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the diminishing value of being punctual

 I chanced upon the ‘template’ folder as I meddled with my wife’s brand new touch screen LG KF600 mobile phone, and came across the canned message which says “I am late.  I will be there at ____.”


So I looked up the list of canned messages in my two-year-old Nokia model, and voila! there it is, the same message.


This must be a frequently sent message for phone manufacturers to include it in the template. 


Has being late become the norm?  Or worse, are the societies starting to view punctuality as an outdated and irrelevant value?  I certainly feel it is increasingly the case.


The conservative few who still make the effort to be on time think that they do so out of respect and consideration.  Therefore to them, those others, by carelessly turning up late, do so at the expense of their (the punctual fellows’) time, convenience and goodwill.



don’t take peace for granted


Hamas and Israel start on a truce today.  One of those stories that repeat so often in the papers that they can hardly be classified as news.


This truce pertains to the Gaza Strip.  General skepticism over whether it will last is captured in Israeli Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit’s comment.  “The idea is a complete ceasefire – no fire from anyone… if there is any violation of the agreement, the government is free to return to act with full force.”, he said.


His emphasis that there should be ‘no fire from anyone’ underscores how unlikely it is for all not to fire.  Imagine persevering in a place like that!


In the civil environment that the rest of us live in, we swarm ourselves with various other concerns.  But if we pause to think about the constant terror and fear that common Palestinians and Israelis are subjected to, our daily concerns pale by comparison.


Peace is one of those things that we ought to be thankful for.



a man’s spirit sustains him

 Just this recent Sunday, my wife and I noticed this lady coming out of the driver’s side of a nice car, well made-up, sporting attire, bounce in her stride.


But for the knitted headwear covering a balded head, we did not guess that she is recovering from cancer. 


Her will to live out her life is inspiring.  My wife and I could not help but affirm the notion that a cheerful outlook and an appropriate fighting spirit would positively affect the outcome of any given trial.


The Bible confirms as much in Proverbs 18:14:

“A man’s spirit sustains him in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?”

exchanging food for energy (part II)

 It is interesting that Malaysia PM Abdullah Badawi urged participants of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to think again on the shift towards biofuel production (from food production).


Maybe he has neglected to look at his own backyard.


When 30 years ago, you got to enjoy paddy fields, buffaloes, kampongs, rubber plantations, tin mines, cliffs and forests along the country roads, today, you see nothing but palm oil plantations along the North-South Highway. 


On a flight from Singapore to KL, you will marvel at the endless sea of uniform palm greenery below.


Back in the 60’s, Malaysia was self-sufficient where rice was concern.  Today, it imports 30% of the staple grain. 


The ongoing food shortage is a wake up call.  That is where PM Badawi is coming from in his address to the WEF. 


His government has recently decided to encourage rice farming on a massive scale again.  It has identified the East Malaysian state of Sarawak for the purpose, and the state is supportive in providing more land.


Sound policy it is.  The next question then, is where the land will come from.  Will biofuel production hectares be converted, or will it involve clearing of more forests yet?


*related article here




 43-year-old Darius McCollum is obsessed with New York City’s public transit system.  


From the time he was 15, he had played the role of the helpful staff greeting commuters on their way.  He had taken initiative in clearing thrash from the tracks.  He had driven the buses and the trains. And he had helped put out underground fires.


He studiously documents his wealth of knowledge of the transit system.  A dedicated all-rounder, hands-on employee – except that he is not one.


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is so peeved with McCollum that they got him arrested for the 23rd time now for pretending to be a transit worker.


By now, however, the MTA should realize that putting him away doesn’t quench McCallum’s zeal. 


Isn’t there a better solution to MTA’s headache, such as offering McCallum employment?  Many other companies would grab up a worker like him.

only human

 In the same breath by which Sharon Stone made the karma remark on the Sichuan earthquake, she had proudly proclaimed the friendship she shares with the Dalai Lama.


The backlash against her (from the karma remark) has cost her royalties from endorsing Christian Dior’s skincare products in China, and the reputation she had toiled to build.


And it looks set to also cost her a friendship.


The Dalai Lama, in distancing himself from Sharon Stone, acknowledged that ‘I’ve met that lady’, but then ‘her particular sort of comment – that I don’t know.’


This goes to show that humans, regardless of who they are, are very pragmatic beings.