English Teachers Are Happy To Share

English Teachers Are Happy To Share

Random Thoughts by Pauline

June 25 2015  Thursday       
Are you brave?

 Do you patronize the same restaurants and order the same dishes day in and day out? Is your family life on a mechanized routine? Have you been in the same post for years? Do you keep listening to the same oldies and watching the same classics for the hundredth time? Do you prefer wearing the same pair of worn out slippers to the new one you bought but left lying in the corner? Has your circle of friends ever expanded?


Yes, we all have our comfort zones in various aspects of our life! It takes courage to step out into the unknown and the unfamiliar! What if the new dish tastes awful?  What else is there to do if not following the same routine? Oh, I am too old to change my career! I never listen to the pop songs! God knows what they are singing! I don’t want to soil my new slippers and so I wear the old pair. Friends are like wine, the older the relationship, the better friends they are!

There is nothing wrong in clinging onto our familiar life as it is. I agree to almost all of the above defences. But I do not harbour a steadfast loyalty to my habits and routines. I believe changes in life especially those we initiate are like lubrication to a car engine. Even when the car is running nicely, we still bring it to the garage regularly for maintenance. We need courage to be naughty occasionally. We might even discover that the life we are so used to can be further enhanced.

So don’t be idle! Step out! Step forward! Look away! Look up! Be brave! You can always retreat but at least you have tried!

Random Thoughts by Pauline

 June 24 2015  Wednesday         

 What does the number 40 mean to you?

To me, the number 40 signifies a turning point! I was 40 going on 41 when my world tumbled down in a matter of three months! The husband I wedded for 15 years eloped with the secretary. The school I served for decades closed down. My son I treasured was hospitalized for acute kidney failure. Those dark days were difficult but I survived! Life is never the same! I have been exploring a new world with a new partner and achieving unfamiliar successes. My son recovered steadily, went to Australia for his university studies, returned, built a career and is now a married man with a seven-year old daughter.

Many of my young friends around me develop unknown fear as they turn 40. They begin to assess themselves comparing what they have and not have with those of their peers. Then they feel belittled upon discovering that their friends are doing better than they do. Somebody has a bigger apartment. Another has a fancier car. Or, a couple others have made to the top of their career!

This seems to be in contradiction with what The Analects of Confucius () preaches: When you are 40, you no longer doubt. (四十而不惑). Maybe, it is only after re-assessing and re-assuring oneself to find his bearings, can one then move on.

If you have time, browse the internet and you will be amazed by all the interesting implications of this number. Just take the Bible for instance. It has been calculated that this number is used 98 times. Forty is used to indicate a long period of time such as the 40 days of fast of Jesus Christ in the desert, the 40 days between the Ascension and the Resurrection of Jesus and plenty more.

Random Thoughts by Pauline

June 1 2015     Monday           

Chinese aspire to a good life blessed with the three attributes of prosperity (), status (祿) and longevity () each personified with a deity. With advances in science, longevity has become more possible and ageing can be graceful too.

Just take a look of ourselves or the people around us. When tribal villagers living in deprived remote areas suffer from blurred eyesight, hard of hearing, toothless mouth or crippled movements, we are supported with artificial lenses, hearing aids, dentures and prostheses. We can perform daily activities such as reading, eating, walking or dressing nearly as well as when we are young. These put meaning to a long life.

My mother has been wearing hearing aids for a few months now. She is getting used to it. As to me, cataracts have developed in both eyes and I am undergoing the two surgeries next week. We are both attended to by a very patient domestic helper. Not all old people are so fortunate.

Many elderly have to live in homes either because they are bed-ridden and need intensive care or their children are either too poor or too busy. This does not mean they are not loved. And yet once in nursing homes, their fate is in the hands of the nurses and attendants. When I saw on television how the staff of the privately owned Tai Po Cambridge Nursing Home were filmed stripping female residents bare before they took a shower on a balcony in full view of neighbours, I was heart-broken. These elderly are herded like cattle with every ounce of dignity taken away from them. They sat there helpless, voiceless, waiting for the final call!

Life is a cycle. Infants are feeble at the mercy of the adults and so are the old who can no longer take care of themselves. There is one difference, though. Infants have not been “socialized”. They do not know they should feel shameful when being stripped naked in public! Such acts of brutal abuse of the elderly must be severely penalized but the root of the issue is the urgency to tackle the aging problem. I am sure this incident of abuse is only the tip of the iceberg.