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Saw this comic strip just the other day and it totally reminded me of an incident back in my parents’ hometown – Sitiawan (long live the foochows!). It was right after dinner when my dad decided to go to the supermarket and my grandfather decided to come along too. So there we were, three generations of the LOI family heading to town.

Right at the entrance of the supermarket was a beggar, sitting by the side….begging. Duh. And guess what my grandfather did…he scolded the beggar in front of everyone at the entrance of a supermarket! Not the kind of evening that I was expecting. The conversation went kinda like this:

Grandfather: What are you doing sitting here begging? You’re not even as old as I am!

Beggar:

Grandfather: You should be ashamed of yourself! People at your age should be taking up proper jobs and making an honest living! And here you are disgracing yourself…you’ve got hands and feet that are not even disabled or injured . . .

Beggar: . . .

Grandfather: Stop being such a useless person and go get yourself a proper job! The money yr scavenging from people is just a huge disgrace…your mom did not give birth to a person raised to be a beggar! . . .

At this point, my dad and I *gently* pulled grandfather away from the little scene that he has created.

As funny (and embarrassing) as it may be…my grandfather did bring out some truths there. We all do have a choice. And just like that comic strip in reflection to the real life incident I was in – sometimes, people (read: we) are just plain lazy. We’re lazy to…

• pick ourselves up after a fall

• put our feet down after making stands

• choose

p/s Sorry for the long absence in the posts, have been caught up with different things 🙂

Nope…not talking about the beverage.

I’ve actually been thinking of this word for awhile now and have made a “fresh” realization what it all means. I’m looking at my life right now and have observed the need (more and more now than before) to have absolutes.
– moral absolutes
– emotional absolutes
– mental absolutes
– spiritual absolutes

…the list goes on.

And in the times that we’re in, both economical and political; isn’t it about time that people wake up? Mind you, I’m still learning and I’m not “there”; I’ve made loads of mistakes and am ashamed by it BUT I’ve learned to (in my best ability) put this word into practice more and more in my everyday living.

We’ve been taught that “okay” is okay, but it’s not. In fact, I think that is totally ridiculous. Absolutes don’t agree with “okays” or “it’s alright” – there’s only a YES or a NO. And here we are facing a generation of people that are living lives that are simply, “okay”. And I’ve been having conversations with different people and just hearing them talk about the way they’re leading their lives is just (sorry to say this)… disappointing. They’re getting more disillusioned and settling with just “okay” – in the way they get into relationships, handle stress, study, work, lead their lives, etc.

Sorry to say this but, “okay” is really not okay. Absolute’s the new okay.

A friend sent me the link to that video just today and I thought that it was both nice to the ear and to the heart. Check it out 🙂

And because of that video, I went on a rampage checking out other youtube videos (bad, I know). One particular video that I bumped into just really stayed on my mind – it was a proposal in the middle of a basketball game; the guy went down on his knees and the whole nine yards. The girl rejected his proposal. YIKES.

Also, heard that a brother of mine didn’t get his appeal accepted for the second time to come back to KL. I think it’s just absolutely mind boggling how when we’re in dire need of doctors in our country, yet we’re still have the nerve to stop doctors from coming back.

Are the people in power absolutely awake? I pray so.

I find myself not having lots of free time lately. Either I’m perpetually occupied with work or I’m just not good in managing my time. Nonetheless, the work doesn’t “magically disappear” so…work, work, work. At least it keeps me on my toes.

I had the privilege to speak to about 100 students at Sunway College recently about pursuing a career in design and advertising. Surprisingly, I thoroughly enjoyed myself more than I anticipated. Truth be told, I’ve always had the thought of teaching/lecturing/tutoring lingering in my mind; and I’ve left it at that state – lingering. Part of my talk was telling them why I pursued design & advertising and it was a good eye opener of how far I’ve come and how God has continuously opened doors in my favor. Never would I expect to come this far or even have opportunities to go into colleges to speak about designing. It’s just awesome.

And since I’m on this self reflecting mode…I realised that some things (as subtle as it could be) really makes my day…

• seeing a despatch motorcycle rider with a Nicholas Sparks book

• seeing a taxi driver dash through the heavy rain to run into 7-11, get an ice cream, dash back into his taxi just to enjoy it

• never realising how nice purple and orange go together till I saw the sunset

• looking at how cool clouds can be from the skies – it’s mind blowing

• seeing you happy

Life’s definitely much richer when you start noticing the details. Such a shame if we miss out on it everyday.

Sometimes, when there’s no other way; it just comes as blatant as possible. Last night I was at a 10pm to 12am prayer and I was led to a portion of scripture that, I would’ve read it at least (AT LEAST) once, if not twice in my lifetime. But when I read it again last night, it just blew my mind.

3 My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD;
In the morning I will direct it to You,
And I will look up. (Psalm 5:3)

And the bit that really threw me off was “…and i will look up.” Maybe it’s just me, with the different thoughts and decisions that I’m surrounded with but that one line really hit me. The word “will” represents a choice, a decision, a point of consideration and the words “look up” basically means, the direction that my eyes (spiritually) should be focusing on.

So to put all those thoughts on that verse down; it basically said (to me) “…make a choice son, look up cause anywhere else you’re looking at is just cutting it short.”

Divinely blatant.

img_00531I just realized recently (like within the past week) that I’m not good with goodbyes. I guess for the ones that know me well enough they’d probably realized it by now cause when someone close to me (friend / family) leaves, I catch myself:
• being “too” cool about the entire situation
• crack jokes that are “un-funny” at the farewells
• behave as if the person’s really not leaving

Definitely an addition to the fix-it list. FYI, when you’re away, it hurts but I’m just good at not showing it.

“What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits (loses) his soul?..” – Matt 16:26

Incidentally, a song written after that verse has been playing on my itunes lately and I was just reminded of this verse. As simple as the verse may come, it’s probably one of the toughest decisions one would have to make. Think about it, if you had an opportunity to gain everything you wanted in this world – fame, fortune, females (yeah I placed them in “Fs”), to let it go and let God would be hard. Your parents might think you’re crazy. Your friends will probably leave you. The world would make a mockery out of you.

But here’s the thing, we’re not made to live the way the world tells us to. In fact, we’re not even defined by the things of this world. It is tough, I know – I count myself blessed to be able to enjoy small luxuries from time to time – but if I were to compare the magnitude of what I can enjoy and achieve here on earth to what I can enjoy in my time “off the earth”; I’d pick heaven any day. It’ll be great it Gravitee takes off and becomes a huge success. It’ll be cool to be famous and have people knowing (about) you. It’ll be fantastic to have all of our heart’s content BUT if that compromises in me losing my faith – I’d rather not have it. 

Many years ago I saw an interview of Ray Romano in one of the late shows. This was when his show “Everybody loves Raymond” became a hit sitcom. And it reached a point in the interview, where the host asked him what keeps him steady with all the fame and fortune going his way. Ray Romano told the host that after he won his emmy and gained his fortunes, it was at one of the family gatherings that his brother came up to him, smiled, hugged him and gave him a note. He read the note out in the show but the only lines I remembered was, “…Ray, I’m really proud you. Remember that it doesn’t profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul.”

I believe…as much as struggles are a testing to man, so is success. May we find God not only in our failures but also our successes; not lose our soul despite the things that are thrown at us (both good and bad). At least, that’s my prayer.

My house compound got broke into on Sunday night. The thief took 7 pairs of shoes and 3 of ’em were mine. Sigh. I guess he / she had one nice “gong xi fa cai”.

That’s Happy Chinese New Year in mandarin. Yup, it’s not always about oranges only.

This time, it was a pretty short cny break. Not that I’m complaining but maybe another night’s stay would be a bonus.

Anyways…

I aimed at taking as many pictures as possibly so that this would be the most visually documented chinese new year for me. I tried. The thing is, you can’t really take lots of pictures when you’re in charge of driving the whole way back. I like driving. So just try picturing a boot full of luggage, new year cookies (baked by my sis – awesome), boxes of dialysis solution (dad’s) and shoes. Traffic was bumper to bumper and we had to get into the coastal road halfway, which was really cool cause it’s definitely more scenic than the PLUS highway.

First stop: Bak Kut Teh Lunch with Old Friends

Aunty Tan and Dad.

Aunty Tan and Dad.

Next Stop: Sitiawan

Again, I was driving. So my sis was the one happily snapping pics away. The journey was scenic – rice padi fields, kampungs and a clear view of the horizon. I remembered that an uncle of mine brought me to one of these padi fields for eel fishing. An experience it was.

45 minutes later, we hit Swiss Garden Damai Laut. Nice resort. Probably the best choice in Sitiawan town. Here’s the view from the room.

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The next 3 days were just filled reunions, good food, red packets, firecrackers, warm conversations and late supper laughs at grandpa’s house.

Ah Gung's Pad.

Ah Gung's Pad.

I guess with all the comfort of city life, you really miss how simple life can be. Everything’s around the corner – kedai runcit, kedai ubat, kedai kopi; everyone knows one another and I mean EVERYONE; joyous occasions are celebrated and tough times are faced as a “family”. Most of all, I’ll miss

– hearing rubber seeds landing on roof after being “launched” from the tree

– being woken up by the chickens at 5am

– walking opposite for a plate of kanpua noodles for only RM1.50

This one is about RM2.20 and it's near the main town market.

This one is about RM2.20 and it's near the main town market.

– sitting at the side of the house and just looking at the many faces waiting at the only bus stop of the village to town

– having to hold my nose everytime i passed by the rubber sheet processing house 5 doors away

– playing firecrackers (awesome)

– riding motorcycle around the kampung without helmet or license (sssshhhhh!)

And most of all, this chinese new year, I miss my grandma. I missed having her call me to the dining table for my mee suah (she still makes the best ones), hearing her sing as she laze in the living room during the afternoon, seeing her put weird white powder on her face and of course, I miss talking to her. 

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May the coming chinese new years help us remember the simple joys of life, fragility of lives and the Friend that holds it all together.

obamaw1What…did I get the wrong picture? Ooops!

A change we all can believe in!