Sitting flat on your bum doesn’t buy you any bread

Long gone the days when labour jobs were the only thing that bought you bread. These days, along with the dominance of the blue-collared, sitting flat on your bum is no longer a privillege but a plague actually. And bread kills, so they say!!!!!!

Oh I don’t get this life anymore.

Anyway, after mindfully counting the time I spend daily on my ass, I freaked out ’cause if this continues I’m soon gonna end up in a coffin. You don’t buy it, check this out!

With my feverish enthusiasm at the beginning of every-single-thing as usual, I first wanted to have something like this:

varidesk standing desk image.jpg

Or even more extreme, like this:


The Government wouldn’t fund these, would they? Considering the fact that the monthly salary the Big Fat Gov-guy pays me stretches so thin that I can barely live on without running a few extra classes, I should drop the unfeasible plan. Actually, keeping fit can be affordable.

Just try to stand up for 5 minutes after every 30 minutes sitting and stretch out for every half a day. I’m adopting “reaching for the topshelf jam jar” and “digging for the toes” – I named the moves myself to have a little motivation.

I run errands for my colleagues though they don’t need. Yeah. I’m such a sweet nuisance.

I try to stand most of the time when I’m teaching.

I walk to get meat and veggies.

I’m planning to stretch and do a little bit of exercises every morning. Seriously need to break some sweat here. Just planning. Shame.

Trust me, it ain’t easy as it looks!

I’m thinking about switching to bus instead of bike. Also just thinking.


Behavior is not the problem

Yesterday I watched a very intriguing Tedtalk about brain science from Dr. Daniel Amen who has spent more than 20 years scanning 83,000 brains. For the first time in my life, I realize that there are so many kinds of brain damages that have been ignored most of the time – those that might seem to be minor at the surface, yet are actually tremendous like the underwater part of an iceberg. He then raised a very profound statement through his findings: “Behavior is not the problem; behavior is the expression of the problem”.

Scanning brains of criminals and problematic children, he discovered brain damages that only revealed themselves in SPECT scans. In several cases, he noticed that successful treatments of these damages can totally transform a murderer or a murderer-to-be into a trustworthy Mr. or Ms. Tax-payer.

He therefore questioned the rationality of prisons in the modern society, quoting Dostoyevski, of course: “A society should be judged not by how it treats its outstanding citizens, but by how it treats its criminals.”. He proposed a system where more emphasis is put on evaluation and treatment, rather than punishment.

I think Dr. Amen really makes some points here, but as an amateur in the field, I somehow shrug at the idea of treating the brain. I mean I’m quite sick at the asylum in “One flew over a cuckoo’s nest”. Or somehow when an initially good idea is manipulated by a group of fanatic extremists, a disaster could be looming. Don’t you remember that a century ago, decent citizens were so diligent about treating homosexuality?

Are modern spychiatry and behavioral sciences mighty enough to mess with the brain?


Something rings true

Understanding depression in a friend or family member

Depression is a serious condition. Don’t underestimate the seriousness of depression. Depression drains a person’s energy, optimism, and motivation. Your depressed loved one can’t just “snap out of it” by sheer force of will.

The symptoms of depression aren’t personal. Depression makes it difficult for a person to connect on a deep emotional level with anyone, even the people he or she loves most. In addition, depressed people often say hurtful things and lash out in anger. Remember that this is the depression talking, not your loved one, so try not to take it personally.

Hiding the problem won’t make it go away. Don’t be an enabler. It doesn’t help anyone involved if you are making excuses, covering up the problem, or lying for a friend or family member who is depressed. In fact, this may keep the depressed person from seeking treatment.

You can’t “fix” someone else’s depression. Don’t try to rescue your loved one from depression. It’s not up to you to fix the problem, nor can you. You’re not to blame for your loved one’s depression or responsible for his or her happiness (or lack thereof). Ultimately, recovery is in the hands of the depressed person.


Empathy is the ultimate wisdom

I love this particular scene from my favorite movie “An education”:


Wisdom is definitely not something closely associated with old age. In fact, I’ve seen a good number of men who seem to have more wrinkles on their faces than on their brains.

As I grow older, I come to realize that empathy is the ultimate wisdom. Empathy is not just about getting a thorough gasp of something, it’s about how you can relate to others to understand them and open your heart to them. As humanbeings are born with self-centered thoughts, I don’t think it’s our true nature to try to put ourselves into someone else’s shoes to see things from a new angle and under a new light.

To me, sufferings, pain and courage breed empathy.

Sufferings shed light on things that you simply ignore when you’re content. Pain makes life seem real, so real it hurts. Then it takes so much courage to overcome your own broken heart, so that love prevails. And empathy takes roots from love.

I recently took the part of a new learner of another language, not just a teacher as my usual role. Never like before did I see so clearly the enormous challenges posed to a beginner’s journey to master a foreign language: the fading interest, the self-doubt, the too-tight-a-schedule-to squeeze-anything-in, the comfort zone turning upside down, the unbearable peer-pressure (when your peers are at least a decade away from your generation, darn!).

That helps a lot with my current role as a teacher. Now that I’m in the same shoes with my students, I know how tight I should lace them up!



Những ngày này, có thời gian vào bếp hơn, tự nhiên thấy thấm thía thứ tình thương và tình yêu rất mộc, rất ấm, rất cũ kỹ nhưng trân quý ươm mầm từ từng căn bếp.

Khi mình yêu thương ai, mình sẽ thấy mỗi lần bước chân vào bếp là mỗi lần mình lần giở trong đầu những trang ký ức yêu thương nhất về người ấy: người ấy thích món gì, nấu như thế nào, nụ cười trên môi người ấy khi được ăn một món ngon ấm áp ra sao?

Mình thấy thương quá, yêu quá, quý quá những chục trứng gà so hồng hào xinh xẻo do cô Hồng nhặt cho, những rau mồng tơi, mướp hương thơm mát, rau bí ram ráp phấn trắng, rau dền cơm lăn tăn bé nhỏ thân thương do mẹ chăm chút gửi xuống mỗi chiều chủ nhật.

Yêu từ bát canh mồng tơi mướp hương những chiều bức mưa oi nồng, nước canh trong vắt, mồng tơi mướt mát xanh, mướp hương xanh trong như ngọc và tôm điểm vào màu đỏ cam san hô rực rỡ, như một nét chấm phá không thể thiếu.

Yêu đến bát cà tím hay cà bát bung đủ vị do mình cố công chiến đấu cơn buồn ngủ và cơn lười kinh niên để ra chợ sớm tìm cho đủ mớ tía tô tím ngát hương, tập lá lốt xanh đậm ngạt ngào thơm và mấy bìa đậu trắng phau mát mịn.

Dạo này lăn lóc dưới gầm bếp tối tăm mát rượi là bơ, là cam, là khoai lang, thấy mình tích trữ lương thực như một nhà nông đích thực mất rồi!

Yêu nhất là nói chuyện bên mâm cơm bốc khói, nhìn thấy những môi cười ấm áp thân thương và những bát cơm canh vơi đi nhanh chóng.

Vì yêu thương, mình sẽ săn sóc cho căn bếp. Để là một chốn đi về, luôn có cái gì đó nóng hổi ấm lòng cho những cái bụng rỗng và những tâm hồn đang chống chếnh.



Living a vanity moment out of vanity

The reasons why I often dress casually:

  • I don’t want people to know that I’ve tried too hard.
  • I want to appear modest.
  • I don’t want people to think that I’m a rich girl trying to show off (’cause I’m not rich).
  • Casual wear is on.

Now I think there is one reason why I should dress up from time to time:

To live a vanity moment out of vanity. 


(Source: refinery29)