Dreams of Yesteryears . . . Bonus Years Ahead

Paul Chong / Saturday 15 November 2014

New York - Statue of Liberty (Background)
New York – Statue of Liberty (Background) July 2012
The Famous Wall Street
The Famous Wall Street (july 2012)

With three score & ten plus six years of cumulative good living behind me, the diminishing years ahead are my bonuses. Hence the title of this piece of writing.

Sitting here day after day & night after night at my desk . . . facing my old 24 inch iMac Apple computer (the greatest birthday gift from our children), my mind often flashes back to my good old days & I often wonder what’s there ahead for me.

The question is where do I begin. Believe you me, as with most writers with mental block, my mind often draw up a blank.

It’s a beautiful bright spring morning, the sky’s clear & blue lined with patches of light clouds. A beautiful day for gardening indeed. Our younger son Andrew & his family invited us on a field trip to pick strawberries. Though tempted, I declined . . . for I feel this tremendous urge of sharing with you & my family . . . lest my son David should again say “Dad, I didn’t know you were once the secretary of ADMO (Alliance Direct Membership Organisation). Who knows in Malaysia whatever happened to it.

Our humble home sits on the escarpment in Perth Hills overlooking the city, with panoramic views as far as the eyes can see. Would I quit living here, scale down & move to a retirement home & lose all the inspiration beholding my eyes? Not in a million years. Though my eye dimmed & my back ached, ten horse wouldn’t be able to pull me downhills.

It has always been my dream to be living up in the clouds, from my school days of holidaying in Taiping Maxwell’s Hills, climbing & exercising up Menglembu Hills in Ipoh, Penang Hills for visit, Fraser’s Hills & Cameron Highlands for both holidays & conferences, and in Kuala Lumpur Genting Highlands . . . all beautiful exhilarating spots of fresh clean air & relaxation. Need I say, I have a close affinity for height & vision.

I have my fair share of ailments (diabetes type 2, glaucoma & back ache) as with age, but life’s been good. Praise God for the past & pray God for the future.

Born in Matang, a little known place some 6 miles from Taiping in Malaysia, never knowing where fate & destiny can lead you, I have lived in a few more little known places (Temuloh, Bruas & Port Weld) because of circumstances such as the hateful Japanese Occupation, before my father moved us all to Taiping where he had a repair business shop. He could fix almost anything with his pair of hands. With two years only of Confucius schooling, he did pretty well in bringing up nine of us offsprings, but without struggle & sacrifices.

As an over-aged boy (as affected by the Japanese Occupation), I was fortunate to be admitted & schooling in English at St. George’s Institution, a Roman Catholic school. My father always very strongly advocated me not to follow his foot steps “holding the hammer”. My right hand must instead learn to “hold the pen”.

Upon graduation from St. George’s, I had taught school temporary for a year at Bagan Serai (between Taiping & Penang). What followed was being selected on a Malaysian government scholarship to be trained as a teacher in Kirkby, Liverpool (UK). You might care to read in my blog my journal article entitled 1066 My Kirkby College Number & All That . . .

at http;//paulchong.net. Other journals include “Kirkby – Down Memory Lane”, “Kirkby Memorabilia” & more.

College has been the most wonderful part of my life. Met my wife there & we’ve been married like closed to be celebrating our 50th Anniversary soon. I did a lot of travelling & sight-seeing when in College during Whitsun/Easter & Summer holidays – France, Spain & Portugal, Holland, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, and in UK covering Wales, Scotland & Ireland. I was rather enterprising organising tours to the European continent with free ticket for me as the tour leader & travelling by train on group train ticket was affordable. London, Paris, Rome & the Vatican City, Venice, Lucerne, Geneva, Interlaken . . . all seem still so fresh in my memory and not forgetting all the other cities (big or small) in each of the countries mentioned.

Guess life is one big holiday . . . a journey you take towards life destiny. Life is never a bed of roses, beautiful as they are, there are prickly thorns. Like in a game of tennis or golf, not every shot is an ace nor would you expect to get “hole in one” with your swing. As with Roger Federal & Tiger Woods, the number one spot cannot long endure. The whole idea is “keeping on” and winners never quit.

To grow to progress is to change” has been my guiding concept . . . never be afraid to change & attempt something new & better or more challenging. That’s what life is all about.

I had my fill of teaching life in Ipoh Anderson School where I taught for about four years (1966-70) after graduating from the University of Malaya, Pantai Hills, Kuala Lumpur. As the Sr. Geography Master, concurrently I was working extra hard as a teacher-trainer lecturer in the Regional Training Centre (RTC) & the Further Educational Classes (FEC) in the evening. Would you believe it, on top of all that, I was a top insurance sales representative (part-time) for Prudential Life? (Read blog at http://paulchong.net my journal on “My Life As A Teacher in Malaysia”.

The stint of the commercial world proved too tempting. Burning my academic bridge, I set forth to work for the American International Assurance (AIG company) and later seconded to its subsidiary Malaysian American Assurance as the District Manager, developing & establishing the fledging company. The years with both took me to travelling to Bangkok, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Medan & Lake Toba for convention conferences.

Pauline chai
Pauline chai

You might be bored to be detailed chronologically with my humble life’s history, compared to the sad & scandalous breakup news of Tan Sri Dr. Khoo Kay Peng, whom I had the privilege of marketing him a million dollar Georgian manor in Jalan Ampang, diplomatic enclave area in Kuala Lumpur. His wife Pauline Chai, a former Miss Malaysia 1969 from Ipoh, was my back neighbour. Off the record, on the eve of her marriage to MUI tycoon Tan Sri Khoo (someone who leaped from the position of a mere Malayan Bank clerk), a red Jaguar E-Type race car was parked outside her house till the unholy hours of the morning. I guess her romantic admirer, son of a tin miner, was reluctant to let go! I had known Tan Sri Khoo through Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship & the Calvary Church, then in Damansara, Kuala Lumpur, where I was baptised.

Josephine Lena Wong
Josephine Lena Wong

Talking about former beauty queens, Datin Josephine Lena Wong Jaw Leng of Ipoh comes to mind. You would certainly know her as Miss Malaysia Universe 1970, First & Only Semi-Finalist & Top Ten Expo Queen. Her brother Paul Wong was my insurance agent in my AIA days and I got to know her briefly.

Michelle Yeoh

Michelle Yeoh (As I knew her then)

 Another girl who who has done Malaysia proud also hailed from Ipoh, who used to live in the bungalow next to Ipoh Swimming Club. She is none other than the Hong Kong star Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh Choo Keng, who used to play squash with us at Ipoh Swimming Club as a very pretty teenager of 15. I got her to enter our Ipoh Lions’ Club Motor Show Beauty Queen Content where she got her first Motor Show Queen title 1977. This was never mentioned in her list of titles. She won her Miss Malaysia Beauty Pageant title (1982) at the age of 20.

Beauty is only skin deep & never last – not unless you go under the plastic surgeon’s knife like most of the Hollywood celebrities. Like everything, enjoy while it lasts. The same goes for life, there’s no turning back . . . you only have a one-way ticket.

During the period of real estate boom in Malaysia, I first came to Perth in 1981 essentially to look around & was generally impressed by Perth’s beauty & its weather. As they say “Fine today . . . Perfect tomorrow”. We had conceived in our mind to migrate after May 13, 1969. Because of the unwanted political situation in Malaysia, imminent social & educational changes & racial discrimination & unfairness, Perth was & is such an excellent choice for our purpose.

After 33 years, there’s no regret whatsoever. Our three children are all well qualified professionally & academically. Our daughter Agnes (in Perth) is a PhD holder with 2 lovely boys. David, our elder son is in Hong Kong with a son & daughter. He’s a doctor specialising in anaesthetics. Our younger son Andrew is a civil engineer with a top honours in Computer Science, also in Perth, married with a daughter.

Success must be based, not just monetarily,but also in terms of family togetherness, happiness & wellbeing. As a young man you are always in a hurry. Nothing seems to matter more than chasing after the dollar, which won’t accompany you to the ultimate plot of earth 6′ by 6′ by 3′.

At this stage in life, health is wealth, without which you can’t even enjoy the fruits of your labour or enterprises. As beauty fades, health deteriorates, family splits . . . life appears to be unkind. That may seem to be so . . . but just count your blessings, for life has its compensation & rewards in forms beyond your understanding.

I have retired since 1990 & our travel bug has taken us to China (several times since 1989), Hong Kong (many times since 1972), Macau, New Zealand, US (both east & west), Canada. My wife & I enjoy cruising on the high seas. When we were in school we talked about seeing the Seven Wonders of the World, and now that we have seen Niagara Falls, Grand Canyon, Great Wall of China . . . it’s not all that great after all. Now that we are completely free of obligations & commitments, we would love to be able to travel where & how.

Living long is a privilege & blessings from God.

Life should be one big holiday.

AUSTRALIA is a lucky country to live in.

 

 

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Prostitution in Malaysia

USA Gas Service Station
                             Beautiful Kuala Lumpur Malaysia . . . 

One juicy piece of news has just come to my hearing. It’s from a friend who frequently travels between Perth & Kuala Lumpur. It is not as though I have had no such news before, for I lived in Malaysia for a greater part of my life.

Born & lived there, I am a Chinese by descent but now an Australian by consent.

Back in the 70s, even in a lesser known town like Ipoh to the north of Kuala Lumpur, prostitution though strictly illegal in Muslim Malaysia, flourished in no small measures under the guise of massage parlours, bars, girlie barber shops and private residential areas. As long as the police were/are in the coffers of the seedy operators, the show went/goes on undiminished & unperturbed.

Prostitution is as old as mankind. The scenario in South-east Asian countries as elsewhere is no different. I remember Taipei in 1970, right across from our hotel room window, loomed flashing signs of “VD Clinic/Hospital”. In Ipoh, men often talked of “tiger show” performances by the then infamous Rose Chan. New arrivals from foreign lands always command & demand more for their services. In keeping pace with the whims & fancies of demanding customers or clients, seedy operators are constantly flashing out new schemes of services.

However, this is one attracting scheme which was unheard of in the past. Hailed as the “ultimate loyalty program”, the promotion of ‘free sex’ is based on a number of cumulative ‘cash wash’. Such a roaring loyalty trade, however, is not remotely legal. Recently, a car wash & brothel in Kuala Lumpur was questioned over its questionable loyalty scheme, when the police caught wind of its operation.

Slideshow of Malaysian Service Stations & Tourism  in their Various Promotions . . .

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For one operator caught, more as a “window show case”, others just go more underground. In fact, I was told that Muslim Malays are allowed to have sex with prostitutes under the guise or pretence of multiple or trial marriages. Devious or not, the ingenuity of men to suit his own convenience & pleasure will always come up with “legally acceptable” schemes.

                                             Essentially Islamic Malaysia

As reported by the Malay Mail:

When authorities raided the operation, they found nine Vietnamese women in the back of the building and storeroom, all without proper working permits. The women and the operators of the car wash were immediately detained and taken into police custody.

Authorities are still investigating the situation. Prostitution, as mentioned, is illegal in Malaysia.

In Europe as far as I can remember in the 1950s, “legal” prostitution took to operating in specially condoned areas like Reeperbahn in Hamburg (there’s even a new place on the Kiez ‘Reeperbahn’ right next to McDonald’s). In the Netherlands, authorities condone brothels in the interests of civil & social order. There are several permitted or tolerated areas of sex shops in Amsterdam, and you’ll find sex customers “sex-window” shopping openly. Sex industries are in operation in Amsterdam, Paris, Copenhagen, Hamburg and others in Europe – and no doubt in the US.

What of the sex scenario in the Philippines, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong or Singapore?

Sex-window” shopping areas exist in Kalgoorlie, the Australian mining city in Western Australia. And in Perth, sex shops are also a common sight.

The question is: Should sex operation be made legal at all?

How would authorities cope with prevailing sex-slaves & human trafficking in Asia?

 

Prayer Appeal for Joseph Teoh

A young man in the prime of life struck down by paralysis resulting from a board surfing accident on 10 December 2011. He still lie today  in Shenton Park Campus RPH (WARD 11 RM E) for extended medical care & support . . .

“Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.” – Jeremiah 17:14

PLEASE CHECK UPDATE AT END OF ARTICLE & BE SURE TO READ RIGHT THROUGH

Donations Welcome: 

Send your donation to

Asian Australian Initiative Inc.

Westpac Account No: 736 – 065 182364

Thank You

Joe singing socially

A great man of God, a blessed worship leader and a gifted song writer. . . Don Moen sings: “I Am The God That Healeth Thee”, together with message from Evangelist Benny Hinn.

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 Joe & Mabel in happier times & at the hospital

Joseph (Joe), tall & 59 years young, works at the Post Office Distribution Centre, Perth International Airport, today lies at Shenton Park Rehabitation Centre where he was sent from, Royal Perth Hospital for life support & on-going medical care. He was struck down in knee-deep water while board surfing with his friend Mark at Mullaloo Beach, Perth, Western Australia on 10 December 2011.

Aussies generally love the sand, sun & surf.

It’s unbelievable that water can be both a friend & enemy without any forewarning. This surfing accident which happened in December 2011 is not the result of great tsunami waves but relatively calm water at 4 feet level. Joe in fact was making his way back to shore. But when Joe was still not back, his friend quickly turned around & found him floating face down.

Resuscitation was quickly administered while waiting for the ambulance. Joe was rushed to Royal Perth Hospital. The initial prognosis was not favourable & it came to as much as having to decide whether to pull off the life supporting device. He was in a coma initially. He has no sensation from the neck down.

Trusting in the Lord, and being good Christians, Mabel his wife & the rest of the family members strongly believe that God will heal Joe completely. God will make a way. God will make him whole.

Slowly, there has been some improvements. With insertion of trachea device, Joe could now eat, speak & even sing.

Video of Joe singing “Feelings”

Yes, Joe loves to sing. He has his first singing training as a choir boy when he was at the Seminary in Ipoh, Malaysia. In fact every Teoh family member is a good singer. Joe is a popular karaoke singer at social parties & charitable performances.

Things have been difficult for his wife Mabel. Virtually all hours she has been at his bedside. It’s hard for her coping with the situation. Let’s all of us think kindly & pray for a miracle for Joe, together with any possible assistance, which will be greatly appreciated.

Don Moen sings: “God Will Make A Way

We claim complete & wholesome healing in the wonderful & powerful Name of Jesus. AMEN.

LATEST UPDATE  (Month of September 2012)

Praise God! Joe has improved tremendously with the ability to raise his right hand, sit for longer stretch in his wheel chair, use his laptop computer, talk quite like normal & even sing!

He’s now at the Quadriplegic Centre, 10 Selby Street, Shenton Park WA 6008 – Ashburton Room 4

We claim complete healing in the name of Jesus! AMEN.

Farewell Tribute to a Dear Friend – Dr Yap Chin Fah

Dedicated By P Chong                                                                        Friday, 2 September 2011

 The late Dr Yap Chin Fah

Known among his friends as the “Singing Doctor”, he prescribed

medicine with a smile, and sang with his heart. His deep melodious voice was soothing to the ears and more so to the hearts of women who literally worshipped him with sheer admiration. He rendered both Mandarin & English songs with ease & charm . . . that handsome look with his boyish smile ever so radiant & bright!

 Sadly, we shall no longer have his company nor to have him entertain us with rendition of songs by Michael Ball such as “Love Changes Everything” or his favourite song on Shanghai Bund in Cantonese. He passed on some days short of his sixtieth birthday defeated by that dreadful cancerous disease of the colon.

 He sang as though there were no tomorrow . . . impressing on the importance of the present. In all the years that I have known him, he never turned me down to be present to sing, whether it was a home karaoke dinner or a public charity performance. All the time unknown to me he was fighting to beat this dreadful disease.

Below: A happy Dr Yap at our party to celebrate Tom’s birthday (1 October 2010)

At the last function (29 September 2010) attended by him in my house, he was in real high spirit, giving no indication of his being ill as you can observe from all the illustrated pictures. We had a roasted suckling pig and nobody was handy with slicing off the crunchy skin of the pig. He rolled up his sleeves saying “No problem” for in his father’s house in Ipoh, Malaysia, they always had this three times a year.

Dr Yap exhibiting his slicing skill with the pigling (Picture: Above & below)

A shock to all of us, he was in China when he passed away . . . seeking his last hope of living.

Gone but not forgotten, In Heaven he lives on. No longer forlorn, he’s telling us that life’s still worth the living, and living it to the full. Sing with a merry heart & make others merry! Don’t be sad when life is bad. Sing unto Him with a merry heart. Play your part out with a mighty shout: “Glory be to God!”

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The Malaysian Creed – Be An Uncommon Man

Photo by Johan Yeong Sek Yee. Pernas Twin Tower at night.

“Much has been written on Dean Alfange’s poem “I do not chose to be a common man” which was originally published in This Week Magazine. Later printed in The Reader’s Digest, October 1952 and January 1954.

This is a simple & yet powerful poem depicting the individualistic principle of man, his right to freedom & choice, to live a life of his own choosing, to enjoy the fruits of his own labour, to stand tall & be counted for all his actions, to do the right things by his conscience, to undertake all things big & small in the final reckoning of what it means to be a Man! It shows the strength of character – a citizen that any nation would be proud to have! 

In the 70s when I burned off my academic bridges & plunge right in the field of life insurance sales in Malaysia . . . from a secured salaried man to that of strictly depending on commissions, this wonderful poem was my creed . . . my guiding light & principle. It enabled me to be well motivated, strong & independent and earning an unlimited income. This was an income truly commensurate with your time & effort – the sky’s the limit. On the reverse, the negative danger is zero income!

As the District Manager stationed in Ipoh, Malaysia for as then the fledging Malaysian American Assurance Co. Bhd., I had clients & agents of every colour, race or creed. Many of them were Malays. They were my friends & buddies, including high officials in the government service & the military. But I have been away from Malaysia since 1982 & have lost touch with lots of dear old friends.

There’s a group of my former HSC students from Anderson School, Ipoh (1966/67) that I still kept in touch through emailing. Many of them have succeeded well in life & even well decorated & honoured with distinguished titles of Dato/Datuk & Tan Sri/Puan Sri. I believe many of them attained their wealth & fame on “meritocracy”.

However, my heart bleeds to see both plight & flight of the new generations of Malay. The poor have remained way down in the economic scale . . . unable to compete with those with UMNO/BN connections or are bogged down in the political-social-economic quagmire designed & created by the elite UMNOputra group. The flight of the fortunate Malays to the economic “throne” is nothing to be admired . . . with their dignity in both flight & plight!

Looking in from outside, anyone can conjure the vision of “generations loss” – a situation that will further deteriorate the dignity & pride of the common Malays. None of them will ever be able to stand tall & erect, proud & dignified, to be able to face the world & say “This I have done!”

Needless for me to say why Malaysia despite its wonderfully natural rich resources is falling behind the rest of its neighbouring cousins in Southeast Asia or the Pacific Rim.

The UMNO/BN government has to go! A change must come about! That change has to begin with the people themselves. It’s not a violent revolution like the “Arab Spring” that is advocated but that of a “mental revolution”

If under the same circumstances, the rest of the population like the Chinese & the Indians can still struggle & survive, how is it that the so-called “elite” Malays cannot compete?

Read Dean Alfange’s poem. Memorise & internalise until it becomes part of yourselves. 

rolex-mount-everst-img
(Poem by Dean Alfange)images

I do not choose to be a common man, 

It is my right to be uncommon if I can

I seek opportunity not security

I do not wish to be a kept citizen,

humble & deluded

by having the State to look after me.

I want to take the calculated risk,

to dream & to build, to fail & to succeed.

I refuse to barter incentive for a dole

I prefer the challenges of life to dole

I prefer the challenges of life

to the guaranteed existence;

the thrill of fulfilment

instead of a stale Utopia.

I will not trade freedom for beneficence

nor my dignity for a handout.

I will not cower before any master

nor bend to any threat.

It is my heritage to stand erect, proud & unafraid,

to think & act for myself,

to enjoy the benefits of my creations

and to face the world boldly,

and to say: “This I have done”.

All this is what it means to be a MAN.

Dean Alfange – An American statesman born December 2, 1899, in Constantinople (now Istanbul). He was raised in upstate New York. He was Professor Emeritus at UMass Amherst and a leading figure in various pro-Zionist organizations (between other actions, in November 1943, he appeared before the House of Representatives and addressed them on the rescue of the Jewish people of Europe). He died in Manhattan at the age of 91 on October 27, 1989.

Li River Cruise, Guilin

This is really transporting to an era of simpler times

and an environment of natural beauty

Guilin – it’s heaven on earth

It’s one of those places

That makes your heart yearn to return!

Guilin - Li River

Fishermen Aided by Cormorants – Special Fishing Birds

Below: Slideshow of Guilin’s paradise with characteristic Chinese music
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A cruise down the Li River to Yangshuo is one of the highlights of a holiday in Guilin, China.Among the Chinese, the saying, “Guilin has the most beautiful scenery in China, and Yangshuo is the most beautiful part of Guilin.”

The riverside karst hilly landscape, reminiscences of those limestone hills of Ipoh, Malaysia, & calm pristine waters with fishermen at work all fill an air with awe & refreshing wonder.

Li River meanders its wayLiRiver_map

through 52 miles of beautiful countryside, with

bamboo forests, dense reed-beds,

and incredibly bizarre rock formations

Li River - Boarding

Pictures Below:

1.Boarding the boat for the cruise.

2. A seafood lunch was provided on board the cruise – delicious & sumptuous.

3. On the deck cruising along calm pristine waters.

Li River  Cruise

4. Beautiful scenery at every turn.

5. Just enjoying the refreshing cold wind of the month of June 1989 on the open deck.

6. Shops & souvenirs galore after                       disembarking at Yangshuo.