Sunday, March 27, 2005

The banana generation

I just came back from a trip to my hometown with my dad. Actually went for the annual 'ceng beng' festival or 'all souls day'.. basically visiting ancestors' tombs and such.

My dad was telling me how my great-grandfather sailed from China in a little wooden 'sampan' (boat) and later had to work in hard labour for several years just to pay off the fare. Many people in those days were stricken with malaria and other diseases which the then medical science could not explain. He was also kidnapped once by some secret society and had to sell of some land to pay the ransom.

My grandfather whom I was close to when I was younger, too, worked hard in the oil palm estates to bring in income. He taught me many things at a young age, mainly core values to get through life such as being disciplined, hardworking and determined. He was an amazing man, only had 6 years of primary education and taught himself how to read and write Chinese characters. I remember the villagers would often request for his fine calligraphy to be written on red cloths for special occasions. And this was a man who taught himself how to read and write!

My father too had a rough beginning, having to move out at a tender age of 13 to pursue secondary education, sharing a little room with 2 other people with bare necessities. He had also experienced staying overnight in a lorry before with the cold gusty wind seeping through the canvas. He later obtained scholarships for his further education. And I was just pondering that I'm the 4th generation here and how significantly life has changed! If it wasn't for the previous 3 generations' hard toil and labour, I probably wouldn't be reaping the benefits today. My life is soo comfortable that it's hard to believe that things could change so significantly from generation to generation.

I named this blog the 'banana' generation because most of my peers in this generation are so westernized that we are 'yellow on the outside, white in the inside', i.e. can't speak Chinese or don't relate to Chinese culture. It's sad I feel to forget our roots and heritage but it's just so hard to retain them these days due to our environment and having English education. I seriously will try to appreciate some Chinese culture and perhaps practise my rusty Mandarin. A friend of mine is heading to China today for a few months to learn Mandarin. That's cool. If we are not going to love our culture or at least try to preserve it, it'd definitely be lost and that is a sad, sad thing.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Sliding doors

The movie Sliding Doors had always appealed to me in terms of the concept. Don't mean to be philosophical or anything but I thought it was one of the better and more original ideas in a movie. Basically it's about how things could have turned out differently if in this case, the actress (Gwyneth Paltrow) missed the train or otherwise. Ok maybe that's too low-level, but it's just saying that how a small event such as missing the train could actually change your day or entire life. Thanks Lisa for sharing that movie with me years ago, it's great :)

After watching that movie, I always thought of how things would have turned out if... but then again we only live in a one-dimensional world so I would technically never know how things would have turned out otherwise. Not like in the movie where we get 2 versions of the story and 2 different endings. So I know I really should stop thinking of "would haves & could haves" but you know, I just can't help wondering. Just the possibilities of what life could have been like. Never hurts to wonder. ;) And in a way, it'd be pretty cool to have 2 versions of my life coz there's so much I want to do & explore.. then at least I'd know which path to take, and where to go. I know, I'm such a dreamer sometimes :)

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Rude rude rude

Here's something interesting I found today from The Star newspaper. Some videos on the rude things Malaysians do or face. I think it's hilarious & pretty true in some cases (perhaps a little exaggerated). I think the lift scenario is like sooo true. Check them out:

Oh on the bright side, I've noticed that Malaysians actually queue for the LRT nowadays... well at least from the Kelana Jaya station heading towards town in the mornings. At least there is some order as compared to a few years back. But of course, the people still rush in to grab the seats as quickly as they can which leaves someone like me, who does not try hard enough, seat-less everyday. And today I had one of those sardines-in-a-can feeling with the LRT being so super packed that I was tossed with every jostle and movements of the passengers. EEK. On the bright side, at least there's the option of taking the LRT. A few years ago, there were only those mad buses that emit more smoke than a factory. And I think you learn most about the culture & people via public transport.

Forwarded emails

I have just been pondering over who actually writes those forwarded emails that we so often receive? I mean, do people actually sit down & compose emails that they actually intend to be forwarded to everyone they know & possibly around the globe?

I think it'd be pretty interesting to actually find out how far an email can travel and did the writer intend for it to be forwarded in the first place?

Oh well, just one of my many thoughts. Fill me in if u know the answers ;)

Thursday, March 17, 2005

What's on a woman's mind?

Answer: Everything. It amazes me how women are capable of thinking about everything and anything under the sun. Speaking with my female friends and we can talk on and on about the same issues that worry us for years and not get bored of it. Amazing isn't it?

As for men, they can think about nothing. When you ask a guy "what are u thinking?" and he says "nothing", he actually means it. How can anyone think about nothing, so what's in the mind .. is it black space? Just wondering ;) And guys have the ability to still sleep soundly despite all the calamaties surrounding them. I bet during the Iraq war, George Bush probably slept fine... just a guess. But my point being, women can toss and turn just thinking and worrying about things before they sleep. I can never understand how one can just plop on the pillow and sleep immediately without a care in the world!

Another thing I don't get is how men cannot multitask. I watched a TV program that did an experiment on this once, and they tried to get men to answer the phone while frying an egg and ironing the clothes. Oh, how they fumbled! But the women put on the same tasks manage much better. Maybe that's how we are made. When guys watch TV or play computer games, they simply cannot multitask - no words get in whatsoever. Never attempt to have a serious talk with a guy while they are watching TV. It never gets in. No wonder they call it the idiot box.

I really don't think women are that complicated. After all, our moods are determined by hormones & PMS ;) Predictable, isn't it? Men on the other hand, I don't know where they come from.

True blue M'sian traffic

I took 2 hours to get home from work today. I've forgotten how bad the traffic conditions can get. Ironically, I finsihed work at 5pm today, the earliest ever, and decided to go for drinks with colleagues. Little did I know the harsh traffic conditions out there.

After 45 minutes, my dad and I were still circling the building that I worked in coz we tried 3 routes to beat the jam but to no avail. Even with my dad's 20 years of experience and knowing all the little routes in town, he gave up. We parked the car at his office, took the monorail, walked to the LRT station, and later took a cab home. Now that's what you call the true blue Msian traffic experience :)

And it was just my luck that the cab driver was the slowest u could ever find in the whole KL city but at least he was nice (i.e. not evil). Haha I've been brought up in this city to not trust any strangers - policemen & cabbies included. It's not a generalization just that the media writes about bogus policemen & cabbies.. so, what are we to believe? And the monorail as well.. after the issue with the 'little explosion' and tyres falling during the trial run, I was pretty skeptical about it. At the end of the route, the driver made some abrupt brakes and you could literally sense everyone looking at his direction, wondering what's going on. Are we falling off the tracks?
Nothing happened, thank goodness and I guess it's all part & parcel of living in this chaotic city.

So there you go, I've got my ultimate local traffic experience :)

Friday, March 11, 2005

Eternal optimist

Optimism is a great thing... something which I need to put into my system. :) Optimism is simply what you perceive the things around you to be, something I observed from my cheery, happy, optimistic friends. I've never realized that it was sooo simple.

And so, yes it's all in the mind. My sense of directions, from an optimistic perspective, is what makes my life interesting. How many people actually have interesting stories to tell of their journies or how they have discovered new routes (even a village in the midst of the busy urban areas)? Like my friend Bonk said, 'Today I took a different route but arrived at my destination. How boring!'. He was hoping to lose his way too and perhaps discover something interesting. Haha! Now, a bad sense of directions is not so easy to master is it?? :P

Being optimistic is also about living life as it comes & not worrying about things you can't change - lesson from Tuck ;) . Sometimes the people who suffer most in life tend to be the most optimistic! I've had some taste of it in terms of my not being able to do certain things because of a medical condition, which has helped me see life in a lighter way. Being able to ride on a roller coaster after 5 years is AWESOME!! Not falling down despite my vain efforts walking on slippery tiles with high heels.. I'm sooo THANKFUL. Being able to bend down to reach my toes for the first time after 3 years is a major ACHIEVEMENT. Going hiking & camping is a BREAKTHROUGH. No big deal to many but the happiness & sense of achievement I get from it is beyond words. And yet, there are so many out there who have it worse than me. Now, aren't those people AMAZING? I have to constantly remind myself not to fret about small issues.. gotta master the art of the eternal optimist. :)

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Sometimes all you can do is pray

I’ve faced many uncertainties in my life but none as challenging as what I face this year. I’m a very determined person & I treasure those I care about very much. I tend to blame myself if someone gets upset at me and try all means to patch things up. But I realized that after doing all that I can do... all I can do is pray.

Prayer gives me hope & a sense of peace. It’s also scientifically proven (read in Time magazine) that people who pray or believe in God are generally happier & can face difficult situations better than those who don’t. And in movies, what do people do when some major catastrophe or apocalypse strike? They call their loved ones & just pray for the best. We can never have enough strength to go through these situations by ourselves.

Monday, March 07, 2005

7 Days

I had an interesting lunch conversation with some colleagues today. We were talking about work and its challenges etc when one of them said "If you had only 7 days more to live, what would you do?". He said that work would definitely not come to mind. As for me, I think I'd list down all the people who are so very important to me and make sure I tell them how much they mean to me and what difference they have made in my life. He mentioned how we always put away things that are important because of our busy schedule.

On another note (this should probably be another blog but I'm too lazy), I successfully drove to work and back without getting lost. I've learnt a lot of the traffic - it teaches you to be patient, calm and confident. There are friends of mine who have learnt to be more patient from traffic jams, of course there are others who end up having road rage. When traffic is slow moving, I take it as time to unwind and relax from the day's activities. Another thing I learnt is somehow all the motorcycles and cars that try to squeeze their way in.. they will know what to do. You don't have to panic, just drive normally because they will manoveur their way around you. The ironic beauty of Malaysia is that you can do whatever u want on the roads. ;) I even drove on the road shoulder to beat some traffic. Now how many places can u do that without being fined? Haha..

Sunday, March 06, 2005

If you're not born with it, put in the extra mile

I've been putting extra effort for the past few weeks to work on my sense of directions. Known to have a bad sense of directions, I have decided that this year I will truly make an effort to work on it. I figured, if I'm not born with it... I'd just have to walk the extra mile. If it takes someone a step, I'd take two. If it takes two, I'd take three. I don't believe it's impossible. It's all in the mind - if you think you can, you can.

I now have little pieces of paper with hand-drawn maps and some with descriptions all over on how to get to certain places. Yes it's embarrassing but I have to start somewhere. In fact, a friend of mine commented it's because of my blur-ness that my life is actually made more interesting. How many people actually have interesting stories about how they get to work? For most, it'd just be a routine from point A to point B, but not for me. ;) I've already had 4 different stories about how I got to work for my first 4 days, and oh how I've discovered new routes along the way. And every little success getting somewhere is an achievement for me, brings me so much joy whereas for another, it's just another day of driving around. Not everything is as bad as it seems :D - ooh, I'm becoming pretty optimistic too!

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Emotional utility

I've just joined the corporate world this week which explains the lack of updates. This is probably a back-dated blog. My sis' wedding was last Saturday... it was beautiful - the flowers, the church, candles, the gown & of course my sister!! She was stunning :)

So one of the things that my bro-in-law was saying was that he never understood women & their love for flowers, pretty shoes that hurt their feet (like trying to fit that fat feet into the pointy tip shoes) , wedding cakes, chocolates etc. U get the drift. I explained that it's this "emotional utility" thing... u just get a lot of "happiness" out of it - like choosing the perfect wedding cake with icy-white icing & carved lilies with tints of yellow on them. And most importantly, as guys, u don't have to understand, just know about it. :) That's why it's relatively easy to cheer a woman up. Like the beautiful surprise bouquet of red roses that was delivered for a belated V-day ;) .

And the most touching thing my bro-in-law concluded was "I'm happy as long as she's happy". Awwww.. ;)