31 Dec 2007
28 Dec 2007
23 Dec 2007
21 Dec 2007
15 Dec 2007
Looking at Sarah's pictures on Facebook makes me realise how much I miss my baby.Everytime we have something here I think of her - what is she doing, what is she eating, is she ok? Sometimes I purposely block the feelings not wanting to feel that heaviness deep inside. Its the same with Rizal before when he was at WMU. I guess with firstborns and youngest ones its always like that. Not that I don't love my other two, but theyre always there - at home with me. When I cook something specially nice I always think what Sarah is eating tonight. Poor darling, having to contend with the cold and the foreign land and the studies.It's a long time before we see her again and I really wish she's coming home this winter nstead of going places. But I guess we must let them fly away free - they'll come home soon enough.
12 Dec 2007
4 Dec 2007
What I want is to spend a whole day here in my home, pottering about in the garden, looking at my pond, pruning my roses. But coming home to Malacca is not just about staying at home, its about visiting my mum in law too. If we dont go over she might get hurt because she's prepared all kinds of food for her son so I guess its ok for me to sacrifice my day at home to be with her.
But oh... how I wish I can just stay home... and read a book, do a spot of gardening and just be myself.
19 Nov 2007
17 Nov 2007
16 Nov 2007
Sayeed again took us to the airport, driving as if there was a demon on his tail - through the silent Cairo streets. It was such a nice change from the usual noise and crowd that I quite enjoyed looking at the houses as he wheezed by.
The flight was on time and we all piled on to the plane. Not small as I had envisioned - a 737 A300. And it was quite full too. I saw that most of the conference delegates were also there, which meant that we were not the only ones going. Slept for a bit on the plane but woke up just before sunrise to see a pearly dawn touching the eastern sky. Far below I can see the Nile snaking along, green on both sides but just beyond that the relentless desert creeps along.
15 Nov 2007
Its so crowded Puan Sri and I decided not to go inside its bustling depths. We decided to be practical and avoid all the hassle and jostling by staying outside - hmm cowards maybe?
Arriving in Cairo around just before 3.00pm, we were caught in what looks like rush hour traffic. But Sayeed the driver said that it is always like this - congestion or jams occur practically at all times of the day. I didn't see much of Cairo last time but today we get to see more. Lots of tall buildings - some very new and modern but others mainly residences or blocks of flats from the utilitarian designs. Crowds everywhere, cars and vans and buses jostle for space on the roads and movement is practically snail space. We arrive at the hotel at sharp 3.15. Its quite nice from the outside, though I think its 3 star. After checking in we were told to come back down immediately for our trip to the pyramids at Giza, which closes at 4pm.
12 Nov 2007
11 Nov 2007
6 Nov 2007
There must have been at least a hundred tables and there were so many people. Most of the staff who knew me came and said hi or shook hands or salaamed. The food of course was mediocre - we were at the VIP table so food was served. However the rest of the staff - as Dr John Arul said - the phlebians - had the honour of picking and choosing their own food at the fantastic buffet at the back of the garage. Of course we could have taken the food there but I was too lazy to get up and anyway its only food. However the singers more than made up for it. One of them was Haziq, who was in last year's AF. Farhan was also there as was The Singing Shop, courtesy of Tan Sri Azman. Most of the staff were dressed up to the nines - in their raya clothes. Some brought children along and since it was also a Deepavali thing - most of the Indian staff were also there. I saw Kul with her two daughters - she introduced them to Jean, who was the guest of honour. Jean came during the UMNO general assembly so she had to wear the UMNO uniform - red and white. She looks like a fairly nice and simple person - down to earth and friendly, unlike the PM's late wife. Things went on until fairly late in the afternoon so I made my excuses and went back to Pohling's to again take up my role as child minder!
3 Nov 2007
1 Nov 2007
Among other things - she now cries more when she wants attention, she also laughs just as much. Have not yet decided if she prefers milk in the bottle or mum's milk - most times mummy's best but at times even mummy loses. Even at this age she knows how to wrap you around her little fingers - me especially! Here she is,looking for all you know like a six month old, perching from her pram.
30 Oct 2007
Shasha also got me some good chick lit by Dorothy Coombs - My Bestfriend's Girl and Marshmellows For Breakfast. Both are good reads. My Bestfriend's Girl is about love and betrayal and loyalty. Unlike many of the romance novels that I've read, both these books give us an insight into friendships - even unlikely ones. In My Bestfriend's Girl for example we see a young black woman who moves away from all that she knows and loves to escape a broken heart. (I know it sounds corny but read on). She was engaged to be married to a white man, but just before the wedding she finds out that the little girl she adores belonging to her best friend, is actually the love child of her soon to be wed fiance' and her best friend. Grief stricken, betrayed and unsure of herself she runs away and stays away for six years. But six years later she finds out that her best friend is dying of cancer and she has inherited the little girl - proof of her fiance's betrayal. Now she has to bring this little girl up as her own and cope with her own sense of loss and guilt.
This sometimes moving, sometimes funny story tells us how she copes with bringing up a child and finding her own self. A really good read and a must have!!
20 Oct 2007
19 Oct 2007
There was a time when I really admired her. I thought she had it all - looks, charm, power and ability. I even dedicated a poem to her. But time has proven me wrong or maybe she still needed time to prove herself. Someone said that she was the mediocre daughter of a great leader. Well, in this decade, the mediocre rules. Look at the US.
18 Oct 2007
Well... so all my fish had died. There were nearly 2o of them - I loved the golden yellow ones best. And even the Jelawat - they're also dead. I just can't believe it. Maybe I shouldn't rear fish anymore. Just let toads breed in the pond.
15 Oct 2007
Its my birthday today ... feeling kind of old too. I know I still look ok for such an old hag (he he) but these old bones do ache sometimes.Anyway just pondering things...when am I going to stay put in my house in Melaka? Its such a waste - we've got a nice garden and a lovely home but we are so seldom there to enjoy it. I want to add some more flowers... improve the ones that are already there. I'd like to establish myself in Taman Ikhsan so that the neighbours know me. Right now only Kak Yah and Norliee know me and although I've met a few others I dont really know their names. What a sad state of affairs isnt it? I wish my grand daughter could also grow up here- go to the local school and be friends with Edy's children Izzati and her sister. As it is I still feel like a stranger in my own neighbourhood.
This is already the 3rd day of raya. This raya is Sophia's first - all my children except Sarah are here. It's great and yet sad too because we wont be a full quorum until Sarah finishes her studies in 2011. Then only can we all enjoy a raya with the whole family. Where will we be then I wonder. Will Repin and I still be around to celebrate it? Will my mother in law still be around too? Let's hope so.
For the first time since we moved to Melaka we had breakfast in our own house - not at Mother's house in Semabok. Then my sisters and brothers came to the house - more like an attack than a visit!! It was a great day, though I felt quite tired at the end of the day.
The picture above shows Yah, Jasmin and their children with me at the waterfall. And this is me with my grand daughter, Sophia
2 Oct 2007
Even in buses or on the train we see this bad behaviour again and again. We pride ourselves in being generous especially when a catastrophe befalls us... but what we are also is selfish, insensitive and lacking in common courtesy. I've seen teenagers sitting in the seats specially reserved for pregnant women and old people, not caring that an older person is standing up and holding on for dear life on the rails. Sometimes I wonder where the traditions that we Easterners are famous for have gone to. Did we lose them in our rush to become a modern and progressive society? Japan is also a modern and very progressive society but their people are still imbued in the old traditions that teach them to respect the elderly and to care for the weak.
I was in Tokyo just a few months ago and was struck again and again at how respectful they are to each other. The place where we stayed at - Asakusa - is slightly out of town. Maybe like a suburb of Tokyo but still a bustling little city of its own. Its not as busy as downtown Tokyo perhaps, but what I really liked about the place were the people. When they meet a friend they always bow to each other, talk for a while, then bow again before walking on. In the subway you see pretty school girls standing up to let an older woman sit. There is never any rush to get into a train, however crowded it is. Everyone patiently wait in line to get in. Even if the line is almost a mile long ( as when we were going to Tokyo Disneyland). Nobody pushes anybody when the train comes. Can't we learn to be like them?
1 Oct 2007
Wan however was the exact opposite. He would dive in regardless of the dirt and the wet. I remember his cheeky smile after a particularly grueling play session at Sequoia Park in California. He was so covered in dust you could hardly recognise him. More like a street urchin than my own. No child revelled in dirt as much as that one did.
They were all different in their own ways - the girls and the boys. Rizal had to grow up suddenly when we had Wan. He had been our only child for a long time - 6 years , then suddenly had to be pushed aside by this little squalling brat everyone said he had to love. Sometimes I wonder how he felt. At that time I was studying for my degree, so had very little time left for him.If I could change things I would change that aspect of my life and pay more attention to him.Looking at photos of him as a seven year old I see a scrawny looking boy, a bit sad in the eyes and regret not paying attention to him then. Even when we were in the States and Rizal was 9 or 10, I don't remember sitting down with him and talking to him of school and what he did - just asking him whether he had completed his homework. I really must have been a terrible mother I think.
28 Sep 2007
Sometimes I wonder what other people my age do - apart from looking after their grand children I mean. I dont want to end up being a nanny to my grand kids. Repin asked the other day if I wanted to teach some English classes - that would be ok I think. But what I'd really love to do is write some stories for children. For this I need to be in Malacca permanently - not have to travel to and fro all the time. Writing,I think needs to be done in a quiet place - at least the kind of writing I want to do. Also here in Malaysia its so difficult to get your books published - unless its for school and are workbooks. Two years ago I gave Joyce my jazzchant which I had prepared for lower primary kids - complete with exercises and activities in case parents feel its not educational enough - and she still said that they couldn't publish it because there was no market. It's kind of sad that our people here don't appreciate good books for children and only see workbooks as reading material for their children. And yet, the ones that you see in the market (published overseas or in Singapore) are nothing much - mainly pictures.
26 Sep 2007
Looking at my little Sophie sleeping I can't believe she's two months already. In fact she's now slightly over two months. Chubby, large black eyes watching you and suddenly a smile breaks out. That's Sophia, my grand daughter. I feel so proud just looking at her. She's quite a smart little cookie too. The moment you try to put her in the cot she'll start screaming but if you quickly take her up again the screaming will stop - as if with a switch. She loves bathing, smiling happily when you splash her with the warm water and after her bath likes to take a little nap. Today for the first time she slept in the cot and not in her cradle where she normally sleeps. I didnt even have to sing her favourite lullaby - she slept in my arms and didnt wake up when I put her in the cot to continue her sleep.
16 Sep 2007
Kota Kinabalu has not changed much since I came here two years ago. Then, I was at the Beverly Hotel. This time however we stayed at the Promenade, closer to the waterfront. Its a relaxing place though and gave us time to sit back and just enjoy ourselves, catch up with much needed reading and walks along the waterfront. I noticed though that it is much cleaner, compared to the last time I was here. For one thing the waterfront is a pleasure to walk now. Clean clear view of the sea and islands beyond... and the apartments and hotels opposite enhance rather than detract. Even the Philippine market near the waterfront is cleaner too - the first time I was here it looked almost like a wet market, and the smells, or rather pong beat description!!
Repin and I spent three days here - relaxing and just lazing around. I even had time to go for a hairwash! We read, tasted the local fare and had a good time with each other.
Last week Repin and I were in Tawau. It's changed so much since I last visited it. That was in 1996, when I was still working at the Exams Syndicate. Today its no longer a clutch of old tin roofed houses but a bustling modern city as can be seen here. We stayed at the reliable Belmont Marco Polo Hotel, just a stone's throw from the Philippine market, which is much as I remembered it. The place is busier than before however - there were at least two meetings going on when we were there. But its a comfortable hotel with a fairly good coffee house. We were there for only one night though - the next day we flew off to KK
31 Aug 2007
Today, on Malaysia's 50th birthday I wish her peace and harmony for the next fifty years, I wish that our people would realise that we are indeed a great nation , that our various prime ministers have done their best to make this country a prosperous one. I wish that one day we do not have to fill in forms that delineate race and labels such as Malay, Indian and Chinese will cease to exist. And most of all I wish that the current corruption that is rampant in most government agencies is stopped. I wish you a very happy birthday, Malaysia.
28 Aug 2007
It rained earlier this morning but now the sky is a bright blue with patches of dark clouds on the horizon. This is what I love about Malacca - you can always see the sunshine even though it rains. I've just looked at the waterfall than Nan has repaired - he's even put some koi in. I did have some before but they all died a few months back. The water's clear now and he has even cleaned the pool for us. He put four koi - each about 3 inches in length . But I can't see the sucker fish I put in last week. Can't even see its dead body - it seems to have disappeared overnight.
26 Aug 2007
Sara managed to scan this photo of Repin and me taken at a restaurant during a wedding anniversary celebration. I think we both look so young and carefree. It seems like a long time ago when we had anniversary celebrations. Nowadays Repin is too busy to even remember my birthday. And then he only gives money. Sigh... I guess time changes a lot of things.
But I'm grateful that at least he still cares
24 Aug 2007
At times I feel so sad - especially when we all have a sumptuous family dinner and she's so far away. Knowing she has to cook herself after studying so hard also makes me feel bad. She's my youngest and yet right now I think she's facing the toughest time - what with the cold, being so far away and a foreign country which is so different from what she's used to.
18 Aug 2007
I did an ice breaker with them - getting them to introduce themselves and their friends. After that we tried a language game - something like Charades. Most students seem to enjoy themselves but a few came to me and say they didnt need the lesson.
16 Aug 2007
12 Aug 2007
Last week it was the OUM convocation - only one day but a really busy day. First thing on Saturday 8 December we had to be at PWTC for the convo. But our day began even before that - we stayed at Legend and the evening before we were there at the hall looking at the preparations. The rehearsal started around 5.30pm. Datin seri Jeanne came around 5.40 pm, looking rushed and a bit tired. She wore a simple brownish top - kurong like with harem pants. It looks good on her I thought. The rehearsal went well and we all went back after 7pm.
The convocation started at 8.30 am the next day.
5 Aug 2007
Originally uploaded by kayrepin
It was a sad day for most of us when this picture was taken. I had taught before - mostly school girls - subjects such as English Literature and English Language. But teaching these 'kids' have been the most fun for me- they have taught me not to generalise, to lump people into categories. It was a month of relentless teaching - sure - but it was also a month of discovering what a lovely bunch of kids I have in these young people: Fuad with his long hair, Azizi with his shy smile and Azhar with his cheeky grin. It was a real satisfaction when by the end of the fifth week I could hear some of them speaking in English - however broken it is. WE even had a small class party to mark the occasion - this picture was taken on the second last day of class before they received their certificates.