Wednesday, March 4, 2009


On 2 March 2009, went to partake a session of divination at a place recommended by a colleague who had gone there just last Friday. More curiosity than anything else, I went for the appointment, nearly an hour late because it needed my time of birth and I was scrambling all over the flat looking for a piece of yellowish paper called the birth certificate which I had not glanced at for many many many years!

I must admit that I went there with a lot of apprehension and in truth not expecting much in return. I even started on the wrong footing when the "master" asked me to pick a card from the stack he had just shuffled - I took 2 cards instead of one! Luckily my fingers were holding on to one card only, so the other card that was "revealed" was cast aside. The "master" then placed my chosen card at the centre and formed the Eight Trigrams for divination with sequential cards drawn from the stack. He was shaking his head most of the time, which means things are not looking up! I was there to hear what he could foretell about my past and my current state of things without me saying anything, not so much about my immediate and near distant future. I have been at rock bottom for many years so I could take anything he was about to toss at me.

(1) There is no saviour or saviours (贵人) in sight for me.
(2) This year is not a good year for my chinese zodiac sign and my year of birth.
(3) Luck? Very little.
(4) Problems/Disputes? Many.
(5) True Love? Bitter, then sweet (先苦后甜). - This one is way off-track man! I had absolutely nothing in sight, having just lost the big one in 2008.
(6) Work/Job/Career/Human Relationship? Career-wise, refer to (1) & (2)...in a word, near hopeless! I was told it is no good to wear my heart on my sleeves, that I was too "straight", too "direct", too "one-way street" that people tend to take advantage of this fact and "use and then forget" about me.

As you can see, things are, in a word - HOPELESS!

OK, I went along with whatever "remedies" to sort of improve the situation that he "prescribed"...........including being told to pray to the Chinese God of War, Guan Yu (關羽) to improve my lot. I then recalled that I WAS actually at the site of the former Kingdom of Wu - Chengdu, Szechuan and also visited the Temple of Marquis Wu and paid my respects to two Heroes of the Three Kindgom period - Kong Ming (a.k.a. Zhugeliang) and the honourable Guan Yu (Guan Yunchang)! So in a way, I had actually "Pay It Forward", so to speak. (Does it mean I would be OK for the year then???)

Hope for the Best, Expect the Worse................under the current economic woes, this may be the wisest approach, really.

Monday, March 2, 2009


The Unforgettables of the 3rd China trip (in no particular order):

(1) A Walk On The Wild Side - The Great Wall Hike. Undoubtedly the best way to see the Great Wall is to see the wild and unrestored parts in its full splendour and glory. No crowds to jostle with, the wall in full view, take as many photos as you want without framing in other people, see the wall stretches out into the distance etc. What more can anyone ask for? A marvel that survived the modern times that no one should miss in this lifetime.

(2) Meeting Baby Miracle from the Szechuan Earthquake. I could still recall the excitement in me during the nearly 2 hours long journey to Mianyang to visit Song Xinyi. I think she and her family, unknowingly, taught me lessons in life which I could never have learned any other way.

(3) Nightswimming - The Night Climb up Mount Huashan. With torch lights, faint lightings and moonlight, we literally "feel" our way up the mountain in the dark of the night.....and we were the only group going up that night!

(4) Starry Starry Night - Viewing the picturesque night skies up on Huashan full of stars and constellations that looked so near and yet so far....all in freeze frame mode too! For your eyes only as the available cameras at that moment could not capture it. Vaguely we consigned it all to memory however faint the memories were at that point in time with fatigue setting in.

(5) Catching the daybreak and sunrise atop Huashan. One of those things that makes the climb up so worthwhile. A great way to start a brand new day after all the legwork getting up there.

(6) The plank walk on the cliff of Huashan. The best way to describe this was best echoed by one of the co-climbers - "No hesitation doing it a second time after coming back from the first one". It was that exciting and memorable. I was having serious second thoughts after seeing the conditions descending down to the starting point but it only took a split second to change my mind considering the difficult climb up here and also I might never get to return to this place. So it was "here goes nothing" and "just do it". Anyone afraid of heights will forever banish the fear after completing this walk.

(7) Reaching the highest peak of Huashan. It would not be complete without reaching the highest peak of any mountains. The views, the sigh of relief, the sense of achievement.....makes the way down a mere stroll in the park.

(8) Dinner overlooking the Bell Tower in Xi'an, the company, the food, the wine, the occasion(s) - everything was perfect! On New Year's Eve too!

(9) The Szechuan Earthquake DVD. The closest thing to actually being there. We all tend to forget about the disaster after a while, this trip made by those brave souls show the aftermath of the quake and the life of living in the disaster areas after the quake. I salute these brave souls as well as those affected by the quake who are still in the midst of returning back to normal life. Death is easy, living is the hardest part.

(10) Muslim Quarters, 清真寺 The Great Mosque (Xi'an). A unique convergence of cultures between things Muslim and things Chinese.

(11) 灌汤包 (Xi'an). I still drools thinking about these!

(12) Cycling round on top the City Walls of Xi'an. Seeing the old and the new in one round trip. Not many places in this world that you could see almost an entire city in less than 2 hours on a bicycle.

(13) Big Wild Goose Pagoda & the water fountain show. Mounting a pagoda and seeing the narrowing pathways upwards is quite an experience in itself. Along the way - the Buddha relics, the scriptures, works of art on the walls and the panoramic views. The water fountain show in the night is a sight to behold too!

Add in between Nos. (3) thru' (13) --> Dathy, Dathy and more Dathy!!!