Posted in Inspiration, Meditation, Psychology

Dark night of the soul

Honesty, courage and authenticity.

These are the things that get to the heart of everything.

Emotions become intensely and keenly felt as one revisits the pains, wounds and traumas that one has gone through in the past, that have been buried and repressed over the years.

If these traumas are ignored or dismissed or not dealt with, they may resurface surreptitiously in the most unexpected ways and at the most unexpected times.

The dark night of the soul is painful but necessary.

It brings rain that cleanses. A sense of relief follows.

On the other hand, being on a public platform, whether it be a workshop or chat group, seems different, based on my experience in attending workshops on how to be successful.

The sense of positivity seems predictable after a while, or even manufactured.

Maybe there is a place for such positivity, even if it may appear trite and formulaic.

After all, who wants to be sitting in a seminar room and be faced with awkward silence and forced smiles when learning about how to be successful and wealthy?

(But being in a mindfulness meditation session is another thing altogether, for cultivating silent contemplation is encouraged, but that’s probably another story for another day.)

Thus, I can imagine that the speaker would have to gather the inspiration from within in order to carry out the workshop in such a positive and empowering manner.

In addition, by expressing positivity and gratitude, we are egging one another on to go further in life.

I suppose that we all have to start somewhere, even if it looks obligatory and formulaic.

Still, there is something about the dark night of the soul that grabs the heart in a way that no amount of positive thinking practice can do.

It enables the soul to feel its sheer rawness and express its unedited and unadulterated feelings.

It creates a space for the primal cry of the soul to be heard and acknowledged in the universe.

I believe that the psalmists took to writing precisely to experience such catharsis.

Perhaps Henri Nouwen said it best:

“What we live in the most intimate places of our beings is not just for us but for all people. That is why our inner lives are lives for others. That is why our solitude is a gift to our community, and that is why our most secret thoughts affect our common life.”

Posted in Uncategorized

Can a nerd love himself and be successful in life?

I came across an ad on my Facebook newsfeed this morning, and decided to read it. It was liked by my mentor’s mentor, and I usually respect her views. The ad contains a link to a blog, in which the writer wrote:

“I grew up a bully victim…


Believe it or not, I was a bully victim during my younger days, and I’m always laughed at for my dreams for being who I want to be. I must thank the bullies from those days, without them, I might have entered their “clique” and might have never become the person I am today, helping my students create such radical results for their business and freedom in their lives, build long lasting relationship with their loved ones and take their life to the next level year after year.”

(How One Discovery Turn Me from a Broke Consultant To Charge 20K Per Client)

I could certainly relate to that – especially the fact that he looked like a nerd in his profile photo, bespectacled and all. I was and am still a nerdy nerd.

Indeed, growing up as a nerd, I have come to see that in society’s eyes, a nerd is usually seen as an oddball, a reject, a misfit, a nobody, a loser, often dismissed as someone who is socially inept, awkward looking and unattractive. For a nerd to rise to become someone who is respected, influential and wealthy is nothing short of a miraculous transformation.

“If a nerd can un-nerd (and unnerve) himself and be a successful speaker and influencer, so can I,” was my thought.

It brings me back to the lesson on self-love and self-acceptance. Maybe I should write a book called “I love myself – the quietest, simplest and most powerful revolution ever”.





Posted in Uncategorized

Thoughts on workshops

So far, in three of the workshops that I attended, the speaker asked the people in the audience to be the first one to come up and take the money or trade it. The result is people rushing forward to take the money. 

I understand that they want to bring across the point “successful people take action”, but it seems a rather crude way to bring home this point. In fact, the speakers may be indirectly shaming those who decided to not come up to take the money. 

There are a number of reasons why some choose not to take action in this scenario:

  • Having to scramble to get money can be rather demeaning and insulting. 
  • We choose to give chance to others who want the money, and we trust that there are other ways or opportunities to get money. 
Posted in Uncategorized

Searching for the financial elixir

Be it an elixir or windfall or golden goose, it is a miracle that I am seeking, in order to increase my cashflow so that I can clear debts, meet my family needs and build a sustainable future, which can enable me to stay afloat in the face of rising costs of living, economic crises, etc. Nothing fancy or overly ambitious, as I am not seeking to be wealthy and famous for its own sake. I basically want to make ends meet, and along the way, be a greater blessing to others as well.

In recent months, I have been attending one seminar after another in seek of solutions. I learn about new ways of looking at things, new opportunities to make extra income, and so on. I also learn about the importance of knowing myself, developing a resilient mindset and setting realistic goals.

Which seminars have I found most helpful so far?

First and foremost, I understand that every opportunity to make money has its strengths and challenges, and every seminar speaker has their strengths and limitations. One of the traits I look for in them is compassion and empathy. At first, I thought that those who had faced poverty or bankruptcy or huge debts in the past would be more emphatic and helpful. Indeed, during their workshop, they would share about the difficult times they went through, and how they felt grateful to their mentors for having helped them pull through and break through to become the success that they are today. But it seems that most of them do not really intend to reach out to the ones who are struggling financially, as they expect people to pay a fair bit of money in order to attend their intensive workshops.

Fair enough, I understand that renting workshop spaces, marketing their workshops and hiring event management personnel to handle the administrative aspects of their workshops do cost a fair bit of money as well. Still, I have my own reservations. I would want to look at how these speakers are living their lives on a daily basis. Are they actively seeking to help people achieving financial breakthroughs or mentor them to become more successful, or are they getting carried away by their own success and posting on social media about their next dream vacation or their hobnobbing with the who’s who in the celebrity circles?

In addition, after doing some soul searching, I am coming to realise that my passion has to be involved in the venture instead of merely following the strategies to make money because otherwise, I might as well continue to do a 9-to-5 job. For example, do I really like the idea of selling ebooks without having to write my own books? While it is possible to hire a ghost writer to do the job for me, the satisfaction of selling the book wouldn’t be the same as that of selling my own self-written book. The same question can be asked if I want to consider other ways of making money, whether it be property investment, internet marketing, email marketing, affiliate marketing, value investing, online business, and so on.

At this point, therefore, I have narrowed down my options to the areas in which I am passionate and knowledgeable about: namely, online tea business and education business (specifically, Genius IQ Smart Parenting Seminar).

Posted in Language

Wherefore editing?

I found this note in my editorial diary. It was an undated entry, but I suppose it was probably written several months ago.

Language is only a tool of communication, like a finger pointing to the moon or a boat crossing a river.

As long as it serves the purpose of communicating a message for the intended audience in a way that is (hopefully) clear, it doesn’t really matter whether the message is “perfect” in grammar.

As the saying goes, when the boat reaches the destination, we don’t need the boat anymore.

Likewise, I believe that there is something that transcends editing, or that transcends the limitations of the written word.

A poorly constructed or poorly edited sentence sometimes may be more impactful than an impeccably composed but dry, prosaic prose.

How impactful a piece of writing is depends on factors such as:

  • who the writer is
  • the context or circumstances in which it is written
  • who the audience is

For example, a heartfelt thank you note from a child that is clumsily written is worth more than a contrived speech that is pedantically delivered by a conservative politician who supports the oppressive empire.

Posted in Inspiration

Whatever it takes

Woke up feeling a little more refreshed.

Decided to take a walk, and felt motivated to jog.

So happened to wear shoes instead of sandals, and the cloudy weather made it a bit more bearable to jog.

Whatever it takes – this motto defines where I am at this point of time.

I have to stay hungry, healthy, lean for success – in every sense of the word.

Muhammed Ali didn’t just believe and proclaim he is the greatest. He acted upon it by training and taking part in boxing.

Serena Williams didn’t just believe and proclaim she is the greatest. She acted upon it by practising and seeking to win and making new world records.

There may be days when I don’t feel as motivated or everything feels like a drag, but that is where the rubber meets the road – staying inspired is an ongoing process.

I must stay focused. Stay hungry. Stay balanced – there is a time to be still and a time to move.

I can practise being still while visualising how I am moving forward so that after my meditation, I end up moving forward in the direction where I want to go.

Similarly, I can practise moving forward while being still on the inside without being distracted and without struggling so that I remain focused on the path towards my goals.

It is only human to wander at times, and to lose hope and motivation. There is no condemnation, no shame, no guilt.

Sometimes, it is through our wanderings that we come to a point where we tell ourselves “enough is enough. time to start moving on and taking on challenges and rising to greater heights.”

It is never too late to start over again. We can do it, and we will do it.

Always choose to be gentle with myself, so that I can be gentle with others when I seek to inspire and encourage others, just as I encourage myself.

We are our own best coaches and mentors and teachers.

Posted in Uncategorized

Yes and No

We live in a world of duality, and sometimes, things aren’t really black and white. Most of the time, we live in a grey zone, or perhaps more interestingly, a multicoloured zone that is as brilliant as a rainbow.

Ever lived in a world where someone pointed out a mistake you made at the workplace and you thought to yourself, “Oh gosh, how could I have missed that?” Sometimes, our peers or colleagues or supervisors or big boss aren’t so gracious, or sometimes, we ourselves are our own harshest critics. We may tend to pick on ourselves apart to bits and pieces, and we wonder why the world looks so bleak and bleary at times, or why we even exist for being such a failure.

Why are we sometimes harsh on ourselves? We need to ask ourselves this question. Is it because we imagine others will come down hard on us if we don’t shape up according to their expectations, so we choose to be harsh on ourselves first to save ourselves from possible criticisms from others? Is it because we grew up in a largely unforgiving culture where we are punished or penalised for the slightest error we made? Or is it because we have a perfectionist attitude, which may well be a sign of not wanting to deal with our inner insecurities and anxieties?

Today, we are going to talk about mistakes we commonly make in editing, or in publishing in general. As long as we are human, we are bound to make mistakes here and there. We are not machines. Even if we are, machines are finite or limited too, and are subject to an odd malfunction or two, no matter how well designed or maintained they are.

In publishing, we are encouraged to minimise mistakes or produce error-free materials. To put it in another way, we are discouraged from making mistakes. In this world we live in, where capitalism runs the world, where meritocracy runs the gauntlet (this expression came to mind, though I don’t really know what it means), and where our value and worth and earning potential is (are?) often tied to how well we perform, there seems little or no room for errors or weaknesses in the workplace.

In this session, we are going to talk about mistakes and confess that each of us makes mistakes. We are going to learn to embrace mistakes as part of our human existence, and accept imperfections as part of our whole being.

Does that mean that I am encouraging you to make more mistakes in editing and publishing? The answer is: neither yes nor no, or yes and no, depending on how you look at it. Yes, only by acknowledging we make mistakes can we learn from them and be responsible for doing better next time. No, we know that making mistakes – whether one mistake or many mistakes – can have less than positive consequences, such as being graded poorly in performance appraisal, or not leaving a good impression on readers who buy our materials, and so on.

But the way to deal with mistakes and maintain a high quality of materials in a healthy way is not to stress ourselves out trying to avoid making mistakes or to deny our imperfections or hide our imperfections. Because one, we will continue to struggle with a sense of insecurity, inferiority (which is superiority on the flip side of the coin) and low self-esteem. Two, it can lead to a blame and denial culture. We need to learn to take ownership of ourselves – the good and the bad. Three, blaming invariably leads to shaming, whether others or ourselves. It may become a vicious cycle of blaming and shaming, and the way out is to deal with mistakes at the root.

You see, many workshops and training sessions focus on the effects rather than the root causes. They focus on “do this” and “don’t do that”. There is a place for that, but we are mostly dealing with the issue on the surface or on a superficial level. It causes us to forget who we really are and put us on a stressful treadmill to become something or someone whom we already are.

For example, the system or mindset of the world tells us “If you do this, you will become someone. If you produce zero-error materials, you will become a world-class editor.”

Let me tell you who you are already. You are already a world-class editor. This is your true identity. Now, live and work based on who you really are. Yes, you will still make mistakes but it doesn’t change the fact that you are a world-class editor. The more you believe and remember this is who you are, the more your thinking and actions will align based on your self-belief.



Posted in Love

How do you define love?

Someone asked in Yahoo Answers:

Love or Light? Are they synonymous with each other?

Can either exist without the other? Can you stand in the light and feel no love?

How do you define love?


Herewith is the best answer:

Yes. God is Love and there is no darkness in the Divine Love.

Love is the modus operandi of the universe. Love sustains the universe. I believe what we call God/Divine is nothing but love and there is no darkness in Him/Her/it. Love is God/Divine – He/She/It cannot be anything except Love, and vice versa.

This love is big; no, bigger; no, it’s BIGGER. It’s bigger than we can ever comprehend and imagine. It’s bigger to the extent it goes against all the definitions of love we have. It’s a complete divine, expansive, boundless, unfailing and perfect Love. It is like the universe itself; ever expanding and unending Love – we only have an understanding of the tiny piece of its whole , but what we see blows our minds. NASA describes the universe as infinite in extent. Link here

The awesome thing about it all: we are embraced by this expansive and beautiful love. There is more than enough love in the cosmos for ALL who are hurt and confused about WHO they are in this life. Love continues to win….


My definition of love as I understand it.

Posted in Equality, Racism, Uncategorized

Embracing diversity in skin colours

A colleague happened to share about National Geographic’s article “Being Black in China“, which opens up new perspectives. She commented that we ourselves can become a “tourist attraction” when we visit countries where we are considered a rarity, just as we find tourists who visit Singapore who don’t look like us to be a novelty.
I find that race is becoming more openly discussed nowadays, which is a good thing because it helps people to understand each other’s differences and accept the fact that we are all different and we are all the same. For example, I came across a recent article in which racism and racial privilege (such as Chinese privilege in Singapore) are highlighted, which hopefully will encourage an ongoing conversation among people about such issues, in order for justice and equality to manifest more fully through conscious awareness.
I learnt that in the West, White people have been challenging themselves to deal with anti-Black racism, and this video is an attempt to open up conversations about such racial issues and how parents can educate their kids to embrace differences and diversity in skin colours. Though the way the mother in the above video educates her child may not be wholly appropriate or scientific, and her perspectives about Black people as a White privileged person may be considered offensive to some in spite of her good intentions, the efforts of the video makers in fostering a positive perception of People of Colour in order to combat racism that has been taught from generation to generation are noteworthy.
Ultimately, we are all in this together as one humanity, and as this article noted, we all originated from the same Motherland – the cradle of humanity – once upon a time, and through evolutionary adaptations to climate and environment, we have been developing shades of colour alongside with our unique cultures and languages, and may we all continue to stay united as one.
Posted in Equality, Peace

Discrimination affects us all

Yesterday, I was harassed by motorists when I was cycling on the roads on my way to the workplace and the same thing happened to me when I was cycling back from the workplace.

They honked at me for no apparent reason, as if they owned the roads.

In another case of discrimination, I know of someone who was recently met with acrimony by a particular company mobile phone representative.

She made a big deal out of the fact that this person wasn’t wearing full-length jeans when reporting for work for the first time to be a part-time mobile phone promoter, and the three-quarter-length jeans exposed his sockless ankles though he was wearing covered shoes.

I came to realise that we all judge and discriminate based on what we see and perceive about others.

There were times when I found myself making judgements on how other people were dressed, inasmuch as I am becoming more aware of how I am being judged by others based on what I wear.

How do we transcend this (apparently) natural trait of judging based on outward appearances?

It occurs to me that we are communicating all the time, whether consciously or unconsciously.

The signals or message we send out to others (consciously or unconsciously, intentionally or unintentionally) is communicated in the way we walk, talk, dress, stand, eat, look, and so on – virtually our entire existence is in a constant mode of communication to the rest of the world.

BUT it isn’t our fault that we are simply being ourselves, especially when we can’t change the way we look (at the most, only up to a certain extent) or the colour of our skins.

To what extent is it justifiable (if it does at all) for others to judge us based on our outward appearances?

Or our skin colour?

Or the way we dress?

Or our gender?

Or our sexual orientation?

Or our belief system?

Or our perceived social class?

I believe each of us would have experienced discrimination in one way or other at some point in time, whether it be for our age or gender or race etc.

Speaking of which, one of the most deplorable forms of discrimination is racial discrimination.

I have come to realise that discrimination has a way of making us feel as if we don’t matter in this world.

It makes us feel less than a human being.

It threatens our very right to exist in the world as a human being with equal rights and dignity as the next human being.

It robs us of our very desire and will to live to our fullest potential, and to have any hope for a better future for ourselves and our future generations.

Discrimination affects us all.

Some of us may think that the recent Women’s March doesn’t involve us because we happen to be born male and aren’t adversely affected by the patriarchy and misogyny that have been causing countless women to be discriminated and oppressed.

Some of us may think that the Black Lives Matter activism-cum-movement doesn’t involve us because we happen to be born lighter-skinned and aren’t adversely affected by anti-Black racism while we continue to benefit from the white privileged system (or Chinese privileged system in the context of Singapore).

Some of us may think that the barring of the citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States doesn’t affect us because we happen to subscribe to other faiths or belief systems (or none at all) and we aren’t targetted by the discriminatory political system.

Until we find ourselves as a target of discrimination, in any shape or form, whether it be racism or classism or sexism or elitism, we probably won’t think much about the plight of others who are being discriminated.

But it doesn’t necessarily take a personal experience to wake us up and galvanise ourselves into action in our own lives and in our own ways.

We can remind ourselves – again and again – that we are all in this together.

We are all one body. One humanity.

We can have empathy and compassion for our fellow human beings, simply because they are… human, like us.

This may sound like a cliche to some, but I believe this is what the gospel is all about – in essence, we are “neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female – for all are one…”

Some may say, “Why do you make everything about race? We have other things to worry about.”

That’s because as a privileged white in a white-dominated society, or a privileged Chinese in a Chinese-dominated society, (or fill-in-the-blanks, regarding your specific racial or nationalistic privilege), we are blind to our own privilege and we tend to be oblivious of the sufferings of others who aren’t as favoured by the societal system as we are.

Some may say, “Well, it’s his fault for not adhering to the company dress code. We need to dress a certain way in order to portray a certain image to customers.”

I see your point, but it only goes to show how shallow we all can be by judging the book by the cover and to be (mis)led by stereotypes based on how people are dressed.

Some may say, “But the motorists aren’t really harassing you. They may honk at you because they aren’t used to encountering cyclists on the road.”

Yes, but there is a need for awareness that cyclists have as much right (and responsibility) to use the roads as the motorists.

That is the reason we need education about cyclists having equal rights to travel on the roads and being recognised for contributing to environmental sustainability and easing traffic congestion.

That is the reason we need education about respecting people regardless of how they wear clothes (or not wearing at all, as part of body acceptance practised in naturism and nature-based indigenous societies).

That is the reason we need education about ACCEPTING people who look different from us or have a different skin colour or subscribe to a different belief system.

That is why we (as a collective “we”) are talking about – and will continue to talk about – racism, classism, sexism, elitism and so on, so long as these sociopolitical issues and problems continue to exist and affect not only ourselves but also others.