Do you have problems getting to sleep at night? No, I am not talking about insomnia – a short term or chronic inability to get high quality sleep – which can be caused by stress at work or home. Most people would have suffered insomnia at one point or other in their lives. I’m not talking about sleep apnea also, where your breathing stops or gets very shallow while you are sleeping.
I am not talking about such sleeping problems where you would be able to seek help professionally or through self-help by making changes to your lifestyles. Before I misled you further, please allow me to rephrase my sentence to make it clearer, “Do you sleep with a peace of mind at night?”
I believe most of us can sleep peacefully without waking up in cold sweat to nightmares at night. I remembered Richard Branson said something along this line, in one of his books, “Don’t do things that will cause you to have problem sleeping at night.” I couldn’t remember the exact words but I gathered he meant we must not do anything bad or against our conscience lest we will be troubled in sleep at night; we always have a choice.
As the saying goes, “To err is human.” Most of us would have made mistakes or errors in our lives. Some of them big, and continue to haunt us for life. Some of them small, and we readily forget. When we made mistakes, we must learn from them and be brave enough to face the consequences; running away is not an option.
Apparently not all people share the same thought and they will flee at the first chance. Dr. Silviu Ionescu, former Romanian diplomat in Singapore, linked to two hit-and-run accidents which killed one and left two injured is one such person. He was believed to be drunk driving when it happened. He was requested to return to Singapore for a coroner’s inquiry. However, Dr. Ionescu said his failing health was the main reason he may not return. He claimed that he could die as a result of his illness, believed to be diabetes.
He firmly denied having anything to do with the accident that killed one, or another later that day that left two people injured.
In remarks to the newspaper, Dr. Ionescu said: ‘I read in newspapers that prosecutors (in Singapore) were accusing me long before they had the right to. They should have done a preliminary inquiry first. It was clearly a sign that I shouldn’t come back.’
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said that they were puzzled by Dr. Ionescu’s comments. According to the spokesman, “…no charges have been made and no judgment has been passed on Dr. Ionescu. … He should take the opportunity to give his account of the events in order that the true circumstances surrounding the accidents may be determined.”
Was he the one? I have no wish to discuss or pass judgment here because he is the only one who knows. If he was not the one, then all the more he should stand up and clear himself. If he was, then he should return to Singapore to face the consequence.
I am appalled how one can do something like that and yet sleep peacefully at night. How can he/she face others and look them in the eyes? And how can one look at himself/herself in the mirror?
Remember, we always have a choice: one that we can sleep with a peace of mind at night or one where we will be troubled for life.
“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain
Over the weekend, there was a report in the newspaper stating a headline from an article in the Seattle Times, ‘Kindness taught in Seattle school’s online class.’ As course leader Andy Smallman says, “The purpose of this ‘class’ is to have fun while being kind, to see how being kind to others is actually being kind to ourselves, and to start ripples of kindness that will be felt in faraway places.”
You may be curious to know what is taught in the class. According to the newspaper report by Richard Hartung (a consultant living in Singapore since 1992), there are no exams or grades – just homework. Like, do something kind for someone we love and then do something for someone we don’t know. I would like to call it enlisting people into a kindness movement by getting them to consciously perform act of kindness for their loved ones and even for people they do not know.
As Richard says, “Kindness – the ripple with no end.” Indeed, the ripples generate from the act of kindness will travel far and wide; they will go on to affect many others from where they first start. However, the ripples on the surface of the water in a lake will stop if the factor generating the ripples stop. Like the rain stops falling on the lake or someone stops throwing stone into it.
Like the water ripples, the kindness ripples will stop too if we stop being kind. Therefore, we must continue to perform act of kindness in order for the kindness ripples to continue.
Richard asked a question, “Does a kind act here or there really make a difference?” I believe that no matter how small a kind act may be, it will go on to create ripples; it will always make a difference. As Dilbert creator Scott Adams put it more simply, “Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”
Not only that, as stated in the newspaper report, “Thinkers from Confucius to Dalai Lama as well as research from the US National Institutes of Health and many other sources all cite benefits to both giver and receiver.” We don’t need to be a genius like Albert Einstein to understand that; who has not felt good from being kind to loved ones and to strangers?
A water ripple that hits a wall before it disappears may bounce back to its source, depending on the strength of the ripple and how far the wall is. However, a kindness ripple generated will propagate and eventually but surely, it will go back to its source.
Let us take the time today to generate a kindness ripple through a small act of kindness, which will surely bring happiness to the life of others and to yourself.
“Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.” – Og Mandino
A friend shared this touching short film in Facebook. According to a user who posted the same short film in Youtube, it was made in Greek in 2007. With the help of Google, I found it being shown in the 30th Greek Short Film Festival in 2007.
“What is that?” is a short film directed by Constantin Pilavios about a conversation, between a father and his son, when sparrow landed in front of them.
There was an email, with a very similar story, which I received back in 2006. Whichever came first, I do not know. But I hope, through the conversation of the father and his son, we could all be brought back to the time when we were young. Did our parents not shower us with tender love and patience?
This short film reminded me of the many conservations between my inquisitive four years old niece and my mother. Whenever she was watching TV programs with my mother, she would always ask her grandmother what was going on in the show. When my mother answered her question, she would pause to think for a moment and continue to ask another question.
This process of question and answer would just go on and on; the little one never seemed to run out of questions. However, no matter how many questions the little one asked, my mother would always answer in a gentle, patient and loving manner.
I was also reminded of the few conversations one of my aunts had with my grandmother. My grandmother is going to ninety-five soon and she tends to forget about certain things. Like the father in the short film, she would ask the same question repetitively or repeat the same words again and again. But my aunt would always answer her gently and lovingly with a smile.
What similarity can you see between my niece and my grandmother? One is four years old and another at ninety-five years old. Now, if we think about it, my grandmother was once young like my niece and probably with an inquisitive mind. My niece will one day be old like my grandmother and may tend to get forgetful too.
The young will not be with us forever as they move out of the house one day to start their own lives. The best memories are the attention, love and acceptance we can give to them now; these will positively influence them to act the same way toward their children.
The old too will not be with us forever as they will pass on one day. Let them leave with loving thoughts, much as the love and care which they showered upon us when we were young.
“Don’t be angry with children, you’ve come along the same way. Don’t laugh at old people; you’d go to the same way.” – Japanese proverb shared by Nyanko from Rain Cats And Dogs.
A tribute to all mothers and fathers in the world. The write up below was translated by me directly from a Chinese poster I saw, pinned up, on one of the doors at my sister’s house. A gentle reminder that we were once ‘old’ when we were young. Does this make sense to you?
A Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers in the world! Thank you all for the unconditional love and sacrifices you have all made for us!
When I am Old
When I am old and not my original self,
Please be understanding and be patient with me.
When I spill the soup on my own clothes,
And forget how to tie my shoelaces,
Please think about how I had taught you, step by step, to tie your shoelaces.
When you are tired of the words, which I am repeating,
Please listen patiently and don’t interrupt me.
When you were young, I had to repeat the same story again and again until you fell asleep.
When I need you to shower me,
Please don’t blame me.
Do you remember how I had to coax you to take your shower?
When I am helpless with new technology and things,
Please don’t make fun of me.
Think about how I patiently answered every ‘Why’ you had.
When both my legs are too tired to walk,
Please stretch out your strong hand to support me.
Just as I stretched out my hand to you, when you were learning to walk.
When the topic of our conversation slip my mind,
Please give me a little time to recall.
Actually, whatever the topic of our conversation is of no importance.
I will be contented, as long as you are listening to me by my side.
When my time has come, please don’t be sad.
Understand me, support me,
Just as how I treated you, when you were starting to learn about living.
I had guided you on your life journey back then,
Now please stays with me until my journey ends.
Shower me with your love and patience, I will smile with gratitude;
The smile of unconditional love for you.
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