Sociable

My First Ever Christmas Do !

Posted by Lakshmi
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This update was to have been put up last week but didn't have time ....................


Tuesday, 20th December





I've been married to a Catholic for 23 year  and all these years,  Christmas celebrations were always held at my sisters-in-law homes . And I have five of them  , my husband being the only son  with his 5 sisters.   Being  the only   Hindu among my husband's family , it was customary  for me to  join them in their homes for the Christmas celebrations every year.  Of course,  my kids and I  put up the Christmas tree  in our home , visit all the shopping malls to admire the beautiful Christmas trees,  play Jingle Bells until I  can actually  see  Santa Claus  dashing through my front door in his one horse open  sleigh ( don't ask me how )    and have a fabulous time baking  gingerbread men cookies  for my kids ( I still do ) .  In short, I always had a terrific time during Christmas, enjoying all the fun and festivities without any added  responsibility of   actually cooking  and organising  a  family Christmas lunch.  You know  how it is,  when you don't have to do spring cleaning , cook all the stuff and set table for guests, etc., etc...   you  just arrive at their doorstep with a goodie bag of cakes and cookies, join the celebrations and don't have to do the washing and cleaning afterwards ?    Well, that's what I had been doing all these 22 years ( read my earlier Christmas blogpost  ).

Until now


It just came out of the blue and even now I'm in a kind of daze. Imagine me, a Hindu  organising a Christmas lunch in my home ?  For all my Catholic sisters-in-law and their spouses and children ? Why ! I never thought that it would happen!  It's such an important celebration for Catholics and Christians alike and I'm in charge of the Christmas Day celebrations  for this year ?  Holy Lembu !!

Well, after the initial  stun-gun effect wore off, I sat down  with my trusty   lieutenants  (my  son and daughter la  ) and told them ( no room for discussion here !) that we should make this Christmas celebrations the best ever that they've ( my in-laws )  had for a long time.  Ya, ya , ya, the moaning and the groaning of extra cleaning chores , washing dishes, etc ., followed for sure.  I would have been  more surprised if there wasn't !


For starters, it so happened that we had to buy a new Christmas tree this year  ( our old faithful tree had to be disposed off after years of  service )  So now we have a brand new Christmas tree  (   bought it from Bangsar Village II ) to show off.  I've given my old collection of pine cones ( which I had painstakingly collected during my stay at Bukit Tinggi Resort a few yeas ago ) a good washing  and gave them a new lease of life in a rattan basket .

 My children's collection of  the Snow White's 7 dwarfs have been arranged under the tree and the large flower pot which  I use as a side table has been moved near  the Christmas tree.



 

( its one of those pics which I can't seem to edit to make it upright, so readers will just have to strain your necks to the left ..... ooooopsssss

It was a nightmare cleaning the house and as the days got nearer the house got messier right up to the eve.  In the midst of this mess, my daughter wanted us to go to Ikea/Curve for shopping. And so, we took an early morning drive, ( my typical son came under duress or no Christmas gifts under the tree for him ) walked and trudged  and walked  and lumbered through both outlets with our arms aching and feet limping from blisters .  Suffice to say that I won't miss these outlets till probably next year. 

One of the most irritating thingy  was when I decided to purchase a  glass cyclinder vase.  There was no price tag on any of the cylinders which came in 3 sizes, large, medium and small.  Looked under all the cylinders and couldn't find a single pricetag offer or signages. Went looking around for a sales rep  in the awful congested place and  of course, when you need them you can't find them or they don't want to be found..............  Then went searching for a pricetag meter and it  so so happens that it would be tucked in the opposite far side from where you are., hang on, that wasn't the end.  The meter was out of order..  Would you really  believe it ?  Holy Lembu !!   I must have looked like a red blimp about to explode because  my daughter and son took one look at me and steered straight away to the paying  counter. 

Having to stick to my budget and not knowing whether I could afford the  purchase  of all 3 sizes ( together with the inevitable unplanned and  extra  purchases I had made )  I reluctantly chose the medium sized one to the counter, which queue was almost snaking till the  candles isle,  and waited in line  , shifting the pressure on my  legs every 5 minutes till it came to my turn.  After tallying all my other  purchases,  the cashier finally keyed in the  tag for the glass  cylinder and told me coolly that the cylinders are sold in sets of 3 only and  how much was the cost ?    

  RM69.90 .   Well, could she send the roller skater boys to bring the other 2 sizes as there was no such info when I saw them ?     " Ehhh, no, it will take too much time " 


Urrrrrggggg, how I wished I could have dumped the cylinder onto her head !



Happy reading and painting

Lakshmi

Ps: More pics to come later

Why Hindus Have Many 'Gods'

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Wednesday 14 December 2011



This blogpost is a continuation to  my  previous blog write-up - WISE MEN HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY, FOOLS HAVE TO SAY THING! where I had written that I would explain why Hindus  seem to have many ' Gods'.


I  am not an expert in Hinduism  and I still have much to learn about my religion.  Philosophers, saints and sages have spent lifetimes discussing and pondering  on the many facets of Hinduism and as such, I can only explain with what limited knowledge I know.


Some of the basic tenets of Hinduism are :

Who founded Hinduism

Hinduism is not a religion per se and is actually a way of life. It has been in existence about 4000 years ago from the Indus civilisation in India, which is also the oldest civilization on earth.      Unlike the  People of the Book, Hinduism has no founder or author and it is so ancient that no one knows the source of Hinduism 

The Holy Books in Hinduism

There are 4 primary and sacred scriptures called   ' The Vedas'.  Scholars have determined the Vedas  were composed about 1500 BC  namely the  Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda.  "  The Upanishads "   are a continuation of the Vedic philosophy, and were written between 800 and 400 B.C. They elaborate on how the soul (Atman) can be united with the ultimate truth (Brahman) through contemplation and meditation, as well as the doctrine of Karma-- the cumulative effects of a persons' actions.

The Vedas and Upanishads are an extensive collection of scriptures and philosophical texts  relating to  hymns,  incantations, rituals, spirituality and worship in ancient India  .  It details the divine duties of our earthly life  and  our soul's relationship to GOD.  Hindus believe that at the highest level , GOD  and  Soul   are one and inseparable whereas Western faiths maintain that Creator and creation are eternally distinct.

Incidently, there are also 2 great epics in Hinduism, the Mahabaratha and Ramayana

The longest story  in the world is the Mahabaratha ( 100,000 verses)  which tells the story of rivalry between the 5  Pandava brothers  and the 100  Kauravas which ends with the war at Kurukshetra, India  ( modern day Haryana)

The Sanskrit epic of   Ramayana  tells the story of Rama, whose wife, Sita, is abducted by the demon king of Lanka, Ravana .  There are many versions of Ramayana- the  Indonesion, Philippines, Laos, Thai, Burmese, Malay and others.

 How  Hindus view other religions

Hindus do not proselytise, meaning we do not convert members of other faiths.  Proselytisation or conversion is based upon the belief that  only  one's religion is the only true religion and everyone else is secondary, so others  should join it.  In the present  world environment, Christianity and Islam  subscribe to this view.

Hindus  hold the view that all faiths are beneficial and  that it is not necessary nor possible for everyone to hold the same faith .  An ancient Sanskrit verse summarizes the Hindu attitude:

As the different streams, having their sources in different places, all mingle their water in the sea, so O Lord, the different paths which men take through different  faiths, various though they appear, all lead to Thee ".  

Thus, Hindus  honor  and respect all religious traditions and the people within them.  The Hindus' motto is simply " Live and Let Live "




Why do some Hindu Gods have animal features


In dreams and visions, the inner-plane beings have revealed themselves to mankind in many forms expressing many powers.  Some appear human and others like  Lord Ganesha, have elephant  features. 

Hinduism is not alone in having Divinities with animal attributes.  This is a common link to all ancient faiths .  The Greeks worshipped the God Pan , half goat half human and the Sea God Ichthyocentaurs ( human head and torso with horse legs and serpentine tails of fish ).  The Egyptian God  of the Underworld, Anubis ( falcon head ) the Sun God, Ra,  Thoth, the God of Wisdom and Moon ( Ibis head) Bastet, his consort was in the form of cat or lioness.  The Meso-american people worshiped Quetzalcoatl, a feathered serpent.  The Assyrians , the powerful serpent Goddess Tiamat.  In Japan where Buddhism and Shintoism are intertwined, they pray to  Kitsune the fox and Tengu the bird man . Many shrines are guarded by a pair of magical lion-dogs - the Koma-inu or Shishi.  Even Christians have half human half bird winged angels called Cherubims... and in early Christianity, there were gargoyle statues as part of the Church architecture


Over the centuries, with the coming of the monotheistic religions and their   prominence,  the old Gods have been put in exile. Only in Hinduism does such worship thrive in unbroken continuity .  Food for  thought - Aren't we humans too( scientifically )   supposed to have evolved from homo sapiens , an animal specie ?

Why do Hindus cremate the dead

Hindus traditionally cremate ( burn) the dead  within 24 hours because a fiery dissolution of the body brings faster  and more complete release of the soul than burial, which preserves the soul's psychic connection to its earthly life.  After death, the departed soul hovers close to the earth plane and is emotionally attached to its physical body  and surroundings and is still able to see the material world.    The funeral rites and burning the body signify its spiritual release and notifies  the soul that death has come.  Some of the mantras chanted directs the  deceased  soul  to relinquish its attachments and continue its spiritual journey. The body is thus disposed of swiftly and cleanly as possible  as fire is the purest way to return the physical body back to its element source

Hindus belief in reincarnation - that death is merely the soul's release from the current life to another.    That's why we say " passed away " .   After  it  has taken  its journey to the inner worlds, the soul will reincarnate into a new identity/birth  in accordance to its karma .( Many Lives, Many Masters by Dr Brian Weiss/ Children Who Remember Previous Lives by Dr Ian Stevenson , Old Souls, Scientific Evidence of Past Lives  by Tom Shroder are some of the scientific and evidence based  publications  )

Why Hindus Have Many Gods


In the Hindu tradition and lore, the Trinities of Brahma ( the Creator) Vishnu ( the Preserver) and Shiva ( the Destroyer) are seen as different Gods.  But in actuality, they are all the many  manifestations of ONE SUPREME  ABSOLUTE BRAHMAN .   Hindus regard all things sacred  and every aspect of divinity is worshiped.  To a Hindu, everything in this world is a creation of GOD  and  they  see everything as an aspect and manifestation of GOD - thus the  many gods and goddess.  Although this seems  puzzling to someone looking from the outside, to a Hindu, this is a very simple concept.   A simple analogue to explain this clearly would be gold.  If we wear gold  on our finger, it is called a ring, when worn on the hand, it's called bangles or bracelet, if worn on the ear, it's called a earring , put on our necks, it's called a chain, etc., They are all from the same material  but given different names when used differently.  Thus the ONE SUPREME ABSOLUTE BRAHMAN manifests in myriad forms for the understanding of the common man.  It's like the relationship between the Sun and its rays. We cannot experience the sun itself but we can experience its rays and the qualities, which those rays have. And, although the sun’s rays are many, ultimately, there is only one source, one sun.

So, though from the outside it looks like Hinduism has many Gods, the Hindus also  understand their faith well and ultimately believe in the ONE SUPREME ABSOLUTE BRAHMAN  which has  many forms and names.


I have given a very  simplified explaination on Hinduism without going into too much details and readers  are free to raise questions or give their interpretations to the above.


 Happy reading and painting


Lakshmi 





 Some  excerpts were taken from the following source

Hinduism Today
Hinduism - Belief & Practices  Prof Jeaneane  Fowler, University of  Wales,Newport
The Many Facets of Hinduism (John Albers -eHow magazine )
Sacred - Text & Archives.com

Wise Men Have Something to Say, Fools Have To Say Something

Posted by Lakshmi
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Sunday, 4  December 2011


In order to understand  the reason for my write-up today, you have to  do yourself a favour and click on the link given below ( an online new portal - Malaysian Insider  ).  Then read  the article by Hafidz Baharom  entitled " Is our  faith so brittle " otherwise you'd be all blinky dinky  and  would have no inkling of what this is all about .

I had recently linked an  article written  by Hafidz Baharom  




Having read the article and finding Hafidz Baharom's view a refreshing piece of critical thinking , intellectually stimulating and news worthy, I then  linked it to my facebook. .  The following were the  comments based on that article which  I  had posted on my wall and the reply/remarks by my good friend   Datin Zaleha Shamsuddin


I so hope more of Hafidz Baharom are out there and zilch of Ahmad Maslan . Dear GOD, make Malaysia safe again.



Zaleha Shamsuddin Which of your gods, knowing you have so many.


This is my reply to her



Dear Datin Zaleha Shamsuddin

We have been good friends for some years now and sharing the same age,  month and year of birth had made our friendship more meaningful  .  Added to the fact that you were a devout Muslim and seeing you fulfilling your religious obligations conscientiously with great effort (  despite going through trying times with regards to your  family matters and poor health )  I held you in high regard and had valued our friendship. There were many a time when your strong opinions on matters were very different from mine but I did not pursue them as I was and still am of the view that everyone   of us has a right to express our views  ( like I always say, " to each her/his own " ) so long as we don't hurt or offend others' sensitivities   In that regard,  our different faiths and  religious idealogy had never given us any issues in the past  and we had even on some occasions.  discussed our different religious philosophy in a cordial  manner .

So you will understand why I am now so  shocked, appalled and  deeply offended by your  unwarranted, crude and coarse  remarks you had written about ' my God/Gods ' .

I had much respect  of  you as a friend and more so when u were always quoting  the  verses from the Quran in all our  conversations.  I was thus  under the impression  that you were a  very pious, devout, erudite and true  Muslim who understood the real meaning of Islam - a religion of peace and knowledge as all religions of the world are in my view.   Sadly, I realise now that it was just a facade and  you  are not what you  portray yourself  to be .  A true Muslim or for that matter, a true follower of any faith would never  stoop so  low as to belittle  another religion/faith for a true believer in GOD ( doesn't really matter which one )would ultimately realise that all paths lead to the same Source..  Only the roads taken to reach the Source are different . 


 Taken from your fb entry too were these words as written by you :


Selamat maal hijrah, may it be a more wiser, humbler and grateful year for all of us


 I guess  that you don't practice what you preach. Perhaps you should take time to sit down and think what ' wiser, humbler and grateful ' means.  In my book, it means I am forever grateful and blessed  for all that I have now,  that  there are far more enlightened people  around us who do not flaunt their knowledge and ' ketuanan ' superiority  and lastly ' wiser' means  to know when to open my mouth and when to keep it closed .

 Incidently , if you read your Maal Hijrah message carefully, you'd realise that ( 1st mistake )even your message is worded wrongly  ( sigh)  like everything else you write la ...... you are wishing for the year to be wiser, humbler and grateful ?  looks like you don't want yourself nor your   friends to be wiser , more humble,and grateful  (2nd mistake - no such thing as humbler, sorry, but that's the language teacher in me talking).  A year cannot be wiser, more humble or grateful dear.... Words like wiser, more humble and grateful are character traits and adjectives used to describe living things/people .  Tsk....tsk ......tsk...



 An educated, intelligent  and titled person like you  should have known better than to write highly offensive and tasteless remarks on other faiths/religions  of which you have no in depth knowledge nor  understanding at all.  But then again, as my good friend, Tengku Norashikin said when I had discussed this with her, " not all educated people are intelligent and not all intelligent people are educated ! "  I guess I can see now in which category you have placed yourself


If you are mature enough and put on your thinking cap,  you would understand  that if GOD ( it doesn't matter yours or mine ) had wanted to have only 1 faith in the world , He wouldn't have created all the other faiths just for fun now, would He ? 

Coming back to your remark : Which one of  your Gods ( to safe Malaysia) since I have so many '
 
 Really, Zaleha , You want to know which God I'm referring to ? And if you do know which God I'm referring to,  would you  want to make an appointment and  demand an answer from  " my God/Gods '  as to  why our beautiful  country is not safe anymore but going through endless mega  scandals of sleaze , corruption  and blatant misuse of taxpayers money running into billions   while the ordinary Joe/Jane Public is struggling to put food on the table for their kids ?  .  Or maybe you would like to ask ' my God/Gods,   why our  politicians are using religion to divide the  nation along ethnic and religious lines and perpetuating the ' Muslims/ Non-Muslims segregation in all aspects of our lives ? Why not just treat  all of us as Malaysians. Full Stop. ? Seriously , Zaleha, would you be asking these questions or ask for a List of  my Gods and what are their job descriptions? 

On a lighter vein, looking at the horrendous list of problems Malaysia is going  through, even my many 'Gods' won't be enough in numbers to help solve the problems we are   facing !!

 
We all have strong  beliefs  in our own faith and beautiful Malaysia  is home to all the major religions of the world. Even then, our education system has from childhood ingrained in us the wrong methodology  of  the word 'tolerance for all other religions '  which really does not say much for the Ministry's education standards . Either that or they were severely  handicapped in the language department,   for the proper word to have been instilled, would have been ' respect for all religions '.   As such,  religion and politics are the two things which we can never comment upon  publicly as we please  in a  religiously and politically   polarised society as ours. 

If you still want to comment , which I personally think is your right , then you must be prepared - have a thorough and in-depth knowledge of the  subject  matter  you want to discuss ,  your character and knowledge being  able to stand up to scrutiny,   being  open to counter  criticism and being able to cogently  reason it out   intelligently  in a rational and calm manner without shooting your mouth off like a monkey  and thumping your chest like a  gorilla . These  guidelines apply to anyone  irrespective of any particular faith.  


Problem arises when one party/segment of society   feels that he/she /they have  the right to criticise the other but cannot accept the same criticism put back  to him/her/them.  The standard reply I have seen and read is the ' others ' ( Non-Muslims)  cannot question Islam because  i ) it is seditious   ii)  Non-Muslims have  no locus standi  iii) even Muslims cannot and don't  question their faith/tenets/hadiths,   so who are we/others ?.    Then, it's not a level playing field and bias and bigotry  takes over ( I remember the Malaysian  Bar Council's Interfaith dialogue  which was vehemently and violently opposed with racial slurs and condemnation and even the Police Force did not do anything to stop them)  

  
Hafidz Baharom's article was   well thought out and  written and  his  reasonings  were logical by any standards .   I found his explanation plausible, stimulating  and it made sense.     The article was based on his thoughts and opinion , however. If you read the last line of the article, it clearly says :


The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.


I simply recommended his article for reading in my fb .  At no time did I question his faith or  make any downgrading remarks about his religion.  He does however, asks some pertinent and common sense based  questions  for his  leaders, and readers alike  to think and remark upon. My remarks of there being more of H Baharom like public citizen in no way touched his religious upbringing or faith.

I say again, I simply recommended his article for reading and made a simple statement of '  Dear  GOD make  Malaysia  safe again ' to be like the old times when there was no racial distrust, no such thing as  constantly being identified as Muslims and Non-Muslims in all spheres of our lives , when we could  greet and wish  each other without fear of  bigotry, when we as true Malaysians could visit  and partake of our other friends' hospitality during  festivals and celebrations freely , when there was no rampant corruption and sleaze on a global scale........ I still remember a few years ago, the Perak Chief Hadi issued an edict or something wherein  Muslims cannot even wish or give greetings to their Non Muslims friends  celebrating  Deepavali/ Christmas..etc . Then there was the Yoga controversy - Muslims cannot do Yoga exercises... it will weaken their Islamic faith.. seriously ( lol)!  There  are 5 branches of Yoga and Hatha Yoga or the physical Yoga has nothing to do with one's faith.  It is purely  physical in nature consisting of stretching  exercises/poses meant to  tone and make the body/joints flexible and at the same time stimulating/massaging  the 7 internal endocrine glands in our body,  which if becomes sluggish, will cause major and severe health problems.  Go read up on general science....     . The idiom  " A little knowledge is very dangerous " is so so 100 % true for people like... well... you know.............................



 If at all you were as intelligent as I thought you were, you could have given your counter reasons for H Baharom's article and put forth your replies for his many pertinent questions ( not mine, comprende ? ) like below


How about lobbying for religious institutions in every state to ensure that hospitals have an imam on duty to counsel the sick and the dying? How about speaking to malls to disallow the distribution of any fliers of ANY RELIGION in a mall, since it is a form of disturbance that makes people uncomfortable?



How about lobbying for adult courses in religious studies for those who apparently didn’t get enough of it after 12 years in both primary and secondary schools?


You already have people going around parks at night to so-call ‘cegah maksiat’ and even nailing warnings to every gazebo in Taman Tasik Shah Alam. Why not use the same resources to educate the ummah and even raise the welfare of the ummah instead of spending more cash on a new building?


 So please, dear Datin Zaleha Shamsuddin, be more circumspect of what you think and write in public media .   I do really wish you had not written what you wrote and I also understand that one of my fb friends did reply you ....... .. I presume there were some heated exchange of words on my fb wall but by the time I had steadied my nerves from your indecent attack on my faith, ( I was too stunned and shocked  by your words to resume my fb for a few days ) and opened my fb, both your remarks were withdrawn from my wall.  I only knew about the exchange from my very good friend, Tengku Norashikin , who being a true friend, did not take sides and gave me an impartial reasoning which allowed us an intellectual discussion on the matter.  

I hope you won't take up arms  and go on a warpath again  if   I say " Dear GOD, let there be more of Tengku Norashikins in Malaysia !

I end my piece by quoting a very very wise saying which I always  quote  to my  16 yr old son, Arvind, whenever I feel he talks too much "  WISE MEN HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY, FOOLS HAVE TO SAY SOMETHING .   I hope Zaleha takes note of this too.


 Happy reading and painting


Lakshmi

 Ps:  My next article will answer Zaleha's question - Why I have so many Gods

A Perfect Substitute for a Husband

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Tuesday 22 November 2011


The holidays have begun and I'm having a hard time trying to keep myself sane with the full time presence of my 16 year old son.  He's at that terrible stage and age  when

i ) he ( all boys ?) thinks he knows everything  about anything but who doesn't know how to put his wet towel in the towel rack... he drops it on the bed

ii)  who thinks that when Dad is not around the house, the TV remote is his for day and his sister has to plead with him


iii)  who reasons to me that exams are over and its  legally right  for him to watch  TV endlessly  and keep up with his Facebook/Internet games..or play basketball under the harsh Malaysian sun every evening, rain or shine....


iv) whose idea of cleaning/tidying  which is part of their  weekly  house-cleaning duty  is to chuck everything he sees into the wardrobe and jam the door or if  there are too many clothes littered  in his room, to  dump them conveniently  into the laundy basket, both used and unused .....

v)  who sweeps the room without a dustpan and walks up and down the stairs umpteen times absentmindedly to get it and then finally  pushes all the rubbish under the bed and  sweeps all the dust under the carpet ! Really !

The list doesn't end here but you get the picture.  I wonder if this is the norm with all boys or am I the only mum  who is facing such a smucsch.  Of course, being the 'smart and modern mum' that I am, I consciously consciously make it a point to sit down with him every other day to explain to him the triple load that I have to do to rectify these stupidities of his ( have even given him the ' Mummy is SO  tired but I've no choice but to do your chores too'  routine; the     " Mummy can't bend down, my knees are paining but since you can't do, Mummy has to do chores for you ' guilt act  routine and other methods I can think of but nothing seems to work after the first week....

On the other hand, I am a hindsight expert and so I can't really blame him if he's a chip of the old  (Dad ) block.. can I ?

And so, I would like to share with my readers this perfect substitute


Ps:  It's a pity I got to know of this substitute 20 years after my wedding ... (sigh ! )



Happy reading and painting


Lakshmi


A Perfect Substitute to Husbandly Problems











arm your feet and whom you can push off if he snores





This Is What I Call Education

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Tuesday 15 November 2011


With all the nonsense in our education system where getting grade A is a dime a dozen and not worthy of the certificate  paper it is printed on, we should all ( especially our mumbled and jumbled  Minister/Ministry of Education et al )  take a leaf from this great man  and ask Bunker Roy to come to Malaysia on the first plane available and help set up a college. Seriously. 






Listen readers and I mean really   really listen to what Bunker Roy has to say .  It makes perfect sense to me and if our Minister of Education implements  such a policy, I will personally queue in line to shake his hands !


By the way, ever wonder    why Malaysia doesn't seem to have  and attract people like Bunker Roy in our society  or for that matter any true blue hero / thinkers like him  who strive to make a difference  and do  something for the benefit of others ?   Incidently,he was selected as one of Time 100, the 100 most influential personalities in the world by TIME Magazine in 2010.[2]

The Barefoot College that Sanjit  Bunker Roy started in Tilonia, Rajasthan, India was also one of  the 9 recipients   of the prestigious    Aga Khan Award  and he  returned the Award on a matter of principle .  It was also the first time in the history of  the Aga Khan Foundation that anyone had returned the  award.  That speaks volumes on Bunker Roy's character,  doesn't it ? 

And here,  we have ministers and VIPs robbing the  hard pressed  Malaysian public in broad daylight !  Gosh, I get so angry when I think and read about  the injustice of the system,  the stupidity of the people and the shenanigans of the political elite in a country as blessed as Malaysia. 

The God Almighty had indeed blessed this country and its people greatly like no other country in the world and yet we have blundered big time ....................................and it looks like we are still in a stupor .



Happy reading and painting


Lakshmi

Elton John Is Coming To Town ?

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3 November 2011

The news of Elton John's  upcoming show  in November 22 at the Gentings Resort, has, as usual, brought out the  voice and thoughts of the  Conservative  Malaysian Islamic Party ( PAS ) represented by their Youth leader, whose stance and  views have since  gone viral all over the world, except maybe Zimbabwe and Tonga, I guess. And what was the reason of their objection ? " The gay singer promotes hedonism  and so the concert would corrupt young Muslims because of his homosexuality ".  Really ?  My, my ! What a great and erudite man, this PAS Youth Leader, Shahril Azman is  .  Hello Mr Shahril Azman Abdul Halim Al-Hafiz,  I've  got an urgent  message for you ,  the Talibhans are actively looking for such great thinkers like you in their midst.  Would you like to go over and  join them pronto?


Now, I'm trying to be sober and reasonable here instead of  shrieking and shooting my mouth off......... Is this the best argument he and the party he represents  can put forth to object to  a concert ? 


And in case my Muslim friends think that as a non-Muslim, I have no jurisdiction to question him, let me gently remind that I'm not questioning his faith, I'm questioning his arrogance for speaking for all Malaysians of all faith in Malaysia.    Just as he has the right to speak out for what he thinks, so have I and the rest of right thinking sane Malaysians who can differentiate the wood for the trees.

My argument is simple - I want to be able to attend the Elton John or  any Tom,  Dick and Harry  concert,  if I so wish, for its entertainment value, for the singer's  voice and his/her  songs . It doesn't matter really, it could be a myriad variety of reasons for which I may or may not want to attend the concert .  The point is this - who is Sharil to speak on  my behalf and take objection ?  If he's only informing  his party members ( preferably through sms ! ), he should only tell them   inside the  four walls of  his party's office and not seek cheap publicity and open his  mouth to all and sundry and in the process usurp my right to watch the Elton John/ Tom, Dick and Harry Show or whatever .  It says so in the Malaysian Constitution, Mister, and I suggest that you read all of it before you  open your mouth and remove all doubt of your  lack of grey matter ! Oh and by the way, if   you  do so strongly believe that just by attending Elton's concert, everyone will become like Elton, then you  should seriously put your  money where your  mouth is and buy me and all Eltons' fans,  two way flight tickets to US , including the concert tickets, of course. 

In a country as diversified as ours, there are bound to be different views, perceptions and values  acccording to their beliefs and faith.  The maxim " one man's meat is another man's poison" hold so true and I'm surprised that a Youth President of a political party is so shallow in thinking and is not aware of it.  It's really mind boggling the kind of people elected to party/political posts in this country.  Are the citizens so bereft of good and right thinking leaders to elect or are the members of political parties such nitwits and simpletons from the boondocks that they vote for the first one who makes the most noise, like in empty cans?    This is directed to not only PAS but to all the 'itsty bitsy', " kuching kurap"  and major parties in Malaysia, the Government of the day included .

We have Prime Ministers who blatantly buy voters in elections,  Deputy Ministers who flaunt their race first rather than be Malaysian first, a string of imbeciles appointed as Education Ministers who have messed up the education system of this country big time  and still doing it with great gusto, the Sports Ministry which bought 23 horses for RM5.66million without approval and the Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek has the cheek to say that he goofed when he explained " we are  not a horse-breeding nation and don't have the expertise.  We followed the recommendation of foreign breeders enthusiastically " .

That's not all.  We have the Ministry of Tourism  which  paid millions for a facebook feature ( even my good friend ,Tengku Norashikin , a relative  newcomer to emails, is facebook savvy in a matter of days ! ) ministries which exceeded their budget by RM3.73 billion ( did  you  know that our national debt has exceeded 50%  (53.1% ) of our GDP at RM 407 billion  ), the Ministry of Agriculture disbursed RM8O million to one single feedlot company (  linked to the Minister of Women &  Welfare ) which was to produce 60,000 heads of cattle annually  for local consumption  but which only produced 3,289 heads - meaning the company spent an average of RM25,000 for each cattle which also means about RM 170.00 for a kilo of meat !  ( Now  I cannot stop myself )

The list doesn't stop here, of course ,and  all these and more  were in the Auditor General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang's 2010 report . Go read it, people  and decide for your self what our beloved country has come to - the laughing stock of the world  and it happens every year ( Now I'm really angry ) The downright stupidest ( if I can call it that ) one of all was the error in placing a decimal point  which  resulted in a pensioner receiving RM21433.00 a month instead of RM214.33 ( the Sun Nov 1, 2011 )


Also extracted from  the Sun,( dated 2 Nov 2011) is  a letter written by one Mohd Yusoff which I have copied here

Matter of faithPosted on 2 November 2011 - 05:04am
IT appears that this is a hostile world for Muslims. Every individual, group or organisation appears to be conspiring to erode the faith of Muslims in their religion. Hence about four to five thousand Muslims (out of the expected one million) were crying out to the government for help to protect their faith at the Shah Alam stadium.I find this episode to be sad and pathetic. I would have thought that one’s religious faith, or the onus of guarding one’s faith is on the individual. It is incredulous that a Muslim requires government intervention to help protect his faith. It’s the height of naivety. Muslims everywhere, do grow up.Mohd YusoffShah Alam


Write on, Mr Yusoff, write on for the likes of Sharil and his types

Finally, I received this email going viral and thought that I'd share with my readers. Came at the most opportune moment, it did !



I was doing a highly specific Yoga exercise to relieve Perkatak related stress. Do you discriminate against people who practice Yoga?

Just thinking deeply about the next sponsor for my wife’s handbags and her shopcoholic daughter.

Why did you interrupt me? I had almost figured out a solution to our biggest problem……my monorail.





I wasn't sleeping! I was meditating on the EPG and envisioning a new paradigm for CHOGM….minus the irritating irritaTUN!

Ah, the unique and unpredictable circadian rhythms of the sleepy heads!


This is just a 15 minute power-nap like they raved about in the BTN boot camp.

I love sleep. My life has a tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?

"I'm not asleep... but that doesn't mean I'm awake."

People who say they sleep like a baby usually don't have one.

Pardon me, while I take my power nap. My wives just completed their COW (club of obedient wives) modules last night.

A power nap is when you sleep on someone who's weaker than you.

"Sleep is the most moronic fraternity in the world, with the heaviest dues and the crudest rituals.

"Some people talk in their sleep. Speakers talk while other people sleep.
I'm actually doing a Stress Level Elimination Exercise Plan (SLEEP).




Happy reading and painting


Lakshmi

A Lazy Daisy Deepavali

Posted by Lakshmi
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Monday, 31 October 2011


For the first time in as many years as I can remember, I spent the first part of the day watching TV  and I couldn't believe it myself !! It was a special Deepavali  programme on ASTRO -an hour long Oddisi performance by  the famous Ramli Ibrahim and his troupe of dancers.  That was at about  7.30am in the morning when I should have been having my traditional oil bath and preparing to go to the temple !  Mesmerising and utterly utterly  captivating..... I was so in awe of his fluidity of movement,  his nuances, his precise and exacting step work, his grace and stamina, his perfect timing .... .... Gosh, I'm  still not over him yet !   (Sigh )  If only I could dance like him and dance with him !! I couldn't take my eyes off  and  was transfixed with my eyes bulging out of my sockets..... ... By Jove!  it was that beautiful an experience for me, to put it mildly.

I was feeling guilty  of " wasting time " as there were so many things to do but yet couldn't resist the lure of Ramli Ibrahim's masterpieces of  dance ( there I go again !) And so,  against my better judgment and with 2 manipulative kids who  i ) 'advised' me to enjoy myself for once without prancing around the house bugging them  and ii ) told me that  this was a one off ASTRO special and no repeats ,   I sat through the 1 hour show  and was  thoroughly and truly in a world of my own.

Now, that was a smashing  great start for me on Deepavali


Later after fetching my  youngest sister, Poonam, from the train station, we all went to offer our prayers at the temple and had a leisurely breakfast/brunch/lunch all rolled together, sort of  a  "three-in-one" kinda of thing.  My sister had us in stitches with her tales of office happenings and I was glad of her presence.   That was a 'first' too.  Normally it would have been friends pouring in from the word GO at 9am  and me bustling  frantically making thosai after thosai after thosai  and hollering  at my kids to refill the chutney, the chicken curry, the cakes, cookies, traditional sweetmeats etc., etc.  No wonder my kids were smiling all day .  I didn't realise I had made them all stressed out all these years until my daughter told me what a difference it was this year. " For once we enjoyed ourselves" they said ! Didn't know that I was such a dragon ... dear me !

The torrential rain made its appearance in the afternoon and gave us all a respite .   Watching the rain pouring down as I sat down in the  cosy wing chair with my feet on the footstool and a  cup of ginger tea clasped in my hands, a feeling of gratefulness of the blessings I have enveloped me  -  a roof over my head,  food on the table, 2 lovely  children and a husband  who loves and provides for us.  A contented and  warm  feeling came over me.  My thoughts then  strayed  to the families in the low cost apartments/houses I had visited with my kids - those  who were struggling to make a living, whose houses leaked and  were  often flooded by the same torrential rain  that I was enjoying  watching ;  the  countless children of struggling single parents  who had nothing to celebrate about; the children stranded by bickering and abusive parents; the abandoned families which I have seen on the streets.............. and the corners of my eyes became blurred  and a small lump starting rising in my throat.  " Is this what we call 'karma ' or is this because of man's greed ? I couldn't figure it out.  I finished my tea silently and  offered a prayer of gratitude  to GOD for what I have and a prayer for the those who didn't.   



My sisters-in-law, spouses and their family members  came for dinner at our home.  Since I'm the only Hindu in the family and they are  all Catholics, I make it a point to invite them for Deepavali dinner every year. It was a warm and happy occasion with lots of food, jokes and  laughter and family/holiday discussions. For aperitifs, I served  Bailey's Irish Cream for my sisters-in-law  and the men, Scotch .  As was usual, I served  hot thosai and iddly with chicken masala, mango chutney, coriander salsa,  fried chicken,  my  " once in a year mutton varruval " ( dry and spicy mutton ) which I really  cook only once in a year ( it's too time-consuming and tedious ) and  cucumber and pineapple yohurt raita to balance the spiciness.

Desert was traditional cookies like murruku, achi murruku, pineapple tarts, a  sugee cake  and a traditional a rich " whiskeyed " fruit cake  ( there was no brandy   so I sploshed my husband's whiskey in the fruit mix  when he was not around  ).  Hmm, I'm just realising that I didn't make the frienzed variety of cookies, cakes and pies  that I usually do  when I'm on the baking spree........ Geez,  ! Now I understand ...  this was part of the stress build up with my kids !


( Just to digress and  elaborate a little, the hallmark of a good fruit cake is to have the chopped  fruit mix - raisins, sultanas, cherries, apricots, dried figs, nuts,)  soaked/macerated in a cup or so of   brandy for a minimum of 2 weeks and up to a month before it is added to the cake mixture.  The aroma of the fruit mix will fill the whole house and everyone will  know that the festive season has started . The slowly  baked cake is then covered in greaseproof paper and foil and kept in an airtight container to mature for a minimum of a month  and up to 3 or 4 months.   This brings out the  taste and rich  flavour of the cake and you only need a small slice of it to enjoy with a good cup of coffee/tea .  This is how a traditional fruit cake is done.

Those who are prohibited from using alcohol can substitute with fresh orange juice but it cannot keep well and has to be consumed  within a week. )


Everything went well, I guess because they left only at about midnight with containers of my special mutton dish.  ( They had already informed me a week earlier to cook extra and 'ta pau ' { pack } for them )   After clearing all the dishes, wine glasses, plates, cutlery and  what not and putting away the leftovers in tupperwares for consumption the next day (!) ,  I slumped into bed around 1 am.

Not dead tired as I was used to but pleasantly tired this time.  I think I'll do the same next year !



Happy reading and painting


Lakshmi

The Festival of Lights - DEEPAVALI is here again

Posted by Lakshmi
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Tuesday, 25 October 2011


My blog was temporarily removed due to someone trying to hack into my blog and my email...... God knows what was so important or top secrets were hidden in my articles !  Google  had  to do what was necessary and so readers might have had some problem having access to my blog lately.  Oh well, it's back to normal now and so I can ramble on............


It is already Deepavali eve and I have taken a laid back attitude in my celebrations this year.  For the first time, I'm celebrating Deepavali with only my family members.  It's a new  kind of feeling when I don't have to slave over the stove making ' thosai ' and chicken curry, etc ....  for my never ending guests streaming in all day..... This year  I'm visiting my sister so I can put up my legs a wee bit.

  In the morning, after offering my prayers at the temple, I'm  going to visit some of the children in the low cost flats located in Shah Alam and give them goodie bags .    My kids and I went there last week and gave away soft toys, mugs, cookies , etc to the  small kids playing in the car park .  One twiggy like child of 5  wore  an adult size flip flop and  climbed down 8 flights of stairs .......    One single parent of a child asked me why I was doing it .   I was quite taken aback and  I  really didn't know how  or what to answer her .  Another mum asked if I was from some welfare dept and had  to register her name with me.  Most of them were curious and I guess a wee bit suspicious  of my motive !     Well, the secret is out ! I did it because I wanted to .  That's it. The cookies, I had  baked myself... the soft toys of Winne the Pooh, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse,  tigers, teddy bears, etc .,  belonged to my kids during their childhood days which I had lovingly packed them away to keep as keepsakes and for memories  ( they had quite a large collection )  and the  mugs, plates,  and souvenirs were collected from travels and family members  ) .  

 In retrospect, I think I wanted to see for myself the surprise and happy feeling on their faces, hear them hollering out their friends name with  their squeals of laughter and see them  prancing around with delight with their new found toys/gifts.  I am quite tired of just giving money to homeless  organisations and welfare homes.  I have found it more meaningful to go down to meet them face to face  and do/give whatever I can .  Not everyone is registered with welfare homes or NGOs... most of the lower income families just go about their lives doing their  work and try to cope with the pressure of work to make ends meet.  They would hardly have time to play with their children and it is  these category of people/ their small ones  who need  a bit of cheer.  

If truth be told, it was  the children who made me happy that day with their toothy grins and shrieks of laughter and delight .   And  I'm grateful they gave me an opportunity to experience it.


On another note, I was browsing through the SeniorsAlound.blogspot.com and viewed this touching video.  It's a short film of 12 mins which I have uploaded here after watching it. You'll understand it when I say you don't need subtitles  .........








Wishing all Hindus ' A VERY HAPPY DEEPAVALI ' and GOD BLESS

Happy reading and painting


Lakshmi

An Interview with GOD

Posted by Lakshmi
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Tuesday,  11 October 2011



You simply have to watch this movie.  I did it a few times and it humbled and  touched me profoundly... and then I smiled  knowingly as I read the ending.


http://www.theinterviewwithgod.com/popup-frame.html






Happy reading and painting


Lakshmi

Paintings, Paintings, Paintings ! 2

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Saturday 8 October 2011


The nine days of ' Navarathri ' ( Sanskrit for 9 days and nights )  prayers observed by Hindus all over the world are now over and  I have found time to upload the other paintings of Tengku Norashikin.

                       

These 3  cooking utensils were done quite some time ago but they still look good for hanging on the kitchen wall.

A lovely basket of roses filled with cookies
Ooooo! so so cute and cudly - perfect for the nursery room
A beautiful ' kampung' scene complete with chickens.....

Although work still has to be completed, I clicked away anyway !

                              
The 4 paintings shown was done on the 4 sides of the caddy. Great work and creativity
Hmmmm so appetising.....................................



Mama mia, the tin of biscuits look scrumptious enough to eat

If I were in Hogwarts School of Magic , I'd  wave my wand and make the mouth-watering cake appear before me this instant.

' Langadium Laviosa ' ......... hmmmm my magic wand is not working and my stomach is growling. Must try again !


Texture paste work done on two different bread boxes with subtle variations ..... both look absolutely delicious


Well,  what are you waiting for ? Pick up that brush and get a move on, people, start painting now !



Happy reading and painting



Lakshmi