I was at a meeting last night where the speaker was President of the National Speakers Association in USA named Scott Friedman (http://funnyscott.com) He touched upon the point of using humour in public speaking and how it helps to connect to the audience quickly. He further made the point that self-effacing humor can create a bond with the audience. Now I was thinking about our family and how much we enjoy humour to the extent of telling jokes to each other!! For example, just the other day Ernie(9) shared the joke on the diaglogue of a Malaysian with poor English who bumped into an Englishman and said "Sori." Now the Englishman quickly replied "I am sorry too". Now the Malaysian thought this was some kind of challenge and responded , "I am sori 3" in which the Englishman responded, "Oh??..what are you sorry for??"
But how about the real humor found in our own lives that we can smile or laugh about. Why it was a humorous moment when I first noticed mom in the first place. She was just only seventeen with pig tails in high school. I therefore didn't notice her much in a group of singles who went out for dinner at the famous Newton Circus in Singapore. I was then twenty one, having just graduated from Australia and was in Singapore for their Church activities as I was preparing to serve on a mission. Who couldn't help notice mom when she suddenly screamed in the middle of having our dinner? In an instance she was seen jumping up on her chair looking frightened as hell! All this was just because of a leaf that fell onto her table from the large trees and she thought it was a cockcroach, one of her greatest fears in life!
I think the way our courtship came about was funny too. Well, just at the end of my mission which I served in Malaysia, I was down in Singapore where the mission office was and there I got to notice mom again! My missionary companion then, Paul Sng, used to be in the same single adult group and choir with mom and he got invited to dinner at her home which I had to tag along. By now she was 20 and her happy disposition with frequent cute smiles must have made me note her phone number down...secretly.
After my missionary service, I decided to follow up with this Singapore girl. Now going on a date one to one just isn't the kind of thing we were used to in those days and while back home in KL, I had to figure out how I could invite her out. I remember helping my parents paint the family house and while painting non-stop for several days, I would be imagining my approach to her. Yes I had figured out the way and it was simply to go down to Singapore again to call her home with the excuse that I needed her to guide me to the home of John and Doreen Lim. I knew they were close friends to her as he was the choir director and had given her free piano lessons. John was an architect with a beautiful home and I used that as an excuse for her to take me there to view it! Sounds simple enough right? Well not true!
Here I was on the telephone and introduced myself to her again and was glad she remembered me. So I mentioned to her about wanting to visit the home of John and Doreen but she started off giving me detailed instructions on how to get there. She kept on and on describing the route to take while I stood there, on the other end of the line, wondering what I should say next! Well I just gave an honest response, as I wasn't really listening deeply, that it seemed to complicated to follow her directions and wondered if she could take me there! This she agreed to and I was soooooo relieved!
From this first break, our courtship accelerated, first with exchange of letters and then telephone conversations. I invited her to join me on a driving tour of the country with my mom and her friend as chaperones. We would start from KL along the west coast northward to Penang island and take the new east west highway along the Malaysian Thai border to visit the town of Kuantan where my brother lived. We would then drive south along the East Coast of the peninsular to finally arrive back to her home in Singapore.
I can think of a few humourous events in that trip. Our two chaperones sitting in the back seat were having a great time chatting away. They would laugh as I manouvered along the windy roads in those days which caused them to sway and sometimes knock each other. Then there was the roller coaster effect of going over a hump too quickly which caused their heads to knock on the ceiling..ouch..but that didn't stop them from chatting or laughing! We made it to the east coast which passed through the conservative Moslem states of Kelantan and Trengganu. They have beautiful beaches in the east coast where you can find soft sandy beaches with turtles in the right season. We stopped at a particular roadside sign which we thought was appropriate. It identified the name of the beach which was Pantai Cinta Berahi translated to mean The Beach of Passionate Love. Now we know the Moslem states had become even more conservative over the years as the beach was later renamed as Pantai Cahaya Bulan or Beach of the Moon Ray. How unromantic!
Oh I need to back up a little to the Island of Penang on the west coast which is where I think I made a proposal to Mom!