Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Hurting Teenager

A young life is lost.

I thought about how lonely she must have felt as she sat on the window ledge, thinking about the nasty things said to/about her.

I imagine her tears streaming down her cheeks as she replayed the nasty scenes in her mind.

How helpless and hopeless she must have felt.

I asked Coco why couldn't a teenager ask for help.

She could talk to her parents, her teachers or school counsellor.

Why did she choose to battle all these alone?

Coco replied that perhaps her parents did know, but didn't think that it could be that bad.

Telling teachers wouldn't help, because the haters would hate her even more.

Why should she care? Oh, teenagers care about their haters.

Then at most transfer out of the school.

Coco said,"Transferring out of school is a humiliation. And it would mean you have lost."

But isn't committing suicide a declaration of losing too? Isn't that worse? You have lost indeed.

Coco: Well, at least you are not there to hear that you have lost.

Here I am, worrying about how badly Coco has fared in her studies.

There a diligent and intelligent girl was, struggling with self-esteem and the desire to be liked by her friends, on a daily basis.

And she caved in.

I feel so sorry that I didn't know about it. I feel so sorry that she was so near, yet so far, that I could have brushed shoulders with her but never knew what a girl like that was going through.

I know it wasn't my fault. How could I have known anything about her? But I keep thinking about the young life that is lost. What could have pushed her down that window? How long had she been putting up with the struggles? How lonely she must have felt to drive her to take the final step.

When I was 14, I thought about committing suicide A LOT. I didn't do well in my studies. I wasn't the most popular girl in school. A schoolmate had openly humiliated me by commenting on my looks, and everyone present laughed. 25 years later, I still remember the deep hurt I felt that fateful morning. Coupled with other issues, I felt that all was hopeless. To ease the pain I felt within, I created pain on the outside. It is hard for someone who doesn't do the same thing to understand, but inflicting pain on myself did help, somewhat. The scars remain till today to remind me of the intense pain I felt at my lowest during my teenage years. The desire to be accepted is often very strong during the formative years. Without which, a teenager feels utterly dejected.

Bullying is very powerful. It makes one hate oneself when it isn't one's fault. It could change our lives for the worse. Very much worse.

Nothing I say will bring the girl back to life. No amount of thinking will get her back. But I still think about it.

I think about the sorrow and pain felt by her parents, especially her mother, who could still be reproaching herself for not knowing the gravity of the situation or what her daughter was going through, who could be feeling devastatingly guilty for not helping her own child out of the hell she was in.

I wish no parent would ever go through this.

And I wish every child, every teenager would know that although it may look dark all around and situation seems hopeless, one day you will leave this place and go to a better place. Not in death, but in life. I wish they knew they are needed. Their parents need them. And they don't know. Teenagers often have this wretched sense of self-worth. Their world is a lot more complicated than children's but they don't measure up to the adults. Their days seem forever and never-ending. They can't see the end of the road. But the road will end one day, and only those who press on will see the glorious light at the end of the sinister tunnel.

To: the hurting teenager,

I wish you enough courage to walk the path you set out to walk on no matter what your critics say. Haters will always be haters. They have made the choice to hate you. You can't make them like you. So don't even try. What is life without some haters?

I wish you enough kindness to love yourself well.

I wish you enough wisdom to talk about your problems constantly with at least one trusted adult.

I wish you enough contentment to focus on the blessings of a healthy body and sound mind instead of negative and destructive comments and remarks.

I wish you enough discernment to distinguish friends from enemies. I wish you enough grace to acknowledge that not everybody will be your friends and walk away from people who do not wish to be your friend.

I wish you enough patience to wait for time to pass, and for yourself to grow up in a few years' time. When you look back 5 years later, the nightmare would have been, at best, a test and trial that had helped you to find yourself; at worst, something that remains a nightmare as part of your formative years. But you will not miss it and you will be glad you had walked on and not caved in.

You really will. I am able to tell you this because I didn't cave in. And I am glad I didn't.

And I am not strong.

You don't have to be strong to do that.

Just live on.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Unsound Advice

When I see or hear people dishing out THE advice, "Let him/her fail to teach her a lesson." the first thing that comes to my mind is: let yours fail first.

Most of these people are singles, of course.

They tell you how they will surely allow their daughter or son fail their exam to 'wake them up from their idea'.

And those who are parents themselves,  surprisingly, give such advice. And surprise surprise, they never allow their own children to fail any exam, primarily because their daughter or son never exasperates them to that extent. But yours does. It reflects bad parenting. Drastic times call for drastic measures, and what else can be more drastic than getting your child to fail?

They don't stop to think about the consequences of failing an exam for a child.

At best, failing an exam could, might really wake the child up, and perhaps the child would shine academically for ever and ever.

But how many times does that happen?

There are more failure stories about children failing exams. For one success story, I have twenty failure stories to counter the effectiveness of such a tactic. As it is, I haven't heard of a success story from failing an exam, but I have seen many failure stories and broken dreams from doing badly in exams.

At worst, these children don't get up from then on. The belief that they are stupid and doomed to failure is affirmed through the failed exam.

By now it should be clear as day that I am against 'let him/her fail the exam' advice.

It is a lousy advice. Period.

So stop asking people to let their children fail an exam. The advisor himself or herself reflects the very essence of bad parenting.

Saturday, 14 March 2015

It could be Thyroid

I have been losing weight at an amazing rate.

Somewhere in mid January this year, I was shocked to see my weighing scale tipping at 48kg. So I decided to go on a diet, meaning I skipped my dinner. My weight dipped to 47kg one day later. I was satisfied with the result, so I continued to abide by the skip-dinner routine. Within one or two days, I was a 46kg.

My weight continued to dip. By the end of January, I was a 44.9kg. 4 days later, I was a 44kg. 2 and a half weeks later, I saw 43.9kg. 2 days after that, it was 43.3kg. 2 weeks later, I became a 43.1kg.  3 days on, I was a 42.8kg. Today, which is the third day after my last weigh-in, I am a 42.5kg.
Yesterday while talking to my 2 sisters who have thyroid, one of them commented that I had lost weight. I replied, as usual, that I had gone on a diet. A vendor and some colleagues had also noticed my weight loss and I gave them the same reply.

My sisters said it could be thyroid. They asked me to stretch out my arms and noted that there were tremors in my hands. I asked my mother who was standing next to us to do likewise, and surprisingly, there was no tremor.

They persuaded me to see a doctor.

So I did.

The doctor timed my heart rate and decided that it was too fast. He said that it was likely Hyperthyroidism. I know I have heart palpitations but I had seen a doctor who suspected that I drank too much Coke which contains caffeine. Although my heart still beats very fast, I don't hear loud pounding of my heart when I lie down anymore, so I'd thought it was back to 'normal'.

He drew my blood to send for a blood test. After that, he asked if I often feel hot, which I do all the time. It got so bad that the much-fatter William would say it was cold while I continued to feel hot and needed the fan or air-con to be on full blast.

I had thought it was age when I found it difficult to wake up in the morning this year even when I had enough sleep. 

I have these symptoms so far:
- rapid weight loss
- tremors
- heart palpitation
- feel hot
- fatigue

I would know the answer when the report is back from the lab next week. Meanwhile, the doctor gave me some medicine for heart palpitation.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Casa Hotel

The exterior of Casa Hotel
I had chosen this hotel for its location and its price.
Cityview Hotel had become too expensive for us and since Casa Hotel is also near Yau Ma Tei MRT Station, and cheap, I booked it for our stay.

I had read that it was 'very small'. This is not the only hotel that other travellers had said is 'small'. The hotels in Taipei and London had their fair share of 'small' reviews but they were okay for me. So I decided to give it a try.

The moment Coco opened the door, she felt that it had hit something.
When the door was finally opened, we were quite shocked that the room was that small.
This time, the reviews hit the nail.
The bed facing the door was an extra bed for Coco.
These two single beds were for William, Baby and me.
Hard beds.

Where William and Baby were, was the door.
The bathroom was equally tiny.

The bathroom
The shower area was very small. 
When someone showers, the whole bathroom would be wet.

Even the lifts were very small.

The receptionists were not very helpful. Quite cold, in fact. 
The hotel didn't offer cab-booking service. 
You could not even ask the receptionists for directions to tourist attractions.

The only good thing about the hotel was its proximity to Yau Ma Tei MRT Station. 
It was just one or two shops away. Other than that, it really was not fantastic.

Will I stay here again? 

Probably not.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Day 6 & 7: Tim Ho Wan, Hello Kitty Cafe, Yuk Lok, The Peak & Star Ferry

It was just about the last day in Hong Kong. We would be flying back early next morning.
So we were back at Sham Shui Po

for Tim Ho Wan again!

Crowded as usual

We ate almost the same thing as we did the first day we were here.

I gave up the idea of going to Hello Kitty restaurant as it was quite out of the way, but there was a Hello Kitty cafe at Sogo.
We saw some tiny doughnuts of different flavours. Of course we had to buy them.

It was actually located in a corner of the supermarket at Sogo.

Lots of yummy-looking pastries
A China lady asked the salesgirl,"When we cut open the apple, will we see a Hello Kitty inside?"
The salesgirl laughed,"No. That would be too high a standard."
We bought 4 macarons and 1 was given to us free.

Happy with their purchase

Outside Times Square

The short ride in a huge bauble was free-of-charge!

I told William that we were at the Orchard Road of Hong Kong.

A sea of people

There was an adoption drive for St Bernards!

William missed the meal at Yuk Lok.

We were there at 5pm, and again, their goose drumstick rice was sold out.

Roast pork and char siew were their signature dishes too!

They were great, but too much for us.

Their wonderful geese

We made our way to The Peak and stopped at a building for our toilet breaks.
As we waited for William, we watched the howling wind bend the tall trees outside the building.

We braved the strong wind and reached The Peak Tram ticket booth.
It was not too bad. We just thought it was rather windy.

I had read that you should never come to The Peak on weekends.
On seeing the crowd, I concluded that it does not make any difference whether you come on a Thursday or Sunday.

But this time round, it was more organised. 
We moved in groups. 
Only one group was allowed to move to the waiting area for the tram at any one time.

On the Tram

It was very cold up there. 
The view was still as stunning as ever, though.

Coco put her head out of the glass barrier to show how strong the wind was.

At alighting

We boarded a bus after alighting the tram to go to the Pier.

Waiting at the pier

Boarding the Star Ferry

On the Ferry

Just a 10-minute ride from Central to Tsim Sha Tsui

We followed the signs to the MRT Station and took a train back.

The next morning, we took a cab to the airport to Scoot off.

Leaving the Hong Kong Airport

In the Business Class seats

Lovely Scoot, hope to board you again!