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THE MESSAGE 122 JANUARY 2012
THE EDITOR'S SELF-SPONSORED EDITION


JUST BEFORE WE LEAP INTO THE LEAP YEAR 2012

With only a few hours to go we will enter the year 2012. I really would start off new things in the new year. This note I typed is done on my iPad. I could never imagine it. This new iPad the latest in computing is a gift from Barry - my youngest son. He bought it for me last month.

 iPad 2 One night he had diner with me at home. After dinner, he gave me a packet and asked me to open it. Out it came this Apple brand iPad 2 - the latest model too. Wow! It was a pleasant present for me. And we did have dinner - in a condo in Desa Petaling our new home. You would say, "Hey Suy Sang, I thought you have moved back to Bentong." "Yes Bentong is still my home, but I found that I could not be completely cut off from the city. So I still establish a niche in Kuala Lumpur. After all, the younger generation, though already grownup are still here."

"What do you do now?" some of you may sound. "Well, whenever I am free I go down." "Where? Down to the pool of course and take a dip." I would quip. Life has to be lived, not just eat, sleep and exist.


BACK TO BENTONG ON CHRISTMAS EVE

At about 12.30 we left for Bentong through the city via Sentul. The drive all the way was smooth. There was no rain. On arrival in Bentong town there was a massive traffic jam. We slowed down and arrived in the house after 2.00 pm. It was all quiet. The house seemed to be deserted. However, soon we brought life to the dwelling.

I saw fruit on the rambutan tree. With the bamboo stick attached with a scythe, I plucked the rambutans. The pail that I used was filled full. I felt tired. I bathed and then slept on the health bed.

At six we drove out to town heading to the gaming shops. We went down to the Malay stalls for dinner. The missus likes the Malay cooking. We had a sumptuous dinner especially there was the convolvulus cooked with spicy shrimp paste called belachan. The portions were just sufficient to tease our taste buds and filled our stomachs. The sky was pouring all the while. After dinner we returned to the house. The rain did not stop but dripped on continuously. I slept on the serpentine jade bed. Then I went to bed.




Bouncing X'mas Ball
Bouncing X'mas Ball
Bouncing X'mas Ball
Bouncing X'mas Ball
Bouncing X'mas Ball
Bouncing X'mas Ball

DECEMBER 25th 2011

Today is Christmas day. Hooray! It is a wet, wet Christmas!! It has been raining the whole night and the entire morning. The drizzle is still on. There is no sign that the rain would stop though it had now diminished.

I drove out to Bentong town and had a walkabout. Some stalls of the morning Sunday market were opened, despite the morning rain. Then I bought roasted duck to bring it to Dato' Ted Miles's house to celebrate Christmas with him. We, the former MES students and his former colleagues from Taylor's College would converge at his spatial bungalow to set up a pot luck party for him. Back at home, I bathed and got ready to drive to the 3rd Mile Tras Road for the Christmas party.

On arrival I saw were already many people. Some have come up from Kuala Lumpur. The Taylor College group had carted in a 5-pounder Christmas signature bird. There were other delectable items to spoil the palates and stuff our stomachs. Soon the bell was sounded for lunch.

A full long table of 10 diners sat with the master sitting at the table head. He was waiting for his food and he jested it quite appropriately saying, "the master of the manor is waiting to be served." Yes, he was duly served for Lai Mei, the maid started going round dishing food out. Everybody was busy tucking in turkey, roasted duck, stir-fried rice vermicelli and other side delicacies.

It was a warm and friendly gathering all enjoying the eating. At the table were the master of the "manor house" Dato' Ted Miles, Lai Mei, Yap Kim Hee, Chan Suy Sang, Mr. Tham, Choo Oi Mei, Tracy Tham, her daughter, Ng Ah Lan aka Angie, Mary and a her hubby Garry. It was a great dining party all happily filling their tummies.

Other visitors soon trickled in. From high and distanced Cameron Highlands came Zulkifli Ariffin with his spouse Juliana and son Chico. What a loyal trio! Later Hj. Mohd Razlan Marzuki drove in from Trengganu. He had gone to that out of the way town Jerantut to pick up Mohd Khalil. Good they came. For the trio Zulkifli Ariffin, Razlan Marzuki and Abdul Khalil have finally met after being separated for half a century! Fifty years on to meet again and trying to recognize one another is a great feat, you see. So they had a long chit-chat.

Later Lim Pak Heng drove in from Sungai Pelek. Where in the map is that? Pak Heng is quite an established businessman and planter in that little rich niche of a cowboy-like town somewhere in the midst of Maran and Jengka. The party dragged on and soon people began to drift away. Just before the end, William Joo Shek Phin brought in a big pot of mee Siam (Siamese noodles). Even by then food was still aplenty especially the turkey. Some have not the opportunity to taste food as they came early and had to leave in a hurry for other appointments of parties, like Wong Yeng Kee and company.




DEALING WITH ANIMALS TAME AND WILD plus EXPERIENCES IN THE WILD


In Bentong, one day I received a call from Loh Kok Keong. He was in town. He suggested that we take Dato' Ted Miles out for lunch. We would meet at the latter's place at 2:00 pm. I came home dead tired. So I slept in the back room. Then the phone rang. It was Kok Keong. I drove up to Dato's house and there we met.

We had a long and interesting visit and most captivating chit-chat. Kok Keong had just returned from Sabah from his working place in an oil palm plantation. Kok Keong encountered many happenings in the plantations that he had worked all this while both in East Malaysia and this side.

While at the rubber plantation in Slim River, he had encountered elephants. Once he took a snapshot of mammoth pachyderm. The jumbo got infuriated and trumpeted. Then it charged at Kok Keong. Poor man, he just ran and ran. According to him, if we were to want to take a snap shot of an animal, we have to ask and soothingly tell the beast that we wish to only photograph it. This he learnt from the elderly in the plantations.

On another occasion Kok Keong bribed the herd to win over their friendliness. He gave the elephants some rock salt and some sugar cane. He said the best way to win over other animals especially domestic ones like dogs and cats is to feed them. Gently give a barking dog some biscuits, it would not bark at you later after several feedings for them. If you do not want others to entice your pets away then do not allow others to feed it. It sure is a truism that pets are petted when fed!

I remember that I learnt from a lady, that the first time to touch a cat to tame it is to stroke its nape with your fingers. That is the place where the cat could not lick. The scent left by your hand would remain there for a long time. The next the time, the cat meets you, it would come to you! That is how I get my pet pussy that has remained with the family for years.

Okay so much about animals what about our own kind who works in the wild. Kok Keong knows better as he had put in more than three decades working in the field - the jungle, the rubber estates and the oil palm plantations. We always read of stories or people who hiked into the wild getting lost their way. Some have been away in the jungle for days. How could they? Well, Kok Keong had a story when he was in the jungle and he made marks on the plants so that he could follow the markings to come out. You know what he found? He was cutting the markings round and round. He just marked things circling a big tree.

He fired a shot into the sky to make him realize the sure way out. Soon he saw the road outside only some 100 metres away. There is a saying of an Asian ethnic group that goes like this. Your can challenge on a mountain (meaning climb it) but not the ocean (you might get drown). The advice and warning is that mountains can be climbed but going out to sea is a perilous journey! But climbing the mountains normally necessitates hiking into the jungle is also equally dangerous.

One day while out in the wild, Kok Keong was feeling tired. He saw a mount of earth something like an anthill. He sat on it. He was stuck. Transfixed! Some mysterious force was pulling him at the mount of earth. He was helpless, speechless, like he was totally paralyzed. He pinched his arm and bit his tongue. He could feel, and his tongue bled. He was not in any dream state alright! He struggled and struggled hard to pull himself free. When he succeeded he ran for dear life. Suddenly he came upon a hut with an old man inside. The old man told him that the anthill area was the slaughtering ground of the infamous communist terrorists!

Weird stories, indeed! Yet they are the experiences of a living person who narrated these tales to us that day.

Hey! You would ask did Kok Keong take our mentor out for lunch? No, he had eaten lunch in Temerloh. It was a treat from a lady who always prefers anonymity – a great fan and supporter of the Mesian-message. Why had lunch that far away? He was driven there by his maid Lai Mei. She brought him there for his medical check up. When I asked the maid that day, she told me the medical check up found that he is now okay. That is the good news of the day.



STARTING THE YEAR OF THE DRAGON WITH A MOST INTERESTING VISIT

Yes, we arrived there alright! But this year the house was not so lively. We know why. My niece Joanne came down. Later my cousin brother-in-law Lo Sang emerged. We exchanged Chinese New Year greetings creating a din of Cantonese wishing and blessings! Very soon, we were dining at the back of the house. There was quite a lot of food laid out. I had too much rice but I managed to finish it in the end, alright. My tummy was prosperously full.

We sat in the hall and talked. Lo Sang seemed to like to talk a lot about the more famous folks of yesteryear in Bentong. For example, there was a rich towkay whom he had worked for years in the former's rubber plantation tapping rubber. The boss was a wealthy merchant in town with six huge lorries as he was the supplier of rice to the whole town.

Later a son of the businessman returned from overseas studies. The younger boss took over the business. He was too bossy and proud. He ran the business his own ways, but mistreated his workers and distrusted his friends. He squandered away the money and did not pay his workers well. He drove expensive cars like Mercedes and Jaguar. However, later he went bust and had to ride the ordinary bus. One day, while crossing the road, he dropped. He never got up again and was gone forever. A heart attack made him went down under.

There was also another Bentong businessman who ran a lucrative spare parts shop plus a petrol pump. One day he felt sick and went to China for treatment he did seek. The son managed the business in his absence. Results: mismanagement! The sickly father asked for more money to pay his medical bills in China, but the son said there was no more cash! As was usual in those days with rich people, keeping a second wife was normal. The concubine helped the old man out. When he came back he was infuriated. So he sold his properties and donated all the money to the private hospital in Kuala Lumpur. Did the hospital dish out cheaper treatment to the poor after getting their windfall? No, the hospital just used up the money.

Another rich guy who owned hundreds of acres of rubber land and a villa just on the outskirt of town is no more heard of now. Most of the land and the villa have changed hands.

Of course, the most successful tycoon in Bentong nowadays has built up a supermarket chain with shops in Bentong, Raub, Jerantut and Kuala Lumpur. He now owns five adjoining shops and the former Lyceum and Lido theatres. Of course, the last two are not cinemas now. They are a supermarket and its warehouse. The supermarket is always full of shoppers and the most crowd-pulling place in town.

So much about Bentong past and present. My well-informed cousin brother-in-law seems to know a lot about Bentong folks from the 1950s. He stays with his family in Kuala Lumpur now, but he always returns to Bentong to have a look see and picks up stories. He is so free with nothing to worry. Gossips? No, he just notices and hears of things that had happened and are still happening - practicing and updating his data memory - certainly not a busybody.

 Money Falling
 Money Falling
 Money Falling
 Money Falling
 Money Falling
 Money Falling
 Money Falling
 Money Falling
 Money Falling
 Money Falling
 Money Falling
 Money Falling
 Money Falling
 Money Falling




The happiest people don't have the best of everything
They just make the best of everything.

I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I've  become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.

I  have seen too many dear friends leave this world  too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon? I will over a lost love I will. Dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60 & 70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep I  will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old.

I  know I am sometimes forgetful. But  there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A  heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being  imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face.

So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong. So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it)

MAY OUR FRIENDSHIP NEVER COME APART, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT'S STRAIGHT FROM THE  HEART!




WHAT HAPPENED THIS MONTH 50 YEARS AGO? JANUARY, 1962

THE enrolment of students in MES Bentong, hit an all time high. Names mentioned in his diary include the following: Ismail, Mohd. Noor, Razlan, Janan, Tham Puk Lam, Pak Chin Leong, Nadzry, Woo Sum, Chan Yuet Lan, Chen Yen, Anthea, Rahman Umat, Nor Safian, Fakharuddin, Lam Hay Yin, dzulkifli, Jesuban Singh, Michael Tan, Munzir.

Amiruddin, Chow Yin, Seck Poh Wah, Chew Han Liong, Chin Young, Eng Choo, Lee Kon Sang, Lee Ah Chai.

Sar Kim Len, Wong Lip Woon, Choo Kwai Wing, Yap Kim Hee, Yap Kim Loy, Tengku Ahmad, Tee See, Hilda, Raja Kamarulzaman, Tee Lai Yen, Kok Cheng, Samiun, John Chinniah, Mohd. Noor Ta’ayun, Vesian, Sofyan bin Abdul Rahman, Tengku Ismail, Shafie, Keat Swee, Othman Hj. Mat Nor, Chan Meng Chai, Boon Tan and Wei Yee. May I ask, "Where is everybody?"





HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE FOLLOWING IN JANUARY

Birthday Cake - Green


No.
NAME
BIRTHDAY
1
LEE SAI KAN
JAN 1
2
KOK AH KOW
JAN 5
3
ABDUL JALIL MOHD DIN
JAN 7
4
CAPT® MOHAMAD GIMON
JAN 10
5
MUNZIR BIN ABAS (HAJI)
JAN 21
6
TAN CHEONG LUNG
JAN 30
7
WONG LAN CHAN
JAN 31



Fire Work Color

WE WILL CELEBRATE DATO' TED MILES'S 85TH BIRTHDAY ON SUNDAY, 19 FEBRUARY, 2012. COME CREATE A PARTY WITH YOUR CURRIES, FRIED NOODLES, FRIED RICE VERMICELLI, RICE AND PASTRIES.



OOPS! BEFORE I FORGET
GONG XI FA CAI


TO ALL WHO HAVE CELEBRATED AND ARE STILL CELEBRATING THE LUNAR NEW YEAR OVER HERE IN ASIA. FOR ME, I AM THANKING THE FABULOUS OLD MAN WITH A LONG FLOWING BEARD THE EQUIVALENT OF SANTA CLAUS FOR GIVING ME AND FAMILY A PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR! HOORAY, HOR YEH!! THANK YOU, CHOY SUN YEH!!!. (HOORAY, IT'S BEST!! THANK YOU GOD OF PROSPERITY!!!).
 Gong Xi Fa cai Couple Red


 Book and Quill
Written and edited by Chan Suy Sang


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