Sunday, December 29, 2013

Attachment is such a funny feeling.
The monkeys have always been such a nuisance and threat in my neighbourhood.
They'd come around the roof and mess up the antennas, steal our food, ruin just about anything they can get their hands on.
They even throw things at you, hiss at you, threaten to attack you in packs.. etc..

This weekend, the tractors came and cleared the land opposite my home.
I have not seen a single monkey since.

There's an empty feeling.
Somehow it doesn't feel right.
After all, before we came, it was their home first.

Below is part of my ex classmate's FB post.

To me, this *Tracy Chapman -The Promise- remains one of the most profound songs ever and I think it fitting for my last few posts of 2013. Do excuse the emo rant as I perform diary inception. " "...
Turning back on the pages of this diary brings a sense of tingling to me.
At first glance the only thing I see is how my handwriting has deteriorated but on a second look, I see how far I've come. How I wish to reach for the stars. Man can never be content. How I fear change... fear of leaving the friends I have made during SAM, fear of not being able to adapt, fear of not being able to know where to go and do what I like.
These are all of immense pressure.
 Perhaps I have already lost them. Perhaps I have already remained too stagnant to change. Perhaps I have already made all the wrong choices.

 Ah, the final days of the year worn thin are most certainly filled with regrets, maybe-s and what if-s. That is why resolutions are created. So that when one ushers in the New Year, there is renewed hope.

 So often, we found ourselves making the same resolutions year after year and perhaps adding more to the insurmountable collection of hopes and dreams.
 Laughable. But I am only laughing at myself. Perhaps the stars are meant to be unreachable in the celestial heavens above mocking foolish mortals down below. How brilliant they are! Dreams and hopes are like stars...divine. ..............................................." Excerpt from the not-so-secret-diaries of James Lim dated 23 December 1999 (12.05am) [31st December 2004]

 That was me five years ago. Funny, but I find that I haven't changed much. Certainly I may choose to word it a little differently, perhaps with a tinge of cynicism & less naivety but my sentiments are still the same. In fact I find that my impetuous ideals have become more relevant then ever.
 They say that change is the only constant in life. I would have to say it's mostly true. As the world revolves, and as people go about with what it is they have to do, one occasionally pauses. A moment to take a step back from it all. Some quiet time for ourselves to reflect on words & actions that have transpired over the days, weeks, months, and years. Of what has happened, what might have been & what might be.

 I would certainly like to claim that I have matured tremendously over the past 5 years but this ,sadly, is not the case. No epiphany for me. No revelation on life. Nor any all-encompassing philosophy for it. This sense of lacking is very much real and can be depressing. And yet, between times of extremes & times of extreme monotony, I am transiently hopeful.
 A lifetime worth of an ever-changing resume. Something that evolves constantly. As the years go by, a resume retains its general breadth. Its contents do not increase linearly with time. Things which were once deemed imperative are reduced to a single bullet point, or perhaps taken out altogether. The string of As for a National Exam, the part-time job during term break, the first committee office of a club ever held or that prize-winning moment is deemed negligible. Not worth a mention to your prospective employers.
 And that is quite sad, really. Life-defining moments, reduced to quaint memories of yesteryear. A select few continue to linger, clinging on hard to what is you. What is me. But a lot of it is hidden between the lines. Whiten out so that a whole life may be summarised into 2 pages of well-arranged text & plenty of blank spaces, because that's what is expected of us. A lot of it is lost along the way, some deliberately and some not. Moments of joy, pain, solace, facts, names, dates, figures, faces. No longer there for us to call upon. No longer the same as it was when times were better; the people more caring, the air a little cleaner, the friends more sincere, the problems less daunting. It only seemed like yesterday. And yet yesterday has already slipped away all too fast.

 This scares me.
 Not knowing. This constant change. Losing my past. Feeling cheated of my future. How many principles have I compromised to get here? How many dreams have I given up on to be where I am? How far have I strayed to be who I am today? This ever-changing life. Continuously evolving, mutating. Into something that I can never really have total control over. It is relentless.

 Sometimes change smothers me. And all I can but do is to let out a heavy sigh in its vice-like embrace. Maybe, tomorrow will be better..... "

 [Present day] As Jobs once said, we can only trust that the dots will somehow connect for us in the future. For me, the year 2013 has been one of great gains as well as losses on many levels. For instance, it was the year I finally commenced my MBA full time as well as the year I lost two of my dogs, Tulli and Goochie. As it draws to a close, so does my sabbatical. 2013 has brought with it a whole gamut of experiences that I could never ever have fathomed, be it 14 years ago or the years in between.

 As the years fly by, I notice that I record my thoughts/feelings less and less to the point of not bothering to record at all. More than that, youthful optimism has been buried under a mountain of painful life lessons and skepticism. But it is still there. And I am pleased to report that I have adopted certain philosophies to guide me on this journey we call life while being struck by an epiphany or two along the way. There are many things I still wish to work on but on the whole, I am happy and content with who I am, where I am and the company that I keep. It feels as though this is where I need to be in order to grow and move on. Borrowing from Thoreau, may each of us awaken from a life of quiet desperation towards a life less ordinary. With that, I wish you and yours a fantastic 2014!
Am loving this song by Eminem "The Monster" (feat. Rihanna)

I'm friends with the monster that's under my bed
Get along with the voices inside of my head
You're trying to save me, stop holding your breath
And you think I'm crazy, yeah, you think I'm crazy

Well, that's nothing Well, that's nothing

******************singing along....

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Have been ill for weeks.
Things don't go well when I can't exercise. It's my medication.
My history shows a consistent pattern.
Therefore, it's hard on me when I'm physically unwell.
I felt even harder to go to work, which I didn't, making me feeling worse due to guilt.
I have used up all my MC days.
Yikes. I know this reflects poorly on me as an employee.

So, today, I HAD to go.
Coincidentally, it was a colleague's birthday.
Someone bought Secret Recipe Choco Indulgence!
Gosh ! I couldn't resist! **- when I should have, because I'm still feverish, and my stomach can't take it.
Anyway, I had a slice.
I sat down with the rest of the colleagues and chatted.
For the first time in days, I felt 'ok'.

I vomited a few minutes later, much to my embarrassment.
But no one else knew, or so I may think.
Weirdly, I felt much better after that.
I think I vomited the cake along with the phlegm in the stomach too, hence I felt better.

I actually went for a run.
Hopefully, I'd be well enough for gym tomorrow.
Miss that place already.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

It's Christmas.
I'm ill.
Have been feeling like this for days.

Sis posted an old photo of herself back when she was a toddler.
A cousin commented, "I remember it like it was yesterday. That was your favourite dress. You said you love flowery dresses, it made you feel like a butterfly."
My sis said she didn't remember that at all.
I thought it's just super cute that my sis had said that as a kid.

Last week, in Zumba, the teacher Maggie told us to bend our knees, but not over our toes, suck in the belly, chest out.
Everyone followed the instructions carefully.
Until the last one. We didn't see that one coming.
You see, we Asians are more conservative.
We need more time to 'let loose'.
Maggie looked at me directly, giving me the 'well? what you waiting for..." look.
So , I let loose.... who cares how I look... well, the strategy is NOT to look at the mirror.
It was fun...

Monday, December 23, 2013

"It's like a mother, when the baby is crying, she picks up the baby and she holds the baby tenderly in her arms.
Your pain, your anxiety is your baby. You have to take care of it. You have to go back to yourself, recognize the suffering in you, embrace the suffering, and you get a relief."
 - Thich Nhat Hanh

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Sometimes you've got to let everything go - purge yourself. If you are unhappy with anything . . . whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. 
Because you'll find that when you're free, your true creativity, your true self comes out. 

 Tina Turner

Thursday, December 19, 2013

"So what's going on here today?"
"Its someones birthday, so I'm standing in line here to eat cake and get food."
 He is one of the kids we got to spend time with in a place called Crossing Lais, Panay Island.
His home was destroyed by the Haiyan Typhoon.
His family is safe, but they have no food, no lights and no house to live in as a family.
But they are still living their lives. Taken from
"If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace."
 ~Ajahn Chah

“Letting go gives us freedom and freedom is the only condition for happiness.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

 Surrender is the beautiful soft space of acceptance. It is an allowing—allowing life to unfold and to be what it is, irrespective of your agendas, expectations, and judgments.

 Surrender allows us to step into our lives ready to receive, completely able to manifest, and willing to embrace everything—the good, the bad, and the ugly—with an open heart. It’s from this place that real magic happens.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Tutu Project
 “Oddly enough, her cancer has taught us that life is good, dealing with it can be hard, and sometimes the very best thing—no, the only thing—we can do to face another day is to laugh at ourselves, and share a laugh with others.”

Indonesian copywriter dies after working three days straight.
Read more

Monday, December 16, 2013

I asked her for a piece of advice, and she reached into her mom's purse and pulled out a whiteboard. "She has laryngitis," her mom explained. "No talking for a week."

 Great Initiative....

Suspended Coffee

This NYC cop gave the shirt off his back to a homeless man on a cold day. Officer Carlos Ramos saw Robert William shivering and barefoot in the freezing cold weather on Friday morning and gave the man his sweatshirt to warm up! "I saw he was in need and it was my job to help him" says Officer Ramos.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

I watched the animation Ratatouille again.
I remembered how much I enjoyed the first time I watched it in 2007, so I gave it a go again.
Wow, there were so many meaningful quotes.

“You must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul.”

 Gusteau: Ah, but that is no match for wishful thinking. If you focus on what you left behind, you will never be able to see what lies ahead. Now go up and look around!"

Django: [showing the exterminator shop to Remy with the dead rats in the window] Take a good long look, Remy. This is what happens when a rat gets a little too comfortable around humans. The world we live in belongs to the enemy. We must live carefully. We look out for our own kind, Remy. When all is said and done, we're all we've got. [he starts to walk away]
Remy: No.
Django: [turning back] What?
Remy: No. Dad, I don't believe it. You're telling me, that the future is - can *only* be - more of *this*?
Django: This is the way things are. You can't change nature.
Remy: Change *is* nature, Dad. The part that *we* can influence. And it starts when we decide. [he turns to leave]
Django: Where are you going?
Remy: With luck, forward.

 Gusteau: [on the TV] How can I describe it? Good food is like music you can taste, color you can smell. There is excellence all around you. You need only to be aware to stop and savor it.
(Mindfulness - focusing on the NOW)

Friday, December 13, 2013

LC was telling me that she dreamt of an Indian man massaging her.
I gave her the look. "Woo.. kinky.."
"He was speaking some Indian dialect, I didn't understand him, so I asked if we're connected spiritually."
Again, I gave her a look. "Wow, even when dreaming, you're so deep."

Two Malaysian Indian lecturers walked in.
One was a professor whom both of us are very fond of, Prof.M.
Prof.M, "LC , you should just forget all these fellas and we'll find you a nice Indian man."
I raised my eyebrow.

Prof.M continued, "We'd find you a nice Indian man. You know, the local Chinese and Indians always make a good match, very good combo. Make little Chindians..."
She said a whole lot more, but I can't quite recall as I was too busy holding back my laughter.
Just then, two foreign Indian male lecturers walked out of the lounge.
All of us were embarrassed that we didn't notice them earlier.
Though we didn't said anything offensive, I find this whole episode very entertaining.
"I've put in a lot of years behind prison walls. You get used to things when you're in there. You get comfortable with people telling you what to do, when to get up, when to go to sleep. And when you get out, you don't really know what to do with your freedom. They might not admit it, but most guys who come out are looking for a way back in." Humans of New York

Zach Sobiech had written a song called "Clouds" about coming to terms with his imminent death.  5,000 people got together to create a giant choir in the middle of the Mall of America. Then they sang his song, which debuted a year ago. The couple in the middle are his wonderful and supportive and brave parents.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

"Synthetic happiness is every bit as real and enduring as the kind of happiness you stumble upon when you get exactly what you were aiming for." (Dan Gilbert)

 Harvard psychologist Dan Gilbert says our beliefs about what will make us happy are often wrong -- a premise he supports with intriguing research, and explains in his accessible and unexpectedly funny book, Stumbling on Happiness.

 When we got a new brain and tripled in size, we got a new structure with a new part called the prefrontal cortex.
It does lots of things but most importantly it is an experience simulator.
Therefore we can have the experience before we actually experience it.
Lottery winners and paraplegics are equally happy.

Impact Bias – the tendency to belief different outcomes are more different impact and duration that people have; to overestimate the hedonic impact of future events.
Happiness can be synthesized.
But we think it is to be found.
 “I am the happiness man alive. I have that in me that an convert poverty to riche, adversity to prosperity, and I am more invulnerable than Achilles; fortune hath not one place to hit me.” ~ Sir Thomas Browne (1642)

Synthetic vs Natural Happiness:
Natural Happiness is when you get what you want.

Synthetic happiness is what we make when we don’t get what we want
We think synthetic happiness is of less of a quality than natural happiness.
But synthetic happiness is as real and enduring as when you get what you want. “The one I got is better than the one I got.”
Happiness is synthesized.
When you don’t have a choice, people find a way to make them happy
. The irreversible condition (when you can’t change your mind) is not conducive to the synthetisis of happiness.
But we opt for the opportunities that will us to change our mind.
“Tis nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.” ~ William Shakespeare Turgid Truth saying ~

Adam Smith from The Theory of Moral Sentiments, 1759
Somethings are better than others. We should have preferences that lead us to one future over another But when those preferences drive us too hard and too fast, because we have over rated the difference between these futures, we are at risk. When our ambition is bounded, it leads us to work joyfully. When our ambition is unbounded, it leads us to lie, cheat, steal, hurt others and to sacrifice things of real value. When our fears are bounded we are prudent, caucus and thoughtful. But when our fears are unbounded and overblown, we’re reckless and cowardly.

The lesson to leave with us: Our longings and worry are to some degree overblown because we have within us the capacity to manufacturing the very commodity we are constantly chasing when we choose experience.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

This Guy Travelled The Country In A Pink Tutu Just To Make His Wife Laugh During Chemo

After Linda was diagnosed with breast cancer, Bob began taking beautiful but totally ridiculous photographs of himself in a pink tutu.
“When Linda would go in for treatment, she would take the images on her phone and the women would look at them and it would make them laugh and make the time pass,”
Bob said. Linda said the other women appreciated that Bob was standing out in order to stand by her.
After so much postive feedback, Bob knew he had to continue making the photographs.
The Tutu Project was born and quickly went viral.

“Oddly enough, her cancer has taught us that life is good, dealing with it can be hard, and sometimes the very best thing—no, the only thing—we can do to face another day is to laugh at ourselves, and share a laugh with others.”
I invited a gym friend for lunch.
Where did I get the courage?
Anyway, I'm glad I did.
I added her on FB too.
We talked about the instructors over Taiwanese food.
Turns out, she was in the same primary school as the famous Malaysian badminton player, Lee Chong Wei.

Nice lady.
I hope that guy whom she had a date with last night will call her soon.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

 The best explanation I've ever come across.
My good friend M told me a disturbing news, via FB chat.
A friend of a friend is contemplating suicide.
She asked for counselling contacts.
Then, perhaps it was the two cups of coffee talking, but I typed, "why don't you give him my blog add as well?"
Coffee sober now, I'm asking myself, 'Just how on earth will my blog help him?'
Well, friend of a friend.
If you are reading this,
"Remember, you're not alone in this struggle. And you CAN beat this."

On a different note, I enjoyed yesterday's Yoga very much.
The teacher ( I very much prefer to address them this way) introduced us poses which helps the shoulders and postures- something which I really could use.
I noticed that a member brought along her young daughter.
The little girl helped her mommy in her poses.
Such a cute sight.

I proceeded to Zumba.
As I was dancing, or so I think I'm dancing, I really felt like a little kindergarten girl.
I can't follow the Teacher, but still, I'm trying.
I cared very little how I may look to others, though I was surrounded by many.
This really does bring me back to the Beginner's mind.
I really enjoyed Zumba.

Then, it was Body Combat.
A member had brought a few "Keep Calm and do Body Combat" T-shirts and gave them to the senior regulars there.
They took a photo. I smiled looking at their joviality.
I saw the photo posted on FB today.
Ah... such bliss.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Excerpts from Exploring Buddhism by Christmas Humphreys

His desires and emotions may be rebellious and he cannot sack them, but at least he can call a meeting and address them as one who knows them for what they are.
Values will soon be utterly remade, and the lusts and longings of yesterday be dropped as a hobby laid aside.
With the dying down of personal emotion the mind becomes increasingly controlled and clear, and the birth of the intuition creates the serenity in which Enlightenment is found.

Buddhism which stresses the futility of speculation, and trains the students' mind to the immediate task in hand, finds little profit in discussing matters which do not lead to the heart's enlightenment.
Whether the bundle of attributes which is reborn be called a self, or soul, or character it is, like all else in the universe, forever changing, growing, and becoming something more.

It is not an immortal soul which, possessed by you, is different from that possessed by me. 
It is in face the product that which dies, and whatever the form may be, we are here and now, with every breath we draw, creating it.
pg 77
"Let us arise then, and not only seek experience, direct, immediate experence, but be unafraid when we find it. How? The answer is another question : "Who holds you back?" Let be said again, for there is no more to be said. There are two rules upon the Way - Begin and Continue. Asked, "what is Tao?", a master replied
'Walk on". 
pg 169
"Master how shall I free my mind?" the Master replied, "Who puts you under restraint?" pg 184

 'To immortalize a second of carefreeness. To forget the illness, if only for a second."

from Mimi Foundation

Friday, December 06, 2013

Nelson Mandela Spent 27 Years In Prison — And Had This To Say When He Got Out


Wednesday, December 04, 2013

This footage from a San Diego McDonald’s captures the last amazing act of kindness from Jeremy Henwood, police officer and Marine veteran, just minutes before he was shot in the line of duty.

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"
"NBA star."
"Well you gotta work hard for that."said Henwood after buying Damian Lewis a meal.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

I told my sis these things last night.
I need to remember them, so I'm typing them here.
My sis was leaving soon and she was feeling quite down.
She refused to talk about it.

I'm not suicidal and this may seem weird but I have these important things to tell you. 
So, don't say anything until I'm done k?"
She nodded.

"I know there was a dark period of time where things got really bad between us, but if I were to die right now, my mind will definitely only recall all the good memories that we shared. What I'm trying to say here is, the good definitely outweigh the bad. And I have a LOT, a LOT of good memories with you. 

"Second, there was never sibling rivalry between us. I was never jealous of you.
I have always, ALWAYS accepted that you are better than me. And that's why I always look up to you.
I've always admired you.
 This whole rubbish about me being spiteful of you was concocted by our parents. They made things worse between us."

My sis nodded.

"Lastly, *this part I was tearing up* ... I wish I'm stronger for you. I wish... I'm that I can help you. But I'm not... and I'm sorry."

Both of us had tears in our eyes.
And I think, for that moment, finally, we understood each other.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Taken from Tea Chua
"The lady had a note at her back saying 'Blind'.
 They did FM.
Very inspiring that age and not able to see didn't stop her from running.
I was observing them overtaking me at the last 3km.
 At that time I was telling myself, how can I say a route is boring or have nothing much to see, where people can't even see anything but yet running.
 What is my pain, where she might have fell or knock into things but yet not quitting running or fear of trying. The guy is awesome too, giving such a big support and encouragement.
 Truly a good pacer.
 PS: I saw them again at the last 1km sign. They were taking photos and were happy. If they didn't stop, they could have finished under 6 hours.
I was indeed touched and inspired by them. They have show such great spirit being a runner."

Want to be happy? Be grateful

"Every moment is an opportunity.
When we allow ourselves to be available for the opportunity,  to be grateful for the present moment,
that is the key to happiness."

"When you are grateful, you are not fearful. You are willing to share. You act out of equality.
When you are grateful, you act out of the sense of 'enough', and not out of scarcity." 


 The one thing all humans have in common is that each of us wants to be happy, says Brother David Steindl-Rast, a monk and interfaith scholar.

And happiness, he suggests, is born from gratitude.
An inspiring lesson in slowing down, looking where you’re going, and above all, being grateful.

 Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk, meditates and writes on "the gentle power" of gratefulness.