Friday, December 31, 2010

Eve of the 2nd decade of the New Millenium

A decade went by so quickly in the New Millenium. I can still remember typing out our annual newsletter to be sent out by snail mail in Dec 1999 that is scanned here. As technology became more available I started my first webpage greeting and updates in Dec 2000 with the first blog appearing in the year 2005.

Today we also have social networking programs like Facebook which was ranked by scientists from the British Science Association as the no. 6 in the top 10 'inventions' that changed the world. Apparently every day around the world, more than 3 billion minutes are spent by computer users on Facebook. Online social networking has allowed people to rekindle friendships with friends they lost touch with years ago and that is certainly true for our family. It has also helped us keep closer together as family members who are so spread out geographically today. We have enjoyed the blessings that family can become friends and friends can become family as quoted by our friends the Dallings in Portland USA on Facebook recently. They have already celebrated their 50th Anniversary together.

I recently took time to compile all the greetings and updates we have been sending out to friends and family since 1992. I have posted them in our main website on the left red column half way down the page onwards. It is interesting to note the chronological order of the communications and when each new mode was used!

We hope this online message and greetings from us gets out to you on a timely moment on this auspicious day.

We wish you the very best in BODY, MIND & SPIRIT for another decade at least, past 2012 hahaha!

Our Never Ending Christmas Story on video is now completed below for more hahaha. Remember it's always mixed with fiction and truth. The real truth with details can be deciphered if you take time to browse through all our posts in our websites, blogs and facebook summarized in our familylane website above. GOOD LUCK!!!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Never Ending Christmas Story Dec 2010

Our Never Ending Christmas Story first started in Dec 2006. It began first with just a pictorial blog story which had true and untrue parts in it. Readers were warned this and told that those who received a DVD at the end of the year could unravel the true story. For those who never got hold of the DVD, the video has since been uploaded online here.

In Dec 2007, the Story continued with more photos added to the one in the previous year but presented in a video clip. All photos of the family are authentic but readers are warned again that the events of the story are part true and part untrue created for purposes of humour only.

By Dec 2010, our Story had lapsed a couple of years without an update, not because we had lost our humour but the family had gotten busy with the Father not having the time to continue the story. The good side is that we now have even more experiences and photos to continue our Never Ending Christmas Story this season so here we go : ( Post dated event : The completed video clip version can be seen here )

The story continues with a Facebook conversation that started on Dec 18, 2010.

Geok Lee : Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas CD playing in the background
Good morning Ern! It's one week before Christmas! And we haven't decorated our house yet.
Ern: Are you really going to decorate it?
Geok Lee: Yah...we'll hang laundry all over the house..hahaha
Shuan Chong : No joke! It's still a huge pile. I don't want to go to the back room!
Ern : i'm the one who hanged them all! So i've done my part for the christmas deco :D
Geok Lee : ok...we'll leave it after Christmas to take them down LOL
Merille Yong : joke of the day! =D you guys are too funny...
Shuan Chong : Solution: Escape to KL!
Sun Fu Chong : Yeah the decorations here just need ironing only, no need to hang any more!
Dad adds to mom's Facebook wall with a pic :

How do you like our KL neighbour's decorations?

Jenny Han : Hahaha... you guys so cute... me house not decorate either...

Ai Lian: Do you guys need more decoration? I can send some over. Hahahah.

Su Min Chong AHAHAHA...I literally laughed out loud when I read your status, mom =D
Have you found your Christmas present yet?

Dad makes another post to Mom's Facebook wall :

Sun Fu Chong thinks he has out done the neighbour in hanging the decorations!
End of Facebook conversation.
Yes TIME seems to be a major challenge for most families and for the Chongs, there is no exception, especially near to the year end at Christmas time. Each member of the family spends their TIME differently as we can see from their activities in the past year.
Dad the head of the family has always been advocating to follow the ways of the round O for Optimal Time planning.
Mom is in total concert with the idea of doing OT. Can you see her as the tiny speck in the deserted beach background of the above pic?

We zoom in to see her spending Optimal Time relaxing with the youngest and their family dog exploring the beach...

.... or day dreaming for her former maid to return back to help hang the Christmas deco?

Else she may be out narrating or telling stories on radio to the public, winning the top cash prize for Story Telling in Singapore

Han the oldest son has a different way of using OT. He tries to squeeze as much as he can into limited time frames. He was caught sending a Christmas greeting to his friend recently, " Have a Messy Christmas!" Do you see the side effect?

While his sister previously seeked communism in China, he finds himself in Russia instead mixing with a group of KGB agents in Moscow with a mission in St Petersburg

Talking about his sister Fei, doesn't she look better now comparing her before and after pic?

Her parents were very happy when she married an American, signifying the infusion of capitalism into China! This will make Fei a more rounded person as China will too as a country.

Now Fei has a younger Sister Su who visited her in China. After much meditation and fasting she chose a different course for her life.Instead of following the round O like everyone else so far, she decided to go SQUARE.

Remembering that in the previous story she went to join the singing nuns and had to wear an almost square badge everyday...

... and later finished college to wear a square hat!

Now having only covered all the girls and one boy only so far, let's finish with the rest of the boys starting with Dad :
Remembering earlier that he was left confused whether to follow the West or East, he finally decided to choose to be a Nationalist and focus on his own country of Malaysia!

Yes he is the advocate of Optimal Time usage, always using the bicycle as a symbol of the Circle of Life. "Keep riding" he says and you will always have a balanced life!

It is interesting to note that boys inevitably follow their fathers for good or for bad as the following pics depict :

Shuan trying his best to look scary at the Mulu Caves on Borneo Island

Well perhaps not always following in the same way...

.... and not without costs too, 3 stitches and teeth marks on the right arm in this case for Ern!
Sometimes it's easier to follow Mom as in Shuan's case who took over Han as chief cook of the family as in the previous story. Roasted chicken wings. Yum Yum!

Now we are not sure who the youngest Ray follows. We think he beats his own drum...

... but he did learn to make a Snowman in Utah with 3 round snow balls last summer!

Experience building a Snowman yourself by clicking here

Wait a minute! Who is this round-faced boy?

Hahaha. He is not a Chong but is funny enough to earn a spot here!
He was a boy from the Church party who sat next to Dad. See the round wreaths at the entrance and the Snowman that symbolizes our story of the O Time ?

Now the Countdown begins.....

2 weeks before Christmas - Party at KL Church and dinner

3 days before Christmas - Dinner with family and friends in Kuantan

2 days before Christmas : Still in Kuantan for another dinner with family & friends

1 day before Christmas - rushing to Singapore from Kuantan via KL to reach about 2am on Christmas morning. Our dog Simba served as a fully alert navigator in our camper van.

Other times, he would be watching over the youngest asleep while the others are following behind in another car.

On Christmas day - Lunch with family members in the Singapore Raffles Town Club

.... and everyone found a watch in their stockings from Santa to remind us about O Time

1 day after Christmas - Visiting the Henderson Community Centre for a Church sponsored project
Mom was assigned to tell a story to the senior citizens present with other Church representatives there.
The guest-of-honour Ms Indranee Thurai Rajah, a member of Parliament, presented a plaque as a token of appreciation to the Church for it's contribution to the event.

Heard on Sunday night after Christmas from Mom to the boys : You can help take down our Christmas tree now!
Hope everyone had a joyous Christmas weekend and the Holidays!
Here is how Singapore is lit up for the Christmas Season :

Here is a photo for Georgia Simmons who left some comments on this blog posting below :

I am very impressed with your son. The day I first saw Elder Blissett at Church, he was giving a blessing in our national language of Bahasa Malaysia just like a local!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Are tortoises intelligent?

When I was a child, I was told the story of the Tortoise and the Hare that showed how a slow and steady tortoise could win the faster rabbit in a race. One might think the Tortoise became a winner purely due to the complacency of the rabbit who overtook the tortoise in the beginning but rested and slept midway thus allowing the Tortoise to eventually pass the rabbit and crossed the finishing line first.

It is interesting to note that our family had experience in raising tortoises and rabbits together when we lived in Kuala Lumpur as the pics below show :

Remember in the Story, the rabbit only over took the tortoise in the beginning of the race and in our home as per the above pic, two rabbits went past the slow tortoise.

One day the family had moved to Singapore and we had to leave behind the tortoise and the rabbits to fend for themselves. Well several years had gone by and just today I decided to drop into the old house to visit the same indoor garden where the above pics were taken and here is what I found and shot on video :

In the race of life, it seemed that the rabbits had gone missing but the lone survivor and winner of life was the tortoise I had found. Do you think tortoises are intelligent after watching the above video clip?

All my life I knew dogs were intelligent as recorded in this blog post but I guess after today, I can confirm so too are tortoises or at least our tortoise!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Funeral service and burial of an old friend's father

Dr Lam Shih Kwong is the old friend from early secondary school that many of us who know him from school days may regard him more like a close family member than just a friend. It is probably due to his always warm and sincere personality that he has maintained all these years to the present. The fact that his parents were from Penang and mine were too and that his father and my second brother both once worked in Telecoms together made me feel that closer kinship with him.

After school, he became a busy doctor while I was busy with a large family, church work and running a business. Time and distance did keep us apart for many years and we met only on occasions of our class reunions. Sadly it was the ocassion of the passing away of his father, on 25 Nov 2010, that brought us together again this time round which was a time of deep reflection for me. Lam York Kee, the name of his father, still rang very clearly in my mind after all these years. I knew his father from the days in St. John's school when I visited his home and in later years could speak to 'Uncle Lam' as we would call him, on the phone whenever I tried to locate where the busy doctor was to invite him for some kind of old boys gathering.

Uncle Lam was 88 when he passed on, exactly the same age as my Father when he passed away the same month of November too last year. I did a live broadcast of the funeral service and the burial at the Nirvana Memorial Park in Semenyih for the classmates who could not be present on this Monday morning which can be viewed below :

Here are some photos of the well organized funeral for family members and friends present :

A nice lunch was served to end the pleasant day that started at the St Francis Xavier Church in Petaling Jaya to end here at the Nirvana Christian Memorial Park in Semenyih.

More photos can be viewed by clicking here

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Happy Story of our Kak Tun

While we paid tribute to our Lady Diana in Ipoh recently who was always there to help mom with a new baby that came to our family for the first month, we now turn to the Iron Lady who came as a domestic helper from Indonesia right after Ray, our sixth child, was born. She came as a timely aid to help mom with not just being a nanny of our youngest Ray but really became like the big sister of all the children and hence her appropriate name, Kakak Tun or Kak Tun in short! See the pictorial story below that has a happy ending :

She came after Ray was born as seen above in the arms of Lady Diana.
Kak Tun found a way to keep Ray happy while she went about doing house chores.
Everywhere she went, Ray went even on horseback
or in a boat
By day or by night
or simply on the beach

See her on video in our family Sun and Sea adventures in Port Dickson

or high up in the hills
She was Kak Tun of our family and the big box wrapped in brown paper was her gift on Ray's birthday
She waited for her turn to get a visa, then get on a bus later by herself to follow the family to live in Singapore
where she got to care for Ray and the boys studying in Singapore
not forgetting Mom when she had to go to the hospital
12 years passed and Ray was turning to a teen to be in Sec or Form 1 so it was time for Kak Tun to wave good bye to us and move on with her life back in Indonesia.

She would return to her Javanese village and build her own house with all her money saved working with our family. She also found a worthy male to be her husband to be married.
Mom and Ray left on Monday for the long journey to her village, by flight and car, to celebrate the joyous occasion with her family and village folks. Mom will add her story and pics here soon. Getting internet connection to post pics or videos here would probably be difficult so it will take some time to see the wedding photos here.
Meanwhile we Congratulate Kak Tun for her Happy Wedding Day and wish her to have a happy family like ours! Also I have added the google translator tool to this blog so that the Indonesian readers can read it in their own language. Try it! Technology is amazing!

Ahh looks like Mom and Ray got to the wedding safely and found wifi somewhere in the village to post the following pics on the wedding day of 24th Nov 2010 :

Seen here Mom and Ray taking a photo with the bride and her mother

Ray with the Bride and Groom

The Solemnization Ceremony

Doesn't Kak Tun look happy on her wedding day? We are all happy for her too!
We look forward one day when we get to reunite again and maybe by that time we have to call her Mak Tun with her pack of children!

To see the entire album of pics that Mom took in Indonesia, click here.

Post-dated Events

Story shared with a friend on facebook. Click here to see the facebook post. :

Guys, check up news on CNN today on Modern Human Slavery happening in Malaysia the BoLe land. This should raise more then some eye brows!

 ·  ·  · 4 hours ago via BlackBerry · 

    • Ahmad Fizal Othman News started in Cambodia. Parents looking for their daughter who is working in Penang after being offered a lucrative job in Malaysia. CNN. Managed to traced her working in a Hard Disk factory. Forced to work and cannot return to Cambodia until she pay the money she supposedly owed to the agency who employed them.
      4 hours ago · 

    • Ahmad Fizal Othman Just wondering, are the maids we employ working at their free will. Something for us to ponder eh?
      4 hours ago · 

    • Sun Fu Chong 
      Hi my Friend! I'm in Penang now and nice to catch up with you and to read this post that got me to ponder again. I know CNN is recently highlighting slavery of women and children. When we first hired an Indonesian maid many years ago, I swallowed hard listening to the guidelines/advice the agent told us to manage the maid eg. No Sundays off, no pay for 6 months to pay agency fees, keeping her money for her etc Now I also heard from some friends also how they lost their maid who just ran away. Well, the story goes that we applied the advice given to us and our maid stayed with us voluntarily for 12 years, got to go home several times to bring back lump sum cash kept for her and finally got married and used her savings to be able to build a house in her kampung.

      CNN or Western countries always advocate fairness principles to protect the maids while agencies and govts in the East seek ways to protect families from an uneducated work force. My view therefore is each country has their own unique situations under different cultures and different economic stages of development. So an optimal balance must be struck by letting CNN and the West play their role as watchdogs while the East play the role of patriarch or father by imposing reasonable controls in their less developed/educated societies to maintain peace and avoid disorder for their people. Peace and Happiness is really what every human being strives for and we have to work hard and smart to perfect our regulatory and governmental systems.