Overcoming Candy Crush

Sumiko Tan’s plea for help about her Candy Crush addiction was something I identified with.

Her article in Sunday Times brought back memories of my Candy Crush-playing days earlier this year. The descriptions of her fighting to stay awake just to inch up the next level and her having images of the Candy Crush grids when she closed her eyes were exactly what I experienced! Realising that smart phone games could be potentially addictive, I downloaded the game only in my iPad mini but not on my phone. This way, I could only play it when I was home from work.

However, doing this wasn’t enough. I was still playing the game intensively after work; so much so that it was robbing me of my sleep and my time with God most of the nights… Until, I realise the futility of the entire game.

I had always thought that Candy Crush required strategy but DR pointed out to me then that it really was dependent on the colour of candies you were given every round. It was designed to hook. They make it “difficult” for different rounds but somehow, one could always make it to the next level (for some, it might mean being stuck for 1000 times at the same level but you realise you eventually did move on). When you are able to overcome all these “difficult” levels, you would think: “Hey, maybe I can do for this round. I got to try!”. And so, you keep trying. And trying. And trying.

It got too frustrating when I realised that my winning was actually determined by the system (which obviously wanted me hooked!) right from the start.

That was when I decided to quit.

So yeah, this is the story of how I overcame Candy Crush. You need to realise that it really is a game to make you feel like you have strategized when in fact, you are just being engineered by the system’s allocation of candies for each round.

Respond vs React

Remember in my earlier blog post (see: https://estherwritesat.wordpress.com/2013/07/17/the-easy-art-of-not-listening-but-pretending-that-you-are/) that I wanted to share with you all about the difference between RESPOND and REACT?

The short and simple story that I read earlier this year really enlightened me in this area and shed tons of light in managing questions or problems in life. Something within me changed.

Let me share this story with you.

At a restaurant, a cockroach suddenly flew from somewhere and sat on a lady. She started screaming out of fear. With a panic stricken face and trembling voice, she started jumping, with both her hands desperately trying to get rid of the cockroach – Her reaction was contagious, as everyone in her group also got panicky.
The lady finally managed to push the cockroach away but …it landed on another lady in the group. Now, it was the turn of the other lady in the group to continue the drama. The waiter rushed forward to their rescue.

In the relay of throwing, the cockroach next fell upon the waiter. The waiter stood firm, composed himself and observed the behavior of the cockroach on his shirt. When he was confident enough, he grabbed it with his fingers and threw it out of the restaurant.

Sipping my coffee and watching the amusement, the antenna of my mind picked up a few thoughts and started wondering,

Was the cockroach responsible for their histrionic behavior? If so, then why was the waiter not disturbed? He handled it near to perfection, without any chaos.

It is not the cockroach, but the inability of the ladies to handle the disturbance caused by the cockroach that disturbed the ladies.

I realized that, it is not the shouting of my father or my boss or my wife that disturbs me, but its my inability to handle the disturbances caused by their shouting that disturbs me.
Its not the traffic jams on the road that disturbs me, but my inability to handle the disturbance caused by the traffic jam that disturbs me. 

More than the problem, it is the uncontrolled reaction to the problem that creates chaos in our lives. The women reacted, whereas the waiter responded. Thus, do not react in life, but always respond.

Reactions are always instinctive whereas responses are always well thought of, poised and save a situation from going out of hands. Thus, to avoid cracks in relationship, to avoid taking decisions in anger or anxiety, to avoid stress or hurry , to have a calm personality……stop reacting, start responding.




Summer in Taipei & Hualien

A couple of days before our holiday trip, news came that there was a storm ravaging Taipei, forcing schools and shops to close. That got me worried. I know typhoons are common in Taiwan, particularly in summer. It is not a very good idea to be cooped in the hotel or get stranded in middle of the road with my elderly nainai and mom during a holiday….

Before we left for Taipei, I told God, no matter what happens, rain or shine, I believe the trip will be for His glory and we will enjoy it no matter what. With that, I submitted everything to God and asked that He graciously provide us with good weather and the capacity to enjoy no matter what the circumstance for the trip. With faith as small as a mustard seed, we can move mountains! It takes faith to enjoy a holiday!

Praise the Lord for His presence and grace every single day when we were in Taipei and Hualien! When we were there, the weather was great! It only drizzled on our second last day in Taiwan. God heard and answered my prayers! (:

Although we perspired a lot during our trip (it was scorching, particularly in the afternoons when were there in Taiwan), the picturesque Hualien in summer is worth all the buckets of sweat. I especially love Chisingtan Beach (七星潭). Gazing at the Pacific Ocean from the pebbled beachfront in the evening was so therapeutic… Sarah and I had fun taking pictures there. Here are some:

With my nainai and mummy

With my nainai and mummy


PEBBLES! Best thing about Chisingtan Beach is that we don’t have to worry about getting sand in our feet, so we could wear normal shoes down instead of slippers.


Sarah, with her cup of instant Tsujiri matcha drink! They actually have Tsujiri there… unbelievable.


Enjoying the ocean breeze and fried fish and smelly tofu near the beachfront


Sunlit mountains at dawn behind our hotel


Crashing waves due to typhoon warnings on our last day in Hualien



View from our room in Hotel Bayview

I would love to cycle along the coast there. We didn’t do so as we were with nainai and mummy. It would be too dangerous for nainai to cycle! So yes, I will go back to Hualien again.

It’s time to zzzz now. I will blog more about the places we went in Taipei and Hualien in my subsequent posts…