chao banana.

Couldn’t quite figure out how to accurately express the %!@$$%^ frustration and irritation I feel when people mistake me for being a filipino maid.

First was last week, when I went for a walk with Lisa and an elderly woman asked: “You are from Philippines?” 
I told her “I am from Singapore!” while fervently rolling my eyes and walking away. Dunno why so kaypoh… 我是哪国的人又管你什么屁事! 👿

Then yesterday, when a door-to-door surveyor asked: “Is your Mam or Sir at home?” 
To which I curtly replied:WHAT Mam or Sir?” 

But yet somehow I couldn’t find it in me to reject doing his NS/Army government survey, so I peppered sarcasm throughout the interviewing… For example, question was: “As a Singaporean, how do you feel the image of the Army affects you?”

I said: “Apparently I don’t look Singaporean, so maybe I shouldn’t be affected.”

Another question: “Your occupation is…?”
“Obviously you think I’m a Filipino maid.”

Yes, I am actually VERY offended when people think I’m pinoy. 😡

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Want to quit this country.

Time and time again, I’ve been told by expats how much they love it here – the cleanliness, safety, prosperity, etc. But being born and bred here (and without the financial means to upkeep the high costs of living) makes me one doubtful Jane.

But now that I’ve planted the seed of migrating somewhere else, the following has dawned upon me:

  • People who move here are people who can afford the costs of living here – so naturally they would have no complaints about prices they would have known prior.
  • You only move to a new country if there was “something wrong” with the previous one – which is why most who have relocated would give you bad reviews if asked what their previous country is like.
  • There’s something here they want/need/enjoy – for some it’s the all-year tropical weather, for others it’s the business-friendly environment and various schemes tailored for aspiring entrepreneurs. Truth is, as a local, sometimes you just can’t get enough capital to start-up with sky-high rentals and overheads.

So now to find that place on Earth for me and the family where we can be less restrained by the the overpopulation and crampings of finances…

More thoughts about moving.

We’re approximately 1.5 months away from moving – tentative move-out/move-in date being on 9th September – and in the same number of ways that I am dreading the logistics and change, I am looking forward to it.

For example, tonight there’s some “tok tok chiang” event going on downstairs at the open field. It’s noisy, and it’s deterring the kids from falling asleep. In the new place, there will be no such thing. First off, because there’s no home temple there. Secondly, because there’s no open field or space that’s open to rental.

Yeah, this will be one of the things that I would appreciate the most.

This monthly “tok tok chiang” business can really be jarring. Oh, how I will love it when there’s no more such nonsense at the new place.

 

Losing a child…

It could never be easy, whether your child is unborn or a full-fledged adult.

And it is by becoming a parent that you expose yourself to the potential of unknown joys and sadness.

My condolences to the parents, family and friends of little Ryken. The world will miss your sweet innocent smile.

Just My Somebody.

Only as I was eating a cold dinner on my lonesome at 10pm that I realised what having somebody special truly means: To know that he will come home to me and share my airspace. 🙂

And I guess that’s just what (most) domesticated couples with commitments do – simply sharing airspace and being within sight. You know I’ve got your back, and I know you’ve got mine.

I remember when he recently returned from his back-to-back business trips, I had asked him: “What is it that you miss most about me?”
“Having coffee with you”, was his immediate reply.

It’s a bit of an odd thing to miss about someone you love, but it was how we had met and spent our dating days together. It’s the one thing that hasn’t changed through the 6.5 years we’ve been together, and I’m glad for it.

Maybe we will be adventurous and exciting together when we can afford the time, opportunity and money. But meanwhile, sweets, Bangkok remains as a dream.

All I want is to be happy.

Yet out of the complexity of it all, the best part of it is having a loving husband who is torn between protecting me or allowing me to “grow up” and be like everyone else.

But heck, life isn’t always rosy. It is time I learn how to suck it up and decide what has got to give. If one day you find that I am no longer the same carefree person, you will know that I have grown up to become just another face in the crowd. I am only thankful I had so much more time to be myself in all the right and wrong ways.

The Truth About Parenting (My Version)

#1 – There’s no such thing as the “Perfect Parent”

No one’s perfect, so why would there be perfect parents? Humans are not all-knowing and faultless. Graciously acknowledge any mistakes you may have made as a parent (and as a person), learn the lesson, and impart the wisdom to your children. That knowledge is more valuable than being a picture perfect Mom/Dad. Your children will learn that it is perfectly normal to be wrong sometimes, and they will learn humility and the importance of being honest.

Taking the pressure off yourself will also make you a fun parent to be around, because you won’t be uptight about needing to be “right” and “good” all the time. The result is happier children who are comfortable being around you because you are comfortable being yourself. They will also learn how to accept themselves to be “less than perfect” because you would have shown them how to live in harmony with yourself and others even when one is not perfect.

 

#2 – Good parents say “Sorry”

This is closely related to #1, but yet an entirely different matter altogether. While an erred parent may admit to committing mistakes, it does not mean he or she would seek forgiveness from their children. Many parents find it hard to admit their wrongdoings to their own children, seeing how Asian society tends to place the parents in a hierarchy above the children, let alone seek forgiveness. “Your parents are always right”, you’d hear people saying. But is it really true?

I know this may sound insane to most parents, but if you view these little people as individuals, apologies are necessary when required. Children are humans too – not an extension of their parents – and they deserve the same respect you would give to another adult. And while you’re at it, tell them exactly what you did wrong (though they would most likely know what it was), why and how it happened, and wait for forgiveness. Teach them not to commit the same mistakes that you did, and teach them to have a gracious heart knows how to forgive.

 

#3 – Your child is an individual of his own possibilities

Despite the genetics, strange habits and quirks inherited from you and your spouse, your children are not extensions of neither parent. They are individuals with a unique blend of preferences, talents, goals, limitations and a mind of their own. Do not assume you can read your child’s mind thoroughly. Sure, you can predict he would want to do a certain something based on his hobbies, but when it goes deeper into the capabilities he feels he possesses, it is an entirely different ball game.

Do not impose what you feel he or she is capable of. Do not try to make them live out your dreams. Do not assume you know what’s “best for them”. Even if you may be right, trial and error is a crucial part of growing up. Do not deny them of their right to make their own choices and, most importantly, their opportunity to learn from their own mistakes. We only fully learn a lesson after we’ve been through it ourselves; it’s just how the human mind is programmed to work. Allowing them to make their own judgment will only make them wiser and more self-assured.

 

#4 – Accept, and celebrate, uniqueness

What works for someone else’s child may not work for your child. What is considered as “conventional parenting” may not work for you either. (I am a classic example.) If you have strong reason to believe that going against the norm will do your child good, then by all means, DO IT. When Barney sang that all children “are special in his or her own way”, it was meant to be taken at face value – gender and societal stereotypes aside. If your girl wants to play with cars, she might grow up to be an outstanding mechanical engineer. And if your boy wants to buy (and wear) a girly bead bracelet, he might just grow up to be a famous jewellery designer. (He might be gay too, but does that really matter?)

Yes, I am actually referring to Josh who had desperately wanted to buy a $3 bead bracelet from Cotton On Kids, and has been wearing it for the past week whenever he’s not in school or in bed. Am I freaked out? Nope. Is Daddy freaked out? A tad, I believe. He refused to buy the bracelet for Josh citing that “people may laugh at him”. Well, who gives a hoot about what other people think? If he’s happy wearing it, and he feels it expresses his individuality, those people can laugh their heads off for all I care. He knew what he wanted (he picked it out from the bottom of a clear plastic box filled with similar bracelets) and he relentlessly pursued it (insisting I took out that specific one for him when I passed him a similar one). I was merely assisting him to achieve his goal by paying for it. If he applies the same tenacity to everything else that he does in life, he is going to be one successful person!

 

#5 – Be a friend

Before you think I’m leaning towards the Western liberal approach towards parenting, let me first say I am 100% for punishing children who misbehave. We have a rattan cane at home, and we do use it occasionally – mostly just to threaten the kids. But over the past year, I have come to realise that it does not work. Maybe my children are special, and immune to the pain of physical punishment. But when I gave it some good thought, it occurred to me that it was simply because it does not make sense to the child.

For example, Josh hits Kee. We punish him by hitting him. He must now think that hitting is allowed in this house then, since we’re doing it to him. Then what’s so wrong with what he did to Kee? In another (hypothetical) example, Josh plays with his food and makes a huge mess. If we mete out physical punishment and clean up his mess for him, he will never fully understand the consequences or why we are angry about a dirty table/floor. An appropriate punishment would be for him to clean up on his own (even if it wouldn’t be done properly) so he learns that he must take responsibility for his actions. Thereafter ask him how he would like to be cleaning up our mess every single day. (The answer will almost definitely be negative.)

That’s a bit of digression there, but it’s somewhat necessary to illustrate my point.

If you are a friend to your child, you would advise on what is right or wrong. However, it is up to the child to choose his path (see point #3). If he chooses the wrong path, he has to bear the consequences on his own. As a friend, you have every right to be angry that he did not listen to your recommendations, but you can also choose to support him through his decision (ie: helping him clean up the mess he created). As parents, we are the most important friends our children will ever have, and we will always be held in the highest regard. No child in this world who would want to make their “favourite best friends” angry at them and put the “friendship” at risk. When you truly love someone, you will always want them to be happy and you will do everything in your power to get them there. A child would naturally behave the same way towards his parents, and not want to be the cause of unhappiness. This “punishment” is the most effective and teaches the most valuable lessons to a child.

Another aspect of being a friend to your child is about sharing. You share your triumphs so they may partake in your joy and celebrate with you. You share your failures so they may learn the lessons without having to live with the consequences. You share your feelings of fear and sadness, so that they may in turn share their worries and sorrows with you. Relationships are two-way streets and it is no different for a parent-child bond. To be a good parent, you have to first be a worthy friend; only then can you learn and teach effectively and live together harmoniously.

::

These are my own views on parenting, so I don’t expect everyone to agree with my school of thought. But judging by the amount of empathy the boys show to me, these points must be beneficial to creating a close-knit parent-child connection. As I had sat on the kitchen floor sobbing during one of Hubs’ overseas trips, Josh reassured me that “Papa will be back” and that I shouldn’t cry or worry. And this happened just minutes after I had yelled nastily at both of them for not going to bed on time. If that isn’t love, then I don’t know what is. 🙂

Sweat.

My mother always used to tell me why I sweat so much is because I’m fat. So, do skinny people really sweat less?

If that’s the truth, then I may have found yet another reason to lose more weight. Although at the rate the global temperatures are going up, I’ll probably never reach a point where I won’t be sweating buckets each day.

OH please, haze, GO AWAY and stop making it so stuffy!!

 

Why slimming pills?

It just chanced upon me last night why the demand for slimming supplements still triumph over other forms of weight loss – the sheer minimal time commitment required.

Plastic surgery is 100% effective – provided it is followed up with constant maintenance – but it is expensive, inflicts pain, and has post-surgery downtime. Some slimming centres supposedly work pretty well too, but for the time you have to spend there (approximately an hour per session), you’ll probably be better off hitting the gym for healthier results.

Then of course, the good old “diet and exercise” which requires a substantial amount of determination, ample time to exercise and possibly a small sum to sign up for some instructor-led exercise class or gym for maximum effect.

So it becomes apparent why slimming supplements is a logical choice amongst many women; no time commitment and certainly affordable. Takes you no more than half a minute to pop a pill, and off you go with your usual routine. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Yoyo-ing weight and side effects notwithstanding, of course.

As for me… I’m still very hesitant about popping pills for weight loss. But I must say the temptation is high after piling on 3kg since I stopped breastfeeding. *screams and tears hair out*

If anything, censor your own homophobic opinions.

In reference to this blog post at WashingtonPost.com, the first thought that came into mind when I read through it was: WTF?! Pardon my simple (and mildly vulgar) outburst but, seriously, what era are some of these respondents living in? All due respect to the 65-year-old lady who decided to shut out the unacceptable by canceling her newspaper subscription, after all, she really is from a different generation where homosexuality was an extremely taboo subject. But that’s ignoring the various historical evidence that backs up the theory that men have had gay practices since ancient Greece.

The comment that riled me up the most was from Lee Miller; who wrote in saying:

“I would appreciate it if your cover pictures would not be so disturbing where my kids can see it easily on the kitchen table… please don’t shove this “Gay” business in our face. This is something that should have shown up on an inside page or two (without the picture).”

Once again, for the lack of a better description of how I felt: “Seriously, WTF!!??

This “gay business” will be in your kids’ faces, whether you like it or not. While I’m not advocating the “if you can’t beat them, join them” policy, it’s not something any parent can – or should – shut out from their children. For one moment, appeal to your logic and think about this: Would it be easier explaining homosexuality to your child through a photo in the newspapers – a reliable source of information, may I add – or through an “in your face” live specimen of two men engaging in romantic affection?

Seriously, homophobic people, where are your brains?!

I’m not saying this just because we have gay people in our lives. Neither is it because I just want to go against “the norm” and get attention by being “gay-loving”. This is simply how I feel as a person who has fostered relationships with homosexual friends and relatives. This is what I feel is the most appropriate way for a parent react and behave.

I want to raise loving, accepting children – regardless of what their own sexual preferences may be in the future. And since they won’t be discovering that anytime soon, there’s really no harm teaching them to love all despite whatever differences everyone may have.

While some detractors may (and have done so on certain occasions) insist that I would flip if my boys were to turn out gay, I seriously seriously have no issues towards that. Better an upright gay person earning an honest day’s keep than a morally dubious person who has no clue what to do with their own lives, don’t you think?

I think the correct response to all homophobes in denial of the current worldwide gay phenomenon should not be for them to “lighten up”; it should be: “Appeal to your logic and wisen up.” Being sexually and romantically attracted to your own gender is not something any amount of societal disagreement will be able to dispel, so instead of trying so hard to reject it; accept it graciously, teach your children to be liberal about it and be ready to embrace the new world order.

And for those who insist on being obnoxious about the whole phenomenon, here’s a cheery upbeat song dedicated to you (which unfortunately also chides you for your narrow-mindedness):


Lily Allen – Fuck You (Very Much) [lyrics here]