Monday, June 30, 2008

Mommy duty - school break entertainment

Charu had a two-week school break a few weeks ago.

Don't these people in the business of schooling four-year-olds understand the concept of school for four-year-olds? WE pay THEM to provide us a break. From our four-year-olds. WE need our break from this:

Charu: (vaulting over 2 large squares of marble flooring) "Mummy, look at this!"
Charu: (vaulting over 3 squares of marble flooring) "MummMEEE!! Look at me!! QUICK!!"
Me: "Very clever!! Now let me read, okay. Jump another twenty times - Count.. one... two... three... " (back to reading the paper)
Charu: (walks over) "Mummy, what are you reading?"
Me: "Today's paper."
Charu: (points at Deep Heating Rub ad. Its has a man's silhouette with the outline of the nervous system inside) "Mummy, what is his name?"
Me: "He doesn't have a name."
Charu: "Why? Why he has no name, ah?"
Me: "Because he is not a real man."
Charu: (points at photo of our PM giving speech) "What is his name?"
Me: "Badawi."
Charu: "Ba-da-wi. Why his face like that?"
Me: "Because he cannot remember what he wants to say."
Charu: "Why? Why he cannot remember ah?"
Me: "Because he is old."
Charu: (pointing at Michael Ballack) "What is his name?"
Me: "Michael."
Charu: "You mean like Uncle Michael?"
Me: "Yes but without the big tummy."
Charu: "Why his face like that?"
Me: "He is angry because he cannot get his ball into the right place." (camon la, she's four years old, not fourteen; innocence still intact!)
Charu: "Ooo... He is showing temple??"
Me: "Yes! He is showing temPER."
Charu: (pointing at Annika Sorenstam) "What is her name?"
Me: "Annika."
Charu: "Annika!!! Like the Barbie Doll!!!"
Me: "Yes like the Barbie doll."
Charu: (pointing at someone annoying-looking, maybe it was Shalin Zulkifli, or maybe I was just really annoyed at this point) "What is h..."

This is followed by a 2-minute mother-daughter-no-eye-contact-pouting session, followed by the total end of my newspaper-reading session, where I attempt to explain myself to a folded-arm, harrumphing four-year-old dimple-faced goblin, that I do not want to play "What is his/her name?" with my newspaper because I selfishly want to read it without getting whiplash from looking up and down between the b*#@*%* paper and her.


No I certainly don't, sooooooooooo.... with the 2-week school break looming, and having some presence of mind, I made emergency plans to remedy the potentially grave situation of leaving an energetic child cooped up in an apartment unit for more than 3 afternoons in a row. I took a day off each week, and took Charu out for some extensive shopping mall walkabouts :-) I did examine other options (like a picnic, or letting her join me on errands), but in the interest of child safety and comfort, malls really are still the most sensible places, being air-conditioned, relatively safe for walkabouts, and filled with colourful stores, children's entertainment outlets and food options. Phew!

The Curve is a very good option given that it houses IKEA which has its own children's play area. Elsewhere in The Curve also are 2 bouncing-castle play areas, RM8 per entry, that provide endless jumping fun for an energetic child :-D. One Utama works for me too, as it has the Rainforest where RM2 gets you a packet of fish food to sprinkle at the healthy-looking fishes; and Kidsportz that has obstacles and outdoor-type activities for kids but in an indoor play area, and you can pay extra to have their personnel babysit your kids while you shop in peace :-)))

Now I only have shots of our day out at KLCC, as we could meet up with Papa for lunch then, so he managed to snap a happy four-year-old clicking heels outside the Petronas Science Centre (we couldn't get in because it was CLOGGED with people, all of whom needed to get their kids out the house, far away from four-walled spaces with newspapers and other objects with why-inducing possibilities), Kinokuniya (which wasn't so clogged but still full of children, some of whom were swatting huge flies against the glass window overlooking the KLCC park, leaving awful spatters of fly-juice... something worthwhile that they can write in their "What I Did During The School Holidays" essays...), and anywhere that allowed her to walk and walk and walk.... tiring out those cute little legs, that cheeky little face framed by wispy little hair, that covers her kissable little head, encapsulating that intelligent little brain....

Yahoooooo I'm in 'Kay Yell See See!!!

Papa taking photos of me in a good mood!!!

Charu: "Yeeee fly juice on the window!!"

Charu tiring of Papa Paparazzo..

Back to reading Clifford the Big Red Dog...

Back home after KLCC...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Canny Ong - We Will Not Forget

Five years have passed since June 2003, when Canny was taken from us. Five years. It sounds like a long time, but certainly doesn't feel that long ago.

My memory of Canny's passing starts with the searing-hot shock of seeing her photo in the papers, first listed as missing, then found, but no more Canny alive. Just dead. Such an indigestible thought then. The blur feelings that followed helped, perhaps; the heavy ache of seeing her mom put on a brave face for the media and the huge obscene crowd, mostly thick-skinned busybodies who just wanted a glimpse of the 'glamour' that surrounded her sensationally atrocious death. But Aunt Pearly couldn't hide the trembling fingers and trickle of tears underneath the sunglasses. The pain in the father, sisters and Brendan's face, as they greeted well-wishers (how well can you wish someone at such a time??), I remember things in slow-motion. Shielding a teary-eyed Sonia from photographers, putting on a brave kayu face (dug up from somewhere, didn't know I had one oso), talking to reporters, each one nosier than the previous. Meeting old schoolmates that I had not seen since Form 5, knowing that the only reason why I am is because Canny isn't around anymore. Feeling weird and sick in the stomach (I later found out the cause of that; morning sickness. How how happy... for me at least, except that I now couldn't turn on Yahoo Messenger and share the glorious news with can_ong because the smiley would never light up again).

At least planning for the memorial a month later gave us something to do instead of twist our fingers off in sadness and frustration. Admittedly, for quite some time, my frustration stemmed from anger. And indignation. Read Marina Mahathir's keynote speech for the memorial and a light bulb of understanding might flicker on, somewhere...

On countless nights since June 2003, and especially in June, I lie awake, not by choice but because my mind has a shroud of whatif thoughts floating hazily about. I think - What if I got to tell Canny about that website I found, that listed all the different melons that we were discussing earlier. Melons for soup, yellow melons, winter melons, water melons. Whatif Canny were still alive today, would she have a blog? Would she read mine? Whatif I got to meet up with her with my kids in tow? Whatif she got to have kids too? Whatif that last conversation with her and Preeta, about red wine and cheese, became an *actual* meet-up, over red wine and cheese? We possibly could eat through a few crates of each, yet neither finish nor tire of talking about our past and present.

Then again, no need to wait for June whatif nights; every day throws numerous incidences that trigger pleasant memories of Canny. Yes, why should they be sad? Especially now, five years on. Canny would be MAD if she saw us all sitting around muram-faced because we miss her. She'd kick us in our sorry little asses and yell, "Heyyy!!! What lahhh you all!!", she would like things that either make us laugh, or taste delicious, no bleary weary heavy thoughts and stuff... And SO, in memory of the amazing, beautiful, laughter-inducing girl with lively dancing eyes and heart of gold, here are just some pleasant memories I have in my mind right now. I'm sure that at 70, the age that she thought was appropriate to die (not too old lah, just nice, she once wrote me), I could still cackle as I crank out more memories of our escapades, so many are the fun times we had back when were were schoolkids.

Happy school girls

Happy Audrey, Canny, Preeta, Clare :-D

Rolling out pizza dough in my kitchen creates a floury mess and cheesebready aroma that brings me back to my mum's kitchen in 1989 (or was it 1988) where Canny and I made pizzas for the class party... kneading, rolling, pummelling, mashing, grating and eventually collapsing on the floor reeking of sardines and cheese, and splattered with tomato puree. And laughing. Always laughing. Next morning 6am, we carried all ten pizzas on the school bus to a roomful of appreciative classmates. "Waaah how you can make pizza like this?? BATTER than Pizza Hut la, aitelyou!! Can open shoppp areddi, no need to sit SPM!!!" Chomp chomp. Yummy sardine pizza sprinkled with green peppers and mozarella cheese. Made with two pairs of Ipoh-sun tanned hands. I still use that recipe, its foolproof.

Bananarama's "Love In The First Degree" was performed in white collared shirts knotted at the belly, and green and red flare skirts from the school store. She was a fantastic dancer, I would bet on her against anyone in "So You Think You Can Dance?" Yes, even Mel that Spice Girl.

Belinda Carlisle's "Circle In The Sand" was mangled by Phaik San, Sonia, Kathleen and Canny into "Piglet In The Sand" - 'piglet in the sand, round and round...' I can't remember the lyrics because I laughed too much and didn't hear it all.

Remember's Kaoma's Lambada? If you say no, you're not missing anything :-D The music video was deemed too hot to show on telly, but I saw a few seconds of it someplace and was asked to "showlaaa how they dance? why banned one ah?" I needed a partner and Canny it was. It requires a knee between each other's legs, and some hip gyrating, standard MTV fare of today, but with far more clothing and big 80s hair. The girls went "Wooo!!! Sooo sexy ah??!?!?!!" Convent girls were after all, cloistered, cultured and clad in pinafores with petticoats underneath. Hip gyrating? Terrrrrrible!!!

And of course, I must mention the very place where we spent the most part of our childhood - school. School in general, and especially Form Five. She sat in front of me and beside Preeta. The space between us might as well have been the Bermuda Triangle, because no body of knowledge could pass through and remain intact; it either got misconstrued because none of the six ears were listening, or obliterated by doodling, singing and first-class story-telling. I mean, CAMON lah which one more interesting to hear about; the cute guy at McDonald's or "proses menoreh getah di Bagan Serai"?? Its probably not Bagan Serai, but I wouldn't know I wasn't paying attention. Hey, at least ONE of us makes a living out of story-telling now, check out my previous post!!! No need to know how to tap rubber.

Yay bestnye kelas batal; boleh main kat koridor...

Like I said, I could go on... but I'll spare all of you who reached this far, and are groaning. That's it for my special June post, dedicated to Canny dearest. Photo credits go mostly to Joyce; I took them from the memorial slide show...


Its here, its available its here itshereitshereITSHERE!!!

Preeta's novel Evening Is The Whole Day is now available at MPH, 30% discount if purchased online, from here and THANKS Joyce for telling me :-D

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I thought I saw a Goblin...

I thought I saw a Goblin
Masquerading as a Djinn
I looked again and saw it was
My daughter's cheeky grin..!

After much indecision, I decided... to reveal... to the whole world (or just this blog, which theoretically is the whole world)... that... the original rhyme goes like this:

I thought it was a mountain
Upon the railway track
I looked again and saw it was
Madanjeet on her back..


If you ever stumble upon this, I hope you take it as a compliment. From us naughty school girls... :-P

Monday, June 02, 2008

From Resipi Ondeh-ondeh to "Evening Is The Whole Day"

ToDAY, I just want to wax lyrical about Preeta, my dear friend from school girl days in Ipoh, who successfully chased her dreams, kinda like how we used to chase men around the school compound... well okay NO we didn't really chase them but it was fun to pretend... that there were men worth chasing... in the school compound, hahaa! Let's see there was - Muniandy the gardener, with muscles (ok, actually tummy) bulging under his darkblu shert as he hoisted pot(belly)s about, watered pavement n plants and ripped up weeds... all to Sr. Maureen's beck and call. The roti canai man, tall dark and um reeking of roti-dough, arms sinewy from all that kneading. And dontokk about the kacang puteh man, with his five o' clock shadow........ Hey we didn't have much choice back then okayy, the male presence in school could be counted off one hand. I could waste more time describing how hot n bothered some girls would get whenever St Michael's School boys came over to sell their Annual School Play tickets! Worrrrssse still if Ipoh happened to host Junior World Cup Hockey. O well whatudu, we just focused on chasing Real Men like Muniandy........................................

BUT... I digress, as always. I currently await the arrival of Preeta's debut novel Evening Is The Whole Day, once I get my skinny fingers on it, I think I might find myself back at Main Convent Ipoh in 1988. Probably sitting by the volleyball court sharing guava and assam with Preeta while she tells one of her neverending, effervescent stories... Those stories, they really snare you senses like an invisible force; no, like a television set! I can spend hours and DAYS transfixed by her imagination, it explodes, splatters and is delightful to savour, and coincidentally, she once told me a story about cheese on pizza in her oven that could be described with those very same words :-D Just ANY topic would become a lively colourful tapestry of thoughts, words and images - her liking for rust-coloured stuff, my uncle Sai Choy, tree lizards in her mailbox, my horrific misinterpretation of her drawing of a pair of scissors, boredom-skewed insects crawling out of our brain during Ad Maths... and possibly best of all, the sillypoems that used to form as we talked, joked, laughed, connected. Here's one that's still in my head; it was formed after English class with Mrs Joseph (not me!), also called The Glider (no intended inference to grace or aviatory streamlinedness there... unfortunately). She used to get very disgruntled with any expression, verbal or written, that was beyond her rather puny grasp. So all our work for her had to be kept simple and uncreative. I can't remember if we named this poem:

I like to sew, I like to cook,
I like to read some story book.
I see vindow, I go and look;
I see a very handsome crook!
I swim vith him along the brook,
He come and eat vhat I cook.
Then Mr Joseph come and look,
And he catch us by the hook;
I vill howl like a rook,
"Aiyo-yo, my handsome crook,
I think ve made a big mistook!"

If Preeta happens by this blog anytime, I vill ask her to plees to be correcting any mistooks in der poem, vokeii... :-D

Oh, and the weird blog title? Refers to her infamous Bahasa Malaysia essay on making ondeh-ondeh, those grated-coconut-flecked green glutinous balls containing palm sugar (gula melaka). Preeta's recipe calls for the use of a *syringe* to inject the filling into the balls; yea from memory of BM teacher (aiya, forgot her name) reading out her essay, the 'condemned' part is where you have to "guna picagari untuk menyuntik gula melaka ke dalam ondeh ondeh". I suppose for a regular school teacher, its preposterous for a 13-year-old girl to get the recipe SO wrong. WHERE got people use picagari to make ondeh-ondeh?? It was a good laugh, for everyone including poor teacher eventually, despite her attempt to express extreme exasperation - for the lack of listening comprehension for Resipi Ondeh-ondeh. Can't blame us la cikgu, so many distractions; Muniandy was probably carrying flower pots past the classroom that time...

For the benefit of those who would like a REAL recipe and some photos for better effect, here is a good place to ogle at a variety of the original -- its *Orange* Ondeh-ondeh but looks as delicious as the Green, and does not require a syringe, permission to use link kindly granted from blog owner -- thanks BakingMum :-D

So to complete my goingonandonandonoquy, here is a scanned article from Jun 08's TimeOut KL magazine:

I tell you all ah ... Preeta write very good one!! AKU GERENTI DIA PUNYA CERITA SEMUA BEST HABIS... !!