Monday, 30 December 2013

Karma is there, up to one to believe

A thousand words will not leave so deep an impression as one deed - Henrik Ibsen. 

As we all prepare to wind up the 2013 which was dubbed the “election year” and swearing over inflation year of 2014, a few incidents in a row that happened to two ex-colleagues plus some other incidents that happened to others made me can’t help but to think of the existence of karma.
Not too long ago, I was asked in the blog if I do believe in karma and my reply was, yes, I do. Karma does not only restrict to Buddhism but it is in all other religions as well. Were we often told or reminded of “do not do unto others what you do not want others to do to you” and others that are equivalent to it but I would like to add that, sometimes, misfortune may not necessary happen to the person who did the evil job but can land on someone close to him/her.
In Buddhism, there are also karma which one carries from the previous life and lots of other karmas which I am not going to describe further because that will take forever to understand and write. I’ll leave it to theologians who are expert in this field to describe it further. Besides, karma also involved being blessed and the rewards by doing good deeds. It works like a bank account, for every bad thing that one does, a credit is deducted and when it hit bottom, one has to pay the penalty. So goes when good deeds are done, the deposits kept increasing and one reaps the benefits of the interests.
Back to my two ex-colleagues, only they themselves knew what they’ve done to others for they are now feeling the pain of other innocent colleagues that were their victims. For most of us, I guess the common sight of karma at work is that we get to see how one treat their parents and parents-in law and how their own children and children(s)-in law repeat it back to them; déjà vu.  For me, another common thing that I often see, due my involvement in politics, is how politicians so used to lies and betrayal themselves ended up being betrayed and lied upon.
Another common occurrence among us is that sometimes we will be in awe and wonder how come this and that person can be so blessed with this and that. Well, perhaps next time we should ask them, besides hard work to achieve what they achieved, what other good deeds that they do? For sour grapes, instead of envying others for their success, it is time to change one’s attitude because envying others is said to be adding on to one’s bad karma.
Back in 2006, I was given a CD by my close friend Denise titled “The 4 stories of Liao Fan” (了凡四训). It talks in length about a Mr Yuan of Ming Dynasty, his destiny and how he changed his course of life through good deeds. It is my favourite CD and a constant reminder that karma and fate are intertwined and it is never too late to start doing good deeds. 

Ibsen is right that a thousand words will not leave an impression as deep as a deed whether good or bad. In the end, problems or successes, they are all the results of our own actions - karma. 

Thursday, 26 December 2013

From old letters and greetings cards

Letters and cards from Jen, 

One thing that I love about being back to hometown besides the good food and comfort of being close to my family members is the ample time left to tend to personal matters. This is the kind of luxury that I can ill afford in Kuala Lumpur due to many other reasons, chief among them is the amount of time spent on the road battling traffic jams.


I was rearranging my personal belongings at home when I came across an old box containing letters and greetings cards (Birthday, Christmas, Chinese New Year) from my pen pals. They were all still nicely tucked in their respective envelopes and sorted out according to the alphabetical order of my friends’ surname. I took some out to read, looked at some old photos attached to them and memories of yesteryears started to flow in like the rapid water gushing down after a heavy downpour.  

I started to write to pen pals since secondary one. I remember looking forward to every Thursday’s Section 2 of The Star Newspaper to search for name, address, gender and a line or two notes printed there. I will usually make my pick based on the town that the person is staying and I will start writing. Not all my letters receive a reply. Some stop after one or two correspondence. However, I do keep a handful of active pen pals but that too naturally stop as examinations and other priorities take over.

With the emergence of email and improvement of technology, suddenly pen friend became something of the past. Some of them were on my ICQ list, later MSN and lastly, I am left with two on Facebook. Both are now married, settled down with reputable work but what I am glad is that we are still friends. Jen and Swen has been my friend for the past 17 years!

I remember meeting the shy Jen once in Melaka and Swen for many occasions when I was working in Penang. Jen is now based in Los Angeles, having graduated from University of Pennsylvania.  Shy as she was, Jen’s letters were usually long and insightful, always regarding current issues. She was so right when she wrote in 1998 that the sacking of Anwar Ibrahim opened a new floodgate that the people are more politically conscious now.
By writing this, I hope to reconnect with my long lost pen pals. Those who still remember me can email me or add me on Facebook.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Melbourne, I miss you so much


View of Yarra River and Melbourne's CBD from Southbank.
Today mark the second final highlight for 2013 with the conclusion of the MCA party election and I am looking forward for the finale of the event of the year – my brother’s wedding in a few more days. I am counting the days, yes, counting the days but not for the wedding celebration. I am counting the days that I will be travelling down under again to Melbourne.
I have to confess that I miss Melbourne very much and I can't wait to be there again soon. If it is not for my involvement with MCA’s election and Yann’s wedding, I will be in Melbourne now, enjoying the beautiful summer by the Yarra River, visit to cherry farms, drive to historical towns like Ballarat, cruise along the Murray, crab catching at Lakes Entrance and many more.
However, what I miss most in Melbourne is catching up with friends over delicious food and drinks. I promised Hong Huynh that I’ll visit her as soon as I am free but I kept delaying the visit and I have to thanks Hong for her patience. I am looking forward for the seafood feast that she is going to cook when I am there. I hope she can still find time for it since that she’d had an additional member to her family now with the arrival of Mason. I look forward to play some rounds of Pontoon with Sandra “Bullock” in Crown…err..but I am not too sure if she is still working in Crown.
I am now working hard to plan my schedule for a work cum holiday visit to Melbourne as soon as possible. I hope this trip will be possible before Chinese New Year or otherwise it will be in February before the autumn chill starts. Melbourne….I am coming soon.  

Friday, 13 December 2013

卜算子


There is a goddess of memories, Mnemosyne; but none of forgetting. Yet there should be, as they are twin sisters, twin powers and walk on either side of us, disputing for sovereignty over us and who we are, all the way until death.  – Richard Holmes,  A Meander Through Memory and Forgetting



Suddenly thought of this Song Dynasty verse that evokes some memories of yesteryears and I would agree with Holmes that there should be a goddess for forgetting, just as there is Mnemosyne.


卜算子      李之议者

我住长江头,
君住长江尾,
日日思君不见君,
共饮长江水。
此水几时休?
此恨何时已?
只愿君心似我心,
定不负,相思意。


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Call for all MCA contenders to pledge for the end of corruption and abuse of power



New Movement would like to invite all contenders who vie for positions in the upcoming MCA party election to an event organized by New Movement on 17th December 2013 at 11 am at Wisma MCA to pledge for the end of corruption and the abuse of power in this country.

Besides that, in tandem with the election manifesto of YB Dr. Leong Yong Kong who is vying for the position of Vice President, we would also like to urge for Members of Parliaments from MCA to work hand in hand with Barisan Nasional component parties as well as Pakatan Rakyat to push for a motion to be tabled in Parliament for the MACC and Attorney General as well as Auditor General to be answerable directly to Parliament.
We hope that all contenders for positions in MCA from the Youth Wing to Wanita to MCA Central Committee will attend the pledge signing ceremony on Dec 17 to show one’s seriousness in fighting corruption in this country. Together, we work towards a better nation.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Tea drinking and feng shui


My tea tray with assorted decoratives.

Since the publication of “Tea Drinking can Unlock and Grow Abundance of Your Home” written by Lilian Too in the Feng Shui World magazine for its Nov/Dec 2013 edition, I have been getting a lot of questions by friends and strangers that I met at the tea shop and during private drinking session. Knowing that I do study Chinese Metaphysics, everyone is very curious about tea drinking’s association with feng shui.

The most commonly asked questions are:
1)      Is it true that the ritual of preparing tea can have a hidden impact on your good fortune as tea released propitious energy into your home?
2)      Is it true that pouring freshly brewed tea into figurines representing auspicious creatures made by purple clay that we used to decorate our tea tray will unlock inner auspiciousness?
3)      Is it true that pouring enough water into your teapot for it to overflow is an auspicious sign?

Well, I have to admit I do not have answer for all these questions. I have checked with some practitioners as well as feng shui books but I find no part of it that associates feng shui with tea drinking. Jokingly I told those with questions that they should seek the answer from Grand Master Lilian Too, with due respect since she is the one writing the article or the best way to know if it is true or not is to try it out. Nothing beats the experience of trying it and experimenting something.

However, all that I know is that one is indeed fortunate enough to drink some age old pu erh or Wu Yi Mountain Rock Tea as they are much more costlier than gold. Secondly, one indeed will absorb the positive energy of particular corners of one’s house if one is spending considerable amount of time at the corner regardless of drinking tea or reading a book or just playing Candy Crush.

Thirdly, I am not the type that has the habit of over pouring the water from my teapot because it can make the tea tray messy, especially if one is drinking pu erh. Finally, I do pour hot water and left over tea over some objects made of purple clay that I used to decorate my tea tray but I never believe that trinkets can assist in bringing good feng shui. To me, they are just decorative items.

Therefore, my personal conclusion is that tea drinking has nothing to do with feng shui and auspicious objects are mere decorative items, they won’t bring any prosperity no matter how many times you pour hot water into them. 
Part of my collection of objects made from purple clay.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Daylight robbery by cabbies at Hentian Duta

Taken at Hentian Duta at 5pm on 2nd Dec.

Impressed with the efficiency of the service provided by Transnasional, I am now a frequent user of the service provided by this bus company to travel back and fro Teluk Intan. This afternoon, after the having settled down with moving into our new family house, I took a 2 pm bus back to Kuala Lumpur. The bus reached Hentian Duta at 4.45 and it was raining.
As I wasn’t sure of the timing that I will be arriving in KL, I didn’t ask for Azman to wait for me at Hentian Duta to fetch me home, besides knowing that I will be able to hail a cab without much hassle. Just like KL Sentral, Pudu Sentral, Terminal Bersepadu Selatan and KLIA, there is a surcharge to hail a cab from Hentian Duta. One will need to purchase the “ticket” at the designated counter for a fixed price according to destination before boarding the cab and the pricing of it is about 50-75% more than the usual fare of a metered taxi.
Today, as I approached the counter, the lady working there told me “Tak ada teksi (No Taxi)” but I can see about 7 taxis parked there with their drivers sitting at the store nearby having their drinks. I asked how long do I need to wait but the lady replied that it depends on the rain. The rain, okay! This means that the drivers are not going to drive because it is raining and traffic is bad. While I was calling Azman to come to fetch me, a driver approached and shouted “IKEA….Siapa nak pergi IKEA”.
Immediately I told him I am going to Mutiara Damansara and I’ll buy the ticket from the counter. He told me I don’t have to and motioned me to get into his cab while mumbling that it is raining, the traffic is heavy and I will have to pay extra. I ended up paying double the usual rate. I knew I have to pay or I do not know for how long more I will have to wait before a cab is going to take me home.
Daylight robbery by cab drivers during peak hours, during raining hours and during whatever special days is not something new. The matter has been raised for so many times but why there aren’t any affirmative action taken by the government? While we are aware of the plight of the taxi drivers, consumers’ plight should be taken into consideration too. Rain and traffic jam should not be an excuse for cabbies to conduct daylight robbery.