28 December 2009


pic source

In computerese, the title is an acronym for "What You See Is What You Get".

This also applies to life. At least, life as I see it. It isn't always so simple. What you see is not what you get because there are so many frauds out there. What you see is what they want you to and not what is reality.

The many smiling faces out there hide a truth that sometimes is totally the opposite of what they portray. I find that this is usually the case. People scream out that they are smart; I think they want to be smart! Some insist they are happy, I think they don't really know for sure. It seems to me that they need validation. They do, say and act in a particular way only to garner specific responses. It's a funny kind of gratification they crave. Yet, I'm quite sure that even when they manage to get the standard and polite responses, the hollow low self-esteem is still there. Why? One needs to be true to oneself first!

Recently, I had a late lunch with a new friend. Lunch soon stretched to tea and before we realised it, the time showed it was nearly 5 pm. With this friend, I know that what I see is what I get. She has a blog and I've been there many times. She writes from her heart. However, the real test is when you meet up with her and engage in a conversation with her. Ahhhhhhhhhh! Up close and personal, she speaks from her heart too. She is who she says she is. She is one of those rarities that is genuine. With her, WYSIWYG.

When you sit down for 4 hours with anyone, you share your minds and not just empty words on paper or in cyberspace. In cyberspace, there is no direct interaction. If you use social tools like Facebook or Friendster, you can pretend till the cows come home. Everything can be made to seem hunky-dory. Only a sharp mind can see beyond those pictures and words (which may or may not be your own). Only in a physical meeting, can anyone truly know another person and what is real or made up.

Being acutely aware of the many fakes in this world, I am always mindful that who I am and what you see is what you get 24/7. If I put something here, it's what I truly believe in. If I'm not sure, I'll say so and you'll get that from reading the entire post. If you are following my blog, you'll also know if I use a quote or I am pasting something from a source.

I'm aware that some people do just that. They browse websites and then they copy, paste and edit it a bit and then call it their own. If I were rude, I'd quote the Chinese who have a crude saying that goes like this "Take someone's backside to be your face". My unprofessional opinion, however, is that it must stem from having some feeling of inferiority.

I don't like cooking and I would never boast that I could. When I was young, I used to dance and even performed in some hotels but I wouldn't make that claim now! If I can, I do. If I can't, I won't fake it! Why should I? Everyone is given different talents and we do the best that we can with it. It would be like asking my mom to cook a dish and then I put it in a nice receptacle and send it to my colleague saying that I made it. Pathetic, yes?

Why do some people have a need to portray to unsuspecting family and friends that they are super intelligent? How will they justify this pretense when they have to have a one-on-one conversation? Won't it be glaringly obvious then?

I used to know a man who boasted that he could speak convincingly on any topic for half an hour. I thought he was being haughty but later I found that, indeed, he could and he was not joking. He was an extremely intelligent person and he wasn't just saying it to impress people. It was really a facet of his character. I heard that he's passed on now and whether he knew it or not, his wit and wisdom touched my life.

I can only hope that my family and friends feel WYSIWYG when they are with me.

25 December 2009

Merry Christmas

Our family christmas tree in KL

It's different because it hasn't a star or angel at the top. It's draped in red baubles, silver globes and poinsettias. The fibre optic lights help to make it bright, bold and beautiful.

I love Christmas. Everything about it makes me smile. People become nicer, kinder and they smile more.

Our tree isn't huge. Nor is it tiny! To me, it's just symbolic of the Christmas celebration. In Singapore, we have a mini metal one and I've tied red ribbons to make it merry. We used to have a tree but we have since given it away to another family more in need of one.

Do we feel less of the Christmas spirit without the tree adorning our living room in Singapore?


We revel in the knowledge that our tree is now in someone's home. That family will gather on Christmas day and celebrate what is most important about this season! The feeling of being together and sharing and caring.

One day at a time!
One step at a time!
One gesture at a time!

That's all it takes to make this world a better place. I usually don't cut and paste but I would like to share this!


If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling
lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies,
preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at
mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home, and give all that
I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend
a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata, but do not
focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside decorating to kiss the husband.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and
table linens.
Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they
are there to be in the way.
Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices
in giving to those who can't.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all
Love never fails.
Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust.
But giving the gift of love will endure.

-- Author Unknown

Here's wishing you folks

To all those reading this, thanks for dropping by! May God bless you in a special way today!

16 December 2009

Christmas is for the children

I began my christmas work at home in mid-November. I usually take my time to take out the seven boxes of stuff. This doesn't include the Christmas tree or the nativity set. It takes me about two to three weeks to remove all the other things, dust and then re-arrange the hundreds of christmas decorations that I have.

This year, I'd given away about one-third of my things. I'm a true-blue Christmas shopper. I can't resist buying new things even when I already have so many. Despite, trimming down the trimmings, it still took a lot of my evenings and nights to get the home ready for Christmas.

Experience has taught me that an investment in a fibre-optic tree cuts down stress and unnecessary time to first, test the lights and then, nicely drape the tree. So for the last two years, I really enjoyed just taking out the tree, plugging it in and "voila", the lights work fine!!!!!

By the way, my Uncle Ralph sent this to me and it's really hilarious. The picture is worth a thousand words.

So why exactly does anyone do up the house for Christmas?

In my case, I do it for my child. And I will do it for my grandchildren, when that time comes.

Since I shuttle between KL and Singapore, and usually spend my Christmas down south, I hardly ever get to enjoy the eve of Christmas at home with the lights aglow and seeing all the presents under the tree. However, even when I am not home, I know that my son will have a home decorated, literally with love, for Christmas. I know that he will know how much of my time and energy had gone into transforming the entire house for him for Christmas. That is my reward. The bonus is when he tells me his friends visit and marvel at the total Christmas look.

Even the neighbours that I hardly know, stop, smile and ask if they can come in to have a look. They've said that it looks like Santa lived here. One year, when I had gone overboard, I was told that the living room looked like a Christmas shop at the mall, with all the tiny knick knacks and poinsettias everywhere. I've mellowed since then!

Christmas is for the children. Without them, the whole celebration is just another event for adults.

Christmas is also about remembering Christ. He is the reason for the season.

When I kena the lottery, I'm going to buy the biggest fibre-optic tree for my friend, Stephen Francis!

03 December 2009

Mothers or Martyrs

Late last night, I received an sms asking if I was awake and if I had some words of wisdom to spare. Well, perhaps to share would have been a better word. The sender of the sms was lamenting that her children were ungrateful. They only look for her when they are in need and when things get better; they disappear without a word of gratitude. She went on to tell me that she could forget it but she felt hurt and disappointed. I did not really get what she was trying to say. My advice to her was to let it be. I told her to do what she could and to be happy to have helped. Most important of all, I told her to do it with a giving heart. Not to expect anything in return for whatever kindness done is probably best.

Frankly, her problem is that she helped her children with the idea that she would receive something in return.

I thought about it a little more. I wonder if mothers are supposed to be martyrs. Surely, that isn’t a pre-requisite.

I have heard of mothers who give their all and do their utmost for their children. They are self-sacrificing and think nothing of themselves except to be the model and perfect mom. On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve also heard of mothers who give birth then leave the kids to maids and never really have that natural mother/child bond. To the latter, having that baby was just part of an agenda in the book of life. I know that there a millions of scenarios and these are just two.

I think that expecting some acknowledgement from one’s children for what we do for them is not entirely wrong. However, if we want gratitude (in the form of a reward), then it becomes bizarre.

I don’t imagine myself as a “perfect” mom. I suspect it’s kinder on the children when the mother has flaws. It makes her approachable. A less than perfect mom would also be able to empathize with a child that is learning, searching and making mistakes along the way.

I remember when my boys were toddlers, “Dynasty” or “Dallas” were the hits on TV. I was a great fan in those days. When the show came on, my boys knew that whatever they asked of me, during that one-hour show, I would respond with, “Wait for the advertisement!” They understood that it was “my” time and that during the intervals I would attend to them. If they forgot, I only had to say “Wait” and they would finish my sentence with “for the advertisement!” It turned out to be a game for them. Did it make me a bad mom? I don’t think so. My sons gained valuable lessons there. I think they learnt not to be demanding. They know that waiting a while is not a bad thing. Probably some moms knowing I did this would cringe in horror that I could put TV before my sons. My own aged aunts raised their eyebrows at the many unorthodox methods I have used with my own flesh and blood. In reality, it’s my decision since it’s my responsibility.

Today, everyone tells me that my son is such a “nice” person. “Nice” is good! “Nice” is what’s inside of him. The external qualities don’t mean a thing unless his heart is nice. I’m patting myself on my own shoulder for this!

Coming back to a mother being a martyr, I believe that a mother, who does everything out of love for her child, does not ever expect anything in return, not even gratitude. The mothers who have mechanically looked after their child, doing only what society expects them to do, are the ones that end up feeling unloved, unappreciated, disappointed and sad.

This is probably what happened to my night smser. Her kids are all grown up. They are all married. She feels her job is done and it’s payback time. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. They all have their lives to lead. The sooner she realises it, the better it will be for her.

Such is life!