be free, be happy, be peaceful

May all find the teacher within to guide oneself towards unconditional love and peace

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Freedom of expression, disagreement, protest, anger and destructive behavior

Freedom of expression is highly important.

All minds should be free to express their opinion and desire towards what they like and dislike, agree and disagree with, desire and don't desire, but then, of course there will be responsibility towards one's action and the consequences of action.

Freedom to protest against certain issues or things that certain minds dislike, disagree with and don't desire being performed in a reasonable constructive way with the intention for achieving better improvement and constructive development in everyone and in the world, is highly important for looking after the overall welfare of everyone and the surrounding environment.

However, under the influence of ignorance and egoism, protest of any kind, or in another term, reaction towards something that the minds dislike, disagree with and don't desire out of dissatisfaction and anger, either intentionally or unintentionally generating disturbing behaviors and destructive actions that are causing disturbing and destructive consequences into the world that affect everyone else in order to achieve one's desire, or to hurt something that is going against one's desire, is a destructive way of freedom of expression.

Freedom of expression doesn't mean that out of one's dissatisfaction and anger towards something that one dislikes, disagrees with and doesn't desire, anyone can do anything that would cause hurt or damaging impact onto some others or the surrounding environment.

There's neither right nor wrong in having disagreement. None should be blind-agreeing/disagreeing with everything. Unfortunately, most disagreements would lead towards dissatisfaction and anger under the influence of ignorance and egoism. And if without correct understanding and self-control, it leads further towards chain reactions of damaging behavior and destructive consequences onto oneself and/or others.

Just as how the annoyed, frustrated, dissatisfied and angry parents would react towards what they think and believe as 'disobedience' or 'mischievous' of their children who behave in the way that they don't like, don't agree with and don't desire, and out of those impurities arise in themselves, the parents would be verbally, physically, mentally and emotionally hurting their children in certain way, to release their frustration, dissatisfaction or anger, with the justification or excuse of disciplining and punishing their children for their behavior that they perceived as 'bad' and 'wrongful', which actually merely is about themselves are being unhappy and angry towards something that they dislike, disagree with and don't desire. It's not necessarily that there's anything bad or wrong with their children or their behavior.

Out of anger and dissatisfaction under the influence of ignorance and egoism towards something that "I don't like", "I don't agree with" and "I don't desire", people would be reacting and performing actions aggressively or violently that the minds think and believe as 'a form of righteousness, power, strength and in control' by causing intentional or unintentional disturbance and damages to other lives, things and the surrounding environment, while the minds would still think and believe that "I am doing this for the goodness of everyone and demanding positive improvement in the overall welfare of the world." How true is that?

Freedom of expression to express opinion and desire towards disagreement in a way under correct understanding and emotional maturity that would lead to possible constructive improvement in everyone and the surrounding environment, is in line with "Upholding goodness and demanding positive improvement in the overall welfare of the world".

Freedom of expression to express opinion and desire towards disagreement in a way under dissatisfaction and anger that would lead to possible disturbance and destruction in everyone and the surrounding environment in order to gratify one's desire or demand that "I like and agree with", is nothing to do with "Upholding goodness and demanding positive improvement in the overall welfare of the world".

Freedom of expression and action that bring more peace and harmony into the world, or freedom of expression and action that bring more unrest and destruction to oneself and others?

Freedom of expression and action is neither good nor bad, but depending on the different states of the minds, that generates what kind of actions/reactions and consequences.

All minds are free to express what they want to express, and to desire what they like and agree, however, how others react or don't react towards their expression, as well as whether their desire towards what they like and agree with demanding from others will be gratified, or not, is others' freedom on their reaction or non-reaction, as well as whether to give others what they desire, or not. Unfortunately, in most protests, the protesters have the expectation towards receiving certain 'reactions that they expect to be receiving from certain people or some other people', as well as there's expectation towards getting all their desires being gratified as how they expect it to be. And when their desire and expectation are not being gratified the way that they expect it to be, there's disappointment, dissatisfaction and anger. And if without self-control, these unhappy minds would behave violently and destructively out of disappointment, dissatisfaction and anger, reacting spontaneously towards what they don't like, don't agree with and don't desire. Even so, that's their freedom of action/reaction/behavior, even if the consequences of such reactions are not nice and are affecting other lives in the surrounding environment.

All minds must develop correct understanding and self-control in order to achieve peace and harmony in the world among the vast diversity of many different backgrounds, influences and desires towards achieving a world that different individuals and communities would like it to be. Unfortunately, even though it's not impossible, it's difficult to achieve that in this world of selflessness and impermanence as most minds are under the influence of ignorance and egoism.

Embracing and accommodation towards names and forms that are different from oneself/one's community is the only way for achieving peace and harmony in the world of diversities. Discrimination and rejection towards names and forms that are different from oneself/one's community will only lead to further unrest and suffering in all and everyone.

Separateness/discrimination/oppression/selfishness will only lead towards destruction of humanity and peace. And that's the world is heading to, even when there are some people trying very hard to save humanity and to achieve world peace, because there are more and more human beings in the world are leaning towards separateness/discrimination/oppression/selfishness due to survival instinct under the influence of ignorance and egoism, either intentionally or unintentionally, under the name of saving humanity and achieving world peace (the way that they desire based on their particular social/political/religious/cultural thinking, belief, values and practice).

Reflect and inquire towards everything. Inquire towards "Being angry while hurting people and damaging things out of anger doesn't change the world to be a better place." Realize what is "Constructive disagreement and protest without anger, violence, aggressiveness, destruction and hatred."

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

All by oneself

Teaching yoga is not by telling the students of yoga about what and how they should and shouldn't perceive, think, believe, analyze, understand, judge, feel, act and react, or whether it is right or wrong, or whether it is good or bad, to think, feel, understand, behave, act and react in certain way.

There's neither right nor wrong, neither good nor bad, regardless of what and how the mind thinks, feels, understands, behaves, acts and reacts, throughout the yoga journey of mind disciplinary, mind purification, self-inquiry and self-realization, as the mind learns, purifies, inquires, reflects, evolves and realizes under the influence of ignorance and egoism, even if the mind has been ignorant, and has to go through falling, mistake making and suffering, for countless times.

It's whether the mind develops self-initiative and complete independence without attaching or depending on any forms of external 'teacher', 'answer' or 'blessing', to be aware of ignorance and egoism in itself, to free itself from worldly egoistic conditional thinking and behavior pattern, to free itself from the influence of ignorance and egoism, through self-effort, self-discipline, solitude, renunciation, determination and perseverance, or not, that allows the mind to be aware of what is going on in the mind itself, being the greatest teacher of itself, without attachment, identification, desire of craving and aversion, judgment, comparison and expectation, or not.

The greatest teaching from the existence of a teacher, is being the Dhamma or the teaching itself, while allowing the students to learn, purify, inquire, reflect, evolve and realize at their own pace and cause.

As long as the mind is still reluctant or not knowing how to look within, still has egoistic dependency, attachment, clinging, longing and expectation towards 'teacher', 'guidance', 'answers', 'blessing', 'acknowledgement', 'appreciation', 'acceptance', 'love', 'kindness', 'goodness', 'positiveness', 'righteousness', 'meaningfulness', 'achievement', 'compassion', 'companionship', 'connection', 'community' and so on, in order to clear one's doubt or ignorance towards this and that, to feel good and meaningful towards oneself, the world, life existence and one's involvement in certain kind of spiritual practice or pure and clean living, then even though this mind has been learning and studying about all kinds of teachings from many books and/or from many different teachers of different lineages and schools, or has been practicing certain spiritual teachings and performing certain spiritual practices regularly for a prolonged period of time, or has been accumulating virtues and merits from performing many generous kind acts, or there is a teacher (or many teachers) who is (are) the embodiment of Dhamma being very close to oneself, it still doesn't and won't remove the ignorance and egoism from this mind. And there's nothing wrong or bad about that. The mind just needs to take as much effort and practice as it needs, to free itself from the influence of ignorance and egoism, to attain self-realization via self-inquiry.

The mind that is independent, that knows non-attachment and non-identification, that knows non-craving and non-aversion, that knows non-judgment and non-expectation, that knows how to look within and how to reflect upon everything that it perceives, or knows how to be opened and inquires towards the truth of everything, it doesn't need any external teachers other than itself (the existence and function of the selfless and impermanent perceptive, cognitive, assertive, egoistic thinking faculty) and everything that it perceives through the senses (the selfless and impermanent modification of the mind, either under the influence of ignorance and egoism, or free from the influence of ignorance and egoism).

Independence and the practice of renunciation and solitude doesn't mean that one doesn't or shouldn't have family and friends, or one doesn't or shouldn't receive any help from anyone if there's a need for help, but there's no attachment towards the presence and absence of family and friends or help from anyone, to feel good and meaningful, or not, towards oneself and life existence.

One of the obstacles on the journey towards the elimination of ignorance and egoism to know Thyself, or "Who/What am (I)", or the mind perception of an impermanent selfless worldly life existence, to be transcending imperfection and the suffering of the restlessness of selfless impermanent changes (ceaseless births and deaths that are selfless and impermanent), is the subtle attachment towards the perceived 'existence' of 'I' and 'others that are not I', the worldly condition, the superior qualities of names and forms, goodness, kindness, meaningfulness, happiness, the sense of belonging, the sense of 'origin/identity/ancestry/birth place/nationality/race/gender/sexual orientation/family ties/connection', the sense of worthiness, and etc, that based on worldly egoistic thinking and belief, values and practice. The most effective way to free the mind from such 'stubborn' egoistic attachment, is the observation of dispassion, renunciation and solitude. But then, one of the obstacles towards the practice of dispassion, renunciation and solitude, is the sense of appropriateness and inappropriateness, and the sense of duty and responsibility, under the influence of the worldly egoistic thinking and belief, values and practice.

Out of 'loving kindness' and 'duty and responsibility' towards 'the world' and everything that is related to 'the world', the mind is constantly being distracted and occupied by worldly affairs and the engagement in aspirations/activities of 'trying to make the world a better place' or 'trying to reduce and eliminate badness or to promote and reserve goodness'. It doesn't mean that the actions of 'trying to make the world a better place' or 'trying to reduce and eliminate badness or to promote and reserve goodness' is useless or wrong. Just that, minds that are under the influence of passion and attachment towards achieving 'a better world', are like those whom themselves are restlessly floating on the rough ocean that they love and care for very much, while trying to 'save' the others who are struggling in the ocean to stay afloat as well, while trying to 'calm down' or 'conquer' the rough ocean to be something different from what it is.

While the minds that are free from passion and attachment, are like those who are already got out from the rough ocean resting upon a solid ground, being free from the restless struggling to stay afloat on a rough ocean, while having the related tools that allow them to 'guide' as many others who are still restlessly struggling to float on the rough ocean to also get out from the rough ocean finding a solid ground to rest upon, if they want, without trying to 'calm down' or 'conquer' the rough ocean being what it is, as it is.

However, most minds are reluctant to get out from the ocean of restlessness due to passionate attachment towards the ocean, while trying to make the ocean to be the way that they would like it to be.

Freeing the thinking faculty from any kinds of conditional way of thinking and belief. Quieting the modification of the mind and inquire towards the 'selflessness' and 'impermanence' of this thinking faculty, as well as in all kinds of impermanent names and forms that the mind perceives through the senses. Seeing names and forms as they are. All (subject and object) are selfless and impermanent. All is one same selfless impermanent changes of name and form regardless of the different qualities they appear to be. This is the practice. All the other practices are merely preparing the mind for this practice.

The mind perception of a worldly life existence or the world of selfless impermanent names and forms is just what it is. It's neither meaningful nor meaningless. If this mind is still being determined by the sense of meaninglessness and still looking for the sense of meaningfulness in certain names and forms or through certain actions/reactions of oneself and others, or if this mind still perceives, thinks and believes that 'This is meaningful' or 'That is meaningless', then keep practicing, until this mind sees beyond 'meaningfulness' and 'meaninglessness'.

Friday, February 4, 2022

My life stories - Part 15 (Letting go)

My life Stories – Part 15 (Letting go)
Stories from my past memories – childhood, family, friends, growing up, poverty, integrity, dreams come true, finding peace and happiness, Buddhism, Yoga, and now…

Here we are. In France, in this present moment.

We had no idea of how, what, and where, at the time when we decided that we wanted to go somewhere else. We only knew that we had to leave this place and go somewhere else. We knew that we needed to organize certain things that needed to be done that allowed things to be happening. We had been living on our savings for the past two years, and it will be running out soon. We needed to make use of the remaining savings to seek opportunity somewhere else, to be in a place that welcomes us, that allows us to be making an honest living, that enables us to live a simple life.

It's not an issue for me at all, to let go all our 'things', to leave a familiar place that we have been living in for many years, or to go somewhere else to start a new life where there are many things that I am not familiar with, that I have to learn or relearn, and to make adjustment, adaptation and accommodation. As I never have strong attachment towards places, things, activities, cultures, food, or people. And I'm always open and ready for learning and experiencing something that I'm not familiar with, that I've never come in contact before. I am without any expectation.

In the beginning, we were considering about moving to Taiwan. We like, and want to support the democracy and freedom of expression that exists in Taiwan.

My husband had a few years of experience in teaching young children in a school when he was living in France many years ago, and in the beginning when he moved to live with me in Malaysia, he mentioned to me that he was interested to do a TEFL course.

I encouraged him to take up an online TEFL course in May 2021 during the prolonged lockdown in Malaysia, as there might be possible opportunity for him to find an English teaching job in Taiwan. Investment in education or further studies is always the best kind of investment one could have, that is never wasted. The knowledge and skill that we learned will always enhance our life in certain ways, even if we don't make a professional living out of it.

At the same time, I encouraged him to keep an eye on any job opportunity anywhere in Europe, especially France, as we both love many things about France very much. He lived in France for twelve years in the past. He had many years of experience in the field of hotel and restaurant management, on top of our many years of teaching yoga and running retreats. It doesn't matter if the salary is just enough for us to survive, we just needed to be opened, and seize any opportunity that allows us to start a new life, somewhere, anywhere, it doesn't matter.

Not long after we considered about moving to Taiwan, news came about the political tension building up between China and Taiwan, as well as the border closing not receiving any foreign teachers at that time due to the pandemic, which made us reconsidered about many things, and decided not to go there at this time being.

And if he didn't manage to get any job offer by the end of December, we will just buy a one way flight ticket to enter France via Paris, and then we will decide where we want to go in France, especially somewhere in the south, as there is where we would like to live in, even though we still didn't know where exactly and whether he would be able to get a job, or if we would be able to do something for a living. We also knew that it might not be easy for my husband to get a job at his age and during this crazy pandemic. But I said to my husband, "Just try, and see what happens." My husband would prefer to have certain degrees of certainty to feel 'secured', but I have no fear towards the unknown. All I know is that just follow what life brings to us, be opened, and see what happens. France is also very close to Ireland. My husband's parents are a lot older now, and their health is not as good as before, and so, it will be easier for us to visit them in the near future.

I just needed two months time to give notice to terminate the apartment's rental agreement as well as to organize everything that needed to be done before we leave this country. I needed to sort out any thing that is related to legal paper works that deals with the different government departments, both this and the other country, on top of clearing everything out from the apartment and selling my car, while doing our best not to contract the virus, so that we can fly out on the departure day. I had no idea of how things should be done, but I just did it one by one, as I went along.

Even when our landlord and some other friends asked us where were we heading to, we told them that nothing is confirmed, which was true, and they all couldn't understand and puzzled, "What? You are leaving Malaysia but you don't know where you are going? Really?"

Things didn't fall into places until the last minute.

In the beginning after my husband sent out many job applications for vacancy at hotel and restaurant, there were no replies. My husband was a little disappointed and felt down about himself. I said to him, "It's not that you are not good enough, and your age is not an issue, but things didn't happen as it's not the right timing." And it doesn't matter if he couldn't get any job, as I will think of something that I can do to make a living. I also told him that he should put his past 16 years experience on practicing yoga, teaching yoga and running yoga retreats, as well as Yoga Now Malaysia's profile into his resume. And then, great things started to happen.

A four star hotel under a big name, as well as two other hotels, a 5 star boutique hotel and a 3 star hotel chain replied, and they were interested to have an online interview with him. He chose to go for the interview with the four star hotel as it is located in the Alps which is a very nice area to live in. During the interview, he just needed to be himself, a very warm, kind and friendly person. He went through three separate interviews with different managers, and he was given the job in the end. Even though nothing was actually confirmed until the moment we arrived and he signed the work contract.

It was a challenging process with a few hiccups from the preparation of the journey of moving until we arrived at our final destination, especially organizing things that needed to be done and travelling during the pandemic amid the surge of 'Omicron', but we managed to glide through all the obstacles one by one.

We wanted to let go most of our stuffs and just keep some important documents and few things that worth nothing but are important to us in our life. We packed our things into three small boxes to send by post before we left, and then another 2 suitcases and 2 backpacks with mostly heavy winter clothing and some important documents to come with us into the flight.

We knew that during the pandemic, it's not easy to give away our things, not to say, to sell some of our things that are still in very good condition. Thankfully, three of our yoga students would take all of our yoga stuffs. While there were some charity organizations in town that were interested in receiving certain household things, but they wouldn't come to pick up the stuffs.

And then one day, while I was waiting at the dental clinic as my husband was having his teeth cleaned up, I asked the receptionist for a recommendation of a lorry driver, that I have household things to clear out from the apartment. Just happened that a lady was there to accompany her uncle for dental work and she over heard our conversation, and was really excited to introduce her uncle to me, where this uncle who is a chicken seller at the morning market has just received his new low cost apartment, but he has no budget for buying furniture and household things for his new home. This uncle was very happy to take some of our stuffs and he would organize a lorry to come to pick up the stuffs from us. We also gave away the remaining of all our things to the Nepali security guards and the Indonesian and Bangladeshi cleaners at our condominium. They were very happy about it.

We wanted to get our booster vaccination before we left, if possible. We were being told that we needed to wait for our appointment given by the health ministry which won't be happening until after the end of February, however, on the last week of December, my husband found out from twitter that we could call the hospital and ask if we can walk in on certain day. We called the hospital, and they gave us an appointment date on the 31st of December. And so, we went and got our booster shot on the last day of 2021. We were so lucky that we could get that done before our flight because of the vaccine mandate in France, as one day later the Malaysian government announced that walk-in was no longer available.

I also found a second hand car dealer agent to let go of my 19 years old car that had significantly improved the quality of my life, that had served us and the retreat guests nicely over the years. I signed the selling contract a few weeks before we left, but I could keep using the car until the day before we left. The agent told us that he was very 'touched' when I asked him about how much petrol I needed to keep for him on the day of delivery. He said just a quarter tank would be enough, but in the end, I left him with almost full tank of petrol.

And then, just a few days before we moved out from the apartment, the kitchen's floor tiles shifted and mounted, where underneath the tiles was completely hollow due to poor quality of the building construction, which we informed the landlord immediately. For that last few days, we couldn't walk over those tiles, and we were like walking on the edge of a cliff whenever we wanted to use the kitchen. Anyway, we cleaned up the apartment and did a video recording of checking everything in the apartment on the last morning to prove that everything is in good order when we return the apartment to the landlord. We were glad that we did.

After we sort out everything regarding the apartment with the landlord, and received our deposit from him, as he was satisfied with the apartment was in good condition apart from the mounted kitchen's floor tiling which was not our responsibility, we moved to a hotel in town for our last few days in Penang. We were very careful to keep social distancing with other people until we got our PCR test done on the day before the flight, and we were glad that we had a negative result. But, hiccups had just begun.

Even though our first flight was in the evening, we arrived at the airport just before 2.30 pm for checking our supposedly confirmed connecting flights from Penang to Kuala Lumpur to Dubai to Paris. Again, we were glad that we did. The representative at the check-in counter told us that the flight that we were supposed to get on from Penang to Kuala Lumpur in that evening didn't exist, and the last flight available had just left. We didn't receive any email about changes of flight detail from the airline. They told us that they couldn't do anything to help us and that we needed to contact the airline directly to arrange a different connection. They said that we could try to get the airline to change us to another flight that goes to Subang Airport, but then it will be another long transfer from Subang Airport to KLIA. We really didn't want to risk ourselves exposing to too many individuals during the pandemic. Or else, the airline could change our flights to another day, but that is not possible for us because the immigration department had decided to end my husband long term social visit pass on that particular day, even though the initial expiry date was in March and we had asked them to end the pass on a few days later so that if anything happens that we couldn't fly out on that day (knowing that anything can happen during the pandemic), we still can have a few days time to do something about it.

We had tried to call different numbers of the airline for about an hour, but there was nobody answering. It was about 3.30 pm, and we needed to be in KLIA before 9.00 pm. I said to my husband, we could either get a rental car to KLIA immediately, or we could see if there would be some other flights that could get us to KLIA or KLIA2, regardless of how much it would cost us. We just needed to get things done.

Luckily, there was an AirAsia flight to KLIA2 departing at 4.30 pm. The representative was very helpful to immediately get us the ticket and checked us in by 4.00 pm, and we were running so fast towards the security check and then running to the gate which was located at the very end of the departure hall, even though they said that the flight would wait for us. What they didn't tell us was that the flight was delayed about 15 minutes. Anyway, we had a few minutes to catch our breath before boarding. Our seat numbers given were 32, which didn't exist on that plane, as they had changed from the initial bigger plane to a smaller plane. We were told to wait at the end of the cabin watching everyone coming on board. After everyone were on board, they gave us the priority seats in front of the plane. We were thankful to AirAsia and the friendly helpful staffs. Did the hiccups end there? Not really.

After we arrived in KLIA2, we got our checked baggage and took the train to KLIA, which we shouldn't be doing if we had had our connecting flights all the way from Penang to Paris as what it supposed to be, but it wasn't.

Anyway, we got to KLIA, and went to the check-in counter to complain about what happened, even though it wasn't check-in time yet for our flight from Kuala Lumpur to Dubai to Paris. They said they couldn't do anything, but they could check us in at that time, and we could drop the baggage afterwards when the counter reopened for our flight check-in.

I always have travel sickness issue since young. We also haven't been travelling since the beginning of the pandemic. I also happened to be menstruating during those few days. I thought I did well after taking the taxi from the hotel to the airport, and then taking the flight from Penang to KLIA2, and then taking the train from KLIA2 to KLIA, but I wasn't. I guessed the underlying stress from dealing with the 'non-existing flight' and 'rushing for boarding the first flight' had been accumulating in my body. I vomited for a few times on the first flight and couldn't drink or eat much in order to stop the vomiting. I apologized to the lady who sat beside us for causing any disturbance. Luckily, I felt much better on the second flight, and I was fine after we landed in Paris. Although the handles of one of our baggage was damaged when we went to collect our baggage, but the wheels were still functioning fine, and we were so grateful that we finally arrived in France, safely.

We stayed two nights in Paris to get a good rest from the long journey. My husband also needed to get some clothing for his new job. Somehow, I lost our empty Yoga Now tote bag along the way, which I had to let go as well. We had two beautiful sunny days in Paris before we took two train rides to the Alps. We had enjoyed our very nice first meal in Paris. We had the super tasty Gratin at Le Bistro des Augustins. We also got very nice croissant and pain au chocolat from the bakery.

We went to the train station after checked out from the hotel. As scheduled, we boarded the train and were waiting for the train to go on time, as what it supposed to be. We would have about an hour 15 minutes between the two trains, thinking that we could have our picnic lunch outside the train station before catching our second train, as eating and drinking was not allowed on the train at that time. After waiting for about 30 minutes while watching all the other trains departed from the train station, but our train was still in the idle mode, we were told to move to another train. The next train arrived shortly and we had to wait for another 30 minutes for it to depart. Luckily, we still had 10 minutes to catch the other train.

The hotel management was very thoughtful. They had arranged someone to pick us up from the train station, prepared a very nice and comfortable junior suite room for us to stay temporary until we find our own place to live. That was a great surprise to us, as we thought we would be staying in a double room only. The three boxes that we had sent from Malaysia were already placed in the room. When we arrived in that evening, it was 0 degree, and we haven't eaten anything yet. But the room is comfortably warm, and there's a simple equipped kitchen in the room for us to prepare our own meals as well as there's a dining table. It makes things easier for us, as we wouldn't be able to afford eating out in France. We walked to the nearest supermarket and got ourselves some fresh bread and cheese, fruits and cherry tomatoes, and went back to the room and had a very nice first meal in the Alps.

Since we arrived, everyone that we met, especially all my husband's colleagues in the hotel, were all super friendly and nice. There's no sense of superiority or discrimination here. My husband told me that any kind of discrimination is against the law in France. There are pavements everywhere, and cars actually stop to let pedestrians crossing the road. In Malaysia, we have to put out our hand to stop the cars in order to run across the road as fast as possible even when it's green light for pedestrians to cross, but in France, cars naturally stop for us to cross the road, and in return, we give a hand gesture to say thank you.

On the next day, when the sun has risen, we realized that the view from our hotel room was absolutely incredible. For the next few days, we had very nice sunny days, where we went out to explore the town and further out of the town, to get a feel of where things are, before my husband commits to his new job. I only know very few french words at the moment, and would need to depend on my sign language for certain things. That's okay.

Another important reason why we decided to leave Malaysia and move to Europe is that as a citizen of Malaysia, I don't get much social security or retirement benefits from the government, not to say, as a foreigner, my husband won't be getting any social security or old age retirement benefits from the government for being married to me and living in Malaysia, and for sure, we are now gradually transitioning towards old age. Our old age retirement is very much depending on our savings, which is being highly affected by the pandemic and the long term consequences of it. While as tax paying Europeans and their spouse, they are eligible to be living and working anywhere in Europe, and are eligible for social security, health care and retirement benefits from the government. And most importantly, is about the presence and absence of humanity, freedom of expression, non-discrimination and equal rights.

We had some hiccups along the way, but we also received unexpected helps from somewhere whenever we needed it. We were so grateful for everything. We met very friendly and helpful people. We managed to file a complaint to the airline under the help of one of the airline representatives in KLIA, and the airline responded and would give us back the money that we had paid for the flight getting to KLIA. We also got some compensation from the train delay.

Even though we can't afford to eat out, but the cost of food here in France, particularly in the supermarket, is surprisingly much cheaper than in Malaysia. We always like to have our own home cooked meals. There are many things that my husband wants to do, and food that he likes to eat, are accessible and affordable to us here in France, which it's not the case while we were living in Malaysia. We have been eating well. We sleep well. We have been well looking after. Life is very kind to us. 

Thank you.


Wednesday, February 2, 2022

My life stories - Part 14 (Life moves on)

My life Stories – Part 14 (Life moves on)
Stories from my past memories – childhood, family, friends, growing up, poverty, integrity, dreams come true, finding peace and happiness, Buddhism, Yoga, and now…

It has been more than a year since the last update on my life stories.

The ongoing pandemic affects many people's life globally, including ours, on top of some other issues that we have to deal with for being an international mixed marriage couple living in Malaysia. Maybe there are some people are not being affected very much for certain reasons, while some people are actually benefiting from the pandemic situation, but more or less, many people are being affected significantly, financially, physically, mentally and emotionally.

There are also many long term side-effects deriving from the prolonged pandemic lockdown that affect many people of different ages, affecting their relationships, livelihood, physical and mental health well-being, education, general welfare of the children and old folks, old age or retirement planning/saving, and etc, not to say, those who live under certain harsh conditions such as dealing with violent invasive and abusive human's behavior, failed government policy, discrimination, injustice, poor hygiene management, poverty, hunger and thirst, and etc.

There are some unnecessary difficulties arising in people's life deriving from poor government management that actually impacting people's life even harder than people directly coming in contact with the virus, getting sick from contracting the virus, or even encountering death due to the virus or other reasons. Sickness and death is not that complicated, but failed government policy and management can cause long lasting complication onto people's life.

Our life in Penang Island was mostly spent being at home in our rented apartment, and we only went out for grocery shopping once or twice a month. During certain months from July to October 2020 and between February and April 2021, where swimming activities were allowed, my husband got to swim almost everyday, but then, many kinds of physical sport activities were disallowed again since May until September 2021. My husband was able to swim again only after he had attained the fully vaccinated certification on the third week of September, but then, we'll never know how long this 'freedom of certain activities' will last, since this pandemic will go on for much longer than what people would like it to be.

The governments in the world need to realize that this will be an endemic and start lifting all kinds of movement restrictions under complicated rules and regulations or S.O.P, and let people have their life moves on while learning how to live with the virus that keeps mutating, particularly in countries that have high vaccination rate and/or high natural immunity rate.

Isolation and non-socializing is never an issue for me, as even before the pandemic, I have been living a life of seclusion and renunciation from worldly social cultural interactive activities since many years ago. However, isolation and non-socializing is not suitable for my husband. It was one of the reasons why we had chose to move to Penang Island from Langkawi, so that my husband could add certain social cultural interactive elements into his life, however, the pandemic situation that started not long after we moved, doesn't allow that to be happening.

Apart from being unable to run yoga retreats due to the prolonged lockdown and ongoing worsening pandemic situation in Malaysia, the government policy that deals with 'Non-Malaysians being married to Malaysians, and are residing in Malaysia with the Malaysian spouse' doesn't help at all, but making life more difficult. The non-Malaysian spouse is 'not allowed to work' in Malaysia under the permission to reside in this country via a yearly renewable 'long term social visit pass', unless one has successfully obtained an additional 'permission to work' after gone through a complicated procedure, which many companies are reluctant to get involved with, even if the companies are greatly interested in giving works to the non-Malaysian spouse. This situation also leads to the potential of 'exploitation' or 'bullying' by selfish greedy people as well as 'constantly facing the legal threat of being disapproved, prosecuted, penalized and deportation by the authority.'

During the time when we were running yoga retreats in Langkawi, it's possible for my husband to obtain the 'permission to work' for getting involved with teaching yoga and running yoga retreats with me under our business license which also gave us lots of unnecessary incompetent human being's failed policies generated difficulties to deal with every year, which finally I decided to give up the business in the end of 2019. But then, it's not possible for my husband to do any kind of self-employed freelancing type of work, unless I spend unnecessary money on setting up a respective company to employ my husband, where we have to spend more money on paying monthly rent to be renting an office space that we don't need, in order to have a commercial address to obtain a letter of 'no need of business licensing for that type of work' from the business licensing department, in order to be eligible for submitting the application for obtaining the 'permission to work' from the immigration department. Meanwhile there's no guarantee of work or income being generated from my husband's self-employing work.

In Europe, or in many other advanced countries, the non-European or non-citizen spouse is being treated as a potential economic, cultural and social contributor to the country, where he or she will be able to contribute to the country and the community in many different ways. The non-European/non-citizen spouse shall be treated with equal rights as all Europeans/citizens under certain reasonable conditions.

Meanwhile in Malaysia, my husband has been married to me for more than thirteen years and has been living there for fifteen years, we still need to go through complicated yet confusing procedure for renewing his 'long term social visit pass' every year while living under 'the threat of uncertainty' of not knowing whether he would be eligible for renewing the 'long term social visit pass' in the upcoming year, and more complicated, if we need to obtain the 'permission to work' as well. There are more complicated procedures for applying a so called Permanent Residency that is not really permanent, but only valid for certain years, that has an expiry date, where many 'good behavior' or 'law abiding' people were being rejected even after many years of living there, while some people who had successfully obtained their so called PR, but still have to be facing the uncertainty of 'PR being revoked or non-renewable upon expiry date' under the unstable government policy that changes irrationally and frequently while openly and legally 'discriminating' people by their financial status.

There are some countries in the world are not the place for 'people who want to promote peace, loving kindness, goodness, fairness and general positive improvement for all humanity without discrimination' as well as 'potential enthusiastic multi talented people', such as content creator, artist, journalist, writer and editor, particularly those who are interested in promoting non-discrimination, openness, kindness, peace and harmony among different diversities in the world, due to the existence of discrimination and oppression, or highly restricted freedom of expression, freedom of being and freedom of existence in those countries. Not only that there's very little opportunity for such creativity, artistry and literary kind of work and it's a somewhat low paid work, but, the choices of content are very limited due to the restricted freedom of expression under the existence of power corruption, oppression, defensiveness and 'open' discrimination.

As the citizens of certain countries, some people are glad that they have the opportunity to leave their native country even though there's no perfection to be found in anywhere in this world, but at least, there might be greater freedom of expression and equal rights in some other countries than being in their own native country. Freedom of expression and equal rights are the fundamental elements for promoting the overall well-being of all humanity not just within a country but also globally, unfortunately, it doesn't exist in some countries run by a group of not just narrow but close minded people.

What kind of logic is it, when people love their country and standing up going against corrupted non-functional discriminating authorization, they will be referred as 'being unpatriotic' or even 'criminals', and will be facing 'prosecution' by the authority 'legally'? Nowadays, patriotism is not about standing up for one's country by fighting against other countries that project threats upon one's country, but it's about protecting the overall welfare of the beloved country from being ruined by a corrupted authorization. How can a country or the world grows healthily when it is being occupied and run by majority of people with the mentality of 'Patriotism means being submissive towards the authoritarian government even if they are corrupted and threatening the people in many ways' or 'Disagreement towards the corrupted government and desire to free the beloved country from corruption means being unpatriotic'?

Loving one's country doesn't mean that one should be silenced towards any corruptions within the country. Just as many people still believe that "A family should stay 'united' for 'protecting' the family by not protesting any wrong doings that exist within the family, where all kinds of negative wrongfulness should only be kept secret within the family, swept under the sofa, and shouldn't be known by any others outside the family." Such mentality has been ruining many people's life. Neither by leaving the country that is hopeless for any positive changes, in order to seek a higher quality of life that benefits oneself and others, is being unloving or unfaithful towards one's native country. Just as moving away from a spouse or family that is being physically or mentally abusive or destructive towards oneself constantly, is not being unloving or unfaithful towards anyone, but it's true compassion towards oneself and others.

'Higher quality of life' could mean something very different for a corrupted government run by some selfish money and power greedy human beings, where they perceive 'higher quality of life' as 'a form of luxurious lifestyle that is only affordable to people with higher financial status'. Not just that they openly and legally discriminate people, by labeling and categorizing people into high and low quality, they judge and determine the people's quality by their financial status. They are even very proud to tell the world loudly that they only welcome those who are super wealthy rich, which they refer as 'highest quality' people. Of course, there are people who are super rich as well as being very humble, kind, wise and compassionate at the same time, but humbleness, loving kindness, wisdom and compassion can be present and absent in all beings regardless of the different financial status, or any kinds of social, cultural, racial, religious, spiritual, educational or professional status.

Maybe there are some wealthy rich people love that idea of being 'highly appreciated' and 'pampered' by other people through receiving such welcoming privilege that segregates them from the majority others who are 'not as wealthy rich as themselves', even when they know, and they don't mind that, all these people who would 'discriminate people by their financial status', who would 'welcome' and 'treat' them specially and differently from the others, are only doing so because of their money. There might be some people in this world who would work very hard trying to fit into those 'higher social class'/'higher quality of being'/'higher financial status' category. That's their freedom. There's nothing wrong for being rich, so as there's nothing wrong for not being rich or being contented with simple living.

The world is full of all kinds of madness, particularly when different communities of human beings are being conditioned to believe in certain beliefs since young, where they were being told to believe in certain beliefs and to behave in certain ways according to those beliefs, to have particular values and visions towards building a world that is complying to that particular belief.

There's no perfection can be found in human beings or in any particular place in this world. Just do one's best, and let life and the world being what it is. Any desire of 'I want this' and 'I don't want that', or any expectation towards the world has to be or not to be in certain way, will only resulting in 'pain' or 'disappointment'.

In this present moment, we all are merely tiny little bubbles existing momentarily in a particular space somewhere in the universe, regardless of being and living in one's native country or some other countries somewhere on this planet. There's no attachment towards either goodness or badness in this world. There's no attachment towards any particular place or space in this world. Just do our best to be in peace and harmony within ourselves and with others, wherever we are, and let others being what they are, as they are, even if they intentionally want to be selfish, unkind, discriminating, or destructive.

If there's an opportunity to be at somewhere else that has less impact deriving from the ignorance of human beings, that has more progressive influence than destructive influence, that welcomes more peace and harmony in the surrounding environment, then just go, even if it's not perfect. Life is too precious to be wasted in dealing with ignorance and the consequences of ignorance.

There are beings who don't appreciate peace and harmony in themselves or in the world, either intentionally or unintentionally, that's their freedom. Let them be.


Reviews of Yoga Now Malaysia on Trip Advisor


About Yoga

Know thyself. Everything is impermanent and selfless. There is no 'I'. There is no 'I am selfless'/'I am not selfless'. There is no 'I am hurt'/'I need to be healed from hurt'. Non-blind believing, non-blind following, non-blind practicing and non-blind propagating, but be open-minded to inquire the truth of everything. Be free. Be peaceful. Be happy.

About Meng Foong

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Inquire the truth of everything.

Link to Yoga Now Malaysia website

Link to Yoga Now Malaysia website
Yoga retreats and yoga workshops in Malaysia

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