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Archive for January, 2010

Remember the phase I have repeated 4 times in my last post?

We live in a complicated world and it is when we try to simplify things that we make a lot of mistakes.

Sirian wrote this as a comment on his view about calcium and milk.

Well just thought I’d point out that your ability to uptake calcium is dependant on vitamin D which the body produces in its skin when exposed to sunlight. The countries with less sunlight have a higher osteoporosis level because of this not because of the calcium.

Another thing is that the study was skewed by age. People in the high calcium uptake areas have a much higher life expectancy. Old people get osteoporosis because they’re old and do not put much strain on they’re bones. Not because they drink milk.

If drinking milk reduced the calcium in your bones then why does it only seem to affect such a small portion of the population and why only when they’re over 70 years old. I know people who don’t drink anything other than milk and water. Surely they should be dead by now or have bones so week that they break constantly.

Finally as for the acidity in the blood any food, and I really do mean any food, that we eat and can digest is broken down into acids. That’s how our bodies transport fats and proteins. So erm I guess your saying eating is bad for you. Also just to add to this point if you drink semi skimmed or skimmed milk then that will have most of the fatty acids removed.

Finally just incase you were still unconvinced that this was all nonsense. you could test the urine for the calcium containing compounds that would be produced and guess what. There aren’t any. This is unfortunately one of those myths that crept up because of misinterpreted data.

His view sum up almost everything, not just about calcium and milk, but about the fact that “We live in a complicated world and it is when we try to simplify things that we make a lot of mistakes.”

Is it really protein that cause cancer?

Is it true that by adding Omega 3 to babies milk we are able to make our children smarter?

Is it true that eating seafood will increase your cholesterol?

Is it true that oily food are bad for health?

In this world, things are very complicated. But what scientist like to do (what our “brain” like to do), is to simplify things (solving problem). We like to think that the world is a simple as 1 cause to 1 effect.

For example, a scientist who discover about fiber will like to claim that fiber is able to solve all our health problems. 1 cause (fiber) create 1 effect (health).

The same goes to the protein expert, who claim that 1 cause (protein) create 1 effect (cancer).

And the chi-gong master, who claim that 1 cause (chi-gong) create 1 effect (health).

And the list goes on, enzymes, Omega 3, Vitamin C, beta-carotene, yoga, meditation, morning walk, an apple a day …

Even in the complicated economics world, experts do the same thing – trying to nail down a single cause to a single event. For example, even Ten Teng Boo repeatedly saying that the financial crisis is caused by the collapsed of Lehman brothers. Some insist that it is cause by subprime lending. And interesting enough, many Americans like to blame it on China.

But they are all right and wrong at the same time. The world (the economy) is so complicated that how can it be possible that 1 word “Lehman” or “China” cause everything?

Everything that happens consist of multiple causes, probably billions of billion causes.

While trying to figure out that 1 billion causes is impossible, trying to nail down something to just 1 cause is also very foolish.

So if I stop eating protein my cancer will get healed?

So if I eat Vitamin C I will not get sick?

So if I stop drinking milk I will have strong bones?

So if I start to practice chi-gong or yoga I will be very healthy?


In the movie “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, Benjamin (Brad Pitt) told a story on how Daisy was hit by a taxi and crushed her leg.

Sometimes we’re on a collision course, and we just don’t know it. Whether it’s by accident or by design, there’s not a thing we can do about it.

A woman in Paris was on her way to go shopping, but she had forgotten her coat – went back to get it. When she had gotten her coat, the phone had rung, so she’d stopped to answer it; talked for a couple of minutes.

While the woman was on the phone, Daisy was rehearsing for a performance at the Paris Opera House. And while she was rehearsing, the woman, off the phone now, had gone outside to get a taxi. Now a taxi driver had dropped off a fare earlier and had stopped to get a cup of coffee. And all the while, Daisy was rehearsing. And this cab driver, who dropped off the earlier fare; who’d stopped to get the cup of coffee, had picked up the lady who was going to shopping, and had missed getting an earlier cab.

The taxi had to stop for a man crossing the street, who had left for work five minutes later than he normally did, because he forgot to set off his alarm. While that man, late for work, was crossing the street, Daisy had finished rehearsing, and was taking a shower. And while Daisy was showering, the taxi was waiting outside a boutique for the woman to pick up a package, which hadn’t been wrapped yet, because the girl who was supposed to wrap it had broken up with her boyfriend the night before, and forgot.

When the package was wrapped, the woman, who was back in the cab, was blocked by a delivery truck, all the while Daisy was getting dressed. The delivery truck pulled away and the taxi was able to move, while Daisy, the last to be dressed, waited for one of her friends, who had broken a shoelace. While the taxi was stopped, waiting for a traffic light, Daisy and her friend came out the back of the theater.

And if only one thing had happened differently: if that shoelace hadn’t broken; or that delivery truck had moved moments earlier; or that package had been wrapped and ready, because the girl hadn’t broken up with her boyfriend; or that man had set his alarm and got up five minutes earlier; or that taxi driver hadn’t stopped for a cup of coffee; or that woman had remembered her coat, and got into an earlier cab, Daisy and her friend would’ve crossed the street, and the taxi would’ve driven by. But life being what it is – a series of intersecting lives and incidents, out of anyone’s control – that taxi did not go by, and that driver was momentarily distracted, and that taxi hit Daisy, and her leg was crushed.

[bolded by me]

This story consist of so much wisdom that reading it myself make me want to cry.

Don’t try to nail down a single cause to a single event. It is complicated. We have to accept that there are many things that we couldn’t grasp with our mind. And by “accepting”, we can be more humble, more open and more willing to see things in more ways. We can start to aspire the wonders of the universe, the wonders or every thing around us, the wonders of our body, the wonders of every cells working so well with each other.

I will never dare to say that I have gotten the answer, or I have got the “secret code” to heath. Because no matter what, I am going to miss something, which is guaranteed. And no matter what, we all are going to die. So instead of insisting we are right, I think it will be smarter if we learn to see things in more ways. And then we can decide what we want to do.

The Dragon Boat Tragedy

When something like this happen, you will see everyone blaming everyone else. Even Penang Barisan National can use it to blame Pakatan Rakyat. Then we have all sorts of comments and criticizes, “they are not suppose to … do this … do that”, “they should … do this … do that”, everyone becomes expert, they want someone to be responsible. For them, it happened because someone is “wrong”.

Student Kuah Zi Xun, who was sitting at the rear of the boat, said the rowers were doing their final lap when the boat was hit by strong waves.

The boat then rammed into a tugboat moored nearby.

"A second strong wave then hit us and our boat overturned."

"All of us were thrown into the sea and a strong undercurrent pulled all of us underwater, he said when met at the scene.

Kuah said only 12 of them, who wore life jackets, managed to swim to the surface and stayed afloat.

Some of them managed to swim some 400 metres to the shore while others were rescued by two passing fishing boats.

Three of them were admitted at the Penang Hospital for minor injuries while another was discharged after receiving outpatient treatment.

Eyewitnesses said some of the rowers had shouted for help while floating in the sea.

Devastated parents of the missing boys were seen weeping uncontrollably near the scene.

There is no single reason or cause for this tragedy but billions of them. So many things had to happen together to make it happen! A slight changes to these “conditions” will make the event totally different. Remember the story of Benjamin Button?

And if one thing had happened differently: If they practice 1 less lap and went home earlier; if the strong wave doesn’t hit them on the final lap;if the tugboat is not “waiting” there; if there is no under-current, if they are nearer to the shore  …

Sometimes we’re on a collision course, and we just don’t know it. Whether it’s by accident or by design, there’s not a thing we can do about it.

We don’t know why. No one need to be responsible for it and NO ONE CAN be responsible for it! None of the comments and critics and advices can change anything. The only thing you can do is to accept it.

I watched TV yesterday, and I am very touched by a victim’s mum. When interviewed in her son funeral, she said,

I accept… I accept… I know the world is full of uncertainties… I do learn Buddhism… I accept… I accept… He came to this world happily … and he is leaving this world happily… I accept… I accept …

It is very hard to do what she do. But she is definitely doing the right thing that is good for herself, good for her son, good for her family and good for everyone else. No blaming. No one need to be responsible. What happened is already happened. No one can change the past. I accept.

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