I left my heart in Finland when I moved back to Malaysia during Covid-19

Photo by Joni Kuusisto on Unsplash

It's been over a year since Covid-19 exploded. A year since I left Finland to return to Malaysia because even then, my gut sense told me: This isn't going to end anytime soon.

Coming home to Malaysia confirmed a few things I know to be true: That Malaysia is where many of my people are. I'm grateful for the friendships, shared meals, heart-to-heart conversations that are easy to find in a place where you spent most of your life growing up. It also reminded me that people play a big role in what feels like home.

A year into moving…

In a world
Built, shaped, designed for men:
Smart, brave, bold, curious, thinking men
And beautiful, soft, loyal women;
I thought a ring around my finger,
Or wrinkles around my eyes
Would be dues worth paying,
The cost of wanting
To be seen as something more
Than a trophy to win,
A match to be made,
A prize to catch.

I thought age and title
Would bring me the thing I craved the most:
To meet the world as I am
On my own two feet. …

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Yesterday, I ventured outside my home for the first time in awhile (excluding grocery shopping) to attempt to work in a new location.

I wasn’t the only one who had that brilliant idea. Turns out, after yet another lockdown was recently lifted, the whole city seemed to be trying to get somewhere.

After being stuck for 45 minutes trying to get to a place just 15 minutes away, I gave up and went home, grumbling to myself about Malaysian traffic, and dreading things going back to “normal”.

Living in a pandemic for the past year has been difficult, yes. More…

What else I’ve learned since making it through a divorce, a year after I first wrote about it

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

A little over a year ago, I wrote an article on Medium titled “Why My Divorce Was the Best Thing to Happen to Me”. It was a cathartic piece — a way for me to tell my side of the story, a year after the divorce. Between the time the decree nisi was issued by the court and the time I wrote that article, I kept my story largely private — to give myself time to heal, and to reflect.

My intention for writing was to share what I had learned: that by not dealing with my own unresolved issues…

Lessons learnt from 30+ jobs in 16 years

Image: Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Before graduating from university, I’d held nine jobs, including as a library assistant, furniture salesperson, Starbucks barista, event promoter, social media content creator, freelance content writer, baker, editorial assistant, and intern.

After graduating at 21, in the last ten years I’ve held various roles from corporate finance to communications, marketing, sales — and even to a cook — across seven different companies (including spending three years freelancing while pursuing an MBA).

For a long time, I questioned my career trajectory, and downplayed the number of jobs I’ve held. …

Why need to lose before we can fully live

Photo by Eva Darron on Unsplash

2020 has been a year of loss. We’ve lost people we love, dreams, plans, a sense of control, and routines. We’ve learned what we can survive without — and what we can’t. In January this year, I couldn’t have imagined how the year would turn out. I was getting ready to co-purchase a house in Finland in February. I could not have envisioned that I would be getting on a plane in May and moving back to Malaysia.

Starting the year in a job that paid well, with colleagues and a boss I respected and liked working with, I couldn’t…

4 Lessons on Leadership and Innovation for Business Leaders

Saunalahti comprehensive school by VERSTAS Architects; Photo: Tuomas Uusheimo

Few scenarios grip our attention as dramatically as the life-and-death experiences that U.S. Navy SEALs face in their line of duty. During my time at business school, I had the opportunity to examine case studies of leadership where SEALs had to act decisively and autonomously to diffuse a crisis or risk harming civilians or their team. This piqued my interest to understand what makes SEALs so effective and efficient in what they do. Curious to learn more, I read Jocko Willink and Leif Babin’s book, Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win.

Right after my MBA, I moved…

Photo by Harley-Davidson on Unsplash

Why are we so busy in our journey to pursue success? And what does it means to live with purpose, instead of pursuing self-achievement?

The Allure of Busyness

A few months ago, I read In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed by Carl Honoré.

…the Slow philosophy can be summed up in a single word: balance. Be fast when it makes sense to be fast, and be slow when slowness is called for. Seek to live at what musicians call the tempo guisto — the right speed.

Carl Honoré

In addition to reading that book, over the past few months I have…

Photo by Tim Foster on Unsplash

Last week, I was reminded that growing is sometimes uncomfortable and painful.

In the physical world, we need to stretch our muscles and push them to their limit for them to grow. Growing emotionally is the same too.

In the past week, difference circumstances that have presented opportunities for growth also touched a few raw nerves. I felt unstable and shaky, like trying a new yoga pose for the first time. I knew I wasn’t good at dealing with these particular issues. But at the same time, I wanted to get better. …

The gift of self-awareness that PMS, anxiety, and depression gave me

Photo by Nick Bondarev from Pexels

For a few days every month, I feel like quitting everything.

I feel like quitting my relationship.

I feel like quitting my job.

I feel like quitting my family.

I feel like quitting my house.

I feel like quitting my country.

Some months, I feel like quitting life itself.

Being able to type that feels like a massive release in itself. Because for so long, I carried the shame of these feelings around silently.

Throughout my teens and 20s, I pegged myself as one of those who “didn’t really have PMS”. I believed that for over a decade, because unlike…

Crystal Cha

In search of what it means to live, love, and learn well.

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