“Don’t Eat My Family”

Kids say the funniest things.  Out of nowhere, my 3-year-old niece led me out of my living room – where my sister Lora and my brother-in-law Benny were seated – and into my bedroom.  She said in a calm and composed manner, “Don’t eat my family.”

My niece and I

She then closed the door on her way out, effectively ‘locking’ me into my bedroom.  Just not too long ago, she led me into the common bedroom – which is now her room – and we have started our drawing ritual.  Bethany does not draw much.  But she enjoys watching others to draw.  So I asked her, “What shall we draw today?”  She replied, “A monster”.  I did just that.  Perhaps too realistic in my ever burning enthusiasm in everything I do.  Bethany was frightened and in one quick reflex, I tore the page out, collapsed it into a ball, and passed it to my wife Cynthia literally erased the monster from our drawing history.

“Wonder Pets!” Bethany requested.

What on earth are Wonder Pets?!  I called out to her parents for help.  Still unable to visualize how a turtle, a duck, and a guinea pig look like in a wonder pets setting, I quickly asked for my phone and Google it.  How I love technology.

With a kid around, it is impossible – just not possible – to sit and do something for, say, 10 seconds.  The moment I stepped away, Bethany would call me back.  I said to Cynthia, “Could you please keep her occupied for a minute?”  Nope.  Just not possible.

I love watching Bethany playing pinball game on my phone.  There is no such notion as losing a game.  Bethany got excited and she cheered every time the ball fell off the drain and reappeared at the spring launcher.  It is as though she has made it happens (which in a way she has).  It is good to see the world through kids’ eyes at times.  Participation is a win by itself.

Benny has taken some photographs using his Nikon D90.  I am happy to share them here.

  • Click here to view the photo album (7 photographs)

On Lora’s Birthday Bethany And I

Lora is my sister.  Bethany is my niece.  On Lora’s birthday Bethany and I built sand castles at Palawan Beach, Sentosa.  After that joyful afternoon, it took me two days to recover from my muscle strain.  Oh little Bethany.  How you have worn me out.  But that was worth it.  Because  she seems to be friendlier towards me after I have spent some quality and quantity time playing with her.  Her mom was munching under the shade most of the time.  My wife Cynthia too was munching and has elected to supervise the end-to-end process instead.  Her daddy’s job was to fetch sea water.  As for me, I was the designated photographer and the co-sand castle builder.

So the plan was to meet at 10am.  The night before we went to sleep, Cynthia asked if we needed to set the alarm clock.  I casually and confidently waved her thought away and said, “How is it possible not to wake up by nine?”  At 9.50am, Cynthia woke me up from my beauty sleep and we both screamed at the clock.

A few days ago, my sister has this sudden urge wanting to build sand castles by the beach.  Jolly well.  I love the sand and the beach.  It was a warm day.  The afternoon sun was rather punishing.  Fortunately there are shades everywhere in this resort island of Singapore.  I often think that Bethany – like my sister – is a more indoor sort of person who prefers air-conditioning to tomar el sol.  I was quite surprised that Bethany could be pretty active in the outdoor.  Her determination to build sand castles was admirable.  Except, no matter how hard we tried to show her, she used dry sand instead of wet sand.  That did not work out.  Halfway, she gave up and played with sea water instead.

I cannot fathom why she deliberately avoided the wet sand.  Maybe she prefers the lighter color to the darker one.  I do not know.  I tried to teach her to add water to the dry sand inside the cup.  But she tended to pour in too much sea water so much so that the sand turned mud got stuck inside the cup.  What should I do?  Instinctively, squatting next to her, I took the larger bucket and started to fill it up with wet sand.  Bethany followed what I did and fill it up with her personal preference: dry sand.  I mixed our sand as we worked our way and fill the bucket to its rim.  Before I flipped the bucket, I would ask Bethany where she wanted it to be placed.  She would pinpoint a precise spot and we would do the count together, looking into each other’s eyes and said …

1 – 2 – 3 … Wow!

OK.  I have to admit.  It was fun.  It went on and on and had I not stopped, the Great Wall of Sentosa would extend all the way from the tree that shaded us to the shore, which must have been fifty to a hundred meters away.

Normally I bring my 24-70mm f/2.4 lens for a general purpose photography session like this one.  That day, I brought my 70-200mm f/2.4 telephoto zoom lens instead.  I love my zoom lens.  It produces a nice bokeh.  And it collects less background distraction.  No distortion to the faces at 90mm and above.  The only drawback is that it is heavy and it requires quite a distance between my subjects and I.  In an open space like Palawan Beach, the latter is a non-issue.  It has only become an issue when Bethany got friendlier with me and started to get nearer to the camera.  That was when I had to jump backward in order to take a photograph.  All in all, no regret in bringing along my zoom lens.  My intend was to be able to take pictures of Bethany without getting too close and become intimidating.  Objective achieved.

In the past, I host my photographs within my website.  But time has changed.  I am more involved with Google+ these days.  So I am giving it a try and have uploaded the photographs there instead.  I am not sure how this will affect the non-Google+ users.  I hope it doesn’t.  Do let me know your feedback in the comments below.  I would love to hear.

  • Click here to view the photo album (29 photographs)

I am delighted to have found a new way to bond with my niece.  Sand and sun at Sentosa is very doable.  Next time, I may wish to bring my chilled picnic box and stock it up with ice cold Apple Cider.  That would be an ideal way to spend a Sunday.

Me No Shy About Me Birthday

Thanks for all your warm wishes!  It is the thought that counts.  So, text messages are same-same to me.

I have two traditions when it comes to my birthday.  One, it will be a holiday.  Look, if we have holidays to celebrate the birth of the kings and queens and anniversary of what not, why should I work on my birthday?   And two, during my birthday week, it will be my treat to all the friends who join me for lunch or dinner.  I mean, look at it this way, I feel so blessed to have friends turn up for my B day celebration.  It’s on me, gladly so.

I guess it is hard to contain the happiness and I find myself telling the people around me the coming of my birthday.  Maybe I am a natural exhibitionist.  Most people I know are more comfortable keeping it low profile, which is cool with me of course.  One time, the colleague behind me was on the phone and you know how kids are when they get onto the phone.  As usual, the faint high pitch voice reached my desk and I heard a birthday song!  It was my colleague’s birthday and I congratulated her after her call.  Wow, I would have missed that and I would feel quite bad had I known that someone’s birthday has gone underneath my radar.  She is my neighbor in the cube farm some more.  Bizarre to say – and those of you who know me in person would know how animated I can be once I get excited – despite my rather excited words of congratulation, everyone else was so absorbed with their work and none noticed this little event.  Oh well.

The other day, one friend of mine in the office told me that she doesn’t think writing “I wake up, I eat, I sleep” as her journal (or blog) is interesting at all.  Well, I don’t know.  I also write “I wake up, I eat, I sleep” too.  Maybe if one day 3am in the morning and you can’t sleep, you should try reading my blogs.

I woke up this morning after an amazing 8 hours of sleep, looked in the mirror, and didn’t notice any difference.  I mentally timed my pee and it took roughly the same time.  Great!  It’s my birthday and I feel one year younger.  I did some memory test and I passed, remembering all the schedule blog entries all the way till I fly out of town next Wednesday.  Superb!  Good as new.

Switched on my wireless phone and went through the bunch of entertaining text messages.  One friend told me that men age like fine wine.  Wow, my first time hearing it.  So I asked this wise man what do women age like?  Cheese, he replied, as the taste grows on you!  Ha ha ha … OK.  I don’t know why, I kept thinking of the “Sex and the City” movie.  Time for Botox – the miracle of eternal youth!

Spent a fair bit of the morning doing vocal exercise.  Vocal exercise?  Yes.  Vocalists do vocal exercise all the time and it helps a lot in the actual singing activity.  I must have driven Cynthia mad this morning.  Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-ohhhhhhh~

Another friend asked me to send a wild plant to her via Facebook after I told her that I was heading to the Botanic Gardens.  Sure I can do that.  I love the Botanic Gardens.  Always do, be it as in Hong Kong or Paris or Singapore.  It was sunny, it rained a bit, and we took some photos inside the lovely Botanic Gardens.

Time check!  OK, it 5-ish and I shall head to Orchard soon.  Catching up with my Movie Review Squad and I can’t wait to watch Hellboy 2!  I so have a big crush with Hellboy’s girlfriend.  Shhh, please don’t tell Cynthia.

Later!

On This Day I Was Born

TODAY IS MY BIRTHDAY!!!!!

Yep, my birthday.

Had a few birthday emails and the ladies in our team have bought me a birthday cake.  Also had a lunch appointment with the BUN (functional?) team.  A very nice restaurant serving Indonesian food.  I was travelling with two ladies (even eating) and it was easy at all.  Must try to be fair to Balqais and CC.  Hence when I took food, I served the left and right first (or right and left).

And at night, I dined with CC. Just the two of us.

Many reasons to love here.  Many.