In the “Happy Issue” (Jan 28-29), I said: “Life’s greatest happiness is to be loved.” Let me share more of my thoughts with you.

I am a picture of happiness to many who know me because…

…I have the good fortune of being loved by them. They show me their love in different ways.

Recently, I met a fragile old lady at the hospital lobby. She asked if I was “Hongli”, my Chinese name. She smiled and gave me a hongbao.

She also said a lot of nice things about me which made my day.

Another lady, a Today reader, after some exchange of emails, has become my “fairy” godmother. She is a wonderful lady who has my welfare at heart even when she is away on holiday.

If I could, I would tell the world who she is, but being a true “fairy” godmother, she wishes to remain my secret.

I am also blessed with great parents who shower me with love by guiding, nurturing and caring for me. Simply put, they sacrifice some of their own “happiness” to make me happy.

There are many more people who have demonstrated their love – some sent me letters of encouragement and inspirational cards, while others gave me a pat on the back.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank them all for their love – the contributing factor to my happiness. Does that mean I am always happy, always smiling and always positive?

Of course…not. My emotions are tested daily. Sometimes, I feel sad, frustrated and disappointed.

For example, if I do not do well in my examinations, I will be downcast. If I break a bone, I will be in anguish. If someone criticises me unfairly, I will be indignant.

I believe it is perfectly fine to feel that way; I am only human. However, I know that I don’t have to stay miserable forever. The quicker I let it go, the better it is for me.

I realise that falling into the water will not kill me – it is staying there that will drown me.

Although I can depend on some of my well-wishers to help me rebound, I have learnt to be responsible for my happiness.

For quick recovery, I find it useful not to make a big deal of what has passed as there is nothing I can do to change it.

I remind myself that Spring would not be so pleasant were there not Winter. And I will lose sixty seconds of happiness for every minute I wallow in an unpleasant situation.

There are several things I do to get rid of the blues. It depends on the cause. My strategies include writing about my experiences, forgiving the “perpetrators” and reading inspirational letters, jokes or motivational stories.

While writing helps me get the negative feelings out of my system, forgiveness seems to warm my heart and cool the sting.

Having a sunny disposition is a choice. In view of my condition, I have a better reason than most people to feel miserable. However, I choose to look at things differently and be happy about it. Happiness is in the heart, not in the circumstances.

I don’t think of myself as being unfortunate in any way. In fact, I think that I have a better deal than most people. In 1998, I went on national television to say that I felt like a king. Why?

I did not have to move around on my own. There would be people to carry or wheel me wherever I wanted to go.

Surreally, I was indeed treated like royalty in a sedan chair when I visited the Forbidden City in Beijing, China in 2001. I was called “the little emperor” by the tour guide while I was being carried around the palace.

What’s more, Hongli (my namesake), is one of China’s most beloved emperors.

I believe I am happy because I choose to be so. People love cheerful and happy people.

(This entry is published in Weekend Today for 4-5 February 2006)