Why did I post daily about gratitude on Facebook?

CoVid-19 spreading like wildfire. Voting incompetent leaders out of elections, only to see them usurp the elected governments. Women being taken advantage of and bullied.

News like these repeat each day, making me feel like I’m helpless, awaiting for doomsday to appear.

Utter rot. Why should I follow such cues that suck me out of my enthusiasm for the day?!

Enough of the doom and gloom! Surely there must be something worth looking forward to each day!

I looked at the sky. It was blue and sunny.

An idea hit me. Why not post 10 things I’m grateful for each day? Maybe it might help me start the day with a smile, not a gloomy face.

13 days of gratitude postings later, a mixture of marvel, surprise and contentment emerged within me.

And more.

I’m grateful to share them with you. Enjoy.

1. Appreciate the subtle good things of life e.g. bus transport
2. Less prone to losing my temper (more self-control)
3. Hate unfairness
4. Think twice before saying anything
5. Detect early when I’m overwhelmed…and when I’m relaxed
6. Golden nuggets of insights I never thought of before. When things are easy to complete, we keep repeating them because they ease our minds repeatedly. No one likes to repeat a long process. This gives me a glimpse how I formed my habits and how to make or break them
7. Appreciate my family more
8. Experience life is fragile, fleeting and precious
9. Discover my core values (consistency justice, equality)
10. Feel good or better about myself

And if you read till here, congratulations! Here is a bonus of 10 more points for you.
11. Shit still happens but…(See point 13)
12. See and detach yourself from the awful game of posting to get likes and comments…and shares
13. Someone unexpectedly DOES my gratitude posting! Nice! (Instead of consuming)
14. Appreciate the good that happens
15. More reflective and aware of the things we do
16. Detach from stress instead of getting sucked into it
17. Build consistency. You realise all things are possible with one small step (post) regularly. Which leads to…
18. Are there more things I’m capable of but I’m not prioritising it? Why or why not?
19. Start to wonder: is my stress really stress? Or am I living like a frog in a well?
20. You might question if you are living a life of intent or a reactive life.

Here’s my challenge to you. Write one thing you’re thankful for each day for 1 week. At the end of the week, collate your points on gratitude and compare how you felt before and after 1 week.

Enjoy your gratitude posting!

P.S. Heres a list of gratitude points I posted for each of the 13 days. Enjoy!

Feb 25

1. Able to wake up at 5 a.m. this morning.
2. See the beautiful morning scene and…
3. Take a photo with my camera phone
4. Cool air breeze blowing in my face
5. Hear birds chirping
6. Peace and quiet in the neighbourhood
7. My 7 month old son sleeping soundly after drinking milk
8. My wife having a good sleep
9. Smooth bowel delivery
10. Internet connection to post this.

Feb 26

1. Taking the bus home safely
2. Taking the train ride without a glitch
3. Having hot water to drink in the cold morning
4. Having a sweater to wear as I type
5. Toilet flush works when I need it
6. A sturdy bed frame when I sleep
7. A baby cot that is safe and stable for sleeping
8. A Rewind Bar (think natural food in bar form with no preservaties) for breakfast
9. Clean water coming out from the tap
10. Clean water to drink
11. Wife and son still sleeping soundly.
Bonus: having the energy to type this despite sleeping for 2 hour cycles.

Feb 27

1. My father for showing me what being meticulous looks like all these years…so that I pay attention to details

2. My mother for showing me what patience looks like when it comes to dealing with people…so that I learn there is no perfect person in the world

3. My wife for lending listening ears when I experience rough waters in the day

4. My 7 month old son for reminding me daily to watch for his cues for eating or sleeping…so that I pay close attention to what he does and not what he grunts/screams

5. My math lecturers who taught me ‘secrets’ of understanding math…which surprisingly has more to do with the heart first, then mind

6. Val Senan for showing me what leading a life of purpose looks like over the last 6 years…which helped me gain confidence and courage to pursue what I want even in difficult times

7. My former client who took a chance on me to tutor her son for IGCSE Chinese as a Foreign Language…even when I had no proven track record…

8. Which led to me tutoring her son for IGCSE International Math and IB Diploma Math…Because they saw something in me which I didn’t see at that time

9. Dunstan for helping me get started in a tutoring career 4 years ago with his generous advice and insightful tips

10. My two former clients who gave me opportunities to tutor their daughters in English, Science Chemistry and Elementary Math for their O levels…and showed me what a teenager’s life looks like

11. My three former clients who gave me opportunities to tutor their sons in PSLE Math…and made me realised how emotions play a huge but subtle role behind a child’s confidence

Feb 28


1. My father for making me sit through an hour each day practicing reading, writing and speaking in Chinese during primary school. I’m so glad I can listen, read, write and speak (and sometimes, teach) Chinese.

2. My guitar teacher Mr Erwin for showing me how to be a patient and nurturing teacher when I was struggling to even tune my guitar as a beginner.

3. My son for staying up from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. this morning. He made me realised one can even feel refreshed in the early morning because of early sleep time.

4. My former PSLE 2019 Math client who yesterday (in one afternoon) wrote one screen length of words as a testimonial for helping her daughter go from failing in CA1 to a B in PSLE. I’m grateful for her kind words and for letting me have a chance to help her daughter regain her confidence in math. Most importantly, I’m beginning to see what helps children improve in their math results.

5. My mother for ironing my shirts and pants in the last 2 months when I was busy running around for lessons. I would have looked like a slob without her help.

6. My $120 monthly concession public transport pass that halves my travelling expenses each month.

7. Ronald Lye, one of Singapore’s top copywriters, for giving me the opportunity to learn copywriting, business strategy and sales conversations from him since mid-2019.

8. My wife for being my best partner in taking care of our son each night so that we maximise whatever sleeping hours we were left with.

9. Glasshouse Cafe for their friendly and generous baristas who share with me their excitement and love for making coffee.

10. My cooling and cosy mattress. Sleeping is made wonderful!

Feb 29


1. My 7 month old son crying for milk
2. The bus I’m in arrives safely
3. Parents still allowing me to tutor their children in their homes at this time in view of the COV-ID situation
4. MRT carriage I’m in travelling safely with cool air
5. A park to walk every morning, with a cat putting up a hunting show of birds daily
6. Shoes with soles that stay glued
7. Bright sunny day to dry my laundry fast
8. A mechanic watch that I can read time reliably
9. A hand-carry bag to hold my barang-barang
10. Being able to read, listen and write. I see frightened and worried elderly in MRT stations asking for directions. They sound like they can’t read the station names and have a hard time understanding which MRT routes lead them to their destinations. They seem to be a stranger in their homeland. Sometimes, I wonder if we progress so fast we have left the less fortunate behind.

Mar 1


1. See the morning sun
2. Hear birds chirping
3. Walk without pain
4. Hot weather
5. A watch that works
6. Wi-Fi that works
7. Pants that remain intact after walking
8. A supermarket within a minute’s reach to do grocery shopping
9. Clean water to shower
10. Adrian Neumeyer and family for dropping by to have lunch with me

Sunday is super.



1. Cool air blowing through the windows
2. Birds chirping away
3. Wake up any time with calmness
4. Walk without pain
5. Hot clean water for drinking
6. Surrounded by friends I can approach when I need help
7. Fridge that works
8. Clothing to keep warm
9. Air-conditioning that cools the room
10. Lights that work

Mar 3


1. A toothbrush that works.
2. Toothpaste.
3. Working shower heater.
4. Fresh cool air in the morning.
5. Help students chase after top grades. I know, some of you might think I’m crazy to pile on the stress of kids. Let’s just say that’s a better option than experiencing the fear of being arrested and dragged into jail in the middle of the night for an offence not committed.
6. Bedroom. While my son naps with the windows and doors shut in a cooling room, the quiet in it presents me solitude, contemplation and calm.
7. My wife who wakes up at night with me to take care of our son for milk feeding.
8. M.O.E. As much as I hated my 10 year teaching career towards the last 2 to 3 years, it gave me a platform in school to sharpen my student management and teaching skills.
9. Pull up pants for my son. Diaper changing made easier.
10. My parents for bringing me to the then Times Bookshop every weekend at Centrepoint. That was where I happily “feasted” and enriched myself with the overwhelming flow of topics. Heck, even dictionaries became my books.

Life is not always fair. Because it isn’t fair, it presents a vision for us to take action and make it fair not for me but for the less privileged around us.

Mar 4

1. My Bellroy wallet. I’ve got a sandwich, not a burger, in my pocket.
2. My Tissot watch. It’s still working after 2 years!
3. My mother for reminding me how I used to subtract numbers in kindergarten. ?
4. A bus that brings me to the MRT station in 5 minutes.
5. A good night sleep.
6. A walk in the morning in the park.
7. My music teacher for teaching me how to play Super Mario Brothers song.
8. Breadtalk for its bread. I was hungry.
9. A working induction stove to steam my bread.
10. Fresh boiled eggs.
11. My son for peeing at me while I was trying to get him to sit down instead of standing.?

Mar 5


10 BLESSINGS I received from Nature

1. Hush Puppies Leather shoes
2. Cotton Shirt from Gentlemen Quarters
3. Wool Pants from Gentlemen Quarters
4. T.M. Lewin silk tie
5. Tissot Watch
6. Owndays glasses
7. Uniqlo cotton socks
8. The hot sun for drying my wet laundry in 3 hours
9. A brain that gets stronger and quicker in thinking and solving problems
10. The trees, cats and migrant birds that make up the park near my house

Life is great when we choose to see it as great.

Mar 6



1. My 7 month old son sleeping as I type
2. Read, write, listen and speak the English language and Mandarin.
3. See an array of colours around me
4. Waking up
5. Thankful for being a freelance tutor and copywriter. I get to spend the morning with my son.
6. My son grunting when I wipe his face with a warm cloth. Hahahaha!
7. My parents for cooking Japanese curry rice for dinner
8. Simon Sinek’s video on what people look for in a leader
9. Stretch my muscles
10. A sterilizer that saves me time drying the bottles cleanly.

Mar 7



1. Wake up
2. Walk without pain
3. Drink without pain
4. See the greenery in the park
5. See the beautiful blue sky
6. Hear birds chirping
7. 24 hour supermarket
8. Cool air breeding at my face
9. A bus stop with shelter
10. Sunny morning!
11. Walk without getting robbed
12. An exam system to complain about
13. A peaceful morning without the busy chatter of human voices
14. Newspapers to read
15. A table that’s safe to put my stationery
16. Being able to understand and taste espresso
17. Reading newspapers
18. A wooden finger-sized stick to stir my coffee
19. Avocados to eat
20. Entertain my son
21. Having enough toilet paper
22. Having anti-bacteria soap from Kirei-Kirei
23. Bitten by mosquitos while taking a morning walk
24. Seeing the sun shine into the cafe
25. A chair that’s safe for me to sit and type
26. Air con that works
27. A utilities bill that cost $120 last month
28. Being able to understand what “icy cold invigoration” means
29. Having a basic understanding of how to help primary school children learn anything effectively
30. Blessed by my former professors who show me that solving problems take years and not 15 minutes in the classroom. I’m very grateful to them for this gift.
31. Help my mother wipe the floor with Magiclean
32. Help my mother light candles and joss sticks for evening prayers
33. Having my monthly bus concession pass that helps me travel to every part of Singapore without additional costs. One fee, unlimited rides.
34. Being late for school 20 years ago
35. Screwing up my A levels, because that gave me fuel to have the eye of the tiger, always hungry, always hunting.
36. What’s your blessing?

Mar 8

10 things I’m grateful for

1. Lunch
2. Avocados
3. Gardenia wholemeal bread
4. Hasbrowns
5. New Balance shoes
6. Umbrella
7. Cool air in the park
8. Spectacles
9. Chair
10. Table
11. A working fridge
12. Salad


  • Brandon Cai Shaoyang

    I help middle school children improve their math scores

    Brandon Shaoyang is a former Singapore school teacher who has more than 12 years of teaching experience helping middle-school children improve their test scores. He is a math education consultant and writes about solving challenging math problems on his website brandonshaoyang.com. He also writes for The Asian Parent and was featured by The Asian Entrepreneur. Join his newsletter here to find out how he helps children improve their test scores.