Monday, September 24, 2012

Dear Grandma

Today I just came back from visiting my maternal grandmother at a hospital in Bangkok. It's been a while since I last saw her. Unfortunately, it's often when things are almost too late that we realised how important someone or something is, until we are about to lose them.

My grandma is a very strong woman. She had nine children and raised eight of them as she lost one. There are so many ways to describe her. But the most beautiful thing about her is, she cares about other people more than herself. I was there in the ICU room where she laid with the oxygen mask and so many tubes in and out of her body but the first thing she said to us who were visiting her was asking if we were tired of standing. Then later when she got a hold of my hand, she tried to give me a hand massage. She did not at all act like someone whom the doctor said was so week she might not have more than three months to live. She is the same person she was when she were younger, she always took care of everyon else. That's when I realised who I got the genes of giving from. Although this might not be a technically correct term to call 'genes of giving', I'd like to think it's something that runs in her family, from her mother, to her, to my mom and to me.

I'm glad I got to see her today and I'm glad that she is my grandma because she has given me the most valuable treasure a person can have. It's the treasure of good heart and 'thamma' and the wisdom that the most important thing in our life is not 'what we get' but 'what we give'.
With all my love to my grandma,

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Buddhist way of thinking

To be honest, I'm probably not the best example of a Buddhist. I eat meat (who said a Buddhist has to be a vegetarian anyway), I seldom go to the temple, I don't pray, I sometimes don't remember the history of Buddhism and can't really tell people what it actually is. But I do know one thing, very important thing actually. Buddhism provides me with a choice to be happy and think happy thoughts.

Today, I lost a 10 dollar voucher which I got from participating an activity at university. I didn't expect to get it but I was happy to have it. I was so glad and I was going to use it but then I lost the voucher. I tried to look for it and couldn't find it anywhere and I feel really sad. The funny thing was, if I hadn't had it in the first place, I wouldn't have felt sad to lose it. It's funny how we sometimes suffer from losing things that we wouldn't have needed it anyway. And I think we do that a lot in our life. We grieve on the lost of things that might not be as important as we thought. I spent much of my afternoon mourning over this loss which is really quite a waste of time. I then realise that if I had adopted the way of thinking that things come and go and nothing stays forever just like I was taught during my Buddhism class then I might not have suffered so much over such a silly little thing. That's the moment of enlightenment for me.

For me, it doesn't matter what religion one hold but what matters is whether that system of believes provide the person with the way to be happy and think positive thoughts about life. I found that realising that what is my loss might be fortunate gain for other people and that can be a good thing (Tham boon). It might not be logical but it helps me to calm down and mourn less over the loss. I do agree with the Buddha when he said that people are sad because they suffers from the desire of holding on to things that are not forever.

Sometimes I do think that Buddhism makes people passive and lack of ambition to overcome challenge. What's the purpose of fighthing for something that you know it's not gonna last forever? But when it comes to deficult times of having to accept the loss, I think Buddhism is actually helping me to cope and see things positively which lift up my spirit to goes on without letting it affecting me too much.

So I am grateful that I have the choice to chose my believe and reflect upon it. That makes me more appreciative of what I have, my believe and who I am.

Friday, April 02, 2010

It's been a while

Life takes you where you least expect it to go. This is my story....
During the past two years, I have learned enormous amount of life lessons, painful lessons that I have never thought it would or could happen to me. Yes, I was very naive in thinking that.

I was down, depressed, self-destructive and feeling ugly, anything negative one can possibly feel about oneself. And the worst is that I jump from one shattered heart into yet another battered heart. I allowed myself to do stupid things, shameful things and things that hurt myself and people who care for me. It was just a disaster.

My worst mistake was that I still tried to hang on to the possibility that there was some kind of explanations why things happen, still trying to understand what went wrong, what I could have done better. I was blaming myself. I was still trying to believe that it's possible to move on without cutting people off my life.

It took me a while, a long 2 years and risk of losing my PhD to realise that sometimes you just have to cut people off, forget them and let them go especially if they are someone who are painful to think about. Fortunately, I had a good wakeup call to realise early enough to let this process take place before it can interfer too much more of my life.

Today I'm sitting in a quiet house of the people who have been the most supportive to me all through my emotional turmoil, thinking about many more others who have been loving and caring to me unconditionally. The sunlight of the beautiful morning shines on the trees, leaves falling down gracefully and that just makes me want to share this feeling of fulfillment and strength that I have drawn from reflecting on my past.

For 2 long years, I have dwelled in the past and let people who do not appreciate me affect my feeling and my life. Today, there is no more of that. It's going to be hard to erase my memory of pain but I have made a decision to no longer let them have any impact on me in anyway. I'm looking forward. I'm looking towards the future and many great things I will achieve and I will become. My past mistakes will only be there to remind you of how to be better and try to help others so that they do not fall into the same trap.

Does my painful experience make me bitter? No. But it will make me a better person.

What I do make of these people who are painful to me? Nothing, they are just passerby. They are not worth keeping and no more significant than a stranger who we once cross path with and leave.

I'm glad I have experienced life in the way that it doesn't destroy me but strengthen me. I doesn't stop me from loving but appreciating the true from of love and recognizing the fake one.

I thank myself for not giving up, for fighting through the pain and conquer. I thank my family for always being there, loving me no matter what kind of trouble I get myself into. I thank Kathy and her family for adopting me into their hearts despite our differences. I thank Bob and Ros for providing unimaginable amount of support and care to help me get through the toughest time and providing sanctuary for me with their warm beautiful home. I thank all my real true friends who are always supportive and stick by me even when I make mistakes.

This is me and my stories. I hope that by sharing it, one day I can help others to understand themselves better and go through the trouble in their life with strength and good moral.

All the best,


Saturday, January 03, 2009

Thank you, mom, for being you and making me who I am

It's Jan 3rd, 2009. For me, there are 2 reasons to celebrate. The first reason is it is a New Year, new life and hopefully the permament goodbye to old years and things I would like to leave behind. Although it's already the 3rd day, I only just feel that it finally feels like a new year, a better year for me.

The second reason and probably why the first reason exists in the first place is that today is my mom's birthday. I normally don't do sweet things and say sweet words to mom because I feel a bit awkward. But somehow today I felt like I should although I don't think my mom would ever come to this site and read it, she probably doesn't know it exists yet. =P

This second reason is very important to me because it is her birthday and that it makes me realise that if there was no her, I wouldn't have been here either. There is something very special about my mom that I want to write it out here, mainly to remind myself and hopefully to inspire others who care to read. I used to spend hours writing emails and encouraging message to someone else, someone who in the end hurt me the most but never wrote as long to my own mom, how shameful. This year I'm determined to do things differently, to always put family first and never again love someone else more than my family and myself.

So here is my story about my mom and how I would like to thank her very much for being who she is and making me who I am.

Mom is a special person whom I strangely feel close but sometimes feel too weird to express it. Well, it's all come down to the simple fact that she does exactly who I like to do, thinks what I like to think and be what I probably would be. There is a saying that people who are the same don't quite get along, I'm pretty convinced that it might be my case and mom. Sometimes I'd like to think mom is too much into philosophy and all the touchy topics. Well, the strange thing is, when I'm alone, I do exactly the same. When we talked on the phone, I often can't talk long because I feel like there is nothing to talk about, it's weird. Now, I realise that when you are extremely close to someone, you just feel that the person already knows everything hence, there is no more to say. I feel guilty sometimes for not trying to have a longer conversation but mom is always patient and forgiving as usual.

My mom is a unique person as she teaches her kids not to be the one who takes but gives and show us how to think positively when being disadvantaged. "Not having everything, problems, misfortune all make us stronger and better people with a bigger heart", that's what she would say if let's say someone tries to make our life harder. Sometimes I think that's too much and it's unfair to let others walk over us. But sometimes when my head is cooler and could understand more of her point, I see that fairness is not quite absolute or ultimate but a mere tool to make people happy with their life. Life is unfair anyway. So if I have to chose between a fair but full of unhappy struggles and unfair but with happiness from being accepting, I would probably want the latter.

Being my mom's daugther, I realise that success is determined by what and how we define it. Failur can turn into success with the right attitude while the opposite can also be true if unhealthy attitude plagues the mind. During the past 7 months of my life with disappointment and broken heart, I used to think I wasted so much time on such as small matter (small considered by others but critical for me). I used to feel stupid about myself and feel so powerless that I'm afraid I would never be able to get back up to where I was. But after talking to mom on the phone today, I feel different somehow. I might have fallen, I might have been stuck and I might have not done what I was meant to be doing in terms of my academic study. But I didn't waste my time. I learned a lot about myself (although I think I will probably forget and make simiar mistake again because that's me and I can't change it). I learn the value of my family. I learn to accept the imperfect part of me and instead of being unhappy about it, just be contend that it was not worse. =P

So how did my mom did that? Well, it's simple. Because she loves me no matter who I am, what I do, where I am, how hurtful or difficult I can be. And she's the only person (apart from dad) who I know will think of me as the most important person whom she would call or try to see whenever she has a chance. Before, I was looking for this kind of affection from someone else and was so hurt when it was not there, so silly. Now, I don't think I would be needing it from anyone else anymore, I know I have, always have had and will have it from my mom and my family. Because of mom's love, I'm able to regain my strength again and be brave enough to keep going no matter what life brings ahead of me and be happy about it.

Mom shows me that what matter the most is how we value ourselves. Some people value themselves by the income they earn, the house they have. Me and my mom pretty much agree on valuing what good things we do for and to others. No wonder whenever my friends ask me "what do you want?", I always ask them back the same question. For a while, I was accused of not being decisive, well, now I know it was not about being indecisive but more about putting others first. It's something some of my western friends would probably think a stupid idea but again, that's just who I am.

Thank you so much, mom, for being born today 55 years ago. For keeping your great soul and never give up. For giving me life, family, wisdom, lots of other things to keep me alive and healthy both body and mind, and the most important thing of all, love. I love you very much and am so glad I am your daughter.

Love you always,

Your little daugther (who is growing up), Am

Monday, October 20, 2008

End of IAP

After 5 weeks, IAP or the orientation program for AusAid scholars was over. We had a final presentation and that was the last time we were together with our IAP friends from various countries. It was pretty sad as we know it's unlikely that we would get to do things as a big group like this again. Although it was not a long time, the memory and friendship would definitely last for as long as we treasure them.

Me with my group, most are PhD or MPhil research students from southeast Asia region

We recieved certificate of participation from our learning advisors who have been really helpful.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Me at southbank in the winter so no wonder I had on a jumper. In summer, this place would be packed with people in the swimming suits
Another corner of Southbank parkland

Thursday, October 16, 2008

IAP cultural concert

As AusAid-funded scholars, we had 5-week orientation program about how study and living in Australia in June before the semester started. Part of the program also include cultural concert when people performed something from their culture. I got together with Loasian girl and Cambodian guy and we did "Ram Wong". Others did dancing, singing, and presentation. It was cool to see such variety in culture and also beautiful traditional costumes.