Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Viva Monsoon

It has been raining for the past TWO days, NON-STOP. Serious.

Johor Bahru is a wet wet city of potholes, flood and supa-dupa traffic jams. Fun and laughter for everyone. Here's a tribute to one of Paul's colleague who left Taman Century at 7.45am for work, and arrived at Taman 1.30pm !!! (it's a supposedly 20-30 min drive) Damn jia lat. Damn miserable.

Finally, the rain stopped this morning, and the sun is out! And my table is filled with chocolates! SO happy.

Monday, December 18, 2006

An Open Letter to the PM

An open letter to the PM
by Jacqueline Ann Surin

Dear Prime Minister Abdullah, When you first came into power after the 2004 general election, you promised us that you would be prime minister for all Malaysians.

In fact, I still have the letter you sent out to voters before the elections that promised you would fulfill your duties with sincerity, integrity, efficiency and fairness.

It was a letter that moved people, including staunch Opposition supporters.

There was hope that a new leadership which was more conciliatory, more willing to listen to differing views and more just was in store for the country.

And people invested in that hope by voting the Barisan Nasional back into power with a clear majority.

But recent events, including your administration's reactions to these events, have been deeply troubling.

The most recent has been the disruption of a peaceful and legitimate public forum in Penang organised by a group of non-governmental organisations that wanted to help people reclaim their rights under the Federal Constitution.

It was unfortunate, but really no longer inconceivable, that those who opposed such a civil discussion should frame their opposition in ways that incite hostility, threaten violence and make false accusations in the name of Islam, a religion that in fact promotes peace and justice.

What is actually more troubling is that as prime minister, you have also publicly announced that these issues of Constitutional rights are "sensitive" and the organisers of such events must be careful not to tread on "dangerous ground", lest the government has to use the Sedition Act against them.

Why would you lend legitimacy to the argument that Malaysians should steer clear of discussing issues which affect us all as citizens, whether Muslim or non-Muslim?

By continuously telling Malaysians these issues are "sensitive" and "dangerous", isn't your administration really creating a self-fulfilling prophecy? Aren't you in fact supporting the argument that these issues should not be discussed?

Additionally, Malaysians have been reminded by Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz that it's not for no reason that the word "amok" comes from the Malay community.

Non-Muslims - and that easily translates to non-Malays in this country - are told we cannot speak out about the way Islam is used to formulate laws and public policies in this country even though they affect all of us.

We are told that not just the Sedition Act can be used, so can the Internal Security Act which allows for detention without trial.

In fact, I found it deeply paradoxical that Nazri could repeat the threat of the ISA at an international meeting of experts on Islam and human rights last month.

How can an unjust law be Islamic? We know it cannot, and yet, it would seem your administration is wielding it as a way to silence citizens in a democracy.

The way I see it, naming something "sensitive" and "dangerous" is just a disingenuous way of saying, "This is not open for dialogue and discussion. We might tolerate your views but only to a certain extent."

What that extent is, is left to be seen. We hope your election promises will be kept for all Malaysians, but really, many of us are more fearful than reassured.

From a non-Muslim perspective, the events leading up to the need for public discussions such as the Article 11 forum in Penang, have been disconcerting and troubling.

The painful injustice suffered by S. Shamala who found that her estranged husband could unilaterally convert their children to Islam, and the widow of M. Moorthy who discovered she could not bury her husband according to Hindu rights, are real and frightening.

But those instances of injustice are not being framed as "sensitive" by non-Muslims. They are not being used to threaten violence or incite hostility in order to silence discussion of the issues at hand.

Additionally, when you upheld the decision for the tudung to be used in police parades, did you consider how it would make non-Muslims feel? How can it still be a surprise then that most non-Malays will not join the police force?

Really, I don't need to be a Muslim or a Malay to have a stake in this country. But even that might be delegitimised because in more ways than one, I'm a minority.

And I'm constantly reminded that my views and concerns must give way to the privileges and rights of the dominant race, and a specific interpretation of the faith they profess.

But really what I want to ask you is this: Why do I have to constantly feel afraid in my own country? Why am I continuously told I have less rights to discuss important issues affecting my community?

You promised to be prime minister for all Malaysians. We hope you will remember that promise.

A Malaysian citizen.

Jacqueline Ann Surin believes that you cannot be neutral on a moving train. She is an assistant news editor at theSun.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Life's Lesson

This is one of those forwarded send-this-to-10-people mails that you probably read before, but the most meaningful one I find.

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.

We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time.

We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years.

We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor.

We conquered outer space but not inner space.

We've done larger things, but not better things.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul.

We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice.

We write more, but learn less.

We plan more, but accomplish less.

We've learned to rush, but not to wait.

We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes.

These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill.

It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Xiu Ye Tzai

Got him a man's man pajamas. Look so xiu-ye ( young master of a rich and influential household in typical olden Chinese soap opera)

The hubbie will be spending half his time in KL from next month onwards, having been assigned some projects over there, in which his performance will be heavily evaluated by his superiors and peers to determine if he'll be the right person to fill in the position of a manager. It will be a rather stressful few-months period, not to mention tiring, as he will be travelling to and fro. But this is a golden opportunity that he has been waiting for, and I support him all the way.

So IF he does get the big seat, I'll be packing my bags too.

I'm scared. I'm excited. I'm happy. I'm sad.

To leave my comfort zone and land myself in uncertainty is definitely mind-boggling. But I will have to do it. KL is a place I wished to live in, 5 years ago. In my impression, it's a haven for young hot clubbin', minglin' singles. Maybe it is a good place to raise a family, I don't know, but I saw a glitter of hope when recently in the papers, the Sultan of Selangor says he envisions Selangor to be a dream state for every resident who wants development and loves peace. His Majesty's Vision*fingers crossed*

I worry for Daniel and his generation's future in Malaysia. There are so many factors arising recently that make me doubt about our nation's stability and development 10 years from now. Is Daniel going to be safe here? Will he get the opportunity to develop himself fully to be a good person? Will the education system improve with time? Are the leaders in the government going to be fair? We'll never know. But I hope they know the people are getting smarter and won't tolerate stupidity and injustice. Talk about those useless manipulative unscrupulous money&power-hungry politians can vomit blood.

Oop, sidetracked there a little.

SO. Right now and all along, the hubbie has ample time for himself which he spends mostly on golf. Me on the other hand, have 15 minutes a day for myself which is spent showering and applying lotion on my body ( doesn't take long, as surface area is small ).

I start to imagine a reversed fate. I look forward to better times.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Bollywood Night

T'was my company's D&D last Friday and Bollywood t'was the theme.

I made myself a choli, which is a top worn with saree or long skirt according to traditional Indian costume. Unfortunately, I did not take pictures of the process because my camera was out of orbit then, which would've been quite interesting to see. I cut out an old red T-shirt and sewed sequins and silver borders all around...and wa la!

I spent about 5 hours in total and S$15 on my choli that won me The Sexiest Award! Had to work for the prize leh. Anyway, the prize money will probably be spent on diapers. Or... maybe not...heheh.

As usual, the event was made even more fun with individuals who dared to dream and make it a reality.

I hope he hadn't gone ALL the way.... to Dr. Ragu's Indian Vulva Design Clinic at Homo Sutra Complex.

Me and my wonderful colleagues who have become like one big happy family.

That's it for pictures from my strange camera that worked after I pressed a few buttons like crazy. Will post more if there are good pictures from other cameras.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Just some pictures

Both pics below taken with phone camera. Quality of pictures is proportionate to light.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

When mothers are judged

Recently, I have this feeling that some of my friends are judging me as a mother. A working mother.

No doctors, experts, baby books or bible have ever discriminated against moms who chose to work. But yet I feel discriminated by my own friends. Or maybe it's just me being over sensitive.

It was never an easy decision to go back to work, believe me. It is a constant battle of guilt and deliberation, but I decided to take it in stride, to be strong and to exploit the pros.

Every mother-child relationship is uniquely different and in many ways, instinctive. No outsider can feel what you feel towards your own precious one, even when that outsider is a mother herself. My decision to work is based on those instincts and also my environment.

Where I am now, working moms are aplenty. Two of my neighbours and a lady who works in the sundry shop around my place, have their babies whisked off 300km away to be cared by the (babies') grannies, and could only meet once a month or so. My babysitter used to care for two kids whose mom worked in KL. Heck, even Paul himself was under his grandma's care in Ipoh while his parents worked in Singapore. I am not debating or justifying anything, but merely stating facts that are common here.

While it helps that there are many experienced, reliable and reasonably-priced babysitters in every neighbourhood whom we affectionately call "Auntie", factors like increasing cost of living (we're talking about Johor Bahru which is literally inlfuenced by Singapore whether you like it or not) , having to support aging parents as an only child( are you giving your mom and dad allowances?)and expensive medical care ( did you have to pay RM10,000 for having a baby?), no wonder everybody agrees that you cannot survive with single income. This is the kind of environment that compels you to do the right and wrong thing.

When I am with my baby, I am completely his. My time with him is filled with my reserved energy, fun and quality play. My life is in moderation and I am happy with the way things are now. I am a mom, and I have my professional and social life too. And I am financially capable of providing my family with the best, without having the hubbie to carry the burden all by himself, and that makes him less stressful and a happIER man. Most importantly, my happy baby loves me as much.

I believe everything happens for a reason and it happens when the time is right. Maybe I'll have the chance one day to be a stay home mom, I mean who wouldn't want that right?