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Why do you want to lose weight?

A month ago, I had this conversation with my former classmate, KK. He is some analyst wizard and he has this annoying habit of asking questions. Well, he is not annoying, he is charming and all that. But oh boy…he has to ask pertinent questions and gather data and facts and produce his analysis kinda thing.

So, we were at the lounge of a hotel, with beers and seated at cosy sofas. He put his face forward, with his elbows on the coffee table, he said to me with a serious, matter-of-fact look, “Why do you want to lose weight?”

Hearing it from KK, it is like a professor asking a greenhorn student about Darwin’s theory or something. Suddenly, I am lost for words. I seriously have no answer!

Then, few days ago, I met up with Nurse Liang. She used to care for Vincent at the Paediatric ward. I used to be fat. Can’t blame me cos after Vincent’s death, I really forget to take care of myself. So I was really down in the dumps during those months in 2002-2003. So Nurse Liang had seen me in my worst possible time.

And she was surpised to see me during a Zumba session. She asked me the same question – Why do you lose weight? For Nurse Liang, I told her because I am tired of Dr Francis scolding me at every medical check-up. And my other excuse is because ‘wa ai sui’ (I want to be pretty).

To KK, I cannot remember what I babbled because when you are with 5-6 former classmates you have not met for 34 years, you don’t actually tell the truth, I supposed.

Two nights ago, another former classmate KH said, “You used to be so thin *with hand action showing how thin* when you were in school.” My retort to him was, “HORRRR…you are saying I am now very fat lah?” So I told KH I had lost 12KG already. And he said he lost 16 KG! So yeah, losing weights is so essential for us who are in our 50s. Oh yeah, KH of course quickly assured me that it is not fat but *actually I forget what were the words he used*.

Now I am asking myself, Lilian, why do you lose weight? It has not been an easy process. I had to change my eating habits. I had to drive here and there to run and workout. I had to sweat loads.


So my answers:
1. Cos my doctor warned me everytime that if I don’t lose weight, I am going to get a heart disease and die like my cousins, in their 50s.
2. Cos I had seen a young mother age 45 who died just like that, one heart attack and she was gone. The tragedy.
3. Cos I got addicted to working out, sweating buckets and losing kilos and inches.
4. Cos no feeling like going down from XL to M and being able to buy any clothes online.
5. Cos I have the ‘can do’ attitude and if I put my heart to doing something, I always succeed.
6. Cos not every woman can do what I did. So many have that ‘no I cannot do this’ attitude and usually it is their mindset that stop them.
7. Cos I get the compliments and even from the ‘highest level’. I tell you there is nothing like being spotted in a sea of cyclists and get spotted for losing weight.
8. Cos the beauty and vanity part gives great motivation.
9. Cos I feel secured that I can run up staircases, I can climb hills and not be a burden to teambuilding.
10. Cos my name is Chan Lilian.

If I can throw a rock at God’s window….

On certain days, I have that feelings of wanting to throw a rock at God’s window. Just to break it, so that He knows I exist and I am angry.

I am not sure why but I have confided in a couple of friends how I am tired of the negotiating process. As an adult, a rather wise one, I do know that God doesn’t negotiate with us.

I know I can find those answers if I spend more time looking thru the Bible. But hey, didn’t Jesus said we must have faith like a child? And only when we have faith like a child, we can enter Heaven?

So, it is not too far fetch to have the urge to throw a rock and break, hopefully those beautiful stained glass windows that costs a bomb that churches spend on using donations from over generous individuals who are too keen to wash clean themselves by donating tens of thousands to buy stained glasses imported from Italy…bla bla bla bla…

Yesterday, Sunday morning, I was drag to church because my little boy had to serve the 645 am mass. Heck, how does one keep awake at 645am? In order to get there, I have to set my alarm to 5.30 am because my little worry wart wants to be in church by 6.15am.

Then I realised that I have not gone to CHS for nearly a month. And before you chided me or stoned me for not going to mass every Sunday like all good Catholics do, I did go but not to CHS because I was elsewhere, ok? So yeah, go away self-righteous people.

And self-righteous people are what made me want to throw stone at God’s window. Hmmmm…maybe I was targeting at the wrong person? Maybe I should lastic those people instead. Like how David lastik Goliath?

Anyways….I finally said it out loud – Days when I want to throw a rock at God’s window because I think too many things are being unfair to me, the people around me and the people in the world. Like how I ask for one simple favor and get a selamba (slumber) god that never want to fulfil that one single thing so that I can move on. Or how so many people are getting life threatening illness. How people whom I see as the most caring and loving are inflicted with tragedy.

Or how that god (regardless if you are Muslim/Christian who believe in that one God of Abraham and his descendants) did not sort of smack the bad government/bad officials/bad administration but instead caused the deaths of hundreds.

So now that I had said it, time’s up. Back to work. This is too long for Facebook status so I blogged it.

*keeps my rock for another day*

Revisiting that grief journey

I took a course on Crisis Counselling and got what I didn’t bargain for. I was taught Breaking Bad News using the SPIKE method. Then, we were taught how to deal with grief, as in how to help others to deal with grief, losses and deaths.

I learned that there is such a thing as Frozen Grief. Which I am glad I didn’t have because I had a grief diarrhea instead after Vincent’s death in May 2002. I purged out all my feelings, hang my heart on my sleeve and got over the emo part.

When I was done with the 2-day course, I learned that I had been such an expert in this morbid area. It is not something to be proud of. It is something that I accepted that had been placed on my lap.

Those months I spent as a volunteer in pastoral care certainly taught me many things. Not many people had dealt with the dying and their fears and the ‘die in your company’.

Then, those ways doctors broke bad news to patients. I had plenty of bitch but I decided not to share. How one paed had yelled at a parent thru the ICU doors while I was trapped in the middle while I was changing my shoes to slippers to visit my son. That old paed rudely told the distraught parents – your fault lah, bring your baby (about 4 months) to the hospital too late, now blood poisoned (sepsis) and we cannot do anything.

I can count myself blessed that when there were bad news about Vincent, and there were plenty, his doctor had broken them to me in the gentlest possible way. From the tissue placed on the table to the technical medical stuffs that he drew out to explain to me.

It took me years to get over my father’s death. In fact, I probably never did until I had gone for counselling. Many things had been buried so deep, I had forgotten them until my counsellor (a trained qualified one) used the inner child method on me before I discovered why I always acted in a certain way towards certain situations.

Sadly, many people do not know how to handle this touchy issue and many people will continued to be traumatised. Many had frozen grief, not being able to get over it because of the stumbling blocks, imposed by tradition, duty and society.

That’s why I am glad that I had gone the whole nine yards on this. And I recognise that it is ok for me to get a bit emo on certain days. Now with Vincent’s birthday coming up on Sep 24, I do wake up with some bitchy feeling sometimes.

Some days I am ok, some days I need to find some victims to release those emotions. The problem is I failed to know why and then, when I discovered I had been a bitch, at least now I know how to apologise.

After these two days, I have a clearer vision of what I am going to do next. And I know someday, I will get to those mission that I have in my vision.

Meantime, I am a lot knowledgeable, a lot more confident that you can throw any kind of situation to me and I know I can deal with them and I know if I have to cry with some strangers, I would shake myself out of it and get on with my own life.

So yeah, help me God.

Happy 51st birthday to myself

Just before the day ends, it is good I write down how I feel on this 51st birthday of mine. I am pretty thankful that I didnt spend my birthday alone. I am thankful that my Zumba gang had showered me with gifts. I am extra blessed that I get to meet my old schoolmates whom I had not seen for 34 years and I get to blow my candle with them.

I am glad I had meals after meals with my family. I am thankful to get little wishes from strangers and people I know. It is a chore to reply their messages but I made it a point to be less of a jerk this year and be grateful they bother to type. So I spent almost the whole day just replying those wishes one by one.

Ara 288

I am thankful I have office colleagues who wrote to me and called me his ex-office mom. I am thankful I have new ones calling me mum too.

All these positive inputs make me feel more responsible, more appreciated and more determined to be less of a jerk, be nicer obnoxious mom and be more patience.

Last few days have been a self discovery journey when I met up with my old classmates. I have always recognised myself as a difficult person who is self-centred and only do things when I have something to gain.

And true enough, I still am. Somewhat. I guess I learn to accept who I am, and so long as I dont go out and intentionally hurt people, it is a survival skill.

Sitting down and listening to old classmates, I felt a bit teary inside. Many of them though not very rich, did have families. Parents who could probably send them for further education even when they failed.

I looked back and realised how deprived I was. I recalled how badly I wanted to go to Form 6 but couldnt enter because I failed to get a credit for BM. I wanted to go to Form 6 private but had no money since I was a single-parent with no income.

Then, I looked at myself now and compared with my peers and realised I did pretty well for someone who did not get further education. For that I thank God too. I could feel the fist in the air for being able to face the storm and came out of it, not to badly.

Well, once upon a time, I thought if a woman reached 51, she is probably old and past her expiry date. Now, at 51, I can see myself doing many things. I have clear vision what I wan to do next.

I am not too che-beh (dowdy?) so ok lah…even at 51 still can consider hot looking lagi lah. Must continue that kiasu streak of working out hard to maintain my health, my shape and my cheerful outlook.

So in general, I am pretty happy with being 51 because it is a marker where I know where I am, how I was, where I am going next and how I am dealing with problems.

I am really thankful to catch up with people from the past. A past that I wasn’t too keen to remember but nevertheless, I need to face because those are dark memories that I prefer to forget.

Hopefully in the years to come, I am able to feel even more satisfied for the things I had done, and the things I never get to do.

So happy 51st to me. I am really proud of myself at this stage in life because I can bravely say ‘Screw you!’ if those things do not agree with me. I can hold my head high and know that there are many ways and many options in life.

With God with me, who can be against me?

The will to live

This morning, I have a nagging feeling to visit someone I hardly know in the general hospital ICU.  I have been to the GH many times in my line of work.  Whether it is some glamourous generous mak datin delivering gifts to children in paediatric ward or visiting some victims etc.


Normally, I can detach my feelings when I am at work.  Sometimes I do get a bit emotional but it takes a lot to make me cry or sad or traumatised.


So I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go because it is a hassle to find a parking in the GH plus it is hot afternoon.  Moreover, I do not know the person that well and she probably doesn’t know me either.


But as I was my car parked, and  having arrived too early for work, I decided to vocalise my intentions.  In the car, I told a friend and asked him to doa (pray) for me to have the strength and love to share with the person I was about to visit.


Then, I asked for my boss permission to allow me to leave earlier than our regular lunch hour as I need to be there by 1 pm.  After saying these out loud, I knew I had to go and visit.


The reason I had the nagging feeling was I was told thru some friends that the person in the ICU did not response to external things.  Last week or so, when we visited her, she was conscious.  I do not want her to withdraw and give up fighting. I know I am a good cheerleader when I was fighting with my baby.


So by noon, I was forced to go because I had made the arrangements.  The sky was dark, and the radio was playing some sappy songs that made me felt so blue.


In the car, I was already mumbling to myself, Oh God…please give me the courage to do it.  There were no other friends going with me. It is just me and my conviction that I probably may help the person with some encouragement.


When I got there, I sort of have some childhood trauma running through my mind.  I had been to the GH when my in-laws and other relatives died there. I had been to the morgue as well.  There is nothing scary at all.


However, I suddenly had flashback when I was a kid and my brother, sister and even my father were warded there.  I was never allowed in the hospital because rules were strict.  So, until today, I have that huge gap in me about how my father looked in hospital, how my brother who had a bad accident looked like, how my sister who also was knocked down by a car looked like.


I was also having that blur part of my life when my father died and though I heard stories as a kid, whether when people were talking about it or I was eavesdropping, the hospital is a mighty scary place.


Today, despite the dark clouds, non sunny day, I brave myself and told myself that I am a big girl now.  I can face anything.  Even when they pushed bloodied patient to be sent somewhere or some disorientated guy lying on the stretcher doing weird stuffs.


GH is not like private hospitals.  GH is that huge chaotic crowded place with scary stuffs.  But I kept reminding myself, I am a big girl now, I can deal with this.  The Lord is with me.  He is calling me to go and be a company to the girl I was visiting.


So I hunt around for the ICU and took a few rounds before I found it.  By then I had been through OT, cardiac etc etc.  I do not know what I am going to do with a person who is on life support and in braces and etc.


Still, I went in, gently call her, tell her who I am and held her hand. It was very cold.  She responded somewhat and I speak nonsense or whatever that came into my mind.

I do not know if it is a good thing to assure her that everything will get better.  I told her she got friends outside who love her, want her to get better and assured her that though we cannot be with her all the time, we are thinking, talking and praying for her.


She is no longer on ventilator but she can’t talk due to the braces and stuffs they wrapped around her neck. The only way to communicate is thru eye movements.


After a while, I asked for her permission if I can pray for her.  She sort of nodded and I started my prayers in English, quite loud so she can hear me.  I did not care about the nurses around so I just said whatever comes to mind.

It was something like “Lord Jesus You are the healer, the saviour, the comforter.  Come Lord and heal (her name) and comfort her.  Let her feel loved and that she never feels alone. Take away her pains and discomforts, Lord.  Send your Holy Spirit to watch over her and please give wisdom to the medical people to do everything to heal her.”

When visiting was over, as I was walking out of the ICU, there was a Muslim prayer for the sick on the way.  It is in Bahasa Malaysia so I stood there and read them.  I don’t know why but I was fascinated that there is a prayer for people who do not know what to say to read.

As I walked out of the ICU, I felt peace.  Then a call came in.  It is from someone who is going to help some charitable body.  I was like Praise the Lord!  Help is coming for that NGO and it is because I was just being brave to ask.  The person who called me asked me where I am and I told him I at the GH visiting some random person I know at the ICU.  I said I felt it is a calling.  And he echoed what I felt as he too had to go out of his way to do somethings and said, Yalah, when the Lord calls, we just have to do it.

After the call, I paused and stood at the corridor to reflect.  It is not a coincidence that I would be talking to the guy and both of us echoing the same thing. Both of us are doing something we actually do not need to do because it is really none of our business.  But we still do it because we felt it is a calling.

So, I guess today I had done my part of encourage someone to keep fighting, keep hoping that she will get better each day and I have sealed her believe that even strangers are capable of loving.  Before I left her earlier, I had the urge to touch her cheek, or whatever part that I could access and told her ‘We love you and we want you to fight and get better, remember that.’

Am writing this down, not to brag but to remind myself that I can do even the smallest thing with the biggest conviction that the Lord is my shepherd.  Eventhough I walked through the dark valleys, I shall have no fear.

The ‘I love you’

Last week had a couple of emotional stuffs that sort of shook my emotions. First, I attended a memorial. Friends of the deceased were very emotional over his death and eulogies were filled with ‘I love you, (person’s name)’.

Then, before I can barely get over it, while I was driving my home, I got another message that a bubbly girl I know had met with a horrific accident.

The very same time when I was looking at life and our mortality, I also get connected back to my past. The people who were once part of my life.

We got into conversations about life. And we had gone through something that reminded us that life is short. Whatever we want to say, say it now.

As I was working at the memorial (I was there only as a staff and not a friend of the deceased), there was a beautiful sunset. So I captured the photo, sent it to my friend. And told him that it is pointless to say I love you when the person is not around anymore.


The above is my Standard 1 photo. It brought back a flood of memories and the next few days after that memorial and horrific accident, I had to go to a children’s camp.

Seeing my Standard 1 photo, and recalling how I was at 7 years old, I was filled with a lot of love for the children I met. Maybe it is because I know that amongst the sea of faces, there are probably some like me when I was 7 years old.

Fatherless, and from the typical Chinese family, I never heard of the words I love you. So, I was that bubbly teacher and I repeated told the children I love them and more important Jesus loves them.

Now, I am more generous with I love you. In church setting, yes, it is easy to say so. Outside of it, I counted myself blessed that I have friends that I can tell them I love them over something they do, or didn’t do.

If I should die tomorrow, I know who are the ones who love me. And if tomorrow never comes for them, they know I love them too.

Very often, we are so caught up in the lust-love type of love that we are so afraid of uttering them. Now I decided that I am not going to allow that to stop me from saying I love you It sometimes means Sayaaanggg…

There are many types of love and in Greek, there are 4 – agápe, éros, philía, and storgē . Agape is the love of God for His people. Eros is of course the lusty love. Philia is like love for friends. And the last one which I do not know how to pronounce is love parents have for children.

So yeah, life is short. Say it. Don’t hold it back. Because you do not want to say it at someone’s graveside, by the coffin, at memorials. It is pointless then.

Older and wiser, I hope.

My 51st birthday is creeping up. So I somehow got into the reflective mode and look back on life.

It is not difficult to look back because I just caught up with some old schoolmates from the teenage years. Some were even from primary school.

When I sum up this life in one little summary, it is actually not as complicated as we thought when we were younger.

When we were younger, we worried if we do not catch up in exams, we are going to be a big failure. Then, I realise now that our lives are pretty much written in the stars. So it doesn’t really matter that much.

When we were younger, we spent so much emotions on relationships, failed ones, good ones, trying hard to get ones and etc. Now I realised, they were pretty much written in the stars too. No need to work so hard to maintain relationships, no need to sweat over the failed and broken ones because we probably couldn’t even remember them.

Probably it is not a good thing for old people like me to simplify life as such ideas may breed jerks and lazy people. But then, if I look at life in general, really we do not have to waste so much heartaches, worries, disappointments, unfulfilled hopes and etc because many things don’t matter.

Now, I realised it is good just to be nice somewhat. Don’t be such a bitch people hate you forever. Don’t be such an invisible person, no one remembers you, dead or alive. Don’t be such a competitive person because you will never finish running the races.

Maybe this peace comes from God. For that, I thank God.