Monday, May 26, 2008

The beginning of lonely nights

Yesterday was the 3rd night we slept separately. It was a smooth transition. So smooth that I wanted some crunchy nuts thrown inside to create some bumps, just so I will feel that my little boy still needs his mahmeee for his slumber.

Actually, the first night was liberating.. total freedom! I watched episodes of Friends till late at night instead of the usual stay-in sessions. The next night, it was can't-be-watching-Friends-again night. So I sneaked in every couple hours, on the pretext of 'checking-on-him', but sigh.. I have missed him! Already! What will happen when he goes camping then off to college and runs away with his bride?

Sigh! I suppose the hardest part in parenthood is learning to let go. I have watched him walk/run away, cycle alone and now sleep solo. They were all excited moments with a tinge of sadness. While the shoulders feel lighter with less responsibility, the heart becomes heavier with his independence.

Yesterday, while he was far away in dreamland, I have secretly planted kisses on him and smelling him, knowing one day I will not have the license to do so in public. Why.. I am already doing the illegal schmaltzy stuff sneakily.

I am the 'slack' mahmee, not very particular about his milestones. Excited, yes but never pushy. So Lady Luck has been with us throughout because he jumped over many hurdles with ease. He gave up his pacifier and bottles easily, and was diaper-free with very few accidents.

I usually ask the more experienced mums what to do next and launch new 'projects' with a little apprehension and lotsa excitement. Sometimes, subconsciously, I find myself asking, "Do we have to do that? Let's slow down, huh?" On more difficult days, I feel like rewinding the days when he was babbling instead of speaking in full sentences or giving orders.

Then again I remember the sleepless nights and diaper bags and I quickly fast forward to present, when my boy is independent, clever and brave. So grow, boy, grow. You may go but just remember to look back at mahmee who will always be there cheering you on. When you think nobody is looking, you may run back to plant some kisses and hugs. She would love that..

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cuckoo! It's five..

It is quite a routine. Gooly takes his nap for a coupla hours and wakes at approximately 4.30pm and patiently awaits the short hand of the pink alarm clock to strike 5 and we head on to the park. It's like the highlight of an otherwise boring day.

Thus he has been really interested in learning to tell the time. And of course he knows best when it is 5pm. This morning he meddled with the clock again and asked loads of questions ie. how come the long hand moves when he winds the knob while the short one doesn't.

This mahmee enthusiastically and foolishly explained about the hours and minutes (omitting the seconds)while turning the knob, showing the hourly changes. The boy cheered on, more more more. And right at five, he said, "Let's go to the park now. It's 5!"

Sneaky, real sneaky..I must say.

Friday, May 16, 2008


A friend was fussing about which International school to send her daughter to as she thinks learning Bahasa in her current kebangsaan school is a waste of time, doesnt get her anywhere and will not help her in her future job endeavours. I believe many share the same sentiment. I do too but only half heartedly.

I still remember what I have learnt in Uni in Sociolinguistic 401; that no one language is more superior than the other and that the pure purpose of a language is to convey messages.

I have always spoken Bahasa, Cantonese, English and Cantonese with ease. Some jokes I think when told in Cantonese sound funnier. And cussing in Hokkien is a lot of fun. I like telling stories in Bahasa. So in my daily conversations, I switch from one language to another language with minimal problem.

I guess my point is its beneficial when one learns another language just for the pleasure of learning it, without thinking if it will help in the career or Uni entrance. If I could, I would want to learn Mandarin and some French. The latter is so that I wouldn't embarrass myself when ordering Hors de ourves.

So yes, I will be teaching Gooly Bahasa because I grew up speaking it and if he is not going to use it in his working days, he shall use it while speaking to me. : )

Friday, May 9, 2008

My Son, the neologist - Part 2

Gooly likes to coin words. The infamous one is 'goolypop'. It's as though he can't find the most apt word for a particular situation and thus decides to make one up. The recent words are skoobables and samuraized. These are good words. They are short and succinct. Instead of saying, "Let's play tie you up and you scream for help and papah will have to come rescue you," Gooly will just say, "Let's skoobables." If he wanted you to hunt for mosquitoes and use the electric swatter to zap the mozzies, he'd say,"Let's samuraized".

To tell the truth, I wasn't really paying attention to what he said earlier on until I realised he was using the same words again and again. I asked for definitions and he happily provided them. So now in this house of cuckoo, we are using Goolyism where we mingamoon (see previous post),skoobable and samurize.

And oh, we are all behavers, because we behave ourselves.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


The first time I heard a Thai nickname, I nearly spurted the coffee I was drinking. It was Plip. Was his real name Philip? Nope. It was Somchai Sriwattana Ramkamhaeng. OK. I made that up. But my point is Thai nicks need not to be remotely close to the original name.

I am very used to people adopting Chris for Christopher, Haslina to Lina, Muniandy to Andy. So I find it very amusing how a local Thai would choose their child's nick. Come on, choosing the real name is tough enough. Then again, the temple monks do the job. So perhaps that's how the parents have all the time to ponder on the nick. Perhaps again they wait till the labour moment and stick the head out of the window to check the weather. That's how my friend has the name, Fon (rain). I am not sure what Porn's parents were thinking though. Another friend is named Pop (Popeye) and her brother, X (X men). Obviously the father watched too much cartoon. But never call X - x.. it's Ek. After Ek, I met A. I suppose his siblings are the rest of the alphabet.

Other equally amusing nicks I came across include Bang, Bong, Ya, Jeap and Tuk. Take note that most names are mono-syllabic.I have met two syllabus - Kenya but rarely you find them because they can name two kids with Kenya, Ken and Ya.

You will never really run out of nicks in Thailand because any audibles can be made into names. I once asked if the teachers call them by their real names or nicks. The latter of course.

So the question is when do they ever use their real name? Well, it's only for National Identity Card, passport and of course, when you appear in the newspaper.

Crap, no?

Social Progress Report

We have been staying in Bangkok for more than 2 years now. I wonder if I have failed to mention that Gooly doesn't speak much Thai. Neither do I. We stuck out like sore thumb at the park. Being a sensitive child, Gooly knew he is somewhat different, linguistically challenged, even when he was a toddler.

I was informed that kids learn fast, and that before I knew it, he will be tutoring me on the language. I am still waiting for the day to come.

And so, he would cling on to me like my second shadow when he was younger. Now that he is older, he does venture further, becoming less self-conscious but often he would get frustrated when he doesn't understand or is being misunderstood. He is very verbal and opinionated, but only in English. Imagine his frustrations if he had to resort to sign language to express his thoughts and instructions (yes, my boy is a bossy one).

But today we made progress. A boy named Fook befriended us. In smattering Thai, I answered the best I could, about the food I like and Gooly's age. He was very friendly. The thing I notice about most local kids is that they are well-mannered and have the ability to take care of the younger ones. He made sure that Gooly didn't fall off his bike. He shaded him from the sun, picked him up when he fell. Though their dialogue consisted of only one word, NO (don't climb too high, don't go barefooted and other don'ts) I am just happy that my boy has a friend.

I was ecstatic when the two walked off with their arms around each other. I suppose the day when Gooly does become my Thai language teacher is just around the corner.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Pet peeves

There are a number of things which irk me in life. Here's the list in random order:
a) flies on rubbish, food, corpses
b) people who dig the nose in public
c) people who dig the nose in public and roll the boogers into balls and flick them
d) chicken breasts
e) chinese parsley a.k.a poison
f) play dough not in the right coloured container
g) taugeh in curry mee
h) robbers, i mean cops, i mean robbers. Same difference!
i) the Sun on a hot day
j) stupidity (mine included)
k) hypocrisy

This shall be updated from time to time. Why do I think you want to know my pet peeves? I'm hoping that you will spread the news so I don't have to get irritated that often. Thanks in advance for your co-operation.

Pool stories

Gooly and I resumed our swimming activity after a short break. We went to the pool and met another father/son squad.

Dad threw boy into the adult pool without a float. Next he threw in a stone. Kaploink! Jr. dunked his head under to search for it.

I am equally amazed and appalled because Jr. is only three. Gooly is three too and he swims with an unsinkable float. Sometimes I get him to use the kicking board to for extra safety measure. I am always at arm's length within his reach.

Meanwhile, the man swims away from Jr. who is left alone at the ADULT pool. I couldn't bear to stay in case I witness my first drowning misadventure of a child, whose dad was probably too gung ho about the upcoming Olympic Games.

Here's news to dad - there is no Under 3 event.


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What Lonely Planet Thailand doesn't tell you

Do you know that Thai men become monks at least once in their lifetime so that their parents could go to heaven? The robe that they wear during monk hood is presented to the parents. It serves like the ticket to The Land of Glory. I like the idea though I am not a Buddhist believer. It highlights the ultimate filial piety where the offsprings actually do something to ensure the parents' admission.

This is the one of the few things I like about Thai cultures. Another will be the greeting of 'wai' where one clasps both hands together and bows the head slightly. It is a very gentle mannerism. When Gooly was younger, he did the cutest 'wai'. His bow was way too low, about 90 degrees but it was awfully cute.

In Thailand, or at least in the Mooban I stay in, everyone practices 'what's yours is mine and vice versa. It's a bit overwhelming when the nong comes over with dirty hands and dips in the bag of chips you will no longer enjoy. Nonetheless, it's a charming culture. When Gooly goes cycling, my dear neighbour insists that I take her bicycle so I could cycle side by side, instead of chasing after him. Though I must say her act of kindness often causes sore bum (the seat is adjusted too high)but I know not to complain when one is being exceptionally sweet.

Speaking of sweetness, Thais have a strong liking for sugar. I once witnessed a young chap scooping eight teaspoons of sugar into his bowl of soup noodles. Yup, soup noodles. I don't even put that much of saccharine into their rightful places; my daily cups of coffee. Along with the sugar are chili oil, vinegar and soya sauce. Scoop those in and you have a err.. nice bowl of sweet, salty, sour, spicy soup noodles. They also like fried stuff; pork, chicken, crickets, fish, prawns. Ronald's fast food restaurant are always jam packed. I don't know how the Thais fare in the health department but I sure don't see many horizontally challenged individuals around. The irony of life.

Thailand is famous for its other name, The Land of Smiles. Sure, they can be friendly. Like the cab driver who asked me my name and shamelessly wonders aloud how much is my husband's salary. This is the time the mobile becomes really handy. Get busy dialing numbers or lunge it at the 'friendly' driver.

Once in a while, you do meet the not so friendly locals. They are usually the cranky sales persons who bark, NO TOUCH NO TOUCH or NO SAI NO SAI (no size no size). Sometimes I want to tell them, "I was really in a mood to splurge but not anymore". Of course, "Me many money. You no get business" will be better understood. Then I imagine speeding (I admit I am a coward) off looking for a cab while deciding to pray for a friendly or non-friendly one. It will be just my rotten luck to get one who tells me,"Traffic go." This man I can categorise under "leisure worker". The same for the chicken rice seller who runs out of rice at lunch time and decides NOT to cook extra but to close the stall, I reiterate at 1pm.

Welcome to Thailand.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Where is the cane?

A couple of weeks back, I had a sudden visceral urge to use the cane upon Gooly.

He did it.. he really did it - made my blood boil. I have boasted about his good behaviour. I have even noted that he never asked to buy any toys at the toyshops. It was too early to note, I learned.

Not only did he ask, let me rephrase that.. Not only did he BAWL for a toy, it was a GUN he wanted. In his entire life (3 years and 5 months) I have repeatedly educate him about violent games and toys and how he should not ask for one. He understood me but decided to go against the No. 1 rule on that fateful morning.

Of course, it was partly due to the presence of his kung kung. His kung kung who said, "Never mind la.. buy la..Don't cry la." At the moment, I really didn't know who to get mad at, the rascal or the err.. old man (I'm trying hard to be respectful).

After the whole dreaded drama, Mr. Gooly came back gleeful with an M16. The one that goes duuk-duuk-duuk-duuk all day long, all night long. Gawd! It was darn annoying. His victorious smiles and the duuk-duuk-duuk were tempting me to reach for the cane.

After much negotiation, we came to an agreement. No bringing weapons to the airport which we were to go the following week. OK, I admit. The officers could probably see that it's a fake a mile away, with an eye closed. But what he doesn't know, doesn't hurt him. So no guns, plastic or real on the plane or be prepared to be chased away.

We have been back here, peacefully. But I nearly recant my vows to be patient with him. This morning at the market, I looked longingly at a cane. I shrugged the urge off.

For now.

Let's see how it goes.. how my boy fares. Please do tell me it's a phase. It's just a phase that he is defying all laws and rules.

And also it's just a phase that I find the cane a necessity in the house.


Some people never change. neither will I

With FB and MSN, digging up old long lost friends is just a click away. These past months I have indeed been keeping in touch with a handful of them.

After weeks of chats, I realised why they were "lost' friends. They have not changed one bit. Mr A is still a Casanova. Mr. B is still a workaholic. Ms X is still ignorantly dense. And yours truly is still judgmental.

Mind you, not that I am proud of it. It's just that I realised some things and some people never change, including me. Part of me feel consoled that my decisions to abandon those friendships eons ago were right on the spot because of how they were. On the other hand, I feel fairly disappointed that they are the same.

I mean shouldn't we have grown up and be better persons, for humankind? I wish Mr. A will find true love, Mr. B will spend more time with his family and Ms. X.. Is there a cure for stupidity? :P

.. I need to change too. I shall be less judgmental on my next blog. I shall try.

To school or not to school

Of late we have received remarks as such: "Isn't it time to send Gooly to school?" and "How come Gooly is not in school yet?"

The more subtle suggestion will be, "There is a new school behind the soi, you know?"

The more subtle one will be, "School buses come this way, you know?"

OK.. since they told me, I have to know, right? Succumbing to pressure and curiosity, I decided to check out some international schools online. Lo and behold! I realised that you have to have ten jobs to be able to send your kids to these kind of schools. Enrollment fee alone is a hefty RM10k. Did i dare to scroll down for tuition fees? Double the amount I told you and you will get the estimation. I am not talking about a year's fees. That's for a term.

3 months.

70 odd days.

Excluding sick days.

Yes, they have a cool swimming pool but I suppose soaking in the bath tub is equally fun. They follow the British curriculum. I think I can fake Cockney English when desperate. So what they incorporate fun learning? Gooly can have fun even in the store room (Note: I don't live in Austria and the store room is not underground or padded).

At the end of the day, I have to find 10 jobs and blog for income, eat bread for eternity (not bad an idea considering my current non-ideal weight), start searching for friends who owe me 50 cents for the unpaid nasi lemak 10 years ago and start auctioning my bags.

Either that or I could keep Gooly in the house and me, insane for another year.

Do you think I can secure 10 + 1 part time jobs by next year?


Bah! Meanwhile donations are welcome ;-)


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