November 19, 2012

What happened?

When I left my full time job a few years ago, I occasionally do freelance jobs (of all sorts) ...  to earn me some extra pocket money. One of the many ‘odd’ jobs that I do is providing transport ...  some call it “private taxi” but I still like to call it “providing transport”. I send people everywhere ... to airports, train stations and sometimes I drive people outstation. I do it every now and then catering to a handful of regular customers.

On one occasion ... more than a year ago, I got a call from a lady for a trip to the airport. When I picked her at her house, I immediately recognized her and she too recognized me ... I worked with her once on a marketing event some years ago. She was surprised to see me now working freelance providing transport. On the way to the airport we chatted and I found out that she is now a top executive of a well known international cosmetic company ... told me she is going overseas for a conference.

We chatted casually for a long while and then she asked me (I cannot remember the exact words but something to this effect) ... “Shiek, you were a well paid senior manager in a big MNC ... now you are just making a couple of hundred bucks driving and carrying luggage for people ... what happened?”

At first, I thought I detected a note of mockery in the question ... well, maybe not, maybe I am just a bit sensitive ... anyway, told her I simply had enough of the corporate world and one day I just decided to give it all up ... that’s it, nothing happened!

And disbelievingly she said ... REALLY? Now, the tone and manner she replied told me I was right in the first place, she did intend to inject a bit of sarcasm in the question. Not sure why but I guessed in her opinion, one just don’t walk away from a well paid job in the corporate world to do odd jobs ... something must have happened. 

Then the conversation shifted back to her career and she told me how she worked her way up the corporate ladder over the last several years, how busy she is now with the travelling and meetings and the corporate jargons lasted all the way to the airport. On the way back, I thought to myself ... good for her, she is now a high flying corporate hotshot, enjoying a great career ... she is very likely to go far.

After that, I forgot all about this lady ... until recently ... when I saw her again. This time she was in the waiting area of a private hospital. This time, I saw a very different person. When I greeted her, I could hardly hear her voice ... from what I see, she was quite sick. I spoke to her friend who was accompanying her and though we did not say much of what is actually happening to her ... the baldness, the pale face and the skeletal frame suggested the side effects from chemotherapy treatment of a terminal illness. I felt sorry for her and I am sure those who know her felt the same but that is all one can offer.

As I drove away from the hospital ... I recalled the conversation that I had with her (when I was sending her to the airport) ... she was a top executive of a large company, a high flying corporate hotshot who was doing so well, a great career and so much to look forward to ... all that doesn’t matter anymore. Ironically I thought to myself ... what happened?

(Later I was told that she passed away due to cancer)

Too many times I have heard of similar stories ... life throws a hard curve and strike without warning. Almost in all of these situations, it is always too fast, too late. By the time one realizes it ... nothing matters anymore and by then there is no point asking ... "what happened?"

If someone ask me again ... “what happened?” ... let me say this ... what happened to me is my choice ... I chose to leave the fast lane for a simpler life. For the last several years, I chose the way I want to live ... I like it this way. I like to choose “what happened” to my life ... for as long as I can. 

November 06, 2012

I will go to heaven ...

I believe in a lot of things … all sorts of things. Many people don’t agree with what I believe in … it is perfectly OK … I am not going to lose sleep if people don't share my beliefs.

Then again I don’t believe in a lot of things. I always tell people … please don’t be upset when I tell you that I don’t share your beliefs and I am not at all concerned about what your beliefs are.

I think we can all get along well based on who we are not what we believe in. I have a lot of friends, everyone with their own beliefs. I accept my friends for what they are, not for what they believe in even though I may think what some of my friends believed in is an outdated dogma. And on the same notion, these same friends may think that what I believe in (aliens) is a big joke and they too accept me for what I am.

But recently a couple of very stubborn people (one is my ex-college mate) got a bit disappointed when I refuse to acknowledge what they are trying advocate … they tried very hard to convince me to accept their views and beliefs.

My logic is quite simple … if you want me to believe in something, you have to answer some of my questions. But I was told that I don’t have to ask questions … just believe and I will have the answers. Errrrr … sorry, I just cannot accept that,

I believe in asking questions that need to be answered … not just be given answers that cannot be questioned at all. I believe that there is no certainty of anything so it needs proof of everything … I just cannot accept a belief that is certain of everything and don’t need proof of anything.

I choose to live my life free from religious indoctrination since I was in my early teens … I am very comfortable with it … please let it be.

So I told my stubborn ex-college mate (and his friend) this … I won’t bore them to tears with my theories of little gray beings with large protruding eyes, so please don’t come tell me those you will not go to heaven stories if I don’t accept their belief. Hey, I don’t believe there is a heaven (or hell), so it doesn’t apply to me. But they still insist that I am wrong and they say I will know when I die.

OK, OK ... even if I am wrong, when I die and found out that there is a heaven (so very likely I will be in hell, right?) but let me tell you this … I will go to heaven … ILLEGALLY!