Recently one of my favorite writers (from a local newspaper)
passed away … I read almost all the articles he wrote on every Sunday and even
though I don’t relate to every article … I must say I found great
insights in many of his writings.
Soo Ewe Jin was one very remarkable writer … cherished
by his readers and respected by his peers. He wrote with the simplest
approach on ordinary things in life and yet able to create very meaningful stories. His writings have influenced me in many ways and I believe
have also inspired many others like me … rest in peace Soo Ewe Jin.
Really, I wished I could write like him.
Someone once told me this … to be known, either you do
something for people to write or you write something for people to do. I
believe there is some truth to these words.
In my 50+ years of life, I have done all sort of things …
“jack of all trades”, one can say but “master of none”, I must admit. You see, up
to this point of my life, I have not really done anything and I don’t think I
will do anything probably for the rest of my life that is worthy for someone to
Then how about write something for people to do?
OK, let’s put it this way … I like to write and I must have
wrote at least a millions words in hundreds of articles but for me to write
something that people will do … I think it is a very far shot … very likely it
will not happen.
Whatever I have written or going to write, are just things
that I have experienced, things that I have learned from others, things I have
read from other writers (like the late Soo Ewe Jin and a few others) and
things I like to see happen before I leave this world. So there is nothing
special and there is nothing new in what I have written and what I am going to
So no … I don’t think people will do what I have written. Really,
it is the other way round … I am actually doing what other people wrote.
I like to write … to share my thoughts, to put across my
views, to seek ideas, to challenge illogic conventions and maybe also to
satisfy some of my curiosities in everyday matters. I write in simple words … with
candor, cheeky at times and can be acerbic in certain matters. More importantly, I write in honesty, facts, science, logic and reality.
I am not a good writer like those who can weave words and create
meaningful stories with the simplest of things … I tend to stir the hornet’s
nest, I am controversially curious and I can be brutally blunt at times. From
the comments I received … I believe many don’t like my approach. Maybe they
don’t like my writings with direct words, maybe they don’t like my blunt
approach, maybe they don’t believe in what I believed in or I don’t believe in what
they believed in … hence the many displeased comments.
Look, we all have our own beliefs, we all experience things
differently and we all have different approach in how we should live our lives
… so we are all entitled to our own opinions. I respect others' opinions and
accept their comments.
I will continue to write with simple words, with the same
direct approach, with the same candor, with the same blunt logic and with the
same acerbic tone … maybe many will find my writings difficult to relate to but
I hope people can respect and accept my approach, my beliefs, my views and
opinions with an open mind.
Hey Shiek, just a month ago you said you will go to hell …
now you say you should be in heaven? What talking you lah?
OK, this time let me get straight to the point … I promise
you, no beating around the bushes.
The belief is … good people go to heaven and bad people go
to hell right? And a good guy hangs around with the good guys in
good places and a bad dude will mix with other bad dudes in rowdy places. Isn’t that what most people believed in, isn’t that what we see in movies and isn’t
that how most people were brought up and taught to be?
So, the guy who is in charge of heaven, the lovable Mr Able, the goody goody fella … probably the best of all things good and
what he (maybe she) likes? Good people of course! So he (or she) welcomes all the good people to
heaven and all the good people become friends and live happily in heaven … so
far so good?
OK … on the other end there is this guy who runs hell … that
mean looking red fella with two horns and an arrow headed tail holding a
menacing trident … he is a badass right? I mean this fella is the badass of all
badasses … he is the devil and the king of hell. So what he likes? He
likes badass people of course … the more badass you are the better and he invites all the badasses to turn hell into a
crazy frenzy badass place … hence the saying … “it’s hell of a place”.
So, my simple reasoning is … (like I was told) if you are a good guy, you
will go to heaven where all things are of good nature and where all your good
peers are so you can live among them in the good ways that you always wanted
same must apply … if you are a badass and when you die, you go to hell and in
hell, you will live in a freaky fiery world that fits badasses like you, where
creating havoc is the norm and you will live among your badass peers. So really,
you are just doing what all badasses are expected to do … then why should you
I was told many times that I am a bad person by many people.
They said because I don’t believe in the “good invisible guy” aka god, then I
don’t have morals. Really, they said that in the exact words. And they told me I
will go to hell and my soul will be tortured there. Well, if that is what they
want to believe … let’s play along.
So when I die and if it is as per what I was told, then I will go
to hell … but, I don’t think I will be tortured like many would like to believe … instead,
I will be welcomed probably with a big party by the devil himself. And I will
strive well in hell … you see, if I am as bad as they say I am … then hell is
an environment where I will be at my best.
For those who wished that I will go to hell and if they
really think that my soul to be tortured in hell … you guys have got it all
wrong. Hell don’t torture badass like me … on the contrary, the devil likes badasses. Like I
said earlier … he is the badass of all badasses.
As a matter of fact, I am already associated with him now … I have a small cheeky red little
devil in diaper with two horns and an arrow headed tail holding a menacing
trident tattooed on my chest … I call it the “devillet” ... my slang of a small
cheeky devil. In all my social media correspondences, my sign-off emoticon
is the purple two horns cheeky smiling creature and my favourite symbol is of course the devil hand sign. You see, I think I probably will
be invited into the devil’s inner circle of badasses when I go to hell.
Really, if the devil wants to torture anyone in hell … it
should be the good guys. That is why the good guys don’t want to end up in hell.
And vice versa, the bad guys don’t want to go to heaven … so, if people
believe that I should suffer and I should be punished for all the bad things
they said I have done … then I should be in heaven.
I am going to hell. How do I know? They told me. And who are
they?Well, there is a long list of
people who want to see me go to hell.
First on the list is my wife … every now
and then when I make her real mad (intentionally and unintentionally) … she
will be fast to retort … “Go to hell” … in a menacing tone and manner. It’s OK,
after living with her for so many years, I am used to that … like
many women, what she says and what she really means is totally different.
Then there are those who said that if I don’t believe in
what they believed in … I will go to hell. They sounded very convincing and they
are very sure I will be there soon enough.
And I know there are a few whom I may have offended bad
enough to curse me to hell. Hey, I am not a saint … I don’t have to pretend. In
my 50+ years of life and especially during my working days … I did offend quite
a few people. Call it corporate politics but that is how one needs to survive
in the “dog-eat-dog” world.
Last but not least, I know a few crazy ones who wish that I
will go to hell … "meet you there" ... they said. This bunch of people are
more or less like me … they think that they are more likely to end up in hell
than anywhere else when they die. Good to know that I will have a few peers
with me when I am in hell.
So I am going to hell … what‘s the big deal? What am I
trying to say? Stop beating around the bush … get to the point!
OK, OK … bear with me, I will get to it soon … indulge me for a short while, I need to build an elaborate setting to my messageto make it interesting mah.
Alright, here it is … you see, they say that the soul will be tortured
in hell … let me repeat, the SOUL will be tortured … not the body or anything
else. Hmmm, it is just the soul that the devil wants. So when I die, there is
no need to bring my body and everything that is in it to hell right? OK good … if
that is the case, I might as well do something with my body and whatever in it.
So what can I do? Donate … yes, donate my organs. Since they think I
have not done anything good (that is why they say I am going to hell remember?) when
I am alive, I might as well do something good when I die. As a matter of
fact, I have already signed up for organ donation. And for that matter, take my
cadaver too … I am sure they can make good use of it in medical schools. Maybe
after the good medical students are done with my cadaver, I hope they can
process it into fertilizers … I read something on the internet recently that
bodies can now be processed into fertilizers … do it, don’t let it go to waste.
Look, the gist of this long “go to hell” story is to get to
the point about organ donation and maybe even body donation. The point I want
to make is … many are not willing to donate their organs or body for medical needs
or studies because their faith and beliefs won’t allow it … it is a sin to do
so. I don’t know why … I don’t know the religious reason behind this sin.
My simple reasoning is … if someone can believe there is
heaven and hell … they can believe that it is their souls that will go to
heaven or hell when they die … then they really don’t need their organs and
bodies which most likely will be left to rot or burnt to ashes. Then why not
donate their organs and body to good use?
I don’t believe there is heaven or hell … so for me, it is
just a practical reason why I want to donate my organs and my body when I die.
But for those who believe there is heaven and hell, there is one more reason
for them to do so. Let's put it this way, if you did good while you are alive and your
soul will go to heaven … why not walk that extra mile and do good one more time
when you die … heaven don’t need your body or your organs, so donate them to
those in need. Or, if you have done bad
while you are alive and your soul will be in hell … might as well
take the opportunity to do one last good thing when you die. Hey, you will
never know … maybe the devil will go easy on you for the one last good
thing that you did.
Most people are aware that their physical well being
will start to decline when they reached the half century mark (maybe even earlier) … as a matter of
fact, it is actually declining faster than they think. But many choose to
ignore that or refuse to acknowledge it … some even say they actually feel better
than when they were younger. They know very well that is not true.
So what do they do?
There will be some who will go to war with nature … an anti
aging war. Though it is a very misleading term in the health and beauty
business but “anti aging” is also one of the most believed terms for those who
desperately want to think that one can stop growing old. From hiding gray
hairs to enzyme supplements to cosmetic treatments to complex procedures … many
faithfully submit to these processes thinking that they can stop or even
reverse the effect of time.
Come on, don’t kid yourself … when you have lived more than
50 years, you should know better. The truth is … going against aging is a costly
and frustrating war you will never win.
This is what I think … to see gray hair is fortunate … some
people don’t get to live old enough to see gray hairs. Wrinkles? That is
absolutely fine too … it is just on the face not in your heart.
Then there are many of those who said … look, I can still run a
marathon! They boast about hiking the G7 mountains.Yes, many in my age
group have this urge to participate in challenging activities. Not that they
love the sport or they have a passion for it … quite a few have not
even engage in anything that includes running or hiking in their younger days.
But when they grow older, there is this urge to show or to prove to themselves
(really, it is more to show others) that they can do it.
Strange but true … many think that by being able to run a
marathon or hike up a mountain means that age has no effect on them … they like
to think that if they can still do what a 30-year-old does then they have not
aged at all. That is just bullshit but still there are a lot who want to think
The truth is … if you feel that by being able to do what a
30-year-old does and that means physically you have not age at all … you
have just wasted the last 20 plus years of your life.
Running, hiking or trekking (plus other challenging activities)
is not about proving what you can still do or proving that you are still able
to do what a younger person does. I salute those who run because of their
genuine passion for marathons, those who hike because of their lifelong aspiration
to conquer the peaks and those who trek simply because they love to bask in beautiful
surroundings of the natural jungles.
And it gets stranger … there are quite a few of those who think they can take the easy way to just buy
back their youth, their health or their well being. I will come back to this point … first, allow me to build the setting for the story.
Look, we all need money … no money, you are in trouble. That
is a fact. So go make money and make as much as you can. But remember this …
there is no freebies in this world. You give some, you take some and the
question is … what are you giving in return for what you take?
The problem is … people just don’t know when to stop in the race
for money … when they make some, they want more. It is always a bigger car or a
bigger house or a better lifestyle and it is very hard to say enough. Over the years,
they continue to remain oblivious to what they are giving away until it starts
to affect their health, which in turn affects their families … then, it is too late
Here is my point … with the money they made, they willingly pay
for the best medical treatments hoping that they can buy a cure that will bring back their health. The unfortunate truth is ... the best medical treatments have no guarantees.
And then there are stories about “magic potions” and “miracle cures” …
luring those who are desperate enough to pay thousands of dollars believing
that they can bring back their youth with magic and solve their health problems
with miracles. The sad truth is … in modern time of science and scientific
facts, there are still those who believe that Snow White and the seven dwarfs
A lot of people simply did not plan out the various stages of
their lives … maybe they are busy trying to make a better living … when they
realized how quickly time passes by, they whine about time running out.
So maybe now you want plan what to do with the last
remaining few chapters of your life and live accordingly. Don’t fool yourself
trying to be young ... thinking that you can pluck another 20 years out of thin air.
Look, the truth is … from the half century mark onwards,
things will go downhill faster than you think … regardless of what you want to
believe. Yes, time is running out and many will complain that life is too short.
But come to think about it … is life really too short? Did it ever cross your
mind that maybe you took too long to start living it?
OK, the title looks like it is going to be one of those peculiar
writings on the taboo subject of death … nope, rest assured this one is not …
so no worries here.
And here it goes.
Everyone … errrrrr well, almost everyone have a bucket list. A list of things one must do before one leaves this world … kick the bucket,
so to say.
I have seen many so called bucket lists … list of “must do”
things and many of course are famous places to visit around the world,
exclusive sports and recreational activities to engage in, exotic cuisines to
savor and some common challenges in life like run a triathlon or climb some famous
And some strange ones too … one guy told me he wants to
experience death. What? He wants to be (in his exact words) “put in a state of
death” and be revived! Really, I am not joking ... so I told him he should put that
as the last item on his bucket list … just in case, you know.
For me, it was never on my mind to say that I must do this
or do that before I die. Famous places to visit? Visited a couple of the world
wonders and many other popular places in various countries but they were not
the places that I must go to before I die … it is just that I chanced upon the
opportunity to go there and so I went.
Exciting sports? Not that I really wanted to do it … just happened to be there at the time. Like diving … I was told
I must try diving before I die … it is an out of this world experience, they
said. And I dove … one time at Sipadan and when I was just several meters down, I said to myself … I am F**KED! I
was scared and I was not breathing properly. And the words came back to haunt me … “out of this world experience” they told me …
of course, I was going to die! So, I got back onto the boat in no time. Look, diving is not something I must do before I die
… more like something I should do if I want to die.
How about exotic cuisines? Kobe beef, Beluga caviar or Fugu
sushi to name a few … nope, cannot afford any of those. Then a friend told me
about foie gras … absolutely delicious and very expensive from what I was told.
Again, must try before you die he said … I found out that foie gras is actually
goose (or duck) liver. I consumed chicken livers many times before ... so, goose
(or duck) liver should taste more or less the same I guess.
Then at a dinner on a trip to France, foie gras was on the
menu. Expensive dinner on company’s expense … the menu was about E$200 per head.
Wow, almost RM1000 (then) … that was the most expensive meal I ever had in my
life. And when the foie gras was served, (remembering what my friend told me) I
took a good look at it … at first I wasn’t convinced but when I took a bite … I
was sure, I must be participating in a Fear Factor reality show. One bite was
all I had … errrrr, I will stick to chicken livers with chili sauce. Foie gras
… must try before I die? Actually, I rather die than eating what looks like an
enlarged diseased liver. OK OK, to be fair to all foie gras fans out there … it is just
an exaggerated personal opinion ya.
Really, I don’t have a list of “must do” things before I kick
the bucket … in my younger days I was busy doing things to help my parents, (when
I got my own family) I have to put a roof over our heads, schooling for the
kids and gather enough for my wife and I to live decently in our later years.
Nor do I have a list of “must try” exotic food and cuisines … the “must eat”
for us are mainly simple food on the table … maybe better varieties on
celebrative days and festive seasons.
After I retired, I don’t have any “must do” challenges … I
try staying active and doing just a bit of everything to keep me busy for as
long as I am still able. And no, I don’t have a “must visit” list of places …
only occasionally short breaks with my family to where the budget allows.
Many people have a bucket list but I don’t.
However, I do have a few things that I would like to see
happened before I die. A few things that people are working on now which I hope will be realized in the near future.
So before I die, I hope to see astronauts on the moon again
… that will certainly be new steps for further space exploration … like
sending man to Mars. Before I die, I hope deep space scientists searching for
extraterrestrial intelligence will be able to detect other intelligent life
form(s) … that is to tell people not to be so arrogant to think that we are the
only intelligent ones in the whole universe. Before I die, I hope physicists
will be able to solve the mystery of Higgs Boson … that will bring new
discoveries of how everything works in the universe. Before I die, I hope
archaeologists will open and study the tomb of Shi Huang Ti, the first emperor
of China … that will be a great opportunity for historians and the world to
learn about one of the greatest early civilizations. Before I die, I hope
medical researchers will find a cure for cancer … that will end the suffering
of millions of people in the world. Before I die, I hope to see people having
greater understanding and tolerance of various beliefs (whether religious or not) …
then there will be real peace to all in the world.
And why do I want to see all these happened before I die?
Because then I will know when I leave … the world will be a
better place for the generations to come.
A lot of people don’t like me. Yes, no joke. I tell
you why … I am not a likeable person.
Why is that so?
OK, let me explain. You see half of the people who know me don’t
like me simply because I don’t believe in what they believed in. Yes, it is true ... the minute I tell them I am not a religious person, somehow I
suddenly morphed into a reddish being with sharp ears and two horns holding a menacing
I am not a religious person but I am not
anti-religion. Too bad many people don’t see it this way. The way they see it …
as long as you don’t belong to any religion, you are not going to be liked. More so if
you are not in the same faith as they are.
So there you go … half of the people I know don’t like me
Then there are those who don’t like me for being direct … they say I am rude. There is a huge difference between being direct
and being rude. If you are wrong, I tell you in your face that you are wrong …
that is direct, not rude. I don’t tell others … why? Because it is YOU that
need to change, not others. Unfortunately, some people cannot accept that.
And that makes another quarter of people who don’t like me.
Not much left right? Wait, there is a few more.
From what is left, there are some who said I talked too much
and they don’t like people who talked too much. Yes, I am a very vocal person … I don’t
hide my opinions. The real reason why these people don’t like me is not because
I talked too much, it is because what I said is different from what they
wanted to hear. Sad but true … you don’t get ‘likes’ for honest opinions.
So you do the math and add up everything … you will see most
people I know don’t like me. Now, what about the remaining few?
And here comes the gist of the story … like all my stories, I
will take you go one big round before I come to the few lines to stress my
You may ask … “So, how about the few left … they like you?”
Well, these few are my close friends. Do they like me? Errrrr … I don’t know. Put it
this way, they did not say they like me … but, (here is my point) we get along very
well because we are open to each other’s thoughts, opinions and frankness … because
we can understand each other’s feelings, sensitivities and sentiments … and also because we hold a certain tolerance level of each other’s beliefs, faith and devotions.
I see … the forlornly aged, redundant and dispensable
I see … living being helplessly disconnected
I see … still eyes hollowing into blankness
I see … gray hair uncut and disheveled
I see … weak legs struggling to no avail
I see … shivering hands trying to feed
I see … sad face with a forgotten smile
I see … strange mumblings of unrecognized words
I see … loveless self without memories
I see … lost mind drawn to the threshold of insanity
I see … wandering thoughts contained and confined
I see … aged body fast disintegrating
I see … diseased organs in a fragile frame
I see … supported life on tubes and liquids
I see … exhausted body waiting for the end
During a casual chat with a young graduate, he said to me
…“Wah, you are so successful … don’t have to work already”.
Me, successful? Errrrrrr … depends on how you look at it.
I’ll get back to that in a while.
First, let me ask … how do you measure success or what do
you use to measure success?
Let’s throw in a bit of economic jargons just to make it
sounds better … when measuring the GDP, it is not based on a fixed basket of
things … like it differs from time to time in GDP, the things to put in the
basket to measure success differs from people to people. OK clear?
What it means is that everyone has their own ways of
measuring success … some measure by life standards and values, some by
religious principles, some by the hard way of sweat and tears and others used
material gains to show what they have achieved.
Success comes in all shape and forms … it can be a small
personal success like when you trained and ran a marathon … or it can be a big
achievement in career advancement like when you have worked hard to be your own boss
… or it can be a huge national pride like when someone wins the Olympic Gold for
I am sure everyone has various form of successes in their lives and what you use to measure the successes is totally up to you.
Richard Branson is successful man but I don’t know what he
puts in his basket to measure his success … all I know is that he has the Virgin
Group to his name and he has an island with a posh resort home, millions in the
bank, a yacht and of course airplanes to show how successful he is. So is Bill
Gates of Microsoft, so is Jack Ma of Alibaba, so is Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook
and so was Steve Jobs of Apple.
Then again … so was my Dad! BUT ... he had nothing to his name or
anything to show. You see, my late father always say that he is a successful
man and when I ask him how he qualifies that, he simply said … “I don’t owe
anyone, anything”. You see, my dad don’t have much to put in his basket to
measure his success … he was not like Branson,
Gates, Ma, Zuckerberg or Jobs … all he ever had was his years of hard work.
My point is … you don’t have to be like Branson, Gates or Ma
to be successful. You don’t have to have something to your name, you don’t have
to measure success like the big boys and if you have nothing to show, that is
absolutely OK … you are successful by your own measures.
So back to the question … am I successful? By my own
measures of time, health, family, friends and maybe some other small little things ...
yes, I am successful. But if you were to ask how successful I am ... then, like my dad, I have nothing to my name and I don’t have anything to show.
(Note: The following article
is strictly my point of view and may stir the comfort of some people with
certain beliefs … so, please read with an open mind.)
It‘s the time of the year for burning money again … oops
sorry, I mean burning fake money (or hell notes, as they called it). But then
again, people are using real money to buy fake money and burn it … so, really, they
are actually burning money!
You've guessed it …it is going to be “Qingming” soon, the Tomb Sweeping Day or some called it the family AGM
… where the Chinese will go to the graves of their loved ones to make offerings. They will burn lots of paper stuffs … houses, cars, designer bags, watches,
shoes, clothes ... you name it, they have it … most important of all, stacks of
“money” ... the netherworld currency in the billions.
And why people want to do that?
Many will tell you that it is about tradition, it is about
filial piety, it is about remembering the dead and it is about respecting our
Well, that’s part of it … what many will conveniently forget to tell
you is that it is also time to ask for something in return … believing that
their loved ones in the netherworld can bless them with fortunes, wealth, good
health, longevity, prosperity, opportunities, education success and last but
not least, a set of numbers to win the big jackpot at KTM (Kuda Toto Magnum).
The way I see it … if it is about tradition then it is quite
an outdated belief of burning stuffs for the dead. If it is about filial piety …
what filial piety is there to show to the dead? If you want to show that you
are filial … show it to your parents when they are alive! If it is about
remembering the dead … that is all in your mind and in your heart … not in the
stuffs you burn. And if it is about respecting the ancestors … then do better
than what they expected you to be … that’s all you need.
All the “hoos hahs” about waking up early, got stuck in
the long traffic jams, getting the various types of offerings, cleaning and clearing the
graves and spending real money to buy fake money to be burnt … really, it is about I scratch your back and you scratch mine.
Look, when someone goes to the grave … let him or her have
peace. Isn’t that why people say R.I.P. when someone passed away? So, try not to
go to the grave every year and ask for this and ask for that ... hoping to get more than what you already have.
Strange but true … those who already have abundance, those who can afford a better
life, those who make huge offerings are always the ones who are asking for more
… they scratch hard asking for a harder scratch in return.
Put it this way, I am sure your late father or mother would
have done enough for you while they were alive … you still have a list of things
for them to do for you while in their graves?
I have visited my ancestors’ graves and every now and then I
go to the temple where my late father’s ashes are kept … I remember one time at the temple a relative
said to me … “why don’t you make some offerings and say something to your
father … maybe ask him to “保佑” (bless) you.
I did not say anything really but if there was anything I
want to say to my late father, I would have told him … “Don’t worry about me, I
am doing absolutely OK and I can take care of myself and my family. I am in
good health and staying out of trouble. There is enough to spend on things I need … so
I am financially stable. Dad, I have done what you have expected me to do and I
am sure you are proud. And no need to worry about your grand children too … there
are doing OK. Though they will have to struggle a bit to pass their exams but no
worries, they will get through by themselves ... no help needed. They will have to learn to take care
of themselves and make a living by themselves through hard work and
perseverance. And one more thing … don't take the trouble to come into my dreams and give me numbers to
bet at KTM … if I want to place a bet, there is always the “lucky pick”.
Really Dad … go enjoy yourself, have fun be happy … go reincarnate (if
you have not already done so) … don’t worry about me … I don’t need to be
Recently I quoted … “I am at my best in my simplest form”
and posted it on various social media. Then someone asked me … what do you mean
by “your best”?
I think people are asking me how do I qualify “my best” in the
things I do … or maybe how do I evaluate and measure it.
OK, let me explain what I meant by “my best”.
You see, when I say I am at my best … it simply means when I
am most happy, when I am most satisfied, when I am most contented, when I am
most pleased, when I am most at ease, when I am most relaxed or when I am most
Many times I have said that I am a simple man. I like simple
things or things in their simplest forms. Simplicity is my approach. For example cooking … I love simple food so I like simple cooking
and I cook very well with simple recipes. So don’t ask me to churn out
something from a long complicated recipe … very likely I will “simplify” it and
you may not like what it will turn out to be.
I write with simple words. Not that I don’t know how to use
impressive jargons like how I wrote proposals and reports in my corporate days but hey, I am not writing to apply for a highly paid copywriter job. I am just
writing to tell a story in the easiest way possible … so, simple words are most
effective for a storyteller like me.
I love simple outdoors activities … trekking and hiking with
a stick, backpack and a pair shoes … just walk and talk basically, nothing
complicated really. I am not those adventurous types who use cutting edge GPS
technology to map and cut out new trails, venture into unexplored jungles and
mountains and conquering peaks around the world … that is just too tough and too difficult
Sometimes I do a bit of cycling too … bought a RM150 used mountain
bike and cycle around the neighborhood as and when I feel like cycling … that
is all I do for cycling. So no, I don’t have high-tech bicycles with a complicated gear
system that cost an arm and a leg or any impressive looking designer cycling
gears and I don’t participate in 100km cycling races all over the country. Really,
I am just an old uncle trying to get out of the house to enjoy the nature and a
bit fresh air … I am most happy doing just that.
You see, I can be at my best in many different instances … I
am at my best when I am alone at total peace with myself or when I take a nice
evening walk with my wife around the neighborhood … that is when I am most
satisfied. I am at my best when I am surrounded by my friends’ laughters and joys
or when I have a quiet homemade dinner with my loved ones … that is when I am
most pleased. And I am at my best when I basked in the rays of the morning sun
penetrating through the branches of the trees in the jungle that I am trekking
or when I am splashed by the cool waters from the waterfalls in the middle of
the serene nature … that is where I am most at ease.
And if you look at where
and when I am at my best … you will see that they all shared one common
attribute … simplicity.
So, I guess you can see that I strive best in simple things
or in simple activities or in simple environments … so, maybe you can now understand
my meaning when I said … “I am at my best in my simplest form”.
Everyone wants to live old … really, as old as possible and
there is nothing wrong with that … it is the natural instinct of survival since
human walked on the earth.
In ancient times, people fight savagely against primeval
beasts or in brutal primitive wars to stay alive but today people are more
likely to depend on scientific methods to help them live older. Whether
it is now or thousands of years ago, this same instinct of survival remains in
us … it is just that the methods of trying to live for as long as possible
changed over time.
Many would think or would like to think that living old
means as they grow older, they will age gradually and gracefully. And then come the day when the time is up, they will just pass on
naturally and peacefully in a comfortable process.
Errrrr … sorry, I have to pour cold water on that thought.
The sad fact is … out of the top 10 causes of death, 9 are
directly related to serious illnesses … not that I want to play up the fear
element here but these deaths don’t come comfortably.
Click to enlarge. Sourced from Internet.
Look, let’s face it … as we aged, we get more vulnerable to
a host of deadly diseases. For a very large majority, contracting one of those
diseases is almost confirmed … it is just a matter of when. Some people get it during
midlife, others even earlier … the rest may avoid it for several more years but
eventually it will come. And when it does, it is no longer about living old …
it is about trying to stay alive.
So, looks like living old does not sound so good after all.
Hey, I am not saying that we should not look forward to getting old, I am just
pointing out the fact that living old comes with its perils.
Maybe the younger ones are not bothered to talk about this
yet … they have plenty of time and plenty of things to do, so for now, they are
more concerned about how to make a good life for themselves.
But for those who have stepped into the final few chapters
of their lives, I believe they must have asked themselves what will it be like
as they live older.
And here is my point of the story … really, there is nothing
much about living old. It is just a natural process and an instinct to stay
alive for as long as possible. So let’s not worry about living old. As we grow
older, let’s think more about living well. And what is living well?
The way I see it, living well is about staying active and always
eager to go. It is about spending time on yourself, your friends and your loved
ones. It is about helping to contribute to the populace and making things
easier for others. It is about continuing to learn more and passing on your
knowledge. Last but not least, it is about making the world a better place for those
I am sure you know what I am talking about and I am sure there
are more that people can add to the ‘live well’ list. So, for as long as you
can … every day, every week, every month, every year … try to live your life
well. I believe with this, growing old can be a lot more meaningful.
It is the last week of 2015 … another year is coming to an
end and it is always at this time I will take a moment to reflect on what that
have happened and what is going to come in the new year ahead.
I like to call it looking at the SWOTs of my life … for
those who are into marketing will know what SWOTs are … every year many
marketing professionals will have to look into their STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, OPPORTUNITIES
and THREATS to develop strategies for their business.
For me, I look into the SWOTs of my life to better
understand how I should continue to live my life in the coming years.
So what are my SWOTs ?
I think simplicity is my strength. I am all about living
a simple life ... has been for many years already. And for the many more to come, I
will continue to make things simple for me. I seek simplicity in all the things I do. I think simple things are the best things and I believe I am at my
best in my simplest form.
What about my weakness? That will have to be my ‘hainanese
wind’ (a pun meaning bad temper). So, I am the ‘windy’ type … after 53 years of
life, the wind is still blowing … but it is good to know that the frequency has
shortened quite a bit. Now that is a good sign … really, I think I have
mellowed down a bit … so I promise I will try not to let the wind blows too
For opportunity … I must say it is the opportunity to learn.
With time on my hand and the convenience of internet and smart devices, I can easily
download videos, ebooks and even ask questions from a variety of sources. I have
access to a wide range of materials to read, research and learn about subjects
ranging from the simple science of cooking to the histories of the great civilizations
of the world.
And the threat … this will have to be my health. As we grow
old, we cannot escape the fact that our health will begin to deteriorate. Many
illnesses come with age and the older we get, the more complicated it becomes. I believe that one of the ways to a healthy life is to stay active. So,
I will continue to live an active life … trek the jungles and mountains, work
on my wood recycling projects, play my weekly badminton games and do the morning
walks with my wife … and I hope to do all these for as many years as possible.
Each of us will have our very own SWOTs of life … it is good
to identify what your strength is and how it can benefits you, where your
weakness is and how can you change it, what opportunity is available and how
can you use it and where is your threat and how to deal with it.
Really, take a moment to look at your life ... look at every areas ... see what you need to stop doing and what you need to start ... do it while you still can. With that, I
am sure we can all have a better year ahead and many more good years to come.