Monday, May 19, 2008

The World's Changed Little Since

I invited a acquaintance for tea the other day. Being a 'let's go for coffee anytime" kinda person, it was in my nature to do so. What transpired though was an hour and a half long session about the 'End of Days'.

You see my acquaintance is a staunch Christian; and I always like talking to anyone who has a religion. He's a very nice person, and much of what he observed was quite congruent with my own observations.

1. The world's in a bad way
2. There seem to be an almost immediate response to atrocities - shoot monks in Burma, Cyclone strikes; shoot and arrest monks in Tibet, Earthquake know that kinda of 'coincidences'. It's actually a fine example of PRECESSION at work, I say.
3. The Financial markets going south and the spiritual cause.

However much of what he said too, I've for many years held my own views about, and did not agree with him. Not wanting to be entangled in a 'I'm right and you're wrong' situation, I decided to listen. After all it's his truth and if he holds it to be true, so be it.

I've also decided not to state my what I hold to be true, as I felt that it would serve little purpose in that tea session. Dr. Wayne Dyer mentioned this; he said in such situations ask yourself if you'd rather be right, or happy. That day I chose to be happy. That way both my acquaintance and myself end up happy; both holding on to our own truths.

I shall not discuss what was discussed. You see all of us coming from a very diversified circumstances, have points of views that we hold to be true. Now whether it IS the Truth or not really does not matter much, as long as we hold on to our truths.

But you can bet your life that there are people who'd defend their positions or views of the truth. And that's why I say that the world's changed very little. Oh yes from a technological perspective we've grown like crazy. But deep inside, innately we're still very backward.

The wars we're seeing are mild really. Luckily your sons and husbands are not being coerced in to fighting battles for God. Though this still happens in places like Africa where it is reported there are more than 200,000 child warriors. They do not fight battles for God though; only for men who think they are God.

The consolation is that the world is actually enjoying it's longest period of peace, as fragile as it seems. There are no world wars, although I did exclaim, 'Shit! this is the start of World War 3," when the second plane smashed into the second World Trade Center building; nope it has not happened yet.

Ya there's Iraq, but we must discount the actions of and idiot who was elected onto office twice over. But besides that, it's been relatively peaceful.
But what is it going to take to change all this? Oil? Rice? Gas? the Stock Market? HIV? Chicken Flu? A rogue Iran?

God Knows!

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Art of Doing Nothing

I willingly accepted the task when Tim asked me to write this article ‘The Art of Doing Nothing’; after all I’ve always took for being able to do this - or at least thought I could. Over a 3 day period I began to seriously think about it – Can anyone or anything really do nothing?

It began a realisation.

I looked at the plant outside my window. It seems to be doing nothing, besides being blown around by the breeze. Yet it’s performing a valuable task in cleaning our air and bringing forth life. It’s a home to insects and provides the hummingbird with nectar every morning. It adds value to the whole scheme of things on earth.

Let’s look at a ‘higher’ life form, I decided; my cat. What the use of being a cat? It eats, sleeps, look cute, rubs up against you when it wants attention and scratches up your shoes and furniture. It does all these apparently useless things. Yet it too plays a part in the scheme of things. It was priceless in keeping rodents in check on board ships in olden times and today it still plays a part in controlling pests.

Can anyone or anything REALLY DO NOTHING then?
I mean, even a dead body is doing something – decomposing.

Then I realised that these is a distinction between doing and being.

The plant is simply BEING a plant and my cat is just BEING a cat. DOING something is simply not in the consciousness of the plant or the cat.

A tree does not wake up in the morning to review what it has to do for the day. In being a tree it automatically does what it does. I know my cat does not have an appointment book to schedule meetings with the bathroom lizard.

Everything else on the Earth, besides man, it seems seem to be in a state of BEing. Only we humans seem to not include our ‘Beingness’ in our daily need to do things. We call those who do enlightened beings. Most of us are so caught up in our DOingness that we have forgotten to simply BE.

What does it mean to BE a human being?
Hmmm, I wonder if that word was created to remind us of our ‘being’. If life was about doing, perhaps we should have been called ‘human doings’, instead.

So how does one BE?

I know that waking up in the morning to send your child to school, as you chide him for only getting 95 out of 100 marks, and then rush to beat the ERP before it ‘traps’ you, as you curse the driver who cut into YOUR lane – isn’t it.

I know that forcing yourself to talk to people you despise in your office but you have to because that’s your manager and it’s bonus time; having only one hour for lunch, hovering over the bitch that’s yakking away, occupying YOUR seat or being rostered to leave for lunch 10 minutes earlier so that you can place tissue packs on tables in the hawker centre, otherwise it’ll be occupied by that bitch over there – isn’t it.

I know that living in worry that interest rates won’t be increased otherwise your home mortgage instalments would go up by another $1,000; or feeling stressed because you’ve just taken possession of a $1million apartment and Al Queda’s threatening to blow up Wall Street, half a world away – isn’t it.

And what has all this doing done?

When computers were first heralded, there was lots of talk of humans being free from the bondage of work; of quality time spent with family, because computers would remove the need for many menial and repetitive tasks. That hasn’t happened.

Instead stress levels have gone up, more and more of us are getting sick with cancers, depression and heart disease. Families are more segmented. Divorce rates are at an all time high. Now they’re telling us that the retirement age may have to be raised because despite all that lifetime of work, many of us will not have enough money saved up to live on.

My friend bought a car recently. We use to catch up for coffee often, prior to that. Now she seems to have no time because she’s busy doing more things with the car.

And now we hear that with all that ‘doing’ as a result of us pumping noxious gases into our atmosphere, whilst we deforest the earth, and take resources from her, the Earth is fighting back. Perhaps Mother Earth too is finally fed up with these inhabitants who only seem bent on doing more and more damage to her.

She’s raising her temperature, melting her ice caps, sending killer storms to rain heaps, to cool the Earth down. Maybe freeze the ass off most of us so that we can finally get back to our state of being aligned with the scheme of things – again – and this time begin to do things that is in alignment with our being – our TRUE PURPOSE on Earth.

Have you ever noticed a bee? It goes from flower to flower looking for nectar to feed the hive. It does this day in and day out for 5 weeks and then it dies. What was its life all about? Was it simply to collect nectar so that it’ll feed new pupae, which will develop into new bees that’ll then do the same and die in 5 weeks? Seems pointless doesn’t it?

The Goal of the bee was to seek and gather nectar. But what really is the TRUE PURPOSE of the bee? The bee was put on the Earth to POLLINATE. Its action of bumbling from flower to flower causes life – fruits, seeds, pollination, growth – life stems from its BE(E)ing.

And if our doing has been causing more and more damage and destruction, maybe it is time we stopped all this doing and only do the things that are in total alignment with our being.
Maybe it’s time to let the Universe take over and begin to live as human beings instead of human doings. And the Earth will begin to heal herself.

Then maybe when we stop doing, we too will start healing – from diseases like cancers, from wars, scarcity, from right or wrong, from inequality, from hate – and begin to love our humanity, our Being.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Where are we Going?

I’m Singaporean. Yes a true blue Singaporean. I was born and bred here. I’ve stood in school assemblies and sung the National Anthem and recited the Pledge with pride. I’ve been a part of and supported many National Campaigns – anti litter, Courtesy, etc – to create a socially conscious Singapore. I gave 2 ½ years of my life to National Service and then another 6 as a regular in the Air Force. I shed tears of pride at National Days and even took part in 3 during my teenage years. I love my char kway teow, tahu goreng and my thosai. I speak Singlish, English, Malay, Tamil and I can understand some Hokkien, Mandarin and Teochew. And there are many others like me.

Over the years we’ve become well know for our cleanliness, orderliness, personal safety, our nationalistic fervour, our food, and even Singlish. And it’s sad because I’m beginning to see all of these things that I identify with, begin to disappear with the influx of ‘New Singaporeans’.

I used to be able to go to any Chinese food stall and by using English, Malay or the miniscule Teochew, that I can utter, order my food and get what I ordered. I left as a happy customer.

Recently though, it’s become very frustrating. The person taking my order does not speak English, Malay or even the dialect that I’ve always been using. This has happened even at drink stalls. And you know what, more and more I’m beginning to feel alienated in my own country.

More and more I have to dodge phlegm on the sidewalks. I’ve seen milk cartons, cans and Styrofoam containers being thrown indiscriminately onto the sidewalks; lightning conductors are being stolen, there are some streets here that I dare not wander into at night in anymore; our homes have become expensive again, and when I travel own Geylang at any time of the day, I wonder about the genre of people who are actually being allowed here – what’s happening to us?

I was in the train the Aljunied Station other day when a Chinese woman wearing high heels and short skirt boarded the same train. Two guys commented in Malay; this is what they said, “ Agak mereka salah baca la. Dia letak ‘Pelachur’ dalam pasport, tapi immegresen baca, ‘Pelanchong’. Translated it means, “I guess they misread. She must have stated her occupation as ‘Prostitute’, the Immigration read it as Tourist. In Malay it sounds very funny really. The truth is not.

We seem so eager to boost our population and workforce, that we’re ignoring the things that have kept us being Singaporeans. Worse, I’m beginning to feel that Singaporeans are being ignored.

The recent fiasco with the imported sportsmen and women should be used as a case study. Is this the general mindset of all the naturalised foreigners living here? When push comes to shove, who’ll really stand by this country? The ones who’ve been given subsidies, incentives and privileges, to come live here, to make up the numbers; who I feel is here for only a short time using my country as a launching pad to some greener pastures; or the ones who’ve only known one country, who love it and is able, with integrity and pride, call this My Country, My City, My Home?

And lately I beginning to feel more at home in KL than here, at least I can order my duck rice from a loud Cantonese aunty, in Malay, and get what I ordered for and feel happy again.

Friday, September 7, 2007


I met up with Tim and his girlfriend, June this evening. It was suppose to have been to confirm an insurance policy I’m working out for June. Yeah we did cover the plan (with very ‘broad strokes’) as we downed a couple of beers. And as the evening went on, Tim began recounting the time he and I trekked the Annapurnas, and we began telling stories of our experiences there.

In the midst of it I realised how lucky I’ve been and am – to have friends. Maybe it’s age or maturity or maybe there comes a time in life when we begin to realise what the really important things are.

I’ve some very dear friends all of whom have taught me valuable lessons. I’ve learnt about compassion, responsibility, love, sadness, class, style, humility, doggedness, letting go, truthfulness, forgiveness, peace…every one of life’s lessons. It’s very beautiful, our friendship. You see we don’t ‘hang out’; neither do we do the buddy thing often.

Instead we weave in and out of each others lives; it almost like we were travelling on different roads that once ever so often would begin to run parallel and merge for a while; and then veer off in different directions, only to meet again in time. And when we meet, it’s as if we’ve never parted in the first place.

A few weeks ago, I met up with my cousin Anand, his brother-in-law, Rag, and another friend, Kumar; the sharing that went on in that one session brought me so much joy, and healing. The experiences each of us had been trough, the though times and good times, the issues we’ve had with our parents and siblings, the experiences with the women in our lives (oh I mentioned the though times, already?) – I felt so alive and so grateful to be alive.

I’m so happy to be me and so grateful to have these people in my life. It’s a beautiful Universe; I’ve got beautiful friends.

Friday, August 24, 2007

God’s Warriors

I just finished watching God’s Warriors on CNN. Now that’s a term that’s great for garnering a large audience interest for your station’s rating but it’s a misnomer by any standards.

It seems to suggest that God needs man to fight for God?

Wasn’t it stated somewhere that man was made in the image of God? And if God is Spirit, then man’s image is that of Spirit; not the physical.

We’re stuck in our heads that we are different; the colour of our skin, our clothes, our appearances, our possessions, our race, our religion, so thick are we that were physical, that we’ve forgotten we’re indeed spirit – holy.

I’m Spirit, I’m soul, and I live in my body.

On CNN I saw a mother say that’s it an honour that her son killed 4 women, before being shot dead by security forces.

I saw a blond haired right-wing politician justifying the need to discriminate between Europeans and Asians. (Here we go again?)

I saw a woman agree that she’s only worth half that of a man.

I saw a man blaspheme the name of God by carrying a rifle in the name of God?

All of this has always happened, and will continue to happen no matter how many fingers are pointed, hate, mistrust, blame, anger, revenge. The scenarios are different but the context is the same. It comes from a place called ‘I’m right – You’re wrong.’

Strangely I can’t help but feel that it’s all part of the great plan by the Universe, to help us realise the Truth, finally, just before we nearly annihilate ourselves.

The day we put aside our differences is the day that Peace begins. The day we can earnestly celebrate, accept and embrace not our differences BUT our ONENESS, is when Peace will reign – and that is the Truth.

God’s Warriors indeed!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Thou Hast Forgotten

When Thou art troubled about anything, thou has forgotten this, that all things happen according to the universal nature; and forgotten this, that a man’s wrongful act is nothing to thee; and further thou hast forgotten this, that everything which happens always happened so and will happen so, and now happens so everywhere; forgotten this too, how close is the kinship between a man and the whole human race, for it is a community, not of a little blood or seed, but of intelligence.

And thou hast forgotten this too, that every man’s intelligence is a god, and is an efflux of the deity; and forgotten this, that nothing is a man’s own, but that his child and his body and his very own soul come from the deity; forgotten this, that everything is opinion; and lastly thou hast forgotten that every man lives the present time only, and loses only this.

Marcus Aurelius Caesar – philosopher and Roman emperor

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Feeling Uncomfortable

I invited my ex girlfriend for coffee the other day. She turned me down saying that she was uncomfortable; that she'll only feel 'comfortable' again when I find a new girlfriend. I was left wondering what made her feel that way.

And only last night did I recall telling her a few months ago, that I still had feelings for her.

Isn't that only natural? Can you love someone one day, and not the next?

In a meeting a few weeks ago some friends and I were discussing a Money and You chart titled 'Orbit in Love'. It was there in fact that I asked this question. Every relationship, every person I have met are still very much in my orbit. It's the degree of their pull that matters.

With my ex, she'll always be in my orbit, just not near enough for me to feel romantically connected anymore.

For the role she played in my life, and the lessons she taught me, I'm grateful - and for that I love her.