Monday, December 21, 2009

An Amazing weekend (Sunday)

On Sunday, we woke up early as Susan had a Lamrim meeting with Thierry, Lili and Sarah at KLCC. I can think of worse places to have a meeting. While they had their meeting, I madly scoured KLCC for Christmas gifts.

What do you get a man who has everything. Yes, I was shopping for my dad. He likes gadgets and cars (real ones, not matchbox). He also likes snacks so I got him some snacks from Marks & Spencer.

In the afternoon, I was leading the Manjushri class, which was coincidentally about relationships. I decided to use Rinpoche's talk the previous day which I was still very enamoured by. It was quite a fun session as we discussed what makes relationships work and the men-are-from-mars-and-women-are-from-venus theory. Henry came in half way and said that Rinpoche asked him once whether in his next life he would rather be 1) married with kids 2) married without kids 3) a monk 4) gay! Henry said he chose 2 because he wouldn't wish to have children in his next life. That brought about another lively debate over why would we have children.

Immediately after Manjushri class, Susan and I had an audience with Rinpoche so we dashed over to the ladrang. We had no idea what the audience was about and were shocked (pleasantly) when Rinpoche kindly offered us a very personal gift! I won't comment on it here but Rinpoche is always incredibly generous and considerate for his Dharma students. Incredible. Really incredible.

May I be like him and repay his kindness by becoming a better person. Can you imagine - he always does so much for us and ALL he wants is for us to be better people? Incredible.

We left the ladrang around 6pm and met up with Jamie for dinner at Yogi Tree, Midvalley, then watched Avatar in 3D! I really enjoyed it though it's had some scathing reviews. Beautiful images. It's a good analogy to what we are doing to our planet - destroying the environment for money. How stupid can humans get. It's literally suicide - I guess it's like smoking. The smoker knows it's bad for him but he still can't stop because of the instant gratification. We never think about the future. Go look at the karma diagram, dude!!!

Anyway, that's my amazing weekend.

Thank you Rinpoche for allowing me the privilege of working with you, experiencing Dharma and really seeing how Dharma makes our lives better.

This weekend, I manned a KMP stand, attended a Christmas party, did a school run, some shopping, gave a Dharma class, met with a Buddha, had a nice dinner and watched a movie! What a perfect life - who says Dharma can't be fun!

An Amazing weekend (Saturday)

What an amazing weekend. Actually, it's always pretty amazing in Kechara land. Never a dull moment. I woke up early on Saturday morning to send Sean to school for his compulsory orientation camp, then picked up Susan at KL Sentral as we were going to attend Suzan and Simon's wedding blessing by H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche at Kechara House.

Rinpoche gave an absolutely fantastic speech about marriage. He listed the following key ingredients to a successful marriage:

1. Be faithful. We should be faithful because we chose our partners ourselves. In most cases, we chose them freely ourselves. No one forced us to choose this particular partner to have a relationship with or marry. At the beginning of the relationship, there were certain qualities about our partners which we were attracted to. We should always think about these qualities, and especially in difficult times; thinking on these qualities will help us overcome the difficult times.

If we are not faithful, we create mistrust. If we have mistrust in our relationship, it will affect our children.

2. Defend and support our partners. When our partners have difficulties, we should always support them. We should never feel tired and let them feel abandoned or alone. We should be the first to step up and listen to them and support them. Sometimes we cannot solve the problem but just being there will make a big difference to them.

Always let people see the good side of our partners and never talk negatively about our partners to outsiders. Don't air our dirty laundry outside. This really made sense to me - why would we want people to think negatively about our partners - because that would be the effect of our negative talk. After you vent, then you make up with your partner, the impression you leave with the person you bitched to remains. Rinpoche said - instead of saying negative things, say positive things about your partner. Tell people their good qualities. This is good training to see the positive side of partners and people in general.

We should never mentally hurt our partners - never use our body, speech and mind to hurt them and we should never go to sleep with a problem lingering.

3. Improve on the weaknesses in ourselves for our partners. I loved this point too. We shouldn't expect our partners to change for us. WE change for our partners. This turns on its head the usual expectation for our partners to be better people - if only he/she did this... if only he/she didn't do this... why not WE do it :) i love it!

We should always improve ourselves so we can be the best person for our partners. And the best thing is that, usually, our partners will reciprocate.

4. Respect each other's beliefs and culture. Rinpoche said that we all come from different beliefs and cultural backgrounds. Even people in the same family find it difficult to get along, let alone two people from different families and backgrounds. If your partner finds something fulfilling to do, let them do it. If you stop them from doing something they like, it's selfish. Of course it's on the basis that what they want to do is a positive activity, e.g. if they like to play golf everyday and neglect work or family, that is not something to be encouraged! However, if they like to do community service, or pursue spiritual development, we should encourage them and not stop them because we feel neglected. Examine if our motivation is selfish.

5. Share. We should share everything with our partners. Finance, food, whatever we have and we should never take advantage.

6. Keep promises. Whatever we have promised, we should do. This will give confidence to our partners. And if we are unable to fulfil a certain promise, we should sit our partners down to explain why we were unable to do them and perhaps even seek support to be able to do it.

After the blessing ceremony, we had a reception at KH2, catered by Kechara Oasis (of course)! The decor and the reception was all sponsored by Tsem Ladrang. Rinpoche is always so incredibly generous and kind to his students. Rinpoche, through his consistent compassion, integrity and tremendous hard work, has also gained incredible sponsors who understand and support Rinpoche's actions.

Around 4pm, I had to rush off to pick Sean up from school. The traffic jam was terrible and I wondered again whether to get a scooter to take Sean to school. There is no school bus available and I'm torn whether to hire a driver (can't really afford it), hire a taxi (I'm not sure if it's trustworthy) or buy a scooter to take him back and forth. The latter is the least attractive because as I am now working full-time, it is going to be inconvenient to take off in the mid-afternoon to fetch the monster.

Anyway, I'll continue to ruminate.

That evening, Sean, Susan and I were at PJLA to man the KMP stand at the Legend of the Conch Shell. I had made a huge oversight. Su had invited Sean and I over for Christmas dinner and I had accepted a few weeks ago. For some odd reason, I forgot to put it in my diary and on Saturday itself, she smsed to ask if I needed directions. I had that 'Psycho' moment with the 'shower scene' music flashing in my head. Sh*t!!! I was on duty at PJLA that evening so I couldn't go - and she had specially cooked vegetarian dish for us. I felt horrendous. How irresponsible. She was very gracious and asked us to come over after the show.

It was the finale of the Tsongkhapa show and it was a full house. I peeped in and out but Sean watched it again and said it was better than the Premiere night. It is still pretty mind-blowing that Kechara could organise a show like that.

By the time we got to Su's party, it was around 11pm and the party was wrapping up. We helped ourselves to the lovely food and drink though (and wore the antlers!) and stayed until around 12.30am by which time I was pretty knackered so we excused ourselves, went home and knocked out.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


This diagram was created by H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche to show us in a very simple and direct way how our choices lead us to certain results.

From the left side of the diagram, we can see that we are all subject to negative karma, good karma/merits and neutral karma. The blue line is the negative karma path, the black line is the good karma path and the red line is the neutral karma path.

The diagram essentially illustrates that everyday we are faced with choices, and every action (or lack of it) has a result. If we put in positive action, such as effort, Dharma work etc., we will have positive results. If we put in negative action, such as laziness, selfishness etc., we will have negative results.

Simple really, isn't it.

Rinpoche stressed - every day, we are at a crossroads. We choose which path we wish to take, so we should not be surprised at the results. He also shared that even though the day before we screwed up and made mistakes, today is a new day and we can still change our future by the choices we make today. For example, if we forgot to say our prayers the day before, we don't just stop doing them, we just continue today. Often we try to change our pattern of behaviour, eg stop smoking, exercise more etc but once we 'fall off the wagon', we just stop. That's just giving up. We should persevere. Even if we fall off the wagon, we can simply climb back on and keep on going.

Great stuff.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Legend of the Conch Shell

On 17th December, another milestone was achieved by Kechara as it staged its first ever stage performance of the life story of Lama Tsongkhapa. Descriptively entitled 'Legend of the Conch Shell', the show was a triumph of talent and determination. After months of gruelling rehearsals by professional dancers and virgin (for stage anyway) volunteers, the show premiered to rave reviews.

Lee Swee Keong, a renowned dance performer, p
layed the central role of Lama Tsongkhapa, while Edward, the ten year old son of Liaison Henry Ooi, played his first stage role as the young Tsongkhapa. The show was narrated in Mandarin with English subtitles (thank goodness for the linguistically challenged like me) and though the set was minimalistic, the effects were well done and I could see that the minimal budget had definitely been maximised.

H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche graced the premiere and at the end, he gave a fabulous teaching on harmony and respecting each other's cultures and religions. By learning about each other's religion and culture, we understand each other better, and when we understand each other better, there will be more harmony. He stated unequivocably that all faiths were good and none were better than the other. He reiterated that although he was a Buddhist monk, he was not there to convert anyone to Buddhism but he wished to encourage everyone to stay in their respective religions but be better practitioners.

My guest, Ann Woo, who is the current Executive Director of the Nanyang Press Foundation, is a staunch Catholic, in the true sense of the word. While she worships God, she supports universal religions and was extremely supportive of what Rinpoche said in his speech that evening.

There was much feedback from many that they enjoyed the performance, with even a suggestion that we take the show to London! Hmmmmm....

Anyway, the show only runs for three days (four shows) but it will live on in our memories for a long, long time. What a way to reach out to people and share this powerful story of the great Buddhist saint, Lama Tsongkhapa!

Timeout KL listing

Friday, December 11, 2009

Be a Vajrayogini practitioner

Watch this video of H.E. Tsem Tulku on how to be a Vajrayogini practitioner, which he gave at the marathon meeting!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Marathon Meeting

This week flew by amazingly. Susan, Sean and I were in Penang over the weekend for Sean's 12th birthday, then to attend my cousin's daughter's wedding dinner on Sunday night. Immediately after the wedding party, we drove back to KL, arriving at about 4am. After a quick sleep, it was time to go to Ladrang for the Liaisons' Council's first meeting with Rinpoche.

We were supposed to start early so that the meeting wouldn't end too late, so the meeting was slated to start at 2pm. The meeting eventually paused around 7am - of course there were a few breaks - with amazing refreshments conjured up by the Ladrang kitchen - but there were still items to discuss so we proceeded the following evening... in total, we had over 30 hours of meeting, including updates on all twelve departments of the Kechara Buddhist organisation, discussions on the future expansion of the organisation and the highlights being the stunning Dharma talks given by H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche.

Rinpoche gave a startlingly clear talk on our good and bad karma, and how every day, every minute, we CHOOSE to activate either our good or bad karma with the choices we make. We have both good and bad karma which are dormant - and our actions will trigger the opening of either one. No one else is responsible for what happens to us except ourselves. Everything good or bad that happens to us now is a result of what we did in the past. Everything good or bad that happens to us in the future is the result of what we do today. We are in control. How empowering, don't you think?

At the end of the meeting, the Liaisons' Council elected two new members to the Council - Phng Li Kim, Head of Kechara Media & Publications, as an Associate Liaison, and David Lai as an Apprentice Liaison.

Some people may wonder why meetings take so long. It's simple really. It's because we just don't have enough time. There is so much to do and we just can't wait! The Liaisons Council and Heads of Department meetings are now so dynamic and exciting and fun, the time passes by so quickly. Rinpoche leads the meetings with unending energy and passion, inspiring all of us to push ourselves to do more to benefit others. I feel so fortunate to be part of this central group which drives the growth of the organisation, which has the privilege of working closely with such a great being as Tsem Rinpoche and the opportunity to fulfil his vision to benefit many.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Garuda passes on...

Shin, from Tsem Ladrang, let us know that Garuda passed away yesterday (21 November)... we were of course sad.. because Garuda had looked well and flying around when we visited him at Ladrang on Friday (20 Nov). Garuda was going to be released at the next animal liberation event, together with Itchy and Scratchy (the other two sparrows rescued by Ladrang) and we were happy about that.


At least Garuda received some blessings from being in the Ladrang for the last couple of days of his life... May Garuda have a good and swift rebirth...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A garuda flies in

Judy came back up to our office this afternoon, clutching a tiny bundle of feathers. A baby bird had fallen down from the shutters when she was closing it.

Susan, our ever ready animal saviour, ran off to our jolly neighbourhood Doctor, Dr. Leong, to get a syringe to feed the wee thing.

A dose of glucose water later, Garuda (our temporary name for the bird) seemed a bit more relaxed. Its wing was hurt so we'll take it to Ladrang afterwards to see whether it would like to be with Itch and Scratchy, the other two rescued baby birds from the Ladrang.

Never a dull moment.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

A Night at the Ladrang - giving gifts, Rinpoche-style

It was 11.30pm when Su Ming called. I had had a headache earlier and skipped dinner, trading it in for a nap instead. By 11.30, I was well and ready to go to sleep. Su Ming called and asked where Susan and I were (we were at home) and if Susan and I had any major appointments the next day (we didn't) and if we'd like to come over to the New Ladrang at 12.30am (of course!).

We hadn't had an all nighter with Rinpoche for awhile and I was looking forward to it. Especially in the New Ladrang. A Ladrang is a Tibetan High Lama's household and administrative centre. Traditionally, the growth of a whole monastery hinges on a few large, well run and well supported Ladrangs.

In Malaysia, where Tibetan Buddhism is still very much in its pioneering stage, a Ladrang is extremely rare (personally I am not aware of any other Ladrang in Malaysia) as there are no High Lamas in residence and there is no mass Buddhist consciousness to support it.

HE Tsem Tulku Rinpoche's ladrang is purely to serve others without personal agenda. As the Headquarters of the Kechara Buddhist organisation, the Ladrang supports all 12 departments and as the previous Ladrang was bursting at the seams, a new Ladrang had manifested from Rinpoche's consistent commitment to the Dharma, the hard work of the Ladrang Liaisons and its supporters.

After many months of renovations, the Ladrang was almost ready for occupation and last night (or earlier this morning, rather) several of Rinpoche's students and I had the opportunity to see one of the departments - the Gift department - of the Ladrang in action.

When we gathered in the Gift department, which is a single room, filled from floor to ceiling with gifts, Rinpoche gave a short Dharma talk on the growth of our organisation. He said that as we grow more, our responsibilities will increase and so should our humility. Each of our departments have the capacity to grow and the secret to our future growth was to take responsibility for our work and to not have to be reminded of our responsibilities or of anything we have committed to do. To be harmonious and to care for each other.

Rinpoche then selected gifts with his tireless troop of Ladrang elves, carefully picking out beautiful statues, precious malas (prayer beads), stacks of Dharma books, DVDs, glossy posters, Buddha pendants, t-shirts and caps with Buddhist designs. The gifts were to go to various people from all over the world, who had written to Rinpoche with a sincere wish to learn more Dharma.

He made prayers over them that whoever receives the gifts would open their hearts and minds to the Dharma. The Gift Department of Tsem Ladrang, headed by Liaison Su Ming and her assistant, Kennie Wong, works extremely hard to present the gifts well and they spend thousands on postage and courier fees all round the world to connect people with the Dharma.

At around 5.30am, Rinpoche led us through dedicational prayers and we moved to the dining hall, where we enjoyed a light supper prepared by the Ladrang kitchen. As we relaxed with casual conversation and jokes, it really was a supreme evening - with my extraordinary Guru, and among my Dharma brothers and sisters.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dr. Marcus Lim Chung Ching, RIP

Marcus Lim - better known to me as Chung Ching - was my cousin. He was the same age as my youngest brother Steen, being only a day apart in their birthdays. Yesterday, on the birthday of my Guru, H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche, Chung Ching passed away in a tragic scuba diving accident.

I must say I didn't know Chung Ching very well. The age difference meant that he was closer to my younger brothers. My earliest memory of him was as a young chubby boy who always studied hard. I remember my mother telling me that Chung Ching never had to be told to study - he'd always get his homework done on his own. When he got older, I knew he always studied hard and played hard - and I really respected and admired him for that.

He schooled at Winchester, one of the top schools in UK, and graduated in Medicine at Downing, Cambridge University. While at Cambridge, he represented the University for tennis and polo. I recall he even played at junior Wimbledon at some stage. Not satisfied with being a doctor, he also took an MBA at the London Business School. It seemed like he always excelled at whatever he chose to do.

When he was not performing cataract and refractive surgery, Chung Ching enjoyed taking stunning photographs on land and underwater. His photography has been exhibited in local and international exhibitions and appeared in books and magazines. An image of a sealion won him an award in the European Nature Photographer of the Year Competition in 2008. You can see some of his photography (also here on smugmug) online.

He recently donated some of his beautiful photographs to If Not Now, When?, a book of inspirational quotes by H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche, published by Kechara Media & Publications in September 2009.

He leaves his widow, Christy, his young son Jaden and a baby boy, Tristan, who is about to be born at any time. He also leaves his mother, brother and sister and so many friends who perhaps only had the opportunity to see facets of him and not the whole amazing picture of the man that he was.

In his next life, Chung Ching had jokingly said that he would like to be a professional nature photographer! Chung Ching, I don't know where your next life will lead you, but I pray that you will have a good and swift human rebirth. From your generous support of the Dharma, you have created the causes for such a high incarnate Lama as H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche to make prayers for you.

RIP Chung Ching. You will be sadly missed by many and remembered always for the star that you are.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Experimenting with tweetmeme

Old dogs can learn new tricks (says hopefully). I'm trying this new script which promises to allow people to retweet my posts...

Interesting concept to reach out to more people.. let's see if it works :)

If it does, try it yourself - at Tweetmeme

Here goes...

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Celebrations - by HE Tsem Tulku Rinpoche (and my rambling note at the end)

"Every culture attaches great importance to their cultural holidays. I myself don’t attach any importance to holidays & birthdays per se. I find that it is all timings created and reinforced by ordinary people that ultimately has no tangibility.

But it is different for other people where they have a projected firm view that these days are very important so we go along with them to send them a message of love... thus special holidays can be a time to express love, appreciation, care & thanks.

Giving during these holidays is to help us break self absorption and miserliness. It gives us a chance to express how we feel with toward these people with tangibility."

This was Rinpoche's sharing today - it reminds me of how my own perceptions of special days would create my own suffering. My ex-husband never cared for so-called special days, like Valentines' days, birthdays etc, seeing them all as commercial. I remember being utterly distraught when he forgot our first year's wedding anniversary, and I had been planning for weeks on gifts and what to do for him... surreptitiously of course.

I was only 22 then, having gotten married at 21, and deeply 'romantic' - i say romantic in inverted commas because i think i had a pretty skewed view of romance. i.e it was pretty much hallmark romance i hankered after. I desperately wanted the fairytale and in that obsession, overlooked the kindness and care he had for me.

My obsession led me to wander from the safe comfort of my marriage - to seek for elusive 'romance' elsewhere.. I've literally 'been to Paradise, but I've never been to me'.

I then fell in love once with someone who quoted Shakespeare and e.e. cummings, who claimed to have a first edition of Peter Pan for my son. Who could sing like a lark. Who turned out not to have been entirely truthful with me. So much for romance.

Thank Buddha that I have found Dharma now... and to realise that i can never achieve the illusion my mind has been conjuring up for me since I can remember.

But there's still a gap between what the mind knows and the heart wants, and sometimes, just sometimes, when i hear a love ballad, on the radio, in a mall, and my heart aches and yearns.

So i take out my huge big ego hammer out and whack it over the head til there's no feelings left. That usually works.

Talk about self absorption! :)

Setrap Puja

This evening was the first time we used the new Shartse's Jewel at Setrap Puja. It was rather lovely to use the new prayer book, and put our lovely new Setrap tsa tsas (produced by Kechara Discovery!) on the Setrap altar to be blessed by the puja. I always enjoy Setrap Puja, and today would have been especially meaningful with the inaugural use of the revised Shartse's Jewel, however, today's puja was meaningful in a different way.

My friend Beng Siang had visited KMP earlier today to get a couple of Setrap box sets and Peace books when she told me about her father who was ill with cancer, with around two months more to live. He was existing on a permanent drip of morphine now to take away the pain. I was glad to be able to dedicate the evening's Setrap puja to her father, Mr. Teh Ching Hua... may his suffering become less and his negativities all be purified for a good rebirth.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Healing by HE Tsem Tulku Rinpoche

One of HE's recent tweets. Follow him on twitter at

While doing any of the healing arts such as massage, therapy, medicine, etc, it would MORE EFFECTIVE if we did any practices to any of the Buddhas of Healing. Eg Loma Gyonma, White Tara, Long Life Tsongkapa, Medicine Buddha, Hayagriva, Black Manjushri,Amitayus, Namgyalma.

It depends which one we have affinity with.

If we do these practices before healing others, then our healing energies would be multiplied GREATLY. The great doctors in Tibet would always do one of these practices first thing in morning, with the altruistic concern of the patients in mind and then proceed with their healing.

The results are different for both patients and healer. So any of these practices are highly recommended for generous people in the healing line of work. If we can be more effective as a healer, THEN WHY NOT.

These practices tap into our own healing powers and magnifies them. How much they magnify depends on your practice and altruistic motivation. Even if your motivation is not that perfect, it will still have effect. Someone with an umbrella can still benefit from sunlight as the sun shines on all without bias. So of course without the umbrella, there would be the full benefit of the sun.

Similar to that example, even without perfect motivation, these healing practices would be very effective. Any of these practices can bless the oils we use for massage, creams, ointments, medications. Doing these practices would empower the medicine tremendously. With these practices, we can even bless the room in which the healing will take place. It's good for you to actually do the practice.

Why? If I eat, u won't get full.

So all healer friends, look into these practices as they can be beneficial to the environment, medicine, patients & yourself. - HE Tsem Tulku Rinpoche

Monday, September 28, 2009

My Favourite Boy

David is my most favourite boy in Kechara Media & Publications. Ok, so he's the only boy but he really is one of my favourite people here. It didn't start out that way though. When I first met him, he didn't make an impression. He mostly kept to himself and we didn't talk much. Then when I started to work with him and had to edit and proofread his writings, he started to grate at me. He was mostly pleasant though - though sometimes petulant. I just couldn't get why and how he was so careless with his writing - many spelling errors and simple mistakes that I shocked me.

He spent most of his time in Ladrang with Rinpoche, called away at a moment's notice, so at KMP it was also difficult to rely on him to do work according to particular timelines. Eventually, we just resigned ourselves to the fact that he was simply using KMP as a waiting room while he rested between being called to Ladrang.

Things came to a head this year, when Rinpoche wanted to streamline KMP. We went through a rough patch when we sat David down and asked him what he wanted to do. He looked petulant and said he wanted to do anything that was mindless. What do you have a passion for, I asked him desperately.

Nothing, he simply replied.

I gnashed my teeth in frustration. How can one have a passion for nothing? But that was exactly what he really wanted to do. Nothing.

Would you prefer to be elsewhere, David? I finally asked.

He thought about it and replied no. He wanted to be in KMP, he said. There was nowhere else for him to go.

In that moment, all my frustration melted away.

When we had the meeting with Rinpoche to discuss the streamlining of KMP, we requested for David to stay with us. Fortunately, David stayed.

Since then, it was as if the old David died and a new one was reborn.

It wasn't instant or overnight, but slowly, over days and weeks, David changed.

His mood became positive. He started writing. He spoke up at meetings and his advice was usually sound. He started to share his knowledge - and he knew a LOT! All the hours and hours and hours spent with Rinpoche finally fruitioned and David became a wonderful, participative member of KMP.

He helped out whenever asked, ferrying and carrying (as he was the only boy) KMP books from storerooms to cars to outlets to everywhere. Now, I can't even remember what his black face looks like.

David is off to Nepal for a couple of weeks tomorrow.

I'll miss him :(

Love you lots, David, and I'm very proud of you. And I'm very proud to work with you.

Sean's reflections

On Saturday night, Sean and I had dinner with my father so we were late to the Lantern Festival at Kechara House and the lantern making session and kids' performance were over.

Sean said a bit petulantly, "Lucky I missed the show.", which I thought was very rude so I told him to write to me why he said that and why he shouldn't say that.

Other than that, i didn't give him any guidance as I wanted him to think about it. Below was his reply. Quite cute. I'm glad he is internalising some Dharma..

Sean's email:
The reason why I said these words: “Lucky I missed the show” last night is that I was actually jealous that the rest of the kids could have so much fun together whereas I did not and I was very depressed that I missed so much of the Lantern Festival event that I was waiting to have fun in for a very long time and I did not manage to make a lantern…

The reasons why I should not say these words are:

1. It sounds offensive to the other people who might have been there
2. It is bad to be jealous .
3. Makes oneself sound very “oh,poor me..”
4. It does not sound good .

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Gone - in an instant

Today, my father rang up to tell me that one of his office staff, Khoo, had been run over by a motorcyclist and died.

I didn't know Khoo well but I remember that when I was small - about 6 or 7 years old - he used to take me across the street to the store to buy comics and sweets. I remember him as a kindly man, who didn't say much. I hardly go to my father's office these days - but if I visited, it was usually a fleeting visit and I'd just nod to him as he sat in the front office. He had been sitting at the same desk for as long as I remember, and I guess I thought that he'd always be there - immortal.

My father said that they were surprised that Khoo hadn't come to work this morning and they called up hospitals to see if he was there. And he was. My father said Khoo was 80 years old. I was quite shocked. How can he be 80? He didn't look 80 to me the last time I saw him. And if he was 80, what was he doing still working? My father then told me that he actually didn't do any work, but he needed the money, because he lived alone. So he just came to work everyday and got a salary.

And just in an instant, he's gone.

It makes me sad to think of his life - what has he been doing for the past 80 years. And how it would have benefited him for his next life.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


IPhone or Blackberry? Blackberry Storm or Bold or even the Curve? Or should I stick with Nokia? After months of agonizing, I finally I bought myself a Blackberry – the Storm. Why the Blackberry? Because I was told that it was more for work while the iPhone is more for entertainment. And I bought the Blackberry Storm. Why the Storm? Because after careful consideration all these months, on the day I decided to buy my Blackberry, all the other models were out of stock. Yes, this is how I make decisions.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Time flies...

The days have simply flown past. Mostly spent in Joan's cosy living room, madly pounding our keyboards or putting the postcards with Rinpoche's quotes into the lovely wooden frames which Lily ordered for us.

On Wednesday, after finishing preparations for the launch, we managed to pop out in the afternoon. I had to go get some money from Abbey while the others went to Oxford St. I had wanted to take Bill to see Liberty's and asked them to meet up but he had a migraine, Yek Yee's shoes were ripped and Ms Han was feeling tired. We still went to Liberty's though and had a quick tour. We then went to Queensway for dinner at Magic Wok before heading back.

Yesterday evening was spent trawling Soho, looking for Busaba, where Gabrielle, my niece, said she was working. But when i got there, they said she wasn't working there anymore! Oh well. I'll try to meet up with her on Saturday. Busaba looked popular though, with a queue round the block! Amazing. What recession? Sio Chian, Susan, Han and I ended up at a Scotch Steakhouse for dinner and got back early.

Today, JP and May arrive from KL and we have planned a lovely dinner tonight at Joan's.

More later.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

First day in London...

Flying Air Asia isn't that bad after all. Flight time was 1am Malaysian time which meant I just got on the plane and slept right through for almost 10 hours. The seats had an incredible way of reclining when you pressed on the button on the side of the chair but it would slowly move back up to the normal upright position. And the others on the trip seemed to have experienced the same thing so it wasn't just me.

The food was great though, even though I skipped the earlier meal because I slept through it! A cup of tea was RM3 though, which is a bit steep for a tea bag in a styrofoam cup of hot water but when you need a cuppa, you'd pay it!

We arrived at Stanted EARLY. Amazing. And we breezed through immigration and baggage reclaim. We met up with Jean Mei briefly as she whisked her mum, Ruby, off in a cab whilst the rest of us plebs (Susan, Sio Chian, Bill, Jamie, Han and Yek Yee) piled onto the Terravision bus. The bus was reasonably priced - GBP14 for Stansted-Victoria return while Jean Mei paid GBP25 for a one way to Stansted on National Express!

The bus also had a jolly driver who pointed out the sights as we trundled through London. The first timers, Bill, Han and Yek Yee, even had a glimpse of the Tower of London, Big Ben and we even got to go over Tower Bridge.

We arrived at Joan's lovely flat by 10.30am, which was quite amazing, timewise. Joan cooked a lovely minestrone and Bill prepared some bruchetta and we went off to see 11, Cadogan Gardens - the venue of our KMP celebration next week. It's a lovely quaint place near Sloane Square, with gilded frames and rich velvet.

Next stop was Piccadilly by bus, with our new oyster cards. We popped into Fortnum & Masons, a lovely department store and then to Hatchards, the oldest bookstore in London. As it started to drizzle, we decided to hop into Tesco for a few groceries and headed home.

My cough was still as bad as ever so Joan promptly dosed me up with some kind of three day wonder drug and I hope it will do the trick.

Tomorrow will be busy preparing for the book fair. It's 8.45pm in London now but 3.45am in Malaysia so I'm feeling a bit pooped... guess I'm going to hit the sack and hope my snoring doesn't keep Jamie awake!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dharma and Samsara

My sister is currently visiting Malaysia after five years of being away. The only thing we have in common are blood ties. It used to be also a love for good food, but this has dropped in priority for me for awhile now. Especially as I am currently vegetarian.

My dear father even drove up from Penang to see his darling daughter and over dinner on Sunday, my dad asked me if my sister could see Rinpoche the next day. I was pleased but it's not that easy, I explained. You have to request if you want to see Rinpoche. Rinpoche has thousands of requests evey day to see him. What is the purpose of seeing him? My sister didn't look very interested anyway, prefering to focus on her foie gras.

My heart sank. Rinpoche is so precious to me and my sister and dad just didn't understand or value who he is. Even though I would love nothing better for them to see Rinpoche, as they would get blessings merely from seeing him, I simply could not bring myself to request on their behalf because I felt my sister didn't even want to. Anyway, it was extremely unlikely for Rinpoche to be able to see them on such short notice.

Strangely enough, and there is no such thing as coincidence, at about 5ish the following day (yesterday), I received an sms saying Rinpoche was going to give a Dharma talk on Setrap that very evening. While extremely happy, I felt a deep heaviness in my heart that my sister wouldn't want to go. And her reasons would be that she has scheduled every mealtime every day in KL on where to eat her favourite foods. Also she had planned to meet her friend whom she hadn't seen for 5 years that night too. However I foolishly hoped.

My sister was sleeping when I went downstairs to see if she wanted to attend the Dharma talk. So I called my dad, who was busy looking at Ferraris somewhere near Batu Caves. My dad just said he didn't think he'd be back in time but we could go ahead. He also said my sister had arranged to meet her friend.

When my sister finally woke up, I asked her if she wanted to come. She looked as if I'd asked if she wanted to go to the dentist.

I had to walk off and gather my things because it was late and I did not yet have mastery over my emotions and I didn't want to show my disappointment. Eventually, I got my stuff together and decided to sit down and share with my sister - whatever you eat tonight, tomorrow it's gone. Your friend who you are meeting tonight, tomorrow she'll go back to her own life and what will you have tomorrow? Tonight is such a rare opportunity and Rinpoche doesn't give public talks often AT ALL.

She looked at me as if I was talking Croatian.

I left it.

I had a sense of failure - Rinpoche has often asked us if our families are in Dharma, if our children, our lovers, our good friends are in Dharma, and if not, it's because we haven't shown what benefit there is in Dharma.

At least I had some influence over Sean, and when I told him about the talk, he came happily, despite his greatest attachment which was also food! He didn't pull a black face or complain but just came. And he was wearing a Setrap T-shirt too!

Anyway, Rinpoche was fabulous as usual - lots more meat to add to my Setrap manuscript which I will be working on once I transition over the website stuff I am doing. I also enjoyed the drive home with Sean after the talk, when he kept asking me about Setrap and giving me a quiz!

Also, I had a realisation that I didn't even think twice about ditching dinner with my dad for the talk, to me - priority was mmediately going to the talk whereas a year ago, I might have wondered how I was going to juggle the Dharma and samsara.

Today, I had a lunch with my dad and sister - I asked my sister, where do you see yourself in five years time. She said she didn't think about it because it was too far ahead. So I said how about in one year's time. She said nowhere and promptly continued eating her cheese fondue.

I really didn't know what to say or even how to help her. How to help someone who doesn't even know they need helping. It's like they're walking in excrement and I want to tell them, you don't have to walk there, you can walk here - it's clean and nice, but they say no thanks, I like walking here. It's perfectly fine.

It was a mere taster of what Rinpoche deals with on a daily basis - we only have a mere glimpse of what people are missing out on.. Rinpoche can see it loud and clear. What must it be like for Rinpoche to see how all of us, out of our sheer stupidity, refuse to change and cling onto our habituations and negativities. He can already see ourresults as we blissfully and ignorantly create the causes.

The only way to help bring others to the Dharma is, as Rinpoche says, to simply work harder to transform ourselves so that people will be inspired by us. If people are not inspired by us, it's our fault.

So I kicked myself up the ass and trundled back to work - and my Dharma family.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Shin hosts her own farewell dinner

Shin hosted a 'farewell dinner' for KMP crew at Kechara Oasis (of course) on Weds 25 March. Everyone showed up - Joan, Judy, Jamie, June (so many 'J's), Han, Chris, Susan, Sio Chian (there are 4 'S's too including Shin and I!) Lanse, Yek Yee, David.. Shin started reminiscing about being the first full time staff at KMP and it was a nice wander down memory lane.

KMP started off with two guys, Joe and SP, in a rented room, madly burning DVDs and liaising with freelance writers, proofreaders, editors like Jamie, Andee and eventually myself. From there, we moved to another rented room in a house across the street, and eventually took over the whole premises. Shin was brought to Kechara by Wai Meng and she was invited to join KMP by Joe, who had become CEO of KMP.

However, Joe and Shin somehow worked at cross purposes and never the twain did meet. It was a case of different characters and personalities and many misunderstandings. However, thank Buddha that's all in the past.

We relived our first foray overseas at the Singapore Book Fair, which was the first real bonding experience for the team. This was initiated by Joe who had the great foresight that the experience would change our lives and it did!

Since those days, KMP has since changed premises, been almost shut down a few times, been almost assimilated into another department, been almost turned into a thangka shop, and fortunately, it's so far only 'almost' and we have survived.

Our staff turnover has been quite incredible, with a swapping of staff between ladrang and KMP - Joe and SP left KMP for the ladrang, Susan left the ladrang for KMP, Joey Wong left KMP awhile back and has just joined the e-Division at ladrang, JJ left KMP for ladrang and now Shin is also heading for ladrang. We've also recently had a few great additions to the team - Joan Foo Mahony as KMP advisor, Judy as our very capable admin and Dr Lanse as our part time Chinese translator.

We'll miss Shin as we miss all those who have left us but they are always with us in spirit and those who are in ladrang have not really left since we're all just one big family!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Liaisons Dinner with H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche

After the swearing in of new Apprentice Liaisons, Bill Keith and May Woo, we had a wonderful dinner get together with Rinpoche. As always, there was a great Dharma talk and you can see a snippet of it below:

Monday, March 16, 2009

Gift from the heart

After a particularly harrowing few days, one day at the office, Jamie aka Paris asked me to close my eyes and put my hands out. I had no clue what she was going to give me - chocolate? I wondered.

No, it was a beautiful Tsongkhapa pendant!!!! It was the one I liked best of the pendants which Rinpoche showed us in the Ladrang awhile back. I was dumbfounded - how.. why?

It turned out that on Sunday evening (or early on Monday morning as is usually the case in the land of Ladrang), Rinpoche played the hunting game, this time everyone had to look for a coin. Jamie had said that if she found it, she would give it to me - and she did!! I was told that there were two coins which were hidden. She could continue to search for the other coin and hope to get two pendants - one for me and one for herself, but if she didn't find it, she would have to give up the first pendant. She decided not to risk it and sat out when the others hunted for the coin.

How sweet of Jamie... it was really the last thing I expected to see in my palms..

I'm so glad we're close - not just because of this gift of the pendant but it's really a pleasure to go to the office and work with people you like a lot!!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009