Asian Civilisation Museum- no more!

Asian Civilisation Museum- no more!

Dear boys,

I’m no longer a big fan of visiting museum. Especially the Asian Civilisation Museum.

This happened during my days working at Raffles Place and I would like to have some time to stroll during lunch and since Museum gives free entry for Singaporeans, why not? Free air-con, cultural experience and hey, get to know history a bit better. Why not? Yes, I’m a cheapskate.

So I went, and armed with my Canon camera, I decided to take some pictures during my multiple visits.

Well like most museums, the place has lighting and climate control, as those really old old stuffs are quite fragile, worn down by the continuum of time. Too much UV, and the ink will fade. Too much heat, the fabric will tear. So everything in the place was a little dark, cool and quiet.

I didn’t think about it much.

Faces

I remembered back then, I wanted to take pictures, mostly focused on’Faces’. There are plenty of ‘faces’ in the museum, and at that point of time, there was a lot of statues and artifacts about the Buddha, some hailing directly from India, and these are really old stuffs.

Other ‘faces’ I took picture of are some other Balinese, Indonesians statues and figurines. As with all testament of our violent past, there are weapons of war, such as Kris, the traditional wavy swords, very popular with Javanese and Indonesians, there are also bows, arrows and some old, old flintlock muskets and other stuffs.

Bad vibes

I visited the place a few more times, I think in total 3 times? There nothing obvious about it, but the feeling grew. The place has somehow affected me, or infected me with a kind of dark,. somber mood. I couldn’t put my finger to it, thinking that it’s probably my own dark nature, which I sometimes have. I’m a Piscean, sometimes happy and cheery, sometimes, dark and sinister.

This time it was different.

I think it was after the 3 or fourth visit, I had a dream, one night. It is not so vivid now, but the feeling remains, heavy, dark and deathly. I dreamt of death, not in a good way, but in a bad manner, which I woke up feeling very disturbed. I couldn’t yet understand why I was feeling this way, I trusted my instinct and questioned my feelings.

Eventually, as I look by in retrospection, I came to a conclusion, my visits to ASM!

I don’t really know how I came to that answer, but it did dawn to me, that there is a dark energy in that place that has overpowered me. I’m usually not affect by such things, I have my policy in dealing with the spiritual, esoteric and stuffs that ghosts, spirits and other stuffs. I’m quite sensitive to such things, and they usually don’t affect me much. This time it did, and it did in a way I never expected. The dark energy crept up on me and changed my psyche.

Bad vibes, good side.

I’ve never been intimidated by such an experience and this left me puzzled. The fear is very deep seated, and it does still send shivers up my spine, when I think of the whole thing. The good thing is that my instincts prevailed and got me the answer I was looking for.

There is away a good sense in me that I’ll usually find the answers, as long as I settle my feelings and let intuition take over. The voice in me, most of the time, the wiser one, will prevail and lead me to the right conclusion. I don’t know how this is done, but when I have the answer, I heed it, unquestionable.

So I came some and deleted all the photos I took from the museum. No more faces.

No explanations

I think at the end of the day, I’d probably will not step into ASM for a very very long time to come. How did I get such a feeling from that place? What is so creepy about it? I really don’t know, as what I felt was highly subjective and personal. Perhaps that is a gold mine for a historian or academic studying culture and civilization. For me, it is a place that collects a lot of old, old stuffs, and when things are that old, it could have collect an energy source that gives out vibes. And when you put enough of these things together in one place, these energies will concentrate and perhaps that is what overwhelmed me.

So is there some truth to the movie series, Night at the Museum? Well, I’m not waiting to find out!

Why we Pray

Why we Pray
Fo Guang Shan (Singapore)

Dear boys,

Everybody prays, one way or another. For someone who is areligious, it is quite difficult for me to really explain this ‘pray’ thing we humans do in detail.

But yes, I do pray, and your mum do pray too. I don’t know if you boys would pray and who or what you’ll pray to, but I’ll give my 2 cents worth.

Kuan Im Tng Temple (Joo Chiat )
Kuan Im Tng Temple (如切观音堂)

Firstly let’s look at a practical example. When your mother had a very difficult boss in the earlier days of her working life, she dread going to work. But she has to, so she seek solace in prayers when she visits the Kuan Im Tng Temple (如切观音堂) at Tembling Road. She did that almost every weekend and not long after that, her boss began to treat her nicer, and her days in the office seems to have improved. I don’t know what you can attribute it to the efficacy of her prayers or you can attribute it to things getting smoother, and she was experiencing some teething, new job jitters.

But I think there is some psychological positive effects of prayers. Religious people pray to their gods, buddhas, deities, saints, and other items or characters of higher powers. I prefer to appeal to my spiritual side, and the idea of a prayer is like sending your silent scream out into the cosmos, and seek strengths that you find lacking within.

Pray for good things, seek good conversations with yourself through prayers.

I don’t know if prayer works for me. Personally, I’m a Buddhist kind of person so I do go to a Buddhist temple, burn 3 joss sticks and usually in three bow, pray for 3 things that I want from the divine to have happen in my life. Don’t ask me why the ‘trinity’ of things. It’s not something I have an explanation for, when I do, I’ll share with you.

Prayers are a very, personal and intimate things; so it is really up to the both of you to decide if you want to believe it or not. But I think the human psyche is such that the more you think, belief, the more you will act on it to manifest it in reality. Prayers are something like that, you want something to happen, you pray for it, be it in a temple, in the quiet of your bedroom, in the depths of a psychological dungeon, you utter a prayer, to yourself, to seek strengths, to calm yourself down, and perhaps, the prayer you utter will connect you to the great scheme of the universe. And when you seek help, help will come.

Prayers are not answers

Please remember one thing though, prayers are prayers, you can pray, but if you do not act on your prayers, nothing will happen. You still need to work, even if you pray to strike a 1 million dollar lottery, you will not win, if you do not get your ass off the couch to buy the lottery ticket. Nobody wins a lottery they don’t buy. Prayer works best when you commit to action. Sometimes, when the going gets tough, and action seems to be waning, a little prayer is like a kick booster, gives you that little internal strength to continue. With a little prayer, you will breakthrough.

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Prayers are a form of internal conversation

When you pray, who do you talk to? Some talk to god, buddhas and other characters they believed to be true, more importantly, prayers are an internal conversation you have with yourself. Even when you talk to god, god doesn’t really talk back (for those who’s gods talks back, needs to see a really good shrink). The whole idea of using prayer as a form of internal conversation with yourself is to help you reach into yourself, into places where you normally won’t reach, to find strengths to do things you normally won’t do. That’s what prayers do.

Prayers are positive energy

Nobody prays for their negative things. Everybody wants to pray for good things. Sometimes, people do pray for bad things to happen to other people, that is not a prayer, that is a curse, a hex, you are trying to ask the cosmos to hurt someone else out there. Please don’t do that. If you want to seek divine power to help you, use the universal energy for good, for positivity, not to see that someone gets hurt.

Pray for good things, seek good conversations with yourself through prayers. Then you’ll be ready and open to accept and receive good things. You cannot protect yourself from bad things from happening to you, but if you have a good conversation with yourself through prayer, then the bad will quickly pass. Always seek positivity.

It is not the best answer for this rather abstract and highly personal topic, and I am not a fervent advocate of praying. I do drop by our nearby temple to pray. It makes me feel good, burn 3 joss sticks, offer 3 bows. I really don’t know what happens beyond what I can’t see, but I walk away from every prayers a little stronger, a little bit more positive, that things will turn out well. And if they still don’t; well, makes me wonder if I should pray more.