Thursday, 26 June 2014

Daddy, I miss you


Our first family trip oversea - Jiangnan, China. 
Daddy, it has been three weeks since you leave us. It is still very hard for me to come to terms to with your sudden departure. I find it hard to continue writing for this blog because I know you used to read every piece of my thoughts. My heart cries each time I think of you. Each time I wander around our garden and see the beautiful plants that you’ve planted, I see your images everywhere.
At minus 27 degree, deep winter in Northern China.

Family trip to Troy.
I am yet to return to Surian, the other home where your love for me is more evidently on display: all the beautiful antiques that you bought for me without a slight complain about its price. My thoughts are everywhere, to the paintings and calligraphies that you help me to hang because you forbade me to use the ladders. To the purple clay teapots that you bought for me during your trip to China with mummy that became part of your pride, to the study room that you so lovingly teased that it is more like a homage room to Chairman Mao and communism, to the rosewood rocking chair that you like to have your afternoon nap and morning newspapers. And more……..

This afternoon, I wandered to the back of our house and I saw the plastic chairs and tables that we used every year for Chinese New Year open house and the occasion party at home. I can’t help but to think of your joy as friends and relatives come in the dozens. As you told Adam, each gathering is a happy moment for you. We will continue with this tradition that you’ve set up, daddy. I am sure you know, Adam and Yen miss you very much. So does the many people that know you.  

Happy time during CNY open house
On arrival at Lhasa after a 29 hours on board the Sky Train.
Every night, as mummy watches the Hokkien drama after dinner, I will do my reading at the balcony with Baron. Each time I am there, I felt that you are relaxing next to me but minus the songs that you used to download and play on your mobile phone. We are slowly adjusting to life after your departure but I find it hard. The speed of my reading reduced tremendously as I find it hard to concentrate. As you know I used to cover about 100 pages a day yet now I need 3-4 days to absorb 50 pages. As you used to tell me, for every change, it will need some time for us to adjust to it. I will, and time will be the best testimony.
Yummy birthday cake from Maxim's Hong Kong.
As they say, photos are all about capturing the moments. I plan to do a photo book but it is just so hard for me to go through the many pictures that we took together and many of the trips that you made with mummy without crying. The project will just need more time for it to come to realization. I used to say I have no regrets in life but I have to change my statement now. I regretted very much now that I didn’t get to make the trips to Perth and Siem Riep that I’d wanted so much for you and mummy to travel with me, with the two of you doing the sightseeing while I attend some business meetings.
However, I am contented that we had our annual and bi-annual overseas trips for the past 12 years which you’d always arrange for it to coincide with my birthday in December though it is freezing cold. Of all, Dec 2007 in Hong Kong is the most memorable one for me because the birthday cake is the most delicious of all cakes while the cake in Istanbul is the most horrible one. You’d complained that it is just icing without substance. I’d inherited from you for being picky about food – nothing but the best. Yes, nothing but the best is always your maxim in life. I shall cherish it forever. I love you daddy.

P/S: More often than not, when I think of what happened on the morning of 6th June,  I am still in my own denial and illusion that I find it hard to explain in words.

Friday, 13 June 2014

A tribute to my late father


“Though nothing can bring back the hour,
 Of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower
We will grieve not, rather find, 
Strength in what remains behind;”                          William Wordsworth
Daddy mounting a camel during our visit to the Taklamakan Desert
My beloved father passed away on Friday, 6th June 2014 at 12.10pm at Tropicana Medical Center. The cause of death is pulmonary embolism. It is a very sudden departure as most friends and relatives were not informed that he will be undergoing a surgery to remove a tumor tucked in between his kidney and liver.
There are many questions from shocked and grieving friends and relatives that my family and I didn’t get to answer during the funeral and thereafter, thus I am writing this piece to put the final jigsaw into the whole puzzle.  I would have to admit this is the hardest composition that I have written thus far in life. I am still grieving but I seek to find strength in what remains behind.
At around 7.30 am on 6th June, my mother and I accompanied my jovial and upbeat father to the operating theater but we never see him alive again.  During the surgery to remove the lump, an embolism attached to his lump and main vein dislodged and travelled to his lung in split second. For the next 70 over minutes, the surgeons, headed by Dr. Zamzuri Zakaria tried their best to save him which includes dosages of blood thinner injections, CPR and others. The rest, I would say, is history and fated. 
There are many questions about the selection of doctors, second opinions and even some bigotry statements in this time of crazy racial divide fanned by irresponsible NGOs and stupid politicians, because all these while, only my mother and me interacts with Dr. Zam and other respective surgeons.
A very knowledgeable man and a man always ahead of his time; my father had no slightest doubt about Dr. Zam’s ability and his genuine and sincerity in helping others. (My father’s grasp of technology and his knowledge of smart phones and computers far surpassed me). If my father is still around today, I believe he will praise Dr. Zam as a very good doctor that gave him more than necessary medical attention and going the extra mile which not many other doctors will do. I hope this explains why a second opinion in Singapore suggested by my mother and myself was rejected by my father. Dr. Zam cried and grieves with us. He continues to send messages almost daily to enquire about my mother, again, a care and concern hardly rendered by other surgeons
A loving husband to my mother, a great father to his my brothers and I, a very generous and kind brother, uncle and friend to all that know him, my father rest in peace  without much pain and suffering. It is often said that God loves the good ones that He want them to be free from the suffering of the mortal world fast and quick.
My father leaves us with strings of legacies and pearls of wisdom that we will never forget. His humbleness, his kindness and his generosity touched the hearts of everyone that know him. Even the security guards at my residence in Kuala Lumpur wept upon knowing his demise, a further testament of my father’s kindness.
Daddy, I will miss you a lot, I will miss the moments of laughter with you while having Chinese tea, I will miss the annual overseas trips that we did together, and I will miss you taking us for great dinners over the weekend and many more. We will take good care of grandmother and mom. We will take good care of your business, the beautiful house that you’ve painstakingly designed for us, the lovely plants that you’ve planted and everything that you’ve left behind. Daddy, rest in peace.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Battle Hymn of my own “Tiger Parents”

Tiger mom and dad's favorite - the bamboo cane.
Last night, I finally found time to visit my former neighbor at their new home a few streets away. The last time we met was more slightly more than a year ago after Vanessa gave birth to baby Mackenzie. Then off we went for Japanese food.

Throughout dinner, I can’t help to notice how cute and adorable baby Mac is and how well he behave. He basically leaves his mom and dad to enjoy their sashimi and garlic fried rice without much hassle, he don’t throw tantrum, and he don’t seek for their full attention annoyingly. He was happy with his snacks and toy. What a good boy! I can’t help but to praise baby Mac but Vanessa was quick to point out that they do smack him lightly and lovingly if he don’t behave well.
Selfie with Baby Mac and Vanessa.
“Thankfully we are not in Sweden or you will end up in prison,” I told her and we burst out laughing out loud. We were referring to the case of Malaysia’s tourism director and his wife who are now serving prison time in Sweden for using “force” to educate their three children. While it may be viewed as wrong to cane or spank a child for educational purposes in Western countries, there are many arguments in the Asian society about the pros and cons of having Tiger Mother or Father at home.
I’ll leave the arguments to the specialists but what I do see with my own eyes is that parents who do not hesitate to cane or spank their children, and of course not to the extent of abuse, do produce children who are much more well behaved and achieve better results in school than parents who raised their kids with Dr. Spock’s permissive child rearing attitudes.
I will not hesitate to admit, and actually, I feel proud to admit that I am the product of Tiger Mother and Tiger Father, to borrow the term from famous author Amy Chua in her worldwide bestselling book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” published in 2011. Cane, made of bamboo and the feather duster was some sort of hanging “decoration” in many parts of our house when I was growing up. It is the same too in the houses of my long list of cousins. Hiding them behind the cupboard, especially after getting the report card from school was a must but somehow, our parents seems to have endless supply of the canes.
“Why this careless mistake?”, “Why it is only 98 and not 100?”, “Why it is an A- and not A+ for your composition writing?” was the three classic and constant questions asked when we present our examination papers and result to them. And deep in my heart, I knew exactly how many strokes of cane I’ll get from either mom or dad the moment I’m home after getting those examination rolls every semester. Sometimes, on an unlucky month when the horoscope stars aren’t good, I’ll get the caning from both mom and dad. But after he had cooled down, I know I’ll always get a box of Lego bricks from him. Dad's stick always comes with carrot.
When I was small, I hate it but the hatred made only helped to make me resolved to do better the next time. No more careless mistakes. No more A-. All must be good, presentable and perfect so that my parents won’t be upset. However, there were times that I felt I am so unlucky compared to some of my friends whom parents not only didn’t cane them but reward them or gave them a pat saying “well done” even for their not so good results and I’ll start my mini (but often failed) rebellion. Nevertheless, today, I would say I was wrong for the rebellion and I am very grateful for having my Tiger Mother and Tiger Daddy.
It is not only for examination results that we will get caning. Caning applies for misbehavior in public, throwing tanturms during mealtimes, for not showing respect to the elders and well as for anything that deemed morally wrong. If we don’t behave well when visiting their friends or throwing tantrum in the shopping center if a toy that we want was denied, the thing that we won’t fail to hear from them were these few magical words: “wait till you get home”. (You can imagine what will happen at home.)
Whether having a Tiger Mom and Tiger Father is good or bad is up to one to judge and up to the experts to debate. However, to my siblings and me, we knew what our Tiger Dad and Mom did was for our good and it helped to shape our discipline and success today. From Tiger Mom, Amy Chua: Tough love can also be unconditional love.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Internal problem caused DAP to lose


History is written again in Teluk Intan and miracle created. For once again, now Teluk Intan is having an MP who is going to be made a minister soon. Congratulations to Dato’ Mah Siew Keong for your bitter sweet history. So, I hope that what you’ve promised in your manifesto will be delivered as soon as possible.
However, what I really hope for is that you can help to upgrade the road linking Teluk Intan and Bidor into a 4 lane federal road without potholes.  I am sure all Ministers, MPs and leaders who came to Teluk Intan knew how bad is the condition of this main road linking Teluk Intan and the North South Highway. There is no more excuse that there aren’t any allocations for upgrade of roads, utilities and facilities in Teluk Intan.
Everyone knows that Ministers have special allocations for their constituency.  I also hope that you will get a more senior Ministerial position compared to Koh Tsu Koon who entered the Cabinet through back door. You’ve asked for a front door entrance and the people of Teluk Intan have given it to you. Do not disappoint us again even you know that 19919 of the voters didn’t vote for you and the spoilt votes are more than your majority.
For the DAP, Dyana, you did a good job despite all the challenges that you faced. You lose not because the people rejected you. I am not a political analyst but I just want to tell you why you lose the outstation votes and why some much needed Chinese votes swing. You lose because of overconfidence in most of your supporters and your leaders, therefore the much needed outstation voters didn’t come back, all thinking that you are going to win anyway looking at all the huh hah that you’ve received since nomination day.
The second factor that you lose is because of the boycott of grassroots DAP leaders aligned to the late Seah Leong Peng as well as his family, friends and supporters. I am sure you know this issue from the very beginning but nobody in your party ever takes a very hard approach to pacify them, especially the Seah family. It is sad that your Secretary General, Lim Guan Eng denied about cracks in Teluk Intan DAP.
We all knew that your campaign workers are all from outstation, only a few local leaders are around. Even Terence Naidu, the state assemblyman for Pasir Bedamar is hardly to be seen on your campaign trail. Without the local leaders from your party, your leaders find it hard to penetrate through the many temples and associations in town and thus denied you the opportunity to get to know the local leaders and businessmen that held certain influence in town.
Everyone in town knew about the bitterness of Seah Leong Peng’s widow, including his mother. There are many versions of rumors that spread by the people of your own party. Before the Election Day, half the town knew that Seah Leong Peng’s widow asked their relatives and friends not to come out to vote for you. I am sure you know this too but your leaders failed to bring them out. On Election Day, Seah Leong Peng’s widow, Kee Siu Lian did not come out to vote, so does many of his friends and relatives.
Seah Leong Peng’s mother had been asking everyone that she know to spread the word that your party caused his son’s death. Including the rumors that Nga Kor Ming asked Seah to resign to pave way for a by-election. I believe Nga Kor Ming is innocent, how would he want a by-election that everyone would avoid at all cost. My friend’s cousin who is Seah’s relative told my friend that Seah Leong Peng’s mother asked the people to vote for Mah Siew Keong to teach DAP a lesson. 

Yes, indeed you saw how the votes at SJK© Phooi Yong and SJK© San Min dropped a hell lot as compared to GE 13. Their influence, though is small, are there. Kampung Batu 12 is another of Seah's stronghold. You know that none of the DAP members there come out to support you. That is because they were told to teach DAP a lesson. 
Hell hath no fury a woman scorned. Your party should have brought Kee Siu Lian and his mother in-law out to your ceramah circuit or press conference to support you. But their overconfidence and sometimes, arrogance caused you losing by just 238 votes. I’ve noticed that you’ve failed in your ceramah, press conference and your open letter to the Teluk Intan voters to ask those who’ve supported Seah Leong Peng in the last election please continue their support towards you. I hope that your leaders will learn this lesson well and you can add this into your political experience. For the winner and loser, 238 is the magical numbers that should be analyzed.  
History will probably write that Dato’ Mah Siew Keong won and Dyana Sofya lose in the battle of Teluk Intan because of a widow and mother.