Showing posts from February, 2012

Self Help Books - Sign Of Weakness?

Me again :)  I have been reading a lot of self-help books. I never used to do it as I was always of the belief that I was too good/strong-minded to require self-help. I thought it was a sign of weakness.  However, after having read so many self-help books in 2011 and counting, my opinion has changed drastically.  I now realise that self-help books can help me vastly improve myself as a human being. For example, I have learnt many valuable tips on productivity, which has greatly improved my workflow allowing me to have a better work-life balance. If you wish to check out some self-help books, you may consider the popular resource of free ebooks at Project Gutenberg .   I also realise that I was just too stubborn to explore new ideas and thoughts in the past, which is a shame as I may have missed out on a lot of "could have been brilliant" experiences. These days, I keep an open mind on new ideas and thoughts and am eager to experiment with them. Of course, one of my bigges

Take Action Now!

Hiya all I am now back in Beijing in the cold. I was struggling to set up my internet and connect to blogger but phew just managed to do it a minute ago.  Anyway, as you may be aware, I am busy trying to set up an online business.  I am making up things and structures for the business as I go along. Sometimes, I don't really know where I am headed and I get quite dejected. Once, I have cried in frustration.  But I never give up. I have never given up in life, mostly anyway.  This is because I believe that I will become the person I think I will be. Since I think that I will become successful, I am working hard towards that.  Action + Belief = Success  I will hold on to this conviction till I succeed.  If you are dreaming of setting up a home-based business, stop dreaming. Take action now and act on your dream. And believe in yourself. This will lead you to the path of success.  If you have already taken action and you are in the process of setting up a home-based business,

Smarter Than Most

“These fellahin (villagers) are stupid! If you want them to do something, you have to tell them over and over again! Even after you show them a million times what to do, they still forget everything. And when they do something wrong, they don’t tell you until it’s too late!” Dr. Mona pointed at Zaineb as she rattled off her frustrations to me. “Her sister has worked for me for a year and she still makes the stupidest mistakes. I have to scream at her every time she comes!” Dr, Mona then harshly scolded Zaineb, who stood there timidly with her head down, her two hands folded in front of her. She looked like a frightened cat. I had just arrived in Mansoura, a town by the Nile Delta in Egypt. Dr. Mona, the director of an organization, was my counterpart and local contact. She was doing her best to help me settle in, including bringing me Zaineb as my maid. For over an hour that day, she gave me a cultural run-down on how to treat maids. She also translated what I wanted Zain

Sacrilegious Behaviour

“ALL that glitters is not gold. All that is white is not milk. All those who wear saffron clothes are not necessarily sanyasi (a sanyasi is a Hindu monk who guides his followers to the right path).” This ancient Indian saying came to mind when a friend said in anger, “I am so sick of these ultra-religious people!” She had been reading news about religious teachers raping girls and molesting boys in the name of religion. I am reminded of the movie And Never Let Her Go, based on a true story. The protagonist is a rich, prominent lawyer, who is married with four kids. He is religious, confident and arrogant. He manipulates women who love him by getting them to do what he wants, including buying a gun for him, and lying about his whereabouts. He uses everyone, including the governor. He stalks his lover, Alice, when she wanted to break up with him. When his wife is murdered, Alice becomes the prime suspect because of the physical evidence he plants on her. The plot thickens when the murd

Nothing But A Scam?

Many companies are offering lucrative home-based jobs, but are they for real? SEVERAL readers have asked me how reliable the home-based jobs advertised in the newspapers are. One of them related her experience: “I responded to an ad which offered a home-based data entry job with an attractive salary. I could earn RM300-RM500 per week! So I went for the interview and was ‘selected’. “Later the company asked me for registration and documentation fees, which amounted to RM110. They promised to give me the assignment after a week. “After the week passed, I called and was told the job was not available, and that I had to wait another week. I called every week after that, but they kept giving me the same reason. I knew I had been cheated. “I went for another interview with a forex trading company for a data entry job at home. I sat for the ‘training’ to test my mathematical skills. They later tried to convince me to invest in forex trading through their company. “When I asked about the job,

Lost Treasure

Chong Sheau Ching rediscovers an ancient lesson through food and legend.   Photo by Tzer Haw “Kuo Whai fell deeply in love with a beautiful girl in his village. Unfortunately, she was taken into the Emperor’s Palace as one of his 3000 consorts. Once she entered the Palace, not even her own family could ever see her again. The only way Kuo Whai could see her was to become a Palace eunuch. He did, and he toiled for years from a low-level eunuch to one of high position. Eventually, he became the personal eunuch of the girl, who had become the Emperor’s First Consort. Even though he could not have her as his wife, he was content just serving her and watching her enjoying her life. For 20 years, he was her confidante. He lived for her and strove to fulfill her dream of becoming the Empress. He wove webs of deceit and eliminated all her enemies. Justice Bao eventually found him guilty of murder. Before Kuo Whai was beheaded for his crime, he told the new Empress how long h

Wishes For All

Photo by Tzer Haw “The earthquake-tsunami of December 26, 2004 will certainly  shock humanity into remembrance of our beloved Mother Earth’s own agenda, of which our petty human ones are at best merely a fractal - and generate up swellings of compassion, humility, and awe…..  Mother Earth never ceases to awe and astound me with her beauty, her primordial POWER, her absolute compassion and mercy. She could have easily terminated 30 million human lives instead of tens of thousands.” Antares (Kit Leee), the guru of new age thinking in the Klang Valley, wrote in a recent poem.    He has summarized the feelings many of us have experienced since the outbreak of the Asian tsunami tragedy. We are overwhelmed by our sense of helplessness. A friend said it all, “When it is time to go, you just go like this, often, with no warning. We are all part of nature’s cycle of life and death. So remember, do something meaningful for breath you take, love your family and friends and nurtu


"Good morning, Madame!  Aziza here now."  She smiled and her plump cheeks buldged upwards, pushing her old-fashioned, black-rimmed glasses up to her eye­brows.  All covered in a black caftan and long veil, Aziza stood at the door clutching her usual plastic shopping bag containing her work clothes.   She followed me, a sign of respect to her employer, as we climbed the twenty steps to my apart­ment.  When I reached the top, Aziza was still only half-way up.  Panting heavily, she hauled her heavy body up each step with great difficulty.  Her right hand pressed her right thigh as her right leg moved up one step to the next; her left leg moved the same way.  Every time she exerted force with her legs, her fleshy feet squeezed into her little shoes, seeming to want to burst out of them. Sweat seeped through her veil near her temples when she reached the top of the stairs.  Her thick lenses were so foggy that I could not see her eyes.  She removed her glasses, which bridged he

Too much tuition

Why do middle-class parents who did not go to tuition during their own school years now overload their children with tuitions, giving them undue pressures?  Chong Sheau Ching wonders where  do the pressures come from -- our increasingly competitive society, our kiasu attitude, the education system, materialism or teachers? Too much pressure? On the fourth day of PMR this year, a friend called me, “Do you know there are already 60 cases of suicide among PMR students by today?  Don’t pressure your daughter to study too much for her SPM!” The number was shocking, and the information was passed quietly among the parents who have children who will be sitting for SPM in December. Even if this is a rumor, we all know that the truth is not far behind. In the past few months, two top students I know committed suicide, one passed away.  Everyone who knew them was shocked over the incidences. They couldn’t deal with parental pressures to achieve “A’ in all exams, and they were tol

The Peanut Butter Woman

Photo by Tzer Haw I was visiting a poor village near Manila in the Philippines with Mrs Amelia and Gina.  The village was inhabited by several hundred families, all cramped into small, dilapidated, wooden houses.  The local men were mostly labourers and petty traders while the women took care of household chores or helped their hus­bands in odd jobs.             Mrs Amelia was the head of an organization called Giving Hope, which had com­munity projects in the area, and Gina was one of the social workers.  Giving Hope was conducting health and sanitary education for the people.  After a few years, however, they realized that improving the health and sanitary conditions meant helping people out of poverty first.  To do this, Giving Hope Board of Management started income-generation projects.  They decided to help the poorest of the poor women first. The decision was received well by all the staff in the organization, but they could not decide on how to go about it.