Thousands of Buddhists in India & all over the world gathered in Mumbai yesterday to witness the enshrinement of Buddha’s remains consisting his ashes and bones in Global Vipassana Pagoda.

This ceremony also marks the 2,550th year of Buddhism.

Read it here.


Alex’s New Bowl

October 30, 2006

Alex happy boy tonite 🙂

Read this article in Today’s on the MRT to work this morning. The author, Anita Kapoor struck a raw nerve in me & I’m sure amongst a few of my compatriots. But I have to admit I am occasionally guilty of few of the acts she wrote about. However, this is not a Singapore problem but it is a problem faced by developed nations.

You can read the article here.

The same paper also covered the upcoming government’s efforts to help Singaporeans cope with death, particularly end-of-life care & how people choose to be treated in their final stages. Some years back, the government introduced the Advanced Medical Directive (AMD) allowing Singaporeans (adults) to refused extraordinary life-sustaining treatment to prolong our life. Since its introduction, approximately 4000 Singaporeans have signed an AMD & a third did so after a high-profile case of Terri Schiavo. The campaign (?) I guess is to raise the awareness of AMD.

My family & I made up of that paltry 4k figure. 😛

A well balance vegetarian diet should include a wide variety of foods and enough calories to meet your energy needs.

Like all diets (non-vegetarian included), try to keep your intake of sweets and fatty foods to a minimum. Choose whole or unrefined grain products when possible, use fortified or enriched cereal products. Include vitamins supplements in your diet.

If you use milk or dairy products, choose fat-free/nonfat and low-fat varieties. Eggs are high in cholesterol (213 mg per yolk), so monitor your use of them. Limit your cholesterol intake to no more than 300 mg per day.

Here’s a rough guide of what nutrients vegetarians should include in their diet:

Protein. Plant protein provides enough essentail & non-essential amino-acids as longs are the dietary proteins are varied and the calorie intake in high enough to meet energy needs. Soy protein is as good as animal protein. It can be the sole protein source.

Whole grains, legumes, vegetables, seeds and nuts all contain both essential and non-essential amino acids. They are “complementary proteins” & can be combined within a meal.

Iron. The richest sources of iron in a vegetarian diet comes from dried beans, spinach, enriched products, brewer’s yeast and dried fruits.

Vitamin B-12. A reliable source of vitamin B-12 can be found in some fortified (not enriched) breakfast cereals, fortified soy beverages, some brands of nutritional (brewer’s) yeast and other foods (check the labels), as well as vitamin supplements.

Vitamin D. The most reliable source is sunlight. If you don’t get much sunlight, you may need a supplement.

Calcium. Studies show that vegetarians absorb and retain more calcium from foods than non-vegetarians do. Vegetable greens such as spinach, kale and broccoli, and some legumes and soybean products, are good sources of calcium from plants.

Zinc. Zinc is needed for growth and development. Good plant sources include grains, nuts and legumes.

Source: American Heart Association

Know which vegetarian type you belong to:

Pescatarian – doesn’t eat all meat but eat fish, eggs & diary prodoucts.

Flexitarian – tries to maintain a vegetarian diet but does occasionally eat meat. That’s me! 🙂

Lacto-Vegetarian – doesn’t eat all meat & eggs but eat diary products.

Ovo-Vegetarian – doesn’t eat all meat & diary products but eat eggs.

Vegans – doesn’t eat meat, fish, eggs, diary products & animal-derived products e.g. gelatin. There is some debate as to whether certain foods, such as honey, fit into a vegan diet. They also do not use products derived from animals – leather, wool & silk.

Raw Vegan – eats only unprocessed vegan foods (whole grains, fruits & vegetables) that have not been heated above 46 degrees Celsius. “Raw foodists” believe that foods cooked above this temperature have lost a significant amount of their nutritional value and are harmful to the body.

Macrobiotic – eats unprocessed vegan foods, and occasionally eats fish. A macrobiotic’s diet emphasise on the consumption of Asian vegetables, such as daikon, and sea vegetables, such as seaweed.


Other Cats

October 28, 2006

On Wednesday, we found Asha (Xiao Hei), our resident cat, with a huge larceration on her neck – should have taken a photo of it but forgot. Vincent was kind enough to help me take her to the vet right away. Her larceration was infected & she needs to be put on antibiotics & have her wound cleaned twice a day. We decided to board her at the vet until next Tuesday, just to be sure she is completely healed. Everyone is joking that Asha’s on holiday at the moment 🙂 but I have a feeling she’s pretty stressed out in foreign land. Poor baby. 😦
Sesame & Peanut (formerly known as Brownie) – the 2 siblings are growing up fast. They are big in size now although not still not old enough to be neutered. They are winning fans from all over. They are fed so many times a day (which explains their girth) by different people – the cleaning auntie next door feeds them in the mornings, afternoons & Saturdays, I in the evenings & Sundays, the owners of the pubs along our stretch in the nights plus the odd people who come & go who’d pet them & feed them.

People may be turned off by her looks but Peanut always win them over with her sweet personality

Sesame gave us a fright yesterday when he showed signs of fatigue & lost of appetite. The auntie was pretty sure one of the pubs had call in the pest control to kill the roaches & Sesame must gotten a whif of the repellent or something. There were a lot of dead roaches last evening, behind the alleged pub. Or it could a hormonal thing. Who knows. But he was moody, wouldn’t let either one of us touch him. Fortunately, he is alright this morning when I saw him on my way to the office. He is back to his playful self with a humongous appetite. Phew.

Sesame is still a little moody but he’s eating & playing.

This morning, spotted a new tom-cat, white in color, very furtive, afraid of humans but friendly with Peanut & Sesame. He has a huge head & small beady eyes, no tipped ear – pretty sure he’s not neutered. I only managed to take a picture of his bum. Will have to trap him soon.

And finally Goldie (above). She is a mature neutered female who resides the void deck where I live. I have a sneaking suspicion someone in my block feeds her upstairs because sometimes I do run into her on the 10th floor & sometimes she’d disappear for a week but always re-appeared (so far so good, knock on wood). But she spends most of her time sleeping in the bushes & on the deck chairs. She is a very friendly cat. She prefers a pet more than a feed most times (she definitely has a owner, I’m sure of it!). She is a sweetie-pie!

Finally! My New Passport

October 28, 2006

Finally I collected my spanking new biometric passport from the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) yesterday evening.

It’s pretty cool that we can apply for our passport online. It was pretty painless until I arrived at the ICA at 6pm yesterday, thinking that who’d except goondus like me who have nothing better to do on a Friday night but ‘hang out’ in a place like that. Like I said naïve. There were like 300 people in the room – 280 to be exact. I was the 281st – not counting screaming babes in their mommy/nanny’s arms & restless kids who decide to make ICA their playground.

My first instinct was to bolt but I decided to stick to it & collect the damn book. “How bad can it be? Singapore’s efficient. I should be out in no time.” I was so naive. I waited & waited & then I saw this disclaimer (which I didn’t see when I first arrived – how can I be so blind??) on the waiting screen – “average waiting time is 2 hours”! Then I figured since I had waited an hour, what is another hour? Called my mom to tell I’ll be home later for dinner.

Right. By 8, there were still 60 numbers before it was my turn. But what am I supposed to do? I had waited 2 hours. If I leave, I would have wasted 2 hours of my time & I’ll have to start all over again when I return the next time. So, what to do but call my mom again to tell her I’m gonna take just a little bit longer… By 8.05, the waiting screen was switched off & the officers were shouting out our numbers – sort of like a fish market kind of scene. But suddenly the turnover was really quick & my turn came at about 8.30.

2.5 hours. Overheard a guy who was like 30 numbers ahead of me telling his friend he was there since 4.30! What!?!? Anyway, the officer imprinted both my thumbprints, I signed the papers & I was pointed out that I now have a new set of passport number (different from my IC) . Fantastic. As if there are not enough pin numbers & passwords in fill my life – my ATM, credit cards, internet banking, my Yahoo mail, my DVD online, my office door security, my office alarm system, my office PC & not to mention my office & intranet administrator codes.

I think my brain is going to explode. But I have my new passport 🙂

Say You Love Me

October 28, 2006

How does your cat/s express its love to you? My bunch of 5:

Alex – wet sloppy kisses on my lips, hugs & cuddles

Beauty – always greet at the door with a ‘welcome home hon!’ kiss

Carma – love bites, kneading, cuddles & head rubs

Junior – head rubs

Wawa – head rubs & basically following me everywhere like a dog

Flea Market

October 26, 2006

Where: Substation (near Old National Library)
When: Saturday, 28 October 2006 (6pm to midnight)

All proceeds will go to the Paw Pledge Cattery and the stray animal welfare program.

The flea market booth is sponsored by an animal lover and an Event Management Specialist – Alan Chua.

For more information on the cattery, visit their booth this Saturday or log on to:

About the cattery
A non-profit, private cattery started by a passionate caregiver. PawPledge depends on donations and the goodwill of compassionate caregivers who contribute to the cattery’s upkeep. PawPledge always welcome new volunteers, members and most importantly, good homes for their affectionate rescued cats from all over Singapore island.

Its 4 months now since I am a vegetarian.

I admit it hasn’t always been easy. There are many times I just want to sink my teeth into a juicy cheesy burger or a succulent kong bak pao . I try to ban these thoughts out of my head, sometimes I succeed & sometimes I fail miserably.

And when I do fall off the wagon, I fall with a BIG thudd. Believe you me. It became a gorging fest. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not proud of myself, I feel like I’m a hypocrite. But I figured while I’m off the wagon, I might as well make the best of it. I know tsk tsk tsk *head down in shame*.

Anyway, met Rumah Kuching Kechil last Thursday at Ajahn Brahm’s talk & she asked how my vegetarian efforts are coming along. I fessed up. She was sweet & reassured me that people do fall off the wagon every once in a while (but I’m not sure if people fall off & into a gorge fest!).

She recommended Bocca burgers since I LOVE cheese burgers. Bocca’s available in most Cold Storage, comes in a box of 4 soy patties. Tried them on Sunday with sesame burgers, cheese, tomatos & lettuce & they are really very good. So thank you RKK!

Since I chose to be a vegetarian, I become even more animal or rather planet friendly – conscienciously recyling my plastics, metal & paper, avoid buying stuff that’s leather, going for organic produce than the regular ones in the market.

The funny thing is, it costs more to maintain this lifestyle than living in the mainstream. Take the Bocca patties for example – it costs something like $7.50 a box as compared the Farmland chicken patties that costs something like $3.50 a box. This doesn’t make sense does it? A non-meat-made-to-taste-like-real-meat food costs more than the actual meat itself. Sure, Farmland is bad processed meat. So make a patty from scratch with ground beef, it still won’t costs as much. But I guess its the economics of demand & supply. *sigh*

The annoying thing I deal with on a regular basis is to explain what a vegetarian is, what I can & cannot eat & why I am one. You’d be surprise, people still offer me fish balls & say ‘its fish not meat’. Or maybe, I just work with extremely dense people.

I have to explain ‘any food that comes from something moves, has a brain, I don’t eat them. I eat the green stuff called vegetables.’ Good grief. Next question ‘Vegetarian you Buddhist ah?’. ‘Well, yes I am a Buddhist but was not the only reason I became a vegetarian. There is compassion & love for life.’

Compassion & love for life is not a concept my colleagues can understand. And what people can’t understand, they categorise. I ‘m now sometimes known as ‘that Buddhist’ (with slight tone of disdain) or ‘that crazy animal lover’ (comes with a tone of a little sympathy). Look on the bright side, I added 2 more labels to my belt (the other being ‘the crazy cat lady’). I feel like a PETA in the office sometimes. Whatever.

Other than a few predicted bumps on the road, it is not that bad. I do feel healthier & more energetic (contrary to classic conditioning that without meat we will be weak). At the same time, accept the fact that I’m human & I do have my weak moments. The next time I do, I’m not fessing up! 🙂