Saturday, December 27, 2008

Have I Told You Lately?

Was sitting down at the local Italian restaurant today. Food was fantastic! Had a scrumplicious lasagna served with yummy italian salad and a heart-warming hot chocolate. Finished the meal with the best tiramisu I've ever eaten. Lorenzo is definitely one of my favorite restaurants ever!

I sat there quietly, eating my meal with joy. I made sure I savored each spoon of food I placed in my mouth. I guess it must have shown because people were looking and pointing at me. I felt slightly uncomfortable at first but when I looked back to acknowledge them, they were all smiling. The atmosphere in the restaurant became much happier after that. It might just be me, but after that, people start smiling and eating their meals a lot slower. =)

"Love yourself first and everything falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in the world." - Lucille Ball

"Change yourself first, before looking to change your opponent, and in the process, you might find that your opponent has changed himself." - Aikido saying

Really, if you want to change the world, best start with the here and the now - start with yourself. =)

Beautiful song I sang out softly as I was enjoying my meal. The couple seated behind me joined in softly. Enjoy!

Have I Told You Lately that I love you?
Have I told you there's no one above you?
Fill my heart with gladness, take away all my sadness,
Ease my troubles, that's what you do.

For the morning sun in all it's glory,
Meets the day with hope and comfort too,
You fill my life with laughter, you can make it better,
Ease my troubles, that's what you do.

There's a love less defined,
And it's yours and it's mine,
Like the sun.
And at the end of the day,
We will give thanks and pray,
To The One, to The One.

Have I Told You Lately that I love you?
Have I told you there's no one else above you?
You fill my heart with gladness,
take away all my sadness,
Ease my troubles, that's what you do.

There's a love less defined,
And its yours and its mine,
Like the sun. And at the end of the day,
We will give thanks and pray,
To The One, to The One.

Have I Told You Lately That I Love you?
Have I told you there's no one above you?
You fill my heart with gladness,
take away all my sadness,
Ease my troubles, that's what you do.

You fill my life with gladness,Take away all my sadness
Ease my troubles, that's what you do.

You fill my life with gladness,Take away all my sadness
Ease my troubles, that's what you do.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Live in the Present

Do not pursue the past.
Do not lose yourself in the future.
The past no longer is.
The future has not yet come.
Looking deeply at life as it is
in the very here and now,
the practitioner dwells
in stability and freedom.
We must be diligent today.
To wait until tomorrow is too late.
Death comes unexpectedly.
How can we bargain with it?
The sage calls a person who knows
how to dwell in mindfulness
night and day
"one who knows
the better way to live alone."

Bhaddekaratta Gatha

Bhaddekaratta - "knowing the better way to live alone" does not refer to living alone as a hermit. In fact, the Buddha reminded a student who misinterpreted his teachings that way and became a social outcast of this. It is necessary for a person to remain in society because he or she learns a lot from people and from living in society. The "better way to live alone" means that one lives with others but remains mindful and detached from mental defilements such as anger, desire, ignorance, hatred etc - living "alone".

Thursday, November 6, 2008


My dear friend,

I have made a decision. And if my dearest parents approve of it, I will probably not see you for a while once I leave.

I have decided to go on leave from the worldly life, and take up temporary ordination as a monk. You probably already know that I've always aspired to be one, and I think it's finally the time I do something about it.

I plan to take 6 months leave from college, and go to Thailand. From there, I hope to be able to find out whether the monastic life is the one I truly want. Who knows, I may come back after finding that it's not for me - I'm absolutely realistic about it. But the most important thing is, at the very least, I have attempted what I've aspired for, and can live life without regret.

If you have supported this dream and aspiration of mine, I thank you. I hope to be able to learn something out of this. One thing I have definitely learned so far, is that it is very painful to let go of everything. As I made my decision, I realized I had to let go of my possessions, my friends and most painfully, my family. And it hurts. And I cry. I still do.

But sacrifices have to be made. I have made my mind. I've asked my parents about it, and with their blessings, I will go.

In the meantime, I wait. And as I do, I now look at life in a whole new manner. I truly appreciate what the world has given me, and as I await my parents' answer, I will treasure and cherish whatever moments that life will provide.

If I do leave, needless to say, I will miss you.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Letter to My Parents

Today, after a hectic day, I went to a quiet place far away from people to do some personal reflection. This is something which I enjoy doing and perhaps, I ought to do more often. Spent some time thinking through many things.

One of the things that stood out most is how much I appreciate the good life that I have. For the last couple of days, I have been meeting up with a few friends, and the sad thing is, they don't see how good their lives are. They complain and complain, but they don't realize that they have it good.

It's even sadder, when I look at myself, that I am culprit of the same crime. But here's the thing, I do appreciate the good life. I'm very, very fortunate to have awesome parents like you who have worked so hard to bring us up and enable us to live the way we want. Not many people can have the luxury of doing that. I'm very fortunate to be able to study in a world class institution like the University of Chicago and have the opportunity to see the world. Truly, I have it good. And I know that the good life may not last as the only constant in the world is change. This is why I am all the more grateful of it.

The problem lies in the fact that I rarely show it. I do realize I complain a lot too - the grass is greener on the other side as they say. I guess this is human nature - we love to complain, we always look on the bad side of things. But I do appreciate my good life a lot. And of course, this is all thanks to you. There are not many times when I have shown my appreciation, so here's one of them: Thank you so much for everything that you've done for me. I do realize that you have put in a lot - a lot of stress, a lot of hard work, a lot of effort into raising us kids and to making sure we have a good life. It's not easy sacrificing so much just for us.

Hence, from now on, I will do my best to complain less, and to make sure I show my appreciation more often. But the main message of this email is to tell you, yes, I am very grateful to the both of you for giving me only the very best. I do realize I have things good, and I do really appreciate it. Thank you so much.


Friday, July 18, 2008


Mind is fickle, always changing, always distracted.
Mind is like the flicker of a candle, it is never the same yet we treat it as such.
Yet, we realize not that our minds are constantly changing.
We bulldoze through our daily life without regards to what we think.
We realize not that negative thoughts always pop up in our heads.
We realize not that our intent is evil.
We realize not that we wish to please others for the wrong purpose.
Ego, hatred, anger, jealousy, bitterness, sadness.
All these stem from the fact that we do not pay attention to them.
We allow them to multiply.
We feel it, but we do not investigate the source of the feeling.
The source is not in the external.
It is in the internal.
Anger does not stem from the object you are annoyed at.
Anger stems from your mind.
We realize not that this is so.
Perhaps it is time to reflect.
Time to investigate.
Time to experience for yourself.
Be mindful.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


There I sat. The piano in front of me. The sun shining through the window. The wind blowing in. Notes playing against a background of construction noises as I tried out a new tune.

I stopped. Someone was watching me. Listening to me. I turned back to see who my unknown spectator was. I blinked. When I opened my eyes, I saw a girl at the door, a man behind her.

The girl was young, not more than 7 or 8 years old. She was very pretty. But something was different. She was carrying a cane. Tap. Tap. I realized. She was blind.

She came in. I said hi.

"What are you doing?"

"I'm playing the piano."

"Can I join you?"

"Sure. Come on over."

She walked over, guided by the sound of my voice. As she came closer, I guided her towards the piano chair. Her father, smiling, sat at one of the lounge sofas.

I carried and put her on the chair beside me. "You play very well"

"Thank you. Would you like to hear another song?"

"Yes please."

And so I played.

"Thank you. You know, when I was young I didn't know how to play the piano but now I do."

"Really? I would love to hear you play. Go ahead."

So she played. Beautiful music. My eyes swelled. My heart opened up right there. There she was, a young, pretty girl, barely 8, blind yet playing tunes that went right through me.

She stopped. Looked at me. Smiled the most beautiful smile. I smiled back.

"Go on."

And the beautiful music continued.

We sat there for a while, she playing, me stunned. She stopped, walked over to her father. I met him. We talked.

I asked for the time. I had to leave. Her father asked her for one more song. I guided her to the piano. She played again. Beautiful. I thanked her. She thanked me. I smiled. She somehow knew.

I said goodbye. She looked at me. She smiled. That smile. That beautiful smile. I left, feeling joyful. More so than I've ever been in a while.

I've been touched.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


All of you who are special to me, I will miss you.

Saturday, June 7, 2008


One thing I realize about many people is that they do things without checking their intentions. What may seem to be the right action, if originating from wrong intentions, is wrong. What may seem to be the wrong action, if originating from right intentions, is alright. What are the right actions with the right intentions, are fantastic! In short, always do things with the right motivations.

And so, I wonder - do I do what I preach? Do I check my intentions? Do I do things with the right goals & motivations? Looking inside, I can say without a doubt that although I have done things with the wrong intention in the past, I have gotten a lot better as I grew older, as I matured. In the last year or so, I can say that about 99.99% of the actions I have taken have been done with the right intention. Whether these actions were right given the situation I cannot say - I am sure that I have made many wrong decisions, but I can say that these decisions were done with the right intentions.

What about you? Have you done things with the right intentions lately? When was the last time you checked and thought about it?

Friday, June 6, 2008


This could be the result of having

a) 3 hours of sleep for 2 nights
b) fever
c) cough
d) sore throat
e) massive head aches
f) congested sinus pathways
g) too much red bull

but right now, I'm feeling like a confused idiot... So many mixed feelings popping up here and there... One moment I'm numb... Another I'm happy... Another I'm angry... What's up with me?

Guess I just need sleep. And some reflection. And... Oh I don't know, I'm just confused...

It'll be over soon... Over... Soon...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Old Age

Have you wondered what it feels like to be old?

To have lost all your loved ones?

To have lost all your friends?

To be neglected by your family members?

To be treated as a problem in the household?

To be alone?

Please, cherish your old loved ones, before it's too late. One day, you'll be in that position too. Youth does not last forever.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Weekend of Doing Nothing

Whoa... Had one fun but tiring weekend!

Note to self: Sleep.

Saturday, March 8, 2008




Thursday, March 6, 2008


Sometimes, people really need to learn the lesson of humility. The same goes for you, Adrian.

Humility is one of the best policies. =)

Up & Running

Got my momentum back. Up & running now, although one might say it is a little late.

On another note, looked through my readings for Hume for the entire quarter and was pleasantly surprised to realize that I've done something that I always wanted to do - to learn about the different views of the Christian God. Here are some of the author's we went through:

- St. Thomas Aquinas
- Michel de Montaigne
- Francis Bacon
- Rene Descartes
- Pascal
- Spinoza
- Leibniz
- Voltaire

Each one of them had a different view of God and looking through my notes, it's really interesting comparing their different perspectives. =)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Tough Day

My predictions came through after all - this is definitely on quarter where I'll do badly on my academics. Got two essays back, both of them did badly.

Plus, got burnt in the stock market. Ouch.

Then again, this is how life works - where there are ups, there must always be downs. More importantly, I learn from my downs, and appreciate the ups to the fullest.

Keep learning!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Right Thought - Sumangalo

Right thought will lead me on
To wisdom’s holy height,
And show to me the surest way,
To pass through sorrow’s night.

Right Thought will light me through
The shadows of this life;
“Twill ease my heart and peace assure,
And free my mind from strife.

Right Thought will be my guide
Across life’s troubled sea;
My pilot, compass, star and chart,
Right Thought shall ever be.

Right Thought will keep me on
The way to perfect peace,
And ferry to other shore,
Where all Illusions cease.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Woo! I'm so excited over elections!

I wonder, will BN retain their 2/3 majority?

Only time will tell..

Sunday, February 24, 2008


It struck me again that I have positively and definitely screwed up my academics this quarter due to a number of personal reasons... Not a good start to my university life and future career...

But it's alright... That's how life works, and I have confidence that things always work out in the end... Just gotta pick myself up and keep going... And enjoy the things I learn about life along the way...


To Sher

To one of the best buddies I'll ever love (and hate... you know what I mean... =P),


Big girl already... Must take care of yourself k?

Haha, I really hope you'll have a grand day ahead!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Reflection of the Day

Woke up this morning at 7:50 and went to Ratner with Brandon. Went to the basketball court and did our individual Wushu routines.

Haha, after 9 months of not practicing my routine properly, I realize that I have lost so much - the actual routine itself, the small nuances, the proper breathing etc.

What does it tell me? It reminds me that without daily practice, a person will lose a particular skill or habit that he once had. This applies to many other things too. Thinking through, there have been many good things that I have failed to apply into my life daily and practice since coming here to America.

Hence, I will do my best to make it a point to begin practicing some of these things that I have lost. It will not be easy, neither will progress be fast but I will still do my best, as these are things that I believe in.


Friday, February 22, 2008


Words, so easy to say them, but so hard to take them back. One word can change a person's perception of everything forever.

So why do we not think before we speak? Why do say such harsh things sometimes? Why do we lie?

I hope to find the answer someday.

You Are Not Alone

How many times have you felt that you're the only person left in this world?

How many times have you thought that noone could understand you?

How many times have you wanted that someone special to look at you, offer you a hand, and lift you back up?

Many a time, I'm sure.

But here's the thing, you're never alone. Somewhere out there, someone is there for you, someone does know you exist, someone does care.

So don't put yourself down. Just remember, you're never alone.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Sitting at the Burton lounge now typing my Social Science essay regarding religion and government.

Was at the Crerar library for a while attempting to write it but my mind was completely flustered and distracted. I was just staring at the screen blankly.

Decided to go back and follow my own advice for once. So I did the exercise that I blogged about last time. Then I sang - a lot. And I felt completely different after that. Suddenly, I could write.

So here I am, writing, feeling at peace, actually enjoying the process of writing my paper. Will it get a good grade? Well, it does matter somewhat, but most importantly, I'm enjoying myself - it's the journey that counts.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

True Happiness

What is true happiness? For the convenience of my meditation, I will define it as a sense of contentment that comes from within. Remember a moment when you felt that you were at peace with the world? When everything suddenly makes sense? When nothing in the world could bring you down? That's what I mean. Some describe this as the experience of feeling God's presence. Other's as an enlightening moment. Whichever the case, this is what I would call true happiness.

What is mundane happiness? Happiness that is obtained from external experiences, from materialistic pleasures. To put it simply, it is pleasure. Remember a moment when you felt exhilarated after getting extremely good results for your exams? A moment when you felt good after being given a present? A moment of satisfaction when you see someone else doing worse off than you? Yes, that is what I will define as mundane happiness or pleasure.

When comparing the two, realize that mundane happiness can be both good and bad. You are mundanely happy because you are comparing yourself with others. Got a marvelous present? Of course you are happy - noone else got it! Got excellent results? Fantastic - because not many people did better than you! So with this kind of happiness, you may be better off, but always at the expense of another. With true happiness however, there is no comparison. You are just content, at peace. There is no need to see others in relation to you. Hence, we can see that true happiness is better than mundane happiness in the sense that you can be happy without making someone worse off.

Furthermore, mundane happiness is only temporary. How long did your happiness last after obtaining those amazing grades? A day? A week? Okay, let's be generous and give it a year? Still, this kind of happiness does not last in the long run. Sooner or later, you will feel disastisfied again and look for more external objects to derive your happiness from. It's a never ending vicious circle of you pursuing happiness from material entities. What about true happiness? Well, it has the POTENTIAL to be permanent with the right mindset and training. Why? Because ultimately, you are gaining happiness from something that is within and is not dependent upon outside situations or goods. This something within you is constant, and does not change, unlike the external world, which you have no control of. Hence, true happiness is better than mundane happiness in the sense that it has the pontential to last far longer and does not require you to constantly pursue external objects.

So how can true happiness be achieved and what sort of mindset can we adopt to make it last? This is a difficult question which I have yet to attain a complete answer to. One method that I do know is to think more about your actions. Sit in a quiet spot so that you are not distracted. If you need to, try some breathing exercises to calm your mind down. Empty your mind of any prpblems or worries that you have. Once your mind is calm and you can think objectively without any distractions, think through about the things you have done and ask yourself why you have done them. See whether what you have done is truly right or wrong - or perhaps neither. This will give you a better perspective of things, and perhaps lead you to a moment of true happiness.

Now how can we prolong this moment? The next step then is to repeat what I've just shown you in real life, with all the distractions. This is the most difficult step - keeping a calm mind while going through your daily life. It's very hard, but it can be done - as countless other people have also done. THis requires much time and effort, you'll have to progress slowly and steadily. Start by doing it withouth distractions first for 5 minutes a day, and then slowly increasing the lenght of time. Then once you can do it for a comfortably long lenght of time, try it out in the real world. It take's much time and effort, but as we discussed earlier, definitely worth it. Give it a try, and let me know whether it works for you! I would love to hear the results.

A question I would like to address. So does attaining true happiness mean that we no longer have to care about the world? NO! Contentment does not mean complacency. It does not mean you do not have to do your best. What it does mean is that once you've done your best, be happy. No need to complain or grumble or compare something that has already been done because you know you've given it your best shot.

Contentment also does not mean not planning ahead. You should plan ahead yes, but be flexible. Be content with whatever outcome that happens. Neither does contentment mean you do not have to care for others.

The funny thing is, contentment or true happiness actually makes you more effective. It makes you perform better because it relieves you of undue pressure and stress. It actually makes you care more for others because you put selfishness (which comes from mundane happiness) aside. As a whole, being truly happy is not only good for yourself, but for others as well.

Don't believe me? Give it a try. And let me know what happens - I really wanna hear about it!


KSO Show

Oh my goodness... The KSO show was SO GOOD!

It was amazing! The dances were incredible! The show was worth every dollar spent. And the Korean beef dish was excellent too!

Would post pictures... All I need to do is to figure out how...

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Wooo! I really love ski-ing! Didn't realize it would be so fun!

Was my first time ever but Brandon dragged me to try the black diamond slope - it was insane! Went over a bump and flew for a few seconds before landing - without crashing!

Hehe... Quite proud of my achievement.. =P

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Deciphered the message!

Thanks so much Gloria, those words mean a lot to me!! =)

Thanks Gloria!

Got a lovely birthday card today half written in Chinese (of which I'm still busy deciphering...)

Will be displayed on my wall soon... =)

Thanks so much Gloria!!! =)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

10 Unwholesome Things to Get Rid Of

Of Action:
1) Killing
2) Stealing
3) Sexual Misconduct

Of Speech:
4) Lying
5) Harsh Speech
6) Slander
7) Malicious Gossip

Of Mind
8) Greed
9) Anger
10) Delusion

Renewing Precepts

Now sitting in a corner at Harper library, feeling very at peace with myself...

Realized that as humans, we go through ups and downs, and as we undergo that, we lose track of ourselves. I've just read an excellent book on the foundations of Buddhism "The Tree of Enlightenment" by Dr. Santina (although I'm really supposed to be doing my long-due hume paper. Here's a link to the book by the way:

Anyhow, after reading it, I've realized how much I have lost track of what truly is - but this is fine as everyone undergoes the same process. Hence, it's always good to refresh oneself. For me, this means renewing the precepts - I will do my best to:

1) Refrain from taking a life
2) Tell the truth
3) Refrain from stealing
4) Refrain from sexual misconduct
5) Refrain from indulging in intoxicants

I understand that I may of course not always follow the precepts absolutely, but with practice and constant renewing of them, I will definitely become a better person.

Ganbatte Adrian!


Thank you Sher Reen and Pui Ee!

Now I have two lovely birthday cards (and a Mr. Strong book) pasted on my room wall! They constantly remind me of the two of you and of all the happy moments we shared.

You guys rock la...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Missed Classes

Woo! Skipped all my classes today!

Figured it's better off for my well-being since I wouldn't be able to focus in class anyway.

On a further note, it's better for a person to find himself inside first before facing the outside world. Don't expect to find happiness from external objects, be happy within first. The same thing applies to health, make up CANNOT substitute for a healthy lifestyle.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Best Birthday Ever!

My god, I've just had the best-est birthday ever!~ Way, way beyond expectations!!!

First, went for a very nice Japanese dinner with the Malaysian family at Kikuya. Vincent, NJ and of course, brother Jay Sern treated me! It was really, really nice being able to catch up with all of you! After all we've been through, I'm glad we still can sit down and catch up with one another. ;)

Then, followed NJ to the SAMSU City Lights party. It was INSANE! Drank and danced and talked til around 4.30am! Got stripped, and had toothpaste all over me (hahhahaha...)

Gloria called me at 12am on the dot to wish me Happy Birthday!

Finally, woke up at 8am with headache and went for breakfast at the Pancake House with Hui Ying, Maggie and Jeffrey! It was fantabulous! They treated to me to yummy Mandarin crepes and then I had an apple pie as a birthday cake! Thank you Hui Ying for organizing the breakfast - I really appreciate it!

Woo! Then my family called me all the way from home and we had a webcam conference! They sang me a birthday song and 'presented' me my presents! I'm gonna be getting a HUGE card, my angpows and a golden key! =)

And to everyone out there who wished me happy birthday - thank you so much! You guys absolutely made my day!


Saturday, February 9, 2008


I'm slightly miffed after making a choice and then thinking of what could have been if I had taken the other path. But the thing is, once I have chosen one option, the other one is already closed to me. There is no point in contemplating what could have been. Still, I'm pissed. I can't possibly explain why - I just am. Logically, I shouldn't be, but I still am - I guess that's the frailty of human emotion.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

I'm turning 21 this coming Sunday but strangely, I don't have any expectations for the day nor for the periods that follow.

Many people mark their 21st as an important event, and I used to think likewise too. But thinking seriously about it, the 21st birthday really doesn't matter that much to me. Age is just a measure of time, time is just a measure of change. Me turning 21 is just a matter of me changing, as I always am. Nothing big about it.

Hence, I have made a decision NOT to attempt anything special on my birthday, will just be happily working at the library, as I do every Sunday. It would be great if someone does take the initiative to celebrate it with me, and I would really, really appreciate it, but if no one does, it really does not matter. I have no expectations about it. Life still goes on, as it always does.