Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Life is just like a wave...

Just some reflections on the friends I met recently...
Some friends are doing better and better...
Some friends are not doing as well as before...
.
Life is just like a wave...
Sometimes you are up...
Sometimes you are down...
.
When you are up, don't be arrogant.
Arrogance did not bring you there, your momentary success was the result of hard work, humility & opportunity.
Cherish while it lasts, as you might come down.
That's the impermanence of life.
.
When you are down, don't be sad or dishearten.
Quite often, the best lesson in life is experienced during challenging time.
Remember the lesson, and work hard.
Down time wouldn't last.
That's the impermanence of life too.
.
May be we should learn how to stop labeling experience as positive or negative.
On hindsight, the seemingly negative experience brings about the best insight & wisdom of life.
It really depends on the time of reference.
.
Without going to the bottom of the Valley,
How could one truely appreciate the view at the summit?
.
May be at the end of the life journey,
We found that all the labelings are just foolish.
May be it is wiser just to learn to appreciate every moment & experience.
May be we are too foolish to be too attached to all the experiences.
Our transient existence is insignificant.
.
At the end of day,
We are just passer-bys on the face on this beautiful world.
May be all we need is to learn to smile more.
=)
.

Sunset @ Bali

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Why I am not a painter?

Last evening during a X'mas Gathering, I shared a story about my painting.
.
Back in Secondary Two Mid-year Arts & Craft Exam,
I decided to paint a landscape.
.
A person contemplating in nature with Mountains & Greens.
After 2 hours of painting, I was quite pleased, in fact, I was very happy with my art work.
The colour and tone was perfect.
I was very sure that I would score a distinction for this work.
.
A few days later, when the teacher was distributing back our art work, I was really excited and wanted to show-off to my friends. But when I saw the mark at the back, I was SHOCKED. I got a 38 marks (out of 100) for my work. I did not agree with my teacher's grading, but I was too afraid to challenge him.
.
Below is my Master Piece:

Man contemplating in Nature.
.
.
.
Now, I totally agree with my Art Teacher.
Hahaha... That's Crap!!
My judgement was really impaired when I was young.
.
38 Marks is the lowest exam grade I ever gotten in my life.
That will always be the record!
But a record with a funny story.
.
That's why I am not a painter.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Beautiful Things in life: A bowl of Tang Yuan


A bowl of Tang Yuan
.
Came back home late at night.
Everybody was sound asleep.
A bowl of Tang Yuan was placed on the dining table.
It tasted ordinary and cold.
But it was warm inside me.
=)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Beautiful Things in life: Excited about Snorkelling

Decided to create entry of the beautiful things in life.
This is the picture that got me started:-


Taken back in 2002 - Tioman Island
I love the youth, the energy, the excitement to experience life...
Excited to Snorkel. =)

Man in the Mirror...


Perfect Reflection
(Taken at Hoi-An, Vietnam)
.
.
.
Most people wear different masks
Sometimes, it is an act of hypocrisy.
More oftenly, it is an act of self-protection.
Or even, an act of conformity due to social/peer pressure.
.
During late night and alone looking into the mirror,
there is no need to wear a mask.
While you can deceive other,
how can you ever deceive yourself?
What do you see?
Are you happy to see the person in the mirror?
What is in the reflection?
.
May be the right question would be:
Do you have the courage to look into at the person in the mirror?
Are you afraid to see the Truth?
.
If everybody have more time to do self-reflections,
this world will be a better place.

Monday, December 07, 2009

My Ex-Boss...

Just now I saw a guy, who looked like my ex-boss.
And some memories resurfaced...
.
It has been a year since he departed from this world.
.
I still could vividly remember his warm smile and his laughters.
He was rich and smart, and had a good heart.
.
Death is real and inevitable.
All the daily challenges/problems seem so insignificant.
.
It was a reminder.
To treasure life.
To treasure every moment.
To treasure the people around me.
To focus on the worthy people and causes.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

First Few Hours Observation after a trip...

Everytime I return from a long overseas trip, I would write down my general observations from a fresh perspective....
.
.
Below was written on my way to work (less than 12 hours after returning):
Context: Train
Time: Morning Rush Hour
Observation:
Everybody is clean and well-dressed.
They have everything from Blackberry to Ipod; Coach to LV Bag; & expensive accessories.
They looked tired.
What is missing here?
A smile on their face....
.
.
.

War with Terrorism will never end....

.
It was disappointing to know that more innocent people are going to be killed. Killing will not solve the problem, but will deepen the hatred between both parties. The future descendents of Al-Qaeda members will continue the fight. More moderate muslims might join the Jihad against the Americans.
.
I know there is no easy solution.
Sending Troop to War is definitely one of the easiest solutions (without wisdom & compassion).
There is definitely a better use of the US$30billion budget.
Use it to help the war-ravaged Afghanistan.
Use it to feed the millions who are dying in Africa.
Use it to make peace.
.
If any politicians believe that sending troops to War is the only solution,
I challenge them to send their own children? Will Bush or Obama send their children to Afghanistan if they think that War is the only way out? I doubt it, at least, I know that Bush is a coward.
.
.
At this rate, the war will never end....
There will be more unnecessary deaths and sufferings.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Justice with Michael Sandel

In general, my approach towards determining if an act is right or wrong is based on the followings:
1. Intention/Motive
(What's the main intention behind the act? Is it Justifiable and based on which value systems or principles?)
2. Wisdom
(Were all the possible solutions and alternatives been considered? Were all the implications & consequences been considered?)
3. Compassion
(Have you put yourself into the shoes of every individual/stakeholders? Is it an act of love & compassion for yourself or/and stakeholders?)
.
.
.
Harvard University Professor Sandel challenged all conventions:
(warning: it is quite addictive)

Example: Espisode 1
.
Part 1 - The Moral Side of Murder: If you had to choose between (1) killing one person to save the lives of five others and (2) doing nothing, even though you knew that five people would die right before your eyes if you did nothing—what would you do? What would be the right thing to do? That’s the hypothetical scenario Professor Michael Sandel uses to launch his course on moral reasoning.
.
Part 2 - The Case for Cannibalism: Sandel introduces the principles of utilitarian philosopher, Jeremy Bentham, with a famous nineteenth century law case involving a shipwrecked crew of four. After nineteen days lost at sea, the captain decides to kill the cabin boy, the weakest amongst them, so they can feed on his blood and body to survive.
.
+++

Part 2 was challenging for me, especially IF the surviving crew members is 30 or 300 or 3000 people.
I felt that killing 1 innocent person to ensure 3 people survival is unjustifiable.
.
How about killing 1 person to ensure 3000 or 3million or entire planet people survival?
I would kill that innocent person to save the lives of 3000 people.
.
Then, what justify my decision? Just a number consideration??
Then, what is the number to justify the killing of 1 person?
Tough tough tough.....
.
I still dunno... not sure if I could ever justify any killing.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Unconditional Love & Compassion


About 6 months ago (while I was serving my reservist), I was moved to tears when I pondered about the deeper meaning behind the story shared by Ajahn Brahm in his book -  Opening the door of your heart. I never forget the story since then...
.
Taken from his book:
.
What's in a name?
When one becomes a Buddhist monk in our tradition, one receives a new name. My monk's name is 'Brahmavamso', which, being so long, I usually shorten to 'Brahm'. Everyone calls me by that name now, except for my Mum. She still calls me Peter, and I defend her right to do so.
Once, during a phone call inviting me to an interfaith ceremony, I was asked to spell my name.
.
I answered:
B - for Buddhist
R - for Roman Catholic
A - for Anglican
H - for Hindu
M - for Muslim
.
I received such a positive response that I usually spell my name that way now, and also that's what it means.
.
+++
That's a mark of a True Buddhist Monk

Monday, November 23, 2009

Books on Happiness

There are 3 precious things I took away with me after the Nepal Trip:
1. Beautiful Memory of Himalayas & the people
2. Lessons learnt during the journey
3. A Book I bought in Kathmandu


A guide to developing Life's Most Important Skill
by
.
.
.
And other excellent book that I have read this year:

by
.
.
.
How often do you feel extremely grateful that you read a book?
I seldom feel grateful after reading a book.
I feel a deep sense of gratitude for the wisdom that are being shared in both books.
Both authors are exceptional individuals with loving (compassionate) kind hearts .
.
Both of them are Buddhist Monks of different traditions (ie. Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism & Thai Theravada Buddhism), but both of them came with a Scientific Backgrounds (ie. Biology Phd working under Nobel Prize Laureate in France & Scholarship to study Theoretical Physics at Cambridge), which allow them to analyse and view things critically and rationally.
.
I like the books as it is free from Dogma & Doctrine, and written with alot of Compassion & Wisdom (A Genuine Alruistic Intention). Without knowing the background of the authors, you might think you are reading self-improvement books.
.
The ultimate objective is to improve the life of the readers by developing the skills to be happy.
I am definitely a happier person after reading both books.
=)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Random Thought


With an untamed mind,
Would I ever experience a perfect situation or a perfect moment?
Would I ever be satisfied?
Would I ever be truely happy?

Mobihunt 2009: Winner =)

This is the second Urban Race that I participated this year. This is also the second time that my team won the top price this year. =) http://lifestyle.www.ns.sg/portal/ns/mobihunt/index.do



Team MJ Paws
(Boon, Mel, Caleb & Kelvin)
.
This was the shortest & the easiest race that I participated in recent years. Not much strategy compared to other races that I had participated. We won because of speed (lotsa running), familiarity with the places, and luck of course. Most importantly, it was a good team where everybody's strength is different & complementary.
.
I enjoyed the race, even if we did not win.
My philosophy has always been trying my best and be at peace with the result.
Winning money is an incentive too!!!
We won S$1500, and each of us will get S$375 (not bad for a half-day race)
.
Since I just came back from Nepal,
I had decided to donate my winning S$375 to Charities in Nepal.
.
I would be donating to Room to Read (www.roomtoread.org/FT) and SheChen (http://www.shechen.org/donate-sponsorship.php)
.
I believe and hope that this small amount of money will add more values to other lives than my own

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Travel: Boon's Nepal Trip



Everest Base Camp Trek
.

Beautiful Nepal
.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Great Donation Drive for Shoes

Thank everybody who made this possible.
My friends and family are very supportive.
.
This is my first time (hopefully not the last time) doing a donation drive for a holiday trip. All the suitable shoes collected would be given to Porters Clothing Bank in Nepal. All the unsuitable shoes are donated to Salvation Army. We also had shoes & clothings to be given to Orphanage/School for Deaf (undecided yet).
.
The idea did not come from me, I got it from another group of Singaporeans who are going to Nepal also. I was excited because it was for a good cause and it is a green initiative. Kill 2 birds in one stone. And the shoes get to see the nice view of the Himalayas.
.
In summary, My friends and I (3 of us) would bring an estimated 55kg of donated items to Kathmandu. We have excess baggage Thanks to SilkAir, a friend's PPS Status & a friend working in SilkAir.
.
Good to know that my trip has started before the actual departure. =)
There are some lessons learnt:
- Do Good with Wisdom
- Tiring yet Fulfilling
- The Importance of Partnership & Collaboration


200+ Shoes
Collection by the other group of Singaporeans.
.


My friends and my contribution ~ 30+ pairs
.


My little niece was very excited to see so many shoes.
She took out her shoes too!
=)

Green Initiative in Singapore???

My recyclable papers were taken by the cleaners and threw into their garbage trolley.


They looked away as I wanted to take photos as evidence.
.
.
I sent an email to Capitaland Retail and Forums.
Not sure if I would get any replies, I won't know as I am going Nepal for 3 weeks.
.
Below is part of the email sent to Capitaland Retail::

Dear Management of Capitaland Retail Limited,


I would like to highlight an upsetting encounter within the Choa Chu Kang Lot 1 Mall, and hope the company could give an explanation to me and the general public.

Date & Time of Incident: 16th October 2009 (Friday), 6.30pm
Location: Choa Chu Kang Lot 1 Shoppers Mall (‘Lot1’)

Summary of the Incident:

I went to Lot1 to recycle a bag of used-papers that I collected from my office. While i was putting the used-papers into the paper recycle bin, a cleaner was taking it out from the paper recycle bin and threw it into his garbage trolley, and then, he even told me to throw my used-papers into his garbage trolley. I was puzzled, and was assuming that he was collecting the papers for recycling.

Then, he took the unwanted plastic from the plastic recycle bin and threw it into the same garbage trolley. I was very surprised and ask him what he was doing and where all these items were going to. He told me that everything would go to the big garbage bin. Instantly, I was very upset by his remarks, asked him who had given such instruction.

Then, a lot1 security guard approached us and I asked him the exact same questions. The security guard told me that the cleaner will put everything into the garbage trolley and SEPARATE them for recycling later. Fortunately, I am not that naive to believe him.

I requested to meet the clean supervisor who came later. After a brief introduction, I asked him a brief question: ‘What are these 3 recycle bins used for?’. Unfortunately, he faked ignorance and told me that he came to work 2 days ago and DID NOT know the uses of these recycle bins.

I wanted to meet the lot1 executive to discuss about this matter, unfortunately, the office was already closed at 7pm.

I had a very good image of Capitaland and its green initiative. I had taken the effort to collect the used papers in my office and brought it to be recycled in Capitaland’s recycle bin, unfortunately & sadly, all the papers ended up in the garbage bin.

I hope this is an isolated incident, however, I do not think so as the supervisor and the guard was not interested and fake ignorance. Clearly, the cleaner, the supervisor and the guard were helping each other to avoid any trouble.

I am not even an environmentalist, and I just an average individual who wanted to contribute abit to the green effort, but the incident with lot1 was upsetting. I am quite sure that my previous recyclable items are ended up in the garbage chute as well. It has wasted alot of my effort and time.

I am not only representing myself, but also the general public who has taken the initiative, time & effort to drop-off recyclable items into the recycle bins of Capitaland Malls.

If Capitaland is not serious about its green initiative, PLEASE REMOVE those recycle bins. Please do not do it for the sake of good corporate image. http://www.capitaland.com/csr/environment.php
"Exploring efficient use of resources to reduce wastage; identifying creative and practical ways to re-use our resources; and promoting opportunities to recycle waste"

Otherwise, please give a good explanation.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Time to reduce my egg intake...


"For the nearly 150,000 male chicks who hatch every 24 hours at this Hy-Line facility, their lives begin and end the same day. Grabbed by their fragile wings by workers known as "sexers," who separate males from females, these young animals are callously thrown into chutes and hauled away to their deaths. They are destined to die on day one because they cannot produce eggs and do not grow large or fast enough to be raised profitably for meat. Their lives are cut short when they are dropped into a grinding machine – tossed around by a spinning auger before being torn to pieces by a high-pressure macerator."
.
.
+++
Most people do not have the courage to finish viewing the video clip, yet, they continue to savour the chicken without second thought. They chose to be ignorant and pretend as if the cruelty is not happening.
.
Time for me to reduce egg intake also.
I am guilty as well.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

新加坡明星志工隊在吳哥窟

Saw this programme at Channel U a few weeks ago.
It is about celebrity going overseas to do charity work.



There is this particular scene that struck me.
Scroll to 08.25min
A naked boy was helplessly holding on to an adult shirt.
The happiness that he exuded while wearing an oversized shirt was both touching and sad.
(perhaps, it was one of the few times he wore clothes)
Happy to see a fellow human being happy.
Sad to know that people are deprived of such basic necessity

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Most Pretty Little Girl to me...

Just came back from Perth this morning...
 I am already missing the most pretty little girl...


My 18 months-old niece.
She is very smart and adorable.
Can't wait to see her tomorrow evening.
Will be back home early to play with her
=)

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life.

Commencement address by Steve Jobs @ Stanford
.
I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.


The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, its likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope its the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.


Thank you all very much.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

to the good and the benefit of one and all...


"Rely not on the teacher/person, but on the teaching.
Rely not on the words of the teaching, but on the spirit of the words.
Rely not on theory, but on experience.
Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
Do not believe anything because it is spoken and rumored by many.
Do not believe in anything because it is written in your religious books.
Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
But after observation and analysis,
when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and the benefit of one and all,  then accept it and live up to it."


- the Buddha

I must have Wisdom...

Going on a family trip to Perth later.
I am taking no-pay leave for this trip.
Certain things in life are too precious and priceless.
One of them is spending quality time with family.
Other considerations are secondary.
.
.
I told myself that I must have wisdom... during the trip.
Not to be too stubborn.
Not to say "I TOLD you so..."
Not to argue even though I am right.
Not to correct my dad even though I am right.
Learn to accept that things will not always turn out fine.
Learn to enjoy my Mum's nagging.
Learn to be more patient.
Learn not to react.
.
If I won an arguement based on facts and good reasonings,
I would have a temporary boost of ego,
but I would be compromising the peace and happiness of spending time together.
In the end,
nobody is winning,
everybody is losing.
.
I must have Wisdom...
(hope my family members have it too.... haha)
.
The easiest to acquire this Wisdom?
Contemplating on the Impermanence of Life.
It could be my last family trip.
I will never know.
Life is so unpredictable and so impermanent.
.
I must have Wisdom...
=)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Photography: Getai - Interesting Incident

I did not want to share these photos, as i regarded this a failed photography-trip.
 (nothing interesting, until just now)
Void Deck

Getai Stage
 .
I took 2 close-up photos of the front-row seats.
As you know, the front-row seats are kept empty for the spirits of the other world.
The photos looked normal on my camera LCD screen - nothing special. But there was error message, when i started to upload all the photos to my laptop. I tried again, without error message.
Assuming, all photos have been transferred, i deleted all the photos from my camera.
Then, I realised only those 2 close-up photos are MISSING!!!
.
Those 2 photos were the 4th & 5th shoots. i 'copy-and-paste' everything - there is no way i can miss it.
I figured that there might be problem with my SD card, so i take some random pictures and upload it - No problem at all.
.
Just feeling very weird.
Saw a lady praying fervently infront of the altar.
.
I hope she understands that:
Buddha does not reside in the porcelain figure.
In fact, Buddha has opposed the making of idol.
The idol serves as a reminder of Dharma, Wisdom & Compassion.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Random Note

A good friend posted this note on his facebook
 
This was my comment:
 
interesting note. good that you find time to write this reflection of life in the midst of your busy schedule. =)

we came to this world alone, and we will depart alone too.
we came with nothing, and we will depart with nothing.
This is truth of life... I am learning not to be too sad about it....
Be wise... recognise the truth, and be peace with it.
Alot of people mask it or avoid it, by making themselves busy, surrounding themselves with many people, avoiding solitude at all cost.
They will recognise the truth one day, even if they don't want.

Being solitude => being in peace & happy with it.
Being lonely => feeling emptiness, feeling the need to do something or be with someone, feeling incomplete.

Really depends on our perspective. =)
i think i write too much. not even sure what i am writing.. haha. i am still trying to figure it out myself...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

simplify simplify simplify...

I think I have a pea-brain...
I only like simple stuff...
I can't multi-task...
I hate playing politics...
.
.
.
I enjoy my journey
only when i
simplify simplify simplify

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Verdict is out...

Thanks for all the well-wishes and concerns for my previous post.
As my sprained wrist was still hurting after 1 week+, i decided to take a X-ray today and discovered that i fractured a bone in my wrist. Now, I am typing slowly with my hand in cast. 2nd time in my life that i have a fracture in my bone, but 1st time having a cast. At least, it is a new experience.
I am not in pain, jus that fracture would mean that i will take a long time to recover (Doctor said 6-8weeks), implying that i have to stop swimming and cycling. After my recovery, i would be in Nepal for 3 weeks. Not sure if i would be conditioned for next year's half-ironman. Well, that's life - certain things are beyond our control. Just be in peace that I have done my best. =)
Went to SGH A&E department - saw lotsa people in sufferings.
A reminder that I should count my blessings everyday.
Life is impermanent.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Movie/DVD: An Inconvenient Truth


http://www.climatecrisis.net
Spent my saturday evening watching this documentary.
I was really moved by Al Gore's passion and determination. I respect for his effort and leadership in making this world a better place. AND...FUCK Bush...who created so many problems in this world! The world could potentially change for the better if Al Gore won the US Presidential election back in 2000.
I HIGHLY recommend everybody to watch this movie if you haven't. (drop me an email, i could lend you the DVD)
Being aware of the calamity of situation, I would try to be wiser in making my choice.
The blue planet does not belong to us, it belongs to all the future generations and all the beings.
We should not be so selfish, and We can make a difference (even a small one like switching off light if not needed).
=)

Living Pono - Jason Scott Lee

http://www.bacipix.com/livingpono/index.html
"Toward Living Pono" is an hour-long documentary for public television that follows internationally acclaimed film and stage actor Jason Scott Lee on his intentional journey from mega-movie stardom to living sustainably on his off-the-grid taro farm, 4,000 feet up the slopes of Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawai'i. The camera tags along with Jason as he goes about his work, whether he's driving through busy downtown Singapore on the way to the next film shoot, or tending his remote taro patches using only the methods of natural farming. An intimate portrait of one of Hawai'i's most beloved celebrities, the story encompasses the universal issues Jason is confronting: Materialism and alienation in western society, environmental stewardship, preservation of indigenous culture, youth advocacy, and living pono--with the traditional values of righteousness and respect for ancestors, neighbors, and the sacred land.
Youtube Link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjZv27dU7kA
Quote from the video:
"It is a choice that each individual can make to make the world a better place"
"Career is nothing without happiness and joy inside"
+++
As I grew older, I appreciate the philosophy of "Less is More".
The excitement of acquiring new thing is still there, but that kinda happiness is short-lived. I will get bored of the new toy or stuff easily. This kinda happiness is very unsustainable.
I try to buy less things... I try to live a simpler life...
When there is less emphasis on physical possession, I see more of the other aspects of life,
And I am happier. =)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Rich Son Poor Son

I like it. =)

Who has the Rich Son?

One Good View, One Bad Fall & One Kind Deed

Went cycling this morning at 6+, and the sunrise view across a misty field in Lim Chu Kang was awesome. The air was fresh and cooling. =)

Unfortunately, while i was along Lim Chu Kang Road, I lost concentration and swayed to the left and fell down. Tyre was punctured, wrist was sprained, and wounded my right calf and thigh. I felt frustrated immediately - knowing that I gotta stop my swimming for 2 weeks be'cos of the open wounds.

I never had so much body injuries in my life - well, I was never a sporty person. Knee injury due to long distance running, abrasion around my eyes due to wearing goggles during swimming (yah.. WTF?!?!), other wounds and injuries due to falling down during cycling etc... Triathlon is also an expensive sport, a time-consuming one and have alot of restrictions (e.g no late-night drinking as it will dehydrate the body & need to wake up early to train)
I guess it is part and parcel of trying to be a triathlete - I am aiming to complete my first half-ironman next march.

I have seen video-clips of people completing their races and the exhilaration on their faces, but seldom do we see the sacrifices they made. There are many reasons not to train (bad weather, no time, fatigue, injury, pain etc..), but there is only one reason to do it - to honor yourself.
Is it worth it?
Yes and No.
=)

Anyway, back to the story, I was stranded in Lim Chu Kang Road - No CAB (despite trying to make a booking), and I even did the hitch-a-ride hand gesture, but the drivers returned me with a weird look. Hitching a ride does not work in Singapore. Fortunately, there was a bus - 975 - the only bus. The bus driver (PRC Chinese) stopped and I explained to him my situation. He had some reservations, as i know bike is not allowed in the bus.

In the end, he still allowed me to board and asked me where i would be alighting (obviously, he was worried that his superior would see it). I alighted 2 stops before the bus terminal, as I didn't want to create any problem for this nice driver. I thanked him before I alighted.

It was one kind deed and I appreciated it.
=)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Random: A Singapore Taxi Driver's Story

"Probably the only taxi driver in this world with a PhD from Stanford and a proven track record of scientific accomplishments, I have been forced out of my research job at the height of my scientific career, and unable to find another one, for reasons I can only describe as something "uniquely Singapore". As a result, I am driving taxi to make a living and writing these real life stories just to make the dull job a little more interesting. I hope that these stories are interesting to you too."
.
.
.
I enjoyed reading his entries - a documentary of people from different social strata of Singapore.
I am sure he would find another job soon.
It is a passing phase.
After the darkest storm, the sunshine and rainbow will emerge.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

What are the things in life that is worth dying for?

Just had a good sunday morning ride and breakfast with a good friend.
.
I was commenting that it is sad that alot of people get their sense of identity and self-worth from their jobs. Many people treated their jobs as their lives and invested everything into it. And when they were retrenched, many of them (especially the guys) sank into depression and lost their self-esteem.
.
It is very sad that people derived their self-worth/self-esteem from their work.
Even if you are retrenched, you are still the same person, just having more free time only!!
.
Last year, DBS Bank retrenched for the first time. Another good friend (who worked in the DBS) shared with me that one of his colleagues was retrenched - even though she had been in the bank for 20+ years, and gave her youth and energy to the company, but one week after she had left, all her records were erased from the company's intranet.
.
Nobody will remember how well you have done in your work.
When you die, nobody is going to say how great you have done at work, or how much sales have you closed, etc... Colleagues and company will eventually forget you.
.
Family and Friends won't.
Those who you have touched their lives won't.
.
So What are the things in life that is worth dying for?
.
Hope i set you thinking.
I am asking myself the same question too.
=)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

1 year of Flexitarianism

It has been 1 year since I decided to become a flexitarian.
I thought the initial enthusiasm would fade in 3 months time.
I am glad that my enthusiasm has evolved into something that I believe in.
.
It is tough to become a full-vegetarian.
And I have utmost respect for Vegans.
How can they give up Chocolate?!?!
.
Currently, I do not eat any land animals at all, and would eat Seafood occasionally.
I am limiting my milk intake as well, by switching to soya bean drink. Cereals with Soya Bean drink is not bad!
.
A few years ago, I would not believe that I could be semi-vegetarian.
I LOVE FRIED FOODS.
My favourite WAS Fried Chicken Wing.
.
Do I miss the TASTE of fried chicken wing?
Absolutely, Yes.
Do I miss the EXPERIENCE of eating fried chicken wing?
Absolutely, NO.
.
'nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.'
- Albert Einstein
.
Most importantly,
Being vegetarian is a way to save our beautiful and precious world that we are living in.
While the cause of world hunger is multi-faceted , meat consumption is a contributing factor. This is because much Third World grain and other food is fed to animals (to produce cheaper meat to be eaten in developed countries), not to hungry Third World people.
.
Hence,
By eating less or no meat at each meal, we all can make a difference in the world.
The first step is always Awareness.
=)
.
.
.

Decided to go green by bringing my own shopping bag.
Pleasantly surprised that I got $0.10 off my bill.
I Felt great! =D

Friday, August 14, 2009

KL Trip with Spice Gang (8th-10th Aug)

This is another highlight of this year.
Not because there is anything special about Kuala Lumpur,
but because I always have a great time with Spice Gang.
.
Unfortunately, 2 members could not join us, nevertheless,
it was great fun!
.
It was a "Nuah-ing" trip
Eating, massaging, napping, lazing, swimming, clubbing, drinking, shopping, eating, eating and more EATing. hahaha...
.
Dinner time with Spice Gang
.
.
During the dinner,
M's business partner (A Canadian guy in his 40s) after knowing that we have been friends for more than 12 years, suggested that we should bet to see who die first. The person who die first "will get" the money (may be for his/her funeral).
.
I think most people would be offended by his remarks.
However, I commented that his suggestion is very wise.
.
We have celebrated -
21st birthdays together,
university graduations together,
weddings together,
house-warmings together,
the birth of new member together.
.
Shouldn't we celebrate the end of a GREAT journey?
Be aware that our friendship is impermanent.
Be more appreciative of each other.
Treasure the friendship while it last.
Remember the great time together.
Enjoy each other's companionship.
.
Old friends are especially important to me.
We kinda grow up together and see each other evolving over the years.
We shared so many priceless moments together.
=)


Happy Birthday, Princess W!!!
.
K, being a workaholic, took his saturday evening off work to buy the cake and join us for the celebration. We did not see him on Sunday, as he was back to work the whole day!
Yup, we failed to persuade him to join us on Sunday. =(
.
.

Black and White Pics
.
.
.
Why do i always enjoy my time with Spice Gang?
We always do alot of foolish things.
We had fun doing it.
=)
.
.
THANK YOU for the wonderful time!

Friday, August 07, 2009

The Dhamma Brothers

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dhamma_Brothers

Taken from: http://thisfilmfest.com/films.html

The Donaldson Correction Facility is a maximum security prison in Alabama, a state along the United States’ so-called ‘Bible Belt’. In this prison are some of the most dangerous criminals of the state, men convicted for murder, manslaughter, gang activities, shootings and stabbings. And yet, horrendous crimes they may have committed, some of them yearn for emotional and social change. In 2002, their opportunity came in the form of a meditation course and Vipassana meditation retreat that was introduced in hope of offering inner peace and genuine rehabilitation for these men. Such a program was unheard of in the West, and even the participants of the course were partially cynical about it. As one of them put it, “I’ve been through every course imaginable. A meditation course? C’mon!”

.
For 10 days, the men faced their inner personal traumas, and the program was a resounding success. Unfortunately, complaints by the locals that the prisoners "were being turned into Buddhists” caused the program to be shut down. With the change in prison administration at the end of 2005, the meditation course was reintroduced. The participants of the previous course were interviewed, and to the surprise of the interviewers…

.

+++

The question should not be:

Are people turning into Buddhists?

The question should be:

Are people becoming better

- happier, more loving and peaceful?

Monday, August 03, 2009

Osim Singapore International Triathlon 2009


I have completed my first Olympic Distance (OD) Triathlon
– 1.5km Swim, 40km Bike, 10km Run.
.
.
My official race timing & Category Ranking:
(I believe the transition time is included in the Bike Leg)

1.5km Swim: 38min 46sec (44 out of 109)
40km Bike: 1hr 31min 42 sec (33 out of 109)
10km Run: 53min 36 sec (18 out of 109)
Overall Timing: 3hr 4min 3sec (22 out of 109)
.
Even though I failed to hit my 3hrs target , I was quite happy with my overall performance. I was disappointed with my swim as it was 5mins more than my usual timing, but then, the sea was choppy and I did not get into my usual swimming rhythm. As for the cycling leg, I did not push myself too hard as I did not want to exhaust myself before the running leg. And I did push myself hard during the last 10km run.
That’s all that matters – giving my best.
.
Nobody is going to care if I hit 3hr target time,
and I just want to be responsible to myself.
.
I remembered watching Triathlon race on TV, and I asked myself:
Can I do it?I was very sure that I doubted myself,
As back then, I even struggled to swim 100m in freestyle.
.
.
.

Arbor Buddies

.

This race was special as it was the first race that I took part with both Jon & RF.
.
Less than a year ago (14th Sept 2008), RF sent us an email with a link & a question:
Will you do this?


.
Till this day, I still don’t know if I have the courage to do it.
But I have taken my first step and strike off one item from my to-do-list.
This item had been in my do-to-list for a few years already, and RF’s email rekindled the interest in me to pursue it. Jon was inspired by the clip as well.
.
The timing of the Osim Triathlon race was perfect.
RF just came back recently after completing his fellowship programme at Stanford University, and Jon delayed his flight to US where he would be furthering his studies at Carnegie Mellon University. (Yah, I am the only one kena stuck in Singapore – not really complaining though). So it is a rare opportunity for us to take part together.
.
It was a great race with great friends.
The only sad part was someone died during the race.
http://health.asiaone.com/Health/News/Story/A1Story20090803-158705.html

It was so unfortunate.
.
Life is impermanent.
Cherish it. Love it. Live it.