Hearing Loss


Hearing loss can make a person cranky

Turning up the volume of everything

Or tilting the head and looking blankly

Or cupping the hands behind the ears that ring

Trying hard to make sense of some words spoken

But so often these are wildly broken

The lysics are “There’s bad moon on the rise”

But sounds like “There’s a bathroom on the right” *

‘Cos consonants are spoken more softly

They are also higher-pitched than vowels

Because of these they get drowned easily

By the background noise muffled by towels

There’s no need for so much to be missing

If hearing issues are soon dealt with

Treble notes need not be reminiscing

And even the bass notes will become lithe

All it takes are a pair of hearing aids:

Automatic volume for sounds;

Good ones come fitted with certain upgrades:

Directional microphones to boost sounds

* Creedence Clearwater Revival’s song “Bad Moon Rising”

Hearing Aids


Hearing aids are a wondrous boon

Though they are far from being perfect

It’s better to get a pair soon

For there is much they can correct

Hearing loss gives one the blues

Words get drowned not enlightening

Without context or visual clues

It’s exhausting just listening

Hearing aids can’t replace what’s lost

And are pricey but work so well

Ambient noise will now become glossed

And conversations are more swell

Hearing aids help reduce the risk

Of old-age cognitive decline

Sounds will be heard in brisk

Both treble and bass sounding fine



Despite 68 bestsellers, Sandra Brown’s books are still tantalizing. This latest one jolts from the first page. This is a heart-pounding stsory of corruption, treachery and ceaseless deception, where nothing is what it seems and every truth brought to light exposes a darker lie.

Jordie Bennett is abducted by Shaw Kinnard after he killed his partner, Mickey Bolden. Both men were employed by Billy Panella, the man behind a big scam and other crimes.

There are non-stop plot twists and it is more that half way into the book before it is revealed that Shaw is actually a covert FBI Special Agent after Josh Bennett (Jordie’s fugitive brother who works for Panella).

So, is Jordie in on her brother’s scam (which caused the death of Shaw’s parents when their retirement fund was scammed) or is she an innocent pawn (because Josh is spoilt and piled guilt on his sister for ‘destroying’ his ‘entire life’)?

What is Jordie’s other connection with Panella, and what will happen to her? Is Shaw really remorseless and manipulative? All these kept me turning the pages as quickly as I could and I managed to get the answers after slightly more than one day.

The Sacred Willow


This personal narrative tells of four generations in the life of a Vietnamese family. It is almost like a history lesson on Vietnam except that it is engrossing and fascinating.

Mai tells of how her ancestors rose from poverty to social prominence. Her great grandfather (a scholar) married five times and had many affairs (because polygamy was legal then) but was a loving and stern father.

Her grandfather was a mandarin, focused on his family and was strict. He loved literature and instilled in his sons a faith in education and an attachment to the values of loyalty and filial peity. Her grandmother was a savvy businesswoman and a mistress of her own destiny. She had stature and moral character, was loyal to her husband, was obsessively thrifty, disapproved of frivolity, followed religious traditions and was utterly devoted to her family. She was strict but kind, was open-minded and had a progrressive attitude.

Mai’s parents were typical of their generation. They had their feet in both the old Vietnam that was disappearing and a new Vietnam that was only just taking shape. Both acquired a French education and a Western veneer, but at home they fell back into the rhythm and values of traditional family life.

The War brought shortages but they managed to survive with a lot of effort and careful planning. They lived frugally as they had a limited budget and lacked social status. Mai (the 14th child among 17 siblings, 7 of whom died in infancy or childhood) realised that the only way to escape this was to go overseas to study. She left for America (on a scholarship, majoring in political science) in 1960, when she was 19.

Mai loved her new life because it spoke of individual freedom and zest for life. She ran into discrimination and was snubbed for her ethnicity (eg by a bus driver and a shoe salesman). She met David Elliott, a tall, elegant, gentlemanly mannered, intellectual, artistic and helpful man, in 1961 and they married in 1964. Her father was more distressed by the shame that marriage to an American would bring to the family than any perceived lack of filial piety.

The War tore the family apart. Members of the family tried to flee Vietnam many times but failed as there were many obstavles to emigration. They were later evacuated and flew to California for processing and resettlement (to France, Canada and even Australia, besides America). Despite being thrust into a new environment, most of them adapted well. Vietnam had become to them a hostile land, in which they had little interest.

Mai returned to Vietnam in 1993 and saw that Saigon had changed (where there were homes were now empty lots; traffic was heavy and the big city life seemed normal, unmarred by signs of war), but Hanoi changed little in 40 years. It was still as crowded and dilapidated though some of the public buildings were being repaired and repainted.

Finally Mai finds peace and closure and renewed family bonds unbroken by time and war. The relatives have put the past behind them and moved on, stirred by hope and not fear of bullets and bombs.



A promising relationship

Has turned into a disillusion;

What happened to the fellowship

That has ended up in frustration?


Plenty of exasperation

Eyes full of anger and turbulance

And fear of endless temptation

Self-doubt, denial and self-delusion


That’s a dangerous place to be

And a recipe for disaster

Best-laid plans gone away to sea

Tiresome and thankless like pilaster


It’s good to be steadfast and true

There is plenty of love and support

Friends around you will see you through

And never will you be in distort




Seeing nothing late at night

Beyond the black sky

And a sprinkling of stars

Feeling numb at the sight

Tears have become dry

The heart is full of scars

Healing’s not overnight

Emotions are high

Bordering on bizarre

Blocking what’s not right

Never asking why

Only blindly comply


strategyIs it a mere coincidence

That after some sessions

Of clever maneuvres

Comes an elusive promise?

Don’t be duped into conlusions

A hundred more questions

Really needs to be asked

And also taken to task

Regard with some speculation

And much reconnaissance

His improvisation

And his sophistication

Seize the opportunity

Be conspicuous

Time is so preciious

You’ll need a good strategy



Making choices aren’t easy

Though some deem it so breezy

All will have consequences

With some that need trusses

To be alone and happy

Or stay married but lonely?

Without any harmony

Would you still think it’s lovely?

Gain strength from the mistakes made

Be firm and not be afraid

Do not easily be swayed

Or you’ll again be dismayed

Only you can help yourself

Contentment will find itself

So many ways to excel

With pride and belief in self

Greying Hair


The faded follicles

And the many wrinkles

Exudes an aura of dignity

Even if they don’t look pretty

We should all just embrace

Our hair’s grey streaks with grace

They are beautiful and unique

Bringing perks and also mystique

Just be comfortable

Ignore others’ label

Relish the stares that white hair bring

And flaunt it for the perks that spring

Seats on the train and buses

Are some of the pluses

Some youngsters even think it’s cool

But have highlights which are uncool

Live To Learn


An inspirational motto

At a learning institution

Resonates the world in vibrato

And must be for us a mission

Besides children and young adults

Octogenarians need to learn

That learning to live will have results

Just as it is living to learn

Health’s always a priority

Happiness comes a close second

We all have an authority

To ensure we are not weakened

It’s good for us to keep ahead

For the wonderful symphony

And not regret when almost dead

That life’s just a polyphony