29 December 2007
28 December 2007
27 December 2007
Meeza is up in this huge contraption called The Wipeout having fun. My feet are on soil; my heart in bonkers. When the machine stops, I'm happy to see her still whole. She says, "That was really fun! Now, can I 'ikut' The Claw?" I say, "No Way" (to foil my heart attack).
26 December 2007
15 December 2007
My own would be:
Master - Expert; Tour - Travel; Input - Contribution; Downtown - Bandar; Pricey - Expensive; Acceptable - Fair; Terrace - a view; Sunday - Going out; Payoff - Greater good; Jack and Jill - chips.
Someone asked why would I associate Jack and Jill with chips. It was a favourite brand of chips in my childhood.
Have a nice day doing this exercise. To play with more words go to http://subliminal.lunanina.com/.
11 December 2007
- realised early that financial handicap is not a hindrance, luxury is for a few, adventure is for everyone
- listened to our elders more like when they say 'eat your veges'; they mean well
- not messed too much with our hair; it gets very dry with abuse - straightening, bonding, perming, colouring - they are the culprits
- worn sunscreen
- not jogged on the hard pavement; the knees ultimately suffer
- not been reckless with our and others lives by being arrogant, jealous, disrespectful
- not worried too much about the future; events like aging and dying are part of living
- known that being emotionally mature means that there is no need for validation of your worth
- exercised more
- loved our parents more
Cliche or not - time flies. Live your life to the fullest.
10 December 2007
08 December 2007
Another sunny day,
Has come and gone away,
In Paris and Rome,
I want to go home,
Maybe surrounded by,
A million people I,
Still feel all alone,
I just want to go home,
Oh I miss you, You know,
And i've been keeping all the letters,
That I wrote to you,
Each one a line or two,
I'm fine baby how are you,
Well I would send them but,
I know that it's just not enough,
The words were cold and flat,
And you deserve more, than that,
Another sunny place,
I'm lucky, I know,
But I want to go home,
I've got to go home,
Let me go home
Im just too far,
From where you are,
I've got to come home,
Let me come home,
I've had my run,
Baby i'm down,
I want to come home,
And I feel just like,
Someone elses life,
It's like i just stepped outside,
When everything was going right,
And I know just why you could not come along with me,
'Cause this was not your dream,
But you always believed in me,
Another winter day,
Has come and gone away,
In either Paris and Rome,
And I Want To Go Home,
I miss you, You know,
Let me go home,
I've had my run,
Baby i'm down,
I want to go home,
Let me go home,
It'll all be alright,
I'll be home tonight,
I'm coming back home.
[ www.LyricsTop.com ]
06 December 2007
What makes a drama queen? Bully OnLine gives this description:
"...every incident or opportunity, no matter how insignificant, is exploited, exaggerated and if necessary distorted to become an event of dramatic proportions. Everything is elevated to crisis proportions. Histrionics may be present where the person feels she is not the centre of attention but should be. Inappropriate flirtatious behaviour may also be present".
28 November 2007
The book centers on Willie Chandran, half-bred, son of a brahmin and of an untouchable. He lived a depressingly marginal life in India (author wrote that he is not 'exact about the countries, periods or situations'), then in England where he led a bohemian lifestyle. Towards the end of the story, Willie had lived for eighteen years in a country that was a mixture of Portugal and South Africa - I would never know the exact country because of the vagueness.
The character of Willie Chandran is so mystifying because he has this 'I don't care' attitude and seemingly immunity to pain that allows him to go on and on to search for life's generosity. He naively thinks that he soon will settle a full life by associating himself with friends who incidentally will fail his expectations. He finds love and passion in cruel ways and he also will willingly hurt Ana (who held a promise of fullness) and escape to let go of all the half-lives.
I have not read any review of this book. Maybe, I will, then I might know whether I am not alone in this perception of Willie Somerset Chandran.
26 November 2007
Dead Poets Society
John Keating: This is a battle, a war, and the casualties could be your hearts and souls.
Honey: 'Greater good?' I am your wife! I'm the greatest 'good' you are ever gonna get.
When Harry Met Sally
....you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.
Birdee: Beginnings are scary. Endings are usually sad, but it's what's in the middle that counts. So, when you find yourself at the beginning, just give hope a chance to float up. And it will.
The Addam's Family
Pugsley: We're not shy!
Wednesday: We're contagious.
Aunt Frances: My darling girl, when are you going to understand that 'normal' is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage.
The Little Mermaid
Ursula: Well it's time Ursula took matters into her own tentacles.
Snowbell: Didn't your mother warn you that you shouldn't go out into Central Park at night?
Smokey: My mother was the reason you shouldn't go out into Central Park at night.
The most enjoyable repartees that I really really love are from The Incredibles. Just might watch it again soon.
24 November 2007
22 November 2007
13 November 2007
Yesterday, Whitey gave birth to quadruplets and immediately Uncle Dennis took them away from her to avoid another catastrophe. Here they are away from their unmaternal mama, and, as of today, Aunty Cathy has been spoon feeding them with milk from (sadly) the tin. They are so ickyyy but I really wish for them to survive.
11 November 2007
As a child, I spoke several dialects, depending on who I talked to. We talked in Tausug, a Muslim and Bahasa Melayu sounding dialect, in deference to our father who spoke in one other language, English, and would not talk in any other dialects. To our Mom, who is multi-lingual, we spoke mostly in Chavacano, because it has more words that convey feelings and emotions. We turned to her, sought her, when we were con hambre (hungry); con dolor (in pain); triste (sad); alegre (happy). We carry on the practice in our adult lives. We speak the respectful Tausug to our father and older brother; Chavacano to our Mom. Well, their grandchildren is another story; Meeza can only speak English to them while her cousins would speak in Tagalog and Tausug. Talk about Babel in one household.
Chavacano was the language of childhood fun, taunting and ruidoso. I remember these proverbs we learned in childhood in addition to those I wrote in a previous post:
09 November 2007
My readers differ too. If I put on a Spanish title to a post, I get readers from as far as Guatemala and Colombia. The stats gets me very curious and I am impressed at how diversified the readers are. I get a sense that my blog is schizophrenic (?). My only frustration is that there is no 'enye' (an n with a wave on top) on my keyboard. Maybe there is a way, but being techno unsavvy, I could not see it.
It seems like Raya is not over yet - talk about the longest ever Hari Raya. People still are inviting us to their homes. The latest visit I had was to a South African home where the food was glorious. Thank you, Aishah for giving me the recipe of your unique salad dressing.
The eating has left us lleno and con sueno. Perhaps because of all the sugar and carbs that we have induged in. I am sooo looking forward to a normal life of less gorging.
06 November 2007
Nothing beats a Grand Reunion to demonstrate the vibrancy of family ties. Last Sunday, we were part of an important gathering of two hundred families belonging to the late Pengiran Haji Metassan Rajid bin Pengiran Abd Rahman Piut. From where I sat looking at the Power Point presentation of root and branches and from someone unbiased who became a part of the family by virtue of affinity, I not only see a family that has ties to royalty, going back to Sultan Saiful Rijal and up to Sultan Bolkiah but I also see a family that gives importance to loyalty and giving service to the country. This is a family that produced two ministers, a general in the armed forces, two police commissioners who also served as ambassadors, and a palace chamberlain. Many of us, including me, work in the government in many different capacities.
The Grand Reunion gave us an opportunity to meet with family members who we rarely saw or would have recognised elsewhere. It also gave us a chance to honour a great man who, most of us, have not met. I can only surmise that he lived a full life, because from him descended some of the well-known cheterias of Brunei. This is one person who lived history and most probably gave a legacy of giving to the country.
02 November 2007
Gone are the days when those rowdy children blurted, huevos! (eggs) to anyone who got a zero in his or her exams or lost in games they played. On anything that you lost or failed, you were called huevos! by the arrogant winner (like someone from the Three Stooges). I have not heard of it uttered anymore for decades because my household is such a sweet quiet paradise, no fighting, no fibbing, no rowdiness, no competitiveness. The girls were very well behaved when they were small children, very unlike me when I was growing up. I was climbing trees (my favourite tree was the only 'camias' tree in our backyard where I soaked in sorrow over my losses and ate the small sour camias as if they would expurgate my unhappiness); flying my own kites the colour and design of which I chose meticulously and, of course, playing the 'patintero' or 'balatin' in the late afternoons (to regain lost grounds and composures too).
Many of us, undergo an egg phase. Mine was the psychological distress of losing and being called huevos! Another egg phase of mine was in college, where I mostly got zeros in my Stats tests. Meeza's egg phase (I hope just temporary) is cooking her own egg dish three times a day, sometimes secretly, because she knows how I feel about eggs (the unhealthy cholesterol yolk aspect). It consoles me a bit that she forgets to salt her eggs, though.
I don't have the habit of buying eggs but somehow they get to my kitchen mysteriously. The omnipresent egg actually is necessary for all those desserts that we eat. Generally, though, I would not want the egg to become a staple in my pantry. And, if I do need them, they undergo a scrutiny from me. I learned from my mom that to determine the freshness of an egg, take a simple test. Place the egg in a bowl of water, if it goes to the bottom, then it is fresh; the one that floats is a rotten egg. I also learned by looking, that to remove the shell of a hard-boiled egg, tap it gently all over to loosen the shell, then roll between your hands. Peel off shell and rinse with cold clean water.
Well, loser or not, be egg-happy because it is one of the most nutritious food we have on this planet. Just have it once a week, though, or better eat the whites only.
01 November 2007
There are some things and events on my side of the family that my husband clearly remembers. Just the other day, he recalled the TV interview of my dad at that time when he was acknowledged as one of those who helped in the administration of the Code of Muslim Personal Laws of the Philippines (a consequence of the 'Moro problem' as with other autonomy matters). My father was trained in civil law but was called along with other Muslim judges to this momentous event that would put the Shari'ah into perspective.
The interview dealt on the Shari'ah, the codification of the Muslim Personal Laws which is unique only to India and the Philippines, and other pertinent matters. By the end of the discussion, on a personal note, the interviewer asked if my dad would take four wives. My father in reply said, "No, I would not want to have four mothers-in-law".
30 October 2007
What can I say about this man in our lives? The first thing that comes to my mind is how so comfortable we are with him. This is what basically describes him - easygoing. He is funny, very indulgent, open, unselfish, and would do anything for any of us. My mom-in-law, yieldingly, said to me once, there is no mountain high enough, no ocean deep enough (or to that effect) that my husband will not navigate - for our sakes - the four women in his life. Those words resonated in my ears a thousand times. And I am thankful and feel blessed for that.
26 October 2007
As a child, I looked for my favourite fruit when we stopped over at the stalls. It is called 'tiessa' and it looks like a ripe papaya on the outside. The taste is like a chiku gone chalky, my brothers would say. But, it did not discourage me and I suspect I had more Vitamin A because of the 'tiessa'. All of us liked the 'atis' (sugar fruit) because of its unbelievable sweetness and we spit out the seeds to hit on each other. I found the pictures of these fruits (Marketman's) and I am brought back to the magic of Taal.
21 October 2007
In Asia, we drive, do our shopping without our husbands tagging along, and more important, I think, work outside our homes. In the Philippines, where I was born, the Muslim women generally participate in political exercises, like voting, referendums, campaigns, running for offices, etc. I will not go to the extent of how the Saudi women might be wanting of liberties that we have in our lives. For all I know, they maybe a happy lot even without these "freedoms".
One other difference is how we cover ourselves. I have to admit, I was quite disturbed with seeing the swarms of women in black, faces unseen and unfathomable. While I saw some Asians (they are Asians, because of their heights and their sounds too) wearing the niqab or burka fully concealing themselves too, most of us wore our tudungs or hijabs which is less restrictive, but some would think as less pleasing to Allah.
A lot of us would do away with the hijab, too. My cousin, Shalimar, is very exasperated with her mom who does not bother covering up. This is another unique story and brings both of us to marvel about the eccentricities of people in our lives.
In airports, the hijabs we wear become problematic, when people stare and look at us like we were going to blow up some aeroplanes. More security checks and questions for us too because of our names. Hello!! Do I look like a suicide bomber tagging along my beautiful precious child to finish our lives just like that?
Hijabs, niqabs, burkas - we have our choices, let no one dictate us. We were always taught that our modesty is the responsibility of our fathers, brothers, husbands and sons, but let it be our own accountability too. We must be able to use our minds, do interpretative thinking, be real Muslims, fair and just and not imposing and intolerant. And if we choose to cover up (or not), then let us do it with dignity and without fear.
16 October 2007
Happiness comes from contentment, in giving (generous people are always a happy bunch) and acceptance of things that you cannot change. Optimistic people are happy people. They see a half-full cup rather than a half-empty cup. Happiness depends on how you resolve sticky situations in your life. It also is reliant on how well you can study people and their motives and intentions and choose your friends from among them.
Being able to forgive and forget is a secret to life-long happiness. "He who lives happiest has forgotten most" says Robert Anton Wilson. I agree. Being unforgiving, combative, hateful, envious, proud, greedy give way to disenchantment and discontent. It will only leave a gaping hole in one's heart and a disposition that's unsmiling, haughty and disrespectful.
Be less needy, generous, optimistic, forgive and forget, choose your friends - these are secrets to being happy.
15 October 2007
11 October 2007
"This is from a book called Disorder in the American Courts, and things people actually said in court, word for word, taken down and now published by court reporters who had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were actually taking place.
ATTORNEY: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
WITNESS: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.
ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?
ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?
WITNESS: I forget.
ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?
ATTORNEY: What was the first thing your husband said to you that morning?
WITNESS: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"
ATTORNEY: And why did that upset you?
WITNESS: My name is Susan!
ATTORNEY: Do you know if your daughter has ever been involved in voodoo?
WITNESS: We both do.
WITNESS: We do.
ATTORNEY: You do?
WITNESS: Yes, voodoo.
ATTORNEY: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
WITNESS: Did you actually pass the bar exam?
ATTORNEY: The youngest son, the twenty-year-old, how old is he?
WITNESS: Uh, he's twenty-one.
ATTORNEY: Were you present when your picture was taken?
WITNESS: Are you ####### me?
ATTORNEY: She had three children, right?
ATTORNEY: How many were boys?
ATTORNEY: Were there any girls?
WITNESS: Are you ####### me? Your Honor, I think I need a different attorney. Can I get a new attorney?
ATTORNEY: How was your first marriage terminated?
WITNESS: By death.
ATTORNEY: And by whose death was it terminated?
WITNESS: Now whose death do you suppose terminated it?
ATTORNEY: Can you describe the individual?
WITNESS: He was about medium height and had a beard.
ATTORNEY: Was this a male or a female?
ATTORNEY: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
WITNESS: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.
ATTORNEY: Doctor, how many of your autopsies have you performed on dead people?
WITNESS: All my autopsies are performed on dead people. Would you like to rephrase that?
ATTORNEY: ALL your responses MUST be oral, OK? What school did you go to?
ATTORNEY: Do you recall the time that you examined the body?
WITNESS: The autopsy started around 8:30 p.m.
ATTORNEY: And Mr. Denton was dead at the time?
WITNESS: No, he was sitting on the table wondering why I was doing an autopsy on him!
ATTORNEY: Are you qualified to give a urine sample?
WITNESS: Huh....are you qualified to ask that question?
And the best for last:
ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law."
09 October 2007
Near the door of the room where I hold my classes there is a poster (not my making - it was a product of a reading project launched in school) which reads "If you can read this, then thank your teacher". It does not seek for approval or attention for the reading teachers nor an aggrandizement of some sort. It was just posted alongside other quotable quotes for the sake of the reading project. Nonetheless, it became a reminder for me, a teacher who was taught.
I am lucky to have had good teachers while in school. The ones that had influenced my thinking and my personality were the ones who made me laugh because of their great sense of humour, their booming voices and flair for drama.
06 October 2007
04 October 2007
02 October 2007
Omar et Rosalinda lived semi-secular lives and loved Hollywood. Understandably so, because they grew up when America was firmly grounded in post-war Philippines. They brought us kids (in our pyjamas) for late night shows in a cinema (we called it the 'theater') a few blocks away from where we lived. Our favourite was Yul Brynner and we were mesmerized with movies such as Taras Bulba, The King and I and the Battle of Neretva. We also watched Sean Connery in many James Bond movies and Omar Sharif in Dr Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia. We slept through movies such as The Lion in Winter and Mary Queen of Scots because of the heavy British accents and the never-ending dialogues. I would love to see these two movies again since I am now so accustomed to this mode of speaking in the almost two decades of living in Brunei.
I remember that the cinema had soft red leatherette chairs as we sat in the 'Lodge' section. We had those seats courtesy of a prosperous uncle who owned the cinema. The chairs were big enough that we curled up in sleep when we were burdened with too many dialogues. However, we watched the war movies with eyes wide awake. The late night double shows started at nine and finished at twelve midnight. Double shows - meaning, there were two films back to back. So, it could be Guns of Navarone 'doubled with' Mutiny on the Bounty at the price of one.
Post movies, we, the children re-enacted the scenes in rowdy mock battles - brothers and sisters with our imaginary weapons battling each other and falling down on the ground, wounded but unbowed. That explains why the girls never had dolls for toys - otherwise, we would have made warriors of them or perhaps doll-played the downfall of Mary Queen of Scots?
27 September 2007
My family on my dad's side is so interesting that an aunt in the States actually wrote two books about our genealogy. Unfortunately, the books did not tell about the hunk-greatgrandpapa, because they dwelt on the ancestors on the side of my paternal grandmother who were really sort of law-abiding citizens and not the Kazakhs battle hardened warriors which lit our imaginations. Rosalinda would always quip, when we, her children, were in this fantasizing state, "It runs in the blood". What dya say, Zaza, fancy writing a book about your great-great grandpapa?
24 September 2007
Khadija was strong, with "character and conviction". She faced difficulties when she married our Prophet Muhammad (SAW) but kept to her faith.
Aishah was young yet a fine leader of Islam. She was outspoken and defended the weak, very pious and generous.
Rabia rejected all wordly pleasures. She was austere, simple and gave us glimpses of Allah in her writings.
Each of them deserve to be our role models. And they need to be studied, their lives read and their values imitated.
22 September 2007
The university I went to was the beacon of liberalism, hotbed of activism, but has a history of producing the country's leaders (who, by the way, belonged to the elite).
On one Labor Day, we, the Muslim Youths, a group linked by cultural-religious dimensions, joined ranks with the labourers, human rights groups, animal lovers, the Reds, the Greens, and the Yellows (no Blues - they were the establishment). We were to march from Campus to Malacanang. With new found convictions, I trodded on unfamiliar waters and burned my bridges. I also recruited my kid brother, who was happily feudal, into the ranks. He did join in, albeit unwillingly, to protect me if something untoward happens. And so, I, the car-riding elitist was now walking tens of kilometers along with my comrades and my hesitating brother yelling slogans (seems to me now like expletives), waving banners and placards. I could see my brother's eyes lurking here and there looking out for jeering friends. We arrived at the destination and quickly were asked to lie down on the dirty streets and pavements to barricade the police planks wanting to cross over to us. At my angry prodding, my brother dismayed and red-faced, lay down too. Then, came the water rockets drowning us, testing our limits, extricating us from our positions. With water in our ears, eyes and noses, my brother and I ran for the life of us because we knew that the next probability was us being herded to the police trucks and our worst nightmare, facing the angry tirades of Omar, our dad.
That was the end of my living dangerously.
20 September 2007
In love, nothing exists between heart and heart.
Speech is born out of longing,
True description from the real taste.
The one who tastes, knows;
the one who explains, lies.
How can you describe the true form of Something
In whose presence you are blotted out?
And in whose being you still exist?
And who lives as a sign for your journey?
Among all the known poems of Rabia Al-Basri, this one is thought-soul provoking. It is beautiful as it is mystical, simple and powerful. Rabia lived in the 8th century and was known to have said that the veil was a "hindrance to the vision of Allah". She was a mystic, a Sufi. The Sufis at several times in history suffered from persecution. When asked where she came and where she was going, Rabia said, "From the other World... to the other World". She was said to "pray all night, sleep briefly before dawn and on the rise again just as dawn tinged the sky with gold."
19 September 2007
Then, in an unexpected twist of fate you suddenly become a teacher and it all comes crystal clear - the need to teach children ETHICS - when rowdiness becomes the rule of the day. You do need to tell about the GOLDEN RULE. And never mind that they do not listen now or they think of you as obsolete, because sooner or later your wards will remember its significance as they go on to discover LIFE.
15 September 2007
The silver lining? The unfallen ones (pray they won't slide)- there's cute and toothy 'Hannah Montana'; Emma Roberts (niece of Tinker Bell - Julia); 'Zack and Cody' - are still here. Emma Roberts has said, "If you're a role model and kids look up to you, it's just not good to do that stuff (explaining why she won't appear half-naked on magazines). Kudos!
11 September 2007
"Those of you who live to see this month should fast...". This particular injunction reminds me always about living a full life - we will never know what comes ahead of us and we must be thankful for all the blessings we have been given.
It is during this time, when we should remember those who have been displaced in wars and the difficulties they face. Fasting will be trying for them and we must always pray for them to strengthen their taqwah.
Ramadhan Al-Mubarak to all Muslims.
09 September 2007
Sergio Mendes, Kevyn Lettau
I have crossed a thousand bridges
In my search for something real
There were great suspension bridges
Made of spiderwebs of steel
There were tiny wooden trestles
And there were bridges made of stone
I have always been a stranger
And I've always been alone
There's a bridge to tomorrow
There's a bridge from the past
There's a bridge made of sorrow
That I pray would not last
There's a bridge made of colors
In the sky high above
And I'm certain there must be
Bridges made out of love
I can see him in a distance
On the rivers of the shore
And his hands reach out in longing
As my own have done before
And I call across to tell him
Where I believe the bridge must lie
And I'll find it, yes I'll find it
If I search until I die
When the bridge is between us
We'll have nothing to fear
We will run through the sunlight
And you'll meet me halfway
There's a bridge made of colors
In the sky high above
And I'm certain there must be
Bridges made out of love
La, la, la...
Something you should know about
As Told By Ginger Theme
Tune LyricsTitle: Macy Gray
Someone once told me the grass is much greener
On the other side
And I paid a visit well, it's possible
I missed it
It seemed different, yet exactly the same (yeah, yeah, yeah)
Til further notice (til further notice)
I'm in-between (I'm in between)
From where I'm standing (from where I'm standing)
My grass is green
Someone once told me the grass is much greener
On the other side
- a consoling aspect of a difficult situation
- a hopeful or comforting prospect in the midst of difficulty
Picture me as a young woman in her twenties unperturbed by a major career move in credit information. In five years I moved from editor to analyst. I ventured to work in a world of office politics, of difficult bosses and of personal ambivalence ..... was the marginal little fish in an ocean where the liberal inhabitants were unshackled from cultural sensitivities. And, I was the one burdened with labels. First of all, I was Muslim, and second, I was a Woman. I was in a sense tied up with my identity. I also had an authoritarian father whose interest was to further the family's political ambitions - daughters and sons must match his achievements. Can you believe the feudality of it all? But here was the silver lining - in my restlessness and with the first, rudimentary, beginnings of a rebellion, I went out to see more of the world, just in time to rescue myself from the great plunge - depression - did what others will not dare - give up the job that did not bring me to my real self. I went back to school in the hope of understanding the religion I was born to and devoured Islamic literature, history, political thought and learned Arabic. Thanks, Rosalinda for being so generous and understanding. In the process, self-acceptance was in order. Things came to stack up nicely and the world made sense.
And then life went on - gained some and lost some. But the silver linings were always there to the rescue.
07 September 2007
Our teacher was a lady with a body that speaks of perfection - belly-less, biceps and triceps toned in a feminine way and an unbelievable suppleness. The room smelt of a spa - the one that lulls you into nothingness and then lets you dream of cascading waterfalls.
Yoga is serious stuff. I promised not to laugh.
The beginning poses were quite comfortable and soothed my aching body which was for a long time cheesecake-fed.
And then came the moment when I had to stand on one foot. I heard a grunt followed by a "snapping off from the socket" sound. Was I disconnecting some tissues in my body? Then, I performed several ballerina lunges and plunges involving thighs, legs, pointed feet and raised arms. Twenty minutes on and the body was yearning to quit but the mind persisted on. I could not leave, It was too embarrassing - there were a lot of bodies more aged than mine. They were balancing themselves beautifully.
Another ten minutes and I lost myself to yoga and contemplated to say my ommms (though everyone else was quiet and butterfly-like). I had a sense of accomplishment. I felt heady and healthy and wise. At home, still wearing my euphoria, I played "Wind Beneath My Wings" on the piano perfectly.
What a day!
30 August 2007
21 August 2007
Meeza: Mummy, why do you have to blog?
Me: Same reason as you do 'friendster' - expressing myself, reaching out.
Meeza: Ooohhh (with narrowed eyes meaning 'I see').
Me: Would you rather I do 'friendster'?
Meeza: Oh no, please (eyes widened)!
19 August 2007
The family's favourite is the ubiquitous nasi lemak. The nasi lemak is part of the Malay psyche as ingrained as the adobo of the Filipinos and the curries of the Indians. It has some variations too. It can come with a choice of chicken, beef or fish cooked in curry or soya sauce or simply fried (pre-marinated by turmeric, chillies and salt). It can be accompanied by the exuberant egg, peanuts and pieces of cool cucumbers. I like mine unadorned so you would see me take out the cucumbers and the half mooned egg.
The omnipresent bilis or anchovy gives the nasi lemak its crowning glory. Whose pantry does not include this magnificent silvery fish with the big taste? A nasi lemak with just the anchovies and the sambal can proudly stand on its own. The fiery sambal and the nutty taste of the fragrant rice which is cooked with the "all food" coconut milk combined with the lovely pandan taste gives the nasi lemak its definitive place in the hall of fame of Malay cuisine.
My aunt who is a compulsive chicken eater and who bases her writings on the "chicken and egg" cycle would love this paper (or leaf) -wrapped thing of a food accompanied by her favourite fried chicken. What inspiration might she have gotten!
17 August 2007
So, Mr Norman Holton, cry out loud! The 'justice' we know, will never fail. The big fish sometimes can't eat the bony small fish.
I wish to tell of an unbelievable act of miracle, I know only a mom can do for her child. Hjh Lunak is my new found masseuse, my new heroine. She uses the traditional 'urut', the one that breaks your body because of its ferocity and then mends you to become whole again.
She said she learned traditional massage two decades ago when as a young mother, she coped with her daughter's Down Syndrome. She would give this daughter a whole body massage twice in a week after learning from the doctors that the toddler will never be able to walk like a normal child. With the resilience of mind and dexterity of fingers, she became the nurturer 'per se'; the light beacon; the hopeful one; and after eight years the ultimate healer-mother. I could shed tears over and over again with this story. It tells of hope and triumph; of mind over matter; of miracles of love; of the meaning of 'ibu'.
08 August 2007
I like the look of bullets in a write-up. When I went back to school (for the nth time) two years ago, a few lecturers wanted our answers to exam questions in bullets – much like – enumerated items. I found an excuse to make some bullets in my blog, and I thought of one topic: No Substitutes (guaranteed limitless bullets) and one method: a survey. I asked friends and relatives about one thing in their lives that can’t be substituted. I had an image of a long list of answers in BULLETS.
- mother’s milk (too overstated)
- a child's hug
- a security blankie
- an old teddy bear named Koko
- chocolate that melts and oozes in the mouth
- seri muka
- nasi lemak
- an antique kebaya/antique watch/antique table/antique……
- a photo of a dead pet
- Marsha of Akademi Fantasia (???)
- home-made pancakes
- a best friend
- a guy who picks up the tabs (no dutch treats eh)
- a little girl’s French beret
- Harry Potter book
- beloved amah
- honey stars
- Lancome’s Blanc Expert (did I get that right?)
- credit cards
- dora the explorer (so cute)
- a hole in one
I got my wish – BULLETS.
P.S. I conclude without hesitation that my adult friends and relatives are foodies and/or materialists and/or credit laden. The children are more sentimental and found attachments in valuable/non-negotiable/irreplaceable possessions.
07 August 2007
Bate, bate chocolate (pronounced tso-ko-la-te)
Uncle Borja ta bate
The above one was taught by pompous older cousins. Several years later, when we were adults, we learned that the particular rhyme was quite a salacious one. In our innocence, we recited them in front of adults during merienda cena, when hot chocolate made traditionally using a wooden mixer was served. What I vividly remember were the chuckles and the giggles that came from the older people who were present. Poor Uncle Borja (may he rest in peace)! I just could imagine his discomfiture as we chanted those lines through the whole merienda scene.
This one was simply racist and very stupid. We chanted it when in an angry mood or when boisterousness possessed us:
Ta kaga na paya
This was sort of a social reaction on our part; a retaliation for endless taunting (children can be unmatched in cruelty); and a salve for broken egos. Well, we hope that we are forgiven and have learned our lessons. It is very ironic that, as an adult, my best of friends are Bisayas. Moral of this story - listen to what your children are chanting; for all we know, they don't really have a grasp of the connotations of their chants nor the effects they can have.
05 August 2007
On a lighter note, birthdays are always the happiest days of our lives. My immediate family has enjoyed our birthday parties for their naturalness in gaiety and giving; the painstaking preparations for food, flowers, hair (the girls’), and most appreciated of all - my husband’s loving keenness to make us – wife and children – happy. We’ve said this before and will say it again for the many years to come, happy birthday!
28 July 2007
"Que pasa?", the moral guardians of those times would ask each other as they sat for their merienda cena in the magnificent dining rooms of their lavish houses within the walled city. The gossip of the day and of the days that followed was about Alma, aka the howler, aka "La Gritona". Alma was of their own, the loved one gone astray; the tempted; the temptress; the unforgiven; the woman who laughed at life; the scarlet woman; the woman who ate a lot of chilli; the woman in love - much like Arundhati Roy's tragic character, Ammu. The guardians of the "caste" were the "Bella Floreses" of those days, the anti-heroines.
We were the children who loved to play under the balites, huge trees that lined the walls of the "city". Those walls, very tall in our minds, divided the rich and the mighty from the "Gaza" of those times. "La Gritona" appeared under those trees. She was the one who howled, some would say, emitting cries of desperate longing. Others would say, they were sounds of "La Gritona" giving birth to "El Bastardo".
She was the ghost, we did not judge. As children of the "Moros", we always said "Subhana Allah" before approaching those trees. Those 'magic' words and our imaginary kris wands emboldened us. The balites were our trees and the ghost was our friend. We were never scared - no wonder - the Bella Floreses called us "juramentados".
26 July 2007
the nights are cold
the winds blow my facade
and I am left defenseless
i am back to my shell
a place of solace
the apple of my eye is sad
at eleven her world is imperfect
questions stirring the peace
i don’t have answers
i only have love
cross my heart
cross my fingers
there is a bright side
lo a silver lining we'll all
smile and laugh again
17 July 2007
When I was in my mid-teens, I read JRR Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’. Decades later, the book made sense when I watched the trilogy in the cinemas. Thank you, Peter Jackson. Today, the rage is JK Rowling and her Harry Potter creations. I never read a Harry Potter book, because, it seemed like I learned my lesson, ‘just watch the movie’.
Both Tolkien and Rowling used magic in their stories. That’s why their stories are so alluring to both kids and adults. Dumbledore, Voldemort, Hogwarts, Gryffindor…they all come rolling out from our babies’ tongues. Much like Babel’s. Déjà vu… Gondor, Gandolf, Frodo, Aragon, etc. Also, Merlin? David Copperfield?
JK Rowling once said that the ‘only caveat about magic in the real world is that It Doesn’t Work’. That gives us parents much needed assurance that our children may not resort to or be attracted to taboos such as superstitions, voodoo, séances, etc.
Meanwhile, sit down and relax. Be titillated by those broom flying wizards and witches. And don’t overanalyze. They are as harmless as Sabrina the Witch or the Fairy Godmother.
10 July 2007
My aunt who is part-Chinese has turned seventy, yet she looks like she just had her fortieth birthday. I asked her what sort of magic she did? Was it a face-lift? (Partly, yes, the eye region). Exercise? (Yes, all sorts. I remember her favourite, the "LA Walk". Go right, step,step,step.). Love/sex? (Everything to do with it!!!).
When the time to decide comes, it would be a no-no to surgery. Aside from religious qualms, its the blood and the gore that goes with it that is so unacceptable. I've seen a few of "Plastic Surgery" on TV. I always did turn my head away. Was that a garden hose suctioning liquid fat? The nurse did not bat an eyelid!!! Ughhh!!!
I know, there are several alternatives, to name a few: botox (heard there is a 'fatwa' against it), retin-A, lasers, lip plumpers, etc.
But don't forget---the natural ways: exercise, eating the right food, emotional balance, brain boosters, etc.
And here are some tips from beautiful women I know who are aging gracefully:
When you sleep, do it with your head elevated by several pillows, this way, you keep fluid from pooling around your eyes while you sleep.
Use sunscreen (quite bothersome, really).
Exfoliate, exfoliate! to remove dry flaky skin and then load yourself with moisturizers.
Appy a good foundation. It should match your skin colour. Too light a foundation helps to show the crows.
To avoid a "pulling down" effect, brush eyebrows towards the hairline and fill in with an eyebrow pencil or powder the colour of which should be a shade lighter than your hair.
Don't forget to SMILE!!! It's a natural face-lifter.
08 July 2007
My daughter will be less socially conscious...the reason is that she has not seen poverty and its consequences around her. (She lives in Brunei, lah!). If she gets to read this, then, I could have shared a lesson or two. I hope she will come to know and experience those values that give lives meaning and direction...honesty, justice, hope and best of all, charity. I love you sweetheart!!
07 July 2007
22 June 2007
The story is one of magic and mystery but gives a powerful image of Faith in Allah. Will my daughter be mesmerized with this woman of the village as I was?
21 June 2007
Scheherazade might prove to be a controversial role model, but she imparts a powerful image difficult to ignore.
20 June 2007
05 June 2007
My four year old daughter is easily entranced by those Disney heroines. At this age, she gullibly takes it all - the antics, the magic and the charmed lives of Mulan, Cinderella, Pocahontas, Belle and Ariel. These characters are her role models at the moment. There's absolutely nothing wrong with them if one views them as they are, except that I worry a bit about the cultural and racial impact they have on a very young mind. Besides, Disney has been accused of distorting history as in the cases of Mulan and Pocahontas. It would have been ideal if my dear daughter had an inspiration from women in our own culture.
01 June 2007
30 May 2007
Basilan in better times was a bit more tame, quieter, more Hispanic than Moro (depended on which part you lived). The calesas were the mode of transport (still is). The calesas were horse drawn and I remember the excitement whenever we had to go to the poblacion to shop for buttermilk, eggs and molasses (these items were for making leche flans). I remember how young and vibrant my parents were; how green the surroundings were; how lazy the afternoons were as people went for their siestas.
Those were the days when the juramentado bolted from nowhere. (The significance of this entity is clearly seen now. The juramentado was the microcosm of what followed next - the bigger danger, the full blown conflict).
Since then, a few of us have found adobes that have satiated our desires for peaceful existence (our dar-ul-salam). Our lives have changed but both Jolo and Basilan remain etched in our minds.