Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Same Old Tree



Standing under a familiar old tree in the marketplace of the same old town, touching and examining the many carved words, symbols and picture on the smooth bark of the trunk, many memories flooded into my mind and stirred up emotion inside me.

I was standing in the middle of my home town and looking around.......

I saw the same people wandering around, doing the same businesses, playing the same games, creating the same jokes, speaking in those familiar languages and dialects, living in the same houses, though all had aged, matured and changed.......

I saw more and more vehicles moving on the same roads and bridges, going ever slowly to the same places, but the journeys were still rough, bumpy and narrow, though the roads had been repaired, resurfaced, restriped, and widened many times.......

Looking around and pondering deeply brought me more memories of my childhood, my growing up years, past happenings and accidents.......

The same familiar people started to flash into my mind, each with many wonderful and tragic stories to tell........

The same familiar places pictured inside my head, each with its beautiful tales and legends........

The same familiar roads driving through my mind, each with its many incidents and accidents.........

Entering a familiar coffee shop, sipping the familiar hot coffee, brought me even more memories of old times.......

I had a nice chat with the shopper owner, now that he was old, married and with many children. I looked around the shop and saw familiar people nodding their heads, waving their hands and the usual small talks, jokes and humors......

Without realizing it, I had been in this same old town for 40 years. Many of the same age group were now dead and gone. Some had migrated far and to many places, perhaps never to meet again. Some were still busy chasing after their dream of becoming richer; they had no time for friendship and fellowship. Some had suffered mental disorders and breakdown, gone insane and put into mental hospital. Of course, there were still the few of us who put on shorts and T-shirt, who enjoyed sitting in a coffee shop, talking about old times or nonsense and laughing together.

Wandering in the same wet market and hawker center with my wife and children also brought me nostalgia of younger years. Here was where I had spent my 10 years learning about my family trade. Here I cleaned, trimmed and tidied up vegetables before arranging them nicely and neatly on the stall. Here I learned, practiced and mastered my business senses and skills to make decent and consistent profit for my family. Here I learned the lessons "No pains, no gains", "I rather work than beg for a living", "There is no shame in making an honest living".......

Looking around the stalls, I realized that most of my friends had retired. Many stalls were now taken over by the next generations. The same old friends were still standing or sitting there at the back of the stall, watching, coaching and teaching the children and grandchildren the basics of business: the eye contacts, the manifold gestures and facial expressions, the small talks, the ever present and infectious glowing smiles, the necessary precautions, the wit and quick thinking,....... The list was endless, I smiled to myself. Someone must try to write a book of practical advice and tips on these.

Coming back to the same old trees. More and more big, brown and dried leaves had dropped........

I remembered the street sweeper had swept and collected the dried leaves a day ago.

The big, dried and brown leaves scattered under the tree, each telling many different and common stories about the same old town, the same old roads, the same coffee shop, the same wet market and hawker center.......and the same old tree.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Realize Love



After married for 21 years, I can safely and confidently tell you that love is the realization that we are one!

Love is the practical concerns for one another. It requires effort, dedication and commitment to
  • spread and encourage love
  • intensify and prolong love
  • keep and preserve love
  • cultivate and mature love
  • decorate and adorn love
  • sanctify and purify love
Love is the emotion concerns of one another. It desires sincere, intense and deep feelings and belief to
  • sense and experience love
  • respond and return love
  • fall and stay in love
  • promote and secure love
  • amplify and magnify love
  • deepen and strengthen love
  • save and redeem love
Love is the thoughtful concerns of one another. It determines to
  • honor and respect love
  • enhance and preserve love
  • test and proof love
  • heighten and maintain love
  • connect and unify love
All too often, we take love for granted (sigh!)

It is not just thoughts, or feelings, or practical actions!

It is all those!

It is the understanding that we are one!

It is the feeling that we are one!

It is the doing that we are one!

It is ultimately the realization that we are one!

All too often, we do not analyze love (sigh!)

Are we one with ourselves?

Are we one with our loved one?

Are we one with our family?

Are we one with our relatives?

Are we one with our friends?

Are we one with our neighbors?

How about our colleagues?

How about our visitors?

How about strangers?

How about our enemies?

All too often, we do not measure love (sigh!)

How deep is our love?

How wide is our love?

How sweet is our love?

How strong is our love?

How high is our love?

How big is our love?

How genuine is our love?

How pure is our love?

How true is our love?

How passionate is our love?

How lasting is our love?

When we realize love, we are overwhelmed and humbled about how beautiful, wonderful, joyful, peaceful, hopeful, long-lived, long-suffering, generous, kind,....... is love!

Love is kind, powerful and forgiving.

And we cannot possibly explain love.......

We cannot possibly understand complete love.......

We cannot possibly appreciate complete love.......

We cannot possibly give and share complete love.......

Only the Son of God...

Only the Son of God...

Yeah! Only Him alone!

But we can understand love!

And we can feel love!

And we do give and share love!

.......When we understand true love is the realization that we are one!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Two Oceans Of People



They say there is a red ocean,

An ocean full of strife and conflict.

Everyone is in this ocean,

Everyone is to fight, to compete, and win!

The world is real, merciless and cruel,

Don't daydream and expect too much,

Get ready to fight, to conquer, and to win.

And so the many plots and subplots....

The many schemes and scams....

The many intrigues and controversies....

Strategize, strategize, strategize....

Plan many moves ahead of your opponents,

We are in a competition, and we must win!

If we lose, we die!

We must tackle our enemies every move and twitch,

We must tear them apart and cut them to pieces,

No turning back, no more mercy.......

The survival of the fittest is all that really matters.

And so, many conquer and win and continue to conquer,

And so, many are conquered and lose the war,

They are badly defeated, disgraced....,

And they die and perish.......

They call it the reality of life,

They say that is what sensible and mature people would do,

And so the red ocean is ever covered with blood and bloodshed,

Many people have fallen bankrupt....

Many business foreclosures....

Many take on vengeful and roaring spirits....

Many die unsatisfied, with their many dreams unfulfilled....

Many have developed unhappy relationships....

Many have very broken families....

Many faced failed marriage....

Many have confusing family histories with their illicit and unholy affairs.......

The consequences are very tragic and dramatic.......

Many feel really disgraced and disgusted of the world they live in.......

They go to their dream world......

A place to escape, unwind, relax, reflect...... and rest in peace.

How sad to see and behold the red ocean of people.......where humans become self-centered, distanced from everything and everyone else, fundamentally interested only in their own worlds of conflicts and wars, thus become “individuated individuals”.......

Nothing else seems to matter to them anymore....

And no one else seems to matter to them anymore....

What matters most is only "Conquer! And Win!"

Then someone cries, "Out there there is a blue ocean...."

Many turn their heads around!

They are surprised!

"Everyone does what they want out there...."

"Everyone says what they want out there...."

"Everyone thinks what they want out there...."

Many leave the red ocean and rush to the blue ocean.

"No more dreams...."

"Just sit down, relax and enjoy.... the Blue Ocean"

And so God gives us two oceans.......

We have now two oceans of people.

Which one do you prefer?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Chinese New Year 2010



Chinese New Year 2010 is around the corner.

It is the year of the Tiger.

May the Year of the Tiger brings about a more manageable financial year for us, and a joyous journey through.......

*******

Most Chinese families are getting ready, on a larger or smaller scale.......

Walls and ceilings are painted again with many bright and vibrant colors.......

The gates and fences are recoated.......

The doors and windows too.....

The many bright and soft colors in different rooms, on various walls, shades and corners.......

The surrounding compounds are also cleaned, cleared, rearranged, redecorated with many plants and flowers.......

Gone are those redundant things piled up in the store rooms, stacked up in the kitchen cabinets, hung up in the wardrobes and closets, hidden in the drawers and under the beds........

All of a sudden, most people are made to realize that they have accumulated more trash than a dumpster.

Now the house looks beautiful, clean, and in order.

Time to decorate the front porch......

Big and small lanterns are hung and illuminated........

Then the many colorful and blinking flashlights........

The Chinese New Year cards, posters, "ang pow" packets, banners... with many word of new year greetings and the pictures of tigers and people of all age.......

New flowers and leafy plants are placed in pots and vessels, composed of mostly plastic and cellulose fiber materials, but look very lively and true.......

Now comes the living room.......

So big space and so many creative and innovative ideas.......

Now the children have their discussions, arguments, reasonings.....

Time to leave the children alone.... They know best what to do.....

The fathers and mothers now busy with the kitchen.........the many to-do lists.......

And the many shopping sprees.... the many to-buy lists.......

********

And that is the year of the Tiger.

The Chinese New Year 2010 is around the corner.

May the Year of the Tiger brings us much happiness, good health, and joyful life.