Oolong Tea

Oolong Tea...


A carrot, an egg, and a cup of Oolong tea…You will never look at a cup of Oolong the same way again.

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling. It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed Oolong tea. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl.

Then she ladled the Oolong out and placed it in a bowl. Turning to her daughter, she asked, “Tell me what you see.”

“Carrots, eggs, and Oolong tea,” she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg.

Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the Oolong. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma The daughter then asked, “What does it mean, mother?”

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The Oolong tea was unique, however. After they were in the boiling water , they had changed the water color and taste.

“Which are you?” she asked her daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a Oolong tea?

Think of this: Which am I? Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the Oolong tea? The tea actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the tea, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you. When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest, do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a Oolong tea?

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human and enough hope to make you happy.

The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way. The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; you can’t go forward in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling.

Live your life so at the end, you’re the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

You might want to send this message to those people who mean something to you; to those who have touched your life in one way or another; to those who make you smile when you really need it; to those who make you see the brighter side of things when you are really down; to those whose friendship you appreciate; to those who are so meaningful in your life.

If you don’t send it, you will just miss out on the opportunity to
brighten someone’s day with this message!

May we all be OOLONG TEA !!!!!!!!!

[Thank you, Huang, who forwarded to me this very motivating message, which I am sharing with all on the blog.- Kit]

  1. #1 by azk on Wednesday, 7 March 2007 - 10:01 am

    Egg is not a bad option :-)

  2. #2 by teetwoh on Wednesday, 7 March 2007 - 10:21 am

    It is refreshing to read this in your blog, Kit Siang. In my mind, you are no doubt the Oolong tea. Guan Eng first made me angry with the government in Malaysia. At the virgil that night he was imprisoned, you came around and shook the hands of those who were there. I was astounded with your serenity, your equanimity, at your son’s perils. It said something about your struggle, and it certainly made a difference in my life. Unfortunately, I have, over the years, become the egg. I have hardened my heart towards this government, whom I think would continue to be corrupt, incompetent, racist and care only for themselves. I hope you continue to be the refreshing tea you have been for so long.

  3. #3 by Jong on Wednesday, 7 March 2007 - 10:23 am

    That was most motivating, a lovely piece indeed! May we all be OOLOONG TEA!

  4. #4 by Taiko on Wednesday, 7 March 2007 - 10:26 am

    It’s great to read something non-political every once in awhile.

    Years ago, I read squabbles between Americans and Britons in a forum where Americans called the Brits tea-drinker and the Brits called the Americans coffee-drinker.

    I’m a tea-drinker. And I hope to emulate some of the characteristics of tea.

  5. #5 by free_lunch2020 on Wednesday, 7 March 2007 - 10:58 am

    nice piece. :D very nice new look too :D

  6. #6 by wozilla on Wednesday, 7 March 2007 - 11:03 am

    There is a typo of *three, which should be tea at the first line in paragraph three.

  7. #7 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Wednesday, 7 March 2007 - 12:10 pm

    YB, thanks to you and Huang for an inspirational anecdote.

    It’s particularly uplifting and an encouragement to us to carry on the fight to make this government accountable, transparent and responsible.

    One other attribute about the Oolong Tea besides its aroma and fragrance: it cleanses!

    I think this analogy of the Oolong tea would motivate us readers to help cleanse our government of the corruption that debase and desroy the social fabric of Malaysian life.

    Be an Oolong….clean out BN!

  8. #8 by sheriff singh on Wednesday, 7 March 2007 - 1:47 pm

    When you are all stressed up, when you feel the world is collapsing all around you, what do people do?

    Some will turn to liquor and try to drink their woes away.
    Some will have a cuppa or two of the ‘tongkat’ thing.
    Some will have a cuppa or two of calming tea.
    Me? A cuppa or two of cow’s milk with a small dash of ginger.
    To each his own.

    There’s a story of a concoction a Thai man takes religiously every morning to make him strong to face the day ahead:

    Two raw eggs mixed with stout and tom yam chillies, and down the hatch at one go. Burp!! He’s got a really strong stomach and bowels.

  9. #9 by lkt-56 on Wednesday, 7 March 2007 - 1:48 pm

    Life is boiling water…

    Only the tea managed to sweeten life by releasing its flavour within and thus surround itself (tea) with the sweet aroma of tea…


    To aspiring leaders – How would you sweeten the uncomfortably hot boiling water of communalism prevailing in our country?

    If you fail how would you remain like the versatile tea and continue to unselfishly releasing your sweet aroma within to help all endure the hot boiling water? :)

  10. #10 by sheriff singh on Wednesday, 7 March 2007 - 1:50 pm

    P/s Your picture of a cup of tea don’t look like oolong tea. But I suppose any kind of tea would be OK for the message.

  11. #11 by confusedcious on Wednesday, 7 March 2007 - 2:05 pm

    Darjeeling, please Puer the tea for me – I hope I don’t have to wait Oolong for it.

  12. #12 by mwt on Wednesday, 7 March 2007 - 2:12 pm

    Sheriff Singh: “But I suppose any kind of tea would be OK for the message”
    Yes for the message, but not for consumption. There are a lot of Oolong Cheats in the world. After collecting the watered out tea leaves from dim sum restaurants, you will find them adding coloring dyes to these dried up leaves. The more water you pour, the more the dye color oozes out unlike the natural leaves. And they are properly packaged as oolong, lok poh or ceylon tea with added aromas. So be careful of the “fake” oolongs in people.

  13. #13 by charminglefty on Wednesday, 7 March 2007 - 2:48 pm

    Good and interesting article!
    May we all strive to be oolong teas!!!

  14. #14 by Jeffrey on Wednesday, 7 March 2007 - 3:43 pm

    Ok, when adversity knocks on the door, become an Oolong tea! (TDM had relinquished power and now claims to be an ordinary Malaysian. Tun Musa Hitam said that TDM was suffering a post-prime ministerial syndrome in picking up quarrels with Pak Lah. Is it (loss of position and power) now an adversity to Dr Mahathir, and if so, has he now become a carrot, an egg or an Oolong tea?

    The other thing is Life is not just a continuum of adversities : it is a blend of adversities and good fortunes. What happens if good fortune knocks on the door (like Pah Lah ascending to the top position as premier)? What should one become a carrot, an egg or an Oolong tea? Is Pak Lah a carrot, an egg or an Oolong tea?

  15. #15 by shortie kiasu on Wednesday, 7 March 2007 - 3:54 pm

    It is good to share motivating thoughts, but reality is always harsh and needed the strong-hearted to take comfort in such motivational thoughts. Many won’t succeed.

  16. #16 by Jong on Wednesday, 7 March 2007 - 6:05 pm

    “Live your life so at the end, you’re the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying. ”

    Actually, I prefer it this way – “Live your life so at the end, your’re the one who is smiling and everyone around you is smiling too.”

  17. #17 by Pengajar on Wednesday, 7 March 2007 - 9:58 pm

    Politically, on one corner, there is the superheavyweight Barisan Nasional. On another corner, there is the strawweight opposition party. It is not an easy fight.
    Mohammad Ali won a lot of boxing matches but because of the blows he received on his head, he suffers from Parkinson disease now.
    In life, competition can turn into fights when it becomes unfair. To get on in life, individualists make their own decision on whether to change into that of a carrot, a hardened egg or the preferred oolong tea to face all that life has to give.

  18. #18 by sean on Wednesday, 7 March 2007 - 11:37 pm

    Malaysia is a great country..but unfortunately……with Bn on the helm for far too long……..Bn seems to think that the rakyat owe them rather than the other way around.Its high time the opposition get its due official recognition from non other than our beloved royalty since the opposition is his majesty opposition in the govt.Would be most deligthed to see such a move.

    Back to the topic,Oolong tea is good but beware when drinking too much from tea plantation that is unscrouplous when excessive pesticides are sprayed without control.That will cause rashes in our body when we drink it heheehe.By the way…not just tea but gosh…our vegetables as well…so eat and drink from proper source.

  19. #19 by malaysiaboleh on Thursday, 8 March 2007 - 12:31 am

    To answer Jeffery’s question,” Is Pak Lah a carrot, an egg or an Oolong tea?”.He is more like jelly or agar -agar, look tough on the outside but soft on the inside!

  20. #20 by DiaperHead on Thursday, 8 March 2007 - 3:33 am

    “Me? A cuppa or two of cow’s milk with a small dash of ginger.
    To each his own.” Sheriff Singh

    Ginger?? Yuckkkk!!

  21. #21 by Kingkong on Thursday, 8 March 2007 - 7:48 am

    Oolong tea philosophy sounds more like a “You can’t fight them, you join them” mentality. It is all black tea at the end of the day. Black tea is bitter, hard to swallow, with a little bit of sweetener, Semuanya ok.

    I prefer the hard boiled egg; look thin and fragile outside, but hard and firm inside. People force should be like egg, hard and firm in principle and continuously demand that their right is safeguarded and protected.

    Just a different view!

  22. #22 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 8 March 2007 - 8:21 am

    Personally I sense Pak Lah is by temperament more like the egg : soft, affable and amiable on the outside, but hard and steely inside in resolve, whether for the better or worse – more like a needle wrapped in soft cotton.

    But back to the thread subject. It is all well and easy to talk about being an Ooloong Tea, when adversity comes a knocking, releasing fragrance and flavor and changing the situation around you for the better. This presupposes the person affected has mental resilience, moral fortitude and emotional stability. And if he has all these attributes chances are that the adversity would not be that bad, buffered as it were by such a person’s response to it all along the way, as the adversity unfolds.

    Reality is harsher. The person affected by adversity may not have mental and emotional resilience or moral fortitude. Quite the opposite, he may, by temperament, be emotionally weak if not already a wreck; he may be intellectually challenged; he may have a nagging, cantankerous wife who diminishes his self esteem at every opportunity. Haven’t we heard of cases where a man, a long suffering husband, deep in debts, harassed by Ah Long, quarreled with his wife over money, and when the wife insulted his manhood and threatened to leave, he crossed the threshold of rationality, killed his children before committing suicide? You think he could like Oolong change his temperament at will, release fragrance and flavor and change the situation around him for the better?

    What happens if situation around cannot be changed, as when everyone around whom you are trying to make a better man is steeped in a habit and culture of corruption and it is a situation of either you resist, dissociate or join in?

    It can be a situation of a leader of a political party surrounded by corrupt chieftains. You either join in or they overthrow you.

    It can be a situation like in Brian De Palma’s film “Casualties of War” starring Sean Penn as officer of combat hardened platoon in Vietnam who decides to kidnap a local Vietnamese village girl and bring her along on their trip as a sex slave and where the mild-mannered private Ericksson (played by Michael J. Fox), who is the only one with moral compass right, refuses to participate in sex with the girl but yet could not change the minds of his other comrades much less avert their repeated raping of the girl.

    So in the above situations – that supposing cannot be changed no matter with how much fragrance and flavor being released – what would someone like an Oolong Tea do?

  23. #23 by undergrad2 on Friday, 9 March 2007 - 12:23 am

    “Personally I sense Pak Lah is by temperament more like the egg : soft, affable and amiable on the outside, but hard and steely inside in resolve, whether for the better or worse – more like a needle wrapped in soft cotton.” Jeffrey

    Personally, I think this PM is like an egg plant rather than an egg.

  24. #24 by sj on Friday, 9 March 2007 - 1:36 am

    Looks more like a teh C than an oolong tea hahaha. Combined with roti canai and maggie mee goreng will make your life complete.

  25. #25 by sj on Friday, 9 March 2007 - 1:37 am

    Hence that is what we have, diversity at its finest, Malaysia as i know it.

  26. #26 by ringman on Friday, 9 March 2007 - 9:22 am

    without water what can they be?

  27. #27 by undergrad2 on Friday, 9 March 2007 - 9:36 am

    I went to a supermarket called “Hong Kong Supermarket” at Oak Tree Rd. today and bought a packet of Oolong Tea. I am now USDLS 5.00 poorer as a result. It was only for one small packet.

  28. #28 by BobSam on Friday, 9 March 2007 - 10:01 am

    This is a chestnut. The original version of this when it was about coffee beans was quite meaningful & touching.
    But “Orientalizing” the story could reach out to more people here in M’sia. I m sure the original author will not have an issue with this.
    Just remember, gold is refined by melting it to its pure state, likewise a diamond looks its best after being cut, ground, & polished.
    All the best.

  29. #29 by lkt-56 on Friday, 9 March 2007 - 3:24 pm

    Actually the original version using coffee bean is more appropriate. The coffee bean went into the boiling hot water as beans and came out still the same. Despite this it has managed to change the water. The tea leaves, although having changed the water has itself also changed…

    What most comments have missed is that the substance that changed the water came from WITHIN the tea… the inner SELF of human. This inner SELF is spelled with capital letters as opposed to the small caps ‘self’ which is actually the ego. Only the SELF can withstand the hot boiling water, sweeten it and came out of it unchanged.

    Those who failed to stay in touch with their inner SELF and expand it to touch others will find themselves ending up like the egg or carrot.

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