Thursday, October 30, 2008

CG retreat : port dickson

it was SS's idea that we should have a retreat during the deepavali weekend, & for some strange reason, he ended up organising it. but he did a sterling job of it - with a car treasure hunt thrown in. we started off on sunday morning & after several stops to search for clues, finally reached Port Dickson in time for lunch...

after checking & settling in at the Guoman....

we headed for the ostrich farm 10mins' drive from the hotel. the kids really had a great time here, eg. patting the animals....

taunting the ostriches....

having a ride on one....


& they'll do stuff to entertain themselves....

back at the hotel, everyone brought a little something for tea....

while the kids frolicked at the beach...

& later adjourned to the pool..

seafood dinner at a nearby restaurant....

was followed by our very own sunday worship & sharing. after breakfast the next day, most of the others stayed back for extended check-out while we made our way to the MPH warehouse sale. & we're happy with our plunder....

here's when i realised the wife may have more common sense than i -
why have thai food at a restaurant in SS2....

when you can glorious penang hawker fare & much cheaper, too!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008


both my wife & i are not native mandarin-speakers, & we can't read the above message to save our lives. so we were a little apprehensive when the boy was selected to give this address to open the kindergarten graduation ceremony.

but our anxieties were unfounded & instead, we were pleasantly surprised that he recited the speech with ease. perhaps there is hope that he will even more than just get by when he enters primary 1 in a mandarin-medium school next year.

but we know he did enjoy himself in kindergarten. he even looked forward to playing The Beast in the school version of Beauty & the Beast....

p/s. i had originally titled this post "valediction" but i thought that was going a bit overboard!

Friday, October 24, 2008

time for a vacation?

got this from Jemima's email. this could well be the case had oil remained at $140 a barrel. but it's now down to $60 -70, so perhaps it's time to check out some of the offers from MAS or Air Asia?

bon voyage!!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Son

A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art.

When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son.

About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands.

He said, 'Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for art.' The young man held out this package. 'I know this isn't much. I'm not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this.'

The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture. 'Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It's a gift.'

The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected.

The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection.

On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. 'We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?'

There was silence.

Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, 'We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one.'

But the auctioneer persisted.. 'Will somebody bid for this painting. Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?'

Another voice angrily. 'We didn't come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids!'

But still the auctioneer continued. 'The son! The son! Who'll take the son?'

Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the longtime gardener of the man and his son. 'I'll give $10 for the painting.' Being a poor man, it was all he could afford.

'We have $10, who will bid $20?'

Give it to him for $10. Let's see the masters.'

$10 is the bid, won't someone bid $20?'

The crowd was becoming angry.. They didn't want the picture of the son.

They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections.

The auctioneer pounded the gavel. 'Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!'

A man sitting on the second row shouted, 'Now let's get on with the collection!'

The auctioneer laid down his gavel. 'I'm sorry, the auction is over.'

What about the paintings?'

'I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings.

The man who took the son gets everything!'

God gave His son 2,000 years ago to die on the cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is: 'The son, the son, who'll take the son?'

Because, you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything.

(reproduced from a personal email)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

difficult times ahead

this just in :

The economy is so bad that the Treasury department is issuing a new dollar bill:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

a moment of pleasure

it reminded me of a recent newspaper report about a youth accused of raping his teenage girlfriend. his father was in court & publicly scolded him for enjoying a moment of pleasure, only to pay a hefty price of humiliation to the family, on top of a jail term.

a moment of pleasure.

well, mine wasn't exactly like that. i allowed my attention to be distracted for a brief moment & something critical happened to the patient. whatever i did to control damage wasn't enough to prevent him from ending up in ICU for the nite. he was better several hours later but all these aggravation could have been avoided had i exercised more caution.

a moment of pleasure.

a moment of distraction.

what's the difference - there's still a price to pay.
if the patient completely recovers tomorrow, maybe i have a (second) chance....

Monday, October 13, 2008

can you trust the salesman?

i was at a Raya lunch organised by a motor dealer yesterday. it was 4pm when i got there & i could see a whole bunch of people had been there earlier when i signed the guest book, some of whom are my colleagues.

after the usual pleasantries, the salesman plunged into his sales pitch - specs, price/discount, trade-in, loan, etc etc. naturally, i expected this - after all, motor dealers exist only to sell cars. however, what i didn't anticipate were the names of the rich & famous he spewed up as buyers or potential buyers of this & that model. presumably, the aim was to impress me but it actually had the opposite effect.

i have the same issue with insurance agents. they like rattling off names of their well-known clients, as if they are prized trophies, to induce a sale.

didn't the car saleman know that in times of war, loose lips sink ships?

in my case, his just sunk. thanks for the satay anyway.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


EL, wife of my CG leader B8, was admitted to hospital on sunday with a febrile illness. she had been unwell for a week & it had gotten worse with high fever, chills & rigors. on tuesday, she had to be transferred to the ICU because she had developed a critically-ill state called septic shock where the blood pressure deteriorated as a result of the underlying infection, most probably a pneumonia. everyone, including B8, himself a physician, seemed to fear the worst.

so before i visited her last nite, i had envisaged a grim scenario - tubes & syringes & support machines crowding around her bed, & family members weeping by her side. ok, maybe that was a bit overly dramatic but you know what i mean. instead, EL was by herself, asleep. she actually looked calm & peaceful. by her bedside, was a book titled something like "Whispers from God" & when i turned the page, this was the verse that stared at me :

With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation. psalm 91:16

was that God whispering to me, or was that a sign that EL will lead a long & fruitful life in His service? only time will tell, but the church is praying for her round the clock. yep, i kid you not - someone somewhere is praying for her every hour of each day.

because we all believe that when we ask, it shall be given.


Friday, October 03, 2008

hari raya #2

nothing much except for a CG barBQ (i think i've forgotten how to spell the actual word).

our leader B8 & his wife share almost similar birthdates, so the wives of the other members decided to throw them a (sort of) surprise birthday barBQ last nite. held at a condo pit, the kids...

...kept themselves busy at the pool while the adults fired up the pit. is it a normal thing at barBQs that it's often just 1 or 2 persons who end up doing most of the grilling?

same occurence again yesterday.

some of the kids tried their hands at it as well....

thanks to the ladies who bought, sliced & marinated, there's chicken wings, hotdogs......

.....& jacket potatoes.....

& even ikan panggang.

even though it's B8 & wife's birthdays, the kids got into the act as well....

& behaved like it's their own - they actually blew at the candles.

one advantage of having a barBQ at a condo was that the kids, who by & large were more concerned with playing with each other than eating, had the space to do so....

& this little eager-beaver was dubbed the chair stacker...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

hari raya

where we live, nothing like this happens on a daily basis. so it's nice to drive into downtown KL & have this greet us...

so we spent the 1st day of the Raya break in KL. actually we wanted to check out the new mall.....

which turned out to be a disappointment. not many shops, unlike the adjoining Midvalley.

my daughter wanted to get a watch from Swatch but they didn't have the model she wanted.
it baffled me a lot, just to digress a bit, why she must have a swatch, esp when they aren't too many shops that sell that make. why not a casio, seiko or timex? my 1st watch was a timex that served me well for a good 6 years. but no, she has to have a plasticky gaudy-looking time-piece that is a swatch. so, since the shop didn't have the particular model she liked, she elected to wait for another time to get it. now, if only she were to exercise this dogged determination in other aspects of her life....

enjoyed a delightful lunch at Tony Roma's - gosh, everything seemed to be served in gigantic portions! we had spare-ribs....

& burger.......

while the boy clearly enjoyed his pasta.

finally, met up with my primary school teacher whom i've not met in over 40 years. few months back, i happened to chance upon a newspaper article written by her daughter. i sent an email asking the writer if her mum was an ex-teacher in my hometown, & that's how we re-established contact after all these years. nah, none of that teary-eyed heart-rending theaterics - just the casual hey-long-time-no-see stuff.

(that's me, the scruffy one, sitting on her left)

that's how we spent hari raya this year.