Friday, 31 December 2010

New Year Resolution

As I clicked to post my last thought, I realised that it was the last day of 2010.

My resolution of losing 3 kg has not come to past. In fact, I am still where I was at the beginning of the year, tipping the scale at 46-point-something kg.

Rather than saying that my new year resolution is not to make any resolution, it's more of being too cowardly to make new ones, for fear of not being able to fulfil them, like the last one I made.

I guess a safe one would be to make improvements on photography, which I always have been trying to do.

Another one is perhaps to teach Coco how to ride a bicycle - a long overdue to-do.

Number 3 would be to read to Baby every night, or at least in the day.

Allow me to add to the list as the new year resolutions come to mind.

Coming Face To Face with Stroke

After the department meeting yesterday, I visited my English Boss with a few colleagues.

I was hoping to see a much improved version of her, but she continued to lie on the bed, and she was still immobile. This time, her limbs were fitted with plastic slabs, supposedly to prevent them from degenerating as a result of lack of use.

The machines were gone, but her diet remained as 'Ensure', brand of a milk powder.

Her dented head looked more sunken than ever. The skull that was removed was larger than I had thought.

She was sleeping when we arrived.

Her eyelids fluttered a little, hinting that she was not too deeply asleep.

I touched her hand and called her name.

Her eyes opened for a while, and sank into slumber again.

I touched her and called her again.

This time, her eyes opened widely. We called her and spoke to her. Her eyes remained widened. Compared to the last time I saw her, I felt that she had improved a little. She was able to make eye contact with us now, albeit for a little while. Previously, she could not focus on the person right in front of her. I thought it a marked improvement.

She looked like she wanted to respond. Her neck stiffened, like she wanted to get up.

A nurse propped her up.

We talked to her, asked her if she could remember us.

She looked like she wanted to say something, but could not.

Her six-month-old son's pictures were blue-tacked onto the sides of the bed so that she could see them, and hopefully motivate her to get well.

One of my colleagues wept.

We felt that she could understand what we were saying. Another colleague was hushed as she mentioned the words 'M would not want to see her in this state'.

Looking at her condition, I cannot help but wonder how long it will take for her to recover. It has been four months, and her recovery seems to take an eternity.

I look at stroke face to face and feel that it is one of the most fearsome infirmities. It strips a person of her looks, her basic ability to care for herself and above all, her dignity.

I never knew that stroke can be so painful, for the person herself and the people around her. I pray that it will never befall my loved ones or myself.

New Boss

The new Boss sounds promising.

The Heads were saying in yeterday's meeting that she was very academically focused, that she was 'very unhappy' with the results we were producing, and that she wanted to see results.

They said that she did not like all the bells and whistles ie. the activities and programmes that did not make any academic impact. She claimed that her subordinates in her previous school were 'protected' so that they could devote their energy and time to develop and deliver good lessons.

Well, it sounds great I thought.

I certainly hope that she is indeed what others portray her to be - academically focused.

I shall meet her for the first time in real person today in our staff meeting.

Let's see if she really lives up what others say about her.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

An Unintentional Complaint

I called NEA to inform them about the diarrhoea incident.

Actually, I didn't have the intention to do that.

However, I must admit I felt insulted by the caterer's reply. He offered his 'sincere apology' and offered to make up for the negative experience with another mini buffet. It sounded innocent enough, but what made me upset was his 'clarification' that out of the 20 odd families they delivered the food to, only we had the runs.

I felt that he was implying something else: that we falsely accused them and that we were asking for a free meal.

I actually called NEA to check on which authority I could lodge a complaint to if I ever wanted to do that. The lady on the other end casually asked for the caterer's name and my particulars. I thought they were some routine questions. But towards the end of the conversation, she said,"We will work with Ministry of Health to investigate the matter and get back to you after the investigation."

I was shocked, but too embarrassed to tell her I didn't mean to lodge a complaint there and then. I just wanted to know if there was an avenue which I could do that.

My mother heard from my sister that I had reported the incident to the authority and she asked me not to blow the matter up, so that others don't lose their rice bowl.

I feel kinda guilty about it.

Whenever I lodge a complaint, it's never to dash anyone's rice bowl. I really do mean to give my feedback so that I don't experience the same thing again.

I am also a service provider. I know how a comment can be escalated into a major complaint.

NEA even went down to the caterer's to collect food samples to test at their lab.

But that wouldn't be the food we had consumed, so it's unlikely they would be able to get anything out of that.

NEA also sent me a survey about the details of the incident. But I haven't done it yet. I feel apprehensive that I have blown the matter up, unwittingly.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

I am not a perfectionist

I haven't replied the lawyer since he mailed me the HDB documents in September.

I don't know what I should do. Indeed, the key word is 'should'.

Sometimes I ask myself if I am asking for too much. I have always tried to avoid being perfectionistic, ever since my father once commented that perfectionists are most hateful because they give the rest of the world a lot of trouble just to convenient themselves.

I tell myself that marriages are not perfect, like the one I am in. It's not perfect. In fact, to me, it's far from perfect. It is not even on the scale in the first place.

I ask myself if the perfectionist in me is acting up again.

But sometimes, I tell myself that the most important thing is that Baby is happy.

But I don't think I am happy. Not at all.

Not a day passes without me thinking whether I should divorce. Then I question if I am being perfectionistic, and I leave it at that. Only someone who has gone through this could understand what struggle this is.

The ROM cert is still with the lawyer. I tell myself that if I want to call it off, then I should go and get it back from him. But I haven't done that.

I don't really want to get it back.

Because half of me really want a divorce.

A marriage has so many little things that irate me.

Do you know that we are married for five years, and NOT ONCE has he observed the wedding anniversary?

I hate it when I see people mentioning on facebook that they are going into the first, or second, or third, or ninth, or seventeenth anniversary on when and when. And how they are going to celebrate it. Each time I see it, it reminds me so painfully that I have a no-good husband who probably doesn't even remember the date of our wedding, from the very first year.

It is very painful for me, to say the least.

I hate to admit it - I really do - that I am a perfectionist. My supervisor tells me that I am, my friends tell me that I am, and even a reader tells me that I am. I try to ignore being called a perfectionist, but in this aspect, I am a perfectionist. Aren't all women?

I would love to watch the movie Eat, Pray, Love. I would love to watch Rapunzal. I would love to watch The Little Fockers. But no.

Before I get to watch them, they are taken down.

I tell myself that these things don't matter. They are trivial.

But yet, it matters to me. Very much.

It's not the movies. It's the sudden realisation that I don't have a companion even though I am married.

This marriage has given me nothing except tears. Each time I type about my pathetic marriage, tears flow. And it's not tears of thankfulness or gratitude, or being moved.

It is with regrets that I am married. A lot of regrets.

When I see Baby, I wonder if my heart is hard enough to see her puzzled why her family is different from others', like Coco when she was young.

It's like going through an operation. The first time - it's painful, but because you went in without knowing what to expect, you went through it anyway. The second time you are told you need an operation - you are more hesitant.

Of course, I know that I have no lack of movie companion only if I send an sms.

But I ask myself if this is truly the kinda life I have to lead, or want to lead, that my companion in real life is different from the one in name?

But can he be my companion ever again? I ask myself.

I search within myself and feel that everything is never the same again starting from the day he took the kids' red packet money and my dowry.

To date, he has not redeemed my dowry. That tells me how repentant he is.

To him, it's just a pair of bangles in exchange for money. Finished. Period.

I really should adopt the same attitude. For some reason, it doesn't feel as painful when I see it that way. And of course, the same attitude applies to the marriage - it's just a legal procedure.

Where this marriage is concerned, I am stoic.

If I ever get out of this marriage, I will probably never marry again.

I tell myself that he has some redeeming points, like he buys the rather expensive rice milk for me.


But he has some irredeemable habits, like he loves to quarrel with me on the streets, in the shopping mall, on the train, in the bus, in the shops.

He promised never to quarrel in front of strangers or in public after we married, because we would have a house to go back to to thrash things out.


The drama king in him wants to let it all out in public, even in the presence of the kids. Let the public see what kinda stupid wife he's got.

I hate this. He has no idea how much I hate fighting on the streets. I saw my father did this to my mother when I was young and I told myself I would never marry a man like that. He has no idea how embarrassing it is to quarrel on the streets. Yes I tell you - he has NO idea, for the simple reason that he has no shame. For a man who cheats an old man in his nineties, how much shame does he have in him?

This alone, should qualify a divorce.

He fights with me in front of the kids. I told myself that my marriage will be one that will maintain peace in front of the children, no matter how bad it is. No. It doesn't matter to him if the fights and quarrels leave a psychological scar on the kids. Because he is plain selfish. He only thinks of himself.

This alone, too, qualifies for a divorce.

Let's see how low I get for a woman's expectation of a marriage:
1) He hasn't hit me.
2) He buys milk powder and diapers for Baby.
3) He pays the utility bills and internet bill, after we receive letters of threat to cut off the supply and I hound after him to go pay.

For someone who is supposedly a perfectionist, isn't this list a mockery at her 'perfectionism'? I can only say that I am not a perfectionist in my heart of hearts. If I were truly a perfectionist, I would have left him, long ago.

Yes, I know I whine alot about my marriage. I hope I stop too.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Boxing Day ...

is the day my toed got boxed by my bedroom door.

Incidentally, I had just settled my baby then and was running out of the bedroom to switch off the computer - alright, I wasn't going to switch off the computer exactly. I was about to update my facebook before logging off, before returning to the baby - before she wondered what took me so long to come back to her.

The door was sort of ajar.

As I made my way out, my tiniest toe hit the door edge and Ouch! It took me some time to 'get used' to the pain. All this while, my darling Coco was trying to help.

"Ma, are you okay?"

Then it bled.

You should clean it with a tissue."
"You should sit down, Ma."
"You should hop to a chair like I did when I sprained my ankle."

She helped to shut the computer down, brought me a box of tissues, and lay 5 pieces of tissue papers below my bleeding toe where I slept.

The next morning, the first thing she asked when she woke up was,"How's your foot, Ma?"

She's such a darling. Her being a darling makes me feel guilty for not being as attentive to her when she is in physical distress. What lousy mother!

Sunday, 26 December 2010

We have the runs

Apparently, we spoke too soon too good about Eatz Catering.

One check with the rest of the family showed that just about everybody who ate at the dinner last night had diarrhoea. In fact, we have diarrhoea from last night till today. At least 4 times to the toilet.


I just emailed my complaint to Eatz and demanded an explanation for the paid ordeal we have to go through.

To think I gave good review on the food and service.

Merry Merry Christmas!

This year, we had more guests than ever in our house.

My relatives from up north came joining us for a Christmas dinner. We had about 27 people in all, including the kids.

The night began with putting the presents under the magic tree ... ...

and some horsing around with the strobes

I thought the red backdrop was just brilliant!

The food from Eatz Catering
Honey roasted chicken mid joints
Cheesy sausages
Scallops Mornay
Tempura prawns
Fried rice
Turkey ham and turkey salami platter
Caesar salad with smoked salmon
Roasted lamb leg
Log cake
Baby is starting to get so seasoned in front of the camera that she's become highly sensitive to it. She is posing in this picture when the focus is on my brother.
I always grab the chance to take a picture with my gals whenever there are people who know how to use a DSLR around.
Baby loves her presents
Posing with their Nerf Guns
The guests:
My brother and his girlfriend
My aunt and my family
My niece
Our family friend
My uncle and cousin

The younger ones amongst us (in the twenties' and thirties' range) thought the food was great.

There wasn't even an awful item on the menu.

However, I ordered for just 14 pax not knowing that so many guests would turn up, so the amount was a little meagre upon first look. The older ones ie. my parents, uncle and aunt did not eat much. They insisted that they were full after eating a little. The friends brought by my sisters and brother did not eat at all. They probably felt too shy to eat. In the end, we had leftovers for almost every item.

Of all the food, Scallops Mornay was the most scrumptious, but the least.

Eatz Catering was prompt in its delivery. I had requested for the food to arrive at 7pm at first, but at the last minute at 2.30pm, I asked for it to be delivered at 6pm to 6.30pm so that one of my sister could eat something before she flew off, and the food came at 6pm. With that, I was utterly impressed.

However, I asked for the food to be increased from 12 to 14 pax, but the invoice stated that it was for 12 pax. The delivery guy called the company and reverted to me that the amount of food was correct but the invoice was wrong. ... I decided not to get upset over it and give them the benefit of doubt since it was Christmas.

Despite their blunder, I will certainly keep Eatz Catering in my list of 'Christmas Dinner Caterers' because of the good food and prompt delivery.

Friday, 24 December 2010

A Blogger in Reality

I was walking out of Ikea Tampines last Thursday when I heard a young mother asking her toddler not to run.

Instinctively, I glanced at the active toddler and felt that she bore a striking resemblance to a blogger's daughter I read about.

I looked at the mother, and I couldn't be certain about it. I turned and looked at the father, and I was rather sure. The father looked more like how he looked in the blog.

I asked,"Is she A?"
The mother was surprised,"Yes."
I said,"I read your multiply." hoping to break the ice.
The ice was not broken.
I continued,"I also have a two-year-old daughter."
"Oh ... " then more silence.

It was awkward to say the least, with me and them standing on the escalator.

The blogger was not as friendly as I had assumed and gathered from the blog.

The couple even looked a little offended, if I interpreted the expressions right, that some stranger was reading their multiply - a type of blog.

I had started reading the multiply since my singaporebrides days, which date back to more than five years ago, when the bride-to-be was eager to share the design of her wedding gown.

The episode left me feeling foolish to try speaking with a blogger whom I knew but who did not know me.

I wasn't exactly trying to strike up a sustained conversation. I thought we could at least chat a little since we are both mothers of a two-year-old. Unfortunately, the naive me had overestimated the supposedly invisible 'link' between a blogger and her readers.

I wonder if most bloggers are like that in real life: react coldly to someone who has been reading their blogs. It so happened that I chanced upon a blog right before I met the multiply-blogger at Ikea and in it, the blogger wrote that she met a blogger whose blog she frequently read in Kuala Lumpur. She wrote,"I went up to her and asked if she was P X and she said yes." With that, the encounter ended. I had thought it was strange that there was no other conversation. But it turned out that I had a similar experience.

The incident also leaves me wondering how I would react if I ever have a stranger telling me in my face that she's been reading my blog. I don't want to be caught offguard like the blogger I met and give cold shoulder to the reader, intentionally or unintentionally. That would be too awful!

Princess and the Pea

Isn't she cute?

Had a go at baby photography and find that it's really not easy. I was scared stiff to handle the fragile baby!

The tiny mattresses did not hold well. We had to stuff a stuff toy at the back to prevent the 'mattresses' from tipping over.

It was no doubt fun though, my friend, the baby's mother, was also excited about the baby on the tiny bed and took photos herself.

The bed structure was cumbersome to bring along, but I was sure glad I did.

Was experimenting with the different effects and decided that a diffused glow looks soft.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Jurong Bird Park

The day began with a glimpse of the last few minutes of the Bird Show at Pools Amphitheatre which begins at 1pm and ends at 1.30pm.

We managed to catch a parrot singing 'Singapura Oh Singapura' and another parrot, Picaso, doing a $10 worth of 'hawk' painting, as proclaimed by the presenter.

A 'snow' foam playing area at Penguin Wonderland

The early birds at the park could get a Penguin Party invitation tickets and take pictures with a real penguin! Alas, we never get to reach a place of attraction early!
We took a self-taken picture at the Bird Photography area. Baby looked a little terrified by the real birds!

A picture taken by the Park would cost at least $25. At one point I was tempted to buy it though. It featured us holding the birds on T-shaped branches and the framing did make a difference!

Then we got hungry. We had local fare at Hawk Cafe located right outside the Park. We got our hand stamped before exiting so that we could re-enter the Park after lunch.
Nasi Lemak. It wasn't bad at all, to say the least!
The chicken rice was good! At $9.50 per plate, I enjoyed it. The Dino Food Court at Universal Studio has alot to learn from the Bird Park!
We took the panorail to Lory Loft after the hearty meal

Coco feeding the lories with honey

'Dino Dig' at the Ostrich enclosure
The birds we saw:
Some unknown but beautiful-feathered bird at the Feeding Area at the Waterfall
Baby napping

Aviary Waterfall
"I want to look like I am holding the waterfall!"
Birds eating Twisties
African penguin
Pink flamingos
The secret to look slimmer on pictures: get your kid to place her hand on your tummy!
Her beautiful just-woken-up smile

We skipped the Birds of Prey Show (which was an equally great show) as we had watched it during our previous trip.

Overall, it was a nice experience seeing birds uncommon outside the Park. Each time we go there, we get to see 'new' species of birds that we previously missed. The shows are more memorable than the ones at the zoo too!

More information:
Opening Hours
8.30am to 6.00pm daily

Adult S$18.00
Child (3 to 12 years old) S$12.00

Panorail ride:
Adult S$5.00
Child (3 to 12 years old) S$3.00

Lory feeding:
$3 per cup
*Current promotion: Unlimited feeding at $3

Getting there:
Take the MRT to Boon Lay Station and transfer to SBS number 194 or 251 at the Boon Lay Bus Interchange.

If you are driving :
•From AYE, use Exit 17
•From PIE, use Exit 36. Turn left into Jalan Bahar towards the direction of Jalan Boon Lay. Turn right at Jalan Ahmad Ibrahim to reach Jurong Bird Park