CRAZY RICH OKIEPOREAN
I come from the land of the 'Crazy Rich Asians' but I am not rich by definition of the movie. The many decisions I have made, including traveling across time zones and making Oklahoma City a second home, are considered by some ‘crazy’.
However, I have embraced those decisions and learned that it is more important that our day-to-day actions point towards our ultimate purpose in life. I am rich but in a different sense of the word. I am the Crazy Rich Okieporean.
Watch this introduction video before continuing below.
THE FULLER STORY ...
With a one-way ticket, two suitcases, and three stops, I flew almost 20 hours across multiple time zones and arrived in Oklahoma City in the year 2000, a place I only knew about because of the Federal building bombing in 1995.
I left my home country of Singapore with an open-ended agenda; ready to fully immerse into college life as a full-time student and welcome any opportunities with open arms upon graduation.
"What opportunities?" you might ask. If you know the Oklahoma City of the early 2000s in comparison to the opulence of Singapore, Okieland is not a land flowing with milk and honey at that time.
So call me crazy for giving up living in a vibrant metropolitan city and moving to a developing one, where some still think Indians and cowboys roam the land on horses. In fact, I am kind of crazy and I am an Asian. Just not rich like the people in the movie.
I have never been the 'norm' by the standards of society or my parents when it comes to my pursuit in life.
I AM NOT THE 'NORM'
My enrollment in a trade school as a young adult instead of pursuing a college degree immediately after secondary education was to my rich relative, an educational suicide. While three years spent getting an engineering diploma sounded like a waste of time and money, that was when my spiritual foundation was established with a group of Christians in a student-led faith-based ministry.
After that, I signed a six-year civil service contract as a law enforcement officer instead of serving a shorter military term (all Singaporean male must be in active service as a full-time National Serviceman) for two reasons. One, I don’t like training for war in hot humid jungle and rather be fighting real crime on the streets. Two, I wanted a more predictable work schedule to pursue a degree that I wanted for a job in the creative industry. Besides having good undercover crime fighting stories to tell, the six years in law enforcement has exposed me to team training and project management skills, which I still employ now.
My current side-hustle at a grocery chain while being a solopreneur of a brand coaching business and an author of an upcoming book sounded like the making of a starving-artist story. You will be surprised to hear that the two years of being in a grocery store has taught me more about branding than the 10 plus years spent as an in-house marketing professional. That’s another story for another time.
And my current stage of singleness is one that baffles many. “Why are you not married?” and “You should have tons of children by now.” are typical reactions from Asians (and some Westerners) I meet. However, nothing beats the passive-aggressive question from my mom. She would ask in Hokkien (one of the many dialects of the Chinese language), “Do you have any friends?” . And in response I would say, “Of course I have tons of friends!” while knowing very well what she was hinting at.
A: PURPOSE DRIVEN ACTIONS
Reflecting on my actions in the last 30 years, I have learned to be less concern with whether I have made a right or a wrong decision. And as I straddle between my two homes on a yearly basis, the decisions that I continue to make are also strangely inspired by the different time zones.
When I am in Singapore, I will be aware that it is yesterday in Oklahoma. That kind of put me in a reflective state of mind where I learn to look back with no regrets. When I am in Oklahoma City, I take on another mindset of looking forward with anticipation because my home country is always about 12 to 14 hours ahead of the western hemisphere.
Those mindsets frame what I must absolutely do every day as I make sure my day-to-day actions are pointing toward my ultimate business in life.
Even though I am not rich by definition of a crazy rich Asian, I do feel rich because of the people I have gotten to know and the relationships which I want to continue surrounding myself with. And I want my day-to-day action to be all about that, whether I am a brand strategist or a grocery store worker, a single person or a married one.
I feel rich because of an all-knowing God who knew me before He formed me in my mother’s womb, a God who set me apart before I was born. (Jeremiah 1:5). And I want my day-to-day action to be in anticipation of that kind of future; a future that I have full assurance of, even if there may not be total clarity.
So, I am rich in a different sense of the word. And that makes me a crazy rich Okieporean; an Oklahoman by residential status and a Singaporean by citizenship.
This is one of many stories I tell. This is part of my B.R.A.N.D. story.
If you are a business owner seeking to make your brand more memorable, it starts with you and your personal brand story. The B.R.A.N.D. System is created as a self-directed tool for you to uncover five key components of your personal brand, which will start you on the journey towards mastering your business brand.