Lost Home

March 3, 2014

My sister used to assist to set up site offices all around Malaysia whenever our company started a new construction project. A few years ago, she was sent to Brunei to do the same.

The company hired foreign workers to assist in clearing up project site, as well as setting up cabins for foreign workers to live in. Here, she met a hardworking and industrious Vietnamese worker named Dinh Xuan Tu. Throughout the few months working with him, he is conscientious and would take initiative to do things without being told.

My sister also returned favours by being nice to him and his fellow Vietnamese workers. Buy them some food and snacks as and when they completed back breaking tasks. We know they are paid to do what was needed to be done, but hey! Nobody says we cannot be nice to them! After all, a foreign worker took a leap of faith when they left their families and loved ones in their home country to work in another country. They don’t know what to expect except to make money to be sent home to their families to ease their burdens.

It was most unfortunate that, the agency which supplied him for our office was unscrupulous. Apparently, they refused to pay him his last salary as he is scheduled to go back to Vietnam after his work permit expires. Tu was adamant that they pay him his last salary otherwise he refused to fly back to Vietnam. After some ruckus, he managed to get his last salary and flew back to Hanoi feeling dejected.We reported this matter to management and gotten ourselves a new agent.

Since then, Tu been calling my sister to ask about her well being. All these years, the once in a blue moon chats were mainly about my sister’s family and his family. We learned that his mom passed away not long after he reached Hanoi. It was a good thing that he was back in Hanoi to take care of things. Since there weren’t many jobs in Hanoi, Tu went to Phnom Penh to work in a hotel.

Then, the Haiyan typhoon struck. It traveled from the Philippines to Vietnam. It hit Quang Ninh, where Tu’s family lives. When he got back to his home after the typhoon, he was shocked to discover his entire home was wiped out. He was left with nothing. Now, his wife and himself are taking refuge at a friend’s house nearby while searching for a new place to stay, which is rather difficult.

We simply do not know how to help him, except to send him some forms of cash relief. All these years, he never once ask for money and always ask us to visit him in Hanoi or Phnom Penh. So this time, he must be desperate.

He didn’t ask us for money but we know he would need some. Fortunately a friend went to Hanoi last Saturday so we just gave her some money to be handed to Tu. He has to travel at least a day and night, on a train just to get to Hanoi. Initially, we told him we would bank in money for him – he needs to give us his bank account number but he said it’s too complicated for him. He would make the trip to Hanoi. He was grateful and thanked my sister profusely over the 1 minute phone call.

We wish to thank our previous Hanoi tour agent as well, Mr Nguyen Truong who helped us to translate to Tu – where and when to meet in Vietnamese and helped us to communicate more effectively. We are grateful to friends who assist us to raise money for Tu. A friend in need is truly a friend indeed.

Death

February 25, 2014

I wished a friend happy birthday on Facebook and he replied thanks. He added another sentence to it. “Another year closer to demise!” What a grim thought, say you and me! So, I replied him, “The coffin contains dead people. Not old people.” He laughed and agreed that is actually entirely true.

Not long later, my bro in law told me there was an accident nearby our office in front of the police station. A Wira hit a School Bus. By analyzing the wreckage of the Wira beyond recognition and also, the school bus turning turtle, he concluded either one of them must be driving in break neck speed and not obeying traffic rules. The school bus driver was a lady – unfortunately was someone quite familiar to us. We don’t really know her. But she used to drive past our house during lunch hour, dropping off a student at the row of houses in front of my house.

We got to know the bus belongs to this aunty because the opposite side neighbour came to look for us, asking if we know anyone who could assist to drive her child to school. Yes, the school bus aunty is dead. We heard that her own daughter was also in the bus when the accident happened, together with another student. Both were injured. We pray for their recovery and strength to overcome this trauma.

It’s true that we can only plan, but God will decide for us.. yesterday has come to past, we might not see tomorrow, so might just as well live for today. So, why worry?

Just remember to set our affairs right as we will never know when our fire would be snuffed out in just an instant. Death doesn’t always come with a warning.

The Man in Black Mesh Top

February 19, 2014

Been thinking of a man of the past. The man in black mesh top.

Had two dreams in two consecutive nights – not related.. and nothing dirty! Couldn’t really recall the dreams but they were pleasant. He is still his young self in my dreams – tall, dark and athletic. In both dreams, what I remember was his megawatt smile. His perfectly aligned teeth in his soft supple lips. How do I know his lips are supple? Well, I don’t. I just imagine they were. His eyes turned into two long slits because he was grinning ear to ear as he was teasing me incessantly.

When I woke up, the memories of yesteryears flooded my mind. They were all bittersweet memories. Weird thing was, the brain somehow selectively chose the good memories, amplify them and discarding bad ones. The neurons just happened to sweep away the bitter memories. Perhaps signs of old age… forget the past, keep the good ones, live in the present and bring on the future?

So, what’s with this black mesh top?

I was watching Girls HBO’s episode where Hannah was trading her skimpy top to a even skimpier yellow mesh tank top while high on drugs. The sight of the yellow mesh top just triggered some cells in my brain.

I remember him telling me he once wore a black mesh top and went out with his friends to Sg. Wang. Well, he has a nice body and has every right to flaunt it if you ask me. Further it was such an 80s thing.. maybe he went for some costume party? I am not sure but he sure has his own peculiar style of dressing.

He was having teh tarik with his friends when suddenly an old woman came from behind him, hugged him and grabbed his chest. She ran away after that. He was confused and shocked at the same time. Probably all his friends laughed till they fell off their chairs. I would if I were there! I think it was a pretty hilarious moment!

There you have it.. seriously funny incident of the man in black mesh top.

To Love Is To Risk

February 19, 2014

I have a friend confiding in me that she thinks a guy is interested in her. The catch is, the guy already has a girlfriend but she’s living abroad. The guy told my friend that he’s been having problems with his girlfriend and not sure if he should break it off. She on the other hand has been supportive and lending a listening ear to this guy.

They got along pretty well and started seeing each other. So after a few months of dining and wining, she finally mustered up the courage to ask him where is their "relationship" heading to? Is he going to break up with the girlfriend finally? Or does he has feelings for her as much as she has for him? The guy just kept quiet and didn’t want to comment. So she just let the matter go.. and they continue to see each other.

Last Friday, he asked her out on Valentine’s Day and even booked a table for two at a nice. fancy restaurant. She was telling me – this is it! He’s telling me that he is choosing me!

I asked her how did she know?

She said excitedly, "Isn’t it obvious? It’s Valentine’s Day! And he chose to spend it with me!"

I shook my head and sighed sadly.

"Sorry, my dear. It doesn’t mean he chose to spend the Valentine’s Day with you… he just doesn’t want to be alone on Valentine’s Day. His girlfriend is overseas. So he’s alone.. and you happen to be around."

Talking about being a wet blanket.

This is a case of having a cake and eat it at the same time.

Of course, I hope that the guy would break off with his girlfriend and chooses to be with my friend, whom I think is a fabulous person. Unfortunately, I was right. The conversation during the supposedly romantic dinner was dry and normal, just like two friends talking about the weather.

I am truly sad for her. I told her, she probably needs to enjoy it while it last. Since he didn’t mention about giving up the girlfriend.. and he’s a foreigner after all.. probably after his stint of work here, he would probably move back to his own country… how are you going to take it then? Are you going to uproot yourself to go with him to prove that you love him? I think you have done whatever you could. You have laid open your heart and soul. It’s up to him to pick them up. Or better still, go find someone else who doesn’t make you an optional choice.

*I don’t know why but this song from Air Supply kept playing in my head now*

"I can wait forever
If you say you’ll be there too
I can wait forever if you will
I know it’s worth it all, to spend my life alone with you"

Love indeed is a tricky thing. If you don’t take risk, you don’t gain. Sometimes it’s too risky you get yourself all bruised and battered. Sometimes some risks are worth to take. I guess it’s better for you to at least experience love and hopefully, love would triumph in the end rather than folding your arms and rejecting chances to embrace it.

“To love is to risk not being loved in return.
To hope is to risk pain.
To try is to risk failure,
but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.”
- Unknown

Birthday Note

February 14, 2014

I was having a birthday dinner with some friends yesterday and I ordered a cup of flat white. I remember I could sleep easily even if I drink coffee before I go to sleep. I guess this is probably a definite sign of aging.. I couldn’t sleep a wink last night and was tossing around the bed. Decided to get up and play some games before trying to go back to sleep again.

Today is the re-occurrence of Valentine’s Day and Chap Goh Meh (Lunar calendar of love) coincide the same day. I was born 38 years ago on this special day where Lunar and Gregorian calendar celebrates love. I was told, this only happened once every 19 years! I still remember the day I was told of this, I was 19 and in college where I was having a time of my life. I remember I wore this light yellow shirt with a vest and jeans, acting all cool. Haha! And on that particular day my classmates celebrated my birthday and there was even a mysterious rose from a stranger. Haha. Those were the memories!

Ah well, being born on an auspicious day doesn’t make one’s destiny I guess. We still need to work hard, really hard. I don’t know when my break will come.. but I sure hope it would be soon.

I wrote in my birthday post last year that, the day was gloomy, dark and rainy. My perfect kind of weather. I guess this time, the sun decided to stay longer throughout the day. I could hardly peel my eyes open when I was driving home just now. The heat is unbearable. I hope and pray for rain to come soon as I could see the trees and grass along the roads are turning sadly yellow.

Well, here’s wishing you guys a very Happy Valentine’s Day and Chap Goh Meh! May love and happiness follow you wherever you go.


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