Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How to Sustain (and Survive) the Festive Cheer like an Artiste and made it look Effortlessly Easy (ahem)

Arduous Journey Ahead?
Chinese New Year is here. And everyone (almost) are back to their families. There's always some degree of "stress" when coming to visit a family home. What's more if you have appeared on TV or some other forms of media where your family members might recognise you? This year I am going to Klang, since it's the nearest place from KL. The journey started from KL Sentral, where I will go to the komuter station to take the train. Surprisingly, now the train coach is divided between  the male and female. I noticed this to be really discriminatory. At one point, I noticed a policeman stationing at the train, shushing the men from entering the "Female-Only Coach". What is this? Enough already some simple jobs even men cannot apply like receptionist, now this?

No Man's Land
So I went and search for the "Men Only Coach" sign and there were none! I have to assume that space without the "Female-Only Coach " sign belongs to the men. When the train arrived, I rushed in with quite a feeling of indignation. Thankfully, I found a seat. It was facing the opposite side of the moving train, but it was nice for me for I can see and enjoy the view longer as it whizzes by. I saw clouds and more clouds, it happens today to be a clear day. It also gets my mind moving....
Notice the pink "Females Only Coach" sign? 

Looking around me, I notice this coach to have a woman! Why, isn't this the Men-Only Coach? Again, the presence of that lady robbed the other men of their seats. Looks pretty unfair to me. Oh well, scenes like these if left unchecked could turn up to be something of a standard and acceptable form of social norms. You have to nib things at the bud, before it becomes bigger than you can handle.When some form of negativity creeps in me, I have learned to control it and not blow it out of proportion. Here's where I remembered the tips I've always carry with me whenever I have to be with family or in a gathering.

My nephew, Chan Zi Chong at my feet
1) Have an Open Learning Mind
Upon arrival of my uncle and auntie's house, I saw my 2 cousin brothers with their wives already at the table having their lunch. As usual, being the only single there can be quite awkward. So I just smiled and regard myself as some kind of an alien, until one of my cousin brother's wife blurted out the subject of seeing me acting in one local Malay drama. My uncle's side is actually a very typical Chinese family. The men really do seldom talk among themselves, but the women is totally the opposite. They shared, laughed, practically do most of the communication outside from their immediate family, while the men are very quiet and reserved. An open learning mind comes in when you simply and pull yourself away from you - and observe yourself and others as a "third party", similar to an out-of-body observation.

I noticed one of my cousin, whom was very caring and often played with me, as far as I can remember in my childhood memories. He's the youngest among my 3 cousins - 2 men and a woman. He also has that mischievous streak in him, which most of my other aunties would laugh and adore, just like me. So we're both in the adorable and cute category (and believe me, parents, aunties and uncles DO play favourites!) since we're both the youngest before we've all grown up. But from a distant, I could sense that he has changed, he in turn becomes quite reserved and leave most of the talking to his wife. I love the polite way she behaves and treats a family member, not getting in your way and respecting your small effort when helping in a chore. Very traditional Chinese way a woman behaves in front of the male family member.

A row of wedding potraits to "warn me that I'm next"
2) Have Pride in your current Status and Situation, no matter how good or bad it is
After lunch, a group of my my auntie's side of the family - meaning her sister and her children came over to chat big time, meaning laughing loud, joking and shouting without care. Secretly, I know she came to survey who will be present on the 1st day of Chinese New Year, so as to prepare the amount of money to stuff in the ang pows (red packets, and she's the calculative sort but talks big). My married cousins already been informed by my presence, hence, the preparation on their side is settled and cleared. Being in the midst of my cousins, who are around my age but only a few years older, and seeing all of them married, settled and with children can be very uncomfortable at times. Of course we are all humans, and we tend to feel sorry (maybe a little) of why should we be even celebrating any festive season in the company of others? Then again, especially if you are single, you have to be proud of your status and not shy away from it. The reason is because it's the festive season. Not only for singles, but those who own their business or currently out of work. Even if your business is not going as well as you've hoped for, just be honest about it when asked. You'll feel easier inside to enjoy the festivities when you're honest to others of your situation. Below are the links to my past SUCCESS stories in helping shape my students of all diverse backgrounds and industries to be more HONEST of themselves:
Full Attendance
Fashion Students Showcase
Bigger Class
Taking Students on Roadshows
International Students
Student on Magazine Cover
Student Casting Session for Real Jobs
Students Photo Shoot
Students Performing for Event

Don't bring the whole house!
Just pick ONE "Legitimate Distraction"
3) Bring along a "Legitimate Distraction"
Sometimes it's hard for a person to keep up a cheery face in the presence of others. I've learned now that somehow one needs to bring along a legitimate distraction (like your book, walkman, novels, laptop, tab or smartphone), to pull yourself away from the group. Like my trip to my uncle's side of the family, I brought along the laptop. It's perfectly legitimate because of my work, and I did helped one of my cousin to transfer all his digital photos from the memory card to his USB capsule. If your family have children, then you need to be firm about letting them use your "legitimate distraction". Especially with my cousins' children - 5 girls and 2 boys - can be quite a headache to stave them away from touching your "legitimate distraction". Secretly, I was thankful to God of Prosperity for not letting me buy any latest tablet or smartphone before this Chinese New Year. But it's worth the trouble of stopping these brats from flying around my gadgets like flies, because if you're spending the night, then your legitimate distraction could keep you entertained through those long, boring hours.

My other nephew and nieces
4) Try to Connect with a Relative
I notice a lot of Chinese families, especially the men, can be quite distant with each other. Unlike the female members, where there's plenty of talk, you wouldn't want to stay silent for so long. Try to connect with a relative, could be your cousins, or just about anyone, depending how big the gathering is. As for me, I managed to have a good connection with my eldest cousin and his 3 children. That way, you feel the real meaning of all this so-called family gatherings. I even learned their names already, which I still haven't with the other children. It's interesting to watch how children interact with you, when you know their names. Of course, the children wants something from me in return - my laptop!

This dessert goes up, but it's coming out below
5) Have an In/Out Hearing System
Being single sometimes the worst thing could happen is to have your relative condemning you or pushing you in some way to get married, settled down faster. But in my opinion, getting married and settle down is not for everyone. But you mustn't react too emotionally at what your relatives are saying, for some do feel genuinely. But in my case, it was my auntie's sister that condemned me. I listened politely but immediately I totally forgot about it. During night time, I opened the red packet envelope and found her to be so cheapskate. And I am not exaggerating, she is. So it's worth to clear the tunnels in your left ear to let the flow come out from the right. No point keeping what everybody is saying.

6) Be Creative in Exit Strategy
Sometimes one can have too much of the "good thing". Or when one senses a bad thing is about to crop up, one simply must exit in a polite way before the ugliness rears its head. Speaking from experience, I often find timing is the best. Especially when my cousin asked me what time I want to leave, that's a cue for me to find a legitimate excuse. "Oh, my stomach cramps - must be the food". But in a group of family members, you have to present your back story way ahead in the early stage, so as to give you a leeway when all the "family loving" gets too unbearable. Use this exit strategy, when even your "Legitimate Distraction" is not useful anymore to stave off the nosy relatives who wants a piece of your mind....or worst YOUR ARSE!

My Grandparents Funeral Portraits (mom's side)
7) Simplify the "Hard" Experience into Lessons
On my way back to my place, I have the pleasure to sit and contemplate all that has happened at the family gathering (my uncle's side). I truly enjoyed scaring the children of the fireworks and watching them scream for help. Of course, my connection with my cousin and his wife makes me more accepting of other people's behavior and perhaps even put some faith in humanity. The more deeper lesson I come to realise is we are all alone, even when with family. There are times I noticed a family member trying to get the attention of another. Then I saw the pictures of my grandparents who have passed on so long ago, and now my uncle and auntie are showing the signs they are slowing down too. The point is we will all die, and all the bitterness and pain of the past ceased to put on any weight in value, making me realize that it will all go away, and nothing, even family, friends or relatives truly belongs to any of us. So what's the point of coveting other people's haves or have-nots, showing contempt over other's physical appearances and awkward traits? The value comes to live only when we stop adding misery to others and putting on hope in ourselves that we may do good more than harm.

A good Communications Strategy Coach will do you even more good like preparing you for (sample tips here):
How to Excel in Reality TV Shows,
How to Make Your Casting Enjoyable
How to Handle Rude Casting Agent
Exude Your Inner Star Quality.
Points to Consider before you strive for Fame
The Art of Networking
How to Handle the Media
What to do during Pre-Production
What to do during Production
How Should an Artiste Travel for Work
The Value of Preparation

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