First time here, I was very much dependent on Tones who has been here a few times to get around. Now I'm back here on my own due to separate flights schedule so I have to scrap back my frail memory on how to get to downtown Bangkok from Suvarnabhumi International Airport using the railway connections. I'm just going to write these down here for my own benefit (if I get to come here again :o) I'm staying at the same place I did last time, at Chong Nonsi area, which is one station away from the notorious Silom.
- From Suvarnabhumi Airport, take the City Line to Phaya Thai Station.
- At the Phaya Thai interchange, hop on to the BTS (Bangkok Mass Transit System) or Skytrain on the North-East route towards On-Nut Station. Siam Station is another interchange or connecting station between the North-East route and the West-South route.
- Get off at Siam Station and hop on to the West-South route towards Wangwian Yai Station.
- Get off at Chong Nonsi Station.
There, I hope I won't get lost. And I hope I don't get too wet with all my luggage.
|click to enlarge|
An excerpt from The Alchemist, by Paolo Coelho
A merchant sent his son to learn the Secret of Happiness from the wisest of men. The young man wandered through the desert for forty days until he reached a beautiful castle at the top of a mountain. There lived the sage that the young man was looking for.
However, instead of finding a holy man, our hero entered a room and saw a great deal of activity; merchants coming and going, people chatting in the corners, a small orchestra playing sweet melodies, and there was a table laden with the most delectable dishes of that part of the world.
The wise man talked to everybody, and the young man had to wait for two hours until it was time for his audience.
With considerable patience, the Sage listened attentively to the reason for the boy’s visit, but told him that at that moment he did not have the time to explain to him the Secret of Happiness.He suggested that the young man take a stroll around his palace and come back in two hours’ time.
“However, I want to ask you a favor,” he added, handling the boy a teaspoon, in which he poured two drops of oil. “While you walk, carry this spoon and don’t let the oil spill.”
The young man began to climb up and down the palace staircases, always keeping his eyes fixed on the spoon. At the end of two hours he returned to the presence of the wise man.
“So,” asked the sage, “did you see the Persian tapestries hanging in my dining room? Did you see the garden that the Master of Gardeners took ten years to create? Did you notice the beautiful parchments in my library?”
Embarrassed, the young man confessed that he had seen nothing. His only concern was not to spill the drops of oil that the wise man had entrusted to him.
“So, go back and see the wonders of my world,” said the wise man. “You can’t trust a man if you don’t know his house.”
Now more at ease, the young man took the spoon and strolled again through the palace, this time paying attention to all the works of art that hung from the ceiling and walls. He saw the gardens, the mountains all around the palace, the delicacy of the flowers, the taste with which each work of art was placed in its niche. Returning to the sage, he reported in detail all that he had seen.
“But where are the two drops of oil that I entrusted to you?” asked the sage.
Looking down at the spoon, the young man realized that he had spilled the oil.
“Well, that is the only advice I have to give you,” said the sage of sages. “The Secret of Happiness lies in looking at all the wonders of the world and never forgetting the two drops of oil in the spoon.”
Blessed Easter, everybody :o)
Exsúltet iam angélica turba cælórum:
exsúltent divína mystéria:
et pro tanti Regis victória tuba ínsonet salutáris.
Gáudeat et tellus, tantis irradiáta fulgóribus:
et ætérni Regis splendóre illustráta,
tótius orbis se séntiat amisísse calíginem.
Lætétur et mater Ecclésia,
tanti lúminis adornáta fulgóribus:
et magnis populórum vócibus hæc aula resúltet.
[Quaprópter astántes vos, fratres caríssimi,
ad tam miram huius sancti lúminis claritátem,
una mecum, quæso,
Dei omnipoténtis misericórdiam invocáte.
Ut, qui me non meis méritis
intra Levitárum númerum dignátus est aggregáre,
lúminis sui claritátem infúndens,
cérei huius laudem implére perfíciat.]
[V/ Dóminus vobíscum.
R/ Et cum spíritu tuo.]
V/ Sursum corda.
R/ Habémus ad Dóminum.
V/ Grátias agámus Dómino Deo nostro.
R/ Dignum et iustum est.
Vere dignum et iustum est,
invisíbilem Deum Patrem omnipoténtem
Filiúmque eius unigénitum,
Dóminum nostrum Iesum Christum,
toto cordis ac mentis afféctu et vocis ministério personáre.
Qui pro nobis ætérno Patri Adæ débitum solvit,
et véteris piáculi cautiónem pio cruóre detérsit.
Hæc sunt enim festa paschália,
in quibus verus ille Agnus occíditur,
cuius sánguine postes fidélium consecrántur.
Hæc nox est,
in qua primum patres nostros, fílios Israel
edúctos de Ægypto,
Mare Rubrum sicco vestígio transíre fecísti.
Hæc ígitur nox est,
quæ peccatórum ténebras colúmnæ illuminatióne purgávit.
Hæc nox est,
quæ hódie per univérsum mundum in Christo credéntes,
a vítiis sæculi et calígine peccatórum segregátos,
reddit grátiæ, sóciat sanctitáti.
Hæc nox est,
in qua, destrúctis vínculis mortis,
Christus ab ínferis victor ascéndit.
Nihil enim nobis nasci prófuit,
nisi rédimi profuísset.
O mira circa nos tuæ pietátis dignátio!
O inæstimábilis diléctio caritátis:
ut servum redímeres, Fílium tradidísti!
O certe necessárium Adæ peccátum,
quod Christi morte delétum est!
O felix culpa,
quæ talem ac tantum méruit habére Redemptórem!
O vere beáta nox,
quæ sola méruit scire tempus et horam,
in qua Christus ab ínferis resurréxit!
Hæc nox est, de qua scriptum est:
Et nox sicut dies illuminábitur:
et nox illuminátio mea in delíciis meis.
Huius ígitur sanctificátio noctis fugat scélera, culpas lavat:
et reddit innocéntiam lapsis
et mæstis lætítiam.
Fugat ódia, concórdiam parat
et curvat impéria.
O vere beáta nox,
in qua terrénis cæléstia, humánis divína iungúntur!¹
In huius ígitur noctis grátia, súscipe, sancte Pater,
laudis huius sacrifícium vespertínum,
quod tibi in hac cérei oblatióne solémni,
per ministrórum manus
de opéribus apum, sacrosáncta reddit Ecclésia.
Sed iam colúmnæ huius præcónia nóvimus,
quam in honórem Dei rútilans ignis accéndit.
Qui, lícet sit divísus in partes,
mutuáti tamen lúminis detrimenta non novit.
Alitur enim liquántibus ceris,
quas in substántiam pretiósæ huius lámpadis
apis mater edúxit.
Orámus ergo te, Dómine,
ut céreus iste in honórem tui nóminis consecrátus,
ad noctis huius calíginem destruéndam,
Et in odórem suavitátis accéptus,
supérnis lumináribus misceátur.
Flammas eius lúcifer matutínus invéniat:
ille, inquam, Lúcifer, qui nescit occásum.
Christus Fílius tuus,
qui, regréssus ab ínferis, humáno géneri serénus illúxit,
et vivit et regnat in sæcula sæculórum.
bad hair day... TGIGF -- thank god its good friday
- This note is very hard for me to write, but keeping it inside seems like hosting a lump of sand midway down the oesophagus. Not very nice.
- I got my arms twisted to go to Good Friday service today. This year marks the 13th year since I was baptised at SFX, after about a year of searching and comparing the various churches that I want to get baptised in. Life was good then and I was very attracted to the richness of the culture, tradition and liturgy found in the church.
- Somewhere approaching the 7th year, I started reading on the dark night of the soul and coupled with some crisis / distraction at that time, I began distancing myself and more and more unanswered questions started accumulating. After a period long enough looking from afar, being an "out-standing" member of the church, the unanswered questions became doubts and it was harder to reconcile.
- I've made really good friends, even soul-mates through the church. I have to say, that my greatest worry would be losing these friends. People who helped shaped the Arteo that he is today. Seriously, more than anything else, this is my greatest fear.
- One of the attraction or reason why coming to SFX has been quite fulfilling was due to the quality of sermon that was given by its previous priests, so even though my spirit can be as dry as the industrial thinner (okay, that was lame), listening to good sermon always quenches a certain thirst for spiritual truth, or moral ethics of good living at the very least. Even though the church warns against attachment to the persons, and instead focus on Christ, but one cannot help but be a little bit disappointed when the sermon is presented rather poorly.
- All that said, he did raise a thought in my mind, through his question: can there be love without sacrifice? Actually I was thinking: can there be sacrifice without love? If giving does not cause pain, can it be considered sacrificial giving? I remember quite a while ago, getting emotional on the pew when I was asking to be be shown what it means to love, and of all the kind of love that one is capable of, I wanted to know what it means to Love myself, the person that I am: physically, internally. And if the love that I know is not true love, what is Love then?
- But I guess that is a topic to ponder on another day. Meanwhile, Happy Easter, everybody.
the happiness algorithm by haidt
- Haidt in his book, Happiness Hypothesis, explains that happiness is a summation of five variables, one of which may be an individual constant.
- The costant may have arised from the current buzz on the understanding that happiness, like what is believed to be true also for body weight, and what is confirmed true for body temperature, has a biological set point and it may be different for individuals from one to another (although it is the same for body temperature for everbody).
- What this mean is that although the level of happiness can fluctuate depending on the other factors, there is always a set level of happiness that a person will fall back to. This may also mean that any other factors of happiness povide only temporary sense of happiness, and if time is let to run its course, happiness level may dwindle back down towards the set point.
- Some authors even call this a genetic set point, but I think that though mental conditions such as severe depression may be demonstrated hereditarily, personal characters and attitudes may play a bigger role in this so called 'set-point', and may even change if a person is able to change his or her temperament. So I may not be a buyer of the Happiness-Set-Point theory, and I chose to sweep it under the Temperament heading, because attitude and temperament, however may be shaped by upbringing and environment, can be changed.
- So Haidt may have a point in drawing out this algorithm, but I am more comfortable rewording some of those factors into something that I can relate to: so here is mine, where other factors like a person's sense of purpose, one's internal and external relationships, sense of control and sense of progress ;o) and I'll be working on my Fuzzy Project based on these categories.
TEMPERAMENT + PURPOSE + RELATION + CONTROL + PROGRESS
- I'm not too sure if this holiday time is too good for my discipline actually. Yes I may have gathered a good amount of reading material to read but haven't got the discipline to actually sit down and do the reading. Instead I've been enjoying the HyppTV that came with Unifi. Not exactly Astro, but will do.
- The red mouse failed me again, this time for good, so I went out early headed to Section 14 to get a new mouse. I lost my trust in Microsoft gadgets so I got a Logitech instead, for the same price.
- I was quite fascinated by the retro handheld phone receiver called Pop Phone, RM139 that connects to the hand phone and allows you too talk like good old days with the springy cords and everything. 10 minutes contemplating and I decided I don't need it.
- Got a bright red sports pants instead, and hopefully will reignite my mood for gym.
- The weather's getting gloomy, and it's perfect for an afternoon nap. Just hopefully it won't rain during pasar malam time tonight, I've been waiting a week for this.
- I think happiness hinges on routines and predictability, sometimes. There's something comforting and assuring about knowing how things are going to turn out, or having a schedule to follow. Perhaps that's my reading assignment next.
- And Owh, I was supposed to read up on Thomas Aquainas and what he said about happiness.
the coffee jesus for a.ng
- Trying to start my day better today, woke up considerably early (given that I'm on the tail end of my semester break, I could sleep in more), threw the laundry in the washing maching, did the dishes, airpressed myself a good jug of Vietnamese coffee and now getting ready to start the day (well, I was getting ready until I felt the urge to slip in an entry before going out).
- Yesterday was a very good day, with pleasant surprises thrown in and catching up with friends over dinner (and coffee) till late night.
- First, I decided to go to the Curve, and this is not a place I usually go to hang out, but I just wanted to check out the pepper mill that mom wanted from IKEA. On the way there I was clearing some emails through the phone (there was a traffic jam on the way there - I wasn't twiving!) and happened across a spam mail from A.Ng (as it appeared to be, that he was stuck in some country and needed money to get home bla bla bla), so I tried calling him up but it wouldn't get through. Sent a text asking if he was fine and he replied. So, ok.
- After a meatballs + chicken wings lunch at IKEA, I check out the kitchen utensil section and found out that they have changed the design of the pepper mill, and not sure if mom would like this one as much as the old one. So I decided to get it later and take a shortcut through the IKEA maze and head straigh out. Just as I was turning a corner, to my very pleasant surprise, A.Ng was there -- and he was just about to text me, telling me he's looking for a frame for the Coffee Jesus I gave him a while ago. It was a good catch up even though a tad short, and we were later joined by his youth Joel.
- Spent some 7 hours total at the Curve yesterday, for lunch+dinner+supper. Dinner was with JS and CN at Mache. The pricing was a tad steep, but the experience of ordering like from a marketplace was something I've not tried before. JS just got his Ingénieurship yesterday, so again, Well done Ir. Saw!
- Managed to finish off a chapter of Happiness Project yesterday, plan for today -- finish another one!
- April begins my fringing-on-obsession interest on the topic of happiness. A few occasions in March actually directed my attention to this topic, and none of them actually are significant enough to start a soul-searching journey on their own, but cumulatively they do have an impact, and although I must stress that in my search of happiness now, does not mean that I am necessarily unhappy or depressed. But life could be better and I just want to ponder on it.
- I started a nation-wide search (yeah, nation-wide) for a book called The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt, published in 2006 and currently NONE of the major bookstore in this country has it. Apparently BooksXcess had it once upon a time, but I missed the boat so I have to settle for paying the full price for it. There were some options for getting it online, but the waiting time for shipping and stuff puts me off. In the end, I decided to order from MPH for the shortest waiting time compared to other bookstores.
- Meanwhile, I've been reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, which also offers a lot of insights in a more practical manner, on how she strives to add on to her happiness by some changes and reliving certain determinations in her life as a wife, mother, career woman and as a person generally. I relate to her when she said that in starting her Happiness Project, she wasn't depressed or even unhappy, but she could be happier.
- I am determined to have my own journey for Happiness Project and while at it, learn a little bit more about happiness and hopefully be a happier person in the process. A lot of thoughts were put into this November-Blues that came late (better late than never, some say) but writing them all down now would go against my resolution to sleep early, rise early. And I want to finish off a chapter before I zzz later.
So I'm at the cross roads right now, and both the paths are not much of an economical issue to me, so the fringing utility that one has over the other has only very limited incremental value (of approximately RM7).
My first option is to get the book through acmamail.com, that has the American version of the print, larger font sized, for RM50.77, 3 weeks delivery period. The second option is the yellow UK print version, smaller print size, 2-3 weeks waiting period but more reliable as I'll be ordering through MPH Bookstore for RM56+.
Both requires waiting, or else I'd be happy to pay a bit for to get the book now, actually. Well, perhaps the main key to happiness could be patience.
I've been searching for this book: The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt, since I'm researching again on the topic of happiness following the soul-searching period that I'm going through currently. Up to today, I've not been able to get a copy yet, and I've exhausted almost all the major bookstore in Klang Valley looking for it. I almost had a glimpse of hope when the Borders at Gardens claimed to have a copy somewhere in the store but it was nowhere to be found, probably misplaced somewhere. So I went through its Psychology and Self-help shelves, all 9 compartments of 'em, to no success... and today, I went to Kinokuniya KLCC and walked all the way to Pavilion looking for the book and still disappointing. Checked through the bookstore networks too and still nil...
Except for one suggested by Emme at acmamall.com that claims the book to be on 28% sale yet still selling at RM50+... hhmmmm......
- The only recipe for getting things done for procrastinators like me is -- deliberation! There's no other way but to force myself to do it.. Like writing this blog entry. I'm doing this throughout the day, let's see how long can I last ;o)
- No matter how much practice we get, it's never going to be easy to break bad news to the patients, especially for primigravids who just experienced bleeding with clots well into the end of their first trimester. I've had mothers who seems strong and accepting when I tell them of the probability of miscarriage, and they really do make the job done easier. The one I had this morning cried on the ultrasound couch when I couldn't find the foetus via scan. Yeah, losing a baby even as young as 12 weeks old can be very depressing. And doctors had better equip themselves with soothing words to say should they get trapped in such situations.
- Early weekday clinics are kinda shittey to run. I guess 7 out of 10 ends up with MC, and ore often than not, they will spin up some symptoms that don't really tie up with their cositions, and I end up pressing my mind unnecessarily trying to figure out the logic of their symptom reporting.
- Learning how to write my name in Thai ARTEO (อาเตียว)... cool... but somehow it is back-translated to Ming Zhang by Google translate, god knows what that means... RODDY is (ร๊อดดี้).
- Got to know that one is allowed to become short term monk in Thailand, where he will spend the mornings and evenings in prayers and the day time attending Dharma classes. So one can choose to become a monk for 7 days, 15 days or 30 days. Thought that's kinda fun. The head shaving isn't optional though...
- Have not been able to be disciplined with taking Aviance Slym pills... Got to find other motivation to do it, since paying a huge bomb for it doesn't seem to pinch anymore.
- Ah... can't wait for Transformers III later. Tickets are sold out for all the nearby cinemas and there are no seatings further than the 3rd row from the screen, that's absurd! Lastly I had to make do with watching it at Tropicana, on a Monday night. It had better be worth it!