SELECTED POSTS FROM MY PREVIOUS BLOG (1)
As some of you are aware, my company website has been revamped and the collection of staff blogs has been archived. So I’ve reproduced and updated several of my musings that attracted the most discussion among readers far and near.
THE FIRST CONNECTION
August 2010 (An Extract)
At the heart of journalism is the desire to convey information. As early as during my primary school days, when asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I answered confidently—a writer! I grew up with books, loads of them, and remember the amazing vistas they opened up. The power of words in the hands of a skilled wordsmith! Nowadays I do a lot of my reading on a computer or smartphone, but I continue to love the feel of printed material. So I’m happily enjoying the best of both worlds—the classic appeal of ink on paper, and the audio-visual impact of online articles.
Wikipedia, a most helpful tool in my opinion, defines blogs as providing “commentary or news” or functioning as more “personal online diaries”. You’ll find a combination of both as I go along. It’ll be my pleasure to share my thoughts, impressions and experiences, and I hope you’ll interact. Some entries will be thematic, and others whimsical or random.
“Why bother to write,” you might ask? An opportunity to express myself, and in the process, hopefully add colour to someone’s day, or spread a little joy in some way.
Take care and have a wonderful week!
I had composed the next heading in all innocence, never expecting it to be given an interpretation that was far from my mind. Somehow, it prompted strangers to send in some of the most unusual comments that I’ve ever received! 😀
BACK SEAT ENTERTAINMENT
The taxi driver had quite a tale to tell. Four grown children, all graduates. Two had won scholarships to study abroad while the other two had shone at Singapore’s own varsities. One son had been feted at a reception hosted by the island’s leading politicians, said the proud father. I wondered, “Could the young man have been a President’s Scholar? Or perhaps he had won a government scholarship from the Public Service Commission?”
There was more. The cabbie had enjoyed an all-expenses paid trip to USA to attend his older son’s convocation. Well, I’d heard that some foreign colleges pick up the tab for their outstanding students to share their joy with those who’d inspired them. So, I thought, maybe his child had consistently made the Dean’s List, or perhaps he had graduated summa cum laude with the highest honour.
Sadly, the driver was short on details. He knew that two of his children had graduated from National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University. But he was unsure which overseas tertiary institutions his other children had been at. And no, he had no idea what courses the talented quartet had studied.
Still, there was ample reason to celebrate, wouldn’t you say? To have raised children who were now confident and independent adults, playing a useful role in society and contributing to the world at large.
But wait, the story doesn’t end there. He was past 60, he said, but he had to drive a taxi for a living because none of his children gave him any financial support. So unlike some of his peers who claimed to ferry passengers around for extra pocket money or just to pass the time away, he did so for purposes of survival.
So was it a case of parental neglect or a breakdown in familial ties? Or was his tale just wishful fantasy? Well, a 15-minute journey is far too short to reach any conclusion on a person’s character and emotional health, so I simply wished him well.
A colleague whom I shared his plight with envisaged two extremes—the elderly man could have been a poor example of a father, hence alienating all his children (but then, the trip to America seemed to nullify that possibility), or he might have shown such a strong streak of independence that his children mistakenly thought he wouldn’t appreciate any pecuniary display of filial piety (however, this notion would clash with his poignant statement about not receiving any allowance from them).
Someone said that if you want a barometer that can accurately reflect the state of a city and its people, just spend time with cab drivers–the “eyes and ears” that can tell if the economy has truly bounced back, or standards of morality have slipped, or whether the dominant political party will win back all seats at the next General Elections…..
Hopping into a taxi is a journey to the unknown for the passenger. Will you meet a chatty driver who’s bursting to share his conspiracy theories, or will it be one who’ll freely unload his grievances and complaints? On good days, you’ll walk away with gems of wisdom which drive home the fact that intelligence isn’t necessarily linked to educational attainment.
Whichever it may be, for me, a cab ride is always a time to enjoy a brief connection with a fellow human being. And for the opportunity to listen to experiences and world views that may be poles apart from mine, a handful of dollars is well worth the expenditure indeed.
I am embarking on a mission to rid myself of clutter, excess emotional baggage and unneeded burdens. It may take a while to achieve that level of freedom and simplicity but I’m confident it’s a realistic and reachable goal.
One useful article that I read stated emphatically that it takes time, energy and motivation to declutter our living and work spaces. So the tip is to schedule specific time slots every few days to tackle unwanted additions to our homes and offices. In other words, it takes effort and discipline 🙂
As for non-physical baggage like could-haves, should-haves, wish-I-hadn’t or if-only-I-had, a spiritual solution like prayer has been of immense value to many. A life filled with regrets, anger and bitterness that are not released but are “played back” over and over again has driven some to depression, insanity and even suicide. Let’s not go down that route but instead, let’s believe that There Is Hope For The Future!
The following may sound like cliches, but there’s true wisdom in them:
*Forget Regrets Or Life Is Yours To Miss
*Forget The Former Things; Do Not Dwell On The Past
“I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.”
– Anne Frank
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that…I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
– Martin Luther King, Jnr
When the world says, “Give up,”
Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”
*If You’re Alive, There’s A Purpose for Your Life!
The Miracle of Conception & Birth
“For You, God, created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” – Psalm 139:13-14
“For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you,” declares the LORD, “thoughts and plans for welfare and peace, to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a future and hope in your final outcome.” – Jeremiah 29:11
I Know The Plans – Bobby Michaels
Music/Lyrics: Bobby Michaels