Thursday, January 26, 2017

Year of the Rooster

I have been away for two years. Preoccupation with my work and other things must have stopped me from blogging for so long. Now, I hope to engage in my passion - blogging again.

Two days more and the Chinese will be celebrating Xin Nian or Chinese New Year. This year it will be the Year of the Rooster.

You see, the Chinese will assign one animal out of 12 for each year and the cycle will start again. The animals in order are Rat, Cow, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. As last year was the Year of the Monkey, hence this year it will be the Year of the Rooster according to the order mentioned.

It seems it will be a good year for me who was born in the Year of the Cow. Those who were born in the Year of the Monkey and in the Year of the Dragon will be a good year too. I hope to be happy, healthy and have enough money to spend.

I take this opportunity to wish all Chinese over the world, a very happy and prosperous Xin Nian.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Movie-going Pair

When I was teaching in Jerantut, Pahang I spent most of my evening going to the Tees to watch black and white TV or going to the cinema with Jimmy Ho, my buddy then. There were two cinemas in Jerantut but I can't recall the names right now. Anyway, there would be a movie that attracted both of us in either of movie-screening houses. I used to fetch Jimmy with my Honda C-70 bike (ridden all the way from Penang with my friend, Yong Cheng Suan who is still in Raub) when we wanted to see any movie of our choice.

We liked centre-corner seats and we were given H1 and H2 seats every time I put my hand in to pay for the cinema tickets. The ticket-seller must have recognised the Citizen watch I was wearing then. After the show Jimmy would be in my rented house in Ruby Garden chatting with my housemates Tan Ching Hong, Boo Ching Kee and Simon Ching.

Later Jimmy further his studies in India after obtaining a scholarship to do an engineering course there. Since then I have not heard of Jimmy until my student Shirley Teh told me the he married her cousin and had three children.I hope Jimmy is as pink in health as he was then.

The photo of us is below this post. Look at the bell bottoms of our pants. It was the fashion then. He towered over me in this photo taken 38 years ago.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Reflection on last year's life experiences

For the last one year, I have not been productive in terms of writing posts for readers' perusal. I hope to be able to write more things in 2014 - Year of the Horse.

My preoccupation of last year was to look for ways to live a healthy life. I have learnt of quite a lot of food to avoid and the ones that are of benefit to me. It seems that simple vegetables such as sweet potato leaves, amaranth and 'hong tay chai' or king's vegetables contain goodness for our health. One of these has been picked as '10 top anti-oxidant food'. Sweet potato leaves belong to this group. Hence you should cook more dishes with sweet potato leaves. However, excessive consumption of this vegetable can be too 'cooling' for the elderly and they may suffer from weak knee.

I also engaged myself in the world of languages, learning from Tamil to Japanese. My very purpose is to sharpen my mind and prevent my brains from dementia. Jawi writing also took up some of my time. If you are left-handed, writing Jawi will be very much easier for you.

Applying force on acupuncture points to promote health also interested me  for the last one year. I marvelled at the wisdom of ancient Chinese who had discovered acupuncture.

Being religious, I still listen to dharma talks by monks. I like every talk of  Rev Suvano. The late monk delivered his talk in Hokkien and there are always interesting stories related to Buddhism that he included in his dharma talk.

So much for my reflection on last year's life experinces.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Dong Zhi is here again

Dong Zhi is here today. To the Chinese, it means they will be one year older on this very day. Every we go, especially at the market place, tangyuen or glutinous rice dumplings will be on sale. After savouring tangyuen you are considered to have gain one more year in age.

According to one legend, tangyuen was prepared to signify reunion of family members. The story had it that one day, a father, a mother and a daughter was travelling in the cold looking for food. The mother was too tired to walk anymore and finally she died of exhaustion. In order to pay for her burial, the father was force to sell his daughter to be a slave to a rich man. Before leaving her to her master, the father begged for some porridge to feed her to wake her up from her being unconscious because she fainted owing to fatigue. When she finally came to, the father again went to ask for some glutinous rice balls for her to eat. The filial daughter would not eat it, neither would the father. Hence they broke the rice balls into halves to be shared among them, promising to eat full rice balls when they met again one day.

The next year, the daughter asked her master to make rice balls to be placed on the door outside the house in the hope that her father would see them and came to see her. However, she was disappointed. The following year, she put the rice balls all over the places. The neighbours also do the same to help her find her father. Later eating glutinous rice dumplings became a custom to signify reunion of family members.

So much for the origin of tangyuen.

Happy Dong Zhi to everyone.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri

Today is Hari Raya Aidilfitri, the New Year of all Muslims who fasted a month before this. It is a feat as it is not easy to abstain from food unless you have been doing it every year like the Muslims. As I have said before, fasting is good for health for when our body stops receiving food for a certain period, the organs inside our body will do repair work to all the organs function even better. Detoxification is one of the processes that will take place when we fast.

Before I end this post, I would like to wish once again a very happy 'Hari Raya Aidilfitri' to all Muslims in Malaysia and all over the world.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Something to remember on Wesak Day

Happy Wesak Day to all Buddhists. In today's post, I would like to remind readers of the teachings of Buddha so that we will emulate Him and be good citizens of the world.

Basically, Gautama Buddha who had attained enlightenment or buddhahood told the world the truth about our lives. According to the Buddha, humann beings suffer because of three things, namely avarice, hatred and delusion.

When we are greedy, we are satisfied with what we have and hence crave for more things. Sometimes we resort to stealing, cheating or murdering in order to get what we want. Such act will land us in trouble. We may be caught and put in jail to suffer. Being not contented with what we have already possessed makes us unhappy - an example of suffering.

Hating others will also make us unhappy. Such feeling may lead to insulting others by words, injuring others by weapons and ending the lives of others by some other means. Once again, we suffer because of this feeling or harbouring hatred towards others.

Delusion is the state of not fully understanding the true nature of things. We think that things around us are forever ours. This is not true. Even the water in the glass keeps changing in terms of the movement of molecules within. It becomes less and less as the molecules  gain more energy and change into vapour and escape into the air. Hence we feel very sad when someone dear to us passes away.

To overcome the three evils, we must practise dana or donating things to others to get rid of greed or avarice. If we are willing to part with our money or things so that they go to the needy, we are not greedy anymore. In fact doing dana will reap things many folds in return if it is practised with sincerity and without attachment whatsoever.

As for surmounting the hurdle of hatred, we should practise loving kindness and compasion towards others. According to Buddhism, beings around us might be our relatives sometime in the past when rebirths occur every now and then. Think of the one you hate as your mother, sister or aunt if the person is a female and think of him as your father, brother or uncle. The one you hate is your relative in the past and hence you should forgive him and love him or her stead.

Delusion can only be overcome if we understand the impermanence of things around us. There is nothing that last forever. Hence we should practise detachment. We must not cling to someone as if he or she will be forever ours. We have to say goodbye to our beloved when the time comes and we should attach too much to him or her so that the feeling of loss will bot be so great.

So much for some reminder of the teaching of the Buddha on Wesak Day today.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Kitchen Deity is back today

The Kitchen Deity is back today after having been in the Jade Emperor's Palace for four days reporting the going-on in each household he resides in.

Traditionally the Chinese will welcome the Kitchen Deity back to Earth on the 4th day of the Xin Nian. Offering in the form of fruit and cakes will be display on the altar while praying.

I am of the opinion that it may not be true that the deity will report what goes on in our house to the Jade Emperor. Yet it is a good thing if it is so as it will act as a deterrent for family members to be on guard and do what is right so that no bad things will be reported to the Jade Emperor.

In real life, laws are introduced to keep human beings disciplined and deter crimes. We don't like to spend our lives in jail and be despised by others when we are released from prisons and therefore we will not do anything against the laws to put ourselves at risk of being arrested and sentenced to prison.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Xin Nian Kuai Le or Happy Chinese New Year

I would like to wish the Chinese all over the world a very Happy Chinese New Year or 'xin nian kuai le' today as it is the first day of Xin Nian, the New Year celebrated by the Chinese including me.

On this auspicious, we look forward to a very prosperous year to come. To keep all things unpleasant away, we are forbidden to sweep the floor because as is the belief of the Chinese, rubbish represents 'cai' or money  /property and to get rid of it on this year is to drive away wealth.

Children and adults alike are not supposed to say bad words to one another for the same reason - keeping things unpleasant.

Once again, 'xin nian kuai le' to all the Chinese around the world.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Today is Reunion Dinner Day for the Chinese

Today is the Chinese New Year Eve and as has been practised in the past until now, the family members from where they are will converge for a dinner called 'tuan yuan fan' or Reunion Dinner. The very purpose of this dinner is to get all members of the family together at least once a year. To me, this is a very good practice as we get to hear news from other members of the family and to get over the 'missing you' feeling since we can't meet on normal day. This is because we may not work in the same state.

Parents will give their children 'ya sui qian' in the form of 'angpow' or red packet to be placed under the pillow while sleeping. It is meant to keep the children safe and healthy for the coming year.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Xin Nian is around the corner

I was unable to get into the editor to do my posting for several times. I was lucky today for I managed to come here to do my first post of the year.

The Chinese New Year or Xin Nian is just 7 days away and everywhere at the market places you can see vendor selling Xin Nian decorations and Nian Gao or the the typical glutinous rice dumpling offered to the Kitchen Deity tomorrow the 24th day of the 12th moon according to the lunar calendar. Legend has it that the dumpling is made sweet so that He will only report the good things to the Jade Emperor of the household he resides in. He will return to the Earth on the 4th day of 1st month, that is the 4th day of Xin Nian to reside in every devotee's house.

Human beings are really funny. We only want to hear good things about us and detest the mention of anything back about us. In real life situation, words pleasing to the ear really make others happy and the very utterance of hurt-causing words will send streams of anger and sadness down one's throat. Hence, why not say only good things about others and forget about their bad things whatever they are.

For this Xin Nian, let us start the year by saying good things to brighten up life.