How to Treat Yourself Better

1. Eat breakfast

I don’t know about you, but I get very grumpy without a good, hearty breakfast. Your stomach battles through the night without food while you’re sleeping; the least you could do is to be nice to it in the morning. I know a lot of people who don’t eat breakfast, or who actually just stomach something randomly taken from the kitchen for the sake of going through the motion so they can claim they ate breakfast. Please don’t do that. Meals are pleasurables. They need to be treated with respect. Throwing trash down your system in a trashy manner makes you no better than a big pile of trash.

2. Smile

At your neighbour who shares the lift with you as you head down to the ground floor. At the old granny who takes her terrier for walks every morning. At the bus driver whom you see every day because you take the same bus at the same time from the same location. At the barista who prepares your morning coffee. At the random stranger whom you accidentally bump into along the corridor. At the little kid who smiles at you as she walks pass you, holding her mom’s hand.

3. Slow down

Stop rushing, you’re not always in a hurry. You’re just used to being in a hurry. Why do you need to cut in front of someone else walking at a tad slower pace than you when you’re not even in a rush to go anywhere by anytime? Feel your words before they leave your mouth, don’t let them slip away before you even meant to say them. Breathe.

4. Look up, look far

Not figuratively, but literally. I don’t know why, but when you walk and you stare at some point far ahead in the distance, or up in the sky, the world feels so big. I have this favourite street in Pittsburgh that I would take whenever I walked to school. I loved it because it’s always so empty, like it’s entirely yours to keep. I used to walk under the mid-day sunlight and gaze at the blue cloudless sky above. Or close my eyes and feel the world around me. It felt so liberating, and it made me feel so alive.

5. Embrace solitude

Ditch your mobile devices. Ditch YouTube. Ditch Facebook. Ditch your iPods and MP3s. People today struggle with nothingness. We can’t stand in the lift for 1 minute without looking at our phones or talking to someone. We can’t spend our 30-minute train ride to work sitting or standing in silence, not doing anything. We can’t live a moment with just ourselves. We are always clouded by everything else and not our own. It takes time, but I think we all need to sit down with ourselves once in a while. Listen to your breathing, listen to your thoughts. Listen to the world and resist the urge to participate and respond. Observe passively and spectate. Let your mind ponder and your heart wonder. Try it, I think it’s refreshing.


Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.

― Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

The Wet Market

I miss the smell of the wet market. I miss the familiar rustic smells of the clothing and old second hand book stores. I miss the warmth and welcoming feeling it never fails to offer.

The wet market was closed for 3 weeks or so, and I haven’t visited it much since I came back for good. I used to go to the wet market a lot with my mother since I was a kid, and sometimes after that we would go to the supermarket to get other groceries and household products. Even after so many years, it still feels exactly the same. The only thing that has changed is that prices have skyrocketed like crazy. But these stallholders still sell the freshest and the best, and customers like my mother still pay the extra few dollars because it is worth it.

It even has its own little community. Familiarity breeds familiarity, and everyone knows each other. Relationships build and foster regardless of gender, age, ethnicity, shape or size. Everyone is welcomed, even if you’re new, you’d feel like people there treat you with kind of sincerity that makes you want to go back.

I stood by the fish stall which my mother always makes a trip to for the freshest fish. A granny came by to get some fish, probably for her children caught up with the working world, and maybe even for her grandkids whom she would want very much to grow up healthy and strong. The wet market is filled with people like her – mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, daughters and sons – taking that extra effort on a Tuesday morning to get only the best for the people they love and care for.

Early morning, wet market love.