Friday, January 23, 2009

Past Magic

I'm really looking forward to some peace and quiet in the city during the Chinese New Year holidays. It's the best time to go for a leisurely drive in downtown KL.

For the past couple of years, I've been working during the CNY break. Thankfully I don't have to do that this year. Getting the right balance between work and leisure has always been a challenge to me. But I'm learning. Anyway it's just a short break for me as I'm not taking any leave. I'll be back in the office on Wednesday, even though it's going to be mostly empty.

Chinese New Year celebrations are supposed to be noisy and boisterous affairs. Chinese people abhor gloom and solitude. Everything has to be loud, red and gaudy. You don't have to teach the Chinese how to be positive and forward looking--it's in their DNA.

Gambling and drinking are de rigueur during CNY. I'm not into gambling, but as a kid I was quite fond of card tricks. I always had a pack of cards with me and had fantasies of becoming a magician.

No one has probably heard of it nowadays but my favourite TV series then was The Magician, which starred the late Bill Bixby (who later played the role of Dr. David Banner in the popular Incredible Hulk TV series).

When you are young, everything seems to be tinged with wonder and magic. Chinese New Year was a magical time for me with fireworks and childhood games played late into the night. How did we all ended up becoming such dull and serious adults?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Qualities We Need

This is my first blog entry for the year, and hopefully there'll be many more to come in the coming days and months.

My daily routine these days is pretty regimented, with very little chance of variation due to the many work and family obligations that I have. Well, even a bachelor has family commitments--old folks to take care of, mortgages to pay and properties to maintain. And these are tough economic times for everyone. We'll all need to hunker down and weather the storm the best we can.

It is tough times like these that really test our resilience and character. We must remain steadfast and never waiver in our self-confidence. To stand still is to regress. Trudge forward, if you can't jog or run. The key is to keep on moving, and to continue learning.

Learning never stops. Everytime we read a book, we always learn something new. It is impossible to read without learning something in the process. Even works of fiction. Sometimes you'll learn even more from well-written works of fiction.

I listen to a lot of podcasts and audiobooks, as I believe our ears are under-utilized as an input channel. We "abuse" our ears by subjecting them to noise and random sounds. Sadly, only the blind know how to use their ears as a serious instrument for acquiring knowledge.

The Chinese Lunar New Year celebration is coming up next week. Let's welcome the Year of the Ox by reflecting on the qualities of this animal: strength, resilience, toughness and hardwork. Exactly the qualities we need to tackle these trying times.