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How rich are you? A word of gratitude to my professional community.

One of the thought from my silent week deserved this writing, on LinkedIn – the great world of the online professional community network – as we call. 

Firstly, speaking of the mighty year 2020. I see – One side of the world is gushing for webinars with online knowledge marketing like never before. One side of the world is starving in the offline life while cursing the economy. One side of the world mourns for their loved ones who lost to the virus. One side of the world was already in the middle of the pool of depression, now sees even lesser light to wake up tomorrow morning. One side of the world is talking of supporting and is only sharing reports in support of their talking. So much happening around us, as usual!

The year 2020 didn’t forget to pay me a personal visit. I lost the most precious person in my family. My learning is… I now know that no matter how much you prepare, no matter how perfectly you design your weekly business schedule – this beautiful nature will bring you its surprises in its ways on its own preferred time – for which you will never want to be ready. 

Same. I was not wanting to be ready. It paused my life. It paused my mind. I could have drowned, for not being able to keep up my professional status which was planned plus longed for in certain. (yes, I just uttered the word – status). But, my reader, isn’t this one way of going down to fall off the cliff to the pool of depression? Maybe. Maybe not. I am just saying. Off the stage, we ask to open up. On the stage, we name it a weak stomach. But I am also thinking, a doctor who treats cancer patients is no less vulnerable to cancer. 

It will be good to simply remember that no matter who you are, how kind you are, how strong you are, how much money you are, how much influence you are, you will still be vulnerable to nature’s surprises. That is ok, don’t worry. We all here for you, reader. Just write in and we are here to listen to you with all warmth we possess.

This post I am happy in my heart to be rich of my professional community and dedicate this post to thank all the precious beings who extended their warm help to me through my nature-brought-surprise-accepting-time. 

I am thinking… One can keep writing for what your mind is thinking and forget about the number of paragraphs you are typing because the mind never stops, know? That is also ok.

While I write again next time connecting the dots from what 2020 brought home to me – to my role as a mediation practitioner. Bye. If you wish to speak, just write in. We are here, in this, together. No shy.

hashtag being ok. hashtag pausing mind is ok. hashtag slowing is ok too.

From my days as a mediation mentee.

With an aim to be that one person who can assist people in resolving their conflicts and disputes, I joined the legal profession. In the earlier days, as a young lawyer, I spent my time in and around the court premises with my fellow lawyer friends and senior lawyers to understand the judicial structure while trying best to practice law. But there always remained a gap between my real aim and actual daily practice.  

During my legal internship, in one of the cases, I was introduced to the mediation process, which inspired me to start researching more about the Alternate Dispute Resolution. 

When I proceeded to pursue a Master’s program in Arbitration and Dispute Resolution, besides travelling to a foreign country, my interest was to understand the techniques and models of the Alternate Dispute Resolution. Yes, I attained the Masters. I did earn a Master’s degree and learnt the techniques, models, procedures and laws of Arbitration, Mediation and Negotiation. But then, Now what? How would I start walking in this ADR pathway I was dreaming about? The first easy way was to speak to your professors. A stroke of luck! Two of my professors willing agreed to be my mentors. Sala Sihombing and Iu Ting Kwok who is famously known as TK. 

 Sala allowed me to be the ‘fly on the wall’ during her mediation sessions. And, TK assigned me to draft Mediation Role-Plays. In addition, Mr Ng Man Kin of Kwok Ng, & Chan – Solicitors & Notaries allowed me to intern at his law firm. Mr Ng encouraged me to join and observe the legal cases which were at the mediation stage. 

There came a question, as to how would I even learn anything about mediation attending the mediation sessions in Hong Kong which majorly took place in Cantonese!? Another stroke of Luck. Mr Ng is such a gem, one of those humble and kind seniors I have ever met. He enthusiastically encouraged me to attend the mediation sessions with one thing in mind ‘people are the same’. He takes additional efforts to translate the communication happening in the mediation session and the debriefings further give me more insights on how one can deal with people problems. 

Here I learnt another valuable lesson, language is one part of the process. It is more about understanding people, their culture, beliefs and behaviors. Not knowing a language can never be a barrier. Believe that there are opportunities, and you will receive them! The very concept of Law of Attraction proved right again. In my four weeks of internship, I have had an opportunity to attend six mediation sessions and a seven-member jury trial at the High Court. I am happy and feel lucky to be here among these wonderful mentors. 

There is something more precious than Money. Relations. People. Like said by TK, there are real cases where one helps without reasons or better say, without expectation of reciprocity. As I come from different region and country, I confess that I did fear my ability to be able to maintain the balance between the professional ethics, language and customs in this multi-cultural work environment. But, I must say, I feel blessed with amazing mentors who have accepted me the way I am. It is indeed very important for one to accept the other as they are. This feeling of acceptance gives the additional layer of confidence. I thank (my Shifus) Sala Sihombing, Iu Ting Kwok and Ng Man Kin, to have taught and to continue teaching me such valuable lessons.

I encourage my fellow young mediators and dispute resolving professionals to acknowledge that we do have Opportunities more than Challenges. Also encouraging senior mediators and senior alternate dispute resolution professionals to take a step ahead and help professionals young in experience, because besides the theory knowledge it is you, seniors, we juniors look up to learn the practicalities of the subjects.

In the end, I bring to the audience the Mediator’s Prayer, written by Iu Ting Kwok, TK. I insist every prospective young mediator, as well as senior mediators, have a read and support in promoting mediation culture in and around your surroundings. 

A Mediator’s Prayer

Disputants, make me the instrument of your negotiation,

Where there is conflict, let me mediate;

Where there is difference, mediate;

Where there is contradiction, mediate;

Where there is discord, mediate;

Where there is litigation, mediate;

As a mediator, I assist to reframe rather than to repeat,

To communicate rather than to adjudicate,

To facilitate rather than to evaluate,

To summarize rather than to advise,

To generate options rather than to provide solutions,

To reality-test rather than to protest.

It is in letting go that we move on;

It is in wearing the shoes of your foe that we empathize;

It is in accommodating our adversary that we satisfy our own claims;

It is in striving for a settlement that we find peace.