Of tai chi and Nirvana

The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy. (Proverbs 65:8)

Kinda cringey affair cos when I reminded my 50-something classmates about dying and someone suggested tai-chi. Well, for one, I cannot indulge in tai-chi cos I was told that as Catholics, we are not supposed to mess with their inner spirit wateva. Heck, it is not actually said to me la, just that tai-chi is that exercise that I see in the early morning where one cannot do a more vigorous one so one tai-chi.

Anyway, I recently took up some breathing exercise call Nirvana. I doubled checked that there is nothing religious attached to it. BTW, I tried reading the Curia (some official letter la) on Christian meditation. It is too confusing for me, so I lost my focus midway. However, Nirvana is explained as this – 14. In Buddhist religious texts, the concept of “Nirvana” is understood as a state of quiet consisting in the extinction of every tangible reality insofar as it is transient, and as such delusive and sorrowful.

Again, that is one long sentence which left me confused too. Whatever, I enjoy the technique of counting my breaths and I do want to improve the way I breathe as it helps not only in endurance exercise but also in singing. Anyway, if you are interested to read, the letter to the Bishops on Christian meditation is found here.

I am not interested in meditation. I can talk to Jesus anytime, anywhere and I do that a lot. So I do not need some magic candle and special time to do so. Plus I do not have the concentration nor time. Give me some vigorous praise and worship and I will get my spiritual high from there. After all, that zeal and vigour are much needed as I am a faith sharer with youths.

church pew

If you want quietness, the church is always open. It is where you can feel close to God when you sit at an empty chapel or in front of the blessed sacrament.

The other current trend is practising Mindfulness. I read an article on Altheia on Mindfulness

Catholic mindfulness is a way to practically trust God more in our lives. Instead of separating faith from the day-to-day of life, mindfulness helps bridge the gap so that we can feel the peace in our lives that should come from having a Father we can trust.

I guess I am pretty much in touch with my inner self and do not need tai-chi la, Mindfulness la, meditation la…whatever la. I just need to write more and process those swirling thoughts in my mind.

Insta dieters ain’t gonna get thinner

You know what is Insta dieters? I am pretty sure you have a few show-offs on your Instagram or Facebook account like that. The kind who post their healthy diet, clean eating, sweaty workout and stats of how many KM they had done?

Yet, they never dare show their full body photo or worse only show a quarter of their faces? I do have a few like that. Those who fool themselves by trying to fool their imaginary friends that they live a healthy lifestyle.

Familiar photos like healthy vege, mountains of fruits and etc are posted on their social media account. Oats, grains, nuts bla bla bla….Yawn…..I do that too. But only when I decided to go on my month long special weight loss programme. I have not started mine yet.

Last nite I gulped down some whey protein smoothies with fruis. My processor is just RM65 from Harvey Norman offer bin and yet it works pretty well. I was asking my hubby how different is it if I eat one fruit or throw it into my el cheapo processor or buy a RM6K slow juicer? Didn’t the same fruit turn to shit as well? LOL so he said, “I can cut the power of your processor to work slowly and you get a slow juicer.” Oh well…many health industries will die if they have people like me.

In a gist, losing weight and maintaining it is not easy. It is a daily grind of eating small portions, working out regularly and it is nothing like those fake claims. So many Insta dieters are only fooling themselves when they eat poorly, and yet, fake it like they adopt a healthy lifestyle.

What I am saying is, if you want to live longer, not dying suddenly or worse still, became half paralysed due to stroke, you got to make up the mind, stick with it, work on it and not just fooling self. Do I pig out? Yes I do, but I make sure I work it out.

For example, sometimes and only sometimes, I craved into have char koay teow. But even that I never eat a whole plate by myself but share share with another. When I had eaten, I will make sure I ran at least 4 KM to get rid of my guilt.

Gone were the days when I sit in cafe having a slice of cake all to myself. Now it is only black coffee and black tea. No more sinful cakes unless I have someone to die along with me.

So hope this prick the Insta dieters. You got to work your butt off. Sweat it out. Taking a quarter of your face without your fat body will eventually kill you. You may look good on your social media account with healthy foods, shiny dumbells etc but your heart is slowy clogging up and your sugar may kill you. Tralalala…..

Smile, look the part and believe

I think I became a blogger sometime in October 2004. That makes me a very old blogger. So I dig up the old archive and yes, I was officially a blogger on Oct 23, 2004. That means I am going to be a 13 years old blogger.

I wrote this back then,

I thought bloggers are weirdos who talk to themselves ‘coz they have no human friends to talk to and they are attention seekers. But heck, I lurve blogs and stalk blogs so might as well join the bunch of weirdos.

Back then, little did I expect that there is something worse than blogs. Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. People like me purge lots of stuffs, free of charge. Well, not exactly free cos you sell yourself. Sort of.

I don’t understand why people are still so negative to this thing call technology. Sitting down with a bunch recent, the people who didnt know who I am, what I do, babble on and on about how bad technology is. I sit there trying not to let my eyeballs rolled up completely and not foaming in the mouth.

Come on, people, you can’t win this thing. Stop feeling so negative, talking like it is end of the world about technology. Your kids, your grandkids are all going to embrace it. So you either float away or you also embrace it and make the best of it.

I was so tempted to say, Hey, you know…the Pope is on Facebook too. Didn’t Jesus asked us to fish in the deep end? But I just keep quiet, nod and smile and meh…I am a polite girl, I just grin through it.

I live in the social media world. People knows what I cook today, they know what’s in my stomach, whether it is chicken rice or char koay teow, they know I go to church or not, they know whom I had been mixing with, they think they know everything.

Well, not exactly. My old buddies do not call me a Propa(ganda) Queen for nothing. Sometimes, things are real. Like this one Street Ride I pulled together last week. It was a trip down memory lane. I had been doing this homeless people street walk a few times. Sometimes as a cook, sometimes to minister and sometimes just moving along with the group. This time, it is to bring awareness. Cooking for 100 homeless is no joke but hey, God send me nice strong men to help me stir. So Hallelujah to that.

Today, I got a photo that I love so much. Taken by the council’s pixman of cyclists being flagged off. I just so love the way I look like I am so excited likedat. Well, I ooze confidence. But guess what, actually I was kicking and move along, not daring to start putting my feet on the pedals. Too many people and I was scared of falling down. But would anyone know that? So yeah, life is like that.

Look the part, smile and the world won’t know what you are feeling.

Sixteen years on

It has been sixteen years but you are still very much part of the maths. I will never erase the number out of our cosy family.

Vincent Loh Yet Aun
Born : 24 Sept 2001
Heaven : May 1, 2002

Of course, it will be easier to just say I have four sons but I always proudly say I have five. After all, I carried you in pregnancy, I cared for you more than any other babies and though seven months only, that was the longest seven months ever.

I remember a few years back, when I taught Form One, the class students were born in 2001 too. I felt a sharp stab in my heart when I realised that because that’s how old you would be too. It is not hard to imagine what life would be like for you. So, I quickly brushed it aside and accept that whatever had happened, God knows and God has His own plans.

Your little brother is our world now. Not your replacement. Never. Because I am pretty sure your temperament would not be like him. You are you. He is he.

Many times, I do imagine what would you and all your four brothers be like. Then, I quickly brushed aside again because it is merely imagination. Strangely, nowadays I no longer think that much. Maybe because my faith has completely, without a doubt, believed you are in a better place. So, I stop wondering.

Not sure why I choose to dig the old wounds. Maybe because if I don’t write it down, I feel guilty like I have forgotten you, my son in heaven. So, I dig the pain, release some of those tears so that I can shake it off. It feels good, to be able to feel those emotions. At least I know you mean a lot to me still. Enough for me to embrace a new religion that promise heaven and life eternal.

The religion that compels me to keep moving, keep doing till we meet one day. You made Bible real. Otherwise, I doubt I will be such a good Catholic girl. Because of you, I jumped into Christianity.

So yeah, my dear sixteen year old son whom I get to keep for 7 months only. I hope to meet one day, cos the Bible said so. Till then….

My 53 – The duathlon and first out of Penang trip

Fifty-three. Living it.

So I managed to squeeze in a duathlon so I can brag about it before my 53rd birthday. Thanks to my old blog reader Kaynui whom I had kept in touch and friend friend till now, I got his MAN SENIOR (mind you, he is only 40 something and not even VETERAN) bib.

If that is not bragging point enough, for the first time in my life, I drove out of Penang borders to Perak. At 5 am in the morning and the roads were like dark till cannot see anything. Bagan Serai is so ulu, even their overheard bridge is like a little nose job done badly. I remember seeing tiny lights left and right and wondered what they are until I was near and saw an overheard bridge. A tiny small small one.

Somewhere along, some stupid accident happened and the PLUS towtruck was facing contra traffic on my left. So I was like shit, have I driven into some one way cos I could see the bright headlights from far and yet, I was sure I am in the right side of the road.

Fear? I don’t allow fear to stop me. The night before, I had meticulously packed my bags as duathlon needs transition bag and regular stuffs I plan to keep in my car. However when I was into the Jelutong Expressway at 5 plus am in the morning, I realised SHIT! the brdige smart tag was way at the back of my Naza Ria and not in my driving bag.

Alone, dark, 530 am, images of woman being hit by an 18 wheeler because she stopped at the highway flashed through my mind. You know….later all the FB kepochees go post ugly photos of mine? Head here, leg there etc. However, no choice as I cannot go through toll gates without it. So I stopped. All the while making sure no 18 wheeler belakang hentam.

Anyway, I think the drive was scarier than my 5KM run, 30KM ride and 5KM cramp like hell walk. I am amazed that never once I thought of self-doubting. From the moment I told Kaynui that I want his bib till the part when I cramped till both legs cannot bend. It was Finish it, Lilian, suck it up, you got no one here to pity you, just blardy walk and finish it.

Thank God I did not cramp during the ride though some parts I felt my lower abdomen pain. It was the first time I realised even the cibai can cramp from cycling LOL. Really. When you are all alone, in Bukit Merah and some forsaken kampung, you just got to go go go and finish it. I had cramps at my calves, hamstrings and quads but never lower abdomen. Cycling if you get cramp is serious as you can neither get down from your bike nor put yr legs down to stand. So I have to estimate self when want to totally OKU. Slowly, I loosen the gear and kayuh till I finished the 30KM. All the while laughing at what I would need to do should I really cramped at the groin area. Spray heat spray and hope to die LOL.

I love doing it alone. Whether it is cycling or running or swimming because that solitude with my ownself thinking about life is very therapeutic. The Bagan Serai, or rather Kerian International Duathlon has the most beautiful route and I totally love it. The first 5KM run put me on top of the world. Running alongside guys in their trisuit is empowering. Nevermind the fact that they are doing 10KM and faster than my 5KM. Just being able to run is awesome. The guts of taking a Men Senior bib and be a man. I didn’t do too bad in the first leg and was ahead of many men. Eventually, my result was of course rather bad if I go by the bib due to the cramps at the last 5KM leg but I was about 4th placing if I use my timing to compare with women category of my age group.

So, I can tick off one duathlon in the bucket list. I had done triathlon and going to do aquthlon in Novemmber. I had also done several cycling events so yeah, feeling good that I can brag these at age 53. I thank God and praise Him for giving me the never say die attitude. I had not once felt helpless during those events. Of course, when I cannot, I just UTurn, not like can die also la. But I completed whatever I can and stand proud.

Around the island on a bicycle

The only time I ever gone around the island in one trip was back in 1981.  It was with some random guy from another school during my school mates round island trip.  LOL as the head girl who only ride the head boy motorbike back in Form Five, I had to maintain standard and picked one good looking, very tall guy from Heng Ee to go around the island at 17 years old.

The below photo is at Balik Pulau on the way to Telok Bahang.  800 is a iconic location for cyclists.  The 800m is to point that it is 800 m to the Tropical Fruit Farm.  However for us cyclists, depending on which way you are cycling, it is a sign of either going downhill or uphill.  Yesterday was my only second time passing here.  The other time was in 2016 when I took part in CFAL 8.

CFAL or Campaign For A Lane is an annual cycling affair with thousands of cyclists from all over the world and Malaysia.

However, last year, I could finally boast that I had conquered the round island on a bicycle at age 51. Solo. Well not entirely solo because 3,500 riders with about 1,000 ghost riders (those people who never pay money to join but enjoyed the closure of roads type la) also participated la. Well, I did not exactly complete because it was rather late and about to rain so I went up the lorry at the last 20 KM.

This year, I cheated a bit and thought I could almost finish it. But cramps held me back at Copthorne Hotel which is very near the Finish line. But again, up the lorry I went with pride. Cos the other buffaloes in the lorries are all males so yay, another round island trip in one single trip. On my bicycle and some parts had to walk and hobble when my legs cramp.

The above is Pastor Cheah. Back in Feb this year, I had the chance of riding with him on his motorbike as he led a group of Malaysian and Singaporean cyclists through Chiang Rai to the Golden Triangle. In the 11 hours ride, I had learnt a lot from Pastor Cheah. About faith, about God and about doing things. Pastor Cheah said he is coming for this CFAL 9 using his Penny Farthing because he said he wanted to inspire people to ride. He said, “If I can ride a Penny Farthing around the island, anyone with two wheels can do the same.” Pastor Cheah is from Penang but had set up an orphanage in Chiang Rai. His Penny Farthing has no brake, and has no gears. So can you imagine the difficulties? My mountain bike has 30 gears so I cannot say ‘cannot’.

It takes guts and very strong determination. Though I have biking friends, I prefer not to join as a group because I cannot catch up and do not want to slow them down. I met Kumar and our regular Bike On Saturday Sunday (or BOSS) gang. They had gone ahead while I slowly climb the hills of Bukit Genting and Balik Pulau. So I took my leisure ride, feeling nauseous in the beginning stage as I felt sour Milo in my throat. Then, cramps got to me but lucky my threshold of pain is high so I endured that too.

Therefore, I can now look back and claimed that I had gone around the island on bicycle more than I had done with car. Actually I had never done round island car ride before. And I can do it without one handsome looking guy to ride in front. So yeah, another feather in my cap.

A grace filled Lent

Tell me, which boss consulted everyone about firing you but did not even talk to you about accusations she heard? Well, that was what I get. A Whatsapp to ask me to resign. Not a private one but to a whole group about some baseless accusations.

So began Lent. A period of 40 days in the desert. A boss who put you on public persecution based on what she claimed she heard. Told to you through third parties.

I am much too dignified to embroil myself with emotional woman. So the obstinate me put on my obstinate mode to fight it out. By remaining silent. If there is no God and if there is no Christ, I would have kicked up a fuss. But I remind myself with Psalm 56.

In God, whose word I praise,
in the Lord, whose word I praise—
11 in God I trust and am not afraid.
What can man do to me?

But I chose to remain silent and took up the matter to the highest office. I got no time to debate with someone who cannot even speak the truth. Someone who flung all sorts of accusations.

I told the big boss. I am not resigning because if I do so, it will give the woman the chance to throw even more lies against me. Moreover, times are challenging ahead and I will want to be part of the waves to go against the injustice that enveloped us.

How do you feel when 20 people spent an hour throwing all sorts of accusations against you? In your absence! Then the woman started to get everyone on her side. Dude, I am not even your equal, I am merely a lower rank staff. I am what I am because that’s how I am. IF I am more famous than you, I can’t help it. Even MPs asked, “Lilian’s boss? Who? A woman?”

I could feel so Jesus-y at that moment. Like Jesus doodling on the grounds kinda scene. So, if there is a Lent that I will remember, it is this one. How turning to the Lord is what kept me what I am. Let the other woman rant, plot, gossip, telling more lies and such because I will just tralalala doing nothing.

Of course, the core of Christianity is forgiveness. IF I dont have that in my heart, they would all get my laser tongue. I am a much better debater because I live by principles and I know right from wrong. So, yeah, I kept silent. For over a month.

So, I applied for leave for Good Friday. And I also submit my hospitalisation forms. She refused to sign. Never mind, throw it by the door like those are pieces of rubbish. Never mind, I take it to the higher department. And I asked an innocent question – Why didnt she sign my religious leave? How come she can sign unrecorded leave on the same day I was in hospitalised MC for three of her staff? So how now, brown cow? Is it also my fault that the higher office knows about it?

I am a drama queen. I am a social media queen. I can write things and convince eskimos to buy fridge, ok? I could have abused all that but I kept it quiet. Because I am much more matured than the one who screamed about sacking me, asking everyone else to take sides to say Yes or No.

I am so disgusted when new staff who are clueless were asked to speak against me. You know…like Pontius Pilate looking for people to scream Cruficy Him? And they laughed like a pack of hyenas when a new staff said “I am shocked. I do not know what to say.” Those laughs make me sick to the stomach. What kind of heartless people are you?

So I went through 47 days with that sort of nonsense every day. Do I feel sad? At one point, when a few people messaged me they are worried about me. I did almost break into tears. Not because I fear for my job. My husband can feed me, I don’t need the salary. Everyone knows that, that Lilian work for her belief that she can change people’s perception with her words But I was so touched that many that I didn’t expect contacted me.

To those who are unsure, yes, you have all been lied to. When she said, Dia panggil saya cibai x 3 times….as if I scolded her in person or to others, I did not. It is nothing like how she had lied to all of you. I had kept quiet because I wanted to be sure.

Now, I am sure. There is no such thing. Thats why I challenged her to show proof, lodge a formal complaint where I said it, whom did I say it, how I said. Give me a formal showcause letter. I will deal with that. In truth, I DID NOT speak to her at all nor did I verbally shouted at her or even to another person.

Stations of the Cross had been so meaningful to me. I actually am lucky to know that I can focus on God more. I have more time. Like I told the youths in the camp, praise the Lord for this incident. I learn what tough cookie I am. I learn what Jesus means about turning the left cheek, right cheek. I discover total surrender, inner peace, trusting in the Lord and best of all, know who are your friends and who are the chaffs.

Finally, Lent is over. The time in the desert is over. Christ is Risen. And so will I. Now I have said this in public, I hope all will not be misled like I had killed someone’s grandma. I was being abused by people who abused her power. I took it silently because kicking up a big drama earlier when I was very angry will have repercussion on the whole system. I stayed low because I care about the whole system. Now, I don’t care about any emotional woman. But I will stay faithfully as a servant to the system.

So yeah, finally Lilian speakth. Even a few of my close friends did not know about it.