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Archive for July, 2010

Things that I will miss when I return to work next week:

1. Not having to wake up early to get dressed and psych up for work.
2. Having a leisurely breakfast with The Other Half, the parents and Peanut.
3. Peanut coming up to me with random books to read.
4. Walking to the market with Peanut, Lion and mother in the mornings, visiting some of the random stalls for fun, buying cheap plastic toys for Peanut, watching her at the playground.
5. Home cooked lunch. Usually some kind of noodles in clear soup or porridge, very comforting and warm.
6. Sitting on my parents’ bed feeding Lion while singing songs to Peanut who orbits around us.
7. Sprawling out on my parents’ bed reading a book while Lion snoozes.
8. Making phone calls to random people [mostly The Other Half and Sis1] so that Peanut could tell them “Hallo” and “Bye”.
9. Wandering around the neighbourhood with Lion for fun.
10. Watching silly children’s programmes on TV with Peanut in the evenings after her shower.

And then some.

😦

*

I came across a family photo posted by a professional photographer on Facebook this morning that apparently took 5 hours to piece together. The photo involved 3 different small children-in-arms and a bunch of adults. According to the photog, he had to stitched together the photo from a whole series of photos he took because I suppose of moving children or people not smiling etc.

My piano student has a family photo hanging above the piano. I remember her mother telling me that they selected the smiles of each of them from a bunch of photos and combined them to create that particular photo.

I don’t know. I am a bit ambivalent about the practice. While I can understand getting that one perfect photograph to hang up on the wall, I don’t really approve of the quest for perfection in photographs.

For me, photographs are meant to capture a particular moment. Somehow, doctoring a photo to make it just so is like a cop out. It’s the imperfections that make a moment, and it’s the very existence of imperfections that make capturing that one (mostly) perfect shot worthwhile.

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She: What are you going to do on Thursday?
Me: I’ll stay at home with the kids. The Other Half has work to do so I’ll be alone.
She: You could come over. You could bring Peanut over to the playground and market. You can cook here also.
Me: For what? You and Pa will be on holiday and there’s no one home.
She: Doesn’t matter what.
Me: WTF?!

*

My parents have gone on a cruise holiday and will only be back on Friday afternoon.

We sent them off last night with some money to dawdle away at the casino on board the cruise ship. While checking in, my mother said to me, “I hope Peanut is not going to cry when we go. If she cries, my heart will break.”

Of course Peanut did not cry in the end. She doesn’t usually cry if she gets to wave hysterically and say bye and blow kisses. She’s callous like that at this stage. But on the way home in the car, when she asked where Por Por and Ah Gong is and instead of the usual “They are at home in GM” I replied “They are on a ship” she looked rather perplexed and repeated her question again and again.

But these 8 weeks spent with Peanut and the Parents have made me realised how much they do love Peanut and enjoy having her around, even when she is mostly up to no good. I remember talking to them about sending Peanut off to day care now that she’s more than 18 months old and to my surprise, my father objected immediately on the basis that she’s “too small” to go off to school.

Now that I have taken Peanut for a walk and put her to sleep, I realised that hey, I kinda miss my parents and going to the market with my mother and eating apples cut by my father and my father taking Lion for walks up and down and corridor when he is fussy and all of that. Although I sometimes complain about how boring some of those days were to The Other Half, they were on the whole rather nice days of just being together as a family, days that I haven’t had since maybe more than 6 years ago when I was still in school and spent a lot more time at home than I do now, days that I will sorely miss when I return to work next week.

I do hope that they have fun on the cruise. It’d be a nice break for them before having to take care of Peanut and Lion concurrently for half a week at a go without me around to chip in.

Meanwhile, it’s time to go cook some porridge for lunch and cross my fingers that I will get through this day on my own in one piece.

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He: I called you to tell you that we’ve made a mistake on one of your files. The first mistake since you went on leave…which is pretty good considering that I’ve been running your files and mine concurrently.

She: And I am coming back next week already.

He: Correct! So I called you to tell you about it so that you can deal with it first thing when you come back! I’ve done the maths. It’s only a nine-hundred dollar problem! You should have no problems getting out of it.

Right. I so love my colleagues.

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Your email exchanges with your staff get more and more cryptic as follows:

He: L the policeman wants me to write in formally to request the investigation outcome. I write ah?

She: I thought got form to fill in one?

He: He told me to write using [The Firm’s] office paper. I asked him about the form but he ignored the question. o.o

She: ?! I think we just fill up the form and do a covering letter on our letterhead.

He: He speaks of the form’s inexistence. Woe is us.

Have 8 weeks just passed us like that? The thought of returning to work on Monday [even though I only technically work half the week till next year] is really quite depressing. But at the same time, I think I’d be quite pleased to be in solving my own problems again instead of trying to remote troubleshoot like that.

Anyway, the perks of my work is that I could always just work out my angst on some person or other since everyone expects me to be a bitch anyway so there’s no incentive to be nice. Haha.

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You know you are watching too many Sesame Street clips when you log onto Facebook, see this status update from an acquaintance:

“…and it’s you when I look in the mirror…and it’s you that makes it hard to let go…”

And the auto reply generated in your head is:

“Saying Wubba Wubba Wubba is the thing to do.”

And luckily, the sane part of your mind stops you from posting the reply so that the whole world can go on thinking that you are a completely normal and well adjusted person.

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‘What colour was your nursery wallpaper?’ I asked suddenly.
‘Mauve irises – twisting round a pillar…’ She started. ‘How did you know I was thinking about them just then?’
‘I just thought you were. That’s all,’ I went on. ‘What was your idea of Heaven as a child?’
‘Green pastures – a green valley – with sheep and the shepherd. The hymn, you know.’
‘Who read it to you – your mother or your murse?’
‘My nurse…’ She smiled a little. ‘The Good Shepherd. Do you know, I don’t think I’d ever seen a shepherd. But there were two lambs in a field quite near us.’ She paused and then added: ‘It’s built over now.’
And I thought: ‘Odd. If that field weren’t built over, well, perhaps she wouldn’t be here now.’

*

I’ve devoted quite a lot of time pondering the effects of our ever changing landscape in relation to our sense of belonging to this place, especially while I was trying to maintain a long distance relationship which was borne out of the country. It became too difficult in the end, contributed by the fact that all of the memories of our time together became harder and harder to access when all of the familiar places we spent our time together at ceased to exist, all of the restaurants we dined in together closed or moved away. Even the house we lived in was torn down and redeveloped.

As I walk through the corridors of my parents’ apartment block to get to the lift landing remembering running around with my sisters and other children down those same corridors more than two decades ago, I am filled with a sense of wistfulness knowing that by next year, it’d all be gone after everyone has moved out pursuant to the selective en-bloc exercise. Then my memories of childhood will grow more and more remote, and harder and harder to pin down.

I can’t help but wonder whether we are abandoning a part of ourselves as we tear down and rebuild the existing infrastructure in the name of progress?

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‘Oh, I know you’re voicing the popular idea,’ said Jane. ‘The dead want us to be brave and bear up and carry on as usual. They hate us being unhappy about them. That’s what everybody goes about saying — but I never have seen that they’ve any foundation for that cheering belief. I think they’ve invented it themselves to make things easier for them. The living don’t all want exactly the same thing, so I don’t see why the dead should either. There must be heaps of selfish dead — if they exist at all they must be very much the same as they were in life. They can’t be full of beautiful and unselfish feelings all at once. It always makes me laugh when I see a bereaved widower tucking into his breakfast the day after the funeral and saying solemnly, “Mary wouldn’t wish me to grieve!” How does he know? Mary may be simply weeping and gnashing her teeth (astral teeth, of course) at seeing him going on as usual just as though she had never existed. Heaps of women like a fuss being made over them. Why should they change their characters when they’re dead?’

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