Saturday, May 24, 2008


Today, I was glad I joined some old friends for lunch, some are retired school principals and some still faithful to their jobs.
It was good to see them all. I thank my friends for organising the lunch and for including me. I have been so busy the past year that I have neglected this part of my life when I was one of them. I guess you might say, I miss being a school principal with the heavy responsibilities on our shoulders and the students who make your day. I will always treasure those years.
Coming back to friendship, they say, "friends come and go as nature wants it so." We all need friends, "no man is an island". We need someone to talk to, to email to, to sms, to pour our hearts, a shoulder to cry on, we enjoy happy and sad times together, we preservere through good and bad experiences, we also play our parts by being there for them when they need us.
Someone once said "One hundred years from now, nothing you do now will matter...we will be gone from this earth, no one will remember the moment and no one will care". So we should live our best years now, do whatever we can, leave legacies behind if you can and must, enjoy our family and friends, live like there is no tomorrow, dance like we never danced before, love like we have never felt that way... most important as I was chatting with my friend Mei Ling earlier, we must be happy and healthy. So I'd like to thank all my friends I met today, for their friendship, for their time and care and for making my weekend wonderful.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Filial Piety

Filial piety
From Wikipedia

In Confucian thought, filial piety (Chinese: 孝; pinyin: xiào) is one of the virtues to be cultivated: a love and respect for one's parents and ancestors.
In somewhat general terms, filial piety means to take care of one's parents; not be rebellious; show love, respect and support; display courtesy; ensure male heirs, uphold fraternity among brothers; wisely advise one's parents; conceal their mistakes (though some schools advocate pointing out and correcting their mistakes); display sorrow for their sickness and death; and carry out sacrifices after their death.
Filial piety is considered the first virtue in Chinese culture, and it is the main concern of a large number of stories. One of the more famous one is The Twenty-four Filial Exemplars (二十四孝).

I often ask myself, how can I be more filial to my aged parents? They dont want to stay with any of their children, I know its because they dont want to burden their working kids and their families. How then, can we play our part, by giving them monthly stipends, by calling them regularly, by visiting, by spending festivities with them as and when we can... the list goes on, what else can we do especially when we hear they are sick and not well. I am confused. I am a self confessed workaholic, I dont even take off days when I am not well, unless I really cant get up from bed like last week. Crazy you may say, I like to work and keep busy, I play my part at home, the dutiful wife and mother. Still as they say, family comes first. However, I have been guilty of working and not being there for my children when they need me there, leaving my husband to bear the burden himself, like parent-teacher conferences and receiving results...

I am guilty of putting my meetings ahead of my family's needs . Why, because I strongly believe in giving 100% to my work, my sense of responsibilty and accountability so strong sometimes it scares me that I am neglecting my family life. I tell myself to be positive, I tell myself I have a choice. Since I chose to work, I have to live with it and play my part well, daughter, wife and mother on one hand, boss, colleaque and friend on the other.

So far, it has been ok. My family accepts my work schedule though they wish I was home more. I want to be a more filial daughter yet find it hard to divide my time and space. I call my parents often or they call me. This is the delicate balance we call family life. I want to do more for my parents, for my family, yet a part of me yearns to be involved in this worklife that I have chosen.

Filail piety remains yet the love and respect I hold for my parents and yet the missing link is not being there for them when they need me everyday, cos they choose not to live with us and we cannot live near them so to speak. So this has been the point of contention among the 6 of us, how to take care of them now that they are old and getting around is difficult. Social responsibility is ours to bear and society expects children to take care of their parents. I hope I can do that soon.

Let us not forget that mums and dads are to be loved and wanted, no matter what has been said and done, no matter what happens, parents will remain parents

I pray to God to bless my parents in their old age, to watch over them in our absence, and... for me to be a better daughter.

God Bless all parents .

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Kundasang:Kursus Biro Tatanegara

Sometime back in January 2008, I took part in a course for senior staff of my organisation: Kursus Biro Tatanegara. Besides lectures each day, we had to wake up early to sing the Negara Ku, and exercise while facing the magnificient Mt Kinabalu. In the evening after class lectures by prominent government officers in the country, we again faced physical workouts which included marching and the famous Pucho-pucho dance.

As I reflect upon my experience, I had the opportunity to mix with my director and other HODs and senior staff from all over the country. I also had the chance to listen, to talk and exchange views of family, life and work with the others. I also found out that at my age, friendship can still be formed and that trust can also be broken. I realised that often life is not what it seems, it seldom is. However, I enjoyed the camaraderie and the ease of friends alike.

Most of all, I enjoyed the physical activity of dance and sports. For the first time in my life, I was given the chance to abseil down a high tower. It took me three attempts to get off the edge but I did it. What a great achievement for me. From then on, I was game for anything. When it was time for jungle and obstacle trekking, I was fully involved. Not the mud, not the heights and steep ravines could stop me. I was on a high. It also showed us that teamwork will get us through everything cos' no one can do everything alone. Together Everyone Achieves More.

Kundasang was a great experience. I will always remember it. There were pleasant and happy memories but also a couple of episodes which I would not want to discuss here nor want to remember. Still on the positive side, I made some achievements I would otherwise not have the chance to. Given the opportunity I would do it again, only maybe this time, I would try the flying fox or kayakking.
Kundasang opened my eyes once again to so many things... to see people as they truly are, to fully comprehend that actions speak louder than words, that everything we do comes with a sense of responsibility and accountabilty, to expect the unexpected, to be ready to accept the truth, that you can't change the past no matter how hard you try. That one can learn so much through shared experiences. That good friends are hard to come by, that we should cherish our friends and loved ones, and that you can come out of circumstances stronger than before. I thank my friend for this, for being there when I needed the shoulder and the space.

Mount Kinabalu with all its majestic view beckons me each day and now dorns my computer wallpaper. I don't know, maybe one day I will go up there and make my peace with nature. For now, it will remain one of my most wonderful experiences and I thank God for giving me that opportunity to be part of the team that underwent the course and also for the friendships forged during the course.

I tell my family that mummy's about to venture into another part of her life and ready for some more adventures that life has to offer. I am looking forward to what life has in store for me, cos' as they say "it ain't over till the fat lady sings the blues".

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Teacher's Day!

Selamat Hari Guru- Mei 16 2008.

"Guru adalah lilin yang membakar sendiri untuk memberi cahaya kepada murid".
"A teacher is a a candle that burns itself so that her students can be enlightened".
A noble deed indeed. Another year, another teacher's day.

I received my first sms and greetings of a Happy Teacher's Day, a little past midnight from a dear former student of mine. I had left the school two years ago, and yet I am remembered. Throughout thh day, I continued to receive messages from former students, colleaques and friends far and near. I myself couldn't resist sending some sms as well.

I remember Teachers' day celebrated at my former school with great fondness. Greetings, song and dance, sports, good food, great camaradie between parents, teachers and students. I had a great time. Guess that is something I will miss every year.

This year's celebrations was in Malacca. I joined my colleaques there for two days. The Teacher's Forum was lively and interesting. the panel members were exceptionally eloquent and humourous. The audience was in stitches and in agreement with what was discussed. The debates also went well. Again the Sabah and Sarawak teams did well. This year's celebration was again graced by our dear Prime Minister and attended by the Minister of Education, deputy ministers, the Chief Minister of Malacca and other dignitaries. Once again, we applauded our Tokoh Gurus for their contribution to the education of our country. The night's dinner was sponsored by the Chief minister of Malacca and various awards given out to teachers plus cultural entertainment. And so another year's national celebration came to a close. Congratulations to everyone involved.

To me, being an educationist for the last 25 years, the teaching profession has progressed by leaps and bounds. Education in the country has seen numerous changes and policies made through the various Minsiters of Education. I won't go into detail cos' you can read about it and have your own opinions in the matter. I however feel that the teaching profession has come a long way. I remember my teachers with mixed feelings, some with happiness, some with trepedition, fondness but mostly respect and love for them.

Somehow, when people talk about whether the educarion system has failed or not, I feel quite sad. Arent we the products of the education system? The same people who criticise the education system now are the products of the system that made them what they are and put them where they are. The challenges are many, we should face them positively, make sure the policies are being implemented on the ground. Only half the time, I find we are fire-fighting! We should pro-act and not react all the time. I was a school principal and from the experience, I can tell you that if you set your mind to it, everything is possible. But that is another story which I will tell one of these days.

Everyone of us are the products of the education system. We are what we are today because of our upbringing, our parents and of course, our teachers.Teachers should be respected and valued everyday and not just one day. But it is good that a day is set aside to recognise the profession. I salute you teachers. You have a huge task and a big role to play. Continue your good work and remember, it is said, it would be worthwhile even if you have made a difference in the life of one child.

I often tell my teachers, if you want to complain about teaching, students, work, then the choice is yours. You took up the challenge to be a teacher, then you have to face it or leave it. Teach and care for the students as if they are your own. I always believe in karma. What goes round, comes round. If you are kind to your students, then your children will also receive it from others. Love them and nurture the little children, for they are the treasures of our nation.

Happy Teacher's Day! Once a teacher, always a teacher!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Things you can't change...some things you can.

Change is the only thing that is constant and death is the only thing that is certain, so they say.

Someone said: "Spending our time imagining what would have been if you could have changed some little thing, some little decision in your life, is counterproductive and leaves you unhappy. Think about how you can improve for the future, but dont waste your present thinking about how you could have changed the past".

How true! Have you done something you wished you didn't and have regretted it ever since. Dont waste time thinking about it, they say. Move on, think positive, easier said than done.
Getting over it, wishing it never happened, wishing it to go away, wouldnt help. I have been in such situations and have been hearing of such situations and how people are finding it difficult to get on with their lives. However, it doesnt help anyone at all to wallow in self-pity, to question why it had to happen, why me!

Well, we have to accept that it happened, we have to face the facts that it did and we have to accept the change that comes with it. All things happen for a reason, we can't change that. We need to come out of such situations stronger, we need to fall back on our families and friends. Things happen, we sometimes make wrong choices, we let it happen, sometimes its through no fault of our own, its beyond us. Sometimes we have no choice but to let it go...

So I say, pick yourselves up, start afresh, you are worth so much more. Feel good about yourself, forgive yourselves, you are not solely to blame, it takes two hands to clap...
Why brood, life goes on.

We can't change the past but we can make a difference to the present. Live and let live.
We can choose to be happy, we can choose to live the way we want it from now on...

Mother's Day

Mother's Day!
We all have mothers, else we wouldn't be here, right.
Stories, poems,blogs name them, all have been created in the name of thy beloved mother.
I have a mother, I have aunts, cousins, sisters, friends who are mothers. I myself am a mother of three beautiful children.
I would like to say I have done my part and am still doing my part as a mother to my kids.
Have I succeeded so far, I believe so. I would love to spend more time with them but work and time does not permit. I try my best to provide for them whilst giving space and time to myself and my husband.
My own mother spent all her life working and taking care of her six children and then her eleven grandkids. We love her and appreciate her. we would love to spend time taking care of her, and being with her but distance, space and time again does not permit. Mum and dad will not leave their nest no matter what, and can never be away from their home for more than three days.
We all hope they will be okay and God will bless them in their old age.
Mothers are special. I am special too cos' I'm a mum!
Mothers are there for you to cry on, to listen to your tales, your problems, to act as your babysitters, your reliable mates when things don't work out at home, your soulmates if you need to pour your hearts out, to share your happiness and joys of childbirth and weddings and bithday celebrations etc.
Today, I read Xandria Ooi's column and do agree, we should appreciate our parents while they are still with us rather than deal with the pain of losing them when they are gone.
I remind myself to call my mum daily and make sure she and my dad are ok. I also play my part as a mum by calling my kids and making sure they are ok especially when I am away from home.
This is the second week my husband's not home. last week he was in Germany with his KSU, the next two and a half weeks, he'll be in Seoul, Korea for a course. So its me playing mum and dad.
Luckily, my kids are great, old enough to look after themselves, a maid who is reliable and also a sister in -law who helps out.
I need space and time too as a wife and mother. I do appreciate my time with my kids and hope they do too. A mother's work is never done so they say, so for working mothers, its extra 'hard' but you will agree that a good balance between work and running the house is needed.
Working mothers like us have to work it out and do our best. Housewives also work just as hard.
Mothers- you are special and don't anyone forget that!
Happy Mothers Day!

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Ugly Malaysian in the restaurant/coffee shop

Yes, next on my Ugly Malaysian list...the happenings in a restaurant or coffee shop or mamak shop.
I am sure all of us have experienced one or more of these in their lifetime of eating out, which seems to be the in-thing to do, now that more work leaves us not much time to cook, to clean, and eating out seems the easy way out, one way of spending so called family quality time together, yes, we do spend a bit of our lives eating out and here is the list...

1. service is slow and waiting time is torturing.
2. cutlery arrives with food still stuck on them.
3. cups and glasses arrive with lipstick prints still there
4. unsmiling and unfriendly waiters
5. families with wailing children and their parents just let them...
6. constant coughing and sneezing from the table next to you without bothering to cover their
noses and mouths
7. mothers allowing their kids to run around the restaurant and bothering everybody else
without a care in the world
8. lovers arguing for all the world to hear
9. talking on their mobiles and letting the world in on their dirty little secrets
10. spitting and washing at the sink as if in their own house
11. throwing/leaving rubbish/tissue paper on the floor as they leave the tables
12. hogging tables even after their dinner has long finished and yakking the night away
eventhough others are waiting for a free table (another case of "territorial instinct".)
13. dishes are not what you ordered
14. food arrives with special unwanted ingredients (bugs)
15. unwanted listeners to your conversations
16. cutting queues whilest waiting for available seats
17. deplorabe toilet conditions
18. cutting chicken and fish on the dirty floors
19. kitchens in unhealthy conditions
20. cooks smoking and sweating while cooking

The list continues , be it the cook, the waiter or the customer, all have a role to play.
Recognise yourself? Recognise the situation?
Of course you say, avoid such restaurants, but easier said then done, we may not go back there again but people easily forget, so we are then back to confront a similar situation. When will we ever learn, courtesy on the road or courtesy wherever we go.
The ugly Malaysian is everywhere, till we meet again in the next list...

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Ugly Malaysian on the road...

Its been a while and I have been wanting to write about the "ugly Malaysian'.
Yes, all of us are gulity one way or another but shall I list them for you? I think I have many lists, but I shall start the one with drivers on the road.

1. Speeding and zig-zagging his way to 'heaven'.
2. Overtaking on the right suddenly.
3. Hogging the driver in front eventhough we have been advised to keep at least 5km apart.
4. Turning left or right without using signal lights.
5. Spitting out the window.
6. Throwing rubbish out of the window or door!
7. Using the car horn incessantly.
8. Stopping the car suddenly with no indication.
9. Parking hapzardly as and when he likes.
10.Double parking and disappearing and your car is blocked.
11.Displaying 'territorial instincts' when coming out of the occupied parking lot. (taking his own
sweet time, cos he knows someone is waiting to park in his place)
12.Getting someone to book the parking space even when the car has not arrived!
13.Not switching on the car headlights to save battery power.
14.Blasting the radio out loud even when passing housing estates at night.
15.Speed chasing along busy highways.
16.Causing others to crash because other vehicles want to avoid them
17.Road hogging on the fast lane.
18.Road h0gging because he is using the handphone!
19.Busy with his partner to notice what is on the road.
20.Letting his children stick their heads out the window without a care in the world!

So folks, with this Ugly Malaysian on the road, how safe are we?
If you can think of more, please add on...