How should we judge a government?

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

"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

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience - Mark Twain

Why we should be against censorship in a court of law: Publicity is the very soul of justice … it keeps the judge himself, while trying, under trial. - Jeremy Bentham

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no
responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options
I suggest government... because nobody has ever been caught.

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?
Corruption is so prevalent it affects English language?

When there's too much dirt...

When there's too much dirt...
We need better tools... to cover up mega corruptions.

Prevent bullying now!

Prevent bullying now!
If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist? “Orang boleh pandai setinggi langit, tapi selama ia tidak menulis, ia akan hilang di dalam masyarakat dan dari sejarah.” - Ananta Prameodya Toer (Your intellect may soar to the sky but if you do not write, you will be lost from society and to history.)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

We try to reciprocate but sometimes, unable to

Do you know the reason for noting down the amount of each angpow at a wedding dinner or each 'pak kum' (donation) at a funeral wake?

This record is mainly to remember how much a relative or friend had given before, so that an appropriate or same amount is given at a similar good or sad event. But sometimes, records went missing and details were forgotten, over the years. Sometimes, fortunes changed, and someone who can easily reciprocate before may not be able to do so now. Or the second generations are not in touch and do not value the relationship of the earlier. So it is not always possible to reciprocate despite the best of intentions.

It seems silly to think that the custom of giving has been reduced to strictly monetary transactions. Some feel obliged because of their deemed status, to give a certain sum to save face.

Very often, a rich relative invites and gives lunch or dinner treats to poorer ones, and often did not expect to be reciprocated if the difference in wealth is obvious.

I am all for those philanthropists who do not expect anything in return, just with a hope that the beneficiaries will remember to help others in future.

At funeral wakes, the practice of 'donations' came about in the old days because the bereaved family needed financial support to take care of the funeral arrangements, which included buying a burial plot and erecting a decent tombstone later. Paying last respect had been accorded a very important 'must do' for any relative or friend. But over the years, with children or other relatives living overseas, the rule has been much relaxed. High travelling costs and time (it might take more than a day including transit waits) are important factors to this change. Furthermore, 'soong choong' (Cantonese for being present at the time of death, esp by children and other close relatives), cannot be taken for granted if most children are living overseas.

In the old days, a patriarch or matriarch was said to have had a 'good life' if his or her funeral was well attended, especially in the presence of many children, grandchildren, great granchildren and so on. The more the 'merrier' because when one reached the age of 100, instead of black for mourning, red will be worn to signify celebration of longevity!

Having own house to have funeral wake used to be very important. But these days, because of security and convenience, funeral wakes of very wealthy people are likely to be in a modern funeral parlour with all the necessary facilities.

Where there are successful sons or daughters who are into (delusion of) grandeur, great efforts are made to have expensive cars (with police outriders) to lead the procession. But often, the deceased might be one for such efforts, but during his or her funeral, it depends on his children whether to have a grand sendoff or just a simple one. In life, there are things which cannot be planned and I am reminded of my mother's advice that whether anyone can claim to have had a good life, it is up to others to comment. Not until the last breath, one cannot be sure how one's life will end.

Back to reciprocity. Over a number of years, relationships or friendships change; some die earlier than others; financial conditions change; and so on. It is almost impossible to ensure everything can be reciprocated.

Even relatives, because of different interests and status in life, do not necessarily keep in touch with each other. So it can be quite meaningless to expect anyone who never keep in touch for many years, to make it a point to pay his or her last respect. Where was he when the person was alive and kicking?


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