Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Chinese Celebration

Every year the Chinese family will prepare to welcome another new year coming. It symbolizes the new beginning, new hope and new horizon to look forward to in life. I am not going to talk about our Chinese culture here. What I am recording here is the realization that I have got from the process of going through the whole thing.

The day before Chinese New Year is the reunion of family members. At my house my grandma used to be the main chef who'll make many our favorite dishes, mostly Nyonya style. My grandma was a very detailed and patient person. Everything she does she do it with a full heart of love. I used to spend a lot of time by her side watching her. By being her assistant in the preparation allowed me to learn some of her signature dishes (no I am not going to talk about the dishes too). But the most important thing that I realized through the experience I had is: whatever you do you gotta do it with your heart. That's why she could spent the whole night until 3 in the morning and continue at 6am to cook for the ancestors and we all, the family members. And she never complain a thing rather only wear a very satisfied and happy smile on the face when seeing everyone almost lick clean the plates.

She passed away 8 years ago and I have carried down her contribution ever since. What she did last time might not be fully understood but as time passes I kinda slowly feel that lesson I actually gained. What is the most precious thing when you see this? Is it the cooking skill that actually won so many people's heart and stomach? Or is it the simplest wish to see everyone in the family can sit around the table to share the food and have a strong bond?

She'd show me: cherish what you got and always act on heart.

Sometimes it isn't about how much effort you have put in to make thing happen; rather how much heart you have to make thing happen.

Photos taken from Joie's blog.

Gong Xi Gong Xi, everyone. May the year of bull/ox be a very improving one, in whatever you do!

Friday, January 23, 2009


We're brought up in a way hearing, "This for the sake of you, it's for your own good". As if they know so much about us until they know what we want and what is best for us. And somehow I see it being brought down to younger generations.

I do agree that age does make a difference here of course. Grown ups have more experiences, they have seen more things like the Chinese Saying "I walk more bridges than you walk the road".

It could be true in some way because that means they have made more mistakes and seen failures and they do not want us to repeat them.

But it is somehow important that every single being goes through the process of growth in order to become more mature and wiser. We can help ourselves by listening and learning from their experience, but not following everything they said.

Why not? They walked the path, felt the pain and why should we take their steps when we already know (coz they told us) the result, right?

I think this is the part where I realize the beauty of life exist.

We are here to learn, and learning has different interpretations. Either fed, taught or observe can also be a way of learning. We go through the different stages so that we can grow, and what's useful/effective yesterday may no longer be applicable today so what we need to do is really look at ourselves and ask "how can I alleviate myself every single day"; and not sticking our head to the idea of "I've been there. I know precisely. And listen to me will do no wrong. It's for your own good".

We need the space and opportunity to learn to become better, not taking others' safe steps. So do others.

All we need is the understanding and patience when we and others go through the process of discovery. We all might make stupid mistakes but as long as we are alive and survive the falls, we can always climb up again. And every rise brings another meaning, "I have another chance to do better than I did".

Of course we ought to know: it is our duty to learn and progress - it means we know where our mistakes are, move on to become better and not to repeat the same mistakes again.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Reflection of Heart

Went to botanical garden last Saturday morning, intended to cleanse the mind and soul. A walk in the nature is very refreshing especially when the sun isn't too warm, breeze is cool and enjoying birds and insects orchestra actually lifted the mood too.

Brought along a small DC to capture some feelings to mark down my beautiful weekend morning, and also did a little bit of survey for the upcoming photo-shooting for a dear friend. I was more toward recharching myself and let my senses to gather the whisper of nature, whereas Joie happy connecting with the place by snap shooting around whenever he sees something really catches his eyes (his photos available here)

As usual, I will look at the few photos that I've captured in order to understand what I've seen with my heart through my eyes; and to find out what my heart intended to show or tell me. I guess I was thinking about the idea for the photography session for a dear friend of mine. She is getting registered next week and I am honored to not only witness but also framing this very special moment of her life.

Why? Look at the photo below, see if my photo tell you anything about what I meant...

Doesn't the two standout trees look like they have found each other among the crowd and one is leaning on another?

Honestly I am very amazed by how photography can reflect what the photographer feel. And I am slowly into this very interesting way of expression and communication.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

My Summary of 2008

It's the YEAR END DINNER of our photography society and all members are to submit our 3 best photographs of the year 2008.

This is my favorite out of the 3 photos that I've chosen.
How often do we really open up our heart and accept things?

A dead wood log has become a stool but life grows out of it.
Mourn the dead or cherish the living? It is our choice.

Have Faith
Might not seem obvious to others but what matters is how you see yourself.
Size does not matter.

Friday, January 16, 2009

What lost have equipped us

Remember the days when we were in school? Tuition, study, discussion and revisions just in order to learn as much as possible and prepare ourselves for the papers. Those who worked hard always aim so high and they loaded themselves with "bullets" so that to hit the target without fail.

WITHOUT FAIL, is our nature. We're brought up with the habit of not losing.

The truth is: we can't win all the time. It is a cycle, like the analog clock - it moves in a smooth motion from top to bottom and rise again. We sometimes stand up tall, and go low occasionally.

Talking about LOW - it somehow coincide with our current economic situation. Many got their money burnt and suffer a lot of pain of losing. Some even fall under the strength and gone kookoo or kill themselves. We all know how bad it feels, it's just vary in degrees between millions and thousands.

The "possessing/demanding" has finally backfire.

But come to think of it: is it all? All the money that grown over time shrunk within this very short period of time and we have nothing left behind?

We recently lost a deal too. In fact, just 2 days ago.

Joie worked so hard to bring the best idea together and also tried every way he could to save money for the customer so that they can have a good and reasonable package. He's done everything but the customer finally turned their back on him and taken somebody else's offer. The competitor grabbed every single projects that Joie could do.

Exhaust flooded Joie's head and he went on to find out the picture behind the scene of why and how he'd lost the deal. He found out that the competitor actually being price cut for so many times pressured by the customer (bosses) which is too much for Joie to bear.

Everyone knows it is a bad economic period and all strives to get smaller return's sales than nothing at all. With that kind of bargain and demand, it seem pretty fair for Joie to lose the deal.

Joie studied the lost and realized more that he could do in the future projects.

Well, we cannot always comfort ourselves by "what we've learned from this lost" because we all need to eat (since we're self employed) but every single slip that we had actually make us better along the way and we are sure we are becoming more and more ready to face the big shark. We are now practicing our surviving skills in a smaller sea and we are moving step by step approaching the big ocean that has loads of fishes. Thanks to these hurdles, we'd have more to win.

Anyway, we still feel pain as the deal that we lost just cost us a few hundred thousands of sales.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I think there are 2 types of dream, one is what we do when we're asleep and the other is what we want to become/achieve in time.

When I first saw the banner of Howard Schultz (the owner of Starbucks) which says "DREAM MORE THAN OTHERS THINK PRACTICAL, it is written in the following way:

Dream more than others
think practical

This is very interesting.

There is no comma and the second line does not start with capital letter. But the first impression that I have is actually Dream more than others, full stop; and think practical is another sentence.

I see 2 sentences. And I find these 2 sentences work as good as 1 sentence. In fact, I see different thing in it. We all work our head off finding ways to live a better life, until we forgot to have dream of our own (except brain too actively working during the day and can't really rest at night and causes us to dream in our sleep). Some dream too much until they have no actual action to make it happen.

So this 1 sentence become 2 has really pointed out the key in making incredible things come true - We must dare to dream and never stop dreaming to become and achieve what we want to; and we must constantly put ourselves into practical thinking to work towards reaching it.

A castle built in the sky does not exist in real and those dreams are never going to come true. A fortress on the ground may seem strong but it is just a wall blocking people inside without having the dream to soar.

Build both together. Dream big and don't delay in start taking baby steps.

At the beginning of last century, there was a gathering in America and a physicist said to the audience that, from the way science was advancing, within fifty years, man will be able to fly. His audience burst into laughter, ‘men fly?’ One of the audience was a courageous bishop, who said, ‘professor, I want to assure you that only angels can fly.’ The name of the bishop is Milton Wright. This bishop had two sons named Wilbur and Orville.

Within a decade, his two sons became the first men to fly. They opened the aviation age”.

“What is the import of this statement?”

“We must learn to dream dreams. It is only in dreaming dreams that we can make what seems impossible today, possible. But you don’t dream dreams in a vacuum. Dream dreams from the basis of knowledge. The physicist could think of man flying because he understood the laws of physics. The bishop could not imagine it because he did not understand physics. Until we recognize that we live in the knowledge age and that it is a matter of continuous development, we will not be able to sustain progress.” (partly extracted from VANGUARD)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What's behind the WHAT that we see?

We all know that our eyes can see thing if only (1) it is a SOLID object/thing and (2) there must be LIGHT so that to allow light to touch and reflect into our eyes and send to our brain.

That is the " end result".

But every time when we look at things, do we spare some room inside to allow the reason/cause to sit in too? Or we rather jumping into the conclusion and seal the thing with our own values?

Our mind does a lot of work. It takes in a lot of things to come out with answer because that is what it does. However, when we care too much about what is the answer, we have neglected the real picture behind it.

We have ignored the true meaning.

We might work backward to trace the why. But we see only the factual thing. What about the reason that contribute to the facts, such as the motive or the core that cause the start?

It is like we examine the scene after the fire to find what started the flame. We might find the tripped switch, the over boiling water, the short circuit of wryer, or even a spilled lamp or matches and cigarette bud. But what cause that to happen? Only these is the actual reason to the happening.

Seeing the true nature of things not only allow us to understand why it happens, it also allow us to learn to prevent it from happening. And through the understanding of the real reason behind everything we can learn to take care of our inner self so that we do not dwell with the mess and not to get stuck in the tangled situation.


Zeitgeist: A German term meaning "spirit of the time." It refers to the moral and intellectual trends of a given era. (source: Gale)

We have always been practicing RECEIVING. We always receive signals, information and a wide range of different pleasures in senses. We tend to take things for granted because the world nowadays is just the fingertips away. We get to access to too many things and our head is filled with all sorts of things. We hardly know the true what in every what that we know. We are overwhelmed by the results of media and thought we are standing in front of the line.

We have always been practicing DEMANDING. We want more of what we desire than being happy with what we have. We take what we have for granted and reach out for greater satisfaction in getting what we have dreamed for. We seek ways to make what we want by manipulating others and always provide good reasons (excuses). We think we will be happy by having/owning more.

The thirst of WANTING will empower us with the urge to find happiness by locating and utilizing every possibility.

We have always been WE.

We thought we think through enough. We thought we understand well enough.

BUT, is it true?

Watch this movie and start restructure the brain. Perhaps it needs a vacation, so do you too. Just like Jimi Hendrix say,

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace."

Do not belittle the power of "I want" that you have right now. It might seem small but the BIGS are always started with TINY.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Feel it Sense it

We hit rocks and felt hurt, especially the things we matter most. And what's following is mostly: hide/run away.

We think the disappointment is more unbearable than the sky fall down. We feel lost. We live the days so hopelessly like there is no tomorrow to look forward to. Everything touches only the surface. We disallowed anyone or anything come closer.

We just shut ourselves off.

But the world has not change, not even a bit, no matter what. In fact it has never alter its pace for anyone or anything. The sun still shine and night continue to fall, and stories of others still happen when our world seem frozen and still.

Everyone finds some way to accept and reject things in life and everyone also demand a little bit more of attention. But little did we realize all these sensitive souls are also as important as we think we are. We all need a little bit more of caring, understanding and respect.

Time slips away fast, what has once (probably) shaken the mountain and parted the sea has faded. We may not see what is the journey all about and waiting at the end of the road, but we can feel its presence and we can taste it if we really open up our heart.

This is what I see in the movie CAPE NO. 7. It's an awesome movie.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


It's been a while since I last have chat with my dad. Not that I don't see him nowadays, but we used to talk (or argue/fight) when I worked for him. And now since I moved away from the office and do my own writing in the study room (it's practically become my working place) he hardly have anyone to gaduh with anymore.

With that peace of mind actually happen between two very short tempered person, the conversation took place some time ago was very pleasant. He manage to make himself really listen and express nicely. And then I realized: without having to deal with his "monsoon" so often I can really sink my head and see clearer.

From there I learned: it is really important and it is vital to have peace in everything we do. Sometimes we tend to get driven by our emotions (most of the time creating damage) and we usually regret later about the words that rushed out of our mouth. We might have difficult times dealing with ourselves but try to remember one thing: if the words/action hurt you when somebody else does it, it hurts others too when we do it.

Try cultivate silence when there is chaos or mess in the head. Only through transparency we see the picture, and that is not going to be available if we only stubbornly standing on our own ground.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Being Positive and Always Welcoming

The world is moving very fast. Too fast. And we are moving with this very fast pace, until like being sucked in the tornado or a big whirlpool; or simply got driven out of the way. You choose, either got lost by becoming overwhelmed by all sorts of interests and lost our center of life; or left out feeling so distant because totally cannot blend in.

To me it isn't the hilarious part of this movie that attract me. We all know Jim is a good actor that he could really act with his expression and body language well enough until we merely need the dialogues. His boredom and avoidance towards life really got me there feeling how lonely one could be when we are not connecting ourselves properly. And it reminds me of a friend just just confessed to me some time late last year that she is actually island herself from the people around her. Got herself all sank in her work and go home, day in day out.

What is life then? Somehow there must be something that contribute to this. Being boring and running away from life, is definitely a sign of losing hope for something or resisting confrontation.

Saying YES could be difficult because it means making changes and willing to take in new things, especially when one is being very negative. What has YES got us if we become daring and face the light? Carl (Jim Carrey) acted positively because he thought he has got the covenant to bow to YES and YES only, otherwise bad things will happen. So throughout his attempts of forcing himself to accept whatever things that come in his way allow him to meet opportunities and cultivate the positive attitude towards life and all the good things eventually found the doors to come into his life.

What have we got to lose by opening up ourselves to potentials and the beauty of life? Joy is always there, so does happiness. I am not asking everyone to start saying YES without really thinking, but I'm saying "try to think of it: what about saying yes, when the NO just got itself so ready to pop up".

"The world is a playground. We knew that as a kid. But somewhere along the line we forgot that."

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Find Joy in Ordinary things

People always hope for surprises, of course pleasant ones, but sometimes it isn't like the movies and/or tv series where things can be like going on the roller coaster having all sort of dramatic events to make life so much "interesting" every second of the way. So people easily get bored with routines and stable life. It is like doing all the same things day in day out most of the time until can close the eyes to perform and still never miss anything.

But come to think of it: would you rather be finding the fun in life or sit there and wait for fun to approach you?

It is an "active" and "passive" kind of attitude towards life.

Often people with consistent life tend to complain about how stagnant the life is and cry for excitement; while others who have extreme high and low tide until sharing the life with heart failure pray so hard to have peace of mind.

I used to think I'd die in that bottle neck when I found myself floating in dead water until I really go through the turmoil.

Life's boring? It all depends on how you see it.

(the response that Garfield has "Oh Please!" reminds me of Joanne, lol)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


How many of you are still in touch with your primary school's mates? How many names do you still remember? How many faces can you still recall?

It's been 20 years since we know each other. Most of us lost contact in between the years but thanks to the few good friends (SiaoFen, MingChee, RenJun) who have never give up on linking us all up again, we have got our primary 5 classmates reunion since a year or two back.

Honestly it is not easy to call upon the long lost friends after we have moved on with life, making new friends throughout the high school and uni years. But somehow "There is a heart, there is a way", we manage to gather more and more of our old buddies.

Can you imagine some already got married and have their family in overseas countries such as in the United States and still manage to hook up the line to stay in touch and willing to come back for holiday and see us?

Last year, we had a Chinese New Year breakfast with our form teacher. This year, before we make another CNY (hopefully) gathering, we had a casual meet up at a very cozy and wonderful place here on this tiny little island - The Tropical Spice Garden, Batu Ferringgi.

We talked, we chatted, we joked and we played with the kids of some old friends.

It was indeed a great Sunday afternoon.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Focusing on the Right Spot

Hard time of the year throughout the world I guess. Everyone's talking about economy slowing down, retrenchment, company shut down etc. The market has it's life cycle of going through the Growth, Maturity & Decline, so to maintain the stability of the world. It is always the best time when everybody is earning more than a little for living to afford luxuries, and it breaks everyone's heart to see all the money which used to snow ball actually melted and shrink until can hardly be seen.

But come to think of it: how often do we really take a deep thought about life and paying close attention to things that matter when we are enjoying the good times harvesting more than we expected to get? If we go on and on like that, are we actually living our life or totally driven by our desires and pleasures only?

I am not anti good life.

My question is: is the awareness of really seeing good receiving a blessing reside in our heart urging us to be thankful and to maintain a good attitude towards life when we are gliding smoothly along the journey of life? Or is it the rocky path that hit us to realize: look at what you've got and start thinking how you have treated life?

People tend to prefer blaming than appreciating things. The eyes are locked on the things they don't have, rather than the bonuses they have gained. It is like getting the good things are meant to be and hiccups are bad things that come along to spoil mood and life.

Is it true that we ought not to face any problems but to enjoy only abundance of good life? Is it true that we are born here to get through all the sweetness and deny the bitters?

Oh well I bet some people might say "I am not asking for no bad times at all, but at least not so much ma!"

I have a secret to help anyone who agrees with the above statement to achieve NO BAD TIMES & ALWAYS GOOD TIMES:

There is no bad times, only bad vision.
See all time as good times and look for the goodness you can get out of the situation.

In fact, it's just the angle problem, not the situation itself.

Here's some good points of ponder, understand them and you'll see changes in yourself:
1. We suffer because we are going after the wrong things.

2. No one will give you worries if you don't give them yourself. You can't get over thing because you just can't let it go.

3. Mind your own business and manage yourself, not others.

4. Accept your life, that's vital.

5. There are sufferings everywhere, but it ends with you lift it down.

6. Every experience, especially the tough and hurt ones, is a way of growing to be more mature.

7. What is worry? They are but your projections of illusions.

8. Jealousy will neither bring any good to yourself, nor lessen the achievements of others.

9. We thought the things we do not have are precious; that is because our understanding towards it is too little. You'll realize things are not always the way you thought it looked when you have spent sufficient time on it.

10. There is no perfection in the world, only tolerance.

11. Do not pretend like you know what others' thinking. Judgmental results no correct perception.

12. Things will go away, you just have to let it go.

13. Always be thankful: for the things you have and also those that you don't.

14. A full hand can take nothing else. You will never grow if you can't let go.

15. Do not think about being crooked, cherish instead.

16. Nothing is our possession, so don't hold things back.

17. Learn to appreciate things through others' eyes and not taking own point of view as a foundation of giving.

18. The mature asks no past, the intelligent asks no present, the wise asks no future.

19. It is your choice: to gain the world with love or to lose it with hatred.

20. People tend to long for what they do not have and forgot to count what they have.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Yoga Session Now On!

Don't get me wrong, I am not teaching. Instead, I am learning.

I've been saying I want to attend Yoga class, mostly because I want to do something consistently to strengthen my injured back. My back is ok now (thanks to the exercise ball by Nick all the way from Japan. He's a very thoughtful guy) but I would not want to get the same problem again so I need to make my back strong. One way of protecting and strengthening it is to improve the joints flexibility so me and Joie were looking everywhere wanting to find a good yoga teacher whose not only good at skills but also able to teach us the purpose and wisdom behind it. Universe heard us alright and sent us our good friend as he came back for his sister's wedding.

With only a small token of appreciation, he spent 2 hours giving us what we have seeked for. Although it's just a one lesson thing but we really feel the result.

We continue repeating what we have learned after he's left, twice a week.

I feel GOOD!~~~~~

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Moving Forward

I was watching the "Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares" on AFC and saw this episode about a diner (ROCOCO) that suffers a big problem of losing money because of the recipes (award winning) were the same since years ago, pricey and it took very long time for the customers to have their food served. In fact, the chef cum owner Nick Anderson has got 100k pound of debts and has no way of getting out from the misery.

Gordon Ramsay came along to spend a week to push Nick's ass out from his old dreams (where his restaurant was once among the many recommended places in the dining guide) in order to start living a new life with new attitude.

Nick himself is like no different to any other man on earth, having the ego boosted to the peak of the head, whole body filled with old pride, giving all sorts of excuses for being unsuccessful etc.

Ramsay tried very hard to push him, even got shut out from the door!

The thought just strikes me: how often we are drown in the mood of remembering and repeating ourselves to others about our past achievements, and found ourselves not making progress in our present time?

Everything, good or bad, that we once have done were long gone. Being sentimental about the past is actually holding us back from really looking ahead and be brave to face the future. I often hear people say "when I was at your age, I have had my so and so achieved...".

Well, I am not denying the good influence on young people but it would be a big trouble if that whole idea would to penetrate own belief system. There is no way to find an exit if the heart and mind are concentrating on the reality seriously.

Comfort could be in many forms. The most important thing is: do you want to stay stagnant for the rest of your life and stop becoming better because of not being able to push yourself out of that zone?

I have achieved what I have achieved, that's done, end of the story. What matter now is I am achieving more that is ahead of me!


Here, do watch and listen carefully.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Listen to the Heart

I visited a friend's blog and from there I got to his friend's blog. And that is there I have this thought arouse.

Many are practically saying the very similar thing these days: pressure, tension, not enough time to rest, health deteriorating, feeling helpless with things that seem out of cope etc.

I guess city life has it's way of "helping" people in summoning ABUNDANCE.

I was the same like everyone else, until I got that short trip of awakening in December 2007, right before Christmas. And it is from there I was leaded to another different phase of life. But I was not quite certain about the guidance I received and I did not really do much to switch my life and I actually passed another 6 months of my life trying very very hard to change the situation my own stubborn way.

Of course things never worked out right.

Then I started to quiet myself down and make the attempt to change myself instead of changing the things happening around. Miraculously things started changing by itself! I carefully walk the path and collect the messages, and I found myself seeing things differently which ultimately have helped me to embrace life.

I have finished the book that I supposed to write after I came back from the trip, although I am late for 10 months.

I do not know what will happen next, but for sure I know: listen and I shall hear the soft whispers of heart.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

First day of the year - I finished PATAPON

Ok, it might not seem like a big deal, after all it's just a game. But it is still an achievement ma~~~~ It's good to have persistence because it means you'll make it till the end no matter what you do.

So, I have marked the first milestone on the beginning of the year.