Sunday, December 31, 2006

Something's wrong here?

In Yesterday's Star,
"Like this correct meh?" My daughter asked me. I took a look and I saw this:

A reader sent in this photo of a "good Samaritan" hosing down some burning electrical cables on a TNB pole. The caption further said there should be more good Samaritans like this guy. But I say, that's a foolhardy thing to do. What little I know about electricity, it can even jump through air if two cables are put close enough end to end and if one of them is live and the other neutral. It can travel through water even much faster than you can say "whoosh!". Those look like live cables to me (of course that explains the sparks).  And I wouldn't want to be that guy standing up there on a roof of a car shooting water at those sparks. The editor should have got someone with knowledge of fighting these kind of fires go through the write-up before he puts this up for the public to read. Wrong information can be dangerous.

But then again, even my teenager knows it's wrong action...

Thursday, December 28, 2006

With No Regrets


I kept hitting the lid in jump after jump after jump

Like a flea trained in a jar

I found I amounted to nothing

I was convinced I couldn't get far

I stared at my own glass ceiling 

And thought I'd never get over that bar


The sky was only a distant round hole

At the top of my well

My world stretched from my feet

To the roof of my coconut shell

There was no point to try harder

As I knew I'd be sure as hell

Wouldn't' grow taller than my grandfather


I struggled to spread my wings

Knowing first I had to get on my feet

I found the courage to try something else

While my dreams remained in the backseat

Overtaken by the cares of making a living

Making sure the kids have enough to eat

And have a decent education


But I wasn't satisfied


Until I could make something of myself

I didn't care to look in the mirror

At the stranger who didn't reflect me

And say to the lonely loser

Be what you wanted to be

The weary and worn-out looking mask

That's not the face I wanted to see


I wanted to see a face reflecting the light

I longed to see a face full of cheer

I imagined an image full of confidence

Not a shadow cowering in fear


But now


Knowing I've done only what was right

And having everything I hold dear

I've harnessed all that I came with

Not comparing myself with any peer

Still plodding on through this road of life

And got this far with a conscience so clear


And above all

With no regrets


Sunday, December 24, 2006

Morning in the cool north wind


Cool winds from the north

Bearing signs that the dry season is coming along

Taking away the grayness that threaten

More devastating floods to the east coast and south

Here the sun peeked from behind scanty clouds

While a little girl skipped along a path

Through an empty field of grass and little flowers

Tagging little brother by the hand

Dribbling a stray football

Left behind by yesterday’s boys

Having fun

I wanted very much to reach for my camera

To capture the rhapsodic moment

But felt unwilling to break the spontaneous enjoyment

That the little girl was having

While the little brother cast cautious looks at us

As if half expecting someone to stop them

From enjoying their little game

We smiled at them and moved on

Avoiding crossing their path

While the scene became engraved

In my mind

Friday, December 22, 2006

Modern slavery


I must have said this many times before but in different ways and dialects.  Malaysians are being enslaved by their own automobiles. 


We start working to carve out a career and then spend the rest of our lives paying the banks for a succession of cars we need to take us to and from work and other places and run our daily errands.  What a price we have to pay for mobility, and to keep our family from the rain and shine and to avoid using the shabby public transportation.  Last I heard it wasn't getting any better.  Feel sorry for the folks poorer than me who can't afford even to be enslaved by a car.


Yesterday (I mean last night) I signed 15 pages of blank documents just for a bank loan for a new car.  If any of those pages is a Trojan I'd be a sitting duck.  It was done 'cloak & dagger' style at a restaurant car park with his car bonnet for a desk.  The loan officer couldn't find my house in the dark.  They're getting aggressive for new business, these banks.  The last time I bought a car I had to take a whole day off and go all the way to the bank and wait for the guy to fumble around in his office for the papers while I twiddled my thumbs.  They also scrutinized carefully every document I produced.  And then the interest rate was sky high. 


Pardon my complaining.  It must be the mood I'm in. 


Switch my thoughts to the folks down south.  Many have abandoned their cars in flooded neighborhoods and are now clamoring for higher grounds looking for anything that can keep them afloat and warm.  Heard say that they didn't have it this bad since 20 years ago. 

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Rolling in tradition

Wifey thought we could dispense with rolling glutinous rice balls (tang yuan) this year due to fact that we got less hands and less mouths (to eat afterwards). She opted for purchasing some ready made ones. Alas, it was not to be. They weren't ready made. One had to order then in advance.

So, dinner over, we're back at the dining table kneading dough and rolling colored "marbles' like we do every year.

Traditionally a year ending get together called winter solstice celebration. Now it's less celebrated but not less in importance.

Over the distance, we remind each other we are still part of a whole. The roundness, the sweetness... Aah...tradition...

People = bad news.


Stay away from people if you can.  They're bad news.  Along with the love and friendship and happiness, they give you loads of viruses and bacteria and make you sick as well.  Not to mention the stress and pressure they give you with their demands for attention, and the cleaning up after them.


The Aztecs lost their civilization to the Spanish conquistadors not because the Spaniards had greater fire-power or superior fighting skills.  Those Aztec people were some of the best guerrilla fighters the world had ever known.   After some heavy losses the Spaniards almost gave up.  But the Aztecs eventually got wiped off the face of the earth because some among the Spaniards came in peace and love and religion.  They brought the flu and other viruses too. 


My ex-boss Bill used to stay out at sea for months on end through rain and shine and rough weather and never had a day of sickness.  But within a week of coming ashore and after the hugs and kisses of friends and relatives he had to get a doctor's prescription. 


Civilization.  Makes one wonder if it's worth it at all.  Anyway, anyone got a choice?



Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I Saw No Dog!!!


When he was a kid, brother-in-law KK used to go to school early during the fruit season. Why? Next to the school was an orchard. Inside the fenced-up orchard there were some rambutan trees. There was also a sign saying, "Beware of Dog". But each morning, KK and his friends would usually end up with a load of rambutans in their schoolbags.

One day the Headmaster, who got the message about the boys raiding the orchard, hauled up the suspects and went through their schoolbags. He found nothing. He then gave them a lecture about entering other peoples' property, about stealing and about danger of being bitten by dogs. Suddenly, he pointed his cane at KK and asked, "KK, didn't you see that sign which says, Beware of Dog?"

Caught by surprise, KK said, "I saw no dog!" That gave the game away. If he could tell there was no dog, then he'd been over the fence! The Headmaster had his day and KK had a burning butt for the rest of the day.

For the rest of the school term they nicknamed him, "I-saw-no-dog".

PS:  thanks for your story, brother KK.  next time we'll stay longer for more of your tales.

Monday, December 18, 2006


I got this through another email. 

It looks like a sad  story.................but do continue reading
to the end!.............It a  lesson to learn.........

I was walking through the supermarket to pick up a few things when I
noticed an old lady following me around.  Thinking nothing of it, I
ignored her and continued on. Finally I went to the checkout line, but
she got in front of me.


"Pardon me," she said, "I'm sorry if my staring at you has made you
feel uncomfortable. It's just that you look just like my son, who died recently."

"I'm very sorry," I said to her, "Is there anything I can do for you?"

"Yes," she said, "As I'm leaving, can you say 'Good bye, Mom?' It
would make me feel so much better."

"Sure," I said. An odd request, but no harm would come of it.

As the old woman was leaving, I called out, "Good Bye, Mom!"

As I stepped up to the checkout counter, I saw that my total was

"How can that be?" I asked, "I only purchased a few things!"

"Your mother said that you would pay for her," said the cashier.



Now... is that a bad story with a good lesson or a good story with a bad lesson?


Sometimes from our early lessons we're brought up with, we do good deeds like these because we all have mothers.  And our instincts tell us, "Why not?"  But on the other hand we feel we got conned.  And that hurts in a few places.  First it's our wallet, then it's our self-confidence, and our pride.  After that our heart gain a few more calluses which makes it harder.  But when we can look at it from another view point, that old lady probably needed the help but she was just too proud to beg for it.


I think many people are like that.  Pride, like our other emotions, can help us or hurt us.  It's probably just too bad for that old lady.  She'd have used up all her luck before long and her trick will not work forever. 


If you'd ever be in the same situation as the young man, how would you react or feel?

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Is it 'private road' or 'thinking'?

"私路无论如何开阔" I think it translates into: A private road will never become wider.  Meaning (I assume) that thinking in private will not enable one to widen one's world-view.   In the same vein, trying to solve a problem on one's own without seeking others' opinions may not always work.  That's why we sometimes need brain-storming.  (Although most of the time we get only drizzles while the participants help themselves to the free coffee).


I keep hearing this saying over and over on Mixed FM.  I don't really understand the true meaning of what is said.  I'm just guessing. 


Asking the Chinese educated one didn't help much since she's not really paying attention except to the pop songs they're playing.  Other than that, all the rest are just ramblings and mumblings and lots of noises. 


Anybody with a better translation of the above?  I'm open to some thinking....