Thursday, December 14, 2006

Unravelling Babel

There are hundreds of languages in the world, but a smile speaks them all ~ Unknown

My dearest E.,

Wikipedia provides a succinct explanation about the story of the Tower of Babel, of ancient biblical times: "According to the narrative in Genesis, Chapter 11 of the Bible, the Tower of Babel was a tower built by a united humanity to reach the heavens. Because the hearts of men were said to be inherently evil and disobedient, they were striving to make a name for themselves instead of worshipping the God who created them. Because of this open defiance, God stopped their efforts by confusing languages so that the builders could not understand one another. As a result, they could no longer communicate and the work was halted. The builders were then scattered to different parts of Earth. This story is sometimes used to explain the existence of many different languages and races."

Hence, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that you could understand Thai. My mother has been speaking to you in Thai, and English- and I was admittedly worried at first that you would encounter a language confusion phase. However, that was not to be. I suppose I may have underestimated your ability to pick up two languages at the same time.

Mother would go off in her sing-song voice with words that sounded like gibberish to me (her regret is that she never took the time to teach me Thai, and has vowed to make it up by teaching you instead!- which is a pretty good deal, you must say...), but you'd understand them. You know how to gesture the 'wai' (the gesture the Thais make when they greet each other, with palms put together, held at about chest height)- you do this very well and on instinct, when Mother says the word "Sa-wasdee- kha..." Or if you see a robed Buddhist priest. You're clever that way. You pick up things without us realising. You know the meaning of a whole host of other Thai words, and can respond when Mother says them.

I'm glad that you're learning Thai. A knowledge of languages will serve you in good stead in future. Who knows, it may come in handy one day. When your father and I enrol you for primary school, we hope that you will pick up Mandarin then- I'm sure you would since we are planning to enrol you into a Chinese school.

You "speak" a lot these days, although your words are unintelligible. Sometimes, I try to decipher as to what goes through that cute little head of yours. What do you dream about, sweet pea? Of teddy bears, sunshine, rainbows and sweets? Of your Mom & Dad loving you to bits? What do you think about when you so-earnestly look into my eyes and go "ya ya ya ya...?" Those times, I fervently hope and wish that you are saying, "Mommy, you're my world and I love you."

Let us never confuse each other with our languages. Let us be honest and open with each other, and embrace the profound unity handed to us, which has brought us together as mother and child. One day, we will most certainly speak different languages, although we may both speak English. You will speak the language of independence, liberty and freedom; I will speak the language of sentimentality and longing, and hold you back from your freedom.

No matter, though, what language we shall both speak, let us remember our love for each other. And this love will surpass all language barriers, because it is the feeling bred within the depths of our hearts.

And you were there...

My dearest E.,

Yes, you were. The trip was postponed. Hooray. There IS a God.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

On being apart

And ever has it been known that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation ~ Khalil Gibran

My dearest E.,

My mother called me this evening, and dropped a little bomb on what seemed to be a rather pleasant day at work: a day where I was quietly busy and productive, with few people in the office- they were either out for meetings, or sick, or on leave. It's like this this time of the year. With Christmas and the New Year just around the corner, everyone gets into the jolly holiday mood, and people get lazier, though not by choice- but by imitation of those around them, perhaps.

I, however, was still somewhat bogged down with work, although, admittedly, that, too is beginning to slow down with the lull of our daily business grind. A conference organized by the Asia Business Forum this Wednesday, where I shall be presenting a topic on issues relating to the enforceability of commercial contracts, details of which are keeping me on my toes and fluttering around to prepare final notes for my speech. Another hush-hush government project, first draft due before Christmas, is also keeping me busy and panicky as the deadline looms ominously.

But ever more dreadful than work- or the thought of work: is that you will be apart from me. My parents are going to their holiday bungalow in Port Dickson for 2 nights beginning tomorrow- and have proposed that they bring you along. Either that, or I would need to beg time off from work. An impossibility at this juncture, mainly because of my conference and the looming deadline of the project: and besides, I will be on holiday break from next Thursday (21 Dec) onwards until the beginning of the new year, hooray. Your father, too- is busy and unable to take a day or two off. So we reluctantly agreed that they would take you to Port Dickson with them.

I want to breathe in every single thing about you before we are parted for the next 2 days, sweet pea. We took you out for pancakes (you've learnt to appreciate the finer things in life!); for a nice stroll at The Curve; we bought you some new cotton sleepsuits from Mothercare; we took you to Anakku and let you play the baby slides there; we laughed and played together with your Godma and Uncle Calvin- you were full of joy and laughter as always, walking just like an adult between your Mom & Dad, your keen eyes fixated on your shoes and the ground. A tiny little thing, you're certainly coming out into your own now. I was hit by a pang of bittersweet emotions when I held your hand and you insisted in walking towards the huge Christmas tree being displayed in the mall.

And wasn't it strange- it began to rain after we came home, when you were getting sleepy and fussy, making funny sounds as you leaned against me. I think the heavens must've sensed my woebegone heart, and the rain drizzled lightly down, telling me, it's ok...

I lay and watched your sleep. You are an angel. I shall miss you terribly and dearly, all at the same time. Tomorrow night, I shall be liberated from my child for a short while, but it is a liberty that I shall take with the sour pain of being apart. I know that your absence shall hit me and take my breath away yet again.

I begged you for a kiss, and you kindly obliged. At least I shall have that kiss to keep me by until your return to me on Thursday.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Daddy's birthday

Maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had, and what you've learned from them, and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated ~ Unknown

My dearest E.,

We celebrated your father's 32nd birthday over the weekend (December 9). For a treat, you were allowed to stay up an additional half hour, to play with your cousins, Maya and Leia, who were also there and having a riotous time. I had spent the entire afternoon, slaving away in front of a hot stove, cooking up food for the party we had that night: spaghetti bolognaise (with angel-hair pasta) with a thick tomato base and chunky capsicum pieces, button mushrooms and thick tomato wedges; fragrant and wickedly spicy Devil curry (an Eurasian dish which you will grow to love!) and fresh garden salad with olive oil, vinegar & chopped onion dressing. We also had delicious beef rendang, fragrant from spices and its thick gravy, made by Mommy's friend from work, wrapped into a burrito with cheese tortilla wraps. Delicious! Your Aunt Christine (Maya's and Leia's Mommy) made some fresh mushrooms & celery cream sauce for the pasta, and your Godpa, Charlie and Aunt Shen, brought good ol' fried chicken from KFC. It was a wonderful feast- with family and good friends.

You'll forgive me for not taking any pictures. Our digital camera had the nerve to fail on us that day. But that's ok. Reliable and snapshot-crazy Aunt Shen (hehe!!) took heaps of pictures, and I'll be able to get some of them off her for your viewing pleasure.

I think you were excited at the prospect of a party at home. I must apologize to you first, for not being able to spend the entire afternoon at your side- your father had to take care of you throughout, as I was busy preparing food for the party. But I still, of course, whipped up your food for lunch and dinner, and was thankful to see that you ate well. We had been worried about your eating habit of late: you were more fussy and restless when it came to meal-times, and you would rarely finish your bowl of food- very uncharacteristic of you. You also refused to have your milk on a number of occasions. I was able to deduce that you were teething, as I took the liberty of examining your little gums one day while I was cleaning your teeth and tongue. I saw, and felt, the little bumpy ridges on the surface of your gums. Hehe. That was cute. To think of the little pearly whites beneath those gums, eagerly waiting to push themselves out and be seen, and eager to wreak havoc on food and drink alike!

But anyway, I digress. The party...

Fun, fun, fun...Good food (if I may say so myself) and even better company. Our guest list included:-
Your Grandpa Joe & Aunt Joanne; Uncle James & Aunt Christine, plus your cousins, Maya and Leia; Uncle Jerry & Aunt Sofea; your Godpa Charlie & Aunt Shen; Aunt June; Godma Bugs (Godma Jean); Uncle Gary; Uncle Calvin; Uncle Cheng Yan & Aunt Felicia (my cousins). Some of our other friends did pop by for a short spell of time, but were unable to stay on for various reasons.

I had dressed you in your new Poney dress, the cute on with purple flowers. You looked sweet and pretty, as usual- but there was nothing sweet nor pretty about the riot you caused with Maya & Leia. I was ready to faint at the thought of chasing after you, you little tyke: but thank goodness, there were more than enough people who fancied playing with you and keeping you entertained, which enabled me and your father to entertain our guests too! Needless to say, your cousins and you morphed our living room into a frightful mess- but that was to be expected, with 3 little tornadoes flying around, screaming and laughing. I had no idea girls could be this riotous. But I enjoyed every single moment of it, sweetums. I really did.

I took you upstairs for bed and warm milk about 11 p.m. Aunt Christine had brought some pretty clothes for you, and you were wearing Freego pajamas, so cute. You were tired, clearly, but not tired enough to scuttle over to my prone, tired body on the bed, and you lay your head on my tummy, sighing loudly as I smiled and ran my fingers through your thick hair. As the moonlight quietly crept into our room, you began to close your eyes, and fall asleep- and pretty soon, I heard your quiet breathing beside me; kissed you lightly on your forehead and put you into your crib, where you tossed and turned a little, then fell into a deep slumber.

I think you were oblivious to the party going on downstairs- and that was good. Maya & Leia continued to cause a riot without you; our friends and family continued drinking, watching football (Liverpool thrashed Fulham 4-0 that night) and the party continued into the wee hours of the morning. I crept in to bed at 4 a.m. after a hot shower and settled in with the warm comforter pulled up to my neck- your father was still drinking and chatting downstairs in our garden.

I was so tired out that I must've fallen asleep not long after my head touched the pillow.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

A difficult time

As a mother, my job is to take care of what is possible and trust God with the impossible ~ Ruth Bell Graham

My dearest E.,

My joy after having played with you extensively last night was short-lived when it was time to take you up to bed. You were rather docile at first, allowing me to take you upstairs. You twirled a strand of my hair around your little fingers as I walked up, carrying you against my left hip and clutching a big bottle of milk and another smaller one of warm water in my right hand. When we walked into our bedroom, your mouth formed into a perfect little 'O' and you said, "Whoo...." You always say that when we go up to bed. Sometimes, it's a happy whoo...sometimes, it's not, when you're still full of energy and want to play, but have been hindered by your mother, who insists that you must go to bed by 10 p.m.

You settled on my bed and through sheer laziness, refused to hold your own bottle. I lay beside you, brushing the tiny baby hairs off your forehead as you fed. You drank 4 ozs of milk, a big disappointment to me because your grandfather told me you refused to have any milk throughout the day. You ranted and raved angrily when I tried to give you more, and with one quick, sweeping motion of your hand, you knocked the bottle off my hand and a slow steady stream of milk trickled onto the bedsheets.

What a mess that was. And what a nightmare just beginning.

I could do nothing right. You howled, cried, threw tantrums, screamed. I could not lay you down onto our bed even before you would start crying. You wriggled, twisted, flailed your arms, kicked out at me everytime I picked you up and held you against me to soothe you. When you finally allowed me to lie you down in my arms beside me, I patted your little bum, all the while shushing-shushing you into quietness. Mommy's here. Mommy loves you. There's nothing to be afraid of. Tell me what's wrong, pumpkin. Mommy's here.

You continued crying. Sat up in bed and wrung your hands. Pulled at your hair and ears angrily. Tossed your pacifier away. Refused to let me hold you. Screamed until your face scrunched up and turned red.

I maintained my semblance of calm and dignity, all the while ignoring your tantrums. Left you in your crib. You screamed murder and I had to pick you up again in 2 minutes: it damned near broke my heart to hear you suffering that way. Wriggled yourself out of my arms, sat on the bed. I lay back on my pillow, tired, exhausted, at a loss about what next to do. Closed my eyes... and felt your hand stroking my cheek, your head pressed against my neck. You sobbed quietly, still stroking my face, rubbed your nose against mine. I thought you had reached a state of calmness then as my heart melted, and I kissed you tenderly.

The calm didn't last for too long.... You acted up soon again. My head was pounding, not only because I was tired, but because I was distressed. Checked your temperature: no fever. Checked your tummy for wind: nada, but I gave you a tummy rub anyway and tried to feed you some gripe water, which you refused. Took you downstairs finally, and let you play with your toys for 5 minutes. Brought you back up. More screaming and tantrums. You finally fell asleep from the sheer tiredness.

You woke up again at 2.00 a.m. and the same thing happened. The crying, the screaming. Your father and I argued. I felt sorry for you, because I didn't know what was wrong. I felt helpless. When you were finally settling down about 3.30 a.m., you pressed your body against me, sobbing quietly, clinging to my t-shirt. I stroked the top of your head, tears running down my face.

I'm so sorry, sweet pea. I'm so sorry I couldn't do more for you. My heart bled buckets last night just hearing you cry. All I can offer is my love and comfort- I could not find anything else to do for you, short of taking you to the hospital to see what was wrong.

I sighed in relief when you finally fell asleep and I quietly put you into your crib. My thoughts wandered aimless then as I lay in bed, watching the light from the street lamp outside cast shadows on the curtains. Your father breathed noisily, but you were quiet, sleeping peacefully at last.

With one final surge of mixed emotions, I began to cry again. I don't know why, sweet pea. I cried more when I stepped near your crib to look at you. By 5.00 a.m., I was still awake although tired. I blew you a kiss. I love you.

Heck it. I went in to the office at 5.30 a.m. I haven't slept a wink. I suspect today is going to be rather awful for me.

Shoes, shoes, shoes

One, two, buckle my shoe.... ~ traditional nursery rhyme

My dearest E.,

Methinks you have developed a thing for shoes, just like your mother. Last night, I proudly took out the two new pairs of shoes I had bought for you. You have rather long feet for an almost-14 month old. You wear a size 4, which is the average size for a 2-year old baby... You must get the long feet from your father.

Your current favourite pair is a cute, red pair of Mary-Janes, with little silk rosebuds. I bought it for you just a week before your birthday, and you've already outgrown then. What a pity. Notwithstanding, you still love it. You like to pick them up and wave them around. Sometimes, I have to restrain you from trying to put the garter strap into your mouth!

Last night, though, I laid out all your shoes for you in the living room, including your new ones. You stared at them, fascinated. And I laughed when you stuck your legs straight out in front of you and tried to force your little feet into them. I helped you into a pair, and you kept looking down at the velcro fasteners. When I had finally put them on, I helped you to your feet and you grinned at me, showing me your 4 very cute little teeth. And you stomped your feet on the spot, all the while chuckling, as if someone were tickling you- you were so happy! Left, right, left, right.

You bounced a little and jumped on the spot too- all the while very careful to keep a firm grip on my hands. How adorable that was! It was as if you were testing the tensile strength of the shoes, scrutinizing every little stitch, contemplating the comfort on your feet. And then- you insisted on walking: from the living room to the kitchen, to the study room, to the wash area, and back through the kitchen to the living room again.... And you smiled a huge smile of approval at me, as if to say, "Yes, these will do....!" And continued to play with your shoes.

What a marvellous show you put on for your Mommy! I am so proud of you, my beautiful baby girl... By the way, you sure do have quite a number of pairs of shoes for a baby...

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Words of wisdom

My dearest E.,

I came across these wise words on the Internet (unfortunately, I do not know the author, or I'd give tribute to him/her for such prolific and thoughtful thinking) and I want to share them with you:-

Watch your thoughts, for they become words.

Watch your words, for they become actions.

Watch your actions, for they become habits.

Watch your habits, for they become character.

Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.

Thinking about you

What we think, we become ~ Buddha

My dearest E.,

I just thought of you. I have been sitting at my work desk, dreaming the past half hour away, waiting to come home and see you. Because I miss you, and can't wait to fold you into my arms and escape into nothingness. You and me together.

I just wanted to let you know this.

Butterfly kisses

Always kiss your children goodnight, even if they're already asleep. ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

My dearest E.,

I kiss you each and every night before you go to bed. I kiss you early in the morning when you wake up and smile at me. I kiss you when I drop you off at your grandparents' house for the day. I kiss you when you squeal in happiness to see at the end of a long, tired day. I kiss you when you lie beside me and play with my hair. I want to kiss you all the time, hold you close to me and forever be entangled in your sweetness. And when you kiss me back, soft and wet on my cheek, my heart is suffused with immeasurable joy and happiness.

Think of my kisses as little hopes and wishes to guide you through your day. Take each kiss of mine and bury them deep within your heart. Blow those kisses on those around you to make their day a little more cheery, happier or sunny. Spread those kisses as you spread your love to others around you.

Here are the words to a beautiful song that your father and I both love. It's called "Butterfly Kisses" by Bob Carlisle. Isn't this apt? You make us feel the way Bob's little girl does to him.

Butterfly kisses
There's two things I know for sure:
She was sent here from Heaven and she's Daddy's little girl
As I drop to my knees by her bed at night
She talks to Jesus and I close my eyes and
I thank God for all the joy in my life
Oh, but most of all
For butterfly kisses after bedtime prayer
Sticking little white flowers all up in her hair
"Walk beside the pony, Daddy. It's my first ride".
"I know the cake looks funny, Daddy, but I sure tried".
In all that I've done wrong, I must've done something right
To deserve a hug every morning
And butterfly kisses at night.
Sweet sixteen today
She's looking like her Mama a little more everyday
One part woman, the other part girl
To perfume and make-up from ribbons and curls
Trying her wings out in a great big world
But I remember
Butterfly kisses after bedtime prayer
Sticking little white flowers all up in her hair
"You know how much I love you, Daddy, but if you don't mind,
I'm only gonna kiss you on the cheek this time".
With all that I've done wrong, I must've done something right
To deserve her love every morning
And butterfly kisses at night.
All the precious time
Like the wind, the years go by
Precious butterfly
Spread your wings and fly.
She'll change her name today
She'll make a promise and I'll give her away
Standing in the bride-room, just staring at her
She asked me what I'm thinking, and I said
"I'm not sure- I just feel like I'm losing my baby girl".
She leaned over, gave me butterfly kisses with her Mama there
Sticking little flowers all up in her hair
"Walk me down the aisle, Daddy- it's just about time".
"Does my wedding gown look pretty, Daddy? Daddy, don't cry!"
Oh, with all that I've done wrong, I must've done something right
To deserve our love every morning and butterfly kisses
I couldn't ask God for more, man, this is what love is.
I know I gotta let her go, but I'll always remember
Every hug in the morning and butterfly kisses.

Baby steps

One small step can change your life ~ Robert Maurer, from "The Kaizen Way"

My dearest E.,

You took your first few baby steps yesterday. You were unafraid, unabashed, confident and grinning from ear to ear. Of course, you could already walk before- but you always preferred to cling on to my hand, or a piece of household furniture. Sometimes, you would only stand in your crib or on some soft surface where the risk of injuring yourself due to a fall would be minimized (you're so careful and smart that way!). Over the weekend, you enjoyed putting on your new Bubble Gummers shoes and taking them off, and begging me in your cooing way, to hold your hands so that you could walk around the house and try those new shoes out. They made squeaky noises as you walked, and you laughed with each step you took. You walk pretty damn fast for a baby, and I had to move quite quickly to keep up with you, too!

But yesterday, you made me and your father squeal loudly in delight. And begging for more! You stood on your own, holding a toy in one hand, examining your books on your little book shelf with your other hand. As I came down the stairs with a fresh change of clothes for you, you squealed loudly and started jumping on the spot- and most amazingly, you began to walk towards me. 7 solid baby steps. Your father and I leapt with glee and you continued to grin and laugh.

There is something about you, my sweet pea. When you set your mind to something, you get it done. I'm glad that you've learned to develop this very positive attitude. In life, we must always first take baby steps to achieve a larger goal. Life is a constant process of changing and learning-and with all that we do and seek to achieve in our lives, we take small baby steps, that will later shape us to take bigger steps towards achieving that particular goal.

As I watched you walking towards me, your arms outstretched, I see your future spread out before you. And the sun shining down on you-it's oh-so-bright and merry. Highly confident and sure of yourself, you took those baby steps to reach me. They are small now, but they will grow bigger, just like you, too...and soon you will be able to walk about quickly, run like the wind on your chubby legs...

It's funny, sweet pea. I've wanted to see you walk on your own for such a long time, and when I finally saw you walking yesterday, suddenly, I became selfish and wished otherwise. Your baby steps served to show me that you were growing into a young girl, determined and thoughtful: that you'd finally decided to walk for us, because you were finally sure about yourself. One day, you will walk away from your parents, walk down that aisle to be married to someone, to lead your own life and to have a little baby who will bring you as much joy as you have brought us.

I both look forward to and dread that day- but I also know that I cannot hinder your steps in life. That you must be allowed to grow to your full potential.

And I will always be here for you, holding your hand throughout, my heart open, my love for you on my sleeve, ready to pull you up if you ever fall down.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Missing You

Love is missing someone whenever you're apart, but somehow feeling warm inside because you're close in heart ~ Kay Knudsen

My dearest E.,

I've been extremely bogged down with work of late. It's the year-end frenzy, when companies want to close their accounts for their financial year, where deals are sought to be sealed, when people want to take a breather from the rigidities of daily working life and spend time with family and close friends during Christmas season. I have been working late every night, and don't get to spend as much time with you as I'd like to.

On Wednesday night, I was still at the office at 9.45 p.m., with no end in sight of the work I needed to finish by Thursday morning. I called my mother for a breather and she kindly offered to have you spend the night with them. We spoke on the phone a short while then, you and I, E. It was fun, and hearing your lilting voice cheered me up tremendously. You made little cooing sounds, as usual, and went on a frenzy of "words", "speaking" so much to your Mummy on the phone that my heart melted. I was, at least, comforted in knowing that your grandparents would take super good care of you. They are, after all, the only few people in this world I'd trust completely to take care of you.

By 11.30 p.m., I'd given up trying to complete all my work by the morning. Tired, hungry and exhausted, I wanted to just have a piping hot meal, a warm shower and my comfortable bed. And there was a terrible aching feeling inside me, that I wasn't able to place initially. I thought I was just tired out. Then the realisation hit me that I missed you. Tremendously.

Somehow, silence and emptiness greeted me when I came home. I mournfully surveyed your little blow-up swimming pool in the living room, your toy baskets in the corner, your jumbo Barney plush toy sitting by the piano. Images of you playing in the living room flashed before me. I heard your happy laugh ringing in my ears. I felt your warm arms close lovingly around my neck, your soft hair poking up my nostrils as you lay your head on my chest (You have such thick, lovely hair, sweet pea). I suddenly wanted to cry. The aching in my heart grew worse as I trudged upstairs slowly, dragging my feet.

I put my things down and meticulously removed my office clothes, changing into my towel to take a shower. Stood by your crib and looked into it for a long while, picturing you lying there with your chubby legs hugging your bolster, your repose peaceful and quiet, as you suckled on your Winnie the Pooh pacifier and twirled the corners of your blanket. I smoothed my hand over your silk quilt and "My Little Princess" comforter, folded your soft fleece blanket, fluffed your pillow and chased away the mosquitoes (if there were, indeed, any), doing as I do every night before you go to bed. I picked up your bolster and held it close to me, breathing in your sweet baby-scent. It was as if you were there with me, your lingering scent filling my nostrils.

I showered and allowed the water to run down my head, my face in warm rivulets. Standing there in the shower, I realised that I was crying. My heart ached ever more.

I went to bed rather depressed, but was comforted by your father's presence. I confessed to him how much I missed you, and he said that he did as well. We both snuggled close together, whispering in soft tones about your loveliness in general, and reminisced about how much youve changed our lives for the better.

I don't think I could stand to have you being away from us again- even for a night, sweet pea. My heart pains too much to have to do that and not have you beside me. That room in my heart which you fill with your wonderful presence was left empty for those long, 18 hours. I don't think anyone else would be capable of filling that void you left that night.

When we finally saw you the next evening, your smile of happiness at seeing us, coupled with your rush into my arms, made my world complete. Once more, the flowers started blooming again.... And the sun began to shine onto my dark world again.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


There's something like a line of gold thread running through a man's words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself. ~ John Gregory Brown, "Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery"

My dearest E.,

I'm going to tell you about your father, because he'd probably be too modest or too shy to tell you. He's simply one of the most delightful and lovable people you'll ever meet in your lifetime, and I kid you not- when you grow up someday, you will forge a very special bond with your father, exclusive to the both of you, and I will look on with pride from outside the circle, with understanding and love. And I speak from experience, because your grandfather (my father) and I have this special bond, too: and indeed, it is so very special that it transcends all emotions of humanity, all things in this world. It's a love that's so big your universe fills up with it and it never goes away. I'd like to think that you and I will form our own special mother-daughter bond- but that's another story. Today I want to tell you about your father.

Your father grew up in a broken home. His parents divorced when he was very young, and his mother, through some crazed, demented phase she was going through, literally left him and his two brothers, your Uncles James and Jerry, at an aunt's home, and simply vanished. She remains unfound today, although she did make contact a few times throughout the course of the past decade and a half. For many years, your father and his brothers endured hardships but never complained. They were taken care of by kind family members (your paternal grandfather had his share of problems and was unable to raise them himself), but with each year, they shuttled back and forth through their various relatives' homes, finding no stable sense of security, no place to call home, no mother's or father's love to guide their way. They made few friends, and because of the constant need to move about their various relatives' dwellings, their friendships rarely withstood the test of time. All they had were each other, and till today, little E., you will see how much they value, love and care for each other. The brotherhood was all they had then. And notwithstanding the hardship and sometimes, poverty, they've all become wonderful, wonderful men: loving people with financial and career stability, good-hearted soldiers of God, good fathers and husbands. (Your Uncle Jerry is unmarried to date). I referred more to Uncle James and your father.

Your father is a truly unique person. I don't know if there ever existed such thing as love at first sight. But when I met him for the first time years ago, I already fell in love with him. He was so kind, funny and gentle. He made me laugh all the time. He was frank and uninhibited. And he was as handsome as a picture!-and still is, of course. We became friends first, your father and I, and grew fond of each other as time passed on. And of course, eventually, he also fell in love with me, and we got married. And look where we are now!- we have you, my dearest.

You know, E., I am still so in love with your father. Even till this very day, he doesn't fail to make me laugh, brighten up a gloomy day and ignite our love for each other. He still makes my heart beat faster and makes me feel all the feelings a woman does when she is in love (You will, in time, come to know what I mean...).

And when we discovered that I carried you, our precious fruit, in the belly of my womb, your father began caring for you with a love so intense, it was beautiful. He would gently rub my belly every night, massage my aching swollen feet lovingly and speak to you about all sorts of things, while playing your favourite Mozart CD. He treated both you and I like queens, little E.! He is a wonderful husband and a wonderful father.

Sometimes, when you may feel irritated at him, or when you feel that he doesn't want to let you go and spread your wings, and discover things in life for yourself, have a heart and think of how much he loves you. Think and picture in your mind all the wonderful things he has done for you. Your father and I, till this very day, sometimes cry, hugging each other close as we stand by your crib and watch you sleeping: because you have filled our lives with so much joy and love, it's painful. Sometimes, we watch the video taken of you when you were born, and we shed tears again.

Your father is a special person, sweet pea. Even though you may not hear his voice speaking to you the way I do through this blog, (he's not the writing type, your dad), you will somehow always hear his voice resonating at the back of your mind, loving yet cautious, wanting to set free the little butterfly that is you, but at the same time, wishing you would remain in your cocoon and depend on us for love, food, comfort, warmth and security.

I suppose I wanted to tell you that all these things I am saying to you, all these lessons I have learnt in life and am trying to impart to you, these are things your father would've said too. A father is really a little girl's best friend, a teenager's hero, a young lady's idol and a woman's ideal of her perfect husband. You will know what I mean someday.

Because my father is a hero, too... Just like your father.


If you can't sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It's the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep. ~Dale Carnegie

My dearest E.,

Dale Carnegie's quote is so apt. Being deprived of sleep is bad enough. Your body and mind are tired, but for whatever reasons, you are kept awake and you need to attend to more important things than sleep. It was like that for me the first few months after you arrived- but I wouldn't change it for the world, sweet pea! Waking up in the middle of the night to nurse/change/feed you was the most amazing experience for me. Also fueled by the realization that you needed (and still need) me, my one desire during those moments was to provide for you and comfort you in your most vulnerable state. Now you sleep quite well almost throughout the night after your last feed, and although I welcome the resting hours I am given now, I do miss those times we spent together at night (or in the wee hours of the morning).

Sunday night/Monday morning found me unable to go to sleep. You fell asleep not long after your last night feed, and your father was watching football downstairs. I paced through "The Street Lawyer" by John Grisham, a book I had read at least 20 times and clearly showed it: with dog-eared, yellowed pages and higgledy binding. My body was yearning for rest, sweet pea. We had had a long day, especially playing with you, and I was exhausted. But my mind wandered, like an animal set free into the wilderness and long after I had finished reading my book, I was still lying in bed, comforter pulled up to my chest, staring at the ceiling. Your father came upstairs and fell asleep almost immediately upon his head touching the pillow. Still, sleep eluded me.

You moved in your sleep, shifting for a more comfortable position perhaps. Sometimes, you let out a tiny whimper. Or your little foot would find its way between the crib slats. I woke up each time to look at you, using the illuminant from my mobile phone as light. For a long while, I sat in front of your crib, resting my chin against the bed slats, just watching you. Your chest quietly heaving up and down, your tiny fingers gripping the corner of your blanket, your toes wiggling every now and then. Peaceful and quiet. You sleep the slumber of an angel. I counted my blessings again, and thanked the Lord that you were mine.

You know, E., when you can't sleep, you think. And I thought a lot that night. Of my work in the office. Of your grandparents. Of your father. Of you, most of all. As I sat there beside your crib, for over an hour, thoughts just kept washing over me, most of them memories of your early days. These thoughts were so vivid and crystal-clear and happy, that I found a tear rolling down my cheek. It was very dream-like. And like in dreams, that tear appeared to glisten as it quietly plopped on my hand- and the illumination of that tear opened up ever more doors to memories.

I finally blew you a kiss and went downstairs, unlocking our main door and ventured outside. I sat out there in our small, tiled "garden" for a long while, contemplating the silence of the night, occasionally shattered by the cry of a neighbourhood cat, or the distance rumbling of a car engine. The night was beautiful and quiet, the sky was high, dark and perfectly clear, completely cloudless, dotted with more stars than I could count. One star blinked constantly, and I took that to be some sort of satellite. Three stars, however, formed a perfect line. I wondered if that was supposed to mean something. I kept looking up, counting the bright stars, wondering what the world beyond ours was like.

Perhaps Heaven. I don't know. But that night, I fancied all the people I had loved and lost watching down on me. Most of all, I fancied my grandmother (my father's mother- she passed away the year your father and I got married) looking down on me. I could almost feel the light touch of her old frail hand on my head, the warm dry skin of her cheek pressed against mine, and I would breathe in the sweet pleasant smell of her scented powder. And I wished fervently that she could have stayed in our world a little longer, if only to see you. She would be so proud of you, my little one. She would've loved you as much as I do.

The sky was so lovely and endless, my little E. That wide expanse across our world. Who knows what lay beyond? I felt comforted, thinking about my grandmother that night. And someday, little E., when you're grown and sitting out in the garden watching the sky one lonely night and when I have been called into the world of spirits, always remember that I love you, and that I am only a heartbeat away. As long as the stars shine down from the heavens, I shall watch and guard over you, like the skies watch and guard over our world.

Friday, November 24, 2006


It's not what you do once in a while, it's what you do day in and day out that makes the difference ~ Jenny Craig

My dearest E.,

You're going to be a junior model! OK, I'm only saying this because your father and I are naturally excited that a talent agency called. And they had informed me that their client, a drink manufacturing company, had shortlisted you- YOU- as a talent in a forthcoming TV commercial. Now, that is really some news.

When your father and I took you to 2 talent agencies some time ago to cast your portfolio, we never really thought of anything. Of course, we did it because as your parents, you are the cutest and most beautiful baby to us. And every parent will naturally feel that about their own child. To us parents, our children can do ANYTHING. That you kids are the greatest ever, the cutest ever, the smartest ever, etc etc etc. We love you so much that we have that much faith in your abilities, notwithstanding your tender age. We were also prompted by our friends, who all ooh-ed and aah-ed over your good looks, and your sunny disposition, and everyone claimed that you'd be fantastic as a model. Who cares if you're only a baby? That's how you start out.

Having said that, this is not to be taken as my acquiescence that you should pursue modelling as a career. There is nothing wrong with modelling, really. It is a good, decent job, pays very well, gets you famous, etc- but that's only the glitz and glamour. The behind-the-scenes portrayal by some models we know: that's the ugly truth. Just like very other job, modelling has its pitfalls: long hours, hard work, and the constant need to maintain one's looks and figure- and it is sad that models are, by comparison to other professions, deemed 'loose', 'easy', bratty, prima-donna, diva-like, stupid, daft, etc. Simply put: shallow and superficial. Sometimes, this may not be altogether true- but the industry has crafted that sort of reputation for itself, a reputation that I, as your mother, is wary of you getting involved in.

All that aside, you must remember that your studies, education and the firm grounding for a good career must come first and foremost. You may choose whatever profession you wish- but you MUST study smart, and obtain a sound education. Without education, you have nothing to fall back on. Good looks will fade one day and there is only so much charm that can take you places. You must learn that, with education, you are at least assured of a means of making your living. That translates into work. A good education can take you further than good looks or charm alone. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a good education- and you know that your father and I are firmly committed to providing you with the best education necessary to ensure your future.

Anyway, I took some time off from the office this afternoon, as did your father, to take you to the casting agency, Cheese, once again, to have your portfolio updated. You charmed the lady there, right off to her toes! You were at times playful and coy, boisterous and joyful, mournful and irritated- and as she continued snapping photographs and shooting a video of you at play, I stood by the sidelines and happily watched you. My daughter. Something like a huge balloon swelled up in my chest, that was how proud I was, and for a moment, I had to catch my breath and force myself not to choke when I look at you. You are so beautiful in every way, little E. Your happy lovable disposition serves you in good stead, and I am sure it shall continue to do so every step of your life.

You have the great makings of a model. But I'd think that, because you are my daughter, my precious jewel. You have the great makings of anything you set out to be, simply because you are my daughter and I believe in you.

How I love you, my sweet, sweet E.! And it doesn't matter if you do not get cast for the TV commercial... The money will be a plus, certainly and a bonus to be added on to your education and well-being fund- but it really doesn't matter. At the end of the day, your father and I are just happy with you, being you.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Dancing with abandon

Kids: they dance before they learn there is anything that isn't music. ~William Stafford

My dearest E.,

You love to dance! Did you know that? You begin to dance when you hear the sounds of anything that remotely resemble music, even my whistling, or tongue-clicking sounds. But most of all, you begin to dance most animatedly when you hear your favourite songs from PHDC cartoon channel... Or your much-loved Mozart CD in the car. Or, for some reason, "Jingle Bells" drives you wild and if you were capable of moving onto a dance floor in a club, you would do so in a flash!

You have created a funny, little dance movement which you employ most times- a wiggling of your little butt, a sway from side to side which increases in velocity with the rhythm of the music, a head movement not unlike Stevie Wonder or Ray Charles (you must have "soul" to do this!). Sometimes, you also oblige by shaking your shoulders. I love to watch you dance.

You dance with abandon, happiness and free spirits, and it makes me wonder when the last time was that I had danced the way you did. It certainly has been quite some time. But you will excuse me, sweet pea. And as you grow older, with the weight of responsibilities on your shoulders, dancing with abandon may not come as easily as it used to. However, this is not to say that I will never do so anymore. I have learnt, once again, to dance in my heart because you have re-ignited that passion in me when I look at you.

Your grandmother (my mother) told me that when I was a child, about the same age as you, my passion for dancing blossomed and continued into my teens. I was always inclined to put on Tchaikovsky's Blue Danube and start dancing in the hall (My parents live in a reasonably big house, with a big spacious hall, perfect for dancing!) Sometimes, I would knock over things, accidentally stub my toe on the foot of the coffee table, crash into the TV cabinet- such wildly did I use to dance. Over time, my passion for dancing softened (and was not helped by ballet classes too- it was meant to teach me some grace and poise, but that didn't exactly take off, as your mother still remains somewhat klutzy to date) and as my seriousness grew, the dancing faded. The only dancing I ever did after that was in clubs! And that kind of dancing is no rocket science.

You came along, though...and I learnt to dance again. Mostly, I learnt how to dance in my heart, and to live life like a process of dance, with many chapters and phases- sometimes a sarabande, sometimes a gavotte, sometimes a waltz. Of late, I have been learning how to dance your dance style, it looks somewhat comical, because I am an adult, and you are a baby, and everything a baby does is too adorable, cute and sweet for words- whereas as adults, we bear the brunt of ridicule and mockery.

But in my heart, sweet pea, I hope you will never forget how to dance (and by dance, I don't just mean a physical dance with fancy wavering arms and shifty feet and all: I mean, dance within your thoughts, weaving them through your mind and consciousness) when you grow older, and that you will always look at it as your personal means of escapism, or catharsis, if you wish, to allow you those few moments of abandon and freedom.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Because you love me

It was the tiniest thing I ever decided to put my whole life into. ~Terri Guillemets

My dearest E.,

I awoke this morning, not to the harsh, annoying beep-beep-beep of my alarm clock, but to the soft gentle caresses I felt on my face. They were so light and feathery at first, I thought they were mosquitoes out for an early feed, but upon opening my eyes, still tired with sleep, I saw you, sitting up on our bed beside my head, your chubby hand stroking my cheek. What joy! What delight!

You smiled at me, that beautiful happy smile, with such a look of tender, comforting love, that I folded you into my arms and began to kiss you incessantly. You laughed and giggled, and we both played about a little, with your father snoring quietly by our side. Only the day before, had we taught you to show your affection, by stroking our cheeks. And you learnt to do it so quickly simply because you were filled with love and that if you did not show to us your love, it would over-spill and you wouldn't be able to fill your Cup of Love with new love.

I asked you for a little kiss- and you obliged... leaning tentatively towards me with your cheeky grin, and you planted a wet, open-mouthed kiss on my cheek. I love that, my sweet pea. I love your little kisses, I don't care if you drool over me as long as I get a kiss.

Because you love me, and have shown me your love and affection, I am a more complete person. With every day, you blossom like a lovely flower, and each new act of blossoming fills me with immense pride.


Giggle laugh giggle

When babies look beyond you and giggle, maybe they're seeing angels ~ Quoted in The Angels' Little Instruction Book by Eileen Elias Freeman, 1994

My dearest E.,

I don't think I've heard you laugh and giggle as much as you did over the weekend. You presented such a huge treat for me and your father. I'm not so certain as to what amused you, but it must've been tremendous to create the proportions of laughter and giggles that you displayed oh-so-generously. Methinks it could've been Daddy playing catch with you on all fours; or watching your favourite cartoon programmes on TV, Pocoyo or Elmo's World; or because you had so much fun splashing about in the little blow-up swimming pool in our garden (you wore your new orange halter-top bikini and looked simply adorable); or just because of the sheer fun of hanging out with your parents for the whole weekend uninterrupted. Or maybe you were playing with the angels?

Giggle, laugh, giggle. Your sounds were such music to my ears, and I kept telling your father, "Look at E.! Look at E.!" amid spatterings of "Oh, my God, she's super cute!" Yes, clearly, we adore you like crazy. You have also developed a new "move": recently I noticed that whenever you were extraordinarily excited or happy, you would jump up and down and wave your hands, just like a dancer. Your legs are so chubby and adorable, I love to watch you moving about on those little gams. I especially love to have you in your diapers and a t-shirt or cotton top only, (the weather has been quite irate of late, too: toasty oven-hot now, then cold and peltering with rain next) because I love to watch you using your legs to your advantage, and to perfection.

You have been "speaking" or verbalizing a lot more, too. And it's extremely pleasant to hear you trying to imitate words. When confused, you say "Whoo...". I laugh so hard. Your father and I have made a mental note to stop using profanity and/or bad language around you. Still, you are amazing, and have picked up a few words already. Or maybe I imagine that you have because I want to hear you speak terribly. I fancied that I heard you say "Hi". You have also learnt to say "Da-da" which makes your father terribly happy, of course. Your vocabulary isn't particularly extensive at this moment, but that's fine by us, you know that.

When you laugh or giggle a lot, I do fancy that you're laughing or giggling with an unseen "object", which I'd like to think, are angels. Or friendly beings who love to play with a cute little baby like yourself. Who wouldn't, human or otherwise? You are just too adorable for words. Sometimes, you have such a hard time falling asleep at night: you won't stop laughing, giggling or playing around- no matter how tired you are! At these times, I would usually say a quiet prayer and beg for whoever your play-mates are, to allow you to go to bed, and resume playtime the next day. Inevitably, by some strange coincidence, this usually works!

Some people may approach this with a large amount of skepticism, some others may scorn and some may believe: but there are things beyond our world which cannot be explained. Like angels. Or roaming spirits. Or malevolent beings.

I believe in the spirit-world. And as you grow older, perhaps you may believe in this too, or maybe not. Your father certainly does too.

But all that aside, we both believe in one thing: that you are an angel sent from Heaven, and that you're always happy and bubbly because you have your little angel-friends to play with you all day too. They miss you too much to completely let you go when God sent you to us, but as you grow older, you will find them playing with you less, perhaps, because they'll be forced to do so, and allow you to discover our world for yourself and spread your own angel-wings to fly.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Moon River

Moon River, wider than a mile, I'm crossing you in style, someday.... ~ Henry Mancini (music) & Johnny Mercer (lyrics)

My dearest E.,

This may turn out to be your current, favourite bed-time song. I sang it to you tonight and watched as your big round eyes quietly surveyed my face. You looked at me for a long time, your little face content and silently happy, your eyes beckoning sleep, as Morpheus rocked you in his arms with your head on my lap.

I don't remember how I came to sing this song to you. I just did. And it must have been magical because you immediately fell silent upon hearing my voice. You stopped climbing over our pillows, you stopped laughing and smiled instead, and cleverly laid your head down on my lap, your tiny fingers twirling your favourite blanket.

"Moon River" is the original theme song from the black-and-white classic film, Breakfast at Tiffany's, produced by Paramound Pictures in 1961, starring the everlasting beauty, Audrey Hepburn. Breakfast at Tiffany's, the movie, was based on the short book by renowned author, Truman Capote (You will find Capote's books on my book shelf, lovey. He is a wonderful writer with an honest, vivid imagination).

Here are the lyrics; sing along with me if you remember the music...

Moon River
Wider than a mile
I'm crossing you in style
Oh, dream maker, you heart-breaker
Wherever you're going, I'm going your way
Two drifters off to see the world
There's such a lot of world to see
We're after the same rainbow's end
Waiting 'round the bend
My Huckleberry friend
Moon River, and me

Silent Soldier

A lawyer without history or literature is a mechanic, a mere working mason; if he possesses some knowledge of these, he may venture to call himself an architect ~ Sir Walter Scott

My dearest E.,

If you do not already know by now, I am a lawyer. I do not say I am proud of my profession as some are wont to do. My profession is my job, my livelihood, a means whereby I earn to put the food on our table. My job is just a job. I had fervent passion for my work many years ago when I was young and naive; then upon witnessing the ugliness of this world, moulded myself into a realist, so to speak.

I attended an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Bar Council of Malaysia yesterday, E. The Bar Council is the general body (run by lawyers elected by lawyers) who govern the legal profession in our country. The calling for yesterday's EGM was an extraordinary motion put forth by a learned lawyer, a Dato', no less, for a vote of no-confidence against the present office-bearers of the Bar Council, people, if you must know, the aforesaid Dato' probably voted for, or if not, did not object to their holding office. Now this EGM spanned almost 5 hours in debate time; and with all that I had heard yesterday, my love, I now realise why I could never be what the people in my profession would call "a brilliant lawyer".

I do not particularly like lawyers, sweet pea. It is funny, I know- but that is true. Mostly I detest the arrogance, the insufferable holier-than-thou and I'm-better-than-you attitudes. I detest the over-rated intelligence, purported eloquence of speech and the misconception of the glamorous lifestyle lawyers lead. But most of all, I detest some lawyers have become a joke, who have brought disrepute to what was once an honourable and highly-revered profession.

These attitudes I detest, they are prevalent in some people who, perhaps are "brilliant" by certain standards. I know I could never become one of those. At most, I am good at my job, but I am certainly not brilliant. I simply silently soldier on with quiet confidence. And I do not detest them because they are "brilliant". I know no envy, resentment or jealousy. I detest them because they have allowed overwhelming pride and arrogance in the profession precede their pride in humanity and selflessness.

But please, do not mistake this for ingratitude. I enjoy what I do and perhaps I do have a small amount of passion which passed over from my growing years as a young lawyer. I do not seek to condemn the profession that now feeds me and my family.

Lesson? Do not be arrogant, even if you know you are a cut above the rest. Do not throw your weight around and think that you are supremely revered, someone will be laughing behind you and you will face your come-uppance certainly one day. Do not display over-confidence and a laissez-faire attitude, if you fail, you will shock yourself to a point of no return. Do not belittle or laugh at others who may not be as fortunate to be blessed with your intelligence, God is usually fair and what you may have, which another doesn't, may not be as valuable as what another has and which you don't.

Be quietly confident, generous and ethical. Be the moral person that I shall raise you to become. But most of all, be the Silent Soldier who marches on for your quest to Goodness.


A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie ~ Tenneva Jordan

My dearest E.,

I was so proud of you; that you have now learnt the concept of sharing. You may not, at this juncture, realise the importance of sharing- your actions are unconscious, perhaps, but it shows me that you begin to pick up the little things you observe in your everyday world, and I am glad for it. You are, after all, only almost 13 months old, but your wisdom in observation astounds me.

You are a lazy little babe, I must admit sometimes! I was afraid that you would never learn to hold your own milk bottle, always having the luxury of me, or your father feeding you, pacifying you, and spoiling you. But two nights ago, you held your own bottle with own two hands, your expression earnest and your smile infectious at the joy that you had grown up a little.

You drank your water, suckling with quiet engrossment, and suddenly, you held your bottle out to your father, whose smiles lit up the whole room. He pretended to drink from your bottle, sweetums, and you giggled like a little fairy. You promptly grabbed the bottle back from your father, and began drinking again, all the while a mischievous grin showing through; and you handed the bottle back to him again soon enough, as if urging him to take a sip! This play went on for a while, and even until the next day, when you played with me.

Discovering the new things you do excites me tremendously, mostly because you are simply adorable. It seemed to me that you had learnt how to share your belongings. When your godmother Jean came over to visit you another night, you shared your little toy with her (but grabbed it back a while later).

There is a saying that goes, "Sharing is caring". And I do hope you understand the importance of sharing. Unless one is a mean person, the happiness you receive when you see another's joy in your selfless act of sharing, is priceless. It is better to give than to receive, they all say: but I add on that you should give when you can afford to, and at the same time, you do not make excuses as to your affordability. If a blind man comes up to you, you give him what you can. I would like to be the perfect Samaritan and say, "Give him all you have, because you have so much more and he has none". But I wish to teach you to be realistic also, my sweet pea. If giving your all would mean the end of your survival, then give only enough to provide for the other's basic needs and keep what you have for your survival.

There should be no conditions to a selfless act- but it is alright to be human and maintain a little self-centredness, or we would all be destitute with no homes, no food and with no means of survival. The key is to strike the perfect balance between these two.

But what I fervently wish and hope for, E., is that you share your thoughts, your emotions, your heart, your being, with me and your father. Just as we have now not only shared our lives and existence with you.

You are a ray of sunshine, of hope and love. I would be happy to see you share this sunshine with those around you, because when you do, your happiness and humanity shall be enriched threefold.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched- they must be felt with the heart ~ Hellen Keller

My dearest E.,

You are my daughter- and my daughter is Beauty personified. A picture perfect creation. Where comes from all this beauty you possess, both inner and outer?

As you beckon all to you, your sunny disposition is bright and colourful as a warm, balmy day, your smiles like the gentle piercing of the rays of sunshine peeking through the cotton-wool clouds, your eyes shining with the wonderment of the world; they fly to you like bees to flowers.

Desperate (House)wife

God could not be everywhere therefore He made mothers ~ Jewish Proverb

My dearest E.,

Thank you for sleeping like an angel last night when you came home, and allowing your mother some time to unwind, watch television and relax. Your father had gone for his weekly futsal session. I must confess that I sometimes enjoy the solitude afforded to me. I sat in our living room last night on the comfy arm-chair, switching channels on Astro, sipping ice-cold sarsaparilla cordial, the air-conditioning whirring quietly (it's time for a service, I think). I knew that there were cups and dishes to be washed in the kitchen sink, your clothes to be folded and kept away neatly into your clothes wardrobe- but I was tired. And glad for the opportunity to spend time with you, while you slowly drifted off to sleep, still clutching your pink security blanket tightly. And also glad that you gave me a chance to relax by myself downstairs.

I was glued to the TV, watching Desperate Housewives. Your father and I love this series, and we have yet to catch the complete 2nd season. But what the heck? I was free, relaxed and loved the TV, so I watched. One scene, though, irked me.

One of the central characters of the show, Lynette Scavo (played by Felicity Huffman) is a high-powered, high-flying corporate career woman, who gave up her full-time job as mother to 4 children, to return to work when her husband quit his job. Lynette is trying to establish a creche (day care centre. In French, creche means 'crib') in her office, to enable her to have her children close to her while she works. Having a creche in an office is a very positive thing, because it helps foster stable working & family relations, and with a full-time professional nanny watching the kids at work, one is able to at least heave a sigh of relief, and know that their children are close to them. In the United States, most big or multinational corporations have creches, which is a very positive benefit for a working mother. Anyway, in this scene, Lynette needs 16 children of employees of the company to participate in the creche to enable it to be established. They are, however, short of 1 child, and she looks to her colleague, Ed, who has a 17-month old daughter, Mindy. Ed's wife, Fran, is a stay-at-home and full-time mother and housewife and is apparently uptight, livid and obsessed with her child. Ed isn't allowed to hold his own child even! Lynette wants to persuade Fran to allow Mindy to participate in the creche for at least 2 hours a day. So they meet, and Fran completely disagrees to the idea. What she said, though, made me think, and of course, feel for Lynette in the show. She said something along the lines of, "Why did you have children if you weren't going to raise them?"

Now, this hit me- because first, I had you, my precious little one; and two, because I am a working mother. At the precise moment of truth, I thought: well, I work because I have to, because I need to help your father provide for our family: and as if on cue, on TV, Lynette said the same thing! And Lynette further added, "I'm a good mother". I smiled smugly as the screen shifted to Fran, and thought to myself, yeah, E., I'm a good mother to you too. Even if I do work. It doesn't mean that I love you any less. But arrogant, silly Fran countered, "That's the difference between us. I couldn't live with just being a good mother. I wanna be a great one!"

Well, well, well!

My dearest E., sometimes you shouldn't believe everything you see on TV. There is a fine line to be drawn between reality and fiction. What does this mean? Well, fiction just means it's a story, made up by people to draw and attract other people to listen and watch, but it's not a true story. However, it is not to saythat a work of fiction cannot be based on real life. Desperate Housewives is a marvellous work of fiction made for TV, but it has elements of reality which come close to home. And Fran's statement came home to me.

Is being a good mother as opposed to a great mother very much different? How do we measure the level of one's greatness as a mother? In my eyes, I think I'm a good, no- great mother to you! And why do I say that? Because.... I love you. Because I put you, your well-being, your happiness, your comfort, etc FIRST before anything or anyone else, including your father. Because I provide for you not only financially- but in such a deep, emotional way that only a parent can provide. Am I a bad mother, or a mediocre mother, because I work and have to be away from you at least 10 hours a day? Am I a bad mother, because I may miss seeing you walk for the first time or utter your first word? Will you love me less because of this? If things were ideal in this world, I would be with you every hour, minute, second of the day.

And I had you, I gave birth to you- because you were already in my life from the moment I breathed the air of this world, from the first moment I entered humanity just like you did. Because you were meant to happen to me. And I fully intend to raise you, my child, notwithstanding my work commitments, to become a good and moral person, with love, compassion, kindness and understanding, just like your grandparents raised me.

I take my hat off to full-time mothers, because they have the opportunity to do what I would love to do. Full-time mothering is as time-consuming, difficult and tiring as a full-time job outside; save and except for one major factor. The sense of fulfillment a person gets from full-time mothering may not be the same in a full-time job, and dare I say this: even surpasses all boundaries of fulfillment and happiness.

Of course I wished I could mother you full-time. Read you your books all day, watch TV with you, play and teach you, take your naps with you, feed you etc. But I can't, my sweet pea. In today's age and time, and with the evolution of our society into a higher state of consciousness and development, it has become a norm for households to have working mothers. The way society views a woman's role as a mother is also changing. As Malaysia becomes more developed, urbanized and the income level of the population arises, together with soaring inflation and costs of living, the number of working mothers are greatly increasing. And I am one of them.

But I am still lucky, little E. Because I have a well-paying job and I am happy working where I am. I am even luckier because I have your grandparents, who take such good care of you and love you to bits! Do you know how precious you are to them, too? You have completed their lives, just like you have completed mine. I cannot imagine a complete stranger taking care of you while I work. Granted, I sometimes come home to you later than I would have liked to because of work responsibilities and commitments. But it doesn't make me less of a person, it certainly doesn't mean I love you less! In fact, knowing that there is you at home at the end of the day spurs me to work harder and achieve more in my career, because a fruitful career means I can provide you with so much more and hopefully, whatever your little heart desires. And all this, I do, because I love you so much.

I cherish my weekends with you, little E. They fill me up with such wonder and joy because I get to be with you for at least 60 hours straight!- it pains me to have to return to work on Monday. But this is real life. And real life isn't always a bed of roses, but what we make them out to be and learn to be happy with what we have.

I think I am a great mother, E. I hope you will think so too, someday.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Being a princess isn't all it's cracked up to be ~ Princess Diana

My dearest E.,

Look at you. I think you have the makings of a fine princess. I love that you have learnt to smile with poise and grace- I don't know where you've gleaned that from, certainly not me. I love that you sit like a lady on the throne of your stroller. And I love that you look tenderly regal, even though I've dressed you in a funky t-shirt, jeans skirt and white sneakers. And most of all, I love that you're friendly and sociable, and ever willing to smile at a passing stranger. When such love shines through your smiles, you melt hearts and in your own little way, make the world a slightly better place to be in.

Remember this: white is never an easy colour to carry off. Of course, white is beautiful, significant of freshness, purity, life, virginity. I never liked wearing white, although it's one of my favourite colours. I tend to look more life-like than I actually am, do you know what I mean? And white sneakers: never an easy thing to pull off also. White sneakers border on crazy-fun-punk-cool and geek-nerd-alert-creep. But you look beautiful in white sneakers. And white dresses too.

You are, after all, a little princess. You can believe in a Princess's dreams and all things sweet and nice. But imagine that you can make your own dreams come true, and it doesn't require a Prince to help you out with those dreams. A true Princess must be gentle, kind and loving, too, and I hope that when you grow up, you will not torment your subjects to harsh words, unkindly actions. Lady Jennie Jerome Churchill once said that "you can be a princess or the richest woman in the world, but you cannot be more than a lady."

Wouldn't it be nice if every little girl were a nice Princess?

On Gratitude

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us ~ Albert Schweitzer

My dearest E.,

I found many things to be thankful for today. Well, not only today- but for what has been handed to us so far. I must admit that I never took much time to think about these. My memory of gratitude was triggered by a sudden thought of you. Many times, as I nursed you, as we bonded in our love together, as we sat down to watch PlayHouse Disney Channel together, I was thankful.

But most of all, I was thankful that I had been blessed with your arrival. Thankful that you are mine. For I had been told, before you came, that I would not be able to have a child. Perhaps it is a miracle, and that I have been given the opportunity to realise my potential as a woman, as a mother. I must have done something right to please those above us. You are my miracle child: and you have changed my life in so many ways that I never thought possible.

I have a wonderful life. I'm happy and content. But I had never envisaged that there were still some things lacking in this wonderful life, which I have been so blessed to receive. You!

My darling E., we must always be thankful with what we have. For what we cannot or may not achieve this present day, look to it as your aspiration for the future. You must think of the less fortunate, spread your love and kindness to them, and learn to empathize. That makes you a complete human being.

Today, as I sit as my office desk, feeling tired and listless, I am thankful, though, that I have a well-paying job, that I do work I can enjoy and find passion in, that I have kind colleagues with whom I can communicate and connect with: and I think of the millions of other people out there who do not have jobs and thus, cannot feed their families and themselves. We bask in a life of lavishness, of moderate luxury- hence, we must never lose sight of ourselves. Our place in this world is transient. What means all the riches of the world, if we can never be happy or learn to appreciate that blessed opportunity?

My gratitude for life is marred only by one thing: that I cannot spend all the seconds of my time with you, and instead, find myself being away from you for hours at a stretch: 8, 10, sometimes 12 hours... and that I must work hard to give you the things you need to make your life more pleasant and complete. Oh, how I wished we never had to work for our living! But that is my ingratitude speaking.....

My sweetness, I cannot wait to go home and have you squeal in joy when you see me... To see you shuffling quickly on your little legs towards me, your arms outstretched for the comfort and love that only a mother can provide.

Of that, I am thankful for. That you deign to love me.

The Four Noble Truths & The Eightfold Path

A person has no religion who has not slowly and painfully gathered one together, adding to it, shaping it, and one's religion is never complete and final, it seems, but must always be undergoing modification ~ D.H. Lawrence

My dearest E.,

The Noble Eightfold Path describes the way to the end of suffering, as it was laid out by Siddhartha Gautama. It is a practical guideline to ethical and mental development with the goal of freeing the individual from attachments and delusions; and it finally leads to understanding the truth about all things. Together with the Four Noble Truths, it constitutes the gist of Buddhism. Great emphasis is put on the practical aspect, because it is only through practice that one can attain a higher level of existence and finally reach Nirvana. The eight aspects of the path are not to be understood as a sequence of single steps, instead they are highly interdependent principles that have to be seen in relationship with each other.

The Four Noble Truths
1. Life means suffering
2. The origin of suffering is attachment
3. The cessation of suffering is attainable
4. The path to the cessation of suffering

The Eightfold Path
1. Right View
2. Right Intention
3. Right Speech
4. Right Action
5. Right Livelihood
6. Right Effort
7. Right Mindfullness
8. Right Concentration

And that is all I shall say, my dearest E. You'll be old enough to read and understand in due course.

The Ten Commandments

All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom ~ Albert Einstein

My dearest E.,

As I have mentioned before, your father and I are of different religions. In fact, I don't know if you could call Buddhism a "religion": it's a misnomer and a misconstrued concept. Buddhism is, in fact, a teaching, a way of life. It doesn't impose on a person consequences if one does not follow through the teachings.

Your father and I are determined that you will grow up, embracing the beauty and teachings of both Christianity and Buddhism, and we will not impose on you to choose between these two. But as your mother, it is my duty to highlight to you the basic tenet of these two teachings, because religious grounding is the base of your existence, and shapes the person you become in the future. And we wish for you to become a good, moral person, regardless of your religious beliefs. I know that this sounds funny, because I will only be presenting to you the tenets of Christianity (the Ten Commandments) and the main teachings in Buddhism (The Four Noble Truths & The Eightfold Path).

The Ten Commandments, or Decalogue, are a list of religious and moral imperatives which, according to the Hebrew Bible, were written by God and given to Moses on Mount Sinai in the form of two stone tablets. These commandments feature prominently in Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

1. You shall have no other Gods but me.
2. You shall not make for yourself any idol, nor bow down to it or worship it.
3. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.
4. You shall remember and keep the Sabbath day holy.
5. Respect your father and mother.
6. You must not kill.
7. You must not commit adultery.
8. You must not steal.
9. You must not give false evidence against your neighbour.
10. You must not be envious of your neighbour's goods. You shall not be envious of his house nor his wife, nor anything that belongs to your neighbour.

I will not elaborate further on the commandments, because I know you shall have formed your own mind about these commandments. You will be old enough by this time to read the Bible and all such scriptures and form your own mature thoughts about religion.

And I will not seek to clip your wings and hold you back from flying.

Full moon baby

Into the sunset's turquoise marge The moon dips, like a pearly barge; Enchantment sails through magic seas, To fairland Hesperides, Over the hills and away ~ Madison Julius Cawein

My dearest love,

Look at yourself here... You're only a month or less, I felt this tremendous need to protect you. You were so tiny and delicate, your head fit snugly into the palm of my hand. I want to protect you always, my beloved E. Even if you are 30 years old one day.

Some vivid memories

Memory is a child walking along a seashore. You never can tell what small pebble it will pick up and store away among its treasured things. ~Pierce Harris, Atlanta Journal

My dearest E.,

I have vivid memories of our first few months together; when you were first finding your footing in this crazy world and learning to cope with all sorts of shibboleths, like your feelings, for instance. Feeling hungry, and you cry for me to cuddle you close to my body, and you turn your little face towards me like an open flower searching for a rainstorm. Feeling cold, when I've inadvertently turned the air-conditioning too high, and you cry for me to cuddle you close to my body, spreading my warmth to permeate your senses. Feeling scared and lonely, and you cry for me to lift you into my waiting arms, and lie you beside me, where we both dream the night away; for time is a sleeping bomb.

You were wont to lay awake until the wee hours of the morning, you little dear rascal. Your boundless energy, despite your tender age, left me weepy, tired, but joyous that I had the privilege of spending your extra awake-hours with you.

Your eyes have become the window to my existence. I was able to recognise your emotions, emphathize with your needs, communicate with you, my little angel: all with your eyes. We have a sense of connectedness, you and I.

Your father and I coined the nickname "Genghis" for you: like the legendary Genghis Khan who sought battles and fought wars to conquer Europe: because you were ferociously conquering when it came to feeds. You would cry for the comfort of my breasts, and I would offer them to you; and you would quieten down in sweet repose, your tiny mouth suckling vigorously, your delicate hand resting on my breast, as if to claim ownership. You were a little Genghis Khan yourself. Over time, your father and I, I'm sorry to say, bastardized the nickname, and it became "Gingis" which sounds much cuter, don't you think? We also called you our Little Houdini because you were a great escape artist when I tried to swaddle you, and you would struggle and try to break free. Oops, here comes a hand! And a foot...!

Oh, we had names for you, your father and I! Who could not have names for their beautiful daughter? You were chubby-cheeked, full of sweetness and grace, happiness and sociability, and you loved people and animals alike. Your fat little legs carried you from one place to another, and you began to crawl backwards as first, timorous as timber, but when you learnt to appreciate your sense of balance and direction, you were a little tornado. Our home was never the same again!

I have so many memories, my sweet, sweet E. They are all stored in the recesses of my mind, too many that makes me smile everytime I think of them. Too many for me to pen them down here.

As you grow a little more each day, each vivid memory of you fixes itself at the back of mind, like little dominos waiting their turn to be let out.

Monday, November 13, 2006

How life began- The Christian account

And God said, "Let there be light...."

My dearest E.,

Your father is Catholic, and I am Buddhist- but together in marriage, we have fused a sense of oneness, an amicable meeting of the minds. Love is what we have, and love is enough to bridge all barriers.

Here is an excerpt from the Bible: this is one of my favourite verses, and I wanted for you to read this to perhaps understand how our world came about.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Now the earth was a formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

And God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth." And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

And God said, "Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky." So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth." And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

And God said, "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food." And it was so.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

Thus goes the Christian account of how our world came about- but you may have different ideas of your own when you grow up. It doesn't matter. I thought I would share this with you because it was so beautiful and even if you choose to believe in Darwin's Origin of Species, that's alright with me too. Sometimes, I think of how huge our world is; and I don't know what to believe in too.

The Gift

My dearest E.,

I wrote this piece of poetry for you. You are a Gift for me. You are the best Gift I have ever received. Ever....! Lots of kisses and hugs, as I breathe in your baby-sweet perfume and find myself heady with joy, wonderment and love.

An angel spoke to me one day
Whispering sweetness, cool and gay
On such a day when the sky was blue
My heart was calm, and in She flew….
Spreading golden horizons, peaches and fruits
Appeared as a vision of glorious trumps
My lips were cool, as She took my foot
Caressing and kneading, gentle and smooth
As beauty flowed beneath my veins
The waters ran still like frozen chains
Transposed in eternal fame and silver droplets
A tear plucked from my eye as prophecy expounded.
She drifted by my listless side
Foretelling joy, happiness and a wonderful life
The immense Universe of light and dark
Surrounded my being
But She found a way to soften my heart
Moisten my hands into the Spring
To welcome the daffodils and birds that sing
As questions bubbled in my thoughtless dreams.
And as I slumbered in the bows of Love
An angel spoke to me of Renewal and Birth
Her message from God was hazy and gray
“You shall have the Gift this very day”.