How should we judge a government?

"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." - Malcolm X

In Malaysia, if you don't watch television or read newspapers, you are uninformed; but if you do, you are misinformed!

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan
Was he referring to Malaysia? Seems so apt...

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options

How the Chinese control the economy

How the Chinese control the economy

MyCen News

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Talking about sensitivities... this one takes the cake!

The insensitivity was unbelievable to the extent that I would think it was meant to be an insult!

Just imagine using a hearse to deliver hampers to old folks at a Chinese New Year function for senior citizens...

http://malaysianmirror.com/homedetail/45-home/31906-appalling-hearse-delivery-matched-only-by-excuse

Dilbert's One-liners

are so short and sweet... and so true!

1. I say no to alcohol, it just doesn't listen.

2. A friend in need is a pest indeed.

3. Marriage is one of the chief causes of divorce.

4. Work is fine if it doesn't take too much of your time.

5. When everything comes in your way you're in the wrong lane.

6. The light at the end of the tunnel may be an incoming train..

7. Born free, taxed to death.

8. Everyone has a photographic memory, some just don't have film.

9. Life is unsure; always eat your dessert first.

10. Smile, it makes people wonder what you are thinking.

11. It's not hard to meet expenses, they are everywhere.

12. I love being a writer......what I can't stand is the paperwork.

13. A printer consists of 3 main parts: the case, the jammed paper tray and the blinking red light.

14. The guy who invented the first wheel was an idiot. The guy who invented the other three, he was the genius.

15. The trouble with being punctual is that no one is there to appreciate it.

16. In a country of free speech, why are there phone bills?

17. If you cannot change your mind, are you sure you have one?

18. Beat the 5 O'clock rush, leave work at noon!

19. If you can't convince them, confuse them.

20. It's not the fall that kills you. It's the sudden stop at the end.

21. I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder.

22. Hot glass looks same as cold glass. - Cunino's Law of Burnt Fingers

23. The cigarette does the smoking you are just the sucker.

24. Someday is not a day of the week

25. Whenever I find the key to success, someone changes the lock.

26. To err is human; to forgive is not a Company policy.

27. The road to success......Is always under construction.

28. Alcohol doesn't solve any problems, but if you think again, neither does Milk.

29. In order to get a Loan, you first need to prove that you don't need it.

...and here's the best of the lot

30. All the desirable things in life are either illegal, expensive, fattening or in love with someone else.

Link

Heal yourself - Part 10 (Cleaning up your skin exposure)

Continuing with our 15-day self healing series, today we focus on cleaning up your skin exposures. By "skin exposures," I mean all the things your skin comes into contact with... and the sheer quantity of those things will probably surprise you.

But first, let's get something out of the way that's crucial to all this. The consumer products industry wants you to believe their "Big Lie". The Big Lie is that chemicals you put on your skin don't get absorbed into your bloodstream. So there's no need to make sure consumer products are actually safe.

The FDA and most members of the conventional medical community also believe this lie: They don't acknowledge the absorption properties of the skin, so they tend to say that all the things you put on your skin are perfectly safe for your health even if they contain toxic chemicals. (Of course, these very same people then promote nicotine patches and other drugs delivered through the skin, so they do indirectly acknowledge that the skin absorbs chemicals.)

How many different products come into contact with your skin on a regular basis? You'd be shocked to consider all the sources:

• Perfumes, colognes and other fragrance products.
• Shampoo.
• Shower soap or shower gel products.
• Pesticides used on your lawn which are carried to you through pets or children.
• Skin creams.
• Sunscreen products.
• Cosmetics.
• Antibacterial hand soaps.
• Laundry detergents and dryer sheets (through your clothing).
• Dish soaps.
• Furniture polishes.
• Household cleaners such as window cleaners.
• Artificial dyes found in clothing.
• Feminine hygiene products.
• Deodorants and anti-perspirants.
• Shaving creams and after-shave products.
• Hair dyes.
• Massage oils and lotions.
• Hair sculpting products and hair sprays.
• Tattoos and temporary skin art.
• Insect repellants.
• Over-the-counter creams: Anti-itch, pain creams, etc.
• Chlorine in your shower water.
• Anti-flea and tick chemicals acquired by touching your pets.

Cancer-causing chemicals

If you look at all these products whose ingredients come into contact with your skin, you'll begin to realize something quite disturbing: They're loaded with cancer-causing chemicals!

The average perfume product, just as an example, contains over twenty cancer-causing chemicals all by itself -- and these are never even listed on the label. Antibacterial soaps are made with a chemical that's similar to the nerve toxin chemical called Agent Orange which was used as a chemical weapon in the Vietnam War.

Hair dyes contain highly toxic chemical solvents. Conventional laundry detergents are made with extremely toxic cancer-causing fragrance chemicals. Conventional cosmetics are loaded with not just cancer-causing chemicals, but also heavy metals like lead. Lawn pesticides contain chemicals that promote Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

The list goes on and on...

The products listed above probably contain over 10,000 different synthetic chemicals, and virtually none of them have ever been safety tested or approved as safe for human consumption by any federal agency. The EPA doesn't even know what many of these chemicals are because companies claim they need to protect their formulation "trade secrets" by not even listing the ingredients on product labels.

But think about these 10,000 chemicals for a moment and ask yourself this question: Why are you putting them on your skin?

Mainstream consumers poison themselves

Consumers are very easy to covertly influence through corporate advertising. I'm particularly struck by the advertising of a cologne product called "Axe" which is marketed to clueless teenage boys who naively believe that wearing these toxic chemicals will magically bring them hoards of slutty women who want to have sex with them. That's the underlying message of the Axe Cologne advertising, anyway.

So these teenage boys buy up these Axe products which include cologne, deodorant and shampoo. Naturally, they're oblivious to the fact that these products are made with artificial, synthetic fragrance chemicals that are absorbed right through the skin. None of these chemicals have been approved as safe for human consumption by the FDA, of course. But young men coat their bodies with these chemicals with no regard for their own health, thinking that smelling like Axe will reward you with female companionship.

And the ads work! Axe sales are through the roof. Sex sells everything... even synthetic chemicals.

Are you poisoning yourself, too?

But if you think these teenage boys are silly for buying such products, think about your own personal care products. Do you buy conventional shampoo? Sunscreens? Lotions? Cosmetics? Which toxic products are still in your own bathroom, kitchen or garage?

I've visited a lot of homes of people who told me they were "super health conscious." Yet in almost every case when I visit such homes, I still find they're using conventional laundry detergents, brand-name soaps in the bathroom, toxic skin lotions and baby products, etc. It is extremely rare for me to walk into someone's house and not find a huge assortment of cancer-causing products there.

People are poisoning themselves by poisoning their skin with synthetic chemicals. And they still think they're "health conscious!"

Most people, you see, are kidding themselves about protecting their skin from toxic, cancer-causing products. They may follow a fairly healthy diet, but they still bathe their skin in chemicals that damage the brain, liver, heart and kidneys. For some strange reason, many people who are acutely aware of what they put in their mouth are surprisingly unaware of what's contained in the products they put on their skin.

The point of this article is to raise your awareness of what's in the products your skin comes into contact with, and then to take new action to get all those toxic products out of your home.

Action items: What you can do right now

This may sound crazy, but here's what I want you to do: Go through your entire house, covering every room including the garage, under the kitchen sink, the bathroom closet and so on. Gather up every "chemical" product and throw them all out. (You're poisoning the environment by doing so, of course, but you're going to make up for that by never buying these products again...)

This includes all your conventional cosmetics, soaps, shampoos, fragrance products, cleaning products, laundry products, bug sprays, air "fresheners" and the whole lot. Gather them all up and throw them out.

More importantly make a commitment to never buy these products again. That's the only way to enjoy a long-term benefit for your health, of course.

Once this is done, begin to detox your body from these synthetic chemicals using a variety of detox products: Zeolites, chlorella supplements, cilantro, spirulina, etc. Drink a lot of water. Take liver detox herbs to support healthy liver function during all this.

Within just a few days, your chemical burden will start to fall as your body eliminates the chemicals that have been routinely poisoning it. After six months, your chemical load can drop as much as 90 percent, greatly reducing the chemical stress on your liver and kidneys while sharply reducing your risk of cancer and other neurological disorders.

Over time, your health will improve as your exposure to synthetic chemicals plummets. This action, combined with all the other steps in this 15-day self healing series, will vastly improve your health while slowing or even halting the development of many different degenerative diseases such as cancer, liver disease or Alzheimer's.


Link

A poser for Telekom

Is it legal to continue charging a subscriber monthly rental if the line has been disconnected?

More than 20 years ago, the telephone line in my name was used by some tenants sharing one house. The original tenant, a friend's relative, left and the house was rented by her friends. By the time I took back the house, the telephone charges accumulated to a few hundred Ringgit. I posed the question then 'Why can't Telekom disconnect the line when the earlier bills were unpaid?' but did not get a satisfactory reply. Since my name was involved, it was a case of payment unless I wanted to test it in court.

Now, I face a similar problem in the PJ house. But this time, it was a case of disconnection because of non-payment, but the rental charges (plus service tax of 5%) continued, at a guess, for more than 2 years! A nephew's friend transferred her line from somewhere in PJ for the purpose of broadband connection. When she left, the bills kept coming in despite returning to sender with a note to send to her address shown in her Identity Card. The latest bill showed amount due at Rm811.35! Telekom continued to charge rental of Rm26.00 plus Rm1.30 Service Tax, regardless of the long disconnection of service for the past 3 years?

I am not sure how many such cases exist all over the country. Just imagine the number multiplied by hundreds, if not thousands of Ringgit, and the substantial amount shown in Telekom's accounts as subscription revenue in their Profit and Loss Account, and as debtors in the Balance Sheet. What portion of it is considered recoverable and what portion is bad? I am not sure about the legal position, but I think it is unethical, if not immoral, to charge anyone rental when the line has long been disconnected because of non-payment of bills earlier.
Link

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Two outstanding personalities in Ipoh

who are fair-minded and righteous, and to my mind as well as many others I am sure, they are people's heroes in speaking out without fear or favour. I hope more outstanding personalities would emulate them.

1. Retired chartered engineer Koon Yew Yin

From The Star:

Ex-engineer stays busy with charity work


2. Retired Court of Appeal Judge NH Chan

From LoyarBurok Interview: NH Chan:

'Malaysia’s most famous retired Court of Appeal judge, the incorrigible, irrepressible and inimitable NH Chan'.


Excerpts:

Here is a hypothetical example of how I used to do it when I was a serving judge:

Judge: You are asking for a declaration, is this your point?

Counsel: Yes. The Speaker had acted outside his authority under the Standing Orders of the Assembly when he suspended my clients from attending the Legislative Assembly.

Judge: But what about Article 72(1) of the federal Constitution which says, “The validity of any proceedings in the Legislative Assembly of any State shall not be questioned in any court”? As a lawyer you should know “shall” means “must”.

Counsel: Article 72(1) must be read as being subject to the existence of a power or jurisdiction, be it inherent or expressly provided for, to do whatever that has to be done. The Court is empowered to ascertain whether a particular power that has been claimed has in fact been provided for.

Judge: But the Federal Constitution is the supreme law of the land. It binds the courts, even Parliament itself, until it is changed by Parliament with a two-thirds majority. What happened within the Assembly cannot be questioned in any court.

Counsel: Parliament makes the Law and the Courts interpret it.

Judge: Surely you don’t interpret the obvious where there is no ambiguity. The words in Article 72(1) mean exactly what they say. Even a child could understand that. And the words in Article 72(1) say that the validity of the proceedings which took place in the Legislative Assembly could not be questioned in any court.

Counsel: I thought it is for the courts to say what the law is. They have the power to interpret the law.

Judge: You are sorely mistaken. True enough when it comes to the common law. It is not so when it is a statute. The courts will interpret a statute only when there is an ambiguity. Not when the words are clear and they are not capable of another meaning. You can’t put words into a statute that are not there.

Counsel: As the court pleases.

Judge: If that is all that you are able to say, here is my decision. I don’t need to hear you Mr T (turning to and addressing Counsel for the Speaker).

Judge: Even when the Speaker has no power to suspend anyone in the Legislative Assembly, it was done by the Speaker in a proceeding in the Legislative Assembly. Article 72(1) of the Federal Constitution has decreed that “The validity of any proceedings in the Legislative Assembly of any State shall not be questioned in any court”. The validity of the suspension of these members of the Assembly by the Speaker during a proceeding in the Assembly could not, therefore, be questioned by this, or any, court. Article 72(1) of the Federal Constitution must be obeyed to the letter. As Lord Denning once said, “No matter how unreasonable or unjust it may be, nevertheless, the judges have no option. They must apply the statute as it stands”. I apply Article 72(1) of the Federal Constitution as it stands and I dismiss the application for a declaratory decree.

This is it. There is no need to write a judgment at all. My secretary would have taken it down in shorthand and she would let counsel have a copy of the notes of the proceedings when counsel asks for them. A written decision is unnecessary because it is made on known law. This is a decision on obvious law. Even school children could understand it.

PKR Open House in BU3 Community Centre

Made an effort to go there, with directional tips from Google Maps. Was alright turning into Lebuhraya Banda Utama but turned too soon towards Dataran BU instead. Well, all these mistakes are 'lesson fees' in terms of petrol, but no better way of learning the routes in Klang Valley or anywhere else.

Judging by the number of cars parked haphazardly, the response was definitely good. I parked towards the end of the road which appears to be the perimeter of Bandar Utama with direction to the right to Kota Damansara. On my way out turning left, I drove past Banda Utama Heights and KDU International College on the right.

But like always, was the response good because of 'free food' as I overheard a lady telling someone with her mobile phone, or genuine support from members of the Pakatan coalition and the public. There were a number of 'bas sekolah' and a small group of women who were deciding whether to go back in or wait in a place near the bus so that they stayed together for the return journey.

As I was walking towards the community centre, I could see long queues for satay, cendol, and wherever foods were displayed. One section used coupons which were given free but the system did not seem to work because there was another section for PKR which was buffet style without coupons. I just got some fried rice and curry and a packet of nasi lemak with no interest for the others.

Soon, I could hear drums of lion dance which was to welcome Opposition leader and Advisor to PKR, YB Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. I managed to get a good look at him at a distance almost near enough to shake his hand! Among the guests were party leaders of PKR, DAP and PAS, and distinguished guests of the diplomatic community as well as NGOs. I could see a Chinese band playing with traditional musical instruments.

Then I saw MP YB Sivarasa Rasiah walking out with ADUN YB Elizabeth Wong, so I took the opportunity to reach out to EW just to introduce myself because she had invited me (and many others) through Facebook. Mission accomplished.

Now, comes to a sad news after I met a former college mate at the event. Just imagine I saw this lady (among the hundreds of people at any one time) who looked familiar despite the ageing process and I could not resist asking her if she was so and so. She replied yes and then could recognise me. I asked for her name again because I could remember her younger sister's (both of them in our class) but I knew her sister better. I asked about her and at first she said 'something bad happened to her' and she would tell me some other time, but I replied I don't even have your contact number. Anyway she said she had passed on 2-3 years ago! I am still shocked with the news. I cannot help thinking if it was meant to be some divine intervention that made me go there to meet her!

Mary, during our Form 6 days, was very modern in her outlook and the way she dressed. I brought her to the event where I played in a 3-piece band in a band competition. We met again in London (where she did her graphic design) occasionally, because my then girlfriend's sister lived in the same flat. They were such good friends that they kept in touch even though she married a Thai and settled in Bangkok.

A few years ago, when her mum was very ill, she made a trip to Ipoh. She told my sister-in-law that she would like to meet me again. My wife and I went to visit her and saw her mum as well. Later we made appointment for dinner at Tg. Tualang. I went to fetch her from Ipoh to BG where we had a long chat before proceeding to Tg. Tualang. Then we sent her back to Ipoh.

Because of Tan Chong service centre in Jalan Kuala Kangsar, I passed her family house quite often.

I actually tried to call her again but because of the change in telephone numbers in Thailand, I could not reach her. Her sister asked me when was that and now I am thinking if that was when she had already passed on! Which was why this meeting could be a way of informing me.
Link

An Australian analysis on our political situation

Malaysia embarrassed by outdated political thuggery

The case is a joke. It exposes the Najib government as desperate and underhanded. It makes Malaysia a subject of international ridicule. While under Mahathir this form of legal manipulation might have been smart autocracy, in today's world it just looks like Malaysia is playing silly buggers with its national future.

By Peter Hartcher, The Sydney Morning Herald

Dumb autocrats use the army, goon squads and guns to repress the opposition. Smart autocrats use the law courts to do it.
Indonesia's Soeharto was a dumb autocrat. Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew and Malaysia's Mahathir Mohamad were smart autocrats.

The Lee-Mahathir model keeps the outward facade of a functioning democracy, with elections, a parliament and supposedly independent courts. Behind it, the systems are gutted to guarantee the ruling party remains ruling.

In Singapore, Lee's People's Action Party has been in power for 50 continuous years, the government simply sues opposition politicians for defamation. A tame court hands down ruinous damages, opponents end up in bankruptcy, jail or exile.

When a meddlesome foreigner like the deputy director for Asia of Human Rights Watch, Phil Robertson, said last month that "Singapore is the textbook example of a politically repressive state," the government just shrugged and said: "Singapore is a democratic state with a clean and
transparent government."

The army is in its barracks and there are no goon squads smashing through people's front
doors at 3am. It's all legit, see? The foreign investors and governments play along. So what if the ruling party holds 98 per cent of the seats in parliament? It has an elected parliament, and surely that's good enough.

Lee quit the prime ministership in 1990 and now holds a personalised cabinet post of Minister Mentor. But his system lives on. His handpicked successors as prime minister, Goh Chok Tong and now Lee's son, Lee Hsien Loong, have been every bit as smart as the old man himself in preserving the appearance of legitimacy.

In Malaysia, Mahathir was never as subtle or as smooth as Lee. But Mahathir was still a smart
autocrat who kept control through his puppetry of the judicial system. The pivotal moment was in 1988 when Mahathir complained that the courts were "too independent".

He purged the chief judicial officer, the Lord President, and suspended the five chief justices of the Supreme Court. The court system has never given any further trouble to the Barisan Nasional, or National Front, ever since. Together with its predecessor, the BN has ruled Malaysia continuously for 54 years.

It's infinitely smarter to use legal instruments to purge judges than to use guns against protesters. A judicial massacre makes lousy TV. You won't see one live on CNN. So it remains hidden from international view. Yet it can be every bit as repressive. So when Mahathir faced a power struggle in 1998 with his deputy prime minister and heir apparent, the charismatic Anwar Ibrahim, he naturally turned to the courts to purge his younger rival.

In a blatantly political fix-up, he had Anwar arrested and charged with sodomy, a shocking crime in a predominantly conservative Muslim country. Even today it carries a maximum penalty of 20 years' jail. The police Special Branch concocted evidence and coerced witnesses. Anwar
emerged from his police cell to appear in court with a bruised face, inflicted, it was later learnt, when the chief of police beat him.

The verdict was never in question. The courts convicted Anwar of sodomising his aide and speechwriter, Munawar Anees. The former deputy PM spent six years in jail. Munawar, now living in the US, has since said he was coerced into giving evidence against Anwar. "My detention by the Malaysian Special Branch taught me how it feels to be forcibly separated from one's wife and children," Munawar wrote in the Wall Street Journal last month.

"How it feels to be searched and seized, disallowed to make phone calls, handcuffed, blindfolded, stripped naked, endlessly interrogated, humiliated, drugged, deprived of sleep, physically abused. What it's like to be threatened, blackmailed, hectored by police lawyers, brutalised to make a totally false confession."

With Malaysia under tremendous international pressure from Anwar's admirers, including America's Al Gore and Britain's Gordon Brown, and with Mahathir retiring from the prime ministership in 2003, a review court overturned the sodomy sentence. Anwar was released in 2004.

He was allowed to return to politics in 2008 to lead the opposition to the BN. And he committed the crime of doing so with some success. In March 2008, under challenge from Anwar, the BN won a national election, but was shocked to lose its prized majority of two-third of the seats in
parliament. The new BN Prime Minister, Najib Razak, reacted exactly as Mahathir had to a challenge from Anwar.

Four months after the ruling party's election setback, Anwar was once again charged with sodomy. Once again, it's a blatant political case. The newspaper The Star called the case "Sodomy II".

Why is Anwar such a threat?

"At the moment," says Carl Thayer, an expert at the University of NSW, "there is no other leader who can hold together the opposition coalition of an Islamic party with a Chinese party, who is capable of being prime minister, and who has experience and international recognition that Anwar has."

The case is a joke. It exposes the Najib government as desperate and underhanded. It makes Malaysia a subject of international ridicule. While under Mahathir this form of legal manipulation might have been smart autocracy, in today's world it just looks like Malaysia is playing silly buggers with its national future.

Peter Hartcher is the Herald's international editor.


Link

Friday, February 26, 2010

I'll see you when I get there, if I ever get there...

I have mentioned before somewhere that my wife used to say, 'see you when I see you' and when I tried texting it, it was horrible: 'see u when i c u' - you see what I mean? Anyway,

Coolio's song lyrics :

'I'll see you when you get there
If you ever get there, see you when you get there...'

comes to mind when I think of my half-hearted driving around in KL and PJ these days.

Perhaps, I should change it to 'I'll see you when I get there, if I ever get there, see you when I get there...'

Being one of thousands being invited by politicians on Facebook for CNY open houses for instance, whether or not I am present should not be a problem, so the best reply I can give is a 'maybe' so that if I ever get there, fine; if not, nobody is going to notice anyway!

I used to use that explanation before, when working in KL and travelling almost every weekend between KL and BG. Usually invitations for weddings or other good occasions were for weekends and I would tell the host that my presence is not going to make any difference to your occasion, but my presence in BG meant a lot to my wife and especially the children, and they would understand, though I would feel rather guilty nevertheless. I really wonder how politicians go about handling their invitations since they are so popular among their constituents.

Last Wednesday evening, I set off at 7.00pm for the GST Forum which was held at the Auditorium MBSA in Shah Alam. Years ago, I remember having to turn off the Federal Highway to get to the right side. Yet, having seen a Google map and even draw a rough direction plan with road names (very important these days because of poor memory), when I saw the road sign showing 'Klang without Shah Alam' I thought this was it and turned off the highway and ended up in the industrial part of Shah Alam! Luckily after a short drive, there was a roundabout with signs to the Federal Highway where I could see the Wisma MBSA sign. From there on, it was using common sense and trial and error to get into the parking level of the building. I was all prepared to drive back if I could not find the place.
Link

Talking about sensitivities...

Chinese in general are very superstitious if you go by the rituals they do during Chinese New Year, which stretches from the First day (common to go vegetarian), Second day (back to carnivorous behaviour), Ninth day (used to be celebrated by Hokiens but now regardless, including the Hakkas ie. those who were responsible for the Hokiens to hide in the sugar plantations and missed 8 days of the CNY), until the Fifteenth day (Chap Goh Meh) when unmarried maidens throw oranges into the river in the hope of finding good husbands. They even have a specific day to receive the God of Prosperity, and so on and so forth.

During the Chinese New Year period of festivities, certain things are considered taboos, like sweeping the floor on the First day, and even showers are avoided if possible! Just imagine during our dry spell! Having described all that, imagine how I felt when I discovered the water supply to my son's house in Petaling Jaya was disconnected on the February 23? Syabas to SYABAS for being so 'considerate'! Water to the Chinese is supposed to signify money, and even garden taps have to be fixed facing inwards to signify money coming in. My blood pressure goes up when I think about the whole episode, so it is best I refer to a letter in Sin Chew Press in response to the recent insensitive remark by our PM's aide:

Granny was not here to sell her body

SIN CHEW PRESS
2010-02-05 18:39

In any culture, it is a big taboo to insult a person's mother. You can call people any name you like, and perhaps, a large-minded person will just see you off as a jerk or a fool, and will not make a big fuss over it. But in no way can you ever insult his mother, or his grandmother. And this is particularly serious in the Chinese culture. Both mum and granny are sacred beings not to be encroached upon or desecrated.

Nasir Safar said Chinese women came to Malaysia to sell their bodies (jual tubuh). You have blasphemed the mothers and grandmothers of some six million Chinese Malaysians, Nasir.
Our grannies did NOT come here to sell their bodies! With their pure souls, youthfulness and vitality, they established their homes here and had made significant contributions towards nation-building.

What would become of this country if not for these grannies? Including my own grandma, Madam Liu Qian, a person I respect the most in my entire life.

She was a foot-bound woman from Mainland China. When my grandpa came to Malaya, she stayed back at the ancestral village in Fujian province to take care of my father. When the life of my grandpa became more stable later, he went back to China in order to bring her here along with my father.

I'm here to tell you that my granny, along with the grannies of other six million Chinese Malaysians, sailed across the oceans here not to sell their bodies! With her bound feet, granny came here to support a family. And when the Japanese troops rolled over Malaya, she led the family to safety.

When the situation became more stable later, she negotiated with the Japs to get a licence to do business, and had been able to expand her business when the Brits returned. She treated her Malay and Indian neighbours as her own compatriots, and would prepare a whole stack of angpaos on the first day of every Chinese New Year to distribute to the Malay and Indian kids queuing up in front of our house. She leased out a small plot of land for a Chinese primary school, but had not in decades asked for the return of the land.

Every year on 31 August, she would try to find a national flag and hang it up high on a very long pole in front of our house. She landed on Malaya, and treated this place her own country.
She had not had another home or country since. When she passed away, many Malay makcik came to our house and sobbed over her passing.

With her unparalleled wisdom, hard work, morality and determination, she spent her entire life in a very respectful manner. No one can ever insult her and accuse that she had come here to sell her body! My granny, like the grannies of many other people, was a truly great woman. From Malaya to Malaysia, they were scattered in every family and every corner of this country.

From the rubber-tapping workers in the estates, to the excavators in the tin mines, they were the most hardworking and exceptional women anywhere in the world.

During those darkest years, they displayed the most glorious side of humanity. They sacrificed their youths and lives, so that you and I, along with our homes and nation, can come into being.

Even though they might no longer be around today, they still live deep inside our hearts, and support us morally.

Not only the country's laws will come after you, Nasir, you still owe our grannies a sincere apology.

(By TAY TIAN YAN/Translated by DOMINIC LOH/Sin Chew Daily)

How to delay execution...

Three men, an Italian, a Frenchman, and a Jew, were condemned to be executed. Their captors told them that they had the right to have a final meal before the execution. They asked the Frenchman what he wanted.

"Give me the best French wine and French bread," he requested.

So they gave it to him, he ate it, and then they executed him. Next it was the Italian's turn.

"Give me a great big plate of pasta," said the Italian.

So they brought it to him, he ate it, and then they executed him. Now it was the Jew's turn.

"I want a big bowl of strawberries, " said the Jew.

"Strawberries!!! They aren't even in season!"

"No? OK, so I'll wait..."

A Malaysian can probably ask for a specific local durian variety like 'ang heh' or red prawns from Penang, which are normally fully booked well in advance even by some Singaporeans!
Link

How to get out of a sticky situation...

or maybe he was genuinely senile...

A man was stopped by a game-warden in Northern Michigan recently with two buckets of fish leaving a lake well known for its fishing.

The game warden asked the man, "Do you have a license to catch those fish?"

The man replied to the game warden, "No, sir. These are my pet fish."

"Pet fish?!" the warden asked.

"Yes, sir. Every night I take these here fish down to the lake and let them swim around for a while. I whistle and they jump back into their buckets, and I take em home."

"That's a bunch of hooey! Fish can't do that!"

The man looked at the game warden for a moment, and then said, "Here, I'll show you. It really works."

"OK. I've GOT to see this!" The game warden was curious, now. The man poured the fish in to the lake and stood and waited. After a several minutes, the game warden turned to the man and said, "Well?"

"Well, What?" the man responded. "When are you going to call them back?" The game warden prompted.

"Call who back?" The man asked.

"The fish." replied the warden.

"What fish?" The man asked.

Link

Tips on how to stay young

Many of us are young at heart and think as though we are still half our age - the way we chat up ladies which would seem unbecoming to someone else observing. But if by doing so, it helps in feeling good and staying healthy, why not?

HOW TO STAY YOUNG

1. Throw out nonessential numbers. This includes age, weight and height. Let the doctors worry about them. That is why you pay 'them'

2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down.

3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Never let the brain idle. 'An idle mind is the devil's workshop.'
And the devil's name is Alzheimer's.

4. Enjoy the simple things.

5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.

6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person, who is with us our entire life, is ourselves. Be ALIVE while you are alive.

7. Surround yourself with what you love , whether it's family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies, whatever. Your home is your refuge.

8. Cherish your health: If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.

9.. Don't take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next country; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is.

10. Tell the people you love that you love them, at every opportunity.

Even if we are not afflicted with Alzheimer, being senile is not too far away. The following scenario, though not as serious (we don't carry handguns around here), is a distinct possibility:

This is supposedly a true account recorded in the Police Log of Sarasota, Florida.


An elderly Florida lady did her shopping and, upon returning to her car, found four males in the act of leaving with her vehicle. She dropped her shopping bags and drew her handgun, proceeding to scream at the top of her lungs, "I have a gun, and I know how to use it! Get out of the car!"


The four men didn't wait for a second threat. They got out and ran like mad. The lady, somewhat shaken, then proceeded to load her shopping bags into the back of the car and got into the driver's seat. She was so shaken that she could not get her key into the ignition. She tried and tried, and then she realized why.


It was for the same reason she had wondered why there was a football, a Frisbee, and two 12-packs of beer in the front seat. A few minutes later, she found her own car parked four or five spaces farther down. She loaded her bags into the car and drove to the police station to report her mistake.


The sergeant to whom she told the story couldn't stop laughing. He pointed to the other end of the counter, where four pale men were reporting a car jacking by a mad, elderly woman described as white, less than five feet tall, glasses, curly white hair, and carrying a large handgun.


No charges were filed.


Moral of the story? If you're going to have a senior moment...make it memorable.


We are more likely to be unable to remember where we parked our cars, or scolding people for our own mistakes without realizing it.

Link

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Poetry in quarrels...

Even without really understanding, I used to enjoy watching two Chinese scholars reciting poems in an impromptu manner which appeared to be in response to the one recited earlier. To those who understand Chinese, I am sure they would really appreciate the literary skills shown. The scholars were usually of opposite sex and was a brilliant way to show off literacy and at the same time, woo the intended lady.

The following poems in English would seem similar but instead would prove to be a good and civil way to have a verbal fight...

WIFE:
I wrote your name on sand it got washed.
I wrote your name in air, it was blown away.
Then I wrote your name on my heart & I got Heart Attack.

HUSBAND:
God saw me hungry, he created pizza.
He saw me thirsty, he created Pepsi.
He saw me in dark, he created light.
He saw me without problems, he created YOU.

WIFE:
Twinkle twinkle little star
You should know what you are
And once you know what you are
Mental hospital is not so far.

HUSBAND:
The rain makes all things beautiful.
The grass and flowers too.
If rain makes all things beautiful
Why doesn't it rain on you?

WIFE:
Roses are red; Violets are blue
Monkeys like u should be kept in zoo.
Don't feel so angry you will find me there too
Not in cage but laughing at you!




Link

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

GST Forum (updated)


Malaysian time - tardiness or traffic jam? 8.16 pm already.

The forum actually started 20 minutes later. I was sitting on the right side of the main section and had the opportunity to shake hands with YAB Datuk Seri Khalid Ibrahim, YAB Tuan Lim Guan Eng, YB Tuan Tony Pua, YB Dr. Zulkifli Ahmad, and Encik Rafizi Ramli, the forum speakers who walked past towards the stage. The delay was probably because of protocol and waiting for all the speakers to walk in together.

Ms. Tricia Yeoh was MC to welcome and introduce the speakers, while YB Tuan Nik Nazmi was moderator. Among the audience, I spotted YB Teresa Kok and YB Charles Santiago.

Anyway, the wait was worth the trouble and though I was feeling sleepy because of lack of sleep the night before, I came out of the forum convinced by the speakers that we are definitely not ready for GST now. The huge costs in implementing the tax which was estimated at Rm5 billion (to be incurred by both the government and private sectors) just to earn an extra Rm1 billion in revenue does not seem to justify it.

LGE pointed out the unfairness of the tax because it is going to affect everyone in the country when compared with the direct taxes borne by only those who work and do business. Later Tony Pua showed some estimated figures which put the total employees at 12 million people and out of these, only 15% are taxpayers while 85% are not. Set against the total population of 28 million, it works out to 6.4% and 93.6 respectively.

He also showed a simple example of a manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer which illustrated how the GST works. A product sold at Rm200 plus GST at 4% will be sold to a wholesaler at Rm208, and then when value added by the wholesaler, it would be sold at say, Rm300 plus GST, at R312 to the retailer. The manufacturer pays to the government Rm8.00 GST, the wholesaler pays net Rm4.00 (12.00 - 8.00) while the retailer would similarly add on his value added portion and pay the difference between the amount of GST charged to his customer and what he paid (Rm12.00) to the wholesaler. The inflationary impact seems rather obvious to the final consumers.

After the speeches, a member of the audience asked why Lim Guan Eng said 'no compromise' while another said something to the effect 'not now but maybe later'. Dr. Zulkifli explained that he was not against GST per se, but the proposed implementation at a time when the country is not ready. One person said already 135 countries have introduced GST and asked why we are not joining them, while another said it was easy to do away with it but how are Pakatan going to find alternative revenue? Tony Pua convinced the audience that with open tenders and less corruption, the government would have saved tens of billions which far exceeded the amount which could be earned from GST. He also gave the example of how the Federal Government helped its cronies, like providing interest-free loans of more than Rm200 million to Syabas (yes, what a coincidence) for a few years, to be paid after the period. They would rather benefit Puncak Niaga than let the Selangor government take over Syabas.

LGE predicted that the date set for implementation of GST will decide the date of a general election just before it, because of its unpopularity. Another speaker cautioned that the introduction at 4% is misleading the public because the Minister will be empowered to decide on the items which are liable under GST, as well as increase its tax rate, without Parliamentary approval.

Both YAB Tuan Lim Guan Eng and YAB Datuk Seri Khalid Ibrahim had to excuse themselves after their speeches to go to Kuala Selangor. Later, MP for Kuala Selangor, YB Dr. Zulkifli Ahmad left as well because of the event there.

(Note: The above account is based on my recollection of last night's speeches without taking notes. I apologise for any misquotation of speeches or figures which was likely under the circumstances.)

My earlier post on GST:


A letter in Malaysiakini explains in more details, the workings of the proposed GST:

Yesterday was Just not my day...

it was deja vu, like before, when I was desperately looking for printer to print out a document and my very good friend said his printer was out of order, another close friend said his printer printed out with a dark shade, and my brother's new computer could not accept the old diskette!

This time round, it was lightning and thunderstorm after I missed the 5.00 pm time line to fax details of my M2U payments to Syabas. After dinner, went to sister-in-law's place and after a long chat, found their modem/router appeared to have been put out by the lightning. No connection meant no log-on to M2U. With the benefit of hindsight (like having eyes on my backside), I could have used a pen-drive earlier, or on further hind sight (like having binoculars on my backside), I should have printed my M2U payments at home in BG which would have saved all the trouble (was thinking of 'paperfree' drive and saving expensive ink).

Phoebe must have read about my earlier posting, and she sent text message to advise my daughter to use a software to capture the page in jpg format (if I got it right) but we could not do it - either because we lack the know-how or simply because being a secured site, there are built-in controls to prevent its use. Thanks Phoebe for being so thoughtful.

This morning, after sending my son and friend to Sentral, it was only 7 am, and I called my old friend asking about his printer and believe it or not, it was still out of order! While driving, I remembered my former business partner used to arrive at her office early and called her for help. Well, I got a breakfast treat before accessing my M2U, photocopied it and faxed. Got the fax number from Syabas website but turned out to be wrong one for such re-connection cases. Having been through bad luck, I was wise to leave the printed copy with the office and called to request her staff to fax again. Syabas was efficient in having someone to call back to say they have received the information and arranged for re-connection.

It was such a coincidence that I received an email titled 'Just not my day' with a picture which I am not going to post (of a naked man with his organ snapped, almost cut (as in potong), when he pulled to close the shower door) :

Just Not My Day!
Today, I woke up early as usual. When I was going to have breakfast I slipped on the stairs and got a big whack on my head.

To calm me down, my wife gave me a cup of coffee; I burned my tongue because it was too damn hot.

I put a slice of bread in the toaster and when I went to get it out I got an electric shock that threw me on my ass.

The telephone rang, it was the office telling me that last night the safe was broken into and everything was taken.

I decided this was the right time to take a nice hot shower and meditate to bring down my stress and help me to relax.

That's when it happened...



Link

Male assertiveness...

the good old days of yore...



present reality check...

A mild-mannered man was tired of being bossed around by his wife so he went to a psychiatrist.

The psychiatrist said he needed to build his self-esteem, and so gave him a book on
assertiveness, which he read on the way home.

He had finished the book by the time he reached his house.

The man stormed into the house and walked up to his wife.

Pointing a finger in her face, he said, "From now on, I want you to know that I am the man of this house, and my word is law! I want you to prepare me a gourmet meal tonight, and when I'm finished eating my meal, I expect a sumptuous dessert afterward. Then, after dinner, you're going to draw me my bath so I can relax. And when I'm finished with my bath, guess who's going to dress me and comb my hair?"

"The funeral director," said his wife.

Link

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Syabas to SYABAS...

for being efficient at the time when I am loaded with four months' bill totalling Rm821.45 when the house was vacant, cutting off the water supply at 10.30am this morning Feb 23, when I have just made full payment yesterday using Maybank2u. I was lulled into thinking the last bill dated February 2, stated bill to be paid by March 4.

In my last post relating to Syabas, I complained about their lack of efficiency in not cutting off the water supply after the first month's non-payment which could have saved me hundreds of Ringgit, besides saving precious water.

Imagine my despair when my daughter and I arrived at 4.45pm and I wanted to check the meter reading and discovered the meter missing! Checked the letter box and found a notice informing about the disconnection.

Called the Syabas number provided and was told to fax details of my M2U payments. I offered to read to her the dates and times, amounts, and reference numbers, but was told unacceptable. When told I do not have the fax facility, she said I could email the details from my M2U and if done by 5.00pm, she could relay the message to the re-connection department. Rushed to the Section 14 Maybank branch, was told they closed at 4.30pm, and suggested that I use internet cafe facilities.

Came back, tried using daughter's notebook with existing phone line (thought it was long disconnected), managed to use Wifi on site! Logged into M2U and found my payment details but no feature for emailing it to third party. So it was not true what she said about sending email of M2U payment details. Already too late for reconnection tomorrow. Arranged for plumber to check and assess and if necessary (almost 100%) to fix new pipes tomorrow, but with the disconnection, how to check for leaks?

Syabas SYABAS, to say I am peeved would be an understatement. Regardless of whose fault about the delay in disconnection earlier, it was payment first before you get water, no two ways about it. That's why I hate monopolies in whatever guise and no matter how hard they tried to portray by way of sweet public relations messages.
Link

World's 1st Solar powered Stadium... in Taiwan

Taiwan recently finished construction on a solar-powered stadium that will generate 100% of its electricity from photovoltaic technology.

Designed by Toyo Ito, the 50,000-seat arena will officially open later this year to welcome the 2009 World Games which features many sports not included in the Olympics Such as parachuting, tenpin bowling and rugby sevens...



We are now in 2010, so the stadium should have been opened by now.

Malaysia has abundance in sunshine, especially proven by this current dry spell, yet we seem to shy away from this source of energy.
Link

Majlis Daerah Batu Gajah

or Batu Gajah District Council, formerly known as Majlis Daerah Kinta Barat or West Kinta District Council.
Grandeur inspired by Putrajaya. A local mansion across the road (seen in front of it in this picture) is dwarfed by its huge building.

Yet, the access to the building is through one narrow entrance and it being built on a hillock, the car park on the left of the compound seems rather awkward for driving in and out. Its location has been described as 'too short a distance to drive but too far to walk', or neither here nor there, making it inconvenient to ratepayers, or even their employees going to the town centre.

The original location used to form a triangle, a golden one within walking distance, with the post office and railway station. Now, only the Post Office remains where it used to be, another grand structure which has 18 steps in front to make old folks difficult to access. The irony was that since the moving of the MDKB to its new location and becomes MDBG, ratepayers would rather pay their bills at the Post Office!

My recent visit to MDBG, like before, found the place quiet. Since I enter via the mid-section, I even missed the counter (near the entrance) where I was supposed to collect my queue number, and paid the bill without it. Not sure if it was because of the Chinese New Year, there were packet drinks and sweets on the counter for those who came to pay the bills!

Anyway, the sweets reminded me of the following story:

Once a boy went to a shop with his mother. The shop keeper looked at the small cute child and showed him a bottle with sweets.

And said 'Dear Child..you can take the sweets...

But the child didn't take them. The shop keeper was surprised.. Such a small child he is and why is he not taking the sweets from the bottle? Again he said, take the sweets....

Now the mother also heard that and said.. Take the sweets dear.. Yet he didn't take them... The shopkeeper seeing the child not taking the sweets... He himself took the sweets and gave to the child. The child was happy to get two hands full of sweets.

While returning home the Mother asked the child... Why didn't you take the sweets, when the shop keeper told you to take them?..

Can you guess the response?:

Child replies... Mom! My hands are very small and if I take the sweets I can only take a few... But now you see when uncle gave with his big hands.... How many more sweets I got!

Link

Insight into Decision Making

Situation:

A group of children were playing near two railway tracks, one still in use while the other disused. Only one child played on the disused track, the rest on the operational track.

The train is coming, and you are just beside the track interchange. You can make the train change its course to the disused track and save most of the kids. However, that would also mean the lone child playing by the disused track would be sacrificed. Or would you rather let the
train go its way?

Let's take a pause to think what kind of decision we could make:

Most people might choose to divert the course of the train, and sacrifice only one child. You might think the same way, I guess.

Exactly, to save most of the children at the expense of only one child was rational decision most people would make, morally and emotionally.

But, have you ever thought that the child choosing to play on the disused track had in fact made the right decision to play at a safe place?

Nevertheless, he had to be sacrificed because of his ignorant friends who chose to play where the danger was.. This kind of dilemma happens around us everyday. In the office, community, in politics and especially in a democratic society, the minority is often sacrificed for the interest of the majority, no matter how foolish or ignorant the majority are, and how farsighted and knowledgeable the minority are. The child who chose not to play with the rest on the operational
track was sidelined. And in the case he was sacrificed, no one would shed a tear for him.

The great critic Leo Velski Julian who told the story said he would not try to change the course of the train because he believed that the kids playing on the operational track should have known very well that track was still in use, and that they should have run away if they heard the train's sirens.. If the train was diverted, that lone child would definitely die because he never thought the train could come over to that track! Moreover, that track was not in use probably because it was not safe. If the train was diverted to the track, we could put the lives of all passengers on board at stake! And in your attempt to save a few kids by sacrificing one child, you might end up
sacrificing hundreds of people to save these few kids.

While we are all aware that life is full of tough decisions that need to be made, we may not realize that hasty decisions may not always be the right one.

Remember that what's right isn't always popular...
And what's popular isn't always right.

Link

Monday, February 22, 2010

How TNB overcharged a consumer...

I hope this old complaint (someone just forwarded to me) is no longer valid:


Do you compare the Meter reading on section 'DAHULU' (Red circle) with previous month?

In this case, the April bill on DAHULU section is 29128, SEMASA is 29380. After paid the bill, the problem come.... The May bill come, the DAHULU section by right should show 29380. BUT NOW, it still show 29128 same per last month.

If we don't compare with last month, frankly, I had HAPPILY paid for the bill and TNB had HAPPILY got the extra RM72 from me. At last, all the TNB shareholder got smart dividend from our hard earn money.

Due to this bad service....I plan to change service provider. Opps...there is no alternate service provider. The alternate is buy your own generator, use candle...I guess no one will go for the alternative service provider....

So... please check your bill and compare it month by month. Our PM always try very hard and tell us we have to very SMART SPENDING & MUST compare....... His motive is very good. Cause he knew that something will happen and lot Giant company might use a VERY SMART
way to COLLECT Money from general public. Thanks to our great PM......I really compare the price always.....and notice the brilliant idea from TNB. I am not sure it is mistake? But I don't think is human error...

Now, better part is, this is computer error. If you don't discover this, then you pay for the EXTRA (this case, we got to pay extra RM72.80). If you notice the problem....easy, just refund to you, BUT do you know how time consuming and trouble to get the refund? Why their mistake is our cost? why there is no compensation on their mistake?

The BEST part, how many people know they are actually, happily OVER PAID?

When TNB officially want to increase the unit price....everybody jumping and complain. How they going to get extra and no people complain? This is an art....

This is the evolution of TNB billing system.....let the computer system do the mistake....and the mistake MUST FAVOURABLE to the company.

Come....we should proudly said : Malaysia Boleh, Cause we really BOLEH!!

(writer unknown, though name of consumer is shown on the two bills)
Link

Trivia in history...

point to incredible coincidences... catastrophic premonitions in the case of 911, or as what our Tun Dr. Mahathir reckoned, a staged event?

Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846.
John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.

Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860.
John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960.

Both were particularly concerned with civil rights.
Both wives lost their children while living in the White House.

Both Presidents were shot on a Friday.
Both Presidents were shot in the head

Now it gets really weird.

Lincoln 's secretary was named Kennedy.
Kennedy's Secretary was named Lincoln.
Both were assassinated by Southerners.
Both were succeeded by Southerners named Johnson.

Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808.
Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.

John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Lincoln, was born in 1839.
Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated Kennedy, was born in 1939.

Both assassins were known by their three names
Both names are composed of fifteen letters.

Now hang on to your seat.

Lincoln was shot at the theatre named 'Ford'.
Kennedy was shot in a car called ' Lincoln ' made by 'Ford'.

Lincoln was shot in a theater and his assassin ran and hid in a warehouse.
Kennedy was shot from a warehouse and his assassin ran and hid in a theater.

Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials.

And here's the kicker...

A week before Lincoln was shot, he was in Monroe , Maryland
A week before Kennedy was shot, he was with Marilyn Monroe.

WHO FIGURED THIS OUT?

INCREDIBLE
1) Fold a NEW American $20 bill in half...

2) Fold again, taking care to fold it exactly as below

3) Fold the other end, exactly as before

4) Now, simply turn it over...
What a coincidence! A simple geometric fold creates a catastrophic premonition printed on all $20 bills!!!

Coincidence???

YOU DECIDE

As if that wasn't enough
Here is what you've seen...

First, the Pentagon on fire

Second, the Twin Towers .


And now, look at this!
TRIPLE COINCIDENCE ON A SIMPLE $20 BILL
Disaster (Pentagon)
Disaster ( Twin Towers )
Disaster (Osama)???
It gets even better 9 + 11 = $20!
Creepy huh?

(author unknown)
Link

Our students are not too bad after all...

if these answers came from those in advanced countries...









Link

Result of political divide...

as someone creative sees it...


For all the racial and religious posturing, Anwar Ibrahim and Raja Petra have been subjected to selective prosecutions which seem more like political persecution.

Link

A salted peanut...

or assaulted peanut?

somehow it reminds me of Sodomee!

Link

Discouraging encouragement...

or encouraging discouragement?
it is just round the corner if you wish to...


Link

Because of Love...

a touching story with an inspirational message...

A brother and sister had made their usual hurried, obligatory pre-Christmas visit to the little farm where dwelt their elderly parents with their small herd of horses. The farm was where they had grown up and had been named Lone Pine Farm because of the huge pine, which topped the hill behind the farm. Through the years the tree had become a talisman to the old man and his wife, and a landmark in the countryside. The young siblings had fond memories of their childhood here, but the city hustle and bustle added more excitement to their lives, and called them away to a different life.

The old folks no longer showed their horses, for the years had taken their toll, and getting out to the barn on those frosty mornings was getting harder, but it gave them a reason to get up in the mornings and a reason to live. They sold a few foals each year, and the horses were their reason for joy in the morning and contentment at day's end.

Angry, as they prepared to leave, the young couple confronted the old folks "Why do you not at least dispose of The Old One." She is no longer of use to you. It's been years since you've had foals from her. You should cut corners and save so you can have more for yourselves. How can this old worn out horse bring you anything but expense and work? Why do you keep her anyway?"

The old man looked down at his worn boots, holes in the toes, scuffed at the barn floor and replied, " Yes, I could use a pair of new boots. His arm slid defensively about the Old One's neck as he drew her near with gentle caressing he rubbed her softly behind her ears. He replied softly, "We keep her because of love. Nothing else, just love."

Baffled and irritated, the young folks wished the old man and his wife a Merry Christmas and headed back toward the city as darkness stole through the valley. The old couple shook their heads in sorrow that it had not been a happy visit. A tear fell upon their cheeks. How is it that these young folks do not understand the peace of the love that filled their hearts?

So it was, that because of the unhappy leave-taking, no one noticed the insulation smoldering on the frayed wires in the old barn. None saw the first spark fall. None but the "Old One".

In a matter of minutes, the whole barn was ablaze and the hungry flames were licking at the loft full of hay. With a cry of horror and despair, the old man shouted to his wife to call for help as he raced to the barn to save their beloved horses. But the flames were roaring now, and the blazing heat drove him back. He sank sobbing to the ground, helpless before the fire's fury. His wife back from calling for help cradled him in her arms, clinging to each other, they wept at their loss.

By the time the fire department arrived, only smoking, glowing ruins were left, and the old man and his wife, exhausted from their grief, huddled together before the barn. They were speechless as they rose from the cold snow covered ground. They nodded thanks to the firemen as there was nothing anyone could do now. The old man turned to his wife, resting her white head upon his shoulders as his shaking old hands clumsily dried her tears with a frayed red bandana. Brokenly he whispered, "We have lost much, but God has spared our home on this eve of Christmas. Let us gather strength and climb the hill to the old pine where we have sought comfort in times of despair. We will look down upon our home and give thanks to God that it has been spared and pray for our beloved most precious gifts that have been taken from us.

And so, he took her by the hand and slowly helped her up the snowy hill as he brushed aside his own tears with the back of his old and withered hand.

The journey up the hill was hard for their old bodies in the steep snow. As they stepped over the little knoll at the crest of the hill, they paused to rest, looking up to the top of the hill the old couple gasped and fell to their knees in amazement at the incredible beauty before them.

Seemingly, every glorious, brilliant star in the heavens was caught up in the glittering, snow-frosted branches of their beloved pine, and it was aglow with heavenly candles. And poised on its top most bough, a crystal crescent moon glistened like spun glass. Never had a mere mortal created a Christmas tree such as this. They were breathless as the old man held his wife tighter in his arms.

Suddenly, the old man gave a cry of wonder and incredible joy. Amazed and mystified, he took his wife by the hand and pulled her forward. There, beneath the tree, in resplendent glory, a mist hovering over and glowing in the darkness was their Christmas gift. Shadows glistening in the night light.

Bedded down about the "Old One" close to the trunk of the tree, was the entire herd, safe.

At the first hint of smoke, she had pushed the door ajar with her muzzle and had led the horses through it. Slowly and with great dignity, never looking back, she had led them up the hill, stepping cautiously through the snow. The foals were frightened and dashed about. The skittish yearlings looked back at the crackling, hungry flames, and tucked their tails under them as they licked their lips and hopped like rabbits. The mares that were in foal with a new years crop of babies, pressed uneasily against the "Old One" as she moved calmly up the hill and to safety beneath the pine. And now, she lay among them and gazed at the faces of the old man and his
wife. Those she loved she had not disappointed. Her body was brittle with years, tired from the climb, but the golden eyes were filled with devotion as she offered her gift--- Because of love. Only Because of love.

Tears flowed as the old couple shouted their praise and joy... And again the peace of love filled their hearts.

This is a true story.

Willy Eagle
This is an Inspirational message sent to a small group of people.
My hope is that it will make your day just a little bit better..

Link

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Heal yourself - Part 9 (Nature deficiency)

Do you suffer from a "nature deficiency?" If you'd like most people in modern society, you spend most of your 24 hours of the day indoors. You work under artificial fluorescent lights, you eat and sleep inside a house or apartment, you commute in the artificial environment of a car, bus or train. You rarely get outside and even when you do, it's not real nature -- it's some artificial "planned" park with concrete sidewalks and maintained lawns.

I suspect you may have a nature deficiency. I know because I've been there. Probably much like you, I spent a lot of time outdoors as a child, but in my adult years, I found myself spending more and more hours indoors. It didn't take long to realize that breathing re-circulated indoor air and having little or no time in nature wasn't a good recipe for lifelong health.

Today, I'm a nature advocate. Time in nature is healing all by itself, and children are especially vulnerable to the negative effects of a nature deficiency. But few people in the field of conventional medicine embrace the idea that nature itself a healer, so the message of spending time in nature to improve your health doesn't get much attention.

However, I believe that not spending enough time in nature promotes depression, obesity and even cancer. In fact, I believe that nature is so important to lasting health that I took up permanent residency in a country where I have spring-like weather year-round, just so that I can be outside in nature every single day of the year!

That's not possible to do in most places, but wherever you are, more time in nature can help you heal. Here's how:

How spending time in nature helps you heal

• Sunlight

Sunlight supports all life on our planet. Without sunlight, we would simply have no life on Earth. Your body is designed to be exposed to sensible levels of sunlight, and that's why experiencing a reasonable amount of sunlight directly on your skin makes good sense for your health.

As you well know, sunlight also causes your skin to generate vitamin D -- perhaps the most miraculous nutrient yet discovered in the modern world. Vitamin D prevents cancer, heart disease and diabetes. It boosts bone density and immune function, and it prevents infectious disease far better than vaccines could ever hope to.

To get more vitamin D, simply spend more time in nature!

• Natural sounds

The natural sounds of nature are, in and of themselves, healing therapy. Simply surrounding yourself with the sounds of real nature causes a scientifically-provable reduction in stress levels and blood pressure.

The most powerful healing sounds in nature seem to be those from water: Waterfalls, water running down a creek or stream, rain and thunderstorms, etc. You can mimic these sounds with "sound conditioning" devices that broadcast sound loops of natural sounds. They're very effective machines, but still nothing equals the healing potential of real sounds experienced directly in the real world.

• Colors

The colors of nature are, scientifically speaking, different wavelengths of light striking your retina and being interpreted as colors by your brain.

These different wavelengths are, in essence, a form of energy medicine. Light is energy, and what your body needs to be healthy is exposure to a diverse assortment of those energy wavelengths. That's why looking at all the various colors of flowers, plants and animals is, by itself, a healing experience. It also stimulates the brain to become more active and more intelligent.

Spending more time in nature allows your brain to explore a more diverse natural reality, causing it to function at a higher cognitive level. Dull people, in contrast, tend to spend a lot of time indoors where the scenery never changes.

• Movement

Being in nature makes physical movement almost mandatory. When you're in nature, you're often walking, running, biking or swimming. And yet because the scenery is so beautiful, it doesn't feel like exercise! It simply feels like fun!

The health benefits of all this movement are tremendous: A boost in circulation, increased bone density and muscle strength, increased flexibility, lymph fluid circulation and much more. And yet being in nature allows you to experience all these benefits without it feeling like hard work.

• Air

There's something qualitatively different about fresh air versus indoor air. Indoor air is contaminated with chemicals that have been off-gassed from all the synthetic materials used in the construction of homes and buildings: Carpets, furniture, paints, glues, dyes and so on. Plus, you often get mold spores from indoor air ducts.

The air in a living pine tree forest (or any forest) is refreshingly different! Some people attribute it to the "negative ions" in the air, but there's much more to it than that. There's something almost magical about fresh air in a natural environment -- it's "sweet" and energizing! The more time you can spend in nature, the more fresh air you can take into your lungs and enjoy as a healing experience.

It's an innate thing to desire "fresh air." Every person on the planet intuitively knows that fresh air is better than indoor air. Ever wonder why this knowledge is so deeply imbedded in the human brain?

• Microbes

Western medicine believes that sterility is safety. They want people to live in a sterile environment, where all the microbes in your environment (or on your food) are killed by antimicrobial soaps and pharmaceutical drugs.

But certain microbes are very important for your health! Exposure to microbes in the real world is hugely important for the healthy balance and functioning of your immune system, and the best place to have exposure to these microbes is out in nature!

When I was a kid growing up, I played in the dirt. I swam in the pond. I camped out on the grass. Today, many parents would be horrified to allow their children to even touch dirt or swim in the "non-sanitized" water of a natural stream. This obsession with sterility is deeply misguided. Seek out nature and don't be afraid to experience the real world even if it means getting your hands dirty.

• Bio energy

Beyond the light, the sounds, the air and all the other healing elements of nature, there's also something less tangible: The bio energy of living systems. In some way that scientists still don't understand, lush living ecosystems "recharge" the human body and mind. Spending time in nature rejuvenates your system, and when city life leaves you feeling depleted, nature can bring your energy back.

Part of the magic of the bio-energy in nature depends on coming into physical contact with nature. Walk barefoot. Hug a tree. Touch a flower. Lie down on the grass. Touch nature as your body intended and you'll create a closed circuit with the planet itself. Some people say that being electrically "grounded" with the earth (through barefoot walking) makes an important difference in reducing the electric "noise" that interferes with your health. There's merit to this thinking. Your ancient ancestors didn't walk around in Nike shoes. They walked barefoot, and they were healthier for it!

Kids suffer from nature deficiency, too!

Most modern children live their lives indoors, banging away on gaming consoles and social networking websites. Few children are offered opportunities to spend any real time outdoors, in nature. The idea of "going to camp" during the summer seems to have been lost on the current generation of children, most of whom spend their summers in air-conditioned environments that are highly detrimental to their health.

One of the greatest gifts you can offer any child is time in nature. And the earlier you start teaching children about the joys of nature, the more success you'll have in sharing outdoor experiences with them. Plus, introducing your children (or grandchildren) to more time in nature means that you get more time in nature, too.

One way to encourage time in nature, by the way, is to get rid of the TV. Television is the enemy of the natural world, and the more time children (or adults) spend in front of the TV, the less time they tend to spend in nature. Once children spend enough time in front of the TV, they won't even want to venture into nature at all. Their whole "world" becomes the virtual world broadcast into their brains from the television set.
For teenage boys, time in nature has largely been replaced with time spent playing computer games and console games. While there's nothing wrong with a little time spent gaming, when this act becomes the dominant focus of a child's life, it is hugely destructive. What these children need is more time in the real world and a lot less time in virtual worlds.

Seriously: I've often thought that somebody should launch a "nature camp" business that would offer rehab services for teenage boys who are addicted to gaming. It would be a hugely successful business given how widespread modern gaming addiction has become.

In any case, whether you have kids or not, spending more time in nature will vastly improve your health! So make it a point to get outside, soak up some sunshine, breathe in the fresh air and get all the nature you can! You'll be healthier, happier, more fit and even more intelligent for doing so!

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