Thursday, March 15, 2012

Malang, Indonesia 8th March 2012

This old lady sits beside the lake and sells the black talapia the fisherman sells to her for a small sum and she is like the middle man that sells the fish to the consumer. One kilo of black talapia is 10000 Rupiah equivalent to RM3-30.


Jambu farm in Batu, near to Malang Town. Temperature is cool.

Guest house that I stayed in along Jalan Bandung, Malang Town. Single room with two single bed is Rupiah 300,000 ( RM100 approx. )

Topedo room inside the Submarine. Surabaya. Russian made and decommissioned in 1968. Made in 1952. Indonesia had 12 such submarines and no air con inside when it was in active service.

Half my heart is in Malang Indonesia for the last 5 years because Elaine Liow is there studying to be a doctor. When I look at the condition they ( meaning the Malaysian student ) live in and the suffering they have to go through I really take my hats off. Many do not know the condition they live in and how they have to cope with life in Malang. I know. I have seen them study for 4 years theory and then final year working in the hospital. Can anyone imagine having to do a 24 hours shift and sometimes a 36 hours shift. I just to have to stay awake for one night without sleeping and the next day I will be sleeping like a log in the forest.
Don't look at the guesthouse i posted above because it is nothing like that. Far from it. Believe me.
Whatever they may say about Indonesian standards of medical students but for me I think they work really hard and they deserve the credit. People have the perception that Oh ! its Indonesia so it is no good. But let me tell you this. They are doing so much practical and they will come up top compared to those just looking at books and reciting theory like the way the Buddhist recites the mantra. Honestly I am not being bias.
I visited the hospital at Malang, which was quite interesting and I talked to many medical students. Some of the stories are so sad I just do not know where to begin. One of them told me that she came across a case where the baby needed an operation and the costs would come up to 500,000 Rupiah. That is about RM175-00. Because she was not able to come up with this amount of money for the operation she had to sign the letter of withdrawal. Can anyone imagine the pain the mother must have felt. Can anyone imagine the guilt, the sense of uselessness and utter desperation. The baby died eventually after a few days.
Not having the money to buy the required medicine, no money to get an operation, no money to keep the patient in hospital. The list goes on and on. Sometimes come to think of it we are so lucky. At least the hospital is free ( affordable ) here in Malaysia.
Imagine one day, when we wake up and find that there is a cut back and hospitalization is only available to those that can afford to pay and medicine is going to costs a lot and the government is not paying.
When I listen to the reports pointing to those in power abusing their positions and sucking the rakyaat's money it makes me angry. It makes me want to curse them for the corruption and cornyism and abuse of power. If it goes on it will make the country bankrupt in no time.
But what to do stupid people keep voting those corrupted buggers back to public office. I remember when I was a kid I saw people lining up to collect their one kilo of sugar, 3 kilos of rice and one tin of milo being given out by politicians in exchange of their vote.
Anyway I have strayed from my main point which is suppose to be about Malang, Indonesia.
Malang is quite near to Surabaya and it is quite an interesting City. Makan - very good. Hotel - very good. Weather - very hot and in March very wet. City tour - interesting.
House of Sempourna - must visit. Chinaman from Hokkien came to Surabaya 1900 and made it good and second richest family in Indonesia today. Original surname Lim. Changed to Sempourna. Makes rokok - hand rolled. Sold the entire operation to Morris Phillips for US$5 Billion in 2005.
When I visited the House of Sempourna and looked at the old photos and listen to the stories it does not make me envious. It makes me want to work harder. It inspires me to work harder.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Mother Teresa said: "To truly give charity, you must be free of selfishness!"

Just the other day I was talking to an old friend and he said something very funny. He said that he truely wants to serve society and do something good for the society. After a cup of coffee, a big cup that is, I discovered his defination of " service to society ".

Serving society by joining a political party. I said to myself " Okay " that's it, he is going to say something really silly. True enough he rambled on about party positions, being head of this, Chairman of that and appointments etc etc.

My point is how many of us really appreciate what is the true meaning of charity, serving the public selflessly and contributing to society without asking for something in return.

I for one has not reached that stage yet. I cannot say that I have achieved this status of being a charitable person. I say this for 3 good reasons.

First of all, I do not think I have the ability financially to contribute such an amount that will make an impact. I do contribute but in small tokens. To some people it would not even be classified as Charity.

Secondly to contribute by giving away some of my time, that is near impossible because I do not even have sufficient time in a days to do my own stuff. How could I possibly contribute my time for charity.

Therefore I am already admitting to the fact that time and money is not one of my stronger points as far as charity is concerned.

Thirdly I do not want to be a hypocrite like my friend blowing his own trumpet and say that he is contributing to society when he hoped to get something out of the effort he had put in.

When I was doing my stuff for the political party, make a good guess. That's it - nothing more and nothing less.

Most of the people do things for their own benefit. Call it selfishness or call it whatever you want. But the bottom line is that he or she needs to put food on the table, pay for the tuition fees, pay for the maid's salary, worker's salary, parent's pocket money, short holidays with the family etc etc. Who do you think will come along and say I am willing to put food on your table. Someone saying that would probably be wanting something in return as well.

So you see, don't talk about charity or serving society unless you truly know the meaning of charity and service to the public.

Nowadays we hear of so many politicians saying that he is fighting for his own race and his own people, fairness and so on and so forth. His loyalty to King and Country. Rukunegara all thrown in. But I do not believe a single word they say.

What is our national philosophy.

Our nation, Malaysia, is being dedicated :

  • to achieve a greater unity of all her peoples;
  • to maintain a democratic way of life;
  • to create a just society in which the wealth of the nation shall be equitably shared;
  • to ensure a liberal approach to her rich and diverse cultural traditions;
  • and to build a progressive society which shall be oriented to modern science and technology;

We, her peoples, pledge our united efforts to attain these ends guided by these principles:

I am still trying to do all this and be honest with myself. Please tell me that I am wrong. I would like to hear about it.

How many of you are prepared to stand up and say that I am truly a charitable person now ?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Mey Mey's Birthday Dinner

Nowadays when the children turns 18 we have to go out with them to celebrate their coming of age. During my time, my mum and dad will keep a straight face and gives us the impression that turning 18 is no big deal.

As a matter of fact nowadays parents tend to pamper their children more than those days when going to Penang from Ipoh is such a big occasion. I still remember we never celebrate birthdays in such a manner.

What my mum did was in the morning she will wake up early and cook me a big bowl of mee suah with mince pork. She will also boil a few eggs and dip it in red colouring for auspiciousness. Sometimes the whole family will join in. No cakes and no alcholic drinks. No friends are invited and we just have a quiet affair.

I just took it for granted and I think I never even thanked my mother for making such a big delicious bowl of mee suah for me.

I read somewhere once that " you will never know how much your parents loved you until you have children of your own "

Monday, April 5, 2010

My Roots - Ching Ming -

Remembering our forefathers. Well !!! every year I will not miss the Ching Ming festival.

Why? For a good three reasons.

First and foremost - since I was a child I was told that to worship our forefathers is the responsibility for the first born. That's me. Irregardless whether my brothers come with me or not.
Secondly - I miss my parents so much. Every opportunity I get. I visit them.
Thirdly - Ching Ming is the least I could do. I owe my parents so much. Even if I were to live till a hundred. I can never repay my debt to them.

When I sit by my grandpa's grave I remember the thing he use to tell me when I was a child. Stories from China about our family etc.

When I sit by my father and mother i remember what my dad told me when I was younger.

Hopefully my three daughters will remember what I told them.

I hope to put some of my thoughts in writing and some of the things i remember what my grandpa and my dad told me when I was a child.

Time waits for nobody. No matter how rich you are, how famous you are or how powerful you are. Time will keep on eating away your life bit by bit.

So my friends. Do what you feel will make you happy. Life is too short to sit and stare.

Live happy

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Too free today - Thoughts running wild again.

Starting at 9-00am. Sent my boys out to fetch two separate group of workers. One to do up the blocked pipe at the fish tank and couldn't get all the dirt out after washing the filter. Second group to concrete the outside of my house that looks like jungle when the grass cutter disappears for a few weeks.

As for me I was cutting the grass inside my house compound and next door empty land. Somehow my fruit trees seems not to be growing any bigger. Maybe its the soil.

But the moral of the story is that I did manage to do a lot of exercise despite the fact that I am down with flu. I'm getting better and I am not taking medication for it except for a panadol just now.

Sometimes I wonder whether I am spending time the right way.

Am I suppose to be doing all this rather than perhaps going out meeting friends and getting back into ( party politics ) . But having said that I have to weight it against my business and travelling outstation and travelling overseas.

Getting into party politics is like a full time job and spending a lot of money. No allowance from anyone. Only out of your own pocket. When people invite you for full moon party, weddings, birthdays, association dinners, fund raising dinners, school dinners or at funerals that's where the money goes.

When it comes to Chinese new year, can you imagine how many branches, divisions etc. Believe me one can easily turn blue in the face. Its not free. You have to pay for your own meals and also invited guests you have to pay for them as well.

Money is one thing, how about the time spent. That is a serious question that I always ask myself.

Couple with that, of course the wife plays an important part in my decision making process. " As usual ". Anyway it gives me satisfaction to know that she needs me around 24 hours a day. She misses me so much.

For the time being, I think I want to sleep peacefully. I reckon my wife will not let me alone if I go back to serving the party. Those branch meetings always at night and ends up having tea or beer and comes back late at night.

Putting my thoughts on paper.
Should try it !!
Its fun !!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Approaching a Morbid Subject

Many people whether they like it or not will eventually ask one question. What if I were to die tomorrow. Am I prepared to die. Is there anything else left to do. What will happen to my wife or my husband. What about my children. Will my children be able to take care of themselves. Do we have enough money to take care of them for life. What happens to so and so and so on and so forth.

Have you ever wondered whether you are doing something about it. We keep asking questions that we are not able to answer.

I think the solution is to make provisions as if you only have one month more to live. That way we will at least be accomplishing something if the time really come.

Why do I ask this question one may wonder. Think hard. Think how often this question comes to mind and we just try to brush it aside. People are naturally afraid of death and when the thought of death approaches your door we just simply shut it out.

I think it is very cool to be writing my own obituary. I don't want some emo fella talking about me as if I am a saint. How good I was and how everyone miss me so much. For a fact I know of people who would say, good riddence to that son of a bitch.

Think of what instructions to leave behind so that if it really happens then the family will know what you actually want.

My grandfather did that and he left the instructions to a good friend. when he eventually died his friend helped my uncle to sort everything out according to my grandpa's instructions. I think my grandpa was prepared for death. He knew what to do to the last detail.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I should have done more - saving for the wrong reason

I was just scrolling down the web page for Selangor Bar looking for an address when I came across the obituary page. Being curious i took a peek at who had died. I thought to myself surely must be someone I hardly knew and funny enough I saw the announcement that Bosco Philips had died last month.

It just flashed through my mind that I was just having tea with my daughter Mey Mey just a month ago when I saw him at the same indian restaurant ordering teh tarik. Life is just too short isn't it.

I was asking Christine last night would you like to visit Rome. It's really a beautiful city and I have been to Rome. The only thing that puts me off is the costs of travelling there and the amount of money we have to pay for hotel. Believe me it is expensive.

But come to think of it, why am I saving money for if not to pamper myself when i retire. That's why I always tell my 3 daughters to save when you are young and don't spend money foolishly. When you can make kopi "o" yourself, why go starbuck or coffee bean lah!!. When you can have egg sandwich at home why go to Victoria Station lah!!.

My philosophy is simple. When young work your butts off. When you get older spend within your means. When you retire, I doubt it I can depend on my children to feed me.

You know why? Cos I just said when young work your butts off and they won't have time for the retired man.

Just open your eyes and tell me how many older people are happy with what their children gives them. I can tell you - None.

What I regretted most is that I should have given more to my parents cos they deserve more. But being thrifty I was saving for the wrong reason. But they have passed on now and I can only write about it. I hope my experience will be a lesson to my 3 lovely daughters.

Make the right choice, make the right move and live your ife in full. Always live within your means.