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A Christmas blessing

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It’s Christmas, and Benedict Lopez counts his blessings for having a good neighbour.

Today is Christmas, and I received countless messages.

I appreciate all the messages from my friends and relatives wishing me on this auspicious day.

But of all these messages, the one I received from my friend in Christchurch was most poignant: “The joy of Christmas and New Year can begin. It is not a joy that everyone can experience. We are extremely blessed and privileged to be in a position when you look around the world.

“As we reflect on 2020, we are safe as we can be, thanks to the selfless work of many. We have learned this year to take nothing for granted, and to stop more often to say ‘THANK YOU’.

“Merry Christmas! Have a safe festive season with loved ones far and near and may 2021 be your BEST year yet.”

A meaningful message which no one else had sent me.

In our joyfulness, we must not forget to be thankful for being far better off than millions of people around the world. Millions have been dealt a knockout blow, which even in their wildest dreams they never would have expected.

Masses all over the world have lost their jobs, while others have taken deep pay cuts. Millions now have to depend on soup kitchens for their next meal. Many more have to live on the streets in cities all around the world.

I am grateful that I am not one of the millions who have to worry about a steady source of income and can still enjoy the basic amenities in life. I also appreciate the other blessings in life, like having a good neighbour in Anil Kumar.

READ MORE:  Christmas is about celebrating life

Just a few days ago, I had an unforgettable experience, which I think no one would have ever expected. At around 4.30am, I was locked outside as I came out of my back bathroom and could not open the kitchen door of my house. I was trapped outside, between my kitchen and the adjacent iron gate.

Although I had the kitchen door key with me, the kitchen door lock was jammed for some reason.

Our neighbourhood security guard was passing by, but he could not do much.

So I told him to call my neighbour Anil, who lives just behind my house.

Anil woke up from his sleep and came immediately from his house, bringing along a hammer and a screwdriver.

I finally broke the lock after about 10 minutes. I felt bad about disturbing Anil at that unearthly hour, but he understood perfectly.  

Having a good and ever dependable neighbour like Anil is a blessing from God for me.

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Benedict Lopez was director of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority in Stockholm and economics counsellor at the Malaysian embassy there in 2010-2014. He covered all five Nordic countries in the course of his work. A pragmatic optimist and now an Aliran member, he believes Malaysia can provide its people with the same benefits and privileges found in the Nordic countries - not a far-fetched dream but one that he hopes will be realised in his lifetime
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