Thursday January 10, 2013
Let your inner qi glow
By MELINDA LOOI
Although it is a busy work period for our columnist, she advocates taking time out for random acts of kindness.
NOW that the Xmas and New Year celebrations are over, my head is spinning with all the ang ang (red) colours. Yup, Chinese New Year is about a month away, and itís the busiest time of the year for us. While itís always a mad season at a fashion house such as ours, itís a good kind of busy, bringing with it lots of positive qi (energy).
The Chinese believe that every new lunar year brings new energy, which can be good or not so good. But being the positive person I am, I always expect a change for the better, no matter what the soothsayers say.
In order to make the most of the year, many refer to feng shui books to read up on the dos and the doníts. I admit, I used to do this too, but these days I donít have much time to read, so there go all my superstitious beliefs!
Actually, I am not very superstitious, but I do think itís good to keep up with things like feng shui because customers are interested in it ... and some of the advice given makes for practical business sense. I also believe that even if feng shui almanacs predict a dodgy year for business, it just means we have to work harder to make sure the money keeps coming in. Nothing bad ever comes from hard work and doing good. As Iíve said in my past columns, what goes around comes around.
Just recently, I heard on radio a discussion about doing simple things that make others smile. For example, buying a Happy Meal and giving it to a road sweeper, hugging a stranger, starting a conversation with someone on the street, greeting people you come across or even giving change to someone who doesnít have enough to pay for her parking ticket at the machine.
An incident similar to the last example did, in fact, happen to me on New Yearís eve. I wanted to pay for my purchases at the pharmacy, but was short of 10 sen. A Caucasian woman immediately paid for me at the cashier. Admittedly, 10 sen is not very much, but her spontaneous generosity made such a positive impact on me. I tried to look for her to pay her back after I managed to find Dirk for extra money, but couldnít find her in the mob of shoppers.
Small things like this renew our faith in humanity and make us all warm inside. Whatís more, these small acts are within the means of all of us. We donít need much money or even have to go out of our way to create lightness in another personís life. Itís really unfortunate that we find it hard to trust others these days, and this makes simple acts of kindness difficult to do. Letís hope this will change.
Back to Chinese New Year. Just three days ago, I launched my latest CNY ready-to-wear collection. It is themed The Qi Of Qipao, and has been inspired by my beloved mother Cheong Keng Seong.
From as early as I can remember, my mother has always worn a cheongsam or qipao. My mother was also a seamstress and her passion for the qipao meant she quickly acquired a reputation for her precise cutting. At the height of her career, she would work late into the night to finish outfits for clients. Today, she still makes qipao for wholesale.
As always, for CNY, my family is thinking about what to wear on the first day. Most of us go for the colour red, therefore I will put on something from my latest collection and make matching outfits for my daughter and the boys. I can guess what colour my mum will pick, either red or yellow, both colours which are meant to bring prosperity and happiness.
In the meantime, enjoy preparing for the festivities and be kind to yourself Ė say yes to some indulgences such as beautiful clothes and yummy food. Go with the flow and let your inner qi glow!
Award-winning fashion designer Melinda Looi tries to marry consumerism and materialism with environmental consciousness, and believes her greatest creations are her children. Follow her on Facebook or write in to email@example.com.