Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lego...

lego,lego,lego
... these are some of our Lego men, accumulated as the kids grow. And this was taken after their 'bath'. 8)

We didn't have the opportunity to play with such toys when we were kids. They were out of our parents' reach. But it was a toy that we dreamt of owning. So, when we got our first kid, he became our excuse to get them. And we'd fix them up first ourselves since at the time of our acquiring them, our boy's motor skills were at best still rudiment. LOL!

But even back then, money was scarce for us. With modest salaries, a kid in tow, study loans to repay, we had little spare. However, Lego was one of few luxuries that we allowed ourselves. We would hunt for good bargains wherever we went. The mid and late 90s were times when quite a number of supermarkets were winding down. Closing sales meant we could sometimes get Lego with a 70% discount! So we hunted, scrooged and bought.

It's hard to find Lego toys where we are now. The shopping complexes here don't seem to be stocking them any more. And this is one toy that got more expensive with time... My gal can spend hours building and rebuilding her Lego... and they're really durable. Our first set is as old as our boy and though it's a little 'discoloured' from all the handling, the lego bricks are still good.... Every once in a while, I'd still take them out and give them a good wash.... But Lego, they're not just toys for our kids but also our excuse to revisit our childhood in our adult years! LOL!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Other Queen... by Philippa Gregory

My 38th book this year! This one came highly recommended from SM. And I thoroughly enjoyed it, the history buff that I am. It's in the form of narratives from the main characters.... Mary Bothwell (Queen of Scots), George Talbot ( the Earl), Bess (his wife). I actually read up a bit the history of Mary, Queen of Scots in the midst of reading the book. With the Net these days, info is so easy to get.

The book is about old England when she was divided into Papist and Protestant. Like today, religion too was used as a tool to unite and segregate. The Protestants were seen as forward looking. The Papist stood by the old ways.... the need for a mediator between Man and God, etc. Religion has been the foundation of power bases, still are in many countries. In our country today, there is also the same folly. We divide people by making the trivial, major issues; what we wear and eat, how we pray etc... In the end, while the little and ignorant people slug it out, the power remains in those who control. That's the lesson from this book.

And those in power mete out harsh punishments to the little people. And there is also fabrication... pretenders like the advisor to the Queen, Cecil, who was not from the nobility but ended up as one... you can make parallel comparison even with our current situation. There's a former PM here who seems to have forgotten his Kerala roots too and anoints himself more native than the natives.... Who says history is boring, huh? If anything, history keeps repeating itself. LOL!

The power of seduction... from ages come, a woman's power of seduction can be a very enabling as well as incapacitating tool. And you find men swooning after beauty, manipulated like puppets on strings. Beauty can make even the strongest of men dance to its tune... till they get what they want. Then the tables are turned...

Status of women... PP pointed me to a site which says that it will take UK another 67 years to reach parity fo pay between men and women. Women have it better now than ever in recorded history I would say. But women have always lost out to men. I am glad I am living in this century. And I also touched a bit about emancipation of women here.

Men of power, women who dominated... this book has it all. This is a very nice and mind provocative read.

Personally, I don't make much distinctions between Catholics or Protestants; same God. When God created Man, he gave him the ability to choose.... so the choice each of us make... if you believe there is an Almighty, some day you'll have to answer for yourself... so all these moral policing, coercion, politicking of faith.... they're just political play tools for those in power, as has been in ages past and even now.

2 more to go and my amended target for this year would be achieved!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Do you hear what I am saying???

We have so much chatter going on now. If you count computer chats in, our lives are filled with em. Yet, I wonder whether people hear what we are saying. Cos very often, upon 're-conversation', I notice that many things said in a conversation actually never registered. And sometimes you walk away feeling, it's just a polite front that the other person put up.

People hear but they don't listen. Perhaps I should rephrase too, people read but they don't register. Hearing without listening, reading with comprehension. They're the same. My F5 students just sat for their Trial Exam.... this year, I must have done the format of a formal letter 3-4 times! Yet not a single one of them got it right! Unbelievable that something as simple as a layout didn't even register. And while each of the lesson was going on, most of them nodded their head and said they won't forget.

To be a good friend... one of the essentials; to be a good listener. But these days, I guess most of us are too buried in our own problems to listen to others' problems. "Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone." Old age wisdom that still holds true.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

One More Reason To Get Onto FaceBook

One of my son's school's former student committed suicide very recently. I am brought back to The Lotus Eater, the way he did it. And the irony was he marked his day he was going to take his life on FaceBook. I took a look at his list of friends... just slightly over 600 of them. And yet none saw it coming... despite him putting up RIP as his last post and it kinda got spurred.. I read his postings and it's depressing.

Love does go awry in life... relationships break. The heart suffers great loss and life can feel meaningless as a result.... that's what many of us would go through. It's bad enough for anyone as it is but for a teenager, it is more likely to signal the end of his world... The pain will pass but they don't understand that. So while that moment lingers on, it feels like it will last for eternity. Hence the hopelessness.... the young mind can be very reckless.

He had so many friends, and he kept marking the day on FB, each day he wrote as if it was a countdown... yet none could save him. A boy, not even an adult. Teenage years are very stormy. Teenagers often feel a sense of loss, a feeling of not being loved, a suspicion of persecution, so many things. Even with assurances, some still fail to see that what they perceive is not what it is. And rejection is the worst....

An anchor in life. This generation lives life on a chase... and in the great big chase, everyone forgets to help them shape an anchor in their lives. Without an anchor, it's kind of hard to find rest in a storm... and you sink.

Friends abound everywhere but you wonder whether they are for real or just superficial. I know kids who have over 1000 friends on FB, yet they lament their loneliness... Am reminded of Proverbs 18:24; A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. I guess in our world made frenzy by the chase of everything, we find little time to cultivate true friendships too.

Of course, on hindsight now everyone sees his intention clearly... what seems to be amiss here is the lack of foresight and caution from those who read the messages he posted. So parents, get onto FB if your kids are on... you can hover from a discreet distance and monitor the going ons. I've talked to many parents and told them the need to be their children's friend on FB, but most just shrug it off and say they do not have the time..... It's sad to see a young life snuff himself out like this... I am sure there are many who loved him. He just didn't see it!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Velcro parenting...

First they had this Helicopter Parenting... where parents are ever present, hovering over their children, showing extreme concern and paying real close attention to their children's experiences and problems, making all effort to shield their kids from the unpleasant experiences. Helicopter Parents often become Lawnmower Parents cos they mow down all the not nice things out of their kids life.

Fast forward 15-20 years and these Helicopter cum Lawnmower Parents have now become Velcro Parents. Because they are so involved in their children's lives; down to the every minute detail, the children's lives become their mission. I supposed it also evolves into a mission with no end. So these parents stick onto their kids like velcro. They follow their kids everywhere, clear the path for them, negotiate for them, even right up to their uni doorsteps.... basically, continue to parent them as if their kids do not have the capabilities to cope for themselves.

And the end result???? Delayed Adulthood. Everyone needs to learn from their own experiences. We've a whole generation of kids deprived of that 'learning experience'. Theirs are lives of unbelievable smoothness... most of them go through very little pains and very little responsibilities. Sheltered, their growth also become stunted, hence the delayed adulthood.

Studies show that the young adult are likely to change as many as 8 jobs before they hit the age of 30. And dig this too, they are more likely to move back to live with their parents, leech off the parents. Delayed adults seem to think that if they don't like something, they just don't continue... and since the bukit behind them is so solid, they move back to the bukit which will continue to shelter and protect them from the elements of life!

We often talk about milestones in our lives... finishing secondary school, then perhaps a university degree, a job, marriage, family... Delayed adults go through perhaps the first 2 without much hitches. It becomes tricky at Milestone 3. They don't stick around long if they don't like their jobs. Milestone 4 is not such a big deal now that cohabitation is the in thing; no strings attached. So, they don't get to Milestone 5 or if they do, it might be a very New Age kind of family.... supposedly the embodiment of responsibilities picked up from Milestone 1 to Milestone 4. Everything gets stunted cos there are too many protections, what with the helicopter and lawnmower problems pushing and mowing down every problem, every slightest bit of discomfort that their children go through. The kids go through life thinking that pa and ma will solve their problem.

Paradigm shift in 21st century parenting????

Monday, August 23, 2010

Emancipation...

Women have come a long way from those old days where they were more or less objects to be owned. This is from the current book that I am reading, a book about Mary, Queen of Scots and Queen Elizabeth I...
A woman has to change her nature if she is to be a wife. She has to learn to curb her tongue, to suppress her desires, to moderate her thoughts, and to spend her days putting another first. She has to put him first even even she longs to serve herself or her children. She has to put him first even when she longs to judge for herself. She has to put him first even when she knows best. To be a good wife is to be a woman with a will of iron that you yourself have forged into a bridle to curb your own abilities. To be a good wife is to enslave yourself to a lesser person. To be a good wife is to amputate your own power as surely as the parents of beggars hack off their children's feet for the greater benefit of the family.
Excerpt from The Other Queen, by Philippa Gregory
From a conversation with colleagues... we were just talking about how each of us wear so many hats now, and how we've had to multi-task, like it or not. We work outside and at home. And all of us agree that it's tiring. Yet none of us want to give up the former for the latter. It's not just the financial independence that work offers but the opportunity to get away from the home. Both places can be maddening but one tends to eat you from the inside more.

The above extract stands true to many I would think. There's a saying that marriage is a bed of roses... I bear in mind that roses come with thorns. Being pricked by thorns can be excruciatingly painful cos big or small the thorns, they hurt nevertheless.

Look into any studies and you will find that most of the housework is still done by the wife. Somehow men still feel that their main job is just to go out and work to bring back the dough. And that the house is the woman's domain. When I send and pick my girl from tuition, I find that a disproportionately big number of 'drivers' are mothers. How many of us can say that their husbands will pick up the broom (or vacuum) to clean the floor when it is dirty or even pick up stuff that clutter the floor? The number is few. And these are the nitty gritty things that sometimes drive us up the wall.

Women in history... I can't help but conclude that women seem to be more on the 'losing' end of everything. Women and emancipation?? The need for emancipation is the proof that there is inequality. This is after all still a man's world.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Dangerous World of Daniel X... by James Patterson

Book 37 and getting there! 8) Think this is the 4th of Patterson's books that I've read this year. He's actually quite a versatile writer. From the deeply divided America of the KKK era, to the sophisticated world of high flying private investigation and now to the kind of sci-fi story that I try to teach my gal to write. I was hooked from the minute I started, first, mainly from amusement from what I was reading. It's definitely a kid's book.

Daniel X, Alien Hunter of bad aliens bent on destroying Earth. And he's got special gifts which enabled him to do the 'superman' stuff. His parents came to Earth to hunt down the bad aliens but were killed by The Prayer; a very bad alien on top of the Wanted List of bad aliens. It felt like I was reading a Marvel Comic, only this was all words. Found it fun that I finished it in 2 days! ... anyway, I had so much waiting to do here and there. The Ipod came to the rescue again! 8)

Just a fortnight ago, I was trying to spark my gal's (and her friends) imaginations by asking them to write an ending to an alien (that looked like a marriage of pig and snail) invasion. Kids don't do stuff like that in schools these days over here. Everything is rote and set. Very dull and boring. So, I found it highly entertaining to read a full length book with a high dose of imagination, the fluffy kind. I must get my girl to read this.

Anyway, the story ended well. Daniel was duped by Bad Alien No 6 on The Wanted List and was taken on a space ride back to his home planet. Suffice to say, events were turned around and he saved the day for his home planet. He, a mere 15 year old boy killed Bad Alien No 6. A nice read for kids, this one, clean too 8) ... and also adults who want a dose of superhero saves the day 'thingy' for light entertainment. I'd give this 2 thumbs up! *grin*

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Prestige... by Christopher Priest

Been a while since my last book. This is Book 36. This is the first time I've read a novel with the world of illusion as the main setting. Kids call them magicians... But they're illusionist. My very first exposure into this world was Harry Houdini, through the short story section in the Reader's Digest during my school days. Never liked the world of illusions much... I guess probably because I always get the feeling that the illusionists try to portray the dark side to make their 'magic' more captivating and enigmatic.

The book was slow reading. Took a long time cos in between I was caught up with other things; work, lethargy among others. It's mid year.... And partly also because the early parts of the book were rather slow in their development. Anyway, I plodded on cos I've this thing against giving up a book once I start on them.

Again, the story became more entrancing as it went beyond the second half. The writer weaved in real people like Nikola Tesla, who contributed a lot to commercial electricity to make the plot more plausible. Science enabled magic to happen when Tesla's invention allowed the main character to physically transport himself from one location to another. But an intrusion from his nemesis caused one transportation to go awry and he was left with 2 bodies, one reduced and the other not quite complete.

It is also a story of enmity and rivalry, bitterness; which were not allowed to end. Till death became of them.

A different read nevertheless.. one that brings illusion to delusion, and a tale that is engaging enough in its own sordid way.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Teachers and Politics????

Teachers are allowed to be active in politics.... I think that's not a good idea. The teaching profession does not have very many forward or broadminded people right now. We're a profession bound by a myopic outlook tied to race, we seem to have regressed....

Moreover, if teachers get involved in politics, how then will they be able to stay focus in their classes. As it is, teachers already wear many other personal hats at school, with many of these hats not related to teaching; such as insurance selling, cake selling, direct selling, middle man business, clothes and cloth bazaar, local versions of fast food, etc, etc... Allowing them to be active might mean that they'd neglect the students even more, especially during politically active seasons. As it is, festive season sees a bazaar like atmosphere sometimes in the staff room... we're a professional lot. LOL!

Imagine this teacher scene... A colleague tells another colleague that he doesn't want her to sit beside him because it's fasting month... I supposed his knees tend to go a little weak around the weaker sex. 8) Anyway, 2 hours later, he is seen surrounding himself with lady collegues... eh! One ekor kumbang surrounded by flowers. What is said and what is done.... no jive! Will such a teacher make a consistent politician? Twist of words, piety, etc, etc... maybe this is one quality needed to be a politician. After all the likes of Bung get elected also...

Witness another scene, a teacher goes on a diatribe about May 13th during a Merdeka month launch at a school assembly. What is the connection between these 2 events? I don't know save for the implied meaning, and it's one that is very racial and seems intended to remind who is boss. Is this politician material? Maybe by Bolehland standard.

And the most recent SMK Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Kulaijaya fiasco.. some may think how can a Principal of a school be so foolish. But such kinds of diatribes are happening in schools quite often, only that they are not made known. And we're allowing such people who already have their heads full of racism into politics...

In schools, we are told to order things from certain vendors and not the best price. Not getting the best price with the taxpayers' money is not the main concern. Making sure who gets to do business with the school is. As a result, we get poor workmanship for wiring, pay more even things like stationary.... as politicians do you think these teachers have what it takes to ensure that the coffers of the country are well spent? All those overpriced screwdrivers, bolts and nuts? ... the practice will just continue and we'll continue to be bled.

And to top it all, every day many schools play prayers, hold prayers, hang prayers.... an air of religiosity surrounds the school, even seem to envelope it like a cocoon... yet, all the attributes of God whom they seem to direct all these - fairness, justice, compassion, etc, etc... you'd think they got hijacked for personal gains along the way, again very typical of the bigger picture too.

So teachers to go into politics? Aiyo! yo!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Friday Feast..

tomato rice
This was a last minute lunch do.... always the one not to sit still. Beng Khim cooked up this storm for us.
Food
Lunch spread... nasi tomato, kerabu, pickled pineapple-cucumber-onion, curry chicken, fried tofu with its dip of dried shrimps in sweet sour sauce, grilled sausages...
dragon fruit,jelly
Dragon fruit jelly...
Dragon fruit,slurpee,nata de coco
Dragon fruit slurpee with a tinge of lemon and nata de coco. I am not much of a dragon fruit fan but am beginning to be okay with it... It's actually quite refreshing and nice. We also had the coconut slurpee.... blend the coconut flesh in its water and ice. It's extra soothing....
Homemade,durian,ice-cream
And remember the aiskrim potong that we used to eat as kids? The ones that we'd buy from the ice-cream vendors on their bicycles? Well, this one is pure blended durian ice-cream! Dessert upon dessert.... stuffed right up to the nose! LOL!

It's always nice to be able to do this, to sit down with friends and makan. Appreciate the labour of love put in. Though earlier I was having some apprehension cos friend's house is quite a distance way, we're glad we went. Good food, nice company.... and one sure way to one's heart is through the stomach. LOL!

And at night, we had dinner at Jln Stadium again... some wine, good company also. And to top it, mantou from Bedong for supper, thoughts from Thomas. Twas not just a feast of food but also a reminder of this blessing of people in our lives.

Friday, August 13, 2010

School On The Second Day of Ramadan...

School was quiet yesterday, VERY!....The main reason was many students were absent. Their friends say they were absent because they 'tak larat', it being only the second day of fasting.

I kinda like the silence at school, it's not often we get that; though it also reflects the attitude of today's kids. I asked a F5 boy why he came to school. He said if he didn't come, his father's words are very bisa and can cut through the heart and he will pulas his ears. Hence his attendance is always good. Another F1 boy who came said his pak will go gila if he doesn't come to school. So better be at school than be at home with his pak who will go gila, even though he was also stung by a bee the day before....

Most kids feel it's okay to skip school today because yesterday (Thursday) is wedge between 2 off days; Wednesday being a public holiday and Friday being a weekend. We are a country on extended leave, very often. Though we replace those days with Saturday classes, I wonder what kind of message gets to the kids. And don't get me started on how unproductive those Saturday classes are.

And parents! Parents play a super important role in shaping their kids, getting them set onto certain paths. I think many of the kids who were at school yesterday did so because their parents give them no choice. But parents today don't go 'gila' or ballistic when their children don't want to go to school. They don't want to be seen as the 'bad guy' to the kids. Some say they are helpless with their kids insistence....there are all kinds of excuses. But the silence at school yesterday? It also spoke volume of not only the attitude of our young but also the parents.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The feasting on the first day of fasting...

... 1st day of Ramadhan is a PH here. I welcome any PH(s). A day's break from work is always welcomed cos it gives time to catch up on a lot of things. First thing in the morning was breakfast with friends... and 2 kids in tow.
Dim Sum
This is one of the newer dim sun joints in Alor Setar. Located near PMC, behind the derelict Tunku Yaakub building, this place is air-conditioned.

Dim Sum
You find the normal dim sum fare. They taste like what dim sum should. Their loh-mai-kai wasn't too bad.
Cream Pau
This pau is slightly different. In it, you find this soup-like filling. It literally oozes out. We thought we heard the waiter saying that the filling was clam... his pronunciation was so bad that 'cream' sounded like 'clam'. LOL!
pau,cream
Anyway, the watery filling tasted of butter and corn. Not bad. All of us found it nice.

After that it was back home for a short lesson with my gal and co, followed by a round of ironing. My day help has been MIA for the past 5 days! See why I think the robot vacuum is godsent? Robots don't get you all flustered up. People do! If the floor is not clean, just press a button and it does it all over again. With people, you have to watch what you say, how you say it.

And Wednesday being an off day... LF did a last minute tea thing. Was supposed to incorporate craft but I went for the company and also to help finish the food. 8) My gal invited herself cos she said she has not been to Aunty LF's house since she moved. We sat around and sembang... that's what ladies do best!

Before the day ended, I even managed to squeeze in some shopping for household stuff with my girl. Then I released my vacuum robot to prowl the floor while I blogged. I am liking it more by the day. Now to find a robot that can wipe the window panes and sliding doors....... 8)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Gadgets that have joined our household...

This is one episode of a shopping spree for us.... all in one day!
breadmaker,kenwood
Finally joined the throngs of the 'health conscious' people and got ourselves a breadmaker. This one is more at Other Half's insistence! He is a bread (sandwich) fan. Anyway, since we had some cash vouchers at hand, we exchanged for a Kenwood. Breadmaker - you don't need much skills to make good breads with one of these machines. LOL! But still, we bungled up on our first bread making try... pressed the wrong buttons and bread came out all heavy. The yeast didn't get a chance to rise! Subsequent loaves turned out okay... even nice. We've even started experimenting with herbs in the bread, savoury bread. Not bad...
ceramic knife
We got ourselves a ceramic knife too... they cut better than metal knives. When you cut bread, there's less crumbs and you get a clean cut. Was sold on it after Ah Ho demonstrated her newly acquired one from Singapore. But the downside is this knife breaks easily. It comes with a ceramic fruit peeler too. 8)
vacuum,robot
And this was on impulse... we seldom do this - buy on impulse. Got ourselves a robot vacuum cleaner. Actually I have been contemplating a Roomba but its price has been a deterrent. Anyway, this was with the ceramic knife and I got sold. One of those purportedly Japanese brands but I think it's just a claim... Oku San No. A name which wouldn't even stick in our minds. 8)

So how did it go??? For one, my floors are definitely cleaner. Much better than when it's swept with a broom. LOL! Of course, this being a more 'inferior' brand (unlike iRobot or Navibot) also comes with some inferiority. I got awaken thrice by its beeps (for help) one morning cos it got stuck. I'm not setting it for night prowls anymore! But if this lasts beyond one year, I think I will lessen the number of days of my day help, it's easier dealing with a machine... However, my dream vacuum robot cleaner at this moment remains the Karcher RC 3000 Robo Cleaner which automatically empties the robot's dirt bin and other sophisticated functions like ability to map the area. The snag is it comes with a really hefty price tag.... so it remains a wishful thought.

The breadmaker, I am sure will last; it's a trusted brand. The ceramic knife I am not sure whether it can last without being broken. And the little robot vacuum??? I'll wait and see how durable it is....

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bible Reading...

When I got my Ipod Touch, one of the apps that I loaded into it was the Bible... and I find it awesome that it can have different versions and languages. Eventually too, I found some Reading Plan apps and I downloaded a couple. I finally picked one which could be used offline.

The last time I read through the whole Bible was eons ago.... but every now and then, I would make this resolution to read it. I usually failed.

Well, it's been almost 8 months! And though I miss my scheduled readings quite often, the Touch has enabled me to keep track of my readings... and reminds me to make up. Being so handy means that it's with me all the time. Which means that sometimes I get to read when I am stuck in a traffic jam... actually, you hardly get any here except at the railway crossings... 8) But the point is, I've been able to read it anywhere... Of course I am aware that I am still shortchanging myself in the sense that I read it on the go, sometimes rushed by situations, etc...

But the readings have been good for me for I have been reminded of much... it's easy to forget that we're mere mortals sometimes, especially when you still have your strength with you. Reading the Bible reminds me that eternity awaits. And as recent events have reminded, with a blessed assurance, there is peace in the closure on this side of the great divide.

Well, I've reread my favourites like Ecclesiastes and Proverbs. I've learned to look at Songs of Solomon from a different perspective. I'm reminded of many things from 1 Corinthians. Even Hosea holds a new perspective for me. I've gone through the Pentateuch and I still find books like Leviticus, Numbers and Deutronomy hard to crunch; the long lineage lines and also the figures. I'm slightly more than half into the whole Bible now... and I hope I shall be able to finish it one round this year end; would be a small cause for celebration then. 8)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Can You Keep A Secret... by Sophie Kinsella

This one is also another repeat author, passed to me by SM. I read a good part of it while waiting at the hospital.

This one portrays the main character as whimsical, though not entirely cos she seems to bear with some of the crap that came her way in a rather nice way.

Emma, the main character babbles 'incoherently' often times. That's when all her secrets will spill out. She does just that in a flight to a stranger who turns out to be the owner of her company. They fall in love eventually... or rather he falls in love with her 'spontaneity'. She goes through some humiliating moments when her secrets come out, followed by the usual ensuing drama, quite predictable.

The novel is rather fun and light to read. There's nothing really deep to digest except the enjoyment of the hilarity and chaos which seem to plague the main character's life. Oh ya! The humour is very British... after all, the writer is English. Book 35, this being my hospital book! And I am glad that I had my Ipod Touch with me... really helped the minutes pass.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cannot...

Ever wonder how things will be if a child learning to walk or talk decides that he cannot learn (to walk or talk)?

One has to have a can do attitude if one wants to have a go at life... a baby is born, he just has to get used to eating solids, take his first steps, etc, etc... till he enters into the world. This is the stage where you get all the 'I can(s)' but somehow along the way we lose more of the I can to be replaced with its negative partner.

I cannot sounds harmless but sometimes it does things to us... subtly. We become what we think or feel...

'I cannot...' here refers to the spontaneous response that seems to swell from within us when we are faced with new ways of thinking, doing things, new food, basically things out of the ordinary or the routine. And it afflicts us as we grow older... The more I observe my surrounding, the more I notice how averse people are actually to change. And I am not much different too, often.

Sometimes, I think we're just too lazy to learn something new... you know learning new things involves changes too... 8) It's easier to say I cannot. Sometimes we just do not want to disturb our status quo... we are wary of changes. Sometimes, we cannot cos to go the other way round means giving up a way of life... there are many other reasons.

A lot of older people say they cannot learn how to use the computer. Not too long, I helped troubleshoot with a friend's mom a glitch in her Skype... now this is a lady who is in my parents' gen... who has phobia for anything related to computers. But through the phone I managed to coach her to get her Skype working again... She was game to try cos you see... the need to use the apps is there... to see her grandkids and daughter. So, in situations like this, one goes to great trouble... and still can conquer the little hills. 8)

"I cannot"... very often creates crutches for us, even incapacitates..... limits our potential and sometimes even stop us dead in our tracks!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hospitals...

I never liked hospitals.... but it's one of those places which all of us have to go.... eventually. Most of us begin our lives at the hospital! Some of us are also forced to 'do time' there too for health problems. And some of us even end our lives there too.

Was at the hospital recently, in KL. Because my father-in-law was in a 'critical' ward, we were allowed to wait outside the ward all the time and pop in to see him for brief moments. Sitting there without much to do and with so much time in my hands meant I could observe the going ons around.... or think. But most of the time, it's too tiring to do the latter.

It is easy to make friends at the hospital. After just a couple of hours, you can talk to those around you with ease. Everyone opens up more easily and conversations usually start with why you are at the hospital. And inadverdently you begin to share your little hopes and frustrations. I think everyone of us finds that sort of sharing comforting in its own way. You won't do that on the street somehow. Your guard would be all up! As you talk, you'll discover that you are not the only one going through a tough time. There are always others in situations more difficult than yours...

People will walk up to you and even though you might be suspicious but in the end, a conversation would still begin and even continue. And as the night progressed, you see people nodding off. Some would lie down on their makeshift 'beds' on the chairs or their own reclining chairs, and they would just get their shut eye. Some of us would just wonder around looking for places to charge our gadgets.

Despite what people say of the government hospitals, my recent experience at one shows that there are still plenty of good and nice doctors, nursing staff, etc there, though it helped also that we knew people. I guess it must be quite tiring for the nursing staff to entertain all these repeated questions from visitors and family members. Yet they tried to understand us too... I find that quite commendable.

Father-in-law would have gone sooner had he not been there. Their response time was actually quite fast and I guess where ICU care is concerned, the government ones still come out tops.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Brevity of life...

Been a hectic week. My father-in-law fell ill and within a week he was gone. Hospital visits, the stress of helplessness, funeral arrangements and then it was over. The whole thing feels a little surreal now, probably because the 'briefness' of everything made it feel like a roller coaster ride. The ups and downs came rather quickly and before we even adjusted to it, it was over.

The support from family and friends was awesome. My father-in-law was the quietest and humblest man I've ever known, a man who tried to live to his faith...

The brevity of life... life is like a candle. One moment burning, then no more. I learn this too, you find the extraordinary in the ordinary. We often think of the extraordinary as spectacular, visible, huge, etc. But sometimes the extraordinary is just the opposite. They come in the forms often not acknowledged by the world as extraordinary; humility, gentleness, kindness, forbearing, filial piety at their most humanly possible truest forms. I saw a lot of those in his ordinary and unassuming life... and that was how people who came spoke of him.

Two funerals in less than 6 months..... used to be grandma and he will cover us in prayers faithfully and I think we'll miss that comforting knowledge that they are covering us with their prayers.