Monday, December 28, 2009

Fly, My Children, And Fly High


Everything nice must come to an end.

My daughter had come home after her semester exam for a 6 week holidays.

We had enjoyed meals and feasts together, outings and visiting together, shopping and cooking together, talking and laughing together, and many more....

But the time had come for her to leave home, to take a flight from Kuching to Kuala Lumpur to further her studies.

It was with great sadness to let her go, but we wouldn't stop her from chasing after her dreams.

After all, in another 6 week time, she would be back home again for her Chinese New Year holidays.

Then in another few months time, her long semester holidays....

*******

Every stage of our life is full of exciting, surprising, happy and even challenging events....

And now we are beholding our fast growing children...

Wasn't it just yesterday that they were still in our arms, so delicate and helpless, wailing only for our attention?

.............................

We sent her to the airport.

Everyone was rather quiet today....

The time for living together had come to an end....

Our eldest daughter is flying over the South China Sea to further her study in a prestigious university.

In a week time, another flight for my son to his college.

For myself and my youngest daughter, we will be back to school.

And my lovely wife will be at home alone, overseeing everything and keeping in touch with everybody every now and then....

And that's life.

Whether we like it or not, time waits for no one!

And the best time to start is now, when we are filled with zeal, enthusiasm, and energy to do what is ours to do.

Fly, my children, and fly high...

Stay safe and come home to us when the job is done....

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Another Bus Service Is Gone


A public bus transport company is closing operations this coming Christmas.

After operating for 56 years, the company has to shut down due to heavy annual losses.

The company had its golden era during the 60s, when there were few private transport around. Most of the buses were fully packed with 70-80 people day and night.

The company was doing well and expanding fast, taking over other bus company and new bus routes.

I could still remember how the bus conductor charged everyone in the bus according to their heights, which always put me in the disadvantage....

As the bus company prospered, special monthly bus fare for students and old folks was introduced.

And the good news was that there were always enough buses around to cater for early birds and the midnight movie goers.

The bus transport company had really done a great service to the people in the city and the nearby districts and towns....

During its prime, it had more than 120 buses and provided jobs for more than 200 workers.

But today there are only 60 workers, majority of which are in their 40s and 60s, and the oldest is already in his 80s....

As the saying goes, things don't always stay the same.

As the economy of the country booms, more people could afford to buy cars and motorbikes, and less people would prefer to use public transport.

And the developmental needs of the rural people required the government authorities to legalize private van transport services to cater for the daily needs and wants of the country people.

What happens next was beyond control....

More and more private transport services moved freely in the city, districts and towns.

Competitions between the bus company and the private transport services became fiercer and tougher....

As a result, the bus company was incurring losses of hundreds of thousands every year.

In order to sustain the business, pieces of land and properties had to be sold....

The bus company held discussions and negotiations with the government authorities to resolve the situation. But no effective measure was taken.

For the past 10 years, more and more legalized and illegal private transport services abounded everywhere and at every time.

The board of directors finally came to this decision: The bus company must stop operations.

It was reported in the paper that another bus transport company would take over, to run the city and the international airport.

But can it withstand the onslaughts?

And how about those bus routes that had been abandoned?

Now that another bus service is gone, it leaves us with much feeling of hopelessness and frustration.

Will the bus service be gone forever from this country?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

So Long My Friend


One of my colleagues passed away last month.

It struck me with surprise and dismay

I had known him since school days.

I didn't know the family well......

I didn't remember knowing his father.

I had seen his mother a few times but I had never talked to her.

Vaguely I remembered he had only one brother who was still around and happy married.

I didn't know the whereabouts of the mother now.

And I presumed he lost his father since early his childhood.

His house was very near to the main road, a wooden house near a junction with a sloping road leading far into a chinese village.

I remembered he had a few fruit trees around his small house.

He had most probably come from a very poor family.

*******

I didn't talk to him much during our school years.

But I clearly remembered seeing him in the public library, reading those chinese sword fighting books, literature, and novels.

He was of a quiet and modest disposition, keeping things mostly to himself.

I was told he was very diligent in his study.

He was one year my senior and we used to greet one another with a smile.

We didn't commune much, but I thought I knew him...He was contemplative and calm, and an experienced and thoughtful chinese chess player.

*******

Many years later.......

I met him in the same school where we studied.

I was surprised that we were both teachers in the same school.

I laughed heartily and enjoyed his company.

He had graduated as an engineer and had been an experienced mathematics teacher before I came.

I loved to talk to him; he was very philosophical and had many great ideas.

I loved to play chinese chess with him, only to realize he was cooler and wiser.

Then he told me that he had stomach ulcer because of his gastric problems during his school days....

And he had taught as a temporary teacher for many years to finance his monthly medication....

*******

Then came his fiancee teaching in the same school....

I used to tease him about his relationship...

Then the unexpected happened!

His fiancee broke up with him.....

He told me how he had sponsored her in her studies.... shaking his head always with tears swelling on his eyes.....

*******

Not long later, his ex-fiancee died of leukemia....

.......And he ultimately left the school to continue his study.

I had no news about him until few years later when I met him again....

....He was teaching in another town......

*******

Then he came back to my school again.

He had advanced health and mental problems......

He didn't talk to me much, except an occasional greeting and talking.

He was a totally different person......

He couldn't teach much and I could see his frustrations.

******

He had spent thousands on medication that has side-effects.....

But his conditions were getting worse and worse.....

Then he started to skip school and went elsewhere during the school days.......

He started to do things as he pleased.......

He had taken a few cars....

And he was happily married to a beautiful girl.....

Then he started to wear charms and amulets......

And he started to behave weird and crazy....

I felt sorry for him and I followed him a few times.

*******

I didn't remember seeing him after June this year......

Then the unexpected news came early last month.....

He had collapsed on the road after shopping in a pharmacy...... Most probably after buying his monthly medical supplies.

He was unconscious and someones sent him to a hospital......

He remained in ICU until he passed away.......

*******

This is a sad end of another story of a common man....

It happens everywhere and every time.....

No one seems to care or mind...

Only those who are close and familiar....

Nonetheless, he was my friend....

A respected and dear friend....

So long my friend...

May you rest in peace.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Computer Died


My computer crashed!

It was a miserable early morning when this happened.

It was the Acer TravelMate 3210 model which I bought 5 years back.

And today was the first time I reformated it.

It was one of my better computers which seldom gave me trouble.

I had upgraded the RAM to 2 GB beginning of this year and it sped so much that I didn't have to sit down like a log again.

But today it just refused to boot to the XP window.

The famous Microsoft Blue Screen of Death had finally decided to show its ugly face.

Sigh 3 times (don't too longer, not good!)

Time to reformat.............

I had to change the boot sequence to CD-Rom drive as the first boot.

Then insert the system disc... the reformat started off well and I was smiling happily to myself (Imagine the grins of a middle aged computer zombie?!)......Then the instruction to insert the Recovery disc 1......Then the Recovery disc 2........My heart went throbbing faster and harder......My breathing was shorter and quicker....the waiting was the hardest part.....a lot of prayer was offered LOL....and.... tried very hard not to go to the washroom....

Then...........

Wow! I finally made it!

I smiled to myself from ear to ear.

Today I had learnt something....

....... don't panic, it is not the end of the world.

....... reason well and think through, the problem at hand may not necessarily be difficult or braincracking.

....... Try.........no try no gain.

Life is a journey of discoveries.

Everyday has its own thrills, challenges, and rewards.

You may wait til you are older and readier.....

.....or you may always rely on others to help you and make money from you.......

..... or you may just read more resounces and tips.... try and try and try.... somehow somewhere there maybe a good solution.

Computers may crash, people may die, relationships may fall apart..... but don't make them a big deal.

...... enjoy life and enjoy solving problems in life.

...... live to the fullest and put the past behind.

Of course, if the problem is beyond our capability and control, then we have to seek for professionals.

But sometimes, problem is not problem if we are willing and ready to try.

I smile to myself :) ..... now that my computer is alive and well.... :) .... and new :)........ LOL

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Engagement Announcement


My brother gave me a call last week....

... His daughter is getting engaged this Saturday.

Time flies so fast........

She is in her mid 20s now.

She has completed her degree course and has worked as a temporary teacher in my school.

And now she is getting ready for her engagement.

And that is how life works: it waits for no one.

There will be a gathering and we are all looking towards it.

We will have fun and wonderful time when we meet the rest of the family members.

Now that our parents are gone, our family ties are getting better and stronger.

We are more sensitive and responsive to each other's needs and wants.

We are more helpful, loving and kind to one another.

I presume it takes times, efforts, and determinations to foster, maintain and strengthen relationships and ties.

And that is what we do and continue to do ever since we lost our parents.

It gives us great joy and comfort to behold the ever expanding family.

I can still remember the broad smile on my late mother's face when she counted and recounted the number of grandchildren and great grandchildren that she had........

Yah... Time flies so fast.

People come people go, but memories remain forever.

All my best wishes to my niece who has made up her mind for her engagement.

May God bless you and keep you two forever in his grace!