Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Short (Memorable) Entry 1

Instead of writing long winded ramblings - which, based on my typical speed will take like forever - I am going to start writing - once in a while - short entries, normally of memorable moments.

My youngest daughter is being toilet trained - night time. She's doing great except for the occasional 'Abah, seluar saya basah' cries at 3am.

So there she was, bedtime, lying on her back, reflecting. 'Mama,  tak buka seluar macam mana kencing?' Huh ? She was actually puzzled, why did she wet the bed, when she did not remove her pants! Ha..ha..ha...

Hubby teased her ' Yeah, you did not remove your pants, that is why it was wet'. I guess she did not get it - since she still said ' macamana kencing tak buka seluar'....ha..ha..ha....

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Good and Bad News

Our daily life is a struggle and filled with good news and bad news - yours truly included.

First the bad news. My baby is now gone. My first Nokia. Hubby bought it for me - knowing how much I love taking pictures - he chose the latest model with 5MP camera.  I love the phone! The pictures are crystal clear and the video is also awesome - note: I am comparing this with my previous 3.2 Cybershot Sony-Erickson phone! I seldom use my phone other than  for calling home and hubby and texting families. So it was a great fit for me - as I got to snap and snap away - good quality pictures. 

But  unfortunately my affair with the phone did not last. After about 2 month, an accident happened. Since it is obvious that the phone is not  designed for IP67X (for those designing radios, this should be familiar, right?) - it could not be resuscitated. It has been almost 2 weeks - and still the repair shop could not power it up....hhhmmm......

Let's move on to the good news. About 2 weeks ago - after months of delay - I was finally at the Wellness Center for my bi-anneal exec medical check-up. There was a form in which we had to answer questions related to our lifestyle. Questions like whether you smoke, consume alcohol, exercise, take leafy greens, take oats, take grains, etc. I handed them the form and waited for my turn. First was the blood test, followed by the flexibility test - where you have to flex yourself on a bench! If only I am a contortionist....

Then it was measurement of fat and what not - using a machine - which calculates (magically?) your weight, body fat, lean fat, etc.

I was getting nervous for the most dreaded part - the treadmill. The treadmill came after ultrasound of the gall bladder, heart, kidney and liver. By that time it was already after 10am, and I was getting hungry (needed to fast for some of the tests). I was ushered into the treadmill room - and the nurse asked (probably she was trying to make a conversation) whether I was nervous. Off course I am nervous! This is the most physical part of the test !!!

She tried to cheer me up - by saying that it's no big deal. When told that my aim was 10mins, she then casually said ' orang yang umur 60 thn pun boleh sampai 10mins'.  I (quickly) retorted 'owh, itu org tua yg selalu exercise, kakak tak pernah exercise'....hi..hi..hi....

Anyway, the moment of truth finally arrived- as I climb onto the treadmill and serenaded by the calming visuals. Stage 1....stage 2...stage 3....the treadmill  was getting faster, and the slope was getting bigger.....I was trying to take my mind off my cramping feet. Mind over matter...mind over matter....look at that scenery....amazing.....
Finally stage 5....I could not hold any longer...exhausted...stop...stop...The result? 10mins! 

Yeay !!!! Mission accomplished!

A week after that - a day before Ramdhan - I was again at the Wellness Center - but this time around is to pick up my result. I went to see the Dr, who went through my results. Your weight is perfect, your fat is perfect, your cholesterol is perfect, your heart is perfect, your kidney is perfect, your gallbladder is perfect......probably the Dr's favorite word is perfect!

Anyway, I was surprised to see that although I have gained at least 4kg compared to 2 years ago - my total cholesterol has actually reduced from 4.2 to 3.2. My LDL - the bad cholesterol - is also small. And to top it up - my health age is 6 years younger than my actual age !!!!! Yeay !!!!!

The Dr has noted that I need to slow down, as stress has taken its toll on my body. My body is showing signs of stress (read: thyroid). So I am taking Surbex Zinc for the stress and fish oil which hopefully can do something to increase my immune system.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

State of Affair

I was intrigued when I heard about the short-lived second marriage of one of Malaysia's sport personality. Intrigued because his first marriage - sometime last year - lasted for about 12 days, and the cases were splashed all over the news - as it was dragged to court.

Anyway, like a month ago, the fella got married again - so we thought that's the end of it. Lo and behold, he's on the news again - this time for uttering the 'I cerai u lah' word to his wife, 2 days before their first MONTH anniversary! Made us think, doesn't it?

Reminded me of a story of a friend of a friend. That friend was having problem with the roommate. Then she changed room and another roommate, but the problem persist. And the next year the same thing again - in which my friend casually remarked to me "if our friend is having problem with her roommate - and it is happening every year with different roommates - could it be that our friend is the one that is actually the difficult one (to live with) " Make sense doesn't it?

Coming back to the Malaysian sport personality, even before I finished writing this entry (I really need to speed up!) - there is already a new twist to the story. Well, you can read it on your own. It is everywhere - the internet and also on MSM. The story is chronicled there - both the short and long version, so I'm not gonna repeat it here. The odd thing that I noticed is that both the ex-wives were introduced to the fella by the person who is now charged by the (now ex) wife - as having an affair with the fella. And that person is a married woman with is so much older than the fella (what age gotta do with this?)

Someone cheekily said 'probably there is some kinky arrangement there '...he..he...

We don't want to delve into that, do we?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What Are We Turning Into?

The recent spat of child-abuse cases are really disheartening. I can't imagine a soul who would want to harm a helpless little child.  Cases like the 3 years old Shafiyah Humairah who was stomped to death. 

Then those daily news on abandoned new-born. Some were fortunate to be found alive...but some were not destined to share the world we live in. How could any human being be so cruel to abandon their own flesh and blood - to leave them to their fate - some were bitten by ants and bugs - some were left in the cold morning.....and worst some we simply dumped in dumpsters, in rivers, in drains....what are we turning into? Have our heart turned to this dark cold stone?

There are more depressing news in this holy month. The mentally unstable husband who killed his wife and injured his daughter.  The children losing their mom and dad in a span of a couple of hours. 

Then the case of a drug addict father who splashed his wife and kids with acids - severely damaging the 8 years old  face and body. Imagine the life that the small girl is going to go through. Scarred - physically and emotionally - for life.

What about the rampant cases of molestation, rape and incest. We had a few weeks ago cases of van driver - ferrying primary school children to school - raping these girls. Some are molested. And these people are already married, with kids of their own. Aren't there any more fear in their heart? As parents with school-going children, off course I am deeply disturbed.  

Something needs to be done - urgently - as it looks to me that our family institution, our society are disintegrating. Moral values are of no importance anymore. We have to go back to our core values. Go back to religion. I am sure all religions do not condone rape and incest.... 

May Allah bless us all.....

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Of Structures and Arches

Since Italy is famous for it's Leaning Tower of Pisa, Penang - until a few days ago - was in contender for - Leaning Arches of Penang.

It never ceased to amaze me, what all these people are thinking (errr, hopefully not just to make a quick buck). First somebody thought that 'hmmm.....I got RM X mil to beautify the Botanical Garden....why don't I put an arch there'. 'Lots of people will be really really happy'.....So in lightning speed it was approved and executed.

The result? The RM150,000 pair of arches - which looks to me -  like an eye sore! This is coming from someone with no expertise in architecture! People (more like visitors to the park) started to complaint (I guess they have eyes as mine). And not long after it's completion - it was found that the whole structure was tilting!

After much brouhaha, finally it was decided that the arch must go - demolished! It was said that this was based on the request of the people. The decision was based on a survey which noted that 71% of  the people wanted the arches be demolished. Funny thing is, while the thing was being planned  - the people was never in the picture! 

And the best part is, the demolition was costing taxpayer RM90,000 (it was later rectified that the actual cost was RM70,000 - was that supposed to make us happy - that it is cheaper???) 

Wow... that's ****** kind of money...hhmm...demolishing cost is half the cost  of erecting the structure. Probably I am in the wrong profession..... 

And by the way, for you guys out there - Muslims guys only - if you feel like fulfilling your quota, then fear not. If you don't get your missus signature for the approval of your subsequent marriage(s) - don't bother - just prepare yerself RM1000. That'll be proven recently!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Welcome, Ramadhan!

Ramadhan datang lagi....Alhamdullilah, kita telah dipanjangkan umur dan diberi kenikmatan untuk bertemu kembali dengan Ramadhan, penghulu segala bulan.

Today is the first day of the holy month of Ramadhan. Being a Muslim, we look forward to this month - which is full with blessings. Muslims everywhere strive to purify their hearts and seek for forgiveness and blessings from Allah.

Fasting is not just about abstinence from food and drink during the day - it is  also about sacrifices and character building. How it feels to be less-privileged. But only if you stay true to the teachings.

With temptations of various Bazaar Ramadhan, it is easy for us to sometimes forget the true meaning of fasting. Indulging ourselves with never ending lavish food for the breaking of fast!

Fasting with kids is a joy! I trained my kids to fast at the age of 5 years. Slowly at first - and by slowly I mean that they'll do different kids of half-day fasting. My second daughter who is a picky eater, completed her full month full day fasting at the age of 6! It was easier with her - since she is not crazy about food to begin with! 

Me and hubby - we always had a good laugh - reminiscing about her first full day fasting last year. By 4 pm, she was already in delirium, crying, yelling - to no one in particular - just to let everyone - how starving she was! I managed to calm her down...asked her to sleep...which she did....after an hour or so, she will start again with the crying and screaming. It was funny!

This year she is all smiles - except for the sahur part. We still saw the tears running over her cheek during the first sahur...hmmm....

The difficult part now will be my youngest. She is not yet 5 years - and loves her milk. It will surely be a task - that one! We'll see how it goes.

In the mean time - enjoy this holy month....may we all be blessed by HIM, always.....

Monday, August 9, 2010

World Breasfeeding Day

August 1 - 7 - was World Breastfeeding Week. Articles and pictures splashed over the pages of daily papers reminded me of my own experience.

When I had my firstborn - 12 years ago - there were only about 100  of us engineers in RND. Out of these, there were only around 10 females. Half of them were single so when I was pregnant,  it was no surprise that I was the only one at that time - in the office.

When I delivered my son - I exclusively breastfed him during confinement . The first 3 months were chaotic - as  the baby started to adjust to our world.  My son would wake up every 2 hours for a feed, but fall asleep after less than 5 minutes. No amount of poking of his cheek or  caressing of his mouth will waken him! Since he was sleeping on a baby cot - I remembered feeling like a robot. Baby cried, I sat, picked him up, breastfeed him, put him back in his cot, continued with my sleep and the repeat the pattern 2 hours later!

When it was time to be back in the office, I found it  a struggle to pump and store my milk. Being an inexperienced mom made it harder. Coupled with being a junior engineer at that time which meant that it was just too difficult to manage my time - with tasks and meetings to attend. I ended up giving my son formula milk during the day and exclusively breastfed him at night. It lasted for about 4 months. 

When I was expecting my second child - my determination was high. I was mentally prepared - and most importantly through advise from a friend, I bought a simple battery operated pump. That turned out to be a purchase worth buying! My daughter was not introduced to formula milk and and 2 weeks before I was due back to the office, I started to store up the milk in the freezer.

I would take the milk to the nursery - and the teachers there would put the bottles in a bowl of hot water, come feeding time. In the office, I found out there is no such thing as 'mother's room'. There was not even a proper place in the small in-house clinic which I could use. The nurse asked me to use the 'sick room' - but most of the time - there would be somebody there - having headaches or migraines or what not.

So my best best option was....the ladies room! Yup, I would go to the ladies room and spent 15 - 30 mins to fill up the bottles. I was earlier informed that there used to be a fridge in the in-house clinic. But unfortunately I was told that the fridge was under repair. But the nurses there were very helptful. They helped to get some ice cubes from the cafeteria, put it in a bucket - and then put my bottles in the bucket.  Clever huh! So my routine before I called it a day was to go down to the in-house clinic and picked up my bottles. 

I had to juggle with work and the visit to the loo - to pump! It was not easy and requires time management and loads of patience. Over time I managed to master some skills to shorten the time to pump. Before I knew it - I had achieved the 1 year goal of exclusive breastfeeding!

It was a milestone much cherished. Something that looked impossible at first glance - considering the hassle required to pump! A few things that I noticed was that during that 1 year, my daughter had less problem - specifically health problems. She was rarely sick - unlike my son who was frequently down with something - especially if one of the kids in the nursery was too.  And the additional benefit - the saving of $$$ - I'm sure you know how outrageous the prices of infant formula milk is. 

Come baby no 3, the routine continued. A visit to the loo to pump, but this time around I skipped the visit to in-house clinic and instead just put the milk in a warmer in my cubicle - as the place had aircond on full blast, anyway! Again, I managed to achieve my goal of 1 year exclusive breastfeeding. 

When my youngest daughter was born, I determined to continue my tradition.. Finding time to pump was slightly easier as I had more control of my tasks and meetings. The night feeding was also bearable - as all my daughters - unlike my son - had longer feeds and thus I had longer sleep cycle.

The battery operated pump was great and I managed to use them for all my 3 girls - a very good buy, if you ask me!

I am also very proud that my persistence in fully breastfeeding my girls had inspired other engineers - following my steps. Some of them were amazed at my determination, calling me supermom and admitting that she was using me  as idol! After my youngest daughter, I noticed that breastfeeding has gained momentum in our office and coupled with the fact that there are now around 800 engineers - the environment has also changed. There is now a 'Mother's Room' - where new mom can pump in comfort. I envy them....but that is truly a good change.

Cheers to Breastfeeding!!!!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Bandung Chronicles - Day 4 - Au Revoir

Day 4 - it is finally 'Au Revoir' Bandung! After a tiring 4 days in Bandung - it's time to pack our bags and head home. Fuh, the number of bags that we needed to lug down the stairs! We had to call the helpers from the hotel to  bring them down. Extremely heavy!

Breakfast was this amazing 'nasi uduk'. Similar to our nasi lemak. The gravy looks like rendang - and the sambal bilis with crispy potato bits were to die for! It was really good! We had to wait for almost an hour before our van finally arrived. During that time we took the opportunity to take more pictures and also to buy some knick knacks (fridge magnet, key chains anyone?).

Our flight was supposed to be at 12 pm - which will give me an hour to make it to my connecting flight to Penang. Unfortunately 12pm came and go....and still no sign of us leaving! After half an hour we were finally inside the flight - a good 45 mins delayed! There goes my connecting flight!

I was with mixed is always sad to leave a place...but at the same time, I missed my family terribly - can't wait to see all of them again.....

We landed in LCCT at around 3.45pm, and as expected the counter to Penang wasl already closed! I left my friends after taking my luggage and headed straight to the AirAsia Sales counter. What I saw next frustrated me! About 50 people queuing - with 3 counters open - but the queue hardly moved!

The guy in front on me seemed friendly. He smiled and then I thot - well, since I'm going to be here a while...might as well I make small talk with someone! That must be the best decision I had that day! 

The guy was very friendly. He was waiting to buy tickets to Singapore. I told him about my all-girls trip to Bandung. He cheekily asked whether it was a kind of bachelors party - in which I had to smile! Nope...I said it was just us girls....and he casually asked whether I'm already married. And he was quite surprise that our hubbies let us on the trip! Then he asked whether I am 'mamak'.....errr......a quick no there. Did I say that I conversed with him in English? Anyway, I'm going to flatter myself here and assume that my English is great that he probably thought I am a descent of Indian as well....ha..ha..ha...

Out conversation then centered into the reason for me queuing there. Then he asked to look at my flight schedule...and said ' this delay is caused by AirAsia...not your should complaint...go to their customer service'. Errr...I looked back and saw there were around 15 people behind me - with around 45 people in front....understandably - I was reluctant. He said to me ' Tell you what, you go and fight your case...make sure you get to the next plane for free...but if everything else can always comes back and queue behind me'. With that...and lots of thanks, I dashed away to find the customer service.

There was a couple in front of me - at the service counter. From what I eavesdropped (shame!) - they missed their flight as well. I asked the guy and he confirmed that he missed his flight to Penang as well - and was asked to pay rm65 each for the replacement flight. That seemed like a good deal - I checked to make sure I have the cash on hand. The when it was my turn, I relented my story to the girl. She checked my booking and then said that she'll book me on the next flight. Unfortunately the next flight will be at 9.45pm! It was 5 pm - so it was going to be a longgggg.....wait. I had to say yes - and to my surprised - the ticket was given to me - FOC!

I was truly surprised! To the guy who advised me to go to the customer counter - a big THANK YOU ! I did not managed to bump into him - to personally thank him. I asked hubby to check for MAS flight - but the RM359 price tag blew me off!

So there I was, my friends were all on their back to Pekan. I had a long early dinner of nasi lemak...savoring the food and the surrounding. Then it was back to Hercule Poirot while waiting for check in. 

The flight was finally announced - and being given seat 1A - meant I was on 'hot seat' and was the first one to board! By 10.30pm we landed in Penang, but unfortunately, a delayed in luggage pickup - we were running around in 3 aisles - meant that I finally got to hug my children at 11pm!

That was sure a