19th January 2015 – Jigme, our youngest kitten, fell ill two days ago due to bacterial infection in his lungs. He could not breath properly and this afternoon, was admitted to the hospital in UPM, Serdang, and is now in critical condition. My family is praying for him to pull through.
20th January 2015 – The hospital called just now – Jigme has passed away an hour ago. Jigme is just a kitten we saved from the street late last year, but he was to us, a precious little life.
He would always be the first one to station himself in the kitchen when it was lunch time. While I prepare his food, he would climb up my legs like a monkey would climb up a coconut tree. Quite irritating at that time, but I am going to miss this little monkey.
He also likes to suckle one of our female cat although she was not his mother. She too, finds him irritating. I don’t know whether she is going to miss him or not. She is asleep now and was not aware that little nuisance was gone.
Thank you, Jigme, whose name means fearless in Tibetan. You have shown us how fragile life is, how impermanent everything is. You are our little teacher.
Our only regret is that we have not shower you enough love and also, our days together was so brief. Nevertheless, you will stay in our heart and mind for a long time.
May you rest in peace and gain a better rebirth. Om Mani Padme Hum, Jigme.
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Here is my family’s terrific ten. It has been a year of ups and downs for my family and our kittens. Laughters, tears, pain, sickness – we have it all! Wishing everyone a Happy and Blessed 2015.
2014 has been a mixed year for me. Whilst I have found much peace, hope and comfort from a spiritual journey, I have lost two wonderful people in my life – a beloved family friend and a brother-in-law. They were unexpectedly taken away in August and September respectively. Yes, the shock and pain is still there.
This year, I have also met some new friends who gave me their support in my writing. My second book is taking shape but I still need a bit more time to make sure I am comfortable to release it. This is because what I have written in this book reflects the adult in me. When you read it, you are reading the present me.
Reaching the mark of half a century this year does not stop me from wanting to learn and grow. Everyday is a new learning and growing experience. Everyone I have crossed path with is my teacher. They have taught me to either emulate them or not to be like them at all. I am very grateful to have them as my gurus (teachers in Sanskrit).
I have a feeling 2015 will be a tough year. I have been through many storms before, so I am not afraid anymore of another one. Each storm toughen me up and for that, I have no regrets.
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Tina Isaacs moderating the reading event
Writer & poet Deborah Wong
Writer Suraiya Abdullah
Spoken poet Jamal Raslan
Writer Suscelah Fonseka
Travel writer Judyth Gregory Smith
Spoken poet Melizarani T. Selva
Writer & poet Frances Yip
Some of those who came to listen
All ears on the writers and poets
Some of the books on sale
And finally, a group photo after the reading session
Despite the rain yesterday afternoon, the reading session went smoothly. Six writers and poets were invited to read their works. They were Deborah Wong, Suraiya Abdullah, Jamal Raslan, Judyth Gregory Smith, Suscelah Fonseka and Melizarani T. Selva. I read three poems from my collection. The event was moderated by Tina Isaacs.
My heartfelt gratitude to Vlad Slavin, Jang Bu Yeon, Markiza and Peter Brown for coming to support us. We all had a wonderful evening. More reading events will be coming up next year at d7 The Refinery.
Thank you too, Ben Toh for the venue and the excellent photos taken.
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When I was 16, I wrote a poem called “The Executioner’s Song” for the school magazine. It was promptly rejected and got thrown into the bin by the teacher. The poem was about the injustice felt by some condemned victims on their way to the gallows. I was inspired by the two Aussie men sent to the gallows at Pudu Jail for drug trafficking. I have already forgotten the content of the poem, as it has been thirty-four years already.
Today, my daughter Alexandra, a poem lover herself, and who was very taken up by the title of this poem, challenged me to write another poem of the same title and also, about the injustice felt by recent condemned victims.
Why condemned victims? Because, to both of us, each life is precious.
This poem was composed just now (took me an hour to do it) and it is a tribute to a brave young lady called Reyhaneh Jabbari who was hanged in Iran last month after being accused of killing her rich and powerful rapist, a crime she vehemently denied till the end.
The Executioner’s Song (2)
In the solitary wards of Evin and Shahr-e Ray
You were brutally beaten beyond recognition
Your long and polished nails could not prove to them
That you will not kill even a mosquito or a cockroach
Wealth and power – how evil and cruel is this combination!
You, a young girl of nineteen out to defend her modesty
But was instead accused of killing her ruthless predator
All because he was so arrogantly high and mighty
Where have justice flee to or has God gone to rest?
Or are you simply His lesser child, not worthy of His love?
All pleas fell on deaf ears, even those from your poor mother
What has become of this world, where is humanity, I wonder?
Cry no more, Reyhaneh Jabbari, blame it on your fate
Of being born into a place where women are not feted on
But were treated like the lowest of the low, almost invisible!
Maybe you will find peace at the hangman’s noose?
Your heart, your eyes, your kidneys and your bones
Surely, they will bring some hopes and cheers
To those who got a part of you and values it dearly
Despair not, for in them, you live on, brave lady!
(Hope this one will not get throw into the bin!)
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Mommy dearest, fourteen years ago today
You left us without even saying goodbye
Outside our glass windows and metal gate
Laughter and chatters could still be heard
While my heart torn into a million pieces
And tears flowed like the Ganges River.
So sad was my father to lose his partner
A loving wife that Heaven bestowed him
Fifty years of tears and happiness shared
The void that you left in his heart and soul
No words of comfort could heal or lessen
It was a pain only he could feel and tell.
The days that followed were strangely hollow
But your sweet voice still rings in my ears
When the sun set below the horizon
I could feel your presence and your touch
Many nights I suddenly woke from my sleep
And asked where have you gone to, Mommy?
Seconds, minutes, and hours ticked away
Days, months, and years came and went
My children who were babes when you left
Now grown up and ready to face the world
Deprieved a taste of your kindness and kisses
Yearning for a grandma taken away too soon.
Now I have learned that death comes to all
That life is impermanent like the setting sun
My heart has surrendered to the eternal truth
The flowing tears have dried up in my eyes
But still, I will hold your memories tightly
As I whisper a prayer for you, my Goddess.
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Pussy on the first day in our house…
Big and strong a year later!
One day in November last year, as I was putting away my prayer beads after a chanting and meditation session with my husband, I told him how wonderful it would be to have some animals sitting along side with us to listen to dharma which is Buddha’s teaching. Marcus didn’t say anything, he just smiled.
A day later, a stray dog got into our house. It appeared from nowhere. We gave it a bath and some food. My children were so happy to have it and they played with it for some time. The next day, it rained. Fearing that it might get wet sitting outside the house, Nicholas took it in. After the rain had stopped, he took it outside again. The next day, it got inside the house again although it did not rain that day. I told my son to take it outside. The next morning, when I opened the door, it was missing from the veranda. It had run away. We looked everywhere but could not find it again.
Two days later, as I was ironing Nicholas’ uniform, a stray kitten barged into our house, also from nowhere. It mewed loudly and pitifully. It then quickly ran into my neighbor’s house. She was not an animal lover and chased it out with a broom. The frightened animal ran back into our house again. This time, it looked very scared. Out of pity for such a small and lost animal, we decided to foster it. Marcus gave it a bath and then walked to the nearest supermarket to buy a can of cat food for the little feline. I gave it a name, a very simple one – Pussy.
Pussy is our first adopted cat and today, he has grown into a big and heavy cat. Occasionally it would sit contentedly beside me while I was chanting and meditating, absorbing the beautiful mantra vibrating in the air. Sometimes it would drink Chinese tea or even eat durian.
Pussy has brought us more joy and laughter than we can ever imagined. Happy first anniversary, Pussy!
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