Friday, March 27, 2015

When Death Comes - A Poem by Mary Oliver

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps his purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering;
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

Beautiful Mornings

I really have my kids to thank you for this.

I used to sleep at around 11 pm or 12 am every night. In the morning, I will wake up tired and grouchy. When I commute to work, I will be in half-sleep mode.

However, after I had kids, I started sleeping earlier and earlier. At the start of it, it was because my daughter could not seem to sleep without me. During the half an hour or more that it takes her to sleep, I would fight to stay awake in the dimly-lit room. My eye lids would droop, and the next thing I knew, it was 2 am in the morning. I had fallen asleep sitting up by her bedside.

As the saying goes, if you cannot fight them, join them.

Against all the parenting advice that you should sleep train your kids, I started sleeping in with them.

So I would sleep at 10.30 pm every night (yup, I also lost in the battle to get them to sleep earlier…). And I will try my best to wake up at 5.30 am every morning. A full 7 hours of sleep.

Now, I really love the mornings.

There is a sweetness in the mornings that cannot be described. The air feels cool. The house is quiet. You can hear the sound of water trickling down pipes.

I feel at peace and in a contemplative mood.

I can do all the things I love to do in the morning. Go jogging. Surf the net. Write some nonsense. Read the newspapers. A full hour to do the things I love.

And it means all the world to me.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Learning, Learning, Learning!

I am so proud of my parents. They just learnt how to use Whatsapp. 

My father is 78 years old now. My mother is 65. And they are still learning about the new digital technology.

In part, this is due to necessity, as my brother and his family is now based in the United States. To keep in touch with them, my parents started to learn Skype. Then, to see the photos that they posted online, they started using Google+. Now, my family has started a whatsapp group to keep in touch. So, they keep up with the online gossip, they started learning whatsapp too.

It feels a bit strange to chat with my parents over Whatsapp. Usually, this is a medium reserved for the younger (albeit not so young as well) generation.

I wonder what my world will look like when I am 70 years old. 70 years ago, there was no computers, no internet, and no social media. These are the things that we take for granted nowadays. However, for them, it is as alien as using bitcoin to buy things online. 

I will take a snapshot of their first whatsapp as remembrance of this moment, and to remind myself to keep learning and evolving, even when I am 80 or 90 years old!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Unsung Heroes

Really love this youtube video!
I have seen it before, and yet after watching it again, it still made me teary-eyed.

What hit home was the narration,
"What he does receive are emotions.
He witnesses happiness;
reaches a deeper understanding;
feels the love.
He receives what money can't buy,
a world made more beautiful."


I had a wonderful time at Legoland recently. “Super fun!” would be how my little boy will say it.

It was the first trip with my husband’s family. For the first trip, we chose a very safe one. Just a simple drive out to the Legoland theme park less than an hour’s ride from Singapore.

We drove three cars out. There’s something great about just driving out to go somewhere. It is a mini road trip! We navigate the unfamiliar roads. There is a little (albeit small) degree of uncertainty and risk. And at the end of the drive, you arrive at your destination.

I have been to Legoland before. But somehow this time it was really fun.

Perhaps because most of us have been there before, so we knew which were the fun rides, and which were the duds. We zoomed in on the fun ones, and had a whale of a good time.

And it was not just the kiddos that had fun. The adults had a great time too at the game stalls.

Why don’t they have game stalls in Disneyland and the other theme parks? It is a fantastic money-maker. The stall master creates a game that looks simple but is deceptively difficult. You think it is a “sure win”. So you hand over a little money to the game master.

The first try you did not get a prize. The game master deliberately coaxes you to try a second time. You hand over just a little bit more.

At the end of it, you had actually parted a tidy sum of money.

Well, the saving grace is that we really did win a lot of super-huge, super-cute soft toys. The kids were happy. The adults were happy (because we won!). And we try not to think of the money we spent.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Morning Jogs

The cool air tingles my cheeks. I give myself a bit of a stretch. Then off I go, jogging lightly around the park.

There are scatterings of people around the park. I can see them going about their own activities as I jog. There is the uncle walking the park with a transistor radio. When you pass him by, you can hear the melodious music of Teresa Teng and other bygone years. There is another small cluster of people doing morning aerobics. Another person is doing stretching on simple machines in the exercise corner.

Most of the folks are older than me. Most of them are around my parents’ age or older. I feel slightly out of place in the park.

My jog completed. I feel sweaty and satisfied. I give the park and the folks in it a little mental wave. Bye little oasis of peace. I am going back to the real world now.