“So I am in an MLM”, and other great conversation enders

There, I’ve said it.

Life in Sydney has always thrown me so many curveballs, this is probably just another one.

What am I referring to? Well, you probably would have seen some posts I made on my Facebook timeline about some “Crazy Wraps” or seen me post some before and after photos (none of the photos are of ME personally… but that’s only because I am seriously shy of it. So maybe when I’ve scaled back a few more dress sizes haha!)

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I must admit… I am a tad wary about using this term “MLM” but only because there’s been a couple of high-profile MLMs that have gone up (and down) in a blazing flame of nothingness, leaving disgruntled “investors” and hardened cynics in their wake. But those “pyramid schemes” have tarnished the name of MLMs who are around to sell a physical product (as opposed to just empty talk of huge returns with zero risk), and we all know word-of-mouth often has the greatest persuasive power. I have personally had friends involved in these so-called pyramid schemes, and they’ve had their fingers burnt and savings drained in those companies.

I am mindful of what I know some of my friends (both online and offline) might be thinking. I’ve had so many supportive messages, which I am so, so thankful for. My ex-colleagues, blogger friends back in Singapore, family. And at the same time, (maybe it’s just my overactive imagination), there’s also that huge awkward pause in the middle of my Facebook conversation where I can sometimes see the other person go, “Oh man, is Sandra going to recruit me or sell things to me or hound me non-stop?”

Okay, you can go ahead and unfriend me now on Facebook.

Still here? Okay, then I can promise the same amount of cutesy updates of my three kids, gorgeous shots of the Sydney coastline, long musings and sometimes grumbling. And yes, the occasional “business” post.

But hey this is me. Me. My family. My kids. And now, yes, my business.

So it’s been an enlightening ride, taking on this mammoth task of selling a product in a foreign land where I don’t have that many friends to start with. My closest friends are all still in Singapore, and when the casual question of “So, what are you doing?” is bandied and I give my honest reply, their “ARGH! Not another one of THOSE people” deer-caught-in-the-headlights look is amusing. No, I don’t need you to “review this product and blog about it” for me. No, I am not gonna hardsell anything to you. But you asked me what I do, so here I am telling you, and hey, you know what, if you have a need for the product, let me be your go-to “wrap person”.

I recently had an encounter where I was talking to this person online, and she went “Oh, but you’re in an MLM, hun.”

Astute, that one. But being in a company that does direct selling doesn’t make me a leper or a pariah, right? Right? It shouldn’t. Oh, but maybe it does to some. It’s my blog so I can rant on it.

For the curious out there, here’s some quick FAQs for you.

Q: Why oh why, Sandra, did you join this MLM?

A: It ain’t a boogey monster. And my friends would know, I don’t lend my name easily to stuff. I tried out the product. And yes – I saw results. I loved. But being a full time homemaker with a barely-there income, there was NO WAY I could spend on this. And then considering I was a full-time homemaker with a barely-there income, I decided… why not TRY this business out? Be a distributor, sell a product that I’ve personally used and love, AND earn money? I don’t know about you, but it sure seemed like a great idea at that time. And still is. There company sells MORE than these wraps, and the hubby and I are slowly (but surely) trying them all out. I recently ordered Greens On The Go, which purports to help detox and balance and yet energize you for the day. It’s Day 7 for us both, and the most significant change I can attest to personally is (1) not needing coffee to start the day, (2) not feeling like I am dying by the afternoon and (3) being able to help the hubby in his transcriptions a tad more effectively. Is it due to the Greens? I don’t see why not, seeing we haven’t made any other lifestyle or diet change! So my faith in the company grows day by day, and with it, my willingness to be more and more associated with it.

Q: But, you know… MLM!?! Can’t you go for a more “traditional” job?

Such a familiar question – oh yeah. my dad asked me the same when he first learnt, many years ago, that I was attending a “contemporary” church. I obviously didn’t listen to him. Why should the contemporary be considered inferior to the traditional?

I’ve been in that 9am-5pm job, remember? And it was enriching, fun… but not possible now that we’re in Sydney, and having to look after the kids all by ourselves. The truth is that if I were so busy working a 9 to 5, then the hubby would not be able to concentrate on his studies, which, d-uh, is why we are even here in the first place. I’m not making an excuse. I am simply acknowledging my complete and utter lack of domestic ability. If I were working, we’d have to eat out every single day. Not much time with the kids. Jay would have to go to after-school care. All of which is NOT what I want, not at this moment. I love the flexibility of what I do now, and it helps me do what I love and spend time on things that matter to me.

Q: All this “upline” and “downline” nonsense sounds so fishy! How can someone earn so much?

I know this might seem unfamiliar to those who draw a regular salary… but this is a commission-based job. You earn more if you work more. Slack, and you won’t get paid. I have friends in the insurance industry who would agree. I know of some who’re raking in the big bucks, and others who’ve struggled to pay their monthly bills. Is the sales line for everybody? I don’t think so. Heck, I don’t even know if it’s for me – seeing how I’ve only just begun. But I’m willing to give it a go.

Q: Okay, after yakking so much, Sandra… Aren’t you going to tell us a little bit more about the product?

What? You mean more than helping me shave off the stubborn centimetres left behind by giving birth to three kids? Who, when they were born stole a chunk of my heart each, but unfortunately left me with the ravages of the “mummy tummy”? That awkward little horrible piece of flab that rears its ugly head when you even think about putting on any form-fitting dress or skirt or pants? Heck, don’t even talk about form-fitting, event figure-skimming clothes are sometimes a no-no. So yeah, I use the body wraps, I sell the body wraps, and I sure hope to earn enough to keep me at home, with my kids.

Well, I hope you’re still willing to be associated with me. I won’t really be blogging about the business much here at sanses.com, but I am in the midst of starting a new blog to share more, and will announce it once it’s up.

Ok… and before I end, you know it’s coming, and I shan’t disappoint you.

Here’s my link to my “official website”, so check it out, watch the videos, read the testimonials, and most importantly – order away!

And yeap – just another typical lengthy Talkative Thursday post here on the blog! If you’d like to link up, grab a button and add your URL below :)

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A Behind-The-Scenes Peek: Say Cheese!

I would like to think that my children are pretty good-looking.

But trying to take a photo to PROVE that… is tough.

I thought life was tough when I just had Jayvon, and he was in a “I DON’T WANT TO SMILE” mode.

But multiply that by THREE, and you get lots of blurry, out-of-focus shots on the phone.

There are muttered threats, frowns, exasperated sighs of “Look HERE!” “Xavier!” “Jayvon!” “Zoie!” “Xavier!!!!” that accompany most photo-taking times, when I *try* to capture the siblings all in one single frame.

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Take the recent grocery run we had with the kids. We plonked the kids at this small play area while the hubby went to load up the groceries in the car, and I took this shot of Zoie, and posted in on Instagram. She looks all calm and peaceful.

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Then the storm happened. No thanks to me. I called the two boys to gather for a quick shot.

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And there you have it. ZERO nice shots. Haha!

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To Singapore With Love

(Or in other words, what I miss about Singapore).

#1: It’s the land of free wifi and affordable 4G network.

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(Image credit here)

I know – I heard a lot of my friends gripe about how the telcos in Singapore have introduced new plans and scraped the older unlimited data-with-mobile plans.

I have had to learn to cope with a very low data limit for the longest time. Case in point: The Optus $60 plan gives 2.5GB data (recently increased cos it used to be a mere 2GB not too long ago). Singtel’s $62 plan gives 3GB. Singapore’s small size means that quite literally there are hardly any “dead areas”. Sure there might be, especially in high rise buildings – but this is solvable by simply walking to another spot. Over here in Sydney, my network switches to 3G – especially in less populated parts of the region.

#2: The land of the message.

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(Image credit here)

I can’t speak for every Singaporean. But the ones I know (me included!) – we love our messaging. Whatsapp, SMSes, BBM (my old flame, no longer the case haha!) and we have long meaningful group chats and conversations over messaging. We embrace non-face-to-face communication, but then we also enjoy the physical meet-ups.

I can’t speak for every Australian. But the ones I have gotten to know… seem to dislike using SMSes or whatsapp or what not. In fact, they prefer face-to-face conversations, or talking on the phone, or (and this might seem ancient to Singaporeans)… leaving a voicemail.

Yes. Voicemail.

I was so unfamiliar with the concept of listening to my voicemail that it took me ALMOST ONE MONTH before i accidentally discovered a voice mail left to me. By the pastor of the church i now attend over here in Sydney. The senior pastor himself. Leaving a voicemail on my phone. And I only chanced upon it when i happened to dial the voicemail for fun. I’m sorry for missing your call Pastor Phil. And, erm, thanks for the nice welcome message. I would have returned the missed call, but the number was smack in the middle of two call centre cold-calling me and I assumed the other number was also another similar one.

Don’t I get notification about a voice message?

Of course I do.

I ignored the SMS of course.

Cos who leaves a voice message? A lot of people, obviously. But I am slowly learning. Slowly.

But I stand corrected.

Still, you can take a girl out of Singapore, but you apparently can’t take the Singapore out of her.

#3: I miss Singapore’s efficiency.

Most of my experiences happen because I started on Missy Stella Australia, so I had to write and coordinate and explore a lot of options. One such option was to write in to a shopping centre about some possible space I could lease. I used the contact form on their website. And the reply came in about three months later. I replied back almost immediately, and there was white noise for another week, before she asked a question – that I had already addressed in my first contact with them. As of now, the email conversation has been buried in the sea of “difficult” questions, I reckon, seeing how I posed a tough question… and haven’t heard from them, oh, for about 2 months now.

Another contact I made excitedly assured me I would receive some information over email the next day after we had physically met over coffee. 5 months on, I am still waiting for that email. But after the meeting, after doing some number crunching, I decided to not go into that due to the high cost involved, so no biggie. Just that I wanted to nicely reject him when I got the email. But he probably spared me from that. Though how he knew this decision of mine is a surprise seeing I was pretty open during that meeting.

I posed a simple question to a new Aussie friend over FB messenger once. A question that I thought just needed a “yes” or “no” reply, and I messaged cos I was trying to put my baby to sleep and just thought about it on the spur of the moment. She asked to call me back. I told her it was inconvenient for me to answer. She told me to text her when I was done. I asked if she felt she needed to say MORE to me than a simple “yes/no” reply to my question… and she told me, it would be easier to answer me over the phone.

I have to bite my tongue. No being rude. Don’t be rude Sandra. She’s trying to be personal and nice.

But the time she spent typing all that out… she could have just replied me!

Sigh.

And she left it at that. For me to text her when I was free so she could reply me. Over the phone. Yes or no.

It is the Singaporean “kancheong-ness” (colloquial speak for hurriedness) in me. It must be.

While I appreciate the fact that there is space for us to breathe and enjoy… I must admit at the back of my mind, I am going… “HURRY UP WHY DONCHA?!?” when I order a cup of coffee and it takes 20 minutes to come – in the middle of an almost empty cafe.

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But this ain’t a whinging post. Because Australia has also won me over in more ways than one.

People saying a chirpy ‘Thank You’ to the bus driver as they alight.

Cashiers asking “How ya doing?” and honestly wanting a reply.

Good chai lattes. Like seriously good.

Gorgeous beaches.

And space. Oh so much space.

And yes, we’ve booked our air tickets back to Singapore for a much-needed breather (and back to the land of glorious hawker food) in December, we will be enjoying life in Sydney for a tad longer! ;)

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Fave Fridays: Photo of the Week

Holding Hands

This was my favourite photo of the week. Taken last Saturday as we were making our way to a friend’s birthday party. She lived in a suburb some 60 km away. (I kid you not.) There are a few things that keep the kids occupied during long car rides, and one thing that the two younger ones sometimes ask for is to hold my hand – especially when they are in a fussier mood. Being at the front seat however, makes this a back-breaking task at times!

This isn’t the first time Xavier and Zoie have held hands.

But most of the time, it is Xavier who initiates it. Which is the sweetheart that he is.

This time, Xavier was the fidgety one, and he was asking in his usual whiny voice, “Hand hand… mummy! Hand hand!”

I turned back, wanting to talk to him, only to see a small hand stretching from her car seat and waving at him. Heart melting moment!

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Living The Moment

So the school holidays for Jayvon is here. Two whole weeks and I am glad to report that we’ve (almost!) survived it – and he returns back to school this coming Tuesday.

And this holiday has been somewhat different. The past few holidays, I made the effort to sign Jay up for holiday swim class, and once he went for a weeklong cartoon camp. But not this time round. The cartoon camp wasn’t held anywhere near us, and Jay wanted a different art style – it was not so much teaching art but packed with so much other stuff that he didn’t feel he learnt anything new. He wasn’t keen to go for extra swimming lessons. And that just limited our options to… nothing much else.

So I decided that we’d just spend time together.

We went to parks & hung out at playgrounds…

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He told me endless tales about underwater creatures, planets, and discussed thought-provoking things like how he discovered (through a TMNT cartoon episode on YouTube) that Master Shredder was an alien (or something like that).

We bought him a mini camera from Big W a few weeks back, and his favourite activity has been to take photos of places we’ve been. So we went on a trip around the city where he whipped out that little mini-cam to take some shots.

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His eye for detail continues to surprise me – as we walked past the statue at St. Mary’s Cathedral and he pointed out that the boy was using… the iPad?! (I was just looking ahead at our destination – the Australian Museum which was still a distance away! So of course, I had to make Jay pose for me just so I can remember this haha!)

Jay 3 Sep 2014

The camera is one of my favourite buys of the month. It cost me under A$40, and also comes with a waterproof casing (we haven’t tested if it really does work or not though!), and a handlebar and helmet attachment. Like GoPro. But for kids. And at half the price.

Oh, and of course it wasn’t outdoors all the time. We stayed in to play Skylanders: Swap Force on the Wii U together, having heated discussions about each Skylander (I had no idea what it was, but Jay loves a conversation hahaha!).

All in all, living the moment.

Learning to enjoy him at this age.

Because there are signs that he is growing up. Too, too fast. It’s in the way he is about as tall as my chest level. It is in the way he insists on choosing his own clothes, and doesn’t even want me to lay out his PJs after bath for him. It is in the way he beams with brotherly pride when Zoie does something cute, and turns and tells me, “Did you see that? What an awesome baby.” You used to be a baby too!

And so while I deal with my heart pounding, trying to master the art of letting go while still holding on, I enter what must be the rite of passage of most parents…

The beginning of pre-teenage years.

*gulp*

I think I need me some chocolate for comfort now.

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