這是今天讀到的一個新聞標題。很好奇，就點進去看了。好奇，因為我在英國這裡，有關反課綱的報導只有 BBC，Daily Mail 和 The Independent 在海外新聞版有蜻蜓點水式地提到，雖然台灣自己內部已經鬧得不可開交了。
令我憂心的是，當這份熱情遮瞎了眼，蒙蔽了理智，就會走上與 ISIS 那些恐怖分子一樣的路。Freedom is not license — 民主不是為所欲為，這也是為甚麼民主與法治必須並存。你要反課綱，可以，但是還有很多人支持課綱啊，為甚麼只能聽你的？
總之，帶著一肚子大便上了法新社的網站法新社 AFP 查詢，因為我的經驗告訴我，很多原文報導跟台灣編譯過後的版本都有出入。我懶得去探究這種謬誤背後的動機。
詭異的事來了。。。無論是用 Taiwan 或 Taipei，甚至是這篇民報新聞中的「Chu Chen」，都查詢未果。
For the past two years, I’ve been feeling as if I’m no longer able to communicate with others the way I used to… as if my ability to express myself has somewhat disintegrated. Because, it just seems so easy to get my messages misconstrued…
Now, I’m not talking about those situations when some people are just committed to misunderstanding you — They somehow feel the need to assert their ‘one-upmanship’ no matter what, such as the ridiculous religious debates which were forced on me.
I’m referring to pure misunderstanding (I mean, hopefully… I really would like to believe in the good in people, particularly those I love) caused by communication breakdowns which could generally boil down to different mindsets, together with the probable language barrier and culture gap.
Last Saturday, I met Waffle’s stepfather Karl and nephew Sweet Pea for the first time. Falling for Sweet Pea the instant we were introduced, I just couldn’t take my eyes off that permanent angelic smile, which reminded me of my own nephews Winter and Khan who I spent quite some time with when they were small.
When I reached out to Sweet Pea for a handshake, Karl chuckled, ‘Troublemaker!’
Upon hearing this, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I caught a fleeting glimpse of slight uneasiness on Sweet Pea’s face. But, it was quickly erased by his angelic smile.
Throughout the time, I felt the urge to talk to him. He just seemed so sweet. And every time I turned, he was smiling at me. I made faces at him a couple of times which made him laugh. Nothing beats a child’s heartfelt laughter.
On the way home, I asked Waffle about Sweet Pea’s age.
Waffle started telling me how the many diseases Sweet Pea’s been suffering from have made him look younger than his actual age. I gasped internally, for I couldn’t tell at all.
Then I thought of this word ‘troublemaker’. I recounted the incident to Waffle out of curiosity.
Like I said, I didn’t know what to make of it as I knew nothing about Waffle’s family and certainly not their family dynamics. It might just well be an endearing way to tease each other, some light-hearted family joke, like how sometimes I would call Beam Beam, ‘You little punk!’ and so on.
The reason I noticed it was merely because of my teaching background and recent studies on narrative therapy and children with learning difficulties (my own godson and another nephew have been diagnosed with autism), general stuff about the power of language. In short, language is my passion.
Also, growing up in Chinese culture, this is not something uncommon, but because I myself was a victim of the false humble attitude in my culture, I’ve become quite cautious around this kind of language.
Waffle straight away clarified there wasn’t any negativity intended on Karl’s part (But frankly, I was just curious if Sweet Pea was naughty at home). Obviously, Sweet Pea admired his granddad and they did get along.
‘I see. I was a little taken aback. That’s all. I thought it wasn’t very nice to tag that word on a little boy.’ Notice I was speaking in the past tense here — ‘thought’.
I carried on the chit-chat about the reason this word caught my attention, partially because I didn’t want Waffle to have the wrong idea about my intention.
Somehow, it backfired spectacularly, which could well be my own fault for failing to achieve eloquence. Waffle was convinced that I was just being critical and judgmental, trying to behave like an expert, about the child-rearing practices his family, particularly his sister — Sweet Pea’s mum, had adopted.
To tell the truth, I was stunned by this unfortunate outcome. Honestly, I was only chit-chatting about my own interest in language, not a single word about his family that I didn’t know anything of. How could I be perceived as so nasty and mean by someone who I regarded as family?
Stupid and slow as usual, I tried to explain, but it only got worse. Waffle got angry, not just upset, and refused to listen to me.
Eventually, I was beside myself with rage when all failed. I frankly was incensed by my own poor communicative ability. I just couldn’t believe it. And partially, I was baffled by Waffle as well — Just how on earth could I criticise and judge before I even got to know that Sweet Pea was disabled?
I apologised after Waffle insisted on his negative feelings towards my words, believing firmly that I was speaking ill of his family, acting like a smartass. Apologies, because I somehow caused the misunderstanding, not because I did speak ill of his family — I DID NOT.
This freak accident proved that the real troublemaker is actually me. I’m just so socially awkward — never know how to start and when to end. In this case, I should have stopped the chitchat right there. My passion is not of anyone else’s interest at all. Parenthood is tough enough, and it’s even tougher to have disabled children. So I can understand why this seems such a sensitive issue. I need to be more careful and improve my language proficiency in order to make myself fully understood.
On the other hand, this incident rather took the wind out of my sails. Nothing survives without trust. I always give people the benefit of the doubt. But, I do like to have some in return from time to time.
I came to the realisation that, after all these years flying around the globe, the only people I can feel totally at ease with, knowing that they trust in me no matter what, are my family in Taiwan with whom I grew up with. Throughout the journey, I did try to create my own family, but apparently, I need to work harder on that — I’d like my trust to be reciprocated.
Unfortunately, the only place makes me feel at home is not Taiwan, where my family still are. It’s England. Need me say more? Everything happens for a reason. This is God’s way of helping me achieve my full potential as a human being. Sigh.
SO ~HELP ~ ME ~ GOD!! Amen!!
我指的是那種純粹的誤會 — 因為觀念、思考邏輯不同，還有文化差異所造成的。而不是那種擺明要刁難、死纏爛打非贏你不可的；例如那兩次被沒品的無神論者打鴨子上架的宗教辯論。
這時，我想到了「Troublemaker！」這個字，出於好奇，就跟鬆餅提了，原來他當場沒有聽到。我說，我不認識他們，所以這也許是家人間親暱的一種互動，就像我也會叫梅小獸：「You little punk!」
最後，我也火了，被自己無可置信的爛溝通能力惹火的。除了氣憤的情緒，我也無法理解鬆餅的態度 — 根本我一開始都不知道小甜豆的身心多重障礙，是要怎麼批判論斷？！
我最喜歡的作家之一 Maya Angelou 說過一句話：『。。。人們不會記得你說過的話、做過的事，但他們永遠不會遺忘你曾經給他們的感受。』鬆餅很堅持他對這件事的負面感受，所以，我最終道歉了；不是因為我做錯事（說他們家壞話 — 我沒有！），而是因為我造成了這個誤會。
只是，我的歸屬感在英格蘭，不在台灣。這無異是 上帝的巧妙安排。我沒有怨言，因為， 上帝的意念高於我們這些凡人的，該修習的課題，就要好好完成才是。
This morning, finally remembered to pass the stamps to Paul. Almost everyone I know has been collecting stamps for the Big Headz.
Once it was done, Beam and I walked on towards school.
Beam made an observation, ‘You’re very good at collecting stamps.’
‘Oh? Haha ~ I like the way you put it. Tell it as it is. You know, some would definitely make comments like “Wow! You’re rich!”‘ (Note: One stamp for every £5 spent ^_^)
‘Yuh. Remember some of the people we know? They’re somehow forever comparing themselves to others, forever assuming and using every opportunity to make a statement.’
‘Mm, true,’ looking thoughtful, Beam understood fully what I was saying for I’d been talking about everything with her, even my love life.
After our playful farewell routine (Me: ‘See you at Christmas!’ & Beam: *hissing as she walked into school ~*), I headed to Co-Op and couldn’t help beaming all the way. I was touched by the positivity in her words.
Language is not just a tool for communication and expression. Behind a language, there’s always a certain set of values and a specific culture (or cultures!). How you use it definitely reflects your world view and beliefs.
Therefore, I was delighted to see Beam focusing on telling it like it is, positively.
The other night, while I was cleaning the kitchen and getting ready for bedtime, suddenly, there came Beam’s crisp voice, ‘I think I accidentally killed the baby spider.’
I turned, and saw her standing there with an apologetic look on her face, frowning.
She was trying to move the spider, who was strolling on her laptop, to somewhere else, but somehow managed to squash it because the stack of paper bent unexpectedly and hit the wall.
‘Er…’ I was trying hard to be nurturing and looking for some words of wisdom for this unfortunate incident.
‘Oh well, at least he won’t have to worry about being murdered again,’ wise as Yoda, Beam found her conclusion before I had the chance to pretend being smart.
I laughed. This sounded too familiar, ‘Are you copying my “Look on the bright side” philosophy?’
Beam cracked up too, ‘Of course! I know too well this is exactly what you would say, right?’
‘Oh well…’ I couldn’t deny at all.
What can I say? Children do learn what they live!
但是這位年輕的 Yoda 搶先了一步，一點機會也不給：「嗯，起碼，她都不用再擔心死亡這件事了。」
我笑了，太耳熟啦！「你這是在 copy 我的樂天哲學嗎？」（我的口頭禪之一就是「往好的方面看。。。」）
Stumbled upon some thrilling news today. That the Marbled Cat was spotted in Yunnan Province (southwestern China) after 30 years of absence!
Images of the rare marbled cat have been captured in a remote nature reserve in southwest China’s Yunnan Province, researchers said on Friday.
This is the first time researchers with Gaoligong Nature Reserve, which was founded in 1983, have managed to obtain photographic evidence of the endangered animal.
The discovery was jointly announced by Kadoorie Conservation China (KCC) and Gaoligong Nature Reserve.
Images were captured on Oct. 7, 2014 and Nov. 11, 2014 by infrared cameras installed at the Datang station of the nature reserve, according to researchers.
Wang Yingxiang, researcher with Kunming Institute of Zoology of Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Doctor Will Duckworth with the World Conservation Union confirmed it was the rare marbled cat.
According to Wang, the first records of the marbled cat in Yunnan were a few specimens found in 1976. The animal was last seen in 1984.
“The images captured this time give us proof that the marbled cat is still alive in Yunnan,” Wang said.
Marbled cats, whose scientific name is pardofelis marmorata, has been listed as vulnerable by IUCU. It is mostly distributed in southeast Asia, along the Himalayan foothills and on the island of Borneo.
“We believe the existence of a marbled cat shows the biodiversity of the nature reserve,” said Chen Beile, a department manager of KCC. “It indicates the possibility of discovering more rare animals in the area.”
First, I’ve always had a soft spot for cats, which might have something to do with the fact that I was born in the Year of Tiger (By the way, Maomee means ‘kitten’ and ‘kitty’ in Chinese). Second, Yunnan is where Dad was born and lived until he was forced to flee by the age of 9 due to the civil war.
Marbled Cats （http://www.wildcatconservation.org/wild-cats/asia/marbled-cat/ ） exist in naturally low densities. And the fact that their habitat has been undergoing the world’s fastest deforestation rate due to logging, palm oil plantations, human settlement and agriculture doesn’t help.
Sometimes, I do wonder what the world would be like if humans didn’t exist. Surely, nothing lasts forever, history has proved that extinction is just part of the natural order and evolution. But, when it comes to human-caused extinction, it’s a completely different thing.
I somehow recall a post Beam and I read last night (We were watching Godzilla 2014 with Waffle and got curious about the robot-like MUTO couple), titled ‘Sympathy for Female MUTO‘, discussing the scene in where the humans set off the bombs to destroy the MUTO eggs, and the female MUTO started crying.
I read the post before this happend. Just the description itself was enough to make me avoid that particular scene. Yes, it sounds stupid; ‘No animals were harmed in the making of this film’, and Mutos are not even real anyway. But! I am a mother myself and losing own child is simply heartbreaking.
‘But she’s trying to kill Godzilla!’ Obviously siding with Godzilla, Beam protested, eyes rolling,
‘I am a mother and I know!’ I hissed back. Yes, very childish, I admit.
And when Godzilla sent the female MUTO to hell with the atomic breath, I couldn’t help but feeling sooooo upset with Godzilla (Mind you, I cried for Godzilla as well when her eggs were destroyed in the 1998 film).
I know, I know. Silly. Just like how the thread eventually turned into a debate about who you were siding with — Godzilla, or MUTOs? Actually, very entertaining. we did have a good laugh reading the whole thing.
One netizen named Daikaiju Daniell sums it up perfectly, ‘You know human character development is bad when I cry more for the monsters than the main humans.’
Well, let’s not lose hope, shall we?!
或許本身屬虎的緣故，我向來對於貓科動物有難以言喻的喜愛，甚至我的暱稱「貓咪」、「滇貓」都與貓有關。而後者這個「滇」字，也說明了我的血緣：雲南 — 那是爸爸從出生到九歲之前的故鄉。
這讓我想起昨晚。我跟梅小獸到鬆餅家看２０１４年新版的酷斯拉，影片進行到一半，我們都對劇中那一對苦命鴛鴦 Muto 很好奇，於是很沒品地開始咕狗；因而，誤打誤撞讀到了一篇名為「同情媽媽 Muto」的帖子，討論的是媽媽 Muto， 在面對辛苦產下的寶貝蛋蛋被炸彈摧毀時，那哀痛欲絕的畫面。不少網友都同感，當然也還是有少數發言是不以為然。
當酷斯拉對著媽媽 Muto 噴出原子能火焰奮力一擊時，我又生氣了，你不知道 Muto 只是要保護她的蛋蛋嗎？！虧我１９９８年的版本有為你掉眼淚，因為看到你辛苦呵護的寶貝們同樣被人類炸光光。吼！
倒是，一位署名 Daikaiju Daniell 的網友，下了最佳註解：「當你掉淚是為了怪獸而不是人類時，你就知道人類有多可惡了。」
Accidentally spent two hours on YouTube, watching Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and David Cameron. Quite interesting, particularly the comments — those words alone, mostly come with outrageous name-calling, certainly give you the impression that they are the worst arseholes since the Big Bang. But if you do watch the whole thing, trying to put aside the ‘inherent label’ you’ve given them for the moment, you might think otherwise. I know I do.
It seems a trendy thing to bitch about politics and politicians. We seem to be always blabbering as if we know best how to run a whole country. Throughout the years, I have encountered a lot of people who proudly regard politics with absolute disdain. I have no problem with that as that’s perfectly within their rights, but I am not at all pleased when my respect for their freedom is not reciprocated, meaning my opposite point of view inevitably gets taunted as naive and even dumb by these people. (Oh, one ‘fun fact’ — I am usually the only one who votes in the elections. Isn’t voting one of the best ways to make yourself heard? Please enlighten me — You bitch, yet refuse to do something about it… — What on earth does that mean?) I agree that there are a lot of rotten politicians in the world. But, I never lose hope. Certainly, there are still lots of people working hard for the greater good, including politicians. Think about Uruguay’s former present Mr Jose Mujica, Singapore’s founding father the late Lee Kuan Yew and even ROC’s Mr Ma Ying-jeou.
Why am I so sure? Well, I come from a civil servant family. My father and brothers were all military professionals prior to their civil service careers (with two of them being the section chiefs). A few of my other relatives are civil servants as well, including my mother. Even I myself once worked for the municipal government before starting teaching.
Therefore, I have first-hand experience of serving and being served (while most of those who taunted me only have half the experience). I witnessed how difficult it could be to implement a well-meaning policy. First and foremost, you can never please everyone. Second, the rivals and their followers tend to distort the whole thing to suit their own purpose.
Of course, you can have your own opinion towards the person, be it Obama, Clinton or Cameron, as you’re entitled to it, for whatever reason. But, it always puzzles me seeing how some feel the need to deny someone’s everything just because they don’t like that person. Yes, ‘label’ first (No, I don’t like him / He’s not on my side), then ‘deny’ (so he can’t be good or right whatever he does). And because they feel the need to deny the person, they might resort to warped and even fabricated facts so as to justify their viewpoint, together with name-calling. This doesn’t just happen to politics. It can be anything — religion, sports and so on.
Some people just have to ‘win’ no matter what.How sad is that?
Well, glad I’m not one of them. Am still striving to be the change I really hope to see in the world ^_^
不小心在 YouTube 看了兩個小時的影片，主角有歐巴馬、柯林頓還有卡麥隆。平常都只是片段讀到有關他們的新聞，很少有機會像這樣看完整的談話、演講，也因此特別有意思，畢竟沒有媒體的斷章取義或不同解讀，自己的思慮比較不會受打擾。至於網友的評論部分，就更有趣了；說真的，如果沒有親自看這些影片，或是根本不認識這幾個人物，那些負面留言會給你一種錯覺：這三位想必是自宇宙大霹靂以來最糟糕的蠢蛋。
這幾年，似乎表現對政治、政客（或者單純執政者）的不屑與鄙視，成為了潮流；大夥兒夸夸其談，彷彿個個都是治國專家。我遇過不少人，一談到這個話題，立馬嗤之以鼻，彷彿這是在侮辱他們的蓋高尚。我對此沒有意見，因為那是各人的意見自由；但是，這些人往往對於我的相反意見沒有回報對等的尊重，這一點是我所厭惡的。當然，爛政客從沒少過，可世界之大，我依舊相信真的有從政者是為民服務的心態（例如烏拉圭剛卸任的總統 Jose Mujica，新加坡國父李光耀，還有中華民國的馬英九總統） — 這些人因而判定我就是無知膚淺加三級。不過，很耐人尋味的是，往往，我是唯一一個每次投票都不會缺席的，我無法理解！畢竟，選票不就是最好的發聲方法之一嗎？
其實，對於特定的人物的喜惡，都是正常的；但，如果把各人好惡轉換為標籤，一切依標籤為判定標準 — 我喜歡的、我同意的，無論什麼都是好都是對；這人我看不順眼，立場跟我不同，無論如何言之有物或者有實質建樹，我就是反到底 — 這，在我看來，跟恐怖分子的行事風格沒什麼兩樣。再說了，反，也罷，無論是什麼理由或動機，這依舊是你的意見自由；可怕的是，往往，很多人為了「贏」，不惜歪曲事實來「證明」自己是對的，或是為自己的主張合理化。
Comes in handy!
by Kate Woodford
Most of us talk about our jobs. We tell our family and friends interesting or funny things that have happened in the workplace(=room where we do our job), we describe – and sometimes complain about – our bosses and colleagues and when we meet someone for the first time, we tell them what our jobs are. Here, then, is a selection of English vocabulary to help you to speak about your work.
A careeris a job or number of jobs of a similar type that a person does over a long period: I’d always wanted a career in teaching./I wasn’t interested in an academic career. The word professionis used in a similar way, but always refers to work that needs a lot of education and training: the medical/legal profession. Note that ‘profession’ also means the people who do a particular type of…
View original post 500 more words
‘Take care,’ I said, hating to part with the love of my life, but trying hard to act as if without a care in the world.
‘Of course I’m walking you home… to make sure you’re home safe,’ he grinned like a content little boy, with that mischievous twinkle in his eyes.
‘Oh. Okay. Thank you.’
I walked on coolly, not wanting him to see through my real emotions deep down, with him by my side.
Suddenly, he reached for my hand, took away the keys it was holding, and put them into his other hand.
‘Huh? What happened?’ I looked at him, baffled.
He smiled me THAT smile which never failed to make my heart flutter. Gently, he wove his fingers in between mine.
Suddenly, there was nobody else on earth but the two of us…and I, was to know the happiness of love!
A dream come true for me, at last.
I foolishly tried to blabber away the awkwardness caused by immense sense of insecurity with some nervous laugh. A dream is a dream after all, isn’t it? However beautiful it might be, there would always come the moment when you had to wake up.
All I really wanted to do was clutch his hand and not let go, but, would it just burst the beautiful dream prematurely?
A very short walk actually, no more than one whole minute. However, time could never efface the impression of that fevered moment of delight which I had yearned for for the longest time. Sadness… joys… There was no more sharpness of edge between the feelings.
When the dream came to an end inevitably, at least, we were both better off for having known each other.
Thank you, my beloved Heavenly Father.
Thank you, Love of My Life.
I noticed this problem when we first visited England in spring of 2010. I was amazed to see the hidden road signs, thinking how lucky that English drivers were generally rather gracious and civil. Can’t imagine if this was in Taiwan, Singapore or HK, where drivers behave quite differently…
^..^ still amazed…
The government recently announced plans to ‘declutter’ road signs and make street safer for cyclists and motorists but I didn’t realise it meant hiding them from view!
I spend a lot of time on the region’s roads and it seems to me that more road signs are increasingly grimy or gradually disappearing from view into overhanging foliage and rampant undergrowth.
The plans, to go to consultation, are designed to make signs clearer and to reduce their number so they are easier to understand.
So maybe these ‘disappearing’ signs are part of a cunning plan to give the impression that action is already being taken to rid us of some ‘unnecessary’ road signs.
That’s the cynical journalist in me.
I suspect it is more about the ideal wet and warm growing conditions — that has turned my garden into a lush green oasis rather than the usual flagging foliage — and highways authorities’ tight budgets forcing cutbacks in general maintenance.
Unfortunately the signs that are falling victim to vegetation include some important ones such as speed limits and direction boards — the ones that actually help promote road safety and make it easier to get from A to B. Not everyone uses a sat-nav and, even if you do, it’s reassuring to know you are on the right road.
The problem is that signs are often obscured by vegetation further along the road so you don’t get an early view of them and some drivers slow suddenly when the sign becomes visible. Failing to keep your vehicle’s windows clear is a traffic offence but I wonder if there is any such regulation for traffic signs?
I accept that keeping signs clean and clear is a huge job but there must be some way of improving the situation.
If you have a tree or hedge at your home that is getting out of hand, and obscuring a road sign, give it a trim. And perhaps some offenders sentenced by courts to community service — how about those convicted of serious motoring offences — could do the rest of the road-users a favour with some soapy water and a cleaning brush. Or would that contravene health and safety?
Unfortunately hidden and dirty signs can also be a road hazard as motorists slow to see what they were put up for to tell us in the first place. And if we don’t really need to know any more then take them down.
~ East Anglian NORTH ESSEX Times, June 9, 2014
If I can just get through the night(MV)-黃鶯鶯(TRACY…: http://youtu.be/Id_GP5z6kIY
Dear dear Blanche,
Thank you ever so much for this lovely afternoon *bow*~
Frankly, I was stunned to learn about the “judgment” on me. Because, Janet actually showed great empathy when I recounted my thoughts on marriage in Chinese culture and the problems I’ve been facing.
“It must be very tough…” she responded. Then carried on telling me how one of her friends went through something similar.
Maybe, really, Panda touched her heart.
But, to be quite frank with you, I don’t understand why people selectively ignored the very fact that I’d wanted so badly for the marriage to work out and tried with all my might throughout the years which unfortunately to no avail as it takes two. When I asked our mutual friends if they’d accept the same abusive behaviour in their marriage, everyone gave me a firm “No way!” However, I’m expected to just swallow it. Human mind, intriguing eh?
Truthfully, I’ve never quite recovered from the past, particularly when my family was involved in his attacks, although I agreed to give it one more chance… twice. (No, no apologies yet.)
I didn’t realise how hurt I’d been until I saw my beloved dad lying in the morgue. It hit me hard — I’m someone’s beloved child, sister, and mother, too, so why should I take all the crap? I hate this notion of how once a girl’s married, the spouse and in-laws “own” her. It’s simply disgusting.
Good friends know about everything in my past, good and bad. But still, some concluded, “You’re just lonely / feeling lost.” People seem to have problem believing that one CAN actually enjoy solitude as much as good company. In this relationship, I’m most of the time alone, but never am I lonely. Not that I think it’s wrong to be with someone simply because of loneliness. We all have different priorities. It’s just not me and I don’t intend to pretend being something I’m not.
However “advanced” or modern this society claims to be, there’s still widespread discrimination against a homemaker cum stay-at-home mum, because our work scope is impossible to define — People think we’re just sponging off our spouse.
If you ask me, I still believe in true love, of course (That’s why I’m very busy after lights out every night… with my 7 IHs, haha ~) I suppose the best I can do now is keep the faith (There must be a reason for me to stay on), be myself, and see where God takes me to. In other words, just try to make the most of it.
Being trusting and honest can be such a hindrance, even backfires, sometimes, because it makes you the easy target for unfair scrutiny… But hey, God’s got my back ^_^ God sees and God knows. And the truth is I’ve been fortunate beyond measure having met beautiful people like you along the way (Panda can be beautiful, too, if his change’s real). It’s worth it!
One of my all-time favourite actors Joyce DeWitt once said, “Should there be a ‘judgment day’, there were only two things I believed I would be held accountable for. One was how I had treated Mother Earth and my fellowmen, and the other was what I had done with the gifts I was given.”
Thank you so much for bearing with my blabbering. Hope I haven’t scared you off… Or have I? ^_^
Very happy Year of Horse!
Mrs Roger Federer-Tom Hiddleston-Optimus Prime-David Walliams-Mark Strong-Keanu Reeves-Chester Wong
很遺憾，無論這個社會再如何看似進步，全職媽媽依舊普遍受到歧視 — 因為我們的工作內容與貢獻無法具體量化，所以是好吃懶做的米蟲。
當然，我依舊確信真愛的存在（所以捏，我有著很忙碌的夜生活，七個面首哪！哈哈～）。眼下，我所能做的，就是保持信念（如果我怎麼都走不開，就表示還有 天父給的課題沒作好），繼續堅持真我，謙卑順服 天父的帶領。
我明白自己的不輕易疑人還有誠實兩個特點，有時反而讓自己受到傷害，因為容易被人拿著放大鏡無限上綱做得不完美的地方。但是捏，你猜怎麼著？我有 天父罩著 ^_* 人在做，天在看。而且，正因為堅持真我，我才超級有幸遇上這麼多像你一樣的天使（熊貓的轉變如果是真實的，他也可以是個天使）。值得！
我很欣賞的美國女演員 Joyce DeWitt 說過一段話：「假若真有『審判日』，我相信這審判的依據只會有兩個：一、我是否善待大自然和人類同胞？二、我是否善用了自己的天賦？」
Mrs Roger Federer-Tom Hiddleston-Optimus Prime-David Walliams-Mark Strong-Keanu Reeves-Chester Wong
Read something interesting this morning, which reminded me of my childhood. It’s Tom, my IL (short for ‘Illegal Husband’) No.2.
Tom Hiddleston: ‘I used to have a double tape deck and I used to have my own radio show, as it were, and I’d be the weather girl, and I’d be guests. I’ve always done silly voices.’
I’m the youngest and my brothers are 9 and 8 years older respectively, so I played alone very often, particularly when I was in primary school. When my favourite TV travel programme began, I just sat next to the television with my double tape deck and started talking to the little recording mic. Or rather, ‘repeating’ (and recording) whatever the host was saying, as if that was my own show.
Once, Brother John decided to hold a concert in our bedroom. John gave himself the stage name ‘Taiwanese Rooster King’ who spoke Mandarin with some very thick Taiwanese Hokkien accent. He played the guitar and sang, while I was the host of course. Once in a while, I did the chorus. And the two of us had to play the very enthusiastic audience (a.k.a. the crazy fans) as well, clapping and cheering… That was one brilliant project!
Come to think of it, Beam did the similar thing during the age of 3 to 5. She would hide under the coffee table in the sitting room with my mobile phone, and started with ‘Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls…’ Then she sang, from Disneyland’s Halloween theme song to The Backyardigans. Glad that I still have those files. Listening to them always brings a big smile to my face.
So!! You know what this means… Tom, we’re meant to be!! *muahahahahaaaaa*~~~😄
我的非法配偶第二號湯姆 Tom Hiddleston 在訪問中說了：「以前我有一個雙卡錄音機，
Woke up to the surprisingly chill morning air. Reached for my phone. Oh, 6°C, no wonder. I walked over to the radiator and turned it on. Time for my yoga session.
While exhaling and inhaling, my mind started wandering (That’s why I don’t meditate. Haha ~). How blessed we are to live such an abundant life. I can’t imagine what sleeping rough is like, and my heart goes to those less-fortunate fellow earthlings.
This reminds me of how I’ve been criticised for my seemingly eternally cheerful attitude towards life by some, particularly those whiners — ‘Of course, you can. You have such a good life!’ In short, I’m accused of being a positive thinker. Mm, actually, I’m more of a doer than a thinker, really.
I don’t understand why people are always assuming. Maybe this is one way to comfort themselves for not owning their weaknesses and responsibility? Don’t they think that so-called ‘good-life people’ (such as us *duh*~) actually work hard to earn it? And the truth is, I count my blessings. I choose to count my blessings instead of whining.
Blessings are everywhere, big and small. The question is: Do you see it? Or rather, do you acknowledge it?
Our Black Friday incident serves as one of the best examples.
13 September, 2013. By the time we finally came out from the custom, it was 8:40pm. Unusual, because Chris, our reliable chauffeur, didn’t show up!
I looked around but there wasn’t a familiar face in sight. It could be the traffic as there was pissing rain that night. Or maybe he’s gone to the bathroom.
Okay. A text message went out to him, ‘Hi-hiyee are you there?’
A response came promptly, ‘Hi, I’m here. Hmmm and what happens next?????’
I looked around again, baffled. ‘You are? We’re under the meeting point sign in front of the Tourist Services.’
‘Are you at Heathrow — ’cause you’re not due until tomorrow???’
I gasped, ‘Er… Yuh. Today.’
How odd! Chris is the most professional driver I’ve ever known, so this is not supposed to happen at all. But then again, Boey is the one who reconfirmed the booking with him, not me, meaning I don’t really know what’s in their dialogue. So who knows? Maybe it IS our fault.
Right after I pressed ‘Send’, Chris called. He was willing to set off immediately if I’d like. Just that we had to wait. At first, I thought of just hiring a cab directly from the airport. But then, I don’t drive, so I wouldn’t know how to give directions. Furthermore, there aren’t many lampposts here, even on the motorway. The lights are mainly at the exits and roundabouts.
Heck. Just wait loh. It’s safe at the airport and at least I know I can count on Chris who’s actually a friend as well. He’s the one who took Maisie from Spain to England for us.
Just as I hung up, looking at the time & date on my phone screen, something clicked: 13 September, 2013.
For the past five whole weeks in Asia, this number ’13’ had been showing up repeatedly. Sometimes, number 20 came along as well. Usually, it was the table we dined at at a restaurant. Boey and I reckoned that it must be some lucky number and started having all sorts of billionaire fantasies, ‘We’re gonna be rich this year!!’
But the thing is, we don’t know how to buy a lottery ticket, nor do we know how to do horse racing betting. In the end, we just let go of the crazy thought, knowing too well that we’re the type who just have to work hard and save hard.
Now it finally dawned on me that it’s been God’s gentle reminder of our correct arrival time — 8pm (a.k.a.20:00), 13th.
OH ~ MY ~ SWEET ~ GOD ~~~
Around a week before our departure date, I realised I put down the flight details on the 14th in my diary which left me absolutely puzzled. Because all the way, when we talked about the trip, it was the 13th. This realisation alerted me and I thought to myself that I must check with Chris. However, later on when Boey did so with Chris via Viber, he intriguingly used the 14th as well though he was the one who pointed out the mistake in my diary. Moreover, I made the booking according to the details in my diary… So, no, it’s not Chris’ fault at all.
Annoyed with myself. I didn’t pay much attention to the itinerary this time as Boey is the one who made the bookings with his redeemed points. We could’ve avoided this mess if I were a little bit more careful.
Never mind. Now we know!
To kill time, I bought some sandwich and salad from the cafe as I’m forever on a see-food diet; my Kindle was in the check-in luggage so I read news on my mobile phone instead.
Suddenly, this headline popped into my eyes: Black Friday, Faye Wong to divorce.
Eh? So… it’s Black Friday today???
OH ~ MY ~ SWEET ~ GOD ~~~
What is wrong with me??? I knew it’s the 13th, and I knew it’s a Friday. BUT!!! This combination never came to my mind at all… Dyscalculia? Dyslexia? Early Onset Dementia? Oh well, life goes on.
Beam sighed, ‘I’m beat. I wish I could sprawl out on the floor right now.’
Feeling guilty, ‘Yup. That’d be nice eh? But think about how lucky we are. It’s safe and warm in here. And we have Chris. Do you remember that miserable rainy night in Beijing?’
Beam nodded, with yet another sigh.
That was more than five years ago. We were living in HK for six months then. Before we set off, Boey had been bombarded with information on how cunning Mainlanders would be by his HK colleagues. So, he was determined to choose the airport bus which he found online over a cab.
‘It goes to our hotel! Er… actually, no. But it goes to that road!’, he announced happily.
I frankly was not comfortable with the thought. He had no idea how big Beijing is and how long that road can be. If you ask me, I would say that 2008 is the Olympic Year and they’d been working very hard for it in almost every way. Apart from this, every time I visited Mainland, it astounded me with its rapid development. I’m sure if we get a licensed cab, there’d be no problem. After all, cheaters are everywhere, not just in China. If it’s about money… well, we’ve been very careful with our money every day, so why not indulge ourselves just once? It’s a holiday for God’s sake. Besides, shouldn’t we put Beam, our 4-year-old sweetheart, into consideration when we plan the trip?
Yes, I’m the one who visited different places in Mainland more than once before. But, for a very long time, my opinions were never really appreciated or respected. In short, I have no say because he’s the bread winner. Guess that’s the sad story of many other stay-at-home mums as well. When so many assumed that I must be the one in charge (which he happily played along most of the time) because of my stern look, what they didn’t know is that I was the submissive one in our marriage.
When we boarded the bus, it started drizzling. Boey was too thrilled to be bothered, staring at all the fancy cars zoomed past us on the motorway.
‘Chinese are damn rich!’ he proclaimed.
I remained silent. I was worried if the drizzle would have become something else by the time we reached our destination. We never like the idea of carrying an umbrella, not even when we travel overseas. Now this might be a problem.
Just our luck — It began pouring as soon as we started walking. A middle-aged lady cycled past us and slipped on a puddle. I went over to help her get back up.
There was no shelter along the way, meaning we literally walked in the rain.
At first, Beam was excited, ‘It’s so fun!’ But very soon, her bubbly chattering stopped. She just tugged her tiny paw in my hand and walked quietly beside me, with her head lowered in case the rain got in her eyes. Every now and then when I checked on her, ‘Are you okay?’ She looked up at me and nodded with her trademark sweet smile, ‘Just a bit cold.’
At the traffic lights, I turned and saw the rain trickling down her hoodie. Her angelic tiny face was soaked. I felt so terrible inside. What a useless mother!!
Boey finally admitted that taking a cab is probably a good idea. Unfortunately, very bad timing. It was the peak hour, plus in the rain. Now that he was aware of the mistake, he tried to avoid any eye contact with me due to the guilty feeling. I ignored him too, because it boiled my blood frankly, for not standing up to him. I cursed and swore as we walked along.
It felt like eternity. Our hands became so numb from the freezing temperature.
All of a sudden, it dawned on me — Why didn’t I pray? Why did I allow the negative emotions to take over?? What kind of a Christian is that?! Bloody hell…
I started praying silently as we walked on. Please, God, guide us to our hotel and give us a happy ending for the night. PLEASE!!!
Finished. I casually looked up and… Lo and behold!! There stands the neon sign of our hotel, gleaming in the rain. We are here!!
Thank you, God!!! Praise my Lord!!!
As we entered the hall, all the eyes fell on these three drenched creatures. I overheard some whispering, ‘Aww… Poor little girl…’ So embarrassing ~~ And the giant thermometer shows that it is 2°C tonight. No wonder…
We ended up walking for almost one whole hour in the rain and the laundry cost us RMB400+, because water got in both of our bags and soaked our clothes. The irony… But luckily, Beam didn’t fall ill. Throughout the 8-day journey, she remained her chirpy, bubbly self.
I digress. Back to Heathrow on 13 September, 2013.
After two-plus hours, Chris finally showed up. Upon his appearance, Beam and I were so exhausted that we suddenly burst out laughing like two mad deflated zombie balloons (filled with laughing gas, must be). So tired, so tired… Hahaha… All your fault, all your fault… Hahaha… I know, I know… Hahaha… Sorry, sorry… Hahaha…
By the time we reached home (in the pissing rain), it was half past two.
Beam looked at me and declared, ‘I’m not taking a shower tonight. I’m going straight to bed.’
In this house, she can do whatever she wants to long as it doesn’t affect others who are involved. For quite a while, she’s been sleeping with me, instead of in her own room, and so a shower before sleep is my requirement. Shower or bath before sleep is like a ritual for myself. My bed is sacred. So, no shower, no Mama bed!
However, the five weeks in Asia has really worn me out frankly. And this Black Friday incident certainly didn’t help at all…… To hell with the ritual!!
In the end, the two zombies didn’t even wash their faces or brush their teeth. They just charged straight upstairs to the room! To lovely Mama bed!
When I woke up again, it was around noon.
As I entered the kitchen, the first things sank into my eyes were a big bouquet of fresh flowers, a ‘Welcome Home’ card, and a fresh loaf of bread. A gentle reminder in the card: ‘There is milk in the fridge.’
It’s Pat and Stephen.
Aww… I almost cried in the fullness of sheer joy. Such a grand gesture of kindness!
Pat actually rang Chris a few days before to confirm our arrival time. And of course, she got the wrong information. She was shocked to see our scattered bags that morning she came in to collect the mail and newspaper.
She had been looking after my house when I was away. I only asked her to come and open the windows to ventilate the house a bit once in a while. But of course, she’s done far more than just that, as usual. My garden is so tidy and ready for the rest of the year, thanks to her.
John, my lovely neighbour on my left (Pat is on the right), has been taking care of my garden as well. He’s the one who mows the lawn and weeds. He has to drag his mower and go around our house (Pat’s and mine are semi-detached, so are connected directly, but not John’s) to enter my garden. Before we set off to Asia, he kept telling me, ‘Remember to share pictures with us. You have a good time and make sure you come back, okay? You come back! And don’t worry about your garden. We’ll take care of it!’
When I told Mum about it on the phone later on, she was almost choked with emotions, just like me. ‘Praise the Lord! You’re so well taken care of by all the beautiful people there. I shall not worry anymore about you and Beam living in the foreign town alone.’
‘There are dark shadows on the earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast.’
~ 《The Pickwick Papers》 by Charles Dickens
These beautiful people are certainly the lights.
It’s not always that easy to stay cheerful and keep the faith in such a chaotic world. But I always try my best focusing on the lights and on being one as well, because it’s the only way to live on.
Thank you, God, my faithful God, for the lights!!
剛送出回覆，克理斯來電，如果我們願意，他可以馬上出發，只是我們要等一等。原本想，那麼晚就不要麻煩人家了，直接從機場叫計程車；但再想想，我自己不開車，所以也不認得路（更別提夜裡黑咪摸什麼都看不到 — 這裡即使是高速公路，也沒有什麼路燈，主要在交流道附近才有，何況我們那兒算是比較鄉下，沒有經驗的人很難開車），要怎麼跟司機說？等就等吧，反正在機場沒有安全顧慮，而且熟悉的司機（我們其實還有朋友關係，逃家貓咪梅喜喜就是他帶給我們的）還是讓人安心。
電話剛掛掉，看著手機螢幕上的日期，我突然像毫無防備被潑了一桶冰水般的清醒過來：１３ September, ２０１３.
現在，謎底終於揭曉了：那其實都是 上帝給我們的警示 — １３日夜間八點（２０：００）抵達希斯洛。
大約離境一個星期前，我發現日誌上怎麼寫的是１４日抵達希斯洛，我還在納悶，因為我們每次談到回程，說的都是１３日，太怪了，那得跟克理斯再確認比較保險。結果，稍後熊貓跟克理斯用 Viber 通訊時，竟然說的也是１４日（可是，是熊貓跟我說我日誌寫錯了！），加之我當初預約的時候，就是依著日誌資料，所以錯完全不在克理斯。
算了。等待當兒，去買了三明治還有沙拉，享受美食真是人生一大享受。吃乾抹淨後，因為 Kindle 丟在寄艙行李箱裡（沒料到有這樣的意外），我不喜歡在公眾場合開箱，就用手機上網看新聞殺時間。
祈禱完畢，無意抬頭看了一下，什麼？？？！！！台灣飯店亮晶晶的大招牌，在雨中眨巴閃爍著，原來我們已經走到這裡了！感謝 神！！讚美 神！！
~ 狄更斯 《匹克威克外傳》
Saw this on UPWORTHY‘s Facebook page.
I still remember vividly how my kindergarten teacher (our pastor’s wife) said to me that I was wrong to colour my flower blue (which has been my all-time fave colour) because ‘Blue is for boys and you’re a girl. Red is for girls’. Fast forward… when I was about 11, my uncle took me to a toy shop and let me make my own choice. When his co-workers saw my doctor set and police set, they laughed, ‘Wow! You’re certainly not a girly girl.’
Beam’s been making most of the choices for herself ever since she was born. Family and friends were worried… because she stopped wearing dresses and skirts at around the age of 3, and she’s never into things like Barbie or Hello Kitty (Dora the Explorer is probably the “girliest” character she’s ever shown some interest in… All the way, she prefers ‘boyish’ stuff like Ben10 and Spiderman, and animals).
Meanwhile, she kept her hair long which is regarded as a ‘girly’ thing in this society. When she first decided to have it cut (age of 5), people asked me, ‘How did you make her?’ The truth is I never did, never do and never will. She felt it was too hot; simple as that. And I can’t tell you how many of her kindergarten friends had been so jealous of her being able to decide on her own look, ‘Aww… I wish Mummy would allow me to keep my hair long too!! But she said it’s too troublesome.’ I’m still baffled — Certainly a pony tail is very easy to do, yuh? That’d been Beam’s trademark for years.
When she was in primary school, though PE lessons were her favourite (which often got cancelled for no reason), a school day with PE lesson was quite unbearable. Imagine in a tropical country like Singapore, girls have to wear a skirt outside of their PE shorts still. Beam asked me, ‘Why is it those female teachers can wear trousers while we have to put on a skirt? Why is it they can let their hair down however they want while we must tie ours up or cut it short?’ Well, because, unfortunately, many adults consider themselves superior.
I never understand how stereotyping works. Such stupid and counterproductive mindset, but still, it’s the mainstream. We once discussed the differences between men and women in class. I wondered out loud why we must put the focus on ‘gender’ and why we can’t just treat every person like an ‘individual’ regardless their gender. My male teacher straight away responded, ‘Well, that sounds very female actually.’ @_@
Well, just glad that Beam’s finally a Summerhillian where she’s free to be who she is. The best decision we’ve ever made for ourselves!!
Had a lucky happy day!
After dropping Beam off, I went for my walk because I wouldn’t be able to make it for my 10:30 Japanese lesson if I joined my fellow Wabas for morning run. I was thinking about skipping it at first (What a good excuse! XD), but then, I got so fed up by the verb transformations. I said to myself, ‘If I don’t get out of it now, I’m gonna murder the first human I see!’
It went well. This time, no interruption at all. Just Mother Nature and me — the way it should be. Though I love and truly enjoy running with my fellow Wabas, like what many of the test results have revealed, I need joys of solitude in my life as well.
I managed to shower before going out again for my Japanese lesson. As usual, Charleelee greeted me with his dole eyes and friendly furry snuggles when I arrived. Though the newly-learnt verb transformations are killing me, my lovely sensei Hai Ying is kind and patient as ever. However lame I am in class, stuttering the ridiculously wrong answers most of the time, Sensei just laughs in a very caring and encouraging way which really puts me at ease.. though I still can’t help cursing ‘Bloody Japanese!’. I know I’m free to be silly, even dumb, in front of her ^_^
It was very enjoyable to be Sensei’s ‘prop’ for Miss & Mr Lithuania. To be truthful, it’s way more difficult to put what we learn into practice orally. Probably the hardest part of language learning for so many of us. Well, Miss & Mr Lithuania, 我們一起加油吧！（wo men yi qi jia you ba!）一緒に頑張ってみましょう！
After lesson, I dropped by Leiston Lodgings as promised. Ying Zi is leaving early tomorrow for the 100th day of her father’s passing. She invited me over for lunch. I had to decline. I didn’t want to trouble her as I had an appointment with my optometrist at 12:30. So I told her I’d be happy just to see her and have a chat. But Ying Zi was thoughtful enough to prepare lunch anyway. A lovely surprise. Ying Zi, I wish you and BB a pleasant trip back home and a wonderful summer holiday!
It must’ve been more than three years since I last had my eyes checked. However, I didn’t expect it to be so thorough here, which is very different from what I experienced in Taiwan and Singapore. The result: My eyes are very healthy apart from the fact that I’m very short-sighted. (When she broke this to me, I on one hand felt relieved, on the other hand, couldn’t help laughing XD)
I had a great time choosing a frame with the assistance of my optician Bob who’s in his early 60s. It was the very first time I heard about my ‘wide-set’ eyes. I’m 38 going 39, and I had no idea. Never. All the way, I thought I just had a big head which gave me problem when I looked for a frame that suited its size and shape. Life’s indeed a never-ending learning process eh! Bob told me that this was the funnest (haha funny, not strange funny *bleh*) day for him because of me. Aww… :3
As I was walking home slowly with groceries, someone called me from behind. It was a mid-aged man driving a van. I thought he was lost and asking for direction. But hell no, he was trying to sell me something — The back of his van was filled with osteopathic mattresses. How bizarre is that? And the most intriguing part is that I AAAMMM looking for a new mattress because the old IKEA one collapsed some time ago!
After Maisie soiled it, I’ve been using the cheap single mattress on my bedroom floor. As Sushi Queen pointed out that good mattresses are always pricey, I planned to do more research and get it done only after we return to Leiston in mid-September. But thanks to this bizarre incident, I got a good King-sized mattress for only 220 quid — Actually, I didn’t have enough cash at home so had to run to the ATM machine. I bumped into Dani on my way out.
‘Have you found Maisie yet?’ Dani asked. She and her husband own one of my favourite cafes in town, Simply Delicious. They kindly shared their space on Facebook for me to post about Maisie.
She went on telling me how she heard from a friend that there have been some cat poisoning cases in our neighbouring towns. Frankly, what a daunting thought… But, I want to focus on the positive side — This is a very kind gesture of hers. People actually care enough to stop and ask. That’s the magic of Leiston!
And while I thought this is the end of a lucky happy day… (I have happy days most of the time, but they’re not necessarily lucky ^_^) God proved that you can never have too much luck.
For dinner, Beam somehow decided to try the organic burger mix I bought at SD quite a while ago. As she was cooking, I went to the bin to clean the green waste and saw John, who was inspecting his immaculately beautiful garden. He just mowed our lawn for us yesterday afternoon.
‘Helloooo ~’, I smiled.
‘Hello, Ja! How’re you doing?’, John walked toward me, smiling.
‘Good. Good. Thank you. When does Beam’s summer holiday start?’
‘Are you doing anything then?’
‘Actually, we’re going back to Singapore on 8 August. I’ll fly to Taiwan from there for a 10-day trip. Then at the end of it, the three of us are visiting Hong Kong. We lived in HK for six months so it’s sort of like a reminiscence trip.’
I saw the curiosity and concern in his eyes which reminded me of a conversation we had last summer (https://maomeeja.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/%E4%BD%9C%E8%87%AA%E5%B7%B1-be-yourself/), and promptly reassured him, ‘Oh, we’re definitely coming back! This is our home and we love you guys!’
He beamed, ‘Good! Good! Make sure you come back, okay? You come back!’
He then went on asking how Beam’s doing at school, telling me that he knows Zoe and Tony very well because he worked on the road surface for Westward Ho. (John is a civil engineer.)
‘It’s essential allowing children the freedom to live their own life, not being pushed by the parents. You know, I’m in my 70s and I’m still working. I enjoy the buzz being around people, but very often, I get astounded by those university kids’ lack of capacity and ability of independent thinking. They may have learnt a lot of theories, but they’re totally ignorant of practical knowledge.’, obviously, the thought of it filled him with dismay.
I sighed, because this is part of the reason I decided to take Beam here, ‘Same in Asia… probably even worse there. Boey is a designer and he teaches design at a polytechnic as well. Designers are supposed to be thinkers too, but more often than not, the students just go to him and ask, “So, what do you want me to do now?” They’re simply used to having the life arranged and managed by their parents and other authority figures.’
John nodded, ‘You know, Beam’s very special. Seriously, she impresses me every time we talk. You can ask Jenny. I’m not saying this for your cakes, honest! She looks into your eyes, she listens and you can tell that she thinks before she speaks. And she’s always so earnest. Coming to Summerhill is really the best decision ever you’ve made for her… And by the way, thank you ever so much for the Victoria sponge cake! The cream and strawberries… aww… that was absolutely lovely!!’
This cracked me up😄 I accidentally froze the cream and strawberries, and the cake ended up a little bit soggy.
But, John’s always thoughtful and kind, ‘No! No! It was very good! Loved it!’
As I waved good night, I knew I just had to jot all these down. I’d like to remind myself of the importance of being grateful for all that I have, and to always remember how to appreciate all the fine (many times small or even tiny as well) details in life.
Here’s to many more lucky happy days!!
Decided to bring my phone along and use MapMyRun for my walk this morning.
Funny though, my workout was stopped twice in the first 10 minutes. Mind you, this is normally quite a solitary journey with only Mother Nature by my side.
One of the pauses was for Katharine, my elegantly quirky Irish neighbour, who was waiting for the bus to Aldeburgh when I passed by. We chatted for about 10 minutes until her bus arrived. She told me how she was talking to a friend of hers about me just the other day.
I grinned nervously and jokingly grabbed her arm, ‘Good or bad?’
She laughed, ‘Good. Of course good. And she commented that you sound like a spiritual person. I said yes, you are. Such a lovely character.’
I gasped. Me? Spiritual? No kidding eh? All the way, I thought, to be spiritual, you have to be a good philosopher who thinks a hell lot. I don’t really think that much to be honest, not even when times get rough. I just live. Live — accordingly.
When I was in primary school and junior high, corporal punishment was still the norm for all sorts of ‘crimes’, such as failing your test (The full mark is 100 and that was what you were supposed to get. But if somehow instead you got 88, that’d be 12 strokes of cane for you. Most of the time, they landed on your palms; but sometimes, the teacher preferred your rear end for it. I was once hit so hard that only the first stroke made me almost topple over). As we were lining up for the caning, some of my friends would get so frightened and started crying. Or, when it was their turn, some just instinctively shied away from the cane out of extreme fear, which always infuriated the teacher and they ended up getting hit much harder.
Well, I never cried, nor did I shy away. I wasn’t brave or anything. I was scared stiff like everybody else, but I just wanted this to end as soon as possible. So, with my palms facing up, I grit my teeth. However, those teachers didn’t like this attitude, either. They reckoned that was a sign of rebellion and disrespect (because I wasn’t showing enough fear?) and I ended up like those friends of mine. The way I see it — They were simply a bunch of sadists. We defenceless kids were easy targets.
So you see, I just live. Don’t really think. I’m not exactly an intelligent person and living accordingly actually has helped me survive throughout the years.
Another thing is, I guess I’m just not crazy about the word ‘spiritual’. It just so happens that many of those I know who claim to be spiritual are in fact so insecure and unhappy with their own life that they just can’t help being judgemental and critical (in the name of spirituality or whatever bull they say). In short, they feel the need talking down to you so as to make themselves look good and feel good. How spiritual can you be if you don’t even care to live and let live??
But of course, ‘spiritual’ can be a good word if you’re on the ‘right’ track, I suppose, haha ~ Nevertheless, I’m very flattered. Thanks a million, Katharine ^_^
I had to discard and set a new log every time I was stopped. So, here’s another lesson learnt today: Don’t care too much about the workout log. Just enjoy it and whatever comes along.
In short, live!!
Sunday morning, I woke up to find this pair of socks lying at the hallway outside my bedroom. They are Beam’s, and were next to her bed. She doesn’t wear them any more. They serve as cushions, pillows and blankets for her animal friends.
This mysterious appearance baffled me completely as neither of us had spotted them before lights-out.
‘Maisie-sie?’ This was my first thought.
‘Maisie-sie? Meow ~ Maisie-sie?’ I called out her name. There was only silence.
Who else, right? She’s the only one who becomes so alive and kicking, which is utterly contrary to her life during the day, while both of Beam and me are dead asleep. I just never expected her to roam upstairs. She only zooms upstairs when she’s panicking, like the time when I tried to offer her a cat toy. She was so offended by the fishing rod lookalike, and simply stormed off.
To be fair, Maisie’s not familiar with us yet, let along the toy, which she probably had never seen before. She’s been an outdoor cat who once lived on the balcony of my friend’s holiday home in Spain. The ex-owner of the house had three cats, and Maisie was one of them. She chose to live on the balcony because she didn’t like other cats. When the lady owner moved back to England, she took the two indoor cats with her, and left Maisie behind. Being big animal lovers, my friend and his wife, Chris and Helen, let her stay and fed her.
It seemed that Maisie was waiting for someone to come back for her, and never wondered off even when Chris and Helen, who only manage to visit the holiday home once every few months, were back in England. The next time they saw Maisie, she had turned so skinny because of starvation. So, they decided to take Maisie with them.
When they told me about their plan to take Maisie back here, I asked if Beam and I could have her. They have got a sweet dog called Pebbles, and a big tomcat called Fred. He was not sure if Fred and Maisie would get along anyway.
They got Maisie a Spanish pet passport so as to avoid the dreadful quarantine when she travels across borders. It’s very cool. She now can travel around in EU freely if she’d like to.
But, I guess the long journey back to England and the completely different living environment have had a great impact on her, apart from the fact that we sort of forced the move on her though obviously if we didn’t do this, it was likely she would starve to death. Maisie has been all passive aggressive towards us so far.
Tigger was like that, too, when he first joined us with Meeloo in Singapore. Meeloo and us clicked on immediately (he napped on my thigh that very night!) while it took Tigger two weeks to finally allow Beam Beam to carry him in her arms. During that two weeks, I just left him alone and never pestered him. Every time I caught a glimpse of him, I greeted him with my trademark (Ha!) cheerful smile and “Hello Tiger-ger!” Now, this is what I do with Maisie as well, in the hope that she, like Tigger, will sooner or later accept us to be part of her life.
So…… Why the socks?? Maybe she just forgot to put them away after finishing her night game?? And she was nowhere to be seen. She was usually under the radiator in the sitting room.
I didn’t dwell on it as I’m never good at solving crimes anyway. Besides, a homemaker’s work is never done. I moved on.
After a while, when I put away Beam’s clean clothes, I made an intriguing discovery — Maisie was sitting in between the mattress and the wall which the mattress was resting against. She looked calm.
Now, here’s my theory. As Chris and Helen were coming to pick up the cat pen they lent us that day, I cleaned the rug and gave her the new litter tray the night before. Perhaps, Maisie sensed that there was going to be some sort of change again, and decided to make her own decision this time. By dropping off the socks, which belong in Beam’s room, at the hallway, she was trying to notify us of her whereabouts, of her moving house!
Helen concluded that it could be a gift for us as well, because we feed her after all.
Whichever it is, the truth is that she has started communicating with us, which to me represents a ray of hope! And Helen taught us a trick — Squinting is the way cats smile ^_^ So this is what we have been doing every time we talk to Maisie. We must be looking like Laurel and Hardy or Dumb and Dumber to her.
Before this sock incident, Beam and I always spent the first few minutes after lights-out listening intently to her movements downstairs, and wondering what she was up to actually. However, from Sunday night on, she began talking. Talking, not growling. I just wish she would eventually walk into my room and have a face-to-face conversation with us.
Maisie-sie, we are always here, waiting for you patiently ^_^
他們夫婦在西班牙買了一棟渡假別墅，梅喜喜是前任房主的貓咪，因為跟另外兩隻室內貓合不來，她選擇住在陽台上。前房主賣屋搬回英國的時候，不知道為甚麼，只帶了兩隻室內貓，把梅喜喜留在那兒了。克李斯和海倫都是愛護動物人士，見到梅喜喜，並沒有趕她走，就讓她繼續住，又天天餵她。問題是，他們每隔幾個月才會去一次，住上月餘，這之中，沒人知道梅喜喜是怎麼過的。原本以為梅喜喜會另外找歸宿，畢竟貓咪天性愛自由，沒想到她竟然一直等著他們回來，所以，再見到梅喜喜，她瘦成皮包骨。於是，決定帶她回英國；為了不讓她忍受隔離檢疫，克李斯特地幫她申請了寵物護照 — 有了寵物護照，就可以在歐盟區內自由遷徙，好酷！
海倫還教了一招，貓咪微笑就是瞇眼睛 ^_^ 所以，現在我和梅小獸都拼命瞇著眼睛，希望把滿滿的善意、愛意傳達給梅喜喜。可能，在她看來，不是像勞萊哈台，就是像阿呆阿瓜吧。
“I’ll never allow my online persona to get mixed up with who I am in reality. So, no way would I meet up with any of them.”
Five years on, yet I can still recall the aggressive tone in her voice when she said these words. That was when I first realised how internet addiction can totally destroy a person (with the benefit of hindsight of course).
Though she’d been acting so warm and welcoming when the fellow bloggers excitedly talked about the possibility of having a “real” gathering, that was what she said to me. She then went on criticising some of them, who are our mutual (online) friends. She even bashed a lady who happened to blog about the same topic as I did, calling her a shameless copycat. I obviously annoyed her to hell when I tried to disagree.
Creating an online persona can be a good creative outlet and I’m sure everyone can be perceived somewhat different from the person in reality anyway. But, if you don’t like a person, for whatever reason, just stay away, whether it’s online or in reality. Live and let live. Simple as that. Why do you have to pretend to be their friends but behave so differently behind their back? When she told me about how she was just “doing them a favour” by visiting their blogs and leaving comments, I couldn’t believe my ears. What had happened to the lovely girl I used to know?
When you tell a lie, surely you’ll need one more lie to cover the first one, then one more, one more, and many, many more… How exhausting is that? (So you see, it’s not always bad being too laid-back and not brainy enough like me. My life is certainly way much simpler — in a very pleasant way most of the time, haha~) What’s more, as Abraham Lincoln put it ever so wisely: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”
In short, as Peter Parker’s Aunt May says, “Secret has a cost. They are not for free.”
It inevitably came to the point where they turned out to be more and more manipulative and I finally decided to back away. It’s never right if I have to put myself down so as to maintain a relationship. The intriguing part is these people assume (either this or they simply make it up to suit their purpose) you’re just jealous of them if you dare to voice yourself. It’s illogic to me — A truly happy person would never live a life filled with lies. What’s there to be jealous of?
To be truthful, I did feel sad about letting go because for me, friends are for life. But I’ve learnt that it’s fine to acknowledge that we can outgrow our friends. After all, my choice of friends says something about how I view and define myself and the world.
People are always surprised to see how frank I am about my life, warts and all, particularly online. Well, honesty makes my life so much simpler and easier. So what’s wrong with that?
中央社 – 2013年2月11日 下午12:34
柏林洪堡大學（Humboldt University）資訊系統研究所研究人員克拉斯諾娃（Hanna Krasnova）說：「許多人瀏覽臉書時產生嫉妒情緒，因而感到孤單、沮喪或憤怒等負面經驗，而且人數多到讓我們驚訝。」
原發表於 http://maomee.172baby.com/posts/122125.html 2005 年 10 月 12 日
When you were busy job hunting, you probably put a great deal of time and effort into perfecting your curriculum vitae and creating exactly the right impression at your interview.
But just because all your hard work and effort has paid off and you have finally landed that great new job, it does not mean you can now sit back and relax.
A job for life is unfortunately a thing of the past, and the workplace is now an extremely competitive environment.
So if you want to ensure that your new job is secure or that you are in the right position to move up the corporate ladder, you are going to have to prove your worth. And that does not just mean making an effort — it means making sure that all your efforts get noticed.
The first day on a new job can be really intimidating, especially if you feel that everyone is staring at you. Try to turn your new workmates” initial interest to your advantage by introducing yourself, being friendly and getting to know everyone around you.
You should realise that it is not always the hardest workers who make the biggest impact. Often, by working so hard, they concentrate on the task at hand, forgetting all about their colleagues around them. Interaction and sociability are equally essential elements in getting yourself noticed in the workplace.
It is also vital that you take credit for the work you have done, especially if it is something over and above your job description, something that you have gone that extra mile for.
Having said that, it is important not to be too pushy; waltzing into a new workplace and announcing that everyone was doing everything wrong until you arrived will win you few friends. Be prepared to listen to and to learn from your colleagues, as there may well be good reasons for doing things in a way that may strike you initially as being totally illogical.
However, do not be afraid to claim credit for a successful project by presenting, say, a memo or a written outline of your suggetions to your boss, showing that you have put thought and effort into this area. As a result, you will be recognised as a problem-solving employee both by bosses and by your co-workers.
Once you have established yourself as a valuable member of the team, do not be tempted to rest on your laurels. When you have been in a job for a while, it can be easy to start coasting without even realising it, but be aware that other people will quickly notice if you are not pulling your weight.
You can avoid falling into that trap by taking advantage of any training initiatives that are offered by your company. This will show your bosses that you are interested in progressing and learning new skills.
Remember, it takes time to adjust to a new job and learn how everything, and everyone, works. Therefore, do not feel as if you will be facing the sack if you fail to come up with five brilliant new ways to improve efficiency by the end of your first week.
By showing that you have plenty of initiative and enthusiasm and are not just there to do the bare minimum, you will prove that you are a flexible, committed worker who is a real asset to your company — and hopefully ensure a stable future for yourself.
~ IPS, The Straits Times, Saturday, 8 October, 2005
移居狮城的前一个半月，便辞去了工作，算算已有四年半的光阴。两个星期前，定居广州的新加坡老友丹尼介绍加入 Lexxus 的电子商务行列；虽然不是正式重返职场，还是很紧张。感谢丹尼送的两本书，非常有启发性：
B2B Means “Back to Basics” by Bill Quain
The Wellness Revolution by Paul Zane Pilzer
其中 B2B 所谈的，与这篇文章的精髓不谋而合，读了特别有感触。与大家分享！
原發表於 http://maomee.172baby.com/posts/122124.html ２００５年１０月３日。
在美国的时候，一天，小阿姨 （葛洛的娘，娘的小妹妹，也是我的三娘） 对我说，祥祥这个小孩心地很好。我说应该不错吧，天性挺细致的娃娃。小阿姨接着举例，你看我逗豚豚分我吃点心，她只是看我一眼，然后继续津津有味吃完；祥 祥自己没在吃的，但是听到我的话，马上跑去拿了一块给我。可能豚豚毕竟小多了 （祥祥大她九个月） 吧，我谦虚地答道。。。不过，自己的宝贝受肯定，实在心花怒放得很
四 日一大早就要飞澳门了，趁着今天赶快采买一些缺的旅行用品。超市外有个投币式的小飞机，每回等着结账时，祥祥总要去坐坐；不过有时是抢不到的，也许人家投 了币正享受，也可能只是占着位。很多父母是不去管束小孩的霸道行为，反正别烦他们就好，所以常常见到明明还有一个空位，却硬是不让别的小朋友坐；投了币我 没话说，若是没投币，凭什么就是你家的呢？还有那种不投币却在那儿坐老久的，也不理会旁边还有小朋友等着。每每见到这种情形，我就会想，我们到底给了这些 孩子一个什么样的世界？
今天运气很好！我远远见到两姐弟坐在飞机上，原本暗忖大概没希望了。 等祥祥在飞机前停了脚步，那个大约九岁左右的小姐姐说，啊，小妹妹要坐了；姐弟俩马上下来让座，牵着年轻爸爸的手走了。事情发生太快太突然了 （太意外了嘛！），我赶快回过神来对那个可敬的爸爸投以感动并感谢的微笑，他笑着对我点了点头。
祥 祥有点儿害羞地说谢谢，然后就兴高采烈地坐了上去。过了一会儿，我注意到稍远处有个妈妈带着一大一小的男孩，那个大男孩看来是挺想玩的。祥祥也在同时间看 到了，马上挪了小屁股，然后很用力拍拍挪出来的位置，很大方地邀请他一起玩儿。男孩似乎心动了，走了几步，他妈妈不知叽里咕噜了什么 （好像是马来人） ，他很失望地退回远处，垂头丧气的。我怕那个妈妈是担心我不高兴，才不让孩子来，所以还特地对她露出灿烂的笑容，而祥祥依然把座位拍的啪啪响，甚至对他招 招手。为了某种不明缘故，还是只有祥祥单独玩。一会儿，我说轮到爸爸付账 （新加坡说：还钱） 了，祥祥心满意足地下来，学兔宝宝蹦蹦蹦跳到熊猫那儿。