Toasting to usher in the New Year 2009 Toastmaster's Style

Plus the fun & laughter trademark of ITC Bintang Toastmasters Club featured below:

Ending the Chinese Year of the Rat

The year 2008 was ushered in with major events of a Death, Marriage and a Birthday as recorded in the post found at It is interesting to note that the year ended and rolled to a new lunar year with similar major events of a Death, Marriage and a Birthday too! Read the pictorial account below: THE DEATH There was the passing away of Mervin Chan in Singapore as recorded at THE WEDDING Then before the year ended, a day after Christmas was the wedding reception of Royce Tai and Melanie Han in Kuala Lumpur :


Grandpa celebrated his 88th Birthday early in January this year a week before the Chinese New Year celebrations. We had decided to drive early, as a family, from Singapore on the day of his birthday to reach the lunch celebration on time at about 1pm. We left at a good time which was about 8am which would allow us a clear 5 hours to reach KL but something happened.

I drove the car until we got across the second link at Tuas and handed over the wheel to Han who just passed his driving test a week ago. This would be an easy one for him to drive along a straight highway all the way to KL I thought and decided to nap on the seat beside him. Mom was behind busy with her knitting. I had a good nap but was awoken by some excitement in the car with some comments about the traffic jam we were in. I became alert, put on my glasses and found ourselves not on the highway anymore but back to Johore Bahru city on the road back to Singapore through the first link! Hahaha. Apparently Han had taken a wrong fork on the highway which caused him to turn around back to Singapore!

So I took over the wheel about 10am and cruised at about 170km/h to try to get to the destination on time.
We had prepared for Grandpa a nice Power of Seven card with a Good Luck red packet inside. Can anyone guess how many hundred ringgit bills was in the Ang Pau for Grandpa?
We did arrive on time to hand our special gift card to Grandpa by our oldest son Han, witnessed by all the rest.
We even beat the party from Penang in the north, led by my oldest sister who came in a little after us. This is the same sister who celebrated her 70th birthday during the year where my Story of 7 first evolved. See
Her sons followed suit and everyone had a good time celebrating Granpa's 88 birthday in Kuala Lumpur!
In conclusion, I submit that the major events of a Death, a Marriage and a Birthday are common events in what they call 'The Circle of Life' but what can be uncommon is how we can choose to serve others during our lifetime.

The Reunion of turning 50 together

After many emails that started circulating the globe in the beginning of the year to track down all the old boys of the Class of 1975 at St John's Institution, it finally happened. Those who responded and could find their way to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on a Saturday night of 20th Dec 2008 got together to celebrate an auspicious year where most of us would have turned 50 years of age.

Front Row(L to R) : Tan Chian Howe, Leong Kwok Hung, Vincent Wan, Bro. Augustine, Chong Sun Fu
Back Row (L to R) : Kuan Kah Soon, Jeff Lee Chuan Huat, Douglas Eu, Ong Chin Kee, Francis Tan, Loh Kai Thong, Andy Lam Shih Kwong, Toh Hoe Huat
We raised our glasses for a toast to all of us with the very best wishes for the future. This was at the Chinese restaurant of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, just next to the Petronas Twin Towers.
As some couldn't arrive on time from overseas such as Benedict Lee and his wife Joon, another gathering took place at a restaurant in PJ Newtown hosted by them.
Front row (From L to R) Chong Sun Fu, Ong Chin Kee, Bro Augustine, Benedict Lee, Jeff Lee Chuan Huat
Back row (From L to R) wife of Chin Kee, wife of Bob, Bob Toh Hoe Huat, wife of Benedict, Ignatius Kraal, Tan Chian Howe, Francis Tan, Douglas Eu, Leong Kwok Hung
Everyone felt the joy of meeting up again after all those years. Look at the faces of Ignatius and Andy when they greeted each other !
The 'Red Book' , a book of Rememberance that was penned by all at the end of 1975 resurfaced again and Ignatius and Jeff above were among the many who was curious to read it again.
Above are the writings of the then Bro Director Joseph Yeoh on the left page with the physics master Mr Poon Boo Tek on the right page. Click the photo for a larger image.

Pasted in the Red Book were the envelopes we had designed and printed in our day as junior entrepreneurs to help raise funds for the school as well as a class trip to Thailand. From a physical book of rememberance, we now have advanced to digital media so check out the SJI website

Another long flight to the US with 2 nights in Taiwan

It was an urgent trip to go to Taiwan and within half an hour of my arrival, the Japanese party had planned to arrive in a flight just half hour later and we met in the late evening to discuss about business in Taiwan.
But the discussion on opening up Taiwan is still early and the bulk of the preparation is with the US office and I brought along in my trip to US the man who can help us in Taiwan.

It was truly a mission of East meeting West

Intense meetings began before the US Thanksgiving day which continued to the end of the year through tele-conference calls after we got home.

We were creating an A-Team or the eXfuze Team in Asia!

With one of the investors of eXfuze, Michael Seymour in the center.

Remembering Mervin Chan who left us

Today is the funeral of Mervin Chan, a member of the church whose name is quite familiar with most members in Singapore from the pioneer days. As I am with Han enrolling him to driving school in KL, we are unable to attend the funeral. Geok Lee messaged me that he had passed away a few days earlier on Nov 12.

Living or Dead, I'm one who is always interested to connect to the individual, asking questions like when did we first meet, who is related to him that I know and reflecting upon the time we have shared together. For the past few days, I kept thinking about Mervin and searched my memory and went through my archives of photographs and realized I didn't really know him that well. It was only until recently when I met him at the same ward as Geok Lee at the cancer hospital in Singapore last year that I got to know him better.

Found this photo of Mervin with his wife Christina and their son at an event of the Singapore Armed Forces.

I guess Mervin is a man who easily makes friends with others that even for one like me who lived in Malaysia most of my life with occasionally visits to Singapore, he would become a familiar face to me, always ready with a handshake to greet me and would come and talk to you as if he has been your friend all his life. It was this same way when I met him at the hospital and we talked as close friends. I felt that comfortable familiarity with him even though as I said we have not been really in close contact in the past years. I saw his face more when he started working for the Church office in Singapore but I had always known him from way back but wasn't sure since when, how or why? I asked Geok Lee about it and she too acknowledged that she only knew him only since the family moved to Singapore. Here are some pics of our recent association with Mervin and his family to share in rememberance of him in our family post :

He was always an active member at church meetings and socials. Above is seen at the farewell party for Oh Chong Keat and Wyndia family in Nov 2007.
His whole family seems to have joined the Church. Pictured at Church in the Clementi Ward is his mother and sister Delicia who served a mission in Malaysia in our KL branch before. The rest are his other sisters Irene, Serena and Eric who now resides in Canada. Wonder if we missed out any others?
Just earlier in the month on 2 Nov we heard he was at the hospital and had a chance to see Mervin alive for the last time. Being such a familiar person to all the saints in Singapore, I believed many visited him at the hospital too which would be tiring for Christina, his wife, who has been a positive and supportive partner in his life. May God continue to bless the Chan family and Mervin too. I think he is now happy to meet many of the people he has become familiar with that have also departed and may have left behind a legacy or fond memories of them.

Happy Birthday Shuan!

Always remember what your parents have taught you... ...that you need to learn how to walk before you can learn to fly! Always aim high and soar to the skies! You can do it!

Barack Obama elected as 44th President of USA

Someone text messaged me the early news that Obama won the US Presidential elections on US Nov 4 and I turned on the cable TV to catch his winning speech below :
My ears pricked to listen closely to Obama's touching speech and my eyes became teary. I was touched about what he said and my long held beliefs of America's spirit flooded my heart and mind again. Obama's victory seemed to give me more hope of my success in my latest business project with an American MLM company new into the Asia market. (Read about it here) I have been hitting hard with the message to the American management that they must change their thinking and management style to win the market leadership in Asia. I always had hope that Americans can do it, though doubts arose during trying periods of this possibility. With Obama's victory, I now know with greater confidence that the American management CAN change. I noted the key words Obama used in his speech and emailed it immediately to the CEO and senior executives of the company, quoting from his speech, 'That's the true genius of America, that America can change. The union can be perfected'
As the American political scene came to a climax in the news, I turned to the local political scene by reading the blog of our former prime minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad :
To my surprise, the former prime minister's latest post in his blog had a 'Congratulations Obama' title. I have read Dr Mahathir's blog several times before but this time round, I was inspired to leave my comments in his blog. Try to look for comments from 'Dad the KL City Kid' amidst hundreds of others with the timestamp as Nov 6, 2008 7:25 pm. (The post of Dr. Mahathir is found here where I had left my comments which had reference to my previous posting about Little America in Malaysia )

Ray celebrates his 11th Birthday!

Ray celebrated his birthday on a day typical of life, one filled with happiness and another of sadness.
Just after Church on Sunday at noon time, a new convert was getting ready to be baptized into the ward, symbolic of being born again to a new life.
We heard that another church member of the ward, stricken with cancer of the liver for some time, was now in a critical situation at the hospital and we went to visit him.
In the evening, it was time to celebrate Ray's birthday with a special dinner plus cutting the birthday cake. He was as usual anxious to open his presents and just as he was about to open Dad's presents to him, I related the significance of the presents to my advice to him about life.
1) One was that he should always be organized in life.
2) The second was that he should follow his north star.
3) The last was that he was to be the one to label his own life and not worry about the label that others might give to him.
Can you relate his presents below to the advice given above?
That's the end of the object lesson given by Dad to Ray through his birthday presents.
Some food for thought as he prepares to move on with his life for another year till his next birthday!

Happy Deepavali or Divali to all those who celebrate it

While Deepavali or Divali is popularly known as the "festival of lights", a more appropriate significance is "the new year of luck and wealth". Central to Hindu philosophy is the assertion that there is something beyond the physical body and mind which is pure, infinite, and eternal, called the Atman. Just as we celebrate the birth of our physical being, Deepavali is the celebration of this Inner Light, in particular the knowing of which outshines all darkness (removes all obstacles and dispels all ignorance), awakening the individual to one's true nature, not as the body, but as the unchanging, infinite, immanent and transcendent reality. With the realization of the Atman comes universal compassion, love, and the awareness of the oneness of all things (higher knowledge). This brings Ananda (Inner Joy or Peace). Diwali celebrates this through festive fireworks, lights, flowers, sharing of sweets, and worship. While the story behind Deepavali varies from region to region, the essence is the same - to rejoice in the Inner Light (Atman) or the underlying reality of all things (Brahman). Well, how did I know all the details above? Well I just checked out Wikipedia . But I'm grateful to be living in Malaysia to be able to take all the pics below in Johore Bahru just across from Singapore where I caught the spirit of Deepavali a week earlier.

While the family did their usual shopping and other banking business in Johore Baharu..

I too the opportunity to stock up some Indian favorite goodies of ours!

Muruku, Indian coconut candies.... yum yum

Such festivals besides enriching our multi-racial culture and giving us more holidays in a year from work has helped me in my life to gain an appreciation of Group or Community Interests

Wow! Look Who Turns 18 today???

Happy Birthday Han!

Here are 18 reasons why Mom and I think you're an Awesome Son!

1. Firstly, you're the oldest son of awesome parents
2. And you looked really awesome as a baby
3. You amazed your parents in your ability to read and solve puzzles at a young age 4. And you had the courage and ablility to sing too at such a young age.
5. You always looked smart wherever you go.
6. Always dressed up for the occasion
7. You were the kid with high ambition 8. But never taking yourself too seriously
9. Always full of imagination and an aspiring cartoonist
10. You were baptized into the Church and continued to be an active and serving member
11. Always an example to others where ever you are
12. Your grandpa loved you since you were a baby and you remembered him as you matured doing..
13. You have many qualities and strong in body, mind & spirit
14. You even took up dancing
15. And continue to share your musical talents for others to enjoy. Listen to the Duet

16. You always remember your friends
17. Even the furry ones
18. You are already famous in your school as an academic prize winner and you've even won a national prize for your school. Check out this Video
Whether you win or lose, don't worry as you've already earned yourself a permanent place in the hall of fame of our family page. Check out the Profile

Come next holidays, you will be AWESOME on the road with a full licence!!!