Yan's Corner - In Touch

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

On Merdeka Day

These are thoughts of a little boy on Merdeka Day.


By Christopher Lau, 10

My mother says I am still a very tiny bud. I think small as I am, I am still called a flower. A flower needs to be nourished and guided.

Thank you, my parents, I am protected and guided.
Thank you, Malaysia, the land where I stand.
Thank you, God, I am growing each day.

My classmates and I like to form other meaning with words. Merdeka in our own foochow dialect sounds like "selling pig legs". "Malaysia Boleh" in our foochow dialet sounds like "Don't eat glass".

So, everyday, we shout "Merdeka", "Malaysia Boleh" and the like. We have fun. We have joy. Today, on Merdeka Day, I want to truly say, "Merdeka, Merdeka" in its true meaning.

I want to fly a flag also on my mother's car. I think it is so nice to see the flags flying. But, my mother does not like the idea. She says flying flags does not really show a person's love for the country. True enough. this morning we just passed by a small car with more than 10 flags flying high. They overtook us and the passengers popped out their heads and showed monkey faces to us.

So, I think the flag really flies in our hearts.

We went to the church cleaning this morning. It was a spring cleaning. I see many uncles and aunties happily cleaning the church. I think I see the flags flying in every corner of my church.

I used to like August very much. Why? Because on the first day of the month, it is my birthday, in the middle of August it is my grandfather's birthday, then on the last day of the month, it is my country's birthday. There have been a reason to celebrate on 1st, 15th and 31st. But, my grandfather went back to the home of the Lord last year. Now, August has become a month with a reason to remember my grandfather on the 1st, 15th and 31st.

I remember. I listen. I watch. I learn. I see. I feel. I move. I smell. I touch. I love. I run. I jump. I yell. I sing. I dance. I am not a great person. Malaysia is my country. I am one small star. But, my mother says that's wonderful too.

Happy Merdeka Day.


Monday, August 29, 2005

Very interesting!

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at teh rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can still raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid does not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Vrey intretsing.

I read this somewhere long, long ago. It still amuses me. To take away your Monday blues..

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Prayer for the Nations

This is lifted from my Church Bulletin for today. I thought the essence of this prayer that the change should begin in us for nation's healing should give us some thoughts -

Prayer for the Nations

If my people, which are called by my name shall humble themselves,
and pray, and seek my face,
And turn from their wicked ways, Then will I hear from heaven,
and forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14

Dear Lord,
How desperately our land needs Your healing.
Lord, I see wickedness spreading across it,
and I wonder how this happened.
A solution seems so far away.

The solution You've outlined in this promise is not without personal cost.
You call on me to humble myself, seek You in prayer,
and turn from my wicked ways.
Today, I confess that I have many sins to my credit and not much good.
I turn from sin. Please bring me forgiveness and healing.

May I be a part of my hurting country's healing, Lord.
Turn our leaders and people toward You -
perhaps by using our testimonies for You today.

In Jesus' name I pray. Amen

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Raunchy Reading

Recently I interviewed a "Malaysian Star" studying in NUS High School of Science and Maths in Singapore. The full interview plus photo will be posted here after it has been published in The Borneo Post. Be patient, akan datang.

Today's thoughts come from reading an article in Focus in Family Website titled Rauchy Reading Hits Public School Libraries.

This "Malaysian Star" when asked what books she (yes, a 13-year-old girl) read, she told me every single book she read is screened by her mother before it lands on her hands or lap.

The principal of the school who was also there when the interview was conducted, asked, "Even books from the school's library?" For which, the "Star" nodded her head.

I thought it is over-cautious at that moment.

But today the article made me re-think into the subject. Should we screen every single book before our children get their hands on it?

According to the report, titles like "Doing it" and "Rainbow Bous" feature scenes with teachers and adults having sex with students. The article further reported that parents trying to get the books out of the reach of the children was only successful to move the books from open section to parental guidance section. One of the parents, Laure Taylor said this:

"I looked at it and found it to be absolutely heinous. It had pictures of naked children, it had pictures of children copulating, it had full-frontal nudity."

Friday, August 26, 2005

MyKad MyLuck

I applied for MyKad few years back together with my daughter who then qualified to carry an Identity Card reaching the age 12.

I remember it was one fine day when I took a day’s leave specially for this big event. It was a crowd. I specially chosen a light pinkish blouse thinking that I would look a little younger, complexion a little better. When it was my turn, I was disappointed that because of the light colour of my blouse, I have to wear the black jacket made available by the National Registration Department. It was, of course, smelly with thousands of people having used it. No compromise. So, I put the jacket on. Before I have chance to put on a smile, the photo has already been taken. Very efficient.

So, it was done. But, my daughter’s application was not so effectively handled.. She had to go through many tests and trials. Why? Because she was born in Singapore. Though holding a Malaysian citizenship, her application needs clearance from Bukit Aman. She could not have her photo taken at the National Registration Department. I have to send her to outside photo studio to take photograph and bring back the printed copies for processing.

It was such a hassle that the 12-year-old said this, “I am going to hold a press conference for treating me as a second-class citizen.”

Huh? Press conference? Yes, she “threatened”. She must have heard of many press conferences from her mother!

I do not know whether the little girl, now 15, has read this news (from NST) –

Win prizes with MyKad

The Government is holding three lucky draws, with exciting prizes, and all you need is your MyKad.

The 16 million MyKad holders have a chance to win RM350,000 in prizes including a grand prize of a Perodua MyVi worth RM50,000.

Those who do not have a MyKad can quickly get one to be in the running as long as they change their old identity cards by Nov 30.

Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid said the move was to encourage the remaining two million Malaysians who have not applied for their MyKad to do so quickly.

"For those who have already received or awaiting their MyKad, all they have to do is wait and see if their number is picked," Azmi said adding that identification numbers would be picked randomly by a computerised system.

Names of winners would be published in local dailies and prizes would be posted to the address listed on the winners’ Mykad.

The monthly lucky draw prizes, to be held in September, October and November, offer a 150cc Suzuki scooter worth RM6,500 and six 29- inch television sets worth RM2,000.

Also included are five flight tickets to Jakarta, six personal computers, seven refrigerators, five video cameras, hand phones, digital cameras, microwave ovens as well as 10 digital video disc players and 20 pressure cookers.

The grand prize draw will be held in December.

The department, he said, would publicise National Registration Departments with fewer applications to make it easier for the public to apply for their MyKad.

WAJ! It’s “What a joke!”, not the young ones’ WXX”. We have to resort to lucky draw to encourage the remaining two million Malaysians to apply their MyKad quickly. What a shame! I type in “lucky draw” in my google search bar and hit the enter key, nay, result – 3,000,000. I type in one more time but this time request to search web in Malaysia only, the result – 8,030. Still a consolation prize that majority of Malaysians do not live by "luck", isn’t it?

If the little girl has read this article, will her little mind wonder whether she is entitled to this one in a 16 million chance?

The Roll Call

My heart is still warm though it is now the 5th day after listening to the Prime Minister of Sing-land, Lee Hsien Loong's rally speech last Sunday in Singapore.

Warm because of the many stories of the extraordinary people he mentioned in his speech. All these people are just ordinary people. I have given this post the title, The Roll Call, because many people are being mentioned in the national rally speech.

I love stories. I also remember stories better than facts and figures. I also love telling stories, and re-telling stories. Join me - I know you will be delighted by the extraordinary stories of his own ordinary people told by Lee Hsien Loong.

Story 1
She was a clerk and was retrenched. She could not find a job. She finally landed in a job cleaning toilet. When she was asked by her son to stop working, she had this to say - I do not loss my dignity as a toilet cleaner. I am earning a living and not robbing anyone. When her story was featured in a magazine, she was offered over 70 jobs. But, she chooses to work in an organization helping the aged. She is 63.

Lee said this, "I wish her well."

Story 2
Lee told of the story of a radiographer with Singapore General Hospital who had well past 70 years old. While praising SGH for being a good employer for employing three who have past 70 years old, Lee also praised this radiographer being efficient. When he was attended by this radiographer to take X-ray pictures, he never had to re-shoot. Lee related that while he did the same thing in a very well-known hospital, a young man was not as efficient.

Story 3
On improving service culture, Lee told this story.

A Singaporean airhostess arrived at destination and found she had no passport. The airport manager managed to get her admitted. She was scolded. To that, she answered, "I must go home and socld my maid because my maid packs my bag. My maid forgot to pack my passport. It is my maid's fault."

Lee said it is a little bit harder to provide good service whenw e are used to be look after.

Story 4
"My birthday wish for Singapore is to have a constant supply of water. I also wish for peace in Singapore." Eleven-year-old Patty caught Lee's eyes with this birthday wish in the programme booklet of a national day musical.

Patty was given full marks by Lee.

Story 5
Teacher Ranjini was also mentioned for her letter to PM which read - It's only now that I love abroad that I find myself proudly flying the Singapore flag. Singaporeans inevitably carry Singapore with them wherever they go, and there is a bit of Singapore through which they pass ont he will to be the best one can."

It's a roll call!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Elite Vs Essence

When I arrived in “Sing-land” on Sunday, I was much delighted by the live telecast of the speech of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong for the National Day Rally 2005. Being Chinese-educated, I am naturally drawn to the “essence” of his speech in Mandarin.

Though he used a few Chinese idioms with slight variations from the original, either through ignorance or by intention, he has impressed among the Chinese-educated of his love for the language.

This article is purely written with that heartwarming experience of listening to the elite and essence of Chinese sayings quoted by Lee.

Elite. Essence
Lee is happy to note a new confidence in the Chinese community over the past year. According to him, a new generation has emerged. The new generation are bilingual, and he stressed, I quote, “understand Chinese culture.”

Lee quoted Jack Neo (梁智强) saying that only the English educated are the elite (in Chinese, 精英, because they 精通英语 master English), while the Chinese educated are the true essence (精华) of the country, because they 精通华语 master Chinese. However, Lee disagreed with Jack in saying that this group of “essence” is a disappearing essence (最后的精华). He felt that this group of “essence” has just emerged. There are the first of the best show like in a long-running serial show.

Lee quoted 穷则变,变则通 when he stressed that change is essential.It means when desperate, we must adapt and in adapting, we will find a way out. However, Lee is of the opinion that we should adopt this – 变则通,不变则穷. It means in adapting, we will find a way out. However, if we do not change, it shall be the end of it. He further quoted China’s slogan 三年一小变, 五年一中变, 七年一大变, that is small changes in every three years, moderate changes in every five years and major changes in every seven years.

Life Long Learning
Talking on education and training, Lee used 活到老,学到老 to emphasize that learning is not just for the young ones. We cannot live to only 80 years old, and stop at 55.

The Path
路是人走出来的(roads are formed by the footsteps of pathfinders)is the last of the Chinese essence he used to express confidence that Singapore will succeed!

Monday, August 22, 2005

For Adults Only

No, this posting does not contain obscene acts or exhibits. But Singapore is going to hold a "sexpo" in November at Singapore Expo, the place that I know always hold family-oriented events like book fairs.

What is "Sexpo"? It is an exhibition that feature furniture designed to enhance lovemaking, erotic toys, sixy lingerie etc. Added "value" is an exotic dance competition and an exhibit on history of condom making.

WOW! How loose this "sing-land" is now! That is the reason when a friend who is the CEO of a listed educational institution at home sent me a SMS, I replied that I was on the way to that sin-ful city and hope to "sing" all my way home. I know, I won't.

Now, Singapore has bar-top dancing since 2003? In 2009, it will have two integrated resorts which will include casinos.

I asked an educator here what he thought of the "sexpo" and casinos and the like. He said he would be more confident to reply my questions 10 years down the road. 10 years? A long wait.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


Now and then, in our mail boxes, we receive touching stories, stories with good intention to warn people of certain dangers, stories of missing persons, stories appealing for assistances etc. It always ends with like this -

Send this to all the people you know that may need to be reminded that the world we live in has a lot of crazies in it...

Pass this along to every friend you have access to. Never let your guard down.



Now, when you receive emails like this, do you do a "forward" immediately? Living in a closely knitted community like my own home town, I really do have some reservations in doing the "forward" of mails. I know nobody intends to spread a false rumour. Likewise, we do like to "forward" the mail with good intention. But, so often, we found out that the interesting, heartwarming or hilarious stories are all fictions, or e-rumours.

I stumbled into "Truth or Fiction site recently. The site describes itself as "your email reality check". I also did a search on the stories that I have read through forwarded emails from friends over the years, and to my horror, most of them are either fiction or unproven!

How reliable is this "truth or fiction", I don't have a "reality check" also. Perhaps, we really have to trust that instinct!

Thursday, August 18, 2005


When I did my "Disciple 1" lessons five years ago with a group of church friends, I loved the times when we were to read a passage from the Bible and write down what did we see, smell, taste, touch and hear. I was inspired over and over again by what we would never have seen, smelled, tasted, touched and heard if we just read the scripture as it its.

I came across this CNN story on a rush for cheap laptops.

The story tells how a rush to purchase $50 used laptops turned into a violent stampede on Tuesday in Richmond, Virgina. Go to the site to read the story and do an invention of what you see, smell, taste, touch and hear.

Here's mine.

Sight (what I see)
people (terrifying crowd of people)
chairs (people beaten with folding chairs)
shoes (one girl limped around with one foot bare)
apple (iBooks (1000 of these retailing for $999 to $1,299 to be sold at $50)
gates (school gates open)
stroller (a little girl's stroller was crushed)
pavement (elderly man being thrown to the pavement)
blood (from injuries)
Urine (read from the smell)

urine (because a woman uritated on herself in order to retain her place in line)

salt (those of urine, sweat)
blood (taste like what?)

computer keyboards

Sound (what I hear)
all the four-letter words (anyone you can imagine)
keyboard sound
people talking

Well, what a scene. Will you join in the crowd with such sight, sound, smell, taste and touch for a USD50 Apple iBook?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

What age will you die?

God has a time for everything. But, try this, perhaps, you could get some insights for a healthier lifestyle!

You Will Die at Age 88


Congratulations! You take good care of yourself.

You're poised to live a long, healthy life.

What Age Will You Die?

I did another test with "yes" to all the unhealthy habits and this is what I get!

You Will Die at Age 43


Not bad, considering your super wild lifestyle

Want to live longer? Try losing a few bad habits.

What Age Will You Die?

Monday, August 15, 2005

Still Counting

When you're down and troubled
and you need some lovin' care
and nothin', nothin' is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me
and soon I will be there
to brighten up even your darkest night.

James Taylor’s You’ve Got a Friend describes friendship in a very befitting and warm way.

In life’s journey, we have many friends. When we are weak, the first one we think of may not be family members. Family members may be the ones who care for us most. But, they may not be the ones who understand us most. The one that we run to may not even be our lovers. Lovers may love us most, but they may not be the one whom we want to share our pains with. It’s the trusted friends, the ones whom we can share-anything-with-friends, will be the ones we think of.

If the sky above yougrows dark and full of clouds,
and that old north wind begins to blow.
Keep your head together and call my name out loud
Soon you'll hear me knocking at your door.

It’s friends who would just listen to you. More often than not, we do not need someone to tell us the right from wrong, the morals or the values. It’s just someone who listen to you or just a word or two or just crying with us to get us out of the deep, deep valley.

You just call out my name,
and you know wherever I am
I'll come running to see you again.
Winter, spring, summer, or fall,
all you have to do is call
and I'll be there...
You've got a friend.

There is another song that always, always touches me. Simon and Garfunkel’s Brigde Over Troubled Water -

When you’re weary, feeling small,
When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all;
I’m on your side. When times get rough
And friends just can’t be found,
Like a bridge over troubled waterI will lay me down.
Like a bridge over troubled waterI will lay me down.

When you’re down and out,
When you’re on the street,
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you.
I’ll take your part.
When darkness comes
And pain is all around,
Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down.
Like a bridge over troubled waterI will lay me down.

Sail on silver girl,
Sail on by.
Your time has come to shine.
All your dreams are on their way.
See how they shine
If you need a friendI’m sailing right behind.
Like a bridge over troubled waterI will ease your mind.
Like a bridge over troubled waterI will ease your mind.

Very much inspired by desiderata, I also start counting the friends on the net on this hot afternoon.

I do not have many visitors to my cyberhome. But, I love counting. So, I put a site meter on my site so that I can keep counting. Despite the difference, it takes a friend like Desiderata to keep coming back to my cyberhome. Though I am not counted every time I visit his cyberhome, it also takes a friend like me to keep visiting!

Through Desi, (yes, through Desi) I find the home of kennysia where many linger on for his infamous coconut. As a more “matured” woman (the other way not to say you are old), I followed his postings on his dear late father and lately his posting on Auntie Susan when he blogged for the cause of charity.

I stumbled into the home of fishtail one fine day, the gentleman (yes, gentleman) who teaches me about mother-in-law, daughter-in-law and looking after mother. He would leave his footprints on my home now and then. Thanks, fishtail, though it just does not make sense that a woman should learn about the MIL/DIL issue from a man!

Then, I learn much from the home of the dobbs. She always seems to have an inexhaustible information of interest. From the coolest site to squirrel, she treats each one in hand like her own one in a million. Thanks dobbs for the many footprints that you have left on my life’s path too.

I also find much shelter in the tent. It’s where much inspirations and thoughts were noted for every day’s survival. Thank you, doc, for the handy kit for survival.

Imagination runs wild in this place many many months ago. But, she seems still sorting out boxes! Hey, friend, it has been a long, long time … Oop, just took a peep in her home, she has finished sorting out the boxes. Welcome back!

There are many, many more that I visit, either for the daily dose of inspirations or news. Many a time, it really eases my mind.

Thank you, dear friends for that free access to your home - whether in good times, bad times, troubled, in peace ....

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The truth

I took these two pictures at the graveyard of my late father-in-law this evening.

We are also burning! We really have ourselves to blame for the haze!

Rest In Him

There is a time and season for everything. Thus shared my mother-in-law in the family comfort service in remembrance of my late father-in-law who passed away on 2nd October, 2004.

The past almost one year has been a maturing, polishing and revealing process for each and everyone of us in the family.

To me, I am very much reminded. I am reminded that life is short. Life is fragile. Our existence in this world is only temporary, marginal and trivial.

I am also reminded of His grace, His mercies and His providence. He provides direction, assurance and hope.

I am also redirected. Father-in-law had always been the earthly one who directed the family. The next step. The decision. We had always respected him. He was our earthly father who cared and loved. Today, I am redirected to His ways, His desires and His will.

I am reduced. Reduced to my very being. I have been humbled in His presence.

Every year in the month of August, we celebrated late father-in-law's birthday. Today, we held a service at his graveyard in thanksgiving to God for His provision of an earthly father to us. We read Psalms, we sang hymns, we read poems.

Indeed, in the infinitely unfathomable scheme of God's plan, all things are timed - no longer, no shorter.

Reach the end

The preacher for my morning worship service Dr Dennis Ngien shared four points on "How to press on, reach the end". The scripure lession is from Philippians 3:12-16.

Dr Dennis Ngien has always been a three-point preacher. But today, he has four points on that "how to". He emphasizes that "reach the end, not necessarily reaching the top."

First, we must have a proper estimate of ourselves in order to reach the end. Humility is the right estimate of ourselves. Humble people have much to be thankful. Only a life that illustrates humility will move on.

Second, we must deliberately forgetting things that hold us back. Things that hold us back are sins that have been forgiven, defeats, irreversible decisions, old conflicts, failures. It's alright to look backward. But, ff looking backward causes us to move backward, then it's wrong.

Third is the conscious choice of singlemindedness. Paul said "this one thing I do.." Paul is not saying "these many things I do..".

Finally, the determined act of perserverance. Paul used runner's metaphor in perserverance. With preserverance, stumbling block can be turned into stepping stones.

Indeed, like Paul, we should "delight in hardships, persecutions and difficulties" to reach the end. Anchor on God who is the same yesterday, today and forever.


God is good, all the time.

All the time, God is good.

This has been the opening of the sermon by Dr Dennis Ngien every time he preaches in our Church.

He says in his loud clear voice, God is good, then, the congregation says, All the time. Then he says, All the time, the congretation says, God is good.

Yes, God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.

I set the "greeting" of my handphone with that assuring statement. Recently, much to my surprise, my 10-year-old son also sets his handphone with this greeting for the switch-on.

How assuring and comforting!

The other opening prayer of Dr Dennis Ngien that I like is -

Forgive the preacher for his sins are many.
Forgive the people for our sins are many.

What humility and reminder!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Looking After Parents

The warden of Rumah Seri Kenangan (Home for the aged) told this story that I read in The Borneo Post -

There was once a sick woman who suffered from nose cancer and was sent here by her children. Almost everyday, she repeatedly asked me to call her children to visit her. I called but they did not want to come. A year later, she died. And all seven children came to fight for her remains for burial because they all wanted to get "pahala" (blessing). But what is the use of fighting over a lifeless body? They should (fight for her) when she was alive.

Awat Ringkt has his reason to say this because the Home for the aged that he took care of were filled with many such old folks who were sent there by their own children or relatives. They live in sadness, stress and depression, giving up hope that their children would ever come back.

I received this "A letter to my son" yesterday in my mailbox -

Dear son,

The day that you see me old I am already not, have patience and try to understand me.

If I get dirty when eating ..... if I am not dressed ... have patience.
Remember the hours I spent teaching it to you.

If I speak to you, I repeat the same things thousand of one times ...
do not interrupt me ... listen to me.
When you were small, I had to read to you a thousand and one times the same story
until you get to sleep.

When I do not want to have a shower, neither shame me nor scold me ...
Remember when I had to chase you with a thousand excuses I invented,
in order to get you to bath...

When you see my ignorances on new technologies ...
give me the necessary time and not looka t me with a mocking smile...

When at some moment I lose the memory or the thread of our conversation...
let me have the necessary time to remember ..
and if I cannot do it, do not become nervous... as the most important thing is not my conversation but surely to be with you and to have you listening to me ...

I taught you how to do so many things ... to eat good, to dress well ... to confront life ..
If ever I do not want to eat, do not force me.
I know well when I need to and when not.

When my tired legs do not allow me walk... give me your hand ... the same way I did when you took your first steps.

Try to understand that my age is not lived, but survived. Someday you will discover, despite my mistakes, I always want the best thing for you and that I tried to prepare the way for you.

You must not feel sad, angry for seeing me near you. You must be next to me, try to understand me and to help.
Help me to walk ... help me to end my way with love and patience.
I will pay you by a smile and by the immense love I have had always for you.

I love you, son ..

Your father

I bought a book titled "Looking After Mother" from a fellow blogger, fishtail. Get a copy if you have aged parents to look after!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Meeting People (2) - Distinguished Expert

I had a very enlightening afternoon high tea with former BBS News Broadcaster, Alexander Thomson, now Managing Director of News World International.

Prior to that I was having lunch with some corporate clients at the 25th floor of KLCC. I took a snap of the hazy sky looking out from the 25th floor.

Alexander has just flown in from London. With him was Bess Manley, the project manager of The First International Media and Environment Summit to be held in Kuching from 30 November to 2 December 2005.

Alexander Thomson said, "There are three key bridges World News International are trying to strengthen: media and environment; east and west; public and private sectors."

"Environment has become one of the most topical and pressing dilemmas facing the media today," says Alexandar. "The future of our environment is probably humanity's most urgent issue at present and the way in which messages about it are relayed and reported is a delemma we have to resolve. We hope the summit will give scientists, conservationists, media policymakers and media practitioners the chance to debate and agree how they can work together more effectively for the benefit of people across the world."

In short, it is about how to communicate the critical environmental problems to the people through the media. Environment affects everything. It is not just about loving animals, it's about global security. How do we put that into clear lay terms? Can the media communicate the issues effectively?

Meeting People (1) - Enthusiast and Innovator

I dropped by a shop called Mail Boxes Etc (MBE) at Phileo Damansara to get some of my documents photostated.

A young pleasant man attended to me. The documents that I requested to be photostated are from the Association of Special Children. This is the association that I recently got involved in.

This young man after giving me the photostated copies, asked,

Is there a branch of this association in PJ area? I am interested to be a voluntary worker.

Well, I was pleasantly surprised. Pleasantly surprised that there are young ones around who have a heart to do social work.

The next two persons I met were two young enterprising gentlemen in IT. They are the innovators. I was equally pleasantly surprised of their passion for charity works while we chatted along the way!

God Bless you, young ones.

The Journey (2) - Read the Notice

I was in the KLIA Express from KLIA to KL Sentral on Monday. The train is not full, as always. I occuped a section with four seats. Two each facing each other.

It was hazy outside. I did not have much mood to look at what destruction to our environment our neighbour has done. Sorry seems to be the easiest word for them.

The young girl next to me in the other section also has four seats for her own. I was amused when she started to takeouther sun block (could it be haze block?) to apply on her feet. Then, she rolled up her apple green pants to apply further up to her knee. Then she went on to her arms. She was so natural treating my amused look as "transparent".

After that she put her feet on the seat opposite her. I took a snap of her legs. There -

Aganist the hazy background, I saw her true self. I also read the little notice that remind passengers not to show their true colours by putting their feet on the other seats.

The Journey (1) - Owner's Manual

On the plane from Sibu to Kuala Lumpur on Monday, I finished the book "Beneath the Surface" by Bob Reccord.

This little paragraph caught my attention -

It is amazing what you will read when you are bored. Picking up an automobile magazine, I came across an interesting question-and-answer column asking, "What's the most unread book in America?" Being in the ministry, my mind raced to a typical answer - the Bible. I was dumb founded when I read this magazine's answer - the car owner's manual. I almost laughed out loud.

Have you ever read your car's manual? When we buy a car, we have already possesed a licence to drive. So, just hop on and drive - who cares about the manual? Some read when the car breaks down. Most just send the car to repair instead of reading the manual first. But we are supposed to read the manual for the maximum effectiveness and performances of the car!

To live our lives to the maximum effectiveness, read God's Owner's Manual - The Bible.

That's the lesson to learn, indeed.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Be yourself

"A woman without make-up on her face is a lazy woman."

This was said by a make-up artist called Adriel Khoo.

He was interviewed by Post Mag (Weekend Leisure of The Borneo Post) in its August 6 issue.

I read it yesterday and still could not accept the fact that I am a "lazy" woman.

This morning at the breakfast table, just before going for my Sunday Worship Service, I asked my 10-year-old son,

"What do you think of this statement that a woman without make-up on her face is a lazy woman?"

The boy looked at me, for a while, he said this -

"A woman without make-up on her face is a woman who is not afraid to be herself."

That's it. That makes my day!

Thank you, young Christopher.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Smile in the Storm

When I was a Sunday School teacher, I loved to watch the children singing this action song -

With Christ in the vessel we can smile in the storm,
Smile in the storm, Smile in the storm.
With Christ in the vessel we can smile in the storm,
and safely sailing home.
Sailing, sailing home, Sailing, sailing home.
With Christ in the vessel we can smile in the storm,
and safely sailing home.

I still watch children singing this action song, now it's the cadets of the Girls' Brigade.

And, today, I also see that "smile in the storm". The smile is on the face of beloved wife of our Prime Minister. The storm in the loving couple's life is not only the present treatment for the breast cancer in L.A, America, it's also the rumours at home that she is not in good condition.

My heart goes to them for having to send this picture in order to clear the air. Today are we applauding the cruel rumours and still label it witty? Or are we doing this in the name of good fun?

Psalm 23 is perhaps the best description of peace. "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want". The sheep, the shepherd, the green pastures, the still waters - that's peace. But Psalm 23 does not end here. They are deep valleys of the shadow of death. There is no permanent blue skies, still waters, greet pastures, but the real peace is the ability to smile in the storm and feel secure in the love of the One who leads us safely home.

Being able to smile in the storm is pure bliss.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

You give more, you have less?

I picked up this story from The Borneo Post today -

Private hospitals given three months to sign blood supply MoU

What is the MoU about?

It is to prevent private hospitals from reselling blood at a higher price than what they had paid the government for the supply, currently fixed at RM20 per 450 ml bag.

The Health Minister Datuk Dr Chua said some private hospitals resold blood far as high as RM300 per bag. He added that he have never heard about any of them selling it at RM20.

The Minister further reported that the handling charge to the government is about RM80 per bag and at least 20 percent of the blood bank's supply go to the private hospitals. Last year, 46,000 blood bags mostly donated by the public, were supplied to private medical institution.

I am not an enterprising woman, but simple calculation tells me that the Ministry is making a loss of RM2,760,000 (46,000 bags x (80-20) just by supplying blood to private hospital! It also tells me that if the private hospitals are selling RM200 per bag, they are making a profit of RM9,200,000 for the 46,000 bags they get from the government hospitals!

Simple calculation also tells me that the Ministry is still using a rate (RM20) based on government fee schedule dating from 1953. It's 52 years ago!

Is it time for the Ministry to be more enterprising?

I salute the blood donors for their generosity. But each donation they made, they are causing the government to lose RM60. This is something they have never thought of, I believe.

The world says, the more you take, the more you have.

But, one of the paradoxes of the Christian life is - the more you give, the more you receive. You give more, you have more. I have never doubted it and am learning to keep a loose grip on my possessions, and get a better grip on the things that matter more.

The truth still prevails - but it's really a matter of getting a better grip on the things that matter - a better management.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Sue Me - Lah

Many people have said about the helicopter crash at Bukit Batu Tiban in Ulu Baleh, Kapit, in the newsroom, in the operation room, in the coffee shops, in the newspapers through interviews, but none has said as bluntly as the Permanent Secretary of Natural Resources and Environment Ministry today.

He was quoted by newspaper for making this statement - Ramli's family free to sue Jupem.

Ramli is one of the three victims killed in helicopter crash. Ramli was a driver with the Survey and Mapping Department (Jupem). The family had questioned Jupem for sending Ramli for mapping work when he was only a driver.

When pressed further that Ramli's inclusion in the trip had created conrovesy, the Permanent Secretary said it was ridiculous as civil servants needed to fly if there was no road access to certain areas. "It does not matter whether you are a driver or a senior officer because you are serving the country."

However legitimate the reasons, at this time when the victim's family is grieving, the best is to remain silent and offer condolences to the family for their loss.

To me, from the tone and words used, he seemingly implied -

"It is ridiculous. If you are not happy, sue me lah"

I like this quote on the art of conversation by Dorothy Nevill -

The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

Monday, August 01, 2005

You are a Miracle

He is 10 years young today.

He is Christopher, or dearly known as "Liang Liang" by loved ones. "Liang" means "bright".

Dear Liang Liang,

When you were five or six, you would want me to tell you stories one after another. Stories of a pauper who becomes a prince, a peasant who was actually the long lost son of a King, The ugly duckling that turns into a swan, you love each one of them.

Yes, we like all these stories because we believe that we are all made for more than we have ever known. We believe that the life we are living is far beneath what we are actually designed for. Therefore, such stories of a peasant who is actually of the noble family are the yearnings of our heart.

Yes, you are right. You are made for more. More in an intimate relationship with our Creator. We were made to receive blessings, abundance, for love and for grace. You are a miracle. You are part of the God's sovernign plan.

However, as you grow older, you will find that you will be pressed by the world the other message - Live small. Just survive. This life is not for happiness.

Do not live in the Land of the Small. Do not settle for the small when God has called you to the abundance. Nover doubt. Always remember that you are a miracle!

Remember that Jesus has come to give you the life your heart has been telling you is yours. He has come to make you who you really are: a processor of an abundant life, a miracle, and part of His plan.

Refuse to live with anything less - there is abundance in God's love more than you can ever imagine.

You are a miracle of God's Love!

Love, Mum