A Letter to My Sister

Dear Priska,

I believe you are going to read this on your way to US, perhaps somewhere in Taipei, or somewhere in Los Angeles. At last, your hard work for the last seven months paid off, those days studying GMAT and applying to universities had passed. You got accepted to all of the universities you applied to, and that is an accomplishment you should be proud of, because I know how hard you studied for it. Since early of this year you had TOEFL test, GMAT, countless e-mail to universities, finishing up your bachelor in medicine, and not to forget the CFA level 1 exam, all of them happened simultaneously. Yet, I could say that you were on the top of it all, backed by the fact that you also passed the CFA level 1 exam without having previous finance study. I believe that you could have anything you want in the world, no matter how big it is, as long as your are working hard enough for it day by day. 

The days are long, but the years are short. It amazed me how fast time goes, it seems like yesterday we were still an elementary students, you were one level above me, and we would be picked up by mom after school. We would went to a mall after school and have something to eat together, sometimes even watched a movie. Back then, I’ve never imagined that someday (today), we are going to live exactly at the opposite side of the world. Junior high school and high school also passed and we were always together, taught by the same teacher and struggling with similar issue. But it was when we were in medical school that I would say as our best period, certainly not because of the countless study hours and exam, but because of the travel.

I’ve done the counting, we traveled to 29 countries together in our life, and it was when traveling that I enjoyed our family time the most. I think we have to be grateful that our family could afford such things, seeing the landscape of the world, eating at restaurants across the globe, enjoying sunrise and sunset at every continents, even eating exotic meats in Africa. I’ll always cherish those moment, and I hope you do too. And it wasn’t always sunshine and rainbow everyday, for we grow stronger from every fall and set back we experienced. The next time you are feeling low and unmotivated, remember that perhaps you have to “tidy up” your life and prioritise things you consider important, it was at those tipping point our life turns for the better. Remember that our biggest fear in the past turns out to be insignificant today, and it will continue to be so in the future, whatever come at us will eventually pass with time.

In the last few weeks, you and mom have been busy packing the stuff you bring to US, and truth to be told, you bring way too much clothes. Now that the house is empty, I missed the quarrel you had with mom and me, things I’m annoyed with in the past. I now today will eventually come, the day you are leaving to US with mom accompanying you for a month. Today I’m dropping you off at the airport with so many thoughts in my mind, words I haven’t said, even though I have twenty two years to say it. Perhaps, it was just easier to me writing those thoughts rather than saying it out loud.

Sometimes I found you to be hesitant in rejecting another’s request, actually there are times that it is better for both of you that you don’t accept someone’s request, they may find more qualified person, you might not do your best effort should you accept it, and it may hinder your relationship with that person. Simply saying “no” today might saves you from a lot of problem in the future, and most people won’t feel hurt being rejected with appropriate reason.

Your two years MBA study is going to be fast moving, as it always does. That is why I recommend you to always make a plan for everything, today’s activities, tomorrow schedule, a plan for finishing a project, even a life plan. Most people doesn’t utilise their time effectively because they are too busy  doing daily chores (rowing the boat) and forget to think if what they do will make them closer to what they want (steering the boat). I know that life has a habit of making us busy and exhausted daily, but it pays to reflect and assess your situation at least one time a month. Know what you want out of life, and when, be reminded of that every day. Reading self help book matters too! Even though I always stressed the importance of money, yet money is only a medium for attaining something we want, not the end goal itself. So remember to pursue things that matters to you and strive for things greater than ourself, for the meaning of life is a life full of meaning.

One other important thing is to socialise more often with friends and make new friends every week or so. I know that all of our family members are introvert, but hey, it’s not a reason for not initiating a talk with new friends. Since you are going to be alone in there, I hope you are not going to feel lonely, and friends will be your first line of defence in everyday’s life. “Happiness only real when shared” ~ Christopher McCandless

If life is a book, I believed we have done the first chapter well together, and now that both of us entering a new chapter in life, be sure to enjoy every moment of it. A book wouldn’t be interesting without its moment of despair and triumph, so does life! Our life doesn’t have to be perfect, for pursue of perfection will turns us nut, but it should be full of fulfilment to ourself. At last, I hope you are going to enjoy your study in Omaha (and perhaps meet Warren Buffett) for the next two years, and don’t forget where you come from, even if everything is going to change if and when you get back.

Your brother,


DSC08303.jpgSouth Africa, July 2014



About Journeyman

A global macro analyst with over four years experience in the financial market, the author began his career as an equity analyst before transitioning to macro research focusing on Emerging Markets at a well-known independent research firm. He read voraciously, spending most of his free time following The Economist magazine and reading topics on finance and self-improvement. When off duty, he works part-time for Getty Images, taking pictures from all over the globe. To date, he has over 1200 pictures over 35 countries being sold through the company.
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