Saturday, June 30, 2007

Place of worship – yours or mine?

When I was a kid I used to join my Catholic friends in a church next to our school.  They asked me why I did that.  I said I wanted to learn about their religion because they gave me an impression that it's better than mine.  No, I didn’t say that actually.  I remember vaguely that was what went on in my mind, but I couldn’t articulate it that eloquently at that age.  I was in Form One.  I was thirteen.  I was just curious and I loved singing along with everybody those soothing hymns that tell about love, goodness, charity and bliss in heaven.  And that we’re all sinners hoping to get saved.

Then there were those religious lessons we had with those Brothers in their long robes.  They told good stories.  At least during those lessons we’d learned about why they stuck that guy on that cross.  We had a text book that told about his life, how he was born, and how and why he died.  We were also told where we’d go after we’d died if we’re good and that awful place we’d have to go to if we’re bad.  I wasn’t particularly worried about that though.  We’re still young and we’d a long, long way to go.  We’d be having more years through this living hell, how can we worry about the one after that.  That’s what I thought then.

Our parents never told us much about why we burn all those incense and papers.  If we wanted to learn anything about our own religion we had to go find books or join the Buddhist association.  Alas, those lessons and talks they gave were conducted mostly in Mandarin.  All the knowledge I had about Buddha was from the history books.  And the doctrines I found in those books they left out on the shelves in temples weren’t of much help to me either.  After I read the first few pages I got more confused than ever.  Maybe they didn’t translate them properly enough from the original Pali language.

Anyway, I didn't convert to Christianity, not because they're not better, but because I found that they're preaching the same basic principles and worshipping someone greater than themselves by singing songs and burning candles.  We're doing that too, only our tunes and lyrics are different.  We also burned candles.  We included incense, gold or silver-coated papers.  And I probably would have conflicts with my parents because we’d have ended up practicing different forms of worship.  Besides, we had to work seven days a week.  They can’t do any work on Sundays.  Try telling that to my Pa...

Our Rukunegara requires us to believe in God.  It doesn't say which, but I think as long as it is God it's acceptable.  Basically, we’re told, nobody can force anyone to follow any religion that he doesn't want to.  That was stated very clearly in our Federal Constitution.  But then






 I had to leave that space blank.  It’s supposed to be for my ranting about freedom of religion in this country.  But we cannot say anything about it because our Prime Minister said it’s a sensitive subject and discussing it in public can create riots and cause instability in our country.  I care a lot about this country.  But our leaders don’t seem to think the same way even though they speak like they do, day in and day out, especially in the newspapers they own. 

Thursday, June 28, 2007

It's ok to let your kids visit my blog...

It's ok to let your kids visit my blog. hahaha


click here to rate your blog 

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mayday! Mayday! Poet in River!









This day in Chinese Legendary History:

Mayday! Mayday! Poet in River

As usual, to commemorate the event. We eat it!!!

But watch that cholesterol level…

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father Knows

The day when I first left home my Pa almost made me cry.  I had chosen to leave for Singapore to work in a plywood factory.  We had very little employment options back home then, but Pa did not approve.  He wanted me to stay on the farm.  But I saw no future in it.  I saw no future anywhere for that matter, but Singapore offered a first step towards my independence.  I couldn't see very far from the bottom of my well.  And it was suffocating me.

Pa was unapproachable when he was younger and I was a confused young man with very poor sense of direction where my career and future were concerned.  And I was equally poor at communication skills.  It was especially bad when it came to communicating with Pa.  We just couldn’t discuss anything face to face.  I used to get angry both with him and myself.  I asked Ma if she thought I could ask Pa to sign approval for my passport.  Ma acted as my ambassador.  She could read his moods better.  She said that he would not.  Ma had always been our go-between.  So I had to wait for my time until I was old enough to get my passport on my own. 

 When I attained my legal age of freedom at twenty-one, I celebrated it by applying for my passport on that very same day.  I felt that I couldn’t live my life hemmed in by so many restrictions.  I had to leave and go somewhere and get a taste of live all on my own.  He couldn’t realize that I needed to find my own niche in life, just as he did when he was my age.  He couldn’t understand that I needed to chart my own course.  Or so, I thought.  

 Pa didn’t say a word while I made my preparations.  As always, he kept his distance and made no comments.  At times he'd mention indirectly about us to Ma that since we're not heeding his advice, he might as well say nothing.  But before I left the house with my bags he suddenly broke his silence and said to me, “If you find it hard out there, just come home.”   I just nodded.  There was a rock in my chest which I couldn't get rid of until I got on the train.

 It took me until years later when I became a father myself that I realized father’s love was always there, no matter what happened and no matter how unemotional or inscrutable he appeared to be, and in spite of what he said in anger.  That anger was mostly caused by the concern and anxiety that he felt for his bungling kids.  It's been there ever since we took those first baby steps when we learned to walk.  Or when we first got onto that bicycle and tried to stay on it.  He did feel hurt when we fell.  But that's not why we didn't climb trees when he was around.  We feared that cane in his hand.  His heart would weep when we cry but he would not show it on his face.  We only saw his anger.

 But I guess Pa finally knew he had to let go or I'd never grow.  Over the years I'd seen the perpetual frown on his face gradually fading, eventually to be replaced by the ever widening smile whenever we went home for a visit no matter how brief.  He must have realized he’d done it right.

 Here’s to you, Pa.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Yesterday's china dolls, today's dragon ladies

My word, am I lucky. My wife has never had a real need ever to hire a maid. We could never imagine having a stranger living under our roof. (Wifey and I love to tickle each other at times; something we couldn't imagine doing in front of a stranger) I certainly hope we will remain lucky we can maintain our health until our ripe old age and still able to do all the house-hold chores ourselves. Never mind the roof. Maids can't get on the roof anyway.

With all the bad news about maids, getting a reliable one seems like looking for a needle in the haystack. Or you've got to be real lucky if she wants to stick around or do some work when you're not watching. Not the hubby definitely. He's not going to watch her and risk confirming some people's claims that Malaysian hubby's are gatai!

Nowadays it must be near to impossible trying to hire a good maid who would:

1. Stick around and work in your home without you needing to find another person to watch her like a hawk.

2. Not steal from your home and pass the goods over the fence.

3. Not run away with the next sweet talking guy from her same country of origin.

4. Not cooperate with the agent to cheat you of the hard-earned money that you paid to hire her, had her health checked, paid for her aborted pregnancy by running away as soon as she got her bearings right.

Then some people got a brainwave. They want to open the options for our house-wives to hire Chinese maids.

I call it brainwave because we never heard this being discussed before. We all know pretty well China has a huge worker population most ready for export if required. Before this, we often heard news about China Dolls coming in here and dolling themselves up for the local menfolks who pay good money to keep them in rented apartments for their own leisure pleasure. Even better, they now call them little Dragon Ladies. Up one notch in Branding huh? We seem to be getting good at that too!

Then in typical Malaysian MP fashion an MCA member shot it down. She must have picked up the bad excuse philosophy from her colleagues in our notorious parliament house, (you know, the one that leaks from the roof as well as from the mouths and the brains?). Then she, in typical MP talk said something like all Malaysian men cannot control themselves, and all their roving eyes must be screened from ALL maids from China, whose only calling in life must seem like to grab her employer's hubby and drag him helplessly into a bed and devour him… Never heard of self-control meh? Think our men like pussy cats meh (going after pussy only)? Can't tell the difference between gold diggers who come as GROs and 'plane-jumpers' and genuine wage earners?

And I'd say, serves her right when there's one blogger guy who scolded her with some really bad words .  Can't say I condone such open profanities on line, but he must be one hellava insulted man. So am I. But I'm not using such words. I only show you what can happen if you insult people by insinuation.  Besides, she said the same things more than once.

Friday, June 8, 2007

To all kids who were born in the 1930's 40's, 50's, 60's and 70's

Got this amusing message from a friend of my age. 

First, we survived being born to mothers who had no full time maids/cooked food/cleaned the house while they carried us.

They took aspirin, ate cheese , sweet dishes  and didn't get tested for diabetes.

Then after that trauma, our baby cribs were covered with bright coloured lead-based paints.  

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking .

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

Riding in the back of a local bus/train was a special treat.

We drank water from the tap and NOT from a bottle.

We would spend hours on the terrace under bright sunlight flying our kites, without worrying about the UV effect which never ever affect us.

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We ate pastries, white bread and real butter and drank soft drinks with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because......


We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours repairing our out dated bicycle and scooter out of scraps and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem .

We did not have Play stations, Nintendo's, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 99 channels on cable, no video tape movies, no surround sound, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms........! ..WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no lawsuits from these accidents.

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.

We were never given BB guns for our 10th birthdays, we made up games with sticks and tennis balls and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes.

We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!

Cricket League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!!

The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law!

This generation has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem solvers and inventors ever!

The past 50 years have been an explosion of innovation and new ideas.

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned


And YOU are one of them!


You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good.

And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.

Kind of makes you want to run through the house with scissors, doesn't it?!

PS -The big type is because your eyes are shot at your age


Best Wishes to Pak Lah & Lady Jeane

I'm entitled to my opinion too.

First of all, I'm happy for Pak Lah. I wish him wedded bliss again after he lost his confidante. (God bless Mak Endon). After all, at this moment who can he really trust with his innermost thoughts? Who can he brainstorm his next plan with, without having it turned into a score-point by someone with a selfish personal agenda, no matter how closely related to him that person is? Think about that... Who, really?

Running a country is totally different from running a family. (I assume.) It is a tremendously different job. Yet it is similar. You need a mother for the kids. A wife to hand you that umbrella even though it only drizzles. And a reminder to pay the utility bills or plug that leak. All that, in spite of the fact that you make those heavy decisions every now and then; the decisions that make or break that goose that lays the golden eggs for you and the family to survive. It is a gentle hand that steadys you before you stumble. You need not worry about some of the little details. She reads your actions and reactions and she stabilises you where there is a tilt. No doubt, she also makes some errors since she is also human. Haven't we all? And don't we all get judged too, sometimes mercilessly, by even our own kith and kin?

A Prime Minister needs a mate too. That personal vacancy needs filling. Absolutely. And this is not the time to be throwing mud at him for his short-comings in his leadership.

I'm not going to be dismayed by all those nutty things some misguided bloggers and commenters make about them and the forth-coming wedding. Life must go on, and we have to shrug off all the jibes and live.

So, to Pak Lah and Lady Jeane, I just wish them all the best for the rest of their lives. Whatever the age there's still plenty to look forward to. Everybody deserves some happiness, if that's all they ever ask for. Some of the past has to be laid to rest. Time doesn't mean a thing if you're just waiting for it to past. The wealth of the world and all its pleasures and treasures doesn't mean a thing if there's no one to share it with.

Selamat Pengatin Baru Prime Minister Pak Lah and Lady Jeane.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

It's not Snatch-theft, it's Robbery


I get dismayed by all those reports of people having their bags, wallets or jewelry snatched by wayside thieves.

And then there are those who get confronted by menacing looking hoodlums with parangs, knives or sticks and who forcefully take away their wallets, handphones, handbags etc. Some of them even come in gangs on motorbikes.

Get it right. This second activity should be termed robbery. If there are visible weapons like knives, sticks, crash helmets, it's called armed robbery. Not snatch theft. As soon as one is threatened with bodily harm, it's not petty anymore.

We've had a number of cases in our neighborhood some years ago. The modus operandi was to push the victim (mostly ladies) and as soon as they fell, grab their goods and run. One old lady I know was pushed from her bicycle and her necklace was robbed from her neck. I say "robbed" because that's what it was. Daylight robbery. Sudden, violent, and without mercy, they have no qualms about hurting, maiming or even killing their victims.

I think it's time to get this terminolgy right, not for the sake of being politically correct, but for the proper definition for the law to mete out punishment to fit the crime. Whether the law-keepers are really doing their jobs properly or not, is a different matter.

For our neighborhood, perhaps the law to their credit, caught up with the guy or guys. There's been some peace and quiet for a while now. But that doesn't mean we don’t keep our eyes open our doors locked or go out decked out in our jewelry.


Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Smile Only - No Service here...

Don't go out after the WITCHING HOUR!!!  THEY'RE still out there in spite of ALL the 'actions' we heard about... Whatever you want to celebrate, finish it early and get home before hell breaks lose.  Better be safe than sorry.  We live in a state of terror in spite of our GREAT VISION of 2020!!!  Add this to all our other woes.  Great spin, huh?


New Straits Times reporter LYDIA GOMEZ had a harrowing time in the early hours of Saturday when she stopped at a traffic light and was set upon by a group of Mat Rempit

I NEVER thought it could happen to me, despite having written numerous stories on Mat Rempit rampage.

The many police patrol cars and roadblocks in the Bangsar area, especially on weekends, made me think I was safe.

Friday night was meant to be a prelude to my birthday on Wednesday. I spent it with friends from Penang.

After the party, I headed home from Bangsar to Bukit Jelutong, Shah Alam. It was 1am and I anticipated police checks along Jalan Maarof, but there were no roadblocks or patrol cars in sight.
After dropping off a friend, I reached the T-junction of Lorong Maarof and Jalan Maarof, just before the Bang- sar Shopping Centre. I stopped as the lights were red.

My Perodua Kancil was the only car there. That’s when at least 15 people on motorbikes rode past me. Some were performing "wheelies" and pull- ing other Mat Rempit stunts.

Some were shirtless, some wearing full-face helmets and some were shouting and screaming at their own stunts.

I thought I was safe, as I was minding my own business, waiting for the light to turn green.

Seconds later, I felt my car shake and I saw one of them, wearing a white-collared T-shirt, blue jeans and visor, banging on my car door.

He tried to open it but failed as I had locked the doors. I was stunned but decided to wait for the light to change. Suddenly a hard object hit my passenger window.

There was a crack. Something hard crashed into the window again, shattering it.

I was paralysed with fear. It all happened within seconds. Then I noticed one of them drawing out a dagger about five inches long from the pocket of his denims.

This was when I knew they were after my handbag, which was on the passenger seat. The traffic light was red, but I stepped on the accelerator.

One of the Mat Rempit chased me. I sped off, beating the lights as I feared for my life.

I was not taking any chances. At the same time, I remembered the victims who had been killed in accidents as they sped away from assailants.

Fortunately, the motorcyclists gave up. I pulled up before the Damansara toll booth. My hands were shaking and I was in a state of panic. I called my friends but no one picked up the phone.

I drove home, snuggled into bed and hoped that when I woke up the next morning my car window would be intact and it would only be a story I had written.

But it was not to be, I picked up the broken pieces of glass from the car and then mustered enough courage to step out of my house to make a police report.

The police top brass say all the time that you could report an incident at any police station. Well, they have yet to inform the Bukit Jelutong police station about this.

The policemen shooed me to the Brickfields police headquarters "as the incident happened in their jurisdiction".

Despite the trauma, I drove to Brickfields and lodged a report at 11pm. The investigating officer told me that hours after what happened to me, a girl was mugged outside her house in the area.

Fortunately, I was not injured and did not suffer a major loss. But I realise how vulnerable we are to the Mat Rempit menace.

And I just can't get over this: