Sunday, October 31, 2010


Don't expect to be confronted by my biggest regret in life now.  Thought regret are what the elderly do when they look back at their lives.  And I've always secretly hope that I would live to the fullest within my capacity with no regrets.

My aunt spent her life taking care of nine kids; nurturing and caring for us. She loved us unconditionally and was always there for us.  And now, she's no longer there.

I would so much like to have another chance to see her and tell her how much she meant to me.  I still find flashbacks of her memory and memory is the only thing left.  I recall the songs she love, the body lotion she likes, the food she used to cook and the time we spent.

It was hard seeing her in pain in the hospital and it was equally painful seeing her go with her last breath. If only...

My Aunt

I still can't bring myself to write about my aunt's death.  She brought me up since I was a baby.  It doesn't seem real she is no longer with us.  For all my life, she has always been there for me.  She loves me unconditionally.

Things have gone back to normal after the cremation on Saturday.  We have all gone back to our daily routine.  Yet I feel something missing in my life.  There's a gap I can't quite fill.  I have many things I still want to do with her and things I want to share with her.

I have not even told her how much I love her and how much she meant to me. I am forever grateful to her.  Without her, I won't be who I am today.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My relationship with my bathroom

One of the early scene of Eat, Pray, Love shows Julia Roberts in the bathroom devastated and praying for guidance.  I can relate to that.  When I was going through difficult moments of my life, I've spent many nights crying and praying in the bathroom.  It was the only place I can be on my own and totally release my emotions without fear that the kids will see me cry.

Looking back, I've always had a unique relationship with my bathroom.  I recalled hiding in the bathroom to study for exams when I was living with my aunt and half a dozen of cousins through secondary school.  That was the only place in the condominium we shared where I get time alone to study without distractions and imposing on the others.

The bathroom has been my sanctuary.  With all the different roles and responsibilities, I especially crave for time alone.  The bathroom is the easiest escape for me.  It is where I now find time for myself soaking in the bathtub over a glass of wine, favorite music playing off my iPod and browsing through a book or magazine.

I am glad I no longer go through nights throwing up over the toilet bowl from too much alcohol.  My relationship with my bathroom reflects the state of mind I am in and the journey of my life.  Nowadays, I occasionally practice yoga poses and dance to my favorite songs in my bathroom.  I am thankful where life leads me and I am thankful for my bathroom.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Alcoholics never think they have too much to drink.  Workaholic know they work too much but justify but telling themselves it's a necessity.  I read somewhere we are all addicts.  According to Wikipedia, addiction is a form of dependency on things, activities and even feelings.

We are all aware of addiction to substance; drugs, booze, tobacco, food.  Some of us are addicted to watching TV.  There are also other forms of activities we are addicted to.  Those who follow Tiger Woods's divorce reads that he's said to be addicted to sex.  Even too much of a good thing is bad; there are people who are addicted to exercise. And of course, most shopaholics would deny they consume too much.

There's the less obvious addiction to feeling.  The feeling of high from gambling.  The ecstasy of love. It may sound crazy but some of us are addicted to negative feelings that make us feel lousy; depression and guilt.

Yoga teaches us to balance.  It is more than balancing on one leg.  Yoga teaches us to have a balance approach to life and balance is what addicts need.


Didn't run this morning and feel guilty. Feel even more guilty as I recalled that piece of creamy donut I ate yesterday.

Feel guilty not spending enough time with kids yet feel guilty leaving office early.

Guilt makes me feel lousy. Constant guilt makes me feel depleted.

Yoga teaches me to let go after each pose yet be totally present while doing each pose. I guess that is how I need to start approaching life. To immense myself in the present and then to just let it go. Guilt is perhaps another form of attachment to the past.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I realize we like to keep ourselves hectic. As much as we complain when we are busy, most of us actually prefer a schedule sardined-packed with activities, leaving us no time to pause and no time to think. We don't know how to manage free time although I doubt there is any time that can be considered free nowadays with the advance telecommunication gadgets that we are enslaved to.

We are now glued to our smart phone which keeps us entertained with all the social media available at our finger tips and iPad has made accessing the web so much more convenient. We keep ourselves productive by fiddling with our phones, laptops and iPads whenever we have that split second of space. We fidget when we have nothing to do. We no longer take time in between activities for real break where we let our mind rest and listen to our breathe. We rushed from activities to activities and from places to places. Doing nothing makes us nervous. We would rather not deal with thinking about life, our priorities and what makes us happy. Perhaps many of us are using a busy schedule to numb ourselves from having to deal with the question of what life offers us and what we make out of our lives.  A busy schedule keeps us having to face our disappointments and fears.

Many of us resemblance the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland who's perpetually late and always in a rush for no apparent needs. We are too busy to enjoy life. We go through the motion without living. I've made up my mind that I want to stop being the White Rabbit. Most of us don't have the luxury of quitting our job and taking on a lifestyle that allows us to sit back and relax. However, what that means is to prioritize what is important and being conscious so as not to fall back into the habit of busyness.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Women and hobby

Over lunch, a friend of mine laments that she does not have any hobby. Aside from juggling a banking career and a family with 3 young kids, she doesn't have time to cultivate a hobby. Unlike most women I know, men however seem to have time for golf, biking, running, playing futsel, playing badminton and the recent fad of riding a Harley cladded in leather.

I am not here to blast men. Instead I would like to encourage women to learn from them. Men have no qualm demanding time for themselves.  They act like it's their birth-right to have time to do what is fun. Women on the other hand feel guilty finding time for ourselves.  Like my friends, most of us who manage a career and family barely have time. And we succumb ourselves to accepting that our own needs are less important than the needs of others around us.  We give and give, not knowing we are depleted. We get more serious as we take on more responsibilities life thrust our direction. We forget to have fun.

It's time for us to carve time to do what we enjoy, what makes us happy. Think through what you really like to do when you were a kid. What magazines and articles catch your attention?  Take classes that are outside your comfort zone. Be open to invitation from friends to join them for workshops and events.

Several years ago after my second child was born, I was also trapped in a situation where I don't have any hobby aside from bed-time reading. I was not particularly passionate about any interest and I am not one of those lucky fews blessed with talent.  I've since then embarked on a joyful journey searching for my interests.

- Painting
I signed up for a basic painting class and spent many Saturday mornings playing with paint.  Realized I am not Picasso but it was nonetheless fun playing with paint and seeing the canvas filled with my creation.  I've stopped the class but I've since learned to appreciate paintings more.

Hadiparana Art Centre (+6221 7196354) in Kemang offers several art classes. (

- Scuba Diving
A few young colleagues invited me to join their scuba diving class. I've always loved the ocean and scuba diving lesson was inviting. We took the class and went for the PADI certification at the islands near Jakarta. Build some great friendship from the lessons we shared. I've since then went diving in Bali a few times and loved the serenity and beauty of the deep ocean. 

Bali Scuba (+6236 1288610) offers PADI certified classes and organize diving trips in and around Bali. (

- Golf
I picked up golf for practical reason it is good for networking. There are many driving ranges and many golf instructors that give golf lessons;  you can find certified instructors who are pricey and also those who teaches based on experience but have no certification. It depends on how much you are willing to spend and how serious you are in perfecting this sports. Ultimately, it comes down to practice, practice and practice. I've not caught on the golf bug and now only play once or twice a year.  Check out the many golf academies in town or simply go to one of the driving ranges and you will find instructors that suit you.

- Yoga
I was trying to find ways to unwind. After a long day, I used to feel physically exhausted but my mind was still running amok. Walked into Bikram Yoga class one day and it transformed me. I've since then sleep through the nights like a baby, learn to breathe better, have better posture and can actually now touch my toes. Flexibility has definitely improved. I now look forward to sweating the whole week's of stress and toxic in my weekend classes. 

Yoga at 42 (+6221 7197379) offers hot yoga classes conducted by certified instructors. They also offer ashtanga yoga and several other yoga classes. (

- Running
This is the easiest and cheapest pastime I've picked up.  Started running after I signed up for the 10K run in the annual Singapore Marathon and was addicted to running since then. For me, running is therapeutic. To just let go, and run. To feel the breeze and the sun. 

If you would like to join a serious running group, check out Jakarta Spirit. ( 

- Writing
It is now so easy to write. Facebook is a good media. Or check out Twitter which allows you to share your thoughts, observations and anything interesting. Did I mention you can shed your inhibition since you can be anonymous on Twitter?

There are so many activities we can pick up and I am sure everyone's interest is different. What is important is to do what is fun. To bring some joy and laughter into our lives. Let's not find excuse and let's enjoy life.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Baby step towards my writing aspiration

Flew to Bali over the weekend for the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival.  Had wanted to check out this event since it started as a small local event but for some reasons (or perhaps excuses I conjure), I never made the trip.  It is now a successfully run festival well-known in the region.  There are participants from all ages and nationalities.

A few close friends asked why I would choose to spend my time and money on a few writing workshops which are unrelated to my profession.  Being a banker, our requisite to write is minimum and meant to be kept concise; the key word to business writing after all is KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid).

I am glad I went.  The workshops exposed me to several useful writing techniques. Different lecturers pass on different writing tips depending on the topic of the workshop and also depending on their background.  An author gives a different view of the literary world from a publisher.  Among the many interesting tips and insights shared, the most interesting take-away is that writing is less about talent than practice.  I suppose excluding the exceptionally talented few, the rest of the writers simply have to keep writing away and perfecting the skill in time.

It is both inspiring and intimidating to be surrounded by so many aspiring writers.  I felt inadequate to many who have been writing for a while and words seem to just flow from their thoughts.  I decided this time I will no longer let fear stop me from writing.  I am privileged enough that I am not writing for a living.  I write because I like to write.  Hence, there is no justification for my irrational fear of writing except for fear of bruising my ego.  The constant worry that I cannot write well has kept me from even starting.

Some day, writing will come to me naturally.  Until such time, I will chip away word by word, paragraph by paragraph.  I will continue to tweet, blog and scribble and let words carry me away.