Monday, September 29, 2008
On the Thursday evening of 25 September 2008 I sat motionless in front of the television in my Medan residence and watched the live telecast by CCTV9 of the launching of the Shenzhou7 spacecraft carrying 3 Chinese astronauts or taikonauts, namely Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng, all of 42 years old. The spaceship was sent into its designated orbit by the Long-March II-F rocket. The count down of 10 for the blast off from the launch pad at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in China’s Gansu Province took place exactly at 9.10pm Beijing time.
The historical spacewalk successfully performed by Zhai Zhigang was witnessed by the world as it was broadcast live on television. He slipped out of the orbital module of Shenzhou7 at about 4.43pm Beijing time on 27 September 2008. Accordingly, it lasted about 20 minutes on that Saturday afternoon.
The spacecraft circled the earth 46 laps and the 3 Chinese taikonauts returned to earth after 68-hour mission, and landed in Inner Mongolia at 5.38pm on 28 September 2008. The safe return on Sunday afternoon thus concluded the successful China’s first-ever spacewalk mission.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
When the son came back, the mother immediately ate the food without a word. She stared at him. The son took a taste on his mother's food and spitted out immediately.
He ranted at his wife, “Didn't I tell you that my mother cannot take too salty food?!"
The wife shouted,"OK! She's your mum! You cook for her in future!" After saying that, she stormed into their room angrily.
Feeling helpless, the son told the mother, “Mum, don't eat this anymore. I will cook you a bowl of noodles."
The mother said, “Son, you have something to tell me? Don't keep everything to yourself."
Son: “Mum, I am going to get promoted soon and my upcoming working schedule will be very, very tight...and as for my wife...ummm...she says she will be going out to work.."
The mother understood what he meant and said in a begging manner, "Son, please don't send me to the Old Folks' Home.”
The son remained silent and tried to think of a good reason to persuade her mother. Then he said, "There is nothing wrong with the Old Folks' Home. Once my wife has gone out to work, no one will serve you as well as the Home which provides you meals and care. It would definitely much better than being at home."
The son went for a bath after that and went into the Study Room. He looked out from the windows and thought back and hesitated for a while. His mother has been remaining as a widow since she was young with him, and brought him up painstakingl and solely by herself.
She tried all means to earn as much as she could, in order to support him in studying overseas. Yet she expected nothing nor used her past painful experience to threaten his son to be filial.
While now, his wife is threatening him with the stake of their marriage. "Should I send my Mum to the Home?" He asked himself.
"The only person who will accompany you till the end of your life would be your wife.” said a friend before.
"Your mother is in old age now, and if she's lucky, she might be able to live for a few more years longer. Why not be filial to her for this period of time?” reminded by some relatives.
He was stuck in a dilemma. He did not want to think anymore, in order not to affect his decision. The son found a Home with high standards, built on a beautiful and tranquil mountain top. He told himself that he would feel much better even he had to spend more money.
When the son helped his mother into the lobby of the Home, the 42" TV was turned on. The programme shown on screen was a comedy. But no one was laughing.
A few old folks, dressed similarly in clothing, were sitting there, in a daze. There was one who was sitting improperly on a sofa. There was one who was bending down to pick up a piece of biscuit from the floor. There was one who was talking to himself.
The son knew that his mother preferred sunlight, so he chose a room with ample sun rays shining into the room. By viewing out from the room, there was a big piece of greenery scene. Few nurses were wheeling some old folks out for some fresh air.
It was so pathetic of silence in the background. The sun would still need to set down. Soon it was dusk. The son told the mother, “Mum, I am leaving." The mother waved to him to say goodbye, opening her toothless mouth.
He turned back to look at his mother. She was full of grey hair and wrinkled skin with deep set eyes. He found that she was really old. He remembered when he was six, due to some circumstances, his mother could not bring him along with her thus temporarily placed him at a relative's home for few days. He recalled hugging his mother's thigh and begged her not to leave him alone. In the end, his mother never left him alone and decided to stay with him.
He stopped thinking and left. When he returned home, his wife and his mother-in-law were busy discarding things from his mother's room, happily. One of the discarded items was his tall trophy which he won as First Prize when he was young. He wrote an essay on "MY MOTHER".
The second item discarded was a dictionary. That was the first gift from his mother, who scrimped and saved for a month in order to buy for him.
He shouted, “Enough! Stop discarding anymore!" His mother-in-law cried, “There were so much rubbish. If don't discard, there would not be any place for my stuff.”
His wife continued,"Yeah! Need to dump away that old, stinky bed of your mum too. We will buy a new bed for my mum later," He saw some pictures from the stack. They were taken at a zoo and amusement park when his mother brought him there.
"These are precious belongings of my Mum! You can't discard them!"
"What sort of attitude is this? I demand you to apologize to my Mum NOW!" ranted the wife.
The husband said, “When I got married with you, that showed that I will love your Mum too. But why can't you do the same too?"
He went back to the Home and saw his mother weeping in between her frail legs. She was missing the moments when her son would apply ointment for her every night. The son kneeled before her and said, “Mum, here I come. I brought the ointment too."
The mother said, "I will apply it myself, Son! You still need to work tomorrow. Go home, Son!"
Son said, “Mum, please forgive me! Let's go home!"
Hope this is inspirational and touching to you.
Without our parents, we won't be here.
No parents will resort to harm their own children.
They only want the benefits for them.
For Daughters & Sons: Please remember to return gratitude to your dads and mums.
For Daughter-In-Laws & Sons-In-Laws: Please love your in laws as you did to your parents, coz without them, you will not find your partners. They are parents too.
In Proverbs 1:8-9:
Listen, my son, to your father’s instructions and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.
In Proverbs 23:22:
Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.
In Proverbs 23:24-25
The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him.
May your father and mother be glad; may she who gave you birth rejoice!
Monday, September 22, 2008
Are you doing justice to your company, your work, yourself, your family?
Heart Disease is one of the most common diseases afflicting today's executives. Caused by Excessive stress, Smoking, High calorie diet, Sedentary lifestyle, this disease is the no 1 killer of today's executives.
Only you can do something about it ! After all, it’s your life, it’s your family!
You can start with a simple step. TODAY.
Take a brisk walk for 20 minutes per day, Everyday.
IN SHORT, WE CALL IT ‘CHALE CHALO’
For over 40 years now, studies have shown walking to be the best form of exercise that people of all ages can do.
• WALKING AND CHOLESTROL – Regular walking can increase the levels of good cholesterol.
• WALKING AND SMOKING – Regular walking is a positive habit to replace smoking with.
• WALKING AND BLOOD PRESSURE - Regular walking makes the heart work more efficiently and improves blood circulation. Blood vessels become more elastic and the amount of oxygen delivered to the tissues increases.
• WALKING AND FITNESS - Regular brisk walking improves muscle tone, makes your heart stronger and gives you that bite of fitness. Do it regularly for 20 minutes every day and enjoy that feeling of fitness from within.
• WALKING AND STRESS – Walking is one easy way to deal with tension, anxiety and stress. Studies show that people who exercise regularly can cope better with stresses of life. Researchers in USA found a 14% average drop in anxiety levels in regular brisk walkers. Walking recharges our batteries after tension and stress have drained them of power and energy.
WALKING IS SIMPLEST, CHEAPEST & EASIEST.
IT’S EFFECTIVE & SAFE - Reduces Stress, Strengthens the heart, Strengthens the muscles, Improves blood circulation, Helps quit smoking, Massages the legs, Reduces cholesterol.
IT STRENGTHENS YOUR HEART & YOUR HEALTH BY WALKING 20 MINUTES BRISKLY EVERY DAY. BUILD IT IN YOUR DAILY ROUTINE.
Yes. You will start ‘Chale Chalo’ from today onwards!
What about your friends?
Pass on this message to your loved ones and let them know how much you love them as you wish them to STAY HEALTHY.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
The scenes created by the Games organizers, starting with a shower of 600,000 red leaves, followed by a lawn dotted with 360,000 flowers, then with a collection of 100,000 post cards, and later a mute dialogue between a girl and a flame, were so stunning, picturesque, and exciting. The performances were outstanding, brilliant and more than spectacular. China and the Chinese people can proudly say that “Two Games, Equal Splendor.”
I come to understand that the Paralympic Games exemplified the concepts of "Transcendence, Integration and Equality". It was reported that there were more than 4,000 Paralympic athletes from 147 countries and regions participated and competed in the games. They had shown the world with remarkable accomplishments that 279 World records and 339 Paralympic records had been broken despite of their disabilities and physically handicapped. They could only achieve such an extraordinary and notable results with days of training and hard work. More important of all, they had acquired the positive attitude toward their lives. Beside self-reliance, they might have gained self-confidence and self-respect as they improved themselves day by day in preparation for the games.
As I watched the Paralympic flame being extinguished marking the perfect ending of the 2008 Paralympics, I felt that it was so successfully held in Beijing that it had touched and moved the whole world.
The simple “One World, One Dream” slogan tells it all. We, mankind, belong to this world and we share the same dream to promote world peace and harmony.
Let our athletes compete in Olympic & Paralympic Games, but our world leaders should try their best to avoid wars. Isn't this the true spirit of Olympics & Paralympics?
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I come to understand that the Paralympics are elite sport events specially held for the athletes from 6 different disability groups. The emphasis is more on their achievement rather than their disability. That’s great and marvelous!
For China and the Chinese people, they want to show and tell the world that “Two Games, Equal Splendor”. In fact, both Opening Ceremonies were spectacular and more than spectacular!
The “One World, One Dream” slogan tells it all. It's just simple and meaningful in expressions. We belong to the same world and we share the same dreams!
I am inspired by the speech of Mr. Tony Blair, ex-Prime Minister of United Kingdom, made on August 26, 2008, talking on China and Beijing Olympics 2008. I wish to share his excellent speech with you, my friends, so that we have a deeper view of how one prominent ex-World leader looks at Modern China and how impressed he is by the successful Summer Olympic Games held in Beijing.
Here is the full taxt of Mr. Tony Blair's speech (August 26, 2008):
The Beijing Olympic Games were a powerful spectacle, stunning in sight and sound. But the moment that made the biggest impression on me came during an informal visit just before the Games to one of the new Chinese Internet companies, and in conversation with some of the younger Chinese entrepreneurs.
These people, men and women, were smart, sharp, forthright, and unafraid to express their views about China and its future. Above all, there was a confidence, optimism, a lack of the cynical, and a presence of the spirit of get up and go, that reminded me greatly of the U.S. at its best and any country on its way forward.
These people weren't living in fear, but looking forward in hope. And for all the millions still in poverty in China, for all the sweep of issues -- political, social and economic -- still to be addressed, that was the spirit of China during this festival of sport, and that is the spirit that will define its future.
During my 10 years as British leader, I could see the accelerating pace of China's continued emergence as a major power. I gave speeches about China, I understood it analytically. But I did not feel it emotionally and therefore did not fully understand it politically.
Since leaving office I have visited four times and will shortly return again. People ask what is the legacy of these Olympics for China? It is that they mark a new epoch – an opening up of China that can never be reversed. It also means that ignorance and fear of China will steadily decline as the reality of modern China becomes more apparent.
Power and influence is shifting to the East. In time will come India, too. Some see all this as a threat. I see it as an enormous opportunity. But we have to exercise a lot of imagination and eliminate any vestiges of historic arrogance.
The volunteer force that staged the Games was interested, friendly and helpful. The whole feel of the city was a world away from the China I remember on my first visit 20 years ago. And the people are proud, really and honestly proud, of their country and its progress. No sensible Chinese person -- including the country's leadership --doubts there remain issues of human rights and political and religious freedom to be resolved. But neither do the sensible people -- including the most Western-orientated Chinese -- doubt the huge change, for the better, there has been.
China is on a journey. It is moving forward quickly. But it knows perfectly well the journey is not complete. Observers should illuminate the distance to go, by all means, but recognize the distance traveled. The Chinese leadership is understandably preoccupied with internal development. Beijing and Shanghai no more paint for you the complete picture of China than New York and Washington do of the U.S. Understanding the internal challenge is fundamental to understanding China, its politics and its psyche.
We in Europe have roughly 5% of our population employed in agriculture. China has almost 60%. Over the coming years it will seek to move hundreds of millions of its people from a rural to an urban economy. Of course India will seek to do the same, and the scale of this transformation will create huge challenges and opportunities in the economy, the environment and politically.
For China, this economic and social transformation has to come with political stability. It is in all our interests that it does. The policy of One China is not a piece of indulgent nationalism. It is an existential issue if China is to hold together in a peaceful and stable manner as it modernizes. This is why Tibet is not simply a religious issue for China but a profoundly political one – Tibet being roughly a quarter of China's land mass albeit with a small population. So we should continue to engage in a dialogue over the issues that rightly concern people, but we should conduct it with at least some sensitivity to the way China sees them. This means that the West needs a strong partnership with China, one that goes deep, not just economically but politically and culturally.
The truth is that nothing in the 21st century will work well without China's full engagement. The challenges we face today are global. China is now a major global player. So whether the issue is climate change, Africa, world trade or the myriad of security questions, we need China to be constructive; we need it to be using its power in partnership with us.
None of this means we shouldn't continue to raise the issues of human rights, religious freedoms and democratic reforms as European and American leaders have done in recent weeks. It is possible to hyperbolize about the rise of China. For example, Europe's economies are still major and combined outreach those of China and India combined.
But, as the Olympics and its medal tables show, it is not going to stay that way. This is a historic moment of change. Fast forward 10 years and everyone will know it. For centuries, the power has resided in the West, with various European powers including the British Empire and then, in the 20th century, the U.S. Now we will have to come to terms with a world in which the power is shared with the Far East. I wonder if we quite understand what that means, we whose culture (not just our politics and economies) has dominated for so long. It will be a rather strange, possibly unnerving experience. Personally, I think it will be incredibly enriching. New experiences; new ways of thinking liberate creative energy. But in any event, it will be a fact we have to come to terms with.
For the next U.S. president, this will be or should be at the very top of the agenda, and as a result of the strength of the Sino-U.S. relationship under President Bush, there is a sound platform to build upon.
The Olympics is now the biggest sporting event in the world, and because of the popularity of sport it is therefore one of the events that makes a genuine impact on real people. These Games have given people a glimpse of modern China in a way that no amount of political speeches could do.
London 2012 gives Britain a tremendous chance to explore some of these changes and explain to the East what the modern West is about. One thing is for certain: Hosting the Olympics is now a fantastic opportunity for any nation.
My thoughts after the Beijing Games are that we shouldn't try to emulate the wonder of the opening ceremony. It was the spectacular to end all spectaculars and probably can never be bettered. We should instead do something different, drawing maybe on the ideals and spirit of the Olympic movement. We should do it our way, like they did it theirs. And we should learn from and respect each other. That is the way of the 21st century.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Most important, my friends, let us remind each other that “EVERY DAY, EVERY MINUTE, EVERY BREATH TRULY IS A GIFT FROM GOD.”
"Someday" and "one of these days" are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it's worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now.
I'm not sure what others would've done had they known they wouldn't be here for the tomorrow that we all take for granted. I think they would have called family members and a few close friends. They might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think they would have gone out for a Chinese dinner or for whatever their favorite food was.
Every day, every minute, every breath truly is a gift from God.
Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance.
Your true friend
Monday, September 15, 2008
I feel that when we age, we should be ageing gratefully. Yes. I am grateful to God and how nice it is that when I wake up this morning, I get another day in life. And I am thankful that this is the day God has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it.
I agree with her that “as we age, it’s easier to be positive.” Once we are positive in life, even as we move on into old age, everyday seems to be a joyful day for us to live on as long as we know how to stay healthy and keep fit physically, mentally and spiritually. Again I suggest you to read Mr. Lee Kuan Yew’s advice on ageing and retirement.
Here is what the old lady has to say:
I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometime despair over my body, the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt. And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror (who looks like my mother!), but I don't agonize over those things for long.
I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, and my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend.
I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.
I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.
Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon?
I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60&70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love ... I will.
I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set.
They, too, will get old.
I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.
Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.
I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver
As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong.
So, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day. (If I feel like it)
Friday, September 12, 2008
For those who have retired, what had been written by the writer may sound familiar to you. If you are thinking of retiring, after reading please go and read again Mr. Lee Kuan Yew’s advice on Ageing and Retiring.
Here it goes:
Recently, I was diagnosed with A.A.A.D.D.: Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.
Thank goodness there's a name for this disorder. Somehow I feel better, even though I have it!!
This is how it manifests:
I decide to water my garden. As I turn on the hose in the driveway, I look over at my car and decide it needs washing.
As I start toward the garage, I notice mail on the porch table that I brought up from the mail box earlier. I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.
I lay my car keys on the table, put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table, and notice that the can is full. So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the garbage first.
But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.
I take my check book off the table, and see that there is only one check left. My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go inside the house to my desk where I find the can of Pepsi I'd been drinking.
I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Pepsi aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over. The Pepsi is getting warm, and I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.
As I head toward the kitchen with the Pepsi, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye. They need water. I put the Pepsi on the counter and discover my reading glasses that I've been searching for all morning. I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers.
I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table. I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, I'll be looking for the remote, but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers.
I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor. So, I set the remote back on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill.
Then, I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.
At the end of the day:
The car isn't washed. The bills aren't paid. There is a warm can of Pepsi sitting on the counter. The flowers don't have enough water. There is still only 1 check in my check book. I can't find the remote. I can't find my glasses, and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.
Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all damn day, and I'm really tired.
I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail. Do me a favor. Forward this message to everyone you know, because I don't remember who the hell I've sent it to.
Don't laugh. If this isn't you yet, your day is coming!!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
For people who have reached the age of retirement, it's wise to read on the good advice on ageing and retiring from Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew.
Most important, as Mr. Lee Kuan Yew reminded us, is to "stay interested in the world, take on a challenge."Retiring to take it easy is a sure route to death, Singapore's 84-year-old founding father Lee Kuan Yew was quoted as saying yesterday. Lee, who remains active despite his advanced years, told a conference that statistics show that people tend to die shortly after retiring, and that the most important lesson he has learned is that we all need stimuli.
"If you believe that at 55, you're retiring, you're going to read books, play golf and drink wine, then I think you're done for," he said in comments published by The Straits Times.
Lee retired as prime minister in 1990, but remains in the cabinet as minister mentor and is also chairman of the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation.
He is a frequent speaker in Singapore and regularly conducts diplomatic missions abroad."I don't much like travel, but I travel very frequently despite the jet lag, because I get to meet people of great interest to me. It is the stimuli, it is the constant interaction with people across the world that keeps me aware and alive to what's going on and what we can do to adjust to this different world."
Lee added that he asks people who want to retire at age 62, "You really want to die quickly?"
He said his advice is: "Keep yourself interested, have a challenge."
Lee was also quoted as saying that in his younger days he smoked, had a big belly, and "was really fond of drinking beer".
He said he enjoyed golf, but later found it took too long, so he took up running instead.
In his early 70s, Lee had a stent installed in one of his arteries, he was quoted as telling the conference on Sunday after he made a whirlwind trip to visit the critically ill former Indonesian president Suharto in Jakarta. (Suharto died on 27 January 2008 at 86.)
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Be generous with appropriate hugs, kisses, pats on the back and holds. Let these small actions demonstrate the love you have for family and friends.
Clip cartoons. Share articles and funny stories. Your gift will say, "I love to laugh with you."
It can be a simple "Thanks for the help" note or a full sonnet. A brief, handwritten note may be remembered for a lifetime, and may even change a life.
A simple and sincere, "You look great in red", "You did a super job " or "That was a wonderful meal" can make someone's day.
Every day, go out of your way to do something kind.
There are times when we want nothing better than to be left alone. Be sensitive to those times and give the gift of solitude to others.