Friday, April 20, 2018

Mashed Potato with Fried Onions and Croutons

First time try this, instant mashed potato. Bought this from NTUC Supermarket @ S$2.05.

Not bad, quite tasty, just that you need to stir it well, else the powder at the bottom will not dissolve well. Not bad as a snack.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Review of Banana Boat Ultra Protect Faces Sunscreen Lotion

I bought this brand of Sunscreen Lotion when I went JB as I am looking for a SPF50 sunblock for my face. After I bought the product, I studied the ingredients and I saw it contains Oxybenzone.

According to Wikipedia, Oxybenzone is used in plastics as an ultraviolet light absorber and stabilizer. It is used, along with other benzophenones, in sunscreens, hair sprays, and cosmetics because they help prevent potential damage from sunlight exposure.

As a sunscreen, it provides broad-spectrum ultraviolet coverage, including UVB and short-wave UVA rays. As a photoprotective agent, it has an absorption profile spanning from 270 to 350 nm with absorption peaks at 288 and 350 nm. It is one of the most widely used organic UVA filters in sunscreens today. It is also found in nail polish, fragrances, hairspray, and cosmetics as a photostabilizer. Despite its photoprotective qualities, much controversy surrounds oxybenzone because of its possible hormonal and photoallergenic effects, leading many countries to regulate its use.

Oxybenzone is clearly a prolific ingredient, and it is worthwhile to look into the potential dangers of something that finds its way in to the majority of people’s bodies. The EWG has rated oxybenzone an 8 on their toxicity rating scale, meaning it is one of the most toxic ingredients found in cosmetic products. The EWG and other toxicology experts are concerned about the compound because it has been linked to hormone disruption and has the potential to damage cells that may lead to skin cancer.
When I apply this sunscreen lotion on my face, I have a burning sensation, don't know is it bad?

My the other sunblock contains Titanium Dioxide.

I think I will stop using this after studying the possible damage of Oxybenzone, I will use the other sunblock which contains safer minerals. My the other sunblock is only SPF15 and I bought it from Daiso.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Popiah

Popiah is one of my favourite snacks, do you like to eat popiah?


Review of the book Life Recipes From My Mother

In my review, I will jot down things I read and learned from the book. I will keep my writing simple as my English not so powderful, hee hee.

Things I learned from the book:

(1) Learn to keep things simple, don't complicate matters.

(2) Learn to keep secrets.

(3) It is important to smile and be polite always. It goes a long way.

(4) Be careful in your speech, you may forget what you said, but people will not forget.

Basically this book is more like a self improvement book with a story telling style. The author talked about lessons she learned from her mother and quoted real life examples and stories.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Questions and Answers about Life Liberation

The following article is extracted from the Internet and is not my own writing.

01: Why do Buddhists practise life liberation?
Buddhists practise life liberation to give the priceless gifts of fearlessness (from being killed), freedom (from captivity) and the Dharma (by connecting them to the Triple Gem through offering repentance, refuge and a better future birth, especially in Amitabha Buddha's Pureland).
The Avatamsaka Sutra says, "If the negative karma (of killing in this and previous lives) is to take form, even limitless space cannot contain it." Because we have accumulated immeasurable negative karma through killing directly and indirectly in the past, life liberation (for creatures great or small, of insects or animals of the land, sea or sky) is the most efficient way of repaying our karmic debts of killing, especially in this Dharma-diminishing age. Life liberation has immeasurable merits because it saves the lives of animals, generating immeasurable gratitude. This practice also fulfills the perfection of generosity in the aspects of sharing wealth (in buying the animals), time, energy, fearlessness and the Dharma.
Because we have been reborn for countless times already, many beings, especially those we have the affinity to encounter, have been our parents in previous lives. Think of it this way, if we do not liberate our parents, are we not worse than animals? It is already very unfortunate that our parents are reborn as animals, much more to say, to die painfully through slaughter. Just as we take the trouble to save our present parents' lives, we too should save our previous parents' lives. When we save animals, we are also saving future Buddhas.
02: What are other benefits of life liberation?
The merits from life liberation are varied and boundless. Here are some, according to the Buddha and many Venerable masters -
1. One will be unharmed by war or die by violence.
2. One will attain longevity and healthiness with few illnesses.
(Many pains and illnesses come from the karma of killing.)
3. One will be unharmed by natural disasters and accidents.
4. One will have abundant offsprings for future generations.
5. One will easily attain what one wishes.
6. One will prosper in official positions without obstacles.
7. One will be a source of gratitude to other beings and a source of joy to the Buddhas.
8. One will dissolve vengeance, and vanquish evil influences and worries.
9. One will experience joy and peacefulness in all seasons.
10. One will be easier born in Pureland.
(With practices of developing faith and aspiration, practising repentance, vegetarianism and single-minded chanting of "Namo Amituofo")

03: If life liberation is so good, why do so many criticise it?
Life liberation is the easiest way to dissolve negative karma. Because of this, our negative karma of many lifetimes readily manifests obstacles to obstruct us from liberating life. As many who criticise the practice are plain ignorant of its benefits, we should share with them the benefits out of Compassion, so as to benefit them. We have to be careful not to criticise (or to let others criticise) life liberation as it creates great negative karma. We should not discourage the practice without understanding as we will be preventing many lives from being liberated.
04: How should we liberate life?
We can buy animals from any place selling them for slaughter (or plain imprisonment). Before releasing them into the appropriate natural environment, we (with venerable monks and nuns if available) should clearly recite (for the animals to hear), the verses of repentance, threefold refuge in the Triple Gem (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha) and "Namo Amituofo" (Homage to Amitabha Buddha) and/or other mantras such as "Om Mani Padme Hum (the mantra of Compassion) as many times as possible. We can also carry the animals while circumambulating holy objects such as stupas, Buddha images and relics. We can also sprinkle blessed water on them.
Through repentance, we remind the animals to repent their misgivings which made them reborn as animals. Through refuge, we wish the animals to be disciples of the Triple Gem. Through recitation of "Namo Amituofo", we wish the animals to hear and be mindful of Amitabha Buddha, so as to create a strong karmic imprint to make birth in His Pureland possible in a future life. With repentance and taking refuge, this can free them from future births in the three lower realms of hells, hungry ghosts and animals. In Pureland, they will be able to attain Enlightenment and return to Samsara to help other beings be free of suffering.
05: Sounds incredible. Seems like an easy way out for the animals!
The workings of the law of karma are intricately exact but difficult to fathom. However, the fact that the animals we chose to liberate were chosen from among countless ones means that these particular animals actually have the merit to be liberated. However, when we choose to liberate them, we ourselves are actively creating positive karma by being part of the process of ripening their positive karma.
06 : But there are endless animals to liberate!
We should just do what we can in the moment. Just because we can't being peace to the world overnight does not mean we should not start with our family. Likewise, just because there are many beings in suffering does not mean we should not help any at all.
07: Won't life liberation over-populate the world with animals?
We do not eat ants and worms but they do not multiply in excess. They breed and balance naturally - without over-populating our world. We worry too much, when we should readily work in relieving other beings' suffering, in dissolving our own heavy negative karma. We are like a farmer who hasn't planted his crops yet, who worry about his fields being overgrown with crops.
A reason why there are many animals in our world is because many humans in the past have killed animals. For instance, when a man eats a goat, the goat in a future life might take a human form, who in turn eats the killer reborn as a goat. Thus is the animal and human world full of mutual killing. This makes it even more important to reverse the trend of killing animals, to stop perpetuating this vicious cycle.
08: But I'll rather use money to help needy fellow humans.
Helping any needy beings is no doubt very commendable. However, if you analyse, with an equanimous mind, the suffering of an average needy human and an average animal about to be slaughtered, which is more urgent to save?
09: I'd heard of released birds which fly back to their "masters", who re-imprison them for sale. What is the point of liberating such animals?
We should only liberate life with the best of intentions. Whether they get captured or not is another matter. For instance, when we feed a starving child, we cannot guarantee that he will not be hungry again. Similarly, a doctor who heals a patient cannot guarantee his healthiness forever. But he does it anyway because it should be done. Many matters are like that. We should not have the biasness or hesitation to liberate life, while we might not hesitate to do evil.
The shopkeeper's capturing and selling of animals creates his own negative karma, while we create our own positive karma. Of course, we should also try to dissuade him from continuing his wrong livelihood. We should even dedicate merit to him, in the hope that he can change his livelihood to one more beneficial for himself and others. We should also approach shops selling animals randomly and without pre-order, so as to avoid the shopowners from over-capturing animals for sale.
10: Isn't liberating animals through vegetarianism enough?
Without doubt, vegetarianism is a crucial part of the practice of universal compassion. In fact, if the whole world becomes vegetarian, there will probably be no need to liberate animals. However, it is only a passive way of liberating animals. In the mean time, there are countless animals which get slaughtered everyday for others' meals. The Buddhas taught us to "Avoid all evil, to practise all good, and to purify the mind." In a sense, vegetarianism (and veganism), which is the practice of not being directly or indirectly linked to killing, is just the avoidance of doing evil - it is not yet active doing of good! Animal liberation is Compassion in action, which also gives us golden opportunities to create positive karmic links with countless beings. Life liberation also prevents butchers from killing to some extent, relieving them of some negative karma, even if in a relatively small amount.
11: Isn't it spiritually hypocritical for non-vegetarians to practise life liberation?
Not really. Just as it is better for a non-vegetarian to be vegetarian, it is better to be a non-vegetarian who liberate some animals rather then be one who does not at all. For instance, one who liberates chickens is not likely to eat chickens again. The more kinds of animals one liberates, the more likely he will become vegetarian. This is how life liberation teaches one to respect and treasure the equality of all life, to realise that we all have Buddha-nature. In the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, the Buddha taught, "One who eats meat cuts off the seed of compassion." If one is serious about practising compassion universally, you should be vegetarian. Then one would be doing "animal liberation" from one's dining table all year round!
12: There are cases of liberated animals causing other species in its environment to become extinct. Isn't this harmful?
The fact that there are many animals means there are many beings (including humans) reborn as animals due to ignorance and negative karma. In this sense, a high animal population for every species is not necessarily a good sign. The diversity of species is not truly a "wonderful thing" as it means there is a wide spectrum of animalistic karma. In the Buddhist perspective, the extinction of an animal is not necessarily a good or bad thing. It means the particular animal has been reborn in another form in another life, for better or worse. But of course, it is important to survey the suitability of the environment before releasing animals into it, as the animals and plants in it play a part in supporting the interdependent web of life.
13: Don't we create bad karma when we liberate animals which get eaten by other animals in nature, or which eat other animals?
Unlike humans who kill for sport and to satisfy his appetite, animals do not kill unnecessarily, other than for survival. If you believe in the law of karma, the life and death of every being is the fruition of its karma. There is no death for no just reason. The laws of nature and karma are one. Animal liberation simply frees animals into their natural environment which is their real home. Every animal would rather have freedom than be imprisoned and slaughtered for food. Even if the animals were to die, wouldn't it be better that they die free in nature, especially after having strong karmic imprints of having taken refuge?
14: It still doesn't feel right that freeing some animals might mean sending them to kill or to die.
When we practise animal liberation, we have to be mindful of the purity of our intention and our well wishes. What we wish to do is to give freedom, fearlessness and the Dharma, for this life and beyond. Any captive animal will be appreciative of that. It is inevitable that some might die in the process of liberation through accidents in handling. But because they have taken refuge, their next life will be better. Because of this reason, it is believed that those animals who die shortly after taking refuge are the most meritorious of the lot.
Anyway, most animals liberated properly do not simply die. We should not stop saving the majority out of fear of accidentally "conditioning" the death of a few. If we do not liberate any at all, they will all definitely die by slaughter. In this way, we are blameless. Remember - we are not just saving the present physical life of the animal we liberate; we are more importantly saving its "wisdom life" (spiritual life), giving it an uplifting boost.

15: Some people liberate the wrong animals into the wrong environment. For instance, releasing fresh water fish into the sea. Shouldn't this be discouraged?
Of course this is discouraged! Although it's the thought, above the consequences, that counts when we practise compassion, we definitely need to be more thoughtful than to simply release life indiscriminately. Compassion has to go hand in hand with wisdom!
16: It seems pretty hard to ensure that the balance of the environment will not be disturbed when we release life into it.
Indeed, it can be very tricky. However, everything we do disturbs our environment to some extent. For instance, using an non-biodegradable plastic bag plays a part in harming the environment for hundreds of years. Note that we should not break the law by releasing life in lawfully prohibited or protected areas. If seriously in doubt about finding a suitable place to liberate life, perhaps the best solution is to liberate sea creatures into the sea - which is limitlessly open and wide.
17: But some say there are sea creatures bred out at sea within nets which might not have the instincts for survival in open sea.
Nature is often more marvellous than we think. Animals have strong natural instincts. While we cannot be absolutely sure that they will survive on their own, we are also not absolutely sure that they will not. Maybe some scientific study someday will reveal accurate results to us. In any case, always remember to put yourself in the position of the captive animals... Will you rather wait for slaughter in a prison, or run to freedom despite fear of unknown "ground"? The choice is obvious.
18: How often should we liberate life? How many people should be involved?
One should liberate life or contribute to life liberation funds (if one is not free) as much as possible. There is no fixed occasion, though holy days are often preferred. Life liberation can even be part of birthday celebrations! The more participants there are, the better it is as more people coming together means more merits are created and shared with each other, including the animals and other beings.
19: The practice of mass animal-liberation on special merit-multipying days seem to encourage regular mass capture of animals. Is this a good idea?
Animal shopowners that we buy from can be approached randomly to avoid their discovery of obvious purchasing patterns. However, think of it this way - Isn't it terrific that many animals are brought together to be given the opportunity of a lifetime to take refuge and be freed? What's more, everyone's merits, both the released animals and their releasers will be multiplied! Of course, one should not be attached to accumulating merits, or it will taint the purity of intention.
20: Great! I have no more questions!
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu! What you can do next is to put your Compassion into action!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Three books

These are the three books I am reading now, all Chinese books.

First Book - Life Recipes From My Mother

What the first book is about:

An inspirational, instructional memoir about a time when thoughtful manners were part of everyday living, even for the young. The book recalls long-ignored family traditions and social customs that the author's mother (one of China's earliest feminists) taught her over many decades. These timeless life recipes are divided into three sections: Recipes for the Soul; Recipes for Successful Relationships; and Recipes for Agreeable Living. Readers also receive insight into a unique point in history: the family's experience of the Japanese invasion of China before the 1949 civil war, and their exodus to a brand new life in Hong Kong.
Second Book - Talking about Life by Hsing Yun Master
Third Book - Merits of Animal Release

What the third book is about:

The last part of the book covers some Q and A about Life Liberation which will be covered in another post of mine.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

My vegetarian bkt

Feel like having vegetarian today and also i am nearby the vegetarian restaurant.

At first i wanted to have mutton soup but it was not available so i ordered vegetarian bkt instead.

The bkt soup contains herbs and has a bitter taste. The ingedients are mock meat and tau pok.
After i finished the bkt, i still have some rice left and also i don't feel full so i ordered vegetarian salted chicken to go with the balance rice.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Finally vietnamese (9 april, 2018)

Always read about vietnamese food in mun's blog, only until today then got chance to try.

First time try vietnamese food at pho street @ bedok mall. I don't think i like it as the wraps for the summer rolls (spring rolls) are sticky and too chewy for me, also the soup of the chicken vietnamese noodles is not flavourful enough, i only like the three colours dessert which tastes like cendol. Well, never try never know, at least i tried.






Monday, April 9, 2018

Tian Tian Exhibition @ SCC Centre

Went to Deja Brew Cafe @ SCC Centre last Friday to have my dinner, after my dinner, saw that there is a Tian Tian Exhibition at the Gallery on Level 2, so went to look see look see and take photos.

These are the photos, which Tian Tian do you like the most? I like #1 the most because it is so shiny and colourful. The titles of the Tian Tian are self created by me, can you think of any suitable title for those not named?
Poster

#1

#2

#3 - Metallic Tian Tian

#4 - Ong Lye (Pineapple) Tian Tian

#5 - Pom Pom Girl Tian Tian

#6 - Blue Sky Tian Tian

#7 - Polka Dots Tian Tian

#8

#9 - Five Cents Coins Tian Tian

#10 - Malay Tian Tian

#11 - Never Say Never Tian Tian

#12 - Chinese Tian Tian

#13 - Colourful Thunder Tian Tian

#14 - Dinosaur Tian Tian

#15

#16

#17 - X Ray Tian Tian

#18 - Indian Tian Tian

#19 - Black Gold Tian Tian

#20

#21

#22 - Eat Away Your Brain Tian Tian

Friday, April 6, 2018

Deja Brew Cafe (Friday 6th April, 2018)

Went to Deja Brew Cafe @ SCC Centre to have my dinner as recommended by Channel 8 TV Program Thrift Hunters. Tried their Hakka Salt Baked Chicken Rice @ S$8.00, Yam Paste with Gingko Nuts @ S$3.00 and Masala Chai Tea @ S$2.80. There is complimentary Muah Chee for every Main Course ordered which I did not take a photo.

The chicken meat was savoury and tender, the chicken skin was soft and had a tasty saltish flavour and the yam paste was sweet and tasty. I would say this is a satisfying dinner.

Maybe I will be back for their Chili Crab Bread.

After my dinner, saw that there is a Tian Tian Exhibition at Level 2 Gallery in the same building so I went to see see look look. Will share the photos of this Exhibition in another post.

After that, I left Tanjong Pagar and went Bugis Junction for a walk. Bought ear rings @ S$4.95 at Cotton On and then it was home sweet home around 9pm.

This is Deja Brew Cafe's address and website:

1 Straits Boulevard #01-02 Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre S 018906

Website: www.dejabrew.com.sg/

Hotline: (65) 6221 1016 
Their Menu

Their Menu

Their Menu

Their Menu

Their Menu
 
Hakka Salt Baked Chicken Rice

Yam Paste with Gingko Nuts

Cafe Entrance

Ear Rings