Tuesday, January 19, 2010

To the rescue

I join most of the world in their horror and dismay at what is happening in Haiti. I cringe at photos of the mob lynching a looter and my heart breaks when I think of the children who have lost their parents or the parents who cannot find their children. I am also one of the Singaporeans who are not impressed with the Singapore government's donation of USD$50 000 to Haiti. A mere USD$950 000 less than what Sandra Bullock, Brad Pit and Angelina Jolie etc donated. Of course, Haiti is not in South East Asia and we don't trade very much with Haiti so it really doesn't matter. I think it's like my children digging into my coin compartment and putting whatever change I have in there into the offertory bag on Sundays. How lucky for the Singapore government that my 'soap box' is currently not available to me or there would be many classes of 18 year olds that would have their eyes opened to the 'oh-too-cool-since-they-are-on-FB' government that is trying desperately to court them.

Anyway, this does remind me a little bit of what happened in 2004 with the tsunami and how everyone was scrambling to go over and help. Once again, because it's so faraway, there are fewer people from here going over to render medical and rescue aid. When the tsunami and even the Sichuan earthquake occurred, teams couldn't get out of here fast enough. And even then, I remember a conversation we had about people volunteering to go to the front line. We knew of people who wanted to be part of the relief effort but were held back because their families worried about their safety even though it is a noble thing to do. It led to this conversation about superheroes.

Not only are superheroes not married, you never hear of their families. Their families were usually part of the plot and the impetus for them to take on the role of vigilante justice. In reality, even though sometimes tragedy befalls family triggering the need to do something, the role family plays is often a little bit of a hampering one.

My brother became a doctor because he wanted to go to the war front (where ever that may be) and help. In his 4th year, his dreams were rudely thwarted by my father who told him in no uncertain terms, as the bursar who was allowing him to be in med school, that he was to come home and work in Singapore and not go traipsing around the world. You could see his heart shatter in his eyes but he obeyed because that's what we were taught to do.

When the earthquakes in Indonesia hit a few years ago, post tsunami (he couldn't go for that one having already given my parents a heart attack by being out of touch and diving in East Malaysia when it hit), once again, he desperately wanted to be where he was needed. Once again, he was thwarted. This time, not by my dad but by his employer and in his words, he was sad. The opportunity has once again surfaced. This time in Haiti.

I hope he gets to go because that's why he trained so hard all those years. And I would be very proud of him if he went. But at the same time, I would be petrified if he went. And I never thought of it that way. From 2004 till now, I'd always thought of rescue efforts in terms of how they would benefit those who were suffering. I still do. But at the same time, I love my brother dearly and reading about the mobs and violence in Port-au-Prince scare the beejeezus out of me.

And then I thought about what if it weren't my brother but was Packrat. Would I be so quick to encourage him to go? Would I be even more hesitant than I am now with my brother? I think I would. After all, I depend on Packrat for a lot of things and he is the father to my children. But then again, should I be so selfish? If he wanted to go, to stop him? What sort of example would I be setting for my children if I stopped their father from helping humanity just so that he'd be safe and around for them? But at the same time, what would happen if anything did happen to him while he was there? It is boggling to the mind and the heart.

But I think, and I hope that I would have enough guts to follow through with this thought, that at the end of the day, at the end of all that struggle and probably with tears in my eyes and a heavy heart, I would wish him and my brother Godspeed and send them on the way. Of course, I probably wouldn't sleep and eat for the time they were away and I think I would be imploring God every second of the day to keep them safe and bring them home.

On a side note, one of the medical teams from Singapore that is in Haiti now got to meet Bill Clinton. Now, I know it's flighty, but how cool is that?

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 07:45

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Friday, January 08, 2010

Men cook in Mars

A friend of ours got nervous because his 18 month old son was playing with our daughter's pink kitchen set. His only consolation was that most of the great cooks in the world were men so it wasn't a complete lost cause. And in truth, I know more guys my age who cook than girls do. And the girls who do cook, seem to be really be into baking and are remarkably meticulous and good at it.

It rings true for myself as well. Packrat cooks more than I do. He enjoys it. When I cook, it's mostly local stuff, out of necessity and I bake with the twins. Packrat cooks, for the lack of a better phrase, like a man. Lots of meat, hearty and without frills.

Last night, with our guests, he decided ribs and chicken was the way to go. Because he also had other errands to run, I ended up helping him with the slow-cooking ribs. He told me that I had to baste it and he'd bought this basting brush where you fill the marinade into the handle and you squeeze it as you brushed it. The result was a loud squelching sound as the sauce was forced onto the brush. I texted him and told him it was gross and it was a man's job. Ribs in itself, in my opinion, is man food. Messy and you eat it with your hands.

Then there was the chicken. I like chicken. Chicken is my white meat. But once again, his choice of preparation involved a can of beer stuffed up the butt of the chicken. And when our guests arrived, all the husbands took delight in seeing the chicken grilling away, being forced to stand and having a beer can shoved up its ass.

I didn't eat very much of the meats because I don't fancy ribs and the chicken smelt of beer which was weird to me. But I did concede that the beer made the chicken flesh extremely juicy and tender. I stuck to the pumpkin and pasta which I had to insist upon or I wouldn't have had anything to eat. Actually, come to think of it, even when he bakes, it is to make something that complements his meats. I once baked at the same time as he did. I baked muffins. He, on the other hand, baked cornbread to complement his ribs, as he did last night.

Our guests enjoyed Packrat's selection and we all agreed, Packrat's cooking was hearty, yummy but not pretty. And I think essentially, that is the difference between his cooking and theoretically mine.

Is it sexist to make such comparisons? Probably but I am more amused than anything and since I stand to gain from it, it's great.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 06:16

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" Far in the stillness, a cat languishes loudly"