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.
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.
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’.
Beyond sleazy Jakarta, there is a cluster of islands, numbering to a thousand. And this is called the thousand island or Pulau Seribu in local language. Not many visitors would have known the existence of this oceanic paradise, just 1-2 hours boat ride from the marina in northern Jakarta. Nice for a getaway.
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.