Saturday, 28 February 2009

Love is being a mother

Love is scaring away monsters in the middle of the night, then again at
1:00 a.m., 2:00 a.m., 3:00 a.m.

Love is putting peanut butter on anything as long as they'll eat it!

Love is knowing how to disguise vegetables 30 different ways.

Love is reading the same bedtime story for the 999th time.

Love is a hug around the knees.

Love is watching Mr. Rogers instead of All My Children.

Love is cutting off the crusts.

Love is a refrigerator covered with creative works of art.

Love is not grimacing through the dirtiest of diapers.

Love is trading in the Camero for a station wagon.

Love is the magic kiss that heals all owies.

Love is a cuddly kid in a blanket sleeper.

Love is the first kick, first smile, first laugh, first step, first

Love is your child pointing to a picture of Christie Brinkley and saying
Happy 22nd Birthday to you my dear, Vivian. Mama will even cart away the monster for you, wherever and ever. Loads of LOVE from all at home.

Friday, 20 February 2009

My house is shabby, but it is comfortable

In 2007, in an end-of-year message to the staff of the National Neuroscience Institute, I wrote: 'Whilst boom time in the public sector is never as booming as in the private sector, let us not forget that boom time is eventually followed by slump time. Slump time in the public sector is always less painful compared to the private sector.' Slump time has arrived with a bang.

While I worry about the poorer Singaporeans who will be hit hard, perhaps this recession has come at an opportune time for many of us. It will give us an incentive to reconsider our priorities in life. Decades of the good life have made us soft. The wealthy especially, but also the middle class in Singapore , have had it so good for so long, what they once considered luxuries, they now think of as necessities.

A mobile phone, for instance, is now a statement about who you are, not just a piece of equipment for communication. Hence many people buy the latest model though their existing mobile phones are still in perfect working order.

A Mercedes-Benz is no longer adequate as a status symbol. For millionaires who wish to show the world they have taste, a Ferrari or a Porsche is deemed more appropriate.

The same attitude influences the choice of attire and accessories. I still find it hard to believe that there are people carrying handbags that cost more than thrice the monthly income of a bus driver, and many more times that of the foreign worker labouring in the hot sun, risking his life to construct luxury condominiums he will never have a chance to live in.

The media encourages and amplifies this ostentatious consumption. Perhaps it is good to encourage people to spend more because this will prevent the recession from getting worse. I am not an economist, but wasn't that the root cause of the current crisis - Americans spending more than they could afford to?

I am not a particularly spiritual person. I don't believe in the supernatural and I don't think I have a soul that will survive my death. But as I view the crass materialism around me, I am reminded of what my mother once told me: 'Suffering and deprivation is good for the soul.' My family is not poor, but we have been brought up to be frugal. My parents and I live in the same house that my paternal grandparents and their children moved into after World War II in 1945. It is a big house by today's standards, but it is simple - in fact, almost to the point of being shabby.

Those who see it for the first time are astonished that Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew's home is so humble. But it is a comfortable house, a home we have got used to. Though it does look shabby compared to the new mansions on our street, we are not bothered by the comparison.

Most of the world and much of Singapore will lament the economic downturn. We have been told to tighten our belts. There will undoubtedly be suffering, which we must try our best to ameliorate.

But I personally think the hard times will hold a timely lesson for many Singaporeans, especially those born after 1970 who have never lived through difficult times.

No matter how poor you are in Singapore , the authorities and social groups do try to ensure you have shelter and food. Nobody starves in Singapore. Many of those who are currently living in mansions and enjoying a luxurious lifestyle will probably still be able to do so, even if they might have to downgrade from wines costing $20,000 a bottle to $10,000 a bottle. They would hardly notice the difference.

Being wealthy is not a sin. It cannot be in a capitalist market economy. Enjoying the fruits of one's own labour is one's prerogative and I have no right to chastise those who choose to live luxuriously..

But if one is blinded by materialism, there would be no end to wanting and hankering. After the Ferrari, what next? An Aston Martin? After the Hermes Birkin handbag, what can one upgrade to?

Neither an Aston Martin nor an Hermes Birkin can make us truly happy or contented. They are like dust, a fog obscuring the true meaning of life, and can be blown away in the twinkling of an eye.

When the end approaches and we look back on our lives, will we regret the latest mobile phone or luxury car that we did not acquire? Or would we prefer to die at peace with ourselves, knowing that we have lived lives filled with love, friendship and goodwill, that we have helped some of our fellow voyagers along the way and that we have tried our best to leave this world a slightly better place than how we found it?

We know which is the correct choice - and it is within our power to make that choice.

In this new year, burdened as it is with the problems of the year that has just ended, let us again try to choose wisely. To a considerable degree, our happiness is within our own control, and we should not follow the herd blindly.

*The writer is director of the National Neuroscience Institute, Singapore and also, daughter to Lee Kuan Yew. *

佛教慈善中心 - Malaysia Buddhist Charitable Centres - Part 2

[马六甲] 快乐残障儿童中心
Hapiness Centre for The Mentally Disable Children
4803-c, Taman Anggerik, Klebang Kecil, 75200 Melaka, Malaysia
[柔佛] 新山关爱儿童残障福利中心
Love Foudation - Home for the handicapped children, Johor Bahru
NO: 40&40A Jalan Sultanah Rogayah, Taman Iskandar, 80050, Johor Bahru.
07-333 8044
[雪兰莪] 佛心慈善基金会
Lot 13579, Jalan Sungai Jelok, 43000 Kajang, Selangor.
[砂劳越] 古晋佛教居士林佛陀教育基金会
Kuching Buddhist Society
Lot 1912, Jln Laksamana Cheng Ho, P.O. Box 1775, 93200 Kuching, Sarawak.
082-4286891; 082-4119061
[槟城] 彼岸法音基金会(真光佛殿)
Chen Kuong Fuo Thien
17, Lorong Perak, 11600 Penang
[吉隆坡] 宏愿之家(贫老病残中心)
No.11-1, Jalan 46A/26, Pusat Bandar Sri Rampai, 53300 Setapak, Kuala Lumpur.
[霹雳] 心灯咨询辅导中心
Lot 13058, 21/2 Mile, Lahat Road, 30200 Ipoh Perak
05-282 7662
[雪兰莪] 佛教安老院
Lot 13579, Jalan Sungai Jelok, Kajang 43000 Selangor.
03-837 8063
[霹雳] 霹雳怡保佛教福利社
Ipoh Buddhist Sosial Welfare Society, Perak.
1207, Jalan King, Pasir Pinji, 31650 Ipoh.
[雪兰莪] 慈航千百家协会
Persatuan Kebajikan Ci Hang-Chempaka, Selangor
Lot 3794, Lorong 3D, Kg. Subang, 40100 Shah Alam, Selangor.
[柔佛] 马佛总新山隆华老人院
47-G , Jalan Kebun Teh, 80250 Johor Bahru, Johor.
[槟城] 马来西亚佛教发展基金会

04- 2291845, 04-2287146
[雪兰莪] 观音基金会
Yayasan Guan Yin
Lot 313, 3rd Floor, Block E, Amcorp Mall, No.18 Jalan Persiaran Barat 46050 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
03-7957 9077
[槟城] 檀香基金会
檀香寺 Than Hsiang Temple. 132, Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang.
[吉隆坡] 吉隆坡檀香晚晴苑
Than Hsiang Wan Ching Yuen (PJ)
14, Jalan 1/3, 46000 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
03-7785 4143
[雪兰莪] 加影檀香乐龄之家
Than Hsiang Retirement Home (Kajang)
G5, Scenic Charm, Persiaran Cinta Air, Country Height, 43000 Kajang, Selangor.
03-8733 7719
[槟城] 爱心福利中心
Than Hsiang Mitra Welfare Centre
2nd Floor, 4C, Tingkat Kenari, Sungai Ara, 11900 Penang, Malaysia.
04-641 4822
[槟城] 檀香福利晚晴苑
Wan Ching Yuan
檀香寺 Than Hsiang Temple. 132, Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia.
04-641 4822
[霹雳] 忠诚收留迟钝残障儿童中心
Loyal Handicapped and Disable Children Home Associations
No.17, Lorong Silibin, 30100 Silibin, Ipoh, Perak.
05-527 0355
Aloka Foundation
[吉隆坡] Aloka Foundation
1-2B, Block C, Jln PJU 1/3B, Sunway Mas Commercial Centre, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
03-7806 1255
[吉隆坡] 海涛生命基金会
Hai Tao Life Foundation
Lot No.2-3-09G,3rd Floor, Wisma Rampai, Jalan 34/26, Taman Sri Rampai, 53300 Kuala Lumpur.
03-4149 0333
[吉隆坡] 马来西亚宏愿慈悲基金会
Yayasan Kebajikan Hong Ying Malaysia
No.11-1, Jalan 46A/26, Pusat Bandar Sri Rampai, 53300 Setapak, Kuala Lumpur.
[吉隆坡] 慈爱福利中心
Ti-Ratana Welfare Society
Wisma Ti-Ratana, 17 Lorong Ma’arof, Bangsar, 59000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
03- 22873800

佛教慈善中心 - Malaysia Buddhist Charitable Centres - Part 1


47-G, Jalan Kebun Teh,
80250 Johor Bahru,
Johor, Malaysia
Tel: 607-2236650 , Fax: 607-2231302


晚晴苑 (檀香寺新大厦之二楼与三楼)
No.1,Blok D MK,12,Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah,11900, Penang, Malaysia.


地址:No.14, Jalan 1/3,
46000 Petaling Jaya.


K45,Jalan Cahaya 4
Salak South Garden
57100,Kuala Lumpur



Persatuan Kebajikan Ci Hang-Chempaka, Selangor

Lot 3794, Lorong 3D, Kg. Subang,

40100 Shah Alam, Selangor.

Tel: 603-78463250


Ipoh Buddhist Sosial Welfare Society, Perak.
1207, Jalan King, Pasir Pinji, 31650 Ipoh.
Tel: 605-2436898 Fax: 605-5456223




修成林 (洗肾与中风中心)
7, Jalan 5, Section 1,
46000 Petaling Jaya (Old Town),


彭亨佛教会洗肾中心 (洗肾中心)
B-40 Taman Zurina, Jalan Seri Teruntum 3.
25100 Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia.
Tel : 609-5139867

Office :
Lot PT 57339, Jalan Bukit Ubi, 25200 Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia.
Tel : 609-5739644
Fax : 609-5739645
Email :


Losang Dragpa Buddhist Society (LDC)
No11A,Jalan Birah, Bukit Damansara,
50490 Kuala Lumpur.
TEL:03-2093 8189
Fax: 03-2095 6113
网站 :


净莲慈悲院 (爱滋关怀)
Pure Lotus Hospice Of Compassion
4,Wright Road,10350 Penang
槟城丹绒医药房(Tanjung Medical Hospital旁边)


Buddhist Care Centre(KL)
142-9H Jalan Tun Razak,50400 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel:03-4224918 Fax:03-6258 0979


Buddhist Care Centre
2,Lrg Sri Mahkota 57,
Tmn Sri Mahkota,Batu 12,
JIn Gambang,26070 Kuantan,Pahang.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Sinthamani Divine Life Ashram - a second visit

This time we met Mr Praveendran in person.

He was busy chatting with a group of visitors at the living room. And I sort of "barged" in to greet him and requested for a photo taking opportunity with him. He gladly obliged while Thila was introducing me to him and relating to him my blog that she had shown him in the public library following our visit last month (they often use the facility in the library to check emails or browsing of internet.).

Praveendran recalled and thanked me for the help extended of which, I quickly brushed it aside with a signal of "ah, just a small thing". But deep inside, we all know how powerful it is when internet is put into good use...

We had a jolly good time with the kiddos. June, my sister-in-law joined us by giving Ang-pows to all at the home. And Vivian was busy checking out Pathmini, the little darling she got acquianted with the last time.

Overall, improvement was seen done to the home. Some volunteers came to clean up the surroundings and painted the planter boxes and extension work has since completed providing a new dining place. Tarring the road will soon begin. Meanwhile, the girls' dormitory is being expanded in order to accommodate more beds. Books and computers were in place, this shows that education is something Praveedran never compromised.

With the help of M.I.C in constructing a new premises, the overall hygiene of the place and well being of the children will soon be even better taken care of.

It is a picture of relief and is light at the end of the tunnel for Praveendran and his team.

In my personal opinion, Praveendran has put in his heart and soul into this place and we could witness this through the abundance of love and bonding demonstrated by the children.

No doubt that there are many ways to help Sinthamani Divine Life Ashram, but, I believe it only need one simple way, just give your unconditional blessing and support to Praveendran.

To reach the home:

Sithamani Divine Life Ashram

Rumah Kebajikan (ROC No. 001529609-H)

No:1112, Block 150
Lorong 5/160
Kawasan A, Rumah Panjang
Jinjang Utara
52000 Kuala Lumpur

Tel: 03-62504834
Mr Praveendran : 016-9046358


Thila accepting the cheque from June, my sister-in-law, giving the donation on behalf of Brenda and friends

Praveendran, me with little cutie pie and June

The joyous moment

The girls' room that is usually cramped with 12 girls in two bunk beds but soon will have a much bigger space

Pathmini, Vivian missed you so much

Read carefully...this is something precious and priceless

So cute...

New extension for the dining place

Goodies given by Brenda and friends

The only old folk in house

Your heart melt...for this sweet angel

You don't want to know her background, just pray for her future

Love has no boundaries, we wish you a bright future and stand up to become someone
You can make it, children!