Sunday, January 30, 2011

Something To Chew On...

My friends and I had a good laugh over the following poem ......

I was shocked, confused, bewildered
As I entered Heaven's door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its decor.

But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp...
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
The alcoholics and the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade
Who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor
Who never said anything nice.

Bob, who I always thought
Was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well.

I nudged God, "What's the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How'd all these sinners get up here?
You must've made a mistake."

"And why is everyone so quiet,
So somber - give me a clue."
"Hush, child," He said,
"They're all in shock.

No one thought they'd be seeing you!"


Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's a Small World...

I just came back from Taiwan last week. Went for a tour round Taiwan island with my friend and her niece. We went from Taipei - Hualien - Taitung - Kaohsiung - Taichung and back to Taipei.

Guess who I met there? Mr. Mey and his family! It sure is a small world. Here's a photograph that I took with him.

When I told some friends that I was going to Taiwan for a holiday, some of them said that they had been there and Taiwan was not that great a place.

Funny... I had a good time there. Food was good. I especially enjoyed the beef noodles and sweet taro balls. And I loved eating the local fruits, especially persimmons. There was also this fruit - I don't know its name - a cross between the custard apple and pineapple. It tasted simply delicious. :)

The Taipei International Floral Expo 2010 was awesome. I did not have time to visit all the pavilions. Here are some photographs that I took.

All in all, I had an enjoyable time in Taiwan. I did a few things that I wouldn't normally have done - like setting off Kong Ming lanterns and going for a few theme park rides (at the tender age of 57, duh!)

By the way, I picked up a few more Mandarin words... :p

I paid RM2899 for the tour. I'd say that the money was well-spent.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Discovering the Joys of Piano-Playing

During my younger days, learning to play the piano was like learning other subjects in school. I studied hard and practised hard so as to pass the ABRSM exams. Get distinctions, if possible.

My piano teacher put me to work on scales and Czerny's exercises so as to acquire "agility, independence, strength and perfect evenness in the fingers as well as suppleness of the wrist." My wrist must be kept high, my forearm stiff and the back of my hand flat enough to rest a coin on.

Oh yes, I possessed dexterity and technical skill. Sadly, because I was young, I lacked the power to interpret the music that I played.

After retirement, I have discovered the joys of piano-playing. I now have a greater capacity for working at details. I also have the time to practise.

Nowadays, I enjoy taking a difficult passage apart and playing it over and over until I get it right. There is so much pleasure in creating "a beautiful sound".

Hehe... I hope my neighbours feel the same as I do, and not complain of headaches because of the noise I am constantly making. :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Sixty/Forty Proposition

When I was in college, one of the professors said to us, his students, “The secret of a successful marriage is this: Marriage is not a 50/50 proposition. A 50/50 proposition is one where nobody is giving anything.”

“Rather, the secret of a happy marriage is 60/40. The husband gives in sixty percent of the time and expects his wife to give in forty percent of the time. The wife gives in sixty percent of the time and expects her husband to give in forty percent of the time. In a 60/40 proposition, you don’t clash in the middle and say, ‘Now, it’s your turn.’ Instead, you intersect and overlap, because you’re each giving sixty percent.”

“Give and it will be given to you.”

It’s the secret in business ; it’s the secret in interpersonal relationships.

[from Be An Extraordinary Person In An Ordinary World by Robert H. Schuller]

My son, Matthew and his fiancée, Michelle registered their marriage at the ROM in Putrajaya on Sunday, 10.10.2010.

I thank God for bringing them together.

May they be blessed with happiness and may they feel His presence and peace in their home.

The above wisdom by Dr. Schuller will certainly be of use to them in their married life.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Church Outing

My good friend, Anna, and I organized a trip to Malacca last Saturday for the parishioners of our church. The participants were a good mixture of East Malaysians (students from UTHM and ADTEC), Filipinos, Chinese, Indians and Eurasians.

Our Parish Priest allowed us to collect only RM20.00 from each participant (because quite a number of those going were young children, students and migrant workers). The amount that we collected was not enough to cover even the cost of the bus!!! Fr Lawrence told us that the church will come out with the rest of the money.

Anyway, Anna and I tried to raise some funds. God certainly worked His way into the hearts of many people. Donations were aplenty. More than enough, actually. There’s something in the Bible that goes like this: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." -Matthew 7:7

Our first stop was the Air Keroh Botanical Gardens. We had our breakfast of epok-epok, bananas, nasi lemak and mee siam over there - under the trees and observed by a lot of hungry monkeys. Next on the itinerary was the Butterfly and Reptile Sanctuary. We then proceeded to Melaka Raya for lunch at Restaurant Ole Sayang (Peranakan Cuisine). The afternoon was spent exploring St Paul ’s Hill, The Stadhuys and shopping along Jonker Street . I bought the famous Madam Goh Nyonya pineapple tarts and Nyonya bachang and then headed for a shop selling Nyonya laksa and iced cendol. Aah… simply delicious. I wanted to eat chicken rice balls, too – but the queue was just too long.

In the evening, we went to St Peter’s Church for sunset mass. There was tea waiting for us when we arrived. After mass, the Parish Priest and parishioners of St Peter’s gave us a delicious buffet dinner. Such hospitality.

I am very sure the participants enjoyed themselves. More importantly, after spending one whole day together, we became closer to each other. And that was the primary objective of organizing the trip.

So, what’s my next agenda?
Australia….. here I come !!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010



As we go through life,
we generate memories for ourselves of people
and events that have positively influenced us. These
memories are powerful
and can bring us comfort and happiness
when we think of them.

They serve us very well as situations change
or people are no longer in our lives.

Wouldn’t it be nice to think
that other people’s memories of us
are also positive, and give pleasure
when we are not around?

(Soul Food - Recipes for a Happier Life)

I was invited to a gathering of old SDBL students on 7th August 2010 (which coincidentally happened to be my 1st year retirement anniversary). I was their Form Six Chemistry teacher 16 years ago. Below are some photographs which my son took.

All of them are now about 46 years of age. Most of them married, with children. Quite a number of them have put on some weight. One or two are starting to have receding hairline...

Time really flies. But I can still remember very clearly the times I spent with them as their Chemistry teacher. They were hardworking and disciplined, ever willing to attend extra classes. I enjoyed teaching them. Classes were fun, full of laughter. But there were a few scary moments – an accident in the laboratory, when a broken pipette went into a girl’s face; a few times when frogs went hopping happily around the class and I screamed. Hehe...

To be invited to their gathering, I guess I must have created some positive memories for them. I know that some of them follow my blog and so I take this opportunity to say, “Thank you for remembering me. And thank you for the beautiful memories that you have given me. God Bless.”

Monday, July 5, 2010

Growing Old

The whole of last week my church friends and I were helping an old lady shift house. She is 92 years old and stays alone in a big bungalow with an enormous compound. Her husband is dead. Her children are residing overseas. Since December 2009, her house has been burgled 3 times. The third time, which happened 2 weeks ago, was bad. Two men forced her into her house. She sat and watched as they ransacked her home. They even took away her car! Time for her to move to a smaller and safer place.

While helping her pack her personal belongings, we came across many photo albums. Pictures of old times spent together with her late husband and children.

“I don’t want them!” she said. She only took photographs of her late husband with her.

I looked at her and wondered, “What thoughts are running through her mind?”

Suddenly, I remembered an article which I had read in The Star. It was about a man who found and read his mother’s dairy after she had passed away. One of her entries was addressed to her grandchild...

“To my beloved grandchild, Rahul.”

“Rahul, I love you very much. We all love you very much, especially your parents. And my child, don’t ever do anything that will hurt them.”

“Rahul, I hope that you grow up to be like your father. However, do not make the mistakes your father made. I know, Rahul, that your father is a very good man. He just forgot to do something that was important to me.”

“Rahul, after some time, a person experiences emptiness in her or his life. As parents grow old, a certain fear comes into their mind. Are they a burden to their children?”

“Rahul, if ever your mother or father have no one else to turn to, make sure you are there. Make sure you have time for them.

Go to their bedroom and talk to them. Look at old albums and talk about old times spent together. They will feel good and wanted. Sometimes hug them as they hugged you when you were young. Call out your mother’s name just like you did when you were young.

“God will always take care of you. Those who take care of their parents will always be taken care of. Your mother and father have always taken care of me. You too must take care of them and remember the things I have written to you.”

“My child, when someone grows old, their biggest enemy is loneliness. In their old age, make your parents feel wanted. Take extra care of them. Every day, make them feel their presence in the house. Each day say ‘mum’ or ‘dad’ six or seven times because they love to hear that...”

I then thought of my late father. He lived in Penang while I settled down in Johore. Yes... I am also guilty. “Pa,” I called out to my father. But it is too late.