Saturday, October 30, 2010

When the Winds Howl at Dawn.......


The room feels like it is air conditioned with 24 deg. Celsius
Wow! 22 deg. Celsius - the lowest temperature ever shown on my thermometer

This morning I woke up at dawn. It was kind of cool and somewhat windy. Later, as I was reading, I heard the howling of the wind, and the rain became heavy. I closed my windows and to my surprise, I could hear the howling of the wind. Though somewhat musical, nevertheless the music sounded eerie and somewhat scary, like the music you would hear in movies when ghosts are about to appear or something tragic is about to take place.

I could see the young trees on the ground swaying vigorously. As the foliage of the trees are heavier because of some branches, the skinny trunks look like they would be broken anytime by the strong winds. Wow, if the strong winds already appear to be somewhat frightening, what are tornadoes and tsunamis like?

The only even more powerful winds I had witnessed was when I was in secondary school. My cousin, Sim and I had gone to Penang Road to catch some movies. When the heavy rains came down, we took shelter at a coffee shop near the cinema and had our lunch. Suddenly I saw a huge rubbish bin being swept up into the air and it landed on the roof of the now defunct Rex Cinema. Fortunately no one was hurt, because the movie had not yet started. The chopsticks and cloths of the stall holders started flying around. It was scary. I could never forget that afternoon, when my cousin and I watched movie in a cinema with half the roof gone! Incredible. On reflection, the cinema should have just refunded the patrons their money for their purchased tickets, because it could be quite dangerous to be in a cinema with half the roof gone! Luckily nothing untoward happened. Well, those were the days!

The lowest temperature I had recorded was 25 deg. Celsius. Yet, it seemed to be even cooler this morning, and I guessed the temperature could be lower than 25 deg.
I was right! It was 24 deg.! I thought of the people who might be out on the roads at dawn. Helen, my neighbour, would probably be making her way to her food stall to prepare food. I hope she would not be thoroughly soaked by the heavy rain. At moments like this, when the winds and rain are at their most ferocious, I think of Noah and the Ark. Truly we need to be dependant on God for blessings all the time, just like Noah did.

It seemed to be even colder and when I checked my thermometer again, the reading was
22 degree Celsius! Wow! The lowest I have ever recorded!

These few nights have been quite cool, and I need not even turn on my ceiling fan.
I only turned on my air conditioner when the haze was around, for it caused my eyes to tear.

Happiness is when I could keep my utilities bill low and greater happiness is when I looked out of my windows, and saw that none of the young trees in my estate have been broken! It is like an analogy for us. When we go through the storms of life and the tempests of torment and sufferings, God is still there for us to protect us and to give us strength, peace, comfort and joy, because in Him we trust.

Gan Cao

Friday, October 29, 2010

Much Ado About Heroes and Heroines...

My toastmaster buddy, Kala, whom I recently got to know through our Changi Prison Speechcraft, sent me an email on CNN Top Ten Heros.

I am glad to receive the email, for it is interesting to read of the wonderful works and contribution of the various great people.

I read through the works of the ten nominated heroes and heroines. They all play an important role to help the needy in various ways. For eg. Narayana Krishnan has given up his job as a top chef to set up Akshaya Trust to feed millions in Madurai everyday. The team will travel a radius of about 200 km to serve food to the hungry. Harmon Parker builds bridges in Kenya to help the poor cross dangerous rivers infested with crocodiles. Aki Ra helps to clear land mines to make it safer for his people in Cambodia. He and his wife also took in orphans and injured children. Anuradha Koirala saves young girls from prostitution and set up Maiti Nepal to look after these girls, give them training and hope for a new lease of life. Magnus McFarlane-Barrow, a Scottish farmer quit his job and set up Mary's Meals which feed more than 400,000 hungry children in Malawi, Haiti and other developing nations. Susan Burton helps newly released lady prisoners find encouragement and hope so that they do not go back to their old ways again. Evans Wadongo helps his people in Kenya by replacing their dangerous kerosene lamps with free energy saving bulbs. Linda Fondren helps her city of obese people to lose weight and to live a healthier lifestyle. Guadalupe Arize de la Vega helps to build hospitals in Mexico. Dan Wallrath builds free mortgage homes for returning veterans to America, especially those who have been wounded in the war in Afghanistan.

All these heroic people have something in common - sacrifice. Narayanan gave up his post as top chef in a new posting in Switzerland, but when he saw an old man eating his own faeces he was so shaken that he decided he would feed the poor and hungry in Madurai. He and his team would wake up at 4a.m. everyday to cook. He also gives free hair cut. Guadalupe Arize risks the danger of a country infested with drug war lords and criminals to provide health care for the poor. All these heroic people have done so many courageous and admirable acts - so how do we vote for the best? What is the criteria for top heroism.? How do we say that one act is more heroic than another?

CNN has already honoured all the ten heroes by giving them recognition and awards of $25,000/- each. Instead of voting for the winner who will get $100,000/- why not increase the award of $25,000/- to $35,000/-? I feel that it is difficult to determine the most heroic of them all!

I also feel that voting may not be accurate, for eg. if I were a very fat lady and I am obsessed with losing weight, I would vote for someone like Linda Fondren who helps the obese in her City of Vicksburg, Missisipi to lose weight. Or some people would be nationalistic and vote their own country man. I have been to Nepal twice and love the country and her people. Hence I am most likely to vote for Anuradha Koirala, who saves young girls from prostitution, my pet concern. See what I mean.? I am also sure that these ten great people do not like the idea of competition. They have started their projects with just wanting to help where help is needed. Seeing the fruitful results of their labour is already a great reward for them. Awards and honours are bonuses which they receive with grace and thanks. There are also many unsung heroes in the world - people who have given of themselves. I am sure the ten heroes are already happy and contented to have their works recognised.

In conclusion, I feel that CNN should do away with this voting. Take the $100,000/- and divide into ten with each hero getting $35,000/- each to further enhance their works. This would be fairer and more practical.

I hope I do not offend anyone with my thoughts. Just my two cents worth.....

Gan Cao

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Excuse Me, Are You a Property Agent? (30)


Various Certificates are given out during our once a month, ALM Meeting


Team Associate and Senior Directors enjoying the comfortable seats in the Auditorium
of Orange Tee Building


After the meeting, agents get a treat of beer and sumptuous buffet during the
"Happy Hour" at the Sky Terrace of Orange Tee Building.


"This place is more like a resort, so windy and beautiful", said Ming Wei with pretty fiancee, Joy.

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My partner, Dickson, an agent from Orange Tee, has been co-broking with me for the past four years and has often been persuading me to join his company. Hence I decided to join him when his company moved to the new premises at Toa Payoh, a beautifully designed new 16 storey building, located just next to the HDB Hub.

Change is never easy, but I like the computer system in Orange Tee. The Work at Home allows me to have easy access to information from the company, and my team's performance. I can also easily search for information on properties in the computer.
The system is just wonderful for someone like me who enjoys working from home. Yet when I have to be at the office, there are ample seating places in the company. With 288 free seating places, I am spoilt for choice!

I could also easily meet up with clients at the various meeting rooms or at the Sky Terrace. Recently, a client, Mr. Ong, recommended me to help his niece, Joy, purchase a condominium in the Hillview area. I requested that we meet at the office. It turned out that Joy's fiance was none other than my ex-student from ACS!! Both Joy and Ming Wei enjoyed themselves at the Sky Terrace.

My colleagues are all very friendly and helpful and I am enjoying myself at my new work place. Our Executive Directors, Mr. Michael Tan and Mr. Steven Tan, and Director of Training and Development, Mr. James Tam are approachable and open to new ideas. Orange Tee Building is just 6 MRT stops away from my home, and when the new downtown line is completed, it will only be only 3 MRT stops away! Happiness is saving time when I go around with my BMW - Bus, MRT, Walking! I am so grateful for the wonderful infra structure in Singapore!

Gan Cao

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Do People Mistake You for Jesus ?

I just received this email from my friend, and it has set me pondering. It has also renewed me with a determination to walk more closely with Jesus, and most importantly to walk my talk!

A few years ago a group of salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago . They had assured their wives that they would be home in plenty of time for Friday night's dinner.

In their rush, with tickets and briefcases, one of these salesmen inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of apples at the airport. Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their nearly missed boarding.

ALL BUT ONE !!! He paused, took a deep breath, and experienced a twinge of compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been overturned.

He told his buddies to go on without him, waved good-bye, told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their home destination and explain his taking a later flight. Then he returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the terminal floor. He was glad he did.

The 16 year old girl was totally blind!
She was softly crying, tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at the same time helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the crowd swirled about her, no one stopping and no one to care for her plight.

The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, put them back on the table and helped organize her display.
As he did this, he noticed that many of them had become battered and bruised; these he set aside in another basket.
When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the girl, 'Here, please take this $40 for the damage we did. Are you okay?'
She nodded through her tears. He continued on with, 'I hope we didn't spoil your day too badly.'

As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl called out to him, 'Mister....' He paused and turned to look back into those blind eyes. She continued, 'Are you Jesus?' He stopped in mid-stride, and he wondered.

Then slowly he made his way to catch the later flight with that question burning and bouncing about in his soul: 'Are you Jesus?' Do people mistake you for Jesus?

That's our Destiny, is it not? To be so much like Jesus that people cannot tell the difference as we live and interact with a world that is blind to His love, life and grace.

If we claim to know Him, we should live, walk and act as He would.

Knowing Him is more than simply quoting Scripture and going to church. It's actually living the Word as life unfolds day to day.
You are the apple of His eye even though we, too, have been bruised by a fall. He stopped what He was doing and picked you and me up on a hill called Calvary and paid in full for our damaged fruit.

Please share this..... Sometimes we just take things for granted, when we really need to be sharing what we know...Thanks


Monday, October 25, 2010

Grandma is Still Driving ......

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I received an email from Bilora, a friend who is also a toastmaster. I was hungry for the evening before, I had a very light dinner. However, this hilarious article filled my tummy with joyful air of laughter.! What a great way to reduce food
intake! I am sure my readers will also enjoy the article. Have a great and roaring week ahead!

Grandma is eighty-eight years old and still drives her own car. She writes:

Dear Granddaughter,

The other day I went up to our local Christian book store and saw a 'Honk if you love Jesus' bumper sticker.

I was feeling particularly sassy that day because I had just come from a thrilling choir performance, followed by a thunderous prayer meeting.

So, I bought the sticker and put it on my bumper.

Boy, am I glad I did! What an uplifting experience followed.

I was stopped at a red light at a busy intersection, just lost in thought about the Lord and how good he is, and I didn't notice that the light had changed.

It is a good thing someone else loves Jesus because if he hadn't honked, I'd never have noticed.

I found that lots of people love Jesus!

While I was sitting there, the guy behind me started honking like crazy, and then he leaned out of his window and screamed, 'For the love of God!'

'Go! Go! Go! Jesus Christ, GO!'

What an exuberant cheerleader he was for Jesus!

Everyone started honking!

I just leaned out my window and started waving and smiling at all those loving people.

I even honked my horn a few times to share in the love!

There must have been a man from Florida back there because I heard him yelling something about a sunny beach.

I saw another guy waving in a funny way with only his middle finger stuck up in the air.

I asked my young teenage grandson in the back seat what that meant.

He said it was probably a Hawaiian good luck sign or something.

Well, I have never met anyone from Hawaii , so I leaned out the window and gave him the good luck sign right back.

My grandson burst out laughing. Why, even he was enjoying this religious experience!

A couple of the people were so caught up in the joy of the moment that they got out of their cars and started walking towards me.

I bet they wanted to pray or ask what church I attended, but this is when I noticed the light had changed.

So, grinning, I waved at all my brothers and sisters, and drove on through the intersection.

I noticed that I was the only car that got through the intersection before the light changed again and felt kind of sad that I had to leave them after all the love we had shared.

So I slowed the car down, leaned out the window and gave them all the Hawaiian good luck sign one last time as I drove away. Praise the Lord for such wonderful folks!

Will write again soon.

Love, Grandma

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Surpassing Beauty - SSO Concert


Kam Ning, as soloist

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The month of November will be a happy and exciting one for me, for I will be able to see all my siblings in Singapore and many relatives from different parts of the world.

It is rare for all of us five siblings to meet together as we are staying in different countries. It is sheer happiness for me to be able to see all of them.
Eldest brother, Kee Yong's orchestral works will be performed by the SSO, with his daughter, Kam Ning as soloist. It will be conducted by my ex-student from ACS, Darrell Ang.

I hope my local readers will try to make it a point to attend the concert if time permits. It will be a very enjoyable concert! The following are the details of the

SURPASSING BEAUTY at Esplanade Concert Hall, on 12th November 2010, 7.30p.m.

Darrell Ang conductor
Kam Ning violin

KAM KEE YONG -The River 河 for orchestra
KAM KEE YONG - Fantasia of Insects 昆虫幻想曲 for orchestra
KAM KEE YONG - Kuang Xiang Qu 狂想曲 for violin & orchestra
KAM KEE YONG - Surpassing Beauty 零落依草木 for violin & orchestra
KAM KEE YONG - Tranquil Night 静夜思 for violin & orchestra
KAM KEE YONG - Lao Jiang Xing 老将行 for violin & orchestra
DEBUSSY - Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
RAVEL - Daphnis et Chloé: Suite No. 2

Ravel's ballet music for Daphnis et Chloé was completed in 1912 as a result of a commission by Sergei Diaghilev; from the score Ravel put together two orchestral suites, the second of which is arguably the more popular. Singaporean violinist Kam Ning, Second Prize winner of the 2001 Queen Elisabeth Competition, presents a selection of Chinese-inspired pieces composed by her father, Singapore's Cultural Medallion recipient Kam Kee Yong.

Pre-Concert Talk: 6.30pm, Library @ Esplanade

Concert Duration: approx. 1 hr 45 min (inclusive of 20 min intermission)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Happiness is .......(48)


Carlsberg had come up with a creative stool that could be easily folded and carried around
Voila! The stool can carry the weight of a man or woman weighing over 120kgs!

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Due to my back aches, I had been looking for a stool that could be easily folded
and carried around. I had seen a chair that was light and foldable in my client's
seminar room, and thought I should be able to look for one in a furniture shop. However, to my disappointment I could not find one and found that the chairs had been out of stock. To ease the excruciating pain in my back whenever I walked, I had to sit down for a few seconds after a short distance. The intermittent rest helped to ease the pain. Hence, I thought I should carry a light and portable stool/chair with me especially when I participate in 5 or 10 km walk. Of late I had stopped participating in such walks due to my back pain.

Hence, you could imagine my joy when I saw four folded chairs in my client's apartment. After the tenants had vacated the apartment, my client's son and family moved in to stay for a month, while renovating their new apartment. My client's son told me that the foldable stools were given by Carlsberg during one of their beer promotion. Since I seldom drink beer, I did not know of the promotion. If I had known, I would have bought the Carlsberg beer, just so that I could get the foldable stool. I was extremely happy when my client's son gave me one of the stools after I had explained to him about my need for it. In gratitude, I bought some gifts for him and his family.

It is interesting how we would be unable to find something we wanted to; yet when we were not looking, we would actually find what we wanted in an unexpected place!

Happiness is stumbling upon such a find, even if it is a simple foldable stool! Now I can look forward to participating in 5km and 10km walking events again.

Gan Cao

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Happiness is .....(47)


The lovely sunset around the Tanjong Rhu area in Singapore

My new delightful canine friend....

The friendly maid, Jean, with her owner's dog, Cassy
A cute and friendly dog

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My team member, Yvonne, had advised me to take a bus from Aljuneid MRT station direct to the client's rental property at Costa Rhu. However, it would mean a slightly longer journey.

Happiness is taking a fast ride via the new circle line and terminating at the Stadium MRT station, and then taking a walk along the waterfront to Costa Rhu. It
takes about 30 minutes for the walk, but I thoroughly enjoy myself, for I would be
most likely to meet many dogs along the way!

When the viewing was over, the sky would be setting, and it would be even better as there would be more dogs being taken out by their owners or maids. Ever since my three pet dogs have passed away, I now find joy and comfort in loving other people's dogs, and hence have become "godma" to my neighbours' six Shih Tzu. I also make it a point to talk to and pat dogs I meet along the way.

I am thankful to our government for the cleanliness and wonderful city planning in Singapore. Maybe I am just an easily contented person who takes joy and pleasure in simple things. I also enjoy raindrops falling on my head, or hear the pitter patter of heavier rainfall. Even though I am quite scared of lightning and thunder, it is as if the Creator is taking a photo of the earth each time lightning strikes and the sky is filled with sudden streaks of light! Each time lightning takes place, I am reminded of how frail we human beings are and how needful to be dependant for grace and mercy on the One who creates the world.

After all, happiness is a choice, and not merely dependant on circumstances.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Huang Chuncai - China's Elephant Man


Chuncai is intelligent despite his deformity.

Chuncai getting ready for various tests before his operation at Fuda Hospital.

Chuncai's doting brother who asked if he still remembers their childhood activities.

Chuncai's beloved mother who expressed her joy at the success of Chuncai's operation. The close-knit family having a meal together.

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After my Channel 8 serial, "The Score" I turned on Okto Channel and found the documentary on Huang Chuncai - known as the Elephant Man. I had watched the movie on "The Elephant Man", an American drama film based on the true story of Joseph Merrick when I was a teenager. I had also seen a man in my neighbourhood with the same facial condition. However, nothing shocked me like Huang Chuncai who has the most severe case of neurofibromatosis. I could not help crying throughout the one hour documentary. My heart went out to him as he shared his story.

Chuncai began to develop a tumour at the age of four which gradually grew to a size of about 20 kgs on the right part of his face. It was difficult for him to speak and he had to use his hand to assist him in his slurred speech. He shared how he was ridiculed and ostracised by people who found his face too grotesque and frightening. A circus owner had even approached him to be in the circus, but he proudly declared, "I am a human being, not an animal. No matter how much money is offered, I would never leave my parents." Chuncai is a filial son and yearns to be cured so that he could work and help look after his doting parents. His brother and sister also love him and feel his pain. They try to do whatever they can for their brother.

Chuncai shared that everyday, he is prepared to go if death claims his life. But so long as he is still alive, it is a blessing and he has learnt to live with his condition. I was glad when an operation was performed for him at Fuda Hospital.
It was a very difficult and risky operation and I was all nervous and prayed that God would give him a complete recovery. The operation was a success and with the tumour gone, Chuncai felt that it was easier for him to move around. Chuncai has a good mind and is quite adroit at chess and card games. His neighbour, an elderly man, teased that Chuncai would not reveal how much money he has won, and Chuncai
coyly replied that he was just being lucky. Like the English elephant man, Joseph Merrick, I find that Chuncai has inner beauty for he loves his family and is a filial son who wants to have the chance to work and provide for the family.

I am glad that Chuncai has been blessed with a doting and caring family. His mother must have shed the most tears for she never stopped crying. She was so happy when she saw the successful operation.

From the documentary, I learn that I must never complain about anything. I must never take things for granted and above all, to be grateful to God and people for every blessing. Chuncai's brother and family are thankful for everyday that Chuncai lives. I understand from websites that his second operation was also a success. I am full of admiration for Chuncai, for he has inspired me to be more persevering and never to give up. When I think of how he struggles with his medical condition all these 30 years of his life, and yet some normal people with some setbacks can kill themselves, it makes me want to press on to make the most of my life. May God continue to bless Chuncai and his lovely family.

I hope that all of us will empathise with people who are less fortunate than us. We have no right to laugh at or ostracise anyone because of his deformity or grotesque appearance. Who does not want to be pretty or handsome.? What if we had the same condition? Above all, let us always strive to go beyond the external, and to look for the inner beauty and strength of a person.

Let us all count our blessings and name them one by one.

Gan Cao

Monday, October 18, 2010

Two Horses


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Two Horses

Just up the road from my home is a field, with two horses in it.

From a distance, each horse looks like any other horse. But if you stop your car, or are walking by, you will notice something quite amazing....

Looking into the eyes of one horse will disclose that he is blind. His owner has chosen not to have him put down, but has made a good home for him.

This alone is amazing.

If you stand nearby and listen, you will hear the sound of a bell.
Looking around for the source of the sound, you will see that it comes from the smaller horse in the field.

Attached to the horse's halter is a small bell.
It lets the blind friend know where the other horse is, so he can follow.

As you stand and watch these two friends,
You'll see that the horse with the bell is always checking on the blind horse,
And that the blind horse will listen for the bell and then slowly walk
To where the other horse is,
Trusting that he will not be led astray.

When the horse with the bell returns
To the shelter of the barn each evening,
It stops occasionally and looks back,
Making sure that the blind friend isn't too far behind to hear the bell.

Like the owners of these two horses,
God does not throw us away just because we are not perfect
Or because we have problems or challenges.

He watches over us and even brings others into our lives
To help us when we are in need..

Sometimes we are the blind horse
Being guided by the little ringing bell of those who God places in our lives.

Other times we are the guide horse, helping others to find their way....

Good friends are like that... You may not always see them, but you know they are always there.

Please listen for my bell and I'll listen for yours.
And remember...
Be kinder than necessary-
Everyone you meet is fighting
Some kind of battle.

Live simply,
Love generously,
Care deeply,
Speak kindly......

Leave the rest to God"

My friend, Shan Chin, sent me the above email. It makes me think of all the people who had come into my life. It is amazing how God would send just the right people to
help us and how He too would make us His instrument of blessings to others.

Sometimes when we have problems and setbacks, as long as we do not give up on ourselves, God has something for us. Let us take the armless pianist Liu Wei, for example. He shared that there were only two choices for him - either to give up and live with depression or get up and make the most of his life, and as the world knows, he has indeed made the most of his perfect pair of legs which he could use to write on the computer, with a pen and brush, and best of all to produce such lovely music on the keyboard! I shared with my second sister, Ean Ean, about my effort to play the piano with my toes after having watched Liu Wei, but it was impossible.
Sister immediately removed her right foot from her shoe, and tried to use her toes as if to play the piano, and to her amusement and realisation, all the four toes always must come down together!

When Joni Erickson became paralysed from her neck down, she also picked herself up, and inspired millions with her zest for living. So did Lena Maria and Nick Vujicic
to quote a few more examples.

Indeed God makes almost perfect the lives of his imperfect beings. Let us all continue to trust in the hands of the mighty potter, so that we can continually yield to His touch and moulding day by day.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Much Ado About Hokkien and Tang Imperial Language

Eldest brother called me from Canada, and asked me excitedly where I obtained the article on Tang Imperial Language.

He told me that it was no wonder our parents often referred themselves to "Wa lang si tng lang - in Hokkien meaning we are Tang people. In Mandarin it is, "Wo men shi tang ren". They never said, "Wa lang si Hokkien lang" - in Hokkien meaning "We are Hokkien people."

Having studied Chinese in school, Eldest brother is well versed with Chinese language and culture. He shared with me a bit of Chinese history. The first glorious period in China was from 627 to 649 when the Tang Dynasty was just set up and its national strength was recovering from the previous weak condition. Under Emperor Taizong Li Shimin's wise governing, the national strength and social and cultural development of the Tang Dynasty reached an unparalleled prosperity - economy and commerce flourished, the social order was stable, corruption never existed in the court and the national boundaries were even open to foreign countries.

Of course, now our Hokkien in Penang also includes many words in Malay. eg. tahan (persevere), balu (just), and amak (mother) just to name a few. Korean lanaguage also has much influence from Hokkien - those that I had mentioned in my previous blog as well as eg. Kam sa ham ni da - (thank you in Korean) or Kam sia in Hokkien.

When we were children, we used to recite rhymes and poems in Hokkien. Though some of the rhymes did not make much sense, nevertheless, we enjoyed the rhythm and musical quality of the rhymes.

Now I specially enjoy watching television serials from Taiwan in Hokkien. I am glad that I am able to communicate with the Taiwanese and people from Medan and Singapore in Hokkien as well as in Mandarin.

It is true indeed that now I feel less of a yellow banana, having discovered that Hokkien was the Imperial Language of the Tang Dynasty! Wan sui! Wan sui! Wan Wan sui! Long live the Imperial Language!

Gan Cao

Friday, October 15, 2010

Excuse Me, Are You A Property Agent? (29)



The lovely landscaping at Sanctuary Green

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I was on my way to Costa Rhu to show a two bedroom rental unit. Now that the Stadium MRT station is in operation, I decided I would take the circle line to the Stadium and then walk to Costa Rhu Condomium which would take about 30 minutes. I looked at the directory and it looked quite a distance away from the MRT Station, but now that the Lord has healed me of my backbone aches, I decided to walk. I also wanted to have the opportunity to look at the various condominiums along the way. My recruit, Yvonne, had insisted that I take bus 158 from Aljuneid MRT as the bus would stop right in front of Costa Rhu Condominium, but I decided to walk instead, for the view around is just so beautiful.

When I came across the condominium, Sanctuary Green, I smiled. I had sold a 4 room unit before, but had not seen the project or unit because it was then still being constructed. My best friend, Soh Wah, had recommended me to market the unit for her
good friend. At that time, I was still running my Italian restaurant, and doing property on a part time basis. I had my own property licence, and there was no pressure of quota sales.

The market was in a downturn, and it was not surprising then that my advertisement did not garner a single call on the day it was published in the Straits Times.
The following Sunday morning, I was walking my two dogs - Kamlette and Kambobo, and just as I was turning into Eng Tai Mansion, I prayed to the Lord. I told Heavenly Papa that it was indeed difficult to please homo sapiens, and I felt that it was easier to please God than His two legged creation! I decided there and then that since God is going to be my judge it is more important that I please him, than I please homo sapiens....hence I asked, "What do you think of me, Papa?".

Just then, as if in answer, my mobile phone rang! As it was about 6.45a.m. in the morning, I thought it could be either my eldest brother or sister who called from
Canada or Sarawak.

"How much is the unit in Sanctuary Green which you advertised yesterday?"

"1.22 million," I replied somewhat taken aback.

"What is your client's benchmark?"

"1.2 million".

"Ok. Come and get my cheque."

I almost thought I was dreaming and nearly fell over my dogs. Suddenly peace filled
my heart and I thought I saw a rainbow in the sky.!

I told the buyer that it was not possible for me to collect his cheque in the morning, as I had to guide a friend as it would be his first day taking over the restaurant, and I had to keep my promise.

"You're cool", he replied.

"But I like your commitment. See you at 4p.m. then".

I called my client and asked if he was happy with the price. Of course he was, for it was $100,000.00 above valuation! I had thought it was only $10,000.00 above valuation! I had seen someone advertising a similar lower floor unit at $1.1M and thought that my $1.2M was ten thousand above which would be right as it was on the 12th floor.

My client came for lunch at the restaurant to sign the Option to Purchase so that I could bring it to the buyer in exchange for his cheque. No wonder my client looked somewhat pessimistic for the price was too good to be true. However, I was cool, because I had miscalculated and thought that was a reasonable price.

When I met the buyer, I asked him why he wanted to buy another condominium when he was already living in a very beautiful unit.

"I bought it for my Korean girlfriend," he volunteered.

"Are you going to marry her?"

"Everyone is asking me that question. Well, if she doesn't marry me, then I
will ask you to sell the unit for me again lah."

The buyer exercised the option and completed the sale before the due date. He had
never asked me to resell the unit. Hence, my conclusion is that he must have married his Korean girlfriend. I am happy for him.

It was only later that I learnt from my best friend, Soh Wah, that her friend had
been trying to sell his unit at Sanctuary Green for the past one year but could not get a buyer! I guess if I had known the facts, I might not have taken the exclusive to sell. Ignorance can be bliss at times, and God always seem to bless the "sotong"
(in Malay meaning cuttlefish implying someone who is not clever and often confused).

All thanks to Heavenly Father who always does the impossible! Now you can understand my maxim is always to do my best, and leave God to do the rest.!

Gan Cao

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Ancient Imperial Language of China

My friend, Lynn Lee, from Kuching, Sarawak, sent me the email below. This is something new to me and I am proud to be a Hokkien speaking Chinese! (Wa si Hokkien lang!)

Wow! Hokkien is the surviving language of the Tang Dynasty! I had all the time
thought that Mandarin was used in the courts of old, but instead it was Hokkien that
was being spoken!

I am even more thrilled that as a Straits Settlement Chinese, papa and mama had taught us to speak Hokkien because many Nonyas and Babas speak only Malay and English. Hokkien is a unique dialect and it could sometimes be difficult to translate some of the sentences into other languages, eg. English.

For example, we say, m sar m see (not three, not four) but in Hokkien it means neither here nor there, not in proper standing.

Or in Hokkien we say, boh tua boh suay (not big, not small) meaning someone who is
not being respectful.

"This is interesting if you're a Hokkien, do you know...

Ancient Imperial Language of China - 2,000 Years Ago.

If you're a HOKKIEN Take Note !!


Ancient Imperial Language of China – 2,000 Years Ago

How Did it Sound Like? (Mind you, it's no way similar to Mandarin)
Has this Ancient Language Survived?
Who Speaks it Today?

You'll be Surprised. You have heard it. You, your parents, or grandparents may still be speaking this ancient, archaic language!

Yes, it's HOKKIEN (Fujian/Minnan Hua)

Hokkien is:

1. The surviving language of the Tang Dynasty (618-907AD), China 's Golden Age of Culture.

Note: The Hokkien we hear today may have "evolved" from its original form 2,000 years ago, but it still retains the main elements of the Tang Dynasty Language.

2. Hokkiens are the surviving descendants of the Tang Dynasty -- When the Tang Dynasty collapsed, the people of the Tang Dynasty fled South and sought refuge in the Hokkien ( Fujian ) province. Hence, Hokkien called themselves Tng-lang (Tang Ren or People of the Tang Dynasty) instead of Hua Lang (Hua Ren).

3. Hokkien has 8 tones instead of Mandarin's 4. Linguists claim that ancient languages tend to have more complex tones.

4. Hokkien retains the ancient Chinese pronunciation of "K-sounding" endings (for in stance, Hak Seng (student), Tua Ok (university), Thak Chek (read a book/study) -- the "k" sounding ending is not found in Mandarin.

5. The collection of the famous "Three Hundred Tang Dynasty Poems" sound better when recited in Hokkien/Teochew if compared to Mandarin.

6. Consider this for a moment: Today, the Hokkien Nam Yim Ochestral performance still has its roots in ancient Tang dynasty music. Here's the proof: The formation of today Nam Yim ensemble is typically seen in ancient Tang dynasty paintings of musicians.

More Astonishingly:
Although not genetically-related, Hokkiens, Koreans and Japanese share many similar words (which are different from Mandarin).

That's because Hokkien was the official language of the powerful Tang Dynasty whose influence and language spread to Japan and Korea (just like Latin – where many words were borrowed by the English, French, Italian, etc). Here are just a few words in Hokkien, Japanese & Korean for your comparison:




Sin Boon (news) (Hokkien)

Sin Mun (Korean)

Shinbun - newspaper (Japanese)

Cheng Hu (government) (Hokkien)

Chong Bu (Korean)

ang (room) (Hokkien)

Pang (Korean)

Chhia (car/vehicle) (Hokkien)

Ch'a (Korean)

Mui/M'ng (door) (Hokkien)

Mun (Korean)

P'hio (ticket) (Hokkien)

P'yo (Korean)

Eng Wan (eternal) (Hokkien)

Yong Won (Korean)

Chaek (book) (Hokkien)

Ch'ae (Korean)

Ki (flag) (Hokkien)

Ki (Korean)

Ki (Japanese)

Kang river) (Hokkien)

Gang/kang (Korean)

Poh Hiam (insurance) (Hokkien)

Poh Ham (Korean)

Sio Sim (caution) (Hokkien)

Cho sim (Korean

Mo Kui (demon)

Ma gui

Cham (attend/join/mix) (Hokkien)

Ch'am sok ((Korean)

Kantan (simple) (Hokkien)

Gan Dan (Korean)

Sin Sei Kai (new world) (Hokkien)

Shin Sae Gae (Korean)

Kok Ka (nation) (Hokkien)

Kuk Kka (Korean)

Hya (elder brother) (Hokkien)

Hyaeng (Korean)

Choon Pi (prepare) (Hokkien)

Jun Bi (Korean)

Si Kan (time) (Hokkien)

Si Kan (Korean)

Kam tong (emotion, feeling) (Hokkien)

Kam Jon (Korean)

Kanjoo (Japanese)

Kamsia (gratitude, thanks) (Hokkien)

Kam Sa (Korean)

Kansha (Japanese)

Keat Hoon (marriage) (Hokkien)

Kyol Hon (Korean)

Kekkon (Japanese)

Oon Tong (exercise) (Hokkien)

Un Dong (Korean)

Undoo (Japanese)

Tua Ok (university) (Hokkien)

Tae Hak (Korean)

Daigaku (Japanese)

Aun Chuan (safety) (Hokkien)

An Jon (Korean)

An Zen (Japanese)

Mua Chiok(satisfaction) (Hokkien)

Man Jok (Korean)

Manzoku (Japanese)

Ai Lang (lover) (Hokkien)

Ae In (Korean)

Aijin (Japanese)

Seng Kong (success) (Hokkien)

Song Kong (Korean)

Seikoo (Japanese)

Chhiu Sat (suicide) (Hokkien)

Cha sal (Korean)

Jisatsu (Japanese)

Pu Do (grapes) (Hokkien)

P'o d'o (Korean)

Budoo (Japanese)

Chin Por (progress) (Hokkien)

Chin bo (Korean)

Shinpo (Japanese)

To all 49 Million Hokkien Speakers:

Be Proud of Your Ancient Hokkien Heritage & Language! Speak it Loud and Clear. Teach Your Future Generation this Imperial Language, Less it Fades Away. Be Proud Children of the Tang Emperors.

To all Mandarin-speaking friends out there -- do not look down on your other Chinese friends who do not speak Mandarin – whom you guys fondly refer to as "Bananas". In fact, they are speaking a language which is much more ancient & linguistically complicated than Mandarin.

Keep in mind that Mandarin is just:

1. A Northern Chinese dialect (heavily influenced by non Han Chinese) that was elevated to the status of National Language by Sun Yat Sen for the sake of China’s national unity.

2. Mandarin was never spoken by your proud, imperial Tang Dynasty ancestors. It was probably spoken by the Northern (Non-Han) Jurchen, Mongols and Manchu minority. Start speaking the language of your ancestors today.!

Gan Cao

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Win a Mercedes, but Lose a Bungalow....

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Gosh! When I heard that one man had lost S$26,000,000.00 in the casino, it was mind boggling! Today, I read of a millionaire who lost another $100,000,000.00! How on earth can anyone lose so much money? The stakes must be enormously high. I guess the stress must have been equally high too.

With one hundred million dollars, I could buy 100 condos in Singapore, and earn monthly rentals and later, capital gains on the properties.! It is incomprehensible why many people know that "the house always wins" and yet, still make a beeline to the casinos. It would appear as if they are like flies, and the casinos are like cobwebs. You go in, and you will definitely be entrapped! Many people know it, but still go for it!

How about the ordinary people with ordinary lives? I recently learnt from my recruit that she went to the casino and lost $2000/-. I urged her not to go again, for it is hard-earned money. As property agents, we work so hard to close a deal, and how could she just allow the jackpot machines to swallow her money!

My neighbour shared with me that her friend paid for her entry fee of $100 to the casino. She lost $300 on the jackpot machines, and "I felt heart pain the past two days!" My neighbour does not earn much, and $300 is a lot of money to her. She shared that her friend lost $7,000 and borrowed from 5 loan sharks! She had some money from the sale of her HDB flat after her divorce, and all the proceeds had been lost in gambling and now she is in debt!

My plea to all my readers who may have a penchant for gambling. Flee from the casino! Remember the house often, if not, always wins. Remember we may win a mercedes, but lose a bungalow. So why waste your time, money and energy? Also remember that whatever we have been blessed with, either through our hardwork or shrewdness with investments, we have to be good stewards of all that we receive. If only the $26 million and $100 million dollars have been used to help build schools and hospitals in third world countries, or put to good use! If only.....

Gan Cao

Monday, October 11, 2010

Distinguished Toastmaster Award

The DTM plaque from Toastmasters International Headquarters, USA

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I was talking to my recruit, Jack, on the phone when I heard someone knocking on my door. What a pleasant surprise to receive a parcel from DHL. At first I thought it was a painting from Canada, but later I saw that it was a plaque for my Distinguished Toastmaster award.

I had thought that the plaque would be sent by mail, but it was couriered to me. Wow! I have so many people to thank for in my journey of learning. First of all, to my ex-colleague, Aveline Tan of Dennis Wee Group, who coerced me and patiently waited a few months for me to come for my very first meeting on 6th of March 2006.
My gratitude too to our President Vanessa Yong, who took me to meetings almost everyday of the week with her, and who challenged me to complete ten speech projects in one month for my Advanced Communicator (Bronze). I am also thankful to DTM Quek Geok Cheng, who is very sharp about administrative details and who put me as a mentor in her sponsored club, The Vietnam Toastmasters Club. Also thanks to Goh Sor Hoon, Helen Loh and DTM Kan Kin Fung who helped me to apply for my leadership awards. I want to thank all the toastmasters who had helped to evaluate my speeches, especially DTM Fernando Young, who told me plainly and honestly that I had to redo my project 7 in my basic manual when I delivered my speech at the Walton Toastmasters' Club. I did not go home crying, but instead had a renewed determination to improve myself especially in the use of power point.! I am the type who is bent on picking myself up each time I fall. I am thankful to DTM Gea Ban Peng and members of my club, Braddell Heights Advanced, for they gave me good feedback on my contest speeches. I went to meetings with eagle eyes to learn by observing all the good speakers.

I had only discovered about toastmasters' club in 2006 and often wished I had learnt about the movement earlier. Hence, I decided to complete the program as fast as I
possibly could before I go six feet under! Until the Lord healed me of my excruciating backaches, I decided to be less active and even joked that when I get my DTM, it means just that - Don't Talk Much. However, now that the Lord has healed me of my backaches, I decide that I would continue to try my utmost to help in various clubs and encourage young toastmasters in their journey. Though I am still battling with chronic ear problems ie. ear imbalance and constant ringing in the ears, I will try my level best to help whenever I can. I have received so much from others and I also want to give back. I am always full of admiration for those very committed leaders in our District 80 - these leaders have given a lot to the Toastmasters' movement. If my readers in Singapore want to find out who they are, you are welcome to join any of the over two hundred toastmasters' clubs in Singapore. :-) There are 260,000 members in 12,500 clubs in 113 countries. Hence, my international readers who wish to join a club should be able to do so in their home country.

You will find yourself gaining more confidence when you speak. Thanks to the opportunity to try out table topics, it gave me more confidence to speak when suddenly Channel News Asia reporter Ms. Hoe Yeen Nie asked me when was the first time I heard of Mrs. Lee Kuan Yew! Little did I realise that the televised news of Mrs. Lee's wake, would be repeated over and over again on television, video clips and radio, and even published on Today tabloid. The first to call me was Aveline Tan who told me that she heard my voice on the radio while she was driving. She was definitely sure it was my voice for she could recognise that I always speak like a teacher who is conscious of her clarity and pronunciation! Many of my friends from Toastmasters' clubs smsed and emailed me to compliment me for speaking clearly and confidently! Humourist Ng Cher Khim teased me by saying that I spoke well, and if that had been a table topic contest, I would win in the contest! Fortunately I did not have pause fillers.

Since the inception of the toastmasters' movement in 1924 by the late Dr. Ralph Smedley, over 4 million people throughout the world have benifitted from the training. I am blessed to be one of the 4 million.

Gan Cao

Friday, October 08, 2010

It's a Miracle!

In my previous blog, I had mentioned about my backache that had plagued me for a number of years...especially the last five years. Of late, the pain was getting more excruciating so that I always had to sit down for a few seconds every now and then to ease the pressure of the backbones. The ex-ray had shown my bone pressing on the nerves and the doctor said it is due to degenerating that comes with aging. But then none of my older siblings has this problem! The orthopaedic surgeon at the General Hospital had suggested surgery, but I am scared to go under the knife!
Hence, he suggested physiotherapy instead.

I had wanted to go to the Istana with my friend, Fong Wah to pay my respects at the wake of Mrs. Lee Kuan Yew, but on Monday, I did not feel well. I called my friend to cancel our plans. I was quite frustrated because I had really wanted to pay my respects to Mrs. Lee Kuan Yew. I prayed for the Lord to heal my backaches, for the excruciating pain made me feel like a very old lady. I would very much like to stand and practise my violin, but always had to sit down or I would not be able to practise for a continuous stretch of two hours!

On Tuesday morning, just as I was about to wake up and was still lying on my bed, I suddenly felt as if the tail-end of my spinal bones was being straightened and there was a little sound. When I got up, to my surprise I realised that my backache was gone! For the first time in my life, I felt very agile! Hence I decided to go to the Istana. As the weather was very hot I decided not to carry my umbrella but to wear my white hat for it would free my hands to hold my book to read while I was queueing up. I decided to wear my high heels instead of my flat pumps, for I wanted to dress my best to pay my respects to a wonderful lady of substance, Mrs. Lee.

I queued up at the Istana, and in all I had been on my feet for about two hours, and strangely, I did not have any backaches. I knew then that indeed God had answered the prayers of my siblings, friends and myself, and had healed my backaches! Praise the Lord! I am so grateful! I shared with my best friends, Soh Wah, Amu and Geok Sim and they rejoiced with me. Soh Wah had seen how bad my aches were when we were travelling in England and Barcelona. I am grateful for her patience with me, when I had to sit down every few minutes to ease the pressure. Geok Sim and Amu were always helping me to carry my bags whenever I went out with them, for they knew the weight of the bags would cause me to feel greater discomfort. Even when I went for long walks with my ex-tenant, Jasmin, I always had to look for seats at the bus-stops so that I could sit down for a little while.

Thank you Lord for your grace and mercy! Thank you for your miracle healing! Thank you for my loving and supportive relatives and friends.

Gan Cao

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Laugh and the whole world laughs with you.....

I was at my regular hair saloon in Clementi for my hair treatment. After having gone so many times to Bee Choo Herbal Hair Saloon, I have by now got to know most of the staff. Hence I feel very comfortable and at home.

Usually, I would read the newspapers simultaneously so as not to waste time. Once I came across a hilarious article. The writer had mentioned that first impressions are very important and how his mother had constantly reminded him as a child not to wear any underwear with holes in them. For should he end up one day in hospital because of an accident, the nurses and doctors would be able to see his "hole-ly underwear, and would have a bad impression of him". I was tickled pink by the article and could not resist laughing out aloud.. The lady who was doing my hair also started laughing and soon the rest of the staff and even some customers also started laughing. I was sure none of the people knew what I was laughing at, but indeed laughter is infectious, and whoever has said, "Laugh and the whole world laughs with you; cry and you cry alone" ....he has hit the bull's eye!

I was able to identify with the writer because of late, due to the acute aches caused by my backbones, I was not able to stand for even ten minutes and even when walking, had to rest every few minutes to ease the pain. The physiotherapist at the General Hospital had given me a few special exercises to ease the backaches, but the pain still persisted. Hence, I was not able to keep my apartment as clean and as neat as I wanted. I had also thought that it was imperative for me to keep my apartment neat, because should anything happen to me, I would not want the police, my neighbours or family members to find my apartment in a state of disarray.!

Hence you can imagine how tickled I was by the article, and I could not help laughing aloud. Nevertheless, it was great to see everyone laughing in unison! Laughing is a good exercise, because it massages our internal organs. Hence, do try to be always positive and see things from a bright and humorous angle.!

Gan Cao

The Beauty of the English Language....

I was sharing with my team member from Orange Tee, Yvonne, when we began to touch on the subject of food business.

"Food business is tough for it requires intensive labour and long hours of work," I volunteered.

"I think food biz is still quite ok what," reiterated Yvonne in Singlish. "Singaporeans still like to go out for makaning."

"What makaning?" "Is it an English or Malay word?" I laughed.

Yvonne also started laughing.

"Sorry, Yvonne....I am quite inclined to laugh easily".

"No problem," replied good-natured Yvonne.

"Nevertheless I think you have a good sense of English grammar and structure, and
that was why you sponataneously added the "ing" to the Malay word of "makan" which means "eat", I continued.

I guess this is the beauty of the English Language. Words can be coined and yet they sound so natural. I remember when I was still in secondary school in Penang, someone had coined the word, "Malaysianisation" as in civilisation. "Malaysianisation" was taken to mean the making of modern Malaysia.

I could still remember that when we first studied grammar in Primary school, our teacher taught us that after the word "to" the following verb must be a present tense. Yet now, continuous tense can be used, and I guess it is due to the sound effect and smoothness of pronunciation. eg. I look forward to seeing you sounds better than I look forward to see you. See what I mean.?

No I am not a linguist. I am only someone who hears music in the sound of words. There is also rythmn in the utterance of sentences. This is probably why I have always been interested in languages.

Gan Cao

Saturday, October 02, 2010

The Lesson of the Porcupine ....

My friend, Lynn Lee from Kuching, Sarawak, sent me the following email which I would like to share with my readers. I never realise that baby porcupines are so lovely and cute. What a great Creator we have! Most important is the lesson we can glean from this article. Enjoy!


The moral of the story is right on…

Have you ever seen a baby porcupine? Look at these beautiful images and learn a great lesson....



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It was the coldest winter ever - many animals died because of the cold. The porcupines, realizing the situation, decided to group together. This way they covered and protected themselves; but the quills of each one wounded their closest companions even though they gave off heat to each other. After awhile they decided to distance themselves one from the other and they began to die, alone and frozen.So they had to make a choice: either accept the quills of their companions or disappear from the Earth. Wisely, they decided to go back to being together. This way they learned to live with the little wounds that were caused by the close relationship with their companion, but the most important part of it, was the heat that came from the others. This way they were able to survive.

Moral of the story:

The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but the best is when each individual learns to live with the imperfections of others and can admire the other person's good qualities... = )

Friday, October 01, 2010

To a Child, Love is Spelled T-I-M-E

An excerpt from
To a Child, Love is Spelled T-I-M-E
by Mac Anderson

In the faint light of the attic, an old man, tall and stooped, bent his great frame and made his way to a stack of boxes that sat near one of the little half-windows. Brushing aside a wisp of cobwebs, he tilted the top box toward the light and began to carefully lift out one old photograph album after another. Eyes once bright but now dim searched longingly for the source that had drawn him here.

It began with the fond recollection of the love of his life, long gone, and somewhere in these albums was a photo of her he hoped to rediscover. Silent as a mouse, he patiently opened the long buried treasures and soon was lost in a sea of memories. Although his world had not stopped spinning when his wife left it, the past was more alive in his heart than his present loneliness.

Setting aside one of the dusty albums, he pulled from the box what appeared to be a journal from his grown son's childhood. He could not recall ever having seen it before, or that his son had ever kept a journal. Why did Elizabeth always save the children's old junk? he wondered, shaking his white head.

Opening the yellowed pages, he glanced over a short reading, and his lips curved in an unconscious smile. Even his eyes brightened as he read the words that spoke clear and sweet to his soul. It was the voice of the little boy who had grown up far too fast in this very house, and whose voice had grown fainter and fainter over the years. In the utter silence of the attic, the words of a guileless six-year-old worked their magic and carried the old man back to a time almost totally forgotten.

Entry after entry stirred a sentimental hunger in his heart like the longing a gardener feels in the winter for the fragrance of spring flowers. But it was accompanied by the painful memory that his son's simple recollections of those days were far different from his own. But how different?

Reminded that he had kept a daily journal of his business activities over the years, he closed his son's journal and turned to leave, having forgotten the cherished photo that originally triggered his search. Hunched over to keep from bumping his head on the rafters, the old man stepped to the wooden stairway and made his descent, then headed down a carpeted stairway that led to the den.

Opening a glass cabinet door, he reached in and pulled out an old business journal. Turning, he sat down at his desk and placed the two journals beside each other. His was leather-bound and engraved neatly with his name in gold, while his son's was tattered and the name Jimmy had been nearly scuffed from its surface. He ran a long skinny finger over the letters, as though he could restore what had been worn away with time and use.

As he opened his journal, the old man's eyes fell upon an inscription that stood out because it was so brief in comparison to other days. In his own neat handwriting were these words:

"Wasted the whole day fishing with Jimmy.
Didn't catch a thing."

With a deep sigh and a shaking hand, he took Jimmy's journal and found the boy's entry for the same day, June 4. Large scrawling letters, pressed deeply into the paper, read:

"Went fishing with my Dad. Best day of my life."

The above article reminded me of the ex-students in my class. Many of them came from
well-to-do homes. Most of them were good kids, except for very few troublesome ones. I could still remember my colleague sharing with me about one of the boys from a very wealthy home. By the time, he came to her class, he already had a record of mischiefs. His parents had no alternative but to have him sent to a boys' home because of his age.

My colleague visited him at the boys' home with his parents. Their chauffeur drove them in a huge black Mercedes Benz. During the journey, the father lamented that he had given his son everything that anyone could dream of. He was utterly disappointed with the way his son had turned out. He turned to blame his wife for not taking good care of their son.

"You're always away on business, dear. Why, you hardly see your son.!" retorted his wife.

"Am working very hard to give you both a good life, and you're complaining!"

When the group reached the boys' home, my colleague was surprised when the father said to him, "Ah Boy, if you decide to turn over a new leaf and be good, pa will promise to buy you a Rolex watch."

"Don't you understand pa...I don't want any Rolex watch.....I only want your time!"
the boy almost yelled out of bitterness and frustration.

My colleague had a hard time, fighting the tears in her eyes. On the journey back to school, my colleague tried to ask the father to spend more time with his family.

"My biz is so big now! How to let go? Ah Boy will be the death of me!"

Gan Cao