Obviously, my blogging has slowed down a bit — my last post was over one year and 10 days ago!
If you are looking for me and want to reach me, go here and have a look at what I am up to now. You will notice that my work is now focused on leadership development and working with family businesses in Malaysia and the Asia Pacific region. If you wish to obtain my services, please contact Rekindle.
While this page has been slow to update, my Facebook page continues to be active, and it’s also public for anyone to follow. Please note that I will only add people as friends if they are people with whom I have had some meaningful interaction, and I may be slow to respond to messages.
In the meantime, you may be interested in hearing my most recent show on BFM radio 89.9, where I talked about the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indictor) and how it applies to couple relationships. Click on the photo below to access BFM’s podcast:
I admit it. I suck at updating blogposts. It’s because I can’t stand bad writing — especially my own. And it takes too much time to write well and consistently. So I’ve decided on the next best thing. I’ve created a public Facebook page.
I got this idea when I gave a talk in Hong Kong last month, and one of the co-speakers in the event talked about the Attention Economy.
Now, I can write pithy status updates and link it to real articles on cool topics like:
Marriage & Family Therapy
Systems Thinking & Practice
Spirituality (of any kind), and…
Anything Deep & Awesome
In our new attention economy, there is nothing like short and pithy to cover a lot of new ideas and research. Come like me there ‘cuz… this blog is going to be for long reads. (But I haven’t made my 2016 resolution yet, so no promises.)
Several year ago, when my Singaporean friend was stationed in Kuala Lumpur at Al-Jazeera, I remarked that Malaysia is a very diverse country and that it is quite surprising to me that we lived in such harmony. He then remarked that Malaysians generally live in parallel realities and we don’t fully intermingle culturally. It got me thinking.
He was right. At least for me. I live a subset of a Malaysian culture: westernised Chinese. And a sub-subset of that: westernised Chinese married to a western expat. I don’t know what life is really like for the Malays, the Indians, or the Orang Asli. In fact, I can barely pretend to be fully Chinese as I don’t speak it as well as I do English.
Living in Malaysia, you can’t avoid the month of fasting for Muslims. You hear it everywhere, you see it everywhere, from the closed Malay restaurants to the tired looks of Muslims. Practicing as a therapist in Malaysia for the last 5 years, I have become sensitive not to offer drinks to my Muslim clients during this month. And I am also sensitive to their differing levels of energy throughout the day.
As a non-Muslim, I am not physically affected during this month. Well, except for the increased traffic jams during the late afternoon when Muslims go back early to prepare food for breaking fast. I have the freedom to go about my day regularly. So why am I asking whether I should fast? For one reason: to learn what the experience is like for my Muslim friends and clients. Continue reading →
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” - Brené Brown
I would like to leave 2014 with a confession. Here it is:
I did not specialize in marriage and family therapy because I was naturally good at these relationships. I came into this field somewhat shocked that there was so much I needed to learn for myself. In fact, had it not been for entering into this field, I am almost certain that I would be a divorced man today. Continue reading →
When I returned to Malaysia after my Ph.D., people looked at me funnily and asked why I didn’t remain overseas. My answer to them was simple: my family is here.
For our 57th Hari Merdeka, Maxis and Digi have come up with ads that promote Malaysia as a family. When I watched them, one made me laugh out loud and the other moved me to tears. [Watch the ads at the end of this blogpost.]
The past few years have been very challenging for us here in Malaysia. I have tried to remain positive and hopeful despite the political battle cries, the droughts and haze that seemed not to have a solution, and most recently, planes that go missing or are bombed out of the sky. It hasn’t been easy to remain positive.
Some people chide me for being a workaholic. One of Rekindle’s clinical interns said to me yesterday that he could not fathom how I manage to do all that I do. I replied that during my Ph.D. studies, I was three times as busy as I am now. He didn’t seem very encouraged.
I admit that I am busy and sometimes physically tired from all the work, but I don’t feel tired in my soul. I love what I do. For instance, while I was sitting on the plane alone traveling to my holiday destination, I found myself thinking about what could be done to train up good marriage and family therapists in Malaysia. Instead of watching an inflight movie, I opened my new book, Common Factors in Couple and Family Therapy (authored by one of my mentors, Doug Sprenkle) and devoured it for ideas on training therapists. Continue reading →
What is leadership? Is it to start something completely new? Spearhead something that no one has done and doing it in a completely new way? Is it “to boldly go where no man has gone before?”
In 2010, I facilitated two plenary sessions at a family business conference where founders and successors shared their experiences across two generations of leadership [link]. First, the founders spoke, then the successors responded. Leader, then follower. Pretty straight forward, right? Not quite.
At the dinner, a successor to one of the founders said privately to me, “I am not sure that it would be accurate to say that my father is the founder of our business. You can say that I am the founder of this business because I took it over from him and grew it to the successful enterprise it is today. Or in another way, you could say that my grandfather was the founder as there were many tangible and intangible assets that my father received from him. Then, you also have to think about my great-grandfather’s influence on my grandfather. So, who exactly is the founder?” Continue reading →
As a 45-year-old, I find myself more and more interested in health. Staying or becoming more healthy was never a serious concern for me in my 20s or even 30s. Men in their 40s are more in touch with mortality, more in touch with the need to be present for loved ones, and I think most of all, we are aware of how our bodies are slowly declining, no longer able to do the things they once did.
I was looking for some interesting science on fasting and mental health in light of the month of Ramadan, and I came across Michael Mosley’s video on BBC: Eat Fast and Live Longer. Fascinating stuff! Just by fasting 2 days a week, we can lose a ton of weight and live a lot longer! Continue reading →
I started a new online peer support group for men over the weekend. It is a free support group using Google+ communities, an extension of the men’s work that I do as a therapist at Rekindle International Marriage & Family Therapy Center (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). I hope for it to be a resource for men to find good support from other men, not just from me. And it is open for men to join via a recommendation by an existing member.
Below is the first weekly reflection I posted on the group. I am posting it here to share the heart of why I started this online community and to encourage other men interested to contact me if they would like to join. Continue reading →