Thursday, December 31, 2009


Overall, 2009 has been a good year for us.

Freedom was finally gained after seeing the light one day in early 2009.

We finally made it to Japan to enjoy the Sakura season after talking about doing so for many years. Travelling at our own leisure for two weeks without having to adhere to a tour schedule was fun, fun, fun!

We finally received what was due to us 3 years ago and making full use of it.

We welcomed an addition to our extended family in Aug 2009.

We made it in time to sign the official documents in Dec 2009 and started the process.

Goodbye 2009! Hello 2010! Happy New Year everyone!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas 2003

We were in Beijing on 24 and 25 Dec 2003. My spouse was there for work and I just tagged along for fun. It was our first trip to the country of our forefathers.

We stayed at the Century Golden Resources Hotel 北京世纪金源大饭店 (now known as the Empark Grand Hotel Beijing). The above photos were taken in the lobby of the hotel and its underground mall.

On Christmas eve, after my spouse have left for work, I took the local public bus to the nearest subway station (Xizhimen). Then I took the subway train to Tiananmen. I have taken subway trains in Hong Kong and Tokyo but this really takes the cake - the whole train was jammed packed with people - my whole body was stuck to everyone elses bodies around me and I couldn't move at all. It was a horrible experience.

Then I alighted at the Xi Tiananmen stop but I didn't go into 故宫 Gugong (Imperial Palace) as I wanted to wait until my spouse could go together with me. I just walked around outside and took photos. Since I was alone, many Chinese came up to me to offer me their tourguide services. I had a difficult time saying no so many times. They were really persistent.

While I was walking slowly and enjoying the scenery, daydreaming in my own world, I suddenly realised that someone was shouting at me from behind. I turned and to my horror saw that a group of people were marching behind me and their troop leader was shouting at me to move away from their path. I quickly jumped aside to let them passed. I was so embarrassed. They must be thinking, who is this stupid tourist who is blocking our way. Luckily I managed to snap out of my daydream in time or else I would have been trampled to death by the marchers.

Then with a map in my hands as my guide, I walked all the way to the main Quan Ju De 全聚德 restaurant located in Qianmen (famous for its Quanjude Peking Roast Duck) to meet my spouse and his customers for dinner. It was very, very windy and cold but not snowing. I had to struggle to walk against the force of the wind. The above photos were taken along the way. I walked through rows and rows of bare naked trees in the grey wintry weather.

This photo was taken in the lobby of the restaurant.

On Christmas day itself, my spouse had to go to work as it was not a public holiday in China. As we were leaving Beijing on that day for Shanghai, I didn't venture out of the hotel for anymore lone-sightseeing. Instead I just did some lone-shopping in the huge underground shopping mall of the hotel.

It is good that for this year, we are going to spend Christmas with our extended families. Nothing beats singing Christmas carols with all our family members around us. Here's wishing everyone a Very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


After dinner, we went to my mother's place to eat glutinous rice balls (汤圆 tāngyuán) because today is the winter solstice festival (冬至 dōngzhì). My sister and mother made two types of fillings for the tang yuan, peanut paste and black sesame paste. The glutinous rice balls were served in ginger syrup. My sister also made thick spring onion pancakes with less salt (葱油饼) for me to eat because she knows that I like to eat them that way, thick and not salty. I feel so loved after eating all the delicious food my sister and mother cooked for me. A big thank you to both of them!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Memories, please stay

When we were living in UK, we only managed to visit a handful of places. Though few, I find that I can't remember all the places that we have been to off the top of my head. I need to search high and low for the digital photos to jot my memory. Since I have a blog here, I will post a short entry for each of the trips that we've made, just for remembrance. So here is the first one.

In May 2000, we visited Stonehenge. The drive there took about an hour from where we lived. There was a tarmac and grass path around the stone circle and visitors were only allowed to view the stones from afar by walking on this path. At that time, we didn't know that we could arrange for a Stone Circle Access visit that takes place outside of the normal opening hours by pre-booking and pre-paying for it in order to walk closer to the stones.

On the same day, both of us paid for English Heritage membership. As members, we would have free entries to many historic sites owned by English Heritage. After Stonehenge, we stopped by Old Sarum, an ancient hilltop site of the earliest settlement of Salisbury, in England. The photo on the bottom right shows the remains of the walls of the castle in Old Sarum.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Celebrating Advent

A few days ago, I woke up early (by my standard) at 7.30am to go shopping. We reached IKEA just when it opened for business at 9.30am but many customers were earlier than us. This is because IKEA is celebrating Advent by having different special deals for each of the 24 days before Christmas. This was what we bought:

Source: The bottom picture above is taken from

We got 5 units. We saw some people buying the maximum 10 units. We heard that the many pallets were sold out in 2 hours. We also noticed many other shops selling Advent calendars for children with chocolates concealed in them. For those celebrating Advent, let's remember the real meaning of this season without getting too engrossed in the shopping activities. Have a Blessed Advent!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Happy Birthday!

Here's wishing my dear brother a very Happy Birthday!

For the first 6 years of my life, I thought we would be a family of 4 forever. Then came my brother. My sister and I had lots of fun playing with the baby or rather we treated the baby as our precious doll. The baby loved it when we propped him up with pillows and put him on our father's swivel chair and turned the chair round and round. Once we turned the chair round and round many, many times before we realised that there were only pillows on the chair. The baby was not on the chair. To our horror, we found him lying on the floor. He had fallen through the opening between the back and the seat of the chair! He didn't even cry out. He must be too dizzy from the spinning chair.

When he attended kindergarten, I used to wait for him after my school hours were over when he stayed back for his year-end concert rehearsal. It is good to have a younger brother. We used to accompany each other a lot when we were young as we were the two youngest children then in our family, at least for 7 years. Then when we grew up, he became a man of few words but we still share a deep bond between us. I hope our relationship will stay strong for many years to come.

Photos below: (right) We were at Port Klang. He was 5 years old then. Now he is much taller than me. (left) I was caught by surprise in this candid photo while he was making fun of me.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Cycle, Recycle

Nowadays, I do not simply throw away things that I do not want. I sort the unwanted things into a few categories and then send them to recycling centers nearby. Before sending them, the items need to be cleaned, dried, arranged and tied neatly.

The types of recyclables accepted at Alam Flora Recycling Centers are:

Cardboard, Boxes Brown Paper
Computer Paper, Black & White A4, A3, A1
Mixed Paper - Books, Comics, Envelopes, Junk Mails, Colour Papers
Beverage Cartons
Aluminium Cans - Soft Drink Cans
Steel, Tin - Food Cans (Sardine), Beverage Cans (Milo), Milk Cans
Glass Bottle, Jar - Food Jars, Beverage Bottle
Mixed Plastic - Shampoo, Detergent & Food Containers, Various Plastic Products

Recently I just sent one batch of boxes. I must encourage myself to keep this up so here's wishing myself "Happy Recycling!"

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Who is in the wrong?

Like many others out there, I am now watching (or rather glancing at the TV now and then whenever it is on) the two latest TVB drama series: "Beyond the Realm of Conscience (宫心计)" and "Born Rich (富贵门)". Between the two of them, I prefer the latter due to one of its subplot. In fact, I only watch the TV when this subplot is on. I totally ignore the main plot of the imposter brother.

Source: Pictures above are wallpapers taken from

The subplot I am referring to is the relationship between one of the lead characters, Marcus, and his wife, Connie and his ex-girlfriend/mistress, Angie. There are heated debates on this subplot in many of the TV discussion forums but I do not want to join in the debate so I will just talk about it here.

For the benefit of those not watching this series, I will just give some spoilers here up to episode 24 on this subplot alone but if you are planning to watch this drama later, please do not read the words in italic below.

Marcus is married to Connie and they have one daughter and one son. Years ago, when Connie was engaged to be married to Marcus, they had an argument (details about the argument were not mentioned) and she went to UK to be with her parents. In that time that she was away, Marcus dated Angie (it was unclear whether or not Marcus did that because he thought Connie has broken off with him). Then Connie returned and reconciled with Marcus and wanted to proceed with the wedding. At that time Marcus told Angie that he would find the right time to break off with Connie but he kept delaying it until only one day was left before the wedding so Angie couldn't take it anymore and broke off with Marcus. Then Angie left HK and went to UK.

Back to the present, Angie returned to HK and found that she still loves Marcus. She couldn't stop herself from secretly loving him and savouring every moment spent with him. Initially Marcus was faithful to his wife and resisted Angie's advances. Then he was kidnapped and tortured until he wets himself but was rescued by Connie. He was traumatised and his ego suffered when he still wets himself after being rescued. Connie didn't know how to deal with it and pretended that nothing was amissed causing Marcus to feel estranged from her. Meanwhile Angie was there to boost Marcus' ego so Marcus seeks solace in her arms. At the end of episode 24, each on their own, independently, Marcus and Connie came to the decision to divorce each other.

I like to watch this subplot because I can really feel for the two women. How sickly romantic and twisted it is for Angie to secretly love Marcus and to revel in every moment when working together. How happy and sweet Angie felt when Marcus seeks comfort from her.

How painful and heartbreaking it is for Connie at the exact moment when she saw her husband kissing another woman at a time when she least expected it. How stupid, foolish and betrayed she must have felt for not suspecting it. How helpless and powerless she must have felt knowing that there is nothing she can do to salvage her marriage.

I know this is only make believe but I do believe that in real life, these things do happen and there is absolutely nothing the wife can do about it. So who is in the wrong here? Nobody because everyone has a right to seek their own happiness at the expense of others if they are prepared to face the consequences.

However, nobody is wrong does not mean that no one is to be blamed. The only one I can fault here is Marcus. This is because he violated his wedding vows to stay faithful to his wife. Angie has no social obligation to honour Marcus and Connie's marriage vows although she should have a moral conscience not to break up the couple.

Connie has my utmost sympathy because there is absolutely nothing, nothing at all she can do to save her marriage. She can't boost her husband's ego when he was depressed because she was there when he was at his lowest point - wetting himself so IMHO, whenever he sees Connie, he sees himself wetting himself so the only way she could help him feel good about himself is to remove herself from his sight. She triggers his memory of the terrible ordeal (this is my opinion only - the drama does not explicitly explained it this way). I think she is better off not being the one who rescued him.

However, there are a few times where Marcus wanted to really talk to her about their problems but she walked away because she was afraid to face changes. So I guess she too has to bear a bit of responsibility for the total breakdown of her relationship with her husband.

Anyway, this series has not ended yet. There are many more episodes to go. Who knows, in the end, Marcus may still go back to Connie. Many viewers choose sides - they are either for "Marcus and Connie" or "Marcus and Angie" pairing. I on the other hand, don't mind either one. I just like to watch how they handle the situation.

If I were Connie, I would also divorce Marcus because if you love someone and that someone loves someone else, you should set them free, no point holding on to someone who loves somebody else more. But it is easier said than done. I hope I will never be in a situation like Connie but who knows what curve balls life will throw at us, we can never tell in advance. Que Sera Sera.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Of soups and congee

Since early September this year, we have been eating out for every meal. It was either the mamak stalls or economy rice stalls or 大 炒 (literal translation = big stirfry) stalls. One of us loves Cantonese style soups (炖汤) and congee therefore recently we redeemed the following three items using our credit card reward points that we have been accumulating for a few years:

This is the first rice cooker owned by us. It will be used to cook congee. Before this, we just cook rice using our microwave or on our previous built-in gas hob.

The slow cooker will be used to cook soups and stews. The size is just right for a two-person meal to be finished in one sitting. I do not like to keep leftovers in the fridge because food kept there tend to be forgotten and will stay there forever.

The induction cooker will be used mainly for boiling eggs, cooking instant noodles and steaming vegetables. I do not know in detail how an induction cooker works but plan to read it up on the Internet. All I know is that it uses magnetic waves and if a magnet can stick to the bottom of a cookware, then the cookware can be used on the induction cooker. Among all the existing cookware that we own, the magnet only stick to the bottom of one steamer pot.

We do not have a gas stove because we only cook once in a blue moon so we do not see a need for it and furthermore I am afraid of cooking gas leakage. In my previous kitchen, I used to smell cooking gas whenever I open the kitchen cabinet door where the cooking gas tank was stored. We also do not own a wok. I am strictly against 大 炒 at home because of the amount of oil and fumes generated.

When we start to use these items, I will monitor our electricity consumption. If these items use too much electricity, we may need to get ourselves a gas stove. Now when would we start cooking?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Third time lucky

When I got to UK, I wanted to work as soon as possible so while I sent out job applications for IT related work, I signed up to work as a warehouse hand, earning GBP4.5 per hour, removing items from boxes and repacking them. It was repetitive, backbreaking hard work. I worked there for two weeks and then left when the job agency found me a two-week office temp work. There, I was assigned to import data from an Excel spreadsheet into a MS-Access database.

I then answered an ad looking for technical support staff in the local newspaper and was asked to go for an interview. The CEO of the company who interviewed me is only one year older than I am. It was a local IT company with about 10 employees and a branch in US. I was then offered the job with a decent salary. Happily I accepted the position and worked in this company until the day I left UK to return to my birthplace.

my seat at work; dinner with co-workers,
view from my window - my spouse to pick me up, the row of shops opposite the building where I worked.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A try that lasted 18 years

18 years ago, a boy and I entered into a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. We were coursemate in a local northern Uni and were in our first semester, first year. We found out that we came from two adjacent housing areas in KL and our secondary schools were located closely to each other and we have mutual friends so we often get together to talk. Soon we were spending more and more time together, studying and revising our coursework. It was purely friendship. Nearing the end of the 1st semester, during exam time, our other coursemates started teasing us about being an item.

As we were just friends, I was not comfortable about being romantically linked to a boy when there was nothing romantic going on in our friendship. I just like talking to him and as he is not talkative, he is happy to let me do all the talking. So one day before our last exam paper, I raised this issue.

I told him that we should not spend so much time together anymore in order to stop the rumours of us being a couple from spreading. That was when he suggested that we give it a try. After thinking about it for a while, I agreed as I feel comfortable being just myself with him so I thought why not.

So that was the start of our boy-girl relationship. He is my first boyfriend and he is also my last boyfriend when his status with me is converted to spouse after being together as boyfriend-girlfriend for 8 long years but I do not believe we were made for each other because I do not believe that couples are made in heaven. Relationship that works require full commitment from each party. There were ups and downs but we manage to work through our differences and stay focus on our happy times.

This year, we celebrated our 18th anniversary of being a couple by moving to our new dwelling and having a 3-dish dinner at a nearby non-airconditioned restaurant. Is this date more important than our wedding date? It is equally important to me. Can most people remember when they officially become a couple with their spouses and how it happened? I like to think so. How many more years do we have, I can only wonder.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Till death do us part?

One day, while surfing the net, I came across the following question:

"If you were given a choice, would you prefer to die

a) before your spouse,
b) after your spouse or
c) at the same time as your spouse"

At that time, my answer was a) I would prefer to die before my spouse. This is because I do not want to bear the pain of living without him. But now I've changed my mind. I've decided to choose b). I would prefer to die after my spouse because I would like to be there to see him off on his final journey.

As for c), I don't think I have what it takes to choose to die together as some couples devoted to each other had done or plan to do. The following news articles about these couples bring tears to my eyes.
Healthy Vancouver woman wants to die beside her ailing husband
Betty Coumbias, an elderly Vancouver resident, has indicated she wants to die alongside her husband, George, who suffers from severe heart disease.
Mr. Coumbias declined comment on the topic, saying by e-mail that he and his wife are refusing interviews.

But a 2007 documentary on Dignitas by John Zaritsky, an Oscar-winning Canadian filmmaker, followed the couple, both 71 at the time, in their initial attempts to arrange a joint assisted suicide.

Mrs. Coumbias explains in the documentary, The Suicide Tourist, why she would take her own life despite being generally healthy.

"From the day we got married, [my husband] was all my life," she tells Mr. Minelli. "I love my two daughters, but I love him more, and I don't think I can face life without him, and since we read about Dignitas, we felt what would be better than to die together, you know, to die in each other's arms?"
- Tom Blackwell, National Post
Monday, April 13, 2009

Conductor Sir Edward Downes and wife end lives..
The couple's family said that they decided to end their lives together after struggling with serious health problems.

Lady Downes, 74, is understood to have been suffering with cancer while Sir Edward, 85, had become virtually blind and suffered loss of hearing.
Published: 8:13AM BST 14 Jul 2009

Pair die together..
Peter and Penelope Duff, from Bath, ended their lives at the Dignitas clinic in Zurich last Friday.

Their daughter Helena Conibear said her father, who was 80, and her mother, who was 70, had "passed away peacefully together" at the centre.
- BBC News
Published: 22:31 GMT, Thursday, 5 March 2009

UK couple die ..
A British couple suffering from chronic illnesses have died at a Swiss clinic, following an apparent suicide pact.
Mr Stokes, 59, suffered from epilepsy and his 53-year-old wife from diabetes and back problems, but neither was thought to have been terminally ill.
- BBC News
Published: Tuesday, 15 April, 2003, 17:33 GMT

I would often ask myself, when the end is near, will I then change my mind again and make the same decision as they did? Again, only time will tell.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Saving by cooking

My partner and I cooked almost all of our meals when we were living in Newbury because eating out was very, very expensive. I even skinned a whole chicken once and took photos as proof :-) as that was my one and only time.

To make it interesting, I did my best to keep the whole skin and whole chicken intact. I did it by looking up instructions on how to skin a chicken from the web. I like my chicken soup to be not so oily therefore the skin and fat must go.

Now, I no longer cook as I do not like to cook. After 4 years of cooking, I have had enough. Perhaps one day, I may discover the joy of cooking. When that happens, I will of course blog about it here but I do not think that day will come.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mooncake festival

The mooncake festival falls on today. When I was young, my family used to celebrate the mooncake festival (mid-autumn festival) at night by setting up a table with loads of food in the garden, under the gaze of the bright round moon. There would be red bean and lotus mooncakes, water caltrops (菱角, língjiǎo ), taro(芋头), pomelo, agar-agar and drinks. Back then there weren't many types of mooncakes, unlike now where vendors try to outdo one another with all sorts of fillings - green tea, dragonfruit, toffee, chocolate, coffee, yam, sesame - for the mooncakes.

We, the children would play with lanterns and candles. I would light up rows and rows of candles on our iron main gate. Whenever a candle flame has been blown out by the wind, I would quickly light up the candle again. When all the candles have burned away, I would collect the wax residue and mold them into various shapes. It was really fun playing with the candles.

When hunger struck, we would eat those delicious food under the moonlight while admiring the full moon. My mother would then tell us the various stories about the origins of this festival. Sometimes we would join other children in parading our lanterns around the village. I couldn't remember exactly the last time I celebrated the mooncake festival this way. I can safely say that I have not celebrated mooncake festival for about 20 years now.

Only children can truly savour and treasure the magical world of lanterns, candles and moonlight. So to all the children out there celebrating mooncake festival, may all of you enjoy this day to the fullest and let your imagination run wild with the stories of Houyi, Chang-er, the rabbit in the moon and many others.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Spouse or career

Ten years ago, in mid 1999, my spouse was informed that he has been transferred to Newbury, UK to work for 3 years. At that time, we were newlyweds - just been married for 5 months. I was working in a bank as a senior IT officer. I have been working there for 4 years since graduating from a local university in the Pearl of the Orient. Many questions came to mind when I heard the news:

- Should I quit my job and follow my spouse to live in a foreign country? In 3 years time, when we move back, I would need to find a job and start my career all over again. What if I can't resume my career?

- Should I just stay in Malaysia and let him go alone since it is only for 3 years. I could visit him twice a year or vice versa.

- Should I just let him go first and once when he is up to speed with his work there and has saved up quite a bit, then I will join him.

At that time, I have just taken a staff housing loan of around 230 thousand (MYR) so if I quit my job, how am I going to afford the installment payment for my loan? There wasn't enough time for me to sell my condo unit before he leaves for UK. As his spouse, I was allowed to work in UK but the question was could I find a job in UK with my local Computer Science degree?

After thinking about it for a long time, I decided to quit my job and go with him from day 1. To me, this is what a marriage is about - to be with your spouse through thick and thin and to create experiences and memories together.

On hindsight, it all worked out. We lived in UK for 4 years, from 1999 to 2003. His 3-year UK work permit was extended for another 5 years to 2007 but we decided to cut short our stint in UK and return to Malaysia at the end of 2003 to be closer to our families in Malaysia.

The view from our place in UK during a white winter.

This is me (ten years ago), standing in front of our rental unit where we lived for 4 years. The rent was £575 per month and our landlord is a very nice English man (I think he may be Welsh not English) who did not increase our rent for the 4 years we were living there. He wanted to sell his place but decided to wait until we left.

This is my spouse, coming up the stairs to our rental unit.

Christmas 2000 in Newbury

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Happy 93rd Birthday 外婆 !

My maternal grandmother (外婆) will be celebrating her 93rd birthday tomorrow. It is on the 3rd of the 8th month of the chinese calendar.

She was born in Nanjing, China in 1916 and moved to Taiwan with her whole family during the war sometime around the year 1946. She is now living alone in an apartment in Taiwan bought for her by my aunt (her eldest daughter who is now living in Canada). My uncle (her youngest son) will visit her a few times a week and both of them will go shopping for grocery. She still cooks her own meals and will travel on the bus on her own to visit her friends for mahjung sessions. She is a very independent lady.

Although my grandmother has 2 sons and 7 daughters, she chooses to live on her own. Her children are scattered around the world. My mother in Malaysia, two of my aunts in Canada, another two aunts in USA and one in China. One aunt and both my uncles living in Taiwan visit her regularly.

I have only visited my grandmother 4 times in my 38 years of living and she has only visited us in Malaysia 3 times. She says Malaysia is too hot for her so she won't be visiting us here anymore. She speaks the Nanjing dialect so sometimes I find it difficult to understand what she is saying to me.

I wish my grandmother a very Happy Birthday and may she have the best of health!

Friday, September 18, 2009

A personal choice

I met some friends the other day and they told me that a mutual friend of ours, someone my age, just gave birth to her first child. Then they proceed to ask me when will it be my turn. Truth be told, although I love to hug and cuddle babies, although my heart melts whenever I see adorable babies smile, although I feel the urge to care for young children, although I feel warm all inside when I see parents bonding with their babies, I know from way back, even before I got married that I do not need to have children of my own.

In fact, right after I have gotten married, many well-meaning friends, relatives and acquaintances asked me when do I plan to have children. I answered them politely that I plan not to have any children. Some would snigger and say, "well, you'll change your mind after a while when your maternal instinct kicks in and you'll feel the urge to have children. You'll yearn to have them so badly that you'll feel the pain cutting through your heart." They then say to me, "if you leave it for too long, you may never be able to have children that easily as your biological clock never stops ticking, you will grow too old to have children easily. You will then need to undergo expensive invasive medical procedures just to conceive so please don't wait. You'll regret it later."

What they do not know is that I did not give my answer on a whim. In fact before my marriage, I thought long and hard about this question. I sought my partner's thoughts on this too as I know that a marriage will not work if one spouse wanted children and the other did not. Fortunately both of us agree that having children is not something that we could not live without.

I strongly believe that to have or not to have children is a personal choice. No woman should be coerced, threatened or pressured into bearing children if she is not willing or not ready to do so, not by her husband, parents-in-law nor even her own parents.

I also believe that people should be able to have as many children as they want as long as they are committed to bear the responsibility of bringing up their children to be happy and well-adjusted adults. They should also be ready to meet the requirements of their children financially, physically and emotionally. They need to understand that children are human beings with their own rights, with their own feelings and needs. Children need to be loved and cared for in a stable home.

There is no one particular strong reason why I choose not to have children. It is just that I do not see why I should have children.
Some of the questions and comments that I get from people when they know that I choose not to have children are as below and I have also put in my answers to them.

1. Aren't you curious to know who your children will look like?

I do not have a need to create a new human being from myself and my spouse just to satisfy our curiosity on who they will look like.

2. Don't you love children?

I do and my love for children could be put to good use by me helping out with caring for the children of my relatives.

3. Who will care for you when you are old?

I think it is very unfair to have children just because the parents are afraid that no one will take care of them when they are old. It is a burden to the child to be born just to be a carer and to be the sole provider for the parents during old age.

Save and invest wisely when young so that one can take care of oneself when old. Strive to stay healthy when old by eating healthily and exercise regularly when young.

4. Who will carry on your spouse's family name?

Can someone explain to me why is there a need for someone to carry on any family name?

5. Having a child will complete you. You cannot be considered a woman until you become a mother.

I do not believe that being a mother is a woman's highest calling. There are many other things for a woman to do apart from giving birth and being a mother.

6. Having children is the natural next step after getting married.

One do not have to follow the well-trodden path.

7. We need young workers to replace the old.

Just extend the retirement age. Many old people are still healthy and are still happy to work.

8. Your country needs more {insert race here} so you need to contribute to the {insert race here} population.

I am not a racist.

9. You are missing out on some of the most fulfilling experiences in life.

Being pregnant, giving birth and raising children are experiences that I do not mind not having.

10. How can you be so cruel as to deny your children the joy of living.

How can someone who does not exist in this world (i.e. my children) be denied of anything?

11. Nothing can beat the wonderful feeling of hearing your biological children say that they love you.

I do not mind not having that wonderful feeling.

12. Your children will bring such joy to your life. Having them in your life will motivate you to work harder and give you energy to work that you never imagine that you have. You will have a purpose in life.

Do you mean to say that you have no motivation to work hard, no energy to work and no purpose in life before having your own children? For me, I do not need to have my own children to give me all the above.

Those are about all the comments that I can remember. May all the children on earth have a happy childhood and grow up to be well-adjusted adults!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My ideal age to die

In my previous post, I mentioned that it is my hope to die peacefully and free from pain between the age of 61 and 65. Currently, I am trying to live my life to the fullest. By the time I reach 61, if everything goes well, I would be very satisfied with how I have lived my life so I would be ready to say goodbye to this world then.

I would not want to burden anyone to have to look after me when I grow really old so that is why I have chosen the age bracket of 61-65 as my ideal age to die. Who knows, I may die much earlier than 61. I may even die tomorrow. It is not up to me to decide when I will die as I am not considering suicide. I can only hope.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A plan for 3 years

Now, I am in the midst of getting ready to move to my new house. So all my daily activities recently have something to do with this move. The plan is to move in at the end of October this year and live there until Dec 2012. My spouse and I bought the place 5 years ago but only received the keys from the developer mid 2009. After looking through the 2.5 storeys intermediate terrace house, we conclude that we do not need this much space for just the two of us so we decide to sell it in 3 years time when the housing market should have recovered. I feel fortunate that my spouse have taken a break from work since early this year so that we can jointly participate 100% in this event. Would we stick to the plan? Would we decide not to sell the house when the 3 years are up? Only time can tell.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wo shi shei, 我是谁, who am I?

I am not going to write a review on Jackie Chan's movie entitled Wo shi shei (Who am I?)我是谁 here. This is about me.

When strangers meet me and want to get to know me, the two common questions they would ask me is what my name is and what do I do. What they really want to know from the second question is what my job is. So I will address the latter question here.

1. My job:

I have taken myself out of the job market voluntarily since August last year so I am jobless or jobfree at the moment and I do not expect to be looking for another job anytime soon until it is really necessary (read: low on fuel).

They would not ask me about my gender/sex because they can see for themselves that I am a woman. If they look at my hands, they would see that I am not wearing a wedding ring so they would think that I am not married. Well, in that case, they would be wrong. I have been married for 10 years now to a man whom I have dated since I was 20 years old. 18 years is a long time to be with someone but there are still two more years to go before:

his years with me = his years without me

After knowing all these facts, they would smile knowingly and say "Ah, so you are a housewife." Those who are politically correct would use the word "homemaker" while those trying to be smart would say "home minister" instead of "housewife". Then they would proceed to ask "how many children do you have?" to which I would replied "none".

At this stage, they would be torn between politeness and curiosity. In their heart, they would like to know why I do not have any children but they are afraid to ask because they do not know me well enough to ask personal questions such as:

a) Is it due to health reason?
- am I infertile?
- is my spouse infertile?
- what treatment have I undergone?
- what did the doctor say?
b) Is it by choice?
- If it is, why?
- whose choice - mine or my spouse?
c) am I still waiting for the right time while my biological clock is ticking away?

They are also afraid their questions may bring back sad memories of miscarriages (if there were any) so most of them would just stop at that.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Happy 38th Birthday to me!

Today I celebrate my 38th birthday by creating this blog to record my journey through life from this moment onwards.

The question that I am asking myself everyday now is how many more years do I have before I die. If I knew the answer, it would be easier for me to plan my future.

Would I die between the age of:

a. 38-40+
b. 41-45+
c. 46-50+
d. 51-55+
e. 56-60+
f. 61-65+ (my ideal age to die)
g. 66-70+
h. 71-75+
i. 76-80+
j. 81-85+
k. 86-90+

I sure hope that I do not die after 90 years old because I would be so old by then that I would not know what to do with myself. My ideal age to die is between 61 to 65 years old.

My father had diabetes and died at the age of 57+ after never recovering from having his feet amputated due to gangrene. His mother died when he was just 7 years old so I do not know how old she was at that time. His father died at the age of 67+ 72+ (congestive cardiac failure). 3 out of 6 of my father's siblings are no longer alive today. They all died between the age of 55 between 65 (approximate).

This year my mother is 66+ years old whereas her mother is 92+ years old. My maternal grandfather died a few years after recovering fully from a stroke. I do not know how old he was at that time but I will check and update it here. Update: 73+ All 8 siblings of my mother, ranging from 53 to 71 years old are all well and alive today.

So looking at the above information, can I hope to die peacefully and free from pain between 61 and 65 years old?