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I came across a poem by the famous Chinese poet, Su Dong Po (aka Su Shi) who wrote it on the night of The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival in 1076. The poem was translated into English to be shared with those who could not read Mandarin:-

Thinking of You

When will the moon be clear and bright?
With a cup of wine in my hand, I ask the blue sky
I don’t know what season it would be
In the heavens on this night
I’d like to ride the wind to fly home
Yet I fear the crystal and jade mansions are
Much too high and cold for me
Dancing with my moon-lit shadow
It does not seem like the human world

The moon rounds the red mansion
Stoops to silk-pad doors
Shines upon the sleepless
Bearing no grudge
Why does the moon tend to be full when people are apart?
People may have sorrow or joy, be near or far apart
The moon may be dim or bright, wax or wane
This has been going on since the beginning of time
May we all be blessed with longevity
Though far apart, we are still able to
share the beauty
of the moon together.

On the Mid Autumn Moon Festival of the year 1076,
I drank happily till dawn
and wrote this in my cups
while thinking of my brother Ziyou.

About the author :  Su Dong Po (Su Shi) is considered to be one of the greatest Chinese poets and probably the foremost all-around genius of the “later” imperial ages. His given name was Su Dong Po and he lived from 1037-1101 during the Song Dynasty. He was a master of prose, poetry, and calligraphy and was a connoisseur of art, cooking, and wines. And as if that wasn’t enough, he was an engineer who supervised the water projects of Hangzhou and West Lake (which many consider to be among the most beautiful places in all of China). He wrote this poem sitting by West Lake on the night of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival in 1076 A.D.

The poem was made into a song and sang by Faye Wong.

 

 

 

Welcome, Blondy…!

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Blondy, the new arrival…

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Blondy on my palm…

Just now, I saw this kitten crawling on the steps of the bridge leading to the Hang Tuah LRT station while on my way to deliver lunch to Alexandra whose school is nearby.

“If Marcus saw it, surely he will bring it home,” I thought to myself as I continued crossing the bridge which was crowded with people on their way to their Friday prayer.

Half an hour later, on the way home after delivering lunch, I looked around for the kitten but it was nowhere to be found. I then walked home sadly.

When I opened the gate, Nicholas rushed out excitedly and exclaimed, “Mom, look what I found at the Hang Tuah LRT station on my way home from school!”

I saw a kitten nicely wrapped in some old cloth sitting quietly at a corner, obviously waiting for its bath. It was the same kitten I saw earlier at the Hang Tuah LRT bridge.

“Can I keep it?” he asked eagerly.

“Okay, keep it and let’s name it Blondy,” I told him. Marcus was seen busy preparing the water, soap, and towels.

I believe in “yuen fun” which is hard to translate to English but roughly it means we are fated to be together. I believe the kitten is fated to be with us as we love cats and all kinds of animals who have no home to call their own.

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Hello…

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Home sweet home..

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I have a sweet dream

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Awesome…

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Meow…..

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ZZZzzzzzzzzz….

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May you free from all kind of sufferings and sicknesses. May the merits gained be share with all beings

Last Sunday evening (17th Aug, 2014), while at the night market to purchase some fruits and vegetables, my husband Marcus stumbled upon a weak and injured kitten near a drain. It was shivering from cold, hunger and pain. Husband stood there for half an hour wondering whether to bring it back or not as we already have two cats at home.

A Malay lady who walked past told him encouragingly, “Angkatlah anak kucing ini balik rumah, cepat kasi ia sembuh.” She was telling him to take it home and help it to recover quickly. Inspired by her encouraging words, he decided there and then, “Okay, come with me!”

So with one hand carrying a big bag of groceries, the other was used to carry a struggling kitten all the way home, much to the amusement and smiles from those who saw him. The kitten has very sharp claws and it was struggling out of fear but Marcus held it close to his chest so that it could feel that it was in safe hands.

Once home, the poor thing was given a warm bath and some cat food. Our daughter named it “Marble” because of its color which resembled that of a marble cake. Fearing that it would get hurt, Marcus slept with it in the living room as our cats were quite hostile to the newcomer. Cats are territorial animals.

The next morning, the first thing Marcus did was to bring the kitten to the government vet in Cheras. Feeding food and medications to an injured kitten is a daunting task as it keeps struggling and refused to open its mouth. You see, the area around the kitten’s mouth was raw with blood and pus. But with perseverance, Marcus was able to do that.

Both Pussy and Kitty took almost a week to accept their new mate. This photo was taken today, a week after Marble was rescued from a dirty drain. Look, its mouth had completely healed and tiny hairs began to sprout out from what used to be an open wound.

I told husband that Marble is so lucky she met him. “Lucky is a more suitable name than Marble. Let’s call her Lucky instead.”

“It is our luck that I met the kitten. Animals teaches us compassion. We are very lucky to be able to learn compassion from animals.”

I think Marcus is right. Besides teaching us responsibility as pet owners and giving us wonderful companionship, animals helps to bring out the compassionate side in us.

Thank you, Pussy, Kitty and Lucky Marble. We are still hoping for the miracle that Nelson will come back one day. We would love to watch them play together.

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Puss, the big brother.

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Nel, the second brother. “Miracles happen everyday”

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Kiddy, the little naughty.

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Marble , the lucky gal.

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Puss and Marble the lucky gal

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Puss and Marble the lucky gal sharing the night view together.

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Lovely Marble the lucky gal

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Getting healthier and stronger.

You have a choice each and every single day.
I choose to feel blessed.
I choose to feel grateful.
I choose to be excited.
I choose to be thankful.
I choose to be happy.

– T. Harv Eker

Thanks to the hard work and efforts of the organizing team of MGS Class 1981, some one hundred girls from Methodist Girls’ School (Ipoh) Class 1981 came together to celebrate our 50th birthday during a luncheon at Cititel in Kuala Lumpur yesterday afternoon. Three former teachers were there to help us celebrate this milestone. They were Mr. Victor Chew, Mr. Clement and Mrs. Chin.

It is good to get together again after leaving school for 33 years.. most of us looks the same, albeit more matured and settled.

We had food, games, lucky draw and a talk on breast cancer by Wah Cheong. All in, it was a memorable get together.

I was able to share my book with the girls too and they were very supportive of me.

Thank you, everyone, for the great time. See you all again soon.

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MGS Ipoh 81, reunion group photo @ Cititel Mid Valley Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

More photos at my facebook: facebook

https://www.facebook.com/188HughLowStreetOnlineBookshop?hc_location=timeline

:)


:)

:)

Writing a book has given me the opportunity to speak in the public as well as to read in front of an audience. It was a wonderful experience. I must thank those who made this happened.

Tomorrow, I am going to meet my former school mates again after a lapse of 30 years.  I am looking forward to tell them about my book.

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Book preview

“The Scissor Sharpener’s Daughter”

 

 

 

 

” 无论你遇见谁,他都是在你生命中该出现的人。没有人是因为偶然才进入我们的生命。每个在我们周围和我们有互动的人,都代表一些事。也许要教会我们什么,也许要协助我们改善眼前的一个情况。” —Buddha

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One Sunday evening in 2008, Nicholas Liew, who was eleven years old then, was working hard on his butterfly stroke at the 6 feet deep lane when he saw an elderly man resting at a corner of the pool.

Swimming up to his side, my curious son asked, “Uncle, you came alone?”

“Yes,” came the answer.

“And you?”

“I came with my family. They are over there – at the 18 feet deep lane,” he said and pointed towards our direction.

“Then why did you left them and came over to this lane?”

“It is rather crowded there. I want to practice my butterfly stroke and over here, I have more space to do so.”

“I see.”

“Uncle, how about a race? You can choose any style you like.”

“No problem.”

But the young boy, confident as he was, lost to the more experience older swimmer.

Although Nicholas Liew lost the race that evening at the Chin Woo Swimming Pool, unknown to him then, he has won a friendship that in later years, proved to be very rare and precious not only for him alone, but for his entire family as well.

You see, Uncle Kelvin Li is not any ordinary old man. He is a respected Sinologist.

Months later, Alexandra Alex too, swam over to his side and instantly captured his heart with her wits and charm.

From then on, a very beautiful friendship blossomed between the three of them. It was a friendship that grew from a tiny seed into a large tree that gives us shade.

He quickly took my children under his wings. Sometimes he would call them up in the middle of a meeting, during a meal or on a trip, and tell them some Chinese idioms and values. “I give you ten minutes to memorize them and then I will call back to explain their meanings. Later, I will test you both!” This was his usual style. He even got them to study the Tung Sing or Chinese Almanac!

When Uncle could afford the time, he would come personally to the house to supervise their learning of the Chinese language. All this was done without asking for anything in return. It was out of pure love for them, a sort of love only a grandfather would give to his grandchildren.

“You are such a banana, Frances, that I have to neutralize your children for you. I hope you don’t mind,” he joked to me once.

When I told him that I wanted to write a book, he said, “Good, go ahead, what are you waiting for? Live your dreams! Don’t let anyone pull you down.”

That was Uncle Kelvin Li, a stranger turned friend and mentor.

My family is very lucky to have him in our lives. He gave us something so precious all the money in this world could not buy us – great memories to remember him by in years to come.

The Chinese calls it “Yuen Fun.” I call it “my family’s collective good Karma.”

Uncle slipped and fell in his garden on Wednesday morning while watering his plants, went into a deep coma and did not wake up again. He will be 76 this year.

Of course we will be there to send him off on his final journey on this coming Sunday.

Thank you, Uncle, for everything you had given us.

” 已经结束的,就已经结束了。这是如此简单。当生命中有些事情结束,它会帮助我们进化。要完整享受已然发生的事,最好是放下并持续前进。你坐在这里,读着这些 文字,我相信绝非巧合。 如果这些文字触动你的心弦,那是因为你的因缘成熟。你明白,没有任何一片雪花会因为意外落在错的地方。”  — Buddha

:)

 

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My entire childhood and that of my siblings as well as my cousins staying at 188 Hugh Low Street were spent listening to wakes and watching funerals and also observing the Hungry Ghost Festivals. This is hardly surprising considering our house is just across from Hume Street which is known to the locals as “Coffin Street.” Not a day passed without hearing the noises created on this street feared and avoided by most Ipoh residents.

At these funeral parlors, elaborate ceremonies are conducted for a few nights to commemorate the dead each year during the Ghost Month. Prayer sessions called Pu Tu in Cantonese are held. Pu Tu means universal deliverance or universal liberation from sufferings. It is believed hungry ghosts, like Mu Lian’s mother, need salvation through prayers.

As a child, I remember seeing rows and rows of long altars being set up outside these funeral parlors. All kinds of cakes, fruits and drinks were lavishly laid out. Heaps and heaps of paper offerings were scattered on the ground to be burned later as offerings to the wandering spirits who happened to pass by this eerie street.

A large paper effigy of the King of Hell about 20 feet high with two protruding fiery eyes was erected in the middle of Hume Street. Beside him stood the Cow Head and Horse Face who were the King’s generals. They looked equally tall and fearsome. A large paper ship was also constructed to carry the dead spirits to and fro to take part in the ceremony.

With my siblings and cousins, we watched from our windows in awe as Taoists priests in black ceremonial robes (with a large yin yang symbol on their backs) spat out some alcohol mixed with tea into a large fire pit fixed on the ground outside the funeral parlor. Chanting Taoists verses and holding a sword in one hand and a tablet bearing the names of the dead in another, they would jump over it and the fire would burst out into a big flame.

This act, called thew for, or jump over the fire, is an imitation of how Mu Lian descended to the deepest level of Hell (believed to be Level 18) to save his mother from suffering and helped her gain rebirth. The priests would repeat this many times throughout the night, each time to represent a dead person. These acts were carried out in the hope that they too, would gain salvation for the dead just like what Mu Lian did for his mother.

On the 14th night of the seventh month, after all the chanting of prayers and thew for were done, all paper items were burnt in a huge bonfire in the middle of the street. When everything was over and the crowd had dispersed, silence descended over Hume Street again. Stray dogs were seen foraging for food which the fire had not consumed.

The Hungry Ghost Festival comes to an end on the 30th night of the seventh month when the gate of Hell is closed again at the stroke of midnight. It coincides with the birthday of Earth Store Bodhisattva who is also known as Ti Tsang Wang Pusa in Chinese or Ksitigarbha in Sanskrit, the patron saint of all the dead. He is believed to have made a great vow to stay in Hell to guard the dead until it becomes empty one day.

It was during one of these Hungry Ghost Festivals that my story begins……