Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year 2010

Hi Friends,

Wishing you a happy new year! I really look forward to 2010. This morning, when I woke up at 5.00am, I asked myself why don't I feel nostalgic about 2009 like I normally would about the previous years? I would then need the next few days to recover and function properly again. I remember reading somewhere in the newspapers years ago that wrote: there's nothing significant about 31 December and 1 January other than 2 dates on a calendar. Well, this year I'm feeling it LOL! Am I starting to get that old already? Well, I hope I'll get excited about the Chinese New Year, at least.

This year I'm trimming my new year resolution list from 3 to just 1 - Finish writing my book. By 31 December 2010, I must send it off to a publisher! I believe I can do it because where there's a will there's a way. Now, if only I could get over the "my spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" syndrome.

Once again, Happy New Year 2010 to you and your family!

With love,
Luke Bong

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Planning anything for 2010?

In exactly 5 more days, we will bid goodbye to 2009 and welcome 2010. It's also interesting to note that we have completed 1 decade of the 21st century already. I was reading the latest edition of Success magazine and publisher Darren Hardy asked the readers to reflect on what have been their greatest achievements in the past 10 years. Well, I'd like to share mine (at random) here. I'm not trying to impress anybody (well, maybe just a little) but I'd like to take stock of how good God has been to me.
  1. I got married in 2002 to the girl of my dreams.
  2. I bought a house that same year and later moved to my dream house in 2008.
  3. I'm blessed with a son in 2005.
  4. I became a public speaker in 2008 (a dream come true).
  5. I walked on burning charcoal barefooted in 2004 at the Anthony Robbins Unleash Your Power Within seminar in Singapore with my wife.
  6. I received my MBA degree from the University of Southern Queensland, Australia in 2004.
  7. I gave a talk to 200 people at Pustaka Miri in 2008 and 2009.
  8. I won the Toastmasters International Division E International Speech Contest (2008, 2009), Division E Table Topics Contest (2008), Division E Evaluation Speech Contest (2008), 1st runner-up Division E Humourous Speech Contest (2008) and 1st runner-up District 51 Table Topics Contest (2008).
  9. I started my tuition centre (Great Minds Language and Training House) in 2004 and closed it that same year.
  10. I started my second company (Great Minds Management Sdn Bhd) which owns Lighthouse Education and Training in 2009. (Note to self: I'll make it work this time)
  11. I emceed at a dinner function attended by 1200 people in Genting Highlands (2007) and KLCC Convention Centre (2008).
  12. I enrolled in the Money Mastery Workshop and paid RM5200 for the programme to attend it in 2010.
  13. I've changed my mindset and attitude towards money. Money is an idea. I can make money out of nothing (no, seriously). Money is a tool for me to do good. There is an abundance of money out there. Money loves me (Ha! Ha!)
  14. I enrolled in a Ph.D programme with UNIMAS and after doing 3 months of research, felt it's not the right thing for me so I quit.
  15. I got below 100 kg at the start of 2009 (the last time I was 99 kg was more than 15 years ago) but am now at 103 kg.
  16. I'm taking care of my parents who stay with me. I'm so blessed to have them in my life!
  17. My wife gets along so well with my parents and vice-versa. My prayers are answered.
  18. I bought my Jupiter Alto Saxophone (professional series) in 2007. I've been dreaming to have a good saxophone since 1988.
You know, doing this list makes me feel so thankful and grateful to God for His grace and kindness. Why don't you do a list, too. Begin each day with a thankful heart!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Meaning of Christmas

What does Christmas mean to you, dear reader? Have you thought about that lately?

It is usually synonymous with holiday, shopping, gathering of family and friends, gifts, church services and of course Santa Claus. Now, more than ever, people from around the world are trying to disassociate Christmas from Jesus Christ, whom we are celebrating His birthday in the first place. And some go to great lengths to lobby that the word Christ be taken out of 'Christmas' so that it is politically correct for today's modern society. So, instead of writing Merry Christmas, people will take the short cut and write Merry X-mas.

Since young I always wondered why X-mas is pronounced as Christmas? After all you don't call the X-men as Christmen or X-ray as Christray, right? If they do, then perhaps we have to start calling the old TV series X-files as Christ-files. It's amazing. When people want to make something acceptable, there are ways and means. We call this self-rationalization. Pretty soon, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In my humble opinion, the main focus on Christmas should and must still be the birth of Jesus Christ. Forget about the fact that it doesn't snow in Israel in December. That's like 2000 years ago. I don't think they have birth certificates or computerised database in those days, right? To go one step further. Each year, in Malaysia we celebrate the birthdays of our King and Sultans. But it's on a gazetted day which is not even the person's actual birthday. Yet, we have military display, etc to celebrate. If people can do this for another human being, I don't see how and why anyone would hold it against Jesus.

So, in closing, as we approach the 25 December 2009 and thereafter January 2010, I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and share with you the following scripture:

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that whomsoever shall believe in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." John3:16

That's the perfect present, won't you say!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Weddings & Marriages

"I do!"

To many single people, this 2 words seem like the most anticipated words in the English language. It ranks way up there together with words such as "I love you!". This phrase marks the next phase in an individual's life - MARRIAGE. Once you say it, there's no turning back and the world is filled with jokes and quotations about life after this 2 words were spoken. To quote a trite example.

"When a man is still single, he is half complete. When a man is married, he is finished."

Well, ever wonder why there's so much of anticipation about the big day and then the moment you take the next step, there are so many horror stories waiting for you to discover? It's a no brainer, right? Imagine being told, "Son, you should get married. It's not good for a man to be alone." Then after you took the advice you are told, "Son, deal with your own problems. Who asked you to be married in the first place?"

Well, while I'm no marriage counselor or relationship expert by any means, I'd like to share my personal views on this. Nowadays, too much emphasis is being put on the wedding and not enough emphasis is put on the marriage.

Wait a minute. Is there a difference between the two? You bet. Your wedding only lasts one day while your marriage lasts one life time. Couples spend approximately 365 days preparing for that big day planning for how to have the wedding photos taken, what gown to wear, who to invite, where to have the reception, where to go for honeymoon, etc. But only a fraction of that time is spent on planning how to live together for the rest of their lives. It's frightening to see that there are so many divorces and remarriages now. It's as if more emphasis is put on the wedding instead of life after the wedding. I personally know a couple who managed to involve me in their divorce and the ugliness of it and subsequently in their wedding to other partners. All within 24 months!

There's a saying in English that goes like this. "If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail." This applies to marriage, too. If the couple spends more time planning for their married life such as how to handle conflicts, how to divide the chores, how to live together (a.k.a the boring stuffs), they stand a better chance of honouring their vows to each other. Stephen Covey calls this the "important but not urgent matters" in life.

Lately, there are so many weddings in town. I sincerely wish these love birds the best in their married lives and may they find true marriage bliss that comes only with the boring stuffs such as commitment, hard work, tolerance, understanding and support. Then, comes chapter 2: The Baby! Well, that's another story for another day!

With love!