Flashbacks, Malaysia

Spell Check

Two days ago, I sent a news article to a friend in Japan. She informed me that a software immediately translated the Dutch texts into Japanese, and that she had no problem understanding the article. Part of me was glad that the language barriers are low these days. That people do not have to go through too much trouble to share and understand information that are presented in foreign languages. But part of me is a bit sad that we do not have the need to learn each other’s languages.

When I was in my first year of college in Malaysia, I had an instructor who taught communication. The man cannot spell, even if his life had depended on it. One day during our lesson, a frustrated classmate spoke up and asked the instructor how he ever got through school and life when he never bothered with his spellings. The instructor shamelessly uttered two words: Spell check.

There you go. Computers, smart phones, AIs… We no longer need our brains?!

Business & Being Creative, Flashbacks, Malaysia, Numbers

Thirty & Fifty

In the year 2000, I bought a 21-year life insurance savings policy. It was a financial gift and commitment I gave myself in commemoration of my 30th birthday. My financial objective then was for this policy to reach maturity in the year I turn 50, thus becoming my birthday gift for the second time. 🙂

Today, I received the maturity sum in my bank account.

Two decades went by really quickly.

Belgium, Flashbacks, Malaysia, Travels

Walk, Bike, Bus & Train

For most of my life and in all the places I have lived in, I have been dependent on the car for transportation. The only place that I did not need a car was San Francisco, and the reason is because I lived in the city and can walk to most places. Also, one can rely on the public transportation in most US cities.

Not in Malaysia though. Our public transportation system was downright shameful. Well, at least that was the case when I relied on the buses to get to school in the 90s when I lived in Kota Kinabalu. Public transportation did not exist in my home town when I lived there – and probably still not?!

The Belgians complain a lot about their existing public transportation. But for me, I have walked, biked, took the buses and trains in the past decade more than I ever did my entire life.

When one grew up in a third world country, one appreciates the freedom and security that public transportation in a peaceful and developed country such as Belgium.

Flashbacks, Malaysia, Travels

I Miss Flying

I miss long distance travels. *insert big sigh here*

In the past decade, my trips back to Malaysia were more than just tropical vacations. These trips were often coupled with some ongoing projects I have been working on remotely, to be concluded back home.

Even my trips to the United States are more than just carefree holidaying, because I always seem to have some matters I need to take care of.

Despite the unpleasantness of air travels, I do miss flying?!

Flashbacks, Food & Drinks, Malaysia, Numbers, Simplify

Hup Toh Soh

Today, I decided to use up some of the raw walnuts that I have stored in the refrigerator since last October. In keeping to the Chinese New Year theme, I made two jars of Chinese walnut cookies (hup toh soh), and a jar of candied walnuts. Admittedly, these are not the CNY snacks my family used to make back home in Malaysia. Walnut is not a common food item, and definitely not cheap, if available. Regardless of my past, I am a person who adapts to my surroundings, and can effectively handle the cards I have been dealt with in life. So far…

Flashbacks, Human Nature, Malaysia


I grew up in the 70’s spending a great deal of time playing with half Indians and half Filipinos cousins. My parish priests were Irish, Italian and Dutch. My classmates and teachers were made up of the three main racial groups in Malaysia. Diversity and the sometimes difficult racial mix was a way of life for me. I did not and do not care a hoot about being “Chinese”.

Placing and identifying yourself as one sort of people is rather ludicrous. It is counter-nature, counter-intelligence, and counter-survival.

Why do you think Covid-19 is wreaking such havoc worldwide? The damn virus adapts and mutates into different variants in different areas of the world. In doing so, it bypasses immunities, vaccines and keeps on infecting and killing people regardless of skin colours.

Assimilation is key. “Resistance is futile”, and possibly painful…


Unsung Malaysian Hero

While reading some online articles, I came across a person named Wu Lien Teh. What a life!

Even though I am okay learning about courageous ‘parang’ waving heroes, who stood up to the white colonizers; the story of the likely inventor of the predecessor of face mask N95, should not be silenced. Dr. Wu Lien Teh should be in our history books, so that Malaysian students may learn and be inspired by his life and work.

Jibber Jabber, Malaysia, Travels


Covid-19 has caused severe travel restrictions, and these restrictions are even more unbearable when it comes to international travels. Crossing oceans and continents are now dreadful experiences left for the very brave, the very foolish, or desperate people who have no other options.

As things are right now, the chance is miniscule that I will be able to visit Lahad Datu, my birthplace, anytime soon in the next 12 months.

What happen to migratory animals which are unable to reach their birthplaces? What happen when a living being cannot answer that call to go home?

To those who whine and complain about the cancellations of their cross-border vacations… just suck it!

Flashbacks, Malaysia, Numbers

Five Ringgit Mattresses

Two decades ago, I sold three rubber mattresses to our housekeeper. The mattresses belonged to my grandma, my sister and I, and were stored away when we bought replacements. They were old in years, but not worn out nor dirty. Therefore, I charged Kristina RM5 to take these off my hands. Experience taught me that charging a small sum will make it a decent transaction, and not the act of the rich dumping their garbage to the poor. Cheap charity is not honest nor decent. If memory serves me correctly, I probably put that fiver into the church collection bag the following Sunday.

Belgium, Flashbacks, Malaysia, Travels

Backup Home

I have been a permanent resident of Belgium for more than 10 years now. During these years, I have learned the culture, the language and have integrated myself nicely amongst its people. But even though I am very pleased with my current home and status, I am not prepared to relinquish my Malaysian citizenship just yet.

So at this moment, I have a backup country. A country I grew up in. A country I have spent half a lifetime knowing. A country where most my friends and relatives are. Most Malaysians are still kind and friendly people. And here and there on the island of Borneo or the Malayan Peninsula, one may still stumble upon tropical paradises.

There is no universal rule limiting us to only one home. Yeah to that!