Melvin Lee


Having a happy life doesn’t have to be complicated. Several key things can help you to find happiness in your life. Here are some tips that I hope will help you find your way to achieving happiness.

Financial Autonomy

Getting financial autonomy is one of the key steps in finding true happiness. The first step is to create a budget and control your spending. This can be done by using a budgeting calculator. It will help you categorise your spending and make it easier to budget for your bills and savings.

A balance/cashflow sheet exercise can be useful as well. The process can help you reduce guilt, sadness and anger associated with spending. It can also help you identify areas where you can save more money.

One of the largest drivers of financial autonomy is the emotional component. You may feel like you are losing your freedom when you cannot control your finances. When you are in control of your finances, you don’t worry about losing your freedom when the economy changes. You can enjoy life while you are alive rather than worrying about what might happen in the future.

The 50/30/20 budget rule is a great way to divide after-tax income into three spending categories. The first 50% is for needs, the second 30% is for wants, and the third 20% is for paying off debts or accumulating savings.

You don’t necessarily feel financially independent if you have a large lifestyle. This is because you may worry about losing your lifestyle when you can no longer pay your bills. However, if you live a minimalist lifestyle, you will not worry about losing your material possessions.

There are several paths to financial freedom, and they all have common steps. The key is to follow the path that works for you. The quickest way to become financially independent is to build a budget. This can be done painlessly, and the key is to focus on spending on what is most important to you (needs vs wants).

Financial intelligence relates to knowing when you are spending your life’s energy on things that don’t support your values. This may be difficult initially, but it is easier than you think. Start by keeping tabs on your spending habits, tracking your monthly tabulation, and learning to distinguish between what is essential and what is excess.

Fulfilling Relationships

Whether you are involved in a long-term relationship or are considering dating someone, it’s important to understand that there are many benefits to having a partner. Having a partner in your life can help you live a better, happier, and more fulfilling life. If you are in a long-term relationship, you may be tempted to let your guard down. However, neglecting the people who matter to you is not advisable. If you are willing to show your partner that you care, you can make your relationship much happier.

The most important part of any relationship is trust. Forgiveness is key to happy, healthy relationships. If you can forgive your partner for a mistake, it can go a long way towards creating a happy and contented relationship.

The best way to improve your relationship is to take baby steps. The small steps you take can significantly impact your relationship, both for good and for bad. You can start small by being polite and considerate to your partner. You can also try doing something charitable, like volunteering for a charity. This will not only make you a better person, but it will also have a positive impact on your relationship.

One of the best ways to improve your life is to stop wasting time on things that don’t matter. For example, you should not be wasting your time arguing over the finer points of a given subject. It’s also a good idea to keep an open mind. This will help you develop a better perspective and allow you to see the bigger picture.

Finally, there is a lot to be said about living in the moment. If you are always thinking about the past or the future, you cannot fully appreciate what is happening in the present. However, by living in the present, you can truly appreciate the moment and reap the rewards.

A happy life doesn’t just involve a spouse, but it also means having a great family. Recognising that you are part of a family can help your partner be happy and contented.

Healthy Lifestyle

A healthy lifestyle is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your well-being. There are many ways to make changes to your lifestyle. You can find ways to reduce stress, avoid common stressors, and ensure you eat healthy foods. These simple changes will improve your health and happiness in the long run.

One study found that eating more fruits and vegetables is associated with better mental and physical health. Eating organic foods is also a good idea, which can help avoid oxidative stress. In addition, it’s a good idea to eat nutrient-dense foods, which can help keep your blood sugar steady.

Another study found that adults over fifty who had a healthy psychological outlook were more likely to exercise than those who didn’t. In addition, this study showed that a healthy lifestyle can lead to a longer lifespan.

It’s important to recognise that stress is a normal part of life. Learning how to manage stress through exercise and mindfulness is a good way to ensure you maintain a healthy lifestyle. It can also help you find ways to deal with stress that may arise, such as through hobbies.

In addition, being happy may help boost your immune system. This is important because chronic low-grade inflammation can lead to diseases like cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Happiness may also decrease your risk of heart disease. A study found that participants who rated themselves as “very happy” were more likely to avoid heart problems. However, further research is needed to fully understand the effects of happiness on health.

The most important thing is to remember that happiness is a choice. You can prioritise happiness in your life and make it a priority. This can help you find true happiness and improve your life, and it may even lead to a longer life.

Being happy may also reduce your pain. You’ll be able to combat stress and boost your immune system. In addition, you’ll be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It’s also a good idea not to work too hard. If you work too hard, you may develop chronic stress and overeat. You can avoid these problems by being mindful and learning to say no.


Optimism is a positive outlook on life that makes you feel that the future is in your control. Studies have shown that optimistic people have a healthier outlook on life and have a reduced risk of heart attacks, stroke, cancer and other illnesses. In addition, optimists tend to bounce back faster from setbacks.

Optimism is a learned trait. Research shows people can improve their optimism by learning and practising the skill.

Optimists tend to be happier than pessimists. They are more likely to achieve their goals and are more motivated than pessimistic people. They also have more success in athletics, academics and social settings. They are also more resilient and less susceptible to the negative effects of illness.

Research shows that optimists are less likely to quit, have a better immune system and are less likely to develop depression. They also tend to have better pain management and cardiovascular function. In addition, they are less susceptible to negative emotions such as fatigue and stress and are more likely to seek ways to improve and maintain their health.

One study found that women who were optimists lived 10 years longer than pessimistic women. Another study looked at the diaries of nuns and found that optimists wrote more optimistically.

In addition to being happier, optimists tend to have healthier outlooks and more success in life. Optimists are also less likely to die from heart disease. They have a lower risk of stroke, respiratory disease and cancer. They are more likely to have a healthier immune system, fight off colds, and have better pain management.

Optimism is also a powerful motivator. It increases confidence, self-esteem, and chances of achieving your goals. It is also a powerful force that helps you recover from negative events. It also helps you become more resilient, reducing stress and making you more able to recover from adversity.

These are the keys to finding true happiness, so stay happy and be happy!

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a unique perspective on the human body and its health. In TCM, the concept of body constitution types is an important part of understanding how to maintain good health and treat illness. There are three primary body constitution types in TCM: the Yang constitution, the Yin constitution, and the Phlegm-Damp constitution.

The Yang Constitution

The Yang constitution is characterised by warmth, activity, and a tendency to be restless. People with a Yang constitution tend to be thin and have an active metabolism. They may be more prone to sweating, feel hot easily, and have a preference for cold foods and drinks. However, when their body is out of balance, they may experience symptoms such as constipation, dryness, and a tendency to develop inflammatory conditions.

The Yin Constitution

In contrast, the Yin constitution is characterised by coolness, passivity, and a tendency to be more introspective. People with a Yin constitution tend to be larger and have a slower metabolism. They may feel cold easily and have a preference for warm foods and drinks. However, when their body is out of balance, they may experience symptoms such as fatigue, water retention, and a tendency to develop conditions that are more chronic and slow to heal.

The Phlegm-Damp Constitution

The Phlegm-Damp constitution is characterised by a tendency to accumulate fluid in the body, which can manifest as conditions such as edema, obesity, and a general feeling of heaviness. People with a Phlegm-Damp constitution tend to have a slower metabolism and a weaker digestive system. They may have a preference for sweet, greasy, and heavy foods, and may experience symptoms such as indigestion, bloating, and a tendency to develop respiratory conditions.

Each body constitution type is associated with a set of strengths and weaknesses, and TCM practitioners use this information to help their patients maintain good health and treat illness. For example, someone with a Yang constitution may be advised to eat more warming foods and to engage in activities that promote relaxation and stress reduction, while someone with a Yin constitution may be advised to eat more nourishing foods and to engage in gentle exercise that promotes circulation and energy flow.

Find Out What Is Your Body Constitution Type

To find out your body constitution type in traditional Chinese medicine, it’s best to consult with a licensed TCM practitioner. The practitioner will typically ask you a series of questions and observe your physical characteristics, such as your body shape, skin tone, and other factors.

Here are some common questions a TCM practitioner may ask to determine your body constitution type:

  1. Do you tend to feel hot or cold most of the time?
  2. Do you have a strong appetite or a weak appetite?
  3. Do you tend to feel thirsty often or not at all?
  4. Do you have a regular bowel movement or suffer from constipation?
  5. Do you tend to sweat easily or not at all?
  6. Do you feel fatigue often or have a lot of energy?
  7. Do you tend to be more active or more introspective?
  8. Do you tend to have a sweet tooth or prefer bitter foods?

The TCM practitioner will also examine your tongue and pulse to gather more information about your body constitution type.

It’s important to note that body constitution types in TCM are not set in stone and can change over time due to various factors such as diet, lifestyle, and age. It’s also possible to have a combination of different constitution types. The TCM practitioner will take all of these factors into consideration when making a diagnosis and creating a treatment plan that’s tailored to your individual needs.

TCM practitioners may also use a combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, and other techniques to help balance the body’s energy and restore health. For example, acupuncture points may be chosen to stimulate the body’s natural healing processes, while herbal formulas may be prescribed to support digestion, boost immunity, and reduce inflammation.

Body constitution types are an important part of traditional Chinese medicine. By understanding a person’s constitution type, TCM practitioners can provide personalised advice on how to maintain good health and treat illness. The Yang, Yin, and Phlegm-Damp constitutions each have unique characteristics and require a different approach to treatment. Through the use of acupuncture, herbal medicine, and other techniques, TCM practitioners can help their patients restore balance to their bodies and achieve optimal health.

The 24 solar terms, also known as the “节气” in Chinese, are a series of traditional Chinese seasonal markers that divide the year into 24 segments, each representing about 15 days. These markers are based on the positions of the sun and moon and have been used in China for over 2,000 years to mark the changing of the seasons and guide agricultural practices. The significance of the 24 solar terms lies in their ability to connect people with the natural world, promote sustainable practices, and preserve cultural heritage.

The 24 solar terms begin with the “立春” or “Beginning of Spring” in early February and end with the “大寒” or “Great Cold” in late January. Each term marks a specific period of the year and is associated with certain natural phenomena, such as the blooming of flowers, the arrival of migratory birds, and the changing of the leaves. These markers were originally used by farmers to determine when to sow and harvest crops, and have since been incorporated into traditional festivals and other cultural practices.

One of the significant aspects of the 24 solar terms is their ability to connect people with the natural world. By marking the changing of the seasons, the solar terms help people stay connected to the cycles of nature and appreciate the beauty and diversity of the natural world. They remind us that we are a part of the natural world and that our lives are closely connected to the environment around us. This connection can promote a sense of stewardship and responsibility for the environment, and encourage sustainable practices that help protect the natural world.

Here is an awesome video that you should watch to learn more about the Chinese Calendar.

The solar terms are also significant in promoting sustainable agriculture. The traditional agricultural practices associated with the 24 solar terms are based on the idea of working with nature rather than against it. Farmers use the solar terms to determine when to plant, irrigate, fertilize, and harvest crops, and adjust their practices according to the changing of the seasons. This approach promotes sustainability by ensuring that crops are grown in harmony with the natural environment, and reduces the need for artificial inputs such as pesticides and fertilizers.

In addition, the 24 solar terms are significant in preserving cultural heritage. They are an integral part of traditional Chinese culture and have been passed down from generation to generation for over 2,000 years. The solar terms are associated with various festivals and other cultural practices, such as the Qingming Festival, which falls on the day of the “清明” or “Clear and Bright” solar term. These practices help to keep traditional customs and beliefs alive, and provide a sense of continuity and connection to the past.

Moreover, the 24 solar terms have significance beyond China’s borders. They are increasingly recognized by people around the world as a valuable cultural heritage, and have been inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. The solar terms have also been used as a basis for promoting environmental sustainability and cultural diversity, and have helped to foster cross-cultural dialogue and understanding.

The 24 solar terms have significant cultural, environmental, and agricultural significance. They provide a connection to the natural world, promote sustainable practices, and help preserve cultural heritage. The solar terms remind us that our lives are closely connected to the environment around us, and that our actions have a profound impact on the natural world. As we seek to promote sustainability and preserve cultural heritage, the 24 solar terms offer a valuable lesson in the importance of working with nature and celebrating our connection to the environment.

Life is a journey and negativity is a part of life that we all experience at some point. Whether it’s stress at work, a difficult personal relationship, or simply feeling down, negativity can take a toll on our mental and emotional well-being. However, there are ways to replace the negatives in life with positives, and cultivate a more positive outlook.

Practise Gratitude

One of the most powerful tools for replacing negativity with positivity is practising gratitude. Gratitude is the act of recognizing and appreciating the good things in our lives, no matter how small they may seem. By focusing on what we have to be grateful for, we shift our attention away from our problems and challenges. This can help us feel more positive and optimistic about our lives.

To practice gratitude, try starting each day by reflecting on what you are grateful for. This could be something as simple as a warm cup of coffee in the morning or the love of your family and friends. Writing down your gratitude in a journal or expressing it to others can also help reinforce positive thinking.

Surround Yourself with Positive People

Another way to replace negativity with positivity is by surrounding yourself with positive people. People who uplift and support you can have a tremendous impact on your mental and emotional well-being. They can offer encouragement and perspective when you’re feeling down, and help you see the good in yourself and the world around you.

On the other hand, people who are constantly negative can bring you down and drain your energy. It’s important to set boundaries with negative people and avoid getting drawn into their negativity. This can mean limiting your time with them or simply refusing to engage in negative conversations.


Exercise is another powerful tool for replacing negativity with positivity. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural chemicals in the body that can improve mood and reduce stress. Finding an exercise that you enjoy and making it a regular part of your routine can help you stay positive and feel more energized.

In addition to exercise, engaging in hobbies and activities that bring you joy can also help cultivate positivity. Doing things that you enjoy can boost your mood and help you stay engaged in life. This could be anything from reading to painting to spending time outdoors.

Practise Mindfulness

Mindfulness is another tool for replacing negativity with positivity. Mindfulness is the act of focusing on the present moment, and letting go of worries about the past or future. It can help us stay grounded and present, and prevent us from getting caught up in negative thinking.

To practice mindfulness, try focusing on your breath or senses for a few minutes each day. You can also try practising mindfulness during everyday activities, such as walking or washing the dishes. By staying present and focused on the task at hand, you can cultivate a sense of calm and positivity.


It’s also important to be kind to yourself when trying to replace negativity with positivity. Self-compassion means treating yourself with kindness and understanding, even when things don’t go as planned. This can mean taking time for self-care, such as getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and doing things that make you happy.

If you’re struggling with negative emotions, it’s important to seek help. This could mean talking to a trusted friend or family member, or reaching out to a mental health professional. They can offer support, guidance, and perspective as you work to cultivate positivity in your life.

There are many ways to replace the negatives in life with positives. Practising gratitude, surrounding yourself with positive people, exercising, engaging in hobbies and activities, practising mindfulness, being kind to yourself, and seeking help are many different ways to cultivate a more positive outlook. With time and practice, you can develop a more positive mindset and enjoy a more fulfilling life.

‘Daoism’ is a Chinese philosophy and religion based on the concept of Dao i.e. 道. It is a philosophy that incorporates concepts of non-action i.e. 無為 and the natural order or spontaneity of things. It asserts that mankind must put its will into harmony with the natural world.

The Dao is the primordial principle that underlies the creation of the universe. The Dao is believed to be unlimited/infinite, transcendent, and unnameable. Dao is also believed to be the cause of everything in the universe. One of the most important classical texts in Daoism is the Dao De Jing i.e. 道德经, and it was written around 400 BC by Lao Tzu 老子.

The concept of yin and yang is a key element of Daoism. Yin i.e. 阴 and yang i.e. 阳 are two opposing types of energy. The yin is considered passive, dark and feminine, while the yang is active, bright and masculine. These opposing energies may also be a reflection of the operation of the Dao during its cycles of creation.

Daoism also incorporates concepts of qi i.e. 氣, and taiji i.e. 太极. Qi is believed to be a vital force or energy, and the cultivation of qi can be done through martial arts and the food we consume. The Taiji symbol that depicts yin and yang energy was first introduced during the Song dynasty.

From the Dao De Jing, it was held that “The Tao produced One i.e. 无极; One i.e. 无极 produced Two i.e. 太极; Two produced Three; Three produced All things.” It is believed that the Interaction between Yin and Yang, with the presence of Qi, is how Two produced Three.

In religious Daoism, the Dao i.e. produces One i.e. 无极, and it represents the Great Dao, embodied by Yuanshi Tianzun i.e. 元始天尊 at a time of pre-Creation when the Universe was still null, and the cosmos was in disorder. Manifesting into the first of the Taoist Trinity, Yuanshi Tianzun oversees the earliest phase of Creation of the Universe and is known as Daobao i.e. 道寶. Where One i.e. 无极 produces Two i.e. 太极, comes the Yin Yang i.e. 阴阳; and Yuanshi Tianzun i.e. 元始天尊 manifests into Lingbao Tianzun i.e. 灵宝天尊 who separated the Yang i.e. 阳from the Yin i.e. 阴, the clear from the murky, and classified the elements into their rightful groups. Lingbao Tianzun i.e. 灵宝天尊 is also known as the Jingbao i.e. 經寶. While Jing i.e. 經 in popular understanding means “scriptures”, in this context, it also means “passing through” i.e. 經过 [the phase of Creation] and the Laws of Nature of how things are meant to be. In the final phase of Creation, Daode Tianzun i.e. 道德天尊 is manifested from Lingbao Tianzun i.e. 灵宝天尊 to bring civilization and preach the Law to all living beings. Daode Tianzun i.e. 道德天尊 is also known as Shibao i.e. 師寶 .

Each of the Three Pure Ones represents both a deity and a heaven.

Yuanshi Tianzun i.e. 元始天尊 rules the first heaven, Yu Qing i.e. 玉清, which is found in the Jade Mountain. The entrance to this heaven is named the Golden Door. “He is the source of all truth, as the sun is the source of all light”. Lingbao Tianzun i.e. 灵宝天尊 rules over the heaven of Shan Qing i.e. 上清. Daode Tianzun i.e. 道德天尊 rules over the heaven of Tai Qing i.e. 太清.

The Three Pure Ones are often depicted as throned elders. As the Three Pure Ones are manifestations of Primordial Celestial Energy, they are formless. However, to illustrate their role in Creation, they are often portrayed as elderly deities robed in the three basic colours from which all colours originated i.e. Red, Blue and Yellow (or Green), depending on personal interpretation of colour origins by additive or subtractive means. Each of them holds onto a divine object associated with their task. Yuanshi Tianzun i.e. 元始天尊 is usually depicted holding the Pearl of Creation, signifying his role in creating the Universe from void and chaos. The Ruyi 如意 held by Lingbao Tianzun i.e. 灵宝天尊 represents authority, the second phase of Creation where the Yang was separated from the Yin and the Law of Things was ordered in place. Lingbao Tianzun i.e. 灵宝天尊 then took his seat on the left of Yuanshi Tianzun i.e. 元始天尊. Later, when all was complete, Daode Tianzun i.e. 道德天尊 took his place on the right of Yuanshi Tianzun i.e. 元始天尊, and He held the fan symbolizing the completion of Creation, and the act of fanning representing the spreading of Dao i.e. 道 to all Mankind.

Schools of Taoist thought developed around each of these deities. Taoist Alchemy was a large part of these schools, as each of the Three Pure Ones represented one of the three essential fields of the body, jing i.e. 精, qi i.e. 氣 and shen i.e. 神. The congregation of all three Pure Ones resulted in the return to Dao.

The first Pure One is universal or heavenly qi. The second Pure One is human plane qi, and the third Pure One is earth qi. Heavenly qi includes the qi or energy of all the planets, stars and constellations, as well as the energy of God (the force of creation and universal love). Human plane qi is the energy that exists on the surface of our planet and sustains human life, and the earth force qi includes all of the forces inside the planet as well as the five elemental forces.

I hope to share more about jing i.e. 精, qi i.e. 氣 and shen i.e. 神 in future and simplify the concepts with some examples so that it makes it easier for everyone to understand.

Singapore’s oldest and first Chinese temple, Soon Thian Keing (顺天宫), is located at 19 Lorong 29 Geylang, Singapore 388070. A literal translation of the temple’s Chinese name is, “Obedience to Heaven”.

The temple was first built in 1812 at Malabar Street and this was even way before Sir Stamford Raffles founded Singapore in 1819. Fun fact, Malabar Street has now become an indoor air-conditioned street (now part of Bugis Junction).

In 1993, the temple relocated to its present location in Geylang and here are some photos of the temple’s architecture and intricate decor which I found rather fascinating and even inspiring.

Part of the 1902 stele that is still preserved in the temple today. It shows the main temple sponsors and major contributors to the temple’s building fund.
One of the four pillars of the temple with Chinese characters inscribed on it
Eight Immortals

The main deity of the temple is 福德正神 (also known as Tua Pek Gong/土地公) and there are many other deities such as 慈航真人 (also known as Goddess of Mercy/观音大士), 齐天大圣 (also known as the Monkey God), 赵公明 (God of Wealth), and 註生娘娘 (Goddess of Childbirth) that are housed in the temple as well.

The temple is open to members of the public and if you have not been there before, feel free to arrange a visit!

As a young child growing up, I was exposed to many different faiths, and it was not until my 31st birthday that I truly found comfort and solace in Daoism. To begin with, Daoism is not a new faith to me because when I was young, my parents would bring my siblings and I to the temple to pray. However, back then, I did not know why we had to go to the temple, why we prayed to certain deities in the temple, and why we had to offer incense joss sticks. All I knew back then was that I had to obey and follow my parents’ instructions.

I also recalled that at certain times of the year, there were significant occasions when we would visit the temple to pray. These occasions include Lunar New Year, Vesak Day, and the Hungry Ghost Festival. There were also occasions when my mum would prepare special dishes like glutinous rice dumplings during the dumpling festival, mooncakes during the mid-autumn festival, and glutinous rice balls in peanut soup during the winter solstice. All these did not make much sense to me until the later part of my life.

When I entered my teenage years, I attended church and stopped going to the temple. Although the company of people was great, I did not feel liberated and the experience that I had felt transactional, superficial, and distant. When scandalous news of the church leadership broke, it drifted me away and led to many questions and self-doubts. I was in a state of limbo for more than 5 years.

In 2019, I was fortunate to participate in a trip to the Wudang Mountain in China. The experience that I had was life-transforming and invigorating. Since then, my affinity for Daoism grew, and I wanted to learn even more. Though COVID stalled my progress, I am thankful that I could still learn about Daoism from many different Daoist masters. When the Quan Zhen Cultural Society (Singapore), 新加坡全真教化協會 restarted its ritual classes early this year, I did not hesitate to sign up. Since then, I have been learning something new about Daoism every day, and therefore, I desire to document what I have learnt through this site and share my knowledge with others.