Beijing ~ Melbourne By High-Speed Train

 

Paul Chong

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

 

As it is Australia is one huge continent with great distances from north to south & east to west. It is a country, a continent and an island. It is located in Oceania between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean.

The vast distances between places make it expensive to travel domestically. Most Australian find it more worthwhile to travel abroad to Bali, Thailand, Malaysia & Singapore. In 3 years, we will take a trip across all the borders from North to South.

But not for long now. Changes are in the horizon & within three years,high-speed train will be coming to Australia. In 3 years, we will take a trip across all the borders from North to South. Distance barriers will become a thing of the past.

Starting at Beijing thereafter, along the South Canton line, from Nanning into Indo-China, Malay Peninsula passing through Hanoi, Vientiane, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and other important cities, thereafter through Malacca Strait tunnel into Indonesia’s Pulau Sumatera, the Indonesian Archipelago, passing through Jakarta, Bandung, and other Indonesian cities, through to Australia via The Northern Territories capital, Darwin, spanning a 550-kilometre trip cross-Sea bridge into Australia’s East Coast via Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra to the train terminal at Melbourne.

Built by China Railway on a turnkey contract, with total length of project 13000 km, for the entire viaduct Railway, design of 2 sea-crossing tunnels, 5 bridges, at highest speed of 400 km per hour, and at a total investment of 460 billion U.S. dollar.

The Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure investment Bank will provide financial support to all countries along the way.

After completion of the project, the trip from Melbourne to Beijing via high-speed train is expected to be within 48 hours, with fare control within 1000 Australian dollars. Annual passenger throughput is expected to reach 200 million persons each year. For countries along the way it will bring direct economic benefits of more than 200 billion U.S. dollars.

The project expected to commence early 2018 and completed by end 2020.

Along the way, you can enjoy different customs and natural landscapes of Australia and Southeast Asia, and enjoy delicious food from all over the world. As the train passes through every country, the country’s attendants will provide services for the railway.

It’s a changing world we live in. Make sure you live healthily to usher in this new era of fast-speed transportation. Passengers can expect to travel in great comfort, apart from high speed, & if not more comfortable than the airlines & more affordable.

Update Insertion: 7 January 2019

Isn’t it time for the Aussie Government  to consider upgrading the domestic rail infrastructure? Both the Indian Pacific Rail & the Ghan (the Great Southern Rail) are old & outdated. More popularity, convenience & speed would be afforded to serve this great continent of ours with the recommended High Speed Rail system from China. Think what will all this mean!

 

The End is Near . . .

By Paul Chong     Thursday 20 August 2015

imagesDesperado Najib – the Flamboyant Prime Minister of Malaysia

If you should ever confront a wounded tiger in the wild, be extra cautious, for the wounded tiger is more than likely to be more ferocious, insanely wild, unpredictable & fearless. With its diminished ability to hunt for food, it would attack & devour anything in sight.

Look at Najib (as pictured above), his body language betrays his usual “gaya” self . . . now depressed, desperate & lacking any sense of aura & direction. He’s like a drowning man in the great stormy ocean clinging on to the last straw.

According to Bloomberg’s report on 19 August 2015:
“Malaysia Riskier Than Mexico Has UBS Warning of Worse to Come”. How long can you keep on pumping out the oil & draining it away? With $700 million drained into his own personal bank account that was initially linked to debt-ridden state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd, “Malaysia is paying the price for weak foreign currency holdings and messy politics as the cost to protect its debt soars to near a four-year high,” UBS Group AG predicts even more pain ahead.

The late Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore did shed some tears when Singapore got separated from Malaysia. His tears were meant for the poor suffering citizens of Malaysia & ironically, it was he who on 24 April 1961 proposed to Tunku Abdul Rahman about the formation of Malaysia.

On 9 May1961, Lee sent the final version of the paper on his proposal to Tunku and Abdul Razak in Kuala Lumpur, after doing all the ground work. Malaysia was to comprise of Brunei, Malaya, North Borneo (later named Sabah), Sarawak, and Singapore, all of which had been British colonies, essentially as a whole to counter & combat communist activities & to ensure Malay dominance politically. Brunei dropped out on its own. Malaysia has existed since 1961 comprising of Malaya, Sabah & Sarawak, also known separately as West & East Malaysia.

Unknowingly, it was predicted that the lineage of Malay Prime Minister under the ruling party of UMNO/BN (United Malay National Organisation/Barison National) would begin with Tunku Abdul RAHMAN, the playboy prince from Kedah, who took 11 years to complete his law studies in London, and down the line it invariably ended up with Najib Razak, very much a playboy too, though on the quiet.
Notice from above paragraph, I spelt out RAHMAN in capital letters. Significantly, there have been just 6 (six) Malay Prime Ministers since the inception of Malaysia. Take a look at this below:
R stands for RAHMANUnknown

A stands for ABDUL RazakAR

H stands for HUSSEIN Onn Hussein Onn

M stands for MAHATHIRMahathir

A stands for ABDUL BadawiAbdul BNadawi

N stands for NAJIB RazakimagesSo you can see that Najib is fated to be the last of the Malay PMs from UMNO/BN. He’s the be all and end all of the Malay lineage. It’s just a question of time as his fate has been predetermined. Get out soon before more harm is done.

Balek-lah Kampong . . . Selamat Jalan!

 

A “Tribute” to Dr M & Tributes to Lee Kuan Yew

 

Lee-Kuan-Yew-book-singapore-060813_360_524_100

 dr_m

A “Tribute” to Dr M

By Andrew Cheng 

A Doctor In The House wry and sly,

The Malay Dilemma you feign to cry, 

Soon after the tragedy in May 69,

Rising from the ashes you became mighty and high, 

A good 22 years you reign in style,

Shedding crocodile tears when time to say good bye. 

A crooked man with a crooked mind,

Wanted a crooked bridge, the rational hard to find, 

Billions vanished without any trace or sign,

Plundering the country is never a crime, 

Corruption, cronyism and racialism, all are fine,

Leaving this beloved Bolehland way far behind. 

Ketuanan Melayu, Hidup Melayu is your battle cry,

You scream all these to cover your deception and lie(s), 

Many saw these but pretend to be blind,

Mercy upon those who do not toe your line, 

Know not why you lose your memory when in a bind,

Another intelligent devil like you we hope not to find. 

What a lovely poem befitting to Mahathir. The last sentence says it all.

In contrast : 

Tributes To A Great Leader – Lee Kuan Yew 

When Lee Kuan Yew speaks, who listens? Presidents, prime ministers, chief executives, and all who care about global strategy. Below are quotes about Lee Kuan Yew as told by some of the world’s most notable leaders.’ 

Barack Obama, president of the United States. “Lee is one of the legendary figures of Asia in the 20th and 21st centuries. He is somebody who helped to trigger the Asian economic miracle.” (October 29, 2009) 

Bill Clinton, 42nd president of the United States. “MM Lee’s life of public service is both unique and remarkable… His work as prime minister and now as minister mentor has helped literally millions of people in Singapore and all across Southeast Asia to live better, more prosperous lives. I hope the leaders of ASEAN [the Association of Southeast Asian Nations] will continue to build upon Mr. Lee Kuan Yew’s outstanding legacy… I thank you [the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council] for honoring a man I admire so very much.” (October 27, 2009) 

George H.W. Bush, 41st president of the United States “In my long life in public service, I have encountered many bright, able people. None is more impressive than Lee Kuan Yew.” (endorsement of Lee’s My Lifelong Challenge: Singapore’s Bilingual Journey, 2011) 

Jacques Chirac, president of France (1995–2007) “Lee Kuan Yew has gathered around himself the most brilliant minds, transforming the most exacting standards into a system of government. Under his leadership, the primacy of the general interest, the cult of education, work and saving, the capacity to foresee the needs of the city have enabled Singapore to take what I call ‘shortcuts to progress.’ (endorsement of Lee’s From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 1965–2000, 2000)

F.W. De Klerk, president of South Africa (1989–94) “The leader who, perhaps, impressed me most was Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore… He was an individual who changed the course of xiv Lee Kuan Yew history… Lee Kuan Yew took the right decisions for his country; he chose the right values and the right economic policies to ensure the development of a successful society. In this, he was an artist painting on the largest canvas that society can provide. He was also a very astute judge of the world and provided a very canny and realistic assessment of our situation in South Africa when I met him during the early nineties.” (March 30, 2012) 

Xi Jinping, vice president of China Lee is “our senior who has our respect”: “To this day, you are still working tirelessly to advance our bilateral relationship, and you have my full admiration. We will never forget the important contribution you have made to our bilateral relationship.” (May 23, 2011) 

Tony Blair, prime minister of the United Kingdom (1997–2007) Lee is “the smartest leader I think I ever met.” (Blair, A Journey: My Political Life, 2010) 

John Major, prime minister of the United Kingdom (1990–97) “Lee Kuan Yew can justifiably be called the father of modern Singapore. He has steered through policies that have been copied across Asia, and have greatly lifted the proªLe and representation of Singapore. It is a legacy that will endure.” (comment in Tom Plate’s Conversations with Lee Kuan Yew: Citizen Singapore: How to Build a Nation, 2010) 

Margaret Thatcher, prime minister of the United Kingdom (1979–90) “In office, I read and analyzed every speech of Lee’s. He had a way of penetrating the fog of propaganda and expressing with unique clarity the issues of our times and the way to tackle them. He was never wrong.” (endorsement of Lee’s From Third World to First:The Singapore Story: 1965–2000, 2000) 

Helmut Schmidt, chancellor of Germany (1974–82) “Ever since I met my friend Lee Kuan Yew, I was highly impressed by his brilliant intellect and his straight overview. His lifetime achievements as a political leader and statesman are outstanding. The economic and social advancement of modern Singapore is deeply rooted in his capability to establish an adequate political framework for Singapore’s ethnical heterogeneity. This book is yet another proof of his perspicacity and competence.” (endorsement of Lee’s My Lifelong Challenge: Singapore’s Bilingual Journey, 2011) 

Rupert Murdoch, chairman and chief executive officer of News Corporation “More than 40 years ago, Lee Kuan Yew transformed what was a poor, decrepit colony into a shining, rich, and modern metropolis—all the time surrounded by hostile powers. With his brilliant, incisive intellect, he is one of the world’s most outspoken and respected statesmen. This book is a ‘must read’ for any student of modern Asia.” (endorsement of Lee’s From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 1965–2000, 2000) 

John Chambers, chairman and chief executive officer of Cisco Systems “There are two equalizers in life: the Internet and education. Lee Kuan Yew is a world leader who understands this and is using the power of the Internet to position Singapore for survival and success in the Internet economy.” (endorsement of Lee’s From Third World to First: The Singapore Story: 1965–2000, 2000) 

Sam Palmisano, chairman of IBM “It is terrifc to be at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. It is especially special for me because a gentleman I admire so much, and have learned so much from, is Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew. He has given me lots of tutelage on Asia and China and India, and has tremendous insights.” (February 1, 2011) 

Rex Tillerson, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Exxon Mobil “For so many years, you have been a willing mentor to leaders of government, business, and for me personally. The Ford’s Theatre Lincoln Medal is given to individuals who … exemplify the lasting legacy and mettle of character embodied by President Abraham Lincoln. Few leaders in modern history meet this criteria more than tonight’s honoree… Abraham Lincoln once said … ‘towering genius disdains a beaten path.’ For the people of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew was such a towering leader who held a bold vision for his nation. He did not lead them down the beaten path of narrow-minded protectionism, but down the broad avenues of global engagement and economic competitiveness.” (October 18, 2011) 

Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank (2007–12) “As soon as I learned a number of years ago about the Lee Kuan Yew School, I wanted to figure out some way to at least come by. I cannot think of a better testament for a leader who has made a huge mark in the world.” (December 18, 2008) 

James Wolfensohn, president of the World Bank (1995–2005) “I used to be the advisor to the Minister Mentor. It was a very hard job, because I traveled to Singapore, and every time I was just about to tell something to Mr. Minister Mentor, he would stop me and tell me the thing I was to tell him. Then I would return to the United States and sell his advice. Thank you very much, Mr. Minister Mentor, for all the things you have taught me. I tried giving you my advice. But, in fact, it was you who taught me.” (July 10, 2007)

Muhtar Kent, chairman and chief executive officer of Coca-Cola “History will record few leaders who have accomplished so much for their country and for Southeast Asia as His Excellency Lee Kuan Yew. As a driving force behind the growth and evolution of ASEAN, Mr. Lee also helped millions of people across Southeast Asia to live in an environment of peace and economic growth.” (October 27, 2009) 

David Rothkopf, president and chief executive officer of Garten Rothkopf “Like many other visitors, you wonder whether this tiny island [Singapore] that did not even exist as a truly independent nation until 1965 is perhaps the best-run city in the world, whether maybe the ancient Greeks and Singapore’s founder, Lee Kuan Yew, were on to something when they settled on the idea of city-states… During the course of the half century in which he has led Singapore, he has emerged as one of the world’s most effective if sometimes controversial leaders.” (Rothkopf, Power, Inc., 2012) 

Hillary Clinton, U.S. secretary of state “I am delighted to welcome the Minister Mentor here [to the White House] today… Singapore is a long and valued partner on so many important issues. And I think it is fair to say, sir [addressing Lee], that you have a great many admirers. You are here to accept an important award [the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award] that is given for lifetime achievement, and I join in the many Americans who thank you for your service.” (October 26, 2009) 

George Shultz, U.S. secretary of state (1982–89) “You have taught all of us a tremendous amount by what you have done, what you have said, [and] the way you mean it when you say something, and I thank you.” (October 27, 2009) 

Madeleine Albright, U.S. secretary of state (1997–2001) “He has the most modern and most strategic view of anyone I have met for a long time.” (July 30, 1997) 

Zbigniew Brzezinski, U.S. national security adviser (1977–81) “He is among the most intellectually alert of the world’s leaders… He is capable of expatiating at length and with perception on virtually any international problem; he is a most astute observer of the Asian scene; and he is candid in passing along to us Asian perceptions of our changing role in that part of the world.” (September 16, 1977) 

Larry Summers, director of the U.S. National Economic Council (2009–10) and U.S. secretary of the Treasury (1999–2001) “It is more than a little bit daunting to be talking about the subject of governance just before Lee Kuan Yew speaks.” (September 15, 2006) 

Robert Rubin, U.S. secretary of the Treasury (1995–99) “Lee is deeply knowledgeable about geopolitical and cultural matters… I had gotten to know the Senior Minister somewhat during the Asian financial crisis, when he had demonstrated the enormous depth of his geopolitical understanding and grasp of regional issues.” (Rubin, In an Uncertain World: Tough Choices from Wall Street to Washington, with Jacob Weisberg, 2003) 

Joseph Nye, chairman of the U.S. National Intelligence Council (1993–94) “Today, it [Singapore] is a rich and prosperous country. If the rest of the world could accomplish what Singapore has accomplished, the world would be a better and more prosperous place… He is a man who never stops thinking, never stops looking ahead with larger visions. His views are sought by respected senior statesmen on all continents.” (October 17, 2000) 

Nicholas Kristof, opinion columnist for the New York Times “Other leaders have reshaped nations—Kemal Ataturk in Turkey, Lenin in Russia, Deng Xiaoping in China—but no one left a deeper imprint on his people than Lee… One can disagree with him, but intolerance and authoritarianism have never had so articulate or stimulating a spokesman. These [From Third World to First] are rich memoirs, the legacy of an extraordinary man, and in many ways, this book is like Lee himself: smart, thoughtful, blunt, and provocative.” (November 5, 2000)

David Ignatius, opinion columnist for the Washington Post “He is probably the smartest politician I have interviewed in more than 25 years as a journalist.” (September 28, 2002) 

Fareed Zakaria, editor-at-large of Time Magazine “Lee Kuan Yew took a small spit of land in Southeast Asia, which became independent in 1965 after great struggle and anguish, with no resources and a polyglot population of Chinese, Malaysian, and Indian workers, and turned it into one of the economic centers of the world. To do this, Lee had to have smart economic policies, but also a shrewd foreign policy… He is still indisputably the father of Singapore. I was struck by the depth of his understanding of the world—China, Russia, and the United States—all at age 85.” (September 21, 2008)

 

Zoher Abdoolcarim, Time Magazine, Asia Edition “Over the years Lee has been called many things — unflattering as well as admiring. But perhaps the single most fitting description is: The Man Who Saw Tomorrow.” (February 4, 2013)

– Quoted from the book, Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States, and the World. It is part of the Belfer Center Studies in International Security, a book series edited at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and published by the MIT Press. 

http://liewinspiration.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/please-pray-for-mr-lee-kuan-yew/

I like to add this:

When Dr M sings . . . he stinks

When he speaks . . . everybody squeaks!

Lee Kuan Yew commands

With everybody saluting in advance!

Singapore – Its Success & Greatness

 

Singapore's Skyline
Singapore‘s Skyline

 

Like human kind, some cities are “born” great,

others achieve greatness and still others have greatness thrust upon them.

Whichever way you look at Singapore, when ousted by Malaysia in 1965 from being one of its Malaysian federated states, it was deemed to fail & fade further backwaters way because of its total lack of natural resources.

 Screen shot 2013-09-03 at 12.44.47 PM

Singapore, under the capable leadership of Lee Kuan Yew & his team of able & dedicated politicians, proved to be otherwise. Its real strength, apart from a totally uncorrupted team of politicians, lies also in the calibre of its largely Chinese population . . . the greatest “natural” human resource second to none.

Today, Singapore’s skyline soars with all the trappings of an international metropolis, ultra-modern integrated casino resorts, high per capita income, modern housing & accommodation for every citizen, world class universities, the list goes on & on.Today, it is attracting high calibre personnel as the place to work & live.

Where is Malaysia today with its oil & all other natural resources such as rubber, oil palm & its once great tin industry (killed & buried by Mahathir)?

Instead of being drained dry by its former British colonial master, its incorrigible UMNOputra team of politicians has been draining its coffer clean & enriching themselves thereof

Singapore, the City State, today enjoys a giant status of economic strength & power. It’s a far cry from its backwaters day, when it served as a drainage port to the British Colonial master.

Lee-Kuan-Yew-book-singapore-060813_360_524_100  This is a tribute no less owing to Lee Kuan Yew, the economic architect, statesman of world renowned, and one who can stand in front of the Cambridge student audience & audaciously said: “I have a Double First from Cambridge, your Prime Minister McMillan don’t.”

Lee Hsien Loong Lee Hsien Loong

Good leadership breeds good followers. Today, LKY’s son, Lee Hsien Loong is equally brilliant & qualitatively backed by his first-class team of politicians. With this excellent team at the helm, Singapore will no doubt continue to grow & see greater days ahead.

Having said & done, let’s have a look at Singapore’s past some fifty years ago.

This video clip should prove very interesting.

Paul Chong

A Chinese by Descent   An Australian by Consent

 

Durian: “King of Fruits” Becoming “King of Wine”?

Source: University of Singapore & Google

 Durian pulp

Christine & Fransisca

Scientists in Singapore are experimenting with wine-making, using the pungent-smelling durians instead of grapes. They’re still a long way from commercialising durian wine, but researchers are confident that the so-called “Kong of Fruits” has the potential to be “King of Wine”.

The “King of Fruits”, as commonly renowned in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand & other southeast countries is not for everyone especially westerners.

Smell like hell

Taste like heaven!

Scientists smell success with durian wine-making.

Screen shot 2013-07-22 at 3.59.42 AM

Christine & Fransisca

Durian has an extremely pungent smell – some say downright foul. It’s even been banned in public buses, trains & certainly planes. But that hasn’t deterred Christine Lee and Fransisca Taniasuri, researchers at the University of Singapore. They’re turning durian into wine.

Prof.

According to Assistant Professor Liu Shao Quan, the fruit’s firm pulp must first be modified before fermentation can begin.The end result is a clear liquid with 6 per cent alcohol content, with its pungent smell reduced.

Screen shot 2013-07-22 at 4.04.00 AM

Whether this will translate into commercial success or not remains to be seen. But for the great durian lovers & wine drinkers & the growing market demand in China & Hong Kong where durian import has been on the increase, the potential & possibility look good. 

Romantic Link:

A woman like good wine mellows with the years . . . and the man always as young as he feels would endear her to himself with tears.

Eric X Li – “A Tale of Two Political Systems”

Eric X Li's Screen Shot

 It’s interesting to lend two attentive ears to Eric Li‘s view on the meritocracy of the One-Party System of Chinese government. Then you’d be the judge & jury on the question of legitimacy, adaptabiiity, competence, transparency & meritocracy.

Then truth will set you to rethink aboutDemocracy” being the only panacea to political, economic and social ills of nations so often asserted by the western world.

China‘s “We-can-do vision” & its political will & skill has outshone all other nations in the world. It’s a system evolved over thousand of years, though not perfect, but dynamic & ever changing for the better.

It’s unique & not exportable . . . it can perhaps be duplicated with some variations as in Singapore & Vietnam.

The reality of “Chinese Dream” will dawn sooner than expected.

In the Next Ten Yea

  • China will surpass the US & become the largest economy in the world; income per capita will be near the top of all developed countries.

  • Corruption will be curbed, not eliminated, and China will move up 10-20 notches to above 60 in TI ranking.

  • Economic reform will accelerate, political reform will continue, and the one-party system will be holding firm.

It’s a standard assumption in the West: As a society progresses, it eventually becomes a capitalist, multi-party democracy. Right? Eric X. Li, a Chinese investor and political scientist, begs to differ. In this provocative, boundary-pushing talk, he asks his audience to consider that there’s more than one way to run a successful modern nation.”

CLICK BELOW . . .

Eric X Li’s “A Tale of Two Political Systems” 

YouTube Video: 20:37 mins.

 

Be Creative & Innovative to be Productive

English: Roadside billboard of Deng Xiaoping i...
English: Roadside billboard of Deng Xiaoping in Lijiang (Yunnan) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Winston Churchill in Downing Street giving his...

People are generally negative & restrictive

They fall into the “existence trap”

Existing with the world flashing by

Without as though a worry & care.

Dead as a door nail

Rotting away with the gale

The weather & wind perform their parts

Till time sets all apart!

Without initiative & drive, the world will drift you by. You’ve got to be alert to catch up with the time which is fast speeding by. Miss the train you’ll be in pain . . . finding yourself lagging behind. The proverbial truth that the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step bears out clearly to you. So take the initiative & move on.

Besides changes are refreshing. It’s exhilarating & exciting. When you live your life out with emotion, excitement & enthusiasm, you’d find life worth the living . . . under any circumstances. This is YOU ruling the circumstances rather than the reverse . . . you’ve got to put yourself in the driver’s seat. Chart the course & navigate the way.

If you aim high & miss the sky, at least you’re landing midway high! It’s obvious that you’ve got to do something to achieve something, doing nothing means getting nothing at all.

In the old days, people were more “sedentary”, staying put in one place. Unlike the present era, people are constantly on the move. They are internationally mobile with their first class credentials & academic qualifications, seeking jobs & opportunities globally. Salesmen too are not confined to restrictive territories & boundaries. They are flying here & there & everywhere! Life as a whole is different.

When you’re old & retired, life takes on a different plane of excitement. Who says retirement is for the rest of your natural life? If you stayed retired & do nothing, you’re gonna meet St Perter in the Pearly Gate sooner than expected.

Creativeness & innovativeness do not stop chronologically. Your brain cells must be nourished & kept afresh all the time. Stimulation keeps you young mentally. Sir Winston Churchill & Deng Xiaoping were both old but not feeble . . . achieving greatness only in the later years of their lives. A living testimony is in the person of Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore or Prof. Wang Gangwu (privileged to have him as my former university lecturer) in the academic field.

Change should not be for the sake of change. Change must always be for the better. Often it involves some calculated risks. But remember nothing venture nothing gain.

Change needs to come from “within” not from “without”. Politicians always promise heaven & earth which they are never able to fulfil. President Obama is typically the best example.

Be not afraid of changes. Take them in their strides. Be courageous even when angels fear to tread. Take the calculated risks . . . to dream & build, to conceive & believe, to strike & to be bold, to stand tall & be counted . . . and in the end to stand proudly & declare unto the world saying: “THIS I HAVE DONE”!

PM meets Lee Kuan Yew
PM meets Lee Kuan Yew (Photo credit: Downing Street)

 

Chinese Style of Celebration

 

 

English: Traditional Chinese wedding attire

 

Contemporary red envelopes
Contemporary red envelopes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

There is something to be said about the Chinese when it comes to the question of celebration. And celebration not quite in the sense as generally observed by most people. Being a Chinese myself and having been largely Western educated with the benefits of having lived one score & ten years of my life in Australia, I can safely tell you that the Chinese are the most assiduous economic seekers.

 

They work both hard & smart without really ever taking a break or a holiday.

 

Before the introduction of modern way of business & labour operation, the Chinese as I know them work 24/7. Their holidays mean work & more work, as I would always say “Hard work will not a person kill, but sheer idleness will.”

 

My own grandfather & father lived by this philosophy, and in all the years of my father’s natural life, who raised up the nine of us siblings literally with the skills of his two hands, he had only been to Singapore and once to India with a cousin of mine. Needless to say, my grandfather known as “Mopeng Kaya” by the local Malays, never went anyway for holidays.

 

From thew womb to the tomb, the Chinese will never fail to celebrate the great & memorable occasions of birth, wedding & death.

 

Baby’s Full-Moon Celebration

 

30 days after being born, a Chinese baby is held in high esteem & will celebrate the occasion known as the “Full Moon” with red eggs, yellow rice & chicken curry, distributed far & near among all relatives & some close friends. It’s a real big thing.

 

 

Character represents “Longevity”

 

The other question of birth has to do with birthdays and not just any birthday. It is mandatory to celebrate the 60th & the 80th birthdays. These two great days are significant in the life of the Chinese. Red is the colour to go by in all the celebrations as in the distribution of red packets containing even sum of money known as “Ang Pow”.

 

Chinese “Ang Pow”

 

Chinese wedding celebration knows no limit too. The grandeur of its celebration spells the status & wealth of the people concerned. Rolls-Royce limousines as bridal vehicles & other luxurious imported vehicles make the scene.

 

 

Chinese wedding traditions

 

 

In life as in death, celebration goes on. Celebration mean eating. Food is the medium of celebration. The size of the banquet depends upon the economic status of the celebrants & also upon the significance of the day. There is also the question of “saving face” or as in Singapore they would express the notion of “Kian Soo” (not to lose out). In the Western world, it’s worthy in keeping up with the Joneses but for the Chinese it’s more by outdoing your relatives, friends & neighbours. Of late it was reported of a wedding banquet for 808 tables held at Liede Village, Guangzhou,

 

That is how celebration takes on the progressiveness of immensity.As a nation, there are other great festival celebrations such as Autumn Spring Festival or known abroad among the Chinese folks simply as Chinese New Year celebration, an occasion to match Christmas, or if not to outmatch it.

 

National holiday such as this create great havoc as great problems arise out of the need to cater transport for mass movement of people – a MUST-GO-HOME kind of thing to celebrate. But these days,the Chinese are beginning to take holiday trips locally to places of interest or abroad for their holidays. With millions on the move, that itself create the atmosphere of celebration.

 

With redness prominent everywhere & the ding & the bang of “noise” fill the air. It’s more “noise” than “music” with the classic display of lion dance & dragon dance for bigger occasions. These dances are performed with great kung-fu skills & artistry – nothing short of great gymnastic performances.

 

A picture is greater than ten thousand words. Here’s a slideshow to depict the colour, size & immensity of Chinese celebrations:

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

White Orchids

As an orchid lover, I have grown a fair bit of them when in Malaysia. Over here in Western Australia, I came to discover over the abundance of the tropical Vanda Miss Joaqim the world of Cymbidium & Cattleya (my fondest among others) is quite different.

Orchids are easily distinguished from other plants, as they share some very evident apomorphies. Among these are: bilateral symmetry (zygomorphism), many resupinate flowers, a nearly always highly modified petal (labellum), fused stamens and carpels, and extremely small seeds. (Wikipedia)

English: The orchid, Singapore's national flow...
English: The orchid, Singapore’s national flower, photographed at the in the , . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Singapore, no other orchid is more worthy than Vanda Miss Joaqim to be hailed as its national flower, being the first registered plant hybrid from Singapore itself. This is apart from the abundance & beauty of Vanda Miss Joaqim. It is relative easy to grow & propagate such orchid & I found that the best fertiliser for it is a mixture of old urine & water.

Vanda Miss Joaqim

Tropical orchids & others have a great variety of colours, but white is rare. Conjure in your mind, as if by magic, the beauty of white – pure & graceful, elegant, classy & delicate, and a colour to match all colours. White orchids are popular in orchid bouquets & arrangements, weddings & all exceptional functions.

White orchids in nature are pollinated by insects that are active at night, such as moths. Some of the white orchids are fragrant at night, adding to their allure.

While out shopping today at the once-a-month Saturday variety market in Kalamunda, Western Australia, I came upon a very rare white cymbidium. It hasn’t any tint of other colours – truly pure white. I just couldn’t believe it and could not resist the temptation of owning it.

According to the grower, it was grown from seeds – very original and even yet to be named. Any buyer can have the honour & the privilege of naming it. Now, what greater appeal more can there be?

Well then, here’s a picture of this precious white cymbidium orchid, which my wife Lilian got the pleasure of naming it as DREAM SNOWFLAKE “LIANN”:

Picture taken at night – Pure White Cymbidium (Dream Snowflake “Liann”)

Slideshow – More white orchids

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Vagrancy Problems in Cities

 

 

 

When visiting the Independence National Historical Park, a United States National Historical Park in Philadelphia that preserves several sites associated with the American Revolution and the nation’s founding history in the summer of 2012, we saw this couple sleeping on the public bench. Here’s the picture:

 

This was early in the morning & the Park daily activities were beginning to stir and they were totally oblivious to the awakening environment.

 

Homelessness is severe and growing in cities the world over and certainly not the kind of image any city would want to project. Except for Singapore, that “spit & span” city of the world, most other cities have a fair share of such problems.

 

In Taipei, I have seen people sleeping in shopping centre car parks. In Hong Kong, under the bridges & just about any sheltered areas are targeted. In Perth, a generally clean city where I live, parks & public places are not spared. You would expect that cities in developed countries would be spared when compared to the squalid slums of the third world countries.

 

From East to West

 

Vagrants have found their niche to rest.

 

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Especially in downtown areas, one category of homelessness is especially problematic: Vagrants sleeping on benches, panhandling, relieving themselves in public, bathing in library restrooms – and costing taxpayers a lot of money.

 

Non-profits and volunteers are working diligently to address the problem, providing food, beds, rehabilitation programs and jobs counseling. But shouldn’t the government be burdening with such responsibilities?

 

In Guangzhou, China, the city authorities have taken the negative approach of constructing concrete spikes under the spaces of bridges to prevent homeless people from sleeping there, much to the annoyance of the city’s citizens.

 

Arrest & jailing the offenders is no deterrent for the hard core. They call it “three hots and a cot.” This is an expensive approach but to no avail. Some spent one or two nights, some spent weeks or months there, all at $60 per night. Most were back on the streets in a day or two.

 

With more homeless people flocking to big cities, the government should take a more humane approach to provide adequate care for those who live at the bottom rung of society, instead of leaving them alone or even expelling them numerically without any sense of human compassion.

 

Vagrancy problems are being perpetuated needlessly without any well planned strategy. In all cases, city authorities have learned that charitable organisations with their well intended “enabling” programs do not address the homeless’ plight. Enablingcomes in the form of hot meals in several locations, official tolerance of sleeping in public places, short jail stints, a shortage of rehabilitation programs and well-intended but gullible people who respond to panhandlers.

 

Robert Marbut, a top US consultant who has studied homelessness, has this to say: “We don’t help the homeless by enabling them.” Marbut’s approach is simple: Stop making it so easy to be a vagrant; make it more desirable for vagrants to seek help; and then redirect resources to assist them in a better calculated effort.

 

A transformation program will be to include education, rehab or training program to become more productive, shelter buildings & rigorous law enforcement.

 

Despite existing good programs, in the wake of economic misfortune many more are being left homeless – jobless men and women, often along with children – and in genuine need of help.

 

Achieving a humane, open and inclusive society where the vagrants are treated as equals still remains a challenge that requires the wisdom of the government.

 

When targeting to prevent homeless people from sleeping in public places, government can sometimes take the extreme step. For instance, in Guangzhou sharp concrete spikes were built under the city bridges. Too many homeless people used to congregate there under the bridges and some even cooked there posing danger.

 

Concrete spikes under under bridges or flyovers are a waste of land. Hong Kong sets a good example in making use of these lands to build main bus stations for passengers to easily recognize or garbage sorting stations.

 

In living day to day, under today’s living conditions with growing economic & social problems, unemployment & home foreclosures, life is difficult enough as it is. Why make it so hard for them to survive or force them into a life of crime?

 

In the final analysis, which is more important, people’s lives or the city’s image or appearance?

English: Homeless man sleeping at the bus stop...
English: Homeless man sleeping at the bus stop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Homeless man, Tokyo. Français : Un sa...
English: Homeless man, Tokyo. Français : Un sans abri à Tokyo. Español: Persona sin hogar, en las calles de Tokio. Türkçe: Evsiz adam, Tokyo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)