Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I'll always miss and love you

I miss
I miss that
I miss that sunset
I miss that sunset at
I miss that sunset at the
I miss that sunset at the end
I miss that sunset at the end of
I miss that sunset at the end of the
I miss that sunset at the end of the road

I know
I know that
I know that it
I know that it will
I know that it will disappear
And turn my day into the dark

But I
But I will
But I will still
But I will still love
But I will still love it
But I will still love it forever...

Sunday, April 27, 2014

San Bu Yi Bai or Three Steps and One Bow 2014

Happy Vesak 2558

This morning we woke up at 4.50am and got ourselves prepared. My two friends fetched us using cab and we reached temple at 5.40am. We reached quite early. The sky was still quite dark. We supposed to start at 6am. However, there were lightnings decorated the sky and the wind blew the brownish leaves from the trees quite strongly. Seemed like raining was coming.

The organizer asked us to find shelter nearby the area and rested for some time. The situation was not possible for us to go ahead at that kind of weather, very dangerous. We sat down and waited.

While waiting, I looked up onto the sky. The sky had slowly started changing its color. From the dark blue, it turned to reddish color (as sun started to rise), then to yellowish orange color, and finally a light blue color.

Chanting before started :)

Students and teachers were gathering inside the Praying Hall. The teacher asked them to calm down their mind and started to chant Namo Amituofo while holding their two hands in front of their chest. The chant was proven to change the drizzling weather into a dry one! At about 7.30am, people started to queue in line. Priority was given to fellow volunteer who would help up during the actual day followed by fellow students and their parents and/ or guardians.

Gratitude to all sentient beings

When my bestie and I started, time had already shown 8am. Last year we finished at 8.40am. And I managed to finish at 9.40am. Quite fast though this time. As usual, my muscles pained haha.. and I suffered mild headache too due to bowing frequently.

3-Step 1-Bow

My son joined the early batch with his classmates and teachers. He finished much early than me and immediately headed to Cafetaria to have his meal. Lolx! We were all hungry, thirsty and exhausted, but we felt a sense of achievement, that we made it again! I'd almost lost count on how many times I participated this activity. Perhaps this year would be the last year we joined as student's parents as I might ask him to continue to study at another temple that located nearby our house. We would have to join as public in years to come :( so sad... It wouldn't be held in the morning but in the evening instead, just like when I first time joined in year 2009.

Delicious vegetarian meals warmed up or stomach :)

So, we too headed to the Cafetaria after washing our hands and face in the toilet. We had a cup of soya bean, a small bowl of beancurd, a cup of plain water, took a big bowl of vegetarian noodles, "fa gao" or lucky cake and ate until full. We took a rest at the same time. One by one the other friends finished their journey too and we sat down together.

San Bu Yi Bai success!!! :)

After some time we went to different halls to pray and then went back home. Thank you SB for the good karma given to all of us so that we could attend and finish this journey again. May all sentient beings be happy. Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu.

P.S. Click here for the upcoming 3-step 1-bow.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Love and Respect; Respect and Love

Every morning after reaching my office, I have a habit of making a nice cup of coffee plus two slices of bread with butter and jam in between - sometimes toasted - sitting down comfortably on my office chair with computer turned on, reading the local newspapers online. It’s a refresher for my brain to keep myself update with things that going on currently within and outside the country. That’s why I always make an effort to reach office early.

McDonald’s Bubbly World Series 2014

You know, things such as the upcoming McDonald’s Bubbly World Series collector’s set that available online since yesterday, suddenly after about 75 minutes, it had to be suspended due to the unexpected overwhelming responses from its fanatical supporter plus those who wanted to make a quick buck from selling it in ebay.sg with a bid as high as the expected of S$160-$200 per set, which was sold at original price of S$80 per set. Phuffff….. With that amount of money, it can save people at the other side of the world who were dying from hunger and thirst. But don’t be surprised huh, there will still people who are willing to pay that price for that stuff.

Once in a while morning breakfast treat :)

There was a gentle warning on how unhealthy our delicious, one of my favorite, the local Char Kway Teow was, with 745 calories per plate, higher than the 500-calorie meals advocated by the Health Promotion Board. Well, who really cares about it anyway! It wasn’t like we ate it every day. Oh my, my other favorite food, like laksa and prata were on the list too!!! Lolx! For me, as long as we ate it in moderation and not that frequent, it would still acceptable plus some exercise done at least twice a week. Most importantly, that unhealthy food could fill my face full of grin and happiness hehehe… :)

I am not much interested with economy, political and sport news though. I often read it as brief as possible and move on to other area. Oh, by the way, Tian Tian Hainanese chicken rice, the stall that I brought Karma and Tashi, Sithar and Palden to eat long time ago, was chosen as the “Best Hawker” by AsiaOne readers at the AsiaOne People’s Choice Awards 2014. Hmm.. After all, the longtime queue was all worth it! ^^

But there was one thing that intrigued me to write this post today. I would love to post the quote written by the famous Malaysia-born shoemaker, Jimmy Choo. He said, “Knowing how to respect people, that’s what is very important… If you love each other, you will be successful. It may not make a lot of money, but it will make a lot of love, and that’s very important to the world, to society.

Love and Respect

Respect and love are two interconnected thing that human ought to do. These are two beautiful things that if people do it to each other, it will make the world a better place to live in. We can start by respecting and loving ourselves, such as: our own body and mind.

We give our body a nice bath, wash our face with fragrant facial soap, give our hair a nice and tidy cut, shave our moustache neatly, spread some face cream to fight the harsh and dry weather, do facial once a month, pamper ourselves with full-body massage, insert nutritious food and drink inside our stomach, etc.

We also fill our mind with positivity and get rid the negativity that may appear at any time. Do only good things and be good. Develop love and compassion within ourselves. Give our own self a nice and wide smile every morning once we wake up. Remind ourselves to be grateful for another new day that comes.

Only after we fill ourselves with respect and love, we then can feel the fullness of positive energy within us and it’s the time when we can give and spread it to others. Give them our time, give them our listening ear, give them our friendship, give them our love, compassion, patience, support, and so on.

Respect and Love

Actually, I love my working place’s one of its values that stated: “Respect: We treat people the way how we would like to be treated. We respect and embrace diversity in thoughts, beliefs and culture.” And this was how I always remind my dear son about respecting others, which is “Treat people the way you want to be treated,” and he would then realize how important it is to treat others with respect.


And as for love, to be able to be loved, you must love and respect yourself as much as you do others. By understanding the effects of loving yourself will only enhance your ability to love others.

You may then ask, “How do we know if we respect and love other people enough?” This can only be felt by the way they respect and love you :) And if you want to be respected and loved by others, you have to respect and love them too. It is ultimately the key to have a great relationship with families and friends.

True respect for another comes from self-respect. True love for another comes from self-love. True forgiveness for another comes from self-forgiveness.” – Rhonda Byrne from The Magic.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Buttertea at Sunrise by Britta Das

It’s the third book I read written by foreigner who did a volunteer job in Bhutan. The other two were Married to Bhutan by Linda Leaming  and Beyond the Sky and the Earth by Jamie Zeppa.

Buttertea at Sunrise is a travel memoir experienced by Britta, a volunteer physiotherapist who was placed at a remote referral hospital in Mongar in 1997. Find out more about the book here and to see many photos taken during her stay that depicted her story in the book.

I could feel what she felt and experienced by imagining the situation that she described in each of her story. The moment illustrated at the end of the book touched my heart so much that I was almost crying.

Although I wasn’t really familiar with physiotherapy and Mongar, each story was described in full details, especially the background of each place that she had been to and the situation that she encountered. It made readers able to imagine the situation inside the story. The patients’ condition was portrayed vividly and it hurt my heart seeing the plight that they came across in their lives and unfortunately, lots of time, due to the situation (lack of facilities, medical supplies, and manpower) and sometime forced by condition to survive or to earn a living, nothing could be done or changed to improve their health.

The condition inside the hospital was something that I’d never seen before in Bhutan. I looked at the outer layer of the hospital once only, when I visited Haa. I also couldn’t remember why I didn’t have the urge to visit the place inside. Not sure if situation had changed now after almost two decades. But perhaps there would be more manpower now (doctors and nurses) plus more equipment and medicine supplies to be provided in the hospital, even in the remote areas - hopefully. More young Bhutanese graduated and trained a lot in medical field, including in physiotherapy, which were the hope of the country and its citizen to get more help and more hope to survive, to recover, to walk, and to live again.

There was a beautiful love story too inside this book that letting people realized that fate existed everywhere, applied to people who came from different countries and nationalities, from different families and religion background, and so on. When the time was right, it would just come and make a great impact into both of their lives. It’s like, if it’s yours, it would be yours. But of course, both parties had to make an equal effort and determination to make it happen.

The story was simply beautiful for me. It reminded me a lot about Bhutan, its people, its place, its festival, its religion, its ambience, its hospitality, its friendship, and so on. I felt very grateful being able to find this book in the library as I never heard about this book before that. And I was equally grateful too that although I didn’t spend a year there, I’d experienced many things there. Thank you, thank you, and thank you for everything! :)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Inspired from 'Looking for Alaska' by John Green

Source: Google.com

"Everything. The chair I’m sitting on. It was built and so it will fall apart. I’m gonna fall apart, and you’re gonna fall apart. The cells and the organs and systems that make you – they come together, grow together and so must fall apart.” – John Green

I love the above quote so much. It is true. One day we all will fall apart. Someday no one will remember that you or I ever existed in this life because memories fall apart too. This blog, this whole lot posts… These journeys, these pictures… One day, not so fast nor so slow, I too, will disappear from this world. I will have no chance to write and you will have no chance to read. This blog may leave untouched and will be forgotten. No matter what the consequences will be, it will never stop me from writing and fill this up with stories or whatever things that I want to share with you. Even if it’s just a bit or a while that it can make you happy or help you, I am happy enough.

Forgiveness creates peace and happiness - Me :)

“Suffering was caused by desire and the cessation of desire meant the cessation of suffering. When you stopped wishing things wouldn’t fall apart, you’d stop suffering when they did.” – Buddha

I write this not because that I’m dying, nor I’m unhealthy. In contrary, I’m very healthy now, as strong as a bull hehe… It’s just a realization that one day we will all fall apart. Live in present and cherish the moment as nothing lasts forever. You will forget me very soon after I leave this world and it doesn’t really matter for me. Just treat it like a dream, a dream that you ever know or meet me in this life, but this dream will vanish as soon as you wake up. Forget me, forget my existence. If we have enough good karma, let us meet again in next life, for better or for worse :)

Friday, April 18, 2014

If we were having wine, I'd tell you...


+ that it had been gloomy almost a whole day plus sounds of thunderstorms and splashes of lightnings roaring over the cloudy and dark sky. Very unlikely for me to go picnic as my son and I had planned early this morning. Instead I cooked him a delicious pasta - Spaghetti Aglio Olio - for dinner tonight as to compensate for the bad weather and brighten up his gloomy day :)

Delicious pasta for my dear ones :)

+ that I was having neck pain these past two days due to watching the reality and variety show - Running Man - on my Ipad while lying down lazily on my comfortable bed for two nights consequently. It was quite irritating that the scene was replayed over and over again in latest episodes, not sure why they had to do it that way :(

+ that nothing had ever changed in my dining area, all exactly the same. Full of food, snacks, tidbits all over the dining table. You ought to come and visit me often to help me finishing it up rather than I ate it alone and grew fatter. Unavoidable!

At this time, I'd refill your wine glass for second serving because your glass would be empty if you were just like me. I'd like to drink my sparkling wine cold, sans ice. In that process, I would lift up my glass, and ask you to 'cheers' with me and have bottoms up at once. Lolx! Such a drinker I was! And I'd ask how things on your life were. "Any boyfriend or girlfriend?" That would be the next question I'd ask you. Not because everyone would ask me that, just because I was such a curious chap that often felt curious and sometimes insensitive towards other's feeling. Yalama kheno!

Sorry if I ever asked you that questions but I really didn't have any intention to know in depth about your relationship, it was just general thing I would ask and if your answer was positive, I would be very happy just because you were happy. But if there wasn't any, perhaps I would ask you on the reason 'why'? Hahaha... As the wine was swallowed more, the more things I would question, and of course, pour your glass with more wine so that you would answer my questions more bravely and happily. Lolx!

+ Yes, as you saw, I hadn't cut my hair for a long time now, at least half year. How fast my hair had grown. I cut my hair so short before and almost everyone said I looked so young with short hair. Didn't mean that I looked old with long hair, but I just wanted to look more woman ba! Lolx! Until one day I got fed up with my boring long hair, then I would cut it short and become young again. Hohoho... ^^

+ Oh ya, had I told you that my hubby wasn't around since Monday? I was so forgetful lately! He went overseas visiting my sister and had great long break by himself. Not that he didn't want me to join him but I had work to do as to cover my colleague who also went overseas for holiday these 10 days. But next month we would eventually meet up and have a short holiday together ;)

By this time, I could see your face becoming red and you laughed more. The salty snacks made you thirsty and you drank even more and faster. I guessed it's time for you to go back home. Not that I didn't welcome you to stay longer, but it's safer for you to leave early before you got really drunk. I was just afraid that you couldn't find your way back home. (If you were a woman, I would ask you to stay overnight. But if you were a man, I would open my main door open wide haha... requesting you to go back fast :P) I would always welcome you anyway and I was glad and grateful that I had you who accompanied me drinking together. Please join me again next time! ;)

Hope you had a great and wonderful long weekend as I do! Happy Good Friday once again!

(P.S. inspired from "If we were having coffee, I'd tell you..." Have a great weekend to you too Rekha! ^^)

Monday, April 14, 2014

The tale between the hare and the tortoise over a Bhutanese dinner :)

The tortoise and the hare (Pic source: funnyjunk.com)

I guess everyone has heard about the tale between the hare and the tortoise before, where the tortoise challenged the hare for having a race on who would be the fastest to reach the finish line. The hare, which was definitely walking faster than the slow-moving tortoise, left the tortoise behind. As he was so much confident in winning the race, he decided to take a nap midway through the race and when he woke up, the tortoise had already reached the finish line before him. So, the moral of this story was: do not be over confident with yourself although you know you are having a much better quality or much stronger than your opponent. 

However, the story didn’t stop there. After realizing his over-confident trait, the hare challenged the tortoise for another race. This time, the hare moved very fast and never took any nap. Therefore, he won the race. The moral of this story was: whoever works hard and focuses on his goal unceasingly will eventually reach his goal and become a winner.

The tortoise didn’t want to lose and challenged the hare for another race. This time, the tortoise gave a term and condition for the race, which was: to not only walk on the land, but also to swim over the lake to reach the finishing line. The hare agreed to it and started walking very fast over the land and suddenly he had a big trouble trying to swim over the lake. The tortoise that slowly walked over the land had no problem swimming over the lake though, and left the hare behind. He won this race. The moral of this story was: you need to think and create a strategy to win over the race considering on the strength and weakness that both parties are having. 

Again, the story had not over yet. This time, the hare challenged the tortoise over the race again, with another term and condition, which was: to hold hand together during the race, over the land and the lake. So, while racing, the hare would piggyback tortoise on his back and on the lake, the tortoise would piggyback the hare, and both reached the finish line together, at the same time. And the moral of this story was: you need to work together, have a great team work, so that both party will have a win-win situation through the hard work and focus over the strength that each party has.

Thanks to Promod who shared the story above to all of us while having a dinner gathering over his rented flat :) I was so lucky being invited over a dinner with few Bhutanese professionals who worked in Singapore last weekend. Promod held this dinner as a farewell party for his wife who would go back to Bhutan (perhaps for good), to deliver their first baby in two months’ time.

As from the previous blog post, I only met both of them for the very first time during the opening of the Impressions of Happiness event. Promod immediately invited me over a dinner and seriously asked me to attend it. He said his wife and friend would cook several Bhutanese dishes and would like me to taste it. I accepted his over that night and went to his place the day after together with my son.

Promod and three young Bhutanese doctors - Dawa, Krishna and Deepak

There, I managed to meet up with three Bhutanese doctors and one Bhutanese student, apart from Promod and Anuja. And just like the culture of attending the Bhutanese dinner, we were served with chang-pa and beverage like wine/beer/juice once we arrived. Slowly one by one came and gathered in the living room. We had a great chit chat over many things that happened in our daily life, including the great story above that Promod got from attending the training in Singapore.

Baobei with his Ashim :)

It was very interesting. When we discussed about one topic, Dawa, one of the doctors would start to give his opinion from the medical side, while Promod, who worked in IT, would give his opinion from the IT related side, and Yeshey, a student, would talk in the opinion of the youth side. Hahaha… Dawa also joked a lot, mentioning his Bangladesh patient who came up with the 'many many many pain' words while explaining the degree of the pain that he encountered. Lolx! I enjoyed the chit chat very much guys! :)

A plate of Bhutanese dishes over a mountain of brown rice ;)

We started dinner at about 8.30pm and again, continued chit chatting and only left their place at 11.30pm. I was so lucky being able to taste the delicious spicy chicken, nakey datsi (the fern, dried red chili  and cheese specially flown from Bhutan), asparagus datsi, broccoli datsi, and ezay (chili with shallots and cheese). My son tasted Bhutanese food for a very first time. He only enjoyed the spicy chicken, but not the rest as he wasn’t used to with the taste of the Bhutanese cheese. He even took a second round of brown rice with the spicy chicken. Hohoho…

From the conversation, again, all of them came here to Singapore only to practice the theory they’d learned before in their university, to gain more experience on their working life plus to handle with people from different nationalities, to further study or to get more qualification, to earn money at the same time. But at the end of the day, all of them had a plan to go back to their country and to serve their country with their skills, knowledge and experience, and most importantly, to build their nation into a better country. It’s something that Singapore government was unable to attract the Singaporean who worked overseas to come back and to serve their country with their skill and knowledge despite the high range salary that the country might offer.

Some of the reason, as what Promod mentioned, it was a different kind of lifestyle they were having back in Bhutan. In his country, after finishing work, he could meet his friends over a tea or coffee and have a chit chat. When the sky turned dark, he would still have plenty of time to have dinner at his aunt’s house until late at night; the dinner, of course with series of chang-pa and beer/liquor (which was incredibly cheap). He would sleep late at night and wake up the next morning at 8.45am, prepare himself to work (which allowed him to start up late). Once reached office, he would have a chance to check email and other things like Facebook, and so on before really started to work. In the afternoon he would go for lunch, which could take up to 2 hours’ time. At 4pm, he would again have a tea time with colleague and in one or two hours’ time would end his working time. While in Singapore, he could not get this kind of privileges. Even he had to work on Saturday. The volume of the job and the stress would differ a lot as well.

Haiz... When would Singapore learn something from Bhutan and not always they learned from us? I didn’t think it would happen anytime soon. At the meantime I guessed we would just have to live life as it is and make it to the best that we could do and to live our lives to the fullest :)

With Promod and Anuja. Kadinche-la for the lovely dinner :)

So, thank you Promod and Anuja for the lovely dinner and for giving me a chance to meet up with more Bhutanese who lived and stayed in Singapore at the present moment. Hope all of you enjoy the rest of your time here in Singapore and have a great life! :)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Opening of the Impressions of Happiness

I was honored to be invited by JJ, a Singapore politician from Worker's Party cum an active Singaporean blogger, whom I met first time during Bhutanese blogger's meeting in Thimphu last year September (read more about our meeting here), to attend the opening of the Impressions of Happiness, the Bhutanese Art Exhibition that was held in Singapore from 12-17 April 2014 at the Sculpture Square, Chapel Gallery. Read more about the event here.

I had been excitingly waited for this event to come as there would be many people around the world, especially those who had a great interest of Bhutan, attending the opening ceremony. My colleague accompanied me there. Once arrived, both of us were welcomed warmly by JJ. He introduced us with his brother and Siok Sian Pek Dorji (the founder and Director of the Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy) who specially flew from Bhutan to attend this event. She gave a talk at TED talk about Bhutan in 2012, which you could find it here. After that, we browsed around the gallery and looked at the arts creation one by one.

While browsing, I managed to talk with one of the artists, Rinchen Wangdi, commonly known as Bhap Rinchen. He was surprised when I greeted him 'Kuzuzangpola' (means 'Hello' in Dzongkha), and asked me how come I knew about it. So I told him that I visited Bhutan twice before. He introduced his background to both of us and talking about his aspiration of fostering both traditional and contemporary art in his paintings. He was a very humble and talented Bhutanese artist. I observed all his paintings and they were all absolutely amazing!!! It was all drawn neatly and with perfection. I could feel that he put lots of efforts in his paintings, to ensure that it was drawn perfectly. There were meaning in each of his painting, mostly introduced the Bhutanese culture, religion, places, and way of life.

Rinchen Wangdi with some of his paintings 

His paintings (round-clock movement):
1. Ap Dawpel, the master of Dramyen - a Bhutanese traditional instrument: a lute with six and half strings - was playing some classical music, Bhutanese men and women were dancing, wearing their Gho - Bhutanese traditional clothes for men - and Kira - for woman, with a background of Himalayas mountains and the famous black-necked crane, which usually found in Phobjikha valley in Bhutan.
2. Guru Padmasambhava or Guru Rinpoche (who brought the Vajrayana Buddhism into Bhutan) on top during the annual Tsechu or religious festival, with two Atsara - to entertain audience with the phallus (or penis) on the top of their head; and sometimes with wooden phallus on their hand, and two Monks performed the masked dance.
3. The typical Bhutanese families enjoyed the picnic during occasion such as: blessing rainy days, Losar, etc.
4. The famous Tiger's Nest or Taktsang Monastery, a prominent Himalayan Buddhist sacred site and temple located on the cliff of the upper Paro Valley in Bhutan. A must-visit place if you go there.

Actually, before coming to this event, I shared my excitement about this with Passu, the famous Bhutanese blogger. I told him that I was nervous to meet the Bhutanese artists and author since I never met them before and they didn't know me at all. They might not entertain me as they were 'busy' people, or 'high class' people, as I often encountered with other nationalities' prominent people, and moreover, I was nobody. He immediately comforted me and said, "You are a good friend to Bhutanese. And there is nothing called upper or elites. If they pretend to be, then they aren't artists at all. They are Bhutanese. Don't worry, they will live your company. Don't forget your 'ena', 'yalama', etc." Hahaha... And you know what? His words were proved to be true, very very true. That was how I loved to make friend with any Bhutanese and that was also why I loved Bhutan.

Me with Dr. Karma Phuntsho, the author of History of Bhutan during Impressions of Happiness Art Exhibition

The second person that I approached was Dr. Karma Phuntsho, the Bhutanese scholar, researcher, and founding director of Loden Foundation, who came here to introduce his comprehensive book about Bhutan, "History of Bhutan", and to present more about Bhutan this weekend (Saturday and Sunday) from 2pm. He was resting when I approached him. Upon seeing me, he stood up immediately, shook my hands warmly, and greeted me with his wide smile. He told me that he wasn't feeling well as the Singapore's weather was too hot for him. We conversed for a while and I told him that I didn't expect that his book was very thick. But it must be worth to buy as it contained a very comprehensive view about the Bhutan's history. He was again, a humble person, although he was very intelligent and knowledgeable person. It was my pleasure meeting you there Karma!

"Dragon"by Karma Wangdi (Asha Karma)

I was waiting for quite some time until I managed to talk and meet personally with Karma Wangdi, fondly known as Asha Karma. He was tall, well-built, and a very friendly person. First question he asked me, "Are you an artist?", and I said, "No no.. I'm not an artist. I'm a blogger." Hahaha...  Then I told him that I knew many Bhutanese bloggers and mentioned few names including Passu. He said that Passu has requested the VAST artists to do something magical on the big wall at the school where he taught, something creative and inspirational. I said, "Yes la, I think I saw him posting the request on the Facebook before."

Me with Karma Wangdi and his wife

I met up with his wife and son too over there. All of them were very friendly and nice people. We took photo together with his masterpiece on the background, which was put on the entrance of the gallery before I went back home. I almost lost a chance to take photo together with them as suddenly my camera phone stopped working. I almost cried too, but luckily there was someone, after that known him as Gary, helped us taking photo with his mobile phone and afterward transferred the photos to me. Thank you very much Gary for your kindness!

With Promod and Anuja - new Bhutanese friends :)

I was enjoying the evening to the fullest!!! My dreams and wishes came true. I met up with lots of people there. Some of them I'd known before. It's a great feeling to meet up with people who had a same interest, about Bhutan. There, I met up with a Bhutanese guy who found me through my blog and recently added me on Facebook. He went with his expecting wife to the event. He was wondering and asking me, why I had so much interest about Bhutan. He was very curious about it. At first, I told him, "It was just like that." But after some thoughts, I realized that I love Bhutan because of many things: the place, the nature, the culture, but most importantly the people. Although they were intelligent, having a great talent, contributed a lot to society, but they were all very humble, modest, and kind-heart in nature. And I felt much same in harmony with them. Perhaps, like other Bhutanese thought, I was a mistaken-Bhutanese, who might be born in Bhutan in my previous life and managed to find back my way back now, although not completely.

The Impressions of Happiness had indeed brought happiness into my life. And it wasn't just me. Rinchen Wangdi expressed his happiness to me too. He said, "I was overwhelmed with the response of the people attending the event tonight. I didn't expect that there were many people attending this event and had great interest of the Bhutan. Actually, happiness is here, in Singapore!!!" I was happy and smile while listening to him :)

Hope you enjoyed my experience and encounter in this post! I wanted to thank everyone who had given me a chance to attend this opening event (not mentioned the names here), which made me possible of meeting each of them and many people there. Thank you, thank you, and thank you! Hope you all blessed with good health and life full of joy, luck, wealth and happiness!!! :)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Thought for the day

Photo taken on 4th April 2014

I just realized that I was quite lucky being able to capture beautiful pictures of the two giant trees above last Friday. You know why? Because in just few days after that, all the flowers were no longer be seen.

I noticed that when I took the shuttle bus from my working place to the Singapore Expo this Tuesday. I was eagerly looking for row of trumpet flower trees along the road and highway that we passed through. However, only row of pink and purple Bougainvillea were found and still remained there together with the green bushes.

Photo taken today - How it looked like now :(

This was what we called 'impermanence' (now you see, now you don't). Everything existed just temporary, in a short period of time. We were all sad that the beautiful flowers had gone now but in a year's time, it might gloom again and we would be happy again looking at their beauty.

Let the nature takes its course

Things came and went, changed in a bit of time. Be it good thing or bad thing that happened, nothing last forever. No matter what, we still had to walk our life journey. Be strong, be calm. Always think positive, content, and be grateful for everything. Live simply, love generously. Speak truthfully, breathe deeply. Do your best. Do what you love and love what you do. The rest, leave everything else to the powers above you. Have a wonderful weekend everyone! :)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Great time at FHA 2014 and KTV session :)

Food and Hotel Asia or FHA was one of my favorite events held once every two years in Singapore EXPO. It was the time where hoteliers, restaurateurs, Chefs, suppliers, distributors, etc. from all over the world met up together and gathered in once place. This year it was held from 8 to 11 April 2014.

FHA 2014 at Singapore Expo

I went there with my colleague yesterday. We reached the place at about 12.10pm, just nice time for us to have lunch. At first we thought of having a proper lunch at one of the food stalls at the nearby mall, but after we registered ourselves, we decided to have a walk at Foyer 7 to 10 first, where the Wine & Spirit Asia and Food Asia were located.

As we walked along, we saw lots of food sample being displayed. My colleague was very fond of eating cheese and olives (she had a British blood beneath her, technically speaking haha…) and I loved eating cheese too. There were significant numbers of cheese stalls inside the halls from everywhere around the world. We tasted it one by one. I even managed to taste the delicious Gruyere cheese, directly flown back from Switzerland, which brought me back the memory of taking the tour to Gruyere alone from Geneva hehe..

In between, we tasted few cups of frozen yoghurts and occasionally sipped few cups of Chinese tea to clear our thirsty throat. There were chips and Nachos completed with its condiments (cheese sauce and chili con-carne directly pressed from the machine made it all so convenient to serve), plus generous amount of Guacamole (avocado dip) served by the staff, made both our stomachs full and warm. We didn’t see a need to have a lunch anymore. Instead, we walked line by line watching at the products offered from each stall and took some brochures, sometimes free bag, and so on.

What I loved from visiting this event was that I had a chance to meet a large number of people who shared the same passion. And guess what??? I met my ex-Boss from my first job in Singapore!!! At that time, I was working in Indonesia related company and the owner of the company was from Indonesia. It’s been almost 10 years I hadn’t met him but I assured you, I still could remember his face vividly! Seemed that he hadn’t changed and still looked the same, young and fresh!! ^^ I poked him, waved my hand in front of him, and said “Hi.. How are you?” – in Indonesian, and he looked at  me blankly hahahaha…. Then I told my name, and he started remembering me, “Oh… how are you?? Where do you work now?” and after a short conversation, both of us parted.

And before that, I met my ex-Boss from the other company before this one hahaha… What a coincidence!! I met quite a number of my ex and current colleagues too. I felt very happy meeting them again. It brought me back all the sweet memories we once had and all of us shared the same interest and passion in our work and loved doing it. It surged a proud moment and feeling of having worked in the hospitality industry :)

The dish prepared by Chef Cheong

At 4.30 pm, our colleague had a culinary hot cooking competition in Hall 2. After browsing the Wine and Spirit Asia (and tasted the new 40% alc. of premium Vodka from USA, called Fou-Dré – vodka infused with five fruit flavors: lychee, lime, ginger, pomegranate and kiwi – a nice and unique purple bottle shape), we walked all the way from Hall 10 to Hall 2 (and grabbed a cup of coffee in between to keep us fresh and alive – tired walking for hours and legs pained here and there).

Chef Cheong in action :)

Few other colleagues had already been there to lend their support to the one who competed, Chef Cheong. His face was pale and so white. He was so much nervous as he had to cook the dish skillfully and made it cooked, tender and tasty, in front of so many audiences and fellow judges who walked around, competing with other 7 participants. We wished him all the best and hoped he could bring some medal back home.

We had to go back taking the shuttle bus provided at 5.30pm. Once reached the office, we continued the second round activity, which was karaoke-ing hahaha… We planned this since more than a month ago, together with my colleagues at place not very far from office, called Ten Dollar Ktv. It’s cheap, including free flow of hot and cold beverage, and we could bring our own food inside. That’s best ya because many places didn’t allow us to bring our own food and drink. However, no alcohol beverage should be brought and consumed inside. If being caught, you would be charged 70% more of the alcohol charge, something like that.

My colleagues bought many kind of local food from the newly renovated Chinatown Food Street located downstairs. We had our meals first before singing. On weekdays, we were allowed to sing for five hours from 7pm to 12am and it cost only S$10+++ per pax (or around $12.84 nett). However, they sold beer as well, so that we still could consume alcohol beverage there.

Had an enjoyable time together :)

We sang happily throughout the night especially after the alcohol effect kicking in :P Few were there only to listen others singing. We took turn and we were especially happy when singing “Let It Go” by Idina Menzel.

“Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door

I don’t care
What they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway”

I did the main singing while the rest following when the lyrics “Let it go” sung and thrown their two hands in the air upswing to express their ‘let go’ feeling. Hahaha… We were crazy and fun! And all the energy was flown up when singing the part below…

“My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I’m never going back,
The past is in the past

Let it go, let it go
And I'll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone

Here I stand
In the light of day
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway”

Thank you guys for sharing the fun time together! It was really enjoyable! It’s been a while since I distressed myself, singing and laughing out loud, and drinking too. We all went home safely and caught the MRT before it’s closed.

My hubby fetched me from the MRT station as he thought I was drunk because I typed the message wrongly on my phone hehe… But I felt safe and secure with him beside me. Thank you dear hubby for always keeping me safe and secured! I love you! Muach…:) Let it go… Let it goo…. Can’t hold it back anymoreee…..

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Singapore Public Holiday 2015

Singapore Public Holiday 2015

Yesssss!!!! The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) released the list of Singapore’s public holidays for year 2015 yesterday! See the calendar above!!! There will be 7 long weekend for us to enjoy, plus the holiday that falls on Tuesday or Thursday where if we take a day off on Friday or Monday, then will be another very long weekend.

Oh my!!! I am so tremendously happy looking at the date of the upcoming Chinese New Year!!! Why? Because it doesn’t fall during month end or beginning of the month where we will usually be busy preparing the month-end closing - nature of our job. From personal point of view, it means that I will have a chance to gather with all my family members!!! OH, it’s been years since our whole family members could get together since many of us live in different countries. However, we can start planning soon ;)

Of course, I have to take a consideration of other colleague’s interest to take leave too. I can’t be selfish, can I?

Will I see you tomorrow?? (Pic source: lesroches.edu)

I am exciting too to see the holiday in September. Fiuh…. Hopefully next year, I’ll be able to fulfill my best friend’s wish to visit him (and celebrate our Birthdays together – which falls on the same month), whereby at the same time I want to visit my ex-school *after sooo… many years I graduated. Please pray for me that my wish will come true… Hehehe…. ^^

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

A Bhutan Art Exhibition - Impressions of Happiness in Singapore

Painting by Asha Karma (Pic source: Drukasia.com)

4 more days to go!!! Those who stay or have a plan to visit Singapore from 12 to 17 April 2014 will have a great opportunity to attend the Bhutan Art Exhibition - Impressions of Happiness. It will be held in Sculpture Square at Chapel Gallery, open from 11 am to 7.30 pm. The exhibition is free and open to the public. Please visit the website here for more information. 

“Impressions of Happiness is a celebration of Bhutan's rich culture, centered around the theme of happiness. 

For the artists featured in this exhibition, the Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon is a great source of inspiration. After all, Bhutan evokes a land where myths and legends come alive - a place where one can find the true essence of peace and happiness. The country's picturesque sights spark the artists' creativity, enabling them to produce beautiful works of art that uplift the hearts of the beholder. 

Different sides of multi-faceted Bhutan are depicted in the exhibit. The image of the Buddha appears in many works, showing the significance of religion in the Bhutanese way of life. Dzongs stand majestic, nestled in the lush and verdant landscape. Black-necked cranes fly freely, symbols of longevity. Human figures are portrayed in colorful expressions of joyful bliss. 

Ultimately, Impressions of Happiness invites viewers to reflect on the nature of happiness and to rejoice in beauty.”  

The artists featured for this event includes Kama Wangdi or fondly known as Asha Karma, who underwent his apprenticeship with the National Fine Arts Centre and on the job training with the National Handicrafts Design Centre in Thimphu, Bhutan. He is the founder of VAST (Voluntary Artists’ Studio, Thimphu), a non-profitable and non-governmental organization (NGO) set up with the sole aim of providing an opportunity to the Bhutanese youth to participate and develop their potential talents as well as share social responsibilities through artistic explorations and other socially useful and productive work.

Riku, me and Sonam at Taj Tashi Hotel with Buddha painting by Asha Karma

The above was the photo taken when I visited Taj Tashi Hotel in Thimphu. It's said that all the paintings in Taj Tashi Hotel were drawn by him. Wow, I was actually meeting up with his art first before meeting up with the artist, which hopefully I could meet in person soon :)

Another Bhutanese artist featured is Rinchen Wangdi, popularly known as Bap Rinchen, the founder of Datog Art Gallery, Bhutan. He underwent his apprenticeship attachment with local traditional artists from the Institute of Language and Cultural Studies in Simtokha, Thimphu. He is actively engaged in coordinating art exhibitions, art camps and educational programs and active in promoting Bhutanese contemporary art.

Cherngzhi Lian painting on Paro Taktsang or Tiger's Nest (Pic source: Drukasia.com)

Cherngzhi Lian is an artist living and working in Singapore. He visited Bhutan twice in 2013 and commissioned to paint the artwork used for Drukair’s Singapore 2014 Calendar. Those who obtained the 2014 Drukair’s Calendar beginning of this year would have seen his arts on it. I have one at home :)

The History of Bhutan (Pic source: Drukasia.com)

Other than the art exhibition, there will be two events held. First, the book launch – The History of Bhutan written by Dr. Karma Phuntsho, a Bhutanese scholar, social worker and founder of the Loden Foundation on 12th April 2014 from 2 pm to 4.30 pm. The book is a comprehensive introduction to Bhutan. On that day, the author will present on site to give a presentation of the book. You will also have an opportunity to purchase an autographed copy of the book and get a copy at a special price. Click here for the detail and here for registration as registration is required.

Dr Karma Phuntsho (Pic source: Drukasia.com)

Second, the talk by Dr. Karma Phuntsho about Conservation and Happiness plus the film screenings, Forgotten Treasures on 13th April 2014 from 2 pm to 4.30 pm. Click here for the detail of the event and here for the registration, again, registration is required.

Fyi, part proceeds from the sale of the artworks is in aid of underprivileged young artists of the International Young Artists Exchange (IYAE) fund and VAST studio, Bhutan.

So, for those who never visits Bhutan but wants to know more about Bhutan, its culture, its history, and so on, immediately register yourself online for the events above (click the link provided), and visit the Gallery anytime between the dates and timing mentioned. And for Bhutanese who happens to be in Singapore during that period, have a feel ‘home sweet home’ just by attending the event and looking at the art presentations displayed. Hope you won’t miss this great opportunity!

(Note: all the info was taken from the Impressions of Happiness websites with the permission from the host/organizer)

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Living Fully by Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche and its effect into us

This weekend I finally finished reading this book: "Living Fully". I highly recommend everyone to read this book. It was written by a prominent Buddhist teacher, Shyalpa Tenzin Rinpoche, who had been trained as Lama since age of four. The language written was simple and very easily understood. For those who don't really love reading, do not be afraid as each chapter was written in short. No technical or excessive theory part on it. It was very brief, however, very meaningful. Click here for reading some of his writing at my previous blog post.

When you read each sentence, it made you think, reflect, and contemplate, asking yourself and wondering if you had been doing what you ought to do. I spent quite some time reading it. There were afterword part at the end of the book, which were questions asked to Rinpoche regarding love, work, and life.

Q: Why do people suffer?
"When we are born, we have obtained the beautiful and priceless gift of life. As we get older, we face sickness, old age, and death. Human beings cannot live forever, but we try to live as well and as happily as possible. However, human beings are controlled by the disturbing emotions of desire, greed, anger, jealousy, pride, ignorance, and discontentment. In general, lacking awareness of their true essence, people look for happiness in all the wrong places and suffer from their ignorance."

Q: Many people seem to work very hard, earn a lot of money, and still feel dissatisfied with their lives. How do we find a way to pursue a spiritual life while living in a material world?
"Why do we work? In the beginning, we work in order to feed ourselves, have shelter, and meet our basic needs. Over time, we become spoiled and take these things for granted. We gradually forget why we are working and expect much more from our jobs. We want to acquire status, wealth, and respect. Neglecting our spiritual development, we pursue material success and forget about our precious breath. We should value and enjoy our work, but our work should not totally consume us. When we become attached and addicted to our jobs, we forget how precious our life is.
We come to this world for a purpose, and we need to discover the meaning of our existence. Isn't the purpose of life to find true freedom and discover your true self? Freedom does not mean sleeping until noon and not having to work; freedom is the ability to channel your creativity through your work. To live a spiritual life is to remain unattached and truly free, while functioning in the material world."

Q: What advice do you have for people who are deeply entrenched in the material world?
"Life is a priceless gift to be celebrated. When people feel angry and upset, I ask them to imagine that they have only two or three breaths before death. Then, I ask them to think about what is most important to them. The most important thing is our breath, our life. Make the most out of your life and live as if there is no tomorrow. Be kind to your neighbors; you do not know if you will see them again. Share your wealth; you do not know if you will have another chance. Live as if this is your last moment. Try to celebrate with whomever you are with and take joy in whatever you are doing. Don't take things too seriously. Everything in life is truly ephemeral and dreamlike. If you have material wealth, it is good to give to charity. If you hoard your wealth, you will be spiritually poor and incapable of celebrating wealth." 

Q: What is happiness to you? Helping others makes one happy, and partying makes one happy. What is the relationship between happiness and spirituality?
"For me, real happiness is complete freedom. The only thing that can cause me to lose my freedom is the workings of my habituated mind. So I have to learn how to relate to my mind skillfully. If we want to be happy, we should start by remembering that everyone wants to be happy. We have to be concerned about everyone's happiness, not just our own. There are over seven billion people on this earth, as well as countless other creatures. If you try to exist in your own small world of happiness, you cannot truly be happy. To pursue happiness only for yourself is very shortsighted. If you want to be happy, think about how to make others happy, and act on that. 

Q: What is "living in the moment"?
"Living in the moment is freedom from the past, present, and future. It is freedom from time, concepts, and conditions. It is freedom from any expectation of reward. Living in the moment is fully embracing this moment, and this moment is completely perfect as it is. Living in the moment is everything. 

The above were some of the questions asked and the answers given. I put it here as I found it good and wanted to share Rinpoche's answers to all of you, which might benefit you as guides into your daily life on how to live your life fully.

After reading it, I am telling myself that I too, want to be free, free from the past, present and future. I want to forget the past, live in the moment, and move on with my life, live it fully. I want to remain grateful for everything I've been through, to everyone whom I've met with, and treat everyone as my teacher. Because I realize that everyone is my guru. I learn from all of you many things that make me who I am today, now. I also want to continue learning the spiritual path while balancing my life in many aspects in this material kind of world. Continue to be generous and help others who in need.

I asked my hubby to read the later part of the book as well. And I think, in some ways, he had learnt few things too. He realized that all this while, he had taken his life too seriously. He had been thinking too much on the future that he forgot to live his life at the present. He had been working hard and always saved money for the future. He was always afraid and worry that something might happen in the future so that he always saved and scrimped his earning, therefore didn't spend much.

All this while, I traveled mostly alone, with my family members and/ or with friends. Every time I asked him to go with me, he gave an excuse that he didn't like to travel, but I knew that he actually didn't have a heart to spend his hard earned money on traveling, as like what I mentioned above, that he was worrying that he might need the money for a raining day.

But after reading it plus some Dhamma discussion that we both often had recently, especially about life, he then decided that he too, deserved to be happy and to love himself more. And today, he booked two tickets, two trips to different countries where both my sisters live, each for two weeks duration. He chose both places as he could save on the accommodation and have someone to ask to. He thought of spending time himself to experience, live life in different countries, to learn something new, to contemplate, to pray, to relax, and most importantly, to be happy. It's something that he had never done before in his life. I fully support his decision since he hasn't started his job yet and considering that live is short and we never know what will happen tomorrow. If he didn't do it now, he might not have a chance in the future.

Like what Rinpoche said above, "The most important thing is our breath, our life. Make the most out of your life and live as if there is no tomorrow. Live as if this is your last moment. Try to celebrate with whomever you are with and take joy in whatever you are doing. Don't take things too seriously. Everything in life is truly ephemeral and dreamlike. If you have material wealth, it is good to give to charity. If you hoard your wealth, you will be spiritually poor and incapable of celebrating wealth." 

Friday, April 04, 2014

"Flowers bloom after dry spell" in Singapore

Heliconia Psittacorum

While the peach and cherry blossoms were blooming everywhere in the countries that are going through spring season, Singapore was also experiencing flower blossoms lately. "Colorful blooms are being seen across Singapore, and perhaps the 27-day dry spell in February and subsequent showers were to thank for them," said the National Parks Board (NPark).

Bright yellow flowers

Purple Bougainvillea

Grow along the wall

Trumpet flowers in closer view

Beautiful pink trumpet trees along Merchant Rd.

I took all these pictures after having my lunch this afternoon. They were located along and around Merchant Rd. It was really beautiful!! Only within a short period of time, I engaged myself into these beautiful trees and flowers, as if I was in a heaven. The heat from the sun didn't stop me from taking the pictures.

Hydroponic garden filled with fresh herbs :)

The above hydroponic garden was created by the culinary staffs in my working place not long ago. They used the above herbs a lot and all this while they always purchased it from supplier, which didn't come cheap. Since there was quite a big space in the garden area, they made a trial to plant and grow it on their own, which hopefully, if successful, they could use these herbs as the ingredients for the food served, which was organic and healthy (no pesticide used).

Beautiful and colorful Orchid flowers :)

The above colorful Orchid plants were located along the Merchant Rd as well. But I guessed it belonged to the hotel. They had grown the plants beautifully by attaching it into the big trees. Beside these plants were the restaurant so that their guests could enjoy their meals and watch the beautiful flowers' view at the same time. Nice idea!

Colorful Jungle Geranium :)

Jungle Geranium was a common type of plants grown here in tropical countries. Usually you could find the red and orange color ones easily, but not the pink and yellow.

The white and pink giant trumpet trees 

I love the two different colors of trumpet trees above. I passed by this area more than thousand times I guessed, but only today I realized that they were actually the trees that grew two different colors of trumpet flowers. Hehehe... How ignorant I was in the past!!!

From different angle

Beautiful pink and purple flowers

The above was another type of tree, also with beautiful pink flowers grown on top (at the other end of the Read bridge), Clarke Quay area.

Trumpet flowers blossom at Hong Lim Park

Oh my... Pink flowers everywhere... It was really a great time to enjoy the beauty of the nature surrounding us. Although we might not as extravagant as other countries like, we still could enjoy this beauty around us and made the most of it by being aware about its existence.

All the photos were taken with my handphone only. Therefore, the quality might not as good as expected. However, I hope you all enjoyed viewing it :) Have a great weekend everyone!!!
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