Wednesday, August 29, 2007


“HAVE WE DONE ENOUGH?” was the theme of the seminar held on the 18th & 19th August 2007 at the Tanjung Bungah Hotel, Penang, Malaysia. Every two years the three dedicated centers for cerebral palsy in Malaysia, would take turn to organize a national level seminar to highlight and voice out the needs and rights of individuals with cerebral palsy; and to find some solutions for problems and needs faced by them.

The Cerebral Palsy Children’s Association of Penang hosted the seminar for this year. The theme of the seminar itself speaks louder about the rising concern over the needs to do more to improve the living standard of the individuals with cerebral palsy. The keynote address by Professor Roy McConkey, a Professor of Learning Disability at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, was interesting. He is a psychologist by training and has more than 30 years of experience in the field intellectual disability. In his keynote address, Professor Roy emphasized on three possibilities which could answer the theme, “Have We Done Enough”, i.e. YES we have done enough, NO we haven’t done enough and We DON’T KNOW whether we have done enough. If the answer to the theme is a YES, What more can we do? If the answer is a NO, what can we do to help ourselves? And, if we don’t know, what can we do?.

Throughout the two days seminar and the post seminar workshop, Professor Roy touched on the need to explore new ventures, search for new possibilities and create new partnership if we are to provide a firm footing for persons with disability. He also stressed on the pertinent issues such as the need to develop talents, nurture positive attitudes, create better opportunities and promote self-reliance for the persons with disabilities generally, and especially for the individuals with cerebral palsy. But, to explore and nurture these four areas of development, serious consideration should be given towards establishing new partnerships, which involve mainly the individual with disabilities, his/her family members, the community and the specialists. By giving attention to these important aspects of life, we can surely provide a better future for them.

There were also talks on independent living, positive side to caring, how to generate opportunities for people with learning disability, personal experiences and viewpoints of individuals with cerebral palsy. Among the concern raised were self advocacy for the cerebral palsy individuals, and the necessity of independent living. Both are still in its infancy in Malaysia and may require active involvement of all parties especially the Government in order to streamline a systematic process of self-advocacy and independent living. Overall, at the end of the seminar, some ideas and resolutions were presented to be forwarded to relevant authorities, so that the suggestions and ideas shared during the seminar can be effectively implemented.

At the end the seminar, I asked myself, “HAVE WE DONE ENOUGH?” I feel we have not done enough for them. We are busy with our own lives and problems. We worry a lot about the work pressures and the stress impact on us. We are concern more about our own interests most of the time. And, the question “HAVE WE DONE ENOUGH?” is not a new one. It arises within everyone of us but to suit our own needs. This time it is being asked for the benefits of some less fortunate souls around us, whose existence need to be lauded before we realised that they are here amidst us. It’s a timeless and appropriate question for all ages. At different times and climes, changes are certain. Together with changes, comes different type of necessities which requires new kind of adaptation.

We can go on asking this question throughout our lifetime. As long as we wallow in our own selfish world, which we experience through the narrowing windows of perception, until then the question shall remain, “HAVE WE DONE ENOUGH?” Though we can’t quantify the efforts made to help the people with disabilities, we can always do something to inculcate values into their lives and upgrade their living standards. The integrity and dignity of a person irrespective of one’s belief, culture, language, race or religion, must always be upheld. If we, the community, fail in our efforts to provide quality living standards for the disabled persons, we may end up losing our ground for humanity. And, our failure in identifying the missing link to their predicaments may result in many unimaginable situations in the future.

As Professor Roy McConkey said during his presentations, There are two gifts we can give people with disabilities, one is roots, the other is wings. In another word, we should accentuate the process of rooting and gradually see that the flying takes place.

Here I would like to extend my sincere Thanks for his generous contribution towards the success of the seminar. Thank you Roy.

Errors under your tender care.
Mistake are mine.
Corrections are yours.

©cyclopseven 2007. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Teamwork is the most essential part of a workforce. Any effort carried out disregarding the teamwork will only attain futility. Though in the beginning everything starts with individuals, as time flies by, a team will gradually replace the individuals for an effective and efficient running of an organization.

A team is a place where we can measure our strengths and weaknesses. Our strengths and weaknesses are the dominating factors in our lives as well as the spiteful attitude which could possibly arise from some misunderstandings with our colleagues. Each person is unique and different from another. We have to accept this fact before we can qualify to be part of a team. We always tend to hold dear to our own opinions and conclusions to solve a given problem. We maybe right in our own world and perception. But, this should not blunder our vision to see the wide and deep world that span across the reality of life, that among the best of the best, there still lies a better solution for a particular situation. Accept it, tolerate and learn to live with better ideas and workable plans. This is a way to achieve teamwork. We may not be wrong all the time, whilst at the same time, others too, may not be wrong all the time.

One must always be prepared to entertain a broader perspective at workplace, taking into consideration everyone’s ideas, no matter how trivial they may seem. Give due recognition to skills that others' possess while making effort towards acquiring new skills and improving the old ones, if there is a necessity.

Sense of appreciation is lacking in present day work ethics. We would rather spend hours in gossiping and justifying another man’s purportedly wrong action, rather than taking a few seconds off our daily breathings to appreciate his right actions. When we develop the sense of hatred, it’s like lighting up a cotton wool. It burns faster. Not much effort is required to get the fire alive until the matter become ash. Our lives, is governed by our conscience. We react to the stimuli from the external world as perceived by our senses. If we just care to take a little time at any part of our daily journey through this life, to analyze the progress we have achieved, I believe we can become a better person, not just to ourselves but also to others around us.

Teamwork doesn’t mean that one will have a smooth sail. In a team there are task oriented group as well supervisory group. Sometimes there can arise unexpected differences between these two groups, thus creating problems which if not checked immediately can divide a team. At this point, it’s advisable to sit and talk, and sort out the conflicting matters. One has to accept others' opinions, if their reasons given are good and can benefit the team. Lastly, a teamwork is not meant to last for short stipulated period of time but it’s continuous journey, like a long train ride.

Errors under your tender care.
Mistakes are mine.
Corrections are yours.

©cyclopseven. All rights reserved 150807.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hungry Ghost Festival

In Malaysia and some other parts of world, once again it is time for the Hungry Ghost festival. This festival is always celebrated on the 15th day of the 7th Lunar month. On this day, the Chinese believe that the "Gates of Hell" are opened and that the spirits of the dead return to visit their living relatives. According to the belief, hungry ghosts or pretas are beings in sub-human developmental stage. Due to their past lives which were lived in extreme greed, they have been reborn to experience constant state of hunger and thirst.

In the olden days, the family members made offerings of new harvest to their ancestors believed to be alive in the world beyond. There are some similarities with the Buddhist Ullambana festival and the Taoist Ghost Festival which also known as ‘Chung Yuan’, in the sense that during both these festivals, offerings are made to the departed ancestors.

The state of Penang, being one of the states with very high Chinese population, reveals the gist of this festival. One can observe, along every road where majority of Chinese community of Buddhist or Taoist faith lives, offerings are made by burning replica money notes or ‘hell money’ and also in some areas offerings made represent of the earthly comforts such as form of paper houses, televisions, cars and many more. Chinese people believe that by these offerings and prayers, the hungry ghosts will be happy and live a comfortable live in their planes of existence.

Ceremonies are carried our in the temples, homes, Chinese guilds and Chinese Associations. Usually food such as chicken, fruits, bean curd and rice, are offered during the prayers and placed by the roadsides to appease the wandering spirits. The Chinese believe that by these offerings, they can provide the spirits with all manner of earthly pleasures, thus sending a message to the ghosts not to cause disharmony or serious health implications among the members of the family.

Various cultures and various beliefs add colors to this life, which otherwise would be a monotonous affair from beginning till the end. Though most people may have lost the impact and actual significance of the festival, some understands that the ultimate significance of this Hungry Ghost festival is to remember the dead relatives and pay respect to them.Its really interesting to see that many of the traditional celebrations and prayers are still being practiced by many.

Our ancestors are the foundation of our existence and the catalyst for the continuity of human race on this earth. Therefore, it’s a very noble act to pay tribute and respect for those people.

Errors under your tender care.
Mistake are mine.
Corrections are yours.

©cyclopseven 2007. All rights reserved.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Memories down the lane – Letter writing

Letter writing used to be one of my most enjoyed hobbies during my school days and a few years after I finished schooling. I made a lot of friends locally and worldwide. It was a wonderful feeling of being able to communicate with people from US, Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia. It helped to widen my understanding and appreciation of different cultures, beliefs and religions.

I had many friends who were very close from all around the world, and we shared many personal things among us. I always found it enjoyable to sit and write replies to the letters received, especially during the wee hours of the night. The piles of letters that I used to receive kept me occupied most of the times. I kept most of the letters safely in my locker, until one day heavy flood seeped through the locker and wiped the contents and together with the muddy water all my friends written advises, grudges and grouses and motivations, washed away. Never return. I lost my friends’ addresses along with their phone numbers. It was an era, where computer literacy was not widely available and computer was a luxury.

I still remember, my longest letter was 16 pages to an Australian friend. Till now I couldn’t figure out what I wrote in that letter, but was reminded by my friend that it was the longest ever letter that she had received then. I am no more in touch with almost all the friends I made during those years. As internet became a household name, emails and live chatting have replaced the letter writings. The interest to write letters using pen, typewriter and papers slowly waned and I found internet to be much faster and easiest method to make friends. And, it has substituted the need to get writing pads, typewriter, pens, envelopes and stamps. Furthermore, emails reach the other side of the world in a few seconds compared to snail post, which, despite of the technology available, still takes an average of 2 – 14 days to go intercontinental and it requires a fee.

Though, the past is not here now, my memory still cares to deal with it and as I turn the pages of the past, a lot of beautiful memories began to flood my conscience. I take this opportunity to thank all those beautiful people who kept me going during the turbulent attack of emotional depression, then. Their supports and advises helped me a lot.

Errors under your tender care.
Mistake are mine.
Corrections are yours.

©cyclopseven 2007. All rights reserved.

Memories down the lane - Combat

Once in a while I would dive into the ocean my memories and bring back either the beautiful jewel of events or harrowing episodes of tearful saga. Mid 70’s was a season of good and interesting TV series, especially for school going kids. I was about 11 years old. Almost everyday at 7.30pm, my cousins and I would sit in front of the TV to watch our favorite series ranging from Space 1999, Bionic Woman, Six Million Dollar Man, White Shadow, CHiPs and definitely that famous Vic Morrow starred Combat.

Combat hold a special spot in my heart as well as for my cousins’ and friends’ too. The story of how American infantry soldiers penetrated the enemy lines in Europe during WW II was indeed very interesting and entertaining. Led by the well respected Sergeant Saunders (Vic Morrow), the American infantry soldiers walked across the land in Europe to identify enemy’s stronghold and wipe them out by staging series of well planned attacks. We didn’t not bother to ask why only the Americans must win the war and not the Germans as well. We didn’t know or cared to delve much into some of those cheap thrills, bloopers and tricks such as how can a wounded man kept on moving for miles through the terrains and forest., despite losing so much blood and finally come out alive.

Sergeant Chip Saunders with his heroic appearance was my favorite instead of the calm and compassionate Lt. Gil Hanley (Rick Jason). Sergeant Chip Saunders always led his platoon to victory and took charge of almost every situation during a war situation. How they trailed the tracks and marks left by the Germans and destroy the enemy once and for all, left indelible marks in my mind.

Combat had a very strong impact on me, my cousins and friends to the extent; we made our own wooden rifles and would enter the nearby forest by dividing our groups into two. I had two beautiful wooden rifles made of discarded wood collected from the construction sites. We would produce the machine gun rattle orally when firing at enemies. Sometimes, the verbal rattle, would be followed with some wild seeds hooked at the end of rubber strips pulled along the barrel of our wooden rifles and released at appropriate time to hit the target. I still remember one day when we used the wild seed as bullets, not knowing its harmful side. But it was not long, before we realized a few among us had been scratching their bodies from head to toes. The juice from the seed resulted in itchy sensation when it come in contact with the skin. Since, I was practically hiding all the time, I was not fired at and escape the onslaught of itchiness. Apart from that, the hit can be very painful and quite dangerous too, as the speed the seed travel can blind one’s eye if one is not careful. Thank god that no such incident happened to us.

Running up and down the hills and across the forest for hours, searching and killing our enemies provided us with high speed game which requires a lot of stamina. Though the heroes who fought the enemies valiantly, do not appear on television anymore, the memory of them is still fresh and alive within me. Just like many things in life, this interest too slipped into the silent eternity, occasionally surfacing to color the monotony of life.

Errors under your tender care.
Mistakes are mine.
Corrections are yours.

© cyclopseven 2007. All rights reserved.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Memories down the lane II – A family across the lake

Across the small lake, lived a rubber tapper’s family. Surrounded by little forest and miles of rubber estate, they lived in isolation. The area is hardly accessible by four wheelers and the family didn’t care much about this, as their mode of transportation was only by bicycle. Being adventurous, I used to trespass the area just to have a peek at this curious family of four. The family comprised of mother, father, a daughter and a son. They were not rich. Working for others, they could possibly earn not more than RM10.00 per person by rubber tapping and with husband and wife working, perhaps RM20.00 per day. That amount would be sufficient to maintain and manage their daily necessities. I understand that the kids had never been to school and no one in my area bothered to think of that. Each minded their own business, unless they have something sensational to gossip about.

I rarely saw them in the small town where we lived. Being very inquisitive, I enquired some of my friends and my dad’s friends about the family but to no avail, as none could provide me with many details. Yet, I was adamant to find out why they isolate themselves to such an extent of living in a not easily accessible area. One has to walk or cycle for miles before reaching their place and at some point of the track one has to push the bicycle to reach the closest range of the house. It was an old wooden dilapidated house. The planks spoke a good history for over many decades. The dark grey colors of the planks were an indication that paint had never touched the surface.

Day by day my curiosity increased and devouring my conscience slowly. I couldn’t tolerate the agony of having too many questions without proper answers to each of them. One day, I managed to brainwash one of my friend who seemed to know the boy of the house, at least to the extent of waving hands. When we reached there, the father looked at us smilingly without a word. He didn’t even open his mouth to ask us what we were doing there. Instead, he pushed his bicycle and went his way minding his own work. The entire aura around the house was mysterious. A few minutes later, the boy came out from the house and waved at my friend. Nothing more than that and he went inside the house, never return again. I was wonderstruck at these sorts of odd behaviors. My friend was equally perplexed to see this. There was no sign of electric supply nor telephone line. And, looking around the house, I could see only some containers used to carry rubber, old rusted iron bars, fire wood stacked nicely and a few chicken running around to break the silence.

Upon completion of my intermediate secondary school education, I left my town to continue my high school at a distant town. However, the questions about the family, kept flashing in my head all the time during my high school. After a couple of years, I returned to my hometown and began to prod again into this mysterious family. I was very disappointed to know that they had already left the place without telling anyone. As time went by, I came to know that the boy was suffering from some kind of sickness and the parents couldn’t afford to give him the proper treatment. It seemed that they were too disappointed with the people around, who refused to render helping hands in the moments of dire distress. Thus, they moved far from the society. Moreover, later I found out that the boy died due to lack of proper treatment and medication.

It’s really a sad tragedy for mankind, especially at this age of progress and advancement in medical field; they are people, still deprived of their rights for a proper treatment.

What can we call this? Attitude problem?. I would say ‘Yes’. The family should understand they shouldn’t blame the whole population for one or two ignorant fools and the society too should have made a rigorous effort to sustain the family through many means available such as NGOs, temples and political parties. It was too late. I pray and hope, such thing won’t repeat itself once again.

Errors under your tender care.

Mistakes are mine.

Corrections are yours.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Memories down the lane I - A squirrel Story

As we travel down the lane called life, we all leave behind trails of memory that one day during our ramble within the forest called mind, will evoke in us a happy or nostalgic aroma. And it so happened this morning, as I woke up from sleep the trail of a memory I left behind came snatching my reverie, awhile.

20 years ago, I found a baby squirrel which apparently had fallen from the tree nearby and was left in the mud by the others of the same family. At first I thought it was dead, but as I was getting closer to observe, the natural instinct of survival aroused the squirrel of the impending danger, and it tried to escape. Alas! It was covered thickly with mud from red earth and impossible indeed was its attempt to escape from me.

I knelt down and gently stroke its back repeatedly to calm it and let it be known that I am but a friend and not a fiend. After a couple of minutes, I slowly lifted it onto my palm and brought closer to my face and stared at the squirrel and slowly breathed warm air onto its shivering body. I brought it back home and gave a short bath with lukewarm water and dried the natural drape of the squirrel using a hairdryer. Then, I removed all the things from my table drawer and filled it with dried grass to make a home for the new addition in the family. My little friend was lucky as it was fruits season and many of the squirrels' favorite were freely served by nature during the season. So, I fed the squirrel mostly with bananas, durian (a kind of thorny fruit with strong smell), rambutan pulp and a little water. At night, I would leave a 100 watt bulb lit in the drawer to provide some warmth for the baby.

I named it Rama. After two days Rama became heartily healthy and started to wander across my room leaving traces of waste almost everywhere. At times, it would jump over my bed and sneak under my blanket. After almost a week my conscience began to play its music. We man have forgotten all the natural ways of survival and even have domesticated many animals for our selfish interest. Would it be fair for me to repeat it again with this high-tree wanderer? I decided to let loose Rama after almost a week. I wish not to trap nature within my selfish embrace for my own satisfaction, and I believed Rama has to return to where he belongs too. I bet Rama had no qualm about that after almost a week of special services provided for him. One day, I took him to the nearest forest and let him go. He disappeared instantaneously with some noise. I guess he thanked me for saving his life.

After that day, I returned many times to the jungle and started to call Rama. But, there were hundreds of Rama jumping from branch to branch, tree to tree. Which Rama was the one I saved? I couldn't recognize my Rama, but I know one thing for sure, whether I called it Rama, Mara or whatever, nature is nature and a squirrel is a squirrel. Down deep, there was a longing to see him again for one last time, but it never happened. And, even if I managed to see him for that 'one last time' would that really be a 'one last time' sort of anticipation? Then, once again, I opened the cage and let it him disappear once again, this time from my heart.

Years have rolled by, suddenly today the wave of Rama's memory came surging towards me. There were no any deliberate attempt to think of Rama nor was there anything which could take me back to Rama's memory. It just happened. I don't know why. 20 years is surely too long for a squirrel to stay alive. Perhaps, Rama's soul visited me today? I surrender this to mother nature. Long live Rama.

Errors Under Your Tender Care. Mistakes Are Mine.
Corrections Are Yours.

Forgive me my friends IV

My dear friends from far and near
I wish to garland you all with a few words of wisdom
Garnered by experience and friendship
I gained in this life from then and now.

Forgive me my friends, I wish to once again say
Things I might have said and actions I might have done
Be it through silent language nor in the dead of whispers
Whichever may have hurt you once or may be more
I meant it not, not even in the dream within my dream.

The night’s mystery speaks in inexplicable language
Through the voices of the cicadas and dancing bamboos,
Gurgles of river and gentle murmurs of the night breeze
In togetherness all bound strongly to proclaim their friendship.
Strange indeed this strangest language of mystical mystery
That speaks of friend and friendship, not of enemy.

Forgive me my friends, I wish to once again say
Like nature I am impossible to be or to become
But a human I am ever and so my friendship may have flaws
Give me a chance to repent the mistakes and repair the flaws.

At times when the moments of distress assail me
During the dark evening void of brightening sun
In friendship the solace I hunt vigorously
To relish the bliss of friendship locked safely.

I am just another dust that trails the path of life
In this cosmos I am nothing but a hidden naught
Yet my friends you all made feel that I am grand
And your kind thoughts and friendly words render me happy.

The tunes of memory spoken in the language of mind
Carries within the relationship beyond expectations
That which trumpets sincerity and honesty
And I bow to all my dear friends for your empathy.

© 2007 cyclopseven. All rights reserved 190707.

Forgive Me My Friends III

Again the night brings together
fragment of events from the mines of memory
lighting the beauty of friendship
that traveled with me all along this life.

Together we were a group of teenagers
inquisitively wild at life’s mystery and opportunities
we pounced with feral zest to tear apart the secrets
of which this life has placed among all of us.

With spirit high reaching the impossible
we together shared our palms in the heat of the sun
giving and sharing was a value of ultimate sacrifice
we sat together wallowing in the deep mysteries of nature.

As the dust of desires began to fly high before settling to rest
each of us took to our own destination of different nature
some went to north and south searching for better lights
some went to east and west in pursue the scrolls of academic excellence.

Thus destiny separated us to hunt for wealth and knowledge
all the funny things that rendered our laughter a clap
i still carry it fresh within my memory
and almost everyday i bed with them;
and nostalgic memories re-written freshly everyday
for my consumption.

I humbly bow to the world of friendship for giving me a chance
to know all these wonderful people, and me to be known to them,
every pain hidden within the crease of this relationship
forget them my friends;
and forgive me friends for any unintended actions or words from me.

©cyclopseven. All rights reserved 200607.

Forgive me my friends II

Forgive me my friends
if at times my silence kills your reverie
because every moments that goes with noise start from silence
silent that generates the silence.

I may have not praised you all my friends
don’t get me wrong, tarry awhile and ponder
not that I am stingy with praises
my praises is for the weakling who needs sustenance
so their lives too shall be strong like you all.

In the random musings of daily life
the mind picks wondrous signals
of both good and bad alike
and being just a human I live like waves
swept in both worlds of joy and pain.

Each moment that passes by
carry together your face and voice
so wherever I go, I am in no dearth of friends
I want you all to know
in silence my mind searches for you all
better and sweeter.

Nectar of peace and sublime bliss of beauty
more and more I see in you - one and all
irrespective of the labels imposed on you
such as name, race, religion and many more
I see but only a friend in you.

So don’t get me wrong my friends
in the event of my sudden disappearance
just remember that I love and live with you all
with your names embossed in my divine thoughts
I shall cross the ocean that parts,


If you all feel that I am too selfish
to utter a praise or two
to quench the friendly yearning within you
let me say it now loud in words and clear in thoughts
“you all are wonderful woven cells of my existence.
your greatness I humbly embrace
for appreciating this little me into your fold, as a friend”.

Once again forgive me my friends
for my silence is not meant to be an ignoble one
but in that I bask under your care and love
more and more.

©2007 cyclopseven. All rights reserved 02052007.

Forgive Me My Friends I

One day my heartbeats shall stop
leaving the residue of life in the sands of time,
sooner, or maybe later
the call may arrive, unexpectedly.

To all my friends
known and unknown
from near and far,
any mistakes intentionally made
any mistakes unintentionally done
please undone the knots of anger and frustrations,
in forgiveness release me please
for in death I know not
whether I'll speak.

Time given today, perhaps tomorrow another day
I may be around, a few words let me say
leaving is not as important as living
by living the right way, the leaving will be light full of bliss.
I came for a purpose, I wish I know that well
alas! Human we are, the limitations imposed made us far
from god and man we wander away
seeking materials unknown for trifle play.

While energy is still high
render the deeds good,
sin not any souls that you come to meet
including the trees, creepers and mountains so high
for each bow we pay in respect
nature vows to keep us blissfully intact.

My dear friends
days may come and go
friends may come and go too
yet true ones hold a spot so dear
we know, with them we don’t have to fear.

Bountiful life is a way to joy
a careful driver is surely to rejoice
the harvest here and hereafter, if in the highway
he travels with tolerance, peace and truth.
These are the simple messages
from prophets, saints and sages
time yonder, they come from
seeking us for good, they thronged,
beautiful indeed this life will be
if everyone live the way that’s to be.

Goodbye, I shall now say
for, time is not in my grip
anytime, at any place and anyhow
he may come, the divine rider
as passenger he will take me
I hope, not in fright
but to a greater height.

Suddenly I feel
I have to say all these,
forgive me my friends
for the soul do not cast a word
after it is removed by the divine sword.

©2006 by cyclopseven. All rights reserved.