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17th Year: 2015
May
- Yongs' Cycling @ Punggol Park
- Mother's Day @ Avita
Jun
- PSG Tee Ball @ Unity
- Grandparents in Mongolia
- Avita Amazing Race @ Sentosa
Jul
- QMC & Durains
- 'From Singapore, With Love' @ AMK Hub & JEM
- PSG Racial Harmony Day @ Unity Sec School
- Youth Celebrate! & Opening of S'pore Sports Hub by PM Lee
Aug
- Avita 8th Anniversary
- Grandma in Sydney
- RIP 外公

Sep
- Page 1: Unity Sec Teachers' Day, Ladakh (Leh, Lamayuru, Nubra Valley)

- Page 2: Ladakh (TsoMoriri, Pangong, SECMOL, Dharamsala)

Nov
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Dec
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5-26 Sep 2015: Meditating @ Ladakh (Page 2/2)

For this year's solitude retreat, Alvin spent 3 weeks in Ladakh and Dharamsala in India.

Meditating in Ladakh

11 Sep: TsoMoriri Lake is a high altitude lake at 4522m and located 210km from Leh. Its glistening sapphire-blue water with the snowy mountains in the background offers an unmatched beauty to the eyes.



11 Sep: TsoMoriri Lake is a high altitude lake at 4522m and located 210km from Leh. Its glistening sapphire-blue water with the snowy mountains in the background offers an unmatched beauty to the eyes.



A perfect shot of an airborne Yijun at TsoMoriri against a cloudless blue sky.

A perfect shot of an airborne Yijun at TsoMoriri against a cloudless blue sky.

Tsewang and TsoMoriri.

Tsewang and TsoMoriri.

Amazingly crystal clear water!

Amazingly crystal clear water!

At 4522m high, this turned out to be the most bitter cold night to endure, even with multiple layers of thick blankets. It was a shivering night with shallow sleep.

At 4522m high, this turned out to be the most bitter cold night to endure, even with multiple layers of thick blankets. It was a shivering night with shallow sleep.

To the south, the majestic Spiti snow peaks are visible. I recall fondly we were looking at the opposite face of these same peaks from Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh back in 2011

To the south, the majestic Spiti snow peaks are visible. I recall fondly we were looking at the opposite face of these same peaks from Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh back in 2011.

12 Sep: We headed back to Leh today. It would be a long 200km drive through scenic mountainous country. Enroute, we passed the TsoKar saltwater lake with a huge patch of white salt deposits.

12 Sep: We headed back to Leh today. It would be a long 200km drive through scenic mountainous country. Enroute, we passed the TsoKar saltwater lake with a huge patch of white salt deposits.

As we left behind us the vast expanse of the Morey Plains dotted by numerous nomadic tribes, I was deeply touched by the survival toughness of these nomads in such harsh and trying environment.

As we left behind us the vast expanse of the Morey Plains dotted by numerous nomadic tribes, I was deeply touched by the survival toughness of these nomads in such harsh and trying environment.

We crossed the Taglungla Pass, at 5328m, which is the world's 3rd highest motorable road.

We crossed the Taglungla Pass, at 5328m, which is the world's 2nd highest motorable road.

As we got near to Leh, we caught a beautiful view of the Stakna Gompa.

As we got near to Leh, we caught a beautiful view of the Stakna Gompa.

13 Sep: When I first watched the 3 Idiots movie by Amir Khan, I was intrigued by the Rancho character who advocates a very distinct kind of creative education for children in Ladakh. I thought it was purely fictional until Rigzin Tsewang told me there is indeed a Sonam Wangchuk who founded the SECMOL School that offers school dropouts a different education to succeed in life. I knew I would have to meet Sonam and learn from him so as to better shape the experiential education experiment in Children's Garden Home in Kenya.

Even Sonam has accepted me as friend on Facebook some weeks ago, he hadn't established contact yet. I would like to meet him today but had no idea how to reach him. Then miracle happened. Over breakfast, I mentioned my wish to Mr Rigzin, the owner of Yartsa Guesthouse where I was staying. He made a call to enquire Sonam's hp number, dialed it and handed the phone to me.

I would take a taxi to the SECMOL School in Phey and meet Sonam at noon. Positive thinking always works!

Sonam Wangchuk is a visionary social entrepreneur.

Sonam Wangchuk is a visionary social entrepreneur.

We met a sewing monk in Diskit Gompa. He was very kind and offered us chai and biscuits. To our amazement, he requested for his photos so I printed in Leh for Tsewang to send to him.

The SECMOL campus is about 30min drive from Leh. About 60 students live here. They are self-governing from daily living, learning, meals and duties ranging from running the solar system to dairy cow farm, vegetable farm and lodging.

It has a 32m tall statue of Maitreya Buddha facing down the Shyok River towards Pakistan.

Every evening, all the students, staff and volunteers gather in this courtyard for collective learning. They take turn to present a topic, honing their knowledge, confidence and fluency in English.

17 km from Diskit is Hunder, a desert-like place with dunes and double humped Bactrian camels.

The entire campus is run on solar energy, including meals are cooked with these 2 parabolic solar cookers.

There are camel rides catering mainly to the local Indian tourists.

Big thanks for giving me such a comprehensive tour around the campus and sharing so many stories.

17 km from Diskit is Hunder, a desert-like place with dunes and double humped Bactrian camels.

14 Sep: While strolling in the bazaar in Leh, I chanced upon the SECMOL students on a Happyness Project. Volunteer Paola Marcello (R) from Italy was coaching the students in SLR photography.

There are camel rides catering mainly to the local Indian tourists.

The students took initiative to interacted with tourists and offered to take photo for them. They also asked each subject to share what happiness means to him/her. Paola emailed me this photo 3 weeks later.

One of the best things that happened in Leh was to stay in Yartsa Guesthouse. Homely, beautiful and the owners, Rigzin and Diskit, are absolutely lovely people.

One of the best things that happened in Leh was to stay in Yartsa Guesthouse. Homely, beautiful and the owners, Rigzin and Diskit, are absolutely lovely people. I stayed a good long week there.

Breakfast is always delicious with home-baked Ladakhi bread. It was close to end of season so I was mostly alone in the guesthouse, enjoying quiet time to meditate and read.

Breakfast is always delicious with home-baked Ladakhi bread. It was close to end of season so I was mostly alone in the guesthouse, enjoying quiet time to meditate and read. On many evenings, I requested for home-cooked dinner by Diskit and ate with her family.

Rigzin is enjoying his retirement with running the guesthouse, tending to his garden and praying.

Rigzin is enjoying his retirement with running the guesthouse, tending to his garden and praying.

Diskit is the heartbeat of the household, managing the guesthouse, cooking, gardening and she works in a bank.

Diskit is the heartbeat of the household, managing the guesthouse, cooking, gardening and she works in a bank. A superwoman!

Paulina is a 19 year old from Germany. She is taking a gap year and came to stay and work in the guesthouse for 3 months. I'm so impressed with this young lady and wonder if she might be a role model for Robyn.

< Paulina is a 19 year old from Germany. She is taking a gap year and came to stay and work in the guesthouse for 3 months. She was the one who checked me in on my first day, made the rooms, cook Ladakhi dinner including momo and seemed totally at home in this foreign culture. I'm so impressed with this young lady and wonder if she might be a role model for Robyn.

 

> Superwoman Diskit is suffering aches and pain in her arm. I gave her my Matrixcell and it helped her gain rapid relief. I left the Matrixcell with her. Diskit is now the very first Matrixcell user in the whole of Ladakh.

Superwoman Diskit is suffering aches and pain in her arm. I gave her my Matrixcell and it helped her gain rapid relief. I left the Matrixcell with her. Diskit is now the very first Matrixcell user in the whole of Ladakh.

 

16 Sep: Pangong Lake (4241m)

16 Sep: Pangong Lake (4241m)

From Leh to Pangong Lake, we have to cross the Changla Pass at 5360m, the world's 3rd highest motorable road.

From Leh to Pangong Lake, we have to cross the Changla Pass at 5360m, the world's 3rd highest motorable road.

The first glimpse of Pangong Lake after 150km of transversing cliff hugging trails.

The first glimpse of Pangong Lake after 150km of transversing cliff hugging trails taking 5 hours.

Pangong Lake is simply beyond description. It is 130km long extending two-third into Tibet.

Pangong Lake is simply beyond description. It is 130km long extending two-third into Tibet.

It's a perfect place to meditate in solitude. The lake water changes colours as the day progresses.

It's a perfect place to meditate in solitude. The lake water changes colours as the day progresses.

This sandy patch is where the ending scene of the 3 Idiots movie was shot.

This sandy patch is where the ending scene of the 3 Idiots movie was shot.

Not surprisingly, every cafe and restaurant here is either Rancho's or 3 Idiots'... : )

Not surprisingly, every cafe and restaurant here is either Rancho's or 3 Idiots'... : )

 

Dharamsala 19-23 Sep 2015

18 Sep: Leh to Manali was a 13-hour overnight bus journey over 480km. Started from Leh at 11pm, I arrived in Manali at noon the next day. I stayed a night in Manali.

20 Sep: Manali to Dharamsala was another 6 hour coach ride over 215km. Started at 10am, I arrived in Dharamsala by evening.

18 Sep: Leh to Manali was a 13-hour overnight bus journey over 480km. Started from Leh at 11pm, I arrived in Manali at noon the next day. I stayed a night in Manali.

20 Sep: Manali to Dharamsala was another 6 hour coach ride over 215km. Started at 10am, I arrived in Dharamsala by evening.

I was hoping to see the Dalai Lama but he just left for Europe. It was nice to have the opportunity to visit his monastery, be amidst the Tibetans who live in exile here in Dharamsala, and learn about their history at the Tibetan Museum.

I was hoping to see the Dalai Lama but he just left for Europe. It was nice to have the opportunity to visit his monastery, be amidst the Tibetians who live in exile here in Dharamsala, and learn about their history at the Tibetian Museum.

> 23 Sep: I enjoyed a wonderful Shambhala meditation at the Tushita Meditation Center this morning at McCleoGranj. This place is peacefully & mistily forested.

Dharamsala is a pretty congested place, not as tranquil and spacious as Ladakh.
I took a comfortable room with a view in Kunga Guesthouse.

Dharamsala is a pretty congested place, not as tranquil and spacious as Ladakh. 
I took a comfortable room with a view in Kunga Guesthouse.

> 23 Sep: I enjoyed a wonderful Shambhala meditation at the Tushita Meditation Center this morning at McCleoGranj. This place is peacefully & mistily forested.

24 Sep: After another overnight coach ride, I arrived in New Delhi at dawn on 24 Sep. Thanks to Richard Loong, I stayed a night in his home before flying home the next day.

24 Sep: After another overnight coach ride, I arrived in New Delhi at dawn on 24 Sep. Thanks to Richard Loong, I stayed a night in his home before flying home the next day.

25 Sep: Enjoying a Japanese lunch with Richard, Ee Huang, Marcus and Mervin.

25 Sep: Enjoying a Japanese lunch with Richard, Ee Huang, Marcus and Mervin.

25 Sep: It was great to meet up with Sukhram, Kiran, Vanshika, Yashika and Moksh in their new home. The last time our families met was in Jul 2011.

25 Sep: It was great to meet up with Sukhram, Kiran, Vanshika, Yashika and Moksh in their new home. The last time our families met was in Jul 2011.

> 26 Sep: home sweet home in Singapore. My only shopping, thanks to Ee Huang for bringing me to numerous bookshops in Delhi - 30 new books.

> 26 Sep: home sweet home in Singapore. My only shopping, thanks to Ee Huang for bringing me to numerous bookshops in Delhi - 30 new books.

 

 

 

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