As busy as a bee. Went on 2 work trips, to Bali and Bangkok. Had a nice break in Bali amidst all the big meetings and Congress. Had a up close and personal meeting with Nic Vujicic too! He was my VIP. In between work, explored Bali a bit but didn't exactly wind down and relax. All because Mr Lee Kuan Yew our founding father of Singapore passed away that week at age 91. The whole nation was in mourning the entire week I was in Bali. Although I could watch Channelnewsasia and bombarded by news of LKY in Facebook and social media, I probably didn't feel the intense sadness until I landed back home. Engulfed by morbid grief and a heavy heart. I was at the same time glad to realise we Singaporean aren't an ungrateful bunch after all, judging from the long queues in rain or scorching weather to pay last respects to a great man. I was very touched. Spent that weekend attending a prayer session specially arranged for LKY and then that Sunday biding farewell to him and watching it all on TV. I know everyone was sad but in retrospect, I prefer to celebrate his life. He is a Bodhisattva, someone who worked to benefit masses of people and made the country a better place in every aspect. And he would definitely return to benefit people again in his next life.
Quoting Thích Nhat Hạnh....."You would not cry if you knew that by looking deeply into the rain you would still see the cloud. When we remember LKY, everything we see of Singapore today, are traces of him, beyond the memories, beyond the rain and storm, beyond the sun, we see the rainbow in our hearts. He will always be in our hearts.
As life went back to normal, I remember a particular day which made me very down and sad (just wanted to jot this down memory lane). Was one of those days when I came home at 7.30pm and just laid on bed until 10pm without doing anything else. Was also one of those days which I wanted to just cry my heart out, so that I can feel better. The heart was burning and the stomach was curled up in knots. It was one of those days which I stoned at the bus stop for half an hour without knowing if I should go home or elsewhere. I won't elaborate but I was truly disappointed by someone whom I respected a lot, and the treatment I received that day was utterly unexpected. It broke my heart. Although immediately things brightened up the very next day, it reminded me not to take things for granted and that everything will not remained unchanged for long. In short, don't be too happy when you're happy, and don't be too sad when you're sad. Have to keep my feelings and expectations in check. And less of meaningless endeavors.
Then Bangkok work trip came. Was only 3 days and I was mostly in the hotel for meetings apart from going out for dinner. Had one of the best meals in a while, a treat from the business associate. Work wise, things are picking up and more stable. This will be a year of travel. Up next will be the Philippines, India, Chiangmai and hopefully Sydney. And maybe even Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan, all the countries which my company has a presence in. In fact, plenty to be thankful for. Great bosses. Manageable work load. Independent office environment. So I'm grateful. Now looking forward to a new office space soon.
Then earthquakes struck Nepal, triggering even more earthquakes in other places. The damage is too scary and the lives of the victims at stake. Funds were raised to help the Nepalese victims. Pray that their lives will return to normal soon and that they won't go hungry. It struck home how vulnerable we are to natural disasters, especially with the Sabah earthquake last week. There were Singaporeans who died in that earthquake, young students. It broke my heart listening to a young victim's father when he was being interviewed. I asked myself what if I was the victim, how would my parents or family have felt. I asked myself if I was the parent, how devastated I would be if my child's life was robbed from me. I asked myself if in any crisis, would I be ready to die. Am I prepared to die? Then it dawned upon me that I was not that worried if I were to die, but I wouldn't want my loved ones and close friends to experience the grief of losing me. I realise being prepared to die anytime is very important.
At the home front, the situation was pretty tense and stressful because my father was getting weaker and harder to look after his needs. My mom and I were feeling edgy, exhausted, stressed and burnt out. And my father's moods weren't getting better either. Looking after an ailing person is serious business. When I was home to take care of my father, I would feel frustrated at times because he might not be always cooperative, and there were lots of washing and cleaning up. When I was not at home and my mom was looking after him, I would feel guilty too. Not to mention his frequent trips to the hospital for check up and 'check-ins'. Not to mention we had to work too. So most days were not exactly a happy fulfulling day. Not a win-win situation. We were so exhausted and disheartened that we finally decided to get a helper.
My new helper has been with us for almost 2 weeks now and it is really a big difference to our lives. It helps that she is experienced in taking care of old folks and great in housework. I've heard and seen many horror stories regarding foreign helpers. Many friends keep advising me how best to monitor my helper and cautioning me to be careful in many scenarios. Yes I am wary I might make a wrong choice because I was the one who chose her. Only time will tell if I made the right choice. When I interviewed her, I went with my gut feel. She was calm and asked reasonable sensible questions and didn't provide run of the mill answers which would please a prospective employer. I knew she was not the blur type or pretending to be blur. She is smart and quietly confident. Most importantly she didn't over promise or tried to over impress me. I think I'll still choose to be kind and humane when dealing with the helper. Humans are reciprocal and appreciate understanding and kindness. She is a human too.
So far it has only been 2 weeks, we are truly happy with her work. She has the initiative in her work without much instructions from us. I only drew up a daily work schedule for her and it helps that her English is good. Also, my father likes her (less mood tantrums), she keeps the house real clean, she helps my mom with the cooking and housework. We need not worry about both my father or the housework anymore. I need not rush home in time to fetch my father from the daycare centre anymore. I have hot homecooked meals everyday. My room is impeccably cleaned everyday, bed gets made and clothes neatly ironed. Most importantly I feel instant relief. Redeemed freedom. I've not felt so relaxed for more than a year ever since my father fell ill. Peace of mind is so important.
So I guess I've been really happy and euphoric. More focused now. Oh, and I've been eating lots of bingsu lately. Hope the days will get even brighter for the rest of this year.