The Unexplainable Beauty of Trust

Just think for a moment about a very busy ferry terminal at a popular holiday spot. Like train terminals and airports everywhere, there are hundreds and hundreds of people arriving and leaving all day.  Everyone is in a hurry; rushing to be picked up by a taxi or friend or family.  People are busy talking — often screaming at their kids — and fighting their way forwards with too much and too heavy luggage to handle by themselves.  You get soon tired yourself just by watching this scenario.
 
The other day, I rode the ferry from the mainland Malaysia to Langkawi, a UNESCO Geopark rainforest island in Malaysia. In the terminal, I got caught up in all that chaos as well. Then all of a sudden, I saw this father and daughter scenario – the two of them resting on a chair outside; totally at peace. It was like watching the contrast between two different worlds…
 
The serenity of this scene gave me much to think about at that moment — and also now as I gaze at their picture.  Most of all, it was the feeling of trust that the young girl had placed in her father that grabbed me. Sitting there together totally relaxed, while all the other people were chasing their own things in such a hurried and loud environment… 
 
I realize that peace and beauty can be found almost everywhere in the world in almost any situation – when we let things go in perfect trust; even in a very hectic ferry terminal like the one on this truly beautiful Langkawi Island.
 
 
    

The Beauty of Langkawi

It was love at first sight. Pristine island surrounded by the turquoise Andaman Sea, ancient rainforest with trees rooted in the depth of thousands of years, and their branches daringly reaching towards the sky. Bright orange of wild heliconias, and deep red of the ginger flowers. The tantalizing smell of a jackfruit in the air

As per definition, ‘Love at first sight’ is the phenomenon of an instant attraction, inexplicable romantic feelings bordering on madness
 
A description implying that this state of sensory intoxication is far too intense as that it could last.
 
Nine months have passed – and I am still waiting for my emotions to settle down.
 
Eagerly waiting to spot every morning hibiscus flowers that blossomed in my garden over night – just to make my day colorful, missing a few keyboard strokes to watch a hornbill indulge in a ripe papaya as I look out of the window.
 
And there is nothing more exquisite than diving at night into the cool sheets of my bed, closing my eyes, and letting the frog symphony lull me to sleep.
 
Although My love to Langkawi did change! There are more layers now, a depth to my feelings. Going far beyond the magical beauty of the island. It is hard to explain, but there is this unique energy – bringing together people that seem to be on the same wavelength.
 
Caught in the daily rat race, we all find ourselves occasionally wondering whether there may be more to life: daydreaming about starting over, about defining our happiness anew, about living more in tune with who we really are. But like a forceful river, the current of our life continues carrying us in the familiar direction, letting these moments vanish as quickly as they emerged.

Now – imagine finding yourself surrounded by people who actually followed the calling! Who managed to withstand this powerful pull, and hold still long enough for the vague feeling to become a path. I am not talking about escapists who ‘checked out’ of reality, running away from their responsibilities.
 
In fact, most of the expats on the island are pretty busy. – Making their dreams come true, whatever that means to each of them: cooking delicious meals – hoping for a satisfied look on the diners’ faces rather than for a Michelin Star, creating natural products from healing rainforest plants, exploring the depths of the soul – and developing innovative holistic therapies
 
Success is still part of the equation. Just the definition is a different one. Rather than being the ultimate goal, it is the natural consequence of following one’s passion.
 
Having traveled the world, I never came across a place with such a pure energy! I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what makes this island so special. And I believe, I found the answer. In the warm smiles of the local people I encounter wherever I go. In the words ‘Mat Salleh’ – not being whispered behind my back but told straight to my face. Because all it means is ‘a white foreigner’. Nothing but a simple statement of facts. With no judgment attached.
 
We are who we are. White, little impatient, with all these crazy ideas in our heads. Not expected to change. Not forced to fit in. We are free to follow our hearts! And that is the real beauty of this magical island
 
By Kamila Delart.

 
 
    

An Incredible Contest With Unique R&D Opportunities

The famous, world-known Iron Man contest may take place again this year in Langkawi. When it happens, Paul Penders Co sponsors again 57 year old New Zealander Leslie McMillan.
 
Leslie will be for up to 13 hours being exposed to torture under a burning tropical sun. And believe me, no peanuts to undergo such harsh tropical sun conditions hitting your body when one is in a survival mode during this race with the great obstructions.
 
The rainforest island of Langkawi Geopark in Malaysia is located 5 degrees north of the equator with weather temperatures at this time of the year varying from 30 to 35 degrees C or 100 degrees F – that during the entire day!
 
It is obvious that a whole day in the sun means an enormous attack on the skin. Sunburn and dry skin would be inevitable if adequate protection would not be taken very serious.
 
Therefore a wonderful opportunity for Paul Penders to perform R&D tests during this race. Where in the world to find better conditions to measure efficacy of our products? To know for sure how far our natural products can go in protecting skin and hair in a grueling sun?
 
Any R&D scientist would dream to test his products this way. No lab tests in artificial conditions with computers for performance tests. No, this is the real thing in hot sun and salt seawater; thus extensive scalp and hair protection is a must.


    Some 700 Iron Men contesting in the ocean in a 4.5 Km swim

What Paul Penders products will be used during the race, as well during training sessions prior to the race?

Leslie, as well as us, were quite satisfied with the protecting effects that our products offered last time. Think about this… Just a 30-minute walk in the burning sun here in Malaysia will make one totally wet and exhausted. So imagine the effect on the body when one is for 13 hours constantly swimming, biking and running?


    Finishing…!! Yvonne, R&D manager of Paul Penders brings flowers to an exhausted Iron Man

Of course, only Leslie can share the details of the experience of fighting the elements. This will be covered in an exclusive interview after the race. With over 700 Iron Man competing, Leslie may not win but for sure will be one of the best protected contestants when it comes to professional natural skin and hair care products.
 
Note: Each Langkawi Iron Man Race receives some 700 participants from up to 40 countries with over 1,500 volunteers helping out.
 
 
 
    

One Of My Teachers In Life

Few years ago I came to the office and at the shipping department I noticed a new employee. I noticed because her son was with her. One of the policies of Paul Penders Co is that children from employees can be at the office as well – why not? – is it not OK to hear a child laughing or crying? How much more human can that sound be also in a work place?
 
And every time I came to work she was working at the QC department, always quite, concentrated on her work and always busy. She got her work done in time and I was amazed with the peace surrounded her even with her small child nearby. I felt I could be in such serene peace at all times.
 
Because of her work and great attitude, bit by bit the company increased her responsibilities. From QC department she then became even involved upstairs in administrative tasks. I kept feeling amazed how peaceful she did her work.
 
Then to my great surprise she wrote 2 wonderful blog stories for our company about Malaysian food. It was written such nice and – same like all her work at the company – it was done right. The story could be published almost immediately, what has been done as well.
 
She had been with us for almost 1 1/2 years, but then, this year the company was split up with an office opened at another island nearby, Penang. Paul Penders R&D, marketing and QC went to Penang Island, and the warehouse that was located at another part in Malaysia went to Penang as well; therefore everything centralized. For that we could not offer her a job anymore and she and the company departed. She left the company at the same way, in peace.
 
But I was shocked to hear about the sudden illness of Lilly. It was told that she was diagnosed with cancer and meanwhile even got into chemotherapy and maybe soon radiation. I visited Lilly last night and she told me that the chemo therapy treatments were so painful, almost to her passing out. Lilly calm and beautiful as always kept being peace and a warm smile.
 
I was touched with this visit and again with her personality. I pray for Light and Healing for this beautiful spirit, a young mother who still must deserve the best in life. Of course the company takes care of her expenses. Last night when visiting Lilly, upon me leaving, walking to my car, she came up and walked to my car. She smiled and her son and husband; a coast guard officer in Malaysia, staying at the background.
 
This young women full of courage coming from a very small village at this rainforest island at the other side of the world, is one of my life’s teachers. Lily is in our hearts.
 
 
    

Finding Love in Moorea

“In the end, all that truly matters are that we loved,” says writer and columnist Regina Brett in her new book, “God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life’s Little Detours”. The book describes 50 hard-learned lessons that have struck a chord with readers worldwide, including the importance of loving God (Lesson #43), loving our children (Lesson #37) and loving our friends (Lesson #32). On a recent trip to the South Pacific, I met someone who loved his homeland so much that it opened my eyes to the gift of loving where we live.
 
Moorea is an absolutely gorgeous place, an idyllic tropical island of just 16,000 where virtually everyone knows everyone else. Our tour guide, Karl, explained to us that he has the perfect job because every day, he shows people the place he loves.

Thirty years ago, Karl’s father, Albert, was a clerk in a big Tahitian hotel. One day, he bought a taxi and opened his own operation on nearby Moorea. He slowly added rental cars, then tour buses, jet skis, ATVs (all terrain vehicles) and safari jeeps. If you see a tourist vehicle on Moorea now, chances are it’s owned by Albert or one of his kids. All have stayed, despite opportunities to study abroad, to help their dad in the business.
 
Karl runs the ATV operation. He took us through the island’s lush green mountains, weaving in and out of the pineapple plantations. He proudly pointed out the wild papaya, banana, breadfruit (grapefruit), mango and avocado trees, explaining how the land was not privately owned, so the fruit was free for all. And in fact, Moorea’s single main road is dotted with stands where vendors sell fresh produce and fish caught in the island’s warm turquoise waters.

When I asked Karl whether he ever gets bored on this tiny island of just 53 square miles, he replied, “No, because it’s always changing”.
 
This is an interesting statement considering that Moorea’s communications with the outside world, particularly via Internet, are limited; its residents must hop the ferry to Tahiti for all but their most basic shopping and recreation mainly consists of socializing with friends.
 
But therein lies the secret: it’s not about what Mooreans don’t have, but about what they do. It’s about waking up each day, enjoying the bounty and beauty of nature (Brett’s Lesson #39), and appreciating life as it unfolds moment by moment. Any changes may seem small to urbane tourists but to these islanders, they represent the ongoing flow of life itself.

Contrast this with a recent Pew Research Centre study which found that 48% of Americans aren’t happy where they live. Country folks want to relocate to the city, city dwellers dream of big open spaces and most everyone wants to move to another part of the country entirely. Millions of people are chronically unhappy because they can’t connect to where they live.
 
But after meeting Karl, I know that another path is possible. With an outgoing personality and a mile-wide smile, Karl could be successful anywhere. But he’s chosen to stay on Moorea simply because he loves it. And in talking to him, I realize that he has found one of the most important loves of all.
 
By Alison Kritzer
Previous articles by Alison:
That Which Unites Us: Pizza in Moorea
What Matters Most is Found in Moorea