Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Having, yet not possessing

Can you love your people and
govern them without self-importance?

Having, yet not possessing
Working, yet not taking credit
Leading without controlling or dominating
This is true virtue

Some very intriguing wisdom written more than 2500 years ago by Lao Tzu
Governing without self-importance, do we have any politician like that?

What does it mean by having and yet not possessing?

While having yet not possessing seems an obvious paradox when we talk about our children, I think it is very well possible that we apply similar wisdom to some of our other possessions. So many people possess big pieces of land and build big walls around it. That sounds like possessing. If we build just a low fence to keep goats from eating our flowers and have gates that are never locked, we can allow still the children of the neighborhood to play on our land, in our garden. I remember when I first moved to Bachok, and some people walked through my garden without even me knowing them or them asking me, I felt like going to talk them and telling them 'this is private property'. Yet my soul, or perhaps my heart provided at the moment enough wisdom, not to do that. I gave it some thought on how to approach the situation if it recurs and now if children or even young adults walk through my garden I do not feel any negativity. Just a few weeks ago there were two school boys who were sitting on my garden chairs. I happened to be outside and had a small chat with them. The issue of possession did not come up at all. Having a land, having a garden, and yet not wanting to possess it completely :). It gives us a good feeling, a source of virtue. In our time we have become so afraid to be taken advantage of, that we tend not to share readily the things we have. We have them and possess them, we tend to sit on them, defend them and sometimes instead of an asset, the defense becomes a bit of a burden.

Working, yet not taking credit?

Just let the others take credit for our work? Yes that is what it means. Again we feel taken advantage of. And yet if we do not bother too much about getting credit for what we do, the potential of our own achievement for the betterment of this world is truly amazing. Throughout my career as a pediatrician, I had quite a number of ideas to help our local community in certain ways. Many times I was aware that I could not take on everything at a time. To lead a project for community, get the funding and coordinate all efforts takes a lot of time and my job as a specialist for newborns is often, already more than a full time thing. I think somehow the divine brought me in contact with wonderful people who were willing to take up some of the ideas and take full charge of these projects. I did not want credit for the projects since I know the ones making it happen were deserving much more credit than the one having simply the idea. But somehow if we do not seem to care too much about taking credit, it tends to bounce back and these wonderful people doing the projects, tend to be so respectful and never leave out my name in any of their achievements. I do not ask for it, sometimes even do not fully expect it, but it just comes and the community around is served in a big way. It is amazing what we can achieve if we do not care too much about who gets the credits.

Leading without dominating, without controlling.

Another apparent paradox but giant virtue. If we can inspire rather than force, the work done becomes so much more beautiful. I think it is somehow connected to the “do not care who gets credit” thing. A good leader makes people feel they did it all by themselves.

I truly think that the world needs the wisdom of the old ages
Sometimes we forget.
We elect narcissists into power and that is not what brings prosperity to a nation
Let us be more aware of the wisdom. Paradoxical at times, but oh so true!

Sunday, 26 March 2017

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame

You may have seen the movie or read the book,
or just have heard about the hunchback of Notre-Dame.

It was a bell ringer of the cathedral and no matter how
we got to know about him, we tend to feel a warm sympathy
for the poor boy with the hunchback who was half blind
and also had hearing impairment because of the bells.

In every society, perhaps almost in every village
there are people like him, and no one in their right mind
would get upset with them because of their disability.

That is how our heart feels for people with a physical disability.

But how do we react to people with a crooked personality?
To have a lack of respect, a lack of sympathy, to be jealous,
are all sings of a severely disabled personality
of serious lack of character.

These people are having disability too.
But how do we react?
We get upset with them, we attack them back
we are out to make them feel bad, as they made us feel bad too.

Wouldn't it be more appropriate to pity them?
Just like we felt pity for the hunchback of Notre-Dame?

Friday, 24 March 2017


My dear friends,

A special experience is what I will share here today

Here it comes.

Last Monday, I had my weekly clinic for follow-up of the newborn babies that had been admitted to my ward. This is usually a busy clinic and we run it usually with 5 to 6 doctors (2 or 3 specialists and 3 to 4 trainees in pediatrics). I had started my clinic by 8,50 and at that time no other doc had arrived in the clinic. Since it was school holidays in Kelantan, the clinic was truly busy from early on. I saw case after case and as usually enjoyed the cuteness of the children and the friendship of the parents. 

At about 12.50 pm I had seen many patients. Seeing patients in clinic is a bit tiring since each child, each parent requires really your full attention. I asked the nurse how many patients were still waiting. Only five patients were still to be seen. There were five other docs there and I calculated if each sees one patient, the clinic will be finished soon. Since I came earlier than the others, I convinced myself it was fair to leave before them without affecting significantly the waiting time of the remaining patients. 

And then I got like a nudge from my consciousness, a small call from my soul. "It would be still fairer if you see one more patient and the waiting time for each remaining patient would be still shorter." I was in a dilemma for a short while but decided to listen to my soul and go hungry for another 20-30 minutes. The next patient was one of our babies who had been born preterm with a birth weight of about 800g. The baby was now four months old and doing relatively well. At the end of the consultation I proposed to the parents to initiate early developmental stimulation, which means that the occupational therapist would teach them some simple exercises to perform at home to stimulate and help with the early development of the baby. Since the parents were living more than 2 hours away from the hospital I called my friend-occupational therapist, to ask if he could see them in the afternoon, so the parents would not have to travel up and down. He responded that he was free now and that he would come to the clinic. 

Within 5 minutes he was there and somehow this simple random act of kindness made me so happy. The parents were so happy. And the occupational therapist was also visibly happy. These are simple acts of kindness from the therapists that create so much happiness. This small event really made my day. I felt energetic and my belief that the world is getting better, was enforced and confirmed yet another time. I went on with my day, doing the rest of my work with a lot of pleasure, a lot of peace of mind and it all had started with listening to a little nudge from my soul.

I am sure each of us recall times when we were listening to our soul and had a fantastic experience. I invite you my dear reader, to share your own experience in the comments section of this posting. I look forward to your special stories. Thanks in advance for sharing

Sunday, 19 March 2017


Today is Saturday.

There was a health camp and I spent the day giving service to some of the disabled.
I do not know, but it almost always feels better if we spend one weekend day like this,
giving service,  compared to spending our time relaxing at home.

I got at least two wonderful memorable encounters.

1. A mother came with her boy of about ten years old, who had severe cerebral palsy. It was a very busy health camp and they had waited quite some time to be seen by a doctor. The boy was throwing a tantrum as soon as they were seated next to my table. The mother talked about a recent injection the boy received with dysport, (a close brother of botox; yes that is the more useful way of using botox: injection in muscles of spastic children) and the major improvement in the way he walked. She showed a video on her phone. The boy stopped his tantrum immediately and was so proud of the video. He took the phone out of mother's hands and showed proudly several more videos of him walking. I watched with interest. It was truly amazing how much improvement had happened, and a bit of praise from our side seemed to be making somehow a very positive difference to them.

2. A mentally challenged boy who was also about ten years old, came to see me with his mom. He looked at me closely and asked whether I was a white man. I said yes and he really started to revel and proudly told his mother that I was the second white man he ever met in his life. We became close friends in a matter of seconds and it felt so good (for both of us).

If you have a Saturday with no firm plans, I encourage everyone to go out and meet some disabled children, some elderly people or just a lonely family member. Quite often if we take such initiative, our God will give us experiences beyond what we could imagine. When i had started this morning, I had asked for our God's blessing and what a blessed day it has been indeed!

Thursday, 16 March 2017


Sometimes I live on for days and days or perhaps even weeks
without taking some time out to stop and think for myself:
- What is really important in my life?
- What is the most important thing, person, aim, activity?
- How much time do I dedicate to these important things, persons, aims and activities?

And then also thinking on what is really unimportant,
and how much time do I spend on these things?

When I do manage to make time for reflections of this kind,
I am often amazed at how few time I spend for the really important things
and how much time I spend for the less important things.

I just spend an hour and a half, reading about and watching videos about
world and local politics. Somehow the political jokes gave me smile,
and when I read on how ridiculous some of the politicians behave,
it gives me certain level of satisfaction, but at the same time it tends to upset me,
to make me worried about things that completely out of my hands.

But is that important for my life, for my aims, for my love?
They are not. If I had spent this time doing something with my sons,
with my wife or even making a telephone call to my old and lonely auntie,
it would have been time so much better spent.

Oh, God, help me to focus more in my life
on the important things, that let me grow.

Friday, 10 March 2017


A good morning to you, or a good evening, or good night.
No matter what time it is when you read,
there must be something glorious just outside your window.

I have lived many days missing so many of the glorious things in my life.
Yesterday, was different. When I woke up dawn had just happened.
I inhaled the full beauty of these magical moments.
I absorbed it and lit it flow into my heart, through all my arteries
to every fingertip, to every hair root on my body.
It felt so good.

If we start our day with noticing a glorious moment,
we tend to see many more of these moments throughout.
The glory of a bird, singing its song
the glory of the cool morning air filled with oxygen
the glory of a freshly squeezed orange juice
the glory of taking a nice shower
the glory of the flowers in my garden
the trees along the road to my work
the skies, the people, the everything.

Once we notice all the glory in all these things,
it affects our heart, our mind and mood in a major way.
I have thought a lot about this
I have written quite a lot (see links below) about this,
but still there are so many days I miss out on so much beauty,
by simply failing to notice it.

Here are some links to things I wrote about this perception of glory

Glory (haiku)

Postings in blog 
Many of my previous postings in this blog were about this theme too.
If time permits, especially visit my early entries (2014) via the list on the right side of this page

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Small big things

This afternoon I had an end-of-posting assessment with 4 of my year-5-mentees for the pediatric posting that just ended. In the beginning of the posting, I had asked them to reflect at the end of each week on 6 pre-identified professional values and give marks of between -3 to +3 to themselves for each. This afternoon they shared they most touching story of their progress on these values. And touching stories, they were.

Even though some stories were absolutely fabulous, I still enjoyed most what came after that. One student indicated that regular reflection on these values made him more aware of the small important things, of the small things that were actually big things. He had gone through other postings that lasted six weeks and they had just passed like that, but during this posting, by thinking and reflecting, he had become more aware of small things that mattered, that were beautiful, that were worthy of reflection and contemplation.

It was so nice to hear that student recount one of my own inner most convictions!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017


Inspiration, what a wonderful word!
It means that we are inspired or in-spirit.
So many things can inspire us, perhaps most of all nature and all its beauty.
But also a wonderful piece of art, a good book, a motivating essay, a touching quote.

To get inspired, to receive inspiration is a true blessing.
But to give inspiration, to inspire others is perhaps still a greater blessing.

Isn't that the reason why we want to express ourselves, our ideas, our thoughts, our callings,
our convictions, our talents, our artistic drive? If I do some soul searching and look deep inside my heart, one of my big motivation to write in this blog, to write poems, to express myself, is that I hope some of my writings will at least inspire a few people in this world. Can you imagine if many people inspire 5 people who go on and inspire each another five, how fast the world would get full of truly inspired people?

Many of us live a full life. A life filled with so many experiences, creating so many wonderful memories and lessons and wisdom. If we do not share these things in one or the other way with our fellow human beings, these memories, experiences, that wisdom will die together with us.

This is an invitation to go and express yourself. Write down your ideas, put them out on the net, put them in a notebook, share your feelings, share your memories, share your wisdom! The world will soon be loving world. Random kindness is an idea whose time has come and no amount of greed will be able to stop it. Please enjoy to be a part of the spreading of this huge unstoppable kindness which has started. :)

I wish you a day filled with love and kindness