An Ode to Slowness

I want to make my life a ceremony around slowness.
Time and space.
Open space.
In the desert there is space.
Space is the twin sister of time.
If we have open space, then we have open time to breathe, to dream, to dare, to play, to move freely, so freely, in a world our minds have forgotten but our bodies remember.
Time and space.
This partnership is holy.
In these redrock canyons, time creates space;
An arch, an eye, this blue eye of sky.
We remember why we love the desrt;
It is our tactile response to light, silence, and stillness.
Hand on stone patience.
Hand on water music.
Hand raised to the wind is this the birthplace of inspiration?

Terry Tempest Williams

Thich Nhat Hanh: When I have a toothache

When I have a toothache, I discover that not having a toothache is a wonderful thing. That is peace. I had to have a toothache in order to be enlightened, to know that not having one is wonderful. My non-toothache is peace, is joy. But when I do not have a toothache, I do not seem to be happy. Therefore, I look deeply in the present moment and see that I have a non-toothache, that can make me very happy already.

Thich Nhat Hanh

SCMP: HK men live longest, survey finds

Despite the city’s lifestyle and often choking pollution, its men live longer than those anywhere else on the planet and women’s life expectancy is second only to those in Japan, a Japanese government survey has found.

The average lifespan of a Hong Kong man is 79, ahead of Iceland and Switzerland with 78.9 and 78.6. Japanese men live for an average of 78.53 years.

For women, it is 84.7, just behind Japan, with 85.49, and ahead of Spain at 83.8.

Japanese women have been the longest-lived for 21 consecutive years, but the life expectancy of the country’s men dropped to fourth with 78.53 – the first time in 32 years they were out of the top three places.

The figures are based on the Japanese Health, Labour and Welfare Ministry’s “abridged life tables” which show how long a population at specified ages is expected to live, provided death-related conditions remain unchanged.

A Health Ministry official said the average lifespan of Japanese men and women had fallen slightly from a year ago because of a rise in flu-induced deaths.

How to discourage temper tantrums?


  1. Set a good example. If you act aggressively when you are frustrated or angry, it is only natural for your child to react the same way when faced with the same emotions. Try to remain calm and neutral in voice and posture when dealing with tantrums or other frustrating situations.
  2. Talk openly about your emotions. Say things like, “Mommy gets angry when you throw your food on the floor. I get frustrated when you throw your toys around the room. It looks messy and is more work for me. I feel sad and angry when you yell at me and call me names.” Teach your child how to express feelings verbally by expressing yours.
  3. Observe your child. If you see a tantrum coming on, go and sit near your child. Ask whether something is bothering her and whether you can help in some way. Helping your child learn to work through a problem is a valuable lesson.
  4. Once a tantrum gets started, try to ignore it. If your child is not a threat to herself or others, let her work through the anger or frustration. By ignoring the tantrum, you are telling your child that you are not interested in the behaviour.
  5. Remind your child, in a friendly, uncritical voice, of the appropriate response. Sa things like “You can be angry and cry, but you cannot hit.”
  6. Try not to give in. If your child is throwing a tantrum because you took somethign or said no, giving in to your child’s demands will encourage more tantrums in the future.
  7. Remove your child from the room if necessary.
  8. If ignoring the tantrum isn’t working or isn’t an option, try distracting your child with another toy or activity. Because young children have naturally short attention spans, redirection is an effective way to draw attention away from a frustrating activity and channel energy into a more constructive activity.

Master Sheng Yen: Nothing can really annoy me

“In my life, I’ve never wished that everything goes smoothly or satisfactorily, or that I may be free of any adversity. When encountering an adverse situation, I cope with it in this way: First I will tell myself, “If there’s a mountain in my way that can’t be removed, I will make a detour. If no detour can lead to my destination, I will change my way of thinking.” Once you change your thinking, the difficult situation you’re facing will no longer exist, which will naturally lead you to a new way out. Another way is to “face it, accept it, deal with it, and let it go.” There are problems that simply cannot be solved no matter how hard we try. In that case, we should accept the reality. In a way, accepting the reality amounts to dealing with it. And then you should let it go. Having let it go, you shouldn’t allow it to prey on your mind any longer and keep regretting and resenting. If you’re still caught up in regret and resentment, you’ll have twice as much bad luck because your confidence and courage have disappeared. During my most difficult time, it is as if I have been tied up all over with ropes, but my mind can still be doing taijiquan with freedom. As long as I don’t think I’m having bad luck, nothing can really annoy me.”{F0AE31D2-C55D-450C-9BCE-5F1B875AAD5F

Interview: Dr. Mahathir Mohamed

Far Eastern Economic Review
March 2006

Last month, Jeremy Hurewitz met with the grand old man of Malaysian politics, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. Wearing a pin proclaiming his desire for peace, Malaysia’s former prime minister spoke from his office in Putrajaya, the seat of the Malaysian government.

Jeremy Hurewitz: What are your thoughts on China’s rise? Do you see any threats from a powerful China?

Dr. Mahathir Mohamad: I think that China is bound to play a very important role in both East Asia and all the world. You cannot stop China. It is the sleeping lion who has now woken up. And his appetite is enormous. We have Chinese in this country [Malaysia], and we know that the Chinese are very dynamic, very intelligent, very skillful people, and when you consider that there are 1.3 billion Chinese in China, their ability to compete with the rest of the world is tremendous. Looking back, of course, China was industrialized long before Europe. They used to produce many goods, even if they didn’t then have the mass production techniques that they use today. They worked so fast that they could produce a lot of products which were used all over the world. They used to trade with us—textiles, stoneware, paper. Now they have adopted the techniques of the West: mass production, quality and innovation. That is the China of the future. And there is always the fear that this huge lion might gobble up the rest of the world. But we in Malaysia have had relations with China for over two thousand years. We have traded with China, but the Chinese have never colonized us. Even when they thought that we were not treating their people well we never had any of their warships come here in response. On the other hand, when the Europeans came here, specifically the Portuguese, some were arrested and detained by the Malacca government in 1509. Two years later a flotilla of ships came here and conquered Malacca. So the approach is quite different. We have been trading with China, India, the Arabs, the Persians and the Japanese for centuries. But the moment the Europeans came they think in terms of securing supply and monopolies. And basically they ended up conquering all their trading partners: Malaysia, Indonesia, Burma, Vietnam. They tried with China but it was too big. So we are familiar with the West.

JH: But is Malaysia threatened at all economically by China’s rise? For example, electronic components that were once sourced from Southeast Asia for assembly into consumer electronics in China, will likely—sooner or later—be made by China, and Malaysia will need to look elsewhere for its economic growth. How should Malaysia manage its relationship with China?

MM: A country’s development initially depends on their low-cost position: how willing the people are to accept low wages. As they develop their costs begin to rise as their people want to be more highly paid. Sometimes they become steadily less competitive. In the case of China this process will take a bit longer, much longer in fact. But even now we see on the eastern coast of China the costs and the wages of engineers are higher than Malaysia. They are actually beginning to invest in other countries. Maybe it’s in order to soft-pedal things, but if you look at the trade treaties between Malaysia and China, we are actually exporting electronic goods to China. Now supposing the Chinese become very rich, per capita income over a half century reaches that of the United States, they are going to be a very big market for us and we are sure to find something that they want which they cannot produce themselves. And certainly the number of tourists will increase tremendously. So there will be a change in terms of the character of our industry. But a rich China can be a useful market for us.

Maggie Q: Right on Q

South China Morning Post
12 May 2006

Maggie Q

Quigley accepts her mission.

Maggie Quigley knew she had landed the highly coveted role of Zhen in Mission: Impossible III when a huge floral basket arrived at her Los Angeles hotel. The card attached to it read: “Welcome. Here’s to a great mission.” And the first signature on the card was that of Tom Cruise.

“It was the most surreal moment of my life,” says Quigley, who admits the message will forever be part of her personal archives.

If things go according to plan for the Hong Kong-based actress best known as Maggie Q, there will come plenty of other star-inscribed mementoes to join it. Quigley, 27, beat hundreds of other actresses – many of them well established in Hollywood – to win the role of a gorgeous and capable member of the support team helping Cruise’s character, secret agent Ethan Hunt, battle a vicious arms dealer. Her part called for her to be sleek, sophisticated, exotic and multilingual; to exude charm and tenacity.

She had received word the makers of the blockbuster film were interested in seeing her just as she had given up all hope of winning the role. “I sent in a tape to [producer Paula Wagner and director J.J. Abrams] but didn’t hear anything back for a month,” she recalls. “I basically let it go after that. Whatever – easy come, easy go.” Continue reading Maggie Q: Right on Q

Hokusai Says…

Hokusai says look carefully.

He says pay attention, notice.
He says keep looking, stay curious.
He says there is no end to seeing.
He says look forward to getting old.
He says keep changing, you just get more who you really are.
He says get stuck, accept it, repeat yourself as long as it’s interesting.
He says keep doing what you love.
He says keep praying.
He says everyone of us is a child, every one of us is ancient, every one of us has a body. He says every one of us is frightened.
He says everyone of us has to find a way to live with fear.
He says everything is alive- shells, buildings, people, fish, mountains, trees.
Wood is alive.
Water is alive.
Everything has its own life.
Everything lives inside us.
He says live with the world inside you.
He says it doesn’t matter if you draw, or write books.
It doesn’t matter if you saw wood, or catch fish.
It doesn’t matter if you sit at home and stare at the ants on the veranda or the shadows of the trees and the grasses in the garden.
It matters that you care.
It matters that you feel.
It matters that you notice.
It matters that life lives through you.
Contentment is life living through you.
Joy is life living through you.
Satisfaction and strength is life living through you.
Peace is life living through you.
He says don’t be afraid.
Don’t be afraid.
Look,feel, let life take you by the hand.
Let life live through you.

Roger Keyes, Providence Zen Centre