Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sunday with Sangay

"So, what's your plan for tomorrow?" my friend was asking me last night.

"Plan to wake up early and go for a walk. But I'll be alone. Most of my friends are not in Singapore. So let's see if I can make it. Otherwise I will sleep, eat, read, sleep, eat, read, and sleep," replied me.

And this morning, when the alarm was ringing, I turned it off and continued sleeping. Lol!

I felt hungry after waking up and asked my son to get ready so we both could have good local food for breakfast. And then I remembered that I supposed to meet someone who was coming from Bhutan. But I didn't have her number. All I had was only her email and I hadn't received her reply yet about the meeting today. I immediately sent message to Luzee and Uden asking them if they had her number. Uden didn't have while Luzee wasn't online. Haiz... so I just kept it cool and went out for late breakfast.

Baobei and I - while waiting for Sangay at her hotel's lobby :)

I checked my email again and suddenly I saw the reply from her saying about her arrival this afternoon. Oh, the timing was just nice! After had our meal, both of us went to the hotel where Sangay stayed. I added her phone no into my contact list, sent her message at What's App but she wasn't online. My son and I kept waiting at the lobby hoping to see her. I went to concierge too and asked the staff to connect me to her room but no one picked up the phone.

I walked around the huge lobby and suddenly I saw a familiar face, which was Uden's face! Lol! She told me she was going to collect something from Sangay but couldn't go out with her as she had appointments. And yes, I finally met Sangay for the very first time! :)

She came alone from Bhutan but she would meet her colleague and together they would attend the conference. She asked me to follow her to her room as the things from Luzee was there.

It was her first time visiting Singapore and she had free time that afternoon. I offered her to bring her to places she wanted to visit if she had no plan at all and she agreed to it immediately. I asked my son to go back first and brought the fresh ema and datshi back home while I accompanied Sangay around. She said, she wanted to visit the place where Merlion was! :)

Sangay with Merlion under a burning sun ^^

It was just at the opposite of where she stayed so we walked there. The weather was too hot that afternoon! She was thirsty and hungry! Hahaha... We went there and took few clicks then she hurried me out of the place. We entered the Esplanade (the 'durian' shape building - world class theater) and walked through underpass towards the City Hall MRT. We stopped at few shops and she browsed around before we decided to go to Chinatown!

Early dinner at Chinatown Hawker Center :)

We had early dinner there. She wanted spicy noodle soup so we ordered the hot and sour Chinese pulled noodles while I ordered Xiao Long Bao - steamed pork dumplings. From pineapple juice, we ended up ordering a bottle of Tiger beer :P While eating we chit chatted about the new Thunder 15000 beer and Zumzin peach wine. She said she preferred having Druk 11000 as Thunder 15000 tasted bitter and stronger, not so suitable for her taste while she regretted me not to ask her bringing Zumzin from Bhutan :D I told her that I didn't know her before. How could I ask her such a favour la! ^^ We were having good times and she finally relieved that her stomach had been filled with food hahaha... :P

Visiting the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple - Singapore 

After that we walked to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. I showed her the place where the tooth relic was stored. Once done, we walked all the way to the Chinatown Point to browse some shops and to buy mineral water. She returned to her hotel herself by taking MRT while I was heading home.

I went into the kitchen, opened the fridge. My son had not yet had his dinner so I decided to cook ema datshi (the Bhutanese chili with cheese dish) for dinner with the ingredients gifted from Luzee and brought by Sangay (thank you both of you!)

Home cooked ema datshi from Bhutan!!! :)

Hmmm... it tasted really delicious! Both my son and I finished it. Although my fingers felt burn, my heart was filled with happiness!!! My Sunday became full of activities instead of sleep, eat, read, as I planned initially!

And Sangay, yes, this post is for you! :D It was nice meeting you! Wish you have a wonderful stay here in Singapore and enjoy your conference! Take care and see you again! Perhaps soon! ^^

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Around India in 80 Trains by Monisha Rajesh

Indian Railways - New Delhi, India

Sonam Tenzin has gifted me this book since last year when I visited Bhutan, but only recently I took it out from my shelf and read it. We knew each other from blogging and he knew that aside from writing blog, I loved traveling so much!!! That was why he chose this particular book for me. Well, that's what I thought as the reason why he gave me this, as the content of this book had inspired me to travel more, especially towards the Incredible India, the vast land with rich and diverse cultures that had so much things to offer.

However, I was wrong!!!

Around India in 80 Trains - Monisha Rajesh

"Good luck with your reading of the book. I wish to read this kind of books written by you someday. Travelling girl."

The above was what he commented upon seeing the book's photo in my Instagram page. Oh momo... He was actually inspiring me to write a book, instead of to travel!!! Hehehe... :) Name same kadinche la Nuchu! Thank you for your kind wishes and inspiring thought for me. I appreciate it very much la!

- Reading is like a travel quote -
This book, was a travelogue written by Indian who was born in Norfolk, UK, and grew up all over England. She read French and taught English before studying postgraduate journalism in London. It was her first book describing her full 4-months journey in India hopping in and out of 80 trains together with Jean Passepartout, a part-time wedding photographer who would like to expand his portfolio with travel photography, her travel companion throughout the journey.

It was based on her true traveling experience and she tried to consolidate all of her thoughts and experience from the journey into a compact 241-pages book. So everything was really written straight to the point and depicted the Indian cultures in her humorous ways.

Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station in New Delhi, India

I didn't know before that someone would want to experience such thing in India. I mean, I just never thought that someone would deliberately travel this way as the way of traveling around India. Not only to reach the destination - sightseeing to beautiful scenery and historical temples and buildings, but also to actually enjoy their life within the train itself. I mean, many took train simply as mode of transport to reach a destination, but not as experience that they were really working on and looking for.

From there, it opened up my eyes towards the locomotive industry in India that I never knew before. From the most luxurious Indian Maharaja Express - like the Deccan Odyssey that they both took as part of their train journey. I found out more about what the package offered on Youtube video as I was wondering what made the fare sooo.... terribly expensive!!! Want to know how expensive it was???

Indian Maharaja - Deccan Odyssey (Pic source:

As tariff for 2016-2017 - for International travelers 8 Days/7 Nights trip - a Deluxe cabin (for twin/double occupancy) cost USD$8,386 and Presidential Suite cost USD$12,579 and for Indian nationals, the Deluxe cabin cost them INR 5,36,710 and Presidential Suit cost INR 8,05,100. Wasn't it surprising you?? Well, it was, at least for me. So it was more like a five-star cruise on wheels. And from the video, you could observe that most of the guests were retirees, rich grannies, professors, and so on. Well, perhaps, it's different now as the author mentioned that she saw a young Swiss couple, Japanese ladies, newly weds were on board too.

The train would stop and park each day. The guests would continue their journey in bus for a day trip, visiting the magnificent places that each stop offered, plus high class meal in luxurious restaurant. Red carpet was spread upon embarking and disembarking the train with welcome dance and garland of flowers put on the guest' neck by the beautiful Indian ladies. All this explained the ridiculous high price it offered.

From there, Monisha too shared her encountered taking the Mumbai local train during peak hours. I watched another Youtube video to see how interesting (horrible) it was. The below picture might give you an idea on how crowded the train station during the rush hour. Even ladies pushed with all their might in order to get in to the train in the ladies compartment.

On my visit to India last year,  I only took one train trip from Delhi to Agra, to visit one of the wonders of the world, the beauty white marbled mausoleum built by the order of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. That too was only one-way trip there as we took bus to return back to Delhi.

This book was for you, if you loved to travel, if you loved to know what's out there outside your own home ground; what's out there in India, yeah, especially in India!!! The food, the people, the culture, the places, the religions, the beliefs, and so on!

All I really want - Quote by Rima Reyka :)

It was definitely for me!!! Thank you again Sonam for gifting me this beautiful travelogue. I couldn't promise that I would fulfill your wish - to read this kind of book written by me. However I believed that you had read lots of my traveling stories here, on this very blog of mine; from many different countries that I'd visited before. I might not capable in writing delicate and rich words like Monisha did in her book, but hope with my simple English, you could feel as if you were in my journey too, with pictures tagged all over, full of memories with everyone I ever met during my trips. One day, I will definitely meet you in person, and write the story here, as part of my travel blog post :) Shall we wish on that instead??? :)                                    

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

When Breath Becomes Air - Paul Kalanithi

No one is able to escape the death. The newborn babies, the successful and riches, the beautiful and young, the poor, the oldies, in fact, anyone, eventually one day we will all go to the same destination.

Paul Kalanithi  (Pic source:

Death and life in the eye of Paul Kalanithi, a 36 years old man. Graduated from Standford University with a BA and MA in English literature, and BA in human biology. He too had MPhil in history and philosophy of science and medicine from the University of Cambridge and graduated cum laude from the Yale School of Medicine. He returned to Standford to complete his residency training in neurological surgery and a postdoctoral fellowship in neuroscience as it was his calling and passion to become a neurologist.

Birth and death - Samuel Beckett

He felt pain on his body and later on found out that he was diagnosed with stage IV of lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live.

What makes life worth living in the face of death? He had been asking this throughout his life. Through his experience he shared what agony he faced through the living, dying, and already dead body from his medical and philosophical point of view.

When breath becomes air- Paul Kalanithi 

Finally I managed to borrow and read this book. It's his dream to use his love and passion in literature to write the book before he disappeared from this world. Although he couldn't manage to finish writing it, he tried as best as he could to convey what he felt, his experience towards the upcoming dying, the unknowing time, which was later than what he expected and earlier than what he desired.

His wife, Lucy, continued the chapter at the last part, vividly expressed their feelings towards that final day and her gratitude towards the man that she loved deeply. It made me crying my heart out as I could feel their loss and pain. He had chosen his way on how to spend the rest of his life. Thank you Paul and Lucy to share your life with us. Rest in peace Paul...

Monday, May 16, 2016

Queue for San Bu Yi Bai Ticket at Kwang Meng San Temple

Today my alarm rang at 3.30 am. I saw my bestie greeting me 'Good morning' from the what's app. I got up from the bed, went to the kitchen, boiled the water, prepared two set of cheese sandwich, then went to toilet to wash my face, brush my teeth, and change my clothes. At 3.50 am, she arrived with the Taxi at the bus stop nearby my house. I got in and we directly headed to the temple.

I had my first San Bu Yi Bai  (三步一拜) seven years ago together with my ex-colleague. She was the one who introduced me this. San Bu Yi Bai meaning - "Devotees usually line up to meditatively circumambulate the perimeter of the temple, bowing once every three steps, while chanting mantras or the name of the Buddha in praise of Him. This practice helps to purify the Mind, humble the ego and lessen obstacles along the spiritual Path." Some said that this practice would help to lessen our bad karma from previous life. 

That time both of us did not have ticket at all but tried our luck by going there and see if there was anyone who could not make it at the last minute and gave their spare tickets to us, A year later, I went together with my son (second attempt). It was when my son was still a Saturday/Sunday school's student and we were having privileged to have this procession - not on actual day - in a quieter environment and held early in the morning, instead of evening time.

Year after year I attended it again together with my bestie and dear son at the same temple, except last year, when we could not get our tickets and we ended up having the San Bu Yi Bai at Fo Guang Shan Temple at Punggol.

Dragon-long-like-queue for San Bu Yi Bai tickets at Kwang Meng San Temple

Due to our last year's experience - we reached KMSPKS before 8 am and found the dragon-long-like-queue and no chance in getting the ticket - so this year, we were determined to reach the temple, as early as 4 am!!! It was my first time queuing this early. In fact, other than getting into the airport for early flight departure, I would never go out so early like this.

Sat down, slept, brought your own chair, whatever....

However, we were not the only one who came that early. When we reached, there had already been more than 200 people queuing there, in front of us. And it was only around 4.15 am! OMG!!! Heard that those queued in front line were there since last night, after the lighting the Lantern activities held. And some came as early as 2 or 3 am. Hahaha.... Well, it was not a big surprise for Singaporeans to queue this way. Just like Hello Kitty craze or queuing for the new iPhone, or even queuing for their superstar, and so on. But for religious event, this was one of the most wanted tickets that worth queuing.

Queued on wee hours - San Bu Yi Bai - Kwang Meng San 

I thought it was going to be boring to wait until the ticket collection time arrived. I brought coffee and book. My bestie brought newspaper and books to read. However, we were totally wrong!!! The people who queued in front of us, and at the back of us, we ended up making a lengthy conversation throughout the waiting time.

Time flew so fast and new friendship was made. Gan en :)

The shimmering face Aunty who was sitting in front of us was an old timer who usually queued at the first batch - that started at 5pm. She came with her husband and son, and a group of old timers. She was 62 years old this year and had been doing the San Bu Yi Bai for the past 20 years. She didn't look that old though and had a beautiful skin on her face that many people asked her for the secret cream that she applied. She too, did the voluntary work at the Kwan Im Temple in Bugis, the temple that I usually went to pray. No wonder I found her face so familiar, like I'd seen her before.

She told us many stories relating to her belief and devotion to the Goddess of Mercy or Avalokiteshvara. She kept saying '感 恩' read - gan en' - which means grateful, almost in every of her sentence, which made me believe the power of gratitude from whatever religion that you hold. She also told us the benefit of chanting any Buddhist mantra - in any language that you are familiar with. The easiest one that she recommended was 'Om mani padme hum'.

Om Mani Padme Hum (Soure:

This six syllables invoked a very powerful benevolent attention and blessings of Chenrezig or Avalokiteshvara - as the embodiment of compassion. She truly believed with the compassion given by the Goddess of Mercy into her life, which reminded me a lot of my own mother. The love given by her to her children, her spouse, it was so much as great as my mom. I could imagine well how worried my mom when I studied overseas for few years, in a place so faraway. How she worried towards my other siblings who also went overseas to study for years. Her faith towards the God's above, towards the Goddess of Mercy was there and running down to us now.

I felt deeply grateful for everything that happened into my life, that shaped me into who I am now. I believed so much with the karma and past life. I believed with the connection, fate, for whoever I met in this life and for every situation that we lived in. I thanked my parents who had brought me up so well, infused us with a taste of education, into our well-being, ensured us to have enough food, clothing, and happiness in life. And above all, I conveyed my heartfelt gratitude to Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha, who had always been with me, guiding me through in this current life's journey. I was lost before but I knew my fate would always be with you. Thank you, thank you, and thank you.

Thank you for the vegetarian meal you prepared and offered to us :)

The time passed so fast. The sky turned brighter unknowingly. The sun rose without we realized it. Then, it was time that we finally collected our tickets, and had a blessed simple vegetarian meal from the temple. Thank you for all the staffs who prepared it for us.

The queue still went on from inside the eating place

We went to pray before going back home, to express our gratitude once again. We finally had been given a chance to do this again, on the Vesak day, that would fall next week. I planned to bring my son with me. I hope his fate with Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha, would continuously be there all through his life. I might not be able to be a good mom, nor a good teacher to him. But I hope I could lead and connect him into the Buddhahood. Let him find his way later on in his life.

Mission accomplished!!! :)

Thank you SB for the good karma, for the privilege and opportunity we would have. May all sentient beings benefit from it. Sabbe Satta Bhavantu Sukhitatta. May all sentient beings be happy. Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu. Svathi Hothu. Nammo Buddhaya. Amituofo.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

But you're just a boy...

Beautiful night life

It was a cooling and breezy Friday night. People gathered around the round tables in an alfresco pub, shielded by transparent glass with white ceiling fans on top running in full blast. Many small potted plants with colorful summer flowers occupied the wooden barriers that held the area closed. 

Seemed like the rain had just poured for a while that caused the stony floor outside looked so glazy and shimmering. The small lamp in each table changed its color every five seconds - from red to yellow, yellow to green, green to blue, blue to purple, and back to red again - illuminating the dark night. The place was pretty crowded. People chatter and laughter occupied the area. Clinking sound from the beer bottles and whiskey glasses made it a complete combination to get rid the stresses from the long week's away.

From where I stood, I saw you standing so close with another girl, wearing the smart pants and jacket with tie that I bought for you on your Birthday. She looked so young, pretty, curvy, with fresh bosoms appeared  from the sexy red tight-fit dress that she was wearing. Her lip was full and shining red, with rows of white teeth appeared when she was laughing. It was when you whispered some words to her ears so close that it almost touched. 

And then you saw me. 

Your reaction changed almost immediately. You left her right away and walked towards me. You were smiling and said hi. You tried to hug and kiss me but instead, I walked away. We ended up going back home with no conversation made inside the taxi. 

As I removed my make up in front of the dressing table, I said this to you, "You know, when you act like that..., I don't think you realize that how it makes me look..., or feel." 

You  laughed and replied, "Act like what?? Why are you so jealous? 'Cos it's not like I'm sleeping with the girl..." 

It was exactly like a scene in Beyoncé's song!!! What??? Is this for real??? You're kidding me!!!

But you’re just a boy
You don’t understand
Yeah, you don’t understand, oh...
How it feels to love a girl someday
You wish you were a better man
You don’t listen to her
You don’t care how it hurts
Until you lose the one you wanted
'Cause you’ve taken her for granted
And everything you had got destroyed

But you’re just a boy...

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Morning journal - GRATITUDE :)

Writing morning journal inside this comfortable public bus, on my way to work, gives me a sense of privacy, a "me-time", a moment, where I can speak to my heart of what I feel every morning, everyday, with a fresh mind, fresh brain.

Morning journal :)

Most often or not, gratitude feeling is what I conveyed as a fresh beginning, as I fold a new and mysterious day. It constitutes "living in the present moment", awareness of gratitude that most of us are blessed with great health, have enough sleep every night, have sufficient food and drink to sustain our physical body, have a job as chance to earn sufficient earning, for the presence of our loved ones everywhere in this world, for the love I'm able to give and receive, and so on.

Gratitude - The Magic by Rhonda Byrne 

The list is too long and it's a never ending feeling I have. There are always things to be grateful with.

Gratitude - The Magic by Rhonda Byrne 

Just like the above quote said, gratitude feeling can easily alter your mood. That grouchy feeling you encounter the day before due to many unhappiness or unfairness things in life, the unlovable feeling you have when someone break your heart, can't get what you want or make your dream come true, all that can change in a second, even millisecond, at the moment you think of gratitude.

Blessed with beautiful sunrise every morning! :)

It allows you to think positive instead. With the believe that everything happens for a reason - only for a good reason - you'll be able to start your day happier and live it fuller. So, find your "me-time" and empty notebook with a pen (if you don't have one, message me your name and address and I'll send you one). Start having this habit and see if your life changes tremendously for the better :)

Monday, May 02, 2016

MacRitchie Trails Part 3 – MacRitchie Reservoir

Natural beauty -  MacRitchie Reservoir, Singapore

Last Sunday we were blessed with a very nice weather! Seemed like it was just raining the night before. The soil was still wet and leaves were dotted with dew :) Like usual, we all met at Bishan bus interchange at 7.15 am. Since my friend and I reached early, we managed to have our coffee at the staff cafeteria located just above it before we took bus 52 and stopped at Blk 454.

MacRitchie Trails Map (Photo Courtesy: Singapore National Parks)

This time, we walked along the MacRitchie Reservoir, but through passing by the Jelutong tower and walked all the way down to the south from our usual Venus car park entrance – see the map above for clearer picture.

Panorama view from Jelutong tower - MacRitchie trails, Singapore

Beautiful nature surrounding the Jelutong tower - MacRitchie trails, Singapore

It’s my first time walking through this route and again, I was amazed with the view it offered from the Jelutong tower. The jungle or forest view that I never thought that Singapore still had and preserved - pardon me as I was not born here so my impression towards Singapore was actually filled with man made things (including river, waterfall, etc), and high rise buildings.

Beauty of the flora - MacRitchie trails, Singapore

MacRitchie Reservoir, Singapore

Lovely view! - MacRitchie Reservoir, Singapore

Pristine nature - MacRitchie Reservoir, Singapore

The view of the reservoir and its surrounding calmed my heart and mind too...

Walking trail at MacRitchie Reservoir - Singapore

The path that we took, simply mesmerizing :) I would never get bored to walk through it over and over again. I wish Singapore had many more places like this. I wish Singapore had mountains too so that we could refresh and fill our mind with more such pristine nature...

Great walk accompany!!! :)

With morning walk khaki together, it wrapped up my weekend beautifully!!!

Our workout details :)

And as the above was the workout details, the journey we'd been through together!!! If you started feeling bored with shopping mall, never too late to start this habit and keep your health at bay!!! ;) Wish you all had a wonderful long weekend and beautiful week ahead!! Thank you for reading! Catch up the MacRitchie trails part 1 and part 2, and decide your journey!!! :)
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