Saturday, February 26, 2005


It was a Sunday evening. Mae and I were lazing around in the living room in front of the TV. We had put Baby to sleep on our bed - he likes it there and tends to sleep a little longer, even to the point of waking up happier. So there he was, asleep on our bed. We put up a barrier of pillows and bolsters. It would be safe enough and besides whenever Jesse awoke, he'd call for us. And so we left him there. Alas, we also left a small opening in the barrier. "He couldn't possibly crawl backwards," we rationalised. Who would have thought the boy could gostan at such a tender age?

And right there in the middle of the final episode of SATC, we heard a sickening thud. Mae and I rushed into the room and Jesse was nowhere to be seen!!! Fear gripped my heart and I felt the blood flood into my head. I expected the worse.

Jesse was lying there on the floor at the side of the bed away from the door. He was curled up on his side. His face was convoluted and his mouth wide open. But there was no sound! It was like some perversed silent movie.

And then like a delayed telecast, sounds of his cries filled the entire house. I picked him up and held him close. He was crying. He must have felt like shit with the shock and the pain of the fall. Mae was feeling like shit. I was feeling like shit. It was the shittiest day of our lives.

He calmed down fairly quick. But to be sure, we took him to the hospital anyway. There, he was given a clean bill of health. The nice guy of a doctor reassured us that Baby was okay, "As surprising as it sounds, we do get a lot of such cases." And just like that Mae and I are inducted into the Dumbass Parents' Hall of Shame, an age-old fraternity of lousy parents who allow their babies to fall off the bed.

It's been three weeks since. We can laugh about it now, but damn, that day must easily have been the worst day of our lives. It's still a little heartbreaking when I think about it. That day Jesse woke up alone in that room and instead of calling out or crying, he entertained himself by rolling around on the bed. And for being the good boy that he was that day, he was rewarded with a nasty fall. *sigh* Poor kid. Looks like I'll have to give him back all of his future allowances that I had deducted from his Buku 555!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


Most parents want what's best for their kids. Our parents had great aspirations for us. My dad always hoped one of his kids would be a lawyer. My mom probably wanted a doctor in the family.

Mae and I have high hopes for Jesse too. Our boy's gonna be a Plastic Surgeon when he grows up.

"Hey son, how about a new face for Mommy?" I could suggest to our son in the event I get tired of seeing the same old Mae. Or, "Daddy could use a stronger jaw for his birthday," Mae could tell him. "And he could sure stand to lose a few of his chins." After all, we could all use a little improvements here and there. Pull back those ears. Sculpt that nose. Tuck in those love handles. Iron out the crow's feet. :)

Heh! Mae and I have been watching too much of Extreme Makeover. Okay, so we may not be good parents. But damn, we're gonna be good looking.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Rain-Cheque Valentine

Mae and I didn't have much of a Valentine this year.

Valentine's day is a marketeer's wet dream. Weeks prior to the days, you're bombarded with slogans convincing you that you're not loving enough. No Skippy, you're an unromantic, spineless, sea-cucumber. Unless you can cough up the cash to buy that gargantuan diamond rock of a ring. Or that expensive box of no-child labour Belgian chocolate. Or that French chef cooked, New Zealand T-bone steak with that South Australian, Vietnamese trampled 1921 vintage wine. Or that tripled priced, Martha Stewart inspired, bouquet of Cameron Highland roses. And before you know it, you're sucked into a vortex of guilt, rendering you temporarily insane - enough to break your bank in declaration of your love.

It's so shallow and stupid.

And yet, every year as Valentine's Day approaches, I find myself trying to actually do something for the day. Because, in my mind, someone will come up to Mae and ask her how her Valentine's day went whereupon she will go, "Teeheehee... he took me there... and we got... and it was so... teeheehee." In my fantasies, Mae always goes, "Teeheehee..." I don't know why. Hahhahh!

I know how that makes me sound like some schoolgirl fetishist perv. That's not true at all. I'm just shallow and stupid.

Anyway, in a flash of money-saving brilliance, I plotted a night to remember. We would go for a lovely dinner of the world's finest Frog-Legs Porridge and Deep Fried Spring Chicken at Jalan Alor. And after that we would walk along the brightly-lit sidewalks of Jalan Bukit Bintang, hand-in-hand, like lovers do. And we would eat expensive, low-fat Italian ice-cream seated at the steps of BB Plaza watching the world go by.

All for nothing more than RM59.90! Heh!

But alas, we'll have to take a rain-cheque on that. It rained like cats and dogs that day and we ended up in Tesco with Jesse in tow, having a sub-standard dinner at Secret Recipe. It was so blah, I can't even remember what we ate. But something tells me that we're gonna have that Frog-Legs dinner real soon. It's all I've been thinking about for the last week! Yummmm...

I better stop writing now before I go and do something stupid like sneak off into the night and have frog legs all on my own. :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


going places

Jesse had been trying to get around lately. After getting acquainted with with arms and legs over the last couple of weeks, he'd finally decided to put them all to good use.

So there I was visiting him at Mae's office during lunch hour on Monday when the boy decided to give us demo. Fortunately for me, like any goofy new parent, I had my camera with me just to capture the moment. And boy, what a moment that was. The again, I'm biased. He could be taking his first shit and I'd be proud of him. Hehheh! Anyway, Mae and I were practically cheering our heads off!!

The video's available here. It's small (about 1MB) so it should download pretty easily. Enjoy!

Now on YouTube!

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Mini Roadtrip

who needs a tranq gun

Yesterday was a big day for Jesse. And for Mae and I as well. Yesterday we took our first out-of-town trip. Huzzah!!!!

Jesse's had problems with car rides. For some reason, he hated being in his car seat. On Monday, Mae's parents gave him a belated "Welcome to Earth" present. They bought him a spanking new car seat. And though he still hated the idea of being strapped in, he was comfortable enough to sleep in it. This was a first for us.

And so Mae and I decided that were ready to take a roadtrip; a short one, but a roadtrip nonetheless. And as it turned out, Mae's Uncle Sam and Aunty Grace invited us to their home in Seremban.

We readied ourselves early enough. At 9:30 we were all dressed. But our strategy was to leave the moment Jesse falls asleep - which usually happens round about 10. But for good measure, we decided to defer his naptime. And so we played with the little guy, keeping him up for quite a bit. By 10:30am he had gotten so tired he practically fainted in my arms. Hehh! Meanwhile, we also got our entire family to pray that the little guy would have a painless journey.

And for the first time in his life, he slept through an entire car ride. It took us a little over an hour to get to Seremban and he slept like a... erm... baby, waking up only 5 minutes away from Uncle Sam and Aunty Grace's home. Best of all, he was in great spirits when we got there. Hallelujah!

It was a miracle of sorts. But then, as parents, just about every little milestone our baby crosses is a tiny miracle.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

This Ole House

It's the first day of the Lunar New Year. Instead of hanging out with friends and relatives in my hometown, I'm here in KL, some 300km away in front of my computer reminiscing. Oh well! Anyway, here's a virtual, pictorial tour of my home back in Taiping.

I grew up on Harrison Street. Sometime in the mid-eighties, the renamed our street Jalan Lim Swee Aun. Apparently, we didn't want to be reminded that we were once occupied by the British. Anyway, it turned out last year that we DID want to be reminded of our British occupation after all and so Harrison Street is reinstated once again. Sometime in the mid-90s, one of the country's leading Opposition Party, the DAP, moved in next door. They used to be further up the street. One time in the 80s, I saw Lim Kit Siang eating takeaway Char Kuey Teow at the conference table. Or then again he could have been giving a press conference after his release from Kemunting. Details are fuzzy now. Heh! Our house is the one with the colourful tiles out front.

My grandma bought this pre-war shophouse back in the 50s with her savings from her years as a Pencuci Dulang (she panned for Tin ore). She had it renovated to accommodate 8 bedrooms to house her hubby, 5 kids and 1 nephew. We hung up that paper plastic pineapple one Chinese New Year in the 90s. It's still there. On the walls you'll find the oldest electrical switches in the country along with photos of our entire family from my mother's side. That's Mae* there with Baby Jesse when we were there last. :)

When Gran had the place renovated, she extended the house all the way to the backyard. From the front door way to the back, our house measures over 120ft, making it the longest house on the street. She's very proud of this achievement. Which must be why she hangs out a lot way back. However, the reno also left fixtures in the weirdest places. This washbasin is in the middle of the house right behind Gran's bedroom and its the only one. My cousins and I used to queue up to brush our teeth. Grandma's room is the creepiest room in the house like something out of a Chinese horror movie.

Our toilet is an outhouse. It used to be one of those ancient toilets where you shat into a bucket. Euwww! If you had a tummy ache in the middle of the night you'd have to run all the way to the back of the house in the dark! That was always fun. As long as it wasn't you with the stomachache. And if you run too quickly, you're liable to run into the huge-ass dining table we had. All our CNY reunion dinners have been at this table. On normal days, we used only half the table. The other half is usually occupied by stuff ranging from condiment bottles to cookie jars and breakfast beverages. That there is the best mom on the planet. :)

Home is a double-storey house. Upstairs is a home all in itself. Almost. We have 4 bedrooms, a kitchen, a backyard and a bathroom. But if you need to take a dump, you'd still have to run downstairs to the outhouse!!! That pic is a shot from the backyard upstairs. There's large gap in the roof where the sun came in. The stairway is pretty rustic, kinda like something out of a Chinese horror movie. Mae standing there kinda adds to the effect, no? :) I live in the front room upstairs. Sometime in the 80s, they demolished a beautiful mansion across the street and erected an shop-apartment complex. At the groundfloor, they leased the space to a sleazy dangdut pub. It gets pretty noisy late into the night but for some reason, I like it. It makes my room seem dangerous. Heh!

At any Chinese New Year, the house accommodates up to 25 or more of the Tan clan. We're a bunch of noisy people who love laughing, eating and cooking. So you can imagine what a really festive new year we have. *sigh* Hopefully next year we'll go home.

* image censored by the Censorship Broad

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Another CNY in KL

I miss home! *sigh* This is the second consecutive year I won't be going home for the Chinese New Year. And this year, I was especially looking forward to going home. Y'know, to show off the kid and all... :)

It's nice to be from out of town during one of these major festivals. The whole Balik Kampung thing is always something to look forward to. That grand reunion dinner, the food, meeting up with old classmates, the food, the noisy but always fun relatives, the food... Heh! Looks like this year, I might actually get away with not gaining a couple of kilos.

I know my mom is dying to see her grandson again. When I told her that Jesse was having trouble traveling by car and that we wouldn't be coming home, I could hear the disappointment in her voice. Yet, she put on a brave front and told us to stay put, "Don't put him through all that suffering if he can't travel." Do I have the best mom in the world or what? Anyway, my brother Jeff suggested that I burn a CD of Jesse's latest photos for his grandma's enjoyment. It'll have to make do for now until the boy gets the hang of the car ride.

So there it is. We're gonna be in KL for the Chinese New Year. And I expect to be tormenting Mae with my incessant whining. For therapy, I'd probably blog a little - maybe a mini series about Chinese New Year in Taiping. :) So stay tune folks.

And for all of you going home... I hate you! :P

Friday, February 4, 2005

I Like I Scream

carrots and peas

A couple of days ago while I was entangled in the RMP's red tapes (see previous entry), Pip and Estella came to visit. And just for kicks they brought their little girl, Screechin' Oli, to terrorise Jesse. Hehheh!

The kids got along fabulously, so I was told. They were just happy to be sitting around on the sofa in Mae's office. As you can plainly see, Jesse is in his "learning-to-sit" phase now. Oli, on the other hand, has had a 2-month headstart. But yes, they were like carrots and peas. Until the carrot screamed at the pea.

Out of the wild blue yonder, Screechin' Oli let out her Kungfu Hustle Screaming Kungfu Screech and blew poor little Jesse's eardrums out. And the boy cried and cried at the pain, and probably at the prospect of losing his hearing for good. Okay, okay.

So, my boy's a wuss! One little scream of enthusiasm from his little lady friend and the boy freaks out. Aiyiyi!

I guess he really needs to get out more. Mingle with other kids; screaming or otherwise. Unfortunately for him, Daddy and Mommy's hectic pace is depriving him of some good 'ol socialising. Looks like Mae and I will need to re-strategize. Or else the poor boy's gonna grow up into a henpecked husband one day.

Just like poor Daddy. *sigh*

Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Royal Malaysian Pain

James vs the Milo Tin

Do I have the most exciting life or what? I'm parked and I get into an accident anyway. *sigh*

Yesterday after work, I walk towards my car only to find my bumper badly mutilated. As I approached, I noticed a nervous looking young dude eyeballing me. "You hit my car?" I scowled at him from afar to which he sheepishly nodded. Turns out it was his wife who was driving when a slight distraction caused her to lose control and plow into my car.

It annoyed me that I would have to make a police report, do my insurance claim and be without a car for awhile. I was mildly pissed-off yet at the same time, I appreciated this nice couple for hanging around after the accident till I showed up. I thought it was decent of them. Besides, they look really remorseful for the inconvenience they had caused me. But then again, maybe they're just smarting from the heavy damage their Kancil sustained.

Anyway, today I made a police report of the incident for my insurance claim. Turns out our Royal Malaysian Pain Police has a new system for reports. You key-in your own report in one of the 2 PCs available. Unfortunately for me, ahead of me was a two-finger typist with a writers block. At the other terminal was an aspiring novelist determined to make the bestseller's list here at the RMP. So despite having arrived at the station at 11am, I was only done submitting my report at 12:30pm.

After getting a printout of my report, I was directed to the room next door to meet the investigating officer. After another bout of waiting, I finally see the guy at 5 minutes to 1! He files in my report, instructs his colleague to take some snapshots and tells me to head upstairs to collect a copy of my report for my insurance claim. What the...!??! For some reason best known only to the RMP, they don't make you a copy on the spot. They prefer to inconvenience you. *sigh* But I don't argue. They have too much shit on me.

And so I run upstairs to Window 9 for my report only to find it closed for lunch. Defeated, I decided to have lunch with Cocaine (the friend, not the drug) and Bud (the friend, not the beer).

At 2pm, I dropped of my lunch companions and made my way back to the station. And that's when I ran into the mother of all traffic jams. What in the world happened? There were fender-benders everywhere in PJ! Cars were everywhere - on the roads, on the kerbs, on the road shoulders hoping to inch a little closer to their destination. Above, the sky was turning dark threatening to pour. It was crazy. It was like the world was coming to an end and everyone's trying to drive away!

Despite being only 15 minutes away, it took me 90 minutes just to get back to the station. And guess what. Yup, closed. Closed at 3:00pm! What kind of sexually-repressed, anal-retentive sadist came up with the idea to close a busy counter at 3:00pm!?

Ugh! I have to do this again tomorrow. Tomorrow is gonna be a long day.