Wednesday, December 31, 2008

An Affair with Golf

I love golf balls.  I don’t play golf though.  Did a number of tee-off shots while I was in Genting’s Awana club some years ago just because I got challenged by our CEO.  I’m kind of suspicious he doesn’t take kindly to people who don’t play golf.  Anyway my only relationship with golf is; I keep a golf club by my bedside.  One that a neighbor wanted to throw away.  That is for adjusting the air conditioner flaps manually.  If you think that’s for security, my opinion is that it wouldn’t serve any real purpose if there’s an intruder in the house.  I believe the better answer would be to make as much noise as possible, like triggering the car alarm, for example, to scare him away rather than confront him.  But it's still better to keep something handy just in case.

My only other involvement with golf is I’m in the habit of picking up stray golf balls in, of all places, football fields.  I think there are some budget conscious wannabe golfers who find the tee-off practice ranges at the clubs are charging too much for their pockets.  So they do their stuff at housing estate football fields.  I think they pose a danger to kids and other residents, but so far I haven’t heard of any complain yet.  The drawback is that they lose their balls often.  I must have picked up at least 4 of these around the fields in our four adjoining housing estates.

The 5th one cannot be counted because the guy was still practicing at one corner of the field.
That was one early morning when we were passing through the field.  I said to wife, 'Someone just lost another golf ball'.  I picked it up and slipped it into my pocket.  Someone said, 'Aah!'  Then I saw him.  He was standing near a clump of trees in a far corner of the field with a club on his shoulder.  Embarrassed, I said, 'Sorry. I thought it’s someone’s lost ball.'  I placed it back on the ground.  He said, 'It’s ok, you can have it.'  Generous guy, I thought.  I said, 'No, thanks.' 

I think nobody’s doing tee-off practices on football fields after that.

Now, the thing I noticed about golf balls is that they’re made to perfect symmetry.  You can place one on a flat surface and the tiny flat area on top of the ball would be perfectly central directly opposite the tiny flat area on the bottom.  That’s how I could clamp one on a bench drill and make a hole right through the center

of the ball.  4 balls drilled this way are enough for me to replace the 4 pesky casters on my wife’s clothes drying rack. Those casters came with fine American inch-thread fittings for which I couldn’t find replacements anywhere after running through every hardware shop and supermarket in town.  Almost had to throw away the whole rack just for want of some spare tires.

So, it’s thanks to budget conscious golf players.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

That empty nest feeling...

When they were small we sometimes wished our kids would grow up faster.  Hell was when they were sick or naughty.  And the fun was when they were cute and when they achieved something for themselves.  Agony was when they went camping with other scouts, and later when they went out with friends and stayed out late.  All too soon they were grown up and one after another, started to leave home for further education.  And then they moved on to work in the city.   

Yesterday my funny girl, the baby of the family went off to National Service camp.  And now it’s so quiet and the house does begin to feel like an empty nest.  That perhaps explains why some neighbors end up keeping dogs and pampering them like they’re their own kids.  Others turn their homes into baby-sitting centers.  We don’t like having animals in the house and wife doesn’t intend to go back to baby-sitting, (especially other peoples' pampered brats...) 

Those who've gone on before me would like to say, 'so, what's new'?  I’m going out to look for a better guitar to replace the old worn out and weather-beaten China made ‘Kapok’.  Oh, for a rocking chair too.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Honest + Simple = Loyalty?

Damien's comments in Damien's Den triggered these thoughts:

Cousin Sheow Sun once told me about a Chinese book that described 'the Ugly Chinese'. It had one story that described two types of employees. One was a straightforward simple person who, if given instructions to buy 10 oranges, would go out to the nearest shop and get the items and come back without question, with the goods and the change. Another given the same instructions, would go out and shop around for the best and cheapest oranges he could find and come back with the goods and the change.

The typical Chinese employer would rather hire the 1st guy than the 2nd guy. Why? He can trust the 1st guy. To him, the 2nd guy seems to have a more devious mind. In other words, the employer prefers an honest and simple employee to a street-smart and intelligent one because in the presence of the latter, he has to keep watching his back. Thus, honest + simple = loyalty.  

Well, that story was told me about 30 years ago. I don't know if Chinese world-view has changed or not over these years or will it ever. Perhaps not, because that old saying, "Rivers and mountains can be altered but but human character will remain unchanged".  Perhaps that explains why some family fortunes never last more than 3 generations.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


This one's too good to let pass.  Just sums up everything Dilbert says except in more words.  Since I ain't a qualified engineer, not all these qualities apply to me.  I have immunity whenever I screw up.  And I just use the 'Rules of the Lab' liberally to cover up.  Of course, the Titanic wasn't the engineer's fault.  It was human EGO all the way to the bottom.

Thanks, Jayne.



Engineers have different objectives when it comes to social

"Normal" people expect to accomplish several
unrealistic things from social interaction:

*Stimulating and thought-provoking conversation

*Important social contacts

*A feeling of connectedness with other humans

In contrast to "normal" people, engineers have rational objectives for social interactions:

*Get it over with as soon as possible.

*Avoid getting invited to something unpleasant.

*Demonstrate mental superiority and mastery of all subjects.


To the engineer, all matter in the universe can be placed into one of two categories:

(1)things that need to be fixed, and (2)things that will
need  to be fixed after you've had a few minutes to play with them.
Engineers  like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily
available, they  will create their own problems. Normal people don't
understand this  concept; they believe that if it ain't broke, don't
fix it. Engineers  believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have
enough features yet.

No engineer looks at a television remote control without
wondering what  it would take to turn it into a stun gun. No engineer
can take a shower  without wondering if some sort of Teflon coating
would make showering  unnecessary. To the engineer, the world is a
toy box full of  sub-optimized and feature-poor toys.


Clothes are the lowest priority for an engineer, assuming
the basic  thresholds for temperature and decency have been satisfied.
If no  appendages are freezing or sticking together, and if no genitalia
or  mammary glands are swinging around in plain view, then the objective
of  clothing has been met. Anything else is a waste.


Engineers love all of the "Star Trek" television
shows and movies. It's  a small wonder, since the engineers on the
starship Enterprise are  portrayed as heroes, occasionally even having
sex with aliens. This is  much more glamorous than the real life of
an engineer, which consists of  hiding from the universe and having
sex without the participation of  other life forms.


Dating is never easy for engineers. A normal person will
employ various  indirect and duplicitous methods to create a false
impression of  attractiveness. Engineers are incapable of placing
appearance above  function.

Fortunately, engineers have an ace in the hole. They are
widely  recognized as superior marriage material: intelligent, dependable,
 employed, honest, and handy around the house. While it's true that
many  normal people would prefer not to date an engineer, most normal
people  harbor an intense desire to mate with them, thus producing
engineer-like children who will have high-paying jobs long before losing
their  virginity.

Male engineers reach their peak of sexual attractiveness
later than  normal men, becoming irresistible erotic dynamos in their
mid thirties  to late forties. Just look at these examples of sexually
irresistible  men in technical professions:

* Bill Gates.

* MacGyver.

* Etcetera.

Female engineers become irresistible at the age of consent
and remain  that way until about thirty minutes after their clinical
death. Longer  if it's a warm day.


Engineers are always honest in matters of technology and
human  relationships. That's why it's a good idea to keep engineers
away from  customers, romantic interests, and other people who can't
handle the  truth.

Engineers sometimes bend the truth to avoid work. They
say things that  sound like lies but technically are not because nobody
could be expected  to believe them. The complete list of engineer
lies is listed below.

"I won't change anything without asking you first."
"I'll return your hard-to-find cable tomorrow."

"I have to have new equipment to do my job."
"I'm not jealous of your new computer."


Engineers are notoriously frugal. This is not because
of cheapness or  mean spirit; it is simply because every spending
situation is simply a  problem in optimization, that is, "How
can I escape this situation while  retaining the greatest amount of


If there is one trait that best defines an engineer it
is the ability to  concentrate on one subject to the complete exclusion
of everything else  in the environment. This sometimes causes engineers
to be pronounced  dead prematurely. Some funeral homes in high-tech
areas have started  checking resumes before processing the bodies.
Anybody with a degree in electrical engineering or experience in computer programming is propped  up in the lounge for a few days just to see if he or she
snaps out of it.


Engineers hate risk. They try to eliminate it whenever
they can. This  is understandable, given that when an engineer makes
one little mistake,  the media will treat it like it's a big deal
or something.


* Hindenberg.

* Space Shuttle Challenger.

* SPANet(tm)

* Hubble space telescope.

* Apollo 13.

* Titanic.

* Ford Pinto.

* Corvair.

The risk/reward calculation for engineers looks something
like this:

RISK: Public humiliation and the death of thousands of
innocent people.

REWARD: A certificate of appreciation in a handsome plastic

Being practical people, engineers evaluate this balance
of risks and  rewards and decide that risk is not a good thing. The
best way to avoid  risk is by advising that any activity is technically
impossible for  reasons that are far too complicated to explain.

If that approach is not sufficient to halt a project,
then the engineer  will fall back to a second line of defense: "It's
technically possible  but it will cost too much."


Ego-wise, two things are important to engineers:

* How smart they are.

* How many cool devices they own.

The fastest way to get an engineer to solve a problem
is to declare that  the problem is unsolvable. No engineer can walk
away from an unsolvable  problem until it's solved. No illness or
distraction is sufficient to  get the engineer off the case. These
types of challenges quickly become  personal -- a battle between the
engineer and the laws of nature.

Engineers will go without food and hygiene for days to
solve a problem.  (Other times just because they forgot.) And when
they succeed in  solving the problem they will experience an ego rush
that is better than  sex--and I'm including the kind of sex where
other people are involved.

Nothing is more threatening to the engineer than the suggestion
that  somebody has more technical skill. Normal people sometimes use
that  knowledge as a lever to extract more work from the engineer.
When an  engineer says that something can't be done (a code phrase
that means it's  not fun to do), some clever normal people have learned
to glance at the

engineer with a look of compassion and pity and say something
along these lines: "I'll ask Bob to figure it out. He knows how to
solve difficult technical problems."


Rules of the lab

1. When you don't know what you're doing, do it neatly.

2. Experiments must be reproducible, they should fail
the same way each time.

3. First draw your curves, then plot your data.

4. Experience is directly proportional to equipment ruined.

5. A record of data is essential, it shows you were working.

6. To study a subject best, understand it thoroughly before
you start.

7. To do a lab really well, have your report done well
in advance.

8. If you can't get the answer in the usual manner, start
at the answer and derive the question.

9. If that doesn't work, start at both ends and try to
find a common middle.

10. In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.

11. Do not believe in miracles---rely on them.

12. Team work is essential. It allows you to blame someone

13. All unmarked beakers contain fast-acting, extremely
toxic poisons.

14. Any delicate and expensive piece of glassware will
break before any use can be made of it. (Law of Spontaneous Fission)


Thursday, November 27, 2008

How come we seldom see the obvious?


Some things are like the nose right in front of your eyes but you don't see it.

I was on my way out the office door when they were trying to fix the exit switch which broke down again.  These doors are equiped with security scanners on the outside when you come in, and a switch to open the door from inside when you want to leave.  The Mat-Salleh boss was there and he sneered, "Aaah...Made in Malaysia..."  It was like a punch in the solar plexus and brought the bile up to my throat.

C'mon, this is a doorbell switch they installed here.  I mean, how many times a day you get someone to ring on your doorbell?  It's a no-brainer using it on a door that needs to be opened about 500 times a day.  But I didn't say all that.  If I did I would have added a few nasty words about his Malaysian wife too. 

I was fuming and should be thinking of a few thousand nasty things to say to put him in his place.  But my mind was working on a better solution and the answer was so obvious it came to me between the office door and the main gate to the car park.  Yet nobody seems to have seen it.  Why not install a production equipment switch instead?  Those things take at least a few thousand punches a day and still last for years.  I made a mental note to put this into the suggestion box the next day.

But came the next day I forgot about it, until the day they started changing them into industrial equipment switches.  Someone in maintenance must have been riled up enough to put on his thinking cap as well.  I guess the contractors don't have much experience with this either.

Well, here's one more to experience.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Brief History of The English Language


"Stole" this interesting information from here:

A brief chronology of English

BC 55

Roman invasion of Britain by Julius Caesar.

Local inhabitants speak Celtish

BC 43

Roman invasion and occupation. Beginning of Roman rule of Britain.


Roman withdrawal from Britain complete.


Settlement of Britain by Germanic invaders begins


Earliest known Old English inscriptions.

Old English


William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, invades and conquers England.


Earliest surviving manuscripts in Middle English.

Middle English


English replaces Latin as the language of instruction in most schools.


English replaces French as the language of law. English is used in Parliament for the first time.


Chaucer starts writing The Canterbury Tales.


The Great Vowel Shift begins.


William Caxton establishes the first English printing press.

Early Modern English


Shakespeare is born.


Table Alphabeticall, the first English dictionary, is published.


The first permanent English settlement in the New World (Jamestown) is established.


Shakespeare dies.


Shakespeare’s First Folio is published


The first daily English-language newspaper, The Daily Courant, is published in London.


Samuel Johnson publishes his English dictionary.


Thomas Jefferson writes the American Declaration of Independence.


Britain abandons its American colonies.


Webster publishes his American English dictionary.

Late Modern English


The British Broadcasting Corporation is founded.


The Oxford English Dictionary is published.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Grinning at the face of hardship...

Forwarded email.  Sing it to the tune of "Santa Claus is coming to town"..

Latest Christmas Jingle for 2008

You'd better watch out
You'd better not cry
You'd better keep cash
I'm telling you why:
Recession is coming to town.

It's hitting you once,
It's hitting you twice
It doesn't matter if you've been careful and wise
Recession is coming to town

It's worthless if you've got shares
It's worthless if you've got bonds
It's safe when you've got cash in hand
So keep cash for goodness sake, HEY

You'd better watch out
You'd better not cry
You'd better keep cash
I'm telling you why:
Recession is coming to town!

Finance products are confusing
Finance products are so vague
The banks make you bear the cost of risk
So keep out for goodness sake, OH

You'd better watch out
You'd better not cry
You'd better keep cash
I'm telling you why:
Recession is coming to town.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Bone-setter

Kim looked on with great sadness as her father lay on the bed immobilized by straps, tubes and needles all over his body. The regular beep of the heart monitor comfortingly reminded her he was still alive. The accident was almost fatal. His right thigh-bone was split diagonally from the knee to his hip and his left shoulder bone and upper arm was fractured in a few places. There was a crack in the back of his skull. Miraculously he survived.

The first time Kim's elder sister saw her father's condition she fainted and collapsed right in the door way. After she recovered she stayed around in the ward to help look after him. Once, she clumsily stepped on something while moving around the room and the heart monitor which normally went beep.. beep.. beep.. suddenly went beeeeeeeeeeeeee…. All at once nurses and doctors were swarming all over the ward in panic and yelling questions. For someone who'd lived most of her life in a village, moving around in an ICU ward was like living in an alien territory.

After he was discharged from hospital Kim's father was confined to the wheel-chair. Before they sent him home, they measured his right leg and found it was shortened by two inches. He tried to walk but it was more like a crouching and standing routine without much forward progress. And it was painful. And he couldn't lift his left arm.

One day they received a phone call from someone who claimed he was an old friend of Kim's father. They'd grown up together in the village near the jungle. During the Japanese occupation he joined the resistance movement. At the end of the war they wouldn't allow him to leave so he remained in the jungles to fight the British and later, the Malayan armed forces. The Emergency was long over but he still lived in the shadows. He learned of Kim's father's condition. He recognized him from a photograph in a newspaper article about the accident. He wanted to help an old friend. They made arrangements to pick him up from a bus station in a town 50 miles in the north.

He came. The two friends had an awkward reunion. They didn't have the chance to talk of old times. The job at hand was urgent. He made measurements of his friend's wounded leg, hip, shoulder and arm. Before they dropped him off at the local bus station, he left instructions for them to buy a free-range chicken, several large bottles of Wu-jia-pi wine and a list of herbs. The chicken must be male, perfectly healthy and exactly one kati in weight, not one tahil more, not one tahil less. They had to enquire at a few kampongs nearby before they found a chicken of that exact weight. The bill for all the items came to a few ringgits short of one thousand. Then they waited for the friend to call. This time, he asked to be picked up from a bus station in a different town.

He'd come prepared with pieces of bamboo, cut to size to fit perfectly his friend's body and limbs. After he'd checked and verified every item in the list, he was ready. He asked Kim to prepare the kitchen and get him a knife and a good sized wok. Then he told Kim to leave. She must not look. But she was curious. She peeped through a gap in the partition between the adjacent room and the kitchen.

He grabbed hold of the chicken, chanted some verses for a while and left it standing on the table. Curiously, the chicken did not move or try to run away. It stood on the spot quietly while he sharpened a knife and started a fire in the stove. Then he declared to no one in particular, This has to be done right. If I fail to do this right, I'll have to abandon this quest to heal my friend.

He raised the knife and sliced the chicken into two halves from the head to its feet while it remained standing, spilling its guts, blood and feathers on the table. He raised the knife again. This time the chicken was quartered, one piece in each direction of north, south, east and west. He gathered the pieces and threw them, guts, blood, feathers and all into the wok which he'd heated up on the stove. He poured in the wine and threw in the herbs. He stirred and stirred and stirred until after many hours he was left with a paste-like concoction. This he scooped from the wok and laid out on some old newspapers to let it cool.

He tore up strips of old clothes and tied Kim's father by his good arm, his good leg and his body to his iron bed. The whole family was asked to stand by to hold him from struggling and be prepared to listen to a lot of cursing and screaming from the patient for the pain would be unbearable. He then applied the concoction to the pieces of bamboo and tied them on to the wounded parts of the patient's body with strips of cloth.

Kim's father had very little education and most of his vocabulary consisted of the best of words never found in dictionaries. That night, for hours on end, the whole family had to put up with a whole string of expletives. He spat, he hissed, he cried and laughed, and he cursed everyone while the pain racked his whole body. But they kept silent and determinedly took turns to hold him down, wiped away his sweat, saliva and tears, while the man of the jungles told of how he once suffered a gunshot which broke his arm and had to heal himself with the same method with the help of his comrades.

At dawn, they found him sleeping soundly. The man removed the bamboo casts and threw them away. Again, they sent him off and he asked to be dropped off at a different location. They never heard from him again.

On their next visit to the hospital, Kim's father walked into the doctor's office with a slight limp. They measured his leg and found it shorter than the good leg by a mere half inch. The doctor pulled Kim aside and asked her endless questions. But Kim would never tell him the truth. She promised the man that it would remain a secret. She went home to look for the recipe but she couldn't find it.


Monday, November 3, 2008

...And this too shall pass

It was an unbearable year

before you came into our life

when I made the most critical

of all decisions

I threw away the rice bowl

that nurtured us for a while

for the vessel had been defiled

and the contents had turned putrid

and threatened our existence


Thinking I could find another

I treaded home

only to find many others

had no rice bowls

or just empty ones

and struggling to fill them


I was dejected


Down at the bottom looking up

the sky was unreachable

and footholds were worn

and slippery


until a friend lent a hand


Down at the bottom

I had nowhere else to go

the only way to go was up

but I realized too

that this too shall pass


Thursday, October 23, 2008

The 80:20 Rule of Life

Some forwarded e-mails are worth keeping somewhere just as a reminder when one starts wondering (or wandering?).  Here's one of them...

Interesting quote from the movie 'Why did I get married?'
In most cases, especially in relationships, you will only get 80% of what you NEED and you will hardly get the other 20% that you WANT in your relationship. There is always another person (man or woman) that you will meet and that will offer you the other 20% which is lacking in your relationship that you WANT And believe me, 20% looks really good when you are not getting it at all in your current relationship.
But the problem is that you will always be tempted to leave that good 80% that you know you have, thinking that you will get something better with the other 20% that you WANT
But as reality has proven, in most cases, you will always end up with having the 20% that you WANT and loosing the 80% that you really NEED and that you already have.
Be careful in deciding between what you WANT and NEED in your life.
Adultery happens when you start looking for what you don't have. 'Wow, this girl in my office is a real looker. But it's not her Wynona Rider features that got me. I'm crazy about her because she's also understanding, intelligent, tender - so many things that my spouse is not'

Somewhere along the way, you'll find a woman or a man who will be more charming or sensitive. More alluring. More thoughtful. Richer. Have greater sex appeal. And you will find a woman or man who will need you and pursue you and go loco over you more than your spouse ever did.

Because no wife or husband is perfect. Because a spouse will only have 80% of what you're looking for. So adultery takes place when a husband or wife looks for the missing 20%. Let's say your wife is melancholic by nature .

You may find yourself drawn to the pretty clerk who has a cherry laugh no matter what she says: 'I broke my arm yesterday, Hahahaha . . ..'

Or because your wife is a homebody in slippers and pajamas, smelling of garlic and fish oil, you may fall for a fresh-smelling young sales representative that visits your office in a sharp black blazer, high heels, and a red pencil-cut skirt Or because your husband is the quiet
type, your heart may skip a beat when you meet an old college flame who has the makings of a talk show host.

But wait! That's only 20% of what you don't have.

Don't throw away the 80% that you already have!

That's not all. Add to your spouse's 80% the 100% that represents all the years that you have been with each other. The storms you have weathered together. The unforgettable moments of sadness and joy as a couple. The many adjustments you have made to love the other. The wealth of memories that you've accumulated as lovers.

Adultery happens when you start looking for what you don't have.

But faithfulness happens when you start thanking God for what you already have.

But I'm not just talking about marriage.

I'm talking about life!

About your jobs.
About your friends.
About your children.
About your lifestyles.

Are you like the economy airline passenger that perennially peeks through the door of the first class cabin, obsessed with what he's missing? 'They have got more leg room! Oh my, their food is served in porcelain! Wow, their seats recline at an 80% angle and they've got personal videos!'

I guarantee you'll be miserable for the entire trip! Don't live your life like that. Forget about what the world says is first class. Do you know that there are many first class passengers who are miserable in first class -- because they are not riding in a private Lear Jet?

The main message

If you start appreciating what you have right now, wherever you are, you are first class!



Tuesday, October 21, 2008

How to defeat a giant

How would you go about defeating an incumbent adversary multiple times bigger than yourself without creating a mess or suffering any collateral damage?  Here’s a lesson taken from a page out of the past.

My dad used to scout around in the old rubber plantation on the other side of a ravine opposite our farm.  He was searching for dead or termite-infested rubber trees to cut down for firewood.  He was actually doing the plantation owner a favor in return for the free firewood.  Those old pre-war trees were seed-grown and rose to enormous heights and some measured more than a meter in diameter at the base of the trunk.  Left to rot on their own, these monstrosities would pose a danger to workers or other good latex-producing trees.

Dad was no lumberjack, but he'd probably picked up a trick or two during his younger days when he worked with loggers in the mainland opening up jungles for planting rubber.  Taking down rubber trees in a plantation required skilful maneuvering as there were other trees in close proximity.  You have to ensure the tree falls precisely where you want it to, to prevent or minimize damage to the good trees.

Dad would pick on a day when there was no wind.  Then he'd walk all round the tree of his choice, making an estimate of which direction the tree would most likely go in an uninfluenced fall.  Then he'd use an axe to cut a V-shape about 1/3 deep in the side of the trunk facing the direction he wanted the tree to go down.  After this we'd use a manual long-saw to cut into trunk from the other side opposite of the V-cut.  After the saw has gone in about 1/3 deep, steel wedges would be punched into the gap made by the saw.  Then we'd continue
sawing and punching on the wedges until the tree started falling in the preferred direction.  Timberrrrrrr!!!!

It used to be a thrill watching the huge thing beginning to go down in slow motion and then gather speed and finally... whoooosh!!! Crash!!!  After this, our real back-breaking work of cutting the thing into short pieces and transporting them back to our farm began.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The truth shall set you free

Sometimes you can’t tell the truth and expect to get away with it.   

That I found out one day when wifey dragged me off to one of those crammed, free-gift-given-away sales talks in a room filled to the brim with housewives and some uncles (dragged there kicking by their wives, I presume) eager to get some RM3 free gifts, only to end up paying RM1000 for some health-promotion goods which probably cost 1/3 that price in the country of origin.  Of course they tell you, you can’t get it for that price outside because nobody can confirm it and also because they’re not sold in local retail stores.  

Yes, luring eager beavers into a trap.  It seems like a great way to go into a sales pitch without having to go door to door like they did years ago.  Then, you could only talk to one person at a time, and then only if someone’s willing to open the door for you to go in (and maybe, rob them).  This way you speak only once, 3 or 4 times a day, to a very willing and attentive audience.  

There was I listening to this guy telling us that wine can taste sweeter after he poured some into some glasses and placed them on a plastic mat (with a Japanese sounding name) which looks like it’s made of polyethylene material and cut off from a side-wall of a fruit container.  I can’t remember how much each mat cost.  

They then dragged a few drinkers from among the audience out on to the stage.  I happened to be sitting too close to the aisle.  Getting away was not an option, not that I wanted to.  I was eager to find out the result of that little ‘experiment’ they were doing.  They lined us up and got us to taste a shot of the wine each poured straight from the bottle.  It tasted like cheap normal red wine.  

Then they handed each guy a glass of the wine they’d earlier left on the ‘magic’ mat.  I took a sip.  I wasn’t convinced.  I took another sip.  They guy asked me if there’s any difference.  I said, ‘No.’ He moved on to the next guy.  He liked what the guy told him.  The bloke got a free gift and went back to his seat.  All the others followed suit saying the same sweet thing. 

Then he came back to me.  I gulped the rest of the wine down.  
‘Well’, he said.  ‘What do you think?’  
‘OK, maybe it’s a little sweeter…but…’  I lied half-heartedly.  He interrupted me and gave me an equally unconvincing smile and a free gift and I left the stage.   

Wifey gave me something like a ‘what-were-you-trying-to-prove?’ look.  I returned her a ‘you asked for it’ grin.  She must have made a decision there and then.  

Needless to say, I never had to attend such sales talk after that.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Just do as I say, idiot!

A blacksmith wanted to teach his apprentice the skill of forging a piece of steel into a tool.  He placed the steel into the furnace.  He instructed the young man to get a hammer, while he grabbed a pair of tongs.  

Then he said to the apprentice, "To make sure the timing is just right, you must watch me carefully.  When I nod my head, hit it with your hammer."

When the steel was glowing red and hot, the blacksmith carefully grasped it with his tongs, laid the piece on the anvil.  Then he waited.  At just the right moment, he looked at his apprentice and nodded his head.  

The young man raised his hammer and knocked him on the head.

Moral:  Be careful how you give instructions.  Some people would just do as you say.

Job done, but where's the lime tree?

An old neighbor who loved to live alone became invalid.  They sent him to a nursing home.  A plot of ground out front used to be his garden with some trees growing alongside flowers and other bushes.  One of the tree species seemed to grow so thick and fast, the front of the house almost became a jungle.  The old guy's daughter came and tried to cut down the tree.  She couldn't manage to remove the tree stump.  She sent her husband the next day to finish the job.  

He finished the job alright.  He cleared off everything including a nice healthy-looking lime tree.  With the job done, he went off.  

Later, the daughter came around again to check.  She screamed.  She couldn't find the lime tree.  She had wanted him to remove only the tree stump.

Moral:  Be careful how you give instructions.  Some people would 'just do it'.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I got MIA too

Sorry, if anyone missed me (ego lah...). 

Home connection line down for almost one week and office connection also screwed up about same time.  So (hands shaking and shivering for a connection lol...).  I don't even know how long this cyber-ISA is going to last.

Blessing in disguise, I got to watch 'Road to Perdition' I've been putting off for the last 5 months... Da Vinci Code bored me because I've already read the book.  No point repeating...

This message is brought to you on a borrowed laptop someone brought to the office.  Which means maybe someone in IO dept has a grudge against me...(?)  And I thought I don't have enemies...


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Even the wind waits...





Even the wind waits...

Will the winds of change continue blowing?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The night is long - the dreams are plenty

A Chinese expression. That's what's happening nowadays. And throughout these long hours of this dark Malaysian night, this has been going on: This Apa-Cerita guy says it for me.

Let's just pray the dawn comes peacefully. I hate rude awakenings.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Prince who walks with commoners

I sat down at the town square

And lighted a candle for someone I admire

He's gone to jail for the sake of a Mongolian girl

Who died of a malady called persistence

They cremated her with C4

To erase her existence


This is only a wax candle

I sat there feeling the warmth

Of the evening breeze

To the sounds of the traffic

But the atmosphere was about to freeze

And I wondered

Where’s everybody we’re supposed to meet


I’m trying to remember when was the last time

We had a hero we could worship?

The naysayer had nary a good word to say

But called him a trouble maker

He’s a Prince who walks with commoners

They charged him with sedition

There are too many seditious people

Who’d try to prevent them

From running the country as they please

Without a care for the citizens?

Friday, September 12, 2008

They got the wrong man

An Old Toy

I'd just come downhill and paused under a rubber tree to pick up a couple of seed shells.  As I was straightening up, a fellow hiker and his wife came by and he said, "Aaah, you've just reminded me of those days.  It's been a long time since we played with that..."  

My thoughts sent me back through the years gone by when we used to clip the 2 shells together to form an object like a propellor.  Then we'd hold the propellor by the sharp ends between thumb and a finger and blow into the hollow of one of the shells.  The thing would spin around like a real propellor.  That was fun.  

I grabbed a few more of those shells before I walked away.  There's still a 'little girl' back home who hasn't seen nor played with one of our olden-day toys.  

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A road with many junctions.

  I was half hoping Mr. Michael Quah our Form 3 Art teacher would show up at our Reflections Gathering. He was the one who set me on a quest for originality in Art.  I've been searching for the answer for the last 40 years, still unsure if I've found it.  Perhaps I need to recognize it first.  It remains an indelible question in my mind.  During a lesson we handed in our individual pieces of our paintings to him for comment.  He singled out mine and shook his head at me.  He said it was all too familiar and uninteresting and wished I could do better.   

Then he took up another piece which showed some images that looked like wooden fences and cakes in random places all over the paper.  It actually looked nice and refreshing, but I didn't know why.  He said, Now, this is originality.  This is what you should aim for.  It was done by a student who was more interested in science and mathematic subjects.  I was confused further by the explanations he tried to give me.  Perhaps they were beyond my comprehension then.   

As I set out on the road of life, I found out I would have to live a life full of expectations of everyone else.  It wasn't just mine.  I can’t just do what I like and to hell with everyone else.  The commercial art line had its frustrations.  I had to comply with what other people wanted.  Everyone had an opinion as to what's good and right.  I decided I couldn't live with that.  It was a fork in the road and I took the one well travelled.  I left the art world behind.  I discovered there were different roads at different junctions leading to different destinations.  And as was expected of me, I raised a family along the way.   

Now that my obligations are almost fulfilled, I look forward to the day I could do things as I pleased.  I aim to claim back my life.  But having lived a life of endless obligations has set me in a solid cast.  It looks like a formidable obstacle and I’m not sure if I can break through it.  Perhaps the reason why I left the commercial art world was I feared casting my art into a fixed solid mould that conforms to what everybody else decides to be correct and proper.  I would then not be able to explore and experiment.  Breaking away from it prevented me from killing my dream.  I don’t regret having that road still open.  

I am now at another junction waiting for the light to turn green looking for a sign that says ORIGINALITY.  I hope this road takes me back to my dreams again.  And I hope to find the answer waiting for me.  

Teachers, be careful what you tell your students.  It can influence the way they live their lives. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

P44 - your call

To the people of Permatang Pauh,

The fork in the road.  Will you take the familiar one with known disappointments or the one less travelled to unknown, untested and undiscovered frontiers?

The nation's future is in your hands.  Today you create history.  The choice is yours. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Cry In The Night


The factory bus dropped her off.  It was almost midnight after the second shift.  She had to walk on a narrow path through the village to get to her home about two hundred meters away from the main road.  The familiar path posed no problem for her as she had trudged though it all her twenty-five years living in this house with her family which included her mother-in-law. 


But that night felt a little different.  She couldn't say why but she was uneasy.  There was a chill in the air but she felt a thin layer of sweat on her skin.  A sudden gust of cold wind rushed by and she felt goose pimples all over.  At the same moment she heard a lonely, mournful voice of a woman crying piteously.  It was the cry of an inconsolable soul in unfathomable suffering.  Her feeling of compassion for this pitiful being seemed greater than her fear and she stopped in her tracks and called out, "Whoever you are, what is it under the heavens that is causing you so much suffering?  Tell me so I may help you.  Otherwise, please don't scare me half to death!" 


She had no idea what made her speak in such terms.  Those words simply came out of her mouth before she realized what she was saying.  But as soon as she uttered those words, her fear left her and the cold air became warm again. 


She lingered a moment and listened but couldn't hear or feel anything out of the ordinary.  She became aware again of the sounds of the night - the chirping of crickets, and croaking of frogs.  There were the familiar shadows of trees and bushes and dark shapes of the houses of her neighbors in the dim light of the moonlit night. 


She wiped a tear out of her eye, turned around and walked on home.



Monday, August 4, 2008

Speech by Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Dato’ Dr (phew!) Lim Kok Wing

Speech by Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Lim Kok Wing at Graduation ceremony held on 26th July 2008 (Malaysia)

May I begin by thanking each and everyone for coming to share with us this occasion, especially parents and guardians of our graduands, the many friends and partners who have given us support over the years, their excellencies, the Ambassadors and High Commissioners, our industry partners, colleagues from our Global Consortium.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

By your presence, you have made this occasion an even more significant celebration. I thank you on behalf of all our graduands.

I would now like to extend my heartiest congratulations to all who have graduated today. Class of 2008, I know you have worked hard for this day. You ought to be proud of your achievement. And I know how eager your parents must have been to see you graduate today.

You now join the many Limkokwing graduates who are making important contributions in this and many other countries around the world. We are proud of every one of you.

I must also extend my warmest congratulations to all parents. You really are the true heroes of this occasion. If not for you, we will not have this occasion to celebrate.

Parents will recall the first days when your small children left on their own to start schooling. Remember how you had to prepare their uniform and put their shoes on for them. That was many years ago.

It may now seem like just yesterday. But it has been a long journey.

I want to thank you for allowing us to share in that journey. I thank everyone, in particular our foreign students who have come from far away places to be with us, hundreds of miles away from home. The number of countries represented on this campus has reached 140.

Class of 2008, it has been a privilege to have you with us.

The boundless energy that you have brought to this campus; the multi-cultural vibrancy that has characterised this university; your amazing sense of style for which you are known throughout this country. Your much talked about talent, the music that you create, the energy that you have brought to this place …. all that will be missed with your departure.

For some of us, this may be the last time that we are gathered together in this hall.

So before you move on, let me take a few moments now to share with you some thoughts I have about the future.

As we know it, the future refers to the period of time that will come after the present, and the things that will happen during that time.

Imagine the future as a huge empty space of time that you now have ownership of. What you get out of it will be the direct result of what you now put into it.

That simply means what you will be tomorrow depends on what you do today. That is simple logic.

As we know, the future has always been and will always be defined by people with the passion and the drive to push beyond borders and beyond boundaries; by people who will move mountains if the mountains are getting in the way. These are people who will simply not take things as they are, and who will never take the easy way out. In not doing ordinary things, they achieve extra-ordinary success. In doing what they do, they transform societies and influence the way of life of thousands and millions across the world.

The future has always been and will always be driven by the power of creativity and human ingenuity.

With advancing technology and rapid globalisation, what used to take years can now be done in a matter of hours.

When the first commercial computer was introduced some 50 years ago, it was so heavy and bulky; it would take up the entire floor space of this hall. Today, we have it in the form of a laptop, a notebook - so light you can lift it with two fingers, so small you can drop it into your handbag. Soon it will be so tiny you can fold it into your wallet, and so powerful, it will be hundreds of times faster and with memories a thousand times larger.

The worldwide web has created a virtual reality that has made time, space and distance irrelevant. The internet will soon be home to a completely new virtual business world, one that is completely borderless.

The tiny mobile phone that has become an integral part of our lives will soon be a complete computer. It will be all you need to run a business no matter where you find yourself in the world.

Thanks to space technology, those adventurous enough will soon be able to travel to the moon for their vacation. And with nanotechnology, doctors will soon be able to extend human life to as long as you want by replacing or curing body cells that are not working too well.

The future will always be about pushing back boundaries and breaking down barriers; it will always be about making possible what seems impossible today.

The future is now in your hands. Use it well and you will soon be doing things that seem simply impossible today.

Class of 2008, as you move on, you will look back and remember the many who have along the way given you support people who were always there to build you up whenever you were feeling down, to push you forward whenever you were falling behind - these are your instructors, your classmates, your close friends; your brothers and sisters. It might not have crossed your mind that they have wanted success for you more than you have even thought about it yourself. To them you will always show kindness and gratitude.

Most of all, you will never forget the unwavering support, never-ending patience and generosity of your parents. You know what enormous sacrifices they must have made just so you may have the secured opportunity to plan and build your own future. You may never know enough how much they care for you.

You will forever embrace them with love and affection.

Class of 2008, as graduates of this university, you are expected to stand out and above the rest. You have a reputation to live up to and that I know you will. You must uphold at all times the good name of this university. You will be exemplary citizens and you will contribute selflessly to society and the well being of humanity.

On that note and on behalf of all of us, I bid you farewell.

May this journey that you have started with us take you to the top of your world, may your future be one of many success stories.

You go with our very best wishes. Wherever you may be, we will be right here watching and applauding.

It does not matter how far away you will be from us, this will always be your home. We will always be with you. You will always be a part of us.