Friday, May 31, 2013

Shape, Money and Clothes

I was chatting with Baby Sis and we were lamenting over our shape, or lack of it, when it occurred to us that...

When we were young we had no shape, and no money.

Those were the days when we were skinny as a rake and we only had one new dress a year that was sewn for us by our paternal grandmother. We had no say in the choice of material nor the design of the dress.

There was a year when she bought a lovely rose pink material and she sewed us dresses with lace on the bodice. I really loved that dress and my memory of it remains as fresh as if it is still hanging in my wardrobe.

Unfortunately we weren't always so fortunate. There was a year when she sewed us dresses from a piece of ugly, brown cloth. I hated the colour and, to make things worse, the cloth was very scratchy.

Those were the two dresses I remembered out of the many that she sewed for us over the years when we were growing up - the one I loved most and the one I hated most.

In those days we hardly ever bought clothes. Most of the time we wore hand-me-downs that friends and relatives gave us which our mother would send for alterations before we could wear them.

As we grew older, we had the shape, but no money.

We filled up as we grew older even though we were still on the skinny side. That made it very easy for us to buy clothes and to look good in them. However, money was still tight because we were starting in our careers and our pay was low. Moreover, being a sandwich generation, we had to care for both our children and our parents.

Now that we are in our golden years we have the money but no shape.

Our parents have passed on and our children are already working, except for my nephew. We are now able to indulge ourselves but, unfortunately, we have lost our shape. The pendulum has swung from being too skinny to being too fat. And all in the wrong places. :(

We used to wear S, XS or even XXS size but now we have to request for L, XL or XXL size. To make matters worse, some of the clothes are imported from Korea and China where people are really tiny. To our chagrin, there are countless occasions when there isn't a size big enough for us to fit in!

Of course, we can always have our clothes tailored but one thing I've learnt through the years is that dress-makers often fail to deliver. The beautiful dress I picture in my head seldom ever materializes at the hands of the dress-maker.

So why, oh why, is it always a no-win situation for me when it comes to clothes?

An Irrational Fear

I was looking through my wardrobe when it struck me that I have a number of new clothes that I have not worn and some clothes that I really like that I seldom wear. Simply because...

Isn't that silly? But that's me. I'm never one to "waste" a new or beautiful outfit on a humdrum and ordinary day.

That also goes to show that I don't get invited to enough events that warrant a memorable outfit. I need more excitement in my life.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Six Months Old Today

Happy six-month old day Caden!

Caden, Por Por's prayer is for Lu. 2:52 to be realised in your life.

I love, love, love you so much and I want to shower you with lots of hugs and kisses but I will have to settle for many missing-yous and proxy hugs and kisses through your mommy.

Till I see you again.....

Por Por

Friday, May 24, 2013

TOP Family Camp 2013

It's been a long, long time since we attended a church family camp. We missed the most recent one that was held two years ago at Kampar because it coincided with the wedding of one of our senior staff at KRPG.

I was so excited at the prospect of going away for camp that I woke up bright and early this morning. Macam budak kecil!

Unfortunately Hubby was not as enthusiastic and so it was 11am by the time we left the house.

We thought of going to the corner coffee shop near our office for breakfast but changed our mind at the thought of battling the Vesak Day crowds and traffic at the many temples in the vicinity.

But that also meant that the fish in the office aquarium will have to go hungry for two days. Poor fella! Anyway we eventually ended up at Old Town White Coffee at Precinct 10 for breakfast.

Our breakfast. The French Toast hasn't arrived yet.

During breakfast Hubby received an sms from Pastor Gideon reminding him to be sure to pack a long sleeved shirt and a tie to wear for the Board installation at the camp. He had forgotten and so we had to return home to pack his shirt and tie.

After that we had a stop at the petrol station to fill up and finally, we got on to the bridge at 12:30pm.

The journey was fast and at Taiping Hubby opted for lunch at Yut Sun Restaurant along Jalan Pasar. Thank you, Alvin Tan for the recommendation. Hubby really liked the food there.

The vegetables were lightly fried. Tasty without being salty. The Inche Kabin was well-fried without any blood oozing out of the bones. Yucky!

The only thing missing was the Worcestershire Sauce. How can you serve Inche Kabin without the ang mor tau eu!

The owner's collection of key-chains

One thing I noticed: there were Malays among the customers! Obviously they had no qualms about eating at a pork-free establishment even though the menu is not halal-certified.

This is the true 1Malaysia spirit. How unlike the rhetoric we hear from our leaders that are seldom, if not never, translated into reality.

We finally checked into the hotel at 3pm. And now it's nap time!

Nice compact room that reminds me of Cititel in KL

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Strength of A Mother's Love

Have you ever wondered why there is nothing in the world that's comparable to the strength of a mother's love? Well, here's one very good and legitimate reason.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Good Fortunate to Have Real Friends

I was yearning for some of this pak kor yee mai tong sui when I saw it being posted on Path.

I guess my unsaid yearning somehow communicated itself across the island. To my surprise and delight, a pot of the tong sui was delivered to my door-step.


Let me ask you, where can you find such kind of friends? Not only are they generous, they are also thoughtful and they went the second mile (twenty is more like it) to bring me something that they know I like.

I am so very, very blessed to have such wonderful friends, not just an individual but a whole family of them from the parents to the children, who have so generously blessed us with so many good things of which the most important is their friendship.

True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils.
Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island...
to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing.

Baltasar Gracian

Two Sisters Went To Play

It was supposed to be a Mary Kay experience but it's playtime for us!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Would I Have Done What Angelina Jolie Did?

A host of emotions assailed me when I read about Angelina Jolie's double mastectomy.

With the announcement coming so close after Mother's Day I could resonate with her motive. She said, "I can tell my children they don't need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer." Which mother could bear the thought of leaving her children, especially her young children, orphans?

Other good things have also resulted from her revelation.

I have never heard of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations and I believe there are many who are just as clueless. By sharing her experience, she has helped to create an awareness of the presence of these faulty genes and the availability of screening for them.
About one in 500 women have a mutation in genes called BRCA1 or BRCA2, which are involved in repairing genetic mistakes.

Having a mutation in BRCA1 gives women a 54% chance of developing breast cancer and a 39% chance of ovarian cancer by age 70, according to the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center. Having a double mastectomy can reduce those risks by more than 90%, although there is still a small risk that cancer could develop in the skin left behind, or in the armpit. 

However, such tests are costly and not everyone can afford those tests. Most of us will have to fall back on regular breast examinations, ultra sound, MRI screening etc.

Furthermore, due to her fame as a high-profile celebrity, her announcement has given courage to and she has been an inspiration to other women with breast cancer who are fearful that such an operation will diminish their femininity or make them less a woman.

All these are some of the good things that have come out of her announcement.

Nevertheless as I gave the matter further thought, I couldn't understand how, despite her laudable reason to spare her children the loss of mother, she could have opted for such an aggressive preventive measure when she doesn't even have breast cancer.

“Once I knew that this was my reality, I decided to be proactive and to minimise the risk as much I could. I made a decision to have a preventive double mastectomy. I started with the breasts, as my risk of breast cancer is higher than my risk of ovarian cancer, and the surgery is more complex,” Jolie wrote.

I am not judging her nor am I questioning the wisdom of her decision, but as I put myself in her position, I seriously doubt that I would have done what she did.

In the first place, all of us have cancer micro-tumours in our bodies. We aim to minimise our risk through better nutrition, healthy lifestyle choices and regular check-ups but we cannot totally reduce our risk to zero. In Angelina's case she said that she reduced her risk of breast cancer from 87% to a mere 5% which means that mastectomy is still not a guarantee against breast cancer. But what about other cancers?

From her statement it would appear that she would be removing her ovaries next. If we pursue this line of logic, people with a risk of colorectal cancer should cut out their colons, so how about cutting off your head to prevent brain cancer? Nobody does that because it just doesn't make sense.

We must not forget that a mastectomy is a major invasive procedure and carries all the risks of one. I would not resort to such an aggressive invasive procedure as a preventive measure when there are other less dangerous ways to screen for cancer and seek early intervention.  

So, no, I wouldn't do what Angelina Jolie did. 

I believe it was not an easy decision for her and she has exhibited a true mother's heart in her selfless decision to save her children the loss of a mother at a young age. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

Mother's Day this year has been extra special for me.

First of all, it is 'Bee's first Mother's Day as a new mom. I don't know about her but I was overwhelmed by a wealth of emotions the first time I celebrated Mother's Day as a mother.

Secondly, today is also my first Mother's Day as a grandmother and I was privileged to receive a bouquet from the church!

A simple bouquet for a new grandmother

What a nice change it was from giving bouquets to the oldest grandmother or the mother with the most children. With those criteria the results are so predictable and we always end up with the same people "qualifying" for the gifts every year.

The third thing I am thankful for was having lunch with 'Bee, grandson, son-in-law and his parents. The significance of Mother's Day is greatly diminished without the presence of loved ones who make the day meaningful.

And fourthly, I really like the gift the church gave the mothers this year.

An umbrella is definitely more practical and less perishable than the potted plant we received last year. The poor plant did not survive long under my lack of care.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Guess Who Went To The Polls

Besides Hubby, 'Bee and me, Grandson came along too!

See the little footie and the chubby toes! Geram nye!
Grandson had to come along because he's a fully breast-fed baby and we weren't sure how long the whole process would take. 

We were told to turn early on polling day so we dutifully presented ourselves at Hun Bin School at 9am. Normally we would have a leisurely breakfast before making our way to cast our votes around noon or later. There would be very few people around that time. 

By the time we arrived we found a huge crowd milling around the school at 9am. Everyone was very kiasu this year. 

Hubby and I were in Saluran 3 whereas 'Bee was in Saluran 5 so we had to separate. The wait for our turn to vote was almost an hour and the sun was beating down on all of us lined up along the corridors. Hubby and I were hot and sweaty by the time we finished even though we were armed with an umbrella and a fan. Once we had finished our duty as a citizen we immediately went over to Saluran 5. 

We found Grandson fast asleep and 'Bee just getting ready to step into the voting room so she passed him to us.

We are so proud of the little fella. He cooperated fully to enable his mom to vote...didn't cry at all despite the discomfort from the heat and the long wait. 

Why do Chinese people work so hard to succeed in life?

This is too good not to share. 

BTW, I am assuming that the author is Leong De Lu. If I am wrong please correct me. 
Why do Chinese people work so hard to succeed in life? Leong De Lu 
Here is the plain truth. 
#1. There are over 1 billion of us on this earth. We are like photostat copies of each other. You get rid of one, 5 magically appears (like ballot boxes). Yes, it is scary, especially for us. We acknowledge that we are replaceable, thus we are not particularly 'special'. If you think you are smart, there are a few thousand more people smarter than you. If you think you are strong, there are a few thousand people stronger than you. 
#2. We have been crawling all over this earth for far more centuries that most civilizations. Our DNA is designed for survival. We are like cockroaches. Put us anywhere on earth and we will make a colony and thrive. We survive on anything around us and make the best of it. Some keep migrating but others will stay and multiply. 
#3. NOBODY cares if we succeed as individuals or not. But our families take pride in knowing we have succeeded. Yes, some will fail. We take nothing for granted. We don't expect privileges to fall on our laps. No one owes us anything. 
#4. We know we have nothing to lose if we try to succeed. Thus, we have no fear trying. That is why Chinese are addicted to gambling. We thrive on taking risks. All or nothing. 
#5. From young we are taught to count every cent. What we take for granted like money management, I have found out recently, is not something other cultures practice at home with their children. It surprised me. But truth is not all societies or cultures teach their young this set of skills because it is rude to them. Yes, most of us can count because we are forced to and the logic of money is pounded into us from the beginning of time (when mama tells us how much she has spent on our milk and diapers). 
#6. We acknowledge life cycles. We accept that wealth in a family stays for three generations (urban myth?). Thus, every 4th generation will have to work from scratch. I.e. first generation earns the money from scratch, second generation spends the money on education, third generation gets spoiled and wastes all the inheritance. Then we are back to square one. Some families hang on to their wealth a little longer than most. 
#7. It is our culture to push our next generation to do better than the last. Be smarter. Be stronger. Be faster. Be more righteous. Be more pious. Be more innovative. Be more creative. Be richer. Be everything that you can be in this lifetime. Be KIASU. 
#8. Our society judges us by our achievements...and we have no choice but to do something worthwhile because Chinese New Year comes around every year and Chinese relatives have no qualms about asking you straight in your face - how much are you making? When was your last promotion? How big is your office? What car do you drive? Where do you stay? You have boyfriend? You have girlfriend? When are you getting married? When are you having children? When is the next child? When you getting a boy? Got maid yet? Does your company send you overseas? etc etc etc. It NEVER, we can't stop chasing the illusive train - we are damned to a materialistic society. If you are not Chinese, consider yourself lucky! 
#9. We have been taught from young - if you have two hands, two feet, two eyes, and a mouth, what are you doing with it? People with no hands can do better than you (and the OKU artists do put us to shame). 
#10. Ironically, the Chinese also believe in giving back to save their wretched materialistic souls. Balance is needed. The more their children succeed in life, the more our parents will give back to society (not for profit) as gratitude for the good fortune bestowed on their children. Yes. That is true. And that is why our society progresses forward in all conditions. 
Nobody pities us. We accept that. 
No one owes us anything. We know that. 
There are too many of us for charity to reach all of us. We acknowledge that. 
But that does not stop us from making a better life. This lifetime. 
Opportunity is as we make of it. 
So, pardon us if we feel obliged to make a better place for ourselves in this country we call home. It is in our DNA to progress forward for a more comfortable life. 
But if history were to be our teacher, look around this globe. 
Every country has a Chinatown (seriously) but how many government/countries are 'taken' over by the Chinese people. Don't be afraid of us overwhelming your majority, we are not looking to conquer. If we have moved away from China and Chinese governed countries, we are NOT looking for another country to administer. Our representatives are only there to look after our collective welfare. They are duty bound. We prefer to blend in and enjoy the fruits of our labor. We enjoy the company of like minded people of all races. After all, we are only passing through a small period in the history of, use our skills and we can all progress forward together.

Ken Ray staff dons the cheongsam for Chinese New Year. We work hard, we also play hard.

Election Fever

I have been in the grip of election fever for the past few weeks. GE 13 is over but the after effects still linger.

It's been 5 days since polling day but the many irregularities and malpractices make it hard for me to accept the result.

For example, we sported blue index fingers after casting our votes but the indelible ink washed off with some hard scrubbing! That certainly left an indelible impression on us. 

There was much enthusiasm in marking our left index fingers with indelible ink. The officer made very sure the ink went under the nails!