Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Is blogging still relevant?

Is blogging still relevant? This is the one question that I’ve been pondering about since about a year ago when I slowly realise that bloggers, political and apolitical ones began to write lesser on their blog(s). Some have migrated to tweeting while the majority just share their thoughts on Facebook or Instagram without the hassle of writing on one platform and sharing it on the other.

In the age of technological superiority, why go the long way when there are guided shortcuts? This is another question that I’ve been asking myself very often too. (More about this later)

Maintaining a blog is not an easy feat. Maintaining a blog when you are always on the move is even harder. None of the many paid and free mobile apps available is blogger friendly; either the texts not aligned or the picture too huge or small to provide a desired result. Hence, I still prefer to blog from my beloved laptop, from the comfort of my working desk and always, with a pot of tea.

However, the constant travelling and hectic work schedule in 2016 eluded me this sort of comfort. My number of posting declined as well as the urge to comment publicly or to venture temporarily into the realm of keyboard warriors. Besides, over the years, I’ve learned that keeping one’s silence is not always a bad thing unless you intend to keep an elegant silence ala Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Malaysia’s 5th Prime Minister to hasten the ending of your career and endeavours.

 Nevertheless, after observing the pro and cons of blogging versus tweeting versus Facebook posting and etc…I’ve come to the conclusion that each medium comes with its own limitations but a blog offers the benefit of tracking, reaching a wider audience and an easily accessible achieve. In my case, my blog’s purposes are to share my thoughts and engage in constructive exchanges.

This blog is my personal digital diary and a platform to connect with friends. It is worth noting that through this blog, I’ve come across many nice friends and a fair share of faceless foes too. Regardless, I thank all for making me a better person.

As Plato put it: “wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they need to say something.” I believe that we are neither wise nor foolish all the time but it is a matter of trending ourselves towards which more often than the other.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Happy Chinese New Year 恭贺新禧

Wishing you and your family members a happy and prosperous Chinese New Year!


大 福

业 禄

方 在

兴 望

四 八

海 方

平 和

安 谐

金 彩

鸡 风

唱 飞


Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Chinese New Year Couplet丁酉年对联

Spring is round the corner though it won’t officially arrive till 立春 which falls on 3rd February 2017. Globally, the Chinese New Year mood is modest and festive decorations in shopping malls, hotels and other public places is on minimalist mode. It is made worse by Trump’s presidency with its anti-globalisation rhetoric and 3 am China bashing tweets.

Regardless, I’ve decided that my house in Kuala Lumpur needed a makeover for the year of Fire Rooster. So it started with mummy dearest arriving in town last week to supervise the repainting of the doors, changing of carpets, bed sheets, curtains and even the dustbin. Then, it is my turn to decorate the front and side doors. I retrieved from the store room the lantern bought from Vietnam and the red tapestry from China. (Perhaps, in support to Make America Great Again, let's hope that in 2018, we will be able purchase traditional lantern and tapestry Made in America, from American e-Bay or (just not Alibaba yeah), paid for with American Express and to be delivered by American owned UPS.)

Ops… and before that, I’ve decided to change the couplet that adorned the doors too. A few days earlier, I contacted my Chinese expert friend, Pin Yeeh to improvise on the couplet. After some exchanges and a good laugh on my poor command of Chinese composition, we agreed with 祖国富强疆域统,宗族和谐九州同。

As expressed on the couplet, I sincerely wish that my home country is strong and prosperous with its population living harmoniously and all opportunities created equally. As with previous years, it took a while to get my calligraphy skills in order before the red papers can be proudly attached. With all that done, I am off again to Singapore, wondering how many nights will I spend in that house in 2017. 

A new year, new coat of paint, new couplet and in twelve months time, another new year again.... this is the vicissitudes of life. 

Friday, 16 December 2016

When banks are getting ridiculous

Two afternoons ago, while having tea with a friend of mine and mom, the mobile phone rang. On the other end of the line is the branch manager of Alliance Bank calling to enquire the reason and source of fund of a recent cheque deposit of RM 11,000.00.

Friend: "The cheque was issued by EPF. I am sure you can see from the cheque itself. Is that a problem?"

Branch manager: "My HQ want to know what is the reason for your withdrawal?"

Friend: "I am a former Malaysian and I was asked to clear my EPF account. Your bank is unable to process the cheque from EPF?"

Branch manager: "No, we just want to know the source of fund. My HQ asking."

Friend:"EPF!! Can’t you see from the signatories of the cheque itself?"

After the conversation with the branch manager, which my friend found extremely ridiculous, he called the Head of the Customer Service Team of Alliance Bank to lodge his dissatisfaction. He was then told that banks in Malaysia screen through every deposit of more than certain amount to counter terrorism. Oh well, EPF withdrawal by a former Malaysian who is now a Singaporean at the request of EPF itself to fund terrorism and a branch manager who can’t see that the cheque was issued by EPF!!!

“Do you think they read the name of the receiver as ACH bin Laden?” he asked me teasingly after the whole “moronic” affairs was over.

Then my mom joined the conversation.

“Last year, when I make a fixed deposit in HSBC Teluk Intan, the bank officer also asked me for my source of fund. I told him it is from Najib’s donation and then someone next to him said that I am the taukeh of Shell,” my mom said angrily.

“But Public Bank is smart enough not to ask me this kind of stupid question,” mom added.

As if the banks have the spine to alienate their VIP customers with such a question!!

Personally, my dear bankers in Singapore and Malaysia have never asked for my source of fund regardless of the amount transacted. Therefore, I am in the opinion that banks are after inconsequential amount as a window dressing to comply with the Central Bank’s anti-terrorism and money laundering measure while closing an eye big amounts for fear of offending “VIPs”. In fact, as heard in court during the trial of former BSI private bank bankers in Singapore, they have even gone the extra mile to help certain clients to move hundreds of millions.

Or, even the banks are wary of government institutions such as the EPF?

Lastly, do you still remember what is the most commonly said phrase to describe banks? 

Monday, 12 December 2016

A note on the occasion of my birthday

Words cannot describe how fortune, blessed and thankful I am to be surrounded by beloved family members, best of friends and primus inter pares colleagues that stood by me through thick and thin and be here to celebrate a memorable birthday for me. It is a long list to thank everyone by name but I am deeply touched by your best wishes, your time spent celebrating and showering me with wonderful gifts.

On this occasion, I would also like to thank my dear one for the beautiful gift of a pair of wrightia religiousa bonsai trees (pic above) that signifies growth and life.  I hope that these two trees will grow healthily and if possible, to look at their changes 35 years later. After all, you once said that the art of bonsai is an artwork that will never finish – 永远未完成的艺术- a continuous labour of love.

Last but not least, my birthday wish is to see a developed and prosperous Malaysia where everyone from different race and religion live harmoniously, a peaceful world to live without fear and a better tomorrow for everyone. Once again, thank you very much. 

Sunday, 30 October 2016

A shocking discovery

These few medicine costs RM 75.90

I was shocked when I heard RM 75.90. Could it be a mistake? Then the pharmacist repeat again: “75.90”. I took out a hundred ringgit note and she returned me RM 24.10. Okay, it wasn’t a mistake. The medicine for the all-time favourite combination sickness that loves to strike fellow Malaysians – fever, flu and sore throat – costs a whopping RM 75.90 from a pharmacy.

On second thought, could I be ripped off by the pharmacist? I checked with mom and at the same time complaining about the exorbitant price. “That’s cheap liao girl!” mom replied. “These days a visit to Dr. Lau or Dr Lee (referring to the two family physician popular among Teluk Intan folks) can easily be RM 100 and more if you need antibiotics.”

After a few more conversations with friends affirming the exorbitant price of medicine in Malaysia, I have to admit I have been blessed with good health all these years and my last visit to the doctor for fever, flu and cough was in 2012. Back then, a visit to the doctor will never cost more than RM40.00.

“The price in your memory was that of king kong years ago. You have to add in inflation and blaaaa blaaaa,” teased my dear colleague Aloysius.

“Why are you complaining when in actual it only cost you SGD 25?”

“Affordable to me but what about other people in the middle and lower income group, what about retirees?” I replied him with a question of my own.

“All thanks to greedy pharmaceutical companies and the capitalist system.” He sneered.

While I don’t agree that capitalism contributed to high cost of medical bills in developed and poor countries alike, I do agree that greed among shareholders and management of the pharmaceutical companies plays a huge role.

At the same time, I am of the opinion that Malaysians are considered luckier than the people in many other countries thanks to Klinik 1 Malaysia and government hospitals where the cost is RM 1 per visit. However, the long waiting list and limited consultation hours can be an agony for the sick and I hope that the government will address this issue for the benefit of all Malaysians.

As the old adage goes, health equals to wealth; it is definitely cheaper to stay healthy regardless of how much cheaper the cost of medical bills will be. 

Friday, 28 October 2016

New purple clay teapots from Shanghai

It is a great delight to be arriving home from Europe to find three new purple clay teapots to add to my collections. These teapots are courtesy of Uncle and Aunty Wang of Lu Yu Teashop in Shanghai and hand carried to Malaysia by my good friend Stella.

I am thankful to the Wangs from Shanghai for always remembering me and my fancy for purple clay teapots and to Stella for being my “courierwoman”. It is very unfortunate that we aren’t able to meet during your brief stay in Kuala Lumpur and I look forward to see you again soon.

Each of these three pots are unique and they are made from three different types of clay in the purple clay family; the red clay (红泥), purple clay (紫泥) and “duan ni” (段泥) by Ling Yan Ping 凌燕苹. I hope I’ll be able to find time to polish them to perfection during this year-end holiday. 

藏龙卧虎 , Hidden Dragon,Crouching Tiger

六方狮, Hexagonal Lion

心经,The heart sutra

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Deepest Condolences to Thailand

My deepest condolences to the Thailand Royal Family and people of the Kingdom of Thailand on the passing of our beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej. May His Majesty's legacies lives on forever.