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Category Archive for 'Happiness'

Growing up in Singapore, I spent most Chinese New Years basking in the carefree banter of a huge extended family, soaking in the vibrant festivities, collecting Ang Paos (red envelops with money!) and wolfing down bak kwa (jerky), pineapple tarts and candy.

We went from relative’s house to relative’s house in a convoy of cars – parents, uncles and aunts with screaming, gleeful kids in tow. I played and ate at every stop, not realizing those were precious familial moments I would come to miss as I moved to the United States years later.

Well, it’s been too many years since I spent Chinese New Year in Singapore. I have gotten used to simply celebrating as a little family, and have grudgingly accepted that this day is a regular work day this side of the Pacific Ocean.

But thankfully this year, my spirits lifted with a “shot of inspiration” from the Singapore America Business Association (SABA).

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I haven’t stop thinking about 94-year-old Carmen Herrera ever since I read about her in The New York Times. Her story is such a shot of inspiration that I just have to write about it here.

The story goes that Carmen has a deep love for painting. It was a compulsion, something she simply couldn’t stop doing. She started painting back in the 1930s, when she was in her ’20s. Her paintings focused mostly on geometrical shapes and lines, forms and colors, and were considered “ahead of her time.”

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Have you ever had moments in your life when someone or something kindles a spark of gratitude within you and changes your perspective on life ever so subtly, or not so subtly?

I remember one instance, back when I was barely out of my teens, while attending college as a bright-eyed freshman. It was the first day of a “Psychology 101” class. Everyone in class looked around my age, except a 60-plus-years-old African American woman. I will never forget what she said as we went around a seated circle introducing ourselves.

After working hard all my life, and seeing my five children grow up, go to school and graduate from college, it is finally my turn.”

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What Is It About Flowers?

Today, I simply have a pictures blog post, of the numerous flowers I have come across this year and taken pictures of. What is it about them that surprises and delights us? That enthralls and captivates? That makes us cast aside our troubles, no matter how temporarily? That makes our hearts sigh with contentment and joy? Here are some “eye candy” (no calories added!) for your viewing pleasure!

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This poem is dedicated to my wonderful friend, Leslie Shen, who taught me how to take time out to “smell the roses.”

Simply Time for Me

Simply time for me,

Simply time to be.

Time to take a walk and deeply breathe,

Time to calm the mind and hear the rustling leaves,

Time to slow the heart,

Say “bye bye” harried day.

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