OLD FRIEND

I met up with an old friend over coffee a few days ago. And when I mean old, I mean 17 years in the making. We have not spoken or seen each other since we were in primary school, i.e. 12 years old!

It was nice of him to reach out via instagram when I was in London holidaying three months back (he’s based there and just got back KL for a short while).

You know it’s a really nice catch-up when you feel good not just during, but after the meet-up as well.

I do enjoy meeting friends, old and new alike, very much. But this felt somewhat refreshing. And I figured it was because of two things: he had a very easy-going, pleasant disposition, and that he was willing to share what he know and has experienced, modestly. There was not a single air about him at all.

He shared with me about his working life in London, about how he manages a team of people, the work culture being practiced and he adopts. He treats his subordinates like friends, and as long as they deliver what they’re supposed to, they are free to take-off even before the project deadline.

He loves surfing and spends his annual leaves doing that. He travels with a surfing school — having been to almost all of Spain (places he mentioned sounded so foreign to me), Portugal, France, Sri Lanka, and this time around, the Philippines. And on some weekends, he takes a road trip to Cornwall to surf. I asked him why does he like to surf so much. He says while he likes the adrenaline rush, surfing takes on different forms as well — depending on the tide, it can also be slow and steady. I can understand the thrill of surfing and getting it right (albeit briefly), though mastering it is a whole different story and feel altogether.

It was nice listening to these as I did/ do not have that opportunity to be able to travel to so many places like he does — on a rather frequent basis! He showed me a picture of him and his friends surfing with a (snowy?) Spanish mountain as a backdrop.

While commuting to and from work, he tries his best to walk the whole way if he can (i.e. if the weather permits) rather than take the tube. He listens to a variety of podcasts which I find interesting. This ranges from The Inquiry (BBC), The Minimalist, Serial, Motivate Yourself, The Meditation Podcast, My dad wrote a porno (a funny one). I got the list from him hehe. I haven’t tuned in to any and hope to, sometime.

He uses social media but doesn’t believe in being hooked onto your phone. During our entire conversation, he has not once looked at his phone. He always carries a book with him. Most of his good friends in London are the locals. I asked him if being an ex-national athlete contributed in honing him to be adaptable, he said partially, yes.

His parents are based in China, while his brother is based back here. He said he likes Malaysia a lot and do want to come back, but he isn’t sure if he will be able to get used to the working culture here.

As we were about to leave, he offered to pick my grandmother up (I was going to grab or uber to get her) and send us home. Without complaining about the traffic jam, he says he has always been like this, not letting things that he can’t control affect him.

We know the importance of being nice, but sometimes it takes meeting someone as such (again) to truly remind us or reiterate to us the ‘pleasantness’ of it.

Of course, one may argue that we always put up our best when we meet new friends or catching up with long-lost ones, and hence we should discount what we see. Well, I believe no one is perfect, and if that someone is putting his or her best self forward, I will chose to see that best. Plus, it’s something that I can emulate.

This reminded me of a time when my mom sent us an email (back in 2015), recalling her meet-up with someone who has left an impression on her.

This is entirely a different scenario of course, as mine was about someone’s life abroad and persona, while hers was about the person’s life experience (with lessons to be learned). Nonetheless, both our takeaways after the meet-up was something worth mentioning.

My mom’s email snippet as below:

I had coffee with an interesting person today. He was an ex-consumer who wanted some Shuang Hor products. He is L, 38 years old real estate agent. When I first knew him, he was in his late 20s, just starting out as a real estate agent. He was a workaholic then.

Today, what appeared in front of me is a very different man. He is financially sound. He has time on his hand. He is simplifying his life with minimal bank accounts and cards. His residence is 2 Semi-Dees, which his family lives with his sister-in-law. His sister in law manages his household for him. He has few business, which are run by his partners who are his friends or relatives. He travels widely, and his latest holiday was to Italy to rent and drive those exotic cars like Lamborghini, Ferrari, and Maserati etc.

He divorced and remarried. He has a daughter aged 2 years old. He has registered his daughter into Alice Smith pre-school as he believes the Western education is broader and more open minded. At the same time, he says he makes sure his daughter is exposed to the Chinese teaching of obedience and well-mannered. He has influenced his wife who is a banker to resign by end of the year to spend more time with the daughter, and have another kid; and also to manage his portfolio.

This is a man who is 38 years old but have a lifestyle of a successful and established 50 year old man.

He shared with me his divorce was a result of him being a workaholic and that his growth path was steeper than his wife. I could sense a certain remorse that his first wife did not stay on to enjoy his harvest of his labor. He said he supported his first wife till she remarried 5 years after their divorce.

His divorce awakened him that he should share his profit with others, so that he can have more time for family and himself. He started bringing his friends and families into business with him. He guided them in the business and now they are running the show. He reckoned they may make more money than him, but he is alright with that as he has more time to do the things he loves. He reckoned that if he had not divorced, he would still be working like a cow today.

Few things I learned from him.

  1. Uber. He has sacked his driver as it gave him many problems. He now uses Uber to move around.
  2. He is buying insurance from Singapore as the premium is cheaper.
  3. He is not comfortable with the Ringgit and have many foreign currency accounts (I have omitted the description this out)

An amazing guy, no? He is the first 38 year old man I have met, who talks like this,  and lives like this. What I like about him, is that he learns from his mistakes and makes his life better as a result of it. He has a vision of how he wants to live his life.

I left congratulating him on his success. We promised to stay in touch. 

Speaking of this, there are many more out there with various rich life experiences — whether you’re rich, poor, young, old, male, female. A car dealer whom we crossed paths recently had aplenty to share as well that amazed my mom. The tougher one’s life is or had been, and the more mistakes or failures one had, the better these stories are…. naturally.

We may not have the chance to experience them all the same, or may not want to, for that matter. But to able to listen to and know of these life experiences, we may be able to learn or takeaway a thing or two…. 🙂

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HITMAN’S BODYGUARD

I have enjoyed watching movies in the cinema for as long as I can remember.

When I was in college doing A-levels, going to the movies with good friends would almost be a weekly routine for me that I always looked forward to. Of course, it has to be a movie that has piqued my interest, even just a little. For horror movies and such, a no-no for me.

This year so far, I have thoroughly enjoyed Wonder Woman, Hitman’s Bodyguard, and Spider-Man: Homecoming (I thought Tom Holland was great — it’s always refreshing to watch new, talented stars).

I caught the former two twice, and suspect I might have caught the latter twice as well…

In life, whether it’s a job or a movie role that you play, I believe there is something made for everyone; and Gal Gadot was made for Wonder Woman. I got my eyes on her since the Fast & Furious series, and she falls alongside my other favourite actresses such as Scarlett Johansson, Charlize Theron, to name a few.

Anyway, I re-watched Hitman’s Bodyguard last night. Still enjoyed it almost as much.

Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L Jackson, really, what a brilliant combo! Both so very talented and I thought they complemented each other well in the movie.

After the movie, a few takeaways hit me:

  • There is always more to a book, or a person, than its cover. 

I’m talking about Kincaid (Jackson) here as a hitman in the movie. Killing in itself is a majorly wrong action. Of course, one can argue the reasons for killing — whether it’s for revenge, to protect yourself, to earn money, or just for the fun of it. In Kincaid’s case, if one didn’t know how and why he became a hitman instead (it started with revenge over his father’s innocent death), one may assume he just goes around killing for the heck of it, linking him to his step-dad who is an a**hole as what was said in the movie. So, what I’m trying to say here is: yes, two wrongs don’t make a right. But sometimes, there is also more to it than what we see on the outside.

  • Enemies may not end up being enemies forever. 

Look how Kincaid and Bryce (Reynolds) ended up caring and having affection for one another — despite all the vengeance they had for each other before. Yes, they were ‘forced’ to work together towards one same goal (get Kincaid to the Hague). But I believe nothing can ever be forced without first understanding. And over the course of their time together, they got to know each other more than what they stumbled upon in their previous jobs, on a deeper level, and with that comes empathy. Kincaid shared why he became the way he was — out of revenge for his father’s death.

  • It is not too late to set things right.

I meant Bryce and Agent Roussel here hehe. I think while a lot comes from reflecting and making a move, sometimes our perception may not be entirely right (i.e. Bryce ‘forgiving’ Roussel when she did nothing wrong in the first place). So yes Kincaid’s push and maybe wisdom in love helped Bryce in this case, but still Bryce had to want to genuinely make it right in the end. And though not everything will work out eventually, it still goes to show it is not too late to make things right. Of course, with the caveat that ‘what’s meant to be will find its way’.

So there, my three take home messages from the movie.

PS: By the way, I don’t always go looking for these life-meanings when watching movies, they just come to me! I usually watch so I can relax and get transported into a fiction world 🙂 Who doesn’t?!

GOOD STUFF

Good things are meant to be shared.

As you may have noticed from my posts thus far, my writings often circle around self-realization, my working life, traveling, and with health also being one of them.

I love my food: roti canai (with teh tarik pls), nasi lemak (with kopi o pls), fried chicken, fries, waffles, just to name a few. Oh, and my ermm drinks too, sometimes. But I also believe in balance, and supplementing where I can and need to my diet and lifestyle.

This post is an extension from my previous one where I wrote on Shuang Hor’s Lingzhi and Pollen — its two core products for 30 years now until today — which are able to detox our bodies right down to the cellular level (cells make up our tissues and organs), over a period of time.

Along the way, the company has added on to its suite a few other products from the biotech to household categories. Although, it still keeps its entire range to a neat 30 products or so. This shows that SH has remained focused throughout, and that its products have been well-received for the past three decades.

While my mom is a SH distributor, we also put our money where our mouth is — i.e. we consume the products because we truly believe in them, for they have been proven to be effective, safe, and worth your buck.

I came across a saying, “if you believe in something, be an ambassador of it”. There are many other supplements out there, no doubt, but these has worked for us.

If any of these products can further help anyone out there, I’d be glad. (Let me know ;))

Below are some of my favourites, which I have been taking for many years. I’ll try my best to relay it in a simplistic form. For technicalities and testimonials (aplenty), please refer to my parents hehe.

The products below are able to be consumed by anyone – young, old, babies, sick, healthy.

Jia Hor Soya Protein and Fibre

These are two separate products, but I love to take them (one sachet each) together for my breakfast sometimes, or whenever I am hungry but don’t want to eat such a heavy meal.

It’s light-yet-filling (if you know what I mean); and on times I opted for it instead of coffee, I surprisingly feel more energized and not so sluggish!

I feel it’s a great combination because the lemon-flavoured fibre balances and gives an extra “oomph” to the more blend (or boring) taste of the protein powder.

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The Jia Hor Instant Soya Protein has proven very useful in helping reduce one’s cholesterol level and the intake of fats.

A consumer I met at the DZG course told me after two months of taking LZ and Soya Protein intensively, her cholesterol level has come down and is now within the normal range. She did this without any western medication. Of course, not every testimony is taken like-for-like, while she also ate healthily and exercised. But it goes to show the product does work. 

Its soya protein isolates are plant-based, which means it is more easily digestable and absorbed by our bodies. It contains lecithin (good for brain development and prevention of dementia), papain (papaya enzyme) and bromelin (pineapple enzyme).

Meanwhile, the Jia Hor Fibre contains natural dietary fibres, vitamins, minerals and Lingzhi. It is really good in regulating one’s bowel functions and has helped many lose weight!

Worthy to note is this product has both water-soluble and insoluble fibres. The former seeks to slow down the absorption of sugar and cholestrol, while the insoluble fibre seeks to promote the growth of friendly bacteria.

My mom said before: We are not just what we eat, but also what we digest, absorb, transfer to our colons, and eliminate.

What I do usually is I insert these two in a water bottle, shake it, and drink. (I drank half of it already as seen below)

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I always carry with me a few packets when I travel.

PS. For those who has joint or bones problems, VitaKing (a collagen drink with jasmine tea flavour) is a great option.

Lacto-Berrry

I take these (two sachets) almost daily, even more diligently than I take my Lingzhi and Pollen, to be honest.

Lacto-Berry is a probiotic, which are essentially the friendly bacteria residing in our gastrointestinal tract.

You know what they say — healthy gut, happy life. And to have an optimally healthy gut, we should have at least 85% good bacteria. When we do not have enough good bacteria in our system, we experience a whole of things: indigestion, bad skin, allergy, etc. Research shows

As such, probiotics are crucial to help reduce inflammations and strengthen our immune system.

What makes Lacto-Berry so special is its multi-coated technology, which enables the probiotics to stay alive — tolerating our strong acidic gastric juice found in our stomach, and to then perform what it’s supposed to do.

In terms of count, there are 2 billion probiotics in each sachet of Lacto-Berry, which they will then multiply to 40 billion when they reach our digestive system.

It contains Bifidobacterium Lactis (which improves acidity in our GI tract), Bifidobacterium Longum (inhibits growth of pathogens), Isomalt (a sugar substitute), Cranberry Powder, Raspberry Powder and Blueberry Powder.

I take two sachets every two hours when I have diarrhea and I get well very fast after. It has also proven to help those who has or had urinary tract infection.

CEO coffee

I love my coffee.

Let me rephrase, I NEED my coffee. But I don’t quite fancy those 3-in-1 sorts in the market as it’s mostly too sweet for my own good.

SH’s CEO coffee has a unique taste to it because it contains Yung Kien Ganoderma, which adds a little nice ‘bitterness’ to the coffee and balances the sweet element in it — which I like.

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There are two options: with sugar and no sugar. The one with sugar is formulated using non-dairy creamer (plant-based) derived from coconut and free from trans-fat. Both are free from any flavouring essence or preservatives.

I prefer the non-sugar one as it’s almost like a long-black, but with milk.

Greenzhi toothpaste

Such a simple product, but with SO MANY usages!

Besides using it to brush my teeth; I also use it for wounds, rashes, mosquito bites. I even swallow it when I have sore throat and it always helps, immensely.

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This is thanks to its constituents, which among Nano-Ganoderma Lucidum, Miswak Extract, Neem Extract, Xylitol and Chlorophyllin; it also has Aloe Barbadensis, which is Aloe Vera, in a nutshell.

I have been using this since I was a little girl. Extra useful when traveling or….. camping.

Jia Hor Seasoning

We use it at home daily to fry our vegetables, meat, or for our soup stock. Basically, anything.

If we use this, we don’t put in salt anymore as it already has salt inside.

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Besides salt, Jia Hor Seasoning contains Ganoderma Japonicum extract, Gynostemma Pentaphyllum Extract, and Shitake & Seaweed extracted powders. Although it also has yeast powder, it does not form any lumps while cooking.

It doesn’t distort the taste of what you cook, but rather, it enhances the original taste the food is meant to bring. This is free from any animal-source content, and hence suitable even for vegeterians!

For a pot of soup for a family of 5, we put in a sachet. For vegetables, we use just half a sachet.

Of course, there are also many other SH products my family and I use in our daily lives, such as its AquaSense facial cleaner and moisturiser, Vcare shower gel and shampoo, as well as the GoEco liquid detergent and all-purpose cleaner.

But this will do for now.

Hope this could be of help to anyone out there who could be in need of any of these products 🙂

弟子规 Di Zi Gui @ MAHS

It’s a nice feeling when at the heart of everything you do, you strive to remain calm (心平气和); and choose to work on yourself first, or to lead by example (以身作则), rather than first expecting other people to change. For when you change, you’d be surprised to see things around you change as well. And even if they don’t, it will not affect you as much.

I attempted the above in certain situations with somewhat slightly more difficult people, and it felt good… quite odd, but good. (Give chance la, I can be a pretty tensed person hehe)

Those were just two of the many precious learnings I took away from the 3-Day Di Zi Gui (弟子规) course I was so fortunate to have attended at the Malaysian Academy of Hans Studies (MAHS).

The course, themed “Teachings of the ancient sages, and guide to lead a happy life”, was organized by Shuang Hor, where almost 300 of its distributors (my mom one of them, for over 20 years now), including its employees, attended.

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Malaysia Academy of Hans Studies, Melaka

SH and MAHS have had a long-standing relationship from years back. Being in the direct selling industry, I find it noble and commendable for a company to place emphasis on continuously building one’s character (人品), beyond just selling its quality and established products (产品). Very glad my mom is associated with a good company as such.

The talks given by four teachers all touched on the importance of having wisdom.

They brought to light this: where a hundred years ago there was wisdom (智慧); presently, the focus is on knowledge (知识), while the next hundred years is obsessed — and in fact, has already started – on data (资料).

To be sure, this isn’t a bad thing, the advancement of technology has brought about many efficiencies in our lives, and it is just what it is – a transformation we are seeing.

However, there are seemingly more discontent, restlessness, conflicts today. People fighting anxiety, insomnia, depression. Some turn to drugs. There is less harmony and peace (in our hearts). These have caused many diseases and illnesses.

Which is why having wisdom is so important.

With wisdom, not only can we solve problems, but more importantly, we’ll also learn not to create problems.

I also believe, if we had the foresight to (managing) life’s challenges and problems, we will most likely know how to face it better when it comes.

But how do we do it? We go back to basics.

Essentially, Di Zi Gui in English means: “Standards for being a good student and child”. It sets forth fundamental principles based on moral values of Confucianism; and truly, anyone can benefit from this regardless of your religion and race.

People who have heard about this — but who have not attended — may deem it as boring and unnecessary, for it’s something that’s being taught to children. I suppose if you think about it, yes, why would someone want to attend a course as such if your life is good? I can see how it may appeal to people who have experienced hardship, or are currently going through a crisis in whatever form. Unless you’re someone who genuinely wants to always improve in life – not just professionally, but also in your own self.

The sessions were conducted in Mandarin, and I’ll do my best to relay it in English here. Though even then, it will do it full justice because the Mandarin language in itself is so beautiful. My great learning experience was magnified by the fact that the teachers were all so humble, soft spoken (something I can learn haha), and engaging.

I hope you read this with an open mind and heart (and not with a mindset of: “I already know all these”) as I did, before attending the course.

百善孝为先

At the core of building wisdom is: filial piety, or being dutiful to one’s parents.  “全从孝开起, 孝可以打开智慧”

This is a saying that transcends… all other moral values. We know of this, have come across it all our lives perhaps, but do we really practice it to the right standards?

Do we look after our parents and grandparents’ wants and needs, or to what we think we want for them? Do we worry them unnecessarily?

is so crucial because it forms the very foundation of us as a good human being.

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This ranges from answering your parents right away when they call you, to not do anything that is wrong or unfair to another person and to not compromise your virtues (else you’re shaming your parents). The book above also says, it’s ok to tell your parents when they do something wrong – but do it with a warm gentle voice. If they don’t accept it, wait until they are in a happier mood before attempting to dissuade them again.

Once we have mastered this, quite simplistically, we need not be afraid of how we will turn up in life, because we will be rewarded (i.e. create 福报 – a word I learned in the course and it makes so much sense).

Parents also need not be worried of their children and their fortunes (不需要操心孩子长大后怎样), because when the kids are dutiful, they are blessed (有福).

感恩,恭敬,慈悲

How do we create 福报? With the above: by being being grateful, respectful, and compassionate.

I thought this word was very apt to what I observe in life. Have you wondered why there are people who just seem to be always attracting the good things in life? Whether it’s in the amount & quality of friends, opportunities, luck, etc. A common trait I realize they have is that they are mostly positive, selfless, thankful, and forgiving.

This brings me to the point of cause (因) and effect (果).

There are five blessings (五福) in life: Wealth (富贵), Health and harmony (康宁), Long life (长寿), Peaceful death (善终). These are essentially the “effects”.

To get these blessings, one must first be good and do good (好善好德). If we focus on this, the blessings will come.

But, the thing is – more often than not, these “effects” may not happen right away. There may be times where our patience, moral values and virtues will be tested. This is when we have to stick to what is right and do it well. We will then be rewarded, eventually.

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The teacher gave an example.

There was once a trader who used an uneven weighing machine. He weighs his incoming goods lighter (so as to pay less), but weighs his sales or outgoing goods heavier (to earn more). When he died and his son took over, his son threw away that weighing machine and vouched to do things right. But, when that happened, his two children died (there was a reason why). He started questioning why. Nonetheless, he ended up keeping to his virtues and went on doing his business the right way. Alas, he was rewarded with another two children.

The teacher explains: When we are faced with challenges and bumps (that may make us sometimes “rethink”), we must have more faith and trust in what we’re doing is right (遇到灾难时, 更要有信心).

Like what my mom always tells me, there is a gestation period – between working for something and getting it.

Also, to experience a loss, can be blessing (in disguise), as teacher says. (不要怕吃亏,吃亏是福)

All these said, 福报 all begins with  孝.

保持好心态/ 心态平安

During the sharing session on the third day, many elderly attribute their one regret in life to not being able to treat their parents well enough while they were still alive.

When we have regrets, or things that we can’t let go, our heart is not at peace; and that is the very cause of many sicknesses and disease in life.

It is so crucial to have a calm mentality and peaceful heart, in everything that we do or in every move that we make (每一步保持冷静). I’d have to say this is my number one takeaway from this course, at this point in my life.

By being calm (心平气和), we attract more good things in life. But if we have a hateful heart (心不平), one that is full of vengeance (怨, 恨), we will tend to attract calamities (祸).

To be calm, the teacher says we should not let our heart be angry (习气打败,就有乐气), we should remove all selfishness, and most importantly, we have to let go (放下 , 看破) – of our regrets, resentments. Then we can protect our heart (心宽 = 养心).

According to the Traditional Chinese Medicine professor, most sicknesses are only 30% treated (治) while 70% is in maintaining it (养). We have to be disciplined in taking care of ourselves, including our mentality and heart (有规律地养生, 顺其自然).

And that includes putting our heart into what we’re doing — whether’s it’s in exercising (步行时,带着爱心走), working, etc — to truly see the effect. 

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Every meal: Simple, delicious, filling.

It was so funny too, the professor gave examples of “how to create sickness” (造病), rather than how to cure, such as sleeping late, heart having a lot of vengeance, don’t exercise, eat nonsense stuff, etc.

And of course, the best recovery, again, comes from 孝: respecting your parents.

really forms the core of many outcomes in life.

用资培德

Another crucial point the teachers keep coming back to is this: using one’s resources to build virtues.

德 –> 人 –> 土 –> 财 –> 用

The cycle above shows how values enable human beings to use land to generate income, which they then spend that wealth for other uses.

But, they do not go back to the cycle and start anew of using the wealth to generate or build values. This is where many companies get stuck or fall short in: they do not use their profits for the betterment of their employees and society.

做女人要温柔洁白,忍耐

And finally, a learning that is something very relevant for me – attributes of how a woman should be: gentle, pure and patient.

The teacher says the role of a woman is integral to a family. A woman can bring about harmony, she can also bring about the opposite.

For example, her husband comes back from work late at night. A wife’s tone can change circumstances. If she scolds him or questions him in a menacing tone (though she means well), he might get stressed and start smoking a lot in the living room, not wanting to sleep the same time as her, and there’s disharmony. But if she greets him by helping him remove his shoes, and serve him hot soup, the husband won’t be as stressed, he will not smoke, and he will go to sleep in peace.

Quite a neat example yeah?

Sometimes it’s also not about what we tell someone, but how we relay it as well. We may think what we do or say is kind, but it may be portrayed as something else by the other person.

See, the teacher says where a man’s sickness is mostly caused externally (be it from work stress etc), a woman’s sickness is caused internally (i.e. at home).

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My “family” for 3 days

It has been an amazing experience for me to say the least.

The entire living experience was quite something as well. Our footsteps were light (when entering and leaving the hall), we bow before and after each lecture to Confucius and the teachers, we speak gratitude words before each meal, and we have designated chores to do to keep MAHS clean and tidy.

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Be grateful with every meal we have.

A huge, huge, huge thank you to Shuang Hor, MAHS, its teachers, and the volunteers for all that you do.

Everyone said they will come back again next year, hands down. There is so much to learn from Chinese culture and tradition that you can’t simply learn it all. People go back again and again to ‘realign’ themselves, because we can never be perfect (but we always be improving), and life isn’t always a constant, problem-free journey.

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Lecture hall

Ending it with two final wisdom words from the teacher: If we can choose to see the good in people we don’t like, and see the not-so-good in people we’re in love with, that’s wisdom (智慧是可以看到不喜欢的人的优点,看到喜欢的人的缺点).

If we can reflect, that is wisdom (反省就是智慧).

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With the best parents one can possibly have 🙂

GROWING OLD

IT IS a cycle.

We are born into this world, get treated like Kings and Queens when we are babies, grow up to enjoy the fearless vigour that youth has to offer, then, we proceed to take on responsibilities of an adult…

Fast forward many years later, we all become old, succumbing to the care and attention a child once experiences.

Having my grandmother live with us since I was born until now, I see the cycle.

My grandma used to cook for me, tell me stories, be with me when I was ill, help take care of the house, and at one point — seems like yonks ago — even able to drive me to nearby areas (we have since stopped her from driving for safety reasons).

Now, it is our turn to look after her. We are always sure to hold her arms when she walks (last thing we want is for her to have another fall) and take over cooking from her. My mom sometimes showers for her, brings her for massage and her favourite food. I cut her nails, and arrange her weekly medication and supplements. My sister in law jokes with her and buys roast pork and fruits for her.

My grandma used to be stronger, more agile, and alert. She’s now more frail, forgetful, and can even sometimes conjure scenarios and things out of the blue! Just a few days ago, while she was in bed and I went in to check on her, she asked me to change into a new set of pants because she thought I had peed in the one I’m wearing (LOL).

That said, we are grateful she is still mobile, though movements much, much slower. This is why we try as much to take turns to fetch her to her friend’s house to play majhong while she still can.

And behold:

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She now colors books… and weaves art… like a child.

My mom recently bought her these books (from BookXcess in Starling Mall) — “Colour Therapy for Adults” and “Weave Art”, for her to keep active with her hands and mind, as well as to fill time. She’s good with her hands as she used to sew and alter our clothes.

It was such a heartening moment for me to see my grandma doing that — something so simple and yet fulfilling (for her) — with her kids. I mean, we used to enjoy doing arts and craft when we were young, didn’t we?

Beyond this, my mom has also downloaded a few meditation mantra (in Hokkien) for my grandma for her to listen to.

We all love my grandma and she’s a good person at heart.

But she also has weaknesses: She can’t seem to let go of the past, has a bit of trust issues (always think people are out there to get her), and tends to look at the small picture in things, especially when it comes to money. She also worries unnecessarily. We always tell her to let go and 看开.

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My grandmother celebrated her 80th birthday last month.

Speaking of which, of late, I find myself asking this: How do I want to grow old? And more importantly, how do I want to spend my days as an old person? In what state?

Do you wonder sometimes? What it’s like to be old, or how do you envision yourself to be when you’re old?

A food for thought.

I mean, we’re being taken care of when we’re babies, we grow up and start taking care of our babies, and then, we end up being taken care of again when we age.

Your prime, truly, is in your youth.

I have heard from some, that when they get to an old age and are not mobile anymore — having to depend on others to attend to their daily needs (such as feeding food, showering, cleaning up after using the washroom….) — they’d rather not live.

So it is in our duty to love ourselves: our body, mind, and soul.

And, to surround ourselves with people who are happy, uplifting, positive.

My parents are a firm believer of that — because who we mix with do shape our thoughts, perspective on life, to a huge extent.

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Above is a picture of my grandma and I at my graduation in Melbourne 7 years ago; August 2010.