Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Threatening Rain



It was windy and rainy outside.

The drain in front of the house was almost full, so was the drain behind.

It had been thundering and raining heavily for almost half an hour.

The thunder roars were deafening and the frequent lightning flashes were blinding.

The sound of rain hitting the roof and the road was getting noisier. And the wind pounding mercilessly on the doors and windows was becoming scarier.

It was a rainstorm and it was here to stay, I sighed.

I was enjoying a Shaolin movie from the TV. I love the whole kungfu stunts and the jokes cracked. It was a story about a dyeing shop owner ill-treating his workers by cutting down their pay, and subsequently beating them up with a bunch of bullies. Of course, the story proceeded with the learning of martial art in Shaolin temple and then the revenge and the happy ending.

I watched uneasily as I was afraid of the lightning strike.

Then there was a blackout.

Immediately I pulled out all the plugs and wires from the wall.

Then came the long sequence of ripping and roaring of thunder sounds, and the huge white flashes of lightning in front of the house.

It was a blackout for 20 minutes, and the living room was dark and cold.

I looked out my front sliding door, contemplating those who were working outdoor this very hour.

It will not be easy to work in the rain, but the work must go on. They need the money and they must get it quickly........ The construction worker must have said the same to himself as he pushed the wheelbarrow passed my house.

The rain subsided half an hour later, probably because of the prayers of the workers and many others.

Then there came a rainbow above the horizon, bringing hope and promise again for the future.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Hot Cool Day



22 April 2010 – There will be a power shutdown in your area from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.

I read with disinterest the printed notice from the local Electric Board distributed around my housing area two days ago. And I totally forgot about it the next day.

I had enough of electrical problems for the past three weeks and I was sick of them.

Walking into an office still under rewiring, every single working day, could be really stressful. I just couldn’t bear it anymore, I told myself everyday. Nothing was ready except for the emergency rendering of a lamp and some fans. And the place was in a mess and smelled badly. The work done was unexpectedly slow. In fact, I had not seen the workers for the past few days.

Every day I had to move into another building to do my work. I know myself – I don’t work efficiently under adverse conditions. And I don’t fancy loitering around all day doing nothing much, except talking, grumbling, complaining or laughing away.

Every morning is a fresh beginning. There will always be plans to think through and carry out, many things of importance to do first, measures and countermeasures to combat the issues, and the dire need for restructuring and reorganizing the whole program. Sitting down talking, laughing and joking just weren’t my style.

Now back to the story.

I had a hot day at work. It was unusually hot and humid and I was sweating all day.

The last school bell had rung and I was with my youngest daughter on our way home.

We had difficulty maneuvering through the traffic jam. There were many vehicles ahead and the students were walking in packs with little regard to others. I shook my head and smiled a sad smile. Oh please, not like this! I had a bad day and I was sweating through.

Reaching home was wonderful. Everything was back to normal until……

Oh no, it was a power shutdown to upgrade a transformer. The housing estate had expanded; more houses and shop lots were built here.

I took a long bath to cool down myself. But I was sweating profusely few minutes after I got out of the bathroom. It was only 1.00 p.m. Good Lord, I have to bear it under 5.00 p.m.

I mopped myself with the wet towel. I tried not to move too much. Then I tried to sleep.

I had a 20-minute nap and I woke up with a sticky back and neck. Uh-oh! It was killing hot.

Now is my turn to loiter around doing nothing, except talking, smiling, laughing, complaining.......

I wondered how many families had fishes in aquariums gasping for breath, I smiled to myself.

Then I heard the neighbors’ children playing in their front porch. They could really withstand the heat.

More vehicles were moving out of the housing area. They could be visiting the supermarket or the cold storage to get away from the heat, I smiled.

It was 5.30 p.m. when they had the power restored. By then, I was having an ice-cream in my mouth.

It had been a hot cool day.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Life Could Be Better



Many years ago, they told me that SWOT analysis could improve my performance and made my life better. I looked at them in disbelief. Nevertheless, I learned the theory and put it into practice in many given situations. It was only years later that I gave it a serious thought on how it could improve my life.

*******

They said I must look into myself to realize my strengths. Only then could I know what I was good at and capable of. I spent time thinking and analyzing. Finally I realized that there were indeed many things that I could do, certain things that I was actually good at, and a few things that I had specialized over the years.

If only I had listed them down earlier and put them into practice, I would have learned, improved and perfected my talents and skills, and had a better life today. As it was, I had much to regret and much to be ashamed of.

Life was a journey of discovery. Some had found out early what they could do. They had done what was required of them ever since, and they were now enjoying the fruits of their labor. Others were indifferent and couldn’t care less about what they knew and did. They had neglected their talents and didn’t realize their full potential, and were now eating their humble pie.

If only we had realized our strengths, life could and would be better.

*******

They said I must look inside me to realize my weaknesses. Only then could I learn my inabilities and disabilities. I spent moments contemplating and reflecting. Eventually I realized that there were indeed many things that I actually didn’t know much, certain things that I had pretended to know all the while, and a few things that I was really very hopeless and downright useless.

If only I had realized my inabilities and disabilities earlier, I would have learned them well from others, or passed them on to those who specialized. Only then could I enjoy a more rewarding life. As it was, I had much to repent and much to amend.

Life was a journey of reflection. Some had reflected and admitted their inabilities and disabilities earlier. They had sought helps from others ever since, and had made headway in their lives. Others continued to make all kinds of excuses, tell all sorts of lies, and commit all types of mistakes, making a mess of their lives.

If only we had reflected on our weaknesses, life could and would be happier.

*******

They said I must keep a lookout for opportunities. Only then could I utilize my talents and skills, and use my full potential. Only then could I keep abreast with the latest developments, stay ahead of the competitions, and maintain the market leadership.

Finally I got out of my nutshell, and had my eyes wide opened to a whole new world. No more self-praising or self-elevating. No more contented with the title “local hero” or “king of the jungle”. No, no. More is to know, more is to explore and more to conquer.

Life was a journey of exploration. It was time to fly and soar up to the sky. It is time to spread the wings and expand the learning, all through the day till nightfall.

If only we had explored our opportunities, life could and would be richer.

*******

They say I must watch out for threats. There were always dangers lurking around the corners, dark places and shadows. They were waiting eagerly, and were ready to pound and crush me anytime, anywhere.

So I learned to avoid dangers, extra careful when facing pitfalls and traps, and always resolved to get away as soon as I could. Yes, yes. I must be careful and make my life safer.

Life was a journey of deliberation. Some had walked carefully and slowly on solid ground, avoiding every risk and danger along the way. Some had carelessly sped through their lives without even a thought.

If only we had deliberated every step we took, life could and would be safer.

*******

And so I had learned,

Life was a journey of learning and change.

Life was a journey of meditation and contemplation.

Life was a journey of exploration and discovery.

Life was a journey of friendship and cooperation.

And life was a journey of realizing what we had and what we didn’t have.

There was still so much to learn.

But one thing I already knew and had already believed,

Yes, yes. Life could be better.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Old Lady



The old lady looked cheerful and contented.

She was a good granny and a good neighbor.

The old lady always smiled and loved to talk about old times.

She loved to giggle and to make others giggled with her.

The old lady looked beautiful with her toothless smiles.

*******

The old lady had problems seeing.

It took her so long to recognize a face.

The old lady had problems hearing.

She had a hard time listening to what people said.

The old lady was speaking louder with every passing day.

*******

The old lady grumbled.

She wanted to see clearly.

The old lady talked to her daughters.

And she grumbled and mumbled every day.

The daughter finally came together.

They agreed to have the cataract removed.

They told the old lady.

The old lady was against the idea.

The operation was not guaranteed.

The daughters soothed, explained and coaxed her.

The old lady eventually gave in.

*******

The old lady was away in the city for a month.

The place was lonely without her.

No one giggled, no one spoke.

The old lady reappeared, calling us from afar.

She could see. She could see clearly!

The old lady giggled; happily smiling and laughing away with her toothless mouth.

We could see the sparkling tears in her eyes.

*******

The old lady continued to tend her garden.

The place looked clean, tidy and beautiful again.

The old lady took good care of her grandchildren.

Shouting and yelling sometimes, to get their attention.

*******

The old lady’s hearing diminished.

Everyone had to speak louder to her.

But the old lady was contented.

She continued to show us her toothless smiles.

And called us from afar with her good eyesight.

********

The old lady had weak knees and legs.

She walked rather slowly now.

But she continued to be a good granny.

And she continued to be a good neighbor.

*******

The old lady did gardening one morning.

She fainted and slipped into the drain.

No one knew….. no one missed her until half an hour later.

One of the grandchildren immediately called his mother through the phone.

The mother went home with a heavy heart.

The old lady was brought to the clinic.

She was okay except for a few bruises.

The old lady returned home.

*******

The old lady stayed inside the house most of the time now.

No more gardening, no more talking outside the gate of the house.

The old lady continued to look through the door grille.

Giggling, smiling, laughing, and greeting her neighbors.

Oh! My dear old lady……

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Walking Dead



I was struck by an article I read yesterday.

And the headline — "Cannot afford to die"

At first, I thought it was about the difficulties of living, how the poor struggles to make ends meet.

I realized later that it was talking about the cost of dying, the charges on funeral services and burial plots.

*******

Living these days is making us nervous.

The cost of living has gone up tremendously.

But salaries have stayed the same.

And we seldom hear about salary reviews anymore.

Houses are getting more expensive.

Fuel hikes have all contributed to the thinning of the wallet.

More and more people depend on public transports.

The cost of groceries and supplies has increased.

The cost of health care and education has risen dramatically.

Even the electric and water charges have gone up.

Many don’t eat out anymore.

Many don’t travel far.

Many have worked double or triple shifts.

Everyone is feeling the pinch.

Everyone is feeling the strain.

Some get less left over every month.

Others struggle to make ends meet.

And that is what they call "civilization",

The cost of living in a modern and competitive world.

*******

Now they are talking about the cost of dying.

I thought when you can’t afford to live, you can afford to die.

Now they are telling us that we can’t just die.

There is also the cost of dying!

The poor and the have-not look up to heaven and cry!

There is now the cost of dying!

Now that is another misery,

The ever piling misery of the walking dead.