Thursday, December 18, 2008

Heaven is a place on earth...

It must seem obvious that "indulgent relaxing holiday" and "wailing flailing children" are two mutually exclusive entities. They sound so strange together in the same sentence, that your brain may be tingling right now. But if you have children who at some point in your recent life, introduced you to new dimensions of wailing and flailing, you must read on, for you are hence a qualified member of the common humanoididal speciogenus 'in-dire-need-of-indulgent-relaxing-holiday-but-unable-to-leave-wailing-flailing-children-behind'. More brain-tingling? Trust me and read on...

Club Med Phuket. Maybe Club Med anything, but Phuket to begin with, is a three-letter word that promises a hoard of fun for everyone, ESPECIALLY tired parents who want a holiday from answering questions and explaining things to wide-eyed, cute, unpinchable short human beings. Well, thats my take anyway. For us, four days was not quite enough. There was sun, sea and sunblocked frolicking in the powdery white sand and frothy beach. The shoreline stretched far, white and smooth into the distance, reducing people from lanky topless saggy beachcombers into little black dots on the horizon. I cursed my throbby ankle for not being able to add some salty sweat to that shoreline. Ohwell. Didn't matter in the end because there were still insufficient hours in the day to spend squishing toes in the sand. Not just mine, but twenty other small fleshy ones, turning wailing and flailing into an expression of joy. Amidst sandcastling and swimming, I hydrated the kids with milkshakes and fruit juices, while I sipped pina coladas and mai tais beside my draftbeer husband.

I loved the food; I could live forever on their freshly baked bread, and don't ask which was my favorite, I can't decide at all. Wholemeal, country, french, poppyseed, sesame, dontaskme. There was food for everyone; porridge and grilled fish for Rohan, hash browns and all sorts of pasta for Charu. Chocolate krispies, miso soup, Hong Kong coffee barbecue ribs, kuih lapis, lemon meringue pie. Slabs of ham, shards of bacon. Slivers of coconut, chunks of pomelo.

The most uncomfortable thing was the 1+ hour travel from Phuket airport to Club Med. But in a comfy plush van with ample water supply and interesting things to see all along the way, it doesn't qualify as a complaint, even with Rohan constantly demanding to "see stateeyues!!", thanks to the numerous sculptured statues standing at a roundabout, outside stores and atop scupltured temples zipping past.

I admit though, that going there right after the situation in Bangkok was unplanned good timing. At such a post-incident calm time, there is a quiet careful air all around, with additional security checks and law enforcement. Visitors cancel and stay away to obviously minimize risks to their well-being and travel schedules. So anyway, because of that, we had a clear passage to and from Phuket Airport, and Club Med itself had many cancellations, granting easier access to facilities -- shorter queues at the trapeze (darn I didn't get a shot of Tony climbing and swinging), better attention from the friendly G.O.s (I think G.O. is short for Guest Officer). All friendly, helpful and multinational. Show you to the bar? Get your kids some food? Help you carry stuff to the beach? Great concept, it encouraged all the guests to be friendly with each other too. Interestingly, I confirm, yet again, that my looks are innately Japanese, even to the Japanese themselves :-) I got a lot of "Japanese?" to which I'd say, "No.. Malaysian". But having two cute kids quickly smooths such quirky situations because everyone just shifts attention to their smooth little cheeks and coos, and nobody is for the worse...

I didn't get many still photos because we used our new videocam, from which I have not extracted them videos. So with my trusty Motorola U9, I only managed a few shots of the kids on the beach near sunset, as they hopped about trying to get the attention of a baby elephant transported there to help merrify a wedding-on-the-beach. It was the cuuuutest thing there besides Charu and Rohan. You be the judge:



Celebrity spottings on Kata Beach, Phuket:

Matt Damon hides behind Mickey sunnies and a huge grin (bloodied lip from filming fourth Bourne movie... no actually from slipping while shimmying off the bed..!)


.. and a brunette Gwen Stefani performs Hollaback girl in pink Barbie sunnies


Post-performance press conference


Baby elephant - flappy-eared, swishy-tailed, well-behaved, covered in fine fuzzy baby hair, and with cuteness that is inversely proportional to distance from it.


As sunset nears, cuteness is in abundance...


Charu with some Japanese tourist :-D


Rohan squishing toes in sand..


Charu savouring powdery texture of sand..


Rohan realizing that some basic needs must be attended to soon..


Charu: "Can I pelt the bride with this... ?" .. no actually she said, "This is a sand ball!!"




Saturday, November 22, 2008

This post to push down the embarrassing blabbery previous one

But ironically, this one'll expose an embarrassing incident that happened today. Why? Because I am masochistic or something, I don't know really. Maybe I'm just expunging it. Exorcising. Exercising. Oh no I did that already earlier. Bad idea because my ankle started talking to me. But that's another story. Maybe I should tell that one... maybe not. I need to shut the ankle up first.

Okay moving onto more exciting things. Who wants to see recent photos of my cuuuute children? Me! Memememee!! Sometimes I feel bad posting so many photos of Charu and Rohan in cyberspace, but where else can I stand back and admire with such pride, my lovely lovely beautiful little human beings? At home? Well yea but this is different. You see, here they are:


In Jakarta... which reminds me - I haven't posted a satisfactory story on that!! This one is taken by a window at Hotel Mulia, my favouritest photo of the lot, so favorite that it makes me spout worse English than usual

This is an old one (Rohan has hair!) lying in my Moto U9, I hope this helps you understand why chubbywubby is a staple adjective in our house. If this were a painting, I'd call it "Beanbag nap after lunch"

Rare organized pose midway through a no-rules galah panjang session on the badminton court...

Cuddling up to each other (and Goohee the IKEA-bought doggy - don't expect sophistication and tact when asking a 4-year-old to name her brother's dog) while watching TV

In kiddy pool in Rawang.. that reminds me, need to get a bigger pool!

Charu the patient princess, reading to Rohan the king on the throne... potty-training being one of the many sweet things that Charu is helping Rohan with. Truly a princess!


So there!! Ah what was this post for again? Oh yea... embarrassment. Well its not really that important or interesting anymore, because it cannot eclipse the spectacularness of the photos above. Agree? Greegree?? But oh well just get it off me huh. In a conference call today, I was discussing serious work issues when Charu sneaked up behind me and asked "Can you please wash my bum now?". Because I had kept her waiting for awhile, maybe 5 minutes. Well, some length of time that is longer than a little 4-year-old is prepared to wait for a bottomwash. Because I was being asked at that long badly-timed moment, to explain something. Because it is nobody's fault. Because I *think* I muted in time. Because I did not hear any faraway sniggering or anything after that request. Because the call went on without any awkward pauses. Because of all that, I HOPE that the embarrassment is only in my mind. Although, I guess I'm pushing my luck by confessing it right here...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Do you know the Muffin Man... ?

Stop press YET AGAIN, I have an important piece of news to share with myself, and any of you who are remotely interested in happenings at my workplace. If you do know me, then you may know that I work at Motorola Malaysia, and at work, my colleagues and I call ourselves Motorolans. Like duhhh. Wait, this changes dramatically by end of this post..

Now, the day before yesterday (seeing that today is already what.. Wednesday!?!), I walked into a boardroom filled with big bosses at least one of whom I'd just had a conference call with on Friday, and at that time he seemed comfortably located at Arlington Heights, USA. No indication that on Monday at 11am, he along with his boss, would be face-to-face with me (in the case of his boss, it was elbow-to-elbow) in a Cyberjaya boardroom. So... since that *was* what I was facing (and elbowing), and since taking two steps backwards and joking about feeling like I was in AH did not at all dissolve the tableau (and I think elbows lie a lot less than eyes), it hit me within those few seconds, that some BIG huge almost-out-of-my-puny-Monday-coffee-drenched-braincelled-grasp news was about to land on us.

But of course. By 11.30am, we minute, smallfry project managers of Motorola Cyberjaya software teams, were digesting with much difficulty, the news that our site was acquired by Satyam, the big company from India, who'd recently set up shop down the road, and who were expanding their presence in Cyberjaya with a 15-acre facility that would be ready in June 09. Uh huh. Sounds like our new lokap iz gona be beeg, and next to da Balai Bomba Cyberjaya. Resipi untuk panik, ya? Heheh. Big heddek has started now. I not only have to digestify the news, I have to do it WELL enough to lead my team into this uncertain future, with as much confidence as I have running a marathon next week. But luckily I am NOT running a marathon next week!! But I AM going to have to walk into an employment deal with Satyam within the next month, or I will be out of a job. Ironically, I was contemplating being out of a job after Rohan came along. But the Work-From-Home program offered by Motorola allowed me to continue functioning, and functioning Effectively and Well at my job, well enough to stay on for a year and a half. Em... but now that I am in this comfy zone, it is dislodged. Typical of life isn't it. Change, change change. When you least expect it. OK lah admittedly I did expect some sort of change to be inevitable in the near future, seeing that no new projects (of significant and sustainable headcount) seemed to adhere to the site in recent times. But this is still a surprise. I guess that goes to show that... PEOPLE NEED TO PAY MORE ATTENTION TO WARNING SIGNS LIKE BUZZING IN THE BRAIN :-D :-D

OK more on this later. I owe this blog a Heckuva lot of updates. Bleddy hell. I will post lots, while I'm still a Motorolan, that's till the end of this year. By Jan 09, I will probably be a ... listen -- a Satyamite. Yesh, I guesh it rhymes with Marmite. Very Fresh..... read about the Satyam-Motorola deal here if you are genuinely interested in this sorta stuff. In the meantime, I need to sync this post with its title, so I hope you know the tune of the Muffin Man. If you don't, please get me or my kids to sing it for you the next time we meet, kay:

Do you know the Satyamite, the Satyamite, the Satyamite
Do you know the Satyamite, who's at Cyberjaya?
Yes we know the Satyamite, the Satyamite, the Satyamite
Yes we know the Satyamite, who's at Cyberjaya.

Oh craps. I DEFINITELY am so not in the league of my dear friend Preeta, nor any of the illustrious poets she reads and obtains inspiration from. PLEASE do not let my lack of poetic ability influence your judgement of her literary prowess, just check her out here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Biker Gloves = 2 kids' amusement X 30 minutes

Today's post is a lesson on how to secure an additional 30 minutes of relaxation in a house containing two very cute and energetic children. Just give them a pair of biker gloves!



Lovey Dovey with a pair of Gloveys...


What big Gorilla hands I have!!


Posing as an elite EPL football team goalkeeper


Rohan: What th' f@*$*!...


Biker gloves trying to squeeze some cuteness out...


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Walrus and the Porcupine

Stop press for some breaking news.

I took Charu to The Curve last Saturday, so that I could achieve the two things that I like to on weekends - spend mommy-daughter-bonding time with Charu, and replenish the kitchen pantry. So off we went, and here are some delightful shots of Charu enjoying tomato sauce pasta and potato wedges on a high chair at Marche.








Well! So much for delight, we did our thing, walked and shopped, skipped and hopped all over Curve, then returned home with a trolleyful of Tesco groceries.

As I opened the front door of our apartment, I could *hear* guilt bouncing off the walls... I'm sure sure sure... or maybe it was the sight of Rohan eating ice cream on Papa's lap, on a rainy Saturday afternoon that made me think of one's teeth jingling and tingling with coldness... and that must've been the sound I heard. Not entirely surprising, because SOMETHING was needed to manage the responsibility... accountability that one must bear, after achieving something spectacular like MAKING A CUTE BOY BALD :-))) We had a Bald Rohan! Or almost-bald. It was sketchy patchy tetchy. Roughly chunkily hewn. Sawn shaven and shorn. Into a cutey baldey spiky round little head. Turns out that while we were out, papa decided to try out his new battery-operated shaver. Without accounting for the resilience and unity of Rohan's Curly Mop of Hair, whose strength in numbers must have tired out and eventually killed the brand new shaver battery before the job was done. So he finished up with scissors, and the result is well.... like that lahh. Well, that evening we had to get the barber to even it out, and he did look better after.



Before: Patchy, tiered and terraced... like a lazy hillside farmer's crop.


During: Our well-behaved little chub allowing Mister Barber with thick moustachio to skim his scalp.


After: Deed done, and at least the eyelashes are spared.


Bedtime: Charu claimed, "I'm sleeping in the same bed as... a walrus, and a porcupine!" Here's a dark, fuzzy shot of the phenomena:


Friday, October 03, 2008

Have passport, will travel to -- Jakarta!

The blog posts here stagnated for half a month... sorry! I was busybusy, preparing for our First Ever trip overseas as a family; to Jakarta! Why there, asked quite a few colleagues and friends who when talking about regional travel are more accustomed to discussing trips to Singapore, Hong Kong, Phuket, Chiangmai and even Siem Reap. But... Jakarta? And here I admit, it would not be my destination of choice if Tony didn't have a business trip there, and if he had not also been there enough times to be familiar with the hotel and the place (its a province, by the way, consisting of a few towns... more on that later).

Well, to cut a very long story short (and believe you me, if you let me ramble I will go on for days till you never want to hear the word Jakarta again), it was a very very interesting trip, for a few reasons:

1) I have not been on an overseas trip for aaaaeeeons. Especially to a city (I mean province... blah no matter city province state land longkang stranger's backyard or outer space, anyone ask me if I want to go, and I will say yes before you finish your question) unfamiliar and waiting for getting-to-knowness. Consider me travel-deprived.

2) It was my first time taking The Two Kids on an overseas trip. Alone, by myself without maid or mother. Yea there was Tony, but he was away at work during the day, and some days he worked late. Meaning I was solo with two young bubbly energetic children. Okay okay okay... I wasn't really solo. There was the entire staff of Hotel Mulia at my beck and call, from the gardener by the kiddy pool to the room service waiter. I actually deserve a good hard kick for being so spoilt! And would you believe that my first Jakarta experience tells me this - Indonesian friendliness does not rival Malaysian. It SURPASSES it big time. They actually seem to genuinely take a liking to your kids, no fake I'm-paid-to-bare-my-teeth-at-you-and-your-annoying-kid sneer, but a lot of walk-out-of-the-way-and-towards-you-to-shake-your-kid's-hand kind of niceness. I thought it was the 5 star hotel treatment, until we walked the streets and I realised that people smiled amicably at Charu and Rohan even though these two goblins trespassed into their shopping paths. They greeted sweaty, fidgety and slightly whiny kids with pleasant smiles despite trying to berdating over their McDonald's lunch at a table half a foot away. I truly appreciate such tolerance!

3) Jakarta itself. Amazing, interesting, city (I do mean province) of contrasts. Rich in history, all of it revealed and displayed in gorgeous detail in the museums, unlike local history as I know it, that reveals only what Malaysia wants its gape-mouthed youth and touristy visitors to know about its past, leaving gaping holes that make Malaysian history a huge crushing bore. Hey don't take my word for gospel truth, maybe I just don't know better; this is from someone who got A2 for Sejarah in Form 3, and thanked goodness that there wasn't more nonsense to memorize in upper secondary forms. There is so much to say about what little I learnt about Indonesia from this little short trip, that I have to create another post, or risk this one extending way waaay to the bottom and leaving no space for photos.

And that reminds me too, I should tell you about my new photo-taking machine - its a MOTO U9 mobile phone :-D It replaces my trusty old Nokia that went bust a few weeks back. I had to get a Motorola phone eventually, or risk being ostracized by my colleagues. So by-the-by, get one that is bundled with camera, video, and lots of features that'll take me years to discover. More on that in another post, I guess.

Darn drat the Dutch (who invaded Jakarta back when it was known as Jayakarta... and occupied it for 350 years after renaming it Batavia). I downloaded my photos to another machine. Oh well maybe I do have a couple left in this one that I can post. At least that would spare you the agony of me spouting awful Jakartaisms like the one I just slipped into this paragraph...


Rohan with Papa on a scary bird ride called "Burung Tempur" ('bird of war'? 'war bird'? 'warbler'? :-P). I don't think scary is the intent, but it wobbled a lot (hey so maybe 'wobbler'...heheh!!) because it was probably not meant to carry an adult of Tony's height. Safety measures on these rides seemed horribly lacking, we realized after a few rounds...


Charu sitting on a stone ball in the courtyard of what used to be the Governor's Office (now a museum). Many similar balls are scattered quite puzzlingly all over the area. I'm sure they aren't really for kids to sit on and flash their innerwear. Oh and in case it isn't obvious, the tall, strapping dude next to Charu, is my little chubbywubby Rohan. Eight years from now he'll hate the word 'chubbywubby'. Heheh..!!




Em. More, loads more photos I will post later! Once I get hold of them.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Say it, sayitsayit SAY IT

Okay, enough is enough.

This blog is meant to be my scrawlyscribbly sketch pad, where I slap around information, scrape together my thoughts, slice and splice my life with words, and of course post photos of people and places that matter to me, and as is evident to those of you who put yourselves through the nightmare of picking your way through my jumbly sentences (a task that I truly, humbly appreciate!), they are mostly happy, positive thoughts. But today.. or tonight rather, this post will be different. A little darker, I guess. Neither planned nor premeditated. I just know it, like how I knew that the rain would last throughout the night whenever the bullfrogs sang past a certain time in the evening, where we stayed, way back in time, on the Kampung Gajah mines. As I sit here a little past midnight on the eve of the Nuzul Quran holiday, my stomach still digesting Old Town curry mee and warm tea, I just just know it. The signs are there (ditto the bullfrogs) -- the bile rising (nope, certainly not caused by the friendly, fragrant curry mee), the chlorinated taste of sinister intentions, the stench of greed in the Malaysian air... oh no oh no... too late, the lyrics of Michael Jackson's Thriller have begun to run through my head, "It's Close To Midnight And Something Evil's Lurking In The Dark... Under The Moonlight You See A Sight That Almost Stops Your Heart... " ... "Under The Moonlight You See A Sight That Almost Stops Your Heart" ..

Bleddy hell, my dad would say. OK, brain back on track. I tell you what's eating me -- the recent incidents hogging Malaysian news, that's what. The Malaysian government fighting to keep its members from defecting. The deep skepticism and criticism of the Opposition coalition's promises. The extensive efforts taken to sabotage the returning Opposition leader's path back into power. And now, the last straw. Well, at least before I open my brain and spill out its contents into my blog. The Last Straw to me, is what looks like very desperate attempts to withhold information from people.

If the Malaysian government were a horse with a broken leg in an old western, it would be shot and killed. Nothing personal, its the most humane thing to do, John Wayne would reason. I suggest that some parties take heed of such logic. Now I have a habit of going on and on for miles before I am understood, so to keep my train of thought simple, I am going to write out a list of FACTS, proven or provable. Tell me if you spot any statement that can be untrue:

) Thanks to the relatively recent blogging culture, information on the Internet is published directly Brain to Browser, without pre-processing by an intermediate filtration system.
[filtration system = editor, spell-checker, political-correctness-checker, etc.]

) All mass media other than the Internet, can be filtered by the government. Okay, maybe its a bit hard to snuff out pesky pavement-pounders who hand out leaflets at the foot of the Central Market LRT station... but still... if really want, that also can control one, isn't it...

) Malaysian mass media is filtered by the government.

) Filtering removes substance from the end result.

) A huge chunk of Malaysian society access the Internet; a chunk far bigger than a day's worth of crowd passing through the Central Market LRT station escalators.

) The historical loss of majority by the ruling government in the recent Malaysian elections, can be (and has been) attributed to people having access to unfiltered information, used to form their decisions on who to vote for.

) Based on the above premises, it was unfiltered information that caused people to decide differently from earlier voting years.


Therefore, filtering information from the people kept the government in power.

Oh man, and all this time we thought it was because the government was actually satisfying the needs of the people. Then again, that is what we were told by the mass media...

Let's get to another sector in my brain that has something to spit out. Same format, just a list of factual statements:

) In a democratic system of government, when you are voted out in favour of someone else, it means that the majority of people think that Someone Else can run the country better than you.

) Definition of BETTER – adjective, compar. of good with best as superl. - of superior suitability, advisability, desirability, acceptableness
dictionary.com definition of Better

) In a democratic system of government, if you want to run the country, you need to win the vote of the majority of people.

) A good way to win votes is to do something (or some thingS) that make people go "Yes, I will vote for you". Why would people say that? Well, Because...... and there can be quite a few reasons, right? Because you will solve my problems. Because you will be more honest than the other fella. Because you will put my tax money to better use than the other fella. Because my children and I will be treated fairly, compared to my peers around me.

) Everything is relative. You just need to do better than The Other Fella, and you will be favoured. So if the other fella is delivers a handful of peanuts, you must deliver a large festive pack of Menglembu groundnuts. If the other fella delivers the world, you have to deliver the universe.

) Now... doing things to annoy people, will most certainly not win Malaysians' confidence in you. It puts you in a WORSE situation. WORSE light.

) Definition of WORSE –adjective, compar. of bad and ill. 1. bad or ill in a greater or higher degree; inferior in excellence, quality, or character.
dictionary.com definition of Worse

) Here is a list of obviously annoying things that you can do, that will not gain support from people:
- Locking up a reporter for um... apparently, for reporting.
- Locking up a blogger for ummm.. blogging.
- Locking up an MP for um.. unclear reasons.

) If the earlier statement and supporting premises aren't clear, here they are again:
- A reporter reports. Detaining her for doing her job is confusing. And, not having a clear reason makes it annoying. Oh, the reason was clear? I see, yes. I suppose it does make a lot of sense to arrest and detain someone for reporting a racist remark, because their life would be in danger. And yes of course, the REASON for detention and arrest must not be divulged for the first 24 hours. I wonder who or what the threat is. Here is a revelation - maybe... just MAYBE, they are the SAME people who hid those weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Camonnn, think about it.. they did a GREAT job hiding those weapons, cos we can't find them till today. They must be doing an equally great job of hiding themselves now, because in my naive mind, the best way to defuse a life-threatening situation is to immobilise the threat, not the target. Ah but thennnn.... since cannot find (maybe still in Iraq), then, catch and detain the target lah. Right? Aiyahh so sensible lah. I aso never tink of this earlier.
- A blogger blogs. Blogs contain Brain to Browser (to paraphrase an earlier term) unfiltered ravings and rantings, just like the stuff you're reading right now. Controlling what comes out of someone's brain, is like reading his personal diary and telling him, "hey you can't write that!! It makes me look fat! Delete it.. NOW!!" So arresting, detaining, charging with defamation, all these things tells onlookers that his paragraphs of prose are digging deep into the government's ribs, and when the government spends a lot of effort silencing him, instead of proving them untrue, it makes people wonder if those claims have some truth. And after some time, the saga becomes annoying. Because it is hard to tell what is true and what is not.
- The third one is tricky. Without a clear reason to detain someone, it literally means that ANYONE can be locked up. One fine morning you're pulling weeds growing through the culvert in front of your house gate, because you noticed them sprouting as you spoke to a group of neighbours petitioning against the construction of yet another mosque in the area... and the next moment, you're in DETENTION. One afternoon, the day after participating in a Hindraf march, you're serving your special secret-formula kopi-kau to a conference roomful of corporate executives, and the next moment you're being DETAINED. What for? Oh, we don't need a reason if you're being detained in this way. SCARY. And annoying!

If I didn't know better, I might have the ODDAUDacity to say that... the government tries very hard to control what gets reported in the mass media. Because when they lose that control, people get to know things that will make them go, "Icchh this is not the government I want to vote for". But now, I have already said it, so I guess I do not know any better after all.

I now leave you all to ponder my SERIOUS DARK post with this visual aid. It is the video Thriller, before government mass media filtration policies were applied:

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Photos as promised

But first, I have to take back something I said in the previous post. With great and MUCH regret. With awful gut-wrenching disappointment. With cringing, teeth-gritting consternation... I present to you...


Awful shot of me panting and wheezing through the Lake Gardens at 7am



Okay well ACTUALLY (brain tapping into skill possibly bestowed by Chinese ancestral lineage - think think fast fast!!) ... the shot is not of me wheezing and panting; its the START of the race and I was late to the starting line, so I'm actually pinning on my front number, wrapping my mandatory-ripped-towel around my wrist (for habitual brow-mopping) and starting my stopwatch. All at the same time. I am amongst the back-end stragglers who were there for a casual jog through the Lake Gardens aiming only for the post-run goodie bag (can you spot a person in *slippers*??). Hmph.. next race, I'll be ready! Paula Radcliffe crouch, laces tied and first-mile pace all worked out in my head...!! Nyahahaaa.

OK that's enough. Of me at least. Here are the REAL good shots:


WELCOME to the Land of Foamheads... ruled by the Pink Fairy Goblin Princess... that's me!!


I am the Conqueror of the Land of Foamheads, or soon WILL be.... help me get this disguise on, you useless serfs...!!


Urrrggh geramnye, I can't make a dent in the Fairy Princess's smile..!! This land conquering business is harder than I thought...


I say once, like saying a HUNDRED times okeii...


The historic formation of OPEC - Only Pudgy & Extremely Cute


OPEC treaty sealed with a plastic pineapple, and A CUTE CHUBBY WUBBY HANDSHAKE


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

WHY has this spot been idle??

Well, hmmm... because I had been busy with:

1) Moving daily chores, tasks, meals, kids, bills, etc. along the weeks... although some weeks weren't so mundane, for example the one leading up to the Sunday morning spent running 10K through the KL Lake Gardens, fast enough to break my sub-60-min target, and two toenails on my right foot. Tony followed too, though he didn't try anything fancy like, say, keeping up with me. He ran his own race, at his own good pace, completing in a little over an hour. Running non-stop for that long is commendable, though I did get to down 4 cups of Milo -- still amazing-tasting and impossible to reproduce, and collect the 1901 hotdogs before he finished. Spent post-run draped across a Lake Gardens buggy, ogling at silly-brities... I mean celeb-brities who grazed... I mean graced the event. The best eye-candy was Amber Chia, shuffling... almost-waddling, Ah-Lian-style past us while yapping into her mobile phone, bouncing her layered coiffure (and a$$) along deliberately with each step. No sign of the feline grace and style of a Guess Look Of The Year winner, but maybe 8.30am was a little early for a model, some of whom apparently do not roll out of bed for less than USD10K. Says a lot about me, dragging myself out at 5am for 10K...ilometres of Running.

2) Using up spare hours in each day to prepare for the abovementioned 10K. Running a sub-60-min 10K after a two-year layoff that includes being cut open to squeeze out a tubby child with the cutest grin in the world, sure requires some work. Fuyohh. Next target - sub-50-min 10K!

3) Reading "Evening Is The Whole Day". I just finished it, and what a totally terrific tome it is! I have other half-read books lying around, but this one only survived unread through days where I was tranquilized by fatigue, or if I had to choose between reading it or squeezing some mileage into my day. If the latter won, the whirr of the treadmill would sound like this after 40 minutes - "Malhotra...Dwivedi...Malhotra...Dwivedi..."

Watch the space for more updates. I want to post more photos of the kids, because those are cuter than any shot of me panting and wheezing at the Lake Gardens at 7am (so far, no such awful shots anywhere around... thank goodness!!).


Got one of these last week... not as 'great' as ones I collected some 20 years ago (has it been that long???), but o well... good to still be able to earn them... 20 years later :-)

Monday, August 18, 2008

He is BACK!!!

A HAAA there, so my Other Half has returned from his travels! Yep, he has been back for almost a week now, and I didn't post earlier because I have been busy celebrating. But of course! There is so much to do when one's Other Half returns from a THREE WEEK trip. So much updating to do -- Yes I started your car, the batteries are okay (but what I found stashed in the driver's side pocket isn't!), DontForget next week is our 10K Run okayyy (already???), Rohan can pretend to ride a motorbike around the living room (Rohan: "Vvvvvv..." (saliva everywhere, cute chubby clenched fist revving imaginary bike accelerator) "Vvvvvvv... NOTOBIKE! NOTOBIKE!!"),

Then there is the luggage-digging, to see what goodies he brought back for us. Although I buat tak tau, I actually know why it is so worthwhile for him to buy so much stuff and line his luggage with it. So that he DOES NOT HAVE TO UNPACK. So that his gleeful wife and children will do it for him. When I unearth the kids' new shirts and cute dresses, I will also put away all the Bliss moisturiser strewn all over the bag (damn good stuff, probably from the hotel - Lemon & Sage Body Butter its called). Before proudly parading my new handbag and jeans, I will also dig out unwashed laundry from all the bag crevices. As I catwalk up and down the house in my new shoes, I put away all the cables, tickets, books, seminar t-shirts, receipts, chocolates (a few of which go into my mouth), extra currency, sweaters, toiletries, chicken entrails... awright kidding on the last one, just checking if you're paying attention. Can you tell that I'm really happy to have him back home? Home and near, for me to annoy, hug, pinch, shout at, run with, shovel kids at, kick at night. Sigh. Good to have him home.

If you happen to be re-visting this post, you may recall that there was a different image here... sorry but I was made to replace it with this (apparently less-revealing) one:


And, in case it again comes under objectionable scrutiny, here on standby is an even less revealing shot...





Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Reading Habit and Habitat...

I got tagged by Joyce with a meme on reading habits... which, she patiently explained, just means that I need to do as she did, which was to post/blog answers to a bunch of questions about my reading habits. But if you notice, the very FIRST question assumes that one is an avid book lover. Oh what the heck, its true I do love to read, its just that the presumptuousness of that first question is making my hand itchy to change it... doo-o-oon't...

Do you remember how you developed a love for reading?
My home was stocked with a good collection of books, accessible from the age that I could reach out for them. They were a great mix of fiction and non-fiction -- The Brittanica Encyclopaedia, Stories by Hans Christian Andersen, Atlas of the World, Countries and Their People, Stories of Childhood, Everyday Science. Opening a book was like swimming in magic; pop your imagination with an amazing historical fact, draw mom's wrath by using her kitchen for scientific experiments (I once split all her celery trying to get some coloured water to seep up from them..), and get swallowed by stories from all over the world; they had drawings so life-like that I probably believed in their existence. I still do sometimes.. you never know if your neighbour is actually the March Hare... or Tweedledee (or Tweedledum)...

What are some books you read as a child?
Alice In Wonderland (will you, won't you, will you, won't you... will you come and join the dance??), Aesop's Fables, Dickens' Classics like David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, etc., Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew (till she bored me with her lack of action with Ned Nickerson), Modesty Blaise (my favorite kicka$$ action heroine!), sections of mushy romance novels (almost never a whole book; on can-bring-storybooks-to-school Fridays, my classroom partner would bring Loveswept and Mills&Boon and show me the 'relevant' portions... thanks Clare!),

What is your favourite genre?
If I have to say what I usually like, it would be suspense/thrillers with a logically convoluted storyline and preferably a troubled, reluctant hero - you know.. Jason Bourne (and I wish I could name a female character).. ! However after about 3 or 4 of those, I tend to crave some deep, long literary fiction that slowly peels apart an entity (person, family, community, etc.) throughout the book... I will read the sentences again and again, absorbing everything like a sponge... I think I'm scaring some of you...

Do you have a favourite novel?
I do but it changes, usually in favour of the latest one that has charmed and warmed its way into the cockles of my heart :-D I'm not sure if that is natural. Right now it is "Evening Is The Whole Day" by Preeta Samarasan. It used to be The God Of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, which strangely enough, reminded me of Preeta. And before that, it used to be Illusions by Richard Bach, which was gifted to me by Preeta...! Yea yea.... all oso Preeta Preeta Preeta onni lah, I hear you say...

Where do you usually read?
On my living room couch.

When do you usually read?
At night, when the house is quiet.

Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at a time?
Yes I do!

Do you read nonfiction in a different way or place than you read fiction?
Other than cookbooks, I read all books end to end, anytime and anywhere.

Do you buy most of the books you read, or borrow them, or check them out of the library?
I buy them.

Do you keep most of the books you buy? If not, what do you do with them?
Yes I do keep them, unless they are borrowed or flicked by friends or family.

If you have children, what are some of the favorite books you have shared with them? Were they some of the same ones you read as a child?
My four-year old firebrand goblin princess and year-old wookiesque charming boy have already devoured Mother Goose, and will listen raptly to "Wallace and Gromit - Curse of the Were-rabbit". When they can read whole sentences, I will probably introduce them to Hans Christian Andersen, Dr Seuss and Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland. I grew up loving that last one. All kids should be given the chance to dive into Jabberwocky ...

What are you reading now?
Evening Is The Whole Day by Preeta Samarasan (whose return I await, both book and author; book was loaned to an aunt who wanted something to read on the bus ride to St Anne's Feast and author is due to be in KL in..nnn... October?).
7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen Covey
Increase Your Financial IQ by Richard Kiyosaki

Do you keep a TBR (to be read) list?
If mental lists count, then yes.

What’s next?
Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie.

What books would you like to reread?
JD Salinger's Catcher In The Rye, Alice Walker's The Color Purple, and Tom Clancy's Bourne trilogy.

Who are your favourite authors?
Salman Rushdie, Charles Dickens, Preeta, Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, the list is long..

Thanks Bookwormoyce, that was kind of fun! Made me use some calories, brains and time.. ahaaa using up time is good, it gets me nearer to 12th August, the day my heart returns home...

Oh and... I guess I should pass the buck right, but I didn't know who next to tag, till I noticed at your blog Joyce, that someone called Adino would like to work on this, so he can be my first tagg-eee la yea; izzat how it goes? :-D

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Countdown.. TWO weeks to go..

So here I am, at the halfway checkpoint of my 3 week void. Comparing that to a 10K race (incidentally, I will run one in August :-P), its 5K done, 5 to go... ok lahh. Boleh tahan. The 2nd half is *supposed* to be faster, but it depends on how well you have prepared yourself, both physically and mentally, for the race. I mean trip. I mean both. Hey so they ARE similar :-)

I went to the SS2 market this morning, after sending Charu to school. It felt pleasant and nice to walk along the stalls, as though loneliness was alright... or at least bearable, if spent in an anonymous crowd of morning marketers. Marketing itself turned out to be quite therapeutic. At the vegetable stall - pick up some tomatoes, smell the mint, flick the spinach, throw in some french beans, point at the broccoli... listen to the guy calculate aloud in rapid Cantonese, pay him off and collect large plastic bag of veggie... surreal. At the yau char kway stall - ask for some crullers and tau foo fah, get an extra ham ching peang... sweet. At the fruit stall - buy some red cherries and bananas, get taken for a ride down banana lane; overpriced pisang berangan is so insincere... !

Bookstores are also a great place to while away time. Here are some shots of the last trip to MPH.

Woo hoo going to BOOOKSHOPPYSHOP!!



Unhappy because request to watch car DVD is turned down (One Utama is just 5 minutes awayyy... !)



Unhappiness dissolves into enchantment...



.. and absorption...



... chubby face with MPH as backdrop...



The funniest thing happened there; I had earlier purchased July's Quill magazine where Preeta graces the cover. Charu and Rohan LOVE to look through that one, because Aunty Preeta looks really good, and they love her anyway; what's not to love? She is pleasant, bought them their beloved Wombat book, and its so easy to say her name -- AN-TEE PEE-TA :-) So at the magazine section, Charu spotted the Quill magazine, grabbed it and waved it about yelling, "Heyyy, Aunty Preeta!!" which of course attracted Rohan's attention immediately (the intended outcome) and so begun a chase all over MPH, Rohan crying, "I want Aunty Peeta! I want Aunty PEETA!! I wannnnntttt!!! AUNTEEEEE PEEEETAAAA!!!!!!" Too darn bad I couldn't videotape them bearing up and down the MPH store aisles, Rohan yelling angrily at Charu as she waves the Quill triumphantly and Preeta's face bobs up and down, as if nodding approvingly...

Some of the kids are really out of control; were I MPH management, I'd hire the Pied Piper to lure all the horrible misbehaving kids out to say, Parkson Grand's fine bone china section or the outdoor fish pond. What intense feelings, you perfectionist mommy, you may admonish. Well, at least it moves my a$$ to behave a little more exemplarily than the parents who stare blankly as their kids kick the books around, then walk away from the mess nonchalantly. Do you allow that in your own home too??!? Oh of course you do, I forget that you can always just yell at your maid to pick up after those precious replicas of you. OK enough of nagging I'm really grumpy aren't I; guess I need to find a way to cheer myself up. Okay -- Audrey BEFORE THE END OF THE DAY, find something nice to think about, and say... :-D

Three Week countdown

My three week countdown started last week, 21st July; the day my koboi went off on a three-week working trip/traipse to London, Houston and San Diego. Three weeks of blissful, peaceful days with no bickering, haggling and yelling. No annoying requests, tickling or laughing. No people-watching, sniggering-at-SPGs-with-fake-accents, midnight movies, late-night running in the dark, mosquito-lurking park, Old Town coffee or bumpinthenight-stuff-thatyouneednotknowmoreof... Hm. Doesn't sound good at all. My choice is obvious, I prefer to *have* the whole package; noise, arguments, laughter, annoyances... all of it! But I don't have the luxury of choice these three weeks. O well. SO... in preparation for the gaping chasm that would form in my heart, I lined up some HACKTIVITIES to keep me occupied. Not like I am not already, with full-time work, errands to run, two kids to feed, clothe, raise, make happy and keep healthy, and now my mother here to babysit them (and I her :-P).. but you know, one needs to be busied with things that are more... stress-relieving... goof-offish... So that the Brain Section that controls the Miss-Your-Loved-One-Pricking-Sensation does not get any blood supply to work itself...

SOW!!! Here's my list:

1) Project-Team-Ordered-N-Organized Team building. This kept me away from the office on the first working day, which turned out to be a good thing; The Office is where I get occasional SMS and IM updates, the lack of which would have turned my mood grey by the end of the day. At least finding my way to and from Desa Waterpark used up some energy. As did some good hard laughing, at the expense of team mates...



I have a coconut tree growing out of my head, and Kavitha has a.. a.. more stylish tree growing out of hers...



Cheating?? Who..wha'.. ME? No lahhh where got..??!?!



Two yellow racing worms in the cool blue water (can you see me??)



Upon closer scrutiny, them racing worms are... infested with people! And you can now see me clearly, forming part of the infestation...



This'll be the next Olympic Sport, you mark my words...



This was labeled "Photo Of The Event"; THANKFULLY the yellow ball is **above** my head :-P





2) Runningrunningrunning. Staircase, treadmill, gym, around the house, over n under the kids, allovertheplace. Running. That would rattle my brain enough to stem the bloodflow to aforementioned Brain Section. Now this isn't really a goof-offish activity, but its one of the few routine activities of mine that works well as a Calm Balm. So I will never leave this out.

3) Scraping together photos of cute chubby faces. Here I go:





I wish I could share right here, the smell of light perspiration in their hair. If you could just imagine a whiff of it, your troubles will be so far away... and nevermore will they be here to stay... oh I believe... in yesterday.... oh what th'... ?? Oh sorry. Got into sortofa trance, singing Yesterday. The fragrance of toddler neck nape does that to you, I'm telling you. YES even imagining it gets you high. Intoxicating...

4) I guess BLOGGING counts, that is why I started this blog last week, and only am posting it today.... :-P