Thursday, May 25, 2006

Sneak Preview

I've not been very updating my blog regularly. Here are some reasons why. These and more will be on sale soon! Details later...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Something nice for a change

We Malaysians like to bitch about everything Malaysians. Someone spits out of the car window, the first thought is "Ah, see lah. Typical Malaysian". Toilet is wet because someone decides to wash herself with the hand bidet will again set off "Typical lah. Malaysian isn't it?". So for a change I'll post something positive.

From Laura's school I need to pass by the KLCC area to get to my office. For a couple of months now (since F1 in March lah), I've noticed that the area near the KLCC has been kept very well. Flowering plants have been planted and MAINTAINED. We all know that MAINTENANCE isn't one of Malaysian's strong point, so to see that the flora around the area has been so well looked after and flowering so beautifully, I had to take a photo.

My phone camera not so canggih lah or I would have taken more photos. From the traffic light on Jalan Ampang just before turning right into KLCC, one gets a beautiful view of colourful flowers against the KLCC in the background. Beautiful!

Teachers in my life

This weekend will be the 30th anniversary celebration for my former school. I knew it as SEA Park Secondary School but it's now known as SMK Taman SEA. The place is so different now from when I was in school and it wasn't that many years ago. The approaching anniversary dinner and that it is Teacher's Day got me thinking about the teachers I had in school and the teachers in my life.

As I've blogged before, I enjoyed my year in Methodist Kindergarten. Mrs Goh, who was my teacher had left a lasting impression on a precocious 6-year-old in 1974.

The primary school I went to is situated behind Assunta Primary School. My father had originally registered me in Assunta but I think he was late so by the time my name was in, Std 1 in Assunta Primary was already full. I was placed in another nearby school instead. Not many people knew the school then. Whenever I said I went to school in Sek Ren Jalan Selangor, I usually get "Huh? Where? What?" Some of the best years in my life! Miss Angela Wong was my favourite teacher in primary school. She taught my class in Std 3 and Std 5. I believe she was the one responsible for showing me the wonders of books. She used to encourage us to read and she introduced me to Enid Blyton books. I was hooked! I believe I read the entire collection of Famous Five, Enid Blyton fairy stories starting from Blue Dragon, then graduated to Red Dragon and then Green Dragon, Hardy Boys and Malory Towers. How I love those books! I kept in touch with Miss Wong long after I left school. Later I found out she lived only a couple of streets from me. I have since moved from the neighbourhood we shared. I wonder how she is.

College life was very different from secondary school life. Suddenly, overnight, we were all expected to be more grown up. From being spoonfed information to suddenly be able to find information ourselves. It was scary but exhilirating at the same time. Ms Ruth Tan was a lecturer who opened our eyes to possibilities. To see ourselves beyond being just students. She treated her students as peers, to be shown respect and that our opinions count.

Informal teachers in my life... My own mother who has indirectly shown me that lack of "me" time will result in a frustrated, unhappy mother which translates to unhappy children with unhappy childhood. My mother and my Turkish friend, Esin Bekisoglu taught me the art of stocking up the larder and fridge. Surprise visitors? Staying for dinner? No problem. I think I've succeeded in that as I've heard comments about how there's always food in my home. Hey, I'm very proud of that fact. Nobody goes hungry in my home!

My all time favourite teachers have got to be my family. When I first met PT, I was a result of my parents' upbringing. He taught me to lighten up, to stop being a martyr and he showed me that I have every right to be proud of myself. He gave me room to grow, while keeping me grounded and he loves me unconditionally. I am a better person thanks to him. My children have taught me to laugh at myself, be spontaneous and that it's alright to be silly sometimes. They taught me that when the urge hits you, dance! Doesn't matter if people are looking. My children taught me that children are supposed to be noisy sometimes, they will be silly sometimes and they are true to themselves. They will tell you as it is and they love unconditionally. I love listening to my children when they talk. Laura said today, "It's alright to make mistakes sometimes, isn't it? We all make mistakes." I learn so much from them!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Please tell me why!

This is a common sight in front of post offices. I took this photo outside the post office in KLCC. I've seen the same sign on the post office in Ampang Point. Can anyone please tell me or better still email me a photo of a machine that works?

Another thing, what comes to mind when you know that a post office is situated in a shopping centre? That the post office will be opened beyond office hours and also on weekends right? WRONG! The post office in KLCC is opened during office hours and weekdays only. So what's the point of the post office being in a shopping centre then?

I spotted this on a notice board in a school. I think putting up the newspaper cutting was to educate their student on sexual abuse. Or from the headline, warn the children of genocide!

Literal translation:
children to be exterminated

Monday, May 15, 2006

The depth of mothers' love

Last week, I noticed that our helper was misplacing items and forgetting to do certain chores. She seemed to be in a world of her own. Something was definitely not right. When I asked her she told me that her younger son had called to accuse her of not being fair. They live in the house which our helper bought and furnished with her hard earned money. On her trip back to the Philippines last year, she bought them a TV set. Her younger son had accused her of "giving" the TV set to his brother and she hadn't bought him one as well. Both her sons are married with young children! This is the same man whose mother had borrowed money to pay for his wedding feast in March last year and is still paying off the loan more than a year later!

For years her children treated her like a bottomless ATM machine. They didn't even pay for phone calls to her to ask for money! Before our helper had a mobile phone, they used to make collect calls. Now that she has a mobile phone, they send her a text message (with the phones she bought for them) so she can call them back for them to ask her for money.

We have often heard of stories like this. A mother who leave her young family to work overseas so that her children can have a better life. In fact, I recall watching a Filipino movie with this story. Being a mother to young children, I cannot begin to understand the desperation she and her husband must have been facing to decide to leave her own children to be cared for by someone else so she is able to make a living. I cannot imagine the kind of hardship these young parents must have been going through to make such a decision. As much love as it takes for a mother to strive to keep her family together, it takes a braver mother to make a sacrifice to leave the children to work elsewhere so her children won't go hungry and so they can have a better life. But such a sacrifice is made at what price? Our helper's children have never been through hardship. They may live humble life but they've never been hungry. To compensate for not being there during their formative years, our helper is showing her love by providing them with every material things they need including new shoes, new bikes, lavish wedding banquets, new fridge... Things which she can ill afford. Having asked their mother for hand outs all their lives, they now do not know when to stop.

Our helper was very hurt by her son's words. Now that she is still working and in some ways providing for them, one of her sons has already shown that he doesn't care very much for his mother. What happens when she's old and feeble and have to depend on them? Will they still take care of her or simply throw her out? The good thing that has come out of this is, she now realises that she really needs to save up for her retirement so she won't have to rely on her children. If eventually, they do come to realise the extent of their mother's love and sacrifice, if they do decide to take care of her, that's a bonus. If they don't, at least she is able to fend for herself financially and she has a roof over her head.

Monday, May 01, 2006


Laura brings home homework every day. Usually two pages of writing for Chinese and two pages (about 20 words) for either English or BM. Even though I do not like the idea of children in kindergarten having to do homework, I welcome the chance for Laura to learn time management. Homework for Laura is part and parcel of going to school, so she needs to plan time to finish her homework. In Laura's mind, even though what she gets from school is a chore, it isn't much. When she's in the mood, she's been known to finish her homework and then take out her activity books (colouring, puzzles, etc) to do. She doesn't know that in most part of the world, kids in kindergarten do not have homework. Ah well, I'm not telling her.

As usual on Friday, she was given homework by her teachers. I'd encouraged her to finish her homework on Friday evening as I normally plan activities/outings with the children in the weekend. We discussed about her homework plan and she said she wants to do her homework in the weekend. As it turned out, the kids had an unplanned playdate when my friends, who had to attend a funeral, dropped off their children to play with Laura and Adam. By evening, Laura was too tired to do her homework. This morning, we left first thing in the morning to the Ti-Ratana Community Centre for a jumble sale. Quite amazing some of the stuff people "donate" to charity. They seem to think charity = dumpsite. But that's another story.

PT and his committee put together this jumble sale which had fun activities like game stalls, face painting, tattoo, balloon sculptor, magic show, etc for the benefit of the underpriviledged residents in the area.

Wendy painting a visitor's face

Laura aka Grumpy Bunny

A satisfied customer!

The kids have had a fun weekend but whenever there is some quiet time, Laura thinks about her homework. She thinks aloud when she will have some time to do her homework, if she'll be able to finish her homework in time before she has to go to school. I can so relate to how her mind works as I find myself in similar situations sometimes.

In a roundabout sort of way, I'm getting to my point. Recently, I've been feeling swamped with work. I am one of the priviledged few who has a job where I plan my own schedule and most times I can work from home. Technically, it sounds perfect. In the real world, it isn't. I follow up on calls to client during office hours. When I have some time with my kids, sometimes I'm interrupted by phone calls as the office phone is diverted to my handphone. Some time in the afternoon, I pick Laura up from school. Most times my children don't understand why I can't spend time with them even though I'm at home. At the back of my mind, I will be thinking about the quotation or the invoice I need to send out. Thinking about the arrangement I need to make for the next corporate show. Have to get ready cheque payment for wages and company expenses. Paperwork and email correspondence are done in the evening after the kids have gone to bed. Then I have an unhappy PT who hasn't had any time with me. Moreover, some weekends PT and I have to work. When I'm working, I think of my kids who have not had much time with me especially Adam. I didn't work when Laura was a baby, so I got to spend time singing, painting and baking with her. Adam has been spending lots of time with Thomas and his friends, with Greg, Murray, Anthony and Jeff, with Barney who loves him and with Mary Poppins and Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion.

Yes, sometimes I wonder how I can plan my homework too so I can have some time for fun without guilt.