Monday, May 12, 2014

Cambodia Rocks!

Life pushes you around in different directions.

Just like how the tough wind blows the fallen dried leaves on autumn days. Just like how the rough waters navigates a drifting wood. You can remain aimless and yield wherever life brings you. Or you can choose to be firm with your convictions and focused on the great possibilities that is sometimes beyond what meets the eye.

Image courtesy of Roselle Vergonia
Be steadfast like a rock, who learned to make alliance with the ground.

Image courtesy of Roselle Vergonia
Be strong enough to say 'no' to good things so you can say 'yes' to the best of things.

Be humble and grounded.

Be faithful and remain to be one.

Be of courage and hopeful that there is still good left in this world.

Establish a good foundation in relationship built in love, respect, trust and time

Be still.

Cambodian rocks with its resilience, idleness and serenity thought me substantial foresight beyond their rubble.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

One Not-So-Ordinary Day

I wonder who owns you before I find you inside SMRT train on my way home. I wonder what sorts of transactions you've gone through. I wonder how many people saw you but did not bother to take you maybe because you don't seem enticing for them. I even wonder how many did not even notice your sparkle. I just wonder.

Nevertheless, I'm glad I picked you up and hold you until I reach my stop. Finder's keepers. Though I don't consider myself lucky, that moment was magical. You brought an inexplicable joy to my childlike heart. Simple pleasures enough to lighten up my toxic day at the office. But still I wonder for a second why I find you and how you find me.

On my way to the bus station, I saw this middle-age man trying to make a living by selling paper napkins for one Singapore dollar. That very moment I already knew why I picked you up and when it's time to let go. I didn't bother about the napkins anymore, I just knew that this is the best thing I can do for you. Please understand, that I am not giving you away. I am helping you find your purpose.

That second I handed the one dollar to Uncle's palm, I felt a connection. I realize that somehow, somewhere we are all connected at some sorts. From the one who lost a dollar, to me who picked it up and now to the vendor.  

Finally, I wonder what will be the future adventures you'll go through after this encounter.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Cambodia: Behind Those Khmer Smiles

Image courtesy of
More than the ancient temples and authentic Khmer local delicacies, it's worth going back to Cambodia because of the charming Khmer people.

With my limited time to observe them, it's still almost impossible not to notice the glimpse of resilience behind those big smiles. Their country may not be able to offer them the pleasure and comfort other industrialized countries can provide but their adaptive skills plus their vibrant culture and iconic temples gave them the advantage to be one of the most visited countries in Asia.

Image courtesy of
Even language is not treated as a restraint in trying to accommodate their guests. We once visited a local store near our hotel to buy some personal stuff and the middle-aged woman who speaks their local language patiently showed us the price of every item we want to buy by taking out the equivalent Cambodian Riel bills in her wallet. What a clever Khmer lady!

Cambodians comprise of a cheerful crowd, down to earth, and homey human beings.

Our tour guide slash driver is another proof. The moment we met him at the bus transport terminal, he welcome us with a big smile and cheerful gestures. He comfortably initiated small talk to us and deliberately listened to our grumbling with the 6 hour bumpy road experience on the way to Siem Reap. At the end of the 10-15 minute ride, he taught us to say "Thank you" in their local language - "aw-koon ch-ran"

His kindness does not stop there. He generously provided insights of the different places we visited on our whole day temple tour. Each temple distinctively described with excitement, when all I saw was the same enormous pieces of sandstones intricately stuck together forming gigantic towers with refined decorations. I know I am bad in Architecture, please don't judge me.

While most of the people from province dream of going to the big city when they grow up, watching the Khmer people made me envious. I envy their simplicity. I envy their smiles. I envy their patience.

Cambodia may not have a developed economy and advanced technology yet, but they are blessed with remarkable and happy people.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Spoken Poetry: Look Up

Gary Turk hits the bull's eye when he wrote and performed this spoken poetry of human's growing fixation on internet, technology and social media.

The next best thing is to stop looking down at your smart phone. Look up at people.


I have four-hundred-and-twenty-two friends, yet I am lonely. I speak to all of them everyday, yet none of them really know me. 

The problem I have sits in the spaces between looking into their eyes or at a name on a screen. I took a step back and opened my eyes, I looked around to realize the media we call social is anything but. 

When we open our computers, and it's our doors we shut. All this technology we have it's just an illusion. Community companionship a sense of inclusion yet, when you step away from this device of delusion, you awaken to see a world of confusion. 

A world where we're slaves to the technology we mastered, where information gets sold by some rich greedy bastard. A world of self interest, self image, self promotion. Where we all share our best bits, but, leave out the emotion. 

Were at 'almost happy' with an experience we share, but is it the same if no one is there? Be there for your friends and they'll be there too, but no one will be if a group message will do. 

We edit and exaggerate, crave adulation. We pretend not to notice the social isolation. We put our words into order and turn our lives a-glistening. We don't even know if anyone is listening! 

Being alone isn't a problem let me just emphasize; if you read a book, paint a picture, or do some exercise. You're being productive and present not reserved and recluse. You're being awake and attentive and putting your time to good use. 

So when you're in public, and you start to feel alone. Put your hands behind your head, step away from the phone! You don't need to stare at the menu, or a your contact list. Just talk to one another, learn to coexist. 

I can't stand to hear the silence of a busy commuter train when no one want's to talk for the fear of looking insane. We're becoming unsocial, it no longer satisfies to engage with one another, and look into someone's eyes. We're surrounded by children, who since they were born, have watched us living like robots, who now think it's the norm. 

It's not very likely you'll make worlds greatest dad, if you can't entertain a child without using an iPad. When I was a child, i'd never be home. Be out with my friends on our bikes we'd roam. I'd wear holes on my trainers, and graze up my knees. We'd build our own clubhouse, high up in the trees. 

Now the parks so quiet, it gives me a chill. See no children outside and the swings hanging still. There's no skipping, no hopscotch, no church and no steeple. We're a generation of idiots, smart phones and dumb people. 

So look up from your phone, shut down display. Take in your surroundings, make the most of today. Just one real connection is all it can take, to show you the difference that being there can make. 

Be there in the moment, when she gives you the look, that you remember forever as 'when love overtook'. The time she first held your hand, or first kissed your lips, the time you first disagreed and you still love her to bits. 

The time you don't have to tell hundreds of what you've just done. Because you want to share this moment with just this one. The time you sell you sell your computer, so you can buy a ring, for the girl of your dreams, who is now the real thing. 

The time you want to start a family, and the moment when, you first hold your little girl, and get to love again. The time she keeps you up at night, and all you want is rest. And the time you wipe away the tears as your baby flees the nest. 

The time your baby girl returns, with a boy for you to hold, and the time he calls you granddad and makes you feel real old. The time you've taken all you've made, just by giving life attention. And how you're glad you didn't waste it, by looking down at some invention. 

The time you hold your wife's hand, sit down beside her bed, you tell her that you love her and lay a kiss upon her head. She then whispers to you quietly as her heart gives a final beat, that she's lucky she got stopped by that lost boy in the street. 

But none of these times ever happened, you never had any of this. When you're too busy looking down, you don't see the chances you miss. 

So look up from your phone, shut down those displays, we have a final act existence a set number of days. Don't waste your life getting caught in the net, because when the end comes there's nothing worse than regret. I'm guilty too of being part of this machine, this digital world, we are hear but not seen. 

Where we type as we talk, and we read as we chat. Where we spend hours together without making eye-contact. So don't give into a life where you follow the hype. Give people your love, don't give them your 'like'. Disconnect from the need to be heard and defined, go out into the world leave instructions behind. 

Look up from your phone. Shut down that display. Stop watching this video. Live life the real way.