I’m excited to have Ben Teoh, all the way from the land down under, guest blog for today’s January-Blog-A-Thon.  Ben has such a creative approach to content and life in general that I was thrilled when we decided to do a blog swap!  And I love this blog already…perhaps because there’s another fellow Jackie (albeit it famous one) mentioned here. Without further adieu….

Over the past thirty years, I’ve learned a lot and from different people – including some who aren’t real… and some who aren’t people.

TV Teachers

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was warned about getting square eyes from watching too much TV. I used to watch a lot. These days I’m a little pickier because I don’t have that much time to stay up-to-date with different series or sometimes I’d rather just put on a favourite movie.

But, over the years, through the lives (fictional or not) and stories that I’ve watched, I’ve taken away a handful of things that will continue to have some sort of impact on how I approach life. Here are five of them.

1) How to cook non-Asian food – Ian Hewitson
Like a lot of Asian families, we have a strong history of food that’s passed down through the generations. It’s fantastic – I love it. However, when you start to deviate from your family’s traditional cuisine, finding people to learn from is a little harder. Breaking out of those cultural boundaries can be tricky.

In my teen years, one of my favourite shows was “Huey’s Cooking Adventures.”  Some days after school, I’d come home, reheat a frozen pizza and sit in front of the TV learning all about Australian food. It was a fairly low-key cooking show and the food was super simple – that’s why I liked it. Huey cooked food like steak and stews instead of charsiew pau and otak otak.

2) Parenting – Bill Cosby
Recently, my wife and I watched the first few seasons of the Cosby Show and I was surprised at how differently I relate to the show now as a husband and a father.

When I was a kid, Theo was the coolest. But now, as an adult, I watch this fictional family and think about some of the values that are represented here from a father’s perspective. Having authority and respect but mixed with love and humor; firm discipline mixed with care and compassion; being slow to anger, quick to forgive.

3) How to be a hero  – Optimus Prime
In my younger years, I craved cartoons – especially on Saturday mornings. The cartoon worlds of He-man, Voltron and MASK seemed so simple. It was good vs evil and good (eventually) triumphed. The heroes were always the epitome of good and none more-so than Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots.

Timeless, hero qualities were displayed of courage, integrity, honor, valor and when we used to play ‘pretend’ I always wanted to be the hero. Even now, those are the values I still hold as important.

4) The importance of being aware – Jackie Chan
Jackie Chan. I love his movies – especially his older work. Back in the day when we had a VCD player (anyone remember those?), one of the first VCDs we bought was Jackie Chan: My Stunts where he gave a really good look into how he does things. One part shows him scouting a location for a movie and how uses as much of the natural environment as he can before introducing props.

Sure, I may not be choreographing any martial arts fights (ok, secretly I am in my head), but there’s real value in being aware of what’s around you and learning to appreciate even the small things. How much do we miss every day because we’re staring at our phones while we walk down the street?

5) The greatest thing I’ve learned – Moulin Rouge

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

Ok, I admit it. I don’t mind a decent musical and I enjoyed Moulin Rouge. While I can’t say that I learned this from the movie, it sums up a lot of teaching I’ve had over the years from family, friends, mentors, pastors, teachers – that love trumps all.

To read more of Ben’s posts for January-Blog-A-Thon visit his blog or follow him on Twitter at @HelloBenTeoh

Day 1: Surviving your spouse on an international trip
Day 2: Never order flowers online
Day 3: Bucket List
Day 4: Pet Peeves
Day 5: Biggest Fear
Day 8: A little honesty goes a long way
Day 10: A voice from the past
Day 11: Confessions from a wanna-be-cook
Day 13: Top 10 Must-Haves for International Travel
Day 14: Hi my name is Jackie and I am addicted to Senor Taco.
Day 17: Daily Life in the Ostlie Household…in Rhyme

Day 19: Superpower = Life without pain
Day 20: The Beautiful Life
Day 22: The Kullbergs
Day 23: Dessert for Breakfast

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Because January can be boring. Join us for a January Blog-A-Thon. Post a photo, video, sentence, anything that you want to! And if don’t feel inclined to blog, do come back and see what we’re up to. I can guarantee you’ll be entertained.