WHY I WROTE ALL THESE BOOKS?
My teacher said, “Don’t waste your time chasing after money, and go chase your rainbows to connect with your soul and then write your book because if the story is an interesting one the money will come.”
“Whether you accept it or not, each life is linked to all life. Your thoughts, words, and actions create a ripple effect; much like a stone thrown into a pond. The quality of that ripple effect… is your legacy” – Kosta Stoyanoff
Mr. Lee Kuan Yew did not believe in God, I set out this journey to manifest the presence of God and if I take this journey I would like to know how I will end up because my fellowmen said that I will end up in a hole or the 4 walls. Therefore, my Lifelong journey is to manifest the Presence of God to prove to Lee Kuan Yew that there is a God. Because he did not believe in God, hence we were not allowed to talk about race, religion, and politics. These are a taboo subject in our society. This meant that soul, consciousness, spirituality and God had to be put on the back burner or totally removed from our everyday conversations.
Singaporeans’ main topic of conversation is about “how to make money and more money” for our survival. Life has no meaning anymore because we were told that we are here to chase after money in order to survive. Survival is the driving force that has been keeping us alive. If you are a spiritual being you will not live for money’s sake; instead, you embrace love for all humanity. When you do well for others, God will provide for you in every sense of the word and I am a good living example. When we truly love God, we know we are here for a higher purpose. And more importantly, we do not take advantage of the weak and vulnerable ones; instead, we are here to care for all God’s people. If we do not, there will be no world left for all humanity!
I asked my teacher where is God? My teacher told us we cannot see God but we can feel His presence when we embrace spirituality. The book My Spiritual Journey – Searching for the voice in my dream is to enlighten the people the path to God is through our soul and the first door to open is ‘true art’, hence art is very important in our life because ART=LOVE=GOD.
ONE FLAW IN WOMEN
By the time the Lord made woman, he was into his sixth day of working overtime. An angel appeared and said, “Why are you spending so much time on this one?”
And the Lord answered, “Have you seen my spec sheet on her? She has to be completely washable, but not plastic, have over 200 movable parts, all replaceable and able to run on diet coke and leftovers, have a lap that can hold four children at one time, have a kiss that can cure anything from a scraped knee to a broken heart – and she will do everything with only two hands.”
The angel was astounded at the requirements. “Only two hands? No way!
And that’s just on the standard model? That’s too much work for one day. Wait until tomorrow to finish.”
But I won’t, the Lord protested. “I am so close to finishing this creation that is so close to my own heart. She already heals herself when she is sick AND can work 18 hour days.”
The angel moved closer and touched the woman. “But you have made her so soft, Lord.”
“She is soft,” the Lord agreed, “but I have also made her tough. You have no idea what she can endure or accomplish.”
“Will she be able to think?” asked the angel.
The Lord replied, “Not only will she be able to think, she will be able to reason and negotiate.”
The angel then noticed something, and reaching out, touched the woman’s cheek. “Oops, it looks like you have a leak in this model. I told you that you were trying to put too much into this one.”
“That’s not a leak,” the Lord corrected, “that’s a tear!”
“What’s the tear for?” the angel asked.
The Lord said, “The tear is her way of expressing her joy, her sorrow, her pain, her disappointment, her love, her loneliness, her grief and her pride.”
The angel was impressed. “You are a genius, Lord. You thought of everything! Woman is truly amazing.”
“And she is! Women have strengths that amaze men.
They bear hardships and they carry burdens, but they hold happiness, love, and joy.
They smile when they want to scream.
They sing when they want to cry.
They cry when they are happy and laugh when they are nervous.
They fight for what they believe in.
They stand up to injustice.
They don’t take “no” for an answer when they believe there is a better solution.
They go without so their family can have.
They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.
They love unconditionally.
They cry when their children excel and cheer when their friends get awards.
They are happy when they hear about a birth or a wedding.
Their hearts break when a friend dies.
They grieve at the loss of a family member, yet they are strong when they think there is no strength left.
They know that a hug and a kiss can heal a broken heart.
Women come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.
They’ll drive, fly, walk, run or email you to show how much they care about you.
The heart of a woman is what makes the world keep turning.
They bring joy, hope, and love.
They have compassion and ideals. They give moral support to their family and friends.
Women have vital things to say and everything to give.
However, if there is one flaw in women,
THEY FORGET THEIR WORTH.”
Life inspired me and after reading the above, I was so inspired that I got to rewrite my all books with the hope that my soul will resonate with yours when you read through the pages. With the blessing from God I have not forgotten my worth; I know that myself worth is not measured by my bank account or who I knew but by my deeds that I have contributed to my family and society and most importantly of who I am.
Allow me to take the liberty of introducing myself. My name is Chong Sun Wah. I am popularly known as Sunflower, but you can also call me Mariam Noor as I am a Muslim by choice but my son said it was by accident (maybe he was right). I am an ordinary Singaporean of Chinese origin with an extraordinary dream to unite the world through Art and Architect and the spirit of World Harmony Day. However, one thing for sure, my love for country and people is second to none, and my great respect and deep admiration for our leaders who have done so much for the advancement of the country during these decades are also genuine and sincere. To be sure my aim is not to appeal to the intellectuals but only to the broad masses that would share my simple faith that life can be good and we must spare no effort to cultivate a closely-knit communal spirit of our society to build a better world for the future generation.
When Mr. Goh Chok Tong became the Prime Minister of Singapore I was so elated and most Singaporeans were filled with great hope that finally, we will have a freer Singapore where we can speak our mind without fear of repercussion. He proudly declared he will bring Singapore to the SWISS STANDARD in 2020. And on Straits Times October 14, 1999, this was what PM Goh got to say, “Big ideas or small ideas, let them flow. Turn Singapore into a nation of ideas.”
“Set up citizens’ ideas teams and let the ideas flow. This invitation came from PM Goh in Parliament yesterday when he said the Government was serious about consulting people and getting them to participate in national issues. Having given Singaporeans physical stakes in the country, it now wants to deepen their emotional stakes. He said: “This is why I have made consultation and participation one of the Government’s major goals. It is to give Singaporeans a bigger say in their own future, and thus bond them to Singapore.”
With these words, the Prime Minister threw his weight behind the centerpiece of Government policy that was spelled out by President S.R. Nathan last week in his address to Parliament. Mr. Goh had first issued his rallying call to ‘move beyond material progress, to a society which places people at its very center’ when he opened the last parliamentary session in June 1997. Yesterday, speaking during the last day of debate on the President’s Address, he reaffirmed the vision. He said that the economic crisis Singapore had experienced since then underscored the importance of harnessing people’s ideas and energy in a volatile environment. Singapore could make it as a first-world economy, but faced a tougher challenge of creating a world-class home, he said. To help create a home where citizens felt they belong, “where they are king and where they can decorate and arrange the furniture the way they like”, the Government would give people more scope to take part in national affairs, he said.
“We now want to go beyond feedback on how policies affect people, to encouraging Singaporeans to submit constructive suggestions and new ideas.” He urges Singaporeans to form themselves into work improvement teams to submit ideas on any aspect of government. “We will introduce an award scheme to give symbolic recognition for useful ideas put by Singaporeans, either individually or as a team.”
The Government wanted to transform Singapore into the New Renaissance City, what worries me most is that we are not a thinking nation so how are they going to achieve this goal as Renaissance is about the revolutionary mind of the individual? Was this one of the reasons why PM Goh Chok Tong was calling upon the whole nation to come forward to contribute ideas because he was looking for people with a revolutionary mind?
I am a very proud Singaporean even though I got nothing to my name except with lots of common sense, gut, confidence, and determination. Neither am I attached to any organization but this didn’t stop me or discouraged me to reach the Government to be heard. Where are we going as a people and nation in order for Singapore to be relevant to the region and beyond weighted heavily on my mind as a young child? Why? We are not using our most important asset ‘our brains’ and worst off we are not connected to our soul which is the true asset for a great nation because a Great Nation needs creativity and innovators and not just obedient followers. Through my experiences from the 80s until this very moment, I am still being misunderstood for giving ideas to the government and I hope these honest books written from my soul will clear the air once and for all.
“If your wishes are pure, then they become true.” – Mohandas K. Gandhi
The first book My Lifelong Dream was written after I have escaped from my ex-husband in 1983. The other books were written around 2003 & 2004 after the government did not allow us to speak on the Iraq war and on Palestine. Due to such unfair act I was propelled to vent out my anger and one fine day when I sat in front of the computer I started typing and the pages kept adding and my finger doesn’t seem to stop and thus it became a book and not only one but few of them:
1) Poems of Mine – God Heard My Cries
“After I had escaped from my ex-husband George Y Habib in late 1983 from Abu Dhabi, I poured out all my feeling in poems.”
This book dedicated to my 2 children Gabriel Georges Habib & Greta Georges Habib because after I had escaped from my ex-husband I have written all these poems.
GEORGE Y. HABIB WITH GABRIEL & GRETA
“The struggle in my life gives me the challenge and this great challenge create excitement and thus makes my life meaningful” – Sunflower Chong
I had escaped from my ex-husband George Youssef Habib from Abu Dhabi, in late1982. I did not cry or jump down from the highest building, instead, I felt free at last and finally breathing seem easy and out of a blue I took a pen and wrote till the morning and what came out were poems.
Oh! George, Poor George
Can you not see we are not fated to be?
Through the years living alone with our children,
I have changed tremendously
Oh! George, Poor Dear
I felt sorry for you
I had tried my best to make our marriage stay
But why you have not helped me?
Oh! George, Poor Love
I’m not giving an apology
I just want you to understand
There are things in life you cannot explain why?
Oh! George, Poor Lost Man
I pray constantly to God Almighty
That you find the right partner to make you happy
Please forgive me and let me free
– I need to be free to pursue my dreams & aspiration – Sunflower Chong 12 December 1983
The picture above was taken in 1983 when George came back for me and the children. One day while we were having lunch at Orchard Hotel, I told him I have written many poems. Instead of giving me encouragement he laughed at me and told me he too can write poems and he recited one for me. I kept silent all these while because deep in my heart I know this marriage cannot be saved since he will not understand my state of mind. He always told the children, “Mama got one screw loose.’’ In short, he laughed at my pursuit to save the world. I cannot blame him because I kept growing mentally in every sense of the word. Sadly to admit we have grown apart due to my aspiration to chase my dream.
From the bottom of my heart, my children’s father was a very good man but unfortunately, he married the wrong woman because I wanted to save the world and he wanted to have 5 children. In short, I was not ready to be the wife he expected me to because after marriage I still wanted to follow my dream. I married him with the hope I will be normal like everyone else but sadly to say the dream kept coming back stronger than before and I don’t seem to be able to let it go. I am not a happy woman because I need to find out what God purpose for me in this world. Hence I need to take control of my life and I escaped with our 2 children and I know he was devastated. I’m one heartless woman but on the other hand, I cannot allow him to bite me to death just because I refused to have sex.
The breakup of the marriage was during 1982 the SABRA-SHATILA MASSACRE when Israel genocide the Muslim Lebanese. While Dr. Ang Swee Chai a Singaporean was in Beirut saving lives I was with my ex-Lebanese husband and our 2 children in Abu Dhabi. My ex-was so happy when evil Sharon killed his Muslim brothers and sisters and especially the Palestinians but I was in so much pain When I looked at him I saw a stranger because he was full of hatred for his own people. In my mind, I just cannot comprehend how this can happen to one race and they were killing one another because of religions?
My ex-husband is a Maronite Christian and he believed only the Maronite Christians are qualified to rule all over Lebanon, hence they are the rightful ruler of Lebanon. He believed Ariel Sharon will be the savior for his country but I told him once the bloody Jews step into his country they will not leave until they destroyed the whole country! What I saw was how the west had destroyed 3rd world countries with the pretext they are coming to be our savior!! I told him I am brought up in Singapore to embrace all humanity and he said that it will be the same in Singapore that only the Chinese will rule and not the minority but I told him NO that will not happen in Singapore. I assured him that was not the case because in Singapore is a meritocracy nation!
Well, you can say whatever about my fuck up life, fortunately as I move along with this ‘so-called progressed’ world, I have never failed to hear the gentle voice of the wind whispering softly to my ears; hence as I walk the journey of my life, I always reminded myself to remember to take time to notice the beauty of the flowers at my feet and as I looked up towards the blue skies felt the golden ray of hope shining brightly on my face – like God is smiling at me and with me, isn’t this lovely? I am indeed a blessed soul because I never left my spiritual partner behind, thus I have not lost the appreciation of the little wonders of life that nature and spirituality have to offer.
The Capitalist world has not eroded ‘My Consciousness’ because I managed to stay alive by having God’s presence close to ‘My Soul’. As far as I can remember I have been looking for God. As a young child, I always asked, “Where are you Almighty God, which is your true house?” If I have not embarked on my lifelong journey in search for ‘the voice’ that I had heard in my dreams, I might not have found ALLAH.
2) My Lifelong Dream – Art must be part of living
“Arts is an ideology with the power to change the course of history. Arts must be part of living.”
This book dedicated to my father Chong Chow Chiap who had edited the paper on Singapore and Lee Kuan Yew.
People said that I have a ‘Love – Hate’ relationship with LKY
When I escaped back from the Middle East in 1983 from my ex-Lebanese husband, I had written a book My Lifelong Dream with poems and my ex-schoolmate said, “Sun Wah are you, Lee Kuan Yew?’ I asked Ker Ern what did he meant by this remark? He said that who will want to read the book because I am not LKY and moreover it is a book putting my thoughts on how life should be and how Singapore should strive forward. He said, “Are you trying to start a new religion?” He told me that I must be out of my mind to try to unite all religions; I might end up in prison. Maybe I would but I don’t care!
I never wanted to be anyone except to be myself and this ME wanted to do a lot for Singapore because Lee Kuan Yew has inspired me. The people who know me said that I have a love hate relationship with this man Lee Kuan Yew. Why? When you were from a poor family in the 50s and 60s, you will understand why we thought so highly of Mr. Lee Kuan Yew even to the stage that he was our savior sent from heaven. At those times we were only concerned of the rice bowl and not the foods for the souls. That idea did not exist till after our stomachs were quite full in the late 70s and especially in the 80s. (Maybe Mr. Lee Kuan Yew should starve all of us so we will not ask too much from him!)
In the 60s, at a very young age, I knew that this man Lee Kuan Yew was going to change all our lives for the better? But obviously, my mother influenced me too.
When election days arrived she will shout to the neighbors, “Ah Soh, this man is going to change our life, we must all vote for him. “ She continued, “Not important that he speaks English, he looks sincere and his face tells me that he will fulfill what he has promised to the people. He is our only hope we must give him the chance to prove to us.” That was what my mother said to the neighbors and all of them believed in my mother and thus made sure that their spouses voted for PAP too.
There were quarrel and fight between them because most of their husband did not like Mr. Lee Kuan Yew as he was English educated. The women were more pragmatic and they made the most decision in the family especially when the education of the children were concerned. In our family, only my two elder’s brothers went to Chinese school because my father insisted that his sons must be educated in Chinese. The frenzy too caught up with me in those times although I was too young to vote or even understood what was going on. When Mr. Lee Kuan Yew name was mentioned, everyone got excited as though some magic is in the air, thus he was my hope to change not only my life but also the life of the people.
I came from a very poor family of nine including my father and mother and you got nothing but cling on to hope in those hard and difficult times. This simple naïve dreamer name ‘Sun Wah’ that’s me, saw the strength in Mr. Lee Kuan Yew to build a better tomorrow for all of us and I kept on believing in him, so naturally I loved, admired and respected him in those wonder years as he had delivered what he had promised to the people but he had never promised us food for the soul. Singaporeans heart is without a soul; I put the responsibility on our parents and teachers, not Mr. Lee Kuan Yew personally.
Our failure is that we do not question the system. Through the years we learn how to accept it and in time to come we drink it like a cup of tea and we became what the system wanted us to be. Instead of working hard to reveal its flaws in a diplomatic or subtle way thus help to enlighten the Government, most of us just gave up trying. If we had been pro-active, I believed we don’t need to remake Singapore now because to remake and fix a machine is easy but you are talking about remaking human beings and our way of life. Well, can’t blame the Government way of thinking as they had been fixing us all these while, no wonder we have been known as robots for such a long time! It even had a great joke about Singaporeans being the best robots, even better than the Japanese ones.
My Greatest Fear!
What happened in the Middle East can happen to Singapore too! In the late70s, my Lebanese ex-husband often said that what happened to his country can also happen to our fragile Singapore because we are a multiracial, multireligious and multicultural society. He said that if Lebanon with one race and the country can be broken up into pieces due to religious conflicts, this is a sign that human conflicts had no barriers. He said that what held Singapore together is Fear – “Lee Kuan Yew”. My ex-husband wondered who will hold Singapore together when LKY leaves this world.
I can never forget what my classmate said to me during my secondary school days, “Sun Wah why are you thinking so much for Singapore?” My classmate Chow Kim Seng said, “We got Lee Kuan Yew to think for us, why we should be thinking?” The way he talked as though Mr. Lee Kuan Yew is immortal. So I answered back, “What if he dies because he can’t live forever then what will happen to Singapore?” Can this be one of the reasons why Singapore students were apathy? Through this conversation, I had learned the new word ‘Immortal’ from my teacher. She always smiled at me when she saw me so worked up with Lee Kuan Yew and Singapore’s future and I questioned to myself why the teachers didn’t care.
In the early 80’s I was so upset with the rumors that Lee Kuan Yew had passed away that triggered me to pen this poem WHAT IF HE DIES? With the help of my father Chong Chow Chiap who did not like Lee Kuan Yew at all.
WHAT IF HE DIES?
Rumors have it that he dies like a bomb shell dropping from the sky
What will happen to Singapore, if he really dies?
Roadside rubbish will stack sky high
Mind you! This is only the first sign
Stock market plunged to the bottom
This is a sight not to be forgotten
Property value will go a downward trend
Our money will be drenched
Scarcely have you found anyone dares risk to buy anything
Because this is the time they will run away with everything
Stability starts to shake
Foreign investors will hold their money tight
Unemployment will be a big sign
We are bound to live a miserable life
True facts will reveal
Rumors mongers spread these lies
We are wise
Let us help him to help us to have a happy life!
– Let us change Singapore when he is still alive! – Sunflower Chong
My ex-husband George Youssef Habib told me that great leader creates more leaders but in the case of Singapore we have only obedient followers, this means people without characters and cannot think even for himself or herself, so how can the country excel and go beyond? My mother often said, “How could we depend on this bunch of elitists to protect Singapore?” My ex-husband said that Singapore does not have any strong leaders because the Singapore system only produced robots – Total Obedient. He said the problem lied in the system because it stressed on the power of money as ‘god’ that could buy everything and solve all our problems. The human factors are secondary to the stage of no importance in such a rigid system. The system demeans the value of the people intellect! He said that was why Singaporeans do not think except when it concerned MONEY.
3) National Library Concept Proposal – Vision of a World Library
“Vision of a World Library with 4 Million books. My aspiration for Singapore to be the heart and soul of the world”
The National Library – Singapore (19 July 1993)
The submission of the conceptual design for the National Library in Singapore is a declaration of principle. We sincerely hope that it will be acknowledged by the responsible authorities as a step in the right direction and will lead to a direct dialogue with the Client to establish the final brief.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Sunflower Chong, who invited us to prepare the architectural design drawings based on her original idea of the pyramid. Sami Mousawi International has known Sunflower since 1985 when she introduced a new, advanced technology (GRC) into the construction of the infill panels of the upper-inner domes on the State Mosque of Sarawak. During her involvement in the project, she demonstrated great confidence and care in her work, together with an appreciation of our architectural identity based on the concept of a true contemporary interpretation of the cultural heritage of the place.
Sunflower has demonstrated recently, through the medium of her poems, articles and her various publications, her total commitment to art and architecture as the roots of our cultural heritage and as instruments to enhance our quality of life, based on the concept of unity and harmony.
4) Sharing My Vision of Architecture – Inspiration from God
“Architecture is not just fine lines but an inspiration from God.” A proposal specially prepared for DPM Lee Hsien Loong.
This book is dedicated to Prof Bennett my guiding angel and without him, I doubt I could make it so far.
Art Is the Future
“Neither a man nor a nation can live without a higher idea, and there is only one such idea on earth, that of an immortal human soul; all the other higher ideas by which men live follow from that.” – Dostoyevsky
On Straits Times 1 December 2003, Mr. Scott Bedbury Branding guru advises Singapore to make its image more ‘human’ to make the country more appealing to people around the world. In short, he suggested that Singapore would benefit from having a ‘warmer’ image that could draw more investors to Singapore as well. What was he driving at when he said that Singapore image should be more ‘human’? I believe he was telling us that Singapore should be a cultural city and this means we got to make Art our future, Asian Renaissance here we come!!
Gone is the literature of the great cultural heroes, who struggled and suffered and succeeded in the grounding of a culture, a creed, and an ideal. Gone is the time, when novel and drama were built around simple personalities, who through their sincerity and selflessness in the struggles of their world, mirrored the problem of human life and at
the same time opened a wider horizon of human possibilities – Where are the creative thinkers and visionaries of our time? Where are great ideas? Because in this Capitalist world people is too smart, no one is prepared to sacrifice to chase high ideal without any monetary gain.
Pico Della Mirandola in his Oratio said, “nothing in the world can be found that is more worthy of admiration than man”, which is often considered as the manifesto of the Renaissance and of Humanism, we become conscious of the high degree which the dehumanization of life and especially the arts has reached in our time. When a journalist asked Andre Malraux, why in our time there are no longer paintings or sculptures of great men like in the renaissance, answered: “Because modern man does not believe any longer in man”. How are we going to bring back the faith in humanity?
There is only one language
The language of our heart
Where we will unite as one
Thanks to God Almighty
There is only one religion
The religion of love
Art is the human expression of that love and love is God
Love is the connection to God Almighty
There is only one caste
The caste of humanity
Everyone is born equal
That’s the gift of God Almighty
There is only one God
He is omnipresent
The power is to believe not to analyze
We must continue to have faith in God Almighty
– There is only One God belonging to all – Sunflower 1983
Through nurturing of arts with the understanding that “Art is the human expression of that love and Love is God. Love is the connection to God” we can bring back the faith in humanity. Art has spiritual power and the potential to be the Universal Language for the world, with this knowledge and wisdom I believe Art could shape the future with great faith because we need the future’s world to be ruled by love, compassion, and this balance is long overdue for the whole of humanity.
Do Singaporeans understand why Brother Joseph McNally sacrificed his entire life to build LaSalle? All these years of sacrifices what did brother Jo get out of it? He got nothing in term of monetary gain but what he got is the love of God. Like Bro Jo, I too believed that Art got a hidden spiritual power and only those who believe in it could bring out this kind of power even without education.
Sad to say that we have allowed Capitalism to take over the meaning of our existence, for this reason, we witnessed so much violence in this present world. There is an urgent need to bring back the ‘Spirit of the Human Soul’ to save humanity. A Great Nation must have Art as its core because true art is the best way to bring back our soul as it distracts you from the materialistic world. I know that art has a spiritual connection to ‘The Consciousness’, especially in the performing arts. It cannot be bought. We cannot have art just because our leaders want it. We cannot just say, ”We have money now, we are ready for art, and we must have art” Similarly, the government can’t just expect the citizens to produce babies, “Now I wanted so many babies, go and produce and I will pay you so much per head”. It is very worrisome with such pragmatic attitude as I already heard young couples that just got married and they are delaying the pregnancy to wait for the Government announcement how much they will be pay per head.
How can a strong and meaningful society evolved through A capitalist mean of you give me so much I will pay you so much? It is so sad and worrisome for the future generation if this is the way to go in nation building?
5) Searching for the Voice in my dream – My Spiritual Journey
“The Conscious is the Presence of God. Is World Harmony Day the voice that I had heard in my dream?”
This book dedicated to Palestine because The Voice in my dream is to FREE PALESTINE!
Am I A Dreamer?
“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” – Emerson
I was truly moved by Arundhati Roy’s words, who said (or words to that effect) “the World is changing… on a quiet day I can almost hear it breathe …” Similarly, when I looked at a building or a piece of land, it comes ‘alive’ to me and I can sense a meaning from its design and see it ‘breathe life’ into the people. If I am brave enough to add on…I also sense that this tiny red dot called Singapore will one day be a ‘live university’ for the world especially in fostering true harmony.
I know that the World is changing and will be changing (I’m not talking the Buddhist sense of things being impermanent) in spite and despite us. But rather than being a bystander, or one who remains inspired, I want so much to be in ‘spirit’ and in the act of this ‘great change’. I want to be part of this change and if possible be the one to influence these great changes. To change the world I start by changing my mindset by taking a proactive stand to the environment around me.
In 1993 I attended the Arts dialogue session held by Mr. Kao Pao Kun at the Substation to speak my mind even I am just an ordinary person and I caught the attention of Miss Vivienne Khoo from Elle magazine. Below is the article was written by her for the Elle magazine that appeared in 1993.
Sunflower Chong makes her presence felt with her passionate rhetoric and resonant voice. Pushing 40, she has the wisdom of years but, she reminds anyone listening, an incomplete ‘O’ level certificate. “Wisdom does not come from books but from observing life,” Chong declares.
At first encounter, it is hard to decide whether or not this woman should be labeled a kook. She could well be mistaken for one. In her self-crocheted tunic hanging awry on her slight frame, she caused a stir when she stood up during a forum on the arts and announced: “My name is Sunflower.” People turned to see who this unlikely name belonged to. Like her name, she is unusual. Turning her back on the very Singaporean requisites of owning car and house, Chong says she clothes herself in $20 getups from Clementi housing estate so she can realize her dream of giving $ 1 million to the arts. She certainly puts her money where her mouth is. Almost all the money she makes as a middleman for building projects is made available to budding artists whose works she considers inspiring. Over the past two years, she has donated $50,000 to the Substation.
Her artistic warp and woof have many strands to it, one of them quite loopy. She admits knitting is a substitute for a husband. “Sex is tiring. I don’t have a man because I want to concentrate on working for the people of Singapore. So I spend a lot of nights knitting.” Incidentally, there are 40 pastel sweaters in her closet.
Her self-sacrificing public service mission involves drawing up blueprints, which she commissioned a reputable architectural firm Sami Mousawi from England to carry out, for a new building to house the National Library. Chong has submitted her model to the Singapore government, the New York Public library and the Royal Institute of British Architects for constructive comments. So far Chong has received some favorable responses.
She is currently awaiting approval for her plans for the library. “Building breathes spirit into the people. Architecture is the perfect key to their hearts. Why should we settle for buildings which are merely functional?” She wants to have a public library big enough to feed the souls of’ all three million Singaporean citizens. “As a people, we are not confident of who we are. We are still searching for the meaning of the word Singaporean. My library will help in the building up of our identity. I dreamt of this pyramid which would be a storehouse brimming with information and had a three tier roof similar to the Temple of Heaven in Beijing.”
She traces her desire to help people to her early days living out a Cinderella existence with her parents and five brothers and a sister. She believes her childhood was scarred by unfair treatment, which always left her asking ‘Why?’ Her fancies often ignited the fury of her parents. She recalls a disastrous incident: “Inspired by the story of Robin Hood, I decided to steal money from my father and give it to the neighborhood children. When they found out, my father brought me to the Esplanade and threatened to throw me into the river. I was unpopular with my teachers too. I think they mistook my constant questioning as symptoms of an urge to cause trouble.” She has recently come to the conclusion that she will always be misunderstood in Singapore but takes heart that ‘prophets’ have always been misunderstood in their own land.
As a teenager, she had a difficult time in New Town Secondary School where she had witnessed the grating relationship between Chinese and English-speaking students. Reading the situation as the Government’s effort to homogenize society, she took it upon herself to smooth things out between the two factions. As a progression, she has elected herself as the arbitrator between the Government and the artistic community. She has often urged artists to let the Government concentrate on ‘feeding the citizens’ stomachs’ before they start feeding their intellect and tells politicians that art is the only way through which they can reach the people. “Art is powerful, it can change the course of history,” she says in a broadcaster’s voice, even when talking to an audience of one.
Chong’s convictions are also channeled into her writings. She has written an as yet unpublished autobiography My Lifelong Dream replete with illustrations, one of them a surreal photomontage of herself as a child riding a magic carpet over yucca plants and a red sun. Poetry written by her children when they were eight is also in the book as a testament to her ability as a mother. She has taken pains to nurture her children’s artistic inclinations. Son Gabriel, 14-year-old plays the piano and 12-year-old Greta plays the guzhen and piano too. Both children tap dance.
Parental devotion apparently does not distract her from her civic dedication as does having a husband. Yet, one of Chong’s poem poignantly reveals her feelings after her escape in 1983 from a Lebanese aluminum contractor: “Giving them a future without a father/ was never my answer/ except that time will tell what I am after.” She explains: “Noble ideas are achieved by one person working alone. Look at what Mr. Lee Kuan Yew has done for Singapore”
6) MY ASEAN HOUSE JOURNEY – ASEAN’S Future Is Our Future
“A House with A SOUL thus is the foundation that will bring us together as one big Asian family.”
This book is dedicated to ASEAN because Singapore’s future is in Asia, period!
Asia Dilemma – Can We Think?
The Truth Is That Some Asians Think, some don’t. Some Westerners think some don’t. The book Can Asians Think? By Singapore diplomat Kishore Mahbubani might be right if it said some Singaporeans can’t think, but to generalize and stereotype all Asians is quite absurd. The reliance on Confucian values is blamed for causing Asia to have to play catch-up with the western world, but that view doesn’t directly indicate whether a person can or can’t think. Comparing Confucian philosophy and Newtonian physics is like comparing apples and oranges. We have the smarts to realize that to succeed vis-à-vis the western world, Asia must learn the secrets that make the western world of inventing stuff when there are others to do it? This is what would call smart thinking. (Times June 28, 1999)
Shum Ying Loon
I am an ordinary Asian that think a lot. I often asked God, “Why have we lost faith in men by surrendering to our destiny instead of fighting back with our strength and belief? We should make the world as it should be, instead of accepting it as it is. If I am the Prime Minister of Singapore, I will set up an exchange program for Palestinian and Israeli students to help bridge the great divide. Next, I will get the government to pay for the blueprint cost in the total planning and concept design for the Asean Headquarter name Asean House. Last, but not least, I would set up a committee to look into the possibility to come out with a creative universal spiritual education for the secular schools. Let me share with you what I have written on January 7, 2013, to my primary schoolmate Serene Chen Pui Suan.
“Maybe after viewing this link http://www.dearmmlee.com/whats-your-book/ you can understand me better and why I can’t give up my dreams.” This was her reply, “Thank you for sharing your thoughts and visions with me. You are very brave to embark on your journey, filled with obstacles and yet not defeated. May you be able to experience your visions in this life time?”
I told her it is not possible to realize all my dreams in my life time because besides BELIEF it needs money and power to make it happen. She said that since I know I could not realize it, then why to waste my time and money to chase it. I told her someone has to bring these visions out in the open, if not, then Singapore’s future will be at stake if we still believe that America is our protector! We cannot keep on increasing our defense budget. I would rather invest in the Asean countries, especially in aggro.
Serene said, “Ya, 1 small step at a time; soon you will leave footprints for people to remember you. I’ve yet to find my true calling, guess I want to learn to have peace with myself first.” And this was my reply to her on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, 12:18 AM
My Dearest Serene,
I don’t need people to remember me but I need Singaporeans to know that our destiny lies with Asean especially China. I pray and hope Singapore will not be the venue to start WW3!! As a nation, we have only survived even though we have to reach First world statue. Mr. Goh Chok Tong when he became the Prime Minister he said that he will bring Singapore to the Swiss Standard in 2020 but he did not tell us how he is going to do it? It was not easy for me as an individual to reach the government hence I wrote to the press on April 15, 1999, and express my concern for Asean. I have sent to the respective leaders to make my point when PM Goh Chok Tong suggested strengthening Asean by road shows.
ASEAN Road Shows Urge
I refer to PM Goh Chok Tong suggestion of strengthening Asean’s stature by promoting Asean road shows (ST April 14, 1999)
Thank, to the recent regional currency crisis, it had helped to expose the true facade of Asean relationship. The crisis had proven that the 31 years of so-called stability was not due to non-intervention but because once the easy money from the West disappeared, total confidence was washed down the drain. Or a better expression is, without the easy money from the West the “Asian miracle’ was gone with the wind. This clearly showed that Asia needs the West to give them the confidence because they do not have confidence in themselves.
On top of it, nobody cares how Asean should evolve because the motto of Asean is ‘United we stand, alone I grow’. As shown during this crisis, instead of standing by each other through thick and thin, they were fighting like cats and dogs to the surprised of the world community. Should Asean still expect the West to take them seriously and continue to give Asean’s leaders respect and support? If respect should be earned and not expected or demanded, then I believe Asean had to work very hard at it.
After 31 years of existence, Asean had failed to pile a strong foundation for the Association because Asean’s leaders were too busy making money for their individual pockets. They had failed to understand that there is the need to cultivate strong roots to hold them together by creating a solid structure to support them when there is a crisis. Asean had not excelled as perceived to be but just managed to survive because the key mistake of the Asean leaders are in their failure to realize the need to nurture talents is more important than controlling the minds of the people.
Therefore, instead of plastic surgery in fact what Asean really needs is complete internal surgery, especially mentally – Changing Mindset. Asean cannot move forward constructively if they are in constant denial. When are they going to grow up and wake up? Isn’t this currency crisis a wakeup call already? Do they need a war before they take drastic action to strengthen Asean? Asean’s leaders should be outwards looking, but they are turning inwards by going around the bush giving excuses instead of taking full responsibility in their failings. Asean does not have any more time to waste as they had already wasted 31 years of precious time by being polite to the stage of insincerity even hypocrisy.
Therefore, Asean does not need road shows, or ASLAF at the moment because ASEM had been proven to be a failure. The absence of several European nations at the Asia-Europe meeting (ASEM) of foreign ministers in Berlin is proving of what I said. Asean’s leaders are shortsighted because they lack vision and understanding to realize as long as Asean is not seen as a united force, they will be taken lightly. Moreover, Asean must know how to walk before they run, therefore all the effort to make ASEM respectable will be a waste of money, time, resources and energy if Aseam is still not seen as a strong union.
How to make Asean a united force? By integrating Asean right now and not one minute later! But before Asean could work on it, they must first face the truly hard and painful fact and admit at least to themselves that if not openly that Asean had never been a credible body due to its non-intervention rules and its puppet-like organizational arrangement. How is Asean going to change this mindset when after 31 years of the ‘Asean way’, they had accepted this attitude and behavior as part of their culture like the Indonesians had accepted corruption, cronyism, and nepotism as part and parcel of their existence? I strongly believe this attitude should be discouraged because as an Association Asean cannot move forward. Moreover, it is not healthy for the future leaders to emulate.
Although ASEM seems important and ASLAF with the support of Japan looks credible, but through my observation, I still believe without a single doubt that Asean being the roots must be strong because without strong roots how can the truck and branches grow. Therefore, the credibility of Asean is vital for survival, peace, and security in the region. Above all, the success of Asean is about Asian’s pride. No one nation should try and dilute Asean for their agenda!
Therefore, Asean first need is to heal internally by rethinking Asean foreign and internal policies. After 31 years in Asean’s history, there had never been any milestones, no defining moments and no historical treaties that have changed the course and nature of the Association. Therefore, without forthright discussions on controversial subjects, Asean failed to meet the political and economic challenges taken as a region. In other words, Asean must reinvent itself and prepare for the challenges of the next millennium by discarding the old image and make their policies reverent in today contact and make it work for Asean. Is that too difficult a call!
To achieve the objective, Asean needs to have the ability to institutionalize and provide an identity for regional Association. To instill the spirit of Asean into itself, especially for individual and business organization within Asean region and beyond, they need a central base or a place they can call ‘home’ where they are free to meet and be together to enable them to foster the spirit of brotherhood. In order for the spirit of Asean brotherhood to develop to its fullest potentials, the Asean House will be the ideal place to nurture such a spirit.
After 32 years, it is time to create a home for Asean and for all Southeast Asians because Asean cannot continue to be seen as a ‘traveling circus’.
Asean House will embody the region’s spirit and identity at various levels. The architecture and size of the building will blend both symbolic and functioned aspects. To embark on the development of such a massive building complex amidst the currency turmoil and economic crisis in the region will provide the international community a strong signal that the Asean spirit, solidarity, and strength is very much alive.
Asean needs to show not only to the world but also most importantly to all Southeast Asians that they are serious in Asean’s future by supporting the building of the Asean House. Since Brunei and Singapore show sincerity to help strengthen the grouping, though small and harbored no ambition to lead Asean, they can still be the catalysts not only in providing ideas but most importantly, due to their financial strength that they can also provide the funds to build the Asean House. This action will be very laudable in the eyes of the world community, especially in the hearts of all Southeast Asians.
Asean House will lift Asean into an entirely new level in terms of regional cooperation and integration, provide the Association a secretarial befitting the size and importance of Asean socio-economic and spiritual development. Symbolically the Asean House will represent the region’s awakening, committed to developing economic as well as cultural richness from which people may draw pride and strength.
In short, this House is to fill the vacuum left by Suharto to enable it to play a symbolic role similar to the United Nations, in order for the future generations of leaders to have a sense of direction of statesmanship in the running of the association. If the present leaders refuse to make changes by integrating the Association, they will create an obstacle for the future generations of leaders.
Now with the puppet master gone for good, Asean should grab this opportunity for renewal. Since the failure of ASEM, Asean had invited to support ASLAF, this means Japan support is very important for Asean success. Therefore, it is ideal for Asean to call upon Japan to help fill this vacuum by playing a catalytic role to rebuild Asean confidence.
Asean will be a community in control of its own fortunes and destiny. Self-determination must be the first commitment for peace in Southeast Asia and the Asean House reaffirm this commitment and reinforce a Southeast Asia that is strong and resilient in all the political, economic, and social and security fundaments. Therefore, Asean House will be a symbol of unity and a constant reminder to Southeast Asians to work together to achieve regional economic prosperity and spiritual developments, which are keys to Asean’s success. This means the vital role of the Asean House will promote and unite the people of the Asean countries on the basis of common interests and objectives to develop and consolidate the identity, spirit, and sense of Asean community.
For your knowledge to be in the First world state, Singapore needs great thinkers and creative talents in order for Singapore to excel and what I see in front of me is the MNC since the day of nation building. Well in one short sentence, I surmise that Mr. Goh Chok Tong is ALL WORDS but NO ACTIONS in nurturing local talents! Because if there is action, he will be giving a hand to Mr. Sim Wong Hoo during his difficult times. Mr. Ngiam Tong Dow told Strait Times Journalists why Singapore should just aim to be solid “second-upper” city. This article appeared on 12 Jan 2013ST. I always believe Singapore should do more, not only for its own people but also for Asean like coming out the initiate funding for the Asean headquarter in Jakarta.
7) My Mother, Lee Kuan Yew & GOD – What my mother, Lim Soon Hing said about LKY?
My mother said that the way LKY ran Singapore one hand lift us up but the other hand will bring us down especally when he hands the throne to his young and inexperience son!
This book is dedicated to my mother who had indirectly shaped my political mind.
Reality and Space in Singapore ‘FEAR’
How typical you might say, but it is really the true fact of life in Singapore, as we are constantly told how to behave. In the eyes of the Government the ordinary people do not have a mind of their own, therefore the people needed to follow the order and on top of it, no one should question but just accept whatever answer was given to us, because the Government was always right. The system only demanded and we the people were supposed to fulfill their wishes but never ours. Our only job was to study hard in order to catch up with the others and we were not given the time to question about life. It was deemed not necessary since the Government had made up their mind that the ordinary people could not think so they got to think for the people?
The view is society must heavily prescribe and the young fresh malleable mind cannot be trusted, except with an overload of rote learning. Especially in those days, we were all doom from day one when we entered primary one and now it is even worse, I was not trying to be smarter than the rest of the people by answering back and making a stand or believing I got an answer for everything, I guessed I was just different from many others or maybe my conscious level was higher than the others. I was always a curious child; I wanted to know everything that I could get my hands on. In order not to let the system take over my mind, I must be alert because I know this system is not going on the right path in developing a young mind, especially like mine because there is no room for questioning, what more when you make a mistake.
In order not to let the system take over my mind, I realized I needed to use my brain to assert my right! We the ordinary Singaporeans will assert our citizen right – In simple term, you can speak I also can speak lah! Why you can speak and I cannot speak, what are our mouths for, just to put food in our mouth to survive, ah! What about our spiritual food, political food, and human right food, so on and so forth? Where are we going to get these foods, if we cannot open our mouth to speak, so in order to get it out of my system I’m smart, I write to appease to my soul! But on the other hand, I might get myself into ‘hot soup’ with the Government but that not my worry because my ultimate aim is to reach out to my fellow citizens that share my aspirations that the society needed to be open up. (Anyway I felt so blessed because when I’m angry with the PAP government, I’m very productive writing poems, letters, doing all those creative architecture works and now I’m writing a book to pour out all my feelings and frustrations of the system!)
The fact that I dare to challenge, dare to be different, dare to be honest and dare to bring truth to my life should be admired but in those days and even now these actions were seen as rebellious in the eyes of the Government and people, thus I had frightened everyone around me instead, especially my family. (My mother often wondered how she could give birth to a child like me, so wild at heart and so different from the rest of her children and others. She did not realize that I was a true image of her; the only difference was that she spoke at home while I speak out to everyone who cared to listen – this so-called perfect system is doing more harm than good to our soul! I’m crying inside because life just can’t go on in this manner by allowing Money to dictate the meaning of our life. She was always afraid that one day I would get the whole family into trouble, because of my ‘Big Mouth’. She said that it was all right to speak in the house to vent out our frustration, but when I speak against the Government for not respecting the people opinions and views in the open, it was very dangerous and that I was inviting trouble.) I can never forget what my mother had said, “If you are a taxi driver, you just drive and you don’t talk politics because politic talks are only meant for the politicians and not even for the intellectuals, what more for the artists and businessmen and especially people like you and me!” This revelation had disturbed me tremendously and gradually I learned about the real life in Singapore. I grew up very fast by spending whatever time I had in the coffee shop by eve dropping to find out what was happening on the ground, as we were too poor to buy a paper to get the information. (All the Ah Peks often chased me out because they didn’t want me to hear all the bad things they said about the Government.)
“Whatever you can do or dream you can,
Boldness has genius, magic and power in it.
Begin it now.” – Goethe
To excel in life, the power of imagination to dream and the power to achieve it very necessary, which were very lacking in our pragmatic society like Singapore as fear bring only darkness that will stagnant the mind.I remembered vividly my teacher used to tell us that in a pragmatic society like Singapore, there was no space for us to think and talk what more to dream. No one should dream because it seemed a waste of time in the eyes of the Government. They do not realize that dream in the strict scientific sense, are powerful vital things that affect our lives profoundly. To use the word ‘dream’ to mean ‘ambition’ can make it seem a more solid possibility. But in Singapore pragmatic society, they said that pragmatic people are the realist and great achiever like Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. We must emulate him but my mother said that one Lee Kuan Yew is enough because if all of us tried to be like LKY that will be the end of Singapore. I really did not understand what she meant by it, maybe you all should ask her because she has such deep philosophy of life.
I remembered my teacher often screamed at me, “Sun Wah pay attention in the class, stop talking” or she will say, “Sun Wah stop dreaming, don’t waste your time”. Even my mother screamed at me constantly to stop daydreaming and when I opened my mouth she said that she would use chilies to rub my lips so that I could not speak anymore. Even now I still dreamed constantly, while I was doing my exercise, the instructor Reno called me, “Mariam where are you?” Everyone changed his or her position but I was still working on the same step with my mind very far away. He came to me and I said, “Oh! I am in Malaysia, I was fantasizing about the Malaysia Art Center together with the Organization Islamic Conference Headquarter.” If you look at me in a different angle, you can see that I know how to seize small moments of happiness in the simplest way – imagination and fantasize about the impossible like creating an architectural Legend for Mr. Nelson Mandela, to me I’m living my life to its fullest. Fantasizing to reach the impossible adds meaning to my life besides creating an air of excitement all over my body. I definitely live for my dreams and ideals!
Yes, I was always far away because I was building a beautiful world in my mind. I was not dreaming, I was just taking a trip by talking to my spiritual partner in silent and thus indirectly I’m communicating to God. (Especially when I was young, I needed to escape from my hard life being the black sheep of the family, the minute you wake up, at 5.30am you got to work till 11.00pm besides taking all the scolding and beating. Can you imagine ironing the clothes for nine members of the family every weekend at age 12 years old?) I needed to escape from the reality of life, so I often stole precious moment to fantasize to keep me sane that life was still worth struggling and living for. My wildest fantasy was that one-day from an ugly duckling, God would turn me into a beautiful swan with grace, great love and compassion for humanity and when everyone understands me they will love me for who I am. “Become what you are” – Orphic saying. My kind of a world is filled with great love and understanding for everyone without any expectation from anyone. (Got money no money also must be happy and if we could achieve it I believe we are the winner in life, therefore I hated when the Government drum into the people mind that we needed to survive like living is a toil for humanity.)
I was not willing to conform to society or be structure by the system not because I was smarter than the others, but I find the path offered is not exciting as finding my own path. God gives us a brain to think and a heart to feel, why not use them wisely and we will be on top of the world and that was the way I felt then and even now. Maybe the way I think was indirectly shaped by my mother who often screamed at us, “You think I’m Lee Kuan Yew, I got to think for you ah! Why God give you a brain, is to think, so go Use Your Brain, you stupid!” In political say or freedom, we still got a long way to go to get our voice heard, but nevertheless, we should not give up to convince the Government to give us the space to develop in this area. As a young child in those days, we were not supposed to talk about politics, as it was taboo, but my uneducated mother seemed to have her opinions on any topics that didn’t concern her.
This one that she said I could never erase from my mind. She said aloud as usual, “When Lee Kuan Yew dies, he will hug Singapore and then die with it.” So I asked her, how Lee Kuan Yew could hug Singapore Island, as it is so big. Then she answered, ”Of course not you stupid girl, what I meant was that if he does not let go, this means to open the society, we will all go with him when he leaves this world.” In short, my mother felt that he must give more freedom to the people to make decision, the sooner the better, if not there is no hope for us because she said that Singaporeans were not using their brains, they just looked at the books… and you can’t run a country just through the book we got to use our brains and that was what she said to us constantly when she was angry with the Government policies.
She constantly said, “Clever what is the use, those clever people cannot do anything. The more clever they are, they more they are afraid to open their mouth. They are afraid to say the wrong thing and afraid to make mistake, so clever for what?” My mother said that what Singapore needed are people with the gut, confidence, and determination to succeed and not that piece of paper qualification because it is ‘toilet paper’. I asked her why it was so. She said that what was the point of having the paper qualifications, when they do not know how to apply what they had learnt or even make simple decision, instead got to wait for Lee Kuan Yew to tell them what to do. What they had studied and they didn’t know how to apply it in life this means education is wasted. Moreover, they don’t even have the gut and confidence to speak up, so what was that piece of paper for, for show ah! Her greatest concerned was that by the time the country was ready to open up, it will be of no use because all the people will be ‘Brain Dead’. She often said,”Singaporeans that could not think even for themselves, how could we expect them or depend on them to the run the country in the future?”
If the future generation were not politically inclined what was going to happen to Singapore that was my mother main concerned and mine too? Political interests must be nurtured since young when the seed is sown in the heart, just like my daughter who got an interest in this area but was not encouraged by her school to develop it further instead otherwise. Once you destroy all these young idealism, you can never get them back as it original self. It will not work for the country when the Government felt now we are ready; I want you people to be interested in politics! That’s not how politics work; you can as SM Lee Kuan Yew himself! Neither is procreation and that is why we are having problems producing babies? Similarly, with the arts and as you can see it is moving in the right direction as fear still loom large over us – self-censorship is inevitable if they need to survive. But that’s not how arts should be grown, as it will not excel to make a breakthrough. Why is he doing this to the nation and stagnant our growth potential? We must not make this mistake in politics as we have done with so many others like ‘speak mandarin campaign’, the SME and the high cost of land, which is our main problem now! Now you might be opening up a little in the education department but we already lack behind others in term of nurturing mind to think for themselves and I do not know how long it will take us to excel in this area but for heaven sake please let political mind to have the space to explore and develop for the sake of the future generation, for this reason, we can’t nurture future leaders to take over. But what is important is to allow their free spirit and passion and the conscious to lead us.
I learned from my mother that it was very important to keep my brain alive so that the day when the nation opens up at least my brain will be alive and kicking and who knows hopefully the Government might need a brain like mine. Even if they don’t require such a brain as my brain doesn’t bring in the money for them maybe somewhere someone is looking for someone like me. We always must think positive and do not let this system destroy our confidence and self-worth because the Government does not need us. My word of advice, if the Government does not prepare the younger generation now to be interested in politics and understand what politics is all about, I am afraid in time to come there will be no Singapore left for the next generation! By getting the future generations to toe the line and policy of the PAP are brain washing and that is not what we want for Singapore future leaders. What we wanted for the future leaders of Singapore is to have a mind of their own and be connected to their soul to bring about a nation with heart soul and character.
MY BOOKS FROM MY SOUL
Through these books I hope to share with all of you my true feelings and thoughts on the need to search for ‘wholeness’ to build a better society for future generation and how I would want Singapore to flower beyond economics and thus take its rightful place to play a bigger role in shaping the future world by coming out with revolutionary ideas for the goodness of humanity. Don’t you agree with me it is time for Singapore to work for the world instead of just focusing on the MNC? Isn’t that the essence and the true spirit of the European Renaissance and isn’t this the aspiration of PM Goh Chok Tong as he wanted to make Singapore into a New Renaissance City besides helping Singapore to reach the SWISS STANDARD in 2020! Well, Talk is Cheap! The artist Pablo Picasso once said, “Action is the foundational key to all success.”
To the best of my memory, many things that happened around me had often evoked my curiosity even at a very young age. I just could not understand why so many Singaporeans led a life of aloofness and paid no attention to whatever things the mirage of events that are happening around them. I have tried every conceivable means and ways in my attempt to understand why this is so but to no avail. My approach to the elders of our society for enlightenment produced none of understanding that I seek so ardently. It was not until I landed a job in 1974 as an air hostess, which allowed me to see a whole multitude of countries of the world of such diverse cultures and traditions and set foot on their soil. Having gone through a certain gestation period of coming into contact with people of all sorts of background and conditions, new vistas open up that led me the realization of the truth about life, what life is all about? So, naturally, as I grow older and wiser I know how to appreciate life and thus seize life to the fullest by bravely stepping out into life and embracing the unknown.
These books were not planned, it came about as a result of my meeting a friend of my daughter’s who suggested that it would be a great idea if the World Harmony Day story could be written, told and shared with people of the world. This calling to write a book is timely to allow me to express my true feelings of love, concern, and fear for Singapore and the future of the world of which the survival and prosperity of both entities have been called into question since Sept 11. These nine months were truly the best months of my entire life because a heavy burden has been lifted off my chest through writing these books that you are holding one of them in your hands. I am finally free and I felt a sense of inner peace like I have done my job in this tiny blue dot called EARTH, “Peace in mind is Harmony within” – Sunflower Chong.
Life is beautiful and I got to thank Stephen Black an American from the bottom of my heart for inspiring me with the idea to write, without which ‘My Lifelong Journey’ would still be kept in the closet for almost 20 years. I really hope that all of you share my belief that this tiny red dot, Singapore can be the ‘Brain and Soul of the World’.
‘To Be the Brain’ – I wish Singapore could come out with revolutionary ideas to shape the future world through Great Architecture. (Especially in Marina South Downtown.)
‘To Be the Soul’ – I hope the rise of the World Great Renaissances will sprout from this tiny red dot to write a book for humanity. This book for humanity will be humanity greatest prize.
“The time has come for the citizens of the world to come together in good faith to write a book for all humanity. This book is not a religious book but rather is an informative educational book on God and Spirituality. Children as young as 10 years old would like to know who is God? Where is God? When and how God came to this world? Last but not least why He is in our life?
I had asked all these questions when I was young but teacher said that we need to walk the spiritual journey to connect with God to reach Him 🙂 So now you know why I kept walking because the answer is not given on the silver plate 🙁
Fortunate for me as I move along with this ‘so-called progressed’ world, I have never failed to hear the gentle voice of the wind whispering softly to my ears; hence as I walk the journey of my life, I always reminded myself to remember to take time to notice the beauty of the flowers at my feet and as I looked up towards the blue skies felt the golden ray of hope shining brightly on my face – like God is smiling at me and with me, isn’t this lovely? I am indeed a blessed soul because I never left my spiritual partner behind, thus I have not lost the appreciation of the little wonders of life that nature and spirituality have to offer.
The Capitalist world has not eroded ‘My Consciousness’ because I managed to stay alive by having God’s presence closer to ‘My Soul’. As far as I can remember I have been looking for God. As a young child, I always asked, “Where are you Almighty God, which is your true house?” If I have not embarked on my lifelong journey in search for the ‘voice’ that I had heard in my dreams, I might not have found ALLAH.
“Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the travellers journey is done.
Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow:
Arise from their graves and aspire,
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go.” – William Blake
“I want to be with Allah, but before I go to be with Him I must first complete my job on this Earth.” – Sunflower Chong
It all started from a childhood dream – ‘The Voice’ in my dream said that one day the people would listen to my voice. How bazaar this dream was and it kept occurring in the midst of my solitude and in my loneliness too? The Chinese people believed that dreams are messages from God and I was intrigued to find out why the people would listen to an ordinary girl like me, therefore I have decided to dedicate my life to strive to listen more clearly to this ‘Voice’. My journey began from the consciousness of my new name Sunflower and the endless voyage that finally brought me to the insight that we need to learn how to share this One World. This means that for peace and harmony to prevail we have to work towards bringing to the ‘Collective Consciousness’ of the human race the idea and desire for ‘World Harmony’.
All along in my subconscious I knew architecture would either make me (be recognized for coming out with revolutionary ideas in new thinking in seeing and using architecture) or break me (lost my sanity in the midst of the pursuit) because at the rate I went about trying to realize the ASEAN Vision 2020 was total madness! For example by going to Indonesia to convince the Indonesia’s authority to include the ASEAN Headquarters named the ASEAN House in their master plan for the Hotel Indonesia International redevelopment project because the one that the Indonesia Government had planned at Kebayoran was not ideal at all. The journey to reach President Suharto I could write a book about it.
Next, I flew to the Philippines to try to meet up with President Arroyo to convince her to initiate the idea of the ASEAN House at the Hotel HII site. The long journey to Malaysia was very taxing knocking on doors to present the proposal to Prime Minister Dr. M Mahathir and finally, I ended up in Indonesia again trying to reach Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for his support. Never the one to give up I submitted my plan to the Brunei Investment Agency, but when she wanted me to come out with the feasibility study I know it was time to give up because I did not have any money left to conduct such a study. Moreover, the situation in Indonesia was highly volatile and it was not worth spending that kind of money. Thus, I was broke financially but not spirituality. Don’t you agree with me that it was total madness for an individual to go on a one-woman mission when you are ‘Nobody’?
But never in my wildest dream that all these ‘craziness’ or ‘madness’ will lead me to give birth to World Harmony Day (WHD), maybe this is the real miracle?
World Harmony Day (www.worldharmonyday.com) – ‘Voice of the world’ is to remind everyone to have ‘The Consciousness’ for the World Trade Center incident. It is a great awakening for Humanity, which compels us all to take responsibility and play a part each day in bringing peace and harmony back for the sake of children in the present and of the future. Secondly, to promise ourselves that on this day forward 20th February 2002 at 20:02, no more violence should be used to resolve conflicts. Thirdly, it is our utmost duty and responsibility to remind future generation not to take peace and harmony for granted. If PEACE & HARMONY are what they want the citizens of the world must be proactive in shaping the future world, not only for themselves but more so for their children’s children.
The only thing I wanted in life is to live a short but fulfilled one. I need nothing for myself because when you go to heaven you cannot carry a heavy load. All I need is the respect and understanding from the people, especially my family and friends that I got a job to do in this world. If I ever realize this dream whatever it is going to be, I believe it will be the belief and the passion of the people to make it happened. I guess my job is to give birth to this ‘Big Dream’, the builders will be the people with the love and passion for seeing it a reality. If you can say the good thing that came out of my lifelong pursue was that my life is filled with joy and happiness as I have touched some souls along the way especially my son Gabriel and daughter Greta.
I felt very blessed because when I am angry with the PAP government, I’m very productive writing poems, letters, doing all these creative architecture works and after what had happened to my daughter and I at the Youth Park on WHD 2003 (http://worldharmonyday.com/why-the-government-dampen-our-pure-spirit-on-world-harmony-day-2003/) that it propelled me to pour out all my inner feelings, frustrations, desires, aspirations for Singapore’s future in books. Can you bite this, good or bad I don’t really know but time will tell. What’s important is that I needed to get all my frustrations out of my system, thus I feel much better emotionally and thus mentally. If my soul is not happy how can my physical self-be happy?
Yes, my soul is happy now after writing what I think and how I feel about the system and Mr. Lee Kuan Yew in particular but on the other hand, I might get myself into ‘hot soup’ with the government. Everyone who knew that I was writing my books in regard to the weaknesses of the system ran mile away from me but that was never my worry or concern because my ultimate aim is to reach out to my fellow men who share my aspirations that our society needed to be opened up politically for Singapore’s sake and especially for the sake of future generation.
Singapore is a small country it will be very sad if the Government failed to profit from the 3 million brains, which is available at their disposable. How far can we go to be the top of the top when the ideas only come from the top few? And it is always the same formula “MAKE MONEY AT ALL COST!” Maybe from now onwards it is high time that these 3 million brains start ticking by thinking for Singapore’s future. In short, if the people do have minds of their own, they should be making better choices instead of complaining about the system. For once in our life let us stop complaining; instead, we must be proactive for the sake of our children’s children and especially for the sake of Singapore survival as a nation. Since everybody has a share of responsibility to do his or her part in building a happier Singapore where people do show care and concern for each other, it is in this spirit that I have the audacity to write these volumes. If it succeeds in arousing ‘The Consciousness’ of our people and their realization of the great issues at stake, then my effort will be amply rewarded.
Together, We Can All Make A Difference, And Together, WE ALL COUNT!!
Unfortunately the creative works that I have done cannot help the government to make money but we should never give up trying to convince the government that many good could come out by bringing the right kind of ideology to hold us together as a nation, thus enable us to reach our goal to be a great and unique nation.
There are works to be done and each and every Singaporeans got to play their part whether we are pay or not or whether the government understands our intentions or not because one fine day I am sure they will. Just hope it will not be too late for the government to open their eyes that they need to open the society real soon if Singapore is a going to be around forever. The PAP government needs the people more than ever now and all we need is to use our brain wisely and unsparingly with great confidence.
May God gives a great blessing to Singapore and our One World?
Love, light, peace, harmony, and unity,
20th January 2005
COMMENT ON THE BOOKS
FEB 28TH, 5:56AM
I do like your book…
FEB 28TH, 9:38AM
Good morning John, first I have to thank you for buying my book. Only 4 people managed to buy it because the evil Zionist Joos use a special clamp to block it:( My book Sharing my vision of great architecture was compiled by first-year student from NUS. The English were written by me:) They help me out because they cannot believe that I do not have any architectural backgrd but was filled with great passion and hope for Singapore to be a spiritual nation. I hope you like my book written from my soul.
“It’s all about the SOUL. Your soul is your true being and when you allow them to take your Soul they not only take your thinking power away but your ‘Inner Power’ too. ” – Sunflower Chong
“What we think, we become.”- Buddha
If ever one day I can publish my book I wish to support the children of Gaza. Love Sunflower
MAR 1st, 2017, 5:51AM
My pleasure and I think your English is excellent and please let me know of any other books that you have written or will write going forward …. I appreciate knowing you and who welcome future correspondence with you…. You have a good Soul and know we will meet some time in this life or a future life or beyond this dimension or universe …
MAR 1st, 2017 3:29PM
Dear John, I am so glad you can feel my soul because it is all about the soul:) Yes I have every intention to publish all my books will keep you inform once I have it loaded. Meanwhile please read what I have posted here http://worldharmonyday.com/cern-babel-satan-destruction/
On Tue, Jun 17, 2003 at 20:37, JOE LABU
Peace be upon you by the will of the Omnipresent..
Dear Mama Sunflower,
I have read both chapter 9 & 10!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! thank you.
It was very much enlightening and had given me a deeper insights of what is facing me everyday now..you.., Greta… and all these happenings around me….I understand it so much more than before. It’s truly and undoubtedly pretty amazing … the chapters of the book .., I believe will never meet an ending. ..for life’s lessons and experiences don’t deserve to have an ending..furthermore, it should be engraved on a monolith for all to see for the next generations…forever.
A Great Book..
I enjoyed what I’ve read..from WHD journeys, Greta’s poems and Gabby’s words and your expressions…all sincere, pure and most importantly REAL.
Its good that u have included Greta’s story from Sasha’s article about her… Greta’s poems are amazing..never seen anything like that before… I now can relate some of it after seeing world harmony day and after seeing what is currently happening now.. I could only suggest that u might wanna add more of her current aspiration to travel, her evolving thoughts,.. the documentary film and perhaps some of her true accounts and experience with you while she was in school and growing up.. in short, some of her point of views on living with you (besides the poems) and briefly a couple of her self- experience too as what you had mentioned about Gabby.
This may fuel her interest more and would also greatly contribute to her “relationship with this book” in the future when it’s launched…:-)
For now,..my appreciation for you for the past 6-7 months, I can’t put to words………….Al-hamdullilah.
Thank you & may God shines His light on us all..
Now thinking of the cover page design….hmmmm..