Losing everything is not the end

In the early December 2014, one of my best friends shared with me about her worry. She learned that her parents are likely to lose a major proportion of their savings due to unfavorable investment.

She asked me to pray for her parents, I will be praying everyday! My prayer list is getting very long, but as I have lived longer, I have witnessed that some of my prayers have been answered miraculously. Thank you very much!

servicefromheart the praying hands of baby Ren never lose hope

I know her parents. They are honest and hardworking people, who started from zero and have become a hero and a heroine for their children, their past customers, their subordinates and their suppliers. My friend once shared the secret of their parents being given opportunities by their suppliers: reliability. They always pay their business loans no matter how difficult the circumstances are.

Her mother is a very frugal lady who bought only new clothes for the new year. Nevertheless, when the family went out with friends of their children, the parents would generously treat others.

Her father is in his 60s. In recent years, my friend felt that it is better for her father to enjoy the fruit of his labor and hardwork done over the past years and decades. However, a single turning point in life has changed everything. He left with much little of what he has saved a-dollar by a-dollar, if not cents by cents over years and decades.

I also empathize with my friend and feel her pressure. She belongs to a sandwich generation. She has to support not only two generations before and after her: her parents and her children, respectively, but also her younger sibling. I am proud of my friend, showing the quality of filial piety. I tried to encourage her that bearing a great responsibility is a privilege. Only the capable and the trustworthy are shouldered with such great tasks of life.

We love to and must take inspirations from the past generations who are able to turn adversity into something positive (逢凶化吉).

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Among many inspiring talks that I attended in Cambridge, UK, was a talk delivered by the extremely intrepid Christina Dodwell, a British explorer, travel writer, and lecturer.

She vividly described her 1975 trip to Africa with a girlfriend and two men. The men stole their jeep, leaving the women stranded with nothing. Her remark, “Losing everything is not the end,” echoes in my mind that is subconsciously searching for stories to encourage my friend. Christina and her friends then found two wild horses to ride; they survived!

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Another story that I first learned from Hui, is about Lim Tow Yong 林道荣 (1925-20120407), a legendary founder of Emporium Holdings that owned Oriental Emporium (英保良) retail business. Lim lived a roller-coaster life of fortune and success, yet he always show tenacity and never-say-die spirit.

With a humble beginning as a farmer’s son in Suatow (仙都乡), Jinshizhen (金石镇), Chao’An (潮安县), Chaozhou (潮州市), China, Lim ventured to Nanyang in 1940. Hardworking, visionary, charismatic, and a talented polyglot (English, Mandarin, Malay, Hokkien, Cantonese and Hainanese), Lim grew his business, spreading all over Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and Hong Kong. It was thriving until 1985.

In 1988, the 63-year-old Lim Tow Yong was declared a bankrupt by Singapore high court. Most people would have given up but not Lim Tow Yong.

In 1990s, Lim started another departmental chain in Sabah, and later Brunei and Labuan, with sheer determination and hardwork. In 1999, Lim Tow Yong was finally discharged from bankruptcy. He sold his business in mid-2000s and became a millionaire once again at 79.

Losing everything is not the end, as long as you are still alive.
Losing everything is not the end, as long as your love, hope, ideas and wisdom are alive in the heart of people whom you care.

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All these three stories also made me reflect on investment. I was asked by two men older than me, “if you know any safe investment with good return, please let us know.” The eldest, who is going to celebrate his 41st birthday tomorrow, aims to have USD 1million.

You don’t know about real loss, ’cause it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself.” ~ Good Will Hunting

After thinking and reflecting, I conclude that the best investment is on yourself. Seek knowledge. Master unique skills. Use your knowledge and skills to serve others from the bottom of your heart. Be creative and productive.

You want to transform yourself into a precious talent, such that as you grow older, you become more valuable than ever. As days pass, you become highly desirable to give positively-impactful advice to ordinary people and Fortune 500 companies. As years go, you are wanted for your unique talent and tremendous creativity. As decades change, you give your best to the world, and the world will shower you with more opportunities to make your investment grow many folds.

Invest in goodwill. Love people. Help others and do favors without expecting a favor in return. The power of the universe will do you favors especially when you need it, in unexplainable manners, in unexpected ways.

With love


7 things to do at Mount Alvernia Hospital while waiting for patients

Recently, I accompanied a good friend for a day surgery at Mt. Alvernia Hospital, Singapore. The nurses are polite. A nurse manager (in red maroon uniform) even addressed me with my name when she told me what to expect (e.g. approximate time when I should be back after the operation is done). I am impressed. For professionals who have to attend to high number of customers daily, I greatly appreciate the extra mile of efforts.

After my friend went into the operation theatre, I turned the volume of my mobile phone to maximum, in case the medical staff needs to contact me.

So, what can we do while waiting at hospital?

1. Be patient-centric

Update concerned family members, relatives, friends of patient.

Recall what the nurses, doctors, administrative staff mentioned. Jot them down so we can remind the patient later on.

2. Enjoy food

I had a brunch of ginger soy milk (SGD $2) and salmon sushi with wasabi (SGD $4). Before that, the sushi stall staff, a middle age woman (whom is called auntie in Singapore – though we have no biological relationships) pro-actively promoted her products. That’s why I decided to support her and I was satisfied!

sushi Mt Alvernia Hospital Singapore ServicefromHeart

For lunch, I packed a Subway meal, with extra olives please. While munching my meatball marinara sandwich, I thought of a dinner of udon and a grocery list for it.

3. Visit the beautiful chapel

chapel Mt Alvernia hospital Singapore ServicefromHeart

The stained glasses of predominantly blue tone at the backdrop of the altar, with flashes of moving cars outside, look like a serene ceiling-height aquarium.

I also prayed hard. The background music reminded me on quiet moments in Catholic churches in Europe.

4. Admire newborns

Around noon time, there are few very lovely newborns spotted at the lobby, presumably their parents are waiting for transports to bring them home for the first time! New lives are always inspiring, they are so fragile yet full of potential, with many wonderful years lie ahead.

5. Shop or window-shop at pharmacy and gift shops

We love shopping, especially buying gifts for our loved ones and friends. The pharmacy staff was friendly, answering my inquiry politely. We cannot use the Ladies card to shop for formula milk powder, so I ended up window-shopping.

6. Read — an alternative of playing mobile phones or tablets

At liaison office, I browsed a Mother&Baby magazine (January 2014) and collected a cooler bag with a redemption coupon that comes with my Alvernia’s Ladies card. It was on my to-do-yet-non-urgent list for ~ a year. Done. Happy!

Mt Alvernia hospital Singapore ServicefromHeart

I also finished reading a TimeOut book that I packed with me in the morning.

7. Learn a little history

Stories connect minds and souls. Learning the story of Mt Alvernia Hospital makes me think of extraordinary nuns worldwide who have served from their deepest hearts. While Mother Teresa represents them as a global icon of compassion, agape and love, there have been many, if not countless, sisters who have made significant contributions in the betterment of our lives, directly or indirectly.

In 1949, three intrepid young Catholic nuns of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Divine Motherhood (FMDM): Sr Mary Angela McBrien, Sr Mary Camillus Walsh, Sr Mary Baptista Hennessy traveled all the way from Surrey, England* to tropical Singapore.  Professionally trained in healthcare, these sisters started to care for tuberculosis patients at Tan Tock Seng Hospital and lepers at “The Leper Camp” in Woodbridge.

Besides caring patients directly as nurses and caregivers, the Sisters also taught and trained nurses. I really love their ideas and actions to empower and delegate others, because everyone has only limited 24 hours but there are many people to serve.

The Sisters have a vision that every patient would be offered comfort and solace at a retreat where gospel values would pertain and persons would matter for who they are, not for what they have. In 1950s, they started door-to-door appeals for donations to build Mt Alvernia Hospital. Finally, with generosity and enthusiasm from all walks of life, the hospital started to admit patients in 1961.

The first baby born at Mt Alvernia Hospital was named Francis Chan, after the hospital’s patron saint, St Francis of Assisi, who also greatly loves animals and environment. This little story reminds me on Ren’s name which has been inspired by St Luke, patron saint of artists, physicians and students.

Hope this little list makes your hospital wait interesting and less worrying, and please share with me other ideas of yours. I love to hear from you!

With love,

* How I miss my Irish Godmother who is living in England! Hope you are doing well. This post is also dedicated to you ♥