Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Try a little kindness* - Glen Campbell

I was at Giant the other day to buy milk. Just one bottle. made my way to the payment counters.

Not my photo - got it from the Foursquare page of Giant USJ

To my dismay, the 'express counters' were not opened and only 3 payment counters were - and all 3 had long lines of people with trolleys full of stuffs. I queued at the shortest one but it would still take a while before it comes to me.

I waited and waited and waited... i tried to look out for some managerial staff so that i could complain and ask them to open at least one 'express counter' for people like me. But none were in sight.

And so i waited. And waited. Some lady in front was taking a long time removing all the items from her trolley (and there were a LOT!!!) and placing them on the counter. And then taking each item and placing them one by one back into her trolley - as she opted not to pay for plastic bags so she was placing each item back in and was probably gonna roll it to her car.

I felt like Judy Hopps in Zootopia waiting for Flash the sloth to give her the info she wanted - the only difference is that i was still waiting in line and it wasn't my turn yet!!!!

Another pic obtained from online without permission...

When it was almost the turn of the lady in front of me, she turned to me and asked if I would want to go first! It really took me by surprised - i stammered 'Well... erm... yeah... if you don't mind...I only have one item'. She smiled back at me. Her elderly parents must have been thinking that she was out of her mind!!!!

When it came to her turn, i stepped forward and paid for the milk. And then i was off, saying 'thank you' again for the millionth time.

Now why would she want to do that? What benefit will she get from doing that? Nothing! The benefit was all mine! The only benefit she can get is that satisfaction of knowing that she did something kind to a random stranger and really brightened up his day - and i hope she will meet more people like herself. In a world where people appear to be more self-centered and selfish, I am reminded that there are still those who are selfless - and i hope this motivates me more to be like that too.

Such a simple act of kindness - can you imagine what kind of a world we would live in if all of us did one simple act of kindness? It will cause others to do the same - and that would cause even more to do the same. And it will go on and on and on and on - for kindness will surely result in more kindness.

*One of our favourite songs in Sunday School back then!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Monkey* - George Michael

Little Gemma turned one recently. On my suggestion, we got a monkey themed cake for her when we were back at Ipoh to celebrate it with her maternal grandparents.

Why monkey? Well, she was born in the year of the Monkey according to the Chinese calendar. But it's not a very nice thing to say of your child? That she's like a monkey???

It's all in good humour and the wife and her parents did not seem to mind.

She is after all trying to climb all over the place. When i carry her, she would try to climb over my shoulders! She's one active one - and fearless one!

This little monkey have brought so much joy into our lives. She has also caused us to aged much!!! We are thankful to God that despite the little mishaps and scare (see here for example), she made it to her first birthday, full of energy, in good health and spirits. A milestone for all of us - and the first of many more to come!

May God continue to grant us the strength and patience and love to bring this little monkey up in a way that will please Him. Like her name suggests (and as the Dave Bryant song goes), may she be like 'a precious stone, crystal clear and finely honed' - so that the life of Jesus may shine through her and give the glory back to him.

*His 6th solo single reaching no. 1 in the US (the 4th from his Faith album)! It was also his first dance no. 1.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Save the best for last* - Vanessa Williams

One of the things i look forward during Chinese New Year is the 'yee sarng' - or literally translated, raw fish. Apparently it is created in Malaysia and is now something that one has to eat during a CNY meal!

It is basically a colourful dish mixed with some raw fish together with plum sauce (to overcome the fishy taste, i guess). The key thing for this is the name itself which in chinese sounds like 'increase in abundance' - that is something the superstitious would like to happen in the new year. The Chinese eat a lot of food at this time more for the name of the dish/food.

I had it 6 time this year. All very different. One even had raisins in it!

The first time, during our reunion meal

The 4th time. And the 3rd time at Ipoh.

The best one this year was the one we ate on the last day of CNY. I guessed we saved the best for last? It was home made by my sis-in-law.

What we really liked about this is that it uses fresh ingredients - vege and fruits! Carrots, cucumber, dragon-fruit, mangoes! It tasted so refreshing!

Well, no more until next year!

*Some consider this as her signature song. Certainly one of her better ones!

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

When you say nothing at all* - Alison Krauss

Queen Elizabeth II: It doesn't feel right, as Head of State, to do nothing.

Queen Mary: It is exactly right.

Queen Elizabeth II: Is it? But surely doing nothing is no job at all?

Queen Mary: To do nothing is the hardest job of all. And it will take every ounce of energy that you have. To be impartial is not natural, not human. People will always want you to smile or agree or frown. And the minute you do, you will have declared a position. A point of view. And that is the one thing as sovereign that you are not entitled to do. The less you do, the less you say or agree or smile...

Queen Elizabeth II: Or think? Or feel? Or breathe? Or exist?

Queen Mary: The better.

(Taken from Season 1 Episode 4, The Crown)

*Her version of this song which was released in 1995 before the more popular(?) remake by Ronan Keating was released in 1999.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Only wanna be with you* - Hootie & The Blowfish

So Chinese New Year came and went. It was pretty good!

It wasn't what i had hoped it would be! But it was good!

I was hoping to be able to catch up on the TV series that I have been wanting to watch - or even do a binge on the entire season 1 of The Crown. That seemed pretty possible when we checked into the staycation apartment and found out we could watch Netflix there! On a 60 inch HD TV!!! The missus managed to catch a few episodes but i only watched some bits and pieces only.

In the end, i did very little watching TV - as my daughter wanted me to be with her all the time. Or rather, she wanted to be with me all the time. After all, it has bee n a long time since i did not have to go to work and she did not have to go to school!

Even when we got back to Ipoh, the situation did not change! I expected her to stick with her grandmother (who was ever willing to spoil her her to bits and give in the every single requests of hers) but surprise, surprise, it was 'daddy, daddy...' all the time too.

So that's how i spent most of the CNY - watching Ben & Holly with her, doing her workbook with her, reading with her.

To be honest, there were times when it was tiring and i just wanted to spend some time or do 'adult' things, not kiddies stuffs. But i know that there'll be a day when she wouldn't want to be with me anymore (or even embarrassed to be with me?) - so i better enjoy it while i still can!

And enjoy it i did!

*Their signature (arguably) song which hit the charts successfully in 1995

Monday, 6 February 2017

Because of you* - Kelly Clarkson

This was the interview Federer gave after winning his 18th Grand Slam recently:-

In an older post some years ago, i share about how i felt sad for Federer that there is someone like Nadal around. I thought that if Nadal wasn't around, Federer could have been even more successful than he is now. You can read that post here.

But this two lines from the interview above showed that Federer had a more positive outlook at things (at around 4:05 onwards):-

"As much as he has hurt me and hurt my career sometimes, I still always respect and enjoy the match-ups with him. You know it has not been easy, and i think he made me a tougher and better player over the years, so without him, I wouldn't maybe be here tonight..."

He can be very bitter about things but he instead looked at the glass as half full. And this is a good lesson for me too. There have been people who have hurt me before - and some still do. But these people - although unintentionally - actually made me into who i am today. Some have actually made me tougher, some have actually made me better.

God sometimes put difficult people in our lives to make us better.

*She said that she wrote the song when she was 16 years old as a means of coping with her parents' divorce. It was released in 2005 when i was in the UK and it brings back memories of those good times there.

Monday, 30 January 2017

The best* - Bonnie Tyler

I never thought I'd ever see Roger Federer win any more Grand Slams. Not with the younger people like Djokovic around these days.

But never say never! Roger Federer defied odds and injuries and won his 18th Grand Slam yesterday in Australia!!!

World no. 1 Andy Murray and former no. 1 Djokovic were sent packing earlier and it paved the way for a mouth-watering final of Federer and Nadal!!! Something that many never thought they would get to see again - the two of them battling it out in the finals of a Grand Slam.

Even then, i have had too many heart-aches to give Federer much hope. But something inside still thought there may be a slim chance. After all, Federer had an extra day of rest.

I was out of town and could not watch the match live. Even if i could, i'm not sure if i would have watched it! I can't remember when  last watched anything live - and seeing the team/person i supported win!

When i checked the scores, Federer was leading 2-1!!! I then followed the live scores update - and sure enough, Federer lost the 4th game! It had to go to the deciding 5th set! And Federer - for all his skills and flair, in my view is not a person who has the physical strength to compete with the younger men in the 5th set.

But he did!!!!!

Well done, Roger! Form is temporary, class is permanent!

And he showed his class in the interview afterward when he said "Tennis is a tough sport. There are no draws. If there were I would have been happy to accept one tonight and share it with Rafa".

But I am glad he won! He is truly the best player that tennis has seen! Perhaps he should now retire while he is still playing well! Or shall he try for 19?

*This song was released in 1988 but the cover version by Tina Turner the following year performed better.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Have a nice day* - Bon Jovi

Met a gentleman yesterday morning at the lift lobby - and I do not mean gentlemen in the generic sense. He was dressed very well and carried himself well. I didn't really notice him and was looking on the floor when he wished me a good morning.

The lift then came and of course he gestured to let me in first. When his floor came, he said 'Have a nice day' to me before exiting.

As he did so, I saw from his backpack that he was from the Ministry of Higher Education. He was a guest but he sure made me feel welcomed! Such a pleasant encounter.

If only we were more like that. If only I was more like that...

A friend commented that this gentlemen is a rare species. That is true - but also so sad. How difficult is it to just say 'Have a nice day' to another human being?

*The first single from their album of the same name

Thursday, 26 January 2017

To sir with love* - The cast of Glee

This was reported in the University of Essex webpage yesterday:-

It is with great sadness that we have learnt of the death of human rights pioneer Professor Sir Nigel Rodley KBE, who has died at the age of 75.  
Sir Nigel was one of the founding fathers of the University of Essex Human Rights Centre, a generous colleague and a wonderful friend. He leaves his mark all over international human rights law and institutions, in particular at the United Nations. 
He dedicated most of his life to combating torture and other serious human rights violations and was a beacon of hope to victims of such atrocities. He will be greatly missed by colleagues at Essex, those around the world who have worked with him and by the many students he has inspired over the years.

Pic taken from the Uni of Essex webpage

Sir Rodley was my lecturer. He was my supervisor for my dissertation. He was a wonderful person.The world has lost a great man. The world is a better place today because of the work that this man did when he was alive.

He was such a great and well respected person and he has done so much to improve the respect and fulfillment of human rights around the world, and at the same time, he was always so humble, always so friendly. The meetings I had with him were usually short and I regretted not taking the opportunity to ask him more of the work he had done and the horrible violations of human rights that he had come across.

During lectures, he was always ready to make jokes and laugh but when he starts to talk about how human rights were being violated and breached, you could see the seriousness in him and the heart he had to defend and protect those rights.

If I had met him without knowing anything about him, I wouldn't guess what he had done. But I found out what he did - and was so impressed and inspired. I am a better person today because of him.

Thank you, Sir!

*Their version of this classic song which was sung in season 1

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Baby it's cold outside* - Vanessa Williams & Bobby Caldwell

It's Chinese New Year this weekend!!!! Besides the usual pineapple tarts and dried meat and Mandarin oranges, we will be expecting super hot weather! But will the expectations be fulfilled?

It has been raining daily. Yesterday, it rained from morning and it was basically showers all day long. It felt like London!

It looked like gloomy London too, this morning!

I went for walk in the rain the other day - i didn't know it was raining when i left my office and when i got down, i was too lazy to go back up to fetch my brolly. So into the rain i went - and i quite enjoyed it!!! I used to love doing that and it brought back memories of my days in the UK and in London!

Autumn in London
It has been a while since i've done that - and it is probably wise too as i'm not that young anymore!!!! I immediately felt like falling sick that night itself. Being stuck in the traffic jam for a while in an air-conditioned car while being soaked to the skin didn't help. Thank God that the thousands of miligrammes of vitamin C i took helped!

But i digress. Back to this morning - even the temperature feels like late spring/early summer in London!

According to the weather forecast, it's gonna be like this for the weekend too!

Well, i for one am not complaining. The hot weather during CNY is not something i look forward to but something i put up with. I hope the weather forecast will prove to be accurate (am i asking for too much?).

Hot or cold, have a great Chinese New Year/Spring Festival celebrations!!!

*I like this version of hers which can be found in her equally brilliant Christmas album.