Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Taken entirely from http://shanghaiist.com
Images of a foreigner who was spotted buying a new pair of shoes for an elderly man who'd apparently slipped and fallen while picking waste on the streets of Lan Kwai Fong have been praised by netizens after being posted on Facebook by a shoe shop employee.

According to a staff member at the shoe shop, the elderly man regularly roamed around the area pushing a cart of collected garbage. He believed that the man, who recently appeared on the streets with bandages across his head, must have slipped and injured himself because his shoes did not fit.

A foreign male working in the neighborhood had offered to give the elderly man some money to buy a new pair of shoes, but he refused. That's when he brought the elderly man into the store for a shoe fitting and bought him a pair of new sneakers on the spot.

Touched by the man's kindness and sincerity, the shop also offered a staff discount on the shoes

Friday, June 26, 2015

Suicide News always catch my eye.
Taken entirely from http://www.allsingaporestuff.com

16 year-old Aloysius from Damai Secondary School committed suicide 3 nights ago in his family flat at Block 602, Bedok Reservoir Road, where he was discovered hanging from the ceiling by his distraught parents. Friends and relatives have all expressed shock at his suicide, with many wondering what drove him to desperation.

Yet some classmates and friends of Aloysius have been blaming themselves for not spotting the tell tale signs of Aloysius' plans for suicide.
According to a friend of Aloysius, the 16 year-old was not popular in school, although he had many friends outside of school. This is why Aloysius hated school and posted often on his twitter account about his feelings of loneliness in school.

Another unnamed friend of Aloysius said that since February this year, Aloysius had started showing signs of depression, which may have contributed to Aloysius' decision to end his life.

"His (Aloysius') tweets were extreme and he complained about his loneliness in school. He said that he felt alone and helpless, and asked his friends whether they could give them some of their happiness. He even said that there is nothing that he could be happy about in life."

His tweets became more desperate by March and April, as he began openly posting about his thoughts of suicide and searched for ways to kill himself online.

After 28th May, Aloysius suddenly stopped posting updates on his twitter.

However, on the night just before he committed suicide, he posted a cryptic message hinting that he would act on his plan soon: "My night is near"

Aloysius hanged himself the night after, the same date as his birthday.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Taken entirely from http://eusophi.com

Avoiding ill will does not mean passivity, allowing yourself or others to be exploited, staying silent in the face of injustice, etc. There is plenty of room for speaking truth to power and effective action without succumbing to ill will. Think of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, or the Dalai Lama as examples. In fact, with a clear mind and a peaceful heart, your actions are likely to be more effective.

Ill will creates negative, vicious cycles. But that means that good will can create positive cycles. Plus good will cultivates wholesome qualities in you.

1. Be mindful of the priming, the preconditions for ill will. Try to defuse them early: get rest, have a meal, get support, talk things out, distract yourself, etc.

2. Practice non-contention to undermine the heat that creates ill will. Don’t argue unless you have to.

3. Inspect the underlying trigger, such as a sense of threat. Look at it realistically. Was something actually an “injury” to you? Be skeptical of your justifications.

4. Be careful about attributing intent to others. We are often just a bit player in their drama; they are not targeting us personally. Look for the good intentions beneath the action that made you feel mistreated. Look for the good in others.

5. Put what happened in perspective. The effects of most wrongs fade with time. They’re also part of a larger whole, most of which is usually fine.

6. Cultivate positive qualities like kindness, compassion, empathy, and calm. Nourish your own good will.

7. Practice generosity. Much ill will comes when we feel taken from, or not given to, or on the receiving end of another person’s bad moment. Instead, consider letting the person have what they took: their victory, their bit of money or time, etc. Let them have their bad moment. Make a gift of forbearance, patience, and no cause to fear you.

8. Investigate ill will. Take a day, a week, a month – and really examine the least bit of ill will during that time. See what causes it . . . and what its effects are.

9. Regard ill will as an affliction upon yourself. It hurts you more than anyone.

10. Settle into awareness, observing the ill will but not identified with it, watching it arise and disappear like any other experience.

11. Accept the wound. Experience the feelings of it. Do not presume that life is not supposed to be wounding. Accept the unpleasant fact that people will mistreat you.

12. Do not cling to what you want instead of what you’ve got.

13. Let go of the view that things are supposed to be a certain way. Challenge the belief that things should work out, that the world is perfectible.

14. Relax the sense of self, that it was “I” or “me” who was affronted, wounded.

15. Do religious or philosophical practices that cultivate love and goodness.

16. Resolve to meet mistreatment with loving kindness. No matter what. Consider the saying: In this world, hate has never dispelled hate. Only love dispels hate.

17. Cultivate positive emotion, like happiness, contentment, or peacefulness. Positive feelings calm the body, quiet the mind, buffer against the impact of stressful events, and foster supportive relationships — which reduce ill will.

18. Communicate. Speak (skillfully) for yourself, regardless of what the outcome may be. If appropriate, name your experience to release it; feel it as you speak it. Try to address the situation with openness and empathy for the other person. Then you’ll be freer and calmer to be more skillful.

19. Have faith that they will pay their own price one day for what they’ve done, and you don’t have to be the justice system.

20. Realize that some people will not get the lesson no matter how much you try. So why burden yourself with trying to teach them? Further, many people will never actually experience your ill will – such as politicians. So why carry it toward them?

21. Forgiveness. This doesn’t mean changing your view that wrongs were done. But it does mean letting go of the emotional charge around feeling wronged. The greatest beneficiary of forgiveness is usually yourself

Monday, June 22, 2015

"What is the one piece of advice you would give to a large group of people?"
"Keep yourself busy. People have hard time dealing with having no job you see.
They got nothing to do, so they start worrying about things they shouldn't worry about, then they become unhappy.
You see this is why I play music. I come down, do some chit chat, earn few dollars, don't think so much - so I go home happy."

Friday, June 19, 2015

LJ introduced me to this place, Kawan.
It's a salvation army store.
The moment I opened the door, a strong scent hit me.
The smell sensory immediately recalled a memory of a home I visited.
I can't recall whose home it was, but the setting was very comfortable.
I had felt very relaxed there.
It was indeed a very homely place.
A place where really nice people had resided.

I know what scent it was in Kawan.
It was the scent of kindness.
“I’m single, unemployed, and late middle-aged.
But I don’t really get sad. I just don’t think sadness is in my brain chemistry.
When I go home to my apartment, I’ve got a faucet that releases both hot and cold water.
 You know how many billions of people don’t even have clean drinking water?
And I’ve got two types of clean water: hot and cold.”

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

“I think I need to learn discipline. I don’t think I ever learned it when I was young.
 I had one of those typical inner city stories.
My mom was addicted to drugs so I had no bedtime. No wake-up time. No chores to do.
 Those sound like simple things but they aren’t.
I’ve seen a lot of people in college who are able to work really hard at something even if they aren’t very interested in the subject, and I think that’s because they learned discipline.”

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The 1 in 4 people that experience mental health problems aren’t faking it

By _irum, June 9, 2015, published in www.time-to-change.org.uk

I am all about authenticity. I can't stand hypocrisy. Yet I feel quite hypocritical when it comes to one topic: mental health. I'm always retweeting tweets about ending stigma, but I still stigmatise myself. This is probably just because of what I learnt and observed as I grew up, but now I'm aware that there is no reason to continue to stigmatise myself for something that is not my fault. That's something that I am still trying to accept.

I’m done lying about my mental health

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is I am done lying: I have mental health problems. Most people say “I suffer from” and I should probably say that because I really am suffering. But if I'm being honest with myself I still haven't fully accepted this, despite it having been more than 2 years. I have quite severe depression and anxiety. I’ve also had an eating disorder and still have problems with body image. I've been hospitalised a number of times (in an inpatient unit for 3 months in total, as well as in general hospital), which meant I missed a lot of school in an important year: year 11. It was really, really difficult.

I have to endure a million negative thoughts every day, which find their way into my mind in every possible situation. Whether it's waking up or going out with friends, my depression will try to ruin it. It asks me: “Why did you wake up Irum? It would be better if you were dead.” It says: “They don't really like you Irum, no one likes you.” These thoughts are so powerful that sometimes, even when people tell me otherwise, I  can’t bring myself to believe them. 

Against my will, I am a sponge to any negativity or insults I receive from people, yet I seem to have a shield that prevents any positives or compliments getting in. Even though I laugh or say thank you, inside I can't help but feeling paranoid and ridiculed, as if people are lying when they compliment me. This continues the cycle of self-hatred and mistrust. As I can write this I am clearly aware, but there is a massive difference between awareness and change, and that's probably the hardest part of recovering in my opinion. Your beliefs are so ingrained, it can often take years to challenge them successfully.

People who have mental health problems are not alone: there are others that understand

I'd like to make it clear that I am not writing this for sympathy. I am writing this to fight the stigma that surrounds mental illness. No one hides the fact they have diabetes or cancer in the same way people hide their mental illnesses, and in the 21st century, that's not right.

I am writing this for the sake of empathy, so that people that don't experience it get a small insight into what it's like, and so they can spot the signs in themselves or others and get help. I also want others that do live with mental health problems see they are not alone; there are others that understand. 

So if you want to comment that mental illness doesn't exist or we're all faking it or telling our stories for sympathy and attention, take your rubbish elsewhere. Just because you can’t see an illness doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The 1 in 4 people that experience mental health problems aren’t faking it. If they want sympathy, why do so many hide it from their friends and family? Mental illnesses are real and like other physical illnesses they can cause a huge amount of suffering. Feeling the need to hide it and deal with stigma on top of that is so difficult and unfair.

 Mental illness is one of those things you can't fully comprehend until you experience it, but any decent human being would try. All a lot of us need is some love. Well, that's not all - but it makes a big difference.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Lately I've been having a lot of interesting conversations.

Sw : You, me, we are intelligent, kind and sensitive people and we are battling with mental illness. We need to advocate for the people like us in Malaysia . We need to eradicate the stigma.  We need more people to understand so that we can help people like us.

Me : *Laughing. Intelligent? I should record this.

Sw : *Laugh


LJ : You sound very different when you talk about books and movies. You are more confident. I think it's because of your interest and passion in them. You should dwell more in them. You'd find more of yourself there.

Monday, June 08, 2015

""I met this man last week near Plaza Singapura. He asked me if I had money for food, so I gave him the 4 dollars that I had in my wallet. He became super animated and hugged me and thanked me in whatever little way he could speak because he couldn't speak that much.

At the very same moment, an Aunty came by trying to sell tissues. I'd unfortunately given up all my cash to the uncle, so I told her I could go to the ATM and withdraw some but she said it was fine, she was just tired of selling tissues all day because some people didn't even respond to her, and she was grateful that I at least tried. I felt bad and apologized, and told her I would buy some the next time I saw her.

When I was leaving, out of the corner of the eye, I saw the man giving her the 4 dollars that I'd given to him - and when she thanked him and tried to offer him some tissues, he just waved her off and went away whistling to himself.""

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Former IT vice-president Roland Tay set up a café which hires people with autism to help them better integrate into society.

"When I became a father, 19 years ago, I had big plans for my son, Jun-Yi, such as enrolling him in a good school, taking him to sports meets and seeing him start his own career. But everything changed when I found out that he had autism when he was three years old then, I had to review my expectations.

Nonetheless, my wife, Denise, and I have learnt so much bringing up Jun-Yi, and we wanted to do something meaningful for others like him. So, in 2009, after 30 years in the IT industry in a senior corporate position, I mustered the courage to quit my job to start a café that hired people with autism. My aim for starting the café was to provide people with autism with sustainable employment, and to help them integrate into society.

Hence, Professor Brawn Café (www.professorbrawn.com), whose name was inspired by a strong, kind and scholarly superhero created by Jun-Yi, was set up.

I started by employing two graduates from Singapore’s first autism-focused school - Pathlight School. They are Huang Kai Song, who worked in the kitchen, and Loh Qian Jing, a part-timer then, who handled backroom operations.

To train my staff, I also sought the help of non-profit organisation Autism Resource Centre, which conducts training programmes to prepare people with autism for the workforce. Therapists and job coaches from the centre guided my staff and helped them to build their self-esteem and confidence.

Now, more than half of my 27 staff members who have autism are helping to run the café. Kai Song has gained enough confidence to move from working in the kitchen to join the service crew. He has also since graduated from polytechnic and is currently fulfilling his National Service.

Qian Jing is now working at the café full-time, handling backroom operations work.

My café has shown that people with autism can adapt well to a normal working environment with proper training and moral support.”

Taken from singapore international foundation
 "When I started working as a cleaner at my age, I felt somewhat ‘paiseh’ (embarrassed), because I knew people were looking down at this profession.
 But then one time, when I was checking on the cleaner’s schedule, an ang mo came up to me and said – ‘Singapore has the cleanest restrooms in the world.
Keep up the good work!’ I was so proud of my job then. That’s when I felt that my job was important, that I was important. That is all I need to be happy now."

After a tiring week of traveling, I finally hopped into a cab and I just happen to stumble upon a very inspirational taxi driver - he told me a lot of his life stories, which I found amazing. He told me about how he wanted to be like Buddha when he was younger, but because one simply couldn't be like Buddha, he just strove to be a happy man instead - and whenever he feels bad, he just gets up, shakes his backside, and sings.

However, one story which he told me really stood out:
'Sometimes near Golden Mile, construction men who don't have money beg taxi drivers to take them back to work and almost all refuse except for me. I believe helping others is good, it benefits them and makes me a happy man. Later these construction men know I am a good man, so they come find me where I always wait for passengers and pay back what they owe me and sometimes even teach me another language, which makes me very happy.'

I found it quite amazing, and once the ride was over, he took the effort of reversing the taxi, and parked it right in front of my destination even though I insisted that it was OK for me to the cross the street. So he said 'I don't think it is safe for such a young girl to be crossing the street', and he stood outside his taxi, making sure I safely entered the building, before driving off.

Taken from Humans Of Singapore

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

"I would like to make it clear, in parenthesis, that I do not blame my parents for their point of view. There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; 
the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you."

"We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better."

-------------J.K. ROWLING