Thursday, August 30, 2007


Tym and I were talking about how vibrating at a high frequency for long periods of time can be somewhat destructive to the soul. And having to look after 2 kids and one of them through the night often leaves me vibrating at an extremely high frequencey that is difficult to come down from. At home, I feel like I must always be doing something, tending to the babies or when the babies are sleeping, it's time for me to do stuff online, or sort out things or whatever. It seldom crosses my mind to just kick back and watch tv or read or heaven forbid, sleep.

But the cracks start to show after a while. I'm testy and edgy because I'm on that high frequency hum all the time and I'm not really aware of it until something really annoys me or something makes something inside me go snap. Then, I realise that it's time to step back a little. It's difficult though, because of the new additions to my family. But it dawned on me that I had to start finding pockets of time to just to be. Not anything else, not try to be supermommy, superteacher, superfriend, but just be.

And I found that, on some level, I knew that. Everytime I take the bus, I bring a book. It's a habit. I love taking the bus or the train because I get to read and not have to worry about anything else or be distracted. But these last few times I've been on the bus, I would reach for my book, flip it open halfheartedly and put it back, preferring to just stare out the window. I never enjoyed doing that, I always thought it was a waste of time, but now, I relish it. It gave my mind time to just dial a couple of notches down and stare mindlessly at the people, the traffic, of course occasionally interjecting with a snarky thought about how someone is dressed- even when the brain is idling, it doesn't let everything go unnoticed. It reminds me a little bit of a poem I learnt as a child in school-

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

I don't think my life qualifies as poor at this point, just full. And going into a state of peaceful humming in neutral gear is possibly the best way to nourish it at this point.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 07:23

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

Toys R Us Kid

At many points in my life, I have redefined what makes an adult. When I was waiting to go to uni, my definition of an adult was someone who had a CPF account because that was the time I got my first job and I had to fill in forms to create such an account. When I graduated and came home, an adult became someone who had to pay income tax. Then it became someone who could and had to buy a house. It kept changing, that definition. I thought what finally cemented my transition from a kidult to an adult was when I had kids of my own. But I was wrong.

I'm quite certain that even now, as I re-evaluate what an adult is, I will once again rework it somewhere down the line. But for now, I have entered adulthood because I am interviewing to domestic help and will be responsible for instructing the help on what needs to be done in the house. I had no idea how difficult a job this is even though I grew up in a household that always had help. I guess I took for granted that whoever we had employed, always knew what went where and how to do what needed to be done. Even simple things like preparing meals, I never knew that, as the employer, I had to dictate what ought to be cooked. In the past, when I was hungry and wandered into the kitchen, there was always food or something cooking.

I'm not good at doing this. I don't feel comfortable doing it, possibly because more often than not, the help are actually older than I am and who am I to tell them what to do? True that I pay them, but the genetically ingrained Confucian ethic in me niggles and creates great cognitive dissonance in me. I can't give orders to someone older than I am, it's just not right and yet, I have no choice but to do so. I know that when I give instructions now and even when I rebuke them, I take on the tone of a teacher. Once, I caught myself doing Socratic questioning with the help- I was asking her questions to lead her to the point I was trying to make. I'm uncomfortable doing it but it has to be done.

Times like this, when I'm so reluctant to step up to the plate, I wonder how it is that Singaporeans seem to be fond of abusing their help, physically or mentally. One lady I interviewed today said she wanted to leave because her employer's 5 year old used her shins as kicking bags and then went off to complain to his mother, causing his mother to side him and take it out on the poor help. Obviously, they don't have my conscience.

Anyway, I don't look forward to having so much power. With great power comes great responsibility and responsilibilty means being an adult and conferring such responsibilities upon the shoulders of someone who would be quite happy to have remained a kiddult for quite a few more years.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 21:55

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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Gummis from toxic swamp

The last time I had a hankering for gummi bears, it was when I first went to Melbourne, even though when I was pregnant, gummi bears did save my life. I'm a little bit wary of them now, it happens when you've eaten enough to last a life time and in Melbourne, I could go through a kilo a week so that was really more than anyone should eat in a life time.


Yesterday, I bought gummi bears again. Not because I wanted to eat them but because even in the confectionary industry, size does matter. See, on the right, is the regular sized gummi bear. On the right, a Papa gummi bear? Or was it one that got stretched out? Or did it start off as a tiny gummi bear that accidentally fell into a puddle of toxic goo? Whatever happened, it was huge and somewhat deformed.

mutant gummis

And when I tried it, it reminded me once again of Melbourne days. But for a different reason. Being poor international students, we tended to get food that was cheap but would fill us up. We discovered meatballs from the Asian grocers were a good thing to put into our noodles (those days, we went through a carton of Indo-mee a fortnight). By accident, we discovered that the longer you boiled the meat balls for, the bigger they became. I think our record was boiling them to the size of ping pong balls. And the theory behind it was, the bigger it was, the more meat there was, the better it was to fill us. Unfortunately, by overboiling it, the taste of the meatball was destroyed. It wasn't chewy or meaty anymore. It just tasted like boiled flour. Similarly, the giant gummi bear, albeit larger, didn't taste as good. In fact, it wasn't very yummy, it was just chewy and where's the fun of a gummi bear if it isn't yummy?

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 13:29

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Total creeps

Argh! I need to blog! If nothing else to stop our Prime Minister from staring blankly out at me everytime I open my browser. If I lived in Potter land, he'd be moving and stuff and that would be far too creepy. Soon soon...

Ondine tossed this thought in at 11:21

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Fashion faux pas

I pulled this off the television this morning- The Prime Minister's National Day message taken recorded at the National Library to show our wonderful skyscraper landscape. When I saw how this message was recorded on the news a few nights ago, what struck me was that his wife, the industrious Ho Ching, was around. This led Packrat to make snarky comments about marionettes and puppet masters.

pretty in pink

What I was more concerned about was the fact that even though she was supposedly there to see that everything ran smoothly, she allowed him to make his national address looking like this. I get the pink shirt. My mother told me that the pink shirt thing was because some TV person once told this PM's father that pink worked better on screen than let's say white. So, okay, from a televisual perspective, I'll accept that. However, the pink shirt with that obviously mismatched and totally clashing blue tie?

Where were the image consultants? Who let him go on screen looking like that? On top of that, his lips looked a shade too red. I know the man's supposed to be smart and we're supposed to respect his being smart but it doesn't mean he should look like something that would end up on E!'s Fashion Police or something.

Well, at least today (National Day), he couldn't go wrong being in white although I think the camera caught him unwrapping a mint and putting it into his mouth. Where was the beauty pageant rule about not capturing someone putting food into his/her mouth?
Just because ours is an Asian democracy (if you can call it that) and image isn't all that important, we get away with committing polka dots and stripes?

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 17:48

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The moving of the crib

In the last month, I think we've visited Vivocity once a week. We do our groceries there, I shop there (well, it was only once, but still), we watch movies there, pretty much everything. It led me to remark that we spend a great amount of time there and Packrat responding that it was better than going to the city since parking was cheaper and everything was in one place.

This got me thinking about how it really was our new crib and that automatically set me thinking about where I used to hang out. Then, I got sad. Since I was about 8, we used to go to Parkway Parade on a regular basis. I grew up there, saw the place evolve. I remember going to the Chuck E' Cheese there- as a kid, you could be a member of the Chuck E Cheese club. Then there was Funworld where we could ride the carousel though now for the life of me, I cannot remember why that was such a big deal since it was just some painted horse that went round and round and round. There was also Yaohan which is now a relic of a time past and kids today have no idea what Yaohan is nor have they seen the trade mark white plastic bags with green logos printed all over.

I still go to Parkway when I get the chance, it's a little bit like going back to my parents' place where everything is a little old but extremely familiar. It's a place with many memories. I bought $10 worth of stickers there with my Chinese New Year money when I was 8 and subsequently got all the stickers stolen. I ran away from a blind date there once, because he looked short, pudgy and sleasy. I had many arguments with boyfriends there. When we skipped school or classes, that was where we usually ended up. The Burger King there was where we waited extremely nervous bordering on hysterical before we headed back to school to get our O level results. The lady at the optical shop knows me as the one whose power is so high, her contact lenses have to be specially ordered. And when I married Packrat, he went there to get his glasses too.

I don't think I'd develop the same type of sentimentality of Vivo. Parkway saw me through my formative years so when it went through its various phases, so did I. Not sure whether the phases that I go through now will be as significant although I still feel slightly queasy when I step in there because when we first went to Vivo, right back when it opened, I was newly pregnant and extremely nauseous.

We'll see. The crib by definition has to be somewhere that is convenient for us to get to and Parkway is really on the other side of the island for now. Until I can convince Packrat to move back to the East.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 11:01

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" Far in the stillness, a cat languishes loudly"