Archive for December, 2012


Yesterday, Yoke Cheh (picture above) dropped by to visit us. It was such a pleasant surprise. She had moved away from the neighborhood for some years and we were so happy to see her again.

Who was this amazing lady? Remember how I used to battle with hyperthyroidism 13 years ago that made life everyday hell on earth for me? I went from one doctor to another, taking western medications like nobody’s business and wondering when this nightmare will end. Then Yoke Cheh told me about the baby abalone and old duck soup followed by Guinness Stout that finally cured me completely and brought back hopes and laughter into my life again. I am very grateful to this lady.

And while I battled with this terrifying sickness for months, she was the one who help me to take care of my new-born baby girl while my mom took care of Nicholas. Alexandra was in very good hands as Yoke Cheh was a very experience baby-sitter. In her 40 years as a baby-sitter, she had taken care of more than 30 babies and my daughter was the last baby she took care. She waited for me to get well again before handing back the baby to me so that she can retire in peace.

This warm and friendly lady is a walking dictionary of medical knowledge, not the western cures but the traditional Chinese ones. She had taught me some tricks and quick fixes for babies and young children.

Here are some tips on two very common childhood ailments to share with parents, courtesy of an experienced lady who had devoted a big part of her life taking care of babies and young children while their parents are at work.

Heard of chickenpox? Yes, they are still around, despite inoculations. If your child came down with chickenpox, give him plenty of fresh coconut water which is supposed to be cooling and will force out the chickenpox from the body completely. Do not scratch the blisters as this will leave scars on the skin. Buy chickenpox powder from Chinese medical halls and apply them on the body to keep the itch away.

Another common childhood ailment is German measles or rubella. If your child came down with high fever, check for pink rashes on his body, especially on his palms and soles. If these two areas do not have the pink rashes, then this condition is called “false German measles or rubella.” Just give him plenty of herbal drinks and the condition will improve after a few days.

But for “real German measles or rubella”, the pink rashes will usually appeared initially at the forehead, cheek, neck, or chest and then down to the palms and soles. Fever usually lasted for 3 or 4 days. In Chinese traditional medicine, this condition is caused by extreme heat in the vital organs. In other words, it is the imbalance of yin and yang.

Boil celery leaves (yin sai) with water chestnuts (ma tai) and sugarcane for a few hours using medium heat. Let it cool down and consume it throughout the day. This will bring the body’s temperature down and flushed out the excess heat. Expect to urinate a lot the whole day and this is a good sign that heat is being expel from the body via urine.

Do not allow the child to scratch his body. Buy celery seeds (yin sai mai) from Chinese medical halls, boil them with water for half an hour and add to a pail of warm water to bathe the child. Do not add any cold water to this concoction.

Dry the child and apply medicated powder to his body. Buy “pang yee soi” which is a type of dried fish gill from the Chinese medical halls and soak it in hot water until it softens. Cook it with porridge and feed it to the child after discarding the fish gill. This porridge is good to nourish the body after a bout of rubella.

Both my children have gone through chickenpox and rubella but with Yoke Cheh at my side giving advises, it was a breeze for mother and children.

“Can I share out your tips with my readers?” I asked her.

“Yes, why not? Go ahead because not many old-hands like me will be around  later to teach you guys when you cross the bridge!” she laughed.

So now, with her blessing, I am sharing her tips in my blog so that other parents can also benefit from her 40 years experience of taking care of babies and young children which is very challenging.

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Here is a story that will bring a smile to your lips and yet, tears to your eyes. If you love dogs as much as my family and I did, you will find this story heart-warming. It is about a man and his unconditional love for his dog………

In loving arms: Man floats his sick dog to sleep, becomes Internet sensation

Hannah Stonehouse Hudson / Stonehouse PhotographyJohn Unger and his dog Schoep float anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, depending on the temperature of the water and how Schoep is feeling.Courtesy MSN.com

Hannah Stonehouse Hudson / Stonehouse Photography
John Unger and his dog Schoep float anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, depending on the temperature of the water and how Schoep is feeling.
Courtesy MSN.com

Happy tail: How the Internet changed ‘floating dog’s’ life

Courtesy MSN.com

Courtesy MSN.com

Dog is indeed man’s best friend. John and Schoep really deserves each other.


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That day, all my lunch buddies were not in the office. Hungry and alone, I went to the nearest eatery to pack my lunch.

As I was walking towards my favorite stall, my eyes suddenly rested on a guy crossing the street. He was flanked on both sides by two pretty girls. They were also heading to the same eatery.

“Who was that guy? I think I’ve met him somewhere before!” I thought to myself as I took in his youthful, kind and honest-looking face.

Seconds later, the answer came to my head. Why, he was the guy who had taught me how to dance before.

My colleagues and I used to learn ballroom dancing after work at a dance academy in downtown Kuala Lumpur. He was teaching there after work, for the fun of it and to meet girls.

After a few months I stopped going there and so did he. It had been almost a year since we last met.

As I do not even know his name and have not spoken to him before, I just gave him a smile and went on to queue up for my food.

Seeing me smiled at him, he quickly left the two pretty girls to eat on their own and ran to my side. They were working together near my place and were there for lunch too.

“Hi Miss, your smile just now really electrified me. Where have I met you before?” he asked eagerly in that crowded and noisy place.

I gave him another smile before replying, “On the dance floor, I think ….”

“Ah yes, I remember now!” he said happily. “I’m so glad to meet you again. Here is my card,” he continued.

As they said, the rest was history.

We were not each other’s first love but we were each other’s true love.

All through the years, as in all meaningful relationships, there was plenty of laughter just as there were plenty of tears.

We have been through a lot. But we remained as one. And we were blessed with two very beautiful children.

Today is our 21st wedding anniversary.

It was like only yesterday that I gave him the smile that melted his heart and also changed our lives forever……

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冬至快乐. Happy Winter Solstice Festival and Reunion.

冬至快乐. Happy Winter Solstice Festival and Reunion.


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You guys are warriors

You guys are warriors

The Penilaian Menengah Rendah or Lower Secondary Assessment results came out this morning but we all slept so well last night! 🙂

There was no tension at all in our household.

This is because we knew Nicholas had studied very hard for the past year and had given his best. As parents, we are very reasonable and understanding. We do not ask for the impossible.

Unlike his younger sister, Nicholas is not a straight A student. He is an average and happy-go-lucky guy. But it doesn’t bother us one bit.

This morning, he got up, had his breakfast and then went to school with his best friends to get their results. They came back hours later, some happy while some sad.

“Hey dude, what did you get?” we teased him playfully.

He could only laughed shyly and tried to hide his result slip from us.

After being chased around the house by his kid sister, he finally let us have a peep into the small slip of paper.

He got 3A, 3B, 1C and 1E.

Oh my goodness, he had failed his Mandarin again but so had his friends.

“Don’t worry, almost everybody in our class failed Mandarin!” they said amusingly.

I know, I know, Mandarin is one of the toughest language to master on planet.

“For those As and Bs, well done and keep up but for the E, you better put in more efforts!” I told my son and his friends.

“What is done, is done and you cannot changed the results. But you can work harder for better results for your next hurdle, the SPM. Move on, okay, guys?” I tried to cheer them up.

I learned from them that there were some teary students and sullen-faced parents at school today. They acted like December 21st (the end of the world according to Mayan calendar) came two days earlier.

“How are we going to celebrate, Mom?” asked Nicholas mischievously.

“Ask your daddy when he got home tonight. We go out to eat something you like, as a reward!” I told him, giving my son a pat on his shoulder.

“Yeah!” he responded happily and we gave each other high fives.

Today, I am truly proud of my son and so was his daddy.

I really want my children to feel that going to school and sitting for examinations are not weary chores. I want them to feel that learning is a joy.

After all, the journey ahead is still very long. We cannot feel pressured, tired or fed-up at such an early stage, can we?

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Sesame and her seven little dwarves


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Five years ago, we bought a pair of young rabbits as a birthday gift for our son Nicholas.

He chose the grey one, named it Sesame and gave the other rabbit to his sister. She named it Almond as it has white fur.

Sesame and Almond grew up pretty fast on carrots and pellets. Then we discovered Sesame was actually a female while Almond was a male.

However, Sesame was not your ordinary girl – gentle and demure as a rabbit should be. On the contrary, she was quite aggressive when Almond tried to get near her. She would growl at him and used her hind legs to give him a fierce kick on the face. Of course we do not know what went on between them when the lights went out at night!

One morning in early December 2007, we discovered Almond had died inside the cage. With sadness, we buried him under a tree behind our house.

Thinking that Sesame might be lonely, we got another rabbit for her. It has light brown fur and we named him Peanuts. Unfortunately, Peanuts too, died a few days later. It seems that Sesame refused to have anything to do with guys. Looks like he died from loneliness and we buried him next to Almond under the tree. By now we knew Sesame does not need a mate and she was truly an independent lady. We let things stayed that way.

Whenever I cleaned up her cage, I could see some furs lying all over the place. I thought she was in the stage of changing her old furs for new ones.

On the night of December 14th, I was cleaning up her cage as usual when my fingers accidentally touched something soft and warm near the corner of the cage. And can you guess what that was?

Yes, newborn baby rabbits, all seven of them! Their eyes were not opened yet, their skins were transparent and they piled on top of one another. They looked more like newborn mice than rabbits.

Only then we came to realize that Sesame had been pregnant and now become a mother. She had quietly given birth to seven babies inside the cage when we were busy with our own chores and nobody knew what she had gone through.

No wonder she had been shedding furs – they were supposed to be used to line the cage to keep her babies warm. We quickly put some rugs as substitute and said sorry to Sesame.

The first two weeks were easy for everyone. The babies slept all day and cuddled closed to each other for comfort and warmness. They loved to pile on top of each other. We wondered how those at the bottom could breathe. Strangely, they found their way.

Sesame was a reluctant mother. She only nursed them twice a day for about five minutes each time and nothing could bring her to nurse them another round. Once, my children even held her down and put the babies one by one to her breasts but she put up a struggle and kicked them away. She preferred to eat carrots and sleep at her own corner than to bond herself to her kids.

Much to our amazement, all seven baby rabbits grew up very fast too. Sometimes we could bring mother and babies out to the parks so that they could hop around. From these outings, we found out rabbits actually loves to eat the dandelion flowers that were growing wild on the fields.

Three months later, the size of the young rabbits matched that of their mother. The cage got too crowded for them and they often fought with each other for space. When rabbits fight, they loved to bite each other’s ears. Their ears could bleed and I have to applied yellow lotion on them. They ended up with yellow ears most of the time.

We thought it was time to give them away to friends and relatives. Sesame was a beautiful mother and naturally all her kids were adorable, therefore they were never short of takers. Soon, all the kids found new homes and in the end, we were left with the old dowager again.

Sesame died a few years later from old age. She was buried next to her two husbands under the tree.

Today, we still remember them with fondness……..

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You’re just a mom????…….

Saw this on my Facebook page today. I can relate to it…..and pretty well too.

just a mom

I have always wanted to say something like this for sometime but someone here beats me to it.

For far too long, society has been looking down on women who have nothing better to do than just being moms.

You’re just a mom? Don’t you have a more meaningful and solid career?

What a waste! What a pity!

Why don’t you get someone to help you out, then you can go back to work again?

See, being a mom is almost like a dirty job. It is almost like a job for women without a brain.

You don’t need brains to cook a meal. You don’t need brains to do the laundry and ironing. You don’t need brains to sweep the floor and dust the sofa. You don’t need brains to prepare milk and change the diapers. You don’t need brains to nurture your growing children.

You don’t need brains when you stay at home.

But you definitely need brains to interpret the financial reports, to prepare the welcome speech or meet the monthly sales target.

Don’t laugh. Some people or should I say, many people, still sees things this way.

For how much longer, I do wonder?





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Simply Irresistible!

果王之王 ~ 榴蓮

By looking at the pictures below, can you guess the variety of these Durians?


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Have I ever told you that I hate Durians, that is, until last Sunday?

I simply abhor their pungent smell. Unlike my husband and children, I have always avoided Durians like plague.

Then last Sunday, Vince’s mother planted nine Durians at our doorstep.

Vince was my son’s best friend and his family owns a Durian orchard up the hills near Bentong in Pahang.

Two weeks ago, Nicholas had followed them there to taste their Durians. They have also brought home a car load of Durians to be given to friends and relatives in Kuala Lumpur.

They just went there again and came back with another car load of these fruits.

I “forced” myself to eat them because I was curious about the look and smell of these Durians.

And you know what?

For the first time, I have come to taste the best Durian in the country and in my life too – the pulp was so thick yet soft, the taste was so sweet and creamy and the seeds were so flat and small. The spikes were blunt and the husks were thin. So easy to pry them!

All nine Durians turned out so perfectly well-formed and tasty.

Such glorious Durians! So different from all kampung Durians we normally buy from the roadside sellers.

The sweetness lingers long after we have thrown away the seeds and husks.

I am now a lover of Durians, but for this kind of Durians only. 🙂

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If not for my sister’s call just now, I would not know today is my mom’s death anniversary in the Chinese calendar. All I knew was that mom left us on November 24th twelve years ago. How time flies but she is still in my heart everyday. My mom used to love English songs and here is one which I would love to dedicate to her memory….

Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh.
It must have been cold there in my shadow,
to never have sunlight on your face.
You were content to let me shine, that’s your way.
You always walked a step behind.

So I was the one with all the glory,
while you were the one with all the strength.
A beautiful face without a name for so long.
A beautiful smile to hide the pain.

Did you ever know that you’re my hero,
and everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle,
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

It might have appeared to go unnoticed,
but I’ve got it all here in my heart.
I want you to know I know the truth, of course I know it.
I would be nothing without you.

Did you ever know that you’re my hero?
You’re everything I wish I could be.
I could fly higher than an eagle,
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

Did I ever tell you you’re my hero?
You’re everything, everything I wish I could be.
Oh, and I, I could fly higher than an eagle,
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings,
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

Oh, the wind beneath my wings.
You, you, you, you are the wind beneath my wings.
Fly, fly, fly away. You let me fly so high.
Oh, you, you, you, the wind beneath my wings.
Oh, you, you, you, the wind beneath my wings.

Fly, fly, fly high against the sky,
so high I almost touch the sky.
Thank you, thank you,
thank God for you, the wind beneath my wings.

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One evening some years ago, my children and I heard a very unique sound floating in the air as we were stepping out from Sungai Wang Shopping Mall in Kuala Lumpur.

“What sound is that?” we froze and asked each other in amazement.

Totally enchanted and captivated by its beauty, we ran over to where this sound came from.

And do you know what we saw?

A group of about five or six men playing on their bamboo flutes. They were wearing bright red indigenous Andean woolen robes.

“They must be from Peru or Bolivia!” I told my children excitedly. I could recognized their costumes and instruments at once.

“When we get home, both of you go look up in the world map for Peru and Bolivia. These countries are somewhere in South America which is very far away from here, ” I told the children when they gave me puzzled looks.

It was Christmas shopping season and they were performing near the fountain in front of Sungai Wang Shopping Mall. A large crowd of shoppers and passersby had gathered to watch them play.

And when the beautiful sounds of “El Condor Pasa” floated out from their flutes, the crowd went wild. The appreciative crowd cheered and clapped enthusiastically to the rhythm of a song most of us knew so well. Some of us even gyrate to the tune.

This was followed by a few more songs which names I did not know. I think they must be some Andean folk songs.

It was truly a mesmerizing performance that left us completely hypnotized, enthralled and wanting more. Many of us dropped money into their hats which were placed on the floor.

What a pity I did not have my camera with me that day.

Although I have forgotten the rest of the songs now but one will always remained with me forever – El Condor Pasa.

And when I learned that my blogging friend Antares (Magick River) had just came back recently from a very spiritual trip to Machu Picchu, memories of that evening came floating back to me.

Here is El Condor Pasa as played on the bamboo flute which is also called the pan pipe and El Condor Pasa as sang by the famous duo, Simon and Garfunkel back in 1970. Do you still remember this song?

Have a very blissful and peaceful weekend everyone.

Let the beautiful music from the land of the Incas transport you to another world…..a world of deep valleys, crystal clear lakes, beautiful blue hills and white mists.

Very spiritually uplifting.


I’d rather be a sparrow than a snail.
Yes I would.
If I could,
I surely would.

Away, I’d rather sail away
Like a swan that’s here and gone
A man get tied up to the ground
He gives the world
It’s saddest sound,
It’s saddest sound.


I’d rather be a hammer than a nail.
Yes I would.
If I only could,
I surely would.


I’d rather be a forest than a street.
Yes I would.
If I could,
I surely would.


I’d rather feel the earth beneath my feet,
Yes I would.
If I only could,
I surely would.


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