Everybody in the world is seeking happiness - and there is one sure way to find it. That is by controlling your thoughts. Happiness doesn’t depend on outward conditions. It depends on inner conditions.
It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it. For example, two people may be in the same place, doing the same thing; both may have about an equal amount of money and prestige - and yet one may be miserable and the other happy. Why? Because of a different mental attitude. I have seen just as many happy faces among the poor peasants toiling with their primitive tools in the devastating heat of the tropics as I have seen in the air-conditioned offices in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles.
“There is nothing either good or bad,” said Shakespeare, “but thinking makes it so.”
Listen, son: I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside.
There are the things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor.
At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, “Goodbye, Daddy!” and I frowned, and said in reply, “Hold your shoulders back!”
Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the road I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before your boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive—and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father!
Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. “What is it you want?” I snapped.
You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs.
Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding—this was my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years.
And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bed-side in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!
It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: “He is nothing but a boy—a little boy!”
I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’s arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much.
Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, and kindness. “To know all is to forgive all.”
As Dr. Johnson said: “God himself, sir, does not propose to judge man until the end of his days.”
“Why should you and I?”
Father Forgets by W. Livingston Larned
One of the all time greatest excerpts I have ever read - a clear lesson in life.
Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
There’s little wonder why the tourist hordes have, for so long, diverted their gastronomic attention away from western countries to the cheap and cheerful culinary offerings of South East Asia and its plethora of scrumptious, delicious, saliva-inducing food fare. Malaysia is no exception to this and offers simply some of the best food to be found anywhere in the world. From Malay and Nonya dishes to practically every permutation of Chinese, Indian, South East Asian and European, the choices for dining are endless to suit every single traveller’s budgets. Listed below are three of the most amazing street dishes that you cannot leave Malaysia without trying.
3rd: Jalan Alor (Alor Street), Kuala Lumpur
Third place belongs to no particular street food stall, however of the dozens of hawker stalls that ply their trade along Jalan Alor in Kuala Lumpur are worthy of mention. Simply follow the crowds and sit yourself down at one of the plastic tables and chairs in front of the busy ‘restorans’ and you’ll be soon swarmed by waiters who are quick to take your order.
We opt for the safe bet of char kway teow, which is a popular noodle dish made famous from its origins in Penang, made from flat rice noodles, stir-fried in very high eat with light and dark soy sauce, chilli and served with whole prawns, bean sprouts, chicken, egg and chives. However, the big one you must try is the grilled stingray - pricier than what you would expect to pay for other dishes but well worth its weight in gold. The flesh comes off in shreds and each side is coated in a spicy satay paste and drizzled over yourself with a bit of lemon or lime. Great tasting dish, particularly if you love fish!
2nd: Soy Chicken, Bean Sprouts & Hor Fun at Lou Wong, Ipoh
I never thought it was possible for anything to beat the simply mouth-watering plate of soy chicken and bean sprouts offered at Lou Wong in the sleepy little iron town of Ipoh. It’s home to some of the highest concentrations of Chinese-Malays in the country and where there’s the Chinese, there’s good food. We arrived in Ipoh on the week of Chinese New Years and were surprised to find that it was still running and with a near-capacity restaurant, we were lucky to find ourselves a little table in the corner of the restaurant, just in time for dinner. The kitchen is literally only double the size of a hotel kitchenette (not much, in other words, depicted above) and we were approached hurriedly by who we believe to be the boss by the way he was barking orders and randomly yelling in Hokkien, little to our understanding. I asked him in Chinese what they served, completely oblivious at the time, that they in fact only did two dishes - Ipoh’s famous bean sprouts and their soy chicken, served with either a bowl of fragrantly steamed rice or a bowl of light broth noodles (hor fun).
I told him to serve us up with whatever everyone else was having and in a quick flash, the bean sprouts found their way to our table in no time. The chicken took a little while longer but that may have been attributed to how chaotically busy they were as we had to grab the attentions of a few wandering waiters, drenched in sweat, to check up on where our chicken was. The wait was worth it and it is simply some of the most succulent and most amazingly tasty chicken I’ve ever had! The bean sprouts complement it perfectly, with Ipoh’s high-mineral water, having a huge influence over the almost incomprehensively sweet and juicy taste. The only thing missing is a bowl of bubbling hot hor fun:
1st: Penang’s Assam Laksa
In the wise words of Anthony Bourdain, the best and most amazing food tends to eventually be served in one piping hot bowl of noodles served in a ridiculously delicious broth. Penang’s Assam Laksa tops the country’s must-eat foods. Not just any Assam Laksa, look specifically for the old geezer hunched over a humungous pot of boiling hot broth opposite the Ayer Itam Markets in Penang, constantly pouring and emptying bowls of laksa broth over and over again to ensure that they’re served up at its maximum temperature. There is no stall, no big old sign, simply a few round tables, stools and a bench top as their ‘kitchen’, serving up some of the best bowls of food I’ve ever tasted.
Throw your perceptions of the milky, coconut and mildly-spicy laksa image in your head out the window. The assam laksa is the real deal - a dish of thick rice noodles served in spicy and sour fish broth using mackerel flakes and the key ingredient - tamarind, giving the broth its sourish flavour. On top of that, chillies, galangal, coriander, prawn paste and thinly sliced onions are prepared before its handed over to the genius (above) to weave his magic. So good is their food, Bourdain recently found himself at this very stall a day after we had left Penang to eat that exact same bowl of goodness. You simply cannot go past this and it still stands as the single best dish I’ve had in all of Malaysia despite all the amazing food it had to offer. If you find yourself in Penang, after a visit to Kek Lok Si, make your way back down the hill to find these guys daily serving up the same thing all day, everyday.