Saturday, 2 October 2010

What you wish you did

Today I came across the news of the death of a vibrant young man who passed away in a tragic accident a few weeks ago. For some reason, the knowledge of his death overwhelmed me with so much grief that for the first time in my life, I felt my heart mourn the death of a young man one year my junior whom I've never met in my life.

This is perhaps a reminder to me that I should spend more time with my family and friends. Sometimes we find ourselves busy with so many different things. We tell ourselves that some things can wait. Some things are more important. We will always have time to go on that vacation with our family because this work is more important now. "When I finish this then I will have time to go on that vacation with them. If I don't finish this now, I'll never be at peace even when I'm on that vacation."

One day, everything will end. Decide now on what is really important. If you have thanks to say to a person who has helped you in your life, say it now. Don't be shy. If they leave before you expect them to, you will wish you had said what you wanted to say now to them. If you tell them now, you will smile together with them. Everybody appreciates gratitude. It tells them that they're doing something right and sometimes, it can motivate them to do even better. That's what you want.

One day, your routine will change. You might not be able to cross paths with the person you see everyday now anymore. Think about this. How many of your childhood or high school friends do you still see everyday? If he/she has impacted your life, do something to show them how much you appreciate them in your life. Once your paths no longer cross, you will be thankful that you shared your love the way you did.

If you have someone in your life you cannot forgive - perhaps he/she has wronged you so badly that you never want to talk to him/her again - try your best to let go of the grudge. It's okay. Some things are more important than being right. Surely he/she has good points. Don't let hate ruin a friendship. Forgive them and move on to love. You will find it more fulfilling. When the time comes and final goodbyes are exchanged, you will know that forgiving him/her was the best choice that you could have ever made.

If somebody has requested for you to do something for them (maybe make a card for them or go on a trip with them), try your best to fulfill their wishes even if you are busy. This will be one of the things that people remember most about you - that you were there when they wanted you to be.

Don't be too caught up with errands and routine. Don't mind changing your routine to accommodate a request.

Hold your tongue before you speak. People will appreciate your thoughtfulness. Careless words can hurt a person for life.

Appreciate little things that people do for you. Say thanks.

Sometimes people need someone to listen to them. So be that person to put down your work and just listen attentively to what they need to say. You will be thankful one day when their voices become silent and part of your memories alone.

When people give you advice, try and listen without rebutting first. People who give us advice at least care enough to spend time analyzing us. One day we will miss their criticism when we have no one who cares enough to try and correct our mistakes for us.

Life is not only a gift not to us but also, to others. We give our life to others so that others can find convenience in their own. We share what we have too much of with others who who do not have enough. Sometimes, there are people who do even more than this - they give others what they need even when they themselves do not have enough.

Finally, I wish to say sorry to all who I have hurt. I know that I am a careless speaker and sometimes, I spend too much time worrying over the small details of an activity instead of focusing on your feelings. I am thankful that more often than not, my family and friends have forgiven me for all the hurt that I have caused them in my thoughtlessness.

We are but temporary visitors to this place. Our visas will one day expire and we will have to depart. We live in hotels with check out times and dates. For most of us, we don't really know when our visas expire or when we need to check out. So we need to make sure that every moment is lived well because the next moment could be when we need to leave this place for somewhere else.

I pray for the families who have lost a young child. I know how much hope is put in an adolescent in his prime. To lose such hope is to akin to losing hope in life itself. The place your child has in your heart can never be taken by anything or anyone else. Your grief is too enormous to be felt by people who have never been parents. I have no words of comfort tonight for you but rest well, eat well and be well. That is what your child has always wanted of you too; the same as what you've always wanted of him/her - for him/her to be happy, healthy and well.

Remember how I said I loved the pink twilight sky? One day after a meeting on campus, I met with this beautiful sky and decided to take a picture of it so I could share it with you ^^

Usually when I see this, it's already past 6pm and I am reminded of how much time I've spent on campus. But seeing it also gives me hope because at least I am out of a classroom or meeting in time to see this beautiful sky before it leaves. The calm breeze which usually accompanies this beautiful sky reminds me too that I am lucky to be alive and this brings gratitude to my heart for everything and everyone I have in my life. I hope that like me, you too will find happiness, joy and comfort in looking at this beautiful pink sky.

Perhaps coincidence will one day allow us to be standing in different positions on campus looking at the same sky thinking the same things about life. And if that happens, I am comforted that at least one other person is happy like me :)

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Life is made up of moments like these

Have you ever found yourself in a moment you wanted so badly to capture, with a photograph, a video or words but never could?

It is that kind of moment which lingers on you for a while and then disappears. You never forget it, how that moment felt, but you know you'll hardly ever come by it again. It is that kind of moment which your heart longs for and hangs on to. When you find it twice, you know your life is at least half full.

My sister related to me over the weekend last week about a man who was so stingy that he has eaten at the expense of everyone in the office except himself for the past decade. One may wonder if this is possible. But it is.

"So one day I gave him a packet of coffee and he started to give us something back too - for the first time in ten years."

Then I wondered what the difference is between him eating at the expense of others and him being given something. They both allowed him something free. But I think, the difference is, he asked for one and did not ask for the other.

I think that often in life we think about what we want so much that we think that others can tell what we want just by looking at us. And that makes us bitter and selfish. We begin to become angry when people don't give us what we want and, we forget that others are just like us, hungry for something.

If we take time to think about what other people want, perhaps we won't have so much time and energy to be bitter and angry about not getting what we want.

I suppose it could be true that the only thing more important than our own happiness could be, the happiness of others.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it

Any time or energy spent analyzing the faults of another person is wasted. Once we are done analyzing, we empower ourselves with the duty of enforcing his needful change. But is this really necessary? And does he ever change because we ask him to?

A more fruitful pursuit could be observing the all the beautiful things of another person. I guess it doesn't take much energy and brings peace to our hearts. I mean, if the rose is blooming so beautifully, why strain our eyes to look only at the thorns beneath? :)

Confucius once said, "Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it."

Everybody likes to think they have something beautiful. And often, it is true that there is at least one beautiful thing about a person. If we clear our prejudice and take time to observe the world beyond ourselves, we might see that we will come to a complete agreement with Confucius.

Millions of people go hungry everyday. Millions more die of hunger.

If we waste too much time and energy on meaningless pursuits, we might miss out on really understanding what it is like to be part of this world community.

There are days when we feel as though activities and things are pulling us in all five directions. And in these times, it could be easy to become people who complain too much and leave our manners behind the bunk of our cars.

But I think we are all blessed. It is just that we forget to count our blessings often enough.

Sunday, 5 September 2010


Today I realized that you, my dear fellow human, do not need my criticism to be better. In fact, criticism can hurt you a lot, because I think we might have much more pride than we'd like to admit.

I realize that words really can be sharper than a knife. It really can kill. And I know that it has.

Perhaps if we were more tactful in our everyday dealings, we would smile more and perhaps too, by not being so careless with our thoughts, there would also be a smile on our faces when it all ends.

What you need is my love, my support, my concern and my kind words.

And for me to stand behind you and say, "It's okay if you trip because I'll be right behind you to catch you when you fall."

In fact, you need my appreciation. I don't live on hay. I live on food and more, I live on your love and care, everyday. We cannot live without food but we die without love.

No man is an island. Cherish, and cherish more. Everyday is a gift.

I love this song by Eason Chen:








How many people leave us without saying goodbye? If given another chance, what would we say to them?

Gung gung left 4 years ago in 2006. I was 17 and only starting my first year of college. One morning, at 4am, my dad got a call from Sibu. Grandpa passed away. The next day, I was back in Sibu.

At the funeral, I saw gung gung for the first time in months. I felt so much sorrow because I always lived so far from him that in front of me laid my grandfather who was also close to a stranger. I didn't know much about him. The only things I knew were that when I was younger, he brought us to eat yam ice cream. And until today, I cannot get that taste out of my head.

He used to love to use his old bicycle to cycle around Sibu town. I know he also liked to play mahjong. I always thought he had a simple and satisfying life in a peaceful small town. But one day, everything changed. He stopped seeing things clearly - he was losing his vision.

Then, he no longer rode around on his bicycle. His best friend was left to collect dust. He stopped playing mahjong and stayed at home everyday...

He became unhappy. "Ah Hing," he said to my dad on the phone one day, "ngui si mo yong ni neung (I am a useless man)."

Then dad handed the phone to me. "Talk to gung gung. Say something to him..."

"Papa, what should I say? I don't know what to say?"

I think I should have said I love you gung gung and went to Sibu to visit him.

Although on his death certificate, gung gung died of cardiac arrest in his sleep, I suspect he really died of unhappiness. Many people die of this illness - unhappiness. Some kill themselves.

On his funeral day, Uncle Alphonsus told ah ma not to cry. "Ah Pa will be home with God. God will take of him."

That night Uncle Alphonsus lead us to pray for my grandfather. That day too I realized how much I admired my Uncle Alphonsus. Almost the whole community around Sibu came with their heartfelt condolences for the passing of the father of their Father.

After gung gung passed away, I realized I should cherish people more. To say things to people now. To appreciate things that people do for me now. Tomorrow doesn't belong to us.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Tuesdays with Morrie

My sister just came back for the weekend and brought me the book she bought me from KL - Mitch Albom's Tuesdays with Morrie. I added this book to my list of must-reads after I finished reading The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (my sister bought me that book from KL too!).

For some reason, I've always looked up to academics and reading books like these just made me respect them even more. By the way, both books are non-fiction. If you are like me and enjoy quiet time finding meaning and contemplating the transitions in life through different perspectives, then I would really recommend you read these books.

I think that when we were younger, we read books for two reasons: 1) we felt we should 2) we found entertainment in reading. But as we grow older, I realize there is only one reason for reading and, that is, to learn. Reading becomes a form of necessary form of self-instructed learning that never stops. Through reading, we gain in a moment what others gained from experience throughout their lives. What's special about reading is that we get to learn from people who we will never meet or have long long since left this world. Wow, imagine that.

I once read but did not complete Wuthering heights by Emily Bronte. I wondered what her voice sounded like and what caused her to write a novel so full of... or rather, lack of, empathy.

Biographies tell us a lot about a person but we will never know everything that a person thought about in his mind - all the syntheses of information that took place within the depths of a mind will never fully be known. But sometimes, from great people, even a little leak is enough to change us.

I guess, people do not become great simply by doing more; people become great when they think differently.

Anyway, I am going to share with you now an interesting site. No, in fact, it's a collection of materials which you will find terrifically complementary to your studies (I'm assuming you're somebody who likes to learn):

Learn more about Khan Academy here (wiki) - yeah, I do notice I wiki a lot! It's got lots and lots of videos (I think more than 2000 of them) teaching you, in a really really really simple way (REALLY, I'm not AT ALL kidding) - anything from Chemistry to Economics! And what's more, it's ENTIRELY FREE! I couldn't believe it myself but it is!

And you know, what I believe is, Khan (the founder of Khan Academy) is one of the best teachers I've ever met (well, not literally, I haven't actually met him in the flesh) - he's got the ability to make simple concepts which others make complicated. And that to me is a rare, rare find. You get to meet teachers like this only once in a while! So grab your chance to learn from him ^^ especially if you're still in high school. I recommend this to all my high school students!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

I wonder

I wonder how many people I know,

really love what they do. How many people just do things for the sake of doing it well and getting it done?

smile when they're really broken inside.

park outside and let all the tears dry up before going in.

keep it all inside and never let it out.


How many of these people are strong enough to still wake up the next morning and be fine?

How many of these people are tough enough to not let yesterday's mistakes or words let them down today?


I wish you strength because everybody needs some strength sometimes. Some need it all the time.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

After lunch

I find satisfaction in good lunches. I love my mom's cooking but around Senadin, my favourite place to have lunch is still Cahaya Taufik! I love it there because it's clean and has many varieties of food I like, especially dishes featuring the soy bean tempe! I just had lunch there with my mom and brother there today.

Another place I like to eat at is this Indian restaurant in Lutong Baru. I normally go for the Roti Cheese. The reason I like Roti Cheese is because it reminds me of pizzas, which I love! Also, lately, on a recommendation from my student, I've also tried Roti Tisu. Roti Tisu is also nice because it's big and crispy.

Maybe I should include some pictures of what I like to eat next time ^^

Good lunches are desirable but not necessarily always available. Take this semester for instance - Fridays are no-good-lunch days because of the rush between activities. Thursdays are worst because of the back to back tutorial classes from 10am - 2pm. So I can only have very late lunches on Thursdays.

Good lunches need not necessarily be costly. They only need to be food which don't make me feel drowsy throughout the day and taste natural. And though I am a big fan of spices, I don't normally go for spicy meals during lunch time because of the burn it leaves in my stomach throughout the day and that is bad because normally that means I won't be able to sit still. Too much rice, buns or processed flour can be bad too because I would find it very difficult to stay awake for classes.

To me, good lunches are a blessing. I hope you have good lunches too ^^

Monday, 30 August 2010

Fragile hearts

I think one of the most important skills in life could be that of handling fragile hearts. Everybody has a fragile heart, hurt at one point or another in life and require special care all the time. Though we don't realize this all the time.

Sometimes, we are hurt by people. Hurting and being hurt forms a cycle. The hurt hurt others. But perhaps, we could stop this cycle. Could we choose to not let hurt be the reason to hurt?

Abraham Lincoln once said:

"Don't criticize them. They are what we would be under similar circumstances."

Admonishment of others' actions without consideration of their true circumstances could be unfair.


Although Graduation is more than one year away, it feels very soon and suddenly, the transition from university student to professional seems more real now than ever before. Thoughts run through my head of everything which has happened in these three years.

Though, in my memory, the most valuable part of my university life will always be the people I met and the things I did with these people. My lecturers, coursemates, admin people, people I met through events, people who became my friends, people who cleaned for us university students daily.

Isn't it a miracle how strangers who knew nothing about each other become acquainted?

It begins I think with the sharing of a smile. And not just a smile but a genuine smile. A smile from the heart which leaves the eyes twinkling with anticipation.

On a sidenote, I love RE!

Friday, 27 August 2010


The sky glowed a beautiful pink a little before 6.30pm yesterday. I thought it looked like something out of a postcard. I really love sunsets.

Perspective can make ordinary moments amazing.

Don't you just love the moments like these?