Monday, November 27, 2006

Remembering Generosity and Gratitude at Thanksgiving

I was so thankful to end my 5 days in Tennessee at the Nashville Baha'i centre with the most lovely souls on the Day of the Covenant. I was touched by the diversity in the community (I had not seen a lot of diversity in the general community), the love and fellowship and the dedication to the Faith (seeing also how this was the second Baha'i centre they had built from scratch). It was magnificent and had already outgrown their needs and was soon to undergo the second stage of rebuilding to cater to the growth in the community.

The service was very prayerful and the music and voices were just out of this world. As I felt my spirit rise through the wonderful service, I felt myself further touched gently by the ray of sun shining through the top of the auditorium streaming right onto my face! How perfect indeed! The readings shared were so special and the thoughts shared by Jim Traub through story telling kept well to Abdul Baha's sense of joy and humor.

I was truly humbled by the story shared about how the Blessed Beauty, Abdul Baha and the other prisoners at the end of the day used to share about something amusing that happened that day so they could end their day in laughter. Imagine that--to find humor in the horrible dungeons and being in chains- how humbling indeed. Abdul Baha reminded us that laughter is spiritual relaxation. Happiness he said is a spiritual state of being, and has nothing to do with our material surroundings.

When Abdul Baha was out of prison even as an older man, he travelled to Europe and the United States. There many luncheons and dinners were organised for him to meet with the dignitaries and luminaries of society hoping they will see a glimpse of the greatness of who he was and the magnificence of the Faith. This was at a time when many other spiritual leaders from the East were visiting the US. At one luncheon when given an opportunity to speak to an audience who were expecting to be "preached" to even when they were not really interested, Abdul Baha instead chose to share the humorous stories shared in the East. This broke the ice at the luncheon, and the other guests begun to share stories that they were reminded of. There was just so much joy and happiness, that everyone enjoyed themselves.

Jim shared another interesting anaedote about how Abdul Baha was very popular with reporters as he always had interesting stories to share and was quite positive about the US. When speaking to reporters he said smilingly Americans were really OK ( as when asked "how are you" they always replied "Its A OK".) Abdul Baha also noted the spirit of enterprise of the Americans, and John pointed out how amazingly the first incorporated Local Spiritual Assembly of Baha'is was in a place in the US called "Enterprise".

Karen ended the program by sharing a story written by a Baha'i about Abdul Baha for Thanksgiving, which was indeed published by the local newspaper Portsmouth Herald. It was indeed a truly inspiring end to the program for the day. You can read the full article at

So once again, I was able to just walk in to the centre and feel so at home in Nashville, Tennesse. I did have an added advantage though as I was also able to connect up with friends (Ann Hall and her son Aaron, and many others- Jim, Parry, Juliet, Pam, Karen, etc) of a fellow Baha'i friend (Leong/Price Mei-Ling)who used to live in California, used to live in Nashville after she married Darwin and now lives in Sydney, Australia with Darwin and recently delivered a lovely baby girl, Raina. So grateful to be a part of this global community!!

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Burgess Falls in Tennessee

As I spent Thanksgiving here in Tennessee with the other side of my family, I had occasion to explore and went hiking at Burgess Falls. It is a very spectacular site indeed. There are the 3 different levels to the falls- the small falls, the middle falls and then the great fall. What a progression indeed, reminding me of the patience we need to have in our lives to believe there is a progression to all things and before you know it, lo and behold, its majesty stands before you!

In this modern day of instant gratification, I too often find myself looking for instant results. A small hike for 90 minutes with the true art in nature is a great settler of spirit indeed. Here are some pictures I want to share with you that I took and a quote from the writings which I shall post as my thought for the day. (PS I am really excited to meet the Baha'is of Nashville on Sunday before I leave back for the Bay Area- will post info when I have it later. Also check out my photos on the artists of Tennessee Tech University centre at

" ye not, seek ye no composure, attach not yourselves to the luxuries of this ephemeral world, free yourselves from every attachment, and strive with heart and soul to become fully established in the Kingdom of God. Gain ye the heavenly treasures. Day by day become ye more illumined.Draw ye nearer and nearer unto the threshold of oneness" .........Baha'u'llah

Monday, November 20, 2006


My thought for the day was gathered from a devotional circle I attended in Singapore many months ago. It was derived from the Baha'i writings although I am not sure from exactly where in the writings. I liked it so much I copied it down. I am sharing it with you:

"In times of joy, our strength is more vital, our intellect keener, and our understanding less clouded. We seem better able to cope with the world and to find our sphere of usefulness. But when sadness visits us, we become weak, our strength leaves us and our comprehension is dim and our intelligence veiled. The actualities of life seem to elude our grasp, the eyes of our spirit fails to discover the sacred mysteries, and we become as dead beings- THE SPIRITUAL WORLD BESTOWS ONLY THE JOY!

This is not to say we will not go through stress or test/difficulties. Instead, having a spiritual perspective allows us not to suffer through the stress but rather grow from it. A Bhuddhist friend of mine shared with me that her belief was that the universe will keep bringing the same type of test/difficulties to you until you learn from it and this breaks the cycle. So if we have faith and belief that it is for our best and growth, we will go through it joyfully, hence opening our eyes to learning.

As you will see from one of my earlier posting, one of my favourite Baha'i prayer is:

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The joy of community

One of the things I love about the Baha'i community I live in, is that we do enjoy hanging out together. Usually people are not in such a hurry to leave when we meet up and this is great considering the Bay Area is such a hectic place for many. I still remember when I first moved here and did not even have furniture, many of the Baha'i friends came over and just hung out. They brought Board games over and we prayed and played, and just enjoyed each others company. There is really something special about mixing spiritual discourse, developing strong bonds of friendship and building community. My Baha'i friends here have made me feel I do have a community away from my home in Singapore.

I am reminded of the writings of Abdul Baha (found in compilations Baha'i World Faith, p 449)

O ye friends! Fellowship, fellowship! Love, love! Unity, unity! —So that the power of the Bahá’í Cause may appear and become manifest in the world of existence. Just at this moment I am engaged in your commemoration and this heart is in the utmost glow and excitement! Were ye to realize how this conscience is attracted with the love of the friends, unquestionably ye would obtain such a degree of joy and fragrance that ye would all become enamored with each other!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Connecting across borders

It was indeed a lovely feeling to group together with Baha'i friends and others in the home of a Baha'i in Cupertino. The occasion was to welcome back a wonderful soul, Ming, who accepted the Baha'i Faith during his stay in the US, whilst on an exchange program from Singapore. He had come back to visit the Bay Area with his own family, and was welcomed back with open arms- offering hospitality in many ways including- of course another occasion for us to party and eat!!

Many people he had come to know here in the Bay Area also turned up with food and friendship to welcome his family here. I truly enjoyed the sense of global communityship as I grew up with this strong sense of community back home in Singapore (I am from a minority community in Singapore so we build strong ties to be there for each other). It was truly nice to experience this sense of community here in the US in a home where everyone was welcomed (whether known to the host or not).

Sorry pictures are not that great- took it with my handphone (cellphone).

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


My dear Baha'i sister shared this wonderful site with me, that I am now sharing with you. It is a compilation of audio talks. Check out this site

Description of the site from the site: Over the years, countless formal and informal recordings have been made of talks and lectures given on the Bahá'í Faith. While these talks represent the views of the speaker, they are nonetheless important to gaining yet another view of the Bahá'í Faith. We will be constantly adding materials to this section. If you listen to a recording and feel that it is sub-par, please let us know since we don't always get a chance to listen to all the recordings in their entirety that we process.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Check out this really cool multimedia presentation prepared to celebrate the Birth of Baha'u'llah

(great photos and great music from the Baha'i Gospel Choir)

O SON OF MY HANDMAID! Be not troubled in poverty nor confident in riches, for poverty is followed by riches, and riches are followed by poverty. Yet to be poor in all save God is a wondrous gift, belittle not the value thereof, for in the end it will make thee rich in God, and thus thou shalt know the meaning of the utterance, "In truth ye are the poor," and the holy words, "God is the all-possessing," shall even as the true morn break forth gloriously resplendent upon the horizon of the lover's heart, and abide secure on the throne of wealth".... Hidden Words, Baha'ullah

Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Baha'i Faith, was born on November 12, 1817 and Baha'is all around the world celebrate this day.

There are many interesting stories of his life and of his childhood. The one I like is about a dream that Bahá'u'lláh related to His father. In His dream, He was in a garden while huge birds attacked him on all sides. Yet the birds were unable to harm Him. He then went to sea, where He was attacked by birds and fish, but again wasn't harmed. His father summoned a famous seer to interpret the dream, and was told that His son would become the founder of a great Cause and would be attacked by the leaders and learned men of the world. But they would be unable to harm Him, and He would be victorious over them all.

Born into a noble family, he declined the ministerial career open to Him in government, and chose instead to devote His energies to a range of philanthropies which had, by the early 1840s, earned Him widespread renown as “Father of the Poor.”

Friday, November 10, 2006

Baha'i community in Kona, Hawaii

My many trips around the world give me a chance to meet the wonderful Baha'is around the world. Summer this year took me to Kona, Hawaii. I was able to join them in celebration of Feast and it was a real treat indeed. Singing prayers together and just spending time meditating on the writings really helped us connect together and feel as one. Short as it was, I will always carry special memories of them with me.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Please support World Religion Day next year

I am reprinting an email I had received through my global friends regarding World Religion Day for next year. I think it is always a good reminder to ensure we do not let this precious day go by without doing anything and we need time to ensure it is truly inclusive of peoples of all religions. The best way is to ensure everyone feels ownership and participates enthusiastically in it. I was privileged back in 1997 to have been appointed the Baha'i speaker for a panel of religious speakers of 9 Faiths in Singapore, and I felt truly inspired sharing the message of the Oneness of Religion, of Peoples and ofGod. I was actually 5 months pregnant, but no one noticed that I was when giving the speech. They all thought I was just glowing though with pride of being a speaker. There were close to 1000 people in the audience, and we also had the Minister of Community Development and other key leaders in Singapore attend.

Other communities have it on a more modest basis with inter-religious prayers, but always getting people of other Faiths who are passionate bringing about greaty unity and also peace in applying spiritual principles to the way we interact as a humanity.

Having said that, here is the letter:

Each year in October we send out a request, via print and electronic media, to all Baha’i communities as well as individuals and organizations of other Faiths encouraging them to observe the annual World Religion Day in the coming year.

It is that time now. We call it the World Religion Day season. We respectfully request you to let us know if your Baha’i community has any plans to observe this important day on Third Sunday January 2007 (January 21, 2007). This information will be added into our website which gets over 300,000 visitors each season. If not may we urge you to appoint a dynamic group of Baha’is to formulate a plan for the said observance in January ‘07..

World Religion Day has proven to be an effective tool to build bridges between hearts of those who desire harmony. We are all aware, now more than ever, humanity’s plea for understanding and harmony among the followers of all Faiths. Many religious leaders have made attempts to bring together the followers of other Faiths for a friendly dialogue on the issue of living by the Golden Rule. Many civic leaders, around the globe, have praised the services rendered by World Religion Day in its efforts to promote harmony. The Government of Sri Lanka proclaimed Third Sunday in January as World Religion Day and issued a postal stamp to mark that historic proclamation. The Baha’is, with a global vision, are engraving in the minds and hearts of the believers of all Faiths that “Religion must be the cause of unity”. The worldwide observances of World Religion Day have been seen as most prominent in this endeavor.

The Baha’is around the world are attempting to invite their families, friends and neighbors to participate in their grassroots Core Activities. World Religion Day has been used by the Baha’is as a tool to further enhance the enrollment of seekers in the process of establishing God’s eternal kingdom on this planet. The examples are many among those Baha’i communities that observe the annual World Religion Day. Please visit for more information.

We look forward to receiving the news of your planning to hold 2007 World Religion Day in your area. If you have a question please email them to The Project Office, WORLD RELIGION DAY PROGRAM,

Please be assured of our loving prayers.

With best regards,


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Singapore Baha'i friends

Singapore is a multicultural, multiracial and multireligious society. The Baha'is have been established and doing great work in Singapore, thanks to its amazing people and great pioneers. Although I became a Baha'i in the US, it was really in Singapore that I finally investigated the Faith and was moved to declare. Also being Singaporean, Singapore always holds a special place in my heart.

One of the advantages, of places such as Singapore is that it is a cosmopolitan city and so becomes a great transit point for peoples from all over the world. What never ceases to amaze me is the number of times I meet Baha'is who know other Baha'is that I know from other cities around the world. The Baha'i world is not that small (about 6million people around the world). That always makes me feel so connected to the world and truly makes me feel as a global citizen. Recently, I met a Baha'i couple from Sydney who was visting Singapore, who happened to know a Baha'i friend of mine in Montreal and another back in Sydney, whom I got to know here in the US!! I also met another here in the US who knew my Baha'i friend back in Botswana!! Truly makes me feel like a global citizen indeed!!!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Washington DC experiences

Washington DC always holds dear memories for me. It was there that I first attended Feast, where I got married, had my first child, celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary, etc. I was therefore thankful that I was able to spend sometime this summer catching up with dear friends and my adopted family, the Coleys. (Zylpha Mapp Robinson was my other Baha'i mom who passed away, but her presence was felt and dear memories with her not forgotten, I thank God I was able to see her a month or so before she passsed). The Baha'i friends are all so dedicated to the Faith and work hard to actually live the life, that I use many of them as my beacons of hope and faith. I also turn to them often to be my prayer line as I truly value the power of their prayers. I share some of these memories through this picture.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Great German experiences

On my way back from WSIS Tunis, I managed to stop by to visit a dear Baha'i friend (more like sister). Thanks to her wonderful hospitality, I managed to visit the House of Worship in Germany and met some really wonderful people in Germany. The world is indeed one country and humankind its citizens.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

“Consider the flowers of a garden: though differing in kind, colour, form and shape, yet inasmuch as they are refreshed by the waters of one spring, revived by the breath of one wind, invigorated by the rays of one sun, this diversity increaseth their charm, and addeth unto their beauty. Thus when that unifying force, the penetrating influence of the Word of God, taketh effect, the difference of customs, manners, habits, ideas, opinions and dispositions embellisheth the world of humanity..”” Abdul Baha

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Faces from around the world

Since I only just recently started this blog, I will slowly work my way backwards and post the pictures of some lovely Baha'is I have had occasion to meet around the world. Let me start with some from Cambodia and Laos. Some of them are pioneers from Malaysia into these countries, and others are local and homefront pioneers.

Many of them had been at it for such a long time, and their life of dedication to the Faith is indeed an inspiration to all!! Did you know there is a village in Myanmar, which was referred to by Abdul Baha was "my village"? This place is affectionately known as Abdul Baha's village by the locals in Myanmar, and has been visited by Ruhiyyih Khanum. Unfortunately, it was the rainy season still and there was not enough time for me to visit it on my trip. I hope to make it back and meet more lovely people! Great and inspirational people and I can only hope and wish to life my life as they do, with humility, love and total dedication. I am so blessed to have met them!!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Celebrating the Festival of Lights in the Bay Area

One of the exciting things about living here in the Bay Area, is the diversity of cultures and faiths. My daughter's school is great at helping promoting this diversity and recently celebrated Diwali, the Festival of Lights with the teachers and children. This was an initiative by the mothers, and I was delighted to be included in this celebration.

Diwali has many meanings to many people, but the one I like most is that it is the celebration of the victory of good over evil. This is the day that lights are put up to rule out darkness and to celebrate its victory over evil. A very universal struggle within and without all of us, and it was just a great treat to have people of all faiths and cultures celebrate this notion together here in the Bay Area! Great effort of unity in action!

Baha’u'llah has written“The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established. ”“So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth.”… Something for me to remember as I celebrate Diwali with my friends here.