Thursday, April 30, 2009

Off to the East Coast

We are heading off to the beach house in Terengganu. Hopefully the weather will be good for us to hop on to Redang Island. We have not been back to the house for a long time and all of us are so excited. We will have G&T and little cutie D with us. We definitely will have lots of fun.
Time to pack up all the gear. This time, it will be different as we are not flying from Australia. We will be driving from Singapore. I am sure there will be plenty of things to bring with us and the car boot will be filled to the brim. It will be a 9 hour drive north. With some stop-over for the kids and adults, it will be a good opportunity to see the east coast of Malaysia. I have dreamed for so long to do Cuti-Cuti Malaysia and now we are close to home, it is all possible.
Here we go "Cuti-Cuti Malaysia".

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Love Letter From My Daughter

Dear Mummy and Daddy-who-always-at-work,

Why is there so many work for me to do? Why is the weekend so short. Why are we always busy doing things? There is not much time left for me to do what I want to do. There are so many jobs. Going to school, sticker chart, piano lesson, making my bed, cleaning up my room, eat my dinner, eat my vegetables and swimming with my brother.

You always ask us to get ready quickly when we are going out but you are always the last one to get ready. I am tired. I don't want to do anything. All I want to do is arts and crafts, play with my DS and watch TV and stay at home.

At school, is it is hard for me. The girls are bossy. They scream in my ears. There are too many people wanting to talk to me, all at the same time. I miss my friends in Australia. I have lots of friends there. I only want to play with my imaginary friend. His name is Freeze. He came from the clouds with other puffles. He makes me happy.
My brother is annoying too. He always get all the attention. He always get what he wanted. I don't like playing with him. He always want to play by his rules. He makes this cute faces when he wants something. His face is ugly when he is naughty with me.

I love you Mummy and Daddy-who-always-at-work.
She is turning eight. I am enjoying this age immensely. I know this too shall pass before my eyes quicker than I wanted. I am giving her what she wanted. More time to herself. To do nothing. Without her brother. I truly can understand that.
Painting by Julia Trops - "The Letter"

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Kalau Masih Ada Cinta

As I was reaching for "Brida", I saw a card that was left for me on my bedside table. The card says;

He never intended for us to walk alone through life, that is why he created friends. He places people in our path to walk with us. Together, we've tried our wings, we've soared high, crashed, celebrated and cried. We've dried each other's tears and picked up the pieces of broken dreams. Together, we've made things better than they were before. Its not even so much the help we've given each other; its the absolute confidence that we're always there - wanting, willing and ready to help. Above all, friendship is a gift of oneself to another.
At the end of page, a beautiful word is written: "You are never THERE for me. You are always HERE in my heart"

I lied when I said "we have said many goodbyes and this is no different from the one before". The truth is this goodbye is the hardest. I need you to be with me NOW and I am sure YOU need ME the most NOW too.

Let us be brave and always remember "kalau masih ada cinta", everything is possible. Yes, I admit that I am a "jiwang keparat".

Kalau masih ada cinta (bahasa melayu), when translated translated to english it means if love still remains. Somehow, "cinta" sounds so beautiful and pure.

Painting is "The Calmady Children" by Sir Thomas Lawrencce 1823 and he described the painting as "my best picture . . . one of the few I should wish hereafter to be known by."

Friday, April 10, 2009


I was reminded of one of those days when I had to juggle with a fulfilling career, two beautiful and smart kids, a husband who always reminded me that no matter how hard I work he will make more money than me, two houses, friends and lovers (?). Yes, the good old days when I think I had it all and more - in control.

That day was not a typical day. I supposed to have a meeting with the client in the city (patience of a Dalai Lama is required at all times), followed by finance review meeting (need to be a Greenspan and have all the answers) and followed by appointments to meet colleagues who needed some of my time (ears and heart to listen). I also had to run to the bank to open a bank account for the social club as I had a generous amount of their cash in my handbag. On top of that, I was having a bad stomach cramp and bleeding profusely that I could die (monthly period but my 4 year-old said this when he had a mosquito bite).

6.00am - 7.30am
It was a usual chaotic morning, with preparing the kids for breakfast and then we head off to Carrington Daycare. A bit of a background - Daycare will then send them off to school in a van at 8.30am as school only starts at 8.50am. Then, they will pick them up after school at 3.30pm and they would stay at daycare until I/husband pick them up at 6.00pm. Yes, it was a long day at daycare and yes I pleaded guilty of mental torture.

1st meeting with client
I was feeling uncomfortable. Something wasn't right. I felt so wet down there. No I was not thinking of any sexual thoughts at all. All the men in the meeting has mostly gone through their mid-life crisis. Shit! I forgot to wear my sanitary pad. Excused myself, went to see some female staff for emergency stash. Choose wisely grasshopper! Pick the right women. Got it, dashed back to toilet. Always filled your wardrobe with black and grey, unfortunate moment like this helped.

Finance review meeting
Greenspan I am not. Buffet I am not. Honesty was all I had. Truth hurts. So far so good until my phone beeped and was a call from school. I had always picked up the calls irrespective of what I was doing, no matter how important. I was a supermom after all. A call from school could be a life and death matter.

School staff: Mrs.X, we had a serious issue today with S. She came to the office crying. She said she forgot to wear her undies and the kids were laughing at her when she was on the monkey bar.
Me: What do you suggest I should do? (can't say my meeting is really important that missing knickers). Do you have spare knickers at school (or in somebodys' pocket)? Appreciate if you could do something until 3pm when Z (Daycare staff) pick her up from school.

This is a typical S (7 year-old) who is oblivious to the requirements of being a female. I am not setting a high standard here but she could go to school without brushing her hair, have different coloured socks and forget to bring her school bag to school. She floats around in the world of Pokemon. Who does she takes after? Of course not from my side of the family!

That was about 6 months ago. Now I have became a full time mum. I no longer have a demanding full-time, paid job. I have not been reading Economist and Financial Times, have not been watching Bloomberg and Business News. I am reading You Don't Need to Smack and is watching Discovery - Lifestyle and Entertainment. A demanding full-time, unpaid job - AT HOME.

Now, I am only a:
  • CFO - debt-equity management, working capital management, share portfolios, property investments
  • Taxi driver
  • Teacher - Math tuition, Phonics, Arts, Cooking class
  • Chefs - array of Western and Asian and sometimes no origin - "third culture" dish which my mom would say "pemalas" (lazy in Bahasa Melayu)
  • Psychiatrist - evenings and weekends in a geriatric ward for a 43 year old male
  • Social worker - ensure that friends and families stay connected and in good welfare
  • Mum - attend all Parent-Teacher meetings, reading assistant, friends stay over after school, birthday parties, undies well supplied, labels on uniforms, bags, pencils and everything they take to school, stack of medicines (homeopathy grandma!
  • Wife - looks good size 6, keep fit, smile and laughter fill up the house, spending within budget and will make sure keep hair long next time when in Greenland

Superwoman, I am not. Supermom I am not but I am SUPERME! (supreme). I am excused to be a Taitai, once in a while.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Day in the Life of a Tàitai

Yesterday as I woke up in the morning, I was surrounded by positive energies. The birds were singing. The kids were happy despite it being Monday and another round of school week. "Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day, I have a wonderful feeling that everything is going my way".

There were many chores to do around the house after the weekend. Two bucket loads of washing, a basket of clothes for ironing, the floor was sticky and needs mopping, the window needs cleaning. Did my priority list and started with cleaning the toilet and floor.One toilet down, two to go.
Suddenly, the universe interrupted my thoughts and concentration. "You are taking a break from full time, paid work to do this filthy, boring full time unpaid house work. Get out of here and do something for yourself" (somehow in the voice of my mother-in-law). My brain was doing the priority list again. First, hairdresser, lunch, massage and by then in time to pick up the kids.

Me: It's very hot and I want to cut my hair short.
Hairdresser: Yes, would look young mah..You can have concave bob, octave bob or straight bob.
Me: Whatever..all i want is short, easy to style and with body
Hairdresser: Ok, would look good if you put highlights on your hair.
Me: much is that?
Hairdresser: Cheap one..only XX more. But money no problem mah..important to look good what?
Me: Alright......lets do it
Hairdresser: You can do hair treatment too. Will make hair shiny one...
Me: Thank you but I don't think I could sit on this chair longer than two hours. I have never sat like this long ever in my life.

Reality hits when I got home when my 7 year old daughter said " cut your hair. Don't you think that after you have a new haircut you feel like you have a different personality. You look boyish". My husband came home and said "I always like your hair long. It looks good anyway". Always the diplomat.

TODAY, I woke up feeling all positive. A good sign that I am in harmony with the universe. I need to finish off what I have started yesterday. Priority list top down:- (1) washing (2) ironing (3) piano lesson at 10am (4) book for massage. Delete (1) and (2).
Me: I have no knowledge of any music theory whatsoever and I have never played any musical instruments
Teacher: Don't worry, I also have old student like you. He is 65 years old.
Me: Do I look that old?
Teacher: No look young mah...(thank God for the haircut)

I really had a good time and am practising the fingers - CDEFG right and left hand on my way back when suddenly I saw a shop in front of me - " JAVANESE TRADITIONAL MASSAGE". This is karma.

Me: I think I want to go for tummy herbal treatment today
Masseuse: We have a package which you will pay cheaper if you take the 10 sessions package.
Me: No thanks (after piano lesson and haircut yesterday I should go easy on the wallet (my husband's)
Masseuse: You can take your clothes off now and let me take your weight and measurement. (a few seconds after measurement) You have problem everywhere mah not just on your tummy, but thighs, hands. You need full body treatment lah...

2 hours later I came out with a lifetime membership card, 10 sessions of full body treatment and unlimited usage of spa bath and jacuzzi and a REVITALISED body.

Lesson #1: Stay away from salesman/woman. They always have something special just for you.
Lesson #2: Singaporeans are very friendly and amazingly honest. Truth hurts.
Lesson #3: Don't ask your husband's opinion about your haircut. He would prefer you don't have a haircut at all.
Lesson #4: Stick to your original plan. LIVE LIFE. (the original plan when we were born)
Lesson #5: Be brave when your the credit card bill arrives definition of TAI TAI (noun) 1. A term used in Chinese circles for supreme wife (implying situation where a man is wealthy enough to have several "wives') but no longer strictly interpreted. Term now applies to citizens of the world with an Asian viewpoint who have bounds of time and money. A Tai Tai is a privileged lady of means. 2. Supreme of the Supreme is its literal translation. The term implies respect. >> moreTo qualify as a Tai Tai, one has to have lots of leisure time, lots of money to spend and lots of gossip to exchange. A Tai Tai would win if Shopping were an Olympic event.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Raising Nomads

I am becoming a better mum/plain mum/reborn mum. I am going to pat myself on the back. After Ignatia, a few good parenting books and one seminar, I was all inspired. So far, I think I am not doing too bad.

There was one line that I really like which was being used by the speaker in that parenting talk is we as parents should help our kids "unloading the bricks in the wheelbarrow". What a metaphor, simple but yet so descriptive. It is about (the talk not the wheelbarrow) how child's physical movements relate to their behaviour - detection and improvements. Also like how she ended the talk with - "don't expect your child to be perfect". How true. (I have accepted that my children are not gifted when they found talking about poos, bums and boobies are much more interesting than space-shuttles and genetic engineering).

The book which I have just finished reading - "Totto-chan - The Little Girl at the Window" has also inspired me. Its about Kobayashi's method of early childhood education in Japan before WWII. Imagine a school where there is no fixed timetable and you can choose which subject you want to do first thing in the morning and what you want to finish the day off with. Kobayashi (the principal) would sit with the kids at lunch and talk about their food. Very, very nurturing for the soul and awaken the interest in learning. Thank you Tetsuko Kuroyanagi for sharing that with us.

Well, I was feeling all positive after that and started a new regime at home. I have created a timetable for the time between after-school and before bedtime adopting those two ideas. So far, it has worked very well. Most importantly, we are all happy chappy especially me, moi, the grand dame.

Who says children are cute? What did I do in my previous life to deserve this? Such hard work, patience and perseverance of a Dalai Lama and Mahatma Gandhi put together. What did he say - patience is a virtue?

I shall strive for the restoration of peace and human rights of the people that live under my roof.