Jaded About Life

It was a glorious morning today. The sun shone so brightly and the traffic was, well, as usual heavy. We took the usual 2 hour or so drive from home to wherever fringe of the city. And this morning was in Phileo Damansara to meet someone who has a big name in the education industry. I have admired him from afar due to his successes in building an education hub where I think, at least in my mind, revolutionary.

There he was, in his jeans and shirt ala Richard Branson. Serving us drinks in his ala Google office. It was love at first sight with his office when I first visited sometime last month.

Then, this Man talked. Visionary, quick paced, thoughtful in his responses, just like many leaders whom I have met in my career. Then, we talked about youth and his education hub’s activities in helping these young folks finding the niche in their career lives.

I went away disappointed with his views. I just feel that he has been jaded with life and feel that many of these youngsters are with no hope to help them get the right career.

Youth/young people are exactly that. They think they know everything, and yet they know nothing. Some are lucky enough to be able to carry through their schooling days until university days with no problem, thanks to mom and dad who worked day and night.

Then, there are those who are just bored with conventional educational life. They want to do something different from what their parents have preached them or what the society has dictated them to be. To be what, they still have not found out.

It is those who are in the capacity to help and do something and can do something should guide and mentor these young people.

After all, were we not young before?

I De Friended My Daughter On Facebook

when-good-kids-make-bad-choices-help-and-hope-for-hurting-parents

I visit her blog at least once a week, just checking whether she had brought it down. Nope, the hurtful postings are still there. Just last week I quietly opened up the print out of a particular posting she did 4 years back. It was this piece of paper, carefully folded and placed in a bag and hidden away at the back of the cabinet. Just as carefully as how it was folded, and that was how carefully I thumbed through the content. I broke down and cried, wondering where have I gone wrong.

Never in my life thinking that I should be feeling this way. Feeling used, disappointed, sad, angry why things turn for the worse.

You see, I de friended my own daughter on Facebook.

And that, tantamount to packing your own kid’s clothes in a bag, throw it out on the lawn and changed the pad lock.

I used to care what she wrote. Nowadays, they are just reminders why I did what I did. I suppose the old adage, “You have to be cruel to be kind” is true to my one and only daughter. No regrets. Just a wishful thinking that she would realize her behaviour and brattish actions were so deeply hurtful and disappointing.

Leave The Drama At The Door, Kids!

I wonder whether kids know how much parents really sacrificed in terms of money, from the day of conception to the day they turn 21. Let me count the ways:

  • Days after the conception, after one missed period: RM25.00 (pregnancy kit).
  • Visit to the doctor to reconfirm pregnancy: RM100.00
  • Expensive dinner for comfort food after finding out that you are pregnant: RM200.00 (maybe more if you love steak or seafood)
  • Maternity clothes: RM2,000.00 (average of 2 a month till you popped)
  • Medical check ups: RM2,700.00 for the next 9 months. Average of RM300.00 per visit. Not included emergencies.
  • Labour room, medical etc RM6,000.00

All these not including other expenses i.e. bottles, booties, etc etc etc. Do not forget the college fees too.

And then, there’s life’s little lessons along the way which are totally priceless, just like the Mastercard advertisement. My mind just raced back to maybe 22 years when real life was just a beginning for me. I thought people could survive on love but the daily reality check was difficult to accept. How naive and accepting I was then.

Bring forward to 2001. Building a business from scratch was not easy. Some got it right from birth. Unfortunately I was not born with a silver spoon, but years of hard work paid off with some relatively comfortable life.

Then, more dramas.

Some children think it is their birth right to run away from home to “think about their so-called crappy lives”. All these just to create unnecessary worry to their parents. And what about that crappy attitude when they talk to their parents. Amazingly, that crappy attitude just change like the swift move of Psy’s Gangnam dance when they talk to their friends. Funnily enough, they are even nicer to their friends’ parents! To add salt to the injury, they even hoped that their friends’ parents are their parents too. And they will tell this right to your face as you serve them dinner after braving the city’s traffic jam and slaving the entire day at work.

Nice.

Now, back to all these dramas. Trust me, it does not end there. It just gets worse. They also think that it is their birth right to air the laundry (of course all these are one sided story) in public so that their self pity, selfish behaviour will be comforted by some unknowing, sympathetic friends.

But God had other plans to test His subjects. He has a dry sense of humour sometimes – for instance, He will throw in the misery and painful break up of a marriage to only reward you with the most fulfilling partnership with your future soulmate whom you only ever had read somewhere in a fairy tale before.

One day He decided to open up the Gate Of Wealth and bestow you opportunities to make heaps upon heaps of money that you can literally waltz into a store and buy everything except the toilet sink. And yet, He tested you with the loneliness, sadness, anger emptiness when your partner left you for someone else younger.

The problem is, you can never buy happiness. And that, is a big problem.

One morning many years ago, I woke up with a bad case of migraine realizing that I had nothing else in my life – no spouse, no wealth, run-out savings, no relatives, lost many friends, no home and no business. Divorce is a messy thing. It saps out the life out of you like the Kalahari during summer time. Not that I have ever been there but I read that the dessert’s temperature could go as high as  50C (122F). The only thing left was a Teenager, the cats and my self determination to rise up again.

So, technically, you need to find that elusive oasis pronto to survive or you are a dead meat. Sometimes, you will see only the mirage…..

Yet, worked I did. Worked so hard so that I can put food on the table, buy clothes, pay the house, save for college, little trips and presents; and all the things as how a single parent should be doing for her little family. 

Children of divorced parents have no effing idea what kind of sacrifices their parents have made. Many, unselfishly sacrificed their own happiness and comfort for the children’s sake. Do you know how many times they forgo their own meals so that you can eat? What about festive seasons when they insist to buy your clothes and not theirs? Or when they have to ask for pay advances so that they can pay for your tuition classes because the ex doesnt believe in paying anything? Does anyone else care that the rice in the can has reached to the bottom that all I could see was the measuring cup?

And yet all these children see is food on their plate, new clothes in the wardrobe, Astro paid, the car moves, the fridge laden with food, phone credits topped up and their pocket money paid. Off they skip happily with friends.

So, what are they after really, for parents like me for instance? Well, I am not asking much. Buy me a simple Ramly burger with your first salary would be nice although a dinner at Lafite would be more fitting. Or, a simple respect by asking how am I.

I am tired of dramas from children of post divorce. Many are ungrateful bunch and selfish. They think that the world will revolve around them forever and a day without an inkling how hurtful or painful their actions and behaviour can be. Some are such suckers for pain that they will stick like a a Super Glue to other people who abuse them verbally. And yet, I really do not understand why the respect and care are not given to those who have sacrificed and protected them.

Conclusion? Perhaps, you have to be cruel to be kind. 

Remember, parents are human too and they will want to feel happiness in their lives minus all the diva-ish dramas. Cause life is too short for dramas.

And I want to live my live for me too. Some decisions such as new location for home, new cat, new sofa, fittings, flower pots, a step dad or step mom are to be made sometime in this life. Some, such as the badly scratched furniture need to be replaced. But not step dad or step mom.

Not happy with that decision?

Too bad.

My Girl Has Flown Out Of The Nest

The Daughter has officially shifted to her new place early this week. I really cant believe it. No force, no stress, no drama – just a natural progression in life, I think.

George has agreed to sponsor some costs for her bed and I told her I will sponsor the pots and tableware as a housewarming gift.

WOW!

Last night it was raining heavily. There was only George, myself and the rumbling place. And the furkids. Rexton, as usual, was waiting infront of The Daughter’s bedroom, not realizing that she will not be home…..poor Rexton. The house sounded empty. No loud funky music, no buzzing or ding dong sound from a Black Berry, no youth sized blouses hanging at the drying area, no size 5 shoes by the door, no extra key set with that funny looking key chain on the side table.

No Daughter.

;-( I am experiencing an Empty Nest Syndrome!

The Daughter after cleaning up her new place.

The 7-Eleven Is Always Around The Corner

I have this message to The Daughter. It is something unconventional but I will still do it anyway. It is about the birds and the bees.

And how 7-E is always around the corner.

To me, part of life’s lessons is not only taking the holistic approach to it but the practical side of things. That means, being a girl and a woman, you should be able to decide and control what is happening to your body, and keep it away from harm.

Harm such as unwanted pregnancy or venereal diseases.

 

It was said that the basics of using condom are so common. Some of the most frequent mistakes include putting a condom on partway through intercourse or taking it off before intercourse is over, failing to leave space at the tip of the condom for semen, and failing to look for damage before use. These errors can contribute to breakage or leakage, researchers reported in the journal Sexual Health.

From the study, here are the top condom errors:

1. Late application: Between 17 percent and 51.1 percent of people reported putting a condom on after intercourse has already begun. Other studies found that late application happens in 1.5 percent to 24.8 percent of sexual encounters.

2. Early removal: Between 13.6 percent and 44.7 percent of individuals in the studies had taken a condom off before intercourse was over. Other studies found that early removal happens in between 1.4 percent and 26.9 percent of sexual encounters.

3. Unrolling a condom before putting it on: Between 2.1 percent and 25.3 percent of people reported completely unrolling a condom before putting it on.

4. No space at the tip: Failing to leave a reservoir for semen was reported by between 24.3 percent and 45.7 percent of respondents, depending on the study.

5. Failing to remove air: Almost half (48.1 percent) of women and 41.6 percent of men reported sexual encounters in which air wasn’t squeezed from the tip of the condom.

6. Inside-out condoms: Between 4 percent and 30.4 percent of people reported rolling on a condom inside out and then flipping it the other way around, potentially exposing their partner to bodily fluids.

7. Failing to unroll all the way: 11.2 percent of women and 8.8 percent of men had started intercourse before a condom was unrolled all the way.

8. Exposure to sharp objects: Between 2.1 percent and 11.2 percent of people had opened condom packets with sharp objects or otherwise exposed the latex to tearing.

9. Not checking for damage: Meanwhile, 82.7 percent of women and 74.5 percent of men failed to check condoms for damage before use.

10. No lubrication: Between 16 percent and 25.8 percent of participants had used condoms without lubrication, increasing the risk of a break.

11. Wrong lubrication: In about 4.1 percent of sexual events, people used oil-based lubrications with latex, which can degrade the condom. About 3.2 percent of women and 4.7 percent of men reported this error.

12. Incorrect withdrawal: Failing to promptly and properly withdraw after ejaculation was a common mistake, occurring in up to 57 percent of encounters in one study. About 31 percent of men and 27 percent of women reported this error.

13. Condom reuse:  Between 1.4 percent and 3.3 percent of study respondents had re-used a condom at least twice during a sexual encounter.

14. Incorrect storage: Between 3.3 percent and 19.1 percent of people in the studies had stored condoms in conditions outside of the recommendations on the package.

Read the full story here:

http://vitals.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/26/10511064-condom-use-101-basic-errors-are-so-common-study-finds#.T0skoa-pQ7c.email

Athena And Fluffy

ATHENA, THE GODDESS OF WISDOM

Remember Cik Nah’s best laksam?

You see, each time I go there to have either my laksam or nasi kerabu, I would sit on this stool while waiting for Siti to prepare my makan. There is usually this kitty who would come from some place and play, or just watch me eat. There was one time when we didnt see her for a while. When we finally saw her again, she was skinny with swollen tits, indicating that she had given birth and her kittens were not suckling. We tried to look for any indication of kittens but there was none.

I ate my laksam that morning and as she usual did, she slept on my lap. Her burnt orange shade of her fur was beautiful. Her pink nose was wet. She looked contend.

I told Siti that by the time I finished off my laksam and she was still on my lap, I would take her home.

I finished my laksam. She was still sleeping like a baby, infact she even stretched a little.

Yeap, she went home with me that day.

I named her Athena, from the Greek’s Goddess Of Wisdom. She is such a lovely girl with even temperament. No fleas infestation when I found her. Look at that pink nose and paw paw. Fine fur is still growing on her tummy after her snip snip.

FLUFFY

As I was driving out passing the guard house to the housing area with The Daughter sometime last week, I saw one of the guards holding a tiny kitten and was putting it away to the other side of the busy inter section.

I stopped the car and asked him who does the kitten belongs to? He said, it was a stray. I came down, asked a few people there, including an Indian lady who found the kitten near the entrance whether she wanted to keep the kitten. Everyone didnt want her.

Hmmm…the decision was quite clear. I couldnt let the tiny kitten on the street. She wouldnt be able to survive the days without food and shelter. She looked pitiful with the skinny body and sick eyes.

We decided to bring her home to feed her.

Nyom! Nyom! Nyom! She ate like a Tasmanian Devil. Poor baby.

The Daughter named her Fluffy. At first I wanted to put her up for adoption but since The Daughter is moving to her own place by end of the month, she wanted the kitten. She named her Fluffy.

Will take her to visit the vet in the next few days to check on her health, deworming and vaccination. She looks alright for now, and her eyes are getting better after some eye ointment treatment.

Chocolate / Vanilla Twist

Chocolate/vanilla twist(George) In my younger years, growing up in Canada, no trip to the Scarborough Town Centre was complete without a stop for ice cream. Not just any ice cream, but soft serve ice cream that we used to get from a snack bar there.  The coolest thing about that place was the soft serve machine itself. It didn’t just unceremoniously plop your ice cream as a globular mass inside your cone or cup, but it swirled the ice cream. More than that, the machine was capable of producing not just chocolate or vanilla ice cream, but a mix of the two. Now as my Other Half points out, I am a chocolate man. Always have been, always will be. But this twisting of chocolate and vanilla totally intrigued and delighted me. I couldn’t help but order the chocolate/vanilla twist -“half and half” is what we used to call it – just to watch the machine work its magic. And you know something? The chocolate/vanilla mixed ice cream was DAMN GOOD! So much so that it was all I would order. And on the occasions when we dropped by and the machine couldn’t produce my half and half I used to get really upset. I felt cheated. Hurt. Like the world was conspiring against me. “Fine,” I said in a low, pouty growl, “I’ll have chocolate then…!”

Years passed, and we moved away. Got side tracked by all sorts of other life experiences. Forgot all about my chocolate/vanilla twist. Never had it again.

Now here I am, three decades later, and life has come full circle. The ice cream machine of life is pumping out my chocolate/vanilla twist in the form of this union between Mr. Chocolate (me) and Ms. Vanilla (Hanie). And you want to know something? We taste DAMN GOOD together!

One Day In Your Life..

has always been a favourite song of mine for any karaoke session. Call it my “lagu wajib” (a must song to sing), I would sing this often especially after the painful period of my divorce. It wasnt so much of the meaning from the entire lyrics but I think I like the song for its  beautiful melody, at least to my ears.

And now, its singer Michael Jackson has died. At 50 years old, it could be considered a young age to die. But then again, he was no ordinary man. I grew up in the 80’s listening to his music and mimicking his moonwalk. I even watched “Thriller” for the umpteenth times. I even had my sleeves pulled three quarter, just like his. Alternating between blasting his songs on my tape player and practising for breakdance moves on the badminton court across our house, my friends and I would be discussing on what movie to watch on the coming Saturday morning.

There were only about few things that we had in common between us friends:

  • MJ
  • breakdance
  • Raleigh bicycles to do wheelies on the quiet streets of Raub
  • running tracks at school
  • movies on Saturday mornings (which we paid only 50 cents for each ticket but movies started at 9.00 am…)
  • and, ice cream

When I watched news splased across the tv and newspapers of his death, automatically my mind raced back to those carefree days of youth. Funny how when you listen to a certain song, memories would be just flood back to that specific moment in your life.

The Teenager and her friends grew up in a gamut of entertainers and singers. Their idols kept on changing over the short years and I gave up trying to keep up. We call each other’s music as noise but during those long trips we take sometimes, in order to keep her glued to the seat and not fidgety and bother me, I would allow her to plug in the 4 gig thumbdrive filled with her kind of songs. In return, she cannot squeak a word of complaint when I drag her navigating the small streets of the old city of Malacca or Penang or trekking the deep jungles of Kota Kinabalu.

I think it was a fair bargain.

Of course she thought otherwise.

In the evenings, we would make peace and have dinner while discussing the days happenings. The finale of the evening would eventually having us ended up comatose in bed, ready for the next day’s adventure to some museums or another day getting acquainted with the leeches at the jungle trek.

I can tell you, it is a vicious cycle.

Ten years down the road, I do hope that when she hears a certain song, she would reflect back of the adventures that she had with me and said, “Yeah, I did this and that with my mom”.

College – Here She Comes!

The Teenager is finally leaving for college tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

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(credit)

How time flies. I thought it was just yesterday I held her in my arms, all 2.2kg of her. She was accepted into 7 colleges but after given much thought, she had decided to make a local college in Damansara Utama as her home for the next two and half years for a program in Broadcasting.

College This And That

Ever since her last SPM result came out, The Teenager and I have been pouring through all sorts of college pamphlets that came through the mailbox. 3 colleges have offered her opportunities to study with them except that she is not so keen with what they are offering.

I cannot imagine for the life of me that going through this phase is a difficult one. I mean, how difficult it could be to pick a good college that offers something your child like, and dealing with a smarty-pants ex, right?

Wrong.

It all has started since October 2008 when I sat down at my study table and really thought of the processes involved in furthering the education of my only daughter. I knew that this day would come.I knew that it would involve a lot of time and reseach to pick what is good, balancing them off with what my child’s interests and passions. From there hopefully she will not haunt me back to say that I have not done enough.

Education also means money is required. A lot of it actually.

The search of a suitable college offering creative studies ended us up with at least piles of websites and plenty of readings. We spent times together trying to understand what she really wants to do and me putting my bits from my current work experience to make her understand that what you like to do doesnt mean will make you become attractively employable in the job market.

As it is, we have until end of the month to go shopping for what is available out there and will decide when the time comes. So far we have shorted listed a few good colleges. We even talked about the pros and cons of some programs as well as the logistics feasibilities.

Over dinner last night at her favourite Siam makan place somehere near the house, I saw another side of my Teenager. She spoke eloquently of her passion, plans and fears. She spoke of that what-ifs and what-nots.

My baby has grown!