Living In Australia

 

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Paul Chong                                                                   Thursday, 14 December 2017

 

In a word, living in Australia is great . . . “a lucky country” in the downunder world, geographically speaking that is. Everything else is top of the world . . . rich in natural resources, largest continental island in the world, beautiful weather with sun, surf & sand for fun lovers, good first class education, opportunities for one & all in a truly cosmopolitan nation. Most importantly, fairness is practised in true meritocratic way.

I am a Chinese by descent . . . an Australian by consent. My family & I have been in Perth, Western Australia since 1982, that is more than quarter of my life. It is indeed a fortunate life with my three offsprings all acquiring tertiary education from a PhD holder, a specialist medical doctor to a civil engineer.

Though born & bred in Malaysia, I could never consider myself a Malaysian because of the non meritocratic system of extreme corrupt government since independence from British colonial rule. Every non Malay race is marginalised in all aspects of human endeavour & life. Needless for me to go into any detail of the ongoing unfairness & injustice upon looking back & looking in from outside. There’s no meritocracy but sheer  “democrazy”. Brain drain from the country is no surprise. What’s Malaysia’s loss is gain to countries like Singapore, Australia, US, UK & Canada.

Everyone wants & deserves a good life, but not to expect & demand on hand-outs, for that would be tantamounting to living on your knees rather than dying on your feet. You’ve got to work, not only working hard but working smart as well. Work is God’s design for our natural living.

In Australia the aged are well taken of. Medical care can be said to be par excellence. All possible help are extended to make life of the aged comfortable & safe. Under the scheme known as Home & Community Care (HACC), there are organisations offering facilities to take good care of you, especially as the song goes “When you grow too old to dream, you’d have them to remember”.

Really, old people can keep on living in their own home, best place to be, rather than to scale down moving to units or aged homes, unless it is absolutely necessary. If you are living alone, Red Cross provides visitor service whereby a visitor would come by on a regular basis to keep you company, have a chat with you, have tea or a game of card, or take you out shopping or medical appointments. Other organisations also provide such a service & other home services as well like domestic cleaning, minor home maintenance, gardening.

There’s that Triple A Care (Australian Asian Aged Care Program) with multiple home & community care services. Charges for the services are subsidised & all that is required is $8 per hour.

TADWA’s (Technology Assisting Disability WA) purpose is to improve the quality & enjoyment of life for people with disabilities, older people & those caring for them through the application of technology & the skills of volunteers & staff. For our home, they came & installed safety railings for our steep driveway, front & back garden steps. All we need pay pay is for the materials.

In the case of Chorus (its old name Volunteer Task Force) apart from providing gardening service & other domestic services, organises outings to places of interest & lunches. I am particularly impressed by their friendliness,helpfulness with extreme care & attention.`The staff & the team of volunteers are about the nicest people you will ever meet. A stranger is but a friend you have not met. You can have hundreds of friends`but none near you or ever in sight, you might just as well be by yourself.

Old habits die hard. Nothing like living the life you are so accustomed to`. . . free & easy to be living in your own home.`A man’s home is his castle, however modest or otherwise.`

In the final analysis, I wish the best for all Malaysians. I would further add by quoting what the DAP leader Lim Kit Siang said: ” If we love Malaysia, we must unite as Malaysian patriots to save Malaysia from corruption, kleptocracy, injustices, exploitation and the fate of a third-world nation”.““““`“““““““““

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Metamorphosis of Life

Metamorphosis of Life

Observing the beautiful butterfly fluttering around, I can’t help but reflect upon its short life span & the time I used to spend my effort collecting them as a hobby. Now I would say what a foolish pleasure that was & never had any realization of a wasteful destruction of life! Nor did I realize of its great significance & perspective on life.

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Observe how an ‘ugly’ caterpillar undergoes its metamorphosis to become a beautiful butterfly. This is how nature prepares itself for the wild life outside. It is said that if we were to help the butterfly remove itself from the cocoon, the butterfly would not be strong enough to survive. It is the struggle that prepares the butterfly to become strong enough to fly and face its life ahead. Its struggling gives the butterfly the edge for survival. In time, God makes all things beautiful provided we are patient to wait.

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It is a verified truism that the best steel must go through tremendous heat and pressure. Precious metals such as gold and silver must similarly be refined to attain its preciousness and beauty. A hero is not necessarily an extraordinary person but one who’s able to withstand great perils and danger. He is undoubtedly one who’s made of sterner stuff. Freedom fighters live and die fighting for a cause greater than life itself. Inevitably, there is a price to be paid.

Life is not a bed of roses. Amidst the beauty lies thorns that prick. Apart from the ups and downs in life, there are twists and turns as well. Sometimes it does seem that God is far away and unloving – allowing endless problems and hardship in our lives. This is how the Lord prepares us to fulfil His purposes. Trust in the Lord always. Follow Him with an upright heart and He’ll make our life an instrument in His hand.

Biblically, we only need to look at the lives of Moses and David to understand having faith and total obedience in God for the outcome. You cannot expect to remain where you are and go with God. Adjustments and sacrifices need to be made just like Noah (Genesis 6), Abram (Genesis 12:1-8), Jonah (Jonah 1:1-2; 3:1-2; 4:1-11) as with the apostles Peter, Andrew, James and John. The question is: Quo Vadis? God will never give us an assignment that He will not enable us to complete. Are you prepared for the challenge?

    Paul Chong

Remembering Life’s Lessons

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Hard work will not a person kill

Sheer laziness will.

People generally associate Longfellow, the American educator & poet, with the heroic figure of Paul Revere which he wrote. However, to me one of the most profound poems of his well imprinted in my heart are the following lines:

The heights by great men reached & kept,

Were not obtained by sudden flight;

But they, while their companions slept,

Were toiling upward in the night

Standing on what too long we bore,

With shoulders bent & downcast eyes,

We may discern – unseen before

A path to higher destinies!”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882)

Admittedly, at the time in school I learnt it, committed it to memory as required, without really understanding it in any depth. Strangely enough, when you are able to render any poem verbatim at a young age, somehow over the years you’re still able to recall, as with all our childhood favourites of “Mary Had A Little Lamb” or “Twinkle Twinkle little Star”. I don’t think you’d ever forget them.

Interestingly too, it is worth a note that Chinese traditional scholars learnt through memorising. It’s a system not to be scoffed at – it does have merits. My own father had only two years of Confucian schooling, and all through my young adult life I often heard him quoting Confucian sayings & he had such a flair for Chinese calligraphy.

In my days of insurance management & sales, I always advocated new sales trainees to learn off sales techniques & presentation by heart. They were told to keep repeating & memorising key presentation until they knew it so well that it became part of them. Often new trainees became quite professional in the shortest span of time – able to render presentation spontaneously, flawlessly, fluently as though it were their very own. This system of “internalisation” renders well professionalism.

The path to higher destinies is never attained through lying in a bed of roses, nor as it’s said above “by sudden flight”. You’ve got to be prepared to be pricked & hurt by the sharp thorns; pay the price of toiling through the night while most are enjoying their “peaceful slumber”. It goes without saying that the higher the price the higher the reward.

The ones who made it to the top are the ones made of sterner stuff. The weak & cowardly will fall by the wayside . . . sleeping along the way.

Biblically, we can draw examples from the lives of God’s greatest servants. Many of them experienced & suffered great disappointments & frustrations in their saintly journeys. Topping the list would be Moses, who braved it all for forty years in the desert & never even got to see the land of milk & honey.

Others would include:

  • Joseph, after spending years as a slave & in jail revealed deep disappointment when he was left forgotten.

  • John the Baptist, when awaiting execution, doubted whether Jesus was, in fact, the Christ.

  • Elijah, losing all hopes & despondent to the point of death, asked God to take his life in the desert; and

  • Peter, quitting his fishing business & invested three years of his life only to watch his Saviour crucified, wondered whether the purpose of those three years could be justified.

When hope fails & life doesn’t add up, which often is the case, it leaves the heart sick. Disappointments in life leave us questioning . . . trying our very soul . . . seemingly making absolutely no sense at all. We are left with a choice: to cling & not to sing!

There’s only one answer to life’s great disappointments. Like the Psalmist, we must : “Find rest, my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock & my salvation. He is my fortress, I will not be shaken” – (Ps. 62:5-6)

Without sounding audacious & with every due respect to all concerned, medical or otherwise, I just like to say that sleep is a sheer luxury in life. It is generally accepted that we need to sleep at least eight hours. Debates & arguments are pointlessly hopeless against medical minds. Speaking personally, rightly or wrongly, I think each individual physical body knows exactly how much sleep is enough – and that can extend from one extreme end to the other, meaning some people sleep soundly three four hours & feel absolutely refreshed. In contrast, there’s the “passive horizontal” camp who even after maintaining a minimum of eight hours of sleep or even more, cases have been found to be still “lacking of sleep”.

In this connection, I often jokingly relate to willing ears that I have 13 months in a year in contrast to some who only have 10 to 11 months. A known fact is a lot of people who sleep a lot seldom amount to very much in life, compared to historical figures like Sir Winston Churchill, Napoleon Bonaparte, Thomas Edison, Lord Byron, Charles Dickens, Earnest Hemingway & others far too many to name. These well-known figures have been known to sleep very little but had claimed their rightful places in history in no small measures. Medical science would lump them all as having the “bipolar disorder”, but their contributions to mankind are more “sane” than the large majority of mankind who slept their lives away!

The simple fact is that these outstanding historical figures didn’t die for lack of sleep. They demonstrated that they were brilliantly at their best “toiling upward” through the nights towards life’s higher destinies.

Paul Chong ©

A Chinese by Descent

An Australian by Consent