A new beginning

Thoughts and experiences of my life

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Facebook and Twitter are turning all of us into narcissists!

Posted in December 24th, 2013
Published in what the?

This is not surprising at all isn’t it?
How many people that you know fit into this category?

Our unchangeable past, the temporal present and our variable future.

Posted in October 29th, 2013
Published in Thoughts, UTas

I know it’s been a long time since my last update, and to say that I’m busy is an understatement, as we all know time is what we make out of it.

It has been an amazing year of self-reflection and learning, and there’s a time and place to say what has gone on since my last update about 6 months ago, though now is hardly the right time as exams are just around the corner.

In any case, there has been something that’s been on my mind for some time though, and that’s how we judge everyone around us.

The past may shape us, while the present may not be a bed of roses, but its still not too late to change our future.

I’m sure all of us have, at some time talked about and even labeled people. Phrases like ‘selfish’, ‘slut’, ‘dumb’, ‘naïve’ are perhaps some of the more commonly used phrases online.

But judging someone based on what they do … just doesn’t make sense does it?
Just because someone took the last piece of pizza before everyone else and even laugh in their faces may make him seem selfish, arrogant or childish in that moment, but what if I told you that that’s the way he was brought up?

    Are they really selfish, or assertive?

Many people are brought up on the premise that ‘you are special, and that you deserve it the best and what you want’, and growing up by getting everything they wanted, can you really blame them for doing what they do?

Or what if they were brought up with the mentality that ‘You have the right to get anything you want, if you put in the effort for it’ or ‘fight for your own happiness’?

If someone was brought up their entire life revolving around these sayings, or interpretations of their experiences, it shapes them and turns them into what they are today, and makes what they do so much sense.

In that sense those labels mean nothing- not to mention while some people may look at the above situation as negative by being selfish, others may look at it at a positive way as he is being assertive and knowing and getting what he wants.

    The past shapes us

We are who we are, we think how we think and we act how we act because of what we take from our experiences when we were younger, how we were brought up and influence from the things we do, the people around us, and so much more.

The person we are now is a culmination of thoughts and experiences through decades of affirmation and rejection of ideas – and the stronger ones takes root and determines what action we will take.

That is unlikely to change as we grow older and hold firmer to those beliefs.
If we’ve been brought up to think that we are the greatest gift to mankind- nothing will change if everything continues to go your way. But once you’re placed in a situation where you either change or drown, it is possible for us to grow even better than we can be, change for the better, and be more than who we really are.

    The past does not control our present or future

While we have no control over our past, or what has happened to us that may have shaped us to be we are now, that does not mean that we can’t change our present circumstances to enable a better future for all of us.

And knowing why we do the things we do is just the first step of that journey of self-discovery and change.

Liffey Falls, Tasmania

We are our harshest critic – let us be kind to ourselves

Posted in April 24th, 2013
Published in Thoughts, Updates, UTas

Have you ever asked, why are we so hard on ourselves?
Why we belittle, scold, blame our inner selves so much?

Is it because we compare ourselves to others around us, that seems to be much better at the things they seem to be doing?
Is it because we know how good it is life can be if we work hard towards a certain goal, but instead fall short and towards the short-lived temptations that life brings us instead?
Is it simply because we know what we’re capable of if we try that much harder?
Or is it simply because we have unrealistic notions of ourselves, that we should be doing so much better than
‘the others’?

Think of it this way, if its your close friend that comes to you and say-
“I didn’t go to class today because I wasn’t feeling that great and decided to sleep in.”

Would you then go ahead and scold him, knowing that he shouldn’t be missing too many classes, and that he should turn up anyways?

Yes, if its an important class that cannot be made up for, or if its not the first few times he’s done it.

But you don’t beat him up over it again and again, but perhaps encourage him to take better care of his body, and to take better care of himself in the meantime.

Yet I think most of us wake up with that sense of guilt of whether you should be skipping that class even though you can’t focus, to sleep in so that your body feels better and gets the rest it needs, versus putting in that extra effort to just pretend life is as usual.

I know I feel guilty whenever I skip a lesson, and its been particularly bad this year so far because of the resurfaced back problem, and perhaps those new exercises that my physiotherapist is asking me to do, or maybe the cold, or even a combination of everything.

As much as I’ve told some of my friends about it and they’re sick of hearing it, I’ve beaten myself up internally infinitely more times than that.

Every time it feels like I’m not focusing as well as I should, compared to just a few months back, I keep urging myself to do better, and keep trying, only to fail over and over.

Today I had a presentation where I just felt so out of it, perhaps because I’ve been sitting/standing for the past few hours without actually lying down or just because my mind couldn’t absorb anything anymore.

I started beating myself up over it, until I realised that this is getting into a familiar never ending cycle.
I will NO longer beat myself up anymore. Things are different this semester because of a different problem, and I will overcome it, in time, just like I overcame the problems I had last year. In essence, this is really no different.

I’m already on track, doing most of the things I did last semester. While I cannot gym/jog/run everyday yet… hey, at least I’m cycling and walking. While it takes me longer to understand new concepts and ideas, hey, at least I’m still learning! While it takes me more energy to socialize, hey… at least I’m still talking and doing so!

While it’ll be hard to make up for all the lost time I had over the last few weeks, all the missed lectures, lessons, cases to read, notes to prepare and even friends to catch up with…

I will no longer beat myself up over it. I Will be kind to myself.
But from today onwards- no more. I will be kind to myself, and if I fall along the way… I’ll just try again, harder the next time. Until it gets easier, until what needs to be done, is done.

For today I once again realise – we can only be who we are, no more, no less.
And if i require several hundred beatings in my mind before I am able to rise up once again to the challenge, then so be it.

There is a time where we say, no more.

Let today be the day.

Let us all be kind to ourselves, just as we are kind to others around us.
For our life is a long journey indeed, and who knows when it will just suddenly end?


On the vicissitudes of life

Posted in April 6th, 2013

Hello everyone, are you all still there?

Its April, and this is my first post of the year. Kind of hard to believe that 4 months have gone by just like that, and not a single blog post (This must be a new record). But then again, loads of things have happened, so its not that surprising – for myself at least.

This isn’t my first article this year though. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to write for the Overseas Singaporean Unit (OSU), and I reproduce the links to the articles here below, the latter two written in mid-Jan and late-Feb respectively.

Finding the Zing in Sleepy Tasmania
Taking the road less travelled
The Kitchen is an Overseas Student’s Best Friend

And my last and final article, a long one (the later part of the article) that also sets out what has been happening in my life.
When life throws you lemons

It’s been a whole month since my last article, and suffice to say I’ve realised that the relapse in my back pain isn’t going away anytime soon. I really don’t know what triggered it, but its irrelevant now at this stage.

Oh yea, in case you’re wondering what vicissitudes mean, a quite Google search netted me these results:
1) A change of circumstances or fortune, typically one that is unwelcome or unpleasant.
2) Alternation between opposite or contrasting things: “the vicissitude of the seasons”.

I learnt this word while I was studying Torts last year. Little did I know that it would be so relevant to me, and so soon.

They say life can be cruel sometimes, and I’m sure all of us have an experience or two that can relate to this.

When I went back to Singapore last November, I was at my peak. I’ve never felt physically fitter in my life, and I was confident, and ready to take on the world. I was looking forward to the next moment that I’ll be doing something new, something exciting, something challenging. “That’s how life should be like!” I was thinking to myself.

Everything seems possible, and nothing seems too hard when your mind and body is in sync and the same direction.

With that mindset, I decided to take on the President Role of the Singapore Students Society in Tasmania, and because of that, had an amazing January networking and meeting other student leaders & staff of OSU and Contact Singapore, and it culminated with an amazing 10 days helping out with the Punggol East By-elections. I must say that being a counting agent was quite the novel experience, and the expressions I saw that night was quite varied, though the celebratory mode was definitely more keenly felt and experienced in Hougang that night, and in Punggol East the next day.

Even though I wasn’t the one that won, I partook in the victory celebrations and felt on top of the world. This, is what life should be!

And then the pain came back. The feelings that I thought I would never face again, not for another 7 years or more at least, came at me like a tsunami, and swept away the confidence, the mental agility, my physical peak, my positive outlook in life, and I felt so lost again.

You never know what you had until you lose it, and I felt it more keenly this time because I truly thought I had become the person I wanted to be, after so many years of internal reform, of striving to change and going out of my way to make sure I do things right…

Then again I realised that this wasn’t the first time I felt like that. It had happened to me at least once before, where I too sunk into a depression for many months.

In retrospect, I guess I’m a lot more resilient then I look! I’m still alive despite all the mental and physical scars I’ve gone through the past 20+ years.

Bring it on world! I Will conquer this and get through this, one task at a time. One step at a time.

Today I may have only finished 2 out of the 10 tasks I set myself to do.
But I know if I keep it up, one day I will finish 15/10, and do it much better than I ever have in a shorter amount of time.

It’s really time to work smart instead of hard.

This blog post took a surprisingly long time to write and post, but at least its finally up.
Tick one off the to-do list at last, and know that the next blog post will not be 4 months later.

I’ve already complained enough (must be my Singaporean spirit). Now its time for action and to head back to my other tasks. Thank you for reading this (if you made it this far!). This entry is not one of my best pieces of work, but at this stage its more important to have something up than to have something perfect.

I believe that just like the sun continues to shine, I too, will continue my path. One day I too, shall shine again.

Give me a holler if you too feel like life is too much to bear. Life may be hard, but no one says you’ve got to do it alone!

Signing off, but not out.
Aaron Peng

Back in Singapore + Updates

Posted in December 13th, 2012
Published in Updates

Hi guys and girls,

In case you haven’t already noticed/realised yet, I’ve reached Singapore a few weeks ago. The gist of it is that i’ve been working on weekdays, meeting loads of friends, gone to a couple of events, and trying to catch up with everyone close to me.

Strange thing is that I’ve been feeling kind of lethargic ever since i came back. Pretty sure its the unpredictable weather… I’ve gotten ambushed and drenched a couple of times when i left the office to a very sunny sky, only for it to turn gloomy faster than a woman scorned. Anyone else feels the same?

That being said, I’ve had a very enjoyable time meeting up with everyone so far, and I hope those I’ve met enjoyed it just as much as me! I love hearing stories of people, catching up, and well, give a little tips to make it better if there’s a need to.

I think I’ve crossed the 50 people mark (got to be thankful for big outings sometimes), but I still want to hear Your story. Meet me and lets have a chat, and hopefully we can both learn a bit out of it. I’ll be leaving in mid February 2013, so we still have a bit of time.

Meanwhile, I’m writing on something big and special that should be out soon.
Will keep you all updated, so stay tuned!

Here’s a puzzle. How long will it take you to solve it?

Posted in November 10th, 2012
Published in Interesting

My friend told me about this puzzle, and challenged me to solve it. With loud techno on the background, it took me 30 seconds.

If you know the answer, keep it to yourself and share this story. If you don’t. Just read it again, it becomes quite obvious when you do get it.

Recently a friend told me the following story about the death of his grandfather: “My grandparents used to go to church on Sundays. One day during the sermon, which was long and dry, my grandfather fell asleep. That week he had been reading a novel about the French Revolution and began to dream that he was a rich aristocrat living in a beautiful chateau in France.

Suddenly there was a commotion outside. A mob of peasants appeared, stormed the house, grabbed him and tied him up, dragged him to the market square, where there was a platform with a guillotine set up. My grandfather was led up the stairs, a priest muttered a few words to him and then his head was placed in the cradle of the guillotine. A hooded executioner approached and reached up for the lever that releases the blade. At that moment my grandfather was snoring quite loudly, so my grandmother reached out and pinched him on the back of his neck to wake him up. This was such a shock to my grandfather that he suffered a heart attack and died on the spot.”

My reaction to the story of my friend: “I don’t believe a word of that. You made it up.” Why did I react in this way, how did I know the story is not true?

P.S: 50% will get it immediately. The rest will take some time to figure it out.
P.P.S: You will know instantly and with complete certainty that you have the solution when you find it. There is no question or debate.

Post your timing here as a comment when you solve it!

The King and his 4 wives

Posted in November 4th, 2012
Published in stories

I saw this while surfing, and just thought i’ll share it here.

Don’t you think this story is still quite relevant today? We spend too much time on trying to make our body look good, our possessions, our family and friends… While they are no doubt important, we should not neglect personal improvement, or as what some people will call it, Soul nourishment. For ultimately we’ll realize that, it is really all we have.

The King and his 4 wives

“Once upon a time there was a rich King who had four wives.

He loved the 4th wife the most and adorned her with rich robes and treated her to the finest of delicacies. He gave her nothing but the best.

He also loved the 3rd wife very much and was always showing her off to neighbouring kingdoms. However, he feared that one day she would leave him for another.

He also loved his 2nd wife. She was his confidant and was always kind, considerate and patient with him. Whenever the King faced a problem, he could confide in her, and she would help him get through the difficult times.

The King’s 1st wife was a very loyal partner and had made greatcontributions in maintaining his wealth and kingdom. However, he did not love the first wife. Although she loved him deeply, he hardly took notice of her!

One day, the King fell ill and he knew his time was short. He thought of his luxurious life and wondered, I now have four wives with me, but when I die, I’ll be all alone.”

Thus, he asked the 4th wife, “I loved you the most, endowed you with the finest clothing and showered great care over you. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?”

“No way!”, replied the 4th wife, and she walked away without another word. Her answer cut like a sharp knife right into his heart.

The sad King then asked the 3rd wife, “I loved you all my life. Now that I’m dying, will you follow me and keep me company?” “No!”, replied the 3rd wife. “Life is too good! When you die, I’m going to remarry!” His heart sank and turned cold.

He then asked the 2nd wife, “I have always turned to you for help and you’ve always been there for me. When I die, will you follow me and keep me company?”

“I’m sorry, I can’t help you out this time!”, replied the 2nd wife. “At the very most, I can only walk with you to your grave.” Her answer struck him like a bolt of lightning, and the King was devastated.

Then a voice called out: “I’ll go with you. I’ll follow you no matter where you go.” The King looked up, and there was his first wife. She was very skinny as she suffered from malnutrition and neglect. Greatly grieved, the King said, “I should have taken much better care of you when I had the chance!”

In truth, we all have the 4 wives in our lives:

Our 4th wife is our body. No matter how much time and effort we lavish in making it look good, it will leave us when we die.

Our 3rd wife is our possessions, status and wealth. When we die, it will all go to others.

Our 2nd wife is our family and friends. No matter how much they have been there for us, the furthest they can stay by us is up to the grave.

And our 1st wife is our Soul. Often neglected in pursuit of wealth, power and pleasures of the world. However, our Soul is the only thing that will follow us wherever we go.

Cultivate, strengthen and cherish it now, for it is the only part of us that will follow us to the throne of God and continue with us throughout Eternity.”

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myimgThis blog belongs to Aaron Peng. Links, sources and other blogs do not express my views. If you are easily offended, please leave. Otherwise, i hope you have fun here. Enjoy your stay~