Friday, June 17

Making Money Out of Gold

Gold is one of the most precious metals on this planet. Due to the value of gold, it is used in many countries as monetary reserves. If you know what Fort Knox is, you'll know the significance and value of gold to many nations. Do you want to have good investment returns? Some of you might already have invested in Gold IRA.


IRA Gold is the purest form of money. You could physically hold it in your hands and feel its weight. It's so precious and powerful that governments cannot devalue it unlike our currencies. With Gold IRA, your purchasing power increases too.Gold has been called the "crises commodity", and therefore, investors have transferred their 401K gold to Gold IRA accounts.


You could check out the website on the transfer procedures. It basically takes 5-21 days for the process to end. Gold IRA transfer is made easier with assistance from a team of retirement account specialists to help you along the way. So, if you'd want to have better retirement benefits, you might want to consider transferring your asset from gold 401K to Gold IRA.


Sunday, May 22

Facebook: Be Safe than Sorry

I received an e-mail about how having a Facebook account is not safe if you expose your personal particulars and events to the masses. I'm pasting the message in its entirety here. Please exercise extreme caution. Technology helps, but technology kills too.

==============================================================

"The information people give out on Face-book, when linked up with other information freely available on the internet, is an absolute goldmine for criminals," the Daily Mail quoted Michael Fraser, a reformed burglar who presents the BBC's 'Beat The Burglar' programme, as saying.

        "One year, you might have a party and give out your address. A while later, you might tell everyone that it is your 30th birthday.

        "So, if you've accepted me as a friend, I know your name, your address and your birth date.

        "From that, I can go to 192.com<http://192.com/> and on there I can find out what you do for a living, how much your home is worth
, and whether you're likely to be worth burgling.

        "I might have already made up my mind because you've posted party pictures on
your Face-book. I can see what kind of valuables you have in the house, and which rooms they're in. Then you go and tell your Face-book friends how much you're looking forward to going on holiday next Tuesday etc.

        "I can go on to Google Street View and see
the actual photographs of your home. I can see if you have a burglar alarm, or whether there are any bushes in the garden to hide in. I can see all the alleyways I can escape down and, of course, I know you won't be at home.

        "Once you accept a stranger into your Face
-book account, they can begin what we call social engineering: delicately asking questions to build up information about you,' said Jason Hart, senior vice president of CRYPTO Card Network Security.

        "And that can cause havoc. Let's say they got your e
-mail address, then they could go to your e-mail account, pretending to be you, and saying you have forgotten your password.

        "Once they have that secret information, the e
-mail account will let them in. Once they are in there, they can find lots of sensitive information, such as your Amazon and e-Bay account history.

        "They can then go to those sites
, pretending to be you, and saying you have lost your passwords, and guess what happens then?

        "Those sites send the passwords to your e
-mail account: the one that they have already conned their way into.

        "Crooks who do this usually use the credit card details you have stored there to buy online gift vouchers that can be traded on the internet. It is a form of instant currency.

        "Even worse, if you have a Pay
Pal account and have credit in it, your so-called friend could clean it out.

        "Effectively, they have become an electronic version of you, can change all your passwords and begin stealing from you.

        SO FRIENDS, BE SOCIAL DOESN
T MEAN BE FOOLISH!

        BEWARE, BEWARE, BEWARE !

Tuesday, May 17

My First Animated Movie

I've always been intrigue by animation, and how they entertain people from all walks of life. So I've found an interesting tool, and created a video all by myself. Yes, it's 100% original production :)

You may view it here



Happy viewing. Comments are welcomed.

Online Degree Programs

Your high school exams are over, and after studying hard for months, you take time off and go for a vacation for a well-deserved break with your friends. But what comes after that? Some would start work immediately, while others would pursue tertiary education once the results are announced.

For those who wish to attend universities, they have the option of enrolling into institutions where they could take part in extra curricular activities, meeting new friends, or they could sign up with online universities.
Online Universities are popular if you're working part time, or are a home maker wanting to develop yourself and obtain a professional qualification. This method of enrollment also suits those who do not have the chance to enroll into a regular university. Online universities offer many courses available in regular universities, too. Therefore, potential students have a wide range of courses to choose from.

One of the popular courses is online degree programs in marketing. Just go to the website, and you will find a whole lot of courses categorized into areas of interest. Locate a university closest to you by entering your zip code, and the page takes you to the nearest institution to your home. If you need financial assistance, you could check out the options available to you at the Free Application For Federal Student Aid website at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ for details.

Thursday, March 24

Giving Up Citizenship

A friend of mine recently told me this: "I've giving up my Malaysian citizenship." - this was a great shock to me because only a day earlier, she appeared to be proud to be Malaysian. The reason she gave was expected - Malaysia has nothing for her, and politics here sucks. I couldn't agree more.

People say: "Ask not what Malaysia can do for you, but what you can do for Malaysia" - I think this adage is now archaic. You could throw it into the South China Sea. Many of us, especially the middle and older generation have worked so hard for Malaysia but yet we are called hurtful names. We were told to go back to the country where we came from, though most of us were born in this country. Racism happens in broad daylight - the most recent one being the case of an idiotic school headmistress who openly insulted a particular race in a school assembly that comprises a sea of multi-racial kids. How do you expect to inculcate patriotism into the hearts of these kids when they hear words of hatred coming out of a leader? 

Those who had migrated long ago are currently enjoying their lives abroad (generally, that is). Many refuse to return to stay. Politicians nowadays show no respect for others; their greed for power is overwhelming. Their words have become so influential in the minds of youngsters, that we now have more social problems than ever. I fear for the rest of us who do not have the same privilege, who have to slog like mad to make a living, while others just get spoiled by being spoon-fed. I fear that we, the "minorities" will one day be suppressed and oppressed by racist politicians and religious fanatics, and by power-hungry leaders and money-hoarding moguls. We could see it happening already before our very eyes.

While the fortunate ones, and the professionals could pack their bags and leave, many of us who have no means to live and retire abroad could just pray hard each day that our government - or at least their mentality - will change so that citizens can proudly say once more: "I'm Malaysian".

Yes, I can only pray because I can't afford to leave. No matter what they call us, and how they treat us, as long as there is peace, all of us will be happy... that is how we survived for 53 years.

Sunday, March 20

How Caring are You?

How do you show that you care for your loved ones?

Caring is NOT:
  • saying "I care for you"
  • saying "I love you"
  • buying gifts on special occasions
  • helping to do housework
  • preparing meals three times a day
  • saying and listening to good stuff only
Caring is:
  • being empathetic
  • being there for you
  • supporting you in bad times
  • providing constructive criticisms
  • respecting and accepting each other's differences
  • pulling you up and helping you to walk again
Only when you care, can you experience true love.

Sunday, October 3

Another Housewife Story

In my previous blog, I highlighted a housewife's success as a mother, a blogger & a craft teacher. In today's newspaper, there is an article of another housewife who has also made it good.

Unlike the one I blogged about earlier, this housewife was bored & left for Japan to study pet-grooming. When she returned with a grooming certificate two years later, she didn't see the potential of possessing this skill, thus she opened a restaurant which didn't work out. Then she decided to help friends to groom their pets. The rest is history. Via word of mouth, she now gets requests for pet grooming from other states. The manner in which her success story begins is the same as the craft teacher's. Bored, do something, discover talent, keep going, supportive people, word of mouth, success.

True stories like these are inspiring. It's like a rags to riches story. It also shows that in order to  be successful in life (whether as a housewife or an employed person, in general):
  • you don't need to be a highly qualified person
  • you don't need wealth 
...but you definitely need: 

  • to have interest in something (sometimes you discover it by accident)

  • to be passionate about that interest (the rest will fall nicely into place)

  • to be prepared to work hard and fail a few times

  • to receive emotional and possibly financial support from your spouse (unless you're financially independent already)

  • a bit of luck (whether it's karma or astrology or whatever cosmic interference)

  • a silent prayer (if you've never prayed in your life, yet receive such good blessings, it's wise that you start praying and count your blessings each day)
This same rule applies to homehubbies (this is my copyright term) - sounds more like Teletubbies, though.

MORAL OF THE STORY:

Don't look down on housewives or homemakers. Some have hidden talents that are yet to be discovered. Once unleashed, you'd be ashamed that you never knew your spouse had this God's gift. There is something special, something good which every one can contribute to this world. I have NOT discovered my own interest (sigh...), and I'm getting close to middle age ... well, not THAT close. I hope you will discover yours soon. Even if you don't, you can still do good.

Monday, September 27

A Word of Gratitude to Parents

Do children ever express their gratitude to their parents nowadays? Many of us do, in our own way; some just don't because they take things for granted, believing that once they've got the key to freedom, they're free from their parents and can do anything they want without them. A handful (or more) will completely ignore them.

There are a few of us who would show our utmost thanks in a very sweet and memorable way. They tell the public about it. There's nothing embarassing about sharing your joys and gratitude to every one; it's a blessing actually. One person recently did just that.

Read the article here. The writer's mother was my colleague, and his father a renown medical consultant here. They must be beaming with pride to read it. To other dads and moms, don't be too jealous about this write-up. After all, each child has their own way(s) of showing gratitude to their parents. You just have to see it and feel it. No matter how small the actions are, that's still gratitude.

Saturday, September 18

Crafting Homemakers

Note: This is NOT a paid post, in case you're wondering :)

While many homemakers generally run errands, look after the kids when the father's at work, do household chores and gossip with neighbours, this homemaker has something extra up her sleeves. She teaches crafts - not witchcrafts, but handcrafts.

It all started with her keen interest in making crafts out of paper last year, and her sole student was her 2-year-old son at that time. Now aged three, her son is enjoying every bit of what he's doing rather than just being a couch potato watching Barney all the time. Crafting has been proven to be one of the perfect way of bonding a child with the mother (or father, or both). It also teaches EQ like love, patience, gentleness that textbooks do not teach the child or parents. In fact, I should say that crafting is an affordable and excellent way to boost creativity in addition to having fun time together with your child. Crafting also enhances psychomotor skills and teaches kids to follow instructions properly in order to get the products right.

Her self-taught ability was later discovered by the media, and she has not looked back since. With the help of a very close friend, a craft website exhibiting all crafts that were made, has been created. This website is updated regularly. You could learn how each craft was made step-by-step. This is what I call borderless sharing. Her good karma doesn't stop there. As time progressed, more people got to know of her talent, and eventually, she now has her own Crafty-crafted Studio, named after the craft website. She also integrates environmental messages into her classes. Being a former kindergarten teacher, she certainly knows what she's doing.

So, moms and dads out there, get your children to learn crafting. It's a very interesting hobby, and it is very satisfying when your children show their products to you and say, "Daddy! Mommy, see I made a dinosaur today... nice or not?" - or better still, mommy and daddy could participate in helping their children to make crafts.

Oh, by the way, crafting is not the only way to spend quality time with your children, but if you have to be with them 24/7/365, it's probably the best way to bond with them, keep them occupied while educating them, too. There's nothing like sitting close to your offspring, and hand-holding them while talking to them about the crafts that they're making.

Friday, September 17

The Lion that Left the Tiger

A kind soul sent me the following text. I don't normally read lengthy ones, but this is different; the more I read, the more interesting it became. It was a speech made by one of the world's brilliant leaders and orators. Take time off your regular blogging and read this piece. It is worth your time.

=============================================

--- Below is a full text of Lee Hsien Loong's speech on religious tolerance as reported in the Straits Times last year.

Risks of religious fervour
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong spoke about the four challenges facing Singapore in his National Day Rally speech one Sunday. Here is an edited version.

Aug 18, 2009


"To live peacefully together, we need good sense and tolerance on all sides, and a willingness to give and take. Otherwise, whatever the rules there will be no end of possible causes of friction." PM Lee, on how fragile religious and racial harmony is in Singapore and how crucial it is to be tolerant.

SO WHAT are these risks? Let me just highlight three of them.

Aggressive preaching - proselytisation. You push your own religion on others, you cause nuisance and offence. You have read in the papers recently about a couple who surreptitiously distributed Christian tracts which were offensive of other faiths, not just of non-Christians but even of Catholics. They were charged and sentenced to jail.

But there are less extreme cases too which can cause problems. We hear, from time to time, complaints about groups trying to convert very ill patients in our hospitals, who don't want to be converted, and who don't want to have the private difficult moments in their lives intruded upon.

Intolerance is another problem - not respecting the beliefs of others or not accommodating others who belong to different religions. You think of this one group versus another group, but sometimes it happens within the same family.

Sometimes we have parents from traditional religions whose children have converted. The parents have asked to be buried according to traditional rites and their children stay away from the funeral or the wake. It's very sad. From a traditional point of view, it's the ultimate unfilial act but it does happen occasionally.

Exclusiveness is a third problem - segregating into separate exclusive circles, not integrating with other faiths. That means you mix with your own people. You'll end up as separate communities.
We foresaw these dangers 20 years ago. We passed the Bill, Maintenance of Religious Harmony, in 1989/1990.

Before we did that, then PM Lee Kuan Yew and the key ministers met all the religious leaders. We had a closed-door session at MCYS. We spoke candidly. We explained our concerns, why we wanted to move this Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act. The religious leaders spoke up candidly, they gave us their support. We moved with their support.

We continue to keep in close touch with them, to meet regularly. I do that personally, exchange views, keep the line warm and the confidence on both sides so that I know you, you know me. If there is a problem, we are not dealing with strangers but with somebody we know and trust.

Once or twice, I've had to meet them over specific difficult cases. No publicity, relying on mutual trust and the wisdom of our religious leaders to defuse tensions. I'm very grateful for their wisdom and for their support. Because of this active work behind the scenes, we've not needed to invoke the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act for 20 years. But it's something which is important to us which we must keep for a long time.

Four basic rules:

WE can never take our racial and religious harmony for granted. We must observe some basic principles to keep it the way it is.

First, all groups have to exercise tolerance and restraint. Christians cannot expect this to be a Christian society, Muslims cannot expect this to be a Muslim society. Ditto the Buddhists, the Hindus and the other groups.

Many faiths share this island. Each has different teachings, different practices. Rules which only apply to one group cannot become laws which are enforced on everyone. So Muslims don't drink alcohol but alcohol is not banned. Ditto gambling, which many religions disapprove of, but gambling is not banned. All have to adopt 'live and let live' as our principle.

Secondly, we have to keep religion separate from politics. Religion in Singapore cannot be the same as religion in America , or religion in an Islamic country.

Take Iran , an Islamic country. Nearly everybody is Shia Muslim. Recently, they had a presidential election which was fiercely contested between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi, and the outcome was disputed. Both sides invoked Islam. So Mousavi's supporters had a battle cry - Allahu Akbar (God is Great).

In Singapore , if one group invokes religion this way, other groups are bound to say: 'I also need powerful support. We'll also push back invoking our faith.' One side insists: 'I'm doing God's work.' The other side says: 'I'm doing my God's work.' Both sides say: 'I cannot compromise. These are absolute imperatives.' The result will be a clash between different religious groups which will tear us apart.
We take this very seriously. The People's Action Party reminds our candidates, don't bring all the friends from your own religious group. Don't mobilise your church or your temple or your mosque to campaign for you. Bring a multi-racial, multi-religious group of supporters. When you are elected, represent the interest of all your constituents, not just your religious group in Parliament. Speak for all your constituents.

Thirdly, the Government has to remain secular. The Government's authority comes from the people. The laws are passed by Parliament which is elected by the people. They don't come from a sacred book. The Government has to be neutral, fair.

We are not against religion. We uphold sound moral values. We hold the ring so that all groups can practise their faiths freely without colliding. That's the way Singapore has to be.

You may ask: Does this mean that religious groups have no views, cannot have views on national issues? Or that religious individuals cannot participate in politics? Obviously not.

Religious groups are free to propagate their teachings on social and moral issues. They have done so on the IRs, organ transplants, 377A, homosexuality.

And obviously many Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists participate in politics. In Parliament, we have people of all faiths. In the Cabinet too.

People who have a religion will often have views which are informed by their religious beliefs. It's natural because it's part of you, it's part of your personality. But you must accept that other groups may have different views informed by different beliefs and you have to accept that and respect that.
The public debate cannot be on whose religion is right and whose religion is wrong. It has to be on secular, rational considerations of public interest - what makes sense for Singapore .

The final requirement for us to live peacefully together is to maintain our common space that all Singaporeans share. It has to be neutral and secular because that's the only way all of us can feel at home in Singapore and at ease.

Common spaces:

LET me explain to you with specific examples.

Sharing meals. We have different food requirements. Muslims need halal food. Hindus don't eat beef. Buddhists sometimes are vegetarian. So if we must serve everybody food which is halal, no beef and vegetarian, I think we will have a problem. We will never eat meals together. So there will be halal food on one side, vegetarian food for those who need it, no beef for those who don't eat beef.
Let's share a meal together, acknowledging that we are not the same. Don't discourage people from interacting. Don't make it difficult for us to be one people.

Our schools are another example of common space where all races and religions interact. Even in mission schools run by religious groups, the Ministry of Education has set clear rules, so students of all faiths will feel comfortable.

You might ask: Why not allow mission schools to introduce prayers or Bible studies as compulsory parts of the school activity or as part of school assembly?

Why not? Then why not let those who are not Christian, or don't want a Christian environment, go to a government school or go to a Buddhist school? Well, if they do that, we'll have Christians in Christian schools, Buddhists in Buddhist schools, Muslims in schools with only Muslim children and so on. I think that is not good for Singapore .

Therefore, we have rules to keep all our schools secular and the religious groups understand and accept this.

For example, St Joseph 's Institution is a Catholic brother school but it has many non-Catholic students, including quite a number of Malay students. The Josephian of the Year in 2003 was a Malay student - Salman Mohamed Khair.

He told Berita Harian that initially his family was somewhat worried about admitting him to a Catholic school. He himself was afraid because he didn't know what to expect. But he still went because of SJI's good record. He said: 'Now I feel fortunate to be in SJI. Although I was educated in a Catholic environment, religion never became an issue.'

Indeed that's how it should work. I know it works because I understand that Malay students in SJI often attend Friday prayers at Baalwie Mosque nearby, still wearing their school uniforms. SJI thinks it's fine, the mosque thinks it's fine, the students think it's fine, and I think it's fine too. That's the way it should be.
Another example of common space - work. The office environment should be one which all groups feel comfortable with. Staff have to be confident that they will get equal treatment even if they belong to a different faith from their managers - especially in government departments, but in the private sector too.
I think it can be done because even religious community service organisations often have people who don't belong to that religion working comfortably and happily together. This is one very important aspect of our meritocratic society.

Thus we maintain these principles: exercise tolerance, keep religion separate from politics, keep a secular government, maintain our common space. This is the only way all groups can live in peace and harmony in Singapore .

Aware and responsible church leaders

THIS is the background to the way the Government looked at one recent issue: Aware.
We were not concerned about who would control Aware because it's just one of so many NGOs in Singapore . On homosexuality policy or sexuality education in schools, there can be strong differences in view but the Government's position was quite clear.

But what worried us was that this was an attempt by a religiously motivated group who shared a strong religious fervour to enter civil space, take over an NGO it disapproved of, and impose their agenda. It was bound to provoke a push back from groups that held the opposite view, which indeed happened vociferously and stridently.

The media coverage got caught up and I think the amplifier was turned up a bit high.

This was hardly the way to conduct a mature discussion of a sensitive matter where views are deeply divided. But most critically of all, this risked a broader spillover into relations between different religions.

I know many Singaporeans were worried about this, including many Christians. They may not have spoken aloud but they raised one eyebrow.

Therefore, I'm very grateful for the very responsible stand which was taken by the church leaders. The National Council of Churches of Singapore issued a statement that it didn't support churches getting involved. There was also the statement by the Catholic Archbishop. Had these statements not been made, we would have had a very serious problem.

The Government stayed out of this but after the dust had settled, I spoke to the religious leaders, first the Christians and then the religious leaders of all faiths, so that everybody understood where we stood and what our concerns were. So we can continue to work together to strengthen our racial and religious harmony.

Unusually serious subject

THIS is an unusually serious and heavy subject for a National Day Rally. Normally, you talk about babies, hongbaos, bonuses.

No bonuses tonight but a bonus lecture on a serious subject. We discussed this in Cabinet at length and decided that I should talk about this. I crafted the points carefully, circulated them many times. Different presentations in Mandarin, Malay and English, because different groups have different concerns, but a consistent message so that there's no misunderstanding.

I also invited the religious leaders to come and spend the evening with us tonight. They can help us to help their flocks understand our limitations, to guide them to practise their faiths, taking into account the context of our society. Please teach them accommodation, which is what all faiths teach. I look forward to all the religious groups continuing to do a lot of good work for Singapore for many years to come.
Finally, let me share with you one true story which was published recently in an Indian newspaper, The Asian Age, and picked up by The Straits Times. It was about a young man from Gujarat, a Muslim, who migrated to Singapore after the Hindu-Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002.

A train carrying Hindu pilgrims was stopped in Ahmadebad and set on fire. The circumstances were unclear but 50-odd men, women and children burnt to death, trapped in the train. The Hindus rioted. They had no doubt what the cause was. One thousand people died, mostly Muslims because Ahmadebad has a large Muslim community.

So this young Muslim decided to come to Singapore after the riots. We call him Mohammed Sheikh. It's not his real name because he still has family there. The article said: 'During the bloody riots, he watched three of his family members, including his father, getting butchered. His family had to pay for being Muslim.

'Besides losing his family and home, Mohammed lost confidence and faith in the civil society. He didn't want to spend the rest of his life cursing his destiny. He wanted to move on.'

So seven years ago, Mohammed came to Singapore and got a diploma in hospitality management. Now he is working in an eatery and he hopes to open his own business one day. He told the interviewer, had he stayed in Gujarat , 'I would have been hating all Hindus and baying for their blood, perhaps.'
Now 'he loves it when his children bring home Hindu friends and share snacks'. He told the interviewer proudly, 'My children have Christian, Buddhist, Hindu friends.'

He even hopes to bring his mother to Singapore so she can see for herself that people of different races, different faiths can be friends. The interviewer asked him what Muslim sect he belonged to and which mosque he went to in India . He said: 'I don't want to get into all that. Now I am just a Singaporean. And I am proud of it.'

This story reminds us that while we must not neglect to strengthen our harmonious society, we are in a good position.

So let us rejoice in our harmony but let us never forget what being a Singaporean means. It's not just tolerating other groups but opening our hearts to all our fellow citizens.

OUR FUTURE

IF WE stay cohesive, then we can overcome our economic challenges and continue to grow. This is how we've transformed Singapore over the last half century - solving problems together, growing together, improving our lives.

From the Singapore River to Marina Bay , we've totally transformed Singapore over the last half century. 1959 was a moment of great change but nobody at the Padang in June 1959 imagined the change in today's Singapore .

We will continue to improve our lives, provided we work together and remain a harmonious and a cohesive society so that in another 50 years, we would have built another Singapore , which is equally unimaginable today.

The key is to stay united through rain or shine.

Note:
Singapore was separated from Malaysia in 1965, two years after Malaysia celebrated it's first Malaysia Day on 16 Sept. 1963. Forty-five years down the road, the Lion City has been transformed into one of the world's renown economic and education hub despite being a mere island. Where are we now? Hmm...


Wednesday, September 15

We are Too Greedy for Wealth

There's something happening in Malaysia which has garnered worldwide attention. No, it's nothing innovative that could save the planet. Neither is it another mega project that claims to be the World's Best structure. It is the recent murder of a beautician tycoon that caught the media's eyes.

Over the past two days, local newspapers have been riddled with news about the death of Sosilawati, a rather unknown figure - unless you happen to be a loyal patron of this beautician's products. It makes me wonder if such a heinous crime is worth sensationalizing, and worth following for days just because she was a millionnairess of a beauty product empire. As if one day of reporting isn't sufficient, the media went on a frenzy and interviewed family members and wrote one report after another. Two bloody days of bloody unnecessary news. That's not the kind of attention we need. The last time we got such sensation news was the time when Teoh Beng Hock - may his soul rest in peace - presumably fell to his death. Till today, investigations have not been conclusive. However, hey presto! The case of the murdered beautician was solved so quickly, and the police is telling everyone that the case is closed (click here to read the news)!!

Tell me, and other Malaysians, what the heck is happening to this country? Have we been so influenced by new crime shows on TV like the CSI series, NCIS etc. that we're unable to discriminate moral from immorality? If those criminals were indeed influenced by such shows, then they must be as psychotic as the movie producers themselves! There is just TOO MUCH violence on television, on the Internet, and in computer games. People are mimicking what they see, and improvising to create the perfect crime!!

No, don't blame the mass media yet for the rise in crime rates. Malaysians have become less religious and more greedy. Greed breeds immorality, and that causes other issues - the domino effect. Parents play an important role too. Don't wait until it's too late to educate your children to be good citizens. Don't blame it on God when your child goes to jail, or is murdered by their business rivals. God gave us a complex brain to think - use it well but not for immoral activities.

Will things get better ... or worse? That's for all of us to decide.

Saturday, September 11

The Wangkang Festival

There are many Chinese festivals, and the most common ones are Chinese New Year, Chap Goh Mei, Cheng Beng (or Qing Ming), Mid-autumn Festival and Winter Solstice. I might have separate posts on each of these later. In this post, I'd like to write about a very little known, but a very significant festival in the early days, long before many of us were born. It's called the Great Wangkang Festival.

This was traditionally a religious Hokkien festival. "Wang" means king or prince, while "kang" means boat. Thus, the combination of both words gives you a clue of what the festival entails. A relative of mine managed to take photos of this festival which was held for the last time in Malacca in 1933. Here are two rare photos which I retook with my camera at her house:

The boat or barge being taken out of the temple
Wangkang participants in full gear

Wangkang Festival was held during the Ching Dynasty in two large provinces in China - Ching Chiew and Chuan Chiew. More than four centuries ago, during the persecution of the Chinese, many Hokkiens ran to Malaya and settled down in Malacca. They worshipped the "Ong Yahs" or Princes Diety, so this ritual was continued by their decendants in Malacca as well.  These descendants who are largely Peranakans or Straits-borns also worshipped the Five Dieties like their forefathers did. Thus, this festival was exclusive to Malacca. The last Wangkang Festival was held in November, 1933.

The boat is burnt, and a day later, priests would go from house to house to purify each one. This goes on for three days. Anyone who attended this festival would have to have a clean heart and mind, which also means nothing bad should be thought, done or uttered to avoid facing the wrath of the "Ong Yahs".

So there you have it. A very rare Chinese festival which only a handful of us know about.

Friday, September 10

Human Yet Inhumane

Terry Jones.

You've never heard of him? Well, the world knows him now. He turned into a "celebrity" recently when he threatened to burn the Holy Quran on 11 Sept. to commemorate the infamous tragic 9/11 incident caused by terrorists. After 9 years, people still harbour hatred - well, you can't blame them - but this does not justify the inhumane call of this church pastor to burn the holy book of another religion.

Which religion on earth teaches Man to do such a thing? If Pastor Terry Jones is truly a Christian, he certainly has embarassed his religion, and will cause fear and tension not only in America, but also throughout the world.

Every religion teaches us to understand and to love every being and everything. Unfortunately, Jones doesn't  seem to understand this, but has chosen to use his sentiments against Muslims. Despite donning modern attire and modern lifestyle, he is so primitive!

Every one should stop this maniac from causing problem, and bringing a new kind of war to humanity.

Sunday, September 5

Happiness is...

  • having a family who loves you each day
  • having parents who don't treat you like a child
  • having in-laws who don't interfere with your personal life
  • having family and friends who understand you
  • being able to give and feel love
  • choosing the right person to build a family
  • having a child to make you smile regardless of how mischievous they are
  • successfully moulding your child into a useful citizen who instills love, not hatred
  • being single with many friends to support you
  • having friends who will stand by you through thick and thin
  • not pondering over the bad past or future
  • being able to use your senses to experience things
  • making others happy (no obligations) when they're not
  • expecting nothing in return of a favour
  • not feeling horrible when something goes wrong as things do go wrong
  • having the ability to carve a smile despite facing difficulties
  • having a satisfying job that helps you earn a living & be financially independent
  • growing old knowing that you have lived well
  • living a fruitful, meaningful and complete life till it's time to go

In brief, happiness comes when the experiences that we have makes smile internally and externally. Happiness is also in the healthy mind... this is what I have to learn.

Tuesday, August 31

53rd Independence Day

31 August 1957 - a historical event. It is the date most remembered by those who were at Stadium Merdeka to listen to the declaration of our independence from the British rule. Today marks the 53rd year of freedom from colonization. Malaysia has come so far since then from being an unknown nation, to being internationally recognised for its various achievements.

 

Question: Have we actually achieved anything beyond sending our space participant into orbit?
 
If you look at the political scene, nothing much has changed. In fact, it's probably getting worse. Observe the way our politicians speak and behave, there's nothing to be proud of. We have achieved so much in terms of physical development - Twin Towers, Putrajaya, Multimedia Super Corridor - but in terms of mental development, we are still very far behind. Just flip the newspapers, and you'll see what I mean.

So Malaysia, it's time to change our mentality to fit into 53 years of independence :)
GOOD LUCK Malaysia