Saturday, June 16, 2018

I came across this movie while browsing online.
Glória Pires stars as Dr. Nise da Silveira (1905-1999), who as the film opens is taking up a post at a psychiatric hospital near Rio de Janeiro in 1944. She settles into a seat in a lecture hall where the benefits of lobotomies via thin spike are being extolled, then witnesses a cruel demonstration of another favorite technique, electroshock therapy.

“I don’t believe in healing through violence,” she tells colleagues, but, especially since she is a woman, they are dismissive. They assign her to what they think is busywork.

She transforms the insult into opportunity, creating a unit in which patients who had been written off are given a chance to express themselves through painting and other art forms. The results are startling.
The movie, full of characters behaving erratically, could easily have taken on the aura of a freak show, but the director, Roberto Berliner, somehow stays respectful of the subject matter even while depicting extreme psychiatric conditions. It’s a study of courageous innovation against an entrenched medical orthodoxy.

“Our job is to cure patients, not comfort them,” one colleague chastises.

“My instrument is a brush,” Dr. Silveira replies curtly. “Yours is an ice pick.”

By Neil Genzlinger
Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade's suicide has caused a lot of buzz.
Below is one sharing which resonates with me.
By Pete Teo 

Lots of people suffer from depression. I used to suffer from it. Although it last descended on me decades ago, I still feel it in the back of my head, seeping out in the shadows of my work. It’s not an easy thing to understand, but I can try to tell you a little more...
The overriding mental condition of someone in a severe depressed state is one of utter futility. Nothing is worth it. Nothing has meaning. There is no point in anything. You may escape for a moment, but the dark mist is all around. Until it decides to lift, nothing matters.
It isn’t the same as sadness. It isn’t being fearful. It’s the darkest, loneliest nothing. When it’s especially bad, there is no hope. That’s when you think of ending it. Everyone who’s been in that place has thought of suicide. Everyone. Some take action. Most pull back.
I got it when I was a child. It came regularly till my late 20’s. It affected my studies, social life, and worldview. I studied nothing but religion for a few years thinking it might help. Not for me. Writing did help. So did reading, or watching films. But not always.
I soon learned how to use it in my art. I tried to make beauty out of it. Later, I took it on stage as a performing singer songwriter. A seasoned pro saw me play live and said “You go to that empty place when onstage. Let me save your life. Please don’t. Learn to act when you play.”
He did save my life. Touring is a series of stage, audience, and hotel rooms - repeat. If you did what I did, which was to play personal songs honestly and left nothing behind, it’s dangerous. The audience might find communion, you might even feel connected for a while, but you eventually returned to the hotel room alone. It’s dangerous.
You see, as an artist you feel duty-bound to give it all. But having emptied out you are left with that same hole in your heart. Who will fill it? The audience? It’s not easy to admit this, but even the most adoring fans are just strangers in the crowd. That’s the truth.
So now you know why many artists kill themselves. It’s not about material success. When amplified by celebrity, that futility and loneliness at the core of all depressives becomes magnified. Then one night the mist descends. You might feel even the best in you is futile. That’s when you kick the stool.
It is human to feel the loss of an icon. #AnthonyBourdain stood for so much good in this world. Yet don’t forget that depression afflicts more people than you think. It is literally all around you. Do listen to them too. Just listen. Don’t judge. Ordinary stories are worth just as much.
I have a notion that people who suffer from depression recognise each other instinctively. I find them in a line of another’s tweet, a song being played, or a look in the eyes. The night people. They are some of the most interesting people I know. Certainly some of the best.
And should you be one of the night people, know that there are many like you. Just as I found solace in creativity, you can too, even if in just talking to a friend. There is help all around. The world is filled with good people too. It is not all meaningless.

Keep walking.
By Pete Teo

Friday, May 25, 2018

Taken entirely from

Kayley Olsson, a 20-year-old student hairdresser in Waterloo, Iowa, posted on Facebook on Tuesday about a girl who came into her salon with densely matted and tangled hair.

"Today I had one of the hardest experiences - I had a 16-year-girl come in who has been dealing with severe depression for a few years now," Kayley wrote in the post, which has been shared over 55,000 times.

The teen had explained to Kayley she "felt so down and so worthless she couldn't even brush her hair, she only got up to use the restroom."

The teenager had a school photograph scheduled and she asked the salon to cut off all her hair because she couldn't face the pain of combing out the matted knots and tangles.

But Kayley and her colleague Mariah Wenger, who are both beauty therapy students, refused to shear the teen's waist-length hair.

"Cutting her hair was absolutely not a option for me.

"I knew right then and there that we had to keep as much hair as possible," Kayley told the BBC.

"Shaving was a last resort and something none of us going in wanted to do," Mariah added.

"It took a lot of encouraging words, reassurance, and just plain conversation to take her mind off of the pain involved in removing the matting and to boost her self esteem and confidence.

"I was able to very closely relate to her mental health problems and the daily struggle that comes with them, due to my struggles with postpartum depression and anxiety," explained Mariah, who has two children.

"I understood how it felt to feel worthless - a child should never feel like that.

"I knew I had to help her, just like people helped me. We all deserve to feel beautiful," Kayley said.

After detangling it as far as shoulder height, Kayley and Mariah cut and shaped the teenager's hair.

"Let's just say we both let out tears of joy!

"Her last words to me were, 'I will actually smile for my schools pictures today, you made me feel like me again,'" Kayley explained.The post has received nearly 60,000 comments (at time of writing), including women relating their own experiences of mental health problems.

"It's happened to me - I suffer with bipolar and had an episode and didn't brush my hair or take care of myself - just remember beautiful girl you're not on your own," wrote Sarah-Lee on Facebook.

"I work with mental health and good for you. I see this daily it's sad but so true," said Renay St Amand.

"I've been in this position and I can't tell you how comforting and important it is for a hairdresser to be kind and understanding. I wasn't judged either and got my hair back to being beautiful," wrote Claire McDonald.

"I have been struggling with my depression and suicidal thoughts. It's hard to even get out of bed but I try to fight everything negative. Plus you are beautiful and you are worth something I promise," another woman posted.

"I'm so glad there are people out there who understand mental illness... So a big thank you to you for putting your whole heart into this lil lady," wrote Angelbear Read.

Others described how beauty and grooming can be important to people experiencing depression.

"You are awesome to recognize this as a mental issue and also for giving her back her dignity by fixing her hair issues," wrote Patricia Barron-Gondeiro.

By BBC UGC Hub & Social news

Monday, April 30, 2018

About two weeks ago, after months of self-imposed home imprisonment; I went out.
I went window shopping in a big bookstore.
I heard a man speaking very loudly.
"You know how many people in Malaysia uses a dictionary?"
When the other sentences seemed incoherent, I turned to look for the source of this noise.

It was a tall Asian man in his 40s.
He was talking to himself.
No one was with him.

My heart ached.
Oh no.
Another one.
Another one of us.
He looked quite well physically, handsome even.
If not for his behaviour, and his odd choice of clothes; he'd passed as just another ordinary dude next door.

I dare not look at him.
I was scared.

It could have been me.
It still could...
It really could.

My shame twisted my heart as I stole another glance of him.
Will he be ok?
Will I be ok?
Will we be ok?
Image result for avengers infinity war

I watched The Avengers : Infinity War
It was really good.

I gush each time Ironman transforms.
Each time.

The movie was so good that I'm backtracking to the previously screened Marvel movies, eg, Black Panther, Dr Strange, Winter Soldier etc.

Perhaps I could make movie-watching as personal rewards? Little goals in life, something to look forward to?

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

I can't believe that after all these years, after all that has happened,
I'm back in the same dark hole.

"A place so bad where I thought I must have completed that "quota" in life and I won't have to go through it again.
A very dark place where it was a miracle that I have survived/escaped before.
Now that I'm back in that place.... everything in me is either breaking down, giving up or self-destructing...I'm just so tired....
Just so tired of this same misery"

I tried so hard to paddle myself out of this but now find myself back at the very same place.
Only older.
I am aging and much of my youth was spent on paddling in aimless circles.

One good thing about being deep in my dark corner, my sanity is somewhat more stable.
This is when the full blast of reality hits me.
All the things that have happened.
All the things that I have said and done.
A personality that isn't really me and yet it was me.

How I cower in shame.
And this cycle will happen again.
In the still dark night, the icy reality pierces through my shivering thoughts,
" I am unwell. I will be unstable again.
I can't even depend on myself, my own mind.
I am crazy.                     C.R.A.Z.Y.
I am that person whom others stay away from ."


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The news of Dolores O'Riordan's death saddens me deeply.
First Chester Benington and now her?
The two singers whose voice resonated with me since I was in my teens.

I'm listening to The Cranberries now.
I'm transported back to the time when I was just 15 and was listening to these songs over and again in my walkman.


Monday, November 20, 2017

I had a FB push notification about ShW's latest profile photo.
She's in her wedding dress ???!!!???
The last time we met was in July.
She didn't even mention that she was seeing someone.
We spoke on the phone in August, and that was it.

I didn't make any attempt to contact her, nor she I.
I've not been in a good shape for the past couple of months, so I thought it's best to just let the sleeping dogs lie.

This sudden news reminded me of my other comrade friend (also suffering from mental illness) who also got married very abruptly.
Both of them share another disturbing similarity, absence of their family's blessing and cloud of lies.

As I was about to get really judgemental of their choices, I realised something.
I did something similar too.
I too, had desperately wanted change for myself, where I had packed and left for Penang, a choice which I live to regret till now.

Upon some self-reflection and reverie, I began to take their point of view on this matter.
I wish ShW all the best.

On a different note,
Only now, I realised that the period 2010-2014 was the best period of my life, since having this illness.
Funny, I honestly didn't realised that back then.
Back in 2010 - 2014, I thought I needed to make a change for myself, as I was unhappy.
But now, every now and then FB will send reminders of old posts in my page and I will look at it with deep sadness and regret.
"I was happy and I actually didn't realised it".
"I wasn't contented, and I never realised that the shit could be worse, as they are now".

I guess everything happens for a reason.
Even shit.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

One More Light by Linkin Park

Should've stayed,
were there signs, I ignored?
Can I help you, not to hurt, anymore?
We saw brilliance, when the world, was asleep
 There are things that we can have, but can't keep
If they say
Who cares if one more light goes out?
 In the sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone's time runs out? If a moment is all we are
Or quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do
 [Verse 2 ]
The reminders, pull the floor from your feet
 In the kitchen, one more chair than you need,
 oh And you're angry, and you should be, it's not fair
 Just 'cause you can't see it, doesn't mean it, isn't there

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

"I can't afford another meltdown"
 - a self-warning to be careful as NOT to slip again.
I say this each time I seem to be recovering, seem to be getting back on my feet.
Each time I start a new job, when all seems so hopeful.

Yet, I still fall.

And when I'm down again in my darkest hole, the thought of giving all up, "I can't do this again" will be on replay.

And yet, here I am.
I'm still here.

I will climb back up again.
I will fall again.
I can do this.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Since my return from Penang, I have received some comments that I look much better (in positive spirits) compared to the last time they saw me.
A close friend, a TCM physician, and a GP.
These are people who had been seeing me on off basis for years.
Their discerning observation carries substantial weight.

I am currently contentedly happy.
Fearfully happy.
That's right.

Happiness isn't something that stays with me.
And believe me, my requirements to consider myself happy, are very low.
Employed, no dark monsters , not wanting to die, sleep and eat reasonably well, and sufficient social contact are my checklist for happiness.

New job again.
Damn scared.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

“A clear horizon — nothing to worry about on your plate, only things that are creative and not destructive… I can’t bear quarreling, I can’t bear feelings between people 
— I think hatred is wasted energy, and it’s all non-productive. I’m very sensitive — a sharp word, said by a person, say, who has a temper, if they’re close to me, hurts me for days.

I know we’re only human, we do go in for these various emotions, call them negative emotions, but when all these are removed and you can look forward and the road is clear ahead, and now you’re going to create something —
 I think that’s as happy as I’ll ever want to be.”

― Alfred Hitchcock

Monday, June 12, 2017

REHMAN RASHID, 1955 - 2017 by Umapagan Umpikapagan

Michael Chabon's "Wonder Boys", that miraculous meditation on the eccentricities of writers, begins with the following line: "The first real writer I ever knew was a man who did all of his work under the name of August Van Zorn".

For me, that man was Rehman Rashid. He was the first real writer I ever knew. He was also the best. The finest. No contest. The love and care he had for his craft was one that bordered on obsession. His mastery of the English language was second to none.

I remember once asking him about his writing... about why he used the words he did. He told me that the English language was vast and varied. He told me that the English language was loaded and lavish. He told me that there was always an exact word for every sentence and for every situation. And that it was our duty as writers to constantly seek out that perfect expression. He told me that anything less would make us lesser writers.

Rehman Rashid was the first real writer I ever knew

I knew him first from his work: from his many NST op-eds (which would often be read out aloud on my breakfast table) and from his magnificent and enduring treatise on the Malaysian condition.

I knew him better when he was my boss and editor and mentor. When he took in this twenty-something, armed only with the notion of wanting to be a writer, and taught me everything I'd ever need to know.

I knew him best when he was my friend. When he would confess the many conflicting ideas he had about life. When our shared insecurities about writing and putting ourselves out into the world would often surface and come to light.

There are very few people who have been as encouraging about my life and career choices as Rehman has. I will miss his voice. I will miss his words. I will miss him.

I love you boss. Always have. Always will. Rest well now.
REHMAN RASHID (1955–2017). "The stories go on forever; they'd outlast eternity if they could."
It was with great sadness that we heard this morning of the death of our friend, Rehman Rashid. He suffered a major heart attack while out cycling in January, and never recovered. Our deepest thoughts are with his family and friends. Rehman was a singular character. Some found him abrasive and opinionated, "difficult" even. But that was to misunderstand the man. He cared deeply about his country and its peoples – not in some kind of narrow chauvinistic way but in the hope that the country could realise its fullest human potential. And Rehman cared deeply about language as the potent conduit for ideas (and his use of language was masterly). He disdained mediocrity. He didn't suffer fools gladly. If those are faults, then so be it. Recently, Rehman seemed to have discovered a newly minted contentment, not least because of the reception to his two final books: Peninsula and Small Town, both published last year and offering some kind of vindication We corresponded a lot – about language, about cycling, about books, about the state of the world. I hope he wouldn't mind me sharing his last letter, written in January not long before his fateful last ride, when he reflected on the fact that Peninsula was once again at the top of the bookshop's bestellers' list. His generosity was palpable. Here is what Rehman wrote:

Today I want to wallow in this like a kerbau in a mudhole: mmmm, how cool, oozy and exfoliating it is. Would you like to know how it feels? It feels like I can STFU at last. It means this isolated, solitary & reclusive life of mine now becomes right & good & proper, when until just over a year ago it felt all wrong that I should be so distant and alienated from everyone. I had friends once; family too. It's normal for these circles to diminish in the latter years of a life. We grow tired of other people's bullshit and they grow tired of ours. None of this changes with my book on top of the charts – ten thousand readers may not mean a single new friend – but it validates it, and I'm happy for that. I knew there had to be a reason I turned out this way, and this was the reason: so that I could write my heart out without thought of consequences.

Still in that situation, only deeper, so I'm not closing the gate on whatever might emerge henceforth. "The stories go on forever; they'd outlast eternity if they could." I'm quite excited about the prospects ahead, to be honest. Writing what I do is like pulling away layered veils one at a time; each one revealing tantalising shapes and forms still to be uncovered. Puzzled as I've been by the absence of any "mainstream" attention to the phenomenon of 'Peninsula' last year, I now take it as a form of carte blanche: I remain free to do (or not do) as I please with what I have. From feeling rejected and disdained by the "literary fraternity" in this country, I now feel weightlessly above the mists & mire, and I like the view from up & out here. I've paid my dues and owe you nothing but my gratitude now.
Al Fatihah.
Every once in a while, a great love story is told. Rehman Rashid shares his with treasured memories in this master piece –

We met in 1987, soon after I returned from a year in the UK as the New Straits Times’s London correspondent. I was at the zenith of my newspaper career (yes, I peaked early) and she was an associate at the law firm of Rashid & Lee, involved, inter alia, in the legal representation of rural folk and Orang Asli. Her father was Brig.-Gen. Dato’ Chen Kwee Fong, one of “Templer’s Twelve” (the first Malaysian army staff to attend Sandhurst), who had retired from the Malaysian Armed Forces as Chief Engineer. Rosemarie was the sweetest little thing, bright as a button, with such dignity and grace, and a ready, pretty laugh. “Every time I see you,” I spontaneously blurted out early in our acquaintance, “it’s like seeing you for the first time.”
But those were harsh times for our country. I had requested the London stint for breathing space after the 1986 general election, during which I had seen the disease of money politics first-hand for the first time, for a total and instant loss of innocence and idealism. A year later, things were even worse. Team A/B, Chinese education; Operation Lallang loomed. Throughout that troubling period, Rosemarie was a beacon of stability and calm; au courant with the issues and au fait with the law. The night before I was to go to Bukit Aman to be intimidated by the Special Branch with our Internal Security Act, I went to see her in her family home in Damansara Heights. This could all be taken away just like that, I thought. She stood on her front step in the forebodingly dark and quiet night, looking up at me with such concern and understanding, I cupped her chin in my fingers, tilted her face to mine and placed upon her delicate lips the lightest and softest kiss; our first. (She subsequently called it our “ISA kiss”, and requested it frequently.)

The upshot of Operation Lallang was that I quit the newspaper. I was 32 and already a proven writer & award-winning journalist; no problem. Quite fortuitously, Asiaweek magazine in Hong Kong offered me a job and I took it. Rosemarie left Rashid & Lee to accompany me there. For a couple of months I supported us while she looked through the classifieds for lawyer jobs. She found a position with the Bermuda firm of Conyers, Dill & Pearman, then busy expatriating Hong Kong corporate residencies to the mid-Atlantic in anticipation of the 1997 handover to China. They adored her. (As did everyone, no surprise.) After a year of happily building our careers with our respective new employers, Rosemarie and I were married in the spring of 1989, at the Bishop’s Chapel in Macau.

I would never have asked her to “convert”. I always felt it was too much to ask of religion that it be swappable for any reason other than personal epiphany or revelation. The Jesuits of Macau asked only that I agree to a “Dispensation of Cult”, whereby I pledged never to compel my wife to raise our children in any way she did not approve or wish. That would have been my way anyway. (And we did not think children would arrive too soon; both our careers were opening vast new possibilities and potential.) For the next three years we were blissful as a couple; living well and comfortably, and operating at globe-girding levels. But I was not happy professionally, and Rosemarie understood why. “Your heart is in Malaysia,” she said.

“My heart is with you,” I said. “But Malaysia is my area of expertise.” And writing a book about it all became a notion, then an obsession. Asiaweek’s publisher and editor-in-chief Michael O’Neill understood it too, and let me have a year’s sabbatical to “get that bee out of your bonnet, and come back to us.” Rosemarie said she just wanted me to be happy, and if I needed to do this for that, she would back me completely. And so I went back to Malaysia to finish that book. Which process went so well, by the end of it I felt my place was here and I didn’t want to leave again. I might do the most good here, I thought. Malaysia could use me. Indeed, Malaysia *needed* me, whether it knew it or not. But our marriage would not have been recognized here as it was everywhere else in the world, and there was no way my lawyer wife & I would have transgressed that. So Rosemarie, who always thought so well of me and what I did, let me go.

Of course, I should have gone back to her as soon as the book was published. But then it took off so successfully, and she and I both knew me well enough to know that, wherever else we were in the world, I would only feel all the more that I belonged in Malaysia and nowhere else. So I feel now that our separation would have been inevitable, if for reasons very different from those for which marriages ordinarily end. And so Rosemarie went on, up & out into the world, while I…

…I, the biggest, saddest fool, gave up my angel for this country. Which is as much to say, for this hatred and contempt; this mediocrity and ignorance; this incompetence, cynicism and corruption. This religious arrogance and racial chauvinism; this vile mediaevalist barbarism.

12004750_10153605931064464_4400481438824407114_nI paid for my loyalty to Malaysia with everything good and decent that I had, only to be mocked and despised; to watch my profession usurped by “the right kind of Malay” regardless of literacy; to have my name smeared and reputation destroyed; and in the end to be hounded back to the very redoubt in the hills where I had written that book 23 years ago now, never again to write. Rosemarie never saw this place where I may now languish forgotten and ignored for the rest of my own days, and now she never will. I chose my love for my country over my love for her. Bad choice. Big mistake. My punishment has been a life of regret and insuperable loneliness.

See la, how beautiful was my bride. RIP Rosemarie P.Y. Chen, 1961-2015

Taken entirely from

Saturday, June 03, 2017

I met up with B again recently.
I shared with her my very thoughts which I had written in my blogpost. 

"Now I'm finally beginning to listen to my feelings.
I feel that I have disrespected my own instincts, thoughts and feelings for far too long."

I shared with her my first thoughts about our mutual acquaintances.
How right I was.
But I chose to ignore my instincts , and gave them the benefits of the doubt.
Oh, how the doubts became misjudgements.
Misjudgements became hurtful experiences.

If only I had trusted my first impression.

B said, "Hmm... nice word play. Disrespected our own feelings... We Asians are taught to respect other people's feelings, but never once I've been taught to respect my own."
Taken from 20YearsandCounting

Someone I know committed suicide this afternoon.
I only barely knew him.  I saw him regularly when he came to my workplace as a customer.
He was a familiar fixture in my workplace.
Cranky, ornery, grumbling old man in his 70's.
But that cranky old man shared his monthly food box with us.....
and donated many popular items we have available for customers to use...
It might surprise some people in our community to know that he will be missed here.
It always makes me pause, when I learn someone in my community has committed suicide.
To me, it almost feels like I've lost a fellow soldier in the fight.
Another soul lost in the battle against the darkness.
Another light snuffed out by despair and hopelessness.
I feel like all I can do is remember, and keep fighting.Someone I know committed suicide this afternoon.
I only barely knew him.  I saw him regularly when he came to my workplace as a customer.
He was a familiar fixture in my workplace.
Cranky, ornery, grumbling old man in his 70's.
But that cranky old man shared his monthly food box with us.....
and donated many popular items we have available for customers to use...
It might surprise some people in our community to know that he will be missed here.
It always makes me pause, when I learn someone in my community has committed suicide.
To me, it almost feels like I've lost a fellow soldier in the fight.
Another soul lost in the battle against the darkness.
Another light snuffed out by despair and hopelessness.
I feel like all I can do is remember, and keep fighting.
Taken from 20YearsandCounting

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

I've been watching a lot of Netflix stand-up comedies lately.
I just love how confident these performers are.
Some of them aren't even funny but they don't give a d@m* and they made sure their audience know that.
Many even come off as conceited let alone pushovers.
Jeers and critics slide off their back like it ain't nothing. (lol. look how I'm already influenced)

This kind of confidence is very alien to me.
In my abusive childhood, I was ingrained to believe that I am unworthy of being offended.
When my parents were being mean to me, when my siblings were bullying me, I was taught to believe that I had deserved such treatment - that I was bad, and the abuse was justified.
I had no right to be angry.
I had to learn to swallow my anger like it was my shame.

This toxic upbringing left a lasting bruise to my self-esteem.
Whenever I was offended, I would immediately find excuses for that perpetrator or worse, blame myself.
I had a friend (A) who takes no qualms in correcting me.
Friend (B) can't stand it and asked me why do I tolerate her.
"Oh, she doesn't meant it, she has the right intentions," I honestly said, trying to diffuse my loyal friend B's anger.
B is so annoyed at A's insensitive behaviour, (no wait, B said RUDENESS), that B warned me to never again invite A if I want to meet-up with her (B).

That was 4 years ago.
When I met up with B upon returning from Penang, I shared with her how annoyed I felt with another friend (C).
My perceptive friend B smiled.
"Penang has changed you. You are more confident now. You now know that you too have the right to be angry at others."

Her remark got me thinking.
I didn't realised all this until she said that.
That's right bitches....
I'm angry.

I'm learning to practise the wise mantra of Netflix comedians when people diss them.
F*ck You!