Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Nothing ever exists entirely alone.

A flower, regardless of its beauty, can never survive on its own. It is depended on the soil for support, the fertilizer for food, the rain for water, the gardener for care and its fellow flowers to enhance their overall visibility so that others notice its beauty.

It is not unusual to hear stories of organizations who think highly of themselves, leaders who felt that their organization depended on their supreme leadership and individuals who felt that others around them cannot survive without their skills.

Very often, when a group or an individual becomes very successful, their ego rises and think that everybody else exists because of their presence. Thinking that they know everything, strongly believes that everybody should listen to their instructions and bow to their supremacy. 

They failed to listen, to learn and to improve. They had forgotten that nothing exists alone in this world and all of us are depended on each other for support and survivor, like the flower.

"Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else." - Buddha.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

What is happiness?

"Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder..." a quote from Henry David Thoreau (source: The Buddhist Blog).

A fantastic way of explaining what happiness is, isn't it? 

Happiness as defined by Dictionary.com is the "results from the possession or attainment of what one considers good". The problem with most people who never or only enjoy happiness for a short moment is their definition on "the possession or attainment of what one considers good". It's either too big or the thing that's consider good keeps changing after one possessed it.

I am not saying we should not set our goals and work hard for it. However, if we only believe that we will only be happy after we achieved our goals, then the duration we will be happy in our life, if any, will always be very short. Is it really worth the chase? What if you put everything into it and ended up not achieving that goal? We can never catch up with the future and that's a fact, right? So, why not enjoy the present, enjoy every physical possession and relationship we have now?

Let's all relax and enjoy happiness. The joy of having that butterfly resting on our shoulder.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Crazy Over Seat.

Enough! I am just going to STAND. Deciding if the lady is pregnant or fat and if I should give up my seat is driving me crazy!!!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Death arrangements.

Death, similar to a school graduation, should be a celebration!

It marks the end of our current role and the beginning of our next phrase in life. It is like telling everybody that we had completed what we were tasked to do during the period when we stay in this earthly world.

Using the concept in my earlier posts on Right Livelihood and Living life, living now, I would like things to be carried out under the following 2 guiding principles in the event doctor certified that I am no longer able make decision for myself. This also serve as a notice to all my friends and anybody else interested in my pre and post death arrangements, that the ideas were mine and they should not question my wife or daughter on those arrangements.

1.  Nobody should be made to suffer.

I want to be remembered as a person that bring happiness and smile to others around me. As such, I do not wish to see others suffer as a result of supporting my life and handling my death arrangements. I do not want my family to spend huge amount of money buying special equipments to sustain my life nor pay for expensive medical procedures just to lengthen my life.

As a registered organ donor, doctors should be informed and as many of my usable organs should be harvested to enhance the quality of life of those who are living and sufferings. Why keeps a complete body when it is going to be cremated and turned into ashes anyway? I am only hoping that by then, my other spare parts are still in good working condition.  :-/

I want only the very basic package for a Buddhist funeral, with no extras to ensure that I had a good life thereafter. I need to pay for my karma, be it good or bad. Even if it’s delayed with the extra spending, I believe that I will ultimately be required to pay. Why waste the extra money when it can be used for future expenditure of those still living? So, no burning of joss sticks and incense paper, no meals 3 times a day on the altar, no wine and no candles. Just lose flowers on a plate, 2 electrical lotus lights and daily changing of plain water. I will be very happy if a cup of tea can be added with the playing of Buddhist music, Jazz and Pop songs in the background.

Don’t bother to find me a good resting place. Just made arrangement to have my ashes thrown into the sea so that others alive can live their life, and need not be bothered with the annual prayers. If you really missed me, just drop a note on my blog crazybeng.blogspot.com, google+ account at +Chong Beng LING or Facebook at www.facebook.com/chongbeng.

2.  It’s a celebration!

So NO dull clothing and crying! No dull tones such as blue and black. Well, if those are your favorite colours that make you looks slim, wear it! I am equally ok with that too. Haha. Just wear anything you like while visiting me at my wake.

Yes, I still wanted a wake cause knowing myself; I am unlikely save enough for my own funeral. ;P

Moreover, with our busy lifestyle, friends hardly meet and while this isn’t a good time, it is still an avenue for old friends to gather and catch up. Come! I provide the opportunity for the gathering, and you guys better contribute so that my wife and daughter need not be burdened with the cost related to my cremation and throwing of ashes into the sea. Any extras should be donated to charities so that it benefits others who are less fortunate than I am.

yt and tz, one good way to reach out to people that knows me is through posting the notice of my funeral on my Google+ and Facebook Profile page. Got it?  ;->

hmm… anything else I missed out? I think I had recorded everything for now. I am sure I may change some of the arrangements later in life. But in case I cannot make it to made amendments, what is stated here stays.

Err… some may start saying “Choy!” right? Come on, we all will die one day so why not put things down in writing so that it can be done in our preference. Moreover, it saves our families the trouble of arguing and explaining to others on the arrangement of our funerals.

What are you waiting? Quick! Start writing your preference for your own funeral NOW.  ;P

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

A nice elderly gentleman.

An elderly gentleman in his 60s, in office wear waited for his bus together with me at the bus-stop this morning.

When the bus came, he was the first to go out under the rain with his umbrella and flagged the bus. Thinking that he wanted to board the bus first, the few of us young people (yes, 40s is still younger than 60s, right? Hee..) waited under the shelter for him to board the bus before we dash into it.

Instead of boarding the bus, he turned around and gestured for everyone else to board the bus. Using his big umbrella, he ensures that none of us get wet while boarding the bus before he follows behind.

As usual with others who have the habits of showing little kindness in their daily life, once he was seated on the bus, things were back to normal. There were no attempts of him looking around and seeking others to thank him for his little kindness.

I was really touched by his kind act and grateful to have such nice gentleman living among us. 

Monday, 20 February 2012

A peaceful afternoon.

Visited a respectful father this afternoon and enjoyed the peaceful environment.

Funky castle by 小tz.

The power of meditation.

For the past few weeks, life had not being treating me well. Putting it in another more “encouraging” way, I felt the fellow upstairs is up to his trick of training and testing me again. Not sure when will he be satisfied and starts focusing on others who equally needed his attention.  ;-P

Individually, none of those problems were as difficult as those I had encountered. However, collectively with multiple problems in various areas of my life happening at the same time, it is overwhelming. There is just no place in my life then for me to rest and recharge. Getting down meditating is equally challenging as I would rather use the time to work on the problems or rest. Moreover, when attempting to meditate, my mind was constantly disturbed with the thoughts of those outstanding issues. What an irony.

The article by Cheryl Clemens (Baltimore Sun) on “The power of meditation: How a quiet mind can unlock wonders” (Source: http://goo.gl/mag/2yLDB via Google Currents) teaches me the power of meditation, and the importance of mindfulness when I am doing my tai chi meditation this morning. Going back to the basic, focusing on my breathing and feeling every single moment of my body, my mind stops pondering on those issues.

I had all along allowed myself to be bothered by those problems. The equivalent of constantly stirring a glass of muddy water and allowing it to stays cloudy. Mindfulness in meditation is about not stirring the glass of water and letting the dirt slowly settles at the bottom of the glass. The problems, like the dirt in the glass will not go away with meditation. Being mindful about those problems and yet not get affected by them helps me to have a peaceful mind to look at the problems individually. With the water beginning to clear, I am able to see better, prioritize and tackle the problems one at a time. It is like picking up the stones to prevent further scratches to the glass surface, then separating the water from the dirt at the bottom.

I was told that practicing mindfulness comes in various forms and it is not limited to just Tai Chi, Yoga or other traditional meditation. Action such as drinking a cup of tea, painting a picture or even mopping our floor can equally helps us in achieving mindfulness. The problem is that many of us, me included, think about painting when drinking our tea, think about mopping when painting and think about having tea when mopping. If we simply focus on the task and enjoy the process, our mind will be able to get their much needed rest.

Try it!

Friday, 17 February 2012

Passion is not a magical potion.


In my line of work, sometimes people over-rated our ability, people around us and passion.

Yes, daddy is passionate and enjoys supporting others who are less fortunate. However, that doesn't change the reality that I am after all, a human like many others with different responsibilities, needs, limited capability with only 24 hours a day too.

Passion is not a magical potion that transforms me into a robot that is capable of working through 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year (24/7). Passion cannot split me into 2 so that you and mummy get undivided care from me while I fulfill the expectation others have on me. Passion cannot equip you and mummy with same experience and skills I had learned through the years, and ensure that both of you are as capable as me in supporting people with disabilities.

In my work, it is not unusual to hear following comments being shared:

"You sleep so early at 9pm?"

"Why you take so long to answer my call?"

"Why are you not working on weekends?"

"Why your family members can't take care of my daughter when she visited your home at 11pm last night?"

Most people will respect our rights and understand our needs to look after our family’s quality of life. However, there are always a few who will still expect that we commit our entire life to our work. Explanation such as (1) "I wake up at 4.30am every morning for my exercise and get ready things for my child...", (2) "Hey, I am in the toilet...", (3) "I need to look after my child and elderly parents...", or (4) "...but my family wasn't trained or have the experience in support people with disability." is not good enough for them.

In the first instances, we shouldn't even be telling them about our personal life and they should respect our rights for rest and privacy.

While daddy is responsible in supporting the team at work 24/7, whenever possible. Getting calls from everybody in connection with my work and demanded immediate action will definitely affect our family's quality of life.

In my years working in this sector, I had seen many walked away from their passion to care and provide for their families. How many more good people should we lose before that few others respect the rights of staff in the welfare sector?

In sharing this, I hoping that you will understand my work, others will respect people in my line of work and be more understanding when interacting with us.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

No more la kopi lo.

"La kopi" became an expensive activity with teh-O-kosong at $0.90 in Hougang. MacDonald's is cheaper with unlimited refills in the morning.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012


To the lady I met just now, I salute you for your determination and skills to declare ownership of the pole on the bus.

After I shifted my hand away from being grabbed by you and failed your attempt to declare the pole was yours, you moved forward and press your entire body on the pole. Wa!!! Lucky I moved my hands away fast enough to prevent touching your breast. Even more blessed was the fact that your eyes were glued to the gentleman next to me while all this happened. Else I may have to write long essay explaining the incident to my lovely wife.

Gender equality? Whether the role was reversed, she pressed her breast on my hand or I pressed my chest on her hand, she is still the victim and me the suspect.


Saturday, 11 February 2012

Challenging behaviours!!!

2 Bangladesh boarded the MRT train at Little India, stood very close to me despite the fact that the train is very empty. I had no choice but to block and give the older man a gentle push when he attempted to stand even closer.

Likely getting my signal of frustration, the older man signaled the younger man to move away and both seated at the priority seat. Once seated, the younger man put his right leg over the left leg, and his head on the shoulder of the older man. To top it up, they started making sexually offending funny faces and gestures to the little girl seated next to his father, opposite them.

I am not against having foreigners and I had seen good foreigners in Singapore too. The lady that let me have her seat when I was carrying my sleeping daughter, and the young man who offered to call ambulance and guide the paramedics when I am helping an unconscious man were some examples of good foreigners in Singapore. 

However, the frequency of such disgusted act by the foreigners is far more frequent and obvious. How am I going to educate my daughter and the clients with intellectual disability I am supporting at work on such unacceptable behaviours? “Oh, they are bad people!” right? Then why are there so many of them out there and aren’t anybody doing something to improve the situation?

Currently, research I read tells me that it’s always good to expose people with intellectual disability in the society. Not only will they be given the chance to learn and practice the skills to live within the community, it also enables them to learn socially acceptable behaviours in the community. Well… are putting one’s legs over another person’s leg and leaning on the shoulder of another person of the same sex, and making sexually offending funny faces and gestures an acceptable social behaviour? I wonder…

Culture is not a good excuse. If it’s your culture, then please ensure you do it in your country, in private and practice it among your friends with the same culture. This applies to everybody, regardless of our skin colour. I recalled once I was equally disgusted when I learn that an old Englishman in his 50s intended to leave his wife in the hotel and persistently requested a date to flirt with a younger local lady in her 20s. 

Whether your populations are growing or you are of a higher social status/class, this doesn’t mean that everybody else should comply with your so call cultural practices. 

Please respect others, if you want others to respect you as an individual.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Disclaimers, etc.

Dear all,

I thought it is appropriate for me to clarify a few matters at this point in time of my blogging.

I started blogging because I am fearful that I may not have the time and opportunity to share my life experience with my daughter (tz ). In addition, having a bad experience of not being able to know my late father better, I started blogging so that there is an avenue for tz to know me better if she decided to read up. I am not saying she will definitely read up about me, but at least if she does decide to know a little more about her crazy daddy, she can. Well, the most my wife (yt) and I can sit in front of the computer and slowly enjoy our past staring at my blog. Haha…

1.  Delay in replying comments.
Putting that into perspective, it means that I don’t blog that frequent. With a full-time job and my desire to spend quality time with tz, I only blog on my journey to and back from work, or during the early or late hours when yt and tz are sleeping. Likewise, I can and likely choose to reply your comments during those times. Please accept my apologies for the late reply to your comments, if any.

2.  This is a personal blog.
While I may have worked and volunteered in a few organizations, I need to clarify that views mentioned in my blog were solely mine and not representative of any organizations that I was involved now or previously.

3.  Identity and timeline of events masked.
It is an irony that while I enjoyed blogging and hope to leave some notes for tz, yt and I treasured our privacy. In view of that, you will never get to see any photographs of yt and tz in my blog (Yes, and don’t you ever ask for it. Haha…). This together with the needs to mask the identity of others mentioned in my blog means that while the experience I had related is true, the identity (eg, sex, age, profile or name) and timeline of the events may likely been changed.

4.  Possible banning of comments.
While I would like to see free flow of comments in my blog, I also need to ensure that they are suitable for tz. In view of that, I may issue a warning or ban the person if I felt the comments are not appropriate for tz. Moreover, I also do not want others to be spammed with unrelated or inappropriate comments.

That’s all I have for now till I think of more disclaimers. Err… seems professional isn’t it. Haha… Self praise.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Measurement of success.

Likes a statement I heard sometimes ago: 

“My achievement is not measured by how fast I can teach a client to master a skill, neither is it about how many clients I can place in employment. It’s about how many of my clients smile everyday, about how many acceptance smiles, nods and greeting my client with intellectual disability received when they are out in the community.”

Sunday, 5 February 2012

$3.90 per drink! ;-(

小tz’s latest favorite, the McCafe Hot Chocolate. She likes seeing how those cute drawing are drawn in addition to drinking it.

$3.90!!! Aiyoyo, which equal to my lunch with a plate of mixed vegetables rice and a cup of "teh-o-kosong" (tea without sugar and milk)! Fortunately, she doesn’t drink it frequently,  

Friday, 3 February 2012

Disability first in training?

I met my friend with his son at the bus stop on my way home.

The bus came and while boarding the bus, she was separated from his son, as his son managed to squeeze through the man in front of her at the entrance. Upon knowing that he had blocked my friend from his son, the man turned, stepped back and gesture for my friend to go up the bus first. However, the space is just too narrow for my friend to squeeze through. After a few attempts to indicate and tell the man about it, she gave up raised her voice a little to instruct his son to come back and stared at the man.

Following my friend after she boarded the bus, I discovered that the man who blocked and separated my friend from his son, was a client with intellectually disability from an institution I visited recently. "Wow, good social skills he had displayed." I told myself.

Walking to my friend to explain on behalf of the man with intellectual disability, I was disturbed by her striking comments.

"Chong Beng, you had been working in the sector supporting people with intellectual disability for many years. You know many people with intellectual disability, whom you had worked with or seen while visiting their centers. Even if you had not seen them, your years of experience would likely enabled you identify their disability, right? I don't have those training and neither the experience to identify their disability. They don't and should not walk around carrying a tag to label their disability too right? To me, that gentleman looks normal and I was seriously wondering if he is trying to be funny and take advantage of me."

Ouch!!! Now that is a wake up call isn't it? We, in the disability sector always encourage others to address people with disability, person/name first then followed by their disability. Yes, the gentleman I met was really good with great social skills that many with his disability cannot meet. But is this good enough? In my attempts to clarify with my friend on his behalf, I had put his disability first, seeking forgiveness and trying to justify the good social skills gentleman had in relation to his disability.

So should we train or support people with disability, with a disability tag and putting their disability first?