050 Seeing Four Doctors In A Single Day!

I was on a roll. Not for good things though. Have you tried visiting four Doctors separately in a single day! Quite a feat, eh?

  • Pit-stop #01: TCM Clinic

At eight in the morning, I arrived early at a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) clinic to have an acupuncture treatment for a prolonged frozen shoulder ailment that has been torturing me for months.

Frozen shoulder is an inflammation of the connective issues around the shoulder that greatly restricts motion and causes chronic pain. Pain is felt throughout the day, worse at night, and with cold weather.

Acupuncture offers instant relief to the pain. But an end to my agony is nowhere in sight.

  • Pit-stop #02: ENT Specialist Clinic

At half past eleven, I arrived at an Ear-Nose-Throat (ENT) specialist clinic at the National University Hospital (NUH). Several weeks ago, I was advised by a doctor who noticed some abnormal thyroid reading in my annual health screening report. The doctor said, “You might need lifelong medication. Please talk to a specialist.”

The specialist said, “TSH is sending excessive signals to the brain. But your T4 is back to normal. “

Having noticed the blank look on my face, he quickly switched to layman language, “Your body is probably adapting to a new normal. No cause for worry.”

“No medication necessary?”

“Not at all. See me again in six month’s time for review.”

I heaved a sigh of relief.

  • Pit-stop #3: Physiotherapy Clinic

At ten to three, I attended physiotherapy treatment at the Ng Teng Foong Hospital (NTFH). It is part of an on-going treatment that I have been receiving fortnightly to alleviate the pain arising from the frozen shoulder.

The condition has improved with the combined treatment of physiotherapy and acupuncture, but its effect has come to a plateau recently. I still have trouble sleeping on my right shoulder. And doing simple things like reaching for my wallet in my back pocket and pulling clothes off my back remain an agony. Even a fairly firmer handshake from a fellow associate at a recent Conference in Malaysia made me feel as if my arm was nearly broken!

Worse, for some unknown reasons, I started feeling severe pain in my right knee since that morning and had to limp to the clinic. The therapist told me, ” This is unrelated to the frozen shoulder. Probably because you did not do sufficient warm up before your daily runs.” Truth to be told, I have never quite understood how much warm-up is considered sufficient.

She applied Kinesio taping on my knee to facilitate its healing process while at the same time, providing support and stability to muscles and joints without restriction to my movements.

  • Pit-stop #4: Family Clinic

At the end of the long day, I couldn’t help thinking about the word “aging”. Although none of my ailments is life-threatening, my entire body is showing signs of aging like an old car.

I recalled an embarrassing moment I encountered the day before at a restaurant. An elderly waitress told me and my friends, “You may enjoy the 3 for 1 free promotion today. Also, there is a discount for seniors. Any one aged 55?”

To my disbelief, she turned to me, and asked earnestly, ” Are you 55?” In half-jest, I replied, “56, to be precise.” My friends broke out in laughter. But the waitress dutifully wrote in her order slip: “Senior 1”!

I became the butt of the joke for the rest of the evening. Perhaps, I am indeed aging much faster than what I choose to believe. But then again, perhaps my young-looking peers should be the ones to be blamed for my predicament.😂

William W.K. Tan

30 Jan 2019, Wednesday

043 Lessons from a prayer @ Mumbai, India

  • An Eye-Opening Experience

I travelled to Mumbai, India with my boss three days ago. Coincidentally, they arranged a prayer called puja to celebrate the Mumbai office’s relocation to a bigger and newer premise. It was an eye-opening experience.

Do you see the red dot on my forehead? In Hindi, it is called tika, an abbreviation of its original name tilaka in Sanskrit. It was applied on my forehead by a Hindu priest as a customary way of honouring special guests.

The tika is positioned at the space between the eyes just above the eyebrows. This spot is deemed by yoga practitioners to be a crucial spot to focus on during meditation. It is also a “psychic opening” which symbolises a third eye is opened to see beyond ordinary perception. Literally speaking, it was no exaggeration to say that I had an “eye-opening” experience (laughs).

  • Why Do People Pray?

The puja experience set me thinking deeper about the meaning of prayer. In recent years, I have learnt about prayers from my Catholic and Christian friends who encouraged me to seek strength from God in times of needs, sickness or problems. I saw prayer as an act of supplication in needy times. Over time, I have also learnt to say proper prayers for friends in sickness. I am thankful that prayers had brought strength to me and friends.

But that did not seem to be the case for the puja ritual. It was held to celebrate the opening of the new office, which I thought was purely ceremonial in nature. I was wrong.

(Picture on the left: The priest or locally addressed as a pandit, was a Hindu scholar learned in Sanskrit and Hinduism. He was getting ready to commence a one-hour ritual in a small meeting room which was temporarily converted into a prayer room.)

The pandit chanted mantra and sang in Hindi, a language that I did not comprehend. But quickly it became an invaluable learning moment when a colleague translated his instructions. The pandit said, “Keep in mind your parents as you hold these grains in your hands.”

“Also, keep in mind your beloved teachers.”

And of course, he also paid homage to the Hindu gods.

The reverence for elders was unmistakable. The ritual reinforced the values of filial piety for one’s parents and teachers. At that instant, I realised that praying was more than asking for favours and protection. It was also a moment of gratitude for the people who had loved and supported us in our lives. I was touched.

There was, however, just one part about the ritual that I had second thoughts. I always have a weak stomach for Indian food. Still, out of respect, I swallowed the some milky liquid with raw leaves that was supposed to bring me and my family bliss and happiness.

(Video above: The priest insisted that I ate everything on my palm, which was worrying because I had absolutely no idea of what it was. It tasted like a mixture made of condensed milk and peppermint leaves, added with some flowers and pebbles. Luckily, the pebbles were not meant to be eaten (laughs). )

In my mind, I was thinking, ” Oh no… I am going to get the runs later…” Surprisingly, nothing happened. I am all well and healthy. God bless.

William W.K. Tan

04 May 2018


11:00 pm

042 When You Pushed Yourself Too Hard, Time To Learn How To Do It Right

  • When everything is all about work, work and work…

April was a month all about work, work and work. In the first week, I conducted a 3-day-workshop for participants from various countries. In the second week, I spent an entire week in another country giving on-the-job training to my younger colleagues. In the third week, I participated as an observer in an intensive staff training camp in Indonesia. By the end of these three weeks, I succumbed to viral infection. Fever erupted, throat inflamed and cough persisted. Even so, it was not the time to rest. I had to return to work in order to complete a speech-writing assignment that I promised. The entire month had been spent on rushing to finish one task after another.

  • My Mistake: Pushing Myself At The Expense Of Health

The moment I submitted my final assignment, I felt as if the last ounce of energy in me had been depleted. In the subsequent three days, I slept heavily like a log, turning in as early as 9 pm, and only to wake up at 7 am. I was no longer feeling sickly after three days of medication but my body was phlegmatic and aching. And my energy level dropped to its lowest point in the entire month.

While I had gained tremendous satisfaction from overcoming challenges at work, I knew I was carried away by the adrenaline of work success. My mistake: I had pushed myself at the expense of health. To make things worse, I was not alone to suffer a deterioration of health, my children were not spared from the viral infection. Feeling remorse, I made two rules for myself from now onwards:

Rule One: Stay healthy with adequate sleep, food and exercise no matter how busy it gets.

Rule Two: Stay away from my loved ones at the earliest signs of health problems.

  • Learn to do things in moderation through gardening

Setting rules alone is not sufficient. I know that doing things in moderation is something important that I need to learn quickly. Gardening, a new hobby that I recently picked up, seems to be the ideal hobby to train patience.

The hobby began slightly more than a month ago when I started bringing home flowers that were routinely discarded in the office when a new floral arrangement arrived. This was how it looked when I started in late March.

Three weeks later, I did a little upgrading and this was how it looked in mid April.

Then this afternoon, I took some time to tend to these beautiful orchids, look at how much they have grown!

Little by little, I am beginning to appreciate the beauty of making things work in their natural pace. Neither in accordance to my pace, nor follow the pace set by others.

William W K Tan

28 April 2018

Saturday, 9: 45 pm

039 Enjoy Your Rides

Throughout my adulthood, I have an on-and-off love affair with bicycles. I fell in and out of love with cycling more times than all the romantic relationships I had. (sighs and laughs).

  • Rekindled Love

Once again, that love was rekindled recently, after a lapse of a more than a decade. Why that long a break you might ask?

It’s all because the previous relationship ended badly. My left foot was fractured after I tumbled off my speeding bicycle. Scarred by the painful experience, I fell out of love with bicycles for a long time.

Surprisingly even to myself, I have made a comeback. Every day, I cycle twice. Cycling has become a substitute for my regular one-hour morning run. After work, I alight a few stations ahead of my destination and use bicycle as a “last mile solution” to complete the final lap to home. Over a span of 36 days, I have covered 260 km, twice the distance to cycle round the Singapore island!

But the greatest satisfaction came just two days earlier when I set myself a challenge: how far could I cycle along the MRT downtown line route from Bukit Panjang?

I found my answer after 1 hour 23 minutes: The Botanical Gardens of Singapore, a UNESCO Heritage site!

  • Enjoy The Little Things In Life

I was so elated that I had to grab someone to take a picture of me. But it was barely 7 am in the morning, passersby were few. It seemed rather inconsiderate to bother commuters who were trying to beat the early rush hours.

Fortunately, I chanced upon a young, beautiful and helpful lady, Jasmelia who was willing to spend a couple minutes to help a stranger. Jasmelia made an extra effort to take a few better pictures of me with the bicycle using her better quality mobile phone. Almost immediately after we parted ways, she sent me the pictures with encouraging words.

I meant to reply her, ” You’ve made my day, pretty and helpful lady!🤗” But I was filled with hysteria of joy that I couldn’t compose a simple thank you message properly.

In contrast to my awkwardness in expression, Jasmelia’s reply was thoughtful and heartwarming. She wrote, “It’s good to see that you enjoy all these little things in life.”

Like many others, I am often bothered that our once squeaky-clean pedestrian sidewalks are now littered with smart bicycles. Jasmelia’s words reminded us it is how we think and act that decides our quality of life.

Friends, get a sharing bike and enjoy the rides! Just make sure that you ride responsibly and park it right. And don’t overdo it too. Simply ride occasionally for the little joys in life it brings. Surely, you remember the good old days of cycling with friends along the East Coast road when we were young.

William W K Tan

7 April 2018, Saturday

10:45 pm

037 Just living is not enough…enjoy the flowers

“Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”

I was reminded of these words of Han Christian Andersen when I spotted these pretty flowers blooming in a neighbourhood park this morning.

I cannot agree more. At this time of the year, trees blossom and the air is perfumed with the scent of flowers. All you need to do is to go out to the parks. You must go.

The most spectacular sight is the blossoming sakura-look-alike trees, Tabebuia rosea, aka the Trumpet Trees. These tall trees distinctively stand out from other trees for their white and pinkish trumpet-shaped flowers, which also gives the tree its name.

Its blossom bears an uncanny resemblance to cherry blossoms. As the flowers fall onto the ground, they miraculously produce a melodramatic feel that is commonly found in the scenes of Korean love dramas.

I caught sight of this beautiful scene in a small park along Bukit Panjang Ring road last Monday. The jubilation of seeing a bed of fallen flowers created a stir in my heart. I halted my footsteps to allow myself to soak in the mood.

I know my love for flowers has grown since I learnt to appreciate the simple joys in life. It heightened after I started bringing home flowers that are routinely discarded in the office when a new floral arrangement arrives. Look, this is what that greets me every morning and evening at our doorsteps.

These flowers really raise my spirits, I can’t help smiling looking at them. Embarrassingly, I know next to nothing about the different species of orchids, and how to care for them better. I can only pray that they do not wither too fast under my care.

I thought I have been doing a good job in the floral arrangements of these orchids though. Perhaps, gardening and floral arrangement can become my new hobbies.

However, I have some concerns about picking up these new hobbies. My friends are already telling me that my degree of ”auntisation” is getting out of hand. (laughs)

William W. K. Tan

24 March 2018

Saturday, 4 pm

033 CNY Reflections: Celebrate Festivities To Foster Closer Ties

  • Why Do We Celebrate Festivities Less Enthusiastically in Singapore?

Today is the 10th day of the Lunar Calendar. To me, Chinese New Year (CNY) celebrations had ended on the 5th day, last Tuesday, when I had to cancel a one-week leave to return to work.

Just when I thought CNY was over , a friend Julie texted me today,

“Good morning William… sorry for late reply 🤪 still busy with cny celeb. Meet up with old buddies. Here in JB we celeb cny till Qing Geh (Chingay), or ‘you shen’ (游神) in chinese. ”

Julie added that CNY celebrations in Johor Bahru go beyond the 15th. They celebrate up till the 22nd ( 9 March 2018) ending with a Chingay Parade, an annual street parade of dazzling colours and performances in conjunction with the birthdays of Chinese deities.

These pictures were taken from the Internet (https://www.johornow.com/jb-chingay-schedule-2018/). I was awed by the magnitude and duration of their celebrations.

Singapore celebrates CNY with a Chingay Parade too. And we have a signature River Hongbao event with mega CNY decorations by the Marina Bay. I was there with my family and relatives on the 3rd day of the Lunar New Year.

But both Chingay and River Hongbao ended yesterday. In fact, for many people, CNY celebrations stopped as soon as they returned to work in Singapore. In contrast, the CNY celebrations in JB last as long as 22 days, even after people resume work.

I couldn’t imagine celebrating CNY for so long. I asked my JB friends what they do? Julie’s answer was elegantly simple. She said, “busy praying, visiting, cooking lar, baking lar…” Here is a picture of her homemade cookies for the zodiac “dog” year for family and friends.

And I heard that Julie and her fellow work associates are planning to visit each other for CNY celebrations next week.

It sets me thinking why do we celebrate festivities a lot less enthusiastically than our immediate neighbour.

  • The Real Problem

I think the problem is ties between people in a fast-paced society like ours are becoming a far cry from yesteryears’. For some, CNY has become an uneventful public holiday because they are estranged from siblings, relatives and friends. It is now not uncommon to hear of people skipping town during CNY celebrations.

Broken ties, especially with close family members, if left untended , may have detrimental effects on a person’s psychological and emotional well-being over time.

The real problem is not about the number of many days we spend on festivities. The real issue is whether we recognise that we have a problem here: Have we put in enough effort to foster closer ties with our families, relatives and friends in our daily lives?

William W. K. Tan

25 Feb 2018, Sunday

032 Chinese New Year Tales From SG: Food! Food And Food! Versus Health Efforts

How not to put on weight during festive celebrations? We eat more and exercise less, especially so, during Chinese New Year’s celebrations.

  • All We Do Is Talk, Eat And Drink

The only body part that gets real busy during this period is the mouth. All that everyone does is talk, eat and drink. Period.

Like many Chinese families in Singapore, we had lots of seafood such as abalone, cuttlefish, prawns, scallops and a variety of meat such as chicken and pork, and even pork liver that went into a steamboat at reunion dinner, which marked the start of a 3- day food indulgence.

I’ve heard that CNY celebrations last for as long as 15 days in mainland China, while the Taiwanese across the island enjoy a break from school and work until the 5th day, though the celebrations very much continue till the Spring Lantern Festival (元宵节), which falls on the 15th. Thankfully, we adopt an abridged version in Singapore. Just 3 days.

I took no picture of the reunion dinner this year because it was no different from any other years. The above picture is taken from the internet, but it looks almost identical to what I had at home. Here is a picture of my children and their cousins having reunion dinner last year.

That was not all. Below is a glimpse of some dishes that my culinary-gifted sister Marilyn had cooked for family, relatives and friends when they visited my parents’ place this year.

(From top-left clockwise: Stir-fried giant tiger prawns, fried yam rolls, stir-fried vegetables, mixed mushrooms with fried chicken, and oysters-omelette.)

And let’s not forget to mention all the CNY goodies and snacks that were served round the clock.

The above picture shows some of my all-time favourite CNY goodies: pineapple tarts, mini prawn and pork floss rolls, sweetened BBQ pork aka Bak Kwa and egg rolls aka love letters.

As a person who adheres to time-tested traditions (laughs), I cast my cholesterol concerns temporarily aside for three days and succumbed to the lure of CNY delicacies. Constantly, I reminded myself to eat in moderation. The tricky part was I wasn’t sure how much was too much when it came to my irresistible favourites like Bak Kwa and pineapple tarts.

  • Guilt-lessening Efforts

To lessen my sense of guilt, I immediately switched to drinking a self-concocted Apple cider vinegar green tea throughout the days after I failed to resist a can of Kickapoo, a sugary lime-flavoured carbonated drink that brought nostalgia of childhood memories.

I knew that I had to find time to exercise. Despite the disrupted morning routine, I stole time to visit the gym twice, but did lesser than usual because of time constraint. I was even caught in video doing exercise at my mum’s place.

In the background of the video, you’d probably hear the chatter of children. It was the voice of my children and their cousins. Guess what they were doing on the first day of Chinese New Year’s celebrations?

  • Learning Discipline From Children

They actually did some serious school homework together! This is how some school-going children celebrate Chinese New Year the Singapore way. As a disclaimer, I had no part in orchestrating this scene at all.

It just happened that the kids were given too much homework by their school teachers. Conan’s eldest cousin, Sherman decided that he had to do homework. Shernice, his diligent younger sister and Conan, my self-professed less-hardworking younger son followed suit. There was no study gloom as they listened to pop-music and enjoyed CNY snacks while solving Maths problems on practice papers.

On normal days, I’d have told Conan off for putting in half-hearted efforts. But I decided to cut him some slack that day. He was at least enthusiastic and focused to keep up with his diligent cousins for an hour or so, before falling prey to playing games on his mobile phone later.

I am no better in the department of discipline. But I’ve learnt something from the children. Sometimes, when it becomes too hard to do it alone, do it together with others. Perhaps I should start asking friends out for exercise soon. Care to join me?

William W. K. Tan

19 February 2018

014 “Tea-riffic” knowledge: Let’s have a cup of tea

  • Find joy in discovering the therapeutic value of tea

I am not an expert tea drinker. At best, a new convert. 

    • In the mornings, for a long period of time, I drank neither tea nor coffee at home. Just plain water. Not tea.

      In the weekends, even when I had breakfast with my kids at the McDonald’s, my choice of drink was always ice milo. Not tea.

      Occasionally, when I visited Starbucks or any other cafes, my choice was often Cappuccino, and sometimes Latte. Still, not tea.

      Now, tea has triumphed over all other beverages to become my number one choice drink. Yes, give me tea anytime.

      The reason? I have found joy in discovering the therapeutic value of tea.  Every sip of tea I take is a deliberate choice for healing and healthy living.

      • Is brown rice tea really a tea?

      Those who are familiar with my blog know that I drink brown rice tea daily for gastrointestinal well-being. You may read post 010: Homemade remedy: Tangerine Peel Brown Rice Tea (TPBR) if you are interested in making your own concoction. 

      It is really no trouble at all to make your own TPBR tea, but I guess my detailed documentation of the process over-amplified the efforts required unintentionally. In a nutshell, all you do is just mix two ingredients and fry them, that’s it. 

      Too bad many of my friends find it an hassle to prepare their own tea mixtures, but they were intrigued enough to buy ready-to-use tea bags from the shelves.

      The picture above is a brown rice tea that a friend M recently recommended me. I find it robust with roasted rice flavour. I started making the same, minus the tangerine peels. The taste is good but I cannot achieve the same roasted aroma. Time to start some experiments, I guess.

      This picture above depicts  a cup of brown rice tea served in a Japanese restaurant that I went with my wife yesterday. It is known as Genmaicha, 玄米茶, which is the Japanese equivalent of Caomicha 糙米茶 in Chinese. 

      Strictly speaking, however, brown rice tea is not a tea. It is called a tea simply because the public has generally named all kinds of herbal concoction as tea. In that sense, all kinds of beverages that are concocted from botanical plants are now known as teas, or more commonly known as “herbal teas”.

      • Similar health benefits, but varied flavours

      Experts in the tea industry tend not to see brown rice tea as real tea. They maintain that there are only five types of tea, namely black, oolong, green, yellow and white, all originate from the same plant, a kind of camellia (Camellia sinenis and Thea sinensis). 

      The health benefits of these five different types of tea are similar because they come from the same bush. Their benefits, evident by an abundance of scientific researches, include treatment of a variety of ailments such as headaches, heart disease, disgestive problems, immune system disorders, respiratory problems and nervous system issues. 

      Their difference lie in their processing techniques, which alter the health benefits slightly, but significantly change the amount of caffeine each tea contains and their taste. So, you may choose one tea over the others based on your personal preference.

      • The After-Meal Choice: Green Tea

      Probably influenced by my liking for Japanese culture and food, I prefer green tea over the other four teas for its subtle aroma and light grassy taste.

      Green tea is most reputed for its weight loss effects. It increases fat oxidation by thermogensis (heat production) in the body. It also lowers LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels, which make it a perfect choice for after-meal consumption. Here are some green teas I consume. They are quite affordable.

      As you probably know, LDL cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol, clogs arteries and is culpable for raising the risk of heart attacks. Medical researchers have found that a cup of green tea contains as many antioxidants as one cup of blueberries! Antioxidants are substances that protects the body from cancers. So, even if you are not drinking for weight-management, drink it for your health.

      • For Better Sleep: Chamomile 

      Chamomile is the tea I drink before sleep. I find it very useful for improving sleep quality because of its sedative effects. Those who struggle with insomnia may benefit from the effects of chamomile tea. 

      On sleepless nights, chamomile tea can help me fall asleep faster and wake up feeling rejuvenated.Chamomile tea is fragrant, but it carries an unique taste that took me some time to get used to. You might need to give your tastebuds some time to adjust too.Other than its effectiveness in aiding sleep, the anti-inflammatory properties in chamomile also help to soothe emotions, as well as stomach discomfort.

      For women, chamomile has the added benefit of bringing much relief to menstrual discomforts. But it should be noted that for precisely this reason, pregnant women are generally advised to refrain from chamomile.

      For most people, chamomile is generally fine unless you have a known allergy to pollen. After all, chamomile is a daisy-like herb.

      • Teas for longevity and health

      Teas are not a cure-all for any ailment. But they can stimulate a person’s natural defence against diseases if taken wisely.

      Since ancient time, people have known that tea promote longevity and health wellness. It is such a waste to ignore such time-tested wisdom, don’t you agree?

      Let’s have a cup of tea together.

      William W K Tan

      11 October 2017

      Personal notes:

      From the readership and responses I received so far, it is clear that articles written on the topic of health and wellness are most well-received. 

      A supportive friend J always forward my blog to her other friends each time I write about health and wellness. I was so delighted the other day when she asked a question about fennel (post 003:) on behalf of one of her friends. 

      I really hope that my sharing helps people in their health in some ways. It is my way to telling you that I care for your health, my friend.

      Interested to find out more about tea? Try this book “The Healing Power of Tea” written by Caroline Dow. An easy-to-read book that is not overly technical and yet covers all the relevant know-how.

      008  Lessons on self-acceptance 

      People feel hurt most when those closest to them seem oblivious to their emotional needs. 

      “Isn’t it justified to expect our parents, spouse, children and close friends to be more understanding and supportive? Isn’t that what they are supposed to do? To accept us for who we are, that’s all.”

      • Do you have an emotional need to seek acceptance from others? 

      We all have an emotional need for acceptance by others, albeit at varying degrees.

      At the early stage of our life as young children, we were mostly needy for adoration from our parents in order to feel safe. At adolescent stage, many of us were constantly seeking endorsement from friends in order to feel accepted. Even after we reached adulthood, many adults continue to crave affirmation from others, at workplace and at home, in order to feel appreciated.

      Such needs for adoration, endorsement and affirmation is an expression of an intrinsic need for people to feel safe, accepted and appreciated.  

      • Adverse consequences to craving for acceptance 

      Although there are obvious benefits in gaining acceptance from others as described above, there are adverse consequences to craving for acceptance. 

      Craving for acceptance becomes a serious problem if you cannot self-soothe during difficult times when such emotional needs are not met.

      Employees become disgruntled workers when they are under-appreciated by their bosses. Close friends drift apart when one party senses the camaraderie between them is somewhat lost. Spouses turn into strange bedfellows when one partner constantly feel misjudged by the other.  Even parents-and-child relationship become strained when their expectations are misaligned.

      • Importance of self-acceptance 

      As you can see, a deficit in acceptance from others can be detrimental to keeping good and healthy relationships. Moreover, blaming others is more likely to exacerbate the problem than solving it.

      If you are deeply upset over not getting sufficient acceptance from others, the real problem could be that you have mistakenly allowed your own value to be subjected to other’s approval. 

      Simply said, you have probably lost sight of your “self”. A prior question to seeking acceptance from others is to ask whether you are accepting your “self” in the first place. 

      • A personal experience that taught me the importance of self-acceptance

      I was taught the importance of self-acceptance from a personal schooling experience.

      Since young, I have a penchant to gain favour and affirmation from parents and teachers, perhaps even from friends through scholastic excellence. Somehow it was indoctrinated in me that I must deliver results to make people feel proud of me. Fortunately for me, getting good grades was never that difficult, until the age of eighteen.

      So you could probably imagine my devastation when I unexpectedly got two Cs grades and one E grade in the crucial examination at GCE A’s levels, which almost blew my chance of admission to the University. That result slip spelt the end of a promising future for a supposedly Ace grade student. Unable to accept the outcome, I spent days after days in solitary, agonising over how to face the people I disappointed and wondering what went so wrong.  I had no answers.

      I felt as if every ounce of my self-worth was decimated. I knew my strength was in studying, but without proof of academic achievement, who am I really?

      If not for my parents who showed that they cared for me far more than any whatsoever results, and a good friend who cared enough to visit and nudge me hard to apply for admission to the University, the path I took in life would have turned out quite differently.

      On hindsight, it was a humbling experience that did me a lot of good. It taught me a great deal about accepting failures, and knowing both my strengths and weaknesses. 

      • Learn to accept both your strengths and weaknesses

      When we are self-accepting, we accept not just our strengths, but also our short-comings. 

      Recognising our strengths prevent us from being short-changed by others who think lesser of us. Accepting our weaknesses allow us to take in criticisms from others without being overly defensive. 

      By accepting both our strengths and weaknesses, we learn to be confident with who we are, which frees us from the tyranny of others’ judgement. 

      Do not live in the judgement of others. Learn to accept our imperfections and yet confident enough to improve ourselves for the better. At the end, it is only us who can judge if we have lived our lives fully.

      William W K Tan

      31 August 2017 (Thursday)

      6:10 a.m.

      Bangkok, Thailand.

      (Finally, this time I am not travelling overseas for work, but time for family and self. 😊)