Sometimes, we have to take time off from work to just appreciate the nature. I think it's really important to show our younger generation that work is not life and the city is not the best place to be in all the time. With more indoor kids' gym/play area growing like mushrooms everyday now, we try as much as we can to also take our kids out to the park, just like the good old days.
Or walk, sit and relax by the sea...
And the river...
Once in a while, we'll leave our kids behind and go for some outdoor activities that are meant more for adults.
Recently, we did just that.
Broga Hill We started early on a Sunday morning. It took us less than an hour to reach Outbac Broga. Once we arrived, they took us straight into the forest. We had to hike up a hill for about 20 minutes or so until we reach a waterfall. There, we did our first activity for the day - Waterfall abseiling.
After lunch, we went to another place for our rock climbing and water tubing.
After we've done some climbing, we dipped ourselves in the small waterfall/stream next to it.
And then, on to the last activity - water tubing.
Yes, it's nice to take some time off from work and the city to enjoy yourself... maybe hurt a little.
It would've been another great celebration with Ed and the rest of us, but this is the 2nd time that we don't get to send you birthday wishes and not get another beautifully worded, personal birthday wish from you.
I cringe every time I get news of someone diagnosed with cancer, especially if that someone is close to me, or someone I've met before. Yes, I've lost an aunt who's dear to me to that evil disease. Read about it here.
Recently, I received that dreadful news again.
I have a huge family and we're very close. We have a couple of family doctors who my grandparents, uncles and aunts go to for the family disease - heart and diabetes. I myself have known these doctors for years.
Recently, the unthinkable happened. One of them was diagnosed with cancer.
When you have a permanent doctor or doctors you go to everytime someone in your family fall sick, you start to think that the doctors will always be there for every single one of you. We forget that they are humans too and are capable of falling sick, just like us.
Have you ever watched a thriller or horror movie where when something shocking happens a loud thunder suddenly appears together with the sound of horns?
That was how it felt like when I received the news. It hit me like an enormous brick that fell right on top of my soft, tiny head with a sound deafening to everyone's ears that made them jump and stare into space.
If the disease were a man, I would've held him by his throat, tell him that it's so rude of him to come and interfere with our lives again, probably punch him a few times on the face and say 'don't you dare come near us ever again!'
When my aunt managed to beat it the first time, we all felt so relieved. It was a victory for her and all of us who fought with her. We celebrated and cheered while the disease walked away carrying the white flag, head down with shame.
But of course, that wasn't the case at all.
We thought we were the stronger ones. Alas, it had tricked us by pretending to walk away and then come back quietly, ambushing us and severed us more.
That time, it came back stronger than ever.
That time, it was there to stay. That time, it stayed all the way till the end.
Now, it's happening again.
What do we do? How do we kill It?
Yes, I'm angry - at It. How dare it comes back and made its presence felt. It's as if it's mocking us, grinning, snickering right to our faces.
But I'm hoping for miracles still. It does happen every now and then, right?
So we're trying to save up for this trip to visit my cousin in Helsinki we've been planning for so long. She's finally coming back to Malaysia for good at the end of the year so this is our absolutely last chance to go visit the place while she's there.
For months I've been trying so hard to save up but there was always something we had to do or somewhere we had to go to that needed money spent on. Well, I admit that some were just my weakness in abstaining myself from the sheer pleasure of a new dress for that theme party I had to attend or shoes to match that new pants I just bought or a new bag because I don't have that colour yet or even coffee at Starbucks because it's a different kind of coffee from the one you have at home.
So, how do I do this?
How do I refrain myself from all my guilty pleasures? I tell myself you will find a nicer top when we travel soon or a better pair of shoes abroad so no one else will be wearing the same thing here but a woman always have to have that particular pair of shoes to match that particular pair of skirt that can only go with that other particular pair of blouse because no other style of shoes can go with them.
Apart from that, we have our outdoor activities too. Like the street race we took part last month, the motor hunt we're taking part 2 weeks from now, the waterfall abseiling, rock climbing and everything else in between that need money. Not to mention weddings to attend, family trips and Eid preparations.
I guess I'll just have to fight this shopaholic devil I've been keeping inside of me for the longest time. If worst comes to worst I'll just scour around the house for things to sell.
I'm sure I can find some bags or shoes or blouses that I no longer need or err... have never worn before because I forgot I have it in the first place...
I work in radio. In Malaysia, all broadcasting medias comply to a certain rule made up by The Communication & Multimedia Content Forum of Malaysia. Every now and then, we'd have to attend the compliance training held by them.
You see, the broadcasting rules in Malaysia are different from other countries. We have to meet certain standards in broadcasting our content taking into consideration all religions and races and make sure that we avoid certain things or not to step on anyone's toes in the process.
The reason for this is, of course, because of racial and religious issues, mainly. It is a well known fact that Malaysia consists of 3 main races, Malays, Chinese and Indians thus there are different religions that come with the different races too, not to mention the other minor races and religions, although the official religion is Islam.
I know that you can always say that all the different religions exist in other countries too but they don't really have strict guidelines as we do. The western countries have different races and beliefs too but they don't have stricter rules as to how they want to broadcast their content.
This brings back to our history and culture.
The Asians, are well known for being courteous, polite and respectful towards the elders, other people, other races and religions. Any Asian countries you go to, this you will find to be true.
The famous courteous and polite culture or 'budayasopan santun' as we all know it is the most important thing and has been the most important thing since our great grandfathers and the people before them. We treat people with respect. You do not talk to the elders the same way you talk to your friends. You do not interrupt while other people, especially the older ones are talking. You do not raise your voice to someone older or when you talk to people. You even respect your older siblings hence the title 'abang' for older brother or 'kakak' forolder sister, used before their names.
You also do not ask for things for free. You do not ask for more than what's been given to you as presents. You do not demand for things to be given to you just because it's your so-called rights to have them. You do not talk about sensitive matters of religions openly. You bend down a little when passing in front of people. You invite guests into your house even if it's for a short while. You consider your choice of words so they are not harsh or abrasive. To say it simply, the word 'rude' is never meant to be in the Asian dictionary.
Or at least, that was how I was brought up. Of course, with a few slips every now and then, here and there but I still grew up in that environment...
The common scenario in our everyday life is for example when someone offers us or our kids something, Malaysians usually reply with 'no-lah, it's ok. Tak payah susah-susah'. Or when we visit friends at their homes and they get up to make us tea, we'll tell them not to as we don't want to trouble them. But when they insist, after a while you let them anyway so they don't feel 'kecil hati' or what they're offering is unworthy of us and our time. It takes quite an experience to know when to give in so you don't look too eager to take what they're offering but at the same time to make sure you take care of their feelings.
Yes, it's THAT complicated.
But that's the Asian way. Not the western's.
Nowadays, the Asian ways can be perceived by some as being timid or scared thus not getting what you want or what you deserve, especially in the working world, I guess. I do admit that I don't feel comfortable in asking for a raise or increment and listing every single thing that I've done to show why I deserve what I want. It's also part of the 'jangan berkira' or don't be too calculative attitude I've been brought up with. You have to be sincere in whatever you do. My dear husband keeps telling me 'you have to demand, let them know what you're worth!' Well, I still find it hard to do that. I always believe in rezeki. If I get them, it is because God thinks I deserve them. If I don't, then I must be doing something wrong somewhere, you know...
Somehow, the more Asians grow, the more they travel, the higher they study, they become more 'clever'. The younger generations especially the 'well-exposed' ones are starting to become more and more opened, broad-minded and loud. They don't keep what they feel or think inside anymore. They let it all out. No more room for guessing.
There is such thing as 'cakap berlapik'or simply means choose your words when you talk. This is so you don't offend other people in expressing your opinions. You may say whatever you want to your siblings and close friends but always choose your words and be more polite when talking to other people especially those who are not your family members. The other reason for all these is so people won't talk bad about our parents and the way they raised their children. When we see rude kids, we most of the time, if not always say 'didn't their parents tell them not to do that' or 'mak bapak tak ajar ke?'. This is also why you often hear parents say 'I didn't teach you or raise you up to do that' whenever you see kids being mischievous.
Now, apparently it's alright to shout and demand for what you want. It's alright to complain about every little thing that has not been going well in life. Those days parents will just say that you don't have all that because it's just not meant to be or in Islam, 'bukan rezeki kita'. It's apparently alright too to cause a bit of a stir and even instil some violence to get what you want nowadays.
I try as much as I can to bring my kids up the way my parents brought me up. It IS a bit of a challenge with the extra outside influences we get from medias and other 'open-minded' people around us.
I went to see Russell Peters, the stand-up comedian when he came over to Malaysia the other day. No, I'm not saying that he's a role model for me and definitely not for my kids with all the profanities he uses but there was a story he told about him growing up as an Indian in the Western community that is so true. It was about the way Western kids talk to their parents compared to Asian kids talk to their parents. It is completely different. The Westerners and some 'open-minded' Asian parents call it treating your kids like adults while the others, like me call it as plain rudeness. I mean, they have all the time in the world to be adults later in life, right? So if we don't teach them how to be a good one when they're a kid, how are they suppose to be a good adult in the future?
I know I'm deviating away far from my topic but I have to talk about this so my topic makes sense. From the latest compliance training I had attended, so many changes have been made to accomodate the current way of life and thinking. What used to be forbidden then is allowed now. What used to be taboo then is considered normal now.
So, that got me thinking, how long is it now for us to change from being truly Asian and have our way of life and cultures intact to this so-called modern way of life, that is actually come to think of it, just the Western's way of life?
Do we really want our next generation to go there? The next time I attend another compliance training, I wonder what do I have to be compliant with - the Western culture, perhaps.
I don't know what it is with little girls and their need or desire to become a princess at one point of their lives.
I went through that phase and now my lil' princess is going through the same thing.
What is it with princesses? Is it the way they are portrayed in all the happily-ever-after fairy tale ending in most of the books we read? Of course, princesses in fairy tales are all beautiful and they have it all but so are the handsome princes but you don't see boys desperately want to become princes.
And it's not like real life princesses are all beautiful and pretty after all. Some are just lucky that they were born with the 'Princess' title or else...
Is it because they seem to have it all? Money, clothes, the finest education and lead a high fashioned and glamour life?
I don't know about other women but I certainly outgrew my desire to become a princess once I understood how the world works. Guess I couldn't be bothered with the protocols and rules. I also love my freedom too much.
I wonder if my lil' princess would feel the same someday.
As of now, I guess I'll just play along. Wouldn't hurt being the mother of a princess once in a while. Most of the time, a princess' mother is the Queen anyway :)
So the little princess has taken from watching The Sound Of Music every single night before going to bed and over the weekends to watching a video of the ballet performance of Peter and The Wolf.
Yes, I grew up watching The Sound Of Music and although I don't really want to admit, I do know the dialogues by heart. So when Nadyne fell in love with the movie not so long ago, I wasn't the least bit surprised.
The only problem is, she made us watch with her over and over again, every day.
It was one of my favourite growing up but now just at the thought of having to endure another 2 hour or so of the movie suddenly seem so painful and torturing. Of course, we sing along with her every time, nevertheless.
Just as we thought it was going to be a never-ending torture, she shifted her interest to ballet and started to watch Peter and The Wolf. Now this, is slightly more tolerable as the performance lasts only about half an hour.
Another classic I really loved as a kid was Anne Of Green Gables. I was looking around the stores for the DVD and found out that I can buy the series online.
In her ballet outfit
Watching Peter and the Wolf
Except now, I'm afraid that if I introduce this to her, it's gonna be a repeat of Maria and Peter all over again.
Should I really introduce her to Anne and Gilbert?
Nowadays, there are a lot of so called 'gym' for kids and play area in almost all the shopping malls you go to. I personally think that it's a waste of money taking your kids to these places but with the limited times you have on your daily schedule, you can't help but be thankful for these places where you can leave your child while you run your errands and be in peace that there's someone looking after them, running and jumping around.
No, we didn't grow up like that and we turned up fine.
I spent my childhood cycling from one park to another, sometimes with my parents, sometimes with friends. God knows how much I want to do the same with my kids but it's really dangerous cycling along the busy road nowadays.
Gone are the days that roaming around the neighbourhood alone or with some friends are not a big issue. Parents now can't let their kids out of their sight even at the tiny sundry shop down the street that belong to that uncle you've known all your life just by making short stops to and back from school not so long ago.
I want my kids to be able to do all those things.
Cycle around enjoying the morning sun or the afternoon wind, walk and run around at the playground teasing the Touch-Me-Nots, smell the grass after it rains and or even walk to the mall and making pit stops at each of their friends' house along the way.
We try as much as we can to take our kids to parks just for morning walks on weekends. But with our tight schedule and leaving everything else aside work for the weekend, the key word here is TRY. I know some parents whose idea of taking the kids for a day out means taking them to the mall and I certainly wouldn't want to be that kind of parent.
I guess to be able to do all those and have a career at the same time you have no choice BUT to be a supermom.
Now, bring me all the energy boosters, multivitamins and what nots.
Last week we read in the papers that a 5 year old girl went missing after going to the shop across the road from her house alone to buy noodles and eggs. The distraught mum was seen in the papers almost everyday, crying, wishing for her daughter's return.
Today, the front page of the newspaper said "charred remains of the girl was found just about 7km away from her house".
Again, the papers showed a picture of the mum crying after the news of her daughter's death got out.
Just a few days after news of the missing child were published, many have expressed their anger at the mother of the child mainly for allowing her 5 year old daughter to go to the shops alone.
Initially, I felt the same too. How could a mother let her 5 year old roam about, alone?
A 5 year old!
After reading the articles, I actually wasn't surprised at all at the fact that the girl was allowed to go to the shops alone.
You see, if you've ever stayed at a kampung (village) anywhere in Malaysia, you'd understand it.
It is generally safe to let your child run around unattended if you were living in a kampung although nowadays, after all these cases of missing children in the past few years, you would think twice. But, nonetheless, it is quite safe and you should not judge the parents.
In a kampung, everybody and anybody within the area is somehow related and know each other. They know where you stay, whose child you are, the occupation of the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, how you're related to whom and so on.
The same applies to the family of the missing girl.
She went to a shop that belongs to her relatives, not far from home, alone. Along the way, she must've walked pass some houses of more relatives and they would've seen her. At least, the shop owner would have. It was said by the mum that most kids in the area played by themselves, among themselves, without adult supervision all the time since everyone knows everyone else.
Looking back at my childhood, I understand. I went through the same thing too. My brother went through the same thing. So did my cousins and neighbours' kids. We played by ourselves all the time, unsupervised.
So, what was the difference? Nothing.
Except maybe that she was unlucky.
Or perhaps that maybe the world has changed so much that we can't trust even our relatives anymore.
Or just maybe, if you're a believer, that God loves her more and it's time for her to go.
Whatever it is, do not the blame the parents for letting her go alone in the first place.
Yes, it is easy to do that. It's unfair to do that.
But just take a moment to think and imagine how it would be like if you were in her parents' shoes.
I lost an aunt a year ago on the 11th of March to cancer. These days, it's never a surprise anymore whenever you hear news of someone's death due to the evil C.
She was really dear to me and we were very close. She's the aunt you run to whenever you have problems, refer to whenever you have queries, the person you call first to share good news. Her house was the hang out spot for both my brother and I when I was single, and my husband and daughter after I got married and had my daughter. We were with her all the way since she first found out about the evil C until the last days of her life.
My daughter still asks for her once in a while. She asked me where her Tok Mae was again just a few weeks ago. Said she missed her and wanted to see her. So, I had to explain to her again that she's gone and that we'd never get to see her, ever. Then, she mentioned that she remembers visiting Tok Mae at the hospital because she was sick. So, I told her, again, that Tok Mae is no longer sick and she's with the Creator and that she's happy now.
This topic of conversation between me and my daughter will happen every now and then and will happen again in a few months' time, several more times I hope, in the future. I don't mind discussing about it with her again and again because it shows that she remembers her Tok Mae still and I hope she'll remember her for quite a long time more.
Umi Mae, as I called her, always said that I was like a daughter to her. When I got married, she said that she hoped her daughter would find the right person, get married and be happy like me. When I was pregnant with my 1st child, she said that she hoped her daughter will have no problems when her time comes, like me. When I gave birth to my daughter, she hoped that her daughter would be as tough and strong as I was.
I hoped for none of that. I pray that her daughter would be a hundred times happier, tougher and stronger than I was/am just because she had a brave and wonderful mother.
I wouldn't be happy if I don't have my complete family with me. I would probably had problems if my mom weren't there to advise on my pregnancy. I certainly wouldn't have been strong and tough if my mom weren't in labour with me. And I definitely would not have dealt the way her daughter had when her mom left us on her wedding day.
Weeks before she passed, we were all busy preparing for her daughter's wedding. I had found out that I was pregnant with my second child. She was delighted upon receiving that news.
She never got to see my son.
It would be exactly a year this Sunday since she passed. Ironically, her daughter will be celebrating her 1st year anniversary with her husband on that very same day. How on earth do we celebrate that, we often ask ourselves.
Our thoughts and memories of her remains fresh and always will be in each and every one of our hearts. I really hope that my daughter remembers her well so she could tell her siblings about her cool grand aunt they didn't have the chance to meet.
Whatever it is, I know she's smiling down at us right now.
We so miss you, Umi Mae - Al Fatihah.
She's not one who loves taking photos as you can see.
So, I wrote in my 1st post that I was writing on my daughter's blog before I started my own. It now has a few followers and the stats are quite impressive... considering that we only did it for fun.
The reason why it's called that is because that's the meaning of her name. Aryanna Nadyne.
And yes, she is full of life! I can't begin to tell you how fast she picks up on things and words and habits... Every single day there'll be something new that she picks up from playschool or just from people around her that will just leave you speechless.
I'm really hopeful that she grows up to be the same person - full of life and hope in whatever she does.
And I hope her brother looks up to her and be there for her whenever she needs him.
I recently gave birth to my 2nd child, a boy. My 1st, a daughter will be turning 4 in April. Since I came back to work mid December last year, I felt that there were just not enough hours in a day! Between breastfeeding my baby, work and house chores, whatever energy and time left is to give some attention to my daughter. I know she sometimes feel left out since everyone's attention is now on the baby.
She loves her baby brother, don't get me wrong. She adores him. And you can see that the brother adores her too. He'll turn to look for her the minute he hears her voice and looks amusingly at the sister everytime she talks to him. It's been like that ever since he was able to pay attention to something or someone. It wasn't to me or the father, but the sister.
It's kind of fascinating how he recognises his sister's voice. Afterall, she's been talking to her brother since he was in my tummy. That's what she did. Almost every night before going to bed, she'll talk to my tummy. She'll just say things like how excited she was to be having a little brother or how she can't wait for him to come out. You'd never thought that the brother would be familiar with the voice once he's out. Now that he's turned 4 months, he listens attentively to the sister everytime she tells him something. He smiles immediately at the sight of his sister and gets excited when she teases him.
Gone were the days when I used to take my daughter shopping. Just the two of us.
Now, it takes up a whole load of energy just by getting both of them ready and by the time we get into the car, they'll already be grumpy or I'll be grumpy and sweating profusely. A couple of hours would be enough to drain out all the energy I managed to get from the few hours of sleep the night before.
You know the portrayal of a mom pushing a stroller, enjoying herself with her child, looking good, window shopping or just strolling, breathing fresh air you always read in novels or see in movies?
Yeah... you can forget about that now. That was then.
But somehow or rather, you'll forget about all your pain and tiredness you gained from one short trip when you stop and look at them both, talking and playing with each other at the end of the day. The apparent connection between siblings somehow amazes you when it's really obvious that they sense the connection between them themselves.
The best thing of all, instead of having the privilege to watch my daughter grow up, I'm now also able to see my son grow. I've been through all these before but I'm still amused at how they learn things and develop their skills.
A friend recently told me that somehow, there's something soothing about a baby's grip.
All the while I've been writing on my daughter's blog. I decided to start my own to express my thoughts and rants. So here I am, writing my first post and guess what...? I have no idea whatsoever in what to write about! How odd is that?
Anyways, I'll definitely be back, maybe sooner than you thought (since I'd be going back to face the kids soon!)