Thursday, May 31, 2007

Too poor for fillings

I offered our driver some bread sticks today but he declined. I thought he was just lazy to eat (thats his usual response) but this time he said "No thanks, I have too many holes in my teeth and that will just all get stuck in them"

Just like many other things that he does without, the lack of fillings is probably due to his lack of funds.

Just 1 month ago, he had one of his molars literally FALL OUT of his mouth and he didn't seem to mind one bit.

He didn't seem worried that he might lose more teeth at all. He just said that he'd get dentures. I guess he'll go somewhere like this place.

Bikin Gigi means to Make Teeth.

How do you date???

I don't know whether to feel happy or old school about this statement:
"I met my husband 9 years ago and we'll be married 7 years this coming July. We met at work."

Well, I guess I'm happy because....we're happy.

Its the old school side to it that has me thinking today. I've been out of the dating scene for ages now and most of my friends are already married so obviously, I'm quite out of touch with how things work.

I do have a couple of single friends and from what they say, it doesn't sound like as much fun as it used to be. Its all online, just like most things in life. You can even Find Romance with Yahoo Personals No more asking your best friend to check if he's looking. Or, 'accidentally' meeting in a corridor for some boring conversation. I know, I know, people are all too busy with work and need to make dating more efficient.

They get straight to the point nowadays. Go online, read the profile, start the communication, if things seem promising, go meet up in person with a whole heap of expectations. Yes, I'm generalising things but....this is a lite 'n' easy heavy stuff.

Anyway, with so much expectations on both sides, I imagine that it must be hard to know when somebody is the right one. There is no time to build up the rapport and everything is based on instant chemistry and so called 'sparks'. You might get rid of the perfect person without really getting to know them. OR you might not even meet them because they couldn't write a winning profile.

PLUS, what about all those jerks out there who aren't really looking for a relationship and aren't honest about it? At least when its face to face, you can sense these things.

Anyways, all this is just speculation on my part. I've never tried online dating (and hope I won't have to) but I really feel for the people who are out there and online.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

BUGS - Update

These little buggers get everywhere. Sweep them up here and they're popping up there.
Here, there and everywhere....including Aaron's mouth. In the time I spent changing a battery in one of his toys, he had found one of them and popped them in his mouth. He was already crunching on it by the time I stuck my finger in to hook it out!

So far, I've found ants, tissues and now this little bug in his mouth. And I have my eyes on him 95% of the time. Guess I'll have to give up that remaining 5% too.


I don't know what time in the night they make their move but when they decide to visit, they're always here by the morning. This is considered a small contingent. There have been other occasions where the entire floor is littered with them.

Initially, I was told that they come when it has been raining a few days. BUT its been dry. So now the Indonesians are saying that they come when there is a change of season approaching. Either from wet to dry or the other way around. So...perhaps it makes sense because we've been having very hot dry days this week.

Here is a close up of one of those stinky bugs being carried away by ants. Don't know why but a lot of them die before the morning.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Kueh Putu

Aaron and I go for our evening walk at around 5pm everyday. I don't usually carry my camera or any money with me. Today however, I had some change left over in my pocket and I had taken my camera along on a whim.

I've heard the continuous whistling sound in the evenings since the first few days we arrived here. I never knew that it came from this man's Kueh Putu cart until today. I'm usually wary of eating food off these carts (there are plenty around in the evenings) but the Kueh Putu seemed ok because it is made of all dried ingredients ...nothing that could go bad.

Anyway, its made of rice flour, coconut and brown sugar. He stuffs that brown napkin ring looking thing then places it over a tiny hole on top of that big tin can he has on the left. Hot water is boiling underneath, giving off steam to cook the putu. When its done, he just pushes the putu out of the napkin ring.

Unfortunately, I didn't remember to take a photo of the finished putu until after I had gobbled it down. It was pretty good. Too sweet for my taste but I can always ask him to hold the sugar next time.

Another 6 hours - I think

Looks like it was another successful night. Although Aaron took over an hour to fall asleep, he stayed sleeping from 7.15-10.40pm. I think he would have tried to stay asleep longer if it hadn't been for a poo. So OK, we took him to the bathroom and afterwards, he fell asleep quite easily.

The next thing I knew, it was about 4.30am and he was climbing back and forth over my body. That seems to be his sign for "Take me to the bathroom NOW". So we went...and he went AGAIN. Two long sleeps, punctuated by two big poos....I really can't remember waking up in between.

OK. So it wasn't 6 hours exactly. 5.5 hours is close enough.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Go Kimi!

I'm definitely no expert when it comes to driving but I love watching F1. Haven't been watching it much this year because of obvious time constraints but I still keep an eye on whats going on.

When Kimi drove for McLaren he was aggressive, bold BUT with a million car reliability issues and bad luck. I thought the move to Ferrari would sort things out for him and we'd see Kimi on the podium every week. Reliable car and crew, still the same aggressive Kimi. PLUS, Alonso had moved to McLaren so....its Kimi's turn to shine.

So, why is it that after 5 races, Kimi Raikkonen is still only at 23 points? 15 points behind Alonso! Both Ferrari drivers are behind BOTH the McLaren ones. I need to start watching again. I have no idea whats going on!

Vitamins, antioxidants, cancer....MLM

Up until we moved to Palembang, we were always surrounded by talk about supplements and how our normal food intake does not contain enough vitamins and antioxidants. How stress and free radicals are going to lead straight to cancer and the such. Well, its true, the modern lifestyle and diet is just not a good combination.

In comes MLM - Multi Level Marketing. There are so many in the market today...Amway, Lifepak, Usana. I usually run the other way but I liked what Lifepak had to offer a couple of years ago so we signed on. Do I have any downlines? NOPE. I thought I could get into it but...I didn't.

Today, I'm contemplating Usana. It certainly does have more antioxidants than Lifepak for a similar price. However, I don't think I'll be lured into signing up as a MLM-er for them. I just feel too awkward going up to the few friends I have and asking them to buy something from me. I'd gladly give a product a free plug but somehow, asking people I know to buy something doesn't sit right with me.

Maybe I'll change my views one day. Maybe I won't. Who knows?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

I love this outfit!

Aaron was given this outfit around November last year. Of course, it was too big for him then so I kept it. We've been waiting for an occasion for him to wear it because its just sooooo cute and in the end, the first time he wore it was in KL. Unfortunately, its already a little too short for him. But it looks SOOOOO ADORABLE. So, even though its a little warm here in Palembang, we dressed him in it to go to the 6.30am mass this morning. We still don't know anybody here so there was nobody to show-off the new outfit to. Hence, this post with all the photos!

See how strained the pants are against his diaper?

Its noisy but I love looking at this face!

Doesn't he look like a big boy now?

I actually like that gap between his top teeth.

Do you know what thumb sucking is like?

I do. The second you put your thumb in your mouth and close it, you're immediately enveloped by feelings of contentment, comfort, tranquility and happiness. Its bliss....heaven even. Of course, I didn't know how to describe it this way when I was a thumbsucker but luckily I didn't break the habit till I was *xxxxx* so I still have the memories of how it felt like to be able to describe them to you today. I don't think many parents understand how powerful thumbsucking is.

Aaron is not a thumbsucker. He's a index-and-middle-finger sucker. Personally, I can't imagine this being better than thumbsucking since the nails will hit the roof of the mouth....but he likes it. Just take a look at how peaceful and content he is when he's at it.

Aaron has had issues with sleep since he was 3 days old. He's only recently began to soothe himself to sleep (occasionally) and BACK to sleep (once again, occasionally) by sucking on his fingers. This has given me many precious minutes of extra sleep and extra time for things like this blog. But I know that this is a habit that we're going to have to break sooner or later. I must be digging my own grave now for letting him continue with it. I justify it to myself by saying that its not as bad as my habit since he pulls his fingers out the second before he falls asleep. This habit is starting to have side effects though - a little blister on his finger.

For now, I'm trying to limit the finger sucking to when he needs to communicate hunger or is trying to sleep.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

My own Ladies Fingers

My ladies fingers, also known as Okra. Can you see them? They are quite tiny in this picture but since I took it, I have harvested 6 and eaten them. We planted them around the beginning of April so it has taken us nearly two months for this first harvest. They are just starting out now and different plants are at different stages so we haven't been able to collect enough to make a decent sized dish. We'll get there soon enough because all the plants have little ladies fingers on them now.

They are my favourite vegetable but unfortunately one of those that cannot be bought in any market here in Palembang. There is another Malaysian house near us that also grew them. They were growing like crazy but the maid there told me they got so tired of them that they cut down all the plants and planted spinach instead. So...I'm looking forward to lots of Ladies Fingers.


It looks like there is no escaping acronyms.

When I started my first job, I wondered if they were speaking the same English that I was taught at school. "OK LT, Please LTHL L9384729 ready for GYAT. And then bring it along for RRP". I soon learnt and after awhile it became second nature and it was my family that wondered what I was talking about.

The period we lived in Klang was relatively acronym free. The only ones used there were OK and A/C. Nobody said anything like "Lets have some BKT"...They would just say "Lets have some Bak Kut Teh"

Here in Palembang....its both the merging of words as well as acronyms. "When is your ulta?" The only word remotely resembling ulta that I know of is unta (I think), which means camel. I don't have a camel! Turns out that ulta is short form for ULang TAhun (birthday). Geez! And then there are the acronyms PIM, PS, PTC, etc etc....and the harder part to is is that they pronounce all their alphabets using phonetics. Guess what my HAR PEH is?

Lately, I've been getting addicted to the Australian Breastfeeding Association Forums and there is a whole new set of acronyms to learn there as well. Here are just a few:

AP - Attachment Parenting
ABM - Artificial baby milk (formula)
CC - Controlled Crying
CCC - Child Care Centre
CIO - Cry it out
DH - Dear Husband
DW- Dear Wife
DP - Dear Partner
DS - Dear Son
DD - Dear Daughter
DF - Dear Fiance
DB - dear boyfriend
DSD - dear step daughter
DSS - dear step son
EBM - expressed breastmilk
LO - Little one
SAHM - stay at home mum
TMI - Too much information
WAHM - work at home mum

I should try to write an entire post purely in acronyms and abbreviations...but then again, I won't. I hate it when other people get carried away with all the sms style writing when there is a perfectly comfortable keyboard to use.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Fried Squid

I guess fried squid can also be thought of as calamari rings. YUM! But thats not the issue today. Fried Squid translated into Cantonese is Chow Yow Yue. To be sacked! Fired! Become Unemployed! Experience loss of income!

So anyway, today I've been wondering whether it is justified to fry an employee's squid if I don't like their attitude. Bad attitude certainly is not good for the work environment but what if this is their natural personality. Then what? Wouldn't it be unfair to them if their natural disposition was to be sour all the time, with no proper manners or ettiquette? Perhaps they weren't taught these things? Maybe the poor village they come from didn't put any value on this. Yet how can it be? Even poor people are taught to greet others, to have respect for people and place.

Bad attitude transcends everything. Interaction with surrounding people. Quality of work.

If you haven't guessed....I'm seriously considering getting my fry pan out. To be fair, I have given the person a talking to. In my mind she is on probabation for the next week. Yet, even the 'talking to' was ineffective because she did not stop what she was doing and half the time did not even respond. That alone pissed me off enough to cut short the talk. Its to her own detriment since now she won't know the extent that she has pushed me to. Why should I feel guilty about it? This is a home environment, not a publicly listed company. I don't need to give 3 warning letters and go through a peer review before I start frying!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

6 hours

This is a major milestone in my little boy's life:

Last night, he slept for 6 whole hours.....6pm-12am.

I did not do anything different so I have no idea of how to encourage this type of sleep again.

This is great encouragement in the face of people telling you to train your baby to sleep for your own good. They don't believe you when you say you're not tired waking up every 3 hours every night. It is true though...I'm not tired doing that because we co-sleep with Aaron. I just pop him on and snooze while he feeds. He drops off at some point and quite often I don't even realise it.

OK, so its one night of 6 hrs. I don't have high hopes for a repeat performance tonight but I know that he will, in his own time, do it more often.

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Chinaman Company

1) Interviews you for an overseas posting but assigns you to work locally when you accept the job.

2) Informs you after you have settled into that job that they will post you overseas after all.

3) Convinces you to take the overseas posting by telling you that it comes with
- 4 round trip tickets for you and your family home a year
- 8 days off during each trip....not including your 14 days of annual leave
Then, changes it to
- trips for you but not your family. Although when you try to go on a trip, be prepared to come up with a good explanation. Like your mother died and your father cut of his nose!
- and those 8 can build those up by working 7 days a week. So, in a quarter...thats 13 would have made up 13 days but 5 of those are 'freebies' for the chinaman and you can keep the 8.

4) You can of course not work those 7 days a week but watch out for these words of wisdom:
- my wife also complains that we don't spend enough time together....I just drag her and the kids along to the office and put them in the meeting room.
- sure...i have a 10 yr old son who needs me now that he's growing up. but i don't have time for him. yours is just a baby, he won't know the differece.
- don't be so calculating with the company. it will reward you in the end. just work hard, you'll see. stop going home at 5 everyday ok!

5) Has official working hours of 8am-4pm. But thats just on the contract. Its just a piece of paper that doesn't mean anything.

6) Provides an equal opportunity work place for all engineers.....if you are MALE. If you were FEMALE, you would have been screened out when your resume was sent in. There's the pile for MALE applicants and over there, beside the desk, in the TRASH are the female applicants. Its because they'll get married and have babies so....lets spare them the separation anxiety.

The list goes on and on....but I'm a little too riled up to get my thoughts in order. I've always referred to these companies as 'Chinaman Companies' .. but what are they really called. I have no idea.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Fill 'em up

"Congratulations on the new baby! Will you be breastfeeding?"
"Yes, I want to. I'm just waiting for the milk to fill up. Waiting for it to get hard"

This was the conversation between my father and somebody who just gave birth. Since I started breastfeeding, I have become a strong BF advocate. Not just because I do it, but because so many people can't/don't BF purely because of the lack of information. I'm speaking from a Malaysian point of view.

Take that conversation for example. This lady has already failed to BF her first child and was keen to try on this second one.
1) Milk doesn't need to fill up, its already there. Colostrum has been produced in the mothers body from the last few months of pregnancy.
2) If she waited until 'it got hard', she would have engorgement. A very painful condition caused when milk is not drained from the breast. It will also make it harder for the baby to latch on when she finally puts the baby to the breast.

Here are a few pointers that I have. They are based on my own experience and also my reading. I am not a health care provider and it is not my intention to provide medical advice.

Feed as soon as possible after birth
Breastfeed your baby with the first hour after birth. The baby has a natural instinct to suckle at this time and it supposedly will help you get off to a good start in terms of BF.
Ensure correct latch
Ensure that your baby is latched on correctly with the lower lip pursed out. Baby's nose should be within a credit card's thickness to the mom's breast. Baby's noses are specially designed to BF and they will not suffocate. If there is any pain at all, unlatch the bub and start again. To unlatch the baby, don't just pull off. Stick your little finger into the baby's mouth to break suction before pulling away.
Feed on demand
Do not be surprised if the baby feed VERY frequently. Their stomachs are only the size of a golf ball so of course they get hungry quickly. Feed on demand by watching for hunger cues (such as putting fists to mouth) including through the night. Those mothers with confinement ladies often do not look after the baby during nights but it is essential to keep feeding to build milk supply.
Wait 6 weeks to give a bottle
Make sure that the baby does not get milk from a bottle for at least 6 weeks. Inform hospital staff of this and also the confinement lady.
Be confident that you are providing enough
Measure baby's intake by the number of wet nappies and not by how much you get out with a pump or the duration of your feeds. Expect one wet diaper on day one, increasing to 5-6 by one week. Many new mothers are concerned that their new babies are not getting enough. This is rarely the case if a baby is fed on demand.
Enjoy it
Finally, be relaxed and confident. It does wonders for milk supply and for getting through feeds.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

4 little razors

Not a super sharp photo but you go try make him show you his teeth.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Walks during sunrise

I'm still dreaming of waking up and doing this....walking on the beach at sunrise.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

The Heavenly Bed

Finally, we got to go on our holiday to Bali. I've been dreaming about the Westin Heavenly Bed since we decided to spend the money on a good hotel. The mattresses here in Palembang are killing me so the decision to SPEND on a bed wasn't a difficult one.

Aaron seemed to love it too. He went for naps and was incredibly reluctant to wake up each time. Also, he slept about 4 hrs straight at night. It was AMAZING!

The bed was fabulous but my favourite memory of the holiday was lounging on one of the day beds overlooking the ocean, with Aaron playing contentedly by himself, and Richard and I pigging out on some leftover KFC. Bali is still Indonesia but there was none of the horrendous heat or humidity by the beach.

Lets see, what else did we learn on this trip....

1) Ordering room service is not much more expensive than wasting time going out to buy food from outside.

2) When staying at good hotels....complain when things AREN'T good. We had a leaky bathroom, complained and got free massages.

3) In this world, you get what you pay for. The massages were incredible. So different from any RM30 ones we have tried. Good things no cheap, cheap things no good!

4) Pampering yourself occasionally is not being indulgent.

5) There are still honest people in this world. I dropped my wedding ring somewhere around the pools. Richard went back there several hours later and found that someone had left it on one of the side tables.