Your Health in the Second Half

As a 45-year-old, I find myself more and more interested in health. Staying or becoming more healthy was never a serious concern for me in my 20s or even 30s. Men in their 40s are more in touch with mortality, more in touch with the need to be present for loved ones, and I think most of all, we are aware of how our bodies are slowly declining, no longer able to do the things they once did.

I was looking for some interesting science on fasting and mental health in light of the month of Ramadan, and I came across Michael Mosley’s video on BBC: Eat Fast and Live Longer. Fascinating stuff! Just by fasting 2 days a week, we can lose a ton of weight and live a lot longer! Continue reading “Your Health in the Second Half”

Expectation Burn-Out

Source: Google images.

{The demographic details in this post have been disguised.}

If I were to tell College-Aged Client (CAC) that his “case” has inspired me to write a blog post, he might very well throw up. Not because he would be disgusted to be an inspiration, but because that is what someone who is smart and funny and depressed all at the same time might say.

His is not an atypical Chinese upbringing: hardworking and upwardly-mobile parents, schooled in institutions renowned for producing prominent leaders, forced to learn piano or violin (and if he were a girl, probably ballet as well), flanked by a cadre of successful cousins and competitive friends, and expected to head towards either Cambridge or Oxford to study: (1) medicine, (2) law, or (3) accounting. OK, engineering also can.

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Empowering Men – A New Online Support Group

Source: Google Images

I started a new online peer support group for men over the weekend. It is a free support group using Google+ communities, an extension of the men’s work that I do as a therapist at Rekindle International Marriage & Family Therapy Center (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia). I hope for it to be a resource for men to find good support from other men, not just from me. And it is open for men to join via a recommendation by an existing member.

Below is the first weekly reflection I posted on the group. I am posting it here to share the heart of why I started this online community and to encourage other men interested to contact me if they would like to join. Continue reading “Empowering Men – A New Online Support Group”

How to Bring Up a Sensitive Issue With Your Partner

Image source: Wikimedia
Image source: Wikimedia

On April 17 2012, Yeap asked: “How to make the other half confront/face the issue instead of avoid discussing/touching the issue?

Thanks Yeap, for this important question. The short answer to your question is: invite your partner into a safe conversation with you about the issue.

But how do we do that?

When we come across as too demanding, our partners can feel as if we are forcing them against their will. The more we try to pry open their shell, the harder they clam up. Sometimes, by backing off a little and trying to understand their perspective, we can figure out more effective ways of reaching them. Begin by asking yourself this question: why might my partner not want to talk about this important issue with me?

Here are several reasons I can think of.

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Interview on How to Affair-Proof Your Marriage: Sharing & Connecting

Source: Google Images

When BFM 89.9 contacted me to do a show on the topic of “how to affair-proof your marriage,” I said, “sure, I know about that topic.” Little did I know, however, that when you type in these words in Google — how to affair proof your marriage — it results in pages and pages of advice on just how to do that!

But I did not search the internet prior to the BFM show. Armed only with my training and a decade plus years of experience helping couples to work through relationship infidelity, I went on air with Meera Sivasothy and we chatted. [Scroll down to listen to the podcast.]

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Expats Looking For Love Locally

Photo taken several years ago. Mariah is wearing a baju kurung and I am wearing a kurta pajama.

It’s been a week since Valentine’s Day and the airing of the BFM 89.9 interview with Meera Sivasothy on The Bigger Picture. The topic of our conversation: Expats Looking For Love Locally.

As a Chinese Malaysian man married to a Caucasian expat woman, I sometimes feel like I have a right to speak about the expat-local intimate relationship. However, when I consider the many different expat-local couple clients whom I have seen, I would have to maintain that not all expat-local couples are the same.

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How to Handle Awkward “Interrogations” at Family Gatherings

Source: xgthox’s photostream (

If you are married with a good number of children and you (or your spouse) are doing well financially, chances are, it will be a pleasure for you to meet up with extended family this Chinese New Year.

But what about those who have just suffered a relationship break-up, or dropped out of school, or lost a job? Or those who are still, despite trying hard, unable to find a life-partner or have children of their own? What might family gatherings be like for them?

Potentially awkward.

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Discover Your True Passion (And Don’t Give Up Trying)

Businessman Midair in a Business Meeting

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. ~ Confucius

When I was a child, my father used to ask me what I would do when I grow up.

“Do business,” I would reply.

It was the right answer to give. After all, my father was a strong and influential businessman. I could not conceive of myself giving another answer even though I had other interests, like music.

It was a struggle for me in my first year of university when I broke the news to my father that I was switching my studies from business into psychology. He was upset and lectured me for 5 minutes over the phone, ending his lecture with: “it would be better for you to switch into music — then you could at least earn a bit of money as a piano teacher!”

I felt mocked. So I retorted, “I am actually majoring in music and minoring in psychology.”

I heard an exasperated sigh on the other end of the phone, and then a click. He had hung up.

Continue reading “Discover Your True Passion (And Don’t Give Up Trying)”