May 23, 2016

I see ... ME !


In the home of the elderly …

I see … unwanted burden and liability
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

And I see … ME !


April 29, 2016

Me, successful?


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 the country.

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.
  

March 24, 2016

I don’t need to be blessed


(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 ancestors.

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 “” (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 blessed.


February 24, 2016

I am at my best ...


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 comfortable.

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 for me.

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”.

January 22, 2016

Live old is an instinct ...


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 to come.

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.

Live old is an instinct … live well is a choice.

December 28, 2015

The SWOTs of life


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 often.

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.

Happy New Year to all !!!

November 23, 2015

I am not a 老竇 …


In Cantonese, the slang (pronounced ‘low tau’) simply means father … for the Chinese, it is very common when someone becomes a father … friends will congratulate him and say that he has become a .

But nowadays many write it as 老豆 (meaning old bean) but pronounced the same … not sure when and why the word got changed … but it should be written as , so I will use from here onwards.

What many people don’t know is … why use the slang to refer someone as a father. You see, when the Chinese call someone , meaning ‘Old Dou’ … it actually refers to a wise man in ancient times. 

Now, I am a father of two … when I became a father, all my friends congratulated me for becoming a but that is not the way I see it. Yes, I am a father but I cannot say that I am a .

Why?

OK, let me explain … in the Chinese Three Character Classic, the 三字经 (Sānzìjīng) … there is a verse that goes like this : 

竇燕山,有義方。教五子,名俱揚

(Dòu yànshān, yǒu yì fāng. Jiào wǔzǐ, míng jù yang)

Sourced from Internet
The meaning of this verse is … Dou of Swallow Mountain has the right methods. He raised five sons, each of whom gained widespread reputation for their outstanding achievements.

Dou of Swallow Mountain (竇燕山) is actually Dou YuJun (禹鈞) who lived in a place called Swallow Mountain in ancient times … when people refer to someone as a or ‘Old Dou’ … it is to pay respect to Dou YuJun (禹鈞) for his wisdom in raising five children, each whom attained outstanding achievements of their own.

So, yes I am a father but at this moment I cannot be referred to as a because I cannot compare myself with Dou YuJun (禹鈞). I have not done what he did … I have yet to raise my kids to be outstanding individuals.

My kids are young and they still have plenty to learn … they still have a long way to go before they are able to face the world and make it on their own. Whether or not they are able to achieve success in the things they do, nobody knows for now.

That’s why I cannot accept the respect to be a because I cannot be placed on the same standing with Dou YuJun (禹鈞) … at least not yet.

October 21, 2015

Kerja sampai masuk lubang!


On a recent trekking trip with my neighbor … actually it was the first trip with him though I lived opposite him for many years, we had a good conversation during the hike up a small hill … we talked about our lives, families, friends, work, hobbies, etc.

I knew he had a heart bypass operation some years ago and we talked about it and he told me that he had just changed job because his previous work environment was quite stressful and I asked him why not retire since he is already 58 years old. Then he said … “Saya kerja sampai masuk lubang!”. For those who don’t read Bahasa Malaysia, loosely translated it means … “work until I get into the hole!” or in proper words … “work until the day I die!”

You see, my neighbor has a large extended family … with 8 children and the youngest kid is just 4 years old, he will still have to work for quite a number of years to take care of the financial needs of his family. Unless his fortune changes, I can understand why he said that he has to work until the day he dies.

I retired early and I always have this idea that people should retire early if they can. Then the common questions people will ask are … when should I actually retire? How much I should have? With all the time in the world, what should I do? And plenty of other related questions.

The answers to these questions are very subjective … different people have different views on the subject of retirement or early retirement.  So, I can’t say when, I can’t say how much you should have and I definitely can’t tell you what you should do, if and when you retire. There are no right or wrong answers … just difference of opinions.

But what I can say is … if you think that you have to have millions so that you can retire and continue to live in luxury … then keep working until you get your millions. And by the time you get your millions … I hope you have enough time to spend them all.

If you worry that you may need hundreds of thousands stashed away just in case of medical emergencies in your later years … then keep working until you have saved the money and very likely by that time, you WILL need it.

If you want more than what you need … you will have to keep working and keep chasing … as the chase for more is a race, a perpetual race that takes you round and round until the day you cannot race anymore.

If you want to save money and accumulate wealth for your children … then keep working … work and make sure you have saved and accumulated enough for your children so that they don’t have to struggle to make a living for themselves.

If you are worried that you have absolutely nothing to do as if you are waiting to die when you retire … then keep working until you are physically unable to work anymore and when you finally retire you really don’t need to do anything.

Last but not least … if you don’t know when to stop chasing dreams and start to appreciate memories … then keep working and chase after more dreams until you lose the memories of who you really are, where you come from and those who really cared about you.

You see, there is always enough for one’s need but there is never enough for one’s greed. The sad fact is … some people continue to work not because they don’t have enough … they just want more.

Well, like I said earlier … there is no right or wrong here, just difference of opinions … so if people want to ‘kerja sampai masuk lubang” … I am sure they have their very own reasons to do that.


September 25, 2015

The Ockham's Razor


The Ockham’s Razor (as stated on Wikipedia) … is a problem solving principle devised by a man called William Ockham, who was an English Franciscan friar, a scholastic philosopher and theologian in the early 14th century.

In simple words, the principle is that … when you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better. The idea is to “shave off” the unnecessary elements, hence the word “razor”.

(Sourced from internet)
Let me illustrate this principle by giving you an example that happened in a recent event here not too long ago … during the recent rally against corruption, people were spreading via social media a photo of (the very famous Hong Kong superstar) Andy Lau wearing the yellow t-shirt with the event's logo standing among the crowd of protesters in the streets of KL.

I received this same photo from a few Whatsapp groups and what I cannot believe is that the people who sent me this photo actually believed that Andy Lau came to support the rally.

Look, let me explain this … two theories can happen here :-

First … the photo is a FAKE. Simple, someone doctored it to make it looks like Andy Lau is wearing the yellow t-shirt standing among the rally crowd in KL.

Second … someone actually invited Andy Lau to come to KL to support the rally. And for that to happen, one very influential person must first contact Andy Lau's management company and explain to them the details about the rally against corruption in Malaysia. Then the management company will have to look into Andy Lau’s super busy schedule to see if he is available on that particular day. Assuming that he was available, then the company will have to ask Andy Lau if he would like to show his support for the rally which probably has absolutely nothing to do with him … it won’t bring him any good but on the contrary, it may have very damaging effects on him in Malaysia. Then the Hong Kong superstar would have to seek legal advice from his lawyers on the risks and consequences on his status and not to mention the possible ban (on all things related to him by the Malaysian government) that he may be subjected to for attending the rally and showing his support against corruption by the government leaders and maybe even jailed for wearing something declared illegal. And assuming that the Hong Kong superstar is agreeable to all the hassles, all the risks and consequences that he may faced and he actually did come to KL and attended the rally … how come there was absolutely no report of this in any of the major newspapers or major news websites on the internet???

Hey! Excuse me! Dey! Think lah … the above two scenarios … which one is more believable??? This is very simple … this is where Ockham’s Razor is to be applied … when you have two competing theories that make exactly the same predictions, the simpler one is the better and most likely to be true.

(Sourced from internet)
And there was even a photo of Obama smiling and holding the yellow t-shirt … I am not going to waste time trying to explain again.

We all received many UNVERIFIED, UNTRUE and UNSUBSTANTIATED photos, videos, news and other stories that are being shared over the internet. With the convenience of smart devices and social media platforms, many people are too eager and too fast to simply post, send and share without thinking.

Sad as it is, there are too many who don’t (or for some reasons known only to them, refuse to) use common sense and simple logic in their thinking process ... just believing whatever they read or heard … sharing and spreading rumors without understanding the adverse consequences.

Please THINK and THINK AGAIN before you hit the button to post, send or share something with your friends and social groups … ask yourself … is it TRUE? Is it VERIFIED? Is it CONFIRMED? Is it POSSIBLE? Is it BIASED? Is it FAIR? There must be a filtering process where you need to apply a bit of common sense and simple logic to differentiate between those that carry a bit of truth, possibility or likelihood from those that are just nothing but a whole lot of rubbish.

August 20, 2015

I did not say “I love you”


Call me old fashioned or whatever ... you see, I don’t quite like to say the three magic words ... not even to those close to me. It is not that I have not said it before but I am not like those embracing the open gesture of expressing their love candidly and frequently. In short, I don’t like to say “I love you” as much as people want me to. I am not used to it. Somehow I feel kind of awkward saying it ... I don’t know why.

So, people have never heard me say the magic words but I have said what I needed to say in many other words. And before I go further ... let me say that I am writing this with thoughts of my kids.

Look, every morning I get up before the kids and then I would wake them up. I don’t know what to say to get them out of the bed agreeably, so I just say ... “Good morning darling, time to get up ya” or “Good morning son, it is 8 o’ clock already”. I must admit that maybe it is not in those exact words every morning but it is always in the same tone and manner. Why? Because it is definitely better than waking up to that irritating alarm clock (or phone)...  which is exactly how I am waking up to.

And then I will send them to school ... during the short drive we always make conversation and on the journey we joked, argued, debated and sometimes even disagreed. When we reached school, just before they got out of the car, I said to them ... “Bye and be careful ya”. In the whole course, there were no magic words spoken but we talked ... a fair bit actually.

School days are long days ... quite often the kids have to stay back (after school) for other assignments ... so, most of the days they will come home quite exhausted. Seeing them bushed, I don’t have any good words of comfort to offer except to ask them  ... “Have you eaten?” or “Are you still hungry?”... always eager to whip up something for them. Many times they were just too tired to eat, then I will say ... “Go take a rest” ... well, no need to say more, that was all they needed for the rest of the day.

Exams are challenging for my kids ... well, they are not the studious type ... at times it takes a toll on them. I don’t know what to say to make it easier for them, so I will tell them ... “Just try your best” and I really mean it. That is all they need to do ... regardless of the outcome.

We eat most meals at home but we do go out on weekends ... looking for good food places. The kids want to know where to go and what to eat but instead I asked them ... “What do you like to eat?” So, more often than not we will end up having “sweet and sour pork” (daughter’s favourite) or “salted fish with pork belly” (son’s favourite) among other dishes. That is absolutely OK for me ... no need for words to express the delight of them enjoying their favourite dishes and going for extra helping.

Teenagers being teenagers, sometimes they stay up late going online covertly ... I am sure parents with kids like mine knows what I am talking about. Of course I know about it ... maybe I should shut down the WIFI but then that is forcing. Though I can stop them by authority but sometimes I just cut them some slack but not without sending an online message with words of caution ... “Try to sleep early ya” ... just telling them I am aware and hoping that they will knock out soon knowing that I won’t sleep before them.

I tell my kids to be prudent on their spending but (being carefree teenagers) at times they will over indulged on their whims and fancies ... depleting their allowances before the next is due. I can understand and allows it (if it is not getting out of hand). Then I would just hand them another 50 and tell them ... “Don’t simply spend ya” ... simple words that make them smile with appreciation and relieve.

The kids grow up too fast, too soon ... seems like time has come to let go the leash and get used to not having them around so often. “Have fun and enjoy yourself” ... I tell them every time they go out on their own ... trusting them and letting them learn to handle things on themselves.

Apart from what I have mentioned above ... there were many other instances and situations where I did not use the words that express openly and candidly but I definitely tried to offer other words earnestly and wholeheartedly.

So, to my children ... I did not say “I love you” but what I have said, I said it with all sincerity to express love, care, encouragement, attention and affection. I will continue to say it the same way ... with simple words, with true words, with sincere words ... in my very own way.


July 22, 2015

Loyalty is admirable ...


Just heard another loyalty story … a 59 year old man who was fired by his company … a company he helped build from scratch, a place he considered as his second home, an organization he spent 29 years in, giving his complete loyalty for his boss whom he thought was a loyal friend. At the end of the day, he was asked to leave with absolutely nothing.

Now to be fair … I am sure the company has valid reasons to ask him to leave … I am not going to delve into that. What I want to talk about here is loyalty.

Time and time again I hear people who pledge their complete loyalty to their work, their companies and their bosses … at the end of the day, they were either ignored, overlooked, disregarded and some were even betrayed.

For me, an old school type person ... loyalty is something I hold tight and proud … I can say I am a loyal person. But for all those like me, the sad truth is … loyalty is always placed in a very precarious spot … it hangs dangerously between honor and exploit … and sadly, it is much easier being exploited than to be honored.

I am a loyal person … loyal to many and as much as I still want to believe that loyalty will somewhat create a bond to hold people together … but over time, I realize that it is those that I have been loyal to that are now shunning away.

Though at times I still want to place a bit of faith in loyalty but it has proven many times that loyalty is always never honored with the same. Well, let’s be fair ... maybe the problem is with me, maybe I am not loyal enough.

I still believe in loyalty … in fact, I am a sucker for it. I am sure there are people like me (though not many) who still hold loyalty close to their hearts, who still honor the values of devotion, faithfulness and reliability.

I think loyalty is admirable … but only to followers. To leaders, loyalty is a weakness. The fact is … in the real world, most people don't want to be like me … I am a follower.

June 24, 2015

Of superstitions, customs, rituals, doctrines and be totally free


Please read with an open mind … this article touches on subjects that may be sensitive for some people. You don’t have to agree … if people want to live their lives different from what I may have suggested … it is absolutely OK with me. I understand and respect their choices.

Here it goes …

We live our daily lives with all sorts of restrictions. While some are natural and necessary parts of our lives, some are just fallacies … like superstitions. Yes, many still willingly let superstitions and silly beliefs dictate their livelihood. I have seen someone who refuses to get out of the house because he believed that he must not make a left turn on the road that particular day to avoid the unfortunate … strange but people believe it.

And then there are customs and rituals … many are compelled to these practices handed down by tradition. I think the Chinese have more than others and the Chinese here observe twice as much customs and rituals than those practiced in China today. Whether in birth, matrimony or death … people remain oblivious and continue to submit diligently to these outdated thoughts. While many customs are simple enough to perform, some rituals are quite a hassle.

I was put through a few absurd rituals when my father passed away … one of them was to ‘tearfully’ (if not genuine, at least pretend to be) call out really loud to him when his coffin was being carried away to be cremated. Strange … “what is it for? I asked”. They told me it was to display filial piety. What? I was really puzzled … what filial piety can I show to my dead father while he is about to be cremated? Whatever I need to show (filial or what not), I have already shown while he was still alive.

Come to think about it … maybe some of the customs and rituals suggested by the bereavement trade are just to increase the earnings of the business. Yes, I am going to get whacked by people from Nirvana and the likes.

I am sure there are other practices in different religions but I don’t really know what customs and rituals they adopt. I am not a religious person, I will not delve into others' faiths and beliefs.

So when a group asked me to join them and told me that by embracing their teachings and their revered rituals, they can (in their exact words) … “enlighten me and set me totally free from the world’s problems” ... I politely decline their offer. I told them I am also trying to be totally free … from strange superstitions, obsolete customs, absurd rituals and outdated doctrines.