Friday, April 30, 2004

Baby Fly

Yesterday morning as I was about to get out of the shower, I noticed a flying insect hovering my head. Since I hate insects, flying or otherwise, I decided to put it out of its misery.

I swung my arms frantically hoping to strike it down. Unfortunately, the sneaky little vermin was far too quick for me. I was at the verge of quitting, when suddenly Frankie the Fly decides to take a break on my shower curtain. I was about to bring down my Thundering Hand of Death upon Frankie when I realised that this was no ordinary fly. It was tiny - less than half the size of your garden variety housefly.

Then it occurred to me - Frankie was a baby fly!

And suddenly a flood of emotions came upon me. Poor little guy. Uncle James' Thundering Hand of Death must have scared the little fella. He's just a baby. And just like that, I let him go. I had him, and I let him go. He was a vermin, for goodness sake! And I let him go. I could kick myself.

I tell you, fatherhood does the weirdest things to you. Heh!

Tallest Ice Kacang In The World?

size does matter

Ais Kacang is probably Malaysia's favourite dessert. If you're Malaysian, you've probably had one or two in your life! In Taiping, the most popular place for Ice Kacang is at the Market Square, right above the Larut Matang supermarket. Here you'll find a cluster of 5 or 6 stalls selling the stuff.

During my schooldays, Ice Kacang was almost a daily affair. It was after all, only 40 sen back then. We'd hang out at stall No. 3, whose proprietor was an affable elderly couple who'd accommodate our weirdest request. Usually, at 10 sen more we'd order our dessert tall.

The Chap Chiam, literally "Mixed Sharp" in Hokkien was just your regular Ice Kacang - with the usual peanuts, corn, kidney beans, grass jelly and cendol. But here, the guy would pile on a mountain of shaved ice and he'd drench it it coconut milk and gula melaka (palm sugar), all 8 inches of it. And when Ice Kacang gets that high, that's when you taste heaven!

And then the challenge begins. As we boys ate our Chap Chiams, we'd thump the table to see whose mountain of ice would topple over.

We were dumb kids. Now, we've grown up to be dumb adults who'd probably still do it just for kicks!

Thursday, April 29, 2004


We're going on another holiday. Yaaaaayyy!!! This time its Hanoi.

This one's gonna be the last holiday Mae and I will have for a long, long time. With Baby arriving late August, we expect our live to take a major turn. For one, we'll have to forgo our holidays. A lot of it will have to do with the fact that Baby will be too young to travel. Also, at the early stages of his life he will need Mommy more than ever. So that rules out any travel minus Baby.

But aside from the physiological reasons, we expect that it will be difficult to part from Baby that early on. Over the course of the pregnancy, Baby has become such a big part in our life that we've become awfully attached to the little guy - despite the fact that he hasn't technically arrive. Besides, we would like to be there at the milestones of Baby's development. The first time he sits up, when he starts on solid foods, when he takes his first steps, when he utters his first words... stuff like that has suddenly become so important.

I have always loved kids whilst Mae had never really been a fan. But over the course of the last few month, I have seen such a major change in her. Sometimes when I peek into the room, I see her cradling her tummy and talking affectionately to Baby. Other days she'd be singing to him. And occassionally she'd read the bible to him. As I look at my wife on her journey into motherhood, I am overwhelmed.

Anyway, on Friday is our lesser journey. This one takes us to Hanoi, Vietnam for 4 days and 3 nights. So if you don't see any updates on this blog, you know why. :)

Oh yeah, if you've never told your parents you love them you probably ought to. Now's as good a time as any.

Monday, April 26, 2004


go ahead, make my day

My grandma is the toughest grandmother on the planet. Yes, that means she can take on any grandmother out there, kick some butt and still make it home on time for breakfast. What else would you expect from a tobacco-smoking, profanity-spewing old bird? Despite never having gone to school, this tough cookie is well stocked on wit, humour and sarcasm!

Growing up in Grandma's house was quite an experience. As a strict disciplinarian who took no shit from us youngsters, she wielded the cane like a samurai, his katana. Whenever we got out of line, we got it bad. If she had kept up her tyranny till today, chances are Social Services would haul her in for child abuse. Once, as a strapping young lad, my uncle threw caution to the wind and went fishing in a disused mining pond. Despite being warned by his mother of the dangers of fishing in a mining pond, the young man found the lure of a big catch too tempting to refuse. Unfortunately for him, she found him out. So when the boy returned, she grabbed him by his hair kicking and screaming and dragged his sorry ass into the bathroom. There she scooped up buckets of water and splashed it up his face making sure it went up his nose - stopping only after she was convinced that he learnt what it felt like to drown! Hahahhahah!!!!

And while we all love Grandma, we always had the impressions that she was tough as nails - cold and unfeeling.

Then 13 years ago, Grandpa passed on. That day, she cried and cried for the husband who was betrothed to her in her teens. We had never seen her like that - choked up with emotion. It was the first time I saw her cry. And she cried for months and months after his demise.

For all the years they had been married, they had never quarreled. He brought home the bacon and fed the whole family while she faithfully managed the household and the kids. And when the kids grew up and he retired, she tended to him till the day he died. It was almost automatic, almost unfeeling. And yet under all that tough exterior was a woman who had grown to love her husband so much that she could not bear to live without him.

As I was growing up, I grew to despise the notion that any good can come out of love or marriage. It was my tough-cookie grandmother who rekindled my faith.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Taiping Chee Cheong Fun

the taste that time forgot

Breakfast on Saturday was the town's most popular Chee Cheong Fun. I introduced Mae to this during her first visit to Taiping and she got hooked ever since. So much so she dragged me up at 8:30am on a Saturday morning just to eat this.

It's a simple flat rice-flour noodle, eaten with chilli sauce and a sweet sauce (I think it's plum sauce) and garnished with deep-fried shallots. The secret of this dish is in the "Fun", the noodle. This one here is home-made and delivered to the stall in batches, every morning. If you eat here you'll notice that every time the noodle runs out, the customers will sit around and wait till the next batch arrives - in a steel box, on a bicycle!

And that has been the way it's been since I started eating this Chee Cheong Fun 20 years ago. The young man who used to deliver the noodle on his bicycle back then, has today taken on the mantle to run the business. And thankfully, he has enough respect for tradition and taste to do it the way his parents did it so many years ago.

If you ever go to Taiping, do check this one out. Just look for the hawker centre on the old circus ground (Pusat Penjaja Padang Sarkas) and you'll find it. It's not the best in the world but it's still pretty darn good.

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Best Char Kuey Teow

as authentic as Char Kuey Teow gets

For those who have not been introduce to the wonder of Char Kuey Teow (CKT), it is a fried rice noodle dish and one of Malaysia's favourite food. The Kuey Teow is somehwhat like it's Italian cousin, the Fettucini. However, unlike fettucini Kuey Teow is made from rice flour. This is then wok-fried with shrimps, cockles, beans sprouts, egg and chives.

The take-away is packed in a sheet of newspaper lined with a large leaf (sorry, don't know the specimen). While most CKT sellers use a banana leaf, this is a pretty good substitute as it imparts a wonderful fragrance to the dish while preserving the moisture of the Char Kuey Teow. I imagine that this crude packaging might run afoul of some food and beverage laws in many places but here in Taiping, it's the taste that matters. So, none of that plastic bag or styrofoam box packaging for us. We like our Char Kuey Teow on a leaf just fine!

I could go on and on about how this CKT is superior to any other on the planet but I won't. (However you can read my email to the Seekers of Superb Char Kuey Teow right here! Hehheh!!) Instead, I will just say that if ever I was standing in front of a firing squad and they ask me what I would like for my last meal - this Char Kuey Teow from this stall in Taiping would be it.

My son is one fortunate kid. Even before he's born, he's had a taste of the finest Char Kuey Teow in the world last night. Tonight, he's gonna be twice as fortunate. Hehheh!!


when it pains, it roars

Despite the best of our intentions, we only managed to leave KL at 7:00pm.

While most of the drive was pretty uneventful, midway through the journey it began to rain cats and dogs. We decided to make a stop at the Tapah R & R stopover. In Mae's condition being 5 months pregnant and all, it's a good idea to stop every hour or so just to let her get down and stretch a little. But when we got there, we realised that we didn't have any umbrella in the car.

Since Mae and I pretty much the epitome of absent-mindedness, we had decided to put two umbrellas in the car. We thought that would be a fool-proof idea. Well, Mae left one in her office earlier that day. And I left mine at the Telekom office that very same day! So much for that plan.

Anyway, I braved the rain and borrowed one from a stranger at the R & R. Thanks to that little mess and the unforgiving rain, we only managed to get home at 11:00pm. Thankfully, we managed to get our Char Kuey Teow and still make it home in time for Survivor All-Stars. :)

And yeah, while I wasn't exactly a fan of Shii Ann, I am glad she kicked some Chapera ass! Yeah!!!

Friday, April 23, 2004

Going Home

We're going home! Yay!! Tonight, Mae and I will drive to my hometown, Taiping. We will leave at 6pm and if everything goes well - good traffic, good weather, etc. we ought to make it home by 9pm.

It's been awhile since we went home. We would have gone home during Chinese New Year in January this year however Mae was in no condition to travel. Back then she was in her first trimester and practically puking her guts out. Anyway, my mom's been dying to see daughter-in-law all bloated so tonight we'll just drop in an surprise her.

Travelling tonight will be perfect. By the time we get home, we'll be just in time for dinner. And dinner will be the best Char Kuey Teow in the world. Yes it's true! The best Char Kuey Teow is in Taiping. Don't let any Penangite tell you otherwise!! Hahahah! Okay, this is where I steer clear off the paths of angry Penang folks.

As I was saying, arriving tonight will be perfect. After Char Kuey Teow, we'll hang out with mom for a bit and then we'll catch Survivor All-Stars on TV. Tomorrow morning, breakfast will be Taiping's famous Kai See Mein (Chicken Strip Noodle). On Sunday we'll have a nice Chee Cheong Fun. Yup, a trip back to Taiping is always a time for pigging-out. *sigh* There goes the diet!

Anyway, we'll be gone only for the weekend. But it will definitely be a much needed break. Incidentally, Taiping mean Eternal Peace in Chinese. Just the perfect place for some peace and quiet. :)

Thursday, April 22, 2004

There's Hell To Pay, Boy!

a cool day in Hellboy

After having quelled my burning desire for a few weeks now, yesterday I snapped. I gave in. I knew it was just a matter of time that it got the better of me and yesterday it did. Yesterday I snuck out behind Mae's back to watch Hellboy on my own. :)

Two of the things I love most in the world, other than my wife, my soon-to-be kid, my family and friends are surely movies and comics. And Hellboy, being a movie adaptation of a comic is a must-see where I'm concerned. And while I would have love to have Mae go along with me for the show, our culture just doesn't permit it.

The Chinese must be the most superstitious lot in the whole wide world. We have taboos for everything. And as far as Chinese folks are concerned, pregnancy is a time of self-restraint. According to the old folks, expectant mothers must refrain from looking at ugly things otherwise their babies might end up ugly as well. My maternal grandma used to tell me stories. She had a neighbour who was preggers. To celebrate the birth of their child, her hubby brought home a goat, to slaughter when their baby arrives. (This was in the 50s, okay!) Anyway, when the kid was born, the poor little guy got his looks from the family goat! Or so it was, according to Granny.

Which leads to why Mae cannot watch Hellboy. While I think Hellboy is a cool guy, I can safely say that neither Mae nor I would ever want Baby to end up looking like him, or worse, Abe Sapien. Hahahah! And so I went alone, sneaking out in broad daylight while Mae was at work.

Anyway, the movie was only *aiight* for me though I thought the make-up and effects were pretty spectacular. And then a whole new problem began. The trouble with me is, whenever I have a spectacular experience (movie or otherwise) I just want to share it with Mae. So there I was, guilt-laden having watched a movie behind her back - fearful that she might find out. The consequences could be dire. On the other hand I was bursting at the seams to tell her about it! Argh!

Finally I 'fessed up. "Honey, this afternoon I watched Hellboy," I said to which I quickly added, "But it was pretty disappointing." I was prepared for Mae to go Hellboy on my guilty behind but it never happened. Instead she felt the need to console me for my disappointing day-out.

Must have been the puppy-dog face that I so expertly put on for times like these. Heh!

Locked In

It's 9:42am and Mae is at work while I sit at home typing this. Here's a puzzle for you:

My house keys are in the car.

I'm in the house.

Mae is in her office. And her house keys are in her office with her.

How do I get to work?

One of my biggest fears has come to life - getting locked in. Somehow, I've always had this coming. I've always known this would happen to either one of us. I am absent-minded. Mae is even worse. Our home is the absent-mind capital of the world. One day we're gonna leave Baby somewhere and forget to bring him home. Hahahh.

Luckily, I live 5 minutes away from my office. Right now, the calvary is on its way. My wonderful colleague is on his way to save the day.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Lend Me Your Ears!

Mae is 21 weeks pregnant. According to BabyCenter, Baby's developed a hearing by now. That means the little guy will be able to hear our conversations from here on!

Actually, Mae's begun talking to Baby a couple of weeks back. And she's been trying to get me in on it as well.

"Will you stop watching TV and come talk to your son?" Mae called out to her TV-addict of a husband one day. I go into the room and sheepishly attempt to strike up a conversation with my unborn child. "Hi Baby. Daddy loves you. Good boy!" and that pretty much summed up the things I have to say to my kid. Hahah! It's pathetic, I know and Mae knows it too. "C'mon, that's pathetic-lah. Is that all you have to say to your son?"

"But honey, I hardly know the little guy," I say in my own defense. Okay, it's weak. But it's also true. What does one say to their unborn child? But Mae would have none of it.

"Hey, you think I know him any better?" she retorted.

"Of course you do. He lives inside of you," I say smugly, basking in the genius of my clever little repartee and waiting for her to shoo me away back to my TV. But my wife is far sneakier than me, "see, Baby? Daddy doesn't wanna talk to you!"

It was below the belt, and she knows it. Heh! But it was effective. "No, Baby. Daddy loves you. But daddy just doesn't know what to say. I've never had a baby of my own before you know..." and then just like magic, the conversation pretty much went free flow from there. And we've been talking to Baby ever since.

And yes, I have lots more to say now. :)

Monday, April 19, 2004

Eaten Alive

The human body is a pretty amazing machinery. Everything inside a woman is perfectly tweaked to sustain life. All the pregnancy books that Mae and I have read confirms that even if an expectant mother doesn't eat for a couple of days, the baby will still get enough nutrition - directly from mommy, of course. But having said that, it is important that a mother-to-be gets her daily doses of iron, folate and calcium, if not for baby, then to replenish what baby has used up.

Occasionally Mae forgets (another side-effect of pregnancy) to take her milk, or her pills. Yesterday, Mae was telling me her adventures at work. She had taken to train to downtown KL when she felt a numbing ache in her spine. It was then that she realised she had forgotten to drink milk for the last 2 days.

"Then what happened?" I asked.

"I thought to myself 'Oh shit, Baby's eating my bones!'" she answered. Hahahhahaha!!! I laughed so hard I nearly spilled my guts. Immediately, images of a ravenous little baby eating my wife from inside out came to mind.

Did I mention Mae has a flair for the melodramatic?

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Kiddie Cake

with a huff and a puff

Yesterday, we celebrated Baby Joshua's birthday. Joshua is my sister, Sue's one-year-old. Like every big event in our family, Baby Joshua's birthday was just another excuse to get the whole family together!

Sue got my other sis, Jo to arrange the cake. "Get something cute and colourful," she said and Jo made an order at the Coffee Bean in downtown KL. The cake was an impressive piece of work. It's a cute little train pulling three cars of jelly beans, M & M and some other chocolate candy. The taste, however was a far different story!

It's horrible! It's far too sweet. And then the "icing" is some rubbery stuff, which is like biting into bubble gum. Ick! It was truly a cake designed for kids. Even with her sweet tooth, Mae found the cake a little hard to swallow.

As far as Joshua is concerned, I don't think he cared too much. In fact, I don't think he even ate any. He probably didn't have any room with all the chips, potato wedges and fried chicken inside of him!

When Baby is out and celebrating his first birthday, Mae and I will buy him the perfect birthday cake - Tiramisu. :)

Thursday, April 15, 2004


all the nutrition and taste any man could want

An excruciating pain in the heel has put Skipinder the Punjabi Kangaroo out of commission. So much for that idea. Instead, the new plan would involve eating oats. Lots and lots of oats.

Last week, a trip to Watson's gave me the inspiration for the new weight-loss strategy. I stumbled upon these little boxes of Quaker Oatmeal Porridge and I decided to give it a try. The first thing about this product that caught my attention was the flavours. Ikan Bilis. Anchovies in Oatmeal? What a great idea. The other was a Chicken & Onions combo. Wow. Taste and nutrition in a pack. What more could a man want? As luck would have it, during our last visit to the Gynecologist, Mae had been advised to get lots of fibre in her diet. And what better source of fibre than oats? We were sold.

Yesterday, I opened up the Chicken & Onions box. In it, there were 3 sachets for 3 servings. As I poured the contents into a small bowl I was...erm... quaking with anticipation. I added hot water to the contents and viola! a couple of minutes later, breakfast was ready. And it had real bits of chicken and fried onions. Excellent stuff!

It was so good I decided to have it again this morning. Mae took a taste and said, "I know you'll definitely love this because it's so savoury." Mae's gonna go for the regular, plain old, boring Quaker Instant Oats. Which leaves me one whole box of Ikan Bilis Oatmeal Porridge all for myself. Hehheh. And that's all I'm gonna eat for the rest of the month until I finally lose weight. Is that a plan or what?

A new plan for a new man. And, hopefully the new man would be 12 kgs lighter by the end of April.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Sentimental Fool

Last night Mae and I watched The Passion of The Christ. The movie was gory, I can tell you that much.

I have read or heard the Jesus story quite a few times. And while, as a Christian I believe and acknowledge that Jesus was crucified for our sins, I'll have to admit that the gravity of the crucifixion never really set in. But seeing in on the big screen with all that blood and gore is overwhelming to say the least. And this is coming from a guy who loves big-screen blood and gore like the next guy. I found myself cringing in my seat throughout many of the scenes. And many times, the movie brought a tear to my eyes. But it wasn't the bloodfest that got me all misty-eyed.

Throughout the movie, we are given flashbacks of Jesus during "happier" times. Contrasted against the scenes of inhumane torture, we see a Jesus that preaches love and forgiveness. And it's those scenes that moved me to tears.

Last Sunday during Easter in church, the same sadness overwhelmed me. Right there in the midst of our songs of worship, I broke down and wept as strains of the chorus reminded me how much Jesus suffered for me. And I'm not even all that worthy.

I was a no-nonsense, take-no-shit, tough guy. But coming to church has turned me into a weepy, sentimental fool.

Mae is far luckier than she could have been. :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

An Ex to Grind

Last Saturday evening, Mae and I along with my siblings attended a church service in PJ for my stepmom's baptism.

We got there fairly early. But since it was Easter, we weren't nearly early enough. By 6:00 pm the church was pack to the brim - so much so that anyone who arrived any later had to sit outside the church building. So there we were, on the outside with only a projection screen to make sense of the proceedings inside. Then halfway through the service, Mae's eyes shot up. "Hey! I think that's Ziggy."

Ziggy (not his real name) was an ex. Mae had gone out with him years before I even came along. But I knew who he was and pretty much what he was all about, based on Mae's point-of-view. Mae and I often told each other our war stories and Ziggy was an important episode in her life.

"Honey, we passed them by just a moment ago," I said. "Really?" surprised that she missed him despite the fact that the guy was towering behemoth! "Yeah," I replied, "And he was with that pregnant woman. Must be his wife I think." Mae squinted at the projection screen trying to make out what Ziggy's wife looked like. "You think?"

"Yeah, they were holding hands," I replied nonchalantly. And then it came.

"Was she pretty?" Mae just had to know. "She was okay, I guess," I guessed.

"Was she prettier than me?" she asked, sheepishly. "Nope. No one is prettier than you. NO ONE! " I said in mock melodrama, furrowing my brow and flaring my nostrils. She responded with a bop to my head. Then she giggled like a silly schoolgirl. I know she loved that answer. :)

And people say guys are hung-up on their ex-es. Feh!

Monday, April 12, 2004

We're Halfway There!

it's a bouncing baby boy

Last Friday was our scheduled monthly visit to the gynecologist. After the little scare we had a week ago, the visit to the Doc was very much welcomed!

Doc was very thorough with the ultrasound this time around. And unlike our last few visits, I could not make out what I was looking at from the scans. Doc gave us a guided tour. "These are the kidneys. Ok, looks good!" she went. "That's the heart and it's beating quite nicely," she continued. And Mae and I responded with elated oohs and aahs! By the way, the left of the pic is a shot of Baby's... erm... family jewels. Heh! It's a boy! On the right is a shot of Baby's upper body.

Baby is already 20 weeks old and progressing quite nicely. And that was all we needed to hear.

When Mae and I first talked about having a baby a year back, we talked about what we'd like. In our simplistic logic, we deduced that a little girl would be a nice entry-level baby for our foray into parenthood. She'd be intelligent. She would be obedient. She wouldn't cry too much. She would play in the day and sleep all through the night. She'd be as pretty as Mommy and as brilliant as Daddy (*ahem*).

But we have come to realise that all that didn't matter one bit. As long as Baby was healthy, we'd be happy. And as long as Baby was ours, we'd love him for the rest of our lives.

After 5 months of pregnancy, I think we're finally ready to be parents.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

All Things Bright and Beautiful

new threads for a sharp-dressed little man

Sue, my sis called me a couple of months back, "So, is it gonna be a boy or girl?" "Doc thinks it's probably a boy. Why?" Turns out, Baby's auntie is just as excited as we are and just like that Baby's got a nice, new wardrobe of clothes for baby boys. And Sue's one-year-old, Joshua-boy is gonna have a little cousin to grow up with.

Yesterday, Mae and I decided that we probably ought to wash some of these stuff in anticipation of Baby's arrival. As I looked at all these little babysuits hanging on the clothesline, I'm completely amazed that in just a few month, a tiny little version of Mae and me will be joining our family. Wow!

I'll be teaching him stuff. How to give high-fives. How to do a little victory jig everytime we pull a fast one on mommy. How to laugh like a hyena with all the appropriate facial expression. He's gonna be a Mini-Me!

It's gonna be cool.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Toast of the Town

the toast of the town

One of the most troublesome thing with Mae's pregnancy is surely her constant battle with insomnia. Of course with Mae, the battle inadvertantly becomes mine since she considers it a good idea to wake me up in ungodly hours of the day to share with me her inability to fall asleep. Today was such a morning.

Okay, technically it wasn't that early but as far as I'm concered, any time before 10 am on a Saturday morning is far too early for me. But since we were up, we decided to make the best of it by having an early breakfast.

A couple of years ago, I had heard of this little coffee shop in Section 14, PJ that serves wonderful, old-fashioned, Chinese breakfast. A review in a local daily recommends the Chee Cheong Fun and their signature Kaya Toast. While the Kaya Toast is available most of the day, the Chee Cheong Fun had gotten quite a reputation and sells out quite early.

We managed to make our way to Hai Keng coffee shop. It's along Jalan 14/20. If you're coming from Jaya Shopping Centre, it's at the end of the road on the block ofter the Metrojaya block. We settle down at 9:30am and I make my way to the back of of coffee shop only to see the Chee Cheong Fun guy eating the last of his popular dish! Aw man. It's 9:30am, for crying out loud!! And we thought we were early.

We ended up with the Kaya Toast. Like any good old Hainanese boy, I had mine with a couple of half-boiled eggs. And I can testify that this is one good Kaya Toast. The bread is the handmade kind just like I used to have as a kid. Excellent! The toast is perfect, although not toasted over charcoal. It it crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. The butter and Kaya combination is just nice. But when I dip a slice into the runny yolk of my half-boiled eggs... Mmmm... that, my friends is a slice of Heaven!

Just the kind of breakfast that makes early Saturday mornings a little more bearable.

Friday, April 9, 2004

Good Friday

it could have been a great Friday

This is Lola. Tonight Lola sings it at the Shanghai Inn with her cabaret girls. I, on the other hand am stuck here in my office. And on Good Friday. Meanwhile, Lola is swingin' it to a full house tonight. And on her opening night, no less. *sigh*

Okay. It's not exactly a cabaret. Lola is the heroine in my church's Easter offering. The story evolves around the lives of a few down-on-their-luck characters in old Shanghai. Set in the 1930s, Shanghai Reborn is a musical drama produced by DUMC's creative ministry, Punctuation Productions. It's an amateur production, of course but it's pretty good. Mae and I were supposed to have gone. We didn't get tickets, but since Mae's wonderful husband occasionally does some behind-the-stage work, we can usually sneak in! As stagehands, of course. Or make-up people. Or wardrobe assistants. Hehhe!

But too bad. Work rules, tonight.

Anyway, if you have never been to DUMC for a stage production, do try. The plays are pretty good. The stories, well told. The music, well scored. Punctuation does 3 productions in a year - Easter in April, Arts Fest in August and Christmas in December. As for Shanghai Reborn, it plays for 3 nights only. Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 8:00pm. Member's have to pay. However for the general populace, it's free. Wonderful or what? :)

Thursday, April 8, 2004

Dead Weight

get off of me, you pig!

I've been gaining a bit of weight. Okay. A lot of weight. Which is a bad thing under normal circumstances. But with Baby on the way, the extra pounds is just gonna weigh me down when I need to start keeping up with the little tyke!

This is all Mae's fault. She makes me eat everything that she cannot finish. "Honey, I can't eat this. You eat it. That's right boy, lap it up like the greedy little pig that you are!" And I obey. Okay, okay, so a exaggerate a little. Most of the time she just says, "Honey, I can't eat this." And then I'll lap it up like the greedy pig that I am. What can I say. I love food.

Today I've decided to start a new fitness regime. Since I don't have time for gym, I shall skip. Every opportunity I get. At home. At work. Everywhere. I will no longer stand. I will no longer walk. Instead, I shall skip. I will be like Skipinder the Punjabi Kangaroo (does anyone know this or am I the only one who watched it?). Skip, skip, skip. I shall skip until I lose 12 kgs by the end of April. And after that, we'll talk about muscles. Is this a plan or what?

When Baby arrives, he will be greeted by Daddy the Master of the Universe, the Contender for Mr. Olympia. He will not be greeted by Daddy the Bucket of Lard. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, April 7, 2004

Assurance In A Heartbeat!

Last night was rough (see previous post). For a guy who can sleep through a World War, last night was bad. I didn't manage to sleep till 4am. As a result, we got up a little late this morning. Mae called our Gynae to bring forward our appointment from Friday. But as fate would have it, the good doctor is off today and tomorrow. And if we wanted to know how Baby was doing, we'd have to wait till Friday or go to another Gynae.

Finally we decided to see a General Practitioner just to get some advise on Mae's fever, sore throat and headache. We ended up in a clinic nearby and I accompanied Mae in. The doctor took her pressure and temperature and told us that indeed Mae had a fever. She then proceeded to explain that she would be prescribing some Panadol and some lozenges for the throat. No antibiotics! And that was the end of the consultation.

As we got up to leave, I felt all desolate that we weren't gonna find out Baby's condition till Friday. In utter desperation, I turned around and in a final plea for help I asked Doc, "Doc, do you think you could check on Baby for us?" I didn't have to say more. She knew. She probably saw all that worry in my eyes and knew exactly what I was thinking. "Why, sure," she said with a smile and led Mae to the examination table. I sank back in my chair.

Mae got on and Doc put her stethoscope on the belly. Then she moved it to another position, and another, and then yet another. At that point, I felt a surge of panic run up my spine. I got of my chair and went up to the examination table. What if Doc couldn't find a heartbeat? What if something's wrong? What if... and then Doc said, "Ah, the heartbeat is regular. Your baby is fine."

And just like that, I felt a huge rock lifted up from off my chest. I looked at my wife an I knew she felt exactly the same way that I did.

Everything was going to be alright.


The problem with pregnancy is the long gestation period. It takes 9 months to make a baby. More accurately, 265 days. That's 6,360 long hours of waiting. It can get a little unnerving, believe me.

Today, Baby is a little over 19 weeks old. With 142 days to go, we're not even halfway there yet! And it gets difficult sometimes, especially when I see Mae going through the symptoms. Even as I write this, my poor wife is in bed feeling quite sick. And there isn't a single thing I can do for her. I can't even get her a Panadol since most of our pregnancy "manuals" advises against taking certain medications. I feel helpless. And I feel guilty as well. Guilty that I did this to her. And guilty that I sometimes find myself secretly thinking, "Thank God it wasn't me."

Our next scheduled appointment with the Gynae is on Friday. But we'll probably go this morning because we're a little concerned that Mae's condition might affect Baby. Thankfully, this is the first time Mae's gotten sick during her pregnancy. Hopefully it will also be the last.

Cats and dogs are made in 62 days. Hamsters, in just 16. But us, we take a whopping 265 days!! That's a terribly long time to wait... for anything! Perhaps this is God's way of making sure we appreciate our children. Perhaps it's a way to make sure we always cherish human life. Perhaps it's a reminder how much our parents suffered that we may have life.

Thank God we're not elephants!

Tuesday, April 6, 2004

The Quickening

Last night was weird. Mae and I had gone to sleep a little after twelve. While it usually takes Mae awhile to doze of, the same cannot be said for me. I am the epitome of sleep. I am the professional sleeper. I sleep any time, anywhere and with complete ease I might add. I'm a hypnotist's dream subject - snap your fingers and I'm out like a light! But enough about me!

Last night, like every other I dozed off quickly enough. I might have slept for a half hour or so when Mae suddenly shrieked out, "My stomach!! It's all bloated!! Help!!" Mae has a flair for the melodramatic. She sounded as though an alien was trying to burst out of her abdomen! I jumped out of bed (and almost out of my skin) in a state of panic. My heart was beating frantically. And I was falling all over myself.
"Honey, what's wrong!? What's wrong!??!" I screamed back.

"My belly!!! Look!! It's bloated on one side!"
I put my hand on her belly and lo and behold, there was indeed a little lump on the left side. It was all so disorienting. I was half awake. It was pitch black in our room. There's a lump on my wife's belly. And she was screaming her head off.
"Is something wrong with Baby?"

"I think it IS Baby"
, she calmed down a little. "He's pushed himself to the side!"

"What do I do? What do I do?!?? Should I push him back?"
Hahahaha!!! And then we burst out laughing like a couple of hyenas on heat. We realised that this was our first experience of Baby's movement. This was the quickening that we'd read about. And yet nothing that we had read prepared us enough for the actual experience. I put my hand on Mae's belly and I felt Baby's movements. They were a little faint, I suppose due to Baby's size. He is after all only 6 inches long now. But wow, what a feeling! By then the lump has subsided. We then said a little prayer and asked that God kept our little fella safe. And just like that we went back to sleep. Like nothing happened.

There's never a dull moment in the Tan household.

Monday, April 5, 2004

Sweet Tooth

sweets for my sweet

Aside from Baby's arrival, one of our biggest anticipation for Mae's pregnancy is her cravings. We have heard so many stories about pregnancy cravings that we're anxious to have our own experience.

Most pregnant women get cravings. And you'll be surprise to hear the kinds of things that happen. For us husbands our duty is just to provide, by hook or crook, through rain or shine the many desires of our wives appetite. According to the old folks, an expectant mother's craving must be satisfied. No reason given. Somehow I suspect this to be some womenfolk propaganda!

Mae is okay so far. No raging cravings for anything in particular but she seems to have developed a sweet tooth. Hence the picture. Breakfast for Mae was a "Mun Cheong Kueh" (what do you call this in Malay? Apam Balik in Malay - Thanks Bob). We get ours in the Bukit Maluri morning market. This guy's been plying his trade in the same spot for over 10 years. 40 sen a slice. But today, on the day that Mae decides to eat some, he's decided to raise the price to 60 sen! Hahahah!!!

Thank God Mae isn't craving for abalone. Or Lobster Thermidore. Or for that matter, Sarawak Laksa... from Sarawak! :)

Friday, April 2, 2004

My Sparkling Wife

you light up my life

This is a shot of Mae eating the dinner (my last post) I made for her. I hadn't planned it out like this but as I looked through the viewfinder I decided that this would make a nice shot. Sparkling Orang! Just the perfect description for the woman who brightens up my day.

Ok, I admit it. After this shot I was looking around for something that said UTAN. Hehhehehhe!!!!

See how important Mae never finds this blog?

Thursday Dinner

her dinner in, my dinner out

Thursday nights is a night out with the boys. Mae is not so hot with the idea because when the boys get together, she imagines all the seedy and seamy things they get up to. But Thursdays have become an institution, one established long before Mae came along so she does give in, mostly. While she generally trusts me, I suspect there's this unease that gnaws at her every time I'm out there. So what do I do? I bribe her.

Dinner for the wife is a small but nice cut of beef well-done. Some veggies add colour to the dish so I give her a portion of steamed carrots and a corn-on-the-cob. I would have like to put in some french beans, cos some green would have improved the presentation but unfortunately our fridge is not as well stocked as I would have liked it to be. Which also explains the carrot strips instead of the more delicious baby carrots.

Since Mae is still swearing off anything with an overpowering taste or smell, I had to omit some of my favourite ingredients. No pepper for Mae. No onions too. And heaven forbid, no garlic. The meat was marinated with Lea & Perrin's Worcestershire Sauce and a little salt. And what steak is complete without a nice sauce? For this I had to improvise. I used milk. Would have used cream but I didn't have any. I put in a dash of Worcestershire sauce. A little dark soy sauce for colour. I added a mild mustard sauce for taste which is actually a thick mustard seed paste (by Sanden Brook sold by Omegatrend) which is nice for texture - though normal mustard would have done the trick quite nicely, I think. And I put honey, since Mae's developed a sweet tooth during the pregnancy. I used a little starch flour to thicken the sauce.

I present it as best I can given the restrictions and lack of ingredients. Everything goes into a nice white plate, carefully arranged as best I can. For show, I sprinkle some Rosemary over it all, like they do in good eateries. OK, so it's not much too look at, but hey, I did it myself -with own own two hands. I get brownie points for effort, no? :)

And that was dinner for Mae. She didn't complain. And she kept dipping her corn into the sauce - which I take to mean that she approves. As expected, there were no rave reviews. But then, there are never rave reviews on Thursdays. I can be Jamie Oliver and there'll be no rave reviews. Hahaha! But I got my ticket to go out. On a Thursday, that's plenty.

Thursday, April 1, 2004

Darth Maul, Security Officer

demoted to security detail

This here is Darth Maul. He joined our highly-esteemed (by our own low standards) organisation late in 1999 and was designated at head of security. And for the last five years he has been faithfully serving our security needs standing at his post right next to our door.

However, the time has come for us to uproot our little company in our impending relocation. As it is, we don't quite know if the guy will be joining us at our new premises since he doesn't look like he really wants to be going anywhere. We have pretty much sensed that Darth Maul here is stuck in his comfort zone and will probably bitch about how far the new office is and how transportation will be a pain. Despite his nasty demeanor and tough-guy aura, the Sith Lord can be a whinny little snot sometimes. Sith Lord my butt, I always say!

Management has considered letting him go, since his resistance towards change is starting to get everybody down. But on the other hand, he has been good for our... erm... corporate image. Perhaps its his celebrity status. Or maybe it's his freaky facial tattoos and cool threads. Or maybe its the funky Lightsaber he has. In the short time that he has been with us, he's turned our organisation into the coolest company on the planet (probably not earth)! And hence the dilemma. As much as he can be an ass, he can also be an asset. If only he'd speak his mind.