Friday, February 27, 2009

Chinese Opera....

Recently I saw a Chinese Opera Play and songs were sung in English. This is to appeal to English speaking audiences so that they can enjoy and understand the whole story. However I find it weird to watch and I prefer to watch Chinese opera performed the Chinese ways.

I recalled when I was young, my Mum and Dad used to bring me along to watch Chinese operas along the streets. These plays were free for all and most of the time acted out to thank the divine Gods, Goddesses and Deities for a whole year of blessings of good fortune or successful business dealings. Others were acted because someone strikes it rich by lottery number given by the ‘House God’ of that particular temple. At other time, it is the 7th Month, which is the Chinese Ghosts Month. Such were acted out for the benefit of these 'beings' to provide entertainment for their 15 days of ‘annual leaves’. Chinese refers to these beings as 'Good brothers'.

So off we went carrying stools as these streets operas do not provide seats. It was a free street show – a treat for the people living in and around the area. We have to leave home early to get a better place to put our stools so that we were not blocked by others. So for days with performances of interest, Dad and I will start as early as in the morning to 'chop' a better place. If the performances go on for days, people will leave their stools and someone to look after the ‘choiced’ place so that no one will take it over or push it over.

As I grew older, Chinese opera to me is a spectacular display of colorful backdrop, vibrant costumes and make-up. The make-up was painstaking applied on faces acting different parts. The leads were easily identified as they are the hero and heroine of the story. Other casts were the rich landlord, the ‘funnybones’, the warriors and his army, the bad guys and the maids. In Chinese operas, some of the casts were acrobats because they need to somersault in the air. You will hear claps and whistles and cheering on parts well acted out.

Stories are normally about patriotic heroes, about love, about unfaithfulness and punishments etc. These were stories collected from the various dynasties in China. As a kid I like 'Wu Song beating the Tiger'. The exciting part was when the tiger (acted by human) and Wu Song were wrestling each other. All the children and adults were cheering and clapping like crazy. I particularly like the ending when the magistrate cleared Wu Song of him murdering his midget brother. Another play that I like is the 'Butterfly Lovers', it is the Chinese version of Romeo and Juliet.

The muscial instruments used are mostly wind and string instruments. I love the Chinese Harps which is KuZheng, the fluet which is Xiao, the Pipa which gives a sad tune (always reminds me of Wang Zhaojun) and of the Erhu. These instruments created moods for the whole show, especially the drums... I love the drums!

In the days when Chinese operas were at their peak, such operas actors and actresses were well respected and were held in high esteemed. Like any other entertainment, these actors and actress have their fans and some were really rich and influential fans. I remembered Dad said once that his friend presented a beautiful costume to the female lead. It was a beautifully designed white dress sewed with beads, pearls and sequence complete with headgear and opera boots. The costume cost a bomb to the currency of that time. Furthermore, this gentleman inserted dollar notes into the hem of the costume as a tip to the lead lady. Talking about flirting… the most lavish and flattering gift which gives the lead lady a lot of ‘face’. Chinese are concerned with ‘face’. ‘You give face’ means you acknowledged and held the other person in high esteemed. It has something to do with creditability.

I started to love Chinese operas. I watched the Hokkien operas, Teochew operas, Beijing operas and Cantonese operas. The Beijing opera costumes are mostly embroidered. The most elaborated ones were the Cantonese operas costumes which are decorated with ‘blink blink’ and designs embroidered in gold and colorful threads studded with vibrant colored stones. Later Dad told me that the opera costumes designed were mostly from the Ming period .

In term of language, I am able to understand Cantonese, not full but at least 80% of the narration in songs followed by Hokkien and Teochew. However I have a hard time understanding what the Beijing opera performers were singing. Unless I am invited by friends, I will not personally buy ticket to watch a Beijing opera performance.

Another interesting side to this Street Wayang (a Malay word for Show/Play) was hawker stalls set-up along the pavement of the streets. This area will be lighted by fairy-lights. Hawkers selling cold drinks, ice-cream, fried noodles, wanton noodles, floss candy, kachang puteh (assorted peanuts) and the best were fresh cockles. People sat on small stool with low table and cockles were sold in plates. The hawker will drop them into hot boiling water and the cockles will open up. You eat it by dipping it into chili sauce and you can eat as many plates as you can consume and pay later. Those were the days where no one is worried about Hepatitis B or cholesterol.

Kids loved ‘tikam tikam’…whereby you open a little paper and see what is the price. Even if you do not win cash (the biggest prize is 50 cents), you will surely get an ice cream to compensate. There were hawkers selling swords made of papers. These were miniatures of the ones used in the operas. Dad used to buy them for us and we will 'clang' around like we were the heroes. When adults were watching opera, children will ran around playing games, eating ice cream and peeping into the back stage. I love to peep at the back stage to watch the various casts taking their rest, drinking teas and taking food. Childhood was made of these.

Now a day such hakwers' treats are no longer available along the streets for safety and hygiene reasons. As a country progresses, she lost her precious cultures. People are no longer interested to watch operas, not the young let alone understanding all the singing.

Talking about heritage conservations, how many know about our heritage? Especially in Singapore where people are not homogenous but come from different countries. Within these people they inter married and another group was borne – like the Peranakan and the Eurasians. They too have their own plays, style of language and a set of culture as well.

Did I spread my nostalgic mood to you?....

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Needing a 'Man'....

Sounds promiscuous!

I am not a ‘tart’ neither am I a ‘prude’. I chance upon blogs and some of them are adult blogs. A few of them are really beautifully photogenic sites. Anyway my purpose is not to discuss adult blogs but to put in my two cents worth about what I thought of Needing a ‘Man’.

There are many reasons for needing a Man. I have been thinking about this the whole morning. Is it wrong to need a man? How many of you think about why you need a man? Or have you thought about it? I asked some friends and not everyone is opened to say what they have in mind. After all we are Asian and Asian cultures are deeply rooted in us.

Oh Man! … I am not sexist neither am I ‘gay’. I love ‘Man’ and I have nothing against them. So what use do we have for a ‘Man’?

1) Lots were said about Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. We are from two poles. We know that unlike poles attract. It is magnetic. Whether you attract the right man, it has to do with the criteria of ‘The Man’ that you wanted for yourself. If he is your choice, and you made a wrong choice – you dance to the music as you created it. I have friends who ended up happily married, I have friends who ended up divorced. I have ‘live’ together friends. I have friends who are abused by their husbands, reported police case and yet they went back to their husbands – do you have a reason? Are these women wrong? NO, I do not think so. To each his own.

2) ‘I need a Man around the house’ … This is a good reason. He is your ‘handy’ man. He change the ‘bulb’ when it blows. He drives you around to work and pick you after work. His presence in the house makes you feel secure. I have known Men who do housework better than Women. I have known Men who are good providers of the families. I have seen Men who are ‘lazy like sh*t’. I have seen Men who are so shameless that they ‘live off’ Women. I have seen abusive Men – not that they look like rascals. On the contrary, they look like an executive all dressed up with long sleeves and tie but they beat the daylight out of their wives and children. After all that is said, Women still need them ‘in the house’. Are they wrong? NO, I do not think so. Such Women deserve the Men of their choice.

3) ‘I am not happy at home and I want to set up my own home’… some Women said. So Men became an ‘excuse’ to leave home. Is there love on both sides? Would Men marry Women if they know that they got the Women out of convenience? If Women married out of convenience and Men married them because the Women are their ‘dream lovers’….well making of ‘divorce’ is in the process. It is a wrong reason for needing a Man. Is she wrong? NO, I do not think so. She made her ‘bridge’ and she crosses it herself.

4) ‘He is so good looking, rich, influential, drives fast cars, lives in a Penthouse/landed properties/big bungalow and travels first-class. Women who think this way are branded ‘materialistic’. On top of that, Women dolled up to the nine with branded stuff to satisfy their vanities. Are these Women wrong? NO, I do not think so. Everyone has their own self worth and values. It is just that some Women think that they have the look to make it there and they are using it. Men who fall for these good looking women pay to have their Ego satisfied. This type of relationship is none other than a business deal. You have what I want. You want to sell, I want to buy. Done Deal!

5) ‘I am lonely, I need a Man’…such Women just blindly jump on the wagon. They fall head over heels in love. Give all their self esteem and self worth for these Men. They did not find out the background. They just need the Men’s arms around them and they are happy. I have seen such friends. Most of them ended up learning that he has a wife tugged somewhere, or they are being used for Sex. We read about girls disappearing probably sold to syndicate as ‘sex tools’. Others ended up being single mother – helpless, hopeless and sore. Are these Women wrong? NO, I don’t think so. They are naive and they took a painful path to grow up.

6) Match make marriages – These are very popular around the world. You read in the papers, on the net, from agencies, posted flyers of available ‘brides’ and ‘bridegrooms’ for take. Especially in Asia, we read about ‘Bride from Vietnam’, ‘Bride from China’ and ‘Bride from Philippines’. Recently I saw a photo exhibition by a Taiwanese photographer. As I strolled on, I saw pictures he took of girls, of how they are ‘sold’ and on the day of their marriages. The grooms were old Men, probably Men who have no opportunities to find themselves a wife. Now they have the money and hope to take a wife. Most Women will not marry an old Man, not in any parts of the world unless he is wealthy! However these Women were from villages and poor families. What were these Women out for? A better life and at the same time help the family with the money given as ‘dowry’. What do they know about the Men they married? We maybe with a Man for ‘donkey ears’, do we know them? How will these Women know what they were into? Some Women got abused, killed or lived like a slave. Other smarter Women ran away after a few months into marriage. Are these Women wrong? NO, Men are gullible and that is why we need them.

7) ‘I marry him because I love him and he loves me’…lucky Women. Only until death do us part that you can say ‘Lucky Woman’. Love changes along the way. People are fickle minded. So Women love Men. If the marriage did not turn out well, can she blamed Men? After all you married each other out of love so why do Women want to give up their Men so easily? Unless it has come to a point when one party wants to breakup, if not, both parties can enjoy their moment of ‘unhappiness’ until they find a common ground. Is anyone wrong here? Every couple is unique and have their own reasons, is Women wrong for not walking out? NO, I do not think so. Needing a Man has more to it than SEX.

8) and finally SEX. Hurray! I finally arrive at the word ‘SEX’. Sex is a need. It is a ‘need bug’ that send chemical reaction to your mind and body. Can such Needs be controlled? Yes and No. Actually when I was young, Mum always tells me : ‘Don’t try forbidden fruit’…meaning 'do not enter into SEX until you are married'. Asian’s value but how many of us ‘hear’ and ‘heed’ Mum’s naggings? Some Women at a very young age started this thingy call ‘SEX’. You can call them sluts, loose Women, shameless and all kind of names … so are they wrong? NO, I do not think so. Can you stop hunger? When you are hungry, eat!

We have a good laugh when we came to this part of it. Well, we all agreed… that these are things that you need a Man (normally),

1) Women like Men, need SEX. That is what the anatomy of the bodies is for. Blame it on the Snake in Adam and Eve and the Eden Garden for providing such a conducive environment for such activity.

2) For reproduction. It is needed to make sure that human will not be extinct on the surface of Earth.

3) For experiment – so much is spoken about SEX, so let’s try, won’t die BUT they forget ‘can get pregnant’.

4) Some girl friends boldly expressed that Man is to help them 'distress'. Sex is a form of 'exercise'. Enjoy and loose weight. WoW! I need to loose lots of weight…however this exercise is not for me. Are these Women wrong? NO, of course not. They are adult and should know the consequences. Gone were the days of our grandmothers that such happenings are the fault of Men. There must be willing hands to clap. NO, NO, NO… I am not encouraging ‘anything’, I am stating facts.

5) ‘I love my body’…yup! Some Women love their bodies and they want to show off. Men’s brain is below the belt, it was said. So, these Men and Women will attract. Are these Women wrong? NO, it is their bodies and needing a Man to appreciate their bodies is just to show off.

6) Of course there are Women with SEX in their brain all the time. This is sickness if it is excessive. They need to see a Doctor. Are these Women wrong? NO, of course not. Something is wrong with their system and it is a medical issue. Until they do and acknowledge that they have a medical problem… needing a Man is not wrong!!!

Women need Men for many reasons and SEX is only one part of it!


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Child Abuse....

This World is sick. People are mentally sick. I read on a blog about a baby boy who was ill-treated to death by his mother and boy friend. This baby is used as a punch bag, an anger vent machine and no one care about his plight. His mother and her boy friend used chocolate to cover his wounds. He was brought to doctors, social workers and reported to the police...but I am so sorry that this child lived in a cold society. All these people could have done something - they could have removed him from his mother but they all let him die. When he was found all blue and dead, he was already disfigured. Biopsy showed that he swallowed a teeth, lost finger and toe nails, broken backbones, rib bones - WHY?

These people are pervert, they want to have fun...and the innocent kid suffered. Using chocolate to hide the wound of the kid...YES, the word is 'HIDE'...OH MY GOD. When you HIDE, you are GUILTY! If you are interested to read more can google search and the story and pictures of the extend of abuses is something we are ignorant about. It is out of sight, out of mind. Mass attitude is - it never happen to me, so I need not bother. (The child in the picture is dead, killed by his parents.)

These cases are reported over news, people wrote books about them....CHILD ABUSE and CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE. I guarantee you that some of the stories will make you puke. You can't even bear to read them. (Does the picture looks innocent? It is not. It is sexual abuse.)

I think human is the worst ANIMAL alive. Animals have sex and at certain season for reproductions. HUMAN have sex, and mentally full of LUST! HUMAN, have no season, they have it any day, any time and any way they like - whether willingly or by rape. They do not know or distinguish whether the person they are 'doing' to is their sister, mother or daughter.

Have you heard of a baby of a few months old got raped? This tender life is defenseless. The rape victim had a burst intestine and bleed to death. WHY? Can you imagine a man penis that goes right up to the throat of a few months old baby? It is pervert, it is sick. Sorry, if anyone reading here find this is offensive. It is happening everyday.

You read about children being abused by their young parents by canning, burning with cigarettes, by cutting them with knife, by hitting them with an all kind of ways imaginable.

I had a child who reported to me during my social work days that her Dad, it is her own father who nearly raped her if not for his sisters and brothers who rushed to the room when they heard her crying. She refused to go home and the case was reported to police. You know what was the excuse the Dad told her 'Your mother refused to 'F***', so it is her fault. I am a man after all'.

I have a friend whose brother completed 'A' level and the whole group went to celebrate after the final paper. They were at a lounge and he was not even drinking but only a COKE. The next morning, he woke up on a bed with an old man next to him. He was naked and of course he had it from the 'back'. He was so mentally upset that he went home, did not tell anyone, went into the bathroom and stayed there for more than 3 hours. His brother who was my friend found it strange and started banging the door - no respond but only running water and sound of scrubbing. He got worried and called me. Because this young man has always treated me like an aunt and he reacted to me well, his brother called me. I rushed to the house and banged on the door. 'Hi, Soon...this is Aunt the door. Are you OK?'...I heard sobbing. 'Soon, open the door. If there is anything, you can tell me. There is nothing to be afraid of. We will solve it the door'. I was ignorant...I did not know how grievous a suffering he was going through. We thought that it was school. 'Soon...if you don't open the door, we will break the door and come in'. He still did not open up. Together with his brother, we forced opened the door. Soon was sitting on the bathroom floor in a daze. He was scrubbing his legs, and he was bleeding from arms to body to legs - he scrubbed to such extend that he broke the skin. OH MY GOD. I wrapped him up in a towel and his body was cold and he was shaking. He kept saying to me 'Aunt Lian... I am so dirty you know... I am so dirty. I scrubbed and yet I cannot get it off. You see my back... is the 'hole' very big?. It is painful. I am so ashamed. I cannot see my parents'. With that he broke down and cry.

I am at a lost at what he was trying to say. So I thought he had relationship problem. He was a young man of 17. A fair, tall and nice looking boy. He was mumbling and he was in a stage of shocked. 'Soon, tell me what happened?'. I shook him. He looked at me, he cried and he banged his head on the wall. I managed to hold him but not in time, he hit his head. Blood oozed out. I am really frightened by his action. His brother shook him as well and Soon pushed him away and shouted 'Don't touch me you dirty 'bas***d'. OH MY GOD...what had happened to this good nature boy? He cooled down after banging his head on the must be the pain...he said 'Aunt Lian...can I talk to you. Can you ask my brothers and sister out of the room?'.... I looked at Peng and told him to go out. I locked the door and I sat down with Soon. Among sobbing and mumbling, I cannot really comprehend what he was saying mostly but I got the gist.... he was raped! Someone spike his drink and sold him to this dirty old man. Can you imagine how traumatic it was? It took him years to recover, or did he?
One of my friends called and tell me 'Lian, there are so much injustice out there, what can we do?'

Sorry, I am angered by what I read about the child. I cannot SHUT MY MOUTH, MY EARS and MY EYES. I might as well be dumb, be deaf be mute. As long as my senses are intact... I will not keep DUMB. I may not be able to do lots but I can at least SHOUT here on my blog where some will see, will hear and will talk about it! I have been telling the young of responsibilities and consequences. I am very intense on subject like this as it happened before my eyes.

What's wrong with the World??

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Caught in a Web....Suffering

I realized long ago that ‘suffering’ is a lonely process. No one can share and no one can take it away. It is a lonely path. You have to 'phyco' yourself and find ways and means to walk out of this ‘wall’ that encased you. I believe we all experienced this along our life journey at some point of time. Most came out fine, some did not come out at all…they lost themselves in their own world. They ‘shut’ out and people called them crazy.

To all my readers, please GIVE yourself a chance. Come out, walk out and remember that there are people who care. If you are caught in the web, when you find yourself helpless and when you are frightened..there are helplines…

I accidentally stumbled upon a blog. I saw the pain, I saw the struggles, I saw how she encouraged herself to come to term with this lost relationship, I saw how she encourages others, sharing with them her experiences. IT IS BRAVE! It is the greatness of a woman’s love, she deserves better. I know she will walk out of ‘depression’. I know the spells of depression will hit her - look at it. Acknowledge the pain..accept the process of recovery. The road is not going to be smooth sailing..but you are not alone!

This piece is translated from her posting. Credit goes to the writer and I have no intention of infringing. I may not do credit to it but I am using this to tell those going through sadness in matrimonial breakup that the greatness of ‘Letting Go’ needs lots of courage to do so.

A LOVE NAMED “LETTING GO” – This title is given by me for these meaningful words written by her.

There is a kind of love, hanging on teardrops, sadly beautiful.
There is a kind of love, deeply pained the heart, but you see a smile on the face.
There is a kind of love, that lives on forever but I am no longer a part of it.
Once I innocently believed that,
no matter how long in Time
how far into Space
Love will not change because
Love does not need a reason!
But now I saw my loved one brushed pass me
Holding another’s hand
Tears continue to flow in my heart!
Love cannot become a burden
I chose to let you go
Even though I am bleeding profusely!
Because I love you so much
I do not want to see you sandwiched in between
My wish is very simple
that you go on in Life happily.
Everything has come to a standstill
but pain did not stop
You will only know if you have truly LOVE,
and your happiness is now only memories.
No amount of Love can make you change your mind ..
I once wished that I walked this Life to the end with you,
Just holding your hand.
Now I can only be comforted
That I am once part of this ‘Wish’.
Loving someone is not to be his BURDEN
Having Love in the heart makes Life beautiful.
Our meeting is destiny
Knowing you is affinity
Loving you is fate
The condition of Love arises and now it is over.
The ability to ‘Let Go’…is true love!

There is a Love, named “LETTING GO”…….

Below is a remark written by the writer…she is great! She wrote this to encourage herself, forgive herself and she wants to walk on in Life happily. I wish her well and I know she will make it.

I will wait for this day and I believe it will not be too long…because she is on the road to recovery…it is just that she needs…encouragement and Cheers! Hurray Alice…can you see me cheering you…..???


ABBA sang a beautiful song titled 'The Winner Takes It All'. To me it maybe the case BUT The Loser will come out Tall!

Cheers to all the brave women !!

Monday, February 16, 2009


Quotable...quotes... from me
Do not expect others to understand you, they normally don't and pretended that they do....
Life is a game... you either WIN or LOSE....
Life is a Study... you need to sit for examinations. Every obstacle is a test either 'Failed' or 'Passed'. No examination marker... you mark yourself!
Being intelligent do not mean that you are wise.... WISDOM is not associated with being clever in the head!
It is work smart... loyalty will not get you anywhere.
Do not draw a circle and tell yourself to stand inside.. sooner you will feel suffocated.
More work does not mean you will die... you won't lose weight either.
Who nature NATURE....the environment! Who killed the ENVIRONMENT... US!!!!
Being Kind without Wisdom is like telling a fool to drink up his poison.
Right or Wrong is in the Mind.... what will happen when the Mind is Dull?
We OPEN our eyes to things we dislike.....We are BLIND to things we like... most of the time....we are half asleep.
Love is not in the MOUTH neither is it in the is the EYE that deceives you.
Manners is an acquired taste... For those with dead taste buds, Manners is impossible.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fun Magazine Covers...

I created these some time back using some of the templates from the hosting sites. I wanted to put them up but did not find the time till now.

Although these are fake magazine covers but they look real and nice. I specially like the 'Holiday Times'. The picture was taken with my handphone on an 18th Floor of HSBC's office while waiting to see a client. It shows the waterfront of Singapore and the hotels around the bay.

'My Baby' is my precious Ming Jian...he is so lovable. He is always very happy to see me. Our greeting is a 'Hi 5' and we will touched each other hand. A cheerful baby, just celebrated his 1 year old birthday. Such a joy to have around the house. I carried him when he held out his hands to me one day. He put his head on my shoulder and fell asleep. It is a joy to see a sleeping child, may he be blessed and grow up to be a healthy, happy and responsible young man.

'Outdoor' is the picture I took when I was on holiday in Bintan. The scenery was so beautiful and breathtaking. I was standing on a cliff overlooking the sea. Can't help but to take a picture and it turned out to be a magazine shot.

'Sport Today' had all my department colleagues in it. We were having a day of fun and game at the seaside. We did a team building event followed by nature walk and of course....eating! This was done on Earth Day and we wanted to educate the staff about the environment.

'House & Home' was a picture I took of the hotel I stayed when I was in Bangkok last. It was a renowned hotel. I love the interior decor and cannot help but snapped a picture with my handphone camera. Never expect it to turn out this way.

'MotorMania' has my little Mazda. It is my car...nice blue color right? My economical 'sport'. It is a Mazda 2 SP. This little fellow is 2-1/2 years old now, pretty new too. Blue is a nice color and it keeps me COOL.

'Bling' has a picture of a KamCheng, a Peranakan container which was framed up in gold. The Bibi and Baba Heritage is one of its kind in South East Asia. Due to the recent opening of the Peranakan Museum and the show on TV, everyone starts to wake up to a heritage that is part of ours and taken for granted. The Peranakan has beautiful ceramics in vibrant colors. The pictures on it are mostly peony flowers, Phoenix and crysantemums.

'TeenGirl' has a picture of the anime girl with tears. I love this picture..they baby blue color is 'cool' with the red lips...and the blink blink on her hair. I used it for one of my posting. This is taken from the web therefore not a camera picture from me. Credit goes to the artist.

'Fashion' showcase a photo which I posted up not long ago.I picked this photo because of the hairstyle. Pleated hairs in small strands are 'in' once upon a time. However it is hair fashion and not a picture I took from the web so no one is going to come after my back.

All for good cheers!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A 'Focus' Story....

Many of us find it difficult to focus, let alone concentrate. Unless we lead a simple life with no cravings or desire for one's attachment, our Mind will forever be in a flux.

City lights, neon lights, bright lights and countless lights fan the imagination of one. Mass media bombarded us with adverts - beauty products, slimming products, health products, branded products and many many more - these are to feed our vanity and build our EGO. It is these that we have the saying ' You look upon the highest and step on the lowest'. Birds of the same feathers flocked together.

For City folks like us, we are afraid of loneliness. We must party, drink, associate and move around in circles that we said 'we belong'. In the process of doing so, we lost our self. We began to want things, desire things, chase after dreams not realizing that we actually need very little. In the process of chasing dreams, we accumulated debts of emotion and monetary and it makes us unhappy. We no longer look at things we need. We look at things good to have but not must have. This is how samsara is created.

For all my stories, there are morale teachings behind them. To each his own...

There is a village and life here is simple and down to earth. Villagers work in the field in the day and return home in the evening. They pass their time gathering in small community watching puppet shows, listening to storyteller telling them what happened in the outside world from his travelling experiences and chit chatting with each other. Because it is a rice growing village, every household plays a part in exchange for food. The younger and stronger men and women will work on the field. The older men and women work at home by separating rice from husks.

In this village lived an old lady. No one knew whether she had any relative or children. Her house was humble but neat and clean. Everyday she will get up early in the morning, washed her clothes and cooked her meals. She then proceeded to do her daily chore of separating rice from husks.

The amazing thing was the rice grain jumped by itself from one basket to another leaving behind the husks. The old lady would stared at the grains and mumbled to herself. Every mumble, grains jumped. She did not lift a finger to separate them. She has been repeating this as long as she could remember and she never felt that the grain jumping was anything special. She thought it happened to everyone doing the same job.

One day a travelling monk from far saw a very bright light from a distance. It formed a round circle of light hovering over a certain place. He was curious as the light was so clean and bright. Only folks with very high concentration and meditation power will achieve such. He decided to find out for himself. Thus he followed the direction of the lights. As he walked closer, he came to a village. He asked the villagers was there someone special living in the area. 'No' was the answers. So he continued his search. As he walked further into the forest, he saw the light again and it was coming from a small hut. He walked up and knocked on the door. An old lady opened the door. The monk asked....

Monk: Good Mother, may I stay over for the night as it is getting dark. I am a travelling monk. I only need a place to sleep.
Old Lady: Venerable Master, I have a humble hut and if you don't mind, you can stay with me.
Monk: Thank you Good Mother.

The monk walked into the hut. There was a wooden bed made from tree trunk, a small square table and two stools. There was a reclining chair made of wood too. He looked around for family members but it seems there was only the old lady.

Monk: Good Mother, do you live alone?
Old Lady: Yes, Venerable Master. I have no more family as my Old Man died ten years ago.

Monk was curious as to who was the one with such high power meditation that emitted that pure light. However he decided he will find out the next morning. The monk sat on the bed and meditated. To high practitioners, this is the way they sleep.

Next morning when the monk woke up from his meditation, he smell cooked rice fragrance and saw on the table a bowl of hot porridge and some vegetables and beancurds. The old lady was no where to be seen. He quickly finished his breakfast and walked out of the hut. He looked around the surrounding and came to a backyard. He saw the Old Lady bending over a basket. He walked over but the Old Lady did not make any move to acknowledge him. She was deep into meditation. As the monk walked closer, he saw the jumping rice grains. He was amazed and with a mixed of awe and surprise, he bent down next to the Old Lady. He watched her and saw that she was mumbling. Every time she mumbled, the rice grains jumped from one basket to another. The monk bent even closer and he wanted to hear what the Old Lady was saying. He heard 'Ohm mani padme nui, Ohm mani padme nui, ohm mani padme nui. He sat there for a long time. The Old Lady woke up from her concentration and saw the monk.

Old Lady: Good Morning Venerable Master, hope you have a good night. I left some food on the table for you.
Monk: Thank you Good Mother for your hospitality. May I ask what did you chant when you are separating the rice grains and the husks?
Old Lady: It is something I read from a book. It said this is the heart mantra of Chenrezig. As I am not educated I tried to figure out the syllabus and it is 'Ohm mani padme nui'. I have been chanting that ever since.
Monk: Oh, you chanted it wrongly. It is 'Ohm mani padme hum' and not 'Ohm mani padme nui'.
The Old Lady was sad that she actually chanted the mantra wrongly. She corrected the mantra to 'Ohm mani padme Hum'. As she needs to remember them anew, she lost her concentration. The rice grains did not jump anymore. It slowed her down.

The monk left the hut after he told the Old Lady the correct way to chant. As he walked deeper into the forest, he turned back to see the light. There was no light. He was puzzled and it suddenly occurred to him that he made a mistake. He had deprived the Old Lady of her concentration and now she has lost her focus. He quickly made his way back to the hut and explained that the Old Lady was right. It was not how you chant it, it is how focus you are in chanting it. To the Old Lady 'Ohm mani padme nui' represents Chenrezig. The Old Lady was happy again and she continued her routine and the grains started to jump again.

Monk left the hut with a peaceful mind. He was happy that the Old Lady had attained such high level of concentration. After certain distance, he turned back and looks into the sky and he saw this big, clean, clear white light like a moon. He clasped his hands and bowed in the direction. He met Bodhisattva Chenrezig.

So, this story is telling us the power of concentration. Our mind is like a monkey. It is never still. It is very good in thinking and making up stories in our favors. This come about because we absorbed what we hear from others or perceived what we believe is true. That is fantasy. This World is a make believe. It exists as long as you exist. We think that it is a 'real' world. It is a conditioned World.

We should focus and concentrate, not only in meditation but also in our daily life as we go about doing our work and dealing with people. We should do it all the time - walking, sitting, eating, doing our business in the toilet, talking etc.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Peter Faun..a renowned Chinese Writer

Peter Faun..or fondly known in Chinese as 冯冯 was a writer. He won many awards in the literature category and could live a comfortable life but he decided to immigrate to Canada with his beloved mother and they settled in Vancouver. He lived a simple and 'down to earth life' with his Mum away from all the glitters. He wrote many interesting books giving lively and vivid illustrations on Buddha's teaching. He has vast interest. Other than writing, he was also interested in music and he wrote many Buddhist songs. He studied the solar system and used many pictures and illustration against Buddhist scriptures to proof Buddha's teaching.

Being a devoted Buddhist and a practitioner, Peter is well known for his books illustrating psychic power of the 'Third Eye'. He used these personal experiences and shared them in the books he has written. These books serve as a reminder and a motivator to practicing Buddhists. In Buddhist circle, psychic power is a 'taboo'.. and he faced many caustic remarks from those who cannot accept such outspoken sharing in public. Peter is also known to save and cured many people with the said power. However Buddhism is not based on ' psychic power'. The fundamental is still Buddha's teaching. That is why Westerners always feel that religious teachings from the East are 'Mystical'

He is a much respected writer to many. I am one of his readers. I love the kindness and gentleness and the way he help Sentient Beings with his writing. Unfortunately he wrote in Chinese and as such those reading only English are not able to benefit from this great writer.

Recently I am wondering to myself why there are no more publications of his in the market. A simple minded me did not realized that he had actually passed away. Peter Faun passed away in Taiwan, Chi Ji Hospital at the aged of 76 years old. He passed away on 18th April, 2007.

My prayers for 冯冯居士 : Wherever you are, may you come back for the sake of Sentient Beings with your Bodhisattva's heart. Ohm Mani Padme Hum..Ohm Mani Padme Hum.. Ohm Mani Padme Hum. May these prayer wheels turn permanently with the Six Syllabus for your enlightenment.

Below is my one and only correspondence with him and this was his reply. I actually donated to charity in his name and sent him 2 packs of cards from this charity home for his used. Now this is a precious collection of mine.