Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Glass Half Full of Clovers and Good Luck?

Looking back upon the 32 years of my life so far, I've gotta admit I've sorta been always kinda lucky. I grew up with a memorable and enjoyable childhood that was untainted by ugliness thanks to my parents' and relatives' decision to overprotect and shield me from stuff they thought were undesirable to kids, e.g. violence, sex, grief, etc. I've had the fortune of meeting and making fast and pretty close friends with common interests (TV and movies) that lasted me all through primary, secondary and tertiary education. I've never really had to be concerned about finances - my family always made sure I was adequately provided for to spend on food and entertainment. I've even been lucky enough to win quite a few contests and lucky draws without effort - I remember once I called into this radio station to talk to Victor Khoo and his puppet Charlie and got through on the first try and won a Fanta cooler bag!!! And I'm not sure why, but things always have this mysterious way of working out for me eventually in the end. e.g. when I lost a job previously, another one "magically" opens up for me almost immediately, when I'm "broke" and wished I had some extra money to spend, somehow a little money always finds its way to be (whether be it my parents or relatives decides to just pass me a little extra on their own accord, or the bank or CPF would suddenly have some reason to send me some money e.g. overpayment of some account previously or the shares, etc. My parents says it could be my meaty, big ears...which symbolizes fortune, but I think it's God and Lady Luck looking out for me.

Lately however, this year, all that good luck seemed to kinda alluded me for a while. Upon graduating with a degree in Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Oklahoma City University earlier this year, I've been aggressively sending out resumes to seek for a transfer to the Marketing Communications department in the company I'm currently working for (StarHub) as well as applying for jobs related to journalism, marketing, communications and PR in other organizations. Unfortunately, there were precious few replies from most of these applications, and those that did respond with a job interview did not work out in the end either.

In addition, our family financial situation has also taken a nosedive of late. Due to the economic downturn, there was no pay raise for me this year. Then, a few months ago, my Dad ran into some major disagreements with the head honchos of his company - They were upset tha he was raking in all these MAJOR business deals for the company, and that ALL the business contacts were all going to him directly to liaise in negotiation, and not only do none of the credit go to them, since my Dad did all the work, but when they go on business trips overseas together with my Dad, these business contacts were only interested in talking to my Dad and practically treated them as invisible. So they nitpicked on him on all the minor matters 鸡蛋挑骨头 and eventually forced him to give up his permanent position at the company. It was only after when they realized that with my Dad no longer working for them, the MAJOR businesses also went away with him, did they ask my Dad to work with them again, BUT only on a project-based basis instead WITHOUT monthly fixed salary. So that effectively plunged my family into the dire circumstance of being without a fixed income and surviving however best we can, since bills still had to be paid no matter how bad the situation is. I did my best to chip in but really couldn't contribute much to the household based on my current low-paying job (plus I too had to pay for ALL the cable bills at home, plus a mountain of other monthly bills too). My middle brother who just joined the workforce after graduating mid this year from NUS Business School was just as helpless to the situation being in a commission-based job. Things weren't all that rosy with my relatives either. I mean, previously when I'd visit my Grandma and aunts, we'd always go for dinner at their favourite restaurants, but these days, it's always simple homecooked dishes instead. Guess that new condo, and my cousin's NUS studies course fees must be taking quite a toll on them.

Desperation was beginning to inch up on me. And even though I was a free thinker, I began turning to faith in hope of turning the situation around. I prayed even more fervently than ever to God (well, I DID spend some 10 odd years of studying in a Methodist school you know - Anglo-Chinese School), I followed my Buddhist parents to pay my respects to my two dearly departed Grandpas during Qing Ming Festival, as well as visited the temple and prayed to Kwan Yin and sought their blessings for my family; and I even took a chance at trying my hand (not too much) at the local lottery (4D, TOTO, Singapore Sweep), hoping that my beginner's luck would prove to be lucky. But alas, things still showed no sign of improvement.

So, one day, when I chanced upon one of my old friend Willie Hoo's picture in an advertisement for "Julie Roberts Four Leaf Clovers", I emailed him and asked him what the whole deal was about? He told me after he got his clover, things began to improve for him at his workfront (his relationship with his boss improved). When I asked him if I should try it out? He said why not since there's no harm in trying, and suggested I go and check up the official website (http://www.julieroberts.com.sg/) to find out more.

From the website, I found out that the "four leaf clover is a widely accepted symbol of good luck with its origin dating back to ancient times. Saint Patrick used the three-leaf clover, called the Shamrock, to preach on the "Holy Trinity" to the Irish. The popularity of the Irish four-leaf clover (Trifolium Repens) spreads and today it is universally accepted as a symbol of good luck; not only in the west but also across the world. On average, there are 10,000 three leaf clovers for every instance of a true four leaf clover. The leaves of four leaf clovers are said to stand for Faith, Hope, Love, and Luck. It has been known that whenever one finds the four-leaf clover, "something good always happens". The mystique of the four leaf clover continues today, since finding a real Trifolium Repens Four Leaf Clover is still a rare occurrence and represents good luck." And to date, the shop has brought good luck to the well-being, health and careers of thousands of their customers, aided lots of couples in successfully conceiving, and even helped four thousand over customers in striking the lottery!

I was sold. So two month ago, along with my best pal at work, Sherly, we headed down to the shop and bought ourselves our lucky clovers. For me, I chose a six leaf clover on a horseshoe keychain, and two other four leaf clovers (one on a seahorse keychain and another on a poodle keychain - they were CUTE!)

Hoping to be as lucky as some of the other customers who had given glowing testimonials on the website, I was disappointed when in the following weeks, not only had nothing spectacular happened to me health or career wise, and I had not struck ANY lottery at all, but instead I seemed to have a little bad luck when my supervisor and executive uncovered my error in a waiver at work and issued me a writtern warning letter! Not only that, I was getting into a lot of arguments with my parents over our financial circumstances too.

Refusing to give up hope, I returned the the shop again a month later, and sought the advice of the Filipino shop assistant lady on which was their best selling item in the shop which is most popular amongst the testimonial givers, and how to maximise the luck from the clover accessories. She suggested that I could perhaps try their six leaf clover sticker which I could paste in my wallet and also, as strange as it might sound, I could try talking to my clovers, telling them my hopes and dreams, and making wishes to them. So I decided to give it another go and promptly bought the six leaf clover sticker and the shop assistant helpfully pasted it in my wallet for me.

But still, in the few weeks that followed, nothing amazing or positive seemed to happen for me. I was beginning to give up on the notion of good luck coming forth from the clovers. But somehow, something within me kept telling me not to give up hope and to perservere on with good faith. So as a final resort, I emailed to the store CEO Mr Robert Tan to seek his advice on my situation. He called me back the next day. After relating to me the story of how he came up with the notion of selling four (or more) leaf clovers as a business and sharing with me many many stories of how individuals of various religions benefited from the clovers, he urged me to open my heart and, as the poem in the clover gift box suggests, "share (my) love with everyone, have faith in God and in (myself), have hopes that dreams do come true and with determination, (my) lucky clovers can work for (me)". And also, not to put too much hope into winning the lottery, ha ha ha!!!

That night, I reflected upon myself and my predicament, and realized that, just like my best gal pals Caron and Sherly have always commented about me, I've been looking at the glass half empty, when I should have been looking at it half full. The clovers I bought DID bring me good luck!

1) My mistake at work could have very well cost me my job, but instead I managed to get off with a written warning letter, narrowly escaping retrenchment.

2) Even though my performance allowance was forfeited as a result, I was seconded to the Night Team for two weeks, which effectively helped me earn back that allowance, as well as the allowance I missed out on for another week due to training! So I broke even in the end. No loss.

3) I was lucky enough to be arranged on the same training week as my pal Antonio, hence being able to catch up with him during that week, as it's always soooo super busy with him during his normal work week that it's next to impossible for him to find time to meet up and chat with me about each others' lives.

4) Despite my family's financial situation, they still managed to treat me out on my birthday to my favorite dish of stir-fried eel at one of my favorite restaurants. And my younger bro Rodney bought me one of my fav cakes from "Awfully Chocolate"!

5) Even though I couldn't afford to buy fancy birthday presents for my pals this year, my best pals still remembered my birthday and called or smsed me that day to offer me their good wishes.

6)My newfound close friend at work, Serene, actually rallied my colleagues together to chip in and bought me two Golden Village Gold Class movie vouchers and $30 worth of HMV vouchers!!!

7) One of my best gal pals Caron treated me to a stage musical, "Duck and Dive", for my birthday treat, when I've been a little depressed about not being able to go to the musicals for months now, having had to cut down on my spending budget.

8) After six years of singlehood, and a number of failed blind dates earlier this year, I by chance called up one of my old friends Lip Sin and he actually told me that there was a local club for bears, chubs and chasers which encouraged "healthier" social activities to bring together PLU who are plus sized who were (like me) not into pubbing, clubbing, KTVs and saunas. In fact, the club has been there for 3 yrs now! And I didn't know why I only thought of calling that friend of mine up only now,but I'm sure glad I did! Cos now, I'm a member!

So you see, now that I took a second look back on the past two months, I now rediscovered that I've been quite blessed in good luck in MANY ways! And check out how ALL the accessories I bought shine with such an amazing, awesome, magical glow in the photographs! I never noticed it before about them! Cool huh?

So, now that I figured that the clovers DO work, I decided to do as Robert (the shop CEO)suggested and share my love with everyone! And the first people I decided to do this with are my beloved parents! With my Dad's 59th birthday being yesterday, after my brunch at Orchard Yong Tau Fu, I then walked over to the "Julie Roberts Four Leaf Clover" shop to buy him a birthday present. After browsing through the selection, I finally settled upon the Gourd keychain with two four leaf clover, because it was said to bring not just good luck and wealth but also safeguard the owner's health too. So since my Dad's luck and health hasn't been at their peak lately, I figured this would be the best gift choice for him!

I also decided that while I'm there at the shop, I'd get a keychain for my Mum too and settled upon this beautiful heart-shaped one which I was sure she'd love!

After completing my purchase, I didn't have enough budget left to get the Tiger Fengshui ornament atop his cabinet, which I had badly wanted to get for my parents (since the first time I set foot in his shop) because both of them were born in the Year of The Tiger. And surprise of all surprises, Robert told me that since I was so filial in getting good luck ornaments for my parents, and since I've been such a faithful and frequent customer to his shop, he'd give it to me for FREE!!! You can imagine my JOY!!! I shook his hand and told him I really couldn't believe my luck!!! He smiled and told me that maybe my luck is beginning to show. Hee hee hee...

And now the GORGEOUS golden tiger stands proudly perched upon my living room TV table. Needless to say, my parents were thrilled with it and their good luck keychains. In fact, they still cannot believe I got the tiger for free! Yup, that's good luck for ya!

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