Friday, July 15, 2011

The Grandfather of Change

To be successful, three things:

i. hard work

ii. resourcefulness

iii. stinginess

Always remember that.

Friday, June 17, 2011

This used to be...

my playground.

Well, not this one specifically, but something that is in the same league, perhaps numerous divisions down :-)

About time I, we, started reading for fun again.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

What an elder sees sitting...

the young can't see standing.

The uncle was on his back on the pavement with all four of his limbs somewhat frozen up in the air, his left hand still holding onto his plastic bag.

I thought this couldn't be the first time he has fallen down.

A gentleman rushed over to help him up. The grateful uncle dusted himself and stepped back onto the five foot way with the helping hand, trying to figure out the reason he fell. It was about 1.5 feet from the five foot way to the pavement he fell back on... steep enough to cause problems for some of us.

I parked my car by that pavement and went over to him. I asked him if he was ok. He was still a little shaken.

I dusted his back, as there was some dirt on him.

"Very steep ah, uncle, this step?”

He asked if his elbow was bleeding, as at his old age, he couldn't crane his neck to look. It wasn't.

I asked if he was with someone, and he indicated that someone inside the supermarket was with him.

I went back into my car, thinking how dangerous it was to fall like this, even more so for those of us who are more vulnerable, our elders.

Do help people you come across, especially those who could use our help. There are so many obstacles out there that we need to keep a look out for each other.

God protect us all.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A male gynecologist is like...

an auto mechanic who has never owned a car. ~ Ms. Snow

“It’ll cost you 27,000 ringgit.”

No way!

“But off the record, no receipts, I can do it for 15,000 ringgit. It’ll be as good as the original – in fact, I’ll use original parts for you.”

That’s a saving of 12,000 ringgit I thought. My interest was piqued.

“In the meantime, my advice is don’t drive fast, and certainly don’t take your car out of town. You never know when your gearbox will give in. In fact, you’re putting your life in danger everytime you drive the car.”

That’s the conversation we had at the counter of a service centre belonging to an authorised network of a reputable foreign car manufacturer.

“I’ve already changed for two other customers, who had the same model as you and the same problem. They’re very happy. Why don’t you go back and think about it. But you better be quick – I hope to hear from you within 2 days,” says the service assistant, sending us off with look of deep concern for our safety.

My room-mate’s car was acting up. It jerked and took some time to engage when she changed gears on the automatic transmission. So when we dropped it off for its regular service, we asked the friendly service assistant to make sure he had a look at that problem and ‘sort it out’.

We just didn’t realize that it would cost so much!


We followed up that visit with some research on the internet and true enough, from around the globe buyers of this particular model had complained about its gearbox.

As dusty as it may be, I put on my lawyer’s cap and decided to write a letter of demand to the outlet that sold my precious the car. It demanded an explanation for what we deemed to be a latent defect in the product sold, and at the same time it recorded our utter disappointment in them not responding to our calls for an explanation.

Nearly a month later, a reply came, asking us to have the car checked at an authorised service centre. Funny I thought, an authorised centre is where we went to in the first place.

Anyway, just for fun, we looked for another one which was a bit further away. We told them the background and asked that they do a check on the gearbox. A thorough 160 ringgit check later and we were told that the gearbox was absolutely fine, we just needed to change the gear fluid which was dirty. 120 ringgit it would cost.

I was not angry. I had a feeling that this would be the likely outcome.

I’m just pissed.

Normally, I wouldn’t let something like this go. Unfortunately, the guy who very kindly offered us the 12K discount also has all our personal details, and god knows what more he’s capable of.

Therefore, all I can say is, don’t get cheated!

Don’t commit money, especially huge sums and at the behest of people who say you must do something as soon as possible. Always find out more about matters you’re not sure of, and a good starting point is the internet. Talk to those who may know more. In fact, I told a colleague this story and before I finished he told me it was most probably a fluid problem!

Learn to ask the right questions.

And learn to recognise a conman... :-)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

I'm a Scholar...

Get Me Out of Here!

Scholarships. Where one applies for financial support for one’s education and which usually comes with some sort of a compulsory service bond after successful completion of studies. Once the scholarship is granted, you spend the next 3 to 5 years studying (mostly) ((alrite, when you have the time)).


I once had the privilege of being in the company of some brilliant scholars from various organisations who wanted my legal advice on a matter very dear to (their) heart. The idea was to present to the powers that be that brilliant scholars should not be bound by compulsory service bonds, because the organisations that gave them the scholarships are not in a position to give them jobs that make the best use of their intelligence and capabilities.

Nicely put, but…

“Wasn’t it clear when we signed the scholarship agreement that we would have to serve a bond?”

“Well, we were young then, not yet even 18, and didn’t know that we were signing our lives away.”


“If you want to leave, just repay the amount spent on you, it’s quite easy really.”

“It’s a lot of money; they should let us go and consider it national service.”

Haha! Of course! Getting much sought after scholarships then being let off from the service bond so that one can make much more money elsewhere is national service.

Admittedly, there is a lot left to be desired on how the various organisations make use of these bright talents. But this is certainly not the solution - seeking to run away playing victim is quite pathetic actually. Quite likely they will continue to use the same solution for the rest of their lives when faced with similar situations.


Many high school graduates are now going through some form of scholarship application process, with assessments and interviews to face. At the end of it all, and I’m talking about 4 to 5 years down the road, remember your obligations. If for any reason you don’t want to serve your compulsory service bond, make sure you pay back the scholarship amount. There’s no shame in breaking your bond if you intend to pay it off. If you don’t want to be tied down to any organisation and don’t see yourself paying back the amount spent on you, then don’t take that scholarship which comes with a bond, please.

On the other hand, not getting a scholarship is difficult to accept especially when you feel you fully deserve it. It’s tough, and it takes a big person to accept it, and move on. But there seems to be a certain trend emerging, going somewhat like this:

You feel you deserve a scholarship and you get it – therefore the system works and you laud it.

You feel you deserve a scholarship and you don’t get it – therefore the system doesn’t work and you attack it.

I know I am generalising, but it is a dangerous mindset. I’ll tell you why, using a different setting but conveying the message nevertheless.

I came across once in a business context someone who said that I should do all I can to help his company secure a contract to “help the community”.

Most organisations are in business to make money. If I were to have my own business, that would be my aim as well. I was piqued to ask how is it that helping his company secure that contract translated to helping the community, as the profits would only accrue to his company and eventually line his pockets. The community may need ‘help’, but you are certainly not the conduit. I got an earful from the titled gentleman when I told him I couldn’t do anything to help his outfit.

I have seen many who did not get the scholarship they feel they deserved, or were not successful in getting contracts that some would argue they should get to ‘help’, eventually thrive in whatever it is they do. They are able to go beyond the entitlement mentality – because whether it’s securing a scholarship or making profits, how we go about doing it is a measure of the people we are.

Friday, April 22, 2011


About a year ago, I heard some screaming and shouting from outside my office window. Being on the 17th floor… it got me to look down.

All the way down, I could see it – it was sports day at the school across the road, and the kids were doing the tug-of-war. It seemed like an entire class was battling another…


When it comes to sports where I work, there are numerous games that pit the different business units against each other. Last year, I thought I’d do the easiest event, so that I can finally say I did a sport in the years here. I picked the tug-of-war – well known to be a 'sukan rakyat' or community sport.

The first day of training was intriguing. I was one of the first on the field, and there were four other unfamiliar guys there. They turned out to be military personnel who were to be our trainers, with the sergeant sporting the thick moustache being the head coach.

Training by the military...?

Day two, we had six men, and we had to pull against a tree. We lasted approximately 20 seconds against the tree before we ‘lost’ – one by one we started falling because we couldn’t keep up with a freaking tree that didn’t move! Possibly we were spent because we had to carry the tug-of-war rope that in itself was so heavy it needed three of us to carry it. Sergeant said we needed to move the tree to have any hope of winning...

We had many challenges. It was difficult to get 10 people who actually wanted to be part of the team. It was difficult to get all down to train and it’s no wonder when one drop of rain hitting our window at the office would set off a train of “It’s raining, no training today!”

Because we were quite hopeless at getting together to train, we decided that we’ll work on technique. We were told by sergeant that if we got our technique, and tactics, rights, it don’t matter how big our opponents were – we’d rumble them.

Come competition day, we definitely stood out. We had no uniform, no waist support belts… and we actually looked puny compared to some of the other teams…

Nevertheless, we heaved to wins in our group fixtures, and qualified for the semis. Here our opponents had necks the size of our thighs, and had the looks (think Kamawas in Hikayat Merong Mahawangsa). They were heavier, and so we could only win if we applied our tactics better than them.

Evenly matched, it was a long bout (we had come a long way from the day we lasted 20 seconds against the tree) but we eventually won 2-0 to qualify for the final.

At the final, we were up against the biggest guys. Since we had cut down a team bigger than us already, we were quietly confident that we could cause an upset. Physically they win hands down; but this was going to be about technique and tactic and we were going to use our brains. We’ll need to bring them to a third pull and therefore we needed to tire them out in the first two pulls.

In the best of three bout, the first tug was surprisingly not too exerting for us. We held on staunchly for a bit, before they pulled us over once they got some momentum going.

Never mind. They surely won’t be able to last. We need to stick to our tactics. Hold like crazy, and then hit them on the counter.

At the second pull, our tactics worked – for about 20 seconds before they annihilated us…


Last year, in that school across the road, the class with the bulkier kids prevailed in the end…

The lesson?

Size does matter…!

This weekend is the tournament for 2011. We have been training, sort of. The tree won within 30 seconds of our first battle against it, and training over the past three days was cancelled because of the rain.

However, we’ve learnt our lessons. The boys are bulkier this time. Let’s see if those strategic calories we collectively gathered can be put to some good use... :-)

Monday, April 11, 2011

There is no love sincerer…

than the love of food ~ George Bernard Shaw

If there’s one thing I love about my job, is that it’s capable of throwing up stuff that’s totally unexpected. At times, I have to do things I never imagined I would be paid to do. The adventure, the uncertainty, the adrenaline rush – you simply can’t make it up.

Therefore, when the invite came:

“Can you join the food tasting next Monday?”

My answer was, “Of course!”

You see, we needed a panel of experts to, well, taste the food that was proposed to be served at an event. A table of 10, and I was roped in.

On said day, I was delayed to arrive and the appetizer and soup had been served and the food tasting panel was into the main course.

As I quickly sampled through the appetizer and soup, I didn’t pay attention to the conversation swirling around at that moment.

After I finished the main course of fish and chicken and having caught up with the rest course-wise, I was asked how it was.

“The fish was ok, the chicken was… how shall I say it… leathery.”

There was a stunned silence around the table.

“You probably meant the chicken was gamey?” offered a colleague.

Gamey? Is that a proper adjective for food?

“Yea, gamey…”

“And the fish was bad! All of us, all of us, thought so!”

I looked at the plates around the table. Everyone had fish leftover, a couple had it nearly untouched. I looked at my plate. It was wiped clean.

“Oh… yea, it tasted a bit funny I thought…”

I looked at the form we had to fill up. For each dish we had to comment on taste, texture, look, amongst others. This was more difficult than my corporate finance paper darn it!

Needless to say, I was sacked from the food-tasting committee soon thereafter, having represented my dorm house on the food committee in my college days notwithstanding :-(


A number of months later, when a few people unavoidably dropped out of a food-tasting panel for another function, I was hesitantly roped in to make up the numbers.

The pressure to perform was immense.

Butterflies in my stomach did not help, but a good start always does: “The wantan’s too big; I think it would perhaps be more appropriate for it to be smaller in order for the diner to be able to put the whole piece into the mouth without having to bite a chunk of it and thereafter let the remainder fall into bowl or be engaged in the cutting of the wantan in the bowl of soup”.

Then came the moment of truth, the main course and they looked at me for comment.

“The vegetables look… tired.”

A brief moment of silence.

“Yes I agree! Chef, boiling them doesn’t work, sauté them perhaps,” chirps in a colleague.

In the annals of my comebacks, this ranks at the top of my list, baby!

I sincerely love food, George.


I was told by a food connoisseur that when it comes to food, smell and colour come first before taste. Yes, even with food, love at first sight applies. The first two can and usually do determine your appetite. Good taste may not matter if the smell and colour let the dish down.

Wait, that applies to humans too!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Oh God let me win…

but if I don’t win, let me make the other guy break the Olympic record.

I have a little book in which I write down intriguing quotes I come across. I read something today that I knew instantly should go into that little book.

I’ve been filling up the book for 12 years now, and I have a good collection of quotes in there. Many of the more inspiring and amusing ones come from the world of or related to sports.

I’m sure you’ll agree from the following…


“Don’t count the days, make the days count.”
Mohammad Ali

“I was full of expectations for every single member of the team. Some of them lived up to those expectations, and the others exceeded them.”
Sam Torrence on winning the Golf Writers Trophy for 2002 for Europe’s 15 ½ - 12 ½ triumph over America in the Ryder Cup at the Belfry in September

“To use the old adage, the 31 year old looked capable of starting a fight in an empty room.”
A comment on Roy Keane

“What you achieve in life, echoes in eternity.”
Liverpool banner at the Cardiff Stadium during the Worthington Cup Final on 2 March 2003 where Liverpool beat Manchester United 2-0

“The difference between dreams and accomplishments is purely desire.”
World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)

“Twenty years ago or so, I was walking through Harvard Square in Cambridge Massachusetts, and I walked past a huge poster in a window. The poster looked like a scene from Chariots of Fire, there was a chap in a 20s or 30s running costume, breasting a tape and across the top it had a very American motto. It said ‘Oh God let me win.’ I sympathise. And across the bottom, it said ‘but if I don’t win, let me make the other guy break the Olympic record’.

He did that, didn’t he?”
David Davis, in his speech after losing the election to be Conservative Party leader to David Cameron, December 2005

“I never predict anything, and I never will.”
Paul Gascoigne

“A man who someday no doubt will orchestrate a hostile takeover of hell once he gets there.”
Jim Ross, WWE Announcer, on Vince McMahon, WWE Chairman, at Summer Slam 2006

“That day in March 1996 when you married her in this church, you won the greatest trophy of your life.”
Rev. Jim Frazer to Darren Clarke, European Ryder Cup player, who lost his wife to cancer in August 2006

“If I wanted to have an easy job I would have stayed at FC Porto – beautiful blue chair, the UEFA Champions League trophy, God, and after God, me.”
Jose Mourinho, Chelsea manager

“There’s never been a guy who has more fight in his heart and grit in his soul, he wears scars like badges of honour, he smells like smoke ‘cause he’s been through fire and dammit this is where he’s home and that’s in battle.”
John Bradshaw Layfield on the Undertaker (before his match against Batista) at Wrestlemania 23

“Any Champions League semi-final defeat is a killer but to lose in a penalty shootout is death by a thousand cuts.”
The Sun, after Liverpool beat Chelsea 4-1 on penalties on 1 May 2007 (the tie finished 1-1 on aggregate)

“I want to at least be in a position where I’m able to win.”
Michael Schumacher

“We used to try and prove people wrong – but now we’re proving them right.”
Alex McLeish, Scotland coach, after Scotland beat Ukraine 3-1 at Hampden Park in a Euro 2008 qualifier on 13 October 2007

“I wouldn’t say I was the best manager in the business but I was in the top one.”
Brian Clough, Football Manager (1935-2004) – my personal favourite!

“Occasionally, the train goes past and you must catch it because it will never come back, and that’s true even when it is passing at an inopportune moment.”
Juande Ramos, quoting an old saying, on the night he quit as Sevilla manager for Tottenham Hotspur

“I’m the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be.”
Bret Hart of the WWE

“I was the equivalent of the first man on the Moon. He’s the equivalent of the first on Mars.”
Mark Spitz, winner of 7 gold medals at the 1992 Munich Olympics, on Michael Phelps’ 8 gold medals at Beijing 2008

"He has carried the burden of the nation for 21 years so it's time we carried him on our shoulders."
India batsman Virat Kohli summing up the feelings of a grateful nation, when they hoisted Sachin Tendulkar on to their shoulders and carried him around for a lap of honour at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai after India beat Sri Lanka in the final of the 2011 Cricket World Cup Final

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Class of 2010

My sisters and brothers of the class of 2010,

Be humble

You reap what you sow

In a new place
Remember where you come from
Remember you come in what form

Get familiar with the people
You never know who can help you put up a great show
You never know who can help your dreams grow

Life is delicious
So make it delectable


Be prepared to meet all sorts of people
In all sorts of places

Learn from the experiences of others
Especially when they are willing to share


Surround yourself with inspiring characters
They may just inspire you

When you do
Don’t lose sight of the purpose
Of why you do

Plan and prepare
But be prepared to change and adapt
But still create wealth


Or nobody?

Remember the masks people wear
Remember the masks you wear

Do battle in war
But remember those you protect
And those who protect you

Even to those who can’t see you
Even to those who can’t hear you
They are the ones who could help build the hut of your dreams


Fight for your rights
Fight for what you believe is right

Appreciate the value of others
and the value of yourself

Don't underestimate
what you can learn from others
Don't underestimate
what others can learn from you


Go outside sometimes
And do battle with the elements

Cake yourself in mud!

Go right to the top sometimes
And enjoy the view


But have a map
If you know where you’re going
It’ll be easier to get there
If you know what you’re looking for
It’ll be easier to find


Partake in the simple joys of others
It may make you smile too

(Even if it makes you look like a bat out of a cave)


Practice, many more times

like it really matters

Be prepared
along the way


In more ways than one

Embrace your results
But promise yourself
You will move on quick

It's not too long
It's not too short
a time
It's what you do with time

As time goes by

But always

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

While her loyal sons are marching…

On 18 January 1904, what I call the greatest school in Malaysia was formed with 18 boys.

St. John’s Institution is 107 today.

I enrolled in St. John’s in 1985, starting off in Primary 1, and left in 1995, having completed Secondary 5. Two times I nearly left, once to join a military college for Secondary 1, and then a private college for Secondary 4 and 5. Fate conspired to keep me at St. John's, and become a true-blue Johannian.

St. John’s’ primary and secondary schools are housed in separate buildings. Having stood for such a long time, they are obviously haunted to the core. The primary school has a huge hall that no student must be in alone lest they disturb the mysterious guy who keeps jumping on the trampoline at backstage. The secondary school building, with its imposing red and white facade and finally basking in its rightful status as a listed building, is simply awesome – though haunted as well. All good schools are.

The school holds many memories for me. I spent 11 years of my life there, which is more than a third of my current whole life.

Such was life at St. John’s that one just had to do stuff outside the classroom. A lot of stuff. I was a proud member of the Cadet Corps for my five secondary years. This Cadet Corps is believed to be the first in Malaya, formed in 1915. The pinnacle of my time in the corps was when we trumped our fiercest rivals to get the honour of the best cadet corps in the Klang Valley in 1994. The cadet expo held the next year together with our brothers in the Cadet Band also holds fond memories for we pulled off something major with limited resources and minimum guidance from anyone. I still rank the team I was part of then as one of the most efficient teams I’ve worked in.

Being a member of the prefectorial board was also fun. I will always remember the raids we conducted, to go after friends who smoked and those playing truant. The story of some students jumping onto one bus, and prefects jumping onto the next bus to continue the chase sounded amazing the first time I heard it, and still sounds bizarre today.

There were characters among the teaching staff at St. John’s that we would remember for the rest of our lives. From the man who, always for a good reason, passionately called nearly every student a coconut, to the lady who gave biology a new meaning to 15 year olds with her frankness, we had all kinds.

Of course, we had good neighbours – our sisters at the all-girl Convent Bukit Nanas. There was a lot of exchange going on between the two schools, and it helped keep Jalan Bukit Nanas fresh ;-) A year or so after I left St. John’s, I asked a friend’s sister, a CBNer who was in the year below me, who in my batch was the most talked about Johannian at CBN. She started off by saying, “Definitely not you coz I’ve never heard your name”.

A few years ago, I was a guest at a company annual dinner where the theme was 'back to school'. One of the senior staff lost a game of musical chairs and as punishment had to sing his school anthem. When he took the mic and asked, “Is there any other Johannian in the house!?”, without hesitation I rushed onto the stage to join him to belt out the best school song there is out there.

I have never sung in public again, but the song is superb.

I have a plaque in my office commemorating the school’s centenary in 2004. When another senior member of management entered my room not too long ago, being a Johannian himself, he launched into a friendly tirade about how great we are. The opportunity was too great to miss – I pointed out a colleague who studied at our greatest rivals and together, we attacked him mercilessly.

Yet another time, when hosting a company event with about a thousand attendees, an opportunity came up for me to surreptitiously say that St. John’s was a great school. A surprising number of people cheered at that, of course outnumbered by the friendly booing – but after the event, there was an impromptu gathering of Johannians!

Thousands of boys (and some girls) have walked through the corridors of St. John’s. The legacy of the school lives on in its sons and daughters. Many have gone on to serve and are serving the country with distinction in many fields, and included in this list is Malaysia’s current supremo. From my cohort, many are now successful in their own right, a few we occasionally get to read about in the newspapers and magazines, and I would say a more than average number are stars. A number have passed on, some tragically, and they are remembered.

It’s obvious I’m very proud of my school. There’s something special about being a Johannian, and this feeling of pride seems to grow stronger as we mature. Johannians will always have a special bond with each other, and this transcends the years.

I haven’t stepped foot into St John’s for a fair number of years now. I will visit soon. And this time I will bring my Convent Light Street Penang roommate :-)

Until then, Fide et Labore!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Man in the mirror

One of my all time favourite songs - together with 'Home' by Michael Buble.

Cept I never really knew what the lyrics said.

Well, today, I decided to check it out... and here it is...


I'm gonna make a change
For once in my life
It's gonna feel real good
gonna make a difference, gonna make it right

As I turned up the collar on my favorite winter coat
This wind is blowin' my mind
I see the kids in the street with not enought to eat
Who am I to be blind, pretending not to see their need?

A summer's disregard, a broken bottle top
And one man's soul
They follow each other on the wind ya' know?
'Cause they got nowhere to go, that's why I want you to know

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change

I've been a victim of a selfish kind of love
It's time that I realize
That there are some with no home, not a nickel to loan
Could it be, really me, pretending that they're not alone?

A willow deeply scarred, somebody's broken heart
And a washed out dream
(Washed out dream)
They follow the pattern of the wind ya' see
'Cause they got no place to be that's why I'm starting with me

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make that

I'm starting with the man in the mirror, oh yeah
I'm asking him to change his ways, yeah
(Come on, change)
No message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make the change

You gotta get it right, while you got the time
'Cause when you close your heart
(You can't close your, your mind)
Then you close your mind

With the man in the mirror, oh yeah
(That man, that man, that man)
I'm asking him to change his ways
No message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make the change

I'm gonna make a change
It's gonna feel real good
Come on
Just lift yourself
You know, you've got to stop it yourself

Make that change
(I gotta make that change today, oh)
(Man in the mirror)
You got to, you got to not let yourself, brother oh
Yeah, that man
(Make that change)
(I gotta make that make me then make)
You got, You got to move
Come on, come on
You got to stand up, stand up, stand up
(Make that change)
Stand up and lift yourself, now
(Man in the mirror)
Make that change
(Gonna make that change, come on)
(Man in the mirror)
You know it, you know it, you know it, you know it
Change, make that change.


Yep, it still remains ;-)


Wednesday, January 12, 2011


over the oceans.

On this day last year, I stepped foot on the beautiful islands of Maldives for the first time ever.

As always, trips to faraway places bring sweet memories.

If anyone tells you that the Maldives is amazingly beautiful and breathtaking, its people warm and friendly, its air fresh, its sea blue, that it’s paradise on earth – well I can confirm that it’s true.

If you ask what visitors to Maldives do - you’ve got the concept wrong. In Maldives, one must perfect the art of doing nothing. Yea that’s right. We understood this clearly when we asked that very question a few days in to the guy who runs the resort on the island we were on.


Part of doing nothing includes snorkeling.

Having decided to call it a day of snorkeling, I began climbing up onto the boat. It was at that moment I felt my left contact lens sort of peeling away from my eyeball.

I took off my goggles, and true enough, it had come off, probably because some sea water had come in contact with it and caused it to shrivel.

I looked up the boat, and my three Maldivian snorkeling bodyguards were peering at me with concern.

I couldn’t salvage the contact lens anymore - it was contaminated and couldn’t go back onto my eyeball. Never mind, I thought, I’ve got another pair, before dropping it into the sea.

I continued lumbering up to the deck of the boat, and it wasn’t easy with my flippers and all. At the same time, I could hear some commotion on the deck.

The moment I got on deck, I noticed there were only two people on deck. Where the heck was the other one??

And then I saw the dude. He had dived over the other side of the boat… to save my contact lens!!


If you were young at my time, you would know the Thundercats (come out with the movie already!).

I loved it, although I actually had to go to Wikipedia a couple of years ago to finally understand the storyline.

Anyway, I have this one black t-shirt with the Thundercats logo emblazoned on it.

With a t-shirt like this, you don’t need to say hello. People, men and women regardless which part of the world they come from, can’t help but smile, especially when you’re on an island where you get end-to-end in 7½ minutes. You’re like a shrink cajoling people to go back in their mind to a happy place. And they do…

And when I wore this:
someone wearing this:
said, "Nice t-shirt." I said,"Yours too!"


At the International Airport, while my roommate was checking out the souvenir shop, I was sitting guarding our bags. I couldn’t but overhear the conversation going on between an aunt and her nephew.

"Do you love you mum?"
(I assume he said no, because I wasn’t looking)

"Do you love your dad?"
(I assume he said yes - see conversation that follows)

"You love your dad and not your mum?"

"Do you know that your mum and I, we never saw much of our dad because he was working so hard…"

"You hate your mum because she didn’t get you what you wanted?!"

"I think your mum deserves an apology from you!"

All the while, I was listening, thinking to myself that this aunt was doing a great job putting into perspective the little boy’s misguided hate towards his mum. The boy was crying yes, and the aunt was bringing him on a long guilt trip, but sometimes, kids these days need that. They need reality to slap them real good, kick them real hard, and make them sweat.

And for goodness sake, your mum had brought you on a holiday to the Maldives!!


Maldives though, is under threat of global warming – its beautiful islands could sink beneath the ocean within 100 years. They had a cabinet meeting undersea this one time in October 2009 to highlight the threat of global warming to their nation. I hear they have a youngish cabinet and hopefully they get to the depth of the issue soon.

You see, I would like to go back there one day, and really hope the coconut tree we planted by the beach would not be growing out from the seabed instead…