Bringing Up Children

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When My Love Swears That …..


This post is the sequel following the thread from 2b. Coup de Foudre.

So we were in the semester break.  We had not seen each other for perhaps 2 months.  Then we went for a leisure trip to an off-shore island with a group of her friends.  We had a wonderful time and that was about the last of the happy days.

It came slowly and subtly.  I kept writing daily letters to her but she never replied. Calling out-of-state was expensive and I could not get her too. Her place was very far from mine and it took me 2 days to travel there to meet her.  She refused to come out and warned me not to go to her residence.

When semester re-opened again, I met her for the last time. We sat on a bench and she told me that “I have never known that our love would bring me so much trouble.  I want a respite to think things over.  So see me no more.”

There was no Dear John letter, she just said good-by and no more, kind of neat, straight forward, no regret nor tears, a cool nonchalant indifference and a clean surgical cut at the jugular and heart all in one mastery stroke and without much fanfare.

I knew that it would serve no purpose to prolong the matter.  Her body language told me all that I needed to know.  I put up my hand in a hand-shake gesture of offering the olive branch that peace be upon us and if I had hurt her I was sorry.  Or perhaps said some sentimental foolish things like “You take care” or “We part ways and still be friends.” I waited in silence with my proffered hand for perhaps an eternity.  She refused to shake my hand.

Then she walked away.

Sure, I was over-the-hill for a long period of time when she dropped the curtain on me, but I never hit the bottle or take any substance abuse nor think of jumping off a cliff.  That was kinda stupid. And I began to reflect clinically on the happenings of the past 9 months.

The opening sentence of Sonnet 138 by William Shakespeare had a ring of profound truth in it. “When my love swears that she is made of truth, I believe her though I know she lies.”  The small lies, the little inconsistencies, the one plus one equaled something else and maybe some other trivialities she said in the past had all come back to me in a flash that when you added up all these little parts it was greater than the whole.  I was just bedazzled by her presence when I was with her and I would not like to be suspicious.  To be fair, she was as much in love with me as I was in love with her in the past.

I knew the answers already as a do-gooder little bird had told me to be prepared for a break-up immediately after the off-shore island holiday.  But I was not prepared for a cruel number she did on me.  And the story went like this …….

Eer…..better keep a little secret here.

From that time, I began to read poetry and wrote a few sad ones too.  And they said that to be a poet you had to be wholly in love or out of love, never in between.

When you were in love the world was at your feet, you walked high o’er clouds, you would stand in awe basking in the glory of the morning sun, you saw the handicraft of God in the sunset glow, the flowers suddenly took on a colorful perspective and all your sensory perceptions were so awakened that you were keenly aware of the beauty that surrounded you. That was when your creativity would be at its peak and you could perhaps fly without wings.

When one fell hard on love, there would be a void, the emptiness caused by the sudden elapse of love.  The heart might be filled with pent-up emotions, enraged feelings, irrational and conflicting thoughts, perhaps hatred or perhaps forgiveness and when one was at its lowest ebb, there might be a burst of creative energy.

In both extreme circumstances, awareness created memory.  Years later, I could still recall those moments.

In the midst of it, I found that part of a poetry by Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem in Memoriam: 27, 1850 that may give some consolation to the aching heart.

So much for coup de foudre…… .

Next Episode : 2d. A Blind Lady Showed The Way …….,

The Bronze Bell At The Shwedagon Pagoda


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The Shwedagon Pagoda (Golden Pagoda) lies in the heart of the city of Yangon (Rangoon) in Myanmar (Burma) and dominates the skyline. With four relics of Buddha enshrined within, this is the most sacred Buddhist pagoda for the Burmese.

If you are in Yangon you should visit this pagoda at least twice in a day, one in the morning and one in the night time. Both times you will be enraptured by its splendor and grandeur.

The splendor of the Shwedagon Pagoda at night. courtesy

In the Northwest corner there hang a bronze bell, of immense proportion and weight and craved with intricate Burmese scriptures. They said that if you tap the bell three times with a four-foot wooden beam your prayers will be answered, if your prayers are sincere, your wish hurts nobody and that your wish must be ethically and morally virtuous.  So don’t ever think that by doing a Knock-Three-Times on the sacred Bell (and not on the ceiling, a song popularized by Tony Orlando back in the early 70s) your girl friend or boy friend will come running into your waiting arms or that you don’t have to work and money will just rain down on your lap.

It just don’t work that way.

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Father and son at the Shwedagon Pagoda, Yangon

So when Calvin travels with me to Yangon, we will be at this Northwest corner giving it a go and hoping that our prayers will be answered and answered soon enough. I don’t know about the dear son of mine, perhaps his prayers are already answered but I am still day-dreaming about my wish in spite that I have done a Knock-Three-Times on the great Bell for the umpteen times.

There is a legend behind this great Bell. And as legends go, there are always a lot of variations, some myths and mysteries magnified, some romances and heavenly stories added, some said that it weighed 50 tons and some said it weighed 100 over tons, through the years as it gets narrated.

One version goes like this, and I pronounce myself guilty that I am adding some lore to the legend.

The might of the British Empire spread throughout the East in the early 19th century when the sun was at its zenith for the Queen. They had annexed Greater Burma and they occupied Shwedagon Pagoda, stomping the holy ground with their boots on, which the Burmese treated it as sacrilege, as no footwear was allowed in the holy compound. They saw the Bell hanging there and thought that on Her Majesty Service this one could be melted down and turned into ammunition. So they stripped off the Bell unceremoniously, transported it down river by small skiffs tied together, to a waiting mother ship berthing out at sea.

But Providence had it that before it could be off-loaded to the Schooner battle ship a great gale force developed and the skiffs sank, together with the great Bell.  For a long time the Royal British Navy tried to rig it up from a depth of more than 200 ft deep but to no avail. The Bell was just too heavy. Sediments were settling on the Bell day by day as it dug deeper into the sea bed.

The Burmese were very hurt when the British took away their Wishing Bell. So senior monks and abbots conferred and they came out with a plan to retrieve the Wishing Bell. They approached the Brigadier of the Garrison Force in Rangoon to let them have the Bell and restored it to its rightful place if they could salvage it.

One could only imagine that the Brigadier barked like a mad dog with rabies raging in its head when he was being confronted.

“Well, well, you stupid pygmies Burmese want to pull the Bell from the bottom of the sea.” The Brigadier ranted, raved and foamed white on the reddish lips of his mouth, his strictly manicured mustache twitching on his upper lip as he spoke. Beneath his damp sweaty right armpit, he held a wooden baton truncheon as if he wanted to hit hard on whoever happened to be nearby to vent his anger.

“Keep it if you dig it out, and now be lost with you stupid lot and don’t bother me again.” The Brigadier continued to bellow.

The monks then ordered the gathering of a large stock of small sticks of bamboo poles, cutting each of the bamboo stick off above the notch so that the little air that trapped inside would be buoyant.  Then, they gathered a group of pearl divers, whose lungs were so well developed as the gills of a fish that they could stay underwater for prolonged period.

Some pearl divers knew the exact location of the Bell in the uncertain sea. Pieces of bamboo were tied round the Bell and as the Bell tilted, these bamboo poles were inserted into the Bell.

In less than a month, the Bell was floating freely on the open sea.

The Might of the Goliath British Empire was just being humbled by little David, whom the British described them as stupid pygmies Burmese.

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My long time personal assistance with my son, riding a bullock cart

If you are in Yangon, pay a visit to Shwedagon Pagoda and don’t miss the Wishing Bell. You might be lucky.


Acknowledgment courtesy from

Mother’s Day 母亲节


Mother’s Day

Abstract: Mother’s Day

摘要 : 母亲节


Last Sunday was Mother’s Day.

On Mother’s Day every year, our family members will celebrate and honour the Great woman in our lives, the mother, the grandmother and the great grandmother for we always have a family representation on this auspicious day, my siblings, my children and my sister’s children and grandchildren. 

So that would be 4 generations.

And this year, the family get-together was at my sister’s house, a cozy gathering with simple meals, and my mother beamed with joy and happiness.

A Brilliant Stroke Of Marketing …一个精彩的销售战略


A Brilliant Stroke Of Marketing …一个精彩的销售战略


Abstract: For the promotion of our own diamond, jewelry and jade business, Calvin would often conduct seminars and do talk shows on Diamonds, Jade & Gemstones at universities, Rotary Clubs and social clubs, as well as organize private events for viewing. In one of our private viewing and talk show on Diamonds he did a remarkable job where he executed a brilliant stroke of marketing. That night, we sold a large lot of diamond solitaires.

Oops! This is quite a long article but I cannot trim it down to size as it will not do any justice to the excitement that engendered us on that night.  

Freeing The Encaged Sparrows


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Last month I read an article in a local tabloid of a highly venerated and respected Monk officiating the opening of a Buddhist temple.  There was a colored picture of him with some honored guests together with some of his docile followers standing behind.  There was also a small write-up to describe the event of the day.

The photo captured the essence of the story.  A bird cage rest on the palm of the left hand of the Monk and his right hand was holding onto the hook at the crest of the cage.  He tilted the cage at an angle just above his shoulders and held it skywards.   A few small birds, probably sparrows, were freeze-framed in mid-flight, flying off to its freedom whilst images of a number of sparrows were blurred, thrashing about to find the exit.

The Monk was dressed in maroon red habit with a yellow saffron robe overlay, as typical of a Tibetan Llama priest.  His well build stature indicated a healthy and well-fed body and his exposed arms were muscular, yet the fine fair skin had a silky whitish creamy sheen. Perhaps to his followers, there was an aura of ‘holiness’ and dignity as becoming of being the Chief Abbot of a famous monastery to grace the occasion of opening another branch to propagate the teachings of Buddha.

Standing beside the Monk, a local MP politician grinned his toothy smile.  As politicians go, they never failed to ride on the popularity of local community leaders, whether they were monks, priests or some business association chieftains.  The politicians were always there for such events so that people could identify them as being associated with charity, spirituality and to show the general masses these politicians had taken a keen interest in the well being of the community.  More than likely his agenda was to draw their votes, especially when the general election was rumored to be looming near.

To lend credence to such an auspicious occasion, the chief editor of the tabloid was also captured full faced on the picture.  He looked more like an idiot in his out-of-place coat and small polka tie.

And to the clap of hands by the honored guests and the Buddhist laxity, the Monk slide the trap door of the cage open to let the sparrows flied free.  To this group of people, this symbolic gesture by the Chief Abbot was to announce his benevolence, magnanimity and compassion to set free the lives of some living beings, in order that they could be on their own and go back to their natural habitat of forest and hills where they should belong.  As these small sparrows were bought by the followers of the temple, those who sought the release of these incarcerated living beings might thought that they would gain merit for a good deed being done, for the loving-kindness being shown and for the mercy being dispensed.

As the last of the sparrow flew off from the cage, the Chief Abbot was invited back to the inner prayer hall where he would deliver a Dhama talk.

Next follow-up post: “I used to do that too……”

I Say, Son, This Is Damn Fxxking Good! “ 他妈那个 B…这简直是棒极了!”


I Say, Son, This Is Damn Fxxking Good!

我说 “ 孩儿们,他妈那个 B…这简直是棒极了!”

Abstract: Occasionally sharing our own life experiences with our children can be exhilarating and humorous. The form of delivery must have some impact to leave them some lasting impression. Telling a tall tale or hyping our own stories to inspire them will only make them bore. This is one of the many episodes with my three kids.


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I Say, Son, This Is Damn Fxxking Good! “ 他妈那个 B…这简直是棒极了!”

I Say, Son, This Is Damn Fxxking Good! 我说 “ 孩儿们,他妈那个 B…这简直是棒极了!” Abstract: Occasionally sharing our own life experiences with our children can be exhilarating and...

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