Wednesday, December 29, 2010

For last year's words belong to last year's language...

...and next year's words await another voice ~ T.S. Eliot

I recently attended a meeting and then had lunch with some fine old gentlemen. People who have done much, and achieved much. To put it into context, some of them have contributed so much to nation-building that I cannot imagine doing the same in 7 lifetimes.

And to put it into further context – all that they have done can be jeopardised by a few idiots pointing laser lights onto the faces of our opponents on the football field.


Some serious matters were discussed at the meeting and over lunch, but along the way, some morsels of wisdom – to me at least, to them it’s probably coffee talk - were shared by these mostly mid to late seventies statesmen. It reminded me that nothing beats experience.

On going up the corporate ladder
“There are many ways to go up...”

and looking me directly in the eye…

“… but not all are ethical.”

“My boss set very high standards - even if it was a small amount like 3 ringgit, he would make sure he paid it back if the spending was of a personal nature – because it was the people’s money. But it’s not like that today.”

On local football
When I asked if they had followed the Asean Football Federation Cup final between Malaysia and Indonesia, among the first things said was “It’s painful to hear people talk about us and say ‘don’t behave like them’…”

On coffeehouse chains
“I don’t understand the young people these days, they’re willing to spend RM15 on a mug of coffee. What’s wrong with the RM1.50 ones?”

To which another said, “They’re not being sold coffee; they’re being sold a life-style.”

On recent developments
“I started having this allergy recently. About 20 years ago.”

On youth
“You pamper the young too much. Give them responsibilities!”
(ironically, that was directed at me!)

On Myanmar
“We were brave enough to take risks back then.”

I had strong views against certain things they said, but more of the time I was listening and making mental notes.

A man's age is something impressive, it sums up his life: maturity reached slowly and against many obstacles, illnesses cured, griefs and despairs overcome, and unconscious risks taken; maturity formed through so many desires, hopes, regrets, forgotten things, loves. A man's age represents a fine cargo of experiences and memories. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry


Those who ignore history are bound to repeat it. So, may you remember and be given the strength to not repeat what you should not.

Happy 2011!