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Category Archives: two cents


Saw this comic strip just the other day and it totally reminded me of an incident back in my parents’ hometown – Sitiawan (long live the foochows!). It was right after dinner when my dad decided to go to the supermarket and my grandfather decided to come along too. So there we were, three generations of the LOI family heading to town.

Right at the entrance of the supermarket was a beggar, sitting by the side….begging. Duh. And guess what my grandfather did…he scolded the beggar in front of everyone at the entrance of a supermarket! Not the kind of evening that I was expecting. The conversation went kinda like this:

Grandfather: What are you doing sitting here begging? You’re not even as old as I am!


Grandfather: You should be ashamed of yourself! People at your age should be taking up proper jobs and making an honest living! And here you are disgracing yourself…you’ve got hands and feet that are not even disabled or injured . . .

Beggar: . . .

Grandfather: Stop being such a useless person and go get yourself a proper job! The money yr scavenging from people is just a huge disgrace…your mom did not give birth to a person raised to be a beggar! . . .

At this point, my dad and I *gently* pulled grandfather away from the little scene that he has created.

As funny (and embarrassing) as it may be…my grandfather did bring out some truths there. We all do have a choice. And just like that comic strip in reflection to the real life incident I was in – sometimes, people (read: we) are just plain lazy. We’re lazy to…

• pick ourselves up after a fall

• put our feet down after making stands

• choose

p/s Sorry for the long absence in the posts, have been caught up with different things 🙂


I find myself not having lots of free time lately. Either I’m perpetually occupied with work or I’m just not good in managing my time. Nonetheless, the work doesn’t “magically disappear” so…work, work, work. At least it keeps me on my toes.

I had the privilege to speak to about 100 students at Sunway College recently about pursuing a career in design and advertising. Surprisingly, I thoroughly enjoyed myself more than I anticipated. Truth be told, I’ve always had the thought of teaching/lecturing/tutoring lingering in my mind; and I’ve left it at that state – lingering. Part of my talk was telling them why I pursued design & advertising and it was a good eye opener of how far I’ve come and how God has continuously opened doors in my favor. Never would I expect to come this far or even have opportunities to go into colleges to speak about designing. It’s just awesome.

And since I’m on this self reflecting mode…I realised that some things (as subtle as it could be) really makes my day…

• seeing a despatch motorcycle rider with a Nicholas Sparks book

• seeing a taxi driver dash through the heavy rain to run into 7-11, get an ice cream, dash back into his taxi just to enjoy it

• never realising how nice purple and orange go together till I saw the sunset

• looking at how cool clouds can be from the skies – it’s mind blowing

• seeing you happy

Life’s definitely much richer when you start noticing the details. Such a shame if we miss out on it everyday.

img_00531I just realized recently (like within the past week) that I’m not good with goodbyes. I guess for the ones that know me well enough they’d probably realized it by now cause when someone close to me (friend / family) leaves, I catch myself:
• being “too” cool about the entire situation
• crack jokes that are “un-funny” at the farewells
• behave as if the person’s really not leaving

Definitely an addition to the fix-it list. FYI, when you’re away, it hurts but I’m just good at not showing it.

“What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits (loses) his soul?..” – Matt 16:26

Incidentally, a song written after that verse has been playing on my itunes lately and I was just reminded of this verse. As simple as the verse may come, it’s probably one of the toughest decisions one would have to make. Think about it, if you had an opportunity to gain everything you wanted in this world – fame, fortune, females (yeah I placed them in “Fs”), to let it go and let God would be hard. Your parents might think you’re crazy. Your friends will probably leave you. The world would make a mockery out of you.

But here’s the thing, we’re not made to live the way the world tells us to. In fact, we’re not even defined by the things of this world. It is tough, I know – I count myself blessed to be able to enjoy small luxuries from time to time – but if I were to compare the magnitude of what I can enjoy and achieve here on earth to what I can enjoy in my time “off the earth”; I’d pick heaven any day. It’ll be great it Gravitee takes off and becomes a huge success. It’ll be cool to be famous and have people knowing (about) you. It’ll be fantastic to have all of our heart’s content BUT if that compromises in me losing my faith – I’d rather not have it. 

Many years ago I saw an interview of Ray Romano in one of the late shows. This was when his show “Everybody loves Raymond” became a hit sitcom. And it reached a point in the interview, where the host asked him what keeps him steady with all the fame and fortune going his way. Ray Romano told the host that after he won his emmy and gained his fortunes, it was at one of the family gatherings that his brother came up to him, smiled, hugged him and gave him a note. He read the note out in the show but the only lines I remembered was, “…Ray, I’m really proud you. Remember that it doesn’t profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul.”

I believe…as much as struggles are a testing to man, so is success. May we find God not only in our failures but also our successes; not lose our soul despite the things that are thrown at us (both good and bad). At least, that’s my prayer.


13 year old Joel (far left). Albert right beside him.

13 year old Joel (far left). Albert right beside him.

I was just thinking the other day…what if I had a once in a lifetime chance to write a letter to the 13 year old me?


Dear Joel,

It may sound totally ridiculous but the person behind this letter is actually you. Well, the 13 years older version of you but it’s still you. Actually, I know that you’ll probably go on reading this without me explaining throughly what’s going on cause, I’m you! You’ll just fall for these kinda things. Some things don’t change.

I thought I’d just let you know that high school is going to be an awesome time for you! You’re still too lazy to go exercise and would rather sit at home and watch TV all day, but it’s still going to be super – cause many people will come to you later on asking about TV series back in the 90s and you’ll know all of ’em. Studies as always will be a drag for you and later on your mom will send you to 8 tuitions! Cause they don’t have tuition classes for history and moral. That’s right, run and scream while you can. Oh and when I mentioned exercise, please start doing it while you can! Trust me, it’ll do you good.

And you’ll really love maths tuition, thanks to the tutor – Mr. Chan. You’ll even score at it! So, once you’ve finished high school please get his contact number cause you’ll find out soon that he moved from his old house and you can’t find him anymore today. Can’t blame me if a man wants to move k!

As for PMR and SPM…well…you did the best you could. BUT it is totally cool cause when you’re 23, you’ll graduate as a top student from the top design school, win an award and even get a job offer on the spot from the president of the school himself! You’ll be chosen as valedictorian (check dictionary if you don’t understand) and you’ll be giving a speech at the graduation! Tip: take it all in as you’re giving the speech cause your genius sister got the digital camera recording without the mic on. I know what you’re thinking – don’t be mean.

As for sis, be there for her as much as you can. She will be a successful lawyer one day and you will need her help in different times so give and take k? You guys will still be close and laugh at the same things but it’ll be slightly different from the times in high school cause you’ll grow up ma!

Life will take a dramatic turn when you touch the second half of your 17th year. Mum will “force” you to go for a Christian camp in KL cause you need to look after the younger kids that really wants to be there. But on the third night of the camp, your prayer will be answered. I’m not going to spoil it all for you, where’s the fun in that? But trust me, you’ll be making some mature and hard choices just in this year alone and it will be all worth it.

When you’re 18, you’ll be studying in Taylor’s College and you will meet the most awesome bunch of people that today, they’re closer to you than family. They will support, believe, pray and even walk through fire to get you if they have to. Pr. Kenneth and Pr. Sandra will be one of them. They will practically be your “mum and dad” so don’t ever disappoint them! They will advice, laugh, cry and even scold you at times but trust me, they really love and believe in you and only want the best for you. Vinod’s going to be one of them too; don’t let his size and voice scare you – he’s super awesome and you will even be his grooms men on his wedding day! If you can, pay for every meal possible when you’re with him cause he keeps wanting to pay yours. Joy will be the other one. As whacked out as she can be, she will be one of your closest friend today and you will be there for her in different times. It’s hard to imagine, I know. Then there’s Dave. You meet him in church, don’t really know him that well and he heads to UK to study for 2 years BUT once he’s back, you guys will be awesome buddies. In fact, you’ll be emceeing gigs with him and even have an online TV hosting job with him (Aha! You’ll be one tiny lil insignificant online celebrity…yay?) and you’ll get the chance to meet lots of famous, talented and nice people! Psst…Dave will be the campus pastor of an awesome church but keep this to yourself. 

When you hit 24, there’s good news and there’s bad news. Good news is that you’ll join a wonderful advertising agency, get good position and salary and even win awards. Bad news is that you allowed the “successes” to get into your head and you make some major boo-boos. Not proud at all. So, please please keep your head screwed on tight and be as accountable as you can to your leaders – it’s hard but they genuinely want the best for you (though they laugh at you after that). Be strong k?

The year you turn 26 will be an awesome one. You’ll be quite a jet-setter, own your own company, tour different states sparking a REVOLUTION among the young people, start a t-shirt label and have a new member of the family (he drools, is hungry perpetually and has jet black fur). It will be a seriously fun year, just enjoy it to the max! 

The answer is NO. Just in case you were wondering if you’re married or have a girlfriend. I know you, silly. But keep your head up and continue to be the right man. You’ll learn that by living a life that is surrendered, you’re on the winning side. She’ll come your way pretty soon. 

I can’t promise that life’s going to be all that super awesome. There will be the valleys, choppy seas and quiet seasons; in fact, there’s going to be quite a lot of that. But after all that I’ve written, here’s one piece of advice I can give you…always seek God in all that you do. Get Him involved in every decision that you will make and in every area of your life. Always remember Joel, what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his soul? Everything will be just fine.

Before I leave you; Italy will win the World Cup ’06 and Spain will win Euro ’08. Bet all you have on it and that includes the house that you’ll be moving into! Retire young and comfortable!

Yours truly,






It’s still early in the year and everyone’s asking…

“So, what’s your resolution this year?”

“Any plans for 2009?”

and the no.1 question “Are you going to be less mean this year?”

Honestly, I don’t have any resolutions in mind. But, I do have some goals I’d like to see accomplished. There is a difference but I’ll leave that to you to figure it out yourself. So for 2009, some of the goals (that I can think of so far) that I’d like to see accomplished are:

1. Learn to cook great-mind blowing pasta (in all varieties possible)

2. Travel to a country / continent that I’ve never been before

3. Get a Husky – that would mean I’ll have four dogs in total. I’ll introduce them to you one day.

4. Upgrade some of my tech thingies

5. Aim to read 3 books a month – I don’t have the luxury of time, please understand.

6. Try something new that I’ve never done before – skydiving, bungee jumping, mountain climbing (ha-ha)


Let’s see how this year turns out. Fingers crossed!


Quote of the day: “Too many people spend the money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like.”  – Will Smith

As cliche as it may sound but this year did pass by really quick. But (yes I’m one of those who start their sentences with the words “but” and “and”) there’s much to be thankful for. Here’s a quick recap of 2008:

• I left Rapp Collins at the end of Jan

• I took 2 months break and went for a holiday

• Invited as a guest judge for graduating advertising students’ presentation at Sunway University College

• Started my humble lil design agency and also my clothing brand – Gravitee

• Became a groomsmen for one of my closest bro

• Got myself some international clients from Melbourne, Australia 

• Hosted an online TV show called “20 Questions” with another one of my closest bro (David Yeow) and had the chance to meet lotsa awesome people

•  Tried fish spa for the first time. It’s highly recommended, go for it.

There’s loads more of course but these are only some of the ones that I can remember for now. All in all, it’s been a good year. Made new friends, grew closer friendships and became a better friend.

To my family – I love you guys.

To my ACTS family – I’m a better person because of you. You made the difference.

To my friends – let’s get to know one another better this year. 

To the strangers – “Hi, I’m Joel. It’s nice to meet you.”


Fun Fact: I sneeze three times consecutively almost every time.

Uber died. Along with all my previous posts, photos and videos.

Here I am trying to start the habit of blogging again. While I’m doing that, I’ve got to find me some new adventures so that I’ve got something to write about. Yam Seng!