June 22, 2009

Age is mind over matter

An old friend sent me an article about growing old. A very good article indeed and I thought I should share some very good points from the article as well as some of my own views about growing old.

One fine evening when I was taking a stroll with my son around our neighbourhood, one of my neighbours, a retired “uncle” in his 70s saw us walking by his house. With all good intentions, he waved and said “Good evening Mr Shiek, taking your grandson for a walk?” Grandson? Hmmmm, do I look that old? Well, maybe I do look as though I should have grand kids. Was I offended? NO, not at all! I don’t mind actually.

“Uncle” or “Uncle Shiek” is what I am politely called now. In the next few years I will be hitting the big 5. I cannot deny I am getting old because when I see a beautiful young girl nowadays, I would say: “Wow, her mother must be very beautiful”. Get it?

I don’t mind that when I laugh I may show a lot more wrinkles and that my hairs have turned grey. I will never trade my wrinkles and grey hairs for anything. I have seen so many that have never ever laughed and died before their hairs turned grey.

I don’t mind that the years may have wrinkled my skin. As long as I don’t let the years wrinkled my soul. I don’t mind that the same wrinkles won’t let me keep the beauty on my face anymore so I just moved it to my heart.

I don’t mind that the world seems to slow down as I grow older. I have seen too many dear friends leaving this world too fast before they enjoy the privilege that comes with ageing. I don’t mind that my heart have been broken so many times as I have lost so many loved ones along the way. Broken hearts are what give us strength, understanding and compassion. A heart never broken will never know the joy of imperfect.

I don’t mind that when I walked on the beach showing my weathered body despite pitying glances from young ones. I actually pitied them. They may not have a chance to grow old like me. I don’t mind that I may shuffle my cards a bit slower. Not many people still have a full deck of cards to shuffle.

I don’t mind that I will have more candles on my birthday cake. The more candles I have, the longer I live. As time moves on, I may even get a bit forgetful but I don’t mind that too. Some things in life may very well be forgotten.

I don’t mind knowing that I will finally die. I am glad that I have found what I am willing to die for. If you have not found what you are willing to die for then you are not worth living.

I’ll say this: “Age is mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter”.


June 02, 2009

Love your enemies ...

Love your enemies just in case your friends turn out to be bastards! I heard this while watching a British spy drama series sometime ago. Then recently in a conversation, I borrowed this phrase to reflect on how true it can be nowadays in the dark side of the business world and on shadowy behaviours of the people involved. On the surface we see nasty confrontations with names calling, back stabbing and finger pointing that resulted from greed, betrayal and irresponsibility. Deeper below, there are those who smile at you but are already executing their cunning scheme. These people stretch out to shake your hand while holding a knife behind their back ready to stab without feeling any guilt. In today’s “dog eats dog” world, I personally witnessed so many incidents of betrayal and greed with plots that came right out of some Hong Kong drama series.

Sad isn’t it? People mislead people and friends deceive friends in stories of corrupted business dealings, malicious office conflicts and high handed dirty politics. Many are so caught up in the process that they forget very easily. They forget about loyalty and friendship.

I am not sure about others but I am still the very “old school” type of people where we place loyalty and friendship with very high respect. I am one of those who still appreciate the saying “internally we depend on family and externally we depend on friends”. I still believe in “tai kar pak chi seong” (we support each other to move up) but that is not happening anymore now. Today it is “ngor chai chi lei seong” or “lei chai chi ngor seong” (I step on you to move up or you step on me to move up). Words like friendship, trust, dignity, honestly, hard work, fair, responsibility and loyalty are often purposely ignored. And talking about loyalty, “old school” people like me are still very much about loyalty but we are a fast dying breed. Someone said this to me “if you want loyalty, go and get a dog”. Well, I like dogs but I also like to believe there are still many “old school” people like me who believe in the values of loyalty and friendship. As a matter of fact, I am lucky to have a bunch of these very good loyal “old school” friends around me.

So ask yourself, do you have real good friends around you? I hope you do. If you don’t, could it be that they rather love their enemies because you turned out to be a bastard?