Friday, February 29, 2008

Yours Truly, Uniquely Singapore (15)

I was dismayed when I read that more families are buying hamsters and guinea pigs to mark the year of the rat. I still remember the day I rescued two cages of 7 hamsters from being thrown away into the huge rubbish bin at Pacific Mansion. Someone had conveniently dumped the cages in the lift lobby and the cleaner had also conveniently taken them away to be thrown into the huge bin amidst all the rubbish. Mind you. It was not dead hamsters that were being thrown away, but 7 active and lively hamsters! The apathy and cruelty! I wonder how many hamsters will suffer the same fate this year, when owners and their children lose their interest and novelty.

Yesterday, I read about more pedigree dogs being dumped by owners who had initially paid thousands of dollars for these pets. The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) wrote to the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) last week for call for tighter restrictions on the import, breeding and sale of pedigree dogs. The number of lost or unwanted pedigree dogs rose from 30 to 50 per cent over the past two years.

I am sad that the AVA said it would not be appropriate to restrict the number and type of dogs imported, bred and sold, because Singapore is a free economy. If Singapore is a free economy, then why restrict the sale of certain drugs? The reason why certain drugs are prohibited and punishment is severely meted out to drug pushers is because of man's irresponsibility. Likewise, we have a problem here, and though it is not of earth shaking significance, it is troubling enough. How many thousands of dollars are thrown away when owners spend huge sums of money on a short term fancy of 4 legged creatures? Worse, so much suffering is inflicted on innocent animals who could not express their pain and trauma? The unnecessary amount of money spent on short term fancy of keeping pets could be donated to the poor and needy! As an animal lover, I do not begrudge money spent on pets which provide happinesss and meaningful relationship. In fact, having pets at home can be therapeutic for owners, as it has been established that pet owners have lower blood pressure and generally better health.

So many campaigns have been carried out by the SPCA and AVA for responsible pet ownership, but it looks like they have not been successful. Perhaps the Ministry of Education should look into a compulsory curriculum for primary 5 students : Living peacefully on planet earth with other living things.

During the year of the dog, the sale of dogs increased many times. Likewise, the sale of hamsters and guinea pigs this year. Am I relieved that there is no elephant in the Chinese zodiac!!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Resisting Temptation!

I was shopping at my favourite supermarket, Sheng Siong, which is a stone's throw from my apartment. I wanted to buy some whole wheat cream crackers which I would like to munch on when I am hungry. I chanced upon some boxes of my favourite Van Houten almond chocolates.
Almost without thinking, I took a box and was about to throw it into my basket when I remembered my article, "Waste Not, Want Not". I had made a resolution not to buy junk food or food what would only help me to pile on the calories. eg. Chocolates, nuts, chips, etc.

The chocolates were on offer at $8.90 per box. Now I can throw this into my "kitty for famine fund for hungry children in Africa". In the past, it was hard for me to overcome my sweet tooth. I am glad I can now resist the temptation. I guess, now it is easier since I find it more meaningful this way. I hope I will remain this way for a long time. Knowing that some hungry kids can have a little more money to buy food will help me overcome my temptation.

Gan Chau

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

When Common Sense Is Sometimes Not Common!

I am getting really annoyed with some commuters who often dash into the train before passengers can get out of the train. When a bottle is full of water, don't you pour out the water first before you can fill in more water?

Similarly when commuters take the escalators. They should stand on one straight row on the left, so that commuters who wish to walk up can do so on the right.

Why is this daily scenario only taking place in Singapore.? I don't see this happening when I am taking the trains in London, Sydney, Melbourne, Taipeh, Tokyo, Toronto and other parts of the world. Is this phenomenum uniquely Singapore?

I guess, in Singapore, common sense is sometimes not common!

Gan Chau

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What Love Means to Children!


My friend, Elena Ho-Tan, sent me the following article. Slow down for three minutes to read this. It is so worth it. Touching words from the mouth of kids. What does Love mean? A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, 'What does love mean?' The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:

'When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love.' Rebecca- age 8

'When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.' Billy - age 4

'Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.' Karl - age 5

'Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.' Chrissy - age 6

'Love is what makes you smile when you're tired.' Terri - age 4

'Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.' Danny - age 7

'Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss' Emily - age 8

'Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.' Bobby - age 7 (Wow!)

'If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,' Nikka - age 6 (we need a few million more Nikka's on this planet)

'Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.' Noelle - age 7

'Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.' Tommy - age 6

'During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn't scared anymore.' Cindy - age 8

'My mommy loves me more than anybody, You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.' Clare - age 6

'Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.' Elaine-age 5

'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.' Chris - age 7

'I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.' Lauren - age 4

'When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.' (what an image) Karen - age 7

'Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn't think it's gross.' Mark - age 6

'You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.' Jessica - age 8

And the final one -- Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, 'Nothing, I just helped him cry' .

Today's kids are so precocious! Children know and feel more than their parents realise. This is why I get affected too when I read of divorces and broken homes. The children are always the ones who suffer the most. This is why I hope couples will reconcile for the sake of their children, the innocent ones.

Some ladies and men, with their unique characteristics, are better off, being singles. They should not cause their spouses and children undue pain and sufferings by taking the matrimonial plunge. Life is short. No one is perfect. Know thyself and get the best of out life of happiness for yourself. Children are so pure. They begin life with a blank page of white. Let their pages of life be not written with ugliness of fights, strife and bitterness.

If couples decide to have children, they owe it to their offsprings to create a home of love, happiness and harmony.

Gan Chau

Monday, February 25, 2008


Recently I had a pleasant surprise when someone emailed me to invite me to join his company as a teacher of English Language and Creative Writing in Vietnam! The Director had been following my blog and found my articles interesting and thought provoking! It gives me a warm feeling that at more than half a century years old, I can still be headhunted!

It is also a coincidence, because of late, my Company Director, Mr. Chris Koh, has been going in and out of Vietnam to set up branch offices for Dennis Wee Group. My best friend, Loh Soh Wah, had just gone to Vietnam with her husband, Yew Tien, and had come back with roaring reports of the new economy of Vietnam, and she also encouraged me to teach there as there is a great need for English Language teachers.

I always prefer to be sytematic and complete what I have started. I am a few months to getting my Distinguished Toastmasters' Award and I am also committed to helping out till end of this year at the Speech Craft at Changi Prison organised by DTM Michael J Rodrigues. I must also arrange with Shanaz for someone to help look after her pet, Chelsea, when I am away from Singapore. In brief, to put my house in order before I take on a new project.

I also know that if I were to tell my siblings that I am going to Vietnam to live and work, they will surely oppose the idea, for to them Singapore is the best and safest place for their youngest sister to live in!

Mm.....still the idea of being headhunted in this century is pleasant and thought provoking. Am I glad I was not born in the earlier century where being headhunted implied that one had to run for his life!! :-)

Gan Chau

Saturday, February 23, 2008

An Expat's View

Moses, an expatriate friend from England, who had been working for the past 2 years was once invited to my home for dinner. I also had a few colleagues with me. During the course of the conversation, Moses, asked a little about the history of Malaysia and Singapore.

"Choo, I note that there is something quite interesting about the three main races here. I don't want to appear like I am generalising, but I notice that the Chinese have a penchant for gambling; the Indians for drinking and the Malays for drug-taking."

I do not have the statistics, but Moses does not seem too far fetched in his view points. He also noted that the Chinese tend to be more self-centred and self-seeking whereas the other two races are more helpful in rendering spontaneous help.

What an interesting observation from the eyes of a Caucasian! Now I am getting more worried about the forthcoming casino in our little island. I remember Tan Sri Jeyaratnam from Ipoh had brought my friend Jennifer Soen and me to Genting Highlands to thank us for our help rendered to his Spastics Association. It was my first time in a casino. Tan Sri gave us some coins to play in the jackpot machines, but I declined. "Nobody comes to Genting without some form of gambling" the magnanimous gentleman asserted." "Sir, my mom was a gambler. Gambling destroyed her health, and we children grew up, hating card games and any form of gambling". Interestingly, I observed that most of the crowd in Genting were Chinese!

I remember when I was in Melbourne, my relatives took me to visit the Crown Casino. Again, I noticed that the majority of the gamblers were Chinese! My dear fellowmen. Let us steer a little away from the game of chance. Gamble a little if you must, maybe once a year during the Chinese New Year, but do not make it a habit. Buy a little Toto or a Big Sweep ticket if you must, but do not spend a chunk of your salary on them. For if you are really lucky, even one ticket will win you a prize! Like the Indian national who won the first prize with a 50 cents ticket!

I guess unltimately it is balance and priority. All of us cannot be saints. We can drink and gamble a little. Too much of anything is not good. Too much alcohol destroys the liver. Too much gambling will destroy a person's health and break his family. Take drugs only for medical purposes and not for getting high.

Let us never be too busy or nonchalant to help someone in distress. If we see an accident, let us take time to help the victims. If we constantly hear a child crying in the neighbourhood, let us take time to investigate a little. It could be child abuse.

As I have said, we are not saints. But we can all play a part to help make Singapore an even better place to live in.

Waste Not, Want Not.

After reading Larry Haverkamp's article, "Recession? How bad can it get?" published in the New Paper on 18th February, it set me in a contemplative mood. Economists put the odds at 50-50 that the US will drop into a recession this year. No matter what happens, it won't get as bad as the three economic extremes described here.

1) Unemployment. In Haiti, food is hard to come by as jobs are almost non existent. Many families eat a special cookie which costs only 5 cents. The main ingredient is dirt! Yellow soil is mixed with shortening and salt, then left to dry in the sun until the cookies are hard. When there is no food, families eat these cookies three times a day so that they will not have hunger pangs!

2) Inflation. Zimbabwe has the highest inflation in the world, estimated at 150,000 per cent per year. The State newspaper, The Herad is 3 million Zimbabwe dollars. One expatriate complained that the price he paid for his home 10 years ago buys only a single banana today!

3) Loans. India is booming. The population suddenly has access to credit cards and personal loans. In the past people would borrow from friends and relatives. Now they borrow from big banks. There is hardly any record of borrowers. Hence people can borrow, default and then borrow again! Now debt collection agencies are mushrooming all over the country! It is quite frightening when borrowing is rampant.

Before any of us starts to complain, let us count our blessings. I feel sad to see people ordering so much food in the food courts and restaurants. Just observe around you. Very often there would be so much left over. Once at the food court, a lady took a mouthful of noodles, grimaced and pushed the plate away. She later ordered from another stall. Recently, at a wedding dinner, I saw that there was a lot of left over chicken. I asked the waitress if I could take the chicken for my neighbour's dogs, but she declined. I understand that restaurants have their reasons, but is it not time to revise this policy? Can you imagine how much food, good sumptuous food, is discarded everyday throughout the world? A starving little African boy saw a grain of rice and was about to pick it up to put in his mouth when he realised an ant was carrying the grain! Despite his hunger, the little boy compassionately allowed the little insect to have the grain of rice.

Anatole France (1844-1924) wrote, "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." If Anatole France were still alive, he would be sad and have to accept the fact despite the majestic equality of the law, the gap between the rich and the poor would always keep widening, because most people are self centred and self seeking.

On my part, I will contribute in a small way. I have decided that from now on, I will not indulge in food like chocolates, chips, etc. Every time I am tempted to buy some chocolates, I will put the money away for the poor. I will cook simple, healthy meals instead of indulging in gourmet dishes which cost a bomb. (I can still always enjoy such meals during wedding dinners, company functions, etc.) I will not waste any morsel of food for if Jesus even asked His disciples to collect remnants of food after feeding the crowd, who am I to waste?

Waste not, want not.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

My Little Four Legged Neighbours

I had enjoyed having kept 3 big dogs as pets. Kamlette, a mixed Golden Retriever, was the first dog I ever had. She was one of the puppies abandoned at a mangrove swamp and found by my ex-ACS students. After that I had Kambobo, a Rough Collie, which I bought out of compassion from her owners who no longer could keep him. A neighbour gave me Kam Xiao Bai, a Chow Chow.

After the death of my three dogs, I decided not to have any more dogs as pets. I had been contented with my experience of enjoying my pets. Frankly, when I had my three dogs, I worried about going six feet under, for who would look after them? Hence I decided I would help to "dog sit" for my friends and clients when necessary. Hence, Chelsea, a Cocker Spaniel, came into my life.

When I moved to Little India, I was delighted to find that I had a little Bishon Frise, Kenneth as my neighbour! After a month, Bobby, a Shi Tzu was adopted by Kenneth's owner, Irin. Sometimes I help Irin to walk her two lovely dogs.

Recently Irin decided to give her two dogs "the bald look". However, it is quite cool and windy at our block of flats, and Irin decided to keep the dogs warm with some fashionable wear. I told Irin that Kennth looks like a rich man's son, while Bobby looks like a kung fu fighter in his red and yellow outfit with Chinese characters written on the material.

After their walk with Irin, the two dogs would surely pop by my gate to see whether I am in. Animals cannot talk, yet they reveal their feelings by their action. Frankly, I would rather have dogs as my neighbours and friends than homo sapiens who don't bark, but bite and perhaps even kill. This is why I always send the story of the dog "Wake Up, My Friend", to those tricksters who always inform me that I have won the lottery in the Spanish Sweepstakes, Microsoft Mammoth Draw, Euro Lucky Draw, etc. I also make sure that I send the story of the faithful dog to those with high sounding titles of Dr., Barrister, or CEO of some banks, etc. from Africa and Europe. The faithful dog stood by his dead friend in the midst of a busy road, crying for help, but these homo sapiens are just waiting to skin innocent victims alive!

May God bless Kenneth and Bobby, and all the dogs and animals in this world.
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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Cool, Cool Breeze

Before moving to Little India, I stayed at Toa Payoh. In the morning, the bedrooms and the kitchen would receive the morning sun. In the afternoon, rays of the hot, blazing sun would stream right into the 3rd bedroom and the living room. If I were at home the whole day, I would need to change my clothes four times a day, as I would be perspiring the whole day long!

Hence, it is with great relief when I find my current flat a vast contrast! Almost every day, I would be able to enjoy the cool breeze and it is windy most of the time. I have to close the kitchen windows or the wind would be too strong for my gas stove. January is usually quite warm, yet now it is breezy and cool enough for me without having to turn on the fan! There is no blockage as around my block, there are two storey conservation shop houses. Morever, the sea is not too far away from Little India.

Too much airconditioning will expedite the growth of wrinkles. This is why I have given up my table space in the office, and decided to work from home. I thank God for the cool breeze and wind that greet me on most days.
Gan Chau

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Blessings of Double Insulation!

Since young, I had been blessed with a natural layer of double insulation. To let my readers know how "thick" this insulation is, I will share this incident.

Recently, I chanced to try a massage chair at a road show. Since it was a smaller and simpler version and costing only $1200/- I decided to invest in one. (All the other massage chairs cost above $4000/-) I reckon that in the long run, it would save me more time and money. Morever, the chair comes with a complimentary eye massager too which I wanted to give to my beloved second brother Kee Seng whose vision has deteriorated a lot. The delivery man did not have the time to explain to me about the functions as he was behind schedule.

Hence when I tried the chair later in the evening, I was puzzled because I could not feel as if the rollers were massaging my back! The rollers were merely touching my back. I got up to check. I realised that there was a zipper which I pulled down to reveal the rollers. I tried without the padding and this time it worked! When my upline for the quantum pendant, Patricia Chew, came to my apartment, I asked her if she would like to have a massage. "Sure", Pat brightened up.

Pat felt that it was awfully painful even though I had put the intensity on the "low" button. I decided to put back the padding for her and she smiled, "Like that, good lah. Perfect!"

Only then did I realise how thick my "natural padding" is! Gosh! It is really time for me to shed some weight.... and I must put on greater effort.

On the bright side, my double insulation has enabled me to travel lighter. When I went to visit my eldest brother in Toronto in December, I did not bring any winter clothings. Brother brought some winter clothings for me at the airport, but he was shocked that I did not bother to put them on while walking out of the building to the car park! I remember how some passengers in the plane were worried that I was dressed only in cotton T shirts.!

When I went travelling in China, Taiwan and Israel during the winter months, I lent my jacket to the tour members who still felt cold. The Creator has given me extra "furs and blubber" in the form of F-A-T!! :-)


Friday, February 15, 2008

Saw Kim And Her Quantum Experience

I decided to bring back some quantum pendants to Penang to share with my relatives. My niece, Yann, wanted her father's health to improve. When my sister-in-law, Saw Kim, saw the quantum pendant, she immediately remarked, "Yes, I know about this some time ago. Last year, my hairdresser was promoting this product, which was selling like hot cakes, because many of her elderly customers had their aches and pain healed, and some had even gone off their regular medication for gout and rheumatism.

I let both my brother and his wife try the pendants. Brother was somewhat skeptical, and hence often had to be reminded to wear the pendant. But Saw Kim was enthusiastic, having heard of the testimonies. She was overjoyed when she shared that she was able to sleep very soundly in the hotel. Very often, she could not sleep when she was in a new place and had to take some sleeping tablets to induce sleep. As an excellent cook, she is the chef for all big dinner parties held at home. After cooking continuously for two days, she would suffer from back pain, but this time, the scalar pendant had dispelled the pain. To her surprise, she was still as energetic and agile as ever. My sister-in-law is in her sixties, and you should see her joy and excitement as she went around sharing about the goodness of the quantum pendant!

After brother Kee Seng met up with my Group Leader, Patricia, he was more convinced about the workings of the quantum pendant. After reading "Optimum Energy for Peak Performance with Scalar Energy" by Dr. Siva Poobalasingam, brother was able to understand why the little pendant is so powerful. Since then, I no longer had to remind him to wear the pendant.!

What a wonderful and awesome Creator we have! His creation is so marevellous and great! Yet it takes faith for people to believe that He exists, and that a small quantum science pendant can actually generate so much energy!

Gan Chau

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sorry - a simple five letter word yet......

As the luxury coach reached the Beach Road Bus Terminal, I thanked the bus drivers for having driven the bus safely all the way from Penang. I had felt so happy with the swift clearance at Tuas Immigration, and my heart swelled with pride as the bus made its way along first class highways lined with miles of greenery. I always look forward to coming home after each trip overseas.

I was able to arrive home on time to make it to the 9.45 a.m. church service nearby. After the service, I went to my favourite store to get my morning papers. I was dismayed when I read the headlines of the New Paper, "First, trishaw uncle. Now.... Tissue aunty mocked over her jingle." But she says, "never mind". Who's laughing at her?" It appeared that five groups of youngsters have made video clips making fun of her and the song, and put them on the internet. The clips have drawn furious responses from other netizens.

Notice the response and defense of the youngsters.? They claimed that the video clip was never about mocking anyone. Likewise the three Britons who also claimed that they were just having fun, and not mocking the trishaw uncle.

Are our youngsters of today so lacking in ideas and creativity that they have to mimic and make fun at the expense of others? Could they not modify the idea and come up with perhaps selling another item and coming up with their own theme song? That would indeed be called creativity! For example, they could pretend to be staff of the Singapore Tourism Board, and think of how they would help to promote tourism. Perhaps, they can come up with an attractive advertisement and theme song?

In fact I have met Madam Neo a few times and even commended her on her powerful voice which could be heard far away. I had been touched that she would take the trouble to print a scriptural verse from the Bible and stick it onto every packet of tissue paper. It is her way of promoting God's love. Despite her disability and hard life, she is always cheerful and optimisitc. She brushed off these imitators, and even said, "I'm happy they can have some fun out of this. If there's a chance, I hope to be able to hear their versions." I would like to think these youngsters did not mean to be cruel, but they are definitely insensitive.

"Sorry" - a simple five letter word, yet one which seems to be sparingly used. Our S.M. Lee has been encouraging Singaporeans to be more gracious. I guess the first step towards this, is for all of us to be quick to say sorry when the occasion calls for it. We all go through life, realising that we make mistakes during our moments of carelessness and thoughtlessness. The simple five letter word is like a balm that soothes in our daily interaction and relationship with one another. When we sincerely apologise for our wrongdoings, the little word of sorry works like magic. It breaks down barriers of anger, pride, frustration and builds and restores forgiveness, goodwill and generosity

We must always try to put ourselves in the shoes of others, so that we can try to feel as they feel. I thank God I am not wheel chair bound, and every time I see Madam Neo, I purposely buy some tissue papers from her by way of encouragement.

Perhaps the above publicity could be a blessing in disguise. I hope Madam Neo will have more brisk sales and more people will be encouraged by her quiet strength, cheerfulness and optimism.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Much Ado About Buses and Perfect Timing!

On the last day at the Copthorne Orchid Hotel, I decided to take a bus down to Penang Road to do some shopping and to have a late lunch. I wanted to buy some souvenirs for my colleagues as well as to have the famous chendol which I missed last year. I knew that if I did not do my shopping, I would not have time anymore, as we would be too busy visiting relatives during the New Year.

The bus stop was just outside of the hotel, and I was pleased when the bus came along just after 5 minutes of waiting. After shopping I asked for directions to the main bus terminal. It was quite crowded and after five minutes I caught the blue bus of Hin Company again to go back to the hotel. I was very pleased and told myself that now the buses in Penang were very efficient! I remember how I used to wait for a long time for the bus when I was a teenager!

The bus was extremely crowded and I heard a lady talking on the phone. She mentioned that she had waited for two hours for the bus! I smiled at her and she told me that RapidPenang bus drivers had gone on strike! Fortunately there was still the Hin Company bus but it was jam packed and with the weak airconditioning, the vehicle was like a sauna! Some passengers were fanning themselves furiously.

Later in the evening, I read a copy of the Sun and found out that 230 RapidPenang bus drivers went on strike and thousands of commuters were left without transport. If I had known about the strike, I would not have ventured to Penang Road. But as usual, the ignorant and favoured ones seem to get all the blessings (sha ren yiu sha fu).

My beloved brother Kee Seng had booked a five star luxury coach for me to return to Singapore. Each chair comes with massage and a TV screeen. I enjoyed watching the Malay movie, Anak Pontianak (Ghost Child) and a Cantonese movie, "Home Sweet Home". I was apprehensive of the New Year crowd at the Immigration, but was pleasantly surprised when I found that our coach was the only one at Tuas Immigration! Hence, checking in was a breeze!

Later in the morning, I called my manager, Aveline and she informed me that she had come back from Muar the previous night. The Immigration centres were jam packed even up to one'clock in the morning!

I am grateful to God for His blessings. He alone knows of the little details which I am ignorant about! These little details, though not a matter of life and death, are nevertheless essential to the total enjoyment of one's vacation. Indeed this is one of the most fulfilling trips I have enjoyed. I come back, refreshed and rejuvenated, determined to enjoy the rat race in 2008! I want to run at a comfortable pace, not too fast that I miss smelling the flowers and not too slow that even the tortoise has overtaken me. Most importantly, to put my priorities in their right perspectives, and to walk closely with God. In brief, to enjoy the abundant life that God has given me!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Music - An International Language!

Music is an international "language" that the world understands! Last night, I had a pleasant surprise when my cousin's daughter called me to inform me that she wanted to visit me at the hotel. Girlie is a very busy career lady and hence, I appreciate her wanting to spend some time to take me out for dinner. She suggested Ingolf and I did not mind to go to the German restaurant again, this time to try the Mediterranean salad. Girlie particularly likes Ingolf's black pepper sauce. I told Girlie I would teach her how to make black pepper sauce when I visit their home during Chinese New Year.

After dinner, I decided to go to the Stars Lounge again to listen to the singers. This time, I realised there were quite a number of Caucasians. They enjoyed the music, and since a couple were sitting next to our table, I told them that they could request for English songs as well, as the local Malaysian singer, Mr. C.C. Ong, could sing in a few different languages. Later, the waitress brought some flowers and the couple generously bought a bouquet for Mr. Ong. The lady singers and staff are excellent in their Public Relations. They recognised me and waved to me, and a few of them even came to chat with me and Girlie.

I told Girlie that I have a soft spot for the singers because they bring back memories of my beloved papa, who used to work in the nightclub as a bandmaster. During papa's time, there would always be a 5 man band to accompany the singers. Today, only one deejay is needed to play the music for the singers! Some customers were very generous, and it was just great the see the singers receiving their bouquets of flowers which range from MR50 to MR500. In Singapore, I hardly have time to visit KTV lounges and hence, I enjoyed the time listening to renditions of popular songs. Somehow I prefer older songs which seem to have nicer tunes.

During the previous night, I noticed there was a group of Saudi Arabians in the Lounge, and they too seemed to enjoy the music. Indeed music connects people regardless of race, culture and religion!

What would life be like without the Sound of Music? Indeed, music makes my world go round!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Much Ado About Penang!

Greetings from Penang, the Pearl of the Orient! I am typing in the Internet Centre of Copthorne Orchid, Penang. This is my third day of stay at this lovely beach hotel.

Penang is so beautiful, as always! I love the beaches at Tanjong Bungah and Batu Feringhi. I will post photos when I am back in Singapore.

Yesterday evening, my sister-in-law, Saw Kim, and I went for dinner at the popular German Restaurant, Ingolf's Kneipe. The food and service were excellent, and the price extremely reasonable. No wonder the restaurant is always well-patronised. After dinner, we decided to pop in at the Hotel KTV Lounge where some singers from China were performing. There was a local singer, Mr. Ong and he was excellent...very humorous and versatile. He sang in Mandarin, Hokkien, Cantonese, English and Malay!

This morning, brother Kee Seng came to fetch us for breakfast at a local coffee shop. The Hokkien and Curry noodles were excellent and cost only MR3.00 per bowl. The parking fees would make Singaporeans turn green with envy.......thirty Malaysian cents for half an hour!
I try not to contain my joy and surprise, for we Singaporeans have been likened to the birds that go around chirping, "Cheap, cheap, cheep, cheep....." However, I notice that some of the imported clothings cost more here.

Penangnites are such warm and friendly people. Most people prefer to cook their own reunion dinner than to dine at the restaurant. I guess there is always that element of warmth and greater camaraderie when we are in the home. I really look foward to the reunion dinner at home.

My niece, Tyng, who just arrived from Kuala Lumpur last night was supposed to join me at the hotel, but she had taken ill. Hence, I would be staying on my own for today. Brother was concerned that I would be alone, but I reminded him that I had travelled round the world so many times on my own. Now that I realise it, I have never ever felt lonely in my life! When I am with people, I enjoy the company of friends, colleagues and relatives. But I also love it when I am on my own. There is so much peace, solace and serenity when I am on my own. I feel the sweet presence of the Lord. There are so many interesting things to do. How I wish there were 48 hours in a day!

I am thankful for the opportunity to be back home in Penang. Now with my improved health from the scalar quantum pendant, I am able to walk for long distances along the beach. I always feel so refreshed and rejuvenated after spending my vacation here.

May Penang always remain as beautiful and charming as ever. May God bless the people and government of Malaysia.