Precious Water

Precious Water
Water, essence of life

Friday, 1 February 2013

Of golf balls, pebbles, sand and beer

As Chinese New Year comes round the corner, I am feeling all fidgety, looking forward to having my daughter back for the festive season. She already missed 3 consecutive Chinese New Years. When you are an empty nester, you learn to count the days using the Chinese character 正 (zheng, thanks to google translate) consisting of 5 strokes to strike off the week days. Weekends are led, so it's easier! My domestic boss keeps me quite distracted; be it plants, flowers, laundry, fruit vendor, shopping, gym and yes, photo taking. Both my kids are away so having 1 back for CNY is half a bonus. 

Anyway, having a weekly chat over Skype sure beats writing snail mail of yester-years. I know an empty-nested friend on WhatsApp. He gets 20 photos from his daughter seeing snow for the first time. I get 3 photos from my son, also on WhatsApp! After two years, he is fatigued with snow, snow and more snow. He is now hardly excited about the cold. It's amazing how technology has changed our connections and how fast information gets from one point to the end of the globe in seconds.

UK suffered one of the worst winters in years. Railway lines were cut off in varies cities. Who wants to take photos when it is this cold?

The world famous Clifton Suspension Bridge was designed by the great Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, although he never lived to see his creation finished in 1864. 

I read tech-savvy Thaksin uses Skype and various social media applications, including WhatsApp and Line on multiple smart phones, to keep in touch with the leaders of the Pheu Thai Party. SMS is passe. 

So back to the purpose of this story as we approach CNY. I read this piece weeks ago. I hope you like it too and please reward yourself with a beer after reading. 干杯 Gānbēi. Here are 2 photos from my daughter before the article.

I cannot put into words why I am fascinated with ships. Perhaps it all started when Dad brought both JJ and I on that naval ship docked in the harbour.  

Mom may not like it because of the sun. But after slapping on a lot of sunblock, even after 7 days of Canary islands sunshine, I am still white and pasty!

That's a long way down. 60 m to be precise. 

Dad, I think you should try ship life. Another Tall ship comes by Singapore. 

The professor stood before his philosophy class with some items including a huge empty translucent jar. He proceeded to fill it with golf balls to the top. He then asked his students if it was full. Everyone nodded.  

He then picked up a box of pebbles and started pouring into the jar. His students shook their heads. He shook the vessel a couple of times and the pebbles roll into the open gaps between the golf balls. He then asked his students yet again. And all concurred it's full. 

Next, he lifted a box of sand and poured into the jar. The class gawked in total silence. The sand filled up, he gave a few shakes and again asked his students. By this time, his students were feeling restless. All the same, it was a unanimous yes. 

From under his table, he pulled out two cans of beer and promptly poured the entire content into the jar. By this time, all his students were laughing thinking what a nut this Prof is. 

As laughter subsided, the Professor said: "I want you to recognize this jar to represent your life. The golf balls are the important things--- your family, your children, your health, your friends and your passions. If everything else was lost and only the golf balls remain, your life would still be fill. The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your home, your car, maybe your bicycle! And as for the sand, it is everything else....the small stuff." 

If you proceed to pour in the sand first into the jar, there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend your time and energy on the small stuff, there will be no room left for things which matter more. 

Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness, he added. Spend time with your parents, your children. Visit your grandparents. Take your spouse out to dinner. And my favourite is "there will always be time to clean the house or re-pot the plants!" Take care of the golf balls first and set priorities. The rest is simply sand. 

One brave student raised his hand and asked: "Prof, I don't get it. What's up with the beer?". The professor smiled and said: "I am glad you asked. The beer just shows that no matter how full your life may be, there is always room for a couple of beers with a friend". 

Please don't tell you spouse you are heading to the golf course this CNY to purchase 'golf balls to fill your jar'. Especially so when you are needed to chauffeur your family or visit your relatives. Worst still, drive to the golf course and have a couple of beer with your friends. Happy Chinese New Year.   

Rules for Happiness: something to do, someone to love, something to hope for.” ― Immanuel Kant

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