Sunday, 27 February 2011

Photographers and their WAGs

I'm always amazed at how male avid photographers often do not have ravishing beauties as their wife or girlfriend.

I'm saying this because I just went to a link that showcased a travel photographer's girlfriend's portrait, and I thought he was kidding when I saw the first picture. She looked quite ... er ... masculine. The facial features are quite hard I thought.

I was back in Malaysia for the December holiday and I met up with a veteran photographer who happened to be a friend of my aunt. His wife wasn't spectacularly beautiful either - I was speculating on her looks when she was younger based on her current age and look.

I have a colleague whose husband loves to take pictures of scenery. He has a professional camera and lens. However, I wouldn't say my colleague is ravishing either.

I am not saying that their wives and girlfriends are ugly. I guess I always thought photographers would look for great beauties with model-like curves to be their partners since they are particular with details.

I am just being a busybody for this post, but just wondering why the amusing match. I know it's the inner being that counts and so far, the photographers' wives I know are virtuous, gentle and humble. I can't help but have always felt that men are comparatively superficial and so they wouldn't know virtues even when they bite them on the nose, so the best bet for them is beauty. If inner beauty is anything to go by, then these photographers indeed have an eye for beauty.


I am going to the NATAS fair today! I am hoping to go Bangkok in the March holiday.

I have never imagined myself going Bangkok or Thailand for that matter because I don't want to 'waste money' on another Asian country. My first-ever overseas trip was to Bali and I thought it totally overhyped. It felt alot like the rural parts of Malaysia with the addition of a volcano and terraced rice fields.

But I really hope to get away for a short while in March holiday. With my job, I'm cooped up at home for 3 full months each time, if not half a year. I didn't feel so suffocated when I wasn't in this line then. But now, I actually feel stifled and uncomfortable if I don't have anywhere ELSE to go during the hols.

I've said it before, that I don't fancy travelling. But I guess the Hong Kong trip changed my perspective quite a bit. Oh Hong Kong ... the beautiful ... food!!!

I have heard so much about the Chatuchak Night Market, and recently, I read on a blog how CHEAP (stirred up the cheapo in me!) and GOOD the food is and how GENEROUS (the cheapo in me at work again!) the portion is. That particular blogger even had glorious pictures of shark's fin soup staring right at you from the computer screen. I am a sucker for shark's fin soup. Yes I know I am cruel and horrible, a shark-killer, that they die a slow and painful death after having their dorsal fins cut off mercilessly and got thrown into the deep sea, but I don't eat it that often you know.

I want to see if there is anything I can buy as photography props. If I remember correctly, a child photographer told me he bought his gigantic bear from Thailand (or was it Korea?). Friends and family told me the things there are dirt CHEAP (my love). What reason is there to miss out on a place like that? I haven't been to Thailand anyway, so I thought a 3-day trip should do fine for a short getaway, although I had hoped it could be a 4-day so that I could do a little sightseeing and immersing of the local culture. I do want to get a feel of the local culture and flavour when I go somewhere, especially when the culture is something foreign to me.

I was having problems finding someone to go with me. I was even contemplating going there alone, but I know I will have problems sleeping at night. It's embarrassing, but even at my age, I still maintain an extremely fertile imagination of ghostly formations.

It's a last-minute decision to go - even now, I am not sure if I am going for sure. It'll have to depend on the deal at NATAS in comparison to the deals I have sourced on the net. So far, the airfares on budget airlines alone cost $350 and up. I thought an air ticket to Bangkok ought to be cheaper than that.

I hope I don't spend more than a thousand dollars on the trip. Let's hope it will even materialise and when it does, it'll be a fruitful trip. Amen!

A five-week babe

A friend gave birth in January and by the time I had the time to visit her, even though she lives in the same vicinity, the baby was already 5 weeks old. Rashes were forming on his cheeks.

I used 'Filter', 'Blur' and 'Suface Blur' (Threshold and Radiant were adjusted to between 20 to 25) to smooth out the skin, and exposed the pictures quite a fair bit as the baby was quite dark-skinned. It's a wonder to us because both his Chinese National parents were fair and were born in the North side of China.

I wished I had the courage to handle the baby. My friend handled and positioned the baby instead.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Flowers, after some long years

He gave me this on that day:

We had a fight instead.

I know I shouldn't, but I did it anyway. I said he didn't have to give it to me since there wasn't an audience for it. He gave it to me at home, at about 6pm.

I was relieved that nobody talked about that darn Day at my workplace, until an unmarried clerk asked me about whether I was going out for a nice dinner. I had a mini explosion on how I hate the Day, and how lousy my husband was, that men suffer from amnesia about giving flowers or gifts for that Day, birthdays and anniversaries right after the marriage. The fact that she mentioned that 'many colleagues received flowers today' made it worse.

So after I had heard the wonderful things others' husbands and boyfriends had done and me done with my bitching, he gave me the flowers at a place nobody would know or see.

That detonated the bomb.

I said that it was clearly a last-minute effort.

He said he had tried to get it sent to my workplace that morning but the florists' delivery schedules were all full.

I said that's of course, because others' boyfriends and husbands had done it days way before that day.

After many bitter exchanges, he then said he did not have the money to buy the flowers in advance.

On the account that the expensive flowers came from a poor bloke, I let it go.

Some will say that I am unappreciative, ungrateful and blah blah blah.

But he knew all along that I love flowers. He was prompt with them before marriage.

He knew the romantic protocols of a guy in a relationship.

The fact remains that he is a changed person immediately after the marriage. I have not seen flowers for the longest time.

I wanted to smile at him when he gave the flowers, but I found myself crying while facing the computer.

I felt that I had a lot of grievances towards him. A lot. I felt that I could never see him as a dutiful husband ever.

A colleague shared that she told her husband, on an ordinary day, that he had not been getting flowers for her after marriage. He went out to get them immediately. She said,"Does that make me happy?"

I wished I could tell her,"My husband wouldn't even get them for me even if I said that."

I guess most women would wish they could be proud of their husbands.

I didn't think I was one of them. But I guess I do want someone I am proud of too. I don't put William's pictures on my facebook. I didn't know why at first. After a while, I realised it was because I didn't feel proud of such a husband. I could not feel proud of him. I am even worried that if anyone whom William owes money to sees him on my facebook, he would see or think about me negatively.

I tell myself that one day, when I ever feel proud of him, his pictures would be there.

I wished I could write a beautiful post about a beautiful subject, but I still couldn't.

Mixed Messages

I plonked myself into the bed at close to 5pm today, supposedly for a 2- or 3-hour nap. But it was 1am when I finally awoken from my deep slumber.

To update on the last nonsense incident:

The new First Boss asked to see me about the parent.

She seeked to clarify with me the conversation content of the incident. After that, she assured me that I did not have to change my practice of making a child stay back to complete his work just because a parent called up to complain. However, I am about quite sure I would not stay this particular child back anymore for whatsoever reason.

The parents were simply unreasonable.

The Boss felt that the parents were highly sensitive (they took whatever I said to the extreme and jumped at everything I said) and too protective of their child (kept stressing that the boy was a 'very good boy at home').

She asked me not to call them since it would likely invite another shelling from them. She would call them instead and inform them that I would communicate with them via the student handbook from now on. Just as well. Who would want to 'communicate' with such unreasonable customers?

She was very nice about it. She 'taught' me how to write in the handbook should the child did not hand in his work again (since the parents are highly sensitive to words) ie. just write 'so-and-so did not hand in his work on this-and-that date.' Do not even dream of writing 'This is to inform you that ...' or 'For your information ...' or 'Please look into the matter.'

She did not want me to call, also because she did not want the parents to think that I have cowered because they complained to her.

Sounds impartial enough I thought.

Another colleague is also having problems with the child.

She is conducting supplementary lessons for the class but the child does not attend them. The child lied about having submitted the consent form when he had not. When he finally did, the parents indicated that they did not consent.

She does not want to call them as she has anticipated that they would be very difficult since she already had such a difficult time chasing after a slip of paper. And under normal circumstances, parents would not disallow their children to attend supplementary or remedial lessons.

However, when she spoke to the new Boss, the new Boss asked her to call them! And even told her that the parents 'are okay'.

... ...

Well, I guess time will tell what kinda person she really is - a Boss who is supportive of her staff or partial to the customers.

Monday, 21 February 2011

When will I ever?

I just got lambasted by the parents of a kid who refused to hand in his homework. As a matter of fact, they took turn to run me down.

The child had a piece of homework which was long overdue. Day after day, he said he would hand it in the next day but never. I had asked him to inform his parents a few times that he would stay back after school but he never did.

So today, I got my monitor to bring him down to me after the last period and I made him stay behind to complete his homework.

As he handed in the homework to me, he left me a message saying that his mother would like me to call.

As it turned out, the mother questioned me over things irrelevant to the situation.

She did not believe that he would lie about homework submission because 'he is a very good boy at home'.

She said that it could be 'something you did to him in class' that made him behave like that.

When I highlighted to her that the Maths teacher had similar complaints about the child, she questioned why I was the only one who called her.

She questioned me why I could not call her on her handphone. I had called the home number and the uncle picked up the call. I was assured that the mother would be informed immediately. The fact is, I was using my handphone (since another colleague was using the workplace line) and did not want the parents to keep my number. I've had the unpleasant experiences of parents calling me at 6am in the morning. I am a firm believer of educators not being at the beck and call of parents and so I refuse to give my number to any parents, unless it is a very special case or I am certain the parent is not a potential nuisance.

Then the father took over.

He questioned me why I did not inform them in writing as all children have a handbook in which I got them to use as homework recording book.

I was flabbergasted at the parents' irresponsible stand on this matter and turning the table on me who was trying to help.

I figured that they were just interested in finding fault with me when it was not my fault at all and they were crazy over protecting their precious son. So I said that I was busy and I needed to get back to my work and so THANK YOU AND BYE!

Now I have to worry that they would complain to the bosses for poor customer service rendered.

When will I ever learn not to bother about the children's homework submission or weak results?


When will I learn to just let them rot in hell rather than getting myself into hot soup over worthless scumbags?


When will I learn not to be idealistic and think that all parents want their children to do well in school?


When will I stop being so stubbornly naive and plain stupid?!!!

When will I acknowledge that some parents simply do not bother about their children's academics and are more concerned about how their teachers would giftwrap the children in a beautiful tinted paper?

Perhaps I am really not cut out for this line. Ten years on, and the disillusion continues ...

A Simple Wedding

I am back from my colleagues' wedding. Yes, it's 'colleagues'' because they met at our workplace.

It was almost just another wedding, until I saw the montage.

The guy wrote this:


I was almost moved to tears.

How many of us would admit in public that we are 痴情?

It takes a certain amount of courage to say that, to put that in writing.

The guy was handsome, the girl plain.

But the girl was a kind and simple girl who loves to travel.

He must have been attracted by her simplicity.

I knew the guy first. I didn't think they were a good match at first because of their appearances.

After I knew the girl, I then felt that they were truly compatible.

I am moved that the guy loves the girl more than she loves him. How rare is that? How precious is that?

It's indeed a tall order to even find someone that you can fall in love with. How precious it is to marry someone you love?

The wedding reminds me of a quote from a Channel 8 drama serial 《爱的掌门人》in which Jacelyn Tay and Thomas Ong acted in:

A wedding with love is a perfect wedding

The groom made 3 simple and practical promises in the highlights:
1) Not to make up or tell white lies
2) Share housework with her
3) Take her on a trip every year

William can't even fulfil even one of them. Let alone three.

I know this is one marriage that will last. Not a Christian marriage, but a blissful blissful one.

How envious ...

Sunday, 13 February 2011


These few lines keep impressing upon my heart as I listen to Fish Leong's album:

属于风的 那就去 飞翔吧

属于海洋的 那就汹涌吧
... ...





My clumsy translation, in case anyone is ever interested:

The one that belongs to the wind, let it fly with the wind
The one that belongs to the sea, let it flow with the furious currents
... ...

The past endings that belong to me
Are my decision

The future hopes and dreams that belong to me
Are my beliefs

I make a terrible translator. I translate the language loosely. The essence is lost. The meaning is only known to me as I interpret it.

To a significant extent, within those lines, hide my wish and hope of being free and being myself.

Sleepless. Randoms.

I have been on a refusal mode to sleep.

Meaning, I am awake till 1 or 2, or even 3 or 4am, especially on Fridays and Saturdays.

I had always been a late sleeper since Primary 5. The first time I slept at 1 or 2am happened because I was looking for pictures of ministers of Singapore for a Moral and Education lesson, which wasn't required at all! As a child, I would prepare things in advance, thinking that teachers would request for them. I still remember the time I tried very hard to cut out a piece of rice sack just because I thought my art teacher would require us to get a piece of it for a kite-making lesson. I even cried out of desperation and my kind father offered to help me cut it out.

I slept late especially in my teens and twenties. Those were the ages I often spent time with 'myself' and my thoughts.

Since young, I had to share a bedroom with my sisters, so I, as well as my sisters, never had true privacy. I guess sleeping late is a way of getting privacy out of none. I would look out at the red sky and the stars and thought about things that I can't remember now.

Now, I seldom have time for myself. So perhaps sleeping late is a manifestation of the private me crying out for some moments of privacy and quiet.

It's not that I am not tired. In fact, I'm a little tired right this moment - my eyelids are half-closed. But for some reason, I don't really want to sleep.

After so many years, suddenly it dawned on me that I have not listened to my favourite Chinese pops and ballads for a very long time. And I do mean 'very long time' - at least 10 years? I have always been a Channel 8 and FM93.3 girl (okay, 'girl' is 'had').

I adore Faye Wong and Fish Leong. Incidentally, both have their names begin with 'F'.

I used to stay by the radio to listen and record the songs played on the station. I could spend the whole day by the radio. It really sounds silly. And I do think it was such a waste of time now. What was I thinking?

Now that I am always living on the edge of time, and feeling that 24 hours is not enough. I get exasperated and even disgusted that time is wasted.

I know I shouldn't, but I even applied this on Coco today. I caned her for wasting her whole morning and afternoon not doing anything.

I haven't really sat down to listen intently to any Chinese songs for more than ten years. I kinda stopped listening to them after I was pregnant with Coco. The pregnancy was a traumatic experience for me and it totally threw me off tangent. I went into a depression mode and seized by a great fear instantly, for months, till Coco was born.

A colleague shared that my English boss had returned to school with her baby a few days before she suffered the stroke. She said,"If anyone asks me how it feels like to be a mother, I would say it's wonderful."

Yes, it's wonderful to be a mother. It really is.

Seeing Coco's little alien-like eyes and pretty face cured my depression and dispelled my fear immediately.

I am really fortunate to have spent ten years with my kid/s.


Can you grant my English boss the same privilege too? She couldn't wait for her kid to go to Primary One. I know she would be that perfect mother. God, is there a way to go about this? I am sorry I am not able to say that I would exchange place with her. No mother should be in such a condition. No mother deserves to be. She has done nothing to deserve this. When I said 'thank you' to her just the other day, for speaking up for me, she looked at me with her huge eyes, with a stoic expression, like she could understand what I uttered. I kept talking and she kept looking. God, how she would want to be normal again, to care for her baby. Even if she can't care for her baby, can you at least let her be able to speak, touch and hold her baby? God, this is cruelty at its worst: a mother loving her own baby, yet can't communicate with her baby in any way. I do so much want to be positive and confess that she will be well, but God, it pains me to see her in that state. God, help my unbelief.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

A Time for Reunion

Every year, I return to my hometown to spend my Chinese New Year, with my kids.

I rarely go back there, but I make it a point to reunite with my relatives once a year.

We don't have any relatives in Singapore. I am born in Malaysia, bred in Singapore. So all my relatives are in Malaysia and all my friends are in Singapore.
The spread for Reunion Dinner
I love home-cooked food. It beats steam-boat anytime. And for some reason, it's true that food in Malaysia tastes better than in Singapore. The meat is usually more tender, especially the chicken.
Our lo-hei

Look at the hands go!

The offerings on Chinese New Year Eve

Our neighbour released a Kong Ming Deng for every possible good wish

First Day of CNY. Isn't Baby cute to join in the lighting of sparklers?
Stepping on 'pop pop'

Happy with sparklers
Coco used to get asthma attacks from sparklers' smoke when she was young. My father would tie the sparklers on the bamboo stick hangers in the kitchen and let her watch it from the living room so that she got the kick out of watching the sparklers yet far enough to avoid getting the smoke into her lungs.
She loves the trike! She rode it in and out of the living room for 2 whole days. Everybody noticed her passion for the trike.

On the 2nd day of CNY
Healthy living as dawn breaks

I can't agree with this message more ever since I saw for myself the cruelty of stroke
When I was young, I used to think it lame for adults to wish each other 'good health' as part of the CNY greetings since everybody would 'inevitably' have good health. Now I include it as MY CNY greetings, especially for adults.
The sleepyheads. And Coco - yet to change out of her CNY outfits

Someone framed this picture up - Coco and her cousin (in the middle) and her uncle (on far left)
9 years later ...
Everybody smiled when they saw the two pictures side by side.
We invited a lion dance troupe to perform at our home

The drum started rolling
This little fiery imp is not afraid of anything!
Inspired by Coco's picture with her cousin and uncle, I tell myself I'll take a picture of these two kiddos year after year
Having their own lion dance
A happy moment

I was on a matching craze. It doesn't matter if the tops are meant for maternity wear.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Let it rain

I love rainy days.

Actually, I have never hated any weather. I don't know how people can hate a natural phenomenon. Whether it's sunny, rainy, windy, cloudy, or scorching hot, I love them all. I take them as they come and never curse the weather for being rainy or too sunny. I see weather as a natural necessity in the ecology. Perhaps it's one of the least manipulated things in this world that makes it all the merrier.

I just hope that the rain doesn't get so heavy when I need to tread on the road.

I do hate to be splashed on by wicked-hearted drivers though.

I have never thought rainy days as being 'gloomy', or asked them to 'go away'. I read quite a few of the 'gloomy' response to the recent weather on facebook and it comes as a surprise to me so many people don't like rain.

Incidentally, I call myself 'Rain' on my blog, simply because I love rain.

I guess it's something like dim sum. I love dim sum and I can never have too much of it. I don't grow sick of it ever. I could have dim sum for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and I'd thought everybody was like me, until my sisters whined,"Dim sum again?!! You're crazy!"

Rain has a hint of melancholy in it. Perhaps that's why people call it 'gloomy'. I used to like being a melancholic for my temperament, but as I age, I thought being phlegmatic is probably better - even-tempered and peace-loving. And I had quite a few phlegmatic friends who are really nice, consistent and loyal people.

I like the smell of rain, and the after-rain smell. The smell of rain is an impending freshness, somewhat ominous, a little mysterious, yet there's so much charm in the imminent phenomenon. The after-rain smell is fresh, refreshing, signifying new hope.

Haha ... pardon me for being ridiculous. I am trying to put how I feel about the smell into words. I guess there can never be the right description for it.

I just love rain. But like many sane others, I do hope that it will stop in time for the grand First Day of Chinese New Year.