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November 2005 Archives

Myanmarese

I leave for Myanmar tomorrow morning. It is the fulfilment of silent promise made many years ago.

Pray for me. I seemed so much stronger in the faith then. I feel so weak now; so unfit for His purpose. Break me, cleanse me, and use me if it is Your will. This I pray.

Eye Movement and Lying

Neuro-linguistic programming. Repeat after me: Iraq has weapons of mass destruction…

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Firefox 1.5

Movable tabs, and I’m still discovering good stuff.

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Righters Block

Are you spending too much time musing over life, and blogging about it that you forget to live it? Or are you too busy living life that you forget to write down the little things? Or is your life so mundane that there’s pretty much nothing to blog about?

IE5/Mac Float Bugs

Brings out the Tiger in us.

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Bumble Bore

Faith and I finally caught our first movie since Anne was born. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, of course. Rowling fans would have to admit that this is probably the poorest installment on print, meandering back and forth before finally heading into the story proper.

The movie was totally different. While Faith liked it (she didn’t have the patience to finish the book), I found it a little too fast and hard; it was like watching a DVD on fast-forward. There’s definitely too much material to fit into a single movie, but in my own opinion I thought the character development portion of the book should have made it to the big screen. Given its limitations, HPATGOF did a satisfactory job of telling the story in two and a half hours.

My one big gripe is this: What’s with Dumbledore?

I know the original actor is in a better place, but why is this new guy so … spritely? He’s always jumping up and down, speaking too fast. In essence, he lacks the gravity I have come to expect from Dumbledore. Dumbledore, to me at least, comes across as very deliberate and thoughtful (thinking through everything, I don’t mean considerate, although he is).

Next stop, some movie about a wardrobe.

MooFx

Lightweight Ajaxy goodness.

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Singapore Blogging Rules

The Do’s and Don’ts, loving compiled by pro-bono lawyers.

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Soul Food

Dear readers, a question came to mind, and its very basic nature confounds me.

“What does your country believe in?”

I ask this not to make a mockery of the nation or pass some snide hidden remark; I ask this because I find myself unable to give an answer.

Over lunch a few colleagues and I engaged in small talk, and somewhere someone commented that as a nation we sat on the fence regarding a lot of issues.

It is true.

We don’t seem to have a strong stand on the China - Taiwan issue. You don’t see our leaders being very vocal about terrorism. In fact, we tend to slink away in a corner, hoping to stay unnoticed, playing it safe.

However, we are extremely vocal about internal matters. The smallest measure of political dissidence draws the heavy guns like a shark to a drop of blood in water. A large majority of newspaper headlines cover our economic growth and how well we’re doing.

As a people, we’re afraid to stretch outside of ourselves. We’re the Asian family down the street; whose parents cane their children and tell them to mind their own business while the husband in the next house beats the living daylights out of his wife.

“Don’t put your elbows on the dining table. Don’t shake your legs. Sit up straight. Don’t stare at other people.”

I used to take pride in the fact that Singapore, while insular, tried to hold on to her own principles even if she didn’t impose them on others. WIth the casinos being built here despite the public outcry against it, my faith is shattered.

Nihilo sanctum estne? (Latin for “Is nothing sacred?”)

We are empty, without and within. Maybe I’m wrong. I’m almost begging you - convince me that I’m wrong.

I may not agree with America’s brash handling of world affairs. I may even fear for my safety and that of my family if I lived in London or Australia; with them being ardent supporters of the “war on terror” and all. But I wouldn’t have to be afraid of accidentally doing something. The prevalent message I get from our leaders is this: don’t screw it up. Everyday, every moment, every message seems to boil down to this. Don’t screw it up. We’ve come a long way. Don’t screw it up. We’re a multi-racial society. Don’t screw it up.

Don’t talk, don’t speak. Don’t do anything.

So dear reader, please help me out here. Please. I want to want to stay in Singapore.

What do we believe in? What are we passionate about?

Reality Bites

It’s been a while, but I’ve come to realise some things, many of which come to me in the dead of night, sitting on a gym ball with an 8kg baby in my arms.

I realised that how a person breathes reveals a lot about the way a person lives.

We breathe way too fast a lot of the time. As if we were laying claim to a finite amount of air, and we could hoard more of it by breathing faster than the next person. Or some of us breath in deep and slow, but exhale fast, almost like a sigh. It is like one who’d much rather receive than give.

Take a deep breath. Go on. Fill those lungs slowly to their maximum capacity, then breath out slowly. I was struggling to breathe with abovesaid baby lying on my diaphragm when I decided to breath deliberately and slowly. It felt oddly liberating, like there was a whole world out there, an immense ether too much for me to ever fully absorb or comprehend.

You know what? There’s enough air for all of us. God made it so.

Day 3 Seven Months Later

It has been exactly 7 months since I wrote my account of the dreaded Day Three. So much has transpired since.

Anne is now a sprightly young girl who has since learned a great many things. Her immobility has been replaced by a lightning quick leopard crawl, with which she chases down runaway toys, faraway power outlets and any nearby remote controls. A visit to the doctor a few days ago revealed that Anne’s weight is in the 75th percentile while her height is in the 25th percentile. It is nice that medical jargon tries to cushion the fact that Anne is short and fat cute.

My own life has undergone many changes. With the new 9 to 5 I have become a more Ricky Ricardo (Desi Arnaz in “I Love Lucy”) kind of husband, where once I was more of a Tony Micelli (Tony Danza in “Who’s the Boss”). When Anne first arrived, it was hard to put a halt on the career. Oddly enough, trading being with Anne for the career feels like I am trading the wonder of watching her grow up for the cold hard reality of having to be pragmatic.

Like all good hollywood fighter pilots, I have Faith and Anne’s photo in front of me at my desk. But everytime I look at Anne’s picture I am reminded of how fast she is changing - that the photo I have of her is dated; that she is growing up as I am at work.

Crossroads

Eduardo stared at the letter, stunned. The logo of a black stallion on a bright yellow background emblazoned the corner of the envelope.

Ferrari wanted to see if he could race for them.

Ferrari. His heart pounded in his chest.

But he had just started racing for SeƱor Rodrigo. In the short time he had made friends with the other drivers. There were so many questions: what if he didn’t do well at Ferrari?

Should he exchange the known for the great unknown?

Fer Cryin' Out Loud

Anne was inconsolable last night. She woke up at 2am and decided that no amount of bouncing on the gym ball and / or patting her back was going to stop her from crying. We tried all the tricks we learned over the last half a year of improvisational parenting. After twenty minutes (it’s a pretty short list of tricks) I gave up and we decided to cross the line.

Ferberizing Anne wasn’t an option I would have considered. Somehow to allow a child to cry herself to sleep seemed awfully cruel. It doesn’t help when the child in question is this cute little girl with pouty little rosebud lips. But it was late at night and we had exhausted our options. I put her back in her crib.

About a week ago, Faith heard how her Vice-Principal, also the mother of a young child, conditioned her kid to sleep through the night. It involved four-hour-long crying sessions, and after two nights voila, baby was sleeping right through.

I looked at my watch. It’d be 7am before this stops. I wasn’t sure if anyone on earth could scream their lungs out for 4 hours straight. And I sure as heck hoped that none of my neighbours owned an axe with which to chop down my door in an attempt to silence the din.

As far as screaming goes, Anne always makes it a point to exceed expectations. When you think it’s impossible for her to get any louder, she kicks it up a notch. Then two. Then three. It’s the parenting equivalent of “chicken” - when two stupid egoistic drivers go full speed toward each other to see who flinches first. Anne literally dares you to leave her be and see how loud she can go.

In these moments a million things pass through my mind. “Will her vocal chords be irreparably scarred?”, “I’m sure I can hear this two blocks away”, “Will she think I’m a bad parent for not ‘being there’ for her?”. I look at Faith, who has the same agonised look on her face. She holds my hand.

20 minutes.

Sudden silence. I’m pretty sure she’s dead. No one could hold a scream that long without breathing. I raise my head a little, in case she’s still looking for a response. Her crib looks like it’s been lambasted by a tornado. But at the corner lies Anne, tired silly from her own effort and sleeping like, well, a baby.

After reading all the online comments on Ferberising, I still don’t know if it’s the right or wrong thing to do. I’m not intentionally trying to “teach her independence”. I’d like to be there for her as much as the next parent. But it is a sad fact of life that parents don’t hold all the answers, and children sometimes need to find their own way. Sometimes all we can do is hold our breath and watch while they do.

MT 3.2 Plugins

Some of these open a new world of things.

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Cash or Credit

I know it’s not any of his fault (you may choose to argue otherwise), but George W. Bush has been spending billions upon billions of dollars lately.

Aid for Katrina victims. Aid for Rita victims. Preparation for a possible Avian flu pandemic.

Where is this money coming from? More relevantly, who’s money is being rechanneled to these efforts? Surely we can’t all be applauding while Bushie pulls Benjamins out of thin air.

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