April 22, 2015


Recently in a casual chat with fellow players after our weekly badminton games, someone asked me … “Shiek, why you stopped working so early lah, now you have nothing to do … how do you past time ah?” From the tone and manner, I guess he thinks that my life is pretty boring and very mundane day in day out. Anyway, I played along his notion and said to him … “Ya lor, Mondays to Fridays, I do nothing … Saturday and Sundays, I rest”.

But really, it is not like that.

I don’t know why many assumed that people like me, who have stopped working permanently have NOTHING to do … like we are all sitting at home rotting away, slowly dying uselessly.

Look, there are many people like me who left the working world early because we have had enough of the rat race. We stopped before we start to trade away our mental and physical health in the relentless chase for career, success and recognition … we quitted chasing for more than what we needed.

We don’t work ... so, on one hand we don’t get the frustration of long traffic jams every morning, we don’t have to agonize over ridiculous deadlines every day, we don’t have to stay back for tedious assignments every so often, we don’t have to backstab anyone in ‘blame storming’ meetings every week, we don't have to type long reports every month, we don’t have to worry about budgets, profits and loss every quarter and we don’t have to get caught in scheming office politics with everyone.

But on the other hand, we also don’t get to enjoy the perks … we don’t get paid to sit in a nice office, we don’t get to hang out in stylish cafes to see and to be seen during breaks, we don’t get treated to fancy restaurants every other day, we don’t get to go entertain and be entertained in posh clubs every now and then, we don’t get to be invited to glamorous social gatherings every week, we don’t get to fly business class to meetings every month and we don’t get to go on grand incentive trips every year.

BUT … that doesn’t mean that we have NOTHING to do.

There is a lot to do … depending on your mental and physical well being … some can be as exciting as hiking the Himalayans, while others are more adventurous like backpacking to see the world or maybe just trek some smaller local mountains and jungles.

At other times maybe one can engage in those less physical endeavors. How about traveling to see places? How about enrolling in home-stay programs to learn different cultures and experience diverse traditions?

Maybe get involved in social and community projects … one can keep themselves active and occupied by helping out in the many soup kitchens and charity homes in their areas or make visitations to orphanages and old folks’ homes.

And keep on learning … spend time on self improvement activities. Read, study and write subjects of interest, try 'self-taught' social dances, exercise routines or even music … maybe learn handyman or arts and crafts skills. And after that, teach what you have learned to others who are interested.

Last but not least, one important thing that people (who did not give much thought to in their pursuit of success and recognition) can do when they decide to quit the working world … put more time and effort on building strong values among family, relatives and friends … spend quality time with wife and children, provide care for aged parents, create activities together with loved ones and invite or visit relatives and friends to build close relationships and meaningful friendships. 

Yes, for those like me ... there is plenty to do and plenty of time to do it. Not just a list of physical and adventurous challenges that are fun and exciting but also a variety of things that can improve ourselves morally, add depth to our knowledge, builds closeness with those around us and in the meantime, maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.

Let me make a point here … for people like me … it is not that we don’t have things to do, we just don’t have work to do.


flintbatu said...

Please continue with the good writing. Learn new things every time I am here!

Shiek Eng Meng said...

Thanks for spending time on my blog ... :)

flintbatu said...

Thank you Uncle,

I'm just an ordinary person who is 45 years old with a kid staying in Penang. Most of the posts are very profound and really challenge my old beliefs. Trying to live a better life while earning a dercent earnings! It's extremely challenging at this moment, with so many restraints and unstable economy. Will continue to learn to be a better man!

Kok Yuen, Liew

Shiek Eng Meng said...

Hi Kok Yuen

You can call me Shiek ... everyone calls me that :) Penang is a good place ... I visit Penang quite often for short breaks.

My writings are based on what I have experienced, what I have been taught, what I have seen and what I believed.

I am sure many people around the world share the same thoughts and write in the same context ... maybe just in different languages.

In the ever challenging environment, I try to make things easy for me by living a simple life ... making do with life's simple pleasures.

Again, I thank you for spending time on my writings and I appreciate your comments ... :)

May I ask ... how did you come to know of my blog?


flintbatu said...

Hi Shiek,

It was a random found as I was searching the net for information on medication prescribed by a doc for my son who's 4 years old! The name Shiek was quite different and I thought maybe this blogger is a Muslim! Curiousity got the better of me, and here I am! Nope, it never kill the cat!

Walking is also one of my passion, but I have never been for a hike before. Penang is a great place for such activity and hopefully (when I am fit), is able to get into this healthy activity with my family. I was from KL before I moved to Kepala Batas more than 15 years ago. I dislike the life in the city and I find this area a fine place. Furthermore, my wife was unwell and I hope a rustic place (her hometown) and with the support of her family as well, will be great for her well being. It was indeed a right decision.

We made some difficult decisions, but sometimes out of fear of change we continue with our present lifestyle. And before we know it, it has taken a tool of our life and health. It has taken away one of your lung before you took the drastic step of changing your lifestyle. Not everyone has the courage to make the change!

I have walked from Taman Mayang to the old Pasar Road bus station a decade ago. I found out that by walking, I am at peace even with the heavy traffic surrounded me! I have time to reflect and think!

Thank you for reading and hope to continue our discussion on subjects that are close to our hearts. 'Atheist Heart and Humanist Mind' will be on my next reading list.

Shiek Eng Meng said...

It is good that things are better for you and your family in Penang.

I will be glad to receive comments from you and please share you your thoughts freely ... there is no right or wrong in many instances. That is why it is important to see things at other's point of views too.

Cheers Kok Yuen ...:)