Sunday, January 19, 2020

Bass Line on 4 Apr 2020

Bass Line
4 Apr 2020 Sat, 6.00 p.m. 
Conservatory Orchestra Hall (Level 3),
Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music
National University of Singapore
3 Conservatory Drive
Singapore 117376
Free Admission

Students from the Conservatory's Bass studio, led by Artist Faculty, Guennadi Mouzyka, performs original music and transcriptions for Bass solo and Bass ensemble. For more information, please visit: https://www.ystmusic.nus.edu.sg/event/bass-line-040420/#


Monday, December 30, 2019

Brené Brown's Braving the Wilderness

Title: Braving the Wilderness
Author: Brené Brown
Publisher: Vermilion London (2017)

I was recommended to read this book when I shared that there were times when I felt I had not belonged.

Essentially, the message from the author is:

"True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of somethng and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn't require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are."

In this book, which gathered data from the author's research, she outlined that braving the wilderness is the hardest of all calls to courage. Th call was for us to show up and stand up for our beliefs, in civil and respectful ways. The book ends with a quote from Maya Angelou:

"You are only free when you realize you belong no place - you belong every place - no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great."

Read: Beyond Willpower

Title: Beyond Willpower: The Secret Principle to Achieving Success in Life, Love and Happiness
Author: Alexander Loyd, Ph.D., N.D.
Published by: Harmony Books (2015)

When I was at the library, I was browsing for a book to borrow to read. I somehow picked up this book to read. The author shared his personal story and how he had been transformed by what he termed as 'the Greatest Principle". In a nutshell what is needed to be known is:

"Virtually every problem or lack of happiness and success comes from an internal state of fear in some form - even physical problems. And every internal state of fear results from a deficit of love in relation to that particular issue."

In this book, the author wrote about the 'stress response' mechanism which results from internal fear and causes the release of cortisol that could result in symptoms such as illnesses, pain and so forth.

On the other hand, the author also wrote about the concept of 'internal love which cause the natural release of oxytocin and can programme a person to succeed.

In this book, he outlined steps to lay the foundations of the Greatest Principle.

For a principle that requires regular practice to demonstrate its effectiveness, while I appreciate the author's generosity to share the principles in writing, I would appreciate more to have the support from him personally to practise the principles and test its effectiveness when it is applied to life. Nevertheless, I am thankful to be acquainted to this book.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Edith Sheffer's Asperger's Children: The Origins of Autism in Nazi Vienna

Title: Asperger's Children The Origins of Autism in Nazi Vienna
Author: Edith Sheffer
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company (2018)

Edith Sheffer is a historian of Germany and central Europe, and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Europen Studies at the University of California, Berkeley at the point of printing of this book. This book will be a must read for anyoen who wants a historical perspective and depth to what is known commonly as the Asperger Syndrome and that of what is commonly referred to as "Autism".

This book carries out a series of investigations of the historical and socio-political context particularly around the period of Nazi Vienna, which could have shaped what we now know as autism.

The author's beloved son wasdiagnosed with autism when he was seventeen months old. Yet he was aganist the idea of autism and the position is: "Autism is not real; we all have issues. However, some are more noticeable than others. Autism is not a diability or diagnosis. It is a stereotype for certain individuals. People with autism should be treated like everyone else, because if they are not, it will make them be even less social...."

Definitely a book that I would recommend all professionals who work with people diagnosed with any form of Autism Spectrum Disorder, for a glimpse of what could be a historical and socio-political context that could have shaped autism.

Personally, I will be curious to find out whether even earlier in history, how societies or cultures view people who could have presented descriptions of behaviours that appear similar to what has been identified today as typically behaviours presented by people diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Read: Simone's Aspergirls

Author: Rudy Simone
Title: Aspergirls: Empowering Females with Asperger Syndrome
Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers (2010)

This is a very accessible book possibly written for females with Asperger Syndrome, their parents, family members, partners, and everyone else. It appears to distinct itself by highlighting that the symptoms and challenges presented by females with Asperger Syndrame are often different from those than males with the same diagnosis. This book is aimed to be a handbook written by "an Aspergirl for Aspergirls".

A very accessible read with a personal perspective for anyone who is curious to read more about this end of the Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Read: Grandin's The Autistic Brain

Author: Temple Grandin and Richard Panek
Title: The Autistic Brain: Thinking Across the Spectrum
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2013)

An insightful read from Temple Grandin and Richard Panek on the Autistic Brain. The key narrative voice of this book seemed to be that of Temple Grandin who speaks from her personal experiences combined with her understanding of research on autism.

This book sheds light on how neuroimaging and the technology of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging sheds deeper light into the anatomical structures inside the brain, and the likely difference between a neural-typical brain and that of someone who could have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis.

I am left with the question, is ASD truly predetermined biologically or influenced by nurture. This remained open for further investigations.

This is one of the books I would recommend a read for an understanding in the topic of ASD.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Read: Singer's The Surrender Experiment

Author: Michael A. Singer
Title: The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life's Perfection
Publisher: Yellow Kite Books

This book was recommended by a friend of mine, and I borrowed it from the library.

The book speaks of the author's personal experiences of his decision to let go of his personal preferences and simply let life call the shots. A radical experience in some ways, and I wonder how much I could embrace a life of total surrender like he has done, to let go of himself.

Whatever it is, I am thankful for the read, and have caught a glimpse of what it could mean to fully surrender to the callings of life itself.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Gedun Chöpel: Tibetan Arts of Love

Author: Gedun Chöpel
Introduced and Translated by: Jeffrey Hopkins, with Dorje Yudon Yuthok
Title: Tibetan Arts of Love
Publisher: Snow Lion, Shambhala Publications Inc (1992).

A friend of mine pointed to me that this was one of the books recommended by the author of another book that I was reading, and I managed to get a loan to this book. This edition is a translation of Gedun Chöpel's "Treatise on Passion" by Jeffrey Hopkins.

In this edition, Professor Jeffrey Hopkins gave an accessible introduction to the life of Gedun Chöpel. Gedun Chöpel was a former monk considered to be highly controversial. Gedun Chöpel had travelled to India, where he learned Sanskrit and studied the Kama Sutra.

Jeffrey Hopkins pointed and highlight in the introduction how Gedun Chöpel's "Treatise on Passion" shows sensitivity and concern towards the equality of women. "Treatise on Passion" also discussed on the theme of the sexual pleasure of women and how to achieve it. Other themes that were recurrently discussed in Gedun Chöpel's "Treatise on Passion" were the relationships between sexual pleasure and spiritual insights, the ethic of love, and others.

It was interesting and eye-opening as a female reader to read on this subject matter of love, sex, orgasm and spiritual healing from Gedun Chöpel's perspective. Gedun Chöpel who had once been a monk with vows of celibacy, had travelled and read in depth, exercised independent thinking on the subject matter. It helps to please read this book with the awareness that whatever was written was from a perspective of the writer, Gedun Chöpel, who had practised as a former Tibetan monk, and the socio-cultural background that he was living in. I have found it helpful to first read the introduction by Professor Jeffrey Hopkins to gain some understanding of the context of the worldview of Gedun Chöpel and the references that he has referred to.

Please exercise independent thinking with the awareness that the book was from the lenses of the author and his understanding of the references and texts that he had read, through the translation of another person who did his best to give as close a translation as possible.

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Read: Stranger in a Strange Land

Title: Stranger in a Strange Land
Author: Robert A. Heinlein
Publisher: New English Library (1991)

This book is said to be a Science Fiction Classic. I learnt that the edition that I was reading is the original edition that was first conceived and put down on paper by the author, Robert Heinlein.

This science fiction book revolves around the protagonist, Valentine Michael Smith, who is essentially a man who has been brought up as a Martian. Somehow, science fiction book did not appeal to me enough for me to resonate with every page of the book. Nevertheless, I managed to browse through and read the book pretty quickly to get the gist of it.

Possibly, the book's message could be that potentially each of us is God, and that the gift of being human is the right to love?

What struck me was the author's attempt to illustrate how the cultures and worldview of Man and Martians could be so diverse, and to illustrate how the upbringing of a Man raised as a Martians somehow expands the idea of the capacity of what a Man could be.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Read: The Courage to Be Disliked

Title: The Courage To Be Disliked - How to free yourself, change your life and achieve real happiness
Authors: Ichiro Kishmi and Fumitake Koga
Publisher: Allen & Unwin

This book was a recommendation from a friend. It was said to be an enormous bestseller in Asia.

The book is based upon the theories of the Alfred Adler and addressed the notion set in the title of this book by discussing the following key aspects:
1) Deny trauma
2) All problems are interpersonal relationship problems
3) Discard other people's tasks
4) Where the centre of the world is
5) To live in earnest in the here and now

This book is written in a manner that revolves around a conversation between a philosopher and a young man. While I appreciate that this style of writing facilitated the accesibility of reading the book and allowed the subject of Alfred Adler's theories to weave like a conversational dialogue to a lay-person, I somehow found myself reading the entire book and not being able to pinpoint what I have learnt from it. Either I have not fully grasp the messages from this book or I had assimilated the teachings subconsciously.

This may not be the book I would readily pick up again, at least not in the near future.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Read: The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

Author: Sogyal Rinpoche
Title: The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
Published in 2017 by Rider

This edition of the book that I was reading is the 25th anniversary edition. A preoccupation with death and a search for the meaning of living had brought me to borrow this book to read.

I possibly have not fully comprehend the depths of this book in a single reading. The book had been such profound to read that at various moments of reading the book, I was tearing and crying from the heart, feeling moved by what I had read.

The author wrote about a question that one of his students asked him "What in your heart of hearts do you really want to happen through this book when it is published?" The author found himself saying "I want every human being not to be afraid of death, or of life; I want every human being to die at peace, and surrounded by the wisest, clearest, and most tender care, and to find the ultimate happiness that can only come from an understanding of the nature of mind and of reality."

From my experience of reading this book, it could open up more exploration on the topic of living and dying. I will not be surprised to find myself referring to this book in the future.


Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Read: Robert Schwartz's Your Soul's Plan

Title: Your Soul's Plan - Discovering the Real Meaning of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born
Author: Robert Schwartz
Publisher: Frog Books

This is not the kind of book I would have readily pick up to read. Sheer curiousity at a moment in time got me to me intereested in this book when a friend of mine started to read it and shared some of what she was present to from the book on Facebook. The book was pointed to this friend of mine in a chat-group by someone I knew.

I realized that my local library holds copies of this book in ebook form, and borrowed a copy of the ebook to read.

This book will be quite a meaningful read for any one who will like a paradigm shift in the way he/ she looks at life-challenges. This book explores the concept of pre-birth planning. Thanks to the generosity of several individuals who participated in sharing their stories in this book, the book explored how the individuals involved could have planned their challenges, and the amount of courage it could require to live the plans.

I am choosing to remain open yet openly skeptical about the possibility of pre-birth plannning. At the same time, in this world where there are so many mysteries, this could be a book to read to open ourselves up to new paradigm.

For more information on Rob Schwartz and Your Soul's Plan, please refer to: https://www.yoursoulsplan.com

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Read: Sonia Choquette's Traveling at the Speed of Love

Title: Traveling at the Speed of Love
Author: Sonia Choquette
Publisher: Hay House, Inc

I was introduced by a friend, whom I have gotten to know when I was travelling in Boston, to the writings by Sonia Choquette. I borrowed this book from the local library, and found her writings to be accessible and exuding a sense of humour that is light-hearted and lively.

This book essentially communicates the message of choosing to live in a frequency of unconditional love. In a modern world when many of us travel at the frequency of fear and exist in a victim consciousnesss, her book encourages us to take our power back by travelling at the speed of love.

I like the way that this book has been written to demonstrate the power of her imaginative use of anecdotes and examples. A book that I will recommend. I will be happy to receive this book as a resource to my personal library in the near future.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Read: Redfield's The Celestine Prophecy: An Adventure

Title: The Celestine Prophecy: An Adventure (copyright 1993)
Author: James Redfield
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, New York, Boston.

This book was a recommendation to me. I felt very thankful that by sheer intuition, I went to a local library to borrow this book without first checking the catalogue and was pleasantly surprised that the very local library that I had gone to had stored one copy of the book, and it was available!

Essentially, the protagonist in this book undertook a journey to find and understand a series of nine spiritual insights that were found in an ancient manuscript in Peru.

The Nine Insights of The Celestine Prophecy have been listed in this site: https://www.gurus.org/dougdeb/Courses/bestsellers/Celestine/Insights.htm

The Third Insight speaks of an energy that forms the basis of all things. The perception of this energy by humans can be initiated with an increased awareness of beauty. The chapter on the Third Insight also pointed to how human beings can develop the capacity to notice when and how we give and receive the energy.

In the Sixth Insight, revelation about the different kind of "control dramas" which are patterns of causing others to give us energy were described. Essentially, to be in a state of love with the world on a regular basis, we have to let go of the pattern of behaviour described by these control dramas. The four of them are namely: The Intimidator, The Interrogator, The Aloof, The Poor Me.

The Eighth Insight illustrates about interpersonal ethics of relating to others.

The Ninth Insight speaks of the posibility that when humans continue to increase our vibrations to a certain level, we can become invisible o those who are still vibrating at a lower level.

A book worthwhile to read.