a battle they didn’t choose

logged into facebook after a long hiatus and came across a post a friend shared:-

the battle we didn’t choose

i found it incredibly moving and thought the photos were such a wonderful way of remembering her and the time shared with her.

thank you for sharing.


i am here and i am now

i am unsure what drove the blues away but i’m definitely feeling much better compared to 2 weeks ago! i was actually worried that the moodiness will cling onto me for a much longer time that i started quieting down and heading back to my number one comfort activity – staying home to read. eventually, i headed back to the gym, prayed (or talked to the universe), ate a little more fruits and more of my favourite food after fully recovering from a bad bout of flu.

falling sick this time made me realised 2 things:-

1. being confined to the bed is quite depressing. i used to think being able to lie down in bed is the ultimate bliss (it still is but only after a long day at work) in life until i noticed the boredom and helplessness of not being able to get up and do things. not only was it mentally and emotionally draining, i was sore all over from lying down for too long.

2. medicine alters my mood. i don’t know how much of it was caused by the medicine itself but i think it does something to your moods.

realizing these 2 things made me much more compassionate towards the bed-ridden and people who, for whatever unfortunate reasons, have to be on life-long medicine.

“be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” socrates

one week before 2012 ended…

i was still healthy and strong. took some time off from work before and after christmas to do some major room cleaning. my cleaning schedule was more intensive than my work schedule as i usually cleaned from morning to the wee hours of the night. i am really satisfied with the result. what inspired the big clean up was a long overdue mental breakthrough that came when i stood in front of a huge untidy pile of plastic and paper bags that holds a decent amount of floor space in the room.

the first thought that came to my mind was:-

“i am sick and tired of having to tidy this corner of the room only to have it be messed up after.”

the second thought that followed was:-

“what can i do to make management of all these easier?”

and then it occurred to me that:-

“if i used more of the recycling bags that i have and keep one in my bag at all times, i would have lesser (or better still, none!) plastic and paper bags to begin with.”

i couldn’t help but admit that we create most of the problems in life through our own attitudes and behaviour. dwelling on it further drove home the importance of simplifying my life…wanting less means you’ll end up with lesser things which means you’ll need less time to manage the possessions which means you have more time and energy and money to spend on the things that truly matter to you.

with this new principle, i combed through…

  • my wardrobe, took stock and gave away 20 over pieces of clothing. i realized i’m the owner of 10 shawls and 12 cardigans, 10 over dresses and casual tees. this exercise made me realized i do not need another piece of cardigan or shawl or casual tees.
  • my cosmetics and toiletries and realized i already had everything i needed and there was no need to add to it.
  • my accessories and realized that i have not worn 90% of it for more than 2-3 years. i no longer like them and gave them away to someone who might appreciate them a little bit more.
  • books and gave away 70 over books to people who might benefit from me. i have already got what i needed from these books and i no longer need them with me physically. however, i did keep some of the books that meant a lot to me.
  • my old lecture and seminar notes and threw them all away. information is only useful when you need them and i haven’t touched most of them for 4, 5 years.
  • my piano scorebooks. i kept them all these years mostly out of guilt and this strange desire to pick up piano again. guilt because i had memories of my mum buying whatever score books we wanted when i was younger. they weren’t cheap. but i came to the realization guilt is not appreciation for what my mother has sacrificed to buy me what i wanted. i could express gratitude by being kinder to her in more relevant ways. i also realized that even if i did pick up piano again, the last thing i want to play would be beethoven’s sonatas because i gave up piano because i couldn’t stand the classical training. in the end, i gave those scorebook away to my cousins who are collectively better than me at piano.
  • gifts i’ve received over the years and random items like music players, laptop coolers, origami paper, quills, ink, paper pattern maker…
  • my working area at the dining table. i told myself to always keep this area clutter free to serve as a reminder that i should keep all areas of my life clean.
  • one full year of recorded expenses so i know which area to cut down my spendings in 2013. a lot of it made me gasped in horror and sometimes you need the shock factor to find your focus again.

this whole exercise of cleaning and taking stock reminded me of what pi said in “life of pi”…

“the whole of life is an act of letting go again and again…”

so that what i did to end the year before i fell sick.

one week after 2013 started, i…

  • found myself enjoying the process of jotting down my thoughts for the day in my 2013 planner and decided i should continue doing this for the rest of the year. i do not explicitly use a planner to organize my life because what’s there to write in a 9am to 5pm working life. i do however, use it to record events, goals, dreams & quotes. it’s nice to look back at the end of the year. 
  • received my christmas present from julianne. for some unknown sweet reason, she decided to get me a kindle paperwhite. with this new gadget, i decided i should try to read more from kindle and see whether my views on ebooks will change. let’s just say that i’ve yet to read anything on it yet. what surprised me most about the gadget was the kindle logo and the word “kindle”. i felt very delighted to turn on kindle and see a young boy reading under a tree. that was very appealing to me. the second thing that surprised me most was during the kindle walk through – i have never associated kindle the e-reader with the word “kindle”. to learnt that kindle the e-reader meant kindle the word made me go wow. suddenly, what i was holding wasn’t just a gadget to read books on, it was something that will “arouse or inspire (an emotion or feeling).” that was exactly what i felt about reading and that moment of revelation was just so…moving. i suddenly felt like amazon understood the mind of avid readers. i felt like it understood me.
  • wrote down my goals and acknowledge the obstacles that were preventing me from achieving them year after year – the lack of money. over the past few weeks, i realized that sometimes it’s not how much you earn but how you choose to spend the money you have. many great people were able to do great things with a lot less than what i have. when reviewing my expenses and spending habits, i realized i wanted to do too many things or to put simply, too unfocused and too indulgent. i’m not sure if i have blogged this before but one day on a train, i realized life was too short and that it was impossible to do and be everything with the limitations of time and resources. i need to focus my resources on the few things that are important to me. with that, i started asking myself “if i die tomorrow, would i regret not spending on this?” this clarity helped me accept the fact that i need to make the 2013 austerity drive succeed. i got out of debt in 2012 and now i need to learn how to use money wisely to achieve my goals and fulfill my dreams.
  • decided i should continue last year’s resolution of learning how to cook. today, i came up with quarterly plans for cooking. by q12013, i should have figured out how to make homemade tomato pasta sauce, french onion soup, fry the perfect egg, macaroni salad, pan fry a fish fillet, stir fry potato and use more of real butter, olive oil and coconut oil instead of margarine and vegetable oil.
  • resolved to have just two goal for my job – to have no backlogs and to find ways to delegate more effectively. haven’t quite figured out how to make it work but i have been working hard on clearing current work and back logs since the first work day.

the above are a few key goals that will help me some of the other goals i have this year. i don’t ask for much other than to continually strive towards being a better and happier person because we only have so much time here on Earth!

let 2013 be a safe and rewarding year for everyone.


was down with flu since saturday night and i am still recovering from it. what a way to end an otherwise great year! the medication and coughing is making me feel really lethargic and moody. i slept through most of sunday and monday and i still feel unwell! off to take another nap.

happy new year!

the desiderata

james shared this with me on christmas. i thought it was an incredibly moving prose-poem to read on christmas’s morning. simple words for a beautiful and happy life. it’s hard to be at peace all the time but what is more important is never giving up on finding quiet joy.

the desiderata by max erhmann, 1927

Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

2013 forecast

not sure if i understand or agree with every projection but i am sure we all have the power to try and make good any brand new day, week or year that is given to us.


2013: leo overview


Get ready to dig deeply in 2013, Leo. You’re going into a phase of complete and total metamorphosis. This will require considerable self-analysis and probing into your past patterns, but all the work will be more than worth it. You’re on the verge of discovering just how powerful, strong and resilient you are at your very core. If you have ever doubted your strength, after 2013 you’ll never question your resourcefulness again. Saturn, the great karmic lord of trials and tribulations, will be camping out at the base of your horoscope until 2015, so you’ll have plenty of time to delve into the depths. Family issues and psychological patterns inherited from your parents will come to the surface this year, making your more aware of — and able to avoid — negative patterns. Wake up, Leo! Get ready for a major rebirth.

Lucky Jupiter will continue to bring good fortune to your social sector and help you dream big until June. You’ve been so blessed with the amazing people you’ve met over the past year who have helped you reach your goals. The second half of the year, you may want to pull back when Jupiter enters your retreat zone. This is a time of dreaming and scheming before launching into the next chapter of your life in 2014. So the first half of the year will continue to be incredibly social, but give yourself permission to come back to a more internal and creative space during the latter part of 2013.

The eclipse patterns of 2013 will shake up both home and career sectors, so get ready for rapid advance and decline in both arenas. Don’t get too attached to any of the gains or losses in either of these life departments, as they will constantly be in flux until you reach a healthy middle ground — and you will!

2013: leo love


2013 gives you a strong desire to plant roots. Your heart is looking for the kind of partnership that can endure the long haul. The search and restlessness is finally over, Leo. You know where you want to be and you’re ready to anchor yourself long enough to establish a solid routine. Saturn will occupy your domestic sector until 2015, encouraging you to stick to your guns in love. If you’re single, you’ll be thinking about settling down and possibly even getting married and having a family. If you’re already in a long-term relationship, you’ll be looking to deepen the foundation and work towards greater levels of passion and intimacy. Your days of being on the prowl for the sake of the thrill are over. You want everlasting love.

Jupiter will continue to work his magic in your social zone for the first half of the year, so if you are indeed single, you can use this influence to attract a partner through your thriving social life. Allow your friends to hook you up and don’t be afraid to be open to leads from friends of friends. You’ve got to work the auspicious energy of Jupiter. The second half of the year, your luck will shift toward retreats and vacation spots for meeting your future mate.

The eclipse patterns of 2013 will intensify your domestic sector, doubling your passionate desire to nest. Never before has the need to put down roots and build a happy home with a loved one been more pronounced for you. In fact, you might call it an obsession. When Leo’s heart and mind are fixed on something, they’re sure to get it!

2013: leo career


You continue to build and destroy — and then build some more — in your efforts to properly carve out your throne in 2013. Pluto and Uranus will continue their explosive breakthrough dance to release you from any stagnant areas that have kept you locked in dead-end positions. You’re ready to take a well-calculated risk in order to assure you’re living up to your full potential. Your loyalty and hard work continue to be rewarded with accolades and recognition. You have remained in the shadows long enough. As humbling as the past few years have been, you’re ready to shine with full Leo radiance.

A strong and emotionally stable home life is what will support your professional aims this year, Leo. With Saturn taking up residence in your domestic sector until 2015, you’re learning the importance of cultivating a serious backbone that serves you in presenting a fierce and magentic public image. You’re able to tap into unparalleled resourcefulness now. You’re very clear about what you have to offer, and how it is one-of-a-kind and highly valuable. No longer will you doubt your strength or sell yourself short in your work.

Pluto continues to teach you mind-blowing lessons on how to use-or-lose your power when it comes to your career. You can be generous to a fault, and have a tendency to give it all away when you need to keep some for yourself. Only recently are you starting to see how this undermines your power and depletes your resources. It’s one thing to give but another to know when to hold something back and allow others to come to you. This is a painful but invalubale lesson. 2013 is your year to receive, Leo!

it’s been a while since the last “it’s been a while” post

i’ve been meaning to blog but there’s just so many other more important things to do in life.

christmas is nearing which means the time has come to reflect on the past year and make plans for the brand new year! this has always been my favourite time of the year. there’s something so inspiring and exciting about bringing 365 days worth of experiences and moments to a close and knowing in your heart that every brand new year will be your best year yet.

in the midst of doing major cleaning at home but i will blog again before the year end – it’s customary!

to be very honest, i was contemplating shutting down this blog the last few weeks because i am highly aware of how little i am contributing to it. wordpress is still by far a good platform for me but i’m seriously lacking the motivation to come here and blog about my thoughts because i find it difficult to put thoughts into words these days. there’s this disconnect between head and hands that i’ve yet to bridge – i would think SO MUCH and write so little – and between trying to come up with enough sentences to fill an entry, my mind would wander to other activities on hand. i was distracted by ripping cds and reading nytimes this time round…so much for encouraging everyone to be present in the moment.

anyway, i have decided to keep it for a while more because my cousin read my blog and ended up in tears. i don’t know what caused those tears but she made me realize that there are people out there, however few, who reads my blog and feel something that i don’t and that is reason enough to continue.


this post took me 2 hours to complete. just saying.