Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Missing You

Occasionally, Mae and I sneak out on Jesse to run errands and such. Of course I use the word "sneak" loosely, since we always make sure we tell him that we're going out, and assure him that we would come back. He seldom kicks up a fuss when we leave, but would usually do when we return - even if it's sometimes for show. We'd usually pick him up, hold him close and pat him on his back to console him.

Lately, however, he's been getting more and more attached.

Last week, Mae ran off to pick me up from the office while Jesse waited at home. When I opened the door the poor boy ran towards me, his arms apart and his sad little face about to burst into tears. And so I dropped everything, swooped down on him and hugged him close to me as he cried a little cry of relief to see me.

"It's okay," I assured him, "Daddy misses you too."

He looked at me as though he understood. He hugged me tightly, buried his face in my neck, and patted me on my back. And then I understood.

My son was consoling me. *sniff*

Thursday, December 22, 2005

A Christmas Story (18SX)

Do you remember when you were 14? When your hormones raged within your post-pubescent body? When you were young, dumb and full of cum?

Well, I was never like that. *ahaks*

Anyway, it was Christmas that year in 1985. Sammi looked different that night. We'd always seen the girls in their t-shirts and shorts but that night, the were all dressed up and made up. Sammi wore a little white blouse and a little white miniskirt - which was all the rage back in the 80s. I knew then, that I would dance with her that night. And dance with her I did.

As the night progressed, the music got slower and dreamier. And soon I was locked in an embrace with her as we swayed into the night. She leaned against my chest and snuggled her head against my neck, her eyes closed. (I have no way of knowing that, of course, but since it's my fantasyreminiscence I'll picture it any way I want to! ;P) And then it happened.

"Oh-hoh!" screamed Sammi's bratty little brother, "You touch my Che-Cheh's backside!" My long masculine arms, wrapped around her body, had extended innocently just a little below her perky butt. There was no grabbing or anything. The hands were just... erm... resting.

The whole house broke into laughter. And Sammi broke away from me, taking with her the possibility of what might have been. Which would probably have been nothing, since I was only 14 at the time. But still... *sigh*

The little shit! I hope someone did the same to him when he was trying to score. Not that I was. Heh.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Aww Crap... It's X'Mas Again!

Whoever came out with the phrase, "it's the thought that counts" must surely be someone who gave shitty presents because, like it or not, it's never that. Truth is, nobody gives a rat's hairy ass about your thoughts. It's the GIFT that counts, Skippy!

How many times have you received a Christmas present and end up chucking it aside. Or worse, recycling it for the next innocent victim? Or worse yet, curse the cheapskate who gave it to you behind his back? "I gave you the best present in the world and you gave me this crap? You bastard!"

Today, Mae and I were at Borders when we bumped into my sis. "Don't you dare give me book for Christmas," she snarled. Tough. It was already picked out and paid for by the time she said it. Mae had already figured out what we would give her this year but I said, "No, she's my sister and I wanna handpick her present." Yup, I'm a regular Air-Supply-vannila-ice-cream-soda-pop-loving-sentimental schmuck on a tight budget.

Sure, a spike in the budget could result in a gift that's both thoughtful and tasteful but having to buy nearly 40 gifts a year, there's only so much we can do. And so my poor little siblings end up getting some cheap-ass presents from us which they probably hate, since I never seem to know what they like.

Fortunately, it all works out. Because none of my siblings know what we like too. The bastards. Heh.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Ho Hum Dim Sum

just aiiight, y'know...

This is from our last trip up North. Would have blogged this sooner but work got in the way. :)

For some reason, people associate Ipoh with Dim Dum. So when we got to Ipoh, Mae and I decided that we would sample Ipoh's finest. But here is where our problems began. Anyone familiar with Ipoh would tell you to get your Dim Sum at Foh San Restaurant. In fact, the reputation of Foh San's Dim Sum is legendary making it an important landmark in Ipoh - an institution, if you will. And so even years back, we decided that we would one day eat at Foh San.

Enter Auntie Mooi. When Auntie Mooi came to us as a confinement lady, we often asked her about her Kampar and Ipoh, since she was from that region. We announced to her that we would make a trip to Ipoh just to go to Foh San. And that, perhaps, was our mistake to make.

"Nobody eats at Foh San anymore," Auntie Mooi declares, and then she added scoffingly, "unless you count labourers and contruction workers." (I swear she said that!) Apparently, according to Auntie Mooi anyway, people go to Foh San for the cheap prices and the large servings. "The good Dim Sum is at Yoke Fook Moon Restaurant." She went on to advise us to go early to beat the crowd. We listened to Auntie Mooi. With her gentle demeanour, sincere face and the fact that she was caring for our newborn baby, we bought her story.

And so, on Day 2 of our trip up North, we awoke at 6:00 am to sample Ipoh's finest Dim Sum. That's six bloody a.m.!! And was it worth it? Unfortunately not. Sorry folks, Yoke Fook Moon Restaurant is really nothing spectacular. Sure, the Dim Sum is fairly easy on the palate, the ingredients were pretty fresh and the presentation acceptable, but it was nothing to shout about. And definitely nothing worth waking up at 6 for! Don't get me wrong; it wasn't bad. It just wasn't great.
Mae and I kicked ourselves for not going to Foh San. Which goes to show that sometimes, just sometimes, you have to run with the crowd - especially where food is concerned. We took Auntie Mooi's word over hundreds of Ipoh folks and we regretted. *sigh*

Looks like we'll have to make another date with ol' Foh San!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Girly Boy

For some reason, we often get strangers who ask us if Jesse's a boy or a girl. This is mind-boggling to me.

As far as Mae and I are concerned, Jesse's got a pretty boyish face. Also, looking at the boy go, it's pretty obvious. Firstly, he's loud. He's always making some kind of noise or other. And he's always up and about, running around and touching stuff. He's also got pretty bushy eyebrows for a kid. So there's no way anyone could mistake him for a little girl. I mean, you're more likely to think he's a little monkey than a little girl.

And so we ask them why.

Apparently it's the hair. It's all soft and brownish, and it's never been cut. (Unless you count that time Mae's mom lobbed off a couple of centimeters but let's never ever talk about that again!) And while I know we should really consider bringing the boy to a barber, I've grown quite accustomed to his unruly locks. Makes him looks dangerous - like a vicious little teddy bear on a bad hair day.

However, to some people, that's exactly what little girls look like. Vicious little teddy bears on bad hair days. I thought only grown up girls look like that. Heh!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Penis Van Lesbian

... and proud of it!

This one was shot only last weekend at my brother's house, Jesse's Uncle Stephen. It was a dark and stormy night, and the boy was near to having his buns frozed-off. And so we got Uncle Stevo to bring the boy a t-shirt to keep warm. Bad mistake.

Now, my sibling and I are alike. We're funny guys who like to crack a joke or two. But Stephen is the evil one among us. And hence the t-shirt he got poor Jesse to wear. Still, it reminded us of a joke we used to tell at the dining table.
There was once a talented entertainer who, tried as he might, could not make it big in Hollywood. After having gone for audition upon audition, he was near to quitting when he chanced upon the Casting Agent who would change his life forever.

At the audition, this lively young man did his thing - he sang the house down, danced up a storm and flexed his acting muscles. The agent was so impressed, he have our guy the standing ovation. Yet, he was perplexed as to why this young man had not already made it. "Tell me, young fellow, what is your name".

"My name is Penis Van Lesbian," answered the young man sheepishly. And at once the agent knew that the young entertainer's problem. With such and unfortunate name, it was no wonder that Hollywood would not crown their new prince. Then a spark of brilliance hit the experienced agent.

"We shall have to change your name a little, if you want to make it in this town". The agent went on to assure that the meaning of his name would be preserved. At once the young showman agreed. If fame and fortune was available at only the price of his name, then surely it was a price he could afford. "Let's do it then," said the agent, "from this day forth, you shall be known as Dick Van Dyke."
Yeah, dinner was always lively at the Tan household. Especially with our favourite joke. And one day when little Penis... um... I mean, little Jesse grows up, I'll share this joke with him too. But then again, by then nobody would know who Dick Van Dyke was. Oh well.

Note: Stephen's blogging too these days. Check it out but remember he's evil. Hahhah.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Jesse's Girls

starting young

Here's a shot from our last trip up north. It's Jesse with his 2nd cousins, little Daniika and her little sister, Eireisha. I probably screwed up the spelling of their names. But that's what happens when people pick exotic names for their kids - nobody remembers how to spell it. Now James, on the other hand, is a name that is both easily spelt and pronounce. Except for my secondary school supervisor who used to call me "Jame" without the "s" in the end. *sigh*

It was Jesse's first meeting with the girls. In fact, it was also the first time Mae and I met Eireisha. Little Daniika, however, we first met when she was a mere 3 days old. She arrived almost 2 months ahead of schedule and was the tiniest baby I had ever held in my arms. Today, both she and Little Eireisha are playing big sisters to my kid.

Jesse, for some reason, was as well-behaved as can be expected. In fact, he was quite the ladies' man that day. Except for the bit where wehe was literally drooling all over the girls. But then again, which guy doesn't drool all over cute girls?

Thursday, December 8, 2005

I've Been Busy

I have so much to tell you. Yes, you.

But I've been busy like crazy. December is a crazy month for me. Even more so this year, what with all that's happening in my life right now. It's a pressure cooker right now, and that's never a good time for silly, happy little things like blogging. An then there's Christmas around the corner. *sigh* All I want for Christmas is some peace and quiet.

Yesterday, amidst the flurry I snapped at Brownie, my poor colleague. Poor Brownie was only trying to be helpful. This will take many free Paan Meins to heal. But heal it must.

So, no blogs for awhile. At least until some of this pressure lets up. Take care and come back once in awhile. *cak*

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Real Man

Most guys like cars and everything to do with them - car shows, mods, F1, WRC, GT Queens and so on. I like only GT Queens. I'm just not that much of a car guy. In fact, for most part of my life, I can never identify a vehicle I see on the road. In fact, I can identify kitchen utensils more than automobiles.

Lately, however, I had been given the task of recommending some cars for the company. And so I took on the task industriously - as I do with any task given to me. *ahem* And over the last month or so, all I have been looking at are brochures, catalogs and automotive websites. As a result, I now know more cars than I used to.

"That's a Alfa Romeo 156," I tell Mae. She nods knowingly and so I add smugly, "Yes, I recognise them now," and added a little "Hmph" for effect.

"Wow," Mae exclaimed animatedly, "you're like a real man now." Like.

I shall have to educate her tonight. After I'm done fixing the kitchen faucet, repairing our vacuum cleaner and doing all the macho shit I have to do all day.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Where My Damn Pix!?

It's obvious that I've exceeded my bandwidth at Photobucket. Now I'm not techy enough to know exactly what that means but I assume that's happening because many people are looking at my pictures (or picture). Which leads me to my next conclusion. Since I do not get that many hits, or have that many readers, I have deduced that someone out there is hotlinking my pictures. I feel so violated.

This sucks. Get your own picture hosting, dammit!

I'm a visual kinda guy. I need to see pictures on my blog. Pictures. It is the very reason I prefer television to music, DVDs to CDs and comics to books. Gimme back my pictures!!!!! *sigh* I know I should really consider paying for hosting but knowing me, the whole damn site will probably get shut down after one year cos I forget to pay. In case you're new to this blog, yah, it's my thing. I forget to make payments and stuff. I've had my car repossessed, my electricity and water supply cut and my mailbox ocassionally stuffed with warning letters from lawyers, banks and credit card companies. Heh. So, no, that's never gonna work. I guess I'll just have to rough it out.

Thankfully, this will soon pass. According to Photobucket, my pictures will be up once again when December comes round. Meanwhile, I will have to live with this horror everytime I look into this site. So will you. Forgive me.

Friday, November 25, 2005

I Want Cheese

I. Want. Cheese. Three little words that could get Jesse-boy a little sibling to play with.

I've been thinking that it's about time Mae and I tried for a little girl. Jesse is 15 months now. If we behave like horny responsible adults, then we ought to give the boy a little sibling to play with. I mean, the boy seems so lonely sometimes, it's almost heartbreaking. *ahem* Besides, Mae and I aren't getting any younger. I don't want to be working through my 60's just trying to put my kids through college. So it's perfect timing that makes perfect sense. To me, at least.

"But we only just got Jesse," Mae's concept of time continues to perplex me. Two years to have another kid if far too short. Me sitting on the john for a measly 20 minutes is far too long. As far as Mae is concerned, she's never ready for any kid. Come to think of it, if I hadn't forced myself on her the last time, we wouldn't have had Jesse.

I'm kidding. I promise. :)

Being an awfully good negotiator, I cut a deal with the wife - when the boy starts talking, it's time. "No, when he says his first intelligible sentence," Mae counter-offers. "Okay, okay, when he says 'I want cheese', okay?" I craftily suggest. It was failsafe. Jesse loves cheese and he know what I'm taking about when I say the word. And so we shook on it. Like business people do.

Unfortunately, sometimes I'm too smart for my own good. The boy can't say 'Cheese'. He can almost say 'I love you' but no, not 'Cheese'. It's driving me nuts. I should have picked a simpler sentence. *sigh*

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Walking Tall

For the last few months, Mae and I had been wondering when he'd finally let go of our hand and walk off on his own. On Saturday, just out of the blue, he upped and walked about flashing all of his 8 little teeth, smiling at everybody.

Expectedly, we're overjoyed. It's like striking the jackpot. But without the money and the glamour. And the hot chicks trying to score a rich boyfriend. Still, we're euphoric. Heh!

I was out on an appointment in the morning. Mae called me and announced the good news. "Today your son is walking," Mae said proudly, "and all on his own."

I was a bit sore that I had to be out for a meeting. But unfortunately, Daddy's gotta help put food on the table. And as though he understood, when I came home, the boy gave me a little treat. He got up, walked to me and put his arms around me and buried his little face in my neck.


Some things are better than hitting the jackpot. Not many, but they're there.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Famous Ipoh Beansprouts Chicken

a taste of Ipoh

Unless your dietary orientation forbids it, you can't ever go to Ipoh without having the city's famous Beansprouts Chicken Kuey Teow. And famous, it is. Tourists arrive by the busloads, and city folks here never seem to have enough of the stuff.

The last time Mae and I had this at Ipoh's famous Lou Wong Restaurant, Jesse was just a couple of months from being born. And despite Mae voracious appetite at the time, we were not impressed. Despite our mild disappointment the last time, we decided to give Lou Wong another chance and this time around the folks at Lou Wong completely redeemed themselves!We ordered the standard poached chicken, beansprouts, pork meatballs and Ipoh's famous Sar Hor Fun (Kuey Teow) noodles.
The chicken is perfectly done, cooked just well enough to retain a juicy smoothness that is often absent from overcooked chicken. Similarly the beansprouts are poached just right, removing any taste of green but retaining its crunchy goodness. And characteristic of Ipoh taugeh, the sprouts are stout and crunchy. Both are drizzled with a combination of sesame oil and a delicious soy sauce mix. And in that mix is the secret of Lou Wong's success.

Lou Wong's porkballs were excellent - springy, rubbery and tasty, the hallmarks of any good balls. *ahem* And of course, we ordered ourselves a bowl of Sar Hor Fun each. It must be said that the noodles here differ from KL's ever so slightly with it's slightly translucent look and superb slippery smooth texture.

So, yes, this time around Lou Wong came through for us. We're not sure why our previous outing was a letdown. Perhaps it was the peak holiday season and the guys here decided to water down their stuff; or maybe they have re-discovered what made them famous in the first place. We may never know. :) Anyway if you're looking, Lou Wong is located on 49, Yau Tat Shin Road. It's somewhere in between Syuen Hotel and Super Kinta.

Note: By the way, some Ipoh folks have told me that other places actually serve better Beansprouts Chicken, like Ong Kee Restaurant across the street and this other one on Coven Street. I have, however, learnt that people's personal taste should not be trusted. Go where the crowd is. Thousands of people can't be wrong, right? :)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Pachyderm Phallus & Other Photos

The Taiping Zoo is a lovely place to watch animals banging ... erm... doing animal stuff. We took loads of pictures but here are the ones approved by the Home Minister of our home. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, while giving you my witty (*ahem*) commentary. Yes, yes, I'm trying to give Sashi and Zoo Melaka a run for their money.

"Just airing the balls, nothing to see here! Move along."

"Sorry Harry, I'm not spending a lifetime with a cold-blooded animal like you."

"Are we there yet?"

This could have been a better shot had I been quicker on the draw. There were a whole bunch of them - about 6 - walking in a line. Oh well.

"Come home, Juliet, it could never work out. You're just too different."

"Zebra is ze piece of clothing to hold up ze boobs."

I was so close I could almost touch this guy. And for some reason, this fella just stood there while we took photos and stuff.

"Whatsamatter kid? Never seen a guy skinny-dipping before?"

Jesse really loved the otter display. He was almost falling asleep when we got here and seeing the otter perked him right up. Otters have showmanship, I'll tell you that much. That's Grandma's hand on Jesse's head, guiding him towards the otter. Hehh!

"No Entry, okay!? I'm still sore."

"All that hump and no action... *sigh*"

"Is that another trunk or are you just happy to see me?"

We were walking up to the Elephant display when Mae told Jesse, "Look boy, elephant shit-shit!" I had to educate her, "Look again, honey!" "Whoaaa!!!" I guess we're just not getting the most of our Astro Animal Planet subscription.

This one is of Jesse enjoying himself stepping on the paw-prints they painted on the ground. All in all, we enjoyed ourselves. There's nothing like watching animals caged-up like... erm... animals. But seriously though, I think the Zoo in Taiping has done a pretty good job. The animals are well cared for and their enclosures very well designed to resemble their natural habitat.

Clever people, these Taiping folks. Heh!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Monkeying Around

Whenever we go home to Taiping these days, we always go to the zoo. It's like an unwritten parenting rule of some sort. So there we were over the weekend introducing Jesse to his animal friends when suddenly Mae grabs the boy and starts running towards some monkeys.

"Jesse, see! The monkey piggy-back his friend!" Mae shrieks excitedly in broken English to the equally excited boy. We had been carrying him on our backs and so he understood the term, piggy-back well enough. And so, mother and son ran enthusiastically towards a group of monkeys roaming around the zoo compound.

And then, Mae made an about-turn. "Okaaaaay," she rolled her eyes, "they're NOT piggy-backing!"

It's never a pretty sight when animals do what animals do to make more animals. I whipped my camera and ran towards the subjects but alas, Guy-Monkey came before I went.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Up North

Yesterday Mae, Jesse and I along with Roma packed up and left for a short vacation up north. Actually, it would have made more sense to go during the DeepaRaya break but I wasn't terribly excited with the prospect of travelling with hordes of Malaysian on their Balik Kampong exodus. So here we are, going home a week later.

And since every trip up North is mostly a makan trip thinly disguised as an act of filial piety (*ahaks*), we decided to stop for the night at Ipoh. This was so we could sample a taste of Ipoh's famous Dim Sum. Which is also why I'm up and about so early during a vacation. We had breakfast at 6:30am this morning. We have heard of the legendary Foh San Dim Sum but quite a few Ipoh folks have pointed out that Yoke Fuk Moon was way better. Anyway, expect some photos and reviews will follow when we return. :)

We have the rest of the day to explore Ipoh's culinary delights before we head on up to Taiping. Thanks to the wonder of Wikipedia, we have adequate recommendations [click!] to keep us busy for the rest of the day. All you Ipohans out there, if you're reading this and think you can do better than the Wikipedia, we'd appreciate your recommendation in the comments - ideally with explicit instruction on getting there.

There goes the diet. Oh well.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Old Wives' Tale?

For the last couple of months, Jesse hasn't shown very much interest in the solid foods that we've been giving him. He used to chow down a small bowl of porridge when in the first few weeks that we fed him solids but lately we're lucky if he can manage half a bowl.

Roma says that toddlers do that, especially when they're about to start walking. Apparently, kids have some kind of biological sensor that tells them they should slim down to facilitate an easy start for their first steps.

"Old wives' tale," I dismiss the story, pointing out to Mae that it's a little bit of a stretch. "But that's what Kim's Chinese babysitter told them as well," Mae, too, was perplexed. Thereafter, we heard the same theory in a few other places as well. Which makes me wonder if enough people believe in this, would it make it more true?

Meanwhile, Jesse has gotten quite thin. Yet, he's still not officially walking just yet - just a few occasional steps here and there, which I suspects he makes just to humour us.

If there's any truth to that story, then the boy had better get cracking before he withers away. Already, he's starting to look more and more like those creepy little guys from Mars Attacks!

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Too Little For Chicken Little

look ma, no pants

"You've never brought Jesse to the cinema?" my sis Sue asked, her eyes opened wide, almost pulsating out of her sockets. "Not even once?"

Indeed we had not. We just never felt ready to bring Jesse to a cinema. What if he cried? What if he whinged and whined out loud bugging all the nice folks at the auditorium? What if the other patrons started throwing popcorn and Coke at us?

"Why don't we go for a matinee show at GSC's Gold Class?" Ah Fook, the ever-inspired brother-law-asked. "If all of us went," he reasoned pointing to my other siblings and our parents, "we'd pratically take up the whole auditorium." In principal, it was a good concept. There'd be no one outside our family for Jesse to annoy. And so, at 11:50am on Sunday last week, we saw Chicken Little at One Utama. There were two other couples there. And they brought their toddlers too.

For some reason, everytime the trailer came on TV, the little fowl reminded us of our own little guy. Besides, Jesse always perked up when they played that Chicken Little teaser with the strangely infectious Numa-Numa song. So we thought he might enjoy the show. Unfortunately, our boy just wasn't ready for such an outing. He got disinterested quickly enough and just started messing around with the popcorn and coke. Thankfully, though, he didn't kick up too much of a fuss.

And so at RM35 a pop, it cost us RM105 for Mae, Roma and me. Plus refreshments and lunch, we spent a small fortune for last Sunday's outing, only to learn that our son isn't gonna be ready for another cinema outing for another year. *sigh*

You know what they say - a fool and his money are soon parted. Yes, an idiot and his wife are RM170 poorer.

Sick Help

For as long as we've had Jesse, he's never gotten really sick before. Maybe a little flu here and there, and a bit of cough once in awhile; but never really sick. Until yesterday.

Poor kid got the sniffles on Sunday night. That rapidly developed into a cough and a little fever. As if that wasn't bad enough, he had diarrhea too yesterday. It broke my heart into little pieces seeing the little guy suffer like that. And suffer, he did. Mae and I had to take turns watching him all night. Here's what we learnt, courtesy of our Pediatrician, Baby Center and good old fashion Momma's Advice:
  1. A little Vicks Vaporub on the chest can help with the nasal congestion and apparently, cough too. Jesse couldn't sleep cos he had trouble breathing. A little Vicks and shortly after, he was out like a light.
  2. Diarrhea will leave the kid dehydrated. Your doctor can prescribe an electrolyte solution. Otherwise, 100 Plus works too. Open the can, allow it to sit till it gets flat (no more gas), and serve. Jesse prefers 100 Plus.
  3. Yoghurt also works for kids with Diarrhea. Some live cultures can help the kid get better quicker. Our doc gave us some in granule form. Otherwise, try Yakult.
  4. A cold compress on the forehead can help rid the fever. Kool Fever strips help too. Just make sure you're not too sleepy to read the instructions. Mae and I spend a good half hour wondering why the damn thing didn't stay on Jesse's forehead. Peeling off the back sheet helps. *ahaks*
Anyway Jesse's fever has subsided. And the diarrhea is gone too. So far, the boy seems to be holding up well. Ah, perhaps we'll get some sleep tonight.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Mixed Festivities

dei thambi!

For the recent holidays, we decided to give Jesse a little Indian Kurta. He looks like a tiny little Amitabh Bachan minus the facial hair and macho wrinkles.

We would have gotten him a Baju Melayu as well, if he didn't keep tripping over the sampin. So that wouldn't have worked too well. Besides, these days he seemed adversed to having anything placed atop his head and a songkok would have been a problem as well. And so we took the boy visiting in his new outfit. Unfortunately, however, we didn't know anybody who celebrated Deepavali in KL. So he wore a Indian costume for Hari Raya instead.

And then there was Roma. Mae and I had decided it would be a nice gesture to give her a new outfit for the Hari Raya and so we brought her Baju Kurung shopping around town. Unfortunately, the picky girl couldn't decide on an outfit and instead settled for a Chinese number. So there we were at Elin's house during Raya lending a very muhibbah flavour to the event.

It looked more like we had our festivals mixed up. Perhaps we'll dress the boy up in Iban gear next year. :)

Some Announcements

For some reason, I have so much to say that I'm almost bursting at the seams. So expect a barrage of posting in the next couple of days. First up, here are some announcements:

Brownie the Colleague from Hell, who now owes me a PaanMein, made me plug this so here it is. Project Privilege is a blog that aims to help the victims of the South Asian-Pakistan/India Quakes. They are holding a charity event to help buy tents for the victims there.

Disclaimer: I do not know the owners of the Project Privilege personally and therefore cannot vouch for their credibility. If you're donating, do take special care to ask all the relevant questions.

Peter Tan, in case you didn't know, shaved of his locks to raise RM 5000 for the Penang Hospice-at-Home Programme. He has since raised RM 5170 for the programme and is now a shoo-in for the role of Professor Xavier in the next installment of X-Men. If you missed the boat, do not despair. You can still donate and who knows, perhaps Peter might shave other parts of his body. Heh! I think I just grossed myself out.

Some weeks back, I urged you to buy Pandan Chicken to help this little family have a good Raya. And buy, you did! In all, Elin managed to sell a whopping 70 boxes of Pandan Chicken. Special thanks to the folks who purchased over 60 boxes!! Special thanks also to the wonderful lady who texted Elin to tell her she loved the Pandan Chicken. Bless your kind hearts. The family had a better Raya this year because of you. I had a pretty good Raya too since I had my fill of Pandan Chickens when we visited the family.

Okay, I'm done. Move along now, nothing more to see here.

Monday, November 7, 2005

Practical Skills

At fourteen months, some kids can do plenty. Wave bye-bye. Blow kisses. Point out their eyes, nose, mouths or whatever. And then there is Jesse.

"Look at that Baby Jubbs - pointing out his eyes and mouth and nose. Our son can't do any of these," Mae gestures with her thumb to the boy sitting quietly in the back seat with his Kakak Roma. Jesse doesn't make a peep. It's almost as if he agrees.

"Yes, but our boy has practical skills," I protested, pointing out that despite Baby Jubbs ability to blindly follow the instructions of silly adults he has yet to learn to walk. Mae makes a monkey face at me.

"It's true," I explained, "Imagine if Jesse got lost in a jungle with Baby Jubbs and a tiger shows up. Our son will be able to run away while Baby Jubbs will be busy pointing at his eyes, nose, mouth and his pee-pee."

"Awww... you're jealous," Mae give me another monkey face, this time more condescending than the first. For some reason, it comes easy to her - the monkey face, I mean. Anyway, when we got home, Mae proceeded to educate Jesse on the aspects of his anatomy. Me, I think I'll teach him something more practical. Like grabbing a smart-aleck kid by the nuts or something.

Okay, okay, I'm jealous! Sue me.

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Swede Nothings

the best thing since Abba

If you've ever bought anything at Ikea Kota Damansara, you would have noticed an eatery right after the check-out counters. It's a small cafe at the exit area named, quite aptly so, the Exit Cafe. Heh!

Yesterday, having run out of places to entertain Jesse, I brought him in to the section where they sell Swedish goodies. In fact, if you like any of the Swedish stuff you eat at any one of Ikea's 3 restaurants, chances are you'll find them here. Yes, even the meatballs and the brown sauce mix, and the little berries on top!

But what caught my attention was the squeeze-tube shrimp cream cheese! It's cream cheese with little bits of shrimp in it and it comes in a metal tube, just like toothpaste. (Actually it's more like tile-grout since toothpastes no longer use metal tubes.) I bought a tube of the stuff along with a pack of Swedish crispbreads.

I love it. The crunchy healthy-tasting crispbread! The creamy cream cheese. And the little bits of shrimp. Plus the convenience of getting in a tube. I'm half tempted to brush my teeth with the stuff. Or squeeze the whole tube in my mouth when no one's watching. Whoa! I bet Jesse would love it too, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to share yet. Heh!

Ahhhh... I love Ikea!

Monday, October 31, 2005

More Milestones

October has been a pretty eventful month for Jesse. Ok. Maybe not for Jesse, but we're pretty excited with Jesse's developments.

As of last week, he's got 8 little incisors. And he knows how to use them. Usually, he puts them to good use - to chomp off Daddy's pizza, or to crush Pringles chips. Occasionally, however, whenever I roughhouse with the little fella he'd take a bite out of me in his excitement. Note to self: Wear a shirt at all times. A stray nipple is a nice target for a little bite-test.

We've been teaching Jesse to clap forever. Somehow it never quite sunk in. But we'd usually clap at him in encouragement of any little clever thing he does. Two weeks back, the boy suddenly decided to clap. Now he claps at every little clever thing he does. Heh. How's that for narcissism? He also claps along with music from his toys.

This is by far our most exciting milestone. Yesterday, the boy upped and took five steps all on his own. It was intriguing to watch him manoeuvre himself on his little legs. Standing in a mid-crouch position he negotiated his first walk one step at a time, each time looking at us for signs of approval. Oh boy, did we cheer! He was a little shaky but it looks like he'll be doing it a lot from now own. *ulp*

Just a few days after I blogged about his refusal to hold his own bottle, Jesse decided to show me a thing or two. Not only is he holding his own bottle now, he's holding it in one hand. The other hand is usually on a remote control, or scratching his balls. Hehh. Typical male!

Jesse had decided that he would feed us every time we fed him his meals. As you can imagine, it's a messy affair. He'd grab his spoon, poke it into his porridge or whatever it was we're feeing him and stuff the spoon into our mouths. It's as though he's telling us that he'd only eat it if we'd eat it ourselves. The boy would even say, "Ummm!" just to encourage us. Note to self: Pumpkin is messy.

He's growing up pretty fast. Before you know it, he'll be borrowing the car, or getting married or something. *sniff* I think I'm having a bout of premature Mid-Life Crisis!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


not this meatloaf

Mae and I are fans of Meat Loaf. That's Meat Loaf the rocker, not meatloaf the meat by-product! So there we were one fine evening quietly enjoying a little Meatloaf on the car radio when Mae was suddenly overcome by a flash of brilliance.

"You know what?" Mae spoke with sage-like knowing. She did not wait for me to probe further. This one was almost bursting out from the corners of her mouth, "Meat Loaf calls himself 'Meat Loaf' because it's cool."

And just like that, the floodgates of wisdom sprang open, overwhelming me into speechlessness; if there's such a word. And before I could even regain my composure, Mae imparted more of her deep thoughts. "If Meat Loaf called himself Sausage," she reasoned, "no one would buy his albums!"

Heheheh. How can I not love this woman, who brings so much joy into my life?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Oh, btw, that picture of a meatloaf was one I had last year in this restaurant below my office. Unfortunately, these guys didn't stick around for too long. But since we're on the subject, is it just me or has anyone noticed that the so-called meatloaf we get in Malaysia is often always just a large slab of luncheon meat? Are there any good places to have authentic meatloaf?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Of late, I had developed a raging desire to clog up my arteries with cholesterol and stuff my face with calories. Thanks in no large part to a barrage of visual attack to my senses - and all from one single blog, too! And so on Sunday we made our way to Kanna Curry House, their Kepong chapter which is a mere 5 minutes from my house. (This will be the death of me!).

As we sat down to eat, we settled Jesse in a Baby Chair. Now at his stage in his life, there isn't much that can hold his attention long enough for us to have a decent meal. But thankfully, since we almost always eat in lowbrow baby-friendly places owned by nice, understanding proprietors, Jesse usually gets a set of plastic cutlery and plate to occupy him for awhile. This time, however, the waiter gave our boy a Banana Leaf and a spoon. And Jesse, being Jesse is all ecstatic.

Seeing his enthusiasm, the other waiters soon started giving him other stuff. Pretty soon, he had on his banana leaf, a clump of rice, a little bit of veggie and a few pieces of Papadam. And he just went wild getting rice and crackers all over himself. It was a mess! But for the first time ever, Mae, Roma and I had our meals uninterrupted.

That's when we realised that Jesse just wants to eat with us, doing everything we do, and probably hoping to eat everything we eat. Heh. Since we were on a roll, we decided that it would be a good time to feed him too. And voila, whaddaya know, the boy eats more than he's ever eaten - probably thinking he was eating Kanna's famous Banana Leaf Rice. *sigh*

So there ya have it; a great parenting tip, courtesy of Kanna Curry House. If you're having trouble getting your kid to eat, let him eat together with you. You can even let him eat some of your food. Just be sure to hold the curry.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Hand That Rocks The Cradle

This morning on the way out of the house, Jesse got a little bit sticky. He was clinging on to Mommy for dear life. And so Mae cuddled him, rocked back and forth on her feet, and sang to him.

"You know I love yooouu..." Mae sang to the boy tenderly. Jesse pressed his little face into Mommy neck, listening intently to his mother's soothing voice and taking in every word. And then I recognised the tune. It was a little Boyz II Men number.

That's when Mae let it rip, "Mama you're the queeeen of my heaaaaaart...."

"Hey," I scowled at Mae, "no singing propaganda to the boy!"

Mae gave me a wily smile that sent a shiver down my spine. She then turned to Jesse, held him up to her so that his eyes met hers. "Mommy is the queen of your heart, isn't she?" The boy chuckled cheerfully. And at that moment I knew I was always going to be outnumbered in my own home. If democracy had its way, I'd always be outvoted by my wife and her son. Ouch!

Like they say, the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Elin's Pandan Chicken: A USJ Subang Buka Puasa Special

elin's pandan chicken

This is a special plug. Elin is a single mother of three school-going kids, one of whom is my lovely little god-daughther. Today, she supports the family by helping maintain the cleanliness of a friend's office by day and making Pandan Chicken - a legacy of her Nyonya heritage. She's also a Muslim, which makes her Pandan Chicken quite halal for consumption. Which also makes this a really great and appropriate Buka Puasa treat!

Now Elin is pretty innovative given that her foray into the F&B industry is only just a recent development. She sells these tasty little nuggets as a frozen product, neatly packed into microwave-safe plastic containers and well, frozen in her very own freezer. Take this home and all you need to do is pop 'em into a wok of boiling oil and voila! instant Pandan Chicken just like Bibik Kim Neo used to make. Instant, being anything from 2 - 5 minutes, of course.

Pandan Chicken, if you have ever tasted the stuff, is marvel of Asian cuisine - something that is simple, yet simply delectable. A choice cut of boneless chicken dark meat lends the dish a tender, springy texture. Marinated with a broad hint of Tumeric (Kunyit), Elin's Pandan Chicken exudes a tasty, savoury flavour with a tinge of spicy hotness. But as any good connoisseur of Asian cooking will tell you, the coup-de-grace of any Pandan Chicken is in its pandan leaf wrapping. Upon cooking, the leaf-wrapping of the chicken will envelope every single morsel of the stuff with its wonderous aroma. And with every piece of Elin's Pandan Chicken, you can savour this wholesome goodness in your very own dining room.

So yes, buy a box of Elin's Pandan Chicken at a paltry sum of RM10.00 for a box of 10 bite-sized pieces. (Actually they're a little bigger than bite-size unless, of course, you have a humongous huge mouth! Impress your family and friends, and show your mother-in-law a thing or two when you serve up Elin's Pandan Chicken at dinner tonight. To order, call Elin at 012-919 3070 and you can pick up her yummy Pandan Chicken at UEP Goodyear Court 2, Subang USJ 6/1. And if you order a little bit more, she'll even find a way to drop them off at your house.

So if you fancy a little change in the menu or would simply like to make Raya a little better for this little family, do give Elin a call. You'll get a taste of some really nice Pandan Chicken. And as a bonus, you'll even get my eternal gratitude, and those of my entire family. And hey, if you enjoy it, please don't forget to pass the word. Selamat Berbuka Puasa.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

No Self-Service

Just like every parent in the world, Mae and I sometimes think that we have a little genius on our hands. But on other days, we're not so sure.

Jesse is thirteen and one half months old. And yet, he seems to have no idea how to hold his milk bottle on his own. As you can imagine, we have to hold the bottle for him at every feed. Occasionally, we try to educate the boy. We'd pick him his hands and have him hold the bottle. But that never works. He just pulls away. Other times we just give him the whole bottle. But instead of tipping it to drink, he'd just gnaw at the nipple. It's frustrating!

Yet, his motor skills seem to be fine. He can always open and close a mineral water bottle on his own. Heck, he can even stuff it in Mommy's mouth with deadly precision - though I suspect this is a defense mechanism against a nagging mother. Heh!

When it comes to the milk bottle, we wonder is he's a little dopey. It's either that or he's just incredibly smart and conniving. I mean, why hold a bottle when you can have someone hold it for you?

I'm considering taping the bottle to his hands. If that doesn't work, at least we'd still be entertained.

Saturday, October 8, 2005

Attack of the Worms

Captain's log from the Starship Intrepid, Stardate 071005. Reporting from the Earth's Orbit in the Solar System.
The situation has gotten dire over the last 48 hours. The worms have breached our vessel and are now attacking from within. These insidious creatures are all around, and they are invisible to the naked eye. We have no visual of the enemy. We are fighting blind, and our defenses are helpless against such a devious adversary. Our encounter with the Bug Colony of the Lunar System is a pale comparison to the threat we now face. First Mate, Lt. Mae has begun to show symptoms, even as Petty Officer Sgt. Jesse's condition deteriorates. If the situation persists, I fear that this might be the last transmission that I make. To anyone find this log, may you never have to endure such horror. Godspeed.
Okay, okay, we got worms! Well, actually Jesse's got worms. Apparently, all kids after the age of one should have a good collection of worms in them. So, our doctor recommends that we deworm him. And since we're doing that, my stepmom suggests that we get rid of our worms too, since we're handling the kid and we could very well pass some new ones on to him.

So, yes, in the next couple of days, Jesse, Mae, Roma and I will have worms crawling out of our asses. Now close your eyes and picture that... Mmmm....

Tuesday, October 4, 2005


jesse takes the stage

The boy has become somewhat of an entertainer. He'd recently learnt to stand on his own. Even though he's a little too chicken to actually stand confidently, he still manages to stay standing for a minute or two. And naturally, we egg him on just to see if he'd take a step or two.

"C'mon boy, walk-walk," Mae and I would cheer him on. He'd usually just grin and sit back down on the floor where it's safe. But if you held him up by his hands, whoooo, the boy'd be walking tall.

Yesterday, at Mae's cousin's wedding luncheon, Roma takes the boy walking around the foyer of the restaurant. She then slowly eases her hands away and leaves the boy standing on his own. "Come Jesse, walk-walk," she said gesturing to him in her newly-learnt language.

And then the boy gives us this cheeky look, raises his hands and starts swinging his little body from side to side - drawing laughter from all of us and enjoying every moment of his stardom. Heh.

But no, Jesse still can't walk yet. But the boy can surely dance.

Friday, September 30, 2005

PJ Section 14 Chee Cheong Fun

the pride of PJ

I love Chee Cheong Fun. In Malaysia, we get quite a good variety of the stuff.

We have the Yong Tau Foo Chee Cheong Fun which comes with Fishballs and other fish-stuffed veggies. And then we have the Hong Kong Chee Cheong Fun which is rice flour rolls with Shrimps and/or Char Siew bits inside. We also have the Teluk Intan variety which comes rolled with potatoes and minced meat. And from up north, we get the Penang-styled dish that's a plain cut rice flour sheets with chilli sauce and shrimp paste. And finally, the most basic of them, is your elementary no-fuss, no nonsense Chee Cheong Fun served with a combination chilli and sweet sauce. And this is the one that I love best.

The reputation of Section 14's Chee Cheong Fun has been legendary. In fact, I've written about this once before about a year back. But I never got to try it until now, simply because they're sold out by 9:00am! Anyway, I've had it twice - most recently during that silly Warehouse Sale that got Mae and I up and about at 7:00am.

Anyway, the secret of this Chee Cheong Fun is definitely in the rice sheets they make. The superiority of a Chee Cheong Fun must surely be in the rice flour mix, which lends this one its smooth, silky texture. In the folds of the rice sheets are bits of poached dried-prawns. The dish is topped with a brown sweet sauce, a chilli sauce, green pickled chillies and garnished with a generous sprinkling of toasted sesame. It's such a simple dish that you just marvel at how something so elementary can taste so good.

The last time I was here, I was practically fighting off some aunties who came in droves to order packets upon packets of the stuff! So this weekend, get up early, take a drive down to Jalan 14/20 in Section 14 and find the Hai Keng Coffee Shop. Just make sure you arrive before 9:00am.

Other Chee Cheong Fun posts:

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

We Were At That Blogger Gathering

driven mad

We were there. And the moment we got there, Mae decided that we should rent one of those little pushcars-trolleys for the boy. It turned out to be one of the best decisions we ever made. The boy loved it. RM4.00 pays for an hour of peace and quiet.

We met a whole bunch of bloggers - Dustyhawk, Peter, Minishorts, Nilesh, Menj, Sashi, Naoko, Yvonne, 8Dee, Albert, Frostier, T-boy & Hani, Andreas, Redzuan and Fazri - most, for the first time. If I left anyone out, do forgive me. Uncle's memory isn't what it used to be lah. It was a pretty big group and I would have loved to have met more of you but I'm sure we'll have more opportunities in the future.

We didn't manage to stay very long, since Jesse had to be changed. These days, our schedule is very much determined by the boy's shit and piss. He was also getting a little restless. So, after 20 minutes of mingling, we hauled ass.

In case no one thought so, Midvalley is a pain to get to on the weekends. Next time we should go somewhere less packed - like Amcorp Mall. It's got LRT access and a cheap cineplex. If we ever meet there, the first person that asks gets a free movie from me. Heh!

Month-Long Birthday Festival

Yesterday was Mae's birthday. But we didn't actually celebrate, save for the steak meal we had last night.

Instead, I was on leave and at the doctor pretty much all morning for a follow-up medical exam. That turned out to be a long wait at the clinic for a short time with the doctor. To make matter worse, his female clinic assistant walked right in on us while the good doctor was examining my... erm... self. Heh. Damn woman has done that to me twice in the three times I have visited this clinic. If she were a sweet young thing, I'd be flattered. Thankfully, the doctor gave me a clean bill of health. And no, I wasn't flattered, thank you very much!

Anyway, Mae had a day off too, helping her cousin with the wedding preparations for this weekend. Despite both of us taking time off work, we didn't get to do any celebrating. These days, finding time for each other seems quite tough with us juggling our work, family commitments, church, bla bla bla.

And so, looks like it's gonna be another one of our newly-instituted month-long birthday festival in the Tan household. The last one we had was in March to commemorate my day of birth. It was glorious month filled with Paan Mein and Char Kuey Teow meals. Ahhh... I'm such a simple man, with simple needs.

Mae, however, if far more complicated than I am. *shudder* I'm expecting a series of shopping trips.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Cheap Diapers & Other Stuff!

This is a community service announcement. Diethelm is having a warehouse sale tomorrow and Sunday from 10:00am onwards. I got this via email along with an Excel file (geddit here) of the prices. Here are some previews.

Mamy Poko Disney diapers are incredibly cheap! Medium-sized 52-pack are only at RM 25. It's usually RM 33.90 or on a good day RM 31.90. That's a saving of RM 6.90 per pack. Buy 10 packs and you save RM 69.90. My goodness. Imagine the savings you get if you buy a thousand packs!? Heh.

You also get some nice deals from Mattel toys, Kellogg's cereals and a whole load of other stuff. I can't really tell you how you'd save since I only know the price of diapers. Yup. Just diapers. I'm ignorant about everything else.

Parents will appreciate this. I know I will. And no, I don't get anything from promoting this. Diethelm is not even my client or anything. But heck, if you save some money, you owe me Char Kuey Teow!

UPDATE @ 10:57am
Mae and I made our way there early this morning because Mae's sis had a staff entry card. Apparently, staff get to shop at 8:45am! However, upon arriving at 8:30am, the crowd had already formed outside the gate. Inside, we saw a whole bunch of people buying stuff, carrying crates of MamyPoko diapers and Sofy sanitary pads. We ran to the counter - but alas, it was all gone. Some dumbass at DKSH (the company holding this sale) decided to let people in at 7:30am. There was no control so people bought as many as they liked. There was an auntie with a push-cart carrying some 6 crates of diapers. Grrrr.... And we got nothing. *sigh* Luckily we managed to get some good deals for Kelloggs, Mattell, Fisher & Price, Toblerone and M&M. So if you're going there solely for diapers, think again.

I Believe I Can Fly

I had the weirdest bloody dream this morning.

For some reason, Jesse had turned into a housefly. Only thing was, despite being an insect, he still had his baby voice. And the whole experience of having turned into a fly was so traumatic for him that he started crying. And there was nothing I could do for him since he was crying and buzzing around my head.

And then horror of horrors, while trying to catch the little guy, Mae accidentally squashes him a little. His abdomen was dangling from his thorax, and he was crying his heart out! I was mortified. And the only way I could console myself was to dig deep into my memory for my long forgotten Form 6 Biology lessons to convince myself that insects don't really have the necessary anatomy to feel pain.

My son turns into a fly, my wife squashes him and I have to remember Biology. This is the worse dream I've ever had, by far. I must be losing my mind, what little I have left of it. Trust me, Form 6 Biology will zap your mind away. The two textbooks were 7 inches thick combined!

Any psychoanalysts out there willing to give me a free dream interpretation?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

As Seen On TV

Inspired by Lilian's take on House, here's a quickie review of what's playing in our household these days. Sorry, no links. Too damn lazy. :)

Is this the best new dramedy series or what? Hugh Laurie plays the cynical but clever Dr. House. The show revolves around the ongoings at the hospital and the baffling cases they get every week in which Dr. House, armed with his wit and sarcasm, saves somebody's life. Okay it sounds stupid when I tell it like this but trust me. Good show.

Like every woman in the world, I love the women of Wisteria Lane. Wait. That didn't sound quite right. Hah! But a good show, this is. Okay, so I cheated and watched everything on DVD and I know who killed who. Muahahah.

We love Malaysian Idol, even though we're not particularly fond of Daniel, Nita, Farah, Faizull, Ash, Xerra, Ejay, Adam, Azam, Trish or Atilia. Okay, maybe we like Farah a little. At least enough to send in two votes this entire season. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to save her. We fully expect the finale to suck eggs but we'll still watch. Besides, Jesse really like the show. It's the only show he watches from start to finish. Strange.

Now here's some real talent. We have a bunch of guys and girls fighting it out to be the frontman of this over-the-hill rock outfit that was once pretty cool before Michael Hutchence went and killed himself. Anyway the show kicks ass - except that I think Dave Navarro, occasional axeman for Red Hot Chilli Peppers, looks kinda weird in a poofy sort of way. Grow some stubble, dammit! Still, Mark Burnett rules! Finale tonight. I hope Mig wins. He reminds me of a young Mick Jagger.

Who can get enough of watching crazy people eating bugs and all kinds of shit? Apparently, we have Fear Factor Malaysia now but something tells me that's gonna suck.

We love CSI. CSI, CSI:Miami, CSI:NY, CSI:Batang Berjuntai! We love 'em all.

It's time again. Personally, I feel that Amazing Race has nothing on Survivor, being a shitty game of chance and all. The only thing that made me a fan was Boston Rob in the last season. Too bad he lost. He was one competitive SOB - the kind of guy people pay good money to see. I don't care for nice guys. I want the best guys to win because they did their best, not because the producer fixed the game and had a plane wait up. Mark Burnett sucks!

We love The Donald. Richard Branson is a dumbass compared to Donald Trump. Rebel Billionaire sucks. Donald Trump should fire Richard Branson. Mark Burnett rules!

We never watch sports. Unless it's got sexy women in tights, or men intentionally hurting each other. We don't watch football - not enough blood. And we don't watch F1 either - not enough crashes. That's why we don't subscribe to any sports channel. But that might change when the new season of The Contender starts on ESPN.

Monday, September 19, 2005

A Heart For Hope

Yvonne is 19. She has Neurofibromatosis. While most people her age are out there living their life, she is fighting for hers.

Today, there are numerous tumours growing in her brains, her spine, her neck and even her fingers. But the ones that are most dangerous are the ones that grow in in her brain. There are three. One grows on her brain stem threatening to take away what's left of her hearing and, possibly, her balance. And that, is her best-case scenario. Worst-case; it grows to cut off oxygen supply to her brain and she dies.

Her best bet now is a surgery in US. But that will cost a whopping RM 200,000. However brain surgery is a delicate procedure and so far, only the doctors in US have been able to offer her a good chance of a safe surgery that would also preserve her hearing - the 5% that she has left of it.

Yvonne needs RM 200,000 by Christmas this year. But she will not take your money without giving something back. She is making T-shirts for sale, to raise funds. I am helping her with the design. My company has also helped negotiate a good price for the production of the T-shirts with our vendor. We now need someone to help come out with a name for Yvonne's campaign.

Lance Armstrong has his LiveStrong and Bob Geldof has his LiveAid. We need one for Yvonne's campaign too. As per Yvonne's request, I have incorporated a heart in the design of the shirt. She wanted something that would symbolise love. A campaign name along those lines will help. The picture is the design that we have pretty much settled on. Right now, our working name is Heart4Hope. If you have a better suggestion, do leave it in the comments section, and we can get started on the production. Beyond that, you could contribute to Yvonne's operation by buying a T-shirt or two.

You can find out more about Yvonne here:
Some people have told Yvonne that she is being lavish, and that she could probably get the operation done at a fraction of the price somewhere else. Some people have also accused her of exaggerating her condition. Perhaps these people need a brain surgery more than Yvonne. But right now, Yvonne has asked for help. If you can, please do.

Friday, September 16, 2005

A Thirty-Year Saga

1985: 20 YEARS AGO

The beatings started in 1984. It was now 85. Mom had been going to school to see the principal. Her boy was getting his ass kick and he wasn't fighting back. But her visits didn't help any. Paramjeet wasn't simply a naughty kid or the school bully. Something about the way he laughed revealed his mental condition. No amount of caning would work on the boy.

"Are you worried about embarassing me?" Mom asked. She had always instructed her kid to be on his best behaviour. And that means no fighting. We were a peace-loving family and I was expected not to be the black sheep.

I nodded my head and resumed counting my toes.

"Hit him back," Mom's voice changed. I looked up and saw an Amazon Queen towering over me, the sweat on her brow glistening in the sunlight. "I want you to hit him back," the queen commanded, articulating every single word. And her loyal subject knew she meant business.

In 1985, I hit back. And I hit hard. I hit whenever I was hit. And soon, I just hit whenever I felt like it. Oh no, Paramjeet never did stop trying to torment me. Not even when I beat him till he cried. At the end of that year, my anger turned to pity. Paramjeet wasn't malicious. He was just plain nuts afflicted with a mental condition. And at that very moment, James the boy became James the Man.

At Christmas that year, the Man groped a little girl's ass. Heh. But that's another story for another day! Who wants to hear it? :)

1995: 10 YEARS AGO

Anuar left. He'd been embezzling company funds. He was the partner, but we were also good friends. Would she think I was a part of it? Would she fire me? Or worse yet, would she report me to the police? Where was Anuar?

Then it sank in. The bastard left me to take the heat.

She calls me in. The room lights were off, as usual. I stood before her huge mahogany desk and squinted my eyes to make out her face in the darkness. "I'm making you partner," she said in her mild-mannered fashion. And just like that, at 24, I became the director of a small, fledging advertising agency. That year, we would turn it around.

We did brisk business until it all went sour in 1998. I never saw a single cent of my supposed partnership.

2000: 5 YEARS AGO

The new company was already 2 years old. This one, too, was having its share of partnership problems. Unlike me, I realised too late, people never really like to share.

I like to share.

In fact, I liked it so much I was sharing a girl with another guy. She was rightfully his, simply because he was there first. But then, he was never really there. He was on the other side of the Causeway mostly, and so I filled in for him.

She loved me, she said. But she would never leave him for me. In the end, she left. And when she did, I died. I was only 29.

But in that very same year, I was Born Again. He brought me back and promised me the world. I asked if He would make it all right again. He didn't answer; at least not in words.

But things happened. The partner left and the company flourished. Business was good once again. I bought a home. And Mae came into my life. And subsequently, into my home.

2002: 3 YEARS AGO

I was 31 when I realised that it was possible to love someone enough to want to spend the rest of my life with her. And so Mae and I got married. It was July 27. It rained like crazy that day, like it sometimes does in life. But just like our wedding day, whenever it rained, we just went indoors and made the best of it.

2004: A YEAR AGO

One day, while indoors and making the best of it *ahem*, we made ourselves a baby. Jesse came into our lives on August 26. At 33, I was a father for the first time. It was a crazy year but Mae and I enjoyed every moment of it. Almost.


Jesse turns 1. Mae and I are no longer spring chickens. It's getting hard to keep up with the boy. And so I enrol in a gym for the first time in my life. I also begin a program to help me finish reading the bible in a year.


By then Jesse would have gotten tired of playing with us all the time. We'd have to make a companion for him. I hear little girls are nice to have around the house. With a new mouth to feed, Mae and I will have to find other means to bring home the bacon. Perhaps a new business venture - one that actually makes money. Heh. By now I would be 35, and having completed the bible, I can finally talk like a smart ass. :)


Mae and I retire to Ayer Tawar or some other small town where we own a tiny but profitable little business serving breakfast to the townsfolk. And when the kids come home, we'd sit by our little duck pond chowing down dinner and watching the sun set.

Thanks Bob. That was more fun that I expected! I'm tagging Gina. Also AhPink whom I expect to blog this pictorially. :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Two Shots

Yesterday was a rough day for Jesse. Having turned one recently, it was time once again for his shots. This time, he would be getting vaccinations for MMR (Measles, Mumps & Rubella) and another for Chicken Pox.

"How bad will it hurt?" I asked Dr. Soh remembering that a doctor once told me that it was the drug, and not the needle, that determined if a shot was painful. "The chicken pox one will be bad," Dr. Soh proclaimed solemnly.

My heart sank. But the good doctor had more bad news. "You hold him over your shoulder," she said, "and we'll go zoop! zoop!" If it weren't my son, I'd have found that funny. Because her hand gestured like boxers do, when they do their one-two combination jabs. Plus, she said, "Zoop! Zoop!" which is something you never expect doctors to say.

I held the boy up while Mae stood behind me with a toy. Jesse tinkered with it cheerfully, laughing and babbling, oblivious to the fate he was about to suffer. It was heartbreaking. And then it came. Zoop! Zoop! Once on his left buttcheek and another on his right, giving new meaning to the phrase, "turn the other cheek."

The boy cried and cried. And nothing I did would console him. Then Mae took him and he regained his composure in record time. 30 seconds tops!

I tried to carry him after. Someone needed comforting, but I think it was mostly me. But the boy flatly refused to have anything to do with me. I had betrayed him. I had thrown him to wolves and he wasn't about to let that slide. I took a whole day for me to be his Daddy once again

*sigh* Fatherhood can be tough.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Women That Women Hate

Some people are only adored by members of the opposite sex. While men and women both love Gwen Stefani and George Clooney, the same cannot be said for Nicole Kidman. Most women I know can't stand Nicole Kidman.

We were out shopping for some concert and music DVDs. Jesse seems to prefer such shows, with a special preference for Malaysian Idol, I might add. And so we ended up checking out Speedy's collection. But music DVDs were expensive ranging anything from RM69.90 to RM99.90. And then I found a cheap, lovely disc for all of RM29.90.

"Check it out, boy," I tell Jesse, "it's Kylie!"

Unbeknownst to me, I had inadvertently spoken the magic word that would open Pandora's Box and unleash all hell on earth. "NO KYLIE!!!!" Mae's thunderous voice booms across the land. At that precise moment, I saw my life flash before my very eyes. As the blood returned to my hands I timidly put the offending DVD back to its lonely spot on the shelf as it awaits to entrap another unsuspecting male.

That's when I remembered, most women can't stand Kylie. I can only wonder why.

Must be the very same reason that men hate that that achy-breaky SOB, Billy Ray Cyrus or, Fabio. But Fabio is special. Even birds hate the bastard.

Friday, September 9, 2005

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Jesse got his first haircut last Saturday. The boy's hair had grown quite unruly for awhile now, looking every bit like the little thug that he is. So, Mae and I figured we would take him to the barber. And there, I would be able to take a few snapshots of his first ever haircut and keep it for posterity.

Unfortunately, my mother-in-law decided to take matters into her own hands. She snipped off my baby's beautiful hair while Mae and I had gone out for an appointment. I was devastated!

You see, I enjoy being a father. I cherish every one of Jesse's firsts, and I relish being part of it all. I helped bathe him at the hospital when he bathed for the first time ever. I put on his first diaper. I wiped his first poop. I was there when he first crawled. I was the first to see his tiny little first tooth. And I wanna be there for it all. When he walks his first step. When he start his first day of school. When he drives for the very first time. When he graduates. When he loses his virginity. Okay, maybe not that last one. But you get the idea.

So, yes. My mother-in-law robbed me of my firstborn's first haircut. Despite her good intentions, I have to admit I'm a little upset. I had wanted to take some photos of the boy's first haircut. But most of all, I would have been happy just to have been there for him - this being his first haircut and all. And even though her hairstyling didn't suck too badly, it wasn't great either.

Now I'm thinking revenge. And whaddya know, my mother-in-law's firstborn just happens to sleep in my bed. Muahahahhaa...

Thursday, September 8, 2005

I Love Cold Cha Soba!

where have you been all my life?

It's taken me years but I can finally say, with conviction, that I love Japanese food. I love Teppanyaki. I love Sashimi. And now I love Cha Soba. Love, love, love! Impassioned. Enraptured. By the taste of cold buckwheat noodles slithering down my throat. OOooOoWaaaah!!!!!

Just two weeks ago, I decided to try some Cold Soba for the first time in my life. While I am fairly adventurous where food is concerned, I had always stayed away from cold noodles - after all, why would anyone eat noodles cold? But having seen many a Japanese guy slurp down his Cha Soba hungrily, I had finally decided to take the plunge myself. And what a plunge it was.

Last Sunday, I was overcome with powerful desire to eat the stuff. And so I dragged Mae down to KLCC where we lunched in style. Nippon Tei is as upmarket as Japanese restaurants go. Unless you count that super-expensive place down at Shangri-La Hotel (whose name eludes me now) where we once ate, in a party of 8, up to RM 1,600 worth of ingredients! But Nippon Tei was bloody expensive too. RM 32 for a single serving of Cha Soba and a side of Tempura Prawns.

Most places serves Cha Soba with a cup of Mentsuyu soup, a raw quail egg and spring onions for garnish. You break the egg into the soup, throw in the spring onions and dip your noodles inside. One of the reasons I never ordered this was also for the fact that I didn't quite know what to do with all the stuff. Heh. Thanks to years of observing Japanese guys go at it, I was finally ready. And now, thanks to my posting of the subject, you too can go out now and enjoy a cup of healthy, delicious, cold buckwheat noodles without making a fool of yourself. Besides, it's a really great diet food too!
By the way, after lunch that day, we stepped out of Nippon Tei and walked past Genki Sushi. Genki sells their Cha Soba for only RM 8. Dammit! I could have had 4 servings of the stuff. Last week alone, I ate cold noodles three times. Yes, I'm making up for lost time. And writing this has stirred up my appetite for the stuff again. *sigh*

"Honey, I wanna eat cold noodles," I tell Mae. "Again!?" Mae exclaimed, annoyed, "Why don't I just cook you a Maggi Mee and keep it in the fridge for you." Yeah, Mae is a regular clown. She mocks me again and I'll have to seek solace in a nice cup of Cha Soba.

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Sexual Circus

Mae and I were loafing around in front of the TV last Friday when a promo spot of Cirque Du Soleil came on air. Cirque Du Soleil, if you didn't know it, is one of those artsy-fartsy new-age circus act - where they intertwine a stylised visual and auditorial experience into a regular circus act. Sexy stuff.

"It's like a sexual circus," I gave Mae a shit-eating grin as I attempted to educate her. We stare at the TV, fixated, as a bevy of scantily-clad ladies writhed and gyrated erotically. It was too much for Mae. "So?" Mae scoffs, as she gives me this mildly annoyed look, "you want me to do THAT?"

That caught me with my pants down completely by surprised. Why on earth would I want a circus act in my bedroom? Though, now that it's laid out in the open like that, I have to admit it's... erm... intriguing. Heh!

My wife thinks I'm a perv. I'm not. Not really.

Monday, September 5, 2005

I'm A Freakin' Movie Star!

Okay, maybe not quite. But I did play a bit part in a short film. My colleague Cracker's brother called me up last weekend and asked if I would participate in his short film project. Being the attention-whore that I am, I of course agreed.

The project is a Chinese black comedy and I would play the part of a Triad boss. Hehhehh... I did say it was a comedy, didn't I? Anyway, I'm a bit of a wuss in the film. Which is NOTHING like my true, macho self. *ahem*

The shoot was at some creepy haunted house somewhere near Seputeh. And for my 1 minute presence on screen, they bloody shot me for 3 hours. That was my Sunday. Anyway, that's done and I debut in few months time on Astro. I'm not sure if I can stand to watch myself since I always look like crap on camera.

Oh well. Autographs, anyone? :)

Sunday, September 4, 2005

Stand By Me

stand up and be counted

The boy stands, unassisted! OOooWahhh!!!!!

We were watching the Malaysian Idol result show tonight, which is incidentally Jesse's favourite show, when I decide to experiment with the boy's motor skills. Most babies his age have begun walking, but Jesse is a slowpoke in that area. Come to think of it he seems to be a little behind in the other stuff as well, but more on that in another post. So, yeah, we've been encouraging him to walk by holding him up by his hands but he'd always chicken out when we loosen our grip.

So there we were, tonight, during a commercial break when I held him up by his hand. He stood up supporting himself on my hands when I slowly let him go. He was a little wary at first. And so he bent his knees a little and assumed the Tan family secret Crouching Tiger kungfu stance, lowering his centre of gravity considerably until he found his footing. And just like that the boy stood tall!

Mae and I were astrounded. We cheered the little guy and he smiled from ear to ear, amazed, at his newfound ability to stand on his own two feet. What an important milestone! I know how silly this must sound to you folks, but every tiny little thing that Jesse does is such a major achievement to us.

That's it. I think we have officially been inducted into the insufferable, annoying parents Hall of Fame. :) Better run or soon we'll be cornering you with our 1,500-picture slideshow of Jesse in various actions.

Friday, September 2, 2005

I Need a Brain Transplant

One of the things that happens when you get older is your memory tends to fail a little. When I was sprightly young lad of 22, I'd remember everything - faces, names, numbers, passwords and everything that required remembering.

These days, 12 years on, I can't remember anything without writing it down. Somedays I'd even forget to write things down. And when I did remember to write, I'd forget where I wrote it. *sigh* Someone suggested I get a PDA. I doubt it would help very much since I'd probably forget when I left the damn thing. As it is, I'm having enough trouble with my keys and mobile phone. Heh!

I'm not sure why it is, but I suspect my failing memory has a lot to do with my work. The advertising industry is a pressure cooker on the brains. And having to worry about sales and bottomlines isn't helping any. Maybe I oughtta quit the damn job and sell Char Kuey Teow or something.

My Mother-in-Law tried to help, bless her wonderful heart. "Gingko Biloba is good for the memory," she told me some years back. The woman is a walking encyclopedia of remedies and nutrition - sometimes annoyingly so. Heh! Unfortunately, the Gingo Biloba didn't help. I could never remember to take it.

So yeah, if you ever bump into me on the street and I have this glazed-over look in my eyes and saliva dribbling down my chin, don't worry too much. I probably just forgot your name.

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Picnic In The Park

lil' Jenny trashes Jesse at congkak

We had a rather fun little Merdeka Day yesterday. The folks from my church Cell Group decided to go on a picnic and so we headed off to Taman Rimba Kiara, which is a nice, secluded little forest park near Taman Tun. There, we ate Nasi Lemak, Beehoon, Potato Crisps and goodness knows what else! My mind is a blank - either from waking up too early on a public holiday or from the superbly, delicious Nasi Lemak we had. Yumm~

When I was younger, I cringed at the thought of going for picnic. Picnics are for nerdy people, I'd tell myself. But now that I have become a nerdy person myself, it makes perfect sense. It's nice, lying down on a mat in the midst of nature and eating away without a care in the world. There's something very pristine and pure about the whole deal. But mostly, I just like the lying down part. :)

So, yeah, it was fun. Mae and I enjoyed ourselves. Our buddies from cell liked it too. And Jesse quite enjoyed the change of pace. So if you've never gone on a picnic before, do go. It's always wonderful to gate-crash Mother Nature's place and make a mess. Heh.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Cerita Dongeng Merdeka

Suatu hari di sebuah warung bawah pokok di Empayar Melaka, abad ke-14. Laksamana Tuah bersama kawan karibnya, Tun Bendahara berduduk di bawah pokok menikmati teh tarik Mamak dan kuih Nyonya.
Tun Bendahara: Tuah, sepanjang malam aku tak tidur terfikir pasal si-Jebat tu. Tak terlantas aku kau sanggup membunuh dia.

Laksamana Tuah: Aiya Tun, lu tak faham lah. Kita mia olang cakap, manyak pantang kacau olang lain mia bini. Itu Jebat sudah... um... bo tua bo suey! Sultan mia gundik pun belani usik. Bikin malu keluarga Hang mia nama.

Tun Bendahara: Itu yang tak masuk akal, Tuah. Jebat tu kan adik kau sendiri? Kan orang putih cakap selalu cakap, "Blood is thicker than water"?

Laksamana Tuah: Adik da aanchua? Lu ingat jadi wa mia adik apa pun boleh bikin kah. Sekalang, wa bukan kerja sama sebalang olang tau. Wa mia bos, Sultan lah. Itu apa... belut... tikar...autar... olang putih mia cakap. Kita cakap, "Biar mati adik, jangan usik gundik!"
Tun Bendahara tidak berbalas. Beliau teringin sangat menegur Tuah pasal Bahasa Melayu Tuah yang cukup menyakitkan telinga, tetapi takut. Setiap kali si-pahlawan ini dipukau semangat patriotisme, dia suka hunus menjulang keris saktinya.
Laksamana Tuah: Woi Tun, wa cakap tak betui ah? Wa sudah lama tinggal sinilah. Kalau wa talak tolong jaga sama ini tempat, lu talak tolong jaga sama ini tempat - habis lah ini tempat.

Tun Bendahara: Kau takut apa, Tuah? Kalau musnah binasa Tanah Melayu ini, engkau masih boleh balik China.

Laksmana Tuah: Bukan balik tak balik mia pasal. Saya sudah lama duduk ini Tanah Melayu sampai sekalang saya pun sudah jadi olang Melayu mah.

Tun Bendahara: Eh, apa kau cakap tu, Tuah. Habis? Kalau tempat ini tukar nama jadi Malaysia, macam mana pulak?

Laksmana Tuah: Wa mah jadi olang Malaysia lah. Senang saja. Hahahaha! Wa sumpah sama lu, Tun, ta' Melayu hilang di dunia.
Tun Bendahara menjeling mata. Beliau sudah tidak tertahan dengan salahgunaan bahasa si-Cina ini. Kawalan pengunaan Bahasa Melayu Tuah cukup menyayatkan hati Tun. Tatabahasa silap. Peribahasa tak betul. Penggunaan pepatah Melayu pun salah. Imbuhan tak kena.
Tun Bendahara: Tuah, kau nak mengaku diri kau Melayu, aku tak kisah. Tapi, tolonglah bang, gunalah Bahasa Melayu yang tepat. Boleh tak? Apa ni, "Ta' Melayu hilang di dunia"? Cakap betul-betul - Tak akan hilang Melayu dari dunia ini!

Laksmana Tuah: Habis? Kalau ini tempat tukar nama jadi Malaysia apa macam? Hahahah!

Tun Bendahara: Maka kita katalah, "Tak akan hilang Malaysia dari dunia ini"! Hahah!

Laksmana Tuah: Wah, lu manyak pandai lah Tun. Okey, okey. Saya belanja lu makan Mi Goreng India. Mali, mali. Esok saya bawak Tun pigi tengok satu cun mia Puteli, atas gunung sana... Hahahahah....
Maka dengan adegan itu, tamatlah cerita cerita kita hari ini. Dua orang kuat Melaka ketawa terbahak-bahak di bawah teduh pokok Akasia ditebing muara, menanti akan pengembaraan mereka yang seterusnya, iaitu ke puncak Gunung Ledang. Cerita 18SX itu boleh diikuti di belog ini pada Hari Merdeka 2006. Sehingga berjumpa lagi tahun depan, Selamat Hari Merdeka dan terima kasut.

Nota Kaki: Untuk peminat teori konspirasi, sila ke laman ini. Yang lain-lain boleh ke laman ini. Kepada sesiapa yang tersinggung hati dengan belog ini, says ingin meminta maaf. Tolong hantar nama penuh dan alamat e-mel anda kepada saya dan saya akan menghantar Char Kuey Teow ke alamat e-mel anda. Kepada sesiapa yang tersinggung dengan pengawalan Bahasa Malaysia saya, sila tujukan kemarahan anda terhadap Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka. Ini semua diolang mia pasai kelana talak bikin kamus online.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

KeranaMu - Puisi Menjelang Hari Merdeka

Wahai kengkawan, hayatilah puisi yang saya ingin menganugerah kepada anda. Ini dia, pantun menjelang Hari Merdeka:
KeranaMu Malaysia,
jantung hatiku,
dipenuhi kebangaan.

KeranaMu Malaysia,
aku akan berbelog,
Bahasa Kebangsaan.

KeranaMu Malaysia,
aku sanggup,
menulis puisi.

Kerana aku, Malaysia,
tak malu dan,
tak sedar diri.
Ini hanya satu percubaan sahaja. Esok ada lagi. Kalau anda Anak Malaysia yang ingin bermeriah berbelog dalam bahasa kebangsaan, lawatilah laman web Merdeka Blogger dan bikinlah apa yang perlu. Sekian, tiang kayu.

Soundly Sleeping

It's been over a year now and yet every time Jesse goes to bed, I still worry if he'd wake up again.

SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is a frightening prospect. So much so, I wake up 2-3 times a night just to check on him. Even though statistics show that kids are really only in danger of SIDS in their early days, I still get up to check. Force of habit, I guess. That couple with the information overload you get from parenting books. *sigh*

Some days, as if just to freak me out a little, the boy would sleep really still. I mean, really, really still. No movements. No sounds. Nothing.

That's when I'd prod him a little to check for reactions. Sometimes I'd lift up his arm and plop it back down. He'd move a little but would continue to sleep soundly. Heh! I bet I could lift both his hands to do the Macarena (I know how old this makes me sound, ok!) and he'd go back to sleep like nothing happened. I think I'll try that tonight. :)

The boy sleeps like a log. He gets this from his mother, I swear.

Monday, August 29, 2005

New Baby in the Family

a spanking new baby

There's a new addition to the family. Baby Danielle was born on Thurday, 25th August 2005 last week - just one day short of Jesse's first birthday. Baby Danielle is actually my Sis' and Bro-in-law's second kid, and 2-year-old Joshua Boy's little sister.

We visited them last week at the hospital. Having not held another infant since Jesse's birth, I took up my Sue's offer to carry her little girl. That's when Jesse kinda felt a little threatened. He gave me this sad puppy-dog face, reached out his arms and called out to me. "Deh-deeeeehh. Auwwaaaah!" It was the plaintive cry of desperate little boy. I taunted him a little before setting Baby Danielle down and taking him off Roma. Only a little, I promise. :)

Still, I thought that it was cute that he felt jealous. Ahhhh... there's nothing like a little jealousy to make you feel wanted. Hehhhehh...

Friday, August 26, 2005

Jesse's First Birthday

smile, and the world smiles with you

Exactly one year ago today, Jesse came into the world at 2:16 pm. Exactly one year ago, our little boy came into our world and turned it upside down. He filled our lives with laughter and tears. Our hearts with joy. Our home with love.

He woke up cheerful this morning to our birthday greetings. And we said a little prayer for him. In it, we thanked God for bringing him into our live. We thanked God for watching him and keeping him... erm... relatively safe from harm. And we prayed that God would be with him all of his life.

One year on, and Jesse still overwhelms me like he did that very first moment he popped out of Mae like a squished pimple. One year on, I still love watching him sleep and watching him wake up in the mornings. There's be days when he'd wake up happy, and others when he woke up crying - perhaps frightened by a bad dream, or disturbed by some discomfort. But everyday in his life, Mae and I always made sure he went to sleep with a smile on his face.

And if I could have one wish for his birthday today, I'd wish that he would go to bed happy and wake up with a smile on his face all the days of his life.

Happy 1st Birthday, son. May you have many, many happy birthdays to come.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Sleeping Like Logs

At 3:00 am this morning, Jesse woke up a little upset. He usually sleeps right through. Fortunately, all he needed was a diaper change.

I do the deed like a good Daddy should. Mommy gets the diaper and wipes. The boy struggles a little bit, crabby, for having his sleep disrupted. But in less than 2 minutes, we're done. And in a flash, Jesse falls back to sleep as if nothing had happened. The boy sleeps like a log. I pick him up and put him back in his crib - probably not as gently as I should have but no, he slept right through that too. I turn around and Mae is fast asleep as well.

"I can't sleep," I nudge Mae. Nothing.

"Let's have sex now," I whispered in her ear. Hehhehh. Somehow that always gets her attention. "Heheheh...awwwhoneyIwannasleep," she pleaded. "Goplaywithyourinternetorsomething..."

And so here I am, 5:30 am in the living room, wide awake blogging this and watching Oprah and Sidney Poitier talk about his first time being a daddy. Meanwhile, inside, mother and child are snoring away.

Heh. No prize for guessing where the boy picks up his sleeping habits.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Birthday Bash

Jesse turns one this Friday. As it goes, the rest of the family had been pestering us to throw a party. Mom would make a 3-hour trip for her first grandson's first birthday. Mae's parents insisted that we do something - with cake and camera and all that jazz. My siblings threatened to throw their own party if we didn't. Aunties offered to cook their specials. Uncles offered to help out. Can you believe it? All for a little kid who probably doesn't even understand what the fuss is all about.

The first birthday is a big, big, BIG thing where Chinese are concerned. Very big. Back in the olden days, they'd roast their finest pig and cook their fattest chicken just to mark the day. Neighbours and family members would come and celebrate a child's transition from baby to toddler. They'd pray to their gods and ancestors and make offerings of thanksgiving in appreciation of the child's good health. And parents had to observe all sorts of customs and taboos. These days, it's more of just celebrating and eating.

We took care of Mom early. A couple of weeks back in Taiping, we bought a nice ice-cream cake, sang the song and we all ate cake.

Last week, however, was a whole new kettle of fish. Despite our best effort to keep things small and simple, that was just not to be. Despite inviting only family we ended up with guest list of almost 40 people - Jesse's cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents, granduncles and grandaunts. And with such a big crowd, Jesse got a little clingy. So there we were buying stuff, preparing food, serving guests and pacifying the little guy.

There were so much we wanted to do but were just simply overwhelmed by the magnitude of the kid's birthday. We would have liked to invite friends. We would have liked to have games for the kids. Heck, we would have like to have shot more photos. We were so busy we didn't even manage to snap some nice pictures. *sniff*

Next year we're going to McDonald's. *sigh*

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Strawberry Jam

red alert!

Jesse's got this huge red spot on his torso, the size of a 50 sen coin. When I first saw it in the delivery room, it freaked me out a little and all of my grandma's taboo stories came back to me. We Chinese folks have taboos for everything and a child's birth defects were usually a result of his parents indiscretions.

"Oh, that's a Strawberry Naevus," the doctor told me, "It'll be gone in a few years." She took a look at my pathetic, worried face and added, "Don't worry-lah!"

Turns out that Strawberry Naevus is a fairly common occurrence. It's a cluster of blood vessels gone wrong - sort of like a rebellion of the circulatory system. It's not permanent nor painful, but it is a little unsightly though. Especially if you've got one as big as Jesse's. Also, apparently 60% of the condition usually effects the face and neck. Thank God Jesse's strawberry grew on his torso instead.
So yeah, when Jesse came out into the world, he brought his own fruit. Heh. Sort of like a welcome gift for his parents. Thankfully, he didn't consider a fruit basket. Anyway, as promised, it's started to fade a little already. Our paediatrician tells us that it ought to be gone by the time Jesse turns 4 or 5.