This is my very own little space in cyberspace. The space where I vent, the space where I rant and the space where I rave.

Friday, December 31, 2010

High Tech Bus Terminal Opens Jan 1

            Two thumbs up to the new bus terminal.  Damn canggih, right?  Now, if only we can find a way to prevent people from dying gruesome deaths from our buses.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

And A New Auntie Is Born!

           Today, the 29th of December 2010 marks the day I become an auntie for the first time.  Well, that’s not technically true, I’ve been someone’s “aunt” since I was about 4 when one of my much older cousin’s wife gave birth to a baby girl, effectively making me “auntie”. 
            What I meant by “for the first time” is that my sister gave birth today, making me Ee Ee (that’s what the baby will call me in Hokkien).  Sara Chuah Hui Qi (pronounced Hui Chee, NOT Hui Kee!!) made her debut today at 2.06 pm via C-section at SDMC Subang Jaya 13 days earlier than expected.  That’s kinda her own fault actually.  She was supposed to turn head down in preparation for the birth, but she never did.  And that coupled with a few other reasons prompted the obstetrician to decide to opt for C-section to avoid possible complications due to her breech position.  She weighs 2.89 kg and measures 47.8 cm.
            Welcome to the world Sara!      


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What’s In A Name?

           Writing Celebrity Watching in Labuan got me thinking about this 500-year-old question and inspired this piece of writing.  So, 500 years ago, Shakespeare asked this question.  He went on to say “that which we call a rose, by any other name would smell just as sweet”.  Sooooo…. nothing’s in a name?

            I don’t know about this one.  I think if bunga ros or bunga mawar is called, say… bunga tahi lembu, the world would be a very different place.  It’d be like an alternate reality where drinking water is blue and men give birth.  You wouldn’t dream of giving your honey sejambak bunga tahi lembu now, would you?  And you know what, I don’t believe bunga tahi lembu would smell just as sweet as bunga ros, regardless of how pretty it is.  LM Montgomery said “live your life so that it beautifies your name, even if it isn’t beautiful to begin with.”   That is a beautiful thought, but what’s a little flower to do if it is called bunga tahi lembu??

            The issue of names is rather close to my heart at this moment.  I am in the midst of searching for a suitable name for my soon-to-be-born baby girl.  There are lots of pretty names out there.  But I believe there’s more to a name than just the way it sounds.  There’s the meaning, of course.  I think the meaning is of utmost importance.  Really, what is the use of having a pretty sounding name if it means something vulgar, or if it has no meaning at all?  Which is just as bad.  I know one Malay name which is quite common, and which sounds quite pretty and nice, but the meaning!  Well this name actually means “prostitute”.  Fancy that.  Not at all nice!

                        Non Malay      : Hi, what’s your name?

                        Malay girl        : Hi, I’m XXXX.

                        Non Malay      : Oh, that’s a really pretty name.  What does it mean?

                        Malay girl        : It’s… err… ummm… it means… umm… prostitute.

                        Non Malay      : Were you adopted?

            Then there was this couple I read about in some papers or magazine some time back.  They had a daughter, and apparently couldn’t decide between two lovely but quite common names.  Being in that quandary, coupled with the fact that they wanted something unique and different for their daughter, they combined the two names and created a never-before-heard name.  Something like AAAA + BBBB = AABB.  Unique alright. Well, if you’re into that kind of things.    For me, it just reminds me of “kacuk-ing” lembu and seladang and getting selembu.  Or ayam and puyuh and getting puyam.  Not appealing.  I mean, what the heck does the name mean???

            Then there’s also the story and history behind the name.  It’s not just the meaning that makes the name meaningful.  A child could be named after the father’s favourite poet, or maybe the mother’s favourite aunt.  Maybe the mother dreamed of the name when she was pregnant.  Maybe the child while still a foetus jumped excitedly at the sound of the name, thereby leading the parents to conclude that that was the name it wanted! 
I just can’t help but wonder at the wisdom (and sanity) of parents who name their kids after something as transient and as forgettable as a character in a TV serial or a pop artiste/group.  What possible aspiration could the parents have for their newborn son by naming him Michael Learns To Rock?  Sure, when the child was born back in the early nineties, Michael Learns To Rock rocked.  But now, more than a decade and a half later, who even remembers them?  In the meantime, little Michael Learns To Rock is stuck with that name, for eternity.                    

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Feliz Navidad!

Feliz Navidad
Feliz Navidad
Feliz Navidad
Prospero Año y Felicidad.

Feliz Navidad
Feliz Navidad
Feliz Navidad
Prospero Año y Felicidad.

I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas
I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas
I wanna wish you a Merry Christmas
From the bottom of my heart.


            Nope, I don’t speak Spanish.  Just that I’ve been hearing and reading “Merry Christmas” so often these two days that I thot the greeting in other languages would be refreshing. 
1.    Selamat Hari Natal / Hari Krismas
2.    Felice Anno Nuovo
3.    Frohliche Weihnachten
4.    Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan
5.    Kotobian Tadau Do Krismas

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Entice And Enticed

            People get married for a myriad of reasons.  Love.  Lust.  Money.  Loneliness.  Desperation.   Pressure.  In the case of Daphne Iking and Ryan Chong, it beats comprehension why they even bothered to get married in the first place.  Perhaps it was to have a partay in Bali.
            As reported in the New Straits Times on 21st Dec, the couple tied the knot in Bali in January 2007.  In June of the same year, Chong embarked on an affair with a woman he met in a karaoke centre in Shanghai.  By November of that same year, Iking gave birth to a baby girl.  A paternity test later showed that Chong is not the father of the child.  The couple divorced in 2009.
            What is the real point of the court case that they are currently embroiled in?  Other than generating embarrassing publicity, it is also a waste of court time.  These two have shown complete mockery of the sanctity of the institution of marriage and of their vows.  Dua kali lima, lima kali dua.  For them the vow should probably have been “till the first temptation do us part”.
              Why am I even writing about them?  Clearly I have too much time on my hands.  I should haul my pregnant ass off the sofa and go entice my husband.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Letter To My Unborn Child

Dearest Squashy,
            First of all, Mummy just wants to assure you that you will not be stuck with the name Squashy all of your life.  Mummy and Daddy have been, and will continue, looking for suitably appropriate, beautiful name for you.  For now, Squashy is a convenient moniker, especially in the beginning when we didn’t know if you were going to be a daughter or a son.  Besides, isn’t “Squashy” perfectly adorable, darling name for a soon-to-be-born baby?
            And now, it is almost certain that you are going to be a daughter.  Another little girl to light up Mummy and Daddy’s life.  Yes, you are going to be our second daughter.  But just because you are our second, that doesn’t mean you come second or that you are in the second place.  You and your sister both occupy the first place in our heart.  Mummy has to admit though, that you were not exactly planned.  Actually that’s not strictly true, Mummy and Daddy have been talking about having you, but because of the situation our family was in (Daddy’s work and absences, our planned move, etc etc) we thought the time was not right.  But you!  You had other ideas.  You decided the time was exactly right, and so, two blue lines appeared!  Is this a glimpse of things to come? 
            You’re unplanned, but certainly not unwanted or unloved.  On the contrary, you are very much wanted, very much loved.  Right from the beginning, when you were just a cluster of cells.  Words cannot describe how Mummy felt knowing you were growing inside, and that in less than eight months you were going to be in Mummy’s arms.
            Mummy is rather big now, and ungainly, and uncomfortable most of the time, and definitely full of trepidation about the impending labour (an unpleasant first experience didn’t help!) but all that pale in comparison to the anticipation of your arrival.  Naturally, Mummy  and Daddy have also wondered about what you’ll be like.  After your extremely active sister, we thought a good, docile baby would be a pleasant change.  But after feeling you move, we have decidedly given up the fantasy of having a good, docile baby!  Your sister was very very active while still inside Mummy.  But you surpassed her!  Do you know that you’ve actually woken Mummy up from a nap with your hefty kicks??  Oh well, life with a baby who isn’t  docile, and who knows her own mind is bound to be more interesting anyway J
            My darling baby, until we meet, Mummy will be thinking of you, and dreaming of you, and loving you. 

                                                                                       With all the love in the world,

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tragedi Di Bulan April

           I am a mother.  And as a mother, I cannot think of anything more heart-wrenching than losing a child.  My heart goes out to the mother, and family, of Aminulrasyid Amzah, the Form 3 boy who was allegedly fatally shot by a policeman after a high speed car chase in Shah Alam back in April.  Losing a child is heart-wrenching, but losing a child in that tragic manner, well, I can't even begin to imagine that.

          At the same time, my heart also goes out to the said policeman, Kpl Jenain Subi and his family.  On that fateful day, I imagine that Kpl Jenain and his family had no inkling that their family would be thrown into this turmoil.  I imagine that they had started the day without any inkling that it would end so terribly, terribly wrong.  That a boy's life would be taken, and Kpl Jenain would stand trial for causing his death.  Upon conviction, he could be sent to jail for 30 years.  

          I was not in the police patrol car with Kpl Jenain that night.  Neither was I in the white Proton Iswara Aeroback with Aminulrasyid and his friend.  I do not know what transpired in either cars.  I do not know what was being said, or the thought processes that led to the various decisions taken that night.

          What I know are the facts as presented by the printed media.  That 15-year-old Aminulrasyid was at the wheel of the Proton, and it was in the wee hours of the morning (if memory serves me right, it was 1 or 2 am), and he was fatally shot after a high speed car chase.

          What I do not know, but really want to know are these:  here we have a 15-year-old, a Form Three boy, what business had he behind the wheel of a car?  What business had he to be out of the house at the wee hours of the morning on a school night?  And why did he drive away from the police instead of stopping when ordered to do so?

          Did Kpl Jenain have to fire 19 shots (again, according to the media) at the car?  Maybe not.  Did Kpl Jenain intentionally kill the driver of the car to stop the runaway car?  We don't know that.  The tragedy here is that a 15-year-old was behind the wheel.  If it had been a drug trafficker, or a child rapist, or a cold-blooded murderer, we would be singing praises to Kpl Jenain and calling him a hero.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Celebrity Watching in Labuan

          Back in college, my KL born and bred friends (and those who were not, but liked to think they were) bragged about spotting local celebrities in hip Bangsar.  Having never spotted any celebrities before, local or not, me and a few other friends duly went and spent our time and money in watering holes in Bangsar. There we were and the grand total of celebrities we spotted was zero.  Zero, zilch, nada.  Time went on, and still no results to show for our outings except a good time and considerably lighter purses.  Then I grew out of my celebrity spotting phase. 
            I went to the UK, graduated, and was posted to Sabah.  Then I moved to Labuan.  To the uninitiated, yes, Labuan is part of Malaysia (shame on you!!).  It was once part of Sabah, but in 1984 was made a Federal Territory.  It’s a small island, just 95 sq km with a population of about 80 000.  Its main industries are serving the oil and gas business and the offshore financial services.
            Bear with me ya.  I’m getting to my point now.  I was told by a colleague that the best soto (Malay noodle soup) to be had in Labuan is in one particular stall by the road side.  It’s quite out of the way, but apparently, it’s so good that even the MP frequents that stall.  I’m not exactly a soto person, but I thot what the heck, I’d give it a try.  So I took myself and off I went.  There I was at the humble stall waiting for my soto when in sauntered ELVIS.  He coolly went to the proprietor and placed his order and then placed his quite tubby self at a table not 3 feet away from mine.  Granted, he didn’t have his trademark sideburns, and he didn’t have his trademark sequined bell-bottomed suit on and he didn’t have his cape on. But as surely as nite follows day, he was Elvis.  Well, it was embroidered on his red coverall.  That’s how I knew it was him.  I wasted no time and whipped out my phone to text my other half.  “I SAW ELVIS!!!  ELVIS IS ALIVE!!!”  Needless to say, he was not very amused J At any rate, that was my first encounter with a celebrity in Labuan.
            My second encounter with a celebrity (yes, there was a second encounter, and even a third) occurred not too long after that.  One till-then-uneventful day, I stepped into one of my classes to be greeted by (drum roll please) MACGYVER!  I was quite a big fan of his show, so it was a rather thrilling experience for me J People of my generation would know Macgyver.  People not of my generation, go look it up in Wikipedia.
            My next encounter with a celebrity occurred in a nondescript Chinese coffee shop.  I was with my colleague and had just had my breakfast of dim sum and wanton noodles and teh o peng.  Sated and happy, my eyes started wandering around the coffee shop.  That was when I spotted MARADONA!  Unbeknownst to me, he was sitting at a table behind me the whole time!  I’m not a football fan, so spotting him didn’t actually make my day all sunshiny.  But still, it’s not everyday that you bump into a living legend.  Another text went out to my other half about this encounter.  Again, he was not very amused.
            The moral of the story, forget Bangsar or Hollywood or Vegas.  Come to Labuan.             

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Joys of Having A Bun (Or Buns) In The Oven

  1. You get  the "licence" to stuff your face 
  2. You don't have to suck your tummy in when walking in public
  3. You get to get a whole new wardrobe (meaning: shopping!)
  4. Anywhere you go, you're guaranteed a seat
  5. People are nicer to you on the streets and in shops
  6. Your bulging tummy is a great ice-breaker
  7. Due to the influx of various hormones in your pregnant body, your skin glows and your hair positively shines
  8. You get nightly tummy and foot massage (well, I do!) 
  9. It's a great excuse for ... well ... whatever! (I'm pregnant, that's why I woke up late; I'm pregnant, that's why I have to eat right now; I'm pregnant, that's why I'm sleeping at my desk)
  10. It's a great excuse to get your partner to do ... well ... whatever! (Why won't you do it for me??? I'm carrying your child!!!) 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Walk Down Memory Lane

            Actually it was more like a dash on the memory highway.  Met up with some friends from college last Monday.  Some I haven’t seen for years.  One I haven’t seen since graduation.  But then we sat ourselves down at Delicious in Midvalley and started to yak and yak and yak and yak and yak and yak (ok, you’ve got the general idea now) and the years just melted away. 
            It was ages since I had talked and laughed that much.  Just the therapy I needed after all the stress of packing and uprooting myself (all while being 8 months pregnant) the week before.  It was rejuvenating and invigorating, and although the husband and the daughter (the Light of My Life, the Joy of My Existence, my Heart and Soul) were never far from my mind, I felt like a young, carefree and irresponsible and slim and cute and sexy college student again.  At least temporarily.
            The 2 ½ hours just flew, hence the dash instead of walk, and highway instead of lane.  There was much catching up and note-comparing to do.  I am happy to report that although it’s been over nine years since our graduation, look wise (with the exception of the aforementioned pregnancy of yours truly), we hadn’t changed much. 
We are sober, serious, mature adults, but in that 2 ½ hours, we were as chatty and giggly as teenagers.  I just wished the meeting was longer, but it couldn’t be helped.  Adulthood brings with it all kinds of responsibilities that we just couldn’t shirk.  And so, our short, but much looked-forward-to and memorable meeting came to an end. 
It was mighty fun to visit my past where I was younger and slimmer and cuter and sexier, but it was also mighty comforting to return to my present where I am a beloved wife and mother.