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The Story


Prelude

“I think you should see a doctor. You look terrible.”

“Yeah, I think I should…” I replied tiredly. Heaving a sigh, I looked at my watch.

1.30 pm. The nearest clinic won’t be open till 2 pm. For the past few days, I desperately tried to avoid seeing a doctor. In my attempts to get better or so I thought I would, I savaged whatever medicine I could get from the home’s kit box.

Korzen. Pacofen. And pearl powder tablets, which helped to clear the sore throat. But I’m still aching, and there’s certainly no sign of the swollen lymph nodes subsiding.  

Slumped in the chair, I worked on the reports to pass the time but my mind wasn’t on it. I felt frustrated. Defeated. I can’t take this fight back again to the doc’s. For certain he will feed me with antibiotics and I’m not sure if I could take anymore of those for this frail body.

“I’m going to the doc’s.” My eyes gazed over and the lighting suddenly seemed too bright for my liking. Before anyone said anything, I skipped out of office.
 

 

The ClinicCollapse )

Stop and Smell the Flowers - by Jack Sim

This resonates well with me and I thought it helps to share this with everyone.
The real currency of life is time =) Remember that.
===

Stop and Smell the Flowers

Jack Sim

In an agrarian society, people cherish simple joy. Human beings don’t need much to be happy as we can see from the Gross Happiness Index of the remote nation of Bhutan. As societies industralise, capitalism promotes individualism. Just when knowledge seems like power, the internet globalises it until knowledge becomes a free, open-source commodity.

Our over-consumption eventually reaches saturation point and the self-destructive process is now upon us with the threat of global warming and other environmental disasters. Was progress really progress?

Our next era will be the Age of Wisdom where we search for simply joy and meaning again.

In our rush for economic success, we often have stressful days when we wish we could just make enough money to adopt a much slower pace of life, not be so hectic in our schedules, spend more time with our families and friends, learn a new language or musical instrument, learn scuba diving and under-water photography, even stop to smell the flowers…you know those days.

Well, the recession might just offer you the best opportunity to get out of the rat-race.

In fact, you may not be prepared for it but when the opportunity arrives, why not make the best out of it?

I walked away from the rat-race at age 40. On reflection, I have concluded capitalism is a futile game we cannot win. The game’s key elements are jealousy, fear, stress, a depletion of human kindness and a continuous sense of inadequacy. The original purpose of money for sustaining livelihood gets blown out of proportion. Acquiring branded goods with huge, ostentatiously displayed logos proves how nervous we are about who we are in the social ranking strata.

Life has become a scoreboard.

As someone once said, “We buy the things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress the people we don’t like.”

The scoreboard distracts us from what is meaningful. If we can put aside winning and losing as a measure of our purpose of life, we will be able to discover new dimensions of meaning not clear to us before.

In Singapore, an average man dies at 78 years and a woman at 82. Subtract that from your current age and multiply by 365: that’s the number of days you can expect to have left to live. Tomorrow, it will be one day less.

Money is not the currency. The real currency of life is time. When time runs out, life runs out. Envision what you’d say to yourself at the last moment before you close your eyes eternally. It is unlikely you’d be counting how much money you have at that moment, because you can’t take the money with you.

Volunteering to help others and philanthropy are some of the joyful things you can do when you’re alive. When we cease to become our own centre of focus, pressure and stress disappear. When we focus on caring for others, a warm and pleasant feeling energises us and makes us feel really good about ourselves. This spiritual reward is something money cannot buy.

Forbes or Fortune magazine may try to tell you that the guy on the front cover is a successful person. Such publications prey on your sense of inadequacy. You can reject such an attack on your ego. I once asked a former communist cadre from China who went through poverty and is today a senior officer in a government owned company: “Are you happier now that you are rich, as compared to the time when you were poor?”

She answered: “Our family was happy when we were poor because everyone was poor at that time. We are now rich and also happy. But the most difficult time for us was when our neighbours became rich first while we were still poor. That was a most painful period.”

Life is easier when we don’t compare. Simplicity is a form of happiness itself. Simplicity teaches you that you can choose to live at your own pace. We don’t need much to be happy. We don’t need to have much before we give love to and care for others.

Remember: The Business Times Model of Success is not compulsory.

Jul. 19th, 2009


this is beautiful...

***
In front of the person you love, your heart beats faster.
But in front of the person you like, you get happy.

In front of the person you love, winter seems like spring.
But in front of the person you like, winter is just beautiful winter.

If you look into the eyes of the one you love, you blush.
But if you look into the eyes of the one you like, you smile.

In front of the person you love, you can't say everything on your mind.
But in front of the person you like, you can.

In front of the person you love, you tend to get shy.
But in front of the person you like, you can show your own self.

You can't look straight into the eyes of the one you love.
But you can always smile into the eyes of the one you like.

When the one you love is crying, you cry with them.
But when the one you like is crying, you end up comforting.

The feeling of love starts from the eye.
But the feeling of like starts from the ear.

So if you stop liking a person you used to like, all you need to do is cover your ears.

But if you try to close your eyes, love turns into a drop of tear and remains in your heart forever...


The winner of Berlin short film festival

Truly heartbreaking. It brought tears to my eyes. Let this be a constant reminder of how blessed we are to live here. May we count our blessings every day and be a blessing to others.

Come, Jesus, come!

In a few hours time, I'm going to be baptised! It's a long wait and the journey since last year's June till now is filled with learning and growing in faith. Upon reflection, now I understand why our separated brothers and sisters (Presbyterian, Methodist etc.) always "psycho" people to join the faith.

It's not that they want to recruit more people to contribute 10% of their pay (though maybe some of them are). Rather they saw and reap the joy of following Him and His teachings that has impact positively on their lives, that they must share Him with others!

Because Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. Through Him, in Him, we live more like humans. Humans who love neighbours as He has love us. Humans who care more of our neighbours than ourselves. Humans who live a life that we know will end one day and we want to spend more time with our loved ones.

I didn't understand how one of my JC friends could transform overnight, into someone -vivacious, confident- a shadow of his former self. He loves those fighting Chinese novels (shen diao xia nu and all those) and he didn't seem to be sure of himself. Yet, now he has became a teacher and has so much confidence that I didn't quite believe what has happened then. I thought, what has transformed him? His church did. Teachings of Jesus and God did.

And now I understand what I saw and I believe.

Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ!

the birth of life at our doorstep

Late December, we had a pair of sunbirds building a lovely oval nest in our home to create their family. The nest is between the shoe rack and our front porch, where we move about. 'am not sure why they have chosen such a location.

Perhaps it's the cascading money plant that attracted them, or could be the soothing sound of splashing water from our mini fountain in the pond.

Nevertheless, it's at eye level where all the action are (talking about birds' privacy!).



We believe this might be female, with its bright yellow underbelly.





As you can see, they are really hard at work. They start in the morning at about 8 am till 1-2 pm and rest, before continuing from 4-6 pm. This repeats the next day, for about 2 weeks.





They had 1 egg and the chick hatched in about 1-2 weeks time. However my mama found it on one morning that it had fallen from its nest and laid motionless on the floor. Understandably, we were pretty sad that a life was gone like that, seeing how long the process took to come to this.

My mama said the night before the helper of our close neighbour touched the nest and the mother bird flew away due to the sudden surprise it received. We weren't sure whether she came back that night but the poor chick could have been in the cold, hungry and wanted its mother's warmth. It may have, in its attempt, tried to fly in search of its mother and fall to its death. My mama's theory is that it could also have died from shock.

For some time, the nest was left empty. I kept praying to God for the birds to return and that, we were sorry that we had let it happened. Then one day, we had a pleasant surprise. A bird started to come with sticks and flowers to this nest. She placed flowers at the bottom of the nest, red & pink ones. The sticks were used to create a little shade for them to have a little privacy.

And she had an egg. It was so tiny, we thought it weren't there. Then it hatched one day to a tiny chick, without feathers, its eyes are closed when it was born.

Today it has a cloak of black feathers, with some spots of yellow.





Look how shy it is! :D It blinked at me a few times before burying its head into the comforts of the nest.



Every night the mother bird comes to the nest to rest. Now she's not that afraid of us and at night we see her head sticking out, amongst the noise around her (my father blaring the TV, me fussing over the xiong brothers, my neighbour sometimes coming by for chit-chat with mama, and the xiong brothers running the previously-squeaking wheel)

We hope she and her baby will have a fantastic stay here, and that the little fellow grows up strong and healthy!

Meanwhile, our furry friends lay asleep after a long night running...


(<--- they look like bite-sized desserts ^-^)

Afraid, be very afraid

Whee! I finally took good riddance of the O2 phone. It has been fun but smsing on it drives me crazy. Bought a new HP - Sony Ericsson C902 yesterday. And a little paint came off today (in my feeble attempt to open the braaady battery cover). Go figure. OTL.

(And damn, it costs an extra $50 on top of its promotion price last week! The prices sure change fast >_>)

Bought my $239++++++++++ dress shoes, which I initially thought was $239. *roll eyes* Now it burnt an extra $80 in my pocket. My family will "exhort" $ from me, when they learnt about this !@#$%^&* of money on shoes. *hides* Well...I do think about it for a year before buying. *wibble fingers*

Next target purchase: $739 Silver Clay workshop.

Why gals shop this much, as compared to guys?! >_< No wonder there's a movie called "Confession of a Shopaholic"

Why don't we see "Confession of a Male Geek/Otakuoholic"...

Hey people! I'm back!

Oh yeeessss, I'm finally back to net-civilisation!!! My home PC went down for many weeks until now~ the monitor's cranky (it turns into a hue of pink sometimes), but I'm glad that it works more than anything else.

Which means, I can 'throw' my money into that pair of $239 heels and $248 new sparkling HP, though I still gotta fix up my laptop and pay someone to help retrieve some photos for my online shop that I'm planning to set up.

Can you imagine the agony of taking those beautiful photos for the whole day and then have the laptop go down on me? Grrr. I don't want to take those photos again. I want to retrieve them first. If all fail, then the reshooting.

Hey Kaika, did you set the TrueSpa peeps on me? lOl. Thanks, babe. ;p No sweat, I'm going this Sat XD Hope my skin's thick enuff' to resist the persistent sales tactics.

Lotsa things happened. I'm back in 1 piece from Manila. That place rocks, I tell you. It's not backwards like many people had in mind. Manila is like Orchard, and we had 1 room each in a 5-star hotel. How bad can it be right. Shopping's everywhere, though their mega departo reminds me of OG, where everything female spans across 1 level. You can get evening gowns, shoes, bags, accessories, clothes.

Well you might have noticed the "evening gowns". Filipinos are really party-goers. Their gowns are lovely and you could get a bargain at $30 for one. :D As for food, their cuisine's not my cup of tea. People are very hospitable; service's topnotch. At every cashier, they address you a 'mdm' though sometimes the accent's so thick that it can be mistaken for 'mom' (I'm not your mom...lOl)

Now coming to baptism. Whee! It's another 3 weeks~ and I haven't get my white outfit ('am banking on dress) for the occasion. I've chosen my baptism name - Isabella. You know where I get that erm*coughtwilightcough* inspiration from. :p

But really, that's a Saint's name. :) (click to read about her) Her humility is a virtue God wants us to practice; like what Jesus said: "Those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted."

More of others, less of self. As I progress in my faith, I realise a small change in me. Today Father talked about the Old self and New self. In the past, I'm so uptight about money that my mum would often always say she doesn't know if she can depend on me during old age because I'm very "niao" As hard as it is, I'm trying to loosen this grasp. I donated $50 to Caritas in the time of Lent recently. Now I give $2 or $5 to the church in its weekly collection. And I want to volunteer my time in the music ministry (choir) at my church after my baptism. I gradually care more about my family (Last time my mum said I care too little) Somehow I feel more whole as a person, rather than just on myself, with my new-found direction.

Perhaps God brought me to my current job in a charity because He wants to reduce my self-centredness and let me feel more acutely of life around me.

More of others, less of self. :) I love you peeps!

P.S.: I went to Kelong last weekend! Wanna show you all some photos next time. ^-^

:: travel musings ::

'am back from China & Vietnam holiday. It seems like a long time that I have gone on a long trip when it was just in 2007 that I had one. Yet some people travel once in 5-6 years or even in 10 years. Blessed that I have this chance.

Every trip that I take widen my perspective when I came back. China is advancing so quickly in a short span of 10-20 years that I can see why, the China Chinese are proud of their homeland. If I were them, I will too. Sometimes we can't blame them for being that arrogant, loud-spoken, crass crowd that smoke at every opportunity, at anywhere even in air-conditioned rooms. Whether squatting down, or spitting. It's part of their up-bringing. Hard to change habits, but give them another 10-20 years, I believe they will show what the world they are made up of.

On the contrast, Vietnam seems to stop in time, 20-30 years behind China (let's not even compare to Singapore). And it's not difficult to see why. The war has stricken the country so much, and everything goes at a snail pace even the traffic. Maxi. 60km/h. How's that for a ride? At every corner of Hanoi, we see patriotism at every house. Vietnam flag raised high up on the roof. Truly, the people love this land.

Since returning, I've been thinking of sponsoring a child from WorldVision. Children shouldn't be penalise for being born in a poorer country. I hope I could do my bit to help.

In 2 weeks time, I'll touch down in Manila for work purpose. Heard stories of how unsafe the country is, as long as one is Chinese. Not too sure what to make of it, but I'm sure there will be pockets of warm people around. Still, will keep my senses heighten in a foreign land.

Sleep

It's been a while since my last entry. Up, down, up, down with cold. When it's about to heal, another bout comes along. Grrr.

Hope I'll have a gentler week ahead.

Welcome! いらっしゃいませ (Irasshaimase)!

Hello, I'm Sharon. Thank you for visiting my blog!

I lived and studied in Tokyo, Japan for 1 year (2005 - 2006). It's one of the best time in my life. :)

If you love Japan like I do, you have come to the right place! Most of my entries are Japanese-related, though the blog didn't start out to be so.

You can find all the places that I've visited and the things I did that you can use for your reference.

Please remember to check against the current information, because mine may have been outdated. It has been 10 years since my last visit to Japan in 2007.

Going forward, I'll blog solely on Japan, because I still love the Japanese language. Do note that some interests have shifted since then.

Have fun exploring! If you want to reach out, you can email me at chiewling [dot] lee [at] gmail [dot] com.

またね (Mata ne)! (See you later)

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