The Meaning Of Life

I am not sure where this post will lead to so please be warned that this will sort of be a major “core dump” and the mother of all randomness.

Much have happened between the last quarter of 2017 and up to this point. I finally have the time to be alone to “release my mind”.

It was World Compliment Day two days ago on 1st March. The need for such a day deserves to be reflected upon. It makes me feel that the world is in so much need of love. That is because we no longer give credit where credit is due. We are very stingy with our compliments for others.

I am not sure about you but I feel that we are living in times when we are very quick to discard, judge, and “kill” while it takes much longer to heal.

We live with a lot of insecurities and distrust.

The world has never been noisier. It feels like there is so much distortions and interferences in the matrix. There is some sort of disquiet.

We have so much and yet we yearn for more.

Comfort entices us to be greedy and live above our means.

Often times, we slip and fall in our pursuits for short lived happiness.

The taste of luxury get us hooked and so we keep chasing after the “first high”.

But at the end, we realize that what we yearn for is not of material in nature. We need the connection with others – the relationships and friendships.

Then, there are those relationships that breaks down due to all sorts of reasons. We often forget that it takes two hands to clap and it is usually not fully the fault of one party.

Whatever situation that life puts us in, it really is up to ourselves to chart the course of our destinies. At the core of it all, we are to face life alone because everyone have their own demons, vices, and struggles to conquer.

To make things better, we are encouraged to dream BIG.

To take charge!

And to BELIEVE that nothing is impossible…

Perhaps life is just an illusion that we condition our minds to believe.

I guess the key to life is to stop depending on the need for external affirmations. We need not yearn for the compliments to tell ourselves of our self worth. We need to stop putting tangible measurements on ourselves because not everything is measurable and in numbers.

Can you really put a value to a life?


Organized Chaos

Happy New Year 2018!

Christmas sure brought an interesting facet to life last year but it was the feast of the Holy Family (the week after Christmas) that brought an interesting homily. It is no coincidence that the same message was repeated twice in the span of two days for me.

It is a glimpse of the future as well as what we can do now to prepare us for that.

Unfortunately we can never accurately define the future but instead to speculate based on the current trends.

On one hand, we were asked to recall the types of jobs that did not exist 10 years ago but are available today. In the same manner, we were also asked to imagine what will be the jobs of the future. With that thought process, we need to reflect and contemplate what will be the relevant skill sets our children will need moving forward. It gets complicated given the different upbringing, values, traits, and behaviors of the younger generations.

That was the gist of what I have heard at my children’s school briefing Saturday morning and it was something worth pondering.

And in the priest’s homily last Sunday (New Year’s Eve), he shared with us his observations and what he derived as the 3 common temptations destroying family life today. I was only able to make a mental note and the following are all that I can salvage from my deplorable short term memory:-

1. Pampering instead of loving children

Due to all the guilt for not spending quality time with children, most of us shower them with material things to make up for what we perceived as our inadequacies. There should be “no gadget” policy at meal times.

2. Confusion between the definition of equality and sameness

Using an analogy of the relationship between a teacher and his/her pupil, as a person the teacher and pupil are equal but in terms of role, they are not the same. A student will respect his or her teacher because the latter is wiser. They both have different purposes in life and in many aspects are not equal.

3. Over exaggeration of one human dimension over the other

We have various needs and there are many perspectives to life be it spiritual, financial, physical, mental, and intellect. When we emphasize too much on one of these dimensions, there will be an imbalance that may cause a rift in the family.

Life seemed and should be simple but all the above can be quite provocative. I believe that the fundamentals in life do not change. Automation and Robots are just tools to assist us humans. They will never replace human empathy, compassion, and the ability to love.

Unless and until technology is able to replace this human dimension, humans will always rule over technology.

Unless we choose to be enslaved by technology and losing our fundamentals and values through allowing our younger generation uncontrolled gadget time, the furthest we can go is having people that live on things that are created rather than being the creators themselves.

We are in this period of “organized chaos” where everything is vague and murky. We all need to find clarity and the first thing we all need to do is to see the purpose in everything. We need to get back to basics where one needs not exchange cold hard cash for a virtual currency before performing a transaction.

When we can eat directly using a spoon, why should we eat using another tool that holds the said spoon?

Chimpanzees have been documented to solve problems by using tools like twigs to fish for insects. There is no intermediary tools used and it is a practical and direct approach.

I always wonder why humans tend to make things complicated or make things look intimidating just to sugar coat a simple concept.
There is a saying that goes – “if you can’t convince them, confuse them”.

There are things we need to re-invent and improve in order to advance but not fix what is not broken.

I am sure you get my point.

For 2018, my wish is for people all around the world to have CLARITY. Clarity in seeing what is right and in making the best decisions for oneself, family, community, and the world at large.

I hope that we are able to take a step back to admire the beauty in all the “organized chaos” in our lives, zoom in on what’s important, and go through all challenges successfully.

Have a good year ahead!

Happiness & Joy

The four weeks of Advent leading up to Christmas are given each a virtue – Hope, Love, Joy, & Peace. Some churches practice the lighting of four candles on the Christmas wreath representing each virtue.

There is a sense of expectancy, anticipation and waiting during the season of Advent for the celebration of Jesus’ birthday. And we’ve entered the 3rd week of Advent which is represented by the virtue of Joy.

I have always wondered the difference between Joy and Happiness because very often, I have written notes on greeting cards using these two words in the same sentence.

Fr. Michael defined it most accurately for us in his sermon last weekend.

“Joy is the contrast of Happiness”

Happiness comes from the outside while Joy is from within.

And he gave a few examples of how we are happy when we obtain and receive certain material things or when we receive compliments from someone.

I am unable to recall the examples he gave for joy but I guess it was along the lines of joy being permanent and comes from our inner soul. Joy can come from how much we understand ourselves – our self worth, purpose, and etc.

It is midweek and the fourth Sunday of Advent will soon be upon us. For some of us, we might be spending most of our weekend in church for 4th Sunday of Advent and also Christmas Vigil since both fall on the same day.

Nonetheless, I would like to wish you Merry Christmas! May you be blessed with Hope, Love, Joy, Peace, and Happiness (fellowship, food, and gifts being external factors)!


Split Second

I usually spend my idle time thinking about life. The trip this week has given me a few opportunities to reflect on life and my outlook of it. There are times when I felt that I have taken a lot of things for granted and have been ungrateful of the blessings in my life.

And as I reflected further and drilled down into the miniscule aspects of life, I realized that how great of a change just one second in time can bring to our lives.

In other words, in a split second, many things can happen be it good or bad. In a split of a second, I’ll probably be born into a life without choices – freedom of religion being one. In a split of a second, I might be in a plane crash or an accident. In a split of a second, I may die in my sleep.

As such, the first order of things for me whenever I visit a foreign land is to always be still in the presence of God and to give Him thanks for another day of life.
This is not a show of my holiness or the lack of. Infact, I am far from a holy person by any standard. Afterall, I am just a human with imperfections. It is just me believing that in all things uncontrollable, there is a God.

We tend to overthink and overanalyze things. We want to get an explaination and justification for everything in our lives. What we cannot see or touch is usually doubtful.

As we wind down for the weekend and on my flight back home, one statement came on strongly and I think it is worth sharing. I hope it puts into perspective why some of us believe in the divine.

“If we can explain for certain the randomness of death then, we can clearly define the existence of God.”


Divine Mercy Sunday: The Minimalist Christ

Every now and then, I get inspiration to create an artwork. Such a moment presented itself last evening and it became my short spiritual journey.

And this is the story of “The Minimalist Christ”.

1. As I gazed upon the cross in church last evening, a vision started to take shape. I couldn’t get it off my mind…

2. As we left church, I asked my wife to drive and go somewhere with a hardware shop so that I can get some materials…

I started to sketch in the car…

3. I came home to draw a better version of what I have sketched earlier…

4. I started “nailing” Jesus to the plank….

5. I then starting twisting wires around the nails but it just didn’t work as I expected. I wanted so much to give emphasis on the “crown of thorns” and it proved to be the hardest to shape. I kinda wondered why the people back then took the trouble making the crown of thorns…

6. The nails did not work in helping me shape the image I had envisioned so I started twisting and turning the wire using my hands. Nothing seemed to be going as planned. And in the end, something prompted me to end my work with a heart. Not a bad idea since we are celebrating Divine Mercy (Sacred Heart) Sunday.

Moral of the story is, do not emphasize on the crown of thorns but on the sacred heart instead. Love and not hate….


This was done using a single line of wire without breaking.

This is not the final product. I am looking for a cross that will match with the wire sculpture. I painted a cross on the wooden plank as a concept to see how the wire sculpture would look like on a cross.

I then decided to name this artwork – “The Minimalist Christ”….

7. And these are what’s left on the plank – holes from the nails. They reminded me of one of the verses used for the gospel reading this weekend:

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”~John 20:27

This morning, I went to the hardware store to get some wood to make the cross and to complete the artwork.

8. It is done and complete.

“The Minimalist Christ”




Amazing how another week is now behind us. Here I am sitting alone reflecting on the past week.

Spiritual wise, the highlight for me this week is reading about Pope Francis stating that “it is better to be an antheist than a bad Christian”. One statement that can be interpreted in so many ways but as simple as it is, I must agree.

It got me thinking about the factors that causes us to hold strong to goodness and justice. And perhaps, what breaks.

The world offers us so many distractions and temptations that not only challenge our moral values but also pose a threat of destroying the fabric of our communities.

I sometimes wondered why people feel no remorse for their wrongdoings. I can only tell myself that there is a very thin line between good and bad. The tipping point or the most challenging moment is when one convinced oneself enough (through various justifications) that his or her morally and legally wrongdoing is right.

My observation tells me that we live in a very conflicting world where everyone wants so much to be correct. While some of us look at things from a higher moral ground, others are not at all too particular. Thus, good and bad are open for interpretation and definition.

But I guess the hardest thing is for us to expect others to act in a certain way that is within our acceptable and comfortable boundaries. That is exactly what religions are for some – a set of instructions to lead a good life. If only there is a Life 101 book, we would all be living in perfect harmony.

Lent is upon us and for Catholics, it is a time of fasting and self-denial. At a certain corner of my mind, I am questioning the need for conformation and uniformity. I am not one who follows blindly but seek the purpose of every action. I am bad news for religious people who are over assertive and imposing. The one question that I have always asked during this time is “Why should I be made, accused or compelled into convincing myself of being an undeserving sinner?”

What is the purpose in that?

Yes, through self-denial I may become a humble person but can I not practice humility without “downsizing” myself?

It really is a struggle. Just when can we stop crucifying ourselves? Year in and year out, this is rinsed and repeated. What is the purpose exactly – just to keep us in line?

Perhaps it is not my purpose in life. The struggles that I have within me is not about religious values anymore. It is beyond that. I know I must love – that much I have learned from the religion I profess.

My struggle is missing the people I love far away.

My struggle is not able to make people I love happy.

My struggle is not being able to get a good response when at one’s deathbed, the question “Have I Loved You?” is asked.

Plainly because, saints are not saints if they are not recognized and canonized. I wonder how many saints we have missed in our lifetime because of our disillusioned expectations and wrong moral obligations.

I would like to leave you with a quote from a very touching movie I watched only last evening entitled “A Dog’s Purpose”. And the quote goes:

So, as all my life as a dog, here’s what I’ve learned. Have fun, obviously. Whenever possible, find someone to save and save them.
Lick the ones you love. Don’t get all sad faced about what happened and scrunchy faced about what could. Just be here now. Be here now…

If you have not watched it yet, make sure you go watch this beautiful movie. Don’t forget to bring along some extra napkins – I am pretty sure you’ll need them.



For the past 2 years now I have seen retrenchment rearing its ugly head. The anxieties caused by the uncertainties that it brings is heart wrenching. It is a normal progression in one’s life to start a family when he or she feels secure and safe enough. We all know very well how difficult it is to maintain and nurture a good family. When one loses a source of income, imagine the amount of stress it would cause not only to the individual affected but his or her family as well.

As much as it is interesting to be living in this era when we get to “see it all”, it is also one of the most challenging of times. We boast about technology all the time and how its disruptions can affect all of us.

That is when I get a little confused to be honest.

What sets humans and animals apart is our ability to innovate and find solutions to complex problems. We learn that in the wild, chimpanzees are able to find solutions by using things around them as tools.

Taking a step back and looking at technology as nothing but a myriad selection of tools, I feel that it should ease our lives significantly. In other words, we should be efficient and effective using these tools and at the same time improve our living conditions especially time for ourselves and our family. But with smartphones and broadband, it seems that it is not the case. Instead of having better lives with information at our finger tips, we are finding ourselves being overwhelmed by the demands of work whenever we receive an email at any time and day of the week. There is a great need for an instant response these days and children are kept preoccupied with devices even during meal times.

I cannot help but to see a very uncertain future. So much so that it reminds me of the movie The Terminator starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. I can now imagine how this world might be taken over by the machines and humans end up fighting them in resistance. If you think about it, with the dawn of autonomous cars, we are in fact heading towards that direction.

My question is, if all these advancements are for the betterment of our lives, what would the currency of the world be in the future?

If advanced technologies can take over all our jobs, are we expected to sit idle without a source of income? And how then do we enjoy the technological advancements that promise an ideal and convenient life – we need money to buy a robot as domestic helper, no?

Will food be readily available for free on the shelves since robots can produce them without cost?

Will cost of goods be a thing of the past?

I cannot imagine the hardship people go through feeling helpless and hopeless without a purpose and sense of achievement through utilizing their unique talents. I believe that we really need to rethink and redefine how we approach technology as a tool to assist us instead of being enslaved by our addiction, dependence, and reliance on it.

Lest, we end up being reduced to nothing but a binary number – Dead (0) or Alive (1).