Thursday, October 30, 2008

I am Blessed and I Bless

My desk sits in front of a wide glass window through which I look up into the branches of ancient fig trees. Peeps of ice blue sky fill the spaces between branches and leaves, some of which are drenched in spring’s sunlight, others in shadows of varying contrast.

Rainbow lorikeets make good use of the trees while offering a different voice to the urban sounds of traffic and domestic equipment. It is easily possible to forget that I am only a fifteen minute walk to the city.

What makes this dwelling home after twelve months of a somewhat nomadic existence? It is knowing that I won’t have to move unless I want to. Having moved house six times in the last ten years because landlords have decided to sell or raise the rent to levels I have not been able to afford, it has become the most relevant reason.

So I have been setting up home once again. It has been a joyous experience. Finding new items to bring into my space while delighting in the pleasant surprise of unpacking old favorites has been part of this joy.

This move is different to all other moves because this time, my children have not moved with me. I feel as if I have been instructed to start from scratch. It’s not just a new home. It’s not just a new beginning. It’s a new life.

It’s not that the old has been discarded. It is rather that the old has transformed and I must be ready to meet it on fresh terms. And the old includes who I have been and how I have been, not just a few months or years ago but even a few moments ago, a second ago!

In all this movement and change, and now this settling down, I feel the strength and the ever-growing sense of two things – Gratitude and Faith.

Deepening gratitude, strengthening faith.

And so I am blessed. And so I bless.

May I live for the greatness and goodness of all.

You wreck my shop and my house and now my heart, but
how can I run from what

gives me life? I’m weary of personal worrying, in love
with the art of madness!

Jalal Ad-Din Rumi
Translated by Coleman Barks in The Soul of Rumi

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Calling Bloggers and the 'I Love Your Blog' Award

Well, what can I say? Early this week, I had a thought about how nice it would be if bloggers actively helped each other out. Now, I know that this is already happening in a number of ways through Entrecard, however, I feel that more, so much more can be done. Perhaps there are bloggers who are already doing ‘so much more’ but I am not one of them…yet.

So, this thought that washed up on my mindshore went like this: Imagine a group of bloggers who shared similar interests, aside from blogging of course. And imagine if we decided we would help promote and support each other and that we would do this in one or more of the following ways:

• Read each other’s blogs regularly (by subscribing to an RSS feed)
• Write about each other’s posts, blogs and/or interests/activities on our own blogs
• Send emails to our mailing lists recommending each others' specific posts (rather than the blogs )
• Send emails to our mailing lists alerting recipients of any goods/services that our blogger mates might be offering
• Develop a circle of friendship

So thinking, I made an intention to that effect. Well, the next thing I know, I was alerted of TWO AWARDS that I’d been honored with! Woo Hoo! How absolutely smashing! What a gorgeous surprise! I was thrilled, AND, I do not want to let this slip of serendipity slip away. This is one of the reasons why I am writing this post. Please read it carefully!

Dear Blogger LikeMinds, would you care to join me? Would you review my list of mutual support/promotion items above and let me know if you’d like to be part of this? We each have our particular talents and interests; the overlaps can facilitate joint ventures while the tangents can provide useful trails that we ourselves and our clients, friends and people on our mailing lists might explore.

All of this must, however, be undertaken with utmost honesty. In other words, I would not want you to write favorably about any of my posts if you had nothing favorable to say. By the same token, neither will I about any of yours! In my case, if I have nothing good to say, I won’t say anything at all. But I might be getting ahead of myself here. If you think you’d like to be part of something like this, leave a comment or contact me at

Before I conclude this part of my post, I do want to say that I believe that for something like this to work, there must be:

• Pure, loving motivation/intent
• Frequency and consistency of promotion (at least one/week)

Alright, that’s all I’m going to say about that for now. I’d now like to say a few words upon being given the following award:

Firstly, thank you Tim for sharing this award with me. As a recipient of the award yourself, it makes more sense to me that you are sharing it with me rather than giving it to me, a difference that may not make sense to anyone but me!

Apart from what I’ve already said about being thrilled and honored and unashamedly delighted is that I hope that we continue to share this award in the spirit of true respect, admiration, appreciation and support for each other and the work that we do through and beyond blogging. May the light of our spirit, our passion and our spontaneous desires guide us and all those drawn to our light!

Before I share this award with a couple of others (I believe that as a recipient of this award, I now have the honor of doing that!), I would like to share some of my impressions of Tim (who is kindly sharing this award with me) and a couple of his blogs that I frequent, Cloud Pillows and Smoke Signals.

To start with, what charming names they are! I am a sucker for charming names/titles, so I was already feeling partial to these blogs when I first went visiting. Well, one good thing led to another and I found myself falling helplessly (and willingly) into the irresistible depth and untouched beauty of Tim’s poetry at Cloud Pillows. At Smoke Signals, I heard the voice of an earnest sojourner, exploring, observing, questioning and all the time, trying to find sense.

All these qualities of Tim’s writing, thinking and feeling often also happen to find their way into the comments he leaves at my blogs for which I am always grateful and by which I am often inspired. Comments like his give me further insight into the way we think, what we believe and why we do what we do. So well considered and composed are they, they just about make up for the lack of other comments! Yep, Tim’s comments are often the only ones my posts attracts! Thank you again Tim for your comments and for sharing this award with me!

Right, that said, I can now move on to the delightful duty of sharing this award with two others. I feel I should explain my reasons for choosing these two. The truth is, the title, ‘I Love Your Blog’ got me a little concerned. The word, love, in particular, caused concern. No blog that I could unhesitatingly proclaim ‘love’ for sprang to mind! However, there are several blogs that I have enjoyed visiting, if only for their visual beauty. Others, I have enjoyed for their unique voices, their sincere take on life matters or their irrepressible desire to share what they can with others. These are the sorts of things that I most enjoy in blogs.

Does enjoying something mean loving them? Oh absolutely! It invokes the sheer nature of love, without the trappings of attachment and exclusivity. At least, that’s what I would like to believe. And so, with my ‘criteria’ spelled out, here are two of several possible blogs that I would like to share this award with:

Soul Meets World
Live Passionately

To Alexys of Soul Meets World and Christine of Live Passionately and to all bloggers who currently share this award: Thanks for your contribution to the world of blogging and the lives of many!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A Drop

A drop




On the surface

Of consciousness

Ricochets into the cosmos

Returning instantaneously

With moments

Packed full of


Monday, October 13, 2008

Kindness is all Around

This article, written by my brother, was recently published in a local newspaper, The Star, in Malaysia. I know he won't mind me posting it here and I am quite sure that you will enjoy reading it as much as I did! Let's have more of this in the media!!!

In times of stress, it is all too easy to condemn others for apparently offensive acts. Often, we may see a prettier sight if only we weren’t so quick to pass judgment.

IT was 11.30pm and I was heading home aboard the last KL-Klang bus. After a hard day’s work, many of my fellow passengers and I had no difficulty nodding off for a well-earned snooze.

The dual carriageway had not been built then and, although the traffic was not as heavy as it is today, driving at night was not without its dangers.
All of a sudden, the serenity was shattered by a scream. “Sudah lepas! Ayoh! (I’ve overshot! Oh dear!)”, an elderly Chinese woman cried out.

So much for the snooze! Was it her poor tired eyes, I wondered, or was it the dimly lit road that had caused this.
The driver was visibly annoyed. “Apa pasal tidur? Turun! (Why were you sleeping? Get off!)”

I couldn’t help feeling sorry for the hapless woman but what could we do?
As the lady was about to step out of the bus the driver shouted, “Balik! Balik! (Get back)”.

She was confused. She had no intention of proceeding to Klang.

“Balik! Balik!” he insisted, the tone even angrier and more impatient.
She had no choice but to comply. And then we saw, or rather experienced, the ride of a lifetime.

Driving a big bus forward on a winding road in the middle of the night was no mean feat. To do it in reverse under such conditions required great skill and will.
And that is what he had. And that is what he did ­€“ moving backwards some 200m to her intended stop.

“Terima kasih,” the old lady gushed as she blessed the gruff-yet-kind driver with tears of joy rolling down her cheeks.

It was a beautiful sight. Everyone was happy even if it meant we’d all reach home a little bit later than we’d hoped.

I chose to alight last as we arrived at our destination. Going up to the driver, I told him in Tamil: “You are a kind-hearted man.”

He understood what I was referring to. “What to do, sir?” he said, “Paavem (poor thing), how to leave her like that?”

On another day, a public holiday in conjunction with a Muslim festival, I was waiting for my bus to move off, along with several worshippers who had apparently just finished their religious obligations.

The bus was parked with its engine running, ready to set off on its route any minute.
Suddenly, a Volvo roared up and screeched to a halt right in front of the bus, as if to prevent it from moving off.

You needed a strong measure of callousness and a stronger measure of gall to do that. The driver, unquestionably, had both. I could well imagine the other passengers’ disgust at what they had just witnessed.
Indeed, I concurred with a guy who remarked: “Dia mahu eksyen pasal Volvo (He wants to show off his Volvo).”

The driver, a Chinese youth, got down, opened the rear left door and - to our surprise and shame - helped an old blind man (who too must have come from the mosque) to alight.

“Perlahan perlahan, Pakcik (Slowly, slowly),” he said, gently leading him by the hand to the bus. He helped the old man up the steps, found him a seat and returned quickly to his car.

Next he opened the rear right door, helped out an old lady, probably the man’s wife, and helped her to a seat beside him.

I, and like-minded people, were humbled at our ability to pass judgement at such great speed.

My attempts at restarting my motorbike proved futile. It was about 6pm, and you certainly didn’t expect people returning home after work to stop and lend you a hand, especially in a narrow one-way motorcycle lane.

Some 10 minutes later, a young man saw my plight and came up to me.

“What’s the problem, Uncle?” he enquired. I told him. He tried his skills on my stubborn two-wheeler, but to no avail.
At least he stopped, I told myself, as he mounted his bike to leave. But no, he wasn’t leaving me.

“Uncle, naik motor, pegang bahu saya (Get on your motorcycle, hold on to my shoulder),” he said. He was going to tow me!

So, I got on to my bike and held on to his shoulder. It was a good 6km ride fraught with much fear and anxiety until we finally came to a motorcycle shop.

The good lad refused to leave and proceed home until he was satisfied that my bike was attended to.

No amount of persuasion would permit him to take a token of appreciation from me. He even refused to give me his name and address. My thanks seemed good enough for him.
We may be strangers belonging to different faiths, but love and compassion make us brothers.