View Full Version : I Need A Long Long Long Holiday

Cool Hand Luke
17-11-2003, 09:20 AM
Dear People - The cry is nothing new. Nothing original. I heard that from the radio in the car this morning. I read a report that some of the most stressful cities (in terms of work) is Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur. Singapore is getting better in that when the clock hits 5, more people are thronging out of the doors to do their own things - either in the pubs with friends, shopping in the malls or with their families. For the life of me, I cannot find this report now. Share with all of us about how you look at stress, how you perceive it and how you manage it.

A short article from Susana Parker on Stress Management:

"If we were lucky enough to meet our ancestors somewhere in the past and tell them about the way we live today they would probably say: "Wow, it must be wonderful". And in truth, it should be! Although we no longer have to hunt in order to survive, conquer continents by the sword or have to work seven days weeks in deplorable conditions, we seem to lead miserable lives.

Hardly one day goes by without us hearing the word "stress". So, whatís gone wrong then? Some will say too much work, others will blame the family or their poor healthÖ Of course, all these reasons are valid ones but not new to mankind. After all, life has never been perfect!

I often hear people who live in the city complain about their busy lifestyles and wishing they had a nice cottage in a rural village, or, people who live in quiet places dreaming of the bustling city life!

Some will make the move but may find the city life too much and return to their initial place and yet those who find the countryside so dull that they start longing for the stress of the city!

We tend to create mental images of how we would like life to be and when things donít match our dreams, we get frustrated! This is true for career, for relationships, finances, etc.

Itís not uncommon for people to feel deluded by their dreams and expectations but that is where the learning process begins. All my life I wanted to live in London and after visiting a few times, I realised that what I really wanted was to be a tourist there and nothing else! I still love London, as a visitor, as I get the chance to see and enjoy things that residents donít always have time for but I would never even endeavour to live there!

Can you see now where we have gone wrong? Yes, thatís it! Too many unrealistic expectations fed by a world full of opportunities! Whereas our ancestors would be happy with being able to survive, we are eager for success, wealth and always seeking to add more commodities to our lives. Worse even, we always desire things we donít own!

And it is so easy to get lost with "wants" and "desires" in this world! Turn on the television and you will be showered with commercials with appealing images that make you want to buy things that normally you would not even think of.

But, do you really need that promotion to be happy? Do you really need that new car to put a smile on our face? Do you really have to travel abroad every year to enjoy life?

There are techniques that you can use to help you see the world from a different perspective. The benefits of meditation have been widely discussed but there are times when itís particularly difficult to switch off, so I have to resort to a pre-meditation exercise.

If you had a bad day at work, at home or your bank account is in the red again, meditating can prove to be quite hard. What I tend to do in this case, is to visualise myself leaving earth, quietlyÖ my body feeling as light as a featherÖI start rising towards the sky and I slowly enter space and move as far as I need to see the earth. Then I sit down on an imaginary seat and just stay there observing everything that is going on in the planetÖ I see people rushing about, shouting at each other, I see wars, I see people departing and leaving the planet and lastly, I review my bad day!

After observing all these events happening in our world from a safe distance, my problem, whatever it was when I started this pre-meditation exercise, has become much smaller compared to everything else! All my material belongings have been reduced to what they are: effects that are here to help me on my journey and that are not meant to be the centre of my existence. My mind has gone from being an ocean of agitated waters to being a placid lakeÖI am then ready to enjoy the stillness I have created inside my being and enter a deep meditative state.

Meditation has the power of making us drift into a more realistic world. When youíre at peace and feeling at One with the Creation it is easier to understand who you are and the world around you. You then realise that illusions is what the physical world is made of.

Nevertheless, dreaming and wishing is important. There is nothing wrong with dreaming of having a successful career, an expensive car or travelling around the world. As long as chasing these things do not cause unbalances in other areas of your life or lead you to believe that you will be complete once you reach your goal, then the pursue can only be worth it!"

17-11-2003, 09:30 AM
sometimes our own stress is due to our own desires. To own that new 3 series. To have a house in Bangsar. etc. We add on our own requirements like having that neat Prada backpack that your secretary has. The list goes on. If we can have simpler needs like having basic transportation, roof over the head, food on the table, etc without all the frills, we would not be so stressed. Or would we? Perhaps having the latest these days is now a necessity rather than extravagance? Just the other day, my colleague told me he was getting a new mobile computer. What's wrong with his old one? Well - this new one has WiFi and is lighter. So? What are you doing to be doing that you cannot already do with your PC at work and at home? Do you need to be so in touch? Surfing with a PDA at hotspots is so trendy? Why blow half a month pay on something you don't really need? Why does everyone need to change their mobile telephone based on the model release frequencies of Nokia and Sony Ericsson? Why indeed? If we all can be like CHL and be content just keeping the dogs off his plot of council land, we will be less stressed as a community.

17-11-2003, 10:09 AM
All depends on environment we are in. Just like in USJ, every morning and evening the traffic is so bad save for the next few weeks (school holiday). It is a tough act not to be at least a bit stress up when you are struck in traffic day in day out.

And if you are rich then you can lead a stress free lifestyle easily.

Just for instance this weeks is a stress free week for me. At the moment I'm in HK enjoying the cooling autumn breeze. Because of the excellent public transportation system wherever I go, I don't have to worry much about the traffic like back in KL. Heck I'm going to TST this afternoon to send my phone for repair and while waiting for the phone to be ready, will grab some new trousers and then a Korean dinner with my friends. But too bad, I can only afford it for a week and not more than that.


Don't be fooled by CHL. I think he is reall stressed up having to juggle time between MsNikeBeautiful and MrsCHL and 2 MsCHL.

Cool Hand Luke
17-11-2003, 10:26 AM
Joecool - You are right. There is a difference between needs and wants. But it takes a very wise man/woman to know the difference and even more difficult still, to persist at it with all the peer pressure and temptations of advertisement and display of material goods and services around. Sometimes I used to think that it would be great if I have a bungalow with an outdoor jacuzzi. It would be great to have a shining metallic silver Mercs SLK instead of a Proton Tiara. Won't it be nice to be able to go for overseas holidays with your loved ones? And won't it be nice not having to worry about putting bread on the table? It has to do with contentment, I guess and it is so difficult to achieve that.

17-11-2003, 11:05 AM
3 years ago I left my job in KLCC because of the stress induced by driving to work. Now I am back in KLCC. Luckily for me, someone told me about the existence of KTM Komuter which means I merely have to drive to the KTM station at Carrefour and then it is the train all the way. Travel time is total of 35 minutes. Plenty of exercise climbing stairs and standing throughout the journey. I also gave up on some of my wants so that I don't have to work so hard to get that "performance bonus".

Cool Hand Luke
17-11-2003, 11:18 AM
Yes. We are forever chasing that illusive dream. I was very high up in the corporate world years ago and it almost killed me. They have to call in an ambulance to rush me to hospital. I am now living a relatively stress free life. The money is hell of a lot less but I am more mellow, happier and I have time to do the things I want - including writing a novel and yes, posting in the forum. I have time for my family. I also have time to enjoy a few glasses of wine in jazz bars. All these things I did not have time to do. A friend of mine told me this: "We always worry about work, trying to meet deadlines, trying to impress our bosses and colleagues. I bet you when you are on your death bed, the last thoughts which go through your mind are not going to be whether you should have spent more time in office but cursing yourself for not spending enought time with your loved ones".

17-11-2003, 11:44 AM
i disagree. i want these things in life, but i'm not going to kill myself over it. some people want the house in bangsar and the mercedes NOW, but they fail to set goals and work blindly around it. most get stressed out that the money's going out, but they fail to see their short term need to go to bangsar and splurge, or to the shopping mall, has overshadowed a bigger financial plan they should have put together in the first place.

i used to work full time jobs in PR. i found that working nine to nine for a company, getting paid a fixed (low) salary, and doggiing myself out was all for my bosses and not for me. and they were people who did not appreciate and respect the fact that fellow employees were working hard to make them rich.

i quit, finished my studies and now i work part time at my own pace. always make sure the clients like the quality of the work, and not blindly promise to deliver crap at their doorstep. the money is not a problem, in fact there's more of it than when i worked like a dog.

i noticed in europe they have more sensibilities where work is concerned. in germany for instance, they're highly productive during the work time, but they always knock off at five to go home and be with the family.

unlike in malaysia, everyone finds it so difficult to go home early. they sit down and dilly dally, take their own sweet time, look busy when the boss comes around and leave work late. those who are efficient find they have a losing battle, as the oppurtunist boss thinks "he's not getting enough work" and piles on more.

the only companies in malaysia that i'm aware of that don't do this are shell, petronas, and the other oil and gas corporations. they stress on a high degree of quality, rather than quantity.

two weeks holiday allowance per annum is another thing that's such a piss off. in europe they get a month a year fully paid, holidays for two weeks in christmas, and italians get two to four weeks siesta break in august because the heat is excruciating.

you cannot go to work enthusiastic if you don't get the time off for yourself, your family and your kids. malaysian's don't get enough of a break.

i really do think we're overworked. just look at how relieved people are on a friday evening to get out and let loose.

just my views.

don't work too hard.


17-11-2003, 12:57 PM
I completely agree with EJ - that Malaysians are overworked and underpaid. All of my friends working in Malaysia complain about it (some more than others), which annoys me quite a bit as they are part of the problem. "Why go home at 9pm?" "Because I have to". No you bloody don't. It is written in your contract if you cared to read it before you signed on that your working hours are XXX per week. Stick to that and shut up. Employees are too scared to voice up and take action, all they know how to do is complain to their friends. So, in my opinion they deserve it. I for one am not going to get stuck into a situation like that, as long as I follow the conditions of my contract, I will go home when I choose, and take leave whenever I choose to. If I want to take all 20 days leave in one stretch I will do so. It is my right, or am I wrong?

Cool Hand Luke
17-11-2003, 01:47 PM
EJ & Timo - Both your words warm my heart. I share your belief to the hilt. Thus my first post - " read a report that some of the most stressful cities (in terms of work) is Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur. Singapore is getting better in that when the clock hits 5, more people are thronging out of the doors to do their own things - either in the pubs with friends, shopping in the malls or with their families". It sucks in Malaysia. Employees are falling over each other to stay behind to impress their bosses. There are situations where the bosses are only happy when there are still people around when he leaves the office. Stupidity begets more stupidity. In the end, it becomes a vicious cycle where everybody is trying to outdo each other by staying back at the expense of their own lives and those of their families. When can we break out of this chained environment?

18-11-2003, 12:17 PM
Strange. Just yesterday during a meeting with my boss, I was rejecting his motion for me to have a weekly meeting with my staff instead of monthly. Seems my excuse that we are already squeezed for time does not work. His simple reply was - schedule the meeting after office hours. Surely it will not affect their schedule. I stared in disbelief for a while and then walked away. Guess he meant it.

18-11-2003, 12:39 PM
Seems in Taipei some jobs require less stress. Here's one.


Sorry if I offended anyone. If this is too extreme, moderator please delete this post.

18-11-2003, 02:40 PM
I do not think Malaysians are overworked and underpaid. The reason why a lot of people stay back after five is so that the boss would not think that they are not hardworking and so give them less in promotions,increments or bonuses. So what do they do, in the day time they skive off and do their own thing and when the boss is around act like as if they have a lot of things to do and never leave the office earlier than the boss. I used to have a boss who starts work only at 5!!. During they day he would go here and there and be a busy body and he proudly tells us how he goes back only at 9/10pm everyday. I pity him as that tells me that he has nothing better to do away from the office. He used to hang outside my office at 5 something and when he sees me leaving asks me where i was going. I tell him straight in the face that I was going for a drink and if he was free he could join me. After that he never asked me. I think if people are more productive during their working hours, there is really no need to act or pretend that they are working. Most of the time people are just acting busy.

A couple of days ago I went to a bank and out of the 9 people working, only one was serving the customers. Whe my turn came I asked they what kind of an institution that they think were running. You have a situation where the queue was up to the corridor and you have the whole lot of them acting as if they were very busy with doing something, shuffling papers back and forth but actually nothing was done. I practically raised my voice and they glared at me as if I was an alien until someone more senior came to apologise. Banks to me are the worse culprits aside from the public servants of course.

18-11-2003, 03:02 PM
I received an email from a friend with an image attachment of a graph showing working hours per year for some capital town around the world. This was based on year 2000 survey done by UBS (an International bank based in US).

And to make things interesting, we here in KL are overworked(ranked 2nd after Santiago among 34 capitals choosen). And it is true that Singapore, Hong Kong, Jakarta and even other developed capital worked less than us.

I tried to attached this image file to this forum, but it doesn't work. Does anybody knows how can I attached it so I can share the info with you all?

Cool Hand Luke
18-11-2003, 03:09 PM
Tepenpucong - I believe that was the article I talked about in my first post. Thanks.

18-11-2003, 05:15 PM
You cannot attach images to your postings. The only way to display images is to first get your image on a website (maybe you have a private website) and then insert the URL (web address) for us to click on. Since the graph was probably obtained from a website, find out from your friend the address of the original source and tell us here.

18-11-2003, 05:20 PM
I have that same attachment. It fails to attach because it was deemed too large in dimensions by this portal. It listed the total number of working hours in average by cities around the world. Paris is the lowest.

left side hung
18-11-2003, 05:54 PM
i remember reading about exactly what you mentioned in one of the jamming books. i'll admit the author karl something (dont remember his surname) had a much more rebellious and proactive approach to countering the problem, but the problems he described are the same.

i personally believe he's gone overboard with his ideas about counter culture to address the problem. the movement'll never get anywhere.

but that wasn't my point.

people who get caught up in the material things in life cause their own stress. if you believe what the marketing departments of large corporations are trying to tell you to sell their product, you deserve it.

i read an comment a while back (dont remember the source) from the perspective of a first world/western citizen about the citizens of developing countries and i thought it was hilarious (simply because it was so painfully obvious).

he said he felt sad whenever he looked at us because we're making all the same mistakes they did along the way.

i look at some people, and i think they deserve the grief, but it kills me at times when i see others struggling. i wish i could tell them to let it all go, forget the shiny machines on wheels, ignore the white models you will never ever look like, dont think that those who matter to you will ever think better of you because you have a bigger car. come on, don't let it get to you, a little common sense would relieve a LOT of these unnecessary issues.

but who am i to talk about stress, i've led a sheltered life, largely ignorant to the needs of other people.


everyone take care of themselves.

18-11-2003, 09:26 PM
left side hung.... i think you're talking about karl marx. he prescribed a theory called "economic determinism", which is the fundamentals of communism.

according to him, the way in which we work and live is solely determined by our material pursuits/gains.

first man started with nothing, then we became farmer-hunters, and when we produced more than we could consume, we sold the rest and started trade. then there was a need for workers, and class distinction took place.

then there's a long boring lecture between... but basically when there's no more class distinctions, there will be no more class oppressions. this equilibrium is communism, all are equal.

i'm not in favour of that at all. the idea of a judge being paid as much as a secretary is scary. humans have to be greedy, humans have to want, humans have to desire and strive.

whatever balances have to be struck within.


19-11-2003, 12:28 AM
hehehhe..thats why there is always a job for the adman...he sells u things u don't need...its all about wants and the size of a bigger house, longer boat, faster car, whiter then white face cream, bleachwhite toothpaste, blonde hair on asian face, perfumed rice, branded eggs and designer bananas...

Ever wonder why there is no need to advertise the humble plain white rice, salt & sugar?:D

19-11-2003, 01:22 AM
tupai.... there are a lot of rice adverts around.... i think there are some along the road to giant supermarket...

some are even (minor) celebrity endorsed!


19-11-2003, 09:16 AM
Anyone seen the latest mobile telephone on sale by of all people Carat Club? Yeah, the Vertu phone. Was on the market for a while in Singapore and UK. Last month Carat club decided that it was their duty to bring this to the Malaysian market. Not just a phone. Comes with an international concierce service at 500 pound sterling per year but of course first year is free (read included in the purchase price). Price of the phone? Stainless steel model retails at RM 22,000. High end model made of solid platinum and jewels retails at RM 88,000. Guess I have to put in a lot of extra overtime if I succumb to the marketing pitch of this company. Sigh. So many places to spend, so little money. Sigh.

left side hung
19-11-2003, 10:28 AM
Originally posted by empress_julz
tupai.... there are a lot of rice adverts around.... i think there are some along the road to giant supermarket...

some are even (minor) celebrity endorsed!


empress, no, i dont think the karl im talking about is anywhere as famous or influencial as marx :) he's not for communism, but he's against really artificial consumer culture. i believe he's a bit of a greenie as well.

he and his group would get on t.v. and try to call for days where consumers just wouldn't buy anything they dont need. (with an unbelievable amount of resistance from t.v. stations and their sponsors) he essentially believes that we've all been suckered into a really false lifestyle where our materialistic dreams are defined by large corporations for their convinience.

19-11-2003, 11:02 AM

Yeap, seen it in a magazine. Only a madman will buy that phone. On second thought I think the phone is more of a jewelry piece than a phone.

19-11-2003, 12:52 PM
hey left side hung.....

i just put two and two together.... karl marx = analysis of human behaviour with regards to materialism = what i thought you were referring to! wrong guess i guess ;)

joecool.... don't bash vertu... what were you doing at carat club ;)

rm 22K is not that pricey. i think it retails for more abroad.

personally, i'm contemplating whether to get myself the new 6600 nokia. more around my range, though still expensive :D

i saw some lovely diamonds at carat club. it's tax free because they import the stones as raw material. but the diamonds in malaysia are more expensive than they are in europe by a few thousand rm.


19-11-2003, 02:00 PM
Bash Vertu? Do I dare? If I am to buy one, I would have to put in a lot of overtime. I guess it is for those people who have no problems with a RM 2000 lunch. But not for me. Don't need a concierce. Don't have that many appointments anyway. Soon I might have to do what CHL does - stare at my piece of council land to pass time. Meantime I still have to work to ensure my daughters get a proper education. What was I doing at Carat Club? Guess somehow they thought I could use a Vertu and invited me over for the preview. Perhaps my previous Visa Platinum membership has to do with it.

Cool Hand Luke
19-11-2003, 02:30 PM
Wow Joecool - Visa Platinium? Way above my head. Nowadays I use a rubber band to tie my one ringgit notes together (usually in two bundles of RM10 per bundle) and put them in my very old wallet - I think it used to be a free gift from American Express at the time I could afford a credit card. I do not need any diamonds. I do not need expensive and trendy handphones. I am still borrowing handphone from my colleague who sits next to me in my cramped office whenever I need to make a phone call. But - I am happy and contented.

left side hung
19-11-2003, 03:50 PM
Originally posted by empress_julz
i just put two and two together.... karl marx = analysis of human behaviour with regards to materialism = what i thought you were referring to! wrong guess i guess ;)

i wouldn't say it was a bad guess. but obviously, more than just one person's analysed human behaviour. ;)

19-11-2003, 04:38 PM
Well note that I used to have a visa platinum only because it was a free one year membership. Could not afford the 750 ringgit a year annual fee.

19-11-2003, 06:16 PM
i don't use credit cards. never have, not sure if i ever will.

just not bothered to pay the fees. would stick to my ATM card, and now that bankcards are coming out (notably with maybank) it's such a breeze. why even bother with credit cards.

to a lot of people, the credit card is a status symbol. i noticed amongst my fellow peers who graduated and came out to work, the first thing they got themselves was a nicer handphone, then a credit card, and later a car. it's so sad that they'd get bogged down by materialism they forget the importance of saving and investing.

i'm so glad i waited and bought a car only when i absolutely needed it.... and i went for the most practical and economical, unlike some who spend half their pay paying off their debt to the bank for a flashy honda.

makes one wonder why humans are sometimes so greedy, self-serving and make the silliest choices.


19-11-2003, 08:53 PM
CHL., have you ever considered writing a book or something? Your writing skill is pretty "juicy".

On the subject of tying your one ringgit notes with rubber bands. I wonder you also keep the coins in your two ears?

Cool Hand Luke
19-11-2003, 09:38 PM
Uchangeng - Friend, I have mentioned here and there that I am in the midst of writing a novel (and I am not kidding). Ah, I shall let you be the very first to have a read at the opening two paragraphs of my book.....

The impossible dream. We were moving towards something that was not to be. Something that was not meant for us. I stood infront of the rain-streaked window and looked at the lights of Kuala Lumpur spread twenty floors below me. The only light in my office was the dim yellow pool cast on the mahogany desk made by the reading lamp. The rest was in darkness. It was Friday night and everybody who had somewhere to go had gone hours ago. In another office on the same floor, Siew Peng was preparing to leave. With me. Siew Peng and I making time for each other and staring into the face of a future that was not to be. I had long given up any thoughts and hopes of the future. Only fools plan for the future. There were too many uncertainties. Too many changes. All I knew and cared about was that tonight we would have dinner together. There would be small talks about the office. there would be arguments. There would be laughter and pain. There would be apologies for the pain and more laughter for the laughter. We never left together after dinner. Siew Peng would leave to go to her man she had not quite made up her mind on and I to my emptiness. I used to dream. I remembered a dream. It was a very long time ago. Nineteen years ago to be exact and that was a long time ago. And yet the dream would not pass away. It seemed to live upon my eyes. And like the girl nineteen years ago, there was nothing to hope and live for. Nothing.

My university, despite its generosity towards me in many ways, did not provide me with a study with a sweeping view of the Water Meadows in its autumn majesty. My small room faced the west and from my small elongated window and through very dirty panes of glass, I could just make out the monotonous grey roof of the main library and its top floor with fluorescent lights streaming from more elongated windows. I could not see much that evening in the gathering dusk with the creeping cold and mist rising from the Solent. I was weary to the bones; my head throbbed, my eyes ached and I longed for a cold beer and a smoke. I was not permitted to keep alcohol in my study and I had run out of Rothmans. I looked at the pile of dissertations on my cramped and untidy desk with impatience. My reading lamp cast a dull yellow pool on my cheap aluminum ash-tray which was doing an inadequate job and there were ashes on some of the papers. The usual lot every year. Some were mediocre, a few averages and nothing brilliant. But there was an exception this year. Rachel Ellingham was the exception. Most people could master Shakespeare to a certain extent if they tried very hard but few could read Chaucer in its original text faultlessly. Half of my class thought 'housbondes at chirche-dore she haddle fyres' was about sexual intercourse. I tried to remember who Rachel Ellingham was. It was not easy when there were some thirty five students in my class and most of them a cross between hyenas and zebras in their hair-dos and dress. Not unless Rachel was in my tutorial of seven and she was not. I picked up the telephone and call Georgina Steward. She was supposed to be the expert on Chaucer in the faculty.

20-11-2003, 12:01 AM
*clap clap clap*



20-11-2003, 08:56 AM
Credit card for me is a tool and not a trap. I pay off my bill every month much to the chagrin of my banker. And the annual fee is paid using the points which I felt is pointless but heck if it pays the annual fees why not. And occasionally redeem some worthless stuff with the remainder. The best I had was when I travelled a lot and put some 20K a month on my citibank bill. Managed to claim a short trip to Tanjong Rhu with that. Otherwise I think the points are pointless and I no longer use the citibank card.

CHL - darned good writing. Let me know when you get it publish. Better still - let me know when you have a book signing. Gives me bragging rights to have an autographed best seller.

20-11-2003, 09:05 PM
CHluke, I am hoping to see the day when u finish the book. Been waiting patiently... preferably while i still hv my eyesight, pls.

Cool Hand Luke
20-11-2003, 09:11 PM
Joecool - I would probably sit by the entrance of MPH in Summit trying to look intelligent with my failing memory (at the rate I am writing, the book would probably be completed in 2010 - either that or I conk off first).

"Hi, Gi, Do you have a Rachel Ellingham in your tutorial?" I asked. There was a slight pause and it was a silence of uncertainty.

"The Rachel Ellingham? The Ice Virgin? The Eve who betrayed Adam? Bright Spirit? Isabeau of Ladyhawke?" Her low husky voice never failed not to excite me.

"Are you being flippant?" I asked severely and after a slight pause; "Who the hell is Isabeau and what is a lady hawk? Is a lady hawk the same as a female hawk?"

"Michelle Pfeiffer was Isabeau in Ladyhawke. You saw the movie with me, remember?"

"Nobody is that beautiful, Miss Steward."

"I thought you knew, Rachel Ellingham is faultless, period."

"Nobody is faultless, Miss Steward."

"The lofty lady stood upright; she was most beautiful to see, like a lady of a far countre®®."

"Come on, Gi, spare me that Coleridge crap," I replied with exasperation.

"Really, Richard, the vice-chancellor ought to hear this, his head of language calling Coleridge crap," she exclaimed and then seriously; "Anyway, seeing is believing. Rachel Ellingham is faultless, perfect, absolute tops. Hey, I never know that you are ever interested in your students on a personal level, to you, they are just faces and names."

"Thank you, Miss Steward," I said. I leant back in my old leather chair and thought of Georgina Steward. She joined the faculty fresh from Oxford two years back and already she had made a strong impression on the rest of the staff. She was very good. I thought of Rachel Ellingham. If she could produce such work as an undergraduate, she would be better than Gi by the time she graduated. And Gi had first class honours. And she would probably be better than Professor Richard Lee.

There was a gentle knock on my door. Nobody knock on my door, not when I had pinned a scrawled sign indicating explicitly that I did not wish to be disturbed. My colleagues kept away from me when I marked the students' final papers. And as Gi had said, no student would ever come to see me. I was the head of the faculty and I enjoyed being distant and unapproachable. The door opened before I could yell for the intruder to go away. The opened door threw a rectangle of yellow light from the corridor. A girl stood there leaning against the door sill. Her corn-coloured hair formed a halo around her head. Her face was in deep shadows. She was facing slightly towards the right so as to face me. She closed the door and everything was in shadows.

"Professor Lee? I am Rachel Ellingham," she said it like an announcement as if she knew what I had been inquiring about her. Her voice was soft and sensuous.

"What can I do for you, Miss Ellingham?" I asked.

"Can I discuss......" she began.

"Your paper has been graded. It won't make any difference," I interrupted rudely. She came up to my desk and in the dim light, I could see a slight cynical smile playing on her lips. I could also smell the light scent of her perfume.

"No, Professor. Grades are unimportant to me," she said and added as if it was an afterthought; "I am very good and that paper you've just graded was very good, the best you've come across." She displayed cool arrogance and when it came from her lips, it was not a boast but simply the stating of a fact. She took the straight-back chair infront of the desk, crossed her knees and reached into her denim duffel bag for her cigarettes. She put two cigarettes between her lips, lit them and handed one to me. We smoked our first cigarettes together in silence.

I observed her closely through the wisps of smoke. Rachel was slim and a shade below five seven. Her light coloured hair framed her oval face in a fashionable untidy way. Gi was right. Rachel, with her slim straight nose, large hazel eyes, full soft lips and flawless skin; was very beautiful and that was all I could think about as I eased back into my comfortable chair, inhaling her beauty and feeling a creeping warmth spreading over my body. At first, I thought that the superintendent of the building had turned up the radiators and I mistook the warmth as such, physical heat. It was not until much later into the cold night that I realized the warmth as that of contentment, satisfaction and peace; the feeling that I had experienced the ultimate and nothing else mattered.

We discussed Wordsworth, Keats and Shelley. We discussed Shaw. And Lawrence. From Shaw's 'Maxims for Revolutionists' to Lawrence's 'Kangaroo', from free verse to sonnets. We drank steaming strong coffee from my percolator and we smoke her cigarettes. We talked into the night. Our voices merged. Our thoughts merged.

The bright sunshine streaming through the window panes hurt my eyes. I woke with a startle and I looked at the empty chair. The only evidences of her presence were traces of lipstick on cigarette butts and on the rim of her coffee mug. My head ached fiercely, I opened the window to let in fresh cold air. I ran a hand over the bristles on my face. I must have fallen asleep and I had dreamt of Rachel and I making love; not in the study but somewhere else. The dream would not pass away. It seemed to live upon my eyes. I could remember the soft moisten earth where multitudes of flowers sprung. I could almost smell her lingering perfume as I stood at the window, breathing in the crisp autumn air. I looked at my badly scratched Casio watch. I had a lecture on Tennyson in half an hour. I tidied up as best as I could. I buttoned up my jacket to hide my wrinkled shirt. I straightened my tie. I could do nothing about the shadow of my beard and the dark rings around my bloodshot eyes but I hoped that a stirring performance in the analysis of 'Locksley Hall' by Tennyson would draw attention away from my physical appearance. After all, the university paid me for my brains.

Rachel Ellingham sat at the back row of the huge lecture hall and when our eyes met, she gave no indication of acknowledgement. I was beginning to feel uncomfortable. Had we make love? I could not remember but the images persisted in my head. The vice-chancellor would have a field day with me when he discovered that his most promising head of faculty was pursuing anything other than what he was paid to deliver. I surprised myself for instead of stammering my way through Tennyson, I gave a performance which had the whole class on their feet and clapped. The last time they did that was when Prince Charles paid a visit and announced an obscure grant and that was after much prompting from the vice-chancellor himself. As I made my way out, I glanced at Rachel; not so much as a self-assurance for I knew that I was good. I had to be, to head the department but to show and prove to her that I was still the best despite her arguments and contradictions the night before. Her eyes were thoughtful and she gave a slight smile. It was not a smile of acknowledgement but I was too basked in self glory to think about it. Much later I was to recall her smiles, which were without mirth but with sadness, but by then it was too late for me. Too late for her and too late for us.

21-11-2003, 10:12 AM
Bravo. I remember Stephen King tried to publish one of his book online but failed or stopped due to piracy or something like that. Looks like we will still be holding paper in our hand for a while. I remember one of the Adam King advertisement was how he became famous and rich from writing a best seller. Of course opening a fried kueh tiaw restaurant in Tokyo seemed a more plausible choice.

Cool Hand Luke
21-11-2003, 10:33 AM
Oops. When I copied and pasted this from my home PC, it was alright but now I view it from the office PC, the page consists of weird characters and the alphabet 'C' appears. Do you people see the same things? And if so, what are the reasons? Thanks.

21-11-2003, 11:15 AM
I'm seeing the same thing :- ®C
At first I thought what were you meant with that character you have typed. It seems that something is wrong here.

Actually what did you typed that was replaced by this mysterious ®C character?

Cool Hand Luke
21-11-2003, 11:20 AM
Actually it was a full-stop followed by a capital letter. Weird. I go make amendments now.

21-11-2003, 11:20 AM
Think that 'C' character appeared due to some formatting information that was used by the software you used to write your novel with. I thought that problem disappeared with Word Perfect when MS Word was introduced.

Cool Hand Luke
21-11-2003, 11:26 AM
Thanks Joecool. I have made the correction. :) Anyway - this is the last instalment as I do not want to appear overbearing. Thanks, guys.

24-11-2003, 04:03 PM
Talking about stress, a study was done in the US by Lockheed Martin and Boeing to establish the connection between Age of Retirement vs. Length of Life.

I have a Chart that represents an actuarial study of age at retirement vs length of life. The Study was based on the number of pension checks sent to retirees of Boeing Aerospace.

The Boeing experience was that the average employee retiring at the age of 65 received 18 monthly checks.

Lockheed Martin was 17 months.

Conclusion: For every year one works beyond the age of 55, two years of life span are traded. In other words, the study showed that those who worked beyond 55, their life span was shorten.

I can email this chart to those interested.

And talking about holidays. I highly recommend Krabi, Thailand from where I just got back. If you like the sea, it's really great. Visited most of the islands and one of the most enchanting beach I've seen is this Maya Bay on one of the Phi Phi Islands. It was here that they shot the hollywood movie 'The Beach'. Really beautiful. And some of the divings/snorkelling was equally fantastic. Water was crystal clear with plentiful of variety of fishes. Would love to go back again. A real good stress antidote.


24-11-2003, 05:57 PM
i found krabi expensive and overdeveloped patrick. i was also a bit disappointed because when we went out to sea, there was a large line of rubbish floating in the water. just one big long line. this was sometime last year.

but did you go to this excellent restaurant that's slightlly away from the sea, they serve sushi and fresh catch.... literally mouth watering :D

also, to fly to thailand and then to krabi costs quite a bit.

at the moment i'm planning a holiday for december.... i was supposed to go back to europe for a short stint but looks like no. good in a way, cheaper too :D

has anyone been to pangkor laut resort? it's been voted the best resort in the world by conde nast. they purportedly have the best spa too.



25-11-2003, 10:29 PM
A study was done in the US by Lockheed Martin and Boeing to establish the connection between Age of Retirement vs. Length of Life.

I have a Chart that represents an actuarial study of age at retirement vs length of life. The Study was based on the number of pension checks sent to retirees of Boeing Aerospace.

The Boeing experience was that the average employee retiring at the age of 65 received 18 monthly checks.

Lockheed Martin was 17 months.

Conclusion: For every year one works beyond the age of 55, two years of life span are traded. In other words, the study showed that those who worked beyond 55, their life span was shorten.

I can email this chart to those interested. Or check it out at: http://asia.f1.pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/mylaiku/lst?.dir=/My+Documents&.src=ph&.order=&.view=t&.done=http%3a//asia.f1.pg.photos.yahoo.com/


27-11-2003, 05:06 PM
Yeah. I have been to Pangkor Laut. Stayed there in one of those bungalows on stilts. Emerald bay was great too. Went there in the past when it was Pansea was well but that time I arrived on one of those sea planes and was greeted by hula girls on arrival. I like the shower which comes directly down like rain. Nice.

27-11-2003, 11:57 PM
EJ, I am surprised by your observation. On the contrary, I was highly impressed by the cleanliness of their waters and the beaches. I could hardly find any rubbish anywhere! And boy, was I surprised to find plenty of rubbish bins in almost all the islands, no matter how remote. Impressed me no end!

As for the sushi/sea food rest, I did see one tho' not sure if it's the one you are referring to. I only had 3 nights there and everyone night was a mean at a different rest. It was heavenly Thai food all the way! I really luv Thai food. And soooo cheap!

Expensive? I paid RM699 for a package of return air and 4 star hotel, plus all breakfasts and 1 lunch, plus a half day city tour! Mind you, the hotel was more like a 68 * hotel. We luv every minute of it. Berjaya air now flys direct into Krabi every Thursday and Sunday.

But the day I departed was the last day of the low season. Now it's high season and the price is higher by about RM100 or 200. I luv it so much, I hope to go back and cover the other islands. I spent two days island hopping by speed boat and it only cost me about RM250 per pax. Plus lunches!

It was a really fantastic holiday and I'm looking forward to getting back there.