Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Three Years Now

Three years is a long time to be married to someone you don't like.

Luckily for me, I married Mae. Heh! Three years on and I can still remember our wedding anniversary. Men are expected to forget important dates the moment they say, "I do". So I guess I'm doing good, so far.

This year, I even remember that Mae's favourite flowers are white roses. I have always known that she likes white roses but everytime I go to a florist, for some strange reason, my mind goes blank. "What kind of flowers does your wife like?" the florist would enquire, only to be greeted by a convoluted expression on my face as I struggled to remember. "Dammit, I don't know... I'm a sucky husband... just bundle up something!"

This year however, I walked into the florist with a smug look on my face. "What kind of flowers does your wife like?" the florist enquired. "White roses," I snapped, "Hah! I bet you thought I'd forget didn't you?" Okay, so I didn't actually said that, but I meant to. However, the silly florist gave me this weird "what-kind-loser-gets-white-roses" look.


"Perhaps I could mix in some other flowers," she told me, her face all serious. I had no idea what that meant - damn florists and their flora-speak. Were white roses some kind of social faux pas? Or was the whole idea of a White Rose hand bouquet just plain... erm... plain? Details were swimming all over my head. And that's when I buckled. "Okay, okay, just give me some damn daisies!"

Sorry honey, I tried. Happy 3rd Anniversary.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

All Nighter

About a month back, Jesse gave up all his night feeds.

Jesse used to go to bed at 10:00pm, wake up to eat at 12:00am, again at 3:00am and once more at 6:00am. Mae and I would have to take turns getting up. It was hell. One time, we tried to wean him off the night feeds. This worked for a couple of weeks but soon after, Jesse was back to his old ways. And since weaning can be a heartbreak affair, we swore never to put our child through the agony again.

There are two school of thoughts where this is concerned - some parents say weaning is good training, while others think it's downright cruel. Either way, do know that your baby will eventually outgrow the night feeds. Jesse did.

For awhile, out of habit, Mae and I were still getting up at 3:00 to feed him - only to find the boy snoring away like a little pig. And the sight of our little piglet sleeping so peacefully would draw a tear from our eyes. "What a good boy he is," Mae would say. "He's knows his parent need the rest."

What a poignant moment it would have been, had we not drawn the same tear and said the same thing night after night. Heheh. What can I say? We're weird. But any parent who's ever had to wake up for night feeds will certainly appreciate the moment when they can finally have a good night's rest.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Death & Life

It seems like people around me are dropping like flies. Last week, Mae's grandma passed on. A couple of days back, our friend Alice lost her battle with cancer. This morning, Mae got news that someone she knew had died in a freak accident in the New York subways.

Frankly, all this dying is starting to piss me off just a little bit. Cut it out, people! There's nothing cool about death, except maybe the wardrobe.

I've never been comfortable with death. I remember how, in my childhood, I was mortified whenever a relative died. Didn't help that back then, Chinese coffins had that creepy Chinese horror movie look! But still, I was always a ballsy kid. I had never chickened out from taking one last look at the dearly departed. Sure, I had nightmares after, but my curiosity had always been far greater than my fears.

Over the years, I have come to terms with death. The nightmares are gone - even the ones in which I die a horrible death. I can't quite explain it. Maybe I have become desensitised. Or perhaps it's the Christian faith that I now embrace. If you believe, Jesus promises life after death for those who accept him. But what are the implications?

Some people think Christians are an arrogant lot for thinking that they're the only ones who get to go to Heaven. Maybe so. But have you ever considered the burden that comes with the knowledge of that divine promise? A lot of my family and friends are not believers. And that worries me a little. No so much that they reject me or my silly beliefs, but I worry that there might be ever so slight the chance that I may never see them again. That would just plain suck.

To whoever's reading this, please don't die. At least not until you're heard every side of the story.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Reality Bites Back!

a rare shot of the pearly whites

Jesse is turning out to be this playful, cheeky little monkey. And that's just the way I like it. When Mae was preggers with Jesse, I told her in no uncertain terms that if our boy turned out to be one of those quiet, docile, genteel little kids, we'd have to send him back to the hospital. "This one's broken," we'd tell the complaints dept. "Can we have one that makes funny faces and noises?"

I roughhouse with the little boy quite a bit. I'd toss him up in the air and catch him. I'd hang him upside down holding on to his little legs. I'd blow raspberries all over him. And he'd love it too, laughing his little head off. And sometimes when I was working (*ahem*) at the computer, he'd even taunt me. "Deh-deh!" he'd call out to me, smiling cheekily from ear to ear as he proceeded to crawl away from me. I usually obliged by crawling after him, catching up, turning him over and biting him all over. He'd squeal and screech with laughter. "Daddy's gonna eat you up," I'd tell him.

Yesterday, in another bout of WWE Smackdown! action the boy decided to return the favour. He lunged out at me knocking me down on my back and suddenly CHOMP! he closed his sharp little teeth, all four of them, on my belly. "Yowtch!" I yelped. As I winced in pain from his little choppers the boy clambered up onto my chest, stared into my eyes and proceeded to laugh himself silly.

I think I might have created a little monster.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Getting Stupid

I have short attention span. I need stimulus but I don't have the patience to wait for it.

Take blogs for instance. I like 'em short and sweet. "Wham, Bam, Thank you, Maam!" Two minutes in, I'm done and moving along. And just as I like to read them, I like to write them short too. Anything beyond 250 words and my brain shuts down. Unless I'm talking about food, of course. Heh! That's when my stomach kicks in to boot up my brains.

And so I find myself becoming increasingly stupid. It took me ages to figure out what the whole AP issue is all about. I just never got past AP, Rafidah and Tun Mahathir. But inject some soap opera in the thing and suddenly you've got my attention. :)

Same thing with the whole Bloggerthon thing. I've seen it all over PPS in the last few weeks but until now, I have yet to understand what it's all about. 250 words in and my mind shut down. I promise I'll get there soon.

On the other hand, I'm fairly well-versed with the KennySia-SPG controversy. Heck, I'm even a bit of an authority on the KahSoon-KaSoons thing. Bottomline: Drama! Not only am I turning stupid, I'm also becoming something of a bloody PatPhoh*!

And now, 230 words in this posting and already I'm getting bored. Next!!

patphot = gossipy lady

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

I Squished My Eyeballs

I was at Mae's parents' house. We were waiting to go out for dinner when I decided on a quick power nap. Two minutes in and I'm out like a light. I must have slept for a good 15 minutes when Mae woke me up.

"We're leaving!" she barked forcefully, but humanely said. I got into the car groggily and proceeded to drive off. And then I noticed my eyesight was sort of wonky. There were these weird, translucent images flying about me.

I have a theory. When I slept, I had put my arm over my eyes to block out the light. Unfortunately, the weight of my arms over my eyes didn't do my eyeballs any favour. They sort of got squished out of shape. You know how you sometimes sleep on a waffle iron and wake up to get these waffle impressions on your face? Hahhah... okay, so you don't usually sleep on waffle irons but you get the idea. My eyeballs we squeezed out of shape.

As a result, due to my newly, oddly shaped eyeballs, my eye lens casted refracted images on my retina. Everything looked weird. Just imagine a jellyfish swimming about in your eyeballs. That's what it looked like. And it took a bloody half hour before I regained my normal vision. That's twice the time I slept.Mafulat!

Do I have extra-pliant eyeballs or is this a normal occurence?

The Ipoh-Taiping Eataway

Thanks for your thoughts, kind words and support. We're back. Regular programme resumes.

I was supposed to have posted these up last week. Two Saturdays back, our little Cell Group decided to have a getaway. Instead of the usual retreat, I suggested a pig-out fest (yes, it was my fault) up North. We'd eat our way to Ipoh, then Taiping and on the way home, through Kampar!

First stop was Ipoh. We had a Dim Sum breakfast. Our guide, Mai Ling then brought us sightseeing at the famous limestone caves - I forget the name of the place. The first shot is an old guy sleeping in the cave. The next one is a temple inside the cave. Jesse gets chummy with Mai Ling's little girl, Shuin Yin (I probably didn't get the spelling right!).

For lunch Mai Ling takes us to Pasir Pinji to a hawker center under a big tree. Here we had Yong Tau Foo, reputed to be the finest in Ipoh. Bee Bee and her daughter Shannon stuff their faces with the... erm... stuff. Next, we ended up somewhere else in Pasir Pinji at the kitchen of Ipoh's infamous Chee Cheong Fun for an up close and personal encounter with its creator - this one gets a blog entry all on its own!

We eat ourselves silly that day. After Chee Cheong Fun, we went to Nam Heong for Ipoh's famous white coffee. There was nothing "white" about it it but it was really good Hainanese style coffee all the same. Shamini and Elsie show their appreciation. On the way out of Ipoh, we stopped for some takeaway Salt Baked Chicken at Aun Kheng Lim restaurant. Excellent stuff!

In Taiping, I took the gang to Port Weld for seafood. We had steamed Mantis Prawns which taste better than they look. Despite being stuffed to the point of blowing up, we adjourned for the best Char Kuey Teow on the planet. :)

After Char Kuey Teow, we contemplated on visiting the Night Safari. But since most of us were pooped from the hectic pace of all that traveling and eating in the day, we decided against it. Since my Taiping house is not conducive for putting up our group, we checked into the Panorama Hotel - which is a reasonably nice place to stay.

Morning was as crazy. Shamini and Elsie wanted to go jogging at the Lake Gardens while the rest of us just wanted to crash till noon! Thankfully, my wonderful Mom took over as host and brought the ladies out. They came back with Shumai as an entree to our breakfast of Taiping's popular Shredded Chicken Noodles at Kakak Restaurant.

After a heavy breakfast, we proceeded to the Taiping Zoo. We took the train since we were too lazy to walk. Besides, we had to make sure we got back to Panorama by 12:30 to check out. When we finally checked out, the gang adjourned to my house where we discussed our next destination. Having eaten almost all of Ipoh and Taiping, we decided to give Kampar a miss. Instead we took our lunch at Taiping's Casual Market where we had Heh Chien, Mee Rebus, Ais Kacang, Nyonya Kuih.

These are random shots of my house in Taiping. Our floor is some strange red concrete. Jesse loves it. Our backyard is overgrown with Mom's Bougainvillea. And finally, a shot of the matriarch of our family - my Granny! It was a crazy weekend and we probably ate more in those two days than we usually eat in a week. Strangely enough, I didn't put on a single extra kilogram. Hmmm... More on that another day!

Jo, Paul, Jennifer, John, Lavender, Jessica, Aubrey, Leitin and Zachary - we missed you! And you missed the pig-out of the year. Maybe next year. :)

Monday, July 18, 2005

Goodbye AhMah

forever in our hearts

Shortly after I proposed to Mae, she said to me, "Do you think you could call my grandma AhMah?" It was Hokkien for grandmother and it was what Mae had always called the little old lady. "But we're not married yet," I teased. But we both knew it was something that was important to AhMah. That was the kind of person she was.

It was no big secret that Mae was AhMah's favourite. Her siblings and cousins know it. But being the nice folks they are, they never gave her a hard time about it. Not like how we sometimes like it rub it in to my Dad's Golden Boy in my family. And so by marrying Mae, I sort of became her favourite grandson in-law too. But that wasn't too difficult since, at this time of writing, I remain her only grandson in-law. Still, she doted on me as she would her own grandchildren.

When Jesse was born, she doted on him too. He wasn't her first great-grandson, but he was the only one in the country - and so she gave him all the love she had inside of her. She'd smile whenever he did. And when he was upset, she would be too. And she'd cherish every little thing he does. "He's not like other children," she'd gush. "He's so much smarter!" she'd tell us all, even when he wasn't particularly so. And she wouldn't let anyone tell her otherwise.

Last Saturday, we laid AhMah to rest. She was 86. AhMah lived a long life. A lot of it was good. And a lot of it was difficult. Yet through it all, she found solace in the Lord.

In the remaining months of her life, she also found a lot of joy in her little great-grandson. And as she did, we did too. Mae and I will always feel proud that Jesse, despite his tender young age, brought so much happiness to his great-grandma.

As they interred AhMah into her final resting place, Mae brought Jesse up to the front and explained to him that his Chor-Chor was going away forever. As she lifted his little hand to wave bye-bye to his great-grandma, the boy squealed with glee, oblivious to the fact that it's going to be a long while before they meet again. Instead, he chattered away happily as if it was just another day.

I think AhMah wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

We'll Be Back

Mae's grandma returned to the Lord this morning at 7:00 am. This blog will observe a moment of silence. I will not be updating for a few days. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Of Treats and Retreats

Over the weekend, Mae and I, Jesse and Roma made our way back to Taiping with our Cell Group (church, not terrorists) members, Elsie, Shamini, Bee Bee and Shannon. It was our annual CG retreat and this time around we decided to pig out all the way there. Breakfast and lunch in Ipoh, dinner and supper in Taiping, a breakfast in Taiping before we go to Kampar for lunch and then home. Fuuuh!

Details soon. Plus photos. Watch this space!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Separation Anxiety

Almost all kids go through it - that phase when the seem to think they can't live without Mommy and Daddy. BabyCenter has this to say:
Wasn't it delicious when your infant preferred you to anyone else on the planet? Now that your baby is bigger, though, and he falls apart when you head to the bathroom without him, his attachment seems downright obsessive.
Jesse gets that way a lot in these recent weeks. Sometimes family and friends offer to carry him, he'd grab on to Mae and I, clenching his tiny little fingers on our clothes until his little knuckles turn white as he clung on for dear life. It's so heartbreaking to see.

Sometimes we want to just let him work it out on his one. On one hand, we'd like for him to learn to be a little more independent and perhaps even a little more sociable. Yet on the other hand, I'd hate for him to think we're abandoning him. Parenting books advice giving the baby a transitional object to help him cope with the separation. So far nothing's worked.

One time we left Jesse with my mom and my brother Jeff. As they took him Jesse cried huge droplets of tears that flooded his tiny little face. And as they took him farther and father away from us, he reached out his tiny hand to me, as if to say, "Save me, Daddy!" My heart broke into smithereens. Tears welled up in my eyes that day. And would continue to do so every time I picture him like that - even right now as I write this. *sigh*

I guess daddies get Separation Anxieties too.

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Cool Names of Cult Groups

I've been thinking. Today is an idylic day of contemplative reflection. Or mindless ramblings, I can never tell. :)

Anyway, today I read in the Star about that magnanimous and charismatic Ayah Pin, the father of our very own cult group, the Sky Kingdom. Some days back, I also read in the very same daily that the name Sky Kingdom is a literal translation of the group's actual name, which is in fact, Kerajaan Langit. Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't Kerajaan Langit more appropriately translated as Sky Government? I'm thinking our reporters just like to add a little sensationalism in their labelling. Can you imagine if they translated it as it is? Allow me to illustrate:
Police Constable: Tuan, this Ayah Pin fellow is the leader of a new cult group!
Police Chief: What cult is this?
Police Constable: It's the Order of the Sky Kingdom.
Police Chief: God have mercy on us. We have to crush this megalomaniac.
Now imagine if our favourite daily said it as it is:
Police Constable: Tuan, this Ayah Pin fellow is the leader of a new cult group!
Police Chief: What cult is this?
Police Constable: Erm... Sky Government.
Police Chief: Hahahahahahaha!!! What a dumbass! Sky Government. Hehehahahah!!! Come, come, let's go for teh tarik.
It's all in the name, people. Remember Heaven's Gate? That was a cult in the US that got all it's followers to commit suicide. If they had called it Sky Door instead, no one would have bought into their silly bullshit. Heh! How about the What about Ku Klux Klan? Imagined if they called themselves White Sheets Guys instead:
Woman: Toby, dem White Sheets Guys is comin'!
Man: Hahahahahahahaah! Get me some popcorn, bitch!
There ya go. Just call it as it is fellas. Kerajaan Langit. Sky Government. Not very frightening now, is it? Maybe that why they haven't arrested the guy yet. In the meantime, he's getting all this publicity. And you know what they say - there's no such thing as bad publicity.

UPDATE: Sashi pointed out that keRAJAan is in fact Kingdom. So much for me being smug! *sigh* I don't think I like Sashi anymore.

The Gah! Phenomenon

I've been thinking. Heh.

It has come to my attention that a lot of Malaysian bloggers use the exclamation, "Gah!" when they probably mean to say, "Ptui!" or maybe even, "Cheh!" This is fine, of course. After all, "Gah!" in its written form is quite elegant, and oozes with good 'ol American charm - even if it sounds somewhat pretentious.

However if you use, "Gah!" in your day-to-day conversation with me then I reserve the right to give you a tight slap across the face.

I had a friend who went to Australia for a couple of months. When he returned, he deemed it necessary to rub in our faces, those of us who did not have the good fortune of getting an overseas education. "Feck you, mite," he greeted me upon his return. I countered with a swift kick in his... erm... legumes, if only to restore his roots, "Feck this, whyduncha!"

He blocked the assault, of course, but the result was nonetheless just as effective. "Woi, dun like dat lah you," he spoke like a true Malaysian once again. "I play-play oni mah!"

So do write, "Gah!" if you absolutely must. But occasionally, write also, "Pfeh!" and "Cis Bedebah!" and that wonderful, "Dey!" lest you forget your roots and must be reminded. :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2005


Okay. So it's not really sleepwalking since Jesse can't actually walk yet, but you get what I mean. This morning at 6:00 am the boy got up, his eyes glazed over. He then proceeded to crawl around a bit staring blankly into space before plopping back into the sheets. Heh!

Last week was funnier. I was lying next to him just looking at him sleep when he suddenly put his hands together, palms facing downwards and smiling from ear to ear. Then he went on to do a bouncing action and muttered the words, "Bahl-bahl". We must be stimulating him a little too much in the day!

Reminds me of my cousins Chimps and Dink.

Chimps, as my name for her suggests, is every bit the monkey - agile, lively and furry as hell. When she was about 6 or 7, she used to get up in the night and walked to the window to watch the neighbourhood children play. At 3:00 am. WooOoOoOo~ Spooky. I wondered if she actually saw kids playing.

Dink is another classic. One time he fell asleep watching TV when he suddenly sat up and yelled, "I'll kill all of you!" We laughed at the dumbass till he woke up, right there and then. And he'd wonder how he got there. There was another time when we were both 20-something. He was sleeping right next to me on the carpet in the living room when he suddenly got up and proceeded to pound me in the face. We were both shouting and attacking one another when he suddenly woke up and wondered why the Evil Hellcat he was killing suddenly turned into his wonderful, forgiving cousin.

I have freaky cousins. Perhaps I will bring a videocam to bed with me after all. If Jesse ever snuffs me out in my sleep, at least I'll have video evidence.

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

REM & Sesame Street

...shiny happy monsters laughing...

This morning I was watching a little Sesame Street with Jesse when out of the wild blue yonder REM showed up. Michael Stipe and the other two guys, whose names I can never remember, sang Furry Happy Monsters to the tune of their monster hit Shiny Happy People. And they were prancing around like they mean it too. :)

Are these guys cool or what? I mean, any multi-platinum rock group that can take some time off to record a song for kids is my kinda people. Go. Watch the video.

Like I always say, Sesame Street is good quality child education programming. I watched it as a kid and look what a well-adjusted person I turned out to be. Hehh! Hopefully, Jesse will learn to appreciate Sesame Street as I have and not be tempted to the dark purple side.

Monday, July 4, 2005

Malaysian Idol

I am a damn groupie, I admit.

Mae and I follow Malaysian Idol religiously. I mean, what's not to love? Here is a full hour of quality entertainment neatly rolled up in an engaging TV programme. It's got nail-biting excitement. It's got human drama. It's got laugh-out-loud comedy (think Michael Jackson impersonator)! And it's got three annoying judges you just love to hate. BTW, I think Jee is the suckiest of the lot simply because she says stupid meaningless words on national TV like "Mensolidkan". What the furshlugginer!??!

Anyway, International Man of Mystery and MI fanboy, Viewtru has set up a blog specially dedicated to the phenomenon we know as Malaysian Idol. Being a fanboy myself, I have shamelessly volunteered to blog in it. Hehhhehh...!! I know, I know. I can easily set up my own Malaysian Idol blog but where's the fun in that. So yeah, I'm lobbying.

So, keep your eyes peeled. Whether or not I blog in Malaysian Idol will depend on whether or not Viewtru sucks. Hehh!

Friday, July 1, 2005


Jesse's never had a haircut. While he's generally not a hairy kid, he's beginning to look a little scruffy with the sides growing all over the place. Think Jack Nicholson on a bad hair day. So, you might say that it's a growing concern. And I'm not sure what to do. Do we attempt to trim his hair on our own? Or should I send him to a barber? While Mae and I are sort of leaning towards the latter, I have my reservations too.

(Flashback on Daddy's childhood. Cue to a cute little classical tune - Rondo Alla Turca.)

The year was 1979. I was eight. Mom held my little hand as she led me across the busy Jalan Tupai. "Uncle Barber will give you a nice haircut and you'll look very handsome," referring to the Indian barber that my grandfather and uncles used to visit. I would be the third generation of men who would patronise Kedai Gunting Rajoo. I felt a lump swell up in my little throat and promptly swallowed it. Mom smiled knowingly and gave my sweaty little hand a reassuring squeeze.

Rajoo was a good barber by most people's standard. Here was a guy who enthused over every customer that came into his shop. Yes, he was enthusiastic. And perhaps even a little overly so. Rajoo, like most Indian barbers can work the scissors like a balisong, flicking the blades in rapid succession, closing in on your hair every now and then to actually cut something. Ocassionally, those razor sharp shiny blades come menacingly close to your face like an angry wasp and you wonder if that haircut would be your last.

Rajoo swept off the bits of hair from the gargantuan barber chair. He then picked up a small wooden stool and put in on the seat of the chair. Then the huge hulking bear of a man grabbed me and propped me unceremoniously atop the hazardous pile of furniture. There, he flicked open a clean white sheet and proceeded to wrap it around my frail, skinny body (that was 1979, okay?!). Meanwhile, Mom sat on a plastic chair in the corner.

(Here, the strains of Rondo Alla Turca morphs into that twisted tune from Twilight Zone.)

Little beads of sweat form on my forehead as as sat there staring into the mirror at the large man looming over me. Poised like a orchestra conductor, Rajoo loomed over me - scissors in his right hand and a cheap plastic comb in his right. And then he began.

*Snikkt* *Snikketty-sniketty-snikkt* *Snik-snikikkt-tikkitikkt*

And then it came. *Snikkt* Then silence. And soon after, the blood-curdling screams of an 8-year old. The bastard snagged me in the ear!! Blood trickled down the right side of my face. Mom ran up to me. I hugged her, burying my face in her neck sobbing away at my near-death experience.

Rajoo cleaned up his mess and finished the haircut anyway. But that would have been the last time he ever laid his hands on my hair, or his scissors on my ear. And for the next 9 years, Mom would give me my haircut. Sure, it wasn't the best but where Mom lacked in skill, I made up in charms and good looks. *ahaks*

(End flashback.)

Jesse's a little fidgety. He's also developed a bit of separation anxiety. Not the best combination for a haircut. *sigh* I guess I will have to sleep on this a little more.


Some years back. The row of shops across Jalan Tupai was gutted in flames. Along with his neighbours, Kedai Gunting Rajoo was burnt to the ground. No, I never knew what became of the man, but with the demise of his shop my demons were finally put to rest. I had finally been released from lifelong fear of losing my ears. Rajoo will never hurt me again. It was over, at last.