Monday, February 26, 2007

Back To Work

Finally, after what seem like an eternity, I'm back to work! And happy birthday to me! I hit the big 3-0!! To celebrate this significant event in my life, I shall compile a list of 30 things that I'm blessed with in my life. But before I get to that, I have some unfinished business to complete for the previous post, because I was so tired then.

On my last day in Ipoh, I managed to meet up some of my coursemates from UPM for lunch. And as tradition goes, this is the time of the year to Toss The Fortune Fish. I just made that up, the name that is. In chinese, it's lou yu sheng, something like 'toss raw fish'. Why fish? The character 'yu', meaning fish, is closely associated with prosperity, because the sound for that character is identical to the sound for the character for surplus or plenty. Thus, the New Year saying 'Nian Nian You Yu' that means 'May there be surplus every year'.

Here are some more pictures.

So, in the between the lunch reunion and being back home in Johor Bahru, I was in the car...for another 10 hours.

Now, I'm sitting in my office, feeling dazed, wondering if this is reality. And trying to compile a list of the 30 things I'm grateful for in my 30 years of life so far. AKAN DATANG!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

My *Happy Happy Chinese New Year

I CAME BACK ALIVE!!! Holy cow, I have so much shit to share. Good shit and bad shit. But first of all, thank you for all the comments to my previous post, especially my dear concerned friend who is lucky enough not to marry an Asian MCP. Sim, 800km may be exaggerating, and OK OK, I lied. BUT, after what you're about read, the entire journey will seem like it's 800km. I. KID. YOU. NOT.

And GONG XI GONG XI GONG XI NI AH means... if directly translated, it means congratulations, congratulations, congratulations to you AH. It's simple actually, it just means Happy New Year.

My fantastic journey to Seremban from Johor Bahru started on Friday the 16th. I drove all the way, which indeed, was less tiring and less nauseating compared to the backseater. When we started our ride, our little precious monkey already had his quality nap, so you can imagine the energy he had in the car for the first 1.5 hour. Man, I was laughin'. And it was a good my heart. Hehehe, so evil hor. As I occasionally take glimpse through the mirror at the activities behind me, I cannot help but gloat. It was exactly what I used to experience when he drove and I took the backseat. Entertaining the little one, constantly shifting his position ( I hate the slippery leather seats and noise it makes when you move about ), asking the little one to sleep, making milk, giving him water and snacks and the whole caboodle. Through the eyes of the driver, it didn't look hard at all. Midway through the journey, he said (pathetically) "Gosh, why does it seem so long. Aren't we there yet?"

I felt like I won a million dollars.

It's called the backseat syndrome, time seems to be longer, I said with a smirk.

We arrived safely in Seremban in time to chill before the reunion dinner. This year though, it wouldn't be considered one because according to tradition, when a family member pass away, we mourn and do not celebrate the Chinese New Year. We do not visit other folks and do not give out red packets. Of course, many Chinese people nowadays tend to bend the rules.

Saturday was spent in the car, and I mean it. We started our journey to Ipoh at 2.30pm and arrived at our relatives' house at 1am, the next morning. We could've reached Thailand. I could've had a great time shopping for cheap Vision cookwares and wood-carved figurines of a man and a woman doing the nasty.

We stopped only twice, for input and output. Extra inputs for The Men since they are fans of carcinogens in the form of ciggies. Quite impressive eh. A month ago, when the hubbie told me that we're going to Ipoh this CNY, I gave him an immediate 'No' and I told him why. And we got into this big fight because he feels I don't like to 'follow' his side of the family. He was torn between making me happy and making his father happy. I'm telling you, this is a classic modern-meets-traditional problem. I gave him the logic, but all he wished was to do it just this once to make his father happy and proud. I can understand why. But seriously, after the entire stay, although there were some family-bonding-fellowship thingy, I could clearly see why I was there. It's all a show. Who's there and who's not.

We arrived glassy-eyed and were greeted warmly nonetheless. The poor little boy was already fast asleep, and couldn't care less to explore the new big house, which was perfect for paying hide and seek.

I brought my camera of course but I couldn't even bother. Sorry folks, no pictures of the delicious home-cooked food. Yep, the food was worth it. Funny thing is, I did mention that Ipoh is famous for its food. But we never stepped out of the house, only once for dim sum, which was so-so only. The days were spent helping out in the cooking, minding the little one, and catching up with the family members.

Hmm... I think I'm going to get sick. I'll stop here for now.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Gong Xi Gong Xi!

How was Retailer's Day folks? I don't know about those who spent ridiculously marked up Valentine's Day Special Set Course Dinner and what-nots, but I had a fantastic set course dinner of satay, ketupat, and sotong rojak at my local neighbourhood foodcourt. I am just not in the mood for romance these days. Maybe it's because I have ambitions. And also maybe I have this long list of errands to run before the Chinese *GONG XI GONG XI GONG XI NI AH DONG DONG CHIANG* New Year hit me in the face.

This will be the first CNY without mom-in-law, the time we'll miss her the most. The house will never be the same again this festive season. So, for a change, the whole family will be heading to the lovely town of Ipoh, about 800km from where I am sitting right now...or more. That was her hometown, where her siblings are. One of her successful brother built a big house to accomodate as many family members as possible who came to visit, eg for this coming CNY, so we graciously accepted the invitation to suss out the new home and of course the town which is very popular for its good food and white coffee. Ipoh, here I come, and don't let me down!

This is also the time my parents will be alone, separatedly if you know what I mean. This is when I hate traditions and cultural 'rules'. Of course some manage to bend them. This is also the time I wished I married a JohorBahruan or a Singaporean. Everyone will be nearby! I know, I know, it's the Ally-cannot-get-over-the-going-back-to-inlaws issue. It will ALWAYS be an issue, because we are two people who are filial and wants to be close to our own side of family, he, being the only son, and me, being the only child. And we're stubborn too. Maybe it's something simpler ie. I just hate long drives.

I learnt that driving is actually easier than taking the backseat minding an active toddler. I get carsick. I need to focus on the horizon but it doesn't help if my horizon is kicking his legs and wants me to sing him songs and clap hands and play This Little Piggy on his toes and fingers. The hubbie won't let me drive. The hubbie has not experienced the backseat syndrome. The men always drives. Silly me.

Great, this trip to Ipoh will have the car fully occupied, with no room to even stretch my imagination. Of course The Men (hubbie and father-in-law) will take the front seats all throughout the journey simply because they are men almighty. This leads me to a topic of men. Men have all the advantages in life if you ask me. But I will not rant about that now.

I'm done ranting. Gong Xi Fa Cai. Drive safely. Eat to your heart's content. Play mahjong all night and win. Year year got fish. Adios!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Beach Sunday

I love impromtu trips, like this one to Desaru, just an hour's drive from home. Desaru is probably the only decent beach that is nearest to us. The monsoon period isn't exactly over yet, so the beach was closed ie strictly no swimming. Nonetheless, the sunny and VERY windy weather was good enough for a little sand play.

It's always a joy to see the little one in a new place, seeing new things, learning about new things... like sand on the beach.

My favourites boys...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Read between The Lines...

Pulled out from The Star today:
Married men, take note. Your wife is your 'Prosperity God' and the more you hug her, the more prosperous you will get.

Taiwanese feng shui master Yu Yang has this tip for those who wish to usher in good fortune during the Year of the Pig. But for it to work, wives have to cooperate.

“Men, hug your wives more; and women, do not turn down the loving hugs,” Yu advised during her feng shui talk show at Queensbay Mall ( Penang )here.

What's going on? Hug for the sake of good fortune and not because you truly love your wife? What kind of message are we teaching people here ha, hug your wife for wat.. more money and to win lottery.... tsk tsk tsk. Shameless fortune-hungry pigs! Well, I think wives are already THE fortune.

I also can't help but to cynically decipher the motive behind that advice. Hmm, are we encouraged to have more 'pig' babies? This led me to pull out something else from the news:
People are excited about the coming of the year of pig as the year 2007 is not ordinary one but a very special year of pig, "the Year of the Golden Pig," which comes every 600 years.

A person born this year is likely to be a good parent. He may be easy to anger, but he is intelligent, honest, courageous, completes projects, gallant, and sincere. People born in these years are honest and straightforward. They can be relied on to see things through. They tend to be popular and make lasting friendship and are good neighbors.

The year 2007 is the "Year of the Pig," according to the Chinese zodiac. But it's not an ordinary pig year, which comes every 12 years it is believed to be the "Year of the Golden Pig," which comes every 600 years, according to fortunetellers.

They say babies born in the golden pig year will have comfortable and wealthy lives.

I love reading horoscope sometimes because it always offer hope and something good out of every zodiac sign. So I went on pull something out for the Snake people like myself:

People born in the Year of the Snake are deep. They say little and possess great wisdom. They never have to worry about money; they are financially fortunate. Snake people are often quite vain, selfish, and a bit stingy. Yet they have tremendous sympathy for others and try to help those less fortunate. Snake people tend to overdo, since they have doubts about other people's judgment and prefer to rely on themselves. They are determined in whatever they do and hate to fail. Although calm on the surface, they are intense and passionate. Snake people are usually good-looking and sometimes have marital problems because they are fickle. They are most compatible with the Ox and Rooster.

While I'm at it, might as well, pull something for my Dragon friends:

People born in the Year of the Dragon are healthy, energetic, excitable, short-tempered, and stubborn. They are also honest, sensitive, brave, and they inspire confidence and trust. Dragon people are the most eccentric of any in the eastern zodiac. They neither borrow money nor make flowery speeches, but they tend to be soft-hearted which sometimes gives others an advantage over them. They are compatible with Rats, Snakes, Monkeys, and Roosters.

Anyway, all this hoohaa about pig babies and how easy it is to take care of a 'pig' baby ( according to my babysitter), I must admit, I am tempted to try for one, but to think that the poor overpopulated pigs are going to have a tough competition for school and many aspects that will affect their future... hmmm. Maybe not.