This site contains comments and articles on current issues affecting us,Malaysians.
They views expressed are my own, gained through experience over the years,as an ordinary citizen who worked as a doctor and then a surgeon and retired as such.
Every day we learn something new from our experiences which
offer the best lessons in life. The year 2013 was no different as it was full
of challenges that made me wiser and better equipped to deal problems better.
The lessons I learned from my experiences in 2013 may be classified into 4 main
1. The family unit, the greatest investment. The family is the most
important institution for us. The family unit is the source of our happiness or
sorrow. Therefore we must make special efforts, spend time, money and energy to
cultivate and preserve the unity in the family. We may not see the results of
that unity immediately but definitely much later when the children grow up and
bring in their own problems.
Our parents play a very important role and it important that
we give due importance to their values, wide experience and age. Only time will
prove what they are doing is right for us. When they are old and sickly treat
them with love, respect and dignity. What we are today is because of what they
did yesterday. When they are gone, cherish every moment we had with them.
and love. Anger never solves any problem, it only makes them worse. Every
problem can be solved with love but often for love to produce the desired results
we need a lot of patience and hope that may be a real time of trial.
3. Retire gracefully.
As we grow older we also grow in wisdom and this wisdom should make us leave
the scene gracefully allowing the younger generation to manage their problems
as things change making us less relevant. As we touch the sixties, we enter an
era of wisdom and experience that should be used for the benefit of the younger
Wisdom is gained more through mistakes and failures rather
than well planned successes
4. Doing good. We
must do good always but must be careful not to do so much as others may take
advantage of our goodness and become suspicious of our motives. While doing
good may have its limits never do bad for whatever reason
We stepped into the year 2013 with a lot of hope that the
13GE will bring about the total transformation in the country that will benefit
the people of all races and creed. The 13 GE was the most important event in
the year 2013 and it was the most intensely contested one in the history of the
nation. It was also the one that brought out the worst in our politicians who
fought so hard to win a seat in parliament or state assembly. They resorted to
racism and money politics so openly as though those were their legitimate
rights with blatant disregard to the election laws. The opposition could have
lost the elections narrowly but it nevertheless resulted in a strengthened
force like never before. A strong opposition is seen as a sign that the nation
may be moving towards an effective two-party system of democracy. It also gave
the people hope that the government will be pressured to institute real reforms
in keeping with the aspirations of the people.
people wanted a better socio-economic policy for the well-being of all
Malaysians regardless of their race and creed. They wanted greater transparency
and accountability in management at all levels of the government machinery.
They wanted more democratic space for expressing their opinions freely without
fear of reprisals. They wanted a fairer policy based on need rather than
they also wanted better and safer roads, cheaper houses, more job
opportunities, better and more affordable quality education and quality health
care that is more easily available at affordable costs for all. They wanted a
safer environment for them and their children, one where the air is clean and
crime rate is low and a police force that is colorblind and more
people-friendly. Lastly the people regardless of race and creed wanted an
unimpeded freedom of worship and a society where universal moral values are
taught and upheld by all.
It is now
nearly 8 months after the 13GE but the people are still waiting for signs of
real transformation. Change is yet to be seen or felt by the people, especially
the poor. The question in everyone’s mind is “Will change ever come?” Many
right thinking and concerned Malaysians doubt genuine change will come anytime
soon. Instead of change for the better what we getting is an escalation of
living costs, as commodity prices appear to be on the increase. As Malaysians
enter into the New Year they are going brace for possible domestic financial
crisis as they going to find it more and more difficult to cope with the rising
cost of living.
stage as we are losing hope for change it may be pertinent to recall the words
of Mahatma Gandhi, “You must be the
change you want to see in the world”. How can we put an end to racism when
we are not willing to get rid of racism from our hearts? How can we expect a
fairer distribution of wealth when we are not willing share our profits with
those under our care? How can we expect rule of law when we ourselves don’t
respect them? How can we have a morally upright society when we ourselves are
immoral? How can we abolish corruption when we ourselves are corrupt? The list
goes on and on.
want change and we resort to all sorts of drastic ways to demand that change –
writing to print and cyber media, boycotts and sanctions, street protests,
demonstrations, strikes and even violence which often fail. We fail to realize
that only we can bring about that change by being the change we want to see.
step into 2014 let us be the change we want to see in the country by being the
catalyst of change in ourselves, our family, our schools, places of work,
places of worship and in any organization to which we belong.
If only every Malaysian, rich or poor, young or old,
regardless of his race and creed resolves to bring a change in themselves, our
nation as a whole will see the change that we all want so badly; a multiethnic
nation that is united, peaceful, progressive and with abundance of goodwill in
gather is our respective houses of worship on this New Year eve,let us specially
pray for our leaders that they will gain the wisdom to put the people above
them,their families and cronies.Let us pray that they will lead by example and
bring about the change the people want. Let us pray that they will not stand in
the way of the people of all races and creed interacting with one another in
peace and harmony. Let us pray that they will be inspired to become builders
and not destroyers of the nation and the people.
It’s just a small, white envelope stuck among the branches of our
Christmas tree. No name, no identification, no inscription. It has peeked
through the branches of our tree for the past ten years or so.
It all began because my husband Mike hated Christmas--oh, not the true meaning
of Christmas, but the commercial aspects of it--overspending... the frantic
running around at the last minute to get a tie for Uncle Harry and the dusting
powder for Grandma---the gifts given in desperation because you couldn’t think
of anything else.
Knowing he felt this way, I decided one year to bypass the usual shirts,
sweaters, ties and so forth. I reached for something special just for Mike. The
inspiration came in an unusual way.
Our son Kevin, who was 12 that year, was wrestling at the junior level at the
school he attended; and shortly before Christmas, there was a non-league match
against a team sponsored by an inner-city church. These youngsters, dressed in
sneakers so ragged that shoestrings seemed to be the only thing holding them
together, presented a sharp contrast to our boys in their spiffy blue and gold
uniforms and sparkling new wrestling shoes. As the match began, I was alarmed
to see that the other team was wrestling without headgear, a kind of light
helmet designed to protect a wrestler’s ears.
It was a luxury the ragtag team obviously could not afford. Well, we ended up
walloping them. We took every weight class. And as each of their boys got up
from the mat, he swaggered around in his tatters with false bravado, a kind of
street pride that couldn’t acknowledge defeat.
Mike, seated beside me, shook his head sadly, “I wish just one of them could
have won,” he said. “They have a lot of potential, but losing like this could
take the heart right out of them.” Mike loved kids - all kids - and he knew
them, having coached little league football, baseball and lacrosse. That’s when
the idea for his present came. That afternoon, I went to a local sporting goods
store and bought an assortment of wrestling headgear and shoes and sent them
anonymously to the inner-city church. On Christmas Eve, I placed the envelope
on the tree, the note inside telling Mike what I had done and that this was his
gift from me. His smile was the brightest thing about Christmas that year and
in succeeding years.
For each Christmas, I followed the tradition--one year sending a group of
mentally handicapped youngsters to a hockey game, another year a check to a
pair of elderly brothers whose home had burned to the ground the week before
Christmas, and on and on.
The envelope became the highlight of our Christmas. It was always the last
thing opened on Christmas morning and our children, ignoring their new toys,
would stand with wide-eyed anticipation as their dad lifted the envelope from
the tree to reveal its contents.
As the children grew, the toys gave way to more practical presents, but the
envelope never lost its allure. The story doesn’t end there.
You see, we lost Mike last year due to dreaded cancer. When Christmas rolled
around, I was still so wrapped in grief that I barely got the tree up. But
Christmas Eve found me placing an envelope on the tree, and in the morning, it
was joined by three more.
Each of our children, unbeknownst to the others, had placed an envelope on the
tree for their dad. The tradition has grown and someday will expand even
further with our grandchildren standing to take down the envelope.
Mike’s spirit, like the Christmas spirit will always be with us.
Nancy W. Gavin
This true story was originally published
in the December 14, 1982 issue of Woman's Day magazine. It was the first place
winner out of thousands of entries in the magazine's "My Most Moving
Holiday Tradition" contest in which readers were asked to share their
favorite holiday tradition and the story behind it.
Once again Malaysians have got into the festive mood of
Christmas, New Year and to be followed soon by the Chinese New Year. As usual
we tend to celebrate our respective festivals grandly with a spirit of goodwill
and sharing. Unfortunately the escalating costs this year will be a major
burden that will dampen our spirits, especially the poor, during this season of
Christmas is a time for not just feasting and merry-making as
portrayed by the highly commercialized media but one of sharing and repentance.
Seeking forgiveness from those we hurt is an important part of Christmas, which
is often overlooked. In fact celebrating Christmas will be meaningless if one
harbors ill feeling and hatred for someone, either inside or outside the family.
Apart from that, like other festivities, Christmas is a time
for family bonding and rebuilding of families that may have gone astray for
some reason. In many instances families disintegrate after the death of the
parents especially the mother, who acts as the cement keeping the children
It is extremely sad many children don’t realize the
importance of maintaining the family unity especially after the passing of
their parents. They allow petty disputes to break up the once united family.
This I feel is the reason for many in their fifties and after to lament that Christmas
is no more joyous as it used to be when they were young.
It is indeed true that most of us miss our good old days
when we used to take pains to travel back home to be with our parents and
siblings to spend some memorable time together. It did not cost us much then
but the time spent was so enjoyable that we cannot forget the feelings of joy
that we used to experience them. The pleasant memories of what we used to do
together as a family still remains vividly in our minds which makes as sad that
things today are not as they used to be.
This Christmas it may be a time to review our relationship with
the members of our family. Are we united like we use to be? If not what is our
contribution to this disunity or disintegration of our family. What can we do
to rebuild the unity we used to enjoy before?
Most of us have to some extent contributed for the disunity
in our families and all we need to do is to accept that fact and sacrifice a
little of our likes for the sake of a brother or sister to undo the bad we have
done. We can be a little more generous to help out a brother or sister in need.
That may be all that is needed to start the process of reunion.
The family unit is the most important source for the success and well being of any community.Our happiness to come directly or indirectly from that family unit which must be protected at all costs.
As brothers and sisters the common among us far outnumber
the differences and as the saying goes it is indeed very true that blood is
thicker than water in most cases. As we celebrate this Christmas, let us be a
little more charitable and let that charity begin in our own families, among
our own siblings whom we always loved.
hate race discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations. I have
fought it all during my life; I fight it now, and will do so until the end of
These above were the determined
words of the late Nelson Mandela who was a South African anti-apartheid fighter
and politician who served as first black President of South Africa from 1994 to
1999.He fought racism not just when he was young and idealistic but till he
died at the ripe old age of 95.
Mandela served 27 years in prison spanning
over the prime of his life, not for crimes he committed but for going against
an apartheid white regime. Mandela was a controversial figure for much of his
life and was even denounced as a terrorist for his revolutionary anti- racist activities.
In fact he said he was made, by the law, a criminal, not because of what
he did, but because of what he stood for, because of what he thought and
because of his conscience.
We are told that truth will always prevail,
and it was true in Mandela’s life. After years of suppression and unfair political
detentions he finally gained international acclaim for his activism, and
received more than 250 honors, including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize.
Like Mahatma Gandhi before him, he
won his fight against racism and the discriminating policy of “White Supremacy”
in his country not by violence but by peace. He won the war against racism by
winning the battle against hate and racism within himself. By his victory he has
proved that it is the hatred in our hearts for others of different race,
creed or color that is the cause of our failures to bring justice and peace
among the people.
Mandela’s life is a message to us is
peace and love for all man regardless of race, creed or color. If we cultivate
this in our hearts, racism will be automatically wiped out from face of the
earth. His thoughts on hate and love were clear in his message, "No one is born hating another person
because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must
learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for
love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite”
World leaders and leaders at all
levels in our society should try to follow him in what he did not just to praise
him for what he did just as a political rhetoric. They must not make a great
hut humble man like him who is an icon of anti-racism a political tool for
their own racist agenda. That would be hypocrisy in highest order.
The world mourns the death of a
great son whose struggles in life for justice and death should not be in vain
but be a useful lesson for all. We must get rid of the inherent racist
tendencies from our hearts and strive to build a united and prosperous
multiracial and multi-religious society.