Sunday, March 25, 2012

The curse of mankind : Human trafficking

(Anuradha Koirala : CNN Hero of the Year 2010)

The curse of mankind : Human Trafficking.  This encompasses every conceivable form of human exploitation.  The first in line is human sex slavery.  There are human animals who have no conscience at all exploiting innocent girls.  These people are actually not fit to even be classified as animals, for animals do not indulge in this despicable activity.

Human trafficking exists in almost every country.  But to consider Nepal is far from everyone's mind.  Fortunately Nepal has a saviour, Anuradha Koirala.  She was voted CNN’s Hero of the Year in 2010. Her sole mission? To rescue innocent girls who have been tricked and enslaved in the sex trade in Northern India.

If you want to read more please go to my "Hubpages" site by CLICKING HERE:

Please support Maiti Nepal.  I just did.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Meditation to see things as they really are.

(The imposing Main Meditation Hall of the Dhamma Malaya Vipassana Centre, Gambang, Kuantan, Malaysia)

To-day I wish to write about meditation.  What a boring subject.  Rightfully this should be posted in my Buddhist blog "Life Is Like That".  I am writing about the meditation as taught by the Buddha over 2500 years ago.  Actually it has nothing to do with the so-called "religion".  Buddha never introduced any sectarian religion.  He just revealed the universal truths of existence.  These truths you can see for yourself.  Truth like the impermanence of anything and everything in existence.  Truth like the unsatisfactoriness of our existence.  Truth like all of us carry a heavy baggage within ourselves; greed, hatred and egoism.  But then again, people will want to point finger that Buddhism is still a religion because they want to believe in something else.

Be that as it may, let's talk about meditation in the Buddhist perspective.  The main object of Buddhist meditation is to train the mind to see reality, to see things as they really are.  Do you know, we look but don't see?  Once we can come to terms with the laws of nature, understand and accept them as they are, we will begin to change our way of thinking, and we will live in a more accommodating and understanding way of life.  We don't fight nature anymore.  We flow with nature.  Then we have nothing to complain, our lives will be more peaceful.

I have done meditation since I was a young man, but never achieve  much as I was and still am not a serious enough meditator.  Next week I shall be going for a 10-day meditation retreat.   Away from everything; purely meditation from 4.30 in the early morning till 9 at night, for 10 consecutive days.
This course is introduced by S.N. Goenka  and is taught by him and his assistance in centres around the world.  Fortunately for me, they have started one in Penang, hidden by the hillside, up from the Rifle Range Flats area. I will be in the very first batch. 

For those interested to find out more, please go to the following sites:

Vipassana Meditation as taught by S.N. Goenka

Vipassana at work in Malaysia : Video


(Postscript :  I had to postpone this trip due to unforseen circumstances.  I shall update in due course)

Update 29 December 2012: I have attended the 10-day course on 5 December 2012.  To read please CLICK HERE.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Please take good care of your health

This post is a "copy & paste" from a cancer survivor's blog :

Please reflect very seriously on CT Chang's closing advice:
"I am also sending out a message to all healthy people. You can see how difficult the life of a cancer patient can be. Please spend sometime on your health. It's worth it."

Day After Day

The other day, an anonymous reader said "by writing every single day, and mentioning about your cancer, wouldn't that be reminding you constantly that you are not well, and you continue to dwell in the sea of depression?" I did give a short reply then but today, I thought I would thought I would touch on that topic a little more. I am happy he or she asked that question.

When you discovered you have cancer, after all the initial shock or whatever you want to call it, you will quickly wake up and realise that you now have cancer. Some people chose to remain angry questioning "why me?" and can spend their rest of the remaining life angry with every one and still not get an answer. Some others chose to accept the reality and make the best out of it. No matter which path one chooses, as a cancer patient, we live with the cancer day in and day out. Once you have cancer, it will stay with you forever. Even after in remission, you are living with the fear of recurrence.

There are so many things happening in a day. From the moment I wake up, I feel the sickness, it's only a question of whether its was better or worst than yesterday. Of course, many cancer patients keep themselves busy with various activities throughout the day. Hopefully during those times, the mind is off the illness. When the illness is improving or stable, then it is much easier to manage. But when the illness is progressing, got more things to think about. There are many things a cancer patient has the decide as well. For example, if the cancer has spread, do you tell it to your family, siblings and parents? When in pain, do you show your pain in front of your family, siblings and parents? Like I was coughing blood, I had to do it quietly because if my parents see me oozing so much blood, it will cause them great pain. Also when I need to cry, I have to find a solitary place to do it, hiding my emotional pain. When I am depressed, I have to act in a normal way and yet at the same time pacify my emotions. Otherwise people around you get worried too. Then there are therapies to consider and research. Funds running low. And the lists goes on.
One of the main charcteristics of cancer is pain, excruciating pain at times. It sticks with you 24 hours a day whether you are aware of it or not. At times when the pain score is low, maybe 2 or 3, the pain is in the background and I can mostly ignore it. This is considered comfortable and of course as the pain score rises, the only way to keep the pain at bay is to take pain killers. My worst experience was in Chongqing, China after my TAE procedure. Morphine is the mother of all pain killers. Even after receiving the morphine jab, I could still feel the excruciating pain. If it was possible I would want to end my life then.

I find blogging very therapeutic. It allows me to express my thoughts and emotions, reflect on what's going on with me, my life and my illness. It also allows me to come into contact with many people, especially other cancer patients as well. The mutual sharing and support for each other. Some readers go out the way to write to me, phone me and console me while others prefer to write in the comments. Some readers go even further by providing me with some funds or training. All these helps me to cope better.

I am also sending out a message to all healthy people. You can see how difficult the life of a cancer patient can be. Please spend sometime on your health. It's worth it.

 I  made a comment on his post:

Hi Chang,

I am past 60. Each day I live to remind myself that another day alive is a bonus. My top priority is good health. And I try my best to eat right, drink right and think right. The specter of death at anytime is very real to me.

Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts and feelings with us. It certainly is very therapeutic.

I take the liberty to "copy & paste" your posting in my blog. Hope your permission is given.

Take care.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Three-Word Phrases That Make Relationships Better

Asian cultures are not so expressive in inter-personal relationship, especially expressing themselves physically with tender hugs and kisses.  Words are equally hard to come by when expressing our true feelings.  Perhaps in this particular situation, we can learn from our Western counterparts.

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There are many things that you can do to strengthen your relationships.
Often the most effective thing you can do involves saying just three words.
When spoken sincerely, these statements often have the power to develop new friendships,
deepen old ones and even bring healing to relationships that have soured.
The following three-word phrases can be tools to help develop every relationship.

Let me help:
Good friends see a need and then try to fill it.
When they see a hurt they do what they can to heal it.
Without being asked, they jump in and help out.
I understand you:
People become closer and enjoy each other more when the other person
accepts and understands them.
Letting your spouse know - in so many little ways - that you understand them,
is one of the most powerful tools for healing your relationship.
And this can apply to any relationship.
I respect you:
Respect is another way of showing love.
Respect demonstrates that another person is a true equal.
If you talk to your children as if they were adults you will strengthen the bonds
and become closer friends. This applies to all interpersonal relationships.
I miss you:
Perhaps more marriages could be saved and strengthened if couples simply and sincerely
said to each other I miss you. This powerful affirmation tells partners they are wanted,
needed, desired and loved.
Consider how important you would feel, if you received an unexpected phone call
from your spouse in the middle of your workday, just to say I miss you.
Maybe you're right:
This phrase is very effective in diffusing an argument.
The implication when you say maybe you're right is the humility of admitting,
maybe Im wrong. Let's face it. When you have an argument with someone,
all you normally do is solidify the other persons point of view.
They, or you, will not likely change their position and you run the risk of seriously
damaging the relationship between you.
Saying maybe youre right can open the door to explore the subject more.
You may then have the opportunity to express your view in a way that is
understandable to the other person.
Please forgive me:
Many broken relationships could be restored and healed if people would admit their mistakes
and ask for forgiveness. All of us are vulnerable to faults, foibles and failures.
A man should never be ashamed to own up that he has been in the wrong,
which is saying, in other words, that he is wiser today than he was yesterday.
I thank you:
Gratitude is an exquisite form of courtesy.
People who enjoy the companionship of good,
close friends are those who dont take daily courtesies for granted.
They are quick to thank their friends for their many expressions of kindness.
On the other hand, people whose circle of friends is severely constricted often
do not have the attitude of gratitude.
Count on me:
A friend is one who walks in when others walk out.
Loyalty is an essential ingredient for true friendship.
It is the emotional glue that bonds people.
Those that are rich in their relationships tend to be steady
and true friends.
When troubles come, a good friend is there indicating
you can count on me.

I'll be there:
If you have ever had to call a friend in the middle of the night,
to take a sick child to hospital, or when your car has broken down
some miles from home, you will know how good it feels to hear the phrase
I'll be there.
Being there for another person is the greatest gift we can give.
When we are truly present for other people, important things
happen to them and us.
We are renewed in love and friendship.
We are restored emotionally and spiritually.
Being there is at the very core of civility.
Go for it:
We are all unique individuals.
Dont try to get your friends to conform to your ideals.
Support them in pursuing their interests, no matter how far out they seem to you.
God has given everyone dreams, dreams that are unique to that person only.
Support and encourage your friends to follow their dreams.
Tell them to go for it.
I love you:
Perhaps the most important three words that you can say.
Telling someone that you truly love them satisfies a person
deepest emotional needs.
The need to belong, to feel appreciated and to be wanted.
Your spouse, your children, your friends and you, all need to hear
those three little words: I love you.
Love is a choice. You can love even when the feeling is gone.
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