Rat Race

May 17, 2007

Reading the May-June 2007 issue of Outreach reminds me of something that I asked myself quite some time ago. Why are we here? What are we supposed to do here? What is living?

The second paragraph of the cover page article “Living Simply” goes like this…

Living simply frees up time and energy. Consider how much do you need to buy just to have the job you have. Let’s say you work in an office – you need to have certain clothes, drive a particular car and see the movies with your colleagues. All these things cost money. So you work hard to get the things you need to maintain your job. Quite a vicious circle. But the mental state involved with simplicity lacks the neurotic caring about what others think of us.

There is this book “Many Masters Many Lives” that provides an insight into why we are here. It was written by an American psychiatrist where one of his patients has the ability to recall her past lives when she was under hypnotization. His explaination bears a resemblance to Buddhism where we are born into this world to right the wrong that we have done in the past. In Buddhism, we are bound by our own actions, according to the Law of Karma.

What caught my attention in the above paragraph is the vicious cycle that was mentioned. It is something that I have in my mind and I was thinking if there is any other way besides the cycle?

You see, what is the main reason we go to work? To earn money. But where did a big chunk of the money goes? Car instalment. Petrol. Parking. Toll. Food. Clothes. And where are these things mostly used for? At work. In fact, I think if we are only taking home enough to pay for all these, with a small savings, I think we are doing a really dumb work. I have nothing against working, just that I felt sometimes the employees are being taken advantage of.

You work like a dog, sometimes until late. The company performance improves. The company makes more money every year. Your bosses keep on upgrading his cars. You see luxurius cars in the car park that probably you will need three generations to finish paying and you are still driving that crap that you still have a hard time paying the monthly instalment. But of course the bosses has higher liabities and risk. If anything bad happens to the company, they might be left with nothing. Well, it’s give and take I guess.

Anyway, I wouldn’t want to stay in the rat race for too long though.

*Outreach is a bi-monthly newsletter of the Buddhist Gem Fellowship.

Butterfly Lovers, The Musical

April 15, 2007

Ever heard of the Chinese equivalent of Romeo & Juliet? I watched part of the movie in Astro but didn’t know it is the Chinese version of Romeo & Juliet. It movie was in black & white and it is supposed to be one of the saddest love story.

The storyline is set in China in 265 – 420AD, where a young girl went against tradition and disguised herself as a man in order to obtain education in a school. While she was in school, she fell in love with a fellow schoolmate who was oblivious to her gender and intentions, despite the many hints she dropped for him. The young man eventually knew the truth, but it was too late as she was already on her way to be married to another….

I was in Genting on Friday night for the first show of the Butterfly Lovers, The Musical in Genting International Showroom. It was a marvelous show, and I am glad to add to my limited knowledge of the Chinese legends.

I didn’t know I have watched part of this story in Astro until the part where Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai met while they are on the way to school.

The play started with Zhu Yingtai disguised as a man to fool his father into allowing her to study in the school.

This is the part where Liang Shanbo finally found out that Yingtai’s parents had her marriage arranged.

Liang Shanbo eventually died in office due to depression, and Zhu Yingtai, on the day of her marriage, commited suicide and jumped into the tomb of Liang Shanbo.

According to the story, while on the way to the bridegroom’s house, the boat that they travelled on stopped at Liang Shanbo’s tomb, and couldn’t move any further due to the strong winds and waves. There were also thunder and lightnings. Zhu Yingtai was overcame by sadness and when a thunder striked the tomb, it opened up. Zhu Yingtai then jumped into the tomb. The thunder striked the tomb again and it closed, burying Zhu Yingtai together with Liang Shanbo. It was believed that they reincarnated into a pair of butterflies.

And finally all the casts and backstage staff coming out for a round of applause.

Wasting Your Time at Work

April 12, 2007

Employee wasting time at office is one of the biggest headache faced by the employers. Wasting time at workplace is common, and I believe everyone does that! Checking emails, chatting in the pantry, reading newspaper, etc. Well, it’s inevitable. It’s something that can’t be avoided, because we need a break. The big questions now is how much time do you waste in the office?

With the Internet becoming increasing indispensable, nearly all employees have Internet access, and even a computer idiot know about everything the Internet has got to offer. Updated news. Chats. Emails. Jokes. Entertainment. It’s tempting, but here are some simple ways to make you more productive thanks to Daniel.

By the way, here’s a very interesting video that I found on YouTube. How to waste your time at work and still get paid. Watch, but don’t learn.

Something to ponder…

April 10, 2007

Something to ponder…….. (from forwarded email)

Read on….

Dr. Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi and founder of the M.K.Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence, in his June 9 lecture at the University of Puerto Rico shared the following story:

I was 16 years old and living with my parents at the institute my grandfather had founded 18 miles outside of Durban , South Africa , in the middle of the sugar plantations. We were deep in the country and had no neighbors, so my two sisters and I would always look forward to going to town to visit friends or go to the movies.

One day, my father asked me to drive him to town for an all-day conference, and I jumped at the chance. Since I was going to town, my mother gave me a list of groceries she needed and, since I had all day in town, my father asked me to take care of several pending chores, such as getting the car serviced.

When I dropped my father off that morning, he said, “I will meet you here at 5:00 p.m., and we will go home together.” After hurriedly completing my chores, I went straight to the nearest movie theatre. I got so engrossed in a John Wayne double-feature that I forgot the time. It was 5:30 before I remembered. By the time I ran to the garage and got the car and hurried to where my father was waiting for me, it was almost 6:00.

He anxiously asked me, “Why were you late?”

I was so ashamed of telling him I was watching a John Wayne western movie that I said, “The car wasn’t ready, so I had to wait,” not realizing that he had already called the garage.

When he caught me in the lie, he said: “There’s something wrong in the way I brought you up that didn’t give you the confidence to tell me the truth. In order to figure out where I went wrong with you, I’m going to walk home 18 miles and think about it.”

So, dressed in his suit and dress shoes, he began to walk home in the dark on mostly unpaved, unlit roads.

I couldn’t leave him, so for five-and-a-half hours I drove behind him, watching my father go through this agony for a stupid lie that I uttered. I decided then and there that I was never going to lie again.

I often think about that episode and wonder, if he had punished me the way we punish our children, whether I would have learned a lesson at all. I don’t think so. I would have suffered the punishment and gone on doing the same thing. But this single non-violent action was so powerful that it is still as if it happened yesterday.

That is the power of non-violence.

Real people. Real questions. Real answers. Share what you know.

Losing Small Fortune As Replacement for Disaster

April 9, 2007

When someone starts to blog again after ceasing for a period of time, they will usually starts with sentences like, “I’ve not blog for xxx days because I’m lazy and xxx.” Well, I think I’m just gonna stick with the common. I’ve not been updating my blog for a while now. Partly due to laziness, mostly due to not knowing what and how to write.

Anyway, I feel rather lethargic spiritually today. With no mood to do anything, except being idle. I have to admit it today that I wasted a big chunk of my time at office. (No one from my office read blogs. I mean, I don’t think they even know what a blog is.) What was I doing? Not gonna tell. I did work, just that it takes longer for me to get my work done than usual.

I don’t know why, perhaps it’s the trip to Gohtong Jaya over the weekend. I kinda miss Genting Highlands having used been up there so often for work. I couldn’t remember my last trip there, probably half a year ago? Gohtong Jaya is not even half way up to Genting, but the weather there is cool enough and looking out of the window from our 7th floor apartment, the breeze relaxes my mind, and the green scenery soothes my eyes. I think it’s a break that I have needed all the while. Can you believe it I had a really good night sleep on the cold-hard-carpeted floor?

Looking back at last week, I met with an accident on the way to work! Damn. It was Thursday morning, and probably my mind was not working properly after watching the match between AS Roma and Man Utd. There was a small truck moving really slow with about 6 or 7 cars following behind it. I was no doubt one of the cars.

When we’re moving uphill, I saw the van two cars in front of me turn right into another road, and I though, what the heck, I can’t stand it at this pace. So, I decided to follow the van and make a right turn. I checked the side mirror and it’s clear. I turn the steering and as my car was turning right really slow, out of a sudden, a motorbike appear. He seems to notice that I was trying to turn, and I guess perhaps he wanted to get past me first before letting me turn, he sped up his motorbike.

Initially, I hesitated, but decided to go ahead and turn. And the rest they say is history. That sonofabitch crashed his motorbike into the side of my car and skidded at the junction. Luckily he was alright, except with spots of abrasions on his arms, palms and sholders. I think it’s my fault because I hesitated.

What ridiculous is when he asked for RM500 as compensation. In my mind, I was like, “WTF?” (My jaw nearly touches the ground). I told him it wouldn’t even cost that much if the damage is on my car. Then he lowers it to RM200. And then, some contruction workers working at one of the houses there suggested to bring the motorbike to the workshop and I shall pay for it. I think it’s fair. By the way, the motorcyclist is an Indonesian construction worker. And I believe the damaged on his motorbike will cost him a bomb.

It’s a bomb to me too, but first and foremost, it’s my fault for hesitating while turning. In fact, a guy in a Mercedes stopped and commented in a high tone. He came down from his car for a while to make sure everything is alright and left. Then, a grandma who were outside of her house when the accident happened came over. She said she met with the same accident before. Just repair the motorbike for him and take him to the clinic will do.

The bills?

Motorbike repair – RM230

Medical – RM40 (Receipt on my name. Can claim. Hehe…)

Kenari side mirror – RM120

What a day that was! Looking on the bright side, the chinese has a saying that says “lose small fortune as a replacement for big disaster.” It better is. Haha…

Fancy a decent car?

March 27, 2007

Check this out.

Now you know how much we’ve been ripped off all these while.

The Generation Next Has Arrived

March 13, 2007

At 3 am something this morning, the first of the Generation Next cried out to the world, when everyone is fast asleep, except the expectants.

Planet Shaking Experience

March 7, 2007

It was around 2:15 pm and we are all having a meeting on the 4th floor. It’s actually the fifth level, including the mezzanine floor. I suddenly felt unstable as if I was on a boat. Initially, I thought it was me who is dizzy, but I’m feeling alright. The swaying continued for about 15 seconds and stopped.

I just keep quiet about it because I wasn’t sure what has happened, until my manager ask if we felt the building is swaying. Then everyone was like, “Yeah, it’s moving!!!” Haha… It’s just a very slight swaying, like when you are feeling dizzy. I didn’t really freak out when I realised the tremor as it was just a very mild.

Right away it hit my mind that earthquake must have happened somewhere in Indonesia. So, right after the meeting, I immediately check for news on CNN. I’m totally impressed with CNN. The news was already up, with pictures.

According to CNN, the first earthquake happened at 11:00 am++. One of my colleague felt it then. Being naive, she thought she was feeling unwell and little dizzy. So she went back to her place and rested for a while. Lol… Then when I told her about the earthquake and the aftershock that she realised it was the earthquake. Haha…

This is my first planet shaking (not planet shaker-lah!) experience, and it’s neither nice nor bad. It’s can be quite scary as I’m on the 4th floor when it happens, and just imagine if it’s a real quake. It’s nice in the sense that at least we know how it’s like when the earth is shaking.

We’re so lucky to be just outside the Pacific Ring of Fire.

My heart and my prayers goes to all the victims of this earthquake.

Gong Xi Fa Chai

March 3, 2007

Gong Xi Fa Chai to everyone. My wish is still not too late. The Chinese New Year last a total of 15 days, on which the 15th day is known as Chap Goh Meh. Chap Goh Meh, in Hokkien means 15th night, and it is also the Chinese valentine’s day!

I went back on the Friday the 16th, two days before CNY. Luckily for me, eventhough the traffic is a bit slow on certain areas along the highway, it took me only 3 hours to reach TI. (I’ve been stucked in the highway jam for 5 hours on the way back to KL before.) Just look at the traffic on the highway.

It’s a bit crazy that these should happen on the highway. Aren’t highway meant to ease and shorten our journey? Lol… perhaps it’s time to add more lanes to the North-South highway.

I left my house at around 3:30pm, and reach TI around 6 something. Luckily I have a camera with me in the car, and manage to snap some really beautiful scenery when I was about to reach TI.

It was quite risky as I was driving alone, but the view is too good for me to let it go. The evening view always reminds me of my childhood. When I was younger, I always like to go out and play during the evening time when the atmosphere is just like this.

When I was a kid, CNY is about fun. Doing things that you don’t do on normal days, like gambling, playing firecrackers, sleeping really late, playing whole day. As I grow older, CNY is about gambling, and visiting friends. And at this stage of my life, CNY is all about family. My grandma is getting really old, and CNY is a time bonus to be with my grandma more.

What’s on the telly? Guess… Hahahaha…. some good news on the night of CNY eve. Lol…

I used to be one of the kids running around during CNY, and now my nieces and nephews are taking over the roles. How time flies…

The view from the outside of the house. Been living here for about 20 years. Home sweet home.

Hokkien has the tradition of praying to the God of the Sky on the ninth day of CNY. It is believed that the ninth day is the birthday of the God of the Sky. As usual, everyone will gather at my dad’s shop to pray.

“Infomania” Worse than Marijuana

February 28, 2007

Chances are most of us are on “infomania” that’s worse than being on marijuana, according to BBC News. It never cross my mind that distraction from email and phone calls will lower our IQ. There seems to be no relation at all. All these while, I thought distraction from email and phone calls will only affect our productivity…

‘Infomania’ worse than marijuana

Workers distracted by email and phone calls suffer a fall in IQ more than twice that found in marijuana smokers, new research has claimed. The study for computing firm Hewlett Packard warned of a rise in “infomania”, with people becoming addicted to email and text messages.

Researchers found 62% of people checked work messages at home or on holiday.

The firm said new technology can help productivity, but users must learn to switch computers and phones off.

Losing sleep

The study, carried out at the Institute of Psychiatry, found excessive use of technology reduced workers’ intelligence.

Those distracted by incoming email and phone calls saw a 10-point fall in their IQ – more than twice that found in studies of the impact of smoking marijuana, said researchers.

More than half of the 1,100 respondents said they always responded to an email “immediately” or as soon as possible, with 21% admitting they would interrupt a meeting to do so.

The University of London psychologist who carried out the study, Dr Glenn Wilson, told the Daily Mail that unchecked infomania could reduce workers’ mental sharpness.

Those who are constantly breaking away from tasks to react to email or text messages suffer similar effects on the mind as losing a night’s sleep, he said.

from BBC News