Thursday, January 26, 2006

The cruel passage of time

Just had lunch with my dad and my grandmother today....

He looks like... an old man... drawn and tired... and not the Dad I remembered.

I am softened...


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Meme of Four

Tagged by Trisha

4 Jobs You’ve Had In Your Life

1) Pen salesman (!) - Hmm... Alas.. too old for Singapore Idol!
2) Insurance Agent
3) Equities Analyst
4) Delivery Man for Fine French Foods

4 Movies You Could Watch Over And Over

1) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
2) The Matrix Series (okie.. so I'm cheating here...)
3) Rudy - Beautiful story about this fella named, you guessed it, Rudy... who comes from this mining town... the message from the family? "Don't hope to be anything better... just be content being a miner"... Rudy goes on to graduate from college... More importantly, Rudy goes on to play in the (winning) college football team. A wonderful true story of courage and tenacity...
4) Cannot think of any right now...

4 TV Shows You Love(d) To Watch

1) M.A.S.H
2) All the C.S.Is.. (again.. cheating hor)
3) Whose Line is It Anyway?
4) Any cooking programme... too lazy to write.. so watch it to refresh my mem down the recipes... so have to watch to refresh memory...

4 Places You’ve Been On Vacation To

1) Phuket
2) Malaysia
3) Melbourne
4) Anaheim

4 Places You Would Rather Be

Hmm... I enjoy my work and my life... so what to do? You can call me a workaholic...

4 Of Your Favourite Foods

Erm.. need you really ask this?

4 Websites You Visit Daily

1) Mr Brown
2) Mr Wang
3) Trisha
4) Huge Whale Shark

4 Tagged (Hey guys.. you don't have to do it if you don't wanna... :o)

1) Huge Whale Shark
2) Mr Brown - Know you don't know me... but hey, I read you everyday so...
3) Mr Wang - Know you're not really into this bro, but what the heck...
4) ... argh... running out of people to tag coz everyone do liao...

Monday, January 23, 2006


Just came back from a 3 day business trip to Jakarta... one of the major property developers held an exhibition over the weekend and was asked to go for "support"...

I had a fruitful trip business-wise, but felt a virtual prisoner indoors.


For those of you who have had the opportunity to go Jakarta, you would be aware that walking along the streets of Jakarta is STRONGLY DISCOURAGED.

Why? (eh.. strange, deja vu leh...)

Well, basically it's because it's just not safe to do so. This, in itself, goes against my basic instincts. When I visit a country, I love to go for long walks, just so I can understand the culture and the people. I love trying the street foods, albeit at the risk of my digestive system. I love zipping into small shops just so I can take a look at the local wares.

Every time I go to Jakarta, I cannot do what I so want to do. I so want to just walk out the main door and into the streets, but cannot (or rather, dare not). Not even the Indonesian Chinese do that. Want to go next door to the next shopping mall? We go in a car or a taxi, and not just any taxi at that... it must either be a Silver Bird or a Blue Bird. When you need a taxi, the hotels call a cab for you and record the license plate number... just so that you do not disappear into thin air without a trace.

I do not feel safe in Jakarta.

What's also strange is that in the malls, as in the hotels, you see well-heeled Indonesians going about their leisure. They walk about nonchalantly, carrying their LV / Hermes / Branded bags... all the latest designs of course. Then, we go into a cab and drive around through the little lanes. Here, we see a starkly different Indonesia. What's very evident is that these Indonesian are mainly non Chinese. They hang around the streets in large groups (of course, the times when I saw them is about 9 in the morning and about 8 at night on Saturday and Sunday... the last statement is NOT an implication that these folks have nothing better to do... like work).

I've been asked to go Surabaya next month for another exhibition next month.

The first piece of advice I got?

Do not walk on the streets...


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

My Dad Has Just Called...

... to say that he's coming back to Singapore on the 25th of January from Taiwan for a short holiday, together with my grandmother who's coming back from the UK to join him here.

*sigh* I do have mixed feelings about this.

It's funny. Perhaps children can sense something... After I broke the news to her while I was driving home after picking her up from school, she kept quiet.. and then said :

"Daddy, so funny. Your daddy and your grandmother were away for soooo long. Until you are an A-D-U-L-T already. So funny, right?"

Right. Exactly how I feel. Amazing how even a 5 year old can work that out.

About 15 years ago, my grandmother was on a trip to Singapore and she tried to "reconnect", after years of not being in contact. "We are family", she tells me.... and all that "blood-is-thicker-than-water" litany


Now that's I'm all grown up, have my own career, no hassles involved... she wants to "reconnect"

"It's too late", I remember telling her then, "you were not around when I was growing up. It's really hard now"...

It's same for my dad too... a product of a broken family many times over. He calls when he needs help. He calls when he wants to "chat". He was never around when I was growing up.

Now, many years on, the fact remains : "It's too late", all of you, "IT'S TOO BLOODY LATE!"

And so, why am I having mixed feeling? Because deep inside me, I too, want to mend it and make it good again.

I just don't know.


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Do You Remember?

Guess I'm a huge sucker for memes...

The reality is, well, I'm more a sucker for memories, coz it's really the only valuable thing that one can leave behind...

So... *deep breath*

Do You Remember...

... the time I hid in my bedroom as a child of 3, as "the other woman" screamed outside our window... wanting to see you? I was so afraid... both you and Mum were shouting at each other...

... the time I couldn't get the word "chair" right? I remember you walking towards me with the cane... as I so foolishly thought as a 4 year old... that I could hide from your lashes by squeezing as close as I could to the wall...

... when I cried buckets because I thought you were going to die?

... the time we went fishing? That was the best time I've ever had with you... ever...

... our first kiss on the way to your home? :o)

... what you said as I dressed up for our first date on the 24th of December 1994? All I could do was blush...

... when E was born?

... what I said when M was born? "Darling... (as the doctor was stitching you up)... I think it's time to plan for No. 3!"... Do you remember the evil eyes BOTH you and the gynae were showing my way?

... our wedding day?

I do... and thank you for these was what make me me...

*I'll be expanding this later.. so many memories.. so little time!*

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Kenna caught.. with pants down some more...


Read this... and this...

I think this was really quite needless...


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Pickle Jar

Know how people like to send emails with jokes / inspirational stories / chains? Well, I typically read them and just forget about them.

Except today.

I read one sent to me by a good friend of mine. After I finish reading it.. well, it left a lump in my throat.

Why? Simply because the father's quiet love touched me. Because I never really experienced such a love from my own dad / parents. Because I myself, funnily enough, have a figurative pickle jar.

I just didn't realize how this humble pickle jar could be a symbol of a father's love for his child.


The Pickle Jar

The pickle jar as far back as I can remember sat on the floor beside the dresser in my parents' bedroom. When he got ready for bed, Dad would empty his pockets and toss his coins into the jar. As a small boy I was always fascinated at the sounds the coins made as they were dropped into the jar. They landed with a merry jingle when the jar was almost empty. Then the tones gradually muted to a dull thud as the jar was filled.

I used to squat on the floor in front of the jar and admire the copper and silver circles that glinted like a pirate's treasure when the sun poured through the bedroom window. When the jar was filled, Dad would sit at the kitchen table and roll the coins before taking them to the bank.
Taking the coins to the bank was always a big production. Stacked neatly in a small cardboard box, the coins were placed between Dad and me on the seat of his old truck. Each and every time, as we drove to the bank, Dad would look at me hopefully. "Those coins are going to keep you out of the textile mill, son. You're going to do better than me. This old mill town's not going to hold you back."

Also, each and every time, as he slid the box of rolled coins across the counter at the bank toward the cashier, he would grin proudly. "These are for my son's college fund. He'll never work at the mill all his life like me."

We would always celebrate each deposit by stopping for an ice cream cone. I always got chocolate. Dad always got vanilla. When the clerk at the ice cream parlor handed Dad his change, he would show me the few coins nestled in his palm. "When we get home, we'll start filling the jar again." He always let me drop the first coins into the empty jar. As they rattled around with a brief, happy jingle, we grinned at each other. "You won't get to college on pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters," he said. "But you'll get there. I'll see to that."

The years passed, and I finished college and took a job in another town. Once, while visiting my parents, I used the phone in their bedroom, and noticed that the pickle jar was gone. It had served its purpose and had been removed. A lump rose in my throat as I stared at the spot beside the dresser where the jar had always stood. My dad was a man of few words, and never lectured me on the values of determination, perseverance, and faith. The pickle jar had taught me all these virtues far more eloquently than the most flowery of words could have done.
When I married, I told my wife Susan about the significant part the lowly pickle jar had played in my life as a boy. In my mind, it defined, more than anything else, how much my dad had loved me. No matter how rough things got at home, Dad continued to doggedly drop his coins into the jar.

Even the summer when Dad got laid off from the mill, and Mama had to serve dried beans several times a week, not a single dime was taken from the jar. To the contrary, as Dad looked across the table at me, pouring catsup over my beans to make them more palatable, he became more determined than ever to make a way out for me. "When you finish college, Son," he told me, his eyes glistening, "You'll never have to eat beans again ... unless you want to."
The first Christmas after our daughter Jessica was born, we spent the holiday with my parents. After dinner, Mom and Dad sat next to each other on the sofa, taking turns cuddling their first grandchild. Jessica began to whimper softly and Susan took her from Dad's arms. "She probably needs to be changed." she said, carrying the baby into my parents' bedroom to diaper her. When Susan came back into the living room, there was a strange mist in her eyes.
She handed Jessica back to Dad before taking my hand and leading me into the room. "Look," she said softly, her eyes directing me to a spot on the floor beside the dresser. To my amazement, there, as if it had never been removed, stood the old pickle jar, the bottom already covered with coins. I walked over to the pickle jar, dug down into my pocket, and pulled out a fistful of coins. With a gamut of emotions choking me, I dropped the coins into the jar.
I looked up and saw that Dad, carrying Jessica, had slipped quietly into the room. Our eyes locked, and I knew he was feeling the same emotions I felt. Neither one of us could speak.
Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person's life, for better or for worse. God puts us all in each other's lives to impact one another in some way. Look for God in others.

The best and most beautiful things cannot be seen or touched,they must be felt with the heart.~ Helen Keller ~

Happy moments, praise God
Difficult moments, seek God
Quiet moments, worship God
Painful moments, trust God
Every moment, thank God

Monday, January 09, 2006

Bo Hee Hai Ar Ho! (No Fish... Prawns Also Can!)


Not allowed to have pets at home.. wife exercise veto... so have to adopt a tiger instead...

Anyone wanna surprise me with a miniature schnauzer so that I can cite "courtesy" as a reason to keep it?

*Post Note : Seems my Hokkien is getting rusty from lack of use.. It should be "Bo Hee Hei Ar Ho!".. sounds more phonetically correct anyway...

Realizations... and Resolutions...

This weekend has been a stressful and tiring one.

Moved house.. (although still without the recess area).. went to church on Saturday night and Sunday morning.

The time spent in church was good... it allowed me to reflect on this past year... and on my life.

2005 was a good year.

I had done well at my work... had my second child (Hi M!)... Bought a new place and moved in... All in, a great year.

But I lost something in the process.

My dependence on God.


As I reflected, I realized that when life wasn't so good, I was much more dependent on Him.. I turned to Him on a daily basis... for strength... for support... to speak with...

But now? This was gone.. the deep conversations replaced with the typical "Hi-s".. and "Bye-s" reserved for strangers and acquaintances...

My dependence on Him? Replaced with a self belief.. that I can do it... I can do it ALL...

This weekend was good... It allowed me to realize where I had gone wrong where it had all gone right.

I'm sorry LORD...

I'm back... Let me rededicate all my efforts, my successes, my achievements, my hopes, my dreams, my fears all BACK to you.

Where it rightly should have been.... in the first place...

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Of friends.. lost.. and found!

Oh joy!

Have just realized that Hugewhaleshark is an old friend.. lost his number when I lost my mobile phone.

Got reconnected when he left a comment on my blog.

Imagine that? Talk about the proverbial needle in the haystack!

See you Thursday my friend! :o)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Food Food Food

Remember how some time ago, I was tossing about with the idea of going of LapBanding? I had been struggling with my feelings about my food... well, the FOOD won.

I have been reading about how TONS of people have been having their weight drop off with the Atkins Diet... yeah yeah... I can hear it already "fad diet... fad diet... fat diet"... Well, if so many people have their weight eaten off (literally) ... isn't it worth trying out? Anyone tried the Atkins Diet with any real success? Anybody?

My new place is almost ready (Yeah.. the HDB hasn't come back to me, but that's a whole separate issue)... with a spanking new kitchen and oven just beckoning me...

Since my 5 year old daughter has already placed her orders to make pizza with me once we move in.. which at this point, is expected to be this Saturday, the 7th of January, I thought, why not? Let's make Low Carb Pizza! Will upload the pictures once I've tried the recipe.

This is not a Food Blog, but this is a blog about my life.. and food does play a large part (urgh.. bad choice of word) in my life.. hey.. I reckon I'll talk about my cooking once in a while... figure I'll muck around with low carb recipes... :o)

It's 10-to-2 in the morning... and I STILL CAN'T SLEEP!

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