Thursday, November 28, 2013

Tales My Lama Told Me by David Lai

Recalled what my friend told me, yes, I am having some Buddhist root and in my past life I must have got good connection with Buddhist teaching.

My parents are coming from a strong Chinese culture background passed down by my grandparents and ancestors who came originally from China. Both of them always pray to Tian Gong (heavenly God) using joystick, put it into a small cone hung on the wall outside our house almost every night.

Every year my parents would wake up early in the morning to go to the market and buy chicken, pork, vegetables, fruits, cakes, etc., then they would cook and prepare a table full of food and pray to my grandparents who had passed away many years ago, and another time praying to the other God. On this day, all of us (children and grandchildren) needed to help up such as: preparing the food, laying it on the table, folding the hell notes, etc. Then we would gather, start to pray, put our joysticks inside the can filled with rice (red paper written with the names of the person/God intended to was sticked into it). While waiting for the joysticks to burn, which usually took about 2-3 hours time, we would sit nearby the table chasing out the fly and sometimes the cat, chit chatting, and after, burnt the money together.

My parents would regularly drive around the island when we were young, visit one temple to another, at the same time we took it as family vacation. They would equip themselves with packets of joysticks, candles, and pray there. Before going back home, he would pass the donation to the temple.

My parents never set an altar at home. They do have statues of some Gods, such as: statue of Goddess of Compassion or Kwan Im, Guan Yu or commonly called Guan Gong – who is perceived to bless the upright and protect them from the wicked, and so on. Every midnight on Chinese New Year’s Eve, both of them would go to the temple and pray to all Gods inside the temple.

Short to say, both of them have learned a lot from Chinese Confucius (basis in common Chinese tradition and belief, which championed strong family loyalty, ancestor worship, respect for elders by their children and husband by their wives, and so on. One early version of the Golden rule was “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself.” The Taoism impact was to live in harmony.

These are things we’ve learned from them. My parents always put an emphasis to ensure we, as family, siblings, to live in harmony, protect those who is weak, support and help each other, do not give unnecessary burden, share what we have, teach our children well, and so on. These are actually the valuable treasures given to us.

My father never steps into the temple to sit and listen to the Dhamma, nor does he chant any paritta or Buddhist chanting. However, he knows what is right and what is wrong. He has done his responsibility well as a son, a parent, a brother, a grandparent, a friend, and so on. He knows the basic rules in life not to harm others, not to be selfish, share when you have more and while still alive, and he believes a lot in karma. Many people he knows that did bad things in their lives had received their bad karma, mainly resulting in short life due to sickness. No matter how bad other treated him (including his former best friend), he was just accepting it and not even once he had a thought of getting revenge or making him suffer. Because at the end, it was all karma that works in this universe.

Unlike him, I had learned about Buddhism since primary school one up to class six. That was where I got my basic Buddhism teaching (more on Theravada Buddhism). After that, I went to Christian and Catholic school. However, I started going to temple since I was 16 years old for another 3 years. When I was studying abroad, I just visited any temple that was available. Even until now, it’s just like that.

But during my traveling time, I observed about any Buddhist teachings in different countries, different sects, like Mahayana, Tantrayana, Vajrayana. Although the way they do is different, but the basic teachings are still the same. Sometimes I was amazed by it. I respect all the different sects because at the end all teaches the same, about Buddhism.

Tales My Lama Told Me by David Lai

Lately I wish I have good karma to learn more about Tibetan Buddhism. Lots of time I don’t know why they do this and that, what chants they are praying, and so on. Also, I feel that my karma is not good enough that I don’t learn much about it. So when I went to library about two weeks ago, I saw this book, ‘Tales My Lama Told Me’, written by David Lai. I immediately borrowed and slowly read it. Since I don’t have good karma yet to have Guru to guide or to learn, so why not borrowed and read from other people’s experience?

H.E. Tsem Rinpoche - photo taken from his biography official website

This book consists of 2 parts. Part 1 – Chapter 1 to 12 consist of stories that H.E. Tsem Rinpoche told the writer about popular traditional tales that have been told for generations in the monastery, while Part 2 – Chapter 13 to 21 consist of stories from Rinpoche’s own experience. I am halfway reading it and feel grateful being able to read all those stories I’d never heard before and there are many things we can learn from Rinpoche’s own life experience. Currently Rinpoche is living in Malaysia. He has a very interesting background, believed to reincarnate from Lama of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism in his previous life, was bornt in Taiwan, moved to US then India, and finally founded and became spiritual guide of Kechara House Buddhist Association in Malaysia.

It’s interesting to read about his life’s background, showing that even as Rinpoche, life is not bed of roses. Whatever karma brought from the past life, we still have to pay it in any time of our lives. He has gone through a lot of suffering during his younger time. However, he took it all positively and taught us some important lessons in life.

Below I quote from his phrases in this book:

“What I am trying to say here is that whenever you have a chance to do something for others, you should do it. When you have an opportunity to make a difference, you should do it. When you have a chance to learn something or to absorb something, you should do it. You should get your priorities right and you should ensure your future with it. This is because a lot of people out there do not have such an opportunity or chance. They suffer tremendously; I know a lot of people like that. We shouldn’t waste this chance.” He wrote this as the harsh training that he got while growing up with his mother came in useful to serve his Lama and the center.

“We really have it easy when our parents allow us to have freedom and we can basically do whatever we want. But if we continuously fail, disappoint, burden, hurt, damage, break our promises and are flippant about our freedom, then it is a wasted opportunity. People can only remind us and tell us off so many times. Such opportunities can run out, time will run out and the good days will come to an end. Why is it that some of us are born into torture and hell? Why is it that some of us are born into an easy life with no responsibilities? You have to realize that this is the force of karma.”

These were his words when speaking about his abusive mother, “She didn’t want to talk to me and that hurt me very badly. I cried then because forgiving someone who has done so much harm to you in body, speech and mind is not easy. It is not easy at all to forgive someone who hurt you emotionally, damaged you psychologically and physically hurt you all the time.

When you have a lot of pain and difficulty and you know the Dharma, you learn to accept and let go but the pain doesn’t go away. Accepting doesn’t make what happened go away or cause that hurtful person to go away. But what does go away is your feeling that you can’t do it, you can’t make it, you can’t be successful or that you are worthless. That feeling goes away and you will start to feel that you can actually succeed.”

“Another thing I am trying to say here is not to take anyone for granted. When someone comes along and gives you a gift, financial help or advice that really works because it was given out of care, you should really treasure that person. You should never forget such a kind person and you should always return their kindness in gifts or whatever is necessary to repay their kindness. That is why I always give a lot of gifts to people” – Rinpoche got that from his mother as she was very generous. But afterwards, he gives a lot is because of the Dharma and from his experiences growing up.

The writer also wrote about Rinpoche’s journey of learning in giving dharma talks under his Guru’s pressure. Sometimes it was funny and reflection the common human behavior and feelings. After all, Rinpoche is also human being. You can read more about him here and the link of his blog here. Overall, it is an interesting story on this book and it gives me knowledge that I might not be able to obtain it myself. If you have a chance to see this book, you can read it for yourself. Happy reading! :)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Your Assignment: Reflect, Learn, Grow

I'm pretty busy this week with work and have no time to think and write. However,  yesterday night before I slept,  I read this article below from the Positive Thoughts website,  found it very true and useful, therefore,  I would love to share it with you here. Click here for the website link.

"When someone is in your life for a REASON, it may be they have come to assist you through a difficulty, or to provide you with guidance. They may be in your life to support you physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

A difficult person can challenge you to grow in patience, forgiveness, and/or understanding. Some people may test your strength, commitment, willpower, determination, and/or ethics. A positive and supportive person who comes into our life may seem like a blessing and godsend; and they are. In either case, the person has come into your life for the reason needed.

One day, seemingly without any reason, the relationship may come to an end. This may happen over time as you drift apart, or more suddenly. It may be a positive experience such as someone getting married or moving to another city to take a job offer. Or, the relationship may end through negative circumstances that force you to take a stand on an issue.

What we must realize is that a need has been met – for you and for them. Perhaps it was an unknown need, or maybe it was an answer to a prayer. If the relationship has ended, then reflect, give thanks, consider what you learned, think about what you could/would do better next time (even if you felt the relationship was a good one), forgive if needed, hope/wish/pray the best for that person, and then move on in your journey.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON — an extended period of time. Just as there are seasons for planting, growing, and harvesting; in your  life, there are seasons when you are prepared to learn, grow, or produce. There are other times in your life when you’re not prepared to grow, learn, or even listen. So, when someone comes into your life at a certain season, it is (hopefully) because the timing is right for what they can offer you.

This person may bring you an experience of great peace, joy, or happiness. They may empower you to do something you have never done before. They may you assurance and strengthen your self-confidence. Accept this, and embrace it. It is real. Yet, maybe for only for a season.

Consider… In life, you may have tasks on a To Do list as well as long-term projects that need to be pursued over a period of weeks, months, or years. In the same way, those who come into your life for a short-term Reason, may help you check something off our To Do list. Those who come into your life for a Season will (hopefully) remain for the duration of a more complex long-term purpose.

Some people are in your life for a LIFETIME. These people are, perhaps, the greatest blessing because they stick with you through the Reasons, Seasons, and through your entire lifetime. Lifetime relationships teach you lifetime lessons. These are often qualities, skills, and aspects of your character you must build upon in order to have a solid foundation for yourself and in service to others. Be sure to acknowledge, value, be thankful for, and love the people who are in your life for a lifetime. Apply what you have learned. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

Your Assignment: Reflect, Learn, Grow

Take time to be intentionally and contentiously thankful for everyone in your life; whether they are in your life for a Reason, a Season, or a Lifetime. Know that you are in other peoples’ lives for a Reason, a Season, or a Lifetime. Re-read the above writing, and think about your family, friends, colleagues, clients, and acquaintances. As yourself, “What calling and purpose am I best equipped to help this person in their life on their life’s journey?” You may or may not feel you know if you are in their life for a Reason, a Season, or a Lifetime. Consider, meditate, and pray about how you can best be of service on every level for everyone you know. If you’re in someone’s life for a reason, don’t bail out on them prior to seeing things through. Know that most relationships are two ways. Don’t presume you are in someone’s life to serve them for a reason or season without considering what it is you need to learn from them."

When reading it for first time, I was like, Wow, I was so amazed by it!! This article blew my mind. In fact, I just encountered it quite recently. Tell me, did you think of someone when you read the above? Like,  the people who came into your life for a season, the people who are in your life for a life time?? I did. And unknowingly, when relationship ended, I reflected on what had happened all this while, gave thanks to that person (even my friend called me 'Buddha' as I was doing this... lolx! ), considered what I have learned, thought about what I could/would do better next time, forgave the person, hoped/wished/prayed the best for that person, and then moved on in my journey.

I am quite lucky though, having some people who are sticking in my life for a life time. They are my greatest blessings in my life.  I can't stop being grateful and thank them for being there for me in good and bad times, and their incessant efforts to make me happy to live in this life. Their supports, loves, and prayers have made me complete and full of love, ready to give my love back to those who need it. Thank you,  thank you, and thank you. You know who you are :)

Hopefully you can do this assignment too in your life continously, to reflect,  learn,  and grow. Have a great day everyone!!! :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Treat people equally - taken from journal 12th April 2013

"When you know your worth,
no one can make you feel worthless."

I believe everyone is 'unique'. We are all equipped with our own positive and negative traits; strength and weaknesses; our own capabilities; goals and dreams - that no single person will be the same with another, even though they are twins.

We all have different backgrounds in life. We grow up and walk in different ways,  and all that what makes us today. Everyone is having values. But only those who realize their worth, will be happier in life. Not a single person will affect their thinking.

Never never look down on anyone in life. We all are same, being bornt as human being. Came with nothing and go without bringing anything. And other people also has no right to look down on us. Therefore,  respect everyone, treat people the way you want to be treated, with compassion and gentleness. Train your mind for happiness, for all sentient beings :)

Lhabab Duchen Day

Yesterday afternoon I saw unknown name on my We Chat apps on my handphone. I almost deleted it, but something stopped me. I thought, if the person knows me, he/she would send me message. So I just left the name there under my contact list.

At night time, suddenly my phone blinked in green. There were three voice messages from the unknown name.

"Hi OC, how are you? It's good to see you at the We Chat here. Actually I haven't got your We Chat, I don't know why, but today because my phone was hang, I went to repair it. After taking more than 3 hours to fix it, I had to re-add everybody, then I saw you, so I added you in. So you were in Bhutan recently, weren't you? When did you visit? I haven't visited it yet. Really want to go. My friend has asked me to go there and wanted to invite me so that I can go use the invitation Visa, but I haven't got time to go yet. Maybe next year, because I want to go to Tibet first. 

Are you a Buddhist believer? I just want to share with you. Tomorrow, according to the Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhist, tomorrow is the day where Buddha descent from heaven down to the earth after he attained the enlightenment to give teaching. So it's a very holy and auspicious day. Whatever virtues that you did will be multiplied by million, and vice versa. So if you can, tomorrow you can chant your own prayer and be vegetarian for a day, I think it will be very good.

Oh btw I forgot to tell you. I've changed my name now, to YY, no more calling SP. Because a few Buddhist friends told me that my name was not good, so I decided to change it. So I'm called YY now. I think it sounds good also. People may not get used to it. But I prefer you to call me my new name, so it will work for me. Ok, good night."

Ahhh.... then I knew who was the person. By hearing to the voice I knew it was SP, my ex-school mate many years back. She is Malaysian Chinese and although she was studying there only for a year, we had good relationship as friend. Even after we graduated and came back to Asia, we still kept in touch and sometimes met each other whenever she came to Singapore.She is very active, committed and and dedicated Buddhist believer. It's great to hear from her again.

So I replied her message using the voice message back to her. I told her that I almost deleted the unknown name haha... I also told her about my recent Bhutan trip and asked her back how was she now? Talked about her plan to Tibet and asked her if she had been to Dharamsala before.

She replied, "Wow, you're so lucky, you have good merit you know to be able to visit a holy place. So you went on a tour? With some friends? Or with your families? And how much the visa cost now per day? And have you been to Tibet before? I've been to Dharamsala twice and I'm going to India in December. I'm going to three places actually. Firstly I am going to attend Puja, my Guru in Himachal Pradesh, which is very far away. After that I will fly back to Delhi. I'm going to Dehradun to visit my Guru Rinpoche. After that I will go to Bodhigaya and Varanasi.

So I'll be spending about 3 weeks in total. I'll be back to KL on 6th January. I'll be going with my two other girlfriends, one is Singaporean and one is Taiwanese. So this will be my longest stay in India. I've never stayed so long in India before. I was supposed to go to Bodhigaya end of January for the Nyingma Monlam but since because my Taiwanese friend really wanted to go there as she has never been there, so I decided to take her along. And this monk is free to bring us, so it's a good opportunity. That's why I won't go in January but in December instead. So are you free thinker now or are you a little bit of Buddhist now?

But for sure, you have some Buddhist root, you know OC. Because even though you are not a strong Buddhist believer, but you're able to visit Bhutan, such a holy Buddhist land, so for sure in your past life you have got good connection with Buddhist teaching. I just let you know tomorrow is the Buddha's descent from heaven down. So it's a very very holy and auspicious day. All the Tibetan monasteries will be doing sixteen Arahat Puja, other Puja, lamp lighting. So if you can you just become vegetarian, half day or whole day, whatever la. Shui yuan la (goes with the flow)."

After that I replied her with longer messages. Before ending it, she said she would contact and meet up with me when she visits Singapore next year.

Due to her message, I told myself before sleeping, "Alright. I might not a very committed and dedicated Buddhist believer like her, but at least, I should be able to be vegetarian tomorrow, at least half day."

I slept quite late yesterday and woke up very late too, at about 11.30am hahaha... My half-day vegetarian was almost gone right? After waking up, I straightly went outside and sat at dining table. I saw a plastic bag filled with snacks from Korea. My hubby said, it was given by my mother-in-law's friend who just came back from Korea.
I took a look at it. There were few packets of seaweed. Korea is well-known for its seaweed snacks. It's written 'spicy', so I put it back. I'm not so fancy of seaweed though, especially spicy one, to be eaten in the morning.

Mandarin Chocolate from Jeju, South Korea

But there were other things there, a small box. Outside the box, it was written Jeju Harubang mandarin chocolate. Wow!! Jeju is well-known for its tangerine orchard. I immediately opened the box up. There were 7 small packs of plastic wrapped chocolates inside. I opened the wrapper up. Wow!! A cute grandfather's stone shape chocolate (see the photo above).

I put it inside my mouth almost immediately. Hm... nyummy... It melted inside. Then I realized... err... Was I supposed to be vegetarian today?? And it was only half past eleven, not even twelve o'clock yet. Hahahahaha... "I guess they don't use meat to make the chocolate,"excused myself, and I went to toilet to take a bath. Lolx!!!

From Facebook, I found out more about the holy and auspicious day that my friend told me. See below:

Lhabab Duchen

"Lhabab Düchen is one of the four Buddhist festivals commemorating four events in the life of the Buddha, according to Tibetan traditions. Lhabab Düchen occurs on the 22nd day of the ninth month on a Tibetan calendar. This is a Buddhist festival celebrated to observe the descent of Buddha from heaven back to earth. Buddha had left for heaven at the age of 41, having ascended to The Heaven of Thirty-Three (Trayastrimsa) in order to give teachings to benefit the gods in the desire realms and to repay the kindness of his mother by liberating her from Samsara. He was exhorted by his follower and representative Maugalyayana to return, and after a long debate managed to return. This is considered to be one of the eight great deeds of the Buddha. He returned to earth by a special triple ladder prepared by Viswakarma, the god of machines. On Lhabab Duchen, the effects of positive or negative actions are multiplied ten million times. It is part of Tibetan Buddhist tradition to engage in virtuous activities and prayer on this day."

So, this afternoon we went to Bugis. We had our lunch first. I bought vegetarian fried bee hoon with fake char siew, stir-fried cabbage and crispy tofu skin, ate two pieces of chee kweh - made of rice flour and water, topped with preserved radish and eaten with chilli, plus a bowl of ah balling peanut soup.Hahaha.. :D I had this believe that I would be very fast getting hungry when I ate vegetarian food. That's why I ate so much this afternoon. Lolx! Anyway, it was my brunch as I skipped the morning breakfast, again, excusing myself :P We went praying at Kwan Im temple afterwards, then shopped around at nearby shopping mall.

Bugis Junction had changed a lot. It had undergone renovation. Wow!! I felt lost ya!! I went there many times but never went inside as usually my visit was only to go to Kwan Im temple to pray before heading back to office during lunch time. We had a break again at about 3.30pm. My son bought a vegetarian bee hoon at another stall, which tasted good hehehe... I took some bites plus the vegetarian curry puff. Hmm.. nyummy.... :D

Clouds at Punggol
After going back home, I tried to read my book. However, only after reading for a while, I fell asleep. When I woke up, it's fifteen past six already. I saw the weather was good outside. I washed my face, took my handphone, earpiece, my home key, took my bicycle, then went out. I slowly took my time enjoying the beautiful clouds above me. It was sunset time but the sun was too low to be seen. I could see the dark orange slowly swallowed by the water behind the bushes and I continued my cycling to another direction.
Suddenly I felt hungry. There was curry chicken back home, which obviously I couldn't eat. I thought of buying food outside but I didn't bring my bicycle lock's key, so I decided to go home. Once reached home, I went into the kitchen, checked inside the fridge.

It reminded me the time when I was hungry at one evening in Thimphu. Riku immediately went to his kitchen and whipped something out for me. Once it's ready, he called me out. He cooked a small bowl of noodles.

Wow!! I was so touched ya. People usually said, "Action was louder than words." Hehehe... just kidding. Anyway, he cooked it for me and it was made of onion, tomatoes and noodle. That was almost exactly with what I cooked just now, but with slight different ingredients. I used red shallot, tomatoes, cabbage, chilli, and Chinese white noodles. To be frank, both were tasteless. Well, you know, we didn't use much ingredients, no meat, and as simple as possible. Therefore, I had to add the Indonesian sambal chilli to eat it with, then it tasted much better. Riku knew that it didn't taste that great, but I really appreciated his effort to prepare and cook it for me, and honestly, I miss the taste of his noodles. Thank you very much Riku for all that you've done for me!!!

I felt very full and satisfied. So, there was my whole day of how I spent the holy and auspicious day. I listened to some chant song (before I fell asleep), and not much of virtue deed though. However, just tried my best to always think positive. Hope all of you had a much better way to spend the day so that all your good virtues would be multiplied by million times in your life and vice versa. Have a great week ahead everyone!!! :)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

One fine afternoon - Always look on the bright side of life

Clarke Quay,  Singapore

It's just another hot afternoon. Lunch time started at 1pm today. "Our cafeteria food was not nice today. You'd better go out and eat," claimed my few colleagues who had their lunch earlier. No wonder I saw few other colleagues brought in Subway bags, some brought in paper cup from McDonald's stating that they're just buying their lunch outside.

I took a look at the food to witness it myself. Yellow pale fried rice with some eggs,  blocks of tofu with soya sauce,  mussels with sauce, not well- cooked vegetables. "Hmmm..... I'd better eat outside," I told myself. I asked my colleague to join me but he had already started his meal at canteen. So I decided to buy a bowl of "ba cho mee" or pork noodles with one piece of fish ball and fried dumpling each plus tea with milk, take away.

I knew the weather was pretty hot outside but I had my favorite place to sit after lunch, facing the Singapore River, and it was shadowed by the building so it wasn't hot at all despite there was sunlight exposure nearby :)

And guess what? Today it's pretty windy here, quite unusual. Nevertheless it didn't stop me enjoying my noodles and tea. From here I could see many people smoking facing the river, tourists taking photos, people sitting down under the tree and playing their handphones and so on.

I loved this place so much. It's one of the reasons on why I sticked working at my company :) If it counted altogether,  I've been working here for almost 8 years.

I loved the serenity of the lake and the river, not so much of sea. Perhaps I loved more on the peace and stability of it, and not so vast in size. Something more controllable :)

As I wrote this blog,  I was listening to this song,  "Always look on the bright side of life, " sung by Monty Phyton.

Below was the lyrics. Hope you enjoy your afternoon as I did :)

Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse
When you're chewing on life's gristle
Don't grumble, give a whistle
And this'll help things turn out for the best

And always look on the bright side of life
Always look on the light side of life

If life seems jolly rotten
There's something you've forgotten
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing
When you're feeling in the dumps
Don't be silly chumps
Just purse your lips and whistle, that's the thing

And always look on the bright side of life
Come on!
Always look on the right side of life

For life is quite absurd
And death's the final word
You must always face the curtain with a bow
Forget about your sin
Give the audience a grin
Enjoy it, it's your last chance anyhow

So, always look on the bright side of death
A-just before you draw your terminal breath

Life's a piece of shit
When you look at it
Life's a laugh and death's a joke, it's true
You'll see it's all a show
Keep 'em laughing as you go
Just remember that the last laugh is on you

And always look on the bright side of life
Always look on the right side of life

C'mon Brian, cheer up!

Always look on the bright side of life
Always look on the bright side of life
Worse things happen at sea, you know
Always look on the bright side of life

I mean, what have you got to lose
You know, you come from nothing, you're going back to nothing
What have you lost? Nothing!

Always look on the right side of life...

Nothing will come from nothing, you know what they say?
Cheer up you old bugger, c'mon give us a grin!
There you are, see, it's the end of the film
Incidentally, this record is available in the foyer
Some of us have to got live as well, you know
Who do you think pays for all this rubbish
They're not gonna make their money back, you know
I told them, I said to them, Bernie, I said they'll never make their money back

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


"Have you ever heard of the attitude of gratitude? If you wake up every morning thinking about what you are grateful for you will notice a significant difference in your day. Nothing can keep you down, you go through your day happy and smiling, and you have an overall feeling of all is well. You have released the power within you to design your day.

When you are grateful for what you have then you are happy with what you have. By feeling satisfied, by saying life is good, by choosing to be happy, you attract more good things into your life.

Never take anything for granted. You never know how long you have here on this earth and you never know how long the people you love will be with you. It is so important that you take time to be grateful, to say "I love you", and to take advantage of the happiness surrounding you.

There is always something to be grateful for. Do not wait for a wake up call to shake your world and force you to open your eyes. Take a look around you, open your eyes, count your blessings, choose to be happy with what you have, practice the attitude of gratitude daily and watch more blessings surround you."

Written by Karina Loureira

I found the above was so true and it's a great reminder for all of us not to take everything that we have on our lives for granted. Life is too short and we will never know what will happen tomorrow.

Every morning without fail, when I looked into the mirror, I would smile and see my own reflection in the mirror, thank the above that I was alive, in good health, ready to overcome everyday's challenge in positive way.

When I walked into the MRT station, the first thing that I did, was to look up into the sky and to see how the clouds looked like, what colors and what shapes;  then a smile would appear on my face again,  felt grateful and thankful for the wonderful (good and bad) weather, chance given to breath the fresh air, enjoy the beauty of the nature, all my beloved families, friends, colleagues, and so on.

The 'Emptiness' mantra song on my earpieces calmed my heart and mind as I continued walking and was ready to face another day in front of me,  and to wish that all sentient beings be happy.

Sadhu, sadhu, sadhu.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Run For Hope 2013

Run For Hope 2013

Here we were again!!! :)

We participated the event once again!  One of my friends was overslept so she missed it out this round. Many of my colleagues participated the event too but I couldn't find them after reaching the finish line. Find more about the event here - attended last year.

We went separately as Baobei and I took MRT on our own from home. The weather was extremely good!!! There was no sun and no rain,  but cooling and windy,  perfect for us!  :)

We ran 3.5 km. Baobei's mood was much better too this year. He still tried to run and didn't show black face like last year except that he complained his hungry and empty stomach not long after we started running wakwakwak... ;P

Smiling face was back!!! :)

So once we finished,  we headed to nearest McDonald's and he was enjoying his Breakfast Deluxe Set Meal right away. Compensation for his lost energy and ultimately to make him happy, also hope he wants to join again next year Hahaha... Lolx!!! 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

After 5 years of SLE - in conjuction with Until I Say Good-Bye by Susan Spencer

It’s been months since I bought this book: ‘Until I Say Good-Bye – My Year of Living with Joy,’ by Susan Spencer – Wendel with Bret Witter - but only recently I had time to read it. You could find this book under the self-improvement or inspirational story inside the book store.

One of Susan Spencer favorite quote - soon become mine too :)

In June 2011, Susan Spencer-Wendel learned she had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)—Lou Gehrig’s disease, an irreversible condition that systematically destroys the nerves that power the muscles. While Susan cannot stop the rapid decline of her body and her inevitable death, she refuses to give up on life. A woman of immense strength and indomitable spirit, the forty-five-year-old mother of three has made every day count.

After her diagnosis, Susan began taking special trips: to the Yukon, to see the Northern Lights with her best friend; to Budapest, where she and her husband spent the first two years of their marriage; to Northern California, to meet her birth mother; to Cyprus, the home country of the deceased birth father she never met. But one of her most important adventures was a visit to New York City and Kleinfeld’s Bridal, where she and her fourteen-year-old daughter, Marina—fans of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress—shared an unforgettably moving experience: shopping for the perfect dress for a wedding Susan will not see.

Now, in this unforgettable memoir, she invites readers on her transformational journey, sharing the gratitude and wisdom that guide her. “I am writing about accepting, about living with joy and dying with joy and laughing a helluva lot in the process.” Until I Say Good-Bye is the fulfillment of her final wish: “To make people laugh and cry and hug their children and joke with their friends and dwell in how wonderful it is to be alive.”

Her story is kind of similar with what I have encountered, only that I am much luckier, well, I am not sure if I am much luckier than her now because I can’t find any reason that supporting my statement. The difference is her deteriorating condition is more visible and faster, and it destroys her nerves slowly day by day. While with SLE, you will never know when it comes and attacks you. Read one of the case that happened to one of my Aunt’s niece here. It can just come as and when it wants to come, like a surprise, some sort of cruel karmic retribution I guess hehe…

While reading her book, I can understand her feeling. There was a rejection when she first found out and she tried to ignore it by not visiting the doctor for 2 years until the other symptom came out. I was quite lucky though to find about my sickness early, therefore I could receive early treatment and not to make it worse. There was also strength on me to accept it because I believed that as human being, we couldn’t run ourselves from the four-cycle of human being – to born, sick, old, and die. Eventually those who were born will die one day.  It’s just how we die that making it different.  I was even grateful to find it out early as I would have known earlier on what I really wanted to do in my life.

In one month’s time it will be five years since I was diagnosed with SLE and here is what I wrote in my blog at that point of time: “What I want is a reasonable time in life that is filled with many meaningful events, do things that what I want and like to do, and most importantly, although separated, I would still be closed and in touch w/ my family, especially my parents, brother and sisters, not forgetting my hubby and son.”

Looking back at five years ago, I am wondering if I’ve lived my life according to what I wished and dreamed for. In fact, I felt like I was being re-born and to live again. ‘Always look on the bright side of life’, ‘be positive’, ‘only remember all the good things and experience’, ‘to love and be loved’, ‘get closer with natures’, ‘traveling to many places I’d never been to’, ‘treasure friendships’, ‘do what I love to do like reading, blogging, sharing positivity with others, encouraging and supporting others in my own way’, ‘keep smiling and make others happy’, and many more. That’s what shaping me of who I am today.

I am not perfect though. I have made mistakes in life too, again and again. I am not a good mother, often made my son angry and irritated when I kept asking him to study and not letting him to play his games on Ipad or computer. I didn’t teach him much on his study as I preferred him to learn his own way as one day when he grows up, he has to depend to no one but himself. I didn’t read him story at night and preferred him to read on his own before sleeping as to let him read more books, to learn more words and grammar and to have the reading habit since young. I let him traveling without us, parents, by his side as I wanted him to grow independently and non-attach to thing as nothing is permanent in this world. Sorry Baobei if you think that your life is miserable because of me, but like what other parents do, they do this for your own good.

I am not a good wife either. I often traveled alone for days or even weeks and left my hubby enjoying his life at home with the rest of the family members. I don’t cook often, only when I have mood. I don’t do housework regularly as I often love to have my own ‘me’ time by reading and writing in my room. I often trouble him with lots of things that I wanted too such as installing cable extension inside our toilet so I could listen to the radio whenever I was there,  driving me to our old neighborhood's market so I could eat my favorite breakfast, buying and installing front side of bicycle's light so I was able to cycle safely at night time, pumping the air of my bicycle's tyres to ensure I had a safe cycling journey at all times, and many more.

I am not a good child too. I don’t call home regularly to ask how my parents doing, how their health is. I don’t cook for them as I am not good at cooking so most of the time when they come to Singapore, we will usually eat outside. I don’t give them money to repay back what they have given to me all this while and even until now they still buy or pay me this and that. Maybe they often feel disappointed with me with thing that I wasn’t aware of.

As for the rest of the siblings, I am not your good sister too sometimes but I tried and did my best to spend time together whenever you all came here. I often travel but I don’t buy many things for you as I have restricted budget and too much desire to visit more places in the world. I call you very seldom and chat only when I’m free but doesn’t mean I didn’t read what you all wrote in the chatting conversation.

For all my friends, we may meet less due to our hectic schedules. We contact through chat sometimes only since lots of us live in different countries.

Whatever it is, I just want you all to know, I love all of you and each of you is always in my heart, deeply and sincerely. I remember all of your kindness and love given to me, for the friendship you all share with me and I’m very grateful to have and know you in my life. I have you in my prayers too that all of you are blessed with good health,  wealth,  luck,  and live full of success,  joy,  and happiness :)

Reasonable time seems like so much time for me. I thought within five years time there should be something bad happened to me, which wasn’t. Thank Buddha that so far my regular check-up has shown me good results with nothing to worry about. I even feel that I live a life just like a normal person, or sometimes I even feel that I’m much healthier than the rest who don’t suffer from SLE.

No matter what, I can’t take it for granted. We will never know how much longer I can live in this world. So I will still stick to my wish that I made five years ago, and keep doing what I do as to benefit more people out there and to bring happiness upon other people’s lives. Hope I can do it! Jia you!!!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

25 Habits Of People Who Are Happy, Healthy and Successful

Happiness derives from within :)

Who among us doesn't want to be a happy, healthy and successful human being? Still, it can be easy to lose your way, which is why I've compiled a list of habits you can use to help reach your goals.

So what is it about happy people that makes them the way they are? Below are just some of the ways they separate themselves from the rest of the crowd.

1. They don’t hold grudges.

2. They think outside of the box.

3. They go by a routine and make exercise a part of it. It takes practice to develop healthy habits and stick with them. Once you do, your internal foundation will be strong.

4. They have a supportive tribe,  thereby not wasting time with negative or toxic people.

5. They don’t care about what other people think. Does a tiger lose sleep over the opinion of sheep?

6. They don’t people please.

7. They see difficult and challenging situations as opportunities for personal growth.

8. They consider handling rejection a skill and are resilient.

9. They make time for themselves. Whether it’s getting eight hours of sleep every night, finding 15 minutes to read the newspaper in peace or an hour to go to the gym, they make it a priority — just like everything else. When you take care of yourself, you have a bigger impact on others.

10. They are spiritual. This doesn't necessarily mean religious. It could mean setting aside time for reflection through yoga or meditation.

11. They practice deep breathing.

12. They know there isn’t such a thing as “having it all,” and they’re happy about that. Wouldn’t the world be a boring place for them otherwise?

13. Fear doesn't hold them back. They're ready to take risks.

14. They know how to say “NO,” and don’t hold back. These people have learned to set boundaries. Plenty of them.

15. They learned a great deal from other people whom they admire. Either they had a great mentor, or they took note of how those they aspired to be like handled various situations.

16. They follow their inner guidance. Not only do they have a vision, but they follow it.

17. They give without expecting anything in return.

18. They aren't pretentious or conceited.

19. Passion is what drives them. They authentically believe in what they're doing.

20. They don't complain.

21. They live by their core values in both their professional and personal lives.

22. They're happy to swim against the tide.

23. They finish what they start.

24. They don't compare themselves to other people.

25. They want you to succeed, too.

So,  what are you waiting for???

Start installing those habits into your life now!!! :)

Article written by Kristy Rao 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Forgive and let go - by Marc Chernoff

“The past has no power over the present moment.” ―Eckhart Tolle

There is great value within you right here, right now.  Allow it to come out, willingly and without a struggle.  Instead of trying to get to some other point in your life, give your full attention to doing your very best with the life you are living now.  Instead of believing that you are not there yet, be grateful that you are right where you are meant to be at this moment.

There is great value in every act of forgiveness.  You can forgive yourself, you can forgive others, and you can forgive even when you don’t know exactly who to forgive, because forgiveness is not about who is to blame or who is at fault.  It is about letting go, completely and permanently within yourself.

Forgiveness is recognizing the reality that what has happened has already happened, and that there’s no point in allowing it to dominate the rest of your life.  Forgiveness refreshingly cleans the slate and enables you to step forward.

Are you contemplating revenge?  You know that’s negative thinking getting the best of you.  However, there is a way to seek revenge positively.

How?  Forget about them.  Remember you. Working on a better you is more fulfilling than hanging on to contempt of others.  Let it all go and hold on to your growth and kindness instead.  If you train yourself to consistently be more loving in thoughts and actions, your positive energy will attract more positive results into your current reality.

Be unlike the person or situation that hurt you.  Let go and grow past your pain.  Carry on living well in a way that creates peace in your heart.  The energy you would spend trying to get real revenge can be better spent creating an amazing future for yourself.

The bottom line is that the best revenge is happiness, because nothing drives your adversaries more insane than seeing a fresh smile on your face.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Wise words from my friend

The choice is in your hands :)

Mind is like a huge field, where many varieties of fruits, grains, vegetables, and weed can grow. It is up to you to grow which fruit or vegetables that you want to grow in your field, how and with whom you allow to take care of it.

Same way.

Many different kind of emotion would be born inside your mind. Anger, love, hatred, fear, indifferences, hostility, etc. It is all inside your head.

If you allow love, kindness, helpfulness to grow in your mind, it will grow.

But if you allow hatred, it will grow too.

It is you who will water and put the fertilizer into it.

Therefore,  if you want happiness, you are the person who should bring happiness. Because the other person might bring many other things, such as sadness, inconveniences, problem, etc.

Shantideva – ancient Buddhist Saint from India said, 

“If you think that the road is covered with sharp stones, pebbles, torn and sticks that might hurt your legs and you think about covering the whole stretch of road with carpet, it is very difficult and may even be impossible to cover everything. But you can do something. Start buying yourself a piece of leather and make slippers from it. It doesn’t matter how long the road, you can still walk with slippers. No matter how difficult the life is, if you get prepared, destiny will take care of itself."

Meaning: You must equip yourself with the right tool based on your needs to face challenges in life.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bhutan trip day 7 - Wed, 11 Sep 2013 - Haa Day 2

By the time I woke up, sun had risen up to the sky. Time shown was 8am. I washed my face, brushed my teeth and had rice for breakfast. Chencho went to work while me and Riku went to visit Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) and Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple) in Üsu Gewog.

At first, we thought of having a walk to reach the place, but due to the scorching sun and it took quite long distance to reach the place, we finally took a cab there. Hahaha... No wonder Chencho was raising his eyebrows when Riku told him that we wanted to go there on foot :P

In front of Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) in Haa, Bhutan
When we were there, there were tents prepared for the upcoming Haa Festival (which was held the day after), and group of women rehearsed their singing and dancing. There were constructions going on at the left and right side of the temple.

Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) in Haa, Bhutan
Lhakhang Karpo was built in 7th century by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in his mission to build 108 monasteries. He built Lhakhang Karpo and Lhakhang Nagpo in Haa Valley. According to legend, rays of light emanated from his body. Lhakhang Karpo was built where the bright rays fell and Lhakhang Nagpo where the dark rays fell. Another legend said that a white pigeon and a black pigeon, emanations of Songtsen Gampo, flew to this place from Tibet and landed where the two temples were built. A third legend said that these temples were built by three group of people who emerged from the nearby three brother hills of Haa, known as Miri Phunsum as it was situated at the foothills of the three towering (mountains) venerated as Rigsum Gonpo (Jampelyang: Manjushri, Chana Dorji: Vajrapani, Chenrizig: Avaloketeshvara). (Source: Which legend was correct? Might as well believe all :)

I went inside the temple alone while Riku was waiting outside. Group of monks were chanting and playing the religious instruments. I quickly had my pray and paid a respect to the Lama inside, gave the offering, and came out.

The view behind the Lhakhang Karpo in Haa, Bhutan
After that, Riku and I looked for a way to visit Lhakhang Nagpo.We had no idea where it was located and how to reach that place. Riku was asking the one of the construction workers and he asked us to go up the hill through the back of the temple. We walked carefully up through the scattered stones from the construction site. Wow, the view from the back was beautiful too!!!

On the way to Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple) guided by someone helpful :)
Both of us looked so lost, really had no idea where and how to go. Suddenly, someone helpful appeared from nowhere (as if the Deity knew that we needed a help). He was so kindhearted leading us all the way to the temple. He even warned us not to anyhow touch or disturb the dog who was guarding the temple. Thank you Uncle for your kind help :)

Apple orchid
On the way there, we passed through the apple orchid. Oh, there were so many apples on the trees. I wished I could go in and help them picking up the apples from the tree hehe... but it was all fenced so I'd better not to disturb them.

Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple) in Haa, Bhutan
After seeing the temple, I then understood why it was called Black Temple. There was no one there, and the door was locked. We couldn't go inside. So we just took photos surrounding the temple.

Once done, we continued walking. Both of us took our own sweet time to walk, enjoy the view, take photo, etc. The place was so calm and peaceful. Riku said, "Here is the GNH country supposed to be. Unlike big city, such as Thimphu." I nodded my head. If he, as a Bhutanese, said that, there shouldn't be any reason for me not to agree, right?

Welcome to Bhutan, GNH country - Haa
On top, our crazy photos - one way to release stress... Lolx!!

I felt like having a farmhouses walking-tour in this village, for REAL!!! Unlike the one displayed in Folk Heritage Museum in Thimphu! Here, all houses were original and stayed by villagers. I was so lucky being able to browse around this area! Thank you for the good karma given!!! :)

Bhutanese farmhouses in Haa, Bhutan

There were many farmhouses and all was so huge! Just wondered how rich they were!! Hehe... :D The fences were made of natural stones stacked to each other. Stones were also used to hold the roof on the main gate, with strong and thick wooden material used for the door-gate to protect the owners from thief and strangers coming in. The traditional houses like those seen above in the photo were usually built without using a single nail, three-storey high, with room for livestock on the ground floor, storage and living quarters on second floor, living quarter and shrine-room on third floor, and on rooftop, usually was used as open-air storage area. Other than stones and wood, the materials used to build the house were timber, brick, and clay.

Me with phallus-painting house owner in Haa :)
Riku spotted one house with two Phallus painting on the wall. He wanted to take picture, but the gate was locked. Luckily I saw the owner in the rooftop and we were asking for their permission to go into their house and take photo. So, there we were!!! :)

Haa, Bhutan

We went back to front side of Lhakhang Karpo then walked all the way to outside the Indian army camp. Weather was still hot. Both of us sat on the grass at roadside taking a good rest after having a wonderful walking-tour and at the same time waiting for the empty cab.

Haa town
We went to town area and met up with Chencho for lunch. We ate at one eating shop nearby his office. It was another dining experience for me haha... First, we sat outside and had our tea. Once the food ready, we went inside the kitchen, took a plate, and scooped the dishes on our own. We could take as much food as we could eat. Hahaha... It was wonderful, wasn't it? You could take second and more serving, as long as you could finish and they charged same price. The best thing was that we could go inside the kitchen and took the food from the pot directly. The owner should have trusted the guest a lot by letting us doing this way. Well, perhaps, this was common there, but I never experienced that before :)

We had spicy pork, ema datshi (chilli with cheese), and dhall. Tell you, although the look of the food was so so, the taste was superb!! The pork was so fatty but delicious. I think if I could choose which place to stay in Bhutan, I would love to stay in Haa, seriously!!!

After having lunch, we went to the groceries shop. Chencho bought some groceries.When passing by the pastry shop, I could smell nice pastry and we decided to buy some bread and cakes back home for Chencho's father. Before leaving the store, I saw ice cream with separate cones inside the freezer and we decided to buy one too. Suitable for hot weather :)

At Hotel Two Sister in Haa, Bhutan

While waiting for Kinley we went to Hotel Two Sister. This time, we played pool. Again, I had to learn this from Chencho hahaha... When Kinley had done, we went back to Chencho's house. Riku had to go back to Thimphu while I extended my stay in Haa for another day. Oh, see? How much I loved Haa!!! :D Well, I decided to extend for another day since there would be a Haa festival on the next day and I felt it would be too bad if I missed it since I had already been there. Just too bad that Riku wasn't able to extend his stay as he had to go back to work. Luckily Chencho was there, with Kinley and Lambuz to accompany me during my stay. So, we sent Riku off after waiting for the cab for quite some, and luckily he managed to get one as it was quite late and not many cab left to Thimphu.

Chencho and his office in Haa

I followed Chencho to his office to take a look how his office looked like. You know la, I am such a curious chap for things I've never experienced before :) I just stayed there for a while because he had to go back to Lhakhang Karpo to do the rehearsal again for tomorrow's event. We went home together with Lambuz as both of them had to wear Gho with white Kabney (scarf) together with theirTsholham (traditional shoes).

While they went out, I was staying at home, taking a nap and writing my journal. At about 4 plus, Chencho came back home. We planned to cycle together. Luckily rain had stopped. At about 5pm, we went to two of his friend's house to borrow the bicycles.

Cycling in Bhutan was one of my to-do lists in Bhutan too! But I never expected to cycle in Haa. I considered myself very lucky being able to borrow the bicycle (and not to rent with very high price in Thimphu), complete with a guide (which was Chencho himself) Hehehe... Ooh... I was very very grateful SB!! Thank you for giving me this chance, plus a very good weather!!!

Cycling in Haa, Bhutan

It was wonderful experience!! I loved it so much!! We went quite far from his house. Not many vehicles on the road but we still had to control our bike well as we went through mountainous road. We made one round at Indian army camp. While cycling both of us had a chit chat about many things.We stopped few times to take photo and to have a cup of coffee. We went into a school too and made one big round as he wanted to show me how the school looked like, plus the boarding area for students to stay. Luckily we didn't have to go up slope hahaha... I was so scared that we had to go through a steep road upward as we needed lots of energy kekeke.... We returned the bike back to the owner, at the same time we sat down in their houses for a while. By the time we reached home, the sky had turned dark.

We took a rest. In a while Chencho prepared our dinner. We had rice with kewa datshi (potato with chilli) and dhall. Delicious! :) While eating, we had a chit chat again.

At 8.30pm, we left the house. This time, I wanted to experience Drayang. We walked through the dark to town as no lights on the roadside. It started to rain too. Before going to Drayang, we stopped by at Lambuz's shop. He and his wife opened a small eating and drinking place. Since the weather was so cold at night, I follow Chencho, ordering two shots of Rockbee mixed with apple juice. Lambuz offered me if I wanted to have Juma (beef intestine's sausage - black in color). Hmm... it turned out that the Juma tasted so heavenly. Until now, I still can imagine how it melted in my mouth. It tasted really good. Oh Lambuz, please send the Juma to me by fax or email... I miss it so much!! He was also offering me to taste the wild plant datshi. It tasted good too. You can view the Juma here.

After a short while, his wife, his daughter and his friend's wife and daughter came back from watching 'Miss Kota'. Actually I wanted to try watching movie in Bhutan too, but they said it took three hours per movie, so I gave up right away. Hahaha... If only two hours, still acceptable lah.. Three hours?? Without understanding the language?? Err.. I'd better sleep ba? If they had English subtitles, then I wouldn't mind. Too bad ya??

Anyway, at 9pm we left the shop and headed to Drayang. "Drayangs are basically bars with a stage where girls dance, sing and entertain customers. The customers are predominantly male. The entertainers are mostly young girls, most of them, high school leavers, with no job prospects. Others had come from remote villages to try their fortune in the capital. Apart from singing and dancing, the girls also go around cajoling customers to sponsor a song or a dance, mostly to male customers. And this is where suspicion arises, that the girls could be sexually harassed." Source:

Visiting Drayang in Haa, Bhutan

The Drayang in Haa was quite small. There were only around 6 rows times 2 column of wooden chairs with a small stage in front of us. To my nightmare, the girls had already left the place by the time we reached and it was only 9.30pm. Yalama kheno!! As substitute, the boys were singing and dancing on the stage. Kekeke.... By right it suited me no? Hahaha...

Most people who went there were male. Only few females occupied the place. Most of them were intoxicated with alcohol. I think only Chencho and I was sober hahaha.. We ordered a glass of whiskey with apple juice each and watched them dancing. At 10pm we left the place and walked back home. A bit disappointed though but at least I went and saw how the place looked like :D

After a long day, we slept and hid ourselves behind the thick blanket again. Zzz.... Continue my journey in Haa here
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