December 13, 2017

My Mother

         It’s most unlikely that everyone, by choice, will live an unusual life. Circumscribed by circumstances, Most will repeatedly, the majority will face dull mundane days throughout their life-time; hardly pulling through, in the naked face of bouts of episodal situations – wrestling, time and again, with untested difficult situations and seemingly trying circumstances. My mother is such a mortal. 

         Instinctively maternal and protective of her brood, that she was! Yet, like most Asian Chinese women, she would, as if it is a taboo......to never openly display her affections and emotions. As always, as if intended, Chinese mothers mainly show genuine love ...through their caring deeds! They appear mostly...unsmiling and stoic as can be seen from the old portraits dangling  forlornly on the wooden wall of our hall, which I now can faintly recollect...

        I cannot say my mother is an unusual or extraordinary woman. Far from it. In the general sense of greatness that we are used to: she is no icon...no Mother Theresa ...with hardly any significant or colossal achievement to boast of. My feelings for her, as such, is contextually my own, of a private relationship between mother and son. It’s not for the telling...because that medium will always fail us.....falling short of the more critical aspect of ...feeling, the one true emotion that will never lie!
As epitomised by my mother.

        Chinese mothers do live rather  solitary lives in quiet solitude, eking out  a living as best as they could for their families....Our circumstances were personal to ourselves, living off on the British plantations of Malaya of yore....now lost to forgotten time.

        My mother had 8 children. My elder sister told me that Mother could have aborted one or two fetuses due to unnecessary "over-carrying" extra heavy latex pails piled to the brim....to the weighing station every tapping day. As children, we hardly see our mother, Before dawn, she has gone out to do her tapping. 

        My mother showed a high degree of discipline. She tapped her trees, ever carefully not to cut beyond the bark. She had honed her art to perfection and possibly as a reward for her precision tapping, was always allocated better parcels of trees to tap. Except for Sunday if she did not tap, we all went to church. She was semi-literate and could barely read the Chinese vernacular newspapers. I do not believe she knew too much of the Bible either but she was forever fervent of her love for Christ as her way to salvation. 

      It was her endeavor to attempt to read well that imbibed in me the same passion for reading. Though she was to play only a peripheral role in my education, she did all she could to ensure that we had new school uniforms and wearable shoes. Yes, there were times when we had to wear the hand-me-downs from my big brother and to wear his over-sized school shoes which oftentimes departed, dangling off my tiny feet. Interestingly, she made sure that we had our bottles of black coffee was tightly capped. Yet, despite all her efforts, many a  time, while scampering to get seats on the bus, the school bag will be squashed causing the coffee  to spill all over, staining my extra large work books.

       My mother taught me honesty. As a tapper, she could have diluted the latex to cheat on its liquid weight. So on the wing of a prayer, most tappers indulging in this practice, would  pray very hard that the factory management would not find this out with their density reader. If they do, then woe betide, you will get a lower pricing for the latex. Lower grade latex contains more water and will summarily be given a lower price rate.

       “You know....she talks to herself a lot at night,” her room-mate at the KJG Home told me. She is now being placed at this this home on Templar Road. Apart from having a mild stroke, my mother has evidently taken a fall, some three weeks ago.  Only she knew about it before the bone scan was done at Sungai Buluh Hospital confirmed a fracture on her spine. Despite all that stoic fa├žade she exhibits, my mother has her weak spots. She is “very complaining”, and showed signs of difficulty of adjustment to the Home. All too often, she suffers chills at night because of the fast speeding ceiling fan and the central air-conditioning of the home. Yet, despite all this, she still refused to request  that the room fan be switched down to a lower speed or even to be completely switched off at night. Is she sending us a signal that she wanted a single room, one that we could ill-afford.

         She waited impatiently for the clock to tick to 12.30 pm. That’s her lunch time. She vigorously massaged both of her thighs. She looked at her frail looking hands....bones and skin...weak... 

         It’s time to collect the tapped latex in the earthen cups. She had strength. The chores quickly done, she cleaned the pails and heaved two big pails of foaming latex onto two sturdy metal hooks welded  to both sides of her bicycle. With a spring, she was on the bicycle and  heading for the factory. Mostly, if I was helping her on this tapping day, I would tread behind carrying the empty pails and her tapping knives.

        My mother is a very driven person. Very focused. Very demanding. Exacting. Procedural..yes that she was. That's her way! I saw industry in the person of my mother. I was to inherit most of her traits...both good and bad. Looking back, I must admit.. I do take to work like a mad person...like a duck to water. I was a perfectionist in my thoughts, just like my mother..always laying out the best laid plans. In reality, the result was always short of my high expectations.  I guess that’s life.
Maybe life is such a bitch! I never did really well in most public examinations; as much as I was wont to burn the midnight oil... At the university, I was marks away from an Upper...  In civil service..  I was one of the men that didn’t make it up the rung. There was no top for me. Ziglar may be there...not me...Success has been elusive.

      What did my mother stand for in life? Life to her was also a bitch! Yet she persevered.  From hand to mouth. From desperately making withdrawals of her savings account to pawning her family jewels to help my father make ends meet for the family every month!. That’s long suffering... Yes, Mother’s life was mostly long suffering....









December 04, 2017

Leela Ramadas - Going Home




Bye, Leela!

Leela, Ramadas and Govind.. Early Years!

I guess sometimes good people just go home earlier.

It must be ..in the case of dear Leela.

Our paths crossed when we entered USM in 1972.

On graduating, we joined the civil service.

18 August 1975, Leela and I reported for duty at the Ministry of Local Government and Federal Territory.

We really had a uproarious time..shared happy office hours. Times of our lives!

We did tea, we did lunch and we had fun...Leela, Arul and me.

I attended her Deepavali open house at Kg. Pandan.

She got married to Ramadas.

After our few months training at Intan, we parted ways.

Despite that lack of face-to-face  contact, we knew about the goings of each other.

She had her first child, Govind.

Leela...the only person to call me, Hengjee! Most endearingly!


Leela-Cheery as Always

Stepping into the Brown Black and Blues Studio in Desa Sri Hartmas, I turned on my Whatsapp.

A shocking message from Param......" Leela passed away." 12.12 pm it registered on that fateful day... 3rd December 2017.

She left us earlier that morning at Universiti Hospital, UKM.

I told Jenny as she was readying to play on her keyboard.

She was shocked!

I was devastated!

While listening to the Tabularasa Band practising, tears welled up in my eyes.

It sank in. I have lost another golden friend..........

I was to cry many more times on 3rd and 4th December.

Hugging Ramadas, we cried together...Das said he just couldn't believe...Leela has gone!

I cried silently while having dinner with my daughter Juliana at hte Salak South Food Court.

I cried again when Mangai hugged me on the day of Leela's funeral.

It must have been a long goodbye.

She has now gone...gone home!

Goodbye, Golden girl...

You have indeed enriched everyone that you met.

For that we thank you!

You have gladdened many a dear friend's heart!

What a gem of a person,you really were!

She Once Tread on this Earth - An Angel in a Dashing Saree!

Au Revoir! Farewell!

Rest in peace!

Heng

4 December 2017



December 03, 2017

1959 and Lost Days

It was to my surprise that my sister had some historical photos of our bygone days in Diamond Jubilee Estate.

Wunderbar!

Here they are:


From Left Standing: Ah Mui, Mother, late Shaline, Father, Jee Heng and Jit Cheng. Seated from left: Grandma and then Grandpa. Resting on Grandma is Gee Tan and on Grandpa, it is Jeffrey Heng. Circa 1959

Mother and Father circa 1978

Grandma and Grandpa  circa 1978

Gee Tan and Siew Ping. Wedding

Local MCA Chapter Visits Father. Circa 2017









October 15, 2017

Playboy Days

Three Adorable Bunnies. Seated  Left to Right :Kok Kee Boo, the late Kamaruddin Rahim and myself

A Lovely Bunny to Hold and Behold: Those were the Days!

Halcyon days in Makati Metro-Manila. The Year 1980.

The last Playboy Club in Asia.

The waves were sweeping all over Asia against such establishments.

We were opportune to visit the Playboy Club. No locals are allowed.

Furnishing our passports, we were led by their PROs into a hall.

We sat down, were offered a drink.

Then the bunnies trooped in.

Yes, they were beguiling.

I cannot remember how much we paid that night.

The experience was priceless.

I heard soon afterwards, the Playboy Club closed down . Playboy Clubs ceased to exist in Asia and the Far East from then onward up to this date on the death of Hugh Hefner.

Two photographs that bear testimony of our experience in time and place.

It was in many ways, our blessings!

September 21, 2017

My God's Blessed Day..19 September 2017...Truly...

Coming Alive Again
With some trepidation, I arrived at my PBB branch at SEAPARK. It was about 3.30 pm and after accompanying my good friend, Dr. Lee to Hong Leong Bank. He has just recovered from a triple bypass and it was the first day he took his " baby steps " out of his home.

I took my number from the queue machine and awaited my turn. The crowd was sparse. Then I responded to my number being called; the officer took my thumbprint; and thereafter gave me my bank balance.

A smile came to my face. Yes, it was true that the withdrawal was less than the stipulated amount of RM 2,099 . Meaning.....it was my last payment on a decision to buy a dodgy office property committed in 2014. To date, no one wants to rent the property thanks to two wicked souls! We would not speak of these devils who have brought down the property market.

Good things then began to happen as I put into  gear my resolve to begin to settle all the swallowing debts encircling me................

First to bring me some inner satisfaction was that I have settled the full amount of about RM 1,800 that my son has advanced to me to replace the automatic gates outside our old yet to be repainted home. Then my arrears on my Indah Water was paid and I am no longer their concern. Done my bit for the environment.

Next, to end  my payment issue with ACCA Global. I wrote an email to Lay Choo to help me resolve this black hole of a payment issue.

The next target was London Pacific Insurance (LPI)....an insurance company which has got its heart in the wrong place. Money bedevils....this is a true case! I rang and spoke to Belinda on 21 September and told her about these unnecessary payments that I have been saddled with from her Sylockian company. Each year my property, Avenue Crest, pays a Master Fire Policy on behalf of its unit-holders. LPI got the money and the hurrah!....but just because I took a commercial loan from their sister company, PBB... they conveniently issue a single policy on my unit for RM 800+, double insuring the unit!. I had this problem in 2015-2016 but somehow managed to get a credit note to rationalise this issue. In the ensuing year of 2016-2017, LPI again got back to their menace and sent me a policy for that period, hammering me down by another RM 800. It's confirmed that LPI is a leech! I had some problems with CB Land, the developer of Avenue Crest then and could not obtain the copy of the fire master policy for Avenue Crest. In August 2017, for the period 2017-2018, again the LPI wrote me another new policy. Banggang! So, Belinda of Customer Service of LPI, taking cognizance of my concern, assured me the current new policy will be cancelled and the premium returned  to me. As for the 2016-2017 policy premium ..they will look into it once PBB Taipan USJ gave an indication  in black and white of my full loan repayment.

So now I have to resolve my outstanding issue with PBB. I spoke to Miss Chung. Initially she was being procedural but I was adamant that she see the urgency in my matter with LPI. After some initial difficult pauses, she agreed to send me a response provided I write an email to her requesting for the letter. I will do it soon.

I then next set my sights on the Joint Property Management  Board of Avenue Crest.  I spoke to Siti and could also see some light at the end of the tunnel.  I must pay the arrears in terms of the management fees, sink fund and water.. They also will entertain  a waiver of the interest they have been levying against me. I should be able to resolve this in time.

As for my credit card bills, it will be slowly paid up too in time. They do not concern me too much.

I think I can see better days before me with shoulders less yoked by debts and uncertainties.

Thank God. Praise the Lord!


August 30, 2017

In a Funk....: Moods of 1970/71 MHS

We Did it OUR WAY!

It had to take place. New Lotus Restaurant, 12.00 noon, on 18 August 2017.

So we all met. Richard before he leaves for Milton Keynes, Doris and hubby coming up form JB and myself busing down from PJ.

An uproarious time reminiscent of the funky moods of 1970 and 1971 Malacca High School.

Great company, great champagne and wahloi..karaoke!

richard and me shares some songs together...My Way!












Attending:

Doris,
and Mr Boo,
Richard,
Philip,
Pauline Lim,
Yoke Eng,
Phek Kim,
Joo Lian,
Eugene,
Bernard,
Heng,
Eddie,
Choon Seng,
and Linda Yong

We shall meet again CNY 2018

Having fun!


Some Humorous Incidents

Two interesting incidents.

Tan Sri Rahman could not get in after 5 tries to get into the approach road of Armada Hotel. He left afterwards.

Two other ladies came on 18th August instead...

Also many could not turn up because of health and domestic reasons.

Ang Saw Aim

Ladies Special Photo




Martini

Suresh Kumari

The Bosses: Logan, Param, Rajan, Rizal and Sanjoy


Phang Sow Yoong, Annie, Usdi, Samsiah, ....  and Zaini Add caption