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mardi 9 février 2010

Cleansing of Oneself in Malaysia..Mind Body Spirit Affections

I didnt begin my life as a Foodie, but it just happened after many wanderings. I will go to extra lengths to eat well and would rather go hungry than eat bad food. After having said that, have you ever wondered why the Chinese in Malaysia (not in Singapour since they eat less well there, they like the Mauritian Chinese have caught up with the Indians in the rates of obesity and diabetes) have less Obesity and less Diabetes than Indians and Malays?
The answer is very simple. They eat better. During my stays in KL, I have wondered at the retinue of ordinarily clad chinese trooping in and finishing delicious course after course of expensive food! Better spend the money on food rather than foolish, fake stuff from Luis Vuitton, I suppose. Feed the body well so that it can repay you with health and happiness and money of course, in the case of those who are interesting in following that path! I arrived just as the Chinese were begining the month long fiesta of Gong Xi Fat Choi/The New Year of the Tiger, and was amazed at the feast of food. I ate well but learned a couple of things. American Indians have always said to me, Food is not just to fill your stomach, it has much signiicance, who prepared it, with whom are you eating, has it been blessed by the spirits.. I advise you, for the sake of your health, eat with friends, eat well, dont eat fast and dont eat anything which comes wrapped in plastic or from a fast food chain restaurant (it is better to go hungry, do your body a favour)
Yee Sang ( we ate this at Hee Lai Thon restaurant) (for those who are unfamiliar with Chinese delicacies of this time of the year)

This multi-coloured raw fish salad makes its presence during Chinese New Year where it is tossed with friends and family members, and the higher one tosses, the better it is as it signifies greater fortunes. Fish, or !yu, stands for abundance or excess and surplus of luck and wealth through this new year.

Other delicacies on this visit include the simple spiritualy nourishing South Indian food at AG/BT house to complement our spiritual journey with Yoga. A Penang Nyonya dish at a restaurant in PJ. the last supper fittingly was at Restoran Oversea, with a mouthwatering steamed Fish

I am not an ascetic and take full pleasure of the body, but to do so, it has to be in a fit state. During the years in Cuba, each night was a celebration which included dancing, so no one thought of exercising or keeping the body in shape. It was naturally in shape. Long flights, this time I left Paris at 11 pm on Day 1, with a long break in Dubai, arrived at KLIA at 0600 on Day 3. From Miami it is usually a 30 hour journey, and it does take a toll on your skin..
This is where Miss A of Guinot Salon at KLCC comes in , she works, it seems any way at every pore of your face and painstakingly and at times painfully attends to the blemishes created by the sands of time. Then A Cut Above and GS, the best pedicurist I have encountered, she is so thorough and believe it or not, one hour treatment of your legs, leaves them fit enough for more walking through the paths laid out for you in life.. Feiwen, the chief stylist, walks around and graces the waiting heads of hair, with his scissors, like an acrobat in circus, gently and elegantly and then walks off, giving your hair to the pretty maidens waiting with their brushes and fans to sculpt the hair.. I spent two hours at Guinot, another two hours at A Cut Above at Bangsar.. an extremely good investment in time and otherwise...
Malaysia is an up and coming country, and more and more people have the means to attend to themselves, this is not pampering, this is not luxury but a necessity if your face has to look forward to the trials awaiting thee! I truly look forward to Guinot at KLCC and A Cut Above at Bangsar when I am in KL and thanks for that indefatiguable friend, YMC, for organizing this in advance!
Miss VY took time off to come to KL to be with AG and Us. Each one of us is a journey, and as Ju/Huaxi San people say: I am waiting for my story to come back to me. Because when we loose our stories, our thinking stream is lost. it was Anton Artaud, who himself ended up in an asylum, who said: Madness is the loss of ones oeuvre!
VY comes with her story, one of victory and vanquishment of physical and emotional ailments, victory over the traditional path laid out for her, to carve out an individual niche in this wonderful world of ours. She came and enlightened up, and slowly it begins to sink in, the philosophy of Yoga. I like most people who live in the west, think of yoga as twisting postures, much like tortuous (for me) exercises such as Jogging or going to a Gym ( neither of which I have ever done in my life).. but Yoga, like the Lakota word for Healing, Wapeeyah, is Union... bringing together, and in American Indian tradition, the word would have the meaning of inclusion rather than exclusion in to the society in which you live; in Jewish mysticism, it is a bringing together of the broken pieces of Shehinah, the wisdom of the universe which was broken but still reflects the power and glory of the Universe...While VY was talking I was amazed at the similarity of many of the Yogic precepts and those of the Native Indians of North America..
I am profoundly influenced, and so grateful that in a short period of time, steeped in caring and love, surrounded by friends, I was ever so gently introduced to the Yoga.. some concepts I will bring to the tribes I work with.. May be, who knows, Inshallah, Ojala (the spanish word derived from the previous one), our Gang of Four (AG BT SSIL MC) could once again be led by VY in the company of the Indians under the warm but isolated skies elsewhere... with drumbeats as clear as our hearts in the background...
Those who are reluctant about Yoga, because they are not malleable of bodies or flexible of limbs, I beg you to get a taste of this ancient wisdom.. Reading about Asanas does not allow you to understand the depth of this philosophy, which would definitely influence you. Like American Indians say: we have much to say, it is up to you to listen.
Intelectual Feeding.. A Hungry Man is an Angry Man.. said one modern Prophet, Bob Marley. But what do we hunger for? For me, there is no greater pleasure than preparing to give a lecture, this time, I spent better part of two weeks, preparing for a lecture, the contents of which were mostly newly learned ( about health and disease in Malaysia! and especially among Chinese and Indians). As one cannot be a Jew without a community, one cannot be an intellectual without being motivated by others around you. Like the Newspapers of today, your friends would reflect the demands of your Intellect. I have been very lucky to have been introduced to many in KL, who can match up any one in other parts of the world, for their intellectual acumen and ferocity of thought. BT/H come to my mind, in this visit BT/AG provided the spark while YMC prepared the fodder. What is amazing is that the four of us are so complementary in our thinking, each one of us having our own niche in the world of thinking.. it is nice to recognize that, a short plane ride away to Bombay or KL (a little bit more difficult to get to), one weekend of food for the mind and the body, one can return to the cold, snow and sleet and isolation of ones work. I have never worked in the corporate world, but by counselling so called "successful" corporate insiders, I realize that my personality has no place in that world. I live in a rather gentle world, and believe you me, you need friends like the ones I have in KL to continue that emotional/intellectual equilibrium.. Paris and Havana are peaks in my intellectual world, and they come wrapped in other skins and other affections.. I am glad to have found in KL its own peculiar version of what one longs for.. It has become my second home, and from now on, when people ask me where i am from, depending upon the continent they ask me in, I will say, Kuala Lumpur!
The most important cleansing of yourself, is the Emotions.
We dont live in a vaccum, we need connection to the outside world, not only through trees, animals and birds but also by experiencing LOVE at the purest form. Children are born Yogis and you will realize it if you spend time with Meerah or Archichah or Sophiya or the Three Butterflies of Petaling Jaya. They willl teach us how to love another without any conditions, giving more than receiving and clearest of all brooks in the world are their laughter.
On this visit, the two stars in my sky were YMC and AG, their sweetness to me was like a bakery in the sky.. like the poet Neruda once said: Of all the fires this alone is inexhaustible. I felt that I was in front of a spring which will quench my thirst into the next millenia...
Human mind especially that of a Man does not have a capacity for deep and intimate friendships ( why do you think the letters between intellectuals get published? they too only have few friends), count your friends, if you can count TEN friends (I mean friends!) you are indeed lucky. We all have tremendous capacity for having acquaintances, even that capacity is limited to about 120-150! BT stokes the fires in my brain, A/S H ignites the passion for arts and the written word and MC/AG give me that inexhaustive fire, that makes me feel warm in my travels, colours my nostalgia (more correctly saudade, a portuguese word which defies definition! a sweet painful longing for something you have just lost..), adds impulse to my next actions ( which is always concerned with giving of myself and the little expertise I have in Health Care/Counselling)..Thank you, Thanks to all of you...
Pascale at Monash U for organizing the lecture; Anna/GS/Feiwein for improving my "looks", all those unseen chinese cooks, V for coming from Bombay, SSIL for giving the best CNY gift by getting hold of herself and integrating herself to our inner world..