Friday, December 31, 2010

Hello 2011

Hello 2011!
A new year, a new decade...surprises await us...and yes what a surprise I got this New Year morning.
But I will get through this period...I will persevere as I have the last few years and I will move on...cos' life must go on.
There is no time to mope or cry...or regret or look back...but the future is what is ahead...we don't know what lies ahead, Man plans but God decides.
It's my wake up call.
Don't believe that life is all mundane and smooth...believe that things will happen if they want to...what goes round comes round, what goes up must come down...deja vu, karma etc.

Well...I want to believe that 2011 will be a good filled with hope and promise, one that is filled with goodness, happiness, fairness, free from financial constraints, free from worries and filled with love, joy and patience.

Happy New`Year everyone!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Healthy aging: Tips for finding meaning and joy 3

A key ingredient in the recipe for healthy aging is the continuing ability to find meaning and joy in life. As you age, your life will change and you will lose things that previously occupied your time and gave your life purpose. For example, you may retire from your career or your children may move far away. But this is not a time to stop moving forward. Later life can be a time of exciting new adventures if you let it.

Healthy aging means finding activities that you enjoy

Everyone has different ways of experiencing meaning and joy, and the activities you enjoy may change over time. If you’re not sure where to get started, try some of the following suggestions:

§ Pick up a long-neglected hobby

§ Play with your grandchildren or a favorite pet

§ Learn something new (an instrument, a foreign language, a new game)

§ Get involved in your community (volunteer or attend a local event)

§ Take a class or join a club

§ Go on a weekend trip to a place you’ve never visited

§ Spend time in nature (take a walk, go fishing, enjoy a scenic view)

§ Enjoy the arts (visit a museum, go to a concert or a play)

The possibilities are endless. The important thing is to find activities that are both meaningful and enjoyable. Whatever your preference, taking time to nourish your spirit is never wasted.

Healthy aging through humor, laughter, and play

Laughter is strong medicine for both the body and the mind. It helps you stay balanced, energetic, joyful, and healthy. A sense of humor helps you get through tough times, look outside yourself, laugh at the absurdities of life, and transcend difficulties.

To learn more about how to harness its powerful effects, read Laughter is the Best Medicine: The Health Benefits of Humor and Laughter.

Healthy aging: Tips for staying connected

One of the greatest challenges of aging is how your support network changes. Staying connected isn’t always easy as you grow older—even for those who have always had an active social life. Retirement, illness, death, and moves can take away close friends and family members. And the older you get, the more people you lose. What’s more, getting around may be difficult.

But it’s important to find ways to reach out and connect to others. Loneliness and isolation are major threats to aging well. Having people you can turn to for company and support is a buffer against depression, disability, hardship, and loss.

The good news is that there are lots of ways to be with other people. It doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you get out of the house (if possible) and socialize:

§ Connect regularly with friends and family. Spend time with people you enjoy and who make you feel upbeat. It may be a neighbor who you like to walk with, a lunch date with an old friend, or shopping with your children. Even if you are not close by, call or email frequently to keep relationships fresh.

§ Make an effort to make new friends. As you lose people in your circle, it is vital to make new connections so your circle doesn’t dwindle. Make it a point to befriend people who are younger than you. Younger friends can reenergize you and help you see life from a fresh perspective.

§ Spend time with at least one person every day. You shouldn’t be alone day after day. Phone or email contact is not a replacement for spending time with other people. Regular face-to-face contact helps you ward off depression and stay positive.

§ Volunteer. Giving back to the community is a wonderful way to strengthen social bonds and meet others, and the meaning and purpose you find in helping others will enrich and expand your life. Volunteering is a natural way to meet others interested in similar activities or who share similar values. Even if you’re housebound, you can get involved by volunteering on the phone.

§ Find support groups in times of change. If you or a loved one is coping with a chronic illness or recent loss, it can be very helpful to participate in a support group with others undergoing the same challenges.

Healthy aging: Tips for boosting vitality

Don’t fall for the myth that aging automatically means you’re not going to feel good anymore. It is true that aging involves physical changes, but it doesn’t have to mean discomfort and disability. While not all illness or pain is avoidable, many of the physical challenges associated with aging can be overcome or drastically mitigated by eating right, exercising, and taking care of yourself.

It’s never too late to start! No matter how old you are or how unhealthy you’ve been in the past, caring for your body has enormous benefits that will help you stay active, sharpen your memory, boost your immune system, manage health problems, and increase your energy. In fact, many older adults report feeling better than ever because they are making more of an effort to be healthy than they did when they were younger.

So folks...don't worry about your's just a number.

As a friend once told me, after 50 everyday is a bonus. How true!

So why worry about the boss who wants to make life difficult for you, why worry about shallow colleagues, why worry about flighty friends, why worry about what's ahead. Just live each day to its fullest, do your best as usual, keep company with the best of friends, love your family, love yourself, stay healthy in mind and body and be happy!

Myths About Healthy Aging 2

Life is full of myths and we do need some myth busters at our age...

MYTH: Old age means poor health and disability.

Fact: There are some diseases that are more common in older adults. However, getting old does not automatically mean poor health or that you will be confined to a walker or wheelchair. Plenty of older adults enjoy vigorous health. Preventive measures like healthy eating, exercising and managing stress can help reduce the risk of chronic disease and fall risk later in life.

MYTH: Memory loss is an inevitable part of aging.

Fact: You may eventually notice you don’t remember experiences as easily as in the past, and memories may take longer to retrieve. However, significant memory loss is not an inevitable result of aging. Brain training and new learning can occur at any age. And there are many things you can do to keep your memory sharp.

MYTH: You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

Fact: One of the more damaging myths of aging is that after a certain age, you just won’t be able to try anything new or contribute things anymore. Quite the contrary. Older adults are just as capable of learning new things, thriving in new environments, and sharing their wisdom and experience with many generations. If you believe in yourself and have confidence in yourself, you are setting up a positive environment for change no matter what your age.

* Yes, let's not let age get in the way of what we believe we can do.

Healthy aging: Tips for coping with change

As you age, there will be periods of both joy and stress. It’s important to build your resilience and find healthy ways to cope with challenges. This ability will help you make the most of the good times and keep your perspective when times are tough.

§ Focus on the things you’re grateful for. The longer you live, the more you lose. But as you lose people and things, life becomes even more precious. When you stop taking things for granted, you appreciate and enjoy what you have even more.

§ Acknowledge and express your feelings. You may have a hard time showing strong emotions, perhaps feeling that such a display is inappropriate and weak. But burying your feelings can lead to anger, resentment, and depression. Don’t deny what you’re going through. Find healthy ways to process your feelings, perhaps by talking with a close friend or writing in a journal.

§ Accept the things you can’t change. Many things in life are beyond our control. Rather than stressing out over them, focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react to problems. Face your limitations with dignity and a healthy dose of humor.

§ Look for the silver lining. As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” When facing major challenges, try to look at them as opportunities for personal growth. If your own poor choices contributed to a stressful situation, reflect on them and learn from your mistakes.

§ Take daily action to deal with life’s challenges. When challenges seem too big to handle, sweeping them under the carpet often appears easier. But ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away; it allows both the problem and your anxiety to build. Instead, take things one small step at a time. Even a small step can go a long way to boosting your confidence and reminding you that you are not powerless.

  • Depression is not a normal part of aging
  • The difficult changes that older individuals often face—such as the death of a spouse, retirement, or medical problems—can lead to depression, especially if you don’t have a strong support system. But depression is not a normal or necessary part of aging, and with treatment and support, you can get back to enjoying your golden years.

* yes, change is the only thing that is constant. If we want change, we need to change first.

Let us change and meet whatever challenges are ahead for us as we age gracefully...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Laughter time...

This is the best and most civil way to have a fight between husband and wife instead of resorting to physical force...
Poems written by WIFE andHUSBAND.


I wrote your name on sand it got washed.
I wrote your name in air, it was blown away.
Then I wrote your name on my heart & I got Heart Attack.


God saw me hungry, he created pizza.
He saw me thirsty, he created Pepsi.
He saw me in the dark, he created light.
He saw me without problems, he created YOU.


Twinkle twinkle little star
You should know what you are
And once you know what you are
Mental hospital is not so far.


The rain makes all things beautiful.
The grass and flowers too.
If rain makes all things beautiful
Why doesn't it rain on you?

he he he...cheers.

Healthy Aging Tips 1


If you are at the age where you think you are getting on...

I'm at the age when I am starting to watch my body size, weight, my hairstyle, the food I eat, the company I keep....woh..the list here goes.

As we grow older, we experience an increasing number of major life changes, including retirement, the loss of loved ones, and the physical changes of aging. How we handle these changes, as well as regular day-to-day stresses, is the key to aging well.

Healthy aging is about much more than staying physically healthy—it’s about maintaining your sense of purpose and your zest for life. While the specific ingredients of healthy aging are different for everyone, the common factors are good mental health and the ability to manage stress. Knowing the basic formula for healthy aging will help you live with meaning and joy throughout your senior years.

Coping with change is difficult, no matter how old you are. The particular challenge for older adults is the sheer number of changes and transitions—including the loss of friends, family, your career, your health, and even your independence. It’s natural to feel those losses. But if that sense of loss is balanced with positive ingredients, you have a formula for aging well.

Healthy aging means continually reinventing yourself, finding new things you enjoy, learning to adapt to change, staying physically and socially active, and feeling connected to your community and loved ones. Unfortunately, for many, aging brings anxiety and fear instead. How will I take care of myself? What if I lose my spouse? What is going to happen to my mind? However, many of these fears stem from myths about aging that are exaggerated or simply untrue. The truth is that you are stronger and more resilient than you may think.

We are still talking to mum about accepting our loss and also her own limited mobility as well as spending time alone when all of us are away...

Healthy aging: Tips for eating well as you age

As you age, your relationship to food changes along with your body. A decreased metabolism, changes in taste and smell, and slower digestion may affect your appetite, the foods you can eat, and how your body processes food. The key is to figure out how to adapt to your changing needs. Now, more than ever, healthy eating is important to maintain your energy and health.

§ Load up on high-fiber fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Your whole digestive system is slower, so fiber is very important. Consume fiber-rich foods such as whole grains, fruit, and vegetables. They will help you feel more energetic and give you fuel to keep going.

§ Put effort into making your food look and taste good. Your tastebuds aren’t as strong and your appetite may not be the same, but your nutritional needs are just as important as ever. If you don’t enjoy eating like you used to, put a little more effort into your meals, including the way you flavor, prepare, and present your food.

§ Watch out for dehydration. Because of physical changes, older adults are more prone to dehydration. So make sure you are drinking plenty of fluid, even if you don’t feel thirsty. If you’re not getting enough water, you’re not going to be as sharp and your energy will suffer.

§ Make meals a social event. It’s more enjoyable to eat with others than alone. Invite people over. You can share cooking and cleanup duties.

*yes our diet has got to include more fruit juices and veggies..

For more tips, visit Nutrition for Seniors: Healthy Eating Tips for Older Adults.

What kind of a cartoon character are you?

Want to find out...a friend sent me on...

Everyone has a personality of a cartoon character. Have you ever asked yourself what cartoon character do you most resemble?

A group of investigators got together and analyzed the personalities of well known and modern cartoon characters. The information that was gathered was made into this test.

Answer all the questions (only 10) with what describes you best, add up all your Points (which are next to the answer that you choose) at the end and look for your results.

1. Which one of the following describes the perfect date?
a) Candlelight dinner (4 pts.)
b) Fun/Theme Park (2 pts.)
c) Painting in the park (5 pts)
d) Rock concert (1 pt.)
e) Going to the movies (3 pts.)

2. What is your favorite type of music?
a) Rock and Roll (2 pts.)
b) Alternative (1 pt.)
c) Soft Rock (4 pts.)
d) Country (5 pts.)
e) Pop (3 pts.)

3. What type of movies do you prefer?
a) Comedy (2 pts.)
b) Horror (1 pt..)
c) Musical (3 pts.)
d) Romance (4 pts.)
e) Documentary (5 pts.)

4. Which one of these occupations would you choose if you only could choose one of these?
a) Waiter (4 pts.)
b) Professional Sports Player (5 pts.)
c) Teacher (3 pts.)
d) Police (2 pts.)
e) Cashier (1 pt)

5 What do you do with your spare time?
a) Exercise (5 pts.)
b) Read (4 pts.)
c) Watch television (2 pts.)
d) Listen to music (1 pt.)
e) Sleep (3 pts.)

6. Which one of the following colors do you like best?
a) Yellow (1 pt.)
b) White (5 pts.)
c) Sky Blue (3 pts.)
d) Dark Blue (2 pts.)
e) Red (4 pts.)

7. What do you prefer to eat?
a) Snow (3 pts.)
b) Pizza (2 pts.)
c) Sushi (1 pt.)
d) Pasta (4 pts.)
e) Salad (5 pts.)

8. What is your favorite holiday ?
a) Halloween (1 pt.)
b) Christmas (3 pts.)
c) New Year (2 pts.)
d) Valentine's Day (4 pts..)
e) Thanksgiving (5 pts.)

9. If you could go to one of these places which one would it be?
a) Paris (4 pts)
b) Spain(5 pts)
c) Las Vegas(1 pt)
d) Hawaii(4 pts)
e) Hollywood (3 pts)

10. With which of the following would you prefer to spend time with?
a) Someone Smart (5 pts.)
b) Someone attractive (2 pts.)
c) Someone who likes to Party (1 pt.)
d) Someone who always has fun (3 pts.)
e) Someone very sentimental (4 pts.)

Now add up your points and find out the answer you have been waiting for! Put your character in the subject line and forward to your friends and back to the person that sent this to you.
Very interesting to see 'who' your friends are!

(10-16 points) You are Garfield:
You are very comfortable, easy going, and you definitely know how to have fun but sometimes you take it to an extreme. You always know what you are doing and you are always in control of your life. Others may not see things as you do, but that doesn't mean that you always have to do what is right. Try to remember, your happy spirit may hurt you or others.

(17-23 points) You are Snoopy:
You are fun; you are very cool and popular. You always know what's in and you ' re never out of style , y you are good at knowing how to satisfy everyone else. You have probably disappeared for a few days more than once but you always come home with the family values that you learned Being married and having children are important to you, but only after you have had your share of fun times

(24-28 points) You are Elmo:
You have lots of friends and you are also popular, always willing to give advice and help out a person in need. You are very optimistic and you always see the bright side of things. Some good advice: try not to be too much of a dreamer. Dreaming too big could cause many conflicts in your life.

(29-35 points) You are Sponge Bob Square Pants:
You are the classic person that everyone loves. You are the best friend that anyone could ever have and never wants to lose. You never cause harm to anyone and they would never not understand your feelings. Life is a journey, it' s funny and calm for the most part. Stay away from traitorS and jealous people and you will be stress free.

(36-43 points) You are Charlie Brown:
You are tender, you fall in love quickly but you are also very serious about all relationships. You are a family person. You call your Mom every Sunday. You have many friends and may occasionally forget a few Birthdays. Don't let your passion confuse you with reality.

(44-50 points ) You are Dexter:
You are smart and definitely a thinker... Every situation is fronted with a plan. You have a brilliant mind. You demonstrate very strong family principles. You maintain a stable routine but never ignore a bad situation when it comes. Try to do less over thinking every once in a while to spice things up a bit with spontaneity!

Have some Fun!!

50 and living it... 2010

Today there was an article in the New Straits Times by Maureen Rice entitled, "50 and loving it".
Two and a half years ago in April 2008, I started my blog '50andlivingit'. While Maureen writes about women over 50 who are embracing midlife with energy and passion, back then I decided that I was going 'to be 50 and I will live my life as I see it and love the way I live it".

She says, 'Today's midlife women have lived more multifacted lives than their mothers. They have more education, wider experiences, bigger networks and are more economically independent than our mothers, none of which protects us from ill health, a bad marriage or ageing parents but they can help you deal with them a lot better'.

Back then, it was much easier to believe and write with enthusiasm amidst a positive attitude and mind. I still want to believe in all things positive about my outlook of life, about family, friends and colleagues and people in general. Looking back, I embraced 50 with gusto...I wanted to start the second half of a decade well..I wanted to live my life to the fullest. I still do. The past two years have been filled with sadness at my dad's passing, with happiness at being awarded at my job at last, at my nephew's wedding and family get togethers. But the last year has seen my enthusiasm for life overshadowed by the animosity and shallowness at work.

One cannot really divide family life and career life although we have been reminded to time and again. How can our work life not be affected when we need to wake up and go to work not knowing if the powers that be are in office and wondering what next. The past year for me has been a challenging one. For all who know me and wonder about my patience and tolerance, I can tell you that I have been truly tested. I still want to believe in the goodness of people, I still want to go to work because I believe I can still contribute to the organisation but I can tell you,I am searching for greener pastures. Why not and how come so late? Well its never too late to start afresh even if I am now 50 + 2!

2010 is about to end, I have not shed the pounds I pledged to do back in 2008, in fact I think i might have plowed them back in due to the pressures at work, but then I have no one to blame but myself, cos if anyone is in control of our bodies, it is ourselves. That is one resolution that is going into the 2011 basket.

2010..hmmm...what a year this has been. one filled with uncertainty at work even till today. Luckily for me, family in the end is all that matters and friendship. I have cultivated many fantastic friendships and I thank God for that. Let us not regret one day for what has been. But instead reflect on what has been positive and good the past year. It is a year in our lives and it has been a year of how we made it to be.

I look back and am proud to say I have stood my ground, I have given my best to all the tasks given to me, I have been a filial daughter, a supportive wife and mother, a great sister, aunt... a responsible boss and a good friend to all my co-workers. I did travel to China and seen Shanghai plus a few other cities. I wish I had been able to travel more but being around for my mum who is not very mobile has been a factor that I stay home. Oh...I was crowned Scrabble champion at work...he he..not bad you say, ya..seeing that I haven't played in years. Fortunately, my tiles were good!

My kids have really grown the past year and don't need me around that much..I think. Still being there when they do is important and I hope I will be around longer to do that. As long as they need me I will be there for them. I wish I had the financial resources to retire early but no, so to work I will go and pray that 2011 will be a better year for all of us.

I have been blessed with good health generally and thank God for that.
For 2011, I pray for an improved working environment wherever I may be. I pray for understanding bosses and sincere work colleagues, I pray for more team workers and less cronyism and favouritism or racism!
I pray for greater inner peace and joy, for better focus, for more unity in my family, for love and joy to overcome greed and unhappiness. Most if all I pray for my mum to accept her limitations and uncertainties and let us help her in our own ways. May she find peace in her heart and joy with the family.

I wish for everyone a wonderful year ahead and May all who seek love, joy, happiness, success, health and wealth find it. May all who have hatred and vengeance in their hearts find solace and forgiveness. May you all receive what you ask for and live to enjoy life.

For whatever happens, I want to be happy, I want to live my life living it and loving it.

Here's to 2011. Cheers everyone.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

Merry X'mas everyone.

Another year, our second without dad. Of course we all miss him, still nothing will be the same again. This year there were only three families, my sister's in London, my younger brothers were away overseas with their families. But it all came to past and the rest of us 'potlucked' and we had our fun, eating together and opening our pressies.

Christmas is a time for giving, 'forgiving', a time to let things go,a time for us to look back the year and prepare for the new year ahead. One bank commercial puts X'mas as a time for 'taking'...well i am sure some of us will. But X'mas will always be special, no matter where we are, cos' it is being with family, its' like home where the heart is. So let us be happy, enjoy what's left of the year, review the year that has been and make new resolutions for the new year.
So to everyone, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Just Beautiful!!

"Life is not about waiting
for the storms to pass...
it's about learning
how to dance in the rain."

Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its trouble,
It empties today of its strength."

Read on...

What makes me weak? My fears.....

What makes me whole? My God.

What keeps me standing? My faith.

What makes me compassionate? My selflessness.

What makes me honest? My integrity.

What sustains my mind? My quest for knowledge.

What teaches me all lessons? My mistakes.

What lift's my head high? My pride, not arrogance.

What if I can't go on? Not an option.

What makes me victorious? My courage to climb.

What makes me competent? My confidence .

What makes me sensual? My insatiable essence.

What makes me beautiful? My everything.

What makes me a woman? My heart .

Who says I need love? I do.

What empowers me? My God & Me.


The Invisible Epidemic of Life deficit disorder

Something to share...

How often do you find yourselves in this this article to find out more..

The symptoms are under the radar, but you'll probably recognize them. A friend says, "How are you?" and you tick off a litany of projects you're working on. A rare free moment touches off the alarm to get busy. Someone asks you what you do for fun, and you can't think of anything.
These are all telltale signs of a growing affliction in 24/7 times -- life deficit disorder. You've lost that livin' feeling. More and more of us are too busy to live, or so we think, and when we do get some living in, we're too guilty or out of practice at it to enjoy it. The culprit is a mammoth identity theft that has taken over our brains -- the performance identity. It has convinced many of us that we have to be in task formation every minute of the day, or we're terminal slackers. This interloper is dedicated to keeping you as consumed as possible with output, every shred of which, it would have you believe, is of life-or-death importance. In comparison, your life off-the-clock appears to be a sideshow, an interruption in productivity.
The performance ID makes you think you are what you do and forces you to go through gyrations to justify getting some life in. It dictates that all value comes from output. Step back from nonstop performance, and you are valueless. You feel twitchy, fidgety, in other words, guilty as charged for violating the rules of the competition to have less of a life than the next person.
Production is a good thing -- we all need to feel competent, accomplish things, provide valuable services -- but not to the exclusion of the whole point of the production, the experience of life actually lived. It's very difficult to get life in your life when the performance ID is in control. The compulsion is to keep filling time, instead of finding ways to make it fulfilling, which is what our brains want.
Depend solely on performance for validation, and you can't really live, because the imposter ID is programmed only for output. The work mind can't play, since enjoyment is a realm of input -- about experiencing, not outcome. Using the work mind to produce fun is like having somebody keep minutes at your picnic. I know a woman in Arizona who spreadsheets her vacations down to the last hour. Whoopee. Surveys tell us many people will be returning from Labor Day vacations disappointed that they didn't get everything "done" or seen on their trips, as if they were expecting some kind of holiday performance review. We wind up doing life as if it was work.
The performance ID has no idea how to generate fun and aliveness. It knows only how to keep you running from the productivity police. You want fun? How about a little inventory metadata? Don't you need to check email you just checked five minutes ago? You can never let up, because there's always something next on the list.
Life deficit disorder is aided and abetted by the reflexive work style that prevails today, in which the premium is on acting before thinking, amped by the false emergency of time urgency and the ADD circus of tech tools run amok. It's all counterproductive to the work as well as your life. Multitasking actually slows you down, numerous studies show. You're not doing several high-thought tasks simultaneously. You're switching back and forth between them. That slows you down. Time urgency fuels rushing and rushing fuels mistakes and stress, not to mention heart attacks.
Performance-based worth is also a loser. It creates only the need to validate through more performance. The reality is that the job is only a small part of who you are. It's what psychologists call a persona, a mask that describes your social role, but it's not the whole you. When you think it is, you lose track of the authentic person behind the mask and that character's needs, interests, values and even the abilities necessary to live your life.
Stanford's Mark Cullen told me about research he did while at Yale's School of Medicine with some of the most successful executives in the country. They had achieved considerable wealth and status, but a couple days after walking out the door into retirement, these no-longer-execs felt worthless. They weren't producing anymore. That's how fragile the performance ID is. The men in Cullen's study had no leisure skills and didn't know what to do with themselves. So after working their whole lives to be able to have the freedom to live, they didn't know how!
Contrary to every message we get, living a rich and fulfilling life takes skills, which I detail in Don't Miss Your Life. As long as the performance ID is running the show, we can't develop those skills, because everything must be done for some "instrumental purpose," as the University of Rochester's Edward Deci terms it, a demonstrable external payoff. We blow off avocations and diversions, because what would we really get out of them? Where would they get us? These are the kind of cockamamie questions that lead to life deficit disorder.
The evidence shows that the production ID is a flop when it comes to creating real value, which comes from a broad, self-determined view that you are competent and worthy to enjoy life, and from the actual experience of same. The thrill of a job promotion is gone in two weeks. Then you have to find a new notch to pump yourself up with. Performance is an external gauge, so it wears off quickly and doesn't move your internal meter.
Define yourself by how busy you are, and you will never have time for life. What's going to matter in the end is not how booked-up you were, or the tally of tasks handled, but the experiences that let you know that the living you made yourself was actually indulged in. As psychologist Erik Erikson put it, when you look back you'll want to know, "Did I get what I came for? Was it a good time? Did I do what I wanted?" Reclaim your real ID from the performance con and the answer can be a resounding Yes.

Joe Robinson is an author and work-life balance trainer and speaker whose new book, Don't Miss Your Life, is a samba-dancing, dragon-boat paddling, rock-climbing ride through the science, skills, and spirit of full-tilt living. The book comes out Oct. 25. For more info, visit, (Sept. 14), and

Books & More From Joe Robinson

My poignant trip to China and back...August 2010

After a couple of months of waiting, finally the day dawned when my sister and I were ready to embark on a tour together. My sister Anna had booked us on an 8-day Reliance tour to Shanghai and a few cities. It wasn’t my first trip to China. In 2006 i went to Beijing with the entourage led by the KSU of MOE for the JWG meeting. Then last year, I was in Hangzhou for a UNESCO-APEID conference and delivered a paper. So on the morning of the 27 August, we met at the KLIA at 7am as organised by Reliance. Much to our chagrin, we waited and searched for the tour guide..he wasn’t at the meeting point, gate 4 level 5. My sister of course was upset and went in search for him. Finally around 7.30am, we managed to locate him. Apparently he had gone ahead and checked in a group at 6.30am and forgot about the rest of us. So anyway, after an exchange of words, not really good to start an 8-day tour, we checked in and luckily all within time as our flight was scheduled at 9am to Shanghai.
The flight to Shanghai took off as scheduled and although was a bit bumpy, it was ok. We travelled by MAS and overall the plane ride was fine. There was only brunch served around 11am and also ice cream around 1pm. We arrived at 2.30pm at Shanghai international airport. After clearance from immigration and customs, we were met by our local guide, Xiao Fei. He seemed a nice fellow and most important was bi-lingual. My grasp of Mandarin isn’t something I’m proud of, so the use of English to explain certain things helped. Also my sister was able to understand more of the Mandarin and was able to explain to me as well. Anyway, once we got our things on the bus, we were taken on a ride on China’s Maglev train, touted to be the fastest, going at 480 miles per second. So our ride took about 8 minutes in all. We ended up on one side of Shanghai and boarded the bus. We were then taken on a trip to Hangzhou, our next destination, hometown of our local guide. Arrived at a restaurant for dinner. Our first meal in China, and we found I to be a bit too oily and salty. Dishes were many especially vegetables but the meat or fish served was a tart too small, even not enough pieces to go round the ten of us. Anyway, it had been a long day, so any hot meal would do for us. Then drove to Hotel Braim, our hotel for two nights, for the night having arrived almost 10.00pm. After checking in and a hot bath, it was bedtime for day 1.
Day 2: After breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant, we were off at 9.30am for our next destination. The infamous Westlake, often known as “heaven on earth” by the Chinese. Well, it was my first time visiting the place even though I was in Hangzhou last November. Then winter came early and everything was dark by 5pm, so even while I dined at Shangri La one evening, which was opposite Westlake, I couldn’t see it at all. So another visit to Westlake was fantastic having heard so much about it. Our trip to Westlake was to go on a boat cruise around the lake. Our tour guide gave a good review of the scenery around the lake, we saw pagodas on hills, temples along the way and causeways or bridges. The whole cruise took about an hour. Yes indeed, the lake was beautiful and serene. Later we visited the Westlake garden and fish coy pond.

We had lunch at Grandma’s, a favourite restaurant of our tour guide, Xiao Fei. Yes home cooked food, still for me and the rest, we had what they called the special Hangzhou Dongpo meat and beggar chicken. Next, we visited the Leifang Pagoda and Museum on the Westlake. The pagoda was really high up, built on an older site. I didn’t go right up as I was sure my legs couldn’t stand the hike up. So my sister and I decided to just go up two levels and come back down again and wait for the rest.

Next we went off to the lakeside for some shopping at Lixing Plaza and Hubin fashion street. We stopped in front of Starbucks. In fact, we would see a lot of Stabucks, KFC and McDs in all the shopping areas. We had coffee at a donuts shop. It was ok. Didnt do much shopping cos’ there were things we could get back home and the price is not exactly cheap. We did get some stuff at Watsons! Then it was time for us to get on board the bus, have dinner take a shower back at the hotel and get ready for the nite out to see the West lake Impression, choregraphed by director Zhang Yimou.
Left the hotel at we had to park on the opposite side of the lake and take a long walk.
Then waited for the tour guide to get the number of tourists already there was fantastic. Finally we were allowed in and shown our seats around the lake. It was an open arena theatre and set around real mountains and waters as its backdrop and there were actually raincoats tucked at the side of our seats! The show started at 8.45pm, very punctual. The nite was clear but pitch black. The performance was all done on a built up stage on the lake. Yes, it was about an hour long performance about two lovers who were separated reunited in the end. Yes the show was spectacular, I think it involved hundreds of performers and they got all wet performing! But that was all part of the show. I should say it was entertaining and money’s worth. After the show, we walked back to the bus and headed back to or hotel for the night.

Day 3: After breakfast, we were taken to visit Huagang Park and Longing Tea Plantation. There we were taken to a room where the processing of green tea was explained to us. This was the beginning of many “special” personal sales services prepared for us by Reliance and the Chinese Tourism Ministry. Infact, at the end of the trip, I was a bit bored by all these “forced” sales trips and to me, we could have seen more if taken to visit places where the locals shop and ate! Anyway, on our way to the green tea factory, the tour guide had already started selling us the idea that China green tea was best and good for our health. One packet of the highest grade costs RNMB 1900. Out of the 20 people in our group, in the end 2 ex-teachers, husband and wife, and my dear sister bought the tea. Hope it is worth all the money and talk about the goodness of it all!
Next we boarded the boarded Zhuji, a city south of Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province. It has an area of 2,311 sq km with a population of over 1 million inhabitants, to visit the hometown of Xishi, one of the famous beauties in China. We visited the memorial of Xishi at the Zhengshi Temple. We had lunch nearby and though still salty, was overall ok, with lots of vegetables. So far the fruit we got for dessert has been watermelon, must be the seasonal fruit!
Next it was off to Shaoxing, a prefecture-level city in northwestern Zheijiang province. Lying on the south bank of the Qiantang river mouth, it borders Ningbo to the east, Taizhou to the southeast, Jinhua to the southwest and Hangzhou to the west. We arrived in the city and visited the former residence of Luxun, a well-respected official of the Zhou dynasty. Here, we saw the old residences of the former officials, the gardens and of course the practices at that time. Next, we were brought to some shopping centers till dinner time. Then it was off to a hotel to spend the night. Suffice to say, so far the hotels we stayed in have been comfortable and the breakfast that comes with it has been good.
Day 4.
Another day on the road. After breakfast, we journeyed to Wuchen. Our initial tour included Nanxun town, an old town well known for its cultural heritage. Wuchen was put in our itinerary to replace Nanxun. Wuchen is an ancient water town. Here we were met by a local guide, a young pretty girl who was also bi-lingual. Surrounded by canals, the town center was divided into houses and shops. Many of the residents have moved but there were some old folks who still live there and have their lives open to the peering eyes of the tourists. A walkabout took us about an hour. That included seeing how rice wine is produced and various other small industries. We took a few pictures along the canal, bought some fans as souvenirs, and even sat down in one of the stalls for a couple of

After this, it was off to Suzhou, well-known for its beautiful women. This was where the emperor set sail from his palace and sailed down the river looking for his future concubines, so I’ve been told! Then we took a ride around the Lake Taihu . Apparently three sides of the lake are covered with hills, forests and pagodas. One side has been developed and high-rise buildings are seen all over the hill. Here another local guide met us and was also bilingual. That helped a number of us who were not really Mandarin proficient.
Suzhou is also famous for its beautiful and expensive silk. We were taken to a factory that produced Suchou Silk. Here we saw how silk thread was made from the cocoon of the silkworms. It was quite an eye opener. Of course the next thing we were introduced and sort of pressured to buy silk comforters, bedsheets and pillows. I ended up buying a comforter, my sis bought a whole set and spent quite a sum of money on them too. We were also treated to a silk fashion show, where young girls paraded silkwear from cheongsams to night gowns. I think a few of them in our group bought some silk items and souvenirs. Then there were silk creams and products which were introduced to us as vital for smooth clear skins. And yes, we bought some as well. Then it was time to catch some lunch and go for a short shopping trip at Guangian Street. Then it was dinner time and back to the hotel for the night. And so ended day 4.
Day 5:
Day 5 saw us on a trip to the Lion garden after breakfast. Here, the ancient garden had figurines carved like animals and lions. There were pagodas and little bridges with gardens. We also saw date trees though it wasn’t the season. After lunch we proceeded to Wuxi where we were met with another local guide called Ginger, or Xiao Chiang. He spoke English very well on top of Mandarin. Infact, he was no stranger to Malaysia having been there many times and staying there for long periods as well. He could even tell us Malaysian jokes and secrets!! We visited the famous Jade Buddha Temple amidst heavy rain. Luckily the guide decided to get us the tram else we would have to walk 8km to see the Buddha. A few tourists bought umbrellas...pretty good buys actually...a big giant umbrella for RMB 50 (RM25), bigger and sturdier than a Golf umbrella so said a golf player amongst us. My sister and I decided the hike up the Giant Buddha would be too much for our legs so we took a raincheck and posed for pictures with one that was level ground. Also interesting was the Buddha Palm and anyone touching it while going round was said to have luck, thus the white line around the palm can be seen quite clearly (many people took the advice thus the much used space around ...). we also took pictures with the laughing Buddha surrounded my kids...seems if we touch ‘it’ we would have a happy family. Then it was another shopping center...still found it expensive so didn’t buy anything. So far its been difficult to get any souvenirs. We went to a hotel for dinner before proceeding to Shanghai for the night. We checked in at the Holiday Inn Express in one and a half hours.

Day 6
After breakfast, we visited Lihu scenic spot and the pearl farm. Once again we were introduced to the farming of oysters and the products made from pearls from jewellery to pearl creams etc. After some shopping, yes suffice to say we got a few souvenirs here, yes plus the creams. Then it was lunchtime and shopping at a local supermarket.

Day 7.
As usual, after breakfast, it was off to visit the Jade Buddha temple. The whole Buddha statue was made from jade and was impressive. After an hour...we came out of the back lane and at last wallah...there were a few stalls selling some small souvenirs! You would notice by now that the intention of the Reliance tour and the Chinese Tourism Ministry is to bring all visitors to planned factory visits and big shopping centers, just to tell you that you should only buy quality products and big shopping foreign shops means that China has arrived! I think basically if I look back at my trip I should say they have been successful cos I can’t really remember all the places I went nor the names but I do remember the sales trips to the silk, pearl, jade, green tea, chrysanthemum tea and teapots shows!
So at 11am we went of to the Shanghai expo 2010. We reached about noon and after parking the bus we were taken to the entrance of the expo. After getting us the tickets, we were told the bus would pick us up where the driver parked it. At car park 24, which was actually quite a distance away. Anyway, the expo was high on my agenda when I decided to join the trip but it was to be limited to just half a day in the end! We then proceeded to plan our way through the expo having only about 6 hours to make a quick run of the expo.

Thus, we managed to visit the following pavilions: The USA pavilion, the South American countries pavillion, the African continent, the Malaysian and Singapore pavilions. We didn’t manage the rest of the countries but just passed them by, the lines were really too long and our tired legs just couldn’t handle the walk and wait anymore. We dragged our tired feet to the waiting bus at 6pm. Then it was off to the hotel for the night. We had our dinner nearby at the Kungfu restaurant. Reasonable price. And this ended our day in Shanghai.
Day 8.
Today was at our own leisure. We took a quick walk around the hotel, stopped by a couple of marts and had a look at the local train station. Then it was back to the hotel for some final packing. We were off to the airport at 12noon. Our flight was at 3.35pm back to KLIA. ETA was 2050. It was a somewhat bumpy ride but all in all ok. I was glad to be home, somehow I guess it has been a while since I have been away on my own, the tour was a wee bit too long, the company was ok...but somehow not what I expected it to be. Anyway, what was I expecting? I asked myself that, suffice to say, I can now say I went to Shanghai, and saw a bit more of China. Would I take another trip to another part of China, maybe, but nevertheless none too soon, I think. Thanks sis for the company.

Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

courtesy of Rosnani bt Mohamad Ali.

by Mary Sullivan

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as if as soon as one problem was solved a new one arose. Her mother took her to the kitchen.

The mother filled three pots with water.

In the first, she placed carrots.
In the second she placed eggs.
And the last she placed ground coffee beans.

She let them sit and boil without saying a word. About twenty minutes later, she turned off the burners.

She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.

Turning to her daughter, she said, "Tell me what you see."

"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied. (You know the tone of voice.)

i. She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did, and noted that they felt soft.

ii. She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg inside.

iii.Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.

The daughter then asked, "So, what's the point, mother?" (Remember the tone of voice.)

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity - boiling water - but each reacted differently.

i. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.

ii. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid center. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its insides had become hardened.

iii. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water...they had changed the water.

"Which are you?" she asked her daughter. "When adversity knocks on your
door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot , an egg, or a coffee bean?"


i. Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

ii. Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? flexible

Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship, or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my outer shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?

iii. Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water - the very circumstances that bring the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor of the bean.

If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you instead of letting it change you.

When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate to another level?

How do you handle ADVERSITY?


you might wanna try it out.

long hiatus...

Here's some updates on what's been happening to dear old me...
happy reading.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Cest la vie

My much needed break from work ...

Months back...I told myself I needed a break. Yes, get away from all the happenings in the office. The bosses were adamant in following the directive, of transferring my sector’s functions to another division so to ordered by other higher ups. To me, cest la vie...Of course the officers were genuinely concerned, if we move, the new place was miles away from their homes, relocation was a fear factor, new places, new faces, new terms. To me, anywhere you work, as long as you excel, as long as you give your best, as long as the bosses give you the due respect accorded to you, you will and continue to contribute towards the well being of the organisation. Having said all that, along the way, sides were taken, in crept the inconsistency of viewpoints, the indecisiveness, the cronyism, the sickening feeling that all was not well at the top as well as on the ground. Me, I held my ground, whatever the bosses want us to do, we do it, after all, “bukankah kita yang hanya menurut perintah”. I told the staff, just be cooperative, wherever we work, it doesn’t matter, what matters most is that the work gets done, what matters most is making sure everyone understands his/her role, everyone should get ready to move. If we are told to stay, we stay, if we are told to move, we move. But equally important, whatever duties despatched to us for the year must be carried out, nothing should get in the way, as long as there is no black and white barring us from carrying out our activities, we should do our best at all times. My policy as always, do our best and God will do the rest.

So...the whole scenario really tired me. After all, I have another 6 years to go before retirement, I want to make the most of my work life. I don’t want my working life to be filled with animosity, hatred, envy, jealousy, confusion and stress. I want my remaining work years to be stress and tension free. I want my work place to be filled with people who care about their work and each other. We should always remember that people don’t care until they know how much you care. We can care about one another yet be fully committed and responsible to our daily tasks given. Bosses should trust that their officers would do a good job and all will be well.

Well..that was how I came to embark on this holiday with my sister to China...