30 June 2010

Of the World Cup, Women and Work

Of the World Cup

I've always loved football. So the World Cup is something I look forward to following. This time, though, I am watching it alone, most of the time. It's not all bad since there's a mamak stall close enough for me to hear them roar when any team scores or misses. It always makes me smile when they do. I'm sure the non-football fans will be cursing and swearing at them. I've followed most of the live matches if they were on at a decent hour.

I'm supporting Uruguay. They are doing fine, so far. They'll play Ghana on Saturday, 2 July 2010 at 2.30 am. I shall be in Singapore and I hope to catch the game, that is if I can stay up.
uruguay flag Pictures, Images and Photos
I'm not a die-hard football fan but I've been to the Shah Alam stadium when Selangor played. The craziest thing I did was to watch the FIFA World Youth Championship in 1997. Two games in a row, which means about 3 hours of football. Argentina beat Uruguay for 1st place and Ireland beat Ghana for 3rd place. Those were the days!

Of Women
On a totally different note, sometimes I wonder why some women give us women a bad name. Do they do so because they don't know they are doing it or is it because they are just plain ignorant?

vintage bitch Pictures, Images and PhotosSome years ago, a married male friend of mine called me to say that I shouldn't contact him anymore because his wife (also my friend) imagined we were having an affair. I was just flabbergasted. In the first place, I had not been in touch with this guy and had perhaps seen him only once or twice over a span of 8 or 9 years. In the second place, there had never been any chemistry between us. Not when we were both unmarried and certainly not when we found our own loves. How could this woman jump to this conclusion? What made her fight with her husband to the point of talking about divorce?

I just don't get it. The "affair" never existed and her husband was innocent. Yet she insisted and made his life miserable based on unfounded suspicions.

I could hear the pain in his voice when he told me. Much as I wanted to be a good friend and make things better for him, this was just one of those times when you just had to take a step back and walk away.
Vintge bitch Pictures, Images and Photos
Why I remember this now? Something I saw online made me remember. I wonder if life is wasted when there is no peace of mind. I cannot believe that she had spent so many years of her married life being suspicious of something that never was. Crazy indeed!

Of Work
On 24 June 2010, I reached the 18th year anniversary at work. It's a great milestone. My previous record was 10 years in another organisation. Yeah, I'm into long-lasting relationships, both on a personal and professional level! I wonder if I'll make it to 20 years. Now that would be something to celebrate.  
Bandera Peruana Pictures, Images and Photos
There is a sense of achievement at having worked for almost all of my adult life. It's nice to look back and recognise the wonderful experiences that have made me who I am today.

22 June 2010

A portrait of me!

When I began blogging, I had a tough time because I wasn't sure about the "rules" that encapsulate the virtual world.   It seemed that everyone had his or her own style and theme. Many had tons of "followers" and I was just a tiny drop in the ocean.  It appeared to be a daunting task to plod on without direction.  

Yet along the way, I found that other bloggers were genuinely kind and helpful.  It seemed so unlikely but it was easy to get help and direction from people I didn't know at all.  All I had to do when in doubt was to ask and the advice came so quickly and willingly.  Tip my hat here to Antares and Masterwordsmith for their generosity.
Anyway, one the pleasures I derived, from other blogs, was finding little treasures that made me smile.
The one that stood out is "de minimis" with his piece on Obama and JFK: Inaugural address.  In that blog, I found an excellent portrait of Obama done by Dan Lacey. Something about it struck a chord in me.  I found out later that the JFK portrait done by Aaron Shikler inspired him.

Prompted by curiosity, I visited the site of Dan Lacey.  He's an unusual painter of pancakes.  I saw beyond his pancakes.  I loved his style and, on impulse, I wrote him to ask if he could do a painting from a picture I had.  He agreed.  Although it took a long time for him to get it done, due to being in high demand, the wait was worth it.
He transformed a simple picture of me into a work of art.  I'd like to share it with you!

I've had loads of wonderful responses to this on Facebook and via email.  The one that makes me smile the most is from my friend of "The English Cottage".  I could hear her voice as she wrote, 

"I think he's captured you quite brilliantly!

You look a trifle saucy - just look at the hair - big and healthy and so full of life! It says sexy and sultry, and yet, the gentle curls barely touching at both sides of your neck - suggesting where you've just been kissed (by the hair lah, but also . . . .) And the locket, modestly placed high on the chest, but the neckline ... ahhhh, open, and fading out of site. Very suggestive!
I lovely forehead, not messed about with hair - so much in the forefront, and therefore showing that you're a thinker, and an intelligent woman, not just a beauty with no brains, k!
The smile is how I always think of you.
But best of all - the eyes: Smiling, and beautiful and bright. And looking far away into the distance - seeing a happy future, planning something? Seeing the years ahead, and knowing they will be good - no matter the curve balls, all will be fine in the end.
How did you like that? That's the kinda thing mad people who do literature and language do! Also people who look at paintings and try to see what the artist saw, and try to decipher the subject through the way she was painted. Why did he emphasize this, why was this so subtle? So many things to see and so many answers to discover!
Of course, I am just a fraud, because I already know you so well.
But seriously, I think he captured you very well. He found the essence that is you - not just the lovely face that we all can see; but also the lovely soul shining inside."

The icing on the cake is when Stephen says he loves the painting and has put it as his laptop wallpaper.  He even suggested we frame it and display it in our living room.

So have you had your portrait painted?  :-)

01 June 2010

A Helping Hand

I read this on shar101 yesterday and it had been playing on my mind until I watched CNN and see that the oil spill is still unresolved.  To make matters worse, the attack on the flotilla dominates the blogosphere and news portals.  
Then I forgot about it until this evening.  
Please read what Monica wrote and see if, like me, you feel compelled to do something.  
I’ve seen 10-year-old Raj for months. He’s neat, clean, courteous, helpful and obedient. I must confess I favour him in my heart. Though I know I shouldn’t practice favoritism.
He’s ten and attends a Tamil medium school. Understands almost no English and very little Bahasa. Communicating with him comes with exaggerated hand gestures and facial expressions, as well as interpretations by his English speaking friend. Given that I only get to spend a couple of hours a week with them, getting to know each one better is challenging to say the least. One thing which I can definitely say though, is I feel much affection from them. And in this way, they actually give to me way more that I give to them.
Today, I had a little more time with Raj and to my utter amazement, he has ten other siblings! His eldest sister, 17 is already married to a 20-year old. They are both quite illiterate! In this day and age! No: 2 is 13 years old and all the way down to the 8-month old baby. Satu tahun, satu. The eldest 17-year-old looks so worn and if you ask me, she looks more haggard than her smiling from ear to ear 33 year old mother. A quick calculation will tell you that her mom had her when she herself was only 16. A mere child herself then. And now, the cycle repeats itself.
Raj’s parents, 33 and 38 years of age are both “tukang sapu di highway” and “potong pokok” respectively, living in Lembah Subang. Their family is just one of the many there who survive miraculously if you ask me. How do they feed a family of 13 on their meagre income? And yet, none of them are skinny or look undernourished to me. Thank God. Their eyes are bright, eager, expectant, joyful and full of life and hope. Except for the eldest, the 17-year-old. I see the light has all but dimmed. Are these the same eyes that I’ll be looking into in Raj’s eyes a few years from now? I don’t want to. Talking to him, his siblings and his parents today has so clutched at my heart. To do a little more.
I asked Raj’s mom if she’s taken steps to stop further pregnancies. She says, “Mahal lah”. I said, “Pergi HUKL lah. Murah mah.” She says. ” Tak ada duit. Satu ratus lebih….tapi ada ubat boleh makan….”, and gives me a wide grin. I want to cry. I cry.
Later, the Indonesian worker and I talk. And she says, “Mengapa dia orang tak fikir…. ada anak banyak-banyak, anak yang susah…..” I said, “Kita yang lebih mengetahui bisa berpikir begitu, tapi dia orang kurang mengetahui…..”
And therein lays the problem. They know not. They have not had their learning. They have not been taught. They have been deprived of that basic right to education. Education which is so important to the pursuit of knowledge that can break the shackles of ignorance, fear, dependency, helplessness. And not knowing better, they live according to their basal instincts, and who are we, how can we point a finger and fault them?
I notice the children from the families with fewer children – two or three – speak English and Bahasa as well as their mother tongue. Their parents had received at least lower secondary education. Their lives are better off. They have higher ambitions for their children. And very likely, these children will do better than their parents before them. So, education is still key.
But what of the many who are deprived? Where the ugly cycle repeats? And daily, this number is growing. Biologically as well as legacy of the race regime in this country. Meanwhile, the haves continue with their 1.5 children plan. I shudder when I imagine the overflowing poor, hungry, angry, disenfranchised striking back if things in the country continues on its present course.
DSAI et al talks about not having the space to address the rural marginalised. Label me naive or shallow, I don’t care. But it sounds to me to be such a very vacuous, stalling excuse.
Is it such a monumental obstacle?  Is it?
I am nonplussed. Absolutely.
Saya Tetap Anak Bangsa Malaysia
1.  Visit their website.
2.  Check their wish list
3.  Go for their Launch 
All I'm asking is for your small "change -RM1, RM5 or even RM10" and "making a difference" to those who really, really need it.

On their website, they say this
We cannot change the world but we can make a difference. 
Please help us to make a difference in their lives.

It's true, we cannot change the world.  We cannot do much but what little we can do, we should, without even thinking twice.
We can't do much about the oil spill. We can't do much about the senseless attack on the flotilla. But we can do this!

 Will you?