Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Children born with incurable illnesses

As a women, I believe that our greatest fear is not the pain of giving birth but the fear of miscarriage or having a child with abnormalities. It is always heartbreaking when we see children suffering from illness, especially those who does not have the means to undergo treatment for their illnesses. I have always ponder if I should bear children. Why not I just adopt which will save me the misery and fear of child bearing? Furthermore, our world is already over populated and there are so many less fortunate children who needs our help. 

Then I stumbled into this book below which has shed some light into my dark hole. Lol

"Some children are born with incurable illnesses.  It is a difficult, heartbreaking situation for any parent to face this kind of karma. But everyone possesses the noble life-state of Buddhahood and born with a valuable mission. 

One mother's third daughter was born with Down syndrome.  The doctors also told her that the child had two holes in her heart.  Surgery could solve the heart problem,  but she would have to live with Down syndrome for the rest of her life.

Regardless,  the mother showered her new baby with love,  firmly believing that her child was born with an important mission in life.  Her eldest daughter,  a sixth grader,  and her second-eldest daughter,  a second grader,  also loved and cared for their new baby sister.  When their baby sister smiled,  the two sisters broke into smiles,  too.  The mother thought our new baby girl has already brought her two sisters together this way she clearly was born with a wonderful mission!"  When the baby girl made sounds or turned over in her crib or played with a toy,  everyone in the family applauded happily The second eldest daughter wrote in a composition for school: "Just seeing how hard my little sister is trying,  I feel encouraged and she's taught me that I should never give up..I'm very proud of her. No matter what happens,  as her big sister I'll protect and take care of her all my life.

The eldest daughter also wrote in a school composition. "I'm so proud to have this angelic sister who has overcome surgery and brings such joy to everyone in our family. Some children die of illness soon after being born.  But life is eternal. Encountering the Mystic Law in this existence dramatically opens the way to transforming our karma.  In a way,  it could be said that such children were born with the mission to awaken their parents and other family members.  The karmic relation of being born together as parent and child is immeasurably profound.  It is an inseparable bond.  The death of a child can lead to a deepening of faith and an expansion of life state on the part of the parent, a process that in itself could be considered as an aspect of that child's mission."

Quoted from the book Ode to Mothers by Daisaku Ikeda

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Secrets on how to look & feel young

Lot of people have commented that I look young for my age *buay pai seh*

Seriously, I think here are the few reasons to look & feel young.

1) Think young

Instead of thinking that I am too old for this and this, live like how young you want yourself to look like. For example, if you aspire to look like a college student, immerse yourself with the younger ones and do what they do. For example: hiking, learning a new language, learning kpop, volunteering and so on.

2) Dress young

Not to say that you should prance around in your secondary school uniform or your Doraemon t-shirt, dress casually and put on light make up. For most of us, going bare face is like a walking corpse. Light make up is the key. So make use of BB cream, concealer, blushers, and what not. Especially for the brows, best is to go for natural looking brows instead of getting embroidery.

3) Sleep

To best way to age or to look like your mother is to deprive yourself from a good sleep. Sleep at regular hours!

4) Exercise

I just cannot live without exercising because my body needs to get rid of all the toxins and I feel super sluggish if I don't. Almost 100% of people that looks young exercise regularly. My beautician told me her beauty secret, instead of telling me to come for facial regularly or using SKII, she told me that she exercise to look young. *jaw dropping & eye-opening*

Share with me if you know of any other tips to look and stay young!

I want to be forever young!!!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

5 Ways on How to Lose Weight

Being a girl with fat genes that run in my family, I have been desperately trying to lose my weight through different period of my life.

I am happy to say that I am currently in my ideal weight after a long and hard journey on
slimming methods THAT DOESN'T WORK.

Here are my experiences:

Diet tea
I was in college I started taking diet tea. These are easily available at the pharmacies.
Not only that I am not losing weight, but I had to run to the toilet like a mad woman a few times a day. Even after I have stopped, I still find it hard to control my bowel and the effect only wear off after a week or two.

Slimming centers
It's already known to most people that slimming centre are not only super expensive but the results are never permanent. The only reasons why women still goes to slimming centre is because:
- of the slick advertising tactics by the slimming centers
- pushy slimming centers' promoter
- people think that it is safe because it doesn't involve consuming diet product

Slimming program offer by clinic
I am not sure when this trend started but some clinics nowadays are promoting heavily on aesthetic enhancements as well as slimming program. This is slightly less expensive than slimming centre and it's supposedly safe because it's administered by the doctor. My mom took this program 4 years back and she did slim down considerably!

The doctor would advise her on what are the fatty food to avoid (no-brainer), on her exercise regime and she was given diet pills. The effect of the pill was she is mad thirsty all the time and she sweated a lot more than she usually does.

And 2 years later...

Guess what? My mom is even heavier than she was before!

Starving or Crazy Diet
The title is self-explanatory.

The conclusion? All the methods above, IF it works for you, it will give you the shortcuts to lose weight. But the question is how you are gonna to maintain your ideal weight? It's most definite that you will gain back the weight that you have lost if you do not change your lifestyle.

So, *yawnnnnnn* it's always come back to exercising and healthy eating which are the surest ways of keeping slim PERMANENTLY.

I do not know why god programmed so many people to be so fearful of exercising. Most people would rather starve themselves, or just do a lot of funny things just to avoid exercising. Exercising is the surest way to be healthy & fit. Good luck people!


Winning with Courage

Recently, a friend of mine is going through one of her darkest moment. When all odds are against you, people will ask why ME and why our prayers are not answered. Hopefully the story below will help us to understand why so and give us the wisdom and strength to win with courage!

Experience – WINNING WITH COURAGE – By Sherman Edmiston III, New York
 14th September 2012, World Tribune
     My father introduced me to Nichiren Buddhism when I was 18. I begrudgingly attended SGI-USA activities at his insistence, but I rarely chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo on my own.
     After graduating from college in 1990, I went to work on Wall Street. I had an exciting career and was doing well financially, but I felt empty and was often depressed.
     In 1995, at age 33, I took stock of my life. At my father’s urging, a local district leader visited me often and encouraged me to chant. I retrieved the Gohonzon from my closet, enshrined it and started attending SGI-USA activities again, including Gajokai and Soka Group, young men’s training groups that support activities behind the scenes. I gained a sense of purpose and the awareness that helping others is one of the most empowering and encouraging things I can do.
     A year later in June 1996, and shortly before my first child, Brittney, was born, I supported behind the scenes during SGI President Ikeda’s visit to New York. Late one night, I was among those called on to meet with President Ikeda. He had made tea and personally served each of us. It was difficult for me to trust anyone, but witnessing his humility and warmth, I felt I could absolutely trust President Ikeda as my mentor in life.
      From then on, these became my two most important commitments; to be the best father and the best disciple I could be.
     Despite continuing to struggle with the feeling that I was broken and unhappy, I also felt a growing sense of confidence and hope, based on my Buddhist practice.
     Over the next several years, my wife and I had three more children, Nina, Amina and Sherman IV (Kueta). I started my own firm and became financially successful, but it didn’t take long for my business to fail, and I lost my life savings. I had to sell many of my assets and was on the verge of being unable to pay the mortgage on our home and tuition at my children’s private school.
     I won over these obstacles by doing my best to support members in my district and push through my limits to financially contribute to the SGI-USA as an expression of my appreciation and deepening humanity gained through my practice.
     I started a new career at a small investment banking firm. Although I was still wading through rough waters, I was back on my financial feet.
     Then, in October 2008, Brittney contracted a debilitating disease that went undiagnosed for six months. Once a straight A student, she lost her ability to focus and became extremely lethargic and depressed.
     I fell into despair at being unable to protect my firstborn child. I sought guidance from my senior in faith and engraved these words from Nichiren Daishonin in my heart: “Wherever your daughter may frolic or play, no harm will come to her, she will move about without fear like the lion king…But your faith alone will determine all these things. A sword is useless in the hands of a coward. The mighty sword of the Lotus Sutra must be wielded by one courageous in faith” (WND-1, 412).
     With only the Gohonzon to turn to, I chanted Nam-myoho-renge-kyo to take on my daughter’s pain and suffering as if they were my own, to do my human revolution so that she would be happy and healthy, and fulfil her mission in life. For the first time, I relied on faith more than my intellectual understanding of Buddhism.
     Brittney was diagnosed with Lyme disease. She responded to treatment and was soon back in school. At the same time, I interviewed with and received job offers from many top firms.
     I felt I was on my way back to the top when Brittney spiraled downward again, worse than before. I turned down the job offers and arranged with my firm to work from home so my wife and I could support Brittney’s recovery.
     A recruiter called to ask why I had turned down his excellent offer. When he heard about Brittney, he told me of the doctor, a specialist, who had treated his mother-in-law for the same condition.
     Brittney began treatment with that doctor and was back at school by the spring of 2010.
     She had missed most of the sixth and seventh grade years, however, and school administrators requested she repeat the seventh grade. When she learned she would not be graduating middle school, however, she refused to accept it. We hired a tutor, and she worked throughout the summer until she met all the requirements to enter the eighth grade.
     Next, we sent out several applications for high school, but not one was accepted. It seemed painfully unfair after Brittney had worked so hard. I chanted to have absolute faith that she would fulfill her mission in life, no matter what.
     Then, her middle school principal called us. She was so moved by Brittney’s efforts to graduate that she contacted the head of a private school in Brooklyn, N.Y., to recommend my daughter. Even though it was after the admissions and acceptance deadlines, Brittney applied and was accepted!
     In my area of specialty, I established one of the top advisory practices in the United States. My growth in my career is directly related to the responsibilities that I have assumed in the SGI-USA.
     When my firm was acquired by a consulting firm, the pay structure was radically changed. As a result, even though I was bringing in the biggest deals, my income was less in 2008 and 2009 than in 2007. I had accumulated huge medical bills, so I had no choice but to break through.
     I needed to change firms but I had turned down many top companies before, so I thought my options were limited. I chanted to fulfill my mission and to show actual proof of the Gohonzon and the greatness of my mentor by being victorious.
     Unexpectedly, I got an offer from a firm to head up its creditor advisory practice. They gave me a signing bonus nearly equal to my income for 2008 and 2009 combined, guaranteed my bonus for two years and made me a partner and part owner. I paid off most of my debt and am on solid financial footing again.
     As President Ikeda says: “Victory is not determined by externals. What do you do when the odds are against you? Summon forth all the wisdom you can. Wisdom emerges through prayer. Victory emerges through wisdom”  (Embracing Compassion, vol. 1, 108-109).
     Throughout every challenge, I never stopped doing my best to contribute to kosen-rufu. Without fail, I study Nichiren Daishonin’s writings and President Ikeda’s guidance, and I reach out and encourage as many members as possible.
     Brittney has almost completely recovered, and this month, she started her sophomore year at the same high school. Her illness taught me that when I encounter obstacles, I must win each day, first and foremost by chanting until my courage is greater than my fear.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

What you MUST know about SHORYUDO Highway Bus Ticket

SHORYUDO Highway Bus Ticket
If you are travelling between Nagoya, Takayama, Shirakawa-go and Kanazawa, get the 3-day Shoryudo highway bus ticket at 6000 yen and it will save you a great deal (read on people). Alternatively, you can get the 4-day and 5-day pass at 7000 yen and 8000 yen. 

Shoryudo route

Here are some tips that you MUST know before you buy the ticket.

1) Do buy in advance because the tickets are limited. 
For my case, I tried my luck to buy it 2 days before my trip and it was unavailable for my first day in Nagoya. Hence, I couldn't use it for my transfer between Central Japan Airport to Nagoya. I think it would be pretty save if you buy 1 week ahead your trip (for low season). For peak, I guess you have to buy it as early as possible.

2) It's only available online.
Buy it at Japanican website and through travel agent outside of Japan. Here's the link for Japanican.

3) Please check the ticket pick-up point very carefully. 
You will need to collect the physical ticket in person (with your passport) at selected pick-up points in Nagoya. For example, if you are travelling from Tokyo to Takayama (without stopping at Nagoya), it might be impossible for you to pick up the ticket.

3) It does not cover the bus route between Takayama to Shin-Hotaka Ropeway or Okuhida.
I have no idea why I would assume that it covers the journey from Takayama to Okuhida and Shin-Hotaka Ropeway. My mistake, it doesn't. So if you are going to Okuhida or Shin-Hotaka Ropeway from Takayama and it will usually take a whole day, the ticket wouldn't be of any use that day.

4) It does not cover the bus in Shirakawa-go
So I tried my luck and again, the bus driver was not fooled.  I am referring to the bus in Shirakawa-go that takes you to the Shiroyama Viewpoint that costs about 200 yen if I remember correctly.

5) Make advance reservation
For my case, I tried to book for ticket from Takayama to Nagoya a day before, and it's fully booked! (I felt like punching someone). Hence, no choice I had to buy the train ticket instead of utilizing my Shoryudo ticket.

Throughout my trip, I only managed to use the ticket from Nagoya to Takayama *pull hair*. Instead of saving money, I was paying extra!

So, I hope that you've learnt through my mistakes. Happy travelling yo!

Traditional housing in Shirakawa-gō

Monday, February 16, 2015

What do you need to consider before selling your products on Groupon, Ensogo, etc

I have been buying a lot of these coupons for years because they are so darn cheap, like 40%-90% cheaper than the average price.

For the merchants, this kind of coupons sites can be fantastic because it can bring hundreds or even thousands customers to their doors.

These group discount sites is like a marriage of coupons and social networking.

However, they are many considerations that a merchant has to take before blindly joining the bandwagons, such as:

Set a limit if it is necessary

For one, consider if you need to set a limit of the numbers of coupons to be sold. Selling too much coupons that you can handle is going to be disastrous.

First, you are offering coupons at a very low price. Second, these discount sites take between 30% to 50% of revenue share from the selling price of the coupons. Hence, many merchants are actually selling at a lost - not only monetary wise but on the time spent in fulfilling the service or order. You will need to know how much expenses that you can afford.

Too many customers coming as the same time can also make your service level to drop.

Wrong type of customers

Because this type of deal is so darn cheap, a lot of these customers are actually addicts to coupons and they will keep buying on discount deal. This mean that they are not going to come to you when you are offering your normal price.

Customer comments can be harmful

I have seen some really good discount but only gaining on a few buyers. The reason is simple. Somebody left bad comments on the discount page. Instead of gaining new customers, your deal might amplify your weaknesses to a few thousand consumers who will be avoiding your service/product when they see those comments.

How to keep the customers loyal

Many times when I use the coupons, the merchants never try to upsell, or even ask for my contacts details. What are the chances that I will go back to them again? Very slim.
Remember, customers from group discount sites love discount. Sign them up with your packages or give them more coupons so that they will come back again.

Last but not least....

AVOID Ensogo / IBuy

I have recently joined Ensogo (previously known as Living Social) to sell my products and their sales person service was horrendous. The deal page that they did for my product is a joke and they refused to change it until I had to beg them to take it down. I was getting zero customers from their deal as expected. It was okay not to get sale, but the work, correspondence and our annoyance are all wasted. Best of all, they have been owing merchant money for up to a year.

Please avoid at all cost

If you are a customer, please don't buy through their sites too. Just imagine what kind of customer support that they would have if there is an issue with your purchase.

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