Friday, August 31, 2007
Lets forget its the 50th year of Independence. Lets just head on back to 49 years or 45 years of Independence and ask the same question - What does it mean actually to anyone below the age of 60?
I'll be honest i greet every August with indifference when the standard fan fare of black and white pictures and testimonials from old dudes pepper our media. Sudirman makes his yearly comeback on the airwaves and we hear the voices from the past ring around a stadium in nervous hope.
The Japanese occupation is just a story we hear, the phantom menace of the Communists hiding in the jungles and preying on folks was another tale that my aunties used to scare me with when they warned me to never go into the jungles alone. Never mind that Commies gave up 30 years earlier. Tun Doc Mahathir's actions and projects were greeted by sighs that he was just an egotistical bully, and the list goes on and on.
Until over the past few years in casual conversations with aunties and uncles and while doing research on my Grandpa's life I heard snippets of what my family went through. How my Chinese grandparents hid my aunties and uncles in the chicken coop whenever Japanese patrols might be in the area. My oldest aunty who at the age of about 13 or 15 (she's not sure of her exact age) took care of the young family as my grandmother had passed on. She would wake up in the mornings and escort the younger siblings to school in the dark rubber estates that played host to some Communists insurgents over a 10 mile trek and then make her way back alone along the same path not knowing if the oil headlamp in the distance was a legit rubber tapper or a Commie in disguise. And also, how you may have read earlier, how my grandfather would sneak out at nights after Curfew to feed the family cows and then wake up early in the mornings to go to work. The stories are still there. These stories that should be told to make us appreciate what we have now, not the song and dance routine every year that's all pomp and pop but nothing else.
The stories are here in our very homes, on the couch snoring in his faded sarong, or in the kitchen fussing over her freshly made pot of chicken curry or in the yard beaming at the first wobbly steps of their grandchildren.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
When Meera came up to me to write the script for the video presentation she was doing I realised Ididn't know anything about my grandfather or any of my grandparents for that matter. Not him, not my Amama, my Ah Kung or my Chinese grandmother who is buried in China. I was embarrassed and felt strangely quilty for being selfish with my time. Thank god Meera got into over drive and together we canvassed all our aunties to get as much info as possible. Yeah, all the males didn't have much recollections or not in that much details.
I am putting this up because I want the legacy of my grandfather to live on. This is no bullshit as he was a good, solid man who provided for his family and was a mentor and counsellor to many people in Seremban and even outside of our tiny town. Even in his old age he was healthy and seemed not to want to trouble his family.
A couple of hours short of midnight on the eve of the New Year 2007 ,my grandfather Chelliah Karunathar passed on in the Seremban General Hospital. Today on what would have been his 101st birthday I'd like to wish him "Happy Birthday Gandpa!"
Below is an excerpt from the script.
Chelliah son of Kurunathar - An inspiration to 4 generations and more.
Chelliah s/o Kurunathar is our father, grandfather, great-grandfather, a provider, an uncle, brother, mentor, teacher and more. We are here today to celebrate 100 years of inspiration from a great man.
The son of a farmer, Mr. K Chelliah was born on the 30th of August 1906 in the village of Urumpurai in the state of Jaffna in Ceylon. He helped his parents on the farm until the age of 12 when he left for Malaysia with his second sister, Chinnathangam to pursue his studies and to begin a new life.
Upon completing his education at Methodist Boys School he embarked on his career path by working in the Education Department. He further extended his work experience at the Survey Department, the Public Works State Engineering Department office in Seremban, the Medical Department in Jelebu, the Health Department in Tampin before returning to the Public Works Department in Seremban, where he eventually retired as a chief clerk in 1961.
Life in a new country was never easy especially during the Japanese Occupation where he had to slip out at night to cut grass to feed the family cows after Curfew and yet, still had to wake up early in the mornings to go to work. This iron will and discipline that he stood by was an inspiration to many.
His outlook in life is very philosophical. Inspired by the teachings of Ramana Maharishi, Mr Chelliah was and is a very open minded individual who believes in fairness and equality. His thirst for knowledge is voracious. He still keeps track even now of current news around the world and is also an avid reader of books on religion. Many have made the journey to 207 Bukit Tembok to seek advice from him over the past 30 years, be it religious or contemplative in nature. He is a man who has held strong to his principals and beliefs in God.
He was a keen sportsman, excelling in cricket, football and athletics. He pursued his zest for sports well into his 70’s where he exercised daily in the mornings and went for walks around the neighborhood in the evenings. He also cycled everywhere in his trusty Raleigh Gentleman instead of driving. This healthy discipline rubbed off on many of his children and grandchildren who are also very active in sports.
Mr K Chelliah did not ignore the arts in his quest for knowledge and a healthy body. His favourite movies which inspired a legacy in a granddaughter were the movies Meera and Sakunthalai.
And now the most important segment of his show. His legacy. Mr. Chelliah married our Amma, our Ammama and Appachi, a young lady called Sothimani Shanmugam who also hailed from his village of Urumpurai. Together they had 6 children, Vimala Devi, Thamarai Desani, Kamala Losani, Tharumarani, Sivasothy and Sivabalan.
We all hope that we can live up to his achievements. 100 years ago our Papa, Grandpa and Appu was born. Today we celebrate his legacy to our world.
He had 4 sisters (Kanagama, Chinnathangam, Sountharam, Thangaratnam) and 3 brothers (Thambaiyah, Ponniah & Rasiah). Two brothers eventually settled in Malaysia too. They were Ponniah and Rasiah.
Mr K Chelliah:
‘I was very far from god in my younger days and had my own convictions. I only started reading about religion, hindu saints and sages later on. Life will always have its obstacles but I am a firm believer of Ramana Maharishi who said that we should never doubt the grace of god. Now, I have no physical or mental work, and so the least I can do is pray for everyone’.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Sponsorship and Servicing Manager
The new sports marketing company I'm heading, Havas Sports Malaysia has a vacancy for a Sponsorship/Servicing Manager to handle the sponsorships of some of our clients and to assist me to acquire new clients in Malaysia and within the region. Job scope is basically working with and advising our clients on how to leverage their sponsorship of sporting properties and to come up with new ideas for them.
I don't want sports FANS (this species is normally selfish and narrow minded). I' prefer someone who UNDERSTANDS and knows the basic sporting world. I don't expect you to know Sharapova's waist size or the number of poodle pelts Ronaldo keeps in his closet. If you are keen or you know someone who might fit the bill drop me a note at the firstname.lastname@example.org and then we can exchange information and run into more detail.
Weekend Hikes Anyone?
Our little weekend hiking/getaway gang is depleting for various reasons. Anyone keen to join in drop me an email-la and we can exchange contact details. Its nothing hard core and maybe once or twice a month where we head out to areas around KL to basically build up an appetite for a Ba Kut Teh or banana leaf lunch. Hikes range from 2 hours to 4 hours. Sometimes it's just a drive for food if any of the editor gang are test driving cars. It's normally an early morning start so might not appeal to the ravers or average college student or that guy with the 1 year old bundle of joy.
Monday, August 27, 2007
And coming this Christmas 2007...
And Mrs Claus, all geared up for her MAXIM shoot.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Looks like the authorities are really cleaning up the country. Go HERE for the exciting news! Even the incorrigible scourge of society, the neighbourhood tuition teacher, is being set upon by the Forces of Righteousness. To bring them to justice, these foul beasts of prey, for trying to make some additional money without resorting to crime, corruption or getting on their old Vespas and snatch thieving hand bags in Sri Kembangan. I always knew that the old balding Indian uncle who taught me Math was secretly He Who Shall Not Be Named.....
"Freeze Cikgu!!! Put your hands up and move slowly AWAY from the Buku Sejarah!"
*Pictures and toys courtesy of Chindiana Trails
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Anyway, my main point is sometimes government funds are spent as lavishly as Michael Jacko at a Toys 'R Us fire sale. Just off the top of my head, here's a list of projects that we've lost cash or are planning to spend with no redeeming features:
1. Malaysian Astronaut Program - sending 2 clowns into space to conduct 'experiments'. Thank god they've nixed the tea tarik stunt - RM80 million (depending on sources)
2. The High Performance Training Center in Brickendonbury in the UK - - RM500,000,000 (and that doesn't include the nasi lemak we have to send over to feed our national cry babies)Our athletes are shit on Malaysian soil so we send them to England to train to beat the world! Someone forgot to tell them to look at Cuba and China for developing world beaters.
3. Champions Youth Cup - RM 17,000,000 x3 years (OK 2 years are optional). On paper very impressive. Man United, Real Madrid, Arsenal and other top clubs playing in Malaysia. Just don't read the clause that it's their Under-19 teams. (this excludes the rumoured Rm25million paid out as organisational costs). Did ANYONE watch this tournament?
4. Port Klang Free Zone - losses of RM4.1 billion ringgit - I do not think it's that easy to lose over USD1,000,000,000 due to mismanagement. I just think the poor guys accidentally signed a Purchase Order to buy Canada and they couldn't back out of the deal...
5. The Proton and MV Augusta - Sell RM5. Resell at over RM400,000,000 plus (OK I'm sure there were some debts to service but still...)
OK, OK...I'm just thinking if that rumour is right, that all these monies are being stashed away so that our current boys can stay on to serve us better, than it's all just a miscommunication isn't it?
Until we have some solid Opposition Parties that we can take seriously, besides a bunch of whiners, we wouldn't really want them in power anyway unless they start recruiting Sheila Majid, Jimmy Choo, Michelle Yeoh and Dragon Red as new members.
So how about we tell our boys in Pewtra Jaya - Don't waste the cash for your campaigning or vote buying, we don't believe those vicious rumours about you. We WILL vote for you, we'll do it for free. Just take all that cash and build us some proper public transportation systems, pay our cops and other civil servants better so they're not waiting around the corner to bust me for talking on my mobile while driving or clamp my car in Damansara Uptown. I don't need to negotiate for their 'help' anymore. They just straight out ask for it...
Maybe if we have more money we don't need quick cash from unscrupulous developers and industries who are destroying our environment. Maybe a better education system with better paid teachers who don't have to give up their afternoons supervising a bunch of pouty ungrateful punks.
It's just a suggestion. If they're cool with it, they've got my vote.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Thursday, August 23, 2007
UPDATE 10.30pm, 23 August 2007 : Thanks to Nex for this tidbit - "The one about the 'smallpox': That button is actually for the 'ceiling light'. In Mandarin smallpox is called,would you believe it, 'sky flower'. The Mandarin writing for 'ceiling, coincidentally, is also 'sky flower'.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
He followed me around the store introducing me to the latest Air Force Ones and responded brightly at my mumbled answers. He seemed to be enjoying speaking to me in the English language that was not his own. Then, as I stepped out to leave he looked me keenly in the eye and asked me seriously:
"Are you forenj?"
Helpfully he stepped forward and asked slowly, "Where are you from? Are you a forenjer?"
I should have corrected him I guess. Maybe next time...
Monday, August 20, 2007
Along the way.....
Man, I haven't seen one of these bad boys in years! And what a break to catch 3 of them grazing by the road! Anyway, beasts of burden they may be, but these sawah padi water buffaloes won't tolerate the close presence of strangers. After this shot the dude in the front gave me one of those "kindly remove your dumbass from my presence" looks, so I had to retreat back to the safety of my car with a slightly bruised ego.
Friday, August 17, 2007
*Pictures copyright Chindiana Trails and photographer
Thursday, August 16, 2007
The Mag is also available at Starbucks and Secret Recipe outlets in the Klang Valley.
View of KLCC from the KL Tower.