Chinese New Year

Chinese new year (CNY) is always a great time of reunion.

CNY 2015 Reunion Dinner
CNY 2015 Reunion Dinner

Many of us may be working far away from home town, busy schedule prevents us to visit our parents and relatives often. CNY is one of those beautiful moments you can share with them.

2nd Day of CNY at Concorde Hotel

2nd Day of CNY at Concorde Hotel

I heard young people telling me that CNY is such a waste of time. Big groups of family friends gather together doing “aimless” activities like gambling, chatting (or gossiping), cooking and washing. CNY is no longer treasured by our younger generations. Why? I can think of a few reasons for this phenomenon.

  1. Nuclear family structure becoming a norm – How do we define a family now? The first thing comes into our mind is “husband, wife and children”, right? This is our society’s “normal” family structure. We do not encourage living with our parents because they tend to interfere our family affairs. There are many good points to live as a nuclear family – the couple can learn to cope with life independently and therefore develop maturity in their characters. The downside of this is that these children grow up without interacting with grandparents very much. Grandpa and gandma are guests who come to visit them once in a blue moon – and their visits often create arguments between their parents. The antidote is to increase the opportunities for the children to interact with extended family members like going outings, travelling, shopping or having meals together. Do not make CNY is the only time the children meeting their uncles, aunties, cousins and nephews.
  2. Parents’ hypocrisy – When we are not with the extended family, our children hear complaints and gossips about grandparents, uncles, aunties, cousins and nephews. The words are filled with anger, jealousy and sarcasm. During CNY, they see parents’ facial expressions change and sweetest words come out “naturally”  from the lips – they are seeing the hypocrisy and they hate it. What the parents ignore or despise, the children reject. The antidote is to be REAL. We live a life which always give honest credit and praise to our extended family members, stop all the striving and jealousy among siblings but be thankful for each one of them.
  3. The influence of Western individualistic culture – The Western education and culture is mostly based on a self-centred operational mode. When parents are not placing importance to the value of community (which is one of the core value of Chinese or oriental culture), mutual love and generosity of blessing others, we should not be surprised by our children’s inclination of living a life looking at their own interest only. They will abhor any inconvenience arising from interacting with extended family which does not bring “benefits” to them. The small amount of money inside the red packets does not worth their effort to endure the inconveniences. The antidote is to teach community and oriental value by living examples. We practice generosity by giving to family and friends’ needs, encourage to live inconveniently for the sake of others, constantly remind our children of the positive value and root of the oriental culture and not idolising the Western culture and value (though they do have many good parts for us to learn from)

Of course there are many more reasons and ways of helping our children to appreciate CNY and the cultural value therein. You are welcome to give your suggestions via the comment in this post.

Our CNY tradition - Dim Sum brunch

Our CNY tradition – Dim Sum brunch

Above all, LOVE is the main reason for us to celebrate CNY. We want to share our love with our extended family members. We want to full heartedly wish them goodwill and blessings.

A Christian friend share this CNY song with me via his FB. It was composed by his church friends. I love it – CNY is a time we recount God’s grace and blessings and be thankful in our hearts. CNY is also a time we want to share with our extended family members, relatives and friends the love of Jesus as we experience it daily.

I hope you enjoy this new CNY song – 蒙福

Valentine’s Day – You want to travel?

Blessed Valentine’s Day (3 days in advance)

I received this message from Lonely Planet…… sharing with me the 10 “best” traveling places on Valentine’s Day – well, at least for the rich and well to do couples.

Personally I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day because it is really too commercial. You may say I am not a romantic lover cum husband, I just don’t see the point to buy a stalk of rose for many times its’ price in “normal” days! My practical mind overcomes any slight impulse of wanting to be romantic. 🙂 I thank God that my wife Julia has the same idea. She said, “Why don’t we save that money and spend it on something else on another day, that gives us added purchasing power and value for the same amount of money.” Yay! It’s blessed to have a wife who has the same mind.

I want to share this not because I “condone” spending lavishly on Valentine’s Day………it’s just that the photographs in this are so beautiful that I want you to enjoy the places with your eyes if you are like me cannot afford to be there. Continue reading

Life is like coffee

What do you value the most in life?

I received this inspirational video from Pastor Inky – and I like it!

It spells of wisdom from the professor and it highlights the main issues facing us today:

We chase after the unimportant things and forget about what is the most valuable.

What is valuable can be very different to different people. To me a simple test is this:

What money can buy cannot be most valuable;

I am looking for things which matter most in life – relationships.

Continue reading

恭祝大家农历新年蒙恩 Wishing all a blessed CNY

农历新年终于到了 Finally….Chinese New Year is here

时间过得真快,一转眼明天就是年除夕了。除夕夜是华人全家聚集一起吃团圆饭的日子。现今的年轻人,因为个人主义抬头,大家庭制度的流失,已经无法明白团圆饭的意义了。

Time flies…..we are going to celebrate Chinese New Year Eve tomorrow. Usually it is a time when the whole family (including all extended family members) having a reunion dinner together. With the increasing individualistic value and extended family disappearing rapidly, the younger generations may not see the significance of this event.

可是,你们知道吗?这个简单的年夜饭是很多长辈日夜等待的日子,尤其是他们的儿孙没有跟他们同住的老人。

Do you know? For most of elderly family members, this is a day they have been looking forward for the entire year. This is especially true when most of their children and grand children are staying away from them for the rest of the year.

他们殷切盼望见到你们 They are looking forward to seeing you…………….

Continue reading

Husband and Wife

A Joke on husband and wife. This is a great one!

Wine

It makes me laugh………….and then it makes me sad.

The world has lost the meaning of marriage; many couples are merely tolerating each other, some are substituting other things like wine, golf, cars, jewelery or friends for the spouse………

The Bible says marriage is a union of two lives. “That is why a man leaves Continue reading

Do we know what our parents want?

Honor your Parents

“Honor your father and mother”- which is the first commandment with a promise. Ephesians 6:2

This is a great video (it’s in Chinese Cantonese dialect though) to remind us to show love and concern to our parents while we still have them with us.

A story was told of an elderly father continued to call his daughter’s mobile, wanting to listen to her voice to leave a message after the “peep”………although he knows so well that his daughter died in a car accident 3 years ago. The mobile company allowed this unusual service to continue because they care.

Click here to view the video

Young people have lots of treasures; endless laughter with friends to enjoy , glittering lights in shopping malls to behold, challenging career ladder to climb, satisfying hobbies to pursue……..

How about your elderly papa and mama? When the children are not around Continue reading

No fear – Helping others to succeed

Weekend Refection: Great joy from helping others succeed.

Helping Hands

Each day, there are kind things that I can do for people. I see the value that others have in my life and make it a point to determine how I can help them. When people struggle, I want to do something to improve their lives. I am joyful when Continue reading

5 Suggestions to rekindle the romance in your marriage

5 Suggestions to rekindle the romance in your marriage

FishingHave you ever felt that your marriage has lost the steam where you first met your spouse? Remember how you longed to see him or her everyday and secretly wishing that time could stand still when you both met. Today, you seem to live everyday just like any other day. You don’t get excited over your relationship with your spouse anymore. You’ve no expectation on your marriage, family and even your own life anymore. It’s really a sad state to be in.

Imagine you can rekindle the romance that once filled the air that both of you breathe. Continue reading

Effective Parenting – Know your style

Which One of 3 Parenting Styles Are You?

Fishing

A rare time when our family went fishing together

If you don’t already know, all of us have natural styles in relating people. Parenting is of no difference. My two children have been raised in a disciplined environment. They complained that it has been unfair because they weren’t allow to do many things which their contemporaries would do them without having to ask their parents’ permission. Some of my friends used to jokingly commented, “Henry is raising children in an army camp.” I must admit, Julia and I made many mistakes in the process of raising our children. We had no idea about parenting styles until when our children were much older. Surprisingly we found out that we were unconsciously following our own parents’ styles in relating to our own children.

I am sharing this post because Continue reading

Say these words for a blissful marriage

Henry & Julia

Do you speak these words to your spouse?

word powerI cannot emphasize enough the importance of communication in a marriage relationship. I have shared before about learning the love languages of your spouse so that you can generously lavish the right kind of “love” upon him / her (click here to read of my book review), there are some words that are ever green and effective no matter what love languages you speak.

Of course there are many words words that could help improve your married life and make it a blissful one. Some of them are “may I help”, “I I love uam sorry” or the commonly used phrase, “I love you”. There are other words to show you care and truly love the one you are with and perhaps the two most important words/phrases are shown below.

Children have been thought to speak kind words to each other as they grow up. Simple words, Continue reading

Our Journey in Marriage

Marriage is a Blessing – Don’t turn it into a curse.

Henry wedding 1Our Wedding Photo in 1987

This article may be slightly long compares to the normal standard of a web post. However, I hope you have the patience to read it through. We are sharing our journey of more than 20 years of marriage and really pray that someone like you who are reading it will be blessed.

For those of you who are deciding to walk down the aisle soon, you are surely overwhelmed by the prospect of you and your partner living happily together for the rest of your life. This is actually a good expectation. In fact, when both of you decide to say “I do” to each other, you should have such high hope of your marriage life.

Marriage can be one of the greatest blessings in your life. You are going to live with the person whom you loved and committed to for the rest of your life on earth. In years to come, two of you are going to have children to share this life together. How wonderful it is. Continue reading

How to manage household finances without emotional stress and arguments?

Household budgetHousehold Financial Management – What’s the Big Deal?

Before Julia and I walked down the aisle, many friends told us from their experiences that one of the toughest challenges in marriage is to agree on the ways to manage household finances.

“Believe me, Henry, you are going to have heated arguments on how to spend money.” Sincere and loving friends “warned” me in advance with well intention.Arguing

Due to different family background and the way that our parents brought us up, we have different attitudes and habits on spending and saving. We cannot expect a couple to have the same priorities in managing finances. Compromises and mutual respect are keys to work out an agreeable pattern together.

After nearly 30 years of marriage, we must say household finance has not been a great issue for us. Why? Besides the fact that both of us share the same trait of being thrifty, we also established 2 basic principles and stick to them religiously.

1)     Find your comfort level with merging your finances.

Continue reading

Build your child’s self-esteem – Video Version

Thank youThank you for your encouragement.

I am so happy to receive much encouragement from many who have read my blog yesterday on “Build your child’s self-esteem is your responsibility”. (Click here for the full article). With your support and cheers, I shall work harder to provide good tips in “building your family with love and confidence“. (Do you realize that this is our blog’s tag line? 🙂 )

I can see that many of us parents have the same problem of trying to build our children’s confidence which will benefit them for their whole life. The article contains only some practical pointers for us to work on. Do not expect immediate miracles. It’s worth our investment to continue nurturing our children’s future. They are our loved ones and will become the future generation of our family, nation and the whole world.

One of my friends who have read the article suggested that I should post a summary video of this article. Being new to blogging, I am not familiar with how this can be done. He taught me the easiest way to make Powerpoint slides, save them using Windows Live Movie Maker program and then convert it into Media Audio/ Video file. I managed to do just that. I also figure out how to add a piece of nice music to go along with the video.

Yes. Nothing is too difficult if you are humble enough to ask and learn. I know you are probably laughing, this video is really an amateur’s work. However, this is an important first step that I have taken. I am sure I will become better each time I try again. So……friends, the worst enemy we have is to stand still, procrastinate (read my other article on “6 ways of getting rid of procrastination” here) and not to take any action. Success will never come to you if you don’t even start trying.

Let us encourage one another to initiate and move on. 🙂

Here is my first VIDEO on “Build your child’s self-esteem”, hope you enjoy it.

Please give me some feedback and comments. I shall improve further with your encouragement. Thanks again.

Build your child’s self-esteem

Child 1Build Your Child’s Self Esteem is your responsibility

Do you ever wonder why the child next door is full of joy and courage? He seems to take initiative to do things and speak his minds without feeling intimidated. When you turn around and look at your child at home. He seems not interested in anything. He does not ask questions like most children do. You are puzzled and think of what you have done wrong or what your neighbor has done right to raise two children with such different characters.

It’s important that a child is brought up with positive self image and self value. A child brought up in that way shall have the necessary confidence to face their adulthood. But how and where would your child learn self esteem and self worth? In my previous article “Parenting tips”, you would have learned that your child imitate you. Therefore, the most obvious place for them to build self esteem is at home and from you. When your child is young, you are the person who spends the longest hours with them. Your influence in your child’s life can never be underestimated.

Continue reading

5 Tips to build an intimate marriage relationship

Husband and wifeBuilding A Blessed and Fruitful Marriage

Marriage is indeed one of the greatest blessings in your life, but it takes a lot of work to maintain a close, vibrant relationship for a long time. Sometimes it seems as though the odds are against the success of your marriage.

Over the past 20 years, I learned of some practical tips that can help develop the intimacy and fulfillment within the marriage relationship. Julia and I had our fair share of struggles and pain when we walk this married lives together, but these principles and practical steps gave us hope for better future and direction to move forward. I would like to share them with you and hopefully they could spice up your marriage life too. By taking these simple steps, you can continue to experience the intimacy and fulfillment you crave within your marital relationship: Continue reading