Our Story Begins Here …

Marilyna & Calvin took their Jewelry Design degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.

Abstract: I have a passion to write. Especially when a story lies hidden for so long that it is now screaming out from my heart to lay it down in words.

Occasionally, I fall off the wagon. Giving the excuse that I am undergoing a writer’s block, I may stop for days or months. Eventually, the push will come from Calvin, my second son.

“Dad! Wake up! Go back to writing. Re-ignites your passion.” He said. 

Calvin in HoChiMinh City, Vietnam

He always knows which button to push to kick ass, so to speak, or to prod the old cattle on. Not in as much as to drive the cattle with an electrode to the slaughtering pen, Calvin would nudge the old cow along to a new grazing field, where there are abundance of fresh air and sunshine and where the panoramic view is awe-inspiring. 

You see, he treasures my life in as much as I treasure his, so that I live another day.

Father & Son at Central Park, New York City

So, I dug out all my old notes. For years, I still cling on to my old habit of jotting down my thoughts in a personal diary book.  There have been many such exercise books of inner recollections, reflections, retrospections, silent contemplations, self-pontification, personal diary, My-Book-of-Revelation, or whatever you called it, I have written over the years. 

Family vacation at Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Whenever I have vivid dreams, I scribble it down in a notebook which I always keep beside my bed. I would do that in a jiffy. For in a few minutes of delay, I would succumb to the REM sleep and the dream would be lost forever.

At the War Museum in HoChiMinh City. Calvin and William are licensed helicopter pilots

I read somewhere that when one has a dream in monochromatic black and white nature, it is more of a suppression of desires, a replay of past traumatic events, a flash-in-the-pan display of spent fears, anguish and worries, an abandonment of hope and faith or of unfulfilled dreams and unrequited love. Mayhap, a dream in B&W would take you back to your younger, carefree halcyon days.

I was one of the pall bearer at my Yoga Master funeral

And when one has a vivid dream in full kaleidoscopic rainbow color, that might be when your dream is foretelling you what is in store for you in the near or distant future. My dear Yoga Master, who taught me meditation and who has passed on many years ago, once gave me an instruction.

He said, “Arthur, try to grasp a small part of the future by remembering it.”

“Remember the future? It has not happened yet”. I said. I was nonplussed.

Then with his enigmatic smile, he continued, “Self-remembrance is to evolve oneself to a higher conscious plane. Perhaps the future has all the while being there. Start with some minor details.”

That’s it.

Calvin & William at the Vietnam War Museum in HoChiMinh City, Vietnam

To this day, I have a slight glimpse and understanding of his profound words of wisdom. He may be telling me between what is fate and what is destiny. Or I would surmise that by projecting one’s soul onto the astral plane, one might have a faint sighting of what lies ahead. 

I am still seeking and searching.

At the Imperial Capital at Hue, Central Vietnam

Anyway, I digress. Now, back to the present moment. 

Going through my old notes, I uncovered my treasure trove of memories and recorded past events. I went through my cursive and bad hand writings in my notebook, some of which would take moments for me to recognise my train of thoughts for that particular period in time. Of course, I deciphered them. My frame of mind would then place me at the exact moment in time on what’s happened then.  

My diary and notebook. This page was written about 45 years ago.

In this eureka moment, I draft out all the sub-titles of a story which have long being dormant in my inner psychic. This time, I am more adept at using my laptop computer. Mind you! I can type fast and furious. Now, I keep a diary too on a digital platform.

I want to write “Our Story”.

In Coventry, Central England.

“Our Story” comprises small parts of events that happened in my current life span of living over 60 years. Each story stands by itself. Spontaneous as it is, I rather find it more amusing and fun to write in this manner.

Family picture in Edinburgh, Scotland

“Our Story” is about the courage, resourcefulness and resilience of my 3 children in the face of adversity, misfortune, uncertainty, hardship and setbacks. That would also include Me and My Excellency. We have our fun too, when we were traveling abroad on vacation. Or when we attended their graduation in their kindergarten years or taking part in gems trade exhibition shows together in the good old US of A.  

In China Town, Los Angeles, USA

As a family unit, we have been through thick and thin, the highs and the lows, the beginnings and the ends, the first and the last, the alpha, beta and the omega and all that were dramatic, sundries, mundane, tearful, sadness, happiness, peace, turmoil and difficulties.

At the Trafalgar Square in London.

In early 2000, we (My Excellency and I) made the most brutal decision ever in our life concerning our 3 children.

Marilyna, my eldest daughter then was going onto 18 of age, followed by the two boys of 17, Calvin and 15, William.

At Disney Land, Anaheim, California

Under grave circumstances of financial depletion, we sent all three of them to New York City (NYC), USA, to further their education. At that time, our finances were in ruin. We didn’t have two pennies to rub together. Yet, we embarked on a foolhardy mission to send these 3 kids to USA.

The stiff exchange rate of US$100 Benjamin Franklin greenback to our Malaysian Ringgit was RM380.00, was a killer too.

At the Mirage Casino Hotel in Las Vegas, participating in the gems and jewelry trade show

We followed through our brutal decision. Marilyna landed in New York City (NYC), USA, on her first week of her birthday at 18 years. I enrolled her to do the Graduate Gemologist (GG) at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the youngest student in her class.

Calvin & William in Washington DC

Over the next two years, Calvin and William went over to USA to do their GG at GIA in New York City too.

Anyway, our brutal decision in early 2000 merits a full post. That was the most defining moment for our family. Watch out for it in my next post.

Mother and daughter at Hue, Central Vietnam

So, the poor kids were on their own in the huge metropolitan Big Apple NYC. They went through a very tough, troubled and bleak period. They were at the deep end of the water. They had to earn their own keeps. Every day became a survival of sorts to keep their heads above the water. 

The 3 kids with their piano teacher at Battery Park, New York City

In NYC, they had little room to manoeuvre. They had to react. They had to adapt. They had to think of surviving the next day or the next week. Problems came. Problems solved in the nick of time. Fate had dealt them some nasty cards. All they got to do was to play as the cards fall.

Calvin worked at a Tea Bubble Shop in China Town, New York City

They didn’t complain. They didn’t moan and bitch about our collective brutal decision. They did various part-time jobs while studying at the same time. 

In retrospection, I say, that was really a remarkable journey for them. Their mind-set was one of focus, determination, grit, and courage.

The graduation of Marilyna & Calvin at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Both graduated at the same time.

There was one factor that stood out. The 3 kids were not only solving problems. They thought about their next step to get out of our debt trap. They thought of what they were going to do for tomorrow, for the next month, or the next year.

Hence, not only they survived in a big city, they thrived. 

Father & daughter at the Brooklyn Promenade, NYC. The Twin Towers were still there before some idiots blew it up on 9/11

Their defining characters are their entrepreneurship and dare-to-do attitude. They are also very hardworking. To them there is little difference whether in 72 hours there are two nights and a day, or two days and a night. 

Calvin studying at the Gemological Institute of America. He was 17 then, the youngest in the class where the mean age was about 26.

They read voraciously. Apart from being a Graduate Gemologist with a bachelor degree in finance and Jewelry design to boot (all in New York City), they acquired real estate brokerage license in USA, they are affiliated to the membership of NFA (North America Futures Association) and flying licenses for helicopter and personal aircraft. They often attend professional courses in IT development, fintech, small business enterprises, shares and options trading and a variety of courses to build up their skillsets.

They are continuously upgrading their knowledge and experiences in business and in life.

Calvin & William trading stocks and shares and options on the NYSE

Presently, we have investments in various business sectors. We are into Diamonds and Jewelry, Aviation, Agriculture, Automobiles, IT development, Financial Services, Secretariat Services, Plantations, Real Estate & Properties, Travel & Leisure, Oil & Gas, Online Merchandizing, Food & Beverages, High-end Toys, Manufacturing, Stocks & Shares, Retail & Shopping Mall and some other smaller business enterprises where they have some interest.

Calvin flying his helicopter

Currently, our enterprises and businesses are spread over to various countries in the United States of America, Malaysia, China, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore. And in other countries as well which businesses are in the gestation period.

On a train in the Subway in New York City.

Our international investors include all those from the above countries mentioned, as well as from Japan, South Korea, Indo-China, Thailand and some other countries.

I might add that their entrepreneurial spirit for those tough years has lifted our family to a much better and secure life. 

On the occasion of Marilyna’s marriage in New York City

This was their rite of passage that they must pass through in their lives.  Through these twenty over years of toil and moil the baptism of fire that they had gone through have forged their inner strength, will and substance in their character make-up, personal identities and out-look in their lives. All these experiences have moulded them in what they are today.

The 3 kids at Flushing, Queens, NYC

Then, a thought came to me. Perhaps these three kids are pushing the envelope. They want me to pursue my passion relentlessly. Or I will die a senile old man. They have to keep the fire burning in me just as in the days of yore, when we were grasping at straws.

But then, I still earn my self-bragging rights. Blemishes, warts and all, I say, I can express myself quite well in writing. 

Calvin flying over the padi fields at Sekinchang. I was sitting at the rear seat.

Now I have to abide by what they told me to do. Perhaps they think that if I am to retire totally, my mind would have gone to seed, my waist would balloon up or my sinews would go rubbery. So, they have given me some tasks to do. 

The boys love skiing and snow boarding

I have to listen to them now, for theirs are the New Age, the New World Order and the Z-Generation. 

However, in my mind they will always be my little kids. I guess for parents it’s difficult to let go of that thought.

Yours truly at Central Park

I will write various chapters of our family. Some may find it inspirational. Others might find it insipid. But I write for my clause. And I share my innermost thoughts with those who may find some consolation when they are going through a tough period in life. 

To these people, I hope you do.

Marilyna and William attending a costume wedding party

To those who are facing extreme adversity in life currently because of the pandemic, you must have courage and faith, steadfastness and righteousness, never giving in to greed, avarice or harming others and never to give up in despair.

You have my salutations.

Keep going.

It is with this reflection that I will continue to write “Our Story”.  

OS-1

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