#275 farewell to the woman I most admired

On Monday, October 4th, I paid my last respect to the woman I admired most (blog #39 written on March 2008) at Sri Temasek. 


Glad it was an overcast afternoon when I had to queue for almost an hour at the entrance of the Istana before boarding a van which brought us to Sri Temasek where we had to queue again before entering the room. This time I was pleasantly greeted with beautiful Bach music played on cello filling the room with quietness, serenity and peace that brought tears to my eyes while waiting for others to assemble to give our last respect. 

Mrs Lee Kuan Yew nee Madam Kwa Geok Choo entered gloryland on Saturday 2nd October 2010 who had left Singapore women an extraordinary example: her husband claimed she was his tower of strength. Those words speak volume. Words cannot describe all that she had quietly professed to live — silent yet loud; low profile yet shining and bright. What a good fight our late Mrs Lee, founding mother, had fought!

The late Mrs Lee also represents the 1st generation of Singaporean women, born or adopted, who valiantly fought beside their husbands to make Singapore where she is today.

#160 the gulag

An avid reader, I have always loved reading the writings of  Russian authors (Turgenev, Tolstoy, to name a few)…although these were translated versions but the way the writers candidly sculptured life using words, especially those by Anton Chekhov.

However with the late Mr Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s writings, it was my interest in understanding the communist regime that led me to his writings. The first book I read was ‘One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich’ — though a thin book, I had to reread to understand some of the grotesque description. This was my initiation to the grim regime. This was followed by The Cancer Ward. I had wonderings if these were fictitious or reality. As I grow older, and having actually seen the late author on the media, I realise he was writing about his experiences in fiction. The Gulag Archipelago was a compelling series I read to gain greater insights…I had to read and reread these books to fully comprehend a glimpse of the realities that humans lived through.

Though he was expelled by his country leaders after he wrote a personal letter to his friend criticising Stalin, he returned to his homeland when allowed. He eventually accepted the highest literary award from the then-President Vladimir Putin in 2007. On Sunday, 3rd August, at the age of 89 he RIP.  

#150 fertilizers

I hear that farmers in some parts of England are using human wastes as fertilizers for their crops.

Today, are farmers in developed countries resort to using human faeces or wastes to fertilize? By using such, they are producing organic foods.

In many Asian less developed countries, farmers used human faeces in producing vegetables for consumption. Vegetables taste sweeter and give better yield apparently.

As a country progresses, only then fertilizers were used. However with the high inflation and affordability, well…man is returning to the primitive but sensible ways of living.

#141 leadership

Microsoft’s founder Bill Gates, at age 52, is moving away from the outfit he’d started to social enterprises (?) as he and his wife want the challenge to reducing poverty in practical ways in some parts of the world.

The difference between NGOs and one using one’s personal finances is ownership. I’m sure Bill & Miranda Gates will guard their interests with great care to best utilise and manage their resources wherever they anchor.

In contrast to one of the African national leader, Robert Mugabe where his knighthood was taken away at his old age for his inability to give up his position and to make way for a younger person to rule the country which already is in devastation and poverty. He must have built up Zimbabwe impressively for Britain to honour him the MBE.

I hope the world leaders will learn from this case in history — from good governance to folly and destruction.

#135 love

Love is a feeling to be learnt…through self-discovery — not through seminars though!

There is pain in love. Sometimes, one feels gagged. Of course there is joy and elation…sunshine all day…

The best description found on love is from the Bible in 1 Corinthians 13.

Love is patient,

love is kind.

Love does not envy,

love does not boast,

love is not proud.

Love is not rude,

love is not self-seeking,

love is not easily angered,

Love keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.


Love always protects,

Love always trusts,

Love always hopes,

Love always perseveres.

Faith, hope and love:

the greatest is love.


Measuring against these characteristics of love, I fail miserably…nonetheless I shall strive on becoming a better person in spite of age.

#117 when earth shook

He cried when the earth shook

schools, hospitals and homes turn to rubble

burying the living

roads inaccessible.

In helplessness,

man dropped his differences and ego

to help the devastated.

Courage found in victims to start afresh…

He cried when his wife left him

the innocent 15-month-old son

a stamp of their short-gun marriage

causing a deeper earthquake

in life.

#116 rain

The sounds of rain…soothing…

‘Tis music shutting out noise

made by thoughtless young

in deep of night

consoling the awoken light sleeper.

No home to return?

Has loneliness drown you to love

hearing your voices?

Has loudness become your companion

in still of night?

#103 forces of nature

 Volcano eruption in Chile, South America.




Volcanic ash spilled over to neighboring Argentina (below)






Cyclone Nargis swept through Irrawaddy Delta, Myanmar on Saturday, 3rd 4th May leaving hundreds several thousands or tens of thousands? dead and tens or hundreds of thousands homeless…trees uprooted, roofs of building blown away, lamp posts fallen…no electricity and water.

Will this flood deepen rice grain crisis further?  


Video footage on the force of cyclone: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/7385157.stm (update 6th May)


And then read:

As many as 25 tornadoes may have cut through stretches of Oklahoma, Arkansas, eastern Kansas and western Missouri, Greg Carbin, a meteorologist for the national Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, told the Associated Press news agency.


Man might fight over territorial rights but the forces of mother nature is one power man cannot overcome or avoid.


#101 suffering silently

Yesterday, parents left inheritance for their children.

Today, are children left with debts of their parents? And their own?

I know of marriages where one spouse has to service loans for the other. Will love help overcome the problem? Or will this increase the rate of divorce?

In the midst of high inflation and food/fuel crises; credit crunch and subprime — I wonder how many are suffering silently?

No matter, debts will continue to increase rather than decrease! Is there a way of canceling the debts?

Is there hope for those in debt?

Has freedom crippled and imprisoned one? Where is humanity in all this?

Where is human rights? Ooops, have I asked the wrong question?


May 1st is a public holiday…known as May Day or Labor Day.

But Labor Day is observed on different day and month of year in some countries like in Canada, this day falls on October 4th.

This May day was inspired by the first organised workers — stonemasons and building workers on building sites around Melbourne, Australia. On 21 April 1856, they marched with no pay loss from Melbourne U to Parliament House campaigning for an 8-hour day movement: 8 hours of work; 8 hours of recreation; and 8 hours of rest.

Today, many work around the clock…to survive or, hoping to get rich — an addiction for more money…

C’est la vie!

Update (2nd May):  Viewing the pictures on BBC International and that read on the news, I find many countries held protests for improvement on the humanity front and food/oil crises on May Day…Cuba, Belgrade, Pakistan (Karachi) Indonesia (Jakarta), Russia, Germany (Hamburg, Zurich), Turkey (Istanbul), Afghanistan (Kabul) and Philippines, even Singapore.

I realise that it is so very difficult for a nation to return to its path of peace and prosperity when there was little agreement or support from governing leaders with its people.