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Showing posts from October, 2011

Young and carefree

The water in this stream, called Sungai Meru near Taman Meru, Ipoh, Perak, looks cool and inviting. These teenagers, who live nearby, often spend the afternoon after school swimming or just splashing around. It is nice to know that in the age of the computer youngsters still enjoy the outdoors.

Sweet Diwali

In Malaysia, as in India, Diwali  -- which means "rows of lighted lamps" -- is a time for Hindus to rejoice.

To prepare for Diwali, which is known as the "festival of lights", Hindus spring-clean their homes, prepare special meals and adorn dwellings and other buildings with lights.

On the day itself (Oct 26, 2011) they wear new clothes, say prayers, exchange gifts  usually sweets (pictures) and dried fruits and visit family and friends.


Life's Too Short wishes its Hindu readers a Happy Diwali.

Guest Post: Four seasons

By Patrick Follez



Patrick Follez, who lives in Antwerpen, Belgium, shot the images (above) of this ornamental apple tree (malus) over 12 months covering the four seasons.I will share his musings on autumn with readers of Life's Too Short. Enjoy!

Autumn is here and the tree on the street before the house is showing its yellow and autumn colours. The tree is a malus or ornamental apple tree and it is used to line the streets.
Autumn is a reflective period as nature slowly retreats to its dormant state out of human view. The malus tree does it with a burst of colours and red berries inviting the blackbirds for a last feast before the meagre times of winter.
I have been watching this tree for nine years from the day I found that I could turn my webcam outside (modified with a 200mm old zoom lens) and brought the tree live as animated wallpaper on my computer. Over the years 12,000 images were stored in a backup copy that came to light when I was cleaning up the hard drive.

It is a tr…

It's only a creepy ghost story!

Kathy posted the following on her Facebook: "Nice cool morning ... but there was something (or someone) at the far right corner of the cemetery".

Several friends responded to the post and wanted to know more. Kathy, who lives in an apartment which overlooks a Muslim burial ground, offered details: "Caught a glimpse of movement when I opened the balcony door just now. Didn't wait to see more. It was just after 5am, I couldn't for the life of me imagine anyone being at the cemetery at such a time."

More comments followed. They mainly expressed fear, curiosity and caution. These reactions are consistent with the findings of those who study the phenomenon of fear. Admit it! Evil and horror are fascinating! The continued popularity of the horror genre -- both in literature and the movie industry -- bears testimony to this view.

But that will not make former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad happy. He expressed his dismay recently at the proliferation of ho…

All roads lead to Ipoh

I have been spending a lot of time in Ipoh, the capital city of Perak state, Malaysia lately. My birthplace is Batu Gajah, some 40 minutes' drive away, but I grew up in Ipoh. When I am asked to name my hometown, the enthusiastic answer is Ipoh. Batu Gajah is an afterthought.

Ipoh is two and half hours by car from Kuala Lumpur, so it qualifies as a short journey. Each time I cross Hulu Bernam, the border town of Selangor and Perak, the excitement of getting close to "home" becomes stronger and I have to will myself to be patient.

Ipoh has that effect on me. It gives me a sense of place, a sense that I belong to a tiny haven of peace and tranquillity. I don't get that feeling when I return to Kuala Lumpur from Ipoh even though I have stayed in the city for a good part of my adult life beginning from the day I entered university. I learned about life's harsh realities in Kuala Lumpur but it is, essentially, my workplace, not my home.

When I am in Ipoh, I always mak…

Steve Jobs: Words of wisdom

The Huffington Post remembers Steve Jobs through his 11 best quotes. Here are five.


"That's been one of my mantras -- focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains."
-- BusinessWeek interview, May 1998


"Picasso had a saying: 'Good artists copy, great artists steal.' We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas...I think part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians, poets, artists, zoologists and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world."
-- 1994


"[Y]ou can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something -- your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has ne…