Friday, June 29, 2007


I hit 39 yesterday. I felt ancient.

It's just a number, but as Rinpoche is so fond of reminding us, it marks another milestone on our inexorable march to the grave.

Lovely jubbly.

Anyway, as I am wont to celebrate anything and everything, there was a Kechara House party at Star KTV and I decided to make my birthday party there too. I must say my corner was the rowdiest. Shirley bought Susan, Jamie and myself tickets as well as a slew of other people. Wills came too.. and I totally forgot that I bought his ticket and told him Shirley bought it. But nevermind. Buddha, can I please have more RAM for my birthday?

Kim, GL, Carol, Zahrul, Beng Siang came.. Pyng and Sheryl couldn't make it, but I'd celebrated with them the night before. Unintentionally though, because I went to pick up something from their house and stayed and chatted awhile and before I knew it, it was past midnight and Pyng was popping champagne.

Susan gave me a Canon printer and a keyboard cleaner (so romantic... and yes, I do love it, darling), Kim, GL and Tina gave a set of crystal glasses, AP and Ester gave a key chain, Sean a block of diabetic chocolate as usual (I wonder when he'll grow out of that) and Beng Siang a cushion from British India.

I'd given myself a whole new kitchen, a study and a paint job.

Not bad really. Could be a lot worse (though Rinpoche's words keep ringing in my head - why do you want to redecorate your hotel room.. i.e. everything is impermanent so why spend so much time and resources on in)

Anyway, I digress.

I was feeling a bit down earlier because of my own personal issues, real or imagined but like all illusions, felt pretty real to me. Anyway, lucky I am a Dory sometimes and soon I forgot all about it and swung into the party.

I had a fabulous time. Susan surprised me with a fantastic profiterole cake and Carol also baked her famous chocolate cake. She and Kim also got quite plastered with Whisky and beer (yes, together in the same glass) and we finally ended past 2am with a dedication. Best of all, we found that we had also raised RM12k for KHEC.

Not too bad at all.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


It wasn't the Ikea people after all.

Yesterday morning, I asked Umi again - did she take it? She said no, so I called up Ikea - said I couldn't prove anything and just wanted them to be aware if other people complain. The lady I spoke to, Nadia, was very nice about it. I had 'let go' and didn't expect to see my laptop again.

Then in the evening, I was having a meeting at KLPAC for the yoga event this Sunday, and Umi rang and said an Ikea guy came by the house and the laptop appeared on my desk. At first I was elated. Then as I thought about it, I decided the story sounded distinctly fishy.

Firstly, if the guy stole it, he wouldn't risk returning it, he'd just dump it.

Secondly, if the Ikea people found it, they would've called me first before delivering it.

Fingers were starting to point in a different direction.

So I spoke to Susan about it and we decided to both talk to her the next morning.

This morning, we asked her again and she insisted that the Ikea man did come and he was in a small car etc.

So that was that.

Susan left for work. I went upstairs to work.

Then Umi came and said she wanted to talk to me. And she confessed that she took it.

I was relieved and quite calm about it. I told her that it wasn't about her or me - but the poor guys who were blamed for something they didn't do. I also told her that she had a pretty easy time working with us - and I was so easy going with her. If she had wanted to borrow it, she should have asked.

Then I had to call Ikea and tell them that it was my maid and apologise deeply.


Sunday, June 24, 2007

Stolen Laptop

I had a horrible shock today. I discovered that my previous Sony Vaio laptop was gone... I had put it on my shelf in my new 'study' which is on the landing on the first floor of my house. I hate to run on assumptions without proof but currently, it looks like fingers are pointing at the Ikea installers who came to assemble my new desk and office chair just this past Friday.

Why? Because they were left alone in my study for an extended period of time. While I have been renovating my kitchen, none of the kitchen people have spent time upstairs over the past few days. The Ikea workmen might have assumed that they could get away with it because it was very obvious that my house was under renovation and there were plenty of workmen around and they wouldn't be the only strangers around. Little did they know that the painters of my house were loyal members of my Buddhist centre and therefore not of any risk at all.

It disappoints me that people are so greedy - I have to try and be compassionate about it but I will still call Ikea tomorrow to lodge a complaint. It is impossible to recover the laptop since they could have or would have disposed of it by now but at the very least, they could be stopped from robbing others.


School, Ghostbusting and Setrap

The day started bright and early with a visit to Sean's school to see his form teacher about his report card. It wasn't as bad as I thought though of course he has tremendous room for improvement. He dropped in his class ranking and came 38/47, which I was a bit disappointed at. GL kindly came to translate since my Mandarin was so rusty. Susan came along too but she was saying that my methods were not working, which of course upset me - Sean being my achilles heel and my feeling that I don't do enough for him already. So when we got home, we talked about Sean's progress (or lack of) and discussed several issues which had been brought up and never resolved. After throwing what we thought of each other's parenting roles at each other, which is the usual case, I said I would be more supportive of her and would try to make joint decisions.

I reminded myself NOT to have expectations. Although I am now wondering whether if I do not have expectations of someone, I then take full responsibility which means I am pretty much a solo act. Hmmm.

Anyway, we decided to check out Sri KDU as an alternative for his schooling.

In the afternoon, Susan and I went to Tania's house for a bit of ghostbusting. Funnily enough, I wasn't scared at all, though usually I am! We chatted for awhile then performed the ceremony before Tania's kids came home. The actual process was quite fast. We said 10 rounds of 'Om Dhrum Soha', made some offerings to the spirit, burned Rinpoche's hair and the whole thing was done in about half an hour. We left around 5, dropped by Burgerking for a burger (for me!) because I was ravenous by then. Dropped off the citibank visa payment, then went home to rest before the Setrap teaching at 8.

My second cousin, Cheng, called and we agreed to have dinner so we had to leave at 6.45pm to eat near KH. We met his friend Belinda and then took at table for 5. Then Jenny, JJ and Shin joined us, so we changed to a bigger table. Then May Woo and friend joined in and we had a full table! The food was ok - and very reasonably priced.

Setrap Teaching

When we got back to KH, I was told that I was to make Body, Speech and Mind offerings to Rinpoche! I think I broke out in cold sweat! I hadn't done it before and I wasn't sure what to do. Maple gave me a quick run down but I was still nervous as hell.

Then Rinpoche arrived and I made the three prostrations but Rinpoche then took my hand and said there was no need to make those offerings but he would touch foreheads with me. Wow.. I was so happy! No need to worry about not turning around the objects properly and I get a blessing!!

As usual, he gave a Dharma talk about making priorities for the Dharma. Nothing new but a timely reminder to all of us about the inevitability of death, and the inconsequence of our indulgences.

Then he talked about Setrap - plenty of useful info for me for my book though I think I need another session with him to elaborate on certain things. At the end of the teaching, around 12.30 am, he then said that Setrap's practice was not as important as Dharma practice. He said that Setrap supports Dharma practice but he is not the main practice, which is why his chapel is always on the side. So we should focus on Dharma and propitiate Setrap for help to do more Dharma.

After question time, we finally finished around 2am - quite an early night really!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

To Sir with Love

I hadn't slept much on Tuesday night - so when Webby told me that Rinpoche had invited us to a movie last night, I wasn't as thrilled as usual. I know it's so evil of me. It wasn't that I didn't want to go. I was just so tired and I was hoping to have an early-ish night after the KHEC meeting but... who wouldn't want to go to a movie with the Buddha?!

Webby told me that we were meeting at 1Utama GSC at 10.20pm, but during the KHEC meeting, she kept telling me to hurry the meeting along. I only discovered later that she had looked wrongly at the time and thought it was already 10.30 when it was only 9.30! Since I am queen of being anal over time, I asked her whether she thought it strange that I wasn't in the least bit stressed if we were so late!

Anyway, we toddled to 1Utama with time to spare. I hadn't had dinner because I was so tired before the KHEC meeting so I quickly scoffed a meat pie before the others arrived. Jenny had bought all the hot dogs and popcorn and drinks for everyone. What movie were we going to see? I knew it was a horror flick - Rinpoche's favourite - but which.

It turned out that the movie was a Korean production called "To Sir With Love". The story starts with some policemen discovering multiple murders at a house. There were two survivors who were sent to hospital - a young girl and an older lady. The young girl is not seriously hurt and recounts the story to the policeman. She said that the older lady was a retired teacher, Mrs. Parks, whose students had a reunion at her house to celebrate 'teacher's day'. Apparently Mrs. Parks had a child who was born deformed and she kept him in the basement, and the children were not allowed to play with him. Mr. Parks committed suicide in the basement of their house because he couldn't cope with having a deformed child.

It turned out that the students who were visiting the teacher all had deep issues and were all angry with her for the way she treated them when they were children. Mrs. Parks is wheelchair-bound and subjected to death threats by each of the dysfunctional students in turn. As it is a horror flick, the students expectedly start to die gruesome deaths one by one.

To cut the long story short (and here is the spoiler), later it is found that the young lady telling the story is rather psychotic and she had made up the story about all her classmates. She had poisoned them all and all the dysfunctional behaviour attributed to them was actually about her. Mrs. Parks does not remember the incidents and is generally bewildered by the accusations. The movie does not reveal whether the deformed child was real or a figment of the story teller's imagination. And if he was real, what happened to him is not addressed - either deliberately or accidentally.

As usual, one can find a Dharmic angle on almost any story and for me, I thought that this movie was about our attachments to wrongs against us. We create our own sufferings by reliving all the real/perceived wrongs done against us, while the perpetuators of the suffering generally go on with their lives in happy oblivion.

The movie also lightly looks at a few issues: Firstly, how we perceive being teased - the damage to young and fragile egos by the cruelty of children and adults. Secondly, that poverty is demeaning and children from poor families will feel a lack of self worth commensurate with their financial status. Thirdly, that the pressure to conform to societal demands for physical beauty and slimness is also overwhelming for children. The reactions of the children to the deformed boy is terrible and yet so common.

Anyway, the movie was more of a thriller than a horror, and I was glad I went. After the movie, Rinpoche of course invited us all to have a chat and all 21 of us then adjourned to KP.

After Midnight at Kechara Paradise

Rinpoche played what's the new news - where we all had to come up with a new piece of news (surprise surprise) and if it wasn't a good story, we had to come up with 2 more! When it came to my turn, I thought I'd tell him about my Angel documentary with an Australian lady, Tania, and said that we could perhaps portray him as an expert from the Tibetan Buddhist side. "Portray?" He said, "Portray?!"

I don't know how it came about but I suddenly brought it up that Tania said she was having a spirit in her house which was disturbing her daughter. So Rinpoche asked me what I did, so I truthfully said that I had referred her to Master Yap Cheng Hai, but I didn't know if she had called her. I said that I would have asked Rinpoche but Rinpoche was not taking audiences at the time. Rinpoche explained that he needed divination secretaries and a correspondence secretary and that candidates excluded myself, Jamie and Andee (I didn't ask why), and until he found these valuable support staff, he could not carry out his work properly.

Then he suddenly asked for his divination box and popped an Olivia Newton-John CD on. It was really surreal - Rinpoche doing divinations while Olivia belted out 'You have to believe we are magic... Nothin' can stand in our way... You have to believe we are magic... Don't let your aim ever stray... And if all your hopes survive... Your destiny will arrive.... I'll bring all your dreams alive... For you.'

He explained that music can be an offering to the Dharma Protector. 'I honestly love you', another Olivia classic, can also be like a praise to the Protector, Rinpoche said. Enlightened beings perceive things differently.

I believe him.

We finally finished around 5.30am - just in time for us to get home to see Sean off to school then go to bed. But unfortunately, my day was not yet done. Sean hadn't done his homework properly so I made him re-do it, which meant he missed his bus and I had to take him to school. I only got to bed around 8am though I know a few others like Jenny would have had less sleep than I.

Oh what a night.

By the way, here are the lyrics to 'Magic' - I didn't realise that it could really be a song from our Guru to us Dharma chickens until I read it through:

Come take my hand
You should know me
I've always been in your mind
You know that I'll be kind
I'll be guiding you
Building your dream
Has to start now
There's no other road to take
You won't make a mistake
I'll be guiding you

You have to believe we are magic
Nothin' can stand in our way
You have to believe we are magic
Don't let your aim ever stray
And if all your hopes survive
Your destiny will arrive
I'll bring all your dreams alive
For you

From where I stand
You are home free
The planets align so rare
There's promise in the air
And I'm guiding you
Through every turn I'll be near you
I'll come anytime you call
I'll catch you when you fall
I'll be guiding you..


Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Impermanence of Love

When love is born
celestial choirs
fill the air
of every moment.
A hastened heart beat,
the happy stress
of waiting for one's beloved
to float into sight
like stepping on rainbows
drifting in the sky.

When love starts to die,
the face that once
brought joy,
now brings sorrow.
No orchestra plays
and the only sound
one hears
is the silent trail
of tears
and the long, sad sigh
in the memory
of a love gone by.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Termites :(

FM and Justin came to paint the house today - and found we had a termite infestation :( i was rather upset because I'd hired Rapidkill Pest Control to deal with this and they had stuck these green tubes in the ground. I had been a bit dubious because most of the land around my place was concrete so how would the termites get to the tube? Anyway, I let them handle it.. and today, behind the skirting board, there's loads of them!! Now FM says he'll deal with them... but I don't think it's a permanent solution because to really get rid of them, we need to locate the queen. I've just called up Rapidkill and spoken to someone who sounds like they just woke up so I think Rapidkill could be a homebased business. Not that I'm averse to someone working from home but only if they're doing their job. And in our case, they obviously aren't.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Cell Group Meeting - finally

We finally had our cell group meeting with the Buddha last night. I planned to pick Jan up from Bangsar LRT at 6.30pm - eerily reminiscent of the pick up a few days ago - it felt a bit like groundhog day! JJ was also a bit worried that she may not show. Not out of anything else but circumstance. But fortunately, this time she was there! We then picked Susan up from KMP for dinner at Pizza Uno at Centrepoint, and were joined by Jamie and her friend from London, Sarah. In the end, Meng Kiat and Shirley also joined us for dinner. I can't remember how it came about but I reminisced about a weekend Shirley took me to Langkawi. That was such a fabulous trip... *sigh*

Anyway, while we ate and chatted, we kept a tight watch on the clock as we definitely did NOT want to be late this time.

Our cell group, Ekazati, had to join forces with the Shakyamuni group because there wasn't enough time to schedule more meetings. Jan and Shirley were off on Wednesday for Melbourne and Singapore respectively, and book club was on Friday.

Rinpoche talked about the Buddhist Arts and Culture festival and our presence there, and of course our own Tara and Dzambala! He also talked about the urgency of Dharma work, and how futile the pursuit of what we in Samsara deem important - like money, prestige and enjoyment.

He also said that we shouldn't use our children to justify not doing Dharma work - instead, if we really did care about our children, we SHOULD do more Dharma work. And that how interested our children are in Dharma is how much we ourselves are interested in Dharma because we are being the role models for them.

Susan asked whether sex and monogamy is overrated. My favourite question. Rinpoche answered that it was actually more a social and cultural thing. Monogamy was necessary because of social order. This comes from people's wrong view that they owned their partner. If their partner has sex with another, they feel their ego is challenged and become jealous and then they may become angry and even violent to the point of killing. Because of this, religion adopted the law of monogamy/anti-adultery to keep peace.

So sex is all about ego. People who are promiscuous are usually those with low self esteem. They need to feel desired. So it is less about the physical act than the need to be wanted. Additionally, he said that sex is the same as other attachments, such as gluttony. If we enjoy food very much and spend time thinking about what we're going to eat and rejoicing in eating, it's also negative because it has no basis and is impermanent. Likewise with sex.

I so agree with these points!! I was dozing off a little but completely woke up when this question was raised. Rinpoche also said that the questions reflect the attachments of the person who asks them - uh oh. But it's no secret - I have always thought that monogamy was overrated. Why are people so obsessed with it - relationships are torn because of it, when it can be just an activity like having a good meal.

One may go out and spend exhorbitant amounts on fine dining but then one eats at home more often than one goes out. Yes, yes I am attached to so many frivolous pleasures.

Anyway, the cell group meeting was suppsed to end at 10.30 because there was another group after us. I had planned to meet I-Jin again before she left for Singapore the next day but Rinpoche decided to invite the next group to join us.. so there were 3 cell groups in the audience room. I thought I'd just send I-Jin an sms to say I didn't think I was going to make it.

I was right.

The meeting finally ended around 2am and that's considered early!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Monday is day of rest (with a temporary storm)

Today was KMP's day off. We got to sleep in - yay!

I was awake around 9am though - designing invitation cards for my mum's alumni annual dinner and finalising info for Oxbridge AGM. Susan and I went for a nice lunch at Bon-ga in Bangsar and a long awaited foot reflexology and shoulder massage. On the way back to the car, we stopped at an Indian restaurant for a drink. When the bill came, I asked Susan if she had any cash and she said no, so I reacted badly and chucked a hundred bucks at her. Not very Dharmic of me at all. Sigh. But I was just mad that I'm always having to be the one to have cash on me. Still - no excuse for childish behaviour. It was a culmination of several events. And I didn't observe the infallible tenet - thou shalt not carry baggage from previous incidents. Anyway, so what started off as a nice, leisurely day kind of descended into a stormy (at least psychologically) one. I guess I should've apologised. Lots of should haves. Oh well. My bad as always. Work in progress.

At least by dinner time, the clouds cleared a bit. Though knowing Susan - she can just make as if nothing's wrong. Anyway, we missed Setrap puja but managed to meet up with my ex-Uni mate, I-Jin, and PG. I was able to justify it by saying to myself that we needed to pick up the KMP things from PG, who had just driven down from Singapore today. I-Jin also just came down from Singapore today. So we could see them both for dinner and kill all birds with one stone.

We met up for dinner at Neroteca - with Kim, Carol and Zahrul. Dinner was ok only. They were out of the suckling pig so I ordered the rib which didn't have much meat on it. It wasn't very satisfactory, but company was good and we had some champagne, so no complaints really.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Grande Finale

Today was the last day at the MINES. Last day of festivals and book fairs. Last day of wearing 'Dharma that Bites' T-shirts, which I have been wearing every day since May 25. We had a smashing end to the festival, with KMP grossing RM8075 of sales, which was our highest daily total yet.

One of the highlights was Amber Chia's visit to our booth, which got a LOT of attention. Some people, who shall remain unnamed, were chanting "Amber, Amber" which got us like the 4th warning letter from the organisers of the festival.

Sean looking pleased as punch with Amber

Yesterday and today, Susan and I worked 13 hour days and after we closed up, did the group dedication, packed our boot with paraphernelia, we drove home and went over to La Bodega in BSC for some supper and drinks.

A couple of sangria later, we were feeling decidedly relaxed and ready to hit the sack.

What a blast. I was quite sad that it's over - all the rushing to the various exhibition areas for the past 20 days or so! We can finally rest - but actually, I must confess, I will miss it!

Dzambala Jr.and Green Tara manifests at the MINES

Today was fantastic - we got to try putting body paint on Sean - he looked more like a little cherub rather than Dzambala but nevermind. The chipmunk phone holder was the only mongoose-like animal our dear President, Sio Chian, could find, and a lemon in place of the bijapura fruit that Dzambala holds in his right hand. Sean was so serious about being Dzambala though - he was so cute. People started to put donations into the slit of the chipmunk and he said "May Dzambala bless you" with a very serious face.
Dzambala Jr and Tara went walkabout the hall and Kechara promptly received a warning letter saying that we were NOT allowed to give public blessings. This was before Sean started receiving donations! When Sean finally sat down and some bright spark put a singing bowl in front of him and money began to go into the bowl, we were given a stern warning NOT to solicit funds. I wondered what was the difference between that and the multitude of donation boxes around the other booths. Oh well. Do we get a prize for having most warning letters?
Dzambala and Tara had to go scrub off - kind of a dampener on the festive atmosphere.

Dzambala Jr. manifested!

Dzambala and Green Tara..

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Friday night book club meeting with the Buddha.. not

Ekazati, our cell group for Book Club, was supposed to meet Rinpoche tonight. We had all been looking forward to it. JJ, Susan and I left the Mines around 4.30pm and went to Czip Lee, the stationery shop in Bangsar to pick up some stuff to make a tiara for Sean. On the way home, Susan dropped JJ and I off at BSC to pick up some flowers for Rinpoche. I smsed Jamie and Jan to see if they wanted to carpool to the meeting. Jamie said she was going directly, but Jan said she'd come over by 7.30pm so we'd get to Rinpoche's by 8pm.

Anyway, everything was going to plan. I went home and dealt with some issues for Oxbridge while Susan caught a nap. At 7, we had a bite to eat and I was expecting Jan to turn up soon. She called at about 7.20pm to say she was running late and would take an LRT to Bangsar, so I said we'd fetch her from the station. She said she'd call when she's at Sentral so we'd leave the house then and everything should run like clockwork. Keyword: should.

Around 7.30pm, Tashi called to ask if we were coming yet. Meng Kiat was already there so they were concerned where the rest of the gang was. The line was really quite bad so I couldn't hear what she was saying much. Anyway, I assured her that we'd be there by 8pm.


After I hung up with Tashi, I called Jan again and she said she was almost at Sentral, so we all hopped in the car and headed for Bangsar LRT. Everything was still on schedule. Good thing I buffered a bit of time in.

We arrived at Bangsar LRT at 7.45pm and .. no sign of Ms Drew. So I called and found the she'd taken the wrong train! So she said she'd grab a cab. I said ok and headed back. As we turned round the corner, I pulled over and discussed with Susan and JJ whether Rinpoche would wait til Jan arrived before starting. We decided that he would, so perhaps it was better that we wait for Jan and drive her over, in case she couldn't get a cab or the cab didn't know where KMP was.

So we waited for about 5 minutes. Jan finally called around 8 and we picked her up and scrammed through Friday evening traffic to BU. To top it all off, the petrol light in my car started flashing, showing that it was running on almost empty! I was like... ok.. if the car dies, we'll just get out and run! Anyway, by the time we arrived, it was about 8.30 pm.

Then the proverbial sh*t hit the fan. Rinpoche suggested that we reschedule because we were late. I was quite upset but not surprised. I think it was a culmination of circumstances - that Rinpoche had specially rushed back to be on time for us and we were late. That several cell groups had been late before us. That we did not inform him that we were running late. Perhaps our collective karma was the reason. Whatever it was, we just had to accept that we weren't going to see the Buddha tonight.

Susan and I trooped off home, after visiting the petrol station safely along the way. I spent the rest of the evening making a tiara. Why? Watch this space!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The MINES and our cell group meeting

Barely home and we've already got another exhibition on our hands. There is a Buddhist Culture and Arts exhibition at the MINES convention centre which starts tomorrow (or later today). So in the morning, Susan and I went off to the MINES to see how the set up was going. Kechara Paradise had taken one booth and KMP had taken the adjoining one and there were already lots of KH elves there - Milly, Ruby, Henry, Suzan, Chia, FM, David, Shin, Rajendran and Suresh.

Like in Singapore, we were next to the toilet (why, Buddha, why?) and right at the back of the hall. But unlike Singapore, the area leading to the toilet was dirty and the door to the toilet was locked so I couldn't go in. I sent an sms to Jamie saying she's going to love this 'Malaysian character'!

After helping unpack, Susan and I went off to get Metta and the kittens back from the vet. I was still madly reading the five chapters for Book Club from Dragon Thunder as we had our cell group meeting in the evening. At 7, Sean and I went to collect some pizza for the night.

The cell group meeting started around 8.30pm - with Meng Kiat, JJ, Jamie, Jan, Shirley, Susan and myself. We tried to keep on topic but kept getting distracted by a host of other side discussions! I was also on MSN with my sister, Stephanie, who lives in Melbourne. She said she was planning to visit KL en route to Penang in October, so I suggested she come for Rinpoche's birthday, which falls on 24th.

Anyway, the meeting finally wound up around 1am, when Jan and JJ found out that they live next door to each other, so they headed off to get a cab.

Fortunately Susan and I are not on duty at MINES on Wednesday so we could have a one day break. Though we still might visit them and see how things are going!

Last day in Singapore and back to KL

Monday was the first morning in 10 days that we could sleep in, but I woke up at 8am anyway. The others were all sleeping so I tried to pack as quietly as possible. I also tried to finish off left overs in the fridge so that Ros doesn't get any nasty surprises when she gets home. Susan, Yek Yee, Sean and I then took a cab to Liang Court to meet Fun, Jenny's cousin, for lunch. Poor Shin had to go off to work so she couldn't join us.

Fun took us to this fabulous Japanese restaurant in a Japanese supermarket called Meidi-Ya. It was reasonable and they had my favourite sashimi - Uni!! A small bowl of Uni and Ikura on rice was about SGD14++ which was definitely value for money. I was a happy camper.

After lunch, we popped over to see Sheila in Circular Road to say goodbye and then we took a cab (with a garrulous cab driver!) back to Monk's Hill Road for the last time.

It was tough fitting everything into the boot, Jamie, Yek Yee, Susan, Sean and my luggage plus some POS stuff for KMP plus some gifts for Jenny from her cousin. I ended up with my laptop bag on my lap for the whole journey back to KL.

During the drive, Jamie and I were discussing about the sterility of Singapore versus the mamak culture of Malaysia. I have never lived in Singapore but I did love the cleanliness, organisation and architecture of Singapore. Jamie said that it was too perfect, it's like living in a theme park and that it was too competitive in Singapore. The people were all in a rush, while in Malaysia, the people were more laid back. I replied that the people were too laid back in Malaysia - sometimes I can't bear it.. in shopping malls, the people in front of me are walking so slowly. The shop assistants move slowly, talk slowly. It drives me nuts. Needless to say, I get extremely frustrated with the educational system and how it is not meritocratic.

But I shan't get on my soap box today. I think I was a bit upset because we'd just left Singapore and it's perfectly manicured landscaping and the first stop we took in Malaysia had horribly dirty toilets. After that, we'd gone to A&W at Ayer Keroh rest stop for dinner and the root beer was flat, and they were out of hot dogs and chilli sauce. Sigh. Welcome to Malaysia.

As I ranted, Yek Yee said that's so sad. And I caught myself and tried not to be so negative. After all, what gain does it give me. I was here to stay in Malaysia - as long as my parents were there, and as long as Rinpoche was there. So I would just have to get with the program!

We got back to KL by 8.30pm, and went straight to Setrap Puja at KH. They were in the middle of it already so we quietly joined in. At the end of the puja, Umze Krystal said a welcome back to us, and it was just really nice. People came up to give us welcome back hugs and it really was like coming home. So yes, I'm glad to be home!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Last Day at the Book Fair and Sean gets his wish

The last day at the Book Fair saw a huge discount on our titles. It was quite heart wrenching to see Dharma on discount but it was apparently what happens at the Book Fair on the last day and we wanted to reach as many people as possible as well as reduce our stocks to take back to Malaysia!

Susan, Sean and I were on the early shift - from 11am-4pm. It was not very busy but we made a few sales. I looked through my phone book to see who I could cajole to come visit us and Sean suddenly said, why don't you ask papa. So I said ok, you call him. And he went off with the phone. He came back and said Tom said he would come. I was immediately worried that Tom would say he would come but FFK at the last minute. I tried to tell Sean, don't get too excited cos papa is very busy and may not come. He was so excited, which made me even more anxious. But things got busy at the booth and I became distracted.

We finally left around 5 to grab lunch and walk around Suntec. We went to Pepper Lunch - one of my favourite discoveries this trip. Here you are served your choice of meat on a sizzling plate so you can cook it to your choice of doneness, which in my case, is just lightly seared on both sides.

After a satisfying meal, we wandered around Suntec to look for shorts for Sean. Susan asked if I'd heard from Tom and I said nope. As time ticked by, I was worried that my anxiety would become justified. Susan said he wouldn't be so mean to say he would come and not. I said I am just expecting the worst.

Anyway, we distracted ourselves with shopping and came across a DC shop - selling clothes with DC comics trademarks, eg Superman, Flash, Green Lantern, Batman etc. We went to town in that shop, each of us picking a few things. Susan bought 3 tops, I had 2 and Sean had 1 t-shirt and a pair of shorts.

We went back to the booth after that and saw that other booths had started to wrap up even though it was only 8pm! We decided to put together some boxes and get ready to wrap up too. Around 9pm, I had a tap on my shoulder and it was Tom. My dear ex-husband. Susan sprinted down to get Sean who was heading off to see something down the other side of the hall. I saw Sean turn and run back and it really tore my heart open. He ran up and hugged Tom and I saw that Tom was a bit emotional too. I had to turn away by then because I was really going to cry.

Tom and Sean chatted for awhile. I was packing up so I didn't really hear what they were talking about. Now and then I'd pop by and be nosy - once, I found them talking about pool! Tom was drawing some angles on a piece of paper on where to hit the ball.

*blink blink*

Anyway, we finally finished packing at about 10.30pm and I asked if Tom wanted to go for a drink but he said he had to go. He helped us take some stuff down to a taxi and we went off.

When we got back to the apartment, Sean was in really high spirits. While he was in the shower, he was singing away and said it was his happiest day. He also put aside the paper that Tom had drawn on and said he was going to keep it very carefully. It broke my heart to see how happy he was - because I don't know how much Tom can invest into their relationship and I really didn't want Sean to be disappointed. But I guess it's for Sean to conquer his own battles and I will just be there to hold his hand along the way.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Penultimate Day at the Book Fair and a party at the end

Here's Sean talking to more (bewildered looking) people.

Sheila, our Hindu Priestess, came to visit and as usual had a deep chat with Susan.

Today was a lovely day because I met up with an old friend from University, I-Jin Chew. I had googled for friends I could possibly invite to the Book Fair and out of the cobwebbed recesses of my mind came a few names from Uni. The only one I managed to find was I-Jin, and dropped her an email. She tried to call me but as usual, I didn't hear my phone (and yes, Susan keeps wanting to get me a hearing aid). Anyway, through several smses, she finally could make it at 4ish on Saturday so I was quite excited to see her. I hadn't seen her since Uni, in 1989... which makes it 18 years ago?!

Anyway, she came and I was so excited I forgot to take a picture! But she is coming to KL next week so I hope my memory kicks in by then and I'll snap one for posterity.

She left around 5pm and then we had to rush to Carrefour to do a mad shop for our KMP party late that night. Everyone was coming over to Ros' flat for some drinks and snacks when the book fair closed for the night. Susan and I had dinner plans with PG at 7, so we had walk over to Carrefour, shop and get back by then.

We got home just in the nick of time and were whisked off by PG to eat yummy food at some Hong Kong restaurant on Thompson Road. After stuffing ourselves silly, we went back to Ros' and prepared the snacks etc. On offer was smoked salmon and cheese roulades, apple ham and cherry tomato mini sandwiches, olives, lay's salt and vinegar crisps, strawberries and chocolate dip, a bottle of Gewurtstraminer (however spelt)and a bottle of Shiraz, 2 bottles of coke and some cakes.. all for SGD145. Not too bad really. Though the budget was SGD100!

Here's the spread...

Happy KMP (and guests, PG and TLS)!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Sean arrives!

Susan and I were on standby today, which meant we didn't have to be at the booth for a whole shift. So we went to Orchard Road - how can we visit Singapore without a pilgrimage to Orchard Road!

I took Susan for lunch at Lawry's - my favourite place for Roast beef in all of Asia, so far anyway. After that, we walked across to Takashimaya and then to Borders at Wheelock Place, where we bought a couple of Dharma magazines. We then found ourselves gravitating towards Suntec to see what was going on. Also, Shirley was dropping Sean off at Suntec on her way to the Fullerton. I was so excited that he was coming! Their flight was delayed though and only arrived at around 6.30pm.

He came upstairs to our booth and immediately changed into a 'Dharma that bites' T-shirt and swung into action. He was remarkably successful, I think because most adults find it amusing that a kid is telling them about Dharma! Anyway, I was very proud of him.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Green Tara appears for Vesak!

KMP had a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Vesak Day twice this year – once in Malaysia and again today in Singapore! In the morning, as it was a public holiday, there were more visitors to our booth than over the past few days.

To celebrate Vesak, KMP super writer Jamie “Paris” Khoo decided attract more attention to KMP’s booth as well as fulfil a long time fantasy of hers to dress up as her favourite Buddha, Green Tara – and wow, look at how fabulous she looks!

Not only did she look great, she also drew quite a crowd to our booth. People actually came to ask for bookmarks and postcards. She walked around outside the Book Fair hall too, going up and down the escalators, from the ground floor to the top floor, accompanied by her wannabe dakinis - Shin, Susan and I. We imagined ourselves going up to the heavens and down to the three lower realms (as we were on the 4th floor)!

Some youngsters asked for postcards and then threw them in the dustbin, which they found very amusing and we didn’t. We simply thought that maybe even holding the postcards may give them an affinity for Dharma in the future.

We even met a Tibetan thangka seller who marvelled at our own Tara and asked to take a photo with her! Here on the left is a picture of our Tara and a Tara Thangka!

While sales weren’t that many, there were lots of visitors and we even closed late today because there were still browsers in the booth at 10pm! Our book sales were a bit better than the previous couple of days, and total sales came to SGD650.

Yek Yee and JJ shared that a lot of visitors were intrigued by the ‘Greedy’ title of the Chinese book. Some were actually challenged why we used the title, saying that we shouldn’t use ‘greed’ with Dharma. However, once, Yek Yee had explained to a mother about the rationale behind the Be Greedy title, and the mother understood and explained it to her child. It is fantastic that KMP has the opportunity to share with people about changing mindsets.

The KMP volunteers and staff received a wonderful sms message from Rinpoche which was very touching : “I am excited and happy for all of you. All of you are like in a retreat during this period like a 10-day retreat. Your body moving, packing, unpacking, showing, sleeping, eating, travelling for dharma. Your speech, nearly all words direct and indirect is increasing dharma. And your mind single-pointedly focused on talented, skilful ways to bring dharma to others! I am truly happy from my heart. Beautiful.”

To end the day, HE Tsem Tulku Rinpoche’s Chinese book, Be Greedy was found by Shin and Joseph to be displayed in the New Book section in Kinokuniya. Let’s hope it’s a best seller!

No Signboard and BS

PG took us to have crab again last night at No Signboard - we had pepper and chilli crab but I preferred Jumbo's pepper crab while Susan preferred No Signboard. PG's friend, Aline, came along for awhile too. She's quite good fun - but had to go off to BS (bible studies). We kept telling her - don't call it BS... it sounds too much like you've go to go for BullSh*t... no offence meant at all!!!

Susan got to share with them about her missionary experiences and how she made the connection between Christianity and Buddhism. She said she is still very much a Christian but now a Buddhist too! I think this aspect of Susan's will be key to many people who are confused or divided over the different theologies. Just earlier that day, she had spent a lot of time talking to a retired gentleman who was a staunch Christian but who's son was a Tibetan Buddhist. From her chat with the gentleman, she said that he was actually very Buddhist in thinking - especially his openmindedness in letting his son pursue his own path.

If only people could stop putting labels - on religions, thoughts, there'd be less divisions..

On an even happier note, Shirley is coming to Sg tomorrow and she's bringing Sean.. yayyyy