Yan's Corner - In Touch

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Surpassing yourself

I went to Liu Yong (picture left) talk in Sibu last night. The talk show which was held in Civic Centre here was packed. All proceeds of tickets go to the Chinese education.

This is Liu Yong's second visit to Sibu. The first one was nine years ago.

Liu Yong is a writer also an artist. He has published many books. Majority of his readers are young students. His writing is imbued with concern and affection. Titles like "Surpassing yourself, Trusting yourself, Creating yourself" gives the young readers a sense of intimacy.

Nine years ago, I attended his talk. Nine years later, I attended his talk - what's the difference? Liu Yong is still Liu Yong. He still cares. He is still concerned with the young ones. He still loves the Chinese education here in Malaysia. He still presents his best. He still tells stories. The only difference is I have aged. I would not line up to get books being signed by him. I still love hearing his stories.

If you have young daughters growing, grab a copy of his book titled "Growing is a beautiful Pain" and read. This is a book she wrote to his daughter (or anybody else's daughter). In it, there are gentle instructions on how a girl might discover and cherish the good in life. There are exhortations on independence and self-reliance.

May God Bless You, Liu Yong, for all the good deeds you have done for the Chinese education in Malaysia, for all the life's little instructions given to the young ones, for all the wisdom given unreservedly to parents.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Tun and the young ones

Tun Dr Mahathir (Malaysia former Prime Minister) may have disappointed reporters for that response of "Dont want - lah". The newspaper reported that eager reporters hoping for quotable quotes from Tun were disappointed. Tun and his wife were leaving a gathering for the celebration of the second anniversary of a magazine for the young ones called "Bintang Kecil".

Well, Tun and his wife have definitely not dispapointed the young ones at the gathering. The newspaper reported that the children wanted to know how they celebrated their birthdays, their ambitions, their take on fashion, the animal which they found most repulsive and the difference between today's children and those in their younger days.

The answers?

Birthdays - Tun usually celebrated his birthdays outside the country accompanied by his wife and several bodyguards in the past. Now, for his 80th birthday, he had many invitations to mark this auspicious occasion. So, Tun had not decided?

Ambition - Dr Siti Hasnah (Tun's wife) aspired to be a journalist when she was young. But, later she changed her mind to take up medicine. Why? Because her mother fell ill and no one could tell what she was suffering from.

Now and then - Young girls in Dr Siti Hasnah's days wore whatever their parents picked for them. Today's children had magazines, TV and friends to influence their fashion.

Animals - Tun finds snakes the most repulsive animal. This is a feeling which he had since he was young.

I would not have been disappointed with such warm answers to the young ones! With the not-so-good feeling news like helicipter crash news at home, the AP controversy, to take away the "Dr" title, a photo of Tun with the young ones whould have made my day. Unfortunately, I did not see one in the local newspapers here in Sarawak.

Updated: On my way back home in the plane just now, I got hold a copy of NST, and yes, NST carried the photo. Read and see the picture here.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Perfecting and shaping

My dear friend “SMSed” me yesterday that she is going to start her “braces” mission. She had one tooth extracted. Another one to go this Friday.

I thought, she would look kind of funny with a mouth full of metal. I also thought, what is the point of putting up with the aggravation to let your mouth be invaded with metal, cement and platic?

I did not have much time to give myself an answer until today. Yes, the hardship of going through the “braces” journey or mission is for the reward of a million-dollar smile that will last through the rest of her life. She just has to live with the little annoyances and pain for a while, she’ll be rewarded with that “perfect-smile”.

How true it is in our marriage life. There are little annoyances. There are little pains. There are even sorrows no less than joys. There are daylong tug-of-war at times. There are some inconveniences at crucial times. There are times when sharp edges poke you. But, God is perfecting us, straightening us out, shaping us into something beautiful to share, cherish with our partner. And the reward? Anniversary after anniversary.

Yes, my husband and I are rejoicing over the ability to press through 19 years of shared life!

19 years, and entering 20th year…

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Something still remains

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen nor touched, but are felt in the heart. At the soft launching of “Heritage in Health” yesterday, I picked up a few things to think about –

History, although sometimes made up of the few acts of the great, is more often shaped by the many acts of the small – Mark Twain

Sarawak Health Department’s effort in getting some 80 retired personnel to come back “home” to share, discuss and contribute towards the documentation of the history of health services in Sarawak is so heartwarming because it remembers the acts of the small.

Just as time passes, so do memories pass as well, but those who stirred our spirits sing in our hearts forever. – Author unknown

I like the powerpoint presentation of the “Then and Now”. The presentation shows the photos of the old hospitals, clinics and the new hospitals; the retired medical personnel and the existing serving medical personnel.

At the end of the presentation, there were few pictures of joyous moments titled “something still remains” – we are still dancing, we are still celebrating birthdays, we are still having fun.

The faces of the participants were so radiant with joy – they may not remember the days, but I know they remember moments.

Memories are good. You never know when you are making a memory. The soft launching itself yesterday is a history today!

"Heritage in Health" - a History of Health Services in Sarawak is a joint project of Sarawak Health Department, Society of Private Medical Practitioners and The Borneo Post with the assistance from the State Library, Sarawak Museum and Universiti Malaysia, Sarawak (Unimas).

Expected output from the project are -
Series of publication under the "Heritage in Health, Sarawak"
- Coffee table book
- Bographies
- Monographs
- Pictorial Albums
- Websites
- Documentary
- Medical History Library
- Display of exhibits at the Lau King Howe Museum

Refusing to Live Small

I was at a very informal, warm company yesterday morning in Kuching with many health care personnel. Informal it may be, but the purpose of the gathering is noble.

The host started with very warm greetings -

Good morning, grand-uncles, grand-aunties, uncles, aunties ....

How long has it been since you last heard such a warm greeting? Who could have been so inspiring as to start off the gathering with such sweet and warm greetings? It's Dr Flora Ong. When the Director of Health Sarawak, Dr Yao Sik King spoke, she started off with same warm greetings!

It was the gathering for health care personnel, both retired and existing, for the noble cause of documenting the history of the services of health care in Sarawak. The project is called "Heritage in Health."

It is a beautiful beginning of a beautiful story. As Dr Yao put it, "Sarawak is the biggest state in the country. Through the years, the medical staff had to overcome huge challenges to provide health services to the people."

It is also a noble plan to plan such a noble project. The project is not only to documents the history of the health services development in Sarawak, but also to give due recognition to those who helped to build the services to it is today.

As I recalled the event yesterday, I could not help but to mention the story of Jabez as told in the Bible, 1 Chronicles 4. Jabez's story is told in only one paragraph. The paragraph that tells it begins with this sentence -

Jabez was more honourable than his brothers.

It was what the Bible that calls honour that drove Jabez to rise above and live the large and bountiful life God had ordained.

The "Heritage in Health" will record many, many medical personnel who had contributed, who is still contributing to the health services. It may be in one paragraph, or even in one sentence, but -

If one but tell a thing well
it moves on with undying voice
and over the fruitful earth and across
the sea goes the bright gleam of
noble deed ever unquenchable.
- Pindar

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Yum, yum, good!

A doctor friend commented yesterday:

Many kids are now obese , KFC , Mc Donald's etc ... and with gameboy, physical exercise just does not exist. Plus with good yummy food from the mother.

I like that little plus - with good yummy food from the mother...

It warms my heart despite the fact that the first statement is not so pleasing to the heart. I am in fact guilty of the many "sins". But having a mother who prepared yummy food, and being a mother who prepares yummy food - I take that little plus as a praise.

You are sitting at dinner, and the yummy food prepared by your mother were served, much to your delight. You take one bite and one thing for sure, you would not sit there saying nothing. "Yum, yum good. Thank you mother." That's the least you would say.

Or your children are sitting at dinner, when the chicken pie you prepare is served. Your children with their eyes wide open, mouth watering, but still do not forget to say, "Thank you mummy, your pie melts in my mouth."

We were made to priase. And we were also made to receive praises. We were made to like praises.

C.S. Lewis said, you praise because praise completes your enjoyment of the thing or person being praised.

Just like when you praise God - your enjoyment of Him will be complete, not so He'll feel better about Himself.

Thank you, dear friend, for that little plus that really made my day!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Swan

Swan Posted by Picasa

The Borneo Post carries this story captioned “Sibu “invaded” by swans” yesterday –

Suddenly, Sibu town is “invaded” by a host of swans with the latest one finding a place in front of Li Hua Hotel at Jalan Esplanade.

Perched above an artificial waterfall the swan is 29 feet high and 23 feet wide.

My knowledge of swan starts with the old bedtime story, the Ugly Duckling.

Remember the first time the Ugly Duckling saw a flock of swans? He had spent his whole life as an ugly duckling, the world convinced him, that he was the ugly one. Then, one cold autumn evening, he saw a whole flock of graceful white birds flying south to warmer lands. As he watched them in the sky, the ugly duckling was gripped with a strange joy. He did not know what these majestic birds were, but he loved them more than he had ever loved any other things.

He did not know that the swan’s beauty spoke of him, of his true self, of his true identity. But he was one of them. He was destined to be that beautiful!

Muster the courage to join the swans and discover that you are a swan from the start!

There are many other lessons we can learn from the “swan”. I did a search of the “swan” and found the following facts about swan and what we can learn –

Graceful - Swan is a graceful bird. Be graceful too.

There are few major types of swans:

Mute swan - This swan is more quiet than other swans. Be a “mute swan” when people gossip. Sibu has been named as a “gossip town”. Make it a town free of gossips.

Whistling swan – whistle when you are happy, it will bring some joy to other people.

Trumpeter swan – rejoice over the many uniqueness of the town, the people, the food, the gardens, the cleanliness …

Faithful - When they are 2 or 3 years old, swans choose mates during highly vocal courtship displays. In one such display, called the Triumph ceremony, the male and female face each other, raise their wing, and call loudly. Mated swans usually stay together for life. – stay together with your mate for life, like the swans do.

Protective - The female usually lays four to six whitish eggs. Among most swans, only the female sits ont he eggs to keep them warm. But the male black swan share this duty with the female. The eggs must be warmed 30 to 35 days before they hatch. During this period, swans will attack foxes, dogs, people, and any other possible threats to their eggs. – always protects, always upholds like the female swans.

Family Ties - Swans have strong family ties. The young may remain with the parents until it is time to choose a mate – honour your parents, young ones. Even the swans do!

God has certainly blessed Sibu over the years. God blesses people so that the people might be a blessing to others. In other words, God blesses us not just that we would experience happiness, but so that many others might experience the same happiness of knowing the God who works in their lives.

It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it. Proverbs 10:22

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

When you live by numbers

Two weeks ago, a staff of mine resigned and would be leaving the town. He has an apartment that is ready for occupation next month. He wants to let go. I was quite interested then. So, I went to have a look. I remember a friend also booked one unit there. So, I called her just to check on the market price. She asked, "Which block, 63 or 65?" I did not know.

Few days later, I met this friend and she told me she hit 4D with my "luck" with 6365 (or 6563, I did not take note). I thought, many people now live by numbers.

I read this piece of news from The New Paper Singapore last night that saddened me:

SHE was among the hundreds of Singaporeans who showed up at Liu Hong Mei's funeral last week.

The housewife, who wanted to be known only as Mrs Tan, openly confessed to The New Paper on Sunday that she was hoping to strike 4-D after attending the funeral.

From Hong Mei's age to the number of people who carried her coffin to the number plate of the vehicle that ferried her coffin, Mrs Tan kept a lookout for numbers at the funeral.

'When I read about how some people struck 4-D after they attended Huang Na's funeral, I was very envious. So this time I made an effort to go to Hong Mei's funeral,' said the 55-year-old housewife in Mandarin.

'People won't talk openly about the numbers that they've spotted. You need to look around discreetly and you will know that there are numbers everywhere.

'You can get your inspiration from counting the number of wreaths and blankets at the funeral.'

Doesn't she feel bad about trying to strike it rich from someone's death?

Her answer is NO!

Yes, when you live by numbers, you see numbers everywhere. You treat others as numbers, and you also treat yourself as numbers. You have forgotten that you come this year to love and be loved!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

My mother is a super woman

The speaker of my Sunday Worship Service is a young theological student. It's always refreshing to listen to the young ones. Hezekiah (yes, his name) told many stories, from the caterpillar to butterfly, from his grandfather to his mother.

My mother is a superwoman, he said.

She flies to Sibu, Kuching, Miri, Peninsular Malaysia frequently doing business. But, when there is a political meeting and a church meeting, she would go to the church meeting first, he stressed.

This is a superwoman. First thing first. (Oop ... is this copyright of Stephen Covey?)

You probably have heard of the story of a jar, a cup of sand, a cup of pebbles and some big stones. If not, here it is.

A lecturer asked his class to fill the cup of sand, a cup of pebbles and some stones into a jar. A cup of sand, a cup of pebbles would fill up more than half of the jar, how could the stones go in? Simple math tells you that it's not possible. But if you put in the stones first, then the pebbles, then the sand. It fills up the jar perfectly. The sand will fill up the spaces betwen the stones and pebbles.

The lecturer told the class that the jar is your life. If you are smart enough, you will take care of the big and important things (the stones) in your life first, then you can squeeze the smaller things. You will be surprised that how much more you can do!

Hezekiah's mother is a superwoman because she gets her priorities right. Jesus' way of telling us the jar's story is - Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:33 NKIV).

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Season of our lives

A business friend has a fruit garden. In his garden, he grows mangoes beside other fruits. He sends me mangoes in boxes now and then. Yesterday, some politicians visited his garden. He called for some "favours" of news coverage. That brings me thoughts of mangoes ...

Mangoes, whether it is ripe, just ripe or even unripe can always turn into something nice. Eat it as fruit, the fragrance and flaviour is simply great. Make the mangoes into pudding - it's just great. Bake a mango cake - it's befitting for a King's Hi-Tea..

I am always able to extract goodness from mangoes in any of its stages - ripe, just ripe and unripe.

Isn't it also true of our lives? Whatever state of mind, whatever season of our lives, there is always something good that can be extracted from us. It's a matter of - Are you willing?

Hymns of all times

Just this morning, over the telephone, a dear friend, on the subject of the death of two friends, reminded that "what is seen is temporary and what is unseen - eternal".

The reminder reminds me of this wonderful chorus that I still hum to myself -

This world is not my home
I'm just a-passing through,
My treasurers are laid up
somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me
from heavens open door
And I can't feel at home
in this world anymore."

Then the sweet refrain of another previous hymn sent confirming reverberations within my spirit,

"All to Jesus I surrender,
All to Him I freely give."

Then these probing questions -

Whose plans prevail in your life?
Whose thoughts reign you?
Who rule over your family, career, puruits and goal - the big issues?
Who rule over your trivial matter?

Yes, God's presence must rule over my all.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Will Fong Po Kuan apologize?

On March 30, Fong Po Kuan (DAP – Batu Gajah) felt affronted when her fellow MP Datuk Badruddin Amirldin made this statement: “How long can the Yang Berhormat’s husband stand her?”

She said that Badruddin’s statement had contravened Standing Order 36(9), which states that no MP should utter any statement with malicious intent towards another MP as reported by many newspapers. Fong demanded an apology.

The Star reported in its “At the Dewan Rakyat” today that the Dewan was told that there is apparently a huge pool of men out there known as 3Ts. It stands for “teringin tapi takut” – men who desire for more than one wife but are not polygamous for fear of not being able to act justly.

The Star further reported of the many remarks of our “people’s representatives” –

Idris Haron (BN – Tangga Batu) said many muslim men were believed to fall under the 3T category. In jest, he conceded that he, too, was a 3T. Women, he said, should also be blamed because some of them preferred to court married men..

Chong Eng (DAP – Bukit Mertajam), while agreeing with his remarks that some women were partly to blame, said married men must keep in mind their marriage vows and responsibility.

Fong Po Kuan said statistics showed that there were more women than men aged between 65 and 75 years old.

“Men should then take wives from this age category,” suggested Fong to hoots of the laughter from the MPs.

Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN – Kinabatangan) cut in, saying, ”Mana boleh. Siapa mahu?” (That’s not possible. Who wants to do that) May be YB Ipoh Timor (Lim Kit Siang) would want someone from that age.”

I take this as an insult not only to women of this age category, but to all women. Fong Po Kuan definitely owes all women an apology. I hope that she will use the same spirit as when she demanded for an apology to be responsible for her words and offer an apology to women.

One day, if Fong lives long enough, she will reach this age category. Will she then made the same remark? Or does it mean that when she is 65, is is alright for the same statement "How long can the Yang Berhormat's husband stand her?" to be put to her?

Teen Voices

I read this letter from an American teen writing home from Thailand at www.bruderhof.com.

The site allows reprint of the article with the following credit line -

Reprint from www.bruderhof.com

Here is the link to the letter if you would like to see the pictures.

Here is the letter -

I have a little Thai brother whose name is Wan. When I walk to the ocean on Saturday and Sunday I pass his house. He is watching and runs out to join me, barefoot, over the glass and thorns and down to the shore. We pick up shells, trying to find perfect ones, and chase the crabs and build with sand. We swim in the warm water of the Andaman Sea and try to hold hands while the waves pull us apart. Wan is ten.

On weekdays I come home from teaching and my little Burmese sister is waiting to welcome me home with a hug. I don't know her name (she won’t tell me—I don’t know why) but I think she is nine. Some days she wants to paint and hang her pictures on my wall. Some days she wants to learn English, and once with colored string she made us matching bracelets. And every day -never mind the heat or rain - she wants me to push her on the swings.

Sah is thirteen. She often spends the night in my room when she is left at home alone. Right next door live Fie, eleven, and her older brother Bee. They spend almost every evening at my house, as do Bam, Boy, Boa, and several others.

All these children, Burmese and Thai, are little brothers and sisters to me. As their big sister I want all the best for them. I want them to make good grades in school, to go home happy to families who love them. I want their childhood to be a strong foundation for their future.

But Wan, my crab-chasing friend, has no secure home. His house was destroyed by the tsunami. Since then a mining company has claimed the land, even though his parents and neighbors have started to rebuild. Now there is a major dispute, and it has gone to the courts. For Wan, the future is uncertain.

My little sister from Burma does not make good grades in school because she is not allowed to go to school. She is the child of one of thousands of Burmese immigrants trying to make in Thailand what they cannot make at home. In a few years she will probably join her parents in construction. She will start at dawn and work late into the night, building for a country not her own.

Sah has no family to love her. Her mother lives in Phuket, she does not know her father, and the tsunami killed her older brothers and grandfather.

Fie's mother was murdered. She and Bee live with their father, a fisherman who is rarely home.
Bam's mother was fifteen when she had Bam. She left her baby to be raised by her grandmother. What about Boy? And Boa? And all the rest?

I see the pain of each one - what they suffer each day. Their right - he right of every child to security and love - have been robbed from them, never to be returned. There is nothing to justify or explain this tragedy. But something has to be done.

So my question is, How can I help them? What can I do for my little brothers and sisters - for all my little brothers and sisters around the world?

The writer, 16, has lived in Ban Nam Khem, a Thai resettlement camp for tsunami survivors, since April. Her father teaches English; her mother, art.

Password Hint

My daughter "locked" her computer when I came back from Kuching today. Her password hint is -

Keep yourselves in ?????? - Jude 21. The password is two words connected to each other and has 8 characters. P/S - if you figure out the password don't tell Liang Liang.

Liang Liang is the little boy.

I did not figure out. But Liang Liang did. Perhaps, my daughter should include another PP/S - if you figure out the password don't tell mummy.

Children, they amuse you all the time, whether you are a CEO or a would-be CEO, you will be amused by their creativity.

What matters

Today I am taking a few “morals of the stories” from the newspaper reports.

Heart matters

Journalism taught me to have a heart.

Talking of her success story, Datuk Jamelah Bakar said the background in journalism has taught her to think of others and take an interest in the world around her.

Jamelah Bakar received the title “Datuk” from the Governor of Penang on the occasion of his 67th birthday on July 11.

Responsibility matters

Power carries with it responsibility.

Senior Vice President Dato Sri Adenam Satem said that the party (Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu) is not only entrusted by the people to lead the State Barisan Nasional but also has a big responsibility to ensure that political is maintained in Sarawak.

He further said that trust given by the people should be paid with good, able and responsible leadership as well as good service.

Also on responsibility matters, remember the former Sabah Chief Minister facing RM7.14 million gambling debts overseas? (Read story here) Yesterday, Datuk Seri Osu Sukam resigned as chief of Papar Umno Division.

Osu’s boss, the chairman of Sabah Umno, also Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Adman said Osu’s decision to resign reflected his nature as a responsible and matured veteran Sabah Umno leader.

Also read my earlier postings on responsibility here.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Happy Birthday! You are 20 years younger, 1 year wiser

One of my young friends is having a birthday today. I “smsed” him this morning with this message –

Birthday brings along a truly wonderful chance to leave aside every care and simply enjoy. Have an extra-special birthday.

He replied to thank me, but he wanted to turn back the clock. He wants to be younger, even though he is young! I can’t buy him a time machine, but I think he would enjoy a story told by a young girl and feel young -

My children are great story tellers. Here is one written by my daughter when she was 11. She was given the few words like mutton curry, gas, purple, basket, eyelash (highlighted in orange in the story) to make up a story. If you are in a mood to go back to the children’s world like how my young friend wishes for on his birthday, then join me ….

Emmmm.. It's delicious. I said as I was dipping my spoon back into the bowl of mutton curry. It was my favourite spicy dish. In fact, it was almost the only dish I eat every day.

Everyday, I will at least eat two to three bowls of mutton curry. My mother always tells me to stop eating mutton curry. But, I couldn't. It is just so yummy. But something happened and changed my taste for mutton curry.

It all started when I got a heat stroke for eating too much mutton curry. I wasn't allowed to go to school or eat mutton curry. However, as my carving for mutton curry became strong, I waited for my mother to go out, then I took out the money in my piggy bank and went to the market. I took a basket. I asked for ten packets of mutton curry.

My mother was gone for the whole day and I kept eating mutton curry until I finished all the ten packets. I was very full and sick of it. I washed the bowls and lay in bed. Then, my mother came back with a packet of mutton curry. She gave to me and said, "Dear, you must be hungry." I took the eleventh packet of mutton curry.

That night, I had a night mare. I dreamt that I was in a castle and I was the queen. When suddenly the real queen came, she punished me for entering her castle. She made me eat mutton curry out of a bowl, the contents of which will never run out or go rotten. Green coloured gas was bubbling from the bowl. I took the spoon with trembling hand and put the mutton curry in my mouth. It tasted awful. But I forced myself to eat it. It tasted so awful even in the dream.

The queen put in all kinds of disgusting things into the mutton curry and I was forced to eat it. But the most awful thing was when she took hold of a small man and pull off his eyelash and put it in the mutton curry. My stomach turned. I thought I would throw up and vomit my organs out. SuddenlyI was vomiting out something, thank God, it was not my organs but purple slimy liquid oozing out of my mouth.

I woke up and looked at the clock. It showed 6:00 am. I saw my mother and ran to her begging her to forgive me for going out to buy mutton curry and told her my nightmare. I promised to her to try other variety of food and never eat mutton curry again.

I went back to school that morning. I kept thinking of mutton curry and the nightmare. When I came home I smelled a familiar aroma. I walked into the kitchen and my mother was cooking mutton curry. The sight make me screamed, "Ahhhh.... "

Still don't feel young after reading the story? This birthday song is the favourite of my 9-year old son. Sing and feel young -

Happy Birthday to you
You were born in a zoo
You look like a monkey
And smell like one too....

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Watching From A Distance

I love this song “From A Distance” by Bette Midler. But, I like the sweet voice of Emi Fujita more singing this song that gives that soothing effect...

From a distance
The world looks blue and green
And the snow capped mountains white
From a distance
The ocean meets the stream
And the eagle takes to flight

From a distance
There is harmony
And it echoes through the land
Its the voice of hope
Its the voice of peace
Its the voice of every man

From a distance
We all have enough
And no one is in need
And there are no guns, no bombs and no disease
No hungry mouths to feed

From a Distance
We are instruments
Marching in a common band
Playing songs of hope
Playing songs of peace
They are the songs of every man

God is watching us
God is watching us
God is watching us
From a distance

From a distance
You look like my friend
Even though we are at war
From a distance
I just cannot comprehend
What all this fightings for

From a distance
There is harmony
And it echoes through the land
And its the hope of hopes
Its the love of loves
Its the heart of every man

The lyrics of the song is something I can identity with anytime, anywhere. In many ways it reminds me of God’s creation, the plight of the people and the relationship of people.

As you listen to the first verse, close your eyes and imagine the world in blue and green, the greens of the tress, the top mountain blue, the blue ocean, the harmony, the echoes of the land.

Then listen to the cries of the people. Close your eyes and hear the cries of the poor, the political unrest in countries and even the London bombing?

Then, we move on to the relationship of people. Friends come. Friends go. People we encounter everyday. Conflicts with people.

But remember that God is watching over us. However, also remember that He is not watching us from a distance. God sees the sufferings and problems of the world. He is watching us from within.

The next time you listen to this song remember that God is watching not only from a distance, He is also watching us from within. Because He has sent his Son Jesus to die for our sins in order for us to have this relationship with Him. Who can watch over us any better?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

What would you say?

The Borneo Post today carries a Bernama report in its count roundup of Kota Kinabalu the dismissal of the bid to register the English High Court’s judgment in the High Court of Sarawak and Sabah.

Ritz Hotel Casino Ltd and RHC Ltd from the United Kingdom are in their bid to recover RM7.14 million in gambling debt owed to them by former Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Osu Sukam. The casinos have obtained judgment from the English High Court and is applying to register the judgment in High Court of Sarawak and Sabah.

Datuk Ian Chin, KK High Court Judge dismissed the application. Ian said this –

The world would be a much nicer place if no country would allow the recovery of judgment from a gambling debt which was the result, invariably, of the debtor being enticed to gamble on credit and beyond his means.

Ian further said in his judgment that a law be enacted to allow a gambler to sue a casino for having enticed to gamble beyond his means.

Well, gamblers being enticed to gamble? Casinos having enticed the gamblers to gamble beyond his means? Who is responsible?

If you were the judge, what would you say?

Monday, July 04, 2005

Borneo Cultural Festival - the irrelevant

I passed by a stall selling T-Shirts.

Here are two of the T-shirts on display.

No, we are not headhunters. We are warm, friendly and civilied people.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Borneo Cultural Festival - the Foochow food

I went to Borneo Cultural Festival (BCF) today. BCF is an annual cultural festival organized by the Municipal Council. It has been fixed in the calendar of Sarawak Tourism Board as one of the annual affair. It aims to promote Sibu to be a town of rich culture and festivals.

This is the fourth time this event described as Beauty in Ethnic Diversity is being held in Sibu.

BCF will be on until 9th July. It started on 2nd July.

I did not visit all the stalls, but perhaps, you would like to take a stroll with me?

Food stalls are plently. Being Foochow, I take a few pictures of the food sold by the Foochow Association. Not all the food on display are taken.

These are traditional foochow wedding cake called "li-ping".

The top one is from the bride's family.

The bottom one from the bridegroom's family.

This is also traditional Foochow Food - rice noodles soup, it's called "feng-gan".

It's usually taken together with boiled egg, and sometimes the egg is fried (as next picture). It means peace.

From Crush to Slap

It's Sunday. Thank God it's Sunday.

Two days ago, not on a Sunday, my 9-year-old son related to me this familiar story. You must have heard of it during your young days.

A girl classmate likes a boy classmate. She writes him a note and puts in his drawer. The note reads -

Dear xxx, I actually like you very much. But I do not know how to express it. So, I am writing this note to you to tell you I like you. Your classmate, xxx

The boy is very angry and shows the note to all the boys in the class.

It could be a boy writing to a girl.

They are young. 9 to 10 or 11 to 12, may be.

It always amuses me to hear stories from my little boy. He is a good story teller. Not only is he a narrator, he always ends with the "moral" of the story.

The "moral" of this story, according to my son, is this -

If you find such a note in your drawer, erase your name, put someone else's name on it and put it in his drawer. Never show it to others, let others show it to you and let others be "slapped" by the girl.

Try this brain teaser (because it's Sunday) and be amused. I have provided the answer too - it's Sunday, I do not want to keep you in suspense -

When you were in your early school years,
you can remember when you had a CRUSH on that cute girl sitting nearby.
The only problem comes when you say something stupid
and she SLAPS your face.
Try to get from CRUSH to SLAPS in 5 steps by making a word each time.


Incidentally, my 9-year-old also "tells" me what does SARAWAK (the State where we stay) mean. It means -

Send A Rose And Wish A Kiss (copyright, Richard K, my son's classmate)

The amusing part is if you are so desperate and go ahead to Kiss, then this is what happens -

Kiss A Woman And Receive A Slap (copyright, CLKL, my son)

That's spelling Sarawak backward.