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Sunflower Chong Sun Wah

 

Dear MM Lee,

The paper 'Positive Affect of a Person I Observed' was written by my daughter Greta Georges Habib around 2009 proved that if we communicate well the relationship will blossom and grow beyond our imagination and very good for the soul too.

How my daughter understood me is how I understood you. You may ask why do I understand MM so well and why the others people do not? Very simply they must have a mother like mine who talked about you 24/7 till the stage where my father said, “Yes only Lee Kuan Yew is good and everyone is useless!” On top of that, I got teachers who constantly during lessons will help us understand you better like why you had to govern with an iron fist. For example, after our teacher brought us to see the movie “To Kill The Mocking Bird” and in the class discussion, the teacher wanted us to wear the shoe of the government to understand how and why they did certain things even though the people were not happy or do not agree with it.

I really wish all Singaporeans can understand what MM Lee is trying to achieve for Singapore especially the Gen Y? In order to achieve this goal, the government got to communicate more honestly and openly with the people. I hope the coming five years the people and government can be closed with one heart and one mind for the sake of a great Singapore for the future generation.

 

Love, light, peace, harmony and unity,

Sunflower  Chong

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Positive Affect of a Person I Observed

 

You Don’t Have To Be Afraid Of Living Alone

You only have to lay eyes on her, my mother, Sunflower Chong and that is an escapable fate that she not only weathered life’s abundant storms but she lived well. As a fearless single mother, her story is classic but doesn’t warrant less attention. With 2 children in her hands, I at age of 2 and my brother 4, she ran away from her then Lebanese husband. The world certainly did not wear her down as she constantly radiates strength, personality and a natural exuberance for life. She stayed true to herself all these years and still managed to contribute to society whilst having to manage the very real everyday responsibilities. Her belief that her opinions matter had her creating a website on Mentor Minister Lee Kuan Yew and constantly writing to President Obama during the length and breadth in his bid to become president.

Though many might jeer at the idea of her having a voice and actually be heard at all, she amazes me with her persistence. Her search for life for what is truly worth living got her onto a spiritual path and becoming a Muslim when I turned the age of 14. For a Chinese lady who broke a lot of rules by marrying a foreigner in the late 70s from a war-torn country and being shunned by his family for being her yellow color. She continues to follow her path of satisfaction and happiness by seeking solace in a religion which was not earlier approved by her own family. She not only had to endure teases about not being able to eat pork during family gatherings but even my Christian grandmother dismisses her and talks about her worshipping the devil. This she took all in her good stride and still does not eat pork until this very day, 14 years after she chosen to convert.

Sunflower Chong, besides having a sunny name has shown that “You don’t have to be afraid to walk alone.” Just take it easy and be true to yourself and that is what really counts at the end when you meet your maker. According to Aristotle, Eudemonia is the condition of flourishing and completeness that constitutes true and enduring joy. It is described the life lived in a certain way, where life refers to life on-the-whole, not some number of moments strung together. He continues to describe the condition of moral perfection or virtue by which the “golden mean” is found and is adopted in all significant affairs of life. It is in this essay that I will describe how my mother, Sunflower Chong is close to fulfilling these conditions.

 

Raising Gabriel and Greta

One of her positive characteristics is her resilience. If the government had to personify the resilience package then she would undoubtedly be it. She had to endure physical abuse and even once had her hair dragged across the room by my biological father while he bashed her head against the wall. Even when she helped save her brother-in-law’s ailing laundry business she was bizarrely punished for excellent customer service and locked in the house with my brother and me in Abu Dhabi with no excess to food. When she made the decision to escape my father, it was no mean feat. She had to organize a getaway car and break the drawers to fetch our passports. Men in the Middle Eastern country tend to have complete control and dominance over the women so right to the very second before the plane took off, she was in a state of panic. Though this is a positive piece, one cannot state the blinding obvious fact that she is a strong and resilience person and that entails describing the challenges that have been faced. She has bounced back from the early adversity of being abused and having to orchestrate a fairly scary ordeal to save her children and her own life. According to a finding “An emerging adult literature suggests that individual differences in psychological resilience may account for the adaptive ways in which life stressors are encountered, managed, and transformed. Theoretical writings indicate that psychological resilience is a relatively stable personality trait characterized by the ability to overcome, steer through, and bounces back from adversity (J. Block & Kremen, 1996; J.H. Block & Block.1980). Recent research, moreover, suggested that positive emotions are a crucial component of trait resilience (Tugade & Fredrickson, 200; Tugade, Fredrickson, & Barrett, 2004). Rather than being a simple by-product of resilience, however, the experience of positive emotion is thought to have adaptive benefits in the coping process (for reviews, see Folkman & Moskowitz, 2000a, 2004). Empirical support for this prediction comes from research demonstrating that resilient individuals tend to draw on positive emotion-eliciting coping strategies.

Furthermore, she demonstrates another clever coping strategy which bore fruit even after my brother and I became adults. We enjoy a mutually equal relationship in statues free of sibling rivalry and teaching us how to compromise. Though her methods were less conventional, she chose not to take sides as she could not be there all the time to supervise us. In reprimanding the both of us at the same time and it certainly taught us how to cooperate and collaborate instead of bicker and fight for crumbs of affection and love. I am eternally grateful to my mother for being consistent in her teaching and raised us siblings with as little rivalry as possible by not taking sides during the fights.

 

World Harmony begins with you and ME

Altruism is something runs deep in her veins and she continues to be the champion for the underdogs until this day. She was given the award for helping out at Lion’s Home in the middle 80s and more recently involved in her work with World Harmony as a founder. After the devastation of the September 11 World Trade Center incident in New York, America that shook the world and left it in fear and terror grappling helplessly for some semblance of security and safety, my mother and I were compelled to act by our conscious to claim back our One World and thus on 20th February 2002, WHD was born. Sunflower was the main driver in this movement. World Harmony Day is a positive institution which helped gather many like-minded individuals together. Insert Positive Institution. WHD is to remind people from all over the world not to take peace and harmony for granted. As Kofi Annan said, “To save one live is to save humanity.”

She exhibits deep profound empathy for humanity and is a Humanitarian. She said, “God had given us life and every life is as important. We must value every living creature in this beautiful world we have been given. Together we can heal the wounds of the world and achieve true world harmony.” Sunflower Chong continues by saying that, “Greatness is in our hearts. These times demand greatness from all of us”. Even though she faced lots of adversity in her life she was inspired by a great lady herself, Eleanor Roosevelt, to rise up and re-affirm a clear sense of hope. As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one won the last war and no one will win the next.” Hence Sunflower believes in the power of unity. She says, “Let us join and pray together-a silent, collective voice so loud that the universe will have to listen. Her development in this positive institution has helped as her character strength in relating to Humanity. As described by Chris Peterson and Martin Seligman, this means her interpersonal strengths that involve “tending and befriending” others are high on her list and she also does well in the area of Kindness doing favors and good deeds for others Love whilst valuing close relations with others. World Harmony Day gives her a sense of meaning and purpose in life and according to research is an important predictor of higher subjective well-being. The third domain of the third domain of positive psychology is the Meaningful Life, which entails belonging to and serving positive institutions and WHD, is her positive institution which she belongs too.

 

Religion and Spirituality – Let it be

World Harmony Day is not a religious organization as such, but rather a movement that embraces common themes found in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and other major faiths. These themes include love and empathy, peace and harmony and tolerance: things which can help liberate citizens of the world from all diverse religious backgrounds.

It welcomes members of all these religious groups to participate in WHD. WHD is basically a non-denominational spiritual movement that embraces peace, harmony and unity as its core beliefs. A love and spiritual movement helps one to find one’s place in the world by spending time proactively to help others. This makes our existence more relevant and contributes to the bigger picture in our own lives and the lives of others. Proper actions and decisions made by this generation can help to set the next generations on the path towards peace-keeping with diverse populations. World Harmony Day’s “seekers of truth, peace and harmony” are people from all over the world who believe ordinary citizens working together can and will make a profound difference. The true spirit of World Harmony Day is in bringing all the citizens of the world to a deep sense of the “Oneness” of all human beings.

 

Conclusion – What sticks

According to Research, “A number of studies have found that people report greater religious faith, the greater importance of religion to their lives, more frequent attendance at religious services also report greater well-being. Whilst World Harmony Day is not structured like a church, it is akin to it due to the group membership and worldly concerns. My mother has certainly experienced more joy in her life as she meets more people who share similar values as her and provided her with a sense of meaning and purpose. For example, when people are actively engaged in pursuing a variety of goals that are meaning to them, well-being is increased.(Oishi, Diener, Duh, Lucas,1999) These goals need not be religious in order to be meaningful. (Emmons,1992). In her example, my mother has taught an important part of Positive Psychology which is to love all and serve all, it will naturally Serve you. This has struck a chord with me as I follow her example by volunteering.

 

By Greta Georges

Positive Psychology Center