SUNDAY 15 MARCH 2015 - In the nEO+ Hotel in Penang

 Penang City
I got up several times during the night. At 7.25 am I took a photo from the nEO+ Hotel on the12th floor. (This was Penang)

Soon we were down to a coffee shop. The shop was rather narrow - a pre-war edifice I supposed. We had breakfast of local fares especially with a platter of lobak - some meat dish. I asked the server of the food how much the bowl of noodle was. "Four ringgit" he said.
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Barry drove us to Canon Street in the middle of the city. It was here we saw the frolicking tourists. With limited traffic around, many tourists hired bicycles to roam the narrow streets and lanes. There were normal bicycles for hire, two-seater bikes adapted so that both riders could pedal to exercise.

There were also adapted four-wheelers for more passengers. Those tourists rode on an easy-going way taking in the fresh morning air. Pedestrians walked the street leisurely for there were nothing to see.
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Barry took us into a place with local Chinese history: the Khoo Kongsi. Of course it is quite a famous place as the movie Anna and the King was filmed here with the famous Chow Yuen Fatt as the main character. A photograph on the wall even shows that the former president of China Hu Jintao also visited the place. I was so fascinated by the traditional firewood fired built-in brick stove in the spacious kitchen!
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There is also a replica of four immigrants eating at a table. There wore the simplest of clothing like them coolies of old.

A drive to Tanjong Bungah and Batu Ferringhi ended our visit to the island. Our journey back was slow and steady for the Sunday traffic down south was heavy. We reached home very early: Monday 1.30 am already!


Now, I know Iím about to sound like a desperate book publisher trying to unload copies of some tween vampire knock-off, but believe me: These reasons to read a book are all backed by science.

Reading Books Makes You a Better Person

In 2013, Emory University did a†study†that shows that people who read fiction are more empathetic. Researchers compared the brains of people show the brains of the readers had more activity in certain areas than those who didn't read. When you visualize yourself performing an action, you can actually somewhat feel yourself in the action. A similar process happens when you envision yourself as a character in a book: You can take on the emotions they are feeling. Empathy towards those around you makes you more sensitive to the emotional state of people around you.

2. Reading improves social skills. So if reading makes you more empathetic, technically it improves your social skills all round.

3. Reading is great for your relationship. According to relationship expert and psychotherapist Ken Page: "Research shows that people can grow closer by revealing and sharing new thoughts, ideas and fantasies with each other, (and) reading a book and then discussing it is a fun and entertaining way for couples to grow closer." You read it here, folks - reading is sexy.

4. Reading prevents Alzheimer's. A 2001 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, questioned 193 people about their participation in 26 different hobbies like physical activities. They found that elderly people who regularly read or play mentally challenging games are 2 Ĺ times less likely to have the debilitating illness, which affects 4 million Americans.

5. Reading is relaxing. Dr. David Lewis from the research group Mindlab International at the University of Sussex said: "Losing yourself in a book is the ultimate relaxation. It really doesn't matter what book you read. By losing yourself in a thoroughly engrossing book you can escape from the worries and stresses of the everyday world and spend a while exploring the domain of the author's imagination.

6. Reading Sharpens your Brain. This study in Neurology the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, author Robert S. Wilson PhD says: "Our study suggests that exercising your brain by taking part in activities such as these across a person's liftetime, from childhood through old age. Is important for brain health in old age.


As soon as Barry arrived at the Bukit Chamang house, we wanted to go to Chew Chan's house to see what we should do. On reaching Chew Chan's house No. 165, Repas Village (our old family house actually), we met.
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Brother Chew Chan and his family members loaded all the boxes of Qing Ming paraphernalia into the car. Then Barry drove us off to the Liang Kwong cemetery for the qing ming rites and ceremony. Barry parked the car on the roadside as we found it difficult to drive up to the top of the hill.

The cemetery was crowded. I led the way up the hills. It was just a nice walk. The whole lot of us Gary, me, Barry, Jasmine and the two kids all did a wonderful walk up the hills weaving among the thousands of graves of the deceased. Well, we were not scared of the inmates in the graves. Actually it was a sort of carnival at the cemetery.

We carried the things for burning up each hugging a paper travel bag for the dead with a lot of stuffs for burning inside. When we arrived, my cousin Chan Kok Kong and his family members were already there.
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(From right): Facing the camera are the tombstones of my grandfather Chan Suet Heng and my grandmother Madam Wong, just behind is grandmother No. 2 (my grandfather was a Romeo, right!), the middle tombstones show my father Chan Yue Fook and mother Koo Swee Lan, on the extreme left is the tombstones of my uncle Chan Poh Kuan and his wife Madam Lee. All of them were migrants from China in the beginning of the 20th century. Squatting on the extreme right is my cousin Chan Kok Kong.

We waited for the rest of our family members to come. Chew Chan and his son Yew Sun came. Then there was Chee Seongís family. They came in last - Chee Seong and his son Kwong Lam. They brought in the food for offering to the deceased. That is the way we Chinese think considering the dead as still being able to consume foods! But that is the belief and it had been handed down from generations to generations. What more do Chinese could offer but foods to fill their stomachs! Dead or alive we had to be fed, right?

What a crowd at our ancestors' common graves.

Here and there we saw smokes of burning joss-sticks, candles, and paper replicas of this and that like travel bags, etc. The travel bags were filled with replicas of clothing, shoes, even the paper replicas of the latest iPads, ipoh and iphones etc, etc. There were trillion dollars of hell money too. The living and the dead have to have money to spend eh! All these were burnt to give to the dead so that they might enjoy the same facilities as us here on earth. Hahaha you just have to understand we the Chinese way of thinking and even speculating on the lives over the other side. Why? Because we think that we don't have the comforts and embraces of a saviour over there.


I drove to Williamís doorstep. We alighted. I opened the unlocked gate and called if there were anyone in. I knew there were as the door was half-opened. Soon Nancy came out. My missus also walked herself in using some support.

On entering the house, William came out. He was talking but his hands were shaking. His movements were strange as he seemed to be very agitated. He grasped my hand trying to have a handshake but his grasp was unsteady. I asked what had happened. He said he had been like this for four months. His missus confirmed.

He had been to the University Hospital for a thorough check-up.. They discovered he suffered from no known ailments.

Then what was the problem? His missus said it was senility. He behaved very nervously! He said he could not sleep at all. He could not eat; nor could he defecate. If nothing goes in; what do you expect to come out? He has lost more than 10 pounds. William just wanted to stay home but he did not feel well at all. I urged him to go out and had some fresh air. Maybe he needed some exercises. He must expose!

From: David N Maximine Carey
To: Chan Suy Sang

Went to Norborne Missouri Monday the 6th April and delivered your book, "Ted Miles Revealed", for The Ted Miles Collection. The Librarian was most happy to add it to Ted and Charles Miles shelf. Some day maybe you can come Missouri, USA and see what we are about around here. Most of this immediate area is farm land. Lots of old settlements were German farmers transplanted.

Early 1900s.

Thanks again for the good book about Ted and all of you who are so respectful of him. Will check in with you again later. ~ Dave ~

Good, always like reading your "stuff" !

Thank you for your comments. I have many more anecdotes like that in my life. Thanks again - Suysang.


On Easter Sunday the 5th of April, I paid a visit to our mentor in his bungalow. When informed of my coming the care-giver had gone down the road to open the gate. After the burglary, nowadays she locked the gate so that cars and motorcycles could not go up to the house. One of the safety measures, eh!

We had a brief chit-chat. From him I learnt that Maximine Carey was his typewriting teacher. Yes, she must be a very good teacher to have produced such a good and fast typist like Dato' Ted Miles. Many of us his students are very thankful for his passing us his knowledge and typing skill to us. Also, thank you Maximine for passing down to us your typewriting skills too.


Birthday Cake - Green

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