Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Novice Cousins

Prime Minister Najib Razak and Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein are cousins (read HERE). Together they wield tremendous power over the national security of Malaysia. Sadly the manner they handled the upcoming event on July 9 made them political novices. They lack the savvy approach to engage and negotiate, instead they chose the archaic route of confront and threaten, which is out of sync in this modern era when people gets connected so easily by SMSs, emails and Internet news which has created greater openness and awareness. Truth and perception are again being pitted against each other and guess who is the winner? The style and systematic denial of accusations raised by concerned NGOs over the lapses of our fundamental rights has painted themselves into a corner, as described in THIS commentary. The coming days may see a concerted efforts to clamp down the supporters but will it solve the ongoing problem? It certainly require humility and acceptance of imperfection to collectively help the nation progress. I hope both Najib and Hishamuddin realize this before things get out of hand.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

We Are Family

I've lived under 6 prime ministers and was a pre-independence citizen. I am qualified to say this, that the country I knew is no longer the one I can recognize nor proud of. The Malaysia of my youth was peaceful. I felt no racial nor religious tensions. When I became eligible I voted consistently for continuity. There was no reason not too. The government of the day was doing a fair job. The oppositions were juvenile by comparison. Sometime during the tenure of the 4th prime minister, my perception started changing. My Malaysia started morphing into a new society built upon favoritism, segregation, religious polarization, decline in education standard and pursuit of industry and excellence. The government policies encouraged materialism and external achievements. We became a nation ridiculed by the catchy phrase 'Malaysia Bolih' which imply that we can achieve anything by whatever means. This was our new moral standard that imbued the thinking of both young and old. As a result our moral values declined rapidly and today laws are defied and broken with impunity.

The failure of Malaysia was in sowing distrust among the different races and not uplifting the livelihood of the poor of all racial backgrounds. It is also our failure in not building pride and loyalty by giving every Malaysian a place under our sun. The government failed in not teaching our children to be industrious, failed in not harnessing our common strength to weather global challenges. Instead we lost our best after developing them, gifts other nations happily welcome.

We are family. It is normal to have different point of views but is it necessary to arrest those who disagree with you? Do you suppress family members who are less empowered? We may be yellow, tanned and brown but we have Malaysian blood inside. We may be opposite in our ideologies but that's no reason to use might and arsenals at your disposal to silent those you don't like.

Bersih 2.0 tries to right a wrong. They must be given space and right to express their dissatisfaction as long as the do so peacefully as they promised to conduct themselves. If they are denied does it means the government do not support clean elections? Or they admit indirectly that they had applied illegal methods before to win electoral seats and therefore oppose any move to regulate the process?

There appear to be growing anger against the police and home minister for preventing the rally from taking place on July 9. The organizers have gone into direct confrontation and willing to be arrested. It was a foolish strategy to deny Bersih their right to protest. Bersih has the support of citizens against abuse of clean elections to capture political victories. Even if they don't turn up for the march they will take their rights to the polling stations at the next general elections. It will be a very costly mistake in messing up with the rights of the people to demonstrate. Suppression is always the precursor to a downfall as most dictatorial regimes learned. The wisest move is to engage and resolve instead of threatening and arresting. Family members should look out for each other instead of running each other down. We must learn before it becomes another tragic event.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Before You Complain, Watch This

My friend Al asked me to watch this hour long video clip. I normally skip the rest after the first few minutes but this one, produced by the BBC got me glued to my monitor to the end. Helped no doubt by the smooth internet connection, excellent video resolution, script, audio quality and most importantly, the message. Life is deplorable and often inhuman in the squatters of Manila where millions of poor people live in wooden shacks and share food with the dogs. A struggling jeepney driver shares his story with a London bus driver who sees for himself a different world. So before you say that life is unfair, put yourself in Rohelio's position, or that of his neighbor, and you will see yourself differently.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Unending Maid Problems

The last time I blogged about maids was just over a year ago. We were maid less until November when we employed a middle age Cambodian maid after tossing between getting an Indonesian or a Cambodian (an interesting comparison HERE). We were then in a period when maids were in short supply with the Indonesian government temporarily suspending their maids from leaving for Malaysia until certain contentious issues are settled between the two governments. Huge demands for Cambodian maids resulted in many unsuitable maids arriving our shore. The biggest headache was communication, followed by inability to carry out fundamental household chores. Our maid unfortunately suffered from both shortcomings and the six probation months were unhappy period for both sides. She eventually opted to leave as the working relationship fail to work out. In hindsight I feel the maid was unaware of her responsibilities and the agency failed to warn her of the expectations. She needed the job and we needed house help. It was a simple demand and supply situation that was mismatched. Early May when she left there was relief although we had to adjust to life without maid which we agree was better. I observe less tension at home without harsh words spoken to the maid for badly done work.

Today the grandchildren are more manageable and in time they will be more independent. Our responsibilities will change with time. Instead of making sure they are safe, eat their food and are properly bathed, our future roles will be to teach and guide them as home teachers. There is no need for live-in maids unless there is an invalid family member. I believe we should wean ourselves off over dependence on maids and look for alternative solutions. We never had maids before when I was growing up, family members chipped in to do their share of house work.

In THIS report some 18,000 maids ran away from homes last year. This represents an average of 50 daily and to where did they disappear to? Probably as illegal house cleaners as there were growing demands for them. Many of them may even marry locals of the same religion and get assimilated.

Runaway maids, underperforming maids, abusive maids, lying, stealing and cheating maids will continue to frustrate and haunt young families who genuinely need maid helps. These problem require more than just changing them. Unless we are willing to make sacrifices and think creatively to solve our maids problems they will become bigger thorns in our homes and society. What baffles me is the developed nations are less dependent on domestic maids. What can we learn from them? Are we willing to adjust and accommodate?

Posted from Regalodge, Ipoh.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Citizenship and Patriotism

Many questions have been raised about how we fail to display patriotism inspite the fact that we are citizens of our country. Why do we lack the exuberance or spontaneity? Is the underlying reason due to the dampening role of the government instead?

Wikipedia explains that "patriotism is a devotion to one's country. In a generalized sense applicable to all countries and peoples, patriotism is a devotion to one's country for no other reason than being a citizen of that country." Note the keyword 'country'.

In THIS website, Theodore Roosevelt was credited as having said,

"Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiently or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else." Again, note the same keyword 'country'.

Another website HERE suggested that "Love for one's ancestry, culture or homeland is the root meaning of patriotism. Derived from the Greek kputrios ("of one's fathers") or patris (one's fatherland") the Oxford English Dictionary defines a patriot as "one who disinterestedly or self-sacrificingly exerts himself to promote the well-being of his country." A patriot is "one who maintains and defends his country's freedom or rights." Same emphasis on 'country or homeland' although ancestry and culture are associated as well.

In THIS commentary from theStar written almost 4 years ago the author wrote,

"It has been wonderful to reminisce on our past glories in foreign policies, novel development plans to eradicate poverty, achievements in science and technology and in sports.

But it is more important for Malaysians and those entrusted with managing the country to contemplate its future, based on what we have evolved into today.

Beneath the fluttering flags, how pretty is the landscape? We can't continue to bury our heads in the sand when the country is tainted with corruption and financial scandals, and its education system can’t meet the demands of the current global competition for human capital.

Neither can we pretend that crime is not threatening to get out of control, and ethnic posturing and religious tensions are mounting.

Patriotism is not just about waving the flag and pledging allegiance to King, country and the Rukunegara. Those who truly care for the nation must be concerned about what is happening today, and do the right thing to make it a better place to live in tomorrow.
" Once more patriotism is about nation, never government.

That was during the tenure of Tun Ahmad Badawi as our prime minister. Six months later he led the government to its worst defeat in 51 years. You could feel the despair and disenchantment with the government for letting down the citizens. We aspire to be a great nation, and were willing to work hard to bring prosperity to the country. Unfortunately the leadership was unable to stir the passion and drive the best to make us young tigers ready to take on the world. It wasn't for the lack of patriotic spirit. Malaysia is heaven on earth, so why would her citizens want to leave? If not for real fear that the government of the day had failed its given mandate? Remember, the commentary was written in a paper owned by MCA, a coalition partner of the government.

Can we fault many Malaysians for hiding their patriotism? There is little to rejoice when there is little to expect. Four years on, nothing changed but had in fact deteriorated. You are excused if you think you read the above from yesterday's paper.

We are proud to be Malaysians. Wherever we travel out of the country, we proudly declare we are from Malaysia, not Singapore, not Hong Kong, not Taiwan, not Japan, not China. If we have contributed to our national wealth we are patriotic for we did not depend on welfare. If we have created employments, brought in foreign exchange, we are patriotic.

Patriotism is unrelated to love for the government. Government change but the country remains faithful to all who toil to prosper it. Patriotism is therefore all about love for the country that gave us beautiful memories of our growing years, that provided the warmth in which we established our families, received our education, made friends and discover how very lucky and blessed we are to have so much natural goodness and spared from natural calamities faced by our neighbors.

No one have a right to question anyone's patriotism unless he carry out acts to destroy his country, such as grow terrorism and sow hatred among her citizens. Patriots are good and constructive citizens whose productivity benefits the whole nation.

Which Brings Me To Karaoke



Karaoke, a Japanese innovation, was introduced to Malaysia around the mid 1980s and became an immediate success because it fulfilled the human desire to be a star without the spotlight and glamour. Hidden within many of us is a dream to be someone more than our normal self and the karaoke revolution that struck Asia gave many ordinary folks opportunities to test their talents. Some have even built new singing careers through such experimentations.

I love singing and used my bathroom as my stage, or sometimes my bedroom. In both instances I would be away from public eyes. As blogged earlier, I am not a public person. In 1970 I became a member of a threesome vying for a spot in my varsity residential college talentime contest. We didn't win and that was the closest I got to public performance until 20 years later when I started singing as a tenor in my church choir.

When karaoke came to town I was curious and each time there was a machine available, such as during wedding dinners or family birthdays in private rooms I would try to sing a few numbers. I am not a pro who look forward to sing for a fee because I sing for fun. My favorite karaoke song is 'Country Roads Take Me Home' sung by the late John Denver. My most recent karaoke session was at my younger daughter's birthday a few weeks ago. Due to disuse my voice is losing its strength and hitting high notes take more efforts.

Karaoking (Croaking for those tone deaf and rhythmless) continues to be my flirt at a teenage dream to be a star like Elvis or Cliff. If I had chosen that path I can be sure I would be a flop. But I would love to singalong oldies with people of like mind. It will be a fun trip down memory lane. Anyone for a session with Lobo singing Me and You and a Dog named Boo? Or Tom Jone's Green Green Grass of Home?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Public Speaking



I am not a public speaker and my nature disallows me the pleasure and joy of speaking publicly routinely. Sometimes, when required by call of duty or by my official status, I would speak and confess there were moments when I wished I could have declined but could not. Because I am a person who go for 'perfection' in what I am expected to do. Most people would feel public speaking is not their cup of tea but those who seek publicity wants every chance to be called upon to speak their thoughts. You know who they are by the coverage they get in the press and media.

I was never trained to be in public eye. But as my career and social engagement progressed becoming a public figure was entrusted upon me under 'protest'. I 'received' public speaking training in my church, a nice training ground, since mistakes are less critically frowned upon (not sure if that is true since worshippers may not articulate their unkind views directly). I think I became a liturgist sometime around 1996. A liturgist leads the entire worship service and pray. He is next to the pastor/preacher for the duration of the service so holds an important role. This experience builds my confidence and ability in delivering my addresses which, as far as possible, impromptu since I 'excel' in speaking off the cuff rather than from prepared text. However, certain contents must be written beforehand to ensure their 'correctness'.

My most memorable public speaking which last more than 30 minutes was during my company's 20th anniversary cum my 60th birthday celebration in 2008. It was spoken from my heart and unprepared except for the points. I was immensely satisfied because I was given the freedom to be myself.

I wonder would I have been a qualified toastmaster? Ability wise I think I would but being one shy of being in the public I would not be comfortable or desire to be one. Public speaking is not for everybody. Especially speaking formally before a dignified audience such as involving royalties. But speaking casually would be my cup of tea.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

HeartPrints

I found this poem from www.poetryoflife.com. It has a magical meaning which I hope will touch you too.

Whatever our hands touch—
We leave fingerprints!
On walls, on furniture,
On doorknobs, dishes, books,
As we touch we leave our identity.

Oh please where ever I go today,
Help me leave heartprints!
Heartprints of compassion
Of understanding and love.
Heartprints of kindness
and genuine concern.

May my heart touch a lonely neighbor
Or a runaway daughter,
Or an anxious mother,
Or, perhaps, a dear friend!

I shall go out today
To leave heartprints,
And if someone should say
“I felt your touch,”
May that one sense be…YOUR LOVE
Touching through ME.

This is to all the wonderful people
I have met!

I offer you my hand in friendship
so that when you reach out in times of need,
you can be certain that I’ll always be there.
when it returns to you,
you’ll know who’ll be your friends for life!!!

Are You A Teacher?



This startup line was used on me several times when I was introduced to strangers and I curiously asked them what made them think so. Did I have a 'teacher' look? Of course all I got was a smile and no reply. I would examine myself and thought perhaps I looked authoritative or stern to qualify the description. Or I looked 'knowledgeable' whatever that mean since it is a subjective and unquantifiable mask. The truth is I am not a teacher but I had spend several months many years ago teaching. Maybe that gave me a 'teacher' look.

My first teaching exposure was during the first semester of 1968 to a class of secondary students in a private school in my hometown. I had just finished my Higher School Certificate (HSC) exam and awaiting my results pending enrollment as undergraduate in the Universiti Malaya. The money I earned was used to buy me a secondhand motorcycle so I can move about in university.

But I was involved in teaching earlier as a tuition teacher in 1967 to my landlord's daughter. I still remember her name, Ms Gooi Lee Peng. It would be nice to catch up with her.

My final teaching experience was immediately after my exam in university. In January 1971 I joined the Methodist Girls School in Klang, Selangor as a science teacher. I was popular with the girls who were in Form 4 and I believe one or two had a crush on me (wishful thinking?)

Thereafter I joined the industrial sector working my way up to where I am now, as chemist, production and factory manager until I started my own business in 1988. The rest is history which you can read elsewhere in this blog.

I sometimes wonder would I have been a good teacher since people have connected me to that career. I think that knowing my character better now I would be a great teacher because of several desirable qualities exemplary teachers must have. I myself have been taught by great teachers who've influenced my attitude.

Firstly I believe in nurturing children and youth in developing their potential through encouragement and right exposure to knowledge and moral values. Secondly I believe I have good interactive skills with them being a good storyteller and buddy with them. Thirdly I am strict but fun so my students will accept me as a good role model. Successful teaching is founded upon strong bond between teacher and students. The fundamental role of teachers is to encourage and instruct, not forgetting setting the right example himself to be emulated. My weakness would be my lack of patience.

Is my not being a teacher a loss to the teaching profession? I think so but their loss is some other profession's gain. Right now I'm apply my teacher skills to my grandchildren and I hope they will grow up to be responsible, proactive, moral and productive citizens. I am seeing that in my children so I guess I've done right as a father teacher too. Perhaps I can be a good counselor to students and undergraduates to help them identify their future directions.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Talk Less, Listen More



Words of wisdom that are circulated all over forwarded emails but how many people ponder its significance? I just got one awhile ago and thought it is a nice topic to discuss.

This is a talking generation. I cannot recall my father's generation talking as much. By talking I include the non-verbal kind like texting, emailing, chatting, blogging and facebooking. We express ourselves like we want to show off who we are and what we have, what we can do and what we want the world to know we are going to do. This is a very opinionated generation. Seems everybody has an opinion on anything (I am as guilty) and wants to express them in the name of freedom. If we add up all the words that fly out of our mind, mouth and fingers at any one time I'm sure they are many times greater than the entire human population (which is said to be touching 7 billion soon). We can't sit still, we have to talk and talk as if talking = living. Sure, some of us doesn't talk much, some not at all for various reasons (do men talk less as they get older?). Some talk for a living like show hosts, professional speakers and radio DJs. In between are people who talk to dominate their listeners without even thinking if whatever they say are absorbed or helpful. Some talk incessantly that you need a lightning second to wedge in your reply. And most humorously are conversations that sound like a monologue or verbal battle with nobody listening and everybody spewing out their views simultaneously. What a comedy!

The advice to talk less is to ask us to think carefully before words leave our lips. Our mind is like a kitchen processing our thoughts and clearing them to be discarded or queued to be spoken. Bad and hurtful thoughts that never make their way from our mind to our mouth harm no one but if carelessly delivered can cause untold miseries and misunderstanding. We are not just to talk less but more importantly to think twice. The two golden rules go hand in hand and will make anyone a good sharer and conversationalist.

What about listening? It is said that God created us with one mouth and two ears so that we spend twice the time listening than talking. How wise is that observation! Listening is both an art and a science. A person who develops an art of listening benefits from the choice words he hears, apply them in his own life and generally become a better person. He then shares the same to others to improve their lives too. Listening requires a conscious effort to dig beneath the meaning of the physical words spoken. Is there a cry for help? Is the speaker trying to send a hidden message subtly? Is he trying to influence the audience? A good listener thinks through whatever he hears and analyses them to form the proper conclusion.

If we agree to listen more and talk only when necessary, the world we live in will be quieter, lovelier and more harmonious. Let's chatter less but share words to build each other more. It is the civil thing to do.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Daddy's Love

Father's Day just ended but this videoclip is a constant reminder to all of us that daddy love his children through all situations and circumstances. Thanks Al for sharing.

Is Too Much Thinking Bad?



We are advised to practice moderation in everything we do to stay healthy. Does this advice include thinking? It is a big subject, thinking, and when I Google it there were nearly 900,000 results. I think many websites and blogs were written by thinking people or those who wonder what it is all about. It is a boring subject but then we all think in our waking hours. In our sleep we replace thinking with dreaming.

Some people think more and do less, others the other way around. We've heard of people doing something without thinking. For example, a man plunge into a river fully clothed to save a drowning victim. Then we can have the other extreme, someone spending all day or week thinking to accept an offer or not and then discover it has expired.

The question is not fast or slow thinking (I am a fast thinker by the way) but whether a person can be spending too much time thinking about any issue and getting bogged down. An example. A girl jilted by her boyfriend can be spending days and weeks feeling sorry and crying over it and thinking of the past and who was more wrong in the breakup and what she could have done to save it and what caused it to happen and ... yes, just thinking and wondering over the whole episode.

Another person is a similar situation may just pick herself up the next day and start building a new relationship without thinking too much about it.

We are who we are because of our ability to think. If we do not think much are we lesser than those who think more? In other words are thinkers greater than doers? Should we be more of a doer and less of a thinker or vice versa?

I believe there is no hard universal rules. Different situation require different prioritization. To decide if a relationship should go beyond mere friendship should take more thinking than deciding when it is safe to cross the road.

Back to the captioned question. Is the habit of thinking too much bad for a person's well being? What do you think? Please don't be taking too long ...

Gifts that Count



7 years ago, my daughter and hubby while on honeymoon in New Zealand bought my wife and I a gift some would consider inappropriate but to us totally practical and thoughtful. Today that little kiwi nail clipper has become a popular gadget to my family from the youngest up. There are clippers large and small and of different shapes and cut curvature. This little fella fits small and large nails alike, finger or toe, straight or crooked. And it leaves clean cuts which many brands fail to match. Especially great for snipping toddler's nails. I cut my fingernails every 10-12 days and I am also grateful for it. In our recent trip to Australia it was misplaced in our luggage and got all of us anxious looking for it all over. Luckily it was found.

Have you ever craved for a nice scratch over that spot on your shoulder blade or middle back that your fingers miss by just an inch? Ahhh, a back scratcher will do the job nicely if the wife is not around to accommodate you. My scratcher bought in one of my China trips years ago broke. Last Saturday I bought a replacement from the Japanese Daiso store, an everything-you-need-for-RM5 store, in 1 Utama shopping mall. It comes with a massage ball at the other end to strike at achy spots on the back. This little gadget makes a meaningful gift to any adult of any age.

How many of us are into the habit of using a shoehorn when putting on a pair of shoes? It may be more of a western habit which I find very desirable especially if the shoes are a little tight and made of fine expensive leather to preserve its heel tabs. And you don't want to dirty your hands. I got myself a new pair of Hush Puppy shoes recently and decided to buy a shoehorn, one with a long handle so I need not bend when I put on my shoes. A sensible gift for the older man or someone with a bad back.

What else that are cheap and useful, likely to be appreciated for their usefulness? A LED torchlight keychain comes to mind. How often do we return home to a dark porch and fumble for the right house key in total darkness? The keychain torchlight will surely come in handy. Senior people with poorer night vision will find it a practical gadget to carry. Other gift ideas? How about a personalized coffee mug with maybe a picture and nice words on it? a traveler's umbrella that stores inside an aluminium tube resembling a rod handy when going for a stroll to fend off aggressive dogs as well as protect from sun and rain? or a pepper spray to fend off attackers?

3 months ago I received a potentially life-saving gift, a key-chain attachment that conceals a blade to cut through jammed seat belt during a car crash with an impact striker to crack and break a side window glass so that occupants can escape during an emergency. I have now attached it to my car key.

Gifts need not be expensive. However it must serve useful purpose and of decent quality to be appreciated. So what will I buy for friends and relatives when I next travel to New Zealand? You guess right, a dozen of NZ made nail clippers so that every fortnight or so I will be remembered when they are put to use!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Is Perception = Reality?

Recently Prime Minister Najib said something that is controversial. It was reported in Star HERE and I quote,

"In politics, what is important is perception, not reality and this is exploited by the Opposition. Even the truth is always denied as they know that politics is all about perception and not about reality and truth. It is for us to show we are better, more effective and better understand the rakyat's aspirations so that the sentiments are more towards us"

He added that Umno and Barisan must understand how to influence people's minds and taste in order to win them over.


Unquote.

There is no denying that the government IS DOING its best to convince the people that they are making the nation more livable and prosperous. But it is not making the right impact because the people, especially the middle income group, are NOT PERCEIVING the government's efforts are bearing fruits or the right approach. The people is PERCEIVING that there is a lot of talk, a lot of grand schemes like the Government Transformation Programme to boast what it is doing for our well-being, to make us a 'high income nation'. It could be sincere and true but the public perception is 'Nah, you are spending all the money to enrich yourself at the same time, aren't you?'. Is this true? No one can tell but this is the perception which the government will do well to correct, because perception can turn truth into lies and vice versa.

It hurts when you are doing good and people perceive you have other motives. This is unfortunately how many well-meaning Malaysians are inclined to believe and the underlying reason is simply this: the government, or rather the ruling political parties of the government, have not convinced the people that they are clean, honest, capable and working for the people's welfare rather than their own. And one more issue that Najib failed to resolve when he came into office in April 2008. He failed to get his name cleared through the courts over the Altantuya murder accusation to justify he is morally and criminally clean. I think it was a grave mistake because now there is this PERCEPTION that he may have done it although there was no evidence. Perception and Doubt can bring down even a good man if he doesn't get real with those he depends for support.

One thing our government must quickly rectify is regain public trust by proving that they deserve their votes. The only way to do that is be yourself so that voters know if you are qualified to be their representatives in government. The same message goes to the Opposition coalition as the people apply the same yardstick to whoever comes into power.

So is Perception = Reality? My take is no. You are perceived to be what you are by what people say and believe about you. You may be a crook but if you spin yourself to be a saint successfully you can get away. However in this digital era it is harder to be anyone but yourself.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

RM30 Reassurance

I have good reason to be happy today. Beside crossing over the 1,000 post mark I am comforted by the latest retest of my PSA. On June 6 I was told by the medical officer in charge at the Surgical Out Patient Department (SOPD) of the government hospital I went for my BPH treatment that based on the latest PSA result I am a candidate for prostate cancer. The conclusion was based on 2 results: 3.1ng/ml in December 2010 and 4.3ng/ml on May 30 this year. Any result below 4.0ng/ml is deemed normal and any sudden rise in PSA is deemed a flag to carry out further tests. The sharp increase of 1.2ng/ml within a 6 months period to above the trigger maximum of 4.0 was the basis of concluding I may have prostate cancer, even if the percentage is low at 10-20%. If this is correct then I would need to take precautions to control it.

To be honest I was worried. Who wouldn't when told you may be 'grounded' by the big C? My friends advised me: get another opinion or get another test done. I chose the latter and on June 13 went to an independent pathological laboratory to have my blood sample drawn and the PSA test done. Today I was told my PSA was only 1.8ng/ml. While I have good reason to rejoice I'm bugged with the questions:

Why did the earlier results showed I had high PSA? Could both be wrong?
Or could the latest result be wrong?
What factors can manipulate the PSA result from its 'true' value? Sex life? Diet? Physical activities? I need to know and research.


My next PSA test is scheduled in March 2012 by the government lab. I am planning to have a parallel test done by the same independent lab about the same time to verify the accuracy. For now I know that no result is absolute and even a 'good' result does not necessarily mean all is well. What is important is to maintain vigilance and carry out regular health checks to detect early signs of cancer growth for better chance of survival and cure.

I spent RM30 (USD10) for this test and felt that it was a small sum to give me peace of mind, at least for the next 9 months.

My Blog Landmark



The journey in penning this blog since August 2008 has been one that is soul satisfying although there were times I was angry, sad, lonely, reminiscent, happy and reflective. I cannot say that at times I did not wonder if I can sustain it or should I set an end time to shut down Mrs Brown Daughter blog. But it has become my digital self that I cannot live without expressing myself. As early as 2004 I dabbled with blogging and created a few blogs all of which I shut down except for 3 of which this is the most active. Mrs Brown Daughter is about me - my past, my present and my future. Sometimes materials are short and my inspiration dry. Sometimes postings were irregular, at times in floods. They told of times when I was idea fertile or disenchanted.

Today I choose to write on blogging because I realized I've just achieved my 1,000th post today. Clap, clap, clap.

I was waiting for this day and I made sure the posts do not include unposted drafts. Throughout the 3 years my blog has underwent several appearance changes. It was my hunger to experiment as well as improve until I am satisfied with both look and layout. In that time I tried my luck on Adsense hoping to earn some ad income. I wasn't successful and gave up the idea completely, so you can see my blog is ad-free now. I've also stop experimenting with the blog design until perhaps one day when Blogger offer newer choices which may be better than the current one.

I am amazed at the spread of visitors to my blog. I never expected them to come from all continents as Feedjit and Clustrmaps show. One key observation is my readers seldom comment which is both good and bad. The good part is I will not be preoccupied with replying to many comments but the bad part is I don't know what they think of my blog. Either way I know there are several loyal readers who find my blog worth dropping in.

I sometimes feel pressured to write regularly to let my readers know I am still alive. But I also believe I should only write substantively and meaningfully. One rule I try to keep is to keep my posts brief so readers spend just a minute or two before moving on. But this is not critical of longer posts which explore the subject deeper and therefore take much more effort to write. I admire such bloggers for their passion in producing quality blogs.

I pray that I will have the strength and the resources to continue writing my life here.

A revelation to confess. Mrs Brown Daughter has a name. She is Nancy K and occupied that period of my youth that can never be erased. May God bless you always.

What Values Fatherhood?

My wife asked me what would I like for Father's Day. I gave no answer. How do you gift wrap the intangibles? How do you tell when the obvious are written all over?

When a man is younger he sought after 'fame and fortune', as he grew older he sought after 'stability and recognition' and much later when he begins to wane his desire changes to simple desires of 'respect and care'. It is quite possible that some of us men are stuck somewhere between the three stages in life, that even in old age they still battle after fame, fortune and even power.

But what is fatherhood anyway? Isn't that a title bestowed upon a man who chooses marriage with the aim of starting a family and getting one the instant his first child was born? He would have known how difficult fatherhood is (and perhaps motherhood even more so, which is why I think Mother's Day is celebrated more reverently and in a bigger way) but he went ahead anyway. I see in my sons-in-laws the choices they have to make to raise young families. It is harder nowadays. It won't be over until their children get to university and graduate, and then find work and marry to have children. And then, like myself, begin a new and almost similar journey of grandfatherhood. The road is long and sometimes painful - emotionally and at times financially. So fatherhood is for the gallant and the matured men who choose to uphold the tradition of the universal man - go forth and multiply (within the confine of marriage, that is). For all men who persevered through the toils of raising children, successfully, my congratulations for jobs well done. You have earned the honor of being great fathers to your respective families.

What do fathers desire beyond lavish dinners or holidays or a massage chair so popular a gift nowadays? Maybe the following words I borrowed from the Internet help encapsulate our feelings, the Asian way.

Not all fathers climbed Mt. Everest, invented things or moved mountains. The fathers who wake up every morning, go to work under trying conditions to feed families are just as much a hero as the rich or famous dads. Now many of us are fathers too. And we understand a little better the sacrifices our fathers (and mothers) made.

Asians are not very demonstrative people. Indeed, your father may suffer some uncomfortable moments if you are suddenly effusive in your show of affection toward him. But he would appreciate little things. Spend time to have a meal with him. Visit him. Chat a little even over nothing important. Do things in the “living years” before it's too late as expressed in the song below:


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Queenly Dog



I came across this picture and thought, ahhh how well it resembles my dog of 11 years. Even if it doesn't consume alcohol it looks like it does here. That dog was a bitch which I spayed when we took her back from the dump because my daughter took pity on it. Her redeeming value is in killing an occasional cat that strayed into my garden as well as put fear into some strangers (she looks fierce but looks is deceiving) and visitors. Her name is Lipton which I picked because her fur had the color of a well known tea brand. She was destined to enjoy the good life instead of suffering early death, scaled by hot water, devouring leftover food, infested by worms or afflicted by skin diseases and other illnesses. She gets bathed on average once every 10 days but sometimes she refuses to come when commanded. Which is annoying because she has started to emit body odor. Obviously she think we owe her a living. Her royal highness rules the compound with her throne under both cars in the porch.

Lipton is anti-social which explains why we could not rear another dog in the same compound. She had killed a young pup right before my eye out of pure jealousy. Another stray dog which wandered into our vicinity could not take the heat. It was a male mixed Spitz and younger but with character I liked. It was some 8 years ago and after visiting us for a few months it went missing. Obviously Lipton gave him the message that the 2000 sq.ft compound was too 'small' for 2 dogs so it left, never to appear again. Later I saw a roadkill that resembled it.

Lipton is an unappreciative canine. She bites, even me! Even now when she is upset when pushed to take her bath she'd growl and yap when I touch where she disapproves. Her toe nails are nearly 2 inches long, curled up, because she refused to have them snipped since day one. And because of her unpredictable character I remain the only person who can bath her. At times I wish I'd lose her but stayed committed to care for her until she goes to her doggy heaven.

Lipton is forever hungry. She'd be begging for food everywhere. I think her poor breed shows up very prominently, which makes me vow if I ever get another dog to replace Lipton when she goes it will not be a stray mongrel. For now I hesitate since I worry who will be taking care of my dog in my old age?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My Father on Earth

Ahead of Father's Day next Sunday, I thought of my late father who died on 5th April 1998 at the age of 73. People said behind every successful man stands a supportive wife. I wish to add that, before that same man has stood his own father. During my formative years I had watched how my father toiled to provide for not just my 4 siblings and I but also his own siblings as well as those from his second mother (my grandfather married two wives), for he was the first born of his family and had to fulfill his filial duties. Together with my grandfather they worked to look after an extended family of 20 members.

My father was a meek man. I never saw him lose his temper for once, an admirable trait in a man under pressure. He found comfort and release in liquor and cigarettes. He drank Carlsberg and smoked Lucky Strike and was a very loyal customer of these brands. I believe his indulgence spoilt his health for his often drank through his lunch. In his 60s he toned down his drinking spree and gave up smoking entirely on medical advice. He died of heart enlargement and failure that led to toxemia.

I had great memories of my father, which I've documented in earlier posts. But my greatest memory shall be his bravery as he battled his failing health, sleeping on raised bed and watching helplessly what he can no longer do - eat and drink what he used to love, and no longer able to travel to places he dreamed of. He lost weight and was a scrawny self like when he was a young man. I watched him age helplessly fighting a disease that ate into his life and sapping his body. But my father didn't complain to me. He was meek and soft-spoken to the very end. In fact I cannot even recall if I saw him cry during his life. What I shall always recall is his smile and laughter.

Father, I miss you and wish you are alive today. You would have been 86, a possible age to be around. But father, before you left us in 1998 I had driven you to my factory and assured you that my business is alright. Yes, father, today it is more than alright and from Heaven you can see that I've not lied to you.

I visited my father's tomb once a year to speak to him as a son would to a living father, and 'update' him (as if he doesn't know) and wiped clean his tomb and headstone with love and reverence.

My father is physically no more but in my mind he will forever be my good and loving father who provided for me and made me the first graduate of our extended family. Thank you father and I bless you this coming and every Father's Day until we meet again.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Rasah Kemayan My Haven



Thank you for visiting this post. There is a new development reported HERE that may be of interest to you.

Come this August my wife and I would have stayed in our little retirement home here in Rasah Kemayan for 12 years already. This would be the longest in any house we've stayed in, owned or rented, since the day after I graduated and started work in 1971, although the record was already broken several years back. I've lost count how many times I moved but I remembered the toils and troubles of packing, unpacking, arranging and getting adjusted to new routines and neighborhoods.

In May 1994 I bought a piece of land in RK with a dream of building my retirement house. It would be double storey detached house with 5 rooms, 4 baths, 3 halls, garage for 4 cars and compound where children can play, where I can plant 2-3 fruit trees at the back. Since 1971 I've (and later with my wife, and growing family) stayed in rented rooms, rented double storey houses, company bungalows, a rented bungalow, some with land, others without. The best we've stayed was during 1984-1988 in a manager's bungalow up on a small hill overlooking a reservoir. And then I resigned to start my own business and had to adjust to living in smaller abodes. My family suffered for awhile when my business tumbled initially but thank God we recovered. With that we moved from house to house, 3 times in fact, within the same town, until we landed in RK and I said to my wife, let's make this our last stop, a place we will live, retire and die in.

Why RK? I was and am a sucker for spacious and peaceful living. I think people who have worked as managers or assistants in the big plantation companies and given bungalows to stay in can attest to the benefits of living in big rooms and airy halls. And kitchen many housewives would die for. Those senior managers, especially British planters, would have drivers, gardeners and guards. I had the chance to stay in 2 such bungalows in my 13 years of working for a British owned plantation company and it has benchmarked what kind of house I'd like to live in in my old age.

In 1993 the property development in Seremban took a boost. A developer joined force with a land owner to develop the 790 acres rubber land into the so-called 1388 Rasah Kemayan Golf & Country Township. At that time it was supposedly THE elite place to be in. The promotion flyer tout RK as the place for green living. The tagline? Where the grass is always greener. Here is the centre-spread of the flyer distributed.



We were then staying in another housing estate, our own double storey house. It wasn't what I wanted. My dream kept bugging me. At that time my wife and I used to get up early and drive to this newly developed township for our walk. We liked the place, and the promise given, especially on the establishment of a fully fenced up community protected by 24 hours security (which unfortunately never materialized). We bought a piece of vacant land (6824 sq. ft.) and I let my imagination roam and did research on how to best design a house for the future, thinking about space for all my children to stay together and for grandchildren to run about. I bought a software while on a trip to the States to help me create 3D impressions of the house and rooms with furnitures. I even commissioned an architect to draw up building plans for submission to the authority. Then came the 1997-1998 Asian Financial Crisis that devalued our Malaysian Ringgit from RM2.50 per USD then to about RM4.50 (today it has strengthened to about RM3.05). It destroyed my financial planning which included provision for my children oversea education. Our money suddenly became valueless and I scrambled to revise my dream. The drawing plans did not see the daylight (I kept them for sentimental reasons) and I downsized my dream.

In our walks we peeked into abandoned houses, semi-finished houses and houses with FOR SALE signs put up at the garage walls. We decided it would be imprudent to build a house on our land that is quite isolated, although it is at the fringe of the 9-hole golf course, as nobody was building their bungalows on their lands at that time. I wouldn't want to live in a house where nobody can hear us shout in the event of an emergency. Finally we decided on a one and half storey bungalow house sited on a land that is 6125 sq. ft. in area. Since the build-up area is limited I spend some of my savings to extend a large dining hall (where my grandchildren now run freely), enlarge the kitchen and added in an utility room, my home office (my den) and an additional bathroom. All this were done in 1999, a year of flurried excitement that included 2 graduations and a marriage.

Our house isn't the fulfillment of my dream but close to it. I would like a larger house with high ceilings, bigger rooms and my own entertainment centre. But for now I am satisfied with the size and location although I still wish for a bigger house ...

In the years after we bought the house and stayed there the neighborhood under the Seremban 2 township grew faster and bigger under a more capable developer. Property value in Seremban 2 have increased significantly, encouraged by speculators. However, houses and lands inside RK remain second choice but to those who, like me, value quietness and country living, we appreciate it more except for the poorer security as compared to the newer Seremban 2 projects that are now gated.

In the coming year or so RK will be brought under the administration of Seremban City Hall (yes, Seremban will be a city soon!) and hopefully the township (frankly there is no town as the entire RK is residential) will undergo upgrading of basic infrastructure especially the roads and drainage. Presently, RK is quite private as the main thoroughfare does not lead to anywhere. But there are talks that a new link to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport through RK may be built. As a 'senior' resident here I seriously doubt the viability as another new town, Bandar Sri Sendayan, which encircles RK together with Seremban 2, will make better choice to link to the airport, bypassing RK.



With this confidence I can safely say that RK will remain a haven for people who want to escape from urban living. After all we are 45 minutes away from both the airport and Kuala Lumpur by road.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

My Traveling Companions



In a recent post about my doctor dropping a bombshell on me, that I may be having prostate cancer I discovered real friends who are walking down this sometime path that nobody wants to walk, given a choice. As soon as the post went live a blog friend who chose to be anonymous revealed himself through email via my profile and gave me these encouragements:

Dear Peter, firstly no one has died from prostate cancer,you are more likely to die from old age rather than prostate cancer,my brother has prostate cancer and after radiation treatment he is now good as gold,he is 73 years old,found out about it 2 years ago treatment took 7 weeks and now he is good no problems.

(My comment: people do die from prostate cancer but his reply was uplifting and I felt less alone.)

Please dont heistate to call me if you need any advice or someone to talk to,just take the good things and the bad ones throw it out of your thoughts when you read my blog.

(My comment: I really don't know this blogger friend at all but he treated me as if I've known him since schooldays. I felt energized and grateful.)

Live your life to the fullest and make everyday as if its your last.
(My comment: I shall remember that!)

Dear Peter, this is i find a very useful and good info about prostate,it may help to answer some of your questions.regards and God Bless.

(My comment: from someone I hardly know but willing to dig into his files to help me learn more, I am always grateful to him. Thanks AN, you know who you are.)

A day earlier I shared on my concern to my former classmates, and sprouting fear, about my aloneness, about the unfamiliar road I may be traveling soon ... And then I discovered my true friends among many of them. Here are some great advice they shared to prop up my confidence and urge me back to life again.

Don't take the testing results to be the gospel truth.

Peter, go see a Urologist, the appropriate specialty to deal with your situation and fears.

Peter, get a second opinion/test at least. Don't just believe what one doctor says, it can be very wrong, and it happened.

Peter, that's good. That's the way to go. The Lord be with you.

However, the most important is to seek His peace........we do what we can medically but we trust God for His boundless mercy and grace..........for His power is made perfect in our weaknesses!

These are all my life's traveling companions, they are all around my age and can understand me better. I'm already feeling better with all the encouragements. I will get my blood retested for PSA soon.

Thank you my friends!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

A Family Birthday



Last night we celebrated our younger daughter's birthday in a different way. Hubby decided to surprise her by turning up in Seremban's premier restaurant, Silver Dragon, where he'd made a room reservation. He was at work and wasn't suppose to make the trip but he did, immediately after work, all for the love of his dear wife. We kept the celebration a secret until the last moment where hubby turned up with a bouquet of roses and a birthday cake in a private function room equipped with karaoke.






It was truly a family affair in a very relaxing atmosphere. I was excited by the karaoke set and soon me and son-in-law began singing duet to Bee Gee's songs. Later we played Westlife's hit songs, like You Raised Me Up, Mandy and Uptown Girl, as well as ABBA's songs, Beatle's favorites and other current and old popular songs. Hitting the high notes is becoming a challenge as my vocal cords aren't as strong as when I was in the university. But the chance to belt out several of my familiar songs brought back youthful memories. My grandchildren found the echo microphones a novelty and wanted equal share of them.





Little Andrew who is too young to celebrate thought the mike was a toy. Finally we raised a toast to a lovely couple and family. And the children all eager to blow out the candles. In fact they were lit 3 times so each can take turn to blow them off!







It Ain't Real Until It Happens to You

To be empathetic of someone else's sufferings is not the same as going through it yourself. Empathy is hardly personal, you can set aside time to feel his pain, comfort him and then resume your own life. But to be the one who have to personally experience the process of dealing with real fear and pain demands great courage, strength and hope. Suddenly he/she discovers he is alone and even with comforting words and support life takes on a new meaning, priority and urgency. I am an empathetic person and yesterday I discovered I need special strength to face a likely scenario.

My doctor said I have a 10-20% chance of developing prostate cancer. He said it mildly that this condition is not immediately life threatening if detected and treated early (all doctors say the same, don't they?) and while reassuring begs the question from me, will I be successfully treated and how much will I be inconvenienced?

I did some online research. There are many articles and websites helping seekers to find answers but none provide definitive answers to questions like 'what cause prostate cancer?', 'what must one do to contain it?', and 'is there a cure for it?'

I want to know if my lifestyle for the past years had contributed to my getting this disease (it is still a speculation though, I need to have my PSA test repeated in 10 months to verify earlier findings and if necessary, have a trans-rectal ultrasonography (TRUS) and biopsy carried out) and what sort of change I must adapt to overcome it. It seems either insufficient research works has been carried out or no medical authority is confident/competent to provide such expert advice.

The doctor said not to lose sleep over it. And last night indeed I did not but the nagging thought is what change will take place in my prostate in the 10 months period before my follow-up? As I walked back to my car alone I asked God to be merciful to me. Because I have to walk this road alone myself. In the coming days and months I will surely look at my future from a perspective that puts me as a candidate of this C disease. I pray that I am not. That I will go in my sleep.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Can We Survive Without Cellphones?

For years the cellular phone manufacturers were in denial that radiations emitted by cellphones are harmful to human health. Some of us believed and actually took preventive measures of not holding the phones against the ears or use hands-free kit or turning on the speakerphone. I guess there is truth that electronic gadgets that rely on wireless transmission to communicate with each other will cause some harm but whether it is cumulative or not is debatable. Well this subject has been brought to the forefront again with this report from the CNN. I assume we are admitting that we will soon see people developing symptoms of cancers arising from cellphone use which means we must take precautions to minimize potential risks. Especially when every household are having at least one cellphone. The trend is heading towards mobile communication so cellphone usage will definitely increase. Although I know of some friends who still believe in the fixed lines and use public phones when needed. I think they are the minority now.

My take is that radiation problem is larger than those emitted by cellphones. Every device that uses wireless communication contribute to some extent. I believe we are immersed in a sea of radiation signals of various wavelengths that we cannot see. How much risk are we exposed to? Do we care? Can we do anything about it? Is convenience more important than our health?

I admit that since my house became wireless I am inviting more radiation inside our home-space. But I still believe we are not at high risk, yet. As for cellphone use I use the speakerphone as often as possible. The major concern is on our youths who use cellphones extensively to chat, listen to online or stored music or video chat. Each time the phone transmit and receive signals radiation boost up from the device which impact our body in close contact. Our children must be educated and protected from potential health risks. The enormous health costs that can arise from this trend is unimaginable. Industry, government and families must collectively work towards a defensive usage of all wireless devices to create safer environment for our children.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Exploring the Hidden Charms of Vietnam



Vietnam is considered to be as most favorite destination of global tourists. The reason behind this hot favorite is colorful diverse culture with peaceful integration tuning. Besides these, there are also causes like user-friendly people, scenic beauty with cultural heritage and so on.

There’s a Hanoi elegant with friendly people, a Sapa with colourful-dressed minorities, a Halong Bay with amazing caves listed on UNESCO World Heritage. There’s a Hue romantic with palace and rain, a tranquil Hoi where you can have clothes made in one day, a Danang dynamic by Han River. There’s a Nha Trang with best bays of the world, a Saigon busy and modern like New York, a Mekong-delta with fascinating floating market.

All the corners including North, Centre, and South of Vietnam bear a deep cultural trace, which remains in tourists’ memories for years. With everything from mountains to seas, from cold to hot weather, from city to countryside, Vietnam has everything you may come up with!

By discovering the most pristine and un-spoilt natural beauty, cultural harmony, diverse culture and peace loving people of Vietnam, you will surely enjoy a unique traveling experience.

Major places of interest in Vietnam:

You can discover various sites in Vietnam including historical sites, cultural sites and scenic sites.

Hanoi: Hanoi has preserved many ancient architectural works including the Old Quarter and over 600 pagodas and temples. Famous sites include the One Pillar Pagoda (built in 1049), the Temple of Literature (built in 1070), Hanoi Citadel, Hanoi Opera House, and President Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum.

Hanoi also characteristically contains 18 beautiful lakes such as Hoan Kiem Lake, West Lake, and Truc Bach Lake..., which are the lungs of the city, with their surrounding gardens and trees providing a vital source of energy. Many traditional handicrafts are also practiced in Hanoi including bronze molding, silver carving, lacquer, and embroidery.

Halong City: Halong city is divided into two parts: East Halong and West Halong. Halong Bay is famous internationally, and is recognized as a World Heritage by UNESCO for its thousands of natural islands. Also in the city, there are temples, pagodas and historical relics. It is also well known for trade, seaport, coal, marine products and the production of construction materials.

Hue: This beautiful city on the two sides of the Huong River is one of places which have many cultural heritages. Relatively young, many of its ancient looks and architectures are still preserved. Hue’s forbidden walls, palaces and royal tombs are a must see and have been certified as a World Culture Heritage by UNESCO.

Ho Chi Minh City: Ho Chi Minh City is the big tourism spot in Vietnam, attracting a large of tourists. Ho Chi Minh City has various attractions as Ho Chi Minh Museum, formerly known as Dragon House Wharf, Cu Chi Tunnels, system of museums, theatres, cultural houses... Recently, many tourist areas are invested such as Thanh Da, Binh Quoi Village, Dam Sen Park, Saigon Water Park, Suoi Tien, Ky Hoa..., which draw numerous tourists.

Sapa: Sapa offer splendidly cool climate around the year. Visitor to Sapa in summer can feel the climate of four seasons in one day. In the morning and afternoon, it is cool like the weather of spring and autumn. At noon, it is as sunny and cloudless as the weather of summer. And it is cold in the evening.

Sapa has many natural sites such as Ham Rong Mountain, Silver Waterfall, Rattan Bridge, Bamboo Forest and Ta Phin Cave.

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Going to School in the Future



Without a doubt the iPad has revolutionize the way we handle information. Being highly portable the iPad has brought the digital world right into our personal lives through the wireless network that is fast becoming a standard connectivity in every developed city and even smaller towns. It is no longer the toy for the well-to-do or tech savvy guy but for kids age 2 to 90. Watching my grand daughter use my iPad to learn how to draw and add it dawn upon me that the iPad or similar tablets may be the only thing a kid need to bring to school in the foreseeable future. Gone will be the days of lugging heavy schoolbags around. There will be no need for paper textbook, paper workbooks, pencils, erasers, rulers or calculators. Electronic versions are easily produced or already available. All that is required is to harness existing technologies and customize them for e-education. Yes, education is already going digital and the old culture is dying. It can be said that it is good since we will be saving the trees as well. And the kids from spinal injuries.

What are the issues?

1. Producing textbook contents in e-book formats that allow schoolchildren to link to additional approved reference resources online and to e-lessons and e-homework that every child has a personal copy of to work on and submit online which his teacher will likewise mark and upload the results online that parents can have privileged access to read, comment and follow up, again online.

2. Privacy issue will be addressed since each iPad will be highly personal. Security will be addressed with anti-theft features and programs installed. GPS will be a standard feature that allow for tracking of stolen/missing iPad as well as tracking the whereabout of the child, which may be controversial to some but as long as the kid is in school I believe highly desirable that parents know where they are. It will not be necessary for kids to carry mobile phones to school as the iPad allow SMS's and emails to be sent and received.

Imagine such a school where you see each kid come to school, not every day though since e-education can be studied from the home, to socialize and meet with teachers, carrying just an iPad. Cool isn't it?

I wish I was born 55 years late. Today both my 3+ and 1+ grandkids are fighting with me for my iPad. Looks like they are already liking it as much as I do.

Note: It is not necessary that iPad is the default device for such a proposal. Many Android based tablets provide equivalent or better features. The main concern is customization to fit the education system of each country and how the program can be further integrated with other systems like universities overseas.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Peace of Mind

This was forwarded to me and I am unable to credit the author, not knowing who he/she is. I find it fulfilling and effective and hope you will get something useful out of it. Here it is, the 10 Principles for Peace of Mind.

1. Do Not Interfere In Others' Business Unless Asked:

Most of us create our own problems by interfering too often in others' affairs. We do so because somehow we have convinced ourselves that our way is the best way, our logic is the perfect logic and those who do not conform to our thinking must be criticized and steered to the right direction, our direction. This thinking denies the existence of individuality and consequently the existence of God. God has created each one of us in a unique way. No two human beings can think or act in exactly the same way. All men or women act the way they do because God within them prompts them that way. Mind your own business and you will keep your peace.

2. Forgive And Forget:

This is the most powerful aid to peace of mind. We often develop ill feelings inside our heart for the person who insults us or harms us. We nurture grievances. This in turn results in loss of sleep, development of stomach ulcers, and high blood pressure. This insult or injury was done once, but nourishing of grievance goes on forever by constantly remembering it. Get over this bad habit. Life is too short to waste in such trifles. Forgive, forget, and march on. Love flourishes in giving and forgiving.

3. Do Not Crave For Recognition:

This world is full of selfish people. They seldom praise anybody without selfish motives. They may praise you today because you are in power, but no sooner than you are powerless, they will forget your achievement and will start finding faults in you. Why do you wish to kill yours if in striving for their recognition? Their recognition is not worth the aggravation. Do your duties ethically and sincerely.

4. Do Not Be Jealous (or Envious):

We all have experienced how jealousy can disturb our peace of mind. You know that you work harder than your colleagues in the office, but sometimes they get promotions; you do not. You started a business several years ago, but you are not as successful as your neighbor whose business is only one year old. There are several examples like these in everyday life. Should you be jealous? No. Remember everybody's life is shaped by his/her destiny, which has now become his/her reality. If you are destined to be rich, nothing in the world can stop you. If you are not so destined, no one can help you either. Nothing will be gained by blaming others for your misfortune. Jealousy will not get you
anywhere; it will only take away your peace of mind.

5. Change Yourself According To The Environment:

If you try to change the environment single-handedly, the chances are you will fail. Instead, change yourself to suit your environment. As you do this, even the environment, which has been unfriendly to you, will mysteriously change and seem congenial and harmonious.

6. Endure What Cannot Be Cured:

This is the best way to turn a disadvantage into an advantage. Every day we face numerous inconveniences, ailments, irritations, and accidents that are beyond our control. If we cannot control them or change them, we must learn to put up with these things. We must learn to endure them cheerfully. Believe in yourself and you will gain in terms of patience, inner strength and will power.

7. Do Not Bite Off More Than You Can Chew:

This maxim needs to be remembered constantly. We often tend to take more responsibilities than we are capable of carrying out. This is done to satisfy our ego. Know your limitations. Why take on additional loads that may create more worries? You cannot gain peace of mind by expanding your external activities. Reduce your material engagements and spend time in prayer, introspection and meditation. This will reduce those thoughts in your mind that make you restless. Uncluttered mind will produce greater peace of mind.

8. Meditate Regularly:

Meditation calms the mind and gets rid of disturbing thoughts. This is the highest state of peace of mind. Try and experience it yourself. If you meditate earnestly for half an hour everyday, your mind will tend to become peaceful during the remaining twenty-three and half-hours. Your mind will not be easily disturbed as it was before. You would benefit by gradually increasing the period of daily meditation. You may think that this will interfere with your daily work. On the contrary, this will increase your efficiency and you will be able to produce better results in less time.

9. Never Leave The Mind Vacant:

An empty mind is the devil's workshop. All evil actions start in the vacant mind. Keep your mind occupied in something positive, something worthwhile. Actively follow a hobby. Do something that holds your interest. You must decide what you value more: money or peace of mind. Your hobby, like social work or religious work, may not always earn you more money, but you will have a sense of fulfillment and achievement. Even when you are resting physically, occupy yourself in healthy reading or mental chanting of God's name.

10. Do Not Procrastinate And Never Regret:

Do not waste time in protracted wondering ” Should I or shouldn't I?” Days, weeks, months, and years may be wasted in that futile mental debating. You can never plan enough because you can never anticipate all future happenings. Value your time and do the things that need to be done. It does not matter if you fail the first time. You can learn from your mistakes and succeed the next time. Sitting back and worrying will lead to nothing. Learn from your mistakes, but do not brood over the past. DO NOT REGRET. Whatever happened was destined to happen only that way. Why cry over split milk?

After reading the above I am incline to retitle it 10 Best Lessons in Life that apply to people of all age and background. Applied universally our world will be so much a nicer place to live in.

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