Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Taming the mind, body and...pain

This procrastinator finally forced herself to do something she had always ranted about and wanted to do…take up yoga. I liked what I experienced after several free trial lessons at a fitness centre a couple of months back. I had to sign up for a course before that interest trickled off. I seriously believe yoga is good for my body at my age, and even better for my monkey mind when I got nothing to do. So finally, I signed up for an elementary class at the CC near my place and attended my first lesson last night.

The instructor started everything from basic…breathing, stretching, holding the poses etc. It never occurred to me that I could be such a stranger to so many parts of my body. The instructor made sure I ‘visited’ all those poor muscles and joints of my anatomy that I never knew existed and got acquainted with them. My poor body, how much I must have abused you all these years, as can be seen from the way you are aching now. Strangely, I like the pain I’m feeling now. As the saying goes, no pain no gain. Hope to overcome the pain by the second lesson and attend the course regularly, diligently and eventually make yoga practice a part of my life.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

So bizarre

Saw a freak incident on the train last night while on my way home. A bulky Malay lady sitting three seats away from me with a baby (probably around eight months old) on her lap somehow allowed the toddler to slip out of her grip. The poor baby fell backwards onto the ground, head down first with a slight thud @_@. So very bizarre. Waaaa!…Waaa!…the baby screamed, whether in pain or in shock, I wasn’t sure. The clumsy mum (who was holding a mobile phone on one hand) realising her carelessness, also exclaimed out loud. She rushed to pick her crying baby up from the ground. What she did next shocked me even more. She started rubbing the baby’s head and rocking him vigorously to pacify him…*faint*. I cringed and looked up at the lady standing right in front of me. I saw her cringe too and exchange this look of disbelief with me.

It took a few more minutes before the baby would stop crying. In fact, when the kid stopped crying, it got me even more worried. I kept observing the kid’s facial expression to make sure he hasn’t fainted, was in a daze or worse…frothing from the mouth. With all that rugged rocking and rubbing, the mum could have caused even greater harm to the kid than the fall.

I only relaxed and carried on enjoying Andre Bocelli crooning on my iPod when I saw the kid smile and giggle. ^_^

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Can society agree to disagree?

As I write this entry, about three thousand women (and some men) congregated at one of our downtown convention halls to get their voices heard pertaining to a women’s association, an association that has been around for 25 years helping women and fighting for the equal rights of women in Singapore. One of the issues to be discussed is an alleged siege staged by a group of women with a religious agenda. Being a woman and an inquisitive Singaporean, I’ve been following this saga daily via the tv, newspapers and online reporting. As I read the reports and comments, I observed how my opinions and moods have swerved back and forth towards both camps of women.

For the benefit of my friends who are not living in the lion city, here is a summarised account of what happened. Some time ago, a group of women quietly joined an association, turned up for its AGM one day, voted their counterparts into the executive committee (exco) through a majority head-count and seized control of the association. The old team was caught unawares, got eliminated and naturally got upset. When the new team took over the centre, they had a different set of ideas on what they wanted to do. They changed the locks, sacked long-serving staff and contributing volunteers. Accusations started flying…“it was all plotted; the new team is a religious group with a hidden agenda; they are anti-gay!” …“the old guards are only interested in promoting the advancement of homosexuality; girls in schools are taught it’s normal to experiment with each other.” What a scoop for the press. Sudden excitement for our otherwise boring society.

After reading the press conferences, interviews, reports, blogs, comments of people on both camps concerned with this saga, I think I should also blog about it. Hope I don’t get hate mails or death threats with this post ^_^lll. Anyway, this is my current point of view and it may not be permanent. Why? Because nothing is permanent. And why aren’t I participating at the EGM instead of writing this? Because I more or less know what the results will be at the EGM.

In all fairness, in my opinion (piak!…whack on the head…still in a daze @@), both camps of women are not wrong. Because I can see that their original intentions were good. The old guards wanted to promote an all-inclusive society (bravo to that) while the new guards hope to promote or reinforce corroding family values and protect their vulnerable off-springs (very concerned and responsible parents, nothing wrong with that too). So what went wrong? Well, I would think it’s because one side was inexperienced in such politicking, got personal, possessive and tried to shut the other side out totally. Then religion got dragged into the fight and that’s taboo in our secular society. Matters got worse when a pastor got involved, took sides and rallied his church to support their ‘sisters’. Tsk, tsk, tsk, shouldn’t he be advocating love for all sisters regardless of which camps they are from?

I believe the new exco of originally good-intentioned (and mostly motherly) women really thought they could contribute to society. Unfortunately, they knew and accepted only one truth. They had great faith in their religion but sadly, they had no faith in their fellow beings. Their failure to accept other truths, their unwillingness to support an all-inclusive society plus their ignorance of their roles in the organisation led to their predicament today.

As for the old team of well-respected, hardworking true-blue feminists whom had put their heart and soul into a cause they believe in for the last 25 years, perhaps this is a timely wake-up call for them. For these old guards, I think they too have to address and respect the needs of a certain minority, people whom are not as liberal as them. For change to take place in society, you have to give it time. I do advocate an all-inclusive society and the door of my heart is open to everyone. But I can’t force or drag people through my door, can I? As what many Singaporeans have mentioned, we must all learn to agree to disagree. Everyone has the right to their own beliefs and opinions. It would be more productive if we could put our focus on our similarities rather than the differences in order for the society to progress harmoniously.

At times like this, again Jiddu Krishnamurti’s great words “The truth is a pathless land” come to mind. Below is an extract of his teachings I posted a few years ago.

Full Heart, Empty Mind
There is no path to truth, it must come to you.
Truth can come to you only when your mind and heart are simple, clear, and there is love in your heart; not if your heart is filled with the things of the mind.
When there is love in your heart, you do not talk about organising for brotherhood; you do not talk about belief, you do not talk about division or the powers that create division, you need not seek reconciliation.
Then you are simply a human being without a label, without a country.
This means that you must strip yourself of all those things and allow truth to come into being; and it can come only when the mind is empty, when the mind ceases to create.
Then it will come without your invitation.
Then it will come as swiftly as the wind and unbeknown.
It comes obscurely, not when you are watching, wanting.
It is there as sudden as sunlight, as pure as the night; but to receive it, the heart must be full and the mind empty.
Now you have the mind full and your heart empty.

Time to empty our minds?

ps: At the time of this post, 1,414 members had voted in support of the ‘no confidence vote’, while 761 had voted against it. (as expected ^_^)

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