Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Chinese Father

My siblings and I are working and living in KL. My parents still live by themselves in our hometown, Kuantan, 3 hour drive to the east. Dad had a minor stroke about 2 years ago. I noticed that he’s getting old, weak and frail this time around. We’ve been trying all sorts of tricks getting him to eat right and exercise. He is just not bother to do anything about it, at all. Tough to introduce a new lifestyle to an old frail man, even though it’s life saving.

It was in the afternoon of the Lunar New Year’s eve. We were busy cleaning and decorating the house when Dad came asking to change two hundred bucks, all into ten-buck note. He wanted them for ang pow, the red envelope filled with money that married couples give to the kids for good fortune during new year.

“It’s new year’s eve Dad. You should have told us earlier you want 10 buck notes for ang pow. C’mon Dad, you don’t expect us to have that much of tenners lying around.” My sister told Dad. “Here you go, I only have five of them.” She gave all the red 10-buck notes to Dad.

“I got three here.” I pull out mine from my wallet and handed it to Dad. “That should be enough right? After all you are just need eight of them for us kids and the twin grandsons. It’s just symbolic anyway.”

Stubborn as always, Dad picked up his cane and headed out into the heat of the afternoon. He was heading over to grandma’s place to get the change from my uncles. It didn’t occur to him that he’s being unreasonable and imposing. If they had it, they would need them for ang pow too. But how would they say no to their frail elder brother? We tried to stop him but Dad being Dad, he totally ignored us. That pissed both my sister and I off big time.

So when he handed out the ang pow after dinner that night, I just took it from him, and returned my focus on the TV.

Why now? As long as I can remember, he never gave us ang pow during new year. Why bothered with it now? I took a quick peek into the red packet, there were two red ones inside, 20 bucks. So what? Not that we need that extra money anyway. What was the point?

The point was Dad was trying to care. Though it was like 30 years late, he tried. I guess that’s the closest he came to express his love for us kids. That’s all great, still I couldn’t help but think that’s a little too late. We are all grown up now, and for me, I had long ago accepted the fact that my Dad is a typical Chinese dad, proud, stern, stubborn and emotionless.

I just wish Dad could let us take care of him now instead. Listen to us and eat well and exercise.

I just don’t know how to get this into him and that is mightyly frustrating.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Bonjour! Mi Amor...

Holding my lunch tray I scanned the place for a vacant table. I spotted a hot chic sitting alone and there was a table next to hers. I dashed towards the table, sat myself down, eating my lunch slowly and seeking the next available opportunity to strike up a conversation.

Then the phone rang. Hers. She answered. At first there were light giggles and soft utterance. It was very endearing. She was speaking in some foreign language that I could not figure out. That was very sexy and exotic. She just instantly increased her attractiveness by 26 folds. How her lips curled up as she smiled, how her face caught the light perfectly as she tilted her head speaking into the phone, how her soft hair flowed smoothly as she lightly tucked them behind her ear, how her sweet lovely voice sounded like an angel whispering in my dreams. She was, she was simply perfect.

I finally made it out that she was speaking in Hokkien (or Fujian), one of the Chinese dialects. Her mysterious charm suddenly vanished. Then, she started to talk enthusiastically, she got animated and loud as well. It was all mindless gossips. Oh, what a turn off!

Don’t we often find foreign languages attractive? French is sexy and romantic, Spanish is passionate. But how? And why? Maybe because they’re foreign, which exudes a sense of novelty and sexiness automatically. It is also interesting and mysterious, like an ancient treasure map with secret codes enticing us to discover for more. But as we discover that the treasures do not exist, the map with all the codes is quickly discarded like old newspapers.

So I sat there quietly finishing my lunch by myself.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

My Sunday

It has been quite awhile.

Things have been hectic in the past few months, both at work and otherwise. There were business trips, chasing deadlines and marathon meetings. Meanwhile, weekends were filled with wedding dinners and family obligations.

Though I took a detour to Bali in January while attending a wedding in Jakarta with some friends, there weren’t a lot of shut-eye time during that period. Drinking time and party time trumped shut-eye time during holidays. Last week I went home for the Lunar New Year celebration but merry making was not my top priority. I was studying! Can you believe that? I was prepping for my technical competency assessment scheduled last Friday, right after my New Year leave. How could I enjoy the festivities?

So I thought my new year would start after my Friday assessment. Not so soon. I spent my Friday night preparing my resume and strengths for a company talent sourcing exercise on Monday. Then I headed back into the office on Saturday to discuss the materials with my boss as he’ll be selling me out, no, selling me hard at the session on Monday. He better be.

So this is the first Sunday after quite a long while that I actually have it to myself, more shut-eye time and more importantly more me time. For starter, I slept until nine in the morning. No, I opened my eyes at nine, but I was lazing in the sack for another solid hour before getting up.

I had my coffee. (Oh the aroma!) I watched a bit of morning TV. (Boring!) I did my laundry. (Clean clothes!) I read the newspaper. (Though those were yesterday.) I surfed the net. (Just for fun!) I went out for my grocery run. (I have food!) I read my Men’s Health magazine (before they piling up in the room). I had a nap. (More shut-eye!) I had a haircut, spotting a short crew cut now. (Refreshing!) I picked up the clothes I sent for ironing. (Fresh clothes for Monday!) I swam, 12 laps. (Tired but totally rejuvenating!) Well, I had to get out of the pool because I saw a kid peeing straight into the pool. (Yuck!)

I’m putting this new post on my blog now. I want to go to sleep after this.

Notice all the ‘I’s?

It's my day. I do whatever I want. I write whatever I like. :)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Say if you were here with me today…

Say if you were here with me today…

We’d swim laps in the pool in the morning. Loser buys breakfast! I know you’ll be kicking my ass doing front crawl. But I’d like to think that I could kick yours at ‘fly.

We’d have breakfast at some coffee place. We’d sit outside, sipping coffee, eating scones, flipping newspapers and enjoying the sun.

We’d go browsing at a bookshop or/and visit a gallery. And.

We’d make bagel sandwiches and green salads for our picnic lunch in the park. We’d lay under a tree reading about Africa. I’d probably doze off later.

We’d watch a movie, some funny subtitles.

We’d head out for a run in the evening. What say you we go trail running?

We’d prepared dinner together. You’d cook spaghetti (I still remember your spaghetti from that afternoon). I’d crack open the Chianti. We’d have brownies with ice cream for dessert.

We’d put on a CD (Too bad your mixed tape was stolen along with my car). We’d sit at the balcony. We’d hold hands, finishing the remaining of the Chianti.

We’d kiss good night and hit the sack.

Only if you were here with me today.

Wish you were here with me today.

Happy Valentines Day!

p.s.: If I were there with you today, I wonder how the day would be.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Good to be Back

The afternoon of Feb 01, 2007.

I dived into the pool, stretched as far and straight as I could and dolphin-kicked as many tines as I could. Relaxed, I pulled my right hand towards my thigh, lifted it out of the water into recovery and then gently sliced it into the water again, followed by the same motion with my left hand. Simultaneously I flutter kicked both my legs to propel myself forward.

With these series of fluid and smooth actions, I could have gone doing front crawl forever and ever. Gliding through the water at ease and quietly, almost gracefully like a ballerina doing her pirouette.

Well, actually, it was not exactly like that.

I was sluggish and heavy. There was no seamless motion of the strokes and no synchronization with the body movement and kicking of the legs. I was chaffing through the whole length. So I thought I was good at this. I was surprised that I could do the whole length! Nonetheless, it was absolutely amazing, beyond amazing back into the water again.

My first swim of 2007. Loved it!