Monday, June 29, 2009

My sentiments exactly

Was browsing through my blog reading list and found this piece by RPK which brought smile to my face. Here's the excerpts:

"One million or even 100 million poor and starving Africans converting to Islam is not something to be proud of. But if Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, was to become a Muslim then that is cause to celebrate with the slaughter of 100 camels and 300 sheep. That proves beyond any shadow of doubt that Islam is the correct religion and it further proves that I was right all along in subscribing to Islam. Hey, even Prince Charles agrees with me and Prince Charles is no ordinary human being.

This ‘we won’ and ‘we were right all along’ is not only a Muslim obsession but also an obsession of all religions. So before you take this as a cue to start your Islam-bashing please note that the word ‘Islam’ can be replaced with the word ‘Christianity’, ‘Hinduism’ or whatever. No religion is exempted from this ‘competitive spirit’ and the obsession to ‘prove itself’ by the converts it attracts -- and the higher the profile of the convert the higher your win and the stronger your message of being ‘right’."

Link below:

I was just thinking of the very thing. And he is very right to say that it doesn't happen with said religion only, it is a universal phenomenon. Perhaps many followers of a religion they subscribe to think that having people convert to their religion makes them winners. Well if the convert does so because they have found their truth and peace, good on them. But as RPK pointed out, that is not always the case.

In the end, what counts is one's own belief, and how that belief guides one to be a better person, to be a contribution to the human race. How I wish people realize that...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Her form of relaxation

What one can learn from children can be unbelievably amazing. Last night my daughter S emailed me these drawings created with a programme called Paints. She said it was fun and I can see that it's doing her a lot of good in the relaxation department. Feel like sharing these.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

And the world keeps on mourning

The world still mourns him. Different people mourn differently. Some dance in celebration of his life, some openly cry, and yet some remember all his beautiful attributes.

I can't say I have a strong feeling for that kind of mourning. I've never really been his big fan anyway. True I admire his music. Like many, I recognize a great talent. He is one indeed. The likes of Elvis perhaps. One of a kind. Perhaps in his own ways he touched people's life. I salute him for that.

I guess I owe him thanks for his music, esp the 80s music that my generation and I listened to when we grew up. MJ I may not have a strong feeling for you, but like many I hope you rest in peace.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Death- a celebration of one's life

Amidst news coverage of Michael Jackson's life on TV, sadness creeps in my heart. How true it is that death is a celebration of one's life. It is more so when one was a celebrity. Suddenly all their wonders are highlighted, when it was all their faults that were talked about when they lived.

Maybe it's not so bad when one is not a celebrity. Their wonders always outweigh their faults. At least that's how I remember my grandfather, always the great person he had been. Coincidently he passed away today three years ago. There's no more pain in my heart now. I prefer to think that he is resting in peace somewhere unreachable, where none can harm him anymore. I do miss him sometimes but I've accepted that he had to go because his time was up. No one lives forever, but it's how we live our life that counts...

As for MJ, this simple 'Ben' to me is one of his best:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Josh Groban- isn't he beautiful?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

His baby steps to READING

It gives me such satisfaction to see him repeat the words in every sentence in the book with real concentration. My baby, my 5 year old boy is not partial to words. He loves being read to, oh yes, bedtime stories are a must every night. But when he has to 'do' the reading, he'd just yawn and yawn until one stops asking him to. Tonight, though, he finally got hooked. A simple book, with a theme that interests him, with sentences repeated in every page. A clever idea to make a child think that he's really reading until he finally focuses on the shapes (spellings) of the words.

For the first time ever my baby read tirelessly. He went through every sentence in the book three times. First, to convince himself that he is actually reading them, spelling and saying each word out loud. Second, to show off to his sister A, and third, to show off to Dad. Seeing the pride in his eyes has been a great joy for me. What mom wouldn't? A barrier is broken, I'm pretty sure he will be more eager to read from now on.

And now back to my neverending 'assignment' :-)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday reflection...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Sleepover

S is sleeping over at a friend's tonight. Good on her...a pre teen girl needs to socialize with best buds the right way. There are only three of them...the girl hosting the sleepover, Y, S and her other best buddy L. Y's mom is going to take them for a movie, following which, they are going to just have fun. I'm sure the girls are going to have loads of fun.

I stopped worrying about my children going to sleepover some while ago. I convinced myself that having all those experiences will help them grow into well-balanced individuals later in their lives. Apart from the multi-cultural experience they are sure learning from their friends, they get to play and spend time with their best buddies. After all, it's not like I don't know the moms of these friends. They are all normal people with the same concerns for kids.

But it's a rainy winter night, with howling wind :-( Can't help wondering whether she is comfortable...etc. The usual worries of a mom. I know she takes care of herself quite well, she being the eldest. And it's good for the two younger ones not to have her once in a while. The sister A and the brother N, after a session of "it's unfair, she gets to go to a sleepover", came up with a brilliant idea of having their own sleepover party. Naturally in the girls' room :-) where they'll read books (rather A will read to N who can't read yet) and play till they fall asleep. And they suggest Mom and Dad to have a sleepover party too. So everyone will have a sleepover. Well, well...aren't kids creative...

Friday, June 19, 2009

In the eye of the beholder...

I just love carnations. Even though I also love roses and just about every other beautiful flower I see, carnations are just special. The flowers of friendship, the symbol of motherhood, health and energy, their freshness last for days on end. I could spend hours looking at carnations such as these:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Baby Girl found

My friend posted a bizzare story this morning. A baby girl was left outside of her Dad's house early in the morning. Her Dad discovered the baby upon returning from his morning prayer. The baby was left with a bag containing a pair of clothes, mittens, a bottle with warm milk in it, a tin of formula, some diapers and a buck.

She posted some pics of the girl, who appears to be clean and neat, and very sweet. Looking at the pics, I wonder which mom could have done this? Or could it be a father? Or both parents? I wonder if their reasons were poverty, shame, or selfishness? It could be anything. Thank goodness the baby is too young to be aware of her experience.

One of my friend's family member has decided to adopt the girl. At least she has found a home...I say a little prayer for her. May her life with this new family be a better one.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


...suddenly I'm thinking about the concept of dowry among some cultures like mine. Perhaps in this modern world, it is a much misunderstood concept. In my culture nowadays, at least to my limited observation, daughters try so hard to discourage their parents from receiving dowry from their future husbands. Well, admittedly when I was getting married, I did have some uneasy feeling about my parents asking for dowry from my husband-to-be. It's like you are 'being sold'...sort of. Thankfully my parents didn't ask for money, rather a traditional token as a symbolic respect for the long-observed tradition.

I've heard of people setting the amount of dowry based on the educational achievement of the daughter. I don't actually know how far true that is. It could be just an urban legend. That would imply that a daughter who completed a degree would gain a higher amount of dowry compared to a high-school graduate. Hmm...maybe this is when dowry equates to 'selling off one's daughter'?...Or are there some underlying reasonings that I failed to see?

Recently I had the pleasure of witnessing a traditional engagement ceremony, and I learnt a new meaning of the word 'dowry'. In that ceremony the parents of the bride-to-be refused or rather tried to refuse a dowry offering. But it was denied by the village headman. The groom-to-be family explained that 'dowry' is a much-honored tradition among the people because it signifies the man's appreciation to the lady he is intending to marry. Now that is beautiful. All my prior prejudices about dowry were lifted...thank goodness. Perhaps when the time comes for me to marry off my daughters, I won't hesitate to continue upholding the dowry tradition anymore...

Well, interpreted correctly, traditions can be beautiful.

Monday, June 15, 2009

When a music comforts...

I'll listen with my heart. I won't even care if it is religious or non-religious in nature. Like this one here, it is called Medicine Buddha Mantra. I'm not even a Buddhist, but the heart recognizes universal virtues, I guess. It soothes my tired mind and body. It gives me peace, just like when I sing praise and worship songs and hymns...Music belongs to the heart that responds...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Back to life, back to reality...

Two weeks at home managed to spoil me a bit. Albeit having to do a lot of things, I've enjoyed the short stay. Meeting up with friends, spending time with family, and of course satisfying the taste bud with local delicacies were just wonderful. Regretfully (although perhaps a good thing), I was watching my calorie intake so I could only have a small amount of everything (at least most of the time...I did cheat once or twice).

The strict exercise regime was distrupted...the house cleaning ups and shopping for hours could hardly be counted as real exercise. As a result, yours truly didn't shed any kgs during the two weeks. Oops, scary, the weight police is watching. Have to double up efforts from now on. The season being winter doesn't help feels hungry all the time...

I'm glad to be back with the family...back to being a mom, a wife, a student, and my reality for the time being. Yups, got a thesis to finish writing...time is running short. Hopefully I get things done on time.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Of Joy and Grief

Saturday 30th May 2009. It was my cousin's wedding reception day. We were welcoming the bride and her family into the big, happy family with some kind of traditional wedding rituals and merry-making. Started off the day fine- the night before we started the preparations; flowers, backdrops, cooking ingredients etc. It was a night when all extended family members happily forgo sleep to prepare for the big day the next day. A night of catching up with cousins and relatives over a cup of tea, baileys and a can or two of beer. Oh, how we all had fun...

The next day we were busy cooking and preparing a few final details before the bride's family finally arrived, all the way from the neighbouring state. Well, not quite. They camped in the local holiday house/retreat house actually since two days before but only to be formally accepted in the family on that big day. So the ceremony started. Everyone was in a celebrating mood...then grief came very unexpectedly.

My cousin got the news from a friend. Her best friend, 16 (a week short of turning 17), along with two younger sisters aged 14 and 8 had drowned. At that time we didn't know exactly what happened, how that happened. The mood suddenly changed...a teardrop of my cousin and we all started feeling the pain. My older cousin took my cousin, my younger brother and two other cousins to visit the friend's mourning household. It was most difficult for us to maintain the celebration mood. We tried because it was the right thing to do. We danced and we sang, and yet our hearts were grieving for three young souls whose short existence were snapped off cruelly to the human understanding.

When my cousins returned from visiting the grieving household, we were told the story amidst tears. The girls' family had a picnic by the river. No one realized that they were gone. One moment they were frolicking by the river bank. The next moment they were all found lifeless, two at the bottom of the river, one adrift nearby. Their mom who's at a late stage of pregnancy was unconsolable. Three girls were taken away from her all at once, without even a final good bye. My heart goes out to my cousin who lost a best friend, but also to the parents who lost three lovely daughters...No words could possibly express the pain they felt, and still do. I offered up a little prayer for the souls, rest in peace. And the family- may they be strong to face the difficult time. And my sweet cousin- a young heart is broken into pieces but God will surely heal her in time. May she be strong enough to accept this thing that is beyond anyone's control.

At a spur of the moment, joy turned to grief...I wonder if ever grief turns to joy as fast? God bless the little souls. Please God strenghten the grieving hearts especially the family who lost their lovely ones.

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