I became vegetarian in 2002, in August to be specific so that’s about 15 years! In 2001, if someone told me I would be vegetarian, I would laugh. Ha. Ha. Ha. I wasn’t sure I could ever give up Char Siew, that’s my bacon. An Asian barbecued pork marinated with a sweet sauce. And that’s because I never associated my char siew with Babe. I knew where it came from but rarely made the clear and distinct association.
I started learning a form of mediation that encouraged a vegetarian lifestyle. I thought, “What the heck! Give it all you’ve got for 6months, resist temptation no matter how hard it gets and at the end of 6 months, if it’s too difficult, have a big plate of char siew for your birthday and recognise it as a phase in my 20s.”
It turned out to be easier than I thought, way easier and for the last year, I’ve started cutting out dairy too. In the beginning and with all my research, I was motivated by ethical reasons and the associations between char siew and Babe becoming very clear. But after a while, I found my diet having very distinct improvements to my health. And this is probably why my family who started out being resistant to my new lifestyle became more supportive.
As years became a decade, I started learning to eat better … because you can be a very unhealthy vegetarian. What kinds of fruits and vegetables provide which kinds of vitamins and minerals, white rice versus brown rice, sugar is like a drug, how to supplement B12, yada yadda yadda. All in a sort of ad hoc, internet researching, talking to naturopaths kind of way, which can be REALLY confusing, bringing me to earlier this year when I decided to investigate a more whole food plant base approach.
My aim is to learn what constitutes a nutrient dense plant base diet and how to get it optimal for me. So this World Vegan Day, I’m starting a new Instagram account – Eat to Love, Love to Eat as a record of this journey. Mostly to keep my motivated when I get lazy … which is more often than I like :p and hopefully connect with some like-minded souls along the way.
I stumbled on an article that made me reflect about how I live my life – 10 Things That The People Who Love Their Lives Are Doing Differently. I’ve met people like those mentioned in the article and they’ve all inspired me to lead a live that I love. The first thing that ever made me realise that’s how I should lead my life is a poem by Mother Theresa:-
People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you. Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight. Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough. Give the best you’ve got anyway.
in the final analysis it is between you and God;
it was never between you and them anyway.
By most standards, I’m really really blessed. Sure, I don’t get everything I want and that I believe keeps me humble and grateful. For the most part, I’ve been given gifts that I don’t even realise I need. One such gift is having 2 others places to call home in Perth and Vancouver. 2 beautiful cities in the world where I get to soak up all the nature I never knew I needed … even craved.
Our annual jaunt back to Vancouver saw me jump in a lake for the first time in my life and LOVING it. It was like I could swim forever and not come up.
Evans Lake where my brother-in-law had a lovely forest wedding was also where I became a lake swimming virgin no more 🙂 The cold of the lake surprised me more than I expected but much more than that was how I felt like I could just go on swimming and swimming and swimming. The water felt crystal clean. I could never touch the bottom of the lake no matter how long I tried to hold my breath. If not, for the wedding happening in the afternoon, I don’t think I would have left. Yes, it did cross my mind to ask them to move the wedding party to the dock by the lake. That was early in my trip and I hadn’t really thought much about how much stronger I felt leaving the lake than jumping into it.
Whyte Lake was the second lake I went swimming in. My brother-in-law couldn’t believe that I’ve never swam in a lake before his wedding, he kinda made it his mission to expand my lake swimming repertoire. So we did the Whtye Lake trail which leads you to the lake where you’re rewarded with a swim 🙂 This little hike and swim made me realised how much my body sucks up the energy from nature. I felt winded doing the trail to the lake but after being among the amazing Douglas Fir trees and the swim, I had an unusual second wind. It was like my body was fed and ready to go. I started being aware of my surroundings and how it affected me. Particularly how light I feel after being out in nature.
Growing up in Singapore, we aren’t naturally inclined to the outdoors. It’s hot and humid most days and nature isn’t quite like it is in these other countries. So we actually don’t know how much we get from nature, we simply never had the opportunity to find out.
And here’s the point of this post, growing up the concept of soul was a religious one. On the way to the mid point of my life, I’ve learnt to read my soul better, to know it’s the source of why I can do good and be better. When my soul is weak, temptations are easier to fall into, vices appear normal and I don’t yearn to try as hard to be the best version of me. When my soul is fed, I am lighter even when things don’t go my way, when I don’t get what I want and the most negative of energies comes across like an annoying mosquito. The question now is how do I keep feeding my soul in this concrete jungle of a home?
I think it’s somewhat kismet that one year shy of turning 50, Singapore is going through her next milestone as an independent nation. 50 years ago, some considered her a backwater place with no hope. Yet in 1965 against all hope, she was force to be independent and thrived into the 21st century.
With everything that has happened in the last month, it looks like the Singapore is going to turn 50 with yet another milestone under her belt – an unprecedented political awakening. What am I talking about? How Roy Ngerng managed to crowdraise the funds he needed for being sued by Singapore’s Prime Minister. Some of my friends reckon he’s stupid and haven’t got an idea what he is up against, other friends think he is entitled to his opinion and is putting up a good fight. Whatever your opinion is, it is raising a political awareness that is unseen in my lifetime. For that I do appreciate what is happening.
I definitely don’t think he is stupid and am in many ways grateful that he cares enough about a policy to put his head on the line. How many of us are willing to do that? I guess that’s where some of my friends reckon stupid best describes – making unnecessary sacrifices for something you believe in. Here’s where I love differing opinions and why it’s so very important for these discussions to be had for the continued growth of our very young nation. I don’t agree with my friends that think he is being stupid. I do think he is being brave to stand up for answers he believes Singaporeans have a right to ask for. I’ve read his blogs and I don’t think there is anything wrong with what he is asking for. No one seemed to be attempting to even address his questions when he was politely asking so I can see why he decided to push the button a little more.
Here’s my humble opinion, I’ve worked in the government, they do get some things wrong and they do get a whole lot of other things right too. No organisation is perfect and that goes the same with the Singapore government. One of the problems our government has is the lack of effective communications and officers riddled with fear of Singaporeans complaining. In my experience, most officers do just enough so no one complains. Nothing really wrong with that but when you’re a growing nation with intense competition to survive, just enough almost always doesn’t quite cut it. That’s my issue with the civil service and my beef with Singaporeans is that we can really complain in the most nonconstructive nature. Again in my experience, some of the complains that came through made me suspect that there are some Singaporeans with a tad too much time on their hands.
In the past, just enough was enough and that’s not to say some of us aren’t grateful for having homes, enough to eat, being able to walk safely at 3am. In fact, we are grateful for all the good we have and also know we can’t stop there. For all practical purposes, Singapore is as good as it gets but you know what, we can keep dreaming big. So back to my point of political awakening and creating an environment for constructive discussions so that we keep growing and getting better. Thank you Roy for pushing the envelop, that’s how as a society we will learn, both the government and the people. It’ll be 2015 next year and I have a good hunch against all hope, we will be forced to evolve, build a democracy true to the heart of Singaporeans where people can offer constructive criticism and continue to thrive into the next century.
I started watching this video with curiosity, wondering what an effective actor like Philip Seymour Hoffman could share about happiness. I finished it with a heavy heart albeit hopeful that his seemingly honest take on happiness juxtaposed with the way he passed, will be a simple reminder that we are all pretty much the same.
I would definitely say pleasure’s not happiness … There is no pleasure that I haven’t actually made myself sick on – Philip Seymour Hoffman
Happiness eludes us all and it’s so easy to confuse pleasure with happiness. Happens to the best of us and the worse of us. We just have to find our own way. With me, happiness is being honest with myself and ok with who I am and what I do. It’s one of the hardest thing I’ve had to learn and am still learning to do. I wonder if we had a class in being honest with yourself, would that make life easier? Can you teach life skill in school?
When it comes to my munchkins, I’m so grateful for this bunch.
They are the little people in my life that remind me what is important in the world and last week we have an addition to the bunch.
Today my cousin turns 40 today and she gave herself the best birthday present ever.
Hello my blog world, please meet my new niece, Caitlin and the latest addition to my growing munchkins. Living in the 21st century means that I get daily updates from her Mummy and their new lives in Zurich but I really really wished they were at Mount Alvernia and I could just drive by to see them. Such is the world we live in today. The world is so small some times and other times so very big.
Good news though, she’ll be back in July!! Can’t wait to cuddle her and show her how much love waits for her half way around the world. For now, I’m grateful for Whatsapp/Skype/FaceTime and modern technologies that helps us stay in touch and make the distance between Singapore and Zurich shorter than the 10,286.93km it really is.
Oh yah, before I wrap my post dedicated to Caitlin, Happy Birthday to her Mummy, my cousin, Gwen who is celebrating her first birthday as Mummy and my other cousin, Cheryl who is celebrating her first birthday as a Mrs Tan!! Celebrations all round 🙂 For the rest of us happy Wednesday!!
I don’t know if it’s all genetics or it’s from observing how adults act around us that we become who we are and develop quirks that actually run in the family. Growing up I noticed, I’d do things like how my parents would or my grandparents too. Now that I’m older I even notice that among my cousins, we have this big smile that’s pretty consistent in the family. So when my little goddaughter, Rachael is cheeky, I know it’s something that may run deep in her genes and I should know.
Who taught whom? I wonder 🙂 In my attempt to collect pictures of us, she’ll sometime sabotage the picture taking. As above the example reflects. Her sense of humour cracks me up. I’m waiting for the time when she’s a tween and it’ll border belligerence … again something I can completely relate too.
All I can say is my heart goes out to my cousin and his wife … they should really ask my parents how they dealt with me and my smart ass 😉
I was a pretty lucky kid in school. By all standards, I was normal and didn’t stand out, both is a good or bad way. In fact, there may have been a time or two that people may have started bullying me i.e. making fun of me and one of my quirks but I have a pretty thick hide … a huge ego usually helps with that :p It may have taken me time but I learnt what Wil Weaton said to this little girl at comic con is so true.
The strongest memory of bullying from my childhood was when my friends turn all mean girls on another girl in school one day. I went home thinking all night. Yes, I didn’t partake in the teasing but I just stood there. While I didn’t add to the fire, I sure as hell wasn’t trying to put it out. I struggled a fair bit that night and knew I was as wrong as my friends. It said more about my friends and me that we thought it was fun to pick on someone different from us, than it did about her. So when my nephew started school and had experienced bullying himself, it brought back clear memories of navigating the social politics of school.
I wish I can say I haven’t had to struggle with it as much in my adulthood but we all grow at different stages. This much is clear, bullying, intended or otherwise very often says more about the aggressor than the aggress-ee. Pride, arrogance and safety in numbers dulls a lot of us into an unconsciousness that happens way into adulthood too. So how can we expect our children to be any better? We can’t. We can only expect more from ourselves, I guess. That’s the hard bit – expecting more from myself.
The 30s has been a roller coaster ride of learning about who I am. I suspect the 40s is going to be about who I can become.
Unless something happens directly to me, I hardly ever get the complete story of anything that happens to anyone else. In fact, everything that happens to me is only from my perspective and again, it isn’t quite the complete story. Even in my memory, there’s always bits and pieces that go missing or get embellished, much less when you’re try to get the whole picture of a situation that happened to someone else.
I’m talking about the hullabaloo surrounding Woody Allen and the lifetime achievement award that he received earlier this year. It’s just another reminder not to make quick judgements, especially with people I don’t know jack about.
If you are friends of his ex-wife and daughter, you’d believe he’s the monster from their side of the story.
If you’re his friends and family, you’ll believe this side and know he’s been severely misunderstood.
Which brings me to the point of my post. I actually thought that by the time I’m a year shy of turning 40, I’d have figured it all out. I actually thought I did until a recent exchange between friends that made me realise you never know who is telling you the truth and what is the truth anyway. Made me dig deep and question my own bullshit barometer on myself. I can’t tell if other people are telling the truth but I sure as hell can learn to be honest with myself. Till this day, the hardest thing I’ve had to learn and am still learning to do.
At the end of the day, that’s all that matters, right? Not what other people think of you, just what you know of yourself. I wonder if Woody Allen has a hard time walking down the street because people he doesn’t know and some so called friends judge him for a monster. I sure it smarts that people think less of you but if you are honest and know who you are, the sting doesn’t last very long.
That’s what I’m learning anyway. Maybe this time next year, I’d think differently 🙂 Who knows? For now, I’m grateful for all growing older brings.