Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Story Teller - a Change In Attitude

This is part 1 of Chapter 1. It's a story by Kathy/Tallorder64.

It's brilliant, absolutely brilliant to make you ponder why people kill themselves over seemingly nothing.

Bruce Jamison watched as the commuter train approached his station. He looked around and saw that all of the people waiting to board the train werestaring at the train as if mesmerized by the approach of the huge beast that took them into New York City at this time of the morning, Monday through Friday. Bruce had been riding this train for seven years now; ever since he and Beth had moved to Connecticut.

Bruce had met Beth at a friend's partyand they had hit it off right away. They had lived in New York City for the first five years of their marriage. For the first couple of years, after moving to Connecticut, Beth had driven him to the train station. He couldn't remember when or why she had stopped driving him to the station; she just didn't take him anymore. These days, he drove his car to the station and parked it there all day.

The bitter January wind gusted and several of the passengers turned away from the wind. Bruce pulled his knit cap down over his ears and inwardly cursed the sharp wind... It was still dark and the sun had not imparted any of it's warmth on the biting wind. Bruce's stomach seemed to twist inside his body and a bit of bile spilled into his throat. He pulled the breath mints out of his pocket and popped two of them in his mouth. The mints burned his tongue as they dissolved in his mouth. He took a sip from the throw-away cup that held his first cup of coffee of the morning; the hot liquid burned his tongue. The burning was magnified by the irritation of the breath mint. The breath mints were with him throughout his day to mask the smell of alcohol. Bruce never drank during the day but he was afraid that someone would smell alcohol on his breath from the night before.

At night, after he left the office and arrived at the station in the city, it was usually twenty or thirty minutes before his train arrived but lately that was enough time for three martinis. After he got home and ate dinner he would go into the study and work for a while on the cases that had been assigned to him and have another drink or two, sometimes more if the case was grinding on him. By no stretch of the imagination could anyone call him an alcoholic. He never let alcohol interfere with his work and he didn'ttake a drink during the day. Even at the power lunches he drank coffee oriced tea. Most of his fellow lawyers would swear that he didn't drink. Hehad promised long ago that he would never be like his father.

Brice Jamison had passed his bar exam on the first try. The law firm that had recruited him right out of law school had assisted him with tutors and time off to study for the exam. He repaid them, in spades, rapidly becoming one of the best corporate lawyers in the city. His reputation drew clients to the law firm like a magnet. Bruce quickly had his own staff working forhim. His salary grew along with his reputation. He had planned to work a few years to get his feet on the ground and then start his own practice but the money that he was making now was just too hard to turn away from. For some reason, partnership in the firm always seemed just a millimeter away. Right there but he couldn't touch it. Bruce told himself that it was because the firm was huge and the older partners were greedy.

The train slowed to a stop in front of the platform, pushing a bit of the frigid January air ahead of it. There was a rush to board the train and Bruce held back, knowing that there would be plenty of seats. Since this was one of the first stops, there were always plenty of seats. Bruce got on the train and began to walk toward his regular seat just as the train started to roll. He slid over to the window and looked out, into the half-light, at the Connecticut scenery slipping past the window. As it usually happened when hestarted his trip into the city, he got the feeling that something was wrong with his being on this train. He really didn't like New York City that much.
A movement in the aisle caused him to look up. A distinguished looking man,with a full head of striking silver hair, sat down next to him and nodded in greeting. Bruce smiled politely and opened his New York Times. The words printed on the paper didn't interest him and he drifted from one news article to another before folding the paper and putting it on his lap. He looked out of the window again and saw the eastern sky beginning to get a little lighter. The sun would almost be up when they pulled into New York.

Think, Believe, Dream, And Dare

An eight-year-old boy approached an old man in front of a wishing well, looked up into his eyes, and asked: "I understand you're a very wise man. I'd like to know the secret of life."

The old man looked down at the youngster and replied: "I've thought a lot in my lifetime, and the secret can be summed up in four words.

The first is think.

Think about the values you wish to live your life by.

The second is believe.

Believe in yourself based on the thinking you've done about the values you're going to live your life by.

The third is dream.

Dream about the things that can be, based on your belief in yourself and the values you're going to live by.

The last is dare.

Dare to make your dreams become reality, based on your belief in yourself and your values."

And with that, Walter E. Disney said to the little boy, "Think, Believe, Dream, and Dare."

Have a laugh at these URLs

1. A site called ‘Who Represents‘ where you can find the name of the agent that represents a celebrity. Their domain name… wait for it… is

2. Experts Exchange, a knowledge base where programmers can exchange advice and views at

3. Looking for a pen? Look no further than Pen Island at

4. Need a therapist? Try Therapist Finder at

5. Then of course, there’s the Italian Power Generator company…

6. And now, we have the Mole Station Native Nursery, based in New South Wales:

7. Welcome to the First Cumming Methodist Church. Their website is

8. Then, of course, there’s these brainless art designers, and their whacky website:

9. Want to holiday in Lake Tahoe? Try their brochure website at

Powerful People Quiz

Now I see why powerful people often wear sunglasses - the spotlight blinds them to reality. They suffer from a delusion that power means something. They suffer from the misconception that titles make a difference.They are under the impression that earthly authority will make a heavenly difference.

Can I prove my point?

Take this quiz:

* Name the ten wealthiest people in the world.
* Name the last year's Nobel Prize winners.
* Name the last ten winners of the Miss Universe contest.
* Name eight people who have won the Pulitzer prize.
* How about the last ten Academy Award winners for best picture...
* or the last football World Cup winners.

How did you do?
I didn't do well either.
With the exception of you trivia hounds.

Surprising how quickly we forget, isn't it?
And what I've mentioned above are no second-rate achievements.
They are the best in their fields.
But the applause dies.
Awards tarnish.
Achievements are forgotten.
Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz.

See how you do on this one:

* Think of three people you enjoy spending time with.
* Name ten people who have taught you something worthwhile.
* Name five friends who have helped you in a difficult time.
* List a few teachers who have aided your journey through school.
* Name half a dozen heroes whose stories have inspired you.


The lesson?

The people who make a difference are not the ones with the credentials, but the ones with the concern.
The least you can do is to ensure you end up on someone's quiz.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The reason for 99.9% of failed relationships

Just read the quote below. It will help you understand why people break up even though they say "they love each other".

When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment.
It is an impossibility.
It is even a lie to pretend to.
And yet this is exactly what most of us demand.
- Anne Morrow Lindbergh

The Touch

I can't remember where I got this story from. It's from my archives of stories to remember. And I don't have the details of who wrote it. If you did, please let me know and I'll attribute it to you.
All I want to do is share this story about the power of the human touch.
Here goes..........

Yesterday I paused outside the deli in my office building to let pass a rather harried looking
mother pushing a stroller loaded with a variety of shoulder bags and a small little girl.

My mind was elsewhere and I never actually saw what caused it, but halfway through this
narrow doorway a wheel of the stroller caught on the threshold and tipped the entire load
forward. Caught off balance and a little pre-occupied herself, this young lady lost her grip
and the stroller pitched forward, spilling the contents of several bags and one very
frightened brown haired child.

Instinct took over and as any father would do, my first reaction was to lift this baby to my
shoulder, pat her on the back and console her.
I couldn't get over how light she was or how strange it was that she didn't look around for
her mother. She just cried and stared directly at the wall and never turned her head in any

Despite her small stature, Angelica, as I would later learn her name was, nearly choked me with
her grip, as she frantically held onto my shirt and neck. Never responding to my voice as my daughter had, Angelica pressed her face into my hands as I stroked her hair and wiped the tears from her wide green eyes.

It only took a second or two for her mother to free the stroller from the doorway and race to my side, but Angelica would not let go of my shoulder and hand so I told her mother to go ahead and get her things together while I held the baby.

I had resumed my attempt at calming the baby when her mother turned and said, "She can only hear you if you put her ear to your chest, she's also deaf."


I turned my head to stare into this beautiful little girls eyes, and saw... nothing... no response...
no reaction. This frail, frightened child was blind and deaf, her only window to the world was
through touch.

I stroked her cheek and was given a hopeful smile through her tears, I tickled her under the
chin, she giggled and placed her head on my shoulder and sighed. My heart was broken as
could only think of my own two and a-half-year old daughter, Christina. I thought of how often
she fell asleep to my wife and I singing to her or how often I catch her looking out of the corner
of her eye at me and laughing when I wink or make a face. Would she ever know the joy and
love in her home if she couldn't see or hear it?

Could I show her how much she means in my life just by touch alone?
How often had I said "I love you, Good night" without a hug or a kiss?
We all know how important touching can be, we all know the peace that settles into your heart
after a warm hug, but could any of us convey complex emotions like sadness, joy, sympathy
or love through touch alone?

Did this little girl know that I was a stranger, someone she had never been near before?
Did she even have a concept of different people at all?
Could she tell her mother apart from any other woman?

And then all these questions where answered in one quick second. Her mother took her from me and nuzzled her neck and hugged her.

The look on that child's face answered all and then some.
Of course she could.

I took my seat and tried my best not to cry in the hallway of my office. I pray that this mother can somehow get through to her little girl over the only bridge available, and I pray that I will never have to try.

I do know one thing though -- I'm going home tonight and practice...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Quote of the Day

I was watching John Rambo. Yes, Stallone is way past it, but there was still one good line there.
"DIE for something, or you'll live for NOTHING".
What I take it to mean is that you have to have something to live for. At least one thing that drives you. Otherwise, you're living a life which is nothing more than an empty shell, waiting for things to happen rather than working towards something happening FOR YOU.
With that, I leave you with the Quote of the Day.

You have to stand for something, or you'll fall for anything.
If you don't know what your position is, if you don't know where you draw the line between right and wrong, you'll never see yourself as you truly are.
You'll never feel good about yourself.
So that's become my credo.
Stand for something.
And do you know what?
I don't fall for much.
- Star Jones

Lessons from Robert Kuok

Robert Kuok Hock Nien's notes on the past sixty years
(On the occasion of Kuok Group's 60th Anniversary 10 April 2009)

(1) My brothers and I owe our upbringing completely to Mother.She was steeped in Ru-Jiao – the teachings of Confucius, Mencius, Laozi and other Chinese sages.
Ru-Jiao teaches the correct behaviour for a human being on his life on earth.
Mother gently, and sometimes strongly, drummed into the minds of her three boys the values of honesty, of never cheating, lying, stealing or envying other people their material wealth or physical attributes.

(2) Father died on 25 December 1948 night without leaving a will.
Following the Japanese surrender, he had re-registered the firm as a sole proprietorship. We went to court to get an appointment as managers, permitting us to continue to manage Tong Seng & Co.
The judge said that, as there were two widows, the firm and the estate should be wound up.

(3) We decide to establish Kuok Brothers Limited.
In mid-January 1949, five of us met at a small roundtable in our home in Johore Bahru. Present were my MOTHER, cousin number five HOCK CHIN, cousin number twelve HOCK SENG, my brother HOCK KHEE nicknamed Philip (a..k.a. cousin number seventeen), and myself (a.k.a. cousin number twenty).
We sat down and Mother said, "Nien, would you like to start?"
I said, "Fine, yes I will start."
To cut the long story short, we got started, and commenced business from a little shop house in Johore Bharu on 1 April 1949.

(4) As a young man, I thought there was no substitute for hard work and thinking up good, honest business plans and, without respite, pushing them along.
There will always be business on earth.
Be humble; be straight; don't be crooked; don't take advantage of people.
To be a successful businessman, I think you really need to brush all your senses every morning, just as you brush your teeth.
I coined the phrase "honing your senses" in business: your vision, hearing, sense of smell, touch and taste.
All these senses come in very useful.

(5) Mother was the captain of our ship.
She saw and sensed everything, but being a wise person she didn't interfere.
Yet she was the background influence, the glue that bound the Group together.
She taught my cousins and my brothers and me never to be greedy, and that in making money one could practise high morality.
She stressed that whenever the firm does well it should make donations to the charities operating in our societies.
She always kept us focused on the big picture in business.
For example: avoid businesses that bring harm, destruction or grief to people. This includes trades like gambling, drugs, arms sales, loan-sharking and prostitution.

(6) We started as little fish swimming in a bathtub.
From there we went to a lake and now we are in the open seas.
Today our businesses cover many industries and our operations are worldwide but this would not have been possible without the vision of the founding members, the dedicated contributions and loyalty of our colleagues and employees, and very importantly the strong moral principles espoused by my mother.

(7) When I hire staff, I look for honest, hardworking, intelligent people.
When I look candidates in the eye, they must appear very honest to me.
I do not look for MBAs or exceptional students.
You may hire a brilliant man, summa cum laude, first-class honours, but if his mind is not a fair one or if he has a warped attitude in life, does brilliance really matter?

(8) Among the first employees were Lau Teo Chin (Ee Wor), Kwok Chin Luang (Ee Luang), Othman Samad (Kadir) and an Indian accountant called Joachim who was a devout Roman Catholic and who travelled in every day from Singapore where he lived.

(9) I would like on this special occasion to pay tribute to them and in particular to those who were with us in the early days;many of whom are no longer here.
I have already mentioned Lau Teo Chin (Ee Wor) and Kwok Chin Luang (Ee Luang) and Othman Samad (Kadir), there are others like Lean Chye Huat, who is not here today due to failing eyesight, and Yusuf Sharif who passed away in his home country India about one and a half years ago and the late Lee Siew Wah, and others who all gave solid and unstinting support and devotion to the Company.
It saddens me that in those early difficult years these pioneers did not enjoy significant and substantial rewards but such is the order of things and a most unfortunate aspect of capitalism.
However through our Group and employee Foundations, today we are able to help their descendants whenever there is a need to.

(10) I have learnt that the success of a company must depend on the unity of all its employees.
We are all in the same boat rowing against the current and tide and every able person must pull the oars to move the boat forward.
Also, we must relentlessly endeavour to maintain and practise the values of integrity and honesty, and eschew and reject greed and arrogance.

(11) A few words of caution to all businessmen and women.
I recall the Chinese saying: shibai nai chenggong zhi mu (failure is the mother of success).
But in the last thirty years of my business life, I have come to the conclusion that the reverse phrase is even truer of today's world: chenggong nai shibai zhi mu. Success often breeds failure, because it makes you arrogant, complacent and, therefore, lower your guard.

(12) The way forward for this world is through capitalism.
Even China has come to realise it.
But it's equally true that capitalism, if allowed to snowball along unchecked, can in many ways become destructive.
Capitalism needs to be inspected under a magnifying glass once a day, a super-magnifying glass once a week, and put through the cleaning machine once a month.
In capitalism, man needs elements of ambition and greed to drive him.
But where does ambition end and greed take over?
That's why I say that capitalism, if left to its own devices, will snowball along, roll down the hill and cause a lot of damage.
So a sound capitalist system requires very strongly led, enlightened, wise governments. That means politician-statesmen willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of their people.
I don't mean politicians who are there for fame, glory and to line their pockets.

(13) To my mind the two great challenges facing the world are the restoration of education in morals and the establishment of a rule of law.
You must begin from the root up, imbuing and infusing moral lessons and morality into youth, both at home and from kindergartenand primary school upward through university. Every person needs to accept the principle of rule of law; then you have to train upright judges and lawyers to uphold the legal system.

(14) Wealth should be used for two main purposes.
One: for the generation of greater wealth; in other words, you continue to invest, creating prosperity and jobs in the country.
Two: part of your wealth should be applied to the betterment of mankind, either by acts of pure philanthropy or by investment in research and development along the frontiers of science, space, health care and so forth.

How to make a difference in your life by Floyd Maxwell

Choose your associates most carefully.

Live life like you have only one.
(Actually, you really ONLY have ONE)

Work to fully understand how the principles of life, and death, work.

If being a vegetarian is healthier than being a meat eater, then make a decision.

If religion is ridiculous, stop being ridiculous.

Resolve to be a slave to truth.

Resolve to oppose any corrupt group, particularly those in government who USE OUR MONEY like it's theirs.

Realize that the most "reputable" organizations are the worst.

Realize that mass media spreads mass propaganda.

And realize that we haven't even begun to do the right thing for our children.

Work to make your thoughts master of your feelings and not vice-a-versa.

Learn exactly how this present system of control works, then resolve to educate others about it.

If all of us know the problem, all of us become the solution.

Realize that the most unstoppable power in the world is giving.

It is untaxable, has a multiplier effect greater than any other, and will make you feel better than any selfish act you can think of.

- Floyd Maxwell (1957-)