With each student, I learnt how to be better as they have entrusted me with their lives in the water.. 

The one I'm currently coaching exceeds the goals I set out lesson after lesson.. He went farther and faster.. With an underlying medical condition he has no other choice other than to get into the water.. I got some advice from other more experienced coaches on how to coach and what to look out for.. Sometimes it comes down to how badly one wants to learn.. 

Over the years, I taught group exercise and gym classes because I love being in the gym and working out to maintain my physique.. I am not looking to bulk or build a body like Schwarzenegger, all I wanted is just to sweat some and lift some weights.. I took up BODYCOMBAT (2010), CXWORX (2012) and BODYBALANCE (2014)  which gave me an all rounder kind of workout - from high intensity cardio to intense core to strength and flexibility.. But teaching was not my main aim here.. I just want to have fun.. But I knew somewhere, out there, I have inspired one or few to go further.. 

When you are sincere in your actions, it speaks for itself.. 

Magic happens when you inspire others, be an inspiration to others.. 

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