Monday, October 31, 2011


Want to make lots of money instantly and with little effort? Try selling your products or services online to a global market and see your income multiply several-folds even while you sleep.

That was what the speakers guaranteed at the just concluded 3-day Asia Internet Congress held in Kuala Lumpur from 28-30 October. Don't have anything to sell? No problem. You can sign up for affiliate programs, sell someone else's products, and make money at almost no risk.

Sounds too good to be true?

I would have been skeptical too, except that I actually saw a real-time live demonstration of how easy it was to make about RM9000 in 24 hours. From a single website created on the spot in under eight minutes, Internet marketing experts Jo Han Mok and Terence Tan showed how simple the entire process was. If one website could make this much money in one day, imagine how much one could make by replicating the process with ten or more similar websites.

Fabian handing over the mock cheque to
The organisers ClickEvents topped up the amount generated from the live demonstration to RM20,000. The money was donated to AGEL CARES FOUNDATION to help single mothers in Malaysia.

I first heard about Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in 2006, and attended my first SEO seminar a year later at a friend's invitation. It would have cost me RM2800. Yes, these seminars can be very pricey, but there are always people happy to part with several thousand dollars for a chance to strike it rich. It takes money to make money, right?

Coming from a very humble background, and being frugal and cautious by nature, I don't like signing up for anything on the spot, no matter how attractive it is. But that's me.

If you were there at the congress, it would have been tough to resist the tempting offers from the speakers. You could almost see the dollar signs in the eyes of those rushing to fill in the registration forms. A good number of them were older adults in their 50s and 60s. Whether young or old, everyone wants to be a millionaire, especially if all it takes is just a lift of the finger to click the mouse. No need for much technical know-how, assured two of the speakers.

Fabian Lim, CEO of ClickEvents, the organizers of the annual Asia Internet Congress, is a self-made millionaire Internet entrepreneur. In a recent interview by Razor TV, he shares his success story and offers some advice to aspiring internet marketers.

Fabian celebrated his 40th birthday on Day 2 of the congress. His birthday gift for himself - a Columbia 350 light aircraft costing S$500,000. Not bad for someone who started off as a piano player and a wedding photographer a few years ago.

If you want to check out Fabian's training programs and software products, click here. A word of caution: internet marketing is not for everyone. You must have the drive to keep at it for the first few months before you get some decent streams of income. But if you have the time and some spare cash to invest, why not? You won't find a better coach to show you the ropes than Fabian Lim.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


The build-up to Bhutan's royal wedding on Oct 13 drew renewed interest in the tiny kingdom popularly referred to as Shangrila on earth. While pictures of the young good-looking couple have been gracing the front pages of papers around the world, it is Bhutan's Gross National Happiness (GNH) that has received intense debate and media coverage of late.

There is an excellent write-up in The Star on Bhutan's GNH as an indicator of the country's successful programme of development. Worth reading especially as Malaysia is currently embarking on a vigorous campaign to transform the country into a 'high income nation'.

Perhaps Malaysia can take a page from Bhutan's GDH index?

Should we be asking ourselves whether Malaysia is on the right track and heading towards the right goal? Is the pursuit of monetary wealth more important than the pursuit of spiritual happiness? Can there be a happy balance as in Bhutan where economic success is viewed as a means to achieving a happy society, and not as an end in itself?

The growing gap between the rich and the poor. The rich have all the resources 
to create even more wealth. Source: The Star
In Singapore as in Malaysia, the gap is widening between the haves and the have-nots. Counting net worth in US$, the number of millionaires in Malaysia has doubled over the past 18 months, and tripled in Singapore in the past year. Yet we read about young married couples unable to afford their first home, of graduates unable to find jobs and of retirees unable to make ends meet.

Looks great on paper, but yet to be seen in practice.
One is compelled to ask: Is the national wealth being distributed fairly? Is every sector of society getting a share of the economic pie? Are the rich getting richer at the expense of the poor and the middle class?

No one would protest if some of the wealth is channeled back into helping the poor and the marginalized. But it has to be financial assistance on a sustainable level, not on an ad-hoc or 'one-off' basis. And especially not as a pre-election vote-buying tactic.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


When the children have flown the nest, one would think that's the best time for married couples to enjoy each other's company. Having the whole house to themselves means having the peace and privacy to rekindle the romance that's been relegated to the back-burner when the children were growing up.

However, for many couples, that old loving feeling is long gone only to be replaced by a deep sense of loneliness, of unfulfillment and even regret at the realization that perhaps their spouse is not that someone they want to spend the rest of their life with.

Physical intimacy is not just for the young.
The situation is made worse when one partner has sexual needs that cannot or will not be met by the other partner. This is the case with 'At Wit's End' who wrote to the 'Dear Thelma' column about his problem. At 74, he is still sexually active, but his 68-year old wife has absolutely no interest in any sexual or physical intimacy. He claims she looks upon sex as 'dirty' and only for the purpose of procreation.

So what is the solution? Even 'Dear Thelma' doesn't have an answer. Her advice - "You have little option except to live with the situation or get another woman!" She's hoping that readers have a better solution to offer. Click here to read the original letter published in The Sunday Star (23 Oct).

Here's another letter, this one from 'Lonely Divorcee', who is longing for a relationship but doesn't know where to find good men. Click here to read the original letter.

Loneliness affects many older adults, especially single women in their 50s and 60s.

These two letters highlight the loneliness many older people are facing, whether single or married. Some see themselves trapped in a loveless or sexless marriage, while others have difficulty finding a companion to share their sunset years with.

Would it be fair to say that wives who reject their husband's sexual needs have only themselves to blame if he seeks sexual gratification elsewhere? Some wives would turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to their husband's extra-marital affairs as long as he continues to provide for them. However, the number of wives now demanding a divorce is rising. Statistics show that gray divorce is on the increase, with 66% initiated by the wife.

"They were married and lived happily ever after" has become a myth. Today, when we look at young married couples, including our own adult children, we can only pray in our hearts that they will 'love and honour each other for as long as they shall live'.

We know the odds are heavily stacked against them to stay happily married for the rest of their lives.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Lee Wei Ling's in the Sunday Times today. Non-subscribers can click here to read.
I always look forward to reading Lee Wei Ling's column in the Sunday Times, especially when she writes about her father, Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's founding PM. Away from the media spotlight and public functions, LKY is a very private man. It is through his daughter's writings that we get glimpses of LKY the father, the husband, and the mortal man.

Wei Ling is currently on a 16-day world trip with her father. Since her mother passed away last year, she has increasingly taken on the role of her father's companion, often accompanying him on his overseas trips. She keeps an eye on him, to make sure he doesn't over-stress himself with back-to-back meetings and official functions. In a sense, she is now her father's care-giver.

As Wei Ling puts it, "Even for a healthy and fit man of 88, the above would be a formidable programme. For a recently widowed man who is still adjusting to the loss of his wife, and whose level of energy has been lowered, it is even more challenging."

So far, the travel itinerary has included meetings at the White House and a ceremony in LKY's honour where he received the Lincoln Medal - the first Asian to do so. In Wei Ling's column last Sunday, she wrote about the numerous awards and titles that have been conferred on her father. Among them is the prestigious British award of Companion of Honour and the Grand Cross of St Michael and St George that entitles LKY to be addressed as Sir Lee Kuan Yew. But to all and sundry, even the media, he is still referred to as Mr Lee Kuan Yew. He himself has never made use of his titles.

What a stark contrast to the dignitaries and VIPs in Malaysia who expect to be addressed by their titles of Tun, Tan Sri, Datuk, Dato, Datin Paduka or whatever.

Wei Ling ends her thoughts about her father on a rather poignant note.

"But I am getting maudlin. Both my father and I have had our fair share of luck, and fate has not been unfair to us. My father found a lifelong partner who was his best friend and his wife. Together with a small group of like-minded comrades, he created a Singapore that by any standards would be considered a miracle. He has led a rich, meaningful and purposeful life.

Growing old and dying occurs to all mortals, even those who once seemed like titanium. When all is said and done, my father - and I too, despite my bouts of ill health - have lived lives that we can look back on with no regrets. As he faces whatever remains of his life, my father's attitude can be summed up by these lines in Robert Frost's poem 'Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening':

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Eeewww! So gross!
Why does society practise age discrimination when it comes to older couples openly demonstrating their affection? What’s so distasteful about an elderly couple holding hands or even smooching in public?

Why do young people find it embarrassing to see open display of love in older couples, even when it's their parents? How is it that being young and in love is considered natural, but being old and romantic is frowned upon and regarded as foolish and disrespectful, especially in Asian societies?

Newly-weds Paul McCartney, 69, and Nancy Shevell, 51.
People in love often act like teenagers, but what’s wrong with that? Love isn’t easy to come by, especially when we are in our 50s or 60s. We would be so lucky to find someone who reciprocates our feelings. Can anyone blame us for losing our heads and acting silly with our new-found love? We can't help wanting to be physically close. Should we even care if other people view such intimacy as absolutely disgusting?

It was heartwarming to see this elderly couple walking hand in hand, looking out for each other on the busy road.
Isn't it sad that the world embraces young lovers, but not old lovebirds?
Oh, to be young and in love again!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


To the pessimists among us who think that old age is full of aches, pain and memory loss, who think that at 80, it's time to kick the bucket, I say, tell that to centenarian Fauja Singh. The Briton finished a full marathon in 8 hours 25 mins 18 sec. Never mind that he came in at 3850th place, what's important is that he did not give up even when it looked like his legs could carry him no further. That's true grit.

Seniorsaloud first posted an article about Fauja Singh back in July 2009 ("The Real Supermen"). It's great to know that two years on, he is still going strong and running the best race of his life to clinch the title of the world's oldest marathon runner.

His advice to all of us:
  • Get rid of the notion that you are old.
  • Be grateful for everything that you have.
  • Stay away from people who are negative.
  • Stay smiling and keep running.
  • For stamina, take plenty of tea and ginger curry.
Fauja was a torchbearer at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. He hopes to have this honour again at the 2012 Olympics in London.

Related article:


Sunday, October 16, 2011


This was forwarded to me for sharing. Please view.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


A section of the hall at the sale last Thursday.
As an avid reader and a book lover, I would be failing my duty if I didn't remind you of the BIG BAD WOLF BOOK SALE. The world's super duper annual book sale is back. This weekend sees the final two days of the sale.

I was there a few days ago, and I can tell you, it's massive. It's not an advertising gimmick when BookXcess markets the sale as the world's biggest and cheapest book sale. There are over a 1.5 million books up for grabs at unbelievably reduced prices - up to 95% off!

This book sale is NOT for the faint-of-heart or the weak-of-knees. So if you are thinking of checking it out, here's my advice.
  • Plan for at least 3 hours there. I could easily spend the whole day there and more.
  • Bring some drinking water. There's a makeshift cafeteria outside the hall and also snacks on sale inside the hall.
  • Bring a trolley, unless you want a good muscle workout for your arms.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothes.
  • Bring a small foldable stool unless you don't mind sitting on the floor to rest.
  • Remember to bring your credit card. Bear in mind the queues for cash payments are much shorter.
  • If you are going with friends or family members, have a strategy in place to save time and to ensure you don't miss out on any must-have books.
  • When in doubt about a book, pick it up first or you'll never find it again later. You can always do a final check of your selections before going to the cashier.
    Some of my purchases - all hard covers priced at (from left) RM12, RM8 and RM8.
    (RM1=US$0.30, RM1=S$0.40)
    Books make wonderful Christmas gifts for the little ones. Prices range from RM1 to Rm5 for these books I got for my grandchildren.

    Thousands of titles in the cookery books and biographies sections. Hard cover coffee table books like these were going for a song - only RM20!
    Not sure how to get there? Here's the map. Head for UPM Serdang, then follow the directions. Better still, use your GPS.
    Hope you find lots of great bargains. HAPPY BROWSING at the sale! 

      Friday, October 14, 2011


      Not sure if you have already seen this video above, but it cracked me up.

      Here's another one that's pure joy to watch. Forget about Dancing with the Stars and all those other dance shows on telly. THIS is Bob Hope and James Cagney at their inimitable best.


      Tuesday, October 11, 2011


      Senior citizens getting ready for an early morning exercise session at Lake Gardens, Kuala Lumpur
      Remember those proverbs that our primary school English teacher used to drum into us? "Prevention is better than cure", "A stitch in time saves nine", and "Penny wise, Pound foolish"? Yet how many of us pay heed to these cautionary words of wisdom, especially when it comes to our health?

      When we are in our 30s and 40s and enjoying an active lifestyle, we barely give a thought to our health. In our 50s, when the first aches and pain start to surface, we choose to shrug them off as part and parcel of the ageing process. The price to pay for neglecting our health can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical and healthcare expenses later on. I am referring to surgeries, hospitalization, and expensive lifelong prescription drugs.

      Certain diseases are associated with the elderly - Alzheimer's, arthritis, osteoporosis, stroke, dementia, diabetes, and coronary heart disease. But it is a myth, a fallacy to assume that we will be afflicted with these diseases when we age. The physical body will slow down, BUT poor health is not an inevitable consequence of aging. It depends on the foundation we have laid in building good health and in the genes we inherit.
      Straits Times 11 Oct 2011
      Raising awareness is integral to prevention. In Singapore, the Ministry of Health has launched a series of initiatives to encourage people to be responsible for their health. In conjunction with World Mental Health Day (today), the Health Promotion Board is launching the 12-week programme called "Mental First Aid Kit" aimed at reducing the risk of dementia in those aged 50 and above. The programme will run for three years. An estimated 20,000 Singaporeans aged 60 and above have dementia, and the figure is expected to rise to 53,000 by 2020.

      Playing Rummy-O at the launch.
      Pic: ST
      The programme has two parts. The first focuses on educating the elderly about mental well-being and stimulating their minds using role-play and games. The second focuses on cognitive skills. Activities will include learning simple memory improvement techniques, working out sums and sorting objects.

      Last week, MOH also launched a health screening programme targeted at the needy elderly. The aim is to detect chronic key ailments, and also test for cervical, breast and colorectal cancer. Screenings for cervical and breast cancer cost $10 and $30 respectively, while the test for colorectal cancer is free. Testing for chronic ailments will cost only $2.
      Early screening.
      Source: Straits Times

      Not only is early screening made more affordable, the programme goes one step further. Results will be automatically sent to a GP nominated by the participant. The GP will then call patients in for a consultation if necessary. This will ensure that everyone with abnormal screening results will have a follow-up with a GP.

      Dr Philip Koh, deputy medical director of Healthway Medical Group and a GP participating in the network, said: 'In the initial stages, there are often no signs or symptoms for many chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure. By linking GPs to the community, we can help increase prevention at a primary level and catch these 'silent problems' quickly.'

      Also in the works is a software. the Physical Activity Advice Tool. Based on patients' answers to questions, doctors can recommend exercises suitable activities for their patients according to factors such as their age and any pre-existing illnesses.

      Check out Health Promotion Board's website for more information on preventive measures to ensure that everyone can enjoy lifelong good health. If you are interested, read the National Physical Activity Guidelines launched in August 2011.

      Ultimately, our health lies in our hands. Being aware is not enough. We have to follow up by taking action.

      Friday, October 7, 2011

      iSad, iMourn

      Steve Jobs 1955-2011
      Design: Jonathan Mak, 19, of HK
      Steve Jobs, visionary extraordinaire, has left, leaving behind his legions of fans to mourn his passing on Wednesday 5 Oct 2011.

      The media will be going into overdrive fleshing out all the details and stories of this intensely private man whom US President Obama calls 'one of the greatest American innovators". So rather than rehash what is in the print and electronic media, I would like to share (again) this YouTube video of Steve Jobs' commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005, and let the man speak to you directly.

      In the video, Steve Jobs talks about life and death. Here's part of the transcript that is a timely reminder to all baby boomers of how transient life is. We must not waste the rest of our lives, but have the courage to pursue our dreams.

      "No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
      Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."
      Every time we use our iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad, and that's just about every day, we will remember you, Steve, and thank you for making our world of technology a much more beautiful and better place to work and play in.

      May you rest in peace.

      Thursday, October 6, 2011


      Interested? Sign up now. It's FREE!

      Technological advances have made it possible for universities to deliver online courses to almost anyone anywhere in the world. Nothing new, but what is new is top universities like Harvard, MIT, Oxford and Stanford are now jumping on the bandwagon. These ivy league institutions are offering some of their courses online for FREE. I repeat, FREE!

      The courses are delivered via the university website and also uploaded on YouTube (video) and iTunes (audio). Yale University's course on Roman Architecture, for example, has garnered over 500,000 views. 

      Profs Peter Norvig and Sebastian Thrun.
      Leading experts on artificial intelligence.
      Stanford's School of Engineering is offering three courses this semester: Introduction to Artificial Intelligence, Introduction to Databases and Introduction to Machine Learning. 'Distant' students get the same professors, classes, assignments and exam as the campus students who pay US$50,000 for the Artificial Intelligence (AI) course. The only difference is if they pass, they get a statement of accomplishment, not a Stanford degree. The AI course has attracted more than 130,000 registrants worldwide, with ages ranging from high school students to retirees. If you or your children are interested, click on the links to register. You may need some knowledge of higher maths, but other than this, there are no restrictions. Classes begin this month.

      Top universities in China are watching in alarm at the growing number of students drawn to these free western online courses. The Ministry of Education has gathered the country's best scholars to produce 1000 videos over the next five years in an attempt to win back their students. The first 130 videos are ready and will be made available to the public soon. 

      If you have grandchildren of kindergarten, primary or high school age, there are free online courses for them too. One that I highly recommend is The Khan Academy. There are close to 2500 videos on subjects such as arithmetic, algebra, physics, chemistry, biology, finance, history and computer science in their online library delivered via YouTube. I checked out Basic Addition and was so impressed by what I viewed.

      If your 5-year old grandson can't sit still to watch this 7+ minute video, you might want to watch it yourself and teach him basic addition using these creative approaches. There are 40 videos in this section covering all levels of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. You choose the level that's most appropriate for your grandchild.

      Thanks to rapid increase in the availability of high-bandwidth Internet service plus interactive software, education can be brought to the masses, regardless of their geographical distance. And now with so much free stuff online, lack of money is no longer a barrier to acquiring knowledge. The educational divide between rural and urban students will disappear in the near future. For developing countries, the government must set up the infrastructure necessary to ensure that no one is left behind in the pursuit of a good education.

      Monday, October 3, 2011


      I read a most touching story in the papers yesterday. Written by Dr Lee Wei Ling, it is a story about eternal love, of what it is like for a husband to lose a dearly beloved wife, of a man having to face life without his kindred spirit. It's a very personal story made very public in the Sunday Times. I am aware Straits Times articles are accessible only to subscribers but no harm giving it a shot at this link. (Pic: Sunday Times)

      Some excerpts from the article "Love Does Indeed Spring Eternal":

      "The May 12 stroke was more extensive, and involved more brain regions controlling movement than her first stroke on Oct 25, 2003.

      Now, in October 2008, Papa knew that if Mama survived she would never be able to walk independently. But he felt that so long as she knew she was an important part of his life, she would still find life worth living.
      He told her: 'We have been together for most of our lives. You cannot leave me alone now. I will make your life worth living in spite of your physical handicap.'

      She replied: 'That is a big promise.'
      Papa said: 'Have I ever let you down?'
      Before we brought her home for the final time, Papa arranged for her to stop at the Istana, to see her favourite spots in the grounds. We wheeled her to where she had planted sweet-smelling flowers such as the Sukudangan and the Chempaka. Then we wheeled her to the swimming pool, where she had swum daily.

      Still, unknown to me, Papa had sensed that she could easily rebleed. He told us later that they had both discussed death. They had concluded that the one who died first would be the lucky one. The one remaining would suffer loneliness and grief.
      When Papa travelled, she would stay awake at night waiting for his phone call. When I began travelling with him, he usually would tell her on the phone: 'Bye dear, I am passing the phone to Ling.' Those were the times when I could hear her actively trying to vocalise.

      When Mama passed away, I was at her bedside, watching her fade as her respiration became more shallow and feeble until it finally stopped. I did not try cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It would have been futile to have done so and cruel.

      A few days later, I noticed that Papa had moved from his usual place at the dining table so as to face a wall, on which were placed photographs of Mama and himself in their old age. He tried various arrangements of the photos for a week before he was satisfied.

      Source: Channelnewsasia
      He also moved back to the bedroom he had shared with Mama for decades before her final illness. At the foot of his bed were another three photographs of Mama and himself.

      The health of men often deteriorates after they lose their wives. The security officers and I watched Papa getting more frail every day. His facial features were grim, perhaps to mask his sadness and grief.

      Physically, we all eventually succumb. Papa is also mortal. But he is psychologically stronger than most people. Life has to carry on, and he will keep going so long as he can contribute to Singapore.
      As I was halfway through writing this article, I went out of my room for a drink of water and saw a note from Papa addressed to all three of his children. It read:

      'For reasons of sentiment, I would like part of my ashes to be mixed up with Mama's, and both her ashes and mine put side by side in the columbarium. We were joined in life and I would like our ashes to be joined after this life.'"

      The writer is director of the National Neuroscience Institute. Her father is Lee Kuan Yew, former PM of Singapore.

      Saturday, October 1, 2011


      It's disappointing to say the least that this day - International Day of Older Persons - will pass as in previous years, without any mention. No press reports, no celebratory events, no governmental initiatives to mark the significance of this day in Malaysia.

      Elsewhere across the globe, from New Zealand to Canada, from Pakistan to Sudan, NGOs have organized a program of activities to honour the senior citizens of the country.

      A bit of background on how this day came about.

      The first World Assembly on Ageing held in 1982 adopted the International Plan of Action on Ageing. It was later endorsed by the United Nations. On 14 December 1990, the United Nations General Assembly designated 1 October the International Day of Older Persons. In 1991, the General Assembly adopted the United Nations Principles for Older Persons.

      Here's the full text of the speech given by UN Secretray-General Ban Ki-moon on 30 Sept 2011 to mark this year's International Day of Older Persons:

      "Next year marks 10 years since the adoption of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing. The theme of this year’s International Day of Older Persons, “Launch of Madrid Plus 10: The growing opportunities and challenges of global ageing”, reflects this upcoming milestone. This year we also commemorate 20 years since the adoption of the United Nations Principles for Older Persons. These basic principles – independence, participation, care, self-fulfilment and dignity – both enshrine the human rights of older persons and give us the objectives for which we strive.

      "Nearly two-thirds of older persons live in developing countries, yet older persons are still largely excluded from the wider global, regional and national development agendas. At a time when the international community is preparing to take stock of sustainable development and is looking to forge a development agenda for the future, it is important that the needs and contributions of older persons become a bigger part of the picture. Older persons are vibrant and essential contributors to the development and stability of society, and more can and should be done to utilize their potential.

      Over the last decade, there has been progress in the formulation of national plans of action related to ageing, including the emergence of non-contributory pensions in some developing countries. However, discrimination and social exclusion persist. These issues are a priority for the recently established General Assembly open-ended working group on ageing.

      As we commemorate milestones in global development for older persons, let us recommit to the full implementation of the Madrid Plan of Action. In the current fiscal environment, we must be vigilant in ensuring that the provision of social protection, long-term care and access to public health for the elderly is not undermined. On this International Day of Older Persons, I call on governments and communities everywhere to provide more opportunities for their ageing populations."

      Age Demands Action global campaign from HelpAge International on Vimeo.