Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Get a Camera lah

I have an aunt who loves to travel, but then all her travels are not documented, so only she knows what she has seen and experienced. She's now on a 12-day cruise to Scandinavia, and I bet when she returns she'd just brag that it's a beautiful place, the weather is great, the cruise liner is very huge and so on. Where's the evidence? None. She doesn't have a camera, depending on others to capture good moments on her behalf.

Nowadays, taking photos is so easy. It has never been easier than just point and click, and you don't even need to figure out what film to buy. It's too bad that some people believe that taking photos is just a waste of resources. "Nah, I don't know how to take photos" or "I don't like taking photos."

Somehow, people fail to see the value of taking personal snapshots of events and experiences to be shared with friends, members of family and future generations. I had a small debate with mom last night; I told her that it is important to record evidences of the past for posterity. Without photos, our children and grandchildren and later generations don't have a clue what we went through. Without photos, my brother wouldn't know what his grandfather looked like, and my niece and nephew don't know what their great-grandparents looked like.

My late grandparents' wedding photo taken
circa mid-1930s
The photo above was recaptured using my DSLR, and edited for clarity. At least now, my family (and bloggers) know what traditional Straits-born (peranakan) wedding looks like 70 years ago. My late grandfather wore modern wedding attire rather than the traditional one - nobody knows why.

Therefore, go get yourself a camera, shoot memorable moments. Share those photos with your loved ones. Don't be selfish and keep those memories to yourself. And don't make excuses that taking photo is so difficult, or toting a small camera is very inconvenient. :-) 

p/s: This is not a paid post, in case you're wondering.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

One Good Deed

This morning, I went to the post office to pay my utility bills. As I opened the glass door, I noticed from the corner of my eye, a woman sitting on a chair against the wall. She was looking at the queue. There were three others in front of me. The young girl in front had finished her transaction, and I thought that lady was her mother. No she wasn't.

When it was the next customer's turn, I looked at the lady again. In her hand, there were some RM50 notes and bills. I realised that she had been waiting for her turn. I have no idea how long she had been sitting there. She had a jacket over her; so either she was feeling very cold or she was not well. Or perhaps she was waiting for the counter to be clear before paying her bills.

Being a shy person, I initially didn't want to open my mouth to ask. Eventually, I gathered enough courage to ask the stranger: "Mau bayar bill, ka? (You want to pay your bills?)" to which she smiled broadly and nodded. I immediately told her to go ahead and pay first. I waited behind her. She paid, and left. I saw a bunch of keys in her hand. Perhaps she was in a hurry to go somewhere.

Well, I'm glad that I've done a good deed. It may be small, but I suppose it's meaningful to that woman, or else she'd probably have to wait till I've done my payment.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Just Listen

My students had their presentations today. One of them didn't turn up, and as a result, his partner had to present alone. He didn't know what had happened to his best friend, though he knew that his friend had a problem.

Then at lunch, another student stopped me at the cafe and informed me that the absent student would like to do his presentation. Of course, I was annoyed. He was absent for the presentation, left his best friend alone, and yet he wanted to present later. Anyway, I told the messenger to ask that student to see me at 1:00 PM because I'd like to hear from him the reason for his absence, but there's no guarantee that I'd allow him to present.

Just before 1:00 PM, the boy came into my office and he had beads of sweat on his neck. His first words were "I'm sorry... I hope you'll let me explain... not sure if you'll accept or not." - I had no reason to be mad so I listened tentatively to his excuse. Apparently, he had a major argument with his dad the previous night over the phone. It had something to do with his studies here, and the fees. He wanted to be independent, but his father appears to control him. I reminded him that he should have at least informed his best friend, but he said he didn't want him to know. Then, I allowed him to present...

After presenting, he apologised again and continued his story. I continued listening to him ... he didn't have a good childhood, he wanted to be on his own as he didn't like to be controlled, he likes to visit other countries and help if he could, he wanted to study here. He talked about his country which oppresses its people, and he didn't like that. ... he wanted to be successful - on his own because he said: "What if there's no one there for me (one day)?"

I offered a bit of advise. I didn't want to talk too much as I'm not qualified enough to advise. Often, if we have nothing better to say, it's wiser to just listen. It means a lot to the other party - just a smile or a nod would sometimes suffice. And I remember him saying "I need someone to talk to... " - well, I hope he'll sort things out eventually but no matter what, he still has to come for a test in two days' time.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tears of Joy

A blogger sent this to me after reading my previous blog, so I'm sharing it with all of you. I was watching it midway when my eyes began to tear, but I continued till the end.

Thanks, Daniel for sharing with me this video. There is a 2nd part to this video, maybe later...

So people, go hug your husband, your wife, your children each day with full of love. You have that chance. Just do it without reservations; even if you've had a bad argument the day before, even if you've been hurt, just do it. And make that a habit.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Happy Moms

I have been surfing the net and checking out a couple of blogs created by mothers. We call these moms "Mommy Bloggers" in the virtual world. These are the hardworking moms who take time off from work  and after work to blog about anything. Most of them write about their life as a mother, and they have pictures of the cute newborns to 7-year-olds doing various stuff, and posing for the camera.

When I see these pictures, I could sense the mothers' happiness seeing their toddlers grow each day, while  sharing with other mommy bloggers their ups and downs as caretakers, not to mention offering tips to enhance their children's well-being. I suppose all the burden of bearing a child for nine months (or less for premature ones) is worth it after all. The excruciating pain of being in labour and giving birth to a child is temporary compared to the excitement, joy and everlasting love that these mothers have for their babies, toddlers and kids.

I see these kids in their blogs, I smile... and I'm envious of these parents because they have the opportunity to bring up their own flesh and blood. It is never easy to raise a child as the commitment and patience must be there at all times. My wish...

My wish is to have my own child one day so that I can share the joy, feel the excitement, learn to be responsible like every other parent. It's so nice to be able to cuddle your little one when you get back from work, or hearing them call you "Daddy" for the first time, or greeting you "Daddy come back already!"  and running to you for a hug, or hearing them say "I love daddy and mommy". Of course, when they become teenagers, things could be different, but that's another story. This wish of mine may just  likely be an unfulfilled one. Age is catching up... FAST ... and I also need a wife. No, I'm not desperate; it would be good if I could get married.

God willing. Maybe God knows I could only be a single, so I leave it in His hands. :-)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Hope

My 43rd birthday has just passed. Yeah, it's "shocking" I'm THAT old already, but age is just a number because I still feel like a teenager and have desires of one. I have never made any resolutions as I know I can't keep them; I'm as fickle-minded as a nerdy professor. Nevertheless, I would like to have hope.

My Top 10 Golden Hopes

I hope that:
  1. This country continues to enjoy peace and harmony
  2. This world becomes a better place to live in
  3. My parents age gracefully and happily, and be in good health
  4. I will be a far better and matured person than I am now
  5. The pain that I've experienced would disappear for good
  6. My siblings enjoy fruitful and fulfilling lives with their own families
  7. I will be successful in my career and love life
  8. My best friend becomes a successful entrepreneur
  9. Every one I know forgives me for the bad deeds I've done to them
  10. God forgives me because I've committed just too many sins
Those are my hopes. I believe you have your own too.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

For a Birthday Boy

Today's 11 Aug. 2010 - it's a date not to be repeated. The reason is it's my birthday and it's a public holiday in Malacca; today's the beginning of Ramadan, the fasting month for Muslims. How many people are privileged enough to have their birthdays fall on a public holiday? Well... it's a special day for me, or is it? It's even more special because for the first time ever, my parents and my aunt stayed overnight at my place just for my birthday.

Pre-birthday dinner

I'm kinda traditional when it comes to celebrating birthdays. I'd like it to be celebrated (if there is one) on the day itself, but this year it's celebrated a day before (which was not a holiday) to cater to those who are unable to attend the dinner - it's always dinners for us. It's fine with me.

Well, I'm not too excited about the celebration. To me, as long as you remember my birthday, I'm happy enough. No need parties, birthday cakes or gifts. A personal call would be really appreciated. See how simple I am? It's just gonna be another ordinary day anyway, at least for me. I donno about you guys who'd go partying the whole night long, and extend through the next day. OK, food time. Here's what we all ordered at this renown Thai restaurant:

That's edible raw leaf with rubber bands...
err.. I mean carrots below each one

Every one's favourite: Pineapple fried rice

Crispy rice dipped in spicy sauce with meat

Spicy fried rice

Stir fried traditional noodles: BEFORE

AFTER: Notice the glass containers with chilli powder, sugar,
pickled green chilli, sugar and ground nuts. Mix them all
into the noodles

The German Black Forest cake: Simply delicious

The bill - minus the cake - came  up to about RM140 (approx. US$40), which is rather inexpensive for seven people. Dad foot the bill. Thanks a million dad.

The Gifts

My brother and his wife presented to me a gift which I opened only this morning. I didn't wanna open it yesterday as it was not my birthday yet. I felt the gift, and I immediately knew what it was.

Well, I guess this is better than studying for a Master's degree
- which I've miserably failed

Both of them are pious Christians, and they've seen me in church, so it's only appropriate that they bought a religious book to help me learn more about the Bible. Thanks, I'll read it for sure. I've got cash gifts from my parents, my aunt and my brother's mother-in-law who was at the pre-dinner celebration too.

The Greetings

Let's see who did not wish me a happy birthday. Hmm... well, no need to be too bothered about it. I won't be offended though I wouldn't feel "nice" about it. It won't make me lose sleep anyway. Thanks to those who wished me. My best friend Yen sent me a card, but well... since our postmen are so efficient, the card never arrived. My ex-girlfriend also sent me a birthday greeting. My ex-wife probably thought I've committed a serious crime and I'm now in jail, so no need to send a card to a criminal.

The Ambience

The restaurant had a cozy feeling, and the deco makes you feel like staying on a couple of hours. Every one was happy including me though I wish there's that special someone to spend the night with. The food was good. The birthday song made me feel like a kid again, or made me feel like a golden citizen... the candle blowing and cake cutting were symbolic. What did I wish for? I can't tell, and I can't remember either.

And Today...

... the actual day of my birthday, I'm all alone at home. I had breakfast with my parents and aunt at the Yong Tau Fu shop nearby, then they went home. I foot the bill - RM18.80, no problem. Not only that, I went to office (on this public holiday) to get something urgent done because the deadline is tomorrow, but I won't be in town. Why didn't I do it earlier? 'Coz I got the e-mail only yesterday evening!! I've tried real hard to feel good as it's "my day" - well, it hasn't worked. I guess I'll just go eat my take away lunch and watch TV.

On the positive side: I celebrated my birthday yesterday, so cheer up, for Christ's sakes!
On the negative side: - don't be so negative -

Saturday, August 7, 2010

To What Extent..

To what extent would you go in order to seek knowledge? Well, I'm currently providing a language guidance class to about 20 students; some of them come from afar, and their parents don't mind waiting for them till the class ends. There are others who come in the following modes:

- take the city bus
- drive on their own
- rent a car (one student did that)
- get a ride from a friend

To these students, I take my hat off to them for attending despite the odds. What I'm rather unhappy about is that, it's not a multiracial class. It would be good to have different races mingle in the small classes which I conduct each week. I'm all for racial integration. After all, we are Malaysians. It is my hope that in future intakes, there would be more races.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

No More Styrofoam Boxes

Prior to joining Tzu Chi, I wasn't too bothered about the environment. I'm not an active member at all, but as time went on, I realised that I need to do whatever I could to save the environment - no matter how small the act is. Well... today, I wanted to have breakfast in campus. I used to go to the cafe, get a takeaway packed in styrofoam box, take it back to office and eat there. I boycotted that cafe for at least a month because I knew I'd gonna get another white box, thus I'm contributing to the destruction of the environment, and not to mention my health too. But today I was so darn hungry I just had to go get something from the cafe... styrofoam or not - hey, I'm human, alright?

As soon as I arrived, I started looking for the styrofoam box. It was nowhere to be found. Realising that I was looking for that box, the girl at the counter asked "Nak bungkus (wanna pack)?" - and took out a cardboard box!! Well....finally!!! After all the green campaigns, they decided to get rid of the styrofoam boxes for good. I was so delighted that I had to take a snapshot of the box. So here are two photos:

The recycle logo: authentic? Beats me

Yummy but oily. Is someone drooling already?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Good Samaritan

Not long after publishing the previous blog, there was a phone call. A damsel in distress - at 7:45 AM!!! She was on her way to the office, and the six of us were supposed to travel to Cyberjaya in a van when he car stalled somewhere. She couldn't describe the location well, so I just guessed it. At that time, I was in a depressed situation, but I told myself that I wouldn't want to be in her situation, would I? So, I switched off my PC, took the stairs (the lift wasn't working), rushed down 3 floors as I dislike making others wait for me, got to my car and drove out of campus.

As I was just a few metres out of the campus grounds, she called me. "Hi, I've taken a cab already..." - and she thanked me. Well, on normal days, I'd have complained and screamed to myself: "What a waste of time, why didn't I wait longer?" - but today... somehow, I realise I don't have any friends, and the best I could do is to help those in need, even if they don't need my help in the end. So since my assistance was no longer needed, I turned back to campus quietly, and she was already there waiting for the van. It didn't matter as she's safe.

I honestly do not have the heart to see people suffer. As far as possible, I'll put myself in their situation. How would they feel if there's no one to turn to? If I come into this situation again, I'll just provide help without thinking twice about it.

I've my strengths... but my weaknesses overshadow my strengths so much that the strengths sort of become unnoticeable.