How I survived my SQ in Siem Reap!

Some of you might understand SQ as “self-quarantine”. Here, it’s my own initials for “semi-quarantine”. Be cautious: I’m not writing this to encourage this kind of practice because it may expose you to COVID19 infection. What you’re going to read below simply describes my short stay away from my Siem Reap home. The main purpose was just to avoid unnecessary infection to my small family.

1- It’s Yesterday Once More!

If that headline reminds you of a classic song, it drew me back to my first living in Siem Reap. Back then, to save up, I had to stay in a rented (apartment) room, annexed to a landlady’s house. That was applied again, when I searched for a play to “lock me down” just for two weeks. Thanks to my filmmaking friend, Sopheak, I found one behind his house. The first night felt steaming hot to me. So I moved from upstairs to downstairs and coped with a slightly better comfort from then on.

2- Simple, yet Expensive Stay!

Despite my minimalistic attempt, boy, I had to stock up lots of foodstuff and buy more accessories. So the expenses doubled up, compared to when I lived in Phnom Penh during our latest lockdown! Other than that, life got so simple that instant noodles and canned sardines become my “temporary favorites” 🙂 Oh yeah, if I found a meal too big, I’d keep the leftover till a next one.

3- Physical and Natural Combo

Again, Sopheak was kind enough to loan me his sports bicycle. Well, that changed virtually everything about my routines. After my morning meditation, I went on to my physical exercise. Of course, to commute around, I cycled as if no one cared! I sometimes walked around for some neighbor services. That was what I meant by “semi-quarantine” as I limited my commutation to a one-kilometer diameter of my room! Therefore, even if I changed the cafes to sit and work, I could recall where I hung out. Of course, for those two weeks, I never missed a single day of my temperature checkup.

4- Expanded Relationships?

It felt surreal when you limited your sphere of contact. Even a random barista could remember my regular order. The last sweet experience was my cafe next doors, Library Coffee, turned out to host my latest meals! The ambiance felt more humanely home to me than in my solo room. And what caused this change: their authenticity and kindness. We treated each other almost like a family. I’m not sure if they remember me on my return. But, on my next trip there, I’ll remember to drop a textbook or two in their corners for their (younger) clients’ curiosity. And my Facebook update brought me this young daring photographer-documentary maker: Choulay!

5- Family Still Matters

I totally understand how concerned my wife is about her parents and family. So my “semi-quarantine” was probably the best compromise until I completed my shift. After all, she still found time to take me some necessities. My feeling got mixed when I saw my kids just from her car window. As the saying goes, “far is near; near is far”. It all depends on our spirit. I thought they could get used to living away from me. But looking ahead, they still need my “physical” touch. Until then, virtual communications between us have done us no harm!

To sum up, this experience has proved to me that relationships still matter, despite the current pandemic. Fear may cripple us at times. Yet, love will conquer all. If you’re now still scared, go out and live your life anyway, even for the few days you count. Need a living proof? You can call me one of them – if not the one!

How does meditation heal relationships?

A few weeks ago, our Mstermind Club conducted a mindful session on Clubhouse, with our guru, Kumar from RajaYoga. Despite its low turnout, I found it worth recalling and reading for you here. These steps will open up your mind and, possibly, help fix your relationship issues.

1- Eye Contact – Energy Contact

It is important for us to keep a positive eye contact. Through our eyes, energy is sent to other people and they absorb energy into ourselves. That is why some could tell what is happening inside a person’s mind, through their eyes. Therefore, we need to be mindful about who to look at, or how to look at each other! And can you guess what these eyes are about?

2- Relationship Problems

Most problems happen to relationships out of two main reasons: expectations and desires. When these are overrated, even the slightest mishap could affect our inner balance. That is why in meditation, “detachment” is always recommended to its practitioners.

3- Relationship Antidotes

Since every issue originates from our mid, so do all solutions. But how to reduce or even get rid of relationship problems? BK Kumar suggests the following antidotes:

3-1- Honesty

To some people, it remains a challenge to be honest to others. Why? Because they are not even honest with their true selves. The key to this understanding is to accept oneself and treat our fellows equally. This way, we neutralize our moods or even expectations. Then, we can be truthful about how we feel and the others can see us through.

3-2- Trust

It not surprising that this quality succeeds the former. As we start to accept others, it feels lighter to build trust in other people. So even if it is broken or breached, we can go back to being honest without feeling victimized with abusive treatment. Can we trust again? Of course, if you learn to love again, no matter what! This reminds me of the latest animation from Disney: Raya and the Last Dragon 😉

4- Clarity Matters

As we build ourselves around those qualities, everyone around us will see us as clear as water, accessible and approachable. Then, words start spreading about us, radiating our influence and cementing our relationship across different dimensions. That is how you sometimes feel warm and charmed with some artists or leaders!

In a nutshell, even though relationship has a lot to do with other people, the first step to take is to fix our own soul. Trust me, the process has never been easy. Yet, with regular mindful exercises and reminders, you can get over any relationship challenges with your honesty and trust.

Four Simple Ways to Effective Work

A couple weeks ago, I posted a on my personal Facebook Page. I meant to ask which of the topics below you’d like to hear from me:

1- Effective work, 2- Business Startups, 3- Leadership by example, 4- Social Activities, 5- Others

It turns out that some friends answered me in private that they prefer Topic number 1: Effective Work! If you need a shorter version of my elaboration, check out this series of clips on my Page! If you prefer a more insightful version, read this post on!

1- Set Your Goals to Achieve Your Work

I do mean “goals” to be plural because one goal per day might make us feel under-productive by the end of the day! This article on RescueTime advises we set 4 important tasks to complete every day. The rest should be considered “trivial” or less important. I personally suggest you set these daily goals the night before you sleep. Then, once awake, you already know what to hustle about!

2- Manage Your Time based on Priorities

Despite an overload of daily tasks, prioritize those in order of importance. Of course, you may adjust them to its urgency by its time slots. For better time management, I suggest you read my previous blog post here. As I keep believing, if you manage your time right, you can also manage your life wisely.

3- Take Some Breaks in Between

This is probably the latest “treat” I’ve just adopted, since I practice guided meditation. Some gurus may advise you to take a five-minute break between half-hour slots. In my case, my break routines are scheduled at 10:30 am for 10 minutes, 03:30 pm for 10 minutes, 05:30 pm for 2 hours. Of course, these days, I tend to go to sleep as early as 10:30 pm 🙂 As the old saying goes, early to bed, early to rise, for a wiser mind!

4- Review Your Work and Adjust

Hang on! Don’t go to sleep yet without checking on the tasks you’ve set to achieve throughout your day. If you miss one or two, ask yourself if you should or must complete it before you hit the sack. After all, you’ll never know what you miss might cause any regret later. Hint: review what matters to you most, in terms of your personal values. These could be your beloved family or a dear mission!

In conclusion, as work makes up the major part of our lives, we should not take its sub-tasks lightly. In fact, working with a goal in mind is more effective than spending your day aimlessly or upon others’ instructions!