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Mindfulness Course from Brahm Centre Virtually Part 2

I had the 2nd lesson on Mindfulness on 15 April 2020 – actually last year at this time, I would have fallen down the mood curve – i am still doing ok – but I know i could not rest well – i wake up at about 3.30am for the past 3 days, and tried to go back to sleep with no success. Tried meditation, but the mind seemed to run wild and cannot focus. Something is not right, I suspect.

I do not expect miracles to happen on the 2nd session; I was rather tired due to lack of sleep. As I am writing this now, I can feel the pressure on my head, the hard pressing to my craniam. The lack of sleep is a catalyst to depression for Bipolar Disorder (BD) patient; it raises the alarm in me.

I think I really need to take a day away from work. I have been on the computer for too long hours – writing, delving into too many irrelevant stuff, mind distracted, and being annoyed at a recent online meeting (I did not show it though, but behind the veneer of Zoom, I was cursing and swearing. I lost the cool; it is a good example of the lack of self control needed in mindfulness.

At the 2nd session, I can see lesser participation from the online group. Prior to the start, I heard 2 mothers complained about HBL, the extra burden of having the young children at home that distupted their routines. I am feeling the heat too – I started to shout at my boy, and even hit his hands yesterday as I was juggling between work and coaching him in his HBL, while my wife had her online meetings with her bosses.

HBL is really bitting on many peoples’ nerves.scn

The Habits of the mind – what resonates in me is the Ruminating – that incessant play and rewind and play over the mind of something – like my unhappiness with SCN. In fact, at last night’s SCN meeting, I was questioned why I had not linked my Smart Cities Education initiatives to SCN? Can I tell them the truth? I doubt they can handle the truth (and so as I thought).

  • Planning
  • Imagining
  • Exaggerating
  • Worrying
  • Judging
  • Ruminating – thinking over and over

P.I.E.Why Jay Run?

I guess when the mind is not functioning properly, we tend to drop back into the auto-pilot mode – when the situation comes, you will react, and the mind goes wild, and not able to STOP. I cannot let it go. S-Stop for a moment; T-Take a deep breath; O-Observe your experience; and P: Proceed. I guess my brakes malfunctioned.

The Mindful Eating exercise is refreshing and intriguing. I guess I have never done that in my entire life to give time to the food I eat; I just gobble them down. This exercise needs me to look at the grape, smell it, touch it on my lips, roll in my mouth, take a first bite slowly, feel the juice of the grape before chewing it up slowly and then stomach it.

As Master Wu Gui (Oogway) said to Panda (Poo) in the Kungfu Panda movie:

Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a gift, that’s why it is called the Present

If you are always in a rehearsing mode (always thinking of what might come in the future and worry about it), you are facing anxiety; if you are in the rehashing mode (always blame oneself for past actions or inactions), you are in depression.

In a study by KillingsWorth and Gilbert (2010) on 2250 participants, 49.6% of the people will have their mind wandering that led them to unhappiness (less happy). Why is this so? – Jolie asked. I shared that in High-Performance Habits by Branson Burchard, the focus is the key; and when the mind wanders, it equates to distraction, just like mobile phones and emails (they are what others want us to do, not what we want to do). When you are not able to accomplish your tasks due to mind wandering, it will likely make you less happy.

The Emperor’s 3 quetions: Thought the following video is a little different, it tells a story:

  1. Who is the most important person? The one that you are with;
  2. What is the most important time? Now; and
  3. What is the most important thing to do? To care.

The week’s exercises are:

  1. Do a 10-min awareness & body scan practice daily;
  2. Eat one mouthful or one meal “mindfully” each day; and
  3. Choose a routine and be mindful of the experience.
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Mindfulness Course from Brahm Centre Virtually

I started my first Mindfulness course by the Brahm Centre on 8 Apr 2020 via Zoom.

The facilitator was Ms. Lily Gan. The participants are all ladies except myself.

Although some technical issues such as not being able to use the Poll initially, as it was a way to mark attendance required by Brahm and SSG, most of the time, things were smooth sailing.

I spent most of the time writting digital notes; hoping to share. I tried to setup a Whatsapp chat group; only 1 signed up. Let’s see how others will sign up later.

After one round of introduction, where some are retired, home-makers, a lawyer, a former editor and a mother-daughter pair too. One lady has to login using 2 devices as one is without audio, and the other has a better video image; on both are not equipped with any video cameras – we cannot actually see her.

Mindfulness is about focusing on the present – and accepting the present. It is about awareness. This reminds me of the intentionality and adaptability that i read on the Brooking Institution site. There is an intend to focus on the very present time, without judgment. Normally, we would be judgemental; and the natural instinct to react to the situation; the adaptability is to accept the moment; be it bliss, anger, weary or happy – to immerse and accept it without judgement (it is tough not to judge at this stage).

As I started to read “Mindfulness Made Simple”, foreward by Dr. Elisha Goldstein, Calstoga Press (not sure who is the author??), it mentioned on p.12, “…in a clinical setting, awareness is thought to enable individuals being treated for depression to recognize depressive thought patterns early and thereby prevent depressive moods or relapse.” I especially like the part that follows, “The practice of mindfulness allows individuals to notice their automatic response process and to move from reaction to reflection.”

What puzzled me was the following paragraph on p.12 that “…using mindfulness-based treatment to separate the sensation of pain from the emotional reactions to its causes the pain experience to decline.” Let me poke you with a needle and see if you can divert the reaction to this pain. Just kidding.

In this 4-session course, you will learn and practice mind-body skills to help you cope with stress to bring about Balance, Stability, and Well-being.

Some expected outcomes include reduced stress level, improved sleep quality, happier interpersonal relationships and a more positive outlook on life.

It is good to start the presentation with some ground rules – as what Lily did – on Confidentiality of informaton shared in this online course (wrt the personal experiences and sharing of the participants). The commitment to the course by dutiful review, reflect and doing the necessary exercises like the Body Scan daily. Lastly, Lily stressed the need to be disengaged from Mobile devices to ensure participation and attention to the course. (hmmm, this is tough) – and when the course was conducted in-person at the Macpherson centre, they would collect the mobile devices from the participants as a safety net to breaking this last rule – which i am guilty as charged most of the time.

As everyone explained their reasons for being online, I chose to say that I did it because I am writing this book; it will help me to unlock “secrets” to help indirect care-givers (I am still struggling to find an appropriate term to define the target research group of people I am writing about) to cope with the death of people under their charge.

Nevertheless, when I eventually revealed that I am a Bipolar-Disorder patient (BD), and I was explaining further, I can see the intense look of those sharing their videos. I think they were shocked, and at the same time, curious to know why this guy is exposing his mental “illness”, or it might just be an interesting story for some who has never hear about BD – that I spent a little time to explain the peak and trough of BD. I really hope the course will open the pandora box that has been triggering my Ups and Downs for the past umpteen years.

Here are some notes and thoughts as I weaved through the course:

When someone experiences a stressful event, the amygdala, an area of the brain that contributes to emotional processing, sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus. This area of the brain functions like a command centre, communicating with the rest of the body through the nervous system so that the person has the energy to fight or flee.  The hypothalamus is a bit like a command centre. This area of the brain communicates with the rest of the body through the autonomic nervous system.

From the Brahm Centre notes

My body feels ________________________ and my mind feels ______________________.

(With ample sleep), my body feels at ease and my mind feels calm.

(The converse is true, without ample sleep), my body feels tired and my mind feels heavy.

Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, a name that I will soon be very familiar as I write more about the use of Mindfulness to bring people out of the grief cycle in a narrower time-span (objective of remedy), dictates the need to be “Paying Attention in a particular way on Purpose, in the Present Moment, non-judgementally.

Resilient is about being CALM on DEMAND. Then we covered the Brain and Neuroplasticity; also mentioned in the book . It involves the firing of electric signals across the brain , forming the synapses – the path newly created due to the constant and continuously movement of the electrical signals to form a pathway of connection within the brain (I hope I am right on this).

One of the mindfulness technique taught in the session was .B (dot B). The “.” represents STOP. and b is to feel your breath. (hence the sound B as in Be is to be in the present moment).

We went on to explore the 6 foundational attitudes:

  1. Kindness – not just showing benevolence to others, but also to thy self;
  2. Non-judging – like what a dog does, it does not judge but live in the moment of happiness when it sees you coming back home;
  3. Focus on what you can do: focusing not on what we can’t do; what we can do;
  4. Acceptance: to embrace the feeling and accept it with no reservations, be it positive or negative;
  5. Gratefulness: a trait of behavior that many have problems, by forgetting how others have help you to be what you are today. It is also about being able to appreciate nature that gives us the fresh air, the transquility and the elements of life to the World;
  6. Letting go – not your gases though; but what bothers you in your head (it holds all your feelings – your heart pains or beat faster is a reflex action to anxiety or anger; your head is the one that will hold the feelings [thoughts]).

To remember, try “Keep Nothing For A Good Lunch” – K, N, F, A, G and L.

If we can change our thoughts; we can change the World.

I have been practising the Body Scan daily, so far, without fail – usually at night before I sleep, or in the early morning before I get out from the bed physically.

Written on 11 April 2020, 5.48am.

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Interviewees needed

If you are in the medical professions, legal professions, and even the security forces, where you have encountered the death of a person that is under your charge. How did you feel and how did you cope? That is the basis of my research, and hence the book I am writing.

Apart from adding to the scholarship of death, my book will also touch on the use of Mindfulness, Mindsets (Carol S. Dweck) and MindSights to help one to elevate from the situation faster.

Grief is a must-have process in such a situation; the game-plan is how to shorten the period of mourning?

Do email to if you are keen to participate in this research. An autographed copy of the book will be sent to you once it is published.

Thanks, and you can also recommend your friends or colleagues who are nurses, medical social workers, doctors, judges, prosecutors, executioners, etc.

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Socrates believed in the Soul

Socrates was born in 469 BC in Athens. There were debates on his philosophies belong to him or his disciple Plato because there was no way to discern the views from Socrates or from Plato as he left no writings of his own as a testimonial of his words/works.

In the book “What is education for?” by Nicolas Tate, p.27, it was written, “Socrates argues the case for education as essential for the sake of our immortal souls and their existence in the next life.”

If death were a release from everything, it would be a boon for the wicked, because by dying they would be released not only from the boy but also from their own wickedness together with the soul; but as it is, since the soul is clearly immortal, it can have no esacpe or security from evil except by becoming as good and wise as it possibly can. For it takes nothing with it to the next world except its education and training; and these, we were told, are of supreme importance in helping or harming the newly dead at the beginning of his journey there.”

Plato, Phaedo in Plato, The Last Days of Socrates, p.170.

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The Author

Dr. Mak is the CEO of Edtrix Solutions, an entity for educational and technology training and consultancy. He is also the CEO of Edtrix Innovation Pte. Ltd. that focuses on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Teaching and Learning. The company also developed SmartzWerkz™ – an online Assessment platform that is in transition via AI to be adaptive and automate the grading of assessments.

Dr. Mak has a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.). He completed his Masters of Science (MSc) degree in Management of Technology at the National University of Singapore in 2000. In 1994, he obtained his Bachelor of Science (Merit) in Chemistry and Mathematics from the National University of Singapore.

Dr. Mak is also a Smart Education Consultant, focusing on 3 areas of Smart Education, namely (1) Automated Grading of Essays; (2) Adaptive Learning and Assessment, and (3) Learning Companion.

He has been invited to be on the Academic Board of Ngee Ann Academy to review the academic rigor of the courses, as well as scrutinize the use of Educational Innovations in Teaching and Learning.

Being passionate in research and training, he ventured into the academic and research domains as a lecturer at Temasek and Ngee Ann Polytechnic. His research capacity started at SIM University as a Research Associate, and National Institute of Education (Centre for Research in Pedagogy and Practices (CRPP). He is author and co-author of numerous international journals and conference papers.

He was able to apply his experience in Learning Technology areas at the Singapore Polytechnic and Yale-NUS College where he was the Associate Director for Educational Resources & Technology. At the Institute for Adult Learning (IAL), Innovation Lab (iN.LAB), he curated 4 major learning initiatives namely InnovByte, InnovLogue, InnovJam and InnovPlus that are still in running. He started his career in the area of training and multimedia development, and Managing Director and Founder of Pyrady Systems Inc Pte Ltd in 1997 to focus on multimedia training development for the telecommunications and semiconductor industries.

Teaching Current Courses
Dr. Mak is currently teaching the following courses at Tertiary InfoTech:
1) Coffee Personality and You;
2) Manage Your Email or Your Email will Manage You!;
3) MoodleCloud LMS Essential Training;
4) Creating Dynamic eLearning Content with iSpring Suite;
5) The ONE Thing to Extraordinary Results (upcoming);
6) The 7-UPs to success in your endeavors (upcoming);
7) Optimal Success Experience (OSX) (upcoming); and
8) Coping with Death: For those who dedicate their lives for the lives of others – for Medical Professionals.

Plans are also in the pipeline to launch more short courses with MDIS and Kaplan Singapore.

1) Smart Education (in progress)
2) Coping with Death: For those who dedicate their lives for the lives of unrelated others

Dr. Mak provides research services on a project basis or by time-basis depending on the nature of the research.

I have experiences in the following area of research:
1. Quantitative Analysis – Statistical Testing and Factor Analysis; and
2. Qualitative Analysis – Observations, Interviews & Focus Groups;

Affiliations and Resellers
1. iSpriingSolutions;
2. Vyond (video animation software);
3. Scribo partner with GSA Pte Ltd (Singapore) and Literatu Ltd. (Australia);
4. CourseNetworking:

Research Skills

1. Factor Analysis, Focus Group

– Doctoral Thesis
The comparison between Team-Based Learning and e-Team-Based Learning (Synchronous and Asynchronous) in a Chemistry cohort

2. Statistical testing, Interviews, and Observations

– MSc (Management of Technology) Thesis
Examining the impact of web-based training and experience on spreadsheet error detection

3. Factor Analysis
– W.K. Mak and Y.P. Chew (2010). The use of Audience Response Technology (ART) via SMS for a Marketing Course. ICT2010, Singapore, 30 June – 2 July 2010. [Nominated for Best Paper (Full Paper) Award].

– W.K. Mak and C. P Goh (2008). E-Learning – The use of Audience Response Technology (ART) via SMS in large lecture class. Paper presented at the 5th International Conference on e-Learning for Knowledge-Based Society, Bangkok, Thailand. 11-12 Dec 2008. Published in Special Issue of International Journal of the Computer, the Internet and Management (IJCIM).

– Palia, Aspy P. and Mak Wai Keong, “An Online Evaluation of The COMPETE Online Decision Entry System (CODES)”. Accepted for publication in: Developments in Business Simulation and Experiential Learning, Vol. 28, Proceedings of the Twenty-eighth Annual Conference (Changing the Way Educators View Learning) of the Association for Business Simulation and Experiential Learning (April 4-6, 2001). (Triple blind refereed).

4. Survey, Observation, and Interview
– Lim, C. P., Mak, W. K., & Tay, L. Y. (2005, May/June). Engaging students in a game-like 3D multi-user virtual environment. Paper presented at the international conference on education, Redesigning Pedagogy: Research, Policy, Practice, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

– Lim, C. P., Mak, W. K., & Hedberg, J. (2005, October). Situating a 3D game-like multi-user virtual environment in the primary school curriculum. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Educational Communication and Technology, Orlando, FL.

Edtrix Solutions
A private entity that focuses on Education and Training consultancy, including e-learning, micro-learning and learner profiling. Edtrix Solutions was in operation since 2003 and conducted many research consultancy to schools and organisations.

Edtrix Innovations Pte. Ltd. focuses on 3 areas of Smart Education, namely
(1) Automated Grading of Essays;
(2) Adaptive Learning and Assessment; and
(3) Learning Companion (under the IMDA Open Innovation Platform and AI SG).

It’s SmartzWerkz™ platform uses AI to provide an adaptive online assessment portal that is launched in Malaysia targeting English as a Second Language (ESL). Edtrix Innovations intends to disrupt the norm to provide grading services to schools so that teachers can do their best job, i.e. teaching. This will afford the immediacy of feedback, crucial to writing good essays for students’ assignments.

1. Professional Member, Singapore Computer Society
2. Member, Smart Cities Network, (Smart Education)
3. Member, Smart Cities World
4. Member: Singularity University
5. Member, Team-Based Learning™ Collaborative
6. Academia:
7. Researchgate:

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Online Resources

20. Book