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Jun. 22nd, 2017

Shell Beach

Random drop-in post

I haven't posted since 2013. It's amazing how things just remain in cyberspace where you left off.

I'm writing now as I just felt like recording this down for myself.

I went for a gastroscopy and colonoscopy yesterday, and boy, was the experience memorable.

Firstly, the preps weren't easy. 'No solids for 24hr' was a toughie. But that paled in comparison to having to down 4L of the Fortrans laxative, 250ml every 15min from 6-10am, AND having liquid streaming from the a*** every few minutes as the bowels cleared. Well, as da jiu reframed it, it's good to get a thorough cleansing once in awhile 😂 And I sure won't take for granted being able to eat and poop solids 😂

The other thing I didn't reflect on as much at the earlier stage, was the outcome of the procedures, in part because I was more concerned with mentally prepping myself for all the preparatory stuff etc. In part because my prior blood tests had been fine. But when I received the 'all-clear' from the doc (apart from some samples he sent for biopsy), I did experience a sense of relief, more than I thought I would. This idea that I was granted a reprieve of sorts (to use the word 'reprieve' in itself is strange, because it means 'a respite from impending punishment') from God. And thoughts of how fragile and taken-for-granted life and good health is. And thankfulness to God for keeping me.

And this was compounded by the sight of all those other people (generally elderly) there to do the scopes, lying in the resting area in their hospital gowns... how many would receive an all-clear and go back to their lives with their sense of Life and Security untouched, and how many lives would forever be changed with some abnormality found?

Sobering thoughts, aren't they? Well it IS a dose of reality.

And therefore, carpe diem!
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Feb. 25th, 2013

Shell Beach

What is thy only comfort in life and in death?

Answer in a nutshell: that we belong to Christ and live for Him.

My face feels swollen and my eyes puffy from tears continually spilled. I'm surprised at how these Tears still springing forth, despite me feeling like a piece of cloth wrung so many times it is beyond bone dry.

Wai Gong is dying. Has been for awhile, but the past 1-2 weeks has seen a marked deterioration. The end is in sight.

Sad? Words can't begin to describe how I feel.

In the valley of the shadow of death, thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff comfort me. God please be with us. Give Wai Gong comfort and peace in his final days.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

Jan. 16th, 2013

Shell Beach

New Year, new entry

Noch ein Jahr ist vorbei.
(another year is over)

That line is fast becoming my catchphrase at the end of every year/the start of a new one.

In recent years, the years close leaving me with a vague sense of dissatisfaction. Questions like "What have I achieved? Is it enough?" ring in my head long after the revelry and cheers of the 31Dec/1Jan have died down.

Something is missing. Perhaps I need to find myself more. This is one of my main hopes for 2013 - find Rebecca more, and accept myself, the good bad ugly.

Blessed New Year :)

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

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Oct. 23rd, 2012

Shell Beach

20 Oct '12 -

we made the decision to put Bailey to sleep.

I miss him so.

May. 10th, 2012

Shell Beach

"Life is like a box of chocolates -

you never know what you are going to get"

This quote from Forrest Gump might be a little cliche and overused by now, but it's so literally applicable to my experience today when one of my clients with intellectual disability gave me a box of Ferraro Roche, writing on the paper 'Happy Mothers' Day' when I asked her what it was for.

And she continued writing - "I like you. You is my friend", to which I wrote back "I like you too!" Guess what her response was? she laughed so happily and simply, and gave me a spontaneous (albeit bony :p) hug.

I can't begin to describe the subtle joy welling inside me, even as I type this. It's not so much about her affirming me, though that admittedly felt good. It's also not just that it signified the therapeutic bond we shared, as client-therapist, though that's also of great importance.

It was the simplicity and spontaneity of her words and gestures that struck a chord, resonating within me to reach a place that's kind of buried under layers of jaded-ness and disappointment.

Sometimes, love/care for someone doesn't have to be so complicated :)

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

May. 3rd, 2012

Shell Beach

(no subject)

SG actress Emma Yong dies at 36. Well, I obviously didn't know her personally, so my grief is kind of, secondhand, for lack of a better word.

But it is strong enough to compel me to write in here because it hit quite hard, when the news broke this morning. A little like how I felt when I felt like writing about Heath Ledger's death, but more intense.

I remember how I read a full-page Life! feature article on her and her journey (I prefer to use 'journey' since that's what i feel life is) with cancer a few months back. It was the first time I was made aware that she had cancer, and it reminded me how no one is spared; I teared as my eyes skimmed the article about her struggles in the face of cancer (i'm tearing now lol). All the hopes, fears...dreams fulfilled and unfulfilled etc. And of course, I remembered mummy and how she died at such a young age.

Sometimes, words can never do feelings justice.

Life is so fragile, and death is the great leveller.

So, live a meaningful life. And lay up treasures in heaven.
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Feb. 9th, 2012

Shell Beach

Hallo.

Ich hab fuer eine sehr sehr lange Zeit nicht in hier geschrieben. It's been about 1/2 a year to be precise. Quite abit has happened, especially unexpected new beginnings that has reinforced my view that life never stops giving us surprises (good/bad).
So that's it for now, to touch base.
2012 - hope it's a good year :)

Aug. 25th, 2011

Shell Beach

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Steve Jobs, who stepped down as CEO of Apple Wednesday after having been on medical leave, reflected on his life, career and mortality in a well-known commencement address at Stanford University in 2005.


Here, read the text of of that address:

"I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college.Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.


The first story is about connecting the dots.


I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?


It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.


And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.


It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:


Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.


None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.


Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.


My second story is about love and loss.


I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.


I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.


I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.


During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.


I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.


My third story is about death.


When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.


Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.


About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.


I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.


This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept: No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.


Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.


When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions. Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.


Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.


Thank you all very much."

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Aug. 24th, 2011

Shell Beach

Serenity Prayer

"God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen."

- Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebhur

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The first paragraph of the Serenity Prayer is the more well-known part of the quote that most people would be aware of; but I feel the obscure second paragraph makes the entire Prayer beautifully complete.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.

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Aug. 11th, 2011

precious innocence

Song of the Moment


Riding on this know-how
Never been here before
Peculiarly entrusted
Possibly that's all
Is history recorded?
Does someone have a tape?
Surely, I'm no pioneer
Constellations stay the same

Just a little bit of danger
When intriguingly
Our little secret
Trusts that you trust me
'Cause no one will ever know
That this was happening
So tell me why you listen
When nobody's talking

What is there to know?
All this is what it is
You and me alone
Sheer simplicity


-- Kings of Convenience, Know-How





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