Thursday, January 31, 2008

Chinese New Year Ang Pows

Don't you like the sound of that word? ANG POW! It reminds me of KAPOW! from the Batman comics. It also feels a little like that some times. KAPOW! Several Hundred Ringgits knocked out of my pockets in one day.

Ang Pows are the red packets of money that married Chinese traditionally distribute during Chinese New Year. All children are guaranteed of a huge stack of red packets during this season. Grandparents and parents (of working children) will also benefit from this tradition. Newly married couples are the big losers of the season because they don't have any children to receive Ang Pows. At least I've had Aaron these past two years to recuperate the losses.

I've got all my new notes changed but will probably procrastinate filling the red packets until the night before Chinese New Year. Then there will be the usual shuffling of notes from packet to packet. Certain packets will contain larger amounts for closer family members. Other packets are 'lighter' and will be for general children that I meet. The trick is to remember which packets contain what without marking the packets themselves.

Another headache when planning how much to give is deciding how much to give each person. Ideally, everybody can have a 'big' packet but that would mean that Aaron would have to go hungry and naked! But, who am I to judge which family's children are more in need of cash? And, should I be fair and give all my grandparents the same amount or give more to the ones who actually need more cash? And also, should the amounts increase from year to year to take into account inflation? Or the fact that we earn more money now than when we were newlyweds?

I need to get back to my calculator....

p/s In case you're wondering, if you're not a grandparent/parent, you can only collect Ang Pows from people older than you. So, Evil Lyn....don't try ;)

Monday, January 28, 2008

Busy Little Toddler

Aaron is just so busy these days. As soon as he opens his eyes he's off on one project or other. Collecting the plastic fruits. 'Sweeping' the floor. Drawing imaginary stars and moons. Moving the water bottles from one location to another. Lining the shoes up two by two. Looking for the frog. From his point of view, there is absolutely no time to be wasted sitting on the toilet or standing around waiting to pee.

I mentioned in a much earlier post that Aaron was toilet trained before our August trip to Brisbane but somehow got untrained during our holiday. I'm still no further along in the training now. We still have the nappy free time each day to hopefully speed up the process I think we're stagnating.

OK. So I agree that I had 'trained' him to go in his nappy from birth but that was then. Its time to change! Its not time to carry on playing with the school house while making a little lake for the toy babies. Its not time to practice moping the very convenient stream that you produce yourself. "Uh Oh" was cute at first but I'm not sure how much longer I'm going to keep laughing at that.

I'm sure things can only get better since he is becoming more aware of himself and is communicating more. Sticking to the toilet training plan is the way to go but there are definitely days that I wish I could just forget about it and wait until he is a lot older and can definitely feel the urges and communicate them clearly. My advise to my future self (in case of any future babies): Toilet train the baby. Not the busy toddler. And then make sure they STAY TRAINED. I found it much easier when we were training Aaron last year.

To all the experienced parents who are reading this, please leave any toilet training tips for toddlers!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

May I have some of your milk, please?

I have been trying to teach Aaron about generosity and sharing. He has no problem sharing his toys and other things during play. When eating, he will try to shove a soggy biscuit in your mouth when he's bored with it. But if its something that he likes to eat, he's usually extremely reluctant to let anybody have a bite. I suppose thats the case with everybody but I still try to show him that its a good thing to share.

Yesterday, I was chatting with my mother while Aaron was having a breastfeed. She asked him "Can I have some? Please?". She did this several times and each time, he either shook his head or stopped drinking long enough to say "Aaron's". My mother persisted.

All of a sudden, Aaron unlatched himself, got up and went to my mother. He took her hand and indicated she should follow him. She did and he led her to me. Aaron then pointed at me and told her "Other side".

Now isn't that the ultimate act of generosity from a breastfeeding toddler?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Paradise at USD56 per night

As a child, I spent many weekends by the beach. My parents were avid divers and we would often tag along. Sometimes we stayed on the boat and other times we were dropped off at some beach to play (with supervision of course). Sometimes we camped on the beach while other times it was just a day trip.

Ipoh is about 90 mins from Lumut. This is where we used to get on the hired fishing boats that took us out. I can still remember jumping off the roof of the boat into the water, swimming under the boat and then climbing back to the roof again. My brother and I would do this repeatedly!

These were perfect weekends but as I grew older and started earning my own money, I forgot about those simple days and have spent countless hours browsing the internet for exotic seaside destination and luxury hotels. Last April, we went to Bali and had a wonderful pampering style holiday. I enjoyed it and don't regret spending the money there. However, these past two days, my parents and I went back to the place of the fishing boats. We didn't go out to sea and only took the ferry to Pangkor Island (where the fishing village is) but that was enough for me to realize that the expensive hotels and destinations are not any more enjoyable than a simple beach front hotel at a nearby island. The place we stayed only cost USD56 per night and we had rooms just meters from the beach.

For once, Aaron's early morning wake up calls came in useful. This was taken at dawn, a few minutes before I jumped into that irresistibly calm water.

Here are some scenes from the local fishing village.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

We are learning together.

Aaron is a really sweet and loving kid. He is an absolute joy to be around. But as he grows, he's also starting to test his limits. Part of the learning package for the both of us! Here's what we were thrown today.

8am - Big fuss at the supermarket because he wanted to be carried but I wanted him to walk. He clung to my leg, pleading and making a huge scene....probably making me look like a CRUEL mother....but I just kept walking. I stuck to my decision because I'm worried that he's going to be one of those kids who always wants to be carried.

10am - Dirty diaper and runaway toddler. I don't know what it is. Why does he keep pretending that he hasn't done anything when he clearly knows he has? Doesn't he want to be fresh and clean?

1pm - He only had 2 mouthfuls left of his lunch. Whats the big deal? I should have just let him get away with it but once again, I'm worried that if I let him push the limits a little, he'll push it a lot the next time. This wasn't an all out tantrum but it was definitely a battle of wills.

6pm - This is the time when we have the biggest and loudest protest from Aaron every day. Bath Time. Two weeks ago, he would have the major meltdown when we try to take him out of the bath. This week, he has it when we start to move him towards the bathroom. I have no idea how he went from loving his bath to hating it so much that I have resorted to having a shower together with him because I can't get him off me and into the bath.

At the end of the day, as I put him to sleep, I said to him "Will you be a good boy tomorrow and not cry so much?" Of course, he says "Yes". Then it was our usual "I love you" and "Good Night". Then came my end of day surprise. Unexpectedly, Aaron suddenly hopped on top of me and gave me a big hug. Its was the first unprompted hug from him.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The 100th Day

We went to Penang over the weekend. The original plan was to go there for some good Nyonya Food and maybe take a look at a new mall they have. As usual, we didn't follow the plan because of the wonderful time we had catching up with my father's cousins and aunt. We spent the whole time at their homes laughing instead.

Sunday also happened to be the 100th Day Anniversary of my grand uncle's death. While everybody in the family is now Catholic (the older ones converted and the younger ones had no choice at birth), my grand uncle chose to remain a Buddhist. So, on this day, we followed the Buddhist tradition and went to a temple to 'transfer some merits' to him.

Each Sunday, Buddhists and non Buddhists alike are welcomed to join the monks for lunch. The food provided is prepared by volunteers and purchased using donations. The families of the deceased would make donations and then on this day, there would be prayers and the mysterious 'transfer of merits'. I was told that our charitable acts here on earth are transfered like 'credits' to the deceased in the afterlife. This pouring of water while the monks chanted was symbolic of the earth spirit that will carry the merits over to my grand uncle. These two ladies are my grand uncle's nieces.

I had a few questions but none of the catholics on my table could answer me.

"Don't Buddhists believe in reincarnation?" and

"If the earth spirit is transporting the merits, why is water used to symbolize it?" and

"Why do the monks sit on the chairs while everybody else prays on the floor?"

The monks can only eat the food offered to them and this needs to be done by literally offering them the table. Notice everybody's hands on the table. They all lifted it briefly in 'offering'.

We did end up with some delicious Nyonya Food cooked by the volunteers.

The old lady is my grand uncle's sister, my grand aunt. The other lady is his daughter.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Entertaining with Chopsticks

Yes, chopsticks do create a big mess and there is some risk that he'll stick it in his eye or nose or ear. But, they also keep an antsy little boy entertained for long enough for me to finish my own breakfast. He has to learn how to use chopsticks sooner or later anyway.

I wonder how ancient Chinese children learned to feed themselves if the only eating utensil used back then was a pair of chopsticks. Maybe it wasn't the only thing they used. Or maybe they did what I did as a child. Just poke the stick into whatever will hold it. When I stopped the poking, I remember gripping the two sticks so hard that by the end of my meals with chopsticks, I had near-cramps in my hands. I was usually very proud that I managed to eat with them though.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Mumbling about sleep again...

This is strange. Its 5pm and I am sitting in front of the computer while Aaron snoozes. For the past week or so, I've been having problems putting him down for his afternoon naps. He lays there and genuinely tries for about 30-45mins to fall asleep. If he's not successful, he'll give up around the 45min mark and start playing around and asking to go out. I pretend to be asleep for another 15mins or so, hoping, that he'll fall asleep but that hasn't happened yet. After I give up, I try my best to stretch him peacefully till bedtime (6.30pm) but he usually has a meltdown halfway through dinner and all through his bath. So today, I decided to let him have a very very late nap and I'm sure I'll pay for it later by having to play with him late into the night.

I wonder if he's transitioning from two naps to just one nap a day. After all, he's already 17months old now. I'm really not sure because I've noticed that if he wakes up from his morning nap before 10.30am, he usually has no problems with the afternoon one. His standard is about 4hrs between the naps but somehow, if he wakes up after 10.30am, it could be 6hrs between them and he still doesn't seem to need to rest.

Everything about toddlers is so dynamic. Sleep schedules from one day to the next. His favorite toys from day to day. What he likes to eat. Whether he'll enjoy his bath or not. I'm certainly kept on my toes in this job!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Hello Little Man

The newborn smell is definitely gone. All I smell these days is Aaron's sweaty head. And its ALWAYS sweaty from him running around. His smell as a whole has changed...I hate to say it but apart from the few minutes immediately after a bath, he smells.....a little like saliva but I've drool coming out.

The soles of his feet are no longer soft and smooth. His heels aren't rounded. He's getting little boy feet with thicker skin.

His hands too. I used to love putting them to my face to feel his soft baby skin. He now puts his hands to my face but they are becoming rough like little kids hands.

Instead of that funny toothless grin he gave us for so many months. We now have a beautiful smile that shows almost a full set of teeth.

I wonder what its like... earn RM100,000 (~USD30k) each month.

I know there are plenty of people who earn more than this but today, its the RM100k paycheck that I'm pondering. Supposedly, this is the amount that a local physician here in Ipoh earns.

RM100k each month is more than double what most of his patients would earn in a year! Yes, I know that he would have spent many years studying and he probably works hard each day but I don't think $100k is commensurate. Especially for a profession that is there to help others. After removing the hurt from their bodies, he's probably inflicting similar pain in their pockets.

I'm sure there are insurance fees and other hidden expenses that I'm not aware of but its still such a mind blowing salary. What does a person do with so much money? This particular physician seems nice enough and has not yet developed the 'God Complex' that many doctors have. Perhaps its because he's still young because it isn't really hard to see how they develop that sort of attitude when you find out how much money they command and how the community in general look up to and respect them.

I do respect doctors, the same as I respect the role that the postman, accountant and air traffic controller plays in our lives. I just can't reconcile their jobs with their salaries today. And, I'm also not one of those who fawn over doctors.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Kampung Simee Market

I have two very different parents when it comes to food. My father loves eating out and if he had it his way, we'd be trying a new place every night. In fact, many families in Ipoh don't bother cooking at all. They either buy the food home or just go out to eat. Food here is good and costs about the same as if you were to cook it yourself. The difference is in the healthiness factor. Thats where my mother comes in.

For health reasons, she prefers to eat all her meals at home. This way, she knows what oil is used and can control its amounts. She also hardly uses any salt and makes sure we all have a balanced meal. Luckily for us, they manage to compromise and I get healthy meals as well as exciting junky ones from outside.

Here are some photos of the Kampung (Malay for 'village') Simee Market that we go to for fresh fish, vegetables and pork. Chicken is bought from another market where my mother has a distant cousin.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Demolish the Cry Room

Last week, I mentioned the Cry Room at church and also that I didn't immediately take to it (nor like the name of) but had an overall positive experience at Mass. That made me start thinking that the cry room isn't such a bad idea after all.

This week, I'm back to feeling offended by it. Firstly, by the concept of the Cry Room and secondly, the name that its been given.

The first thing that irked me a little was the big message projected on the wall at the start of mass that asked parents to take all disruptive children to the Cry Room. I just felt that they shouldn't have used the word 'disruptive' since the message was probably targeted at younger children and they are programmed to be inquisitive and noisy. Still, I didn't spend much time thinking of it and joined the other outcasts in the Cry Room.

At the start of mass, there were 7 under twos and 12 adults in a room with capacity for maybe 20 adults. There was a little noise in the room but nothing major. I noticed that mass started about 15 mins late, just as it did last week and worried a little that Aaron's good behavior may not last the extra 15 mins that we'd have to stay.

After the homily, an additional 5 or 6 children between the ages of four and six came into the room. Now it got a little bit more noisy but still nothing that I wouldn't expect in a room with 13 children.

The next thing I knew, a warden came into the room and actually asked the parents of the 'noisy children' to take them outside. Aaron wasn't one of those but I immediately said "The sign says to bring the disruptive children IN HERE. Why are you kicking them out of the church?" And he ways "Father says so".

Now, I don't know if the priest really gave that instruction but I do hold him accountable. These children are the future of the Catholic Church. Last I checked, our members are dwindling....

How do you expect to nurture their faith if you kick them outside?

How do you expect their parents to teach them about going to Mass if you kick them outside as well?

Why call it a Cry Room if you're not allowed to cry (basically make noise) in it?

Why start Mass 15 mins late? Every second counts when you're talking about a child's attention span.

OK. Sorry for the long post today ranting about the church but....I'm really bugged by it! I think the Cry Room should be scrapped and children and parents be released into the congregation. The kids will explore a little and make some noise but they will learn. I'm sure no parent will allow a full on tantrum to take place during Mass so....let them decide when to take the kid out.

Matthew 18:3 "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven."

Friday, January 11, 2008

Happy 91st Birthday

Today is my grandmother's 91st Birthday. She no longer likes going out to celebrate so we had a little afternoon tea at our house instead.

I can't imagine what it is like to be 91 years old. How does it feel to see the world evolve over nearly a century? How does it feel to know that you probably won't see many more changes happen?

My grandmother lives with my uncle and his family but I think she still has a quite a lonely life. Everybody is out at school or work during the day. During the evenings, the family has each of their own activities. My grandmother is also quite deaf now so I think she misses out on a lot of the conversation around her. We go over to visit her every couple of days and I hope that makes some difference to her long days.

Here are a few things comes to mind when I think of her:
- Very red lipstick and toenails ... in her younger days
- Very black (and shaky) eyebrows and moderately red lipstick ... now in her old age.
- Sharp fingernails that she would use to gently pinch my fingers. I have no idea why she did that but I used to enjoy it when I was a child.
- Pork fat. This is one of her favorite foods yet she does not have high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
- A draped towel over her head when she sleeps because she doesn't want the night breezes to chill her.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Deep Fried Devils

I've been trying to stay healthy by sticking to my daily routine of having oats with bananas for breakfast. Unfortunately, my father has been tempting me with all sorts of after-breakfast treats.

These are called Yow Chow Gwai in Cantonese. The literal translation that my family has been using is "Deep Fried Devils".

It really is an evil food that is way too unhealthy to be consumed regularly. The devils are basically deep fried sticks of fluffy but firm batter. Some people dip this into black coffee but I eat mine just as they are. Crunchy on the outside and soft and a little hollow on the inside. Here's a photo of the mother and son duo who owned the store.

They also sold many other delicious little breakfast tidbits.

The dish on the left, topped with the red chillies and green shallots is a type of yam cake. To the right of the photo, the 'pyramids' wrapped in green banana leaf and newspaper is Nasi Lemak (Coconut Rice with Sambal). Next to the Nasi Lemak are egg tarts, another one of my favorites. And in the background, there are Glutinous Rice with chicken and variations on the original Deep Fried Devils (they vary the shape and fillings).

Tell me. How can I possibly resist food like this? And each day, my father takes me to a place that is similarly enticing!

The Rhythm of a Family

After yesterday's post on how quickly Aaron was growing up, I got a message from Richard asking "Why does he do all the new things when I'm not around?"

I'm sure Aaron isn't intentionally depriving his father of all these joys but I do feel a little pang of regret that I didn't go back to Palembang with Richard. After Brisbane, it took us about a month to get into the nice rhythm of being a family again.

Its not that we didn't get along. However, I did find that the time apart had some impact on the communication between Richard and I. I grew used to being without him and not having him to share all my thoughts with. And somehow, when he was around again, I became too lazy to let him know everything that was going on in my head.

I know it always takes time for Richard to re-adjust to Aaron as well. I forget that its easier for me to be able to anticipate Aaron's needs because I spend everyday with him. Richard is constantly needing to fast forward and catch up to Aaron's latest needs and latest 'favorites'.

This time apart won't be as long. Just another 3 weeks before Richard is here so I don't think the impact will be as significant as the time we were in Brisbane. I'm making the most of the time here to enjoy the rhythm of life with my parents and grandparents.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Aaron needs to slow down

I know that all of these would have been developing gradually but they feel like overnight developments when I suddenly realize how many there are.

...Shouting numbers randomly in Indonesian whenever he hears us using any numbers. It doesn't matter what language we're speaking or whether we are talking about time, prices or distance. He just starts shouting random Indonesian numbers.

...Wriggling out of my arms and onto the floor so that he can walk independently when we're shopping. He then walks through the aisles touching the clothes and saying "Nice"

...Calling out to various family members and inviting them to play. Taking them by the hand and leading them to the play area of choice. Bringing a book to them to read.

...Telling me "No" when I sit next to him on the Piano. He needs to sit there alone and play it by himself.

I just wanted to share a few here because the list goes on and on and I think only Richard and I enjoy going through all of them in detail, beaming with pride as we review all of Aaron's new antics.

Its just amazing to watch how he learns things and also to marvel at the things he has picked up without being taught. I'm torn between wanting to keep him a baby and helping him to develop into an independent little boy. I know there is nothing I can do to stop him from growing up but sometimes I really wish he would do it a little slower.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Fisher Price 1977

My mother is constantly telling me not to spend too much money buying toys for Aaron. And I don't because I've found that even the most well thought out purchases don't hold his attention any longer than some common household object (like a remote control). I understand that its all about exploration and new things at this age but sometimes a mother is just carried away by toys that she thinks she would have liked to play with as a child.

Many of Aaron's toys today are actually mine from 30 years ago. Things like Lego and Jigsaws are still in good condition. My mother kept a lot of these in a 'treasure chest' here in Ipoh and today I went through it to find more for Aaron since I didn't bring any back for him.

Here is a Fisher Price School from 1977.

According to my mother, it was very expensive at the time but she still bought it thinking that it would be something that I would become enamored with and spend countless hours make believing. She realizes now that it was more her own desire to play with it that prompted the purchase. Hence the words of advice on not spending too much on Aaron.

What my mother didn't count on was that 30 yrs AFTER she bought that little school, her grandson would be spending some time with it. And this afternoon alone, she thinks that he has already spent more time with it that I ever did. He did seem to really have fun putting the little people in and out of the chairs and swing sets.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Breastfeeding in Church

Yes, I've finally done it. I never thought I would dare to but today, the perfect opportunity arose.

We went to St Michael's Church today and it has a 'Cry Room'. I've always found that term a little offensive and used to say 'My baby isn't crying' whenever the wardens asked me to take Aaron to the room.

Anyway, Aaron is no longer the little baby that I can keep quiet in the sling. The 'Cry Room' is actually a good place for him now. Its a sectioned off glass area that cuts down the noise that children make but still allows everything that is happening in the main part of the church to be heard.

Initially, we were the only ones in the room today and I didn't turn the lights on. The glass is tinted so we could see out of it but the congregation couldn't really see us inside. I thought Aaron was reasonably well behaved in there. He marched around inspecting every corner of the room. Then he sat down to do some drawing. Eventually, two other families with little girls came into the room and Aaron tried to make friends.

When Aaron failed to engage the girls in any play, he eventually found his way to me, lay down on my lap and asked for a drink. I happily obliged because everybody was facing the front and nobody should be looking around anyway. I couldn't believe I was breastfeeding during Mass. My mind kept thinking of what I would say if somebody approached me at that time or maybe after mass.

"I'm sure Mother Mary breastfed Jesus"

"I thought the whole idea of the 'Cry Room' was to keep Mass times as quiet as possible"

"God made my body this way to feed babies"

I didn't need to face any grown ups. The only person that took any interest in what Aaron was doing was one of the little girls. She looked really puzzled! I actually gave him three short feeds during Mass.

When Mass was over, I felt good that I managed to pay attention to most of it and at least pray more than I usually did. We didn't have to deal with a baby that kept wanting to go outside. Neither did I have to deal with a baby that was constantly tugging at my shirt. This is another situation where I've been thankful for how convenient breastfeeding is and how easy it is to calm a baby down. It just happened that I did it in a place where I think most people would prefer I didn't. But, they don't have to know.

Grandparents are the best

Richard's ulcer scare is providing us with some lovely family time in Ipoh. My parents are back here at the moment. My grandparents of course live here in Ipoh and don't get around much at all since they are all in their eighties.

I always feel a little sad living so far away from my grandparents when they are so old. Its just not the same meeting up with them for a few days once a year and talking to them occasionally on the phone. I like being in touch with them on a daily basis and being part of their lives here. I'll have that opportunity now for the next 4 or 5 weeks.

Here we are at my maternal grandparent's house.

My grandfather just got back from his line dancing class. He's like a local celebrity around here for being the oldest line dancer in Ipoh and has been featured in the newspapers several times. At 89, he's still a regular at all the parties and refuses to leave until the very last dance is over. Unfortunately, my grandmother never got into it because of her knees but she still sometimes accompanies my grandfather. It would have been sweet to see the both of them enjoying this together. Unfortunately, they do have a little of that 'old style marriage' with the man always out and the woman waiting to take care of him at home. After nearly 60 years, she does grumble about this a little but refuses to take a break from it even to visit me in Palembang.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

We're back in Ipoh

I never thought that we'd be in Ipoh this quickly. Yesterday, exactly one week after we returned from Kuala Lumpur, we found ourselves on a plane back to Malaysia again.

Richard has been having some discomfort in the stomach for nearly a week and on Wednesday night, he thought he had all the symptoms of a bleeding ulcer. He's had this two other times in his life and thought it was happening again. In a big panic, we packed our bags and tried to find flight tickets to buy online. However, it was all full. The doctors in Palembang are so unreliable that even the Indonesians (those who can afford it) fly out whenever they need medical attention.

We went to the airport early on Thursday morning but there were no flights so early and all the offices were closed. We waited until midday before finally getting the standby seats on the AirAsia flight back to Kuala Lumpur. We then took a taxi back to Ipoh.

After a morning of waiting in line to see the doctors and an endoscopy, the doctors said that he was "FINE"!! Just a bit of gastric! We were all so surprised and I must admit that I'm wondering if we over reacted. But then again, its better to be on the safe side since he was hospitalized twice before when he really did have a perforated ulcer.

Richard will probably go back to Palembang on Monday but I think I'll just stay on here instead of spending the money on tickets back to Palembang and then back here again for Chinese New Year in a few weeks.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Please remember - Once for Lock and Twice for Unlock

Its driving me crazy! Things weren't so bad when all my immediate neighbors rode motorbikes but now, we have new neighbors next door and also diagonally opposite us.

The new neighbors also happen to have newish cars. For some reason, all the newer cars in Palembang honk their horns when they are either locked or unlocked. "Honk" for locking and "Honk Honk" for unlocking. Until moving here, I only knew of cars that beeped or flashed the indicator lights. [SEE! RIGHT NOW! "Honk" and "Honk Honk" just went off again]. These people!

Its bad enough that the cars come configured this way but these drivers can't remember whether or not they locked the car and what the number of honks mean so that they don't have to make it happen repeatedly! They never just give us a single "Honk" or "Honk Honk". They seem to get to their car, press the button and realize that they have just locked the car instead of unlocking it. So, what do they to? Press it again! Other times I think they press the button to lock then car, and then unlock it, just to be sure it was locked the first time, and then unlock it again. Its really really noisy here.

It wouldn't annoy me so much if the cars weren't right outside Aaron's window. As it is, he's had to get used to sleeping with the loud prayers, modified motorbikes and low flying planes.

HONK! There they go again......

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Graffiti Competition and Top 10 Park Update

I was surprised today when Richard asked if I wanted to go take a look at the Graffiti Competition going on in the Pusri Compound. I didn't think there was much graffiti in Palembang but I now realize I was wrong. My eyes must have been closed during all our drives around the place. After opening them wide today, I saw that almost all buildings had graffiti on the side of them.

Here are the entries for the competition at Pusri. I can't help thinking that a real graffiti artist would probably not enjoy his art as much on a piece of legitimate canvas instead of the side of a building. Whether these were painted by real vandals or just artists who like the style, I enjoyed looking at each of them and I thought the long stretch of all the entries added a nice touch to the intersection that they are displayed at.

OK. On the topic of Palembang's Top 10 Parks, I have to inform you all that I'm giving up. I've confirmed that apart from the multiple green areas in the Pusri Compound and the Novotel grounds, there are no other parks. Luckily we live close enough to Pusri to go there on the weekends. Today, we tried out the basketball courts. Take a look at the ambition here (from BOTH of them).