NOW is the BEST time

3 Feb 2020 (Day 10 of Lunar New Year)

El took this picture during breakfast at Himalayan Java Cafe at Boudha. The day before we had handed some ear cleaning meds to helpers of street and shelter animals. When this picture was taken, I was thinking of the joy of the young rescue worker as she hugged the bottles of medicines I gave her. (December 2019, Boudha, Nepal)

“此时此刻最美好” has been on my mind for some time. The phrase, made up of 7 Chinese characters literally means “now is the best time.” In translation it doesn’t seem much, especially when the context is unknown. But somehow, when the thought is conveyed in Chinese, it has an almost poetic feel to it even as it stands alone. At least for someone like me.

I cannot recall when & how these words came into my consciousness, except that I like the way the first 4 character look and how they sound when spoken. Plus I can pronounce them with some accuracy and enjoy doing so.

I took this selfie to remind myself how lucky I am to have my birthday celebrated with the birthdays of Jon’s wife and his father. (18 Jan 2020, Armenian Street, Singapore)

Thinking that I could have heard or seen the phrase as the title of a song or book, I did some online search but my effort yielded little.

Looking up at the leaves as light from the setting sun filters through gives me such peace. (31 Jan 2020)

But what I do know is that these 7 characters amply capture my state of mind whenever I have pictures taken.

Joy is sitting under a 40 year old tree outside Victoria Concert Hall on a Friday evening. (31st Jan 2020)

For once a happy moment passes, there will never be another one identical to it, ever again.

Branches silhouetted against the sky open my heart. Dr Nalini Nadkarni said the veins in our heart are like branches of a tree. (31 Jan 2020)

So I try to project an energy of gratitude & connection with all beings each time a photo opportunity occurs.

Young girls taught me to keep a beginner’s mind, while I showed them you can still smile even if your body is imperfect. (Nanyang Girls’ High School, 2003)
This quiet young sportsman learnt Shylock’s speeches by heart and went on to develop a strong interest in English and other writings by Shakespeare. (Singapore Sports School 2018)

And instead of worrying about my physical shortcomings, I try to be fully present with feelings of gratitude & acceptance.

With my calligraphy teacher, Dr SH Khoo at Nanyang Girls’ High School. Dr Khoo revived my interest in Kinmen Island where my ancestors originated. He is a Kinmenese as was my grandmother.
From qipao and sarong kebaya to chinoserie coat, I’ve worn them all in many memorable celebrations. (Sydney 2018)

Because in the days ahead and especially if they happen to be difficult ones, I hope to be able to look back at old pictures and say, “Yes, those were truly joyous times. And whatever happiness others have received, I’ve been given freely too. So there’s no room in my heart for jealousy or envy when others receive good things.”

And in the midst of mask buying and news of man-made disasters, I wish all my friends the equanimity to locate the various joys in their life and draw strength from them to sail through the winds of change.

Feeling extremely surprised by my first ever bonsai (mini tree). It was a birthday gift from Krison. We had lunch at Green Dot at JEM on Chinese New Year Eve.