Monday, April 10, 2017

Lessons learned from Ching ming

It is part of Chinese culture and tradition that every year on the first week of April they gather to visit the graves of their ancestors.How they show their respect varies but usually it means offering the ancestors food and other worldly requirements .The graves will normally be cleaned and the offerings made on the day of Ching Ming .Therein lies the beauty of Chinese culture , the day is fixed every year so that the people have time to prepare and ensure that they perform their filial duties.
On the day the descendants gather round the graves of the ancestors, burn joss sticks , burn " money " and other requirements like shoes , clothes , etc.
This is the Chinese way of remembering their ancestors and also their belief that in the afterworld they still need these materialistic things.Ching Ming is not only a day to remember your ancestors but also to remind us of where we came from and where our roots are .
There is also a belief that the men need not go to the in laws graves but the women must follow the men to their ancestors' graves,This seems odd to me as what will happen to those who only have daughters? We have only daughters .Does this mean that my daughters will not visit our graves when we are gone ? Does it mean that our remains will lie somewhere forgotten ? Can we expect our sons in laws to accompany our daughters to remember us ?
This is one of the traditional beliefs which has to be changed. I accompany my wife to visit her parents ' graves every year and I do not see anything wrong with it as I remember my in laws as good people and regard them as my own parents.
There is also the attitude of the so called Christians who refuse to light joss sticks or even partake of the offering which are placed as a token of offering to the ancestors.They say Christians dont light joss sticks or eat things which have been offered to the ancestors.What makes me livid is that some of these so called Christians dont even have the slightest knowledge abut the religion and dont have the brains to differentiate between tradition and religion.
Ching Ming is a Chinese tradition when the descendants gather to remember their ancestors and to make offerings to them .They do not pray to the ancestors but merely remember and honor them .

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Chinese New Year

In a few days time we will be celebrating Chinese New Year and its also a time for resolutions for a better year and also resolutions to be a better person. For me there is only one wish and that is to see my family members in good health .We tend to overlook how important health is and this is something which we often take for granted.We must not forget that life is a balance and that in our chase for wealth and fame health must not be overlooked .
I have seen many friends and relatives suffer from health problems and what it does to their family members .Coming to this age there is nothing more to wish for other than to be in good health and if its time to go , to go quickly as I certainly would not want to be a burden to the family and to have to put them through the agony and pain of seeing a loved one suffer.
The New Year is also a time to look back on what happened the previous year and whether we have lived it the way it should. Someone said that your life has meaning only if you can say that you have had some impact on others. For me , looking after so many young people and making sure that they are on the right path is meaningful.It is like leaving some of your footprints in the sand and to be able to influence the lives of young people is something of a privilege .To be able to look back and see our children make their impact in their chosen field , to be able to see our grandchildren grow up are some of life's blessings which should be valued and appreciated.
I came across some lessons in life in a little coffee shop in Ipoh .There was this little banner which the owner displayed in her shop and I asked mum to translate it for me and it goes like this :
1.The biggest fortune you can have is health.
2.The biggest sin you can commit is not to be filial.
3.The biggest mistake you can make is gambling and overconfidence.
4.The most important thing to respect is hard work.
5 The most happy thing is to be able to help others.
Maybe , obvious but nevertheless its food for thought and should be our guiding light in our quest to be a better person in the New Year.

Monday, January 2, 2017

A time to reflect.

As the year draws to an end its always time to do a bit of reflection and to think about the things which happened .I am fortunate that despite all the health scares I am able to still be up and about.They say " Never complain about old age , There are many who do not get to know its meaning ".  how true .. To have come this far is indeed a blessing which has to be appreciated and valued. 2016 was the year when I had my eye operation, my eye problems which came with it , and the time when I had to fight hard to control my glucose level.It was a year of experimenting with all types of natural remedies.
It was a year of enjoying the growth of the grandchildren.To be able to see them go through their various stages of development and to be able to enjoy it is truly a blessing.
Work wise it has been a real challenging year. I had to make sure that we perform for the sake of the young people who have thrown in their lots with me and to work hard to ensure that we would be able to carry on. The economy has not been good and this has affected the enrollment for most private universities .Accommodation Occupancy in most institutions has dropped and in the light of this adversity we had to find reasons for the employers to retain us.
Despite this we were lucky to be appointed as consultants for a new project in Putra Jaya competing with many other established consultants.This is something to look forward to and an opportunity to learn and gain new experiences.
Life has been kind and more than anything I cannot help but feel lucky and fortunate to be able to enjoy this with my family. Mum is healthy and enjoying her life despite all the responsibilities which she has to shoulder.My daughters and sons in law are doing well and the grandchildren are growing up well.What more can be asked?
2017 will be exciting and something to look forward to.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Why is it that some people never change ?  Despite telling them numerous times that they forget to do something they still continue to do so? It seems to me that either they do not hear or they are just plain dumb.We have been told that we should be tolerant but surely tolerance has its limits .We have been dealing with intelligent people , people with vision , with drive and who have a purpose in life and when we come across such dead woods it becomes something difficult to accept and tolerate.
Why is it that there are people who are so untidy , unkempt and yet expect to be given due consideration ? To me the measure of a man is the way he carries himself, his personality , his ability to communicate effectively with others and above all his manners.Why are there people who cannot even pause a second from eating when someone talks to them ?Why are there adults who need to be treated like children and sometimes even worse ?
Why do you need to told not to do certain things over and over again ? Are these kind of people suffering from mental defects or are they just plain insensitive to other people?
Under normal circumstances you will just want to avoid having anything to do with such people by staying far away from them .But under certain circumstances you dont have a choice  and you cannot help but try to be patient and as tolerant as you can be .We probably have to accept the fact that there are people who cannot change , who cannot see their weaknesses even when being told over and over again and that there are people who cannot even remember simple things or chose not to remember.
Why are there people who dont know how to even say a simple "thank you " when thanks are due.? I believe that such people are lacking and are in a world of their own and they are sterling examples of the saying " they have eyes but see not. they have ears but hear not , they have brains but think not , they have mouths but speak rot ".

Monday, October 10, 2016

Lessons in Life

Learning is a life long process and if you open your eyes and ears you will learn .If you are stubborn for no apparent reason and if you do not learn how to listen you get nowhere in life.I learned something from ( from all places , a little restaurant in a little town ) a cook.I had the opportunity to talk to him and the first thing I did was to compliment him on the great meal which he prepared for us.Then came :
1.The first lesson.
He said he did not get to where he is by chance but through hard and dedicated work.And the lesson "When you want to do anything aim to do it well and do it with a lot of passion and commitment "
2.The second lesson.
Do not place a monetary value on yourself when you do a job.Base your value on what you produce at work.He said when people come for interview inevitably the question of salary will pop out and when someone asks for a salary , he would say "I can pay you but can you deliver ? Do you have what it takes to justify the salary you ask for ?".
3.The third lesson.
In life money is important but not the most important thing .To him being filial , and appreciation for what your parents did for you are core values which take precedence over monetary gains. It is a testimony of a person's worth to see how he treat his parents.
On that score he said employees can make or break you and therefore one must always treat employees with fairness and kindness.They will then stay loyal and work for you with commitment.
Three little lessons which are not things we do not know but talking to him was a good reminder of some basic things in life which we tend to forget.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

What your body is telling you.

We used to travel back to Ipoh our hometown on a Friday afternoon and back on Sunday .In between we eat all the food we miss and I will have a round of golf with old friends in Ipoh. There was no issue and it was always a good weekend,Today , we can usually leave on Saturday ( as early as possible ) and back on Sunday.Last week I decided that somehow I should play a round of golf with my friends whom I had not played with for a long time.
We left KL at around 7am and reached Ipoh at 9 plus. Mun quickly cleaned the house and I rested a while>By 12 I was ready for my round of golf and managed to complete the 18 holes.After that it was a bit of getting together dinner with some old friends and by 9 pm I was ready for bed.
The next day it was another mad rush with mum going to the market and then getting together with her friends and by 2 pm we were ready to leave for KL .With a bit of delay here and there we reached Kl at around 6 and got ready for dinner which was scheduled for 630 and it ended by 830 or so and off we went home. Driving home in the rain albeit only for a short distance was quite difficult as the eyes cannot see well .
There was the usual unpacking and by 9 I thought I could spend maybe an hour watching the British Open .I lasted 20 minutes for after that the body was giving me all types of signals so I thought its time to call it a day.I slept till 730 the next day , quite a few hours of sleep and even after all that sleep it was still a tired old man who plodded his way to office.
I got the signal... there are things which you cannot do when you reach a certain age and you have to adapt to it. Driving more than two hours to get back  and another two hours back takes a toll on the old body.The back aches, and the neck becomes stiff.But what choice do we have ? Like it or not , suffer or not I will continue to drive to go back as mum and I never want to be dependent .Its less hassle if we just manage on our own without burdening anyone .
I cannot imagine what will happen when the day I cannot drive comes. We would probably have to take a bus or a train to get home and then depend on friends to take us around in town.It is a scary thought but one which will probably be inevitable !

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

When grandparents take care of grandchildren.

It is quite the norm for grand parents to be given the responsibility to look after the grandchildren .The young people are so busy with their lives that they have no time for looking after their kids.Rather than to send them to day care centers or leave them in the care of babysitters they have to ask for help from their parents who happily offer their services out of nothing but love for their children and grandchildren.
Most grandparents have already gone through the tasks of bring up their children and its ironical that in their twilight years they have to go through the process once again.They actually have no choice because as parents they have always put the welfare and well being of their children above anything else.Looking after their children and making things easier for them is but one of their many expressions of love for the children.
Looking after the little ones is tiring and energy sapping but seeing them grow up and enjoying their development as children compensates.But one must never forget that old bodies get weary , tiredness sets in and unlike in some cases rest is not possible.Children are even more fortunate to have a mother who can take care of all the household chores giving them the space and energy to concentrate on their careers .
Bringing up a child is never easy and topping this with all the household chores beyond a doubt makes the task ever so difficult but parents would rarely complain and even though at times they feel hurt by the children's or the in- laws attitude they kept silent and can only weep silent tears .Children must never forget that old people are sensitive and if at all differences in opinions arise they should hold back in deference to the old people who have done so much for them.It must never be forgotten that the grand parents have a choice and there is nothing they wish more than to be in their own home with their own friends and really enjoy their twilight years .Parents accept the fact that they have to set aside their own preferences and inclinations out of consideration and love for the children>. These are sacrifices which parents will gladly make .It is an accepted fact that parents would do anything for their children but if at any one time the children feel that they are interfering or in their way then they must take a step back and realize that at the end of the day parents too have a choice.