Fast4Malaysia 2013 and other snippets.

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, we decided to participate in the #Fast4Malaysia this year so here are some snapshots & thoughts:

j2 and I at sahur

j2 and I at sahur

Here’s j2 and I at Sahur (meal before daybreak) enjoying our meal together. We had croissants with mascarpone (from our raw milk suppliers-review on that later!), mango (given by our inlaws the day before), j2 had a chocolate muffin as well . We also had 2-3 glasses of water, as suggested by Auntie Zasz 🙂 He decided to read a book and stay up, while I went back to sleep. I had given the kids the option to have a water only fast, if they wanted and I had said they don’t have to join in if they didn’t want to, j1 and k couldn’t wake up (j1 didnt want to join in this year anyway) so it was just j2 and I 🙂

Later on, I went to my meeting at Whisk (oh the smells of delicious coffee), and I had to explain why I was fasting, although I am not Muslim. They were quite fascinated I think 🙂 Due to my meeting’s extended time, I went to get McD’s for the Don and the other 2 (gasp! I know, we haven’t really had McD’s in eons, don’t tend to go eat), and I asked j2 if he wanted to eat or carry on, I didnt mind either way, he had done very well, making it to half day as it was, with no water even. He was really undecided so I said he can let Dad know when he’s decided. He later asked his dad to sms me to say he’d like to eat. So I told him again later, that I was VERY VERY proud of him for fasting for half a day, and for even wanting to participate 🙂

After their BM classes, on the drive home, where we talked about the Abrahamic religions, and how many religions/cultures included fasting in various forms, and why Muslims fast during this particular month, and spiritualism, vs being spiritual, (yes, it is a long drive (and there was traffic) LOL) and that although we may not subscribe to any one religion, we should try and live out the basic tenements within all of those religions.

After the other 2 got distracted with another discussion, I had asked j2 about his thoughts on fasting (his essay is below) and all that, esp with what we’ve discussed before. He said that he thought it’s good to be a part of something like this, and that he particularly liked how people should do more charity, and think about nicer things and be nicer to people. He said that they should do that every day but he admitted that sadly that isn’t the case, is it Mama? So I told him, yes, that’s true, but so long as WE continue to try and be kind to people, to be considerate and do charity/social work on top of daily life, it will all pan out in the end. He nodded and was quiet for a while. K asked don’t poor people also have to go through not eating sometimes, cos they can’t afford it, so everybody does it to understand how lucky we are? I wasn’t sure how to answer that, so I said yes, poor people often struggle to put food on their tables, but we must also not waste food unnecessarily and be thankful, yes. He nodded and then changed the subject again (it’s like that UP dog, “squirrel!” and then get back to things LOL).

During our drive, K had later said that he’d like to live in England or something when he’s older.. and j2 asked him why? k was like I dunno.. j2 told him: theres nothing wrong with ours, why would you want to live anywhere else? Travel lots, yes, but here it’s where our home is, good things to eat, friends, lots to see. We are Malaysian. and then looks at me. I was trying not to tear up .. J1 says: are you ok Mama, it’s the low blood sugar isn’t it, cos you’re fasting.. I had to laugh 🙂

I told the boys, yes, do travel the world & Malaysia, experience as much as you can, and yes, j2 is right, this is our home, where we belong. No one can tell you any different. 🙂 Then the convo moved to less serious stuff, like BeyBlades and STGCC. I have very odd convos and discussion with my boys in the car or elsewhere, well, odd to some people anyway. 🙂 I wonder if they will remember these convos later on, especially about the deeper stuff as it were.

We picked up minion SV who was also doing her 1st fast as well and headed home to drop the kids before heading to Pasar Ramadan TTDI (well you gotta have PARAM food every Ramadan right? :D). We met Flo (who was fasting too!) there too. It was tempting to over-buy (especially if you’re hungry!), but we made ourselves walk up and down and then choose carefully what to buy. Even then, I think we did go a little bit overboard LOL

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just some of the purchases!

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Flo and SV 🙂

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almost time! 🙂

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Here I am 🙂

I made it, this time with no water at all (which in previous years I had done only water fasts). 🙂 It was good to keep busy and try NOT to think about the fact that I was fasting, I suspect that helps you then not think about the thirst/hunger. I know it’s only a day, but I think it’s good to do these things (whether for Fast4Malaysia or not), as it is shared experiences, understanding what others do as part of their lives, etc. I like to think that it is good for my boys too, to see it, experience it indirectly or directly and for us to talk over these things, to have a little empathy at the very least as part of themselves. We seem to lack empathy and understanding these days. Tolerance just isnt the right word I’d use. Tolerance smacks of “I will stand you/your practices under duress” like traffic jams. I prefer to teach empathy and understanding in whatever limited way that I can, or to practice it as best I can. We don’t always, after all, we are human, everyone has prejudices, experiences etc, but how you choose to act on it, or NOT act on it, really boils down to you. Kids learn from the adults around them, that’s their benchmark, not necessarily from an exam subject or from their religious books. That is something that many adults forget or not think about, perhaps.

It is a week till the end of Ramadan, I’d like to wish all a peaceful, spritual, love-filled Hari Raya Aidilfitri. May there be blessings and understanding for all! 🙂

Anyway, those are my thoughts for this year’s #fast4Malaysia 🙂 Major Kudos to all those who participated, all around the world! 🙂 you can see some of them on The Fast4Malaysia tumblr site 🙂

Here’s j2’s 🙂

j2_on_fasting_2013

[review] Greenroom136 Mission backpack – Part 1

I’ve been a fan of the Greenroom136 series, custom made bags by a local small business. I finally bought one last year after STGCC (the Bootstrap) which has seen good service, and still does. It is customised with lovely artwork too 🙂

So I was quite happy to add the Mission Backpack to our little family, and I promised to do a review in our own little haphazard fashion. Here’s Part 1 (more after STGCC where we will really test it!):-

Here’s the official description about what it’s made of (they say it so much better than I ever would :D) :

1000 denier Cordura outer shell with a 420 denier Ripstop, vinyl reinforced inner shell;
2 industrial grade 2″ safety belt grab handles and EVA packed double shoulder straps with 2.5″ width;
Front compartment with YKK zip and organizer pockets.
A top loading, main compartment with double layer ripstop cover and accessible by YKK zip enclosure.
Large main compartment with 2 deep knick knack pockets and 1 large document pocket.
BookPouch with plush EVA padding and new corduroy lining, sold separately.

There are two sizes: Large (for 15″ laptop) RM350, Regular (13″) RM300.

Yes, I chose the jolly orange/black colour, they have tons of other colours to select from.

Here are some random pictures of the Mission Backpack:

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The first peek at the Mission Backpack

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Front View. Note the hidden front pocket (with zip).

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The back view. Note the wide backpack straps etc. The boys have mentioned that the strength/look of the backpack straps/handles reminded them of carseat belts LOL.

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The inside pouch, the zip is well tucked in, but you can pop it out of the pouch in case you have something high, such as artwork or prints from your favourite artists. (that’s me being subtle there!)

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The outer pocket. There are plenty of slots of different widths and there’s a good depth to this pocket.

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With the help of a minion, we see how deep the middle bit goes. Allllllllllll the way down there… the base is rectangular, allowing for better stability when putting it down (well, once you have stuff in it that is :D)

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Minion shows you where the laptap/tablet pouch is, it’s well padded so your gadgets etc are safe!

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Elektra and Minions show you more pockets inside!

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My helpful model shows you the adjustability of the Mission backpack, depending on how tall you are.

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A different angle.

So that’s the shallow part of this review, the pictures 😀 Now here’s the more practical part. What have we used it for?

Groceries: We did two grocery runs with this bag, stuffing it to the maximum with tins of soup, bottles etc, then using it as a backpack. It sat very comfortably on my back, despite the very heavy load and it was good load distribution too. The 2nd run, we tried oddly shaped groceries to see if that helped, still good load distribution. We had also packed yoghurt and so on in there, it remained cool, well insulated I think 🙂

Water Resistant: We did a dance in the rain with it, things remained dry inside, which is an improvement on the Bootstrap, which is definitely water repellent but not as well insulated as the Mission Backpack.

Books/Portfolios: J2 used this for various storybooks, pencilcase, sketchbook, his A4 portfolio folder, our netbook, a Galaxy Tab (last 2 inside the laptop pocket). It barely touched the sides. He was quite chuffed 🙂 And he thought that it was really comfortable.

Travel: The real test would be its use during STGCC when we head to Singapore. We will be using the LRT/MRT and walking a lot during this time and with stock of differing sizes and various things for our booths there, it will be used to the max! So look out for Review Part 2 thereafter. (I’ll probably need a week to recover after STGCC anyway :P)

Stay Tuned!

Fast for Malaysia 2013, remembering way back when & what will the kids inherit

since j1 asked if he could try fasting to better understand what his friends go through, we have tried each Ramadan to do at least a day’s fast, we have often organized a “Muhibbah style buka puasa makan bersama-sama” where everyone (regardless of religion) can meet, chat, break fast together, whatever. I think it is good to do these things, partly as we’d like our boys to understand culture/history/religious practices, learn to respect each other’s differences/cultural practices, whether we follow the same or not. The ways that I remember learning as a kid, as a student etc. Respect, politeness, consideration, courtesy: this should be applied NO MATTER WHAT religion/background/ethnic background.

Respect is a two way street, and I find it sad, very very sad, what happens these days. Yes, there will always be prejudices/perceptions, I suspect that’s pretty much a part of the human condition, but how you act on it, how you behave towards others, will be a measure of who you are. Yes, there will always be xenophobes, religious bigots, MCPS, and other such narrow minded, restrictive peeps, but that does not mean that you should teach those same things in mainstream education. Kids learn from their adult examples, whether it’s in schools or at home etc. This is why I do worry for our country’s future, for my kids future here. Asking me to leave to go back to my country of origin, would mean me going back to Penang 😛

This is why I’d like to try my best in teaching my kids our history, cultures, ethnic backgrounds, that so many contributed to the country’s prosperity, growth and talent, beauty and creativity, that immigrants (from everywhere) are indeed a part of our country’s fabric from waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy back when, who are our leaders of yore were, not what the so called history textbooks are supposedly teaching now. We have been fortunate in our friends and those we mingle with, different ethnic histories, different religions, but we have many shared interests and pet peeves, the other stuff is just part of the puzzle as it were. That’s my kind of Malaysia. That is what I hope my kids will still be able to inherit.

So this year, we decided to combine our annual Muhibbah Makan, with the #Fast4Malaysia event, first held in 2009.We first joined in 2009, and here’s the next one. We’re getting together with friends from all backgrounds, and having iftar together (Sahur is I know very hard to come together for buka :D) If you want to organise your own with family, friends, no matter where you are in the world. Fast in your own way too, whether it’s with just water (like some religions do) or no food/drink from sun up to down. Pledge this and post pictures etc 🙂 More details below!

Details:
https://www.facebook.com/events/430055020443605/?ref=2

http://fast4malaysia.tumblr.com/post/56016186745/things-you-can-do-and-how-do-you-join

What is the world coming to..

Edited this poem. The boys have been given a copy (of the old one). Seeing the news each day, makes me wonder why I still love my country, why I still think of it as home. I read this again to remind myself. After all, the boys will learn from our examples, they feel Malaysian because they are, they learn respect for others, because we try and do the same, they learn to understand other cultures/religions because we make the effort to do so. If only more parents/teachers/powers that be did that too. 

My apologies for this rather emo post. Deadlines & headlines are getting to me. 

___________________

I want to teach you..

Dedicated to my sons.

 

I want to teach you that education is not just about being in a classroom and learning can be done in so many ways.

 

I want to teach you that there’s beauty and joy to be found in the things around us, even if you can’t find it the first time around.

 

I want to teach you that there’s more to our beautiful country ready to be explored.

 

I want to teach you that being compassionate, kind, respectful isn’t a weakness.

 

 

I want to teach you that being a real man means that you are a helpmate, not a lord and master.

 

I want to teach you that skin colour and religion do not make a person less worthy or better than others, only more interesting.

 

I want to teach you that no one can make you feel less than you are, unless you let them.

 

I want to teach you that balance in the way you live is a good level to reach.

 

I want to teach you that you can stand up for what you believe in, especially for those who have no voice, but pick your battles and always maintain your calm.

 

I want to teach you that our heritage may be from all over, celebrate it but who we are, is Malaysian and never let anyone tell you any different.

 

I want to teach you that it’s ok to be different, to dream, to believe, but never lose sight of your humanity.

 

I want to teach you to tidy your rooms without being told, but I’m not holding my breath on this one.

 

I want to teach you that love comes in all forms, and isn’t perfect, but can be a great source of comfort and inspiration.

 

 

I want to teach you to continue your love of life, the curiosity in how things work or to pursue learning, whatever the method.

 

I want the best for you, to give you a future, whatever you choose to do.

 

Always believe that no matter how old you are, you can make a difference and to change things for the better, no matter how small a step you take.

 

I want to teach you all these things and so much more so you can grow up to be good people and I will continue to feel the pride and joy I feel when I see you being you.

 

Angelia Ong

29 Sept 2011.

 

Talking about child abuse with the boys & My Story Concert (Start Society)

Today the boys and I went to the sTarT society concert, MY STORY, where underprivileged kids performed with their teachers and on their own. I thought it would be a good thing for the boys to see this and why having initiatives like Start is important (sorry guys, I keep messing up the spelling). We had talked over this on Fri before we went to get the tix at SAYS.MY office (thanks Farhana!) so they seemed to understand, but not in depth.

We arrived (having left the MOTH at his drawing table) in good time, bumped into friends and found good seats, waiting for others to join us. It was great to see Alexdrina (who looked fab, btw 😉 ) Farhana (For 5 secs!), Ms. MM, Intan & kampung, Khairul (later), Tony, Martha (for 2 secs). The concert itself was hugely entertaining and what was the best part (for me) was to see how much the kids put their hearts and souls into their performances and how much they enjoyed doing it. There were lots of funny bits, a great emcee (DJ Liang if I remember correctly) who did a great job putting everyone at ease and getting the (very often quite kayu) audience. 🙂 Well done to everyone involved, big cheers indeed!!!!! 🙂

Inbetween performances, there was various short videos, highlighting the abuse and horrors that kids can go through, under the additional burdens of poverty and so on, the 2nd video was about Start and how it began and the final video was about what programmes they had worked with the kids on. All in all, very interesting. For the boys, in particular j2 and k, the very graphic images from the 1st video were rather traumatising. I admit, I wasn’t expecting such graphic images in a video sequence, especially for a concert for all ages, but I guess it’s sadly a part of life, no two ways to sugar coat things.

K was the first to break down (j2 was manfully trying to hold it together, and tried chatting to Uncle Fred), and was sobbing away on my arm, more so after he had heard one of the performers speak a short monologue on how his mum had left him, and other performances about their parents leaving them at the orphanage etc and that’s one of his biggest fears, his loved ones leaving and never coming back so once he had stopped sobbing (I had to hug him and reassure him inbetween). We chatted quietly (sorry, people at the row behind!) about how we need to be glad for our blessings, and we should always be kind to those who may not have such blessings, and that is why we must always give back too, spread the blessings we have received so to speak. The best thing we can do for now is to support such events/charities in our own way and to show these kids how much we enjoyed their efforts here. He did calm down before intermission and tried bravely to clap along and cheer when we all were.

J1 discussed the 1st video with me, and he’s much more able to rationalize what he saw, saying it is very horrible, and tries to think about why it happens, and how to help those who have been through such horrors. He didnt seem too upset though, choosing to focus on the fact that the kids, despite their nasty start in life, had such joy when they learn music/the arts and putting on the performance. He seems to be able to work through it, figure out some reasoning and just look for the positive part. Interesting that, considering how emo he can be, and how much he prefers mysteries, horror. He made a special effort to talk to the kids & tell them he enjoyed their performances. Complex child, this one 🙂

As for j2, he asked if he could swop places with Andi who was sat inbetween him and myself, at first I said it’s all ok, mostly because I had k sobbing away on the other side, and in the end, listening to his tone of voice when he asked again, I realised he really need to talk to me. Thank you to Fred and Andi for kindly doing the swop 🙂 after a few minutes, he gripped my arm, pulled up his jacket, and sobbed, telling me how horrified he was by the images from the 1st video and he couldn’t get it out of his head, not being able to focus on the performers. So by a certain point, I had two sobbing boys on either side. I was thinking ok ok what to say.. I did sorta tell j2 the same thing as k, and I told him, much as Daddy and I would like to shelter you from such horrors, it happens. I also don’t want to throw things at you and expect you to be able to deal with it, but Mama wants to help you understand these things. Poor lad, he has a lot of empathy and a very involved imagination so he was pretty upset, even just after intermission, but when we went backstage, seeing the kids laughing and excited, he clung to me, while the other two just made themselves at home backstage (I have no idea what they did, other than snacking with Auntie Alex (thank you dear).

Before the 2nd half, j2 did some breathing exercises, with me, and washed his face. He told me when we sat down, I am going to try to focus on the concert itself now Mama, cos it’s what the kids will want to see, happy faces enjoying their efforts, not crying. They are probably tired of seeing crying and sadness. And that he did. He did enjoy it so much more, although he got a little tense when the video screen came down, in case. but he did relax in the end.

Later at dinner, they were recounting things for Daddy, and j2 said (with tears in his eyes) that it all made him angry, angry that people could do these things, and he said those people mustn’t be able to think, for no one who thinks can do things like this. And then he talked about the shows he watches on Discovery Animal Planet and how they talk about the highly evolved creatures there are. He said “Some people say that humans are highly evolved, yet they can do these things, don’t think they are so highly evolved and in fact humans are evolved from monkeys anyway.” (yes j2 has these random associations, my little professor hehe). And that is the last time we talked over it really, we moved on to discussing what percentage of DNA we share with apes, then it got onto science thereafter. Let’s see whether he comes and visits us tonight.

I am glad that they are able to articulate their fears, feelings and thoughts, and we can discuss all manner of things, from serious subjects such as the above, to the 3 million pokemon characters or the various classifications of Beyblades, or to ultra nerdy things, or just having a giggle dancing around in the rain. I hope that this will continue. I am glad that they can find empathy and understanding for those who have had to face horrors in their lives and to try their best to be kind, polite etc, they were running around chatting with the performers thereafter (well j1 and k are. j2 was still working through his feelings, but he was chatting where he could). I am thankful that I was able to talk to them about child abuse in terms that they can understand, without further traumatising them and I hope that I had said enough to help them cope 😦 and that I have helped them to acknowledge that crying or talking about your feelings is ok, not to be hidden inside too. public or not 🙂

All in all, a very interesting afternoon/evening indeed. Much for Mama and Papa to think about too.

EDIT: It was an interesting thing to me that J2 in the end, quoted a few lines of the poem that I had written for them (which I had given them a print out only recently). I didn’t think it had made any real impression etc.

The Skills Study

The Skills Students Must Have

So if you’re not able to sit down and watch the full video below, here’s a quick rundown of the student skills Wagner recommends.

Critical thinking and problem-solving
Collaboration across networks and leading by influence
Agility and adaptability
Initiative and entrepreneurialism
Effective oral and written communication
Accessing and analyzing information
Curiosity and imagination

Source: http://www.edudemic.com/2013/07/the-7-skills-students-must-have-for-the-future/

Making pancakes for a birthday tea, being helpful & a lesson learned.

Yesterday, the boys made a birthday tea for Auntie K, K’s godma & a sister of my heart. Pancakes with baked bananas (steeped in orange/lemon juice with a dash of honey). Tea with honey and lemon. The boys actually made the pancakes, k’s first time and he was most careful in flipping it over but he was so proud of himself being able to cook like his brothers and doing it himself (under supervision). He does get so competitive with his older brothers and frustrated at the same time, feeling that he doesnt know what they do or do tasks like they can.

Today, we went to Tesco to do some last minute shopping and we were at the spices aisle, looking for Rendang paste, an older lady asked us for help reading the packet as she couldn’t see the small lettering. The twins helped her read it and then asked which one she was looking for and the 3 of them found the curry paste she was looking for, and the price. Later, she came back to us (after putting her items in the trolley) she then interrogated them about their country of origin, what do they want to be when they grow up, why no school, etc etc she was horrified to find that they had no firm idea of future job, k said im only 7+ you know. They were polite and very patient with her though. She had assumed that they were so polite and helpful, therefore they’d be from another country. That is a sad state of affairs if that’s true. It’s not the 1st time though, someone has brought this up (strangers). Then k had to top it off asking me what condoms were while waiting at the counter to purchase things and j1 told him they are to stop folks having babies, but don’t ask him how cos he’s not sure, it’s probably some science thing, but anyway you’re too young. They were like ok! and looked at Wreck it Ralph activity books instead. Ahh.. my boys.. never a dull moment.. .why does this never happen to hubby? Always me. 😛

We had gone to get our tshirt supply for our next M*M print run, and we were discussing the costs of something or another. K said he had hoped that Mama is a billionaire one day so I wouldn’t have so much stress and worry (sniff).. I said well billionaire is a bit much. so he said “whatever amount that will help Mama!” So we had a discussion about how much is too much or is it that important to have THAT much? j2’s view was that we should live in smaller houses or cosy houses cos it’s easier to look after and we;d live longer being together (j2 has random theories, I think I missed some points somewhere).. I told them we are rich in other ways even though we don’t have a lot of money or regular income. J1 said yaaaa, we have family and other people (sorry friends, y’all are “other people”) and we love each other and all that.. some folks just don’t have that.. and k says yaaa and we get to draw and go to comic cons and all that cool stuff too! It was interesting to hear their views and how the money would be nice but oklah, we are happy too 🙂

I guess it’s days like this that you realised that they have absorbed what you’ve taught them, and aren’t repeating it just cos you told them to, they genuinely believe it. There’s still hope in that case 🙂

One keeps on trying!

Today’s creative writing: If I was a superhero..

Decided to video the boys reading their own stories. I wanted to start them on creative writing lessons, slowly, although I think they are already on the way there. Also it’s good for them to practice making presentations etc, slowly 🙂 Got a huge kick out of listening to their stories 🙂

so here it is “If I was a superhero”

j1:

j2:

K

All three videos are here on a playlist 🙂

Live life with sassitude. Maintaining that while facing the hard stuff. Can you?

How do you like our new background? 🙂 much nicer than the original glass/drink thing!! 🙂

Shallowness aside, what is the hardest thing I’ve ever done? It should be a list of things, to be honest.

1. Parenting 3 lively monkeys (I mean sons).
2. Trying to be a creative entrepreneur while running a household, unschooling those same monkeys (and giving them more educational options), family, marriage, maintaining creative outlets).
3. Dealing with accounting, taxes, money (or lack thereof).
4. Finding that balance in life, to have things that you do when the kids have moved out, to still be ME.
5. Seeing potential and it’s going to waste (major pet peeve) for whatever reasons, and I have to tell myself to step back and let things be.
6. trying to maintain a garden. 😀 (Yes, I seem to kill plants with ease, I gladly have outsourced garden maintenance to j2!)

When folks say to you “wah, you’re a housewife ah? Must be so free!” or those who call up (and know you work from home) and say “eh? you working ah? but you’re at home” or those who think being your own boss means that you don’t have to work so hard or it’s the easy life all the way or I am a mother/wife only, obviously can’t be a creative entrepreneur or you’re neglecting your kids due to trying to juggle all the many hats I wear..

it has been tempting to say many unprintable things.. Generally I stick to rolling my eyes (inside of course, depending on who I’m talking to) or nodding politely or just smile and change the subject.

I like to tell my boys that you can be many things, like Mama is, it is just many facets to what makes you, you. I can be Mama, wife, entrepreneur, writer, Boss Lady, domestic engineer (with varying results haha). I think everyone is multifaceted (politicians are another story, but let’s not go there 😉 ). It’s what makes people interesting, confusing, different and yet the same.

I don’t blog often, more to post on what the boys are doing (darn you social media instant posts!). Maybe I should write for myself more. Being Boss Lady, Manager, working for clients, thinking up world domination plans (haha), banging the gong for things, being a cheerleader for those you support, being Mama/daughter/wife, is awesome and the craziest roller coaster ride yes, but I need to write/create for me too. I don’t have anyone to draw what scripts I have on the back burner (no, I don’t draw, I even fail at stick men, it’s a hard life living in a houseful of artists & budding artists LOL) but poetry, writing blog posts, maybe that will do for now.

Does this mean that I would want to do that whole “eat pray love” journey thing to “find myself” whilst leaving everyone behind? No. so not my thing. Ok admittedly I’d happily do the eating part 😀 That’s where the Cuddly comes in 😉 But I know who I am, before or after coffee. For better or for worse.

I still believe that you need to live life with sassitude. My favourite saying since I was 12, was Fortune Aids the Brave. I still believe in that, no matter how dark the days, how empty the bank accounts look, how much you worry. There is always a silver lining, even if you need a microscope to see it some days.

I hope that my sons will pick up this thinking as I did from my dad. He always told me that there’s always blessings to be found, and things never are as bad as they seem. As I wrote once, “there is always hope.” 🙂 Partly this retrospective blogpost is because it was a very rough day today and it is my dad’s birthday this weekend, and I hope my boys continue to learn from him (and their dad!) as awesome examples of a good man.

Happy birthday Papa for this weekend. May you live many many years more, healthy, happy and with us!

A poem I wrote for my dad on his 65th birthday way back when:

Our Father

He stands Tall
Not only in height but in integrity
He is loyal, firm yet kind
He is our father.

Smart, handsome
With a calming influence
He taught us the value of filial piety
He taught us how to feel proud of our country and family
He is our father.

He has been a wonderful father
grandfather and father-in-law
Teaching us the worthwhile values and ethics
Much needed in Life.
He gave us the quiet strength he needed to overcome
The many obstacles in life
He is our father.

Although life may have thrown many a trial and tribulation
Towards him
He has shown us the true spirit of a good and honest man
We can easily say with pride and loving hearts
“He is our father!”

Angelia Ong.
On occasion of Dad’s 65th Birthday.
March 29th 2000

We love you Grandpa 🙂

CF

a few older poems-revisited

I realised that I haven’t posted poetry here (darn you social media LOL)

You Will find the Strength

Although times may seem dark and dreary

You will find the strength to go on within yourself.

When life seems on a downward path

When tears seem to fall on a regular basis,

When it seems as if you are alone,

You will find the strength within your self.

When the day seems an uphill battle

When the wrongs seems to be more than the rights

When everyone seems to be against you

You will find the strength within yourself.

When the day seems long and hard

When worries seem to pile up

When fights erupt around you and the world seems uncaring

You will find the strength within yourself.

Strength lies deep within yourself

Pools of resolve which you can draw on

No matter what pain, dramas and battles you will face over the years

You will find the strength to carry on

You don’t have to look far, just within yourself

You will find the strength within yourself.

Angelia Ong
13 Dec 1999

Never Give Up

Although it seems that life throws curveballs more than flowers,

Never give up.

Even when the rain pelts down on what should be your parade,

Never give up.

Even when the bills pile up higher than your ability to pay them,

Never give up.

The clouds may seem to hide the sun, but there is always hope.

Walk with those who are willing to just be there,

Quiet in their support through your pain,

Talk to those who know what you go through.

Lean on those who are willing to stand with you,

Giving you strength when you need it,

Telling you “not to give up”.

For you need not walk alone in those dark days

It is not a failure to accept help when offered,

Especially from those whose sincerity rings true.

It’s not a failure to feel that you are struggling and to admit it,

For those who care, this will not matter,

They will be there, with whatever you need.

Never give up hope.

For there’s a silver lining in the darkness,

It may seem faint or hardly there at all,

But that silver thread of hope and positivity is always there.

It calls out to you to never give up,

to fight through those dark days.

Through the tears, through the losses

It is there in the voices of those who love you, who support you when you need it most

It is there in the precious moments and memories you share,

In laughter, tears and the quietness of just being together,

those blessings you do have but can’t always see

Hold onto that silver thread of hope tightly and never give up.

Angelia Ong

01 Nov 2012

There is always hope

There’s hope in your tears

for with those watery droplets, pain leaves your soul.

There’s hope in those arms

which encircle you, bringing comfort when you need it.

There’s hope in children’s laughter

as they find joy in the world around them.

There’s hope in those quiet moments

Reading your favourite book or comic.

There’s hope in those moments

When you sing songs with your kids.

There’s hope in those times

When a plan comes together better than expected.

There’s hope in sitting on a blanket,

under a tree, a breeze blowing

as you watch the sun beams chase each other through the leaves.

There’s hope in a shared meal with those who care about you

Who understand the hard days and cheer for you on the good days.

There’s hope in watching the smiles of those around you.

There’s hope in writing stories and poems on a rainy day.

There’s hope in tender, squishy kisses from your little men.

There’s hope in those times when he holds your hand

On the days when you struggle to find the light.

There’s hope in those times he says nothing

but quietly places your favourite chocolate bar or that cup of coffee you need on your desk.

There’s hope to be found everywhere in those little things that happen every day

No matter how dark the day, how high those bills pile

How much it seems to be a struggle

There is always hope to hold onto and to carry you through.

For it is hope that sustains the human spirit

Even when there’s no end in sight.

It is hope that carries you over those hurdles.

It is hope that smacks those curveballs life likes to throw at you, far far away.

It is hope that you must grab, hold onto, no matter how dim its light is.

For no matter what happens, there is always hope.

Angelia Ong

01 Nov 2012

Whispers

Quiet solitude, words floating across the page

Sun beams dancing across your face,

Whispers on a breeze carrying thoughts to you.

Gentle words.

Love.

Hope.

Kindness.

Hug.

Friend.

Child.

Family.

Happy.

Kiss.

Laughter.

Whispers of words that resonate into your soul.

Whispers that stay still when you are at peace,

And keep the doubts and fears at bay when you are caught in the darkness.

Whispers that speak of memories.

Whispers that are free of reflections

Whispers that catch images of those you love

Like shadows in a candlelit room.

Whispers of your hurt and pain war with those of peace and calm.

All these whispers swirl like storm clouds across the vanishing horizon.

Your spirit is like those storm chasers

Knowing when to be still and just be in awe of the beauty

Knowing when to step away so your heart beats another day.

Whispers of power, strengthening your spirit.

Let the whispers wash over you, opening your soul and spirit

To the amazing things you can achieve.

Connect to those whispers as they shore you up

In those dark days where the storm clouds threaten to win.

Draw strength from those whispers

Wrap them around you like a cocoon,

Like a protective shell.

But do not hide behind them.

Reach out and grab the threads of life,

Weave them into those whispers,

Making them stronger and more powerful.

Whispers within your soul. Hold onto them.

Angelia Ong

01 Nov 2012