Tuesday, December 25, 2012

For Unto Us A Child Is Born


Today is a extra special Christmas day for me. First of all, Pastor Gideon's message from Isaiah 9:1-7 really spoke to me because verses 6-7 are some of my favourite verses from the word of God. I cannot remember the countless times when these verses have ministered to me, strengthened me and given hope in difficult times.

Secondly, I was also very touched when he shared his testimony of the goodness of God upon him and his lovely wife throughout the pregnancy and birth of their newly-born fourth child, Jayden. I couldn't help but cry throughout the testimony. Hubby said that I looked a real mess after the service.

And thirdly, today is also the day my grandson is dedicated to the Lord because Caden's first month anniversary happens to fall on Christmas day. How timely and appropriate that we can rejoice and, without sounding blasphemous, echo Isaiah on this happy morning, "For unto us a child a born, a son is given."

Thank you Lord for my grandson...my best Christmas gift ever.

I'm A Santarina!

It was Christmas Eve. Due to an emergency I became a replacement Santarina!

Realising that I am no Santa Claus, and Hubby is on the mainland for the day, I called on Baby Sis to help me deliver...nasi kunyit.

Yes, this Santarina's assignment was to deliver nasi kunyit for her grandson's Full Moon. What a privilege!

Baby Sis canceled her 3pm appointment in order to ferry me around. She said that it's an honour to be called on at the last minute because that shows how comfortable and at ease I am with her. Isn't she an angel?

With Baby Sis at the wheel battling the Christmas Eve traffic, I was able to phone the recipients to check whether they are home while we are on the way from one place to another. That was a real help because I cannot imagine driving and calling and parking the car and sending the gifts all by myself.

We didn't have time for lunch because we were in a rush to deliver the nasi kunyit before the curry turns bad. Then God sent another angel to our rescue.

Priscilla called to ask whether we had eaten. She said she was cooking spaghetti and invited us over for a meal. Where can you find such kind and loving people like that? I am truly blessed to have these two angels in my life.

Santarina crossing the road with the remaining boxes of nasi kunyit. We couldn't leave them in the car while we have lunch.
At the end of our delivery route both of us were worn out. Believe me! Santa Claus cannot be real because there is no way a person can deliver presents all over the world within the space of a few hours.

I went back to office with a headache and had to go back and rest before dinner. But it's all worth it because...
I love you Caden Kan JiaZhi.

Blessed Full Moon!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Shocked

This morning Poh Lin attended service at TOP. After the service she came to us and said that she had a shock when she heard me being introduced as the speaker.

She said I was funny. I suppose giving people a good laugh is preferable to making them cry.

The last time she came to TOP, she also got a shock when she saw Hubby playing the guitar as part of the worship team.

She told us that she didn't know that we are such a "talented" family. And she is impressed.

So the Lord sprang two shocking surprises on her last two visits to TOP. Hmmm, I wonder what God has in store for her next.

I'm A Rush-ian!

It's the time of the year when I become a Rush-ian. Rushing here, rushing there, rushing everywhere, and yet getting nowhere.

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I have not bought any Christmas presents yet. Very paiseh receiving presents and not giving any in return. Gila masuk saje.

Before I know it Christmas would have come and gone. And from the look of things, Chinese New Year will just be another day.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cousinship

If two persons share a common pair of parents, they are brothers, sisters or brother and sister. Cousins, on the other hand, share a common pair of grandparents. These are elementary relationships that we are familiar with and that are pretty straight forward. 
 
But have you come across mention of first/second/third cousins, once/twice removed?
 
I have often read of such relationships and I am intrigued by them. After much procrastination, today I finally decided that it is time to end my ignorance. 

Here are my findings. 
Cousin (a.k.a "first cousin")
Your first cousins are the people in your family who have two of the same grandparents as you. In other words, they are the children of your aunts and uncles.
Second Cousin
Your second cousins are the people in your family who have the same great-grandparents as you, but not the same grandparents.
Third, Fourth, and Fifth Cousins
Your third cousins have the same great-great-grandparents, fourth cousins have the same great-great-great-grandparents, and so on.
Removed
When the word "removed" is used to describe a relationship, it indicates that the two people are from different generations. You and your first cousins are in the same generation (two generations younger than your grandparents), so the word "removed" is not used to describe your relationship.
The words "once removed" mean that there is a difference of one generation. For example, your mother's first cousin is your first cousin, once removed. This is because your mother's first cousin is one generation younger than your grandparents and you are two generations younger than your grandparents. This one-generation difference equals "once removed."
Twice removed means that there is a two-generation difference. You are two generations younger than a first cousin of your grandmother, so you and your grandmother's first cousin are first cousins, twice removed.

Relationship Charts Simplify Everything

Now that you have an idea of what these different words mean, take a look at the chart below. It's called a relationship chart, and it can help you figure out how different people in your family are related. It's much simpler than it looks, just follow the instructions.
Instructions for Using a Relationship Chart
  1. Pick two people in your family and figure out which ancestor they have in common. For example, if you chose yourself and a cousin, you would have a grandparent in common.
  2. Look at the top row of the chart and find the first person's relationship to the common ancestor.
  3. Look at the far left column of the chart and find the second person's relationship to the common ancestor.
  4. Determine where the row and column containing those two relationships meet.
Common
Ancestor
Child Grandchild G-grandchild G-g-grandchild
Child Sister or Brother Nephew or Niece Grand-nephew or niece G-grand-nephew or niece
Grandchild Nephew or Niece First cousin First cousin, once removed First cousin, twice removed
G-grandchild Grand-nephew or niece First cousin, once removed Second cousin Second cousin, once removed
G-g-grandchild G-grand-nephew or niece First cousin, twice removed Second cousin, once removed Third cousin

Source: http://www.genealogy.com/16_cousn.html

If you want to be more precise...
First cousins can be classified two ways: patrilateral or matrilateral, and cross- or ortho-cousins. While ortho-cousins are children of two brothers or two sisters; cross-cousins are children of a sister and brother. Someone is your patrilateral cousin if you are first cousins through your father (and your father’s brother or sister); someone is your matrilateral cousin if you are first cousins through your mother (and your mother’s brother or sister).
Source: http://oakroadsystems.com/genl/relation.htm
And now for some application: 
  • My daughter and the children of my husband's brother are patrilineal ortho-cousins.
  • My daughter and my sister's children are matrilineal ortho-cousins. 
  • My daughter doesn't have any cross-cousins on either side of the family because her dad's sister does not have any children and my brother is not married.
  • The relationship between my daughter and my first cousins is first cousin, once removed.
In accordance with Chinese family hierachy my daughter still addresses her first cousins, once removed as uncle or aunt. Socially it sounds strange to introduce someone of your own age or younger as your uncle or aunt. Introducing them as your cousin saves you a lot of explanation but the traditionalists will be horrified. It's a no-win situation.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

IWA Christmas Morning at E&O Hotel

Last Monday (10/12/12) Lillian gave me a treat to the IWA Christmas lunch held at E&O Hotel.

The IWA choir carolling in the foyer

Baby Sis, as usual, must dress to the theme. So that morning she raided one of her Christmas trees and made herself a crazy hat that won her first prize

Be my guest!

Turkey with cranberry sauce served with the most delicious chestnut stuffing ever, lasagna and other dishes that I cannot remember

Mini-mince pies, Christmas pudding and cookies...sweet endings to a wonderful lunch

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Standing In The Need of Prayer

I recently learned the importance of praying for myself 'cos I am a fallible human, living in a fallen world amidst other fallible beings.

Praying for others is well and good but at the end of the day...

It's me, it's me, it's me, O Lord,
Standing in the need of prayer.
It's me, it's me, it's me, O Lord,
Standing in the need of prayer.

Not my father, not my mother, but it's me, O Lord,
Standing in the need of prayer.
Not my sister, not my brother, but it's me, O Lord,
Standing in the need of prayer.

- lyrics from the song "Standing In The Need of Prayer"

If I don't pray for myself, who will?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Salvation Has Come To This House

Halfway through our reunion dinner last night, we received this piece of wonderful news.

God is so good and He is indeed a God of signs and wonders.

I am so encouraged because this is the first time that I have heard a first-hand testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ appearing to pre-believer in a dream/vision that eventually led to salvation.

Truly all things are possible if we only believe.

Luke 19:9-10 (NIV)
[9] Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house..... [10] For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

First Reunion Dinner for CNY 2013

We had an early CNY reunion dinner tonight to coincide with my sis-in-law's and also Terence's family's visit to Penang and all of us received our first angpows for CNY.

Yes, my sis-in-law being the eldest in the family distributes angpows to everyone, even those who are married. Besides my paternal aunt, she is the only one who practices this unusual custom.

Of course we're not complaining 'cos people like us who have long been disqualified from receiving angpows also untung!

Our first angpows for CNY 2013

Monday, December 10, 2012

Romance Is Still Alive

I read this on one of my Facebook friend's post on Saturday. She is one fortunate girl to have found a such a brave and wonderful guy who would go through so much effort to proclaim his love for her publicly. I am glad romance is still very much alive today.
the deepest heartfelt thanks is not even close enough to how grateful i am for all your well wishes!

it was an amazing surprise to start off my favourite time of the year. Aaron Goh was a sneaky little monkey who managed to get the whole cast and crew of Wild Rice's Hansel and Gretel to spring this on me.

it started off with the curtain call at the end of the show when the lead said there would

be two free tickets to their next production for whoever was sitting on the seat number they had randomly picked. surprise, surprise they called out my seat number. so here i am, thinking to myself 'oh yay! got prize!' (i've never won anything from these lucky draws before) and skipped my way up the stage.

after a few jibes at how i looked familiar, they asked me how i came to know about the show and i said that the lead keyboardist was my boyfriend. that was his cue and he came out from the wings singing! i was in shock! i seriously thought i was being pranked!
i must have looked really silly with me alternating between asking 'what's going on??' and having my hand clapped over my mouth in shock.

he ended the song by going down on one knee amidst the cheers of the cast, crew and audience. and the rest, as they say, is history :)
Congratulations, Grace and Aaron! I am so happy for both of you. Keep it up and I am sure you are both going to build up a great repertoire of memorable moments to share with your children and grand-children.

*****

Those who are interested may watch the video here. I believe this shouldn't be an infringement of privacy since it was posted on Facebook and Youtube.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A Broken Vessel

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. [10] That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

There are certain days when I feel more inadequate than others. Today was such a day but God once again proved Himself faithful even when I am not.

In the days leading to the preaching of today's message my prayer was, "Lord, I come before you with a broken and contrite heart, to ask for Your Word in season for Your people. I ask this, not for my sake, but for the sake of Your people who have gathered to hear from You."

As I stepped into the sanctuary this morning, the Lord began to minister to me through the worship. He stilled the churning within my soul and granted me peace. Thus encouraged by the Lord I was able to share a message on the sons of Issachar with Calvary Assembly.

During altar call I asked the people to respond in 3 areas. No one responded to the call for salvation. if I'm not mistaken there were no pre-believers in the congregation, but I still had to ask.

On the other hand, there were many who requested prayer because they are moving into a new season. And there were also a few who wanted to take their service to a higher level.

But among those who came out for prayer during the altar call was one who correctly discerned the heart of the message today. He asked that I pray for the anointing of the sons of Issachar to be on him.

How my heart leapt when I heard that! He is such a wise and discerning man so it was my joy to pray for a double portion of the anointing of the sons of Issachar to be on him.

After the service I was absolutely thrilled when God sent two persons to tell me that the message was the word in season for them.

God still uses broken vessels. Isn't He simply too wonderful for words?

That's me giving Lucas, my interpreter, a hard time reading from 1 Chronicles 12. Notice the LCD in the background with the photo from my Facebook. That's Pastor Roland's handiwork.

A Day of Rejoicing

I received this wonderful testimony from a close family friend today.

Praise The Lord ! He alone is greatly to be Praised! This morning around 4am The Lord appeared first in the dream then in person to my mum! She was so excited that she missed call me during the service and I listened to her testifying to me after the service. She saw a tall man in white robe standing beside her smiling at her then she woke up but when she opened her eyes she still saw Jesus standing beside her smiling and bending His head looking at my mum. Since then she could not sleep and is still full of energy. We are making our trip up to Penang to visit her. Pls join us in prayer. Hallelujah !Our Lord reigns!in fact my mum was with hospitalized on Thursday for very high bp of 200. I began to pray for her till 2 :30 am on early Fri morning. I thank GOD he is ministering to my Mum :) Yong Ling

God is good! He is faithful! And ALL His promises are yes and amen in Christ Jesus.

Friday, December 7, 2012

An Honest Man

A few days ago I went to the Cheah Yew Shop in Jalan Fettes to buy lunch. After packing my lunch the young man told me that it costs RM4.50. So I grabbed some ringgit notes from my wallet and passed them to him. He took the money and said, "Auntie, why are you giving me so much money?"

I thought I had given him a ringgit or two more but the note he returned me was a RM50 note! In my hurry, I did not realise that there was a RM50 note wedged among the blue ringgit notes.

"Thank you," I said,  "And God bless you, you are an honest man."

Honest people like this young man ought to be commended and he makes me believe there are still a lot of good people out there despite some of the horrors we read in  the newspapers.

Slow Me Down Lord

This morning I was led to this poem that is so timely as we enter into this season when the frenetic countdown towards Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year begins.

Slow Me Down, Lord

Slow me down,Lord!
Ease the pounding of my heart
By the quieting of my mind.
Steady my harried pace
With a vision of the eternal reach of time.
Give me, admidst the confusions of my day,
The calmness of the everlasting hills.

Break the tensions of my nerves
With the soothing music of the sighing streams
That live in my memory.
Help me to know
The magical restoring power of sleep.

Teach me the art
Of taking minute vacations of slowing down to look at a flower;
To chat with an old friend or to make a new one;
To pat a stray dog,
To watch a spider build a web;
To smile at a child;
Or to read a few lines from a good book.

Remind me each day
That the race is not always to the swift;
That there is more to life than increasing its speed.
Let me look upward
Into the branches of the towering oak
And know that it grew slowly and well.

Slow me down, Lord,
And inspire me to send my roots deep
Into the soil of life’s enduring values
That I may grow toward the stars
Of my great destiny.

Wilferd A. Peterson

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Countdown Begins

Weekly Christmas With the Community (CWC) meetings have begun since last week.

Practice for CWC Nyonya dance has commenced since last Sunday with many more practices to go.

9/12 Wedding at Alor Setar.

10/12 Family from overseas arriving!

11/12 - IWA Christmas breakfast at E&O Hotel
- Deadline to put presents under the Christmas tree for office exchange of gifts.
- Early family CNY reunion dinner.

12/12 Lunch

13/12 Lunch

15/12 Combined Cell Christmas celebration with Fettes Park cell.

18/12 Office Christmas celebration. We open our presents!

22/12 Christmas With The Community.

25/12 Christmas

31/12 Watchnite

See the list above I also panchet di. But first there's this list below to work on ASAP.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Dillip And Evelyn From Perth

Lillian invited me over for lunch with Dillip and Evelyn from Perth. After a lovely Malay lunch which they really liked very much, we had a great time chatting over coffee, tea and coconut water.

On the way back from their visit to the Khoo Kongsi, Evelyn couldn't resist buying 3 coconuts because they are so cheap. According to her, they normally cost AUD2 each, and that's when they are on sale.

Dillip and Lillian
I like people who think and during our conversation Dillip asked a very interesting question: Why are all the cannons at Fort Cornwallis located on the North Eastern side of island, facing the mainland? Why not on the western side facing the open sea? Did the British only expect an invasion from the mainland?

Hmmm, I never really thought about that. I suppose it would be easier to invade Penang via the narrow channel than to go one big round to the other side which, incidentally, has never been heavily populated. It also makes more sense to protect the northeastern part of the island where the population is densest and the commercial district is located.

His wife Evelyn is Teong's latest good friend. We told her about Teong's eccentricities and she confidently replied that if she can handle Dillip, she can handle him! Haha, looks like he has met his match.

Teong and Evelyn
My afternoon was spoilt by work problems that cropped up and required my attention.

Anyway I left with a splitting headache and is running a fever now. Gotta take care 'cos my friend's boss tested positive for H1N1 last week and was admitted into hospital.


It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Christmas has always been a grand celebration for my sister, ever since we accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. Her Christmas trees (one is not enough, she must have two trees) are always up early and they stay up until Chinese New Year is over.

This is the Queen's Diamond Jubilee tree in honour of the Queen who celebrated her Diamond Jubilee this year. There are always lots of presents under the tree but she has been too busy to get around to buying presents so the tree looks kinda bare for the time being.

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Tree

And this is the Empress of India tree. Notice that she even wrapped a saree round the table on which the tree is resting. Among the decorations are the cutest little hangers with little party dresses hanging on them. I should have taken photos. 

Can you see the hanger with the party dress in front, next to the gold snow flake?

Jazz Charity Night on 30 November 2012

We were privileged to be the guests of Grace and Boon Hoe for the Jazz Charity Night held at Bayview Beach Resort in conjunction with the 9th Penang Island Jazz Festival.
This is my lovely and grace-ious hostess
Hubby and I
The rest of the people at the table who we know were Chee Keong, Priscilla, Jacob and Helene. We also met Mary Ann, Boon Hoe's sister-in-law and Cindy, Boon Hoe's youngest sister who looks like she is in her thirties. I didn't believe it when she said she is nearing fifty.

I am always impressed by these people who can "hide their age" so well. Being slim is a great advantage because most middle agers, like me, are beset with middle age spread. :( And that gives away our age. Boo hoo hoo.

The opening act was a local jazz singer but, poor girl, most people were concentrating on the food. I also couldn't get her name because there was so much echo from the mic.

Then Mezzotono, a 5-piece a capella, group from Italy took to the stage. They were fantastic! Their harmony was superb and I am amazed at how they could produce the most incredible sounds vocally. Their show was a delight to watch because they also injected some comic moments into their performance. I am sure we would have enjoyed the show more if we understood Italian or the barese dialect they sang in.

Mezzotono from Italy
The main act was the Estudiantina Ensemble from Cuba (pronounced KOO*ba). They perform in authentic Cuban Traditional Guaracha, Bolero, Danz√≥n and Son styles that were performed by estudiantina groups that were popular in the eastern region of Cuba during the late 19th century.

The Estudiantina Ensemble from Cuba
Again we didn't understand a word they were singing. Such a waste, because they were singing from their heart so there was a lot of emotion involved. The only familiar song we knew was Besame Mucho which was also sung in Spanish.

But whether we understood the lyrics or not, music is a language of the heart and soul. We felt the emotions even though we did not undertand the language. And the rhythm, yes the rhythm and the beat, got me swaying to the music and tapping our feet.

Thanks again Grace and Boon Hoe for jazzing up our night!






Mong-cha-cha Tourist Guide

Jean, my best friend at Maui was in Penang recently and we managed to meet for lunch on Tuesday, 20 November.

I wanted to take her to Tan Jetty for Thai food and also introduce her to a spot of local scenery. Unfortunately the shop was closed and so we ended up at China House. In hindsight it was a better choice because she loved the place and she still managed to take photos of the jetty area.

After lunch, as we were walking back to the car we saw a crowd gathering at the Beach Street/Armenian Street junction. Being kaypo, we went over to have a look. Lo and behold, it was the location of one Penang's famous street art!

Jean was ecstatic with joy because she wanted so much to see this particular piece of street art that gained attention due to it being vandalised not long ago. PTL! He gave her the desires of her heart.

So this mong-cha-cha tourist guide did well that day. And here are some photos taken by Jean of her tourist guide for the day chasing after the children on bicycles.

I Have Decided

...that from now on this blog is going to be all about inconsequential thoughts, humdrum happenings and general information.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Busy Nights

Christmas With The Community Committee meeting tonight.

REHDA Annual Dinner tomorrow.

Cooking lesson on Thursday night.

Wedding dinner on Friday night.

James Bond Skyfall on Saturday night.

Dinner with sis-in-law from Singapore on Sunday night.

Monday night? FREE at last!

Friday, October 19, 2012

What A Colourful Start!

Look at all the gorgeous colours! I'm looking forward to sewing my third kasot manek.

I hope this one turns out ok. The first one was ruined by the shoemaker. The second one is half-finished.

The reason for abandoning the second project for the time being is 'cos the beads are a bit smaller than the backing cloth so they are too spaced out. The backing could be seen in between the beads!

This third one had better turn out well or I'll just buy ready made kasot manek from Malacca.

No-Cook Overnight Refrigerator Oats

I have always enjoyed oats for breakfast. My Ah Kong used to cook oats for me and he would often surprise me at school with a serving of oats in a little aluminium container for recess.

When I used to have a maid I could still enjoy a bowl of oats for breakfast but now that we no longer have a maid I am deprived of one of my favourite breakfast foods simply because it is too much of a bother to light the stove and cook the oats. And once it's cooked it's too hot to eat.

So I decided to Google "no-cook oats" and the results led me to:

http://amy-newnostalgia.blogspot.com/2011/03/no-cook-overnight-oatmeal-chia.html

http://www.steeringyourhealth.com/2012/08/24/quick-breakfast-no-cook-overnight-oatmeal/

http://www.theyummylife.com/Refrigerator_Oatmeal

I was inspired to modify and create my own No-Cook Overnight Refrigerator Oats. Here's my recipe.

Basic Ingredients:

1/3 cup rolled oats
3 tsp chia seeds
2 bottles Vitagen (I used LB flavour but any flavour will do depending on what other goodies you want to throw into the mixture)

Add-ons:

Dried cranberries, dried apricots, raisins, dates, bananas, peaches, grapes, mangoes, all kinds of nuts, etc

Put all the ingredients into a Tupperware, jar or any container with a tight cover and shake well. Leave overnight in the refrigerator and tomorrow morning your healthy breakfast is ready to be served! So easy and so tasty.

They are also so convenient to bring along whenever I join Hubby for breakfast.

Note: I prefer to add the nuts and fresh fruits the next morning.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bali Day One

Arrived in Bali and was greeted by the heat of the scorching noon day sun. Thank God for Chor Ming who was waiting to transport us to the hotel.

Checked into Harrads Hotel and ordered fried rice for a late late lunch while waiting for our room to be ready.

Jumped into two vans and we were off to Ubud. However we were distracted and ended up at a pasar oleh-oleh instead. Bought some souvenirs and we continued with our trip to Ubud.

It was late evening by the time we arrived at Ubud. Once again we ended up at some sort of market and spent quite some time haggling with the merchants. Some of us ended up with extraneous purchases because the merchants were clinging to us and spinning us their sob stories of not making enough sales for the day etc etc. It was quite obvious that we have been conned.

We were supposed to have dinner beside the padi fields but night had fallen by the time we arrived at I Love Joni Restaurant for dinner.

I don't eat duck and yet I enjoyed the Bebek (Crispy Duck). It was so crispy and there wasn't any smell at all. The chicken curry was delicious. There was not any gravy left by the time we finished dinner. Our third dish was a simple fried fish. All the dishes were served with ulam.

After dinner we wanted to go for a massage but all the places we went to were closed so we went back to the hotel. We took a chance and asked the concierge whether he could arrange for masseuses to come to our rooms. He could and so we each had an hour of massage in the privacy of our rooms for only RM50! And after that we we just went to sleep. Simply wonderful!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rascally Taxi Men

I had to take a taxi to Subang airport and Melissa was so kind to drop me off at the "taxi stand" in front of her apartment. It's actually a place where taxi men congregate to have a rest.

The taxi man wanted to charge me RM40 for the trip because of traffic jam. I protested because the trip from the airport to the Sime Darby Medical Centre at Subang Jaya only cost me RM20 and I am boarding the taxi at Sunway Mentari which is only a short distance away.

After bargaining he lowered the price to RM35. I said I'll take another taxi. That's when he shouted out the price to his fellow taxi men and made mention of the jam.

That was such a blatant ruse to get everyone to gang up against me. The place was off the main road and I had not checked in yet so I had no choice but to take the taxi. I agreed to pay him RM35 ONLY if there is a jam.

The jam was just a convenient excuse to fleece me because we had a smooth drive to the airport. So I paid him RM30.

Lesson of this story: Never take a taxi from unauthorised taxi stands, especially when the place is off the main roads. You are at their mercy.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Birthday Celebrations 2012 - Part 4...Lunch at Suffolk House


Believe it or not, I've not finished celebrating my birthday. Or rather my birthday wishes are still being fulfilled.
I really wanted to celebrate my birthday at Suffolk House this year but due to unfavourable circumstances that idea was shelved. Since it is most satisfying when wishes do come true, I set about planning a small celebration at Suffolk House. The perfect opportunity presented itself when our precious Jewel of India came back and so we had a mini-joint-birthday celebration for the two of us on Saturday, 8 September 2012.

As usual when we celebrate we must celebrate in style. A theme for the party is mandatory and we decided that the theme for the day was green.

The 3 ladies in various shades of green.
Suffolk House is a really beautiful place but where the food is concern, there is nothing spectacular taste-wise and the portions were very tiny – so not worth the price we paid. To be honest, most people would leave the table half-full (I did) and anyone with a healthy appetite would still be hungry after the meal.

Super tiny serving of salad...a few leaves enough for 2 mouthfuls
A miniscule portion of Atlantic Salmon for my main dish
With such teeny-weeny portions, lunch was over all too soon and it was time for dessert.

Me and my dessert
Then after lunch Hubby and I had the most pleasant surprise. We received presents from India!

Our budding dentist gave us sweets!
First came the Tic Tacs in these mini bottles. Apparently the Indians like miniaturised items so it is common to find mini versions of things like Pond's Cold Cream etc there. 

Then came the personal presents. A notebook for me. Don't you just love the cute cartoons on the cover?

The Front Cover of the notebook
The Back Cover of the notebook
And that's not all. The best is yet to come.

Lovely pieces of material in the most gorgeous colours with a shawl to match!

Then it is Hubby's turn. Jewel bought this pair of shorts for her Khai Yeh to wear when he plays badminton. It is full of cute and colourful Vespas! So pretty that she bought one for herself too and they are going to wear them together one of these days.

Hubby is happy with his gift
To our shame we did not have any presents for our god-daughter. :( We just fed her.

Now I am planning for my last birthday wish to come true. Dinner at David Brown!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sacrificial Giving

There's charity and there's charity.

Take for example, our annual cell project to raise funds for the Eden Handicapped Centre. All the cell members would chip in some money to order food which some of us will sell at the food and fun fair. All proceeds from the sale are then donated to the centre.

The only sacrifice on our part was the small sum each of us invested which was used to generate funds for the home. Technically there is hardly any sacrifice at all. There are so many of us sharing that our individual investment becomes minimal. The ones who sacrificed anything at all are those who gave of their time to man the stall and sell the products.

There is also another kind of fund-raising where we would pay to attend a high-end gala dinner or watch the premiere of a block-buster or participate in some sporting event in aid of some charitable organisation. To be frank, I find it difficult to associate any altruistic motives with our participation in such events. Normally the glamour, prestige, enjoyment and fun we get out of such events more than make up for whatever sum we have to fork out to participate in them. In the case of sporting events, the many freebies – T-shirts, caps, etc – that participants get in their goodie bags nullify any claim of contributing to charity.

Having said all that, I thank God that there are pro-active and benevolent people who are willing to give time, effort and money to organise and participate in fund-raising events in order to raise public awareness of the needs in our society and to help the underprivileged. Please do continue to contribute in whichever way you can, regardless of whatever your motives may be, because every effort, no matter how small, can change lives.

However, in my most humble opinion, and without any intention of belittling anyone's endeavour, the most meaningful kind of fund-raising comes with a cost. This leads me to the objective of this post, which is to introduce you to one brave lady.

She is Suan Bee, the wedding planner for my 'bee's wedding. On 26th August 2012 she went bald for a worthy cause and raised RM16, 800 for the Adventist Hospital Cancer Fund. My respect for her does not stem from the money she raised but that she gave out of a great conviction and, as a woman, I believe it was done at great cost to herself. And the sacrifice is not just for a day but will be over a few months until her hair grows back.

I salute you Suan Bee!
Look at what she had to say about her decision to go bald. This is taken from her Facebook timeline dated 26th August 2012:
When i made the decision to go bald, a lot of my friends asked what made me decide to go bald. Everyone said that i am very courageous to go bald especially when i'm a lady. And i'm very grateful for all the support and contribution that flowed in from the time i posted on my FB.

However, i would like to say that this is not about me :-) It is about all the cancer patients and survivors out there who are fighting or have fight the battle. We would like to convey to them that there's always hope and miracles do happen...Do not be afraid of how you look as beauty is from within... The divine, guides and angels will always be there to protect and love you...:-) 
Simply awesome!






Saturday, September 1, 2012

Learning Is Beautiful

My eyes were finally opened to the difference between studying and learning when I came across this quote that so accurately expresses my sentiments.

I've confused studying with learning and that's why I end up signing up for course after course, year in and year out. But I usually end up regretting my decision after signing up for a course because I really, really hate studying. In fact I am ashamed to confess that I have never really studied throughout my school days.

But I enjoy learning. Give me an interesting topic and I can spend hours and days on end reading up and doing research on it.

So after this epiphany I'm going to quit studying and just concentrate on learning 'cos learning is beautiful. I couldn't agree more with the smart, intelligent and beautiful Ms Portman.

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Indians Are Right

A few months ago some friends were asking me where my 'bee is going to have her confinement. When I told them it will be in Penang, one of them said that I must be very glad to have her back home with me.

From their subsequent comments I knew that they interpreted "back home" to mean that she would be moving back to stay with us so I told them that she would be staying with her in-laws. Then they explained that, in their Indian culture, women who have just given birth are expected to go back to stay with their mothers during the confinement period.

It really makes sense because that is where you can be most at home. No matter how accommodating or loving your parents-in-law are, there are always certain boundaries and courtesies that must be observed. I know because I had a wonderful mother-in-law but there are certain liberties I could take with my mom that I wouldn't with my mother-in-law. Not that she would mind, but it's just not politically correct.

To illustrate how "at home" one can be with one's parents*, just take a look at this conversation I had with my 'bee a few days ago.

* Assuming that there is a healthy, loving relationship between parents and children. 





She could say things like these to us because she knows that we have a good sense of humour. She also knows that we could take it without offence because we know that the things were said without malice.

On the other hand, it would be unthinkable for her to have such a conversation with either of her parents-in-law. Personally I would be horrified if she were to say things like that to them. No manners at all.

When I had my 'bee, we were still staying with my parents-in-law but my mom cooked for me during my confinement period because we were too poor then to hire a confinement lady. I was able to tell my mom outright not to overwhelm me with ginger in my meals and that I don't want to eat the Black Vinegar Trotter. In fact she cooked anything I liked to eat as long as the ingredients were considered permissible under the confinement menu.

However, being a good mom, there was once when she cooked the Black Vinegar Trotter because it is supposed to be good for women during confinement. I refused to eat it but my mother-in-law really had a feast that day.

Now, would I dare to protest or refuse to eat a dish if my mother-in-law had overseen the cooking of the dish by the confinement lady, if there had been one?

Therein lies the difference.  You can just be yourself with your own mom. She can take your idiosyncrasies, even some nonsense, without getting upset or allowing it to jeopardise your relationship. I think the Indians have it right when it comes to this confinement practice. 

Do You Know...(9)

that there is a beautiful blue moon gracing the heavens above on our nation's 55th Independence Day?

A Blue Moon refers to the second full moon to appear in a calendar month. The next time we will see this celestial phenomenon will be in July 2015.



Read more about Blue Moons here and here.

Yummy Birth Month Gift

Yesterday I went over to Gurney Plaza to collect a birth month gift from Clarins.

Three kinds of tarts! I like.

On the Wrong End of the Lens

Last night I expressed an insane wish that I wouldn't mind being the target of the paparazzi. Of course all the sane people around the table started to dissuade me, telling me of all the annoyances and trouble that I would be getting into if my wish were to come true. As if I don't know that.

Actually all I want is to be photographed. That's how narcissistic I am.

I bought a camera, not realising that that puts me on the wrong end of the lens. I don't want to take photographs. I'm actually lousy at that. I cannot even camwhore.

I need a photographer, not a camera. That would be great incentive for me to be well groomed at all times and to keep in shape - cannot permanently tuck in my stomach.

Too bad I don't have one. The photographer, I mean. Not the stomach, of which I already have too much.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Train Your Children Or They'll Train You!

I always appreciate our Song nephews and nieces who make it a point to meet up with us whenever they come back to Penang. It is always a delight for us to see them and their families growing.

Sam and Adeline were in Penang for a visit during the Raya break and they invited us for lunch on Tuesday, 21 August 2012.

Sam, Adeline, Jonathan and Emmanuel
We wanted to take them to Hot Tin Roof (a.k.a. Teik Seng Restaurant at Carnavon Street) but the restaurant was closed for the Raya break so we ended up at CRC Restaurant instead. In hindsight, the change of venue was good because it was more comfortable for us to chat in an air-conditioned environment.

Sam's parents came along on this trip and we were delighted to fellowship with them. They are such gracious people and so easy to get along (my kind of people). Adeline is really blessed to have such wonderful in-laws. 

A group photo after lunch. Sam's parents are at the back.
We wanted to pay for the meal as this is "our territory" but Sam beat us to it. And Sam's mom said that it is "yeng koi," meaning "right and proper" in Cantonese, that the younger generation should pay for the meal. Haha, we have reached the age of pay-back time.

Adeline's two children, Jonathan and Emmanuel, are now five and two-and-a-half repectively. They are simply adorable and such angels.

Emmanuel was very tired and so she slept in the car on the way to lunch. When they arrived they woke her. She may not be in a mood to be friendly but neither was she grumpy or grouchy. She still greeted us when her mother told her to.

Initially she was just a tad clingy with her mother but she eventually perked up. As the photo below shows, she very quickly warmed up to us.

Look at Emmanuel's kissable lips and the cheekiness on Jonathan's face.
Kenny, as usual, was a child magnet. Somehow children instinctively gravitate to him. Before long Emmanuel was asking him to draw animals on the napkin.
Draw an elephant Chek Kong!
Every time I go out with either Adeline's or Terence's families I am always impressed by their parenting skills. Their children are obedient and well behaved at all times. There is no banging of plates or screaming or shouting or running around during dinner. Without such disruptive behaviour from the children, the adults were able to carry on a decent conversation while keeping a watchful eye on them. 

Even when they are tired or bored they don't get cranky and neither do they whine or throw a tantrum. Towards the end of dinner Emmanuel, who had had her nap disturbed earlier, just climbed onto her mother's lap to suckle and then fell asleep. No drama at all.

These are normal, healthy, intelligent children so there are bound to be occasions when they misbehave. All that was needed was a sharp reprimand from either parent to make them toe the line. No screaming or issuing of threats or offering bribes. Just a simple "Stop it." The parents are to be commended for exercising such good discipline and as a result their children are so easy to love.

“Discipline is a symbol of caring to a child. He needs guidance. If there is love, there is no such thing as being too tough with a child. A parent must also not be afraid to hang himself. If you have never been hated by your child, you have never been a parent.”
- Bette Davis

What many parents fail to realize is that they are doing their children a great disservice when they do not discipline their children. Nobody likes little monsters or spoilt brats. Unfortunately there are too many super-indulgent parents nowadays who do not set limits to bad behaviour which are very annoying for other people have to put up with them. These parents may not know it but they are on their way to raising social misfits and irresponsible adults.

They excuse their children's naughtiness by saying, "My child is too young to understand." Yet in the same breath they also say, "My child is so clever. He knows how to do this or that in order to get out of trouble." I can assure you that children who can lie, cheat or utilize deception or manipulative behaviour to their advantage are fully able to understand limits as well as consequences, whether good or bad, that result from their actions.

If condoning bad behaviour is not bad enough, some parents are actually rewarding and reinforcing bad behaviour by giving in to the child's demands when they exhibit unacceptable behaviour. Of course the children are going to learn that this is the way to get what they want.

I ran a kindergarten and day-care for five years and I have learned that children are natural psychologists. They are able to read adults like a book and somehow they intuitively know the right buttons to push for the different adults they meet in order to get their way. Trust me, if you don't train them, they are going to train you instead!

When it comes to raising children parents should do well to remember that...

"It's easier to build boys and girls that to repair men and women"
- Bill Wilson

Friday, August 24, 2012

Personal DNA Report

A long, long time ago 'bee did a personality test and the results were pretty accurate. Out of curiosity, I also took the test. The results came and after a cursory look I filed it away. I came across the report again a few days today. This is what it says about me.

You are an Analyst

  • Your attention to detail, confidence, sense of order, and focus on functionality combine to make you an ANALYST.  
  • You are very curious about how things work, delving into the mechanics behind things. Along those lines, how well something works is usually more important to you than what it looks like. 
  • You find beauty and wonder mainly in concrete, functional, earthly things. 
  • You are very aware of your own abilities, and you believe that you will find the best way of doing things. 
  • Accordingly, problems do not intimidate you, as you believe in yourself. 
  • You trust yourself to find solutions within the boundaries of your knowledge.
  • You don't spend a lot of time imagining how things could be different—you're well-grounded in the here-and-now.  
  • It is important for you to follow a routine, and you prefer the familiar to the unknown. 
  • You're not one to force your positions on a group, and you tend to be fair in evaluating different options.
  • You prefer to have time to plan for things, feeling better with a schedule than with keeping plans up in the air until the last minute.
  • Generally, you believe that you control your life, and that external forces only play a limited role in determining what happens to you.

If you want to be different:

  • Try to embrace the imaginative, creative part of your personality more often. 
  • Try moving beyond the things that you find comfortable—open yourself up to a broader range of experiences.

You are Faithful

  • Your trust in others, respect for tradition, and caring nature make you FAITHFUL. 
  • Maintaining a few intimate relationships is more important to you than knowing a lot of people, and you share a lot with your close friends.
  • Those who have managed to get close to you value your camaraderie, and they know that they can trust you with anything; you're a good listener. 
  • While you can usually see several sides of an argument, you often have a strong opinion as to which side is correct—the order of things is usually clear to you. 
  • Your perspective on the world is based on careful observation, and you know a lot about how people feel in—and react to—many situations. 
  • Your exploration of others' feelings has led you to believe that although people generally act appropriately, having clear social rules is very important to a functional society. 
  • Time alone for reflection is important to you—you are introspective and aware of your own feelings. 
  • Faithful is as faithful does—you expect those with whom you are close to be loyal to you, and you take betrayal of your trust very seriously.

If you want to be different:

  • Some of the alternate perspectives that you understand may have more value than you give them credit for—keep in mind that right and wrong aren't always so clear-cut.
  • While you are able to reap the benefits of your time alone, and may see interacting with a lot of people as more tiring than exciting, remember that there is a lot to be learned from experiencing things and not just reflecting on them.
Is it accurate or not? Some comments from people who know me well will help to balance the findings above.


Before You Speak

A good reminder to me.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Do You Look Before You Cross The Raod?

I came across this quote which got me thinking.

I have noticed even people who claim everything is predestined,
and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.
- Stephen Hawking

God is sovereign but He has given us a great gift, the freedom of choice. We can simply sit there and accept what life throws at us fatalistically or do something about it.

Most of the time we rise up to the occasion and do something about it which is why “life is a sum of all your choices” (Albert Camus).

So what about you? Do you look before you cross the road? Or just step out and leave it to God to get you over to the other side?

Birthday Presents 2012

I love birthdays! The narcissistic part of me simply loves the attention that I get once a year. I love the parties, if there are any, and I love receiving and opening the presents.

This birthday I received...
A lovely blue kebaya from my colleagues and sarongs from Baby Sis
Hair clips from Day Bi and his darling
Chocolates from Night Bi and his sweetheart
And...
A box of Aesop goodies comprising Geranium Leaf Body Cleanser, Geranium Leaf Body Balm, Violet Leaf Hair Balm and Rosehip Seed Lip Creme