Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child

A couple of bloggers have written about that unfortunate boy who got beaten to death by his schoolmates. It's shocking to say the least. I managed to catch a glimpse of the news on TV last night and I really felt for the parents of this kid. You bring up your son for sixteen years. You teach him all the good values in life. You even managed to get him to study hard at school. And for those very things he was beaten to death. What have we become?

When I was a kid, I went to the school in which my mom taught. I was put in her colleague's class. And I remember my mom telling my teacher that if I was ever out of line, she should cane me. Other parents were like that as well. In fact, there was even this father who presented his son's class teacher with a cane. "If my son naughty, cane him!" That was the way it was then. While most of us still got up to some mischief every now and then, we were very aware that our teachers had been given the power to cane the crapola out of us. And by our parents, no less.

But boy, things have changed! When a teacher canes a child, some parent will come to school and make a big fuss. There'll be a big PTA meeting to decide disciplinary action against the offending teacher. The Education Minister will step in. And perhaps this might have given the impression to kids that no matter what shitty things they did, Daddy will always back them up. Is this how we want our kids to grow up?

When Baby grows up someday and goes to school, I will accompany him. And I will tell his teacher to cane him if he so deserves it. My mother brought me up to respect my elders and to obey my teachers. Sure, I got caned, but look what a fine example of a human being I turned out to be (*ahem*). And I have to say that the occasional caning I got did me more good than harm. Aside from learning a little discipline, I also toughened up (*ahaks*)with ever stroke! Can I do any less for my own child?

Read these:

The Insane Ox Speaks > Exasperated Daily Rants > Stupid Malays?

Proverbs 13:24 > He that spareth his rod hateth his son, but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Damn Good Salesman

Over the weekend, Mae and I have been shopping for Baby's stuff. Last Saturday, we ended up in this shop in Damansara Utama, the Lucky Stars Babyland which is along the same road as Telekom. Here we met what must have been the best salesman in the business.

We've been pretty anxious about spending our hard-earned money on the wrong stuff so our experience with Lucky Stars was refreshing indeed. The proprietor (we think he owns the place) was very knowledgeable and he understood the product and brandnames he carried. To top it off, he was a really funny guy! Here was this flamboyant, effeminate-ish, 40-something Chinese guy cracking us up with his cheeky demeanour and haltering English! And he was really popular with the older ladies who kept telling him he was the best salesman in the world!

Since we've been considering breastfeeding for Baby (I use the term "we" loosely) we decided to ask Mr Lucky Stars about the products for such a purpose. That's when he led us to this electric pump thingy that was supposed to help mothers express their milk. He started off with a very awkward explanation, "You can pump from the left...erm... and then the know...?" So to help ease his discomfort, Mae finished his sentence for him, "... breast?" And then he just lost his inhibitions, and things pretty much went nuts. "This pump is very good one." Then he went on to say, "It's very comfortable one, and it can massage the nipples." And as he said that, he did the gesture with his fingers. You know that cupping-your-fingers action? Hahahaha!!! Somehow, Mr Lucky Stars felt the need to visually depict it for us. Anyway, we left the place happy. We got what we needed. And Mr Lucky Stars gave us great advice. And he entertained us with his fingers.

That image will haunt me for the rest of my life.

Monday, March 29, 2004


I had the weirdest dream last night.

Baby was born and she turned out to be a girl after all. And the next thing I knew, she was suddenly already a pre-schooler and as cute as a button! But she was short-sighted and had to wear glasses. And just as suddenly as she became a toddler, she was now a teenager and quite the pretty thing. At that point, I realised she looked like my mother! I told Mae about the dream and she said, "Your mom pretty meh?" Hahhaha... and that was the funniest thing I heard all week. Mae thinks I idolise my mother. Do all guys get hung-up about their mothers? Do all guys consider their moms pretty? And do guys end up marrying women who most remind them of mom? Heh! Gives me the creeps just thinking about it.

And what's the deal with the baby girl dream anyway? When I told Mae, she admitted that sometimes she has this nagging suspicion that Baby might just turn out to be a girl somehow!! What on earth will we do with all the baby-blue stuff we bought?

Any dream interpreters out there? :)

Finest Prawn Wantan in PJ

as happy as a happy meal can get

For awhile now, Mae and I have been going to church on Saturday nights instead of the usual Sunday morning. This weekend, thanks to our endless shopping outing, we decided on the late morning 11am - 1pm service instead. While the late Sunday service can be gruelling, it is not without its reward!

Lunch was as excellent Prawn Wantan (dumpling), Steamed Chicken and Ipoh Kuey Teow combo at Restoran Soo Kee in SEA Park, PJ. Prawn Wantan, as the name suggests is a Wantan made solely of prawns as opposed to the pork, turnip and prawn mix you get in regular Wantans. As Prawn Wantans go, there really aren't many stalls that serve them, and out of the ones that do most are rarely, exceptionally good. But here at Soo Kee, the Shrimp Wantans are made with RESPECT. It's no big secret, that the most crucial thing about a really excellent Prawn Wantan is the choice of prawns. It's gotta be fresh. And it's gotta be meaty. And THAT is what RESPECT is all about in a dish like this. And with this, you have the most succulent, springy and sweet-tasting Wantans in the Klang Valley. These are served in a tasty chicken-prawn broth.

Another speciality of Soo Kee is its Steamed Chicken. While steaming chicken is not exactly rocket-science, it takes an incredible amount of restraint to make good steam chicken. Overcook it and you end up with horribly coarse-textured meat. Undercook it, you'll have that hanyir taste. At Soo Kee, it's perfect. These guys serve their chicken with a delicious, oyster-ish sauce that'll have you licking the plate. I kid you not!

Finally, the meal is made complete with its soup-based Ipoh Kuey Teow. Unfortunately, the Kuey Teow here is nothing compared to the kind you get in Ipoh. While original Ipoh Kuey Teow is smooth, slippery and springy, Soo Kee's Kuey Teow is a little coarse at times a little bland. But even so, when you taste their Prawn Wantan and Steam Chicken, all will be forgiven.

If you wanna check it out, go to SEA Park. That's where the old Ruby Cinema used to be. There's a KFC there and Soo Kee is located on the street behind KFC. Directly opposite this shop is the SEA Park market. Two bowls of Kuey Teow, one chicken drumstick, a bowl of Prawn Wantan and drinks come up to RM 17.00. A little pricey but worth every sen. :)

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Our First Steps Into Parenthood

these booties are made from walking

Seeing as to how little time we had before the Malaysia Mega Sales ends, Mae and I decided that we ought to start buying stuff to prepare for Baby's arrival. There's so much to buy, we're completely overwhelmed by the task. We need a cot and bedding, a stroller, a car seat, diapers, milk bottles, flasks, bath tubs, baby clothes and ample storage to keep all the stuff.

We spent hours at Tesco Mutiara's Baby Fair Promotion and got ourselves quite a bit of stuff. By the way, if you haven't heard, Tesco Mutiara is open 24-hours. We bougth a lot of very practical items like diapers, shampoos, lotions, containers and baby wipes. And we bought some cute, whimsical stuff like the booties you see in the picture and little monogrammed baby towels. We were buying all this stuff for our unborn Baby and it was the nicest feeling looking through the things we got. I don't think we've ever felt happier shopping!

Baby's existence in our live has turned it upside-down. And yet, we feel such joy. I suppose parenthood does strange things to people, even if they're not quite parents yet.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Baby Names

Lately Mae and I have been racking our brains for a nice name for Baby. And believe me, the burden of naming a child is incredibly daunting. What if we choose a sucky name and our poor kid gets teased all his life? As Chinese, our troubles are doubled since we want a nice Chinese name to go with a nice English name. And as far as Chinese names go, while they mean beautiful things in the language, a lot of times they sound like something really horrendous in English or Malay.

Kids named Chee Wai always get teased. Similarly, so do Yee Ting and Wai Ping, because after Yee Ting, you should always be Wai Ping... your mouth. If you subscribe to the notion that, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me!" try telling that to little Kah Yew. And if you think Ai Ting is bad, wait till you meet Ai Pee! Some Chinese surnames add more misery to the lives of these kids like Wan Kok Keat and Pee Onn Joo. And surely you've heard of the two shops in Johor, Ooi Kian Fatt and it's competitor, Soh Kean Wee! I guess the older generation parents just never thought things through, seeing as to how many tragic names came from those times.

There are probably some rules we should remember when it comes to Chinese surnames. Here are a few that comes to mind. If your surname is Loo, the next name should never be Bang or King. If it's Chew, then no Weng. Phang must never go with Sai or Pui. And Tham should never be followed by Bee or you'll sound more Indian than Chinese. The next dilemma comes if you decide on an English name before your surname. My auntie knows a Harry Kok, though I'm sure she's seen more than one. Heh! And then, there was this family friend who named his daughter Diana Saw - which is surely a classic, if not Jurassic!

So you see our worry? What if we overlook something and give Baby a name that results in a lifetime of teasing? Anyway, we're open to suggestions. We like a little English name for our kid - maybe Aidan, Brandon, Dylan, Julian or something nice. My surname is Tan, so names like Rambo and Sy are definitely out!

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Ultimate Char Siew

another porker bites the dust

The cravings seem to have begun. Over the last 18 weeks that Mae has been pregnant, our daily culinary experiences have been pretty tragic given that just about anything makes her want to puke. But lately we have been eating a little more normally. In fact, it looks like we'll be eating a whole lot more these days since Mae has started getting pangs of hunger and cravings.

The picture you see in one of the finest Char Siew money can buy. Char Siew is basically, barbecued pork, Chinese-style. We get this from a coffee shop in Taman Bukit Maluri that serves chicken rice and economy rice. For the life of me, I can't remember the name of the place now but it's the one a few shops down from the clinic, opposite the chicken sellers. It is one of the finest Char Siew money can buy - believe you me this! The meat is a choice cut with just the right balance of lean meat and fat. It is marinated just right, not too sweet nor too sour. While it looks unassuming, as you bite into it you will marvel at the chef's kungfu at grilling this fine meat. The outside is crispy and crunchy while not overly cooked while the core of the char siew is tender and succullent, the kind of texture than can reduce a grown man to tears! Okay, I'm exaggerating a little, but it is really good Char Siew. To top it off, this shop serves its Char Siew with a specially-made sauce that is just the perfect accompaniment for such an excellent food.

Some people claim that the best Char Siew is in Jalan Alor. Those people have never been to Taman Bukit Maluri, Kepong.

The thing is, before she got pregnant Mae never ate pork. In fact, she hated the stuff. But now in her pork-eating phase, she is convinced that the pig is the tastiest animal to ever walk the earth. And that suits me just fine.


Sunday, March 21, 2004

Sampah Masyarakat

Even as I sit here writing this, Mae is making her way to a polling station in halfway across town together with her siblings. While she will be deciding if her vote goes to BN or the Opposition, I have voted to stay home and manage our... erm... home affairs. It is cleaning day lah!

Today, I have missed yet another opportunity to exercise my democratic right, making it my third miss in a row. I never get round to voting cos I never got down to even registering myself. While I have successfully put on a defiant, rebellious, anti-establishment front (as we arty-types are so wont to do) over the last few years, this year I actually feel like shit for not voting. I feel irresponsible to myself and the baby in Mae's womb. I am Sampah Masyarakat.

I can give many great reasons for why I do not vote. Politicians are not noble enough for me. I am disappointed with the nation. I refuse to buy into anybody's self-serving agendas. My vote won't make a difference. Bla bla bla. But the truth is, I do not vote because all this while I have been too lazy to do anything about it. Did I mention I am Sampah Masyarakat? I need an attitude adjustment.

Today, as Mae got herself ready for her big day at the polls, I served her as best I could; preparing her meal, packing her rations (pregnant women get hunger pangs!) and filling her water canteen. Today, I was the faithful wife serving my husband as she readied herself for war. As she proudly stepped out the door to leave, I told her, "Honey, cast a good vote for Baby and me!"

Perhaps Mae's vote will redeem her Sampah Masyarakat husband.

2nd-Best Paan Mein on the Planet

it's a dirty meal, but somebody's gotta eat it

Some of the finest things in life are also the simplest. This is one such example. It is but a bowl of the best soup-based Paan Mein in the world and only number 2 in the Paan Mein category. I had always hated Paan Mein, until fate brought me to this stall in Lorong Haji Taib 5 in KL 13 years ago.

For the uninitiated, Paan Mein (or Mee Hun Kueh in Hokkien) is a hand-kneaded, wheat-flour noodle dish. It is usually served in a clear broth with some bits of pork strips, mushrooms, tapioca leaves and garnished with anchovies. It's a pretty ho-hum affair of bland tasting noodles in an unexciting soup. But that is not the case in "Mi Cendawan Lorong Haji Taib"!

The noodles are kneaded by hand and cut into strips with a meat cleaver resulting in a springy, flat noodle (much like fettucini) with an interesting texture. It is boiled in a thick broth seasoned with chicken stock and perfectly flavoured with pork strips. Crunchy green veggies add colour and texture to this dish, while mushrooms add that little extra ... erm... mushroomy taste! And all this piping-hot content is poured onto a raw egg making it a truly satisfying meal. But the climax of this dish is surely the generous amount of deep-fried shallots garnish that sets this Paan Mein light years ahead of its peers. To top it off, the proprietors serve this dish with their own home-made chilli sauce which will surely have you coming back for more. The end result is messy bowl of the most delicious soup-based Paan Mein you will ever eat.

Today Mae treated me to this wonderful Paan Mein as a reward for helping her prepare a proposal. We brave through miles of driving, and traffic and the hustle and bustle of Chow Kit just to eat this. And honestly, it's not the most comfortable nor the most hygienic of places. But when you have had a taste, nothing else matters. It is THAT good.


Wednesday, March 17, 2004

With These Rings...

ring within a ring

This one is inspired by Najah Nasseri's amazing photo of a lovely (and probably, awfully expensive) ring. Mae must never ever see that shot. She'll get ideas. Not that she doesn't deserve a Tiffany, just that I can't afford one!

A friend of mine, Kid works with a reputable jeweler. So, months before the wedding we see him and Kid recommends chrome-plated gold wedding bands as opposed to platinum. According to Kid, platinum is expensive, and tough in the sense that it never dents or get scratched too badly. But after you buy it, it's reduced to a piece of worthless metal. Gold on the other hand, despite being a really soft metal will always have a re-sale value . We buy gold without a second thought.

Thinking back, why on earth would we need a resale value on our wedding band? Maybe Kid thinks Mae will leave me and I will come hawk hock the ring back to him to earn back my self esteem! Hahahahha! Anyway, I'm glad that we got the white gold instead of platinum. We've got nicks and scratches all over, only after 2 years. But when I look at the rings, it feels like we've been together forever. I like that.

Monday, March 15, 2004

The Ultimate Chickwagon

baby, you can drive my car

This was probably something that's been looming over the horizon ever since women were allowed to vote. Just yesterday, I read about Volvo's concept car for women - designed by women for women. And these ladies sure thought of everything!

The new Volvo YCC comes with gullwing doors to protect a woman's modesty when she gets in and out of the car. The car parks itself so there's no need to fear parallel parking spots anymore. There is no bonnet cos no woman should have to pop the lid to look at the engine. Access to petrol tank and windscreen washer reservoir is via a cap-less valve, just so you won't chip your nails or dirty your fingers opening those ridiculous filler caps. And even the headrest is designed to accommodate your ponytail, should you decide to keep a ponytail. And women around the world rejoice! Hehheh!

I was telling Mae about this when she recounts the story of a friend, Doopsie. Doopsie is the kind of woman that makes all women drivers look bad. She gets into accidents and fender benders like her life depended on it. So Doopsie's dad decides that she'll need a car that can hold up against his accident-prone daughter. So he goes out and gets her a Volvo! Sheesh! And Mae goes on and on about how Volvo is a safe car. So, like any good husband I gently bring her back down to earth.

"Honey, Doopsie doesn't need a Volvo. She needs a bus card!" Hahahah! Having said that, bad drivers are not exclusive to the feminine gender. I know a few men too who'd be better off using public transport.

Sunday, March 14, 2004


somebody shoot me!

I finally did it. Today I got me a spanking new digital camera, the Canon PowerShot A80. It was a decent deal since it got it at Fotokem's Photo Fest at PWTC today. At RM 1,799, I get the camera, a couple of pouches, a mini tripod, an additional 128MB memory card, a travelling bag, and a Canon charger kit. All that and a 3-year warranty!

I look forward to plastering this blog with more pictures soon. That is, as soon as I figure out how to use the darn thing. The problem right now is that I know next to nothing about digital cameras. When once I was concerned with f-stops, aperatures and shutter speeds, now I'll need to worry about megapixels, white balance and digital zoom! But I suppose, the A80 will offer me far more convenience compared to my Lomo LC-A. I won't need to develop films to look at my shots. There'll be no surprises. And I won't have to do any scanning should I decide to post anything up here. Perfect.

Watch this space. :)

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Ultra Sound Advice

Dr Liew post on the dangers of ultrasound got me a little worried. According to some studies, it might increase tissue temperature. I mean, I have always been wary of technology. How do we know that the things we use to ease our lives will not ease us of our lives altogether?

It's no secret; I like that we have ultrasound. It give me peace of mind when I can see what's happening in the womb. I get reassurance when I see Baby turning and tossing about, when I see his little heart beat. It also helps that ultrasound can detect any anomalies inside Mae's womb - like a fibriod or a cyst. But now, I'm beginning to wonder if my own assurance and peace of mind is worth risking Baby's butt! I want Baby to arrive good and healthy, not extra hot and crispy!

Perhaps I should tell our gynecologist to ease up a little on the ultrasound. Keep it short and simple, or else! See? It's effecting me already. What if on our next visit, I see the gyne pick up the scanner and my brain short circuits and I pummel the daylights out of that poor woman? Hehhe. That'll be a sight to behold! "G'wan doc, make my day. Reach for that scanner whyduncha!"

Go visit Dr. Liew if you haven't already. I suspect he's one of those wild-eyed, mad-scientist types. Makes me wish he were my doctor. Thank, Gina for that link.

Friday, March 12, 2004

33 and Still Going Strong

When I was eleven, my mom gave me the confession of her life,"It was a terrible time. I was pregnant and I didn't know what to do." Dad was leaving, and at 27 her whole world had come crumbling down on her. Desperate and desolate, and afraid that she didn't have it in her to bring up her unborn child, mom downed a couple of raw pineapples and some strong chinese herbs with the hope of putting me out of my misery. "I'm so sorry," she said as tears rolled down her face, "I'm so glad you made it." I hugged her and reassured her that at 11-years old, I have lived 11 happy years.

Yup, I made it, yes indeedy! And I must say, it has been a pretty good life. I grew up with mom, while my 2 elder brothers went with dad. While our little household could have used a little more luxury, we were never short on love. From the first day she doted on me and now, years later, she continues to do just that. I am her golden boy. I suspect there were times she considered me an intolerable little snot but the love in her heart stopped her from caning the bejeepers out of me!

I just turned 33 a few days back. And just like that I have lived 33 happy years. I have the best mom in the world, a wonderful wife and soon, an intolerable little snot to call my own. What more could a man ask for?

PS: Gina! Thanks a lot for reminding me my age and publishing it for the world to see. You ass! Hahahah! *piak*

Tuesday, March 9, 2004

Lil' Jumping Jack Flash

by leaps and bounds

Today, we had another scheduled visit to our gynecologist. We'll be going for one every month until Baby's born. But today's visit was extraordinary to say the least!

When the doctor put the ultrasound scanner on Mae, I was expecting to see a larger fetus. But what I didn't expect to see was the amount of activity Baby was up to. He was twitching and rolling and kicking like a bucking bronco! It was mind boggling that someone so little had so much to do in such a little space. Words just can't describe it!! We were amazed and we left Doc office with that post-partum goofiness that new parents have. You know, that doe-eyed, blissful blank stare? :)

I was asking Doc to determine Baby's sex when suddenly Baby crossed his legs on the Ultrasound screen - as if to give us a better look. I just laughed and laughed.

That's my boy. I'm proud as hell!

Monday, March 8, 2004

Sympathetic Pregnancy?

Over the last few days, I have been the pits. Started off with a fever and some muscle aches on Friday. Saw a doctor the very next day since the aches were keeping me awake. Then things got bad to worse when I suddenly developed nausea and bloatedness in my belly. The fever's gone. The muscles feel fine but the damn nausea is really getting to me. Worse yet, I'm not puking. I only managed to puke this morning at 4am!

My bro-in-law, Fook had been warning me about feeling the symptoms of pregnancy. Fook was puking during my sis' 2nd trimester. I brushed him off, of course. I just told him that it happened to him cos he's a bit of a wuss! Heheh. This must be my punishment.

Apparently some expectant fathers feel these symptoms out of sympathy for their wives' suffering. It well documented in the annals of medical history. Heck, they even gave it a fancy name - Couvade Syndrome. Could it be? The thing is, I don't think I actually felt Mae's suffering - at least not to the extent of inheriting her symptoms.

I didn't tell my doc that Mae was preggers when I saw him this morning. He isn't quite sure what's wrong with me so he just gave me a condescending, "It's probably a virus" answer. I hope he's right though. I don't know how much more of this I can take. I feel like shit.

If I didn't feel sympathy for Mae before I sure as heck feel it now! Today, I can truly appreciate the suffering a woman goes through to have a kid. That's why you must never send a boy to do a woman's job. We're just not man enough!

Saturday, March 6, 2004


This month is gonna be a busy month for us. Since it's the Malaysian Mega Sales, we decided now might be as good a time as any to do some shopping for Baby. The next time the Mega Sales comes about, it'd be almost time for Baby to get out! I can imagine the chaos that will ensue! Besides, by then Mae would probably be all bloated up and ball-like so shopping isn't gonna be a lot of fun for her.

Anyway, last night we ended up in Tesco. We were walking around when we came to the diaper section of the Baby's Department. Mae suggested we consider buying diapers soon. And so we compared prices, felt up the samples and tested the fasteners. Suddenly she stopped and said, "I feel excited!" I think it was possible the first time she ever looked forward to Baby's arrival since going thru so many weeks of suffering! Priceless.

The feeling that in just a few month's time we're gonna have a baby is overwhelming. In a nice sort of way. Have a baby. The feeling is amazing.

Wednesday, March 3, 2004

No Kick

For awhile now, we've been expecting some serious kung-fu action in Mae's womb. Technically, Baby's already able to move and kick about. But we haven't felt anything yet. The anticipation is killing me!!!

Every day seems to drag by these days. 177 days to go and our life seems to be playing out in slow-motion. Mae and I are caught in this limbo of not really knowing what to do. What's next?! Do we start shopping for strollers and cribs? Do we start researching fomulae and disposable diapers yet? Do we start naming Baby? What do we do? He hasn't even started kicking yet.

Somedays, we lie in bed and I put my palm on Mae's tummy and go, "C'mon Baby. Do it! Do it! Kick already." But Baby seems to be taking it easy on this one. Maybe he's just lazy. After all, his parents are! :P