Sunday, January 29, 2006


Do you have dreams?

I asked some friends. They asked me what is dream. Dream sounds very remote and unreal. It doesn't belong to our age group.

As years go by, it is getting harder and harder to provide an answer to those philosophical questions such as "what is dream".

Jocelyn was delighted that she was chosen as a school prefect. She had been dreaming for the last three years. With dream, she had the strength to work towards realizing it and bang! There you are.

Howard was delighted that he finally managed to perform better than before in his languages. I have no doubt that his English vocab is stronger than mine now. I also observe a sudden change that he begins to use more idioms in his daily conversation, concise and precise. It actually makes our conversation more lively than before. To better master the languages was one of his dreams.

Did I have my childhood dreams? Like many others, I did. But I didn't have that far-fetch vision. In those years, we lived by day and battled for survival for another day. Vision was not a vocab in our dictionaries. Short term goals helped. Walk a journey, look up, and decide for the next journey. Step by step, we strived for a better life.

How to achieve quantum leap? Education was the best bet. It helped to bring in better income. With money we could do more to improve our quality life and living condition. Money is not everything, but without money it leaves nothing in today's world.

There is always a need to strike a balance - yingyang.

1999, London. One lazy afternoon, I walked into the theatre and watched Mama Mia. It brought me back to the Abba's era in the 1970s. I was still a school boy then and pop music such as Abba's was not tolerable. As years went by, my thinking changed. I became more receptive to the different types of music and culture, including Abba. Mama Mia ended with the song "I have a dream". Somewhat it touched my heart. I asked my Malaysian friend who married a Hong Konger and permanently stayed in London, "Do you have dreams?" She said of course. I recommended her to watch Mama Mia so that she could convert her dreams into reality.

2004, ShuZhou. I met a local teacher cum tour guide who graduated from QingHua University. He briefed that he had made a comparison and concluded that the local had adopted a slower pace than many Singaporean. The local people work, but they also spent time to appreciate life and beauty. Singaporean were the hardworking lot. They traded health with money, the local people traded money with health. Who were happier? No right nor wrong deduction.

In 2005, New Zealand. My pace of life was even slower. 採菊東籬下﹐悠然見南山。風吹草低見牛羊。We adopt a certain life style with a price. Many people dreaming of owning a farm at old age. Some who had realized their dreams decided to give up and returned back to the busy city life style. You choose something that really suits you after experiencing the different aspects of life. No right nor wrong.

You choose your own paths. You choose your dreams. Wishing you a great year ahead.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Lunar New Year

Celebration of Lunar New Year (CNY) can be dated back to the Han’s dynasty, some 2000 years ago in the ancient china. Since then, Chinese have been celebrating their new year on the 1st day of the Lunar Calendar year.

“Lien” was a fierce animal. In order to chase away Lien so that people could enjoy peaceful life in the following year, lion dance and firecrackers were used to scare Lien away. By adopting the similar practices year after year, they have integrated into CNY. History, culture and belief were made.

Do I like CNY? Among the various festivals, CNY is still the most heartfelt one. In our childhood days, new dresses, new shoes, good food and extra pocket money were luxurious items. They only came by once a year, which was CNY. CNY also symbolised grow of a person. Some parents even relaxed their house rules by allowing their children to gamble during CNY.

My father was working in a printing firm. Before CNY, he would bring home some new year cards that were printed by him. Like many others, I would pen down some wishes and gave to the school teachers, wishing them a prosperous year ahead. In P4, my form teacher proudly pulled out all the new year cards that she received. A few of them were pasted on the classroom wall for decoration. The remaining were sent to the dustbins.

What a reality! Somewhat my heart turned sour. The childhood experience had changed my approach towards appreciating the greeting cards since then. Again, history and belief were shaped.

Of course today we are more modern. We send e-cards. The other party deleted it, so what? The pain is less.

Why do I bother to share all these?

Take a deep look at the past and present. Every small little happening around us would make an impact on our future. Knowingly or unknowingly, consciously or subconsciously we shape what we think, what we believe, what we act and what we do to the others based on past influences. Those past influences could be backdated to our very young age. They keep silent in one of the corners of our brains. They will respond aggressively and decisively when circumstances arise.

In simple term, we are made up by our past and controlled by our past! Thinking deeper on it may make us feel depressive.

There is a positive side of it. The brighter side of the analogy is to think of the future.

Our future is made up by what we think, what we believe, what we act and what we do to the others today. Everyone would reach a state of soul searching sometime in life. When the day comes, do a self -cleansing, make a change, and you will be a better person. You can brighten not only yourself, but also the people surrounding you. Your little kind gesture would change other people’s life.

Happy CNY.