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Advice to share - written by an old man my son met in the streets of Kuching, Borneo

While wandering the streets of Kuching in Sarawak, Northern Borneo, my son and his girlfriend were approached by an elderly man who "wanted to practice his English". Their immediate reaction was of course that he wanted to sell them something - which he did, but not in exchange for money. He persisted and because they're polite people, a conversation ensued. Turned out he wanted to share some advice in the only way he knew how. By meeting people in the street. At the end of the chat, he handed them this photocopied sheet of paper which I've transcribed as best I can below. As far as I can see, the thoughts it contains seem in line with what I understand to be broadly Buddhism, but judge for yourself. Wise words whatever the label. Comments in [  ] are mine...

"Shared [and possibly written] by Y T Ong (age 78) Malaysian/Chinese in Nov 2015 at Kuching, Sarawak, East Malaysia.

The followings [sic] 'What really is worthwhile'

3 Ps... Passion + Persistence + Possibilities

4 things we can do:-
  1. Drop pretence. Eternity is not for shams
  2. Drop worry. Worry is spiritual nearsight to danger
  3. Let go of discontent. Make a heroic life out of whatever is set before us
  4. Let go of self-seeking. In the eternal life there is no greed [what's the point of trying to be the richest man in the cemetery?]
8 values can enhance one's life:-
  1. Be wise in the use of time
  2. Value work
  3. Seek happiness every day. If you are not happy today, you will never be happy [I think what he's saying is if you can't be happy today, when can you?]
  4. Cherish love. True love never nags [not sure about this one. My wife nags, and I love her]
  5. Keep ambition in check
  6. Embrace friendship
  7. Do not fear sorrow
  8. Cherish faith [as an atheist, I guess the advice is 'cherish it if you have it'. My advice would be to respect faith, but question everything]
In conclusion, life is but kindness. [There is] an old Chinese saying "Throughout the world, we are all brothers and sisters". It echoed [a] few thousand years ago. Never assume, always ask [my point about faith]. In short, find out the real facts. Action speaks louder! [the pen is mightier than the sword].

The best discipline is self-discipline. Nothing is final. Living is struggling."


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