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!

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor
This image has really got me this morning.
A man wanting to jump off a bridge in London, talked round by absolute strangers who proceeded to hold him for an hour until help arrived to get him down safely. Look at that grip. Look at the care, compassion, selflessness & determination shown by complete strangers to a fellow human being.
There is so much more good than bad around us, just sharing a little of it. Wishing the man a full recovery. 

- Anne Rarity
Taken entirely from
Poppy Farrugia has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. But none of this stopped her from taking on one extra challenge —  competing in the 26.2 mile London Marathon on April 23, along with 40,000 other runners.
Mental health was an important theme at this year's London Marathon, which was also referred to as the "mental health marathon." The event saw people from around the world come together to take part in the challenge, while advocating for mental health awareness.

Farrugia was one of ten runners involved in the Heads Together campaign, which featured London Marathon participants who are living with, or have been affected by, mental health issues. Their goal was to compete in the marathon and raise awareness about mental health conditions, while tackling surrounding stigmas.

Farrugia prepared for five months for the big event by training with other runners and going to the gym. Her training sessions were profiled in the two-part BBC series Mind over Marathon, which focused on the connection between mental and physical health.

"I want to show everyone and anyone who has ever doubted me, or looked at the worst in me, to see that I have actually just done something that is pretty incredible," she said in the video, adding that the journey helped her become more "stable, centered and grounded. It has given me focus and something to work towards."

And she accomplished her goal by crossing the finish line.

"We all share a common goal of wanting to move past a barrier and move forward."

In a HuffPost article, Farrugia wrote, "I can proudly say ... I overcome the odds and managed to ignore the bad thoughts and completed the London marathon!  I can say that today, my mental health and what's happened to me does not define me. I am Poppy, I have seen and been though stuff that nobody should, but I've come out the other side with a smile on my face and sense of pride."

She concluded, "Thoughts come and go, you've just got to learn to love yourself."

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Taken entirely from

"If y'all need any kindling wood, please come buy from this precious 80-year-old elderly man. His name is Kenneth. He parks on the corner of Carl leggett and west Taylor Rd. In Gulfport Right near bayou bluff. He is there every day for hours. Selling for $5 a bag.
Background story: Last year he was there selling as well, but he had his sweet little wife, Helen, with him. He was selling to help pay for his wife's doctor visits and bills.
This year he is alone."

"He said his wife, Helen, lost her battle to cancer a few weeks ago and he is still selling to cover pay for her doctor bills.
My heart breaks every time I pass him. He waves at every single car that passes.
Friday I was at the stop sign as a funeral procession was passing by. And he was standing alert with his straw hat over his heart. Precious man.

"After I posted this, a GoFundMe account was created by Kenneth's son Leslie. Not by me.
I don't know the extent of his bills, but have been told that he and his wife spent all of their life savings to cover doctor bills over the last few years of her treatment and he is having a hard time making ends meet," wrote Jessica.
And her message moved people all around the country. Soon, strangers flocked to Gulfport to buy firewood from Kenneth.
So far his GoFundMe has raised an incredible $100,000 in about a week! Isn't it amazing what humans can do when we work together?
Although I think there's something wrong with the US healthcare system that cancer treatments leave people in financial ruin, I choose to emphasize the positive in this story.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

I went jalan jalan. (shopping stroll).
As I was munching my McFillet, I noticed a man (40s) rocking back and forth on the bench with an elderly woman whom I presumed to be his mother.
The man was eating a cone of ice-cream and he was poking his face with the other arm repetitively.

It was so eeriely familiar.
Back in 2005-2006 I was rocking myself like that too whenever I sat down.
I think it was the side effects of the medication.
It messed up the nerves in the head.

An elderly man whom I presumed it's the father joined them and they left the bench.
The father held his hand like how we would hold on to a child's.
I wonder if he'd have any chance of a more independent lifestyle in near future.
I felt so sad.

I went to Ikea and was welcomed by a very jovial middle-aged Indian lady.
Her smile and soothing voice delighted me immediately.
Her approach was so friendly that I was prompted to ask about the membership program.
She was so helpful that I signed up immediately.

You know, back in my school days, I would have told you that my ambition is to be this and that, the usual stuff that defines the materialistic success, big salary, big car, big house etc.
But now, I can tell you wholeheartedly that I want to be like that Ikea lady.
Someone who is genuinely content and takes pride in her work.
You can't fake that kind of serene joy.

I used to tell people that my retirement ambition is to sell newspaper at night. (The Chinese press has evening papers which has a strong readership).
The hours are short and flexible.
It'd be a great way to earn side income while waiting for bedtime (this is a scenario for years later).
Also, newspaper has a way of keeping me excited all the time.
Friends would tease me, "You can do it right now! Why wait?"
I'd just smile of course, as it's not financially viable now.
That's why it's a 'retirement' plan.

You see, if I can be selling newspaper in the evening, it would mean that I'd still have my health despite my old age.
And I'd have enough money NOT to work full-time but just for 3 hours a day.
It'd be a great way to kill time and I'd have something to look forward to everyday.
More importantly, I would have matured to a point where I'm not even bothered should there be any acquaintances who might degrade and gossip maliciously just coz (American slang).
I should be so proud if I can rise above and do that.

Hence, it'd be a great personal success if I can do that when I'm old.
Taken entirely from
Right now somebody else, if they determine what should happen around you, you feel like a slave, but right now somebody else is determining what should happen within you. Is this not slavery? Somebody can decide whether you’re happy or unhappy, is this not slavery? Somebody can decide whether you will be a pleasant human being or an unpleasant human being, is this not slavery?

What happens within you, somebody else determines – this is the worst form of slavery, isn’t it? Isn’t it so? It is just that because everybody is like that it seems to be normal; it is not. It is not normal. Just because everybody is like that, it does not become normal. This human being, life around you will not happen… will never happen hundred percent the way you want it, and it should not happen; because if everything happens the way you want it, where do I go? I’m very happy it’s not happening your way. And now that you’re a student? You’re still a student? I believe about sixty, seventy percent is happening your way. When you get married, the percentage will get reversed. We don’t know. We don’t know whether which way it’ll go. So if… life around you will never happen hundred percent the way you want it and it should not. Unless you’re living with machines, life will not happen and even those machines will freak on you, isn’t it? Aren’t the machines troubling you every day for something or the other? They do.

So outside will never happen hundred percent the way you want it and if your happiness or your joyfulness or let’s not use all these so many words – essentially it is pleasantness versus unpleasantness. For pleasantness we have many names, we call it peace, happiness, joy, bliss, ecstasy. For unpleasantness we have many names – stress, anxiety, fear, tension, whatever else, madness, whatever. Pleasantness versus unpleasantness – if your pleasantness is dependent upon what happens around you, the chances of you being pleasant all the time is remote, isn’t it? In the very nature of things it’s not possible. Only if you’re able to create a distance between this and that, it is possible, in the sense. Whenever things don’t work, there is a habit in lots of people, they will look up, uperwala. Hmm? Isn’t it? The whole world is looking up.

Looking up. See, you know the planet is round? You know this? Okay. The planet is round and you’re not sitting on top of the North Pole, you’re sitting in Chennai, here in the tropical climate and the damn planet is spinning, so if you look up you’re always looking up in the wrong direction isn’t it? You’re invariably looking up in the wrong direction. Isn’t it so? Maybe at a certain moment of, whatever, Greenwich Mean Time, zero hours, when you looked up maybe you hit the heaven; rest of the time you’re always looking in the wrong direction. Isn’t it so? So in this cosmic space, is there somebody who knows which is up and which is down? Does somebody know? Hmm? Is there somewhere is it marked, ‘This side up’? Nobody knows which is up, which is down, it’s just an assumption, isn’t it? Do you know really which is north, which is south? In the real sense do you know what is north and south? It is just for our convenience we just fixed it, isn’t it? Yes or no?

Do you know what’s east and west? No. Do you know what is forward and backward? You do not know. None of these things you know. There is only one thing you can be certain of right now – this is, you know what is outward, what is inward; this one thing you’re sure, isn’t it? This is inward, this is outward – this is the only privilege you have. What is outward, what is inward, this is all you know. Just in case some day if you get enlightened you will lose that also. Yes. That’s what happened to me – now I don’t know which is inward, which is outward, which is me, which is not me, that’s why I’m all over the world because I don’t know whether this is me or that is me. So now you say, ‘I know what is inward, what is outward,’ let’s examine this a little more. Can you see me right now, all of you? Can you see me? Just point out where I am? Use your hands and point out. Can you see me? Oh, you got it wrong. You know I’m a mystic? You’re getting it completely wrong.

Now this light is falling upon me, reflecting, going through your lenses, inverted image in your retina – you know the whole story, right? Where do you see me right now? Within yourself. Where do you hear me right now? Within yourself. Where have you seen the whole world? Within yourself. Have you ever experienced anything outside of yourself? Everything that ever happened to you – darkness and light happened within you, pain and pleasure happened within you, joy and misery happened within you. Have you ever experienced anything outside of yourself? No. So what I’m asking you is – what happens within you, who should determine how it should happen? Hmm? What happens within you, who should determine how this should happen? Somebody else? Definitely you should determine what should happen within this, isn’t it?

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Taken from
IT’S not easy being the child of a teacher. It’s even harder if your parent is a professor. My father was a professor at Universiti Teknologi Mara. He treated me strictly and his expectations were always high.

I can’t fault him because as the son of a professor, all eyes would be on me if I did anything wrong and people would say, “You see! The son of a professor also behaves like that!”

That’s how it was. I had no choice but to be a role model. As the firstborn son, I had to endure the only kind of upbringing which my novice father knew, all the good and bad. My mother, equally clueless in child-bearing, was soft and submissive, and allowed my father to lead the family without questioning, which I felt proved to be a huge mistake.

During my secondary years, my father educated me in a forceful and ineffective way, and I was constantly under huge pressure until eventually, I went mad. I began hearing voices and music. I had feelings of grandiose. I felt as if I was the greatest man on earth and I talked incessantly. I was electrified with energy: charged with ideas that were mostly regarded as nonsense.

My teacher made a phone call to my father who picked me up from school and sent me directly to a hospital. A female doctor assessed my abnormal behaviour. She said that I was suffering from bipolar disorder and proceeded to give me a jab to calm me down, after which she discussed with my father the options I had.

For the first time in my life, I had choices: I could either be admitted or go home. They decided that I should go home as even the briefest stay at a mental ward would cast a long and gloomy shadow over my future.

I began taking medications – Risperidone and Epillim – which turned me into a whole new person: I gained 10kg in just a few weeks and looked like a zombie from World War Z. I was perpetually tired and sleepy. My uncle thought I was not cut out for books and offered me a job at his business for RM700 a month. He said, “Come help me manage my retail shop.” But I exclaimed, “NOOO!!!” and proved him wrong when I sat and passed my SPM with satisfactory results (6As) and went on to take a course in Mathematics at a private college.

After I graduated from the college, while others were busy looking for jobs, I went to bed at 7am and did not wake up until 14 hours later. I eventually found a job as a programmer and learned more about my disorder.

Bipolar disorder is a strange condition. I can be extremely overjoyed now and drop immediately into deep depression at the next moment for no obvious reasons. My self-confidence fluctuates according to these manic phases. Google says bipolar disorder is a common disease amongst architects, writers and composers – people who are engaged in creative art works.

So, I’m beginning to try and write these days – I feel better when I write and have joined two writing classes so far. Society will always stigmatise people with mental disorders, I realise. It’s hard to change how people think. Hence, it’s more important and easier to change ourselves to adapt to society. I learnt how to conceal my “illness” from society. Today, I am on lithium 400mg and Seroquel 400mg. I’m writing, and I’m feeling great.
 Taken from Dear Thelma, The Star newspaper.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

I found this in the storage.
It is the board game that someone had brought over for me back when I was hospitalised in 2005.
You can see the hospital's white tag identification sticker that is partially ripped off.
The sight of this twisted my heart.
A splinter of my worst memories.

But there is one thing.
Although I don't remember the person who bought this (I think it's brand new) for me.
That person was kind.
I want to remember the kindness.
New from The Star
GEORGE TOWN: After seeing a man sitting on the ledge of Penang Bridge, tow truck service runner Tan Chin Leong knew something bad would happen if he did not act fast. 
The 41-year-old then pulled over in his motorcycle and sat next to the man.
 He struck a conversation with the 30-year-old man at Km6.8 of the island-bound lane during the 10.10am incident yesterday.
 “He told me he didn’t have money and had been jobless for a while. “His family was also upset that he still could not get a job. “He said he felt useless and all of a sudden, he burst into tears,” said Tan. 
 In a flash, Tan pushed the man and both fell onto the road from the ledge. He then restrained the man using his jacket.
 “I knew that was the right time to save him after he had let his guard down. “He lashed out at me after knocking his head on the ground as a result of the fall,” said Tan who had saved countless lives from jumping off Penang Bridge over the past decade. 
The police came to the scene after 15 minutes and took the man to the nearest police station. Tan said the man’s sisters expressed their gratitude for saving their brother’s life. As a tow truck service runner plying Penang Bridge daily, Tan made headlines in major dailies as a lifesaver who is always keeping an eye out for people who appear to contemplate jumping off the bridge. 
 He was one of the winners of last year’s Star Golden Hearts award for rescuing more than 10 people from ending their lives over the past decade. Tan, fondly known as ‘Ah Heang’, starts work at about 6am before the rush-hour begins and finishes around midnight

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Taken from

Jia Wenqi has no arms. Jia Haixia is blind. These two old friends have been working together to plant more than 10,000 trees in 14 years in north China's Hebei Province.

When they work, Wenqi is Haixia's eyes and Haixia is Wenqi's arms. Like most of physically challenged people, they are neither rich. But they have made a consensus that they won't cut or sell any tree to deal for money. They just want to leave a forest to the next generation to protect the environment of their hometown.

 These photographs I saw on Brightside.Me are amazing

Class differences, Great Britain, 1937.
 Fawzia Fuad, princess of Egypt and queen of Iran, 1939.
 Ernest Hemingway fishing, 1904.
 The Great Depression era. When flour producers found out that mothers were now so poor that they were forced to sew clothes for their children from flour sacks, they began to print cheerful patterns and images on them.
 Alice Liddell — the little girl who was the inspiration for Lewis Caroll’s famous novel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Ducklings used as therapy animals, 1956.

Friday, March 31, 2017

I had just entered the basement parking of a shopping complex when I saw a lady shopper approaching her car.
Her car was parked at a premier parking location - just in front of the entrance.
Secondary only to the disabled car parks.
My car was just in front of hers.
But my car position wasn't right and there was a car behind me so I couldn't reverse.
It's obvious that it's the car behind me who would be the lucky one.
I lamented at my loss.

I parked my car about 50 metres away.
As I was stepping into the entrance of the shopping complex, I saw a man with his grown son (I presume) on a wheel chair. They were the ones who got that lucky parking.
The father closed his car door and I realised that it must have taken him awhile to help his son alight from the car.

I'm glad I missed that parking.
I would not want to deprive this father-son of such convenient parking.
This is definitely one of those "Everything just falls into the right places" moment.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Taken from LifeBuzz
“I met my wife when I was seventeen. I didn’t want to tell her about my schizophrenia. At the time, she liked another guy who had no issues and I didn’t want to ruin my chances. I hid the disease for a long time after we married. I would always find explanations for my strange behavior. I’d make up stories to explain my violent outbursts at work. But it got to be too much. 
By the time I admitted my disease, it was too late. She got a restraining order a year ago. I had an outburst and I hit her. She has forgiven me for the sake of our children, but they don’t live with me anymore. 
I’m on five strong medications now. I still have some difficulty controlling the pace of my thoughts. Some thoughts will begin before others end. It’s like my mind is divided. It can be tough to keep both feet in reality. But I don’t want any more problems. 
I’ve detached myself from everyone. I don’t speak at work. I spend my time alone. It’s my only way to live a normal life.” 

(Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) from Humans of New York
By Jerry Carino
NEPTUNE, N.J. - The gentleman was a regular customer at The Home Depot, but he could not find the right washer among a sea of them in the hardware department.
Sales associate Kevin Woolley came over and solved the problem in five seconds.

“No. 10, right there,” Woolley said, pointing to the elusive piece.
“That’s why I look for him,” the customer said, gesturing to Woolley. “I would have been here an hour trying to find this thing.”
It’s an ordinary day on the job for Woolley, a 40-year-old from Belmar who has been with The Home Depot for 20 years, the past 10 in the Neptune store. The only extraordinary thing is Woolley himself. He has cerebral palsy, which gives him a severe limp, slurred speech and difficulty gripping things.

It has done nothing to dampen the spirit of the store’s most beloved employee -- and one of its most valuable people.
“When we don’t know something a customer asks about, we go to Kevin,” said fellow sales associate Caridad Gonzalez, who has been on the job for six months. “He knows it all.”
Woolley trained Gonzalez and many others who don The Home Depot’s trademark orange apron. They are in awe of his encyclopedic knowledge and his interactions with others.

“He’s extremely impressive,” Gonzalez said. “He’s awesome with customers. They love him. Every other customer who comes in here shakes hands with him.”
As they should. Kevin Woolley is a walking, talking reminder that life deals us the cards but we choose how to play them. A brief encounter with him offers a major dose of perspective.

Woolley’s cerebral palsy was caused by a distressed birth. He was delivered via C-section after suffering a lack of oxygen to his brain. His fine motor skills were permanently diminished.
“It’s difficult for him to pick up an ice cream cone or a piece of pizza,” his father, Henry Woolley, said. “But whenever I’m assembling something like a barbecue grill, which I’m not great at, he’ll say, ‘Do this dad, do that.’ He can see it; he just can’t perform the function.”

There is plenty he can do, like drive a car and send a text message. He’s a good listener and quick-witted. He grew up in Belmar and still lives there with his parents, and when I tell him I used to spend summers in the borough’s old party zone along 16th Avenue, he replies, “Sorry to hear that,” like only a wry local could.

Kevin attended the local public schools, and at Manasquan High he became a manager on the powerhouse football team under the late coach Vic Kubu. He also ran track.
“He would run the dash and come in last, but he tried,” Henry Woolley said. “I always told him, it doesn’t matter. Give it a try.”

In 1996 Kevin moved to Colorado to live with his older brother Chris. His career at The Home Depot began there. He’s worked in virtually every department over the years, doing whatever is needed, although he’d rather not climb ladders.

“I could work anywhere they want to put me,” he said. “I know what I can and can’t do, and they know what I can and can’t do.”

When Phil Kramer was about to become the Neptune store’s manager last year, transferring from a North Jersey outlet, he took a reconnaissance tour of the place with his wife one weekend afternoon. No one knew who they were.
“Kevin was the only person who acknowledged me,” Kramer said. “He was the only one who said, ‘Hi, how are you doing? What can I help you with?’”

It didn’t take long for the new boss to realize, “This guy lives and breathes what we’re trying to do every day.”
Loyal customers have known that for many years. Within five minutes on Tuesday afternoon, one asked him for white siding nails and another sought his opinion on the right blade for a planer.

“He has a good heart, and I’ll tell you this: Wherever I go with him, somebody will say, ‘Hi Kev, how are you doing?” Henry Woolley said. “I’ll say to him, ‘Who is this person?’”
Chances are they shop at The Home Depot.
“We were at the hospital for an X-ray (recently),” his dad said, “and we’re walking down the hall when a patient comes out of his room and says, ‘Hey, it’s Kevin from Home Depot!’”

He’s at the store five days a week, putting in 40 hours. That’s a lot of time on his feet for someone who walks with difficulty.
“It’s a hard job for him there, but Kevin gets through it,” Henry Woolley said. “We never mention ‘handicap’ to him. He knows he’s handicapped but he never mentions it. He does OK.”

You go to The Home Depot for drill bits, not inspiration. In the hardware aisles of the Neptune store, Kevin Woolley will help you find both.

Friday, February 24, 2017

A Christian friend took this stray in. After taking care of it for about 2 difficult years because he had nose cancer, she finally decided to allow him to be put to sleep today.
I remember how excited he was when a group of us went to her place to practise a dance performance.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

I'm back in Sungai Buloh.

I wrote this.

My dear Bible Study friends,                      
Forgive me for not bidding goodbye to you one by one personally.                    
I have taken a long time to compose this as all your faces constantly flash in my mind in my every attempt, and I have to pause to gather my emotions.
Basically I want to say two things.
1. Thank you for being so good to me.
2. I am sorry for not doing good enough.
If there were times where I had offended you, I humbly ask for your grace and forgiveness.
Please know that I truly appreciate all your help and loving kindness that I so undeserved, even to the extend that I feel embarrassed to face any of you now.
Initially, I felt so sad because I had come to Penang with such high hopes, I felt that I have failed myself.
But God whispered to me last Christmas, he told me to read my diary. So I did.

I compared my writings before and during my stay in Penang.
Indeed there was a difference.
It would be unfair to say that my 28 months here (Penang) was in vain.
There are lessons to take home with me.
When I was packing, there were many things that I had to throw away, no matter how useful it could be.
But when I saw my Bible Study notebook, I knew at once I had to take it home. It is filled with your precious testimonies and sharings. This notebook is a summary of the better part of my Penang experience.
Thank you for being part of my happier memory here (Penang).

I never thought I'd leave = (
Not like this.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Was behind him queuing for KFC