I boarded her Toyota Avanza. She took the MEX highway to Putra Jaya. It was a smooth drive. When we arrived we looked for the entry point to Precinct 2. She overshot the entrance. Then we had to make a u-turn. I went into a posh office and enquired. An officer pointed out the building we were heading. So helpful and polite was he.
 Putrajaya Lakeside
We drove there and parked the car. We entered the National Registration office. Again it was a posh building with escalators. On level 3 we made enquiries. Yes, I helped Foong Thye aka Lem Foong Tee, to fill in a form for getting a copy of her birth certificate. The form was submitted within half an hour. However, as they have not updated the records, the officer asked us to call them in 10 days' time.

Lem drove back taking another exit route from the federal administrative centre. We were lost a few times. At the Kajang interchange we drove round and round due to a very misleading road signage. Finally, I told Foong Thye to follow the main flow of traffic. Then only were we heading to the Kuala Lumpur way down to the Puchong area.

At a junction she turned into a new area that I have not been to. We entered Taman Tan Yew Lai. "That's my daughter's house," said Foong Thye pointing to a very impressive row of buildings up on a hill. From there, she took the road to OUG. There she treated me to lunch. "Thanks for the trip and the food, Foong Thye," said I.


 Stress Symptoms
LONDON, April 5 - Long-term, chronic stress is just plain bad for your health, but a new study probes into the question of why. Researchers in the US found that stress reduces the body's ability to regulate inflammation, which in turn bumps your chances of getting sick. "The immune system's ability to regulate inflammation predicts who will develop a cold, but more importantly it provides an explanation of how stress can promote disease," study researcher Sheldon Cohen, of Carnegie Mellon University, said in a statement released this week.

"When under stress, cells of the immune system are unable to respond to hormonal control, and consequently, produce levels of inflammation that promote disease."

In the study, 276 healthy adults completed "intensive" stress interviews before being exposed to the common cold virus, then were quarantined for the next five days. The researchers kept note of their symptoms, finding that if a person was undergoing long-term stress, he or she was more likely not to be able to regulate inflammation, and hence had a greater risk of getting a cold. The findings are published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Occasional stress is a fact of life, but suffering chronic stress can wreak havoc on your health. Prevention magazine suggests stress can manifest in unexpected ways, from nightmares to teeth gnashing. Other signs that you're stressed include weekend headaches, terrible period cramps, a sore jaw, odd dreams, and sudden acne.

Medical resource WebMD recommends learning better ways to manage your time and finding ways to cope with stress, such as relying on a support system of friends or family. Taking good care of yourself is also vital - be sure to get plenty of rest and regular exercise. Also eat well, do not smoke, and limit your alcohol consumption.

- AFP/Relaxnews


During informal chit-chats with bits and pieces thrown in here and there, I learnt that Foong Thye's father came from China. Was it because the family could not put food on the table there? No, she told me that her father was from a well-to-do family. Her grandfather had two wives. The grand old man had made his millions in gold digging in old San Francisco in the US. In Sino-parlance he was a sort of what we called "kam sun ah pak," meaning "great gold digging rich uncle back from San Francisco."

The old man was rather unfair towards Foong Thye's father and some of her father's siblings. So the late Lem Sui Weng left China and came to Malaya. When he left he had only fourteen dollars in his pocket.

When he arrived in Malaya the late Lem Sui Weng worked in several jobs to irk out a meagre living working as a mechanic apprentice, including.

Later he worked in a tin mine owned ran by a Caucasian. Her father worked very hard and impressed the boss. When finally the owner left for home, he handed over the tin mine to the late Lem Sui Weng. From thence on Foong Thye's late father made his money. Then he branched off into the rubber planting industry. Again he prospered tremendously, opening and purchasing hundreds of acres of rubber land.

As time went on he built up his business by becoming the rice supply merchant in Bentong. He started a liquor shop which the colonials patronized. The orang putih (the white colonials) had no way of whiling their time away so they drank to pass their days. His grocery shop Chop Kwong Sang near the market was well-known also as the sole distributors of the various brands of cigarettes.

From our conversation on another occasion, I gathered that her father the late Lem Sui Weng was a success from grit and frugality. He was very careful with his money, yet he was quite a generous man - a sort of philanthropist. He donated very generously to schools. At the Khai Mun School in town, there was a classroom named after him. When the MES principal approached him for aids, he donated generously.

Foong Thye has fifteen siblings. That many, what a big family? Yes, they were born by two mothers. Foong Thye's mother was the younger. Where are her siblings now? Some are overseas and settled down with the locals over there. There are still sprinklings of cousins, nephews and nieces in Bentong. Most of the rubber plantations have been turned into other possessions and distributed amongst the brothers and sisters.


APRIL 1962, saw the fervent campaign to promote the Malay language as the national language of Malaya. There were lots of contests going on like, the poster contest, the singing contest, sketches contests, etc, a in the Malay language.

The school feverishly prepared and participated in the contests. With a good student population of Malay students, MES won many of the contests as they put in a lot of efforts in the preparation. Even the non-Malays did well and won their versions of the contests.

A pretty voluptuous lass from the US visited the school and had a gala time picnicking at the Chamang waterfalls. The students and she trekked the whole seven miles (12 kilometres) there and back.

Names that appeared in Ted Miles dairy were: Zamti, Kon Sang, Sing Kee, Ponniah, Nor Safian, Kim Beng, Mei Foong, Yoke Peng, Meng Chai, Zainal, Mustapha, Razlan, Rahman, Mohd Noor Tafayn, Osman, Tan Kim Yip, Sabaruddjn, Bahari, Sohan Singh, Arumugam, Mohammed, Yeng Kee, Mohammed Sood, Ming Kong, Karasu, Choy Sim, Hassan, Ismail Jali.


  • DON'T KEEP MUM IF CHILD IS ABUSED. Throw her out, Dad, and get a new wife.
  • COMMUNITY LEADERS TO MEET ON DAMAGED GRAVES. There must be no other place for them to meet.
  • DON'T KILL YOUR WIFE WITH WORK, LET ELECTRICITY DO IT. Advertisement for a vacuum cleaner. So no charge for murder!
  • FREE GIFTS FOR CUSTOMERS. As if there are gifts that must be paid.
  • The short form for the degree of Master of English Studies - MES.


A few years after I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around from then on.

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me good from evil, and Dad taught me to obey. But the stranger... He was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.

If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry. The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind.

Sometimes, Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to the kitchen for peace and quiet. (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.)

Dad ruled our household with certain moral convictions, but the stranger never felt obligated to honor them. Profanity, for example, was not allowed in our home - not from us, our friends or any visitors. After our long time visitor stayed longer he became more daring however and even got away with four-letter words that burned my ears and made my dad squirm and my mother blush. My Dad didn't permit the liberal use of alcohol but the stranger encouraged us to try it on a regular basis. He made cigarettes look cool, cigars manly, and pipes distinguished. He talked freely (much too freely!) about sex. His comments were sometimes blatant, sometimes suggestive, and generally embarrassing..
I now know that my early concepts about relationships were influenced strongly by the stranger. Time after time, he opposed the values of my parents, yet he was seldom rebuked... And NEVER asked to leave.

More than fifty years have passed since the stranger moved in with our family. He has blended right in and is not nearly as fascinating as he was at first. Still, if you could walk into my parents' den today, you would still find him sitting over in his corner, waiting for someone to listen to him talk and watch him draw his pictures.

His name? We just call him "TV."
He has a wife now....we call her "Computer."
Their first child is "Cell Phone".
Second child "I Pod"


We drove to Cheras via the Taman Connaught way. Then we turned into a very congested Jalan Cheras. At the Taman Mida and Taman Bullion roundabout, directed my son Gary to get into a highway by taking a three o'clock turn. We have entered the Ampang outer ring road now heading towards Pahang. But we did not travel along that highway all the way. At a certain junction I had discovered from the Google map we must take the Jalan Kuari way.

Where were we heading? To a place called Kampung Tasik Permai! I knew it is a place around that area, but really I did not know the way there. We could only guess. At a fruit stall I asked Gary to stop the car so that I might purchase some fruit and use the excuse to ask for the way. The guy selling me the apples was not helpful at all. He too is new to the area, not even a resident there.

Then at a playground we found some elderly people around. I went to ask them. They pointed out the direction where we should proceed. So we drove into Kampung Tasik. At an eatery I enquired from some ladies. They asked me where I wanted to go. I told them I wanted to visit a nursing centre; a home for the elderly - an old folks home! The three ladies, who were enjoying their breakfast, gave me the direction to the infirmary - roughly!!

Gary drove round and round the area going uphill and downhill and peeping at the roads and addresses to spot out destination. Finally, perched on a steep slope were a few houses. There it was: No. 527 the house we were looking for.

Our purpose of going there? To visit an old buddy; my classmate since school days in Bentong MES.

Excuse me: now I have to rev your prospective back in time as I have to write retrospectively. Sometime earlier, yours truly had called at his dwelling wishing to see how the old man is faring. Sorry, Lee Sai Kan is actually three years younger than me. At his residence on the 9th floor, I found Sai Kan was not there! I left a message at the door saying I wished to contact him. So the other day his son called telling me that Sai Kan had been put in an old folk's home since three months ago!

That was why I popped in to visit him at No. 527 Jalan 24, Kampung Tasik Permai this particular day!!!

How is Lee Sai Kan, our buddy? A maid led him out from the boarding house. We sat down on the verandah. Sai Kan was a little pale as if he had been hibernating inside all the while. We had a friendly chitchat. I asked why he has landed there. In a feeble voice as he used to speak even in the good old days, he said. "I wandered away from the house. Then after a long, long while I woke up in a sort of hospital. I did not know where I was." Oh my! He lost his way. While he was talking I noticed his hand was shaking - though not very conspicuously. I presumed that he has what people call one of those ailments so akin to geriatrics: either Alzheimer or Parkinson's disease.

Sai Kan also told me that one day he was walking to a tall building to find an opening. What was he thinking? Of self-ending! But he found himself trapped and then walked away.

That was why his son and daughters stripped him of his cell phone, his IC and his money. As they are all working people, they have no choice but to put their father in a safe and caring nursing home. There are a few maids there to look after a little community of geriatrics. The place seemed very airy and the people friendly! It was like home away from home. In fact one of the maids is an Indonesian Chinese. At first I spoke to her in Malay, but she answered me in a familiar Chinese dialect; she was speaking in Hakka.


1. Breakfast
People who do not take breakfast are going to have a lower blood sugar level. This leads to an insufficient supply of nutrients to the brain causing brain degeneration.

2. Overeating
It causes hardening of the brain arteries, leading to a decrease in mental power.

3. Smoking
It causes multiple brain shrinkage and may lead to Alzheimer disease.

4. High Sugar consumption
Too much sugar will interrupt the absorption of proteins and nutrients causing malnutrition and may interfere with brain development.

5. Air Pollution
The brain is the largest oxygen consumer in our 20 body. Inhaling polluted air decreases the supply of oxygen to the brain, bringing about a decrease in brain efficiency.

6 . Sleep Deprivation
Sleep allows our brain to rest.. Long term deprivation from sleep will accelerate the death of brain cells..

7. Head covered while sleeping
Sleeping with the head covered increases the concentration of carbon dioxide and decrease concentration of oxygen that may lead to brain damaging effects.

8. Working your brain during illness
Working hard or studying with sickness may lead to a decrease in effectiveness of the brain as well as damage the brain.

9. Lacking in stimulating thoughts
Thinking is the best way to train our brain, lacking in brain stimulation thoughts may cause brain shrinkage.

10. Talking Rarely
Intellectual conversations will promote the efficiency of the brain


I called Loh Fook Cheng as arranged. He had come up from Singapore. This was the time of Qing Ming - the festival of ghosts. People of the Sino stock go and pay homage to those deported souls. Many even from far away countries come back to show their filial piety to their ancestors at the cemeteries. So did Fook Cheng who had come up from Lion City to pay homage to his departed elders.

I visited him at his sister, Loh Fook Ying's house. A pack of canines greeted me. They were ferocious really as they have to be held back by the house's gentlemen and ladies. We had a nice chitchat with Fook Cheng and his still-young-looking and well-groomed missus.

Fook Cheng told me he had visited our mentor in Bentong. According to Fook Cheng Dato' Ted Miles looked slightly different from before! A little frail, but he did not give details. I asked how are them there in Singapore. He emphatically replied that they are fine. "Singapore is a fine city. Like living in any city you pay and pay for all your necessities. No freebies." answered he.

Yes, speaking of our mentor's visitors of late. William Joo Shek Phin brought in Leong Ah Sui to see Dato' without making a date! For a long, long while the master and the pupil have not met. They had an interesting chitchat. The duo invited Dato' to dine, but he declined.

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Birthday Cake - Green



We wish to express our deepest condolences to the family of the late Balachandran Nair of Port Dickson. Balachandran Nair expired on the 31st of March, 2012 after succumbing to an operation of the colon. He lived up to the ripe age of sixty-four years. He leaves a wife Ms Jayanthi, daughter Pirya and son Prashant. May his soul rest in eternal peace.
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Edited and written by Chan Suy Sang

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