Monday, December 28, 2009


Yawn! This blog is dusty.

Haven't attempted to blog for the longest time, the biggest excuse really is of laziness. Yes, I've been busy etc but I think I have been slowly losing the will to blog....which I do intend to remedy in 2010.

Talking of which I can't wait for the new year- 09 in introspection in the next post.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My dear bunny boy is hitting the Terrible Twos Very Early On

My dear Bunny Boy,

As you toddle into your 17 months, I know the world is increasingly becoming complex. There is a need to establish boundaries and carve out your identity.

I want you to know that it's okay, it's okay to be frustrated and sometimes show it loudly. Because it may seem that nobody understands you or bothers about what's really important.

I do also want you to know that I am trying my hardest to understand some of that frustration and how difficult it may be for you to be assaulted by this constantly changing world. I may sometimes disagree with you and not allow you more time for colouring or tell you to stop playing your bus so that you can have a bath. I know that this is terribly annoying but you must know that I do make sense. If you have a bath too late, we wont be able to go out afterwards and if you want to spend all your time with your crayons, when will you have lunch?

Always remember that you are making choices. If your choice is to throw a tantrum and fuss, then all that energy is wasted. Just think if you make wider choices, then your world view will open up and your day can just be so much brighter and fun filled.

I want you to have fabulous, magical days -every day.

I try my best to do this but you've got to help me as well. All that you've got to do is just be your usual sunshiny self and spread your Sprongy goodness into the world. You definitely make it a better place.



17 Months - I see the moon and the moon sees me

At 17 months, Sprong-isms include:

- Little happy jigs for mommy when she is back from work

- 'Roar' like a lion

- Turning DVD player on

- Scrunching of nose and hearty laughter when tickled

- Obessessed with the 'mun' (moon), stars and SUNNN

- Favourite song: I see the moon and the moon sees me

- Favourite show: Mother Goose song series

- Can march like a soldier on order, left right left right

- Not very good with sharing toys

- Loves raisins, prunes, cheese

- Likes to do his weekly painting

- Is fussy about what T-shirt he wears except for ELMO

- Likes to run and make mommy catch him

- Is able to order Papa around , sit, Papa, sit, Papa SITTTTTTT

- Likes to open and close bottles and tins and says OPENNNNN

- Has learnt Malay words courtesy of Indon maid, vocab includes atas, habis, lapar (in context)

- Is learning to play badminton with Papa

- Digs his nose (uncultured part of DNA must be courtesy of paternal side)

Today is one of those days

Today is one of those days.

When everything unravels, my eyes smart from the lack of sleep, my mind too numb to sort out that never ending to-do list and my spirit all shrivelled, lacking the energy to navigate the constant quagmire.

Of what? The pressures at work, the worries at home due to current state of being without maid, the new career path that I intend to carve, the financial implications....and a million other things like a new oven that needs to be bought, airconds that need servicing (damn the climate change police), passports to be collected, sippy cups, the right nursery/playschool, walking shoes for Sprong, change of diet.......

Oh, how trivial.

This writer captures my feelings so well.

" After all, there are bigger events. There is a world at large, and my, it’s large. Tanking economy. Greedy banks. Bloody wars. Power struggles. Politics and pundits, media glee.

We are aware of the blazing ring of fire circling us. In the middle of it, we change diapers. We wipe little bottoms. We shop in bulk. We return overdue books at the library. We go to work. We try to find work. We love and we lose our spouses, our children, our way. We cry in the shower.

None of this gets much press.

And yet. "

And yet.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Growing Up in Terengganu

The last person I recommended Growing Up in Terengganu (GUiT) to was my articulate Italian friend, Dr. I. Although she is a top city lawyer, she is a big Italian mama at heart and truly enjoyed the culinary delights that spewed out of the book. Delish Terengganu concoctions are redolent in GUiT and she assured me that she was salivating reading about all those teeming cucurs and kuehs.

The writer, a certain Mr. Awang Goneng is a delight himself, being purveyor of Terengganu vignettes. A good friend, I have had the privilege of joining him and his lovely wife for lunches, teas and dinners (including some involving lobsters).

I myself missed AG's readings in KL, the one involving singing especially, as I was over 9 months preggers at that time and was having one of those false labour alarm days. I did get my copy of GUiT signed at a later day in 1 Utama. I devoured the book in three sittings, absorbed by the salty Terengganu monsoon and the escapades of folks.

Kak Teh tells me that GUiT is now up for Popular-Star Readers Choice Awards 2009 for non- fiction. I do hope that with the attention, the book will be read by more Malaysians everywhere. And I do sincerely hope that it wins because it is one of the rare books that captures a slice of Malaysiana, wraps it up in lilting prose and warms your heart.

Go grab a copy now y'all.

Friday, June 19, 2009


I belatedly discovered the quiet passing of Kamala Das Suraiyya.

Her poems had been an influential part of my early 20s where I was a bit of a man-hater type feminist.

Perhaps, more than Adrienne Rich, Rachel Carson and Catherine McKinnon, Kamala Das had impacted my young self. The angry young woman phase that I was going through found solace in a woman from a fairly repressive culture - Kamala could boldly explore sexual longing, feminine wiles and freedom. Every word of her poetry reeked with pain and pleasure.

Of course, she has also been contradictory in her ways. In her late age, she took on the burqa which confused and infuriated people. The eloquent Huree Babu explores the Kamala Das phenomenon.

Rest in peace.

When I die
Do not throw the meat and bones away
But pile them up
Let them tell by thier smell
What life was worth
On this earth
What love was worth
In the end

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Change Will Do Jane Sunshine Good

So, save for signing on the dotted lines, I have decideded to move elsewhere. Something more connected to my professional and personal direction.


Summer holidays are being planned and all that I want to do is board that flight TOMMOROW. I wonder how people ever planned holidays in the pre-internet age.


Currently trying to read Map of the Invisible World by Tash Aw. So many books to read, so little time.

Friday, June 05, 2009


obviously the next natural step would be twitte*. now, i just need to go look up how do i do this stuff....will keep you posted on twitt* ville escapade.

Kak Teh, I know that you are on FB anymore but twitte* any good?

Personal Strategic Plan

Having just conceptualized a strategic business plan for the start up centre, I am now going to craft a Personal Strategic Plan 2009-2015.

Why 2015? Because that's when I turn freaking 40.

When I write it this way, 40 seems so close. Not that I am one of those women afraid of getting old and all that brouhaha (though I must go and ask the Msian PM's wife her secret to youth. In every new shot, she looks ever younger, what is it my dear- botox, jamu, other elixirs, hahaha).

Anyway, 6 years isn't a long time and 40 just seems to be an age where you better have it together ie life in general. For me, this will translate into family and MONEY. While I have drifted through most of my 20s and early 30s without much of a plan, I do feel that it's time I come up with a framework towards financial security, esp now that I only have 6 years to go (5 and a half to be exact, yegawds).

I never really thought of financial security- I let M worry about that- but now, with a child, it is increasingly on my mind because I want to ensure that I have done everything possible to ensure that he can explore all chances in life esp in terms of education.

How to go about doing this is where I need to think things through.

Monday, June 01, 2009

six years hence

I seem to be posting only at events/annual landmarks but such is the way things are now....

So, 6 years of marriage, not yet the 7 year itch. We are old marrieds now.

I think back of the time when I first saw you, in the office pantry (I know, how boring). I never knew that I had walked into my destiny as I went for a cup of coffee (cheesy). But what a walk its been.

Running around for new bathroom tiles, the airport fights, the long distance phone calls, burnt lamb curry, afternoon naps under the sun, the moonlit kisses, the star clad dinners, the burping baby. We've done it all.

And I am so glad that we are still doing it together.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Give Cheese

My dear Sprong,

You are 16 months today.

When you were a wee bud in my tummy, I had promised myself that I would write letters to you every month recording all my thoughts about you and my feelings as mom, etc. Fast forward 16 months and I realize that I have 2 miserable letters and other moms like Dooce have been actually doing it assiduously for YEARS.

So, that kind of sums up your mommy. A frazzled, disshelved , unorganized, crazy mommy who nevertheless loves you to incredible bits.

You kind of said your first sentence last month 'Give Cheese' you said. I glowed in pride and struck at the wonder that soon you and I will be having proper conversations. You’ve already started in that direction- you now like to hold on to the mobile phone and pretend that you are saying hello to Papa.

I want to say thank you to you my darling little bubba. For being you –a wholesome sunbeam who has made my life shimmer in joy.

I pray that I have the strength to be a good mom- not just to nurture but also as a guide who shares the world with you and navigates the difficulties that may be there.

Friday, April 24, 2009

FB- couldnt have said it better about the past resurrecting in strange dimensions

Online social networks are so new that it’s impossible to know their long-term impact. There’s some evidence that college students have mixed feelings about being guinea pigs for the faux-friendship age. One student interviewed for a study of why and how college students use Facebook, which was published last year in The Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, admitted that being privy to the personal details of “friends” who she had not seen in years made her uncomfortable. “Someone from earlier in her life had broken up with a boyfriend,” an author of the article, Sandra L. Calvert, a professor and chairwoman of the psychology department at Georgetown University, told me. “She felt she knew all these intimate details about this person, yet they hadn’t actually been in touch for five years.” On the other hand, a study published in 2007 in The Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication suggested that hanging onto old friends via Facebook may alleviate feelings of isolation for students whose transition to campus life had proved rocky. Evidently they took comfort in knowing that “Dylan is drinking Peets.”

That may well be, but something is drowned in that virtual coffee cup — an opportunity for insight, for growth through loneliness. Perhaps my nieces will find a new way to establish distance from their former selves, to clear space for introspection and transformation. Perhaps they will evolve through judicious deleting and updating of profile information, through the constant awareness of their public face. Maybe the Greek chorus of preschool buddies will be more anchor than albatross, giving them strength to take risks or to stick out tough times. It could be that my generation was the anomalous one, that Facebook marks a return to the time when people remained embedded in their communities for life, with connections that ran deep, peers who reined them in if they strayed too far from the norm, parents who expected them to live at home until marriage (adult children are already reclaiming their childhood rooms in droves). More likely, though, the very thing that attracts us oldsters to Facebook — the lure of auld lang syne — will be its undoing. Kids, who will inevitably want to drive a stake into the heart of former lives, may simply abandon the service (remember Friendster?) and find something new: something still unformed, yet to be invented — much like themselves

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Q1, 2009

Is it really April?

Some turbulent, choppy seas have been sailed this first quarter (hyperbole for dramatic effect) both on the professional and personal front but in my best Gloria Gaynor impression, I will survive.

I do hope that Q2 will be chirpier, lighter and simpler. But I suppose the lightness or heaviness is mine to decide and choose.

Also, this Q2, I am going to ROOAAARRRRR (this is my best Sprong impression). Don't mess with Jane Sunshine, y'all.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Dying and Other Thoughts

I am due for a scheduled surgery sometime next month. The surgeon was shocked that I had put off the surgery for as long as I did. I have a sebaceous cyst (sp? too lazy to link) growing on my head. It is fairly benign and a small incision is all that is needed to slice it off, roots and all. He was just surprised that I had let the tumscent protuberance grow as much as it did.

'Nobody can see it, it's hidden under my hair' I say, quite sheepishly.

He tsks, tsks, tsks and orders for immediate surgery.

'But....who is going to take care of Sprong?' I wail.

'If it turns septic, you will be away from your baby wayyyyy longer' he admonishes.

The upcoming surgery makes me think of mom's who are dying young. Natasha Richardson and Jade Goody, two people who I didn't particularly know or care about. But the fact that they are young moms who have died has made me sit up and think of my own.

My death is not something I have ever given much thought. Until Sprong arrived. What would happen to him -in terms of care, love, etc. I wake up one night and make M promise that he will marry again if I die. He tells me to go back to sleep. I have no will, no guardian in place.

This Newsweek article captures the whole young mom dying :

When my daughter was two weeks old, I was standing at the top of some steps and, for a minute, I held her tighter because I was truly afraid that the wind would blow her out of my arms. It sounds crazy now, but the urge to protect your child is hardwired and sometimes irrational. Indeed, for the first few years of their lives, it seems like our main occupation is to keep them from certain death. You scoop tiny chokeable bits of things out of their mouths; you grab them by the pants just before they fall off a chair, the stairs, the top of the slide; you stop them from prying old gum off the sidewalk.

And of course sometimes kids do fall, and there you are in the emergency room, freighted with guilt or panic or both. Most of the time, they are fine, and you get used to a certain level of parental worry. But there's another opposite and almost equally terrifying thought that we don't talk about as much: what if something happened to us before our kids were old enough to take care of themselves?

We're usually so preoccupied with our children's well-being that our own safety is an afterthought. But the deaths of two notable mothers over the past week, both with young children, have made those thoughts hard to avoid. Last Wednesday, actress Natasha Richardson died in New York from a brain injury after a skiing accident. She and her husband, actor Liam Neeson, had two sons—just 12 and 13 years old. Then, over the weekend, 27-year-old British reality-TV star, Jade Goody, succumbed after a long and public struggle with cervical cancer. She left behind two little boys, ages 4 and 5.

Neither woman was superstar famous, but the stories of their deaths were chilling to the mothers I know. Some of us could barely remember a movie we'd seen Richardson in, we just knew that she was gracious and well loved and just 45 years old. Her passing from something as capricious and random as a minor fall on the gentlest of ski slopes was so jarring that we couldn't stop talking about the how and the why. We hoped that an autopsy would show that something else, a pre-existing condition maybe, caused her death. But no. These things happen. It could have been any of us.

And when we learned that she waved away an initial offer of medical care after her fall, we understood. I'm sure that if one of Richardson's children had bumped his head she would gone to an emergency room immediately, and stayed for as long as it took to be absolutely sure that the boy was fine. But how many parents, if we'd taken a small tumble, would have looked at the day's plans and said, "No, I don't want to ruin everyone's vacation only to spend hours at the hospital over a minor bump. We don't have time. I'll be fine."

We find it easy to postpone our own doctor's appointments, but not the ones for the kids. We helmet them, but not ourselves. This is why airlines still have to remind parents to put their own oxygen masks on before they take care of the kids.

The passing of Britain's Goody inspired another trail of questions for parents. She was known as a kind of over-the-top "wrong side of the tracks Lady Diana," and had become famous after a controversial stint on the reality show "Big Brother." When she learned that she had an aggressive form of cervical cancer, this young woman who had not much else to offer, decided to sell the rights to televise her last days so that her two sons would be provided for.

Her decision caused an uproar in England. But it made me think twice about what I'd do for my two daughters if I knew I wasn't going to be around. So many of us haven't properly sorted out a living will, or even a regular will with provisions for guardianship should our kids be left without either parent. And as for less concrete types of preparation, I'm not sure what I'd do if I were given the terrible luxury of time to prepare my two daughters for my own passing. Goody told her sons that they could look to the sky and find her there, a star to watch over them. Hearing that, it was impossible not to think about what I'd say to my girls. It's like the unexplainable urge to put your finger right into the blue center of a candle flame. Horrible and irresistible.
But another week of work, school projects and laundry is already upon us; it won't be long before we forget Richardson and Goody. That's perhaps one blessing of having young children. The struggle to simply keep up with the everyday doesn't leave much time for fretting over hypotheticals. Still, I am going to finally make an appointment for a long overdue checkup. I'll do it for my kids. And I'll be thinking about Richardson's and Goody's children as I do it.

So yeah, I am going to go for the surgery. And keep all my medical appointments. For Sprong.

Why I do What I do (On Days That I Forget and am Miserable and think that I want to Float Away)

From the fabulous Jacqueline Novogratz

"I think there are lots of different paths and that the path isn’t always clear, but you just should start; that work will teach you; and that I can’t imagine a more joyful way of living than a life when where you are serving in the spirit as equally of adventure as you are of change"

Thoughts for interminable days.

At the end of the day, I persevere because I truly believe in my body of work. A personal and professional commitment that guides my thoughts and decisions. Even on doggone days. Yeah, lots of those lately.

Friday, March 20, 2009

First Day of Spring

Somewhere out there, it is the first day of Spring. Dandelions, peach blossoms, billowing skirts, scurrying squirrels, raspberry trifle and rhubarb tarts.

Love the Google take on Eric Carle's The Hungry Caterpillar . One of Sprong's favourite books- he loves to thread his fingers through the apples and oranges.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

1st Birthday Celebrations

Here are the pictures, albeit belated. It was a relative - only event ie uncles, aunties, cousins, second cousins, the whole lot amounted to nearly 50 in dribs and drabs.

The celebrant had the honour of being photographed by photographer extradordinaire, Unc Helmi. We so love the shots. Thank you to Mrs Helmi aka Lana and Haiqal for turning up as well.

Friday, February 20, 2009

highly recommended

After a whole year, I managed to watch a whole movie at ONE go ie no interruptions for feeds/sleep/play-with-me-now-mommy screams....and I managed to catch Slumdog Millionaire on DVD. Can't recommend it enough. How did a British director get into the psyche of the sprawling Mumbai slums. Dharavi pulsates.

Now, I need to go get Vikas Swarup's book Q&A from which the movie was based to see how it was translated into film.

Highly recommended. Frieda Pinto is a vision.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mommy Tag Via FB

Tagged by Ms Blabs via Face Book and doing it here.



I was so, so shocked that I went cold for a while- I went to sleep clutching my heart that night, waiting to do the home pregnancy test again, just to be sure. I was too afraid to be happy



Home pregnancy test kit.


Murali – we were driving back home and I told him we needed to get a kit. My period was late- and I thought maybe? SO, I went home, peed on a stick and told him – ‘there’s a blue line’.
He: ‘Does it mean that we are….?’
Me: ‘I don’t know- maybe’. And burrow my head on his shoulder.

Of course.

January 30, 2008.

I had all day sickness for about 4 months- morning, evening and night. It was horrible.

Nothing much actually. During the first trimester, I couldn’t eat anything spicy or strong, Pretty much survived on yogurt, rice and lightly cooked veg - the blandest of food.

The fact that I couldn’t (wouldn’t take coffee), that I was chucking up all the time in the first trimester. That I was tired all the time. That we had to move twice during the pregnancy, one intercontinental and one in Malaysia.


For some strange reason, I was very sure that it was boy way before we scanned.

I put on 15kgs. Some of it seems to have stuck around still. Sigh.

We did have a picnic of sorts at Russell Square which was farewell cum baby shower.

Yeah, I knew about it.

I think resembling a beach whale would come under this.

Pantai Medical Centre, Bangsar.

21 hours, though I did sneak out for thosai and tea half way, when I was about 3 cm dilated. Ha. I always remember this when I go to Lotus Jalan Gasing now.


Murali. My parents came along as well despite my protest- I was insistent that we were wasting time because although I had a bit of a bloody show that evening, I didn’t really feel that it was labour day. How wrong was I because in a couple of hours, I was admitted!

22. WHO WATCHED YOU GIVE BIRTH?My gynae and a whole team of nurses who did the one-two-push rara. Murali was there but I held on to the nurse as my legs had gone numb by then (no thanks to the epidural) and I needed her to tell me when to push (I was chucking up as well, so it was pretty miserable).

Assisted delivery via vacuum.

I was ready to take anything and had the epidural.

2.99 kgs.

21 January 2008

Sprong (he he). More often that not, Bubba boy or Bunny boy.

12 months 3 weeks

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Mama Gets Her Groove Back

Last year, I was a terrible friend. I didn't reply emails, forgot birthdays and never kept in touch much. Just because I had a baby.

Yes, I became one of those women, who was always dishelleved, always late, always never kept an appointment, cancelled the book club invite, didn't go for her high school reunion, was more interested in her baby's burping habits than talking about poverty/death/war.

My insularity bugged me and made me want to scream but in a way, I think it was a necessary process.

Now, I am reconnecting and want to thank my friends for being so patient with me.


Current reads:

January: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini , The Calcutta Chromosome by Amitave Ghosh

Feb: The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

One Today

My dear Sprong,

You are one today!

I am simply amazed that the wrinkly little alien baby who could hardly breathe and had to be rushed into the neonatal intensive care for the first three hours of his life has now become a smiley little chatterbox who loves people, balls, buses and cars (sometimes in that order).

I want you to know that you are one amazing dude. Everyday, my heart does many twirls and spins watching you doing your thing, going about being yourself. You are all sunshiny goodness watching the world unfurl, gleeful at the wonderful adventures awaiting you at every corner (including messing with the remote control, light switches, drawers, sliding doors...yes, we're baby proofing the house).

As you chew into the delights of the world (literally), I feel so privileged to be part of you, to introduce you to some of the miracles and magic that is in store. Some mornings, when I get a hearty 'gaa' and that floppy puppy dog face burrows clumsily into mine, I melt into many saccharine highs.

The stored memory is bursting in its seams. The first time I heard you laugh, a light gurgle floating like an airy bubble, a sweet lurch fluttered in my heart and remains lodged there, imprinted forever. Your toothy grin, framed by that shock of hair, and those twinkling eyes, sometimes brimming with obstinate tears, are fleeting images that light up many a boring afternoon office meetings.

You've given your papa and me new directions and perspectives. Our views about life and living now totally revolves around you, the centre of our universe. Our priorities have changed and we are the better for it I think. We want to give more and do more, not just for you but in our little way, to the world at large. We realize that we are thinking like this because we want the best for you. You've also made us examine our actions more, the implications of what we do and the reactions as a result.

There were hard days, days when I thought I couldn't go on and felt like an absolute failure. The colic that hit us hard, followed by gastrointestinal reflux had you spitting out every feed and cause me to be a tensed, mechanical mom. Then the eczema that sprouted all over, angry, suppurating spots that had me sitting at various paediatricians office, unsure of all that steroids that they were prescribing to my wee baby. Looking back at those times, I feel that they made us both stronger and more resilient.

You and me, we are made of strong, hardy stuff, aye.

Thanks to you, my faith and belief in God and the goodness in the universe has also been amplified this past year. Your blooming after that period of health problems and how everything else has fallen into place since- my job which offers some level of flexibility to be with you, grandpa and grandma who help out whenever they can and of course, at the end of the day, we both have Papa who is always there, no matter what.

Your magic is of the ethereal kind, one that wraps my heart with showers of wonder and joy. The suppleness of this magic endears you to your daily world audience consisting of your grandparents, the postman, the old newspaper man and the retired couple next door.

Did I tell you that you are a dancer? When Barney and Baby Bop come on TV to sing, you do your little jig along with them. You are a whirl of mobility now that you've found your feet. Yes, your drunken sailor walk fills me with such pride. Mobility does mean that the idea of sitting still is a bit of a bore, one that wee little babies did. So, reading, which you enjoyed so much is not on top of your agenda at the moment. For now, there is a world to be walked into.

Some nights, when you are fast asleep, your papa and I trace your form again and again, almost in disbelief that you are real. This is what angels must look like, I whisper to him. Somewhere, somehow, we must have done some good to have been blessed with you.