Thursday, April 24, 2008

It doesnt work that way anymore

I was an obedient girl. I think most of the kids during the late 70s to early 80s were. We shared our toys, we were polite and we slept when we were told to. My ah bu and ah pa hardly scolded me. There was no need for the cane. I remember though one incident in which my ah bu held up high the Tat Seng slipper, as though to strike us. She relented of course.

I would not say Gooly is disobedient. It's just that he needs explanation for everything in the universe. Why does he need to take a nap? Why does he have to drink his milk? Why does he need a haircut? Sometimes I have the answers. Sometimes I don't. Sometimes I have the patience. Very often I don't.

Prior to writing this post, I'd naively thought that all kids fear and thus follow commands to avoid unpleasant consequences. Naive indeed I was. I had learned that hollering "Go to sleep NOW" , punctuated with an animated roaring sound doesn't work. I would now save my breath for Yum Seng combats only.

On the contrary, if I'd sung, "Pooh Bear, it's time to sleeeeep," you'd see the kiddo enthusiastically pranced into the room and snugged quickly under the blanket while waiting for his good night smooches.

Obviously the iron fist has no place in our house.

Hang on.. if it doesn't work on junior, it doesn't mean that it won't work on PAPAH THE MAN, does it..?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

An owl was born

I am not a morning person. It's euphoric for me to wake in pitch dark and realise that I have a good few hours to continue my slumber. And when I finally do wake, my body and brain need extra minutes to adjust to the new dawn, though it's really way after dawn that I wake. I could have been a bear in my past life - a bear which died not getting the next hibernation, and is reclaiming all the snoozes at present life, as me. And like a bear, I growl when disturbed....especially when my internal clock has not rung.

God is humorous if you asked me. Maybe He has an extra jar of joke which he disposed last minute, right before Gooly was born. He made Gooly wakeful. As wakeful as an owl. He wrapped the little owlet and handed it to the sleepy-head mom. The owlet would only go to sleep when he knew he was the last one to do so in the household. It was a battle of who slept last, in which he was always the champion.

As he grew, he transformed into a joey which literally springs out of bed the moment he wakes. He is the opposite of the sleepy-head mum. His eyes, limbs, brain need no time to chill. His mouth even wakes before anything else. "What should we do now" he'd ask, with his eyes closed though it will only take seconds for the latter to function fully.

And so for the past three years, we didn't need an alarm clock. Gooly would gladly do the job for us. It is not an easy job because Mahmee hibernates, remember? Sometimes I'd tell him it's too early to wake (for my standard). But he got smarter because he'd lament that he is hungry. Now what kind of mother would deny the son food? Not even a sleepy one, right?

And so I'd lunge my sorry bum out of my SULTANAH IKEA mattress and fix him the easiest meal.

With a sour face.. no smiles, no cheery conversations.

Selfishly, I have wanted him to accept that I am not a cheery person in the morning, that I am a -leave-me-alone mahmee before pm. I have failed to realise that I am the one who needs to change. I am the one who should accept his zesty approach to life.

Luckily for me, he told me so this morning. He woke and tried to wake me. I forgot what I did but he was standing next to me, tearing. It wasn't a bawl, just silent tears which broke my heart. I asked if he had a tummy ache.

But I suppose what I did was even more painful than a gastronomical discomfort. "You frowned at me", my little boy said. And right there and then, I made a solemn vow never to frown at him, especially over something as trivial as sleep. It seems trivial to me now, at least.

I now think God is wise and humorous. In subtle, ironic ways, I am told that I need to change. My little messenger is telling me that I shouldn't waste a glorious morning in bed.

I shall go buy a spring to attach to my bum later.

Good Morning Everyone!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Once upon a long long time ago..

When I was thin.. hang on.. I was never thin.. Let's start over. When I was thin-ner, I used to wear halternecks and dresses. Walking in heels was excruciating but not a problem. Mascara, eyeliner, blush, lipstick - they were always in order. Handphone the size of err.. a pencil case (not a small one either) was tucked into either the back pocket of Levis or mini handbags.

All cross- checked, I went trit-trot-tritting across the valley to the sounds of music. In other words, discotheque/club. Gosh, are those words obsolete now? If they are not, I am sure these are: Branigans, Fire, Modesto, Arena, Jump, Beach, Boom Boom. Were you there too? Prancing and dancing to nanananan, babe give it up, babe give it up? Or YMCA, complete with the idiotic alphabeting movements?

If we wound the clock backwards a bit more, we'd be in Picadilly, where dancing in a circle was considered cool. Much much later, techno and trance music were everywhere. Headache, ear-ache but still bearable.

Fast forward to life at present in Bangkok. Superbed Club, RCA. Sure, heard and read of them. But no thank you if you want a night out with me. I have aged gracefully. But just a note to Gooly; Mahmee was hip and happening before. ;-)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

He said, he mused

This is a backdated post on the things Gooly said which amaze and amuse me still. I had often wondered that it will be a lot easier to fathom my child's thinking if the brain comes with an LCD screen showing the details that preceded his conclusions.

For example he has thought that the rooster wears a bow tie. Was it because of the redness of the wattle? He had also wondered if it produces milk when squeezed, just like a cow's udder. *chuckles*

On the day when the sun was exceptionally bright, he concluded that it's made of a huge egg yolk. A little later, he learned about the gravity when he wondered why the soft bear he threw up doesn't stay up. Another night, he insisted that plants grow down at night since they grow up during day. I guess he learnt his opposites a little differently.

On some days he wished he could work but lamented that he doesn't have a bow tie yet. Today he reckoned that Rabbit is Pooh Bear's mummy (I sneakily think it's because Rabbit has a nasty temper just like yours truly) and Owl is the papah.

The latter makes sense, doesn't it? Owls are often portrayed as wise, solemn and preachy- common traits of the paternal kind.

Oh yes, my son talks, asks, wonders, demands for answers. I get impatient at times. But I know I should be really thankful instead.

To love and be loved a thousand times more

I found a copy of The Kite Runner under my bed and read it in 2 days. It's a sad tale of love, friendship, kinship, betrayal , loyalty, war and the aftermath of it - all the essence to make it a good, make it a VERY good and satisfying read. I devoured it like a vulture would a carcass. A few times I just let the tears flow. My most poignant memory of the story was when one of the two protagonists challenged the other, his loyalty, by asking, "Would you really do that for me?" (I will not spoil the storyline by telling what he had requested)

"For you, a thousand times more" was the reply.

It's like he would cross the ocean a thousand times, love a thousand times, and die a thousand times, if that is what he should do. Such profound love.

I imagine a mother uttering that to her child, a lover to another lover, a loyal friend to another friend , a wife to her husband and my husband to me.

Of course I have also learned to say, "For you, a thousand times more, Gooly. Whatever that you want me to do." Only when we can say these words with all our hearts and to receive them in return that I think we have lived our lives with no regrets.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Aiseh man..

Life exists for a reason. While some people think their life is dedicated to noble and heroic acts such as saving planet earth or protecting endangered species, right at the other end of the spectrum is a group of nincompoops whose sole existence on earth is to inject harsh remarks in their daily conversations, aimed to annoy, irritate, cause misery to the other conversant, for their own merryment.

For instance, exhibit A will say, "Wah, you so fat already!" to exhibit B, after a 15 seconds preamble of hellos. If exhibit B was Sawisekilo, who is well known to have a laser mouth (imagine her words lashed out from her mouth in neon lights), I'd say good luck to exhibit A.

Just the other day, a sub-species of the nasty kind commented, "Aiyo, why you cut your hair so short? You look so much better in long hair." Sawisekilo cleverly retorted, "My husband likes it so much."

Whooot! And thus, we should be prepared at all times for such ill remarks.

Example A: "You so fat already." This can be countered by saying, "Yes, this new diet finally worked for me."

Example B: "What is wrong with your face? So many pimples." Your retort could be, "Yalor, too much ginseng and abalone. Too heaty"

Never mind that they don't make sense because these nincompoops will never get it anyways. They will walk away in daze, not knowing what hit them. They will probably think of something to say, about 48 hours later. By then, we will be sipping coffee and devising yet another repartee. Whoot whoot wooray!

When silence kills..

Some people are argumentative. They like to superimpose their ideas. I am quite the contrary. If you thought Brad Pitt is hot and I thought my armpit can be hotter, I won't be holding a debate with you to see whose opinion is more accurate.

That doesn't mean I am not opinionated. Heck, my opinions are often brimming at my cerebrum. But I know when they are wanted or otherwise. I'd listen if you have something to say. I don't have to agree with you and vice versa.

BUT if you keep on babbling about how your opinion is the SUPREME one, I'd give you the silent treatment. If you happened to have a debate with me and I'd gone uncommunicative, don't think you have succeeded in convincing me.

I am just silently hating you. Cheers!

Friday, April 11, 2008


I am a simple person. I smile easily. I laugh easily. Especially so when with children. Unfortunately even children don't always get along. They always want the exact same thing at the same time. They push and shove. They boycott. And they spit.

Situations are exacerbated when the bully-parents snigger, or suddenly choose to live by the rule see-no-evil, hear-no-evil, speak-no-evil. It is as though they have suddenly gone blind, deaf and mute. If you feel they are ashamed and thus the silent reverie, I hate to burst your bubble. They are instead gloating, thinking that their child is some kind of superhero who again proved that he is an aggressive species and thus will SURVIVE in this dog-eat-dog world. I only have one thing to say. My son is a not a dog, and so will not behave like one.

Of course kids will be kids. They behave unexpectedly. They cannot be angels all the time. But the world will seem nicer if the parents themselves have manners and make an effort to correct a child's behavior.

Does it hurt if you tell your child to let the other boy to go on the slide first instead of ushering him to be NO.1 in line, as though the slide leads to heaven and the Pearly Gate is about to close. Let's not even try to fathom why the parent thinks the son is going to heaven.

Much to my delight, Sawisekilo shares the same sentiment. His son, WT and gooly had a great time today with squeals of laughter and bouts of silly banters.

"Is it my turn?" was answered with, "OK, go ahead." A painful cry was appeased by a gentle pat and "I am sowry." And my favourite is when the two bradders took apart a toy and shared the bits and pieces of what was once Mr. Power Ranger.

Imagine all the people, living live in peace, I quote Mr. Lennon.

And yes, you may say I'm a dreamer. But heck, I am not the only one! At least I have Sawisekilo to walk the rest of the journey of motherhood with me.

Thanks, Sawisekilo. And to the other dogs, wipe the foam off your mouth, get your rabies shot and quit spreading unwanted germs.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Chasing dreams

My closest experience with any musical instrument is the violin, which I played so mediocre-ly. I have outlined a plan. I will one day play Moonlight Sonata on the violin.

Five minutes have passed. I am still snickering at my own thought. Whilst I am daydreaming, I should push the envelope further. Let's make a list of I WILL ONE DAY:
1) play the piano
2) play golf and tennis
3) have more than one kid
4) speak French
5) be slim
6) stay in a different country for a short period of time every year
7) visit Mt Everest on a helicopter (you thought I was gonna climb it? Duh!)
8) make a snowman

ROFL. Some of the things are not too far-fetched, ie. dreams no. (2), (7) and (8). I just have to find some sponsors. Hint! Hint! However, no. (5) is .. aiyayaya. Being an astronaut seems easier considering that I have a penchant for food and sleep. Not a good combo. No. 6 is hard to achieve too. It's a tad too late to find a nomad to get married to. No. (3) seems like a cruel joke now.

Nonetheless, I am determined to dream on for "nothing happens unless first we dream." Besides, it doesn't cost anything and it sure is nice to dream when it rains. (Yeah, it's pouring outside.) Drip drip drop, drip, drip, drop - the perfect rhythm for idyllic dreams.

And so I will do a lot of things when I am 45.. or 55. The latter if I got distracted baking pies, sewing clothes, doing online business and taking pictures. At the meantime, I should do some research on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). It was unheard of during my kinder-years. You think I may have ADHD?

Nah.. I am just a dreamer albeit only on rainy days.. : )

Friday, April 4, 2008

Tears welled up

A couple of years back, I took violin lessons for a very little while. The instrument remains dusty in a hidden corner but I hope to play a better version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars and beyond in future. I do not know much about music. Heck, I only know the words scales and arpeggios after watching Disney's Aristocats. Nonetheless, I enjoy music, often listening with my heart. When I drive my head bobs to the tune played on the cds (never the radio cos they play thrash.) I get melancholic when the tune softens. Today someone posted this video of a little Korean girl who plays the piano despite the odds - she was born blind. Of course I was drenched in tears towards the end of the clip. Watch it, hear it, feel it. Then.. look at the world differently for little Ye Eun can't see, but we can. Let's paint a nicer picture of humankind for her sake, huh?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Luo Ye Gui Gen

To translate it loosely, the old Chinese proverb above means fallen leaves returning to roots. I have always appreciated Chinese idioms and proverbs though never really understood them. It is my wish still to learn the language and more.

Maybe it comes with age.. perhaps it comes only when you reside in a foreign country. Yes, Bangkok is only 736 miles away from home but it remains unfamiliar to us in terms of culture, language, food and more.

For now, I have a quest to rekindle my roots of being a Malaysian Chinese. Ten years ago, Chinese New Year had meant hot weather with lots of snoozes in between. This year we celebrated the mark of the new spring in Bangkok. Suddenly it was not about the siestas anymore. Suddenly it had become important that Gooly saw a lion dance.

There was even a brouhaha between papah and myself about getting the right paraphernalia; the kumquat, angpows and fire crackers. If we could, we wanted to paint the town RED.

The reunion dinner was equally important. I would have gobbled up the Hawaiian Pizza years ago as a treat for the dinner, without any qualms. Now, no way, Jose. The table has to be laden with chicken, duck, fish, prawn, mushrooms. Bring on the Chinese parsley even if I hated it.

I didn't insist on wearing red this year but I would not be surprised if I do so next year. At the other end of the spectrum is some friends who have migrated, married and adopted a foreign way of life. One claimed not to be a chinese because she is married to an eurasian.

Meanwhile, Mahmeee in a not so far away land could only look at the moon and hum silently, yueliang tai piau wo de xin (the moon represents my heart). She had never imagined liking the cheesy China's best-loved song but she feels it's a rendition suitable for the sombre mood she has while hoping one day she could luo ye gui gen.

What's in a name?

The best part of my pregnancy was upon finding out the sex of my baby. Having three boys in the family succeeded by other siblings, I had hoped for a girl.

Alas, a boy it was and we proceeded by scouring the Internet and books for boys names.

Felix, Johan, Cory.

Nothing was agreeable between Mahmee and Papah.

Very much towards the end of the whole ordeal, I decided to name him after the doctor who delivered him. A kind, sweet and caring doctor with stuck-out ears resembling Mickey Mouse. Afraid of being labeled as lame though I am, the thought of breaking the news to Mickey was a dreaded one. "Dr. Eugene, my son will be called Eugene too"

! I am a sucker for sweet endearing moments but was not ready to participate in one.

Imagine my joy when I found the name Gooly's name. It was a welsh form of Eugene. Ya-lah, I am not Welsh or even English but it fits my baby, fortunate and well-born for it was a difficult high-risk pregnancy.

For his Chinese name, FIL wanted the word 'wei', meaning great in the middle and I have chosen another character, 'ren' which when combined with 'wei', means a person with great benevolence. When pronounced in Hokkien (our
mother tongue), it even sounds like Eugene.

And so Gooly is Eugene after all - a boy with a fortunate beginning and hopefully, will live up to his name just like his doctor, having the disposition to do good to mankind in future.

Meanwhile, my name was given by my grandmother. It means profound beauty with the character 'tien' (sky) in the middle. I am by all means not Miss Universe or even Miss Damansara District. The old literatured lady was probably referring to the beauty of the stratosphere on a day when the rainbow was in sight.

Anyhow, it is a sweet hope of how the ancestor might have thought her grand-daughter was going to be Belle, Arielle or even Mulan. Haha..

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet" I quote Shakespeare .

It means what matters is what something is, not what it is called. True but when a name tells a story, it matters.


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