Sunday, November 22, 2009

Perception - Interpretation

I've always been fascinated with how an individual perceives (takes in) information and then interprets the info (or data before it is converted into information really).
 Here is a joke once used by Dr. Greg Bahnsen that kinda illustrates this quite well (I think)
It's about a man who believed he was dead. His friends figured he'd have to be psychotic to believe that he was dead when he was so obviously alive. So they brought him to a psychologist.
The psychologist asked this man if he thought dead men bled. The man said "no."
So the psychologist jabbed the man with a needle when he wasn't looking. The man saw blood oozing out of his skin.
The psychologist said, "See? You're bleeding." The man looked at his skin and turned white, and said, "Oh my, dead men do bleed!"

 I guess we see what we want to see, right? How a person interprets one thing may not be how others see it.  So if we don't communicate what we understand or thinks of the world or a situation - others cannot confirm if they also see the same.  This can lead to huge misunderstandings ...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A joke

Late at night this guy runs into a pub and demands a glass of water from the landlord. The guy drinks it in one gulp then asks for a second glass. Six pints later, and he has recovered enough to speak. "Thanks," he croaks. "That's one hell of a thirst you've got," says the landlord.

The guy says: "Any man would be as bad if they'd just had sex with the woman in my car. She's insatiable. She wants me to go right back out there and do it all again, but I can't." "Where's your car?" the landlord asks. "At the roadside," the guy gasps.

"Tell you what," says the landlord, "you watch the bar for me while I nip out and take your place." "Be my guest," the guy says. So the landlord goes outside and gets in the car. It's totally dark, so the woman doesn't realize she's with a different man. And they get right down to it, humping away.

Five minutes later there's a knock on the window. It's a cop, and he shines his flashlight on the naked couple. "What's going on here?" he asks. "It's all right, officer," explains the landlord, "She's my wife." The officer replies apologetically, "Oh, sorry sir, I didn't realize."
Looking at the woman, the landlord says, "Neither did I till you switched on that damned light."

a short one

Next dream ..
This is a short one .. and it involves an accident. I was on my way home driving towards my home .. and I was changing lanes .. and as I moved to my right into the middle lane (or second lane to turn right at the coming traffic light ahead) – I noticed in my rear view mirror a car coming up at speed .. so I step up my speed and as I look ahead I noticed the car infront slowed down considerably .. so to avoid hitting it, i swerve back to the left .. and think wow i am really lucky there is no car coming on my left or the left lane or I would have been hit.

But just as that moment I notice the car losing control and it starts to spin .. for a moment I think the car is going to flip and roll. But it doesn’t. In a surreal manner it just turns / spins very slowly and starts to move to the extreme left. All this while the location – the road and everything is familiar .. and I know exactly where it is .. but now .. as with most dreams .. i seem to have been transported to some other place .. and as my car moves to the left turning round and round .. i see a truck coming towards me .. and I think it might hit me .. so I reach out to press the hazard light in hope the truck will spot me and do what he can to avoid hitting me. The car comes to a stop .. the truck doesn’t hit me .. and I wake up ..

What do they all mean ... ???

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Another strange dream

These are from last night (or early this morning). Can't recall all the minor details .. but I wanna just record down some things perhaps in point form in case I wish to return to this point at a later date to examine/re-examine them. So anyway .... the dream:

I was living in some house in something like a farm area .. I don't know why since the house does not resemble any I have ever been in (and I have been in a lot of houses/apartments etc). But at any rate ... I am starting off here sort of in the middle of the dream already cos I can't remember all the lead up to it (even when I woke up from the dream to write all these down).

So at this point in the dream .. I was in a house in some estate (this is a Western estate as opposed to a Malaysian "rubber" estate type if you guys are trying to visualize this). At this point - I have in my mind (in the dream) an image of some evil creature we need to eliminate. It is kinda small .. troll like .. something you would have seen in a movie or something - but I am not very good at describing it right this moment .. except that it is small, troll-like, with sharp ears .. and I think even sharp teeth .. yaya something like the green goblin I suppose. Ok anyway .. this creature has two helpers I guess .. and he has possessed them or somehow controls them .. they are humans. But they function along with the goblin to kill anyone who expresses any indication of aggression or anger.

So in the dream I remember thinking to myself .. they are mighty dangerous to be set loose on our soil as many people would die (hmmm but now to think of it - maybe that wont be so bad, huh? we can set them loose in the some legislative assembly somewhere so they can eliminate those ignorant pigs and dogs who are always vulgar and rude and agressive - woops .. I digress. I wonder if I could end up in jail for sedition or something. Who knows in this age and time in our country). (Oh my gosh .. I just realized - they would have killed me for those words I just expressed above since they are so laced with anger, resentment blah blah blah). Anyway .. ok ok I'll get back to the story ....

Well in the dream because I had considered them dangerous .. we had somehow captured them and had them locked up. I don't know who the "we" are .. or how we captured them .. just that we did. And now .. they have escaped.

I am like in the back of the house .. and I know they have broken out of the house (presumably they were locked up in the back) and now I had to block the door where they exited. Since they busted the lock, all I could do was to find objects to block that path.

Then I recall my eldest brother going to his room - which strangely was here in the back part of the house. Anyway, I thot that would not be safe so I suggested to him that since we can't really lock up the back part now that the back door is busted that he might want to consider moving to the upstairs of our house instead. He agreed with no fuss .. and started to move towards the inner part of the house. And then I wondered "hmm .. he is moving so slow and may have difficulty getting to the upstairs. We are all in danger if he takes too long cos no telling if the goblin and his gang will be back anytime soon."

The scene now changes to the outside of the house .. it is evening time and we just had a recent downpour (this incidentally matches the real condition in my area recently as we have been having rain for the past days). So here I am .. walking around the outside of the house. And this is where I can tell we live in some farm or estate because you can see a large wide piece of land .. with a house .. and fences and a barn nearby etc .. you know, just like you would see ... mmm maybe like in Smallville? oh well anyway .. I noticed that our poles holding up the wires/rope to put out clothes to be dried has fallen down. I am not sure if this was the work of the goblin as he made his escape or as a result of the rain .. but anyway .. the poles are down and the laundry on the ground.

I move over to pick up the laundry .. and we have two dogs around .. tho now I can only remember how one of them looks like. And as I move towards the laundry on the ground .. this one dog, a big brown, shaggy dog - which was asleep - leaps up and comes toward me. I shout at it "whoa!" and he immediately stops. He recognizes me .. and now trotters over to me. I thot to myself .. "wow, this is a good dog. He will attack enemies and protect us."

I bend over to pick up the laundry .. I remember them now to be a brown towel, and a bed sheet. I pick them up and move back towards the house. At this point one of the dog runs off towards the barn .. and the brown dog follows me. He seems to wanna play and is tugging at the sheet. I am thinking while this is a nice dog .. he is kinda smelly at the moment because of his hair and the dampness in the air due to the rain-storm. So I am trying to usher him away .. but he refuses and follows me anyway .. into the house. I thought to myself again .. I need to get the dog out of the house before I close up and seal the exit. So I drop the laundry inside and lead the door back out of the house .. thinking I will take him to the other dog and hope to distract him while I run back into the house.

So he follows me. I round the corner of the house looking out for the other dog .. but do not see him. But Brown dog gets distracted for a moment (with what I don't recall) and I think to myself .. this is the time for me to make a break. So I run off .. round the corner again .. and I bump into this old couple. Now in the dream I know them to be my grandparents .. but of course they do not look like my real-life grandparents. Well, I never knew either of my grand fathers since they were both gone when I was born. But I did know my paternal grand mother, and this is not her. Nor is she my maternal grandmother whom I have only seen in photos.

I stop to chat with the old couple. Grandpa says to me .. "he is a good watch dog. He might be useful to you to have in the house." Grandma, on the other hand says "when you serve the host (she means the "eucharist") later on ., be sure to put some on the table (i.e., the altar). I asked her why, and she answers "because the goblin (of course she didn't refer to him as a goblin .. it's just the name I am using now) is afraid of it." She goes on to to explain to me that the goblin likes to lie on the table and although I can't see him, he is there. So putting a host on the table will drive him away. And I think to myself "I must remember this .. to put a piece of the eucharist on the altar later .. apparently i was going to be attending some camping trip where I will be presenting the hosts to participants. I think this is a reference to my university days when I was in the US.

Then I move back towards the house (how terrible - I didn't even think to ask the old folks to get in or worry about them. Oh well.) I get back in and just as I closed the door .. old faithful Brown dog is back at the door trying to get in. I bolt the door and he is pawing at it to get in. It is a glass door so I can see him and he can see me.

My mom was at that part of the back cos it looks like there is a stove right next to this back door where I am at now. She sees me struggling with the door and I ask her if I should let the dog in .. but she is thinking about it .. and good old Brown is still trying to push his way in .. and I am afraid the door is going to give .. and since there is no answer from my mom .. and I think this is taking too long .. i decided to open the door and let old Brown in.

And the dream ends there .. I wake up .. grab my notebook and scribble all these down.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Creating Ripples

I wanna start this entry with an event that occured last Friday.  Actually it started on Wed or Thurs of that week when I was watching the Breakfast Show. Yeah these days I have the luxury of watching the Breakfast Show on TV7. Anyway, this particular morning one of the guest on the show was Anne Jones (Datin) - author of several books (The Ripple Effect, Heal Yourself .. to name just a few). Something about what she talked about (i.e., inner healing, healing energies etc.) attracted my attention. And when I saw the list of titles (of her books) shown on TV, I was particularly drawn to the book "The Ripple Effect."  During the Breakfast Show, I learnt that Anne would be giving a brief talk (and doing book signing) at the Curve.  So I decided then that I would really like to go attend this - and surely learn something at the event. And so I did .. went there .. witnessed the event .. briefly chatted with AJ .. and then spent the evening with friends.

When I went there, I know I was drawn to the book "The Ripples Effect."  I wanted to check it out to see if it would be something I wanted to buy. But when I was looking at several of the books authored by AJ, one other book seemed to call out to me even more at that point.  When I picked it up, it turned out to be the only one book in the pile of different titled books which was already signed.  This book is entitled "The Soul Connection."  So naturally I had to get this as well.  Well - this will be a story for another day. For now - I just wanted to make a comment about the Ripple Effect.

Took me days to get started on either of these books.  It was a "I'll start with this one"  and a "Maybe I should start with this other one" and so on .. at any rate, I finally started on TRE (altho I had been carrying the other book with me the past few days.

Although I have only covered the Foreword, Acknowledgment, and the Intro - my mind was already drawn to a possible Ripple Effect. That's what prompted me to write.  In the Intro, Anne described how her earlier work during a workshop in Malaysia led to a workbook she apparently prepared and provided participants in that workshop finding its way back to her (awareness) in England much much later when she met a person there.  She goes on to speak about how a simple smile at someone may help that person feel better .. and how having felt better that person (perhaps without even knowing it) could pass on his/her joy to yet another person to yet another person and so forth.

Just prior to reading these in this book, I had written something (I had read earlier) on my Facebook shoutout. The statement was:

Laugh your heart out - Dance in the rain - Cherish the moment - Ignore the pain - Live, Laugh, and Love. Forgive & Forget (let go). Life is too short to be living in regrets.

This led to a response from Nick, a friend of mine, who wrote:

Syl, i got a bad roster next month, going to Delhi on X'mas. :"( But... i feel great again after seeing your status. thanks.

Interestingly enough - just a little bit earlier I noticed that friend log on (MSN) and also post a message on FB. I thot to myself  "I wonder how he is doing? Hope he is well."  And lo and behold .. just moments later I get a response from my shoutout from Nick. How wonderful - our energies seem to connect so magically on their own.  And as I read the Intro in AJ's book - I thought .. perhaps this too is one of the Ripples . that will continue to be passed on from Nick to his friends and they to their friends and so on.

So - there you go. We never know where the ripples from our actions will lead. Let's make a conscious effort to pass on happiness and any good that we can offer .. that our actions may go on to be of service to someone - who perhaps may even be way across the other side of the globe. (Nick is stationed in HK altho I am not sure where he is right at this moment since he is attached to an airline and is always on the move). You never know .. the ripple may even come back to you when you most need it. :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009


One of my all time favorite poem/prayer/statement.

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember
what peace there may be in silence. 

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons. 

Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. 

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. 
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or
bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons
than yourself. 

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. 

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals, and
everywhere life is full of heroism. 

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass. 

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth. 

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. 

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. 
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here. 

And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. 

Therefore, be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him (or Her) to be. 

And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery,
and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
by Max Ehrmann

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fighting for what You want

Back in May of this year, I wrote in this blog "To Be or Not To Be."  It asked the question of whether one should go on fighting for what one wants or to let go as so many poetry and words of wisdom seem to suggest.

As has been in many other cases or events or things in our lives .. there is almost always two side to an argument (actually there are many sides - but our "dichotomized" mind trained from years of evolution seems to "force us into the "white" and "black" or "right" and "wrong" perspective).  At any rate, I have often marvelled at how sometimes two wise sayings seem to sound so RIGHT when expressed alone - yet put together they appear to be contradictory.  For that reason, I suppose, I have come to develop for the most part a penchant for doing my best to keep within an equilibrium (or middle point or balance) on life's practices and philosophies.  Anyway - I digress too much.

Back to the point .. the blog entry in May asked the question if one should fight for what one loves .. or learn to accept life with all it's "ups" and downs .. and "just let go/"  The example I chose to examine this philosophical question then was on a "love relationship."  But then I guess this can just as easily be put into any other relationship or life events.

Today, I find myself pondering once more on this apparently unresolved issue (unresolved for me at least).  What prompted this wandering thoughts were a statement I encountered which was used to describe the character (or personality) of someone I know.  The statement goes: "You’re a stubborn sweetheart... You “love” him/her only because he/she loves you. If his/her flame puts out, you let go with no trouble."

That and a couple of events following my encountering that statement led me to question - Why do some people give up so easily (without a fight) something they profess to value and treasure. And Is this a healthy thing to do.

My thoughts:
As I had expressed before - I imagine that if one values something very much, one would fight with tooth and nail to keep that which is of value, right? Take for example the situation we looked at back in May.  I believe most of us would when pursuing a love interest not turn away and walk off when the girl says "I am not interested" (or guy if it is a girl pursuer .. or whatever combination there may be - not to confuse the issue here).  I mean this is almost a no-brainer, right? We see this all around us not just in people but in nature as well.  Part of the "dance of life" I suppose if you like. The courting .. the pursuit .. and so forth.  I dare say - a lot of us would not be in this world if everyone approached their mate with a "proposition" and when the first proposal was turned down .. the proposer walks away in search of another proposee.  See what I mean.  I think most, if not all, will agree that truly if you really want something .. then you will continue to work at getting what you want.  

How about taking an exam for some certification you want. Would we walk away the very first time we fail?  If Edison did that (not Edison Chen la - I mean Thomas Edison), would we have light today? And what of all the medicines we have .. the inoculations and so forth?  So, it would seem the "right" thing to do is to fight for what you want.

But on the other hand, I know of people who fought all their lives in pursuit of the so-called "right" person and live out their lives "miserable" because they could not let go.  Going against the so-called  "wisdom" of friends to "Let go la" (or sai jor tiu sum hoi la - which means -in cantonese -literally let the heart die la) and spent their lives obsessing over their prized object at the expense of losing everything else in their life. I know I have been in the shoes of the one suggesting before to people (friends and foe alike) to "wake up," "open your eyes," and "let go."

Again in May I posited the question if one professes to pursue another because of love for that other person - and saying "because I love her, I will not give up" ... isn't this a statement that is more accurate to put as "because I love my SELF so much and I cannot bear the pain of not having the object of my affection - I will NOT give up on her?"  Seems less to do with the love of another than it is about the love of Self, here don't you think? This is even more so when the other person says to you - directly as in verbally or via her actions to "get the F*** away from me" and you continue to disregard her pleas and request but choose to honor your own desire and search for self happiness/pleasure.  So - then the wisdom here is to "not force your will on another, learn to listen to what they want, and respect that and LET GO and MOVE ON." 

But from that I've also heard countless of times the "excuse" or "justification" or "reasoning" that "She doesn't know what is good for her. I know better. I am doing this for her sake."  While again there may be truth to someone not knowing what's best for him/her .. but then shouldn't we allow people (even those we love or perhaps especially those we profess to love) to live their lives as they see fit? That Right or Wrong it is their choice to make?

We have all heard, I am sure in some form or other:  "Attachment is bad" (especially to objects or situations where the attachment becomes seemingly illogical and even obsessive .. "Possessing things and people is unhealthy" (again especially to - as above). "Respect for the rights and feelings of other is good" .. "Letting Go and Letting God" or "Trust in fate/God/Universe" (or whatever we want to call that ...

Where does that leave us.  I suppose .. my answer returns to an issue of balance.  When I started this entry - I had no specific final answer. I don't know that I now have that either.  When I started this blog I also said .. purpose (or one of ..) for this writing is for me to bounce my thoughts .. watch them typed out .. hear me read and re-read what is in my mind .. and there perhaps things would become clearer.  So .. that is what I am doing now - not asking for judgment from others or absolute answer from some Guru or one who thinks himself/herself THE Guru who knows it all - the right and wrong ..but this is merely my own attempt to reach some conclusion that may be right for me alone even if it is not right for anyone else ....

My answer to myself is balance .. there is a time to fight and a time to let go.  There is no fix formula of how many times to struggle for your cause before you give up .. or even if one is to give up at all. Perhaps with some causes or cases whatever it may be .. one dies struggling .. and ends this physical life by saying "I fought the good fight ..."

But I do also thing for those who never fight at all - who gives up at the sign of any obstacle - who claims "If that is what you want .. then I will let you go" at the very first problem encountered .. I personally think that is "cowardice" to the max (sorry to have to use labelling even tho I have heard so many times that labeling is "bad.")  I think, the person who does this is simply a "scaredy cat" .. afraid of hurt .. afraid of trying or fighting and ending up "losing" and still not getting what he wants (or wanted). To minimize the pain, it would seem, the mush easier thing to do is to claim to "be in flow with the universe" and accept fate "if it was meant to be .. we will be together" or that of "respecting the other person by giving in to him/her" and by saying "this is not what I want but if you want it that way - then I accept la."   No - not for me. Cos all these sound like pure defenses period. It shows me a very weaken spirit who is not willing to take a stand and struggle for what is claimed to be of importance.

And more than that the statement to led to this pondering of mine has a second lesson for me: "You “love” him/her only because he/she loves you." Doesn't this statement appear to be overflowing with evidence of "conditional love?"  I love you only because you love me.  And when you cease to love me, I will also cease to love you. When you withhold your love for me, I will likewise do the same.  Even when I was a kid I used to ask - can the love one feel for another be turned on and off like a light switch or a tap?

Just my thoughts - and my conclusions. With no reference to anyone in particular .. and no intended judgment of another - I mean to place these values only on myself .. and judge only me by my own standards. Perhaps one day - I will be able to go one step further in not even judging myself .. but at this moment .. I am ME .. and I am happy to be ME .. and I seek not to win accolades for my thoughts and my values .. I seek only to be me and to be Happy ... 

Good Day to you ALL ..............................Shalom!

Serenity Prayer

God grant me

the Serenity

to accept the things I cannot change ..

the Courage

to change the things I can ...

and the Wisdom

to know the difference.

After awhile ...

After a while you learn the subtle difference
between holding a hand and chaining a soul
And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
and company doesn't mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts
and presents aren't promises
And you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of a ‘human,’ not the grief of a child
And you learn to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.

After a while you learn that even sunshine burns
if you get too much.

So you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure
that you really are strong
and that you really do have worth
And you learn and you learn
with every goodbye you learn... 

THIS day 12th November 2009 - I HAVE LEARNT! 

Friday, November 6, 2009

Differential Diagnosis

I refer to your report “Misdiagnosing disease” (The Star, April 23). Dr Chew Nee Kong, in attempting to clarify some cases of misdiagnosis among Parkinson’s Disease (PD) patients, was quoted as saying: “Patients suffering from depression may have slower movements but not tremors.”
This is factually inaccurate as clinical depression may cause slowing down of movement, sedation, headaches, confusion, as well as jitteriness and even tremors.
Further symptoms he described for PD include “slowing down in speech and body movement, softening of voice, and lacking in facial expression”.
Surely these, too, are symptoms that may be presented by an individual suffering from Clinical (Major) Depression.
It is also interesting to note, as Dr Chew pointed out, that dopamine (or the lack of it) is one of the factors associated with PD.
Similarly, dopamine, being a neurotransmitter, has been linked to a variety of other disorders such as anxiety disorder, ADHD, and other mood disorders.
Hence, some clinicians do prescribe dopamine (dopaminergic agents) in the treatment of Major Depression since an increase of this neurotransmitter in the frontal lobe can produce/boost feelings of pleasure.
Perhaps just as important a point for us to note is that we tend to categorise people into a singular slot like keys that fit only one lock.
In differential diagnosis, our goal indeed is to systematically eliminate possibilities until we reach a single most likely cause for the illness.
But in actual practice, we may find that an individual may be challenged with more than one issue at any given moment.
For example, a person diagnosed with PD may in fact also have depression.
The depression may set in after he has been informed of the PD diagnosis or, more often than not, the depression has already been developing since the patient rightfully would have noted changes in his own ability and such associated with PD.
I do agree with Dr Chew, however, on the point that there is insufficient training and understanding among many clinicians regarding the multitude of medical as well as psychological illnesses that exists.
I also note an extremely poor linking (cooperation) between the two fields here in Malaysia.
For example, when I resided in the US, almost all clients coming in to seek psychological services from me were immediately referred to a physician/psychiatrist/medical practitioner to rule out organic dysfunctions.
Sometimes a “psychological problem” may be merely a symptom of a medical issue.
Other times, a psychological issue has no medical basis, and sometimes the services of both a medical practitioner and a psychologist (therapist) are necessary.
It is extremely important to remember that our fields are not in competition but are often times complementary.

Kuala Lumpur.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

More "bad" dreams

This morning I kept waking up from more "bad" dreams .. of people possessed and that I had to face them and all .. but darn it, I didn't write them down so I can't recall them now.  Each time I wake up, I would recall them so clearly . even the names of the individual(s) .. and while I kept telling myself to write them down .. alas .. of course I didn't do it. So as a result .. can't remember what the dreams were now. Oh well .. will see what tonite brings. :)