Thursday, February 25, 2010


I recently came across a series of exercises developed by Ilchi Lee, founder of Brain Wave Vibrations and Dahn Yoga. Apparently, doing these simple exercises on a daily basis can help lower high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, manage diabetes and arthritis. Other health benefits range from warding off Alzheimer's and reducing stress to preventing hair loss. Incredible!

I am somewhat skeptical about miracle cures but a google search turned up some very interesting facts about Dr Ilchi Lee. He has spoken at the UN, been interviewed by major media networks and is a prolific writer and poet. The Ministry of Education in South Korea and Samsung Corporation use his brain training methods. He has legions of followers who claim they have benefitted tremendously from his Dahn Yoga programs.

As with many New Age practices, Dahn Yoga has been labelled a cult by some disgruntled former employees and followers. They have filed lawsuits against Lee and his organization. Read CNN's report and draw your own conclusions.

My personal view is this: if doing these simple exercises can improve my health and is free, I'll give it a try. But I sure won't sign up for any program or part with my money.

Disclaimer: Please do not do the exercises if you have any existing medical conditions. If you are in doubt, it is advisable to consult your doctor first before attempting any yoga exercises.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Click on the image to enlarge for easy reading.

My daughter sent me this extract from 'a sex education textbook for girls printed in the 60s'. Are we referring to the 1960s? Seems more like the 1860s! This extract is so sexist. But then again, there are cultures that expect women to be completely submissive to their husbands, especially in the bedroom. Few women today would subscribe to such a subservient role.

Education has liberated women, and this applies to sex education too, but certainly not of the textbook type.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


The movie (left) and the good doctor himself.

Remember the movie "Patch Adams"? When I first saw it a decade ago, I couldn't believe Robin Williams' character was based on a real life medical doctor. No way. Doctors don't clown around. They are serious, no-nonsense people, incapable of smiling. They have to be - they deal with sickness, disease and death 24/7. These are no laughing matters.

But Dr Patch Adams, who turns 65 this year, is not your typical doctor.

Last October I was thrilled when I heard that he would be speaking at the "Live and Inspire" conference in Kuala Lumpur. Finally I would get to see him, and perhaps he would sign my copy of his book "Gesundheit!" It never happened. Why, I don't know. Malaysians missed out on a chance to hear a living legend share his inspiring message of love and laughter, and of healing.

Last month I rediscovered Dr Patch Adams when I signed up for the certification Laughter Yoga leadership programme. I am now a firm believer in the power of laughter, love and joy to heal not just sickness, but more importantly, to heal the global ills affecting us.

Here's a MUST-SEE interview with Dr Adams in Milan. His interviewer should be fired though.

Here's Part II of the interview.

Dr Patch Adams travels the world to spread his message and to raise funds for his free hospital in West Virginia. Find out more here.

Friday, February 19, 2010


For Allie and Hana, and all Max's young cousins, here's a pictorial account of Max's big day yesterday. He was CEO for the occasion as Uncle Marcus was away on business.

Future CEO waiting impatiently with offerings for the lions.

Here they come!

It's the Year of the Tiger, and everyone including the lions awaits the Tiger's grand entrance.

Max finally gets his big moment.

The lions prancing around to the pulsating beat of the drums and cymbals, blessing every inch of the premises with good fortune and harmony for the new year.

Blessings for all, and "Gong Xi Fa Cai" from Reiya

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


The social stigma attached to single ladies.

A recent report about single ladies in China resorting to renting male companions to take home for the lunar new year made me wonder why being single for a woman is still considered a social stigma today.

“I’ll be 28 this year, which I think is a normal age to be single, but my parents back home have been harassing me every day to get married. I promised I would bring home a boyfriend for New Year’s, but I’ve been too busy with work and haven’t found one. I don’t want to let my parents down, so I’ve decided to rent a boyfriend to come home with me.” (The New York Times)

For single Chinese ladies, their dread of family gatherings doubled this year as Valentine's Day coincided with the first day of the spring festival. At family reunions during the Chinese New Year celebrations, well-meaning but nosy relatives want to know why Third Auntie Siew Lan is still not married. Is she unable to find a good man, they whisper among themselves. Maybe she is too picky. Maybe men see her as too smart. Or could it be she isn't atractive enough. The whispering behind-your-back continues each year at family get-togethers.
It's one thing to be young, good-looking and single, and another to be middle-aged, not quite a spring chick and still available. I know of many single ladies who are quite happy with their status quo. They are in their 50s and 60s, attractive, financially independent and certainly not desperately in search of a man to complete them. If someone comes along and sweeps them off their feet, fine. If not, no big deal. They are not going to fret or lose sleep over that elusive Mr Right.

Since faithful men are an endangered species, perhaps my single lady friends are wise to steer clear of relationships that may bring them nothing but heartache and pain. Better be safe than sorry. Better be single than divorced...

Sunday, February 14, 2010


To all my dear Chinese friends who are celebrating this festive season, may I wish you a new lunar year that is filled to the brim with HAPPINESS, GOOD HEALTH, HARMONY and lots of HOHO HAHAHA! Oh, did I forget PROSPERITY? That too!

Friday, February 12, 2010


Watching "The Biggest Loser Asia" currently being screened Tuesday nights on Astro Channel 702, one can't help but wonder how these contestants got to be that obese. Nobody piles on that amount of fat overnight. What drove every one of them to this physical state? Was it emotional binge-eating? Or were they born on the wrong side of the scale?

Yesterday I read a letter in The Star from a doctor warning of the complications arising from obesity, among them diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, strokes, skin disorders and painful joints. The obese person also suffers from depression and low self esteem.

That's not all. According to a report released by the American Institute of Cancer Research, more than 100,000 cases of cancer each year are caused by excess body fat. Obesity not only raises the risk of getting cancer, it also reduces the chances of survival and makes treatment more difficult.

It's not just the adults who are at risk. What's more alarming is that obesity is on the rise among children. I feel parents must share the blame. Who brought home those packets of potato chips and buckets of ice cream from the supermarket? Who caved in when the children wanted fast food? Who ordered fizzy soft drinks to go with the food? Parents, of course. And doting grandparents too. We all stand guilty.

Schools have a part to play as well. Have you seen what is sold in the school canteen? Take a look the next time you visit your child's school. Lots of junk food, deep fried meat and sweetened drinks.

Over-eating and under-exercising is making obesity endemic. Malaysia is hosting the 12th International Congress of Obesity (ICO) in 2014. We have four years to lower our obesity statistics and present Malaysians as among the fittest people in the world.

Are we up to the challenge?

From chubby baby to obese lady? - Not if we make the right lifestyle choices.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


For the hoarders and clutterers among us, this is the best time to start clearing out all the junk in the house. What better way to usher in the lunar new year than to start afresh with some spring-cleaning.

Hoarders have come under the spotlight of late. There's even a TV series called "Hoarders", and a website dedicated to helping hoarders.

It is a fact that most hoarders are older adults. I suppose that makes sense as over the years they have accumulated tons of useless stuff. Some folks hold on to certain items for sentimental reasons. Others refuse to throw out empty boxes, containers, bottles and paper bags in case they come in handy. Hoarders have 1001 reasons why they can't or won't get rid of their garbage. To be fair, what is trash to some people may be treasure to others.

Click here to view the short documentary "Help! I'm a hoarder."

Like many old folks in Malaysia, my mother hoards because she has lived through years of scarcity and rationing during the Japanese Occupation. To her, it's a sin to throw away things. You never know when you might find a use for them, she reasons. She hoards old newspapers, egg trays, biscuit tins, jam jars - virtually anything. While I can understand where she is coming from, I pray her hoarding habit doesn't become an obsessive disorder.

Hoarding not only takes up much-needed space in the home, it is also a health and safety hazard. Hoarders make life a misery for the people they live with. I certainly wouldn't want to be guilty of hoarding in my old age. So I'm making a conscious effort to get rid of any item that has long passed its usefulness or expiry date.

If you don't know what to do with stuff that is still usable, you can contact Seri Sinar Charity Foundation at 03-9021 1888. They will come to your house to pick up whatever you want to donate, including bulky items like furniture. I have used their services.

Or you could sell your used items to Cash Converters in Ampang and Taman SEA, PJ.

Talk about an amazing coincidence!! Just caught an episode of Oprah's show on hoarders this morning, and managed to capture this image off my TV screen.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Artwork for these beautiful ang pow packets is done by Myanmar refugee children in Malaysia. 3 packets (30 pieces) for only RM10. All proceeds go towards their school. For more info, go to My Beautiful Myanmar or email

It's the pre-festive season again. With the Chinese New Year coming up, companies are busy fulfilling their corporate social responsibility aka giving away ang-pows and CNY goody-bags to orphans and the aged. Ordinary folks like us can also do our part. Money, time, energy, love, clothes, provisions, whatever we can spare, we should give to bring a smile or some comfort to those in need.

CSR at work: Staff of Specialist Dental Group collecting toys for Spastic Children's Association.

Staff of Total Sports Asia visiting the aged.

When half the world goes hungry and families have no roof over their heads, how can we close our eyes, our hands and our hearts to their pleas for help? Even more so for those who have made their millions. It's time to give back some to charity.

All it takes is a bagful of rice to bring out those smiles on their faces.

And for those who have retired comfortably, do spare a thought (and your spare time or cash) for the less fortunate. After all, how much golf can you play? How many overseas vacation can you take before it finally hits you that there is more to life than spending each day indulging in transient pleasures?

If you would like to volunteer your services or donate, please scroll down the right column and look under "Volunteers and Donations Needed". There's plenty to choose from. Here are some that might appeal to you:

For RM50 a month, you can sponsor a child in a developing country. Find out more at World Vision

Help to make their wish come true for terminally-ill children at Children's Wish Society of Malaysia.

I promised MAKNA (National Cancer Council) that I would post this on Seniorsaloud, so here it is.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


"Asia is the epicentre of the ageing crisis." This was the comment made at a recently concluded conference on retirement planning held in Singapore. The numbers are alarming.
  • By 2050, the world's over-65 population is expected to treble to one in six people.

  • Asia's over-60 population will quadruple to 1.2b. That's the equivalent of China's population today.

  • At present, four out of the world's 10 fastest ageing populations are in Asia: Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong.

  • In Singapore, the elderly will account for nearly 20% of the population in 2030. That's only two decades away!

A huge demographic crisis is brewing as birth rates and death rates keep falling. What this means is that an ever-shrinking pool of young people will have to shoulder the burden of looking after a rapidly expanding greying population.

Without any form of retirement planning or medical insurance coverage, the elderly will have to depend ultimately on the government to take care of them. The government already has its hands full grappling with the challenge of meeting pension obligations as the number of retiring workers multiple each year.

How is the government going to finance healthcare for the elderly? Increase taxes? Raise the retirement age? Introduce compulsory maintenance of elderly parents?

On our part, we should keep working as long as possible, especially if we don't have sufficient retirement savings and no health insurance. Those of us who think we have enough funds set aside may need to do some recalculation. With the escalating cost of living expenses, many of us simply can't afford to retire.

Our adult children already have their hands full taking care of their young family. The least we can do to help them is to be financially independent ourselves, and keep sickness at bay.