Prime Minister Visit

Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak was in Sarawak state for his three days visit recently.  He spent two days in Sibu, Sarawak, starting on April 26, evening.

He arrived at the airport about 7pm on April 26 and about 2,000 people were there to welcome the premier.    It was a very big event, because not often the prime minister visit this small town.  Though I still don’t understand why people would rather being pushed and squeezed just to see him.

About 2,000 people welcomed him on his arrival

This picture seems like it was an easy job taking pictures of the premier shaking hands with the supporters.  The truth..it wasn’t easy.  Imagine 2,000 people at the scene.  Bodyguards pushed us backward to protect the Prime Minister, the supporters pushed us forward to take pictures or maybe a chance to have a handshake with him.

Prime Minister leaves the airport for a dinner reception

Prime Minister waves to his supporters during his walkabout at Sibu Central Market on April 27, morning.  Sibu Central Market is the biggest central market in Malaysia.  The response of his walkabout from the public was overwhelming.  Thousands showed up to see him.

Prime Minister having his morning tea at the Central Market. The entourage was surrounding by the public members and the media.

Advertisements

Ganzi troupe performance

The company that I work with just celebrated 50th Anniversary.  To mark the special event, the management team organised a series of activities.  One of the activities was a troupe performance from Sichuan Province.

They performed one night in Kuching and two nights in Sibu.  And I got the opportunity to be on duty on one of the nights of their performances in Sibu.  I must say, it was a great show and worth watching.

The host addressing the audience
It’s still fascinated me, how they could play the ‘er hu’ and dance around, jumping around.  Or they weren’t playing at all.

I actually like this shot, but unfortunately, I was still testing the setting of my camera. (I’m still learning, by the way).

One for the album.

I’m not really into Chinese songs, especially traditional songs, but the songs were quite good.

A staff from See Hua Group touching the face of the ‘Bien Lien’ (changing face).  Too bad I didn’t capture the mask.  There was the ’50 years’ written on it.

See how it changed. Or can you?

I was caught by surprise.  I didn’t know he was going to do that.

Wushu performance

View from upstairs.

I’m always interested in the cultural stuff.  Especially cultural performances.  There are so many things to learn in those performances.  Sibu is a town so rich in culture and it is such a privilege to watch one of the best performances from China.

Outwitting The Devil

I recently read a book titled ‘Outwitting The Devil’ by Napoleon Hill, which I bought probably, about two months ago, but I could not find the time to read it until recently.

I was busy for the past few weeks between…well…work and with no other particular reasons; I forgot that I have this book in my possession.

‘Outwitting The Devil’ was written in 1938, with a manual typewriter, but was kept hidden for 72 years because they were frightened by the response it would invoke.

Looking at the uncertain economic and spiritual time, the publisher decided to publish it, with the intention to provide answers during these trying times.

‘Outwitting The Devil’ is a book that contains the secret to freedom and success, based on an unusual conversation between Hill and the Devil.

Whether or not the conversation had ever taken place,  it is up to the readers to decide.  However, with his unique style of writing, it will certainly create an impact in the readers’ life.  A realisation of something and the will to find your ‘other self’.

The ‘other self’ who is guided by faith, who knows no limitations, has no fears, and recognises no such word as ‘impossible’.

It is without a doubt in my opinion, an eye-opening book asking us whether we would rather be guided by faith or will we allow fear to overtake us.

The road to success is without fear, but with faith.

In a strange interview, several things were discussed.  These include school, purpose, fear, self-discipline, adversity, and religion.

Most importantly, this book reveals the Devil’s secret that prevented so many people from success and how people could outwit the devil, through their ‘other self’.

I read quite a number of motivation and self-help books in my reading collection and ‘Outwitting The Devil’ has become one of my favourites.

Most self-help books I read, they tell the readers what to do in creating a successfully path, ‘Outwitting The Devil’ makes me realized who I am and what I can do – all summed up with one word ‘Trust’.

Right now, the world is struggling with economic crisis; and especially during these trying times, come an opportunity to create the path towards success – a better road to find the seed of greater benefit and move on to greater successes.

Failure is also a blessing in disguise because ‘there is a solution for every legitimate problem, no matter how difficult the problem may seem.’

Here, I would like to share some of the features in the book.

The Devil disclosed that he controls 98 percent of the people in the world through one of his cleverest devices for mind control, which is fear.

I plant the seed of fear in the minds of people, and as these seeds germinate and grow, through use, I control the space they occupy.  The six most effective fears are the fear of poverty, criticism, ill health, loss of love, old age, and death.  – The Devil

One of the greatest weapons over human beings that the Devil ensnares the greatest number of people is the habit of drifting.

Human can be divided into two – the drifter and the non-drifter.

A drifter is one who permits himself to be influenced and controlled by circumstances outside of his own mind, while the non-drifter has a mind of his own and uses it for all purposes.

Typical drifter (some of it):

  • Lack of a major purpose in life.
  • Lack of self-confidence.
  • Never accomplish anything requiring thought and effort.
  • Spends all he earns and more too, if he can get credit.
  • Have little or no imagination
  • Lack of enthusiasm
  • Have opinions on everything but accurate knowledge of nothing.
  • And the list goes on.

The non-drifter (some of it):

  • Has a major goal in life.
  • Extends many favours to others, but accepts favours sparingly or not at all.
  • If he does not know the answers, he will say so frankly.
  • He is an inspiration to all who come into contact with his mind.

The habit of drifting can be broken if the victim has enough will power.  Whatever the negative sides, such as fear, anger, procrastination and jealousy, exist in human minds, they are only tools of the devil to make human fall into his web.

In ending of the book, Hill discusses the seven principles to outwit the devil in your life through spiritual, mental, and physical freedom.

They are:

  • Definiteness of purpose
  • Mastery over self
  • Learning from adversity
  • Controlling environmental influence
  • Time
  • Harmony
  • Caution

‘Outwitting The Devil’ is not an average book for entrepreneurs.  It is certainly not a book about writing a business plan, but develops and trains oneself to take the steps that are necessary for success.

This book is for everyone.

Creative Entrepreneur

Sibu, Sarawak is a business town.  With the majority of the population consists of Chinese people, mainly Foochow, the town is filled with business minded people.  Their fighting spirit and the never give up attitude can be traced back in a long history.  But, I will not get into the detail of it here.

I am going to show some pictures that I took about a year ago.  I met a young man named Tommy Lee and he is only 28-years-old.

Despite below 30, he is now his own boss.  He is in charge of one of his family’s saw timber industries.

Tommy loves business and competition.  He always find ways and opportunity to venture into different businesses.

So apart from the family business, he ‘set up’ his own businesses namely the rabbit business, charcoal-making business, organic fertilizer and banana plantation.

You might think that this is too much to take for a young man like him, nope, you are wrong…because everything is inter-related.

His task was to manage one of the family business, that was it.  He could stop there.  But he didn’t.

For him, everything in the factory is money.

Using his self-made organic fertilizer, Tommy Lee is able to produce banana trees, which is about two-storey high.

Charcoal business is profitable these days.

Workers lining up the charcoals

Making organic fertilizer

Tommy Lee at his factory

Hardcore Poverty: They still exist…

Poverty is one of the many popular topics that people in my country (Malaysia) talk about.

Poverty in Malaysia can be divided into three categories -hardcore poor, poor and ‘easy poor’

The hardcore poor category consists of people who earn less than RM440 a month in Peninsular Malaysia, RM540 a month in Sabah, or RM520 in Sarawak.

The poor, meanwhile, includes people who earn less than RM750 a month in Peninsular Malaysia, RM960 a month is Sabah or RM830 monthly in Sarawak.

Any family earning less than RM2,000 a month falls in the category of ‘easy poor’

Recently, a blind couple had their monthly welfare assistance been reduced to about 76 per cent.

The welfare assistance in Sarawak, if not Malaysia was never enough.  Although the government had been trying to reduce poverty in the state, this group of people often fall into hardcore poverty.

Most of them were trained to weave basket, but because rattan is getting scarce lately, many looked for another source of income.

Some prefer to beg at the market, selling tissue papers and so forth.

The most successful one or should I say, the most determined people would venture into massage business – these are the most independent one, with family and needed no help from the government.

So, this is a short news story of the blind couple asking for help. (published on April 14).

BLIND COUPLE LAMENTS CUT OF MONTHLY WELFARE ASSISTANCE

SIBU: The going could be tough for a blind couple whose monthly welfare assistance has been reduced since early this year.

Nari Jerayit, 56, and wife Utom Bilun, 35, had each been receiving RM300 monthly assistance from the welfare department since September 2008.

However, since early this year, they are getting RM70 each every month.

“The department said we have income on our own and so they cut our monthly assistance. How are we going to survive like this?  We have four children, three are still in school, and the youngest is only two years old.” Nari said.

The couple has been weaving baskets for about two decades.  Recently, they started to sell tissue papers when rattan became scarce.

Nari said they paid their own utilities bills, put food on the table, sent children to school without help from anybody.

They spent about RM500, sometimes more, on the bills, school stuff, groceries, and so forth.

“RM300 each is still not enough.  Sometimes, we have to put on a thicker face to ask form some money from relatives.  Sometimes they give, sometimes they don’t,” he lamented.

Without a stable income and with the cost of living escalating, the burden is weighing them down.

Sometimes, welfare officers and Sibu Municipal Council chased them out when they sell tissue papers at the market.

“It is very embarrassing we have to go through this.  We don’t have much choice; the assistance that has been given to us is not enough.  We are trying to make a living, we need to support our children.”

The couple said they had sought help from the blind centre but to no avail.

Given the desperate situation they were facing, they turned to the Democratic Action Party (DAP) for help.

DAP Sibu Women Chief Alice Lau said the couple had to work hard to make ends meet due to their blindness, even when they each received RM300 monthly assistance.

“Even with a guaranteed household income of RM600, this couple still struggled to scrap for a living.  Now that money has been reduced to RM140, no one can survive with this amount,” she suggested.

She said reducing their monthly assistance just because they were trying to have some extra income, which was not guaranteed, was unreasonable.

“Do not bully them, give them back their old assistance.  If the department does not have enough funds, ask from the ministry,” she pointed out.

To help ease the plight of the couple this month, DAP Women’s wing donated RM500 to them.

“It is a portion of money we took out from selling of flowers during International Women’s Day.  It’s not much, but it could at least help a little to see them through this month,” Lau pointed out.

SEEKING HELP

An opposition party requested the government to give more allocation for the welfare department.  Click here to check on the short news.

Poverty issue in fact, had been one of the main agendas of the government.

Apart from giving money assistance to the needy, the government had also provides entrepreneur courses, and other programmes that would enable the poor to be independent.

However, too often…well…in my own opinion, this group (blind, people with disability) tend to be neglected.  Many people tend to forget that disability could be the significant cause of poverty.

Government said that methods worked.  Does it really work? I don’t have a sure answer for that.

If it didn’t work, was it something wrong with the methodology or was it something wrong with the recipients?

Or is it because maybe the government overlook some of the target groups?

Have You Ever Miss Running?

RUNNING… It might be the least favourite thing to do for some people.  It is, of course, a very tough activity that requires a great amount of discipline to keep going.

Beginners usually struggle to keep that discipline.  I’ve been there.

Running WAS my least favourite thing, until that one day, I actually REMEMBERED how it feels to love running.

Yes, I love running.  It might be strange to say this, but running brings me comfort for my mind and soul.

Life is tough, I have a lot of things in my head and too often, I drowned them with my rage.  Those times, when nothing seems right to you and you get irritated and annoyed by almost everything.

Running, in some ways, helps me overcome that.  It becomes my alternative prayer, so to speak.

So yes, I love running.  It makes me feel good about my body and what my body can do.  My runner’s endurance helps me to endure the toughness in life.

The winds brushing through my skin and the smell of fresh air make me feel good to be alive.

Sometimes, I take this opportunity to even say my thanksgiving prayer.  Watching all the wonderful surrounding me, it makes me realise that there are a lot of things I should be thankful.

Running makes it possible and my sense of self is greater when I run.  This is now.

But, I’ve always have passion for running, I’ve always knew it, I just forgot I do.

I wasn’t an athletic in school.  I wasn’t qualified as one either, simply because I couldn’t run very fast.

When I was 13, I surprised myself.

During school sports day, I was selected to represent my House team (St Matthew House) to participate in the 800M and 1500M event.

There were no criteria in selecting the House’s athletic, so I caught in the attention of the House captain because I was tiny and skinny. (and I’m still tiny, though not as skinny as I was during school days).

I remembered feeling both terrified and excited.  It was my first run, all eyes were on the running track.  I was one of those in the running track.

I didn’t know whether or not I was able to run this far.

It would be very embarrassing to stop halfway to catch my breath while there were so many people watching you.

And of course, I didn’t want to let my team down.

I was told to finish the race.  They did not mind if I didn’t win anything because all that matters was the point.

And so, I ran.  First long distance run was a bit of a struggle, but at 13, I didn’t feel that much of the struggle though.

I ran and ran and ran and surprisingly, I ran without the need to stop to catch my breath.  I didn’t win anything for the 800M event, but was placed third in the 1500M.  And I did it, without proper training for the event.

I stopped running when I was 16 or 17.  I just simply didn’t run anymore because I wanted to focus onto a more serious thing – EXAM.

I didn’t run for almost 10 years until I hit the gym about a year ago.

Gym was an option because I was lack of stamina and cardio exercises were very difficult for me.  The reason why I hit the gym because I started to have digestion problem and sleeping problem. (Which I got rid of that problem immediately I hit the gym)

As I stepped into the gym, the first thing I fixed my eyes on was the treadmill.  I was sure I was going to run.

As usual, I struggled at first, but as time went by, I got faster.  I’m a pretty competitive person, but running for competition never crossed my mind.

As I said, running makes me feel good about my own body, it brings me comfort to my mind and soul.

But, recently, my left ankle hurts.

In fact, it had been hurting for almost a month now.  But I could still run, so I continued running.

The reason why I continued running despite the pain, because the pain only irritated me when I started running, after a while into running, it didn’t hurt anymore until I stopped.

But a week ago, the pain got so bad that I began thinking that I should go gentle with my ankle.

I have not been running for about two weeks now and I don’t like it at all.

I miss running.  I wanna get on that road or treadmill and run.  But I can’t do that because the pain would get worse.

I have scars on both of my knees and elbows (though not visible now) because I was very clumsy as a little girl.

When I was in the kindergarten, we played cops and robbers and they always made me a robber.

And whenever we played that game, I always came home bleeding.  My parents would scold me and asked me not to play anymore, not to RUN anymore, or else the wounds would never heal.

But I didn’t stop running.  I kept running, despite the pain own my elbows and my knees.

I was very young and running has been a part of me.

Now, I feel an urge to run, even I am typing it right now.  I am pretty jealous to see other people run on the treadmill and around the place that I am staying.

I could only manage peddle.  It is the only cardio exercise that could put less strain on my ankle.

I know this is only temporary.  Give it time, I am sure that I am going to recover really soon.

About a year ago, after I read a book titled ‘Born to Run’ by Christopher McDougall, my passion for running was greater.

Those, especially runners who haven’t read the book, I really recommend this book.

In some part of the book, McDougall had a conversation with Dr Bramble, a professor of biology and a specialist in the biomechanics of animal locomotion.

Dr Bramble told McDougall that a research had found out that starting at age 19, runners get faster every year until they hit their peak at 27.

After 27, they started to decline.  The research also found that to go back to running the same speed as they did at nineteen was 64 years old.

Again Dr Bramble said: “There’s something really weird about us humans, we’re not only really good at endurance running, we’re really good at it for a remarkably long time.  We’re a machine built to run – and the machine never wears out.”

So if that was the case, why does my ankle hurts? I must wonder.

I did a little bit of research on my own, and the result…there are three possibilities.

Click on this link to check it out —-> http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-241-624–7455-0,00.html

My case would probably B, the tendinitis.  Just recently, I got so excited about running outside, you know on the hard and uneven road.

I always got carried away, and so I believe that I didn’t know how fast I was running or how long had I been running.

It is different from the treadmill.  Treadmill, you’ll maintain the speed and with soft padding, it would not do any much damage.

But, on the road, it was terrible.

I didn’t have a good start when I first started, but after months running on the treadmill and running outside once in a while to increase the intensity, I slowly gained my stamina.

Days passed, I ran longer and probably faster.  I even learned some proper techniques of running and it helped me so much more.

I feel so free when I run.

Sure, I will run again, I just need some times rest.

But then again, I STILL MISSING RUNNING….

“You don’t stop running because you get old.  You get old because you stop running.”

p/s: If you like the blog, share it, spread it… want more updates…follow my blog – hit subscribe 🙂 You are the best!!

Accepting my cross

I was sitting in my car one morning and i saw the shadow of my car rosary was reflecting on my arms.

I was raised a Catholic and during Good Friday, just like other Catholics, I observed the day as the day of fasting, abstinence, and penance.

There would be no entertainment at home.  Just ourselves and the silence and the time to reflect on our sinfulness and with a hope of miracle that I could change.

But, all these years, nothing has changed.  I was the same person yesterday and today, I am still that same person.

Today, as I joined other Catholics throughout the world to commemorate the death and passion of Christ, I was hoping to become a changed person, once more.

It is a normal practice for Catholics to venerate the cross to honour the great sacrifice Jesus made on the cross, during Good Friday.

We do this either through bowing, touching or even kissing the cross to pay our highest honour to the Lord’s cross at the instrument of our salvation.

All these years, that was the only thing I know about Good Friday. (I know, my knowledge about my religion is pretty shallow).

Today, I learned that the veneration of the cross isn’t just about that, it is about us, it is learning to embrace our cross in life.

A few hours ago, I was at the Good Friday service at my church.  During the homily, the parish priest said ‘The cross that we venerate, is the glorious cross’.

Too often, we never really understand the true love of God, the cross is the symbol of victory that all of us had been saved from eternal damnation.

Today, I learned that Good Friday reminds us of the outcome of the cross.  Suffering brings about transformation when we carry the cross like true disciples of Jesus.

The priest told us ‘Only when you learn to embrace and accept the cross of your life, you would find happiness’.

Without a doubt, everyone has a cross to carry.  But what is that cross? Probably stress, worries, parents, spouses, anything.

My life has changed pretty drastic for the past few months.  I was very impatient and I was very frustrated with almost everything in my life.

Is that my cross? It could be.

I didn’t want to accept all of that, so i started to complained this and that.

I want to change, so does that means I have to accept my cross in my life? No.

But do I want to? YES.

Jesus tells us that our cross will always lead to the transformation of our lives, and I believe that.  I really do, but nobody promised it is going to be easy.

However, there the only way to make it easy to carry the cross with patience, love, and joy and unites it to the cross of Jesus, only then, I could experience the new life in Jesus.