On Life’s small Wonders
On Life’s Small Wonders
Sun-Hoo Foo 符傳孝 (32-74-109)
Dad is 90 this year. His back is curved much worse due to a recent bout of compression fracture. Nonetheless he joined us, slowly but with determination for a walk to the Tasek Lama Fall, a water reservoir which is now a recreation park for Bandar Seri Begawan.
He counted his steps, each 2 ¼ feet, a habit he uses to measured the length of the land. He did not want to talk so he can keep his breath; all along he enjoyed our company, especially the joyful laughter of his great grand children and friends.
I spent last few days of my visit to tape his conversations. He is always eager to share with us his life experiences. He told me those friends who touch his life. He wants us to learn from his life experience so we can avoid errors and leads a meaningful life. In his early times, many things/ events were improvised and self created, there were no social welfares, one sunk or swam, as if randomly. He worked hard, not just for himself, immediate family but also touching the people crossing his path.
We live in different times now and so are our children. What he treasures may not totally apply to this era; however life strangely repeats its drama in different forms and one may feel the little pulse of wonders in life from his experience.
Following is one of his many examples.
After Japanese surrendered around 1940+, Jobs were scarce. Through a friend recommendation, he joined a truck convoy transporting military supplies from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. He noticed a Malay driver who did not join the crowd to buy lunch during the break. That person quietly set up a fire to cook his yam for a meal. Though struggling himself, he gave this acquaintance a few dollars ( not an insignificant amount at that time) spontaneously thinking he might need it more at the time. The jobs ended and everyone was on their own again.
For the next few weeks, he cycled a long way to a job agency in KL everyday inquiring and waiting for any works. He did not know at the time that one has to bribe the person in charge for those opportunities, although he was acquainted with the person in charge. Frustrated and tired, he followed the same path home again. Suddenly, a big truck stopped along the side and his “fortunate” Malay friend walked out from the driver seat, asking how he was doing. After a brief exchange, he suggested dad to present himself in a military establishment some distant away.
He followed the lead, and after several rounds of testing, he was assigned as a personal driver for a difficult boss, a Major who habitually fired his drivers sometimes just in a day. This was a turning point of his life. This major later retired, went back to England, returned to Kuala Lumpur and worked as an architect. Somehow my unemployed father got in touch with him again. The major apparently appreciated my father’s potential, convinced his boss to hire dad even he has no formal training in draftsmanship. Those subsequent events paved his later life and career, and finally led him to Brunei for the construction of Omar Ali Saifuddin Mosque http://www.bruneiresources.com/goldenlegacy/tgl_masjid_soas.html
He tried many times later to thank his Malay friend but in vain. Their paths never crossed again.
To what can our life on earth be likened?
To a flock of geese,
alighting on the snow.
Sometimes leaving a trace of their passage.