The Street Magician


I was watching a young practicing street magician perform some card tricks at a neighbourhood centre with my brother. As he tried to shuffle the cards in some fanciful ways, a gust of wind blew by and his cards were splattered all over the air, and eventually on the ground. The congregated crowd laughed unsympathetically and slowly dissipated back into their normal lives while he was picking up the cards, card by card. My brother and myself, together with a couple of elderly spectators felt sorry for the embarrassment and helped him as he apologised profusely for his bad act. After we recovered the cards, my brother told him to try again, exactly the same way he would do earlier on. The young man agreed to try the stunt again despite only four persons watching. This time he did it, fancifully and his magic card tricks were amazing. We applauded and more spectators congregated to watch the remaining of his really entertaining tricks. Before we left, my brother planted a five dollar note into the tin box as a token of appreciation. The young man thanked us for giving him another chance to perform. My brother in turn told him we should be the ones thanking him for such an incredible performance. In simple words, he said that the faltering moment was just a passing moment. The confident re-attempt was the real feat for all of us to remember. Thereafter with a handshake, we went for our grocery shopping. 

Sometimes, we missed the best parts of our lives because we never had in mind to give others another chance for another go. This morning, my brother taught me this lesson – that the best things in life may not come by the first time we encounter them. They reveal themselves only when we show them we have the big heart to give them another chance to “do it again” – in the way spoken by my brother, “to break the unforgiving spell”.

Great Saturday morning indeed.

#23 Bangkok (The City) – The First Fifty Unofficial Photos

As the song goes, “One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble”, but one DAY in Bangkok makes a nice girl happy. Shopping paradise as we call it, the capital of Thailand offers more than malls – the excitement comes from what’s outside the buildings in the tropical heat. In this series of photos of Bangkok, the first lot shows the city at a glance, the people and the atmosphere. Bangkok has its own charm, but like all other Asian cities, you need a bit of forgiveness, a bit of acquired taste and a bit of guts to fully understand the city and its people. Not the safest of all cities, but certainly one of the most interesting cosmopolitans in South East Asia.


#22 Sri Lanka and Its Wonders

Little has been said about Sri Lanka since the Tamil Tigers came into the picture with its civil war. However, since the conclusion of the war, tourism picked up and opened this little eden for the world’s other inhabitants once again. Going with it, it’s the Sirigiya Rock, Timcomalee Beach, Anuradhapura and of course, Colombo itself. A good trip to remember and nice photos to constantly remind us of its beauty.



#21 Hua Hin – The Imperial Beach

Nestled some 3 hours drive (150miles) south of Bangkok, one arrives at the slow moving township of Hua Hin. Not really a popular visitation these days amongst foreigners, this coastal town was once a royal favourite, one of the few vacation spots for the King of Thailand.

Spent a few days in Hua Hin – really nothing much else to do than to laze on its fantastic (and almost isolated) beach (on a weekday). Cool sea breeze, bright sun, clear waters, white sand and a nice tan. That’s what we hope to bring back from Hua Hin, and we did.

















#20 Two Moms, Two Kids and A Pigeon

2 Kids 2 Moms and a pigeon.

At a typical neighbourhood food centre on a crowded Sunday morning, one would probably imagine the hordes of hungry weekenders crowding a food centre housing delectable stuff. Two tables, each with a mother and a kid were laden with good food.

In the midst of brunching, an uninvited guest – a blackish pigeon – wobbled across the stampeding feet and arrived at table #1. The kid pointed at the bird exhilaratingly and before turning to his mother. Without adding another word, the well-put together (in fact quite beautiful) woman raised her feet and attempted to kick the bird away, sending it in a fright as it fluttered off. She then turned and told her child in immaculate and accented mandarin, “Do not play with pigeons. They are filthy and ‘poisonous’.”

Moments later, in the midst of brunching, an uninvited guest – the same blackish pigeon – wobbled across the stampeding feet and arrived at table #2. The kid pointed at the bird exhilaratingly and before turning to his mother. The shabbily dressed woman peeled off a corner of her toast and gave it to her child. In typical mandarin, she told her kid, “Let’s share your breakfast with your new friend.”

I wouldn’t make a judgement on which situation is right or wrong, perhaps there isn’t a right or wrong in the first place. But as we progress into a more developed and advanced society, instead of looking at new economic measures and technological advancements, perhaps we should do a self-check on our own societal values and perhaps even humanity – to examine why neighbouring doors which were once opened, are now all closed; why we can all harmoniously live together without anti-racism propaganda or laws yet now stringently rely on them, and why a place where there was no necessity to reserve seats for the needfuls, yet now we need to enforce them by compulsion.

As the inspiring Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”, it is time that we relook at the definition of greatness, with cents, dollars and achievements put aside. Nothing can take the place of the sense of respect, acceptance and empathy which are makings of a country we  will be so terrifically proud of, yet, in the real sense, sadly depleting in this place we call ‘home’.

#18 The Little Grey Softie


My family folks together with two annoying aunts barged into my bedroom rudely while I was sleeping to wake me up for breakfast with them, and thereafter saw me sleeping with this little softy with it beside my face. This was followed up some chortling and especially uncalled-for remarks that I hadn’t grown up despite time has gone me by for forty odd years. I wasn’t angry nor that annoyed, after all it was a nice rainy Saturday morning. But I was kinda disheartened that my family chorused with the laughter. This old ‘bitten’ toy belonged to Marco, my dog which passed away at 17 last year. Although I will always keep him in mind, this little childish, bitten and perhaps a little stinky toy, is the final bit of what I can still see of him, at least within me. That’s why I had it with me in bed every night, like the way it was, when Marco was alive. So I thought the bellowing was uncalled for, especially from my parents. Some things in our lives may appear minute or insignificant, but that does not signify the void they will leave behind when they are gone. And Marco is one.

#17 The Grass Patch

I was never a staunch catholic though I was born one, as devoted by mother. And going to church is nowadays a rarity. But albeit all, I say my prayers every night to spend a few moments with God, and will never fail to ask for directions and the keen spirit to help myself whenever I needed help in life.

Since the drought a couple of months ago, watering the grass patch along the bus stop has often been a day and night routine for me. Whilst the rest of the area turned brown, this grass patch thrived. Thus with the recent rain, the area was abundantly covered with greens since the grass never really withered.

What followed was a trip to have breakfast with a friend this morning and as I headed to towards the bus stop, I had a really nasty slip and fell backwards onto the ground. My neck would have snapped or skull broken as my head literally hit the ground. But for the fact that I can make this entry on WordPress shows that I am pretty alright and unhurt despite a rude shock. And this was because I landed my head on the same cushion of tall green bush beside the bus stop which thrived despite the drought because of the few mouthfuls of water every day from my drinking bottle. Some people would say it’s my luck, I would not contest. But I choose to believe that answers to my prayers for help have been given to me long before, and the option to help myself by defining my own values in compassion and generosity, as well as the opportunity to answer my own prayer were placed before me each day.

As I slowly recover from the scare, unhurt, and well enough to share this message, I hope friends will remember that sometimes the little kindness we show each day may not mean much by the act itself, but life is always fair in its unique way, and when the day you needed the gentleness and kindness, it will be given back to you.

As a faith follower, I thank God for the opportunity to help myself, and the realization that fruits of labour come from our hands, not His wonders.

#16 A Flight of Stairs

I commute to work everyday and to get to the subway station, I have walk down a flight of stairs. Not a very long stretch, this is one which eventually leads me to the escalator to get to the basement.

For the past many years, I have walked up and down this flight of stairs to get to the station and from the station to go home almost everyday. This morning, my father decided to take the train with me to get to the hospital for his treatment. After we got down to the base of the stairways, he asked me, “Do you know how many steps are there on this flight of stairs you walked every day for the past many years?”

I told my father I didn’t know.

“For years you have been going up and down this flight of steps and you have no idea?” he inquired. I mean, who would go around counting a flight of steps albeit using it for many years. So I told him I was either on a rush or when getting back from work, too tired to do small little irrelevant things like counting steps.

My dad said there were 68 steps. Then he smiled.

In life, we always think there are many things not worthy of our attention, or needing us to know, like counting the number of steps. But in reality, it is actually not about worth or need. It is about awareness. Day in and day out, we are too involved with what we deem is necessary and valuable to our living. Day in and day out, we are too conscious about classifying and prioritizing and we leave room for things to fall under the category of not being needful. Then we put them aside, and eventually took no notice or forgot about them.

On every acting stage, it is the props that gave the setting a sense of reality. And the setting gives the plot life.

In our lives, it is these little things not worthy of our awareness that construct our world. And this world gives us reason for being.

We do not go around counting every step or tree or rock or stone. We just need to know that they exist and they have reasons for us to know them a little better, despite our hurried lives and prioritization. Once in a while, grant them an attention to know them better and in doing so, understand the small unnoticeable role they play in our lives which makes our being more florid, and many a times, more meaningful.


Have you taken a good look at the pot of withering plant out in your yard? Find time to do so and give it a reason to exist. Then it will once again, with no doubt, put its colour back into your life.

#15 Mastering the Art of French Cooking


I had the pleasure of watching an old movie, Julie and Julia,  last night (starring Meryl Streep) and it was indeed a very pleasant 2 1/2 hours – entertaining, enriching, and most of all enlightening.

Several lessons were extracted from this movie, and to me the most valuable ones I probably had garnered, would be –

1. Too many cooks may spoil the broth, but always remember that there are times, we cannot handle everything alone, and will need the help from others. Just ask and don’t frame your mind to your assumptions. The most unlikely person may be the one who would be able to help you with all you need. (On Cooking Lobsters)

2. Food can be overcooked, burnt or even turned out purple. But if you have the determination to clean up the mess, relight the fire and start all over again, you can cook a good dinner eventually. Mistakes are certainties in our lives but never disrupting if we have the determination to wash the pots and start all over again. (On Beef Stew)

3. There are many a times we cook a meal for a grand purpose. When your very important and hopeful invited guest did not turn up just because it rained, remember your husband is still there with you to enjoy the dinner. Never overlook the people standing by your side during the biggest disappointment. They have a reason to be there. (On A Special Dinner Guest)

4. No one speaks out to the darkness; Just like this blog, it does not reach a lot of people. But it is the value of sharing that matters, irrespective whether how many will hear or listen to you. So, keep doing what you enjoy – you never know who is watching, reading, or listening, and the magic may have changed their lives even without you knowing. (On Julie’s Blog)

5. And finally, the one final lesson that really touches me – a person is to us, whom and how we think he or she to be, not who he or she actually is. And this thought, should be very the reason why we choose to accept, and love him or her. It brings happiness. (Julia Hates Me)

It was a nice movie, albeit a little long, but I had a very nice evening sitting right in front of the screen, no popcorns or drinks, just enjoying and understanding it.