Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Rotting Tree

It totally disgusts me.

It's like an old tree, used to be huge and sturdy and juicy but now it's just rotting away.
Everyone wants to have a piece of it, wants to squeeze the juice and milk out of it. Externally, there's the woodcutters, the rubber tappers, the birds, the weeds that grows on it, the chilly wind, the scorching sun and the many others eying on it. It's enough fighting off these enemies. But the worst is, internally, the worms are feeding on it too, no, i should say feasting, feast and leave it to rot, feasting itself at the expense of the tree. Thinking it's too big to rot, or perhaps, they don't think, worms don't have brains. ( ok, i'm not sure if worms have brains but anyway, even if they have it must be in the lowest form) It just pisses me off!

Selfish, Greedy, Lowest form.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Why Cloud and Water ?

Someone asked me if my email name means anything, cloud and water.

Yes there is.

I borrowed the inspiration from the book titled Cloud and Water - An Interpretation of Ch'an Poems by Venerable Master Hsing Yun. In the book's foreword, it was written

"...What do we mean by cloud and water? Clouds float by water flows on. In movement there is no grasping, in Ch’an there is no settling. The cloud and water life is a life of living in the moment, always fresh and ready to experience..."

I was in a transitional phase in my life, at least emotionally. Hence, this description particularly striked me and echoed how i viewed about life. The transience of life. The impermanence of life. The need to seize the day and live life to the fullest.

Chapter one of the book, Cloud and Water goes like this,

I. Philosophy of Life

“Worldly ups and downs
should be treated
As lightly as the clouds
gathering and breaking up”

Isn't this so true? Friends meet and part, lovers meet and part, friends after parting for many years may meet again, sometimes, we are down in life, but in time, things will turn out fine. It's just part and parcel of life, the ups and downs, the gathering and breaking, the impermanence of life, just like clouds gathering and breaking. If we accept it as part of human life and world phenomenon, we won't be afraid or become depressed or become too attached to whatever that happens to us. This is how i feel.

Above lotus flower taken from BuddhaNet.

Here's another verse from the book, followed by comments from Ven. Master Hsin Yun,


At first, I work hard for two meals, then it is for nice clothing
Now that I have nice clothing, I long for a beautiful wife
Now that I have a beautiful wife, I want a nice carriage
Now that I have a fleet of nice carriages, I want a fertile farm
Now that I have many acres of fertile land,
I want a government title to impress others
I do not want to start at the bottom of the ladder,
not even in the middle
When I am at the top rung, I want to be the emperor for a while
When I am the emperor and everything is going well,
I long to live forever
There is no end to my wants, until the day I die with reluctance.

You can tell from this poem that there is no end to our wants and cravings.
One’s happiness does not hinge on how much money one has or what title one
carries. Sometimes, money can bring you headaches and impressive positions
can bring you more worries. We should not be selfish. We should not only take,
but also give. Someone who only knows how to take, without giving, will never
be happy.


Or this,


Everyone is his own being.
There is no need to plan for merit and glory.
The oriole sings in the gentle wind and warm sun.
Spring is already smiling at the flower buds

“Everyone is his own being. There is no need to plan for merit and glory”.
When we practice the Dharma, the most important part is to find our true nature. As long as we know ourselves and examine our intentions, we can relax and be ourselves. We can be happy from the mere praise from others. Our feelings may be hurt when someone looks at us askew. It seems that we are not living for ourselves but what others think of us. There are those people who are quite pretentious, their minds will be confined to their own fantasies. Others who are after money and glory are bound by fame and wealth.

“The oriole sings in the gentle wind and warm sun, spring is already smiling at the flower buds”. The world can be a much better place if we can all find our true nature and turn our mind back to nature. When others need our compassion, we give freely. When others need our help, we give
our service willingly. We should compliment others where credits are due. We should always try to help others whenever we can. If we know when to be kind and compassionate, when to be happy for others, and when to give, we can get along with others very well and will not be bounded or persuaded by anyone or anything. True nature includes people and self, it benefits others and also self. If we can see that self and other are just the opposite sides of the same coin, the mind is then in the state of “The oriole sings in the gentle wind and warm sun”.

The sky is clear and the wind is gentle, birds singing, flowers blooming. We are at peace with ourselves and we feel good about ourselves. There was a poem written in. the Tang dynasty:

I searched everywhere for Spring,
But Spring is nowhere to be found.
Over the mountain I look, my shoes are worn,
I came back and coincidentally smelled the plum blossoms.
Then I know Spring is here, living among the branches.

Sometimes when we are set in our minds to look for something, it is nowhere to be found. If we do not calculate too much, do not mind the gain or loss too much, do not fantasize too much. Then strangely enough, the best results often happen naturally, like the water eventually becoming a river. Great merit is also achieved in this way "

And while I'm at this, if you are interested in the philosophy of Buddhism, BuddhaNet's Buddhist ebook Library has a good range of free buddhist ebook for reference, covering General Buddhism, Buddhism Mediation, Text and Teachings, Buddhist History and Art and Children's book.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Drive Carefully in Singapore

Recently, i have been receiving quite a number of emails from my friends on the same forwarded message below. The new traffic fine pricing from Traffic Police.

Ah, they all knew i need to be aware of this. I do not have much driving points left...Sigh. I think i am a relatively safe driver, i signal in advance when changing lane, i don't tailgate, i am a relative considerate driver, but speed limit is difficult to control especially when the road is clear and when you are rushing for time. But the police dun think so. Perhaps I'll better fix a speed limit alarm in my car to remind me the next time when i speed. SINGAPORE

Please take note of the new pricing from Traffic Police & the map of the Traffic Police where they usually hide their Mobile Speed Camera for your reference. NEW Price List from Traffic Police...
(Price increase without further notice).

Exceeding 01 - 20km/h = $130 Fine + 4 Demerit Points.
Exceeding 21 - 30km/h = $150 Fine + 6 Demerit Points.
Exceeding 31 - 40km/h = $180 Fine + 8 Demerit Points.
Exc! eeding 41 - 50km/h = more than $200! Fine + 12 Demerit Points + Court
Exceeding 51 - 60km/h = more than $200 Fine + 18 Demerit Points + Court
Exceeding More Than 61km/h = more than $200 Fine + 24 Demerit Points + Court.

Driving Offences:
Failing to Put On Seat Belt = $120 Fine + 3 Demerit points
Crossing Double White Lines = $130 Fine + 4 Demerit Points
Careless Driving = $150 Fine + 6 Demerit Points
Inconsiderate Driving! = $170 Fine + 9 Demerit Points + Court
Dangerous Driving = more than $200 Fine + 24 Demerit Points + Court + Vehicle Compounded
Illegal! Racing = more tha! n $200 Fine + Vehicle Confiscate + Court

Mobile Phones:
Phone/Text and Drive = $200 Fine + 12 Demerit Points + Phone Confiscated
You cannot hold your phone in your hand when you drive, even with loud speaker and/or ear piece

Drink Driving:
For First Offence = Up to $5,000 Fine and/or Jail Term + License Suspended + CourtFor Second Offence = Jail Term + Fine + License Su spended + Court

Other Offences:
Fail to signal when changing lanes = $70 Fine
Making an illegal U-Turn when no U-Turn sign = $70 Fine
Driving after 7pm without headlights or taillights = $30 Fine
No number plate = $70 Fine
Obstructed or obscured number plate = $70 Fine
Number plate of unapproved type = $70 Fine.

Court Cases:
If you want to be a hero and fight the court case yourself, and you lose, you pay the court charges yourself, which will add to your fine.
Court charges are at least $200 and above.

Demerit Point System:
Let's say you have 0 points on 1st January 2009, and you committed the offence of 'Failing to Put ! On Seat Belt'.

So now, you will have 3 demerit points and this will last for one Year.
If during this one year you have no demerit point offences at all, your 3 demerit points will be gone on 1/1/2010.

But, if during this one year, from 1/1/2009 to 1/1/2010, you commit another offence with demerit points, your very first offence will be extended for another year until 1/1/2011.

I wish nothing has changed

It's weird, when friends cross the lines. What do you do when you know your good buddy expresses more than platonic love to you. When it's one sided or not meant to be? What do you do? It's not the first time it happens to me, just a few years back after i broke off with ex and a further many years back with L. I managed both situation pretty well then. Yet this time, it's a weird complicated situation and all i know what to do is to shun.

Friends are different from people you date. They are the people who had been there for you, who cares for you and whom you care. People you go to when you feel shitty at work and with life. People who makes you laugh. People whom you love with affection but in a different sense. People you can't simply walk away from...

I wish we will just remain as friends. Now it's not the same and it's complicated and all i can do now is to keep a distance...and I'm sorry if this hurts you but i need some time and some space ...but i'm not walking away for good.

Feeling :(

Saturday, July 11, 2009

You and Me

Why does my heart aches
we used to be you and me
what had happened to us both
to make me feel
that i am me and
you are you

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

We are all suckers - Can you make money just by clicking?

The ad says: "

How can you earn Thousands of Dollars each day?
Simple - you need a mouse, Internet and $6 and ... YOU COULD BE MAKING THOUSANDS!
All you have to do is ... CLICK!

Yes - it's THAT SIMPLE! Click...$500, Click...$1000 - Easy, right?"

Would you be tempted to find out more? I think a lot of people will. I am not totally immune as well. Even if the possibility is low, and one questions if it's for real, it presents some kind of hope. Like lottery, 4 Ds, totos, lucky draws. It just needs to be real/come true once, just once...

I never win any 4D or totos in my entire life yet, but sometimes, when there's the occasional inspiration, i still do give the lottery a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th....100th.... chance. heehee.

I guess deep down, we are all suckers for anything that promises some kind of hope and possibility, even if remotely possible. :)

Monday, July 6, 2009

My Quote of the Day

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Black Swan event in her Life

Everyday, we draw inferences and form conclusions from past experiences and data.

At workplaces and many other areas in life, we often hear people making remarks and deductions, "From my experience, this thing won't work." ", "from my experience, this is good for such and such situation", "I came to Singapore 3 times and all these trips, i met friendly people and had a good time. Singapore is a country of very friendly, help and polite people."

It is a helpful and practical way of making sense of the world. Yet, we tend to forget that the fact is, just because something is observed to happen over and over again, and hence will probably happen again the next time, it is not proof that it will happen again.

Consider the famous chicken in Bertrand Russell's Problems of Philosophy. A chicken is fed everyday. The observation that the farmer repeatedly feeds it everyday reinforces the belief that being fed everyday by the farmer has become a general rule of life. So everyday, it looks forward to feeding time. And one day, instead of being fed, the chicken is being taken for slaughtering. Something unexpected happened. The "man who has fed the chicken every day throughout its life at last wrings its neck instead..."

The chicken learn from observation, like we all do, and its confidence grew as the number of friendly feedings grew. But the truth is, the empirical knowledge of safety it gained tells it nothing of the imminent risk of it being slaughter. In fact, it was viciously misleading.

Which brings me to the cheating man story.

A man is two timing his gf/wife. To cover his cheating behaviour, he continues his normal daily routine (from his gf/wife's perspective). This means maintaining the same routine of fetching her to work, remember to call her at a certain time of the day as part of their daily routine, doing things she expected as loving behavior, going for his routine soccer/ men's outing etc. This maintains the uniformity and observed normal behavior which totally unprepare the gf/wife one fine day, when she unexpectedly caught the man red handed. It became a Black Swan event for the wife.

The fact that the scheming man continues to do what he has always been doing is no proof that the man will not cheat on you. The wife has deduced that because they were together for many years and the man has never cheated, and he was continuing doing things he had always did, to fetch her to work, call her to ask on her day, etc, (behaviours interpreted as loving acts) and everything seem normal, she had no reason to suspect him or to spotcheck him early on. She didn't think he will ever cheat on her.

Precisely because of the immense trust, and the man being her pillar of trust, belief and support, the impact is extremely huge.

And becauses we human like to retrospect and give reasons and explanations for everything that happened, the early signs, the reasons, the explanations, emerges to allow the wife to make sense of why this had happened. To the man, it was not unexpected. To the lady, it was catastrophic at revelation. She had a false sense of normality deduced from the man's behaviour.

What can never happen from what we know and study may just happen. We can never fully know.

We can take this from E.J Smith, captain of RMS Titanic who allegedly was quoted to have made the following statement:

" but in all my experiences, i have never been in any accident...of any sort worth of speaking about...." "...i never saw a wreck and never have been wrecked nor was i ever in any predicament that threatened to end in diasater of any sort."

The ship sank in 1912 and is the most talked about shipwreck in history.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Happy Customer of

I came home today and was greeted with a pleasant surprise. The book i bought online from has arrived! :)

I have chosen the shipment mode via standard international shipping, i.e the cheapest rate and noted that the estimated delivery date will be 5th August. It's a little long but i'm ok to wait. And little did i expect, in less than 2 weeks, July 1st, it has arrived! I'm really happy. There's wisdom in under promising and over delivering. 

This is not the first time i make purchase with amazon and the experience has always been good and i'll be back for more!

Here's the link to the trailer to the book if you are interested in Mind programming. It's a book by Eldon Taylor titled: Mind Programming, From Persuasion and Brainwashing to Self help and Practical Metaphysics.