By Chan Yew Kuen
Wednesday 29 th Aug 2013

It was a normal school run day for Diana, amongst other Malaysian parents but she had something special to do after picking up her son and dropping him home. That something special was to meet up with her long lost childhood friend CYK and her parents. The meeting that my parents and I were so looking forward to.

I'm not a big Facebook fan but I inadvertently found Diana on Facebook. Thanks to Facebook.

Despite getting lost and caught in the traffic jam for two hours, Diana did not give up and finally she arrived at dad's residence. I was waiting for her by the guardhouse. I watched her park up and as soon as she got out of the car, the two of us embraced tearfully. As we were walking up to dad's apartment unit, we saw mum and her cat Sim Chai in the playground. After exchanging pleasantries, Diana and I proceeded to go upstairs to look for dad. Mum came up shortly after that.

It was a touching sight seeing dad bersalam-salaman with Diana. Making ourselves comfortable on the sofa, our conversations just flowed naturally. The atmosphere was a relaxed one. Dad joined in the conversation and mum, sitting opposite Diana and I on a plastic stool, just looked on, trying to decipher Bahasa Malaysia thrown in with some English words.

We caught up on old times. Names of headmasters, teachers, schoolmates, classmates, neighbours and relatives, even places were mentioned and stories exchanged not to mention photo albums leafed through and a few tears shed. Talking about photos, mum suggested that I show Diana some loose photos that I had pulled out from albums for my keepsake but unfortunately I failed to find them having packed them nicely in my luggage. Mum gave me a good telling off! Dad couldn't resist snapping photos of the two old friends chatting away on the sofa with his 'canggih smartphone' according to Diana. Hahaha Diana is such a funny person!

Father, please insert this into my article:

One particular incident that still amuses us both was when we were both in the same primary school )SRK Sungai Marong) and Diana was a bright student. She was made to sit next to a lazy boy because that way she could at least assist him in his studies. Being a selfless person that she is, it wasn't quite a task to her having to 'babysit' this boy. One day, as she was engrossed in trying to teach the boy how to do his schoolwork, as usual he wasn't interested in listening at all but was up to his mischief yet again; this time by cutting the hem of Diana's uniform into something resembling a hula skirt with a pair of craft scissors! It was the talk of the school since then!

Mum and dad left us to chin wag to our hearts' contents after serving us drinks. I had pineapple juice and Diana had chrysanthemum tea. With parents out of earshot, some embarrassing stories were told as well. Good job Diana wasn't judgemental at all, she was as down to earth as ever! We chatted for three hours solid when Diana had to be home for her children. Obviously more tears were shed when we bid farewell. "Jumpa lagi kawanku Diana, keep in touch on fb and whatsapp ya! Love ya!" Those words were genuinely uttered when I waved her off.


A Pathan hat-seller who was passing by a forest decided to take a nap under one of the trees, so he left his whole basket of hats by the side.

A few hours later, he woke up and realized that all his hats were gone. He looked up and to his surprise, the tree was full of monkeys and they had taken all his hats. Pathan sits down and thinks of how he can get the hats down. While thinking he started to scratch his head. The next moment, the monkeys were doing the same. Next, he took down his own hat, the monkeys did exactly the same. An idea came to him, he took his hat and threw it on the ground and the monkeys did that too. So he finally managed to get all his hats back.

Fifty years later, his grandson, also became a hat-seller and had heard this monkey story from his grandfather. One day, just like his grandfather, he passed by the same forest. It was very hot, and he took a nap under the same tree and left the hats on the floor. He woke up and realized that all his hats were taken by the monkeys on the tree. He remembered his grandfather's words, he started scratching his head and the monkeys followed. He took down his hat and fanned himself and again the monkeys followed. Now, very convinced of his grandfather's idea, he threw his hat on the ground but to his surprise, the monkeys still held on to all the hats. Then one monkey climbed down the tree, grabbed the hat on the ground, gave him a slap and said, "You think only you have a grandfather?"

School days memories in the 1950s

School days memories in the 1950s
By Harwan Singh

I started to learn Punjabi in Kundang during the Japanese occupation under a deserter from the Indian army. I had to use my index finger to write on the sand! The next stage was in the Sentul English School in Sentul. We had to walk from the fourth mile Ipoh Road to the school. My elder sister and younger sister enrolled at the same time. After a while my younger sister lost her books and that ended her education.

Sometime later my family decided to return to Kundang leaving me with a family in K.L. When I later returned to Kundang I was sent to a school in Batu Arang. I studied there for a few years. I used to travel by train to school. The school was about a kilometer from the railway station and we had to walk there. My companions and I took about ten minutes to reach. When school was over we returned to the railway station and beyond into the waste land which had lots of fruit trees left by the people who were forced to leave there. We ate as many fruits and carried more in our school bags.

One day after the treat we had to hump over a small drain. Ramiah the heaviest of the group fell into the ditch and had scratches on his chest. We used to eat our chapatti here and sometimes exchange with Ramish's nasi goreng.

One day I bought a Schaeffer pen at the cooperative store but Ramiah stole it from me. When he refused to return it to me we decided to fight for it. After school we went to the other side of the pool and started the fight with Gulara Singh being the referee. It ended when the headmaster saw it and called us back to school where after questioning we were asked to bend over the desks and a bundle of exercise books was placed on each ones back. Atfer some time one of the bundles of books fell down. The headmaster came in and asked us why we had not returned home. We told him that the return train left only at four o'clock. When asked whether we had our lunch we said no. The headmaster then gave us some money to buy lunch.

We thanked the headmaster and ate the food. We took our leave and ran all the way to the station. On another day we stole a sardine can meant for the soldiers lying on the platform and ate the sardines. We wiped our hands with the guard's flag. It smelled for days.

I had got used to bringing moru for the engine driver so that he would let me do the shunting of the empty wagons and returning with the coal laden ones. I had steam burns on my legs and hands. One day I was allowed to travel on the engine on the way home. It was frightening. One half of the engine was swinging one way and the other half another way.

Once my pass got lost and the station master decided to report me to the police but somehow changed his mind. He warned me and let me go. He was very good at morse code and the use of the telegraph machine so much so the military had presented him with one. One day on his birthday the train arrived from Kuang with garlands hanging from the engine. It was a good birthday present for the engine driver.

On another day I followed the train to Kuang and was driving it when I was noticed by the signal tower man. The driver had some explaining to do.

Every time I crossed the cantilever bridge near our house I used to keep my bicycle on the side and get into the space between the pillars and wait for the rise and fall of the bridge. Those were some experiences of my school days - Harwan Singh.

Helpful Tips on Eye Care

With so many of us spending lots of time in front of the computer every day it comes to no surprise that research is showing a rise in visual problems. What can one do? First, it's important to find out how you can protect your eyes through eye health exams and by making a few minor changes in your computer viewing habits. 

Here are some helpful Eye Care Tips -

Positioning is everything
Correct positioning of your computer, keyboard and typing copy is essential. Your screen should be positioned about an arm's length from your eyes and 20 degrees below eye level. Consider foot and wrist rests for added comfort.

Lighting can make all the difference
Room lighting should be diffuse, not direct, to reduce glare and reflections from your screen. Look into an internal or external glare screen and be sure to set your colour, contrast and brightness levels to suit you.

A little extra help for your glasses
Anti-reflective coatings on the lenses of your glasses can be applied by your optometrist to reduce discomfort and to ease reduced vision from bright and/or flickering light sources such as VDTs and fluorescent lights. And donft forget, your doctor of optometry can talk to you about eyeglasses designed specifically for people who use computers a lot.

Take time out, our 20-20-20 rule
Step I :-
After every 20 minutes of looking into the computer screen, turn your head and try to look at any object placed at least 20 feet away. This changes the focal length of your eyes, a must-do for the tired eyes.
Step II :-
Try and blink your eyes for 20 times in succession, to moisten them.
Step III :-
Time permitting of course, one should walk 20 paces after every 20 minutes of sitting in one particular posture. Helps blood circulation for the entire body.

It's all in the blinking
Did you know that on average we blink 12 times per minute? But wait, did you know that when we're on the computer we only blink 5 times per minute? That can add up to dry eyes. Relieve the discomfort by using artificial tear drops or gels and remember to blink!

Sit straight at your workstation and rub your palms against each other till you feel them warm. The warmth of your palms helps soothe and relax tired eyes. Then, lightly cup your eyes with your palms and relax for 60 seconds. Count the seconds in your mind. Repeat this exercise two to three times whenever your eyes feel tired, or as often as you want. While palming, you can either rest your elbows on your desk or keep away from the desk and cup your eyes. Both ways are fine.

Splash water on your face
During breaks, splash water on your face while closing your eyes. This has an overall relaxing effect and helps you feel refreshed.

Use tea bags
Keep two used tea bags in the refrigerator before you leave for work. Once you are home, place the tea bags on your eyes for a few minutes as you relax. This not only soothes tired eyes, but also reduces puffiness.

Eat healthy
Incorporate Vitamins A, C, and E on a daily basis; eat citrus fruits, green leafy veggies, tomatoes, spinach, poultry and dairy products. Pack a box of chopped carrots, cucumber and fresh fruits and munch in-between meals at the office.


Birthday Cake - Green

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 Book and Quill
Edited and written by Chan Suy Sang

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