“Wo zui qiu wan mei, wo you li xiang”

8 12 2006

He’s called Alan.

Man, I have been running into inspiring people.

I barely sat down, Alan asked if I received their invitation to their very recent hair show. I said ‘no’. He asked if I liked the invitation card. The invitation card’s very professionally done, mind you. I thought the model featured was ripped off some hair magazine – NO, it was the effort of him and his team and singled out from over 300 photos. He then began sharing a bit of his story (without me asking).. starting up the hair salon and then had an idea to do a hair show at heartland Toa Payoh. He shared about how he started from scratch – sourcing for sponsors (of whom many rejected him), shopping for clothes for his models, staying behind in the salon with his team till 1 or 2am to sort out details and come up with ideas. And then he said people asked him if it was worth it to put in so much effort. He could have simply bought ready-made cards and just sent it to his customers in his mailing list.. he didn’t have to do a hair show at all, and most of all, not in the heartlands. So I reflected it back to him and asked what he thought. He said it’s worth the effort when customers tell him they see the sincerity and effort behind their work and ya, when they say they didn’t throw the invitation card away. Ya, I didn’t either. He also shared about his aspirations.. to be continually coming up with creative ideas and techniques in hairstyling and to present the best to their customers. I commented that I think they did a very good job with the invitation card, but he feels there’s still a long way to go. He said “Wo zui qiu wan mei”. WOW. I love it.

Sometimes I feel ridiculous for being passionate about what I’m passionate about. About social work, about God.. and then sometimes along the way, I lose my zeal and faith as a result.

And you know, I’m amazed these days I’ve been talking more to people I won’t normally talk to in the past. Went shopping at Bugis twice in the past two weeks, and for no apparent reason, I started chatting with the different aunties. They have interesting stories to tell. And then when I went to get my hair done today, I started asking Alan what it was like for him. People do open up to me! That’s one cognitive distortion corrected.

These people.. Alan and his team.. Mayday.. all started with dreams.

Why can’t I dream of becoming a very outstanding social worker? Why can’t I be the worker who will successfully mobilize resources and advocate for clients? Why can’t I be the outstanding worker who is solidly grounded in theory? Why can’t I be the worker who has excellent counseling skills? Why can’t I be the social worker who earns well? Why can’t I dream of going to UK to further my studies and get a Master’s degree? Why can’t I go to King’s College? WHY CAN’T I? Why must I settle for mediocre degree? Why can’t I leave a mark behind?

Oh, by the way, Alan’s seeing the fruit of his labour – from the photos he showed me, he’s been invited by magazines (at least one) to style models as well as celebrities. All because he chose not to give up even though in his own words he really “peng hen duo ding zi” and because he “zui qiu wan mei”.

Ha, we also talked a bit of cok. Quirky guy. And obviously very driven.

Anyway, the salon’s called Cabello Casa at Toa Payoh. The team there’s professional, but they’re not sterile (no pun intended).. you know, I don’t get the feeling that they are just there to get a job done. I have immense respect for those people there!

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