Abstract: A few months back, my mother recited a poem to me, extracted from a local Chinese newspaper. And it is about seeing the world while one is still capable of traveling. So for three months I went traveling solo.
Abstract: My mother is going to be 90 this year. As was, as is and as will be, she is my guiding light and how bless I am, that at my age my mother is still very much alive and still gives me some of the soundest advice. God bless her, always!
My mother will be 90 this year by the lunar calendar. Her osteoporosis of many years has taken its toll and she is almost bent double, her back racked with pain occasionally and have to take a daily dose of pain killer. She is still mobile, walking slowly with the aid of a stainless steel quad cane.
Brief:Today is the first anniversary of the demise of my father. So I thought it is appropriate that I re-post this article on the first anniversary of his death.
Our family will always remember him as a great and loving husband and father.
May his soul rest in peace …
The following post below first appeared last August 2016.
My father was 94. For the first two weeks of July 2016 he was weak and refused to eat. As we could not feed him anymore, we hospitalized him and was immediately put on an IV drip. He succumbed to old age and passed away peacefully.
Below are the comments from my previous post, FB, well-wishers, prayers, contributions and condolence messages during his wake. We wish to thank all of you for being with us at a time of distress when a dear one is called away.
Comment (from many): Our deepest condolence to you and your family on the demise of your father. May he rest in peace.
Arthur: Thank you to all for your kind thoughts and condolence messages.
Le O’ Lah Ham
May God’s Will Be Done.
I have heard …我听说过…
A jester once annoyed the King with an inappropriate joke in the medieval court. To vent his displeasure, he sentenced the jester to death.
Immediately when his words left his mouth, the King regretted it. The jester was his most loyal and favorite subject. But as the King of the court, a command once uttered could not be rescinded.
So the jester was imprisoned, awaiting the day for his execution.
A few days later, the King summoned the jester.
“I shall grant you one last request. You may wish to die by the sword, or by the gallows, or by a chalice with poison or by any other means.” said the King. This was the least he could do for the jester.
Abstract: By the time they finished high school at age 17 or 18, I sent my 3 children to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), New York City (NYC), to do their Graduate Gemologist (GG). And they have a keener nose for business than me. Probably, an old dog needs to learn new tricks, occasionally.
In the mid 2000s, Marilyna, my eldest daughter and Calvin, my second son, were doing their undergraduate degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), in New York City while William the youngest son was doing his GG at the GIA, NYC. They were then 20, 19 and 17 of age. So, they were young, enthusiastic, saw the world from a different perspective, and with some experience to boot in the chaotic and frenetic Big Apple, New York City.
The best thing I could do was to give them more exposure in the jade and gemstones trade. They could just skip a day or two from their universities and helped out. So we often participated in the Gems and Jewelry Trade Shows in the good old US of A., in New York City, Las Vegas and Tucson, Arizona where the annual February show was being held.
We participated in one of the Gems & Jewelry Show in Mirage Hotel & Casino, one late spring month. Our merchandises consisted of mostly Burmese jade and corundum (rubies and sapphires), jewelry, rough, semi-cut, cut, carvings and boulders. Apart from the Hong Kong Pavilion, where a number of the booths exhibited high quality jade jewelry, we were the only booth selling Burmese stones. So I thought I could sell my jade well and get some long term customers.
The trade show was held for 5 days. For the first two days, our sale was dismayed. We could not make enough even for a decent family dinner in Las Vegas and my initial outlay and cost for participating was astronomical. We did have great comments from those who browsed at our booth, the ‘Ohs’ and the ‘Ahs’, ‘it’s so beautiful”, “I love jade”, “Mmm, I am considering getting some for my wife,” this and that, and after a while I had heard them all. But there was no show time in getting these people to pull their wallets to flash their credit cards or cash.
We had our buffet dinner at Cravings, Mirage that night. So, I threw open the question to the 3 kids (they are and will always be kids to me, anyway), “What are we going to do?”
There was no recriminations from them. They did not say that I had not done my homework by researching the market. Though they had warned me much earlier that the market for jade was very thin in USA, they did not say so. This was a brain-storming session, and not a blame-storming one.
“Dad, can you give us a free rein on what to do tomorrow?” Calvin said.
I thought hard for a moment. These 3 kids may have been discussing what to do next. I said, “Since you have been with me on several trips to Burma, you know our acquisition cost and our overheads. Do what you all think is best for tomorrow.”
For that day there were the usual on-lookers, people passing by, asking the price on some merchandises, taking our brochures and name cards, making enquiries and small talk, but they kept their wallets on a tight lease. I thought to myself, that if they didn’t buy now they ain’t buy no more through emails.
The co-ordinator, a gorgeous lady, for the exhibition organizer popped in once in a while to enquire “Arthur, how is the going?” I smiled, shrugged my shoulders and said “I am doing fine, Julie”. Ha! She should know better as every credit card sales ran through the organizer’s POS terminal.
We had take-away dinner that night, then we walked to the singing fountain at Bellagio Hotel & Casino and the various casinos on The Strip. There was no business talk. But I could sense that the kids were quite optimistic about something, which I could not pin-point.
On the fourth day, we had a small crowd already when we opened up. A number of them called Calvin and Marilyna by their names, as if they were old friends. I noticed then that these were exhibitors from the various stalls by the badges they wore. Instead of the ‘Ohs’ and the ‘Ahs’ they said,”” “Alright, Calvin I take these and that,”, “Marilyna, can you go down some more,” “I take the whole lot, Calvin”.
Business was coming in and at a real hectic pace. These buyers did not linger long. They had their own booths to mind. They came, they saw and they negotiated. Each deal was done by the kids expediently. Marilyna and Calvin were calling the shots. William and I were collecting cash and writing out receipts. Occasionally, I ran to the Organizer’s Processing Center to draw on some of the buyers’ credit cards.
By the close of the business day, we had done quite well.
We had our dinner at Cravings, Mirage. Our moods were exuberant. We were not exhausted by the day’s hectic event. We were all charged up, we ate wolfishly, my appetite was more so whetted by the dollars in my bag.
Calvin fired the first salvo with the opening gambit, “Dad, you told us that they are more than 500 over exhibitors at the Show. We are competing head on with them.”
Oh! Suddenly I lapsed into selective amnesia. Heck! Did I say that before we came? But the dollars in my bag were real. So I kept my counsel and let them talked.
“Dad, they are our customers, not competitors!” said Marilyna seriously.
Calvin continued in a more amiable tone, “These exhibitors come from all over the world. We have worked out that most of them do not carry jade items in their business. They can increase their retail merchandises by adding an additional item. And we can be their supplier of choice because we have our direct resources in Burma for many years.”
Wow! Such beautiful marketing terms well said by this young lad, all piss and vinegar, so to speak.
The drift of our conversation was now very animated. They described how they sectioned all the various booths among themselves, leaving out the Hong Kong pavilion, and each of them armed with our brochures went from booth to booth to tell them who we were. By Jove! Even some Hong Kong dealers came to see us, more like nosing around than really buying from us. These were the big boys in the trade.
Now, that called for a celebration. I ordered a bottle of red wine from the menu, I didn’t know much about wine but I just chose one with a median price range. These kids could not even walk into a pub in NYC because they were underage for liquor consumption.
On the last day of the exhibition, most of our jade items were sold.
Abstract: My mother is going to be 89 in May this year. My son bought her a Samsung Tap A smart phone with a 7” screen. With her new toy, she has been busy now watching old movies, on YouTube, Wechat, Whatsapp and on the family group chat. She even has a Facebook to boot!
My mother will be 89 this coming May. Racked by osteoporosis, she has bent almost double. Since my father’s death last year in July she has been alone. Of course, she has the company of her grandchildren from my sister’s side and her great grand children. I spend a couple of hours with her daily. Mmm …getting her counsel and getting her to narrate all those stories of old China. She has a phenomenal memory and her mind is razor sharp.
Calvin, her grandson (who is my second son) bought a Samsung phone for her two weeks ago. Less than two weeks, she is now quite good at handling her phone. She can make a video call on Wechat to her granddaughter in New York City. She video chats with her sister-in-law, who is 92 years of age, in Guangzhou and other relatives from China. Alas, there is only her sister-in-law who is of almost the same age group with her. All her friends and relatives have come to pass.
She also reads messages on the family group chat on Whatsapp type written in Chinese characters. She scrolls through YouTube to read those videos which are of interest to her. She watches all her favorite Mandarin movies of the 60s and the 70s and some current movies, which I have down-loaded from YouTube and store onto the external micro-scan disk. She make normal calls to us. She also reads her Facebook.