Tuesday, May 30, 2006

When you can't have what you want

OK.  Here's something from a friend's email, verbatim (I mean; copied word for word)...

Thanks YK Low.

We can't always have everything we want! One woman laments that she
wants to be a bear. Actually, what she says is this:

"If you're a bear, you get to hibernate. You do nothing but sleep for
six months. I could deal with that.

Before you hibernate, you're supposed to eat yourself stupid. I could
deal with that, too.

If you're a bear, you birth your children (who are the size of
walnuts) while you're sleeping and wake to partially grown, cute,
cuddly cubs. I could definitely deal with that.

If you're a mama bear, everyone knows you mean business. You swat
anyone who bothers your cubs. I could deal with that, too.

If you're a bear, your mate EXPECTS you to wake up growling. He
EXPECTS that you will have hairy legs and excess body fat.

Yup. I wanna be a bear."

We can't always have everything we want! One person said this:

"As a rule, man's a fool. When it's hot he wants it cool.
When it's cool he wants it hot, always wanting what is not."

Our age is characterized by the ability to get what we want, and the
inability to want what we've got. It is characterized by

In 1988, one woman won twenty-two million dollars in her state
lottery. Her family and friends are gathered around her. The
television lights are blazing. Even the network news is there. She
was ecstatic. "This," the woman proclaimed, "is the happiest day of
my life!"

But a mere five years later found her looking sullen. She was shown
again on television shaking her head in disbelief. In a matter of a
few short years, she went through a divorce, the alienation of her
children, and an investment that turned sour. A judge had now
garnished her lottery winnings for life. The closing scene showed the
woman sitting on the steps of an apartment building in utter despair.
She had won $22 million, but it was not enough to save her from

You have the ability to get what you want. You probably have
everything you need to be completely satisfied. Do you also have the
ability to want what you've got? Do you have peace of mind?

Among the more effective labor-saving devices is the neighbor who
hasn't returned your gardening tools.

Life Support System Publishing, Inc.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Rule No.1: Don’t Copy

Well, I just did, from Time magazine.  But it was only the title anyway 


I just read about a situation which seemed to have happened before, albeit in different context.  It’s a case of something which you do that may be classified as unethical, bordering on the grey area of honesty or the wrong side of morality which you think nothing of again until, one day, when you’ve got your name cozily embedded in Who’s Who, when suddenly out of the blue it came back and punch you in the solar plexus.  I remember a case of a beauty queen who became Miss USA.  Then someone dug up some published nude photos of her taken when she was still an unknown.  That screwed her newly won crown.  But lucky for her, she was still young and she turned that infamy around and made use of that to jumpstart a different career.  That was Vanessa Williams.


There’s an article in the Time Magazine of May 15 that says, “Rule No. 1: Don’t copy” It highlights the case of William Swanson, CEO of Raytheon, a defense contractor, who made the mistake of assuming nobody would know he copied some 16 of his 33 rules in his booklet, “Swanson’s Unwritten Rules of Management” from a book written in 1944 by W J King, entitled: “The Unwritten Laws of Engineering”.   That indiscretion caused him his job.


The lesson here is that if you put up something for distribution to the public (wherever it is) make sure it’s your original work.  If not, then at least quote the source of the information.  That means, give the credit to the original owners of the work.  That makes sure it won’t come back and bite you in the rear end.  Who knows, you might be basking in the limelight then.  That would be like having the red carpet pulled from under your feet.


Further reading:


Sunday, May 14, 2006

Tribute to a Mother

When she married my father there wasn’t much to look forward to except for the fact that living on a farm you will always be able to put food on the table so long as you work for it.  Whatever you plant in the ground, the good earth will nourish it and give it back to you.  That was just after the Japanese occupation and money was a scarce commodity.  And a groom carrying his bride on the carrier of a bicycle was a common occurrence.  But somehow, Pa managed to get a car to bring her home.

So, in the years that followed, she resigned herself to do whatever a farmer’s wife had to do; till the land and worked the skin off her hands alongside her man.  Even though she was brought up a town girl she made no fuss about blisters and calluses, or insects and caterpillars crawling about the place, but learned to adapt to the life, and raised a family of eight kids along the way.  She shouldered her share of carrying heavy loads in addition to the washing, cooking, cleaning and sewing clothes for everyone.  And she would only take it easy when her pregnancy got too advanced.  By then her best friend would be the village Bidang (midwife) who had to be summoned to help with the delivery. 

To us kids, she was the doctor, nurse, confidante, cook, house-keeper and peace-maker (whenever we had our differences to settle among ourselves), and protector when dad goes on the warpath and got too severe with the punishments.  Often she’d be the paramedic whenever we got hurt, injured in accidents, stung by insects or bitten by animals.  With what little education she managed to get, the only silver lining for her sometimes cloudy skies was the ability to read, write and learn the lyrics to her favorite songs that were popular then, and sing to us while rocking us to sleep in a cot that used a bicycle’s inner tube for a spring and suspended from beam in the roof. 

The rough life made her into one tough lady who would take no nonsense from anybody, but she was always ready to forgive and forget, turn an adversity into a challenge and any awkward situation into a joke and shrug it off with a hearty laugh.

Now, she’s enjoying the autumn of her years taking life easy, going to her favorite karaoke sessions, dancing club and daily morning walks with Pa and their veteran’s group.  She’s managed to travel to places that she once dreamed about and did most of the things that she ever wanted to do and more.  God bless her with more of these golden years for her to enjoy. 

So, here’s to you Ma.  You’ve earned it all.  Happy Mother’s day!

Monday, May 8, 2006

The Third Opinion


If it's something beyond my understanding I don't 'play-play' with it.  More so if it has to do with something supernatural.  My youngest girl's temperature just went back to normal this morning.   This is the 2nd time in my life as far back as I can remember that any member of my family has faced this situation. 


Our girl went to a schoolmate's birthday party one hot and humid evening.  They held it in their newly built empty house that had no electricity yet.  Next morning, she woke up with a horrible sore throat (swollen tonsils) and a high fever.  The doctor prescribed antibiotics, cough syrup and panadols.  Nornally by the next day she'd be as good as new except for a little cough.  But this time around, even after two days the fever didn't go down, the cough got worse and she had the chills and sweated alternatively.  We thought perhaps the traditional sinseh could do better, so I brought her to our 'regular consultant' at a local medical hall. 


Three days later, fearing it could be a typhoid fever we took her to consult another traditional sinseh.  She declared it was only a mild strain and gave us a packet of prepared herbs to bring down the temperature and clean out the system.  But after all her mother's efforts preparing it, a few minutes after she drank the herbal concoction, she threw up all of it. 


On Saturday,  we took her to our regular temple.  The medium was not in, so in desperation we went to another doctor who recommended another round of panadols, antibiotics, cough syrup, etc.  Still no improvement.  Yesterday, we took her to the temple again.  The medium said she had an encounter with something 'unclean'.  He performed a cleansing ceremony and gave us some talismans to burn and put the ashes in water for her to drink.  He also advised us to continue with the doctor's medication.  This morning her forehead felt cool.  The chills and hot flushes have gone.


Flashback 20 years.  When we first moved to Sungai Petani, we rented a house.  The previous tenants had vacated the house and left a huge mess.  We needed to clean it up before we could move in.  By the time we obtained the keys to the house it was already evening.  So that evening itself and for several evenings after, we spent our time going over the whole house until it was spick and span.  I also added in mosquito nettings for all bedroom doors and windows.  Before we we could move in, wifey went down with high temperature and fainting spells.  Several clinic visits later and with her temperature going like seasaw, we still couldn't understand the nature of her illness. 


Fortunately, a brother-in-law saw the condition for what it was.  He went to a temple and came back with some instructions on rituals that we had to follow and we did as instructed.  The very next day, the fever was gone and she was up and about as normal. 


Don't ask me for scientific explanations because there's none.  Ghostbusters maybe?  But I'd keep in mind that if something doesn't look right, one should always go for a THIRD opinion from a different level.  We're only as good as what we can see, feel or understand from our earthly experiences.  What's 'one step beyond' is beyond us.  I can only say, Thank God, it's over.


Sunday, May 7, 2006

E-filing – Tougher than earning your money eh?


I thought I was one of the rare few who had problems with e-filing.  I read of one or two guys who wrote to the papers saying how easy it was.  After asking the tax e-returns advisor who showed up at our company to demo to us how easy it was, I gave it a try even though I’d already filed my returns manually.  (The gentleman said it’s OK to file it again electronically.  You won’t get taxed twice in a year!!). 


So, after trying about half a dozen times to register for my digital cert at home unsuccessfully, I tried it for another half a dozen times in the office and got it.  I had it copied into a thumb-drive and loaded it into my home pc.  Then I tried to file my e-returns for another half dozen times.  It just didn’t work.  There was no response at all, even when I kept clicking on the “tandatangan dan hantar” box continuously.  I went back to my office pc and “exported” the digital cert this time and then went back home, “imported” it, and tried again. 


More than 2 weeks after I started this quest (I was already feeling like Thomas Edison and his light bulb experiments) I managed to get my e-filing through.  Persistence pays.  But then I didn’t have the deadline hanging on my neck to worry about. 


This morning I read about an “IT savvy, a Webmaster, and a system administrator. I also design online PDF forms for my clients.  

But when I got “Pemegang No. K/P pengenalan ini belum cukup umur 18 tahun” and “Pendaftaran Sijil Digital Anda Tidak Berjaya” after doing everything right with the PIN, Digicert etc, I gave up after three tries.”


Looks like I wasn’t alone. 


And looks like somebody in the IRB’s got a lot more work to do in that area before they say “everybody’s got to do e-filing next year”…


Friday, May 5, 2006

What the... Even the birds have gone nuts?


It used to be certain times for the dry season to slack off and the rainy season to start at around middle of second lunar month of each year.  But nowadays the seasons have gone nuts and we're getting heavy rain even around our chinese new year.  And with that the fruit seasons have gone haywire as well.  That, I assume from the number of times a year we see durians in the local pasar malam.  It used to be only around July or August for the durian season.  These days we're getting them in December too.  Along with them come rambutans, langsats and mangosteens, and cempedaks.


But for the live of me I can't expalin the reason for the birds to go crazy too.  One fine morning, I suddenly heard a lot of chirpings and whistlings from my mango tree outside the fence as early 5.30am.  The sky was still pretty dark, which sort of startled me.  I stared at my alarm clock thinking it might have decided to retire early.  But no, it was still ticking merrily on.  


This morning those silly birdies are back singing and whistling at 6.30am.  The normal time for that serenade used to be around seven.  Have their bird brains gone loco too?




If you put in a few male guppies into a tank full of female guppies, you'll soon notice the the males start to look dull and uninteresting.  If you remove all the females leaving only a few but add in a dozen more males, you'll soon notice the males trying to outdo each other enhancing their color and shine in their fins and long tails.


So, does the same story apply to the office scene where you get only a couple of guys and a dozen ladies working together?  All the ladies would come in dressed to the nines while the guys shuffle in in their sloppy slacks and T-shirts (unless dress-codes are imposed) and hair looking like mops?  And if you reverse the ratio between the two sexes, would the guys start to dress better trying to outdo each other and trying to look macho while the ladies start to come in looking like Cinderella the morning after?


Well, next time you go into some offices while on your rounds, observe.  It'll probably be just the way it is with nature.  But don't shoot me if I'm wrong, ok?  I'm just wondering.  No research done.


Thursday, May 4, 2006

Embarassing moments...


Ever had daylight nightmares about something you'd never want to talk about afterwards?  Well at least for a time until you outgrow that "wish the ground would open and swallow me whole" moment.


I remember one time long ago when I had buasir (piles) and I purposely chose another doctor other than my regular, because I heard he was away and was being replaced by a lady. So I went to clinic F (supposed to be a male doctor there) so I thought it should be a guy looking in my other end, because I had to lower my pants.  Lo.  I went in there and there was this lady doctor, (wearing tudung some more) and a lady assistant to boot. Talk about embarrassment!!!  I had to lie down for both to take a peek at my behind where the sun doesn't shine.  And with a torchlight...


At least now some clinics tell you, "the regular doctor is not in, would you mind seeing another doctor by such and such name?"  Then we won't be caught by surprise.