Monday, July 28, 2008

Spread your wings & fly

You’ve created another first

Passed through another gate in life

Taken another step into the future

Proud as we are of your achievements

Letting go is hard to do 

But it’s the only thing we have to

You need your space

To spread your wings

And soar into the skies

Beyond the borders of the ordinary



As we left you

At your apartment’s main gate

Standing alone, waving us goodbye

My heart was so heavy I wanted to cry


For us who love you dearly

This is another sacrifice

Of our hearts

Go on girl 

Look outwards and grow 

Chase your dreams

To the ends of the rainbow

Friday, July 18, 2008

Random thoughts – Everybody's A Boss


I'm not sure if I'm sorry for him or despised him.  Or why, when I look back over the years, I had to single him out as one good example of a bad boss while I was the embodiment of a naive country bumpkin learning the ropes of survival in the city.  He once wrote in a reply to my resignation letter (after I quit from his employment for the second time), "you either manage or be managed..." 


I can't think of any other occasion where a boss replies to an employee’s resignation letter.  Well, we were both young and rash and our age difference was only two years apart but he was the boss and I, the subordinate.  He probably thought that I couldn't even manage myself.  I was naive, had two left feet and I bungled my way around especially when dealing with people.  But I just took it as his concern for my future rather than his ego that made him write that in the letter.


Looking back, I think he couldn't have been more wrong.  One doesn't have to be a manager to manage whether himself or others.  As one much-forwarded e-mail went, "even an a**hole can be a boss".  But because you're in a position to make an unpopular decision you can turn into one as soon as you make it.


Over the years I have learnt to manage others as well as myself including my family budget.  In spite of the many setbacks I guess I haven't done badly.  I often thought he should have done pretty well but apparently he hadn't.  He died of a heart attack before the age of 45.  He hadn’t managed his health properly.  Or was it his destiny to go off early?


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Experience + Ignorance = Fear

The first time my windscreen shattered to pieces was in 1990 when I drove a 1981 Datsun Pulsar.  The 2nd time was when the rear window of the same car shattered while parked in the factory compound.  I discovered the damage only at quitting time. 

After I changed to a 1983 Toyota GL the same nightmare occurred while I was driving home one evening with some carpool partners.  The piece of rock was large, but the dent was almost negligible and the windscreen didn’t shatter on the spot.  It only happened about a month or so later while I was on the way to work in the morning.  I had to steer from the fast lane to the emergency lane and punch out the rest of the broken glass before continuing the journey.  I dropped the guys off at the factory, took the day off in search of a replacement windscreen. 

Add that to an occasion when I volunteered to drive my sis-in-law’s 1990 Toyota GL without the windscreen all the way to SP to have it replaced because workshops elsewhere didn’t have any in stock.  Talk about experience, I have an abundance of it.

So, when a pebble hit the Myvi’s windscreen the other day out on the expressway, I said, “Shit!  Here we go again...”  Memory went back to those times of having to drive with my windscreen broken into bits of thousands of pieces after hearing a sudden ‘pop’ and then a ‘crack’.  But miraculously the thing didn’t go to pieces.  I was afraid another shattering experience might await me some day right in the middle of the expressway.  Who knows it might even happen in a heavy downpour with my family in it.  I wasn’t going to allow that to happen.  Like I said to a fellow car owner at the workshop, it’s like ‘tunggu jatuh hukuman’ (waiting for the judge to pass the sentence).  But you won’t know when it‘s gonna happen.

After the initial cursing & swearing I made inquiries all over the place on availability and costs of replacement until I finally decided I’d go back to Perodua workshop.  With prices of everything on the upswing, nobody was ready to give me a fixed price.  I imagined another RM500 flying away.  But to my surprise, the workshop manager advised me to get it repaired. 
Huh?  He assured me it’s perfectly normal and I could even come away with a lifetime guarantee.  He showed me how to get to Jackson Conversions.  The Jackson guy called it a Bull’s Eye.  The job was done in only a few minutes.  The bill: RM80.

And here’s the enlightenment.  Tempered glass windscreens that could shatter into smithereens has been phased our more than 20 years ago.  My fears were totally unfounded.  Now to find out why experience + ignorance = fear.

And this is the result of the repair job...

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Gambling Debts



there's nothing else in the fridge I can cook

no rice left in the house, in vain I did look

yesterday we got a red bill for electricity

and whatever happened to your salary?


some rough-looking strangers came a calling

riding their bikes loudly and hollering

that was way past midnight while you slept

I was shaking and scared but I only wept


a broken brick on the window crashed

dripping red paint they also splashed

on the front door and all over the porch

and our rickety old Datsun they tried to torch



who are these people who do such deeds?

will they stop doing it if we go out and plead?

what football bets were they yelling about?

didn't you hear them that they had to shout?


the landlord talked about the rent, my bus fare's due

the sundry shop man wanted to speak to you

the flour, sugar and milk I wanted, he didn't give

what happens to us now, how will we live?



answer me, please say


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Change Of Mind


The boy couldn't swim.  So he rented an inflated tube and used it as a float.  He leaned back on the float and paddled with his hands and feet.  He floated around by the beach, not daring to venture too far out.  He enjoyed the rise and fall of the waves, the cool sea breeze and the warm sun.   He could hear the laughter and screams of pleasure of other kids along the beach and the splashing of bathers around him.  He listened to the occasional calls of seagulls.  It was very relaxing.  It was like sleeping in a cradle.  He almost fell asleep.


His floating tube was suddenly yanked from under him and he found himself in the water.  He yelled, but he heard no sound from his own mouth.  Water rushed into his throat and his nose.  His feet couldn't find the friendly sand at the bottom.  He opened his eyes even though they were stung by the sea water.  He struggled and reached out with his hands towards a pair of legs he saw in the water in front of him.  The waves tossed him about and the legs kept trying to move away.  He managed to grab hold of one of the legs.  He didn't know who they belonged to.  He didn't care.  He had to get out of the water.  He had to breathe.  His ears were ringing, his lungs were bursting and his heart pounding against his chest.


Somehow, he did not die.  Someone had grabbed him by his hair and pulled him to shore.  When he came to, he kept throwing up salty water.  When he got home later, nobody asked him what happened because nobody knew about the incident.  It was a crowded beach and no one had paid much attention.  They just watched quietly and went away to whatever they were doing, more immersed in looking after their own pleasure.


It has been forty years since then.  The man was having an idle chat with one of his older neighbors at his local haunt.  He didn't know why, but something the other man said prompted him to talk about the past and he mentioned to his neighbor that he once almost drowned when he was a kid.  He recounted all the little details that he remembered.  He then said that even if he found the guy who had saved him, he would not thank him for it.  He should have let him drown and spare him a life of misery and suffering. 


The older man sat and listened quietly while he complained.  When he'd finished telling his story, the older man nodded knowingly and said he knew what happened.  He was the one who had rushed into the water and pulled him out.  He was a life-guard.  He saw how it happened.  He knew who the other kid was who pulled the float from under him and caused him to fall in the water.  The other kid was a big sized half-wit who didn't understand rules.  He was watching him and he thought maybe this kid could do something nasty.  And as if on cue, he did just that.  He was in time to save him because he was running and diving into the water even before the kid went down.


The older man also added that on that same day, at that same moment, somewhere on that beach another boy drowned and nobody saw what happened. 


The Angel of Death had a change of mind at the last moment.