2013 in retrospect

As the year draws to a close
I m feeling a little heavy n laden.

with the years’s unhappiness it seems .

Unhappiness is something I m not too skillful dealing with.

But, I will learn. And i think i m getting better at recognising it.

As I grow older, mental fatigue has its way of translating into physically energy sapping forms. it is sagging me down, eating up my energy n making me lethargic, taxing me out, as always to invite my attention.

It wants me to take care of it.

To be fair, I did good in 2013.
On 30th dec 2012, I wrote :

“What will the new 2013 bring me? What will the new time bring me?

I WILL pray n hope for the best, with all optimism n walk each step with great wisdom n awareness, each time acknowledging the habit that i have sown in me, but as well n more, seeing it as an opportunity to veer myself off this habit each time it arises, creating a new pathway towards goodness.

And in this work, bettering me.

with awareness, i know i can do it.
For that is what i want my children to.

Thank you 2012.
I grew up a lot in the good time u gave me.
And I m grateful eternally, for all the opportunities n kindness you have shown me.

Now I say with pride, that I made good each n every of them to the best of my ability.

If 2012 were for inspirations, 2013 must be for putting those hard earned inspirations into place.

I will carry all the inspirations that I have had with me into 2013, to work towards a better me n into building my family. I will refine the understandings n work towards being stronger, wiser n becoming more aware.”

Looking back, I realized This I did, to the best of my ability. So well done girl!

2013 Gave me a fair share of happy times with my precious dearies.

Haohao is such a precious addition to the family.

This baby came 8 days late . Epidural free, He gave me the opportunity to b mother again. To right all the wrongs I have done. To breastfeed again. To take care of him from young. Then, To grow n learn with him . To be inspired. To savor the joy of seeing him sit up, crawl, then walk.

To be closer to myself. It was a big leap for me, transitioning from full time career to full time home maker.

Growing with haohao gave me the opportunity to reflect, ponder, imagine n wonder. It gave me the opportunity to see myself when I was a baby, to see myself as a parent n as a child to my father.

haohao gave me wonderful times. Immeasurable joy n contentment . Haohao checked me in more ways than one.

Those moments with him allowed me to realise wisdom, n made me grow. I think i m a better person because of haohao.

i think i c the happy confident new me in haohao.

And qinzhi of course. To see haohao with qinzhi is yet another heartwarming sight.

Then, To be with qinzhi, to bathe her, feed her, sleep with her, read to her, take her to Yamaha n to learn music with her again is yet more enlightening experience.

I became a child again. It was as if I took a peep into my memory bank. As a child, my mommy took me to Yamaha too.

i learned from qinzhi’s mistakes n character. i saw myself in her, a weaker me, the old me, a less confident fearful me. as qinzhi feared n worried, n did not dare take steps forward, i pained with her, n i know these r the things i need to outgrow. These are the lessons were important to me for they challenged me n made the me now.

So qinzhi and haohao made me.

2013 Gave me a precious chance to b at home with my two dearies.  they gave me a chance to b mother to them n to mother myself. In the simplest littlest of all things that I did for my babies, I felt grounded n down to earth. I felt real although I was tired out. i was so so so tired..

Life n living was non fanciful but v v real. I lived with little money, but life was v big.

i enjoyed sourcing for all the lovely products and cooked them with lots of love n care. i wanted my family to enjoy what the products offered n in turn b nourished. i had a lovely oven who could allow us to enjoy baked vegetables. i found all the colours i needed on a baking sheet. i loved the smells coming out of the oven, esp when we had breads in there. I made nice warm soup that is good for the soul.

Being mother was the best thing that happened to me. It tested me, opened me up, stretched me, fulfilled me, it challenged my study of awareness.

Taking care of someone else isn’t easy. i had v high expectations of myself, n i realise, U v easily lose yourself in that purpose. U lose yourself mentally n physically. There comes a point of time that you so want to b alone.

to find me.

I needed nourishment as well.

I love my children.

No matter how much I gave, no matter how tired I m, I only wanted to give more.It didn’t matter if I was taxed out or sacrificed, I just wanted to do more good for these angels, truly godsend , I believe, to bless me, teach me, guide me, inspire me.

But a part of me needed love too. Like a plant that needed watering. i needed to b taken care of too. Like a baby.

It was that basic.

The heart cant b helped but is tugged n bogged down. And I know it is where the love is, or isn’t .

For 2013 did less to fulfill me in this aspect. When I wanted so much to be cared for n loved, things went the exact opposite.

my love was tested. our love was, We quarreled n quibbled n waged wars on one another due to differences in opinion. Communication was broken, so were feelings n the days .

My mind was broken, so was my body. my spirit was beaten.

its like a flower in the reality of wilt, not having the sunshine n water it needed most.

Love was the biggest lesson 2013 had for me .

And I guess the wreck was severe , it was the worst of all the years we have been together.
looking back now, It seemed especially  scary to me. I wonder if there can be better ways of addressing those situations. Surely, there can be.

but why didn’t those alternatives come by to rescue me?

Looking back now, its the love, or the lack of it, that drowned me so v much in the days of 2013. Sometimes tears just fall, thinking about the gap in between.

But I gave my all, n i tried my best really. I took initiatives , I wrote, I asked questions, I did all I could.

I rescued my love in many ways more than one.

As a woman, I could say : I tried v hard, too hard for my own good n so got v beaten .

But all these taught me much. It was my way of learning.

To be independent , to believe in myself , to listen to my own heart n to fight for my rights.

And I like to rest all these unhappiness with 2013 who is going away. Thank you for the lessons.

with sincere gratitude, thank u, 2013.

I think 2013 was about selfless giving n to a certain extent, experimenting with a different way of life, trying to put in place the inspirations i have had.

In the new 2014, i think it will be about executing certain inspirations with a higher level of confidence n boldness, with a stronger n surer sense of myself.

i want to be with my kids n myself more. I want to work for a better love. Find my love back.

I want to slow down.

I need to learn to b more selective. Whether it b at work or my diet. Whether it b a thought or a feeling.

I want to reclaim a bit of myself. I like to find me back, on a deeper level. I want my heart, soul n body to sync more n i will work towards that, so as to gain a deeper more solid sense of inner ease n peace, n emotional stability.

i want to do more good in more ways than one, it could be in writing, to inspire n to b inspired. i hope to be able to meet my teacher n to receive guidance n blessings from him, yongey mingyur rinpoche. i hope to b able to contribute n to help people in need. along the way, roping my children in.

i want to work towards being more attentive to my heart, to listen to its voice n to follow it.

I want to correct myself, all those unwholesome ways n be positive .

i want to open myself up further, to invite more space, n create depth n width in my body n mind.

i want to better myself n be more generous to myself n to others. i want to be more grounded n aware. i want to help myself grow in wisdom. i want to heal myself.

I want to make an obvious step to moving toward greater freedom, greater mental well-being, greater balance, greater meaning

I want to eat sleep n live like a baby.

I know I m powerful n I want to b with my power .

i want to be more mindful.

i want to be in the moment. Be open n present to life.

just be. be the light that i was n have been, to reclaim that light, to be a light upon myself n to others.

And feeling lighter now, I say , with open arms: welcome 2014. I wish you love.


Life, by Dr Alan B Wallace

Wisdom from Buddhist scholar , translator , author n founder of Santa Barbara institute of consciousness.

In their words: B. Alan Wallace & What is true happiness?

By Kathy Graham / 2 October 2012

Tricycle Editor-in-Chief James Shaheen visited B. Alan Wallace at his California home, near the Santa Barbara Institute, to discuss what Buddhism—and meditation—have to offer us in the pursuit of happiness.

What is genuine happiness? 
I prefer the term “human flourishing,” which is a translation of the Greek word eudaimonia. The usual translation is “genuine happiness,” but “flourishing” is more accurate. Like the Buddhist notion of sukkha, and ananda—bliss, joy in the Hindu tradition—flourishing is a sense of happiness that’s beyond the momentary vicissitudes of our emotional state.

And what would that happiness entail? 
A meaningful life.

What makes for a meaningful life?
I consider each day, not just the life as a whole. I look at four ingredients. First, was it a day of virtue? I’m talking about basic Buddhist ethics—avoiding harmful behavior of body, speech, and mind; devoting ourselves to wholesome behavior and to qualities like awareness and compassion. Second, I’d like to feel happy rather than miserable. The realized beings I’ve known exemplify extraordinary states of well-being, and it shows in their demeanor, their way of dealing with adversity, with life, with other people. And third, pursuit of the truth—seeking to understand the nature of life, of reality, of interpersonal relationships, or the nature of mind. But you could do all that sitting quietly in a room. None of us exists in isolation, however, so there is a fourth ingredient: a meaningful life must also answer the question, “What have I brought to the world?” If I can look at a day and see that virtue, happiness, truth, and living an altruistic life are prominent elements, I can say, “You know, I’m a happy camper.” Pursuing happiness does not depend on my checkbook, or the behavior of my spouse, or my job, or my salary. I can live a meaningful life even if I only have ten minutes left.

So physical health is not a necessary ingredient? 
Not at all. One of my former students has a very rare disease, and every day he goes to the hospital for dialysis and drug treatment, and will for the rest of his life. You could say, “Well, that’s a tragedy, a dismal situation.” But the last time I spoke with him, he said, “Alan, I’m flourishing.” And he was. He was finding a way within the very limited parameters of what was available to him. His mind is clear. He’s reading, he’s growing, he’s meditating, he’s teaching meditation to other terminally ill patients in his hospital. He’s living a very meaningful life in which he can honestly say that he’s flourishing.

What’s his secret?
He’s not looking for happiness outside himself. When we rely on things like a job, a spouse, or money to fulfill us, we’re in an unhappy situation, because we’re banking on something external. Furthermore, other people are competing for the same pot, and it’s not an infinite pot. That’s the bad news.

And the good? 
The good news is that genuine happiness is not out there in the marketplace to be purchased or acquired from the best teacher around. One of the best-kept secrets is that the happiness we’re striving for so desperately in the perfect spouse, the great kids, the fine job, security, excellent health, and good looks has always been within and is just waiting to be unveiled. Knowing that what we are seeking comes from within changes everything. It doesn’t mean you won’t have a spouse, or a car, or a satisfying job, but if you’re flourishing, your happiness won’t depend so much on external events, people, and situations, which are all beyond your control.

Everyone’s heard that wealth does not buy happiness, but few of us live as if it were true. 
On a deeper level we doubt it and try again and again to take control of our external environment and to extract from it the things we think will make us happy—status, sex, financial and emotional security. I think a lot of people in our society have given up on the pursuit of genuine happiness. They’ve given up hope of finding happiness, fulfillment, and joy in life. They think, “Well, genuine happiness just doesn’t seem to be available, so I’ll settle for a better stereo.” Or they’re just getting by: “Forget about pleasure. I’ll just try to make it through the day.” That’s pretty tragic.

That sounds like depression. 
It’s a state in which the space of the mind compresses and we lose vision. I think of lovingkindness—the first of the Four Immeasurables, or Four Divine Abidings—as a vision quest. In traditional maitri [Sanskrit for lovingkindness] practice, you start with lovingkindness for yourself. That doesn’t mean “What kind of a good job could I get? How much money could I possibly have?” but “How can I flourish? How can I live in a way that I find truly fulfilling, happy, joyful, meaningful?” And as you envision that for yourself, you extend it out: “How can other people who are suffering find genuine happiness?”

Shantideva said, “Those deciding to escape from suffering hasten right toward suffering. With the very desire for happiness, out of delusion they destroy their own happiness as if it were the enemy.” Why is this so? Why wouldn’t we adopt a life of virtue if it brings the genuine happiness we so want? 
It comes back to the idea that we’re clueless as to what would really bring us the happiness we seek. It may take us a very long time before we even notice what’s happening, because we’ve become so fixated on the symbol, the image, the ideal, the mental construct: “If I only had this type of spouse, this type of job, this amount of money; if only people respected me to this degree; if I only looked like this….” It’s delusion. We all know people who are in good health, have love and fame and wealth, and they’re miserable. Those people are some of our greatest teachers. They show us that you can win the lottery and lose the lottery of life, in terms of the pursuit of genuine happiness.

If one approaches the path of Buddhist practice with a strong emphasis on the via negativa and the idea that nirvana is just being free of stuff, then at first glance, nirvana can look pretty boring. But nirvana is not just getting up to neutral, or Freud’s “ordinary level of unhappiness.” It’s a lot more than that. And this is where we tap into this issue that our habitual state is dukkha, being dissatisfied, anxious. But the Buddhist premise, which is enormously inspiring, is that what’s truly “habitual” is your natural state of awareness, the ground state of awareness. This is a source of bliss and can be uncovered, beginning with the meditative practices like shamatha, the refinement of attention, and becoming aware of how things really are.

The whole point of Buddha-dharma is that liberation comes not by believing in the right set of tenets or of dogmatic assertions, or even necessarily by behaving in the right way. It’s insight, it’s wisdom, it’s knowing the nature of reality. It is only truth that will make us free.

When you say “genuine happiness,” the implication is that there’s another kind.
Yes. We mistake what Buddhists call the Eight Mundane Concerns for the true pursuit of happiness: acquisition of wealth and not losing it; acquisition of stimulus-driven pleasures and avoiding pain; praise and avoiding abuse or ridicule; and desire for a good reputation and fearing contempt or rejection. The point to mention is that there’s nothing wrong with the ones on the positive side. Take having: would you be a better person if you didn’t have that sweater you’re wearing? No. There’s nothing wrong with acquisitions, but there’s something wrong with thinking they’ll bring you happiness.

Genuine happiness is simply tapping into the true causes of happiness as opposed to things that may or may not catalyze it. And that’s basically the difference between pursing the dharma and pursuing the Eight Mundane Concerns. Some people actually meditate to serve the Eight Mundane Concerns—solely for the sake of acquiring the pleasure that they get in meditation. They’re taking meditation like a cup of coffee, or jogging, or massage. That’s not bad or wrong, but it’s very limited. Meditation can do something that a good massage can’t do. It can actually heal the mind.

In Genuine Happiness, you write, “When we’re experiencing dissatisfaction or depression without any clear external cause for it, no bad health, disintegrating marriage, or other personal crisis, could this be a symptom or message to us coming from a deeper level than biological survival? How should we respond? Antidepressants essentially tell such feelings, ‘Shut up, I want to pretend you don’t exist.’ But what is the feeling telling us?” Can you comment? 
What we’re talking about here is dukkha—not as in “I feel miserable because I lost something that was dear to me, or I didn’t get something I passionately wanted,” but this deeper stratum of dukkha that is nonreferential and not stimulus-driven. There are times when, in the absence of unpleasant stimuli, you still have a sense of unease, of depression, of restlessness—something’s not right but you can’t quite identify what it is. This is one of the most valuable symptoms we have of the underlying dysfunction of our minds. Once you sense that you’re tapping into that, you may say, “I don’t like this feeling, and I’m going to cover it up. I’m going to get lost in work, entertainment, booze, drugs.”

This society is the most ingenious in history in suppressing that basic sense of unease. We go into chemical overdrive. Here is a symptom of a life that is not working very well, of a mind that is prone to imbalances and afflictions, and instead of taking that as a welcome symptom, we basically shoot the messenger. The drug industry says that if you feel anxious, depressed, unhappy, or angry it’s because of a chemical imbalance in your brain. “Take our prescription drug, and this is going to make you happy.” The downside of these drugs is that many people think that bad experiences have primarily a material basis—that a chemical imbalance is the root cause. In other words, the Second Noble Truth, the cause of suffering, is chemical imbalance in the brain. And therefore the cessation of suffering means getting numbed out. What this is doing is veiling our engagement with reality rather than getting to the roots of depression and anxiety. What you’re experiencing is the First Noble Truth. And the Buddha says, “Don’t just make it shut up, but recognize it, understand it.” This is the beginning of the path to happiness.

The existentialists understood that we pursued happiness in vain. How does the Buddhist take differ? 
In Buddhism, pursuing happiness is not just a moving away from one thing—the acquisition of external objects—but moving toward another, dharma practice. It’s extricating yourself from the actual sources of dukkha, which are internal, and moving toward greater freedom, greater mental well-being, greater balance, greater meaning. In existentialist philosophy, this is referred to as “living authentically.” Moving away from the true sources of dukkha toward the true sources of happiness—that is basically the whole Buddhist psychology right there.

We have a misperception that if we can get everything to work right, we’ll find the happiness we’re seeking. Then there comes a point when you say, “I see. This has never worked. It’s not working now, and it will never work in the future.” That’s what a lot of the existential philosophers recognized. Camus, Sartre—they refer to the vanity, the futility, the fundamental meaninglessness. Buddhism, like the existentialists, sees the vanity, the futility, the emptiness of the Eight Mundane Concerns. But it doesn’t just say, “Here’s a problem and there’s nothing we can do about it.” It says, “Those are the mundane concerns, and then there’s the dharma. Having some faith would be helpful, but if nothing else, you still have the practice.”

You argue that practice keeps us in the world, and that’s a great challenge. For instance, many of us follow the news, and it’s easy to get pretty depressed. How can we stay in the game without being brought down by it? 
The first thing is to recognize that the news is not all the news that’s fit to print or to broadcast. It’s taking place in a one hundred percent commercial context. They’re broadcasting the news because they’re paid for it by their advertisers. And they are giving us the news that sells, that they feel that people would want to watch. It’s a very selective slice of what’s going on. This is not to say that there are no people in the media who are trying to perform a public service, but the system itself is commercially oriented.

In Buddhism, we say yes, there is an ocean of suffering. So it’s not bad to show that there’s anger, hatred, delusion, and greed in the world. In a way, the media are presenting some very important facts. Given that, we can look for different emotional responses in ourselves. We can get out of the rut of our cynicism, depression, anger, and apathy by cultivating the Four Immeasurables. When we see suffering and the causes of suffering, then it’s time for compassion. When we see people striving diligently to find happiness, that’s a time for lovingkindness. That rare coverage where they show something wonderful that has happened is a time for mudita—for empathic joy, for rejoicing in other people’s happiness and in virtue. And then there are circumstances like natural disasters. When we see there are responsible people and institutions doing their best to alleviate the suffering, we can decide to maintain equanimity and then do the practice of tonglen—taking in the suffering of the world and offering back joy and the causes of joy. The Four Immeasurables are extraordinarily powerful ways of engaging with reality. And they balance each other. They’re like the Four Musketeers: when any one goes astray, the other ones leap in and say, “I can help you.”

So if you’re feeling indifference instead of equanimity, then compassion will balance that?
Precisely. Or if you’re really hunkered down into attachment and anxiety, that’s a time for equanimity.

This alternative route to happiness seems to require a leap of faith, and that can be scary. If I let go of all the externals, what will become of me? 
We don’t need to jump into the deep end. The Tibetans call that “hairy renunciation.” It’s like suddenly getting an infatuation and saying, “Oh, the whole of society is a pit of blazing fire. I can’t stand it. I’m going to go off to the bliss of practicing Buddhism.” It’s called hairy because I’d better shave my head to show I’m serious. Then, of course, in a day or two or a couple of weeks, you say, “Oh, this is not so much fun, and where is that girlfriend I left behind, anyway?” It’s like a fling.

So what’s required is not a sudden, abrupt, and total abandonment of the eight worldly dharmas—the Eight Mundane Concerns—and practicing only the sublime dharma. It’s like taking a child into the water to teach him how to swim: you don’t fling the kid into the deep end and see what happens. You take him from the first step into the shallow end. So have a trial period. Try meditation for a session in the morning and a session in the evening. See how that impacts the rest of your day. Then, as you start to get a taste of dharma, you may say, “Well, this is actually tapping into my inner resources. This feels good. And it’s not just good, it’s also virtuous, and what’s more, I’m engaging with reality more clearly than I have in the past. If I want to bring something good to the world, I’m in a better position to do so.” It is a gradual shift in priorities until eventually your primary desire, your highest value, is living a meaningful life, devoting yourself to dharma. The Eight Mundane Concerns—they’ll come and go. In fact, when they’re there, they can even support you in your life.

As grist for the mill?
They’re not necessarily grist for the mill, but adversity does provide us with an opportunity if there is a wise engagement with it. For instance, one of the greatest obstacles to a meaningful life is arrogance. Well, it’s really hard to be arrogant when you’re encountering great adversity. Then there’s that unease we’ve spoken of. If we view that with wisdom, it can arouse our curiosity or maybe even be a very powerful incentive for transformation, for uprooting the underlying causes giving rise to such distress. If you’ve gone through terrible interpersonal strife, or a loss, or a financial crisis, for example, you could look at it and say, “How did that happen? What did I contribute to it? And why am I suffering so much now?” These are messages—symptoms of an underlying discord, a disengagement from reality, coming out of delusion, hatred, and craving. I think the Three Poisons are as important for understanding the human situation as the three laws of Newton are for understanding the physical universe. And when you see how important dharma is in the face of adversity, then it becomes a priority. You let it saturate your life. That’s when dharma really takes on its power—when it’s not confined to a meditation session here or there.

Which brings me to your view that the culmination of the Buddha’s practice was not enlightenment under the Bodhi tree but service to others.
I believe the Buddha achieved something utterly extraordinary under the Bodhi tree, but he recognized that if this event was to be as meaningful as possible, it had to be shared with others. Enlightenment isn’t something just for yourself: “Now I’ve got the good stuff, and therefore I’m finished.” Entire civilizations were transformed by this one man’s presence, but it wasn’t just the forty-nine days sitting under the Bodhi tree that did it. It was the next forty-five years, engaging with courtesans and beggars and kings and warriors—the whole range of human society—and having something to offer to everyone. So if we go back to the four aspects of a meaningful life, what happened under the Bodhi tree is clearly the culmination of virtue, happiness, and truth. And for the next forty-five years he was out there, bringing something good to the world. So I would say the Buddha is the paradigm of a meaningful life.


2013’s best quotes on Facebook

Facebook has been such a part of my life, sometimes, so much wisdom is in there, well, at least on my own page.

Looking back at 2013, brought me so much joy, especially so because of the lovely moments i snapped of precious dearies haohao n qinzhi.

May 2013 bring us fresh energies, inspirations, perspectives. May we create new pathways n better ourselves, n there, make good 2013 . Happi new year !
Me: Can i …… after ……..?
qinzhi daddy: Up to u.
lovely Music to my ears.
外面找不到的味道。(a bowl of noodles by ah hui)
快乐要比成功来得重要。—-创始芒果冰Ice Monster罗骏桦
Mister Ye is a good 8 days late. But yesterday he was good to me. And he will be my constant reminder to not fall back on habits, but rather, to always attempt a new pathway. Presenting an epidural free baby n a somewhat new me.
Likes!!! (daddy feeding haohao)
One ST headline today: “Enough land for 700000 more homes.”
The planners don’t realize , what we need is space.
The babe feeding the baby
The best lessons don’t come in words nor do they come in books. They appear just before us, in seemingly unimportant moments that just pass u by. This lady who hasn’t had any education n slogged hard for her life taught me most about love n devotion. It is not thank u but : I m so grateful we had the chance to meet in this lifetime. (gorgor patting haohao )
When we become parents, we become better children.
same same but different (1 month old)
A year, after all, is just a collection of months. A month is a collection of days. A day is a collection of hours. An hour is a collection of minutes. So how we are going to spend our year depends on how we live each moment, each breath, each heartbeat. So I want you to take care of each moment, each breath, each heartbeat. Take care of the present moment. If you want to make this year a positive one, use each moment well. If you want to change, you have to transform this present moment. Then the change will take place properly, as we learn to live each moment properly.---Tsokyni Rinpoche
My space is small. My life, big.
Better to know a few things which are good and necessary than many things which are useless and mediocre.—–Leo Tolstoy
It is so easy to forget How precious each n every one of us can be
And so, Its been 2 months (haohao at 2 months)
same same but different@ 2 months
“You must take life the way it comes at you and make the best of it.”
― Yann Martel, Life of Pi
We should make ourselves stop trying to explain our own difficulties. Our first impulse is to try to account for them, figure out why what has happened did happen. Sometimes such an effort is beneficial: more often it is distinctly harmful. It leads to introspection, self-pity, and vain regret; and almost invariably it creates within us a dangerous mood of confusion and despair. Many of life’s hard situations cannot be explained. They can only be endured, mastered, ad gradually forgotten. Once we learn this truth, once we resolve to use all our energies managing life rather than trying to explain life, we take the first and most obvious step toward significant accomplishment.—-James Gordon Gilkey
我笑你的笑,哭你的哭,睡你睡的觉。(haohao asleep in my arms)
The Double rainbow brought much joy. Simple Pure joy.(pix of a double rainbow outside my kitchen window)
Dad trying to make a purchase at the cashier…
Qinzhi: daddy, I want to wee wee
Dad: can u wait a while?
Qinzhi : I can wait but my wee wee cannot!
Just believe u can do it.
妳比妳想像的還美麗 (Dove commercial)
qinzhi/huaihao: same same but different @ 3 mths
April 27
Rainbow after the rain 
After all those terrorizing acts, he is an angel again! (haohao asleep in my arms)
Yes, children do bring with them lots of joy n happiness, but equally, they give mothers lots of sleepless nights, fear n worry filled days. On Mother’s Day, I sincerely pray that all mothers be free of that. As well, all children be well n happy.
Flying off (qinzhi n daddy flying a kite at Marina Barrage)
sun in her cheeks (pretty qinzhi with rosy cheeks )
Broken toys can be fixed overnight, but harsh words (especially tone of voice) break a child’s heart quicker than it can be mended.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. ~ Dalai Lama
same same but different @ 4 months
Eat. Sleep n live like a baby. (haohao asleep in my arms)
欣赏一首诗,卫塞节充实!一棵开花的树诗●席慕蓉 图●小邝Ace Khong如何让你遇见我
在我最美丽的时刻 为这
我已在佛前 求了五百年
朵朵都是我前世的盼望当你走近 请你细听
朋友啊 那不是花瓣

: ) (haohao kisses qinzhi)
我們的快樂有限 ─────
不要為沒有意義的事而煩惱。我們的生命有限 ─────
—– karmapa
This paragraph from DailyOM hit a note in my heart.“Yet the truth is that it is up to each one of us to decide what that destiny will be.While manifesting your destiny starts with knowing what you want and believing you can attain your goals, there are then the actions that must be taken and the decisions to be made before your destiny can truly happen.When you take responsibility for fulfilling your destiny and begin acting with the intention of doing so, you not only take fate into your own hands, but also you become the hands of your own fate.Doorways inevitably open for you to step through, and every choice you make can be a creative act toward realizing your goals and dreams.You begin to follow your instincts and intuition, recognize opportunities when they are presented to you, and seize those golden moments. You also begin to recognize the decisions that may not serve this greater picture and can more easily push them aside.”
Now I know what it feels like to be poor in the pocket but rich at heart.
Left right nostril breathing, I miss my yoga!
Sleep baby sleep !(haohao asleep in his pink chair)
Read baby Read! (reading The Apple to haohao )
Finally asleep After a good deal of “playing” since 230am! (haohao asleep in his pink chair,  finger to his mouth)
Crawl baby Crawl (haohao crawling on my bed)
If you think that happiness means total peace, you will never be happy. Peace comes from the acceptance of the part of you that can never be at peace. It will always be in conflict. If you accept that, everything gets a lot better.—–Joss Whedon
Embracing our Inner Contradictions
突然問了小法王一句:『我可以抱你嗎?』只有七歲的小法王靜靜地回答:【 你可以抱住天空嗎? 】
What can b so yummy? (haohao sucking his lips)
it is vague yet not. Huaihao so v sound asleep on my left shoulder , my head tilted leftwards tucking him in, snug n tight. Then i hear a voice telling me, how beautiful! And i think i caught hold of something eternal in those fleeting moments.
S is for… …(the day my 6 month long sabbatical bagan)
June 11
Don’t let your past be controlled by 3 things, your past, people, money.
The main Bible passage for sabbatical concepts is Genesis 2:2-3, in which God rested (literally, “ceased” from his labour) after creating the universe, and it is applied to people (Jew and Gentile, slave and free) and even to beasts of burden in one of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8-11, reaffirmed in Deuteronomy 5:12-15).
June 14
Be careful with your words, once they are spoken, they can only be forgiven not forgotten.
Do you have the time to listen to yourself, your suffering, your difficulties, and your deepest desire? 
Being present n open to the now
Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
The real point of meditation is to rest in bare awareness whether anything occurs or not. Whatever comes up for you, just be open and present to it, and let it go. And if nothing occurs, or if thoughts and so on vanish before you can notice them, just rest in that natural clarity.
“The Joy of Living”
From The Book:The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari• There is a bright side to the darkest circumstance – if you have the courage to look for it.• There are no mistakes in life, only lessons.• Start to condition your mind to translate every event into a positive, empowering one; you will banish worry forever. You will stop being a prisoner of your past. You will become the architect of your future.• From tonight onwards, forget about the past. Dare to dream that you are more than the sum of your current circumstances. Expect the best.
• All lasting inner change requires time and effort. Persistence is the mother of personal change.• Either I control my mind or it controls me.• Never forget that there is power in silence and stillness.• A strong, disciplined mind, which anyone can cultivate through daily practice can achieve miracles. If you want to live to its fullest-care for your thoughts.
June 17
You become like the 5 people you spend the most time with. Choose carefully.
June 18
The woman is the reflection of her man
June 23
When i saw you, i fell in love, and you smiled, because you knew.—William Shakespeare
June 25
I m proud of my heart, its been played, stabbed, cheated,burned and broken, but somehow, still works.
If, in 10 years, you were to look back at your actions of today, what would you change? Always be asking yourself in terms of your goals and how you want to live. 
To become optimistic, practice being optimistic. Be become brave, practice daily bravery. To become patient, practice patience etc
If u met u, will u like u?
I don’t think I can quit this (ah hue’s home cooked noodle that i had since young)
all time favourite! (ah hui’s home cooked tao kee dessert )
Be with someone who won’t stay mad at you, who can not stand not talking to you, and who’s afraid of losing you.
沁芝/怀皓:same same but different @ 5 months
June 29
Forgive them, even if they are not sorry.
When we come back again, n again, n again to something frustrating, it is really because we have not learnt THAT lesson. We ought to.
There comes a point in your life when you realize who really matters, who never did, and who always will.
“Be in love with your love. Every minute of it” Jack Kerouac
I think at that moment in my life, I found a peculiar path: To continually discard a lot of the things that I knew how to do in favor of finding out what I didn’t. —- Milton Glaser

July 3

2 things help success in life: the way u manage when u have nothing. the way you behave when you have everything. 
When we lose sight of a promise, we also lose that bit of ourselves.
Failures are part of life. if you don’t fail, you don’t learn, if you don’t learn, you never change.
Purity (haohao asleep in my arms)
Lets AIM accurately.
Your aim should be to be doing something you love, in a place you love with people you love.
You will learn that it is necessary to let things go, simply because they are heavy.
If you want something you have never had, you have to do something you have never done.
July 5
To live, is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.
From The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari:Stay focussed on your life work and on giving selfless service to others. The Universe will take care of everything else. This is one of nature’s truest laws. Never regret what has happened in the past. There is no chaos in this Universe. There is a purpose for everything that has ever happened to you, and everything that will happen to you. every experience offfers lesson. So stop majoring in minor things. Enjoy your life.
The meaning of life is to find your gift; the purpose of life is to give it away.——– Pablo Picasso
Not disturbed by blocked nose n phlegmy cough (haohao with a pink hanky wrapping his head, lying on his pink chair, smiling)
Burnt o.u.t
Thanks for bringing the world to me. And myself closer to me. And so, now, it’s time to let u go. My Alain Mikli. (my broken pair of glasses)
This clip touched me somewhat—-I guess.. It’s that sense of freedom u arrive at, doing what you love, where u love it.
All these flavors I grew up with r not only comforting for the tummy. They r oh so good for the soul as well! (ngoh hiang, giam cai ark, lor bak)
Teaching of the day by the paediatrician:”let go of all the preconceptions about good, bad, normal.”
沁芝/怀皓same same but different @ 6 months
July 24
1 n 28 for Ye Qinzhi
Happiness does not depend on what you have who you are but what you think .——-Lama Tenpa
July 28
Courage is being yourself everyday in a world that tells you to be someone else.
More and more, memories become locked in flavors. And so this rare find here, unlocked a certain precious Paris i kept somewhere. (Alain Millat Pear summer nectar)
July 30
i think we like to complicate things when it is really quite simple, find what it is that makes you happy and who it is that makes you happy, n you r set. Promise.
yoga-ing (haohao in yoga position.)
More yoga: happy baby pose
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
Potato soup sans cream/milk. Baked carrot fries.
It is amazing how the most seemingly-unimportant details in life, show up afterwards. We had better take care of the littlest of all things.
Happiness is waiting 4 mins for one piping hot peanut pancake, prepared by a certain hawker uncle , who has been revising the trade for 26 years. (peanut pancake)
Happiness is painting a lollipop for the child in me on a hot afternoon.
“when you say yes to others, make sure you are not saying no to yourself.” Paulo Coelho
Home made veggie cleaner
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 cup cold tap water .
Mix, shake well, and apply to your produce. Rinse with tap water before cooking or serving.
You must believe that your past is not your future. You are not stuck or defined by tradition and you don’t have to listen to what others tell you to do. Focus on the bright things, the ones that bring a smile to your face. Find that passion and focus.
The only person you are destined to become, is the person you decide to be. ___Ralph Waldo Emerson
Life happens to us when we happen to life in the Now.
To kick start the day (strawberries, blueberries, blackberries)
If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change, Dr Wayne Dyer
Happiness is hearing that the daddy has a day off tomorrow and we can pop by qinzhi’s school to catch her sing “Singapura” on stage.
how clever BA.
it isn’t what happens in your life that matters most, it i what your heart does with it, and what together they learn from it.
You can Open your can of happiness. And Then YOU scoop out the sweeeeet nectar of life…(Mikuni’s dessert in a bottle.)
Have the courage to follow your heart n intuition.They somehow already know what you truly want to become.
I was a bully who pushed and pressured and hurried a small child who simply wanted to enjoy life.
allow the child in each of us to set the pace. allow our children to set the pace. not US.
Don’t let a bad moment, bad incident or a bad day make you feel like you have a bad life. 
Talking, time, and faith build strong relationships.
A bridge of death that became the bridge of life.
Yoga-ing: Perfect cat n cow pose! (haohao on his fours)
Paris on my own (41 photos)
One most important journey, in my life. — in Paris, France.
Happiness is a baguette
Life is about getting the basics right.  (lemon in warm water in the morning)
August 18
August 20
Got questions? Silence your mind and consult your heart. Its your direct line to the God within you.
Happiness is a bottle of Alain Milliat nectar. (Merlot Red Grape Juice)
You were not the same people when you got married… U re-choose each other every day
从什么时候开始,你变成了我的偶像。(haohao asleep on the sofa)
沁芝/怀皓:same same but different @ 7 months
My puppy (qinzhi drinking water on the bridge to one fullerton)
Happiness is listening to QinZhi go :”mommy, today Lucas hold my hand n I m happy, he is a good boy.”
O, happiness!
You got to trust me enough to respect every word I say. AND Yes, I do mean, e-v-e-r-y word.

You were given this life because you were strong enough to live it.

When we feel overcome by a situation, although it may be true that the situation is there all around us, we can still mentally lift ourselves above it, and take a second look from that new perspective. For example, if we feel as if we are flailing in the water and drowning in a problem, we can try to imagine ourselves sitting on a mountaintop and surveying our situation in the valley below. This gives us a different way of seeing things, and can reveal new options for responding.-Karma
時世造英雄,窮者思變,人只有壓力才會有動力— 李嘉诚


Me: 姨姨says u r all grown up.
Qinzhi: o, that’s good to hear. (qinzhi sitting pretty on the floor in a laduree x uniqlo tee shirt)
Happiness is really a good night of sleep . That’s all.
Interesting read
(haohao on sofa, reaching up to get toy)
Changed bedsheets. Magic cleaned. Washed n ironed. Supermarketed twice. Can’t all these count towards GDP? They are totally heart n time consuming effort.
我中有你;你中有我。(balsamic vinegar in olive oil)
我拿什么奉献给你,我的小孩?(haohao asleep in my arms)
1 做你沒做過的事情,叫成長;做你不願意做的事情,叫改變;做你不敢做的事情,叫突破。
2 如果你向上帝求助,說明你相信上帝的能力;如果上帝沒有幫助你,說明上帝相信你的能力。
3 隨著年齡的增長,我們並不是失去了一些朋友;而是,我們懂得了,誰才是真正的朋友。
4 當有人逼迫你去突破自己,你要感恩她,她是你生命中的貴人,也許你會因此而改變和蛻變 。
5 當沒有人逼迫你,請自己逼迫自己;因為真正的改變是……自己想改變。
6 蛻變的過程是很痛苦的,但每一次的蛻變,都會有成長的驚喜。
7 巴菲特在美國一所大學舉行演講,一個學生問:「你認為什麼樣的人生才是真正的成功?」

今天皓皓教的:一步一步来。(haohao making his baby steps on the sofa,r eating out to toys)
The rain reminded me to rain on myself once in a while. To cleanse away any obsolete mindset, behavior, energies, relationships, thoughts, feelings, pathways. I m so loving the rain.
他微笑,让我重新认识微笑。 (haohao smiling)
Choosing a read (haohao choosing a book on the sofa)
Entertaining mommy (bib on haohao’s head)
“suffering breaks him open and moves him to change his ways.”—– Pico Iyer “The Value of Suffering”, NYT
宝贝,记住这样的笑。(haohao ‘s sunshine smile)
Taxi, where r u? (haohao, all wrapped up in a scarf, waiting for a taxi)
No matter how dirty your past is, your future is still spotless.
山本耀司 :「別再唸書了,好好去生活吧。」「用心,用靈魂去生活;去旅行,去經歷,去感受。不真正走出去,是不會被啟發的。走到太陽底下,去淋雨,去摸,去接觸,去聽,去跟人說話,去聞不一樣的味道,去感覺空氣的密度,去認識不一樣的人,去看不一樣的顏色,去迷路……去好好利用你的觸感去感受,這樣你才可以去創作。別再用你的腦袋去設計,也別再用你的電腦了!用腦袋,可以很容易就營造出虛假的藝術美感,但真正的創作,是要用你的手,你的心,你的靈魂,表達你所真實感受到的。作為一個設計師,你的觸感必須要非常敏銳,你的感受也必須要是真實的。你要去感受世界,才能夠感受人的存在,這樣才能夠真正去為『人』去創作。」

THE BUMBLEBEEAccording to scientists, the bumblebee’s body is too heavy and its wing span too small. Aerodynamically, the bumblebee cannot fly. But the bumblebee doesn’t know that and it keeps flying.

When you don’t know your limitations, you go out and surprise yourself. In hindsight, you wonder if you had any limitations. The only limitations a person has are those that are self-imposed. Don’t let education put limitations on you.

沁芝/怀皓same same but different @ 8 months
宝贝,长大了、老了、累了,也不要轻易忘记用双手探索的美丽 (haohao, playing a toy, turning it over)
New (haohao in his new hair cut)

A Father was reading a magazine and his little daughter every now and then distracted him. To keep her busy, he tore one page on which was printed the map of the world. He tore it into pieces and asked her to go to her room and put them together to make the map again.
He was sure she would take the whole day to get it done. But the little one came back within minutes with perfect map……When he asked how she could do it so quickly, she said, “Oh…. Dad, there is a man’s face on the other side of the paper….. I made the face perfect to get the map right.” She ran outside to play leaving the father surprised.
There is always the other side to whatever you experience in this world. Whenever we come across a challenge or a puzzling situation, look at the other side…. You will be surprised to see an easy way to tackle the problem.

happi birthdae TPY. i wish for u courage, to bye away the old. I wish for u determination, to continue the good u have. i wish for u wisdom, to do good n b a light. i wish for u strength in life. above all, i wish u love on the road to bettering urself. happi sweeet 34, girl!
To improve, we must watch ourselves fail, and learn from our mistakes.
怀皓/沁芝:same same but different @ 9 months
October 23
Lessons in life will be repeated till they are learned.
The page is your mirror. What happens inside you is reflected back. You come face-to-face with your own resistance, lack of balance, self-loathing, and insatiable ego—and also with your singular vision, guts, and fortitude. No matter what you’ve achieved the day before, you begin each day at the bottom of the mountain. … Life is usually right there, though, ready to knock us over when we get too sure of ourselves. Fortunately, if we have learned the lessons that years of practice have taught us, when this happens, we endure. We fail better. We sit up, dust ourselves off, and begin again.——Dani Shapiro
Silence Is Delightful

It would be marvelous for each one of us if we could abandon all inner speech and abide in silent awareness of the present moment long enough to realize how delightful it is. Silence is so much more productive of wisdom and clarity than thinking. When one realizes that, silence becomes more attractive and important. The mind inclines toward it, seeks it out constantly, to the point where it engages in the thinking process only if it is really necessary, only if there is some point to it. Once we have realized that most of our thinking is really pointless, that it gets us nowhere and only gives us headaches, we gladly and easily spend much time in inner quiet.

– Ajahn Brahm
Mindfulness, Bliss and Beyond

Cheeky boy! (haohao on highchair)
Blend for the cheeky boy (rice blend)
Organic Spinach, organic bananas, organic grapes, plain low fat yoghurt. Topped with Flax seeds.
Sometimes u think u r going to fall. Sometimes u feel u r going to faint, just so the next moment. It is so so so near already… But u don’t . Because the child at home stretches your limits even further. That is how we grow n become stronger . No pain no gain.
November 4
Love in such a way that the person you love feels free.—Thich Nhat Hanh
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.


smile baby smile!(haohao smiling, showing his bottom 2 teeth)
all the colours I need for dinner ! (potatoes, parsnips, carrots, brussels sprouts)
Ahead. Personal growth (path ahead, walking alone on my own along alexandra canal)

Green for the day: Organic baby kale. Banana. Avocado. Organic raw buckwheat honey. Topped with chia seeds and flax seeds. (green smoothie)
外在的空间不难找。相比之下,内在的空间怎么开拓,才是问题。(at marina barrage, kite flying)
Impossible, is just an opinion.—-Paulo Coelho
I think with awareness, we can get out of the circles we have been encountering, once n again. (qinzhi walking in circles at a circling bench at river valley)
沁芝/怀皓same same but different@10 months
像是做了一场梦。冷冷、饱饱的。很多颜色、很多风、很多烤肉。还有,今年的第一场雪。(qinzhi , asleep . evening sun on her on the shuttle bus to incheon airport.)
一步一步,来。(haohao, walking on his own)
kissing jiejie (haohao kissing qinzhi, many days after not seeing qinzhi)
its amazing how fast little kids grow n become (qinzhi, i reloaded her pix fr fb last year)
…Before long, u would have arrived in another season.
——Ask a Midwife
December 5
The music is not in the notes, but the silence in between.—-Mozart
December 11
Unexpressed emotions will never die.They are buried alive, and will come forth later in uglier ways. —-Sigmund Freud
It was only in her absence, in a total vacuum away from her, that I was able to appreciate the depth of love I felt.
沁芝/怀皓 same same but different @ 11 months
Some people
are like clouds.

When they disappear,
it’s a brighter day.

December 30