Have you eaten? (吃饱了吗?)

Mark, a good friend of mine told me recently that his mother was suffering from dementia. She had repeatedly asked him, “Have you eaten?”

She would ask the question again and again, and sometimes a few times even during a short meeting. My friend would patiently reply her, knowing that it was one of the symptoms of dementia, a debilitating sickness.

As a much older person and a good friend, I decided to take upon myself to share with him the underlying meaning of “Have you eaten?”

This is a common greeting, mainly among older Chinese and I have heard it literally all over the world. It’s mostly the first few words I hear even when I meet a total Chinese stranger.

This greeting is not an invitation for a meal. There’s a deeper significance and purpose for it.

The Chinese people have  a relatively tragic past.

Throughout about 5000 years of their history, they have gone through many crises. They have survived them, but oftentimes after going through untold amount of pain and sorrow.

In many cases, many of them had to go through hunger and malnourishment. It is not usual to hear stories about how they had to eat everything that seemed to be edible so as to fill their stomach.

As a result, the Chinese people, especially among the older ones never take food for granted. They have learned to be grateful and to value every meal.

There are jokes that say the Chinese eat everything with four legs, except the table; and everything that flies except the aeroplane. If they see anything that moves, they’ll create a recipe for it.

Hence, Adam and Eve cannot be Chinese because they would have eaten the snake.

In many Chinese homes, it is not unusual for parents to insist that their children finish every morsel of food during mealtimes. There are even superstitions created about not finishing every drop of food on the plate.

For example, my parents would tell me, “If you don’t clean up the food on your plate, you’ll marry an ugly wife. If you leave more food on it, there’ll be more pimples, acne, and pockmarks on her face.”

Fortunately, I made sure my plate was squeaky clean after every meal. That was why I was able to marry a beautiful wife.

My wife on the other hand must have left quite a lot of food on her plate.

Therefore, there must be some truth to this belief. (Are you listening carefully to me, my children?)

On a serious note, when the Chinese greet someone “Have you eaten?” It’s a wish that the other party’s needs are met and it is an expression of concern for his wellbeing.

So I told my friend that if his mother forgot everything, she would never forget her love for him. She deeply cared for him.

The more she repeated those words, the more she is manifesting her love for him. Her
feelings would in turn grow deeper and stronger.

My friend, the next time I ask you, “Have you eaten?” it means I am asking you for a treat.

Just kidding.

I am saying that I love you, and I want you to do well in life.

So, have you eaten? (吃饱了吗?)

I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Please ‘Like’ me on https://www.facebook.com/patrickliewsg

Visit my Inspiration blog at https://liewinspiration.wordpress.com/

For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at http://hsrpatrickliew.wordpress.com/

Please visit my website, http://www.patrickliew.net

Please read my reflection and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!


About Patrick Liew
About Patrick Liew Patrick Liew MBA, MSc, BSc is the Managing Partner of Global Enterprise Exchange Pte. Ltd.. He is also the founder and director of Success Resources, arguably the world’s largest personal development seminar organiser and a major shareholder of a company, which is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. He was previously the Executive Chairman and CEO of HSR Global Ltd., a publicly listed company on SGX-ST. Previously, he was the regional director of the Gartner Group, providing strategic advisory and planning services to governments, banks and MNCs. He was also the regional head of sales and marketing operation for Dow Jones Telerate. Patrick graduated with a BSc in Estate Management from Heriot Watt University, an MSc with emphasis in global business and marketing from The City University Of New York, and an MBA from Henley Business School / Brunel University. He has also earned more than nine other professional qualifications. Patrick is arguably the first person to develop a multimedia e-learning programme on entrepreneurship. He authored a Chinese book on business systems and was also the co-author of a Times Bookshop best-selling book. Patrick has conducted both ‘brick and mortar’ and online lessons for participants from more than 60 countries. He has also conducted keynote presentations in many international conferences, including being the first Singaporean to teach at the National Association of Realtors. Through his team at Success Resources, Patrick has organised educational conferences for prominent leaders such as President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Michael Porter, Richard Branson, Robert Kiyosaki, Donald Trump, and many other prominent leaders. Patrick provides leadership and advisory services to many professional and charity organisations. He is actively involved in supporting humanitarian, philanthropic and charity causes. He has organised three fund-raising events and in the process, help to set three national records in the Singapore Books Of Records. Patrick won the Entrepreneur Of the Year Award For Social Contribution, the Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Award, and six other business awards. Patrick believes the best way to live your life is to live your life for others. The more you reach out to bless other lives, the richer and better your life will become. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A Personal Note to my Friends The articles that I post online; or what I term as Love Notes, are written with the purpose of inspiring readers to live at a higher plane in life. They are also meant to motivate those who are struggling in life and help them find handlers to overcome their conflicts and challenges. It is my ardent hope that we will form networks and alliances of like-minded people who will put to right many of the wrongs in our midst. Together, we will leverage on each other's resources and create a synergistic impact in making our world a better home. These articles are written as part of regular reflection about the vicissitudes of life. They are at best work in progress and at worst, grumblings, grouses, and gripings of a finite old man. I have deliberately decided NOT to delete many of the articles and pointers that I may not agree with or are outrightly wrong. This is to keep a record of how my personal ideas, beliefs, and values have evolved over time. In addition, I hope to encourage readers by letting them know that I also make mistakes and am struggling with many of the complexity and complication in life. As long as we hang on to hope and work on finding a solution, there will be light at the end of whatever tunnel we are in. I do not pretend to know everything or for that matter, anything of substance. In fact, the more I study, learn, and think about the vast wisdom and knowledge out there, the more I realised how little I know about life and the ways of life. Hence, I have always ended my article by asking readers to continue to teach me. For I, too, am a sojourner in the exploration of truth and the adventure of finding meaning, purpose, and significance for my existence. I am proud of and make no apology for being a Christian, albeit not the most exemplary one. I believe our Creator can lead and guide us to be the best that we can ever be. I bear full responsibility for the shortcoming and error in my life, including my words. The fault is entirely mine and not due to anyone else. Readers have and can exercise the power of choice. They can discard what will not work for them and adopt those that can propel them further and faster in the pursuit of better performance, outcomes, and fulfillment. If I have disappointed or hurt you in any way, form, or manner, I would like to apologise to you. Please do not hold them against me or whoever or whatever is related to me. There are much to pray about, learn, and do. And I'll work on them with a sense of urgency. I hold on to the belief that 'Anything worth doing is worth doing with passion and excellence'. I'll endeavour to live by it. Life is short. There's no dress rehearsal and neither can we turn back the clock to change the drama of life. Therefore, by the grace and power of our Creator, let's live a full life and live it to the fullest. May God bless you abundantly on the journey of life. Your online servant, Patrick Liew I hope this message will find a place in your heart. By the way, I have also recorded other reflections. Please 'Like' me on https://m.facebook.com/patrickliewsg Visit my Inspiration blog at https://liewinspiration.wordpress.com/ For my opinions on social affairs, please visit my Transformation blog at http://hsrpatrickliew.wordpress.com/ Please visit my website, http://www.patrickliew.net Please read my reflection and continue to teach me. Life is FUNtastic!

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