For the past 5-6 years or so I’ve often been at colleges to give talks to students. That’s one thing I enjoy doing and I happily do it provided I have the time to and provided that I talk on the only one subject I can talk about. I can’t talk about “How to be successful” or “How to be a millionaire in your twenties” or things like that. I can only talk about my story. How I started Nuffnang, or this thing I call “My lifeline”. My favourite is “My Lifeline” which traces the history of my life ever since I was a baby. The challenges I’ve had since then and all the way till now.
One story I tend to tell is of my parents. I was 19 years old when I broke up with my girlfriend at the time. I totally deserved her dumping my ass but that’s another topic for another day altogether. Anyway on the day I knew it was completely over, I came home really down. When I walked through my front door my mom happened to see in my face that something was wrong so she asked, and to that I replied “Nothing Nothing” as I avoided eye contact with my mom.
She persisted in asking me until I finally told her that I had just broken up with my girlfriend… and before I knew it, I had burst into tears. She then brought me into a room with my father and they both sat me down and talked me through everything. That was an incident that changed my life… why? Because as trivial as that incident was at the time (I mean everyone breaks up with their teenage girlfriends), it was a down time for me and my parents were there for me at my lowest.
Since then I developed this really close relationship with my parents. So close that I would tell them everything. LITERALLY everything… about which girl I was seeing , what I was doing… heck even when I was studying in London I would send them a long email each week about my life. Now the interesting thing is that I never imagined I could be so open with my parents. For starters they’re very traditional and very conservative. However what I began to learn is that as I shared more and more openly about my life and what the norms of my generation were they became more and more open (although up till today they make me promise not to put a picture of them on my blog). They also became less afraid of me getting in trouble…. because they knew exactly what I was doing and they knew how to give me the right advice for whatever situations I faced.
Then came business. After I graduated, with the support of my parents I got together with Ming to start Nuffnang. Business is really tough. Throughout business there are lots and lots of ups and downs and I can safely say today that my parents played a very big role in my success. I talked through my problems with them and even if we didn’t find solutions to them, it just helped to know that they were as worried about me as I was worried about myself (or the problems I was facing).
My parents are both over 60 now. They’re not getting any younger and I treasure every hour I have left with them. So much that whenever they come down to KL I cancel almost all my plans just to make sure I can spend more time with them. Because I never want to take for granted the limited time I have left with my parents. One day I told my Dad that if he were not around… I would be very very affected. He told me it was a matter of time and I had to learn to survive without them… and yes I know I can carry on without them… just that I know deep inside, the day my parents leave this Earth, a part of me will die.
I’m blessed to have discovered this close and open relationship with my parents. I know I’m not the only one… but I also know that not everyone has been as lucky as I am. My hope of writing this though is that if you haven’t yet found this joy then go find it. Spend more time with your parents, talk to them openly and don’t be afraid of being judged. Our parents are the only people in this world where no matter what happens, they will always be in our corner. No matter what wrong we do in our lives, the last people who will always be standing in support of us will be our parents. They are indeed the greatest assets that we could have in our lives.