No denial, no anger, good health

Yesterday morning I went running as usual.  Unlike other days, instead of watching Bloomberg news, following currencies and stock market movements, I decided to watch Oprah Winfrey.   There was an interesting show in which she had brought a bunch of obese teenage boys and girls to attend a workshop.

 I guessed most of them must have weighed over a 100 kgs.  It wasn’t their size that fascinated me, but what they did during the workshop.  It changed their lives.

 They faced up to their fears and acknowledged what it was that had been gnawing at them inside and causing all this unhappiness and emotional overeating.  It’s something that many many people succumb to without realizing it and then they get stuck in this vicious cycle that becomes hard to break and detrimental to their health.

 The workshop had these teenage boys and girls start sentences with ” If you really knew me, you’d know I ……”   A lot of things came out.  A lot of private things. 

 Think about it.  Have you ever felt like telling those closest to you something about you they didn’t know but you wished they knew?  Has it been stuck inside you and disturbing you? 

 My motto is always best to get things out into the open.   Open communication with family and loved ones are most important.  Afterall, if they really loved you for who you are, they’ll understand you. 

 Don’t keep things inside that like a cancer grows.

 Another activity the children had to do was stand in front of their parents and vent out their anger and frustration.  They were to start sentences with “I’m angry that……….., I’m angry that….”  It went on and on.  These children really had a lot of anger inside of them .  They kept going through the list until they couldn’t go anymore.

 Parents were to just stand there quietly listening.  No excuses, no solutions offered, but to just listen and lend them an ear.  A hug in the end was all that was needed.

 What I found interesting was that this workshop made all these somewhat unhappy children face up to their fears and vent out their frustrations.  Once all these problems are out  of our system, it can then be the start of a journey to better health.  Both emotional and physically.

 Some children, were frustrated at being teased in school, angry at themselves for giving up on every diet, angry that they can’t go out to buy a beautiful prom dress, angry they don’t have a date, angry that their parents divorced, angry, angry angry.

 Anger is of no use to anyone.  It made them eat.  Eating made them gain weight. Weight gain made them angrier. Anger made them not fit in clothes.  Not fitting in clothes made them angrier.  Anger made them try to lose weight.   Not being able to made them angrier…. 

 It’s a horrible vicious cycle.

 The journey to a sound mind and a sound body thus starts by being aware of oneself and understanding what it is that makes us tick.  No denial is permitted.    If we’re emotional eaters, then stop eating when we are frustrated.  Drink water instead.  Vent out all those frustrations.  Change the mindset.  If the mind can do it, then so can the body.

A Chinese Shrine in Kuala Lumpur

Yesterday when I wrote about the Indian Temple I failed to mention that on the same street is also a wonderful Chinese Shrine for you to visit if you’ve never been to one.  Like other Chinese shrines I’ve been to they have the same distinctive red colour and a pair of dragons lining the entrance.

This shrine, however, too must have been newly renovated and the colours were so vibrant it made you forget that you were anywhere but in China.   I felt as if I had entered another world, away from the traditional Kuala Lumpur.
There were chinese characters everywhere and smoke from the incense swirled up into the air.  I particularly loved the spring shaped incense at this temple. I had never seen them anywhere else and they were hung by the entrance with notes attached to them.  Beautiful.

If you get a chance to walk down the street, stop by the chinese shrine for a little escape into a calm and peaceful world.  It reminds us of how many cultures can survive together in peace.  Imagine on this street in muslim kuala lumpur are both a hindu and chinese shrine coexisting in harmony.  If only our world was always like this.


A Hindu Temple in Kuala Lumpur

Thinking back to my trip in Kuala Lumpur, there are still a few things I have yet to write about so I thought I’d write a bit more on it for those who plan to take a visit there.  There is a street called Jalan Tun H.S. Lee not too far from Chinatown that is home to a few shops selling all the party goods you could possibly want and interestingly a Hindu temple. 

The temple had just been renovated when I went there and the colours were bright and vibrant.  I must say its my first time inside a Hindu temple.  There is one in Bangkok, which I must admit I have still yet to visit.  It is on my “to-do” list.
The entrance is uniquely hindu with all the sculptures of the hindu gods.  Many deities are depicted on the pyramidal shape above the front door and painted in a variety of colours.   I see Ganesh, the diety that takes shape of an elephant.  Others, I am not so sure of their names.  The colours are striking though and very unique. It makes my senses tingle as it does when I experience something new.

Observing the ritual, I was asked to remove my shoes.  There is a place to put the shoes and they are guarded by a few people so you can be sure your shoes won’t get lost.

Upon entering, I found a big hall with a centre clove where I suppose the main deity is placed.  A few worshipers sit by the columns and watch the tourists walk around gathering in all the sights.  It’s fascinating.. Incense burns in the middle sending out waves of smoke and a temple guardian walks around preparing things of worship.

I walk around and observe the peaceful atmosphere and feel as if I’ve seen a prelude of India.  One day I will have to visit the country of the Taj Mahal and learn about it’s culture.  There are so many places to visit in this lifetime, I shall have to start making a list.
Temples, churches and all places of worship are all peaceful and calm.  Even since the times of the Egyptians.  I wonder why we can’t make our outside world equally calm.

In Remembrance of Dyzio od Abruchy: My One and Only

Dyzio od Abruchy enjoying Spring flowers

Six years ago on this very day my true love died. Dyzio od Abruchy. He was a miniature dacshund, rusty brown in colour with a fluffy tail and eyes that made you melt. Born in Poland and raised in five different countries, Dyzio was a well-traveled dog who was loved by all who knew him. He traveled on the plane. First class with a ticket and private box. He was indeed a lucky dog. He was my baby.

He spoke not Polish his birth country, nor English, but spoke Thai. He understood when I told him to go fetch his toy upstairs and bring it down to play with me. He understood when we told him to keep quiet.

I got Dyzio in Poland where I had been living with my parents at that time. It was 1993 and the Solidarity movement in Poland had just won their first elections in a Communisty country. For the first time, Poland was moving towards a free market economy. Everything was changing, and it changed fast.

I remember, in other countries you had pet shops and you had kennels where you can go buy a dog. Not in Poland. You had to read a polish newspaper and give the sellers a call. While the rest of the world had digital phones in Poland we used the rotary phone with the round dial. It was awesome.

My piano teacher did us the honours and read the classifieds for us. She rang a lady up who had a batch of newborn dacshunds, and before we knew it, a few days later Dyzio was on the train from Olstyn. It took more than 5 hours for him to arrive at our house. The only thing the seller asked for was the cost of the train tickets if we changed our minds.

Who would though? A cute little puppy with huge feet climbed out of a tiny picnic basket. He was barely the size of my hands and he felt so warm in them. It was love at first sight. A pedigree with champion parents, he had a green tatoo on his left ear.

I took out every penny of my savings and from that day on, he was part of our family. I remember when he took his first steps up and down the stairs. I remember him being toilet trained and running out into the first snowfall. He breaked so fast he left track marks on the snow and ran back into the house. It was minus 20 degrees celsius. I remember him barking at the wind that had swirled a bunch of leaves in the corner of the balcony and digging a hole underneath the fence to visit his wired-hair dacshund neighbour friend.

I remember Dyzio riding on the back of my bicycle out to the lake in Brussels, chasing down the ducks in the garden, going through quarantine and being bitten by ants in Singapore, staying in the airconditioned room in Bangkok, and just enjoying the crisp cold air of Vienna. Vienna was his final resting place. I remember him jumping on my bed to wake me up and stuffing his nose beneath the door cracks. I remember him barking whenever he saw me leave with a bunch of luggage. He was one smart and clever dog.

He was a dog with character and a heart that was so big it just won you over. For over a decade he met most our guests and welcomed them like a true diplomat’s dog. We like to believe that he chose to die in Vienna where the weather is similar to Warsaw. He died 4 days before he was to travel back to Bangkok. I guess he knew where he wanted to stay.

Dyzio touched my heart so much. Dogs are great for the heart and soul. They have unconditional love and are always happy to greet you no matter what a bad day you have.

Rest in peace my dear dog. Hope you are having fun in doggy heaven. Wolf wolf! I miss you.

The Mid-Autumn Festival: Mooncakes

My durian mooncake

In many countries in Asia today, people are celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival.  China, Taiwan, and Korea are officially closed for holidays.   Each year, the date is set according to the Chinese calendar and falls on the same day as the autumnal equinox.  This is when the moon is supposed to be at its most beautiful being at its fullest and roundness.

I look outside on my balcony, but the clouds hide the moon.  I won’t get to see the beautiful white moon tonight.

In China, I hear the festival is a big event with lanterns, parades, dances and other rituals that date back over 3000 years ago.  There are so many legends behind this festival, I wonder which one is true. Is it the one about the moon goddess of immortality and the rabbit, or the one about overthrowing the Mongol rulers?    On this day of celebration, people eat mooncakes which I personally love and find absolutely delicious even though I don’t celebrate it. 

Thinking about it, I have only been aware of these “mooncakes” for ten years since I first moved back to Bangkok. There never was a “mooncake” for me to see in Belgium or the US.  Not where I was anyways.

If you’ve never seen a mooncake, it’s round in most countries, with the exception of Vietnam where it’s square.  It has an outer layer of flour with many kinds of fillings.  My favorite filing is the smelly durian, but there are lotus seed fillings, black sesame, a mixture of nuts, cream etc.   You can even have it with the salted egg which looks like a moon once you slice the cake open.  Lovely cakes, mooncakes 🙂

If you’ve never had one, I’m sure you’ll find it for sale in Chinatown or a chinese grocery store 🙂  Well worth a try!  Wishing you all a lovely Mid-Autumn Festival! 

For the rest of us, I suppose today also marks the beginning of Fall /Autumn 🙂

A Thousand Dreams

I like to dream.  I dream of all the things I want to do and be.  I dream that one day I’ll be able to play golf like a pro.  I dream that one day I’ll sing like a bluebird.  I dream of traveling the world and having my own set of books.

I dream so many things that I wonder where to start.  Each day, each week, I come up with a new dream.  I wonder if this lifetime I’d be able to accomplish them all. There are just so many things to do in life. I have work, I have family, I have errands, I have social obligations.  Perhaps I need to have nine lives like a cat.

As said matter of factly by Alex:  “We only have 24 hours in day.”

It’s important to dream your dreams, but its also important to focus your energy on what dream you want to accomplish most and when.

If your immediate goal is to lose weight, then ignore all your other dreams for the moment and focus on losing weight.  It’ll take time.  It always takes time to accomplish a goal, and if you don’t focus all your energy on it, it’ll be hard to be successful.  There is no magic bullet, no magic pill.  Everything requires hard work.  It took  me half a year to lose 15kgs of my weight.  During that time, everything else was set aside.  I made time for my goal.   It wasn’t easy, but now it’s done, it’s done. 

I have crossed it off my “To Do” list forever.    It was worth it.  Everyday I am so happy I did it.

Once you get that goal over and done, you can then start on your next goal whatever that might be.  It’s through this succession of focus and prioritization that you will be able to accomplish all you want to.  Maybe you won’t accomplish all of the dreams you dreamt, but at least you’d have accomplished the dreams you really wanted most.

If you really want something badly enough, you’ll find a way to do it.  If not, there’s always an excuse. 🙂

The Power of Words

Words can have powerful meaning and effect on people.   Of course we all know that its the “actions” that count and not the “words”, but don’t underestimate the power of choosing and saying the right “words.”  Words are a form of communication that is irreplaceable.  Afterall, it is how we humans communicate to one another.

There are those who speak without thinking and just say whatever comes to mind.  There are those who speak from their emotions and those who choosing their words wisely before speaking.   There are those who speak a certain way and use words to try and gauge your reaction to a certain topic and those who twist your words around.

Words in effect are a reflection of the person we are.

If we always use negative words which emphasize how horribly tragic our life is and miserable it is, it can have an adverse effect on our brain.  Everyday, we’ll be infused with words describing the sorry state of our lives.  Everyday we tell ourselves how horrible and sad our life is.  Then of course, our life will be just that. Tragic, sad, and horrible.

However, if we use positive words daily and say words that are “positive” and see things from a positive point of view, you’ll realize that life isn’t all that bad.  What you previously complained about could be much better than the alternative.  There is always a good and bad side to every thing.  Just find the good side and talk about it.  You’ll feel much more positive and happy.

Now, its not only choosing negative and positive words that matter. What also matters is how the words come across to the person listening to you.  Some people are a lot more sensitive than others.  Some grab onto that “word” that was said and brood about it for days on end.  Some just brush it aside and forget about it.

Some phrases or comments stick to you no matter how long ago it was said.  You feel like the words were thrown on your face.  Some people spend a lifetime with a “word” or phrase stuck at the back of their mind.  Words that were said to them decades ago out of anger or fury.  It’s unhealthy and definitely not good for the soul.  Words shouldn’t be stuck inside like a growing cancer.

And its these little things called “words” that can cause wars and disagreements.  They are all so important.  So just becareful before you say anything.   Although not sharp like a sword, words can pierce through your heart and forever leave a mark.

Be positive, use positve words and don’t leave a scar 🙂

The Flying Lizard


The Flying Lizard

Here’s just a light story to liven up your Sunday. This past weekend, I had a mildly traumatic experience. To some it might just be considered as “nothing” and pushed aside, but for me it was something that frankly gave me goosebumps and an overactive imagination for the rest of the night.

I had returned to sleep in my old bedroom that I had inhabited in my younger days. Everything was fine until I turned on the airconditioner that was up high on the ceiling. It’s regularly cleaned and everything works just wonderful. I set the temperature and lay down on my bed ready for a relaxing night.

Then out of the blue, in the corner of my eye, I spotted something white floating down through the air. At first I thought it was perhaps some tissue or some dust. Nevertheless, my reflexes took over and I quickly ducted out of the way for fear of having anything falling on my head, no matter how light it is.

I literally jumped out of bed and onto my feet, waving my hair around like a mad woman to make sure that I didn’t have anything on it. Upon regaining my composure, I looked over at my bed and went towards that “white” thing lying on my bed. It was a tiny little blob, yet it didn’t look like a tissue, dust, or anything I knew. Then suddenly, I realized what it was.

The skeleton of the house lizard (jingjok).

It was completely intact and its skeletal skull was pointing directly at me, as if the lizard was still alive and look straight at me. I gave out a cry and rushed out of the room. Help was needed to get rid of this lizard corpse. I don’t like lizards, not live ones, and definitely not dead ones. I realize they eat insects and are quite harmless, but the squishy soft and see-through body makes me squirm. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it!

 Some scream at cockroaches and mice. I don’t. I scream at falling house lizards. Ekk! We all have our “fears.” No matter how composed one can be most of the time, I’m sure there must be something that really gets us jumping off our feet. What’s triggers you? 🙂

Unwire and Disconnect: Phone addiction detected

Photo from Engadget

One day, I’ll turn off all my gadgets, disconnect from the online world and just disappear.  I’ve had this on my mind awhile now, but its easier said than done.  If I’m not on the phone checking my email, updating my facebook, writing out a “To Do” list, making notes on thoughts that cross my mind, checking the news or messaging a friend; I find myself on the computer or in front of the television.   I’m perpetually connected. 

You can find me easily just like that.  Send me a message or an email.

With my first advent into the world of connectivity with first the symbian Nokia E71 and now the iPhone, I have become addicted to this world of “accessibility.”  Everything is available at the touch of my fingertips, whether it’s checking out the latest news, my portable notepad, my emails, photographs and of course facebook.  Whenever I get tired or distracted, I end up picking up the phone and go through the motions of checking my emails, messages and seeing what I have to do next.  On the airplane,  it becomes my game station with a number of games and books to help pass away the hours.

Even though all this technology is supposed to help “save” you time and make you more efficient, I wonder if the long run effects of forever feeling “connected” and “accessible” can be detrimental to your health.    I feel somewhat enslaved my my phone.  It’s the first thing I look at when I wake up, and the last thing I look at before I sleep.  I’ve only turned it off to restart.

I read an article recently in the NY Times about how people, even while running were switching between their ipods and checking their emails. We don’t get the “down” time that is needed for our brains to relax and recharge. 

In my attempt to have some “down” time I’ve turned off my iphone while writing this post and already I’m feeling some anxiety.  I feel like I should turn it back on in case I need to be contacted.   Not that I am expecting anything urgent or that I need to contact anyone.  I keep touching and looking at it as if it were calling out my name. My heart starts beating faster.   I realize I am truly “addicted” to this world of constant connectivity.

I promise I’ll leave it turned-off for the rest of the night.

Once in awhile, lets all get together and have some “down” time.  Turn off your phones, your television and your computer for a few hours or a day.  Perhaps we’ll rediscover the joys of living life without having to be forever connected with our heads bent down towards the phone.   We’ll get to talk a little more to the person sitting besides us and see the rainbow that just appeared across the sky.  It’d make us all a little more personal and more attentive.  Perhaps that’s a good thing.  Let’s get more of the “human” touch.

Until the next post, I wish you all well. 🙂 Disconnect. Recharge. Rejunevate. Get some quality “Me” time. 😀

Time flies but its in your hands

Time flies.  It seems to fly by faster the older one gets.  I remember when I was young, a day seemed so long. It was filled with going to school, having the afternoon nap, homework, playing with the dog, reading or doing other odd things.  I was always looking forward to birthdays and another year.

Nowadays, a day is over even though you feel like it just started.  You’re sitting there working and then before you know it, its already time to go home.  It goes by so fast, that years past like it was months.  My birthday seems to be coming by around faster.  Too fast.  I don’t look forward to it as much anymore.

Whenever people ask me how long I’ve been working, the answer is no longer one digit.  It is now two digits and I realize: “Gosh, I’m not that young anymore.”   What happen to all my dreams and goals?  Have I  accomplished all I want to?  Grey hair is popping up.

Despite all the bad news about time flying by fast, the good thing is that you’re the one controlling it.  Even if time flew by faster than expected, it’s never too late.  You’re the one in control.  You direct what to do with your time.

The trick is just to not get drowned by the speed with which its gone, but to hold it in your hands and decide what to do with the rest of it.  That’s what matters. It’s all up to you .  There’s no one else who can tell you what to do with it.  You’re the captain of your ship. 🙂

Afterall, didn’t Colonel Sanders, the founder of KFC succeed at age 75? 🙂