Of late, I had been going back to the period of wonderment, bewilderment,
puzzlement and enchantment that often put adolescents in a period of deep thoughts
yet coming up with few answers.! No, no, I am not a growing teen, but a lady whose one foot is already in the grave. As such, it is no enchanting matter to always see
history repeating itself!
The latest to bewilder me is the plight of Dr. Cai Mingjie, Singapore's most learned taxi driver. His book has been published, yet until now, he has not been able to find or be reinstated with his ideal job that will capitalise the most of his experience, knowledge and talent.
Somehow, Dr. Cai's experience made me think of the time when I was a secretary with a Korean company, Keang Nam Enterprises, which was then building the Penang International Airport. My office was at the Airport site itself - a rugged temporary shelter that was comfortably airconditioned with some 20 Korean administrative/engineering and one nursing staff.
From the start, the company's driver had been picking Miss Lim the nurse, Molly my assistant, and me up for work. However, for some reasons the company decided that we should make our own way to work. I was quite annoyed, to be frank. It was a let down. It was a little walk to the office even from the main road, not to mention that it was about 12 km from my house in Jelutong Village. I decided that I would not take the bus but to cycle to and from the office. My boss, Mr. Lee, was shocked, for he did not expect his well-groomed secretary to be able to cycle that far. He was also somewhat embarrassed, for it would not speak well of the company. Two weeks later, the only 3 ladies in the company were informed that the company would reinstate the car pick-up privilege!
I was not a rebel, but my insistence of cyclying to work was seen as a defiant and shrewd step to make my boss rethink his options. I was a faithful staff because even though some of the suppliers had wanted to poach me, I stayed on with the company for
I understood the Koreans and their problem with communication with the locals. I only left the company as I was accepted for tertiary studies in Canada. For my good service, the company awarded me with an all expenses paid trip to Korea.
I am sure that when my friends from overseas hear about Dr. Cai's current work as a taxi driver, they would be sure to bombard me with many questions. "We thought that there is hardly any unemployment in Singapore? Hey, we thought that the government is always quick to maximise the talent and skill of her people? Stanford University?
What a letdown for one of America's best colleges!"
I do not own a company or business that can make good use of Dr. Cai's talent and skill. However, I do hope that my humble article will stir the heart-strings of someone who is in a better position to help Dr. Cai to make full use of his training and knowledge, so that in turn, the country benefits.
"We have so many talents here in Singapore, Choo," Soh Wah, my best friend would always say when I compliment her on her two talented sons in music.
Frankly, I dread the day when there will be more learned taxi drivers on the road.
I certainly pray that history will not repeat itself as seen in other advanced countries now.
Is this the reason why I had subconsciouly put my nose into a few areas of interest?
Now, at the age of 56, I know I will never be out of unemployment. I can still be a tutor, teacher, chef, tour guide, secretary, and nanny/housekeeper should the property market be very, very bad. However, I was told that excellent agents can sell in both good and bad times. I hope that I am one of those excellent agents!
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Of late, I had been going back to the period of wonderment, bewilderment,
Posted by The Oriental Express at 8:37 am
Monday, March 29, 2010
My new agent recruit, Adeline, is focused. Though new, she has been able to close a few cases, despite holding a part time job. I guess this is always the strength of ladies - they are often quite good at multi-tasking.
Adeline had arranged to meet me at an apartment at Cairnhill Road, but her client cancelled at the last minute. She felt bad and wanted to come over to my apartment to pick me up. I decided to invite her for buffet lunch so that I could also take the opportunity of talking to her about things other than work. Coincidentally, my client also cancelled his appointment and I was quite happy. Why should we get upset when things don't turn up the way we have expected. I have learnt to always
flow along with the tide of the day's events, and to make the most of it.
During lunch, Adeline asked me an interesting question.
"Do you feel it is a waste of your tertiary education now that you are in the property line.? After all, to be an agent, one does not need to have a degree."
I told Adeline that as a teacher, my experiences have actually put me in good stead of being successful in this line. After all, I would need to use the skill of understanding, psychology of sales, art of speaking, patience, tact and knowledge when I market a property. Hence it is inter-related. I guess there is always a time and season for everything. If I had not lost my voice, why, I would still be in the classroom with young, active teenage students.
Adeline shared with me about a taxi driver who actually is a PH.D holder. Wow! What a learned taxi driver! Dr. Cai Mingjie is a brilliant scientist who has lost his job. A reader has wondered if he has chosen to drive a taxi out of defiance, or as a way to be different. I wonder what Dr. Cai is thinking as he is driving along the busy roads of Singapore. His sharp observation of his customers and his flair for writing in his blog help to make his job a little less dull, but is it not too tedious to be doing something so mechanical as driving and not taxing the brain to the limit? If Dr. Cai, like some other taxi drivers, chose to be quiet, passengers will not blame them. I hate driving and even when taking the train or bus, am somewhat impatient to get to my destination. Hence to kill time and boredom, I would often read my book or the day's newspapers. When I was not reading, I enjoyed
watching the passengers around me.
Dr. Cai's ardent readers had suggested that he should try other options eg. teaching, tutoring, which will help to maximise his earning ability as well as his contribution, both socially as well as academically.
Frankly, my perpetual sore throat had turned out to be a blessing in disguise, for I found my hidden talent in sales.! Best of all, the ability to work not only hard, but smart, has also given me the extra time that I could use for indulging in hobbies I enjoy most eg. blogging, writing, reading, learning new languages, cooking, toastmastering, playing the piano, violin and drum, volunteering, and travelling. Morever, the attractive income has given me the financial freedom to chose when to work or take off from work.
Oh yes! Yes! I am a property agent! And love every moment of my work.!
Posted by The Oriental Express at 11:04 pm
Very often people think that more is always better. However, at times, this is not
necessarily the case. There are times when less is more or even better. I can think of two examples for now.
One of the reasons why I do not take to buffet now is simply for the reason that more does not necessarily mean the best enjoyment. Usually there is such a huge assortment of food that at the end of the meal you enjoy your food. However, compared to a simple meal of say, nasi lemak or chicken rice, you actually feel more satiated (at least I do). Sambal chilli, fried assam fish or chicken, crispy ikan bilis with peanuts and slice of fresh cucumbers with freshly cooked rice with coconut milk are enough for me to thoroughly enjoy a simple yet profound meal!
After a buffet, I feel extremely full because of the tendency to overeat. However, I feel I enjoy portions of food on its own right combination. Less is certainly more! Food tastes great when eaten with the right combination. For eg. Sharks fin soup tastes good on its own in a 9 course meal, but if taken with nasi lemak or chicken rice, it loses its "oomph!"
Another example of when less is more. People often ask me how I maintain a healthy glow to my complexion. They are often surprised when I tell them that I do not apply any cream to my face when I am at home. After washing the face, I do not apply any more cream especially if I do not sleep in an air conditioned room. Many ladies have the tendency to plaster their faces with cream the whole day and night,
hence depriving the skin of "breathing" on its own. It is ironical that beauty saloons will try to coax their customers to spend lots of money on so-called "oxygen treatment" when oxygen is free and ladies can make use of this by not applying cream on their faces when they are at home.!
Rememmber, more does not always mean "better" because sometimes, less is more!
Posted by The Oriental Express at 9:05 am
Saturday, March 27, 2010
With my good friends, Geok Sim and Cher Khim at Ning's Homcoming Series Concert at
Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music
One of the things I love most is to learn from my friends and associates, as well as to influence them to appreciate the things that I love too. For example, many of my friends do not realise that Hindi movies are actually easy to watch and enjoy. Of late whenever there is a good program on Vasantham Channel, I would sms to all my friends and encourage them to watch the movie.
Recently, I was overjoyed when my niece, Ning, was back in Singapore to teach for a month at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory. I invited my good friends, Geok Sim and
Cher Khim to Ning's concert as I am confident that, though my friends are not so well-versed with classical music, they will enjoy the concert. I always enjoy Ning's selection of interesting pieces, and with her strong artistic personality and stage presence, she will as usual, mesmerise her audience.
Everyone enjoyed the concert tremendously as seen and heard by the thunderous applause and "bravo" in the hall. As usual, I wished my late beloved papa were at the concert for he would have been so proud of Ning.
Geok Sim shared that she liked the variety of pieces played. She particularly likes
Ning's arrangment and rendition of "Amazing Grace", as well as Cafe Music by Paul Schoenfield with Qin Li-Wei on the cello and Bernard Lanskey on the piano.
I was glad that despite the heavy rain, the Concert Hall was quite packed and that my two friends also turned up for the concert. My best friend, Soh Wah was also at the concert with her family and so was my niece, Christmin and her family. Enjoying a good concert is like having a good meal for it makes us feel happy and satiated. Happiness is sharing with friends the things that we love and enjoy.
Posted by The Oriental Express at 1:56 am
Friday, March 26, 2010
After my tenants vacated their room in my apartment, I decided to see how much usage of water and energy I can use. To my pleasant surprise, I chalked up a total bill of $18.12 for the month of November. Thereafter the bills hovered around $28 because I had guests in my home.
I had even called up Power Supply to double check that indeed my bill was accurate.
The officer affirmed and even congratulated me on conserving energy.
Some of my friends who read my blog were quite puzzled about my low consumption. I shared that I never use the air conditioner or fan, as my apartment is blessed with the wind blowing most of the time! I also never use the water heater as I love to shower with cold water as I feel more refreshed. However, the cold water is not as cold as the water I am used to bathing during my years of growing up in Penang! I do not need a big refrigerator as it is easy for me to buy fresh fruits and vegtables from the market and shops nearby. I also have little patience for ironing; hence I never use the iron all these years. I prefer to wear materials that do not need to be pressed. Once my client gave me a Prada silk blouse. After wearing it once, I gave it away as it was so easily crumpled and needed ironing. Gosh! The blouse cost $285/-!! Dry cleaning is recommended and I dislike having to fork out money to dry clean clothes.
I find that it is more wasteful to rinse water running from the tap. It is more economical to catch the water in a basin and use just sufficient water to rinse off
I would recycle water which is used for washing vegetables,fruits, etc. for my many potted plants. During rainy days, the plants would be watered as the heavy rain would sometimes hit the corridors. Then I could use the water for flushing the toilets, washing the floor, etc.
Once I walked past a hotel and found many condensers at the side. It suddenly dawned upon me how hot the air was. While the interior of the building is cool, it is extremely warm outside and the condensers add to the heat. Since then, I made it a point not to turn on the air conditioners unnecessarily.
My heart went out to the poor little koalas in Australia who came down from the trees to beg for water. Let us all not take our resources for granted, and let us be good stewards of all that we have received. Let us practise good habits of energy usage, so that when the Authorities come in with measures to control usage, we will not feel the intense inconvenience and pain. We will then be able to say, "Hey! I've been doing that all the time! No sweat!"
Posted by The Oriental Express at 12:47 pm
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
I received the following email from a friend, Soo Kiat, about a participant in "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?" Although we laugh at the sheer stupidity of the contestant, I kind of feel sorry for her. When a person is overcome by fright, it is incredible what he can come up with.
I remember my eldest sister Lee Lee telling me how her grandmother-in-law had
salvaged a chamber pot when the house broke out with fire. She grabbed the chamber pot even as she was crying and screaming for the fireman to help save the contents of the house. She actually had lots of money and jewellery in the home; yet in her fright, she had salvaged an object that was old and could be cheaply purchased! Hence, I hope that people would not just laugh, but be filled with compassion. For those of us who are cool and calm during times of calamaties and disasters, let us thank God for making us the way we are.
Perhaps it is important for all of us to know ourselves.....our weaknesses and idiosyncracies. This will help us to save ourselves from pain and embarrassment. It is sad that man can understand the stars and the planets, and yet he finds it hardest to understand himself. If we cannot sing or dance, then please do not participate in any "Idol" contests. If we do not have dexterous fingers and sharp minds, then do not aspire to be a surgeon. A friend of mine lost his mind and tried to commit suicide because he just could not cope with his medical studies! He tried his utmost under great pressure from his ambitious parents.
Dumb and dumber in real world Idiotic 'Millionaire' Contestant Makes Worst Use Of Lifelines Ever
Kathy Evans, the single dumbest contestant to ever get on 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?'
NEW YORK - Idaho resident Kathy Evans brought humiliation to her friends and family Tuesday when she set a new standard for stupidity with her appearance on the popular TV show, 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.'
It seems that Evans, a 32-year-old wife and mother of two, got stuck on the first question, and proceeded to make what fans of the show are dubbing 'the absolute worst use of lifelines ever.'
After being introduced to the show's host Meredith Vieira, Evans assured her that she was ready to play, whereupon she was posed with an extremely easy $100 question. The question was:
'Which of the following is the largest?'
A) A Peanut
B) An Elephant
C) The Moon
D) Hey, who you calling large?
Immediately Mrs. Evans was struck with an all consuming panic as she realized that this was a question to which she did not readily know the answer.
'Hmm, oh boy, that's a toughie,' said Evans, as Vieira did her level best to hide her disbelief and disgust. 'I mean, I'm sure I've heard of some of these things before, but I have no idea how large they would be.'
Evans made the decision to use the first of her three lifelines, the 50/50. Answers A and D were removed, leaving her to decide which was bigger, an elephant or the moon. However, faced with an incredibly easy question, Evans still remained unsure.
'Oh! It removed the two I was leaning towards!' exclaimed Evans. 'Darn. I think I better phone a friend.'
Using the second of her two lifelines on the first question, Mrs. Evans asked to be connected with her friend Betsy, who is an office assistant.
'Hi Betsy! How are you? This is Kathy! I'm on TV!' said Evans, wasting the first seven seconds of her call. 'Ok, I got an important question. Which of the following is the largest? B, an elephant, or C, the moon. 15 seconds hun.'
Betsy quickly replied that the answer was C, the moon. Evans proceeded to argue with her friend for the remaining ten seconds.
'Come on Betsy, are you sure?' said Evans. 'How sure are you? Puh, that can't be it.'
To everyone's astonishment, the moronic Evans declined to take her friend's advice and pick 'The Moon.'
'I just don't know if I can trust Betsy.. She's not all that bright. So I think I'd like to ask the audience,' said Evans.
Asked to vote on the correct answer, the audience returned 98% in favor of answer C, 'The Moon.' Having used up all her lifelines, Evans then made the dumbest choice of her life.
'Wow, seems like everybody is against what I'm thinking,' said the too-stupid-to-live Evans. 'But you know, sometimes you just got to go with your gut. So, let's see. For which is larger, an elephant or the moon, I'm going to have to go with B, an elephant. Final answer.'
Evans sat before the dumbfounded audience, the only one waiting with bated breath, and was told that she was wrong, and that the answer was in fact, C, 'The Moon.'
Posted by The Oriental Express at 10:01 am
Monday, March 22, 2010
A friend, Soo Kiat, forwarded me the above email and I wish to share with my readers.
People say there is no difference between COMPLETE & FINISH.
But there is a difference.
When you love the right one you are COMPLETE.
When you love the wrong one you are FINISHED!
Posted by The Oriental Express at 11:59 am
I always enjoy receiving forwarded emails from friends. Through them, I have learnt so many things; seen so many great pictures and photographs and become enriched in my knowledge and realisation. The following was sent by a toastmaster friend, Fernando Young.
Believe it or not? An incredible coincidence?
Woman has Man in it;
Mrs. has Mr. in it;
Female has Male in it;
She has He in it;
Madam has Adam in it; Ever notice how all of women's problems start with MEN?
MENstrual cramps (مغص الحيض) MENtalbreakdown (انحلال ذهني)
MENopause (سن اليأس)
GUYnecology (أمراض النساء)
When we have REAL trouble, it's a
(عملية استئصال الرحم) Send this to all women you know to brighten their day.
Send this to all the men just to annoy them ......
Posted by The Oriental Express at 10:31 am
Friday, March 19, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Among all the jobs that I have tried till now, I love teaching the most. It was and will always be my first love. Yes, I have been a cleaner, waitress, nanny, typist, shop-keeper, stenographer, secretary, chef, teacher and currently am a property agent. I derive the most satisfaction from teaching and affecting young minds and hearts.
My favourite level is from Secondary One to Four when students are at their most impressionable. As they enter adolescence, a thousand and one questions fill their young minds. Adolescence is also one of the most difficult as they try to adapt mentally, physically and emotionally.
I guess this love for teaching is still inculcated in me so that when my agents ask me questions, I try to explain to them in a clear and interesting manner. This is also probably why I enjoy being a Language Evaluator at toastmasters' meetings. This is also probably why I will soon be joining another real estate company where I can also be a part time trainer of new agents.
I do not know who has come up with the statement, ""Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." The person has overlooked the fact that teachers are indeed one of the most versatile creatures on this planet! How else does a teacher manage a class of 30 to 40 students; get their attention to what he is saying and teaching; get the students to pay school and miscellaneous fees on time every month; get sandwiched between students, parents, principals and committee members; come up with creative ideas for his lessons as well as extra-curricular activities, organise school camp activities and counsel students when they err and is every ready to present himself as someone "big, strong and friendly" like the Standard Chartered Bank.!
Is this probably why a shrewd and eagle-eyed entrepreneur friend of mine in Canada once told me, "If any teacher comes to me and says he wants to join my company, I readily welcome him, for I know he will be able to quickly adapt to the demands of my company." Wow, Mr. Suvan was such a fore-sighted and successful businessman.!
I hope my readers will enjoy the article below. It was emailed to me by my ex-English lecturer, Dr. Clive Scharenguivel.
Dedicated to all teachers... Something teachers can be proud of.
What Teachers Make
God bless you all good teachers!!!
This is dedicated to all the teachers out there.
WHAT TEACHERS MAKE
The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life.
One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued,
"What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in
life was to become a teacher?"
He reminded the other dinner guests what they say about teachers: "Those who
can, do. Those who can't, teach."
To stress his point he said to another guest;
"You're a teacher, Bonnie. Be honest. What do you make?"
Bonnie, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, "You want to
know what I make? (She paused for a second, then began...)
"Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.
I make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor.
I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents can't
make them sit for 5 without an IPod, Game Cube or movie rental.
You want to know what I make?" (She paused again and looked at each and
every person at the table.)
''I make kids wonder.
I make them question.
I make them apologize and mean it.
I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions.
I teach them to write and then I make them write. Keyboarding isn't
I make them read, read, read.
I make them show all their work in math. They use their God given brain,
not the man-made calculator.
I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to know
in English while preserving their unique cultural identity.
I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe.
I make my students stand, placing their hand over their heart to say the
Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, One Nation Under God, because we live in
the United States of America.
Finally, I make them understand that if they use the gifts they were given,
work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life."
(Bonnie paused one last time and then continued.)
"Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, with me knowing money
isn't everything, I can hold my head up high and pay no attention because
they are ignorant... You want to know what I make?
I MAKE A DIFFERENCE .
What do you make Mr. CEO?"
His jaw dropped, he went silent.
THIS IS WORTH SENDING TO EVERY TEACHER YOU KNOW.
P/S She forgot to say 'I make future CEOs'
Posted by The Oriental Express at 6:17 am
Monday, March 15, 2010
In January and Febraury I had been so busy that I hardly had time to watch my favourite Hindi movies at Jade Cinema.
Hence, I recently decided that die, die, must take time to watch "My Name is Khan!"
This will be the shortest movie review I have written.
Suffice to let my readers know that it is value for every cent of the ticket paid. Suffice to let my readers know that if they disagree with me that the movie is worth the tickets they have paid, I will refund them their money. Readers have to write and tell me why the movie is lousy. A little reminder for those who are above 55. You get 50% discount in all movies during non-peak hours.
Voila! Please go and watch "My Name is Khan". A movie that makes you laugh, cry and most importantly, think and reflect on life!
Posted by The Oriental Express at 9:01 am
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Dr. Dennis Wee, flanked by Maya and Nathan
Look at Dr. Wee's steely eyes and determined spirit which explain the great
success of Dennis Wee Group!
Sally Tan, dressed up as the cruel 2nd mother in "The Little Nonya."
But Sally is in fact a very kind, helpful and compassionate lady. No one will
go hungry with Sally around for she often cooks for our breakfast meetings
Posted by The Oriental Express at 1:58 pm
Our diligent and supportive administrative staff, Jenny and Veronica - all dressed to kill!
Is that Jack Neo, dressed as an old granny?
With Jack (Botak agent), Nathan, Maya and Amu .....food tastes even more delicious
with great company!
Posted by The Oriental Express at 1:42 pm
With Lily, Amu and Vanessa. If you want to know who the pretty girl is behind
Amu, you have to join DWG! Intrigued?
Amu and I flanked between the alluring "Cat-Girl and Mr. Chris Koh in his full armour!
"Look, aren't the ladies in my harem beautiful?" asked Mrs. Wee with her finger pointing for emphasis.
Serene Teng going for my neck! Help! Murderer!:
Yesterday evening was our company's, Dinner and Dance at the Ballroom in the newly renovated Mandarin Hotel at Orchard Road. The theme? Movie Night!
As usual, Amu has been my invited guest for all these functions. Amu surprised me with her gift of a lovely Punjabi suit. I told Amu that she is Miss Vasantham and I am Miss Fat Bollywood! Amu knows that I hate to fork out $50 to $100 to rent the fancy clothes, which have to be returned in equally good condtiion after the event.
Amu's Punjabi outfit costs less than $50 and at the end of the evening, I get to keep it too!
Wow! With the agents mostly dressed in various costumes which depict some of the movie characters, it was an interesting night! Many of us were mesmerized by the glitter and jazz!
Dan Thompson entertained us with his antics and great voice. We were impressed with his impersonation of Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and his rendition of some Chinese songs. Dan danced and tapped. He is such a talented and versatile entertainer!
The agents selected for their unique outfits had to impress four tables of judges by singing and performing. The contest surely revealed that agents are not only adept at selling houses but are equally versatile too.
I will post more pictures instead of writing, for a picture tells a thousand words. Hope they will also convince you that Dennis Wee Group is indeed a fun company to be in. As agents, we work hard and play hard. Letting our hair down now and then will certainly help to preserve our sanity in an otherwise most tough and challenging profession!
Posted by The Oriental Express at 12:36 pm
Friday, March 12, 2010
"Have you seen your new casino that was reported in the news? How is it?" asked my ex-university mate, Christine, in her email from Edmonton, Canada.
"No, have not seen it and I guess, will never see it as long as there is still the $100 levy to be paid. You know lah. What a stingy poker I am, or for want of a better word, an exceedingly frugal lady", I replied.
I guess we must be the first country in the world to have this levy. Of course, the Authorities have good intention to discourage our locals from having an easy leeway into the magnificent buildings and bright lights. I had been to the casinos in Monaco, Melbourne and Genting Highlands, but had not gambled at all, as I find gambling boring. It was more of a touristic experience.
Perhaps the Authorities could consider issuing a one time pass to Singaporeans. This pass will enable curious folks like me to have a look at the casinos inside out, so that when our friends from overseas ask us, we will not be such greenhorns.
The pass is only a one time ticket, like a voting ticket, and is limited to one to two hours to look around. I think, maybe an hour would suffice if the Authorities are worried that some people will try to gamble.
I belong to the older generation who has been trained to be frugal. $100/- can feed my orphan in Nepal for two and a half months. I do not mind to pay over a $100 to watch a good Opera, but it will make my heart bleed to fork out $100 just to see the bright lights and different machines for gambling.
Posted by The Oriental Express at 2:02 pm
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Wow! A red bowl of water on the lower part of the tree!
Poor koala drinking chlorine water from the swimming pool! Hope the owner gives the koala some fresh drinking water.
"Come, koala, come and drink with me", said the kind lady.
This water tastes so delicious!
My agent recruit, Jack Sheo, sent me the above pictures.
I hope these pictures will goad all of us on to play our part, no matter how small, to help preserve the earth!
Waste not! Want not!
Posted by The Oriental Express at 4:28 pm
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
AT 120 DEGREES IN AUSTRALIA , IT WAS SO HOT FOR A WEEK THAT KOALAS
WERE ASKING PEOPLE FOR WATER. IT'S NEVER BEEN SEEN BEFORE.
ONE WENT TO A HOUSE TO TRY TO HIDE FROM THE HEAT AND TO GET
A BIT OF SHADE AND HERE'S WHAT HAPPENED WHEN THE OWNER GAVE
HIM SOMETHING TO DRINK. IT'S REALLY CUTE.
When I received the above pictures in an email forwarded by a friend, Soo Kiat, I smiled. Such an adorable koala! I also felt sad because the little koala must have been so thirsty that it overcame its shyness and ventured out in the search for water.
Koalas are very shy animals. These lucky cyclists and the family must have felt privileged to be able to give the koala some badly needed water.
Though the weather is very hot now, I only use the fan and find myself sleeping quite comfortably without the aircon. I open up my windows and the flat is airy enough. I wear thin materials for sleepwear so as to avoid the heat. Hence I cannot understand why some people would wear thick materials with equally thick blankets and turn on the airconditioners at the maximum temperature for cool air!
What a waste of resources!
I also wonder why some people must make the rooms so cold. Worse, to leave on airconditioning when no one is around. Even when my clients asked me to turn on the airconditioning when I was showing an apartment, I would not do so unless it was
extremely humid on that particular day. It does not imply that as I am not the one paying the electrical bills, I would just splurge on others' resources.
During the months of November to January, the weather was so much cooler, and I found that I did not have to turn on even my fans when I went to bed. I recyled all the water I used for my plants. My utitlities bill amounted to about only $18.00.
Now that the weather is warmer, my bill amounted to about $29.00 to $32.00. I found that I had more clothes to wash because of perspiration and the soil in my potted plants also dried up faster. In the day I already enjoyed airconditioning in the office or in places I had been such as food court, restaurants, Raffles Town Club, etc. In the evenings I do not want to use any more airconditioning as it is not healthy for the skin. I only put on moisturiser in the day, and in the evenings, after washing my face, I like the skin to have a chance to "breathe" without application of any cream. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why my complexion has a constant glow. Sometimes we do things perfunctorily without analysing or re-thinking because of sheer habit.
I really hope that everyone of us can play a little part to help save the earth. Let us remember the poor little animals that risk their lives for they could be run over by vehicles. Let us always remember to recylce and reuse, so that we can constantly replenish the earth.
Posted by The Oriental Express at 4:24 pm
Monday, March 08, 2010
Anyone who has pets will really like this. You'll like it even if you don't and you may even decide you need one!
Mary and her husband Jim had a dog named 'Lucky.'
Lucky was a real character. Whenever Mary and Jim had company come for a weekend visit they would warn their friends to not leave their luggage open because Lucky would help himself to whatever struck his fancy. Inevitably, someone would forget and something would come up missing.
Mary or Jim would go to Lucky's toy box in the basement and there the treasure would be, amid all of Lucky's other favorite toys Lucky always stashed his finds in his toy box and he was very particular that his toys stay in the box.
It happened that Mary found out she had breast cancer. Something told her she was going to die of this disease....in fact; she was just sure it was fatal.
She scheduled the double mastectomy, fear riding her shoulders. The night before she was to go to the hospital she cuddled with Lucky. A thought struck her...what would happen to Lucky? Although the three-year-old dog liked Jim, he was Mary's dog through and through. If I die, Lucky will be abandoned, Mary thought. He won't understand that I didn't want to leave him! The thought made her sadder than thinking of her own death.
The double mastectomy was harder on Mary than her doctors had anticipated and Mary was hospitalized for over two weeks. Jim took Lucky for his evening walk faithfully, but the little dog just drooped, whining and miserable.
Finally the day came for Mary to leave the hospital. When she arrived home, Mary was so exhausted she couldn't even make it up the steps to her bedroom. Jim made his wife comfortable on the couch and left her to nap.
Lucky stood watching Mary but he didn't come to her when she called. It made Mary sad but sleep soon overcame her and she dozed.
When Mary woke for a second she couldn't understand what was wrong. She couldn't move her head and her body felt heavy and hot. But panic soon gave way to laughter when Mary realized the problem. She was covered, literally blanketed, with every treasure Lucky owned! While she had slept, the sorrowing dog had made trip after trip to the basement bringing his beloved mistress all his favorite things in life.
He had covered her with his love.
Mary forgot about dying. Instead she and Lucky began living again, walking further and further together every day. It's been 12 years now and Mary is still cancer-free. Lucky, he still steals treasures and stashes them in his toy box but Mary remains his greatest treasure.
A friend, Soo Kiat, sent me the story of Lucky which I wish to share with my readers.
Lucky reminds me of my beloved Kamlette, a mixed Golden Retriever who lived to the ripe, old age of 16 years 7 months. Even when Kamlette was put to sleep, she looked absolutely gorgeous with her bright shining eyes and golden fur which always smelt of baby powder! Kamlette could always sense when I was sad or disappointed and she would give me pecks on my cheeks, or she would continuously put her paws on my leg, as if to say, "Please cheer up. Don't worry and be sad." Dogs are such wonderful and faithful friends.
Remember....live every day to the fullest. Each minute is a blessing from God. And never forget....the people who make a difference in our lives are not the ones with the most Credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care for us.
If you see someone without a smile today give them one of yours! Live simply. Love seriously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.
A small request
All you are asked to do is keep this circulating.
Dear God, I pray for the cure of cancer.
All you are asked to do is keep this circulating, even if it is only to one more person, in memory of anyone you know that has been struck down by cancer or is still fighting their battle.
Posted by The Oriental Express at 8:55 pm
Oh Dear! First, we have Tiger Woods and now it is our own local "Lion Neo" aka Jack Neo. My second sister Ean Ean and her friends in Melbourne enjoy Jack's movie production, eg. "I, Not Supid" and a host of other titles. I have not had the chance to watch any of Jack's movies yet. The only ones I had seen are "881" and "Lotus 12" because of the musical content.
Lion Neo is a blessed man as he has a wife who knows that forgiveness is the sweetest revenge. By golly, she had even known about her husband's affairs since 12 months ago, and yet kept her cool.! Is nonchalance an ingredient for a marriage to last till death do the couples part? Someone said that when a couple get married, the husband should become deaf and the wife should become blind.
Probably this is one of the reasons why I have chosen to be single, for I am not one to become blind during marriage. As I am a very faithful person, I would expect faithfulness from my partner. It is easier to bank my life on a faithful God, and for many people, it is also easier to bank on a faithful pet dog, than a straying spouse.
Perhaps to show his remorse, Lion Neo should come up with a movie entitled, "I, Very Stupid!", and explore on the pain and sufferings when bread winners stray. As Lion Neo is well known for his humour, he could also inject some humour in this movie. As veteran distinguished toastmaster, Gea Ban Peng, has always said, "A good speech is one that makes the audience laugh and cry, and has a good message for him to carry home. I guess a good movie also has the same ingredients. So Jack Neo aka Lion Neo, how about it? Ponder about it and we look forward to your new movie, "I, Very Stupid!"
Posted by The Oriental Express at 2:15 pm
Sunday, March 07, 2010
Adam Khoo: The expats will rule Singapore
Posted by admin 28 January, 2010
I have a prediction. My prediction is that in a couple of years, the expatriates (from China, India, US etc…) will rule Singapore. They will increasing take on more leadership roles of CEOs, directors, heads of organizations, award winners etc… If you observe closely, it is already happening now. This year’s top PSLE (Primary School Leaving Exam) student is a China National. Most of the deans list students and first class honours students in the local universities are foreigners and more and more CEOs, even that of government link corporations are expats. The top players in our National teams are expats.
As a Singaporean, I am not complaining. I think that in a meritocratic society like Singapore, it is only fair that the very best get rewarded, no matter their race, religion or nationality. Like Lee Kwan Yew said, I rather these talented and driven people be on our team contributing to our nation than against us from their home country. The question I have been asking is, ‘why are the expats beating the crap out of Singaporeans?’ What I noticed is that these expats have a very important quality that many Singaporeans (especially the new Y generation lack). It is a quality that our grandfathers and great-grandfathers (who came from distant lands) had that turned Singapore from a fishing village to the third richest country in the world (according to GDP per capita). Unfortunately, I fear this quality is soon disappearing from the new generation of Singaporeans. This quality is the HUNGER FOR SUCCESS and the FIGHTING SPIRIT!!!
Expats who come here today have the same tremendous HUNGER for success that our grandfathers had. They are willing to sacrifice, work hard and pay the price to succeed. They also believe that no one owes them a living and they have to work hard for themselves. They also bring with them the humility and willingness to learn. Take the case of Qui Biqing, the girl from Qifa Primary school who topped the whole of Singapore in last year’s PSLE with a score of 290. When she came to Singapore 3 years ago from China, she could hardly speak a word of English and didn’t even understand what a thermometer was. Although she was 10 years old, MOE recommended she start at Primary 2 because of her lack of English proficiency. After appealing, she managed to start in Primary 3. While most Singaporeans have a head start of learning English at pre-school at the age of 3-4 years old, she only started at age 10. Despite this handicapped, she had the drive to read continuously and practice her speaking and writing skills, eventually scoring an A-star in English!
This hunger and drive can also be seen in the workforce. I hate to say this but in a way, I sometimes think expats create more value than locals. Expats are willing to work long hours, go the extra mile, are fiercely loyal to you and don’t complain so much. They also come alot more qualified and do not ask the moon for the remuneration. Recently, I placed an ad for a marketing executive. Out of 100+ resumes, more than 60% came from expats. While locals fresh grads are asking for $2,500+ per month, I have expats with masters degrees from good universities willing to get less than $2,000! They know that if they can come in and learn and work hard, they will eventually climb up and earn alot more. They are willing to invest in themselves, pay the price for future rewards. Sometimes I wonder how some of the locals are going to compete with this. Of course, this is just a generalization. There ARE definitely some Singaporeans who create lots of value and show fighting spirit.
Unfortunately, I have found that more and more young Singaporeans lack this hunger for success. Instead, they like to complain, blame circumstances and wait for others to push them. Some hold on to the attitude that the world owes them a living. I shake my head when I see local kids nowadays complain that they don’t have the latest handphones, branded clothes and games. While I acknowledge that the kids of today are much smarter and well informed than I was at their age (my 4 year old daughter can use my Macbook computer and my iphone), I find that they lack the resilience and tenacity they need to survive in the new economy. Some kids nowadays tend to give up easily once they find that things get tough and demand instant gratification. When they have to work first to get rewards later, many tend to lack the patience to follow through.
So, how did this happen? Why is our nation of hardworking, hungry fighters slowly becoming a nation of complaining softies? I think the problem is that life in Singapore has been too good and comfortable. Kids today have never seen hunger, poverty, war and disasters. What makes it worse is that parents nowadays give kids everything they want and over protect them from hardship and failure. Parents often ask me why their kids lack the motivation to study and excel. My answer to them is because they already have everything! Giving someone everything they want is the best way to kill their motivation. What reason is there for them to fight to become the best when they are already given the best from their parents without having to earn it? It reminds me of the cartoon movie MADAGASCAR where Alex the Lion and his animal friends were born and raised in the Central Park Zoo. They were well taken care of and provided with processed food and an artificial jungle. When they escaped to Africa, they found that they could barely survive in the wild with the other animals because they had lots their instincts to fight and hunt for food. They could only dance and sing.
I see the same thing in the hundreds of seminars and training programmes I conduct. I see increasing more and more expats attending my Wealth Academy and Patterns of Excellence programme in Singapore. Not surprisingly, they are always the first to grab the microphone to answer and ask questions. While many of the locals come in late and sit at the back. The expats (especially those from India and China) always sit at the front, take notes ferociously and stay back way after the programme is over to ask questions. I feel ashamed sometimes when I ask for volunteers to ask questions, and the Singaporeans keep quiet, while the foreigners fight for the opportunity. For my “I Am Gifted!’ programme for students, I have the privileged to travel and conduct it in seven countries (Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia etc…) and see all students from all over. Is there a big difference in their attitude and behaviour? You bet!
Again, I feel really sad that in Singapore, most students who come are usually forced by their parents to come and improve themselves, Some parents even bribe them with computer games and new handphones to attend. During the course, some adopt the ‘I know everything’ attitude and lack the interest to succeed until I kick their butts. It is so different when I go to Malaysia, Indonesia and once in India. The kids there ask their parents to send them to my programme. They clap and cheer enthusiastically when the teachers enter the room and participate so willingly when lessons are on. I still scratch my head and wonder what happened to my fellow Singaporeans to this day.
So mark my words, unless the new generation of Singaporeans wake up and get out of their happy over protected bubble and start fighting for their future, the expats (like our great grandfathers) will soon be the rulers of the country. At the rate at which talented and hungry expats are climbing up , our future prime minister may be an Indian or China PR or may even an Ang Moh!
My client, Sylvia, sent me the above article. Wasn't the above reminiscient of what I had witnessed before in 1978, not in Singapore, but in Canada? I remember when I was a university student in Canada, some of my ang moh classmates became less friendly towards me after they realised that I had topped the class in English Literature! This was despite my having to work part time as a cleaner to supplement my expenses as I wanted to stand on my own feet. Many felt threatened when overseas Chinese snapped up properties which were paid by hard cash! It was in the 1980s and I remember having written to the Straits Times that Singapore could and must not have the Stop at Two Policy because the developed countries were lamenting that the birthrate had gone down. Now, alas, we have become very developed, and isn't history repeating itself? Our birthrate has gone down, and as Adam Khoo has pointed out, many of our youngsters are becoming very complacent to the point of nonchalance. Of course, we also have very motivated ones for eg. my best friend, Soh Wah's two sons and my client, Amelia's children who have made the family proud with their wonderful attitude and achievements.
Frankly, I would not worry if our future prime minister were someone from overseas. After all, aren't some of our current wonderful ministers and ex-ministers also from neighbouring countries like Malaysia.? I too am a brain drain from Penang, and am glad to be contributing my utmost to this lovely island, I have called home for the past 30 years. If our future prime minister is as brilliant as Bernard Shaw, as kind and compasssionate as Mahatma Gandhi, as foresighted and eagle-eyed as our great Lee Kuan Yew, and most important someone who has grown to love this little dot, we will welcome him with open arms.
Right now, I am more worried about the influx of doubtful ladies from China who have been breaking up homes and causing lots of social problems. As a housing agent, I have witnessed divorces which came about because the husbands could not resist the temptation of lust. Recently I received an email from my English professor which again calls for some serious action from the authorities.
A Singapore man’s unhappy experience with a PRC lady
February 26, 2010 TEMASEK REVIEW
The below email has been circulating around in cyberspace and was forwarded to us for publication. For those of you who knows the identity of the author, please keep it strictly confidential.
Please forward this to all your male Singaporean loved ones and friends. This is something that actually happened to me and I feel that it needs to be shared.
I believe my experience will help your male loved one stay out of trouble.
On the morning of 18th February at about 9.50 am I was standing at Coffee Bean (Novena Square) counter, ordering my usual cup of mocha latte before heading into the office as usual. Behind me was a row of leather cushions that the mall has provided. In the corner of my eyes, I noticed a middle aged Chinese lady with an umbrella and a cold storage plastic bag, looking really nervous, glancing around every now and then.
The lady had shoulder length hair tied up neatly in a pony tail and looked pretty plain, wearing just a normal t-shirt and jeans – nothing too revealing.
She was about mid 20s to early 30s and pretty pleasant looking I must say. But her eyes were scary when she stared intently at me for a short moment
I did not pay much attention to her as I thought she was waiting for the slimming centre to open. I carried on my business as usual, glancing through the Today newspaper.
As I made my way towards the direction of Banquet coffee shop, she stood up and walked towards my direction. What happened next caught me completely by surprise.
The lady stopped directly in front me of, stared at me and suddenly screamed “Why you touch me?” Only then did I realise from her unmistakable
accent that she is from China. I said “Sorry? What are you talking about?” I was more in shock then angry. The first thing that came to my mind
was, is this some woman that I accidentally brushed on the train this morning?
She did not bother to explain but kept on screaming and pointing her index finger at me “Why you touch me!” about 4 or 5 times. She then squatted,
covering her face and cried, crying out over and over again that I had touched her. I was really lost. There were some people walking past me and I felt like a criminal standing there, while people gave me this disgusted look. All the while I was trying to talk to the China lady but she remains in a squatted position, covering her face and crying.
At this point of time, a Malay bang in light blue coloured uniform walked over from Banquet. Seeing the situation he asked me what happened.
The lady stood up and said that I had “touched” her. She then told the Malay bang that I need to giver her $500 to “see doctor” or else she would report me to the Chinese Embassy. She took out her hand phone and took several photos of me.
The Malay bang then said, “Bro, I think we better call the police”.
At this point of time, I have gotten over my shock and anger was slowly taking over. I nodded to the Malay bang in agreement. I took out my hand phone too. But instead of taking her photo, I dialled 999 immediately. “I am calling the police myself. Let them settle the matter”. I said calmly to the both of them.
At this point of time, she picked up her plastic bag and umbrella, and swiftly left towards the direction of Tan Tock Seng hospital – even before my call could connect!
We were left there puzzled. Somehow I was relieved that it was over and did not want to proceed with the call. The Malay bang asked me if I was ok. All I said was “Thanks”. He patted my shoulder and walked away towards the direction of Coffee Bean. Several patrons inside banquet were already witnessing the commotion. I just wanted to get out of there.
In case something like this happens to you or your loved ones, do not make the same mistake I did, trying to console the woman. Immediately take out your hand phone, take a photo of her and call the police. Please help to spread this around to our Singaporean husbands, sons, brothers and friends.
Please, my dear Singaporeans, look around you, what has happened to our country? Where have all these pests come from? Think about your loved ones and your other Singaporean friends. Forward this story and make sure that they know what to do when the same thing happens to them.
Hence, my dear felllow Singaporeans. Let us each consider ourselves and what we want to improve on. Let us learn and even emulate the good attitude, diligence and
drive from people around us, whether Singaporeans and foreigners. Let us shake off the dust of complacence to achieve and improve. Let us know our priorities and treasure our families. Remember when families are strong, societies will also become strong, and in turn the nation will be strong. Let us not be afraid of competitions which in fact should only goad us on. Let us not complain that foreigners and permanent residents are driving up hdb homes beyond our reach. Let us, instead, examine our own wisdom to invest and to take risks. Remember, when the going gets tough, the tough get going! Let us always be on our toes, and adapt, change and make the best of every situation. Above all, let us be happy people who know that we can only do our best, and leave God to do the rest!
Posted by The Oriental Express at 12:27 pm
Saturday, March 06, 2010
Wild deer hits car on highway, put to sleep by Wildlife Reserves Channel NewsAsia - Thursday, March 4Send IM Story Print Wild deer hits car on highway, put to sleep by Wildlife Reserves
SINGAPORE: A wild deer was injured along an expressway after it dashed onto oncoming traffic and hit a car Wednesday morning.
Police said they received a call at about 5.30am, saying that an injured deer was lying along the Seletar Expressway, near Mandai Zoo.
Eyewitnesses told MediaCorp that the deer was so big that it blocked an entire lane, causing a traffic jam.
A caller to the MediaCorp Hotline, Teo Ah Chong, said he stopped his car when he saw the deer on the expressway.
Mr Teo said the deer appeared to be "panicking" and ran into his car.
The Wildlife Reserves Singapore was alerted and it picked up the animal.
It told MediaCorp that the deer was badly injured and had to be put to sleep.
It had a deep gash on its hip and was bleeding from the nose.
Its antlers were also broken.
The Wildlife Reserves Singapore said the deer was a wild animal, aged between three and four.
When I read the above article and saw the beautiful wild deer, I cried. A crazy animal lover like me always cries when I see a dead animal. I remember once when we were on our way to a park in Melbourne, I saw something lying on the side of the road. It appeared to some kind of creature. I wanted my brother-in-law to stop the car so as to take a look, but Sister Ean Ean stopped me. "Don't look. You'll surely cry again." Ir was a dead kangaroo that had been hit by a vehicle.
It suddenly dawned upon me that we actually have deers in this little island of Singapore! I have never realised that we have such beautiful wild animals in this little red dot! At first I thought the deer could have escaped from the zoo, but was surprised when I realised it was a wild deer and the authorities mentioned that we have only about 20 such wild deers left.
I have always loved to look at deers with their intricate antlers and beautiful designs on their hides. They look like natural tattoos in colours! I have also thought that deers could only be found in Canada and other countries but never in Singapore! Once when I was studying in Canada, I learnt that my landlady, Mrs. Smith, had cooked deer meat (venison) as the main course for our dinner. I refused to take the meat. That evening I only took more salad and soup.
Can you imagine herds of wild deers roaming among the forest of trees in the olden days in Singapore? But now deers, like many other wild creatures, are depleting in numbers, no thanks to the chopping down of trees, climatic upheavals, etc.
I hope the authorities would do something to take greater effort to preserve the depleting wild life and birds in Singapore, just like China has taken so much effort to preserve the giant pandas, so much so that they could even afford to loan two giant pandas to selected countries. I look forward to seeing the pandas next year.
How I wish I could be a relative of Noah and see all the animals in the Ark! Of
course I would have to bear with the jeers and sneers of ignorant people, and put up with forty days of continuous rainfall, but I would have so much joy and fun feeding and playing with all the animals in the Ark!
My best friend, Soh Wah, suggested that I should work in the zoo. Perhaps I will be a volunteer when I retire.....
Posted by The Oriental Express at 10:08 am
Friday, March 05, 2010
"Well, that would be payment for 3 sets of newspapers," I said to Raj, the son of my friendly neighbourhood grocer. I always buy the Straits Times and New Paper from the store. Sometimes when I am in a rush, I would just pick up the set and would pay for two or three sets together.
Raj took out his usual calculator. When I no longer could take it anymore, I said,
"That would be $1.60 times 3, Raj, making it $4.80. No need calculator lah."
Good natured Raj smiled. "Aiyo, I can't count like my grandpa lah. He is from India, and at that time, India, they had no calculator so Grandpa must use his brain lah", Raj attempted to explain.
I smiled and said, "I never passed Mathematics in school also. But mental sums very good. Last time calculators were very expensive....could not afford to buy. So had to use my otak (brain). Even if I had calculators, found it hard to use them. Know why? My fingers too fat for the small keys lah!", I said and raised my eyes in mock despair.
Raj laughed. "Don't worry. Apples is going to make calculators with huge keys for people like you."
"Don't kid Raj. I bought a calculator with huge keys for only $8/-. But find it easier to do simple calculation with my head because of sheer habit. Papa was poor, and I was always so protective of papa's hard earned money. Whenever I went marketing with mama, I was always eagle eyed to see that no one gave mama the wrong change! I had corrected a few vendors' wrong change to mama!"
Now, I only use the calculator when I close a property deal, as I want to be very, very accurate. Otherwise, I find it easier to calculate mentally. Before the sales staff could calculate the total costs of my purchase, I would give him the figure, much to his surprise.
I guess the experts are right. When we don't train ourselves to do something, we will soon lose the ability to do so. If someone like me who dislike numbers and Mathematics can calculate without the use of machines, anyone also can lah!
My best friend, Soh Wah, chided me for not asking for newspapers to be delivered to my home. I told her that sometimes I could read the newspapers in the Raffles Town Club or at my regular saloon when I go for hair treatment. A penny saved is a penny earned. Moreover, I would have less worries with recycling of papers.
Posted by The Oriental Express at 8:05 am
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Yann's handicrafts proudly displayed on my piano. The bunnies are named "Kuai Lerh"
and "Jian Kang". (Happy and Healthy - to remind me to stay happy and healthy each day)
Everyday I thank God for my beloved relatives. Of course, as a homo sapien, I can't say that I am equally fond of everyone. Just as parents would also have some children whom they love slightly more than others, I too have relatives whom I dote with varying degrees. One of my most beloved is my niece Yann.
Yann loves to make handicrafts. Recently when I returned to Penang, I saw two handmade bunnies in Yann's suitcase. I told her I would take them back to Singapore to help sell the bunnies for her. Of course, I wanted them myself, but Yann would never want to charge me for them. A few weeks later I received an email from Yann,
"Dearest Aunty Choo,
Aha! I caught you red handed! You own the bunnies.! I will refund you when we meet and if you insist not to take, then lose it on the table with me on "Cho Tai Tee" :)
I heard you have another round of practice with Tyng and Jeff when they were on transit for one day in Singapore. Even Jeff counldn't stand my cockiness when we played the game in our Vietnam trip. He decided to teach his siblings the game and practice in the States till our next meeting. Ha Ha ha , I shall await the Tua Tai Dee Convention.
I have not thought of names for my bunnies. The doll I named Lucy after the character in the sitcom of " I Love Lucy". The bunnies as Country Bunnies. Would you any idea?
Attachement are pictures of the toys I made. The blue socks creature " Muichi" has even traveled with me to Northern Vietnam of Hanoi and Sapa.
Will show you some of my " Recycled" creations next time."
C U Soon.
Yann is very creative. She makes beautiful things out of scrap materials, papers, etc. When she noticed that I did not have curtains for my windows, she volunteered to make some lovely curtains for me. I only have curtains for the guest room as I appreciate that not everyone likes curtain less rooms! I like the bright light of the sun to shine through the rooms and at night, I like to look out and look at the glittering lights from the tall buildings nearby.
Yann is also good at painting, and is certainly an asset to her husband, Chin Hoe, a successful artist in Malaysia. She is certainly his best critique and helper.
Eldest sister just called me to say that she would start sewing some clothes for me. All that I have to do is to send her designs and patterns and she would sew them for me during her free time.
I fell so richly blessed to have relatives who are so good with their hands. I am always so proud of my arty-farty relatives!
Posted by The Oriental Express at 4:55 am
Monday, March 01, 2010
A friend, Michael, forwarded me this email which I would like to share with my readers.
I hope you will be blessed by reading the article as much as I have been blessed,
inspired and encouraged.
Rick Warren is the author of the popular and inspiring book, "Purpose Driven Life". He said the prayer during the inaugural ceremony of Barack Obama as President of USA.
You will enjoy the new insights that Rick Warren has, with his wife now having cancer and him having 'wealth' from the book sales. 'Purpose Driven Life ' author and pastor of Saddleback Church in California.
In the interview by Paul Bradshaw with Rick Warren, Rick said:
People ask me, What is the purpose of life?
And I respond: In a nutshell, life is preparation for eternity. We were not made to last forever, and God wants us to be with Him in Heaven.
One day my heart is going to stop, and that will be the end of my body-- but not the end of me. I may live 60 to 100 years on earth, but I am going to spend trillions of years in eternity. This is the warm-up act - the dress rehearsal. God wants us to practice on earth what we will do forever in eternity. We were made by God and for God, and until you figure that out, life isn't going to make sense.
Life is a series of problems: Either you are in one now, you're just coming out of one, or you're getting ready to go into another one.
The reason for this is that God is more interested in your character than your comfort; God is more interested in making your life holy than He is in making your life happy.
We can be reasonably happy here on earth, but that's not the goal of life. The goal is to grow in character, in Christ likeness.
This past year has been the greatest year of my life but also the toughest, with my wife, Kay, getting cancer.
I used to think that life was hills and valleys - you go through a dark time, then you go to the mountaintop, back and forth. I don't believe that anymore.
Rather than life being hills and valleys, I believe that it's kind of like two rails on a railroad track, and at all times you have something good and something bad in your life.
No matter how good things are in your life, there is always something bad that needs to be worked on..
And no matter how bad things are in your life, there is always something good you can thank God for..
You can focus on your purposes, or you can focus on your problems:
If you focus on your problems, you're going into self-centeredness, which is my problem, my issues, my pain.' But one of the easiest ways to get rid of pain is to get your focus off yourself and onto God and others.
We discovered quickly that in spite of the prayers of hundreds of thousands of people, God was not going to heal Kay or make it easy for her- It has been very difficult for her, and yet God has strengthened her character, given her a ministry of helping other people, given her a testimony, drawn her closer to Him and to people.
You have to learn to deal with both the good and the bad of life.
Actually, sometimes learning to deal with the good is harder. For instance, this past year, all of a sudden, when the book sold 15 million copies, it made me instantly very wealthy..
It also brought a lot of notoriety that I had never had to deal with before. I don't think God gives you money or notoriety for your own ego or for you to live a life of ease..
So I began to ask God what He wanted me to do with this money, notoriety and influence. He gave me two different passages that helped me decide what to do, II Corinthians 9 and Psalm 72.
First, in spite of all the money coming in, we would not change our lifestyle one bit.. We made no major purchases.
Second, about midway through last year, I stopped taking a salary from the church.
Third, we set up foundations to fund an initiative we call The Peace Plan to plant churches, equip leaders, assist the poor, care for the sick, and educate the next generation.
Fourth, I added up all that the church had paid me in the 24 years since I started the church, and I gave it all back. It was liberating to be able to serve God for free.
We need to ask ourselves: Am I going to live for possessions? Popularity?
Am I going to be driven by pressures? Guilt? Bitterness? Materialism? Or am I going to be driven by God's purposes (for my life)?
When I get up in the morning, I sit on the side of my bed and say, God, if I don't get anything else done today, I want to know You more and love You better. God didn't put me on earth just to fulfill a to-do list. He's more interested in what I am than what I do.
That's why we're called human beings, not human doings.
Happy moments, PRAISE GOD.
Difficult moments, SEEK GOD.
Quiet moments, WORSHIP GOD.
Painful moments, TRUST GOD.
Every moment, THANK GOD.
If you do not pass it on, nothing will happen. But it will just be nice to pass it on to a friend....just like I have done.
Posted by The Oriental Express at 8:43 am