August 25, 2011

Life not years

I have been trekking regularly almost every week, playing badminton every Sunday and get myself involved in other outdoor activities when I have some time to spare. Many of my friends said “Wow Shiek, you are getting very fit and healthy ... sure you will live longer than many of us”. Yes, maybe I will live a bit longer but then again maybe not. A lot of people get involved in various activities trying to stay fit with the thought that it may add some years to their lives … there is nothing wrong with this … it is common thinking. Do I want to live longer? YES, I want to live as long as I can but that is not the point. For me, it is not about trying to live longer. Let me tell you this … I trek, swim, play racket games and a few other sport activities … I do all these not to add years to my life but to add life to my years.
Look at all the great marathon runners, the high mountains adventurers, the power sports competitors … what do you think? They do it to show that they are very fit so they can live longer or to add passion, adventure or simply a bit of fun to their lives?

 You can do whatever to convince yourself you are among the fittest but if you are doing it thinking that it will add years to your life … well, it may or may not give you the extra years … there is no guarantee. But ask yourself … are you trying to stay alive longer or live a life fuller. Are you doing whatever you are doing to enjoy additional years or additional life?

As for me, whether I am trekking or playing racket games or simply going for a jog, it is something I like to do. I like the nature and enjoy the natural offerings. I like to be active, going outdoors and sweating it out. It is not about challenging how high a mountain I can climb or how fast I could smash the shuttle or showing how fit I am … it is about adding a bit of fun, a bit of adventure and more importantly adding a bit of life to the years I may have.

August 09, 2011

A good ghost story

Well, it is that time of the year again … the time when all hell breaks loose … the “Hungry Ghost” festival. Yes, this coming Saturday will be the 14th day of the 7th month of the Chinese lunar calendar … the Chinese call this day “chat yut sap sei” … the day when the hell gates open. It is like a public holiday for the ghosts and ghouls and they will be out to party. And like every year around this time, there are plenty of ghost stories being told. Just a couple of days ago, it was reported in the newspaper that a group photo turn out with an extra member in the form of a ghostly image. Really? It is up to you to believe.

I too have a ghost story to tell … I heard it many years ago. Not really about a real ghost (I am not sure if there are real ghosts, have not seen one yet) but it is quite a clever “ghostly” trick.

The story goes like this … there was lady who stays near a cemetery and to get to her house, she has to walk pass the cemetery. One day she was going home quite late and after getting off the bus she sensed that she was followed by two figures. She was quite scared at first thinking the figures may be “lar char yeh” or ‘dirty things” (meaning ghosts … can’t help if you are staying near the cemetery) but then she realized that the figures were two suspicious men. While it was a relief to know that they are not “dirty things” another thought crossed her mind … they could be robbers or maniacs and she faced another problem.

Then an idea came to her … instead of walking quickly back to her house, she slowed down taking an easy walk as if she was just strolling and enjoying the walk. She then walked in between the graves and went straight to one of the graves nearby and sat down. As soon as she sat down she let out a relief sigh, stretched her hands and said out loud “farn tow ook kei ler” (which means “I have reached home” in Cantonese). Imagine the horror on the faces of the two men following her … they thought they have just followed a ghost to her grave … it scared the lights out of them and they ran for their lives.

Now although there is not really a ghost in the story, I thought it is a good ghost story to share about a quick witted lady using a simple ghostly trick to get her out of trouble.