Health, Malaysia, Travels

Travel Plans On Hold

A trip back to Malaysia was in my travel plans this year. There are several things to take care of back home (yes, home). A tropical vacation of meeting friends and family, closing a couple of credit card accounts, finalizing one insurance policy, and dealing with a pile of paperwork. I was even considering a quick visit to Lahad Datu, and maybe even squeeze in a day trip to Danum Valley…

All those plans went up in smokes, thanks to the contagion. Travels, especially international travels, will not be a smart thing to do until everyone is vaccinated! Bloody hell!

Events, Flashbacks, Human Nature, Malaysia

Rule Of Game

When I was born in the 70s, Malaysia was no longer one of the many colonies of the United Kingdom. But even though the colonizers were gone, many of their governing and administrative systems remained. So, I really did grow up playing by the rules of the once ruling British Empire.

In a blink of an eye, the weakened UK was replaced by the United States of America. America as number one world power was not too much of an adjustment. The English language is still widely used, Christianity is spreading and establishing itself across the continents, and most of us still dressed the same. The rules to the game did not change much.

Now on the world stage – The United Kingdom is barely limping, the nations of Europe are a bunch of selfish bastards, and America just freaking shot itself (several times) in the foot!

There is a worrying possibility that the next one on the world throne will probably not play by the same rules. How are we to play the game with rules set by an ant-hill nation? How to survive surveillance capitalism? Big data manipulations? I really do not know…

Flashbacks, Health, Malaysia

To The Hospital Again…

My father-in-law was discharged from the hospital last Friday. After being back home for a weekend, he was readmitted at UZ Leuven yesterday because of serious stomach infection.

This morning, D’s mother came by to pick us up, so that we may accompany her to the hospital.

At the hospital room, I was glad to see my father-in-law eating some of his lunch and keeping it in. The warm food and the cleaning up afterwards did wonders. A bit of colour and humour returned to his face during our visit.

Have I ever mentioned that I am afraid of hospitals? As a child, I was often left in the car along with a relative or one of the siblings, when my parents had to stop by the hospital. Consequently, I can only remember a handful of hospital visits in the almost 30 years I have lived in Malaysia. Oh the smell of disinfectants, the expressions on people’s faces, the thought of a place filled with injured, sick or suffering people used to give me dizzy spells. Whatever it was, I do not have it any more. The benefit of age and wisdom?

Never before had I spent so much time in hospitals. I must have seen and spent more time at Belgian hospitals than I ever had in all the years I have lived in the US and Malaysia combined. You may call me lucky, I guess. And I shall willingly share this good luck with the father-in-law. May he get some good news, have a speedy recovery, and come home soon.

Flashbacks, Human Nature, Malaysia

Chicken Leg Math

A chicken has two legs – unless it is handicapped. Each chicken leg is comprised of a thigh and a drumstick.

Back in the days, dad will buy one chicken from the market every Saturday. That was our weekly chicken consumption, unless there were feast days in the week. It that case, there shall be two chickens.

The two thighs and two drumsticks were divided among the four children. If you get the drumstick this week, you will have the chicken thigh next week. And so it goes… fair and logic sharing. Personally, I see no big difference between a thigh or a drumstick. I was just grateful to have half a chicken leg on my plate every Sunday.

And now, let me get to the point. First, Math does not lie. Second, my parents are good and fair people. So, to the claim that one child might have been showered with more than half a chicken leg every week, do check and review your memories. Be reminded that by making such a remark, you are actually questioning the decency of my parents. Please put a cork in this nonsense.

Business & Creativity, Malaysia

Palm Oil

I just read How The World Got Hooked On Palm Oil. The article is interesting, informative, and rather alarming because all this is happening too close to home.

I read the article with an open mind, and with a grain of salt. The information was digested slowly and decisively because I have no efficient way to check the accuracy of all the data provided. Who is to say that the statistics has not been manipulated at all?

Regardless, the last paragraph of the article does make a point:

Products that are sustainable are those produced and consumed locally; when buyers are able to witness the production process, they will demand that it occur in line with their values. When it’s out of sight, it’s difficult to get enough of them to care. Changing that may require more than a little magic.

All I need to do is think of my home-grown Belgian endives.

Belgium, Human Nature, Malaysia

Scoring Points In Life

This Saturday afternoon, many are glued to the TV watching the World Cup match between Belgium and Tunisia. Because I cannot sit still for too long and because I have many things to do, I chose to leave the TV on to listen to the commentator and to glance at it now and then.

I was busy reading the current news and recommended articles on my computer upstairs when I came across an article written by Romelu Lukaku. Here is a note-worthy statement from the essay entitled I’ve Got Some Things to Say:

Those people weren’t with me when we were pouring water in our cereal. If you weren’t with me when I had nothing, then you can’t really understand me.

Fortunately for me, I never had to add water to my food or drinks. Physical hunger was never an issue in my life. Nevertheless, growing up in a what-was-then third world country, I did experience the lack of water, day-long black outs, unpaved roadways, and dealing with corrupted people. I know and therefore understand mental hunger and bitterness. I know how this anger can drive some of us.

Malaysia, Quotes

Fleeting Beautiful Life

It is horrible that I have to find out about the passing of an ex-classmate via social media, but I guess that is how news travel nowadays.

Rest in peace, Helen. I shall always remember you as the friendly, smart and pretty classmate of 1984.

For it is up to you and me
to take solace
in nostalgia’s arms
and our ability
to create
the everlasting
from fleeting moments.

~ Sanober Khan, A touch, a tear, a tempest

Human Nature, Malaysia, Quotes

Heroes & Heroines

Unconsciously we all have a standard by which we measure other men, and if we examine closely we find that this standard is a very simple one, and is this: we admire them, we envy them, for great qualities we ourselves lack. Hero worship consists in just that. Our heroes are men who do things which we recognize, with regret, and sometimes with a secret shame, that we cannot do. We find not much in ourselves to admire, we are always privately wanting to be like somebody else. If everybody was satisfied with himself, there would be no heroes.
~Mark Twain

How true…

Growing up, one of my very favourite English language books is “Heroes & Heroines”. The heroic characters depicted in this book were all Caucasians, mostly Americans. Fortunately enough for me, I grew up knowing and admiring the paths of many non-Caucasian heroes. One of the advantages of being a Chinese Malaysian.

Business & Creativity, Malaysia, Simplify

Account Closed

I have been working on closing a no longer necessary bank account since June this year. Today, I received the confirmation of closure. Why so long, you ask? You see, I was dealing with this matter remotely and had to adhere to Sabahan time and mode. Phew… at least it is over now. Financial simplification is the way to go.