Friday, October 31, 2008

Note to Self

Friday evening.

I dragged my sorry ass into the locker room after an hour of twisting and stretching and balancing in the yoga class. A quick splash under the shower I went into the sauna room.

It was relatively crowded than usual. I grabbed a spot next to the door. Just as I sat down, the door opened, four young chaps came in.

They fucking left the door opened.

What a bunch of idiots!

I stood up and slammed the door shut. Then gave them a nasty look. I hoped they got the message.

They neither apologized for leaving the door opened nor thanked me for closing the door.

Moments later the door opened again. In came another 2 guys.

They fucking left the door opened.

Another bunch of idiots!

Again, I stood up and slammed the door shut. Then gave them a nasty look. I hoped they got the message.

Well, this time around at least they were apologetic.

These two little incidents over ten minutes got me riled up pretty good.

Then I realized it was Friday evening. What was the point of getting irked by a bunch of stupid strangers? Where was the negative energy coming from? Why was I running on such a short fuse?

I could have just closed the door with a smile just as easily, and be done with it.

Note to self: Don't get mad at the morons, there are just too many of them around.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Don't Give Up

R, as you rejoice solemnly in this Festival of Lights, remember and reflect on the spirit of the festivity itself, that light can prevail over darkness, the good can triumph over the evil.

Keep fighting. Don't give up.

Wishing you and your family a joyful Diwali.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Overheard #7

"Food is everything."


I'm crazy about Indian cuisine now. Love it.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Baking Adventure

Feeling adventurous and ambitious, I baked an apple pie. Pie making is perhaps the most challenging endeavor I have ever taken in my short but glorious baking career. (Ahem...) It was serious business, that required tedious and meticulous preparation and execution. The dough for the pie crust must not be over worked, the butter must be well chilled and the pie making dos-and-don'ts list goes on and on. In the end, it was risky business too, as chances to suceed and to fail are equally just as great. It would certainly be disheartening, if not annoying to find that the pie turn out crappy after slaving for hours kneading and whisking and cutting and chopping.

In the end, mine turned out like this: dough was not enough for the crust, pie crust slightly burnt and the apple filling was a tad too moist and too sweet. Well it was tasty nonetheless, according to me!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Overheard #6

"We were poor when I was growing up. When you have nothing, you make things."

So stop whining you rich spoiled brat, make things happen. Just do it.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

I Can Use Some...

Blue sky. Blue waters. Blue mountain. I can use some of those.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

"I'm OK." Am I?

Dad was admitted into hospital for an operation after a fall. I went home with my sister to play the good son part, talking with the doctors, seeking second opinions, camping at the hospital, attending to dad, updating families, dealing with visitors and so on. Gratefully, the operation went well. When dad was discharged, I stayed on at home for a little longer, mainly taking care of dad and helping mom around the house.

Dad is diabetic. The healing time, especially the surgical wound might be longer. Therefore we ensured he took his medication taken religiously. Mom prepared his meals accordingly and I would control the portion stringently. His blood sugar level was monitored at least twice a day.

I found that dad was perhaps slightly depressed and anxious about his recovery, his ability to walk again after the operation. He was becoming cranky and moody. I called a counselor friend in to speak with dad, trying to get into his head and get him motivated. We gained some insights, hopefully would be able to communicate with him better and cheer him on.

Dad was bed-ridden for almost a month prior to the operation. His muscle strength was deteriorating significantly, quite a challenge for him to even stand up on his own, let alone walk. I resorted doing simple work out with him two to three times a day. We helped him to start walking again with the walker frame, as frequent as possible, as ordered by the doctor. But how would he maintain the exercise routine when I return to KL for work? We talked about hiring a physio-therapist. Then my sister came back and we agreed that she would take over the working out part.

One of the most troubling troubles was whether mom would be able to cope with dad’s care taking when all of us kids go back to our work. While mom was adamant that she would be fine but we have our reservations. Together we explored several options such as getting a live-in maid to help around the house, and even sending dad to an elderly home. In the end we decided to sleep on these options and would just cross the bridge when we come to it.

Truth be told, those were a lot of work. They weren't some challenging laborious hard work though, most of merely some errands. But I supposed under such intense and stressful circumstances, it could be quite draining emotionally.

Friends and family had been calling, emailing and text-ing with the well wishes and to check how I was holding up. I told them I was doing OK, business as usual. I replied them very matter-of-factly. Indeed, I found myself getting through fine. Everything over dad's operation was dealt with mechanically and objectively, almost devoid of any emotion.

Business as usual!

Devoid of emotion!

I was, well still am, not certain if that was a good thing. One certain thing, to me, it sounded cold. Heartless. Emotion was cast aside. Somehow I was able to detach my feelings almost completely. Everything was an issue or just another problem at hand, which could be defined and clearly expressed with a problem statement. With some deep digging into the root cause, looking into cost benefit, identifying then mitigating risks, solutions were formulated, with contingency plan in place. All the who-does-what-and-when-and-where-and-hows were set. The problem could be resolved!

Perhaps I was being an optimist.

Dad was hospitalized and went through an operation. All that was reduced simply to a scientific problem with a means to an end.

Perhaps that was how I deal with things. That was my fight-or-flight response.

Too mechanical! Too objective! Too systematic!

Too cold!

I'm an engineer, well a man of science one may say. In science, everything must have got a sensible, scientific explanation. Facts are facts, universal and indisputable. Emotions have neither part nor value in the search of solution or making judgment call or drawing a conclusion. That’s how science works. That’s how an engineer functions.

I kept telling myself that.

I keep telling myself that, still.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Waiting Game

The medical orderlies and nurses came to get dad for the operation. The elevator was too small for all of us. They took the elevator. Mom, sis and I, we took the stairs, a floor down to the operation theatre. They stopped us at the door. That was as far as we were allowed to go. Dad was wheeled into the operation theatre. It was 9:30 am.

We were told to wait at the waiting area at the exit of the operation theatre. There were few stiff wooden chairs and a slouchy old couch. Why are all the waiting areas at the hospital so bare minimum, so awful, so grey? Good thing it was well lit, but still it’s lifeless. And worst still, hopeless.

So, the waiting begun. We sat around quietly and talked occasionally. A family friend was there waiting with mom, keeping her company. I flipped the magazine pages. Everyone fidgeted endlessly at their seats, trying to find that comfortable spot at the uncomfortable seat. Everyone tried looking at the clock, tried looking at the clock and not letting the rest knowing. The waiting was painfully slow, excruciatingly so.

The doctor said the surgery should take about 2 hours. By 11:30 am, the doors remained shut and still. If time had been inching by so very slowly for the last two hours, it was now zooming by at light years speed. Time could be healing but time could be so cruel at times. Everyone looked at the clock more frequently, wondering why was it taking so long. The minds were ravaged by an emotional tsunami, but the body must remain calm and collected. It was draining.

I remembered an afternoon during my high school years, I got so frustrated waiting for dad to fetch me home. Time ticked by annoyingly sluggish. I hated waiting. I still do. The afternoon heat was unbearable. It was hot, I was angry. I got so mad looking at the second ticked by on my watch, I yanked it off, started whipping in on the wall. I just kept going at it. Time finally stopped. I broke that bloody watch. I remembered dad bought me that watch.

Then there was one evening I waited for dad to pick me up after a tuition class. It was early evening when the class ended. I waited for about 2 hours and he have not showed up still. I started walking. To walk home, I think it’d take me a good two hours. It was getting dark, but I just kept walking. But I remembered very vividly I was calm, extraordinarily calm. My pace was slow and steady, in no way hasty. I was strolling in fact, almost leisurely. I was so calm that evening, to this day I’m still surprise at myself, why had I not erupted furiously? So did my sister Y, who came rushing, found me walking by the road. She pulled over, I got on the car. We drove home silently.

How I was hoping for that unperturbed calmness be upon me as I was fidgeting at the slouchy couch, waiting restlessly. But it never came.

The door suddenly opened. They wheeled dad out. He was groggy and exhausted from the surgery. The doctor said everything went well. We let out a collective sigh of relief.

It was 12:30 pm.