Friday, 9 September 2011

Stories to ponder

                                  The smoking priest

One day a junior priest of a church had an urge to smoke when he was praying among many other fellow priests. He asked his superior the Reverend Father for permission: Rev Father, can I smoke while I pray? He was curtly rebuked and his request refused flatly. On another occasion another junior priest also had a similar desire to smoke during the Morning Prayer. He asked the Father Superior who happened to walk by: Rev Father, can I pray while I smoke? The Rev father was bemused and nodded his head in approval.

The junior apprentice priest craftily asked for permission to pray whilst smoking and got what he wanted, even though we all knew very well it was improper to smoke in a church, least while praying!

             Nuns gathered to smoke? It sure deemed improper for modern days

Smoking is really a bad habit but here smoking during prayer was an issue for this little story to ponder. More than 40 years ago, it was common to see priests and teachers in secondary missionary (mine was a Catholic High School) schools smoked happily like there was no tomorrow. Thank goodness that nowadays schools have been declared non-smoking zones. Still I saw lots of secondary teachers (mainly the male teachers) smoked heavily near the gate of the school whenever they were having a break or during the end of the school hours.

Another short story to ponder:
The demolition of a semi-completed building

                                                 An unfinished building
                        An old building demolished by dynamite power

The silvery haired professor of the School of Architecture of a famed university led his team of students to a works site, where a semi-completed building was about to be demolished by using dynamite. The reason: The architect who designed the building was bribed by the contractor with a considerable amount of cash to alter his work that would affect adversely the quality of the building. The malpractice and evil conspiracy was uncovered that resulted the unfinished building to be demolished. As the building collapsed in a pile of blasted concrete and twisted metal in a series of stunning explosions, the students were awed and in shock. They felt devastated that an incomplete building had to suffer such fate as it involved large amount of money and effort, it seemed to be so wasteful. Why could not a subtle solution be sought out instead of taking such drastic measure?

                              St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, completed
                                    in 1626, is an architectural wonder
                      The Principal architect of Petronas Twin Towers
                           is an Argentinian-American Mr. Cesar Pelli
                The iconic landmark of KL - The Twin Towers
                       is undoubtedly an architectural marvel

The professor told them in a determined tone, with straight faced and a stern look: Mistakes had been committed as the land owner company concerned engaged a greedy architect in the beginning. Worst of it they bestowed the contract to an unscrupulous man to have the building constructed. You guys and girls must not give in to temptations that broker away your integrity and professionalism. Honesty is the best policy as always! We architects can’t afford to be malicious and sinister; we must look into the welfare and safety of the owners, residents, occupants and office staff of every building we designed. This is a project involved immensely with human factors – the paramount of it, human lives can not be compromised. You got it, every one of you? There were instant answers of ‘aye aye sir’.

        Architectural internees posed at a newly completed building in Dubai
       A monumental task to finish the book of knowledge?
 It's a bigger task out there to nurture one's immature mind

The old professor had to raise his voice to end his moral lecture to his attentive students amidst noises of bulldozers running and boisterous workers nearby who had begun to clear the debris. The group of students returned to their university with many things to ponder: The moral of integrity and honesty, the values of ethics and rhetoric, the temptations of material gain and sudden wealth, responsibility and obligation towards clients and hence their professionalism, as well as job satisfaction etc. They had learned well.

Telltales stories I heard
Alan CY Kok

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