Friday, December 18, 2009

Precious Calendars and Diaries


Diary given by pretty Delia Wong


Calendar given by AIA Changi Toastmasters' Club
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When I read an article in the Press that now companies are giving out fewer gifts in the form of diaries and calendars, I was extremely happy. Firstly, it made sense,
because more trees could be saved; secondly I realised that I am indeed very fortunate because paradoxically, this time I have a bumper harvest of diaries and calendars.! In the past, I hardly received or bothered to buy diaries.

Let's count my blessings and name them one by one!

Firstly, when I went to the AIA Changi Toastmasters' Club for their Christmas celebration, I was surprised to receive a calendar and pen when I signed in my name in the guest book. Kudos to AIA Changi TMC for the club is always so generous to their guests with not only provision of sumptuous food but gifts too!

I was even more pleasantly surprised, when Delia Wong, the IPP, asked me to choose a diary ranging from pocket size to medium size to large size. I chose the A4 size, because it is big and could fit in just nicely in my tote bag, whereas the medium sized diary was a little bulkier. Also, sometime last month I passed by a booth manned by the SPCA, and bought 2 medium sized diaries from the Society so as to help the SPCA raise some funds. I gave a diary to my violin teacher, Mr. Yan.
I also gave the AIA calendar to the couple who sell Laksa and Prawn Noodles at Tekka Food Centre nearby. They always charge me 50 cents less for my Laksa, as I only ask for vegetables and no prawns or fish cakes.

I was pleasantly surprised when I received a calendar featuring some animals from my stockbroker, Mr. Lim Eng Tiam. I love everything that has something in connection with animals. I decided to give my new agent, Jack Sheo, a copy of the calendar featuring animals as well as a T-Shirt that reminds us to save the whales for Jack is also an animal lover. To my pleasant surprise, Jack gave me a lovely calendar featuring a host of cute puppies! He also gave me a key chain as he had just returned from his short vacation in Malaysia! What a blessing! I feel so privileged and blessed especially when I realise that now calendars are not distributed so freely in the market.

I studied the diary that Delia had given me. It also featured the various holidays throughout the world. I learnt that the countries with the most public holidays are Japan and Malaysia with 15 days, while in Singapore, we have 11 public holidays. The people in the United Kingdom have the least public holidays - only 7 days! Singapore has only 2 days of public holidays for Chinese New Year, while Vietnam has 4 days but the country only has a total of 8 public holidays. Hongkong, China and Taiwan have 3 public holidays for Chinese New Year, which is just nice, but then they don't have public holidays for Deepavali or Hari Raya Puasa unlike Singapore and Malaysia.

The countries in Europe have many public holidays which we do not have in Asia which is understandable because there are many Christians in Europe. They celebrate Whit Monday, Corpus Christi, Assumption Day, All Saints' Day, Thanksgiving Day, Immaculate Conception, General Prayer Day, Ascension Day, Pentecoast Monday, St. Stephen's Day, and Boxing Day! When I have time, I will google for all these public holidays. I remember when I first went to Canada, I was surprised that 26th December is known as Boxing Day and is a grand day of celebration. Immediately I thought of Mohammad Ali at the boxing ring and wondered if I too had to buy a pair of gloves for boxing.! I laughed when I realised it simply meant gathering around the Christmas tree after a sumptuous breakfast or brunch (for those who wake up late). Family members enjoyed chitchatting and opening up their boxes of Christmas gifts! I remember the Canadian family I stayed with were appalled by my small appetite at breakfast table. I was quite stunned whey I saw them relishing the eggs, sausages, fruits, bacon and ham, buns and bread and a whole assortment of cheese, nuts and yoghurt at breakfast table. Until today, I can never eat breakfast like a king! My appetite is best around noon.

The AIA diary features 28 countries and their public holidays. All these countries are unanimous on one date - ie. 1st January is a public holiday for every of the 28 countries. Can I assume that perhaps throughout the world, everyone celebrates on the 1st day of the New Year with joy and expectation that things would be better than in the previous year?

I wish all my dear readers a Blessed Christmas and a very Happy and Blessed New Year in 2010! I will choose to be happy and thankful, for I am reminded by Paul the Apostel, "In everything, give thanks."

Gan Chau

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