Thursday, 28 February 2013

An A+ for YB Elizabeth Wong


This afternoon while waiting for the lift to my office, I bump into a Tan Sri and his friend, both whom so happened to live in Mutiara Damansara. He told me that he was on his way to the Petroleum Club with his friend for a meeting. Out of sudden, Tan Sri asked me if I have changed my voting address from Penang to Selangor. I replied yes, so in the coming election we are going to be voter of Bukit Lanjan state seat and Subang parliamentary seat.

I came to know this Tan Sri exactly a year ago when residents of Mutiara Damansara came out in full force against the proposed Damansara – Shah Alam Highway (DASH) that was designed to cut through this beautiful and prestigious neighbourhood. It was a no brainer project and as of date, the fate of the highway is still hanging without any conclusion. I still remember the Tan Sri said that those who design and approve such a route must be someone born without a brain- tak ada kepala otak, as he said it in Malay.

Inside the lift, Tan Sri asked if I do read an article in The Edge Financial Daily about an article relating to Gerakan’s candidate poser for the Bukit Lanjan state seat and went on straight to comment that no matter who that BN is going to field for Bukit Lanjan, the voters will vote for Eli Wong. “Voters know who is working and who only show up once election is near,” Tan Sri’s friend added. "Where are the representatives from BN ?"

I agree with the Tan Sri and his friend about this. Be it Francis Chong or Syed Razak Alsagoff that the BN will field for Bukit Lanjan, both are of no match to Eli, as Elizabeth Wong is fondly called by the people. The list of what Eli did for the people of Bukit Lanjan are too long to be named. Many problems were solved and at the peak of the DASH issue, even though it is a Federal Government project, she was in solidarity with her constituents.  But what I fondly remember of her was when she distribute greeting cards to residents at the guard house of my housing estate on festive seasons.

To be fair, Francis Chong and Syed Razak Alsagoff were nowhere to be seen. Not even on any banner along Persiaran Surian where politicians love to hang theirs. Some politicians are well known to be nowhere to be seen except on banners and billboards.

My curiosity about Francis Chong, the BN coordinator for Bukit Lanjan lead to me search for him on Facebook and read his postings. To my horror, I found out so many grammatical and spelling errors on his postings. On the photos and albums sections, where candidates wannabes will upload all photos that they can about what they have done show off to their voters and party bosses; there were so many untitled albums. How on earth people are going to guess what you did in those photos?

Syed Razak Alsagoff’s Facebook is another disappointment. A posting copied from his FB page read: So kind of my wife to maintain my FB. I am very lazy at updating and chatting because I am from the old school where voice or phone call is still the best. Old man mah..... Not like my wife who keeps up with the latest on telecommunications.... her job mah!

Err….if Francis Chong or his assistant can’t even manage his Facebook page properly, which is vital these days for him to connect with the people he intends to serve and if he can’t even spell properly or at least get his grammar correct, does he qualify to be the candidate at the first place? It is the same for Syed Razak Alsagoff if he needs his wife to maintain his FB page. Ah Jib kor, are these two your so called winnable candidates for Bukit Lanjan, a constituency where every household have internet access and majority of primary school students have their own Facebook and Twitter?

I need not elaborate further on YB Eli’s Facebook. It is the testimony of her hard work and dedication to the people all these years.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Auspicious Sutra 吉祥经


After coming back from a tiring overseas trip, I was elated when I received a package from a good friend living down south that includes a hand written sutra in elegant Chinese strokes that was given to her by a monk while visiting  China recently. It was also framed in my favourite imperial yellow colour. I was thinking, what an auspicious present to receive at the begining of this water snake year or is my friend is hinting something ?
Nicely up on a corner at home.

The sutra is called “Auspicious Sutra”, 吉祥经 and I would like to take this opportunity to share this sutra with readers of this blog. From the sutra:

如是我闻,一时,佛住舍卫祗陀园给孤独精舍。时已深夜,有一天神殊胜光明遍照园中,来至佛所,恭敬礼拜,站立一旁,以偈白佛言:“众天神与人,渴望得利益,思虑求幸福,请求最吉祥?”世尊如是答言:

  “勿近愚痴人,应与智者交,尊敬有德者,是为最吉祥
      居住适宜处,往昔有德行,置身于正道,是为最吉祥
      多闻工艺精,严持诸禁戒,言谈悦人心,是为最吉祥

             奉养父母亲,爱护妻与子,从业要无害,是为最吉祥
      布施好品德,帮助众亲眷,行为无瑕疵,是为最吉祥
     
      邪行须禁止,克己不饮酒,美德坚不移,是为最吉祥

      恭敬与谦让,知足并感恩,及时闻教法,是为最吉祥
     
      忍耐与顺从,得见众沙门,适时论信仰,是为最吉祥

      自治净生活,领悟八正道,实证涅磐法,是为最吉祥

            八风不动心,无忧无污染,宁静无烦恼,是为最吉祥
     依此行持者,无往而不胜,一切处得福,是为最吉祥"

Monday, 18 February 2013

Even Jade Emperor’s birthday is about politics


An altar at home.

Today, the 9th day of the first moon of the lunar calendar is the birthday of the Jade Emperor. Each year without miss, his birthday is celebrated by the Hokkien (福建) diaspora worldwide in full ceremony that started at 12 midnight. This day is also called the “Hokkien Chinese New Year” but as time passed, other some minorities from other dialect groups do join this celebration for they do not want the miss out the blessings of the Jade Emperor. In some household, it is also a night to hold gathering and feast after the praying session was over.

It is said that the Hokkiens were protected by the Jade Emperor for nine days from prosecution during the Song Dynasty by the officials by hiding at a sugar cane plantation. Finally, on the day of the birthday of the Jade Emperor, they emerged unharmed. As a mark to offer their gratitude to the Jade Emperor, his birthday was made a top priority among the Hokkiens and as they had not had celebrated their Chinese New Year on the first day of the lunar calendar, that day is also being celebrated as Hokkien New Year.


  A hill of paper gold ingots.

Every Hokkien family will set up an altar in front of their house with offerings that range from everything edible that human can think of and a pair sugar cane stalks to the Jade Emperor is a must. The finale of the event is usually the burning of the “house” for the Jade Emperor alongside his full ceremonial robes and thousands of pieces of joss papers folded to resemble gold ingots.
On this day as well, no expenses were spared when it comes to lighting off firecrackers and fireworks that if all were lighted at the same time, it can cause a seismic change on earth’s alignment. On Facebook, friends were all commenting that their neighborhoods resembled warzones. The amounts of fireworks lighted were definitely much more than previous years and friends agreed. I was wondering aloud, did I miss out any news that fireworks are legal again in Malaysia?

Then someone who is usually apolitical next to me said: “At the market, people sell fireworks openly. This year ( Ah Jib Kor) is desperate the Chinese votes, so he will ask the police to close one eye and let the Chinese bomb the whole town even if they want.” Another person added: “The Chinese community is trying out which is the best fireworks that we will use when the fat lady ran out hurriedly from Seri Perdana with her Hermes handbags stuffed with jewelries”. A third person joined in: “These explosives cannot match the C4 but our votes will definitely blast “fat rose mama” from Malaysia during the coming general elections, Jade Emperor will make our come true.”

Not too long later, a big Kong Ming lantern flew past me with big character written in Chinese saying "Ti Kong, please help us Malaysians to successfully change from BN to PR government". I was astonished, again, is Kong Ming lantern legal in Malaysia? I thought it was banned exactly ten years ago when planes can’t land and take off at Penang International Airport due to thousands of Kong Ming lanterns flying around Penang’s skyline. But the point is, since when Kong Ming lantern is now part of something people use to convey messages to Jade Emperor?  Not to mention, there are scores of Facebook messages and tweets from friends writing that they pray that the Jade Emperor bless their respective political parties and help it win in the next general elections.

A Kong Ming lantern on air.

Finally, as the day is also considered a lucky day for four digit number punters, my mom joined scores of people at the counters of Magnum, Da Ma Cai and Sports Toto to buy her lucky numbers. While waiting for their turn, a lady next to my mom remarked: “The jackpot was well over 20 million ringgit yesterday but now it is only left 800 thousands, I think the 20 million was taken by the fat lady to buy clothes to wear during election campaign.” What a day and year to come, o dear Jade Emperor!

Encore after encore to the lighting up of fireworks.


Saturday, 9 February 2013

Happy Chinese New Year 新年快乐



祝来者四海各地的亲朋好友

万福金安
福泽万年


Best wishes to all my dear friends from all corners of the globe. May good health, prosperity, wealth and best of luck be with you throughout the year.


Chinese New Year Couplet (春联)


The main door of Mental Cultivation Studio, 2013

Within China and the Chinese diaspora, regional customs and traditions concerning the celebration of the Chinese New Year vary widely. People will pour out their money to buy presents, decoration, material, food, and clothing. It is also traditional for every family to thoroughly cleanse the house, in order to sweep away any ill-fortune and to make way for good incoming luck. Windows and doors will be decorated with red color paper-cuts and couplets with popular themes of "good fortune" or "happiness", "wealth", and "longevity."

Following tradition, each year I’ll have different couplets written in elegant Chinese brush ink on red paper to be pasted on my main door. I had a long thought about it and I wanted something different instead of those about wealth, happiness and etc. etc. for myself。I want to do something for my country. Last year’s couplet was 江山永固,祖国长春 which I had explained its meaning in my previous blog. This year, I made a personal vow that for the years to come, my couplet will be different from other others because I believe in the power of “words” and it is said that those paper-cuts and couplets represent the wish of the owner of the house.

For 2013’s Chinese New Year couplet, I’ve written 喜看江山如画,展望前程似锦. 喜看江山如画 means happy to see that the empire is in good shape like a piece of painting, while 展望前程似锦 means looking forward to see that all future developments are gorgeous and smooth like brocade. I wish that I will continue to see Malaysia’s future in good shape and all its future developments are gorgeous and all Malaysians benefits from it.