Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Dare to Dream

"Dream your pictures, paint your dreams. Don't let life get you down. Stay strong & sure. Always rise above your circumstances. Each storm will pass you by and a new dawn will come."

"You are a sentimental old fool," one of my friends said. "How can you even think of climbing the 7 highest mountains on the 7 continents of the world at your age?" "How can I?" I thought to myself for a while. Various doubts came into my mind and for a while I was unsure. Then I thought to myself, " I have never ever had prolonged moments of difficulty when I decided that I will do the tough things in my life." All such times have come and gone and I have remained in one piece (by God's grace).

As I reminiesced and looked back at the years, I realized that life has been good to me simply because I always chose the "high" road of adventure. Time and again, I have dared to dream and it has been really good. It is now time to look beyond the present horizons and move to the other adventures that beckon from afar.

I will be climbing Mt Kinabalu in July again and after that, the road ahead is pointing to other more interesting destinations. Where it leads me, I will not know...... All I know is that I will go. I am now starting an Adventure Buddies Program and I invite friends to join in. We have planned numerous exciting trips around Malaysia and these will cover the following:
  • Adventure Sabah (White water rafting, Snorkelling, Jungle walks & City fun) - September 2010
  • Mysterious Mulu (Caving, climbing and jungle trekking) - February 2011
  • Sensational Sipadan (Snorkelling, Scuba diving, Mild trekking) - April 2011
  • Mount Kinabalu (Climbing, Adventure) - March 2011 and September 2011
  • Adventure Gopeng (White water Rafting, Trekking, Caving) - January 2011
What is life if it it is not living? So let us come together and live it to the max!

OHock Siew

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Dream your pictures, paint your dreams. Don't let life get you down. Stay strong & rise above your circumstances. Each storm will pass you by and a new dawn will come

Try as I may, I have often had encounters with people who simply cannot see themselves! It is amazing - everything seems so clear and yet despite whatever is pointed out and said, such people simply cannot see themselves!

There are the "Irritants" who will just talk and talk and usually it is about themselves and their problems. They will not only talk but they will impose on you too. They simply don't realize that they are imposing and are causing you discomfort and ill-will and so they go on...... Sad really because such people will go through their lives unchanged. I know a few like that and I do my best to avoid them. They will talk about themselves, they will ask you questions, they will show you deep concern, they will offer to help you but they will irritate you even more..... There is this guy who will come up to me and say, "Are you sick today? You look a little bit purple around your eyes...." Another day he will come up and say, "I think you are tired, why don't you rest more?" (when actually I am feeling on top of the world). You feel like strangling them because they darken your bright day. I had someone like that working for me once and I was ecstatic when she decided to leave me. On the day she left, she was still worried if I will be fine without her....?

Then there are the "Negatives" who cannot help seeing the "down" side in every situation. Before something happens, they are already expecting the worst. Whatever you say or do to allay their fears amounts to little. They have already got preconceived notions of what will happen and they are so sure that they cannot ever have it right. And they are right - most of the time. I have a couple of friends who think that it will rain even when the sun is shining brightly. Ask them to climb a mountain and they will tell you they will probably fall and break a leg. Ask them to go out for a picnic and they see accidents happening. Such people are scared of their own shadows but how do you tell them they have a problem. They will think you are the plague waiting to infect them.

Then there are the "Super-confidents" who think they are the most capable and talented people around. Just because they are a little talented, they see everyone else as inferior to them in their area of specialty. They brag and they think they are infallible. They have have got an ill-conceived notion of how good they really are. They are actually quite bad but do they know it? They don't and they will forget about their defeats remembering only the times when they did well. I have this friend who thinks he is a wonderful speaker. he thinks that he has not risen in the speaking circuit because everyone is jealous of him and are trying to keep him down. If only he is given a chance, he is 100% sure he will speak better than many of these old 'foggies' who monopolize the speaking circuit. Will he ever see the real picture? Probably not!

Then there are the "Super-motivated". They have attended a Power Motivation program given by a world-famous speaker and they think they have discovered the secret to their own great success. They believe they can walk on fire and tread on water. They think that if they "will" their desire to come to past, it will happen. So they will and will and will and they will keep on 'willing' the rest of their lives. Don't try to tell them otherwise. I have this friend who after attending a talk by a Super Motivator from USA thinks he is the next big thing to happen. He thinks that in every area of his life, he can excel by having this 'super' mind. Try to play badminton with him and he thinks he can beat you even though he plays like an old 'fart'. Beat him once and he thinks he will learn enough to beat you the next time. Don't talk to him too much about spending time on the practice court to learn and practice. He doesn't need it because he thinks the winning mind-set is enough. Such people pay huge sums of money getting top experts to tell them what they want to hear - that they can succeed big in a short while with the transformed mind-set. This is the biggest "sham" of all. They continue to live on in their own world (after all they have paid so much and should be able to get at least some of their money's worth. Don't you think even a 10 year old child is smarter..... 

Then there are the "This-is-my-world-and-so-what-if-you-think-otherwise" type. They are sure they know what they are doing. They are the ones going to heaven while everyone else suffers the danger of being left behind. Their pride keeps them on - they think they are making so much progress when everyone else can see that they are actually walking around in circles. Do they learn much? Only in the one singular pursuit that they have. Everything else is "no go". Just don't tell them they are wrong. They will villify you! The best thing is to let them be......There are many of these people around and they are closer to you than you think. Even some in your family may be like this but you cannot tell them because it will create the 'perfect' storm. If I can come closer to the truth, some of your spouses may just be in this category. If you have someone like this, you better turn to God for respite and consolation. At least, he will help you keep your big mouth shut.  If you have someone like that and you cannot get rid of that someone, you need to have a solution. Find things to do - go climb mountains and learn new things. It may be a bigger blessing than you expect. I have a friend who told me that once Menopause is reached, you can no longer have sex. No matter what is said, she holds fast to this view. Then you wonder why her husband is improving his looks so much and continuing to pursue 'young' activities. You figure it out! 

Anyway you see it, these people are blind and they will remain blind to their capabilities and their limitations. Until they see themselves, they will not be able to see the real world. Just don't tell them that they have a fault and a weakness. You will only become their enemy because you have stepped on their 'sacred' ground. Instead humor them - say a few nice words and make sure you get out of range before you heave your sigh of relief. Then you be thankful that you are so sure your are NOT LIKE THEM. OR ARE YOU? (You may be, because you have just thought like them). It may be like them, that you are not aware of it because the most common comment of people in the 5 categories above is, "Thank God I am not like them...!"

Can they change?? Can you change??? Yes, change can happen. Ask them to come and see me. I believe I can change almost anyone (my wife excepted). But if I say this, am I not like them a bit too? You think through this. Have fun......

Friday, January 9, 2009


I have not been posting on my blog for the past 3 weeks. I had been really busy getting ready to take over a company and preparing for the World-famous Little Angels Charity Concert in Kuala Lumpur this coming Sunday. To say that I have been busy is an understatement. I have been burning the candle both ends.

Still, it has not been a reluctant involvement. I see the end result of the funds going to deserving charities involving the poor and the needy and I know that all the hard work will be worth it. The problems related to the concert are numerous and what is worse is that the people who have committed to make the ticket sales have not done what they were supposed to do - sell!

All these people have 'great' excuses but the truth of the matter as I see it is that they did not even try to sell the tickets that were allocated to them. Then as a response, they had to think of all the most innovative excuses to eaplain away their lack of results. What a shame - people who hold responsibiities who don't even quite bother to try.

The selfishness of people is nowhere better seen than when the pressure is on. They blame others, they blame their wives, they blame the dog, they blame the weather but they avoid looking at themselves. The fact of the matter is that such people are abject failures who cannot do and achieve things and who are too embarassed by what others will think of them if they went around asking for assistance. Sad - so sad!

Then, there are those who think that someone soliciting for a response for them to attend a concert is such a big crime. I simply sent a simple email to her husband asking him to consider buying tickets to come for the concert and said that if he did not respond, I will understand. The wife came up to my wife's office and threw a huge tantrum asking that I stop approaching her husband for any more such requests.

I felt so happy when I heard about this tantrum. I knew that I had gone beyond the ordinary in working for the success of this concert which will see all the proceeds going to the poor and the needy. As for this silly petty woman, I feel sorry for her. Such a woman will go through the rest of her life trying to dominate and subjugate everyone around them thinking that money can buy everything. Funny she didn't make any noise when her husband called me to help him open the Philippines market and I took the trouble of making a trip all on my own expense to Manila to help his Manager see people I knew.

Monday, December 22, 2008


Dream your pictures, paint your dreams. Don't let life get you down. Stay strong & rise above your circumstances. Each storm will pass you by and a new dawn will come


Dear Family & friends,


1…Memories are like colours in our minds…..
All in all, it was such an eventful 2 weeks. It all started when I went to Sabah on 8 December with Inky and Daniel, my Grandson for a few days. I stayed at Kasih Sayang, the Resort lodge of my good friends, Cheng Kiat and Lynn. I had such nostalgia standing at the deck of Kasih Sayang looking out at the vista of sprawling Kota Kinabalu that laid at my feet. It brought back great memories of the many years I had at my own holiday house just about 50 yards from Kasih Sayang. As a family, we had so many great moments in that holiday house and I will never forget the Chinese New Year of 1995 when most of the extended family came and stayed with us for a week there.

2…Most of all, there was love
All-in-all, there were 32 of us. I remember the rush preparing the vehicles to ferry all of the family members up there and then the organization to arrange the cooking and the replenishment of things required to house so many people. It was amazing that I could put up more than 30 people in the 2 holiday houses that I had then. We were sleeping on the floor and all over the decks but it did not matter. The expense and the effort put in were really worth it. That week will linger on in our memories for the great camaraderie we had, where for once the entire clan and extended family were together. There was merriment; there was fellowship; there were deep conversations; there were extensions of stories of yesteryears but most of all, there was love. The love that flowed was so special because for a week, time stood still for most of us and we left our worries and cares behind.

3…Catching up on years of missing moments
Located at more than 2,000 feet above sea-level amidst mist-covered evenings and sun-sprayed mornings, we understood the real expressions of love that came unreservedly and we understood how filial love can be so wonderfully encouraging and exciting. We must have caught up years of missing moments in that fleeting week.

4…The gratitude for a life of blessings
As I stood there that morning in Kasih Sayang taking in the reflection of the city from that bright morning sun, a smile crossed my face and an extreme sense of gratitude came washing all over me. It was as if I was bathe in a glow of unbridled love and for that one moment in time, I knew how privileged I have been to have been given such a family and such great friends in my life. I must have been one of the most blessed person as I recalled all those moments of enriched times. Some of those who had been there in 1995 on Chinese New Year’s eve and who witnessed the great scenes of fireworks shooting all across the skies have passed on.

5…Nostalgia in memories – a parent’s pride
I recount that week spent in quiet conversation with my parents Cheng Siang and Kin Tee. They were really proud of me that I could have achieved the bringing together of the clan at a Holiday place that I could call my own. I remember overhearing them share with the other Uncles and Aunties and friends how their son, Hock Siew had done so well and could afford to own such a dream place. I pretended not to hear as I felt their pride flow through the air. It was as if they were the hosts and their happiness at such “ownership” even for brief moments brought them a replaced dignity that laid in unfulfilled dreams. I was utterly happy for them. They have passed on and oh, how I miss them. How I wished I had done so much more for them and spent much more time with them. I tell my friends now, don’t miss the moments you have with your aging parents. Love them and tell them again and again how you appreciate them. Give them the joy of your reaffirmation and their love will bring you great legacies to be handed on. When we bless our parents, we will in turn be blessed by our children…. Yes I miss my parents.

6…Nostalgia in memories – ‘Elders’ and their eccentricities
I remember my Godmother Chyung Hau who came for that week because we insisted. She was quietly happy and I could see her at her best, fussing about how this should be done that way and how things should be arranged. She still thought that we were kids who had to be taught the ways of the world. We all accepted it because we loved her for the years she had given her unremitting love to us. My uncle Yew Kong was his usual inimitable self and he regaled us with his stories of skills and daring. Aunt Chin Nit who had served us faithfully as we grew up would 'flush with embarassment' as many of the young ones passed her and gave her a hug. She grew up in a generation where hugs were unheard of and her seeming discomfort with being hugged only made it more fun for us to do it. They have all passed on and we have been the richer because we had such occasions of love. The many side trips we made that week including staying at Tambatuon and going on rafting trips made that week a great week. Even the children who have now since grown up remember……

7…Each new phase in life sees changes….. thank you Kasih Sayang
Strange how standing at the deck of a wind-swept lovely Kasih Sayang can bring back such rich and such deep memories. As I felt the wind in my face, I knew such times would not come back again. Each new phase in life will require new phases of enrichment. I had 4 great days at Kasih Sayang and those who look for rest, quiet recreation and peaceful rejuvenation should look no further than Kasih Sayang. It is as lovely as lovely can be.

8…Wrong trails and wrong turns
On the fourth day at Kasih Sayang, I went trekking with my good friend Kong Seng to a hill land in Tuaran in Sabah. We reached the highest points as planned. On the way back down, there were many seemingly logical trails. As usual in my own gung-ho style, I took the one that I thought looked right. It was not to be. Unfortunately, after about 30 yards down, I felt it to be wrong but then ‘Ong Hock Siew’ the 'smart-alec' whose jungle trekking skills is legendary thought that he was the most clever trekker around.

9…A penalty for foolishness
In my own wisdom, I just pushed on thinking that I have gone through some of the most dense jungles and should have no problems with this seemingly small forest. So I pressed on – soon, the whole place was a thorn forest and we were too far down to turn back. The steep gradients saw us falling into thorn shrubs and branches and we were thoroughly drained and cut-up. After what seemed an eternity, we emerged bashed, battered and broken. Our legs were all cut up and I had hundreds of thorns imbedded in my leg. Kong Seng was not much better. I was so grateful that my Grandson Daniel had not followed me. Otherwise the consequences would be much worse.

10…Days of ‘thousand’ pricks
For the next few days, it was like having a few hundred needles ‘pricking’ you every 10 seconds. We had to use Peroxide to burn into the wounds and thank God after a few days, the wounds started drying up and the thorns have been falling off. It was all a lesson that had to be learnt and I am learning…..

11…One bad turn after another – and then good
The plane journey back to Kuala Lumpur was a trying experience. Every way I sat was painful and no matter how I shifted myself, the pain came in different ways. Talking about problems coming in a bunch! When we arrived and went to the car park where I had left my car, I found the battery completely flat. I had left the lights on. I asked someone to use his car to help me jumpstart my car and found that one set of jumpstart cables was not enough. How could I have 2 sets of jumpstart cables (it would need a miracle) but I looked at my boot again all the same and then remembered I had bought a spare set for my wife but had not placed it in her car yet. So the two sets were there and I praise God for his grace & mercy.

12…Commitment beyond pain…..
We arrived at our house after midnight and I still had to fine-tune my notes for my training of New Life Leaders on that Saturday. As I wearily sat at my computer with really aching limbs and cut-up skin, I just had a sense of assurance as I felt God saying to me, “Why prepare as if it came from you? Why don’t you trust me and speak from your heart?” And so it was with the terrible pain and constant pin-pricks, I slept like a baby soon afterwards.

13…Purpose in commitment – touching lives
I woke up refreshed and had a whole day of meetings and things to do. We were preparing for the fund-raising program that I had committed myself to – the organization of the world-famous Little Angels Orchestra in January. I thought of the three Charity organizations that I would be helping to raise money for and I found a new strength that day. We had started out on this Charity event with great doubts. The President of the organization I was involved with had cast doubts on the event and he questioned us about who would bear the deficits if we did not raise enough to break-even. There a was a huge ‘impasse’ and I had to come out to resolve it, ending that day by having to take on the Acting President position to help run the event. It was really tough. I remember having to commit to sell 800-900 of the 2,000 tickets. It was amazing. I just knew that when God is on your side, you can commit to things and it will turn out right. I sold 900 tickets (RM80) in two days. It is all about faith and action!! We are now well past break-even and I have infused a new-found sense of confidence and purpose in the main organizing committee. What a blessing it is to give people hope and to see thousands blessed with the proceeds that we will raise. I am determined to ‘give’ big-time to the poor in the coming years and by God’s grace, I know I will do it.

14…Training lives for change and excellence
The next day saw me running the Leaders’ training program for New Life. What a pleasure it was to share spontaneously from the heart and to know that when God gives us the confidence, we can move without fear into presenting the message of hope and success that we aspire to share. I knew I had connected by simply looking into the eyes of the audience. I came away from the training reaffirmed that I will continue to commit every endeavor I have to God for the rest of my life! What a privilege it is to trust in a God who never fails!!! I was so encouraged when I received emails over the next few days telling me that they were really blessed listening to me. I have learnt that training is not training if the message does not touch the heart and stir change.

15…We should never say never!
Then it was on to Sunday 14 December where I had to speak at the Shian En Hui (SIB Chinese church) main service in Chinese. For so many years I had told myself that I would never be able to speak in Chinese because it was all so alien to me. I want to say, “we should never say never!” When God empowers, nothing is impossible. I have been committed to ministering in Chinese ever since God spared my life right from the Earthquake which I escaped from right to the River Tsunami which almost took my life and on to the encounter with the charging elephant which almost trampled us and then on to the dive straight down to the 3 feet pool on my head where my neck was crunched and I was drowning in the pool and finally on to the fall into the Thorn forest. It has been grace and grace all the way. What then is impossible for me to do?? If God empowers me, I am ready to do the impossible for him and for people!! My message in Chinese touched many and there were new decisions for Christ. What a joy to see hope given where there was none and joy derived where there was only heartache before.

16…”If only”…………………… such a sad word
After the meeting, an elderly woman came up to me and with tears rimming her eyes, she quietly said, “If only my son had heard your message and if only you had spoken it a few months earlier, it would have been alright. I did not quite understood what she said so I asked her why she was saying this. Then she explained. With a heart as heavy as a huge block of stone, she told me her son was very depressed when his wife left him to go back to her home town. He had lost all hope and despaired greatly. One day, she went in to his room and found him hanging from the ceiling. She was completely shattered and her life was wrecked. She told me that she wakes to a pain that cuts right into her soul. She still cannot accept that he is gone and the love she had as a mother was so overwhelming that death could not restrain its flow. She cried and she cried and I saw the pain cut into her like deep wounds again and again. I reached for her hands and I cried with her. For some moments, time just stopped and if I could have implored and begged the Lord to reverse the circumstances, I would have. She said again, “If only my son could have heard your message this morning, I know he could have been saved. Speak it to others who could be saved so that they need not die!” I prayed for her and could only provide a brief respite from her aching soul. As she walked off, I could see her hunched shoulders lost in its own weight and I prayed to the Lord and said, “Never let me withhold what I can do for others – empower me Lord for this purpose.”

17...Prayer at its most important
I went for the Prayer meeting that Tuesday and saw a large number who had come. They were all keen to pray for the Evangelistic Rally on 19 December. As I sat down, I felt the peace of the Lord flowed into the hall and I knew that I must galvanise the people there to pray for the Rally. We had to believe that there would be a great harvest and we had to invoke the hands of God before we could expect the fruits of the effort. At 10 pm, I took over the prayer session and encouraged the people gathered there to pray and expect great things to happen. It was a cry for the many who will come and we peladed with the Lord to meet with them there. We prayed for grace and for mercy and truly the flow in the spirit that night assured us that the hands of God will move. (altogether 46 people gave their lives to God and many more made fresh commitments - see below)

18..Then came the cell and the great camaraderie
Then Wednesday came along and I expectedly looked forward to it. I had invited 4 new people to the cell and I had arranged for them to come for dinner with me first. All 4 came and I was truly overjoyed. the Cell meeting was handled by my members there and what a joy it was to see people like Juliet and Chee Leong share confidently about the love of God and how forgiveness is not an optional choice. I could see the 4 new people being touched by what was shared and to think that I had only started this cell group in the early part of the year. In short while we have grown from the initial 4 to the present 20. When we are willing to move for God, things happen. Two of the new ones promised to come for the Evangelistic Rally on 19 December and they said that they will bring 3 friends (all 3 accepted the Lord at the rally). What a mighty God we serve. This cell group is such a blessing to me and the members are now very much bonded and strongly committed.

19…Preparing for 2009 and the big event for the year-end
Then it was on to more work – preparing for 2009 in some of the undertakings that I had committed to. It was so exciting and soon it was time for the big event for Shian En Hui – the Guo Dong and the Christmas outreach program on Friday, 19 December where Inky and I were joint MCs. I had been praying for this event that many lives would be touched by God at such economic times where many people face the future with uncertainty and with a sense of despair. The program went on like clockwork. The hall was full to the brim and when Tan Koon Swan came on stage to speak, I knew that the victories were already won. When the altar call came, the front of the hall was packed by people, some of whom were crying their hearts out. Altogether 46 people gave their lives to God and many more made new commitments. What victories, what celebration of life!!!

20…Time with my Grandson Daniel….. a new hero!
In between all of these events, I was spending time with my grandson, Daniel. We had quality time together in the month (December) that I took off to spend time with him and to share with him ‘man-to-man’ about life and what it held in store for him. They were great moments spent. On the third night, I had invited Khoo Swee Chiow, my good friend from Singapore to come up to Kasih Sayang for dinner. Cheng Kiat, Lynn & family had so graciously consented to host the dinner. Together with my two other friends Fatt Lam and Joseph, we sat enthralled listening to Swee Chiow tell his stories. He had climbed Mt Everest twice, climbed all the highest peaks of the seven continents, walked to the North and South Pole, swum the Straits of Malacca, cycled from Singapore to Beijing, in-line skated from Hanoi to Singapore and held the world scuba-diving record (9 days in a tank). Daniel my Grandson had found another hero besides his Grandfather. He is so proud of the fact that he had spent time with Swee Chiow and he talks about his friend as the real Adventurer.

21…A message about Champions
Finally the week came to a close yesterday where I was invited to speak at the main service of the Church at the Mid Valley complex (CMVC). I spoke just as how I felt God would have wanted me to speak to them. I spoke on how one can be a Champion for God and when I gave the altar call for the members to rise up to be Champions for God, most stood up and made fresh commitments for 2009. I know in my heart that there would be a new beginning for the church in 2009. I saw the walls breaking down to accommodate more people and what a joy it was when 2 people also gave their lives to Christ!

22…The need is everywhere – we can all respond to it…..
Just as I left the church, I saw this woman with her child in a wheelchair - a lovely child but who was obviously physically challenged. I asked if I could pray with them and the mother’s tears just flowed like a river. In between sobs, she told me he was a normal, healthy child until 14 when he was hit by a stroke. I shared in her sorrow and as I finished praying with her, I could see the renewal of her commitment rising up again. She needed that prayer just as she needed to know again and again that God is still faithful despite her circumstances.

As I walked away, I turned back to wave and then I remember the words of my mother’s favorite song. She had told me time and again that when she was at the depths of her despair, she would sing this song:

“Bring him your sorrows, bring him your tears,
Bring him your heartaches, bring him your fears
Go tell him plainly, tell how you feel
Jesus will pardon, Jesus will heal.”

It was an eventful fortnight that ended with faith, hope and love…… I was so richly blessed!

Ong Hock Siew

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Dream your pictures, paint your dreams. Don't let life get you down. Stay strong & rise above your circumstances. Each storm will pass you by and a new dawn will come

For 4 days I took my grandson Daniel and Inky my wife to Kasih Sayang in Sabah. We had such a great time there. The splendid views, the excellent rooms and the great food all made the trip memorable. I had wonderful times with my grandson and we had lots of opportunities to talk and share from our hearts.

It is really a great place for rest and relaxation and anyone wanting ‘time off’ should try Kasih Sayang. It is nestled on a ridge at about 2,200 feet above sea-level. There is no need for air-conditioning here and all of Kota Kinabalu comes into view. Inky and I had some quiet moments of togetherness and we all loved the 4 days spent there.

We left our worries behind as we basked in the sunsets of Kasih Sayang. The sunsets of Kota Kinabalu are reputed to be the best in the world. If that is true then the sunsets at Kasih Sayang are better than the best!! The beautiful thing about Kasih Sayang is that the sunsets naturally flow into fantastic night views of the city. The sparkling nights makes sitting on its deck one of the great joys in life. Kasih Sayang had a wonderful air of romance as I sat with my wife holding hands.

On the final night of our stay, we had my friends Swee Chiow, Fatt Lam and Joseph come up for dinner. We had a great time of fellowship and merriment and my grandson Daniel found another hero in his life. Swee Chiow has climbed Mt Everest twice and has conquered the highest mountains of the 7 continents. This is in addition to having walked to both the North and South poles, swum the Malacca Straits, cycled from Singapore to Beijing, In-line skated from Hanoi to Singapore and holding the world record for the longest scuba dive of 9 days.

Together with CK Tan and Lynn’s sons Leon, Samuel, Daniel, we all sat enthralled listening to Swee Chiow’s amazing stories of man’s fortitude and determination. The night came to an end all too soon but we had a night to remember. Kasih Sayang – truly the place where dreams can come alive! I dreamt on long into the night.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Express bus drivers who simply don't care

Dream your pictures, paint your dreams. Don't let life get you down. Stay strong & rise above your circumstances. Each storm will pass you by and a new dawn will come

The following is an article I wrote to the STAR Newspapers - I had a terrible experience with an Express Bus driver while driving back from Johore Baru. He was driving at a crazy speed and the article below describes what happened. Let us speak up against such irresponsibility. Read on.....


After reading about the terrible accident at the North-South expressway near Tangkak where 10 senseless lives were lost, I just felt that I have to report about my encounter with an Express bus which occurred at around the same spot where the accident happened.

On Friday, 5 December, at around 8-30 pm, I was driving back from Johore Baru to Kuala Lumpur when a Transnational Express bus came charging up behind me. My speedometer read 116 km as I was on Auto cruise. The Bus plate no was WPM 6706. He overtook me and went speeding down the highway. I couldn’t believe he was going that fast. I decided to follow it and my speed went up to 130 kph and still I trailed it. He must have been going at his maximum. In the dark, it was a frightening scene watching him weave in and out of traffic on an overtaking spree. I felt duty-bound to follow the bus to try and sight its Vehicle registration no and I had to put on my headlights to do it. Obviously he noticed that I was tailing him for some time. He slowed down to let me pass and that was when the terrifying ordeal started.

As soon as I passed, he came charging right up to me as if to crash into me. He was very near me and he keep that pressure on when there were several cars ahead of me. I had no choice but to take a quick slowdown into the side lane so that he could pass me. When I again went to the outer lane, he slowed down to let me pass and the same thing was repeated. To avoid his staying behind me to intimidate me in this manner, I drove up to 130 kph and he stayed right behind me. As there was quite a bit of traffic, I could not pass all the cars. That was when he drove right up to my bumper on several occasions. If I had slowed a bit more, he would have hit me and who knows what would have happened!

I realized he was playing a dangerous game with me, angry perhaps because I had tailed him to see his speeding antics. I desperately had to find some gaps to escape his crazy manoeuvres. Eventually I managed to speed away only to have him speed up as well. When I had enough open room, I managed to put distance between him and me.

I can’t imagine what I had seen. The irresponsibility of the driver on that night was a brief insight into what could happen with such a crazy driver at the wheel of a huge bus. Then I read about the accident on the 8 December STAR just around the same area of Tangkak and I was stunned by what I read. I could have witnessed a similar accident with equally devastating consequences that night. I just know that I had to write to the STAR to describe what I had experienced.

My heart goes out to the families and next-of-kin of the victims. I grieve along with them. If Express buses travelled responsibly within their limits, I am sure accidents even when they happen, will not result in such far-reaching consequences. I hold the view now that Express bus drivers who speed and who have track records of such impulsive driving should be blacklisted and not be allowed to drive buses again. When will we learn that no corrective measure afterwards can bring back the lives of the victims lost. The Express Bus companies should mean business and the Government should mean business too. Hold the Express Bus companies responsible who wilfully allow errant Bus drivers to continue driving for them. Suspend them if they are found to have been irresponsible. Anything less will be a travesty of justice and the Government and those who own such companies will bear the stain of such blood on their hands if they continue to turn a blind eye to this.

I will gladly come forth and give testimony against the Transnasional Bus driver of Vehicle WPM 6706 for speeding that night. It was not only speeding but it was speeding at its most dangerous. Will the Owners of Transnasional act now or will it take a tragedy involving that driver to make it take action. I pray that wisdom will prevail over expediency.

Monday, December 8, 2008


Dream your pictures, paint your dreams. Don't let life get you down. Stay strong & rise above your circumstances. Each storm will pass you by and a new dawn will come

Touching lives - a great privilege

I have not been blogging for a few days because I was busy with the Rotary Youth Leadership Award camp (RYLA) held in the lovely Tanjung Sutera Resort in Sedili Besar in Johore. I had a great time with RYLA helping to launch off the first day's program. Seeing the 105 Youth Leaders from Brunei, Singapore, Sabah, Sarawak & Southern Peninsula Malaysia come together for an event that will touch their lives and help fortify character for the future was in itself a blessing to me. I looked at their faces and knew that through RYLA we were helping to prepare them for life in the world at large. It was a great experience and I like to think that I have played a small positive part when I spoke into the lives of these young Leaders. There was an added bonus when I found an old friend, Amy waiting for me when I arrived (her daughter was one of the Participants). We had such a great time catching up on the some 20 or so years that we have not seen each other. The friendship was still great and when I later stopped by in Kluang to have a chat with John, her husband, I knew that one of life's highlights is to have friends like Amy and John where time and distance do not diminish the bonds of friendship.

If only I had been there earlier.......

I had the chance to speak in 'Chinese' at the main meeting of "SIB Shian En Hui" last Sunday morning. I spoke on the subject of "Living our lives to the full". I touched on how important it is for us to experience real freedom in our existence and how we must rise above the daily circumstances that hold us down in this world. I also spoke about coming clean in our lives and digging out the roots of bitterness and anger. I knew I was touching hearts that morning because I saw some in the audience wiping tears from their eyes. Little did I know how impactful it had been and how some lives would be moved.

Long after the meeting had ended, an elderly lady came up to me as I was sitting alone and she put her gnarled hands on mine and with the saddest look that I have seen for a long long time, she said, "I wished my son had heard your message......" Then she trailed off and had that far away melancholic look on her face. "If only he had heard your message," she repeated. "he should have been here today." A bit perplexed, I replied, "But you should get him to come."

With tears streaming down her eyes, she said, "I can't! He hung himself three months ago! He was so depressed and was angry with what life had dealt him. Then he just took his life one day without any warning." I looked at her and had no words to offer her. I was stunned. I saw the grief written all over her and despite the words of motivation and encouragement that I had shared in my message, I could not find the right words to say to her.

She said, "Everyday when I wake up, I still feel the pain cutting into my life like a knife. I still miss him just as much and I wish he could have listened to you....." I simply cried with her and for those brief moments I felt what she was feeling. I drew her close and held her hand. Then I prayed with her and asked God in his infinite mercy to fill her heart with courage and grace. In those simple moments of silence, no more words were really needed. She nodded her head and then slowly walked away.

As I saw her hunched shoulders turning the corner, I asked God to give me the wisdom and understanding to heal such hurting hearts and to offer the right comfort to them. That morning, I walked into my car with a heavy heart. As I drove off into the morning sun, I prayed that God will shine some rays of comfort into that woman's life and offer her hope where solace seemed so far away..... Still all I saw was the face of that old woman totally devastated by the loss of the one close person to her. Her look of sadness will remain with me for a long time.