Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Year 2013: Attitude to live by...

Happy New Year to all. Here's how I end 2012 and start 2013, that is, to list down my fav quotes and try my utter best to live a fraction of them up:-

1) "Feed the elephant; don't weigh the elephant." For me it means to nurture relationship by cherishing and giving and not judging and taking.

2) "I would rather carry a plastic bag with $5000 inside, than to carry a Prada Bag with only $100 inside." For me it means to be contented with what I have as a late philosopher once said, "He forgets that to be without some of things you want is an indispensable part of happiness."

3) "Idleness is not doing nothing. It is being free to do anything." Life's tragedy is to end up being totally free to achieve nothing. So, this 2013, I would like to live life, family and career with a passion and passion is defined best by Einstein under the covers of being a genius. He said this, "Genius is childhood recovered at will." I want to have the curiosity, joy and the effervescent spirit of a child and not the cynical, arrogant and begrudging spirit of an old man. It's never too late to have a happy childhood, so they say.

4) "The only lies for which we are truly punished are those we tell ourselves." I want to be true to myself. Walk my talk and talk my walk. I want to live my life measured more by my deeds and not by words.

5) "All men should strive to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why." Sometimes I feel like I am living a life escaping from one fear or dread to another. I lack courage to face them so I run. But then I recall that courage is not the lack of fear but it's about facing it. One author defines it this way: "Courage is the willingness to act towards a moral or worthwhile goal despite the presence of risk, uncertainty and fear." So, 2013 will be the year I step up to the plate. And whenever my feet wobble and knees buckle, all psyched up to run away, my heart will stand firm and allow God's spirit to whisper these words, "Son, try overcoming it. Let fear run away this time, not you."

6) "In our infinite ignorance, we are all equal." Humility is the operative word for 2013 and beyond. A friend of Socrates once asked the Oracle of Delphi if there is any man wiser than Socrates, and the reply was, "There is none." When Socrates was told about this, he was puzzled. He eventually concluded that what the Oracle meant was that true wisdom consists of knowing one's ignorance. I have learnt that the moment you think you are better than others, someone or something will come along and prove you dead wrong; sometimes even humiliatingly wrong. So, for me, knowledge in servitude is humility but knowledge in attitude is stupidity.   

7) "The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are." Let me end with this: "Every man has a vocation to be someone: but he must understand clearly that in order to fulfill this vocation he can only be one person: himself" (Thomas Merton). Cheers out for 2012!

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

When Christmas first happened...

When Christmas first happened, it was nothing special.
No fanfare, no fireworks. No celebration of any grand measure. 

When Christmas first happened, it was nothing major.
It was probably in the evening when He came in a makeshift manger. 

There was really no big hype about it. 
Just Mary, Joseph and their newborn.
In a nondescript place, they rested their feet.
There, they thanked God with a new song. 

Fast forward the days, the years and all.
Christmas is no longer the same as before. 
Most can't do without the party and turkey. 
As it got more showy, it also got more murky.

It's easy to forget the meaning of Christmas. 
The fun, the booze, the thrills all conspire. 
To keep us from knowing He loved us first. 
That He should rightly be the joy of our desire.

So let's make this Christmas somewhat different.
Make it real, simple and no doubt merry.
Don't stop the fun, toys and celebration.
But spare a thought this season for what He did at Calvary.

So when Christmas first happened, it can happen again. 
We just have to remember that He did not die in vain.
Just as His love is always the same.
For us and only us is the reason He came. 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Cheers.

Thursday, 20 December 2012


Doomsday cult? Predicting the end of days on 21 Dec 2012? (which happens to be this Friday actually). So much for the perky acronym "TGIF"! I guess the church is a lighthouse in the sea of absurdity.

Honestly, if this Friday is my last day on planet earth because some ancient Mayan calendar has run out of paper, then this is my BUCKET list of things to do:-

1) Forgive thy enemies. Currently, I can think of only one. It's that purple dinosaur called Barney. "I forgive you, dude...from the heart."

2) Repent of all transgression. Short of a confessional, this will take a few hours.

3) Honor my parents. Maybe bring them out for a ride on the singapore flyer as we come full circle together.

4) Romancing the wife. Ahh...this is a bit private. It's for me to know and for you best not to know.

5) Enjoy with the family. Gather the children and wife together to talk heart to heart. It will be a time full of hugs and kisses.

6) Give to charity. Just reserve enough for the few days and give the rest to, say, children cancer society. Ain't no earth maggot chomping off my meager material possession.

7) Friendship renewal. Gather a handful of close friends and their spouses on the eve of eve and have a hearty meal.

8) Do a dare. Maybe a bungee or a sky dive or sit through a “Lord of the Ring” movie marathon just for kicks (because god knows I am not exactly a LOTR fan, but after holidaying in Port Dickson last week, I am more of a “Lord of the Ring-git” fan now).

9) Find my muse. I would follow my passion and write something meaningful. Maybe you have always wanted to sing, cut an album, dance, or rap. Just do it. Express it. Complete it. Fulfill it.

10) Finally, this last category is special. It's individual-specific. I call it “Leaving a Legacy”. You fill in your own blank for this. For me, I might put a message in a bottle for what it's worth and throw it into the ocean. The message will read:

"Never do anything out of revenge. Instead do it out of love. It will not guarantee you a long life but at least it will be a meaningful one."

So, come what may, 21 December 2012, I am ready for you (actually I have a few Christmas dinners planned on days after the end of days. So let’s hope that the Mayans are dead wrong).

But wait a minute, stop the mope float. Isn't my BUCKET list applicable to my life now whether the end falls on Friday or not? Why do I need to wait for the imaginary end of the world to fulfill them? Mmm....

I guess this leads to one reflection here as I end: "Why can't we live our life with a sense of urgency without the urgency?"

Cheers and see you on the other side of the apocalyse this Christmas! 

Oops, almost forgot…and have a “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!”

Saturday, 15 December 2012

What I learned from Michael Palmer.

I have a confession to make. When I read about Michael Palmer's resignation yesterday, I felt a waft of self-indignation. I asked myself, almost knee-jerk, "how could he?" Then, almost immediately, I was reminded of what Confucius once said, which I paraphrase here, "When you see an upright man, emulate him. When you see a fallen man, examine your heart." 

As I read more about michael, I begin to identify with him; that is, his follies, his foibles. I guess the only difference between michael and I is opportunity (not to mention his good looks). Because of his wide exposure, he was constantly tested. Even as a Christian, michael fell like many great biblical giants before him. 

Alas, while the father yearns for the prodigal son to return for a banquet, politics and society sent him away with a postcard farewell. I guess the sore reality is that you are only as good as your last fall and nobody really remembers your best score. 

One wise man asked, "Is the chain of marriage so heavy that it requires two, sometimes three, persons to carry it?" I have no doubt that michael loves his wife (an Oxford graduate who gave up her promising law career to take care of their son). So, love is not the issue here. 

I think the greatest wrecker of marriage is not falling out of love. There's nothing ironic about that. The enemy of love is in fact routine. Routine is a silent killer. Like a rooftop sharpshooter, it waits patiently for the headshot and pulls the trigger when one least expects it. 

Routine leads one to take what's important for granted. And this leads to neglect, even inadvertently. It is like sleepwalking off a cliff. When you have awakened, it is usually too late. 

Routine is like an assassin who bid his time and waits for it's fellow accomplice, opportunity, to set the stage for the kill. Without time and opportunity, routine will fail miserably. Given the time and opportunity, it attains a perfect score. 

So, from this unfortunate episode, I've learned to jealously guard my marriage. To treat it like a child, constantly requiring my attention and care. A counselor once said that a marriage is like building an edifice of your love on a daily basis. And when you are so consumed by this love monument, you would have no time for other distractions.

So, this is the ultimate consummation of love: To fall in love, over and over again, for a lifetime and with the same person. Cheers.