Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Dearest Pek Chin, Happy Birthday!

Pek Chin is happier with a brew of Dragon Well tea than a cake to celebrate her birthday.  

There are a few dates of the year that I won't forget, July 29th being one of them. It is time again to celebrate this special day with you. Instead of just wishing you Happy Birthday and many returns of this day, I would also love to wish that you stay young, beautiful, healthy, happy and prosperous. May all your wishes come true and you still get to enjoy the Dragon Well tea you so love wherever you are.

Happy Birthday to you, Pek Chin, my wonderful friend and sister!

Sunday, 27 July 2014

My very first “Penjing” (我的第一盘盆景)

Can't wait for the trees in this penjing to mature.
This afternoon, I created this pot of penjing – my very first, which made up of eight juniperus chinesis of various sizes between 13 to 20 cm and their average age are two to four years old to resemble a miniature forest. These trees were replanted into a purple clay tray with the length of 40cm. It will take another year or two for this group of trees to mature. I just can’t wait for to see how they are going to turn out to be. And certainly, I will create more if time and space permits besides the material such as beautiful rocks and healthy plants.

Penjing, which originated from bonsai is a living art created using miniature bonsai trees cultivated in pots for some years, along with shaped rockeries and sometimes, other materials to create aesthetic representations of natural landscapes.

This art with life was first introduced during the Southern Song dynasty which capital was at what is today’s Hangzhou, a paradise on earth so beloved by the literati and rulers alike. There is a saying that 上有天堂,下有苏杭 which loose translate as “there is heaven up there and Suzhou and Hangzhou down here”, putting Suzhou and Hangzhou as equal heaven on earth.

For centuries, penjing are created as an art with the aim of “seeing the big from the tiny”. It is also said that penjing is created as a method of self-expression to convey personal emotion. As for myself, I do not know what kind of emotion that I am trying to convey when I created this penjing but it will certainly be emotional to see it mature and turn into a miniature forest of juniperus chinesis.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Is Allah unforgiving and petty?

I wonder if this man has some screws loose on his head or he is just one the many idiots produced by PAS’s indoctrination? Is this man is trying to portray that Allah, the God believe by Muslims is the unforgiving and petty one?
Shame it on Mr. Ahmad Tarmizi Sulaiman who is also the Kedah PAS Youth information chief for portraying to Muslims as well as non- Muslims like me that Allah is the unforgiving and petty God that will take the lives of 537 innocent people who choose to fly with Malaysia Airlines, an airline that has flouted Islamic rules. He said that MAS’s sins are inappropriate dressing by its stewardess and for serving alcoholic drinks.
Thus, for the sins of Malaysia Airlines that Allah is so “unforgiving” and “petty” that 239 lives from MH370 and 298 lives from MH17 must be sacrificed?  What about Emirates Airlines which is wholly owned by Dubai which also serve alcoholic drinks on board?  What about Qatar Airways which is the state owned flag carrier of Qatar? What about Etihad Airways, the flag carrier airline of the United Arab Emirates based in Abu Dhabi? These three are the example of Muslim owned airlines that serve alcoholic drinks on board.
So, what does Ahmad Tarmizi Sulaiman have to say about them and other airlines that have sexy dressing air stewardess as well as serving alcoholic drinks? This time, I hope that he will use his brain before he speaks for he is sending the wrong message about Allah to everyone. I certainly do not believe that Allah will take the lives of the innocents just because they fly with what deemed by PAS leaders as sinful airlines. 
Ahmad Tarmizi Sulaiman further attest his stupidity by saying that: Flying in a MAS plane does not give passengers the feeling of an airline operated by a country which organizes the annual Quran recital competition and in fact, even winning the competition. So, what kind of feeling should one have when flying?
Hereby, I call on the relevant authority to take action against Ahmad Tarmizi Sulaiman for giving misleading message to Muslims and non-Muslims about Allah, who is certainly not unforgiving and petty.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Justice for MH 17

It is another sad day for Malaysia. Barely 100 over days after losing MH 370, the nation is lose another plane, MH 17 over the Ukraine airspace. My deepest condolences to the family of the 295 innocent lives lost and we must not let them die in vain. We owe it to them to find the truth over who bring down the plane, be it from terrorist attack or a misguided missile. We must leave no rocks unturned. Those responsible must be brought to justice no matter how long it takes.

It is time for Malaysia to stand up and stay united. It is time to give political bickering a stop and give bipartisan partnership a chance to work at this time of tragedy. Finally, we must send a strong signal to the world that we will not be the victim of the political power play between Russia and the West, led by the United States. Whatever it takes, we want the truth and justice for MH 17.

Monday, 14 July 2014

My new hobby – cultivating the art of bonsai

Friends have been asking what I have been doing of late besides reading and drinking Chinese tea for relaxation and my answer is I have been very busy with learning and getting my fingers dirty with cultivating bonsai.  It is a new hobby that kills two birds with one stone – I get to sweat out and at the same time I get to ensure that all the bonsai that daddy left for us are being taken care of – especially the pruning and training part.

Yes, bonsai trees need training for it to turn out into certain styles and there are 12 styles in all, from formal upright to root in rock planting to broom. For a perfect pot of bonsai, nothing should escape one’s attention, starting from roots to trunks to leaves and finally, the right pot. Once the tree is mature, adding rocks and figurines are essential to create a high form of presentation called “pen zing” which originates to the Southern Song Dynasty.

Having the right pot is essential for the growth of the tree, very much the same as having different type of Yixing teapots and cups for different type of tea leaves for the best brew. Classical music, a pot of good old pu erh with a beautiful pot of bonsai for aesthetic purposes are indeed a good trio of must have after dinner as the perfect companion to reading and winding down the day. I find a therapeutic sense of inner happiness and relaxation with a pot of old pu-erh tea and a Buxus Sinica bonsai that is on display next to the reclining chair where I do my reading while being serenaded by classical music. 

Last but not least, my family and I are thankful to Uncle Eng Hooi, cognoscenti in this field for his valuable guide and gift of some matured bonsai. Without him, I am very sure we will mess up the beautiful plants that daddy so painstakingly cultivates over the years. Sunday is now the designated day for gardening with mom and Yong doing most of the pruning while I take care of the shaping, training and propagating. After some trials and errors, we are doing well, especially Yong with his pruning skills.  Hereby are some of the plants that we are currently working on:


Monday, 7 July 2014

Wisdom from my dearest daddy

Myself and daddy at Fenghuang Ancient City, Hunan, China. 
 True Happiness (The Cricket)                                              by Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian
A poor little cricket
Hidden in the flowery grass,
Observes a butterfly
Fluttering in the meadow.

The winged insect shines with the liveliest colors;
Azure, purple and gold glitter on his wings;
Young, handsome, foppish, he hastens from flower to flower

Taking from the best ones.
Ah! Says the cricket, how his lot and mine
Are dissimilar, lady nature
For him did everything, and for me nothing.

I have no talent, even less beauty;

No one takes notice of me, they know me not here below;

Might as well not exist.

As he was not speaking, in the meadow

Arrives a troop of children.

Immediately they are running

After this butterfly, for which they all have a longing

Hats, handkerchiefs, caps serve to catch him.

The insect in vain tries to escape.

He becomes soon their conquest.

One sizes him by the wing, another by the body;

A third arrives, and takes him by the head.

It would not be so much effort

To tear pieces the poor creature.

Oh! Oh! says the cricket, I am not more sorry;

It costs too dear to shine in this world.
How much I am going to love my deep retreat!

To live happily, live hidden.

Daddy dearest, after I read and re-read this fable, I finally understand the many messages that you convey to us either through your actions or words. It is the English version of the famous Chinese idiom: 树大招风. I remember you once told me a man cannot carry his own sedan chair. You are so humble and at times, even, unassuming, just like the cricket, you live happily and so often, you have the last laugh.
Daddy, I miss the tea session we had at the balcony, with you, mummy and Baron – mummy doing most of the taking and you adding on your valuable experiences from botany to business management to construction to land surveying; how you surveyed the East-West highway that links Grik to Jeli, living among the natives and evading the deadly cobras, elephants, how you contracted oil tank servicing from Shell, how to differenciate between many types of oil palm seedlings and fertilizer and etc etc.

You are just like a walking encyclopedia and hands-on man. It is always amazing when I think of how you manage to send shivers down the spine of the workers who slack, how successfully you ran the business and still finding time to take care of all the beautiful plants at home because we know it isn’t easy. You are a giant among men, daddy. How I wish you are here for a little while more to share the wisdom of life with me, but I have to be contented that God have better arrangement for you.