Saturday, November 7, 2009

In memory of my BAPAK

It was that faithful Hari Raya day when we came to know each other,
I was fore-warned of your shyness and thus the keenness to hide yourself from others, especially strangers.

I walked into your home and your smile brightened the hall;
As if we have known each other in another time, in another space;
I greeted you and your reply started our conversation... for a lifetime;

You were far from the shy man whom I was expected to meet;
As you and I chatted the afternoon away,
In my broken Malay and you filled my broken statements with warm words;
To the amazement of all, we connected.

The days passed and the years followed,
The day came when I uttered the word BAPAK in all the glory of respect for you.
You accepted my calling with the usual humbleness, only matched by my honour to have you receive it.

Your days in the hospital with the dreadful illness punctured all our hearts.
But not our spirits.
For in your cool, calm and quietness, you exuded peace, joy and happiness.

I still remembered our private chat the morning I returned from Australia.
Not many words but whatever we uttered was definitely thick in meaning.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
But what we had that morning was worth a million pictures.

It has been 8 years Bapak since you left us.
Although the years I have spent with you was not many.
But the quality time we had was certainly worth a lifetime.

We miss you.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Halloween poem by my 11 year-old princess

Come one, come all, it's Halloween,
The spookiest festival you ever seen,
Where ghost and the undead come out to play,
So if you're scared get out of the way.

Jack-o-lanterns, trick or treat galore,
Get ready the candy cos we're at your door,
Dressed up as witches, zombies or ghosts,
Out comes the candy together with the host.

The spooky evening, the eerie night,
The darkness surrounds the planet with fright,
The time comes when we go to bed.
Then out comes the legion of the undead.

Shadowy figures, so silent they are,
Come from the grave not so far,
So people beware, you're in for a scare,
Cause it's Halloween tonight!
Come one, come all, it's Halloween,
The spookiest festival you ever seen,
Where ghost and the undead come out to play,
So if you're scared get out of the way.

Jack-o-lanterns, trick or treat galore,
Get ready the candy cos we're at your door,
Dressed up as witches, zombies or ghosts,
Out comes the candy together with the host.

The spooky evening, the eerie night,
The darkness surrounds the planet with fright,
The time comes when we go to bed.
Then out comes the legion of the undead.

Shadowy figures, so silent they are,
Come from the grave not so far,
So people beware, you're in for a scare,
Cause it's Halloween tonight!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

When good is bad... Why so much hate can come from so much love?

"Please take your medication.
Eat your vegetable.
You sing so well.
Wow! You speak many languages.
Where are you?"

These remarks, like many others, can come from all the right premises.


Most times, it can become BAD and HATRED.


When a person who loves you and possibly whom you love wants to show their love when you are ill asks you to take your medication, sometimes, most times, in your agitated manner or the sign of the state, comes drastic unneccessary reply of 'You think I can't take care of myself?'; 'Stop nagging!", 'I am NOT a baby!' and so on.

When a colleague can sing well or speaks many different languages, you may think he or she is a threat to your fiefdom of what you think you do best; rather than celebrate in the enjoyment of a good rendition or the glory of pride in what a friend can do.

When you are late for dinner, 'WHERE ARE YOU?' becomes an insult although your parents have heard the news of a 5 car pile up on the highway you are on and worried that you may be dead will always be met by verbal or mental utterations of 'Aiyo! I am on my way la. You think I dont need to work is it?' or something along those lines.


Why can so much hate be a result of so much love?

If you are looking for an answer, I have none to offer.
I myself falls victim to this 'disease' that threatens the fabric of our being.

Is it incurable?

Well, if we leave it alone,it will consume you.

I now take a 3 breaths plus positive thinking approach to the problem.
And before it is too late.

Why 3 breaths?

Because in the nature of my fire-ry disposition and the curse of directness, my 'love' can be also be interpreted as hatred. What I mean good can be bad.

3 breaths is a place holder for the time I can put what I want to express - usually negative and with a tone to accompany it - into something less prickly to not just the ears but to the heart.

This entry aims to seek more intelligent answers to this question that may result in separation although still very much in love; subversion of a colleague although collaboration for joint success should be the way; or simply achieving happiness together by expressing love in the right way, manner and tone.

Another thing, do not hold back the sharing of happiness cause life is too short and unpredictable.

You may not have a chance. And that is the ultimate regret. For all.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

When personal inadequacies become someone else's problem

Day in day out we see different interpretations of the same incidence producing different perspectives because of the observers' personal experiences.

Not right.
Not wrong.
Just different.

However, many of these interpretations become a problem - usually for other people - because of the observer's insecurity and bias.

The real question is why make your own shortcomings someone else's problem?

The answer is awareness, acknowledgment, acceptance - or the lack of it.

Many a times, the person is not even aware that he/she has made it someone else's problem.
And sometimes, eventhough he/she is aware of it, refuses to acknowledge that it is a problem.
And worse, hard headed stubbornness prevents one from accepting that he/she is the problem.
And what follows in amendment to advance totally is dust to the wind!

Many is blinded by arrogance and numbed by insecurity to see all this.

And the lowest hanging fruit or easiest way is to blame it on others.
It immediately no longer is their problem.

In the hierachical world, whether corporations or community, this has become a disease.
Sometimes it even brings an incentive like paying millions to CEOs who cannot perform to leave.
That does not only bewilders me but also bother me like hell.

However, it remains the easiest way to transfer one's shortcoming to another and make it their problem.

What these people does not understand is that the world is getting smarter, people are having more choices, and they have the opportunity to not choose them anymore.

So wake up you insecure pitiful people.

Learn not to blame.
Learn to embrace.
Learn to appreciate.
Learn to be humble and in so doing become great!

Monday, August 10, 2009

As I was passing... these 47 years!

Many celebrates the date when they come into this world...
Many does not have a chance to celebrate it...
Many may not have a chance to celebrate the next...
Yet many hate to know that another is coming.

Whatever it may be, it is not something that is within your control...
And I do not mean the cake nor the decorations!

Birthdays... why is it of such significance to our life... long or short?

Is it a countdown to death or a count-up to living?

Birthdays I believe, was created to denote a coming of ...

Life - during times when living pass your first year was a miracle;
Success - when you have made it... and you have lots of people whom admire you and look up to you;
Seniority - when you now sit, rather than stand at ceremonies;
Demonstration of love - by your family and friends;
Pain - of older and less healthy age and independence.

Life, as it is, is a continuum .. of course until the day that it is terminated.

Therefore birthdays should be celebrated based on level of happiness and to have health to enjoy it.

Birthdays therefore should be celebrated everyday.. to give thanks to what we have and what we can give; that we can love someone who loves us back, and to have yet another chance to live our life the way we want to and not just being alive.

Birthdays should include moments of quiet reflection upon the years you have chalked up, moments to speak to yourself which we do so little these days; moments to be aware of your past, acknowledge your good, bad and ugly; accept your failures; amend to do better and then advance to being a happier person to spread joy by making others happy!

Now that is a birthday worth celebrating, everyday, no matter how long or short one lives.

Therefore birthdays, like lives, are not about the passage of time and the wrinkling of skin but the way one lives it as you enjoy a smooth and happy ride through the experiences of life!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Yasmin - a recognition for bringing us back in touch with ourselves.

Many said that as we grow up, we surpress many of the feelings we have when we were young!
It is called the lost of INNOCENCE.

Well, why?

It sometimes is deemed impolite to say things we can when we were small; too politically sensitive to discuss a topic we feel passionate about; express our feelings to another the way we feel it or simply talk about a person uncensored.

We have lost BEING OURSELVES for reasons of sensitivity, culture, shame ...

The magic of Yasmin is to help us relive all these through advertisements and movies - away from ourselves but still can be enjoyed by all. She has allowed us to say things without saying; doing things without starting the deed and feel things which we are conditioned to feel as taboo or simply forgotten.

Yasmin, you have touched many lives in the course of yours.

Through your back-to-human-basics on relationship between human beings, you have conjured and re-activated the feelings we have somewhat lost or shy and afraid to talk about.

Your MERDEKA series of adverts and lately FUNERAL for MCYS is clear examples you take life to the highest level of maturity by bringing it back to the lowest common denominator of basics.

Your SEPET touched many hearts, erasing the color sensitive lenses we have been taught to have; your TAN HONG MING is simply magical to let us re-discover the innocence we still have in us. Your CHINESE NEW YEAR - OLD FOLKS HOME puts success and happiness as far apart as it should ever be and bring it back together again by redefining them.

You have given us so much in ways you will not ever imagine.

Families are touched by FUNERAL. Relationships are made possible by SEPET. And communities move to a new level of relationship through your MERDEKA ads.

You have given us back the sense of being OURSELVES.

I thank you and will miss this Merdeka more than all previous as you are not here to help us retell our stories in ways we are afraid to do.

EULOGY - one for yourself

EULOGY are usually great things you say about someone after they have passed on ... and therefore the person have no chance to hear what you say about them. What a waste!

So for a reflective moment, think of what you THINK your eulogy would be ...

Here is mine .. about me ... by me ...

He came with nothing.
He went away with love - not for what he has done but for what he has learnt.

In his process of learning, he has given us challenges, some we hate him for. some that brings a smile in our hearts. Flamboyant to a fault - not in dressing but in style.

Never know what NO is but understand when you said it.

We criticize his being, we hate his guts, we admire his determination and laugh at his impatience.

For whatever it is worth, he has brought a moment of hope in moments of despair; a moment of anger to reflect on moments of calm and appreciation, a moment of smile in times of need and pain.

We hate him for taking it all away now.
We love him for giving us a chance to experience it, with him.

Go forth my friend.

Bring more the next time you come around.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

ARROGANCE ... confidence or the lack of?

In our lifetime, I am sure we have been given abundance of opportunity to be successful and have equal chances of meeting people who have been.

In the so called successful crowd, we also see those whom we term ARROGANT and those who are nice.

The question is why are people arrogant?

I put it to a game of golf. Par. Under. Over.
And in this game, over is bad.

As one sets expectations in life, one can also mis-judge and set wrongly .. bring par higher. To me arrogance comes when the arrogant person achieved what he/she thought she cannot .. and if this gets repeated, he/she gets the feeling that he/she is invincible and un-failable! Like hitting under-par with birdies all the time!

So it is all in the EXPECTATION and the TREATMENT of success..

Like life, nothing is guaranteed ... Neither is success.
Therefore arrogance can be short-lived and erodes real friendship .. that may lead to future successes.

21/12/2012 ... what if it is true?

Much have been talked about the end of the world ...
During my almost 47 years of living on this planet, it has been talked about a number of times .. sometimes perpetrated by religious fanatics who is too eager to punish what they called sinners!

Now comes a new one ... 2012!
December 21, 2012!

There are sites that proclaimed that the Mayan and the Chinese I-Ching has predicted it ... even to the degree that a film is made in its name, hopefully to enjoy release before the blessed date!

There are counter arguments in which said it is untrue.

Just for the next 5 minutes, indulge in a scenario that it is true.

Will you live the next 3 years plus in absolute enjoyment?
This is a Bucket 1 incident (please refer to my earlier blog entry on Of Death. Of Life...).. canNOT be changed.

Will you see life differently?
Will you love more and hate less?
Will you smile more and frown less?

To a small degree, July 1, 1997 for Hong Kong has similar feeling.
Although it is not the end of the world - maybe it was to some - it has a taste of terminal to it.

So on December 20, 2012 - what will your thoughts be?
Huddle your love ones in front of the TV?
Surrender your fate and faith to God?
Feel regretful about things you did not do?
Feel regretful of things that you have done?

What if there is a December 23, 2012 ... will this moment make us a better race and making the blue planet a more gracious society of love, care and life?

And regret that it needs such a reminder to wake us up again.

Friday, July 17, 2009

RESPECT - bestowed and not claimed.

Aretha Franklin coos ... All I'm askin' (oo)... Is for a little respect when you come home (just a little bit)


Many makes the mistakes that this comes automatically with age and with status.
Well, pirated versions of it maybe but not the true genuine ones.

RESPECT is a weird element.
It is a REALIZATION of someone's value and dignity and trust ... and is BESTOWED upon those who so deserves it.

An incident in my niece's school put me on the blood-trail of comments about RESPECT.

A so-called educator tried educating the students on RESPECT by literally bitching about why she was NOT invited to a gathering ... because she is a teacher! Kids nowadays sees far more than when I was their age; learn more; experience more and definitely know more. By humiliating a child into truly respecting oneself is not the name of the game, not anymore.

Many who share the box where I tick my age will tell you that in our days, RESPECT sometimes is equated with FEAR. At least the representation of RESPECT at that time. But deep in our hearts, we know who we REALLY respect.

So RESPECT = FEAR is so last century!

Welcome the new era of RESPECT = I dig you! I know what you are about! And I like it! is in.

Of death. Of birth. And everything in between.

Life is a full circle.

In the words of 'comedian-writer' Emma Bombeck, you know when your parents are old when you become their parents! Or is it when YOU are old!

In the words of my esteemed grandmother, "You come with nothing. You go with nothing. Enjoy life and enrich others," becomes a sublime understanding to help, to not-sweat-the-small-stuff, to experience and to live and not just being alive.

In my terms, one has to come to terms with 2 buckets - one that you can change and one that you cannot. And use the CAN to flank the CANNOT.

Profound? I have no idea.
Inspiring? Hardly.
Pragmatic? Easily so.

As I age, or rather amass more enriching experiences - some happy, some bitter, some ugly, some scary - I have come to understand that many tends to spin their life on top of this tip of the bull's horn which eventually hurts only oneself. Many tend not to be able to see beyond the WHATs into the WHYs. And keep asking why about the WHATs, which sometime may yield the answer one is not looking for ... nor is prepared to accept. So then why ask WHY about the WHATs?

Life as it is, is basically a good second-by-second undertaking - willingly or otherwise - happenings around us, parallel to the passage of the dimension called time.

Tick-tock, tick-tock. A countdown to the end. A count-up to experience. You decide.

Therefore if you cannot be in any control of time passing (bucket 1 = canNOT change), then use bucket 2 = CAN change to make it pleasurable, enriching and put smiles on faces!

So start your day with not what you dislike. Start your day with what can you do about what you dislike. You will be surprised at the panaromic view you will have to the myriad of choices you have wgich you may not be aware of. May be as simple as SMILE to YOURSELF. Or as complex as solving life threatening issues! You choose!

Life is too short to be angry, especially with yourself. And for the vain folks, it is definitely too short to grow wrinkles over!

And hey, who says that LIFE has to end when you die!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Of hair and bare ...

Today marked many wonderful milestones ... my niece's 11th birthday, the 25th anniversary of my career and my first endeavor into shaving my head to raise funds for the Children's Cancer Foundation!

Why did I do it - many asked me.
Courageous act - many commented.
Great deed - some exclaimed!

Well, it was neither any of that and all of that.

Why? Well, too many painful memories of people I know, people whom I know who knows someone, who suffers from this dreadful and live robbing disease.

Courageous? Not at all! It is just cutting hair. It will grow back. Unlike the pain and the hope for a tomorrow that may never come. I am into it to learn and experience.

Great deed .. well... the learning certainly is. But it will never be like any of those who are going through it; the families who lost the opportunity of another day; the kid who may not see another hair-cut!

I did it for me!

I did it to realize the pain.
I did it to learn from the anguish.
I did it to share in the agony.

I did it in hope that they can do it ... yet again... in losing my hair in hope that they can gain theirs .. again!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Of names and languages ...

In the course of my travels and being a nomad of hoteling in one city after another, I have come to the realization that Names - hampered by the phonetics of it - can mean absolutely something else altogether. That, combined with the time and place, adds a different flavor to the consumption of it - may it be rude or funny.

Here are some of my experiences. Beware that it may or may NOT translate into the place and time you are in; nor language and sensitivity of your nature or how well read you are.

I came across a waitress in McDonald's Hong Kong who wore a badge bearing the word EXECUTE. With my curiousity in tow, I asked her how she is so profoundly named. Her answer : When I was young, my mom thought I was EXtra CUTE so she called me EXECUTE!

There was also a boy who is called MARINE BOY. Apparently, his dad (of my generation I am afraid), likes the cartoon series!

Of course this was all discussed and brought amusement in front of a Temple - Shir Lee Temple (serious, go look it up when you are in Hong Kong!) and right next to Hop On (合安) Bicycle Shop!

We also received a namecard that bore the name PUBIC HA. I just hope like mad that his initials were not I.R.

Speaking of initials, my good friend's brother is named Cheung Kin (长建)and his family name is Fu (府). Unfortunately, he moved to the Canada and had trouble reserving a table. Here goes :
Restaurant : Hello, Benahana.
Fu : Hello. I would like to make a reservation
Restaurant : Your family name please.
Fu : Fu
Restaurant : How do you spell that?
Fu : 'F', 'U'
Restaurant (with some hesitation) : 'F'? 'U'?
Fu : Yes
Restaurant : Your initials?
Fu : 'C', 'K'.
Restaurant : (click) - line went dead
Fu : (called back) Why did you put down the phone?
Restaurant : We don't think you are serious and you are also rude!

Then comes the lady who is named WINDY FONG. (Fong - 风,in Chinese means WIND)

And here is a French Connection - a friend of mind called back a number attached to the name ANAIS. She was told that ANUS was on another line and upon getting her, she said 'ANUS here'!

Try finding the Kok Kee Photo shop in Ipoh, Malaysia. Or Shirley (read Surely) Low Hai Sui (opps! meant for R rated comments if you read in Cantonese!)

I have also came across ALIEN, NORMAL, MALBOROUGH (a door attendant at China World Hotel, Beijing)... how they derive at that is anyone's guess.

Signs that says : WOMEN CAN HAVE A FIT UPSTAIRS - in a clothing store.

JALAN SEHALA received many complaints that it is misleading and led to the question HOW DO YOU KNOW WHICH IS WHICH because to a non-Malay speaker, JALAN is STREET so how do you know which SEHALA STREET is which ... not knowing that SEHALA means ONE WAY so it is a ONE WAY STREET!

My niece - an English language critic at 8 - found a menu in a famous restaurant in KL, included the dish FRIED GARBAGE - no wonder it smells. When delivered, it was FRIED CABBAGE.

Most people tells you they are BORING when they really are BORED. Now that is BORING!

And most Singaporeans will say MORNING-TER when they actually mean MONITOR. Maybe it can only be used in the MORNING!

I am sure you have more ... so let's see them!