Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Idiot Box

The idiot either love it, or hate it. Either way, it has gone a longggg....way.

I remembered the boxy 3 ft x 3ft monster that resembled more like a stack of drawers instead of the black and white telly. Yup, the idiot box used to be humongous and was only in black and white. Fast forward like 30 years ago, we were gaping at color tv....and now - it's as slim as you can get them!

                         Back Then


I love the idiot box. In fact, when I was growing up, my dad used to complain that I spent too much time in front of the tv! Compared to my other siblings, I believe that to be the truth!

I was so addicted to tv (back then), that I was usually restless when it was time to visit my paternal grandmother. You see, my dad was born in a small island in Kelantan. Back in the 80's there were no electricity (nor flowing tap water, for that matter!). 

My grandma's house was a small all wood with bamboo flooring structure. At night we used candles and 'lampu minyak'. I remembered being scolded (numerous times) - for the incessant need to blow the light off! 

                    The kerosene lamp

And since there is no running water, each of the houses will normally have a 'perigi/telaga'. And somehow most of these'perigi' are located in front of the houses.  Most of the houses also have huge balcony - where families gather for a chit chat - so you gotta get used to bathing in front of watching eyes! Yours truly included! But then being in an island means most of the islanders will take a dip in the river, instead of using the 'perigi'. My dad told me that by age 1, most of the children there are (very good) swimmers. And us? We used to bring the faithful 'cebuk' with us for a quick bath near the river...ha..ha..ha.

                      I wish it was this glamorous!

Coming back to tv, since the island does not have any electricity, of course going back to Tumpat means a week of no tv for me. So imagine, during one trip, I was informed by my dad that one of the islanders had bought a tv. The joy, the smile, the eyes - all light up at once! I dragged my mum to the house with the brand new tv (it was actually a relative's house - but then, staying in the island means most of them are your relatives!). 

We duly paid 'samah' (Kelantanese for 50 cents, which was quite a sum back then) and jostled to watch David Cassidy'. It was the best episodes (more like experience) ever!

Hail to the idiot box!!!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Do You Have What It Takes ?

I dislike hospital. I find hospital to be depressing. Don't get me wrong, I do make (quite frequent, I may say) visits to the hospital. Heck, even the radiographer recognizes me!

And what with 4 kids in tow, you'll have the hospital's number in speed dial. And its the one location in which you won't need to save in Garmin - yup, it should already mapped in the little gray cells.

This brings me to an interesting piece of news I read recently. You know how it is, every time major exam results are announced in Malaysia. You'll see the MSM splashed with the students celebrating their string of As. What I failed to notice was number of students with straight As.

I came as a shock to me - to learn that there were actually almost 8000 students with straight As. I am dumb-struck (err..hopefully not plain, dumb!). Imagine, out of the 30,000 odd students who took the exam, 8000 got all As in all the subject that they took. That's like 27%, man!

And to top it of, almost 300 students got straight A+ !!!!!

Wow...these kids are either geniuses, or  else there is something really, really, wrong, somewhere.  No tweaking here and there - to prove some theory or to show da new boss is da better boss - I hope!

We'll just leave it to that - bersangka baik - we'll just accept that these students are in fact sheer geniuses and in couple of years we'll have these shining stars all over Malaysia - and maybe, just maybe we'll finally see a few of them acknowledged in the scientific world - receiving Nobel Prizes in Chemistry, Physics, etc. 

One thing that I noticed is that most of these straight As students aspire to be doctors. I guess the lure of the medical field is to hard to resist. Probably its the physicians, surgeons, specialist that they come across in private hospitals who seems to be having a glamorous and financially (more than) stable lifestyle.

These over-achievers strives to be be doctors...though a lot of them are not aware the sacrifices that is required of them. The rigorous studying, the hard internship and not to mention the odd hours. Our pediatrician once lamented to us, that if he can, he'll advise his daughter not to be one. Yeah, imagine being a pediatrician, responsible for the lives of little ones - means that he always has to be on call. Yeah, the pay is undeniably good - but the sacrifices are also huge. 

And you gotta have passion for it - for you always have to be gentle and patient to your patients. And most of all, you gotta have guts! Imagine being surrounded by sick people, looking at blood on accident victims - like its the most normal thing. To attend to twisted pelvic or skull cracked open, without panic attack!

Let us salute all the doctors, surgeon, nurses, the assistants - they definitely deserve it!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

2010 Season Opening.

Yup, the much anticipated 2010 F1 season opening was officially done with last weekend - March 14. So, what's the verdict ? Me found it to be a tad underwhelming....

We actually had to decide whether to forgo 'Alice in Wonderland' - just to ensure we could catch the qualifying. It turned put the qualifying was at 7pm - Malaysian time - giving us ample time to surrender to the kids pestering for a piece of Alice.
The 3D was full house, so we had to settle for normal screening. Overall the movie was okay - but the kids sure loved them. I read somewhere - somebody writing that after Avatar - nothing is worth watching in 3D! Hik..hik...

Anyway, back to F1 - the race somehow failed to pump my adrenaline. It could be that with refueling ban, the cars are all loaded with gas - all of them look huge - I mean, humongous. And they are slow - with capital  S. Somehow (at least to me) they seemed to be driving like there is a safety car in front! That's how fast the were going (again - via my untrained eyes).

With the cars full on fuel, overtaking looked impossible. The start of the race - when the 5 red light went off - was normally the pinnacle of the race - where the drivers will try to overtake each other and at the same time trying not to ram into others. But with heavy cars, the status quo of qualifying were preserved - except for Vettel's RBR - whose machine suffered mechanical issue.
It used to be that the teams will try to outdo each other with cleaver strategies. Some of the front runners were very light so that they can try to gain a few places up and try to preserve that, followed by a  strategically placed refueling. Since the cars are lighters (and narrower - as the fuel tank are much smaller), overtaking are abundance.  That's what makes great race...

And I miss the pit stop blunders. I mean, the actions in the pit stop is part of racing. You can see that though the  teams must've perfected the pit stop - exercise,  sometimes things do go wrong - it proves that we are simply human! 

F1 will be very predictable and awfully boring - if there is no adrenaline rush. Full stop.


Friday, March 12, 2010

The (F1) Circus is Back!!

Yup, ladies and gentlemen, THEY are BACK!!!! After a 4 months hiatus - err, it was actually winter holidays - the circus are back in town. 

Circus, you ask ? At first I was intrigued as well, until I saw a picture of stilt walkers, among the many attractions available. I guess it was actually intended to portray the dozens of trucks laden with equipments being set up from one cities to another - hence the reference to a circus.

Anyway, the first city this year is Bahrain. This 2010 calender is much anticipated by legions of F1 fans, due to the 'exciting' changes to the sport. Yours truly ? Well, mine is a big bag of mixed emotions. 
Now that (my) Kimi is not racing - the sport seems to lost some of its lustre! And to add salt to the wound, the Scuderia outfit replaced him with that Spaniard. Yeah, that whiny Spaniard (I can't bring myself to type his name!) - just because he comes with a bag of Euros from Santandar.... But we had fun in 2008, right - looking at the whining, bitter and sulking face of Alonso. The paranoid he was in  - the thought that the kid Hamilton should over shadow  him, a 2 times world champ ...ha..ha..ha...those were the days....

I guess for such a high maintenance sport, the Santandar bag wins...My Kimmy had take the blame for the unsuccessful 2009 - when Ferrari figured out the double deck diffuser, too late. So Kimi is now off to WRC...

Coming back to 2010, we have the unexpected (really ??) comeback of Schumi. I have never been a fan - so it won't ruffle me - pity Nico though, I like this guy, and now he has to prove his worth against a superstar! This is a full German outfit, except for the presence of Ross Brawn. A force to be reckon with ?

Then there is an all English outfit - McLaren - with Button partnering Hamilton. Will it be an equal one? We'll have to wait and see. Dennis might  not be there anymore, but I do suspect that he still plays a big role there. 

And then off course, can Massa equals Alonso? I mean he played second fiddle to Schumi for such a long time, it is a pity if he now has to play second fiddle to the Spaniard. Does Ferrari really believe in it ? Historically it showed them to be preferring the no. 1 and no. 2 driver arrangement.

Due to budget constraints, some teams are opting for Cosworth engine. We'll see how they'll fare. 

Will RBR be as competitive as 2009 ? They were the ones giving Brawn a run for his money - as they did get the diffuser design sorted out very early. Vettel might be new, but he got guts and Webber - though already prominent face in the circuit - was excellent last year. Can the 2 of them pull it off this year ??

Then there's the 'newbies' - Lotus, Virgin and Hispania. Curios as well, to see how they'll fare. And remember, we still have that bet between Tony Fernandas and Richard Bronson. 

There will be lots of different rules for 2010. No more re-fueling....awww ....we're gonna miss the scene where Massa drove off with the fuel thingy still attached to his car....or that of Kimi's car running through flames courtesy of the fuel sprayed from Kovalainen's car (which also had that fuel thingy thing attached to his car!). 

And now the points are sooo...far apart, so that one is not complacent of just getting second place. And no more KERS (since only McLaren and Ferrari seems toknow how it works!). betcha!

Let the engine ROAR!!!!!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tears, Pride and Glory....

SPM 2010 result has just been announced. As usual pictures of emotions are splashed on the news. Tears of joy...tears of disappointment.

It seems that every year the results are getting better - hopefully it is so - and not because of some hidden agenda. It ceases to amaze me what these students are capable of. I mean that girl Amelina score 17A1 and then there was that guy with 20A1. 

Our nephew - Aiman - scored (as expected) 9As. Another nephew also scored 9As last year - and is now pursuing medicine in Egypt. All of our nephews and nieces scored 5As in their UPSR. 

I am a bit worried for my son, as he is expected to perform as well. What  with his father (hubby dearest) having scored 9As as well and was named Pahang's best student for SPM back then. It will be a big shoe for him to fill.....pity him.

Our education system is very exam oriented. My only concern is that we are producing students who are memorizing and regurgitating the info back into the exams. Sometimes the parents are too stressed up over exams - more than the kids itself - that the kid is denied opportunity to be just kids. 

It's school and after that tuition and music class and more tuition. Weekend means more tuition and pages and pages of past years papers. 

What about just being kid, enjoying the idiot box (I mean, tv), a bicycle ride and a walk in the playground - running around with family and friends ? 

I was a 'late bloomer' - not sure whether that is the right term. I studied in a small school in a rural town - no fancy boarding school. I had loads of fun when I was growing up. There was little pressure from my parents - and with typical distractions of teenagers (read : boys, crushes and the like) - I actually did okay.

By late bloomer I am referring to my achievements during college which far exceeded my SPM result. I graduated top of my class while doing Diploma. And I was the only Malay  to graduate with Second Upper in Chemistry in my University - in 12 years - yup in the pass 12 years before I graduated, there was no Malay with Second Upper! 

So, no worries - if you don't get that 9As or 11As or is not the end of the world. You can still excel. Have a balance life, it is much more rewarding in future.........


It is so disheartening to be reading about the recent spat of child abuse cases.

What has happened to our society ? Where are our compassion? Has the world become too unbearable to some, that they have to resort to violence towards the helpless? What about family values ???

Being a mom to 4 rambunctious kids, I cannot imagine a soul who would want to hurt them! And somebody close, to boot! Looking at the fragile face - I can only weep....How could the guy let anger smoldered his mind - and let emotions ruled him. The girl (blessed her) was only 3 years old, for goodness sake! 

Probably the family institution that we are in now is not what it used to be. I mean, in this particular case, the dad is in prison and the mom has been going out with the guy for 6 years. The guy is reportedly hot tempered - so there is a possibility that the abuse has been going on for a while, with the mother pretending that it did not happen. Some women do resort to this - it you pretend it does not happen, then it doesn't! 

There is a saying 'what you don't know, won't hurt you. But in this case, what the mum does not know, she had to pay dearly....

I do not wish to be in that situation....

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Women's Day - The Joy of Pregnancy

Mar 8, 2010 marks the second year anniversary of a certain tsunami in the Malaysian political ground . But  I will not ramble about that today is also the International Women Day.

I am honored that there is a day dedicated to women - to celebrate our contributions to society. Ladies, your day might not be different from yesterday - it's not like we are getting free lunches or will be treated for a shopping spree by our other half. But somewhere, sometime ago, there were some geniuses who thought of celebrating us!

So what is so special of being a women ??? The most obvious - none of the men can do it - is off course, childbearing ability. Getting pregnant and then the birth of your precious is simply magic. Well...I might be exaggerating here. I mean it's not all sugar and spice and everything nice. There are ladies who are confined to bed-rest, those who had major morning sickness that seems to go on and on, and those who walk about with gigantic feet (thanks to water retention problem).

Alhamdullilah, my pregnancies were all quite smooth. The only hiccups were the food poisoning episodes which prompted my dearest doctor to warn me to ward off street food. And I did get the morning sickness -  whoever coined the term MUST know that the sickness is not confined to morning, but is throughout the day - mine was mostly at night. There were times when I dreaded brushing my teeth as I ended up throwing up the just-eaten dinner. Well, at least I can sympathize with the sufferings of those bulimics who needs to throw up every time they munch something!

And off course there was the uncomfortable third trimester - where you feel like a hippo - where lying down and getting a good sleep is a chore. I remembered the consistent (and not to mention painful) heartburn - I ended up sleeping with leg stretched and body resting on a pillow propped onto the bed's head rest. Yup I was actually sleeping, in a half-sitting position during the last month or month and half of the third trimester.

Thankfully....I did not get severe nausea nor the pregnancy-induced high blood or pre-eclampsia. Nor was I confined to the bed because of severe tiredness. I was healthy and enjoyed my pregnancy. And I did not actually ballooned. In fact I got a friend who commented that from behind, I did not look like I was pregnant!

While pregnant, I am sure well-wishers will shower you with old wife's tale, pantang larang and what not. Don't eat pineapple or else you'll miscarriage. What??? But I love pineapple...... So, Dr. dearest, can I still still have my pineapple ? Don't watch horror movie, else you get ugly babies! Don't kill any animal, else your baby will be born with permanent deformities. Fuh...I tell you, it was a scary stage!

Then came the scariest part of all - the giving birth part! For my first born, I actually went for an induced labour - as I was already over my estimated due date. And did I tell you that my dear Dr. does NOT believe in using epidural for first-time mother. Yup, she believes that a mother needs to feel the pain of giving birth - to appreciate the beauty of it. 

Beauty ??? The labour pain was excruciating. Waiting for one to come - and you know when one is coming - is even worst! Imagine  anticipating excruciating pain which comes every few minutes!!!  
And then the urge to push. I was one of the 'lucky' ones - in which being a primigravida - I had a baby with the biggest head. Yup, my first born head is bigger that his sisters'.
But you know what - all that pain really  disappeared - once that precious is put onto your stomach - all covered in blood and mucus! I guess Allah made us all mothers have a short memory - when it comes to labour and labour pains. If not, every women will only have one child - no way we  will want to go through that excruciating  pain over and over again!

Monday, March 1, 2010

The (Diminishing) Art of Writing

I attended a seminar yesterday - work related. As some of the materials provided did not cover the whole presentation, I resorted to jotting down some of the (me think) important notes. Mind you, I need to write fast - to make sure I did not miss anything.

So what's the problem, you ask ? Well, before I put the notes away in the (free) environmentally-conscious bag, I noticed something. The scribbles! that really my handwriting ? What happened to my handwriting ? 

I used to have quite a nice handwriting - I even got a friend who confessed that he liked my handwriting so much so, that he copied it and now, his students love it too! 

Some said that a lot can be read from ones handwriting. Mine was small, very straight, evenly spaced and I can even write on a blank paper as if there were lines on it!  Probably it reflects my need for my own space and how mingling with people who I do not know is top of my list of uncomfortable things. Plus how I used to have a slight 'monk' (more of that next time) in me.

But now...I'm happy if I can read my notes  (handwriting) ....hik..hik...Guess this is the results of modern technology (yeah, blame THAT!). Ever since started working, I was given desktop and later laptop - to do everything - from designs to filing (thanks to the paperless initiative). The keyboard replaces the ordinary pen and pencil and you found yourself typing faster and faster and now you even have digital signatures to acknowledge those documents!

Do you miss the simple (art of) letter writing ? I sure do...remembered when I was the in secondary school. At that time having 'pen pal' was the in-thing. Nowadays my kids' school has the 'PC-pal' program. Anyway, I used to have 2 pen pals - and we wrote to each other diligently. I remembered saving my weekly allowance (RM 2 per week!) to buy the RM1.20 aerogram. I simply love writing - and in a way it helped to polish my English. 

And what about you ladies ? I am sure you have had your shares of love letters (not the CNY cookie!). I used to get lots of those...yup, yours truly had a fair share of the love letters. Hmmm....those were the times.....