Saturday, December 31, 2005

Christmas 2005

We celebrated Christmas this year at our home in KL. Hubby invited a few friends to join us, so we spent Saturday afternoon preparing the food. Hubby ordered a roast turkey and a huge piece of ham and made some potato salad. I cooked some spaghetti and made 2 different types of pasta, one sweet and one savoury. We laid the tables, brought out the plates and wine glasses, played our Christmas album and waited for our guests to arrive, who despite the rain, turned up in good spirits. Some of our guests brought us crispy pork and duck and a haagen daz ice-cream. And hubby’s brother made us dessert. So, we had a really wonderful feast.

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I'll start my diet tomorrow

The rain did not linger for long, so that was good as it was getting to be rather humid. Most of us moved to the porch to chat and to enjoy the evening breeze. Zerlynde stayed up way past her bedtime but we allowed her this indulgence since it was Christmas eve. There were some older kids around one of whom brought along a remote-controlled car which so fascinated Zerlynde that she spent half an hour chasing after it.

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As the clock struck twelve, we hugged and wished each other Merry Christmas. The fireworks were missing but there was an abundance of camaraderie to make up for it.

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Hubby's closest friends from secondary school, Kok Wai, Andrew and Raymond

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My very own Santarina

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Uncle Andrew hugging Dylan and Patrina

Friday, December 30, 2005

Two words

If you have to depend on only two words to communicate with others daily, what two words would that be?

In the case of Zerlynde, her choice of two words, I must say, clearly indicates the pragmatic person she is. Her first is the word “open”. She says “open” when she wants her food or some biscuits in a container. She requests “open” when she wants the television on. She utters “open” when she needs help to disentangle just about anything. In fact, she uses the word “open” for practically all or any situation where she needs assistance.

Her other indispensable word, or rather, phrase is “no more”. When she wants another piece of biscuit, she tells us “no more”, twisting her wrists simultaneously. When she sees the end-credit of a baby programme rolling in, she utters “no more” so that we would oblige her with a repeat. For any disappointment she encounters, she twists her wrists and looks at us doefully and says “no more” in hope that she would be given “some more”.

Isn’t it a wonder how babies are born with an innate survival instinct.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry X'mas

X’mas means many different things to different people. Like most people, to me, X’mas signifies the season of giving and appreciation. And like some people, X’mas also means a fascinating journey back to my childhood where the most ordinary of things bring with it the simplest of joys.

Brought up on a feast of British and American books, I have from young associated X’mas with snow, Santa Claus, reindeer and X’mas trees. (Yes, yes, I am aware the real significance of X’mas is the birth of Christ!) Thus, I do so love wandering in the shopping malls during this season for the mock sights and smells of Yuletide. I love browsing through the X’mas cards, especially those Hallmark and American Greetings ones that come with embossed designs and angel dusts. I love picking gifts for my loved ones and wrapping them up with silver paper and golden bows.

I love looking at the elaborate decorations put up by the malls and the individual outlets; the X’mas trees with its trinkets of multi-coloured baubles, intriquing snow-flakes topped with fancy angels at the pinnacle. And I love hearing X’mas songs in the background, especially songs like “Have yourself a Merry Little X’mas” or “The Christmas Song”.

And of course, I love the X’mas parties; the turkey and cranberry sauce and the wine served in chinaware and crystal, the opportunity to dress up in beads and glitter.

And during this season also, I momentarily halt what I am doing to take some time out to look at the clouds and smell the flowers, and more importantly to feel grateful for the many blessings in my life; loved ones to love, good friends who go the extra mile, and the privilege to live the kind of life I want and be the kind of person whom I am proud to be.

Here’s to a Merry X’mas and a Happy New Year.

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Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on, our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yuletide gay
From now on our troubles will be miles away
Here we are as olden days
Happy golden days are yours
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more

Through the years we'll all be together
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star above the highest bow

And have yourself a merry little Christmas now.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


When I was 9 years of age, I wanted to be a scientist. I wanted to create the elixir of life so that my parents would live on forever.

I never became a scientist. That's because I learned that no matter how hard I tried, it was beyond my powers to go against the science of nature. Human beings are not immortal. And there's nothing I or anybody else could do about it! God knows the anguish and disillusionment I suffered, face to face with the hard truths of life.

Since then, I had never really felt such intensed emotions on the subject of human mortality, that is, not until tonight. Tonight, once again, how I wished I had the power to prevent deaths. My parents are in their 60's. My mentor is almost 90 years old. I shudder to think that one day, I may wake up to discover that I am robbed of them forever......... And that, presently, remains my greatest fear.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Family Day 2005

We arrived at Lone Pine at about 3.30pm on Sat, an hour later than planned. As it was drizzling, we couldn’t go to the beach, so we remained in our rooms to have our afternoon tea. Then, the babies got restless so we brought them to the open sitting area to allow them to walk and run about. We even attempted to do some finger painting but Zerlynde dipped her entire hand into the bottle of blue paint before we could even get started, so we gave the activity up for fear of her leaving traces of her fingers all over us.

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room with a view

The rain finally stopped at 5.30pm. So, we headed for the pool. The parents jumped in first. K-Ying who’s been swimming quite a bit in her KL apartment was very enthusiastic and gladly followed her father into the pool. Zerlynde whose experience with water was limited to her baby bath tub and once in the E&O tub initially refused to get into water. We spent about 5 minutes coaxing her before she relented and joined us in the pool. Eventhough she was holding on to me tight the whole time, I was really proud of my baby's bravery.

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all dressed for the adventure

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Zerlynde's first time in the pool

We later adjourned to the beach. Another first for Zerlynde. She refused to step on the sand until curiosity won her over, then she put her feet down and even kicked the sand to see its effect. She also got to see and touch a horse for the first time.

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After dinner at Seafood Village, we spent an hour exchanging gifts, highlight of our get-together. My favourite was a Tiffany open heart pendant and chain, gift from hubby, who on the other hand was very happy to receive a Beckham t-shirt from me in return. Kitty loves her angel desk calendar. Dad was very pleased with his pc handwriting reader whereas mum’s favourite gift was a white-gold chain from dad.

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Sunday morning, after breakfast, we proceeded to the beach again. We had to spend the first 20 minutes persuading the babies that the sand was harmless. Hubby and I then went horse-riding for the first time, which was exciting although I must admit I was scared stiff despite assurances that the horse was tame. James and Liew Yang followed suit. Then, we went for a short dip in the pool.

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sand phobia

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K-Ying frozed when she discovered herself partially covered in sand

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Zerlynde refused to get down

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After reluctantly checking out from Lone Pine at about 2pm, we headed for Zhonghua at One-Stop Midlands for late lunch where we had peking duck, Yong Chow fried rice, deep fried noodles and tiny dishes of tim sum.

Overall, we were really pleased with our stay at Lone Pine this year. Although the service was only moderate, the fact that our rooms were located on the ground floor was very attractive as they were literally 1 min walk away from the pool and 2 mins walk to the beach. It was especially convenient for us since we had with us 3 hyper-active toddlers and a new born baby. So we ended our weekend with a promise that we would visit Lone Pine again soon, perhaps during the chinese new year break.

Friday, December 16, 2005

April Snow

I finally got round to watching April Snow. Was estatic when I found a copy of the DVD in one of the shops in One-Stop Midlands yesterday, so when all the hustle and bustle of the day was over, I played the DVD in my laptop, made myself comfortable in bed and started my 90 minutes travel into the realm of movieworld.

The film, though different from what I expected, was definitely better in terms of its ability to haunt me with both its subtleties and the complexity of the protagonists' psyches. Conversation was sparse but the acting and cinematography were able to create the intensity of the mixed emotions of the lovers; hurt, anger, tenderness, passion, guilt, etc. And needless to say, there's ample dose of Bae Yong-Jun to satisfy those afflicted with "Yonsama". He must have been cast from every angle possible! Seriously.

Official Site

Theatrical Trailer

Film Review

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Winter Sonata

Last night, I was in a sentimental mood. So I took my box of Winter Sonata VCDs out from the cupboard and watched episode 20, then 1, 2, 3 straight on to 15! I skipped through all the uninteresting parts and watched only all the love and emotional scenes. Mad huh?!

And this is the song from the soundtrack that I listened to over and over again...

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Arghh! I haven't written in 3 weeks, so where do I start?

Yang Hoon's wedding
Flew down to KL on the 25th principally to attend YH's wedding on the 26th held at Hotel Nikko. The usual bridal procession was grand, led by 6 little ballerinas dressed in blue tutus. The bride although looking a bit nervous, was beautiful. Nice company, caught up with some friends from secondary school, exchange of baby and travel news.

Times Square - Borders
Finally got round to visiting Borders. Very huge with a great selection of books. Can't decide if it's bigger than Kinokuniya but the Buy 2, Get 1 Free corners are a bargain. Got Dan Brown's Angels & Demons, Lauren Henderson's Jane Austen's Guide to Dating (a fun-filled book full of concrete advice and wise strategies incorporating examples from the latter's novels), 2 DK Lift-the-flap books, a DK interactive novelty play book on Make-Believe Fairy, Eric Carle's Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? and DK's My First Kitten -Touch & Feel the latter 4 for Zerlynde of course. Also managed to find 2 books by Yasunari Kawabata, First Snow on Fuji and Beauty and Sadness. Snow Country, unfortunately was not available. My favourite buy - a 3 inch thick "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" guide book.

Times Square - Debenhams
Also managed to browse the ladies department of Debenhams. Recognised a few English high-street brands, Anne Brooks and Principles which I used to buy from at Uni. Brought back memories of my under-graduate days. Nice.

English High Street Fashion / Departmental Stores
Some Malaysians are real suckers for anything foreign. Can't believe the hype over Top Shop and Miss Selfridge. Those who've been to England call tell you Top Shop's probably one of the lowest range of high street fashion around. Miss Selfridge's ok, I kind of like that when I was 20! Oh! And I discovered there's a Warehouse in One-Utama. Ah! That used to be a great favourite of mine. Of course, we've also got Laura Ashley, Next and Mark & Spencer. The first 2 are fine, if not over-priced. But M&S, hmm, that's a bit too middle-aged for me, for the moment anyway. I wonder when River Island is coming.

Mark & Spencer Custard Cream
Simply delicious, not to be missed.

Panettone Mandorlato, Italian Cake
Heavenly, must try.

More Books
Patronised 2 other book stores, Times at Bangsar Shopping Complex and Pay Less Books at Plaza Damas. Books bought include DK Bellydance guidebook, DK California Eye-Witness Travel Guide, John Berendt's City of Falling Angels, Robert James Waller's The Bridges of Madison County, Marianne Williamson's A Woman's Worth and John Mortimer's Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders.

DK California Eye-Witness Travel Guide
A great guide book. Spent 3 nights of no less than a total of 10 hours going through the book. Now I feel like I know California inside-out! (Theoretically at least!). Must-see places - Santa Monica Beach, Malibu, Venice, J Paul Getty Musuem, Rodeo Drive, Saks First Avenue, Sunset Strip, Hollywood Boulevard, LACMA, Bradbury building, Oviatt Building, Walt Disney Concert Hall, The Queen Mary, Universal Studios, Warner Bros, Norton Simon Musuem, Huntington Library, Mulholland Drive, Hearst Castle, Santa Ynes, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Death Vallet, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Napa Valley, Sacramento, Yosemite National Park, Hwy 1 Monterey-Big Sur, Monterey Peninsula and of course the city of San Francisco. Fingers crossed, California, you may see me there in January.

First Snow on Fuji by Yasunari Kawabata
A collection of short stories. Now I know why Kawabata's winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. His writing is so simple yet so rich, artful and evocative. And his style of short prose reminds me a little of Hemingway.

K-Ying, my niece
Saw K-Ying for the first time since May. My, how she's grown. And such a polite and obedient baby too. I like the way she thanked me when I offered her little treats - "Xie Xie" with a little nod like a Japanese doll.

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Dad - Hypertension
Dad gave us a fright. His nose bled non-stop for at least 2 hours and his blood pressure shot up to 280!! So, he was hospitalised for 4 days/3 nights! Thank goodness he's better now. I am now persuading him to go on a DASH diet.

With some of us in Penang and some of us in KL, it's very rare that everyone in the family is all at home at the same time. Not even on Chinese New Year eve do we have the privilege seeing as my youngest sis is married to a Johorean and by tradition, has to join her husband's family for the re-union dinner. Anyway, last weekend was special. There's a total of 14 people sleeping under the same roof; mum & dad, my 4 siblings & myself with our 3 respective spouses, and 4 babies. Wished we had more such opportunities...

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Little Tigress
Zerlynde is slowly gaining a reputation as a little tigress. Jonathan has this tendency to bully her. She used to be quite docile. Lately, she's learning to retaliate by screaming, pinching, even scratching him. Give her another 2 months. I bet Jonathan will discover it best not to provoke her. Having said that, I must add Jonathan still remains Zerlynde's favourite person at home, that is, when they are not fighting over some toys.

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Z's favourite word in the last week - Clock. And I give her an "A" for pronouncing it right too with that emphasis on the "k" sound at the end. Other acquisitions are "Duck", "Baa Baa" (for sheep), "Ti ti" (for little brother), "Book", "Baby", "Mmmm" (for car), "Open" (when requesting us to take cover off milk bottles or open a box of biscuits or switch on the tv).

What Tickles Zerlynde
When the kids smile to illustrate the word "Smile" in the Bumble Bee programme, the appearance of the 3 characters, Taa, Dee and Ed in the Fisher-Price Baby Moves programme, when I sing "Hot Cross Bun", fingering her little soles, seeing picture of black sheep in Eric Carle's Brown Bear, What do you see?, wearing her pink sun-shades and seeing her reflection in mirror.

Zerlynde loves it! She's been having that everyday for the past 3 weeks. I made her macaroni cheese last Sunday. She's not too keen. Planning to start her on salmon soon.

Sony Music - Feels So Good, the smoothest hits
I love this 2-CDs album. It has some of my all-time favourite hits such as Love Unlimited Orchestra's Love's Theme, Shakatak's Night Birds, Paul Desmond's Wave, Earth, Wind and Fire's After The Love Has Gone and Grover Washington's Take Five. The first 3 songs are especially meaningful to me as I used to play them over and over again on the organ. My organ teacher, Bernard Lim was an inspiration. Love's Theme was the second song I learnt from him, Spanish Dance being the first and Wave being the last. Night Birds, I learnt subsequently from Mr Fong. It was the most difficult organ piece I've ever played. Other hits worth listening to in this collection are Chuck Mangione's Feels So Good, Chris Botti's The Look of Love, Grover Washington's Just The Two Of Us, Michael Franks' Tiger In The Rain, Luther Vandross' So Amazing, Kirk Whalum's Over The Rainbow, Charlie Byrd's the Girl From Ipanema and George Benson's Summertime. At about RM60-00 for 2 CDs, I think that's a pretty good buy.

One proud achievement in the past 3 weeks - more fish and less meat.

Have been consistently sweating it out at Bellydance class. Another achievement seeing as this is the first time in my life I'm living the "Healthy body, healthy mind" concept. And I'm having such fun too!

Missing the Penang Jazz Festival, Hollywood on Ice and Human Rights March.