Tuesday, March 31, 2009

When We Grow Old




Everything becomes much quieter, and life seems to slow down to a crawl, as we grow old.

As we become old, we become wiser. We have more wisdom and knowledge, but we lack the energy to carry out our activities. We know a lot, yet we can only do less and we cannot do as quickly. We become talkative, gossipy and easily angered when our voice is not heard.

As we become old, we become emotional and more confused. We hesitate to make decisions and judgments. We are more stubborn and reluctant to change and mend our ways, and we create a lot of tensions and conflicts in the family.

As we become old, we have more choices of food and drink. But we find it hard to eat with fewer and weaker teeth. And with shaking hands, we slowly bring the food to the mouth. Then we face difficulties chewing and swallowing. Sometimes we spill our food and drink, and make a huge mess everywhere. We feel ashamed and sad when our younger generations scream at us and say bad things to us, or about us.

As we become old, we tend to sit down more often. We look back on our journey and think about our past. We regret the many missed opportunities that have been lost in the years. And we are very sorry for our hesitations and our choices. And we tell ourselves that we don't dare to dream anymore. We just want to busy doing our daily chores and routines, and occupy our lives until we are called home.

As we become old, we walk with weak knees and legs. We walk in smaller steps and slower pace, and we watch our steps very carefully. Sometimes we walk in pains, using a cane or a stick as our lead.

It is really scary to grow old. It is not only the sickness, the slow death or the helplessness that scare us. Apparently there are more.....

But it doesn't matter. Whatever happens, let us graciously accept the fact that we will gradually grow old and weak.

Sometimes, it is when we realize that we are weak and venerable that we believe and trust God more. Our faith in God grows as our reliance on God grows. And we begin to enjoy every single moment of our old age more when we trust God as our strength and our salvation.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Climbing Thousand Stairs Up The Hill


It took me more than an hour to climb up that thousand stairs up the hill.

My knees, my legs, my hip and my back were aching and heavy. My muscle cramped painfully everywhere. I had to stop many times and sit on the stairs along the way. My breathing was shallow and fast, and my body was sweating profusely. My head felt giddy. And I presumed my face must be very pale and my lips were white.

At the beginning of the climb, when I looked up from below, I smiled to myself and told others confidently that it was going to be an easy climb. I remembered the days 20 years ago when I skipped and ran up and down that thousand steps many times with ease and style in less than 10 minutes.

As I climbed, I was singing and humming to myself. I went faster and faster and outpaced my friends. As I passed by them, I was laughing happily and cheered them on. But my steps began to slow down and eventually came to a stop. Huh! I just couldn’t imagine the going was that tough; it was only the first 100 steps. Yet I was aching all over my body. It took me quite sometime to recover.

I continued my journey, slower and more quiet this time, trying to conserve my energy for the race. I wondered how a big cow climbed up the hill. Did it stop and took shallow and fast breaths like me? LOL

I was among the last few to reach up the hill, and that was after many encouraging words to stay on and push on harder.

It was indeed a good and satisfying climb. It taught me to plan my steps before I began my climb. It taught me to have more practices before I laughed and showed off myself to others. It helped me to persist in what I still could do when all the bodily parts said otherwise.

I learned one important truth that day: Dare to dream big and never give up hope. When the going gets tough, The tough must get going.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Silent Workers



Every time I look at the groundsmen, the gardeners and the cleaners at work, I feel for them. They know how to enjoy life and they do their work meticulously and unhurriedly.

They cut and mow the grass cleanly and thoroughly, to the lowest height possible. They prune and trim bushes and small trees neatly and closely with sharp scissors. And they always clean up any mess they make. They plant flowers and trees in pots, gardens, and by the sides of the lanes. They are careful not to block the driveway.

They sweep the office floors regularly and wipe them with a soft and dry mop. They clean and vacuum the carpets slowly, carefully but quietly, making sure that they don't cause unnecessary noises and disturb the peace of the place. They empty the trash cans and bins, and keep the place tidy and clean at all times. They do their works diligently and cheerfully, and often return with sweet smiles and thousand apologies when they make noises. But sadly, their services are often not appreciated.

They clean the sinks and counters until they sparkle and shine. They wash and scrub the toilet floors with disinfectants, then wipe them until 100% clean and dry. Yeah, they also clean the toilet bowls carefully, making sure that even the toilet seats are always dry and clean.

Every time when I observe this group of silent workers, my heart yearns for them. They know how to live well despite their meager salary. And they can have a nice and sound sleep every night after doing such a great and wonderful service for a community of people. God appreciates their good works... though many men may not.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A One-Week Love That Lasted Forever


Do you believe a one-week love can last forever? That is what has happened to one of my best friends.

It was more than twenty years ago. My friend was back to his village during one of the school holiday breaks.

There he beheld his beloved for the first time. It was love at first sight. She was the apple of his eyes and he just couldn't turn his attention away from her. She had two sweet dimples in her cheeks which added to the beauty of her countenance, and her smile was an everlasting one.

He was a young man with a bright future and she was a young lady with grace and dignity. Love sparkled almost as soon as the eyes met and they fell for one another at that very moment. Love was in the air that day, and it just blossomed and lasted forever.

He asked for her hand but he stammered and stuttered in his speech. His face was blushing red like a cherry and his entire body quivering. Yeah he did speak up, pouring out all his heart, his feeling and his struggle. She was all smile and happy to be where she was, but didn't expect it to be so abrupt and unexpected. She was visibly shaken, and didn’t know what to say or do. The young man realized his mistakes and tried to explain. It took another 10 minutes before they decided on the one-week's contemplation.

Many sleepless nights. Many hide-and-seek games. Many hot and blushing moments. Many shivering knees and legs. And the heartbeats just kept on beating faster and refused to slow down.

Then the final countdown. Their hearts stopped beating and their breathings were extremely heavy. The old folks of the village gave their consent with a broad smile. "Nothing can stop a genuine and sincere love," they said. They belonged together and they must come together. And everyone was laughing, cheering and dancing, giving their overwhelming blessings and offerings.

Now, they still look at one another in the eyes. He is always handsome, cheerful and happy, and she is still beautiful, smiling and laughing like a sweet sixteen year old lady. They are blessed with many children and their love for one another never dwindle. Who can say a one-week love cannot last forever?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Is this the life that we want?



It doesn't take long before children realize the adults whom they put their trust and confident in are no longer what they think they are:
  • They realize the adults do not know how to smile and laugh naturally.
  • They realize the adults are too messed up in the head when a simply yes or no is enough.
  • They realize the adults are not easy to understand because you can't really understand their expressions, their signs and actions, and respond to them appropriately.
  • They realize the adults are too burdensome in the things they do. They work like robot that has no ability to think. And they don't enjoy their works and they can't concentrate on the things they love just like children do.
  • They realize the adults have to smoke, to get drunk, or to hang around somewhere for a time to release tension and stress, when the simple answer is to go to sleep and forget about the whole thing.
  • They realize the adults are so unreasonable that they let emotions overcome their common sense. They cannot stop eating once they get started. They cannot control the amount of food they eat, or how frequently they eat. And they just cannot stop drinking, smoking, talking, laughing, fooling around or harming themselves once they get started.
  • They realize the adults aren't that brave after all. They are not that good protectors. They often shy away from people. They stumble and fumble when they speak. They lack in confidence to stand up to what they believe in, and they are often pressured by their peers to do things which are not in line with their own value system.
  • They realize that the adults aren't that charming, caring, loving and homely once they are fully occupied with their works outside.
  • They realize that the adults are full of filthy words and gestures in their daily life and seldom devote themselves to the worship of God.
  • They realize the adults are lazy and slothful with their lives. They are not eager to work hard to provide for the family. They are seen wasting away their lives. They are always dependent on others. And they have no concern for the future.
These children grow up and become adults, and they start doing the same things over and again.
And there goes a common saying, "This is life."

Is this the life that we want?

.... High time for us to change.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Best Thing In Life


  • The best thing in life is to know that we can still stand firm on our beliefs after many failures and defeats in our life.
  • The best thing in life is to be able to provide for the needs of our family at the present economic downturn when the rate of unemployment and the cost of living are escalating.
  • The best thing in life is to live in peace and harmony with our surrounding world when the political disagreement and social unrest are getting more difficult to comprehend.
  • The best thing in life is to enjoy taking deeper breaths of fresh air in the beautiful natural landscape in an otherwise terribly polluted world.
  • The best thing in life is the will to love and to cherish one another in the face of a cruel and unconcerned world.
  • The best thing in life is to enjoy humbly the overflowing blessings of the Almighty God despite our daily unrepented sins and enmity with Him.
  • The best thing in life is to live a simple and contented lifestyle with our loved ones when others are crazily chasing after the world and everything in it.
And so, the best thing to do is to ponder over things and do what is right, lovely and beneficial to all, and to enjoy the lovely care of our beloved Heavenly Father.



Sunday, March 8, 2009

We Belong Together


Each of us is born with talents. Throughout our life, the Almight God is guiding us to explore and discover our special gifts. With them, we live life to the fullest.

Each of us also comes with certain weaknesses. And we try to overcome all of them, so that we can be successful in every aspect of our life.

And we know that life is full of threats but that should not stop us. Those of us who have overcome them are now enjoying the fruits of our labor.

And we also know that life is full of opportunities everywhere. And we believe we can feed on any green pasture if we have the desire and the determination to do so.

But we belong together.

We are here to assist and to complement one another.

Family can never be sweet and warm until the family members work together.

Organization can never achieve its desired goals if there is no teamwork.

Nation can never prosper if the people are not united.

And the world can never see peace and stability until we know that we belong together.

Don't try to live alone for that is not the reason why we are created.

Have a nice day.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Have A Nice Day, Always



We are professionals in our own fields.

God has given us many talents.

Some are giving more, therefore more is required of them for the benefits of the world.

Some are giving less, but they can still delve into the mystery of their abilities and help others.

I am of the opinion that no one is useless. And I am burning in anger whenever someone somewhere talks to my ears that so and so is stupid and hopeless.

Never underestimate God's creations. We don't stay here alone and we need to love one another.

But he that hates his brother is in darkness, and walks in darkness, and knows not where he goes, because that darkness has blinded his eyes. (1 John 2:11)

I believe parents at home should not be stupid enough to call their children stupid. Likewise, teachers in school should also be more gracious and kind.

So the next time you are angry at someone, keep your calm, take a long and deep breath, stretch a smile and walk away slowly. LOL

Have a forgiving and a forgetting spirit. And you will enjoy life more.

Isn't life wonderful when we have many friends around us, helping us to forget our sad episodes and instill in us that love, that joy and peace that transcend all knowledge and understanding?

Have a nice day, always.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Love Is Irresistably Dangerous


Love is irresistable because you are so lonely all day. Love is the fulfilment to your longings for someone who cares.

Love is irresistible because you have so much to say. Love is the channel to spread tender loving care.

Love is irresistable because you have so much to bear all day. Love is a solace that goes very deep into your heart, where comfort dwells, and never to leave.

But....

Love is dangerous because you may get blind. Love is confusing and you may end up choosing the wrong guy.

Love is dangerous because you may get drown. Love is a river of no return and you may not come back to shore alive.

Love is dangerous because you may be stripped naked. Love is a sacrifice to give everything you have including your life.

Love is dangerous because you may get burned. Love is an investment full of uncertainties, no one will deny.

Oh...but love is so so nice.....

My love is a battlefield.
What should I do?
Forward match or retreat?

Sigh!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Good Old Trees


I remembered sitting under the good old trees. They meant so much to me.

I remembered during the 70's, when many of us were waiting for our loves under the good old trees. There we read books together, there we sang love songs, there we stared closely into each other's eyes, there we held each other's hands for the first time, and there we began our love story, all under the shelter of a good old tree.

I remembered It was okay for us to fall in love in the open during that time. There the prince in white would be waiting for their beautiful Cinderella. Those who passed by were sporting enough to leave us alone, including our teachers. There, under the hugh old trees, we stumbled and giggled, we blushed often, and our heartbeats were abnormally fast. But our love for one another was sincere and true, and we swore it under the shelter of the good old trees.

I remembered we wrote many love poems together. We uttered many promises of love to one another. We carved many hearts and darts on the tree to indicate our love for one another. And we promised to be together forever after our studies, and we swore it under the shelter of the good old trees.

Now I stand under a pinang tree (betel nut palm, see pic), crying for the good old trees. They are all gone.

I have lost my love under the pinang trees. LOL

Smiling and Laughing


I am not a man easily drawn to smile.

It takes me quite sometimes before I can greet strangers, shake their hands and then smile.

I notice children often laugh, smile, giggle and chuckle easily. I believe happiness is a natural gift of God. I just don't know where, when and how I have lost mine.

Maybe it is the system we are in. We are told from young not to talk with strangers. We are told not to misbehave when adults are around. And we are told to behave appropriately everywhere we go.

Maybe all these restrictions have restrained the flow of happiness and joy to others. Maybe that is why we smile less and laugh less.

Ever since I learn to cultivate good fellowships with others, I rediscover my smiles and laughters. It gets rusty at first for lack of use. But now I am okay, I can smile and laugh naturally and heartily anywhere anytme.

I don't think I want to trade my smiles and laughters with another round of "Don't misbehave".

And I don't think I want to restrain smiles and laughters in my home and in my place of work.

.... Now smile and laugh when and where you can to make this world a better place. LOL

Reaping The Fruits Of Our Labors


I look at my students. They are busy answering the questions. We are having our Mid-Term examination.

They look dreadfully serious. No one smiles at me or look happily at their friends.

The are absorded by the questions. Some are busy answering and calculating. Others are seen scratching and shaking the head while reasoning and talking silently to themselves.

That is the moment of truth, we are reaping the fruits of our labors. ....

There is a time to teach with seriousness.
There is a time to explain with enthusiasm.
There is a time to rebuke and to motivate.
There is a time to relax and to have fun.

Learning is a process that requires time, practice, and repetition. And I am determined to labor with them until they are ready for the battle.

I wish they know. They are my joy, my pride, and my valentines.

Yeah, I have finally rediscovered the joy of giving and sharing. LOL

Confidence


I look at my students, their face looks pale.

They lack the confidence to fight for the future. ....

They claim they have learned plenty, but are not ready for the battle.

Then I notice the problem: They do not study before the exam.

You don't enter a battle field if you are not ready. ...

Some students scratch the head.

They claim they have studied, yet unable to answer the questions.

Then I understand the problem: They don't practise much.

If you desire to win, you need more sparring. ....

Some students take so long to answer a question.

They claim they have tried so very hard, but are still confused.

Then I analyse the problem: They lack good learning strategies.

There are many moves in a battle. But only the right moves count. ....

Others are anxious to answer all the questions, but many answers are wrong.

They claim they have the desire to fight, but they fight to their defeat.

The I realize the real problem: They do not have the confidence. ....

Confidence is important in life. Confidence makes you study hard. Confidence makes you practise much. Confidence makes you employ good working strategies. And confidence makes you gain more confidence.

But how do I teach confidence? LOL

A Walk Down Memory Lane



This is my 15th year teaching in SMK Serian.

Many principals, teachers, and students have come and go. But here I am, ready to serve another academic year.

There are many memories over those long period of time. Many happy hours we shared and many moments when we complained, grumbled, argued and cried.

It was wonderful to see each other grew and matured. We came from different backgrounds. We were nurtured and trained up here in the midst of many trials and challenges. Then we moved on to our next journey.

It was difficult to say adieu. But when the time came, we just had to let go.

Yeah, life is a passing through. We come and we go. But we carry our memories all along. We continue to look up the lessons we have learned. And our life becomes more meaningful and satisfying.

But once in a while, my heart still yearns for you, my beloved principals, teachers, and students.

So long, my friends.

May we meet again soon.