Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

Post 145 Down the memory lane There was a big celebration in Britain for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in June 2012 and many people would surely have seen it on the TV news. This event brought me down the memory lane to one day in June 1952 when I was a primary one pupil in a small town. I remember my class receiving a paper bag containing a green apple, a meat bun, some sweets and a ‘gold’ coin of Queen Elizabeth from our class teacher. There were no lessons on that day because it was a day of celebration. Later I was told by someone that it was the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth of England. It sounded very foreign to me indeed: where was England and what was the meaning of Coronation? I only knew of David, an English boy, who played with Fatimah, Ah Chong and Samy, in my Standard One Chinese language textbook. It seems to me sixty years have just gone by in a twinkling of an eye. The British’s colonisation of Malaya had left behind a strong administrative system and an English education system. The older generation of Malaysians who are English educated would also have felt a special attachment to this Jubilee. A memory in life is remembered for its special moment. -- Quote by Ho Nee Yong 5 June 2012 (No posting on Tuesday 29 May 2012 -on leave)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Post 144 The Euro Crisis When I was a school boy, I thought of European countries as very rich. Tourists from these already developed nations were greatly welcome to the then Malaya. The western countries were rich because of the exploitation of natural resources from the host countries they colonised. Nevertheless they also left behind good administration and education systems when the colonised nations became independent. After that there was no more free supply of natural resources which have to be bought through international trades. The Euro crisis in Greece is affecting its neighbours like Spain and Italy, with Germany trying to save the Euro. In the long term, the whole financial world will also be affected. This crisis invariably brought back my memory of Corfu. It is a very green Greek island in the Ionian Sea. During my Mediterranean cruise of 8D7N in 2006, I was on a one-day tour of Corfu during a stop-over. Corfu is definitely not a boring place to be on. The mild Mediterranean climate, excellent beaches and historical sites and architectures impressed an Asian tourist like me very much. I remember walking past a Square where the Greeks were leisurely having their afternoon tea. The tour guide leading our group told us that by joining the European Union, food had become more expensive than the days of the drachma, the currency used in Greece before it was last replaced by the Euro in 2001. I wonder how the Greeks, who were enjoying their tea on that afternoon, are doing now. I really wish them well. Panic is the word when our money keeps shrinking. – Quote by Ho Nee Yong 22 May 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Learn when to say 'No'

Post 143 Saying ‘No’ can be difficult. In the 1990s, I attended a one-week motivational course which cost RM4, 800. I found it very useful because there was a lecture on learning to say ‘No’. ‘No’ can be a very difficult word to utter. Many people find it hard to turn down requests from others. In the end they end up shouldering other people’s problems. In fact when we know that we really are not able to help, we should say so politely. It is a joy and virtue to be able to help others. We should not be too egoistic as to refuse to give help to others at all. We do ask our friends for help once in a while. What is important is that we say ‘No’ with sincerity without offending others. By learning to say ‘No’ at the right time and occasion, we may find ourselves less pressurized. As a matter of courtesy, we should also learn not to burden others by asking them to bend rules to suit us. However for requests which are difficult to fulfill, we can explain to them gently why help cannot be extended to them. It is better to say ‘No’ first rather than holding on to problems which we cannot solve. Otherwise the nightmare will come when they start to call and ask for the progress of their requests. The word ‘No’ is short but one may take a long time to learn to say it. – Quote by Ho Nee Yong 15 May 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


Post 142 A new dimension in life. I have retired for 10 years. Before my retirement I was controlled by time: woke up early to beat the traffic jam and be on time for work, kept to work schedules, rushed for meetings, and hurried for appointments. Everything was done under the control of time. Very often I could feel my blood pressures rising and temper flaring due to frustration for being late. For me, and I believe for many retirees, there is a new dimension in life on retirement. I do not really need to look at the clock or my watch often as I did when I was working. I am no more in control by time and I do what I want to at my own leisure. It is good to feel that I am in control of my life and am no more dictated by official routine works. There was an article which caught my attention when the writer wrote that he knew of two professors at the same university who became reclusive on retirement. He had difficulty tracing their whereabouts. When the writer finally came face to face with one of them in a park, he was only given a ‘Hi’ greeting by his long lost friend who then walked away quickly. I too have a friend who has chosen to lead a life of voluntary seclusion from friends and social activities on retirement. He has chosen to keep away from his old friends and be an island. That is his new dimension in life. There are people who may not subscribe to the reclusive lifestyle of these retirees, but their choice ought to be respected. It will be unbearable when others should tell us how to spend our remaining years. Life takes on a new dimension at sun set. – Quote by Ho Nee Yong 8 May 2012 (No post on 1 May 2012- Labour Day)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Moral values

Post 141 Always be a good person

I have been asked to give my opinion for what it is worth on moral values by a group of college students. They raised this question because the supposedly sinful acts of Criminal Breach of Trust (CBT) in society have now become a norm among the so-called high society.

All societies, oriental and Western alike, attach much importance to both cultural and moral values. People in general have long been influenced by religions to manifest how pious and God fearing they are. They try their best to be morally upright to shine forth light to the world. However there is now a tendency for people who are guilty of corruption, be it financial or moral, to defend their actions without any sign of remorse and compunction. Their focus in life is no more on righteous actions and on human morality.

There is a Chinese proverb which says that a single slip may cause lasting sorrow; the mistake committed due to fleshly desires becomes the regret of a lifetime. When a person is richer in ill-gotten wealth, he is poorer in integrity.

Your moral values are what you are. – Quote by Ho Nee Yong

24 April 2012

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Old habits die hard

Post 140 Existing habits are hard to change

After my retirement I have more free time to go to my club for a swim. It is at the changing room that the English proverb of ‘Old habits die hard’ always comes to my mind. The habits of a few adults are so shockingly annoying that it is hard to believe until you witness them yourself. They will just leave the dressing room with their slippers and towels strewn around thereby causing inconveniences for other users. It is obvious that they have not been properly nurtured to be tidy and considerate. The prestige that goes with the club membership has not added to them the more refined art of behaving in public. As one cannot teach old dog new tricks, the bad habits may most likely be tagging along with them wherever they go.

A person’s manners reflect the background of his family. As bad habits are contagious, children learn them with ease but will find it difficult to get rid of them. Hence good parenting begets children with good character. This explains why in ancient China parents had to find out in great details the family background of a prospective daughter-in-law. They had to make sure that she was from a family of good character. The honour of a family must be preserved as far as possible.

Good habits must be nurtured early before less desirable ones overtake them.-Quote by Ho Nee Yong

17 April 2012

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

"What day is today?"

Post 139 Language learning

When I was in the Chinese primary school in a small town in the 1950s, the first thing my Year 3 English teacher would do when he entered the class was to ritually ask us: “What day is today?” The class would then respond by saying “Today is Monday” or “Today is Friday.” To us his name was “What day is today?”

The environment for learning English in my hometown at that time was at best, very unsatisfactory. It is a totally different scenario now. The state-of-the-art digital technology has made language learning joyful for children through DVDs and other Audio-visual aids inventions. As a learner and speaker of the English language, I wish to convey my thoughts of the importance of English in Malaysia.

English played a vital role in nation-building. Malaysia is what it is today because of our forefathers' ability to use English to negotiate independence from the British, communicate with the international community, acquire knowledge and ideas to move ahead of other neighbouring countries, and attract foreign investments and tourists. However it is a pity that the same cannot be said of the present generation and students as the majority are struggling with English, both spoken and written. They simply lack the competence, confidence, fluency and skills in English. How are they going to lead, run and manage the affairs of the country in the globalised world? English is not to be deliberately denied and ignored. The sooner we know and acknowledge this fact, the better it is for us.

To be monolingual is like a one-eye Jack whose vision is narrow and limited.-Quote by Ho Nee Yong

10 April 2012