Its all about relationship


I recently chanced upon a video clip from Youtube and that kept me thinking for a while. The video is about a university lecturer addressing his students. It was a science lecture and he was telling them that the basis of everything, or to be more specific the basis of life is relationship. Everything on this planet earth is all about relationship; one thing links to another. The mysterious thing about life is how all these things are interconnected and how, to a large extend, can’t do without each other. He explained that when God created the universe, He first created the physical elements that support life, such as light and heat, water and the air. These elements are then interconnected and eventually giving breath to other life-forms, such as plants, vegetations, living creatures and finally humans. After He created man, He found that it is not good for him to be alone, therefore He created a companion for him, the woman. There, humans are again interconnected through various kinds of relationships. When the man and woman fell from grace, this first relationship and the whole interconnectedness of things in the world changed.

Although shared from a biblical perspective, I find this whole idea of interconnectedness very mesmerising. The fact is we are more connected than we are divided. We need each other more than the fact that we are separated. And perhaps, we are more similar than the differences we thought we have.

Some years ago, I went through a very dark period of my life and I decided to cut myself off from the people around me. I did not physically isolate myself from them, but what I was going through greatly affected my relationships with them. I felt disconnected and life was very miserable. I went away for a period of time and started traveling from Thailand to Vietnam, Malaysia and eventually to Bhutan. In Bhutan, I found a very different kind of connection. I was connected back to nature, back to the mountains and back to the valleys. I was connected back to the living streams that gave life to the trees in the forests and the creatures that inhabit the ground.

In Bhutan, I was surrounded everyday by the Himalayan mountains and everyday I walked through the woods and passed through the rivers and streams. Each step I took and each breath I breathed in, I was making renewed connection with creations and rediscovering the lost connection. It was when I reconnected myself with nature’s energy, I realised how small and tiny I was in all of these networks of life; this vast interconnectedness that we are all living in. My Bhutanese guide often told me that Bhutanese do not see themselves as superior to nature, neither do they see themselves as inferior. They see themselves as all part of nature: the trees in the forests, the rocks in the field, the fish in the streams,  the creatures roaming in the woods and the humans that inhabit the ground, all are part of this whole networks of life and breath. We all breathe in the same breath and received heat from the same Sun and enjoy the coolness of the same moon.

When I came back from my retreat in Bhutan, the first thing I wanted to do was to restore my relationships with my family and friends. With the renewed relationships, I set to make things in order, set the wrong right all over again and slowly build up my strength to face the challenges of life all over again. We never have to live in defeat and despondence if we understand how interconnected we are and how we can draw strength from one another.

Chang, from Bangkok

Last Week before Bangkok

I know this picture is rather unglam, showing me in my home casual packing my luggage to bring over to Bangkok. In a week or so time, I will be starting a new chapter of my life, teaching in an international school in Bangkok. This has been one of my dreams and I am very excited to see it coming true at the age of 39. Sometimes it’s even unimaginable that this is coming true! Who would think that at the age of almost 40, I will still be able to start a new adventure and more so in a foreign land. I am grateful and still very grateful for this. 

As the days draw nearer, I find myself becoming more and more quiet at home. I like to close myself in my room, reading a novel and listening to my favourite songs. I guess this is my way of managing the feeling of withdrawal. I don’t want to be sad when I leave this country. I don’t want to see myself crying at the airport and missing my family members. I just want to leave quietly. Even for my current school, I just want to leave amidst everyone’s busyness and rush. And I will exit without a trace. I will just leave! That is one of the reasons why I declined many attempts by my friends to farewell with me. 
Of course, Bangkok is not unfamiliar to me. I have stories, my friends and many more things here! So in a way, I am not exactly a stranger in this land. Like it or not, I have left my footsteps on the streets and corners of Bangkok. I had my sorrow and I had joy. I had my disappointments and I too had my celebration. I had my love and separation too. I have so much of context in this place. And now, I am going to live in this land. I am not sure what to expect, but I know that this is journey I have chosen to take. It is mine to finish it! It is my prayer that I will build many good memories in Bangkok! 

The gatekeeper 

Cafe Hopper Review: Mad About Sucre @ Bukit Pasoh (Teo Hong Road)

It was my laze around day and I wanted to laze to a nearby cafe in the same area. However, the cafe that I intended to go had a private function, so I decided to hop to this one which I missed the other day when I was here for staycation. From the time I stepped into the cafe till the moment I left the cafe, I must say that I was very pampered by the staff of the cafe. I stepped in and was greeted by the staff. I was not allowed to order anything until the staff had finished explaining to me all their products on the classy glass display. It was very boutique indeed. They had a few dessert on display and the staff took a lot of pride and most importantly, a lot of heart to introduce all of them to me before I decided on one.

I was ushered to my seat and was made very comfortable there. When my dessert arrived, the staff once again explained in greater details about the making of the dessert and how I should go about consuming it. From his narration of the dessert I ordered, I came to know that this little piece of thing have ingredients from more than 3 different continents and countries. After all the narrative, I finally get to savour my precious dessert served by staff with so much heart and soul in them. With all the narrative still at the back of my mind and my tongue physically tasting it, I must say that the experience was heavenly. The chocolate was smooth and the fill inside this little thing is wholesome and and not overwhelming.

Throughout my stay in the cafe, the staff would regularly, at a very comfortable pace, check on my well-being and asked if I am alright with everything. The attention that I received from them was superb and I felt almost like a celebrity. After I have posted my food picture on my Instagram, they replied to my IG and they actually remembered that I came and remembered that I was writing my poem then and they actually refrained from disturbing too much. I was extremely touched by their service…or I should say more than service to me. They have made dining at Mad About Sucre an art by itself….They are inspirational!

Thank you guys for your hospitality…





Cafe Hopper Reflecting on our Founding Father

I thought as a fellow Singaporean, a son of the roaring lion and a son of Singapore, its time for me to say a few things regarding the recent passing away of Mr Lee Kuan Yew. I received the news of his passing away shortly after the official hour of 3:18am on 23 March 2015. My own brother, the Gun Carriage Commander (GCC), messaged us and informing us that he was activated for his duty. This is his fifth time being the GCC. He was the GCC for Mrs Lee Kuan Yew, Dr Goh Kheng Swee, Mr Toh Chin Chye and some of the other founding pioneers. As a family, we are very proud of him and we are so thankful that he can represent us to send Mr Lee off for the very last time.

Well, that is not my point for this blog entry, lest my proudness overtakes my mind. I have never met Mr Lee personally in my entire life and I am very sure that he doesn’t know me at all as a Singaporean. For a man who is so far away from me, upon hearing his passing away, suddenly I felt a sense of closeness and attachment to him. I couldn’t help but shed a few tears of sadness. It felt as though someone dear to me has just passed away. To a man who I have never met or spoken to, and yet, like an invisible pair of hands, he guided and led me to where I am today. Without him, I wouldn’t be who I am today. He gave me a decent education and an equal opportunity to fight for a living for myself. Through his education policies and beliefs, like many sons and daughters of Singapore, we are able to stand tall on international platforms, speaking duo languages and well-respected by international counterparts. We are certainly no small figure when we stand on this global stage. Through his housing policies, I have seen my parents and eventually myself staying in a better house that we can call Home. I grew up in a one room flat (one living room, one bedroom, one kitchen and one toilet) first in Kallang Bahru and then in Ang Mio Kio. I remember then, my mum, my sister, my brother and myself had to squeeze in one small bedroom. My father would sleep in the living room. We had lots of fun squeezing together and we had very little concept of personal space or privacy for that matter. Some years later, my parents managed to shift us from this one room flat to a four room flat in Yishun. For the first time in our lives, we had a room to ourselves although I was still having to share room with my brother. We had a bigger space and yes, we began to have the concept of personal space and privacy.

Soon my brother and sister got married and they each have their own unit. My mum and I bought a new unit in Woodlands ourselves.  All these didn’t come easy for me or for my family. We worked hard and we always seek to make living better for the family. But, all these are made possible because of what Mr Lee has done as a Prime Minister then. Although we didn’t come from a rich and famous family, we never felt under-privileged throughout our growing up years. We enjoyed the same opportunity like any other sons and daughters of Singapore and worked our way up the social ladder. As a leader and father of the nation, Mr Lee had kept his promises to the people. He promised equal opportunity for all and we had it. He promised a roof above our heads and we had it. He promised a world-class education system and a good job opportunity for all and we had it.  He promised to make us a metropolis and we did it. He promised to make every Singaporean proud and we are indeed.

To this man, this man of greatness, I am full of gratitude and still gratitude. Mr Lee Kuan Yew is more than just a political leader to us. He is a mentor, a greater elder of the nation and a father. To steal from Mr Lee Hsien Yang’s eulogy yesterday, we share the same father, father of this nation. Thank you for sharing your Papa with us…thank you for making him our father too. I cannot imagine what our history would be like without Papa Lee turning himself to PM Lee. Singaporeans would be orphans…fatherless…hopeless. He is certainly not a perfect man, not without fault. However, as a political leader and as our founding father, he has done all that he could to give us a successful Singapore.

Thank you Mr Lee Kuan Yew for making us proud! Thank you for giving us Singapore.


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