Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Where's Daddy?

It's been going on for over a month now. Jesse has discovered the word "where" and he's been putting it to good use.

Whenever Mommy leaves the room, he'd go, "Where's Ahmie?" If Roma goes to the john, then it's, "Where's Kakak?" And when his 3-hourly lactose fix is not forthcoming, he'd go, "Where's nen-nen?" It's all very cute and not quite as annoying as the dreaded "why" which toddlers have been known ask incessantly, if only to drive their parents to the brink of insanity.

And then there's, "Where's Daddy?"

I'd been working hard lately. Morning's I'd leave at 7:30am, way before the kid wakes and some days, I'd only get home at midnight long after my boy had gone to sleep. Last night was one such night.

"He was almost crying," Mae told me earnestly.I could imagine it. His sad little face. His puppy dog eyes. His cute little lips curled into little frown.

It broke my heart into a million pieces. At that very moment I loathed my job and hated having to work so much. So what if I managed to make a million bucks only to break my son's heart over and over again? I couldn't bring myself to do it.

Which is probably why I'll never be a millionaire. Which is also why I'll never be able to leave Jesse with a nice inheritance. I'd only be able to give him my love. Hopefully that's adequate.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Kindie Kiddie

too cool for skool

It's alarming how early kids are going to school these days. Back in my day, kids had only one year of kindergarten before they started school at the age of 7, and that was adequate.

I did one year at the Methodist Kindergarten of Taiping and look how well I turned out. Today I read and write in two languages and speak in three. I remember how to dissect a rat, calculate the value of inertia and determine the length of the hypotenuse in a right triangle. Of course none of these knowledge has come to any use in my life so far, but hey, you never know when you might need to dissect a vermin.

Which bring us to Jesse. Kids today are starting school at 3. By 4, they're bringing back homework. My God! Whatever happened to a normal childhood?

Don't get me wrong, I value education but sending kids to school at 3 must surely be pushing them a little. When I was 3, I was playing in the backyard discovering tadpoles, chasing dragonflies and watching dogs f*ck frolic. By 4, I was digging up earthworms and plucking mulberries. At the age of 5, I was chasing cats and playing with my pet ducklings. When I finally got to age 6, I was good and ready for school. Now THAT, my friends, was a well lived-out childhood. And if that's good enough for me, surely it's good enough for my son.

But suddenly it's the year 2024. Jesse is applying to get into college. "What?!? Your parents never sent you to kindergarten? Everybody goes to kindergarten," the registrar would tell him, "Sorry kid, looks like your parents really screwed you over. We only accept students who has had an early childhood learning program."

Yeah. And so last week we took the boy kindie shopping. I sold out. I buckled under peer pressure. My only consolation is, this might be a normal childhood for his generation. Poor kid. *sigh*

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Pakistani Raya Treat

watch out for the goats

This year, the Hari Raya holidays proved to be quite the culinary experience for us. A Pakistani friend invited us over for an authentic Pakistani offering - Haleem.

Haleem is as Pakistani as Benazir Bhutto, except that you can't eat Benazir Bhutto. Actually you can, but you probably shouldn't. *ahem*

But I digress. Haleem is a wheat and mutton porridge popular amongst Pakistanis and Indian Muslims throughout the world, especially during Ramadhan (so says Wikipedia, though I none of my Indian Muslim friends here have ever served this!)

Farid's version was made with wheat, barley, rice and 5 different kinds of lentils; and just as much mutton. He had started cooking the night before and after a good eight hours of simmering on the stove, he and his posse of apprentice chefs remove the mutton, shred it into fine slivers and dump the whole lot back into the pot.

Served with fried shallots, bird-eye chillies, shredded ginger, a good squeeze of lime juice and some excellent indian spice powder, the name of which I cannot remember, Haleem is the kind of dish you die for. This Hari Raya, I died four times at Farid's house.

By the time I got home I was stuffed. But deep in my heart, I regretted not taking my fifth serving. *sigh* Next year I'll know better.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

All Worked Out

Today seems to be the longest day of my career. It's 4:07 am and I have been sitting at the computer since yesterday morning and the work is really only trickling out. I feel so uninspired that I bored myself to sleep just a moment ago.

Advertising is the kind of industry that has its moments. I remember the adrenaline rush when I sold my first ad concept. I remember tasting blood when I won my first pitch. I remember the thrill of seeing my work published for the first time. Don't get me wrong, I still do get a kick out of seeing my work out there. I still love the look on the faces of the clients when they fall in love with my proposals. I still secretly admire those giant banners I designed for the church. I do still get a rush seeing all those people wearing Yvonne's t-shirt and seeing how it's gotten her to LA and all.

But at times like tonight, I really wish I were doing something else. Things that let me share in the joys of other people. Like maybe a wedding planner or something. Ok. Too gay. Maybe a wedding video guy or something or a wedding invitation card designer. Or a face painter at a kiddie party. Or a char kuey teow guy who makes char kuey teow that everybody queues up to eat. Or a rocking horse designer. Or the guy who serves fried rice at old people's gatherings. Y'know, fun things like that.

Speaking of which, I'd been thinking of making Jesse a set of pyjamas much like the yellow jumpsuit that Bruce Lee wore in the Game of Death. That'd be quite cool. And fun too.

Monday, November 6, 2006

Return of The Queen

Some weeks back during the Raya holidays, some of my relatives made their way home to Taiping to commemorate 3-7 (the 21st day) of Ah Por's passing.

According to Taoist rituals, every seventh day up to the 49th day marks an important event - though most Chinese usually observe the 7th and 49th day, as these are most important. On the 7th day, the dearly departed becomes aware of her demise and returns home for a final tour before descending to hell; while on the 49th day, a permanent home is established for her in the nether world. As for all that time in between the 7th and the 49th, her spirit roams our world.

So anyway, it was the holidays and the gang decided to make a trip - partly to keep my Mom company, participate in the rituals and also to help unearth whatever treasures that Grandma had stashed away.

Then came night.

At about 4am, my cousin's wife awoke to answer to nature's call. She was returning to bed when she glanced at the front door some 200ft away (our house is really long) and there was Ah Por! The old lady had returned.

Anyway, we decided to go home over the weekend - Mae, Roma, Jesse and my brother, Steve. I told Mae that I wanted to see Mom but Steve and I were really more curious to see Ah Por - or a ghostly apparition of her. Neither of us had ever seen a ghost before and we thought it might be quite the experience.

Anyway, Mae chickened out and we had to stay in a hotel. And Grandma decided that just Stephen alone wasn't worth her making an appearance.

So much for that idea. Luckily the food in Taiping, as always, was great.

Friday, November 3, 2006

Keeping Up

On Sunday, Mae and I went out on our first Blogging Parents Meet, organised by Jason (who's a... erm... parent-in-training... heh!). Anyway, it was a nice little outing and we met some nice folks and their kids. Check out Egghead's blog for details.

"Shit, honey," Mae whispered in my ear in the middle of my Grilled McChicken, "all these kids are toilet-trained." I scanned the room, and true enough, it looked as though none of the kids were wearing diapers. And then we started making other comparisons.

Other kids were toilet-trained.

Other kids were friendly, shaking hands, smiling and posing for photos. Our reclusive little boy took evasive action every time someone came near him.

Other kids were eating french fries, burgers and nuggets. Jesse ate one and a half french fry.


I don't know what's worst; a kid who's lagging a little on the uptake, or his shitty parents who are always comparing him with other kids. I'm thinking you'll be choosing shitty parents.