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.