Saturday, 26 January 2013

Listen, Listen, Listen


It was 7:51 a.m. on Friday, January 12, the middle of the morning rush hour. A violinist performed six classical pieces, 1,097 people passed by. Almost all of them were on the way to work, which meant, for almost all of them, a government job.

Each passer-by had a quick choice to make, one familiar to commuters in any urban area where the occasional street performer is part of the cityscape: Do you stop and listen? Do you hurry past with a blend of guilt and irritation, aware of your cupidity but annoyed by the unbidden demand on your time and your wallet? Do you throw in a buck, just to be polite? Does your decision change if he's really bad? What if he's really good? Do you have time for beauty? Shouldn't you? What's the moral mathematics of the moment?

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.


No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the most talented musicians in the world. He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?”

I would love to hear how this strikes a cord with you. Would you have stopped? Do you think your children would have stopped You? Does this make you want to pay more attention to the people and moments around you?

Let us not miss one moment of life in the name of ‘schedule’ or ‘busy’. I so wish I’d been there to hear him free, instead of the usual $100 per seat minimum for a concert. As it is often our Buzz to stop for any and all musicians who play and our children love to offer them money in gratitude, I know we would have stopped… would you? I hope so 

Saturday, 19 January 2013

The Great Debater:- Aku Pelat



Undergraduates in local universities have in recent years become increasingly more vocal and critical of the government, more so after the Prime Minister administration moved to loosen the law allowing students to participate in politics, in a bid to draw support from the younger generation who are seen to make up a substantial voter demographic group.

Recently, a video showcase a public speaker berating the student — who had stood up to voice her views on the Bersih electoral rally and free education at a forum titled ‘Are University Students in Line with Politics”, which was held at Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM) when viral on Youtube.

The forum entitled was truly ironic, when a student voices out opinion regarding politic, look at what happened in this forum.

The speaker interrupts her mid-way, telling her to “Listen!” a whopping 11 times and even taking away the microphone from Bawani to stop the student from speaking further. She ridiculed Bawani by saying that she was only an 'O' level student compared with her who held a degree.

The speaker should let Bawani complete her speech. Even if she doesn’t agree with her and she you should reply nicely… not condescending and patronising. She should answer her with wisdom, good teachings and debate in the best of ways.
 
Her bravery speaking out in front of a crowd of about 2300 students, terrorizing the speakers and MC of the forum with facts and figures. Her guts were commendable and something even I would not have done if I was studying in a university.

Take a look at the rest of the students, when Bawani spoke, everyone clapped. And when even the moderator spoke, everyone clapped as well. This is the product of education of today.

As for those who applauded and cheered the moderator mindless and irrelevant speech, shame on you all because if you can’t differentiate between right and wrong by applauding both sides, you’ve lost your ability to think and consciousness.

Anyway, Ms Bawani should thank her lucky star that the year is not between 1981 – 2003 otherwise she could be expelled or charged with sedition.

My personal congratulations and best wishes to Ms Bawani and her family, who fought for the rest of the students who rightfully deserve free education and a country free of corruption. Young girls like her who are willing to speak up against injustice are a rare breed. Though she was only given a short time to deliver her speech, she made every Malaysian proud and set an example of how one should fight for their rights.

Note: - “Never argue with stupid people…They will drag you down to their level of stupidity and win by experience”

Friday, 11 January 2013

Parenthood




"Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself" - Khalil Gibran

Family is at the heart of any society. Effective, positive and assertive parenting needs to be at the heart of every family. A child grows in the hands of adults, fully dependent for survival, protection and growth. Mother and father are naturally and instinctively the first people in a child’s life that not only make sure of their balanced growth but also preserve and strengthen the family’s intellectual, cultural and spiritual heritage through these children.

Education is indeed vital for a nation: however, education starts at home with good-quality parenting from a child’s birth. ‘Home is the best school’ goes the old maxim.

Parenting is more than parenthood. It is a conscious endeavor that starts from the moment a baby is conceived in a mother’s womb. It is the core duty of every parent and a basic right of every child to have such conscious attention. The task of parenting does not end with puberty or when a child reaches 21. It is a life-long commitment that involves physical, emotional, social and spiritual well being – from the womb to the tomb. Of course, the nature of parenting changes as a child grows from dependence to adult life. The reward of effective parenting is enormous and long-lasting. On the other hand, poor parenting or abdicating responsibility can bring devastating consequences for the family, as well as wider society (and the nation as a whole).

Parenting, in essence, is about preparing for the future, a one-time opportunity to set a child on the right path for life. The historic adage that the ‘Hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world’ is wisely remembered and practiced by successful nations.

The essential ingredient of parenting is love. However, as a child grows ‘blind love’ needs to be replaced by ‘tough love’. Children need opportunity and freedom, but for their balanced growth – to become ‘good human beings’ – they need consistent, rational and strong boundaries. Discipline in life is vital, far more so for children during their adolescence, a phase with challenging physical, emotional and social changes accompanied by critical behavioral issues such as insecurity, ego-centrism, lifestyle and attitude changes, changing eating habits and possible mental health consequences.

Parenting is also about motivating children to think positively and act constructively. The natural tendency of these people, who feel ‘cornered’, could be to withdraw from society. We must all guard against this possibility; otherwise to ‘protect’ their children they could isolate them within their own ghettos. This would represent a huge wastage of human resources and potential, as well as leaving a dire legacy for those communities in the future.

So, how do parents inspire their children when, in their own communities, social deprivation and educational achievement might be low, generation and culture gaps wide, social ills high, and the prison population many times their demographic proportion?

There is no magic wand to solve these issues, in either a mainstream society or in specific communities. There are common social ills that affect all young people, regardless of background: bullying, prejudice, bigotry, delinquency, antisocial behavior, drugs, extremism, violence, etc. The increasing numbers of domestic violence and family breakdowns in many developed societies presents an enormous economic and social cost. Politicians, faith and community leaders, the media and grass-roots activists must all address these issues, collectively, if societies – and the younger generation – are to prosper and to ‘belong’.

Yes – we must have a macro-level solution, with action from government, non-governmental organizations, community groups, civil society bodies and faith and community centres. But there can also be no compromise with effective parenting. There needs to be a grass-root parenting movement, with individual parents acquiring basic parenting skills and employing them with confidence. Confident parents are able to create a positive home environment and impart in their children, especially in their adolescence, the self-esteem and drive needed to succeed in life. 

Parenting is more than a family issue; a family cannot raise its children in isolation. It is about building communities, societies and nations. It is about giving children an inclusive vision of life and to prepare them to work for the good of all, to build a nation. It is about creating good citizens and good human beings.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

What to Expect When You're Expecting




As the first week of school has gone, most of the parent face major challenges when it comes to providing optimal care and education for their children. For families in poverty, these challenges can be formidable. Sometimes, when basic necessities are lacking, parents must place top priority on housing, food, clothing, and health care.

Even in families with above-average incomes, parents often lack the time and energy to invest fully in their children's preparation for school, and they sometimes face a limited array of options for high-quality child care--both before their children start school and during the early school years. Kindergarten teachers throughout the country report that children are increasingly arriving at school inadequately prepared.

Children are a blessing, you have settled in as a couple and your little bundle of joy brings great joy. As you shower your new addition with love, you wonder if you can provide the best for your child's future.

The cost of raising a child can be enormous. Needless to say, food, clothing and education are essential to the rearing of a child. The bad news – the cost of all three is on the rise.

There are many variables when it comes to calculating the cost of being a parent, including providing food, shelter, transport, education and healthcare. It also heavily depends on what type of lifestyle you are in.

Raising a child in Malaysia or anywhere else can pressure the finances.The numbers calculated do not take into consideration the costs for child bearing and funds forked out for college or tertiary education.

The bulk of any parent’s expenses of raising a child consists of having to finance their cost of living and education.

Before having kids, it's important for both parties to discuss what type of lifestyle they want, how many children they wish to have, who should take care of the children, what type of education their children should get and whether there's a need for a bigger house and car when the family grows.

While I believe that those who really want kids will always find a way to afford it, there may be some truth to this premise. Having a family is a life-changing emotional decision, with emotional rewards and consequences. But planning for parenthood is a process that must be backed with logic and proper planning to avoid nasty surprises.

Note:-  Children is a gift of God

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Groundhog Day


For some of us, 2013 is already there, for the others, it will be in few hours.It is the time of good resolutions for the New Year, it is also the time to have a look to the past year, to make a statement of all the major events of our respective life. Based on that statement, it is the time to write another page or another chapter of the book of our life, to materialize our dream.
 
Traditionally, the end of the year is the time when we take resolutions for the new coming year. But most of the time, we do not keep our resolutions a long time, a bit like a drunk man who do not remember what he said the day before. How does it make that sometime, we do not keep our resolution?
 
A resolution is probably a short term intention without determination. This lack of determination is probably caused by the absence of objectives. If you take a resolution, you have first to know for which reason you will take it. The resolution is not the key factor to reach your objectives, but the motivation. The motivation can be only fed by a clear definition of your objectives. It is only when you know where you want to go that you can define how you will reach that goal and gain the motivation in order to support your efforts in the realization of your objectives.
 
In 1993, Bill Murray starred in the movie Groundhog Day, in which he played Phil Connors, an egocentric TV weatherman who grudgingly covers the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney.
 
The plot of the movie revolves around how Connors wakes to the same day, again and again and again. The town remains the same, the people identical to the day before. The strain drives him to numerous suicide attempts until one day, he decides to re-examine his life and priorities. The movie unveils how he struggles to find meaning and purpose in his life as he learns what works and what does not. He places all attention in altering his view of the world based on his own personal reality, as his external reality is fixed. He transforms his thoughts and values. He transforms what was the worst day of his life into his best day. The only things that change in this transformation are his thoughts and actions.
 
Let us consider each day as a new start, each day as a day full of expectation. To write interesting chapters of our life, we need first to write nice sentences with words reflecting our dreams and expectations.
 
I wishes you a Happy New Year 2013, full of happiness and dreams for you and for your families.