Sunday, March 29, 2009

One of a kind

When was the last time you attended a birthday party? I haven't been to one for a long, long time. And I don't pretend to remember any that I attended as well. But I do remember my best birthday party ever, err...highlights of it, at least.

I don't remember the age I was then (but I remember I was in primary school then) but that's beside the point. It was not a surprise birthday party because my parents had told me about it earlier. I had the privilege of inviting my very own friends but of course, my parents invited their friends, too. I remember feeling all excited; I kept looking at the clock wishing that it'd go faster so that the party would happen right then. And then when the first guests arrived I was all shy! But, not enough to shy away from receiving all those presents with glee, of course!

I remember the table absolutely covered with all the food that my mom and aunts had helped prepare, and right in the middle of it on one side was my birthday cake. I remember cutting the cake with everyone else singing 'Happy Birthday' to me. But I guess the best part was when I went into my bedroom, with all my friends in tow, and I opened my presents one by one. I was absolutely delighted! Those were the highlights. I can't really remember the rest.

I remember attending a few of my friends as well. There would be the usual eating, and singing and sometimes even games thrown into the mix. All in all, I guess I pretty much enjoyed birthday parties.

But, I guess that times have changed. A lot.

Like I said, I haven't attended a birthday party in a long while and I'm not too sure what goes on during such occasions nowadays, but from my experience they don't vary a lot.

Or so I thought.

My wife received an invitation to attend a birthday celebration of her colleague's son the other day. And with it came an invitation card. There was a smirk on my wife's face when she handed me the card and I wondered why. And then I looked at the card and understood.

Here's the card.

Grace before meals, lunch and cake-cutting are pretty standard for birthday parties, but dance performances and beauty contests?

How's that for a birthday party? Not even an adult one mind you, but a one-year old's! I'm sure it was a very memorable one. I remember a friend's wedding reception which was nothing short of a cultural festival as well, what with all the cultural dance performances during the reception, and that memory has stayed with me because it was one of a kind!

But, is this really a one-of-a-kind birthday party or is this the norm nowadays? Perhaps, since you're into this kind of things Nick, you can enlighten me.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Men and clothes

How often has this situation happened to you?

You open you closet, look at the neatly arranged lines of clothing hanging there and then you exclaim, "I have nothing to wear!"

I can't say it has happened to me very often, but the thing is it has happened. In spite of having a closet that at this moment is really, full of clothes, there are times when I cannot quite find the kind of attire that I had in mind to wear. A feature of wanton human greed?


But, really although my closet is quite full, I'd say a good number of my clothes are over 2 years old. It's only when I decide to give away some, and find that I actually need some new ones to replace them that I buy new clothes for myself. But, of course there are spur of the moment kind of purchases - I'm sure you know the kind. :)

But, most of the time it's all about finding new ways of mixing and matching the clothes I already have. While I'm most comfortable in just shorts and t-shirt (even a singlet!), the times I do need to wear better-looking clothes are a daily requirement. So, I just found that this website provides some really helpful hints on choosing and matching your clothes (I'm talking men's clothes here, but I'm sure you can also find tips on women's clothing). It covers just about anything concerning men's clothing: from choosing your shirts and ties, choosing the kind of trousers (or pants if you insist on going American) to wear, to selecting suitable suits for those once-in-a-blue-moon kind of occassion, well at least for me. If that's not enough, then there are also guides on getting the right kind of accesories for yourself: you know, watches, sunglasses, hats, belts, shoes - those kind of stuff.

All in all, a very comprehensive place.

I haven't quite read all the guides they have available, but the little that I've read has opened my eyes: I now realise how much about dressing up I don't know! I would never have thought that the kind of collar of the shirt I wear should flatter my face! I always thought it was just their rather stylish way for the labels to be different. 

And I finally know what an inseam is! LOL!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The crunch

I have been wanting to post something but just couldn't bring myself to sit in front of the computer to do so...until now. Actually, I was compelled to do so.

I was reading the local newspaper just this evening, and what do I see on the front page? A picture of a throng of people with several smoke trails descending from the sky. Yup, it was another demonstration. And of all things, the reason for the demonstration was about the teaching of Mathematics and Science subjects in English?


It's absolutely mind-boggling! A protest because English is used instead to teach these two subjects? If there were something that really would make us a laughing stock for the whole world (as some have pointed out about a certain gathering under some certain trees recently), I think that this would be the icing on the cake!

It seems to me that certain quarters of the Malaysian population really have a penchant for politicising issues. The usual scenario: a politician speaks his mind about something trivial and then other people start jumping on the bandwagon giving their sometimes uneducated opinions, and suddenly it becomes a national agenda! Incredible!

Forgive me for sounding so negative, but I cannot see the reason for such happenings. How is it that we call ourselves a developed nation, yet our thinking is still lagging so far behind. A few years back, I heard an absolute stranger commenting on our nation's apparent lack of forward thinking despite all our achievements: "first class facilities, third class mentality."

If anything needs to be politicised, why not politicise the extremely poor healthcare facilities that are available in some states in Malaysia especially Sabah? We don't even have a proper hospital anymore because the current one, the Queen Elizabeth hospital (supposedly the state's main hospital) has been found to be unsafe for operations. So, what happens? Sick patients have to sleep on the floor, doctors and nurses are unable to treat due to unavailable equipment. Who suffer? The people, especially those of us not fortunate enough to afford private healthcare.

What is being done? Discussions, discussions, and more discussions. No Action, Talk Only. I am told that we'd be lucky if Sabah gets a new one within 5 years. The more realistic projected time for the building of a new hospital would be between 10-15 years. What happens till then? People suffer.

It's a sad time.

Monday, March 2, 2009


I've told you before that Adelle is now attending playschool haven't I? Well, we never got a chance to have a chat with the principal of the school to find out how Adelle was doing. The routine's usually either my wife or I would show up at the school and just get out of the car, take Adelle from one of the teachers, and be on our home. We don't quite have the opportunity to just spend some time to chat then because all of the teachers and the principal herself would be busy keeping an eye on the children as they wait for their parents. I know I wouldn't have time too if I had take care of over 20 active children with only a handful of adults with me!

Anyway, my wife suggested that we call the principal today just to get some updates on Adelle's progress at school. And she happily volunteered me for the job. How nice of her! So, I called the principal and asked how Adelle was doing at school and she said that Adelle's progressed a lot since the first day - from crying every time she'd lay her foot on the school grounds right out of the car to the almost weep-free day nowadays. Adelle is eating well, she's learning well (quite advanced for her class I'm told), and is generally obedient.

But, I was also told that her temperament still needs some fine tuning. I didn't pursue what the principal meant by that but I can guess. I was also told that she isn't quite interested as well when it comes to colouring, probably a result of my wife and I introducing crayons to her quite early. But, the principal tells me that the teachers still try to keep her occupied and on task which I felt was good.

Adelle looks as if she enjoys school. When we pick her up, we'd ask her what she did and she'd respond quite positively. No more tantrums of not wanting to go to school. I think she is also rather fond of a particular Teacher Kevin there as she always mentions his name whenever there is talk about the teachers at the school.

I'm actually amazed sometimes at the knowledge that this two-year old daughter of mine has, especially in her language ability. I think some of the words and sentences she uses can even rival a kid far older than her.

But, that may be a biased opinion of course. After all, I'm her dad. :)