You Can Never Tell what life throws at you, where you’ll end up and what you might achieve. And if it’s unexpected on your end, to others, it might just be plain unbelievable. That’s why former RAF pilot and globetrotter Philip Zeid penned his memoirs so that he can share his remarkable albeit unusual life experiences to his children, grandchildren, and friends. And, of course, readers everywhere looking for a glimpse at both deeply personal moments and historic events.
The 95-year-old has had quite a few adventures, beginning with joining the RAF despite having been prescribed glasses (and continually refusing to wear his specs). Zeid describes how the Air Force brought about a complete change of his whole future, his character, self-confidence and personal development.
“If I had worn those glasses, this would not have happened,” Zeid says, alluding to how even the smallest of decisions might have profound effects later on in life. Some of these serendipitous decisions led him to discover the love of his life.
“If I had not taken up radio as a hobby whilst as a child and had not gone on leave in debt when I went to Australia from Malaysia on my first long leave I would not have met and married my future wife and had such a lovely family,” he adds.
Another segment in the book details how Zeid was planning to be a tea planter in India when the partition riots broke out, and no jobs were available. This happened while he was still in the UK and because of it, he found an offer to become a rubber planter in Malasia instead. These were unexpected developments that led him to find his future wife. Zeid and his family also experienced many unusual and delicate situations in Malaysia, and during the emergency in Liberia and elsewhere.
In short, You Can Never Tell what will happen in your life due to your actions, or what the effects of external happenings are. While this prospect may seem daunting to some, it can also be invigorating and inspiring as it shows that there can be hope, that fortune can smile upon anyone and that exciting times may be better than the Chinese proverb lets on. Life and reality can’t be pigeonholed and one can see that as a liberating thought.
Now, after all these years, readers can benefit from Zeid’s reflections and insights, as he reminisces about the abundant life he’s had. You Can Never Tell is his second book, and even its penning belies how Zeid’s still carrying on his charmed existence, graduating from radio enthusiast to eyeglass-refuser, from pilot and adventurer to storyteller and writer.
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Philip Zeid writes about his unusual life experiences. His story starts with his experiences during the bombing of England by the Germans at the beginning of World War II, followed by his volunteering as a pilot in the RAF and his training in America, which, at the time, was not at war. He eventually transferred to gliders and served in the Burma Campaign.