A Kaleidoscope of My Life

Paul Chong
15 January 2019

Images are the best to preserve old memories . . . a picture after all is better than ten thousand words. Whatever your past, pictures will always depict the truth, for the camera will capture every aspect of your life in trues perspective – from the flashing charming & youthful smile to the wrinkling lines in your face.

In 2009, I posted a blog article entitled The Importance of Knowing Why “Roots To Grow, Wings To Fly” followed a year later on “The Years Of Growing Pain”. Therein I wrote: “Our children & grandchildren are so fortunate compared to the days
.when we were young. Growing up was definitely “growing pain” especially for a family of eleven (2 parents & 9 children). Except for the last three siblings, all used to pack into a one-room rented shop accommodation, sleeping on floor mats, before we had our own family home in Pokok Assam, Taiping, Malaysia. There was nothing for a long time we could call our own!”


Birth Place in Matang/Taiping – a dingy old shop/residence of our grand-parents. A one-street village.

749 Pokok Assam, Taiping . . . our first home in the resettlement village . . . remembering father spent MR800/= to build it. Remembering also the rambutan tree, planted by me in the front yard, with great fruits.

Following my father’s business after my birth in Matang, Taiping, we lived for a short while in Temerloh, a rubber plantation village qhen my father had a bicycle shop. We later moved to Bruas where my father lost his whole fortune when the Japanese came to occupy Malaya.

A brief sojourn in Matang before our parents made their way to Port Weld, some 11 miles from Taiping. Father’s business trade in bicycles & part sundry provisions.

In Port Weld I had two years of Chinese/Mandarin education. It was a small wooden school & a young couple were my teachers. I learned my arithmetics & reading well.

When father made & saved enough money, he decided to move & seek greater fortune in Taiping, then the old capital of Perak State.

163 Kota Road, Taiping . . . Father’s bicycle shop where our family shared one big room & sleeping on the plank floor.

To cut the story short, upon advice by a distant uncle, I was sent to an English school – St. George’s Institution. Initially, I struggled with learning English especially with proper pronouncement of English words particularly “crocodile” . . . just couldn’t manage the “r” sound and my poor palms, both right & left, bore me much pain from the teacher’s cane.

All that punishment fortunately turmed out for the better; for determined as I was to make good, I began to excel in public speaking taking part in school debates & elocution contests, & winning parts in school plays.

When I graduated from High School in 1957, I had a tempory teaching job in Bagan Serai, where two of my best students Hor Thean Chan & Saw Cheng Suan  later came to be taught by me again in the Sixth Form in Anderderson School, Ipoh.

I was selected on the government scholarship for teacher training in Kirkby College, Liverpool, England (1959/60). My two years in College saw me travelling a great deal . . . travelling took me from John-O-Croaks to LandsEnd, Scotland, Ireland, & 14 or more European countries, except those which were then under communists’ rule.

During my second College year, I fell in love with the sweetest girl I ever met whom I later married in 1965. She happened to be from my own hometown Taiping.

We shall fast-forward to cut my story short . . .
* taught in Hamzah English School. Machang, Kelantan (1961 – 1963)
* University of Malaya, Pantai Hills, Kuala Lumpur (1963/66)
* Sr. Geography Master in Anderson School, Ipoh (1966-1970)
* American International Assurance (1970 – 1972)
* Malaysian American Assurance Bhd, (1972 – 1979)
* Self Employed Real Estate business (1980 – 1982)

A completely new life engulfed us when we took the step in 1982 to migrate to Perth, Australia. We didn’t like the idea of our three kids to be educated in the Malay language in Malaysia, and for want of a better future ahead, we headed our way “Down Under”.

No regrets whatsoever, though we had to make tremendous sacrifices coming to Australia. My Homeless Realty business was prospering then before we took the plunge across thousand of miles in search of a better education & social justice. Our daughter Agnes is a PhD holder working at Murdoch University, David our elder son is a medical specialist doctor (Anaesthetist) in Queen Elizabeth 2 Hospital, Hong Kong, and last but not least, our second son Andrew is a civil engineer with a double honours degree in computer science. They are all married and we have 5 grandchildren.

For my part, I have been in the real estate business, a delicatessen shop, a short spell as a pastor after graduating from Western Australia Bible College with a postgraduate diploma in Christian Ministry.

I am a “million” blogger at https://paulchong.net with a million hits over. I am also a writer, both prose & poetry with two manuscripts awaiting imminent publication. They are entitled: “Be A Star . . . Forget The Scar” and “Swap Work . . . Play Golf”.

We have travelled a fair bit on land seas in two cruises covering Langkawi/Pattaya & New Zealand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, China, East Coast of US & California as well and Canada. As mentioned, in our student days we covered United Kingdom and a greater part of the European continent.

Now, as octogenarians we live contented & happy in Perth Hills (Lesmurdie) with sweeping views of the valley & Perth City. The Lesmurdie Falls National Park is right at our doorstep beckoning us daily for morning walk for health & simple pleasure of life . . . watching glorious sunset during this twilight year of our lives.

Images of my youth . . . Queen’s Scout . . . St. George’s Institution, Taiping

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Tallest Men in the World

Paul Chong
Wednesday, 9 January 2019


Biblically, giants did exist upon the earth, as evidensed by the well known story of David & Golliath. Refer also Genesis 6:4 (NIV) & Numbers 13:32-33.

They were mostly great fighters & heroes in the days of old.

In medical history the tallest man is Robert Pershing Wadlow (USA) (born 6:30 a.m. at Alton, Illinois, USA on 22 February 1918), for whom there is irrefutable evidence who when last measured on 27 June 1940, was found to be 2.72 m (8 ft 11.1 in) tall. That’s almost 9 ft. Imagine that!

Nearer this DNA age, they have such clubs like 7- Ft Club for such giants to gather together in London
Sultan Kösen: Tallest living man, born in Turkey on 10 December 1982, became in 2009 the first man over 8 ft to be measured by Guinness World Records for more than 20 years.

What’s it like living the “high life” with the general public looking up to you, admiring you out of curiosity, asking you endless searching questions, wearing shoes size 19 or so, seeing you whopping down enormous amount of food daily & consuming 8,000 calories or more.

. Only three in every million people fit into the exclusive group, and do so by breaking the seven foot barrier, with everything that comes with it. The larger than life characters are stared-at whenever they leave the home, and walking with a trail of spectators.

Asia has a fair share of super human beings. We are probably more familiar with China’s retired

Yao Ming Images

Yao Ming (姚明); born September 12, 1980) is a Chinese retired professional basketball player who played for the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) and the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). At 2.29 m (7 ft 6 in) tall, he is the only player from outside of the United States to lead the NBA in All-Star votes. Retired & married,

Yao, one of China’s best known athletes, now devotes time to promoting basketball in China. In April 2016, Yao was elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, alongside Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson.[5]
In February 2017, Yao was unanimously elected as chairman of Chinese Basketball Association.

Xishun Bao (also known as Xi Shun; born 2 November 1951) is a herdsman from Chifeng, Inner Mongolia, China, recognized by Guinness World Records as one of the world’s tallest living men. He was formerly certified as the tallest living man by the Guinness World Records, measuring 3.361 m (7 ft 8.95 in.).

Video 1: https://youtu.be/NcuRuM9R16k
Xishun Bao on his Mongolian wedding day. Wife only 5’ 6” & also half his age

Video 2: https://youtu.be/uTrRM9C6K20
Guinness World Records – Xishun as the world’s current tallest man, measured 2.361 m (7 ft 8.95 in)

At Calvary

At Calvary
Paul Chong          Monday, 7 January 2019

Not the real cross as at Calvary

“ In this was manifested the love of God towards us, because God sent His only begotten Soninto the world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Sonto be the propitiation for our sins.” –
1 John 4:9-10

Crucifixion’s for cleansingb and purification
There is no mystery at Calvary
Our Lorfd’s blood was shed for salvation
That we may inherit God’s Kingdom in all eternity.

Jesus’ condescension at Calvary is meaningful
It depicts God’s great love for His children
To conquer evil, bring redemption to the sinful
That we must remember as a great emblem.

The Lord’s incarnation sets to magnify
Out of human confusion and misunderstanding
Of the Lord’s glorification and signify
His coming again at the ending.

Originally Penned
Saturday, 6 July 1991
4.37 am

A Sweetheart Pair of Dogs: A True Story

Paul Chong        Monday, 7 January 2019

The word “dog” is “God” spelt backwards. I guess it’s all the question of love thyat draws out the similarity. Their love is unconditional, for all times dependable, faithful & true under every conceivable circumstance.

Dogs are man’s best friends for very good reasons. We can learn much from a dog’s behavior, personality, demeanor, resiliency, and most of all their willingness to provide their family members with unconditional love, loyalty, and companionship down to their very last breath.

We have heard of many stories concerning dogs’ unfailing love & loyalty to their masters, dependable farm workers & doing rescue work, as blind men’s guides & faithfulness until death. But would dogs exhibit the same among their own kind.

There’s a true story told about a pair of sweetheart dogs found & rescued by people in a near life and death situation on the railway tracks . . . a true case of bravery & undying love.

A dog refused to leave his injured friend’s side not even as the train approaches. The injured dog had likely been hit by a train. She was too hurt to walk or even move. Fortunately, she had a very brave friend protecting her.

On the freezing tracks, he used his body to keep her warm, he brought her food & shielded her from oncoming trains.

He lies down beside her . . . when the dog hears a train coming . . . pushes her head down and keeps both very still as the train passes.

For two days he kept her alive. A train conductor later alerted the locals. Howver, the protective dog didn’t allow anyone to come close making the rescue tricky.

But when the animal shelter rescuers arrive they managed to rescue both the sweetheart dogs, and it didn’t take long before both were adopted into a permanent home. Today both are named as Panda & Lucy.

A Heart-Warming Gathering Between Teacher & Students

A joyful occasion for all. Still keeping in touch after more than 5 decades ago, even among themselves. Among them Puan Sri, Datos & other distinguished personnel. They are the HSC Batch 1966/67 Anderson School Ipoh, all now retired successfully. All still looking young & energetic, fit & healthy. For the teacher (i.e.myself) a memorable lifetime event! A billion thanks to the class organiser Johan Yeong.

Image may contain: Khadijah Shaari, sitting
Image may contain: Khadijah Shaari, sitting
Image may contain: 3 people, including Khadijah Shaari and Alvin Lee, people smiling, people sitting
Image may contain: 2 people, people eating and food

US Vs China – Tall Poppy Syndrome

Paul Chong           Friday, 4 January 2019

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President Donald trump and President Xi Jinping

There’s a saying that you can’t tear a person down to build yourself up. It’s called “Tall Poppy Syndrome” – a perceived tendency to discredit or disparage & criticise those who have achieved notable wealth or prominence in public life. The tall poppy syndrome describes aspects of a culture where people of high status are resented, attacked, cut down, strung up or criticised because they have been classified as superior to their peers. This is what United States of America is attempting & doing to China.

In the animal kingdom, large animals when hungry always hunt & prey on the lesser animals. Once their hunger is satisfied they are usually at peace with themselves & others appearing to be harmless. It is known that an injured & hungry tiger or lion is most ferocious than ever.

Man can also behave like animal once he’s desperate, losing all his senses of reasoning, judgement and rationalisation. There’s a solution to every problem. Dispute, argument or conflict is best solved through dialogue instead of venting aggression or going to war. War never solve any problem . . . it only worsens the situation generating suffering & misery for the victims.

Let’s make each other great. China is offering utmost co-operation with economic schemes on a win-win basis. China does not go around bombing other countries to submission, or to destabilise & intrude upon other sovereignties.

Extend goodwill & diplomacy to bring about shared prosperity, peace & harmony. The present world is in shambles as it is. Why can’t wisdom & goodwill prevail?

This Chinese-Australian professor has a funny but true explanation about the Chinese people. Why do Chinese people work so hard to succeed in life? The simple plain truth about the Chinese is that they don’t go about bombing, terrorising others and causing religious hatred. We live peacefully with everyone on Earth.

Let’s share the glory, wealth & prosperity, peace & harmony. In expanding the economic cake, there’ll be more to go around. Let there be no more wars or even trade wars or tariffs (sanctions). Together we shall prevail, asunder we would be assailed.

Contacts World Apart From Connection

Paul Chong     Friday, 4 January 2019

People Connectivity. Vector Graphic

Modern technology with email, WhatsApp, Skype, Massenger, Smartphone etc has made contact with loved ones, relatives & friends so very instant, convenient, free & easy. However, speaking from personal experience, I find to my dismay that most people simply don’t connect, bother to respond or reciprocate. Frequent exchanges of massages, information or even jokes are the avenues of staying in touch & be connected. Some people just love to be on the receiving end but uninitiated or not courteous enough to respond. People just don’t connect, too busy, ill-mannered or what.

We are constantly running around, too busy for others. We stop communicating with one another. Having a whole lots of names in our contact list without connection is absolutely of no value.

To best illustrate the difference between contact & connection, let me share this interview between an American journalist & the Buddhist monk . . .
Journalist – “Sir , in your last lecture, you told us about Jogajog ( contact ) & Sanjog (connection ). It’s really confusing. Can you explain?”

The Monk smiled and apparently deviating from the question asked the journalist: “Are you from New York?”
Journalist – “Yes…”
Monk – “Who are there at home?”
The Journalist felt that the Monk was trying to avoid answering his question since this was a very personal and unwarranted question. Yet the journalist said: “Mother has expired. Father is there. Three brothers and one sister. All married…”
The Monk, with a smile on his face, asked again: – “Do you talk to your father?”
The journalist looked visibly annoyed…
The Monk – “When did you talk to him last?”
The journalist, suppressing his annoyance said: “May be a month ago.”
The Monk: “Do your brothers and sisters meet often ? When did you meet last as a family gathering?”

At this point, sweat on the forehead of the journalist. You may wonder who was conducting the interview, the Monk or the Journalist. It seemed that the Monk was interviewing the Journalist.

With a sigh , the Journalist said: “We met last at Christmas two years ago.”
The Monk: ” How many days did you all stay together ?”

The Journalist ( wiping the sweat on his brow) said : “Three days…”
Monk: “How much time did you spend with your Father, sitting right beside him ?”
The journalist was looking perplexed and embarrassed and scribbling something on a paper…
The Monk: “Did you have breakfast, lunch or dinner together? Did you ask how he was? Did you ask how his days are passing after your mother’s death?”
Drops of tears were coming out from the eyes of the journalist.

The Monk held the hand of the journalist and said: “Don’t be embarrassed, upset or sad. I am sorry if I have hurt you unknowingly…
But this is basically the answer to your question about contact and connection ( jogajog and Sanjog)”. You have ‘contact’ with your father but you don’t have ‘connection’ with him. You are not connected to him. Connection is between heart and heart… sitting together , sharing meals and caring for each other ; touching , shaking hands, having eye contact, spending some time together…Your brothers and sisters have ‘contact’ but you have no ‘connection’ with each other….”

The journalist wiped his eyes and said : “Thanks for teaching me a fine and unforgettable lesson”

This is the reality today.
Whether at home or in the society everybody has lots of contacts but there is no connection. No communication… . Everybody is in his or her own world.

Let us not maintain just “contacts” but let us remain “connected”; caring, sharing and spending time with all our dear ones.

Brother Anthony . . . A Tribute To The Unforgettable

Paul Chong
Wednesday, 2 January 2019

A diamond period ago when I was in school, teachers were “masters” with absolute power of class discipline & learning. They taught & punished with both hand & cane.With their hands, they pinched the buttocks or whacked your blocked heads. Their canes liked to cruelly taste your palms.

However, with due respect, most of our teachers were good & truly cared for our welfare. I recall particularly a number of Christian brothers who were really devoted. Brother Gaston, big & strong, a Canadian, would glorify with his tall tales especially about drilling a hole right through the earth & we would get to Canada.

Brother Thomas who hailed from Scotland was tall & handsome. I was rather poor in my English reading. My palm suffered many painful strokes of the cane from a tall lanky teacher for struggling to pronounce properly the word “crocodile”. I just had much difficulties with the rolling “r” sound. Brother Thomas helped me a great deal in my speech & reading. He advocated the way to speak & read well was to learn how to sing.

Brother Antony was my Most Unforgettable Teacher.

Teachers are the substance that schools are made of – breeding & nurturing students who will ultimately take their rightful places in society. Here’s a tribute to one such great teacher.

Brother Antonio was a man of most unusual and rare character. He was short and stout. No taller than five feet, he yet appeared every inch a man. A pair of deep-set dark brown eyes was hidden behind a pair of thick spectacles. He had an extraordinarily wide mouth from which fluent speech poured. A pair of sensitive ears enabled him to pick up any musical air in a second. Antonio was a scholar, a musician, an artist, and above all a great mathematician.

Mathematics had always been his favourite subject in school. He entered the seminary when he was very young. Surprisingly, he was not brilliant at first, and made a poor first attempt in the Senior Cambridge examination, but had an astonishing score of seven distinctions on his second attempt. This he would relate now and again to encourage the weaker pupils in his class.

Our Antonio’s voice could be heard long before he stepped into the classroom. He would be muttering to himself in his melodious voice as he entered, and no sooner was he in than he would be working laboriously on the blackboard. Not a fraction of a second was wasted. To him, to waste one second meant to waste precious gold.

Usually a class is varied in intelligence and attainment. Our mathematician had a fiery temper. The more backward pupils, slow to understand his explanation, would feel the full force of his rage. I vividly remember one occasion when he kicked his table so hard that he sprained his ankle. The peculiar thing was that he would later feel sorry about his stupid act and would tell us that it was punishment for losing his temper.

To make a silly error in mathematics was to him a moral sin. Time and time again he would stress the importance of being careful. If we were careless he would be vitriolic in his scolding. I recall that his most popular term was ‘fool.’ He elaborated on the word and his degrees of comparison were ‘fool’, ‘damn fool’ and ‘very damn fool’. At this he would roar with laughter.

Indeed, he frequently produced an atmosphere of gaiety. He conducted the school orchestra and he was immensely proud of his stance at the platform, as with baton in hand he conducted the flourishing orchestra of some forty members. Besides his talent as a conductor, he possessed a beautiful and powerful voice, which could be heard in church every Sunday.

Here was a man greatly admired by all who knew him. Apart from all his ability and knowledge he was a man of great piety. His occasional talks on moral subjects and Divinity swayed even some of the wicked hearts. At prayer he was fluent and composed, as if he indulged in direct conversation with God.

He lacked only one skill – he could ride a bicycle! I can still visualise the scene one Sunday morning when he was cycling back from church after early Mass in the rain. He was going very fast when he reached the school gate, and when he applied the brakes the machine skidded, hurling him through the air. His face hit the huge stone pillar, resulting in a very severe cut from the forehead down to his nose. His eyes were injured too, and his spectacles were smashed to pieces. He was confined to hospital for nearly three weeks.

He did not waste his time, however. He prescribed work to be done from his hospital bed, and as usual some boys would go up to him seeking mathematical problems, which he readily lent a hand.

Back in class he told us that his accident was designed as a punishment for his sins, and by suffering it gladly he had thereby cut short his days in purgatory.

In a matter of three short years, he was no longer just an ordinary teaching Brother, but became the Sub-Director of the school St. George’s Institution, Taiping in Malaysia.

SGI School Anthem

All through our classes a voice is resounding Promptly respond to your duty’s sweet call, Harken to all for the trumpet is sounding Your Mater’s proclaiming her watchwords to all. Forward her children dear Ever with hearts sincere Render with joy to your Mater her due All that is vile reject, Heaven will ever protect, Sons of St George’s Valiant and True.

The Train of Life

Paul Chong
Monday, 31 December 2018

Very appropriately as we bid farewell to the good old year of 2018 & welcome in the new year of 2019, that we take a moment to look back at our life . . . so as to have a better perspective of life ahead. Life is like being on “The Train of Life” – be it a High Speed Train or a traditional one.

It is my utmost pleasure to share this relevant story with you.

image“Life is like a journey on a train . . . with its stations . . . with changes of routes . . . and with both thrills & spills and accidents too!

At birth we boarded the train & met our parents, & we believe they will always travel on our side & be with us. However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us to travel on alone.

As time goes by, other people will board the train; and they will be significant, as with our siblings, friends, children, & even the love of our life. Many will step down & leave the train & leave a permanent vacuum. Others will go so unnoticed that we don’t realise that they vacated their seats . . . which is very sad when you think about it!

This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes & farewells. Success consists of having good relationship with all the passengers . . . requiring that we give the best of ourselves.

The mystery to everyone is: we do not know at which station we ourselves will step down, So we must live in the best way – love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are. It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down & leave our seays empty – we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.

I wish you a happy journey this year on the train of life. Reap success & give lots of love. More importantly, give thanks for the journey! Lastly, I thank you for being one of the passengers on my train!”

Wishing All My Readers A Joyous New Year!
(Source of story: Unknown)

Ants Telling Us All About Life . . .

By Paul Chong
Sunday, 30 December 2018

When you get to be my age, an octogenarian, you’d have experienced much in life. No doubt your experiences are very mixed in nature – joyous or sad, interesting, exciting, thrilling & venturesome, ups & downs. Life’s journey won’t be the same for all. There’s however one common denominator . . . from the womb to the tomb there’s but one room all of us.

We like to remember the good times treasuring fond memories. But time passes by so rapidly that we never seem to have time for leisure & pleasure. Live then a life without regrets . . . if that is humanly possible.

All creatures great & small work & toil for the good things in life . . . only the privileged few are free of such burden. In the case of all ant colonies & related wasps & bees, they have some fertile males called “drones” (aner) and one or more fertile females called “queens” (gynes), all working & toiling for their privileged Queens.

Herein below is a great story about the ant & wealthy man, which story is truly superb & a big eye opener . . .

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“One Sunday morning, a wealthy man sat in his balcony enjoying sunshine and his coffee, when a little ant caught his eye which was going from one side to the other side of the balcony carrying a big leaf several times more than its size. The man watched it for more than an hour. He saw that the ant faced many impediments during its journey, paused, took a diversion and then continued towards its destination.

At one point the tiny creature came across a crack in the floor. It paused for a little while, analyzed and then laid the huge leaf over the crack, walked over the leaf, picked the leaf on the other side then continued its journey.

The man was captivated by the cleverness of the ant, one of God’s tiniest creatures. The incident left the man in awe and forced him to contemplate over the miracle of Creation. It showed the greatness of the Creator. In front of his eyes there was this tiny creature of God, lacking in size yet equipped with a brain to analyze, contemplate, reason, explore, discover and overcome. Along with all these capabilities, the man also noticed that this tiny creature shared some human shortcomings.

The man saw about an hour later the creature had reached its destination – a tiny hole in the floor which was entrance to its underground dwelling. And it was at this point that the ant’s shortcoming that it shared with the man was revealed. How could the ant carry into the tiny hole the large leaf that it had managed to carefully bring to the destination? It simply couldn’t!

So the tiny creature, after all the painstaking and hard work and exercising great skills, overcoming all the difficulties along the way, just left behind the large leaf and went home empty-handed.

The ant had not thought about the end before it began its challenging journey and in the end the large leaf was nothing more than a burden to it. The creature had no option, but to leave it behind to reach its destination. The man learnt a great lesson that day.

Isn’t that the truth of our lives?

We worry about our family, we worry about our job, we worry about how to earn even more money, we worry about where we should live – 5 bedroom or 6 bedroom house, what kind of vehicle to buy – a Mercedes or BMW or a Porsche, what kind of dresses to wear, all sorts of all these things when we reach our destination – The Grave.

We don’t realise in our life’s journey that these are just burdens that we are carrying with utmost care & fear of losing them,, only to find that at the end they are useless and we can’t take them with us . . . “

. . . a simple yet profound story!