Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Not A Normal Teen After All.

Exams have started since yesterday, kicking off with English essay and History essay papers! History was a total disaster for me! Given 2 and a half hours to complete multiple subjective questions and to come up with 6 essays, I'd say I've done a pretty good horrible job! Only managed to think of 5 essays - 4 of which were made up by my own intepretation of and messed up Historical facts - and left pretty much the rest of the subjective questions blank. Amazed by the fact that I was still able to think after all those digging of historial dates and names, I told myself during the last 15 minutes of History paper when I had almost given up in exhaustion to actually pen another untrue fact about Islam and its forefathers, this so wouldn't happen if I had studied and memorized all those uninteresting bits of the Islamic leaders.

Well, it's not that I totally don't want to study. I just find it extremely hard to pull myself away from whatever I was doing to pick up the book and study. Do any of you out there feel the same way? Picking up the book and opening it is one story but studying and memorising it is another. The worst thing about having difficulty in studying is the lousy feeling I get in the middle of and after exams, where everyone huddles around the smartest kid to discuss the answers. A little dose of guilt, regret and anger seems to build up in me when I'm sitting for a particular paper which I find very frustrating when I'm unable to come up with the answers. One thing's for sure, I'm not the kind who doesn't study and doesn't give a shit about the exams and turns up in school salivating all over the paper. Definitely not! I get more worried than I usually do when I don't study - almost close to pissing in my pants a few minutes before the paper starts when I'd be flipping the books at the speed of light, desperately hoping that everything would absorbed in my mind in those few seconds of study. Talk about being last minute!

I've given it a thought and realised that I'm not the normal average teen who attends tuition for the entire year and does well for his exams and celebrates his days after that. I'm just worser than that. I'm the kind of teenager who doesn't attend a tiny bit of tuition, scores badly in exams, listens to Christmas songs in the mid of October and fills up time with photographing, reading, blogging, and catching up on TV series (America's Next Top Model Cycle 6 have already started since last week on Channel [V]). Seriously. I have no idea where all those traits come from - neither mom nor dad practices such incredulous acts - but I'm still hard on all those new releases of Christmas albums (even Rihanna recorded a Christmas song of her own!)! It's been a month and I thought the crazy Christmas spirit would just fade away by now, but it's been keeping strong as ever, ever so often having the urge to get the Christmas tree down and put it up in the living room!

Back to reality exams. The only reason I felt like writing today is that I (think) I did an ok job on my Science and Malay paper today. Hey, my first time in actually completing the whole Malay paper without the answers of the person sitting beside me or behind me (I'm in the front row). As I said, I'm not the perfect student and copying in exams is just one of the things that makes me more of a disappointing student. Not that I'm saying I did very well for the paper, but I did put in my own effort into it, which includes, writing nonsense on the test pad as answers to majority of the questions that involved traditional poems and Malay idioms!
After seeing all those nicely scribbled nonsense on the (7 written pages!) 4 pieces of paper which I neatly tied with the ominous white string provided by the invigilator before handing it up to the front desk, I have taken a certain strange liking towards my Malay paper. Purely for the fact that it was able to make me write that amount of nonsense neatly! =P

Anyway, despite the fact I still have Maths and Economics paper to study for for tomorrow, I'm taking my own sweet time. I have absolutely no urgency in picking up my copy of Maths or Economics to start mumbling to myself all those things that needed memorisation. I'm editing pictures in Photoshop as I'm writing this. The entire Deepa Raya holidays has been seeing me like this. No surprise there. Though, I must say, things WOULD be different if my (new) neighbours downstairs were not carrying out their renovations that whole week of holidays. It's always GRRR and BRRR or DRRR or BANG! BANG! BANG! from 11 a.m. right till 6p.m.. Sometimes, when I'm trying my best to concentrate, it only makes me feel like someone was drilling right through my head. I wouldn't have anything against it if it didn't make that much of a noise or vibration or even caused that thick amount of dust residing on the surface of my table when work's being carried out.

See, one of the windows in my room is connected to the air well of the 5 storey building. Eventhough the window of my room is shut tight with the curtain pulled across, the particles of busted debris and cement still manage to escape through those tiny air holes from the window. Outside at my kitchen, we have this huge cage, divided by only a sliding door from the kitchen, that works as a store room for us that juts out to the air wells also. The dust collected there was similar to having a whole coating of snow on our brooms, kitchen utensils and etc.. That's not all, it also leaves the entire house smoked during their working hours, especially the floor, with a powdery feel under our feet. Let's put it this way, footsteps can be created! And I thought that constant drilling and smashing of debris was harsh! Hell, it made listening to music in my room animpossible thing if I didn't want to go insane with extra sound effects! Wonder if my neighbours felt the same way when it was our turn?

On another note, I think I'm falling sick (again!). After all those days of hoping to fall seriously ill before the exams so that I might be excused has finally come true. I mean, not being able to make it for exams sounds like a better reason than failing right? Didn't expect it at all but I started coughing in class during my Malay paper but just ignored it thinking it was just temporary. Still felt pretty well until just now when I realised the cough wasn't just temporary seeing that I have been coughing non-stop for the whole afternoon. Just started sneezing a couple of minutes ago. What more to expect? The throat feels tight and itchy already! Not sure if mom would allow me to skip exams if I actually come down with something by tonight. Not that I like being sick (akak's not here to remind me to take my medicine) but anything goes to skip examinations. Though, at the back of my mind, I blame the new tenants with their renovations - the throat feels like there's also dust stuck in between the trachea. Once again, I'm not the normal average teen.

It's getting more often now that I think about my failed future because of failing these exams, turning out to be jobless and feeding off my parents or Grace the rest of my life, looking dirty, smelly and wasted! Eeeek! Horrifying, horrifying, image. Let's just hope it doesn't come true. I still have to clean my room off the dust on all the surfaces and laundry to do. Now that akak's gone away, I'm in charge of my own room and mainly, the laundry. Imagine me waking up at 5.30 a.m. at the sound of the mobile phone alarm to do the laundry before getting ready for school. Absurd but true. It's the only way I can get my school uniform washed in time. It'd be too late by the time I get back from school. But I think I'm getting used to it. It's only been two days, too early to draw any conclusion, but I'm keeping my mouth shut instead of complaining. Dad's in charge of the cleanliness of the entire house, including the rubbish bin and floor, while mom's in charge of the kitchen and ironing. Pretty good system, eh? Oh, the sad life without the nanny.

That it for now, I think. Nothing more else to chatter about. There' still another part of the All Souls Day Weekend where we had another trip to the river with more cousins on that day itself. October is coming to an end (or has it ended?) and November's here, which only means another 2 months till Christmas! Is it safe to listen to Christmas songs now? Nothing much to look forward to in November except the Year End Holidays (and the end of the finals!)! How I can't wait! Oh, and akak's return! The end of the month - 31 days to go! Now I'm just hoping that fall terribly ill and skip the rest of the exams I don't fall sick.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Birthday Videos.

Here are the videos (life's been better now that I can post videos!) when we sang the Birthday song to Hui Xing and when (half) the choir sang the Birthday song to mom a week after her actual Birthday date. Well, kai ma and several other choir members had planned something for her on that Sunday before her Birthday (Monday). Due to certain circumstances, they had to re-schedule. Kai ma thought of cancelling it but someone had ordered mini Chicken Pies and Cream Puffs for the following Sunday. So the party had to go on with kai ma preparing spaghetti. Just a little celebration, you know.

9th Birthday.

While mom was peeling taugeh (bean sprouts), preparing for lunch, she received an unexpected call from poh poh. I picked up the phone cause I was just sitting by it, arguing discussing with mom how awful tasteless her breakfast of "Emperor Noodles" was. At least that's what mom named her noodles that were cooked in clay pot. Mom's really putting in an effort to cook, seeing that akak's on a "vacation," but... that breakfast was the first time she was cooking since 5 years ago! I think she might need some sharpening in her skills. She accepted the criticism, though.

Anyway, poh poh told mom to go to her house and have lunch because it was Hui Xing's (Amelia's elder sister) birthday and she has prepared some food enough for all of us. No one had any idea that it was Hui Xing's birthday until poh poh broke the news. Mom was peeling taugeh to cook her famous Hokkien Char (seriously, it's one of the best things she can come up with and I was so looking forward to lunch) for lunch but the call made her pack up her taugehs hurriedly and stuffed them into the fridge once again, yelling from the kitchen for us to get ready and proceed to poh poh's house. I could sense a little lightness in her tone, seeing that she packed her taugehs a little too fast. Probably happy that she didn't need to cook and then clear up the oil-stained kitchen all over again.

We dropped by a random bakery (somewhere near USM) and picked up a birthday cake for her. There was a minor battle between Edmund and me, on which cake we should buy. Ended up getting the one that had chocolate and cheese in a cake (because chocolate is the only flavor that Edmund knows how to eat) and naturally, I wanted the cheese. When we got back at poh poh's, Hui Xing wasn't there because she was celebrating her birthday with her paternal relatives (we're maternal side of her family) at her house. I had my lunch - poh poh's fried chicken and Hakka noodles - before she turned up to cut her second cake!

After all that cake-cutting and cake-munching, they (Hui Xing and Edmund) went outside poh poh's house to play badminton. It took me a good 5 minutes before I started whining that I wanted to go home. It's rather insulting to the old people when one complains to go back home only after an hour of stepping foot into the house - but I was so bored there! Adrian and Carina were still in KL and I wasn't keen on playing badminton with the little ones. Though, I did offer them another chance to hop on a broom and try flying, which they only refused with a simple, "Dowan!". Besides, the TV was hogged up by Uncle Yip (Hui Xing's dad), watching those annoying Chinese game shows!

Dad was already falling asleep in the couch (what else to do on a chilly afternoon and a full stomach?) and mom was pretending to be interested in the Chinese game show, ignoring my whines. Since mom refuses to drive me home, I thought of grabbing poh poh's old-fashioned bicycle and my camera and cycling into the inner parts of Balik Pulau (used to do this all the time with Carina and Adrian) to hunt for photographic opportunities but mom didn't let me for no apparent reasons. I insisted on going. My rants and complaints got dad irritated and he himself, offered to take the car an drive me to wherever I want to go - home, not included.

Mom tagged along in the car, and so did Edmund, Hui Xing and Hui Yi (they're all sisters!). We were hunting down for streams and rivers for me to take photographs and at the same time, for the little ones to have a dip. Dad drove us all through the thick plantation till we came to a dead end, made a U-turn and stopped by at a random part of the river that looked safe enough to get into. By the time we got off the car, it already started drizzling and I didn't even have my camera out yet. I didn't want to miss the opportunity though. I set up the tripod and worked under a tree. After mom rushed the little ones into the car, she came to my aid, holding the umbrella above me and the camera as I twisted the dials and clicked my shutter.

Took me long enough to notice that my whole back and camera bag was soaking and that I've got the shots I wanted, before I kept the camera and moved back into the car, with mom still holding the umbrella for me. To be thinking of it, it was kind of cool (to me), standing under the rain with mom, taking photographs. Yeah, I have very supporting family members. Anyways, I took the shot below when dad stopped his car for me to get down to check and see if there was a safe spot for us to take a dip. The door was opened because mom wanted to get down. It gave me the impression of a commercial poster - so I added the words. LOL. Just for fun (had to surf the internet for that Toyota tagline!). Oh yea, and the results of the stream we stopped at can be found here.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Akak's Departure.

While mom and her was busy settling the flight details and lugagges, I played around with my camera. Keep myself busy from reminding myself that akak's leaving and a possibilities of her not coming back anymore. These are a few shots that I got. Surprisingly, there was quite a number of interesting subjects at the airport, if you look really hard. I needed an ISO of 400 and above to get the most of the shots. Anyway, akak's probably home by now, celebrating Raya with her family members while I'm stuck here (I still have laundry to do) blogging about her absence. Urgh! Any invites to any open houses? Last time, it was us who did the open houses!

Various Varieties.

Just because today is Hari Raya, I'm posting some archive shots of a pasar ramadan we visited a couple of weeks back, when akak was still around. It's not like I have any invitations to any Raya open houses! Hmmm... nevermind. It's also an excuse to experiment on Photoshop, actually. =P


It's here! It's finally here! LOL. This video is just so fun to watch. Not one of the best videos out there to be worth posting on my blog, I admit (I can see your eyes rolling at the mention of Fergie). Still, this is one the songs that got me imagining about the video. Here it is. I like it. It's so DELICIOUS!

This is History.

It's the one week Deepavali and Hari Raya holidays, as everybody knows it. This is the time when students who have finished their finals in their respective schools come out to play - especially those little kampung Malay daredevils who break the law by setting countless of homemade firerackers in the dark of the night, causing little girls in queit, peaceful homes around the neighbourhood to run and cry in fright while the rest of the family jumps in their seats with the sound of every BANG and BOOM! This is also the time for students (namely, me) who are still not done with their final examinations to curse heavily under their breaths at those little buggers each time they set off an explosive that causes our handwritings to skid till the middle of the page while we try our best to concentrate on that seemingly boring Science textbook! But usually, when it comes to me, it only involves my fingers and the keyboard and me jumping unwillingly in my seat.

Seriously. I could barely concentrate on anything at all! I know I should be putting in more effort on this and stay away from the computer but I don't see where this is getting. It only takes me a couple of minutes before I start straying away from the History notes and start clicking mindlessly on the mouse instead. It's already hard enough to concentrate with the occasional distant KABOOSH! of firecarckers, what else, with mom and dad breathing down my neck most of the time. They like barging into my room without knocking to catch me red-handed, not studying, hoping that it'll be different each time they do it. Too bad, it's always the same thing that meets their eyes - me, unaware of the surrounding and absorbed into the digital world of reality. For one thing, I don't bother to even pretend to be sucked into the book when I hear their footsteps approaching because I'm not a liar and certainly am not, pretentious. There are only a few instances when they walk in on me with a girl studying. Still, chances are low.

Anyway, I was trying to get into some History notes today - despite the fact that I will never be able to make it in time for the examinations, seeing that I have, practically, the whole book to cover - after doing the laundry. I think it took me a good 10 minutes (must be a record!) on Reformation during the Renaissance period before I turn my head to the monitor with the excuse of changing songs in my head. Randomly, I clicked on Google and 'sejarah nota form 4' (Form 4 History Notes) in the searchbox. I don't know what has gotten into me but partly, it was because my Flickr page wasn't loading that made me clicked on Google and did a random search. A total waste of time, I know. But I was bored and the my inner self was hoping to get something online to read through the monitor, instead of that hideous History textbook. Who knows, it might even help me concentrate better. I couldn't find any decent notes or even sites that had anything to do with notes but I stumbled upon an article written by a student on the History textbook in The STAR Citizen's Blog. It appeared as the first result on my search, so I clicked on it.

It's not what it seems to be....
Posted by: starznchoco

As a form four student studying in a government school, I am not too happy with the history (sejarah) syllabus that we are currently learning for the past four years in school. I am not against history, in fact I enjoy learning it.

But pore through the History textbook and you get the feel that History is painted in a very different light compared to other history books, for example in the overseas. The thing is there are subtle, very subtle, underlinings leaning towards the Islam faith.Everything is Islam-ized. My Islam friends, I do not hold anything against you. We are all Malaysians although we have different beliefs and cultures.

But really, for example the chapter we learnt about the period when tanah melayu was under the British colony. The textbook puts them in a very bad situation. Take Francis Light for example, did he really plot and scheme maliciously behind the Sultan's back to take over Penang? Another history textbook not written by local Malaysians that gives an unbiased view about the same incident might be very different.

The textbooks especially Form Two textbook, has a very distorted view about the British people. I don't think they are that evil and cruel. The point is, our history textbooks are written by prejudiced people that are influencing the younger generation. If I didn't have the chance to explore other history`reference books from the overseas, I would have grown up thinking that all 'penjajah asing' are very bad people out to get us.

It isn't directly in plain sight on paper, but after studying Sejarah for four years now, the general impression it leaves me with is not a good one. There are really too much extravagant praises lavished on the various Muslim leaders and national heroes. Yes, I do salute them but don't overdo it right?

There are times when after studying for my upcoming Sejarah exam, I feel so confused and really hope things will change for the better in the future.

Honestly, I wasn't shocked at all. Didn't have that "profound amazement" look on my face and my jaw didn't dropped to the floor at all. I smiled after reading what starznchoco has written, finally knowing that I'm not the only who thinks this way! I've always thought that the there was something wrong with the textbook all these while but never bothered to give it a second thought, seeing that this was another compulsory subject to pass that brought little significance to the happenings of the world. I totally agree with what she has said. What about you? Do you find this even a little bit true? Well, this is just a thought to share. I don't plan on criticising any party (for now) held to be responsible for this... "imbalance". I still have to go back to memorising the effects of Renaissance and other boring craps the History textbook has to offer!

It's 1.15 a.m. and the KABOOMS have yet to stop for a peaceful night. It's really annoying that the explosions happen so frequently without any warnings but as a true Malaysian, I respect the other races and the way they celebrate their festivals. I mean, hey, when it comes to Chinese New Year, we Chinese don't get any better from this. I wonder if anyone files complaints or blogs about it when it's my turn to light the detonator! Though, it still mystifies me how they obtain their fireworks (apart from homemades) with the goverment putting a heavy bann on it and numerous reports of seized firecrackers, especially during the holidays. I guess that's being truly Malaysian also - one always knows where to get his goods (if you know what I mean). I'd like to wish all my Malay friends (and friends) and all Malaysians a very warm Selamat Hari Raya! Best wishes!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Light A Million Candles.

Crazy Conversations.

Conversation 1
A few days back, I was at Gurney Plaza's MPH bookstore browsing through the multiple racks and shelves of books, stacked orderly and neatly, at the Fiction section of the bookstore. I was actually there, looking for this month's issue of DCM but was distracted by Tuesdays With Morrie (Mitch Albom) at the "This week's bestseller" section when I walked in. It so happens I was halfway through my copy of Tuesdays With Morrie that week and I was just being a busybody to check out the wrapped new copy of the book on top of the shelve. I moved further and saw other publications of Mitch Albom's work. I've heard of them before but never actually bothered to go buy them. It was only natural for me to pick them up and glance through the back cover to see what critics it received and what not.

They had numerous stacks of Albom's work arranged attractively at the glass display, on the table and on the floor with posters of it all over the sides of the glass that greeted the passing shoppers outside. They had Jodi Picoult arranged at the another side also. I was just looking around to waste time before checking if this month's issue of DCM has arrived yet - I like my copy fresh from the oven. I was reading the back cover of Jodi Picoult's Keeping Faith when I noticed these two typical Chinese guys entering the bookstore. They totally didn't look like they're coming to hunt down another heartwarming bestseller novels to spend the weekend with because they had their eyes on the magazine section.

The 1st guy was wlaking past the Fiction section, where I was at, when he also noticed Mitch Albom's Tuesday With Morrie. He walked into the section and held up the copy of the book among other titles like The Five People You Meet In Heaven and For One More Day and stared at it for a brief moment while his friend tailed his back and looked over his shoulder. Obviously, I couldn't help but to eavesdrop, considering I was just a foot away from them, while pretending to be so interested with the book I was holding. Of course, they were speaking in Hokkien.

Guy 2 : Haven't you read that book before?
Guy 1 : Yeah, I had. I borrowed it from a friend.
Guy 2 : So? Is it a good book?
Guy 1 : Ok also lah. Not bad. The book isn't as thick as other books. (he throws the book back)
Guy 2 : Then you want to buy now?
Guy 1 : No lah. You should read it too.
Guy 2 : Maybe I will. Such a small book only.
Guy 1 : Doesn't have alot of words, you know.

I was like... OMG, these people pick and read their books according to the number of pages and words? I was disgusted surprised to hear it myself that these guys - I'm sure they're no younger than 20 and not older than 25 - practice such kind of an sinful act to books. Where's the respect, people? I know I haven't been an avid fan of books (can barely find the right time to read) but I've never took any regards on the thickness of a books or the number of pages it contains, for that matter, when I go on a reading frenzy. I've never been afraid of a BIBLE thick book since I was young and still am not now. Unless the book was a seriously lousy book that doesn't suit my cup of tea, then I beg to differ. I do have my reasons for my lack of collection of books and reading (and 'nothing to read' has never been on of the reasons) but it has certainly got nothing to do with the thickness of a book! Seriously. Is this how Malaysian readers are? Never judge a book by its cover, I'd say!

Conversation 2
I was in church today - one of the places I do alot of quality thinking - attending the Sunset Mass and I was fairly disturbed by something someone did. I know, I'm not perfect also, especially when it comes to mass. My mind probably doesn't stop speaking in my head, saying stuff about everyone I see in church!
Hey, c'mon, I know everyone does their fair share of gossiping and judging in their own head or with someone else, once in a while. This is a bad habit of me (which I'm working very hard to stop) to be quite judgemental at times that sometimes I feel judged by everyone myself, that it pulls down my self-esteem a lot (not that I have alot, to begin with). It's a sin, in fact! I study people. Still, I never go blabber to a friend or some stranger sitting next to me about some random thoughts swimming in my mind at that time, in church. No wonder Grace says I can be quite an observer when I'm quiet!

Anyway, let's not mention names here cause both of the people involved in this conversation are close friends of the family and both, whom I look highly at. I was on the line among the other few hundred people who were queueing to receive the Holy Eucharist (Communion). In my mind, I was taming the bitch inside of me who bitches about everything it lays its eyes on, and succesfully, I did tame it. Behind me on the line was Aunt 1 and Aunt 2, lining up solemnly like everyone else in church. At least, that's what I thought. I heard the both of them exchange some soft whispering. Initially, I thought it was just a whisper of reminder or something. I listened harder and it went like this. Once again, they were conversing in Hokkien.

Aunt 1 : Eh, see what Anne did to her hair?
Aunt 2 : Ya lor, ya lor. Her hair like that better. Makes her look very pretty.
Matt : (I secretly peered around to see which 'Anne' were they talking about, considering that there's probably a hundred 'Anne's around, but couldn't see any Anne I know with a new hairdo.)
Aunt 1 : Aiyo, why this line so long cannot move one?
Aunt 2 : This line have to wait for Father to come one mah. He has to divide the Eucharist to other Communion Ministers as well first.
Aunt 1 : Haiyo *grumbles**grumbles*

I couldn't hear anymore of their conversation as the line had started moving. I tried listening again but it resulted me on accidentally stepping on the tip of Aunt 1's shoe-tip. I know I've sinned for eavesdropping and not paying any attention during mass at a time when we're only supposed to be focusing on God... but the two aunts also did! LOL. I was brought up never to talk in mass, especially when we're lining up to receive the Eucharist (the bitch in me do strike occasionally) but after witnessing what happened, I guess all of us do commit our fair share of sins (gossiping) during a sacred period like during mass! That was also totally not a good example of patience!

Conversation 3
After sending akak off at the air-port, dad, mom, Edmund and I were in the car, on the way home to mull over the absence of our dear akak and start with the house chores. Mom and dad were discussing about how akak's going to arrive at Indonesia and all that nonsense, when Edmund suddenly asked, "What's Jakarta?" upon hearing dad mention the word that akak was going to land there. "It's the capital of Indonesia," dad replied promtly. That lead to a sudden quiz by dad about capitals of countries, which used to (and still do) amuses me, while mom was on the line with someone. Dad fired us with the common countries.

Dad : What's the capital of America?
Matt : Washington D.C..
Dad : That's right. Brazil?
Edmund : Not New York ar?
Dad : No la.

Matt : Rio De Jeneiro!
Dad : Correct. Thailand?
Matt : Pnom Penh?
Dad : No lah!
Matt : Oh wait, Bangkok?
Dad : Yes!
Matt : Japan leh? Tokyo is it?
Dad : Yea. China?
Matt : Guang Dong or Guang Zhou?
Dad : No, China is Beijing. Argentina?
Matt : What?
Dad : Don't know ar? I also don't know. Wait let me think. India?
Matt : Oh, I know! Taj Mahal!
Dad : LOL. It's New Delhi!
Edmund : Argentina's capital not (some footballer's name) meh?

LOL. That depicts how shallow my General Knowledge is! Dad couldn't find the answer to Argentina's capital and the quiz stopped there with all of us laughing. Seriously. Our family has not been the proud producers of any kid geniuses so far. Grace and I both had recorded history with complete illiteracy of politics (any kinds), low IQ and bad General Knowledge. Honest! We were once quite well-known for it. Not much has canged since and I can already see Edmund following in our steps! It either runs in the family or it's an incurable inheritary disease!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Leave Me Alone.

As I've mentioned before, akak's going back home to Indonesia for 40 days as a vacation. She leaves tomorrow. Time flies, doesn't it? She's leaving the house sparkling clean, unsure if i'd be the same when she returns. I'm unsure of it myself. She gave me a crash course today on how to operate all her stuff, which includes the washing machine and the toilet brush. LOL. She's been with us for such a long time that we've somehow grown dependant on her, no matter how hard we try to do things ourselves. Still, we're not the pampered rich kids who tortures their Indonesian maid by throwing toys at her. Kind of got accustomed to the way how things appear spotless when I return from school.

She had written reminders and notes on tiny little pieces of Post-Its and left them all over the place like the refrigerator door and beside the washing machine. It might come in handy, I think. Not sure if I can remember all those anti-clockwise or clockwise turns of the buttons on the washing machine and dryer. She even briefed me on the right way to scrub the toilet bowl, for crying out loud! Turns out, I needed it after all. Who ever knew that'd be so many ways of scrubbing the toilet bowl and the loo itself using different kinds of brushes and detergent at the same time! She was persistent to have a quick run-through about the iron but I refused and locked myself in the room after that, yelling to her, "Mom will do the ironing. Not me!" Her crash course also included her lecturing me on which kind of material of garments are allowed or not into the washing machine and a demonstration on how to clean the water filter under the sink! *sighs*

So much to do, so little time. Strange enough, I can imagine myself mopping the floor or working the vacuum cleaner with my earphones glued to my ears, bobbing my head to the sound JoJo, as I watched akak's lips moving. After reminding me for about the umpteenth time where she stores all her detergents and soap supplies, she finally sighs in exhaustion, glance around the house and retreats to her bedroom to do some last minute-packing. I was left there to wonder if I'll be bale to make it through without her. I'm thinking : I'd probably be fine cause I can totally be Mrs. Doubtfire if I wanted to. What I'm afraid is that I'd be lazy and I'll start neglecting the dishes and the laundry and who knows what else? Currently, I'm contemplating whether or not to tag along mom and dad to the airport tomorrow. Her flight's somewhere around 10.30a.m., if I didn't hear wrong. Oh, I don't look forward to a teary goodbye then.

Akak and Grace saying their goodbyes with Skype. LOL. Akak uses Skype!

Unfortunately, Akak wouldn't be the only one leaving town tomorrow. Adrian, Carina and kai ma have a bus to catch at 9a.m. tomorrow as well, to Johor Bahru. They'll be at Johor to pick Uncle Quentin (whom I usually address solely as uncle - never knew why, but I grew up calling him that and he's my official godfather) who works there and proceed to KL where they'll bunk at tai yi's house before stopping at Malacca for a brief moment. At least, that's what I heard. They invited me to go along with them but I couldn't because my final examinations are just next week! They'll be the there till this Wednesday, I suppose. I wish them all the fun! However, I refuse to be missing out on all the fun. I did ordered and forced told both Adrian and akak to take counntless of pictures for me to look at! I even bought 5 rolls of film for akak today, which costed me RM50!

To further entail this post of loved ones leaving me going for vacations, I have another couple of pieces of shocking news.

Adrian (yes, the one and only git) will be going on a holiday trip with his (paternal) aunt to Australia this coming November the 16th! Sounds like he just scored a free trip from a lousy competition over the radio when I put it that way. Yes, Australia - Sydney or Melbourne, I'm not sure. Honestly, the green-eyed demon in me was about to strike when I first heard it but I managed to tame it just before it hissed its tounge. Rare. Figured he was, after all, my cousin (more to like godbrothers) and I'm just wasting my energy on it. Either way, me being jealous wouldn't even stop him from getting on the plane! It's weird and outrageously awkward to say this but I feel happy for him, despite the fact that we'll all miss his presence. But he'll be back for Christmas, that's for sure. I've already told him that the one thing he could get me during his trip was an endless amount of I-wished-you-were-here photos to drool over at! Happily, he agreed.

Unexpectedly, Uncle G (the choir master) will also be leaving Penang soon. Sooner than I thought. He broke the news to dad that he'll be MIGRATING (he used the word!) to Singapore, upon a job change. He has taken up the offer and he'll be leaving in the next two months! It only means one thing for the most of us, the choir would be nonetheless, meaningless. It does appear to be kind of heartless of him to drop everything here and just move to a new place with a snap of a finger, but I'm sure he has his reasons. I mean, I'd do that too if I had the offer. But it'll probably take me more thinking before making my decision. It's a rather sad thing to us. I mean, there's never exactly going to be another dinner gathering anymore, would it?. Now, I'm not even sure if he would stay till Christmas is over and conduct the last choir with us. I'm just praying he does. Still, I wish him all the best at Singapore!

I'll have to stop here and help akak with her humongous luggages. Mom's helping her stuff more things into her already puffed up luggages. It looks to me like the thing is going to explode anytime. Mom still has to go through with her about the procedures involved during flight and other necessities while all of us occasionally jump in our seats as the Indian kids let off another fire cracker that echoes its explosison through the night. Which reminds me, it's Deepavali tomorrow! All the little children are probably outside, risking their lives to be another hurt-by-fireworks victim as the parents stay in their horridly decorated houses for their final preparations before ther celebration arrives. Oh well, I'd like to extend my warmest greetings to all Malaysians and especially to all those who celebrate this Festival of Lights.

Here's the song Leave Me Alone by The Veronicas. Just felt like it.

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Thursday, October 19, 2006

Flying Lesson.


I can't balance this...

Watch out, I'm coming up! Maybe not.

The Witch!

So, you can do that too...

Try to top that!

Am I up yet?

The eagle is landing!

Inspired by their jumping-caught-still shots from blogs like Rames' Studios and smashpOp, I decided to try it on these people myself. It's totally unoriginal, I know - I don't claim anything. But Adrian's compact was there and the idea just hit me while I was checking it out. They were, after all, outside at poh poh's house's backlane playing badminton and I just ran out and told them to start "flying" with a broom. Decided to try the technique myself also to see if there was any special tricks needed. Some of the photos were later taken with my camera because I got kind of irritated with Adrian's plastic cover over his viewfinder.

I had fun ordering them around, though. Not sure if they had as much fun as I did having to jump and jump again with a broom, looking like complete idiots. Probably not. Mom came in the picture after seeing what we were doing outside. I told her to come out and try and see if I could get anything of her "flying". She did and she complained that her legs were aching after the shoot. LOL. My coonclusion, Adrian and Edmund were the better flier compared to mom and Carina. LOL. Probably due to the Halloween mood also. Could've used a better looking broom, though!

Well, I guess, sometimes people just need to have some plain fun!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Milky Milky

This is Amelia.

5 Days Old!

Sudden Return.

Natural Diffuser

It was a clear and sunny day until it began to rain pretty heavily yesterday. It was a perfectly clear day with birds singing in the trees and bees sucking on pollen until after it rained when the blazing sun was reduced to only a soft glow of orange and I began to start choking. The condition didn't get any better and today it was horrible. The pictures were taken today at about 10.30 a.m. and the visibility was just terrible. I was on the way back from poh poh's house after visiting Amelia. This is how bad the haze is in Penang. I wonder if its any worse in other parts of Malaysia. It's impossible to get out of the house without that bitter taste at the back of your tounge and the smell of burning trees filling your nostrils. It's impossible to even open the windows in the house without letting the unclean air getting in.

The dreaded haze is back. Meaning, outdoor activities are supposed to be reduced (tremendously). I'd prefer staying at home all the time,just lazing around. It also means that there's an excuse for me to use the air-cond in my room more, seeing that I don't own any air-refreshener or the likes. I'm not sure if it's true but I think I read it somewhere in the papers a few years back when the haze was as bad as this that air-conds help clean the air. Beats me. How long do we still have to endure this torture? I'm considering to get myself a face mask if this carries on. *coughs**coughs**choke*

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Poem.

I can still recall when I was about 7 or 8 years old when someone from the family taught me that ridiculous Hokkien poem (or song) about Chap Goh Meh that still leaves me wondering what it actually means till today. Though, I've got a certain inkling that ko mak (the eldest paternal aunt) and amah were the ones responsible for passing down the tradition teaching me the poem. Hmm... I think I'm right. Could still remember ko mak hugging me in her arms while saying that poem to me and amah happily answering the next line that I forgot when I tried saying it myself. The poem goes something like this.

Chap Goh Meh
Chia li kuwa lai chiak teh
Teh sio sio
Kia lo beh kin chio
Kin chio beh ki pek
Kia lo beh chet
Chet beh ki tak
Kia lo beh o bak
Bak beh ki bua
Kia lo beh chua
Chua beh ki liak
Kia lo beh ka kiak
Ka kiak beh ki cheng
Kia lo beh ka leng

Ka leng po
Ka leng soh
Chia lu lai chit toh
Chit toh hami
Chit toh hia
Chiak kam chia
Kam chia ti
Chiak leng chi
Leng chi pong
Chiak tom bong
Tom bong pek
(name here) chiak kelengna tek tek!

Yeap, that's the Hokkien version of it, badly written by me. If you by anyhow know the dialect, there might be a possibility that you can follow what I've written and if you're a real Hokkien (like your ancestors are one of those imported China workers during the British Settlement) you probably know how this sounds already. It used to crack me up when someone recited this for me when I was a child eventhough, I barely know what it meant then. Not much different now also. Anyways, the poem was suppose to end with someone's name being said to "eat Indian nipples" (that's what the last line means). No offence to the Indians but I wasn't the one who created this ridiculous poem. I don't know where it came from either. I also don't know if there's an actual meaning behind all these and was never actually bothered to ask amah about it. Probably forgotten if I had asked. Though, I do know it's direct translation! =P

I'm not sure if this whole poem was made especially for recitation during the 15th day of the Chinese New Year or if it was made up for children to tease each other (something like Ronald McDonald or Scissors Paper Stones, you know?). I suppose it was the latter. Well, my interest for it stopped when I was always beaten by Grace to the last line. Each of us will always try to finish the last line first, saying the other person's name. I never won and I cried every single time she made fun of me, leaving me with the horrific image of a shirtless, bearded, fat Indian man with a set of yellow teeth and sarong, waiting for me to suck his tits as he laughs evil-ly! Seriously. I cried and sulk every single time the stupid phrase made me think of that fat pervetic Indian man. So I stopped reciting it but was occasionally reminded about it over the years.

But somethings just won't go away.

Recently, dad decided to pass down the tradition teach Edmund that incredulous thing. Like me, he was hyped up about the poem and started memorising it the moment it reached his ears. At first, it brought back old memories about me when I was young and was constantly repeating the same thing. I even joined Edmund and dad when they were reciting it in the car, laughing all the way. Believe me when I say it didn't take too long for me to get irritated about it. I was keen on getting on Edmund's nerves this time (after all those times Grace teased me to tears), racing him to the last line. Unfortunately, people like him are not bugged by haunting images of an Indian man's nipples. It doesn't affect him at all. In fact, he sees it all as just a poem recital with little meaning - or we could blame it on his poor Hokkien that he doesn't understand a single bit of the entire poem! He just holds his stomach, keel over and laugh insanely whenever he gets to the bottom of the poem.

Instead of sulking and crying over it, he backfires it on me. Most of the time, it's impossible for him to race me to the end of the poem without him cutting off the entire second part of the poem and screaming the last line. When he can't do it, he waits till I finish and after his maniac laughter, he'll repeat the stupid last line with my name on it endlessly! He just goes, "Matthew chiak kelengna tek tek!" for about the eumpteenth time before he stops in exhaustion! It's rather annoying when that happens. Still, I'm less bothered by it now compared to the time when I was 8. It doesn't make me that depress anymore to think of that Indian man's image. Doesn't change the fact that I'm irritated by it!

Currently, I have to endure this stupid thing for mostly every night when I put Edmund to bed. He just repeats the poem last line over and over again until he falls asleep. It's really awful to hear but I'm numb already. The poem doesn't make alot of sense either way - literally or metaphorically. I mean, to play with ants (Chit toh hia)? C'mon this is really ridiculous. Given it's audacity, there's still no telling if I'm going to pass down the tradition to my offsprings in the future. It's nice when you think of it as a tradition of some sort but highly distasteful when the fat Indian man draws closer to you with out-stretched arms! Yeee!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Naming Process.

We've finally found a name for the baby! Her official name (the one that's going to be printed on birth certificate) is Yip Hui Zhen. Seh yi explained that it means "pearl" in Chinese. Not an expert on Chinese names but I think it's alright. Seh yi has also approved that mom be her official godmother (the one's who's going to be with her during baptism)! She texted mom, telling mom to get an English name for her and that mom will be her godmother. Mom kept mentioning about being another godmother since the day the baby was born! She said it was only appropriate as they both shared the same birthday. I laughed at her idea, saying that her parents would probably like someone else to be her godmother. In the end, mom was pleased that she got her wish. Couldn't feel more happy for her. Does this mean I'm going to be another godbrother? If it is true, it rocks!

So the three of us (mom, dad, me) surfed the internet for some English names to be named to the "pearl". I did the surfing and they just watched. Seh yi specifically said that she's prefer the name to start with 'A'. As faithful Catholics (ahem), it's best that we got a Saint's name for a newborn. Like my name, Matthew, which means, the gift of God. We browsed through a random site that surfaced on the click of Google search with the terms "Name Of Saints". There weren't a hug compilataion of Saint's names starting with 'A' but there were a few that cuaght our attention. Mom suggested Agatha but I objected because the name suited more to an old lady, knowing that old ladies were also young once. The name Ambrosia, caught my attention but dad thought it was too "English" for a Chinese family (they all attend Chinese school).

We browsed through another dozens of names, each of them bearing their own meanings and significance in the Bible. Finally, we came to one voice when we spotted the name Amelia. "Amelia Yip," I said repeatingly and it's got a nice ring to it. Mom and dad (being her godparents) agreed too. Mom called seh yi up immediately and told her about Amelia which meant "excelling" and was an aunt to St. Gregory who led prayerful religious lives and encouraged each other to grow in holiness. Pretty meaningful, huh? So it was finalised that my new cousin's name was going to be

Amelia Yip Hui Zhen.

Bedroom Babblings.

For the past couple of weeks, Edmund have been steadily spending his nights in my room. Steadily, meaning that he doesn't just sleep in my room for the first two days of the week and then return to squeezing in between mom and dad in their bedroom, disrupting alot of privacy time. It's been a full two weeks since he started sleeping in my room, on that pull-out bed underneath my bed that mom made for us. So far, he hasn't requested to sleep in mom and dad's room and the mention of it just gets him pouty. I mean, most of the time, I'll try to talk him out of sleeping in my room and it usually just gets him yelling and refusing to leave my room after that, climbing on my bed and burying himself in my pillows. FYI, there is nothing adorable about what he does that can make me change my mind but mom will always be the one who gives me a short (albeit annoying) lecture before I relent to that brat!

Pretty much reminds me when I was at his age and when I first decided to crash in Grace's room. Things were way different then. See, we live in a three-bedroom apartment and the second room used to have the same underneath-the-bed-pull-out kinda bed that we have now in both rooms which was meant for the both of us. Never wondered why the third room was never occupied, though. Initially, mom and dad didn't really think it all over when they made a room like that for the both of us - small and compact complete with baby-colours painted built-in furnitures. Never thought about having a third child and never expected me to grow to my current size, I guess. Pretty much new to parenting and interior design then. I still remember my first few weeks when I slept with Grace.

There was definitely not as much arguements back then compared to the times I debate with Edmund to go away and sleep with dad. Couldn't remember Grace complaining or grumbling under her breath everytime I barge in her (she preferred HER than OUR) room, independantly pulling out the bed myself. The thing was,
when the bed was fully out, it was right underneath the study table, making it impossible to study if I wanted to sleep and leaving not much space left in the room to move about. And as far as I can remember, I'll always see her facing the wall, buried in her work everytime I barge in. She'll only sigh and pack her stuff and walk out to finish her work at the dining table. Then I will let dad or mom tuck me in. Funny that Grace didn't complain much when it was my time but I bet she probably didn't have that many assignments and homework that we do now. We also used to have those foldable plastic doors that create a hell of a noise when opened or closed and I'll always tell dad to leave a tiny bit opened to let in some light (I was afraid of the dark, ok!). It was hard for me to leave the warmth of mom and dad's hands cuddling me to sleep and waking up to clean my backside everytime I pee on the bed but I managed somehow. Learnt how to control my bladder and substitute their warmth with a blanket.

There were, of course, times when I go to bed at the same time as Grace. Those were the few times when she tried her best to scare me. Maybe it was inheritary or she was just fulfilling her duty as a sister that she saw scaring me as fun. Honestly, I was one of the most timid child around and one of the easist to trick or scare. I mean, I had nightmares when I watched the first Anaconda movie! You get the picture! She used to tell me there were monsters and all sorts of other ghoulish creatures waiting to eat me as soon as I close my eyes under her bed (especially after watching The Nightmare Before Christmas). I was sleep
ing on the pull-out bed and I had a perfect view of underneath her bed, practically covered in a thick layer of dust and pieces of paper. It'll either send me running to mom's room and spending the night there instead or giving me nightmares for the rest of the night.

Sleeping with her also means clearing up my own bed every morning, school or no school. Believe me, she was some sort of my disciplinarian. I've never packed my bed after sleep before sleeping her room. Snuggling in between your parents the night before kind of allows you to skip all those blanket folding. I still remember, she used to grip the cane firmly in her hands as she watched me fold my blanket and fluff my pillows till I push in t
he bed. I would cry in agony, hoping for dad to come rescue me, at the very first few times as I do this under her strict observation but she managed to turn it into a habit. Felt like a prison guard waiting to whip the shit out of you for any misconduct. She had always emphasised on cleanliness and neatness especially when it comes to these things. You should see her scream and yell when I feel rebellious and refuse to clear my bed. Never once did she allow herself to clear up my stuff. Told you she was a witch strict! Come to think of it, despite all the mean things she have made me do, she never did tried to get me out of sleeping in her room. She was a growing teenager then and I am indeed surprised that she didn't see me as a pest invading her "teenage privacy". Or maybe she did and she just tolerated?

Unlike Edmund and I.

Eventually, when Edmund appeared in our dull lives and make us all a complete happy family, Grace decided to shift into the third (and bigger) room. If I wasn't mistaken, the reason was that Edmund would need a place to bunk and it's only right for brothers to share a room, I think. Who ever knew that Edmund would take such a long time to grow up and I was left with the second room all to myself. Perfect for a growing tween like me. Complete privacy. The pull-out bed was meant for Edmund but Edmund never made peace with it and he continued to sleep with mom and dad, snuggling under mom and dad's armpits. Pity that privacy wasn't my kind of thing even as I was growing up as a teenager. Always preferred an open door rather than a close door. Probably due to the fact that the computer was in the living room also. Though we were in different rooms, Grace had most her things occupied in the same room. The third room of our house wass not furnitured, so she still had all her stuff in the room I was living in.

But that was like, what? 8 years ago?

My privacy only lasted about 7 years before the family decided to have a complete renovation. You bet I was glad to get rid of all those baby furnitures that occupied my room. But that gladness was only temporary. Somehow, Grace and I decided to switch room. I wasn't all keen on the idea because the second (smaller) room which I inhe
rited from Grace had two windows and in my opinion, had better air circulation. But then again, the third room was bigger and it suited me better, due to the size of my body and dad agreed that there'd be more space for Edmund and I if ever Edmund suddenly grows up and decided to move in with me and bring all his toys along! Didn't really give it another thought (how shallow of me!) when they decided that the computer was going to be in my (new) room and agreed to switching rooms immediately. I thought that Edmund will probably sleep with mom and dad for the rest of his life, leaving me and my privacy with the computer alone. Who knew, he'd decide to move into my room 10 months after renovation!

I know Edmund moving into my room is a huge leap of faith for him... and for me. I asked myself, is this boy for real? Is he really ready to leave all those bedtime stories and those goodnight kisses behind him? Is he really growing up? It freaked me out, really. I was once in his shoes and I was determined to sleep alone when I said I would. Is it the same for him now? I can remember mom said in one of her lectures, "Edmund's growing up now and if he wants to sleep with you, let him! You have to start accepting him...". Time is running really fast.

Is he ready? Looks like he is...

Him moving into my room has brought certain noticeable changes in the room. He waltzs into the room ofte at 10.30 p.m. when I'm still halfway ploughing through the mountanious amount of homework or busy clicking on the computer and tells me, "Ko, I want to sleep already." "But I'm not done with my work yet! Can you please sleep with mummy tonight?" I'd say to him. That is all it needs to make him start yelling in protest while I ignore him and focus back on my work and that's when mom will come in and start her lecture which only results to me reluctantly relenting to his needs! Something similar to my time with Grace is
that the bed is right behind of me and whenever the pull-out bed is out, it really leaves no space for the chair in between the bed and my desk. Meaning, I have to stop all my activities precisely at that moment when he wants to sleep! Which also means, I'll have to go to bed early! All I can do is frown and grumble under my breath whenever this happens.

Another bad thing about him sleeping with me is that he is an extremely dependant boy! I suppose this was to be expected when you are raised by numerous Indonesian maids who treat you like their baby emperor or something. These past few days, he walks in and tells me, "Ko, please pull out the bed for me. I want to sleep already." I'll never miss the chance to snap back at him, "Can you please sleep with mom tonight?". Now, he brings dad along whenever he enters my room to save him all the protest. Dad says, "Matt, do it for him, please. C'mon, take care of his needs and tuck him into bed." What the hell?! Certainly, I'm not giving him any smooches on the cheek! All I do is pull out the bed for him with alot of grunting and groaning (because I'm mad) and tells him, "There, go to sleep!" And then, I'll miserably retire to packing my books and lifting my hands from the mouse and eventually, to bed. But seriously, he really doesn't have the strength to pull out the bed himself.

Lastl, but not least, he doesn't do his bed after he wakes up. He just walks out of the room, leaving all the blankets unfolded and scattered all over the place. After all, he has akak to do it for him. Why worry? Trust me, I have attempted to be like Grace and make him pack his bed but I couldn't find the cane anymore and mom is always overprotecting him when I try. "Don't be so fierce on him lah, " mom will say! Urgh! Plus, Edmund depends on an alarm clock which he will tune everynight before closing his eyes, to wake him up! This is really strange, considering Grace and I have never been disciples of the dreaded alarm clock! He has been so used to using the alarm clock that he even has it turned to 8.30a.m. during weekends and holidays! It never fails to ring and does its best to disturb my sleep! I really feel like smashing his ridiculously big alarm clock to pieces if he didn't leave it under my bed (beside his bed) every night. Urgh.

Despite all that, he does actaully make me go to sleep earlier, especially on weekdays. However, it doesn't really hep alot in my alertness level in school the next day. I can still manage to use the computer even with his bed pulled out. I just sit on his bed (he's small and tiny and he doesn't occupy alot of space on a single-sized bed) and use my computer from there, with my head tilted upwards. I do, eventually, pull the covers over him at times and play the music not too loudly so that he could sleep. I've also pretty much stopped watching late night private screenings of The O.C. or Grey's Anatomy. With mom or dad coming in to tuck him to bed (smooches and hugs) every night and checking into our room frequently, it's getting kind of hard for me to have my private screenings till 3a.m. in the morning.

Overall, I don't think it's such a bad thing that this brat is beginning to move in with me. Rest assured, I'm not looking forward to having a broken relationship with my brother and just like what mom said, it's time for me to learn to accept his ways (and also disciplining him!). By the way, whenever I tell him to sleep with mom, I don't do it in a posessed demonic way, in case you get the wrong idea. I only raise my voice a little to ask him to scram. Still, it is kinda cute when he barges into my room and jumps on MY bed and rolls around with my bolster. The way he says, "HI, ko!" when he enters or the way when he tries to scare me in my room (which is also what I used to do to Grace). But he really does scare me when he starts talking to himself in his dreams and waving his hands when he's asleep. I'm sure going to miss this when he grows up. Which is soon, I predict.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Baby Sucks!

Further updates on the baby! This video was taken yesterday when the doctors discharged her and seh yi. It so happens that she was being fed when we were at poh poh's house so I decided to work my camera on her again. This time, you can see that her eyes are opened and if you listen real carefully, you can hear her making sucking sounds. It was so adorable! The way everyone was crowding around her while seh yi carried her in her arms, she was like some sort of local celebrity!

Her eyebrows are very prominent, aren't they?

Everyone claims the baby looks so big through my photographs. In fact, she's like 5X smaller!