Alister Henskens portrait
Alister Henskens portrait

Dr Belinda Khong

Matt Cross MP, Dr Belinda Khong, Alister Henskens SC MP and Tim James MP

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS (Wahroonga) (18:56): For many years Dr Belinda Khong has been a dedicated psychologist in Wahroonga. Before her career as a psychologist began, Belinda was a lawyer and senior partner of a law firm she founded in Singapore. She lectured in law at the Department of Estates and Building Management at the National University of Singapore. Belinda moved into the field of psychology when she returned to Australia in 1989. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and a PhD in Psychology from Macquarie University, where she received the Australian Postgraduate Award scholarship for her PhD research. Her PhD dissertation received major awards, including the Macquarie University Dean's commendation and the Sidney M. Jourard Memorial Student Award for outstanding postgraduate student research.

Belinda is a fellow of the American Psychological Association and a fellow of the College of Counselling Psychologists of the Australian Psychological Society. She lectures at the Department of Psychology at Macquarie University on a range of courses, such as personality, adult development, Eastern psychology, mindfulness and spirituality. She has developed and run postgraduate courses on qualitative research and she supervises postgraduate students. Belinda counsels individuals and families on a range of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, stress management, relationships, communication skills, work-life balance and mindful parenting. She is recognised for her integration of Western and Eastern approaches to psychology and psychotherapy, including her integration of Buddhist teachings.

Recently Belinda ventured into writing children's books that promote positive values and important psychosocial themes for families and children. The series, titled Lunar New Animal Books for Kids, offers tales centred around the Lunar New Year and various Chinese zodiac animals. Her first book was published last year, titled Am I a Tiger? A Mindful Water Tiger Cub’s Journey of Love, Friendship, and Self-Discovery. The book received a glowing endorsement from acclaimed actress Michelle Yeoh, who called it:

… a great book for children, parents, and families who want a heartwarming introduction to the positive values of mindfulness, gratitude, love, and compassion.

Following the success of that book, Dr Khong wrote her second animal zodiac book, titled Water Rabbit's Mindful Adventures: The Great Race of Animal and Human Friends. The book contains illustrations by the talented Laura Stitzel. My Chinese zodiac animal is a water rabbit, so I was particularly excited about the launch of that book. It integrates Eastern and Western wisdom, presenting an inspiring narrative filled with illustrations, poems and unique animal characters. It explores themes of resilience, generosity and leadership, which are important lessons to teach our younger generations.

I had the pleasure of attending the launch of the book at Wahroonga Park with my colleagues the member for Davidson, Matt Cross; and the member for Willoughby, Tim James, who formally launched the book. The launch was a beautiful afternoon in the park and a wonderful celebration of the book, with a reading of an excerpt from Water Rabbit's Mindful Adventures: The Great Race of Animal and Human Friends by Lynne, Matthew and Nicholas. Many children and adults were in attendance and were excited to hear from Belinda about her newest book.

The book presents the story of how Mei-Mei the water rabbit and her animal friends overcome their differences with humans to create a better community. It instils the importance of working together despite our differences, which is an important lesson to teach our children. Although the book's positive messages are aimed at children, there are many excellent life lessons to be taught to adults too. Teamwork, cooperation, open‑mindedness and personal growth are all important characteristics that we can take on board as adults.

Sue Lynn Tan, the bestselling author of Daughter of the Moon Goddess, described the book as "a sweet and uplifting tale for children, with a heartwarming message". I look forward to getting my hands on the third book of the Lunar New Year Animal Books for Kids series, Dragon and Friends' Mindful Adventures, which will launch in February of 2024. I commend Dr Belinda Khong on her mission to provide parents with such great guides to facilitate conversations about mental health and mindfulness with their children. I thank Belinda for her great contribution to our local community over so many years.