THE MESSAGE NO. 70 SEPTEMBER 2007
THE TONG AH TAI SERIES.
THE XX EDITION
THE MESSAGE IS 70 NUMBERS OLD
FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF THE 901 CATASTROPHE
September 1, is the first anniversary of the storm that wrecked ha voc on Mr. Miles's property. As I
have said somewhere earlier during that natural disaster, many trees on his land were snapped by the
wind and more were uprooted to create a most devastating scene.
THE JUNGLE IS REJUVENATING
The roof of his house is prominently visible from the main road now. The habitat of natural flora
and fauna bound by the boundaries that demarcated his property has been progressively rejuvenating.
Stop Press: Latest: the visibility of the roof of his house from the road down is getting less and
NEW GENERATION OF GREENS
With the disappearance of the tall and shady canopies of trees, the sun now comes in freely. There
have shot up a new generation of greens making it looks like the jungle is invading the whole scene.
More lowly plants nourished by the sunlight are now taking over the place. Shrubs, creepers, forest
vines and weeds have sprung up to occupy the more open space left by the now low-lying rotting trees.
Trees that had snapped have spruced up new crowns of lush and luxurious green leaves now.
LOW AND MORE USEFUL SPECIES
New and more useful species of plants that had been once overshadowed by the giants have made their
appearance felt lately. One useful species is the papaya. When I was around one day, he made a
count of that beneficial new flora that had come into prominence. He counted four. Some trees are
fruiting already. Soon he will have papayas galore!
On mentioning the papayas, our mentor stressed that we could as we usually do eat the ripe papaya
raw. But he said there is something more! We could also pickle it. Yes I remember pickled papaya is
so crispy and crunchy. A good appetizer indeed! It is one very popular side dish, a sort of tidbit,
in a full moon feast among the Chinese.
I chipped in and added, "Oh, we can make soup out of it." Half ripe papayas are cut into big pieces
and then boil with chicken or meat. The concoction is sweet and very tasty papaya soup a most
THE WILD BOARS
Talking of the inhabitants in his jungle rejuvenating land, I inquired about the encroachments of
his "neighbours". He said the critters are abound and are frequently around. They come a calling as
nocturnal visitors. The barking threats from his dogs do not seem to mitigate or lessen their
appearance and presence.
WHERE ARE THE HUNTERS OF YORE
Our mentor lamented that those noisy and hound abound hunters are no more to be found. Remember
those days there were a few of them around. The hunters reared a bunch of ferocious hounds that
helped them to chase and corner the wild boars. Then the hunters closed in and speared the animals
at arms length. We had a lot of wild boar meat for sale then. Oh! They still sell wild boar meat in
the market nowadays, but it is not so prolific a trade now. The wild boar presence is found in more
prominence all around. Are they also a protected species now? I wonder.
MAN'S CLOSEST COUSINS CALL
Then man's closest cousins also descend to forage for whatever fruit of his labour they can. There
arenít many cultivated ones around except for a tree or two of rambutans, jambu air and a sour
sop plant. The rambutan tree in front bears fruit regularly. The monkeys come, hang around watching
from branches of trees, much to the frustration of his dogs. They barked and barked non-stop. We can
understand their plight, not able to lunge at something in full sight!
A dog may be man's best friend. However, with his arboreal cousins no canines would befriend!
Dogs would view monkeys as targets to sink in their fangs!! Don't you think so dear fans?
PLANT MORE FRUIT TREES
I have suggested that he plants more fruit trees especially those invulnerable to wild beasts. A few
bananas, pineapples, langsat, duku, mangoes may fill his larder with fruits. There will also be
something left over for the forest creatures that he loves and feels so kind! After all, there is a
lot of land around - with sundry varieties of undomesticated inhabitants closing in and taking over
INVASION OF THE PLANTAINS
Oh yes! When mentioning of bananas, a lot of plantains are invading his land. But alas, they are
useless to man. They are the wild species. They bear bananas alright. The fruits are full of seeds
but no flesh, thus inedible. Their prolific growth must be due to their origin from seeds, indeed!
What more changes will nature wrought in time on his plot, we shall see anniversary after
anniversary! May the blessings be!!
WHAT HAPPENED THIS MONTH
50 YEARS AGO
During that month, our mentor was wandering, cycling, walking, visiting, teaching, learning and
counseling. In September 1957, he did all these things.
He went back to the school of which he was once head. Now a non-entity: that was he. Yet, the
teachers, friends and students greeted him politely, and considered him their mentor. At gatherings
such as in games and public rallies, which he attended quite frequently, he was recognized and
treated most amicably. Even government ministers recognized and came to him to greet him. How do you
know? These are all noted in his diary!
He traveled down to Kuala Kalwang and proceeded farther to Temerloh via Lanchang. Visiting the
parents of his former pupils, he found that they accepted him into their fold. Someone even
suggested that he should tie the knot with some Malay damsel. He also playfully daydreamed that he
could have four wives in tow. He trekked through jungles, rowed upstream and downstream in boats
and roamed about in Malay kampongs.
Once he wobbled from Ketari to Bentong town on a borrowed old bicycle. Purpose: to watch a film
show. Hurray, those were his happy go lucky days!
Yet most of the time he went on foot from his home in Ketari to school to and fro. That was when he
went back to teach in MES. Sometimes, he had to make a few trips a day to complete his duties.
Oh, not only teaching he also did some serious learning! He descended down into the status of a
student!! Ted Miles started taking Malay language lessons. He had to pick up the lingua franca of
the then newly born Federation of Malaya. Else, he would be tongue-tied when the Sultan greeted him
in Malay royal lingo saying "Apa macam, towkay?" That was how Almarhum Sultan Abu Bakar used to
greet the big shots of the day. Or could it be that His Highness greeted him with, "Apa macam orang
He also counseled students who stayed with him in his house if they strayed from the norms of good
behaviour of the day!
A FOMULA FOR HAPPINESS
This is so meaningful and some love it.
Believe it or not some people always think positive and apply the 90% principle in their lives !!!
That's why these few people are always happy and find life is wonderful !!
The 90/10 Principle
(By Stephen Covey, Management Guru)
Have you read this before:
Discover the 90/10 Principle. It will change the way you manage your life.
What is the 90/10 Principle??
10% of life is made up of what happens to you. 90% of life is decided by how you react. What does
this mean? We really have no control over 10% of what happens to us. We cannot stop the car from
breaking down. The plane will be late arriving, which throws our whole schedule off. A driver may
cut us off in traffic. We have no control over this 10%. The other 90% is different. You determine
the other 90%. How? By your reaction. You cannot control a red light, but you can control your
reaction. Don't let people fool you; YOU can control how you react.
Let's use an example.
You are eating breakfast with your family. Your daughter knocks over a cup of coffee onto your
business shirt. You have no control over what just what happened. What happens next will be
determined by how you react. You curse. You harshly scold your daughter for knocking the cup over.
She breaks down in tears. After scolding her, you turn to your spouse and criticize her for placing
the cup too close to the edge of the table.
A short verbal battle follows. You storm upstairs and change your shirt. Back downstairs, you find
your daughter has been too busy crying to finish breakfast and get ready for school. She misses the
bus. Your spouse must leave immediately for work. You rush to the car and drive your daughter
to school. Because you are late, you drive 40 miles an hour in a 30 mph speed limit. After a
15-minute delay and paying fine, you arrive at school. Your daughter runs into the building without
After arriving at the office 20 minutes late, you find you forgot your briefcase. Your day has
started terribly. As it continues, it seems to get worse and worse. You look forward to coming home,
When you arrive home, you find a small wedge in your relationship with your spouse and daughter.
Why? Because of how you have reacted in the morning.
Why did you have a bad day?
A) Did the coffee cause it?
B) Did your daughter cause it?
C) Did the policeman cause it?
D) Did you cause it?
The answer is D.
You had no control over what happened with the coffee. How you reacted in those 5 seconds is what
caused your bad day.
Here is what could have and should have happened. Coffee splashes over you. Your daughter is about
to cry. You gently say, "Its ok honey, you just need, to be more careful next time." Grabbing a
towel you rush upstairs. After wearing a new shirt and with your briefcase, you come back down
in time to look through the window and see your child getting on the bus. She turns and waves.
You arrive 5 minutes early and cheerfully greet the staff. Your boss comments on how good the day
you are having.
Notice the difference?
Two different scenarios. Both started the same. Both ended differently.
Why? Because of how you REACTED. You really do not have any control over 10% of what happens.
The other 90% was determined by your reaction.
Here are some ways to apply the 90/10 principle.
If someone says something negative about you, don't be a sponge (don't absorb). Let the attack roll
off like water on glass. You don't have to let the negative comment affect you! React properly and
it will not ruin your day. A wrong reaction could result in losing a friend, being fired,
getting stressed out etc.
How do you react if someone cuts you off in traffic?
Do you lose your temper?
Pound on the steering wheel? (A friend of mine had the steering wheel fall off!)
Do you curse?
Does your blood pressure skyrocket?
Do you try and bump them?
WHO CARES if you arrive ten seconds later at work?
Why let the cars ruin your drive? Remember the 90/10 principle, and do not worry about it.
You are told you lost your job. Why lose sleep and get irritated? It will work out.
Use your worrying energy and time into finding another job.
The plane is late; it is going to mangle your schedule for the day. Why take out your frustration
on the flight attendant? She has no control over what is going on. Use your time to study,
get to know the other passenger. Why get stressed out? It will just make things worse.
Now you know the 90/10 principle.
Apply it and you will be amazed at the results. You will lose nothing if you try it. The 90/10
principle is incredible. Very few know and apply this principle. The result? Millions of people are
suffering from undeserved stress, trials, problems and heartache. There never seem to be a success
in life. Bad days follow bad days. Terrible things seem to be constantly happening. There is
constant stress, lack of joy, and broken relationships.
Worry consumes time.
Anger breaks friendships and life seems dreary and is not enjoyed to the fullest. Friends are lost.
Life is a bore and often seems cruel.
Does this describe you? If so, do not be discouraged.
You can be different!
Understand and apply the 90/10 principle.
THE FELINES ARE DOING FINE
THE two kittens I gave our mentor are growing. They have almost become adult felines. As they grow
they became more energetic and active. They roam about the house. He told me that they had knocked
over two flower pots that came crashing down. Probably they were pouncing on rats or reptilian
pests, the so common lizards crawling on the walls and clinging up-side-down from the ceiling.
We know that cats will attack critters like that.
THE LIZARD-MAN'S BENEFACTOR OR PEST?
Yes, many of us would consider the lizards on the walls as pests though they prey on insects!
They are but helpful insectivores. They feed on ants, little winged critters and even moths. For
this reason lizards in our houses are pest controllers. They are so as far as that goes. But the
little reptiles' droppings are obnoxious things. That's why many people want to get rid of the
creepy crawly residents from their dwellings. Other than preying on rats, cats can help reduce
lizards in the house!
TO BE SPAYED BY THE SPCA
Whatever they are doing, the felines are healthy pets now, growing and keep on growing. Soon he
would have them spayed. Otherwise, the duo would bring forth litter after litter of kittens. Yes,
both are females so they would be spayed. Our mentor said he was expecting the SPCA. "They will
visit Bentong one day", he says. Those pet-loving people have been booked to do the job of making
the felines sterile!
OLD WIVES' TALES ABOUT FELINE MALE
It is good that the felines are females for I have heard people say, strangely for male cats,
with the master they would not stay. When they have grown up, they would stray away! Is this a
truism or just hearsay? What have you to say?
MORE OLD WIVES' TALES ABOUT FELINES
Another old wives' tale has it that a household cannot have two cats. And so are with their bigger
cousins in the wild. The saying goes to claim that no mountain can hold two tigers. As far as the
household felines are concern, I think it had been proven wrong. Many homes have more than two
feline pets like what we sometimes read in the media that some houses rear even up to a dozen cats.
But as tigers are rare species, if we can find one in a mountain, that one is real darn lucky!
And here's something you could discuss and research on: a tiger does the necessary procreative
activity (sorry, I mean make love) only once in its life time history!! TRUE OR FALSE? If so the
big cats have themselves to blame for their rarity!!! Otherwise, we humans are always blamed for
encroaching upon their territory. Is it our fault really for their low productivity?
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE FOLLOWING IN SEPTEMBER
||LAI KIM CHOO
||ZAINAL B. HJ. HASSAN
||LOKE MOOI THYE
||ABDUL WAHAB AB. RAHMAN
||HONG CHEE SET (RONNIE)
||DORIS LOW AH MOY
||WONG SUI KONG
||WONG KIM FOO
||CHAN SUY SANG
||HO CHIN CHING (DR)
||YAP KIM HEE
||TAN KOW KHIEH
||WONG SWEE YONG
||HO MEI YOON
||WONG THIN CHING
||YAP NEW CHYE
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