Monday, November 29, 2010

Why being Malaysian is the best!

Good joke!

Being a Malaysian is the best because...

1. World tallest twin towers, Best F1 circuit, largest roti canai, most expensive toll rates, because Malaysia Boleh!

2. We can be driving, picking our nose, cursing another driver, talking on the handphone, adjusting the radio and bribing the traffic police at the same time.

3. We can get a divorce by sending just an SMS.

4. Traffic summons can be settled on the spot with the traffic police.

5. We can have Teh Tarik & Roti Canai on the Russian space ship.

6. We can save a lot of electricity because our TV shows are so crappy.

7. We can blame everything on the haze or George Soros or government or the opposition parties or...

8. Resourceful City Council, one person to drive the van, one to carry the ladder, one to change a street's bulb

and three others watching...

9. Most drivers can make 2 lane trunk roads into 3 lane highway and back to 2 lanes when police are sighted

10. There's always something for the JKR/TNB/TELEKOM/SYABAS to do.

They dig, resurface the road, dig and resurface...and blame each other for bad co-ordination.

11. All main roads are designated highway because it gives Samy Velu a reason to collect toll.

12. Our government can never be wrong or dishonest.

13. Our badminton players are paid only RM35,000 when they win a major international tournament which is very cheap compared to David Beckham.

14. You can easily get a divorce and marry a young singer you like.

15. We can even use C4 explosives to bombard Gengkis Khan or Kublai Khan's great grandchildren.

16. We have more water than Singapore .... nyek nyek nyek.

17. If you have no money you can always snatch other peoples' money since police can't do much to help.

18. If you are a police, doesn't matter about the traffic rules, its for citizens only

19. If you are a policeman outrider you can kick and bang peoples' cars.

20. If you drive a police car, you can speed because speed limits only apply to citizens.

21. You can settle your summons with big discount during “Sales Malaysia”.

22. All motor riders can join the recognized & supported Mat Rempit club for free and can beat up anybody in their way and can even throw stones at the police station anytime they like.

23. If you got nothing to do join the rela and go to the kongsi gelap and extort monies from all the foreign workers.

24. You can rape people and blame them for wearing very little.

25. You don’t need to bother about the poor when you race in your F1.

26. You can keep your money and get a free degree when you have 'connections'.

27. You can get work done with 2 hours lunch break, 2 hours tea break and the rest of the time attending meetings.

28. You get free “bumi” status even if you swim from Indonesia.

29. You can change your sworn Statutory Declaration anytime.

30. You can be a paedophile by “marrying” your young bride.

31 . A country so free to do things you like.

Tell me which country is like ours.

“We’ve learned to fly the air as birds, we’ve learned to swim the seas as

fish, yet we haven’t learned to walk the Earth as brothers and sisters.”

Friday, November 26, 2010

Uncertainty, a certainty of life

I was very uncertain about what I was going to do for this year, that was at the end of last year, where I'll plan out the entire year and timelines.
As we approach the end of this year, the time has come for the same thing that I must do.
After all, if I was so sure that everything I plan becomes a success, then I would be a God, wouldn't I?
My main sustenance is the fact that this journey is still ongoing with the destination getting nearer and nearer, and once it gets to that point, I'll be already plotting a new course of the next stage.
Which brings to mind, this quote:

To live only for some future goal is shallow.
It's the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top.

- Robert M. Pirsig

Friday, November 19, 2010

Why it's important to have a positive attitude

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

- Herm Albright

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Here's a tip for you, Malaysia

When Benjamin Franklin was asked after a session of the Constitutional Convention, ""What kind of a government have you given us?""
he replied, ""A democracy, if you can keep it.""

Our republic is founded on the principle that it will continue only as long as the people keep democracy alive.

With each political campaign, the people who vote keep democracy alive.

Each citizen who participates in community affairs is keeping democracy alive.

Every act of mercy and helpfulness, every word spoken for freedom, keeps the democratic spirit alive.

Democracy is maintained by passing it on from one generation to another in the school, in place of worship, in the home.

At every stage, it must be strengthened. Let us therefore resolve to give to our successors a stronger republic than was passed on to us.

-- Thomas A. Watson

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Life lessons I learned from a jigsaw puzzle

Don't force a fit. If something is meant to be, it will come together naturally.

When things aren't going so well, take a break. Everything will look different when you return.

Be sure to look at the big picture. Getting hung up on the little pieces only leads to frustration.

Perseverance pays off. Every important puzzle went together bit by bit, piece by piece.

When one spot stops working, move to another. But be sure to come back later (see above).

The creator of the puzzle gave you the picture as a guidebook.

Variety is the spice of life. It's the different colors and patterns that make the puzzle interesting.

Establish the border first. Boundaries give a sense of security and order.

Don't be afraid to try different combinations. Some matches are surprising.

Take time to celebrate your successes (even little ones).

Anything worth doing takes time and effort. A great puzzle can't be rushed.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Selamat Hari Raya Haji

To all my Muslim friends, Selamat Hari Raya Haji!
Those who are Christians or Muslims would know the story of Abraham, or Ibrahim, and why this day is celebrated
In any case, remind yourself of this saying by one of my favourite authors:

Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many--not

on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.

-- Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Be a Friend

Even in my profile, I put Friend ahead of other status, such as son to my father, brother to my siblings etc.
Why? Because Friends are the only people in your social circle whom YOU CHOOSE.

Are You A Friend?

A Friend A friend is a person whom you want to have near when you are dying.

And whom you like to be with while you are living;

To whom you spontaneously turn to for help when you are in trouble.

And who is the first to hear the good news when you have good fortune;

Whose counsel you seek when you are perplexed.

And whose congratulations you welcome when the perplexity is solved;

In whom you can confide the secret you want no other living soul to know.

Yet will never pry into your heart to discover whether there are any more secrets to be revealed;

On whom you can lean on when your heart aches.

But who will never take advantage of your leaning;

Who will get down on their knees beside you when you are down.

And forgot they did so when you are on your feet again.

And whose shoulder you can weep on when you are sad.

And with whom you enjoy laughing with when you are glad;

Who has a tear on their cheek when you suffer.

And a twinkle in their eyes when the sun shines on you again;

Who has pain in their tone when you are in distress.

And a melody in their voice when your heart is gay;

Who admires you for your strong points.

But loves you in spite of your weak ones;

Who makes allowances for your limitations,

Without allowing them to obscure your talents;

Who is proud of you when fortune favors you.

But not ashamed of you when you fail;

Who contributes to your success without claiming any share in it.

Who can feel and show satisfaction when you please them

But never resentment when you disappoint them;

Who will tell you the truth even when it hurts.

And to whom you can tell the truth without them taking offense;

Who is not ashamed to ask you a favor even at the risk of being imposed upon.

Who can extend a helping hand and lighten your load

Without expecting any other reward than having had the privilege of so doing.

Who gives all they can whenever they can

Without ever keeping record of what has been given.

Who says the best about you when everybody elseis saying the worst.

Every person needs such friends

Every person owes it to themselves to be such a friend!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

You want to be happy and rich?



Having lived a reasonably contented life, I was musing over what a person should strive for to achieve happiness. I drew up a list of a few essentials which I put forward for the readers' appraisal.

1. First and foremost is GOOD HEALTH. If you do not enjoy good health you can never be happy. Any ailment, however trivial, will deduct from your happiness.

2. Second, A HEALTHY BANK BALANCE. It need not run into crores but should be enough to provide for creature comforts and something to spare for recreation, like eating out, going to the pictures, travelling or going on holidays on the hills or by the sea. Shortage of money can be only demoralizing. Living on credit or borrowing is demeaning and lowers one in one's own eyes.

3. Third, A HOME OF YOUR OWN. Rented premises can never give you the snug feeling of a nest which is yours for keeps that a home provides: if it has a garden space, all the better. Plant your own trees and flowers, see them grow and blossom, cultivate a sense of kinship with them.

4. Fourth, AN UNDERSTANDING COMPANION, be it your spouse or a friend. If there are too many misunderstandings, they will rob you of your peace of mind. It is better to be divorced than to bicker all the time.

5. Fifth, LACK OF ENVY towards those who have done better than you in life; risen higher, made more money, or earned more fame. Envy can be very corroding; avoid comparing yourself with others.

6. Sixth, DO NOT ALLOW OTHER PEOPLE to descend on you for gup-shup. By the time you get rid of them, you will feel exhausted and poisoned by their gossip-mongering.

7. Seventh, CULTIVATE SOME HOBBIES which can bring you a sense of fulfilment, such as gardening, reading, writing, painting, playing or listening to music. Going to clubs or parties to get free drinks or to meet celebrities is a criminal waste of time.

8. Eighth, every morning and evening, devote 15 minutes to INTROSPECTION. In the morning, 10 minutes should be spent on stilling the mind and then five in listing things you have to do that day. In the evening, five minutes to still the mind again, and ten to go over what you had undertaken to do.

RICHNESS is not Earning More, Spending More Or Saving More, but ...


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Quitter

So don't ever be one!
Here's a good poem:

Fate handed the quitter a bump, and he dropped;

The road seemed too rough to go, so he stopped.

He thought of his hurt, and there came to his mind

The easier path he was leaving behind.

Oh, it's all much too hard, said the quitter right then;

I'll stop where I am and not try it again.

He sat by the road and he made up his tale

To tell when men asked why he happened to fail.

A thousand excuses flew up to his tongue,

And these on the thread of his story he strung,

But the truth of the matter he didn't admit;

He never once said, I was frightened and quit.

Whenever the quitter sits down by the road

And drops from the struggle to lighten his load,

He can always recall to his own peace of mind

A string of excuses for falling behind;

But somehow or other he can't think of one

Good reason for battling and going right on.

Oh, when the bump comes and fate hands you a jar,

Don't baby yourself, boy, whoever you are;

Don't pity yourself and talk over your woes;

Don't think up excuses for dodging the blows.

But stick to the battle and see the thing through.

And don't be a quitter, whatever you do.

By Edgar A. Guest

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Worry and stuff

Now that I'm in business, it takes a lot of mental strength just to deal with the daily stress as well as the long term plans for the business.
My brother in law who runs the home improvement center worries a lot, naturally. Cashflow, revenue projections, breakeven point for product lines etc.
At the end of the day, is it REALLY worth the worry?
Take this from Dale Carnegie to put everything into perspective.

“ Do you remember the things you were worrying about a year ago? Didn't you waste a lot of fruitless energy on account of most of them? Didn't most of them turn out all right after all? Do you remember the things you were worrying about a year ago? Didn't you waste a lot of fruitless energy on account of most of them? Didn't most of them turn out all right after all? ”
- Dale Carnegie

Saturday, November 06, 2010

No Left Turns

This is a wonderful piece by Michael Gartner, editor of newspapers large & small and president of NBC News. In 1997, he won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. It is well worth reading, and a few good chuckles are guaranteed.

No Left Turns

My father never drove a car. Well, that's not quite right. I should say I never saw him drive a car. He quit driving in 1927, when he was 25 years old, and the last car he drove was a 1926 Whippet.

"In those days," he told me when he was in his 90s,"to drive a car you had to do things with your hands, and do things with your feet, and look every which way, and I decided you could walk through life and enjoy it or drive through life and miss it."

At which point my mother, a sometimes salty Irishwoman, chimed in: "Oh, bull----!" she said. "He hit a horse."

"Well," my father said, "there was that, too."

So my brother and I grew up in a household without a car. The neighbors all had cars -- the Kollingses next door had a green 1941 Dodge, the VanLaninghams across the street a gray 1936 Plymouth, the Hopsons two doors down a black 1941 Ford -- but we had none.

My father, a newspaperman in Des Moines , would take the streetcar to work and, often as not, walk the 3 miles home. If he took the streetcar home, my mother and brother and I would walk the three blocks to the streetcar stop, meet him and walk home together.

My brother, David, was born in 1935, and I was born in 1938, and sometimes, at dinner, we'd ask how come all the neighbors had cars but we had none. "No one in the family drives," my mother would explain, and that was that.

But, sometimes, my father would say, "But as soon as one of you boys turns 16, we'll get one." It was as if he wasn't sure which one of us would turn 16 first.

But, sure enough , my brother turned 16 before I did, so in 1951 my parents bought a used 1950 Chevrolet from a friend who ran the parts department at a Chevy dealership downtown.

It was a four-door, white model, stick shift, fender skirts, loaded with everything, and, since my parents didn't drive, it more or less became my brother's car.

Having a car but not being able to drive didn't bother my father, but it didn't make sense to my mother. So in 1952, when she was 43 years old, she asked a friend to teach her to drive. She learned in a nearby cemetery, the place where I learned to drive the following year and where, a generation later, I took my two sons to practice driving.

The cemetery probably was my father's idea. "Who can your mother hurt in the cemetery?" I remember him saying more than once.

For the next 45 years or so, until she was 90, my mother was the driver in the family. Neither she nor my father had any sense of direction, but he loaded up on maps -- though they seldom left the city limits -- and appointed himself navigator. It seemed to work.

Still, they both continued to walk a lot. My mother was a devout Catholic, and my father an equally devout agnostic, an arrangement that didn't seem to bother either of them through their 75 years of marriage. (Yes, 75 years, and they were deeply in love the entire time.)

He retired when he was 70, and nearly every morning for the next 20 years or so, he would walk with her the mile to St. Augustin's Church. She would walk down and sit in the front pew, and he would wait in the back until he saw which of the parish's two priests was on duty that morning.

If it was the pastor, my father then would go out and take a 2-mile walk, meeting my mother at the end of the service and walking her home. If it was the assistant pastor, he'd take just a 1-mile walk and then head back to the church. He called the priests "Father Fast" and "Father Slow."

After he retired, my father almost always accompanied my mother whenever she drove anywhere, even if he had no reason to go along. If she were going to the beauty parlor, he'd sit in the car and read, or go take a stroll or, if it was summer, have her keep the engine running so he could listen to the Cubs game on the radio. In the evening, then, when I'd stop by, he'd explain: "The Cubs lost again. The millionaire on second base made a bad throw to the millionaire on first base, so the multimillionaire on third base scored."

If she were going to the grocery store, he would go along to carry the bags out -- and to make sure she loaded up on ice cream. As I said, he was always the navigator.

Once, when he was 95 and she was 88 and still driving, he said to me, "Do you want to know the secret of a long life?"

"I guess so," I said, knowing it probably would be something bizarre.

"No left turns," he said.

"What?" I asked.

"No left turns," he repeated. "Several years ago, your mother and I read an article that said most accidents that old people are in happen when they turn left in front of oncoming traffic. As you get older, your eyesight worsens, and you can lose your depth perception, it said. So your mother and I decided never again to make a left turn."

"What?" I said again.

"No left turns," he said. "Think about it.. Three rights are the same as a left, and that's a lot safer. So we always make three rights."

"You're kidding!" I said, and I turned to my mother for support.

"No," she said, "your father is right. We make three rights. It works." But then she added: "Except when your father loses count."

I was driving at the time, and I almost drove off the road as I started laughing. "Loses count?" I asked.

"Yes," my father admitted, "that sometimes happens. But it's not a problem. You just make seven rights, and you're okay again."

I couldn't resist. "Do you ever go for 11?" I asked.

"No," he said " If we miss it at seven, we just come home and call it a bad day. Besides, nothing in life is so important it can't be put off another day or another week."

My mother was never in an accident, but one evening she handed me her car keys and said she had decided to quit driving. That was in 1999, when she was 90.

She lived four more years, until 2003. My father died the next year, at 102.

They both died in the bungalow they had moved into in 1937 and bought a few years later for $3,000. (Sixty years later, my brother and I paid $8,000 to have a shower put in the tiny bathroom -- the house had never had one. My father would have died then and there if he knew the shower cost nearly three times what he paid for the house.)

He continued to walk daily -- he had me get him a treadmill when he was 101 because he was afraid he'd fall on the icy sidewalks but wanted to keep exercising -- and he was of sound mind and sound body until the moment he died.

One September afternoon in 2004, he and my son went with me when I had to give a talk in a neighboring town, and it was clear to all three of us that he was wearing out, though we had the usual wide-ranging conversation about politics and newspapers and things in the news.

A few weeks earlier, he had told my son, "You know, Mike, the first hundred years are a lot easier than the second hundred." At one point in our drive that Saturday, he said, "You know, I'm probably not going to live much longer."

"You're probably right," I said.

"Why would you say that?" He countered, somewhat irritated.

"Because you're 102 years old," I said.

"Yes," he said, "you're right." He stayed in bed all the next day.

That night, I suggested to my son and daughter that we sit up with him through the night.

He appreciated it, he said, though at one point, apparently seeing us look gloomy, he said: "I would like to make an announcement. No one in this room is dead yet."

An hour or so later, he spoke his last words: "I want you to know," he said, clearly and lucidly, "that I am in no pain. I am very comfortable. And I have had as happy a life as anyone on this earth could ever have."

A short time later, he died. I miss him a lot, and I think about him a lot. I've wondered now and then how it was that my family and I were so lucky that he lived so long.

I can't figure out if it was because he walked through life,

Or because he quit taking left turns.

~Miachel Gartner~