Published: Sunday May 4, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Sunday May 4, 2014 MYT 7:09:44 AM
BY SOO EWE JIN
We can whine and complain about things, or we can review the many luxuries we have conveniently classified as essentials. To be positive is not to deny the negative. It is simply acknowledging that there are many people in worse circumstances than us.
AN archaeologist is the best husband any woman can have; the older she gets, the more interested he is in her.
Everyone in the ballroom erupted in cheers when the father of the bridegroom, who is known to us as quite a serious man, closed his speech with this quote by Agatha Christie.
It concluded a very heartfelt and moving speech. This father certainly had good lessons to pass on to his son and his daughter-in-law, and I was inspired.
I quietly took out my little 555 notebook and jotted down some of the salient points he made.
And as I looked through the pages I was transported back to one wedding dinner some months back that took place in the heart of Putrajaya.
My good friend from school days was the host and in typical Malaysian fashion, he had to start his speech with salutations to all the VIPs present.
It has been said that a speech should be like a skirt – long enough to cover all the essential parts and short enough to be appealing.
I remember my friend’s speech well because he kept to the three-point formula.
Those of us who have to sit through long speeches know that any speaker who ventures beyond the three points basically loses the attention of the audience.
Even if he is accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation, it is a matter of time before we murmur: “No power, no point!”
The three valuable lessons that my friend imparted to his son that evening were – be positive, be purposeful and be passionate.
The editor in me immediately noticed the alliteration, an important element in public speaking to make the message stick.
I paid particular attention to the story my friend shared about how to be positive.
“If you think you can, you can and if you think you can’t you are probably right,” he said.
“Challenges will come your way. It is said so poignantly that there is no life into which some rain has not fallen. All sunshine makes a desert.
“Obstacles are opportunities for growth. Stumbling blocks are stepping stones. It is the rough seas that make good sailors. Pain produces endurance, endurance, character and character, hope.”
I am sure many were inspired by his speech that night. It is a lesson that applies to all of us.
We can whine about the inconvenience of water rationing, or we can learn that it is not so difficult to build a simple contraption to harvest rainwater. And that we really need not wash our cars every day.
We can complain about GST, or we can review the many luxuries we have conveniently classified as essentials.
In the process, we can perhaps become more sensitive to the people around us who still struggle to earn in a month what some of us may earn in a day.
To be positive is not to deny the negative. It is simply acknowledging that there are many people in worse circumstances than us.
That, in itself, would make us count our blessings.
> Executive editor Soo Ewe Jin (email@example.com) remembers the time when the emcee at a friend’s wedding dinner declared after the last course: “And now, we have come to the end of the marriage…” Thankfully, this couple is still happily married after nearly three decades.