2019

I’ve been so occupied with school and other “commitments” that i have forgotten about this blog of mine.

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When will my next vacation be?

I am really in need of a break from the hectic of everyday life, perhaps a trip to Thailand in April(hopefully) can help me get recharged.

So what’s up for 2019?

  1. Diploma Internship
  2. Final-Year Project
  3. Last 4 modules before grad
  4. …more surprises

Have a blessed and fantastic year ahead!

 

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#003 Daily Photo: Pasir Ris Town

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Pasir Ris probably has the only town centre in Singapore that is surrounded with so much green spaces. I like seeing the town centre set against the empty fields and wide blue skies.

But unfortunately, all this is is going to be a history of the past soon. The town is stipulated to be redeveloped in the years to come, more public housings will be built and a tender has been released for developers to take up. It is wise now to take more photographs for memory sake and cherish whatever is going to be gone.

#002 Daily Photo: Marina Bay

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Marina Bay Sands, find your legitcrazyrichasians inside there
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Merlion, half fish half lion mascot

I think 2018 is a year that Singapore is feeling “shiok” for the massive publicity, there are many indirect benefits for a small city state.

First, we successfully held the trump-kim summit, an incredible event that the whole world is looking at.. We stood by the tv, together with the koreans and people around the world, hoping for a peaceful progress of the historic meeting. This event has help to market Singapore as an ideal location for meetings and businesses.

The movie, Crazy Rich Asian also set tongues wagging about Singapore, both mainstream and social media are talking about the disparities of the real and portrayed sides of the country, and most of us identify ourselves as “crazy rich asians” instead.  But all in all, it is a fantastic movie that you should go for.

Putting these aside, i think Marina Bay is a really unique place worth talking about. Because where in the world can you revel in the remarkable views of the skyline, enjoy musical performances at the esplanade, watch a spectacular water show, feast on local hawker food and get your nature fix, all at a walkable distance? All the above mentioned is located around Marina Bay. That being said, being small has it advantageous too.

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Credits: mapaplan

#001 Daily Photo: Singapore Port

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Sunset over the Port of Singapore
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Silhouettes of PSA during sunset

Location: Marina Bay Cruise Centre

I think any Singaporean would be really proud of their skyline, it is always a nice feeling to sit at the CBD and watch the sun set or enjoy the breeze of the wind. I think the govt did a reasonably good job with urban planning and making our CBD attractive.

I am inspired by bloggers who takes pictures of their own city/town and post it up daily. I’ve been trying to learn how to see things in a different lens. Everyday life can get really dull, boring, rigid and stressful. Sometimes being stuck in the same environment and routine can drive people crazy. That is why i often take breaks and go out of town to broaden my horizons and get a mental break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life in Singapore. It is easier to get a break when you’re in a entirely different environment, i’m the kind that hardly gets stress up when i’m in a foreign land, i absolutely love the process of getting loss, finding directions, speaking to strangers and discovering surprises at every corner.  

That said, i’m trying to incorporate this mindset into my daily life, distance myself from the usual thought and familiarity of the activities while enjoying the new experiences. This would require some practice of mindfulness (which is good!) to become a tourist at my own land. Alas, hope this effort would last!

Longest wooden bridge in Thailand

This is a place that i never expected i would visit, not even known on most recommendations i see online. Prior to my Thai trip, i planed to explore some non-typical places to visit in Thailand, most of the travel blogs recommended the usual places, Chiang mai, Chiang rai, Tak, Issan. But none of which is within my reach… I came across a random blog that introduced to me this mystical town called Mon Village.

This village is situated at Sangkhlaburi District, next to Kachanaburi and 5 hours away from bangkok. Making the trip there is equally fascinating.

Going from Kachanaburi: There are two ways to go there, either by private van or public bus, depending on your budget and comfort. There is only one ticketing office for the private van, based in a shop house(dark translucent doors) opposite Kachanaburi bus terminal, asked around for direction, we couldn’t recognise the shop at all. At the office, one can immediately recognise the locals who is of Burmese descent as they have white face painting over their cheeks. I was surprise that there is only 2 tourists waiting for the bus, and 1 european guy who arrived late as the tickets are sold out fast.

We finally arrived after a long road trip, with a few stops along the way. It was a tough journey with some steep roads, lots of risky bends and a couple of police checks when nearing Sangkhlaburi (so get ready your identification/passport near you). But i enjoyed the long trip anyways, something that is impossible in Singapore.

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Daily night market selling Thai and Burmese snacks.. You can find 711 round the corner
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P. Guest House is the only place where you can rent a bike
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Halal vegetarian Samosa
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Impressive bridge built by the local community of Sanghklaburi.
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love the vibes of this place
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Check out the smiley face
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Beautiful night lights, cool and calming 
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Mon village
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woke up at 6am to see this
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floating bamboo bridge replacing the wooden bridge when it collapse in 2013.
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Man on his long boat
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away from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok
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The practice of offering food is a Theravada Buddhist tradition, its their way of laity support for the Monk’s training.

One of the main activity at Sangkhlaburi is to observe/take part in the morning alms giving tradition. As early as 5 am, one will be able to see monks from the nearby monasteries walking along the street to receive alms. Here are some dos and don’ts for photographers who are not partaking in the ritual..

  • Always Keep a respectful distance, do not obstruct the laity or monks, use a long lens if you need.
  • Dress modestly: This is doubly important if you plan to participate in the almsgiving. Take off your shoes if you’re giving alms.
  • Never use your camera flash: It distracts the monks’ concentration from the spoils the solemnity of the ritual.
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They are probably the first in line to offer alms to the Monks, as their spot is quite a distance away from the main street where most devotees congregate
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I am as excited as they are…
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The most senior monk usually walks at the front
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offering of rice & flowers
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Giver and receiver… The monastics depend on the generosity of the lay community to sustain, therefore the monks accepts any food that is offered.
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The ritual is done in silence; the almsgivers do not speak, nor do the monks. Note the lady removes her shoe out of respect
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Beautiful sight, one that you can’t see in Singapore
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This lady devotee humbly wait for their arrival
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She prostrate before the monks when they are close, the sincerity of her offering(just rice) is far greater.
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what a sight to see, the saffron robes in contrast to the colourful clothes of the laity.

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Monks walk in meditation
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Sunrises over the Thai-Burmese border
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At 442 metres long, the wooden bridge is one of Sangkhlaburi signature sites
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Mile stone of Sangkhlaburi
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Traditional breakfast, you can opt for a meatless porridge. You can’t miss them as they are situated near the village entrance
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Traditional Myanmar textiles, local handicrafts and restaurants. Do buy something or eat here to support the mon community.
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Scenic view from the bridge
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Uttamanuson Bridge
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Village boy posing for you, do tip them if you can, it’ll help them in a way or another.
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There’s not much happening here, but you’ll likely receive smiles as you wander through the village.

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Mahabodhi-styled stupa
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Dharma Cakra

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Even the main Buddha is a replica of the Buddha in the Bodh Gaya Chapel

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Chedi Buddhakhaya
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Wat Wang Wiwekaram

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Three Pagoda Pass
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Over here you can get over to the burmese side if you have a visa.
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Memorial plaque of WWII Death Railway

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Cave visit

I really enjoyed this area and strongly recommend it to others looking for a Thai adventure just outside of Bangkok!

Paaaataaayaaaaaa

I always wonder if Nasi Pattaya has anything to do with this place.. Anyone care to enlighten me?

Pattaya is one of the best beaches outside of bangkok, only a few hours away from the capital, it is one of the most accessible cities. Several long-distance buses depart from Bangkok’s Northern Bus Terminal (Mochit), the other being Southern Terminal (Ekamai).  Bus tickets in Thailand are relatively cheap and you’ll get to enjoy the scenery along the way.

Here are some pictures of my trip to Pattaya… Let the pictures do the talking.

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Entrance to the bus hub is guarded by security personnels.
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Don’t worry about getting lost
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The place is well organised and easy to navigate.
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Counter 48 near to the first floor exit is where you can purchase tickets to Pattaya
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This place is full of Thais and Tourists going to all destinations in Thailand.. as well as to Laos and Cambodia.
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Grab some snacks and drinks for your journey..
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Left baggage is private-run, use at your own risk.
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Cross over to the departure platform to board your bus.. Ask a local or the staff if you’re unsure where.

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I would say that the bus is well maintained and comfortable, comparable or even better than some Malaysian buses.
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Arrival at Pattay! Read the signboard carefully…
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…it isnt even air conditioned?
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Remember to check out the return timing to Bangkok, Mochit.
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There are also buses to Suvarnabhumi Airport
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The Bus that brought us here
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Lots of tuk tuk and taxi drivers waiting to ketok you, remember to bargain!
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took a motorbike and alight here
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Overall first impression of the beach is okay, it is a pretty touristy, long and narrow beach. Otherwise, really convenient to access from the nearby hotels.
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I wouldn’t mind spending one afternoon here just people watching and chill
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Good holiday vibes at Central Festival Pattaya
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Busy streets at night.
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This is where you can get cheap facial treatment, unfortunately this mall is almost due for redevelopment
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Typical bar scene in the red light district

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Spot our local brand
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again.. Spot our local brand

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Only in Thailand you get to see Ronald doing a wai and at his usual posture.
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Other than gogo bars, beer bars, this street is filled with seafood restaurants too.

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Muay Thai bar
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walking street pattaya
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Steps leading to Wat Phra Yai Temple

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18 metre tall Buddha
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Can’t help it but it does feel like Buddha is really please with his offerings
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Buddha Approves.. hahaha
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Beautiful sky, it was nearing sunset.
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View from Pratumnak Hill is really gorgeous
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Excellent view of Pattaya town and the gulf of Thailand
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Naval Monument with statue of  Thai Admiral Kromluang Chomphonkhetudomsak credited as the founder of the Royal Thai navy. Many Thais visit here to pray and make merits. You can also offer firecrackers as an utmost respect.
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Chance upon another temple at the hilltop, but i didn’t get the name of the temple. Let’s just name it the cat temple.
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Haven’t seen more cats in the same compound ever in my life.

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Spent like an hour here…

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Will i come back again? hmm probably yes for the cheap and worthy facial treatment at mike shopping centre. Not my kind of place (mainly caters to farangs who come for the sex industry), but i really enjoy the vibes and beautiful beaches.

Daily Inspiration for the Mind & Heart

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The work that Tzu Chi does is firmly rooted and inspired by Buddhist philosophy. Volunteers strive to act morally, be mindful and self-aware, and seek to attain ultimate wisdom, or enlightenment (“bodhi” in Sanskrit). The goal is to awaken great compassion for all beings in our hearts, and to walk a loving path of selfless action serving others.

CONTEMPLATIVE WISDOM

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Daily thoughts for meditation, contemplation, and
reflection from Master Cheng Yen

230818 Thursday

Dharma Master Chengyen says we must have a mind free of discursive thoughts to truly be reverent. We must listen reverently to the Dharma, and sincerely receive the Dharma, only then the Dharma will naturally penetrate into our mind. Sentient beings, foolish beings like us live in this world, rushing and bustling about, often troubled and do not know how we come and go. But in this lifetime, interpersonal conflicts connect us and create cycle of enmity. How can the cycle of birth and death be broken? How to still our minds. The birth and death from of arising and ceasing.

This is this suffering of the endless cycle of life and death. To learn the Buddha Dharma is to severe this, but we are also unaware, where we are going in the next life. After hearing the Buddha Dharma, and to be reverent, naturally our mind will find it’s answer.

Heart refer to accumulation, mind is contemplation, as long we as truly listen reverently, we can understand this teaching, after hearing the Dharma, we know there is nothing to be calculative and there is no reason for interpersonal conflicts, only having the gratefulness at heart.

Master said we need to practice diligence, going among people to give, we must train to avoid give up to external conditions and practice to live beyond it. We need to go into Dhyana, which means to think deeply, when we engage in spiritual practice, we need to enter into deep thinking. In daily living, facing various phenomena , interpersonal conflicts, the consciousness, still trouble our minds. We should know that spiritual practitioner should not act impulsively but quietly contemplate. How to resolve. Even when we are in grievances, we must reflect on ourselves.

We need to think , to create space for self-reflection. As things happen, we must quietly contemplate, consider how to handle it, this is wisdom, we need space to reflect and think. For practice and learning, if we know to practice spiritually, naturally the space will emerge. “Eye for eye” mentality, we can imagine the consequences. But we want to practice spiritually, so we quickly give ourselves space, he look at me, i will respond with smile or quietly disregards, no angry glare, i will not have such attitude, so this requires cultivation.

We need to work on our habitual tendencies, Dhyana, means to create space for reflection, we need to learn to cleanse, if someone glare at us, we glared angrily that is habitual. If we can reflect and give ourselves space, we will refine our habitual tendencies, we can naturally mitigate challenging condition – cultivate good habits

The moment we can eliminate all habitual tendencies, we no longer have angry glare, slowly rid off this habitual tendencies, we will have tolerance and forbearance, minds in tranquil, no state can shake this tranquil state, nearing buddha state. Dhyana practice contemplation and calm thought, still and quiet.

With Metta,

Sharing from my Telegram Group, Global Xun Fa Xiang (a international English Dharma sharing group for Tzu Chi volunteers)