Monday, June 30, 2008

The Beauty of Numbers!

My best friend, Choon Lian, sent me this email. She is the daughter of my mom's best friend in Singapore. In fact, Choon Lian together with her cousin, Wan Cheng and their families are the first Singaporeans I got to know! That was four decades ago! Choon Lian is one of the ladies I love and respect the most. Recently Choon Lian sent me an email which I thought would be of interest to readers.

Mathematics is one of my weakest subjects in school. I had never passed a single Maths test! During mathematics lessons, the numbers would swim around my head like twinkle, twinkle little stars! I hope you will be as awed and as mesmerised by the beauty of Mathematics! God is the greatest Mathematician for He has created everything perfectly. I was told that He had put planet earth exactly where it should be - if a little too high up, we would not be able to take the heat; if a little too low, we would all be frozen!

God worked out all the letters in the alphabet !

Absolutely amazing! Beauty of Mathematics !!!!!!!

1 x 8 + 1 = 9
12 x 8 + 2 = 98
123 x 8 + 3 = 987
1234 x 8 + 4 = 9876
12345 x 8 + 5 = 98765
123456 x 8 + 6 = 987654
1234567 x 8 + 7 = 9876543
12345678 x 8 + 8 = 98765432
123456789 x 8 + 9 = 987654321

1 x 9 + 2 = 11
12 x 9 + 3 = 111
123 x 9 + 4 = 1111
1234 x 9 + 5 = 11111
12345 x 9 + 6 = 111111
123456 x 9 + 7 = 1111111
1234567 x 9 + 8 = 11111111
12345678 x 9 + 9 = 111111111
123456789 x 9 +10= 1111111111

9 x 9 + 7 = 88
98 x 9 + 6 = 888
987 x 9 + 5 = 8888
9876 x 9 + 4 = 88888
98765 x 9 + 3 = 888888
987654 x 9 + 2 = 8888888
9876543 x 9 + 1 = 88888888
98765432 x 9 + 0 = 888888888

Brilliant, isn't it?

And look at this symmetry:

1 x 1 = 1
11 x 11 = 121
111 x 111 = 12321
1111 x 1111 = 1234321
11111 x 11111 = 123454321
111111 x 111111 = 12345654321
1111111 x 1111111 = 1234567654321
11111111 x 11111111 = 123456787654321
111111111 x 111111111 = 12345678987654321

Now, take a look at this...


From a strictly mathematical viewpoint:

What Equals 100%?
What does it mean to give MORE than 100%?

Ever wonder about those people who say they are giving more than 100%?

We have all been in situations where someone wants you to

How about ACHIEVING 101%?

What equals 100% in life?

Here's a little mathematical formula that might help
answer these questions:



Is represented as:

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26.


H-A-R-D-W-O- R- K

8+1+18+4+23+ 15+18+11 = 98%


K-N-O-W-L-E- D-G-E

11+14+15+23+ 12+5+4+7+ 5 = 96%


A-T-T-I-T-U- D-E

1+20+20+9+20+ 21+4+5 = 100%

THEN, look how far the love of God will take you:

L-O-V-E-O-F- G-O-D

12+15+22+5+15+ 6+7+15+4 = 101%

Therefore, one can conclude with mathematical certainty that:

While Hard Work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will
get you there, It's the Love of God that will put you over the top!

It's up to you if you share this with your friends & loved ones just
the way I did..

Have a nice day & God bless!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Every Person is Unique!

It has been almost three and a half decades. Yet I still remember the story of this beautiful family that eldest sister, Lee Lee, had narrated. She admired her British pastor, especially at the way he handled his children. To the oldest boy, he had to be stern and tough, and punishment could only be in the form of spanking if it was to drive home any message to the boy that the father meant his words. Yet to the youngest child, all the father needed to do was to raise his voice and said, "Michael Paterson!" And the little boy would tremble and start to weep. The father had discerned each of his three children's characteristics. He knew he had to use different approaches with his children if he wanted the desired results.

How I wish this could be true of our penal system and hopefully, of every system, especially where human beings are concerned. Every human being is unique, and we are dealing with two legged beings who grow up with characteristics they have inherited from the genes of their parents, and with things they have been nurtured with. My beloved papa was one such man who understood people very well. His wisdom and acute observation and sensitivity had enabled him to be loved and respected by all those who knew him. As a father, he knew he had to be very stern with eldest brother who was quite a tough nut to crack. Yet, he knew that yours truly is soft hearted and sensitive. His disappointment and sadness would make me cry. Papa knew that his reasoning of things done wrong would be sufficient to make me want to resolve to do better.

Thanks to the lessons I have learnt from papa, it has also made me sensitive to others and more acute in my observation. Perhaps this is the reason why I could be considered an excellent teacher when I was teaching in the secondary schools. Like papa, teaching is my first love but I had to quit because of my constant loss of voice. Currently, I am able to excel in real estate because it is a people's business. I am not only dealing with properties but more with human beings who make that crucial decision to buy, sell or rent.

Hence when I read of the sudden demise of Dr. Adrian Yeo, I was extremely sad. I had written an article, "The Second Chance that Made a Thief a Doctor" (republished below) when I read of Adrian's case. Although I do not know Adrian or his family personally, I could well understand the anguish and grief that the family must have suffered. Somehow I knew that Adrian would make good after his release. There are always exceptions, but somehow I feel that men who are less masculine often tend to be soft hearted and teachable. They tend to be people who will probably respond better with milder punishment and counselling. Hence, my hope as well as the hope of many Singaporeans, has been dashed with the sudden death of the young doctor. If only, if only, we could turn back the clock.......

I hope PAPa will emulate my papa's fine examples. Yes, you can argue that PAPa is a government; my papa is a family man. Nevertheless, the two are quite similar because they have the same subjects - people. I feel that Confucius was not too far fetched when he made the analogy that if we want a happy and successful State, we have to start with the individual who is well nurtured by the family. This in turn builds up a healthy society of well-adjusted individuals. Happy and contented families will in turn make a nation great. As I have always said, I am not politically inclined; in fact, I have difficulty understanding politics and stocks and shares; my mental make up is more at ease with the arts - music, cooking and writing.

Of course, rules and regulations can never be dispensed with. In fact, they are needed for the smooth operation of institutions, nations, etc. However, it would be most wonderful if leaders are able to exercise or are given the liberty to exercise their initiative and discretion. For example, in the case of papa, the rule said that every student who had stolen should be sent to the principal for caning. However, papa knew his student better than anyone else. His perception and hunches knew that this student with great potential, would respond more to gentle chiding and reasoning. Likewise, with MINDEF for example, the rule is that every young man must sign up for conscription by age 18. MINDEF must be applauded for their having allowed Ik See to defer NS for two years so that he could pick up his scholarship studies at Curtis University. Having excelled, Ik See again won another four years of scholarship from Curtis, but this time Ik See could not accept the scholarship. It is very tiring for everyone concerned to start the whole process of pleading again. A scholar who is reading law for eg. can always do his NS first, but not someone who is doing music. The human brain is more resilient and well protected by the skull, whereas a pair of hands with ten fingers are more prone to injury or stiffening and roughness. This is the reason why everyone who understands how violinists and musicians operate, has been writing to plead for Ik See, Singapore's rare talent, pride and joy.

This is why I had taken the opportunity to request Mr. Lui Tuck Yew, during his door-to-door visit, to consider letting the Ministry of Education work closely with MINDEF. The most important resource in our little nation - our people who are as different and as unique as snow flakes. We cannot afford to lose any one of our precious people. We want our people to be able to place the flag of Singapore on every summit they have scaled.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


The recent arrest of Adrian Yeo, a houseman, made me reminisce about my beloved papa again. For my overseas readers, please log in for more details of the case.

Papa was teaching Chinese and Music in a primary school in Penang. One day, he caught a Standard 6 pupil stealing a classmate's gold Cross pen. Instead of sending the thief to the principal for caning during school assembly, papa chose to counsel the boy quietly. He told the student, that he was a brilliant boy and hence should use his intelligent mind to bless others, instead of plotting to put others at a disadvantage. The boy cried, and vowed to turn over a new leaf. My papa's gentleness and compassion broke him. He resolved not to let papa and his own family down. He later became a prominent Specialist in Malaysia as well as an active volunteer doctor in the Home for the Aged. At papa's funeral, I am sure you can guess, who among his students, wept the most.

I am not implying that we should molly cuddle the likes of Adrian Yeo. I am sure Adrian's family must feel they have failed him too; failed for not recognising his problems earlier, so that they could have sent him for professional counselling. As a nation, we feel a sense of failure too when our young people are caught shoplifting, molesting and subjecting themselves to the danger of drugs and Aids. So much emphasis is on excellence that our people are getting more stressed, confused and depressed. There should be more openness and a conducive environment so that our youths can be encouraged to admit, "I have a problem.... can you please help me?"

As a teacher, I would also blame myself partially if I had failed to help my students other than teaching them to speak and write proper English. This is why I had asked my students to write their journals. In one of the journals one of my boys had written that he often secretly wore his sister's clothes and make up. He also had a deep crush on one of the boys in his class. With professional help from church counsellors, he is now doing well and is happily married with two kids.

Adrian has spent years working hard to achieve his dream of becoming a doctor. His family must have great faith that he will do well. Now the heart-broken father has to sell his only roof to pay off the debts incurred because of his studies. Probably the father was too busy driving longer and longer hours to help bring in more earnings for the family. What an ironical twist!

Someone commented that because Adrian is a doctor, society will expect high standards from him. Please do not put people on a pedestal. Whether a person is a doctor, lawyer, engineer, civil servant, or church pastor ... .... everyone is a human being with his strengths and weaknesses. To err is human; to give a second chance divine. Therefore please give Adrian a second chance to continue his houseman ship and medical career. Let him have a chance to contribute back to society in a more meaningful way than to label him for life.

I hope our hardworking police force will go around internet chat rooms and hook up the likes of Adrian Yeo, so that they can receive proper counselling and professional help. This would be better than throwing them behind bars and spending taxpayers' money. Two packets of rice with meat and vegetables a day times 245 days cost a lot, you know.

Gan Chau

Monday, June 23, 2008

Inconsiderate Commuters (2)


Commuters must remember a bus is a public transport; not a home where you can put up your legs and relax!

As I was taking Bus No. 66 back, I noticed some inconsiderate youngsters, talking loudly in Chinese and two couples were occupying the front seats of the bus. They had the audacity to put their bags on the empty seat, and one of the young men even put up his legs on the empty seat.

There were some commuters standing, but these youngsters were blinded by their self-centredness for comfort. As more and more people are now taking public transport instead of driving their cars, buses and trains are getting more and more packed each day.

Commuters should exercise consideration for others and not exhibit such brazen acts of self-centredness. Every commuter should help to make bus and train rides more pleasant and comfortable for one another.

Gan Chau

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Daddy's Empty Chair

My friend, Sophie Stone from America, sent me this lovely and touching story which I would like to share with my readers.


A man's daughter had asked the local minister to come and pray with her father.
When the minister arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped
up on two pillows. An empty chair sat beside his bed.

The minister assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit. "I guess
you were expecting me," he said.

"No, who are you?" said the father.

The minister told him his name and then remarked, "I saw the empty chair and
I figured you knew I was going to show up."

"Oh yeah... the chair," said the bedridden man. "Would you mind closing the door?"

Puzzled, the minister shut the door. "I have never told anyone this, not even my
daughter," said the man. "But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At
church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it went right over my head."

"I abandoned any attempt at prayer," the old man continued, "until one day four
years ago, my best friend said to me, 'Johnny, prayer is just a simple matter of
having a conversation with Jesus. Here is what I suggest: Sit down in a chair;
place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It's not
spooky because he promised, 'I will be with you always.' Then just speak to him
in the same way you're doing with me right now.'"

"So, I tried it and I've liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day.
I'm careful though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she'd either
have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm."

The minister was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old man to
continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him, anointed him with oil, and
returned to the church.

Two nights later the daughter called to tell the minister that her daddy had died
that afternoon.

"Did he die in peace?" he asked.

"Yes, when I left the house about two o'clock, he called me over to his bedside,
told me he loved me and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store
an hour later, I found him. But there was something strange about his death.
Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on the chair
beside the bed. What do you make of that?"

The minister wiped a tear from his eye and said, "I wish we could all go like that.

Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive.

I asked God for water, He gave me an ocean.
I asked God for a flower, He gave me a garden.
I asked God for a friend, He gave me all of YOU...
If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.

Happy moments, praise God.
Difficult moments, seek God.
Quiet moments, worship God
Painful moments, trust God.
Every moment, thank God.

My Dream Car......

I had to give up driving because of the growing imbalance and ringing in my ears. I often felt dizzy, and it would be just too dangerous to be on the road. In Singapore, the authorities take a severe stand on driving offences.

During the table topics session at a chapter meeting at Tanglin Toastmasters' Club yesterday, one of the topics was "My Dream Car...."

My dream car is one that needs no petrol, insurance and licence. The car only needs good maintenance to keep it strong and mobile. It fears no increase in petrol costs. It also does not fear increases in parking, taxi charges or public transport. Best of all, it also does not fear increases in Electronic Road Pricing!

My dream car is my closest buddy. It goes with me everywhere and anywhere. It is always so accommodating and hardly ever breaks down.

Long before all these price increases, I had already anticipated them! Hence I decided to move to the heart of the City! No not Orchard Road, as I can ill afford to sit on so much money or be indebted to a bank for years. But a small flat located within a stone's throw from the Little India mrt. Since my office is only 15 minutes away from my home, I am able to use my dream car almost faithfully whenever I go to the office. It is more refreshing than taking the jam packed train or bus! I have also been able to use my car to show clients when they want to view the nearby properties for sale or rent. Now that the government has doubled the price of Electronic Road Pricing at many parts of Singapore, it is only logical that I should use my dream car to save costs!

In fact, it would appear to me that no amount of electronic road pricing will truly decrease road congestion. Those who drive real cars have a tendency to be lazier than those who drive dream cars. Hence, instead of increasing fees for entering the city, the Government should consider declaring Saturday and Sunday evenings, "A national jog time". Residents will take either one of the two evenings to use their dream cars. It will become so habitual that soon, people will not be easily deterred having to drive just two mrt stops.!

My dream car also has no fear of the hot sun which will blaze mercilessly and keep hot air trapped inside the vehicle. My dream car will always enjoy the fresh air. It certainly helps to save the world as there is no air conditioning. It uses an umbrella to protect itself from the blazing sun.

Many people have this dream car.....only that they have sometimes forgotten to use it. Of course, when I have to travel longer distances, I will let my car rest, and take the train or bus.

My dream car (kar) has the lovely number of favourite number for it suggests balance, team work, strength and sturdiness. Strangely, the more you use it, the stronger it becomes! It certainly helps to beat inflation!

You have guessed the answer! Hail to the Number 11 Car (kar).!

Gan Chau

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Delicious and Cheap! Fried Hokkien Mee!


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One of my favourite dishes is Fried Hokkien Noodles. It is usually not oily and although the dish is quite easy to cook, nevertheless, it is not that simple to acquire just the right taste and texture. Hence I am quite fastidous when it comes to choosing the stalls that cook the way that great Hokkien Noodles should taste.

I am quite (ahem) good at whipping up a delicious plate of Fried Hokkien Noodles. Once I cooked it for our missionaries who were then stationed in Kathmandu. Each of them had four plates!! I could not find the usual yellow noodles in Nepal. Hence being the innovative cook, I used spaghetti instead.

One of my favourite Hokkien Noodles stall is thankfully located near my apartment. The stall is called Cai Yuan Mei Shi and the chef is the owner himself, a cheerful and amiable gentleman by the name of Mr. Leng. It used to be at Tekka Market Food Centre, but now that the market is undergoing renovation, it is temporarily located at Race Course Road. The stall unit number is #01-369.

The noodles are cooked just right - not too hard or soggy, and the ingredients are quite generously given...prawns, squid, chye sim and fish cake. The chilli is also nicely cooked with the owner's secret recipe.

If you happen to be shopping around Tekka Market, do drop by and try the Fried Hokkien Noodles. You will not be disappointed. The hardworking owner works seven days a week. He only closes the stall when he has an important errand too run.!

Gan Chau

When the Minister comes a-visiting...


The cheerful team of visitors making a surprise visit.

With Mr. Lui Tuck Yew.

I was playing the piano when someone came to the gate. He was a locksmith, and was persuading me to change the lock which could be attached onto the gate and which also could open the main door. I told him I was quite happy with my current lock.

Later, another two men came to my door. I told them I would not want to change the lock. They said, "We are from the Grassroots. The MP, Mr. Lui is visiting you soon".

"Can I have your identification please?" Just then Mr. Lui appeared!

"Oh! My gosh! I thought that ministers would only meet residents at Community Centres.

The group smiled. "Yes, I do make house calls", said Mr Lui, smiling. One of the team members asked how long I had been staying at my apartment. I told them it had been less than a year. "No wonder!"

"Can I take a photo of you all to show that you are going around the block visiting residents.? Wow, how many hours do you take?"

Later, Mr. Lui came in, and since he is the Minister of Education and Minister of Information, Communications and the Arts, I asked him about Ik See's scholarship at Curtis University. I shared that it would be great if the Ministry of Education could work hand in hand with MINDEF on special arrangements for rare talent.

Maybe it is because I am hardly at home all these years in Singapore. My evenings are often occupied with church meetings, toastmasters' meetings, property viewing and social gatherings. This was a rare opportunity that I happened to be at home. What a pleasant surprise! If I had known earlier, I would have prepared some drinks and made my home tidier! I appreciate Mr. Lui Tuck Yew and his grassroot leaders going around from flat to flat in this warm, humid weather. Even my tenant, Ashok and his friend, Jasmin, were quite excited about meeting the Minister. I have never once gone to the Community Centre because I hardly have complaints. Even if I do, I would prefer to address the issue directly with the department concerned. I feel that the Members of Parliament are already busy ....I do not have to trouble them with issues that irritate me.

May God bless our leaders and every resident in Singapore. May we be a nation of happy people who take things in our stride and who count our blessings and name them one by one.

Gan Chau

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Please Save the Sumatran Forests .....Recyle! Recyle!

Recently, I was very happy when I went to my favourite supermarket, Sheng Siong. Someone asked for an extra plastic bag as he claimed that the things were somewhat heavy. The salesgirl pointed to the sign which read as, "Every Wednesday is BYOB - bring your own bag!" I thought it is a wonderful idea to do a little to help save the world. I smiled because when I was in Canada as a student, I learnt that BYOB meant, "Bring your own booze!"

I came across this video which is quite mind-boggling and touching. Let us not take the world for granted. Let us help save the animals and the trees. By doing so, we are also doing ourselves a big favour. I am filled with heartache whenever I see people wasting like as if there is no tomorrow. Lights and airconditioners are left turned on even when no one is around. Lovely buildings get demolished just to make way for higher rise buildings! Tons of papers get thrown away instead of being recycled. The cleaners had complained they often found stacks of newspapers thrown down the rubbish chute! Why can't these people leave them outside their homes for the cleaners to take away for recycling?

If all of us unite together to play our little part, much can be achieved cohesively. Hence, before you throw away that piece of paper, plastic utensil, wooden furniture, etc. think of the 3R.....reuse, recreate and recycle!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tosca - An Amazing and Faithful Dog

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The regal looking Tosca. A huge dog with a gentle and loving heart.

One of the volunteers, Lynda, shared with me about Tosca. Here I have taken a page from the website of the story of Tosca to share with my readers.

"Tosca came to Noah’s Ark in a most unusual way.

Remember the little dirt track outside Noah's Ark? Along that track, past the huge plantation on both sides; at the very end, lies a Chinese cemetery. One night in the Hungry Ghost month of 2006, Raymund heard a dog howling its heart out. It sounded so heart breaking that Raymund was moved to unravel the mystery dog behind it.

There, he saw a bull mastiff guarding a newly setup grave. The dog was keeping vigil at his deceased master's grave. Every night, Raymund would hear the dog’s howl, breaking the peaceful silence surrounding the Sanctuary of Noah’s Ark.

Raymund half wondered if the bull mastiff was a ghost. The dog refused to leave the grave, so Raymund went to feed it daily.

Each night, the dog would howl without fail and subsequently, the howling got softer & softer and finally reduced to whimpering. After several nights, the dog followed Raymund home to Noah’s Ark.

That was how Tosca came to be a resident in Noah's Ark.

He was named “Tosca” after a character in a Puccini opera of a lover who was faithful to his lover even in death.

Tosca was an imposing beast – big in size and affection. Many visitors were wary of this huge dog with a menacing look. Those who overcame their fear grew attached to him, and give this gentle giant a scratch between the ears each time they visited which Tosca loved.

Tosca would amble over to meet visitors and stand still while people patted him. He loved to bask in their attention. He was great with children after juniors overcame their initial fear of the big dog and they would scramble to take a photo with him to show off to their friends.

Tosca loved having visitors and would follow them around the sanctuary. You could see it in his eyes that his heart leaped with joy in the company of visitors, especially older men. These men probably reminded Tosca of his beloved deceased master.

In early 2006, a growth appeared on his right front leg. The growth grew quickly and Raymund sent Tosca to the vet. Blood tests revealed osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer commonly found in big dogs. It was also discovered that the cancerous cells had also spread to his lungs.

The diagnosis was bleak. The advice was for Tosca be euthanized to avoid pain and suffering. The tumor grew larger and soon Tosca had to limp. Despite the pain, Tosca remained his lively self and enjoyed a healthy appetite.

Quality of life, living and dying in dignity and love is what Noah's Ark is all about. Raymund decided to postpone putting him down and set forth to research alternative and traditional methods for a cure or treatment to stop or slow down the spread of the cancerous cells.

Research & persistence finally paid off when he learnt of a traditional Jamu herb of reputable anti-carcinogenic properties which was only available in Batu Pahat. Raymund made several trips to Batu Pahat in search of this herb and finally, after numerous enquiries and footwork, found it in a tonic form. He bought 10 bottles and started Tosca on this herbal tonic and homeopathy.

After two months, Raymund took Tosca back to the vet for more tests; X-rays revealed the cancerous cells in the lungs had cleared! Amazing!!

Encouraged by the results, Raymund persevered with the treatment. Another two months later, Tosca's third x-ray showed that his lungs continued to remain clear and the cancerous cells were contained in the original spot on the leg. Tosca was coping well and everyone was jubilant.

In the wee hours of 19 January 2007, Tosca woke Raymund up with loud barking. When Raymund went downstairs, Tosca crawled onto his own mattress.

Raymund sat there beside him, knowing that it was time to part. Fifteen minutes later, Tosca heeded the call to another sanctuary higher up in the sky.

Tosca's departure left a huge empty space in the hearts of those who knew him; of a dog who was a shining example of enduring love and faith.

Could we as Homo Sapiens, a breed far more intelligent than mammals, fare better?

Rest in Peace my dear Tosca. You are indeed a man's best friend in life and death."

If any of my readers have a little money to spare, do donate to Noah's Ark to help support the animals in its wonderful sanctuary. The extent that the group goes to help rescue injured and abused animals is touching and inspiring.

Frankly, after my visit to the Ark, I often think of the aniamls and the dedication of Raymund and his staff. I decided that I would not indulge in chocolates or expensive food. I decided to make a constant effort to walk home after work from my office. The fare saved would be donated to Noah's Ark. I reckon I would be able to donate at least $70 a month. In the past it was difficult for me to resist temptation to buy chocolates and nuts. I have already lost another 4 kilos since I started walking regularly.! I feel happy to be able to lose weight as well as do my little part to help Noah's Ark. I do not wish to offer lip service - if I can, I prefer to walk my talk!

Gan Chau

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Learning More About Animals


One of the few dalmations in Noah's Ark

A lovely white Persian Cat abandoned by its owner

The cute bulldog which likes to perform the "moonwalk ala Michael Jackson style!"


The St. Bernard that had been constantly left in its owner's toilet now finds plenty of space to move about in the lovely sanctuary!

Frankly, it was such a great learning experience at Noah's Ark. I learnt so much from Raymund and his faithful volunteers. Raymund told us that big dogs like the Great Dane and Dalmations are prone to deafness. Some owners are unaware of that, and become disappointed when they realise their dogs have lost all hearing ability.
Some decide to abandon their deaf dogs! It made me tearful when I heard that for I was thinking that it was great that my parents never abandoned me because of my hearing problems! Of course some people may argue that I am a human being, but when people adopt dogs, they should make it a lifetime committment! I still remember a doggy poster given out by the SPCA which read, "To you he is only a dog, but to him, you are everything!" How can any owner abandon his pet? Unless an owner has valid reasons of failing health, financial difficulties, etc. I find it almost cruel for pets to be abandoned.

The beautiful St. Bernard is now so well groomed, and lying contentedly in the clinic. He was constantly put in the toilet, and through years of little mobility, the dog's legs have weakened. It is incomprehensible why some people will go to the extent of paying so much money for a dog, only to give minimal care to their pets. It is about time that something be really done to prevent dogs like huskies, Chow Chows and St. Bernards from coming into our country, for the weather is just too warm for them.

We smiled when we saw a white, almost overweight bulldog which we nicknamed, "Fat Fat". The volunteers told us that the dog is deaf. From afar it looks like a little pig. The bulldog loves to walk backwards and we laugh because his steps are almost like breakdance! The cute little dog never seems to get tired of performing this stunt for us.

There are about 400 cats of different breeds. I particularly like the white Persian cat. The fur is so white and clean. Again a beautiful animal, expensively bought and indifferently abandoned!

Mahatma Gandhi had said, "The progress of a nation is measured by the way her people treat animals."

Gan Chau

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Noah's Ark - The Ark of Hope


The founder, Raymund Wee, shared about his vision and work.

A lovely sanctuary - far away from the madding crowd.

Some of the 700 dogs in the Sanctuary. Although there are 10 acres of land, the dogs
like to stay together!

The dogs love visitors!

I have wanted to vist Noah's Ark for a long time. Finally I made it a point to participate in the Ark's fund raising dinner. The package included a bus ride to an from Noah's Ark in Pekan Nanas, Johore and back to Singapore as well as a sumptuous seafood dinner.

We waited at the pick up point at Boon Lay MRT Station. There were two busloads of animal lovers. The organisers briefed us on what to expect in the Sanctuary. Wow! What an amazing welcome by so many canines who barked their joy on seeing us. The dogs that were left to run around were sociable. They enjoyed being patted and wagged their tails profusely.

The dogs that are not so sociable are put in cages. Some have just arrived and need time to get used to their new environment. There is a clinic to provide medical attention to sick animals.

There are also 400 cats of different species! These cats are protected by fencing all round. Visitors could enter and play with the cats. There are also 6 horses and some rabbits. A couple of snakes are also placed in huge glass containers.

Raymund has built a lovely shelter which has Balinese design and decor. It is beautiful and cosy. Many of the dogs try to enter as they want attention.

I am amazed by Raymund's passion for his cause. From the Ark's newsletter, I read that fuelled by his love for the strays, Raymund sold off his shop house to set up an animal shelter in Singapore. He transformed Noah's Ark into one of the foremost private animal shelters in Singapore. With increased land rentals, Raymund shifted his operation to Pekan Nanas. Every month, Noah's Ark spends almost $25,000 a month to continue its objectives of reducing the stray population, rescue abandoned, injured and abused animals as well as maintain its 1,100 animals at the Sanctuary. Readers can go into the Ark's Website: and

Although I was somewhat physically tired when I reached home at night, my spirit was uplifted by all that I had seen .....compassion, kindness and care for our four legged friends. I would definitely like to join the small yet faithful group of volunteers to help out at the Sanctuary in the very near future.

Gan Chau

How Did We Survive Our Childhood?

My friend, Elena Ho, sent me this email. I had edited and added a few more points, for indeed, I also had a great time spending my childhood days in Jelutong Kampong in Penang.

Take a very short walk through our history. How did we survive our childhood?
If you were a kid in the 50's, 60's, 70's or even early 80's did you survive your childhood?

1.- When we were growing up we never wore seatbelts in the car for cars didn't have airbags then.

2.- Riding on the back of a pick up truck was an adventure that we still remember!

3.- Our cribs were painted with bright colors (paint which was full of lead.) Some of us poor ones slept in homemade cradles of sarong and a rope hanging from the ceiling! But we grew up feeling secure and loved!

4.- We didn't have childproof medicine bottles, nor did our parents ever childproof our house.

5.- When we rode our bikes we never wore a helmet. The brother who taught us how to ride a motorbike in the kampong, also probably did not have a licence himself!

6.- We would drink water from the faucet or from a hose in the backyard (not bottled water).

7.- We didn't have cell phones, so our parents were never able to reach us (awesome).

8.- We would get scrapes, bruises, break bones, lose teeth, but we would never sue for these accidents.

9.- We would eat cake, bread and butter, drink sugary drinks,and we weren't overweight because we were always outside playing.

10.- Four of us would share a drink, we would all drink from the same bottle and that wasn't gross nor would anyone get sick.

11.- We didn't have Playstations, Nintendo 64, X boxes, video games,
cable TV with over 100 channels, VCR's, surround sound , cellular phones , computers , online chatrooms , instead we would have tons of FRIENDS.

12.- Toy or Us was not operating yet. There was no shopping for toys, Barbie dolls or games. We created our own stuffed toys made from left over cloths and unwanted cotton or cloths for stuffing. We drew lines on the sand to play hopscotch and dig holes in the sand to play, "Hit ball and run!" For the tougher ones, we played "Robber and Thief" and the village was our hiding place! Climbing trees for coconuts, rambutans, chikus and others fruits was a feat for many of us nimble ones.

13.- Our parents did not send us for tuition. Some of us learnt to play musical instruments, drawing, dancing, swimming and playing badminton and table tennis on our own or from friends and siblings.

14.- Some of us weren't as bright as others but when one would get left back that was no big deal. They would not get taken to a psychologist, nor did they ever suffer from dyslexia, hyperactivity, ADHD, ADD, etc, they would simply repeat the grade until they passed.

15.- We had freedom , mishaps, successes, , responsibilities,
and we would learn to deal with them. The question is...How did we survive? and above all, to become the GREAT people that we are today? . Are you from one of these generations?

If you are, then send this article to others from your same generation or to others who are younger so that they can see how we survived.

They will probably say that we were very boring, but I believe that we were VERY HAPPY CHILDREN...

Sunday, June 08, 2008

A Sunny Ride on a Cheerful Bike!


I invited my tenant, Ashok and his friend, Jasmin for a simple lunch at the Temporary Tekka Market Centre, just a stone's throw away from my apartment.

It was still drizzling when we were walking back after lunch. We saw an interesting bike parked along the road. Pedestrians who passed by also showed interest in looking more closely at the bike. I took out my digital camera and took some shots, at the same time wondering about the owner of the bike. Is the owner a lady or a man? Just as we were looking around, I saw someone taking refuge from the rain in one of the shops across the road. I pointed to the bike and asked if it belonged to him. "Ashok, that must be the owner!" "Let's cross the road and talk to him", Ashok suggested.

We found the owner a friendly and cheerful cheerful as the sunflowers displayed all over his bike. He was literally beaming with pride. He told us his name is Soh Eng Beng, and he has a penchant for flowers, especially sunflowers. I shared that I have a friend, Chan Aik Hoon, who is also called Sunflower. She likes sunflowers because they always look towards the Son!

May God bless you, Mr. Soh, with many sunny and safe rides on the road.
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Saturday, June 07, 2008

40 Tips for a Better Life

I am always so thrilled when people forward me interesting emails which are encouraging and inspiring. Hence, I find it difficult to comprehend why some people get annoyed or even offended and they would return with the sentence, "Thanks for the email, but I would rather you keep them in your inbox"! Perhaps these are very busy people, people who are busier than our Prime Minister, and have no time to read. With so much reading material in the market, I trust that when my friends forward me emails, they must deem them worthy of my reading or they would not have bothered to send. I believe the articles have been digested and regurgitated and I am at the wonderful receiving end. They remind me of the Readers' Digest, where you know that every article is worth your while to read!

Freddy Kang has sent me the following tips for a better life which I would like to share with my readers worldwide.


1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. And while you walk,
smile. It is the ultimate anti-depressant.

2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day. Buy a lock
if you have to.

3. Tape your late night shows and get more sleep.

4. When you wake up in the morning complete the following
statement, 'My purpose is to __________ today.'

5. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm, and Empathy.

6. Play more games and read more books than you did in 2007.

7. Make time to practice meditation, yoga, tai chi, and prayer.
They provide us with daily fuel for our busy lives.

8. Spend time with people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6..

9. Dream more while you are awake.

10. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less
food that is manufactured in plants.

11. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, wild
Alaskan salmon, broccoli, almonds & walnuts.

12. Try to make at least three people smile each day.

13. Clear clutter from your house, your car, your desk and let
new and flowing energy into your life.

14. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of
the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest
your energy in the positive present moment.

15. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn.
Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade
away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a

16. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner
like a college kid with a maxed out charge card.

17. Smile and laugh more. It will keep the energy vampires away.
18. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

20. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

21. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

22. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.

23. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what
their journey is all about.

24. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

25. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: 'In five
years, will this matter?'

26. Forgive everyone for everything.

27. What other people think of you is none of your business.

28. GOD heals almost everything.

29. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

30. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your
friends will. Stay in touch.

31. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

32. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

33. The best is yet to come.

34. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

35. Do the right thing!

36. Call your family often. (Or email them to death!!!)

37. Each night before you go to bed complete the following
statements: I am thankful for __________. Today I accomplished _________.

38. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.

39. Enjoy the ride. Remember this is not Disney World and you
certainly don't want a fast pass. You only have one ride through
life so make the most of it and enjoy the ride.

40. Please Forward this to everyone you care about.

May your troubles be less, May your blessings be more, May
nothing but happiness come through your door!


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Nothing happens by Chance!

So often, we hear of people saying, "We are so lucky" Someone has defined “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” To me, luck is defined as "When preparation meets divine arrangement!"

I remember many years ago when I was teaching in Singapore. All of a sudden, I felt an urge to send second sister some money. Not much, but then my salary as a teacher at that time was also not high. I decided to send Sis $115/-. $100/- for her and $15/- for my Second Uncle, the only surviving brother of Dad's. I am one of those impatient people who detest lining up at banks and post offices! Through the years, I have mellowed, as now I will read whenever I am stuck in long queues.

A few days' later, Sis called me and sounded quite emotional. She had lost her purse which she had momentarily placed on her desk in the kindergarten where she was teaching. She was upset and panic stricken because that was her last $30/- which would be the marketing allowance for food for the family for the last few days of the month. (My brother-in-law was then a pastor of a church in Penang and his income was just sufficient for the family. Thank God, now the family is better off). Sis refused to allow worry to overcome her, and prayed that whoever had stolen her purse be blessed. If the person had to resort to stealing, it implied he must be very desperate. When Sis returned home, she was surprised to receive my bank draft for $110/-! She had received three times what she had lost! I was thrilled to be the instrument used by God to bless my Sis.

My friend, Freddy Kang, sent me this email which also shows that God often sent angels in the form of people to help us in our moments of despair and desperation. For those of who declare, "Where's God? If I can see Him, I will believe!" No, you can't see God but you can see Him through His love and blessings, carried out by people around you, as the following story will illustrate.


It was a warm Saturday morning in Montpelier, Idaho. I had worked all week
and was thinking about passing on my much-needed yard work for a day of

I'd never been to this particular reservoir before, but had always thought
about going there. Some of my customers at the feed store had told me how
to get there, but it wasn't what most people would consider an easy trip.

Working around the yard that morning, it wasn't until 2 p.m. that I finally
convinced myself I needed to stop and head for the reservoir. I called my
brother-in-law, Ron, and invited him to join me. I didn't bother to tell
him our destination until I picked him up. He agreed to my unexpected
offer, so I threw my equipment into my old blue Jeep and headed over to
Ron's place.

“It's way too late to try to find it,” he said when I finally announced
where we were headed. But he still went along anyway.

Driving without benefit of a map or exact directions, we drove down the
highway until we came to a dirt road, where I turned off. After another
ten miles, we finally came to a fork in the road. I simply turned without
any hesitation.

“How'd you know which way to turn?” Ron asked.

“I'm not sure,” I replied.

That probably reinforced Ron's reluctance, as he kept insisting it was
getting way too late to even try to get some fishing in. Another five miles
passed, another fork in the road came, and yet another unhesitating turn
didn't help Ron's confidence in me. He was convinced we were going to get

Finally, at sunset, we crested a small hill and were greeted by the sight
of a beautiful reservoir. With the exception of one little, topless Jeep
parked near the water, there was no one else around for miles. We would
have the entire lake to ourselves.

When we approached the other Jeep, a young man happily greeted us. He was
there with his wife and their newborn baby, and their car battery was dead.
They had no matches to build a fire, no coats, and there was only one thin
blanket for the baby. He had been very worried, knowing that his wife and
baby wouldn't make it through the night if he had walked out the many miles
for help. And since it was getting dark, he might even have gotten lost.
The young man told us he had just had the Jeep overhauled and was out with
his family for the day. After the battery died, he had decided to stay with
his family and simply hope someone would come along.

Ron and I got out our battery cables and gave his Jeep a jump-start. He
profusely thanked us, and they left for home.

As we watched them drive off, Ron turned to me. “You still want to fish?”

“No” was all I said. We got back in our own Jeep and followed them out to
make sure they got home safely.

That was over thirty years ago. I have never returned to that reservoir,
and I am not even sure if it's still there. But there is one thing I am
sure about: the Lord answered a father's prayers through my love for fishing.

By Doyle Portela


Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Leadership Lessons from a Sub-Contractor

My friend, Freddy Kang, sent me this interesting email. I found it quite touching and inspiring and hence I wish to share with my readers. I agree that great leadership is about humility, courage to face up to the truth and consequences, atonement, generosity, fairness and deep sincerity. As my pastor had said, "Everyone wants to be a leader. But remember, to be a great leader, one has to have the heart of a servant."

Leadership lessons from a sub-contractor
16 May 2008

It is not often that one can learn leadership lessons from The New Paper. While our local tabloid is a surprisingly good resource on how to manage one's finances, enjoy fine dining, get the latest gossip, and contains the most comprehensive coverage of football news, it rarely comes up with soul-inspiring stuff.
So it was that I was very touched by this story, 'I give his family $3,000 every Hari Raya', that appeared in its pages on 30 April 2008.

Mr Lam Teck Foo, a sub-contractor, was fined a total of $150,000 for 'failing to take reasonable and adequate fall protection measures, under the Workplace Safety and Health Act'. He was fined as a fatal accident had occurred to one of his workers, who fell to his death while working on the rooftop on September 2006. While his workers had been wearing safety helmets, safety goggles, gloves, safety harnesses and belts, they had no lifelines to secure their harnesses to.
The fine of $150,000 is huge when we look at Lam's income tax return of a little over $43,000. He had not contested the charge and had in fact acknowledged his responsibility for the worker:
…I was not around the work site, but my foreman said that the worker was feeling dizzy. He was walking backwards when he fell off the roof. But, he admitted, that as the boss of the company, he is responsible for the safety of his workers…

The sub-contractor had also promised to give $3000 annually to the family of the deceased every Hari Raya for three years from the accident. On top of the gesture, he had also foot the bill for the burial, funeral and the chartering of his workers to attend the funeral, which worked out to an estimated $15,000. (The funeral took place in the Malaysian state of Terengganu – the hometown of the deceased worker, Mr Zainal Zakaria.)

While we are in no position to gauge Lam's financial means, I am nevertheless touched by his gesture and sincere apology to the family. Feelings aside, though, a few questions are still in my mind. While Lam is the boss, he was not physically present at the worksite to personally supervise the workers, and ensure that his workers had their life-lines secured. So why, then, is he being held responsible for the accident?

Perhaps Lam should have taken a leaf out of our Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng's example. Here is how the scenario would have played out had Lam been an attentive student in Wong's leadership c lass.

1) Upon knowing that the accident had happened, Lam would have made a gesture of apology by telling the deceased family, 'This should not have happened. I am sorry that it has.'

2) Then, he would have convened a Commission of Inquiry (COI), including one of his own safety officers as part of the committee.

3) Thirdly, he would then have released the COI's findings and absolved himself of all blame, since he is the boss and he is reasonably not expected to be on site to check all lifelines.

4) Fourthly, he would have gotten his colleagues to be both cheerleader and defence attorney, and exhort everyone to 'move on'.

5) Lastly, he would have lain low and waited for it to blow over.

Hey if Lam had learned his lesson, he would have saved his company a whopping $150,000 in fines, plus all the other costs he incurred in compensating the deceased's family.

But no, Lam did not evade responsibility. In fact, he did just the opposite. He stood up, accepted his part of the blame, apologised to the family of the deceased, paid the $150,000 fine, paid for the funeral and even pledged to give the family $3,000 for the next three years at Hari Raya.
Now that, dear readers, is true leadership – f rom a sub-contractor.
Mr Lam has, according to The New Paper report, five children aged 3, 11, 12, 14 and 15. His request to pay the $150,000 fine over ten months was rejected by the authorities.

About the author:
Chih-Yang is a Financial Advisor. He was previously a Project Manager in the corporate world where he regularly clocks 14-hour-day-work in the office. He is passionate about current affairs, international politics, social concerns and loves to write on issues close to Singaporeans' heart. Chih-Yang is also active in sports and serving in his chu rch. When he is not catching up on the latest news he will be following the fortunes of his beloved Newcastle United Football Club.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Inconsiderate Commuters

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The sign on the mrt train which also comes in pictures. Some commuters choose to be ignorant!

I wonder if life in Singapore is becoming so stressful that commuters would just choose not to be able to see or to read. Worse, they close their eyes in deep slumber! (Wonder how anyone can really fall into deep sleep with so much movement around him?)

In the past, I had witnessed many times how expectant mothers and very elderly commuters would be left standing to balance themselves and hang on to the railings during their entire journey. I would just glare and fume at the guilty passengers seated comfortably and nonchalantly in their seats. Recently I had been more courageous. I would tap the seated commuters on their shoulders and ask them to vacate their seats. Some quickly got up; while one had glared back angrily at me even as he got up! I was ready with summoning my "qi" should he decide to land a punch on me.! But thank God no punch had landed on me yet. I guess being a lady helps! :-)

I would appeal to all commuters that if you are very tired, try not to occupy these seats because the chances are that you would surely close your eyes and sleep. Try to get a seat in the middle so that you would not be guilty of depriving someone who needs it more than you.

Our mrt trains are getting more and more packed throughout the day. A little consideration from everyone will help to make our journeys more safe and pleasant.

Gan Chau

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The Dog and the Angry Man

Frankly, there are two things which I wish I had discovered earlier. Dogs and Toastmasters' activities.! Although we had dogs when we were young, I had not actually appreciated dogs until I had my first pet dog at the age of 35!!! Thanks to my ACS boys who rescued 6 abandoned puppies at a mangrove swamp and brought them back to school. I adopted one puppy and named her "Kamlette".

In concrete Singapore, many people are afraid of dogs!! I hope it is not too late for people to realise that a dog is often considered as man's best friend. Animal therapy has been proven to expedite healing for many an aged patient. The touching story below examplifies the strong bond that can be created between people and dogs.


"Watch out! You nearly broad-sided that car!" My father yelled at me.

"Can't you do anything right?" Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him. A lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn't prepared for another battle.

"I saw the car, Dad. Please don't yell at me when I'm driving." My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really felt. Dad glared at me, then turned away and settled back.

At home I left Dad in front of the television and went outside to collect my thoughts. Dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of rain. The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil. What could I do about him?

Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and Oregon. He had enjoyed being outdoors and had reveled in pitting his strength against the forces of nature. He had entered grueling lumberjack competitions, and had placed often. The shelves in his house were filled with trophies that attested to his prowess.

The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn't lift a heavy log, he joked about it; but later that same day I saw him outside alone, straining to lift it. He became irritable whenever anyone teased him about his advancing age, or when he couldn't do something he had done as a younger man.

Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. An ambulance sped him to the hospital while a paramedic administered CPR to keep blood and oxygen flowing.

At the hospital, Dad was rushed into an operating room. He was lucky; he survived.

But something inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone. He obstinately refused to follow doctors’ orders. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with sarcasm and insults. The number of visitors thinned, then finally stopped altogether. Dad was left alone.

My husband, Rick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small farm. We hoped the fresh air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust.

Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the invitation. It seemed nothing was satisfactory. He criticized everything I did. I became frustrated and moody. Soon I was taking my pent-up anger out on Rick. We began to bicker and argue.

Alarmed, Rick sought out our pastor and explained the situation. The clergyman set up weekly counseling appointments for us. At the close of each session he prayed, asking God to soothe Dad's troubled mind. But the months wore on and God was silent.

A raindrop struck my cheek. I looked up into the gray sky. Somewhere up there was "God." Although I believe a Supreme Being had created the universe, I had difficulty believing that God cared about the tiny human beings on this earth.

I was tired of waiting for a God who did not answer.

Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it. The next day I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my problem in vain to each of the sympathetic voices that answered.

Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed, "I just read something that might help you! Let me go get the article."

I listened as she read. The article described a remarkable study done at a nursing home. All of the patients were under treatment for chronic depression. Yet their attitudes had improved dramatically when they were given responsibility for a dog.

I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon. After I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels. The odor of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens. Each contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, black dogs, spotted dogs - all jumped up, trying to reach me. I studied each one but rejected one after the other for various reasons, too big, too small, too much hair.

As I neared the last pen a dog in the shadows of the far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the run and sat down.

It was a pointer, one of the dog world's aristocrats. But this was a caricature of the breed. Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of gray. His hipbones jutted out in lopsided triangles. But it was his eyes that caught and held my attention. Calm and clear, they beheld me unwaveringly.

I pointed to the dog. "Can you tell me about him?" The officer looked, and then shook his head in puzzlement.

"He's a funny one ~ Appeared out of nowhere and sat in front of the gate. We brought him in, figuring someone would be right down to claim him. That was two weeks ago and we've heard nothing. His time is up tomorrow." He gestured helplessly.

As the words sank in I turned to the man in horror. "You mean you're going to kill him?"

"Ma'am," he said gently, "that's our policy. We don't have room for every unclaimed dog."

I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes awaited my decision. "I'll take him," I said.

I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside me. When I reached the house I honked the horn twice. I was helping my prize out of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch.

"Ta-da! Look what I got for you, Dad!" I said excitedly.

Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. "If I had wanted a dog I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don't want it." Dad waved his arm scornfully and turned back toward the house.

Anger rose inside me. It squeezed together my throat muscles and pounded into my temples. "You'd better get used to him, Dad. He's staying!"

Dad ignored me.

"Did you hear me, Dad?" I screamed.

At those words Dad whirled angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate. We stood glaring at each other like duelists, when suddenly the pointer pulled free from my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of him. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw. Dad's lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw. Confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited patiently.
Then Dad was on his knees hugging the animal.

It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship.

Dad named the pointer Cheyenne. Together he and Cheyenne explored the community. They spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent reflective moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout. They even started to attend Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying quietly at his feet.

Dad and Cheyenne were inseparable throughout the next three years. Dad's bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne made many friends.

Then late one night I was startled to feel Cheyenne's cold nose burrowing through our bed covers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night.

I woke Rick, put on my robe and ran into my father's room. Dad lay in his bed, his face serene; but his spirit had left quietly sometime during the night.

Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad's bed. I wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept on. As Rick and I buried him near a favorite fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad's peace of mind.

The morning of Dad's funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle to the pews reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many friends Dad and Cheyenne had made filling the church.

The pastor began his eulogy. It was a tribute to both Dad and the dog that had changed his life. And then the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers..."

"I've often thanked God for sending that angel," he said.

For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not seen before: the sympathetic voice that had just read the right article ~ Cheyenne's unexpected appearance at the animal shelter ~ His calm acceptance and complete devotion to my father ~ and the proximity of their deaths. And suddenly I understood. I knew that God had answered my prayers after all.

Life is too short for drama & petty things, laugh insanely, love truly and forgive quickly.

Written by Catherine Moore